Friday, November 30, 2012

A Month Late ... Who Cares? So What?

As of this posting, it's still November for a few hours. Thanksgiving happened a little earlier in the month than usual, which the already rabid HOLIDAY! marketing machine interpreted as a green light to double-down on all the red-and-green commercialism that's supposed to make us feel warm and loved.

Take a few minutes then, and enjoy these two quizzes that we wished we'd had our hands on during October. As far as The Typing Monkey is concerned, it's always a good time for reading about things occult and/or pagan.

BBC History Magazine's December issue has a piece on 10 of Britain's most infamous witch trials. As a complement to that, their History Extra site offers the "Witch Test" -- a quiz to help you determine if you'd have been burned at the stake during England's witch hunts of the 16th and 17th century.

It's all in good fun, but does offer some sobering details about the realities of the situation for those who didn't fit certain social expectations.

On a significantly lighter note, Kate Beaton of Hark! A Vagrant fame has been on a quiz-writing tear of late, turning in a very funny one for Halloween, that we just discovered last week.

Take 'em both and let us know how you fare:

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Today in Vampire News

Let's get the sillier of these two news items out of the way first:

The movie-rating board of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) has officially endorsed the film Twilight: Breaking Dawn 2 due to a strong family values message.

The board, which is officially called the Catholic Initiative for Enlightened Movie Appreciation, or CINEMA, says the film "brings into focus the value of marriage, the need to protect life in the womb and the importance of family."

We don't really have any comment on this. Catholic residents of the Philippines are free to watch this final installment of the Twilight series without guilt now, and that's cool.

The news doesn't affect anyone at TMI headquarters beyond the fact that we've now strung a piece of red twine between three pegs on our "conspiracy speculation board" -- the Catholic Church, Stephanie Meyer's Twilight books and the Mormons -- all connected now. We're keeping an eye on you all.


The second item concerns the frightened populace of the Serbian village Zarozje. News outlets are generally reporting the story as "news of the weird" or with an implied wink. That's to be expected.

The report concerns an dilapidated shack above the Rogacica river, long believed to have been the home of Sava Savanovic, a man also long believed to be a vampire who would attack and exsanguinate anyone bold enough to take their grain to the nearby mill.

Curious tourists have braved visits to the shack, but the family that owns the property and the shack have not kept the place up due to their fear of Savanovic. The shack recently collapsed, prompting the population of Zarozje to fear that the vampire is now on the loose, seeking a new home and a hot meal.

Whatever the truth of the story is -- and surely this vivid folk tale sprang up for some reason -- can you imagine living there? The mayor of Zarozje himself has recommended garlic rubbed and/or displayed on windows and doors, and crosses throughout the home to protect locals from Savanovic.

We visited the Sava page of and found this haiku-like arrangement of text:

"Dobro dosli

Dragi posetioci,
ova stranica je u izradi.
Posetite nas opet."

Thanks to a Web translation engine, we now know that this simply says "Welcome. Dear visitors, this site is in the making. Please visit us again." Yes, we hoped it was some sort of poem or perhaps an incantation to keep Savanovic at bay. Alas.

[A deep bow to the Fortean Times for these.]

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

In the Gallery After Closing

Just this week we learned of two art blogs that recently ceased publication: Covered and Repaneled.

The former was the creation of artist/writer/illustrator Robert Goodin. Covered had various artists re-imagining and re-interpreting covers from comic books. If you like that sort of thing and, like us, somehow missed this blog, you are in for a treat.

Anthony Vukojevich, cartoonist and illustrator, was directly inspired by Goodin's blog when he created Repaneled. If you haven't guessed, Repaneled does what Covered does, but with individual panels from comic books.

Both blogs closed down recently, but are still live for jerks like us to wander around in and spend time enjoying the weird, fun work therein. Even if the source material is unfamiliar, both sites are worth a look.

Hooray for the Web, where nothing ever really goes away! (Except when it does.)

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Q: You know how I know you're gay?

A: You posted a poem on your blog.

by Frank O'Hara

Lana Turner has collapsed!
I was trotting along and suddenly
it started raining and snowing
and you said it was hailing
but hailing hits you on the head
hard so it was really snowing and
raining and I was in such a hurry
to meet you but the traffic
was acting exactly like the sky
and suddenly I see a headline
there is no snow in Hollywood
there is no rain in California
I have been to lots of parties
and acted perfectly disgraceful
but I never actually collapsed
oh Lana Turner we love you get up

[From Lunch Poems. Copyright © 1964 by Frank O'Hara. City Lights Books. All rights reserved. Re-posted from Frank O']


If you'd like to hear Mr. O'Hara himself reading this poem to an audience, and we highly recommend it, click here.

Friday, November 9, 2012

We'll be right back after these messages.

This song will give you early onset diabetes.

[courtesy of leonderaet]


Perhaps you missed the news about a "Frankenstorm" called Sandy that slammed into the Eastern Seaboard just before Halloween, leaving unavoidable destruction of the natural disaster sort.

As residents of New Jersey, New York, et al. clean up and assess damage, the staff at Norton Records found that their Brooklyn warehouse took quite a bit of water damage.

There are few things that make us sadder than books and records (CDs, LPs, 45s and such) being destroyed. And Norton does good work, providing new and re-issued music that concentrates on the r&b, soul, early rock, surf, garage, jump blues and general outsider tunes from the first half of the 20th century. They've also been re-issuing obscure pulp paperbacks too, which you can imagine got us all in a dither.

Norton's staff is still cleaning up the mess, but when they're done, help 'em out by buying something. The wheels of Capitalism are greased with your hard-earned dough, so you might as well grease the wheels you like, no?

Friday, November 2, 2012


We could talk about the English band Angel Witch and how they were part of the NWOBHM but were often unfairly derided as a Sabbath knock-off, when to our ears they have much more in common with Sweet, Queen and early Def Leppard.

Or we could discuss them reassembling to tour and even put out a record of new material this year, As Above, So Below, that defies typical "we're gettin' the band back together" disappointment by being really quite good.

But instead we'll just show you this picture of [roadies?] unloading a speaker that's part of their stage set-up: