Things We Like: Latchkey Sociopaths, Fast Reading and Muffler Men
Every Saturday, the editorial staff of Monkey Goggles and its friends rummages though bookshelves, toy boxes, DVDs, music collections and stacks of assorted stuff to pick out a few choice items that will make your life better.
This week, we welcome new recommendations from the easy readers at Elliott Bay Book Company!
Every November thousands of people across the country participate in National Novel Writing Month. If you should know anyone who is engaging in this asinine pursuit, here is a chance to one-up them, and it is not too late, for in the remaining days of this gray and dismal month, you can read 90 classic works of literature. Sort of. There is a book of comics by Danish cartoonist Henrik Lange called “90 Classic Books for People in a Hurry” which neatly boils down the plots of books you may never read into three-panel cartoons. By cutting away extraneous nuances like symbolism, plot development, and dialogue the book whittles down its subjects into the impressions you might have had you read these 90 individual works ten years ago. It is also really funny. And while you won’t be passing any literature exams, you might come away with enough to bluff your way through a conversation or two. – Christopher Sabatini
Starring a 14-year-old Jodie Foster, “The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane” is one of the creepiest films of the 1970s. Jodie Foster plays Rhynn, a young girl living in a rented house on the outskirts of a small town. Although she claims to be living with her father, he never seems to be around when the local police, or the landlady’s pedophile son, stop by for a visit. Rhynn would like nothing more than to be allowed to live quietly, and when that life is threatened, she does what she feels she must in order to maintain it. This movie came out in the ’70s, when latchkey kids were a hot-button topic, and it capitalized on the zeitgeist perfectly by showing Rhynn as completely self-sufficient and fully capable of committing multiple homicides. Although intended as a horror movie, “The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane” plays out as a tense drama, or an afterschool special for aspiring sociopaths. – Rhias Hall
I saw one once. Just outside of Wendell, Idaho. Tall he was, over 25 feet high, with a mean eye and a firm-set jaw. He’d ripped a stop sign out of the ground like it was a ragweed and held it strong, like he was ready to protect the country against communism or somethin’. I stopped to take his picture … and that, my friends, was my first encounter with a “Muffler Man.”
I’m happy to say that these Paul Bunyan-esque fiberglass giants — whose origins and purpose are explained by Roadside America page, better than I could ever hope to do — have their own Flickr community. From now on, when you’re rolling down the highway and spot a giant, you’ll know that it’s part of a mighty fraternity of roadside sentinels. Don’t be afraid to approach one, or even take its picture … but, y’know, don’t make any sudden moves. – Geoff Carter