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Things We Like: “Thrizzling” Tales and Noggin Bops

26 September 2009 Things We Like 4,032 views No CommentPrint This Post Print This Post Email This Post Email This Post

Every Saturday, the editorial staff of Monkey Goggles will rummage though its bookshelves, toy boxes, music and movie collections, and stacks of assorted stuff to pick out a few choice items that will make your life better.

Tales Designed to Thrizzle: Volume 1

One of the problems with most popular humor is that it hits the same few themes over and over and its success or failure is not based on originality, just on how well it uses the theme. Look at “Saturday Night Live”; the game show parodies and fake commercials are funny or unfunny, but definitely aren’t forging any new ground.

Enter Michael Kupperman, whose comedy exists in its own world with its own self-created series of themes and references. This collection of cartoons is the funniest thing I’ve read in a long time. From the continuing adventures of Mark Twain and Albert Einstein, who seemed to be paired based solely on their similarity in looks when drawn, to advertisements for services that will help protect your homework from men in bear suits, it all made me laugh. (By the way, it’s not bears you need to protect your homework from, but men in bear suits. That’s an important distinction.) I’m not going to ruin more jokes convincing you to read this, but know that there are plenty more in there to ruin. – David Wahl

Noggin Bops by Z Wind Ups

Wind-up toys are irresistible to me for several reasons. They contain their own power source, which is endlessly renewable. They make a great sound when you wind them up, and an even better sound when you let them go. And each and every one turns what could have been a limitation — the short duration of energy provided by a mainspring — into a unique and unpredictable burst of movement: You have to wind a wind-up to to know what it does. You can’t guess by looking at it. And the mainspring uncoils so quickly that your immediate impulse is to wind it again.

Z Wind Ups’ Noggin Bops are a perfect case-in-point. In the broad strokes, they’re pretty basic toys: You wind them up and they shimmy from side to side, snapping their hips to and fro, shaking their heads to the funky sounds and and waving their arms in the air like they just don’t care. Yet there’s something about these little club kids that make you want to wind them up over and over again. And naturally, you can’t have just one; you need to mix up teenyboppers and ghouls and national monuments to make a kind of bizzarro-world mosh pit. And then you’ve got to film it. – Geoff Carter

Lavish Dwarf Entertainment by Alice Dreger

I read this essay on the politics of self-identification for people with dwarfism in the book “The Best Creative Nonfiction Vol. 3″ (which contains many great essays), but you can also read it for free just by clicking the link above. In any case, it’s a fascinating peek into the range of opinions in the little person community about the issues that confront them. Besides being thought provoking, it is also entertaining. You’ll learn what t-shirt got someone kicked out of an LPA (Little People of America) convention and that overly-developed weight lifters can’t wipe their own bottoms. – David Wahl

“Closing Theme to WKRP in Cincinatti” by Jim Ellis

There are actually two versions of the killer hard rock track that closes the classic sitcom: a “gibberish” version, in which composer Jim Ellis sang nonsense words as a placeholder for a saxophone track; and another, more often-used version, which has actual lyrics and makes even less sense than the “gibberish” version. Either way, it shreds like Steve Buscemi’s final scene in “Fargo,” and I look forward to someone making a reasonable transcription of the lyrics so I can sing it in “Rock Band.” Meow. – Geoff Carter

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