Saturday, October 30, 2004

003: Johnny Sokko and His Flying Robot!


For those of you that have been reading this blog since the VERY BEGINNING (last night), you will be excited to know that I've finally discovered the name of that giant robot tv show that I used to watch when I was a kid: JOHNNY SOKKO AND HIS FLYING ROBOT!

Thanks to a Google search for "giant robot live action" I was able to find some sites with pictures that I recognized from the show... Mind you, it's been over 25 years since I've watched this program, but when I was four this (along with MARINE BOY, TWILIGHT ZONE, and the GODZILLA movies) was the best thing on tv... I was FOUR, ok; what can you expect from a four year old???

Anyway, here are some of the coolest sites I found pertaining to JOHNNY SOKKO:

First up, Matt from X-Entertainment tears the poor show apart, but in a very funny way, and there are lots of pictures to look at!

Next, Glen Johnson's 60s Anime Site takes a slightly more sympathetic look.

And, just a couple more that I thought were pretty fun: J. Bannerman does a good site, Bad Movie Planet has some fun with Johnny, and RETROMONSTER.COM takes a crack as well.

Over all, the show was probably crap, but I don't care... That just means that I loved crap when I was little, and there's quite a bit of evidence that I still love crap today. (Example: I got a DVD box set of GODZILLA movies for Christmas a few years ago... and actually got teary-eyed...) But, perhaps you like crap too. If you do, I suggest trying to hunt down Johnny Sokko and His Flying Robot, and see just how crappy crap can really be!!! Thank you, and have a good night...

002: What is a Throbblefoot Spectre???

A few years back, while reading a Jay Stephens' LAND OF NOD comic, I noticed that the particular issue I was enjoying was dedicated to Maurice Sendak and Edward Gorey. I'd loved WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE since kindergarten when I got the book through the R.I.F. program, but I'd never heard of this Edward Gorey guy...

I went to the Longview Public Library in Longview, WA and found something called AMPHIGOREY which was a collection of fifteen of Eddy's cool little books. Now, I agree, it's always best if you can get the little books, but as an introduction to one of the most interesting minds of the last century, this book was most satisfactory...

So I'm reading through this book, which is filled with absolutely brilliant, surreal, dark, and humorous stories and the creepiest, coolest art style I've seen since Aubrey Beardsley. One "story" in particular stood out for me as being the most wonderful piece of work I'd ever read. For the purposes of completion I will reproduce it here, but you are only getting half the story without Gorey's illustrations so go out immediately and buy a copy of this book, or AMPHIGOREY, if you find this sort of thing interesting at all:

"It was already Thursday,
but his lordship's artificial limb could not be found;
therefore, having directed the servants to fill the baths,
he seized the tongs
and set out at once for the edge of the lake,
where the Throbblefoot Spectre still loitered in a distraught manner.
He presented it with a length of string
and passed on to the statue of Corrupted Endeavour
to await the arrival of autumn.
Meanwhile, on the tower,
Madame O______ in conversation with an erstwhile cousin
saw that his moustache was not his own,
on which she flung herself over the parapet
and surreptitiously vanished.
He descended, destroying the letter unread,
and stepped backwards into the water for a better view.
Heavens, how dashing! cried the people in the dinghy,
and Echo answered: Count the spoons!
On the shore a bat, or possibly an umbrella,
disengaged itself from the shrubbery,
causing those nearby to recollect the miseries of childhood.
It now became apparent (despite the lack of library paste)
that something had happened to the vicar;
guns began to go off in the distance.
At twilight, however, no message had come from the asylum,
so the others retired to the kiosk,
only to discover the cakes iced a peculiar shade of green
and the tea-urn empty
save for a card on which was written the single word:

[Gorey, Edward. "The Object-Lesson." AMPHIGOREY. New York: Perigee, 1980. no page numbers.]

Like I said, the pictures are a big part of the appeal, but even without them, you get a real feel for the bizarre, stream of consciousness style that much of Gorey's work is based on. I love the introduction of the Throbblefoot Spectre who, having been given a length of string, simply walks away, as happy as a spectre could be.

So, that's what a Throbblefoot Spectre is... (Any questions???)

Friday, October 29, 2004

001: Fear of Death--Something to Laugh About...

Here’s what I want everyone to know. I’m a writing junkie. I spent a good chunk of this summer working on what I called “The Forced Writing Project.” The idea behind this project was that writing about anything that was on my mind, even boring, stupid, seemingly unimportant stuff was better than no writing at all. Part way through the project, I came to the conclusion that what I was REALLY doing was creating a little time capsule so that my wife and kids would be able to look back and see who I was, or what I felt like writing about anyway, once I was a pile of ashes... (I’m not in the mood to be buried. I don’t want to be one of those assholes that comes back from the dead and has a hankering for brains. Burn my ass! It’s better for everyone that way...)

Margaret Atwood, in her book NEGOTIATING WITH THE DEAD, says that ALL WRITING is a response to the fear of death. I think she is right... at least in my case. My family tends to drop dead at a young age, (my dad is the great survivor in his family, the oldest of his clan... at 54) so I decided that I had better get whatever done I can while the gettin’s good...

THIS project is both a response to the fear of death AND a worship of technology that began when I was only a wee-lad. There used to be this show about a boy who rode around in the palm of this GIANT ROBOT’s hand. It was a live action show, Japanese of course, and the show’s opening sequence had the giant robot shooting bullets out of his fingers at a bridge or something... I was around three or four when this show was on, I don’t remember the name of it, and I’m almost 90 percent sure that I didn’t imagine it! (If anyone knows the NAME of this show and would care to share it with me, I’d be very grateful, and rather impressed...) But, I’m pretty sure it was this show, and the archaic PONG game my Dad bought around 1975, that got me into technology. I’ve had a love/hate, worship/detest, really-want-it/can’t-afford-it sort of relationship with electronic gizmos ever since. This BLOGGING thing is part of that fascination, combined with my natural desire to write, and my exhibitionist tendencies, AND, most importantly, IT’S AS EASY AS F#CK TO DO... So do it I shall!!!

(Does anyone else remember that song “Do It” by Bronski Beat? It was off the “Truth, Dare, Double-Dare” album and was really good, kinda creepy, very naughty, and something that I felt applied to most of the girls I dated in high-school, both of them, actually, even though the song was probably intended for more of an “all male” audience... Oh, well...)

That’s probably good enough for my first entry... NEXT EPISODE: WHAT THE HELL IS A THROBBLEFOOT SPECTRE???