Music, Shameless self indulgence

My Favorite Lesser Known Bands of the 1980s

Sure, everyone is familiar with the big musical stars of the 1980s. Acts like Michael Jackson and Madonna and Cyndi Lauper ruled the charts, while other bands like Devo, Stevie Wonder and Flock of Seagulls will forever have a place in popular culture.

But what about some of the lesser known bands of the 1980s? Don’t they deserve a little recognition, too?

In an effort to share the musical wealth, here are some of my favorite bands and artists from the 1980s that have gone unappreciated and largely ignored.

Hopefully, this list will be the first step towards bringing some of these forgotten musical gems back into the spotlight.

  • Crowded Mouse House
  • Men at Twerk
  • Simply Fred
  • Mister Sister (Cross-dressing religious band)
  • Twisted Mister (Everyone in the band had a twirly mustache)
  • Ironic Maiden (Just a bunch of girls who pretended they weren’t that into the music they were playing)
  • Silly Vanilli (Comedy R&B group)
  • Gilly Vanilli (All fish R&B group)
  • Chili Vanilli (Latino-influenced R&B group)
  • Billy Vanilli (some douchebag I went to high school with)
  • Flat Benetar (Promising singer whose career was tragically cut short in a steamroller accident)
  • Splat Benetar (Promising singer whose career was tragically cut short when she fell off a building)
  • Tears for Steers (Radical vegan punk rockers)
  • Hall and Goats (the best man-goat act since vaudeville)
  • Lionel Bitchy (super effeminate R&B singer)
  • Lionel Twitchy (great singer with a bad crystal meth habit)
  • Lionel Itchy (sensual R&B singer who got a lot of STDs because loved the ladies)
  • Lionel Snitchy (we thought he was cool but he ran his mouth)
  • Lionel Stitchy (terrible singer but great at macrame)
Shameless self indulgence, Writing

Possible Reasons Why I Haven’t Posted in Quite Some Time

Loyal readers to this blog (of which, quite inexplicably, there are still none) may be wondering why your Humble Monkey has gone radio silent for the better part of two years. Well, wonder no more my non-existent friends and non-loyal followers!

Here are a laundry list of reasons to explain my absence:

  • Have been hunting down used Trump hotel mattresses on Craigslist for an EPA administrator who shall remain nameless
  • Been recording and rewatching episodes of Fox and Friends to pick up on hidden messages from the Illuminati
  • Recently traveled to an area where fungal infections are common and didn’t tell my doctor about it before he prescribed something for my moderate to severe plaque psoriasis… then had to rebuild the emotional damage this did to our patient-provider relationship
  • Subscribed to Men’s Health magazine and with each issue that arrives in my mailbox my abs get more shredded and defined and my sex life gets so much more intense so that now I’m just a walking, talking six-pack fuck machine. So who has time for blogs?
  • Opened a drive-through sponge-bath business
  • Realized that the whole idea of a drive-through sponge-bath business is logistically unsound and possibly unhygienic
    • Do I get in the car with them and start scrubbing as they drive? If so, are they clothed?
    • Do they get out of their car and hop into a tub in some prearranged location, and if so, is that really a drive-through service or just one of your mom-and-pop sponge bath operations?
    • Do I buy a flatbed truck with a bunch of tubs in it and have people jump on and off to get their baths?
  • Quietly closed my drive-through sponge bath business
  • Had a new baby girl that has somehow managed to steal 99% of all my free time
Shameless self indulgence, Writing

Grumpiest Monkey’s More Tales From the City

FullSizeRenderSomewhere in the city, there are Jehovah’s Witnesses standing in pairs outside of every train station. They are unfailingly well-dressed, pleasant, smiling, good looking people. It is only their literature that hints at the extremity of their views.

For religiously-minded individuals, they seem blissfully unaware of the real-life human suffering that goes on all around them. The addicts, the drunks and the homeless. The desperate and the worn out. They look right past them and focus their attention on the the commuters walking by. A cynic would say that is where the money is.


A man and a woman huddle in a corner. They are thin, frazzled, nervous. The man is berating the woman for some perceived slight, but it is clear that this is nothing new. The man takes his frustrations out on her. Yells in her face. Threatens her with his words. Blames her for everything. She looks towards the ground, sucks on her cigarette and absorbs his rage. She has been absorbing rage all her life.


An hispanic worker at a pizza kiosk inside the train station sets a slice of cheese on top of the counter and whistles over at a man in a faded green army coat. The man, a lifelong drifter who usually panhandles outside the station at rush hour, takes the free slice gratefully and returns to his bench. It is a small, subtle gesture.


Four black teenagers have a loud conversation about which one of them is a more important member of the Bloods. One would think that being the member of a criminal gang would be nothing to shout about, but then again they just seem like kids showing off for each other.


Grown men spend their commute playing Candy Crush on their phones.


Grown men commute on razor scooters.


 

A truck rumbling through a tunnel hits a warped manhole cover and launches it into the air. It smashes through the front windshield of another car, killing the driver instantly. What was she thinking about when the manhole cover hit? Her job? Her love life? Her weekend plans? All of that is now gone.


 

And the city lurches on.

Shameless self indulgence, Writing

The Grumpiest Monkey Presents: Tales from the City

FullSizeRender

Somewhere in the city…

A schizophrenic woman sits on a bench inside a train station, babbling aloud about past sexual trauma, completely lost inside her head while commuters brush past her without noticing.

A chunk of the ceiling inside an underground vehicle artery suddenly dislodges, landing on top of  a passing car and killing the occupant inside. She was on her way to the airport. Traffic will be a mess all morning. A cursory check of the tunnel will reveal no other structural defaults. Life will go on for everyone but the woman inside the car.

A worn out man in a faded green Army jacket waits outside a subway stop with an empty Dunkin’ Donuts cup in his hand. “Do you have 50 cents?” he asks the swirling hordes of working professionals as they pass. He is there every morning, always asking for 50 cents. How did he arrive at that number? Does anyone even carry change on them anymore? Would he be better off asking for a dollar? Or getting a smartphone and a card swipe?

A man staggers out of a bar on a freezing cold night without a coat. It is so cold, in fact, that the streets are all but deserted. Forecasters have warned of frostbite in 10 minutes. He wanders up and down the streets of the deserted financial district, then heads out towards the harbor. He disappears somewhere in the icy black water.

A subway train is stopped so that transit officers can remove a woman who has loaded  all her earthly possessions into the corner of the last car. There are bags upon bags stuffed into two fragile metal pull carts. As she is pulled off the train, the woman curses at the officers. Where will she go now? Where did she come from? What happened in her life to bring her to this point, where she is old and alone and carrying her world along with her?

A tall thin black man with braids, a flat-brimmed cap and sagging jeans stops to help a short, middle-aged white blind man cross a busy intersection. It’s a small moment that few people see, but it’s a rare moment of civility in a city that rarely has time for anything.


 

Shameless self indulgence, Writing

The Goldfish Revolution Will Not Be Televised — But It Could Be Short-Lived

Day 1:

The time has come, brothers and sisters of the bowl.

For too long we have been imprisoned behind these cold glass walls, stuck circling around the same sand-encrusted toy castle, trying to pretend that the limp plastic plant you halfheartedly stuck into the gravel is actually real greens.

For too long we’ve been forced to endure the indignity of a bowl lined with brightly colored gravel in shades so garish that even a circa 1970s Elton John would be ashamed to be seen with them.

Do these humans really think they can occupy our dynamic goldfish brains with a fake plastic sandcastle and a fake tree?

There is no truth to the slanderous lies that they often say about us–that our memories are short term and our attention spans are limited. We carry with us the history of generations of proud goldfish brothers and sisters.

These humans…

Do they not know that we have goldfish hopes and goldfish dreams? That we burn with throbbing goldfish passions? That we hold goldfish grudges?

We know there is more to life than circling around the same 10 inch span for years on end, munching on soggy Tetra flakes and watching our friends go belly up and die.

And to think that we get purchased at a “pet” store. How do these humans have the nerve to call us a pet? Do we get walks? Do we get treats? Do we get to sit on the couch and watch TV with you? Nope. Nothing.

We get plucked out of the pond where we were just swimming around being all cool and stuff, tossed into a plastic bag, sold at some back alley shop run by a fat guy who likes snakes a little too much, and then we get taken to some home.

Once we get to said “home” we’re plopped into a bowl and stuck on a shelf next to all those books you bought to look cool but have never actually read. (How is the Great Gatsby coming along, by the way? You fraud)

Oh, and let’s not forget about these so-called bowl “cleanings.” Every six months or so you might dump out our bowl water and refill it, but most of the time we’re stuck swimming around in a stagnant pool of fish feces. Fantastic.

Our demands are the following.

Set us free.
Give us back our dignity.
Let us hold the remote control once in a while.
Maybe some female fish for the bowl (right, bro?)

Or how about a fucking smartphone or an ipad or something? Anything to pass the time. Maybe a Netflix subscription? Hey–we could call it Netfish? Get it? Like Netflix for fish? Just as joke.

But anyway, the point is that we are not going to back down. We are not going to forget. We will not stop until freedom is ours.

Hey, wait….is that a sandcastle over there next to that tree?

Day 2:

The time has come, brothers and sisters of the bowl.

Shameless self indulgence

Possible Reasons Why I Haven’t Posted for A While

Every so often, your Monkey jumps onto this blog and makes big promises about how he is going to start posting on the regular and how things are going to be different this time. That he is going to dedicate his time and energy to growing his regular readership from no readers to one or two by the end of the year.

But, as usual, these big claims are followed up by crickets and dust bunnies. This blog has sat empty and forgotten while everyone else is out having fun in the summer sun. Why is that?

Is it because your Monkey is a lot better at making promises than he is at keeping them? Is it that his full time job and part time jobs keep him too busy to post? Is that he runs out of ideas for posts faster than Walmart runs out of human dignity on Black Friday?

Perhaps, but perhaps not. Here are some of the activities that have occupied the time he would usually spend on this blog:

  • Writing the great American novel
  • Reading the great American Buzz Feed quiz
  • Eating the great American cheese slice
  • Posting inspirational memes on Facebook
  • Trapping my neighbors, friends and relatives in a Ponzi scheme
  • Rescuing kittens that are trapped in trees
  • Tying kittens to tree branches and then running away giggling
  • Walking like an Egyptian
  • Dressing like a 1980s cop and Walking Like an Egyptian (watch the video and you’ll dig this one)
  • Poaching eggs
  • Poaching tigers
  • Approaching tigers
  • Reproaching tigers for being so mean
  • Creating a passenger train for passenger pigeons
  • Remembering that passenger pigeons are extinct
  • Trying to bring passenger pigeons back to life using pigeon DNA trapped in amber a la Jurassic Park
  • Sorting through rejection letters for new screenplay “Passenger Pigeon Park.”
  • Abandoning plans for sequel; “Pigeons 2: the Passenger Bugaloo”
Shameless self indulgence

In Which Your Humble Monkey Stares into the Saturday Abyss

Your monkey has a challenge ahead of himself today, my friends.

It is Saturday, the sun is shining, the air is warm, and yet your primate protagonist is doing his best to sit at his desk and power through some freelance writing projects.

The demons of distraction are swirling about him, even as he types this message to you.

Pssst. Hey buddy….

  • Why not take a break and watch TV?
  • Why not check Facebook?
  • Maybe you should play some guitar?
  • Aren’t there some pictures of girls that you should be googling? And then ogling?
  • Don’t you want to move a bunch of stuff from one spot to another in the apartment without actually accomplishing anything?
  • Don’t you want to see if there is anything on Netflix that you might want to watch, but then not actually watch anything?
  • Shouldn’t you let that homeless guy out of the locked cabinet in the basement?

Plus, Mrs. Monkey is out of the house today, so there is no one to keep your Monkey’s mind from wandering into dark corners of self-doubt and despair, or from assuming that while he is once again chained to his writing desk, everyone else is out having sexy cookouts and lawn orgies.

If your Monkey has one weapon in his toolbox today, is that he knows the challenge ahead of him. If he grits his teeth, bears down, and gets some writing done, he will be ahead of the game and be able to submit a nice little invoice by the close of business today.

If he gets distracted, fiddles around, fucks about, or cracks an early beer, then he will get upset with himself and feel even worse.

He will watch his stomach get bloated, worry about his rapidly advancing age and rapidly declining physical condition, and spend most of the afternoon weighing himself and trying to decide if he is toeing the fine line between handsomely husky or cringingly chubby.

This would not be a good outcome, my friends. How many good Monkeys have we already lost to distractions, weight insecurity, and charges of the unlawful imprisonment of the homeless?

Thus he shall do everything in his power to stay focused on the TOPIC AT HAND.