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The Ministry of Silly Clocks, fun timepieces based on the classic Monty Python sketch
02.13.2015
06:48 am

Topics:
Pop Culture
Television

Tags:
John Cleese
Monty Python
clocks


 
Oh, the Internet, you and all your inspired goofy crap that I want… Today’s coveted objects are these marvelous timepieces, based on the classic Monty Python sketch “Ministry of Silly Walks,” using John Cleese’s legs and umbrella as the clocks’ hands.
 

Ministry of Silly Walks ‘pocket watch’ wall/desk mount clock
 

Ministry of Silly Walks wristwatch
 


Ministry of Silly Walks world clock

If you’re of a crafty bent, you might make your way to sillywalkclock.blogspot.com, where a Blogger user named Suzanne has published detailed and generously illustrated instructions for making your own Ministry of Silly Walks clock out of materials cheaply and readily available at any craft store.
 

 
If you don’t know the sketch, oh dear GOD, let’s get you up to speed, shall we? It was originally aired in the first episode of Monty Python’s Flying Circus’ second season, and it features a lanky and limber Cleese executing some of the most uproarious physical comedy ever committed to film, all while maintaining a completely serious deadpan expression. At one point, the sheer volume of the studio audience’s laughter is sufficient to render Cleese’s lines completely inaudible. In his The First 20 Years of Monty Python (later revised as The First 28 Years of Monty Python), prolific Python chronicler Kim “Howard” Johnson relates Graham Chapman’s tale of the sketch’s origin:

John Cleese and I were writing together one day, and John had been thinking of doing something about anger. He’s very good at it, and he likes that emotion very much indeed. I’d been noticing that there were all sorts of ministries for strange things that were likely to distract people from the main issues of the day, and make it look like the government was doing something. A lot of attention would either go to a drought or a flood that probably didn’t exist anyway, and there seemed to be lots of useless ministries. I thought, why not a Ministry of Anger?

It’s difficult to remember whether it was John’s or my idea, but I do know that the next stage was Silly Walks, which was more ludicrous and petty than an emotion like anger. My house was on a very steep hill, and we saw a man walk past, uphill, stooped very sharply backward, defying the laws of gravity! Well, we thought Silly Walks was a good idea, but we couldn’t quite think how to develop it.

As usual, we were supposed to be writing something else when this idea occurred—anything to prevent us from getting to that work! But we thought we’d better get on to writing what we were supposed to be writing. So we rang up Mike (Palin) and Terry (Jones)—to interrupt them from whatever they were supposed to be doing—and made them write the sketch.

 

 
Previously on Dangerous Minds
Monty Python: the true story behind the ‘Dead Parrot Sketch’
Cleese Crossing

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
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Don’t mess with these hot mamas: Vintage photos of badass Roller Derby Girls
02.12.2015
01:25 pm

Topics:
Feminism
History
Pop Culture
Sports

Tags:
roller derby


1950
 
Here are some vintage photos ranging from the early 1940s to 1970s of women’s roller derby competitions. As you can see by the images, these women ain’t takin’ no shit while they’re on their skates. It’s hardcore stuff.

I tried to add captions to photos I could find information on. I also included a movie trailer at the bottom of this post for the 1972 film Kansas City Bomber starring Raquel Welch. Because RAQUEL WELCH ON ROLLER SKATES! Honestly, what more could you want?
 

 

Chicago, IL. 1948
 

 

Midge Brasuhn of the Brooklynites
 
More after the jump…
 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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These paintings evoke the 1980s in all its plastic neon-pastel cocaine glory
02.09.2015
01:25 pm

Topics:
Art
Pop Culture

Tags:
Yoko Honda


 
Yoko Honda was a teenager in the 1980s, a fact that is evident everywhere in her work. Her images unstintingly evoke Los Angeles and Miami of the coked-up Miami Vice years when Michael Jackson and Madonna dominated the pop landscape, when Corey Hart wore his sunglasses at night and Frankie Goes to Hollywood urged listeners to “Relax.” Patrick Nagel‘s sleek women adorned the cover of Duran Duran’s Rio as well as the living rooms of many a day trader.

As Rachel Shearer writes,
 

This particular series of 80s inspired images are testament to her artistic knowledge and interpretive skills. Having grown up as a teen in this era, she was immersed in the art, movies, commercials and TV series that formed the distinctly recognizable flavor, color and style. Listening to the musical strains of a range of classics, the 80s moods return to mind and allow her to transfer these images from memory to print.

A painter at heart, Honda also uses Photoshop to amplify her prints with a strong, modern punch that simultaneously exaggerates the old-school vibes and catapults the designs into the 21st Century. Hoping to inspire feelings of nostalgia and love in her audience, Honda pulls on the heart strings of those who long for the lost era with gentle nods to pop cult trends of motels, Michael Jackson (circa “Thriller”) and playful tacky shades of Boogie Nights that make us yearn for a disco pool-party where it was completely acceptable to wear feather boas, sequins and heels.

 
Her work reminds me an unholy combination of David Hockney and Wayne Thiebaud with a soupçon of the interiors of Bojack Horseman, perhaps.

Her book Summertime Love will be available in June, but you can preorder it now.
 

 

 

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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‘Amazing Stories’: The bizarre-o pulp science fiction artwork of Frank R. Paul
02.06.2015
09:24 am

Topics:
Art
Pop Culture
Science/Tech

Tags:
Frank R. Paul

Frank R. Paul Covers
 
The hardest part about this post has been deciding which of Frank R. Paul’s mind-bending works of satisfyingly strange science fiction art NOT to feature here on Dangerous Minds. Virtually everything the man touched was oddly compelling. The creative genius behind some of the most delightful pulp magazine cover art in history and widely recognized as the “Father of Science Fiction Illustration,” Paul crafted hundreds of vibrant and wonderfully weird compositions to be used as illustrations for several pioneering science fiction periodicals including Fantastic Adventures, Wonder Stories, Science Fiction and Amazing Stories among many others. 

Some of Paul’s work was collected in a 2013 book called Frank R. Paul: The Dean of Science Fiction Illustration from IDW Publishing. In the portion of the book on trailblazing science fiction publication, Amazing Stories, the chapter’s author, Frank Hill documents Paul’s storied working relationship with influential science fiction publisher Hugo Gernsback. According to Hill, Gersback began publishing Amazing Stories in 1926 after the success of his Science and Invention magazine at a time when there were only two other science fiction magazines available: Argosy and Weird Tales

It’s pretty incredible what you could by for a quarter in those days. Here’s Hill’s description of the first issue of Amazing Stories:

Naturally, the cover and interior illustrations for this issue were supplied by Frank R. Paul, who had been in Gernsback’s employment since around 1914. The new magazine had a distinct look about it, containing ninety-six pages and printed on heavy paper with even heavier cover stock. The whole magazine weighed in at half a pound, measured over a half-inch thick, and contained stories by Edgar Allan Poe, Jules Verne and H. G. Wells, among others.

   
With Frank R. Paul working as illustrator, Amazing Stories quickly became very successful according to Hill, reaching a distribution of 100,000 readers. Ray Bradbury once said: “Paul’s fantastic covers for Amazing Stories changed my life forever.” 

Frank R. Paul was inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame in 2009.

I did the absolute best I could in matching the images below with the publications in which they originally appeared, and I hope that I wasn’t too egregiously off on any of these.
 
Tetrahedra of Space
“Tetrahedra of Space,” November, 1931 Wonder Stories Cover
 
Air Wonder Stories Frank R. Paul
Air Wonder Stories Front Cover August, 1929
 
Wonder Stories Cover, February, 1933 Frank R. Paul
Wonder Stories Cover, February, 1933
 
Much more after the jump…

Posted by Jason Schafer | Discussion
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Two hours of Patti Smith live and raw in 1979
02.05.2015
09:57 am

Topics:
Art
Music
Pop Culture
Punk

Tags:
Patti Smith live 1979


 
In honor of Patti Smith’s recent wildly well-received shows at L.A.‘s Ace Hotel and The Roxy, here’s some punk rock history for you: The Patti Smith Group performing live at the Capitol Theater in New Jersey on May 11, 1979. Patti and the band are loose as hell and occasionally veer way off the tracks as Patti re-starts, abandons and mangles a few tunes. Patti’s stage banter is more pose than poetry (her verbal riffage certainly got better over the years) and her free-jazz clarinet solos belong on ESP-Disk’s cutting room floor. But she’s at home in Jersey and having some fun.

The sound is good in this footage and the murky black and white makes the whole thing feel like it was directed by Guy Maddin.

A dynamite set list:

Privilege (Set Me Free)
So You Want To Be A Rock ‘N’ Roll Star
Dancing Barefoot
I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry
Redondo Beach
5-4-3-2-1
Citizen Ship
Ask The Angels
Poppies
Secret Agent Man
Pumping (My Heart)
Mr. Tambourine Man
Broken Flag
Till Victory
Ain’t It Strange
Cold Turkey
Because The Night
Frederick
Seven Ways Of Going
Gloria
Pledge of Allegiance / Star Spangled Banner / My Generation

Patti Smith - vocals
Lenny Kaye - guitar, vocals
Richard Sohl - keyboards
Ivan Kral - bass
Jay Dee Daugherty - drums
 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Discussion
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Eye candy for sophisticates: Experience the brain-melting goodness of Tryin’ Times
02.05.2015
07:39 am

Topics:
Art
Fashion
Pop Culture

Tags:
Tryin' Times


 
I normally don’t blog about Tumblrs, but ya’ll gotta check out Tryin’ Times if you haven’t already. It’s fantastic! I discovered it about a year ago and kind of keep it my hidden secret for amazing images to post here on Dangerous Minds. It’s about time I write about Tryin’ Times because you guys really deserve to know about it. The person who curates it has an excellent eye. You can totally get “lost” and lose hours of your time there, much like Internet K-Hole. But different.

If you’re a graphic designer, fashion stylist, designer or just someone looking for visual inspiration, I can’t recommend this site highly enough. It’s a lot of trippy ‘60s, ‘70s and early-80s stuff, and it’s magical.

I like to click on “Archive” when I browse so I can take it all in at once. Total eye candy.
 

 

 

 
More after the jump…
 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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The ultraviolent 1962 ‘Mars Attacks’ trading cards that inspired the Tim Burton movie


 
In 1962, an insanely violent trading card series called “Mars Attacks” was painted by the noted pulp novel cover artist Norman Saunders. In sequence, the cards depicted the invasion of Earth (a pretty obvious Cold War allegory) by some just really atrociously violent Martians, who did a lot of shamelessly violent things to our fair planet’s inhabitants both human and animal, and the violent retribution visited upon Mars in violent retaliation.

They were pretty violent.

Even by today’s standards some of these are a little much, but in 1962 parents were freaking the hell out. And children were buying them in droves in response to the parental freakout because somehow parents never figure out how that works. From an informative article on the set’s history on pascard.com:

Cards depicting burning flesh, buxom women and dogs being zapped by aliens are bound to create an uproar, even today. The brainchild of Len Brown and Woody Gelman, this 55-card set conveyed the story of ruthless Martians attacking Earth.

At one point, Topps reportedly made efforts to tone down 13 of the most controversial cards, but after a complaint from a Connecticut district attorney, production was stopped completely. The commotion created by this set must have been somewhat surprising for Brown and Gelman, who previously collaborated on the equally gory 1962 Civil War News set.

Brown wrote the story on the backs of the Mars Attacks cards. Wally Wood and Bob Powell were enlisted to work on the sketches and renowned artist Norman Saunders painted the cards.

So you have some charred soldiers…
 

 

 

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
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Even C-3PO and R2-D2 think Jenny McCarthy is an idiot


 
Because so much ink and so many pixels have been committed to the ongoing and breathtakingly stupid culture war over childhood immunizations, I’ll keep my comments brief: anti-vaxers? You are destructive fucking morons and if you die of something easily preventable I will laugh about it.

But though the numbers of anti-vax jackasses have grown dangerously out of control in the recent years since the likes of Jack Wolfson, Jenny McCarthy, and Andrew Wakefield started spewing the criminally irresponsible shit they should all be in goddamn jail for, there have always been people ignorant of the necessity for childhood vaccinations. In the late ‘70s, when Star Wars mania was at its height, the CDC obtained permission to use C-3PO and R2-D2 for an immunization education campaign. From the Nov/Dec 1979 issue of Public Health Reports:

In a continuing effort to focus public awareness on childhood immunization, the Center for Disease control has distributed to State and local health departments copies of a poster featuring the “droids” R2D2 and C3PO from the movie “Star Wars.” Special permission to print the posters was granted to CDC by Twentieth Century Fox as a public service.

The poster has proved to be so popular that it has entered its second printing. The posters have been used as a reward to individual children who complete the basic immunization series, as reminders to parents in doctors’ offices, hospitals, and pharmacies, and as attention grabbers in announcing mass immunization clinics at schools and shopping centers. The poster is also drawing increased attention to child health in conjunction with projects sponsored as part of the International Year of the Child celebration.

 

 
This television commercial from the campaign has an unusual role reversal—R2 is freaking out over bullshit and 3PO serves as the voice of reason. It seems to actually be voiced by actor Anthony Daniels, who played the droid in all six Star Wars movies, and indeed, the typically reliable Wookieepedia claims that both Daniels and R2-D2 actor Kenny Baker did in fact appear in this PSA.
 

 
UPDATE, Thu Feb 5, 2015, 8:17 A.M. EST: This post as originally published contained a significant error, which I deeply regret and have corrected in the text. I misspelled ‘Wookieepedia.’ My sincerest apologies to anyone who was misled by my negligent inaccuracy. See how that’s done, science-deniers? It’s not so difficult.

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
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A collection of ridiculous celebrity National Enquirer covers, 1960s
02.02.2015
10:21 am

Topics:
Amusing
Literature
Pop Culture

Tags:
Tabloid headlines


November 20, 1964
 
I’m always trying to find absurd vintage National Enquirer covers from the 1960s. They’re mildly amusing and usually make me chuckle. Anyway, I’ve collected a few I’ve found online from various sources and posted them here. Hopefully you’ll find them as funny as I do.

I tried to add the dates at the bottom of each cover. If there’s no date for a National Enquirer cover… I simply couldn’t make it out. A lot of these were small jpgs. and the dates were pixelated when I enlarged them. I did try my damnedest, though.


July 4, 1965
 

July 15, 1965
 

 

1964
 

February, 1965
 

April 4, 1965
 
More after the jump…
 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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The Kerouac of Kitsch has died: Rod McKuen R.I.P.
01.30.2015
04:46 am

Topics:
Pop Culture

Tags:
poetry
Beat Generation
Rod Mckuen


 
Rod McKuen died Thursday. He was 81. Cause of death was pneumonia.

Rod McKuen was to Jack Kerouac what vending machine coffee is to espresso. He was a safe suburbanite version of a beatnik, Maynard G. Krebs with a slightly better work ethic. McKuen’s pasteurized prose was more suited to a Holiday Inn lounge than a North Beach jazz joint. And while McKuen wrote prolifically and read in a husky Chianti-stained voice that oozed consonants and vowels like candle wax no one would mistake his louche slackery for good poetry. But there was something soothing and pleasantly sunny in his style that evoked a certain Southern California grooviness easily mistaken for Zen wisdom. If you read a line slowly enough and pause periodically for dramatic effect almost anything can sound profound. McKuen mistook vagueness for mysticism and evoked the erotic with all of the sexuality of a stuffed chihuahua. Fifty shades of beige.

McKuen was syringed into that moment in the sixties when Timothy Leary’s acidity and Hugh Hefner’s cum-drenched Playboy philosophy refluxed into an uncomfortable mix of free love, drugs and very expensive architecture. If Malibu Beach had a poet laureate it would have been Rod. Imagine a love child born of the interspecial mating of Lee Hazlewood and Jonathan Livingston Seagull. With his windswept blonde hair and Jesus spats, McKuen was a lachrymose beach bum that Serge Gainsbourg would have gladly beaten to a suntanned pulp.
 

Bob McFadden & Dor “The Beat Generation” (composed and arranged by Rod McKuen, 1959)
 
McKuen possessed a weird kind of kitschy goodness, a Hallmark Greeting card version of hipness that was as heartwarming as one of Margaret Keane’s big-eyed orphans. He was too nice of a guy to get riled up about even when his bad poetry was selling millions of copies of books while a cat like Bukowski was working in a post office.

If Rod McKuen had been a rock song he would have been Friend And Lover’s “Reach Out Of The Darkness.” And that’s kind of a cool song - hard to hate, hard to get a bead on, just slipping under the threshold where things can turn from something innocuous into something that can drive a man to homicide.
 

 
Here’s Rod McKuen reading his poem “A Cat Named Sloopy” on The Mike Douglas Show in 1969.

Every night she’d sit in the window among the avocado plants waiting for me to come home (my arms full of canned liver and love).

 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Discussion
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