Saturday, December 31, 2011

(sort of today's zomby) AND SOME OTHER STUFF AS WELL!


Hello once again, dear readers.

Due to the Christmas holiday and a heavy work schedule, I've been taking most of this week off from the old blog-a-roo. But here are some cartoons to make up for it. Instead of doing a typical Zomby!!! adventure, I've decided to do another variation on Tom Wilson's venerable Ziggy. Namely, I've taken a few recent panels and transformed the unlucky protagonist from a miserable idiot into a blissful idiot. Here's how it turned out:


I don't know about you, but I like this little guy. He's optimistic and he's clearly learned life's greatest lesson: take pleasure in the little things. Bweakfast, kitties, comprooders... they're all here for our enjoyment.

I'd like to close out this little post with a few songs which have taken up residence in my subconscious lately. Hell, I should be charging them rent! First up is comedienne Tracey Ullman and her 1983 smash hit, "They Don't Know." Yes, Ullman first reached our shores not as an actress but as a singer. Her remake of this lovely Kristy MacColl number reached as high as #8 on the Billboard charts. The video is great, too, with a surprise cameo near the end.



Almost 20 years earlier, The Newbeats reached #2 with their pop soul tune, "Bread and Butter," which I first heard as a jingle for Quaker Rice Cakes in the 1980s. I'd heard the Newbeats' record on the radio many times and always assumed that the lead vocal was by an African-American female singer. I can't tell you how surprised I was to see an actual performance clip of the Newbeats and discover that their leader was in fact a slim, blond-pompadoured man named Larry Henley. Rarely has the disparity between sight and sound been so drastic:



And finally, since this is the last day of the year, I thought it was time for a reflection on the events of the last twelve months. All in all, 2011 proved to be a tough year for power mad dictators. Let's face it: that's a stressful job. Sure, it has its rewards, but dictatorship is rarely the type of career which ends with a cake and a gold watch. So as 2011 draws to a close, I thought I'd leave you with the catchiest song ever written about a brutal dictator. Honestly, this song -- "Amazin' Man" by British satirist John Bird -- might well have you singing Idi Amin's name while you do laundry or run errands.



Idi, Idi, Idi Amin! Most amazing man there's ever been! He's the...

Damn it!

Monday, December 26, 2011

(today's zomby) AND CAN YOU GUESS THESE MOVIES BASED ON THE FOREIGN POSTERS?


Whew!

We got through another Christmas, huh? Good for us! Here's a little game to help ease you back into normal society. I'm going to show you some foreign movie posters with the titles and credits removed, and you're going to try to identify the films. Sound good? These are all very famous and popular American movies, so I'm not playing dirty. Apart from covering up the names, the posters have not been altered. Good luck!

(For you defeatists and up-givers out there, the answers are provided in the comments section.)

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

Okay, class. Pencils down.

Friday, December 23, 2011

(today's zomby) AND MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM ALLAN, TOM, AND STAN!


Heading out for the three-day Christmas weekend in a bit, folks. Here's a new Zomby!!! cartoon for your perusal. In case you feel yourself overdosing on holiday cheer and need some relief, I'm also including a few of my Yuletide musical favorites from three of the all-time greats, Allan Sherman, Tom Lehrer and Stan Freberg, at least two of whom are Jewish. (Freberg was the son of a Baptist minister, in case you were wondering.)





And if even these are not strong enough, here's an extra strength tune by Rudolph and Gang. (WARNING: NSFW language, though it's Christmas so why are you at work anyway?)



I'm not sure why this video was accompanied by pictures of British politician John Prescott. I have nothing against the guy.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

KIM JONG-IL: HIS FIRST INTERVIEW AS A ZOMBIE!

Kim Jong-Il looking healthy and relaxed. (source)

It is a matter of longstanding policy on this blog to bring you interviews with dictators soon after they have passed away and returned as zombies. After my conversations with Osama bin Laden and Muammar Gaddafi, I believe I have become the recognized leader in this very specific field. Now, as 2011 draws to close, I am privileged and honored to bring you this brief chat with North Korea's supreme leader Kim Jong-Il on the occasion of his demise.

WK: Before we begin, what do you want me to call you? Dear Leader? Our Father? From experience, I know that you power-mad dictators have a real "thing" about titles.

KJI: Hey, buddy, you can call me anything but late for "crazy practice!"

Crazy practice....? I don't, uh...

You know, lessons in acting completely batshit insane! You think I got like this overnight? No, I had to work at it! I mean, just look at my hair. Who was doing the "troll doll meets Kid 'n' Play" look before me?

Uh...

Exactly! Nobody! And you know who my wife is?

Er... it says on Wikipedia that you...

A game of Frogger!

Frogger? Like the arcade game?

I don't know!

But you said...

I say a lot of things. And my loyal subjects believe every last one of them. Like when I said I invented rainbows? They believed me. When I said I was all four Beatles? They believed me. Legally own the moon? Believed me. My toenail clippings cure gout? Believed me.

I get the idea. So the people of North Korea seemed to be pretty broken up over your passing.

Oh, hell yeah. Wait 'til they learn I've been dead nine years.

Nine years? But...

Hey, I'm like a David Lynch movie, man. Don't try to figure me out. Just sit back and enjoy! Speaking of which, do you want to go hunting unicorns with me, Jesus, Santa Claus, Ganesh, and the 1976 Baltimore Orioles?

Actually, yes. Yes, I do.

Well, grab an invisible pogo stick and let's get going! Oh, wait. Hold on a sec. I'm getting a text from Nicolas Cage. We're pretty much besties.

I can believe that.

Then you're well on your way to being North Korean.

Ha! Good one!

At this point in the interview, Kim Jong-Il folded himself into a small cube and was escorted away on a velvet pillow by an honor guard consisting of Barney the Dinosaur, the Wrathful Buddha, six members of the Rockettes, and one mysterious being who seemed to consist of pure light or possibly pure energy. I tried to follow after them, but when I reached for my invisible pogo stick, I found myself grasping at nothing but air.

Monday, December 19, 2011

(today's zomby) AND, YES, "ZOMBY" HAS BEEN RUNNING FOR A YEAR NOW!

Who says zombies don't run?


Actually, no, Zom. You're not. But I once read a lengthy, scholarly report which concluded that the word "irony" had been used to mean so many things that it has come to mean pretty much nothing.

But on to more important matters. As of today, December 19, it has now been a full year since I started doing Zomby!!! As a way of marking this occasion, I'd like to present an assortment of my favorite cartoons so far. (If this seems a little self-indulgent, remember that I'm choosing only 17 out of more than 250.)

BONUS: These are in reverse chronological order, so the last few are from the time before Zomby got eyebrows!



















In all sincerity, thanks to anyone who has ever spent even a few seconds reading a Zomby!!! cartoon.

P.S. - Here's a (hopefully) fun little holiday video I posted recently to YouTube. I mainly wanted to get some practice using Windows Live Movie Maker. Enjoy or don't.



Sunday, December 18, 2011

(today's zomby) PLUS ME and some other people LIVE! IN CONCERT!


Chances are, you did not attend the 2011 Holly-Palooza Concert in lovely Glenview, IL last Sunday. Well, never mind! Thanks to YouTube, you can watch a portion of the concert from the safety of your very own computer. Watch as I and my fellow members of the Glenview Concert Band perform our rendition of Leroy Anderson's classic, "Sleigh Ride" under the baton of maestro Ken Bartosz:



I'm in the back row, playing the euphonium. Can you see me?

Saturday, December 17, 2011

(today's zomby) AND, YES, ZOMBIE CHRISTMAS ORNAMENTS!


Still looking to add that last-minute dose of zombie charm to your Christmas tree? Then why not accessorize that plastic pine with these adorable zombie Christmas ornaments...

Get it? Mistle-TOE? Oh, we have fun!

These are a real thing you can actually buy!

Friday, December 16, 2011

(today's zomby) AND A LOVELY ZOMBIE CHRISTMAS CARD!


And speaking of Christmas and the living impaired, here is an actual zombie-themed Christmas card which you... yes, you!... can purchase and send to your loved ones this holiday season:

(source)

You'll shoot his brains out!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

(today's zomby) AND MERYL STREEP IS VERY HAPPY NOW!


This was directly inspired by the scene from Adaptation in which Meryl Streep and Chris Cooper imitate a dial tone. I'm including it in this post because it's a nice, funny little scene and because you get to see Meryl snorting what looks like green cocaine. And dial tones are sort of soothing, aren't they? They're generally preferable to hearing someone actually talk.



P.S. - If someone ever tells you Meryl Streep isn't great, you can go ahead and spit in his eye for me! Viva la Streep!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

(today's zomby) AND ZOMBIE ATTACK BARBIE!


Say, readers, are you still looking for that perfect last minute Christmas gift for a relative or loved one? No?

Well, look at this thing anyway! It's Zombie Attack Barbie!


(source)

Monday, December 12, 2011

(today's zomby) AND THE LOVE LIVES OF MACHINES!


Wow, this is a grim one. What can I say, folks? It goes with the territory of writing a cartoon about a dead guy. But should love be the exclusive domain of the living? Science suggests otherwise. I recently came across this 2010 clip with the self-explanatory title Japanese Robot Girlfriend.



The prototype JRG seems pleasant enough but rather cold, and it was a mistake to dress her as an actual nurse instead of a nurse in a 1980s music video. Perhaps what's needed here is some musical inspiration. There are a surprising number of tunes about the love lives of machines.

Here from Hollywood's golden year of 1939 is the possibly earliest example of the form, as crooned by the immortal Jack Haley:



Earnest and poignant if not exactly arousing. As an example of how quickly music evolves over time, here is a jumpin' little number by Wynonie Harris from 1951, a mere eleven years later:



Sadly, the romance of machinery does not seem to have been a major theme in popular music for most of the 1950s and 1960s. The Miracles, however, brought the theme back big time in 1975:



That #1 hit was almost certainly the inspiration for this bizarre 1978 disco number by Dee D. Jackson:



And who can forget Marvin the Paranoid Android's contribution to the subgenre from 1981:



I couldn't very well end this little survey without mentioning that there are not one but two great songs called "Computer Love," one by Zapp & Roger and one by Kraftwerk. Here they both are:



What's the matter? Don't you want to hug Uncle Klaus?
Weren't those nice? Kinda makes you see the machines in your life in a different way, right? Right?!?

Oh, forget it. I'm going into the kitchen and getting freaky with the toaster. Don't judge me.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

(today's zomby) AND THE WIT AND WISDOM OF COACH BOBBY FINSTOCK!


I think what Zomby needs in life is a coach, someone to inspire him and point him in the right direction. Someone like... Coach Bobby Finstock.

Jay Tarses as Coach Bobby Finstock in Teen Wolf

Jay Tarses is truly one of the legends of 1970s and 1980s TV comedy. As a writer and producer, he worked on such beloved shows as The Bob Newhart Show, The Carol Burnett Show, Buffalo Bill, and The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd, as well as the short-lived but well-regarded Open All Night. Tarses was probably one of the first behind-the-scenes people whose names I noticed popping up in the credits over and over again, and there was even an inside reference to him on Taxi when Louie DePalma's high school rival was named "Stanley Tarses." And if that's not enough, Jay co-wrote two of the first three Muppet movies. Really, it's a sterling resume.

But that's not why you probably know him.

You probably know him as Coach Bobby Finstock from Teen Wolf. Whatever you may think of that movie (and I happen to like it), you cannot deny the hilarity of Tarses' performance as the utterly pragmatic, laissez-faire basketball coach. Here's a good montage of Tarses as Finstock in "action":



"It doesn't matter how you play the game, it's whether you win or lose. And even that doesn't make all that much difference." - Coach Bobby Finstock

Words to live by.

But before we leave the topic of Teen Wolf forever, here's a selection from the film's soundtrack -- Mark Vieha's "Way To Go." Why not use it to underscore your next werewolf basketball montage?

Saturday, December 10, 2011

(today's zomby) AND WHO WANTS TO BE A COMPLETE AND UTTER FAILURE?


Cheer up, Zom. Here's something that'll put your problems into their proper perspective....


One of the rarest yet sweetest pleasures in television is to see a contestant on Who Wants to be a Millionaire? fail on the very first question. Even casual viewers of the show will know that those opening queries are very easy and are seldom missed. But occasionally, a contestant will get one wrong, and the look of utter bewilderment and slowly dawning horror on that person's face is something gorgeous to behold.

And behold we shall...





There. Now don't we all feel a little better about ourselves?

Friday, December 9, 2011

(today's zomby) AND THE SPIRIT OF AMERICA!


While Zomby and his rodent pal formulate their plans for the evening, let's you and I turn our attention to more inspiring matters.

Craig Breedlove and the Spirit of America, circa 1962.

Craig Breedlove. Could any dime novelist think up a better name for a hero than that? Just the right number of syllables, too. Born in 1937, Breedlove was the courageous (or foolhardy) driver who broke the land speed record on five separate occasions between 1963 and 1965 in a series of vehicles dubbed Spirit of America. These "cars" were really wingless jet planes, and you could really only "drive" them in isolated locations like the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah. I'm not sure what was the ultimate good of all this. Records like these do not and cannot stand, of course, as technology inevitably improves over time. The current title holder in this ridiculous category is Britain's Andy Green, who achieved a speed of 760 mph back in 1997, while Breedlove never quite cracked 600. A mere century before Green, the land speed record was something like 40 mph, a velocity which most people achieve each day on their way to work.

But back in '63, Breedlove and his earthbound rocket car proved a source of inspiration to one of America's greatest groups, The Beach Boys. Their song "Spirit of America," which Brian Wilson himself cowrote and sang as part of the Little Deuce Coupe LP, is neither about spirits nor about America. It's not really even a patriotic song, though I've occasionally heard it on the radio around the Fourth of July. Instead, it's a gushy, romantic tribute to Breedlove's achievements in velocity on the remote salt flats of Utah. If you spoke no English and heard this song, you would probably guess that Brian Wilson was singing about his love for some suntanned beach bunny. But, no, it's a song about a rocket car.



POSTSCRIPT: This song's strange but potent combination of wistful romanticism and high-octane auto racing makes it a predecessor to one of the Beach Boys' true masterpieces, the gorgeous ballad "Don't Worry Baby" from 1964. Like "Spirit of America," this was cowritten by Brian Wilson and radio personality Roger Christian with Brian again handling the lead vocals. To me, this song is one of the great musical achievements of the Twentieth Century. Hope you enjoy.


Thursday, December 8, 2011

The return of ZOMBY (and other things) in 3D!

No time today to do an all-new Zomby!, but here is a recent cartoon rendered in glorious red-and-blue 3D:


Technically, these kinds of images are called anaglyphs, and I'm afraid the above is a rather clumsy example of the form, though it has a certain trippy charm.

Just so you will not feel your time here was wasted, here are a few more skillful anaglyphs collected from the web:


And finally, here's Captain EO himself in (remarkably good) 3D: