Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Deep Monkey Background

Lee Durkee has really gone down the old rabbit hole, or should I say monkey hole (no, no one should ever say monkey hole), researching the monkey riding a dog he saw during the Cincinnati Bengals half-time show. He went back and reviewed the footage, and found that the monkey was herding sheep, to Lee's consternation. Now, at the Christmas party the other night, much debate was had over whether dogs are generally saddled when monkeys ride them. So of course Lee found a whole "web" site dedicated to selling dog-sized saddles, presumably for monkeys, or, I suppose, for any creature small and wily enough to ride a dog (note: further inspection of the source material reveals that "Cowdog Saddles" disappointingly just sells regular saddles, you know, for horses - though their logo is a dog wearing a saddle - so the mystery remains). Most impressive was Lee's thorough background check, relayed in several emails, of the actual monkey from the half-time show, whose name is Whiplash the Cowboy Monkey. I suppose my favorite story about Whiplash is the time he got fired as a taco mascot and replaced with some dude (pictured). Personal highlights from the news release: "'He really brought people together, and he was somewhat iconic. When people saw Whiplash, they really did think Taco John’s, and that's everything you want your icons to do... There were limitations,' she says of working with an animal. 'TJ DJ can be more interactive with our food, whereas with Whiplash, he couldn't touch the food.'... The TJ DJ concept will also lend a synergy to the chain's advertising that wasn't possible with Whiplash, Middleton says. New television commercials will feature TJ DJ traveling the country in his van." I'm not doing justice to Lee's extensive investigation, which permeated his mind to such a degree that he came up with a maniacal plan to put on an all-monkey production of MacBeth. He doesn't think Whiplash has the chops for the lead role, though. "I think Whiplash, due to the years of chronic neck pain [long story - ed.], would make a great and emphatic MacDuff ('All my pretty chickens dead, in one fell swoop?')," Lee writes. At first Lee wanted to let the monkeys chatter and provide the Shakespeare in subtitles, but I think I talked him into feeding them peanut butter to get their mouths really going and then dubbing in the dialog later. Lee concludes his Whiplash studies with a sad "post" from 2008 he found on a Buddhist "blog," in which the Buddhist is upset because other Buddhists have been criticizing him ("bullying" is the word he uses!) for his love of Whiplash the Cowboy Monkey.