August 3rd, 2007

monkey pirate

Monkey Steals The Peach

In my mis-spent youth, I was an avid martial arts enthusiast. As I've gotten older I've realized it's a fair amount of hokum; beating the bejeezus out of someone is more about being able to take a hit, and being strong and fast than it is about any particular skill. Witness the UFC: the champions are no longer slender sytlists like the Gracies; these days they're burly berserkers who would get hit with a canned ham from low-orbit, and roll back onto his feet, ready to pummel a grizzly bear into bear-salsa. I do still go to Aikido, but I go not with the thought that I'm going to be a more effective fighter, but rather because the exercise and discipline makes me happy.

Still, there was a time when I thought martial exercise was really neat. I'm not sure why - I certainly never wanted to hurt anyone, generally avoided fights except when absolutely necessary (which is precious infrequent) and for the most part take a dim view of the actual practice of violence. I spent hours learning to do something I sincerely hoped never to have to do. I was not alone in this mania - almost all of my friends were similarly enthusiastic; not just in practice, biut we liked (and still like!) martial arts movies, stories - and books. Oh, the nutty books I had! If learning to pull someone's arm off by way of their eye-socket is impractical in person, imagine how entirely pointless it is by a book. Still, the entertainment factor was high indeed, and it was with considerable delight that I discovered this gem of the past: Monkey Steals the Peach. This particular image is no doubt from one of the many books about "secrets of the ninja" or "death techniques of the ninja" or "Particularly Delicious Flan of the Ninja" - or any one of its ilk that proliferated in the late 80's and 90's. The Hobbit and I howled over the more ridiculous ones, especially the Monkey Kung-Fu book that one or the other of us owned. The sifu of that style, one Paulie Zink, had mastered a style that was impractical for anyone but himself - who was capable of cartoon-like contortions involving capering about with a staff, or poking people on the top of the head. (Seriously.)

And, apropos of nothing, I give you here a drunken Russian space pig.

Ah, and as absolutely no one I know has yet come to see Thumbelina, no doubt due to a lack of a credible threat (you'll recall if you didn't come to see Scarlet Pimpernel, I vowed to kill your pets...) I hereby decree that if you don't come see Thumbelina, I am going to do a monkey-steals-the-peach on you!
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