Thursday, May 29, 2014

Sally Takes a Bow

From the Dick Van Dyke Show episode “Stacey Petrie, Part 1”:

The imagined context:

“Hey listen, Rose Marie, I know you’re disappointed about Mary being the big female draw on the show and how all the chatter is about her being lovely and wifely and pretty and charming and then we made Sally a flat, dateless wonder. But we have a compromise for you: bows. We thought it would be a nice character touch for you — and Sally too, really — if you always wore bows on the show. And here you’ll be wearing a bow so big it will look like you were shrunk down to subhuman-size — like you some sort of living doll wearing human-scale accessories. People will be like, ‘Yeah, that Mary Tyler Moore is great, but what about the chick in the bow?’ That will be your thing. But just don’t go outside with the bow on, because we did a test run on the assistant wardrobe girl and holy cow! She just walked outside and the wind whipped her over the embankment and she looked like she was hurt pretty good. And maybe don’t wear the bow between takes because the bow-maker said it could permanently damage your vertebrae. Anyway, you’re going to enter the scene and everyone is going to be like, ‘Ew, look at Sally in her stupid bow. How old is she supposed to be really?’ But don’t take that personally, because it’s about the bow. Oh, and the wardrobe girl totally died. So maybe send some flowers. It was a pretty windy day, I guess.”

And it’s not the only time the Dick Van Dyke Show suffered from off-the-mark styling:

I... I don’t even know what that’s supposed to be up there.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

In Australia, Even Genitals Are Backwards!

I recently received an email with the subject line “Kangaroo Penis Photo,” so of course I instantly clicked on it.

I like the part where my new best friend (and fellow marsupial enthusiast!) begins with “As unlikely as this sounds,” because she doesn’t know that I don’t find it unlikely in the least that someone would write to me about the unusual arrangement of kangaroo genitals. And yes, in case you’re wondering, I gave Julie permission to use the photo.

Hit the jump if you’d like to see the picture in question.


Bonus trivia: He could point it like a little finger! Isn’t that neat? This, friends, is why we travel.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Orphan Black in My Spice Garden

Rosemary is creepy.

No, not your Aunt Rosemary. She’s just sad. Little “r” rosemary — the kind you use for cooking, the kind that grows in your neighbor’s yard and then you jealously yank off a sprig of it because why should they have all the drought-resistant spice plants? And you put little “r” rosemary in water where she gets sunlight for a few hours every day, and soon enough you find that she’s sprouted spindly little roots that float about like strands of hair.

rosemary cutting

This is science. This is life. This is one rosemary twig’s triumph over being cruelly abducted from her family. But this is also creepy in that an inanimate source of food can think. You see, her stem was rough and covered in bark — designed for life above ground — but just a few days immersed in water and this little nothing of a plant knows to change the agenda. She shoots out tentacles and learns to thrive. With cooperation from God (who, in rosemary’s universe is me), she’ll grow into a full plant, maybe even on bigger than the plant I plucked her from, but she’ll have identical DNA. She’s a clone. She cloned herself. She’s a small miracle that unfolded specifically in a tea tumbler on my kitchen counter.

Laugh at me if you want. I saw Mimic. I’m keeping an eye on her.

EDIT: Just now realizing I totally missed the boat on titling this post Rosemary’s Baby. Shit.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

The Busiest Bosom in the Mushroom Kingdom

The setting: Japan, sometime in 1995.

“Hey, I think we should have a new female character in this Super Mario RPG game we’re making.”

“Oh, that would make sense.”

“Yeah, and maybe she could be a bad guy, because we don’t have many female villains in the series.”

“Sure, sure. That would probably be great.”

“Okay then. I was also thinking that she could have gigantic boobs.”


“Like, just pendulous mammary sacs that jiggle hilariously when Mario hits her.”


“Really, her proportions would just be obscene. Huge breasts, a teeny-tiny waist, and a long, flat, football-shaped head. Kind of like Betty Boop’s, but even broader. Like, her head is wider than her shoulders.”

“Okay, so I’m hearing a lot of ideas and—”

“Also, she would have the eyes of Janice from The Muppets.”


“And she’d also be wearing a parrot on her head, but it’s not dead. Like, in addition to her boobs going into a flan-like movement when struck, the parrot would also cry out in pain.”


“Like, in lieu of hair. Her hair would be the parrot. Parrot-haired.”


“Oh, and she’s in an evening dress. And I think it would be cool if she were always carrying a cocktail with her. Because that’s how you know she’s stylish but also a bad girl.”


“And she’s riding a crescent moon for no apparent reason.”


“So yeah, I think this would make for a good character. Like, a really popular character that would fit in well with the rest of the Mario crew, and maybe we could see her in the next Mario Kart game, perhaps riding the crescent moon again. I have a feeling she has staying power.”


“Hey, would she be any weirder than Birdo?”


And then against all odds and good sense, Nintendo in 1996 released Super Mario RPG, where Mario fought the female big bad Valentina, giant boobs and all.

valentina boob shake

Her Japanese name is Margarita, which puts her neatly in line with the Mario tradition of female characters being named after things but also identifies her as a drunk. Valentina did not, in fact, appear in the next Mario Kart game nor any Mario game again.

(Sprite modified from sprite rips found here and here.)

Super Mario obscurities, previously:

Friday, May 16, 2014

Lizard Misty and Other Saturday Morning Surprises

For reasons I cannot explain even to myself, I continue to watch Saint Saiya, an 80s anime, and I continue to compile its baffling sexual imagery for your personal entertainment. You’re welcome. The following supercut takes us to episode 25 or so, and it may well be the gayest thing you see this week,

Of particular note: two separate bare bottoms (both male), falling in love with a woman you acknowledge looks exactly like your own brother, more Death Queen Island, fisting, [suggestive grunts], just the oddest dialogue choices coupled with the oddest line-readings, and a staggeringly gay big bad named Lizard Misty who is (a) not female, despite the fact that he looks like Princess Peach and is clearly wearing lip gloss; (b) a legitimately powerful foe, irrespective of his effeminacy; and (c) doesn’t perspire so much as radiate homoeroticism.

A lady, just a biologically male lady.

Saint Seiya and the weird sexy, previously:

And for a detailed breakdown of the extended gayfight in that last one, click here.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Clouds and Clouds and Clouds

This and only this today: background clouds from the dystopic Neo Geo shooter Metal Slug 3 — first in their original form and in every subsequent instance a variation and another variation because I could not decide which looked best. Clouds. Clouds and clouds. Different, fake-looking, stage background clouds.

“But you could be taking photos of real clouds,” you say. Ha. But ha. I live in Los Angeles. There are no real clouds here. Just wildfire smoke.

(Original background pixels via Spriter's Resource.)

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

The Return of Lorina Dunlop

I wouldn’t have ever found Night Gallery had it not been for Lorina Dunlop. And as you should expect from a story that involves Rod Serling, this one has a twist at the end.

More than a year ago, I wrote about a mysterious woman in a painting that I'd found at a thrift store. I didn’t buy the painting, but I did name the woman: Lorina Dunlop. It was hard not to invent a character for this spear tip of a woman who apparently commissioned a portrait and told the artist, “Paint me as I am. Paint my rage.”

In the end, someone else bought Lorina and took her home, where her disapproving eyebrows are surely darkening whatever corner he’s stuck her in. Through the magic of Google image search, Lorina’s owner actually ended up on my blog, where he told me in a comment that Lorina reminded him of a segment from Night Gallery, the macabre anthology series Serling did for NBC after the cancellation of The Twilight Zone. It’s the one that The Simpsons parodies in the fourth Halloween episode, where paintings introduce the various vignettes, and indeed, each segment of Night Gallery has Serling introducing a painting that somehow figures into the plot of the subsequent story. It’s all of the typical Twilight Zone-style, straight-to-the-camera narration — and, for the record, I love The Twilight Zone — so it’s all deliciously hokey, and meted out with every possible dramatic pause. (“A man on a train… who’s about to be confronted by the thing he fears most: A woman… who’s made of dogs… taped together… yet no one else notices. Now what happens when he finds out… he’s… a… robot. Here’s a painting of a creepy doll that we found.”)

Last night, I finally watched Lorina’s segment, “Eyes,” which starred Joan Crawford as Claudia Menlo, a cruel, rich woman woman who undergoes experimental surgery that can restore her sight — but for only twelve hours. In a traditional, Twilight Zone-y twist, there’s a citywide blackout at the moment she removes her bandages, and Menlo only sees a few fleeting moments of a sunrise before her time is up. She never gets a chance to gaze upon her extensive art collection, which, now that I think about it, is a strange thing for a blind woman to spend years amassing, and why didn’t she plan her twelve hours of eyesight so that it would happen during the daylight anyway?

The entire segment — which was directed by a then-unknown Steven Spielberg — is currently available on YouTube.

And here’s the painting of Claudia Menlo.

Funny how Claudia — a self-motivated harridan who doesn’t mind in the least that her procedure necessitates the donation of a living person’s eyes — still looks softer than Lorina, who presumably was not a TV villain in need of ironic punishments. I’ll continue to wonder why Lorina’s painter made the decisions he made, and I’ll continue to have a pretty solid hunch about how the final product ended up at a thrift shop in the first place.

This story about Night Gallery has a bizarre pop-cultural footnote. In its syndicated form, Night Gallery includes pared-down versions of its original episodes as well as the entire two-season run of The Sixth Sense, a completely unrelated, non-anthology ABC series about paranormal investigations. These episodes were themselves chopped down from sixty to thirty minutes. Rod Serling filmed intros for these segments too, as if they belonged in the original series, but as Wikipedia notes, “Serling's newly added introductions usually covered the introductory scenes and plot point set-ups that had been removed.” And if that weren’t confusing enough, there’s the awkwardness of tuning into an anthology series and sometimes getting the kind of Twilight Zone one-offs you’d expect and sometimes getting serial segments with recurring characters. Weirdest of all, however, is the question of Joan Crawford’s final acting role. A few sources note Crawford’s Night Gallery role as her last, but it's not. Her actual final acting role was in a Sixth Sense episode titled “Dear Joan: We’re Going to Scare You to Death.” (So I guess it worked…?)

So in the end, as the result of an inexplicable syndication packaging decision, Joan Crawford’s final acting role kinda-sorta was on Night Gallery after all. And if you click above, you’ll see Crawford four years older than she was in "Eyes," playing the innocent victim but looking oddly more like Lorina Dunlop than ever.

There’s one major plus to The Sixth Sense being rolled into Night Gallery, however: Anything airing after the Night Gallery opening credits instantly seems more appealing. They’re beautiful — straddling the line between creepy and weird, and perfectly capturing the transition from 60s psychedelia into a bolder 70s brand of supernatural.

Weird TV, previously:

Monday, May 12, 2014

Birdo, Saying Goodbye Forever

New skill acquired! I can now make frame-by-frame GIFs, Brother Brain-style, from old video game sprites that I extracted myself from old video games. I have learned how to do this for no other reason than that I wanted to see if I could, and I did.

Take that, voices in my head.

Yes, it’s everyone’s favorite gender-vague bidedal dinosaur, Birdo, modified from frames from the NES version of Wario’s Woods, a puzzle game that holds the record for being the final licensed title ever released for the original Nintendo console as well as the only one in which Nintendo let Toad have a starring role. Wario’s Woods is kind of a garbage bin of unloved Nintendo characters, and features quite a few who hadn’t made a dent elsewhere. (Remember, Wario was still a relatively new character when the game came out back in 1994.) Birdo appears as Toad’s helper.

I suppose having Birdo peace out on an indefinite loop could be a commentary on Nintendo’s decision to ditch her for the new Mario Kart game in favor of head-scratchers such as Baby Rosalina and the monstrosity that is Pink Gold Peach.

I’m not bitter, but I do think it’s weird how Nintendo stocks their games with clone characters when they have a healthy roster of originals. But whatever: a new Mario Kart is a new Mario Kart. Here are my predictions for future Mario Kart contenders: Aged Mario, Fat Luigi, Undead Peach, Baby Undead Peach, Zinc Baby Mario, Titanium Baby Bowser, Embryonic Toad, See-Thru Dr. Mario, John Leguizamo Version Luigi, Gay Pride Yoshi, Never-Stops-Screaming Daisy, Feral Donkey Kong, Alopecia Mario, and, of course, a female Mario and Luigi named Marta and and Luisa. In fact, I can’t believe those last two haven’t happened yet.


Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Hunkules and Derperus

I'd assume Estonian painter Johann Köler wanted to direct the viewer's eye towards Hercules' junk, obscured by the gravity-defying lion hide swooping in for a mid-air grope. My eyes, however fixate on Cerberus, who is depicted being dragged out of Hades as part of the twelfth labor of Hercules. "Which head?" you ask. Easy. It's not the sad head. It's not the angry head. It's the head closest to Hercules — the derpy head.

He's all "Hey, buddy. Wha-what's goin' on, huh? I was-a just, just nappin' here, buddy. Durrr."

Making fun of the visual arts, previously:

Sunday, May 4, 2014

You Got Mario in My Zelda!

While Nintendo went crossover crazy in a big way back in 1999, when the first Smash Bros. game finally let players pit Mario against Link against Samus, I feel like Nintendo crossovers happen more frequently today. For example, who would have ever expected a Sonic the Hedgehog game getting bizarre Zelda- and Yoshi-themed stages? Why else would Nintendo have made the pack-in launch title for the Wii U Nintendo Land, which re-envisioned beloved Nintendo classics (and also Castle of Murasame) as one big amusement park? And how else to explain the Nintendo Remix games, which shake up old NES titles and let the pixels fall together in various mix-and-match ways?

But that’s not actually the case: Nintendo has always been down to let elements of its franchises bleed into others, subtly and not so subtly. I remember playing the fourth Legend of Zelda game, Link’s Awakening, and thinking the presence of Super Mario Bros. enemies was cool and surprising, but I just recently found out that the very first Zelda game has a Mario shout-out that I’d seen but not understood.

The third dungeon boss in Legend of Zelda is Manhandla, a spinning, four-“headed” plant, though if you play through the game without that information you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s actually just a lobster-claw monster. (And yes, that name seems a little suggestive. Its Japanese name, Testitart, is even more curious.)

Lobstery-ness aside, this monster is a plant, but not just any plant. Legends of Localization, an awesome website chock-full of trivia about old-school video games, offers a translation of the text from the Japanese manual: “A four-limbed, jumbo-sized Pakkun Flower. Speeds up with each limb lost. Possesses somewhat powerful offensive strength.”

And Pakkun Flower, in case you didn’t know, is the Japanese name from the Piranha Plant, the pipe-dwelling, Mario-eating flowers that first appeared in Super Mario Bros. The Zelda version of the monster even has the same blue-coloring as the underground Piranha Plants. It’s actually a very similar design, being pixelly chomping mouths and all, but I never noticed it despite having played through these games dozens of times.

(That’s not the only connection you can make with Pakkun Flowers, BTW. What do you think the Pac in Pac-Man means, anyway? Hooray for mobile mouths in video games!)

Legends of Localization also points out that the fifth dungeon boss, a hideous vagina monster named Digdogger, is also a crossover character: It’s one of the overgrown sea urchin bad guys from Nintendo’s Pac-Man wannabe, Clu Clu Land. Where they got that clunker Digdogger however, I can’t imagine. (Degodoga? Does that mean anything, Japanese-savvy people?)

Finally, something I found generally interesting: If you played Legend of Zelda in Japan, your game sounded very different than did the version we got here in the U.S. This handy page lays out all the differences, side-by-side — with samples.

Nintendo trivia, previously:

Friday, May 2, 2014

Li'l Mr. Wrinkles

An appalling fact about dogs, learned today.

by flickr user panikk, under a creative commons license.
— do you know what the owners of shar pei puppies call their dogs in online forums?
they have a specific portmantau they use

— sharpuppies? sharpies? peipies? peipeis? raisinettes? puppeis? sharpupplepies?

— "shar peibies"

— … all of mine are better

— fact. you should carpet bomb the forums

— shardines?
And yes, there does, in fact, seem to be some use of this monstrous term online, as if these creased masses didn't have enough working against them.