Monday, June 29, 2015

Twenty Things You Can Do With Twelve Stitches in Your Nose

Inspired by real events!
  1. Sit around the house and ooze on a humid summer day.
  2. Get children to stare.
  3. Get adults to do double-takes.
  4. Get the grocery delivery man to make a “That’s gotta hurt” face when you open your front door.
  5. Scare away a door-to-door solicitor who’s talking up some politician because he arrived at the precise moment you got a spontaneous bloody nose, allowing you to repeat the phrase “Not a good time” with increasing levels of hostility.
  6. Generally look like you sent away for one of those “movie special effects makeup” kits for kids and then chose to wear your first experiment around the house for your own amusement.
  7. Constantly notice your nose in your field of vision.
  8. Get your t-shirt caught on a sharp end of the thread while undressing, and then stand there with your arms over your head and the shirt over your face, wondering what the most effective solution to the problem might be.
  9. Feel like you are about to sneeze at all times.
  10. Occasionally actually do sneeze only blood comes out.
  11. Make your own Rorschach prints on your pillow.
  12. Walk around the house feeling hyperaware of corners, open cabinets, all other obstacles, Final Destination-style.
  13. Decline pool parties.
  14. Decline alcohol because of the antibiotics.
  15. Decline activities outside your home because you’re supposed to avoid sun exposure.
  16. Not kiss anyone, or at least not to the satisfaction of any party involved.
  17. Apply Aquaphor liberally because your dermatologist told you doing so would prevent scarring. When you go to actually get the stitches out, get told by the urgent care physician that you shouldn’t have done that, that you should never have done that and that you’ll have to keep the stitches in two days longer. Get told instead that you should let it dry out, even though the dermatologist explicitly said that would be the worst thing to do.
  18. Wonder if doctors are just making it up for kicks.
  19. Weep.
  20. Watch the entire first season of Sense8 even though you can’t remember any of the characters’ names except for Nomi.

In case you would like to read the gripping story of how I acquired these stitches, you can do so here.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

The Further Adventures of Homoerotic Anime

Last year, I started posting supercuts of the more conspicuously sexual parts of Saint Seiya, an anime series that started airing in Japan in 1986 and which later surfaced in English-speaking areas as Knights of the Zodiac. It’s pretty classic “dudes in armor” fighting action. It’s also gayer than gay sex. I don’t think it was meant to be so laden with innuendo, but it’s hard to read this series of grunts, glances and one-on-one fight sequences as anything other than thinly veiled dickbutt.

Free time has been harder to come by since the last post, but I’ve still been watching, grabbing spare scenes as I happened across them. Here’s the latest series of head-scratchers.

Some context:

0:01 — Hyoga gets his powers from Cygnus, the constellation shaped like a swan, and therefore must flap around like an elegant bird to create ice magic. Totally hetero, in the way a beautiful male figure skating routine is also totally hetero. His special move is Diamond Dust, which sounds more like a Sailor Moon attack, which should be familiar to those who grew up playing RPGs, and which is an actual meteorological phenomenon.

0:25 — Cygnus clutches his hands into a fist-pumping pose and fires off white energy blasts.

1:10 — Women play an odd role on the show. The female saints must keep their faces covered with a mask at all times, and that makes it all the stranger that Argol wields Medusa’s face as a weapon. There’s a theory that Medusa’s face is a symbol of the vagina dentata. Think about it: it’s a fanged, snarling version of a thing that’s usually not dangerous, and it’s lethal to even behold to say nothing about interacting with it. It’s also surrounded by coiled snakes which, if you’re taking this analogy to its full extent, could be interpreted a similarly dangerous version of pubic hair. Medusa is weaponized female beauty, and the fact that she attacks by making enemies rock hard? The symbolism is almost too much. Death-boners, all around, in the same way that that one Poison Ivy episode of Batman had gave people deadly, permanent wood.

1:18 — Argol has to turn his backside on enemies to unleash his weaponized vagina power. Hmm.

2:00 — Whenever anyone talks about putting anything into something that’s quivering, it’s easy to assume it’s sexual.

2:13 — I feel like Andromeda reads as a very feminine man. I mean, his name is Andromeda. He’s the only major male character to be named after a mythological character that is expressly female. But that makes it all the more interesting that his weapon is a snaking chain that lends itself to penile comparisons. In this scene, his chain goes limp.

3:27 — Perseus’ outfit. Just saying.

4:12 — Just look at the way Andromeda runs those chains through his hands. He’s like a snake-charmer.

And here are the previous clips.

(And there’s a little more on this particular weirdness here.)

Friday, June 26, 2015

There in Spirit

I should be celebrating. I have been, inasmuch as you can celebrate at home when you’re doped up on pain meds that work but in a less-than-fun way. I’m embarrassed to admit that I don’t feel ready to head out of the house and show off my new face, which is a work in progress and will be for a while. And I’m honest-to-god not fishing for compliments when I say this, but it’s odd to be excited by the increased number of possibilities the future holds when I’m simultaneously wondering if this dumb accident has changed how appealing I might be to marry.

That sounds like wallowing, I know, but it’s actually only a small part of what I’m feeling. I’m just wondering if anyone else out there is feeling both “I can get married!” and “Can I get married?” right now.

If you had a time machine and went back and told eighteen-year-old me that on June 26, 2015, I’d be given the go-ahead to get married — truly, officially married, in a way that the entire nation recognizes — I’d be surprised. I would probably tell you that fifteen years seems like a long time to wait but I’d be celebrating when that day finally comes. I’m celebrating in the way that I can right now. And I’m happy that some future version of me won’t grow up having to wait.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

How Tiny Toons Introduced Me to the Justice League

Let’s talk about September 1992. I had fairly recently turned ten, I had become the proud owner of a Super Nintendo, and I didn’t know what DC Comics was.

Everyone had seen the Michael Keaton Batman, of course, and the sequel had been one of the previous summer’s biggest hits, but I don’t think I had any real understanding of how Batman and his affiliates fit into any sort of larger universe. As far as I knew, Batman, as a series was a thing on its own, no more likely guest-star Superman or Wonder Woman than Spider-Man or The Incredible Hulk. The animated Batman series had only started airing on September 5, 1992, and that depiction of Batman was very Gotham City-focused. I had never seen Super Friends and had never opened a comic book.

Like The Simpsons and later Animaniacs, however, Tiny Toons taught me a lot of pop culture, even if I’d only understand the references years down the line. And on September 15, 1992, Tiny Toons aired a segment titled “The Just-Us League of Supertoons,” and it gave me my first look at an expanded DC universe.

Written by Paul Dini, who’d was also a writer for Batman: The Animated Series and its spinoffs, this episode centers around Batduck, the Batman parody the show had introduced back in 1990 — notably well before the premiere of Batman: The Animated Series, making it the first time I’d seen an animated version of Batman. And the episode has Batduck and his Robin stand-in, Decoy, joining up with an exclusive team of superheroes who are all Tiny Toons versions of actual DC characters.

There are Superbun and Wonder Babs.

The Flash parody is assigned to the Tiny Toons equivalent of the Roadrunner.

Aquaman is Aquamutt, and I think the episode is making a joke about Aquaman’s uselessness by having him played by Byron Basset, a Tiny Toons character without a clear Looney Tunes analogue and who never did much aside from sleep in a weird, dog-puddle formation.

Shirley the Loon, the most pop culturally complex character on the show, shows up here playing Hawkloon, a play on Hawkgirl and a hint at the future of the DC Universe, where Hawkgirl would become a more important character than Hawkman, the character to which she ostensibly serves as a sidekick. When Batman: The Animated Series evolved into Justice League in 2001, Hawkgirl was the team’s second female member, after Wonder Woman, and now the CW spinoff of The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, will feature Hawkgirl as a main character once again. I’m certain this Tiny Toons episode was the first time I’d eve heard of Hawk-anything, however.

It’s probably also the first glimpse I got of Black Canary, who in this parody is played by an actual canary and named Pink Canary. She doesn’t really do anything, aside from wear the teeniest set of fishnet stockings in the history of cartoons, but at least she doesn’t make a domestic violence joke.

Green Arrow becomes Teen Arrow, though there’s not any reason in particular that he’s being played by the Tiny Toons version of Wile E. Coyote.

And finally there’s Fifi playing Scentanna, a version of Zatanna, the Justice League’s No. 1 spellcaster. Just a few months later, Batman: The Animated Series would introduce Zatanna as a one-off character. Voiced by Julie Brown, Zatanna is the only non-Batman series character to show up in the original run of the series. It’s not surprising: Paul Dini is a Zatanna superfan and it may be no coincidence that he married a real-life stage magician.

Watching the episode today, it’s hard not to focus on the fact that they sexed Fifi up. I mean, look at this pose.

This is how fetishes get started. Sexiness aside, if this counts as a Zatanna appearance — and I’d say it kind of does — then this is her first-ever appearance on TV or in a movie.

You can view the entire segment below, should you be interested.

To me, it’s interesting to think about Dini getting these DC Comics characters show up in parody form years before they showed up in earnest on Justice League and Justice League Unlimited, a show that sent me down many and many a research hole learning the characters’ long, weird histories. I’ll bet that Dini might have thought this parody might be his only chance to get these lesser-known DC characters to show up on screen. I’ll bet not even he thought that Tiny Toons would end up being a stepping stone towards building the DC Comics universe and getting more people invested in it.

Through this episode and in a lot of other ways, Tiny Toons helped make Batman: The Animated Series happen. And it in turn helped shape Batman at large, helped make Batman what he is today. Think about it: If Tiny Toons hadn’t happened, Paul Dini might not have had the opportunity to move onto the animated Batman, where Dini introduced the character Harley Quinn, who transitioned to the comics and who is now debuting in the live-action, big-screen Suicide Squad.

Weird, right?

Miscellaneous notes:
  • Julie Brown would eventually also voice Minerva Mink on Animaniacs, another female cartoon character who was, for better or worse, sexed up more than most.
  • What is the deal with sexualizing skunks? There aren’t that many anthropomorphic skunks out there, and most of the famous ones are overly amorous.
  • The Just-Us League of Supertoons has better gender parity than most superhero teams on TV shows or in movies.
  • Since this episode aired, all of the characters have shown up in some live-action DC adaptation — except for Wonder Woman. Batman v. Superman, which boasts the first live-action appearance of Wonder Woman since the Lynda Carter days, opens in theaters on March 25, 2016. The CW’s Legends of Tomorrow debuts sometimes in early 2016. Therefore, there’s a chance Hawkgirl will star in her own show before Wonder Woman appears in a supporting role in someone else’s movie. For what it’s worth, Ciara RenĂ©e already cameoed as Kendra Saunders in the season finale of The Flash. It was just a non-speaking role, but she already technically beat Wonder Woman to the punch.
  • Speaking of Harley Quinn, the news that Courtney Love was briefly considered for playing the role in a sequel to Batman & Robin allowed me to point out to a whole new group of readers that the character was inspired by a scene in Days of Our Lives. I will never tire of pointing this out to people.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Revenge of the Ficus (or How I Ruined My Date With Doug Simpson)


I wish I had a better story, like getting savaged by a hate-fueled mob that I outran and then double-backed upon, tricking them into an elaborate trap that pummeled them to a reasonable extent but also opened their hearts to love.

Instead, I don’t even have a story. I have a shrug and a confused grunt and a motion toward the wound on my face.

I had finished work and popped a Colby sandwich into the toaster oven when I remembered to roll my garbage cans out to the curb. The green waste container was full of the chopped branches of some overgrown focus trees that I’ve been slaying one by one, garbage can space permitting, and this week I’d stuffed so many ficus parts into it that I couldn’t close the lid. Sharp ficus limbs jutted out at odd angles.

If you’re a fan of the Final Destination movies, you know where this is going.

Somehow, the green waste container got stuck. I pushed. I apparently succeeded only in kicking the bottom of the container forward and making the top fall back toward me. I pitched forward, toward the branches, and one of the sharper ones sliced through my nose, starting at the bridge and carving a deep line all the way over to my cheek. Of course, I didn’t know this at first. I only thought I cracked my nose against something hard. I saw stars, and then I saw Dario Argento spurts of blood coming out.

I also thought about the cheese sandwich I wasn’t going to get to eat.


The last time my backyard seriously injured me, I limped inside and rode out the pain with ice packs and The Golden Girls. I tried that again — it was the one where Blanche’s daughter gives birth — just with wads of paper towels instead of ice, and while the blood eventually did stop gushing, it never stopped altogether. It still hurt. When I felt calm enough, I went to the bathroom mirror, removed the paper towels and inspected the wreckage. Above the nostril and below the cut, my nose-meat was just hanging there, detached from the rest of the nose.

So here’s a question: Who do you call when you’re single and your parents live hours away from you and your roommate is gone and none of your friends live in your neighborhood and your actual neighbors are all already asleep anyway?

It’s a scary thought to entertain, that you are confronted with an emergency and that you don’t have anyone obvious that you can ask for help, even though you live in Los Angeles and frequently can’t navigate anywhere without having to gingerly dart around scores of people. In this case, I called my ex, simply because he and I dated long enough that we’d endured some minor crises and he knows how to talk me down when I’m panicking. When I panic, I get stupid. “I am not sure what I’m supposed to do,” I can remember telling him, even though I should have been able to figure out that I needed to go to the hospital. Where else would you go when you stab yourself in the face? I had the blood crazies, I guess. I needed a voice of reason.

Eventually, the closest E.R. was located and I headed outside, leaving behind a literal bloody mess and a cooling toasted cheese sandwich. When the driver pulled up, he seemed reluctant to allow me into his car. I cannot fault him for this: I was an agitated man wearing cutoffs, a tank top and dried blood. I would have also been suspicious of someone who looked like me. However, I proved to him that I had foresight and showed the yet-unused wad of clean paper towels in my left hand. "See?" I told him. “I have all these too so I'm good.” For some reason, that worked, and his Prius became an ambulance.


The actual hospital visit that followed was a non-event, with most of it spent sitting in a gurney. Three hours and a CAT scan later, I’d gained twelve stitches and the knowledge that I had a fractured nasal bone that would probably just heal on its own, though I do worry about an errant nose shard bouncing through my body, pinball-style.

Oh, and the girl who checked me in and out, who was beautiful both because of and in spite of neck tattoos, informed me that I had, in fact, done a number on myself. She also inferred that I might “still be cute.” Big TBD on that one.

I got to the all-night pharmacy a little after 3 a.m., and the pharmacist was on his lunch break, because night shift workers need to eat too, even though I think that meal needs a different name. (“Smunch”?) So I had to sit there and wait, because there’s not a goddamn other worthwhile thing to do at 3 a.m. when you’re low on blood, low on sleep and still covered what most bystanders would consider evidence of a struggle.

Do you know what you think about when you’re stranded in an empty pharmacy at 3 a.m. with literally not a thing to do? Weird fucking stuff — like how falling in a different direction could have sent that branch through an eye or an artery. You wonder if you maybe won’t have to contend with the next emergency on your own. You wonder who in the hospital was humming “Teddy Bears’ Picnic” while you were waiting for your CAT scan results.

But really — who hums that in a dark, empty hospital?


I’m fine. My face still works, though now I have to contend with what the attending physician called “one mean laceration.” If it ends up scarring, I hope I look at least butch and not just tragic. When I finally got home, I sat there staring at it for a good twenty minutes. Then I ate that cold cheese sandwich.

I sneeze blood now. I’ve been wondering when and if that will go away.

I wonder how long it will be before I feel comfortable going out in public. Some guy in the doctor’s waiting room did a corny sitcom-style double take in my direction, and I kind of wanted to get in his face and pull out the stitches one by one, just so he’d really have something awful to see.

I wonder if I should have put that in writing. It’s unclear. I’m probably doing this more for me than for anyone else.

In closing, I should point out that I should have been more specific when I wished that I were more like Tina Fey. Damn genie.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

With “It” Being Heavy-Lidded Eyes Without Visible Pupils

Yesterday Madonna debuted the music video for her new single, “Bitch I’m Madonna.” The clip has a host of famous types — A- through C-listers — showing up for split-second cameos in which they lip synch the song’s title, which would be very confusing if this were the first Madoonna video you’d ever seen and you weren’t sure who she was. People have feelings about it. I’m not sure I do aside from the fact that the video features a chorus of sock puppets, and I think that undercuts the arguments of anyone claiming that Madonna’s trying too hard to look cool and edgy, because sock puppets — because sock puppets.

I had to write about it for work, which means I had to watch it, which means that I had to find a Tidal login, because Madonna only officially released the clip on Tidal because she’s trying to make the digital musical equivalent of fetch happen. However, I will say this much for the video: It has made me realize that with the right freeze-frame, with the right make-up and the right hair, Rita Ora can bear a remarkable resemblance to Janice from The Muppets

This is all I have for now. In closing, because sock puppets — because sock puppets forever.

Who Wore It Better? — previously:

Saturday, June 6, 2015

My First Creative Effort of My Thirty-Third Year

I have had a birthday. I have entered my Jesus year. I have been at a loss for time to write about this passage. But today I am posting the first remotely creative thing I have done in this new year of life.

I apologize in advance for it.

That’s it: just a close-enough match of the original book cover font and a few new words to illustrate what was just simmering below the surface on the original cover.

The cover illustration was done by an artist named Nick Backes, whose work I’ve just recently encountered. He is very, very good at drawing the male form, and his dudes embody a certain 80s sensibility that is very clearly of an era that hasn’t dated well yet still worth a look, if well-coifed, Zach Morris-y types do it for you.

Some of it verges on camp…

Yet there’s still something there. To more successful creative endeavors in the next 364 days.