Oh No, Amelia Bedelia!

22 Jun

For one reason or another I happened to read the directions on a bottle of body wash. The directions were as follows: “Squeeze product onto washcloth. Work into rich lather and rinse.” I started laughing to myself, thinking what would happen if someone who was very literal, like some autistic people, followed those instructions. They would never actually wash themselves, just lather up the washcloth and rinse it off.

Someone like Amelia Bedelia.

If you don’t know who she is, let me enlighten you. Amelia Bedelia is the beloved eponymous character from the Amelia Bedlia children’s stories. She is a house-maid who follows order to the letter, but in a completely literal way. She has no understanding or concept of idioms, implied meanings or plays on words. As you might imagine, this gets her into many scrapes and interesting situations. In one story she is asked to make sure to “put the lights out”. She does.

I stopped and pondered. If Amelia Bedelia was the kind of person who might take those directions on the body wash literally, but an autistic person might also take them literally… could Amelia Bedelia be an autistic person? Could it be that hours upon hours of my childhood were spent mocking someone with a learning disorder? Could it be that these books I found so amusing actually conveyed (to an extent) situations some people with autism find themselves in, and which I doubt they find hilarious in the least?

Isn’t it awful how thinking can ruin things for you that you loved in your childhood?

I think it highly unlikely that Peggy Parish purposefully created Amelia Bedelia for the purpose of laughing at autism, but I have to admit I sort of wanted to go take a shower and wash up. Making sure not to follow the directions on the body wash, of course.

The X-Ray Machine Loves Ya, Baby

17 Jun

Now this is my kind of pin-up calendar. 12 months of hot, steamy, ossified action.

It’s all the beauty of the skeletal structure without any of that pesky soft tissue to get in the way of your viewing pleasure.

If anybody was wondering what this blogger would like for Christmas- you’re looking at it. All of it.

See the rest of the pictures here: http://www.ufunk.net/en/humour/eizo-pin-up-calendar-2010-le-nu-plus-quintegral/

Dancers: The Sleeper Agents Among Us

14 Jun

Muay Thai may be both the most graceful and most brutally efficient martial art known to mankind (or at least to this specimen of it). There is no place in it for a superfluous movement or a meaningless gesture. Each stance either maintains or intensifies velocity and balance or else conserves energy for defending against impact. It also makes heavy use of the body’s natural bludgeoning tools- elbows and knees.

“That’s great”, I can hear you saying as images of pink tight-clad nancy boys compete for space in your head with shirtless, sweaty men, “but what does it have to do with ballet?” I will enlighten you, Gentle Reader.

Here is a ballet dancer performing a movement called a grand battement.  Look for a moment at the lifted leg. See what little effort the girl is using to maintain that stance.

Now stand up and lift your leg as high as you can before you fall/tear a ligament. Once you’ve completed that exercise you will have a better idea of just how strong a dancer’s legs are.

Comparison time! Here is a Muay Thai fighter performing a sideways kick:

Now, here is a ballet dancer performing almost the exact same movement:

You may look at these pictures and think, “But one of these men is kicking ass and the other is wearing a costume made out of velvet.”

You would be right. Putting aesthetics completely aside, though, look at the bodily position and the structure of the movement.  It becomes clear that just because a ballet dancer isn’t kicking ass doesn’t mean they can’t. Ballet is dirty, sweaty, tough and demanding. While a dancer may appear harmless compared to a boxer they have many key qualities in common.

-Both possess precise knowledge of  their bodies and how they move. The flip-side of this is that they are dangerous in a fight because they also understand how your body works and all its weak points.

-Both possess uncanny endurance, not to mention almost unreal pain tolerance. If you don’t believe me, feel free to put on a pair of pointe shoes and walk en pointe for 35 seconds. I dare you.

-Both must have stubborn, determined, one-track minds to have reached the level of excellence that they have in their art. Do you really want to go up against someone who, when they have decided to destroy you, just will not stop until they have done so?

-Ballet and Muay Thai actually share more movements than you might think. Muay Thai frequently utilizes a quick, dodging (sideways, back or forward) movement known in ballet as a chasse. This literally means, “to chase”. Now why does a harmless thing like ballet include a move like that if not to secretly train super-soldiers?

Basically, what I’m saying is that ballet dancers are the other side of the Muay Thai (or any martial art) coin. Instead of using their super-powers to beat people up in very cool ways, they use them to enrich the world with beauty. Many people, however, do not realize just what dangerous potential lurks underneath that lacy surface. This is why ballet dancers need love. We must keep them peaceful. So next time you think ballet is for pansies, remember what murderous potential those leotards are concealing. Hug a dancer today.

Crying Cows and Gay Dolls

2 Jun

I am a person who already doesn’t really like meat. Except for bacon. But who doesn’t like bacon? I can’t decide if this quotation makes me crave a steak or never want to touch the stuff again.

It’s kind of like when you finish watching SuperSize Me. The logical part of your brain never wants another Big Mac, but a larger part is screaming, “Hie thee to a McDonald’s post haste!”

I present Mr. Ellis’ somewhat perverse thoughts on steak:

“I do not season steak. Start seasoning steak and before you know it? You’re French.

No, I go to my personal butcher and say, “Give me a piece of meat that’s been sawn off an animal.” And they throw me a chunk of animal.

And then I say, “Show me the animal this meat was sawn off.” And they show me a picture of a crying cow with a gaping hole in its side.

And I say, “Did the animal cry when you sawed my piece of meat off it?” And they show me a zip-lock bag full of cow tears.

And I say, “Rub that on my steak! Let THAT be my seasoning!”

-Warren Ellis

Also came across this today, which is just too good not to post. It’s a vintage ad from the 70’s and, well, I think it speaks for itself:

So there you have it. If you’re having trouble coming out to your homophobic parents, get yourself a Gay Bob Doll and come out with him!

The part that really cracks me up is that they make specific mention in an italicized, larger font that Bob has private parts.  While I congratulate  Bob on being a “whole” man, it seems like it would make putting those tiny pants on him very difficult.

It also strikes me as ironic that the “Come Out of the Closet Doll” comes with a closet. Maybe it’s just in case he changes his mind.

A Quick Snippet of Thought

26 May

Ignorance is the state of simply not having had access (or interest to seek out access) to certain information. It says nothing about the competency of the person who is ignorant. For example, I am almost wholly ignorant of how a car engine works, though I could bore you for hours on the history of film editing.

Stupidity, on the other hand, is knowing you are ignorant and refusing to educate yourself. It could also be described as being willfully ignorant. Stupidity is also very well defined by knowing the information and choosing to ignore it. Or, as they say, “Doing the wrong thing over and over and expecting different results.”

I’m watching the Albert Nerenberg documentary Stupidity (2003) (which includes such luminaries as John Cleese, Bill Maher and Noam Chomsky) and one of the questions they initially ask of people is, “What is stupidity?” which got me thinking and, after some consideration, the above definitions are my opinion.

What do you think stupidity is?

Warren Ellis Would Be Pleased With the Way He’s Obliterating My Mind Right Now

26 May

I’m currently reading his book Shivering Sands and I have come to a few conclusions.

Firstly, I would give just about anything to live with this man for a month. I get this feeling that we would have epic fights concluded with us both running to notebooks to write things down.

Secondly,  he has a way of spinning words that is so direct, honest and assertive that you feel yourself sympathetically agreeing with anything he says. Until you suddenly snap out of it and realize that he just said something you don’t agree with in any way, e.g. his feelings on whether man should colonize Mars. I completely disagree with him (which will be the topic of another post, hopefully today) but while I was reading his essay on it I couldn’t help but feel a sense of “go git ‘em, humans!” and get excited about the idea.

I can’t really say more right now because, though this book is not long by any means, each essay has so much… idea and philosophy in it that I am reading it very slowly and thinking very, very hard about each one. I would like to include this quote from it, however:

“If I’m good and if I’m lucky, I can change the way you think, just a little bit. I can tell you my secrets, and reveal things to you, and get you a little drunk with ideas, and dramatise the world you live in, just for a little while. That’s what stories are for, and that’s why I’m here.”

This is something dear to my heart; the whole reason I ever started writing (even as a child) was because I wanted to show other people things they may not have seen and alter their reality or show them a different reality. I collect experience and knowledge like the most rabid treasure hunter because each piece that I find expands my world… and then I can expand yours.

Mr. Ellis understands this completely. Finding a kindred spirit can be a rare flower in this desert of a culture- I think I have found mine. More detailed ruminations on his essays to follow.

Josh Cooley is My Kind of Pixar Artist

21 May

The Lil’ Inappropriate Golden Book: Movies R Fun was a wonderful thing to wake up to this morning. As a movie buff with a twisted sense of humor, this is simply hilarious to me.

Josh Cooley has put together a “children’s” book containing some of the most famous/ infamous scenes in film history, including some personal favorites like The Graduate and Silence of the Lambs, all reproduced in Pixar’s charming artistic style.

To see a small gallery featuring more pages of the book, check out:

http://www.slashfilm.com/2010/05/20/cool-stuff-pixar-artist-josh-cooleys-lil-inappropriate-golden-book-movies-r-fun/

Don’t worry, according to Cooley’s blog  the book, along with “high quality, classy prints” will be available to purchase at Comic-Con. So, if you know anybody who just had/is expecting a baby, I can’t think of any better way to start the kid’s instruction in film than this little book.  Besides, who doesn’t want to see this hanging above Baby’s crib?

It’s not weird. It’s educational.

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