For some reason, one of my earliest experiences in reading superhero comics was the Official Marvel Index to the Fantastic Four, which was actually not comics, it was prose summaries of the Fantastic Four’s comics. I remember many nights laying in bed reading dry descriptions of these high concept character driven adventures. Maybe it wasn’t the ideal way to experience them, but it was how I did, so I cherished it.
Life went on and I grew up, but one thing I remembered was that there was an image in one of those Index issues of Ben Grimm, the ever-loving blue-eyed Thing, relaxing on a beach and his erect penis was visible, but because of his craggy, rocky skin, it was hidden. Eventually I didn’t own those Indexes anymore, so I couldn’t prove it, but I was sure I had seen it.
Much later in my adult life (April 2021, according to when I posted about it on Twitter), I found the answer to my childhood memory:
It was his foot. He was indeed relaxing on a beach, but he had one leg crossed over the other and his toes were positioned such that a child could see them as being a dong. I don’t know what I expected, but I was sure that if an artist (I had actually assumed it might have been done by the inker as a form of rebellion) had snuck Ben’s boner into a comic it would have been noticed long ago and it would be known to the Internet. So why wasn’t it? Maybe I imagined it, or misread some coincidental pattern on his skin? But the memory had been so certain. Anyway, I never entertained the idea that it was just his foot.
Anyway, since that time I’ve definitely read at least one Fantastic Four comic that calls into question whether Ben even has genitalia post-transformation. At least I’m pretty sure I have. I guess I can’t really trust my memory about these things.
For a long time I’ve had a vague memory of a movie or episode of some anthology television show in which a woman was cursed so that any time she said “I love you” to someone, they would turn into a doll. The way I remembered it was that, at the end of the story she was fixed and realized that she could say it finally so she jubilantly shouted “I love New York” or “I love this town” which I thought at the time was reckless. But anyway, I had this memory, but never thought much about it.
On a whim I tried to search Google for it tonight. I got nothing. I could only find episodes about evil dolls and the like. I was flummoxed. I was sure I’d seen this thing. I assumed it was some episode of Outer Limits or Amazing Stories or something, niche sure, but mainstream enough that it’d be talked about online.
I reached out to other people I know to see if they remembered it and with their help I eventually seem to have found it. Really Weird Tales seems to be the answer. The thing is, the woman in Really Weird Tales (played by Catherine O’Hara no less!) does NOT turn people into dolls by saying “I love you” to them. What she does is if she loves someone (whether she says it or not) they explode. That’s in the same ballpark, but it’s a different game. But I kept watching and at one point she feels affection for a doll and it explodes. So is that it? My childhood mind conflated that with turning people into dolls? NO! There’s more. In an attempt to cure herself she has to go on a date with someone she finds repugnant, so she does that, but it goes poorly. That said, we do get the “I love New York” scene that was so embedded in my memory. AND THEN it turns out that the repugnant guy has a thing where if he hates someone, they turn into a doll! So the movie has the love thing and the doll thing, they’re just in different people than I remember. Clearly this is the movie I saw as a kid, my memory just got some things twisted.
But it gets weirder, because during my search I was led to a Reddit post by someone else trying to find the movie and that searcher ALSO remembered it as her turning people into dolls. Memory is weird.
I’m gonna do it again! I’m gonna watch a science fiction show I dimly remember from my youth again!
Last time, I did Earth 2, a show I remembered fondly. This time, I’m doing a show I definitely watched, but I don’t remember as well. Space: Above and Beyond. It aired around the same era as Earth 2, and the basic premise was that aliens were coming and space fighter pilots had to fight them off. I feel like it was a more militaristic sci-fi than is usually my scene, but it was still science fiction on television while I was a teenager, so I had to watch it.
Oddly, the one solid thing I remember is that the aliens were somewhat insectoid, so when the humans came up with the derogatory term for them, they went with “Chiggers”. Yes, that’s right, much like how Earth 2 had humans use “Diggers” to refer to some of that show’s aliens, this one also chooses to dance around the N-Word to make a point. Anyway, I’m hoping that the aliens on Space: Above and Beyond at least look cool. Anyway, let’s fine out.
Hey, remember Earth 2? It was a sci-fi show that aired… (PDR goes to check Wikipedia)… in 1994 and 1995. I don’t remember a lot about it, but I do know that thirteen-year-old PDR liked it.
My memories are that it’s about a ship full of colonists who go to another world to start a new society. While there, they have a bunch of troubles, not least of which is some kind of native life form that I think was trying to contact them in their dreams. I feel like there may have been a months-long break in the airing of the show. I have no idea what parts of what I just said are correct, but that’s how it is in my memory.
I refuse to read past the date on that Wikipedia page, because PDR is going to rewatch Earth 2 and write about it here on this website that he likes to write it on. I expect to do more than one post a week until I get through, so for the next month or two I’m going to be steeped in Earth 2-ness.
As a booster of beekeepers, and by extension bees, I feel like I should have a strong opinion on hornets one way or the other. I don’t really. I figure they’re out there doing work the same as anyone else. But when one gets into my apartment, I want it out of there.
This is why, mere moments ago, when I found a hornet in my living room I tried to gently usher it out by capturing it under a glass and doing the thing where you slip a paper under the glass and all that. You know what I mean. I’ve done this successfully before with hornets and other insects. But this time, either because I was tired or because it was jumpy and moved too quickly, instead of being trapped in the glass, it was crushed under the edge of the glass and cut nearly in half. I’d wanted be merciful, but fate wouldn’t have it. So I took the remains and placed them in the soil of my potted plant Borson, and I am making a post here on my website to honour a little insect that fell through no fault of its own.
(Also, it’s entirely possible it was a wasp. I genuinely can’t tell.)
I am reminded about how when I was a child I tried to make a deal with God that I would never unknowingly crush an insect under my feet while walking. I don’t know what I was offering God in return. I figured, if I see an insect as I stride along, I can handle the pressure of correcting course to make sure everyone is happy with the outcome. But if I don’t know its there, what can I do? I don’t want to step on anyone.
I guess I was a little wiener kid and now I’m a big wiener kid. I just don’t want to step on anyone. Or bisect them with glass. Can’t always get what you want, though, PDR.