Tag Archives: beard

Wolverine doesn’t make any sense

You know what I don’t get? Wolverine. I know that we’re supposed to suspend our belief in a lot of what’s possible when we read comics, OK, I get that. Like his healing factor. That’s not something I expect any real human being to be capable of possessing. But it’s a comic book, and so when they tell me that he’s able to instantly recover from any sort of bodily damage, I accept it as part of who he is, part of what makes all of his stories so fantastical.

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But come on, would it be too much to ask to keep things at least somewhat plausible? Like in the latest Wolverine movie, right at the beginning, he saves the life of a Japanese soldier from the atomic bomb. With nowhere to run, Logan throws him down a hole in the ground and uses his own body as a protective shield. The deadly blast melts the skin right off of Wolverine’s back, as the lone survivor watches in shock.

Those types of injuries would have killed most anybody else, but not Wolverine. Right before the soldier’s eyes, we see the skin start to grow back. That’s awesome, right? It is for a little bit, until we see the healing factor slowly piece back together Wolverine’s face. Not only does his skin grow back, but so does his facial hair, the stubble on his chin, the precise razor marks where his sideburns cut off below the ear.

How can his healing factor restore his exact hairstyle? Because hair’s not alive, right, I mean, isn’t it like dead protein or something? If his body was regenerating completely new skin, wouldn’t you expect is to be totally hairless? Think about it, if Wolverine goes to get a haircut, and he tells the barber, “Hey bub, I want two inches off the top.” Does the hair grow right back after it’s cut off? I can only assume that, since Wolverine doesn’t have ridiculously long Rapunzel-like locks that, no, his healing factor doesn’t include hair.

So that’s one reason why Wolverine’s story isn’t totally convincing. Another example I’ll point to is his claws. Yes, they’re visually stunning. Right, I mean, who doesn’t get a mini adrenaline boost every time they see those – Snikt! – claws pop right out of his hands. Besides his yellow costume and his pointy haircut, those metal clad blades are probably Wolverine’s defining characteristic.

But, and I hate to sound like a killjoy here, they make no sense at all. Just use your brain for a second. Look at any picture of Wolverine. I’m talking comics, movies, action figures, whatever. The claws are always like at least the length of his forearm. So where exactly are they supposed to be located before they pop out of his knuckles? Wouldn’t his arms look totally deformed if they had three super sharp knives somehow retracted all the way up?

There’s no way he’s be able to bend his wrists at all unless the claws were extended all the way out. This isn’t me trying to over-scrutinize the details of comic book superhero, OK, this is geometry. You take something that’s like twelve inches long, you can’t just pretend like they don’t take up any space when they’re inside of his hands or arms somewhere. Maybe there should be a redesign or something, where the claws are only like three inches or so. That’s slightly more believable, like maybe they hide out in the space in between his fingers and his wrists. But that definitely wouldn’t look as cool.

Or maybe it would. In the comics, Wolverine is supposed to be famously short. Which is why I’ve got such a huge problem with how he’s portrayed in the movies. Hugh Jackman isn’t exactly a shrimp. They should have gotten a really small guy, and given him really small claws. And would it have killed the director to tell Wolverine to talk with a Canadian accent? I mean, he is a Canadian. You think he’d drop an “aboot” or “ootside” or “eh” every once in a while.

Look, I love comics. I love Wolverine. I just don’t get him at all. His powers and his character don’t make any sense. Hey Marvel, you should kill him off and introduce someone a little more realistic. Shorter claws, realistic facial hair, more Canadian. Got it? Cool.

The Pacific Northwest

If I could just uproot my life and move somewhere new, I think I’d pick the Pacific Northwest. I’ve never been there, so I’m really just relying on the bits and pieces of information that I’ve picked up through media and popular culture. And yes, I have to admit that, a lot of what I’m thinking of in my head is probably mostly just my imagination. Like maybe I saw a picture of a forest somewhere in Washington State and I thought, yeah, that’s what I want, that’s the life for me.


And from there I kind of just built up what it would be like to live there, right in the middle of that forest. I’d have a cabin, something you’d definitely describe as rustic, but with all of the modern conveniences that I’m used to living with here in New York. I’m picturing like a giant octagon shaped log-cabin, a big open space with a lofted second floor. A giant kitchen to the side with built-in restaurant quality appliances.

Where would I get my food from? Because I don’t want to live near any cities or towns. I’d have to own a pickup truck, something at least twenty years old, over two hundred thousand miles would be perfect. But it’s one of those trucks that’s built to last forever, and so aside from regular maintenance, oil changes and tire rotations and whatever, I really won’t have to do anything in terms of upkeep. I’ll just keep driving and it’ll get more and more comfortable each time I take that once a week, hour-long drive into town to stock up on groceries.

And obviously I’ll have a giant beard, what with all of that forest living and everything, so when I do emerge from my solitude to buy Pop-Tarts or Marshmallow Fluff at that grocery store, it’ll be a shock, to everyone in town, to me, like wow, I’m totally living off the grid here, I’m really in my own world. But it’ll be cool. This grocery store is going to be a really small one, and right by the only checkout, there’s a small counter where you can have a cup of coffee and a sandwich or something.

It’s the only face-to-face contact I’ll have with anybody, really, not that you’d be able to tell. All of us mountain-men, we’d all get together at that counter, drinking coffee, telling stories about our composting toilets or the family of grizzly bears that’s been threatening to circle the house for the past few days.

This grocery store/coffee shop town is going to be one of those small towns that’s so small, nobody really lives in it. In fact, the only reason there’s a grocery store in the first place is to support the thriving but disconnected association of people that live deep in the forest, totally isolated from even their closest neighbors. Maybe it’s not a town at all, maybe it’s just this one guy, he’s living all by himself, but for whatever reason he started the grocery store. Maybe he saw the demand.

Maybe it’s getting to him, what started out as an easy way to make a living, supplying peanut butter and toilet paper to all of the other solitary aficionados living scattered throughout the local wilderness, it’s turned into a full-time job, stocking the shelves, keeping track of inventory. He needed to hire some help, and what started out as the guy living half an hour out west coming around every other day to help put price tags on the merchandise with an old-fashioned price tag gun, it’s turned into a full-blown employer-employee relationship, and now his family is moving their cabin fifteen minutes closer to save money on the now-daily commute. Pretty soon he’s going to be hinting at health insurance and paid sick leave.

So no, they’re going co-op. Which is fine, because to be perfectly honest, things were getting a little too organized. It’ll be a good time to get back to basics, start my own little farm out behind the cabin. Yes, I’ll still have high-speed Internet, OK, like I said, my place is going to be totally modern inside, only rustic in appearance. And so I’ll have the computer, right, the pool table, the indoor/outdoor meat smoker. But aside from the once every two years that the telecommunications company drives out to my house to upgrade my modem, that’ll be it. Just me and Mother Nature.

And maybe I’ll join that co-op eventually. I don’t have anything against a little bit of planning here and there. Really, I just didn’t want to have to suffer through the growing pains natural to any upstart organizations, those boring meetings where someone is like, “What are we going to call our co-op?” and then there’s like half an hour of pointless debate. I’ll just show up, you tell me where to stock the Crest White Strips, I’ll stock them there, fine, that’s my contribution, can I have my groceries now? Can I go over to the lunch counter and have a cup of coffee?

Because that’s all I really need in life, just the great outdoors, a hot cup of coffee, my own private cabin, and the Internet. That’s it.

Some urban legends are true

Did you know that when a person dies, their hair and nails will continue to grow? It’s true, long after that last breath is drawn, the hair keeps coming out, the fingernails and toenails keep get longer and longer. I always tell this to people and everyone’s like, “That’s not true, that’s just a myth.” One time some serious looking guy tried telling me that it was about the body shriveling up, thus giving the illusion of more hair and nails.


But that guy clearly never saw a real dead person. I remember when my grandfather passed away, he died on a Tuesday, and they took him to the morgue and my parents met with the funeral home director. Friday rolled around and all of the family members had to show up early for the wake. At first, we walked in and we were like, are we at the wrong place? Because the guy in the coffin, he had a beard. And this wasn’t just a little stubble either, I’m talking a full-on beard.

It was only after covering up the bottom part of the guy’s face could we even recognize it as the body of our grandfather. “Sorry folks,” the director came in with a pair of clippers, “You know how it is, right? The hair and nails, they just keep on growing. I just shaved him an hour ago, but, well, just take a look.” And that’s when I noticed the nails too, they were like half an inch past the fingertips.

While he was busy making grandpa look nice, one of my aunts told my brothers and me, “I hope you kids know to save all of your nail clippings when you’re done.” And we were like, what? “Why should we save them?” my brother asked, and my aunt replied, “Because if you have any enemies out there, an easy way to get revenge is to collect all of your old nail clippings. They can take them to a lab, sequence your genome, and depending on how much they’re willing to spend, they can manufacture all sorts of personalized poisons that would only be toxic to you.”

And right as I was about to object, the funeral guy came over, “You’d be surprised how many bodies I have to deal with that met exactly that fate.” I’m telling you, I know it sounds unbelievable, but the director told us that it’s virtually impossible to distinguish homemade fingernail poisons from more natural causes. “Why don’t you go to the police?” I asked, but he dismissed my suggestion, telling me that there wasn’t enough hard evidence to go on. And besides, what if the police were in on it?

“So what are you supposed to do with all of those old nails?” my brother asked. “I used to save them in a jar, and when that jar got full, I’d take it deep into the woods and bury it. But I haven’t done that in a while, because the last time I was out there, I was almost attacked by a bear.”

One of my uncles was at the periphery of the conversation, but mention of the bear was enough to get him involved. “You know what you’re supposed to do if you run into a bear, right kids?” My uncle told us, “You lay on the floor and cover yourself up with leaves, and then you stay perfectly still, you don’t even move a muscle.”

“Exactly!” the funeral director told me, “And I was lucky enough to get away.” And I always thought that you were supposed to make loud noises or something, that if you stay still you’ll just get mauled. But apparently there was so much I didn’t know about bears. He continued, “Unfortunately, that trick only works once. After a bear is fooled into confusing your scent with the earth’s, he becomes immune to the deception in the future. That’s why I can’t go back.”

“Well what are you going to do with those nails that you just clipped from my grandfather?” I asked.

“I take them and I save them for future funerals. I’ve found that if you stuff lots of fingernails into the mouth cavity, it seems to slow the post-mortem growth that I was talking about earlier. Unfortunately for you folks, I was running low on clippings, so that’s why your granddad over there looked so unkempt this morning.”

So there it is, right from the funeral director’s mouth. Next time you hear some smarty-pants try to debunk the whole hair and nails thing, don’t believe them, because they do keep growing. Also, that whole business about not breathing when you drive past a cemetery? Keep holding your breath. While you’re not guaranteed to inhale a lost soul hanging around a graveyard, you might, it happens every once in a while. Better safe than sorry, right?

Castaway is easily the worst movie of all time

Remember the part in that movie Castaway where it takes Tom Hanks something like five days to get that fire going? Talk about baloney. You give me two sticks and twenty minutes and I’ll give you a roaring fire in just five minutes. And then I’ll use those other fifteen minutes to really start enjoying myself. So by the time you come up to me when those twenty minutes are over, you’ll see the fire, you’ll see me fully relaxed, and you’ll be like, “Rob, how long did it take you to get this fire going? Because it looks like you’ve been relaxing for at least fifteen minutes.”


Or that part where he catches the crab and kills it, and then he just cracks it open, uncooked, and lets all of that raw crab stuff ooze all out of the shell? I’m calling hogwash on that also. First of all, everybody knows that you have to cook crab. And didn’t he already have the fire going at this point? How hard would it have been to at least heat it up a little? Secondly, it took that guy way too long to catch one crab. And what does he do as soon as he catches it? He destroys it. Me, I would have captured it, made a little crab house, lured in another crab of the opposite sex, and I would’ve started a little crab farm. It’s something about giving a man a crab for a day or teaching him how to eat crabs for a lifetime. Jesus used to say stuff like that all the time.

You know what else bugged me about Castaway? His beard should have been much longer. If you told me not to shave for four years, I’d be more facial hair than man after just two. But Tom Hanks’s mustache wasn’t even really in the way of his upper lip. Not much. One time I tried to grow a beard and that’s exactly the type of unexpected growth I wasn’t prepared for, the upper lip. It was getting in the way of my eating, always picking up a little mayonnaise from every bite of sandwich, stuff like that.

And the volleyball, come on. I would have been playing with that volleyball, not turning it into an imaginary best friend. Think of how boring every day must have been. I would have found some wall and tried to see how many times I could bounce it off the wall without it hitting the ground. But Hanks didn’t do anything. Oh yeah, I guess he learned how to paint, like he cave painted that painting of Helen Hunt on the wall of his bedroom. Or bedcave. Caveroom, whatever. But again, that’s probably a little unrealistic also. Where were all of his practice paintings? There’s no way you go from being an illustration novice to all of the sudden busting out photorealistic Helen Hunts. It’s just not plausible. Maybe they could have added some obvious flaws, just for narrative’s sake.

Four years sounds like a long time, but Helen Hunt seemed to have moved on pretty quickly. I get it, you’re lonely, you don’t want to wallow in your own misery for forever, but let’s just assume four months maybe hoping they’d find something. Another two months coming to terms with the likelihood that he died, people saying, “Helen, you have to move on. You’ve got to meet someone else.” Best case scenario, you go on a few blind dates, set some stuff up on an Internet site, you meet someone, there’s an awkward adult going-out phase, dating, moving in together. And then an engagement, a marriage. What I’m getting at here is, by the time Tom Hanks comes back, Helen Hunt already has a new husband and like two kids. It just seems very rushed, like she would had to have hit the ground running maybe two weeks after the plane went down.

Finally, I’m calling bullshit on Tom Hanks not opening up that final package. The man figured out how to make a boat out of a port-a-potty door. You’re telling me he never figured out how to open and then reseal a stupid box? This man worked for FedEx. He could have probably set those boxes up in his sleep. Look, I understand, something to live for, that one delivery. But I would have been thinking, antibiotics? Maybe something potentially lifesaving? Maybe a zippo lighter? Of course he opened that box up. It probably turned out to be nothing, like a decorative scarf, something useless. And then he’s dropping it off at the end, like, here you go miss. Again, bullshit.

In conclusion, I hate to say that Castaway just isn’t very realistic. And I haven’t even gotten into how unlikely it would have been for him to survive that plane crash in the first place. I’m totally not buying it.