Adventures in latex.

I drove up into Macomb County at evening rush hour tonight — which you non-locals should read as, “I willingly inflicted painful torture upon myself” — to meet with a friend, one of my old filmmaking gang. He’s applying for an arts fellowship, and wants me to help write his application. He’s a special-effects makeup artist, a great guy, who worked for Chrysler for 15 years, took his buyout money and trained and transitioned into this practical art. It was very practical while the filmmaking tax credits existed, but today he spends a lot of time building prosthetic limbs in the long intervals between film work. We were talking about the intricacies of working with silicone skin when I said, “You should make sex dolls.”

“I’ve made a lot of sex toys,” he said.

Not the whole doll, but he had an early apprenticeship at a place in Los Angeles that makes dildos and fake hoo-has and various other love aids for the lonely.

“You mean, like the fake dicks of the stars?” I asked.

“Are you kidding? I cast…” And then he named a famous male porn actor who probably has a Google alert on his name. He described the PVC pipe full of latex molding compound that he prepared, with a hole cut in the middle for insertion. The actor was a pro, preparing himself for this very modern star appearance with no need for a fluffer or any other visual aid. Just drop trou and get to work. It was all quite efficient.

How about the women? I asked. They would come with a friend who would “twiddle the bits,” my friend said, until they were sufficiently protuberant, then the work was over fairly quickly. The latex only went on the outside, and then they hopped down and cleaned up.

I remember watching a “Real Sex” episode late at night about this practice. I mostly recall the production process, somewhere in Asia, where assembly lines of bored-looking Filipino women would hand-paint the details on the blanks. I wonder what they think of this faraway land known as America, I thought at the time. Today I’d think, I bet they understand why we elected Trump.

Anyway, my friend has come a long way from casting porn penises. He worked on the Hobbit movies, and won a local Emmy for this commercial, although if you ask me, the real workhorse was the poor actor, who had to live in that latex for 17 hours.

I love talking to people about the work they do.

So, a quick midweek hop to the bloggage? Sure.

Do you have coyotes in your neighborhood? And a small dog? That pup may need a coyote vest. Sorry, I don’t think they make them for cats.

Who is Scott Free? Deplorable America wants to know.

I petered out on “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” after a few episodes last year, but Hank has convinced me I was wrong, wrong, wrong. I’ll try it again. What else do I have to do? Besides apply for an arts grant without mentioning penises, that is.

Happy Wednesday! See you (I hope) at week’s end.

Posted at 8:51 pm in Current events, Same ol' same ol' |

39 responses to “Adventures in latex.”

  1. Suzanne said on December 4, 2018 at 9:20 pm

    Listening to Rachel Maddie discuss the Flynn memo. What the heck was Flynn thinking? He had to know what he was doing was illegal so why? It’s what I can’t figure out. He had a good, no very good reputation, respected in the military, so why would he risk all that for Trump?

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  2. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 4, 2018 at 9:28 pm

    “I love talking to people about the work they do.”

    Amen, Nancy. Amen.

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  3. Suzanne said on December 4, 2018 at 9:33 pm

    My first comment was supposed to say Rachel Maddow but probably you figured that out.

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  4. Deborah said on December 4, 2018 at 9:37 pm

    Suzanne, wasn’t Flynn fired by Obama and then later when Trump was including him in his campaign and transition, Obama advised him to stay away from Flynn. So Flynn had a history of bad acting previous to the Trump campaign. Of course bad acting is a feature not a bug in the Trump admin, so they were all for it.

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  5. Suzanne said on December 4, 2018 at 9:57 pm

    I think you are correct, Deborah. But still, why would he risk so much? Just to get back at Obama?

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  6. Deborah said on December 4, 2018 at 10:18 pm

    Yeah, I have no idea Suzanne. Why do powerful people do weird things that put their power in peril? I don’t know but it happens a lot.

    So I guess the Flynn shoe dropped a bit ago but it’s hard to know what’s involved because so much is redacted. Maybe we will have to wait longer than we thought.

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  7. Carter Cleland said on December 4, 2018 at 10:27 pm

    Several years ago, I had the opportunity to ask my casual acquaintance Cynthia Plastercaster what she thought of the advent of on-demand erections courtesy of Viagra and Cialis. I recall she considered that beneath her art, and “cheating”.

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  8. Sherri said on December 4, 2018 at 11:49 pm

    Someone on Twitter noted that in two years, Flynn went from “Lock her up!” to “I’ll tell you everything, just don’t lock me up!”

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  9. basset said on December 5, 2018 at 5:30 am

    Carter, you have actually met Cynthia Plastercaster? Must be a story there, or several.

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  10. Kristen said on December 5, 2018 at 5:58 am

    Our rescue Lakeland terrier was killed by a coyote in our backyard on Super Bowl Sunday 2014. Our dog doesn’t wear the coyote vest, but he’s never outside unattended, and at dawn/dusk, he’s on a leash.

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  11. alex said on December 5, 2018 at 6:27 am

    Had to look up Cynthia Plaster Caster and my, what a story. I don’t get out enough, I guess. She’d have been a great interview when I was working for Libido magazine in Chicago and I don’t know how Jack Hafferkamp, who was one of Libido‘s publishers and had been the music writer at the Chicago Daily News didn’t have her on his radar when we were brainstorming for material. (Although I do seem to recall running a photo once of a third-world dildo factory where elderly ladies were doing fine detailing work on an assembly line.)

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  12. Suzanne said on December 5, 2018 at 8:20 am

    Anthony Bourdain by those who knew & worked with him.

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  13. Heather said on December 5, 2018 at 8:35 am

    I petered out on “Mrs. Maisel” too–I think the rat-a-tat-tat just gets to be a little too much–but I do occasionally go back to watch an ep. I really like the actress who plays her agent–she was on MadTV back in the day and voices Lois on “Family Guy.”

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  14. Bitter Scribe said on December 5, 2018 at 9:50 am

    Nance, I love ya, but I could have happily lived out the rest of my life not knowing about those plastic porn parts.

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  15. basset said on December 5, 2018 at 10:16 am

    Reminds me of the Bob Greene here’s-another-one-about-how-the-normal-folks-live story on women working in a condom factory who told him… never mind, just google it, I can’t be bothered right now.
    Speaking of giving up on shows, Mrs. B’s interest in “The Crown” faded before the end of episode 3. We were gonna drop Netflix anyway, they send this daily here’s-what-you-might-like email based on what we’ve been watching and we just look at it and say… naah.

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  16. Sherri said on December 5, 2018 at 10:32 am

    Small groups of researchers can make virtually unilateral decisions about experiments that have potentially global consequences, and that everyone else only learns about after the fact.

    Ed Yong on the CRISPR baby scandal:

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  17. nancy said on December 5, 2018 at 10:46 am

    Sorry to be the first to tell you about the Fleshlight, dude.

    I remember Greene’s Trojan column. It was in Esquire and it was — stop the presses — pretty good. His Esquire back-of-the-book pieces were easily the best of his portfolio, which I can only attribute to excellent editors.

    Although now that I think of it, I recall one passage, about how each Trojan is individually tested. This was done by a platoon of workers, almost all older women, who spend their days rolling condoms onto a passing line of metal phalluses. The metal dips briefly into a solution, and if anything passes the latex barrier it triggers an alarm, the phallus pops up, and the condom is discarded. Greene asked one woman what she dreams about at night, and she said, “Young men.” I bet he made that part up. Too perfect.

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  18. basset said on December 5, 2018 at 11:17 am

    And one of the women whose job was to pull the condoms off the molds said she told her friends that her job was to “flip rubbers.”
    Why do I remember this stuff…

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  19. Michael said on December 5, 2018 at 12:02 pm

    Tommy Beardmore is another reason to watch The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

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  20. Bitter Scribe said on December 5, 2018 at 2:14 pm

    Off-topic: Republicans in the Michigan legislature pull off the most outrageous bait-and-switch screw job I’ve ever heard about in government.

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  21. LAMary said on December 5, 2018 at 3:34 pm

    When I worked in NYC my best friend used to pop into my office and tell the receptionist he was there to deliver my latex novelties. We are still friends.

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  22. Sherri said on December 5, 2018 at 4:04 pm

    On Ross Douthat’s latest:

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  23. Sherri said on December 5, 2018 at 4:13 pm

    North Carolina. Usually, I’d think of Louisiana for something this brazen. And of course, the topper is that the candidate is a Southern Baptist preacher.

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  24. Bitter Scribe said on December 5, 2018 at 4:32 pm

    Sherri: Here’s another good perspective on that ridiculous Douthat column.

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  25. David C. said on December 5, 2018 at 5:33 pm

    The Rs got their coup d’etat here in Wisconsin. As we were coming home last night, a local lawyer was on the bus with us. She said she doesn’t think the Wisconsin Supreme Court will uphold most of the law even with a Republican majority. She reminded us this was the court that made Walker hold special elections this summer when he didn’t want to. She knows them and said that although they’re Republicans, they have more respect for the Wisconsin Constitution than that. I hope she’s right.

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  26. Heather said on December 6, 2018 at 7:25 am

    Bitter Scribe, I think that’s the best response I’ve read to Douthat’s column yet. This line!!: “This ‘we’re all just Americans” BS is willful ignorance, especially when Republicans are very aware of race and ethnicity. They wouldn’t know which polling places to close otherwise.'”

    David C., indeed, the Republicans likely know these moves will be thrown out by the courts…but that will take a while. Anything they can do to obstruct the will of the people and buy time. The scary question is, buy time for what?

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  27. FDChief said on December 6, 2018 at 10:10 am

    Suzanne: My understanding is that Flynn was seen as sort of a looney – in any organization where everyone with a functional hindbrain recognized that having Muslim allies is essential he was known as an extreme Islamophobic kook – and personally something of a jerk. He was picked for those reasons; they were a feature for the Trumpkins, not a bug.

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  28. Joe Kobiela said on December 6, 2018 at 10:12 am

    This is why I love watching the Army Navy football game every year, I know most here dismiss college football but do yourself a favor and give this a read and maybe tune in for a few plays on Saturday, it was written by John Feinstein
    Go Army!!
    Pilot Joe
    At about 6:30 on Saturday evening I will be standing on the field at Lincoln Financial Field while the Army and Navy alma maters are being played.
    I have no idea who will sing second, as the winners always do, but I know one thing for certain.
    As the last notes die out, my wife — who watches exactly one football game a year — will send me a text.
    It will say, “Are you crying yet?”
    And I know exactly what my answer will be: “Absolutely.”
    It doesn’t matter who wins the game; when they play the alma maters, I cry. For 14 years, when I was the color commentator on the Navy radio network, I would tell Bob Socci, who did play-by-play, “When the alma maters end, don’t ask me a question right away. I’m going to need a minute.”
    I’ve been fortunate enough to cover most major sporting events in my lifetime and lots of not-so-major ones too. None of them affects me the way Army-Navy affects me.
    I didn’t graduate from either school. I never served in the military (although my father served overseas in the Army during World War II) but both schools are very much a part of my life. In 1995, when I was researching the book I wrote on the rivalry, I had the privilege of being in both locker rooms before, during and after the game. I believe I might be the only person who was not president of the United States at the time to do that.
    But that’s not why Army-Navy is the one and only annual sporting event I never miss. Without doubt, some of it is about the traditions: the “March On” of the cadets and the midshipmen hours before the game; the pregame exchange of “prisoners” — the handful of cadets spending the semester at Navy and their counterparts from Navy who have been at Army being “returned” to their classmates; the snapping of 8,000 hands to salute position at the start of the national anthem.
    And, finally, the playing of the alma maters.
    There is no moment like that anywhere else in college sports. Players and coaches from both teams stand at attention during the other team’s alma mater. There are no exceptions.
    Last year, during the playing of “Navy Blue and Gold,” the hauntingly beautiful alma mater, an Army plebe named Camden Harrison had forgotten to remove the ski hat he had been wearing in the day-long snowfall.
    Standing behind him, Army strength coach Scott Swanson tapped him on the shoulder and pointed at the hat. Harrison understood instantly and whipped it off.
    Why do those few moments bring me to tears every year without fail?
    Because I understand — as do so many who are similarly moved — that as much as the players desperately want to beat each other on the football field, they recognize that in a much larger sense, they’re all on the same side.
    Only a cadet can have some understanding of what it’s like to be a midshipman and only a midshipman can understand what it’s like to be a cadet. Each will claim, of course, that their school is tougher or better but they all know that, in the end, all 8,000 of them are the same.
    Maybe that’s why I choke up just a little at the start of the anthem at Army-Navy. As those 8,000 hands go to salute position I remember something Jim Cantelupe, who was the defensive captain of that 1995 Army team said to me back in 2003 when Kevin Norman, his senior roommate, was killed overseas.
    When he called to tell me Kevin had been killed, I said something about Kevin dying a hero because he had died fighting for his country.
    “Kevin was a hero,” Jim said, “because he was willing to die for his country.”
    That’s why the 8,000 salutes get to me: Every one of those men and women have volunteered to die for the rest of us if need be. And that’s why my wife knows the answer she’ll get when she texts at the conclusion of the alma maters: Seeing those kids — and to me they’re all kids at that moment — and knowing what they’re going to do when they graduate, always gets to me.
    That’s the ultimate reason Army-Navy is so special: The young men who play in the game and their classmates who march into the stadium and watch the game. Do a handful of them get into trouble or fail at times? Sure, just like kids from every school and every walk of life.
    But the vast majority will not only go on to serve when they graduate, they will do important things regardless of whether they stay in the Army, Navy or Marines.
    There are so many stories I can tell about the players I’ve had the chance to know. Many are about who they have become away from the football field.
    But one purely football memory stands out. In 2012, Army was trying to break a 10-game losing streak in the series. Trailing 17-13, the Black Knights drove to a first down at the Navy 14-yard-line with 1:04 left in the game.
    Quarterback Trent Steelman turned to hand off to fullback Larry Dixon. The exchange was never completed. The ball dropped to the ground and Navy recovered. Game over; the streak swelled to 14 straight Navy wins before Army finally won again in 2016.
    When the game ended, almost the entire Navy team went to console Steelman, who had been a four-year starter and had just played his last game.
    “It was my fault,” Steelman told members of the media a few minutes later. “I just didn’t get the ball into Larry’s stomach the way I needed to. That was my job. I didn’t do it.”
    Almost a year later, I talked to Dixon about that play. “Trent took the bullet for me, it was my fault,” Dixon said. “Not 50-50 or 75-25, it was 100 percent my fault.”
    When I started to argue, pointing out that Steelman had insisted it was his fault, Dixon grew animated.
    “Listen to me,” he said. “I’ll show you the play again if I have to. Trent was the senior, the captain, our leader, so he took the blame. He was the big brother covering up for the little brother.
    “I put on some weight during the fall. I wasn’t in perfect shape. We were out there a long time (11 plays). I probably should have taken myself out, but no way I was doing that. On the last play, because I was tired, my first step wasn’t straight forward, it was a tiny bit to the right. When Trent turned, I was that much too far from him and the ball went into my side, not my belly. That was my fault, not his. He did his job. I didn’t do mine.”
    To me, that was the ultimate example of the answer plebes at both academies must give when asked to explain a mistake: “No excuse, sir.”
    No one who plays in the Army-Navy game makes excuses — not on the football field, not on the battlefield. And every cadet and every midshipman in that stadium is a hero.
    If that sounds corny, fine. It’s also true. And it’s why, when they play the alma maters on Saturday, I won’t be the only one crying.

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  29. basset said on December 6, 2018 at 11:36 am

    Those of you all who know Columbus might be interested in this old photo:

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  30. Suzanne said on December 6, 2018 at 11:57 am

    The market is sinking like the victim of a mob hit in the East River,trade deficit is the highest in 10 years, manufactured goods orders fell 2.1% (largest decrease since July 2017 according to Reuters), Nebraska Farm Bureau says tariffs have led to $1 billion in lost revenue in that state alone.
    So when exactly are we going to start winning??

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  31. alex said on December 6, 2018 at 12:05 pm

    Suzanne, my mom heard or read somewhere the theory that Flynn was an FBI plant and that they had Flynn set himself up to look like an Islamophobic kook and join the Trump campaign in order to infiltrate a Russian collusion scheme that they were aware of all along. Sounds a bit out there, I know, but apparently that’s an idea that’s being floated in media not too far out of the mainstream, although I could see it gaining currency with those who believe in “deep state” skulduggery.

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  32. Dave said on December 6, 2018 at 12:46 pm

    Neat old picture but out of my orbit. In those days, I knew the east side and downtown and a little of the south side. North and west Columbus were other worlds. I have seen old pics online of the Big Bear at Town and Country on Broad Street, one that we shopped regularly in my earliest days.

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  33. beb said on December 6, 2018 at 1:33 pm

    When I read the title of this post I assumed it would be a more personal sort of story. Knowing a guy who pays the bills by building porn star prosthetics is still an interesting cachet.

    Tumblr is having all kinds of problems trying to drive porn from its pages. They have set up an algorithm that would flag explicit sexual content. This has been tagging any and everything, including Tumblr’s own announcement that they were banning porn. Part of their problem is trying to define porn which includes the phrase “women presenting nipples.” This has lead to a pair of funny memes. In one a woman, one of those from 60s ads is pointing to an item to her right, which a picture of a bare chested man. Which makes are a woman who is presenting someone elses nipples. The second funny meme has the woman standing in front of a picture of Naples, Italy, making her a woman presenting Naples.

    Tumblr has a problem with child porn and the algorithm simply can’t distinguish between that and adult porn, which ought to be legal. Adult porn is already supposed to be kept because “Mature” tags. And Tumblr’s new policy will impact a lot of communities of marginalized people (LGBT) whose lives are inherently of a sexual nature while passing over all the racist and Nazi sites there. Everyone is predicting that this will be the deathknell for Tumblr.

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  34. Sherri said on December 6, 2018 at 2:43 pm

    Perhaps the best response to Douthat:

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  35. Deborah said on December 6, 2018 at 7:44 pm

    I’m back in Chicago for a few days where it’s cold, a damp, windy cold that I am not acclimated to yet. I had a lot of errands to do today, and more tomorrow. I have Saturday to do errands too. Hopefully I will get acclimated soon.

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  36. basset said on December 7, 2018 at 7:11 am

    Today is my brother’s birthday, he liked his Jameson’s so this afternoon I’ll connect on Facetime with a couple of his buds in Bloomington and do a shot in his memory.

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  37. JodiP said on December 7, 2018 at 9:22 am

    Bassett, that sounds like a good memorial for your brother.

    Y’all, I have chillblains! Feeling so Dickensian this morning. And I start wearing gloves when it hits 40. Ok, 50.

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  38. basset said on December 7, 2018 at 9:24 am

    Sent that Trump Scott Free link to a friend named Justice, who said:

    “I would say that this Scott Free must be brought to Justice, but I don’t want anything to do with him.”

    Didn’t know where that term came from till I saw the Post article, interesting. Now if we can just get “spitting image” and “spirit and image” straightened out…

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  39. susan said on December 7, 2018 at 10:07 am

    JodiP @37 – OMdog, chillblains…and you live in the Upper Midwest Ice Box. That must a chore for you to deal with for at least eight months a year.

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