Monday, February 11, 2013


Here's (above) a get well postcard of the type that was all over the place when I was a kid. Now they're rare, even on Google. We need to bring these back...they made being sick look like fun...well, sort of.

Anyway, I've been sick for a whole week with a stomach flu. Every time I get something like this I learn something and this time was no exception. I thought I'd share what I learned here. After all, everybody here is going to have this problem, maybe even this Winter.

The main thing I learned was that throwing up isn't a bad thing. The sooner you do it, the sooner you'll recover. I just wasn't able. Maybe I waited too long. The next time I'll try harder and sooner.

The second thing I learned was that relapses are easy with this disease. I was almost well when I got cocky and ate a ham sandwich, and it started all over again. Eat only bland food for a longer period than you think is necessary.

The third thing I learned was that salt is a good thing under these circumstances. If you eat chicken broth or bland white crackers get the salty kind. Applesauce is great, but not apple juice, it's too sweet. I read a convincing argument for why this is so, but I forget the details now. Anyway, I know I felt better after drinking plain old water or tea.

The last thing I discovered was how important sleep is when you have this flu. When I finally got a good night's sleep I felt a lot better. Take half a sleeping pill every night til you start to improve.

When I went on the net to look up stomach flu I was amazed to find that so little was written about the mechanics of it. If the water we drink when sick is mostly channeled out of the body at the bottom, then why isn't the excess acid? I guess there's some natural mechanism that prevents stomach acid from leaking into the intestine, but why can't we just drink a lot of water, eat a lot of bread, and dilute the acid? I guess it's so strong that even when diluted it won't pass the barrier. It's a fascinating subject. What an interesting job doctors have!

What I want to know now is, if throwing up early really helps...and my experience over the years tells me that it does... then why doesn't anyone recommend it? And what about antacid pills like Tums? Wouldn't they help?

There doesn't seem to be a lot of original thought on the subject of stomach flu. I wonder what would happen if Christopher Kimball, the editor of Cooks Illustrated tackled the subject. Kimball caught my eye a long time ago when he posed the question, "Why doesn't somebody try all the most popular cooking methods for a given dish and see which one actually tastes the best?" He built a whole career on that question. Maybe we need to do that for stomach flu.

Why doesn't some magazine try all the hippie teas and herbs, all the fabled remedies by remote tribesmen and cannibals, all the grandmother cures, and orthodox over-the-counter drugs, and simply compare the results? I'm not looking for a scientific study here...just a trial on a couple of dozen reliable, articulate, sick adults.

POSTSCRIPT: I'm better now and am eating real food just like real humans do. No more Saltines...I had bacon and eggs this morning and they were indescribably delicious. Now I crave really high-end food. I want a five course dinner with salmon mousse served with silver spoons from a swan centerpiece. I want servants with gloves and wigs. I want a pig with an apple in its mouth. I want to eat til I burst like Terry Jones in "Life of Brian."


Joel Brinkerhoff said...

Get well soon, Uncle Eddie.

Johnny Appleseed Jr. said...

Hey Eddie, before I proceed to get to the main topic I'd like to give a formal introduction you have lovely blog filled with featuring your own unique perspective on the world of animation. I grew up with a strong admiration and affinity for your work on Ren and Stimpy, Mighty Mouse, and Tiny Toons, additionally, I love Tales of Worm Paranoia short-subject an in-depth psycho-drama about a morally conflicted worm who goes to unethical extremes to seek vengeance on an oblivious human being. It had a solid sense of visual humor, proficient use of staging, timing and makes me wonder why so many artists like you are scarce these days. You might remember SparkyMK3 commented about how pervasive anime is in contemporary animation. Well I was one of his friends who was voicing concern about it, I don't mean to evoke controversy and am speaking from a layman's perspective but despite my amateurism feel I've seen enough to offer some shred of insight on the issue. The concern is that there's this strong anime sensibility that exists among most artists under thirty, and it in some regards prohibits them from exploring other creative avenues. Sometimes I can't tell many younger animators styles apart because they conform to the same set of principals and styles. It becomes a bit nauseating that many of the newer programs being picked up have all these correlations, and it troubles me that this might stunt growth within the world of animation. Coming from someone who knows these kids in-person I would love to hear your insights on the issue.

Eddie Fitzgerald said...

Joel: Many thanks Joel, and I'm sorry I didn't answer a couple of your previous comments.

In case I didn't answer your earlier comment about Coney Island...yes, I did watch the video you linked to and it was great! It also put me on the track of other useful Coney subjects.

Johnny: Wow, thanks for the compliment! About anime...I have nothing against it. When America was turning out media about wimpy anti-heroes Japan dared to uphold the concept of youthful heroism, and I applaud them for it.

On the other hand, I prefer funny, cartoony animation and there America is still king, or at least potentially king (though Canada looked like a contender for a while). The problem is that no U.S. studio apart from Spumco has set itself up to be serious competition for the Japanese.

Why are American animators so wimpy? I blame it partly on the 60s and political correctness. Except for verbal stand-up humor almost everything funny is considered racist, sexist or elitist now.

I also blame it on computers. Early on, artists were lured away from the drawing board by the promise of cheap, easy to use graphic programs, a promise which turned out to be false.

Over time the programs got more and more expensive and complicated, and required more expensive equipment to run.

What does a regular-size Wacom tablet cost now? $2,000? What does CS-6 cost? $900? How about a Mac Pro laptop with a decent amount of ram? $2,400? And don't forget After Effects, Cartoon Boom Harmony, etc. If you're not in school and don't have techie friends I cringe to think how long it would take to learn all that. Of course school is another giant expense.

Feminism also hurt American animation. Female executives run animation and even newspaper cartoon syndicates, and they're not sympathetic to the kind of humor that boys like. Moms supervise what their kids read and see to an extent that would have been unheard of when I was a kid, and those moms are very, very politically correct.

No doubt there are other factors too, but those are the main ones so far as I can see. Things are getting better though. I'll try to cover that in a coming blog post.

Roberto Severino said...

I will have to remember some of what you wrote the next time I get sick with the stomach flu. I remember a couple of months ago I was afflicted with some pretty awful stomach pain and it took a few day for everything to settle out. The medical term for it is gastritis if it's only affecting the stomach lining and gastroenteritis if it's affecting both the stomach and the small intestine.

Your explanation on why animation is so wimpy is spot on! It seems like the 1960s and the radical feminists have had a greater negative impact on culture than I previously thought. At least we have decades of politically incorrect animation to enjoy so we don't have to subject ourselves to the mind numbing crap that passes of as animation, even though SpongeBob has gotten away with a lot of politically incorrect humor, so that show is an anomaly by itself.

I would count Family Guy, South Park, The Simpsons and other adult animation in this but none of them are animated in the way that you and I would envision them.

Even sane feminists themselves despise third wave feminism, which sounds like the most recent breed of feminism I can think of. When do you believe the trend will start to reverse and we'll start to see more funny, cartoony animation mixed with adult humor again?

Johnny Appleseed Jr. said...

Thanks for the warm reply Eddie. Also thanks for your wonderful insights as to why American Animation has been pussified since the sixties. Its great to know that people like you and John K have tried your best to counter these problems, and usher in a renaissance for cartooning. To be honest America has occasionally rebounded from such politically correct sensibilities as many profound talents such as yourself, the staff at Spumco, Bruce Timm, Kali Fontecchio, Bakshi, Bill Plympton, Dino Stamatopoulos, Lynne Naylor, Chris Recarddi, Jackson Publick, and David Feiss have all clearly embodied what makes an exceptional cartoonist, the kind that have been lost for decades. Japan however picked up where America left off in being able to embody the charm, vitality, and spirit that was present in older American films. That is in some respects where they have an advantage, Japan gives us a taste of what America could be if not for buracratic corporations cosntantly interfering. There are some optimistic signs that the industry is changing for the better I just hope it happens sooner because most animation not just America has seemed to be at a creative nadir for the past couple of years. I agree that the maternal influence among executives is determintal but I believe Walt Disney had that mindset long before the sixties he had this idea that everything he produced had to have been meet with the mothers approval becuase they controlled the families spending. If anything Walt may have ushered in such an era, despite being perceived as saintly for animation hes definetly a player in how their has been a lot of political correctness and maternal influence in the corporate structure in animation. Geena Davis recently reinforced this belief as to why third-wave feminism is a liability to modern cartooning. She launched a study with the University of Southern California to discuss why studios not featuring enough female protagonists in animation was so determintal to a womans self-esteem. That theres not enough female role-models present within the animation to boost confidence amongst little girls. She used Buzz and Woody as examples as to why so many female characters were being excluded from animation. I hated how didactic she was but she was also over-analyzing, and putting to much emphasis on something that really wasnt much of an issue. Artists are usually pretty neutral when it comes to issues like that so I've alawys pondered to myself why she would get such a kick by politicizing something that isnt really a problem.

randolph said...

Yeah, this year's norovirus is nasty. Sympathies. Writeup from the CDC:

randolph said...

As far as I know, norwalk virus infects the small intestine. If you think of it as a kind of rash in the small intestine, this is perhaps not too far from the truth. Once the virus is gone, the intestine is still irritable for a while.

One other thing: norwalk virus is incredibly contagious. Clean everything. Procedures here:

Anonymous said...

im a junior in high school and have been sick eith the stomach flu for a week today! ive only showed up for the fist day then puked my guts out the next. i cant risk missing this much school so early! do you think its okay for kids to go to school if they feel/are sick?