Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Smile, Darn Ya, Smile!

Cassie had to have four decayed, abscessed teeth pulled Monday and a cyst removed from her left rear leg. To prevent her from chewing at the stitches when alone, she was provided with a clear, cone-shaped collar that makes her look like a doggie astronaut.

This is a terrible indignity, next to which the missing teeth seem trivial, but cosmetic dentistry for dogs does not seem to be widespread, so she won't be getting a bridge or veneers, and apparently she'll be able to eat fine without them.

I'd say this was an object lesson in remembering to floss, but Cassie's lack of opposable thumbs might make that difficult. She has had regular vet visits during my years away from her, so I'm of course curious why this wasn't spotted before, but that's another story.

But thinking of tooth extractions made me remember an early-'80s showing of the hilarious and horrifying 1976 grindcore classic Ilsa: Harem Keeper of the Oil Sheiks at a movie theater downtown. Among other atrocities (including the bewildering and bewildered appearance of Spalding Gray in a role), a young woman has her teeth pulled out one by one with a pliers so she can better service the sheiks of the title. (UPDATE: According to the webmaster at, that wasn't Spalding [see comments]. My apologies for the error.)

I went with a male friend who was then a grad student and is now the chairman of the English department at an Ivy League school. He was married, and I'm guessing that his wife wasn't into depravity. It didn't occur to me at the time to wonder why he asked me (the outing was entirely chaste), nor can I recall why I agreed to go, but it seemed sophisticated in a winking kind of way.

I do wonder if he's still married to the same woman. You either embrace your inner Ilsa (or your inner toothless concubine), or you don't.


  1. BTW, we have checked with the Producer of this grotesque movie, and have absolutley confirmed that Spalding Gray was NOT in this film. NOT.
    Now Spalding was in some awful stuff - try the (hard to find) violent Farmer's Daughters (not Farmer's Daughter)- if you want to see Spalding at his porno worst.
    The worst part of Ilsa is that I had to sit through the whole thing just to double check about Spalding. I never had a chance to ask him...

    webmaster for Spalding Gray/Estate of Spalding Gray

  2. I'd say that I stand corrected, but that sounds all too appropriate to the genre in question. I did check with some usually reliable sources and Spalding was mentioned, so I'm sure you have to police this endlessly. Thanks for taking the time to let me know. I'm a great admirer of Spalding's work, and wish the world could have seen more of it.