Body Ink and Hardware


Remember this book?

The Illustrated Man is a book of eighteen short stories–each with a sci-fi premise and penned by”The Master of Sci-saster”, Mr. Ray Bradbury . Each story explores the nature of humankind. While none of the stories have a plot or character connection with the next, a recurring theme is the conflict of the cold mechanics of technology and the psychology of people.

The unrelated stories are tied together by the frame device of “the Illustrated Man,” a very tattooed vagrant, who the unnamed narrator meets. The man’s tattoos, allegedly created by a woman from the future, are animated and each tell a different tale.

I dug the book when I first read for some Freshman Lit course an eon ago. And when I was sent these pics via a recent e-mail, it was the first thing I thought of. It was certainly the most obvious “go to” thought for anyone even remotely literate.

Now, I could begin this particular portion of the post by saying something to the effect of “those damn kids!!”

But I won’t. I’m not my mother.

Or am I???

No!! No!! No!! No!! No!! That’s a whole OTHER post.

Anyway, I can and will say this much–when I was a wild, rebellious kid (from a nice middle class family in small town America in the late 60’s and early 70’s) the most rebellious thing I did was color my hair a little (chili powder red) I wore wore funky Chuck Taylor’s with dresses and skirts and I wore oddball nail colors. We tried to be different. We tried to set ourselves apart from all things conventional. Certainly, we wanted separation from The Establishment–which was everyone over 30.

But these kids are taking the effort to be unique to a whole new level. Sadly though, in their attempts to be unique, they’re being just like everyone else making the same effort. Therefore, I think they find strength in numbers.

I guess we were guilty of that, too. But NOT to these extremes.

And yes, I am talking extremes.

See kids, this is what happens when a good tattoo artist and piercing expert runs amok OR….you just wake up one day and you look in the mirror and see these strange rings and studs and bars dotting your face, lips, ears, nose, cheeks, eyelids, brows, forehead, chin and tongue and you realize that you have way too much fucking iron in your system.








The late, great actor Peter Boyle who we loved in “Young Frankenstein”and as Frank in “Everybody Loves Raymond” had natural ridges on each side of his forehead.




See Snuffy below. Is this his attempt to emulate the actor?


Nah!!!!! This guy is just an idiot AND an asshole.




The ultimate nipple key chain……or Barbie clothesline.





“Hello Nonie! I’d like for you to meet the Prime Minister. He comes from a very colorful family, unencumbered by convention, breeding and taste…….'”



And finally get a load of this one, kids…


What in GOD’S name is this??? I’m sorry but I DO NOT get this! Do these people have no concept of self mutilation? Do they have no clue as to how this will look when they’re 79 with a prostate as big as a Rawlings NBA regulation basketball while confined to a wheelchair and peeing into their shoes every time they cough?????


Now, I have no qualms with this…


This is a woman belonging to the Apatani tribe which resides the Arunachal Pradesh region of India.

Upon maturity, women used to put these disc things in their nostrils. I get this, to a degree. I suppose I understand the social commentary it makes within the tribe, but I don’t understand the fashion statement it represents. I guess in that part of Asia, nostrils you can drive through are considered hot.

This is either a special decorative plug of some sort or this has GOT to be the world’s largest black head.

Either way (and with any semblance of anthropological comprehension aside) it’s still gross….damn gross.



  1. Hi,LK, glad to see you are feeling much better.I see that you got my e-mail of those ugly human men or ? with all those body piercings. some of them are hard to look at… Maybe they are want to be hired in as extras for some weird movie or something like that. Ugly!!!!

  2. I’ve been into some pretty freaky shit, but this is just ballistic. This isn’t your thing, LK?

  3. We’re way off of body art and seriously into the land of self-mutilation. And the dude with the fifty pounds of locks, keys (and what I swear is the hood emblem from an old Pontiac) hanging from his pierced nips has issues that would keep a Psyhrink tied up for years.

  4. I think, in the abandonment of traditional religion, many people lack rituals that say “today I am a man/woman.”

    These people want to change, to prove themselves through pain and separateness. In the old days, that could be done with playing football/joining the Army and getting Confirmed.

    Today… I don’t know. What is there? I still like the old ways, but clearly they don’t work for a lot of folks, so they stumble around, piercing themselves, making a new ritual–trying to “fill the hole,” literally.

    Clever insights aside, that hole-in-the-side-of-the-nose thing really freaks me out. *shudder*

  5. I’m all for expressing oneself but some of these pics damn near made me barf in my Special K this morning!

    I understand tattoos and piercings to a degree but have never understood what makes a person want to stretch their earlobe so it’s big enough for a family of raccoons to nest in!

    I was also grossed out by Pixie on LA Ink (TLC)… she had her tongue split so the front half of it is actually two pieces that she can move independently. Ewww!

  6. While I wouldn’t do this myself… er, at least not to that degree, I dont’ freak out over it. As a guy who pierced his ear long before it was “typical” and as someone who until recently was walking around with a piercing where most people wouldn’t see it (unless they read my blog) I can well understand the desire to try something a little different – and I also understand that you do something once, and then there’s a desire to repeat… and next thing you know, there’s a three pound hunk of metal hanging from your ear and you’re making out with a girl who can pick the popcorn out of both sides of her mouth at once.

  7. Tom,

    I read your blog and I KNOW where your piercings are. And considering you and your proclivities, I know that very little would “freak you out”.

    However….boring a two inch hole in a half inch nostril is EXTREME…even in the crazy, mixed up world of Tom Allen.

    By the way, there has never been or will ever be anything “vanilla” about you, Sir.


    Submissively yours..or should I say his,

  8. I loved the illustrated man – book and there was a tv series that i think went nowhere. But, the illustrated man was one of my favorite high school books.

    Now, regarding the other pictures, a girl in high school my senior year whose locker was next to mine – Danielle was her name – she was a punk rocker girl who had multiple piercings and a mohawk…..I should have asked her to the prom.

    But I digress.

  9. You guys are getting the nose hole dudes all wrong–see they both have SERIOUS allergy problems, but of course, they have been left behind by the Bush administration’s refusal to allow them to have insurance coverage. The only doctor they could afford was some hollistic healer in East St. Louis who told them that if they increase the side of their nose it will force the sinus cavities to drain better. Well, because they are dregs of society they listened and now they have 2 inch holes in their nostrils and still can’t breathe. Thanks a lot Bush–thanks a freaking lot.

  10. yo so. if u think it iz so wrong just ignore it k. it iz there body and they can do what ever they want with it. so pull your thumb out of your ass and stop judgin them. they just like how they want 2 look. y do u have 2 tell them that they are wrong. they are not tellin u that u look dumb with out big holez or ringz everywere so y dont u grow up and relise they are a humen like all of us they just like 2 look diff. they think they look better with a hole in there body. just like u might think u look better with a beard or long hair or short hair or anthin like taht. they just think they look better that way so back off. and stop judgin people so much.

    Corey “EMo_BoY” Hippen

  11. You guys are ignorant fucks. Now seriously, do they take pictures of you sitting in your office cubicles critiquing the world and say “Hahaha watch him get into his Lexus and drive back to the suburbs!! What an idiot!” or, “I puked in my mouth when i saw his pocket protector!” No. So fuck straight off. You cutting your hair into the same style as everyone else in the office and wearing a suit with a stick up your ass is what makes you happy. Stretching inch and a half diameter holes into their nostrils makes these people happy. Who are you to say it’s ok for the Apatani to do, but not for Paul? I think you need to seriously re-evaluate your concept of self, and of other people. Perhaps your wife would give you some lovin again if you loosened your tie and opened your eyes. And as for self-mutilation vs. body modification, who the fuck are you to draw that line? Seriously. The guy who puts a stud in his ear and the guy who cuts off his nuts are just on different ends of the spectrum… the spectrum is: changing your body to be more appealing to you, so that when you look in the mirror, you feel a sense of accomplishment, happiness, whatever you wanna feel. Instead of sitting around being unhappy making a pile of money and crying themselves to sleep at night, perhaps these people have touched on a connection to the divine. And they don’t have to give $50 bucks to pedophiles every sunday.

  12. i seriosuly cannot fucking belive you close minded fools. people SHOULD be allowed to do what they want to there own body, you wake up in the mornign and go out looking like you want.everyone has the right to not be segregated by there apearance.i pitty people like you who cannot see the beauty inside of them and judge them for there shell.

  13. And I seriously cannot believe you close minded idiots who think massive tattooing and piercings and desecrations of the body are cool and a form of expression. You mean to tell me that when these people wake up and their 49 years of age, the fact that they’ve got holes in their earlobes,r cheeks or nostrils WON’T become something of an issue???

    How close minded you are to think ME close minded for seeing these poor self esteem deprived people as anything but the pathetic human wastelands they are.

    If they have all that beauty inside them, let it come forth. But spiking their hair to lethal heights, tattooing their entire bodies, carving holes in their lips and sticking a coke can through their cheeks might be cool and hip at 21, but I assure you, at 40 it becomes a hugely regrettable liability. If you can’t see that, then YOU and all the idiots I’ve written about in this post are in for a fucking rude awakening. I assure you, there won’t be much call for circus freaks in the next millennium.

    YOU GET A CLUE, ASSHOLE!!! In all your attempts to be different and unique, you’re just like everybody else and half of you are either too gacked up or too fucking self-righteous to see it.

    You’re ignorance is repugnant.


  14. Okay, so you’ve found something that’s outside your range of experience, and you’ve decided to pass judgment on it by projecting your own thoughts and feelings on it. I mean, you use words like “desecration” – as if they owe it to you to be what you want them to be.

    Yup, that stuff is pretty weird and I don’t think I’ll participate. But the thing about lifestyle choices are that they define a lifestyle – these people aren’t likely to change their worldview at age 49 (or any age) – they’ve made commitments to the definition of self.

    That doesn’t make them idiots or assholes. They’re just not like most people.

  15. Sweetie,

    I don’t know how old you are, I don’t know what your life experiences are and frankly, I don’t care. Nor do I really care that you’re passing judgment on me for feeling as I do.

    But I’ll share this much with you–I come from a time and place where we thought we had all the answers too. Every generation does. Peace signs, flower power, hell, we burned down goddmaned college administration buildings to prove salient points, so don’t you even attempt to instruct me on the ways and means of “defining lifestyles”, OK?.

    And I assure you, they owe me nothing but they’re doing themselves an incredible disservice. They’re making egregious mistakes in turning their bodies into canvass and/or human art projects. It’s not just conveying a lifestyle, it’s idiocy. Sorry, but it is. They’re sealing their fate. God willing, this phase of attempting to be unique just like everyone else will pass, but it won’t without numerous laser removal procedures and immense regret.

    And while we’re at it Seb, the true commitment to self-defining comes from within and this clarity can happen at 16 or 60. Please don’t add ageism to your list of misconceptions, my friend. And as for tattooing, how you decorate and/or disguise your exterior is just one aspect of that and theoretically, a very minor one at that.

    And if they can’t see that, then contrary to what you claim, that definitely does NOT make them like most people.

  16. Holy fuck people shut up, these people have some serious fucking problems, and i guarantee you that they look in the mirror and are still disgusted with themselves, so thats y they get more and more piercings and tattoos. They are pathetic by trying to be sooooo different. And when they change their mind, which is what they will do when they have kids and grandkids, they will be seriously fucking sorry that their grandsons head can fit in their ear and their hand through their nose. I mean come on people, seriously, i have nothing agianst a few piercings and a few tattoos, but when it gets to these extremes it is just sick… they NEED help, and should have gotten counseling a long time ago. and all you people saying that we need to quit judging, just shut the fuck up, you are judging us by saying that, so you being fucking hipocrits! so just shut the fuck up! okay? But this shit aint normal!


  17. A little common sense would dictate a few things.

    1. There is and always will be a difference between what is private and what is public. I shouldn’t have to explain to my children why someone has metal through his or her nipples, (yes I have seen both in public) unless and until I am ready and feel they are ready. Nor should I be obliged to give people their daily dose of power (attention) because they feel too bad about themselves to do something that doesn’t demand the whole world look at them, to raise their self-esteem. I even had one guy ask, “Why you staring at me”. I said, “Because that is what you want everyone to do, or you wouldn’t walk around with a purple hairdo, exposing most of your body and your many new orifices. You couldn’t do much more if you lit yourself on fire.” He said, “Thanks.”

    2. The incredible medical costs that will be required, when these people get old is a burden on our entire society. I get tired of seeing tax dollars funding those who choose to hurt themselves when they are young and expect the government to take care of them later or even if they manage to get insurance, everyone’s premiums go up do to many preventable diseases putting an undo burden the whole insurance industry.

    3. As a last note, it is sad that I am required to hire these self decorated deterrents to my business. They say it is discrimination not to hire someone who looks like a piece scrap metal with some human flesh attached. Yet, these people’s mere presence makes a definable reduction in traffic and sales. So, aside from the obvious mental issues, they force themselves on society, which I find offensive. If you want to make the same analogy concerning me, and that I am undoubtedly offensive to someone, I’ll put my contributions to society against those bent, twisted, self absorbed, addle-pated dullards any day. No one should have the right to choose to be a burden on society. We have enough needy people who could use a hand up. Where would we be if we all just “Did what we wanted?” Someone has to foot the big bills of the elderly, real medical needs, and the government. Whether you are a liberal or a conservative, you must confess, it takes real money and a lot of it to keep this nation going.

    Justaguy with a business

  18. What is up with the dude with the thousands of piercings? At least I think they’re piercings. Rows and rows of rings all up and down his arms and legs. How do they not get caught on something every time he moves? There’s body art and then there’s this. EW!

  19. Most of them are ugly, but if that’s what what they want to do with their life, then who gives a shit? But the guy with the corset lacing on his neck is totally hot and i would totally eff him!

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