Thursday, December 20, 2007

Oh God.

Something is VERY wrong with society.

JOHNSTOWN, Colorado (AP)
-- Two teens have been charged with killing the 7-year-old sister of one of them by beating her with imitations of moves from the "Mortal Kombat" video game, prosecutors said.

Heather Trujillo, 16, in charged in the beating death of her half-sister, Zoe Garcia, 7. Lamar Roberts, 17, and Heather Trujillo, 16, were charged as adults on one count each of felony child abuse causing death, state prosecutor Robert Miller said in court documents released Wednesday and filed a day earlier.

It's is so terrible...

Who still plays Mortal Kombat?

Morse Code Madness!

This is possibly the best translation software online ever.
Thanks for the heads up Irma.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

street monster

I try to be nice, folks. When I see someone trip and fall, I don't laugh. I pick 'em up.

But this afternoon, I was waiting for my lunch to go order when I came across a flyer for a Japanese Hip Hop Night in the East Village, and I started laughing...hard. For you see, one of the featured sets is of:

Street Monster.

I'm trying really really hard to be nice, but this guy is just begging for ridicule. What kind of evil person lets their friend start a career in music as...

Street Monster.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Blogsploitation: Batmanga!!

The illustrious Chip Kidd ( has been working on this beautiful monograph of 1960's vintage issue Batman manga from Japan. It's serialized original art with Japanese takes on style and storyboard (i.e. not a cut-and-paste of Bob Kane's stuff). It's really quite something (little trade blurb with link at the bottom of post).

Anyway...I'm its translator.

I can't tell you how fun this is. Words can't describe how entertaining it is to have translated the following dialogue from Japanese:

Phipps: Wayne! Wh-what are you doing here?
Bruce Wayne: I'm here to see that painting you wanted to show me.
Phipps: Oh...well I uh, have a terrible toothache, you see. Could you come back another night, perhaps?
Wayne: Sure! (Walks away and thinks to himself) Wait a minute....That can't be Phipps. Phipps wears dentures. He has no teeth that could ache! That's an imposter!!

Or what about the time I tried to find a better way to say "alien life fluid"? (I eventually settled on "bioplasm") And what about the "human mutation-ator"? Thanks to all gajillion message boards on the topic of "obscure superhero villains" I discovered this was actually called a "bioniformer."

So you can imagine the big smile on my Howdy Doody face (note: I just realized, I'm actually wearing a plaid shirt with jeans and hunting boots as I type this), as I deftly navigate my way through phrases like

"Slide down the water pipes with me, Robin!" and
"You want a piece of my alien life fluid, Batman?!"

...until...someone brought this to my attention:

The Dark Knight trailer.

Brrrr...I have not been this excited to see two men fight it out since Tony shivved Bernardo under the highway.

[From Publishers Weekly: ...Frank was particularly enthusiastic about Bat-Manga: The Secret History of Batman in Japan, edited by Chip Kidd, the book designer and Pantheon editor, with photos by Geoff Spear. The book documents a short-lived Batman craze in Japan in the late 1960s that led DC Comics to license the iconic character to the Japanese manga magazine Shonen King. Kidd worked with a collector to track down the original manga and compile an archive of vintage Batman manga from Japan. Mangaka Kiro Kuawata wrote and drew the original Batman and Robin manga stories, and he will contribute an essay to the new book. Frank said these Batman mangas have not been seen anywhere in more than 30 years; “even DC did not have copies.”]

Blogsploitation: For Personal Use Only

Who wants to get down with karaoke action?

I am itching to get my song on.

Don't Call it a Best Of, It's Been Here All Along

Holiday Festivarious: Things to raise your spirits.

The Modern Tribe by Celebration. To Listen. Their name is Celebration for Pete's sake. It's the best $9.99 you'll spend at the iTunes store

His Dark Materials
by Philip Pullman. To re-read. I started re-reading The Golden Compass to enliven my movie experience (and also because everything else I was reading made me feel bad), but the whole trilogy is simply un-put-down-able. AND it's so Wintery it'll give you frostbite.

MW by Osamu Tezuka. To read for the first time. It's holy, it's unholy, it's gay (as in, it's about homosexuals), and it's the most beautiful manga ever. I think one of Alan Moore's snake gods had its way with Tezuka when he was writing this. It is dirty as all hell, and never looks back. And if that's not how you're marching into a new year...well, I'm only going to suggest you re-think your entire life.

Tom Brady
by The Patirots. To NOT feel sorry for. Tom Brady represents the winner's conundrum. I used to feel a little sorry for him because he couldn't have a "normal" life wherein he got to hang with his newborn kid, and he would never shed the shame of his team being caught cheating...and he has that really unfortunate Paleolithic brow bone. But how do you love a team that refuses to lose? Is this a modern dysfunction? Oh this Red Sox-syndrome: when you can't love anything that always wins?

Blue Label by Johnny Walker. To drink. My mother sent this to me for Xmas. It is...amazing. It's all the things I like about blendeds (sweet and smooth) and single malts (peety), with none of the bad things. Well, except for the fact that only my mom can afford to get this for me. Nothing says holiday spirits like whiskey.

I don't actually want to help anyone buy any of the above (except Tom Brady, whose fee is a steal next season, I hear), because I'm lazy and it brings me no joy. This is the cul-de-sac of blogs, folks. No links, but we're all smart kids with Google browsers, right?

Suffice it to say the real meaning of Kwithmuth is love and faith and good cheer and three magi. Hug your neighbor and tell me how it felt.

Friday, December 14, 2007

From The BBC:

A Dutch diplomat has denied trying to "get rid" of a seven-year-old South Korean daughter he adopted as a baby, amid public outcry over the case.

South Korean officials said Raymond Poeteray and his wife gave up the child because she had failed to integrate.

But Mr Poeteray told Dutch media that the couple had parted ways with their daughter because of ill health.

Even if this guy is being sincere, what kind of douchebag "gives up" their child because they're ill? According to the adopting couple, the girl had an extreme fear of bonding that was diagnosed by a shrink. Her illness was that she wouldn't get close to anyone. So of course it makes sense to send her to an orphanage...

Little Jade wouldn't call us mom and dad, so we're sending her to an orphanage in Hong Kong.


Thanks for the heads up, Amy.

Who you callin' daemon, daemon?

After watching and re-reading The Golden Compass, I recently asked on this blog, "what would your demon be if you had one?" Tom responded that his daemon would be a "little Regis Philbin." I thought that was hilarious. Later in the day I was on the phone with my little sister (and when I say little, I mean she's physically teeny tiny), and I thought, "hey, my sister's like my daemon," which made me realize:

What if I'm the daemon and not the host???

So new question: if you were a daemon, who would be your host?


I think anyone who's ever watched a baseball fly out of any stadium has an appreciable thought about yesterday's Mitchell Report. I never thought I'd say this, but my first reaction upon seeing the outed roiders was, "poor Yankees." Their roster was outed harder than Hollywood in Perez Hilton's ass cheeks.

Thing is though, we seem to be more upset about the players' dishonesty than we are about their drug use. So how do you punish a liar?

Not that this would make any sense, or BECAUSE it wouldn't make any sense, I think punishment should be assigned as randomly as the drug tests were supposed to be performed. It could be like a Bingo game. I mean, there are so many players on that list, the Bingo game would at the very least speed things up.

Bingo caller: You know the deal, guys. Each of you gets a couple numbers, no questions asked.

Alright Bonds, let's see what Bertha's got in store for you. (Slowly rotating the Bingo cage) Looks like we have a revoked driver's license and palimony. So you can't drive for a while, but if you're good, we'll let you have a provisional permit - that means you have to have an adult in the car with you at all times. As for the palimony, you can start sending your kids a check for $50k each week at the start of the next fiscal quarter.

OK Pettite, you're next. Let's see...Ahhh, one of my favorites. Chemical castration. I think the board will understand if we let you off with just one number. (Pettite walks off with tears in his eyes, and stops briefly to look into Clemens' eyes before setting his head. Clemens watches him walk out of the courthouse before bursting into tears and screaming "NOOOOOO!")

And who do we have here? (Snickering) An oldie but goodie...Mo Vaughn. Ah, Mo Mo Mo...(Bingo caller visibly upset with the results) Dammit! $80 fine and a day of community service.

Mo Vaughn: (Sliding glasses up his nose) If I am to understand this correctly, I can contest the $80 fine at the county courthouse, but the charge is dismissed if the presiding officer is absent or tardy by at least 15 minutes. Is that correct?

Bingo caller: (Gritting teeth) Yes.

Whoah, where did you come from?

Space filling preface: The Holiday Season officially started yesterday when I looked for "Baby It's Cold Outside" sung by Carmen McRae (rrrrrr). Suggested Winter listening: Carmen McRae, CocoRosie, Fridge, Stars...

Moving on>> I'm not going to diss Pitchfork, but I was watching close to all 50 "top music videos of 2007" on Pop Music Uber Alles when I noticed a trend.

It's the "whoah where did all those people come from?" video (aka the verizon network video).

Case one:
1,2,3,4 by Feist (mash-up with Gloria Estefan's "1,2,3" anyone? Anyone?)

Case two:
What's a Girl to Do, by Bat For Lashes

Case three:
All My Friends, LCD Soundsystem

Case four (which wasn't on the Top 50 but should have been):
Sentimental Journey, by Yuki

link to The Top 50

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Kenya Hara pictures

A couple weeks ago I assisted the inimitable Kenya Hara (art director of the MUJI/No Logo Store and conceptual designer at large) on his jaunt through New York and Washington D.C. I have never met a designer with such a knack for rhetoric in both Japanese and English but somehow I was consigned to interpret for him.

I would have posted pictures a long time ago...HAD THE HARD DRIVE MONSTER NOT EATEN MY PHOTOS RIGHT AFTER HE LEFT. Fortunately his assistant (who's actually one of his senior designers but speaks fluent English) had taken some pictures, which I just got today.

Some choice bits of Hara wisdom:

"I call it 'emptiness' and not 'minimalism' or 'negative space' because I'm Japanese, and those are not Japanese words."

"I am the exact opposite of Karim Rashid. He's obnoxious."

"Everyone was trying to figure out what 'no design' meant, and it took a while for us to figure out it really just meant 'perfect design.'"

"They used to call me spider (kumo) because I was so spindly, but now I'm fat so they call me bear (kuma)."


I go back and forth with fashion mavens. One day I'll think they're all douchebags for making people feel so bad about themselves, and the next day Marc Jacobs shows up to his own Christmas party looking like this, thereby redeeming the whole industry:

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


Dentsu versus Biegel, part 3: The brothel-happy CEO is also an anti-semite.

But how do you use bias to disdain bias? The ex-Dentsu America creative director claims Dentsu Corp. uses "token Jews" to placate the chosen employees; to stay a toe ahead of equal opportunity employment.

"Defendants have openly discussed firing Mr. Fidoten, as well as removing his responsibilities," Mr. Biegel said in the statement. "Mr. Fidoten is quite literally a token Jew, presented as a fig leaf to hide the simple fact that Mr. Andree and his fellow gentile managers have in one year eliminated every Jew in the creative department at Dentsu."

Reminds me of the Biden "Obama's a clean cut guy for a black dude" gaffe.

Uncle Tom if you do, Uncle Tom if you don't. [BTW, how long has it been since I saw the word "gentile" used in a non-secondary, contemporary context?]


Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Chris Butcher from The Beguiling has posted an in-depth article on yaoi manga at Xtra (queer site). Nothing brand new for the mangaficionado, but he does direct our attention to yaoi manga starring "bears, cubs and daddies." A sub-genre I for one know nothing about.

But seeing as how we're talking about Japanese comics...are unhairy bears still bears? I'd probably call them seals or walruses. Maybe even "chu toro" and "o toro." Hehe....Torotaro....hehehe


Relegiance, or Tap That (Comp)ass

Just saw The Golden Compass. I give it a "meh" but as many have already remarked, the panserbjorne were worth the ticket price. The poor film can't win though - it's too atheistic or too disloyal to the original story depending on who you ask.

I was conversing with friend Sanford about the subject of religion and the masses and realized how ironic it is that the masses would be politically mobilized through religion. People typically tend towards church in times of trouble (what my childhood Sunday school teacher would have called "poor weather Christians"). So it's ironic that certain politicians (Bush admin) should rally the church, since its congregants were swollen with economic and health-care related miseries of their creation. Tsk tsk.

But I digress. The question is, if you had a daemon (assuming we're all adults and so it would already be settled, unlike Lyra's Pantaleimon), what shape would it take?

vortex continues

Well, it's officially a vortex. I got wiped out by a cold over the weekend, and now my roommate is throwing up everything that goes into his mouth.

But there's some silver lining here, if silver is the sometimes color of magic. I'm working the Giant Robot store (on 9th at A y'all. Come say 'hi'). And no joke, there is a hawk or eagle, trapped behind our building. I keep hearing "skreeeeee!"


Can't find it, otherwise you know I'd rock the falconer's pose out there. I'm wearing my LL Bean hunting boots and everything (which btw, have become indispensible. If you're in a cold place, I highly recommend buying a pair. It's worth every cent.).

Then as if in a Kozlowski film, this old mute woman gestured at the locked door to let her in. I unlocked the door and explained that we weren't open yet but she gave me these sad eyes, so I thought, "damn it is cold out there" and let her in. She walked down the galley moaning approval of the comics and stickers, then picked up an Adrian Tomine postcard and walked out. She walked over to the adjacent Gallery and did the same exact thing.

Anyhoo, none of the magic or sickness prevents me from rolling with the blog show. I'm conscripting myself to write today. (Cracking knuckles)

First, as I'm completely sure you all know, PornTube is being sued for copyright infringement. Yes, you heard me right. PornTube. That it exists, though not surprising, is the real gem in this story. Go ahead, laugh. It's so quietly deliciously hilarious.

Speaking of porn, I was recently shocked to learn that women are no longer saddled with just the prospects of a more youthful vulva (rejuvination), but also with the prospect of "virgin pink nipples." Someone is making and selling "nipple brightening cream," folks. I can't tell you how many ways this offends me. As if we didn't hate the way we look enough, now the tips of our bzonkadonks are too dark. For some reason, this offends me way more than any other kind of cosmetic procedure. Yet I am as offended as I am philosophical. It reminds me of a conversation I had with a friend, whose girlfriend didn't shave her armpits but did shave her Y. The boyfriend said, "same difference. Both shaves make her look younger than she is, and she just doesn't care as much what I think of her armpits, so it actually makes more sense." No, friend. Not the same difference. But why not?

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Vortex and Literature

This posting is the fourth, maybe fifth draft thereof, and I owe/blame it all on the tiny little vortex I'm in right now. I suppose it should be of some comfort that "when it rains, it pours," since that must mean good things also happen in droves. 

But mostly it's bewildering. I mean sure, getting my bike stolen, my myspace account hacked, and losing my hard drive in the same week is pretty bad, but last night, my friend Nate and I were talking about the Virginia Tech Shooting, and how society is so ______(fill in the blank) as to have already created offensive pornographic parodies of the shooter. I added that the event went from "tragedy" to "phenomenon" in a matter of days, leaving very little time for the nation to mourn, opting instead to deconstruct the media and race relations in some attempt at logical erasure.

Not two pauses after this heavy conversation did we start talking about where each of us wanted to go to in the eventuality that we left New York City. (Nate is finishing up his PhD and will be looking for academic jobs soon, so location is more of a crapshoot for him.)  He said, 
"If the only position available is in Omaha, that's where I'm going." To which I responded, "I hear Omaha is actually pretty awesome. It's like Portland (Oregon) ten years ago." We went on about how Omaha might actually be pretty rad.

I can't tell you how hard my jaw dropped when I read news of yesterday's mall shooting. Nate was pretty gobsmacked too.

Ironically, it's been almost 10 years since the horrifying Thurston High School shooting just outside of Eugene Oregon. Not quite Portland, I know, but the resemblance in history is kind of frightening.

Now, forgive my sudden veering of course but...
One nice thing about such vortexes as described above is that I, for one, felt compelled away from the computer. And once far enough away, I found I had a tall stack of books I had/wanted to read. And I think I've just broken a personal record - I'm counting over a thousand pages of lecture over the past few days.

The first book is more like an anecdote: Was She Pretty by Leanne Shapton.
Anyone with a Trojan Myth of an ex in their own past-ure (past + manure = pasture) or their current partner's, will appreciate this, as I had. But you'll also appreciate the book being torn to pieces by Marisha Pessl in The NY Times Book Review because yes, it sucks to have to live up to the pageantry of exes, but it also sucks to pick at nasty scabs.

Next, Kara Walker: My Complement, My Enemy, My Oppressor, My Love. (She has an exhibit up at The Whitney through February btw) As much belles lettres as monograph, "wow" is really the only reaction I had. 
Neuter or Naughty, wow. 
The End of Uncle Tom and the Grand Allegorical Tableau of Eva in Heaven, wow.
Letter From a Black Girl, wow.

At night I was reading the frequent victim of my name-dropping, Scott Westerfeld. I finished the third installment of his Uglies Trilogy, Specials, in a night.
He's a YA author, and it's funny, but only two books have every brought tears to my eyes. One was There's a Boy in the Girl's Bathroom by Louis Sachar (of subsequent Holes fame), also a YA novel; and here-mentioned Specials

After finishing Specials I couldn't fall asleep so I re-started The Golden Compass, by Philip Pullman.

I also found myself bored enough to read Richard Russo's Empire Falls (which I bought after a lovely weekend in Camden, Maine, where he's from and writes about). Eighty pages was about all I could handle because it's about a divorcé who's nostalgic for his ex-wife (ibid: the first book about exes and you do the math).

Unfortunately, the next book I started reading (this one an assignment for a job), was a Japanese novel called Parallel, about...a...divorcé...nostalgic...for his ex-wife...sigh...I just can't get away from these guys, can I?

I figured if I was going to do this for money, I may as well do it in a good mood, so I put Parallel down for later post-coffee reading and picked up Kelly Link's Stranger Things Happen
and darnit if my heart didn't just go KLUNK right there. The first story, "Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose," is about a freaking dead husband pining over his now widowed wife, from the after life.

Vortex, people. Vortex. I've finally thrown in the towel and come back to the computer. 

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

When it rains it pours.
First my hard drive, now my MySpace account.
FYI, if you think you're getting a message from me via MS, ignore it. I may have a colorful sense of humor but I'd never forward you links to pictures of private parts. Not because I'm a prude, but it's so junior high. (pshaw! whatever...)

Will be back being regular blogger and by a computer tomorrow (fingers crossed).

Monday, December 3, 2007

Overcoming Rage

Hard drive crashed...F**K!
Smug techies don't help my mood.
Costs too much to fix.

This is the second time in my life that a hard drive has crashed. First time with a PC and this time in my MacBook. I suppose it's what I get for traveling with a big magnetic appliance as if it were made of rubber. 

I'm pretty upset about all the data I lost, but I think about how this reflects on my relationship to technology. I might be a cyborg, in the mundane but philosophical sense of my dependence on computer technology, but through crashed hard drive I have come to the realization that all talk of artificial intelligence is necessarily "kid's stuff" compared to organic intelligence when you see how RELIEVED I am to lose all this "data." As a cyborg, the organic equivalent to this lost data is breaking a smallish bone - temporary handicap, potentially costly recovery, six months to get back to Doh (Solfege, not Simpson). 

But if I'd lost organic intelligence in a "hard drive crash" of the physiognomy, man, someone would be helluv pissed (probably not me per se, because I'd literally be out of my mind).

Don't get me wrong. I went through a moment of rage upon first discovering my faulted hard drive, but a part of me is excited to have lost four months of data (four months because the last time I backed up my HD was in July). 

To add ironic insult to injury, do y'all remember I'd blogged a few weeks ago about my bike being "stolen.?" A short week later I found out it had not in fact been stolen, rather I had locked it up at a bar and then got a ride home later forgetting I'd biked there in the first place.

So far so funny, right? Dumb Anne, got drunk, "misplaced" her bike and got mad at the world for no reason. Lesson learned...Not so fast.

A few days ago did I lock my bike on a busy corner of Brooklyn and leave it there from noon to 4pm (i.e. in broad daylight). And so just as I had locked it, had the lock been undid and had Anne come back to a bikeless expensive ass Kryptonite lock. Yes people, my bike REALLY got stolen. 

In the end, I didn't get to  be enraged that my bike actually got stolen, because I'd already gotten so enraged the first time around when the thief was my drunken forgetfulness. My ego cried wolf and the whole village of my emotions turned the other way.

(Funny also that two things I had believed to be invincible - the Kryptonite lock and the Apple computer - are as penetrable as anything else I own.)

Folks, turn off your computers for a second. Now walk away from it. And stay away from it for like a whole day. Make it a day that counts. Monday before a deadline or something. It will feel really screwy at first, but then really good real quick. (Disclaimer: when you get fired don't look at me.)

Thursday, November 29, 2007

The Stranger covers Japanese noise.
Canada tells Japan to get with it:

(Cut and paste please)

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


btw, I'm guest blogging at The Beat (comic book industry blog hosted by Publishers Weekly - see link in "blogroll" column to your right) for the next couple of days.

shreddie van halen

A friend recently showed this to me and I laughed so hard I fell down.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Making Fun of Feminism

From AdAge:
In an op-ed titled "A Company's Ugly Contradiction" in The Boston Globe earlier this month, contributor Michelle Gillett said, "Viewers are struggling to make sense of how Dove can promise to educate girls on a wider definition of beauty while other Unilever ads [for Axe] exhort boys to make 'nice girls naughty.' ... Unilever is in the business of selling products, not values, and that means we, the consumers, are being manipulated, no matter how socially responsible an ad seems." WPP Group's Ogilvy & Mather handles Dove. Bartle Bogle Hegarty, part owned by Publicis Groupe, handles Axe, and Edelman handles public relations for both brands. "Onslaught," from Ogilvy, Toronto, has amassed about 1 million views on YouTube since its Oct. 1 debut, still well under the 12 million generated by its oft-honored predecessor, "Evolution," whose viewership also got a boost from the new video.


And speaking of videos...

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Painting with fishies!

Gyotaku began in early 19th-century Japan. By applying ink to the outside of the fish and then pressing rice paper onto it, fishermen created permanent visual records of their catch. This became the primary method of recording images until the advent of modern photography.

Reading this the first thing I thought of was actually a table of pre-photography Anglo-Americans making prints with turkey drumstick grease to permanently commemorate their TDays. "Like finger paints and threshold markings of a growing Billy or Janey, the turkey impression, or Toritaku began in the early 19th century as a way for Americans to celebrate native American-Indian heritage in the comfort of their own culinary bounty."

Update: I just realized there are people who are allergic to MSG, so I want to apologize for any suggestion that MSG is totally safe. Nothing is safe kids. Nothing.

link to Gyotaku story.

MSG - Man it's so Stinkin' Gooooood

I decided all I'm going to talk about today and tomorrow is food and give myself both a challenge and a break from real blogging.

Had Setagaya Ramen for lunch today in the East Village, where commendations were high for their MSG-free natural broth. Their shio ramen (salt broth) is apparently made with Vietnamese sea salt instead.

I'm going to say something that will blow your mind:

MSG is a naturally occurring substance in sea kelp and algae.

So all those commercials for the new Campbell's Soup where they talk about sea saltiness making their "low sodium" product even tastier than ever, are actually telling you it has some monosodium action going on. And you know what? It's ok man. MSG took on a beastly persona with everyone freaking out about heart disease and blood pressure (god, remember all those blood pressure machines at your local pharmacy? Whatever happened to those things?). But high blood pressure and heart disease are as much the fault of shitty habits like smoking and working too hard, as it might be Happy Wok's dinner combination. You see any arm squeezy doohickies at your local chigae jip?

I wonder if this wasn't an American government conspiracy?

Anyway, next time someone gives you hootenanny about Ajinomoto or the tub of MSG on your Korean restaurant table, just say, "hey, it's essentially sea salt. Besides, at least I don't got sugar-betes." (Best neologism ever. Thanks SNL.)

I'd like to add that the real cake-taker in re: healthy-ish fast food is a ramen broth made entirely from vegetables and kalamata olive oil. I make it with sea salt, yes, but kalamata olive oil really makes it. That, a lot of sesame seed and a good noodle, and you got yourself a real healthy soup.

Gobble gobble, your face is a mess

If you're like any number of people (including me), you love food, and not in that weird way where you only eat persimmons for a year and poo on your lover's face to get him off, or in that other weird way where you eat lots and then throw it up because it's the only way you can cry.

We love food because it's delicious. So let's celebrate T-Day in style.
Me, I'm making Greek potato puree (skordalia) instead of mashies; cranberry jubilee; turkey stuffed with regular bread instead of crumbs; chinese style green beans; and a smallish turkey.

Speaking of small fowl, I just thought of a great term for a gathering of young men: veal sausage party.

Eat up, fools.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

This has to be the most ridiculous story in the news today.

At halftime of the Jets' home game against the Pittsburgh Steelers Sunday, several hundred men lined one of Giants Stadium’s two pedestrian ramps at Gate D. Three deep in some areas, they whistled and jumped up and down. Then they began an obscenity-laced chant, demanding that the few women in the gathering expose their breasts.

When one woman appeared to be on the verge of obliging, the hooting and hollering intensified. But then she walked away, and plastic beer bottles and spit went flying. Boos swept through the crowd of unsatisfied men.

1. The phenomenon is ridiculous. But careful what you wish for guys. You might be staring at tits that look like your balls with nipples.

2. The fact that this is news is kind of ridiculous too though. I put nothing past a group of football fans getting drunk in a stadium when their team sucks. Call me when the Jets actually start winning.

3. Of course, I've found it interesting enough to talk about. Well, it's just my finger-wagging, I suppose. My question is, where do you draw the line? If I got spit at for not showing my boobs at a football game, I'd go Ahmedinejad on their ass.


Monday, November 19, 2007

Art Sale, Cause

My friend Amy runs a great cause called Visual Aids, which "utilizes the visual arts to promote AIDS awareness and...historicizes the contributions of artists with HIV and the estates of artists lost to AIDS."

On December 1-2, VisualAids is selling over 1000 post-card sized artworks by established and emerging artists at their 10th Annual Postcards From the Edge benefit. [James Cohan Gallery, 533 W. 26th St.]

These original pieces of art are selling for only $75, and artists include Kiki Smith and Barry McGee, to mention just a couple of the more established artists Giant Robot fans might be interest in.

If you didn't get to go to the Post-It Show at GR2 because you're in New York City, well...this isn't the same but it's similar. And I don't know about you, but a $75 postcard is about all I can afford in terms of art.

Check it out.

Lovin' You...It's Easy Because You're Not Ugly

My last post read like the rant of a Jewish mother crossed with a Korean mother. I apologize. It's been a long day.

But permit me to go bad stand-up comedy for one more posting.

Last Friday I drank a lot of alcohol with two other drinkers, and suddenly everything was funny, including the "Loving You" by Minny Ripperton playing at the restaurant I was in. If you've ever really listened to the song, she starts singing about making love to this beautiful person...which led me to wonder: what would I think if someone said, "lovin' you is easy cuz' you're beautiful?" It's kind of a weird thing to say to someone you're making love to.
This had me laughing to myself all weekend and I came up with some prospective new titles for the bat siren anthem of love:

Thank God You're Hot
Thank God You're Hot (The Brow Wipe Remix)
You Know How Hard This Would Be If You Were Toe-up?
Lovin' You (It's Easy Cuz You're Not Ugly)
I Love You Just [Because of] The Way You Are

Dance Dance Dance

aside/preamble: what a busy day.

This weekend I went to Staten Island and witnessed the thing called "high school student production sort-of talent show contest." This is going to seem unfair for the kids, but oh man. The kids.

The kids. Speaking of which, who ever came up with the wisdom, "it's like stealing candy from a baby?" I might have asked this before, but isn't that just mean? Who steals candy from babies? Why would this question signify "ease" and not "cruelty?"

Coochy coochy coo~~. Is that a Snickers bar I see in widdle Tommy's hand? Auntie Anne is hypoglycemic and hungover. Yes she is! Yes she is! Auntie Anne wants your iddy biddy Snickers bar Awwww. (Snatches candy from the baby and runs away.)

Anyway, not to be all "when I was a kid..." but maybe I can get away with saying "kids these days..." My high school classmates did parodies of The Grapes of Wrath, sneaking in clever jokes about senior english teachers. At generic Staten Island H.S. the jokes were all about TV commercials ("Can you hear me now?" ugh. Verizon - you lose. Bigtime. If I hear one more chuckle after asking that question, I'll slap someone. Probably a baby.) And my last needlessly cruel critique of this high school production: in one failed attempt to interpret the impact of global warming, the Juniors sang a rendition of "It's Raining Men" where the words of the chorus were changed to:

It's really hot! Oh my goodness, it's really hot. Oh my goodness.

Um. I think "It's raining (replace 'men' with an adverb, any adverb)" would have been just fine.
And yes, this is Anne taking candy away from babes. It's really hot? Yes. And now I'm going to slap you. I worry this is the effect of all those things we fear taking over the children. But I'm not scared. I'm disappointed.

But Anne would not just shit on high school kids because it's funny. There's a point to this whole exposé. I realized something:

The one thing these kids seemed to at least want to get right was dancing. Nowhere is dancing more important than in junior high and high school. Like, everyone but the chick who drives a hearse wants to know how to dance, and even hearse-girl was pretty stoked to find out she could flail her arms to The Smiths and a really dark room full of clove cigarette smoke.

What's more, 6th through 12th graders love to dance in sync with each other more than most age groups. And if you don't want to dance, you want to watch your friends dance. My friend Jenny and I were talking about this, and she wondered aloud, "where did moves like the Roger Rabbit and Running Man get their ubiquitous appeal? And do high school students still name their dance moves?"

Is the Running Man the new Patty Cake?

Anyway, upon graduation, the number of aspiring dancers and dance enthusiasts drops by 80%, and among those left, you got the dancers who reinterpret ballet to the sound of minimalist bass flute and an audience of five at the local college, and everyone else "dancing" in T-Pain videos, funnelling champagne down their but crack. You're considered lucky if you end up cheerleading for the Trojans.

Yes, this is Anne being an old conservative hag.

Thing is, I don't care that the neo-pubescent Staten Island H.S. Musical dancers wore torn t-shirts over their shoulder, camel-toe-tards, and enough make-up to put their natural faces out of business for good. If they want to pay homage to New Jersey, fine. It is Staten Island after all. I don't even care that their dance moves are older than me. It's touching, if anything. What stuns me though, is the life arc of dancing. One day we're all making The Electric Slide look more like The Astro-Glide, and the next day we're all making fun of it.

Case. In. Point.

Did I used to want to be able to jazzercise my way to popular glory? Sure. Did I know all about the Pilipino dance collective in junior high that aspired to guest spot on In Living Color? Of course. Did I brag about how my high school's dance team won nationals? Absolutely. Will I laugh at you now if you win a modern dance competition at Das Dansfest in Hanover? Probably, and really hard. (Note: one of my best friends is a modern dancer who won German dance competitions. I know this shit is taken seriously. Leave me alone.)

Let me make my ammends to youth and promise to dance a little this week.
And if I dance like it's 1999, it's because high school was still a fond memory for me then.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Barry Bonds versus Lance Armstrong

The shoe has fallen. Barry Bonds has been indicted for lying to the American people about how he got to be the Homerun King of the World. Tsk tsk. (Google Barry Bonds right now if you want a fresh news tip. I'm not going to link to anything.)

I never really liked him or The Giants, even though I love baseball and San Francisco. And I'm the first to tell you that competitive homerunning has ruined the great game.


As friend Ryan points out, the second most controversial athlete on drugs is Lance Armstrong, and I'd guess most Americans still think he's a hero, even though he left his wife for Sheryl Crow, and then left her for someone younger, and is now rumored to be running around with one of the Olson twins...even though he's definitely 'roided up. You know he goes biking with our incompetent president, Dubya?

...don't yell at me yet. I know he only has one ball. I know he has a charity. I have seen those yellow bracelets everywhere. Live Strong. Yellow bracelet. Bicycles rule. Yes yes and yes. But if Bonds is getting reamed for personal issues (tax evasion, infidelity and being friends with Jose Conseco were unsubstantiated smears that came up in the BALCO trials), why are we turning the other cheek to Lance's indiscretions?

But let's cut the bs. The question is: what would happen if Lance Armstrong were black?

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Wow. Kate Bush and The Golden Compass. What a brilliant combination!

copy + paste:
This story's a few days old but I'm lost for entertainment and it still makes me laugh. The headline alone:


The whole report is so noir, and birding is such a joke. Yes, it really is (I have a really long story about stuck up birders from Brooklyn but it's been told before and I've hated enough on the BK for 2007...suffice it to say birders are another chip on my shoulder).

As if that weren't enough, I went into the subway recently and there was an old homeless man feeding teeny tiny kittens his leftover leftovers, also begging for money. I actually teared up. Not because of the destitute man but because of the poor kittens. (I'm kind of a cat person.)

Anyway, you can imagine how much more entertaining this trial of the murdering birder is for me now. I almost want to give it the whole '50's noir treatment.

Then Mittens scrawled under bridge, assuming a safe position, but the man came out of nowhere. The man with binoculars and the steadiest eyes in the game. He had his gun pointed at Mittens and they both knew it was aimed for keeps. 'This is bird country,' the man said, and shot Mittens...execution style.


Monday, November 12, 2007

Whoah. Disney mobile phone service in Japan.

TOKYO (AP) — Walt Disney Co. and Softbank Corp. said Monday they would jointly offer mobile phone service in Japan starting next spring as "Disney Mobile."

Softbank, Japan's No. 3 carrier, and Walt Disney's Japan unit said in a joint news release they would cooperate on new handsets, mobile content, marketing and services.

"Disney brings its strong brand and legacy of developing great entertainment with broad appeal to our mutual venture," said Masayoshi Son, Softbank's chairman and CEO.

The company said details would be released later.

Disney is planning to lease Softbank's mobile network and use Softbank's stores to market phones and services, The Wall Street Journal reported.


I would only get a Disney phone if the receiver changed my voice to sound like Donald Duck.

Pahabloki Nerudakami

The LA Times compares and contrasts Pablo Neruda and Haruki Murakami, which is a bit like comparing Chileans poets and Japanese fabulists, but whatever.

In the end, of course, we love and remember writers for how they say things, not for what they say. "That time was like never, and like always. / So we go there, where nothing is waiting; / we find everything waiting there," writes Neruda in Sonnet IV of "100 Love Sonnets," a blissful, hopeful beat that finds an echo at the end of Murakami's splendid tale "A Shinagawa Monkey," in which a woman can't remember her own name and struggles to find out why.

"Things might work out," Murakami tells us. "And then again they might not. But at least she had her own name now, a name that was hers, and hers alone." These writers stun us with their insight and a grace that is worn almost casually.


Friday, November 9, 2007

So does this mean shows like CSI would never fly in Japan?

According to this article in The LA Times, it's possible hundreds of murder cases have been unsolved in Japan, because autopsies are performed on only 11% of bodies that are found dead. And it's 6% in the Aichi prefecture, where a young man was declared to have died from "heart disease," even though he was found covered in bruises, lesions , broken bones and burns. [After a lot of media coverage the dorm prefect confessed to beating him and is now facing charges.]

This also means Japan's notoriously high suicide rate could be misspoken. Interestingly, the article points out that autopsy as a practice was introduced by Americans during post-War occupation, which is why we know about the Tuberculosis pandemic that was previously brushed off as a general consequence of defeat and ensuing shortage of basic necessities.

So much for deductive reasoning.

O hateful world

My very expensive bicycle just got stolen. (Viz: Scene in The Goonies when Josh Brolin steals a bike with training wheels from a little Asian girl so he can chase after his brother and his friends. Me, I'm that little Asian girl right now, stomping my feet screaming "I want my bike back!")

This angers me for a few personal reasons, beyond the requisite humiliation of being had:
1. I know most people on my block, and now I have to suspicion the ones I don't know. I'm talkin' to you, Apt. 3 at 457 XXX Street.
2. Walls and doors and furniture notwithstanding, the bike was only 20 yards from my bed on the same level. I was sleeping when it all happened. A part of me thinks I could have rustled inside, turned a light on, or have otherwise scared off the thief. I don't wish I caught him red-handed because I don't have a gun.
3. My bike wasn't a recreational toy. I actually need it to get around. I mean the thief must have known as much, seeing as how we're in Red Hook Wiscons... err, Brooklyn.

I'm going religious for punishment:
1. I am at heart, a proto-Christian. So I honestly would feel better knowing this guy assumes any kind of guilt. Maybe not for stealing my bike, but for being a worthless piece of shit.
2. I am also Christian in the sense that I wouldn't be against tying an abortion clinic bomb to this his balls. [I'm obviously being sarcastic. Bombs are bad, abortions are a-ok, and thieves are dickless twats.]
3. I have tried to take a Buddhist approach to this too: shit happens. I want to shit on this guy.
4. Or maybe I'll go Ganesh on the thief and rip off all his limbs and head with my six arms. Or was it four?

Slate figures out why we think white men tend to date Asian women.

OK, first let me say this isn't MY recurring obsession - the politics of inter-racial dating. I know lately it seems I post a lot about it (definitely more than when I was at Vertical). It just so happens the world is very interested in interracial dating and so it sees fit to let me know when someone is writing about it...and yes, I find it's relatively interesting blog fodder.

Nonetheless, the myth of a ubiquitous tendency- white men and Asian women having some preferential chemistry. I want to say for the record, once again, that the gender distribution of inter-racial dating among my friends at least, is equal. I.e. I know as many white men with Asian women as white women with Asian men. To say nothing of all the other combinations that are not so obvious but much more telling - why are native Asians so disinclined to date Asian-Americans, for example?

Anyhoo, Slate has taken one of my favorite lenses to the issue - economics. Logic is a thing of beauty. It's why I don't knit. I'd rather untangle knots than make them.

Slate figures out why we think white men tend towards Asian women:

Another clear gender divide, this one less expected, emerged in our findings on racial preferences, reported in a forthcoming article in the Review of Economic Studies. Women of all the races we studied revealed a strong preference for men of their own race: White women were more likely to choose white men; black women preferred black men; East Asian women preferred East Asian men; Hispanic women preferred Hispanic men. But men don't seem to discriminate based on race when it comes to dating. A woman's race had no effect on the men's choices.

Two wrinkles on this: We found no evidence of the stereotype of a white male preference for East Asian women. However, we also found that East Asian women did not discriminate against white men (only against black and Hispanic men). As a result, the white man-Asian woman pairing was the most common form of interracial dating—but because of the women's neutrality, not the men's pronounced preference. We also found that regional differences mattered. Daters of both sexes from south of the Mason-Dixon Line revealed much stronger same-race preferences than Northern daters.

You see, so it's not that white men fetishize Asian women. It's that Asian women aren't averse to their come-ons.
(Thanks Jenny)

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Of all the film and tv tropes in Japan, I think The Spontaneous Declaration is probably the most cliché and overused. Visual reference: Benjamin Braddock pounding on the glass shield at Elaine Robinson's wedding in The Graduate. It usually involves a man/woman screaming in the rain at his best girl/boy friend, how much he/she has loved her/him.
They always use slow, halting statements, and it always works.

So it comes as no surprise that there is a men's group trying to repatriate their home lives through spontaneous declarations on the street, atop milk crates.

TOKYO (AFP) — Perched on a beer case serving as a makeshift podium in central Tokyo, a group of middle-aged men are standing up to save their marriages -- and, they hope, marriage in Japan generally.

In a country where reticence about one's private life is the norm, these men are trying to prove their worth to their wives by making their vows as public as possible.

"I'm sorry I always forget to put the toilet seat down," said one man in a suit and tie confessed as he balanced on the beer box on a recent Saturday in Shimbashi, Tokyo's hub of "salaryman" corporate workers.

"I hereby declare that I will stop going to the hostess bar, I'm sorry," said another man as his wife looked on amid a crowd of curious bystanders.

Said another man: "I love you, even though I don't really say it."

The 20 men taking part in the unlikely rally chant their slogan together: "Say 'thank you' without hesitating. Say 'sorry' without being scared. Say 'I love you' without being shy."

The gathering is the brainchild of Shuichi Amano, a magazine editor in the southern city of Fukuoka and founder of the National Teishu-Kampaku Association, loosely translated as the Chauvinistic Husbands Association.


Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Why is Sh**ting on Sufjan Stevens so hilarious?

All my friends who don't live in New York hate New York. Near as I can tell, they imagine the city as one giant, loathsome American Apparel ad, a crass, joyless, narcissistic, careerist, emaciated, insincere, hopelessly uptight, suffocatingly twee cesspool of white-privilege Williamsburg hipsterdom. I'm paraphrasing; they're stereotyping. Mashed into the BAM Howard Gilman Opera House Saturday night, beholding the third and final sold-out performance of Sufjan Stevens's half-hour symphony dedicated to the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, with roughly 15,000 musicians crammed onstage unleashing whirling, whimsical dervishes as five vegan-thin dancers cheerfully gyrate with glowing neon hula hoops and three video screens blare arty auto-erotic footage overhead, I revel in what my friends are missing even as I concede their point. Only in New York. This is precious, precious, precious stuff. Let me say up front that the world is a far more interesting and wondrous place with Sufjan in it; furthermore, one of his songs frequently makes me cry. We'll come back to that. For now, I have the hula-hoopers to contend with.

From The Village Voice

best double standards story ever.

From my friend Nate, grad student in Japanese Lit:

so this weekend i ended up going to the big j-lit conference at
P****... in any case though, the reason im writing - a bit long
so bear with me.

so during the conference, there was a panel on hokkaido ...
afterwards, during the q and a, this woman raises her hand

and makes a very post-colonialy comment about "dont you think its
messed up to call the panel voices FROM hokkaido, when the actual
voices from hokkaido are ainu who are not represented, etc etc".

then, like ten minutes later, during the next panel, the same woman's
phone rings. now, i would imagine its embarassing enough to have your
phone go off in the middle of one of your colleagues' talk, with
everyone in your entire field looking at you, etc.

but here's the thing:

her ringtone was THE SONG.

you know. blekka dekka dek dek dek-dek dekkk.

can you imagine being a professor of japanese literature who just got
outed to every other professor of japanese literature as having the
cheesiest orientalist song play everytime you get a call.

I've obviously elided certain details to protect a few identities, but you get the picture.
And the song. What is that song called anyway and who originated it?
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The Department of Homeland Security will investigate a Halloween costume party hosted by a top immigration official and attended by a man dressed in a striped prison outfit, dreadlocks and darkened skin make-up, a costume some say is offensive, the department's secretary said.

Somehow I highly doubt this was the only offensive costume at this party.
(Thanks Ryan)

Biting the Big Apple

NEW YORK -- -- People are traveling to New York City with the aim of killing themselves in a phenomenon researchers call "suicide tourism," a Manhattan public health expert reported Monday.

Research reported in Washington at the annual meeting of the American Public Health Assn. suggests that one in 10 suicides committed in Manhattan since 1990 have involved nonresidents.

(My friend Ryan asks: Do they come to NY to die or are they so disappointed that they kill themselves?)

New York. The greatest city in the world!? =D


Oreo, Twinkie and a Reese's Pieces

From The NY Times Freakonomics blog:

"Accusing" kids of acting Asian has replaced the accusation that someone is acting white, but they both mean the same thing - you're trying too hard at school.

The thread of comments is what's really interesting. One guy suggests that accusations of being black when someone eats fried chicken and watermelon would be a national scandal...but obviously had no problem identifying and spelling out the stereotype.

(Thanks Julia)

Friday, November 2, 2007

I'm not even going to qualify this or preface with apologies, because it came from nowhere, and I'm otherwise fresh out of ideas to post, but here are two epiphanies that hit me consecutively:

Masturbation. The ultimate tautology?

"High Brow(n)" - million dollar Mexican luxury brand idea

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Belated Happy Halloween image. I thought the picture of the woman giving birth to herself was genius, but this actually takes the cake.
A Jack (Daniel's induced)-ugh-Lantern. Hehehe.

(Thanks, Amy)

Twilight Zone Brooklyn

I just stepped out to collect my dried laundry when on the way I walked past two middle-aged women pontificating about young women being "disrespectful."

Jane Doe 1: That's what my niece needs, a beatdown. (Neckroll) A proper beatdown (neckroll/slow blink combo) teach her discipline.

Jane Doe 2: That's what I'm telling her. If she's going to act like a boy I'm going to beat her like a boy.


I thought of all those PSA's about domestic violence, and what I'm supposed to do about this admission of corporal punishment, but realized I just got a short haircut and was wearing jeans with a ratty sweater. God forbid I get beat like a boy.

Once entering the laundromat, a pudgy old man snapped an unwilling photo of me with a disposable camera and said, "smile!" I grimaced and turned away from him. Next thing I know he's explaining that he's with an insurance company taking pictures of the place because the owner is being sued by someone who was attacked by his dog.

Insurance man to no one in particular: You come here often? (I ignore him) You see dogs around here? Because my client got attacked by a dog.

Another laundromat patron: I ain't seen no dogs around in the laundromat. I wouldn't do laundry with a dog in here.


What a clusterf***.

Your Japanese Noise Digest

"I like Christ but I hate Christianity." -Keiji Haino

Who needs to blow out their ears at a live show when you got YouTube? It's like watching Joel Osteen on TV instead of sitting in a sports arena waiting to feel God through a PA and the wild gesticulations of the person next to you finding his tongue somewhere behind his frontal lobe.

So without further ado, some amazing Japanese Noise clips chez YouTube:

First, The Incapacitants at the No Fun Fest in Red Hook Brooklyn:

Next, Atsuhira Ito, who as far as I know, is the only fluorescent light bulb player in the world. (Thanks, Lorrie)

and Finally, via WFMU, what might arguably be the best footage of Masonna.

Cautionary Tail

I always thought this would happen to my old employer first.

NEW YORK The former creative director of the U.S. arm of Japan's largest advertising agency sued the company Wednesday, saying he was pressured to visit a brothel and engage in other sexually explicit activities on company outings and then was fired after he complained.

I occasionally hear stories of people being taken to these secret little hideouts for Japanese businessmen - piano bars, hostess clubs, massage parlors in Jackson Heights - and they always come back either bewildered or enchanted. Sometimes they keep going on their own. Most times they tell their stories like it was Bangkok on acid and never return. Occasionally they are actually repulsed and start complaining about how this perpetuates stereotypes about Asian women and the commerce of their supposed sexual proclivity.

My favorite story comes from a Mormon friend who at the time worked for Goldman-Sachs, and went to a popular Japanese-style piano bar with a bunch of financial types. He felt sorry for his assigned hostess and asked her rhetorically, "how can you let yourself do this?" as he sipped his Diet Coke, blinking like a toad. Slrrrp. [To get the full effect you must realize this friend has never ever gotten drunk, and talks somewhat rapidly.]


Wednesday, October 31, 2007

RIP Kisho Kurokawa

What a weird way to find out more about a movement - an obituary of one of its founders:

Mr. Kurokawa was one of the youngest founding members of Japan’s Metabolist movement, which advocated an organic, renewable architecture that could evolve through the addition of clip-on modular units. This school of thought emerged around 1960, partly as a response to concerns about overcrowding, and culminated in the Osaka World Expo of 1970, where three buildings by Mr. Kurokawa were showcased.

I wish I knew more about this before he died...not that I'd have tried to meet him or anything, but this is weird. One minute I hear "Metabolist movement" next minute I find a week-old obit in the Times.

How Deep Is Your Love?

This has to be the most entertaining set of statistics I've read in a really long time.

On average, the Japanese only have sex 48 times a year, well below the world average of 103 times and a huge distance from the 164 occasions the world-leading Greeks will go at it. There are 38 percent of Japanese couples who say they have sex at least once a week and 86 percent of those partnerships say they want more. The reason why they can't have more sex even though they want it is because it's hard for them to tell their partner how they feel. Throughout the world, 58 percent of couples say they feel at ease enough with their partner to be able to talk about sex, but only 21 percent of Japanese feel good enough to do so -- not even one-third of the 69 percent of Malaysian couples that are happy to chat about nooky. Among the Japanese, 38 percent felt the best way to improve their sex lives was to spend more time with their partner, while 36 percent just wanted to enjoy life more.

People, we're going to Greece.
From The Daily Mainichi.
My friend described a wall to me once. The wall you hit in the middle of a road. You know, the one made of solid titanium alloy, a million feet high and a million feet wide. On the other side is The Point, so thanks to the wall, the road you're on is seemingly pointless.


Some suggested cures to The Wall:

1. Play Pink Floyd's The Wall wait. Play it with The Wizard of Oz after the third MGM Lion's roar. Wait, no. Don't. But maybe play "Money" over and over.
2. Take Vitamin B6. Nature's Prozac.
3. Take 5HTP. Nature's Xanax.
4. Take a nap.
5. Get some peanut butter and a dog. Go to the bathroom with both.
6. Leave the country for a while.
7. Think of all the kids eating rocks in some impoverished country, and guilt yourself into doing a year's worth of work.
8. Blame your spouse and hit him/her/it. (Please don't do this unless your spouse is hitting you first, or your spouse is Dane Cook.)
9. Crawl into a corner, cry like an evangelist, apply black kohl eyeliner and listen to Disintegration by The Cure or anything by Sigur Ros, Mice Parade.
10. Make a U-turn.

You guys got any suggestions?

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

TIME Magazine names the Top 25 Horror Movies, leading up to Halloween.
One of the films is actually a docudrama about Japanese torture and "medical experiments" performed on war prisoners, called Men Behind the Sun.


Pirates! And not the interweb kind.

Beware pirates!

From The NY Times Lede blog:

The International Piracy Center, which reported the end of a downward trend in piracy earlier this month, recommends that ships stay at least 200 nautical miles away from the Somali coast, saying that the nasty seaborne criminals there are armed with rocket-propelled grenades and aren’t afraid to use them.

The International Piracy Center? (It's actually a "piracy reporting centre" hosted by the International Chamber of Commerce)

Monday, October 29, 2007

Culture Skulter

Here's a digest to "make up" for a few absent days chez blog.

DARJEELING LIMITED: Not bad. If you can get over Wes Andersonian clichés (e.g. slow motion file of main characters, self-conscious introduction of background music), you'll love the story.

I went in fully anticipating disappointment and maybe even disgust (re: Slate's lambast of Anderson's orientalism), but what surprised me were a. Jason Schwartzman cast as the romantic lover (in the most carnal sense of the word), b. the overwhelming message that spirituality is an escapist joke, and c. the amazing actor they cast as the main train steward. If the movie was orientalist (which it most certainly was in the same way every film in the world is doing something wrong), I at least, was able to ignore it.

YOSHIOKA TOKUJIN: He's a design polymath. About a month ago I went to a "furniture opening" for his Panna Chair - The concept is genius: Yoshioka designed a chair that bakes to full form. Hence the name "panna," Italian for bread.

Of all the kinds of openings and events out there, design-centered ones have to be the most interesting. On the one hand, everyone's behind-the-scenes. On the other, it's super lucrative, so there are no misgivings about where people are headed. Unlike publishing and theater events...

TEKKON KINKREET: I have to admit a slight personal agenda in bringing up Taiyo Matsumot's masterpiece bildungs-manga. I wrote an opinion piece about it for PW. Go get it.

AMERICAN MASTERS, CHARLES SCHULZ: It aired last night on PBS, and should have been split in two sections: Part 1: Martyrdom: The Joyce Schulz Story, and Part 2: Martyrdom: The Charles Schulz Story.

And...someone please get me this.

Friday, October 26, 2007

They've done gone done it. An ultra-nationalist Japanese rap song about The Yasukuni Shrine (for the unitiated: Yasukuni is a symbol of fascist Japan and generally regarded as a litmus of Asian diplomacy).

(Via Ryan from Japundit)

At least it sucks. The chorus is just some dude singing "Japan! Japan! How I love Japan!"

Feed the Hungry With Your Smarts!

(From Janet)

Win free rice for starving people with every correct answer in this quiz made by The United Nation World Food Program.

The questions start really easy but don't let that fool you.


Thursday, October 25, 2007

Bikes on Bikes

I don't usually link to The NY Times, because it's so ubiquitous, but they have a great slideshow of items that bombed or buzzed at design stores across the nation this year. Since many of you are design-savvy, to say nothing of how design-sensitive Giant Robot is, I thought I'd mention it.

One of the buzz items this past year was this thing:The Stockholm Bike Basket...Christmas present, anyone?

I have a story about bikes. Three years ago I got hit by a car going 45. I was on a bike. Broke a leg, my ego, spent Christmas and New Year dosed up and horizontal. Cried a lot. And the kicker was, I hadn't ridden a bike in ages before that, so I blamed myself - i.e. maybe the skill doesn't just come back. Maybe I'm just a bad biker.

Anyway, I figured it was no loss to the world if I never got on a bike again. But then I moved to Deep South Brooklyn, where you pretty much need a bike to get anywhere in less than an hour.

And I love it. It's made me more endeared to self-entitled critical massers, the Tour de France, and that protective hole in bike seats for testicles.

So then I came across this great bike design blog, which makes me realize that if you only need one compelling reason to ride bikes (other than that it's an environmentally friendlier alternative to cars), bicycles might be Man's greatest gift to Design. Symmetry, gears, perfect circles, function, detail, color, dimension, weight...

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

If I'd just lost my house in a mega-fire and Mickey Mouse showed up to make me feel better...I'd probably do something that would require another Geneva convention.

Disney announced that it would donate $2 million to the relief effort, with $200,000 of that going to the Red Cross for immediate needs and the rest earmarked for volunteer centers, rebuilding and restoring the environment.

And because it's Disney, the company will send some familiar characters over to Qualcomm Stadium, where thousands of San Diego evacuees are staying, as well other shelters in the next week. (LA Times)

I would start with anal rape.
What happens when The Postal Service and Bright Eyes have sex and give their accident to Jay-Z because the kid's too pathetic for one parent and too chipper for the other?


Damn if I can't stop fantasizing myself meeting the boy of my dreams at the mall as he traipses out of Hot Topic though. Mall-pop, my guilty pleasure.

(Thanks Sanborn, for the heads up) link.

Meta-Post: Halloween

Amelie Gillette's The Hater blog at The Onion/AV Club is one of the funniest of its kind - ridicule.

She informs us that American Apparel is campaigning Halloween with costume ideas using their garments. Gillette has ideas of her own. And they're way better.

WFMU has a bunch of great Halloween tidbits on their blog, including a clip of Mad Mad Monster Party?
I love old stop-motion animation.

And finally, the money-shot question: if you're Christian, how do you participate in Hallow's evil eve?

Like any other day of the year, Christians should exercise caution as wise stewards of their possessions and protectors of their families. Christian young people should stay away from secular Halloween parties since those are breeding grounds for trouble. Christian parents can protect their children by keeping them well-supervised and restricting treat consumption to those goodies received from trusted sources.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

End of a mini-era

There are a lot of sixth degrees in New York City the guides won't tell you about. If you work in any part of mass media, you will come out here, inevitably meet a bunch of UC Berkeley graduates, or make a friend at Conde Naste, or date someone who danced at Tisch, or until very recently, have had some intimate relation with Mo Pitkins.

This last item has nothing to do with how popular or large MP is, but simply because it was a place practically designed around people like "us." A place made attractive to "us" by filigree-ing what is otherwise considered tacky - e.g. instead of a blown up photo of the pizza man holding Bruce Willis around the shoulder scotch taped to the store front, they had caricatures of Lacanian wet dreams all over the walls; they made cocktails with dairy product.

If I talk about this, it's only because I know some of you aforementioned affiliates of the place won't have known that Mo Pitkins has closed down. My first reaction to the news was not one of sadness whatsoever. "Good riddance" was more like it, but on second thought, I will miss Chesterfield booths, secular seder, and even their mill of a performance venue.

Calling Dr. Slump

Interesting story in WIRED about how manga sales are slumping in Japan despite exponential growth abroad.

Fans and critics complain that manga — which emerged in the years after World War II as an edgy, uniquely Japanese art form — has become as homogenized and risk-averse as the limpest Hollywood blockbuster. Pervading the nation's $4.2 billion-a-year industry is a sense that its best days have passed.

I'm sorry. Did that say billion?

Don't Let the Title Fool You

Last night I caught half of Does Your Sould Have a Cold, even though the title and director's mug shot screamed, "b.s. indie movie about a disaffected thirty-something man who misses his girlfriend." The advertised McSweeney's interview didn't help in this pre-judgement of mine.

Turns out it's a documentary following a bunch of Japanese people who are "depressed." Except "depression" is described as an American import brought over by pharmaceutical companies who wanted to pawn off their anti-depressants. Before 2000, there was supposedly no word for "depression" in Japanese. "Does your soul have a cold" is a marketing pitch to describe the way "depression" feels. Since its introduction, American pharma has made gazillions of dollars off anti-depressant sales in Japan.


Anyway, I ended up watching a lot of the movie.

What I got out of it was a couple of people who seriously seemed suicidal (as they'd attempted it before), a really bad therapist (" wanna talk about anything? Um...ok. Next week then?") and the most endearing Japanese rope bondage scene ever. Worth watching for that alone.


Monday, October 22, 2007

Homer, do you like nachos?

This news link comes from Nate, who put it well: best promotion, ever.

BOSTON (Reuters) - Many Americans will be wagering on this week's baseball World Series. For Taco Bell, the stakes are a free taco for everyone in the United States.

The fast-food chain on Monday unveiled a promotion it is calling "Steal a Base, Steal a Taco," which will run through the best-of-seven matchup.

"Millions and millions of people will be watching the Series and hopefully tuning in to see when they are going to get their taco," said Taco Bell spokesman Rob Poetsch.

There has been at least one stolen base in every World Series matchup since 1990. When the first base is stolen, the unit of Yum Brands Inc, will announce a Tuesday afternoon when consumers will be able to walk into the chain's participating 5,800 outlets and ask for a free taco. Anyone who walks into a participating outlet during the give-away period would be eligible for a free taco.

Despite the promotion's name, stealing the taco will not be required.

Congratulations to Chip Kidd for winning an award that was handed to him by...PAUL SIMON!
Jesus. Talk about kudos.

Also, talk of film is very quick-paced. I just got this announcement about a film series taking place at Anthology Film Archives (1st and 1st, NYC) the first weekend of November. It'll examine where art meets politics. (Thanks Nate)

The Tokyo International Film Festival is well underway, and in recent discussion board postings, talk has been mounting over :

United Red Army

I apologize to anyone who just googled that title, and is now wondering what soccer-powerhouse Manchester United has to do with anything (the answer is nothing). The movie is actually about the Japanese terrorist-socialist group. They were infamously violent (and young); stories about the organization sound more like myth.

The film looks at the Asama Sansou Event in particular - the Japanese equivalent of The Davidian Church invasion in Waco Texas, sort of.

But here's the kicker - Jim O'Rourke did the music for the film.

[Update: O'Rourke talks about the film director (Koji Wakamatsu) in this clip on Wakamatsu's website.]

International Planetary

Here's a great article about Shan Sa - Chinese expat author in Paris whose new book is about Tokyo. She won an award for "The Girl Who Played Go" and she's not pro-Japan or China or Europe, but writes locative narratives that necessarily involve politics.


Also did anyone watch the Sox kill the Indians last night? At one point in their commentary, an unusually unsympathetic Joe Buck said of "Japanese import Daisuke Matsuzaka":

His gyroball is just an overglorified screwball.

Later, either he or Tim McCarver got all samurai on Matsuzaka:

The word Matsuzaka used was atone. He wants to atone for Game 3 by winning Game 7. It's been difficult transitioning from the Japanese league...but no matter his facial expression, Matsuzaka has a real passion for this team.

I.e. His face is totally placid, but he's ready to seppuku to The Series.

And speaking of the baseball love affair between US and Japan, Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters (best. team. name...EVER) manager Trey Hillman has been acquired by the Kansas City Royals. I really don't mean to let the nip on my shoulder get the better of me, but it's truly heartening to see Asian athletes be taken seriously. Even when they're American athletes coaching...Ham Fighters. Oh man, what I'd GIVE to run their PR.