Thursday, November 29, 2007
(Cut and paste please)
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Monday, November 26, 2007
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
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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
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
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
copy + paste:
BIRDER ADMITS KILLING CAT...BUT WAS IT ANIMAL CRUELTY?
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
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.
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
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.
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?
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.
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
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.link
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
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
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?
Somehow I highly doubt this was the only offensive costume at this party.
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
"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.
Friday, November 2, 2007
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.
Jane Doe 1: That's what my niece needs, a beatdown. (Neckroll) A proper beatdown (neckroll/slow blink combo)...to 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***.
"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.
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.]