Thursday, August 28, 2008

How to Start a Fire

The single greatest thing about camping in the great outdoors, is building a fire.

I credit fire-building to soothing the deepest emotional wounds, and I suppose if the LPGA pissed me off enough the fire could also inflict the deepest physical wounds too...which is another sort of "healing," if a felonious one.

And if building a fire doesn't fix you, you're not doing it right. I'm not talkin' lighter fluid, bonfires, or barbeques. This is campfire 101, meant only to heat your food, your body, and your soul.

Step 1: Find twigs in the area. You'll see here I've chosen to raise them on a platform of an old half-burnt log. The ground was really damp, and sometimes you'll need a little platform like this to get things started.

Step 2: Actually what you really need is some newspaper or the local pennysaver to start the fire. Hierarchy of wood product to burn should be paper-twigs-logs-logs with sappy bark.
Step 3: I like to pile my logs like a pyramid or teepee. Trick here is to create an air funnel. See those flames? I'm not blowing air on it. There's no gale wind. It's the physics of a vacuum. Plain and simple. Those logs will very quickly turn into "coals" and then you can roast the really sappy barky pieces of wood. Mmm...Once you got that fired up you can basically cook anything. I like cans of soup and roasted veggies.

Step 4: Most important in your fire-building is a "poker." If the kindling is "excelcior," the poker is Excalibur. Find something pretty raw, so it don't burn up or snap off when you're moving coals and logs.

F*** the LPGA

First, let me say I am OUTRAGED, and am boycotting the LPGA until they get their racist white trash mentality out of their hairy white trash assholes.

Second, let me explain.

The LPGA is planning on instituting an English proficiency requirement on all its members, punishable by suspension of their membership.

This is the equivalent of forbidding Raphael Nadal from playing tennis if he didn't pass an English exam; or preventing Michael Phelps from swimming in Beijing because he only knows "hello," and "thank you."

There are two things that make this simultaneously "unique" and "racist as fuck." The only group of people who were pulled aside in a special closed-door meeting to learn about this LPGA requirement, WERE THE SOUTH KOREAN WOMEN.

If that's not blatant racism, I just don't know what is.

Now, I'll grant that I may be biased myself because I am of Asian descent. Maybe my skin's a little thin here. And if that's the case let me refer to the Irish Number 3 seed PGA player and my new hero Padraig Harrington's reaction to the ruling:

Someone was reading the paper and brought it to my attention, as in, when they read it they were so amazed by this that they actually had to bring it to my attention. The person that brought (this ruling) to my attention asked, 'Does that mean ifyou're mute you can't play golf on the LPGA tour?'...
What if you have a person who genuinely struggles with learning new languages, they have a learning disability? That's tough to ask somebody with a learning disability who might have found golf as the saving grace in their life, to ask them to learn a different language or else you can't play...There's people out there who don't naturally pick up second languages...They could make an effort but it would just be difficult.

On top of feeling personally defensive for Koreans who've been singled out for not being chatty, I am also an avid golf fan and offended for the sport that an organizing principle would take into account such superficial difference. I am one of the ten people in the world who actually sort of follows...correction, followED what the LPGA was up to, and it appals me that they'd risk losing face with our demography (Asian women), since we apparently made up enough of their membership that they thought to antagonize them in the first place.

Here are some things the LPGA and supporters of the requirement are saying:

In the sports entertainment industry, it's important for our pros to communicate effectively with sponsors and the audience to promote the game. (Libba Galloway, Deputy Commissioner of LPGA)

My response: GOLF ISN'T WRESTLING. There isn't some hackneyed dialogue or fake rivalry to prologue the tournaments. Let me ask you hypothetically: have you EVER heard golfers talk at a tournament, except to say a few words upon victory?

Tiger Woods has like a dozen tv commercials airing right now, variously for Gatorade, Nike, Buick and some razor brand. In NONE of them is he talking.

I can guarantee you, as a publicist and marketer myself, that sponsors who want their logos on their players' hats/shirts/pants/clubs/bag, don't want someone wearing that attire "talking up" their brand in broken ass English.

They don't want the number 3 woman player in the world, Yani Tseng of Taiwan, to try to be a Kathy Griffin.

Another comment I heard in support of the ruling:

If the international players could just learn to say simple things like "Hello," and "Thank you very much," the game would already be so much better. It's not like the LPGA is asking its international players a lot. They get two years to learn those simple phrases.

Highly suspect, lady. Who in the developed world DOESN'T know "hello" and "thank you"? If the English requirement were really that baseline, the LPGA would not be creating AN EXAM for its players to pass.

And here's my favorite comment pro-ruling:

International players have to learn to...rationally communicate with the sponsors... Suspension is a necessary measure to enforce communications. YOU HAVE TO TAKE THEIR LITTLE TOY FROM THEM TO REALIZE.
(Ted Tryba)
(emphasis added)



Tuesday, August 26, 2008

I'm probably really late to this but the People's Improv Theater has a live talk show about comic books that looks worth checking out.

Can't help it snark: I'm tempted to start bets on how long it will take for a totally irrelevant actress to be the guest star talking about being an extra in the next Sin City, but because this is NYC I'm sure it's just as likely Penguin will launch its inevitable yaoi imprint here.


Two videos on demography points came into my mailbox this morning. Both hilarious. Only one of them supposed to be.

The Onion's 400+ new demographic groups the presidential candidates must win over, including Dinty Moore Single Dads and Necktie Asians Who Live Above Frozen Yogurt Shops. (Thanks, Nelson)

An early Jell-O ad which demonstrates the Western spoon's superiority over the Eastern chopstick by shitting all over a Chinese baby. (Thanks, Nate)

Monday, August 25, 2008

Vanity Sizing for Men

My friend Ryan C. made a good point the other day about men's shoes that gives me a kick.

While women have vanity sizing in dresses to make them feel un-fat, men have vanity sizing in shoes to belabor the myth of foot-to-penis-size ratios. At least in the US.

For the record, as if you didn't already know, that 1. size doesn't matter, and 2. shoe size doesn't indicate how big your dong is.

Let me elaborate with some anecdotes:

I was astounded when I first went to France, to find that most men wore much smaller shoes than Americans. I thought, "they couldn't all possibly have smaller feet, could they?"
I mean, I'm talking size 5's and 6's. And yes, part of me thought, "does this mean they have small weiners too?" [I've related this story to Americans and many of them, incredulous, will say "there's no such thing as a men's 5." Au contraire mon ami...5's abound in the sea of men's shoes.]

Well suffice it to say the French probably don't have small weiners. And when I mentioned to one Frenchman buying small shoes about this "penis size shoe size" correlation, he laughed.

Bahn, ouee fransay, iss more eemportahnt to us ze how do you say, WIDTH of foots, razzah zen LENGTH. Ouee have same length az zee womens, but much thicker.

I found it ironic, the allusion to yet another male genital-to-quality of sex myth...(shaking head).

But meanwhile back in the States I got a male friend shopping for shoes telling his attendant that the shoe he's just tried on is too big. "Could you get me a 7?" And he swears he hears her snicker to her colleague on her way to the basement to look for this elusive "7."


Anyway, Ryan C. joked that it would be funny to see a man publically announce he needs a size 12 only to get a size 7 in secret. And that got me to thinking. I bet dollars to nuts if a shoe clerk, maybe a cute female clerk, guessed a straight man's shoe size in the absurdly large ranges, the guy would buy anything she offered him. Even mandals with sequins.


Sunday, August 24, 2008

House of Latex Ballroom

If you live in New York, you no doubt have an image in your head of a pretty cool looking person, in the context of the city. Not out of context, like cosplaying a dwarf French maid ninja in Tokyo, or the image of a cool person in the context of a different city, say Los Angeles, where a cool will frequently mean board shorts.

I've noticed that one of the looks for men in NYC, has included a form-fitting tartan check woven shirt, untucked, but buttoned all the way to the Adam's Apple. Almost a gay lumberjack approach to the iconic look of SoCal chicanos. Pair this with some tight but low-slung dark jeans, and a brand new baseball cap and you got yourself a Fall day in lower Manhattan.

Variations of the look might change up the shirt according to weather, but I sort of always assumed it was a decidedly straight look.

I was so wrong.

Last night I went to my first ball.

There, I saw what looked like a line outside BAPE or Opening Ceremony on New Shoe Day. Forgive my Aunt Mable approach to the look, but it was a lot of brightly colored brand new sneakers, and New Era hats with flat bills, gold stickers, and sports teams that don't exist. I'm pretty sure these weren't derivatives. I would have let any one of them into a Pharrell Williams party, but I'll grant that I'm not the best person to bounce this party.

Now, in the line were a lot of "children" greeting each other with sidewise cheek-kissing and pinching. Many of them had aliases, not uncommon in urban culture, but so far as I know Butch queen is not the way anyone at a PW party would describe themselves. Much less win awards for "realness."

It was a sort of forgettable look until last night. My favorite deconstruction of The Lumberjack: man-as-man wearing aforementioned tartan check shirt buttoned to the gills, sailor motif sports jacket on top (gold epaulets and cuffs), blond afro, Sally Jesse Rafael glasses (or American Apparel for that matter now), and (wait for it) fishnet stockings.

What impressed me most about the night's looks though, was how completely gender was bent, and frequently to no availing of a cause or case. It wasn't "I'm gay and fucking proud of it." It was, "guess whether I have a penis or vagina. On second thought don't. Just drink in this whole thing. It's here for a limited time only."

I mean to some, these looks may seem too decontextualized to exhibit cultural artifice (read: cosplay), but when the context is this big, and when The Look mimics the status quo SO EXACTLY, even the most homophobic, sexist, misogyne will not be able to do anything but awe.

Or maybe I'm making my case too naively. In any case, someone's paying attention. Someone always is.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

F.I.T.T. Revival -- East of Krakatoa

Hey everyone. I'm reviving the FITT for a spell and taking it around the block, where I will make her work it for a couple benjys.

Remember, the Finger In The Throat report takes pulp fiction starring Asians, and rates it by the choice morsels that induced vomitting will produce. The reconstituted product is always a little more versatile anyway. Like kamaboko or imitation crab meat.

I'm coinciding the FITT revival with Dry T-Shirt Contest #4.
(btw, Hawaiian Jon, I swear your cucumber shirt is on the way. Same with Mr. Korean-South. I just need my photoshopper around to do the graphics.)

DTSC 4: Best worst rice-chaser t-shirt slogan.
Example: How Yu doin'? (Picture of "that guy" with the sleezy come-on face)

Alright so let's start the FITT revival vomitstravaganza.KRAKATOA, EAST OF JAVA
By Michael Avallone

Krakatoa, East of Java or "Crackheads Toe-up, Feast on Tapas" as I would call it if it were my book, is about a bunch of sailors, divers and prisoners aboard the Batavia Queen on the Indian Ocean looking for refuge from the hard seas, only to find themselves beholden to Southeast Asian melancholy and good for nothing (but raping) girls. But if loving tiny Asian ladies against their will is wrong, I don't want to be white.

Oh and they're trying to get away from the exploding volcano.

So let's examine.
Merchant sailor Harry Connerly has just sexually assaulted an "Oriental." He is being punished for it by being hung up in a bamboo cage above the ship's deck, for all to see. No love. (Anne fist bumps guy who made bamboo cage.)

And then he gets to thinking:

The cage was awkward, cumbersome...In fact, the Oriental mind alone was capable of devising such an instrument of torture. The one euphemistically known as the Little Ease. In the cage on the aft hatch, Harry Connerly was forced to squat in a hunched position. [Do I smell Asian squat contest comin' up? Huhn? Huhn? (eyebrow dance)]
And for what? Away from his laudanum and his hallucinations, Connerly could only realize that Hanson had ordered such a summary punishment for the attempted rape of one of the Jap diving girls. That was a laugh.

It's ok though. That Jap diving girl gets hers. More to the point, she gets an Italian luvah:

[Toshi, the Jap diver speaking] "When you are dancing tinikling, I looked up. (The Italian lovah dancing...Filipino folk dances...on the ship's deck) Your father watching you. Because you laugh, he smiles, he is happy." Toshi shrugged simply. "So you see, I know (about filial intimacy)."
(Leoncavallo) was moved by her insight, by the fact that a little Oriental girl had taken note of his relationship with Giovanni Borghese...
He slowly drew her to him. Her piquant face curved up like a lotus flower to meet his. Their lips were a breath apart. Leoncavallo's heart soared. [I will dance tinikling for the person who can explain to me what this piquant face is.]

So all is not the laughable "crime" (super-emphasized air quotes) of "attempting to rape" (same air quotes) a Jap diver. It's also the Jap diver's lovable, piquant, lotus flower of a face. I give this book a rating of 2 air-quote fingers down my throat.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

I saw a TV commercial for the remake of George Cukor's The Women last night (granted around 2am and already in pain from a weekend of hiking) and was incredulous. Hollywood has given up trying to even pretend it's going to market its movies.

I know I know. Hollywood has sucked for ages now. But it's not the quality of the narratives or the b.s. about Christian Bale donkey punching his mom.

OK what the fuck is Anne talking about:
Unless it's Pixar or about war, most of the blockbusters (or attempt at one) in theaters this year have been exclusively gendered for either men or women.

And in case you weren't sure which one's for you, the movies are given titles like The Sisterhood of the Mamma Mia Women.

I mean seriously. I do remember a time when men and women were enjoying the same movies, but the last three adult live-action movies I've seen -- Dark Knight, Iron Man, Mongol -- had only one or two women characters in them. I'm assuming it's the same with aforementioned Traveling Mamma's Pants. In fact the only reason I haven't seen the lady-films is because hetero-normative boyfriends would rather go to the corner store and buy you tampons than go to a chick flick.

Oh well. I suppose it's appropriate that the only two places where the genders have to be totally sequestered is the cineplex and the shitter.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

I think everyone's eyes just went un-slit

You've got to be kidding me.
(Thanks Ryan S, Ryan K, Jenny...fuck...everyone, for the head's up.)

Monday, August 11, 2008

Strangest "Spanish Option" Operator Voice

(It's Con Edison's Pay-By-Phone number)

Now I know what you're thinking.

"But Anne, you just farted all over the Spanish basketball team for making fun of Asians. Now you're making fun of the Spanish language?"

No. No I'm not. I'm making fun of the operator's voice. I think my favorite 1-800 operator is actually JetBlue, because the English and Spanish announcements are made by the same person, with the exact same intonation, and inflections, which is to say, she sounds like she's speaking English in BOTH announcements.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Everyone Knows How to Pronounce It, Dude.

When I was in high school, it was normal to make fun of people who were willfully intelligent; to mock the deliberately good students on honor roll, who practiced SAT vocabulary in real-life situations. Then one day, I became an adult, and I stopped making fun of smart people because, well, it's stupid and immature.

Yes, stupid and immature.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Athelete Tongue Twisters

Pujol's poo hole poos pooey holes in the pool hall.

Favre favors football fields far from farms...and Le Havre.

How much wood would wounded Woods chip if Woods could chip with woods?

Malone's lone bologne boner slaloms alone at home.

Never knew ya, Lorena Ochoa.

Hamm's man's a damn fan but man, if lamb ain't ham.
(ok that made no sense.)

If Federer fed airs in fairness heirs reared fairly far wouldn't dare.

I was able to stop puking for just long enough to point this out to y'all:
"Life as a Runway: On the Brooklyn Prairie: Red Hook" (NY Times)
Thus concludes my hiatus from anti-Brooklynology.

[So it's clear: my problem is this contrived coverage, and not the Brooklyn businesses they cover.]

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

top 5 asian phalluses

(In no particular order)
1. The "bachelor" radish kimchi:

I'm told this kimchi has two different names that actually translate as "ponytail" or "bachelor" (or bachelor with a tail like a pony's?) kimchi, so the comparison is thoroughly embedded, but...if it is in fact a "bachelor" phallus, it's a one.

2. The geoduck, aka mirugai:

Did you know geoduck are more commonly found along the western coast of the US, and that as a sashimi item it's really a crossover import?

Ah...sushi...memories of my first waitressing job...the owner of the sushi bar would run these things under cold water to make them "stand up" and then run around poking the waitresses from behind, for example. Can't say sushi ain't classy...

3. The Dosa:

I've just made this comparison up myself , but I can't imagine there haven't already been Punjabs described as having "dosas with the mostas"? Alternately, one could say they'd just gotten a "punjab."

4. The Egg Roll:

Pretty much.

5. The Bowl Cut:

I believe it's called a Hapax Legomenon when a word or phrase occurs only once in the context of a single language, and since I have not seen reference to the bowl cut as resembling an erect circumcised dick anywhere else but in this manga, The Bowl Cut is not just an Asian phallus, it's a linguistic phenomenon.

Obama and McCain on Last Comic Standing?!

pander pander pander pander pander
pander pander pander pander unfunny
pander pander pander pander pander
pander pander pander pander pander


Monday, August 4, 2008

The story of a man

I'm going to test-drive a sort of somber story today since my sense of humor is apparently on its rag.

Last week while in Souther California, my mother took me to a friend's place, walking distance from The Tiger Woods Learning Center, which is itself located behind Disneyland and The Crystal Cathedral. In fact the whole area is surrounded by churches and driving ranges, and I can't but think this is someone's missed opportunity to christen the area the Fairway to Heaven. [Anyone interested in using that moniker please see me after class.]

My mother wants me to see her friend's golf clubs, because he's "finally ready to part with some of them on the cheap." This makes about as much sense to me as it does to you at this point, since I already have golf clubs and I don't know why a middle-aged Japanese man would actually part with what is generally considered an Asian business appendage-par for the to speak.

We drive up to what looks like a pretty ubiquitous Californian apartment complex, which is to say an amalgam of duplexes connected by a windy concrete footpath and whose garage surrounds it like a moat. The complex is dotted by cheap juniper shrubbery and wilde bouganvilleas to give the impression of a resort, belied by the presence of a woman wearing the makeup of a porcelain doll, down to cherry red lipstick the size of a coat button. She has lolipop hair; is stuffed in her lawn chair. When she doesn't smile back I silently patronize her for being the pointlessly dressed up gatekeeper to such a shithole.

My mom's friend comes out to greet us and takes us out to his garage space. He's an older man, so we let him set the pace, but even from behind you can tell he's fit (well, not just because he's so fit, but because he's wearing a wife beater, bermuda shorts and rubber slippers, little was left to the imagination). I remember him from my sister's wedding. He was the one who invited all the ladies to the dance floor. Yes, that guy.

We finally get to his garage, which is padlocked. Twice. He unlocks and lifts the garage door, I drop my jaw. The whole garage is FILLED with sets of golf clubs, some wrapped up in duct tape, others still in bags covered in cobwebs.
If I was ever unsure of the meaning of a guffaw, I am no longer. What the heck is this guy doing with so many golf clubs? I briefly consider possibilities of him being in a racket, an ex-proprieter of a golf shop, an injured country club pro, the father of a golf league that died in a plane crash? There are literally THAT many sets of clubs.

The answer is both more banal and more astonishing than any of the above. My mother tells me the story after we leave, that her friend used to be a bigwig at a major Japanese auto company. The company sent him to the US with a nice car, a big house, and a bottomless expense account. With the account, he did two things: frequent a bar run by the woman he's lived with for the last twenty five years (not to be confused with his wife and mother of his three children in Japan, from whom he's been estranged for the last ten); and go on golf vacations with said mistress.

Fast forward to the 21st century, when he's retired and his common-law wife has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease. Their life together now revolves around supporting her in illness, which has required compromising their old lifestyle. Nursing homes won't take her because she's unusually young and spry for someone with the characteristically geriatric condition, and because the couple thinks it's too late to do "the honorable thing" and get officially hitched, neither of them can or wants to return to Japan where elder care is subsidized by the government. And the golf clubs? My mother had been trying to convince him to part with his precious relics for some time to no avail, but between her insistence, his bad knee, and what I'm told is a penny that counts, I scored a set of true metal Spalding irons...for a dime. How about that.

Friday, August 1, 2008


Moving on...

I don't have anything else to say about Comic-Con that anyone else hasn't already covered or that'll earn me scorn. [I hope whoever accuses me of being a snob realizes I am equal parts booth troll and floor troll, Paul Pope and Eddie Campbell fan, geek and douchebag. I am not however, a fan of tevabirkencrocs or No Fear, and if that's wrong, I don't want to ever be right.]

I do however have one small observation. In the 8 years I've been in the company of comics paraphernalia and the con, three of them have been election years. But in neither of the preceding two was anyone doing presidential campaign merchandising. I've seen parodic images of Bush, and vintage pins, Nader shirts on attendees, political statements about American congress, and the war in Iraq, but never ever, election politic campaign materials actually being distributed.

This year, there was not one, not two, not three, but FOUR Obama x Comics artifacts prominently exposed on the floor.

Exhibit 1:

Ron English poster "mash up" of Obama and Abe Lincoln. This is part of a group of prints by Upper Playground, including the Fairey CHANGE poster and a print by Sam Flores. Last Gasp was selling these for $20 a pop. I saw one in Silverlake after the Con selling for a lot more...

Exhibit 2:Alex Ross's SuperObama T-shirt. I bought a signed print, not so much because I like Obama but because of the implications of a Superman-Obama. Mythical icon, dual identities...

Exhibit 3:
This poster wasn't the actual merchandise, but there was an "Adama For President" delegate on the floor handing out "Adama - Obama 2008" bumper stickers and flyers of E.J. Olmos and B. Obama in back-to-back profile. [You can download their campaign posters for your own guerrilla campaign purposes.]

I love this mashup because 1. I love Battlestar Galactica, though 2. BSG claims no association with it. i.e. It's BSG fans who've started the faux campaign on their own. Like, the Adama delegate doesn't make money from BSG or Sci-Fi channel. It's ultimate fandom 3. Mexican-American and African-American oval office? Hellllllz yeah.

Exhibit 4:And of course, the thing that inspired it all (sort of). Shepard Fairey's campaign posters...This wasn't actually selling at a booth, but there was an Obama delegate at the Con distributing miniature versions of this print as "cell phone stickers."

Did you see any Obama x Comics merch I've missed? Memories of past campaign paraphernalia on the floor?


(I know this won't make a lot of sense to everyone, but bear with me.)
Some idiot had taken advantage of the fact that I had never met Sanford or his family, posed as his wife, and told a bunch of us never-mets that he died. Sanford's apparently just found out about the prank himself.

Karma is going to be rough on poser-wife. Ideally karma will shoot poser-wife in the head (which is what poser-wife told me Sanford had done). Yeah...I know. Seriously.

I apologize to those who tried to console me, and for those who needed consolation. Sick fucking joke.