Friday, March 27, 2009

Postcards from the edge (someone please photoshop The Edge from U2 into that movie poster, please!)

I love the US Postal (Lack of) Service.

I am beholden to them because I can't stand private mailers. I use USPS over FedEx all the time. Despite the long lines, USPS does everything, and does it for the right price. And besides...

You can't FedEx postcards.

[I swear this isn't a fake twee set-up for me to ridicule anyone. I really love sending postcards. Ask anyone.]

So it saddens me for all the wrong sentimental reasons that the USPS might be cutting jobs, benefits, days of operation, etc. I mean I understand they're like gajillions of dollars in debt, and it's not like they're getting rid of all their services, but can you imagine how much worse the service will be when those exhausted Manhattan post office clerks, unloved mail carriers and philatelic experts are denied their retirement? I don't want to be the first person at the post office after news of that breaks.

I mean, the government does realize postal workers single-handedly coined one of our most enduring euphemisms for mass homocidal rage, right?

Oldies but goodies:
Post Secret
This is a wikipedia list of "postal killings: killings that took place on the premises of a post office." WTFF.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Marvel Comics...Female Products

Um... I want to tag this, WTF, or, "When Japanese companies do this we ridicule them but when it happens in the U.S. it's still ridunculous."
If you would wear this shirt, or would buy this shirt for say, your niece... you may as well jump in that windowless van driven by what looks like your old janitor, already, because you're screwed.

Marvel Debuts Female Apparel and Cosmetics

Yes. Marvel Comics is branching out into... "female" apparel and cosmetics. Straight from the beast's mouth:

“Since our core customer has always been guys, we need to be very careful when we introduce female product so that we don’t alienate our core,” said Paul Gitter, president of consumer products, North America, for Marvel Entertainment Inc. “What we have found through testing is that we haven’t alienated them, which gives us the OK to move forward with female product.”

Word of sincere advice for Paul Gitter: Please stop calling it "female product."

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

This Week's New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest

This Week's New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest has "Asian joke" literally written all over it. [note: That's clearly Moses holding up the tablets of Mt. Sinai, but in case you can't read what it says, that's "food products" in Chinese. i.e. Moses is holding up a Chinese menu instead of the Ten Commandments.]

And in case you don't know what the contest is all about: Every week, The New Yorker lets readers submit their own captions to illustrations submitted by their regular cartoonists. The NYer staff separates wheat from chaff and then the readers vote for the best one of three. [What I'd GIVE to see all of the submissions.]

Gawker did a funny experiment with this contest, throwing the first ones by asking their readers to turn in the most preposterous captions. Of course, because gawker is at least as stuck up as the average New Yorker reader (disclosure: I've subscribed on-and-off to the thing since high school), one of their false-positives actually won!

Anyway, I submit to thee, all dirty dozen of you who read my blog, to submit the worst Asian jokes you can.

Brilliant cover on this week's New Yorker.

Speaking of New York publications and stadiums, I want to play "Pin the jackass on the donkey."

Articles like this one -- "New Lineup of Food Choices at Yankee Stadium" -- make it easy to clown New Yorkers because:

A. It lists all the upper crust premiums of a totally gratuitous baseball stadium for the richest franchise in the league, while the rest of the U.S. is freaking out about where their next mortgage payment will come from.

B. Tit-for-tat name-dropping.
"There will be chains like Johnny Rockets and Brother Jimmy’s BBQ, and sandwiches from the premium butcher Lobel’s (at the new Yankee Stadium). But those who settle into the 4,000 or so well-upholstered seats of the various club and suite areas, which can cost as much as $2,500, will have access to much more... Morimoto... chefs from Le Cirque... Spotted Pig..."

C.This photo:
(Seriously folks. This gives me horrid flashbacks to when my junior high history teacher asked me to come to school in a yukata during a section on post-war Japan... flashbacks that make "Jacob's Ladder" look like a Jonas Brothers concert.)

D. The New York Times

E. It invokes another easy-to-clown-city. Los Angeles.
"In the Great Hall stadium entrance, there will be a small market with fresh fruit and other items from Melissa’s Produce of Los Angeles, as well as sandwiches and $3 hot dogs."

[Note: So as not to come off as a total misanthrope, I want to say for the record that I am fundamentally a Yankees fan and lover of NYC, but am completely annoyed by the new stadium, and well... when am I not complaining about The NY Times...?]

Monday, March 23, 2009

A Place in the Mall

H&M and Uniqlo have been making news with their "guest designer collections" for a while now, both to great acclaim and success, but it's interesting that Comme des Garçons jazzed up H&M while Jil Sander's recently announced moonlighting with Uniqlo. (and The Gap has stayed pretty much in the U.S.).

I'm sure this is all just going to make Mr. Hiroshi "I hate 'collaborations'" Fujiwara roll his eyes for the nth time, but it's dawned on me that the very first collaborations that made my head turn were at K-Mart. Jaclyn Smith and Kathy Ireland for K-Mart. I wasn't buying their lines (I'll never admit I shopped at K-Mart. Ever.), but you know, it was just interesting. I really did think better of K-Mart. Of course, they weren't calling this stuff 'collaboration,' but even my own unfashionable self feels oversaturated with fashion euphemisms for discounters name-dropping.

So who was the first big box retailer to "marry up"?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Mickey Mouse College

I just came across the phrase "ekiben daigaku," (train station lunch-college), which Kenkyusha tells me is a "Mickey Mouse college; a two-bit (sic) college in the middle of the countryside."

I love that the "Mickey Mouse" and "two-bit" epithets made it to Japanese vernacular, if only in a dictionary, because I don't know if I've ever heard the "Mickey Mouse" epithet anywhere in the U.S. besides in parody (SNL, and Coen Brothers movies). And isn't "two-bit" a pretty rural expression anyway?

I can see it already: the Todai graduate looking down his pince-nez at the Ishikawa Community College bumpkin, saying to his Harvard buddy, "suchupid mikkee mousu maza-fackah. so suchupid correge guraju-et."

I propose some new epithets (modifying "college" for the purposes of the post):
Mickey Rourke College: where population is mostly "returning students" going for third careers.
Minnie Mouse College: Barnard.
"Ekiben" College: Just want to bring the "lunch break" epithet over the U.S. Alternate euphemisms would include "night school commuter" and "mail order degree."

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

NEW YORK— Yoshitomo Nara found himself in a New York City jail cell eating peanut butter sandwiches and milk the day before his February 28 opening at Marianne Boesky Gallery, reports Art in America.

Weird. My mom's the one who just told me this happened, but it happened two weeks ago.


It's All Yours Now at the Sculpture Center in LIC

Last Sunday my friend Amy (always on the pulse of the NY Art Scene) took me to "It's All Yours Now," a pageant of art performances at the Sculputre Center in Long Island City. The show ranged from hackneyed symbolism (mute people draped in flags) to profound kitsch (genderless R&B vocalist), but the itinerary itself was nothing short of brilliant.

Behold, the last two performers on the bill:

Guggenheim fellow and gender-bending R&B vocalist, Kalup Linzy:

Followed by Nader Sadek, who organized a band of "who's who" in Black Metal.

...including the vocalist from Morbid Angel:

...and the bassist from Krallice:

Think about this. A gender-free black man crooning about "chunky nuts," "chewing gum," and a an asshole who won't give up his tight asshole, followed by Black Metal activism.

I knew something was abrewin' when I looked around the venue and saw a mostly Williamsburg hipster elite replete with Transformers-like resin glasses and asymetrical fawhawks, shadowed by the occasional black metal control. Basically... this guy:

Now I'm not saying one way or the other who's less tolerant of differing lifestyles (art fhegs or heshers), but you have to admit, would you have ever thought a tranny would be opening for a satanic throat singer? My inner bitch was secretly excited to see hipster ironic metal fandom confronted with true metal allegiance. The kind of allegiance that brings a Morbid Angel fan to Long Island City for an art show. I'm going to venture a guess that even promises of running into (insert random art celebrity) would not inspire an artster to attend a Morbid Angel concert.

But herein lay the genius of this lineup. I don't know about you, but the only two arena in which I've ever seen live male exhibitionism are High Art and the Metal/Noise scene. Maybe I'm the wrong case study, but check it:

Case 1: Jesus Lizard concert. Lead singer takes off his pants and starts flapping his "chewing gum."
Case 2: Reverend Jenny performance in Lower East Side. Viking-like man demonstrates a penis-pump on self.
Case 3: The Incapacitants concert. Lead singer pees on front row.
Case 4: It's All For You (Case in point). Witness the "dick tuck."


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

I, like every other human on Earth, have something to say about The Watchmen

The theater: AMC in downtown Brooklyn.
The time: A busy Saturday evening.
The movie: The Watchmen, based on same-named book by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons; directed by Zach "300" Snyder.
The audience: A mostly male, packed house (people were sitting in the aisles it was so packed). And for some reason, at least fifty pregnant women, and a lot of small children. I reiterate:
The movie: The Watchmen

Observation: People in the audience start hooting at the screen the second we catch a passing glimpse of Dr. Manhattan's dick.

It takes one person saying, "that's som blue ass dick!" at just the right moment in the beginning of a film, to break the ice for everyone else.

This wasn't the first time I've listened to an audience get involved with a movie. I can remember such storied celluloid classics as "Scream," "Don't Drink Juice in the Hood..." and "Snakes on a Plane" were made better movies because of the audience participation. But if I were one of those people who collected movie ticket stubs, this one would have a big blue phallus on it. And it would go in a golden frame. And I would hang this framed blue ticket on a wall, in its own annex, at my Museum of Memorable Moviebilia. This is no light honor. I've been hit on during "Good Fellas" by a totally stoned Woody Harrelson. I've witnessed a raver having a bad LSD-trip and start wailing through "Willy Wonka."

I've had my hand placed on an erection during "Lord of the Rings."

Not even THAT gets its own annex.

What amazed me about "The Watchmen" experience was that dick, tits, and sex, made everyone go crazy! I mean, hooting, offended, entertained, crazy.

Observation: In the film, many Dr. Manhattans approach a moaning Silk Spectre II, buck naked. People from various corners of the theater start laughing and yelling out loud: OH MY GOD. OH MY GOD BFFFFWA HA HA HA. OH MY GOD. Ditto when we see his blue-grey ass crack.

No one likes a dick-shower-offer.

During one of Dr. Manhattan's five billion soliloquies, a handful of people left. It's like after we see his penis, nothing he says can be taken seriously. Poor guy. Hung to boot. And it wasn't an "I'm not gay I'm a straight male!" thing either. One of the people who left yelled back at the rest of us, "This movie sucks! Go home and rent Batman!"

If there is a franchise with less heterosexual innuendo than the Batman film franchise (...ok, maybe 300), I don't know about it.

For those of you who've seen the flick, you can just imagine what happened to the audience when Silk Spectre II and Night Owl get it on.


The Blue Man Groin did the most damage, however. Every time Dr. Manhattan's member appeared on screen someone would cluck their tongue, sigh, guffaw...leave the theater.

I mean it can't be that we're afraid of nudity, could it? In an age where every single music video features a greasy female tit and then a fakeout closeup on a male nipple; when everyone's seen Paris Hilton's vag and Colin Ferrell getting sucked off...

Hey, I'm laughing as hard as the next gal whenever nudity is this protracted, and Dr. Manhattan can leave proton particles in my bed any day, but c'mon now. Let's not embarrass the guy. He'll turn red.

BTW, in case the posting title was too much of a dick tease for you:
Check out The New Yorker's Anthony Lane aptly review the film, including the best description of Dr. Manhattan yet:
Last and hugest (of the characters) is Dr. Manhattan (Billy Crudup), who is buff, buck naked, and blue, like a porn star left overnight in a meat locker.

Dan Kois and Ashley Quigg send up The Watchmen through the eyes of filmdom's contemporary auteurs. (Via The Beat)

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Fear of a Pattern Recognition

This might be just another Facebook25 waiting to happen, but I know everyone's got their phraseological pet peeves. They're called pet peeves because they're inconsequential, but I guarantee once you recognize it you won't be able to unnotice it ever again.

"Psycho Demo"
Though not technically overused, the only two people who've truncated "psychological demography" in my world were both club-ready girls selling ad space in their respective publications. This is a classic example of marketing jargon made worse by its communicator.
Usage: Our psycho demo totally (snap) fits the profile of your product. (Ad rep licks teeth and smiles.)

My British friend tells me "chillax" is the new power tie. Middle-aged, medium-built men in middle management overuse the phrase whenever she asks for anything in urgency. I guess it's supposed to be something in between chilling and relaxing, but it sounds like a spicy diuretic if you ask me.
Usage: Chillax! (Resets Bose noise-cancelling headphones, closes eyes and listens to new U2 album.)

A Los Angeleno in finance tells me his female boss can't agree enough. She doesn't trust her own vocabulary so accentuates her S sounds. Sounds like the diametric opposite of Montgomery Burns' "egggsellent" in The Simpsons and strikes me as well-intentioned but inadvertently annoying. The S sound can definitely be super-grating when hissed for too long. I've heard likewise for the "oi" dipthong, e.g. "moist" and "qoinum"

Accusatory Assent
Let me be the first to admit guilt in "accusatory assent," but I concede its douche factor and have conscientiously cut back. I have heard theories on the origins of phrases like "ya think?" and "yeah it is!" but many place it in Boston circa 1990. If you can't stand to agree with someone, just shut up. You're either in or you're out. An accusatory agreement is like a snarky blogger (or Bostonian) -- categorically unpopular. (Trust me, I know.)
Usage: Ooooh, so the extradiegesis in Doctor Zhivago coincides with Eisenstein's synechdocal mirroring of The Lacanian Other huh? YA THINK?

Finger Quotes
I think "finger quoting" or what I like to call "skybanging" is a "necessary" "evil." I just have one question. How do you think an 18th century English-speaker would respond to skybanging? Like, what if in the HBO mini-series John Adams, Paul Giamatti played the title role more like his real self (rolling his eyes, uber-sarcastic, generally displeased with everything) and belittled Benjamin Franklin with finger quotes? How fast would Franklin "discover electricity" on Giamatti's balls?
Usage: You ask me to refute "secession" but "secession" is the only "choice" the Torys hav...Ben, Ben what are you doing? WHAT ARE YOU "DOING"?!!"!""!"