Disturbing Mascots

In a Hurry But Trendy-Overbooked But Superlookee

A three story hanging ad from Times Square in Causeway Bay. Would that we could all stay trendy even when in a hurry. Love the expression on her face as she’s checking her watch. I am concerned - but beautifully so! Don’t’ think anyone will wait around to see those pants…

My favorite aspect of this isn’t the pants or the tagline though, its the asterisked line below. Surbookee mais super-lookee, which translates to ‘overbooked but superlookee.” Apparently the French, famous for having a different word for everything, don’t have a word for superlookee

inahurry
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Handsome Mask for Whatever You Want to be...

A new addition to the ‘beauty mask’ trade here in HK. These masks are usually marketed to women of a certain age to remove impurities, wrinkles, and/or brighten the skin. Some actually bleach the skin with various whitening agents as well. Anyway they are usually quite expensive, and as with most beauty products the results are dubious. This is the first one I’ve seen for men exclusively however, though I can’t say I’ve gone looking. It seems all you need to be ‘cool, cute, sexy and macho (or) whatever you want to be’ is contained within.

handsomemask

Of course you could purchase an ‘actual’ handsome mask of say, George Clooney (or whoever is the latest heartbreaker if he’s a bit long in the tooth of your taste). That would be make dating difficult however, as you would have to mostly grunt and nod, lest your date notice that your overlarge yet handsome face doesn’t move much when you talk. Then again some women are drawn to the strong/silent/mysterious type. Just don’t be surprised when you notice that ‘Kate Beckinsale’ seems rather staid and quiet over dinner. And her face seems a bit too large, now that you think about it…
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Eau de Pizza Hut

For all you Pizza Hutters(?) who secretly wished you could smell just like your favorite mutant pizza. No, really. Just looky here:



From an official fluff press release:

“Taking a cue from Internet nerd culture, Canada’s Pizza Hut has launched a marketing campaign based on a joke from its Facebook page: the creation of Pizza Hut perfume. The joke turned into a reality when the food chain’s advertising agency thought it would be a great way to commemorate its milestone of reaching 100,000 Facebook fans.

But sadly, Eau de Pizza Hut, a scent “boasting top notes of freshly baked, hand-tossed dough,” (my italics) will only be shipped to a few of said fans. ”For now, we’ve only produced 110 bottles of Eau de Pizza Hut,” said Beverley D’Cruz, marketing and product development director for Pizza Hut Canada. ”But who knows what the future has in store,” she added. Until then, the rest of us will have to smell like Pizza Hut pizza the old-fashioned way.”

Which I suppose means rubbing a spare slice all over your face and chest? Oh to be one of those lucky 110, or their girlfriends. Assuming they have girlfriends. Well if they don’t now, they most certainly will after splashing on some of this instant chick magnet. After all, what sexy lady can ignore ‘top notes of hand-tossed dough’?
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Jurassic Towel Origami, the Craft That Time Forgot

From a nearby high-end childrens bookstore. Glad someone finally found a use for all those fossilized towels lying about. Actually this is an interesting idea, and I’ll admit I’ve never seen anything quite like it. But it’s too ‘scary’ for young kids (at least the ones in the store at the time - no doubt the teeth and dead button eyes), and too odd for most older ones, though I suppose your hardcore dinosaur aficionado would go for it just to expand their collection.

But since when does origami use towels? Or allow for buttons and precut fangs? Seems like cheating somehow. Origami using only towels would be quite impressive. Probably easier with fossilized towels of course, but we all know how rare they are. And the corker is the tagline - ‘the craft that time forgot’. Perhaps ‘time’ needs to forget again…

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Define Beauty? OK. This Is Not It.

From a MTR subway ad. Our friends at Canon ask us to ‘define beauty’, apparently with the help of this bizarre counterexample. Yes thats a huge black disco ball ‘eye’ on her forehead, and yes her neck is surrounded by a ring of blond wig hair. At least I hope thats wig hair. And it matches her fake blond wig - it’s the little things. Reminds me of the famous Supreme Court justice quote regarding pornography - ‘I know it when I see it.” The converse is obviously true…

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Archie Meets Kiss - Zombie Edition?

An utterly bizarre comic book from a store in Mongkok. I’ve always wondered who actually reads Archie; I’ve never met anyone who confesses to doing so. Apparently its been around since World War 2, so somebody does. Anyway what makes this issue even more bizarre (apart from it being in a 7-11 in deepest darkest Mongkok) is that KISS is a quintessential 70s band, so it seems that the Archie gang are hooking up with KISS 30 years too late. At least they are hip to the latest zombie craze (at least I assume they’re zombies - no blood and missing flesh, but hey its Archie). I was tempted to buy this out of morbid curiosity, but the thought of bringing it up to the register gave me pause…


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Salmon-Chanted Evenings

A poster for a Seattle based charity started by a famous local chef and his restaurant suppliers, in which they are prepare a high end picnic dinner of salmon and other local delicacies in a picturesque local park. All the proceeds go to help the Seattle Parks and Recreation Department. A great idea and a great cause, but goddamn what a cringe-inducing pun. I guess its effective in its way however - definitely eye catching and memorable, whether you want to remember or not. Like an insidious ‘ear worm’ pop song that you can’t forget; even attempting to purge it invariably renews the memory, and initiates the torturous looping in your head. And puns this bad are volatile, capable of spreading throughout a population overnight. In fact police reported dozens of cases of addled pedestrians grabbing innocent passers by, bursting into song and crooning ’salmon-enchanted evening, you may be a salmon, you may see a salmon cross a crowded brook”…

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Blingo! Voting for Men, Women, & Whatever He's Supposed to be...

From a recent bus stop ad for a ‘get out the vote’ campaign here in HK. Actually it’s humbling to see voting being actively promoted and taken seriously. Unfortunately many Americans love to brag and lecture about their democracy, but don’t bother to vote themselves, or even stay minimally informed. There are many reasons for that of course, some better and/or more cynical than others. Regardless I’ve always been impressed by the demonstrations etc. here in HK. They don’t take voting for granted here, and their defiance carries real risks and consequences.

Anyway back to the snark: I’m simply baffled by the inclusion of the gentleman on the right. They’ve got the generic ‘eligible man and woman’ covered, bu I’m not sure what demographic he’s supposed to represent. Bling angels? Flaming breakdancing coaches? Over-the-hill (over the top?) Cantopop singer/comedians? Bingo! And better yet, blingo!

Well If nothing else he’s memorable, and definitely gets one’s attention…



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Alien Endorsed Explosions w/ Free Tattoo

From the candy rack of a nearby grocer. The name kind of sells itself - who wouldn’t want popping candy that explodes? Says so right on the bag! But the alien (I believe they are referred to as ‘Grays’ in the official UFO literature) flashing gang signs is priceless and utterly baffling - what do they have to do with popping candy? Perhaps the candy was reverse-engineered from Area 51 wreckage. And you get a free tattoo…

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Authentic Glow-in-the-Dark Lady of Fatima

From a souvenir shop in Lisbon, where you can buy a glow-in-the-dark Lady of Fatima, just like the real Lady! These are authentic reproductions of the vision of the Virgin Mary that spoke to a trio of child prophets in the 1930s. The reports subsequently made the tiny hamlet of Fatima famous, at one point drawing a crowd of 70,000 there to witness the sun ‘dancing’ among other things. These souvenirs refer to the later miracle in which the Lady continued to glow an eery, phosphorescent green long after the sun went down…

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Cheesy 7 - When 6 Just Won't Do

Yet another local Pizza Hut abomination. I assume this had something to do with the Hong Kong Sevens, (which to the uninitiated is a seven-a-side rugby tournament that’s become the premier sports/carousing event in HK). I suppose the local marketing gurus thought they’d hit gold with this tie-in. ‘Cheesy 7’ has a nice ring to it-unless you know American slang of course. In the US cheesy can also mean overdone and/or inauthentic. But what about the meticulously assembled ‘7’ composed of the namesake cheese wedges? Now that’s quality. Actually that’s a ton of work for the poor designer tasked with constructing a ‘realistic’ rendering in Photoshop, but I digress.

Still, who wouldn’t want 7 different kinds of cheese on their pizza? Nowadays mere ‘mozzarella and a dusting of parmesan’ just doesn’t cut it for avant-garde pizza aficionados. But adding 5 more, including cream cheese? Wham! Now you’re talking! You’re talking about 1500 calories a slice…

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Inssssspirador

A bus-stop ad in Lisbon. The tagline is enough for inclusion here - I will refrain from saying I’m insssspired to purchase this sleek vacuum, or that I find the use of a half-naked male model interesssting. Can’t really file this under ‘Super English Force’ as it is Portuguese (technically).

The company no doubt assumes their clientele is mostly female; either that or they’re going after the burgeoning buff-metrosexual-who-vacuums-while-shirtless demographic. Note that the vacuum shaft is at full vertical too. Can’t imagine that was intentional…

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Saddam Hussein's Sublime Air Safety Technique

It seems that Saddam Hussein performed at least one civic-minded act in his lifetime. Apparently during a visit to Hanoi he was appalled by the poorly illustrated emergency door section. He chivalrously volunteered to pose for the airline’s next safety brochure.



Say what you will about the despot, but he obviously knew his way around airliner safety equipment. Just look at that form. Sublime technique. And check out the sporty yet practical stain-hiding travel blazer...
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Happy Birthday from Your Evil Skeleton Pals

Another freakish card from Xue Hwa. One of those instances where the Mainland manufacturer must have slapped whatever image they had handy behind the text and said “Run that mother! We’ve got a quota to hit!” Can’t imagine who would want and/or appreciate a gaggle of evil glowing-eyed skeletons wishing them a happy b-day. Still the grim reaper guy is waving at least, and the bats are flying in a loose ‘happy birthday-ish’ formation...

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Cactus-suited Hello Kitty Joins Death in a Snowglobe

From a 7-11 store window in Central. Seems Hell O’Kitty has landed another sponsorship coup, this time partnering with Death itself. Not sure what they are selling exactly, but it apparently involves a Cactus suit for Kitty, a rather depressed looking Death - ‘can’t believe my agent talked me into this’ - and a snowglobe. For what its worth said snowglobe was not for sale inside the 7-11 (yes I looked).

Would that the ‘real’ Hello Kitty was doomed to such an eternal fate - trapped with Death incarnate within a hermetically sealed prison, while forced to wear a ridiculous (even for her) outfit. Though I’d honestly feel sorry for Death...

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Hey, Lets' Get Together - Over Some of That 'Coffee' Everybody's Talking About

One of a trove of bizarre greeting cards etc I stumbled on at Yue Hwa, the Chinese dept. store in Mongkok. Seems there’s this refreshing brewed beverage called ‘coffee’, which is made from roasting coffee ‘beans’, grinding them into ‘grounds’ (obvious enough), and forcing boiling water through them in a newfangled contraption such as that pitcher-shaped device below (leave it to those Italians - such a clever people when they put their minds to it). Coffee is purported to have almost magical rejuvenating powers, and is quite the social lubricant. It’ll give us the perfect excuse to catch up! Honestly would you want to ‘get together’ with anyone who handed you this card? Or would you smile woodenly and slowly back away...

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De Showy Masquerade w/ Bubblegum Crown & Gold Foil Hair

Über star Aaron Kwok is at it again with a new concert/album/monstrosity. I can’t look at his ‘crown’ without being reminded me of a monstrous smear of freshly chewed bubblegum. Why anyone thought that pairing a pearlescent pink blob with gold foil-encrusted hair would look good is beyond me. It’s certainly ‘de showy’ I suppose. What’s scary is that by HK costume standards, this is rather understated...




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...Like I Need a Knife Below my Ribcage

The tag for a cheaply made ‘life-size’ skeleton decoration from a toy store in a street market in Wanchai. Not much here - I was just taken aback by the almost nonchalant knife sticking out of just below the skeleton/ghost’s ribcage (which I’m told is a very effective place to stab someone). He looks more annoyed than scary though, like the addition of the knife is really just shit he doesn’t need...

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1 Clip Attack # - No Pain No Game?!

A truly freakish ad for a jeans/fashion company. Unless they extensively photoshopped this shot, those really are clips all over his face. Which leaves one to wonder: what the hell are they thinking?! What has this got to do even remotely with pants? Why would I want to buy jeans that remind me of this? Is this what their jeans do to one’s genitalia? I can categorically state this a game nobody wants to play...

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The Old Banana Eating, Bible Thumping Screaming Eagle Motif

Truly bizarre marketing. Security software(?) packaging that features the now ubiquitous ‘anthropomorphic banana eating, bible thumping screaming eagle’ motif. How many times are marketing gurus going to trot this old cliche’ out? Seriously, you can’t use it for just anything. Hackneyed imagery doesn’t sell product gentlemen, quality does...

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We Promise! We Will Take Care of Your Stomach!

A bizarre ad for the ‘Food Forum’ restaurants on the top floors of Times Square in Causeway Bay. It seems a slate of chefs is reassuring their throng of devoted fans that they’ve got their backs, or rather stomachs. Odd that the stadium is filled almost entirely with Americans, but who knows, maybe this is from the ‘Food Forum Chefs’ recent world tour. Of course, we’ve heard such statements from the chefs before, like when they promised to protect social security and stop bank foreclosures. At least this in one area they can claim expertise. Still, four master chefs for a million people seems a stretch; one can only hope that they’re adept at doubling, or rather millioning their recipes...

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Meeoowwch!

A get well card from a gift/scrapbooking/yarn shop in Maine, which appears to have carried the same stock since 1972. I was stopped dead in my tracks by the plight of Mr. Fluffington however. Shouldn’t puns this bad be illegal?

Regardless, it seems he’s had a bit of an run in with a car tire, though I’m sure with enough overindulgence and expensive medical care (no driving over the border to Canada for him - only the highest jacked-up US medical fees will do!) he’ll be purrfectly fine. Or is that pawfectly?

Which reminds me, why aren’t there cards like this that say meowtherf***er? Now that’s a card I would buy without hesitation. And my respect for the store that carried it would rise exponentially too.

I actually thought about buying this and sending it as a joke, but the thought of keeping a card around in case one of your friends gets sick was, well, sick. Also I don’t know that many people who could absorb such toxic levels of snark while still recuperating...

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Snappy Joe the Jeepster

I recently found this shot from the Heritage Museum, home of other toy legends like Mr Smash, the Clockwork Walking Smash Martian and Col. ‘Hap’ Hazard.
Behold the infamous ‘Snappy Joe’ the Jeepster, who had his teeth replaced with a jagged set of steel fangs. Even added teeth to his jeep. Apparently he didn’t think his psychotic eyes were intimidating enough; perhaps he felt insecure being a jeepster around all those tanks. Of course Joe’s fellow troops gave him a wide berth regardless, especially when he went on wild joyrides around the base. He would often blow through intersections while waving a live grenade around (at least I think thats a grenade, or maybe its a pumpkin?). Somehow I don’t think Snappy adapted well to civilian life...

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Bobo Fan Club Vs. Bonobo Fan Club

A ‘recommendation’ sticker at a nearby restaurant. I found the name ‘bobo fan club’ odd enough to include here. Later out of curiosity typed in the site address. Apparently Bobo is some local celebrity chef (or maybe just a ‘professional celebrity’, one of many ‘outdated’ stars in HK with enough name recognition that people will still pay them to come to parties and be seen with them). I assume he doesn’t know-or care-that ‘Bobo’ sounds like the name of a clown or circus chimp to American ears...



I recognized him later on a wall in Happy Valley. This is his ‘look’ apparently - silver hair, goatee, and pristine white shirt. At least his name must carry enough culinary cache that he gets some foodie endorsements, like for this wine fridge outfit.



Anyway it occurred to me that it would be much more fun to have a ‘bonobo fan club’, restaurants that have earned recommendations from our nearest genetic cousins, the infamously promiscuous bonobos. A restaurant sporting a bonobofanclub.com sticker would guarantee scandalous entertainment if nothing else, provided free of charge by the swinging clientele, at least until the cops showed up. Wouldn’t do much for the appetite, however...
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Dodge-Em Tricky Action

One of the last of the trove that is the Heritage Museum. I thought they couldn’t top ‘Mr. Smash’, but ‘Dodge-Em Tricky Action’ gives him a run for his money. I love the innocent little ‘duck and cover’ kids riding the bumper cars; I especially love that some bored museum employee posed the little girl shaking her fist at the rapscallion little boy who’s about to ram her. Hopefully she’ll employ some artful dodge-em tricky action and send him flying into the patriotic border ring...

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Drinking Secret Captain Bond XX7

Two more toys from the priceless HK Heritage Museum collection. The “James Bond 007 Secret Service Game” is rather forgettable (save for the vaguely Sean Connery-esque illustration), but it makes a fine counterpoint to “The Drinking Captain”, who comes complete with bottle o’ rum and drinking lamp(?). It reminds one of those big outdoor heaters at ‘al fresco’ restaurants, though I assume the lamp lights up whenever he takes a swig. I love how he has a hand on the lamp to steady himself too. Aye steady as she goes, Cap’n...

If only there were a way to combine the two into one über toy, say “The Drinking Secret Captain Bond XX7”, complete with signature Baretta pistol, but with a travel case martini (shaken by the sea, don’t ya know) rather than the bottle of XX rotgut. I’d keep the striped sailor shirt, worn under the tux jacket for a nice iconoclastic touch. I’m sure Q would have some ingenius weapon hidden in the lamp, or maybe in the life preserver...

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Waste of Fire-Wielding Talent?

A billboard ad for a local duck specialty restaurant. Seems like a waste of the man’s impressive mutant fire-wielding powers, but then again that looks like one perfectly roasted duck...

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Ice Palace Fishbowl - with 'Authentic' Goldfish

No, this is not a belated April Fools image - those really are actual goldfish ‘swimming’ in a solid ice fishbowl (along with a few tufts of seaweed to add to the oh so subtle illusion). Apparently the folks at the Ice Palace decided to go for authenticity. The creepiness is further enhanced by the unearthly green glow permeating the ice around it. Have to wonder what the guy who did this was thinking as he poured water into the mold and over the strategically placed carcasses - ‘Man this will look great! And so realistic, just like our neon-embedded ice sculptures!”

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Mr Smash, the Clockwork Walking Smash Martian

Another toy from the Heritage Museum. No need to embellish such naming genius - this is easily one of best names for a toy (or any product really) EVER. What overly rambunctious little boy could resist a Mr. Smash? Note the tool of his trade, a subtle but devastating orange plasma hammer, which offsets the rather odd clamshell mouth and unsettling dead black eyes...

Of course the fact that he’s a ‘clockwork walking smash martian’ assures him a place in the HKB Hall of Champions (or at least head of the ‘automatronic ambulatory demolition alien’ contingent, an admittedly small but vital component)...

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Colonel 'Hap' Hazard's Helicopter Suit Misadventure

From the Hong Kong Heritage Museum. One of many gems I stumbled on during a fieldtrip there. Like most museums here in HK, the museum is refreshingly well-funded (compared to many in the US), though there is a limited amount of content. They do well with what they’ve got though. And the toy section has an amazing array of period toys made during HK’s ‘golden’ manufacturing age.

Here we have the toy based on the infamous Col. Harlan ‘Hap’ Hazard, a well meaning but hopelessly unlucky astronaut. Seems every project Col. Hazard was assigned to experienced random, chaotic events. This toy chronicles his most famous Moon mission, during which he successfully landed only to realize that the boys at Cape Canaveral had outfitted him with a helicopter blade, instead of the intended rocket pack. Of course the helicopter idea didn’t work too well on the Moon, seeing as there’s no air...

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Nothing Like Museum Quality Paintings of Blue Frog Mutants to Whet the Appetite

From the ‘Blue Frog’ a US style bar & grill in Beijing we hit the break up our run of exclusively local fare. Seems the proprietors have either: a) contacted an advanced civilization in an alternate universe where blue frogs (and not monkeys) evolved into the dominant species, with uncanny cultural similarities to our own, or: b) they hired a very good local hungry painter to render (and render well - these are quality oil paintings) their namesake in a bizarre branding/name tie-in. Unfortunately for them, the paintings: a) it definitely help me remember them, but not in a remotely good way and: b) it didn’t make me hungry (quite the opposite in fact). These are even more unsettling in real life, ‘scare the children’ life-like, especially the ‘greek’ frog god in the toga, and the Renaissance woman holding a mutant pet that resembled ‘Woodstock’ from Charlie Brown...



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Cringe-Inducing Cardoor Kitsche on a Hover Car

A cardoor decoration from Beijing. I initially stopped to get a picture of the car’s name, the ‘Hover’, which is apparently a new SUV from a Chinese car company called Great Wall - no really. I hope they weren’t trying to rhyme with ‘Rover’. If so, someone in their international marketing dept. needs to brush up on their English. Also they might want to know that ‘hover car’ has obvious futuristic connotations; I assume people arent’ buying this vehicle with the expectation that it will in fact well, hover. By the way what ever happened to the flying cars we were all supposed to have by now? Maybe Great Wall has something up their sleeves, hopefully more practical than their namesake landmark...

But I digress. as I stopped to shoot the aforementioned quirky name I saw what I thought was an oddly colored door pad, only to realize that this was a novelty item the owner had no doubt purchased while very, very drunk. Having a set of fingers trapped in a cardoor is the most unsettling car decoration i’ve ever seen, far more than the old ‘cabbage patch baby hanging by its fingers in the car window’ that thankfully fell out of favor years ago. This is cringe, even nightmare-inducing stuff for anyone who’s ever actually done this, ie slammed their fingers in a car door. I literally pulled my hand back in reflexive horror when I saw it. Suffice it to say it doesn’t make the car hover any better either...



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Gripe Water - Rapid Relief of Wind and Gripe

A quick post about gripe water. Initially I found the term ‘gripe water’ amusing; I’ve since been told that ‘gripe’ is a Brit term for colic. Still to Americans to ‘gripe’ means to bitch or complain, and ‘wind’ is an archaic term used ironically (think Break Like the Wind, the estimable sequel to Spinal Tap). A more useful US version would be targeted not at colicky babies and their sleepless parents, but rather for those unfortunates exposed to rightwing talk radio and fox news (such as workers forced to listen to rush limbaugh or sean hannity by their petty tyrant bosses). It would provide rapid relief from ignorant whining, race-baiting, spittle-flecked griping and toxic levels of foul smelling hot air...

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Hello Kitty Swiss Formula Strawberry Cyber Clean

Yet another nonsensical Hello Kitty item. For the record Cyber Clean is a keyboard cleaning product, which looks and feels like clammy, oddly firm pudding. I confess I once bought some of the ‘normal’ lemon scented stuff, and have to admit that it does clean out the crumbs etc fairly well. Still, why would you buy this particular wad of Cyber Clean?Because its from Switzerland - or at least formulated by Swiss cyber-engineers? No! Because it has Hello Kitty on it of course! And it smells like strawberries, just like Hello Kitty...

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Understand Classical: Witch-hatted Garlic Cloves Signify Roast Pig's Knuckles

Another selection from the previously mentioned menu. Nothing says classic Beijing cuisine like roast pig’s knuckles, and nothing signifies classic pig’s knuckles quite like a pair of witch-hatted cloves of garlic. Obvious really...

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A Bucket of 12 Inch Gummi Nightcrawler Bait - Yummi!

From the quickie mart store in Beijing. As someone who hates Gummi bears and other similar candy, I can’t speak to how long these things have been around, but I can speak to the uniquely unappetizing thought of eating a 12 inch long Gummi nightcrawler worm from a bucket. I didn’t check to see if they were packed in moist dirt like real nightcrawlers, though that would add undeniable authenticity...

Perhaps I’m not alone in my disgust, seeing as they had a veritable tower of the stuff sitting untouched for a week (on sale for 1/2 off to boot). The mind boggles at what the good folks at Gummi Works will think of next: how about a bucket of Gummi Small Intestines? 36 feet of chewilicious gummy joy! Or maybe a bucket of Gummi Meal Worms or Gummi Chum, to expand on their bait-as-candy motif...

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This Was For Sale. For Money.

A painting for sale at a mall in Beijing. Thats right, this abomination was being sold for money. Suffice it to say I don’t think they’ll have any takers, save for the infamous ‘Museum of Bad Art’ in Boston. The puzzling thing about this atrocity is that who or whatever painted it can actually paint, at least in the sense that they know how to blend colors etc. I hope they didn’t actually experience the acid trip it seems based on. Some interesting mutant animals must be scurrying around their subconscious: we have a four-eyed snail, a coatrack-like truffula tree, a magenta parasite(?), a razor-toothed robotic toucan, a leaf-crested worm dragon, and my personal favorite in the menagerie, a gecko with a French Tricolore sawtoothed tongue...

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