disturbing mascots

Santa's Mighty Reindeer-Headed Staff

A decoration from the Kota Kinabalu airport in Malaysia. Not the strangest santa image I've seen (by a long shot), but his reindeer headed staff is unique. Never seen anything quite like it - or the helpful swallow on his shoulder, whispering naughty/nice names into his ear(?) Of course one hopes that his mighty staff doesn't fall into the wrong hands; an army of hypnotized flying reindeer could ruin anyone's yuletide cheer, or easily overwhelm the small antiquated airforce of a country like... Malaysia!?

The Must Have Soccer Accessory for 2009 - National Team Nutcrackers

A banner ad from one of the soccer sites I peruse - I think its ESPN. Anyway their soccer store now carries the one accessory every true soccer fan must have - national team themed nutcrackers! Note the soccer mullet (an Argentine specialty), headband and pitch (not to scale). Nothing says pride in your side like a properly attired nutcracker; nothing strikes fear in the hearts of your traditional arch-rivals. Imagine the terror and grudging respect your Brazilian friends will display when confronted with an Argentine nutcracker, complete with dead eyes and goatee. Time to crack some nuts, mi amigo, and you know whose nuts i'm talkin' about!

American Ingenuity on (Thanksgiving) Parade - Frito Lay Twinkie Stadium

While researching images for a Thanksgiving presentation at my youngest daughter's school, I googled thanksgiving, football, snacks etc. and stumbled upon this abomination. It seems some enterprising souls have constructed the Ultimate Snack Experience: Frito Lay Twinkie Stadium...



We begin with three-tiered walls of twinkies - and yes those are bacon strips 'reinforcing' the corners. Next we have 'stands' filled to capacity with doritos, chex party mix, cheetos, and nacho chips. The 'field' is made up of 3-inch deep guacamole, nacho cheese dip, and salsa. The 'players' are vienna sausages, with either cheddar or swiss cheese 'helmets'. Clever. And finally the goal posts are made of expertly-toothpicked slim jims. And it comfortably seats over 250,000 calories!

I can only imagine the weeks of planning that went into this; I'm also surprised it doesn't crash through the table. And while this monstrosity could literally feed a village for a week, the ten or so midwesterners at the party will no doubt finish this off by half time of the second game, tops...

Ireland's Potato Can't be Joked, Just Like... Marriage?

A surprisingly popular french fry joint in Causeway Bay. Interesting name - must be one big potato. And how did they transport it to HK? Oh well, much preferable to 'Ireland's Cabbage'. To their credit they must make damn good fries - there's alway at least a 20 person queue whenever I've happened by.

Anyway I was struck by the rather odd jack-o-lantern logo, and the even more bizarre inclusion of a lightning bolt. What does a jack-o-lantern have to do with fries (or lightning)? Ours is not to question, laddy - just eat your fooken chips. Also the slogan is one for the ages:

There are two things in the world that can't be joked: 1. marriage 2. potato

Sweat Time?

A poster from Times Square. I have no idea what this is supposed to do/be. I actually tried to find more info on this image on the internets, but nothing presented itself. Apparently it's supposed to inspire old ladies (with male bodies and a passing resemblance to the gueen?) to participate in field hockey, baseball, american football, and sweating. So much sweating that they literally begin to melt into their shoes and all over the floor...

Astra Zeneca Announces UK Coup

A billboard announcing either AstraZeneca's latest antacid breakthrough - or their successful coup and takeover of the UK. Apparently they gave out free samples at curry shops throughout the country, knowing that chicken korma was now the most popular dish (and heartburn was now commonplace in the adult population). I guess if you don't capitulate now they will cause further pain and gastric distress, as illustrated in the background. I love the reassuring scientist/spokesman in the pristine lab coat, as well as the (admittedly interesting if difficult to read) AZ logo emblazoned on the podium (and the new UK flag behind him). Also the antidote packet he offers, a mere 5 pounds a pill; added incentive to anyone who ever fancies a curry again...

Instant Witch

A costume in the bargain bin at Toys R Us. Looks like its been in there awhile. Not sure why though; who wouldn't want an instant witch? Just add water and stand back, and poof! Your very own pissed-off, mildly chubby Denny's waitress, complete with hectoring voice, press-on nails, ill-fitting hat, unflattering peasant blouse, and years of resentment. Not to worry though, unless you're her ex-husband...

Aah! Its... Zombie Nutcracker!

Here's the final Hallo Wind-sor installment, featuring that all-time classic horror icon, the zombie nutcracker. Who can forget this archetypal character of yore? What, you've never heard of the Zombie Nutcracker? You need to get out more my friend...

Hallo Wind-sor... Hallowind Sor?

Windsor Place's odd attempt at a haunted house. Behold the much anticipated 'Hallo Wind-sor" - complete with bloody eyeballs for the o's - now that's quality. Not sure if that's supposed to be 'hallowind sor' or 'wind sore'; neither sounds fun. There' s also the odd inclusion of a snake eye in the stone wall above the sign, but I'm sure its purpose is revealed inside. This wasn't open when I dropped by, but from the outside I assume its not good for little kids. Hong Kongers tend to really overdue the gruesome aspects of halloween, displaying way too much gore for kiddies. Even HK Disney is guilty of this; we were warned in no uncertain terms to avoid the haunted house there, as kids were coming out crying and screaming, attempting to burrow into their parents chests to escape the nightmares within.



Anyway here are a few of the highlights from outside. including a rather perplexed giant jack-o-lantern, and a truly disturbing Michael Jackson-esque new wave zombie. Not that Jacko needed any zombie makeup...

The Kinder Bueno Devil Vampire

A halloween ad for 'kinder bueno' candy bars. Not sure what he's supposed to be exactly - a horned vampire? A dapper fanged devil? A new hazelnut cream fueled devil/vampire hybrid? Nice fangs though, perfectly adapted (note how they line up exactly with the bar sections) to suck said hazelnut cream from defenseless kinder buenos. Makes me want to go out and become a suave devil vampire myself...

Aaah! It's Mrs. Shopaholic!

Another one of Ocean Park's Halloween characters, this one complete with her own funhouse at Times Square. I guess an undead 'tai tai' (slang for a rich housewife of a certain age with money and time to burn) amassing huge credit card bills from beyond the grave is truly horrifying by HK standards. And that purse - so last season!



And here's her 'house' - filled with Ocean Park Halloween memorabilia from yesteryear and funhouse mirrors. NIce touch with the coffin-shaped door...



There's also this geriatric vampire; he really looks like he's 500 years old, shuffling along behind you. "I'm a-comin' to drink your... blood? yes blood goddamn smart ass whippersnappers... just let me get a-goin' here... no respect for your elders..."


Planet of the Cheapy Queenies

The poster below is for the inexplicably well-received "Planet of the Lang Mo", a show by HK comedian Jim Chow, the guy responsible for those annoying Giordano 'cheer u up' t-shirts. If you haven't seen these, they have the classic round yellow happy face motif, but with x's for eyes. In the US at least this signifies being drunk or knocked senseless, which is appropriate for anyone wearing this stuff...



Anyway Mr. Chow has put all his considerable comedic talents (and craaazy facial expressions!) into his latest vehicle, a critique of the 'lang mo' phenomenon here in HK. According to one fawning website, ”Lang Mo” is a slang term used to describe “a teenage girl who is prepared to dress and show off her hot body at public functions in a way that, in previous years, could only be seen in adult magazines”... Hmmm. It seems Mr. Chow has come up with several hilarious incarnations, ranging from 'Cheapy Queeny' to 'Hallow Kitty' to "Banana Baby' (the less said about the latter the better). Mr. Chow has no doubt pulled HK comedy (and crossdressing?) down a few levels closer to hell in the process...

Aaah! It's... One Braid?!

This is a poster for the upcoming halloween celebrations at Ocean Park, a local (and quite successful) theme park. In the past their decorations have been way overboard, especially considering their main clientele are families; impalings, blood and mutilated bodies are a bit much for kinder.

This is more along the lines of traditional Chinese ghosts, a spurned woman returned from the grave with a vengeance. If you've seen the famous 'Chinese Ghost Story' movies (which I highly recommend by the way) you've seen the deadly 'hair extension' motif before. This one takes that even further, with a nasty single braid lashing out from the enraged ghost's head. No idea why her head is backwards, but perhaps that's why she's so pissed off. I love the street sign as well; I guess she's famous enough to have a whole road named after her.

Nasty Side Effects...

An ad from a junk mailer here in HK. Not sure what 'Noni' is supposed to do exactly, but it does seem to have some nasty side effects. Apparently these don't kick in until your trip to the local tea shop after work, so that lessens the blow i suppose. Hate to see what happens if you take twice the recommended dosage; does your entire face go, or just the left side your body? Maybe you could manage to slink through the office only showing your sunny, confident right profile..

Forsaken Acid Mickey

A forgotten shot from the 'street Mickey' exhibition at Times Square a few weeks ago. This mickey seems to have been conceived/designed while under the influence of acid, or something suitably mind-altering, though probably not peyote, which i assume is hard to come by in Asia. His limbs are teased out in grotesque springs, his signature pants have mutated into a heavily weighted bowl, his hands into useless pill shaped lumps. He appears to be crying out to Disney heaven in a 'why have you forsaken me?' pose, or melting into the pavement under the oppressive glare of Walt himself. Don't know if this is supposed to signify something profound (or if the sculptor has a 'signature' style that he must apply to all his work, so that Goofy, Bambi, or even Hello Kitty would be given the same unsettling treatment). Apparently its not that unsettling; the gentleman on the phone to the right didn't even look up as he strolled by. Maybe he's an acid-sculpture critic and is dishing to a colleague- 'oh god, another Mickey - how original - i'm sorry you were saying?"

Action Hero - Says So on the Box

Another forgotten item from my older brother's toy design hoard, a circa 1975 G.I. Joe knockoff with an orange flight suit (though sadly without the kung fu grip). I love the idea of a generic action figure, but I especially love the inclusion of Gen. MacArthur on the packaging; does this mean that 'action figure' also has a bizarre penchant for kimonos, an ego the size of Asia, and a burning desire to nuke China before they cross the 38th parallel? And the fact that its part of the 'collectable all series' is intriguing; I suppose that includes the generic Barbie (with impossible body dimensions sure to depress preteen girls), and the generic sanrio/hello kitty knockoff with monstrous eyes and unsettling 'cute' coefficient...

A Bit Much With the Devil Train?

Another panel from the anti-drug campaign murals in Kennedy Town. Looks like some of the kiddies may have taken their zeal for eradicating drug use a bit too far. Not to make light of a serious issue, but having pills etc to the tracks and running over them with the Devil Train is a bit unsettling. And the faceless/fingerless conductor is disturbing as well. Love the long-horned human skull on the stack though. Also judging by the defiant, sleep-deprived eyes of the 'syringe', maybe it takes being cut in half by tons of hurtling, demonic iron to finish him off. Looks like he's pretty strung out already; but then again he is filled with glowing heroin...

Mickey the Pirate King

Another interesting prop from the Mickey street art exhibit. Seems he now fancies himself 'Mickey the Pirate King', and has created his very own pirate flag, which in its way is more disturbing than the skull and crossbones. Wonder if Mickey will be engaged in modern piracy along the East African coast, or stay local in Asia and terrorize the shipping lanes of Indonesia and the Philippines. Also if some of his old pals will take to their new career; Goofy becoming a sadistic goon with a chip on his shoulder about his intelligence and stutter - " yu-yu- ya callin' me stupid? well i'm gonna cut you a new tongue!" Or Donald Duck screaming Somali insults over a megaphone in his signature voice, then screaming 'waahhhgghhh!" as he empties his AK-47 across the party deck of an unlucky cruise ship...

Mickey & Beedy Attack the Paparazzi

More disturbing images from the Mickey street art extravaganza. It seems Mickey's finally had enough of some pushy paparazzi. I'm unsure what he's supposed to be standing in front of - a monstrous Rubik's cube(?). He's seems to have snapped and his now out for blood, screaming full-throated obscenities, eyes blazing, spittle flying.

He's joined by the newest member of his posse', 'Beedy', known for his namesake (disturbingly low set) eyes, and for wearing his mickey mouse pants at "old man armpit level". Sure hope security steps in before Mickey and Beedy give an old fashion Disney beat down, maybe with his gal Minnie stepping in to get a solid kick to the paparazzo's ribs with her signature red stilettos...


The Awesome Power of... Addition!

This is a street mural in deepest Kennedy Town, part of a wall section of student art dedicated to ant-drug messaging. While I applaud the idea and effort, a few were too extraordinary to pass up. This panel illustrates the truly awesome destructive power of math -specifically addition and multiplication; it's literally streaming out in waves from our studious hero - with help from his backpack and textbooks - painfully smiting the various drugs and drug paraphenalia around him. As our hero grows in expertise, he will no doubt add the disciplines of subtraction and division to his devastating arsenal...

Got The Shoes, But Where Are His Pants?

These are the titan-sized Mickey shoes to go with the Mickey god-gloves, just visible in the background. Not sure if these are to scale, but they're still more than large enough to crush unbelieving fans of rival franchises. Wouldn't want to be in a tricked-out Scion with Looneytunes stickers when Mickey does his signature 'Mickey Mouse Walk' through Mong Kok, arms akimbo and legs pumping. Unfortunately they didn't have a scaled-up pair of red mickey mouse pants on display (complete with signature yellow buttons); though if Mickey does come to claim his gloves and shoes, I'm sure he'll bring his own pair. He is still a Disney character after all, even if he's out stomping innocent bystanders into jelly...

The Three-Fingered Hands of a God...

This is from a rather unsettling Mickey Mouse 'edgy' art exhibition at Times Square in Causeway Bay. I managed to get a few pictures without all the people - more adults than children - posing with them, but honestly I had to wait for about 10 minutes for a clear shot.

Disney is insanely popular in China and HK; we even have our own themepark over at Hong Kong Disney. But I guess the folks over at marketing wanted to nail down the art gallery set as well. So we have the Mickey God Hands, which allow fans to pretend they are about to be scooped up by the Mouse himself. But beware, for he may suddenly lift you up to his bottomless black eyes and lay bare your disney product consumption. And woe to any who are held in those gloves and found wanting...






Iconic Mustaches & Turtle Jelly Mastery

Of the many mustachioed turtle jelly masters in HK, Master Ng is no doubt the most famous. It seems years ago he stumbled upon Chinese-medicinal stardom when he combined two powerful marketing concepts - quality fresh turtle collagen herbal jelly and iconic facial hair - into one winning formula. And having exquisite taste in clothes didn't hurt either; note the sharkskin jacket and white tie:





As you can see by this montage from his website, Master Ng uses only the finest tubs and refrigerators for his products, and truly industrial strength binders to hold his voluminous research. As for why the emphasis on 'freshly reproduced turtles', look no further than this handy FAQ:




I wonder if Master Ng ever sees his reflection in one of the Versailles-scale mirrors at his palatial estate, and curses his symbiotic mustache; it has given him great fame and fortune, yes... but at such terrible personal cost...

Try Me! Please?

For those wondering whatever became of Edward Scissorhands, he's now utilizing his unique talents as a stylist for the famed South China Athletic Association's 3rd floor barbershop. After years of wasting away in Wan Chai bars and Mong Kok gentlemen's clubs, Eddies's on the comeback; he's still quite fragile though, and it was all the staff could do get him to pose for this poster. Good to see he's turned his life around. Always wondered how he ate with those things, so say nothing of more delicate personal hygiene; honestly I could never stomach more than about 5 minutes of the movie myself, so maybe they cover that in typically 'darkly clever' Burtonesque fashion. Have to say this super-cute rendering doesn't exactly make me want to rush on over, though I appreciate the subtle juxtaposition of the barber pole and anime Eddie...

The Stackticon King

This is a sign from the local Burger King in Pennsylvania. I was initially intrigued by the term 'stackicon' and assumed it was some transformers tie-in; much to my consternation I found that I was correct. By the way our friends at the Gettysburg 'BK Lounge' (as we lovingly referred to it in high school) didn't bother to check the spelling, but it seems 'Stackticon' is a play on 'stackers', a BK sandwich you can stack - how clever.



Anyway out of morbid curiosity i looked up the term and found this ad blurb: In honor of the new movie "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen," Burger King introduces the BK BBQ Stackticon, which allows consumers to build their sandwich as big or tall as they want with unlimited beef, cheese and bacon... Out of even more morbid curiosity I looked up the site itself, as was greeted with this disturbing image:



Yow. I should mention that the dollar bills float independently around the site for no reason. You can also roll over the king and get his 'transformer power ratings', one of which is for 'creepiness'. Love the hair.

One final morbid etc etc search, yielded a real stackticon - thankfully someone had gone to the trouble of providing shots of both the advertised ideal and the actual sandwich together:



So all in all a rather pathetic but resonant slice of contemporary American culture, stacked for your convenience (I know I know I couldn't resist):
a truly awful movie - and yes it is as awful as all those snooty critics say it is;
the inevitable fast-food marketing tie-in, but does it transform into anything other than 2 lbs of human fat? Alas no;
and the option for American consumers to add as much beef cheese and bacon as they can, which is a lot...

Bibleman Shatters the Prince of Pride

This is a puzzle from my parents house, that someone gave to my older brother at a toy fair. I guess 'hypocritically self-righteous man' and 'biblical quotes taken out of context to support my narrow religious beliefs man' were already taken. Not sure what his powers are exactly: quoting obscure bible passages to confound his liberal enemies? "...and Josiah begat his son Jebediah, and yea they did lay down with Yellenite whores and know them. Then fourscore years later did their progeny rise up and punish those same Yellenites for their sinful combining of wool and cotton..". So obviously, postal union organizers of the Tri-Cities area, you must repent your liberal ways or face the wrath of Yahweh!" (the same passage from Leviticus that evangelicals always quote to justify gay people being damned etc. also recommends death to anyone wearing wool and cotton together, so I guess all those righteous Southern senators in pristine wool suits and spotless cotton shirts are damned as well... but I digress).

Anyway, whatever power Bibleman possesses apparently allows him to shatter the 'Prince of Pride'. Have to say that this is the lamest version of Satan I've ever come across; I guess a cyborg suit with a green plexiglass eye attachment is all they could afford over at Talicor Puzzles. Perhaps the glass magnifies his prideful stare! Can't see bible camp kids trembling in fear of him though - he looks more like a lower echelon Power Rangers villain, without the usual rubber antennae and mandibles. You do get a free poster though, so thats something...

T-Rexes Don't Make Good Pets

This is an older ad for a mobile service(?) here in HK. I love the T-Rex as faithful pooch motif, with his golden retriever coloring and lovingly personalized collar. I wonder what Sam plays fetch with; a water buffalo leg? An oar? Anyway this ad left me wondering how the happy family below deals with Sam when he gets too hungry or grouchy; T-Rexes are notoriously difficult pets, though not as bad as rottweilers. Sam gets pretty frustrated when ordered to 'shake' - it reminds him of his near-useless front legs, and makes him feel frustrated and inadequate. And as everyone knows, 'a frustrated T-Rex is a dangerous T-Rex'. I wonder how this weekend's jaunt to the park turns out - "Sam Sit! Stay! I mean it buster! Honey make a break for the car while I distract him with the buffalo leg! Stay Sam stay!"

Hey Kids - Who's First on Beeterro?

I came across some older forgotten shots on my laptop, most of which were shite, but found a few gems (gems in the shite - isn't that a Scottish expression?)

Anyway this is a hercules beetle ride in a Tokyo arcade. No sign of an accompanying 'dung beetle' ride, complete with 6-foot dung ball that you roll in front of you and defend like its made of gold... oh well, probably so much the better.

Much to my surprise it sat strangely idle; one would think that kids would line up around the block (and forego those newfangled 'video' games nearby) for a chance to mount 'hercu-beetle' and pretend they are slowly shuffling through the leaf litter, feasting on detritus just like a real beetle.

Unfortunately the dire warning on his jaws was in Japanese only, so I can only assume it cautions riders not to push the glowing red button next to his steering wheel, lest hercu-beetle transform into a 30-story 'Beeterro' and force the desperate Japanese army to reluctantly call upon Godzilla to stop it. And Godzilla always exacts a terrible price for his services. A terrible price...

Monty the Garden Zombie

Another garden accessory from our friends at Toscano in the SkyMall catalog. Nothing compliments a garden yeti quite like a lifesize zombie erupting from your azaleas. His official name is the "Zombie of Montclaire Moors(?)", or Monty for short.

Here is an excerpt from the ad copy: not for the faint of heart...will claw his way out of your garden (and into your heart!)... office or family room corner, pleading for assistance with the most lifelike eyes you've ever seen..you'll swear you can hear him breathing!" Definitely a surefire conversation starter, either with your children's new psychiatrist friend or with the ambulance crew sent over to resuscitate grandpa...

Bigfoot the Garden Yeti

From the infamous SkyMall catalog on our flight from San Francisco to DC. Now you too can have your every own garden yeti, over 2 feet of mysterious (until now!) primate, guaranteed to spark lively conversation and terrify neighborhood children. Apparently garden gnomes are no longer a viable kitsch option, thanks to travelocity's annoying ad campaign, which they stole by the way. (In the interest of full disclosure I must confess to owning an 'alien yard gnome' in our backyard in DC, appropriately named 'Roswell'). Note that he's posed like the famous film still of Bigfoot - and yes I've watched enough bad TV - think 'Monsterquest on the History Channel - to recognize it instantly.

Several noteworthy things about the garden yeti - the catalog calls him 'Bigfoot the Garden Yeti': an incredibly uninspired and confusing nickname, like 'Puma the Tiger'; also everyone knows that yeti are found in the Himalayas, not in suburban US gardens where most bigfoot sightings occur... Why not call him 'Yeti the Garden Bigfoot'? That way he could have an exotic name to bandy about when meeting other garden Bigfeet(?) "yeah my parents went to Nepal and named me after my third cousin - thought it'd be cool. My brother Sasquatch was born in Vancouver...".

Pucking Coffee

This is from the eminently forgettable (and preposterously overpriced) Portola hotel in Monterey CA; the only hotel I've ever stayed at that charged a US DOLLAR A MINUTE for internet access - yep 60 bucks an hour. No doubt cheaper - and more reiiable - in Birkina Faso.

The package below is the in-room coffee selection for the circa 1985 coffeemaker. It seems the intrepid entrepeneur Wolfgang Puck is at it again with his hand-crafted 'signature coffee' blends. Only the highest quality beans are selected in their millions by the Maestro himself - to be freeze dried and bagged by the ton for tourist trap hotels like the lovely Portola.

Hard working man our Wolfgang, first with Spago(?) or whatever his restaurant is called, then the gourmet microwave pizzas (each one meticulously hand-crafted by the Maestro himself- then shipped to Costcos and Walmarts across the country). Anyway what caught my eye was Wolfgang's expression on the packaging - I assume he's supposed to look dutifully impressed with his creation, but he seems more like "Vas is dis? You call zis f*cking coffee?!" Having tried it myself I have to say I'm more in the latter camp.


Does She Get to Keep It?

This is a poster advertising Octupus card rewards (like an ATM card but much more versatile) at a nearby Jusco, a Japanese dollar store chain with tons of kitsch and craft supplies. I assume this is a reference to the Year of the Ox, though its clearly a cow. Oh well, the woman is certainly ecstatic with it's appearance, though I wonder if she gets to keep it, and if she realizes what she's getting into if she does. Not an ideal pet for a 700 sq ft apartment.

The cowering clerk at the register also looks rather put out; perhaps this happens a few times a week, and once again he'll to clean up after 'midas' takes a gilded dump on his scanner. Must be really hard to get metallic cow dung out of all the little seams...

Frosty KO'd, Betrayed by VitaSoy

This was on a delivery truck downtown. It seems that the heated bottle of VitaSoy (soy milk) has KO'd our unfortunate snowman friend, and is now inexorably and painfully melting him (and wearing a toasty scarf just to rub it in too). Not sure what Frosty did to deserve such a cruel fate; he certainly looks friendly enough, what with his bowtie and matching tasseled hat and mittens. Indeed, he has that shocked expression of the double-crossed character in a thriller, one who's just been shot by in the back by his trusted partner - after he got too close the the truth.

Frosty: "Vita... buddy... why....?"

VitaSoy: "You just couldn't leave well enough alone, could you Frosty?"

Hey Kids! It's Mini Bomb!

This is a children's clothing store(?) in Causeway Bay. I tried to find them on the internets, but as far as I can tell they are a local outfit. The name more than justifies inclusion here, but that crazy-ass logo increases its value exponentially. Don't recall ever seeing a kiddie franchise using a bomb as a mascot before, let alone one with psychotic 'star and lightning' eyes or a sharktooth smile. What parent could resist plastering this image across their two year old's chest? And then there's the 'cute lil' bunny' on the far left, no doubt an attempt to counterbalance the logo. I couldn't get close enough to see if the bunny has fangs too...

...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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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!”

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)...

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...

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...



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...



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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

Crazy! X'Mas! Crazymichael!

The holiday installation at Times Square. I’d never heard of ‘crazymichael’ is and don’t much care about it to be honest. A cursory internets search revealed this:

Hong Kong vinyl pioneer Michael Lau returns with... Crazymichael, a character born out of Lau’s collaboration with Nike for the Air Force 1’s 25th anniversary back in 2008... 12” figures are priced at $1,999 HKD, with only 499 units being made available.

Yes that about $260 US for a toy. Nice work if you can get it. By the way the thirty foot tall crazymichael in the lobby has a rotating head, no doubt to further cement his crazy status (that’s supposed to be a straightjacket he’s wearing). There are a number of these figures festooning the lobby around the blue carpet, as well as more human size toys that look like mutant ‘70s NBA players, ’80s break dancers, and various other ‘kindergardners’(?)

Again what is impressive or disconcerting depending on your viewpoint is the absurd scale of all of this. The giant michael is complimented by 20 foot wide floating ‘thought bubbles’ rigged from the ceiling; the exterior installation has seven foot spray cans and two story assemblages of ‘hi my name is’ stickers. I included the one ‘subversive’ addition. Seems Michael Lau (or one of his devoted coterie of proteges’) included bullshit as a name. How naughty! How subversive! How crazy! Personally I like the mysterious ‘german f’ one myself...









A King's Foursome with Mr. Bacon, Mr. Cheese, and Mr. Pineapple

Seems Burger King is now promoting outright adultery, tempting the ladies with the foul triumvirate of Misters Bacon, Cheese, and Pineapple(?). What woman can resist a foursome with these formidable paramours? What woman wouldn’t want three snazzy new tattoos declaring her rather crowded dalliance to the world? Have to say though that the tattoos should at least have a passing reference to well, bacon, cheese and pineapple, no? And don’t know what flowers and hearts have to do with any of them. But I guess in the grip of a four time cheatin’ heart, an already vulnerable gal may agree to anything. I just hope they don’t make her choose one over the other. My money’s on Mr. Bacon...

Unintentionally Hitlerseque

A bus-stop poster near our apt. Its great to see the Red Cross and ‘Twin Bears’ team up for charity, but I the think ad campaign may have birthed an unfortunate (and no doubt unintentional) cross-reference. It seems each time I see the half bear/half pop idol face on the left, I’m reminded of Hitler. The teddy’s nose is the signature mustache, and the severely parted hair completes it. I though I was overreacting so to speak, but I’ve pointed this out to a few people and either they see it themselves right away or get it as soon as I mention it. I hope the image doesn’t subconsciously cause anyone to forgo donating. Then again it may cause a wholly unexpected spike in donations from nazis...

Hello Kitty Takes British Throne

A Hell O’Kitty installation here in HK. This one at Langham Place. Seems hello kitty has taken Britain by storm, not only assuming the throne, but taking over Parliament as well. Note how she’s replaced the beefeaters (under Big Ben) with her dead eyed minions. Even the tourists and jingoistic spice girl wannabes have fallen under her power. Have to say she looks pretty grand up there on the bridge though. Of course we’ll have to forego the ‘Hell O’Kitty’ tags now - can’t have an Irish name associated with the throne, not even as a joke. Oh well, the Windsors are actually German anyway, though having a Japanese monarch may taking some getting used to. And her latest proclamation - that all citizens must wear a red bow on the left side of their head and have whiskers tattooed on their cheeks - is already running into politely murmured opposition in the House of Lords...



Tricky Trunks!

A zany calendar at a bookstore here in HK. Tricky trunks indeed. Good to see that even rollerskating elephants take safety seriously - note the ‘elbow’ pads and helmet - both in adorable pink! Somehow I don’t see this working out so peachy in real life. Though I could see Tricky here turning on her tormentors and planting a well aimed 300 pound roller skate onto their chests as she tramples them on her way to that distant treeline...

The Legends of McRib

A screenshot from a sports website(?). Seems the infamous McRib sandwich is making a comeback, and false tales of it’s lightning inducing (as opposed to its actual vomit-inducing) prowess are hittin’ the airwaves. I have to admit to trying one of these years (decades?) ago when it first came out, and it was one of the most disgusting, disquieting things i’ve ever eaten - which is saying something. It was a vaguely meatish lump stamped into a vaguely rib-rack shape - sans bones of course, slathered with ‘bbq’ sauce and onion bits. If ever there was a soylent green product on the market, this is it. For those of you who don’t know what soylent green is... its’ people! soylent green is people!

Elf Ear

A quick post from our Halloween shopping excursion. I couldn’t get many pictures - the staff get very upset if you take photos, what with all the illegal knockoff toys etc, so apologies for the blur. Seems you can get your daughter that ‘elf ear’ she desperately needs to complete her freakish nun/maid/ninja/fox/elf combo anime’ costume. Silver just-so japanime’ wig not included, nor is the badass coquette anime’ attitude, or the age inappropriate latex jacket (unfortunately cut off here). Thankfully they do throw in two ears despite the tag. I have to say the expression on the model’s face is a bit much, especially considering she’s all or 4-5 years old. Hope she doesn’t get too attached to this look, and opt for surgery later...

Double the Flavour Twistin' FUN with Extra Cheddar Dipping Sauce

Yet another mutant Pizza Hut creation. I assume they have these in the US, though the ‘Thousand Island Dressing’ option isn’t available. Yes, there is a Japanese pizza variant that substitutes thousand island for tomato sauce. Tastes worse than it sounds, if that’s possible. Anyway this it the latest in the amoebic budding crust motif, where you get a wheel of extra nuggets to pull from the mothership. And if having cheddar cheese (or pig in a blanket/mini dog) stuffing isn’t enough, there’s a handy cheddar dipping sauce to drive the point home. Apparently you can never have too much cheese, or too many calories...

Beard Papa's - World's Best Cream Puffs?

A cream puff outfit originating in Japan. Honestly who else would name a cream puff franchise - or anything for that matter - ‘beard papas?. Anyway they’ve been doing well for themselves, with a few branches here in HK; in fact I saw a branch in San Francisco last time we visited. I had seen their signs here but wanted to actually try one before I laid into them over the preposterous name. And I have to give them credit; yes it is a very silly name, and yes they have world class cream puffs. We went conservative and tried the original with chocolate. Far better than I expected, in fact the best cream puff/profiterole I’ve had here, or anywhere outside of Italy really. So they can keep the slightly creepy mascot and the odd name; just as long as they don’t change the recipe...

Nothing Says Hipster Fashion Like a Three Eyed Lying Pinocchio

A window display for Chocoolate, a hipster brand here in HK. They usually have pretty eclectic advertising, and I’ll admit it got my attention, but in a what the hell is that supposed to mean? sense. The three eyes on Pinocchio are a bit disconcerting–and why use Pinocchio in the first place? Also the leaf growing from his nose doesn’t help clear up matters. Does that mean he’s lying, but in an environmentally responsible way?

Lamb Shank & Pizza Combo

A combo special from our friends at Pepperoni's, the recently defunct(?) pizza place here in Happy Valley. Not a combination you'd find in the US (of anywhere else I can think of, save New Zealand). Still the shank certainly looks appetizing, and at $150 HKD (20 US) its quite a bargain - assuming we're talking a decent sized shank here - we are?- well alright then. Perhaps in the future they'll just drop the shank on top of the pizza. Hard to fit in a pizza box though...

The Cyber King of Keys

A poster for the much anticipated return of 'the King of Keys'. Seems he's had extensive cyborg augmentation done since his last tour; now only his head (and of course his heart, so he can still feel the pain, channel the love) are still organic. The new royal suit comes complete with a thruster pack for navigating his zero-G orbital concert hall, and allows access to the 88 semi-autonomous piano keys. One can only imagine if such technology fell into the wrong hands... better not to think about it. Better to bow down before the rightful king and marvel at his hypervelocity arpeggios and exponentially advanced smarm quotient.

They Meant Well...

This from the Nature Garden complex on Ma Wan Island, next to the more famous Noah's Ark attraction (who knew the ark was here under a bridge this whole time, and not on the slopes of Mt. Arrarat?). Anyway this is part of a well-intentioned green energy section of the park, complete with windmills and solar panels. Seems they decided to include methane production as well. So we have happy eco-critters(?) in hard hats, a hazard-taped cutaway container, whorls of feces, and some bewildered amoebic figures representing the methane producing bacteria. They look surprised to be there, perhaps wondering what evil they perpetrated to deserve this karmic fate. Note the pyro critter on top with the match, and the one holding his nose and tearing up from the stench below. I'm all for educating the kinder about green energy, but I'm afraid this one needs some work. Granted its a tall order to make methane production interesting to children (or anyone really), but a cutaway jar full of plastic manure and fart gas isn't going to cut it. No pun intended...

Originated from China Ecological Grassland, with Bovine Guardians

A billboard advertising milk from the mainland. Of course its highly unlikely that such verdant pastures exist anywhere in China; and while 'ecological grassland' sounds vaguely positive, it doesn't actually mean anything. Also considering China's infamous plastic additive (melamine) scandal, when the Chinese throw words like ecological around, one should be very wary. Still I have to give credit to the poor sods who had to photoshop the 'dairy cow' clouds (having done this once myself with the old AOL logo, i can attest that its a real pain in the ass to make clouds look both 'realistic' and recognizable as something else). But perhaps the bovine guardian spirits really are watching over this precious patch of idyllic green, and the photographer just got lucky...


You & Me Ghost Wedding

You may have seen these insufferable (and insanely expensive) porcelain figures. Apparently they are a US franchise, though I've only seen them in asia. Anyway the basic premise is sad-puppy eyed toddler combined with hallmark card schlock (note the heart carved into the tree stump - which can be customized I'm told). They have several outlets in high-end malls here, allowing older customers an option beyond anime, hello kitty and pokemon merchandise.



Anyway I stumbled upon this rather disturbing pair while looking for shoes for my daughters - two 'life sized' wedding dolls, which (I'm guessing) are intended to look like old photographs. Unfortunately they look far more like zombies or ghosts, emanating crushing despair and colorless melancholy; the effect is even further magnified by the groom's sad hand wave and bride's faded bouquet. Not exactly the vibe you want establish for your marriage - trapped in an eternity of bottomless despair, mournfully gazing out of your glass prison at all those happy technicolor lives...

Satan Claus

Thanks to my friend Mark for sending this one over. Seems Satan was busy during xmas as well, assuming a passable 'saint nick' disguise and hiring himself out for the holiday kiddy circuit (no doubt trying to snag a few children's souls with his 'gift' of eternal toys - in hell!) Looks like he's shaking a bit - perhaps he's struggling to keep his devil body from bursting through. More likely he's been hitting the spiked eggnog a little too hard (he is making that universal 'drinking' motion), getting some 'liquid courage' under his belt before the 'sitting on santa's lap' portion of the party starts. Seems even he gets nervous about dealing with droves of demanding, bratty kids...



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 it the tagline - ‘the craft that time forgot’. Perhaps ‘time’ needs to forget again…

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 - its 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…

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…


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”…

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…



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…

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…

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…

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...

Bling-Encrusted Hello Kitty Trove

From a store in Happy Valley that specializes in bling-coated accessories, especially Hello Kitty stuff. Considering how popular both Hell O’kitty and bling are in HK, I’m not surprised they’ve stuck around despite the outrageous rent.

And just look at the selection - A Hello Kitty clock anchoring the display, a working retro bling phone, a 5 pound bling purse (great crime deterrent - who’d want to steal that?) Also several impractical but hyperbling iPhone covers. Be warned though - the Stitch and Hello Kitty options are about 3 inches thick, so mere mortal pockets won’t do. And of course a blinged-out black model Ferrari, complete with gull wing doors. Just like the real Ferrari. The doors I mean.



Speaking of cars, the owner tends to park across the street. I had a few pictures of this from previous outings, but unfortunately this is the only one I could find:



Yes that is bling lining the window’s weather stripping, and yes the union jack is solid bling, with pink stripes. There’s was also decal in the window forbidding photos - like she can enforce that somehow. I love the fact that she coats a white/pink Cooper with rhinestones and Hello Kitty paraphernalia, and then forbids photography...

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...

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...