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.

'Glammario'

This impressive little icon graces the window of a shoe shop here in Happy Valley. I was never a fan of the whole Mario Brothers/Donkey Kong thing; in fact I found it's popularity quite perplexing, especially considering the fact that it a) made no f**king sense, even as video games go, or b) it had the most annoying music and sound effects ever created.

Still someone obviously liked Mario enough to purchase a diamond/rhinestone encrusted version of him, apparently in the hope that it will help sell shoes(?). I wonder if any of the women browsing the various pumps and stilettos here are swayed by Glammario. Maybe they also sell the whole outfit in ladies sizes - nothing says glam or 'tricked out' like a bejeweled paperboy hat, overalls and work boots. Somewhere there's an evil "glamwario' plotting to pry those precious gems off our beleaguered hero. And yes the fact that I know there is an 'anti-mario' called wario - despite my best efforts to avoid such useless info - is quite annoying to me.

House of Small Potato

This is a cafe(?) in Causeway Bay. Unlike the House of Blues in Chicago, Small Potato doesn't offer big stars or blues legends (or pasteurized covers and overpriced drinks either), but your second home, a place to unwind with other unknowns and well, small potatoes. You can strip down to socks and underwear, play a few lazy games of go-fish, watch original 'Battlestar Galactica' reruns on the analog TV, or cheer on the newbie guitarist up on the makeshift corner stage as he butchers 'Mannish Boy'.

I'm assuming the zoot-suited potato is an allusion to jazz aficionados, but its frankly hard to tell. He does have a rather contented expression though, so maybe this would be a nice place to while away an afternoon...

Happy Mexican Girly

A poster for Liz Liza's spring collection at SOGO, the new 'happy mexican girly' line. These ladies are on the forefront of human-anime hybrids, carrying the Japanese fetish for big eyes to its logical extreme. Indeed its now all the rage for 'girly' - hypercute Asian women - to sport contact lenses with enlarged pupils and sparkly irises. This is supposed to make the eyes look even larger and anime-esque. I've seen a few kids in HK wearing them, and its a bit unsettling up close; they look like more frightened than cute, and they seem unable to see peripherally. Apparently several eye doctors have come out against them, as your real pupil can't deal with the extra light etc. Alas beauty knows no pain, as they say.

Out of curiosity I googled Liz Lisa - the website I found is mostly in Japanese, but from what I could gather it seems the spring collection is bereft of actual 'mexican' designs. Heaps of 'happy' and 'girly' though...

Head Shop II

A hair salon in Ap Lei Chau. For Americans of a certain age the term 'head shop' usually refers to a store that sells pot smoking paraphenalia, or 'recreational tobacco water pipes', the 'legal' term for them. Honestly has anyone EVER smoked tobacco out of a bong?

Anyway the name was just enough to justify inclusion here, though the added 'II' piqued my interest - where is head shop I? Must be pretty impressive. Also I like the subtle hair follicle and the clinging pink bubbles. Head Shop I actually rinses out the shampoo - and then uses the pink water for 'recreational tobacco inhalation'.

Some Very Happy Beach Toys

This is a store window for a new boutique in Happy Valley. I looked up Anna Rita N, which turns out to be a high end Italian fashionique outfit. The ad campaign is from Italy, so I that lets the locals off the hook so to speak. I was literally stopped in my tracks by this one - not by the model and her admittedly distracting legs, but by the bizarre inclusion of blowup clownfish at her feet. They really seem to appreciate the upskirt view, and she seems happy to engage in a little exhibitionism. Not sure what or who this is supposed to entice; voyeuristic beach toy fetishists? Leg aficionados with a hidden desire to be Nemo?

The Dream World Beckons...

This is a poster for AnotherFCK, a hipster clothing store that specializes in unearthing ungodly '80s retro and then unleashing it upon unsuspecting 21st century fashionistas. This ensemble is the aimed at the 'hypergeek' set I suppose. Honestly who would wear this outfit - shiny red pants with a drawstring? And complimented by purple geek frames? And his turtle-like head and bad 5th grade haircut don't help.

Its also one of those unintentionally hilarious taglines that makes me wonder if the ad agency was tweaking their HK clients. 'The dream world' seems an apropos title: Enter the dream world if you dare, where this outfit turns heads and melts hearts; the dream world, where this guy doesn't get beat up at lunch on general principal; the dream world, where he is not a virgin but in fact gets laid constantly back at his bachelor pad, with old-school Devo playing in the background - Whip it Good for the act itself, followed by a post-coital cuddle rendition of Beautiful World...

Photogenic Spot - Trust Us

This is a sign in Hong Kong Park, designating a 'photogenic spot' for the photographically challenged. This sign seems more suited for Singapore, with its Big Brother culture and 'suggestions' for public behavior etc. Unfortunately the actual photo on the sign itself is rather faded and, well, unphotogenic. I did look around for the specified angle (which I believe is actually opposite the sign) but in the interest of taking the authorities at their word I dutifully took a picture.

Hmmm... perhaps I am incapable of appreciating the true photogenic-ness of the spot. I did get a nice 'slice of life' pic of an exasperated bridegroom and his bride, trying to get their photographer to this prime location. You'd think he'd already know of it, or sense it with his intrinsic artistic sensibilities. Then again maybe the spot is so hyperphotogenic that it blows shots of a mere wedding couple away entirely, like standing in front of the sun. Or not.



Pursuit WIll Go By 18 Wheels!

Another t-shirt from North Point - Pursuit WIll Go By This! I like the Old Glory trailer, but the tricked out NASCAR truck cab cranks it up a gear; check out the ground effects. I wonder if the cab has a 'Calvin & Hobbes' sticker, with a maliciously grinning Calvin urinating on the hated #84. What or who is actually being pursued is not clear, but whoever it is better be ready for a goddamn ass-kickin'. Good to see some 'friends don't let friends drive chevy's" spirit alive and well so far from the heartland, err, homeland. I'd love to watch the pursuee's panicked eyes as he/she/it checks their rearview mirror, and sees #83 roaring up his tailpipe, bearing down with a special delivery of Stars and Stripes and a little thing we like to call freedom...

What the F**k? Of Street Art, Dental Exams & Impossible Objects

This is by far the strangest - and most disturbing - street art I've ever seen. I've come across far more violent, grotesque etc, but nothing this surreal. I'm not versed in street tagging, but this is fu**ed up. I also couldn't find anything remotely close to it on the web. Where to begin? Well first off, there's the Escher 'impossible object' triangles; why are they 'centered' on the dental exam? Why use dentist's hands and implements in the first place? The '70s hair model doesn't look like she's being tortured, or in any discomfort at all really.

So what is this trying to be - or say? And why did the other taggers leave it so pristine? Is 'BUB ChBUB the creator of this abomination? Seriously any ideas and/or wild guesses would be much appreciated.

Update: Today I got a much closer look at this. It's actually been plastered to the wall like an old time circus poster, and there's a signature of sorts, the 'XD' in the upper right hand corner. Unfortunately I couldn't find anything new about it though...

Elvis Whoppie Twist vs. Red Velvet Whoppie Pie

A new (and unfortunately hard to read) Starbucks offering, the Elvis Whoppie Twist. Don’t know if a ‘whoppie’ is a traditional British item, but pairing Elvis with anything will surely kick it up a notch, no? I assume the twist is a reference to his famed hip gyrations? He didn’t sing ‘The Twist’ though, did he? I think that was Fats Domino.



Anyway, assuming they go for authenticity, it should be basketball-sized and feed 15+ people just like Elvis’ favorite sandwich, the infamous ‘Mile High Sandwich’ (officially called the ‘Fool's Gold Loaf’). For those of who unschooled in Elvis lore, this consists of a 4-pound loaf of hollowed-out buttered white bread filled with peanut butter, grape jelly, and burnt bacon. It is then deep-fried for good measure. It would serve 4-20 mortals - or one Elvis.

Of course if you’re looking for a more appropriately sized whoppie to tide you over, there’s always the Red Velvet Whoppie Pie (a remarkable name in its own right)...



...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...

Ice Means Jewellery, Oream Means Cash

A hoodie for sale in Wanchai. Not sure what ‘oream’ is - I assume that’s supposed to be ‘cream’? Not that that would make sense either. I had to snap this photo rather hurriedly, as knock-off stores such as this ironically don’t take kindly to people taking pictures of their copyright violations. I’m assuming this is supposed to be funny in a hip-hopster way? Can’t say that I’m up on my hip hop phraseology, but ‘ice means jewellery, cream means cash’ certainly sounds like your typical tepid faux gansta cliche.

Anyway the last line says ‘the two things which make the’. And that’s it. Make the what exactly? Make the native English speakers snicker? Or maybe I’m completely naive, and ice oream really does make the...

Greatest Falafel On Earth - Best Gyro Ever!

In case you were wondering where the greatest falafel on Earth resides, or the best gyro ever. That means since the dawn of time, or gyros at least, which is apparently a long time indeed, judging by the featured Egyptian nobility.

Anyway turns out it’s not in Lebanon or Greece (or Egypt), but in a small side street cafe in Seattle. Who knew? Also who knew that the ancient Egyptians enjoyed falafel and gyros? Or baklava? So when in Seattle, just look for the kissin’ camels. And remember, that’s ‘Zaina’ for food, drinks, and friends... AND THE BEST GYRO EVER!

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...

Only the Dead See the End

From a couture store called “Mr. Lolliporter” - more on him in a later post. This is part of their ‘naively’ racist Red Indian line, but its stands alone for sheer oddity. Only the Dead See the End indeed. What does that mean exactly? The dead can still see, or everyone will be dead when the end comes, which is technically true, I suppose, it being The End and all. Not like someone going to be around to see the credits when the time/space continuum winks out. Except perhaps the enigmatic Mr. Lolliporter...

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...

Truffle Pig

A candy bar(?) for sale in HK. More proof that Asian marketers don’t have a monopoly on poor branding. Honestly who would want to buy this? The inference of course is that you are either A) eating a truffled pork candy bar, or B) you are a truffle pig. Even if you like truffles, and know how they’re gathered (highly prized pigs trained to smell out the underground delicacy), this seems like a bad idea. Nobody wants to think of themselves as a pig, period. Or would be flattered by the comparision. Hey, how about Hazelnut Swine? Now that would sell like hotcakes. Or pigcakes...

Gimp Rolls, Scoubidous & Boodogglers

I came across this potentially unsettling item in the ‘meeoowwch’ craft store. Not being an especially scrapbooky person, the first thing that came to my mind was the gimp from Pulp Fiction. Somehow I don’t think that’s what the store had in mind...

Turns out there’s a bourgeoning underground of Gimpers, though calling them that may get me impaled by scrapbooking implements. Apparently they prefer to call themselves Boondogglers. Of course there’s another camp that refers to the art as Scoubidous. Sounds like a Harry Potter faction. Probably is one. Anyway I also wondered if the Boondogglers and Scoubidousers ever have craft-fair brawls, or travel in armed packs and pick off the occasional old or weakened apostate. Maybe they even have occasional defections to the ‘dark side’, and they knit up elaborate (and incredibly strong - this is plastic lace coated wire) restraining devices for their fallen sisters. Or not.

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...

God Makes You Try Pop Pop Pizza

Looks like Pizza Hut has brought in the Big Man himself to get his flock (or these rapturous HK ladies at least) to partake of their latest contraption pizza, the ‘Pop Pop’. Have to say it would take divine intervention to get me to try this abomination: sausage buds (with squirt bottle mayo), garlic shrimp, hot dog chunks, pineapple, and what appears to be twisty cheddar/mozzarella nuggets. Love the enticing platters in the background showing the various ingredients on cheeseboards with garnishes - just like in a real Pizza Hut kitchen! Not sure where the Popping occurs though. Perhaps its the sound of your stomach wall rupturing as God forces you to eat a monstrous slice of ‘pizza’ that weighs more than you do...

Live a Sportive (& Healthy) Life

A very quick post - this was next to the bowl + bowl cafe sign. Not much to say other than I am now inspired to live more sportively, whatever that means...

Hair Homer

A new(?) salon in Causeway Bay. Seems they spent a great deal of time and effort on a name (and signage) that makes absolutely no sense. It is memorable if nothing else, and makes for a nifty double h logo. And they’ve certainly chosen a grungy edgy font for themselves, though again what that has to do with either hair or homers is beyond me...

Desiccate the Spring

A dehumidifier ad from a few months ago. 90+% humidity and its attendant mold etc are big problems here in HK, and most people own at least one unit like this, and several dozen absorbing containers placed throughout their closets. So I think I can see what they are trying to do here, but its yet another case of too clever by half - we’ll use ‘desiccate; so scientific and official sounding! Don’t see people actually wanting to ‘desiccate the season’ and kill off any emergent springtime plant life...

The Pizza Gods Are NOT Smiling

A new addition to the ranks of unnecessary food innovations - the ‘pretzel pizza’. Seems the folks at Auntie Anne’s Pretzelwerks weren’t content with unsettlingly phallic ‘hotdogs in pretzel dough’ (see epicureans on the go - 26/11/2010). Now they’ve scandalized the Pizza Gods themselves with their latest travesty. And lo the Pizza Gods are not smiling. They are perhaps relieved that the ‘pretzel pizza’ is at least flat, and not pretzelized somehow (or worse pocket-shaped , the ultimate abomination). But they cannot be happy with another mutation. Why must companies constantly crank stuff like this out? Who craves a pretzel dough pizza? Why can’t they just stick to what works? And what of the Pretzel Gods? Are they smiling? No, they are weeping, dear friends. Weeping.

uMama Warms a Legendary Diva

The latest in massage/relaxation technology. HK is rife with such gadgets, ranging from full-body massage recliners (which retail for thousands US) to small handheld gizmos, to more midrange contraptions like this. The preposterous name itself warrants inclusion here, but there’s much more here worth commenting on. First off there’s the unique (and luxuriously comfortable) design which allows it to address the ‘neck, shoulder, back, and tummy’ simultaneously. Can’t say I ever needed a tummy massage after a hard day, but it must be just what a ‘legendary diva’ needs to maintain her... legendary diva-ness? I love the small control pad on the front too, discreetly nestled in the brushed faux leather - makes it look like the spacesuits from the more early Star Trek movies. Have to say it reminds me of the shoulder harness for a high end roller coaster more than anything else though.

Still, who cares what it looks like when it got a name like ‘uMama Warm’. It begs for someone to exclaim in a suitable rapper or jersey accent - “Umama? I warmed umama last night!” etc etc...

Bring On the 24-Herbed Clockwork Oranges!

A truly bizarre album cover concept for the local cantopop band ’24 Herbs’. They are purveyors of the usual HK saccharin-sweet boy band crap, with song titles like Turn It Up, Bring It On, Fashionista, and my personal favorite Chillax featuring Taiwanese rapper Soft Lipa(?).

Now it seems someone had the brilliant idea of doing a full-on Clockwork Orange branding campaign for their latest album and concerts, complete with clubs. bowlers, eye makeup and steel-toed boots. Which leaves me to wonder: did they actually watch the movie? Do they have any idea why those guys dressed like that, and what they were up to? Do you really want your boy band linked to costumed fascist sociopaths? Suffice to say I hope they don’t take the marketing too far, and go on a stomping foray into their adoring audience, accompanied by a stirring rendition of Beethoven’s 9th...



The Hardest Scratch-Resistant Coating Since the Formation of the Swiss Alps!

From the Star Ferry - Again with the new innovation. Seems our friends at Stoneline have done it again - terracota +induction?! They have apparently achieved, nay surpassed the Holy Grail of scratch resistance - the hardness of the original Swiss Alps! And we all know how scratch resistant the newly formed Alps were...

Yes, Those ARE Bungie Cords

A huge recently taken down construction site billboard in Causeway Bay. Yes that really is a shredded bungie cord shawl. I have to give credit to whoever thought this one up though. It must be damned difficult to come up with any new or interesting fashion props for photoshoots, as just about very ‘normal’ idea has been beaten to death, resurrected, then beaten to death yet again. I will say that it has interesting color and texture, but they’re bungie cords. This one has to fall into ‘that’s not only silly, but probably really uncomfortable’ category. That thing must weigh 20 pounds. One bonus though - if that overly fierce looking model in need of a weapon, or is ever stuck out in the boonies and her bumper comes off, she’ll have an ample supply of bungies readily accessible...

Life Begins From Here

A store window in Beijing. Apparently life begins not at conception, or after you’ve graduated, or even with a dream. It begins with a complete set of discount chinese crockery at low low prices. Or does it emanate from the mouth of the odd, crazy-eyed lion dog on the right?

They Already Have Ears

Some cute lil’ doggy outfits from the overly devoted folks at dogdogcollection. Seems its not enough to put your little mutant breed of choice into a Burberry sweater, cause they get sooo cold in subtropical HK. No, they now offer cute ‘outer dog’ suits in both pink and blue, and bunny suits as well, complete with cute lil’ bunny ears. Forgive me, but don’t dogs already have ears? Oh well, it’s not like logic comes into play here. And if you are going to spoil your already hyper-spoiled little prize as badly as dogdog’s customers do, then said dog should at least have to put up with some humiliation. How I’d love to hear the other dog’s commentary as they pass in the street; “Oooh, nice outfit, you pick that out yourself? And in baby blue too, really suits you....”

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...

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...

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)...

Comments Welcome and Appreciated

Just a quick note to my reader(s). I’ve was asked about the ‘comments’ link at the end of each entry, and why its usually followed by a ‘0’. Perhaps that’s because people don’t realize they can leave a comment for any entry they like (or loathe)?

I tested it today and noticed that it will make another ‘comment’ link appear to the right before it opens up a panel. Simply just click on that and you should be able to hold forth at your leisure. Its been quite some time since anyone has, so please feel free to comment away...

Placenta Infiltration Therapy

A new skin treatment at a local spa. Bizarre enough phrasing to proudly stand alone, though it does make one wonder exactly whose placenta is being infiltrated, and how...

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...



LUCID CUBE... Air Freshener or Dream Enhancer?

One of the odder taxi dashboard adornments I’ve seen - an air freshener named ‘LUCID CUBE’. Not sure if they had anything in mind other than ‘hey it rhymes!” A waste of a funky name really, as I can think of any number of interesting devices that could use a moniker like this, say a virtual reality generator, or an REM sleep brainwave booster. Maybe it really is a lucid dream enhancer disguised as a dashboard air freshener - which would explain why our driver kept weaving around unseen obstacles and driving like a waking nightmare...

Bloody Luxury Rides a Pale Horse

A marketing prop at Juicy Couture in Harbour City TST. I am perpetually amazed at the time, effort, and expense some stores put into their window displays and instore paraphenalia, but these guys are a cut above, and this item is a cut above their usual lifesize suit of pink armor. There are few things that make me want to buy some edgy fashion for the wife quite like a fuschia-maned horse with ‘bloody luxury’ spraypainted on its side and haunches. I wonder if I can buy a horsehide purse with this slogan emblazoned on it as well -maybe even rendered in actual horse blood? Ironic and edgy, dare I say juicily so...

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...

In the Blue Ocean Palace There Are Many Programs, Including Water-Larkishness

From a brochure for a resort outside of Beijing. Apparently Blue Ocean Palace has a hot spring pond whose grounds are constructed entirely from green jades. Wow. As if this were not enough, they claim to be the ‘first place in Beijing’ to boot; a veritable paradise of water sports (surfing and drifting) and spa treatments like ‘hydropathy-care’. Impressive lineup, but they also have venues for bowling, billiards and hairdressing. But it’s their singular ability to offer ‘water-larkishness’ that seals the deal for me. When’s the last time you were able to waterlark indoors? Exactly.



And as you can see by the accompanying shot of the pool, there is potential for water-larking aplenty. Never mind that the bizarre juxtaposition of stalactites, transplanted sections of cave wall, jade tiling, blimp hangar ceiling, and a flotilla of inflatable pool toys will melt your brain...

Even if the Trend is Changing, the Same is to Adhere to Taste - The Trendy Options

A bold, farsighted quote from the ‘trendy’ menu section of a Beijing area restaurant. I’m guessing they are trying to say something like new recipes still need to taste good. I could get the characters properly translated, but why spoil the mystique? And as quotes go, it’s far more thought provoking this way. Although I can’t say it made their entrees taste any better...

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...

Close To The Distance Near Civilization

My first post from our Chinese New Year trip to Beijing. A sign from the men’s room at the Great Wall site at Mutianyu. A beguiling phrase to be sure, but its location raises even more intriguing questions...





Does this mean urinals equal civilization? So... being close to the distance near them is... hmmm. I thought this plaque was perhaps misplaced, but they were dutifully posted above the other ten urinal stations as well. I must have been missing something all these years, just staring blankly ahead while I did my business, unaware that I was on the very cusp of progress...

Golden Bone Ingot

Yet another hot product from the lab over at Ancient Chinese Secrets (ok I made that up). Seems all you need to relieve joint pain and deterioration is a healthy dose of ‘golden bone ingots’, which will cause your various joints to veritably glow with health (see model on the right) - or does it electroplate your joints with actual gold? Who cares! They’re on sale!

Intense Social "punk" Rock Sand - Crazy Music Rise And Shine

Another t-shirt from the aforementioned Comical Kids winter lineup. I have no idea what they are attempting here, but it does have a nice cadence to it... I guess. Perhaps this is what Sid Vicious used to greet the morning (or late afternoon) with each day: Crazy Music Rise and Shine!

Comical Kids Friends Towards the Horizon Courageous Rivers '53

A boy’s t-shirt on sale at Sogo. ‘Comical Kids’ is the brand name, and they’ve got some great unintentional material here. Seems they are exhorting young boys to look ’towards the horizon’ for ‘courageous rivers’, just like in ’53. Who can forget the madcap tots who ventured forth on that ill-fated 1953 expedition to find the fabled river of bravery?

Dense Feeling Moment

An odd little toy from a bookstore in Causeway Bay. They have a whole raft of ‘european’ store fronts on sale, which are not made for any particular toy. I’m pretty sure there isn’t a coffee shop that goes by that name in any of the EU countries. but who knows? Maybe its tucked away on some cozy backstreet in London or Brussels, beckoning to the local intelligentsia and occasional tourist to come enjoy a good cup of joe and experience a truly condensed emotional instant...

Dreamy Pie Vs. O!Karto

Two products available in the window of a nearby gas station’s food mart. I was just going to post about the relative merits of dreamy pies: so dreamy, so pie-y. But then I noticed the O!Karto faux french fries. So O!-y, so karto-y... So I now have a conundrum: dreamy pie or O!Kartos? And then I saw the Lay’s Kyushi Seaweed potato chips beside them (hard to read I know). Decisions, decisions... oh who am I kidding - gotta go with dreamy pie! Though I would advise caution regarding Lott’s less popular dark chocolate option, Nightmare Cake...

Illinois of Augustana Gusties

A t-shirt from Champion, from the Sogo dept. store in Causeway Bay. They have a ton of these faux American high school shirts, with innocuous fictitious names like Carbondale Vikings etc. But this one definitely takes the cake. Of course in alternate universe Illinois the Gusties are a bit of a legend, the only school to win consequeitve state titles in both football and basketball twelve years in a row. I do think they mean Augustana of Illinois(?), which of course doesn’t really exist either. But hey who cares? Goooo Gusties! Blow ‘em away!

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...









Your Idea is a Dual Purpose

A t-shirt in Wanchai. Raises some interesting questions. If your idea is in fact dual-purpose - which I assume is a good thing - then why does it cause half your face to go negative? Or is that what a dual purpose face would look like? And is that good? Or even more important, is that fashionable?

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...



'The Hippies' Rock n' Roll Music Crocodile Conspiracy Sweater

A boy’s sweater for sale at a local HK clothier. It appears ‘The Hippies’, those world famous purveyors of Rock n’ Roll music and subliminal messaging, have sold out to the Man at last. Now their counterculture rockin’ vibe can be seen gracing the sweaters of 4 year olds everywhere. Note the small (hard to see) smiling crocodile mascot on the drum kit - nice touch. Of course The Hippies were famous for hiding obscure meanings and symbols in their records and album covers. In fact if you put this sweater on a vintage phonograph and play it backwards, you can just make out the phrase I buried ‘Paul’, aka the body double/impostor Hippy’s pet crocodile...

Garoupa Cheesy Volcano: Embrace the Affection

Just when I think Pizza Hut can’t possibly outdo their previous abomination, they deliver again (no pun intended). Now you can ‘embrace the affection’ and heat up your holiday romance with a ring of molten cheese volcano pods, the perfect counterpoint to the garoupa fish chunks nestled on the ‘mothership’ pizza. And the exclusive logo - that’s some quality work right there, managing to tie ‘volcano’, cheese, and romance (note the swoopy calligraphy elements and elegant font) into one package. The only thing missing is a nod to the delicious garoupa nuggets...



Frozen Bake

Hey everybody, it’s the Frozen Bake truck! I can’t wait to get my hands on some delicious baguettes and croissants that bake in the freezer. How do they do it? Who cares! As long as I can enjoy a frosty yet steaming baked treat I’m happy...

Hello Kitty Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Penne & Fusilli - Mi (Heart) Food!

From a recent Hello Kitty promotion at CitySuper in Causeway Bay. Just when you think the folks at Sanrio (owners/perpetrators of the Hello Kitty phenomenon) have run out of products to slap the their ubiquitous icon onto, one runs into something like this. ‘Mi (heart) Food’ isn’t even close to actual Italian or English - but who cares? It has Hello Kitty on it! Honestly why anyone would be swayed to buy extra virgin olive oil and/or Italian fusilli or penne pasta because that disturbing blank eyed face is on the label is utterly beyond me. Then again the thought of buying anything with Hello Kitty slapped on it is beyond me, at least for anyone over the age of 9...



Unarmed Task Force Anti Crime Handcuffs

Another photo I managed to take during Halloween costume shopping. Seems the world famous ‘Unarmed Task Force’ has put out a set of kiddies anti crime handcuffs. I guess when you’re unarmed you use what you can. No word on how the task force manages to catch criminals before slapping these babies on though. Sarcasm? Stern language? Of course this being HK, they could use super power movies kung fu, like leaping up and running along the walls, igniting thieves hair with qi, etc. I just noticed the tiny crossed out handgun on the far left (under the H)...

Doctor Bag's Stove Pipe Corsets?

A magazine cover for Asian fashionistas. Apologies for the subtle starbucks sticker - can’t blame them for labeling their mags so people don’t walk off with them, although I don’t think they had to worry about this one being stolen. One would expect with a tagline of ‘Doctor Bag’ that they would display an actual, well, doctor’s bag, or at least a purse styled on the classic country doctor case, big and chunky with clasps and a handle etc. But apparently Doctor Bag has moved on to corsets made from aluminum gutter sections - or is that stove piping? Either way this has to be the most uncomfortable looking accessory I’ve ever seen; well top three at least. I assume Doctor Bag is male, as no woman would ever put a serrated border under the breast line. Or would they? After all, ‘beauty knows no pain’...

ICE FIRE - Part of Their Life

A funky/faux ironic t-shirt outfitter here in HK. I have to admit I was taken in by the sign and nonsensical tagline. Whose life are they referencing? Well, the Frozen Plasma set (obviously). The merchandise was a bit disappointing, though could’ve been worse. A lot of ‘50s Gulf product shots from the glory days of motoring, as well as Bruce Lee/Godzilla stuff that might’ve been edgy a decade ago. Of course none of really appealed to me (or came close to fitting - damn you, ‘asian XL’), but then again its not part of my life. Perhaps I don’t have an icy/fiery enough lifestyle to qualify...

Milky Extract Towel Mints

A pack of towels in a local housewares outlet. I have no idea what ‘milky extract’ has to do with ‘mints’, or what either has to do with towels. Actually I don’t think I want to know...

the a (to be continued)

A fashion outlet in Wanchai. I’m not sure if they forgot the other letters, or if this really is the name. Well straight and to the point I suppose. Note there’s no asterisks afterward, so we can assume that the name isn’t a**hole for example. Upon closer inspection I noticed that in the lower left hand corner it says ‘to be continued’. Does that mean they will complete the name (and provide answers to all the cliffhangers from this season’s fashion mysteries) in another revelation packed installment down the street?

Yes, Hip Sporty + Entertainment = 1+1ORE Diamond Hockey Skates

Yet another wall-sized fashionista billboard at the WTC building. Possibly a nod to the burgeoning Canadian population here. Seems Hip Sporty + Entertainment = 1+1ORE (MORE). And nothing says ‘hip sporty’ like diamond-studded inline skates, hockey stick and puck, flawlessly polished marble rink floors, and ‘50s throwback attire. At least I hope that’s marble; not sure if the local ad agency realizes that inline skates don’t particularly well on ice. Reminds me of ‘McKenzie’s Inline Hockey Palace’ in Toronto, before the infamous 1957 ‘inline vs. ice’ hockey riots...

Murk and Tinted... Sunglasses?

A sunglass outlet in Causeway Bay. I’m not sure if this is a chain etc, but I have to say that ‘Murk and Tinted’ doesn’t exactly inspire confidence in their products. Unless you want a murky coating to compliment the ubiquitous tint...

Dr. Face & the V Treatment

One of the many beauty centers shilling in HK, and the only one offering the V treatment - which apparently sharpens your chin into a fine point for a mere $1,000 HKD ($130 or so USD). Actually I wonder if the other evil doctors give Dr. Face crap about his moniker. I can imagine Dr. Evil and Dr. Shrinker snorting in contempt over pitchers of Lite at the local TGIFridays. To say nothing of Dr. Doom; but then again Dr. Doom is a bit sensitive about the whole face thing, seeing as his own is scarred beyond recognition (and is hidden behind a rather dated looking steel mask. You’d think a supergenius like him could fix his own face at least). Perhaps Dr. Face could give him the V treatment, maybe even help him lose that last 10 pounds. All for the low introductory price of $388...

Fisherman's Soho High Tea/Sport Bar/Bridal Tea House. And Hotel.

Just your typical hotel/fisherman’s soho high tea/sport bar/bridal teahouse/ hotel. Dime (tenpence?) a dozen here in HK. If only they catered to a more diverse clientele...

Carbondale of Advance Party

A quick entry, from a Wanchai bargain clothing outlet. As I’ve said before, I rarely get a chance to photograph worthy t-shirts for posting, as they’re usually being worn at the time. This is by no means a top ten contender, but its odd enough to include here. After all, who wouldn’t want to be considered the Carbondale of the Advance Party. The Party is pretty particular about who gets to wear the name of their favorite city; not just any fashionista gets the honor...

Do You Wanna Dance with Me & My Mylar Tux?

An ad from Neway, a huge kareoke chain here. We just spent a surreal afternoon there for an impromptu going away party. The utterly bizarre and completely unrelated accompanying videos are worth the trip: the vintage 80’s hairstyle are amazing, and ‘New York New York’ featured footage of Amsterdam and the Southwest. Can’t imagine it’s hard to get footage of NYC, but I digress.

Anyway this billboard features one of the strangest tuxes I’ve ever seen - I’m guessing its paint-splattered Mylar, the same material in those silver florist balloons, but who knows? Maybe its especially space fabric designed to allow our heartthrob here to execute hyperkinetic ubermoves while crooning along with the latest cantopop schmaltz. The fabric cuts down the friction, but our hero runs a dangerous risk of collapsing from heat stroke, as the material mimics those shiny weight-loss suits on late night cable, and all that extra sweat pours down into his equally bizarre rainbow tinged reverse-winged shoes...

Wild Feast Dance Producers

A dance producer(?) in Wanchai. I guess ‘Bacchanalia Dance’ was already taken. Apparently they manufacture a myriad of wild dance feasts, from tap to hip hop, even ‘jazz funk’. Unsure of what kind of food to serve at your upcoming jazz technique wild feast? Well, these are the people to ask. I wonder if they do blood sacrifices as well, say during the average wild tap feast. Do they tap dance on the goats with razor tipped metal taps? Maybe they make the goats tap dance, after plying them with wine and... well whatever goats prefer to feast on. Exquisite kitchen scraps?

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?

Japan Gets Screwed

A bit of a throwaway posting, but I’m on vacation. A HK post office poster for sending things abroad, based on the tried and true ‘look a crazily oversized object!’ motif. I don’t know if this was an intentional inside joke or not, but there are still many who’d love to screw Japan over but good. Honestly though has anyone ever sent screws via the post office? My uncle needs some #24 philips head galvanized pronto - I better get down to the post office right away!

The Same Fish?

An HSBC ad in Happy Valley. I could ask what the Cantonese translation is for this, but its much more fun to imagine that both these poor gentlemen are patiently fishing for the same fish. Unfortunately for them, they live about 7,000 miles apart. I suppose that fish must exceptionally quick; still one of these men will be going home empty handed...

Obama Language Centre

A language tutor near Admiralty. The rather obvious attempt at cashing in on the US president's name is an interesting choice, as it appears they teach Chinese classes. So if you want learn to speak Mandarin in an engaging, post-partisan (i.e. moderate republican) style, then this is the place for you. They also have side courses in triangulation and hippy bashing. Alas no 'Bush' language Centeries in the vicinity, but that might just be clever stategery on their part...

Age? So What!

A billboard in Causeway Bay, exhorting older women to defy their fear of aging by preying upon their fear of... aging. Initially I included this for the utterly baffling exclamation point. After all HK is saturated with such ads, invariably displaying a svelte 110 pound starlet who used to weigh a shocking 125. While this kind of marketing is hardly unique to HK, they do seem to take it a bit too far here. Take for example the featured image: what appears to be a defiant shot across the bow of decrepitude–look she's 45 and chewing bubble gum!–its actually a shot at 45 year old women, who will (gasp) look their age unless they utilize the latest miracle slimming and skin-rejuvenation treatments...

Soul Room - For Your Conscious Living.......

A clothier in Causeway Bay. I've walked under this sign a thousand times and only just noticed tagline. Soul Room wasn't odd enough for inclusion here, but 'for your conscious living' puts it over the top, especially when combined with a double ellipse (adds a touch of mystery......). But where does one find cutting edge fashions for unconscious living?

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...

We Are Probably the Lowest Prices

Just to show that even native speakers can butcher the language (though personally i think we should just start calling it 'american' instead of 'english', just to annoy the brits if nothing else. By the way its pronounced a-lum-in-um...). My sister sent me this sign from Manhattan - not only do they have the lowest prices, they are the lowest, the physical embodiment of the very concept of 'lowest-price-ness...

OOPS!

A ladies' fashion outlet in North Point. An entire store dedicated to accidental fashions, like putting on an 80's hot pink blazer, hip waders and a sombrero simultaneously. Oops! Look what I just threw together! Perhaps they have an entire rack of mustard or tomato sauce stained clothing, or with prefab stains printed right into the fabric. Oops! Got mustard on my blouse... gotcha! Have to admit you remember their name if nothing else...

Time to Eat Go! Go! Go!!

A poster in Times Square exhorting us to go! go! go! get some GI rations upstairs pronto. Just fall in with the cutlery-wielding Marines as they charge hellbent over pumpkin-laced minefields (or provide suppression fire from behind giant mutant cabbages). And all with air cover provided by fearsome pickled corn cobs(?). I honestly don't know which WWII movie this is trying to reference, but it apparently won all kinds of awards at Cannes - just look at all those wreathes!

Alexander III The Great Shopped Here

A men's clothing store in TST. Apparently during his excursions to India Alexander went a bit further afield, no doubt lured by a Pakistani street hawker who approached him (in a direct but courteous manner) with tales of quality suits at outrageous prices. Later he found this humble shop, filled with stylish polo shirts and smart casual slacks. He ordered 14,000 button downs for himself and his troops, all at a truly reasonable discount...

'Bright & Breezy Mathematics' vs. '∏MP'

A math tutoring service in Wanchai. Bright and breezy may not two words you usually associate with mathematics, but give them credit from trying to be positive at least.



Also due credit for not trying to make math sexy, which is never going to work, though many have tried. As proof I offer but a few of the 'sexy math' gifts I came across online. You've got your seventies 'Pi-MP' shirt, you're 'mathematicians do it rigorously', and finally 'for a good prime call (all prime numbers of course - clever)'. Now that's quality. Who says mathematicians don't have a sense of humor? All non-mathematicians do...



Santa Prefers a Light Smoke...

From a web sidebar ad. Seems Santa prefers a lighter smoke after a long eve of deliveries. Understandable considering he's already weighed down by several million cookies and gallons of spiked eggnog; just needs to unwind a bit after his hectic night. This is the one night when Mrs. Claus won't begrudge a cig at least. It is toasted after all...

GWEATSPORT

A window poster for a mainland fitness clothing store. I'm assuming they were trying for 'greatsport', but who knows, maybe they decided to incorporate 'sweat' into the name, so gweat is a combination of the too(?) Note that this was taken from an escalator, so in reality her head isn't quite so disturbingly skewed...

NOT... Mountain Range? Sphinx Label?

A Chinese knockoff I stumbled across in North Point. Yet another case of someone with just enough knowledge of English to be dangerous. Sure 'mountain range' is potentailly apropos for a camo backpack, and 'sphinx label' certainly has a touch of ancient mystery (if not modern coherence), but calling your product 'NOT...' is bit confusing. Not... what? Quality? Good for backpacking? Bulletproof? Still they are technically correct: this pack is NOT a mountain range...

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.

Fasten Support Juice and Daidai Diet

A diet/slimming product at a local beauty shop. There are tons of slimming salons and diet products here, but few have the pedigree of the exclusive Fasten Club. Exactly what is being 'fastened' isn't exactly clear, but this juice apparently supports the process. Combined with the Daidai (die-die?) diet, club members can expect the pounds to just... fasten away?

Under the Glitz, a Veil of Luxury...

A newish development here in HK, with the nearly indecipherable (and rather forgettable) moniker of WarrenWoods. They easily make up for the uninspired name with the tagline though - 'under the glitz, a veil of luxury'. Hard to improve on that. But under the flash, beneath the thin veneer of luxury, what lies below? A screen of extravagance? A sheen of overindulgence? Or a portal into the fabled dimension of... Hyperluxury?

SPLUX

A fashion/luxury/lifestyle magazine here in HK. There are a ton of these publications here in HK, though this one has the most unique name i've come across. I assume they were going for a nifty play on 'lux', but splux sounds like sexual slang for the byproduct from an unmentionable sex act. Seem this issue highlights that 'legend of glory' himself, one Bruce Rockowitz(?). Never heard of him, but then I'm not into splux...

1 of 480 Must Haves - the White Bible

A bus stop billboard from Jessica, a fashion mag here in HK. Still not sure if its named after HK starlet Jessica (like Oprah's O magazine in the US) or if they just decided that its a trendy sounding moniker. Anyway I was struck by the '480 must haves'. One cannot get by with a mere 479 essentials. And no such list is complete without a 'White BIble'. I assume this is a guide to wearing white, but perhaps its a guide to acting white, complete with mayonnaise recipes, outdated street slang, ideal wrangler jeans/college sweatshirt combinations, and the location of every TGIFriday's in the contiguous 48 states...

Perfect Me! Perfect Him!

A flyer from SOGO, the venerable Japanese department here in Causeway Bay. This is for one of their semiannual beauty product promotions, the 'spring beauty fair'. Apparently they will not only make you perfect, but your spouse/boyfriend as well, whether he wants it or not. While you're getting the Lancome' cyber-whitening, Bobbi Brown mascara match (you are such an Autumn!) and gold leaf/seaweed slim wrap, he's getting a brutal facial scrub with fist-sized Icelandic pumice, then a hearty backwaxing with authentic Brazilian beeswax, followed by forced shin implants - sorry dear, but princes are supposed to be tall. And of course there's the electroshock Pavlovian therapy to ween him of ESPN and Playstation; all the more time for listening - really listening - to your detailed constructive criticisms...

Diligent Fungus Miracle Slimming

A bus side ad for yet another diet/slimming product here in HK. There is huge business in slimming products and treatments here, involving various exotic creams and questionable procedures, but this has to take top spot (for brand name recognition if nothing else). Hard to beat 'diligent fungus', even if the thought of willingly applying a relentless mold on your skin is more than a bit unsettling...



I've yet to find a better street shot, but I did manage to find this web banner ad. Seems Jen here depends on it to loose 20 lbs. in one month. Wow - that is miraculous. One hopes that she means 20 pounds of fat, and not, say, internal organs or brain tissue. Hate to have a bunch of 'invasion of the bodysnatcher' types shuffling about HK, pointing at chubby ladies who obviously haven't succumbed and unleashing that unearthly scream...

A Little Too Original

From the Adidas Originals store in Causeway Bay, a billboard to 'celebrate originality' (of course one shouldn't be so original as to not purchase trendy adidas products, but I digress). Originality is all well and good, but making a cuddly hat out of an eviscerated teddy bear (note the stuffing strewn behind our hero) is moving beyond original into disturbing, perhaps even budding serial killer. Makes me wonder if that's just a wig in front of him, or something far more 'original'...

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...


Coconut Tree God Lantern Hot Pepper Sauce Anyone?

A condiment pack from our friends at Dragon Air, a local HK/mainland carrier. Their food is pretty bad, even by airline food standards - actually even by chinese airline standards. Still they do get offsetting credit for choice of condiments - hard to top coconut tree god lantern hot pepper sauce (which my wife assures me is the correct translation from the mandarin above). In the interest of science i tried it - decent enough as hot sauces go, but i wonder if the coconut tree god would be proud of his worshippers...

Kozy Corners - Seize the Comfort!

A shop window ad in Causeway Bay. I guess the folks at Kozy Corners (why didn't they spell corners with a k? - good question) felt they needed to add some energy to their soporific storefront. They're now exhorting customers to rise up and 'seize the comfort'. Yes, grab some prime Pier 1 bric-a-brac with both hands and ride that krazy kozy wave...

Masterpiece for the Mastermind

This real estate ad is unfortunately rather hard to read, but the tagline is 'masterpiece for the mastermind'. Seems they're trying to corner the local market on masterminds (and art aficionados, as masterminds often have expensive tastes). This is going to be a hard sell though - masterminds tend to want their own private HQ in a hollowed out volcano or refitted Latvian castle, rather than share space with the competition. Or maybe thats the point; the line does say 'mastermind' singular, so perhaps they're hoping to persuade a single supercriminal or evil scientist to take advantage of a readymade citadel. You supply the minions of course, but they supply the missile launch pad, deathray bay, and swimming pool - ready to stock with your own mutant sharks. Saltwater of course; and yes its hard to maintain and pricey, but no expense has been spared. Hell you can afford it - you're a mastermind...

Fat Bomb

A diet/slimming product here in HK, one of many. I'm assuming they mean 'bomb' as in destroy the fat, but the idea of a bomb of fat is unsettling. Really unsettling. Still it apparently qualifies for the 'No. 1' anthropomorphic thumb, making it the top-selling fat bomb on the market...

Spider Man Climbing - The Man You Can Trust...

A climbing outfit in Yangshuo. Seems Spiderman has a nice side business going for when he needs a break from the big city. For those who know climbing, there are some impressive climbs here, with a number of established 5-12+ routes readily accessible. Personally I would think twice about using this guy though. Sure he's a trusted crimefighter, selfless protector of innocent bystanders, and obviously he's knows his stuff, but he can climb any surface unassisted for chrissake. Imagine going out to the nearest karst and having Spidey scoot up a sheer wall with ease, then drop four stories, land in a fighting crouch, dust off his hands, then turn to you smiling and say 'OK, now you try it'...

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...

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’?

Wbreze is SO Champagne

A t-shirt in Mongkok. Have to admit I agree with the sentiment: wbreze is so champagne. One of those obvious points that so often gets overlooked in our hustle-bustle modern age, when time just wbrezes by. Actually the best feature of this shirt is the random letters that form the word cloud around the ‘SO’. Oh and the built in collar and shirt tails are straight champagne…

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…

Manly Fashion Socks

From an ‘everything’ store in Wanchai. Unfortunately these are not: a) manly, b) fashionable, or c) socks. OK technically they’re socks but look at them! They look like they’re made of surgical paper tape. Like the barest legal definition of socks. I bet the octagenerians who buy them have no illusions about manliness or fashion quotient. Just toss them on the counter and be done with it. Its not like he’s thinking “The retirement center’s in for a real show now. Just wait ’til I lean out over my walker and expose my manly, fashionably swathed calves. Hellooo ladies…”

Mega Mop (mini version) with Turbo Jet Propulsion

From a nearby domestic supply store. Seems the Mega Mop (mini version) is a big (small) seller. The wonderful juxtaposition of a mega/mini notwithstanding, this product also warranted inclusion here due to its unique power source. It is apparently able to harness the ‘theorem of Turbo Jet Propulsion to accelerate the spinning of gear/pinion’(note the handy embedded illustration of said gear).



One can only hope that the Mega Mop (mini version) doesn’t fall into the wrong hands. One shudders to think what that theorem could be applied to, and what havoc one could wreak with a turbo jet pro pulsed miniaturized mop and an agenda. Domestic terrorism indeed…

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…

A Few Links of Interest

A few links of Interest. Feel free to comment or send other ideas along. Please peruse my ‘links to other work’ to the right to see some of my other short fiction, humor, and/or satire offerings…

http://www.mcsweeneys.net

http://www.mcphee.com/shop

http://www.boingboing.net

Fuel Britannia

Just a quick post. The phrase ‘rule britannia’ doesn’t resonate with Americans of course, but I have to give the lads at Weetabix credit for a painful if effective pun. Now if they could just make their products edible...

Fun TV Dongle

An admittedly poor shot of a bus-side ad, but in my defense it was moving away at the time. Apparently the dongle in question is an Android USB add-on (or something). Suffice it to say the name leaves a great deal to be desired - it sounds vaguely sexual, like an outdated Brit term for male genitalia. I suppose they were referencing dangle? But it doesn’t dangle, not that I can see anyway. But far worse it calls to mind the infamous term’ dingle berry’ - one would think anything close to ‘balls of fur-covered feces (or faeces as the Brits spell it) stuck to butt fur’ would be avoided at all costs…

I Will Ascend to Poodle Heaven on Cyan Blue Wings

As you may have surmised from my previous posts, I am no fan of poodles (or yippy little dogs in general). Honestly my time in HK has only solidified my disdain for them, even moreso their owners. After all these dogs didn’t ask to be bred into mutant sizes and pampered, though most seem to enjoy it, even act entitled to it. But this is the first time I’ve actually felt genuinely sorry for a poodle:



Yes those are supposed to be angelic wings shaved and dyed into its back. Whoever committed this atrocity this must also know about printing, because they’ve chosen three of the ‘Holy Quadrality’ print colors - cyan, magenta, and yellow (this is the ‘CMYK’ that non-designers always ask about, the K standing for black).

ANYWAY, back to the travesty above. Is it not enough that you shave little balls and frillies into the thing’s coat? Must you also dye its ears and tail pink? Must you give it blue angel wings? I often wonder if other dogs snicker at this stuff, and if the afflicted poodle secretly hates its owner for the public humiliation. Probably not, as they are being chauffeured by a personal attendant in their own private stroller at the time...

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”…

Blue Hair - We Provide with Good English Services

A twofer in Wanchai. Not only a great name for a hair salon - assuming your clientele composed of aged matrons who go in for the ‘blue hair’ affect of course (and the occasional Katy Perry wannabe too I suppose). But its also a striking example of almost surreally poor advertising.

First, the name. The ‘blue hair’ phenomena is one I’ve never understood btw; in fact in the US its become slang for the poor, mostly white older women who actually get the treatment. But how does making your gray/white hair blue make it somehow more attractive, or draw less attention to it? It’s like a cruel joke perpetuated by a fashion color theorist, insisting that a blue tinge somehow makes white hair look more dignified or pleasantly contrasting.



Fortunately the folks at blue hair are happy to answer such questions, especially those in English. Note to proprietor: if you are going to advertise your superior English services, at least get the grammar on your signage correct…

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…



Goldenrukkai Mowhawk of NY

A t-shirt for sale in Wanchai. There are a ton of faux Abercrombie tees here, as well as a disquieting number of real ones. I personally have never cared for the entire ‘walking billboard/free advertising’ aspect of such things, but oh well. Regardless this one is truly inspired, if for no other reason than for the debut the newly minted mystery word Goldenrukkai

Bear Beer. OK This is Too Easy

A new(?) beer in 7-11. Always wondered what beer bears drink? Well now you know. Didn’t’ know there were any bears in Hong Kong. Must be Canadian.

Apparently they aren’t held to the infamous 7-11 ’no shirt no shoes no service’ code that we humans are - though I think that’s enforced more in North America than here in HK.

Then again who’s going to bring that up to a bear? He’s probably already had a bad day, and tapping his shoulder and saying excuse me sir you’re not wearing shoes or a shirt (or pants for that matter) will only turn out badly. Just politely smile, take his money and let him be on his way.

Any of those f**king porcupines come acting like they own the place, though….

Bear Beer. OK This is Too Easy

A new(?) beer in 7-11. Always wondered what beer bears drink? Well now you know. Didn’t’ know there were any bears in Hong Kong. Must be Canadian.

Apparently they aren’t held to the infamous 7-11 ’no shirt no shoes no service’ code that we humans are - though I think that’s enforced more in North America than here in HK.

Then again who’s going to bring that up to a bear? He’s probably already had a bad day, and tapping his shoulder and saying excuse me sir you’re not wearing shoes or a shirt (or pants for that matter) will only turn out badly. Just politely smile, take his money and let him be on his way.

Any of those f**king porcupines come acting like they own the place, though….

Barbeque Shapes - Cheddar Too!

A quick post - seems Arnott’s couldn’t decide on a proper name, so they just went with ‘shapes’. Not sure if that’s just incredibly lazy or intentionally obscure on their part. Still some poor soul spent a good deal of time on the logotype, which also sucks have to say. If you get something to work with like this, couldn’t you try something interesting? At least several different… shapes?



Also the fact that they have hexagonal barbecue shapes and rectangular cheddar shapes makes no sense. Does anyone care? Is anyone blindly reaching into the box, then feeling relieved when they feel eight sides? Whew - thank god these aren’t those rectangular cheddars. Perhaps they use them to train chimps to sign?

Finally the moniker doesn’t exactly make you want to rush out and buy some. You know what I could go for right about now? Some shapes!

Bo Bo Good Shoes

A shoe outlet in the Wanchai market near the MTR. Not much to add here, but I will give them credit - the name is memorable if nothing else. Would make for a catchy jingle too…

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…

Even You Will be Dandled by Peek-A-Boo-Zoo

A rather innocuous toy from Wan Chai. The toys themselves are rather boring, typical Hell O’Kitty knockoffs. At least they’re available in more than just ‘Cat’, as you can choose from ‘Sheep, Bear and Rabit’. One hopes rabit is not a combo of rabid and rabbit.



Anyway the bit that really caught my wandering eye was the package copy:

‘Babies love to be dandled(?) with Peek-A-Boo. Not only babies, even you will be delighted with the actions.

Thats right, even you will be ‘dandled’ with delight, which sounds vaguely perverse. And last but not least the mysterious kicker: ‘Contains two songs’…

Bacon Sundae (510 cal) vs. Bacon Shake (1000+ cal)

A slight departure from our normal offerings. It seems Burger King (or BK Lounge as we used to call it back in the day) has gone all in (no I will not say ‘whole hog’ so don’t ask) with their new Bacon Sundae. And at only 510 calories, it actually clocks in lower than a sizable chunk of their usual menu! I have to say I’ve never had a hankering for a bacon/ice cream combo, but the Americans I polled guiltily admitted that they’d give it a shot.



Upon further investigation, I discovered that Jack in the Box already has a 1,081 calorie Bacon Shake, which they proudly released months earlier.



This is the kind of thing that makes it difficult to defend the US of A. It’s not even funny really, or at least ironic like a bacon tuxedo or bacon tree (yes those exist) or the annual Spam carving contest in Seattle. This is just wrong, both morally and dietarily...

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…

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…

Denimholic

A Japanese fashion magazine(?) from HK airport. Apparently one can have too much exposure to high end jeans and skirts. Seems this poor soul is no exception, the unlikely but telling face of addiction. A tantalizing fabric indeed: so egalitarian yet elite, so casual yet couture, so cruel…

You see more and more of these forlorn beauties on the streets of Tokyo, their vulnerable anime eyes staring off into space, chewing their once immaculate manicures to the nub, in search of just one more hit of pricey denim…

Crookers w/ Style of Eye & The Heavy

A concert poster from Lisbon. I was devastated to find that I just missed the Crookers (not to be confused with those wannabe poseurs The Crooks). To say nothing of the warm up band, Style of Eye.

I also missed Gentleman, who were *finally* joining forces with The Heavy (not sure if they mean the movie villain archetype or just something that weighs a lot), and seasoned vets Pow Pow Movement.

It seems the global trend of brutalizing English words and/or American slang continues unabated, even in places that should know better, like Portugal. And this despite actual fines; apparently in France you must now pay a substantial fine to the Ministry of Culture for using English words instead of French in any advertising. Sacred Blue!

Ironically the best name out of the bunch is the hardest to see - Like the Man Said, in the lower left corner. I’d pay serious euros to see them. It would also give me a chance to get rid of my soon-to-be worthless euros, but I digress…

The Charity for Especially Difficult Children

From the Hanoi Airport a few months back. Seems someone has finally established a charity to help those parents suffering from especially difficult children. I didn’t know obnoxious ingrate brats were such a problem in Vietnam. Perhaps its a charity that allows the Vietnamese to help out their less fortunate American counterparts…



(And for the record - yes I realize this is a well-intentioned charity for disadvantaged kids, and yes I did donate to the charity box. Just can’t pass up a title like that. Kudos to Grandma Jackie for spotting this)

Cubic Pastry

Lately I’ve had a strange hankering for something cubic, preferably composed of dried and pressed pork shreddings. Looks like I’m in luck. Oh joy.

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...

Mandarin-Peel w/ Snake's Gall Juice - The Best Choice Souvenir

If you’re ever in Hong Kong, be sure to pick up some mandarin-peel w/ snake’s gall juice, an authentic local favorite, and the ‘best choice of hong kong souvenir’. Yep can’t walk ten feet without tripping over someone convulsing on the sidewalk, purplish froth drooling out between clenched teeth. Good for rebalancing the Qi apparently. And just look at that shiny comet underline - Its got to be the best!

Sichuan Saliva Chicken

I think this speaks for itself; no need to dwell on what and/or whose saliva. That its listed under ‘appetizers’ makes it even more poignant. Unappetizers perhaps?

Snuffaluffagus and/or Truffala Dress

A bus stop ad for ‘Entrepreneur’ magazine here in HK. Mostly in Cantonese so couldn’t read the cover girl’s name. Seems she likes to flaunt her hard-earned wealth by wearing dresses made of pink-dyed snuffaluffagus skins (though it looks a bit tatty for that - perhaps they screwed up the tanning process? Snuffaluffagus is notoriously delicate fur). Or is that truffula tree? Or scalps from those little troll pencils? Either way its obviously very expensive - and very entrepreneurial...

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...