Santa's Mighty Reindeer-Headed Staff

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

Happy... Spongey Christmas!

The primary decoration for a mall in Kennedy Town. Im not really surprised Spongebob Squarepants has reached this level of product saturation etc, but it was a bit odd to see a thirty foot version of him hanging in the atrium. Also 'Happy Spongey Christmas' has a rather disconcerting ring to it, like happy moldy xmas, or happy pond bottom holidays! (oh the joy of sinking ones toes into pond bottom scum)..



The Must Have Soccer Accessory for 2009 - National Team Nutcrackers

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

Down Beat Bleeding 89, aka The Ethereal Mirror Violet Vortex

A store window t-shirt from Wanchai - easily one of the oddest I've come across. Usually these have odd mishmashes of athletic and/or sexual phrases, but this one seemed too good to be true. I dutifully googled it later, expecting to find a takeoff of some hipster brand like 'helmet of the will' in NYC; instead I came across this wikipedia entry:
The Ethereal Mirror is the second full-length album by British doom metal band Cathedral. Released in 1993, this album sees the band experiment a wider scale of sound than on their debut album Forest of Equilibrium. The songs are not as doom-laden and grinding as on the first album... 'Violet Vortex' is the intro...
WOW. Who would have suspected that knockoff t-shirt designers were ripping off obscure death metal bands? Though I have to admit The Ethereal Mirror Violet Vortex would be a great electronica or triphop band name...

Shop Until You Pop? POPTASTIC

Lane Crawford's latest tagline - shop until you pop! It truly is... Poptastic. What other word can capture such magic? Guess 'shop til you explode' was taken. I pity the poor souls who actually constructed the mylar balloon letters - a lot of work for very little return it seems. I also pity whoever gets to clean up the mess when the tai tais do pop while shopping - good thing lane crawford has marble floors, as you can never really get blood stains out of deep pile carpets...

Microsex Office - Sheninagans 4.0

A poster for an upcoming HK play, a wacky sendup full of 'accidental' physical contact, embarrassed stuttering, and genial computer geekery. The protagonists apparently include 'Rosa the steamy hot secretary' and 'Tyson the perpetually stunned accountant'. Checkout the madcap shenanigans below - Rosa crossing her legs just as Tyson reaches for her knee. How deliciously ribald - just like the real Microsoft Office!



Note the 'explorer pointer hand' and subtly redesigned logo, complete with 'pinching' hands and tiny male/female symbols. Hey, that looks just like the real office logo! Suffice to say the play's title won't be helping to dispel that nasty stereotype about asian males, as it brings to mind the (now ancient) joke about Microsoft being named after BIll Gates' genitalia...

100% Virgin Pulp, 3-Ply, 450˚C Steamed Sterilized... Toilet Paper?

The package copy for one of the 'high-end' (pun intended) toilet paper brands here. Why anyone needs a 100% virgin pulp (unlogged forests be damned, I need to wipe in merino soft luxury!), 3-Ply (no peasant's 2-ply will do), 450˚C (that's 842 Fahrenheit) steam sterilized toilet product is utterly beyond me. Its doesn't need to be hyper-sterile 1/4 inch thick etc etc - ITS TOILET PAPER. Of course here in HK, these are big selling points - literally big, as its almost impossible to buy t-paper in less than 10 roll packs (see below). Unless of course you lower your standards and buy the 'eco' 4-packs like I do. But then again I'm willing to have unseemly recycled paper touch my nether regions, and not insist on pristine softness that's been sterilized at 2 1/2 times the temperatures used for surgical equipment (no, really, I looked it up)...



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

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



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

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

Prada Mind Control

A rather bizarre Prada (even by their standards) sunglass ad. Apparently wearing these will allow Prada to broadcast 'flashes of inspiration' directly into your brain, as illustrated by a circa 1970 radar antenna and bolt of lightning; well its a working theory anyway...

Dogs Go Wacko for Schmackos

More preposterous doggie snacks, these imported from the US. Like the world needs 'real meat' doggie snacks, or like most dogs care about things like flavor. Of course here in HK you'd find some yappy little emperor pampered enough to turn down 'fake' liver (or anything less than truffled filet mignon for that matter) but I digress...

Perhaps they're going for a more kosher angle, with the Yiddish name and authentic liverwurst tang. One of those ideas that makes me wonder if the creators have any sense of humor. I assume they've got TV spots lined up as well, with a gravel-voiced, spittle-spraying spokesdog ... "And remember kidschsss - dogsss go wacko for sscchhhmackosss!" Then they squeegee off the camera, and cut to a mouth-watering pile of dessicated straps of liver. Fadeout. Magic.

Girlish Pretty + Delicacy = 1+1(M)ORE

Two huge billboards on the WTC arcade in Causeway Bay. The tagline - and the bizarre outfits - epitomize HK's ongoing quest for girly cuteness and uberfashion. If only some brave fashion outlet would combine the two... Quite a combo as well - pillbox hat, old world parisian ruffles, chaste schoolgirl ankle socks, and 5" heels with yard-long bows.



There's another towering ad outside. I'm guessing this one is based on a Victorian harlequin lamp - haute indeed. Wonder if that golden light really shines down from the lampshade/skirt though...

Apparently 'Haute Couture + Lifestyle = MORE' also. Note that the 'M' is actually a stylized 1+1, for reasons known only to the ad agency. So... according to my admittedly rusty arithmetic... girlish pretty + delicacy = 1+1(m)ore = haute couture + lifestyle. Any questions?



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

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

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

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

Hallo Wind-sor... Hallowind Sor?

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



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

The Kinder Bueno Devil Vampire

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

Aaah! It's Mrs. Shopaholic!

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



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



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


Healthier Choices in Chicken-Rending

A public service(?) poster for eating healthier via the 'eatsmart restaurant' program. Apparently eating healthier starts with giving customers access to silverware, or at least cutting their chicken into manageable portions, thus saving desperately hungry (and time-constrained) businessmen the arduous hassle of rending their own chickens by hand...

Pinches Under the Arms a Bit...

An Eyedontist (clever name) poster in Causeway Bay. Looks like someone actually went to the trouble of assembling an entire corset made from high end sunglasses. One of those ads that looks compelling at first, then leaves you scratching your head; what is this trying to say (or sell) exactly? Anyway I hope for the model's sake they included a liner of some sort, otherwise the discomfort of actually wearing this hard plastic contraption must've been incalculable...

Anytizers - Meaty Good Man Food

A web ad from CNN's sports page, which reminds us that Asia hardly has a monopoly on bizarrely named products (and unintentional sexual innuendo). The name 'anytizers' is ridiculous enough for inclusion here, but 'meaty good man food?' And it looks much more like dog food than 'man food'; I love how they are literally tumbling of the plate, a veritable cornucopia of pre-chewed meatballs (which I assume - as a Tyson product - taste vaguely chicken-ish). Definitely on a par with the 'beefy cheesy glory' McDonald's billboard posted a few months back. Maybe its the same ad agency...

Forsaken Acid Mickey

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

Democracy of Nevermind

These are a few of the more memorable knock-off brands slated to grace a refurbished mall in Causeway Bay; "Democracy of Nevermind" is my personal favorite. Several are actually well-executed logos, but utterly nonsensical, such as "Trunk Ltd.- A Moment in Time". What the hell is that supposed to mean? And of course there's "Barak" - no doubt inspired by our - inspirational(!) president, though you'd think they'd at least get the spelling right. I actually like the juxtaposition of "1% Barak" too; now that would make an interesting brand name. Like to see the tagline -"When it comes to Barak, all you need is 1%"...





In the Future, Catcher's Masks For All

An old shot from Macau I stumbled across this weekend. According to this watch, err timepiece, retailer, in the future all men will wear body armor (eerily similiar to Cylons in the original Battlestar Galactica) and don catcher's masks - yes from American baseball, all you cricketeers; no floppy hats and sweater vests in the 22nd century. And complimenting this potent protection is thier laser shielded, vacuum proofed timepiece - which you can still snorkel with, to a depth of 3 meters! It seems Mad Max got it all wrong - no mohawks, dreadlocks or hockey masks. Just exquisite catcher's apparel. And watches.

A Bit Much With the Devil Train?

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

Mickey the Pirate King

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

A Terrible Price for an English Accent...

A billboard in Causeway Bay for an English tutoring service. Yes, her BBC accent is flawless, her knowledge of subtle class differences (and cricket scoring) impressive, even a newfound taste for bangers and mash. But at the cost of a hideously disfigured tongue...

Mickey & Beedy Attack the Paparazzi

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

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


The Awesome Power of... Addition!

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

Got The Shoes, But Where Are His Pants?

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

The Three-Fingered Hands of a God...

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

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






Iconic Mustaches & Turtle Jelly Mastery

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





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




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

Try Me! Please?

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

The Fabled Lanyard Kingdom

An older billboard in Mong Kok. Dare to enter the fabled lanyard kingdom, and stand before the mighty lanyard king himself, Lanyo IX. He greets all visitors with a welcoming 'lei' flowered lanyard, complete with an ID card to access your sumptuous guest chambers. He himself wears a magnificent gold lanyard, with but one tiny key - to his heart...

But beware, the lanyard kingdom is patented, so any attempt to start your own neck-accessory empire will meet with fierce resistance from Lanyo IX's crack legal team.

The Stackticon King

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



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



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

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



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

T-Rexes Don't Make Good Pets

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

'Prisoner of Love' Taiko Drum Game

Another Tokyo arcade game from last xmas. You can't read the name unfortunately, but this game is called "Prisoner of Love" in the upper right-hand corner. Maybe its from an old Japanese poem - my tears fall like drumbeats upon my video parlor taiko drums... maybe not.

Anyway I couldn't get this thing to work, and no one came up to play, so I don't know how you 'free your love', though I assume it's like dance dance revolution etc, and that you have to match the games cadence with your own drums. A good workout at least, and far safer than the Beeterro ride mentioned earlier. Unless the prisoner of love is Godzilla, and playing them just right unleashes him (again) on Tokyo. Never Osaka, always Tokyo.

Hey Kids - Who's First on Beeterro?

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

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

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

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

The World's Largest Crossword Puzzle, For the World's Loneliest Guy

Yet another entry from the odious pages of SkyMall - the world's largest crossword puzzle - for the world's loneliest bachelor. Still smarting from his recent layoff and divorce, our hero decides its time to make a serious dent in his latest purchase, with a ZIMA fueled 3 day marathon session. Let's listen in:

"OK... OK... focus! Got to go easy on the ZIMA bro, you only have two 4-packs left... I think I need some more Chex Party Mix to coat my tummy. OK where was I... Aha! Just a quick glance in the convenient 3,286-page guide... what's a 8 letter word for 'very, very sad'? Hmmm..."

Monty the Garden Zombie

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

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

Bigfoot the Garden Yeti

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

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

Does She Get to Keep It?

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

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

Aww You Guys - Find Whatever You Like

A strangely named shop in Hanoi, and one of the few english-only signs in Hanoi. I couldn't decide if this was meant to have an aww shucks tone - 'aww you guys... find whatever you like, ya hear?' or have an on-the-verge-of tears ring to it: 'stop it you guys... ok fine... you go ahead and find whatever you like... see if I care... f*ckers.' Unfortunately we didn't get a chance to peruse the shelves, so who knows, maybe it goes back 500 metres and is crammed top-to-bottom with a mind-boggling array of quality merchandise, truly everything we'd ever need. Or not.


Pizza In a Cone - Finally an Answer to Those Annoying Slices

From a restaurant window in the Old Quarter of Hanoi. This has to rank as one of the most unappetizing (and ridiculous) food concepts I've ever come across. Honestly who would want their pizza this way? Weren't McPizza pockets bad enough? (Yes there was a 'McPizza' in the US decades ago, and yes it was as evil as it sounds). Anyway when did it become to challenging to eat pizza in the traditional 'slice' format? Has anyone ever bitterly complained about unwieldy slices, and fervently wished they could enjoy their pizza in a convenient concentrated cone? Needless to say my wife and I were both rather put off by the thought of getting halfway through one of these monstrosities, then hitting the thick knot of congealed cheese and pepperoni nuggets trapped at the center...

Dead Sea of Life

This is an outlet in TST near the Chatham Road. I assume they sell various ointments and bath products made from 'Dead Sea' salt, which supposedly has wondrous rejuvenating properties. Why this salt is superior to any other salt has never been explained to me, though the biblical references surely don't hurt sales.

For what its worth you can float in a foot or so of water there; I've actually done this in the Salt Lake in the US, and it is pretty wild, though the heat and the trillions of sandflies tend to dampen the fun fairly quickly. Anyway I was obviously taken by the sign - you can't be a sea of life and a dead sea simultaneously my friend; not a lot of gray area between the two...

Muscle Worker Dance Show

A poster for a 'Muscle Worker Dance Show' at the 'WHY' club in Causeway Bay(?). I guess the more well known 'Construction Worker Stripper Review' was already being staged by their bitter archrivals over at the 'WHAT' club.

I suppose a 'muscle worker show' wouldn't be that unusual a strip club in the US that occasionally caters to bachelorette parties (usually made up of tipsy secretaries and bitter divorcees). But these guys either have a brutally dry sense of humor (pretty doubtful) or they missed that newsflash about the Village People being gay fantasy icons. So it makes no sense to charge 'gents' $200 HKD at the door - hell they should pay straight guys $200 just to get them inside. Unless this is a gay club; but then why let ladies in free, or offer them unlimited free drinks? Why would gay men pay $200 for a chance to get straight women drunk? Maybe that's why they're called the WHY club - Why? Why the hell not?

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...

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?

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.



Frosty KO'd, Betrayed by VitaSoy

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

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

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

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...

Hey Kids! It's Mini Bomb!

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

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)...



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...

Put a Justice Wheel in Your Belly

A recent web ad that caught my eye. I’ve actually become quite adept at not reading/paying attention to these locale specific web ads. Of course I’m aided by the fact that most of them are in Cantonese and thus illegible to me. But the prospect of having a ‘justice wheel in my belly’ sounds quite compelling. And they have the ‘answers’ to boot. No idea what that means of course, but it sounds far more empowering than being ‘Unisys Check Encoded’ or ‘SEBI India Compliant’...

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.

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...

beLIEve

A t-shirt for sale in SOGO. I honestly can’t decide if this is a fashion/chinglish disaster or an example of brilliant tongue-in-cheekiness. The jarring disconnect between the unicorn/rainbow motif (which would be worn unironically by your average HongKonger) and the tagline beLIEve is truly remarkable, especially by irony-blind HK standards. If it is intentional, then my opinion of at least one HK fashion designer has skyrocketed. If it isn’t, then it’s still a priceless example of unintentional, completely discombobulating irony at its finest...

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...

Real Kebab Adventure!

From our friends at Istanbul Express. I have to say I’ve never eaten there, so I can’t attest to the taste etc, and honestly would love to have one - or as the Brits say, “I fancy a kebab”. But I’m not sure I want to make an ‘adventure’ out of it. If I wanted to do that, I’d take it upon myself to find out what those pillars of ‘meat’ are actually made of...

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...



Mr. Blean

From an iPhone shop in Causeway Bay. I was initially drawn to the hyper-bling assortment of iPhone covers; a few unique offerings sprinkled in with the usual hello kitty, disney and playboy knockoffs. Somehow I don’t think the bling ‘apple’ logo is legitimate either...

Anyway what really struck me was the bling coated bobble-head Mr. Bean in the lower left corner. Should he now be referred to as Mr. Blean? Bleang? Or is that last one simply too hard to pronounce? Looks like he’s come into some serious money recently, and has acquired up some proper swag, including a rakish nose stud, and what appear to be bling contacts...



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)...

Colonel 'Hap' Hazard's Helicopter Suit Misadventure

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

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

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...

Hello Kitty Swiss Formula Strawberry Cyber Clean

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

! Sign

A sign outside of the Temple of Heaven in Beijing. I’m assuming this means warning! or caution! or its equivalent, though its rather vague about what to be cautious of. A quick image search revealed only one other example of it, from a British sign vendor. I don’t recall ever seeing one in the UK, or in any former colonies etc that still use UK signage. Perhaps it means Warning! Something unknown and vaguely dangerous awaits you past this gate! Or maybe its cautioning you about the decoration hanging beside it. Warning! Dangerously oversized traditional Chinese knots ahead!


No Magic Jackets or Better Safe Than Static

A warning sign from a Chinese gas station. Glad to see they’re covering all the bases. No matches, gas cans, sparks from metallic tool repairs, and most importantly no magic jackets.



Or is that static producing clothing (no matter how über-fashionable or yummy warm they may be)? Oh well as the ancient Chinese proverb goes, “better safe than static”. It sounds much more noble in the original Mandarin...

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

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

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?

Sharkproof Bracelet

An ad for the latest diver watch from Omega. ‘Luxury’ watches are a thriving market here, with all the big name companies represented throughout HK. I was initially struck by off-key tagline. Do you have an oxygen tank - get it? ‘Cause its takes your breath away, and you need to breath underwater ‘cause there’s no air, and...

Anyway what really caught me is the added bonus listed below: not the 1200 meter water resistance (in case you ever develop the mutant ability to dive to 4000ft without a submersible) but rather the ‘sharkproof bracelet’. Honestly what good will that do you? Sure it’ll preserve the watch, but unfortunately the wrist its attached to won’t fare so well...

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...

Who's Absent? Super Delicious Food! Take it, its Yours!!!

Another truly bizarre ad for the Food Forum restaurants at Times Square (note the ‘TS’ on the soldier’s helmet - nice touch). Apparently if you’re present, you are eligible for some super delicious food - in fact you’re authorized to ‘just take it, its yours!!!’ The juxtapositions here are mind boggling: the aforementioned WWII grunt with a huge fork strapped to his back, carrying a grocery bag overflowing with oddly matched fresh produce; the utterly nonsensical headline; the obnoxious impossible to read warped font (it’s actually called ‘hobo’ and is one of the ugliest fonts ever devised); the WWII British bomber crashlanding in the background, after narrowly missing the airdropped giant pumpkins; and last but not least, the Iraq/Afghanistan-era US troops in the foreground, all dutifully waiting for chowtime, also equipped with monstrous utensils. I guess they need the extra large silverware to get into the pumpkins?

So what does ANY of this have to do with the various restaurants of the Food Forum? Nothing! Just follow orders, soldier! And if anyone tries to impede you as you fill your duffel with a veritable cornucopia of pineapples, grapes and radishes, well just impale them with your army issue giant golden fork. Take it, its yours!

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...

Suction Cup Arm Nose

A bit of a throwaway post, but thought I’d include it for the hell of it. This the packaging for a suction cup hook. Because the vast majority of walls in HK are concrete (often reinforced), one can’t just nail into the wall as needed; in fact to mount anything remotely heavy you have to hire some guy with an industrial hammer drill to make properly deep holes. So people end up peppering their homes with ugly little concrete picture mounts, adhesive hooks, and suction holders like this. Anyway what struck me about this particular item isn’t the product itself but rather the bizarre ‘mascot’ on the left: note the hugely muscular arm where his nose should be - or is it shoved through a hole in his nose? He doesn’t seem bothered by it though, judging by his hearty smile and wink. Then again I’m sure they haven’t lost any sales over it: I need to get some extra-strong suction hooks for my bathroom, but look at the anatomically freakish mascot! I can’t possibly justify purchasing that. Perhaps this brand over here with a proper hook nose on their mascot; yes, this will do nicely...

For Epicureans on the Go...

It seems rushed epicureans now have the option to stop by Auntie Anne’s pretzel shack and grab a disconcertingly ramrod straight hotdog encased in pretzel dough. Welcome news to the harried gastronomical set. This may look like the logical extreme of ‘pigs in a blanket’ but it’s not. This is high class fare. It’s for epicureans - says so right there! Just look at those fancy frame corners, and that elegant flourish of calligraphy (which I assume is supposed to be steam coming of the end of the hot dog?) Mmm...

Tricky Trunks!

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

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...



The Legends of McRib

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

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’...

Elf Ear

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

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...

Double the Flavour Twistin' FUN with Extra Cheddar Dipping Sauce

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

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...

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

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

A Matching Purse Filled with the Finest Champagne

Another ad from WTC in Causeway Bay. Presenting another must-have accessory: a purse full of champagne, to match your ever-present champagne flute. Though I have to say that i didn’t see any butlers carrying trays of refills when i was last down there. So unprofessional.

I suppose the idea is to simply dip your glass into your purse, or perhaps pour it out the side, though it looks like the latch will make that a messy proposition. Better to simply drink from it directly, ala wineskins of old, or use a straw? I hope the purse is insulated, as a mouthful of warmed champagne would ruin the whole fantasy; the additional note of hot vinyl would no doubt throw off the champagne’s delicately balanced flavors...

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...

Bling Belt with Matching Bling Belt Fretboard Guitar

An ad from WTC in Causeway Bay. The developers have spared no expense in promoting their mall, from 3 story high billboards to exclusive fashion shoots. But they've really outdone themselves here. Presenting the ultimate matching accessory for a bling belt - an electric guitar with another bling encrusted belt fused onto the fretboard. A bit awkward to carry around all day, and obviously you can't play it, but as the saying goes, beauty knows no pain. Beauty also knows virtually nothing about actually playing guitar; one can imagine the shredded fingertips after a session with this monstrosity. Of course you'd have to string it first....

Beauty Smile Trainer

A product shot sent over by my friend Mark (sorry, can't call you mate as I'm American). Good news for women afflicted with a smile that makes them look like they have mild case of diarrhea, or have just committed a minor faux paus (see below). Because now there's... Beauty Smile Trainer, an exciting new technology from Japan, the world leader in flesh toning contraptions, and products that look like sex toys, but with no obvious application. Two tapered ends?

But I digress. Seems all the weak smile sufferer has to do is place this bar in their mouth(?) and diligently work their underdeveloped smile muscles, and viola'. I assume that you need to be careful not to overdo it, lest you end up looking like Jack Nicholson as the Joker, or even worse, Julia Roberts...

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?

Extracorporeal Shock Wave Lipolysis & Breast Ho Ching Magic Solution

One of the many slimming centres here in HK. Most offer the usual wraps or kneading machines. But for a mere $888 HKD (wow three 8s - so lucky! What a coincidence!) Perfect Shape Club unveils Extracorporeal Shock Wave Lipolysis™. Certainly sounds impressive; actually rather intimidating. Definitely don't want this kind of technology in the wrong hands. What if terrorists were able to remove your body fat from the outside? Well I suppose they wouldn't be very effective terrorists...





I couldn't find any additional explanations for the procedure, except that the 'shock wave type is electromagnetic'. But as usual the Cantonese website provided some other priceless translations. Seems Perfect Shape will be offering product stations at various local malls, where spokesmodels can be seen "...playing hula hoop and jump rope...

There'll also be "more on Breast Ho Ching magic solution." I wonder if they'll be applying that down at the mall? I'm sure they'd have a few male volunteers...

They use a patented 'Stovepipe approach' to slimness, with a 'banana diet can be used Lai!' 'The focus of this banana diet is breakfast any bananas from time restrictions, is that simple! ... a lot of Women with fat because of gastrointestinal or bad, Just think, food... (Wow. Just think, food... so zen).

And finally they 'will provide 6 large overeating obesity for overeating caused by large accumulation of fat induced obesity(?). And for the more stubborn cases, the promise that 'Miss Yip's [will lean into the] power cases...'

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...

Smart Says No, Stupid Says YES

A window ad in Central. I didn't get a chance to cross the street and check it out, but I did check the internets later. Seems Diesel has gone with an full bore campaign based on the memorable tag line "Be Stupid"...



They even suggest several acts of rank stupidity, such as this gem:



One can only hope that their clientele don't really try stepping into oncoming cars with a traffic cone over their heads, but who knows? Perhaps getting struck by an SUV (or even better a Mini Cooper) in the name of fashion by is smartest/stupidest way to insure immortality, to truly be 'tragically hip'...

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!

Night Bomber G Cup

A sign in Causeway Bay for a breast enlargement supplement, the famed 'Night Bomber G'. Yes now all you small breasted women can utilize the power of modern science to 'reposition your arm and back fat into your breast tissue' and activate your 'lact gene receptors', thus increasing your bra size from B to G overnight.



No really - says so right there on the internet, and they have the scientific terms to prove it. From some other online ad copy: "Saggy Breasts?? If you are one of the millions of women who suffer from the embarassment of small breasts, then Night Bomber can change your life. Impact occurs when you are sleeping; From a well-known study, It is making the extra fat from the back and arms to move to the bust... when the bust rise hormone is discharged and it awakens." Note the handy arrows below which illustrate how and where the fat is moving. Seems to have worked wonders in this case...



More hard medical backup follows:" ...not can be satisfied with just that, you observe to also the “lact gene receptor”... 3 completion long hormones of L-[orunichin], L-[ariginin] and the gabardine (gabardine?) stimulating from inside the bust, it assures volume rise. While sleeping, making the lact gene receptor expand in the mammary gland, it is the mechanism which becomes enormous..."

Well there you have it. A watertight scientific proof of how it works. My personal favorite ingredient is 'gabardine'. Apparently in addition to providing dapper suit fabric, it stimulates bust interiors as well. Who knew? Well Night Bomber G scientists, thats who...

Takeachance with NAFNAF League

An intriguing chinglish phrase adorning the back of a shopper in Wanchai. Naf naf league is a French(?) designer label, though the only products I could find online were on ebay and charity gift sites. Oh well. Definitely a catchy name, though, and the phrase 'takeachance with naf naf league' just has a nice cadence to it. Or maybe its a nod to the infamous ABBA song, and its diabolical take a chance, take a chance, take a chance chance chance background chant - which of course will now be stuck in my head all day...

Mane 'n Tail Shampoo. Now You Can Have Your Horses' Lustrous Shine

A popular shampoo used by starlets and wannabes throughout HK. I was going to file this under 'Super English Force' as yet another poor choice of product name, but this is really is mane and tail shampoo. For horses.



From the company website:



One of the odder splash pages you'll come across. Honestly how many companies give personal and animal care options? Also I love the little horse name in the lower right hand corner: Anton 343; interesting name for a horse. Does he know Andre 3000? Sadly the model didn't get her name up too. Anyway more from the website FAQ: Mane ‘n Tail products were originally developed for horses. Horse owners reported seeing significant improvement in the health and appearance of their horses’ manes and tails. Similar results were seen when horse owners and groomers used the products on themselves (wouldn't you?). This was the beginning of the Mane ‘n Tail legend. They also have a nail care solution called Hoofmaker, So not only can you get lustrous shine with Mane n' Tail, but you can also clean up those split nails after a hard day of riding and/or wagon pulling...

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...

Yumi Skinjet - Now with French Pressure Tut New Radio Technology

A bus-side ad for the latest in slimming technology from Dr. Renew, the 'Yumi Skinjet'. The web translation claims it utilizes 'French pressure Tut new radio technology (!) without needles, recognized and awarded by the U.S. FDA, American scientists patent awards, SKINJET to speed in 0.01 seconds, between the moment the essence of liquid mist into the skin in depth from 3.2 to 9.1 mm underlying the skin, skin can be completely absorbed.'

Well if it has American scientists working on it, it must be safe! I guess the depth of the 'essence of liquid mist' is key here - deadly over 9.2mm, but Dr. Renew is a trusted professional and knows his way around a French pressure Tut radio. Still why not go one better? How about a 'Belgian Ramses hyperwind tunnel' generating Mach 5 airspeeds, forcing the subcutaneous fat cells into a slimmer, more aerodynamic shape? Or not...

Tri-Chromatic Cohering Extravaganza Paraphrasis Together Similarly. OK?

A sign for a wedding/image consultant in Causeway Bay. Yet another case of nifty words haphazardly strung together for maximum effect. Still its true that a tri-chromatic cohering extravaganza combined with a paraphrasis can really kick your wedding up a notch...

Love in a Puff

A romantic comedy here in HK. I haven't (and never will, to be honest) see this movie, so I can't attest to its merits. I've seen commercials though, and from what I can gather, the guy buys cigarettes from a 7-11, and his suave smoking becomes a metaphor for whimsical romance - or something. Again what got my attention was the name - one of those titles that makes you wonder if the translator is having some fun at his clients expense. Love in a jiffy? an eyeblink? Love of righteous weed? Of secondhand smoke?

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...

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...

Heckyva Farest Geewhiz Celestial Certained Facts? Whatever Betide...

I don't often get a chance to take shots of chinglish/english mutilation t-shirts here, as usually they are being, well, worn at the time. And rarely does the word generation approach the sublime level exhibited here. Seems they hit upon a positive theme at least, with heckuva (mispelled) gee whiz and celestial all being upbeat, though i love the musing shakespearean ending. Whatever betide my friends, whatever betide...

They Meant Well...

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

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...

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'...

Mr. Magic Would WOW You with the Wondrous World of Wonders

A subway poster in Admiralty, announcing the 'International WOW Magic on Earth II' . Seems one show couldn't contain all the WOW. The name qualifies it for easy inclusion here - though Mr. Magic's mullet and silver blouse take a close second.



I later looked this extraganza up on the internets, and found a trove of wow-inducing (if somewhat disturbing) pickin's. First off there's the tagline:

7 Magic Masters Made You Feel The WOW Once In Your LIFE (I guess having sex, falling in love, etc don't actually produce WOW for most people; kind of sad actually...)

And the 7 Masters each have their own uniquely worded story as well. A few selections from the program guide:

Escape from Reality; He’s cool. She’s even cooler. The two meet in the magic arena. Only one can be the winner. So guess what’s next. (Death by... cooling?)

Story of High Heel; A magician with a heart full of love. A pair of high heels. A romantic story is about to begin. (I really hope this isn't a shoe fetish thing...)

"He" is in a Bar; This ‘guy’ in the Magic Bar – what will he serve up next? (I really don't know what to do with this one. Is 'he' a she? Does that magically influence his/her bartending somehow?)

And the best of the bunch - Moments with Mr. Magic; Mr. Magic would WOW you with the Wondrous World of Wonders. (A whole new take on www...)

The site also provided some choice bio information on our WOW-ists. I had no idea Magic had so many championships, certificates, and awards. Here are just a few:

...awarded twice in the World Magic Championship, aka FISM, and has a Master’s Degree in the F.F.F.F. Original Close-up Magic Convention USA...

...the first Japanese to win the Magic Manipulation World Championship in World Magic Championship, aka FISM, and the Golden Lion Award in Las Vegas...

and finally Mr. Magic's CV: He is the only complete conjurer in Hong Kong... the only magician in Asia held AIMC Silver Star membership of the British Magic Circle and the only Hong Kong magician featured in Hollywood Magic Castle in the US... has a Bachelor Degree in the Fechter’s Finger Flicking Frolic Original Close-up Magic Convention...

Both the magic circle and the magic castle? But - but how? Ahh yes, magic. And yes thats 'Fechter’s Finger Flicking Frolic'. Think about that for a second. OK that's enough...

Cheapy

A music/movie outlet in TST; the name pretty much says it all. There are tons of DVD places like this here, all suspiciously similar, though this one really is quite cheap (maybe not such a bad name after all). They have the all usual cantopop available - note the 'Love Mi' poster (more on her later), as well as the latest hong kong martial arts blockbuster 'bodyguards and assassins' (make up your minds gentlemen, you can't be both). Ironically that DVD is outrageously overpriced....

Lucky Purple Shamrock

The airport bar at the new airport in Guilin China. Seems they're hoping to cater to a... burgeoning Irish population? Unfortunately they have a few of the specifics wrong; generally shamrocks are not purple, and generally Irishmen don't eat rice noodles. They do have Guinness however, which easily counterbalances these minor points. Actually having Guinness counterbalances the just about everything...

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...

'Variety King Kong' Transforminger

A toy from Guilin. Usually the mainland toy knock-offs try to get close to the copied product (enough for allusion if nothing else), but I suppose these guys aren't taking any chances with infringement. So rather than go for Transformingers or Optimum Primus Trucker, they've decided to go with the baffling moniker 'Variety King Kong'. If nothing else they're sure to throw the lawyers off the scent with this one...

Natural Functional Body Fluid

From a diet supplement package here in HK. The good people at 'slim partner' have hit upon an exciting slimming aid - 'natural functional body fluid'. Unfortunately the closely related term 'bodily fluids' carries rather negative connotations in the US, usually something from a crime scene or unseemly sex act. It is 'natural' and 'functional' though, so thats good(?). Perhaps its best that the ingredients are listed in Chinese...

Heavenly King Leon's Dream Wedding

A poster for 'Dream Wedding - Leon Live in Macao 2010'. Leon is a cantopop (HK's own brand of sickly sweet pop/R&B) uberlegend. From his website promo:
Lai first broke in to the Asian entertainment scene as the second runner-up in the 1986 New Talent Singing Awards. A record contract followed, as did fame when his debut album 1990s Meet the Rain went gold. Success followed with a series of chart-topping releases among them the award-winning single Not One Day I Dont Think of You... Lai was later crowned one of the 'Four Heavenly Kings of Canto-pop'...
Seems he's tired of ruling heaven (or a quarter of it at least), and is back on the comeback trail; he's decided to usher in 2010 with a 'dream wedding' tour. Unfortunately Leon's dreams appear to involve razors, disembodied female body parts (bleeding paint all over everything, even on his otherwise immaculate tux). Other highlights include flights of fighter jets and WWII bombers, ferris wheels, headless poledancers, and a truly disturbing female torso equiped with a camera simulating male genitalia. Yow. Don't know what to do with that one. Anyway I think I'll stick to tamer fare, like a Heironymous Bosch painting, or maybe one of those quaint Saw movies...









Enjoy The Game! (In Your Relaxing Bulletproof Vest)

An ad from one of the soccer sites I occasionally peruse. Seems for a mere $USD 69.95 you can get the '#1 personal protection body armour for the world cup 2010'. Nothing says 'sit back and relax' quite like the constant chafing presence of a bulky kevlar vest. You'll soon forget you're wearing it! No doubt you'll also soon forget to look behind you every 2.4 seconds for possible kidnappers, or check everyone's hands within 150 sq meters, or triangulating sniper positions, or vaguely bulging bags, or those suspicious (and admittedly damned annoying) plastic trumpets, or half drunk cups of beer placed 'accidentally' beside you.. just relax and enjoy the game!

Raisin Brahms?

An American web ad promoting the arts. I'm all for increasing exposure and arts education in the US (which in general is woefully underfunded etc) but 'raisin brahms'? Not going to resonate with the kinder I'm afraid. This smacks of 'seemed like a good idea at the time' brainstorming. Maybe the boss came up with this 'clever' pun, and no one could countermand them; then again 'feed your kids the Arts!" isn't exactly lighting up the sky either...

iFairy Vs. iBird

While browsing the local Toys 'R Us, I happened upon the interestingly named iFairy ('graceful and efficient', with 'super wide infrared control' no less - certainly sounds impressive). Seems they're jumping on the "i - clever product name" bandwagon a bit late. Unfortunately doesn't really look like a fairy, and definitely not a cyber-enchanced i-pixie. One would expect futuristic metallic wings, or at least a USB connector...



Also upon closer inspection, I noticed it looks suspiciously like the iBird a few boxes down. Hmmm. Now a cynic would say that the iFairy is just the iBird with 'fairy' coloring and pink packaging. A cynic mind you...

More Style Today Than Yesterday

A small 'hallway' store in Causeway Bay. Interesting name, but judging by the empty hooks, I guess they didn't have much style yesterday either...

Mind Attack Spider Game

A game in the local Toys 'R Us - Mind Attack Spider Game. Not sure how you play exactly, but apparently if you hit the spider robot with your infrared laser, it 'screams and falls'. Not for the faint of heart. One can only imagine the chronic nightmares visited upon some unfortunate, overly imaginative seven year old: trapped in the middle of a sprawling spider's web; assaulted by endless waves of demonic cyborg arachnids (who scream in unearthly rage when you do manage to hit one of them); but they're just too many of them, and the nicad batteries in your tiny infrared laster pistol are running low... Perhaps 'Mind F*ck' would be better.

Well, Good for Them...

A nice little gem I caught on the ESPN(?) sports page; a breaking banner headline concerning American baseball. Seems the St. Louis Cardinals have agreed to a seven-year, $120 million (USD) deal with... the St. Louis Cardinals. This according to consummate insider John Heyman (just the kind of info only a seasoned, well-connected reporter like him could unearth). A truly stunning development. Apparently a Mr. Holliday will also get a 'full no-trade clause' thrown in. I assume the Cardinals have also agreed in principle not to trade... the Cardinals?

Hootchy Kootchy (Keep Your Socks On)

A pair of socks for sale at a stall in North Point. I hope this one is intentional, as its pretty cheeky (as sock names go anyway). Of course thats assuming you know what 'hootchie cootchie' means; in the US at least its dated slang for having sex, originally the name of a ribald faux belly dance craze in the late 1800s. Anyway it seems the good people at Wai Shun Socks Knitting Factory (Ltd) want you to have said sex with your socks on, which would obviously be great for business. According to their sales blurb online, these socks are 'ladies computerised patterned... unique designed socks with smooth and soft feeling... easy to match with various dress code'. I guess if your dress code consists of just socks, then yes they do match rather well...

You'll Never, EVER Finish... But Do Make It a Ritual

A somber billboard for PageOne (arguably the best english-language bookstore in HK). Read every day - Even if you read books every day, you'll still never finish reading all the books in the world - but do make it a ritual. What's the point here exactly? Of course you'd never finish all the books in the world; this sounds more like don't bother, or what the hell, stave off the inevitable. I could understand a do not go gently into that good night inspirational tone, or even so read what you love vibe, but this makes it all sound rather overwhelming and pointless, like do brush your teeth, even though they'll all decay and rot out of your head regardless...



It reminds me of those death countdown clocks that used to pop up in airline catalogues, usually in 'the sharper image' or similar executive toy section. They would digitally display your statistical time of death as a 'reminder' to get things done. Or to not bother...

M-XXXXXXL

A sign in Wanchai advertising the sizes available at a local fashion outlet. For those who've wondered where those unfortunate 1,000 pounders get their clothes, perhaps here's your answer. I've had to buy XXL here on occasion (the 'Asian XL', as they call it here, is actually between to a M and L in the US). So even assuming US sizes, if you weigh over 500 lbs. your sh*t out of luck. I think this signage may backfire though; can't imagine a plus-size clientele appreciate the ever-expanding size of the Xs...

StarzBites?

PIzza Hut's latest mutant pizza idea - seems cheese injected into a hollow tube crust wasn't pushing the envelope far enough. Now we have StarzBites! I haven't seen one of these abominations in person, but apparently its a crust with 18 individual 'bites' attached like spokes, each stuffed with a 2-tone cheese stick (note the z-shaped flourish on top - nice touch - very starzy). The actual pizza is topped with scallops, peaches, pineapple, 'embedded' sausage slices, 'intertwining' mozzarella and cheddar cheeses, and 'innovative' miracle island sauce (thousand island dressing being a common alternative to tomato sauce here in HK and in Japan). Hell who wouldn't want to partake of such a multi-faceted, multi-dimensional treat, if only to be a part of history? I'm feeling more starzy just by looking at it. As for the name, what else are you going to call it? Spokeybites? Sporez?


This is The Place

If you've ever wondered where the place is - the original location that spawned the now time-worn expression - well now you have your answer. Apparently its been in a strip mall in Malaysia all this time. Who knew? Its also an 'overtime cafe & lounge', so if you've just pulled an extra shift at work, just swing by Borneo for a quick bite or pick me up...

Head Shop Head Shot - Take Out The Special Forces Kitty

A window poster from the Head Shop 2, a salon I've posted on before. Seems now they're offering would-be snipers a chance to take out a pesky special forces kitty with a head shot. He's apparently infiltrated their 'shine' product line, and is taking cover behind the 'silk fusion' conditioner. I like the little helmet, but the cat-sized M1 automatic rifle really kicks this up a notch. He may be good, but as you can see by the tracking crosshairs, his counterinsurgency days are numbered...

Revolving Pavilion - Just Like the Real Westminster Palace...

This is a 3D puzzle(?) sold in Wanchai. A bit hard to read, but its officially 'revolving pavilion, palace of westminster. I was unaware that Westminster Palace had a revolving pavilion; must be for the Queen's private use. I googled it later, and its actually from Poland; and here I thought this was another case of a Chinese marketing guy ginning up more nonsensical (but impressive sounding) English combinations. My apologies to the many Chinese marketing guys who peruse this site. Love the crowned 'R' and full moon, though...

Chocoseum - Mona Lisa's Smile in Stamped Chocolate

A surreal brand of cookies from South Korea. Just the thing to satisfy one’s all-too-common craving for small chocolate biscuit cookies stamped to resemble famous iconic paintings. In fact just writing about it makes me want to visit the ‘Chocoseum’ post-haste! I wonder if they have Munch’s ‘The Scream’...

Hell O'Kitty Sauce Pan? But of Course.

Yet another anachronistic Hell O’Kitty product. Why would you spend more (a lot more, as it turns out) for a sauce pan just because it has her ubiquitous likeness? Ah but that question can be asked of almost every single one of the 13,000+ other licensed items. Thirteen thousand.

Oh well, at least with this one you’d get the twisted satisfaction of putting said likeness directly onto a cranked gas burner…

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…

Archie Meets Kiss - Zombie Edition?

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


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...

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

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…

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...

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...

Cactus-suited Hello Kitty Joins Death in a Snowglobe

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

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