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!

Bling Bling Revolution

A store sign in Causeway Bay. I too believe it is time for a revolution in bling bling - for too long the women of HK have been forced to wear dull pewter necklaces, cubic zirconium jewelry and mouseskin stoles. It's time for 24K gold by the pound, 2" wide jade bracelets, and diamond collared mink coats. Of course there have already been several such revolutions here - to say nothing of the infamous sequin encrusted t-shirt and silvery stretchpants rebellions - but I digress...

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...

Crystal. Winkie. Regen. Cheeky Girl.

A bus stop ad for Hotcha's latest album, Shall We Shall We Dance Love. Interesting band name too; the term 'hotcha' was big about what, 70 years ago? Why not call yourselves 'flapper', or 'charleston'? Anyway the titles etc are pretty tame by HK standards; its the list of names at the lower right that got my attention. Seems we have Crystal, Winkie, and Regen, Cheeky Girls all. Perhaps they are all rather cheeky individually, but collectively form a singularity of pure Cheeky Girl energy, ready to be unleashed in a veritable Dance Love explosion. Shall we shall we? Oh yes, we shall...

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?



Possibly the "Spongiest" in Town

A blurb on a local HK tissue brand's packaging. I love the phrasing; why not "we could be in error, but we are relatively confident that this could indeed be the spongiest." Definitely top three...



They also have a product that purports to (possibly) be the 'thriftiest'. Can paper towels be thrifty? I suppose it sounds better than 'stingiest'...

May the Fond for Shopping be Appeased...

Promotional copy from our friends at Windsor Place (again). This is one of those odd little blurbs that adorn temporary construction partitions, and as such I wonder if anyone else has actually read it - surely not the guy who wrote it. HK is ablaze with signs like these, that appear to be composed by ancient software that randomly assembles similar words, like 'desire' and 'exquisite', into fancy sounding chains. These are then slapped up without the benefit of having a fluent speaker proof them for obvious errors or bizarre meanings. I actually thought about starting a firm to proofread stuff like this, assuming that anyone who put the time (and money) into such signage wouldn't want to look silly to english speaking clientele; but several locals pointed out that the english blurbs aren't for the native speakers, but for mainlanders and locals. Dress up anything with impressive sounding english words and it seems more 'classy'. Still these are more sublime than most:

May the fond for shopping be appeased in here by the freshness
Now is the time for a new reign in town...
Come upon your feet to excite your shopping spree...
Majestic piece of shopping heaven, beautiful exquisite renova(tion?)
Here we are. Never stops the shopping!




And finally this blurb nearby - We strive for an exquisite growth, and let your shopping desire flow... let's touch and go.... oh yes, lets.

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..."


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...

Planet of the Cheapy Queenies

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



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

Exploding Head Dancing Academy

A bus-side ad for the Creation Dance Academy, headed by the dynamic - and excitingly coiffed! - Kenji





Actually the name is rather tame by HK standards, but as a graphic designer I am blessed/cursed with noticing logos far more than most people. I have to say this is one of the worst I've ever come across; I love the tango couple's oddly morphed bodies, but the head-exploding magic emanating from the woman's swooping hand really takes it up a notch. I'm guessing Kenji commissioned this logo to represent the dramatic demise of CDA's founder; his dance partner had generated so much passion that as she swept her hand up to touch his trembling cheek, it accidently arced and ignited his hair spray (producing a fabulous if tragic finale to an otherwise magical dance creation).

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.

Sticker: We Have Hopes Because We Have Love...

From the packaging of a set of kiddie stickers given to my youngest daughter. Unfortunately a bit hard to read here, but it says "we have hopes because we have love" under the big "Sticker" label. While dressing up products with nonsensical English phrasing is quite typical in Asia, few if any offer such stirring musings as this. Yes, sometimes its the little things that remind you of what's truly important in life, things like hopes, love, and stickers...

Makes for a great mantra too - we have hopes because we have love, and we have love because we have sticker, and we have sticker because we have hopes, and...

.

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...

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...

Trendyland

A storefront in Kowloon near the Science Museum. Unfortunately Trendyland was closed when we happened by, so I don't know what exciting new brands etc are available here. Judging by their sign I'm thinking they are actually a decade (if not more) behind the latest hot trends, so no Lady Gaga or Wii consoles. But great deals on acid-washed jeans, Miami Vice pastel jackets, and Hootie and the Blowfish CDs - all at trendy prices of course.

Links to Other Satire/Humor Offerings

Updated links to some of my other satire/humor offerings. Hope you enjoy them.


Feathertale: Bonobos, Transmogrified Barbie Library & Tangential Insights

http://www.feathertale.com/Fiction/quoted_scenes.htm

http://www.feathertale.com/Fiction/said_spew.htm

http://feathertale.com/Fiction/barbie.htm


McSweeney's Internet Tendency: Yub Jub Means Devour the Weak & Progressive Cowpoke

http://www.mcsweeneys.net/2009/6/2mcardle.html

http://www.mcsweeneys.net/2008/8/8mcardle.html


The Big Jewel: Shaolin Monks & Quimby's Revenge

http://www.thebigjewel.com/tag/dan-mcardle/


Monkeybicycle: Circumstances Under Which I will Bite

http://monkeybicycle.net/old-archive/McArdle/bite.html


Also I have quite a few pieces up on Yankee Pot Roast. Even got my own archive (actually everybody gets an archive, but it sounds impressive...)

http://www.yankeepotroast.org/archives/daniel_mcardle/

Here are a few of the better ones:

http://www.yankeepotroast.org/archives/2009/08/brutally_realis.html

http://www.yankeepotroast.org/archives/2009/01/thomas_jefferso.html

http://www.yankeepotroast.org/archives/2008/07/other_entities.html

http://www.yankeepotroast.org/archives/2008/07/over_the_partit.html

http://www.yankeepotroast.org/archives/2008/06/we_will_stop_at.html

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.

Time is Love = Bunny is Wolf

A truly bizarre watch store ad. The tag line 'time is love' is innocent enough, but what the enigmatic phrase has to do with hugging gigantic mutant bunnies and wolves is beyond me. Are the animals supposed to be symbolic of time and love? So how is the bunny 'time'? And if the wolf is symbolic of love... and the model is wearing a red dress as opposed to virginal white... hmmm...



I just checked the internets, and found this helpful blurb: Rather than using the well-established ‘Timeless Love’ tagline in the 90s, the theme has been remodeled to ‘Time is Love’. The campaign has kicked off with... ads questioning the idea of love... statistical results from the Hong Kong population are tagged under sections detailing topics such as the amount of money each gender spends on the other, the percentage of people believing in eternal love, or the amount of time each gender spends in preparation for a date. People are also invited to access a designated micro-site and Facebook group to voice their opinions on love, with the best most celebrated comment destined to win a five-star spa treatment and Solvil et Titus products."

Wow. Have to say this is one of the finest distillations of hong kong culture I've ever come across; unabashed marketing and consumerism with absolutely no sense of humor or irony. By the way if you're curious what gender of HK residents most believes in eternal love, its 'female'...

The Stackticon King

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



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



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

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



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

Bibleman Shatters the Prince of Pride

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

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

'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.

I Corrupt All Cops! All of Them! Me!

Another forgotten laptop image, this one a bus-side ad for "I Corrupt All Cops" a Hong Kong original movie. I just thought the name was hilarious to be honest, though I'm glad I looked it up - the title is a 'clever' play on the abbreviation “ICAC”, the Independent Commission Against Corruption, an infamous anti-corruption force set up in the '70s to clean up HK's notoriously corrupt police force.

The director, Wong Jing, is famous here for his over-the-top violence and shlock factor, and this movie apparently doesn't dissappoint. As per usual in these films, the characters have puzzling english names which have nothing to do the movie, like Gold (Wong Jing himself), Gale, a womanizing lieutenant, and a foul-mouthed detective suitably called Unicorn. Interesting how many foul mouthed cops have 'unicorn' as a nickname, considering that unicorns in the wild are actually renowned for their brutality...

Sly McFly's Refueling Station

A restaurant/bar/refueling station near the famed Monterey Aquarium (which I highly recommend by the way). Unfortunately we were already committed to Mexican food, so I was unable to sample the (no doubt cleverly named) wares at Sly's. Also I did want to include a few American signs from our visit here, just to remind my loyal reader(s) that Hong Kong has serious competition for surreal names and preposterous advertising.

I was really hoping that this was a literary reference to a John Steinbeck character (author of Grapes of Wrath and local homegrown celebrity). Alas I looked it up on the internets, and there isn't a lovable conman/trickster named 'sly mcfly' anywhere; neither is there a token 'hip' black character in an '80s movie who exclaims 'nice goin' sly mcfly' as the achingly dorky but lovable protagonist trips and spills his entire lunch tray all over his beloved 'secret' cheerleader crush...

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...".

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.


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?

Who's Dope? The Bro5, That's Who

A poster for the 'Who's Dope' dance competition. It seems some in HK have wholeheartedly embraced street dance culture (if 'culture' is the correct term) right down to the ludicrous names - Tommy x Bro5? Is that supposed to be a play on 'bros'? And the tagline - 'Dance Forever in my Life'? God I hope not.

Anyway do we really need a competition to determine who is in fact dope? It seems all the dancers represented here are living incarnations... manifested in their recycled breakdancing moves, faux gang signs, sparkly shirts, hats worn at rakish angles, and of course baggy jeans belted well below the pelvis.

I must confess I'm a bit concerned that too much dope will be concentrated in one place during the 'final'. Usually the hyper-dope crew assembled to judge spread out the dope to manageable levels across the planet (unlike our friends at the Hong Kong Funky Dance Centre, who seem to want a concentrated funk implosion - the fools). Could we see the unintentional creation of fusion right here in HK, powered not by deuterium reactors, but dope?

'80s Stoner Chick Returns

This is another window display from our friends at AnotherFCK, the hipster geniuses behind the "Dream World" geek posted last month; it seems they're now playing up the classic '80s stoner chick. I especially like the matted-hairspray look matched with the monstrous flower clip. Now you too can act heavily sedated and/or bored out your mind while hanging out in the school pot dealer's basement. Then its off to combat the munchies with some nasty 7-11 nachos, followed by some serious bitching about angst, suburbia, and that weird smell coming from the couch.

'Glammario'

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

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

Head Shop II

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

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

The Dream World Beckons...

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

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

Pursuit WIll Go By 18 Wheels!

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

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!

Only the Dead See the End

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

Meeoowwch!

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

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

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

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

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...

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...



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...

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...

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...

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...

Dense Feeling Moment

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

Dreamy Pie Vs. O!Karto

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

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!

Illinois of Augustana Gusties

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

Crazy! X'Mas! Crazymichael!

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

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

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

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









Your Idea is a Dual Purpose

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

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...

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’...

ICE FIRE - Part of Their Life

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

Milky Extract Towel Mints

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

the a (to be continued)

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

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...

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...

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...

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...

Grapes 'n Lightning - a Winning Recipe for Cool Candy & Good Smell

A t-shirt on display in Causeway Bay. I'm giving them the benefit of the doubt and assuming the Grapes is supposed to be the focused upon phrase. And yes I suppose grapes can be used in the production of cool candies, and they do have a pleasant if subtle smell. Something tells me these qualites weren't foremost on the designer's mind here. No doubt they were distracted by the purple lightning bolt motif patterning. Oh wait! Grapes struck by lightning produces cool candy and a good smell (carbonized grape jelly?) . I totally get it now...

Obama Language Centre

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

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...

I Don't

A small jewelry outfit in HK. I like the name, catchy at least, but prompts it too many questions of its clientele. You do... what? Offer great bargains on cubic zirconium and electroplate? Weddings? Maybe its even deeper than that: I do, therefore I am...

Age? So What!

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

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

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

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...

We Are Probably the Lowest Prices

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

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!

Alexander III The Great Shopped Here

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

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...

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

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



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



Passion on Poodle - You Only Cry Once...

A poodle breeder etc. in Causeway Bay. Gaite means 'gaiety' in French. While one imagines they don't actually sell gay poodles, passion on poodle is a painfully poor choice of copy. Suffice it to say they were a tad naive when they wrote it up? Anyway they sell very, very expensive poodles (and poodle bling), which are popular in HK though not as much as other precious yippy breeds.



They also have another sign close by (unfortunately is obscured in this shot). It says buy the best you only cry once. How true, especially in the take-no-prisoners world of poodle gaiety. Choose poorly and you may well be stuck with merely content (heureux), or mildly amused (légèrement amusé)...


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...

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?

GWEATSPORT

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

Under the Glitz, a Veil of Luxury...

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

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...

A Little Too Original

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

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'...

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....

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...

Dancing Wolves Vs. Septwolves

Two clothing outlets in Yangshou - the bitter rivals Dancing Wolves and Septwolves. Not sure if september wolves is a reference to some uprising or revolution, or an obscure Chinese folktale. Nasty looking wolf though (doesn't look good on a polo shirt) in marked contrast to the suave film noir icon for 'dancing'. I'm guessing dancing wolves is more for sweetly dangerous ladykillers, ready to sweep a dame off her feet with some hard-nosed, soft-hearted detective work, while septwolves goes for the aggressive 'hunting in packs' type, usually seen at sports bars or a Hooters happy hour, howling for more chicken wings and twofer pitchers, making endless boorish passes at the long suffering waitresses. You don't want to be on the streets when a pack of septwolves stumbles upon some dancing wolves; the dancers swinging in to deliver some ironic oneliners and solid uppercuts, the septwolves gangtackling, spewing sports analogies and Schwarzenegger quotes...



Adivon Originals

A new store in Yangshuo, home of those iconic jungle-covered, mist shrouded outcroppings you always see in Chinese paintings (and yes they really do look that way). Maybe it just me, but this up-and-coming Chinese brand bears more than a passing resemblance to adidas. Hmmm... its almost like they took a chunk of the logo and turned it 90 degrees, and used an identical font. Or perhaps a young entrepeneur named Adi Vonsler (or Vonsler Adi to use the asian convention) decided to follow his passion, just like a young german named Adi Dassler. Coincedence? Harmonic convergence? Or blatant copyright violation? You decide...

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...









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...

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?

The Largest Lifestyle Hypermall in Malaysian Borneo

From the Kota Kinabalu tourist map. Borneo is known for its orangutans and headhunters, but its the world famous 'lifestyle hypermalls' that really pack in the tourists. And this is the largest of them all, dwarfing the other 58 in the province. These hypermalls exist in at least 8 extra dimensions, allowing innocuous looking complexes like this to hold over 38,000 stores...

Protect Mr. Earth!

An appropriate first posting for 2010; from a bag in a fashion outlet in Wanchai. With global warming worsening (and conservative 'deniers' helping it along) the world needs protection more than ever, and its upgraded its private security force with some ex-Navy Seals armed to the teeth (adding some much needed firepower to its usual security detail - doves, flowers and dragonflies). I love the bizarre inclusion of art nouveau scrollwork; really brings the image together. Honestly the first time I've seen 'the Earth' actually refer to itself as a man, but maybe with the new year it's decided to go with a phrase that will resonate more with its old boy network adversaries - "That's MISTER Earth to you, a**hole!"

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’...

Define Beauty? OK. This Is Not It.

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

Archie Meets Kiss - Zombie Edition?

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


Salmon-Chanted Evenings

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

Bear Beer. OK This is Too Easy

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

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

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

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

Summer Vacation and/or Holiday

Just returned from our annual US visit, which included time in Canada as well. And yes they still have a queen on all their money, though she’s not actually Canadian - well technically she is, but - its a little complicated…

Anyway, despite lingering 12 hour jet lag I hope to post some suitably snarky imagery and/or commentary very soon. Thanks for to any and all loyal readers for checking in, and welcome to any newcomers who’ve stumbled onto the site expecting reverent posts about Hello Kitty and/or the Queen of Canada...

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…

Inssssspirador

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

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

Denimholic

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

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

Crookers w/ Style of Eye & The Heavy

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

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

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

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

The Charity for Especially Difficult Children

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



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

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...

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?

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...