super english force

Happy... Spongey Christmas!

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



'Black as Hell, Strong as Death' vs. 'Espresso Yourself!'

The stairs leading to a new cafe in the GOD ('Goods Of Desire' - more on this in another post) store in Causeway Bay. Love the line - coffee should be black as hell, strong as death (anyone who knows me personally is aware of my penchant for strong joe - 'chewable coffee' as I call it). Definitely the kind gritty urban cafe I'd like to visit. But then they totally ruin the effect the next step up - be a coffee drinking individual - espresso yourself! It seems the copywriter was worried that he'd gone too far with strong as death etc. and then wildly overcompensated; espresso yourself! seems better suited for a coffee, potpourri, & scrapbooking shop in Indiana, specializing in delightful 'flavored coffees' like Hazelnutty...

Your Flat Belly H/W8 Deeply Cares

A sign for a spa/salon in TST named AnthonG (?). Seems they now have access to the latest in sentient body part upgrade technology. This allows them to replace the uncaring flab currently occupying your midriff with flat belly H/W8 (which is copyrighted apparently), capable of independent thought and higher level emotions like compassion. The mind boggles at what other body parts they can switch out; A/E7, the left calf with the knack for timely compliments; or S/T66, the right pectoral who understands, really understands what you're going through right now...

Down Beat Bleeding 89, aka The Ethereal Mirror Violet Vortex

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

Famous Hollywood Socialite Epicuren Discovery Line

A poster for 'celebrity skincare secrets' at one of the myriad beauty centers in HK. There are literally hundreds of anti-aging and skin whitening facilities here, but only this one offers the 'famous hollywood socialite epicuren' effect. All the secrets that made Barbara Streisand's skin the envy of the socialite world are now yours to discover... Unfortunately the proprietor 'borrowed' some pretty unflattering shots of several tinseltown beauties; note the shiny and/or ruddy complexions and the rather melancholy Jennifer Anniston. Still the most troubling is the inclusion of Michael Jackson - the only 'male' in the bunch. I suppose you could end up looking 'famous' alright, but probably not for the reasons you intended...

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...

Beware of Upward/Downward Escalators

A helpful (if rather troubling) cautionary sign at the South Horizons mall in Ap Lei Chau. Honestly what other kinds of escalators are there? Horizontal/vertical? In/Out? Perhaps its best to just take the stairs...

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'...

Liang Mo Modules Are Descendants of Ape-Man Mutation, Ultra-Deep V Bananas

This is the google translator's attempt at deciphering a Chinese web article about 'planet of the liang mo', banana baby etc. I felt it worth including here in its entirety. Its a bit hard to muddle through at times, but well worth the effort. Enjoy.

Zhan Sir In addition to continuing cooperation with the four disciples, on the stage put a big smile shells, the publicity materials will be the embodiment of the upper mouth Liang Cheng 5 Die (LoBalla Beauty Lotion Bona, Cheapy Queeny He cheaper, Banana Baby coke often, Juicy Yummy plump mound and Hallow Kitty wearing according to grade), he would live to teach a whole module Jing Gong Lue : Big Breasts, Tong Yan / vest, hot pants / ice-cream, toothpaste, skin care cream / swimwear, sleepwear, Ultra-Deep V / bananas, milk, suck fingers / innocence, ignorance, pretending to cutie / low-level position, E CUP chest, so that those interested to join a generous mouth die Liang Ai-year Youth learn this upper nirvana...

I Liang Mo modules are descendants of ape-man mutation, a large number of cosmetic effects, and III-class photography posture, so that a successful invasion of the Earth's population Liang die. Whether Hong Kong Hong Kong men and women are unable to get rid of mold mouth Liang, Liang die last are reduced to a slave port. What Train Man can once again regain the rule of the earth right?

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.

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).

Shouts of Bags!

While waiting for my web provider to recover my (now lost) old files, I stumbled on a few pictures from our first month or so here. This is from a now-defunct store near Harbour City. Pretty much speaks for itself - "Bags! Shouts of Bags!" Don't know if that should be said with an excited carnival shout, or like a despairing anchor reporting live outside a raging boutique fire." ..Now we're hearing shouts of 'bags! bags!' All those reasonably priced yet edgy purses going up in flames... Oh the horror!"

L'Homos Johnbull Tabloid News

A few more brand names for the eagerly awaited mall in Causeway Bay. I was struck by 'L'Homos' - that does mean 'the homos' in french, correct? Nothing wrong with a gay-only brand of course, but a hard sell as a t-shirt moniker for straight men, even metrosexuals. I was also taken by the flow (alliteration?) of the three names combined - l'homo johnbull tabloid news - interesting ring to it. Of course 'tabloid news' doesn't exactly scream 'quality' either...

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%"...





No, YOUR Bra Sucks

This is an ad for a lingerie store across from Times Square in Causway Bay. Despite its obvious eye-catching qualities, I'm mystified by the tagline: who is she supposed to be talking to exactly? Other women? As in: Your bra sucks, though I'm not wearing one, but if I was it would make you feel even more inadequate, soooo... you'd better get in here and buy a bra! What should be a woman's reply be? No your bra sucks, or no your thong sucks, it isn't very... pragmatic, and would show terribly under a skirt...

Or to men: your bra sucks, though you obviously don't wear bras (at least most of you don't), but you aren't looking at the tagline anyway, hell it could say 'lunchmeat one dollar' and you'd still stare at me, especially considering my 'come hither' look and rather subtle lack of clothing. How about 'tell your wife/girlfriend that her bra sucks, and point to this handy billboard to illustrate your point'! That should go over well...

Madcap (Hypnotized?) Golfing Tigers

I rarely get a chance to get shots of English butchering t-shirts here, either because I didn't get a chance to ask (and don't want to be a hypocrite) or because the shop employees become mortified or rather brusque when I ask to take a picture of the merchandise. So I considered myself lucky whenever even a minor gem like this gets displayed prominently in a window. The moniker 'golfing tigers' is (just) enough for inclusion, but the actual mascot, complete with madcap knock-kneed stroke and disturbingly glazed over eyes, is intriguing. Has he been hypnotized for madcap comic effect, dressed like a theme park safari guide, tehn cajoled into swinging a titanium driver dangerously about? What happens if the tiger wakes up? Does he maul his defenseless tax attorney partner? Or the mid-level cadres playing through Mission Hills like they own the place? Now that would make a great t-shirt...

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...

.

A Terrible Price for an English Accent...

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

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.

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.

'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...

Aww You Guys - Find Whatever You Like

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


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

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

Dead Sea of Life

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

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

Muscle Worker Dance Show

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

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

'Norse Trade Route' - the new A&F

This is a t-shirt adorning a weekend dad in Victoria Park (for what its worth he had no problem with my taking a picture - unfortunately the picture didn't turn out well, and his head got cut off by a jungle gym).

I looked up 'NTR' - apparently this bold new brand has yet to have its official roll out. But Abercrombie and Diesel beware - the Norse are coming to establish a trade route, and woe to any who dare oppose them. One would assume that Vikings would be more interested in raping and pillaging, though truth be told they did a whole lot more colonizing and founding kingdoms like 'Muscovy' (aka Moscow), but I digress. This is the 21st century after all, so global trade rules the day...

JESSI'CAR' - For Car-Loving Fashionistas

Wow. It seems the publishers of JESSICA (a fashionique highend magazine here in HK) have done my work for me. Not much to add to 'car-loving fashionistas'... to say nothing of cleverly adding 'car' to the end of JESSICA - a masterstroke of wordplay.

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'.

Might Want to Reconsider That Name...

This is a hair salon in Causeway Bay. Pretty tame compared to 'dragon beard icy crispy candy', but not the ideal choice if for someone selling coiffure expertise. Unless they specialize in the über-grunge anime hair so popular with the HK hipster set. I suppose I could wait outside for a bit and get a before/after shot: first the normal haired customer entering with, then exiting an hour later with full-on 'Robert Smith from the Cure as Manga hero...

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...

Elvis Whoppie Twist vs. Red Velvet Whoppie Pie

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



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

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



Ice Means Jewellery, Oream Means Cash

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

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

Greatest Falafel On Earth - Best Gyro Ever!

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

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

1 Clip Attack # - No Pain No Game?!

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

Put a Justice Wheel in Your Belly

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

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...

We Promise! We Will Take Care of Your Stomach!

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

Truffle Pig

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

Purrdon Me, Sir

A t-shirt for sale in Maine. This could be forgiven in HK (almost) as the owner might not speak English well enough to get the pun (a term I use here in the technical sense only). But for a native speaker to wear this, even ironically, is the stuff of nightmares. That said, if you are going to have this on your shirt, having it spoken by a debonaire cat with a rakishly curled whisker mustache and sparkly tophat is better than nothing... actually it’s not.

Gimp Rolls, Scoubidous & Boodogglers

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

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

Meeoowwch!

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

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

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

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

Snappy Joe the Jeepster

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

beLIEve

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

God Makes You Try Pop Pop Pizza

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

Live a Sportive (& Healthy) Life

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

Hair Homer

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

Desiccate the Spring

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

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...

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?

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...

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...

Gripe Water - Rapid Relief of Wind and Gripe

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

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

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



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

! 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...

Close To The Distance Near Civilization

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





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

Golden Bone Ingot

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

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

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

Comical Kids Friends Towards the Horizon Courageous Rivers '53

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

Sharkproof Bracelet

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

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

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...

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!

Cowsmos Power

A t-shirt from Giordano, a clothing chain here. They use the cow as their kids clothing icon, though what that has to do with cosmos or power is unclear. Unless the cow’s name is Cosmo? Regardless I like Cowsmos better - hey I made a pun! I wonder if I should approach them with my idea. Not every customer would notice an extra ‘w’ in there, but those that do would no doubt appreciate the cleverness of my punnery and buy even more sweaters. So its a win-win.

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?

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

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

Garoupa Cheesy Volcano: Embrace the Affection

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



Frozen Bake

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

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...

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)...

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?

Murk and Tinted... Sunglasses?

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

Dr. Face & the V Treatment

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

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

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

Carbondale of Advance Party

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

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?

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...

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?

We Are Probably the Lowest Prices

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

OOPS!

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

Time to Eat Go! Go! Go!!

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

Alexander III The Great Shopped Here

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

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...



Takeachance with NAFNAF League

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

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

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



From the company website:



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

Tri-Chromatic Cohering Extravaganza Paraphrasis Together Similarly. OK?

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

GWEATSPORT

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

NOT... Mountain Range? Sphinx Label?

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

SPLUX

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

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

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

Coconut Tree God Lantern Hot Pepper Sauce Anyone?

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

Fat Bomb

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

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

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

Cheapy

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

Lucky Purple Shamrock

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

'Variety King Kong' Transforminger

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

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...

Natural Functional Body Fluid

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

Raisin Brahms?

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

iFairy Vs. iBird

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



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

Mind Attack Spider Game

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

Well, Good for Them...

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

Hootchy Kootchy (Keep Your Socks On)

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

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

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



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

StarzBites?

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


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...

Satan Claus

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



This is The Place

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

Head Shop Head Shot - Take Out The Special Forces Kitty

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

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

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

24 Hour Hotline - For a Funeral Parlour?

My wife spotted this sign outside the Kota Kinabalu Airport in Borneo. Why a funeral parlor would need a 24 hour hotline is beyond me; perhaps its better not to ask...



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!"

Wbreze is SO Champagne

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

Manly Fashion Socks

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

Mega Mop (mini version) with Turbo Jet Propulsion

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



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

Fuel Britannia

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

Fun TV Dongle

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

Salmon-Chanted Evenings

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

Blue Hair - We Provide with Good English Services

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

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



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

Goldenrukkai Mowhawk of NY

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

Bear Beer. OK This is Too Easy

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

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

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

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

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…

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

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



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

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

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

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)

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

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

Sichuan Saliva Chicken

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

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...