Diverchok. Snow White's Favorite

An unfortunately blurry shot of a Spanish cookie in Wan Chai. Who do I know its from Spain? Says so right there! And Diverchok sounds so spanish, yes? Or should I say Si

I’m guessing Diverchok is an attempt at mashing ‘diverse’ with ‘choc’, which is a common term for chocolate (outside the US). Still its not the most appetizing of names, a rather sharp edged word in contrast to eternally soft-focused Snow and her lil’ birdy companion. Just can’t see her in a glade surrounded by songbirds, extolling the joys of diverchok in dulcet tones...

diverchok snow white

In a Hurry But Trendy-Overbooked But Superlookee

A three story hanging ad from Times Square in Causeway Bay. Would that we could all stay trendy even when in a hurry. Love the expression on her face as she’s checking her watch. I am concerned - but beautifully so! Don’t’ think anyone will wait around to see those pants…

My favorite aspect of this isn’t the pants or the tagline though, its the asterisked line below. Surbookee mais super-lookee, which translates to ‘overbooked but superlookee.” Apparently the French, famous for having a different word for everything, don’t have a word for superlookee


Extravagance Purple Blue Tone Hair Laurel Crown-one Head - Very Stylish!

A bizarre (even by cantopop) standards) hairstyle for Aaron Kwok. I swear this guy must never sleep - he’s in every major canto movie, does an album and concert tour for laughs, and pimps half the mens’ products available here. While this getup can’t quite match the bubblegum crown from his last concert series, it still qualifies in its own right; woven hair crown and gold lame suit anyone? I keep thinking something is lost in translation, but locals tell me there is really no rhyme or reason to it. Apparently the more bizarre the better. And it doesn’t have anything to do with the actual songs, album title, etc.


Morbidly curious despite this, I googled it and came across this great chinglish mash up. This is from an actual website - obviously whoever posted ran it through a translator:
William Chang exquisite real hair materials, as material woven of a two-tiered crown. Shots the Youyi extravagance purple blue tone, while this feature is of the double crown and Aaron Kwok hair like connected together, do hair laurel crown-one head, very stylish! Aaron said: 'Uncle design really ingenuity, and a sense of humor, especially hair stylist and Herman will crown woven into two levels, the a metaphorical new dance Pro feast concert again presents, but the show process will reinstall feeding both metaphorical also doing good idea! 'Though it may take nearly three hours to change hair surgery, but Aaron are completely happy!

Make the Fun Girls Invented Booty Roller Squad From Onaland Insweat

Make the Fun Girls Invented Booty Roller Squad From Onaland Insweat. But of course...


The Ultimate Whitening Pair - Crush & Eject

Yet another whitening product. This has become a huge business in Asia, some women going for actual bleaching, which leads to an odd juxtaposition of white face and tan/brown body. And its beyond going for a ‘Western’ skin color - Japanese and Chinese traditions of beauty both glorify alabaster complexions, ‘pale moonlit’ princesses etc.

Still what caught my eye is the bizarre use of ‘crush’ and ‘eject’ - words not usually employed for beauty products after all. Also the beauty mask looks haunted, even malevolent (perhaps due to the violet back-glow?). And whats with the flying puzzle pieces? So crushing and ejecting will simultaneously implode and explode your problem skin? That doesn’t sound too pleasant. But as the saying goes, ‘beauty knows no pain’…


Pearly Gates - Master Bunny Edition

From the Sogo department store in Causeway Bay. Pearly Gates is a Japanese golf clothing brand; of course to Westerners the term refers to the gates to heaven, so I’m honestly not sure what they’re trying for with name. Golf wear fit for heaven? Or golf wear that will smite you down and send you there? But the odd brand name is surpassed by their latest rollout (hard to read but on the golf bag): ‘Master Bunny Edition’.


I’m usually wary of using the now hackneyed expression, but its apropos here. WTF? What do bunnies have to do with golf? Was ‘master edition’ too straightforward somehow? “We’re named pearly gates, we have to make it sound odd - how about master bunny?”

Sunderball, Decorative Light for Tomorrow

An unfortunately rushed, blurry shot of a toy in Wanchai. The owner had your typical hypocritical reaction to photographing in his knockoff laden store, i.e. ‘How dare you take pictures of my illegal copyright violations! You insult all of China!” Needless to say I don’t’ think this product is actually a knockoff. Also I don’t see any self respecting company suing to protect the rights to ‘SUNDERBALL, decorative light for tomorrow’…



Yes in the future, all decorative lighting will consist of science experiment plasma globes like this one. Nobody will get any work done of course, as they will be too entranced by the mesmerizing dance between lightning and flesh. And the lights will have names that have absolutely nothing to do with lighting–or sundering

She Loves SUITS

A woman’s business attire retailer in Sapporo. I suppose the name is straightforward enough, but that’s not a phrase you’ll hear every day, if ever. “Yeah one thing about the wife. She loves suits.” Have to say the magenta mannequin doesn’t exactly work for me either, though compared to some mannequins its rather tame. Far better than the headless/mutilated variety, or those with heads like anvils (and yes I’ve seen an anvil-headed mannequin). I suppose the only question here is how much she actually loves them. Is she willing to die for suits? To kill for them if necessary? I pray we never have to find out…


Arrogant - We Are the Good Child

From a goody bag in Hong Kong. Unfortunately the rest of the image didn’t turn out, but theres a cute lil’ anime teddy bear waving below and to the left. I’m assuming he’s ‘Arrogant’; a rather odd choice for an aspiring kiddy icon. The surreal juxtaposition of his namesake and the ‘we are the good child’ tagline guaranteed inclusion here, but I was also struck by the choice of font. It’s none other than Disney’s ‘Walt signature’ which adorns a ton of Disney packaging and advertising, especially for golden agers like Mickey. Why you’d pick that font for anything is beyond me, but then again I don’t name teddy bears Arrogant


Vessel in the Strawberry Fog

A candy bar from Japan. Apparently this is a ‘reissue’ of a product popular in the 80s. Its suffused with air bubbles, which make it especially smooth and ‘airy’. Perhaps the fog is trapped within?


No one seems to know where the ominous sounding name comes from, however. Or why a strawberry version would be appropriate. Perhaps undead pirates need a pick me up before they ride said fog into shore to wreak revenge on the living, and some of them have chocolate allergies. Which would really suck if you were an undead pirate…

Handsome Mask for Whatever You Want to be...

A new addition to the ‘beauty mask’ trade here in HK. These masks are usually marketed to women of a certain age to remove impurities, wrinkles, and/or brighten the skin. Some actually bleach the skin with various whitening agents as well. Anyway they are usually quite expensive, and as with most beauty products the results are dubious. This is the first one I’ve seen for men exclusively however, though I can’t say I’ve gone looking. It seems all you need to be ‘cool, cute, sexy and macho (or) whatever you want to be’ is contained within.


Of course you could purchase an ‘actual’ handsome mask of say, George Clooney (or whoever is the latest heartbreaker if he’s a bit long in the tooth of your taste). That would be make dating difficult however, as you would have to mostly grunt and nod, lest your date notice that your overlarge yet handsome face doesn’t move much when you talk. Then again some women are drawn to the strong/silent/mysterious type. Just don’t be surprised when you notice that ‘Kate Beckinsale’ seems rather staid and quiet over dinner. And her face seems a bit too large, now that you think about it…

Mr. Smoky - For Men with Good Taste

A fine coffee from our friends at ‘Fire’ in Japan. Nothing hits the spot on a cold Hokkaido morning quite like a hot can of Mr. Smoky. Its smoked coffee for men with good taste, like myself. Its also ‘the coffee with deep aroma’. Deep smoky aroma, not like those other brands with their ‘shallow moist’ aroma. And that’s MIster Smoky to you, pal…


Enigmatic Fabric No. C555 Contains ‘Fabric'

From a high end clothier in Sapporo Japan. Not made in Canton of course, which is probably for the better. Canton isn’t exactly famous as a fashion hub, even for overalls (that would be Topeka). Actually outside of the NFL hall of fame, there’s really nothing to recommend it, or Ohio for that matter. But I digress. This is the official signage that greets passerby:


Organic cotton, check. Carefully selected (for) quality and production region, check. But best of all, the enigmatically named ‘Fabric No. C555’ contains fabric, the most important thing discriminating shoppers look for in a… fabric.

No Durian Allowed

A helpful warning at our hotel in Penang Malaysia, reminding guests that the infamously odorous fruit is not allowed on the premises. For those of you not aware of this ‘delicacy’, durian is a large soft textured fruit that smells like shit and/or vomit (and that’s being kind; others have described it as pig-shit with turpentine, medical waste, and gym socks). Aficionados insist that the flesh is succulent with a consistency like custard, superior in texture and smoothness to almost all other fruit. Having tried it (in the form of a custard cake roll) I can safely place myself in the former category. The only thing I’ve personally ever tried that was worse is Nattō, a Japanese ‘delicacy’ composed of slimy, decaying mung beans that has the taste and consistency of fresh vomit (someone else’s). But alas that experience is for another post. I can honestly say if given a chance you should try durian, if for no other reason than to have a baseline for the worst thing you’ve ever tasted…


SBooBS - Break My Trickeries!

A pencil sharpener from a newish Taiwanese company. The name is supposed to be ‘SB-BS’ with an infinity loop between the letters. I’m afraid to most native English speakers it reads “sboobs’ however. I don’t think I need to go into why that doesn’t work well (unless you’re selling boob joke paraphernalia). The tagline break my trickeries is more than adequate for inclusion here, but out of morbid curiosity I looked these guys up, and turns out they have a whole slew of ‘office revenge’ products. SB is supposed to be ‘stab back’ and BS ‘backstabber’, so the infinity loop means to retaliate somehow(?). This particular device is supposed allow you to pretend to shove a pencil down the office gossip’s throat while sharpening said pencil. The package also warns you not to use it as food or sports equipment…


Their website has this helpful blurb and diagram that explains it far better (or more colorfully) than I can. “So many trickeries in my head! Sharpen your pencil as hard as you are smashing all the bad ideas! When the pieces come out of my mouth, all fortune will come to you!” The diagram shows the bad luck going in and good luck coming out, and its got a ‘piquant degree’ of 5 stars, which I’m guessing means its pretty hot?


They have a bunch of other anger management tools in their stable, which I’ll save for later post. I’ll include this pencil sharpener that drives the point home far more graphically–hey I made a pun!


Rise to Coma Fortunate

A t-shirt in Causeway Bay. As a rule I generally don’t take shots of people without asking first (which I rarely do anyway), but this one was too bewildering to pass up. And she helpfully stood still for a full minute while I struggled to find my iPhone and take this admittedly poor shot.

comafortunate coma-icon

First off there’s the utterly incongruous laundry recommendation icons across the top. What do they possibly have to do with comas? Are they to help the nursing staff when they launder it? And the tagline: rise to (a) coma fortunately? Is there anything fortunate about a coma? Not to be overly morbid, but the only thing less fortunate is dying. Though I suppose you do have a slim chance to wake up from a coma at least, so there’s that. Maybe she’s just an extraordinarily positive person…

Cheesy Opera & Double Layers Indulgence

Yet another bizarre (though admittedly tame by their standards) local Pizza Hut abomination. Of course to American ears cheesy is slang for ‘unsubtle, and/or inauthentic’. Needless to say it’s not the ideal term for selling anything, even in the context of pizza and/or toppings. And speaking of toppings, this latest atrocity has ‘double layers indulgence’–an entire pizza mashed onto another, then loaded down with salami and scallops. The traditional repast of opera patrons everywhere apparently. Well, those and cheap mozzarella cheese, and the more the better! I especially love the scallop shell arrangement on the left. Very elegant, very… operatic? Now if I can just figure out a way to smuggle this double layered indulgence into the next performance of ‘Carmen’…


Frost Bag & Bearing the Thought of Being Alone

A Japanese gift bag(?) from Wanchai. Not sure what ‘frost’ has to do with it, though I’m assuming it’s referring to the doily and lace imprints. It’s not exactly freezer ready/food storage material…


Regardless the more unsettling aspect is the blurb lining the bag itself. I understand the ‘lost in translation’ aspect of this–Hell I have an entire category devoted to them. But this has got to be the creepiest, most desperate copy I think I’ve ever come across. “I can’t bear the thought of being alone?” Who wants a gift with that written on it? Or more to the point, who’d want to hang out with someone who gave them this? Perhaps you wouldn’t be alone all the time if you chose better gift bags. A start at least. Just saying…

Pants Story vs. Cardigan Tale

A newish clothing store in Wanchai(?). Ironically no pants were actually on display–if you’re going to tease me with stories about pants, at least have some in your window…


I entered hoping for some truly epic tales, perhaps about the birth of corduroy (the “Cord of Kings”), or an ‘up-from-your-bootstraps’ morality play about blue jeans. Unfortunately I was greeted by stacks of staid cardigans and bland pullovers. Cardigans generally don’t have a lot of stories to tell (outside of the occasional dark family secret or two; Uncle Jimmy’s not really your uncle, I gambled your inheritance away years ago, etc). But I suppose ‘Cardigan Tale’ doesn’t pack the urbanesque fashion punch of ‘Pants Story’...

Only 49,999 Other Products to Choose From...

Yet another anachronistic Hell O’Kitty product. Why would you spend more (a lot more, as it turns out) for a sauce pan just because it has her ubiquitous likeness? Ah, but that question can be asked of almost every single one of the over 50,000 other licensed items. Fifty thousand.

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


Eau de Pizza Hut

For all you Pizza Hutters(?) who secretly wished you could smell just like your favorite mutant pizza. No, really. Just looky here:

From an official fluff press release:

“Taking a cue from Internet nerd culture, Canada’s Pizza Hut has launched a marketing campaign based on a joke from its Facebook page: the creation of Pizza Hut perfume. The joke turned into a reality when the food chain’s advertising agency thought it would be a great way to commemorate its milestone of reaching 100,000 Facebook fans.

But sadly, Eau de Pizza Hut, a scent “boasting top notes of freshly baked, hand-tossed dough,” (my italics) will only be shipped to a few of said fans. ”For now, we’ve only produced 110 bottles of Eau de Pizza Hut,” said Beverley D’Cruz, marketing and product development director for Pizza Hut Canada. ”But who knows what the future has in store,” she added. Until then, the rest of us will have to smell like Pizza Hut pizza the old-fashioned way.”

Which I suppose means rubbing a spare slice all over your face and chest? Oh to be one of those lucky 110, or their girlfriends. Assuming they have girlfriends. Well if they don’t now, they most certainly will after splashing on some of this instant chick magnet. After all, what sexy lady can ignore ‘top notes of hand-tossed dough’?

Wbreze is SO Champagne

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


Jurassic Towel Origami, the Craft That Time Forgot

From a nearby high-end childrens bookstore. Glad someone finally found a use for all those fossilized towels lying about. Actually this is an interesting idea, and I’ll admit I’ve never seen anything quite like it. But it’s too ‘scary’ for young kids (at least the ones in the store at the time - no doubt the teeth and dead button eyes), and too odd for most older ones, though I suppose your hardcore dinosaur aficionado would go for it just to expand their collection.

But since when does origami use towels? Or allow for buttons and precut fangs? Seems like cheating somehow. Origami using only towels would be quite impressive. Probably easier with fossilized towels of course, but we all know how rare they are. And the corker is the tagline - ‘the craft that time forgot’. Perhaps ‘time’ needs to forget again…


Manly Fashion Socks

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


Mega Mop (mini version) with Turbo Jet Propulsion

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

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

Define Beauty? OK. This Is Not It.

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


Archie Meets Kiss - Zombie Edition?

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


Fun TV Dongle

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


I Will Ascend to Poodle Heaven on Cyan Blue Wings

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

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

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

Blue Hair - We Provide with Good English Services

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

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

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

Blingo! Voting for Men, Women, & Whatever He's Supposed to be...

From a recent bus stop ad for a ‘get out the vote’ campaign here in HK. Actually it’s humbling to see voting being actively promoted and taken seriously. Unfortunately many Americans love to brag and lecture about their democracy, but don’t bother to vote themselves, or even stay minimally informed. There are many reasons for that of course, some better and/or more cynical than others. Regardless I’ve always been impressed by the demonstrations etc. here in HK. They don’t take voting for granted here, and their defiance carries real risks and consequences.

Anyway back to the snark: I’m simply baffled by the inclusion of the gentleman on the right. They’ve got the generic ‘eligible man and woman’ covered, bu I’m not sure what demographic he’s supposed to represent. Bling angels? Flaming breakdancing coaches? Over-the-hill (over the top?) Cantopop singer/comedians? Bingo! And better yet, blingo!

Well If nothing else he’s memorable, and definitely gets one’s attention…


Goldenrukkai Mowhawk of NY

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


Barbeque Shapes - Cheddar Too!

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

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

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


Bo Bo Good Shoes

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


Alien Endorsed Explosions w/ Free Tattoo

From the candy rack of a nearby grocer. The name kind of sells itself - who wouldn’t want popping candy that explodes? Says so right on the bag! But the alien (I believe they are referred to as ‘Grays’ in the official UFO literature) flashing gang signs is priceless and utterly baffling - what do they have to do with popping candy? Perhaps the candy was reverse-engineered from Area 51 wreckage. And you get a free tattoo…


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Authentic Glow-in-the-Dark Lady of Fatima

From a souvenir shop in Lisbon, where you can buy a glow-in-the-dark Lady of Fatima, just like the real Lady! These are authentic reproductions of the vision of the Virgin Mary that spoke to a trio of child prophets in the 1930s. The reports subsequently made the tiny hamlet of Fatima famous, at one point drawing a crowd of 70,000 there to witness the sun ‘dancing’ among other things. These souvenirs refer to the later miracle in which the Lady continued to glow an eery, phosphorescent green long after the sun went down…


Cheesy 7 - When 6 Just Won't Do

Yet another local Pizza Hut abomination. I assume this had something to do with the Hong Kong Sevens, (which to the uninitiated is a seven-a-side rugby tournament that’s become the premier sports/carousing event in HK). I suppose the local marketing gurus thought they’d hit gold with this tie-in. ‘Cheesy 7’ has a nice ring to it-unless you know American slang of course. In the US cheesy can also mean overdone and/or inauthentic. But what about the meticulously assembled ‘7’ composed of the namesake cheese wedges? Now that’s quality. Actually that’s a ton of work for the poor designer tasked with constructing a ‘realistic’ rendering in Photoshop, but I digress.

Still, who wouldn’t want 7 different kinds of cheese on their pizza? Nowadays mere ‘mozzarella and a dusting of parmesan’ just doesn’t cut it for avant-garde pizza aficionados. But adding 5 more, including cream cheese? Wham! Now you’re talking! You’re talking about 1500 calories a slice…



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

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


Crookers w/ Style of Eye & The Heavy

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

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

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

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


The Charity for Especially Difficult Children

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

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

Cubic Pastry

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


Saddam Hussein's Sublime Air Safety Technique

It seems that Saddam Hussein performed at least one civic-minded act in his lifetime. Apparently during a visit to Hanoi he was appalled by the poorly illustrated emergency door section. He chivalrously volunteered to pose for the airline’s next safety brochure.

Say what you will about the despot, but he obviously knew his way around airliner safety equipment. Just look at that form. Sublime technique. And check out the sporty yet practical stain-hiding travel blazer...

Snuffaluffagus and/or Truffala Dress

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


Happy Birthday from Your Evil Skeleton Pals

Another freakish card from Xue Hwa. One of those instances where the Mainland manufacturer must have slapped whatever image they had handy behind the text and said “Run that mother! We’ve got a quota to hit!” Can’t imagine who would want and/or appreciate a gaggle of evil glowing-eyed skeletons wishing them a happy b-day. Still the grim reaper guy is waving at least, and the bats are flying in a loose ‘happy birthday-ish’ formation...


Cactus-suited Hello Kitty Joins Death in a Snowglobe

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

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


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!


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’...


Super Copter Alloy

A remote controlled copter for sale in Mongkok. Rather boring to be honest, not much to look at. But wait, its made out of ‘super copter alloy’! Stronger than titanium, lighter than spider silk! Why, its well nigh indestructible! Better snap this up before the various government and military players descend on the store to confiscate it...


Good + Good = 2 Goods = Double Plus Good?

A tourist trap t-shirt merchant near the Ladies Market, no doubt stocked with the usual ‘Lost in Hong Kong’ and ‘Bruce Lee is my Homeboy’ selections. Fortunately (or unfortunately depending on your sense of taste and/or irony) the classic American ‘My [insert relative] went to Hong Kong and all I got was this lousy t-shirt’ was not visible from the street. And ‘have a nice tee’ is certainly a clever if ill-fitting tagline. Oh well, at least they’re doing their small part to educate shoppers on tried and true mercantile skills like basic arithmetic. Or maybe it’s a clever Orwellian reference, a nod ‘Double Plus Good’ from 1984? Or not.


De Showy Masquerade w/ Bubblegum Crown & Gold Foil Hair

Über star Aaron Kwok is at it again with a new concert/album/monstrosity. I can’t look at his ‘crown’ without being reminded me of a monstrous smear of freshly chewed bubblegum. Why anyone thought that pairing a pearlescent pink blob with gold foil-encrusted hair would look good is beyond me. It’s certainly ‘de showy’ I suppose. What’s scary is that by HK costume standards, this is rather understated...


Elvis Whoppie Twist vs. Red Velvet Whoppie Pie

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

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

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


Elvis Whoppie Twist vs. Red Velvet Whoppie Pie

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

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

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


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?


...Like I Need a Knife Below my Ribcage

The tag for a cheaply made ‘life-size’ skeleton decoration from a toy store in a street market in Wanchai. Not much here - I was just taken aback by the almost nonchalant knife sticking out of just below the skeleton/ghost’s ribcage (which I’m told is a very effective place to stab someone). He looks more annoyed than scary though, like the addition of the knife is really just shit he doesn’t need...


Ice Means Jewellery, Oream Means Cash

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

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


Greatest Falafel On Earth - Best Gyro Ever!

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

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


1 Clip Attack # - No Pain No Game?!

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


Put a Justice Wheel in Your Belly

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


The Old Banana Eating, Bible Thumping Screaming Eagle Motif

Truly bizarre marketing. Security software(?) packaging that features the now ubiquitous ‘anthropomorphic banana eating, bible thumping screaming eagle’ motif. How many times are marketing gurus going to trot this old cliche’ out? Seriously, you can’t use it for just anything. Hackneyed imagery doesn’t sell product gentlemen, quality does...


We Promise! We Will Take Care of Your Stomach!

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


Truffle Pig

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


Gimp Rolls, Scoubidous & Boodogglers

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

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


Snappy Joe the Jeepster

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



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


God Makes You Try Pop Pop Pizza

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


Live a Sportive (& Healthy) Life

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


Hair Homer

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


Desiccate the Spring

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


The Pizza Gods Are NOT Smiling

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


uMama Warms a Legendary Diva

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

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


Real Kebab Adventure!

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


Bring On the 24-Herbed Clockwork Oranges!

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

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


Mr. Blean

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

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


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

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


Yes, Those ARE Bungie Cords

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


Life Begins From Here

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


They Already Have Ears

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


Bobo Fan Club Vs. Bonobo Fan Club

A ‘recommendation’ sticker at a nearby restaurant. I found the name ‘bobo fan club’ odd enough to include here. Later out of curiosity typed in the site address. Apparently Bobo is some local celebrity chef (or maybe just a ‘professional celebrity’, one of many ‘outdated’ stars in HK with enough name recognition that people will still pay them to come to parties and be seen with them). I assume he doesn’t know-or care-that ‘Bobo’ sounds like the name of a clown or circus chimp to American ears...

I recognized him later on a wall in Happy Valley. This is his ‘look’ apparently - silver hair, goatee, and pristine white shirt. At least his name must carry enough culinary cache that he gets some foodie endorsements, like for this wine fridge outfit.

Anyway it occurred to me that it would be much more fun to have a ‘bonobo fan club’, restaurants that have earned recommendations from our nearest genetic cousins, the infamously promiscuous bonobos. A restaurant sporting a bonobofanclub.com sticker would guarantee scandalous entertainment if nothing else, provided free of charge by the swinging clientele, at least until the cops showed up. Wouldn’t do much for the appetite, however...

Dodge-Em Tricky Action

One of the last of the trove that is the Heritage Museum. I thought they couldn’t top ‘Mr. Smash’, but ‘Dodge-Em Tricky Action’ gives him a run for his money. I love the innocent little ‘duck and cover’ kids riding the bumper cars; I especially love that some bored museum employee posed the little girl shaking her fist at the rapscallion little boy who’s about to ram her. Hopefully she’ll employ some artful dodge-em tricky action and send him flying into the patriotic border ring...


Drinking Secret Captain Bond XX7

Two more toys from the priceless HK Heritage Museum collection. The “James Bond 007 Secret Service Game” is rather forgettable (save for the vaguely Sean Connery-esque illustration), but it makes a fine counterpoint to “The Drinking Captain”, who comes complete with bottle o’ rum and drinking lamp(?). It reminds one of those big outdoor heaters at ‘al fresco’ restaurants, though I assume the lamp lights up whenever he takes a swig. I love how he has a hand on the lamp to steady himself too. Aye steady as she goes, Cap’n...

If only there were a way to combine the two into one über toy, say “The Drinking Secret Captain Bond XX7”, complete with signature Baretta pistol, but with a travel case martini (shaken by the sea, don’t ya know) rather than the bottle of XX rotgut. I’d keep the striped sailor shirt, worn under the tux jacket for a nice iconoclastic touch. I’m sure Q would have some ingenius weapon hidden in the lamp, or maybe in the life preserver...


Waste of Fire-Wielding Talent?

A billboard ad for a local duck specialty restaurant. Seems like a waste of the man’s impressive mutant fire-wielding powers, but then again that looks like one perfectly roasted duck...


Ice Palace Fishbowl - with 'Authentic' Goldfish

No, this is not a belated April Fools image - those really are actual goldfish ‘swimming’ in a solid ice fishbowl (along with a few tufts of seaweed to add to the oh so subtle illusion). Apparently the folks at the Ice Palace decided to go for authenticity. The creepiness is further enhanced by the unearthly green glow permeating the ice around it. Have to wonder what the guy who did this was thinking as he poured water into the mold and over the strategically placed carcasses - ‘Man this will look great! And so realistic, just like our neon-embedded ice sculptures!”


Mr Smash, the Clockwork Walking Smash Martian

Another toy from the Heritage Museum. No need to embellish such naming genius - this is easily one of best names for a toy (or any product really) EVER. What overly rambunctious little boy could resist a Mr. Smash? Note the tool of his trade, a subtle but devastating orange plasma hammer, which offsets the rather odd clamshell mouth and unsettling dead black eyes...

Of course the fact that he’s a ‘clockwork walking smash martian’ assures him a place in the HKB Hall of Champions (or at least head of the ‘automatronic ambulatory demolition alien’ contingent, an admittedly small but vital component)...


Colonel 'Hap' Hazard's Helicopter Suit Misadventure

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

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


Placenta Infiltration Therapy

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


Nothing Like Museum Quality Paintings of Blue Frog Mutants to Whet the Appetite

From the ‘Blue Frog’ a US style bar & grill in Beijing we hit the break up our run of exclusively local fare. Seems the proprietors have either: a) contacted an advanced civilization in an alternate universe where blue frogs (and not monkeys) evolved into the dominant species, with uncanny cultural similarities to our own, or: b) they hired a very good local hungry painter to render (and render well - these are quality oil paintings) their namesake in a bizarre branding/name tie-in. Unfortunately for them, the paintings: a) it definitely help me remember them, but not in a remotely good way and: b) it didn’t make me hungry (quite the opposite in fact). These are even more unsettling in real life, ‘scare the children’ life-like, especially the ‘greek’ frog god in the toga, and the Renaissance woman holding a mutant pet that resembled ‘Woodstock’ from Charlie Brown...


Cringe-Inducing Cardoor Kitsche on a Hover Car

A cardoor decoration from Beijing. I initially stopped to get a picture of the car’s name, the ‘Hover’, which is apparently a new SUV from a Chinese car company called Great Wall - no really. I hope they weren’t trying to rhyme with ‘Rover’. If so, someone in their international marketing dept. needs to brush up on their English. Also they might want to know that ‘hover car’ has obvious futuristic connotations; I assume people arent’ buying this vehicle with the expectation that it will in fact well, hover. By the way what ever happened to the flying cars we were all supposed to have by now? Maybe Great Wall has something up their sleeves, hopefully more practical than their namesake landmark...

But I digress. as I stopped to shoot the aforementioned quirky name I saw what I thought was an oddly colored door pad, only to realize that this was a novelty item the owner had no doubt purchased while very, very drunk. Having a set of fingers trapped in a cardoor is the most unsettling car decoration i’ve ever seen, far more than the old ‘cabbage patch baby hanging by its fingers in the car window’ that thankfully fell out of favor years ago. This is cringe, even nightmare-inducing stuff for anyone who’s ever actually done this, ie slammed their fingers in a car door. I literally pulled my hand back in reflexive horror when I saw it. Suffice it to say it doesn’t make the car hover any better either...


LUCID CUBE... Air Freshener or Dream Enhancer?

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


Bloody Luxury Rides a Pale Horse

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


Gripe Water - Rapid Relief of Wind and Gripe

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


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

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

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


Hello Kitty Swiss Formula Strawberry Cyber Clean

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


! Sign

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


No Magic Jackets or Better Safe Than Static

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

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


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

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


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

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


A Bucket of 12 Inch Gummi Nightcrawler Bait - Yummi!

From the quickie mart store in Beijing. As someone who hates Gummi bears and other similar candy, I can’t speak to how long these things have been around, but I can speak to the uniquely unappetizing thought of eating a 12 inch long Gummi nightcrawler worm from a bucket. I didn’t check to see if they were packed in moist dirt like real nightcrawlers, though that would add undeniable authenticity...

Perhaps I’m not alone in my disgust, seeing as they had a veritable tower of the stuff sitting untouched for a week (on sale for 1/2 off to boot). The mind boggles at what the good folks at Gummi Works will think of next: how about a bucket of Gummi Small Intestines? 36 feet of chewilicious gummy joy! Or maybe a bucket of Gummi Meal Worms or Gummi Chum, to expand on their bait-as-candy motif...


This Was For Sale. For Money.

A painting for sale at a mall in Beijing. Thats right, this abomination was being sold for money. Suffice it to say I don’t think they’ll have any takers, save for the infamous ‘Museum of Bad Art’ in Boston. The puzzling thing about this atrocity is that who or whatever painted it can actually paint, at least in the sense that they know how to blend colors etc. I hope they didn’t actually experience the acid trip it seems based on. Some interesting mutant animals must be scurrying around their subconscious: we have a four-eyed snail, a coatrack-like truffula tree, a magenta parasite(?), a razor-toothed robotic toucan, a leaf-crested worm dragon, and my personal favorite in the menagerie, a gecko with a French Tricolore sawtoothed tongue...


Close To The Distance Near Civilization

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

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

Golden Bone Ingot

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


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

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


Comical Kids Friends Towards the Horizon Courageous Rivers '53

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


Sharkproof Bracelet

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

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


Dreamy Pie Vs. O!Karto

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


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

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

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