Friday, April 27, 2007

Racism in Advertising

Here’s an interesting slideshow on racism in historical advertising. Back in ye olden days, it used to be pretty common for companies slap a crude ethnic caricature on their product packaging to help shift units. Right or wrong*, this resonated with the buying public of past eras and some of their most famous brands would be unspeakable today.

There are a few vestiges left, most notably Aunt Jemima and Uncle Ben. The slideshow contains some pretty jaw-dropping ads.

*P.S. the answer is wrong


The Stranger, as always, brings it. Thanks Stranger!

(click to enlarge)

Thursday, April 26, 2007


Limbo, for those not in the know is a halfway house between Heaven and Hell. It’s where babies who died before getting baptized go. They’re innocent, so they can’t go to Hell; but they also didn’t have a baptism for acceptance into the church, so they can’t really go to Heaven either. But there’s a solution: Limbo. Limbo is also where righteous people who lived before the time of Christ go: Adam, Eve, Moses, Socartes, Fred Flintsone--there all there—hanging out with millions of fetuses and premature babies.

Limbo solved some awkward dilemmas for the medieval church. Jesus Christ is the only way to Heaven, but it looks really bad to say Moses and stillborn babies are roasting in Hell. It was supposed to be a pretty nice place, but not amazing like Heaven was. Probably only had basic cable, but souls confined to Limbo were said to be eternally content but wouldn’t know the over the top bliss of being one with God.

That worked well enough for 800 years or so, but last Friday the Vatican announced that Limbo was abolished. Gone. It’s like getting kicked out of a rent controlled apartment. Purgatory still exists as a Hell-Lite to work off your sins—but nobody wants to move there—souls suffer in torment and there’s no cable service at all.

Slate asks, what happens to all the babies who use to be in Limbo?

Raises some important questions: when celestial real estate gets bulldozed, where do the former tenants go? Are they flapping around homeless in the clouds? I’d imagine as eternal babies (or fetuses) they don’t have too many useful job skills and even less working experience on their resumes. Ex-Limbo dwellers are going to have a hard time getting back on their feet, assuming they had even developed feet.

Planting the Flags of our Fathers

U.S. troops used 'comfort women' after WWII

In post-war Japan, tens of thousands of women were employed to provide cheap sex to U.S. troops until the spring of 1946, when Gen. Douglas MacArthur shut the brothels down.

Funny, I don’t remember Grandpa including this in his war stories.

Kaburagi wrote that occupation GIs paid upfront and were given tickets and condoms. The first RAA brothel, called Komachien -- The Babe Garden -- had 38 women, but due to high demand that was quickly increased to 100. Each woman serviced from 15 to 60 clients a day.

60 clients a day? Assuming a standard 8-hour workday with OSHA approved coffee breaks…that means servicing a serviceman every 8 minutes. Now who’s the real war hero? Most troops only got shot at a few times.

But in all seriousness, this is pretty horrible. Comfort Women were often coerced, some say enslaved into prostitution for the Japanese armed forces. And these documents show that US troops were complicit in maintaining the heinous status quo after the war. Again, Grandpa never mentioned this.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Suck it, Edison

Bad ideas that got patents

I especially like the “Airbag Undershorts” that uses an accelerometer to keep you from bruising your posterior while falling down. The time has come.

My million-dollar business idea: "Half-Baked Pizza"

Ok...What's popular? Frozen pizza! What's even more popular? Baked pizza, delivered piping hot to your house! So why not combine the two, into a pizza that's only half-baked and half-frozen? Now that’s a tasty idea.

So if you want to make some serious money with me and you're with a Venture Capital firm, go ahead and reach me through the comments section and we’ll work out some kind lucrative business plan. A Half-Baked business plan.

Food Poisioning - Now 50% More Poisony

Food poisoning is maybe the only way that men can experience something akin to the miraculous pains of childbirth.

On Monday, I got to experience the miracle, and it was so horrible I’d never want another child anywhere to be born, ever, including myself, just to make it stop.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Are sitcoms dead?

A brief article about sitcoms.

Is the sitcom dead? Has it stopped innovating like a species destined for extinction? I can’t really say. Like many Americans, I’m only watching one-hour dramas. We as a people can’t get enough of ER doctors forensically solving crimes on a mysterious desert island while fighting off the Cylon mafia – in a court of law.

Obviously sitcoms haven’t gone away, but they’re not the innovative shows that get the praise and the viewers. Not any more. There hasn’t been another “All In The Family” or “M.A.S.H.” for a long time.

Maybe because of war and bad news, but maybe society has tired of comedy? Most people will get their occasional chuckle solely from their favorite drama’s dramedy elements, like when CSI investigators find a particularly humorously arranged corpse, but that’s a thin gruel for amusement to live off of.

It might not be that sitcoms are so bad now, but just that dramas are so good. The best ones are episodic, but also cohesive week after week. Deadwood hooks us with swearing cowboys, but keeps us with the classic plot structure of Westerns remixed with Shakespeare.

I think of the drama season as a long, long movie that lets you get up and pee. Like Sopranos Season 1 did what the Godfather Part 1,2 and 3 tried to do and make something long-form but still let you come back and check up on how your favorite characters are doing: who they love; who they hate; and who they strangled with piano wire this week.

But what makes a good sit-com? From the above article: premise; character; writing; timing.

Jokes like Norm [Cheers] hiding from his wife Vera at the bar or Klinger [M.A.S.H.] being a cross-dressing soldier are born out of their premises. "Seinfeld" and "Friends" both are often cited with having no strong premise, with "Seinfeld" classically being described as a show about nothing. But that's not true - it was a show about four assholes.

I really never thought about the late, great Seinfeld like that, but it’s true. It really was about something. And Homer Simpson is an asshole of the naïf variety. He's unusual in that he gets to be the jerk and then react off himself because he’s the naïve one too. Cartman is a much purer asshole and he drives the conflict in almost every single South Park script. Even though he’s not funny, Marmaduke is supposed to be the asshole. Supposedly hi-jinx just flow from that alone, but they don’t.

But more assholes doesn’t necessarily mean more comedy. Case in point, the author is right on about “The War at Home”, it’s not just repulsive, but a boring repulsive. And one reason is that every character is the shallow jerk that spends their 22 sit-com minutes bouncing jerk-waves off each other. The result: many unsubtle penis insults traded back and forth. The show’s writers forgot it’s the deep multi-faceted jerks and the not-a-jerk people around them that fascinate us.

Sitcoms have gone stale. As a whole, they don’t take chances anymore and fail to give the viewing public what it really needs: original, truly groundbreaking penis insults that we’ll be talking about at the office water-cooler. A penis insult that enters the pop culture and stands the test of time; one we’ll hand down to our children and our grandchildren so they can belittle their own small-genitaled grandchildren. It’s a shame, and our culture is poorer for it.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Doing Phone Sex is Hard, Hard Work

My Brief Career As A Phone-sex Worker

One Small Step for Man, One Giant Leap for a Rich Man

Microsoft billionaire and Microsoft Word inventor Charles Simonyi is set to return from space tomorrow. He paid $25 million to the Russian Space Agency to spend 14 days in orbit with cosmonauts, including a 2-day sojourn at the International Space Station. Mr. Simonyi is the world’s fifth space tourist.


Some of the space mission’s highlights:

*Charles Simonyi is performing critical scientific experiments in space—such as measuring the effect stacks of $100 bills have on impoverished Cosmonauts

*Simonyi’s boss Bill Gates also plans to spend $25 million on an unforgettable experience and reportedly very excited about having the sex.

*The launch rocket was designed with Russia’s finest engineering and guaranteed to crash only half as often as Microsoft Windows.

*Important mission findings: Major credit cards work just as well in weightlessness and Russian Space Tourism is more tax-deductible than Thai Sex Tourism.

*Space walk to properly honor Simonyi’s contributions to humanity. He and “Clippy” the talking paperclip to be ceremoniously shoved by foot out of airlock

Monday, April 16, 2007

Hamster-Powered Paper Shredder

Another great animal-human synergy in the spirit of the goldfish tank/deep-fryer, except more sanitary.

You shred your sensitive documents without the trouble of pushing a button. And your pet hamster gets exercise and fresh bedding dumped into his cage. It’s a win-win.

Only downside, imagine the Feds are knocking down your door and you’ve got 90 seconds to shred your shoebox full of incriminating papers. In this dire moment of need are you going to count on some glorified rat to put down his food pellet and give a damn about helping you out?

Friday, April 13, 2007

Puts the Men Back in Menstruation

Crossing modern sanitation with Elizabethan-Era Pirates. Well played, Internet, well played. Captain Redbeard would be proud.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Hitting the Bottle

I hate to throw things away, but my bike water bottle of 3 years has worn a hole in the side. So with great reluctance, this daily companion, this $1.50 heirloom, had to be sadly trashed.

I was telling “G” that I discovered the hole in dramatic fashion after getting a face full of water when I squeezed out a drink. The sad thing is, this happened several times throughout the day because I forget about the hole, got thirsty again and ended up sprayed as if by a malicious clown with a seltzer-spewing daisy.

G says: the part of the story that reaffirms that you’ll be the same man I always knew, is the “several times” part.

I think it was a compliment.

Friday, April 6, 2007

Why Easter? Why Bunnies?

This is an interesting article that taught me a thing or two about the holiday coming up on Sunday.

Easter like most other holiday and feast days, are derived from a combination of both Jewish lore and pagan practices. It is named after Eostre, the goddess of fertility and birth, worshipped by first-century pagans at the vernal equinox, who believed she would bless both their families and their crops.

Easter the original remix, or “mash-up” of a holiday. DJs needed to keep people hopping during the spring planting season so they took the solid beats of ancient Judaism and crossed it with some fresh new Pagan grooves. And then they named it all after some club fox goddess called Eostre.

But surely the oddest custom used to take place in the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia, where there was a tradition of spanking or whipping of woman on Easter Monday. In the morning, males throw water at females and spank them with a special handmade whip. The spanking is symbolic and normally not painful or intended to cause suffering. A legend says females should be spanked in order to keep their health and beauty during the next year.

As bizarre as this is, I’ve seen them do it in Hungary. Men will get up extra early and go door-to-door to every woman they know. They’ll splash them with water and perfume. For this, the men are rewarded with drinks and snacks and more drinks. The women of the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia certainly are kept healthy and beautiful, so maybe there’s something to this odd legend.

And besides, how often does your average guy get to perfume and spank attractive women you barely know?

It’s sort of like our Halloween tradition, except you know without the kids and with a whole lot more spanking and drunkenness.

Microsoft Vista - Hasta La Vista, Baby

Regarding Microsoft Vista. Got it, and it sucks.
To summarize the key points here: Vista sucks. You don’t need Vista unless you need more suck in your life.

Like a dinosaur, it’s big and slow. Like a mosquito, it’s pestering you with unnecessary prompts. Doing mundane things like installing software, it’ll stop 3 times and ask you for permission to continue. Much like a high school make-out session.

And as an extra bonus, it doesn’t like you to copy copyrighted music and whatnot. It’s like installing a stern mother on your hard drive, a mother who’s always shaking her head in disapproval at the things you’re doing.

If Vista were free, it’d be overpriced.

Looking back on Microsoft's Vista ad campaign, we should've known there'd be trouble.

The real official slogan is: The “Wow” Starts Now.

As in wow, I can’t believe how much this software sucks.

The World’s Top Sexual Fetish

World’s Top Sexual Fetish Is…[drum roll]….Feet and/or Shoes!

Who knew?

Well scientists now know, and they’re rather pleased with themselves.

Results from the largest global study of sexual kinks ever undertaken show that feet and shoes show that by far the most common turn-ons. “Fetish” in this case meaning something that enhances sexual interest, but is not required for it.

The researchers conducting the survey didn’t ask how many respondents had a white lab coat and/or scientist fetish. Otherwise they could’ve shown them the test tubes.

Researchers from the University of Bologna found that, among sexual preferences for body parts, feet and toes were the most popular, with 47 per cent of those sampled preferring them. They also found that, when it came to objects associated with the body, shoes, boots and other footwear scored 64 per cent.

So when you walk a mile in someone else’s shoes. Is it really that altruistic…is it? It’s easy to see why women are looking for a good foot, but why are guys so into football? Now it just sounds that much dirtier.

The survey, based on the views of men and women, also revealed some of the more obscure objects of affection. These included 150 people with a penchant for hearing aids.

What’s that you say? I didn’t quite catch that. Speak a little louder into my hearing aid. Oh yeah, like that. Turn that volume up. Filter out the ambient noise. Oh yes. Amplify. Oh god, I love how you amplify that signal!

Some 12 per cent were turned on by underwear, 9 per cent by coats, body fluids and body size, 7 per cent by hair, 5 per cent by muscles, and 4 per cent by genitals and 4 percent by body modifications such as tattooing.

Only 4% have a genital fetish? I was under the impression that everyone was kinda, you know into them. And not just metaphorically. It’s sort of like saying some straight men have a naked lady fetish.

[Via Slog]

Thursday, April 5, 2007


America’s Most Wanted

How to get on the FBI's list of top fugitives

The FBI runs the worlds’ most famous Top Ten List. Unlike Billboard’s Top Ten, which is pretty straightforward as the highest selling albums of the week, the workings of the FBI Fugitive List are murky.

The FBI List doesn’t even rank by body count. Of course Osama Bin Laden is up there, he’s like the Beyonce of the fugitive world, always in demand. But then you have some overrated molesters and drug dealers on the top ten who may not even have killed anyone, much like the American Idol contestants of crime.

Only when an existing Most Wanted gets caught or dies does a spot open up on the list. Aspiring criminals only get one shot at the top and it's a make or break moment. Open slots gets filled by an FBI sub-committee informed by survey results from the Bureau’s 56 field offices. They consider the criminal’s dangerousness but also whether publicity will help bring them to justice. Avril Lavigne will never make the list. She’s talks like she’s dangerous, but isn’t; and publicity just seems to encourage her.

The historically male-dominated Most Wanted List now has a lone female fugitive on it -- which just shows that a woman can do anything a man can do, if she puts her mind to it.

Monday, April 2, 2007

At the gym this afternoon...

There’s this pretty decent-looking older lady, maybe mid-/late-30s, who I swear, kept making orgasm/sex noises while exercising. She’d start a set at one of the machines and be inaudible until the 2nd or 3rd repetition; at which point I’d start hearing little ooooh’s and uhh's, which gradually build in volume. By the 10th rep, it’s pretty awkward and I had trouble concentrating on stupid sit-ups or whatever.

The woman wore these bulky old-school headphones and probably doesn’t know how she sounds. I’d like to be the Good Samaritan and tell her (just like if someone had toilet paper stuck to their shoe, or spinach in their teeth), but how does one broach such a delicate subject without looking like a moist pervert?

The Everyday Detective Agency

Scene: A normal morning at the office, in fact this morning

Scene of the Crime: the Department kitchen

Crime: My personal carton of half-n-half, stolen, in cold-blood*

Estimated Time: Sometime between my 1st cup of coffee this morning and my 2nd cup

Speculated Modus Operandi: The Suspect taps a piping hot cup o’ Joe. Looks in the common fridge and spies the properly labeled half-n-half of one of their co-workers.

He/she nervously looks around for witnesses and decides to “skim a little off the top”. It’s a victimless crime, they reason, no one is getting hurt. But then—oops--they finish the whole carton and cover their tracks by tossing the evidence in the trash. Nobody ever has to know.

But I know--because I rooted around the garbage looking for it. Well Mr./Mrs./Ms. Suspect, it looks like you didn’t count on that – so check and mate.

Psychological Profile: The suspect (or suspects) is, like the victim, an avid coffee drinker. Also like the victim, a creamer snob who thinks they’re too good for the non-dairy creamer-like dust powder that the company provides. Unlike the victim, the suspect however is a raging psychopath who if capable of this may be capable of absolutely anything.

Main Suspect: White people. Consider these 3 related facts:

Who’s always poking around in my Excel files messing up the formulas? White people.

Who works the front-desk and never turns her radio off that soft rock channel? White people.

Who shot Abraham Lincoln? Again, white people

1+1+1 = 3. Case closed.

Through the powers of deduction and a quick glance at the Department roster, the half-n-half Suspect has been positively identified as being of the white persuasion. But, they’re not all like this; some of them are pretty decent people.

In fact, I use to have a good friend once who happened to be white and we’d talk about it like it was no big deal. Everyone knew he wasn’t the one who killed Lincoln, and he was really cool with everyone. Eventually he moved to New Hampshire to be with his own kind.

*Here’s hoping you get lactose intolerance…in hell.