Thursday, July 31, 2008

Day at the Zoo

Chillin' with my dogs.
And a baby.
More important:


Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Noogin' B.G.


Thursday, July 17, 2008

Untapped Humor Potential

You know how sometimes you can go through life not noticing that something is totally hilarious?

It never occurred to me that the Japanese word for "mouth" is hilarious to Americans. Today, I was teaching my Upward Bound students parts of the body, and when we got to mouth, they just lost it. The word is kuchi. Yep, it's pronounced like that. I just looked at the chalkboard and thought "Oh yeah, that's a lot like cootchie." Or however that word is spelled.

Then I really did something awkward. I said "Well, you shouldn't have any trouble remembering that one then" meaning that the absurdity of the mouth/cootchie connection plus the sheer cognitive weight of the word "cootchie" should cement it in their memories. But they were all like "Uh, what's that supposed to mean?!" At that point, I realized I had no way of recovering, and probably switched into some awkward form of damage control.

They also really got a kick out of the word ashi which isn't actually pronounced like "ashy" but they kept saying it like that and laughing anyway. I don't fully get the "ashy" thing, maybe I should look it up on Urban Dictionary or something.

OK. Now I get it. Ashy. Who knew dry skin could be such a big deal.

Large, Very Public TV Watching


On the corner of Kirkwood and College there is a swank second-story apartment above Talbot's with a very large, modern TV that is often very visible from the street as I walk home. Whoever lives there is probably male, since "dude sports" seem make a large portion of this person's TV viewing. I mean, I suppose it could be one of those fake women who exist only in TV commercials who are both totally hot and love to watch football just like dudes do. But I really don't think so. Sure, there are women who watch sports. But not like that. It's a weird fantasy though, someone who acts just like you, except she has long blonde hair, boobs, and vagina.

Anyway, it's not always just sports on the huge TV at this apartment. Sometimes it's bad reality TV (wait, is there any other kind?), sometimes it's action movies. Thing is though, everytime I walk past, I think that if I lived there, I wouldn't put the TV in a place where it was so visible from the outside. Nobody needs to see that I happen to be watching Rock of Love because nothing else is on. Nobody needs to see me watching whimsical documentaries about various types eccentric people (my favorite genre). Good or bad, I'd just be a tad weirded out by it.

This guy though, he probably thinks it's awesome. He wants people to see his awesome TV and he wants people to think he is awesome. He wants them to wish that they could hang out at his expensive apartment. BUT Y'KNOW WHAT? That's cool, because he is just playing his role in the symboitic relationship between people who think they are cool/hooked up and people who think they are smart/creative. Neither of the two could exist without the other.

He gets his awesome TV, I get something to blog about. Everyone is happy.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

I'm a Bad Plastic Surgeon

More Googlegänger fun. I'm a (sometimes) bad plastic surgeon in Amarillo, TX. [via]:

I had plastic surgery done by this doctor. He left me dented in quite a few places. I recommend using someone else in Amarillo if considering plastic surgery. Michael Dixon did not do as he promised. He said he would do whatever it took to make me happy and he did not. He tried to fix the bad surgery but it was even worse after the second time. He wanted to try again but I refused. He also did a breast aug at the same time and it was not the correcft size I had asked for. He offered me a very small refund if I would sign a paper holding him NOT responsible for the damage but I refused.
Here we have another buster out to ruin the good Mike Dixon name. Dude, stop messing up people's faces and breasts. It's bad for the 'gänger community as a whole.

Monday, July 07, 2008

The Milk's Shaped Wrong! Waaaaaa!


Ain't that America... From the NYT, emphasis by yours truly:

“When we brought in the new milk, we were asking for feedback,” said Heather Mayo, vice president for merchandising at Sam’s Club, a division of Wal-Mart. “And they’re saying, ‘Why’s it in a square jug? Why’s it different? I want the same milk. What happened to my old milk?’

Mary Tilton tried to educate the public a few days ago as she stood at a Sam’s Club in North Canton, about 50 miles south of Cleveland, luring shoppers with chocolate chip cookies and milk as she showed them how to pour from the new jugs.

“Just tilt it slowly and pour slowly,” Ms. Tilton said to passing customers as she talked about the jugs’ environmental benefits and cost savings. Instead of picking up the jug, as most people tend to do, she kept it on a table and gently tipped it toward a cup.

Mike Compston, who owns a dairy in Yerington, Nev., described the pouring technique in a telephone interview as a “rock-and-pour instead of a lift-and-tip.”

Demonstrations are but one of several ways Sam’s Club is advocating the containers. Signs in the aisle laud their cost savings and “better fridge fit.”

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Sometimes a Monkey is Just a Monkey

I don't usually write about politics, but I really think this is interesting. The blogosphere has been up in arms about a Japanese cell phone commercial featuring a monkey that co-opts Barack Obama's campaign of "change." Check it:

Sure, the initial reaction to that should be "Yikes, an ad relating Barack Obama to a monkey?" But it's not actually that simple. First off, the company uses the same monkey as its mascot in other ads. Second, people like Barack Obama in Japan, and so using his "change" campaign is a natural connection. And third, and most importantly, Japan does not have a history of associating black people with monkeys. They don't have a history of associating black people with any kind of animal, simply because they don't really have much of a history with black people at all.

Yes, of course, it is an unfortunate pairing of innuendos, but I mean, c'mon. Not racist.

I guess what is offensive about all of the sensationalist blog/media coverage of this commercial is this: America, being a country that once did very screwed up things in relation to black people and the way that they were depicted, finds it in its heart to try so hard to rectify their past depiction of blacks as monkeys that they seek to remove even accidental depiction of blacks as monkeys in a commercial made in a culture that does not hold any association with blacks and monkeys. Monkeys mean something different in Japan, something that has nothing to do with black people.

All of this offense at the ad comes from the presumptuous standpoint that America's standards of political correctness (standards which are an awkward attempt to somehow magically right the past wrongdoings of the nation) are the basis by which all culture everywhere should be judged. But why judge this commercial? Why take offense when there is no offense intended and nobody who the commercial was intended for would even make the connection?

Congratulations to Japan, for not having a culture in which black people were at one point depicted as monkeys. Want to talk about real racism in Japan? Let's talk about their treatment of Chinese and Koreans. Sorry it's not as sensational or bizarre, easy, or interesting as a commercial that uses a monkey to imitate an Obama campaign. The American media's response to this is just kind of whiney and a waste of political resources. This is not real racism, and it does nothing for the cause of equality to police culture in this witch-hunt sort of way.

I think this entitled, crybaby for the sake of crying attitude is summed up by CNN's coverage of this scuttle:

So, to the English-speakers living in Japan in the CNN video, I can't help but just think about all the other things that are worthy of real activism. Statements like "People's minds should be more open as world citizens" really just imply that the rest of the world should somehow magically be more familiar with the intricacies of the U.S.'s oppressive history. It's culturally egocentric and seems to be narrow-mindedly searching for offense when any sort of background knowledge about the culture of Japan or the company that made this commercial would prove that offensive behavior is absent.

Also, not to be a dick, but saying "It was totally insensitive to the cross-cultural faux-pas that it represented" is pretty much circular and meaningless. A faux-pas is exactly that, an insensitivity or mistake that is not at first perceived by the person who has done it. Why would you be sensitive to it? What this sentence really means: "It is a faux-pas." And that's fine. Faux pas? Definitely. Racist? C'mooooonnn.

And to the dude from Temple: Puh-leez. Santa's reindeer are probably incredibly offensive to someone somewhere, but Christmas will continue to be unoffensive. Because it's part of the "international canon," which what you really mean is the Western discourse. It's basically like saying this: "Note to the world: You are now subject to the US's arbitrary, post-hoc rules of eracism. We won't tell you what is offensive, because it's embarrassing. But when it's wrong, we'll be sure and make a huge deal about it."

The company's mascot is a monkey. Nobody in Japan linked it to Obama. The ad could not conceivably be created out of malicious intent, so being offense toward this ad is completely misdirected.

Unlike the U.S., Japan's economic success is not founded on the forced labor of African slaves. So let them enjoy their monkeys. Seriously. Come. On.

agrees with me, sort of.