Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Sisters of Mercy

In honor or Halloween, the pop goth sound of Sisters of Mercy.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Crystal Light Singles

A product innovation almost as smart as the Starbucks Caffeine Inhaler,

Given the way we now consume bottled water I'm dumbfounded that this approach has come along sooner. I was in a CVS when I saw these Crystal Light packets for bottled water. The smartest part of it is the placement on the door of the bottled water refrigerator door.

Ernest and Bertram

Come out come out whoever you are.

Q: Where does depression hurt?

A: Right in the f***ing feelings.

This ad for Cymbalta is unbearable.

Sherman Foundation T-Shirt #2


It's almost Halloween and the position of Master of the Macabre is still open and Bella Lagosi is still dead.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Junkie Tai Chi

The Sherman Foundation is considering opening a Junkie Tai Chi dojo in Manhattan. Mostly because I want to see men and women in leotards try to imitate the shamanistic moves of some horsed-out "master".

Pissing and shitting yourself, as well as throwing up will require advanced training.

Those interested should email me their contact info.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

The beat on the street

Women protesting against non-grooming and shiling for MENSGROOM. I was hoping for a spanking and a shave. I got a free sample. Another brand did something about women protesting and men's grooming a few months ago. I'm not sufficiently interested to bother to dig through my old posts.

One block away some hipster cliche was playing guitar from his VW. The new Rabbits come with a 1/4 inch line-in and a guitar.

Bling and Sling

De Beers propaganda

... and the lefty version of the truth.

Problem? What problem?

Midnight Ninja Knock

Reflecto Porn

Reflecto Porn. I've come across the term several times but still find few examples. And no Wikipedia entry on it yet.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Toad Sucking

A bizarre and interesting NPR story on a toad sucking, drug addicted dog.

You know what they say, "suck em if you got em".

Apparently a pelican got wind of this and tried swallowing a pigeon.

Typography: The Benson & Hedges revival

Have you noticed the Benson & Hedges typography revival? Strangely hi-tar and refreshing at the same time.


Happened upon this Flickr site today. Good stuff.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Trendspotting: Buckle Position

I posted about this once before (Trendspotting: Buckle Position) but I hadn't gotten photographic documentation at the time.

This is the seventh young girl I've seen with her belt buckled at either the front of the back.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Post-it. For the little things you’ll forget

Monday, October 16, 2006

The perfect counterpoint

To an insipid ad

Tate Tracks

From the TATE TRACKS page on the Tate Museum's website.

Tate Tracks is an experiment between art and music.

We invited musicians to walk around Tate Modern and find a piece of art to inspire them to write a track. It's about art inspiring art. Each month, a new track will be showcased on a pair of headphones in front of the art that inspired it.

For one month, Tate Modern will be the only place in the world you can listen to it. A month later the new track will also be available here online.

The first track to appear on the site is by the Chemical Brothers. It's called The Rock Drill and accompanies a sculpture by Jacob Epstein.


Bono has launch yet another cause related venture called (PRODUCT) Red which partners with Apple, American Express and others to launch products that give a portion of their sales to help eliminate AIDS in Africa. (Noticeably absent is anything from the music industry including U2 albums.)

This is a good editorial piece on charitable accesorizing called: Ostentation of Charity

Friday, October 13, 2006

Paradox in Advertising

A classic example of paradox in advertising was the "Reach out and touch someone" campaign for AT&T. Technology has produced conditions in modern life such that we are often away from the people that are most important to us. We are no longer geographically tethered. AT&T's campaign offered the promise of human connection via a technology that always implies physical distance.

Visa's new campaign offers the promise of a richer life when in actuality their product often produces quite the opposite result. Look at the levels of personal debt these days.

Visa takes predatory lending to the next level.
Visa takes the nest egg.
Visa takes what you should have saved for tomorrow.

Visa Takes Life.

Fashion and Display Behavior

Fertile women dress to impress, U.S. study finds

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Women dress to impress when they are at their most fertile, U.S. researchers said on Tuesday in a study they say shows that signs of human ovulation may not be as mysterious as some scientists believe.
A study of young college women showed they frequently wore more fashionable or flashier clothing and jewelery when they were ovulating, as assessed by a panel of men and women looking at their photographs.

"They tend to put on skirts instead of pants, show more skin and generally dress more fashionably," said Martie Haselton, a communication studies and psychology expert at the University of California Los Angeles who led the study.
No duh. It's called display behavor. I can't believe they needed a study to come to this conclusion. Obviously conducted by undersexed PhDs that don't date much.

Display behavior in many mammals physically manifests in the form of Lordosis, commonly called "presenting". From Wikipedia:

Lordosis behavior, or Mammalian lordosis, is a sexual response during estrus in certain female mammals, such as mice and cats, that consists of a ventral arching of the spine. During lordosis, the spine curves so that the apex points in the ventral direction. That is, the convexity of the curve is on the side of the "belly" and the concavity of the curve is on the side of the back.

Lordosis aids in copulation, as it elevates the female genitals, so the male can more easily mate with the female. In female mice during estrus, the hormone, estradiol (a hormone of the class of hormones known as estrogens), affects neurons in the ventromedial hypothalamus, the periaqueductal gray and other areas of the brain. Sexual stimuli trigger activity in a number of brain areas, including the ventromedial hypothalamus, which sends impulses down axons synapsing with neurons in the periaqueductal gray. These convey an impulse to neurons in the medullary reticular formation which project down the reticulospinal tract and synapse with afferent neurons in the spinal cord (L1-L6) which contract muscles along the spine to exhibit the lordosis posture. Since these afferent neurons are also part of a reflex arc, lordosis can also be triggered reflexively.

See my post on the Bower Bird: The Bowerbird for Bic Disposable Razors

Starbucks Caffeine Inhaler

The Starbucks Caffeine inhaler, currently being test marketed, delivers a grande sized burst of caffeine with each blast while making your breath minty fresh.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Part 7: Who Needs Television?

This is Part 7 in a multi-post series on the topics of Participatory Media and Consumer Generated Content.

• • •

This post has been lingering in my "drafts" folder for a long time. There's a lot of hyperbole and wild speculation when it comes to the subjects of the network broadcast model and the 30-second spot. I'm not sure that it is recognized as such, but it is an emotionally charged topic for us on a subconscious cultural level.

TV is a HUGE symbol and force, culturally and economically. It is a conduit for our shared experiences and creates social cohesion. It is a lynchpin for the cultural and the economic. It is where the public, the media industry and our largest economic entities come together. It has been our nucleus and teat for a long time and there is some emotional and psychological "letting go" that needs to take place if we are going to evolve new models. It's hasn't and wont be an easy thing to ween off of.

People are changing more than the channel.
I've heard several people in the blogosphere quote polls recently that suggest people would give up TV before they gave up their wireless internet connection. That doesn't really come as a surprise. I know a guy that doesn't own a TV anymore and he doesn't really miss it. He gets his news online and finds most of the content he's interested in by using iTunes, YouTube and peer-to-peer software. He also subscribes to quite a few audio and video podcasts. I'm sure he's missing stuff, but he say's he doesn't really feel that way, or care.

He is not, by a long-shot, the only one. From what I've read, his patterns of media consumption are very similar to those of teenagers.

I actually don't watch much TV myself these days. I've been watching "Lost" and "Ugly Betty" on the ABC site and I get "The Office" from iTunes. I watch "Weeds" and "The Wire" using cable TVs inDemand feature. I couldn't tell you when those shows air, I quite trying to catch programs on their original air date some time ago.

The cold hard truth: The "scheduled pick-up" distribution model is out of step with changing consumer behavior.

What would you miss is you abandoned all traditional media?
Journalist Amy Webb conducted an experiement to answer that very question. She went 30 days without using traditional media in her life. No newspapers,radio, tv or magazines. Her findings: National news was much easier find than quality local news so she found herself turning to a variety of sources online. Ultimately, she says was more informed. However, she did find herself "getting agitated" by spending so much time in front of a computer screen and online.

Her story on NPR: What's Lost When You Skip Traditional Media?

Amy Webb's Op Ed in the Philadelphia Inquirer

The cold hard truth: The is an obvious crisis in journalism. On television is has devolved into sensationalism, fear-mongering and paid for disinformation. Broadcast television sold out jornalism years ago. Add news and journalism to the things TV dosen't do well anymore.

The TV is Broken!
The problem with televison is that it is no longer very good at what it is supposed to be so good at: delivering enticing content to a mass audience and delivering them to advertisers with big ticket or high volume products to sell.

Overall viewership is down. The male, 18-35 demographic doesn't show up and over the years TV has skewed younger and younger. The reward from advertisiers for deliving a young audience is so great that TV has turned its back on older people. Ironically foolish considering that teens are not strong, loyal TV viewers. What good is broadcast is it doesn't cast broadly?

There is an good piece on NPR on this subject. Silver-Haired Characters Slowly Re-Emerge on TV.

Most network TV content is painfully out-of-touch compared to the programming that HBO and Showtime have been putting out. The neutered tone enforced by FCC law ensures that network content is out of step with the popular culture.

Here is a great example to illustrate my point. The following scenes are from the Showtime series Weeds. The topic of the scenes is masturbation. It isn't graphic and except for 1 f-bomb the language isn't explicit. Even if the 1 explitive were removed this wouldn't fly on a network.

The great online video for the Norelco Bodygroomer, Shave Everything would never get aired as a TV spot. Its not graphic either.

I muust concede that there has been a resurgence in quality when it comes to shows in recent years. Lost, The Office and 24 make it impossible for me to unilateraly trash the abilityof networks to produce watchable content (but it doesn't absolve them for making reality TV either). However, this streak of improved programming, even if sustained and expand, isn't enough to save the networks. Those shows are a last ditch effort and the last gasp for an outdated model.

From a viewer perspective, TV is just video content. There was a time when the networks provided one of the few options for people to see this kind of content. This just isn't the case anymore.

Over the summer I was busy and involved with other things and as a result, quit listening and watching many of the podcasts and videocasts that I had been regularly viewing. I spent some time last week re-exploring what's new in that world and was struck by the volume as well as the quality of new stuff. Videocasting has come a long way in the last 9 months.

One site I spent a lot of time on was Revisions3. It is essentially at podcast network, a group of shows presented by the Revision3 brand.

Here is a good interview with the founders of Revision3.

One of the shows is called Ctrl-Alt-Chicken. Check out episode 2 and learn how to make cheese pie. Outlandish!

Who Needs Television Advertising?
When I was a child I believed that TV was invented to sell cars. Look at the top TV spot advertisers and you see that there is some truth in that niave insight.

Rank Advertiser 2005
8 FORD MOTOR CO 241,773
9 YUM BRANDS INC 213,225
15 PROCTER & GAMBLE CO 153,345
18 HYUNDAI CORP 136,933
19 TIME WARNER INC 126,079
20 AT&T INC 125,404
22 WALT DISNEY CO 113,523
23 COMCAST CORP 110,211

*Includes both local and national spot activity
Source: TNS Media Intelligence
TV Basics: Top 25 Spot TV Advertisers

9 out of the top 10 are from the automotive category. Most of the spots produced are dreadful things that push financing more than they do cars. After that, the big categories are food products, home products and telecommunications.

Think about all of the products that are marketed and sold with no television advertising, fashion, music, sporting equipment... it's not as if they aren't sexy, they just arent big ticket purchases or big volume movers.

There does seem to be a little magic, a certain chemistry when it comes to the advertising of food, especially things like fast food, beer, soda and snacks on TV. It just makes sense for the medium, for the format of television spots and the comfy familyroom couch from which they're viewed. Outside of that I would argue that there wouldn't be much lost if the current form of the TV spot went away.

The advertising and broadcast industries are substantially supported by the huge dollars spent by the automotive industry. At one time GM, Ford and Chrysler were the bellweathers of the American economy. It used to be said that "When GM sneezed, the whole nation gets a cold". Look at that those companies and that industry now. I wouldn't bank my personal fortune on them them.

Would it really be that big of a deal if the network broadcast model disappeared?
Economically, yes. Especially for media and advertising companies. (Shooting those helicopter tracking shots of a BMW racing down the California coast on Route 1 are expensive.) The reason that change isn't happening at a faster rate is that there is a lot of money flowing through these big industries. Even if they had the flexibility and moxie to try new things, changing the flow of all that cash is hard (Especially when digital media is so cheap). "Lack of measurement" seems to be the popular excuse.

A much more uncomfortable transition will be abandoning the sense of cultural connection that TV provides. Laurie Anderson says that "technology is the campfire around which we tell our stories". Are we really prepared to splinter off into groups of three, each huddled around a candle. The 50 YouTube clips and internet porn you watched the night before don't make for great water-cooler get-togethers.

I think an interesting question to raise is: How do we create cultural cohesion within a "networked niche model"? Social networking sites are an attempt to answer that question but they fall short of being a truly compelling answer. I think we will see people abandoning those sites as the superficial connection that those models provide begins to be felt. A great answer to the question raised above would be worth a billion dollars. Social networking sites aren't it.

• • •

On Participatory Media and User Generated Content. A multi-post series.

Part 1. Talking to Ourselves
It's what people do!

Part 2. What Are We Talking About?
Defining the terms and context.

Part 3. Its Gotten Personal
The points of connection are now directly to, and between, individuals.

Part 4. The Relative Value of Content (is Dropping)

Part 5. Distortions in Truth & Reality and a Crisis of Credibility

Part 6. Amateur / Professional

Life After Advertising

This helpful little web app helps offers up career suggestions for those considering a life outside of advertising. Created by Wunderman.

I got "knife thrower's assistant'. (WTF, I ain't no character actor, I'm a leading man.)
Notice that I did not use my real name. Dash Cunning is my new favorite fake name. Rarely do I admit to working in advertising, I usually say something like:
"race car drive" or
"pilot for delta"

I used to tell people that I "owned a fleet of garbage trucks in Georgia".
This produced remarkable results. It allows you to convince people you are very wealthy (who would lie and say they are a garbage man?) but lowers the levels of suspicion and intimidation that lies about great wealth can create.

For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

Hollaback NYC.
"If you can't slap em, snap em." This site documents the public transgressions of men and posts them with photos.

I do nothing all day.
This full-time oogler photographs and posts the objects of his gaze.

Don't date him girl.
A rouges gallery of boyfriends past and their offenses.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Wanna freebase a fifth of Jameson's?

AWOL is alcohol without liquid. Practitioners of AWOL use a device to vaporize liquor and inhale the alcohol directly into the lungs.

One of the ways our body gets rid of the alcohol we drink is through the lungs, in our breath.

AWOL simply turns that procedure around and lets the alcohol enter the body through the lungs thus eliminating the dreaded hangover.

All the mean drunk... none of the calories.
The Alcohol vaporizer comes in a standard and single use model.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Bon Jovi Pool Cleaner

I saw this years ago at ResFest. Sooo Good.

Virtuosity vs Expression: Thriller

This is cool.

But this is cooler.

Google to buy YouTube

Google is going to buy YouTube for %1.65 Billion.

Google snatchs up YouTube for $1.65B

We'll just have to wait and see if they scrub out all the cool stuff that violates copyrights. If that does happen it would be cool to see people unilaterally abandon and collapse it. Organized strategic movements of consumers is something I would very much love to see develop. I'm not sure if it is a matter of organization, communication or level of care that prevents this from materializing in a controlled and directed manner. Date to dream.

I personally, am going to be a bit miffed if all the YouTube embeds in The Foundation go dead.

Here are some YouTube Alternatives:
Daily Motion

Live Digital

Zippy Videos


The Beat on the Street: Stickers in Soho

Monday, October 09, 2006

The Embalmerati

A friend of mine has a term he uses to describe the overly preserved creatures you see on the New York Social Diary: The Embalmerati.

You can see plenty of them on display here.

I've always thought that modern medicine and our enhanced standard of living made it possible for humans to longer than they are supposed to live. At a certain point you are artificially alive, the living dead or undead.

While we are on the topic of embalmed displays, the "incorrupt" heart of St. John Vianney will is on display at the Curé of Ars Church in Merrick, L.I.

Care to guess what this is?

It's Galileo's finger.

OK. One last specimen. Oliver Cromwell's head

I'm going to have to give this some thought and do some pre-planning if I'm going to join the list of people who have left behind an embalmed part. Maybe, I should do it while I'm alive, see to it that it's done properly.

Halloween is coming, so let's rock. I leave you with Bauhaus, Bela Lugosi's Dead.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Little Boxes

In 1877, Thomas Edison sang "Mary Had a Little Lamb" into his cylinder phonograph. In 1903, 12-inch records started to be released. For all intents and purposes it has only been in the last hundred years that people have enjoyed recorded music. Prior to that, music was usually a "live" experience.

The first musical box factory was opened in Switzerland in 1815 .

Orchestras are, in a way, giant music boxes made out of people and instruments.

Artists exploring the concept of generative music use computers as music boxes. They set a range of parameters and a level of randomness to "compose" a piece of music. The results are not fixed, it is always a new listening experience.

Brian Eno, discussing generative music, once wrote
I really think it is possible that our grandchildren will look at us in wonder and say: "you mean you used to listen to exactly the same thing over and over again?"

This season, the Showtime series Weeds is using a different artist's recording of the shows theme song, "Little Boxes", for each opening. Albeit, a small one, it's a step away from the idea of listening to the same things over and over and over.

You can listen to the various covers of "Little Boxes" on the Showtime web site.

Here is the opening from the first season.

String Doll Gang

I just received Punkin', one of the String Doll Gang members, as a gift. Each one is handmade in Thailand from ONE piece of string.

See the whole collection at the Kamibashi web site.

Sweet, Sweet Repulsion.

There aren't enough words for describing the specific types of pleasure derived from different types of experiential reactions.

The Germans have a word for the "malicious satisfaction obtained from the misfortunes of others". That word is schadenfreude (SHOD-n-froy-duh).

There should be a word to describe the thrill of being scared or terrorized as experienced on a roller coaster or in a horror movie.

There should be a word to describe the secret pleasure derived from watching a social rule or taboo transgressed.

There should also be a word for the pleasure derived from being disgusted or grossed out. Children frequently delight in this. "Fear Factor" has branded a line of "gross-out" candy for children.

I saw the 2-pack of cockroaches at a candy store in Manhattan, $5.40. (Outrage!)

"Regular" Repulsion

I identified TWO people yesterday that actually like candy corn?!?!?! (They must be "others", I'm convinced.)

One even pointed me the site of the National Confectioners Association, the evil organization behind candy corn.

I stumbled upon their insidious secret plan to distribute that vile creation beyond the Halloween season. It was in the "fun facts" sidebar.

Candy Corn is not just for Halloween anymore. Candy makers have made Reindeer Corn for Christmas, Cupid Corn for Valentines Day and Bunny Corn for Easter.

It seems they will stop at nothing. They've even joing forces with The Empire and will be using candy corn stormtroopers to enforce mandatory consumption.

Help us Lewis Black, you're our only hope.

UPDATE: One of the others just sent me this, it's New York Metro's "Consumer Report" on candy corn. (What's the point? Really?)

Friday, October 06, 2006

Crazy Pills

We are living in a time in which technology has made the way that people and brands connect confusing but exciting, fascinating and full of possibility as as well. This is is how Reuters, HSBC and the agency that created that big-ass nasty bannner are responding to the challenge of the times.

"I feel like I'm taking Crazypills!" –Mugatu

Searching for (a) life.
(Sex on the internet?)

The search for sex online... more ambitious than Seti.

I had a clever, functional description of social networking sites back in the days of Friendster. "F*** your friends, friends. (Because you can't f*** your friends.)

There is an odd paradox at work here. Some people seem to be under the impression that if you build a complex enough interface/obstruction between you and the things you want to "get close to", it will increase the odds of your "getting close".

Simon Owens (under the guise of "research") tried to get laid in 3 cities, posting Craiglist ads as a straight man, straight woman, bi-curious male and a bisexual female. Here are the NYC results:

New York:

Straight female looking to have sex with a male: 165 responses

Straight male looking to have sex with a female: 0 responses

Bi-curious male looking to have sex with a male: 9 responses

Bisexual female looking to have sex with a female: 2 responses

Read the full results on his blog.

A whole science has been developing for 20 years around the concept of TELEDILDONICS. I call it the, "Reach out and f*** someone" model.

From Wikipedia
Dildonics are electronic sex toys that can be controlled by a computer. Promoters of these devices have claimed since the 1980s they are the "next big thing" in cybersex technology. Teledildonics (also known as Cyberdildonics) is the integration of telepresence with sex and was coined in the 1980s by Ted Nelson. The term is considered somewhat humorous and speculative, but not so much so that it is not used in serious contexts: indeed, it is the only commonly-used word to express the precise concept. In its original conception, this technology was to have been used for "remote" sex (or, at least, remote mutual masturbation), where the physical sensations of touch could be transmitted over a data link between the participants.

Here is a link to a Wired magazine article on Teledildonics.

If you ask me Teledeildonic might as well be called "Rube Goldberg Sex Devices"

Rube Goldberg
was the man who created illustrations of overly elaborate contraptions for "pencil sharpening". (No, that isn't a euphimism.)