Sunday, December 31, 2006

Cereal Brand/Box Design

Cookie Crisp has resurrected the kid-friendly, "cool" wolf character for the brand. Misguided fools.



It didn't work for Fruit Brute (of the Count Chocula franchise) back in the day...



And it didn't work with Poochie (The Simpsons, Itchy & Scratchy). OK. This is a stretch. It's not cereal and it's a dog, but it's the same weak-ass Jungian Archetype (pandering ass).



Good Cereal Brands start with a re-dimensionalizing of the family dynamic, namely, the struggle for control. Think kids trying to get their hands on what they "shouldn't" have (Barney trying to steal Fred's Pebbles, the thieving Trix rabbit, the kid's trying to steal Lucky's Charms... )

I came up with a idea for a cereal brand, in the classic style, based on a news story I heard this summer about an escaped circus kangaroo on the loose in Ireland.

Here's the set-up for the brand story.
The kangaroo, on the loose in Ireland, breaks into a house, enters the kitchen, pours a bowl of cereal into it's pouch, pours in some milk, grabs a spoon and hightails it out of there. He does this all over town. Over time, he has the whole town chasing him (think Benny Hill), and I mean everybody – housewives, children, the old Irish priest, the town drunk, the pub proprietor, a leprechaun – they're chasing Roo through the rolling, green hills of Ireland.

On the box cover we see Roo shovelling spoonfuls of cereal, rapid-fire style, into his mouth and peering over his shoulder to see the townspeople coming over the hills.

Here is a rough sketch I did in a bar (crayon on paper table covering).



Each different flavor variety would be associated with a different townsperson. That character would be leading the charge and featured in the mid-ground of the box illustration. For Example, "Gold Debloons" (a corn pops rip-off) would the Leprechaun's flavor. The name of the cereal is Heesgotme's, so, the Leprechaun/Corn Pops flavor would be "Heesgotme's Gold Dabloons". (The Pub Proprietor flavor might be something like "Heesgotme's Barley Bites".)

The only problem is that celebrity culture killed cereal advertising. It's so much easier to have Spongebob or Dora phone it in. See my posts: Celebrity culture destroyed cereal advertising. and The Archimedes' Lever to move any product.

Rotten.com Deadpool

Rotten.com has a deadpoool competition and things really heated up toward the end of this year. Click here, sign up and make your picks for for 2007.

The most interesting part of this may be the popular picks section. Billy Graham was in the #1 position this year with 9,241 picks.

Saddam Hussein Hanging

Photography



Taken with Treo 650

Photography



Taken with Treo 650

Happy New Year from The Sherman Foundation

Thank you to all who visited The Foundation in the past Year.

Best Wishes in 2007

Your humble narrator,

Thomas Michael Christopher Sherman



I will leave you with the sage advice of John Dillinger:

You can get more with a simple prayer and a Thompson sub-machinegun than you can with a simple prayer alone.


Paul Pfeiffer

Paul Pfeiffer is one of my favorite contemporary artists. You may not have heard of him because the insular world of art doesn't seem to understand digital media or isn't very interested in reaching larger audiences. There isn't much info online about him and it's nearly impossible to see his work outside museums and galleries despite the fact that the medium he works in is video. (It's no mistake that the big New York Museums are uptown on Madison and Fifth, they play the same silly games of exclusivity as upscale fashion retailers. (Fashion retailers, however, have the good sense to keep prices high and the masses away. Museums on weekends are about as much fun as Macy's. The Chelsea gallery scene operates more like the smarmy PR industry. But I digress.)

Paul's work explores the medium of video. I see his work following in the tradition of people like Mekas and Brakage. Experimental work that explores the medium itself.

In many of his pieces he erases key elements from the original source material. For example, in the piece "Caryatid" the hockey players have been digitally erased from a Stanley Cup victory skate. What we are left with is the cup hovering and moving about the rink. Disarming, strange and beautiful.

The are some small, short clips as well as some biographical material on the PBS site. This is one of the few good online resources on Paul, definitely worth a look.

I find it disappointing that more people doing interesting, experimental work along these lines aren't getting the notice, attention and exposure that (I think) they deserve.

Apocalyptic Visions...

Or photograph from the New York Times.

Maybe it's the infinite depth of field,
or surrealist sense of space.
Maybe it's the charred dreamscape.
Maybe it's allegorical bucket.
Maybe it's the use of red in the extreme forground.
Maybe it's the painterly, flowing, Renaissance robe.
Maybe it's the solitary human figure toiling in the shadow of the mushroom cloud (in this case an oil pipleline explosion).
Maybe it's the roiling ground, reminiscent of Turner's "Shipwreck".




Saturday, December 30, 2006

Cereal Brand/Box Design: Good Friends

Good Friends (who like to touch their heads to one another). Comes in interracial and lesbian interracial.

Nixon/Elvis, Nixon/Moon



On December 21, 1970, Elvis Presley paid a visit to President Richard M. Nixon at the White House in Washington, D.C. The meeting was initiated by Presley, who wrote Nixon a six-page letter requesting a visit with the President and suggesting that he be made a "Federal Agent-at-Large" in the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs. The events leading up to and after the meeting are detailed in the documentation and photographs included here, which include Presley's handwritten letter, memoranda from Nixon staff and aides, and the thank-you note from Nixon for the gifts (including a Colt 45 pistol and family photos) that Presley brought with him to the Oval Office.


From The Nixon Prestley Meeting. (This site has comprehensive materials from this historic event including the note from Elvis to Nixon scribbled on an American Airlines notepad.)



I just came across this shot of Nixon and Reverend Moon (self-proclaimed messiah and founder of the Unification Church). Apparently Rev. Moon controls about 80% of the sushi-grade fish market.

Japanese Restaurant Conspiracy



The Sushi Polics are on their way.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Dangerous Ideas: The Top Ten Toy List

I've always been a big fan of games that end in catastrophe and total destruction. Games, like "Don't Break the Ice" and "Don't Spill the Beans" in which the entire game or structure of engagement is destroyed. Games are in a sense, imaginary worlds, complete with rules and goals for engagement. We enter these worlds to play out the rule sets. Games provide people with a way to interact with one another that is more engaging than sitting around and talking about the weather. The idea that the created world is consumed and destroyed through the course of play is particularly appealing to me.

My second favorite type of games are those in the "last man standing" category. (Demolition derbys and boxing.)

My least favorite are "first man out". Games like Rummy where the goal is to be the first to run out of the game.

This is a good list from the good folks at Radar Magazine: The 10 most dangerous toys of all time #2 has the potential for mutual ensured destruction. Neato!





I knew if was a good list when I saw #1. JARTS! Potential Cain & Able family trauma with each heaven bound projectile.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Ridiculous

Jonas Mekas

Jonas Mekas, ""the godfather of American avant-garde cinema" and founder of the Anthology Film Archives is going to produce a short film each day (365 Films). It will be, in effect, a daily video diary for the year 2007.

There are some great short films on his site, including this one called Elvis & Motzart.










Experiments in the Revival of Organisms



Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Buckminster fuller

John Cage

Marcel Duchamp









Wednesday, December 20, 2006

When I grow up...

I wanna be like Gustave, Burundi's not so gentle giant crocodile.

Remember the great scene in The Krays, when they are still schoolboys and are asked by the teacher what they're favorite word is. They rise and simultaneously reply... "crocodile".



The working title for my memoirs is: Tears of a Crocdile Clown.

TRANSFORMERS

I have high hopes for this, but as it is not going to be released until july this sort of tease is just mean.
Go ahead torture yourself: The Transformers Trailer.





Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Confluence

Wow, a news story titled Injured man wins damages for sex overdrive. roadblocked by Viagra banners, but what really pushed it over the top is the puffy faced shot of Stallone throwing the "adda boy" jab at the camera.



Poor guy, he's starting to look like an old catchers mit with eyes. What causes that??? I want to be sure I take preventative steps to avoid that.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Yahoo's Top Searches of 2006.

No surprises here.

Oh my...

So wrong

Muscle Cars Now Worth Millions

F*** Jazz. Muscle cars may be our most uniquely American and important cultural artifacts (Art).

New York Times Article: Muscle Cars Now Worth Millions

I've been predicting this for years. The MOMA needs to start drawing up new plans for an expanded wing that features these cars.



They are the most perfect embodiment of the spirit of the Futurist Manifesto. Here is an excerpt:

“Let’s go!” I said. “Friends, away! Let’s go! Mythology and the Mystic Ideal are defeated at last. We’re about to see the Centaur’s birth and, soon after, the first flight of Angels!... We must shake at the gates of life, test the bolts and hinges. Let’s go! Look there, on the earth, the very first dawn! There’s nothing to match the splendor of the sun’s red sword, slashing for the first time through our millennial gloom!”

We went up to the three snorting beasts, to lay amorous hands on their torrid breasts. I stretched out on my car like a corpse on its bier, but revived at once under the steering wheel, a guillotine blade that threatened my stomach.

The raging broom of madness swept us out of ourselves and drove us through streets as rough and deep as the beds of torrents. Here and there, sick lamplight through window glass taught us to distrust the deceitful mathematics of our perishing eyes.

I cried, “The scent, the scent alone is enough for our beasts.”

And like young lions we ran after Death, its dark pelt blotched with pale crosses as it escaped down the vast violet living and throbbing sky.

But we had no ideal Mistress raising her divine form to the clouds, nor any cruel Queen to whom to offer our bodies, twisted like Byzantine rings! There was nothing to make us wish for death, unless the wish to be free at last from the weight of our courage!

And on we raced, hurling watchdogs against doorsteps, curling them under our burning tires like collars under a flatiron. Death, domesticated, met me at every turn, gracefully holding out a paw, or once in a while hunkering down, making velvety caressing eyes at me from every puddle.

“Let’s break out of the horrible shell of wisdom and throw ourselves like pride-ripened fruit into the wide, contorted mouth of the wind! Let’s give ourselves utterly to the Unknown, not in desperation but only to replenish the deep wells of the Absurd!”


Show me a Brancusi this beautiful. I didn't think so.

Indian athlete fails gender test

Given the recent news story on Indian male genetalia (Condoms 'too big' for Indian men.) this may have been more difficult to than you think.

BBC News: Indian athlete fails gender test

We won!



Sorta.

Person of the Year: You
Yes, you. You control the Information Age. Welcome to your world.

What about my big dog?

With it becoming more and more acceptable (well, maybe common practice is a better term) for women to flash and expose themselves when are we gonna get some equal airtime for the exposure of man meat?

Just send out a memo what it;s OK for us guys to start pullling it out in public.



SEE ALSO: Lindsay's and Britney's Vaginas.

Macaca

Macaca

The word "macaca," used by outgoing Republican Sen. George Allen of Virginia to describe a Democratic activist of Indian descent who was trailing his campaign, was named the most politically incorrect word of the year on Friday by Global Language Monitor, a nonprofit group that studies word usage.

"The word might have changed the political balance of the U.S. Senate, since Allen's utterance (an offensive slang term for Indians from the Sub-continent) surely impacted his election bid," said the group's head, Paul JJ Payack.

Allen narrowly lost to Democrat James Webb in November, helping make it possible for the Democrats to capture control of the Senate.

In second place on this year's list was "Global Warming Denier," for someone who believes that climate change has moved from scientific theory to dogma.

"There are now proposals that 'global warming deniers' be treated the same as 'Holocaust deniers: professional ostracism, belittlement, ridicule and, even, jail," Payack said.

In third was "Herstory" substituting for "History." Payack said there are nearly 900,000 Google citations for "Herstory," all based on a mistaken assumption that "history" is a sexist word.

Read the full story on Reuters.

The Beat on the Street





Foreign Policy's Top Ten Overlooked Stories in 2006

Interesting stuff here. The Top Ten Stories You Missed in 2006

10. Hackable Passports

9. What’s Worse Than Bird Flu? The Cure.

8. Petro Powers Drop the Dollar

7. The Gender Gap Gets Smaller

6. Iran and Israel Hold Secret Talks

5. United States Funds the Taliban

4. Russia Fuels Latin American Arms Race

3. Bush’s Post-Katrina Power Grab

2. China Runs up African Debt

1. India Helps Iran Build the Bomb, While the White House Looks the Other Way

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Derelict Vagabond

Derelict vagabond is best term I can come up with to describe this look but they forgot to rub lipstick all over the face of the mannequin.

Available at Ibiza on University Place in NYC.



Gospel Noble Truths

One of my favoritve songs. Allen Ginsberg singing Gospel Noble Truths.

Tooties Bong

Curbed

Someone just turned me on to Curbed, a New York City real estate blog. There is some good stuff there including this series of posts titled That's Rather Hideous.

None of Us Really Matter to Them

I really like the take on Constructivist design in this video.

Spit Art

P&G gets non-tradition

Proctor & Gamble is just one of the marketers that have used Times Square as a venue to stage experiential events. New York Times Audio slideshow: Times Square, Marketing Tool.



Men with Cramps, P&Gs online video campaign for ThermaCare, heating pads for the treatment of menstrual cramps.









Saturday, December 16, 2006

Horny Manatee

Conan is really milking the Horny Manatee thing for all its worth. Horny Manatee T-Shirts.



SEE ALSO: Horney Manatee

Friday, December 15, 2006

Nutritional Fiction

As I watch, year-to-year, the shifts that take place in our "understanding" of nutrition it's difficult for me not to laugh at the "science" or lack thereof. The constantly revised "facts" at times seem superstitious and hope-based in its logic. It may have more to do with spin and manipulated data in the service of marketing than it does bad science. Nonetheless, it's a celebration of the irrational over the rational.

Here are some stories I've collected into a collection of "nutritional fictions".

NPR: The Vitamin C Myth.

NPR : Echinacea Tests Show Little Effect

New York City passes trans fat ban

More Good News for Chocolate Lovers

Government Unveils Revised Food Pyramid

15 Common Myths About Weight Loss, Nutrition, And Diet

SEE ALSO: Meat & You: The food chain VIA The Simpsons.

Logitec video effects

DirectArt

I was flipping through an issue of DirectArt this evening. Some interesting stuff. Among them a series by Brad Busenius called Symbols of Power.

Inland Empire

In many ways I think that Mulholland Drive was the film that David Lynch had been trying to make all his life. It will be interesting to see what he has done to follow that.



Lynch with a cow on the streets of LA.



Maintaining a Sense of Uncertainty

I like to tell people I don't believe that man has been to the moon. I'm actually moon agnostic. When I look at how far every other technology has advanced in the last 40 years and the amount of trouble we have getting shuttles up and orbiting the planet, I do have my suspicions. I'm kidding. Ok, I'm not.

The bigger questions I am teasing out when I play this game with myself and others is "why do I believe what I believe?" and "have I left room for other possibilities?"

The debate over evolution is raging once again in this country. On one side is a group of people, most of whom are not scientists, have never studied the primary research and probably do not have the aptitude to draw proper conclusions from the research if they did. Despite that, they vehemently defend evolution and mock creationists as fools who believe things simply because they "read it in a book'.

On the other side you have a group of people who are sure they have a better line into the mystical workings of the universe. Their study of theology and thorough knowledge of scripture is, I'm sure, equally lacking.

Both sides are probably wrong, at least incrementally. History teaches us that there are no theories that are above revision and its only a matter of years before the best theories seem hopelessly outdated. Newtonian physics explained some of the physical workings of the universe. Einsteins theories more so, but only at certain scales. Last I checked there weren't any areas in the sciences where all the work was completed and they closed shop. The case for natural selection and adaptation seem pretty compelling but an understanding of the origins of life and the universe is another story.

What deserves a deeper level of cultural inquiry is why there is such a violent lack of tolerance for the beliefs of others and the dysfunctional, dogmatic sense of certainty that everyone possesses.

Intelligent debates would attempt to frame questions like "how do you establish education policies that accommodate multiple perspectives". But that's not what's happening.

As one who finds it much more interesting to laugh at the foolish shortsightedness on both sides of such broad cultural debates I get a sick pleasure from stories and discoveries that create cultural and intellectual disruptions. Watching new information lay waste to shared knowledge and volumes of work is akin to that moment in "Don't Spill the Beans" or "Don't Break the Ice" when everything goes to hell. Part of it is just the anarchist in me and part of it is knowing that sometimes that's what it takes to create room for new possibilities.

Here are two such stories from the past year.

Lost city 'could rewrite history"

Underwater world: Man's doing or nature's? Researchers come across mysterious shapes on the sea bottom just west of Cuba. Patterns suggest an ancient civilization.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The Visual Poetry of Violence


Great White Shark - video powered by Metacafe

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Pretty Smart, for a Horney Manatee

A year ago they would have been sting by this. Those old media dogs are starting to catch on.



The skit, as scripted for the Dec. 4 installment of “Late Night With Conan O’Brien,” was about absurdist college sports mascots that the host and his writers would like to see someday.

Among them were “the Boise State Conjoined Vikings,” who had been born locked at the horns, as well as something Mr. O’Brien called “the Webcam manatee” — said to be the mascot of “F.S.U.” — which was basically someone in a manatee costume rubbing himself or herself provocatively in front of a camera (to the tune of the 1991 hit “I Touch Myself”). Meanwhile a voyeur with a lascivious expression watched via computer.

Who knew that life would soon imitate art.

At the end of the skit, in a line Mr. O’Brien insists was ad-libbed, he mentioned that the voyeur (actually Mark Pender, a member of the show’s band) was watching www.hornymanatee.com. There was only one problem: as of the taping of that show, which concluded at 6:30 p.m., no such site existed. Which presented an immediate quandary for NBC: If a viewer were somehow to acquire the license to use that Internet domain name, then put something inappropriate on the site, the network could potentially be held liable for appearing to promote it.

In a pre-emptive strike inspired as much by the regulations of the Federal Communications Commission as by the laws of comedy, NBC bought the license to hornymanatee.com, for $159, after the taping of the Dec. 4 show but before it was broadcast.


You can read the rest of this story on the New York Times site.



Horny Manatee T-Shirts

SEE ALSO: Official Site of the Horny Manatee

SEE ALSO: Sneaky Digital Maneuvers

What fresh hell is this?

A line attributed many times to Shakespeare but actually it's from American author/critic/poet and wit Dorothy Parker. She is reported to have exclaimed "What fresh hell is this?" when her train of thought was interrupted by a telephone. She then started using it in place of "hello" when answering the phone or a knock at her door.

In many ways she can be considered the patron saint of all tech support workers.

(Post submitted by Optimal Zen)

Iconistan

From Wired News:

There's a turf war heating up over a strip of web real estate called "Iconistan."

You won't find this mythical land on a map, as Iconistan exists only at the bottom of blog posts. It's where that little crowd of icons gathers, begging you to post a bit of news to Digg, Reddit, del.icio.us and various other social news and community sites.

"Those submit buttons present independent publishers with an excellent opportunity to leverage the growing audience for social news sites," says Tony Conrad, CEO and co-founder of Sphere, who coined the term "Iconistan" in a recent blog post.


Read the full story on Wired News: Battle Brewing Over 'Iconistan'

Holiday Greetings from Alec Baldwin

I spent some quality time this morning sending holiday phone greetings to friends from Alec Baldwin via the 30 Rock website.

This is actually a really great example of good marketing that reintermediates a connection between people. I actually spent my morning doing telemarketing for NBC.



This is a hilarious clip of Baldwin discussing his trip to New Orleans to help out after Katrina.

Monday, December 11, 2006

AdFreaks 10 Most Wanted for 2006

AdFreak just posted their top 10 stories of 2006. Coming in at #2 is the Bank of America video. Remeber kids, you saw it here first.

#1 was the Agency.com Subway pitch.

A Bear & a Bare Ass

I just watched a great animated short about a drunkard Russian Bear named Potapych. Based on a true story.



I also happened to catch a new animated series on the cartoon network last night called Assy McGee. I don't even know what to say about this. It's a cartoon about a trigger happy cop that is a bare ass. See for yourself. (Maybe someone could do a cartoon about a walking hard-on creative director that works in advertising. Hmm....)



Friday, December 08, 2006

Sense of Smell: Pancake Meow

Pancake Meow sells necklace charms that look and smell of food.




As well as Demeter fragrances that smell like Bubble Gum, Birthday Cake and Popcorn to name just a few.



That's gotta hurt... in the feelings.

Indian men called out by scientists. Ouch.

A survey of more than 1,000 men in India has concluded that condoms made according to international sizes are too large for a majority of Indian men.

The study found that more than half of the men measured had penises that were shorter than international standards for condoms.

It has led to a call for condoms to be provided in smaller sizes designed for Indian men.



Read the BBC story: Condoms 'too big' for Indian men.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Biohazard Symbol

Perhaps the most striking of symbols in the "warning sign" category is the Biohazard Symbol. It has a non-verbal menace that is tough to beat. Here is an account of it's design and history.

Biohazard Symbol History

Radioactive Symbol Design

Alll the stories on radiation and polonium-210 got me to thinking about the design of the radiation warning symbol.



Here it is:

The three-bladed radiation warning symbol, as we currently know it, was "doodled" out at the University of California Radiation Laboratory in Berkeley sometime in 1946 by a small group of people. This event was described in a letter written in 1952 by Nels Garden, head of the Health Chemistry Group at the Radiation Laboratory: "A number of people in the group took an interest in suggesting different motifs, and the one arousing the most interest was a design which was supposed to represent activity radiating from an atom."

The first signs printed at Berkeley had a magenta (Martin Senour Roman Violet No. 2225) symbol on a blue background. In an earlier letter written in 1948, Garden explained why this particular shade of magenta color was selected: "it was distinctive and did not conflict with any color code that we were familiar with. Another factor in its favor was its cost. . . The high cost will deter others from using this color promiscuously." Explaining the blue background, he said, "The use of a blue background was selected because there is very little blue color used in most of the areas where radioactive work would be carried out."

Garden did not like yellow as a background: "the very fact that . . . the high visibility yellow stands out most prominently has led to extensive use of this color and it is very common." To compensate for the lower visibility of the blue, Garden even toyed with the idea of including diagonal white stripes across the sign.

From: Origin of the Radiation Warning Symbol (Trefoil).

And here is Jimmy Page with a warning for all you love weary Russian spies:

When I grow up...

I want to have a tongue like an Anoura fistulata.

Chimp Playing Mrs. Pac Man

Wow.

Our Cathedrals: Highway Intersections





See athe full collection on Thrillingwonder.

DIY Spy Sub

Dope. A remote-operated sub created from PVC created by a father and son team out of Milwaukee. Controlled and powered by a laptop, it can swim more than a quarter of a mile, to depths of 250 feet, while a home-surveillance camera sealed inside sends a live feed to the pilots onshore.



Via POPSCI.

Hyungkoo Lee

I just came across the work of Hyungkoo Lee. In a series of self-portraits he explores ideas about identity using a clear helmet fitted with distorting lenses.

From the Arario Gallery site:

Following these two great artists’ lead, Hyungkoo Lee created a distorting transparent plastic helmet to make his self-portraits. This helmet is fitted with interchangeable concave and convex lenses which shrink, expand and distort the features. This exquisite headgear allows the wearer to engage in all normal daily activities, listening breathing, smelling even smoking. In the portraits is hard to recognize that they are all of the same person, so much does the helmet transform Lee’s appearance. In one portrait, his eyes are huge and protruding, in another, his nose and lips are ridiculously enlarged, in yet a third he looks like he has Down’s syndrome with the typically widened forehead.

The grotesque is a unifying concept in his series of self-portrait, an intentional disregard for conventional standards of physical beauty in proportion, harmony and balance of the body parts. This disregard seems related to the alienness he experienced while visiting the US, which provoked an urgent groping for his own Asian identity.




In another series he has recreated the skleletal remains of some of the worlds most famous cartoon characters.