Wednesday, January 30

Affluenza: January 30

A rolling pin that imprints Made In England on your pastries:
Glow In The Dark bicycle:
Uh, Michael Kors...
...are you feeling ok?
The Child Child Chair (sic) combines two child-sized chairs and a small table:
Perfect for child-to-child negotiations.
Nudie Jeans has a great tutorial on their site on how to (not) wash your blue jeans.
The longer I do these the more I realize that the apartment in My Two Dads was a cultural touchstone for a generation of designers:

Related? Jesse And The Rippers merchandise:
Turntable Watch:
(They got that person who writes art gallery websites to do the copy!)
I really like this ampersand T-shirt:
Is this the first graphic T I've given the Affluenza stamp of approval? Could be...
Though a lot of it is the usual cutie-pie Etsy garbage, Vesper Jewelry has a few pieces I particularly like.
Double Partridge necklace:
Peacock feather earrings:
But most especially this breathtaking owl pendant necklace:
I love the shape of this, but your cat will be even more disdainful of you than it already is if it finds out you spent $160 on cardboard:
Size: 6" wide mustache on 12" stick
Gah! Why didn't I find out about this in time to order for Mardi Gras!?
Arzu Firuz's stunning vinyl floor laminate:
Flavour Design, you have been found guilty of taking antique items of great beauty and turning them into ugly kitschy loveseats that look like store decorations from Claire's Boutique.
(My grandmother was way ahead of this trend, by the way...she converted an antique toilet into a garden planter.)

Sunday, January 27


This is the thread where I'll be posting notes as I read Emma. Here's the permanent address of this post:

As before, you can either bookmark it or subscribe to the post's RSS feed. If you'd like to read along and join the discussion, you'll find the reading schedule I'll be following in the first comment of this thread.

Noted Without Comment

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Federal Communications Commission has proposed a $1.4 million fine against 52 ABC Television Network stations over a 2003 broadcast of cop drama NYPD Blue.

The fine is for a scene where a boy surprises a woman as she prepares to take a shower. The scene depicted "multiple, close-up views" of the woman's "nude buttocks" according to an agency order issued late Friday.

FCC's definition of indecent content requires that the broadcast "depicts or describes sexual or excretory activities" in a "patently offensive way" and is aired between the hours of 6 a.m. and 10 p.m.

The agency said the show was indecent because "it depicts sexual organs and excretory organs - specifically an adult woman's buttocks."

The agency rejected the network's argument that "the buttocks are not a sexual organ."

[from The Associated Press; no, I didn't make it up.]

Saturday, January 26

Every Door Will Open Wide To Happy People Like You

I'm sure you've heard by now about the disclaimer that runs before Sesame School's "Old School" DVDs, which contain episodes from 1969-1974. The AP reports:

"The first DVD begins a disclaimer announcing, 'These early Sesame Street episodes are intended for grown-ups and may not meet the needs of today's pre-school child.'"

Of course this has lead to three inevitable and totally predictable responses:

1. "Oh my god, those sanctimommies are so over-protective they can't even let their kids watch Sesame Street!" (I'll admit that this was my response at first.)

2. "Those liberals at PBS have declared my childhood politically incorrect!"

3. [The totally predictable hurf-durfery made by lazy bloggers: Cookie Monster is a junkie, Bert and Ernie are gay, et fucking cetera.]

But last week I was watching NBC Nightly News, hoping to hear new announcer Michael Douglas (no, seriously), and they ran a story about the disclaimer. Actually seeing what the fuss was about, I was surprised by a few things:

First, I had thought that the disclaimer was just text on the screen. But it's actually read out loud by a cartoon character reading a prepared statement behind a podium. What's really interesting is that his delivery was stilted and slow, as though forced at gunpoint to read the disclaimer. Huh!

Second, though initially the troublesome scenes were harmless in the extreme--kids reading bikes without a helmet!--soon the clips they showed were so inappropriate and unsafe that it was like a skit from an unfunny sketch show:

-A group of children are playing in a junkyard. One of them discovers a rusty set of box springs and begins bouncing on it like a trampoline.

-Another group of children are playing on a construction site. One of them discovers a sewage pipe leading under the road. "Let's see what's on the other side," he says.

-A young girl is on her knees with her hands in her lap. Her mouth is open. A farmer squeezes a cow's teet, squirting milk on her face and in her mouth.

-A young girl wanders onto Sesame Street. Gordon (wearing a suh-weet three-piece suit) introduces himself. He takes her by the hand and leads her into his house, where he gives her ice cream.

-At the beginning of a Monsterpiece Theater skit, Cookie Monster is seen smoking a pipe. He then eats the pipe.


Rambo Kill Chart:


As most of you know, there's a health magazine for women over forty called More:

Snooze. I was just thinking, though, that More would be such a good name for a luxury magazine about conspicuous consumption.

(Oh man, I bet Tyler Brûlé is so jealous he didn't think of that first!)


This is sorta hard to explain, but it's so worth it: Books That Make You Dumb took Facebook's ten most popular books at every college, and then cross-referenced them with the average SAT score for each school:

It's been a long 28 years...

Roger Ebert, reviewing Airplane! in 1980, wrote, "Movie comedies today are so hung up on being contemporary, radical, outspoken and cynically satirical that they sometimes forget to be funny."

As Aaron Lee recently wrote in the LA Times: "To think there was a time when that list of adjectives was the tired old norm for movie comedy..."

Thursday, January 24

Little Pepe & Sour Sis

The other day I bought one of those pickles in a know, like the really big ones?

I'd never had one before, but I glanced at the nutritional info--zero calories, zero fat grams--and liked what I saw. So I grabbed a Hot & Spicy one and, later, discovered that it was WAY too hot and spicy to eat. Holy moly, it was like getting maced and kicked into a vat of vinegar. (Again.)

So anyway, here's what I did: I took the pickle home and sliced it up in my food processor, and put the slices in a Tupperware container with the brine. I've been putting them on sandwiches and salads, and though they're still really hot, they add a nice kick to the food.

That's this week's Kitchen Tip from your friend at Baby Ruthless! Next week: what to do with that cauliflower you bought because you've always felt guilty that you don't like cauliflower and swore that this time would be different.

Wednesday, January 23

Affluenza: January 23

Thesis Audio's Stone Turntables:

As in, made out of stone.


Sam Hecht's design for the Little Disk, a 30 gig drive barely bigger than a Zippo:

Admirably plain, but seriously: lose the logo, guys.

(Also, nice to see Gollum getting work as a hand model!)


Uh...a mini Karl Lagerfeld!?


Kale Miles men's belt...eighteen large.


Taxi Booties:


Icon Watch:

(Finally, a watch without a logo!)


Dot matrix and message tape:


I always want to post links to women's shoes but I never do, because I don't want to seem like some creepy foot-fetishist. It's even worse when shopping with female friends; oh my god, can you imagine what shoe store clerks must GO THROUGH? It must be more deadening than working in an adult video store. Gag.

Anyway, I guess it's a rare shoe for me to brave the risk of being labelled a foot-masturbator, and here they are. These Marc Jacob pumps are perfect in every single detail:

I hate hate HATE when magazines talk about "little black dresses," but seriously: these are the little black dresses of shoes. For $335, you'll get pumps you can wear formal or with jeans or to the office.

Ahem: In line at Target recently, one of you told me you had admirably chosen to only buy expensive shoes you'll want to own forever. Awesome decision! I can't drop any more hints: buy these shoes. You know who you are.


Prada recently sent male models down the runway wearing "tutu belts" which were in fact little tutus for guys. The New York Times review of the show called them "humiliating."

This is my favorite headline about the show, however: Prada Premieres Tutu for Men Who Hate Themselves


Dave Secretary, former member of the bands Van Johnson and Black Actors, decides it's TIME FOR SOME STORIES:

These are so funny I got a headache from laughing so hard. And here's the thing: I'm not even totally sure what's so funny about them. Part of it is the all-caps, and part of it is the way Secretary recreates the twisted logic of childhood. My mom called as I was reading these and I had to hang up on her because I was cracking up so bad.

From the same guy: Fuck You My Comics Are Gold, "comics I have to explain due to my poor artistry skills."

Tuesday, January 22

High Thread Count

In the world of bed linens, the "high thread count" meme has been circulating for years now, spouted mindlessly despite the best attempts of a small minority to point out that the quality of the cotton matters as much, if not more so, than the thread count. (If the cotton is sub-quality, why would you want MORE of it?)

However, it turns out that, aside from being misleading, a sheet's thread count may actually be an outright lie:

"Thread count refers to the number of threads in a square inch of fabric. The calculation is customarily made by multiplying the vertical yarns ('ends') by the horizontal yarns ('picks'); this is the method endorsed by the Federal Trade Commission and enforced, traditionally, by gentleman's agreement. In recent years, manufacturers have been using multi-ply yarns—made from two or more strands of fibre twisted together—to juice their stats, so that a dust ruffle woven from two hundred two-ply yarns could technically be said to have a thread count of four hundred., Cotton Inc.'s Web site, notes, 'It's not a lie, but not exactly textbook accurate, either.'"

Monday, January 21

The Twenty-One Old Men Of Gramercy

In 1979, Joan Didion wrote an essay critical of Woody Allen for the New York Review Of Books. John Romano took issue with her:

You don't have to read the whole thing word-for-word, but whatever you do, DON'T MISS Didion's reply at the bottom.


Tonight, on Sirius' Old Time Radio station (118), they played a 1948 episode of I Love Adventure, Carlton E. Morse's follow-up to his classic series I Love A Mystery.

This episode was about an European girl's finishing school that was kidnapped and spirited away. After some high-flying adventure and a trip through India's bazaars, the adventurers discover that the girls were taken to Tibet, where they were brainwashed and placed in the harem of the mysterious...Dalai Lama!

Sunday, January 20

Never Alone

One night in 1913, HG Wells and his friend were nerding it up and ended up inventing the table top war game:


I swear to God I just saw this: I was behind a truck that had a bumper sticker reading "The Journey Of 1000 Miles Begins With A Single Step." Which isn't that exceptional except it also had a cartoon of Calvin peeing on the word "Addiction." Ha!

Seriously, though, I'm glad that Calvin is branching out to vague concepts.


Sean Marc Lee's Neon Noir:

Wednesday, January 16

Affluenza: January 16

It's only January 16, and I think we already have the Affluenza Product Of The Year.

The idea is, if you have a newborn baby and far-away relatives can't visit, you can have a commemorative baby-sized rice package featuring your infant's photo sent to them, so that they can "hold" your baby, too. Uh, genius!

Seriously, check this shit out:


The best part: the rice bags are individually weighted to reflect the baby's weight!


I like these stainless steel and concrete rings, and I *love* the packaging:

Hey, you wanna see those same rings with none of the understated elegance? Voila:

Gross. Dirty. And worst of all, ugly. Now dig this: the "male" ring is the one with the diamond on it, so I guess it's actually the one the lady wears. So that gives the whole humiliating mess a totally different, way dirtier spin. Bravo!


This notebook's cover is made from a Braille magazine, so I guess by buying this you're totally saving the Earth from all those Braille magazines that are choking the world's landfills. Doesn't that make you feel better about the planet? Whatever you do, don't stop driving everywhere!

I like this, has a pleasingly simple yet intricate design.

But mostly I'm posting this so I can say: there's a Braille edition of Seventeen magazine!? Ha!


An Open Flame Is The New Bowl Of Rocks, part of a continuing series:

A reader writes: "What does An Open Flame Is The New Bowl Of Rocks mean, anyway?"

A few years ago, a trend that could roughly be called "organic minimalism" went mainstream, which basically consisted of decorating with crap you found in your backyard. (Or, more accurately, crap Anthropologie found in their backyard.) So, like, suddenly a centerpiece didn't have to be a could be a branch of a dogwood tree. Or a piece of driftwood. Or some feathers tied together with twine.

This movement especially loved rocks: a single rock on a shelf, a small pile of rocks on a sideboard, or even a few flat rocks placed directly on the floor in the corner of a room. West Elm went particularly crazy with this, and soon every page of their catalog seemed to feature a bowl of rocks somewhere in the display.

So when I started seeing all these stupid open flames everywhere, they reminded me of the previous trend for stupid bowls of rocks everywhere. Hence, an open flame is the new bowl of rocks.


Seriously, lady?



Look at this super-cute model forced to wear some ugly-ass grandma glasses:

Good luck in tenth grade!


It's A Log You Idiots, part of a continuing series:

(Congrats to "Johnny" for winning last week's Name This Feature contest.)


For the same price, the Shimmering Hourglass Table:


A medal you can wear to show your participation in the Console Wars:

You guys know I can't stand this sort of nostalgia-humping, but I thought the design was pretty neat. Plus, you know, I like medals. Duh.


Ross McBride's computer faces concept:


I guess this week's entry has been pretty negative. I try to make Affluenza mostly about stuff I actually like, but this week I just kept running into THE STUPIDEST SHIT.

Like a mirror with a faucet and a bucket stuck to it:

Or a table in the shape of an ostrich butt:

Ugh, that one was the last straw...I'm done for the week. Affluenza out.

Monday, January 14

Mansfield Park

This is the thread where I'll be posting notes as I read Mansfield Park. Here's the permanent address of this post:

As before, you can either bookmark it or subscribe to the post's RSS feed.

If you would like to read along, you'll find the reading schedule I'll be following in the first comment of this thread.

"Lori, I will never stop this."

[Today I thought I'd mix things up a little and post a link to a New Yorker article. Heh.]

The so-called (and incorrectly-called) MySpace Suicide Hoax has been percolating in the news for a few months now, yet it hasn't quite burst through to the national consciousness. There are probably a lot of reasons for this--there's no ongoing court case to feed viewers' interest, for one--but I also think that the story is just so utterly heartbreaking, so unspeakably devastating, that it's hard to pay attention to it for long. We want to flinch and look away.

I wish this article had been longer, and featured more original findings, but it's an admirable overview of the tragedy. I was even tempted to wait a few days before posting this, because if you haven't heard the story it will probably ruin your week. Sorry.

Sunday, January 13

First Austen film tonight at 9 on PBS

Hey guys, this is just a quick reminder, if you care, that the first of the Austen adaptations airs tonight on PBS at 9. I *think* PBS shows start at the same time regardless of what time zone you're in, but maybe you should check your proverbial local listings.

At 8 is a kick-ass episode of Nature. I'm not sure what it's about, but that show always has, like, lions just totally destroying some prey animal's shit.


Whenever I watch Masterpiece Theater, I always imagine that I've just walked into the study of my friend Diana Rigg (before that Alistair Cooke RIP dawg) and she's happy to see me because she has the most delightful film to show me. We watch the movie together, laughing at each other's clever bon mots and drinking hot tea with "biscuits" (cookies) and also I imagine that she doesn't think I'm a failure.

(I think this is actually a pretty common daydream for Masterpiece Theater's audience.)

So since this is the first night of their Austen marathon, I thought it would be fun to do this up wicked-style. Peep what I did:

I still had some New Year's money left over, so I called an modelling agency and had them send some headshots over. I found a lady who looked like a proper matriarch, so I hired her to come over and watch Persuasion with me.

Then I drew up a script of responses that she could follow (in a British accent, of course). The script is pretty long, but here are a few excerpts:

-"Oh, I say! How deliciously droll!"

-"Devishly clever, that."

-"Fancy another spot of tea? Six cubes, just as you like it."

-(after a character has bent over and I have made a farting noise with my mouth) "Playing for the Groundlings, are we?" (but also laughing)

-"Heavens, no, I do not think you a 'failuire!' Where ever did you get that idea? [listens] Well, they cannot be such good friends if they would say such things to you!"

-"Shh...there, there. Let it all out."

But then I started thinking about it and I realized that, you know, if I'm going to be paying some lady to come over and pretend to be Diana Rigg, it seemed sort of a waste to hire an old one instead of an Avengers one, all wearing a black catsuit right there on my couch.

The first agency refused to do it, and I lost my deposit, so I had to call another one this guy in my cab recommended. I got it all worked out and now this chick is coming over tonight. It's sort of a bummer, actually...turns out a young Diana Rigg is way more expensive.

Saturday, January 12

I'm a little bummed, though, 'cause that was totally my idea for an About The Author photo...

Whoa...I'm dead serious here, the poster for the new Larry The Cable Guy movie is ten times better than it has any right to be:

It looks like the work of Gregory Crewdson, maybe, or some ice-cold German art collective doing a project about "America."

I would totally love to get a print of that photo, sans awesome would that shot be, like, ten feet tall and hanging in a minimalist dining room?

I'm completely not kidding, I'm so in love with that photo it drives me crazy a little.

Wednesday, January 9

Affluenza: January 9

BeaYukMui presents the tuxedo t-shirt of cashmere sweater dresses:


The Ping Pong Door flips down, creating a ping pong table between two rooms:


Check out the packaging for Coal gum (scroll down):


Colour Calendar 2008:

It would be fun to get this and change the color scheme of Baby Ruthless every day accordingly...



I love this Plaid Belted Picnic Dress by 3.1 Phillip Lim, and just think of the freaky moire patterns you'd make on security cameras!


Philippe Starck's black crystal chandelier (71 large!) gets appropriated by...Home Depot.


An Open Flame Is The New Bowl Of Rocks, part of a continuing series:

Honorable mention:



"The inside of the plate is printed with undeniable, provocative, bitter and indigestible sentences about hunger statistics in the world."



Tiny city, made of ashes:

io9, incidentally, is Gawker's new science fiction website. Of interest to a couple of you, I'm sure.


The Fiona coat by Soia & Kyo:


Remember months ago when I featured that...thing that was a log in a metal sleeve with a handle? I think I might have to start featuring stupid products that are actually just a log, the way I highlight products that feature impractical open flames.

Two examples:

It's a hollowed-out log, you idiots!

Uh, Ikea, I still love you, BUT THAT IS A TWO BY FOUR.

I'll be taking suggestions for the name of the new feature. Please apply "getting wood" puns, and no Ren & Stimpy "It's log" references.


Design Milk has a nice wrap-up of red sideboards. I particularly like the Style Park one with the wave in it:


I didn't know Tord Boontje did a wall panel for CB2. It's on sale this month, too:

I *hate* the vertical symmetry, though.


The Ellipse bookcase from La Maison Coloniale:


"Change the seating, change the room." Do you have a gorgeously book-lined minimal loft that you'd like to CHANGE into the common room of an Evergreen College's dormitory? The Mah-Jong Modular is for you!


Intriguing yet utterly confusing wooden perpetual calendar:


The problem with futons, of course, is that they look like futons. Here's a nice one from PB Teen (!), though, that handily conquers this problem:

I especially like the brown.


Affluenza, definition of: a leather flyswatter that costs over a hundred dollars.

That explains why she never answered any of my letters...

No way! "The character of Mavis Beacon is not a real person, but rather a fictional character created to bring a personal touch to the tutorial. The original photo of Mavis Beacon was of a bankteller in Sherman Oaks, California, the city in which Software Toolworks had its offices. Former TV talkshow host Les Crane, who was then a partner in Software Toolworks, invented the name. Her first name is meant to evoke the concept of a maven. Her last name represents her role as a light to guide your way."

Monday, January 7

Northanger Abbey

This is the thread where I'll be posting notes as I read Northanger Abbey. Here is the permanent address of this post:

Again, you can either bookmark it or subscribe to the post's RSS feed. Or, you know, just forget it and then the next time you see me, just pretend you totally read all my comments and you were blown away by how funny and insightful I am. Seriously, you guys, that's all I want. Love me!

Friday, January 4

Never Take Career Advice From A Professional Wrestler

I just changed the site's tag line...the previous one, Oh Mother Dear We're Not The Fortunate Ones was of course a quote from Cyndi Lauper's "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun," which I had always found weirdly resonating.

While Googling the lyrics to the song to make sure I had the line just right, I discovered this Lauper bumper sticker:

"The cool thing about these stickers is that they are a private statement between you and another fan. Anyone that is not a fan simply has no clue what it stands for."

I like the idea of Cyndi Lauper fans being a silent cabal, making their presence known to each other through obscure symbols that function like the ichthys or Tristero's muted post-horn.

Space Of Suspense

Mark Khaisman: "I work on the light easel, applying translucent brown packing tape on clear Plexiglas panels, the layers built up to create degrees of opacity."

Okay, don't click on the link yet; just stop for a second and imagine how that would look. Visualize in your mind the absolutely best, most mind-blowing art that could come of that description.


Whatever you're imagining right now, I bet you a dollar it's not even close to as cool as this:


The BBC's 100 Things We Didn't Know Last Year


A history of Granta magazine:,,2233674,00.html

Buried in the article is news that the archives of the magazine will be online soon...

Wednesday, January 2

from Johnny's Big Book Of Hilarious Jokes (Scholastic)

Q: Did you see Conan's beard?
A: You mean Elizabeth Ann Powel!?

Affluenza: January 2

An Open Flame Is The New Bowl Of Rocks, part of a continuing series:

Perfect for kids' rooms!


Ikea's $35 bed:


I like this bookcase OK, but I sorta wish it were just a real picture frame:


Random, hilarious photobooth portraits of barnyard animals:


Glänta, by Johan Carpner:

My 2008 wish is that huge overhead lamps become a thing. (This one is a meter across!)


Wanna see a gorgeous, mind-blowing wristwatch utterly destroyed by a logo?

I've never understood why we tolerate logos on watches (and wall clocks) when we'd NEVER allow a logo on an item of comparable price. This Seiko watch costs nine hundred bucks...can you imagine spending almost a grand on anything with a giant logo on it?


The Reveal lamp projects the shadow of gently swaying tree limbs against your wall:


Plus Minus Zero's Aromatic Humidifier, designed by Naoto Fukusawa:

I've been seeing this for a couple of years now, and I'll admit it's gorgeous.

But...honestly, I'm not trying to be childish, I'm really not, but the design already looks sorta giggle-inducing, and then the idea of steam shooting out of the sphincter is just too much.


A table featuring a 3D map of Baghdad. For some reason.

Forty large!


I'm not kidding: THIS is how you sell a kitchen appliance to a dude. You make it look appealingly plain, like a piece of laboratory equipment from 1954, then you add a useless but too cool component to it. Like this sorta gorgeous and super-masculine (for once I mean that in a good way) blender that comes with a tachometer:


Chiasso's super-cute fruit holder:

Speaking of Chiasso, they have tons of stuff half off right now:


Denis Darzacq's photographs of levitators:


A solid oak coffee table with a cool magazine storage solution, all for under $160:

Oh, wait...I just realized that's $160 in loonies. Still, this is a great deal, and the table only kinda looks like a window shutter. I'm sure nobody will notice. No, really. It's fine.