Saturday, May 31


Word I Recently Had To Look Up:

gimlet-eyed: Having keen vision.

Okay. So what's a gimlet?

gimlet: A small hand tool having a spiraled shank, a screw tip, and a cross handle and used for boring holes.

It looks like a corkscrew with a drillbit on the end. Later in the definition, we're told that gimlet can also mean "to penetrate with or as if with a gimlet."

Raise your hand if you always assumed "gimlet-eyed" had something to do with the vodka and lime cocktail. Come on, get them up there...

(Here comes the email from the same two or three readers who write me every time to say they're just shocked I had to look the word up. In 3...2...1...)

Thursday, May 29

Mirth Is Unconfined

You don't have to read Anthony Lane's review of the Sex And The City, though it's a gleeful and even profound takedown of the show's materialism, but for the love of God at least click this link and look at the hilariously Steadmanesque illustration that runs with it:

"Think of it as a chick response to American Psycho."

Wednesday, May 28

No thanks, my phone's big enough as it is...

The subject line of this spam I got today gets an A for effort, definitely:

Increase Your Copulation Organ

Affluenza: May 28

Super-cool "Ghost Wallpaper":


I guess it was inevitable that someone would hit on the obvious idea of making a high-waisted miniskirt...

...but doesn't it look like she just took a normal knee-length skirt and hiked it up like Urkel?


Beautiful handmade fixed-gear bike from Jonny Cycles:

Gosh, it's lovely.


The architecture photography of Ben Benschneider:

Seriously??? Your name is "Ben Benschneider"? Wicked.

All of these shots are neat, but mostly I'm posting this because holy crap that glass-bottomed pool above the hallway is INSANE.


City Lounge:

Five minutes later? Mad covered in homeless.


FicklestiX (sic) offers the world above-average wall-decals, humiliating brand name.


Beautiful, shockingly cheap Japanese dioramas:


This Week's Inexplicable NotCot Caption:

"pencils and art by GhostPatrol. The Australian based designer moved slowly - his creative mind and idea from stenciling wall to create the pencils art project. Doing all the painting to a single pencils until get the desire image."


This fractal bureau has been everywhere the last couple of weeks, so let me just put the Affluenza seal of approval on it:


Jesus Christ, look at this:

Hey, asshole: if you hate people who waste water taking baths so much, FUCKING DON'T MAKE BATHTUBS.


Catherine Malandrino's embroidered circle dress:


Skygarden lamps, designed by Marcel Wanders, are huge metal half-domes with intriguing plaster work on the inside:


NettoCollection's cute Polar Bear Rocker:

"NettoCollection sees the health of our children as inseparable from the health of our planet..." Teach them well and let them lead the way.


I'm not sure if anyone needs 1470 tools--I'm reminded of those useless kitchen knife sets with 36 different mediocre blades when you really just need one good one--but check out the amazing photography of the set:

I think I just found a wedding present for Adam.


Even better: this "limited edition ratchet featuring a classic Craftsman Midnight Black titanium finish" which comes in "an engraved cherry display case."

Wow, just blew my mind a little.


Custom movie posters created for the Alamo Drafthouse:


The Telescope Walking Stick:

It sorta weirds me out that Hammacher Schlemmer is offering a product that I find pretty cool AND at a suspiciously affordable price.


"Here's the idea...we sell a hollow steel cube and a sledgehammer, right? And then the buyer can smash the cube into a supremely uncomfortable vaguely-chair-like shape. I present to you: the Do Hit Chair."

"But Marijn van der Poll, nobody would ever fall for something like that!"

"Have you ever read a design blog? Those idiots will feature ANYTHING."

Sunday, May 25

As for Harrison’s age. The punishment we see him survive. You know. If Indiana Jones was one of us.

Harry Knowles--remember him?--chimes in with his Indiana Jones review:

What's most remarkable about this review is how Knowles describes parts of the film that sound just cringingly bad--I'm yet to see it, and doubt I will--yet he writes about them with such wide-eyed euphoria.

There's a classic Marion / Indy / Mutt bit of verbal quarrelling in the back of a Commie Truck… and when as a combined unit they escape that (not really a spoiler… it's Indiana Jones – of course they escape) Marion says to Indy that she assumes he had plenty of ladies since they last met… and As INDY has cut a hole in the cloth of the truck – and sunlight blazes through it… he shoots her a look… that look… that goddamn INDIANA JONES look and he says in that voice… that world weary, seen everything, been everywhere INDIANA JONES voice and he says, "Yeah, but they all had the same problem." She says, "Yeah, what's that?" And on his way to do shit that only Indiana Jones could do – he says, "They weren't you baby!" – and I started clapping and tears of fucking joy ran down my face.

I honestly haven't thought about AICN in at least five years, probably more, but it's really remarkable how Knowles continues to believe, after a lifetime of watching films and over a decade in "the industry," that a child-like enthusiasm can overcome even the largest flaws of any movie. Followed to its logical conclusion, this thinking means that, if a movie is bad, the fault rests solely on the shoulders of the audience for being incapable of feeling the "honest" emotions of unbridled joy that every single movie seems to deserve.

Wednesday, May 21

Two Words I Recently Had To Look Up

Macula: Highly sensitive part of the retina responsible for detailed central vision

Flâneur: An idle man-about-town.

“There is no English equivalent for the French word flâneur. Cassell's dictionary defines flâneur as a stroller, saunterer, drifter but none of these terms seems quite accurate. There is no English equivalent for the term, just as there is no Anglo-Saxon counterpart of that essentially Gallic individual, the deliberately aimless pedestrian, unencumbered by any obligation or sense of urgency, who, being French and therefore frugal, wastes nothing, including his time which he spends with the leisurely discrimination of a gourmet, savoring the multiple flavors of his city."
Cornelia Otis Skinner
Elegant Wits and Grand Horizontals


Both of these words are from James Wood's rave review of Joseph O'Neill's novel Netherland.

The book's been getting nothing but praise, garnering a glowing review from Michiko Kakutani and even a BuzzFeed entry.

I was initially skeptical, but Wood's review includes this excerpt, describing a post-9/11 New York, which totally blew me away:

Around the clock, ambulances sped eastward on West Twenty-third Street with a sobbing escort of police motorcycles. Sometimes I confused the cries of the sirens with my son’s nighttime cries. I would leap out of bed and go to his bedroom and helplessly kiss him. . . . Afterward I slipped out onto the balcony and stood there like a sentry. The pallor of the so-called hours of darkness was remarkable. Directly to the north of the hotel, a succession of cross streets glowed as if each held a dawn. The taillights, the coarse blaze of deserted office buildings, the lit storefronts, the orange fuzz of the street lanterns: all this garbage of light had been refined into a radiant atmosphere that rested in a low silver heap over Midtown and introduced to my mind the mad thought that the final twilight was upon New York.

What do you mean, the saddest story you've ever heard? What's so sad about it? How many stories have you heard?

Before we get to the lulz, let me say that Ruth Franklin's essay on Chinua Achebe is pretty okay, and from here forward I'll consider it absolutely indispensible and it will aways have a place in my heart for making me aware of the following:

Achebe once called the concept of art for art’s sake "just another piece of deodorized dog shit."


Moving on. Later in the essay, Franklin writes:

“Okonkwo was well known throughout the nine villages and even beyond.” From the first line of “Things Fall Apart”—Achebe’s first novel—we are in unfamiliar territory. Who is this Okonkwo whom everybody knows? Where are these nine villages?

Other Intriguing Questions Raised By Famous First Lines, by Ruth Franklin

Call me Ishmael.
Call who Ishmael? You? Is that your name? Why can't I call you by your real name? Wait, who are you talking to? Who's doing the calling?

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...
What do you mean by best? What do you mean by worst? What time are we talking about? Does this book take place on Earth?

If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you'll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don't feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth.
Where were you born? What was your lousy childhood like? Were your parents occupied and all before they had you? And who is this David Copperfield guy? Hold on...let me run down to Books-A-Million.

Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show.
Well, that didn't help, now I have twice as many questions.

You are about to begin reading Italo Calvino's new novel, If on a winter's night a traveler.
Wait...WHAT!? I'm totally lost. This makes no sense.

Mrs. Dalloway said she would buy the flowers herself.
Wait a minute...what is this hardbound collection of papers I'm holding? What are these strange markings inscribed in ink on the pages? Where am I? What am I doing here? WHO AM I!?!?

Affluenza: May 21

GelaSkins are Blik decals for your laptop.

Unfortunately, most of the decals feature the Juxtapoz-style lowbow art that everyone except Cory Doctrow got bored with eight years ago. I like this one, though:


We don't talk a lot about the more ostentatious symptoms of full-blown affluenza, like yachts or 19-year-old Russians, but check out the Spada TS Codatronca:

Oh, and while we're on the subject, Hermes designed a helicopter:


A rotary dial for your iPhone. Of course!


The sculpture of Thaddeus Erdahl:


I love these animal silhouette bookends from Hiroshi Sasagawa:


I know I've complained in the past about the ubiquity of Starck's Louis Ghost chairs, but how adorable is the child-sized version???

Perfect for your Phillip Lim-draped child!


Tile tattoos?

I don't know, beats me.


Remember that calendar wallpaper from a few weeks ago?

The same guy, whose name may or may not be an anagram, designed this super-neat clock: (thanks, Ben!)


I know that foodies are always insisting that you should never have a kitchen gadget that only does one thing, but I like these mincing scissors:

Also: fuck foodies. Geesh.


BuzzFeed clues into the An Open Flame Is The New Bowl Of Rocks trend:



I think I'm actually going to get this. Uh, after I get a laptop that is.


This Week's Inexplicable NotCot Caption, a new feature here at Affluenza:

"Return to Waster! Make louder statement when you return the junk mail!"


There is Nothing Wrong in This Whole Wide World: (thanks again, Ben!)

Previously on Affluenza:


A toaster concept, this one with a coffee pot on the side:


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

No, seriously, it's a log:

It is a LOG you IDIOTS:


Both Entertainment And Education

'Sex And The City' Fiend: Show Turned Me Into Samantha
ABC News
May 21, 2008

[Lisa] got hooked on "Sex and the City" when she was a 14... It was the same year she lost her virginity. She soon graduated to ordering cosmopolitans at bars she snuck into and cheating on her boyfriend with up to seven other guys -- in one week.


"When you're that age you try to emulate people on TV. Carrie smoked, so I smoked, Samantha looked at hooking up with random people as not a big deal, so that's what I did too," said Lisa, now 22.


But Lisa remembers re-enacting one particular Samantha scene in her own life: Season 3, episode 39, in which the bachelorette-for-life scrunches her face up at her latest suitor and tells him she doesn't like the way he tastes.   

"That was something that happened to me. I used her exact words: 'You have funky spunk,'" she said. "I knew from watching the show that it had to do with something he was eating," so she took a cue from the script and took an ax to a certain item in his diet.


Lisa left her "Samantha" ways behind at 19, when she moved to Utah, became a Mormon, married a man within the church and gave birth to two children. For the first year of her marriage, her husband forbade her to watch "Sex and the City" for fear that it would lure her back to her habits of sex, drugs and one-too-many cosmos.

Friday, May 9

Friday Joke

(courtesy of Dickey)

Q: How many hipsters does it take to change a lightbulb?

A: It's a number you've never heard of.


Google suggests a different punchline: "Oh, you mean you don't know?"

Thursday, May 8

Summer Movie Predictions

This morning I thought it would be funny to write a list of "predictions" for the upcoming summer movie season, except that every single prediction would just be "It's gonna be shitty," right down the line.

But then I started putting together the list and I realized I actually had something to say about most of the films, so here are my actual predictions for this summer's movies.

These aren't necessarily predictions about how well the films will DO--I find the endless box office speculation to be boring--so much as how well the films will be received. Yeah, I talk a bit about take, but I'm much more concerned with whether the film is going to be considered any good or not.

Awesome, though possibly a minor letdown because of the hype and because everyone seems to have forgotten this is from the guy who gave us Elf and Zarutha or Zoratutha or whatever.

[Note: I wrote this list before Iron Man was released, but I'm only just now getting around to posting it. For the record, the film wasn't a minor letdown, but was pretty enjoyable from beginning to end. Also, it made roughly twice what I thought it was gonna make first weekend.]

Shitty. Hard to watch. Confusing. Has the very real potential to be a career-ending flop.

Shitty. Gone in three weeks, but this will have zero impact on anyone's career.

Shitty. The first "Oh, they made that?" film on our list. This will probably be the last or next to last film in this series.

As sad as walking in on your dad crying. Do you know anyone who isn't utterly dreading this film? (Note that, like Phantom Menace, there will still be people claiming that this movie wasn't shitty as late as mid-fall.) Sadly, this WON'T be a career-ending flop.

This is sexist AND ageist, but who wants to watch a bunch of women in their late 40s trying to get laid? The whole enterprise has the feeling of those later Star Trek movies featuring the original crew...even Christopher Noth, whom I like, is beginning to look like Madame. My prediction: it will certainly disappoint fans, but it'll make just a little more money than people are expecting.

Oh my god, so shitty. Underperforming. Luckily for Sandler, though, The Love Guru will be even shittier and make people forget just how shitty this film was.


Shitty. Give up, Shyamalan.

"Oh, they made that?" Possibly the shittiest action movie of the summer. Roundly dismissed. (Can you believe how bad the CGI looks?)

"Oh, they made that?" Actually not as shitty as you might expect, but it'll get lost in the shuffle anyway.

I've seen this trailer twice now, and both times it was greeted with stony, almost hostile, silence from the audience. The theater would have gotten a bigger pop if they'd shown a student-made short film about gender identity. Listen: if you can't win over a Friday night crowd of stoners waiting for Harold & Kumar, you have some serious troubles. However, as much as I'd love to say this is going to flop, something horrible tells me I could be wrong.

Now here's a prediction I really hope I *am* wrong about: I'm just not feeling this one, but I can't quite put my finger on why. I haven't felt this uneasy about a Pixar film since Cars. (Actually, it's been a couple years since I unreservedly loved a Pixar film: I admired Ratatouille a lot more than I actually *liked* it.) But look, even if this movie is shitty--which I'm sure it's not--nobody deserves unearned money more than Pixar. Oh, and one more gripe: the film is mostly dialogue-free, which means that assholes will feel free to talk through the entire thing. Fuck!


The early buzz on this film is that it's an edgy take on both the superhero genre and Will Smith's film persona, but don't believe the hype: it's gonna be shitty. (Also, we really don't need another "edgy take on the superhero genre"...there are more of those than there are straightforward superhero films.)

I was in the extreme minority of people who found Batman Begins to be an overrated mess. (Why was Scarecrow in the movie, again?) Frankly, I found it a bit boring: "Oh, I hope Gary Oldman hits the button on the Batmobile dashboard in time!" Now, I'm not gonna say that The Dark Knight will be shitty--and I'm gonna choose this over Indy to be the top-grossing film of the summer--but I bet *I* won't enjoy it as much as Joe Internet does.

"Oh, they made that?" Shockingly non-shitty, possibly the surprise hit of the summer if you count "hit" to include factors outside of just box office.

"Oh, they made that?" Shitty.

"Oh, they made that?" Shitty.

I haven't seen a trailer win over an audience like this since Superbad. And, like Superbad, this will make a lot more money than anyone's predicting right now. Another "surprise hit of the summer."

"Oh, didn't they already make that?" No, that was Attack Of The Clones. This is an animated film. "Oh. But wait, didn't they already make THAT, too?" Yeah, but that was traditional animation, and was actually pretty great. This is gonna be CGI, and a pilot for a TV show that you have to pay to watch...and, oh yeah: shitty.

This movie has a big buzz behind it, but those who are hyped have forgotten that the film was co-written and directed by Ben Stiller, who has basically never been funny. (And before you mention his Fox sketch show, admit that you haven't seen it since high school, then go back and actually watch an episode. Yikes.) Oh, and it has Jack Black in it. I'm gonna say: not as shitty as I think it will be, but shittier than most people are expecting.

Tuesday, May 6

The nudity-implying photo is a particularly unnecessary touch...

James Frey has a new novel out, and he gave only one interview for it, to Vanity Fair:

The article clearly is intended to not just give a little perspective on Frey's scandal, but also generate some sort of sympathy for the guy. The former goal is achieved nicely, I think, but the latter is just about impossible: no matter how soft-focus the portrait--hell, even forgetting the Million Little Pieces debacle--James Frey is an asshole, a classic overgrown frat boy who plays at being soulful but has no idea how vapid he really is.

A much better article--one made impossible by the fact that VF scored the exclusive interview--would have focused on Frey as a CHARACTER: a man with a juvenile notion of being a "bad boy," intent on proving to everyone that he's not just an insecure Whirlpool executive's son from the burbs but a loner and a rebel and an angelheaded hipster. And who then wrote a memoir reconfiguring or just plain inventing facts in his life to fit this self-image, but his downfall came when he began believing his own lies, leaving the world to point out once and for all just what a phony he is. His tragedy, just like every other tragedy (including our own, dear reader), was that he had betrayed his inner nature.

Frankly, it's pretty incredible that Frey can STILL engender such little sympathy. People hate the publishing industry, and Frey's defense that they mis-marketed his novel as a more-lucrative memoir seems increasingly more plausible, even probable. And, of course, America loves a second act. But Frey is such a choad he's overpowered whatever kindness we might feel for him. When the choice is between you and a publisher and you still lose, you know you've got problems.

Finally, of course, this idea that the article floats of Frey rising above the scandal of his first book hinges on forgetting that A Million Little Pieces is a piece of shit. Seriously, re-read the article: the author's feelings on the book's actual quality is conspicuously absent. Now if Nabakov had gotten busted trying to pass Lolita off as a memoir, I'd see their point. But this undergrad "experiment"? To paraphrase Bellow: plenty more where you came from, Frey.


Let's clear our palates with the incredible bento box creations of Sakurako Kitsa:

(Call me cynical, but I'm thinking that might not actually be her real name...)

An Note From Our Sponsors

This actual disclaimer (edited only to remove indentification details) runs before infomercials on our CW affiliate. Can you spot the grammatical error? The first person to correctly point it out in the comments wins a Baby Ruthless tote bag!

The goods or services advertised in the following program does not reflect the views or opinions of this station or its staff and management.