Tuesday, July 29

Also, guess who's used the word "diesel" fifty times today?

An excerpt from the Wikipedia entry on Mark Wahlberg:

He also made a workout video entitled The Marky Mark Workout: Form... Focus... Fitness. Although Wahlberg made several sexual references in the video, it was passed as exempt from classification because he was able to disguise them with hip hop slang. Notably, he says to a female participant before doing an exercise, 'If I get diesel (i.e. muscular), maybe I'll get some skins' (a reference to or of the labia).

Saturday, July 26

Taleb's Rules For Living

At the end of this hilarious profile of Nassim Nicholaus Taleb, author of Black Swan, is a list of Taleb's rules for living:

1. Skepticism is effortful and costly. It is better to be skeptical about matters of large consequences, and be imperfect, foolish and human in the small and the aesthetic.

2. Go to parties. You can’t even start to know what you may find on the envelope of serendipity. If you suffer from agoraphobia, send colleagues.

3. It’s not a good idea to take a forecast from someone wearing a tie. If possible, tease people who take themselves and their knowledge too seriously.

4. Wear your best for your execution and stand dignified. Your last recourse against randomness is how you act — if you can’t control outcomes, you can control the elegance of your behavior. You will always have the last word.

5. Don’t disturb complicated systems that have been around for a very long time. We don’t understand their logic. Don’t pollute the planet. Leave it the way we found it, regardless of scientific ‘evidence’.

6. Learn to fail with pride — and do so fast and cleanly. Maximize trial and error — by mastering the error part.

7. Avoid losers. If you hear someone use the words ‘impossible’, ‘never’, ‘too difficult’ too often, drop him or her from your social network. Never take ‘no’ for an answer (conversely, take most ‘yeses’ as ‘most probably’).

8. Don’t read newspapers for the news (just for the gossip and, of course, profiles of authors). The best filter to know if the news matters is if you hear it in cafes, restaurants... or (again) parties.

9. Hard work will get you a professorship or a BMW. You need both work and luck for a Booker, a Nobel or a private jet.

10. Answer e-mails from junior people before more senior ones. Junior people have further to go and tend to remember who slighted them.

Thursday, July 24

Bleak House

Starting next Monday, I'm beginning Charles Dickens' Bleak House. This is the thread where I'll be posting notes as I read the book. Here's the permanent address of this post:


As always, you can either bookmark it or subscribe to the post's RSS feed. If you'd like to read along and join the discussion, here are some links to online versions of the book:

Project Gutenberg
University of Adelaide (this version seems very readable)

You'll find the reading schedule I'll be following in the first comment of this thread, as well as links to the text.

Wednesday, July 23

Nerd Bait

I think this Screaming Meemies entry is a dig at Julia Allison, but if you don't know who that is, don't worry about it...the post makes a pretty good point regardless.

Affluenza: July 23

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



Bluelines, the website of the defunct MSL magazine, disappeared for a while, but they came back the other day with a new post promising new features and a new idea from Lena.

What was Lena's new idea? A few hours later, we found out.


Beautiful Phillip Lim shirt:


The picture doesn't do it justice...those aren't stripes, they're folds in the fabric.


The Pearwood Writing Desk:



The "Wow Jean, what a cowinkydink!" NotCot Caption Of The Week:

"Love this new Got Milk site! (yes, i found it from my own ads!)"



Check out these utterly gorgeous couture motorcycle helmets by Jérôme Coste


I gotta ask, though: it takes you SIX concussions before you start in on helmets???


Molly sends us the following reconnaissance report on YesStyle.com:

Hip and masculine: yes indeed!


Cute: anything by rootote.

An engrish baby t, and another.

Roborabbit. (Really diggin' the 'Googims' brand...check out the adorable animal t-shirts for fat babies! Then again, maybe it's the fat asian baby that makes them so cute. )

Dodostyle is taiwanese for 'adorable'.

Anna Sui scarf (meh)

A recommended gift "for him." This pendant will not ship to Zimbabwe or Tahiti.

Banana! Cheese! Eggplant! Donut!...Potty sniffy cutie??

Finally: there was a girl in my high school who went to Asia to become a model. She came back a year later with fabulous clothes and a drug problem. The PeopleStyle part of this site reminded me of that story. And also made me feel like I'm trolling for teens online or something.

Oh, and one more then i shut up: please just scroll through this. Very amusing fashions in there.

Thanks, Molly!

Monday, July 21

Done In 60 Seconds

[Friends: the first paragraph of this post is a little gross. I apologize.]

In the 90s, pornography vendors realized they had vast libraries of videos that could be edited, combined, and resold on DVD. This gave rise to the "money shot compilation," a DVD containing only the, um, conclusion of most porn scenes and none of the rote pneumatic grinding. These comps, many of them four or more hours long, were quite popular and--with virtually no overhead--enormously profitable. Many wondered if these signalled a new seismic shift in pornography: the rise of home video killed off the filmed story-based films of the 70s; would DVD comps destroy the market for even scene-based videos?

I told you that to tell you this:

Somebody should make four hour
"money shot compilations" of
makeover shows!

Wednesday, July 16

Affluenza: July 16

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


Being "eco-friendly" now includes painting a log, selling it for two hundred bucks, and flying it across the country. Take THAT, climate change! We're doing our part to save the Earth!


There's a line of expensive candles called BOUGIE? Seriously?


Oh man...that's, like, too good to be true...


An official Battlestar Galactica toaster concept:



Two things I hate--UO and Ben Sherman--combine to make an adorable car coat:



The This-Post-Sponsored-By-Babelfish NotCot Caption Of The Week:

"Voltaflex | New Body Parts | more an action using the human body false!"



Special correspondent Ben sent this one in, and I'm going to turn it over to him:

This is sort of a neat-ish idea, but with an ugly design a really stupid execution:


Now you're stuck with a clock surrounded by jagged broken glass as a reminder of your momentous decision!

A similar idea, but much better and low tech: daruma!


Wikipedia's description is wrong, though. When you start an endeavor, you fill in one eye at the beginning of your travails. You fill in the other eye once you have completed the task. (Switching it from hard work to luck is so fucking American, of course. "Make a wish!" Jesus.)

Thanks, Ben.


Alessi Orientales Lily Pond Sushi Set:


Hey, fitzsu too, pal...


Kudos to Design Milk for catching this:


I love RJupiter's comment: "
saw the design from this company years ago. interesting but nothing new." It's a giant penis-shaped chandelier. Have you really seen so many of those that you're jaded and bored by the very mention of them?


Molly caught this settee at Target:


From the site: "You don't have to be French royalty to make room for dapper and demure, just get furniture with fancy names." DON'T YOU TELL ME WHAT TO DO!


PICK OF THE WEEK: Nike's magnificent table tennis shoes:


Please note that the trim around the sole is the back of a table tennis paddle. Suh-weet! Ho boy, do I want a pair of these. My tweed Converses are starting to look a bit scruffy.

None of the sites that have featured this shoe have mentioned this, but Nike made footwear and accessories for all of the Olympic sports this year. Yep: every single one. I wonder if this is their table tennis entry, or some OTHER Nike table tennis shoe.


Kawaii Lagerfeld!


Believe it or not, you can get this at Urban Outfitters...there are also Michael Jackson and Ziggy Stardust shirts as well, but I can't find them.


These Pamela Johnson designs are quite fascinating, and AAAAGH! THAT MODEL! WHAT THE FUCK!




It's A Rock You Idiots:


Part of a continuing series?

Monkey Pack Him Rizla On The Sweet Dep Line

I caught UB40's Red Red Wine video today at the gym, and seen with adult eyes, it is fucking depressing:

Man, there is nothing more claustrophobic than the UK's pub culture. You know what? I know a place with only one bar, and everyone you've ever known goes to it every night of the week because there's nothing else to do, and oh yeah it closes at 10 pm. It's called Hickory, North Carolina.

Okay, I'll admit that the end of the video is actually kind of touching; then again, I have huge daddy issues. I'm totally not kidding when I say that I absolutely love the father's look at around the 2:30 mark: high-waisted pants, an undershirt, thin canvas braces, gumboots, a pipe (!), and two killer Cockney pit bulls on a chain.

I write about fashion occasionally on here--and a lot more on my "teen's only!" blog--but I have the sinking feeling that of all the outfits I've ever written about, this is the one that I stand the most chance of pulling off.

If you see me soon and I'm dressed like Keith Talent, you'll know that I've accepted my sartorial fate. Awright, geeza...it's me new look, innit? Sorted, mate.

Sunday, July 13

Book Club Update

A few of you have asked me what I'll be reading in the future for the Book Club feature. The truth is: it's up to you. Well, within reason.

I usually don't have much of a clue what I'm gonna read next; like most people, I allow luck, my unread stack, and vague longings dictate which book I pick up next. My original idea for 2008 was to read all the famously huge books in one go: Moby Dick, War And Peace, Don Quixote, and at least the first volume of Proust. That plan sorta went out the window after Moby Dick, as I started my Jane Austen and then my Shakespeare regimens. And I'd wouldn't be Johnny if I didn't spend way too much time constructing elaborate self-improvement plans that I immediately abandon. (See also.)

However, like a lot of serious readers, I've had a list of classics that I want to eventually work through over the course of my lifetime. I've gotten a bit more serious about it lately--shades of mortality, perhaps, for our ruthless baby?--and that's one of the reasons I've been doing the Book Club here.

Anyway, the list is too long to put up on the front page, so I've cleverly hidden it in the archives:

Books I Want To Get Around To Reading One Day, so that as the EMTs work on me my last thought in this world will be self-loathing disappointment that I didn't ever finish a fucking Faulkner novel.

My point is, if you see a book on that list you'd like to read, and you'd like to read it along with me and post comments about it here, just email me. I'm pretty much up for anything on the list.

Oh, and since everyone loves to argue about lists, please note that I don't consider those books to be anything like a canon: Anna Karenina isn't on it because I've already read it. Lolita is on it because I want to read it again. And so on.

Oh wait! After I finish the boring and complicated King John, we're going to be starting Dickens' Bleak House. It'll probably early this week. Someone has already told me they'd read it with me--ha ha, I fell for it again--so if you're interested at all, please let me know. Think about how virtuous you'll feel when you finish a 900-page Victorian novel. And, dang, your friends will be jealous.

Saturday, July 12

King John

Next up on my Shakespeare regimen is King John, the earliest chronologically of his histories. Never heard of it? Yeah, neither had I. Apparently it's not very good.

(I'll let you decide what "not very good" means in the context of a play by Shakespeare.)

Usually in these posts I put in a reading schedule and links to online editions, in the vain idea that someone might actually read along and join in the discussion. I'm not doing that this time because 1. who are we kidding? and 2. I've already read the first Act and oh boy is it boring.

As usual, however, I'll be posting notes in this thread as I read the play. Here's the permanent address of this post:


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

Design Won't Save The World

I know I linked to this in Affluenza this week, but I wanted to reprint it here for posterity.

Wednesday, July 9

Affluenza: July 9

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


Extra points deducted for "cleverness."


All-Wax Candle:



Rosendahl Digital Watch:

https://mca.destra.com/store/view.asp?pID=207 (Thanks, M. Thyme!)

I never thought I'd say this, but I like that animated menu, too.


Mike & Chris make yet another Affluenza appearance with this lovely top, called for some reason "Pacey In Smoked Taupe."


This entry should prove once and for all I don't just feature clothes because I'm attracted to the models. Who's her agent, Jim Henson?

Speaking of iffy models, I also like Heidi Merrick's fall 2008 line:



Always happy to see a new toaster concept:


Still holding my breath for the toaster concept made out of a log, which browns bread using an open flame...


The ingenious Bubble Calendar:





My thoughts exactly!

Wednesday, July 2

Affluenza: July 2

Marian Bantjes has converted a Nigerian scam email into a gorgeous and intricate print:



Look at these incredible Roberts radio:


British, of course.


Feed your dog out of the emptied carcass of a dead pig!




Ant-shaped salt and pepper shakers for your next picnic:



A preview of Richard Chai's new GO line for Target:



Hello, gorgeous:


But why saddle such a gorgeous bike with such a stupid name? Unless it was named after legendary street fighter Lenny Mclean:



A dry erase refrigerator:



An official Barbie doll is about to be released that's based on Hitchcock's The Birds:


Hey, did her and Ken ever get back together?



Swiss Medicine Box:


Tuesday, July 1

"Great music that won't be soon forgotten by anyone who's heard them. "

An anonymous tipster urged me to look up Pitchfork's decade-old 9.5 review of that Save Ferris album.

A Midsummer's Night Dream

Wow, I really enjoyed Othello, which was surprising. I knew I'd like it, of course--duh--but more in the "I can't wait to brag about having read this" way, not in the "Holy shit, I'm really enjoying this" way.

So for the comedy this time out I thought I'd do A Midsummer Night's Dream because, you know, it's midsummer. But then I remembered that the Elizabethans believed you had weird dreams on midsummer's night (June 21), and that the title of the play is a reference to that, not to when the play takes place. But, eh, I already bought a copy of the book.

This is the thread where I'll be posting notes as I read the play. 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, as well as links to the text. We start Thursday.

WAIT! Even if you don't follow along with the book or the notes, don't miss this astounding edition of Midsummer, illustrated by Arthur Rackham.