Thursday, May 31, 2007

Mmmm, Corgi...

Great little tidbit in today's news that especially caught my eye since I, just like the Queen of England, am a lover of that breed of dog called corgi. English performance artist Mark McGowan has eaten one, in meatball form minced with apples and onions, to draw attention to cruel hunting practices of Prince Philip and members of the royal family.

Don't worry, the corgi in question was one that died of natural causes at a breeder's farm. Not surprisingly, McGowan, who is ordinarily a vegetarian, found his dinner to be "really, really, really disgusting." Personally, I would not have gone the meatball route with that corgi. I would have turned him into a Cawl Cennin or Pastai Gig Oen or a Gwledd Y Cybudd, it being a Welsh dog, it would taste best with a Welsh preparation.

Anyway, check out BBC coverage here.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

To Quote Kelly LeBrock, The Party's Over

Since R2B2 is in too much of a blind rage over the creation museum to discuss her vacation in the empire state of the south, i'll begin. We had the WORST time. Awful!

Psych! (or, if you prefer, Not!) It was fully slawesome. Here is what we did.

1. zoo - amazing baby panda viewing, a mona monkey with three legs, a t-shirt that used the reese's logo but says jesus (see photo), a mexican dude with a trashy white girl who answered his phone like this: "Cocay? Yeah, I gotchew.", and, for the 2nd time in a row for me, a bunch of people who don't know the difference between a leopard and a tiger. The zoo is an excellent place to become acquainted with hos dumb people really are.

2. Wren's Nest - home of Joel Chandler Harris, who recorded the Uncle Remus stories. You know, Br'er Rabbit, Tar Babies, etc. I always thought he actually wrote the stories and was a classic example of old scholl southern racism, eg the black lady in tom & jerry. not so. he was a poor bastard, literally, with a stutter, grew up on a farm and was shunned due to the single mom, so he bonded with the slaves and the old guys would tell him these stories. and he was best friends with mark twain and tight with Teddy R. as well. anyway his great great grandson gave the tour and it was cool.

3. drove thru morehouse and spelman. did you know howard zinn taught at morehouse?

4. cyclorama. world's longest painting. depicts the first day of sherman's march on atlanta. it's in a round room and you rotate. has diorama elements too. saw a little redneck kid racing around in a grey confederate soldier hat waving the flag. the rebel flag. our tour lady said wpa stood for work project administration. it took all my strength to not correct her. dumbass. she is sending people out into the world being wrong about something. i bought some confederate rifle pens. they write real nice.

5. buford highway farmers market. craziest place on earth. half central american, half asian, and all chaos. r2b2 most impressed.

6. carter center. awesome. we love JC.

7. hot fuzz. funny.

next up, what we ate.

What's Weird About Atlanta?

What isn't!

Just kidding! I had a lovely time visiting Russ, Bunches, and the rest of the fam. Everyone in NYC keeps asking me if it was hot. It was not! And it wasn't nearly as white or pudgy as I had been led to believe.

The highlights were BBQ at the Swallow at the Hollow (which I could have sworn everyone was calling "Swallow IN the Hollow?); the Wren's Nest Museum; our thwarted attempt to check out the redneck laser show at Stone Mountain, the Cyclorama, and the Buford Highway Farmer's Market a gigantic market selling mainly Korean and Latino foodstuffs. They say if you take all of their jars of kimchee and rearrange them in a straight line, it will stretch all the way to Mars. Believe it or not! Also, we watched Idiocracy which is one of the funniest movies I've seen in years. Oh, and this little bugger.

The return home entailed a rude awakening of heat, humidity, body odor, and an empty bottle of sexual enhancement pills rolling around the floor of the Q33. Viva the squalor that is New York City.

Prepare to Believe!

Pop quiz time, kiddies.

Dinosaurs were
a) created by God on the 6th day
b) residents of the Garden of Eden, alongside Adam and Eve
c) vegetarians until Adam fucked everything up for everyone

The answer is all of the above according to Answers in Genesis Ministry and they have a flashy new museum to prove it, complete with the catchy catchphrase "Prepare to Believe." The Creation Museum, located in Petersburg, Kentucky, just a few miles from Cincinnati, clocks in at 60,000 square feet of high-concept exhibits, including animatronic displays, video screens, tableaus, and even a planetarium (God loves stars, too).

You might say that the $27 million dollar investment in getting the museum up and running seems excessive. Aren't these Christian freaks just preaching to the choir (har)? But in a world where ideology trumps reason, more and more people are open to Creationism. Half of those polled in a 2006 Gallup poll said they believe that humans did not evolve. And three of the ten Republican presidential candidates have said they don’t believe in the evil-ution. And supposedly, most of the contributions to fund the museum came from families donating $100 or less—that’s a shitload of Christians!

Present these ideas in a slick “museum” that’s The Ten Commandments meets The Flinstones meets Jurassic Park, and these evangelicals will fool even more people into thinking that there’s legitimacy behind the pseudo-science. The exhibits were created by a former designer for Universal Studios, Patrick Marsh, who, in addition to being a Christian freak, is also a bigot, as evidenced in this choice tidbit from The Guardian. When asked about the existence of early human fossils, Marsh says, "There are no such things. Humans are basically as you see them today. Those skeletons they've found, what's the word? ... they could have been deformed, diseased or something. I've seen people like that running round the streets of New York."

Anyway, if you have no plans to visit lovely Cincinnati anytime soon, you can check out Answers in Genesis’ renderings in their walk-through slideshow. Plus some hilarious and frightening photos culled from the web.

And here's some funny scary stuff from the museum's site:
The Creation Museum will be upfront that the Bible is the supreme authority in all matters of faith and practice, and in every area it touches upon.

We’ll begin the Museum experience by showing that “facts” don’t speak for themselves. There aren’t separate sets of “evidences” for evolution and creation—we all deal with the same evidence (we all live on the same earth, have the same fossils, observe the same animals, etc.). The difference lies in how we interpret what we study. We’ll then explore why the Bible—the “history book of the universe”—provides a reliable, eye-witness account of the beginning of all things.

After that, we'll take guests on a journey through a visual presentation of the history of the world, based on the “7 C’s of History”: Creation, Corruption, Catastrophe, Confusion, Christ, Cross, Consummation. Throughout this family-friendly experience, guests will learn how to answer the attacks on the Bible’s authority in geology, biology, anthropology, cosmology, etc., and they will discover how science actually confirms biblical history.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

The Big Day is Finally Here!

May 24, 2007: The day that R2B2 makes her Atlanta - and Southeastern US - debut! Sophia, Orangello and I are REALLY excited. Stay tuned for exciting tales of our adventures.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

I Like to Ride My Bicycle

Thar she blows! My shiny new bicycle. I've christened it Buttercup II, named after the original Buttercup, a Salvation Army couch Sparky and I purchased in the twilight of its life circa 1997. May Buttercup II also live a long and fruitful life (and not end up almost breaking into two pieces a la Buttercup I).

My last bike, a monstrous poo brown cruiser, I rode around Prospect Park from time to time, but I'm more serious about Buttercup II. I've even been riding it to work a couple days a week. Which necessitated buying a basket and a helmet and a trusty lock and looking at a map with bike lanes, all of which has introduced me to the weirdness that is NYC bike culture.

Bike shops are run by bike freaks and stores tend to have their own personality. One store has the pervey guy that hits on ladies, another is full of surly punk rock types that really should be working at a record store. I got my bike from a shop full of nerrrds, just the way I like them.

Biker hostility sets in almost instantaneously. Once I made the mistake of using the bike path to cross the Manhattan Bridge. Literally, every single biker snidely pointed out that the pedestrian path was on the other side of the bridge. I've been trying to suppress such sentiments, but it's trying, especially on the Brooklyn Bridge where there's an excess of particularly unsavory types: tourists who veer into the bike lane in an unpredictable manner; granted, the skyline on the bike side looks uptown and is far cooler than the peddy side.

Biker chit chat consists of strangers, with or without bikes, who want to talk to you about your bike. Several (insane) middle aged women paying their compliments, a guy in my building who jokingly asked if I would share with him, a guy on the street who asked me where I got my blinky tail light. Note that I can count the number of people in my 'hood who've made any effort to talk to me on two hands. Perhaps Buttercup II is an ambassador of goodwill who will conquer the racial divide?

This Buying Weird Shit in Quantities of Three is Getting a Little Creepy

Hot on the heels of my purchase of three Bill Richardson bumper stickers (by the way, I already made that convert for sticker #3 - a similarly enraged co-worker is all about Bill thanks to my prattling on about him), I for some strange reason purchased this afternoon not one, not two, but three thermodynamic drinking birds (see above picture). Let me point out that I had no idea what the proper name for these is and I challenge all of you to try to google them and actually find something even close to it. I had no idea how to describe what it was I wanted. Bird drinking cocktail? Drinking bird? Drinking bird top hat? It did not help that for the first 1/2 hour or so I was convinced it was a duck, so try all of the above with duck instead of bird.

Proving once again that photographic memory of every single Simpsons episode is actually a good thing, I recalled that Homer uses one of these things to work the computer for him in the epsiode where he intentionally becomes obese in order to work from home on disability. Fortunately there are scores of losers who not only remember every epsiode but are dorky enough to write about them endlessly on line, and I soon found my way, via an episode recap, to the money phrase "drinking bird toy." Four minutes later, I had purchased three of them. I chalk this up to a new romance I have going on with PayPal. But that's a story that deserves its own entry.

An aside - Question of the day: Why do I always have to drop the kids off when I sit down to bog? Does anyone else find blogging to be a laxative?

Monday, May 21, 2007

Attack of the Weird, Instructive Cartoons

First, check out this bizarro PSA in this morning's Metro. Straight out of 1974 and weird on so many levels, right?

Then I got this pamphlet in the mail from ConEdison, no doubt related to last summer's ginormous blackout in Queens. One of the findings of the investigation, which took like nine months, was that ConEd can't determine the scope of a power outage on its own. The pamphlet advises you to call Coned if you lose power, even if your neighbors have already contacted them. So I guess it's up to us— and livery drivers—to take care of business.

I love how the man and dog in the PSA are so happy and the ConEd man and cat are sad. :( :| :(

It's Official!!! My Mind is Made Up!!!!

I am 100% Bill Richardson, all the way. I actually decided this a few weeks ago but he hadn't declared so I had to keep, as we say in yiddish circles, shtum. But today, joy upon joy, it's official so I am too. Man, I am ALL OVER this guy. I have a friend profile on his website, even. The only one in Marietta, GA - shockingly!!!!!! I am seriously in love, can't stress it enough, he is super double awesome with hot fudge and butterscoth on top (no nuts or cherries b/c I don't like those, but he may have those for you guys...). He has experience (sorry Obama), isn't scarily divisive (sorry Hill), doesn't have that smarmy used car salesman vibe (sorry Supercuts), is smart, tall (come on, it fucking matters),is a diplomat, has an excellent record on both choice and gay rights, comes from a border state with a huge immigrant Hispanic population (eg he can look all these racist fuckers in the eye and say they know nothing about the issue compared to him), IS fucking Hispanic for god's sake (how cool would it be if we had not the first FEMALE president, no the first BLACK president...but the first Hispanic President! Sneak attack minority!!! Oh sorry R2B2 - as you always say - Asians, just watching...), is tough, is plain spoken, is not exactly bad looking although people will be tobogganing merrily down the slopes of hell before i get hot for a politician. Plus he declared today and is already through the 10% barrier in Iowa and NH. Iowa! Red-assed Iowa!

I am officially saying it: I am BUMPER STICKER EXCITED. Stay tuned for a photo of my bumber sticker. Seriously, this is reminding me of '92 when I volunteered for Slick Willie's campaign.

OK, I just took a mid-sentence break and ordered 3 bumper stikers that say "Brains - Guts - Experience: Bill Richardson '08". I will take a pic when they arrive (I got three, one for each of our cars and one to foist on my first convert). I will give $50 when I have $ (eg next paycheck; currently I have R2B2 visit-related plans for my $$$...sorry Bill but a girl's gotta have priorties).

Separated at Birth: Marianne Pearl and Jaye Davidson

Everyone is talking about how Thandie Newton should have played Marianne Pearl, not Angelina Jolie (on the grounds that Angelina is white and blackface is, like, SO 1930's). Personally I am of the opinion that Thandie Newton couldn't convincingly act surprised at a surprise party she had accidentally found out about beforehand. Jaye Davidson, on the other hand, was extrmely convincing as tormented tranny Dil in The Crying Gme - and happens to look EXACTLY like Marianne Pearl!!!!

No, Jimmy, Don't Back Down!!!

I just read that Jimmy Carter went on the Today Show this morning and apologized for saying awesome and true shit about W over the weekend. Why, Jimmy, why???? You tells it like it is, Peanut. And I love you for it. You are right 99% of the time (Clinton shouldn't have pardoned Rich, Blair is an unspeakable toady, religion is too powerful in politics today, Bush is a dangerous fucking moron). So don't back down! I demand a retraction of this retraction!!

In other JC news, R2B2 is making her Atanta debut this coming weekend and I'm sure we will be making a pilgrimage to the Carter Center, of which I am a card-carrying member.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Oh, So That's How You Do It

I was farting around on Amazon and found this little gem. Following is my favorite of the Reader Reviews:

Nathaniel Ng says: "Personally, I am an Asian man. And by Asian, I mean Asian. When I got this book, I realized the error of my white-woman-hunting-ways. Now that I've seen the light, I can lure them in like moths to the fire. THANKS Adam Quan! My love life is more bubbly than a 100 degree pot in high altitude."

Phew. I thought by Asian, he meant Cossack.

And, more bizarrely:

Crazy Ed of Cupertino, CA says "I personally found the book lacking in what I like to call "chutzpah"."

Um...okay. I believe this marks the first-ever incident of an Asian man stating a preference for the word "chutzpah." Perhaps he is specifically trying to attract Jewish women? Oy vey. No wonder they call him Crazy.

Finally, I would like to add my own nugget of wisdom to this topic: If you have a book like this, hide it before you take your date home. I almost lost my husband when he saw my copy of "How to Attract Drunken Northern Irishmen Ten Years Your Senior."

***Note: Amazon says that people who bought "How to Date a White Woman" also bought "How to Attract Asian Women." Not that a dude can't like me and R2B2, but it seems an odd combo to be ordering. Whoever bought both, I recommend you pay special attention to my warning above regarding hiding the book, lest your interest in either race seem insincere.

More Malfeasance at the BPL

Why is it every time I go to the library, something crazy happens?

Last night I was accosted by some kid (high school? college?) who said he was a student writing a report on Communism. He wanted to know whether, in the end, Communism was good or bad for China. I started rattling off my opinions (complicated question, look at China's dynastic history, context of the socio-economic situation under feudalism, hundreds of thousands of lives ruined due to Mao's misguided policies, the people used as political pawns, blah blah). In the beginning of our conversation he seemed to listen politely, or, I should say, played dumb. He said he had read a little about Communism but didn't know much about how it was actually practiced in China.

Then I noticed he's holding a piece of paper printed with the hammer & the sickle. I asked him what it was for, but he dismissed the question. Then he starts accusing me of interpreting everything from a Western point of view and insisting that if people went so ga-ga over Mao, he couldn't have possibly been doing anything that wrong. Turns out this kid's a young Communist and even has some Chinese characters (which I was ridiculed for being unable to string together) tattooed on his arm that supposedly quote a Mao aphrorism. He lectures me for a while on the necessary sacrifice of individuals in order to benefit society as a whole before I say I have to go check out some books ("Money Making for Gazillionaires" and "Keeping the Man Up and the Masses Down").

I really wanted to say, "I read Marx and Engels while you were going poo poo in your diaper." But I recognize it would have done nothing to keep him from thinking that I'm a) old and b) of soft opinion.

I've been making Sparky play this game with me lately that goes something like this: At a rock show, standing really close to the stage but surrounded by 25 year olds, I ask, "Do you feel old or young?" It's not much of a game, really, because the answer is invariably "old." My feeling after my conversation with Mr. Junior Pinko was beyond old. At least this visit to the BPL didn't involve any porn.

I Actually Believed that Me and You Could be a Couple Someday

A couple copies of this jilted lover's letter were taped to the wall of my lobby. A few hours later, they were on the ground.

I sympathize with you, girl! Don't take any more of his shit!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Granola-Induced Trauma

Maybe some of you don't find cereal to be particularly zeitgeist-y, let alone interesting, but this is serious business! My cereal has gone upscale and my life will never be the same. I feel like I've lost a faithful, crunchy, and nutritious friend.

I've been obsessively eating the same cereal—Back to Nature Raisin Granola (don't bother with the other flavors)—for the past eight months or so. Sometimes I'll even eat it for lunch or dinner. With a little soy milk, it goes down real smooth. I've never been much of a breakfaster, but this cereal made me change my tune. Which is curious, because it doesn't even taste good. It's kind of bland, and a little too chewy, with uneven raisin distribution, and middling fiber content (13%).

I think I was initially drawn to the packaging which was so much less flashy against the other sporty looking granolas. But check out the photo! The new bag looks exactly like every single other product on the shelf with the clear window and the stupid "freshslide" closure (a big chunk of plastic that'll be tossed out in a matter of days). It's completely distressing!

And check out the inset. They moved the no-artificial-ingredient blurb up to the most prominent position, added the whole grain reference, and totally expunged any mention of protein or fiber. Is fiber too 80's a food concept? They would never market something called Fruit & Fiber nowadays, that's for sure. But how can we throw it aside so casually? Colons around the globe must be groaning in protest.

Anyway, the most infuriating part about all of this is that the new bag is 1.5 ounces lighter, but notice how it's very slyly designed to look much bigger. AND it costs $1.60 more. If I'm going to pay that kind of price, I may as well buy one of those yuppie brands that actually tastes good.

I think I'm going to wean myself off Back to Nature in favor of this raisin bran I discovered just the other day (Skinner's!). They've got a marketing strategy I can live with.

Separated at Birth: Paul Wolfowitz & Mandy Patinkin

Goodbye Reverend Falwell!!!

I am not one to gloat about the passing of others. Wait, nevermind, I totally am. But I'll let my mother take this one:

"Right about now, Jerry Falwell is discovering that God is really an angry, militant Lesbian from the Projects, with 6 kids (from being raped and unable to get an abortion) and he has got some splainin' to do!!!!"

I wonder where I get my politics from???

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Where in the World Was Russ Sandiego?

Apologies to the many, many faithful readers of Zeitgeist-y. I have been AWOL and not posted in over a week. Shocking!!!!! Horrific! I have, however, got a really good excuse. June 8 will mark the public debut of the art of Russell. That's right, someone other than my family and friends likes my collages, and I will be included in the Atlanta Biennial Talent Show at the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center, June 8- August 10. Not only will I have 5-6 pieces in the show, one of my works has also been chosen as the image for the show. This is all super cool and very unexpected, but I have passed from the excited phase and entered the freaking out phase. I am in the show with about 20 other artists, all of whom are actual serious professionals. I have a lot of work to do - framing, printing, perfecting, selecting, etc. Hence the lack of blogging. Sorry. I'm back. Ish.

There's A First Time for Everything

And today would mark the first time that I have ever, ever, ever seen John Ashcroft as being the good guy. Ever!!!!

I am referring, of course, to my bete noire, Alberto "Got Some Splainin' To Do" Gonzales, specifically to the news that he, while still a White House aide, forced his way into a direly ill Ashcroft's hospital room to attempt to bully him into renewing the domestic surveilance program (allegedly, supposedly...whatever, it's true). I am emerging from an extended period of extreme busy-ness-induced non-blogging to once again optimistically ask if this could really, truly be the end of Alberto.

Meanwhile, that other resident of Teflonia, Paul Wolfowitz, similarly continues to hang tough. I am waiting for he and Alberto to interrupt the American Idol results show and gang rape Elmo on live TV, since that is apparently what is required for either of these fuckers to lose their jobs. And it would be the interruption of Idol, not the violation of Elmo, that would probably cause the biggest outcry.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Spring Temps Hit the 'Hood

Finally the weather's warm, and we're enjoying a real spring, as in SPRING! You know, that season that traditionally falls between winter and summer? More often than not the temperature seems to jump directly from 58 to 88 over the course of three days.

I've already posted a little bit about the kind of funny behavior you see at this time of year amongst the freaks that populate our fair city of Nueva York.

My own happy little corner of Brooklyn (hint: rhymes with "Frown Fights") has its own set of identifiers that herald the arrival of warmer climes. I love traditions, don't you?

1. New meat plan signs posted in window of butcher shop

2. Increased early morning loitering, higher incidence of newspapers being removed from box and strewn on the ground

3. Shiny new sneakers all around

4. Stem-laden dime bags of schwag can be purchased directly on the street instead of inside the "chicken spot"

5. Return of outdoor fish salesman positioned in front of $.99 cent store

6. More catcalling

7. Random gunfire

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Webster Hole

I've got another case for the Unsolveable Mystery file. Today's question is: Why does the bathroom at Webster Hall double as a concession stand? Does urination give you the munchies? Perhaps you crave a post-elimination snack? Thank god you can lay your hands on a bag of Combos post haste in between musical acts. Talk about killing two birds with one stone.

I made this gruesome discovery a couple nights ago when Sparky and I hit Webster Hall for the Blonde Redhead show (they rocked, as if there was any doubt in your mind!). It's been a few years since I've been there, and it seems that my dirty-bathroom phobia has only intensified in the interim.

The ladies' wasn't completely filthy, but it already reeked of pee pee by 9pm when the opening band had only just gone on! Imagine the odors come midnight! Good thing the $7 price tag on Heineken precluded me from further investigation.

The floor looked dry enough, so I only checked to see that my shoes were tied before venturing into a stall (I've been known to roll my pants up to my knees when faced with a suspiciously damp floor.) The bathroom was quite dark—so as to better hide traces of you-know-what?!—but there was a demonic reddish cast to the lighting, plus spotlights in each stall angled to shine directly into the toilet bowl!

When I exited my stall, I saw that there was a bathroom attendant charged with hand delivering paper towels and running a fully stocked concession stand— potato chips, candy bars, M&M's, you name it. Yuck, yuck, yuck. Surely there must be some law on the books to prevent bathroom-based food service?

Anyway, I tried to put the whole thing out of my mind so I could focus on BRH's musical stylings. The one nice thing about Webster Hall is its size; it's a pretty small venue. But apparently the management thinks it's still too big, or thinks we're too lazy, to access the bar at the back of the hall so they actually employ someone to sell cans of beer out of a gigantic bus tub. It wasn't so much distracting as it was disturbing. It's not like at a baseball stadium where the hotdog seller walks up and down the stairs. This guy had to weave in and out of crowds of people who paid money to enjoy the show and are probably already miffed about the exhorbitantly priced crap beer. Needless to say, I didn't see a single beer sold, so he probably saw little in the way of tips for the night.

I keep this mental tally of depressing jobs I'd never want to do and for some reason it involves a lot of service jobs in performance centers. Cocktail waitressing at Hammerstein Ballroom used to top the list, followed closely by ushering in the vertiginous upper reaches of Lincoln Center (I would fall and crack my head open on day one). Beer sales and paper towel/potato chip dispenser at Webster Hall blow both of them way out of the water.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Silly Cat Picture Starring Orangello

Apparently there was a ghost in the house last night that only Orangello could see!!!

Friday, May 4, 2007

The Real Dark Side of Spider-Man

Spider-Man 3 releases this weekend and internet ticket sales are already booming, fueling the fire that is the Hollywood beast. I admit that I enjoy a blockbuster movie from time to time. What can I say? I love car chases. I even enjoyed Spider-Man 1; number 2, not so much. I don't care much for comics but the archetypal superhero personality has its own appeal: psychologically scarred from some past wrong, intensely obsessive and secretive, an all-around societal misfit, really creepy and weird, when it comes down to it, but you can't pick a beef with a guy who devotes his life to fighting injustice. (My favorite superhero: the Incredible Hulk, of course. I relate to his rage.)

Speaking of injustice, insiders say that Sony spent $350 million on production and another $150 on marketing for Spider-Man 3. $500 million dollars! They expect to draw in at least as much as Spidey 2's $800 million in ticket sales. Plus, sales of related merchandise and DVDs will send profits even further over the top.

The method in which Hollywood makes and markets blockbuster movies is disgusting, but what's particularly infuriating in this case is that Spidey 3 is getting tepid reviews. How can you spend that much money and make a movie that disappoints?

Actually, what's more infuriating is the $150 million marketing campaign. $150 million dollars! If you manage to block out the constant media hype, you still have to contend with tie-ins courtesy of Target, 7-Eleven, and others.

Anyway, check out some of these excerpted nuggets from a story in the Hollywood Reporter. The quotes from the marketing execs, making an earnest effort to talk intelligently about their idiotic ad campaigns, are pretty hilarious.

"Spider-Man 3" has cast a superhero-size $100 million promotional web with four of the film's seven tie-in partners -- General Mills, Kraft, Burger King and Comcast -- airing custom spots, many of which were produced in-house at Sony Pictures with the help of the studio.

According to George Leon, executive vp worldwide consumer marketing at Sony Pictures, the dedicated spots reflect the same "aspirational" themes of the movie and the studio's own multimillion-dollar marketing campaign. "We worked hand in hand with our partners to create these spots," he said. "It really helps us meet our own objectives, too. The custom-made spots are all about the consumer aspiring to be Spider-Man. A lot of our creative took that tone. We encouraged our partners to really look at the aspirational values of our movie and interpret that within their own world."

Comcast's commercial features a man dressed in a Spider-Man suit (minus the mask) sitting in his apartment decorated with framed Spider-Man posters, action figures and busts interviewing a prospective roommate. There's even a dog donning a Spider-Man mask and garb.

General Mills' commercial for Trix cereal features the Trix rabbit dressed up as Spider-Man, with kids following him around until they unmask him and discover he's really the Trix rabbit.

And Kraft's spot for Cheese Nips shows two boys watching "Spider-Man 3" in a theater, shooting webs back and forth to grab the Cheese Nips box from each other until a web darts out of the movie screen to grab the Cheese Nips from both of them.

"When we talk to consumers about why they like Spider-Man, it really is this idea of an ordinary guy who can do extraordinary things," said Putney Cloos, senior associate brand manager for Cheese Nips. "Showing kids shooting webs is a great way to bring that core consumer insight to life," she said, noting that the Cheese Nips spot was created by ad agency Ogilvy & Mather.

Burger King's five-week adult-targeted promotion, which launches Monday, also reflects the aspirational themes of Sony's marketing campaign, taking it even a step further by giving customers the chance to choose between traditional red-and-blue Spidey and the new black-suited Spidey from the latest film in the franchise.

The Burger King campaign centers on a "Which Spidey Suits You?" scratch-and-win game in which customers choose to reveal what's behind either red-and-blue or black Spidey. Customers have a 50% chance of winning every time they play, with a prize behind one of the two scratch-off areas on each game piece. Top prizes include a $1 million American Express gift card and a 2007 Maserati Quattroporte Sport GT.

"Our goal was to create a game that would deliver the excitement of 'Spider-Man 3' directly to our guests," said Brian Gies, vp marketing impact at Burger King. "It takes the thrill of Peter Parker's own internal conflict and his struggle to choose between his classic red-and-blue Spider-Man suit or his new black suit and puts that choice right into our guests' hands to then have a one-in-two chance of winning millions of prizes if they choose correctly."

Moody Hormonal Bitches Can't Be Leaders

"She's not in a good mood this morning...I am waiting serenely for the French people's choice."

That's Nicholas Sarkozy in an interview with French Radio this morning, responding to Segolene Royal's comment that he would be a dangerous choice of leader for France, potentially plunging the country into violence due to his extreme and divisive stance on immigration and minorities. Then she compared him to W. Ouch.

So is she "playing politics"? Unfairly characterizing him?? Oh no, wait, she has a vagina, so her comments must be nothing to do with the fact that they are running against each other in a heated race for the leadership of a major European nation, or the fact that Sarkozy won't even visit or campaign in certain parts of France for fear of death threats resulting from his handling of last year's riots - no, she has a vagina, so she must be in a bad mood.

Meanwhile, the rational, even-tempered, fair-minded penis that wants to further polarize a French nation on the brink of implosion waits serenely for his people to tell him that he no longer has to deal with this crazy, hromonal bitch.
What a relief that will be to him.

I guess all those alienated young minority men in the Banlieus - confronting unemployment rates triple that in the rest of France, living in dilapidated, rat-infested Le Courbusier housing - aren't really pissed off. They just have their periods.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Mayday! Mayday!

I left the office this evening to be greeted by a thin brown trickle of people marching down Broadway, one of many immigrant rights rallies that took place across the country. The participants seemed chipper enough, but turnout was not good. At that big April rally last year, Broadway was so crammed full of people that even I got caught up in the spirit and marched along. We were packed together like sardines; I spent the whole time worrying that the guy in front of me was going to poke my eye out with his miniature Ecuadorian flag. This year, protestors took up only half of a lane of traffic, and there were some unsightly pockets of empty space between the different civic organizations and groups of friends that marched together. If you know me, you know that gaps are the one thing I can't abide at a protest. I thought about joining in this year, but it was just kind of sad; I felt a little dispirited.

Still, even if the protest didn't whip the media into a frenzy, and even though I oh so hypocritically declined to contribute, the sight of the rally made me a little teary. I love civil disobedience, and what better day to petition for immigrants (workers!) rights than on May 1—May Day? In many parts of the world, including our fair country at one point in the not so distant past, May Day is a pinko celebration of labor, a day to advocate for rights for the working class. Sadly, nowadays we pretty well ignore it.

We don't care much for workers, or at least we don't pay much attention to whether they (we!) work under safe conditions and earn a living wage. Even in a so-called liberal city like New York, people are generally unsympathetic to the cause. Here, a perfect stranger will chide you for leaving your golden retriever tied up to a post for five minutes but will march straight through a picket line to eat at some Euro-trashy SoHo restaurant. You rarely hear about such protests in the news, but they do happen. The one group that receives consistent press is the New York Taxi Workers' Alliance. It seems to have real bargaining power, but maybe that's only because taxis are visible, in contrast to sweatshop workers or dishwashers who toil away behind the scenes. The NYTWA isn't even a union. We really despise unions! Do you remember some of the things people said during last year's MTA strike? Duh, I wish I could make that much money. Duh, I wish I could go on strike and get a raise. Maybe you should quit your cushy desk job and work construction in a very loud, dank tunnel. What could possibly go wrong down there?

Pardon my rant. Getting back to May Day... We Americans opted instead to promote Labor Day, May Day's toothless, insipid Septemberish cousin. Here's a day we commemorate by taking a little vacation or buying a refrigerator at an appliance sale, two activities that hardly put you in the mood to rail against the man. Even anarchists would feel compelled to tone down their behavior at a clambake.

Well, my friends, another May Day has passed without any improvement to our working lives. Toil, toil, toil... boo hoo hoo. I hope you devoted a fair portion of your day to cursing your job to hell. You know I did.