It's shaping up to be a glorious opening day for Major League baseball, you have the Giants vs. Diamondbacks, Mets vs. Nationals, Red Sock vs. Orioles, Cardinals vs. Reds, Rays vs. Blue Jays, etc. Alex Rodriguez is suspended the entire season as a result of his doping scandal, Pete Rose, An American Dilemma debuted earlier this month, all the while Phiten partnered with Smack Sportswear to reach it's yearly high on the NYSE (SMACK).
Over the past few years, rope necklaces have entered the baseball field. These are not the rainbow beaded necklaces found at raves or the ugly hemp necklaces found at a Grateful Dead shows, but specialized sports technology. Most likely prescribed for endorsement checks, these necklaces supposedly serve a higher purpose. Now it is blatantly obvious, professional athletes are Gods among men, and don't necessarily have to adhere to rules of human decency nor the regulations governing professional sports. They're immune to common sense, thus making them blind and susceptible to risk such the obvious of playing sports while wearing a noose. Take for example A-Rod and Lance Armstrong, they risked their lives via multiple blood transfusions just to pee clean, pass roid tests, bike faster, throw harder, and get the money.
Historically speaking professional athletes have believed in the the psychosomatic benefits of lucky charms such as Michael Jordan's lucky shorts, Turk Wendell's tooth necklace, or eating candy and chicken before a game. Phiten is a Japanese sports technology company who have celebrated 15 years of business within the United States whilst achieved over $100 million in sales, thus cashing in on our stupidity and superstitions. Phiten was developed by Yoshihiro Hirata, who after being injured training as a chef, then took up physical therapy. Although not a doctor, Hirata believes metals help the body produce energy, maintain focus, and eliminate pain. And although no scientific or medical data support Phiten's hypothesis, they still claim their products motivates excellence, so long as you believe! So "if you build it, they will come," thank to Kevin Costner in Field of Dreams and Hirata in Field of Jewelry.
A Phiten necklaces looks like yarn braided together by a kindergarten, where they obtain their mysticism from a fountain at The Mall of America. Phiten claims the super power comes from aqua-metal created by hydro-colloidal technology, which actually means a mixture of water and metal, or in this case coins. Phiten coats it's products with this imaginary Fairy Dust, where through exertion metal seeps into your pores thereby tapping your untapped greatness and causing cancer. It's too bad these necklace don't extract or mask steroids, but maybe they do, and this entire product is a conspiracy? Why else would anyone wear one of these ridiculous necklaces
If cleanliness is next to Godliness, where does obsessive compulsive lie? Spring Cleaning is a practice of disinfecting a home and purging a house of unnecessary things. Spring Cleaning historically coincides with the warming of temperatures and melting of rivers and springs where our ancestors found the necessary cleaning tools of clean water and fresh air. This custom takes place in many cultures around the globe; where in Iran they call it khooneh kekouni, Japan they call it oosouji, and in Jewish cultures they practice the removal of chametz before Passover.
Roland Barthe comments on this idea of cleanliness in his essay "Soap-powders and Detergents" Mythologies, where he discusses the perception of depth and the notion of a deep clean. Until now, we never realized how dirty everything is. Today, a deep cleaning is required for just about everything; from clothing to carpets, tile grout to teeth, facial pores to butt-holes. They've found a way to clean it and now there's a product to clean it with. Sure it may not even be dirty or the bacteria is actually good, but fuck it. Where you once had a mop/broom you now we have a Swifter, a sponge is now a Magic Eraser, a toilet brush has been reinvented to be a disposable toilet wand, face soap is now a motorized Dove SkinVitalizer Facial Cleanser Massager, and the list goes on.
The body alone has a million different products; face wash, body wash, shampoo, toothpaste, enemas, Qtips (which doesn't even have a generic name) Then there are products to replenish the natural and essential oils we just washed away; such as face lotion, body lotion, conditioner, lube, etc. This phenomena has obviously moved into the home where there is something for everything; cleaners for different materials wood, metal, glass, fabrics as well as cleaners for different things. It's not surprising they don't already have Living Room Cleaner, Closet Cleaner, and Attic Cleaner. There is even a cleaner for you cleaner; i.e. wash for your washing machine. There's a cleaner for dirt and even devices to preserve you cleaning tools, such as sponge covers and vacuum protectors.
Let's not forget Vegetable Wash, because cleaning vegetables with good old fashioned soap and water just wasn't cutting it. It is amazing that civilization existed before all of all these products. How did anyone ever go down on a toilet without a Clorox Toiletwand and the Scrubbing Bubbles? Or dust without Pledge? Polish without Murphy's Oil Soap (which isn't soap)? Vacuum without a Roomba, Dust Buster, Hoover, or Dyson? Get a stain out without Oxi-Clean or Resolve? Get crayon off a wall without Goo Gone? Clean their bong without Simple Green? Or most importantly drink water without Brita? It is slightly overwhelming, where our ancestors would say "whoa, what is all this stuff?" and future generations may say "yikes, how did they ever get by with just this?"
Accompanying mankind on his transition from nomadic to sedintary lifestyles, the dog was the first domesticated animal. Pets have been prevalent from the ancient Egyptians into modern day. Just last week someone in China purchased a Tibetan mastiff puppy for close to a $2 million dollars, considered one of the most expensive pet purchases ever. In the United States nearly 62 percent of all household have a pets, totaling to 84 million dogs and 96 million cats. Over the course of 2013 American's spent cost to $56 billion dollar on their pets. So with this billion dollar industry comes a boatload of bogus belongings. The dog itself is a luxury possession providing you with endless hours of entertainment and infatuated love. Maria Antoinette had a Papillion dog and Louis XIV had a menagerie of animals. Pure breed dogs act as a status symbol, where the Tibetan mastiff was allegedly breed with a lion and has been historically acquainted with nobility, thereby today solidifying its' owner's social ranking.
Dogs are custom-izable; either by genetically molding the perfect breed or stylizing them with hairdos, clothing, and plastic surgery. Gregg A. Miller invented Neuticles a testicular implants for pets, after sympathizing with his dog Buck's snipped balls. Like Buck, Rocky Kardashian underwent the procedure and then following in his synthetic sister's path, Rocky become the spokes-dog for Neuticles. Neutricles now offers a variety of pet altercations including ear stays, eye implants, ear implants, scar removal, and soon to follow face lifts, tummy tucks, Botox, and teeth straightening/whitening. So with their new found look, your pet can be pampered in five star dog hotels, such as the Paw Seasons where you can easily drop a mere $73K on the resort including a Harrods pet spa, walks on the beach and ice cream, personal chef, yoga, surfing, reiki sessions, followed by a personalized wardrobe, bronze sculpture by Jo Chambers, and a bespoke doghouse replicating your own home.
As you can see, pet's have it all...fake balls, houses bigger than NYC apartments, spas, health insurance, pet psychics, along with an endless array of senseless stuff. First off you may find it difficult to understand your dog's needs, but with the Bow-Lingual dog translator and a dog therapist communication is possible. What you'll learn will be dirty, so stay clean with the Poo Trap a plastic bag device strapped to your dog's butt that automatically collects and bags their doo doo. But if this doesn't work, freeze feces their with the aerosol Poop Freeze spray and then knock it away with the Turd Burglar hockey stick. Obviously their comes a time when you get sick of into your dog's brown eye, well I've found your guy; finally a sticker designed to cover your dog's unsightly asshole Rear Gear Store.com. And just when you were thinking, they'd thought of everything, there's the first sex toy for dogs, Hot Doll allow's your male pup to pounce, doggy style with a silicone plastic prototype. Basically it's the blow up doll for dogs. But what about the bitches? Next up doggy dildos. So when the doghouse is a rockin don't come a knockin.
It's that time of year again, March Madness where NCAA men's basketball teams go head to head at the big dance. Starting with 64 college and university teams, thereby trickling down to 32, 16, 8, 4, 2, finalizing with one winner, this could be anyone's year. While these otherwise unknown college and university basketball teams compete, so does the NBA, NHL, NASCAR, along with MLB's opening day commencing baseball season March 31, 2014. Aside from a saturation of sports, with this comes commercialized peanuts and Cracker Jacks, and the classic Foam Finger.
Sure Miley Cyrus gave herself the old fashioned foam finger fuck this past summer at the MTV Music Awards. As a result, Foam Finger sales have blasted through the roof. Never before have Chinese manufactures been so inundated with orders, there isn't enough child labor and foam to go around. They're so overwhelmed they can't keep up, outsourcing to Vietnam and Cambodia.
Just like the light bulb, there are several contributors to the Foam Finger, Steve Chmelar who made a papier mâché #1 hand in 1970, Geral Fauss who made a series of plywood fingers in 1978 and later manufactured foam fingers at his company Spirit Industries, and then Robert Keith with a foam finger patent filed in 2007. Aside from the defense sign in the form of a wooden fence and the letter D, there has never been a more useless invention. Until recently the team spirit market was untapped, but now you got everything from koozies to Foam Fingers. Sure buying a Foam Finger may seem harmless because nobody can poke their eye out and it will shut your damn kid up, but once again I poise the question "do we need all this stuff?" Maybe rather than buying a finger blaster, make a papier mâché hand, it's fun and biodegradable. Plus you'll have more in your wallet and less crap in your garage, attic, and or stoop sale, maybe even spend creative time with the kids.
Millions of people will honor the patron saint of Ireland, Saint Patrick who died on March 17, 461 AD. This cultural and religious holiday known as Saint Patrick's day commemorates the arrival of Christianity to Ireland and allows a break in Lent dietary restrictions, therefore encouraging food and alcohol consumption. As a teenager St. Patrick was kidnapped and enslaved by the Irish raiders, where while serving as a Shepard he found God. After escaping and returning home, he became the infamous priest who evangelized northern Ireland and the portrail of the green shamrock as the holy trinity.
St. Patrick's Day is not a national holiday in the United States, but any American looking to celebrate their Irish lineage or looking for an excuse to drink observes. While cities like Boston and New York hold Saint Patrick's Day parades complete with the Catholic Church, leprechauns, Irish whiskey, beer, and shamrocks. The city of Chicago takes this day to a whole other level by dying it's river green. Ironically this tradition started 50 ago when a plumber used florescein dye to detect illegal sewage dumping. After realizing the florescein dye was in fact itself a pollutant, they've now switched to a supposedly non-toxic vegetable dye.
But if polluting your water source isn't enough, how about polluting your local watering hole. Also allegedly non-toxic there is green beer. Although emblematic if the green Emerald Isle of Ireland, green beer is American's embodiment of St. Patrick's day. Most Irish beer's would go unnoticed if dyed, but Bud Light and Pabst Blue Ribbon make the perfect palette for your palate. The tradition of Green Beer Day can be traced back to Miami University of Oxford Ohio, who's celebration involved this concoction. Obviously bored college students took to celebrating spring break on the first day of the college weekend, Thursday by filling their glasses with green beer. In contrast a green stained mouth in Irish culture has a different connotation, where as a consequence of the 1840s Great Potato Famine, starving citizens ate grass for sustenance resulting in a green teeth and death. Many of those escaping the famine and under-consumption immigrated to the United States to seek a better life and to find their pot of gold. Today we have green beer, green bagels, and the green Chicago River in honor of Saint Patrick, all of which signify American's over-commodity-ization in honor our Irish and Christian heritage.
He's watching you. Who? God of course, but also that bobblehead in the corner. As you already know, the bobbled head is plastic doll who's head, suspended on a spring, moves with vibrations. So whether displayed on the dashboard of your car or on a shelf in your living room, any when things get-a-rockin so does the bobblin. Sure it's about as interesting as watching grass grow, but these thing are popular, selling like hot-cakes.
The first bobblehead prototypes hit the market during the 1950-60's thereby emulating Major League Baseball team, mascots, and players. The rest is history... there's now a bobblehead for every celebrity and popular culture icon imaginable. So if you're looking for a great way to waste a ton of space and a ton of money, look no further. Sure it may start off as a innocent trip to the ballpark and then all of a sudden you find yourself surrounded in bobblehead stares and your apartment looks like Forbidden Planet. The easiest way to start collecting is to begin with sports, followed by presidents, bands, animals, hula dolls, then cartoon and television characters. The average bobblehead costs about $40 bucks, but then there's also one with a $37,000 price tag, a single production diamond-encrusted Elvis.
Bobblehead collecting is the gateway drug to the comic book collecting world, Comic-Con. Where soon enough you'll find yourself wearing spandex shorts and spray-painted neon green to represent the skinniest nerdiest Incredible Hulk imaginable. Sure you'll wake up the next morning to find your sheets covered in what seems to be Double Dare slime or a massacre of Slimer, but low and behold you finally lost your virginity. You met the only girl not paid to attend Comic-Con and you've finally found someone who completes you. Who care's if you'll spend rest of your life in a storage unit digging through comics and playing with your bobbleheads. Soon you'll be walking down the isle of your Star Wars themed wedding, cutting your wedding cake topped with none other than a custom made bobble heads resembling the happy couple.
Sure we could all use a little extra sleep after losing an hour to Day Light Savings. Scientific research has concluded afternoon naps for adults are beneficial. They increasing productivity, wakefulness, performance, and learning, along with a wide range of health benefits. Naps should range between 10 to 30 minutes, where anything longer unfortunately has adverse effects. Following this medical discovery a wide range of napping products have entered the market, many of which are just as useless and relevant as Day Light Savings.
Companies like Google and Procter & Gamble have embraced the nap by installing nap rooms and nap chairs. The nap is nothing new, European cultures have siestas everyday, where places of businesses close following lunch. Now for there's a solution for the tired yet ambitious go-getter, iNap. This app allow you to fake productivity while getting your sleep on. So after having an all night binder, this free app plays computer typing sounds, mouse clicking, the crumpling of paper, pencil sharping, and stapling tunes. If only it did the actual work and got rid of you undeniable hangover, blood shot eyes, breath of death, alcohol seeping out your pores, and your overall disheveled appearance.
Although significantly less discreet, another solution may be the Ostrich Pillow. This napping device is essentially a pillow-like ski mask that costs $116. Sure you'll need a separate suitcase for lugging this thing around, all-the-while you're announcing to the world what a lazy fuck you are. Not to mention you'll look like a complete imbecile when your boss bursts into your office or you run into an Ex-whatever at the airport. The Ostrich Pillow received it's initial start-up costs of $100K via Kickstarter to enter the in the minuscule market of a bag over the head. It's hard to believe people backed this, but it could be only a matter of time before the trend catches on and offices supply them. So prepare your purchase orders for the Office Depot, Staples, WB Mason ostrich mask.
Go big or go home, sure. Bigger is better, ok. Or as Sir-Mix A-Lot put it "I like big butts sand I can not lie." Hmm…well if one thing is for sure, Sir Mix didn't have a giant stuffed animal in his bedroom. Nobody wants to get between the sheets with a giant Winnie the Pooh watching. Speaking of Pooh and Poo, the BBC recently reported that Scotland's sewer system was blocked by an over-sized Winnie the Pooh bear along with several other objects including a bike. Scotland's water management company attributes 80% of clogs to people flushing the wrong things down the shitter, thereby creating 40,000 blockages and costing tax payers £7m a year.
Well there are two ways one goes about acquiring a giant stuffed animal, either from an amusement park rendezvous or a rendezvous with a stalker-like lover. In the amusement park scenario, your kids spent a plethora of your hard earned money on Wack-A-Mole. Rest assured you'll find your teenage son whacking it later, most likely wanking-off with Winnie the Pooh or nutting on Nemo. Now if it's your daughter acquiring the toy, remember you're enabling her emotional dependency whereby she'll be living in your basement till she's forty. Last if you received a giant gift, RUN! It doesn't matter if the gift is a bear or a giraffe, your lover has the spending habits of a sixteen-year-old Japanese girl. Not only does you lover want to literately smothering you with the an enormous bear, but they want to mark their territory. Sure the gift signifies affection but is this a pseudonym and psycho? Amazingly enough many websites are sold out of the $250 6 ft. bear, so apparently somebody is buying this shit and or there just isn't enough retail storage space.
Aside from fulfilling some need of affection or overcompensating for something else (below the belt), giant stuffed animals serve no purpose. Sure it's all fun and games, until you clog Scotland's sewer system or Tiny Tim gets a polystrene bean lodged in his nostril. Luxury stuffed animals are filled with synthetic-cotton while the more economic versions are filled with polystrene beans. Anyway you put it, it's still plastic, not recyclable, totally toxic, and waiting to float on the top of the ocean for sea turtles to eat. Yes these are the same beads that fill bean bag chairs, but at least those serve a purpose. I purpose that every buyer of a giant stuffed animal also receive a free kitten or puppy. Give it a week and voila; the puppy or kitty has destroyed the knuckleheads life, torn their favorite giant stuffed animal into shreds, littered little Styrofoam balls high and low, along with urinating and defecating everywhere. But after working their butts off to clean and potty train their little monster, they'll finally know what real love is.
Cha Cha Chia, just as kitschy jingle as the product itself, it is crazy to believe over 500,000 Chia Pet's are sold every year. The master-marketing-mind Joe Pedott stumbled upon the terra-cotta tchotchke while attending a Chicago housewares show in 1977. In recognizing this product's potential, Pedott's advertising agency Joseph Enterprises thought up the catchy little jingle after a "Mad Men" like brainstorming session, where someone drunkenly stuttered ch..ch..chia. The rest is history. The Chia pet was included in the New York Time's time capsule and archived at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.
So as processed food/GMO's entered the home so did the cherished Chia Pet. The post-war modern era decided to forgo the vegetable garden and pet dog, in exchange for the cherished Chia Pet.
Like Gary Dahl the inventor of the Pet Rock, Pedott cashed in on this newly developing niche marketing, as seen on TV and as gag gifts. Pedott and Joseph Enterprises are also responsible to the Clapper, where for all you Millennials, this is not your free-spirited friend, but a device that turns your lights turn on/off via clapping your hands not your thighs. Plenty of parodies have spoofed this as well as the Chia Pet, such as the Chia Cock and Chia Crotch seen above. Next up the chia chair, chia carpet, chia china cup, and a chia chinchilla.
Like the pet rock, the Chia Pet also requires minimal maintenance and will cost you about $10-$30 dollars. Sure it will inevitably kill you by growing Black Mold and is about as entertaining as watching grass grow or an old dude use Rogaine, but heck you have plenty of time to fill or time to kill. You could spend your whole life waiting for Chia Pet to sprout, kind of like candles in the wind.
100 Objects of Popular and Material Culture is an blog exploring the manifestations of human consumption and commodity-ization. The purpose of this experiment is to explore material and popular culture in contemporary society by using objects and concepts to prompt wider questions and reflections. So by emulating The British Museum's and Neil MacGregor's format of A History of the World in 100 Objects I plan to satirically analyze and reinterpreted 100 material culture objects over the course of 2014. Material Culture is the study of our culture's consumption of stuff; namely the manifestation of culture through material productions where people's perceptions of objects is socially and culturally dependent. With this, objects reflect conscious and unconscious beliefs on the the individuals who fabricated, purchased, or used them, and by extension the society where they live. So examining materiality, cultural truths and societal assumptions may be discovered. As anthropologist Arjun Appaduai states "in any society the individual is often caught between the cultural structure of commodity-ization and his own personal attempts to bring a value and order to the universe of things." Objects and commodities make up a much larger symbolic system consisting of want and need, socio-economic status, fashion, etc. Often times form follows function whether the commodity, market, and or consumer forever evolve around one-another. Philosopher Pierre Bourdieu's theories of capital flow full circle; where regardless if you are a minimalist or a hoarder the world is made up of things and everyone will leave their footprint on the earth. So by humorously analyzing marketed objects and concepts, hopefully this blog will provide further incite into ideas of over-consumption, a disposable society, consumerism vs. anti-consumers, planned obsolescence vs. sustainability, as well as the greater good of mankind and future generations.