Toilet Etiquette, 88
The bathroom is a sacred space, a royal throne fit for a king. Allegedly Louis XIV would hold meetings while perched atop his commode. And while this is disgusting, no matter how much time passes or how much humans evolve, it is unfathomable to think one may never defecate or urinate again. What goes in, must come out.
Louis XIV's palace Versailles was extremely filthy, where courtiers and party guests would go to the bathroom in the hallways and courtyards because there weren't enough facilities. Here in this fecal free-for-all, diseases and plaques were rampant with the lack of hygiene. This issue still plagues humanity whether you're sightseeing in New York or attending the Burning Man festival in the Nevada, bathroom accessibility is essential. There is a shit storm of marketed to people to ease their weewee whoas.
The toilet seat alone is in a state of perpetual advancement. I remember visiting my great aunt's house and she had a padded toilet seat. And although I thought this was slightly disgusting and unnecessary, who am I to judge? There are decorative seat covers including rugs and carpeting, removable sanitary liners, heaters, bidets, massagers, water jets, and glow in the dark stickers for nighttime wizzes. The Japanese love a decadent dumper, where you feel like you've finally found a car wash oasis for your ass. But should you get bored, there are a multiple solutions such as toilet paper dispensers that hold and charge your smart devices and let's not forget the miniture golf course. There is a plethora of reading material, such as What Your Poo is Telling You? and Poo Log.
But if you're trying to get in touch with your more primative self, there is Squatty Potty a stool for your stool. For $25 you can transform your toilet into essentially a hole in the ground. Humans are actually supposed to poop while squatting, as it better on the bowels. But if you'd rather not know such much and want to class up the experience, colored toilet paper is the answer. Apparently the Kardashians subscribe to this methodology. Renova is Portugese company fulfilling this demand, with black toilet paper being their biggest seller. Red on the other hand is their worst seller, which is not understandable why. But whatever gets you through the day, or the shit, the bathroom remains equally as essential.
Unfamiliar to those outside the United States, Thanksgiving is a day dedicated to history, heritage, giving thanks and giving back. The historical premise surrounding Thanksgiving is a heated debate over the decimation of North American indigenous populations and the colonization of North American. Coming together at end of harvest season, the these two contrasting parties purportedly had one glorious meal. Today this idea of coming together unites those less fortunate with those able to give, as well as diverse families and friends. Besides watching the Macy's Day Parade, Westminster Dog Show, and American football, overeating is the most honored tradition.
The idea of stuffing food is nothing new, in 1807 the Almanach des Gourmands, gastronomist Grimod de La Reynière presents his rôti sans pareil ("roast without equal") which was a turkey, a goose, a pheasant, a chicken, a duck, a guinea fowl, a teal, a woodcock, a partridge, a plover, a lapwing, a quail, a teal, a woodcock, a partridge, a plover, a lapwing, a quail, a thrush, a lark, an ortolan bunting and a garden warbler. Although most of these animals are seemingly unknown or extinct, modern societies equivalent is the Turducken.
Engastrastic is the act of stuffing meat into meat. Obviously this is a chicken stuffed in a duck, stuffed in a turkey. Although mentioned in 1994 in the New York Times, It's a Bird, It's a Bird, It's a Bird. The turducken became popular when former American football player and commentator John Madden unveiled and carved the turducken 2001. It was also promoted on Fox Sports by awarding winning Thanksgiving Bowl football teams with a Turducken. The term "Bring Back the Turducken" was coined which resonates as a fixation of the past. With this revelry of the past, we can only reflect on our meat eating paleo neanderthal lineage which has moved into our cholesterol loving society. Fixated with one holiday dedicated to overeating and overdrinking, one can only wonder if it is real. Give thanks one duck, one chicken, and one turkey, one drink, and one fight with the family.
The Secret to Invisibility, 86
There has been a moment in everyone's life where they have either felt invisible or desired invisibility. Almost everyone has been overlooked and under-appreciated at some point in there, much like the protagonist in Ralph Ellison's 1952 tour de force novel Invisible Man. The narrator who's name remains unknown recites his mobius strip of a tail. He battles racism in the south, university politics and expulsion somewhere in the middle, and encounters race riots, political occupation, and disaccord among the brethren in the North. Down on his luck, the narrator accepts defeat and decides to stay underground to thus start the story, and become invisible.
Feeling invisible is completely different from wanting invisibility. Now if you're in the market for invisibility, The Secret to Invisibility is Revealed is sold a mere $34, $24.95, and $14.05. And although the secret will most likely never be revealed, people still buy. The lone Amazon testimony concludes this service is false. Sherwood says "it is not really about invisibility but rather projecting your mind into a place you want to see. It is not the ancient art of vanishing from sight and reappearing at will, as claimed you do not vanish, you simply do not physically go where you want to be invisible. You stay home and project your consciousness. The only way to reappear at will is to physically go where you want to. I will shortly appear at will at the supermarket. Occultist call it astral projection and the CIA call it remote viewing. A lot of hype for very little."
Unfortunately the author and owner of Novel Discoveries, Bill W. Williams probably has no idea what it is like to be a minority or to feel underrepresented, i.e. the true representation of invisibility. Williams has managed Novel Discoveries for over 10 years thus concluding he is a talented con-artist and anyone can sell anything, even air (which invisibility essentially constitutes). Williams claims to be revered and highlighted by Jay Leno, but ultimately Leno only points out the absurdity of this products existence. This ludicrous idea is sold not-only on Amazon, but through Barnes & Nobel, PayPal, and Google Books where the downloadable secret of invisibility comes directly to your iPad, Kindle, and Nook. And although there are no claims on the Better Business Bureau and only one bad review, it is certain this is a mirage.
So if you're dying to waste money go for it, however why not support Ellison who has a real story to tell. Otherwise keep supporting Williams cockomamy disillusionment divided between his sane-visible and insane-invisible self, which mind you is spent sking in New Hampshire and swimming/snorkling in Florida.
Hunting Hysteria, 85
When I was child I spent a great deal of time at my neighbors hunting lodge "The Sugar Shack" in Farmville Virginia. Mr. and Mrs. Clark Lowe, better known as Bear and Betty (i.e. hunting nickname) were my neighbors in Richmond/Chesterfield Virginia. As early as 6 years old, I distinctly remember running to my mother to show her a deer I'd found. Just imagine a cute little girl in a Sunday School dress beaming ear to ear with a smile, running across a wheat field, while carrying a freshly killed dear head still dripping blood and covered in fur. Now whether or not I knew the deer was dead is beyond me.
Even though I've never been hunted and only fired a gun once, hunting is somehow integrated into my life. During college my idiot neighbor decided to gut and drain a deer by hanging it from a ladder outside my bedroom. Mind you this was in alley behind my Fan row-house in the city of Richmond Virginia. Although completely disgusting and inappropriate, I am accustom to game; to venison meatballs and venison ravioli, to squirrel brunswick stew, moose jerky, duck confit, gator bites, and roasted rabbit.
While keeping with ideal of local, natural, organic, minimally processed meat wild game and hunting is not only helping feed America but also a solution for starving animals. In preparation for this piece, I took it upon myself to review the US Census's 2011 Survey of US Fish & Wildlife Services where over 13 million people hunted for a total of 282 million days ing 2011. With this they spent close to $43.2 billion was spent on equipment alone. If only my college neighbor had sacrificed some cash on acquiring the proper gear as well as using it in a better location.
The hunting market is primed with products; from guns to all terrain vehicles. Apparently much like dating, you have to remove and add scents to attract animals. Along with decoys such as fake trees and animals you have to blend into the environment. Camouflage is a must from infant onesies to lingerie. Sure having a baby on a tree strand, holding a gun seems ridiculous, but someone's probably doing it, or why would they make kids camo? Since hunting season typically takes place in the fall and early winter, camo bathing suits and underwear make a lot of sense. Harvest season and Thanksgiving would be nothing without it. As for the battle over gun rights, there may never be a meeting point for conservatives and liberals unless they get together over a nice bowl of squirrel soup or a local turkey.
With McDonald's Profit falling 30% over the course of 2014t hey are desperately trying to stay relevant. The fast food market is evolvolging world of innovative food creations and processees.
The history of fast food in America can be attributed advances in food processing, preparation, and preservation. At the start of the twentieth century the hamburger was invented by Louis Lunch in New Haven CT, followed by Nathan's Hotdogs opening in Coney Island 1916, and White Castle debuting in 1921 Witchitah Kansas. It wouldn't be until 1953 that the first McDonald's would open in San Bernardino. While military advancements in food processing and preservation led to the MRE they also aided fast food. The automat and drive-in diners altered the customer's dining experienced, whtere the underlining motivation was convenience, standardization, accessibility, affordability, and at one point quality. Fast food went from a novelty to an everyday.
Having fully integrated into this American life, there is a constant pressure for fast food companies to stay relevant. With so much competition, new products increase interest. Such as the ever-evolving pizza crust going simply from thick or thing to being made of pretzel dough, having string cheese and hot dogs shoved in it. Hot Dog Pizza? This amalgamation of fast foods from hot dogs to hamburgers has found its way not only into the pizza, but croissants, doughnuts, and bagels. The bourgeois Cronut and Ramen burger are innovative investigations in dynamic food combinations. Who would have thought a soups noodle would make a nice hamburger bun? Or rather that chips would make a unique taco shell thereby uniting the two superpower brands of Taco Bell and Doritos. Then there is the business practice of obscurity, whereby only offering an item for a limited amount of time helped McDonald's establish its cult-like following for the McRib. But it doesn't stop there, you have chicken nuggetts in everyshape known to mankind stars, rings, strips, and bits. The nearly 100 year old White Castle prides itself on its suitcase full of burgers. Then there's Jack In The Boxe's 45 patties burger with grill cheese for its buns, followed by the substitution of chicken patties for bread as in KFCs Double down with a whooping grand total of 2261 calories (close if not your recomended daily total). The Double Down is constructed from two fried chicken patties and filled with cheese and bacon thereby waiting to clog your heart.
On a positive note, thanks to technology incidents like the filming of the pink slime and published ingredients as well as calories are informing the customer. If only the money spent on advertising and inginuity were redirected to providing healthier options and decent pay/benefits for employees.
Snail Mail My Email, 83
Many of us will go home this evening and open up our mailboxes. Yes, the evening ritual of sorting bills and considering donations request, especially those envelopes with cleft pallets. Opening the mail is an emotional roller coaster; from the sadness brought on by student loans and financial statements, to the joy and hopefulness found in magazines and catalogs, followed by notes of shame, disgust and exploitation seen in donation requests. But every once in a while you get a letter, post card, and or greeting card. This not only brightens up your day but makes the world a betters place.
How would you feel if the person didn't hand-write your letter? What if Snail Mail Your Email sent it? What if interactive artist, filmmaker, and education Ivan Cash wrote it? Could we perhaps then add the feeling of betrayal to opening the mail?
Like the mail, Ivan Cash is a mixed-bag or jack of trades human-being. In 2011 Cash came up with the idea of re-writing folks emails (in the snail mail sense) and sending them out over the course of a month. As a result, the idea was wildly popular whers he received over 10,000 requests and had to enlist volunteers from around the globe to help with the writing. Since then, Snail Mail My Email SMME now takes one week out of every year to continue this path of enlightenment, or busybody-ness. While conceived as conceptual art Cash is commenting on the lost art of communication and engagement which is captured in his book (or your letters) Snail Mail My Email. Cash has also received fame and notoriety via Brokelyn, CNN, BBC, NPR, FastCompany, BuzzFeed, Gawker, TIME, The New York Time, and Justapoz.
Although slightly less revered but equally as heartless, Or Arbel created the Yo app to only have debuted April Fools Day 2014. Arbel received over $1 million from investors, mainly by Moshe Hogeg CEO of Mobli who originally desired an one button app to call his assistant. Yo is about as simple as it gets, one button one friend, one yo, you know. That is it, no other words, no other functions, just Yo fo Yo. Although seemingly stupid, Yo is now valued at $5 to $10 million dollars, claiming to have been downloaded over 2 million times and equating to four million Yo's being sent in one day.
Now if Yo isn't enough for the Mrs. and/or Misses, while outsourcing Cash to cash in on your love letters isn't in the stars, BroApp might buy you some time. BroApp is a hypothetical wingman who automatically responds to the ladies for you. The relationship guru is customizable to the relationship status and frequency, thereby even recognizing her home wifi signal and cancelling pre-scheduled messages. The important thing here is that you are no longer on your own in a relationship, with the meddling of other you can either streamline with a simple Yo or flowery up communication to suit your needs.
Lava Lamp, 82
The Lava Lamp, neither lava nor a lamp. Well as far as a lamp is concerned it certainly sexualizes settings, however they're not practical lighting especially for lost and founds or librarys. There is a stigma attached to the lamp, where upon entering a room one's preconceived notions and stereotypes rise like the lava. Whether or not the owner upholds these intentions or stereotypes is irrelevant, because inevitably the you feel a sense of warmth, a romantic aura, and an intoxicating transcendence into the 60's.
Invented in 1963 by Edward Craven Walker an English accountant. The devise is simply a mixture of wax and water, that upon heating generates movement. So simple yet so sensual. Little did Walker and his business associates know instrumental their innovative invention would be in the act of conceiving. Hitting the market just in time for the Summer of Love, the lava lamp provided the mood lighting for Generation X's psychedelic mind expansion and sexual exploration. Never had there been a light so directly responsible for human reproduction.
As lava continues to bellow from Kilauea volcano in the Hawaiian Islands one can only think of the magnitude and amazingness of this vast world. Like the lava lamps role in fornications, volcanos are essentially mother earth's version of lovemaking. Like sex, volcanos are hot, dangerous, passionate, and sometime painful when in the line of fire. It is crazing to think volcanic eruptions have plagued this planet since it's existence, where the ancient Roman town of Pompeii was wiped out when Mount Vesuvius killed 18,000 in 79AD, while not too long ago the 1812 eruption of Mount Tambora in Indonesia killed over 30 million. The earth's development is contingent upon volcanos and natural disasters, the only thing we can do is monitor them. Unfortunately we can't monitor all of mankind and their mistakes, such as Pillip Quinn who was killed after heating a lava lamp on the stove and was impaled his heart by the glass after it exploded. Although sad, Quinn is the recipient of a Darwin Award. It is procreation that keeps the lava flowing, even with ament death and destruction
What began as a simple search for Swank (a non-theatrical movie distributor) ended up as the misspelling Swant, thus leading to the miraculous discovery of sweater pants. Yes, you heard it hear first, although hobos and kids have been rocking sweater pants for years. Adults on the other hand have been a bit apprehensive to public-pubic nudity where the only viable option has a turtleneck. But thanks to the Stephen West there is now an innovative way to DIY a sweater into pants, Swants.
Like West there are a million others nipping and tucking, to create something from nothing. Thanks to the world wide web, there is now a canvas and forum for "Doing Things Yourself". Sure back in the day it was just called "doing something" but today it's DIY baby. Luckily for us there are websites, blogs, TV shows, markets, bazars, classes, and magazines dedicated to DIY. The queen of doing stuff Martha Stewart heated up the glue gun in 1997 to create a few good things. Although complex for certain audiences, stores like Michaels, Hobby Lobby, and MJ Designs thrived in the late 90's early 00;'s. Stewart was a starting point for the marketplace for crafts Etsy and visual discovery (or more like visual overload tool) Pinterest. You have now have a million different ways to wast time; such as how to make a lamp out of a book or plastic spoons, soap with Legos, button trees, or obsessions with food crafts, subway tiles, gnomes, luxury chicken coops, Star Wars, and holiday crap.
Who knew all this DIY crafting would lead to chocolate coated balloons for ice cream bowls, homemade toothpaste, cookie mix in a mason jar, or anything in mason jars, or just plain mason jars, along with handcrafted lip balms and body scrubs. Sure this all sounds rather rudimentary but who doesn't like a handmade gift? I've been giving them for years, and they seem to go over well. Someone took the time and effort to create something for you. For all the superficial sassy lasses it's probably a let down. But thanks to the internet you never have to buy anyone a gift ever again, except for the case of mason jars you're going to need.
Dollar Shave Club, 80
It's that time of year again, when men around the globe begin growing ridiculous mustaches in partnership with a campaign called Movember. The idea is to challenge men to grow absurd mustaches while people pledge money generating funding and awareness for Prostate and Testicular cancer, as well as men's health. Besides being an excuse to grow funny facial hair, it also provides the ladies with some delicious yet comical eye candy. Since 2003 Movember has raised over $559 million dollars, equating to about $5 million a year. Movember throws some pretty epic parties, not only from the bros but including the gals too. Now if you're ill equipped to grow a stash keep on keeping on, this is the true comical relief needed to keep Movember growing.
During this time if you're too lazy to hit up a drug store, grocery store, bodega, or basically anywhere; then maybe the Dollar Shave Club is for you. The club is an opportunity burn cash, throw your money out the window, and more or less "shave" dollars off your saving account. For $1 to $9 a month, the Dollar Shave Club sends you the essential razors needed to groom your face. There is no dollar in the Dollar Shave Club, unless you shop for the shitty single blade. But we all know your face is your greatest asset, therefore one 6-blade razor will cost you about $4.50 versus Amazon's one 6-blade razor is only $2 (in a package of 6). The real question is when did razor shopping become so difficult? Also why would you ever buy one item one place? If you hate shopping, opt for online and get all your toiletries at one place such as Soap.com. And if shaving as a whole has become so cumbersome, why not go to the barber for a hot towel shave?
The Dollar Shave Club was founded by Mark Levine and Michael Dubin who after bitching about shaving and razor prices, they raised a million dollars in seed money between July 2011 and March 2012. With other investors and venture capitalists funding, they dove straight into the market with a viral video that not only crashed their server but attracted 12,000 order in less than 48 hours. Today they have acquired over 600,00 members. Venturebeat.com estimates DSC's netted $9.8 million in 2012, only to be followed by a mere $10,000 donation to The Colon Cancer alliance. Mark Levine served on President Reagan's administration and is valued at $5 million, while his younger counterpart Michael Dublin is a marketing genus and business guru.
In conclusion, mustaches and beards are hot, as is awareness and giving back. Remember this election day, we're not only voting with our dollars but also putting our money where our mouths or in your instance mustaches are. So just because you see a cheeky video and a clever business plan, doesn't necessarily mean it's rational to buy in. Sure it is a great idea, but what happens when you'r traveling or you accidentally drop your razor in the toilet, what if the mail doesn't come? Then what. Ladies, it's only too bad there isn't a Dollar Tampon Club.
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.