Saturday, December 24, 2011

Holiday Tradition: EFNYP

While most families go out to church for Christmas or venture out to see relatives as part of tradition, my family and I have a long standing sacred tradition unique to Christmas eve.

Around nine o'clock, we drive to NW 23rd Avenue and front end park in front of Escape From New York Pizza and just sit in the car. The pizza joint is closed of course. The point isn't even to get a pie or slice. The point of this holiday tradition is to enjoy the gift of easily accessible parking on one of the most parking-challenged areas in Portland during a time when parking is worth more than the life of the baby Jesus himself.

So remember your traditions on these winter nights.

Merry Excessmas

Friday, December 16, 2011

Instead of Coal…

I have decided that all particularly heinous individuals should be given this book. It's sad when you no longer jump sharks but are reduced to jumping trout.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Santa Claus is Coming to Town: You Ready to Be Judged?

Last year I decided that I had it up to the back of my throat with traditional Christmas music. Unfortunately contemporary Christmas music was not much better. The treacle we end up being forced to listen to over the period of time from the end of November to Xmas day is enough to give diabetes to sugar plum fairies and to curdle egg nog.

So why not find a suitable replacement that brings cheer and the aggression that truly represents the modern day holiday spirit?

The Judgement Night Soundtrack was the most suitable replacement for caroling Chipmunks asking for hula hoops, people whining about "Last Christmas," and people wondering about Santa Claus checking any kind of list.

The movie, to be honest, sucked. I saw it in the theater. Seriously, don't bother to watch it. But the soundtrack is great. So great I have written about it previously on The Wonderful World of Clutter. If you need a run down about the film, it includes something about watching a drug deal gone bad, Cuba Gooding, Jr. not being a parody of himself, and an Emilio Esteves we thought would still have a prosperous career. And that is about it.

More importantly the soundtrack is awesome, so Awesome that I encourage you to buy, download, find, poach, or dub off a cassette the whole thing because it is just damned fun. You can listen to Cypress Hill and Sonic Youth play together.  Onyx and Biohazard do something resembling music. House of Pain and Helmet rap about the movie Taxi Driver in what is probably one of the most comical mixing of lyrics ever. And then there is Ice T and Slayer doing a duet together covering a medley of songs by the Subhumans.

So, in closing, this really have nothing to do with Christmas. But it is still better than any former Beatle creating a Christmas song. And you know that the Boo-Yaa T.R.I.B.E would eat Chipmunks for breakfast.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Quick note...

The Wonderful World of Clutter is now linked to Google+…Therefore, you can now fill you life with even more meaningless clutter, ephemera, ramblings, and assorted various pieces of information throughout the week by following the links here.



Poultry Health...

Today's pamphlet examines the wonderfully fascinating topic of "What causes chickens to die."

Well, without having read this piece of ephemera spotted during my travels, I have to guess it could be from any of the following causes:

  • Bird Flu
  • Colonels from States South of the Mason Dixon Line
  • Cutting the chicken in half
  • Cannibalism
  • Old age
  • Cigarette smoking, alcoholism, and unprotected sex
  • Falling skies

No need for any further analysis if you ask me.
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Sunday, December 11, 2011

Friday, December 9, 2011

Out of Xmas Decorations?

Christmas ornaments are an expensive investment. Unless you have been gifted a number of bulbs, lights, or have been given Hallmark gift cards over the years, chances are you don't have too many items to trim your holiday tree. Who wants to go out and purchase all of those items this season when they will stay up for a few weeks and then get stuffed into a closet or attic for the next eleven months only to collect dust, get broken, and eventually need to get replaced?

Well, here is a new and natural alternative for decorating your Christmas tree that can be done with found environmentally safe objects mostly available around your local community.  I guarantee that it will that your tree will be one of a kind if you use this motif.

Nothing says, "Happy Holidays," like bleached skulls. Deer, cattle, elk, bison, it doesn't really matter what type of skull you find, just let it bleach in the sun for a while and then when it is winter time and you are ready for Santa to come, he will be created with a truly unique display. 

There are many benefits of a skull trimmed Christmas tree. You can avoid masses of holiday visitors who linger to long. One look at your decorations and they will more than likely be unnerved and will pass up any offer for egg nog. Children won't try to shake their wrapped presents placed under the watchful hollow eyes of a cattle skull. Or well, any skull. 

And Martha Stewart will never do anything like this.
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Counting the Days...

Just Nine More Days!!!

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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Seasons Greatings: Pearl Harbor Edition

Before everyone writes this post off as another crass, tongue and cheek take on this day in history, I want to share a piece of ephemera that comes from my Grandparent's personal collection from their time in the internment camps during World War II.

Given this is the holiday season, it is only appropriate that I share this now. The tattered image is a handmade card from the Granada Christian Church and it features the water tower which was the tallest structure at Camp Amache which held over 7000 Japanese American citizens uprooted from their homes after the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the start of World War II.

In my collection of images from camp, I have one other Christmas card, a hand-tinted photograph with the words "Season's Greetings" and small holly leaves marked over an arial view of the barracks. These two images tried to present a normal view of what the camps were like. However, these forced segregated communities were far from normal. Normal towns and don't have guard towers with armed soldiers...


So today, as I do every year, I celebrate Pearl Harbor day. People don't get it. When I invited my classmates out, mixed replies about dead soldiers and war memories from the attack that day. Of course, not knowing the personal history with internment, the loss of property, dignity, civil rights, and being forced to pledge loyalty to a country that took away all of your rights is foreign. The forced irony, forced satire, is lost.  I will be the first to say that I make my own merriment/mockery of a solemn day. But I think of it as a wake. I embrace my contradictions of being the grandson of a World War II vet who served in the Pacific Theater and a Yonsei (fourth generation Japanese). It's the same contradictory concept that loves serving and working with the Veteran population but despises war. 

While it is a few more weeks until Christmas, I wish you holiday greetings once more…Not a "White Christmas" as in the last card I posted--This time from a government run prison camp where the Constitution does not truly exist. 

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Monday, December 5, 2011

Emphatic Feelings for Lymphatic Glands...

Chapter 1: Adoring Your Adenoids
Chapter 2: You're Playing Hockey With What?!?
Chapter 3: My God We Wrote and Self-Help Book About Tonsils…
Chapter 4: Other Lymph Nodes You Should Be Affectionate Toward
Chapter 5: Saving Your Tonsils…In a Freezer or Jar

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Sunday, December 4, 2011

Don't Open Until Xmas…Reflections on Racism

A few months ago I saw this card in a a display at the Miracle of America Museum in their "Civil Rights" Display case.  The message is as blunt as it is also frighteningly subtle. This relic of the past presents both a symbol of a less tolerant time and the sting of what lingers in American culture.

There was no context to the card, which was displayed next to a Klan's man's hood, a picture of Martin Luther King, Jr., and an old advertisement of featuring Aunt Jemimah. It almost seemed as if this this particular display of civil rights was their own parody of civil rights, the chance to speak with "White Man's Burden" as a voice of authority of how things used to be just fine before this movement came about in the 50s and 60s. 

Living in Bozeman, for the first time in a long time, I feel the acute sting of being a minority. While this town is not overtly racist, there are many times I can't help but feel like I am being watched as the "other." For those who read this who are minorities, who have experienced being watched in a store as if they were a shoplifter, or felt needlessly harassed by individuals of authority, you understand. To those who have never experienced this, don't write it off as paranoia. 

The thing that is odd about my experience in Montana is that the level of ethnic identifiers people place upon me are severely blurred. Without a prominent Asian or Latino population, locals tend to lump me in with the ethnic group they are most exposed to, the Native Americans. And while I could pass as "Indian," that could be a double edge sword--many white people in Montana hold deep seated resentment toward the Native Americans and the same holds true for the Native population. 

I spent three days stranded in on the Blackfeet Reservation in Browning. This was my first time on "The Rez" and when I tell people about my experience most shudder in fear. But I felt right at home. The tow truck driver who helped me out (this was when I crashed my car), told me to go outside and get a bit of sun, and that I would fit right in. We both laughed out loud knowing that he spoke the truth and that if I was white, I would best be served by sticking to my motel room. 

So as I write this, the snow is falling outside my apartment…In Bozeman, there will be a White Christmas. But as for me, I plan to celebrate my bastard half-Japanese heritage with Pearl Harbor Day next week and Japanese New Year with my family in Portland. 

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Rare Finds

Today I made posted a brief twitter message about an awesome find at an antique store/pawn shop in Missoula. Well, instead of just showing pictures of this, I thought I would present a quick video of the find. I will post scans of the images in a few days.

I have stumbled across quite a few awesome things at antique stores that I end up buying…prosthetic limbs, out of print books,  bottles of old medications that were practically poisons…but never have I come across a personal photo album of a presidential visit.  I also never thought that I would own someone else's personal collection of photos of a presidential visit, but now I am. And that kicks ass.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Culinary Delights…

There are many mysteries of cooking out there but some can be answered with this book. Imagine what can be done with this book. Leftovers will never be the same.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Just to Be Cruel...

Yesterday I learned the true meaning of "viral video" and so I thought I would share it with everyone for the approaching holiday. 

The "Turkey Song" is something analogous to lyrical herpes, a gift that keeps on giving. I have no idea what the origin of this song is, but the kids in the special ed class that I have been observing love it. 

So yeah…


If anything, the song is better than anything Rebecca Black sings or any other Top 40 hits of the last ten years.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Chasing Off-White Whales

This damned thing has eluded me for months. Much like the random sphinx on the same property, it remains a peculiar mystery for me in this town.

So yes, there is a whale in Bozeman. And it wasn't a hallucination of my drives westward from Billings, Livingston, or what ever else haunts the eastern half of this state.

Keepin' it Real...

Just so you know, this is how I roll…

I ain't no Superman, but I will still rip open up my shirt to tell the playas out there how it is. Clark Kent ain't got nothin' on my game. 

Word to yo motha...
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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Titles that Won't Work Today...

Sometimes we forget about the changing role of language. With that in mind, it seems that some trends in our modern lexicon still hold true. Case in point, home decor and homosexuality seem to have been been externally connected together.

And that is about all that can be said about that…

Up next, Martha Stewart's Guide to Dressing Deer and other Manly Challenges.
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Monday, November 7, 2011

Music of the Spheres: Typhoon…The Honest Truth

Sometimes songs become anthems…or just momentary themes for the prevailing mood of the moment. Since this summer "The Honest Truth" by Typhoon has been one of those songs.

I am not certain how to describe the moment that "The Honest Truth" has come to embody. It may be one of simple catharsis. It may be a simple revelatory moment--one of clarity when you see what is there is front of you. Plain, simple, free of subtext, or added pretense…

As you will see through this video, you are confronted with a song of punctuated rhythms, clear imagery, and a sing-along chorus that spits in your face as the refrain of "You're gonna piss and moan, you let the devil in your home…" hits with twelve voices.

And one might ask, is the baseball bat Chekhov's gun?

Even though I have only met the band once, I realize that I know three or four people roaming around the street scene in the. It makes me miss home.

The lyrics may mean different things to different people, but for now, it just seems like the right song for the right time.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Fun and Exciting Employee Training...

This post is dedicated to the 99%… the bold, the many, the ones who work in the service industry for humiliating employers. 

I recently came across this employee handbook while in Missoula and had to purchase it, as a wedding gift for a friend (of course), and upon reading it realized, that amidst the typos, grammatical errors, there is a lot of wisdom to be had from working as a Hooters Girl. 

For example, everyone should be "Camera Ready." And we should all probably know food safety or at least have some passing knowledge of it for some occasion during our lives.

Well, there isn't much more that I can add that the actual text of the manual won't say for me. To read the actual text, just click on the image to humongify…

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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Our Grandparent's Smut...

Another recent ephemera find was an old tabloid pamphlet filled with mail-away smut advertisements.

It humors me to think that in the era before pornography shops, this was how gentlemen got their rocks off. I would love to have a "Marvelous Movie Vuer" just as a relic of that time. If anyone know where to find one, or wants to send one to me as a gift, I would be more than happy to accept it as a gift. You know, for historical research purposes.

Apparently, these mail order novelties would be shipped to men in anonymous brown paper-wrapped parcels, delivered as discretely as possible. I can imagine that any parcel showing up in brown paper soon became noted as pornography to a select few, but maybe we were more naive during this era.

But times changed. Stag-loops for a quarter and adult theaters popped up (pun intended), and with the advent of video cassettes, porn was available in giant, oversized VHS boxes. This of course was replaced by the ubiquitous DVD. And now we get our porn through the internet. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

They Saved Hitler's Brain…By Putting it on a Plane

Due to the demise of a certain Libyan leader with an impossible to spell name a few days ago, I thought it would be timely to post this recent ephemera find.

This article clipping was discovered in a giant tome of a medical text in Missoula, Montana a few weeks ago, along with a ton of other fascinating other clippings about menopause, polio vaccines, cancer, and rocket science. The picture it painted of the tome's' previous owner was scattered, at best. 

If anything, we learned that conspiracy theories are improbably old. We all have heard the "They saved Hilter's Brain" well, now we at least can easily speculate how. So much for the Boys from Brazil. 

If certain fringe groups got ahold of information like this old article and took it to heart, it would stir up even more Islamophobia. The absurdist reality of the story is that people honestly believed it, and believed it enough to see it printed, believed it enough to cut it out of a newspaper, and believed it enough to save it for decades stuck inside a book. 

People may wonder why the Unibomber chose to live in Montana, this is a reasonable partial answer to that question...
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Friday, October 7, 2011

The Miracle of America Means More Montana Manequins

The Miracle of America is not only having the opportunity to ride bombs and think about American history. It is a chance to walk through that history with life-life representations of the miraculous individuals that make America and Montana, well, Miraculous.

Take, for instance, Annie, this aptly named mannequin, who has subjected herself to the tortures of electronic hair enhancement for the sake of beauty.

Or this nameless soldier, with a chiseled face, who likes to have things pinned to him such as medals, ribbons, and 3x5 notecards showing his service to his country.

And we can never forget the glamorous flapper mannequins of the 1920s, those who brought us the love of jazz, interracial sex, and bootlegging. It is a little known fact that all mannequins made during the 1920s were actually vessels for contraband alcohol. This the real reason why most mannequins are hollow today. Back in the 20-30s, each mannequin would have a cork at the bottom allowing bootleggers to pour in whatever type of home made concoction they wanted. If you have ever wondered why you don't see mannequins that date before the 1930s, it was because the FBI sent men out to smash most of these whenever they were found, thus ruining one of the best ways to conceal liquor in the era of prohibition.

And of course, no walk-thru museum is complete without a mannequin with an inexplicable shit eating grin. 

Yep, unbeknownst to you, this mannequin has actually been taking up skirt pictures of your daughters while you weren't looking. And that is another Miracle of America--the mannequins are so life-like they do creepy things when you don't know it.
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Monday, October 3, 2011

Ride the Bronze Buffalo: What is the Miracle of America?

What is the Miracle of America?

Good question? One that I have often asked myself since learning my basic American history about how the first Pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock, escaping evil tyranny in England. Yes, we all know that the first thing they declared their right not not pay taxes to high ranking wealthy officials named George, declared their right to own all the weapons in the world because they could, and then have Thanksgiving.

But how miraculous is that? Not very if you ask me…

You see, I look for modern day miracles...Like that finding that potato chip that looks like Alf when every other chip is crumbled in the bag. Or when they decide to do remakes of classic television shows like Small Wonder.

But in Polson, MT, you can experience your own tiny bit of the Miracle of America, and its true meaning tied to the history of this country by straddling a bomb and re-inacting scenes from Dr. Strangelove.

Now that is a miracle that even the Pope can't explain.

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Friday, September 23, 2011

Dream a Little Dream...

Today's lesson is one of exhaustion and why falling asleep after reading comic book blogs and eating mediocre cajun food is a bad idea:

Someone decided to drain the 55,000 gallon swimming pool at the children's hospital/college dormitory, and Batman is on the case to investigate. Well, Batman and Me, both in broad daylight. And because of the flood and supernatural forces the 300 year old douglas fir has spontaneously started dying causing it to rot which will disturb the foundation of the children's hospital. Good thing Superman showed up and found the evil CEO who's suitcase surrounded him in a giant robot/bomb that started drilling into the side of the hospital as well planning to destroy that too. It was unfortunate, because thousands were gathered for their fundraiser event celebrating both Christmas and the raising of a million dollars, so many lives were at stake. And for some reason Superman and Batman couldn't diffuse the bomb in time. And the giant inflatable teddy bear that was brought in for the children, the one that was ten-stories tall, was mistakenly filled with hydrogen and propane gas instead of inert helium.

Of course the bomb exploded/CEO…and the douglas fir died…and the children's hospital was completely flooded. But the individual at the center of it all, a young white guy with no name and no history, was visited by a blue ghostly figure who told the young man not to drown himself today. And Batman and I were on the case to figure out who the blue ghost was.

And what we have is the worst pitch for the New 52's Brave and Bold straight from an exhausted nursing student deprived of comic books.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Happy Birthday to a Buddy

While I am off on my dates, this is a birthday post for my buddy Bryan.

Stay solid my friend...

Sunday, September 11, 2011

One Last Thought...

Before I leave posts today, I need to put up one more tribute.

It features things that make this country great: music, boy scouts, firefighters, competition, and that "Stick with it attitude" that only America can really possess. While two English Poet/Musicians, the Richard and Fred Fairbrass composed this work, I think it needs to be applied to all of Americana.

So I hope everyone appreciates the following song. May it become the new anthem for future 9/11 memorials, reminding us to "Stand Up," because we need to as a country.

Things that Don't Exist Anymore...

I found this image a few years ago while combing through my parents' old photographs.

I left Washington DC two days before everything happened, was in New York the prior week, traveling through subway tunnels that no longer exist. It's odd to think about. And to be honest, I don't think about it...

A Nissei, second generation Japanese American, designed the World Trade Center. But because he lived on the East Coast, he avoided the internment experience of the Japanese of Washington, Oregon, and California. We lose sight of these aspects of history.

The collective consciousness of America has also forgotten how much New Yorkers hated the buildings when they were originally erected. But that doesn't matter any more. Much like the polyester pants and flip hairdos of the people in the photo, such thoughts seem like idle folly of an irresponsible era.

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Monday, September 5, 2011

Montana Loves Mutants

A lot of people saw X-Men: First Class this summer. It had a ton of mutants in it. Like the one that could read minds, and the one that could do stuff with metal, the sexy lady that could change shapes, and a blue furry thing.

But in Montana, Mutants are real. Like really real. They don't need CGI or Hollywood budgets under the Big Sky. Eugenics--You Got It!

Take, for example, this two-headed calf. Four eyes, better to see you with.

Even the children in Montana fully embraced the love of mutants. The children of Montana played with them as toys as evidenced by this two-faced doll, showing that Homo Superior and Homo Sapiens could potentially co-exist in harmony.

Now whether these particular mutants had extra special powers beyond being able to see in multiple directions and eat two meals at the same time is beyond me. But, I'll be damned if this doesn't prove that this place is kind of cool. Or something.
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