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.