Monday, February 28, 2011

Happy Bieber Day!

It has been a busy holiday season, I know. It’s easy to get swept up in Valentine’s Day, President’s Day, preparing for a Leap Year and then realizing that there is not actually a Leap Year this year. But let’s not forget the new holiday that is truly set to grow into the largest global holiday of them all - Justin Bieber Day. 

That’s right, today, March 1st, marks the 17th anniversary of the birth of Justin Bieber, worldwide pop music phenomenon. All of the trend forecasters have been predicting it: this holiday is going to be huge this year, and it is only getting bigger--

--or should I say, BIEBER?

I’m sure that you will all celebrate Bieber Day in the expected ways. Listening to “U Smile” on repeat. Wearing only purple in honor of his great Bieberness. Watching the matinee of “Justin Bieber: Never Say Never” and fondling yourself alone in the privacy of the empty darkness, since all of the kids will still be in school.

Just me?

Anyway, like most major retail holidays, the true meaning of Bieber Day can get lost in all of the glitz and glam, so it is useful to quickly review five of the lessons we can learn from the Life of Justin Bieber.
  1. Jewish hip-hop managers will not hurt you, but you should probably check with your church elders just to be sure.
  2. The brightness of a star like Justin Bieber can distract us from some of the most inherent joys in life. For instance, the fact that Ludacris, a man who barely a decade ago was LITERALLY licking girls from their heads to their toes, is now singing about his 13-year-old first love and Starbucks. How’s that for street cred?
  3. When life gives you lemons, you should turn them into a free trip to North Korea.
  4. The best way to make money in our dog eat dog world is to release four different versions of every product you release. Take advantage of fanaticism—everything should be re-released in “2.0,” acoustic, and international compilation editions. Esperanza Spalding probably doesn't even have 4 million Twitter followers, much less 4 versions of any of her hobo-gypsy guitar ballads, or whatever she does.
  5. In today’s world full of constantly changing variables, the only surefire formula success is to become a viral YouTube phenomenon. Speaking of which, do me a favor and check out some of the wildly hilarious sketches on the Business Flannel YouTube Channel.
So that’s that. Try not to forget the real meaning of the holiday this Bieber Day, March 1st, 2011.  It's not about commercialism, it's about Justin Bieber.  Today is the day that we celebrate the American realized by Canadians.

The Logo for the 2012 Olympic Games in London Is A Lot of Negative Things, But 'Racist' Is Not One of Them

From ESPN:

Iran objects to the logo for the 2012 London Olympics, contending it is racist because it resembles the word "Zion" and warning of a possible boycott of the Games.
In comments carried by the official IRNA news agency Monday, secretary general Bahram Afsharzadeh said the letter urges other Muslim states to oppose the "racist logo."
"There is no doubt that negligence of the issue from your side may affect the presence of some countries in the Games, especially Iran which abides by commitment to the values and principles," the letter said.
An horrific eyesore. A spazzed-out nightmare image from a bad acid trip. Potentially the first ironic post-nostalgia Olympic logo ever.

These are how I would label what can only be described as a hot mess of an Olympic emblem, the London 2012:

Please, don't blame the Jews for this, too.
That the Iranian government looks at this mess of a design and sees the word 'Zion' is perhaps unsurprising, as sometimes we all see what we want to see. I, for example, see a Dan Deacon papier-mâché meltdown, as well as, from the top-left going counter-clockwise, a woman on her knees who has been sliced in half at the torso, a pair of hot pink Spanx cutoffs worn high on the waist, a depressed earthworm hanging his head into his lap, and two empty pizza boxes from gay pizza chain Hot Papa's.

But the word 'Zion'? Well, no.

There are certain things that Iran could boycott that should give the Western, democratic world serious pause--nuclear disarmament talks, for example, or Middle East peace treaty conversations. Without Iran's participation, these events would be rendered useless, illegitimate, irrelevant.

But women's beach volleyball?

I think Misty May wouldn't lose much sleep over the legitimacy of her gold medal had Iran not participated.

So, sorry Iran. You aren't China; there are no Iranian Olympic training preschool cells throughout your country, and you don't totally rock at gymnastics, so find something else to complain about.

Or, on second thought, don't. Keep focusing on this. It is super, super important that Iran center all of its energy on this cause and nothing else. Find those hidden Zionism messages, Iran! Did you check "The King of Limbs"? Go go go go!

Charlie Sheen's "Today Show" Appearance Will Make You Forget the Miserable Dreck That Is Your Life

This morning Charlie Sheen -- anti-Semite cokehead jerkbag star of CBS' hit family show Two and a Half Men -- appeared on NBC's Today Show to defend his recent rant against Men creator and comedy-hater Chuck Lorre.

The, ahem, highlights:

  • He never once showed up to the set "drunk" or "loaded." I think this he deserves credit for this; he also deserves credit for never once showing up to the set being Jon Cryer.
  • He had showed up to the set "sideways" or not having slept, but it's okay because "it's not rocket science." If there are two words that I would not use describe Two and a Half Men, they would be rocket science. What's supposed to be wrong with this guy again? He recognizes  how terrible the writing on Two and a Half Men is, which is more than we can say for most of the moralizers following this story. I say give this man an Oscar, and if not an Oscar, than at least the hosting gig at the Oscars next year.
  • He wants a raise, from somewhere north of $2 million an episode to $3 million an episode, because of the (quote fingers) psychological distress caused by the ordeal. The guy was discovered ass naked in the lobby of the Plaza Hotel with a hooker in his room and a briefcase full of cocaine. I think he's making enough money.
  • He is tired of pretending he's not "bitchin', a total friggin' rock star from Mars." If they can't re-sign him, they should get David Bowie to play his character on the show. Also Jon Cryer should be replaced by Kirk Douglas. Now THAT'S a CBS sitcom I would watch.
  • Interviewer: "When was the last time you did drugs?" King Charles: "Don't remember. Don't care." The fact that he can't remember - at the earliest! - January 30 might be an indication that he has done too many drugs. [Note: too much drugs? Too many drugs? He's done lots of drugs and can't remember where he was two months ago, is the point.]
  • On whether or not he has anger issues: "My passion is often misinterpreted as anger...and I don't think people are ready for the message I'm delivering." Said the angry, angry, angry man.
  • Charlie Sheen is not an anti-Semite because he knows a lot of Jewish people--his manager, the man who happens to be interviewing him on The Today Show--lots of Jewish people.
  • He plans to win the war against CBS with "zeal, and focus, and violent hatred." When you say that you have "violent hatred" within you, people often misinterpret that as anger, too.
  • Charlie Sheen has tiger blood and Adonis DNA.
  • Charlie Sheen does not care for Alcoholics Anonymous.
  • Charlie Sheen does not care for Chuck Lorre.
  • Charlie Sheen does not care if his fans worry about him.
  • Charlie Sheen is a lunartic.
Tomorrow morning on Today, Charlie talks about his live-in girlfriends "the goddesses" and what Martin Sheen advised him to do. Not quite sure what he's going to say, but if fI had to bet, I would guess it's going to be batshit crazy egocentric Marlon-Brando-in-Apocalypse-Now nonsense speak.

Charlie Sheen in his favorite cocaine fedora.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

24 Hour Clock - Business Flannel

New from Business Flannel, just in time for the Oscars!

Is It Okay to Flush a Band-Aid Down the Toilet?

Is It Okay to Flush a Band-Aid Down the Toilet?
Is It Okay to Flush a Band-Aid Down the Toilet?
Is It Okay to Flush a Band-Aid Down the Toilet?
Is It Okay to Flush a Band-Aid Down the Toilet?
Is It Okay to Flush a Band-Aid Down the Toilet?
Is It Okay to Flush a Band-Aid Down the Toilet?
Is It Okay to Flush a Band-Aid Down the Toilet?
Is It Okay to Flush a Band-Aid Down the Toilet?
Is It Okay to Flush a Band-Aid Down the Toilet?
Is It Okay to Flush a Band-Aid Down the Toilet?

Is it okay? Are we okay? Is it okay? A Band-Aid in the toilet? Is it gonna be okay? That the Band-Aid is in the toilet? That within the toilet there is a Band-Aid? That a Band-Aid is floating on the water in the toilet? Soon to sink? Soon to be flushed? Soon to never return, into the pipes that connect to the toilet? The Band-Aid in the pipes? The pipes carrying a Band-Aid? The pipes that connect to the toilet that holds the Band-Aid?

Is it okay to flush a Band-Aid Down the toilet?

Separated at Birth: Mommar Qaddafi and This Picture of Will Ferrell as Mugatu from "Zoolander" That I Stretched Out Beyond Recognition?


What Time Do the Oscars Start Tonight?

The 83rd Academy Awards are live tonight in Hollywood. James Franco and Anne Hathaway are the unexpected, unorthodox co-hosts, and "The King's Speech" and "The Social Network" are considered to be neck-and-neck front-runners by many for Best Picture; but there is one question that seems to surpass them all, and it is this:

What time does this thing start?

Does anyone know? I was thinking, man, it's gotta be 8 o'clock, but that would mean it starts at 5 o'clock in California, which seems awfully early for Javier Bardem to be getting piss-drunk.

But then again, 9 P.M. would be too late of a start time for the East Coast, which contains New York, which contains the Jews, who control Hollywood, not to mention television.

Would the Oscars, the most important event of the year for a certain segment of people with meaningless lives, start at a fraction of an hour? 8:30? 8:45? 7:15? Surely not. What would a night of self-congratulatory, empty references to Egypt, Libya and "the rest of North Africa" mean on a telecast that begins anywhere on a time that does not end :00?

Someone, please tell me when the Academy Awards start. It is the number two trending search on Google ("academy awards time" (I am guessing, of course, this means "What time is the Academy Awards?" and not "It's Academy Awards time! Who does everyone have for Best Set Design?"))

In conclusion, please let me know the exact minute the Oscars begin. Because if I have to watch one single minute of the Red Carpet, I am going to flip. My. Wig.

A terrible drawing of Christian Bale wearing a shirt he definitely does own.

Oscar Prediction: 1

It's snowing in Los Angeles for the first time in decades, which can only mean one thing: "Crash" is once again going to win Best Picture.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

"Countdown to Angus T. Jones' 18th Birthday" Is Web's Least Popular Website

NEW YORK - A website counting down to the 18th birthday of Angus T. Jones--the star of CBS' Two and a Half Men who is neither the anti-Semite cokehead nor the big-headed wimpy-man --is the least popular website on the entire Internet, according to data collected by traffic tracking service WebSense.

The site, www.angusjonescountdown, which simply features a picture of the portrayer of Jake Harper on the hit CBS show and a digital timer set to end the day that he "FINALLY BECOMES LEGAL," has had zero visitors since the day it was first started in 2003. No one has typed the link into their web browser, nor has anyone, of any age, sex, or nationality searched in Google, Bing, or any other search engine, a series of words that would indicate any anticipation for the day that Angus Jones finally becomes a legal young buck.

The creator of the website could not be reached for comment, as he is most likely hiding in a cave somewhere in Pakistan, am I right, you guys?

P.S. Angus T. Jones does indeed turn 18 later this year. Which fellow cast member do you think he wants to throw his birthday party?

Which One of These Is Not Like the Other?

"Hey, honey, what should we watch for family movie night this week?"

"Hmm, let's see what Netflix suggests!"

"Good idea!"

"Well, we already took the kids to see Up and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs while they were still in theaters...I'm afraid they're a little too young to read the subtitles on Ponyo...The Princess and the Frog we watched in the minivan on the trip to Disneyland...oh, here we go! SPARTACUS: BLOOD AND SAND! Perfect!"

"The algorithm WORKS! Thanks, Netflix!"

I Write Strong

I was about two minutes into a foot massage in Bangkok when my masseuse, a plump, jolly, non-English-speaking old Thai woman asked me:

"You write songs?"

Having never met the woman before, and not having brought a guitar or grand piano into the parlor, I considered the question. I was dressed somewhat like a certain strain of Brooklynish hipster songwriter, in tight blue jeans and old Converses; I had written songs for a musical theater troupe in college; I had dabbled in preposterous fake rap lyrics on a semi-popular parody Twitter account. Which of these my masseuse was familiar with, however, was unclear, and I considered it quite, quite unlikely that she was referring to any of these, and so I decided to seek clarification:

"I...?" I asked, and then I arched my eyebrows just so, in the way that means, "The words you just spoke, though undoubtedly English, do not mean a thing to me.

"You like strong?" she asked, this time louder.

This made more sense. She was asking not whether I was a songsmith, based on some extremely irregular knowledge of my past, but rather whether I wanted her to vigorously knead my foot muscles.

"Yes! I like strong!" I answered confidently, pointing at my feet, then flexing my arm muscles like a bodybuilder, and then laughing at my foolishness.

Immediately she stopped massaging, stood up, and left the room.

"Oh no," I thought, "Is she going to bring in her bodybuilding friend to massage my feet," I worried, "Or perhaps a judge's gavel?" I hoped I had not offended her by saying that I wanted to be massaged strongly. It was a quite typical request, I thought, and besides, she had asked me whether or not I preferred strength, so I was hardly at fault.

My reverie was interrupted by a bossa nova rendition of "My Heart Will Go On" by Celine Dion, filling the silence of the massage parlor anteroom.

"Song, song," my plump massage smiled as she re-entered the room, pointing up to the ceiling to indicate the speakers she had activated. "You like songs!"

Yes, old pump Thai masseuse. I like songs. I also write songs. I also like strong. I have also been told I write strong.

I also spoke enough of Thai to have had the conversation in her native language, but hey man, I'm getting a foot massage, and all I want to do is, like, like strong songs and shite. My heart will go strong. My feet will go song. Strong, right? Foot massages.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Old News

From the New York times: Older Audience Makes Its Presence Known at the Movies.

I don't know about you, but I find this headline threatening. Usually when I think of someone Making Their Presence Known, I think about:

  1. Mob bosses Making Their Presence Known by killing a low-level employee of a rival family.
  2. That thing where you're talking about someone behind their back, and suddenly the person you're talking to gets all wide eyed and sort of half-nods with his chin as if to say, "she's standing right behind you," and then the person behind you clears her throat (even though her throat was really fine to begin with) and Makes Her Presence Known.
  3. Ghosts, spirits, dwarves, and such who make crop circles, fairy rings, etc. in order to Make Their Presence Known to the living.

What I don't think of when I hear "making their presence known" is my grandmother going to a movie and then falling asleep after 13 minutes, which is what happens. If that's what "making your presence known" means, then I have made my presence known at ballets, operas, and dozens of Econ 101 lectures.

Here's the photo and accompanying caption:

Caryn Eschen, right, is part of the older moviegoing audience that has begun to assert itself.

Look at this old woman asserting herself by engaging in the standard commercial activities which we, unburdened by the shackles of disgusting old age, also regularly engage in! Great day for the elderly of this proud nation.


Just saw a sign at my local church:

"We believe in UFOs: unity, forgiveness, and outreach."

Those are some pretty weird names for alien spacecrafts, but it's good to see a church that's not afraid to admit it believes in extraterrestrials.

THOUGHT: If aliens were to practice a terrestrial religion, is there any chance they wouldn't be Zoroastrians?

YOUR TURN: What's the weirdest name for a flying saucer you've ever heard put forth by a religious organization?

Yeah, Take THAT McDonalds, Signed, Mark F. Bittman IN THA HOUSE

Mark Bittman, the NYT's foodie blogger, wrote an attack piece on McDonald's oatmeal. The thesis: it's bad for you. This isn't shocking, given that everything McDonald's is more concerned with being a profitable business than the dietary health of its customers; it is also not shocking that the New York Times published this investigative journalism, given that rich white people hate McDonald's.

I still can't get over this headline from the New York Times "opinionator" blog:

"How to Make Oatmeal . . . Wrong"


I can totally imagine those jerk McDonald's execs reading this headline.

"Why, look here," they must have said upon seeing that an article had been written about their oatmeal. "It's a complimentary piece in the Times about our new hot cereal product, praising us for preparing the dish correc--WHAAAT???

Congratulations to Mark Bittman and the New York Times headline writers (who I can only imagine are some of the weirdest dudes and dudettes on the planet, given their past work - note to self--tumblr idea--"" - content: stupid NYTimes headlines, witty one-liners) for this Valley High insult of McDonald's.

Hey, Mark Bittman, I really liked your headline---NOT!

BOOM, roasted!

The Best of the Chicken That Answers Joke Setups With Logical Answers

I had never heard of the "Anti-Joke Chicken" meme before right now, but now that I have, I wanted to share it, with all of you. Because isn't that what Kuwaiti National Day (February 25, God Bless Kuwait) is all about?

The rapid-fire pacing of the jokes makes this all the better. It's like Gob reading out all of Michael's business ideas during his first day at Sitwell's.

"Yonkers" Is Bonkers

Warning: NSFAnywhere

This video is about two weeks old already, but I really wanted to use that title, so screw it. And no, my discovery that this rhyme is most prominently used in a children's book did not dissuade me at all.

The exact opposite of Tyler, The Creator's bonkers "Yonkers" video.
Above is the video for "Yonkers" by Tyler, the Creator, the hottest rapper with punctuation in his name going right now. Tyler, the Creator is the ringleader of the indie rap collective OFWGKTA (when writing about Tyler, the Creator, white music journalists are required to introduce him with the phrase "ringleader of the indie rap collective OFWGKTA," just as they are required to introduce Joanna Newsom as a "songstress.")

OFWGKTA stands for "Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All" (catchy, guys!), and they are straight "blowin' up" as a much-buzzed-about-by-Pitchfork appearance on Jimmy Fallon's used diaper of a late-night program.

(NOTE: there is a direct relationship between people's excitement over indie group Odd Future's appearance on the Jimmy Fallon show and the Arcade Fire's Best Album Grammy victory. I'll let you figure out what that is, but, hint, winning the album for Best Grammy is like winning a used diaper).

This is Odd Future capo (that's another word all white journalists must use when describing Tyler, The Creator: "capo") Tyler, the Creator's best rap and best video. It is intense, violent, disturbing, and in black-and-white. It's a good thing. No one has called Tyler a black Beatle, but the song does feature what appears to be a fucking roach.

TAGS: my mom won't like this video or song.

Monday, February 7, 2011

This Land Is Once Again Thailand

Some of you may know that I, Jason, spent last year living in Northern Thailand as an English teacher. A similar subset of you may also I know that I catalogued my experiences, revelations, and bowel movements on a little blog called This Land Is Thailand, the entire contents of which can be found in the archive of this, the Business Flannel, blog.

This Land Is Thailand was so popular (earning praise from outlets such as Le Monde and Short Hair Magazine, as well as (rather puzzlingly) making Peter Travers's list of the 10 Greatest Films of 2009) that I knew that I would have to revisit it some day, just as The Rembrandts know that at each concert they must play "I'll Be There For You ("Friends" Theme)," or like how Thomas Friedman knows he has to make a totally incoherent metaphor involving a burrito every column.

And so I am back, for three weeks, to catalogue the inanities and mundanities and insanities (and, most of all, the vanities) of being a white person (and more specifically, a white person who is also an intellectual elitist douchenozzle) in Thailand.

Here are some highlights of the first two days:


Because I am a quote-unquote artist, I had to search for the cheapest flight to Thailand possible, which was an Air China (not to be confused with Hooters Airline, Air 'Gina) flight that happened to include a 17 hour layover in Beijing.

Not wanting to shell out too many yuans (speaking of which, hey, China, yuanna raise your interest rates and stop artificially deflating your currency?), I opted to spend the night at PEK, which I always thought stood for Penis Enlargement Kreme, a failed donut shop product spinoff of the late 90s, but which is apparently also the Beijing airport code.

Staying in the ticketing area of a Chinese airport went as smoothly as you might imagine it would: the internet was down; the temperature hovered around the freezing point; and I could only find a sleeping bench next to the escalator, which was constantly screaming at everyone who used it that night to BE CAREFUL MIND THE STEP [in Chinese], to which all passengers found it necessary to scream back. It's refreshing to know that the Chinese are in such healthy dialogue with their technology.

Mercifully this died down around 1 AM and the airport became quiet and empty. I took two Tylenol PM and laid down on my bench to sleep. And I did. And the pain of being alive at that moment drifted away into darkness...

...only to reappear two hours later, when I was awoken by a Chinese girl of about 17 on the bench across from mine, on her cell phone, sobbing uncontrollably, yelling at the top of her lungs in between gulps and gasps at the person on the other end of the line. I can only imagine what she was upset about (CAN YOU BELIEVE "LOVE AND OTHER DRUGS" WASN'T NOMINATED FOR BEST PICTURE???), but I can describe the volume and demeanor perfectly: just imagine the Chinese-dubbed version of "Anchorman," during the scene in which Will Ferrell is in the phone booth crying and screaming about being stuck in a glass case of emotion.

And this is what woke me up. At 3 in the morning. In sub-zero temperatures. On a bench. In the Beijing airport. Next to the escalator.


I was not able to fall back asleep the rest of the night, as this went on for 30 more minutes. Feel free to play that clip 10,800 times to get a sense of what my night was like.


I made it to Thailand without incident. One of the first things I saw was a merchant on the street, the owner of a clothing shop, organizing her inventory for the day. She was a Thai, about 35 years old, wearing a lovely black and pink knee-length dress.

Well, the dress was almost lovely, at least, save the English words that were printed on the butt of the dress. I stood in the middle of the sidewalk staring agape at her rear end and the words there printed:


No thank you, Thai woman. No thank you.


File this under "Non-Native English Speakers Attempting Puns."

The name of a bar near my gracious host Elena's apartment building:

Sofa, So Good

Even Kevin Costner doing his absolute worst Boston accent doesn't pronounce "sofa" like "so far." I'm headed over there now to request an audience with the management to explain the problem, and to attempt to convince them to change their name to a more accurate and relevant pun:

Shofar, So Good

Now THAT'S a jokey bar name that everyone can get behind.