The Devil, The Witch and The Reaper Eating Currywurst In BerlinOctober 31, 2009
Singapore and The Gum ThingOctober 31, 2009
Anyone who knows me will tell you one thing about me: I hate when people chew gum. Specifically, I despise when mouths chaw, gnarl and mangle objects. A combination of this with bubblesnapping is enough to push me to the boundaries of sanity. It's a problem.
I decided to pitstop in Singapore because it is still the only place that gum is unlawful. This was my Holy Land. This was my Jesus Christ.
Gum 101: The horrors of gumchewing began with the Greeks and Aztecs, who chewed on tree resin as a way to pass the time between playing Stratego with civilization. But things really didn't get cooking until a formula was patented in 1869, finding its way into the first gumball machines two years later. William Wrigley souped up the recipe with mint extracts in 1914, if only to drive me insane ninety years later. Frank Fleer was the real gum guru, creating Blibber-Blabber in 1906 (the first bubble gum).
Fortunately for me, there is Singapore. Gum was banned in 1992, after vandals began sticking it on the sensors of the prized Mass Rapid Transit. Here's the best part: Nobody missed it. No black market ever developed, even though offenders were only "named and shamed" if caught – which is not even a slap on the wrist by Singapore standards. Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yen commented at the time, "If you can't think because you can't chew, try a banana." Dude psyches me up when he talks all tough about gum law (but not much else).
The resurfacing of legal gum in Singapore is an excellent example of just how bizarre and corrupt America can be. In 1999, desperate to open bilateral trade with Bush's USA, the government agreed to two things. The first was public support for the war in Iraq. The second was repealing the gum ban. That's quite a dicksucking for trade negotiation.
How did they end up swallowing? Only Americans will fully understand, for we are a special people. The year before, Wrigley's had hired a lobbyist and leaned on an Illinois congressman to put gum on the Bush Agenda. Only the devil knows what was traded in making this a sticky issue for Singapore, who picked up a 150 million dollar tax break per year on their end of the deal.
The government in Singapore found a crafty way to save face. Some gum has medicinal purpose, even if is to help build enamel or fight cavities. Therefore, they made gum an item that must be handed out by pharmacists, only after taking down the names of customers for a national record. Any importing of gum is still illegal. There is something perversely exciting to me about this. I could buy a parrot at 4:30am in Manhattan but a person in Singapore must ask a pharmacist for a stick of Hubba Bubba.
For five days I have not seen a single person chew gum. No whorish women snapping their cud. No athletes mouthing the sticky substance like it was their junior prom date. I have had beautiful, thoughtful moments without the presence of my nemesis. And nobody – not even the spoiled tourists – seems to miss it.
I propose a gumfree world. If I had a billion dollars I would buy lobbyists and make it a priority. Until then, I will have Singapore.
Taken In Bangkok At A Hotel. For Those Looking For A New Life….October 30, 2009
5 Fast Foods That Should Never Have BeenOctober 29, 2009
This is my favorite thing Kate's ever written, probably because I am fascinated by fast food. Her description of the McRib is quite tasty.
Twenty 80’s Rockers Twenty Years LaterOctober 28, 2009
I was hunting around Flickr the other night for some of my favorites from the 80's, then realized it would make a pretty neat piece.Behold.
How To Sleep In Your VehicleOctober 27, 2009
I found this one really interesting. I’ve always thought I was the free and easy type, until the idea of sleeping a car every night popped into my head. Dorm bunk? Sure. Tent? OK. But for some reason, sleeping in the car seems strange to me.
Um, have you ever seen a jet that’s also a house?October 27, 2009
I just put on this up at Matador about a crazy jet-home for rent in Costa Rica.
Some Wierd Sin: The Remains Of Where Iggy Pop and David Bowie Made “Lust For Life”October 27, 2009
Hansa Studios, Berlin, Germany. Studio 3. Oct 21, 2009. The studio is being demolished and rebuilt with all new equipment and a more modern feel. The copper in the walls was actually used to block out radio transmissions from the military folks just over yonder at The Berlin Wall. I’ll be posting more photos and other pictures of Hansa later this week at Matadornights.com.
KaDeWe Department Store (Berlin, Germany)October 27, 2009
Star Trek In French, As Told By Somebody Who Doesn’t Speak FrenchOctober 27, 2009
I decided to re-run this one from May (originally on my Posterous), with the impending release of Star Trek on DVD. Enjoy (however you say that in French).
Tonight I watched Star Trek in Cahors, France. I was the only person in the theatre during the 18:30 showing. 18:30 means 6:30pm. The film was overdubbed. I do not speak French. Here is my summation of the plot of this fine film:
A big, squidlike clams ship tries to eat another ship that looks like the one at the beginning of the old TV episodes, except it’s groovier and more JJ Abrams-looking. A very mean man (with tribal face tattoos that look like they were designed at a shop called Damage Ink) seems to be behind the whole thing.
The Star Trek ship crashes into the mean ship, but not without the captain sending his pregnant wife off on a smaller ship. She gives birth within sixty seconds in that movie way and they name him via speakerphone. They call him Jeem.
We are introduced to a boy called Spuck. He is being schooled in logic and bunch of numbers that I can’t count to in French. Wynona Ryder, in her much ballyhoo’d return, gives him a talking to. She seems like she always seems in movies: like Wynona Ryder with a costume on.
We learn that Jeem is now a grown up playa with the ladies. He channels W Bush and rampages through some cocktails. His hair looks died orange-brown, possibly with L’Oreal (French!). He meets a girl and they discuss ducks or something, depending on if you trust my translation. A fight ensues during which Jeem decides to grow up. People begin calling him Keerk.
It should be mentioned that characters are yelling at each other in French a lot.
Jeem bangs some green lady. He’s on screen long enough for me to imagine his penis size and guess that he has sixty four chest hairs. There is some kind of mix-up between the green girl and her roommate, which was probably really funny if you saw it in English. I just kept trying to look for continuity issues in green girl’s makeup (none. Way to go JJ).
There is some mishagass in a room with a lot of people. Everyone is assigned to ships. Keerk is given to The Enterprise and boards the ship. I figure out who Sulu is based on his ethnicity, which makes me feel shitty. Bones is obviously Bones. Chekhov is by far the hottest and demands my attention.
Keerk and Spuck are cross with each other, in front of their captain. Spuck has razor burn. Somehow, suddenly, The Enterprise does battle with the clamship. Tattoo Man is up to something involving blood or DNA or big needles. It is Tattoo Man is something called a Voolcan.
The second reel clicks through and I am more confused than a circus clown performing an abortion. Everyone seems to be shouting numbers as Keerk parachutes into a Voolcan outpost, then fights with more Tattoo Men. Sulu shows up in a hot-shit silver number and does Kill Bill battle with the dudes, too.
They succeed in doing something but then something bad happens. Spuck acts logically and many people yell into their wrists. Hot Checkhov saves Keerk and Sulu, who then beam back onto the ship while spooning.
Tattoo Man has captured the old captain and tortures him with holograms of beautiful women, then feeds him a weird scorpion. It is at this point that I realize that no person remaining on the ship seems to be older than 20 years old. Spuck has kicked his razor burn and does the Voolcan pinch on Keerk. The audience claps.
Keerk ends up on a planet of ice with bad CGI monsters attacking him. An older Spuck saves him. A series of flashbacks confuses the English Speaking Audience. There might be something about a time portal. Nothing else makes sense and I start having rude thoughts about Checkhov until this sequence is over.
Keerk and Old Spuck enter some kind of weird warehouse with some character who wears a bomber jacket and appears to be somebody named Scutty. Everyone gets cross with each other. Old Spuck takes off and does the “Live Long and Prosper” thing, which I only understand because of the finger action.
Keerk and Scutty get beamed back to the present day Enterprise. Scotty gets pumped through a water Habitrail. Reel three kicks in as Keerk and Spuck become cross with each other again. Shit goes down, Spuck leaves the bridge in a huff and Keerk becomes captain. Spuck comes back to the bridge and makes up with Keerk. They come close to kissing.
Some kind of plan is devised.
Spuck and Keerk beam into Tattoo Man’s lair. He is not chuffed and everyone becomes cross with each other. Spuck ends up leaving on some ship but only by calling Keerk by his first name, Jeem. They almost kiss again.
Keerk fights Tattoo Man on a set that is about the tenth homage to Jedi. Spuck breaks some necklace-in-the-sky thing with his ship. This pisses off Tattoo Man, who seems to be everywhere at once. Keerk shoots Tattoo Man’s henchman in the nuts and sends him into space. Keerk rescues the old captain, who didn’t die from the scorpion-thing or the holograms. Spuck, Keerk and Captain are beamed safely back to The Enterprise.
A final battle with Tattoo Man and his Clamship ensues and the bad guys are sent into the portal from the other part that I didn’t understand.
The Enterprise almost gets pulled apart but it doesn’t. Everyone seems relieved. Back on land, Spuck meets his older self and gets a talking to. The word logic is bandied about. Spuck nearly tongue-kisses older Spuck.
Keerk gets a medal and looks smug. The crew gets a curtain call on the deck of The Enterprise, in a kind of a gay Broadway way. A sequel is assured. The End.