26 June 2007

Dept. of the Sultry Look

Cat Stevens and his hair. 
Many thanks to Roland for pointing out that Cat Stevens's conversion to Islam has nothing to do with hair, hair products, or envy, at least not in the formal, obvious sense. But he should bear in mind that everything is connected to everything else—Buddhism reduced to a sentence, or so an old humanities professor told me. I mean, it isn't a huge leap from religion to hair. I myself wore a goatee during my experiment with Seventh Day Adventism. Neither suited me. Photos to come.

Work has been hectic, so my posts have been thin. I may yet have to resort to pilfered photos and free association to get something up on New Yorker Comment each week, but consider it a sorbet between the heavier courses of whatever the hell else I'm thinking about.

This current issue, the one with the Lou Romano cover of newlyweds in a taxi, looks so good I can't believe I haven't got around to reading it. If you're a newsstand buyer and not a subscriber, let me whet your appetite. It contains:

"None of this fits together? How very true!" —Albert Camus

22 June 2007

Lustre, envy, and Cat Stevens's conversion to Islam

Again, Mr. Cat Stevens. 
Isn't her hair lustrous? Doesn't it shine? How much shinier, would you say, are her infinity-symbol-shaped locks than your damp, lank, rapidly thinning ones? Fifty percent? Seventy? Eighty?

The number is hard to judge, but the result isn't—Pantene makes your hair jaw-droppingly shiny.

19 June 2007

How to get free potato chips

It appears that all you have to do to get free potato chips is suffer a moderate injury and write a letter.

Dear Old Dutch,

I'm not one of these cranky shut-ins who, deprived of ordinary human contact, resorts to writing angry letters to corporations. But I have to say something: your new Rave chips burned the crap out of my mouth. For your reference, the offending flavor was Salt & Vinegar.

Here's how it went. I bought a large bag and had an absentminded three or four handfuls. Then I noticed an intense stinging on my tongue. You know when you're washing the dishes and stick your hand under too-hot water, and how all you do is clench up, squint, hiss, and wait till it's over? That's what happened. In my mouth. Because of your chips.

If I had to compare it to another physical sensation, it would be this: putting salt in your mouth and electrocuting yourself, with the mouth-salt finding most of the current.

Here's the kicker (and bear in mind my first sentence): it's been two days, and my tongue still feels strange. Seriously, was there demand for this kind of flavor experience from the snacking public? The tip feels abused, like I dragged it on pavement, and there are little red spots where there weren't before.

Needless to say, I'm never buying Rave chips again. I've always bought Old Dutch, though, and would love to hear from you guys that your pumping up the acid content of your S&V wasn't just a spiteful joke by an ex-employee or something. If you wanted to send me a coupon for a big bag of Ketchup, too, that'd be cool.

Yours in mild physical distress,

John Bucher

Old Dutch, to its credit, sent me two coupons for free product, along with an apologetic letter thanking me for my "phone call."

(Extra: Another flavor of old Dutch rave.)

11 June 2007

Dept. of The Skill-testing Question

When you’re finished here, Spencer, we’ll need you on the bridge-to-nowhere project.

Congratulations to New York’s Richard Hine for winning this week's New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest with the above line. Head over to Emdashes to see my full interview with Richard; we go deep, discussing death, religion, the pestilence of procrastination, amphibian life, midwifery, and Taoist self-agnegation—and he gets off one of the best one-liners in recent Internet history. The guy's got it going on.

07 June 2007

Dept. of What's She Reading

The pixellation doesn't do this fine Adrian Tomine cover (June 11 & 18) any justice, but I knew immediately—didn't you?—what this tourist-bus cutie was reading.

What is it?

(Is it me, or do Tomine's lines have an Asian look?)