1. Do You Need a Tote Bag? I’d Like to Meet You

    I know there is someone out there, somewhere, who needs another tote bag. Raise your hand, I know you’re out there. The universe doesn’t make any sense without you in it, Mr. Unknown Quotient, because they are seriously making a goddamn metric hump-ton of tote bags these days and I have no freakin’ idea who needs another one.

    Seriously. I like artists and crafty people. I live in Brooklyn. I get all lathered up when I hear someone I’m talking to screen prints things.  That is awesome! Way to create, friend! But if you ask me to buy one of your screenprinted creations on a tote bag I’m going to say no because I’ve got 462 of the things stacked up like extremely ineffective cord wood in my closet and hanging from hooks in my hall where I should have jackets.

    The furthest I can stretch my concept of multiple tote bag use is two at a time. There are a limited number of things one would put in a tote bag as opposed to backpacks or messenger bags or purses or pockets or, y’know, hands. Right now I’m thinking groceries and towels, that’s about it. So maybe going to the beach with friends you might need more than one tote bag? Ah, but the hitch in that is that will likely have their own tote bags that they’ve been waiting to use in such a situation, perhaps totes acquired from a public radio donation or purchased at some sort of farmer’s market in a eco-sustainable frenzy.

    I would completely grin ear to ear if I saw a tote bag full of oranges. Make this happen. But that’s not the point.

    The point is that I heard that Toro Y Moi is packaging his latest album as a tote bag plus download code and I want to like this idea. Really, I do. I love this period of flux in the business of music marketing where added value items are thrown hither and yon and big crazy ideas come crashing around the blogs like ancient monsters awakened to destroy by the sound of the record industry’s collapse. It looks way less desperate than when the comic book industry did a similar thing in the 90s with chromium covers and holograms and polybagged trading cards and crap like that. Much cooler.

    It’s even printed in Michigan and man, they could use the work.

    My problem is that I will never use another tote bag. Ever. There will never be a need for me to buy a tote bag. Even if rendered homeless and nude with all my earthly possessions burnt and the ashes scattered by bitchy ravens (really guys, rub it in), if I found myself in need of something to carry a towel and some oranges I could simply yell on any street in the land “Hey, TOTE BAG!” and one of my fellow humans would have a spare they could give me.Within minutes.

    In summary, can we please start releasing non-record records in some commemorative form that actually has a use? Like maybe load the album on a USB drive that’s the handle of a Bowie knife? (Sweet jams for Wild West defense!) Or maybe a pizza stone with a unique download code etched into its surface? Or a plum tree seedling with label stick that reads “I ABSOLVE YOU FOR TORRENTING IT”.

    Image from the Etsy page where you can get a tote bag with a little dog wearing glasses and a curly black toupee.

  2. Uncovered: The Plot Against Lucky the Leprechaun

    Do you remember, friend, that magical time back when the internet was entirely porn, plagiarized term papers, and totally useless bullshit?  Oh how I miss it.  (I would seriously subscribe to a 1996 version of the internet if someone would roll that out.  It’d be what, 500 megs total?)

    Topher’s Breakfast Cereal Character Guide is keeping that flame alive, serving as a vital repository for such ephemera as the tale of how General Mills once tried to put the hit out on Lucky the Leprechaun, esteemed pitchman for that barely-a-cereal Lucky Charms:

    General Mills attempted to replace L. C. Leprechaun in the mid-1970’s. Waldo the Wizard, a man in a green wizard’s cap and gown (and black sneakers on his feet), appeared on boxes in 1975. “Ibbledebibble delicicious”. Waldo was created by Alan Snedeker, and designed by Phil Mendez. It was a test to find a replacement for the leprechaun. Officially, Waldo proved to be less popular than “Lucky” and magically disappeared from boxes one year later.

    For a whole year Lucky the Leprechaun was out of the public eye, probably chained to some radiator in the General Mills HQ being interrogated as to the whereabouts of various marshmallow precious stones.  Can you imagine what this universe would be like if those nefarious plans went through?  I’m no quantum physicist and I’ve never seen The Butterfly Effect but here goes: no more puffins, laser guided herpes and President Christian Slater.

    Other mind-blowing secrets from the land of cereal advocacy:

    If whatever you are doing has any utility whatsoever, stop it and blow two hours reading about cereal mascots.  It’s the only humane thing to do.

    Image from the equally indispensable Cereal Bits Cereal Box Archive.

  3. Huh? Viral campaign for Japanese biotech company

    First go to which looks like Google. Type “alfa tsentr” and you see some Russian characters that translates to “she is the beginning” (ona nachalo). Clicking around gets you to “The Junsui Project” which features Junko, the child of all man-kind. I know some Russian and Japanese but I have no idea what I’m supposed to buy.

  4. Rewire: The Postal Service


    Alright, I confess: I still write and send actual, physical letters to people.  People I know even.  For non-special occasions, not even as a ritual or an outdated formality.  I’m a sucker for physical objects, what can I say.

    As often as I think that I’m the last non-corporate entity who still uses the post office, there’s still that enormous line at every sad outpost of the U.S. Mail.  Weird.  Who are these people?

    Before this devolves into a pointless antiquarian rant, let me get to the meat: there’s an article brewing that I want to get a conversation going about before it starts.

    Topic: how would you go about making the postal service relevant?

    Included in this would be the issues of improving the user experience, competing with email for ease of use, making all those hackneyed storefronts do something and running it all without just digging a big hole to throw money in.

    Somewhat harder than all that would be: how can we revive the culture of sending each other tangible objects?  How does one create a market for the delivery of things?

    Go nuts in the comments.  Let’s get talking.