Funny and/or Strange

Truly Functional Furniture?

When I read over this headline the first time, I thought that it said “Ikea chief…” and I thought, “Man is there nothing some stylishly functional, yet affordable Swedish furniture can’t make better?”

It’s silly, I know, and yet the more I think about it….


Funny and/or Strange

Iran’s Plywood Posturing

6a00d83451af9f69e2016300460737970d-640wiI admire defiance.

I have a grudging admiration for Iran.  I’ll admit it. They consistently thumb their nose at America, however toothlessly, which is impressive enough on it’s own, but they also have a valid point: western nations have been messing with their internal affairs for the better part of a century and they’re pretty sick of it.

Mostly, it’s the way their military occasionally expresses it’s defiance that I appreciate–trotting out not so secret weapons like miniature submarines, “flying boats” and fast attack boats (think power boats, but with machine guns or small missiles instead of hot chicks and water skis).

hqdefaultWhen I was a kid, back when kids were allowed to roam wild and free in the summers, one of our neighborhood adventures was to play in “the crick”–Marsh Run–a relatively lifeless strip of stream that provided a band of wildness through the center of our town.  The receptacle for street drains and downspouts across our neighborhood, it could rise from 8 inches to 8 feet in the course of a summer deluge, but on bright sunny days it was a pleasant and shady, if not particularly clean place to while away an afternoon. One of our favorite endeavors was to catch leeches, stick them on rocks, and either impale them on twigs or salt them to death–a leech stuck to an ankle was a particular treat: we’d watch it swell with our blood for a while and then, just when it looked like it would get away with it, we’d salt it, watch it fall off, flail, and die. We were vengeful little sods–sometimes we’d cheer the sticky, convulsing critters.

Next up, the building of boats. Any cast-off piece of lumber would do–old 2×4 chunks were ideal–that we could float down the stream and target with rocks.  Or, on a smaller scale, we would buy packaged of balsa wood from the hobby store on our thriving main street, carve at them with pocket knives, and fashion entire miniature navies which–are you seeing a theme here?–we would then throw rocks at until we got bored, which was pretty quickly.

I was thrilled to discover this week that the Iranian Navy has embarked on a similar strategy, albeit on a slightly larger scale.  I built 6″ battleships out of balsa–but the Iranians have constructed near-to-scale versions of American aircraft carriers.  The similarity is that neither vessel can fire back, producing for a rather lopsided engagement.  But I’ve got to hand it to them: how much FUN must this be:

I’m  not one to embrace demonstrations of military packing, but I won’t lie to you: from a strictly recreational point of view I’m a little envious.  My repressed inner 8-year-old would LOVE to explode a life-size fake ship.

And just for the record: the floating truck image I attached above is not really an Iranian frigate, despite the obvious visual similarities.  It is an artfully crafted Photoshop rendering.  I’ve seen this vehicle, a home-made craft that a Cuban man built to cross over to Florida.  The Iranian flags, machine gun and moons were added by the unknown artists.


The President Needs a Make-Over

While I was devoting considerable energies into not nodding off during the State of The Union Address last night, Mrs. Junk remarked on how odd it was to see President Obama’s suddenly graying hair.  As a guy who has seen Obama Grayhis own hair take a sudden flight towards white–I’ll be in Santa country by the time I’m 55–I have to say he carries it well.  He’s a handsome guy, after all, and he’s got a lot on his mind.  Not only that, he’s certainly in good company. Until my own hair changed from brown to salt & pepper to–uh–just plain salty (like my personality, I guess), I have to admit that I suspected s conspiracy of Presidents.  As candidates, it goes to figure, Clinton Graypotential leaders want to appear youthful, energetic, virile, powerful and vigorous; so it goes without saying that coloring one’s hair is a simple part of a campaign not unlike wearing good suits and attractive ties.  Once in office, however, the cultivated image of choice shifts to one of wisdom, maturity, and leadership–candidates are cast as agents of change, but Presidents are leaders.  The are diplomats who set the tone for george-w-bush-58e91e6f1fa9866bnational discourse and international relations.  Even the simplest of men, those who bore leadership as if it was no greater burden than a sack of children’s toys, have aged under the weight of responsibility and the pressure of constant scrutiny.  Was I wrong to suspect that Presidents in office intentionally let their hair go gray?  That some possibly even hasten the process via artificial means?  I suspect I’m on to something–but I also think that these guys are missing the boat.  Ronald Reagan, that canny old player, appeared to RonaldReaganmoisten his hair with waxy black shoe polish right up to his last days in office, even as he muttered “I do not recall” to inquiry after inquiry into the despicable conduct that took place on his watch–and people loved him for it.  Why did folks love Reagan?  Not because he denied any problems America faced with the same fervor he denied knowledge of the FonzIran-Contra Arms For Hostages deals, and not because he reminded many of us of our doddering old grandfathers.  Reagan was beloved because he had the same hair as The Fonz.  When Reagan was elected, who was the reigning cultural icon?  It Arthur “Fonzi” Fonzarelli.  When Reagan won reelection in 1984, American was sadly saying goodbye to that same shark-jumping icon when a wave of nostalgia carried the incumbent back for another four-year term.  Coincidence?  I don’t think so.

So, clearly what President Obama needs is a celebrity make-over, and the perfect celebrity has never been more clear–we need someone who is highly intelligent and articulate, someone who works as hard as Obama, and we need someone cool–if the truth is to be told, Obama needs a little help here: he’s a bit of a policy geek, and those cigarettes don’t make him seem any cooler, despite what years of Marlboro ads have said to the contrary. He gets points for playing basketball, but not enough to compensate for his wonkishness.  On the subject of his rumored, rabid fanaticism for Star Trek I plead the fifth amendment and the right to not risk self-incrimination.

I’ve found a guy who is smart, articulate, wildly talented, supremely hard-working, and unquestionably cool.  His name is ?uestLove and President Obama should assume his style immediately. questlove

“Hey, Questlove–I need an update–who’s your stylist?”

Not only would it be a serious upgrade in terms of both style and cool, but there would be added tactical advantages in dealing with the primarily southern, lilly-white conservative seed at the heart of Republican stubbornness, for example–that tall and proud hair is going to scare the bejesus out the closet crackers who let their backwardsassed racism foul progress.  On the international circuit, do we really think a bully like Vladamir “Mad Vlad” Putin is going to give a giant like Questlove–easily 7 feet tall with the hair factored in–and backtalk whatsoever?  I don’t think so–and Obama is another tall guy, so all he needs to do it thicken up, add 150 pounds, and voila….

If I was any good at computer graphics, I’d mock up a cut and paste job of Questlove’s hair on Obama, but I’m afraid we’re just going to have to wait for the inevitable since, now that I’ve loosed this cat from it’s sack, there’s no way this isn’t going to happen.  In the mean time, please enjoy the video link.