Monday, September 18, 2006

Weekend Hiatus

Hope all had a lovely weekend hiatus. We're preparing this week's series of posts. In the meantime we suggest that you delve back into our archive and check out all the links you might have missed. There are some really good ones!

Friday, September 15, 2006


Rain, rain come to stay. As global warming continues to wreck massive climactic change we'd better get used to its fallout. Shifting wind patterns, increased solar radiation and millions of gallons of frigid waters pouring off glaciers into the jet stream are leaving us a changed planet and we are only starting to feel the effects. As Mr. Gore so starkly pointed out to us, the global indicators are only at the precipice of massive change to come. So? Rain. There is nothing a happy little rain drop loves more than chaos, when turbulent wind and water meet in a starry, cloudless sky. Where there is massive drenching rain of course, drought cannot be far behind but thats for another post. What to do? I say its time to stop cowering in ridiculous fear of the rain, dashing from awning to awning trying not to let the stuff peck at our precious skin. We are all creatures of the earth and the sooner we learn to live in balance, the happier we're all gonna be. So throw off your parka and bear your breast to the wind and call out to zeus almighty, that or invent some proper, damn waterproof clothes, the floodgates have been opened time to let the rain shine in.

1) Rain Dear: Off to dinner and a movie, and then drinks at that new club, a little dancing, and then home to my place...BORING! Why not take advantage of the rain today and take your date out for a romantic walk in the park. Nothing screams kiss me now, like the misty drizzle hovering over the treelined paths in Central Park. Too often these days people avoid the rain. I'm guilty of it myself. I'll stay inside just to keep my feet dry. I'll take a cab instead of walking. Anything to avoid feeling the slightest bit uncomfortable.

Well, not any more! Let it rain my dear and we shall go-a-frolicking! Imagine how sexy this would be. You're out on a romantic walk in Central Park or Riverside Park and perhaps you venture off the path, walk up a slope, and then whoops, you slip on a leaf and go tumbling, legs akimbo, down the slope, only to land in eachothers arms, a soft rain gently falling all around, tip-tapping down through the trees. Ahhh, yes, to be romantic again. I propose that this Fall we get back to nature.

So get out there, get wet, get dirty, and enjoy the foul weather! Let it rain!

2) Rain Collection: Wow talk about an oldie but goodie! They say that the wars of the next millennium will not be fought over oil, but water! The price of water/gallon at the store often exceeds the price of crude and which one do you think is just a teensy bit more important for our survival? Boone Pickens, famous oil speculator, is already buying water rights and running giant pipes between water starved cities in Texas. What about the rest of us? I propose the implementation of standard water harvesting systems all over the country. Would be simple enough to design a home that had a water collection systems built into it I want mine STANDARD! And what about India and Subsahara, need to bring better water harvesting technologies there as well. I am thinking about vast fields in the Himalayas with 100 mile tarpaulins stretched into giant cones, enormous evaporation/condensation fields. Big stuff. Let it rain.

3) Corporate Reins: Lip service as PR tactic or evidence of a real effort? Major corporations claim they are working to do their part in protecting the environment. The surge in sales of hybrid cars is a good example of how consumer needs can work in tandem with profit driven corporations to create products that are good for the environment. More effort like this is certainly needed, but it's encouraging to see some steps forward; however, as Al Gore has so poignantly demonstrated in "An Inconvenient Truth", it may be too little too later, and a gleeful, feel good, glossing of environmental issues, like this GE Video posted below, might really be pernicious deception of the true state of our world.

4) Pin Wheels and Solar Panels or Come Rain or Shine: Water evaporates into the atmosphere when a certain amount of energy from sunlight frees it from the bonds that hold it in its liquid state. It rises in the atmosphere and is carried around on the winds that wind around the world. But, it carries a latent potential energy, namely it's grativationally driven decent back to earth in the form of rain, snow, or sleet. As our dear rain drop hurtles toward the earth it picks up speed and force, gaining the ability to do a certain amount of work. But at the end of it's trip, SPLISH - SPLASH back into the puddle from whence it came! ----- "CUT"------- take (2) But at the end of it's trip it collides with one of the arms of a tiny pinwheeel which drives the crank of a tiny generator, which feeds electricity through a vast field of tiny rain-energy-collecting pinwheels down into a battery storage system which supplies energy for a home. The pinwheels would collect a significant amount of energy during rainy seasons and the rooftop energy creation device would house solar panels for the sunny summer months. Now, that's some creative energy you got their ma'am! Rain on!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Love the Bucket or a Meditation on Effigy

The other day I was waiting for my train to arrive and on the platform there was a dazzling duo performing an awesome drum and tap dance act. The sounds of the conga thumping out a strong baseline while the tap dancer composed riffs that floated like melodies with his shoes. Nice! On and on he went entrancing the audience like the pied piper. I must admit I was entirely drawn in. Having lulled the audience into submission they wrapped up their piece on a sudden beat and shouted while pointing to their bucket, "DON'T HATE, DON'T HATE - LOVE THE BUCKET". For a second no one moved. Then the audience responded with dollar bills and loose change.

It wasn't until later that evening that I started to think about what they said, "DON'T HATE, LOVE THE BUCKET." What were they really saying? Standing on that platform, we the passengers had become
voyeurs to their private recital. They had to snap us out of our complacency and self consciousness to get us to take part in their performance. "DON'T HATE" Don't be alien, don't leave us hanging.

Too often people build for themselves an image of reality, a representation, an effigy if you will of the way things should. We are lulled by the act of observation. But, if you fail to burn that effigy I think you'll end up remaining on the outside of the inner human circle. So, do a little dance, be generous and "LOVE THE BUCKET!"


1) The too good factor: Remember that TV show, Cupid, you know the one with that guy from Entourage. It didn’t last long, but it was soooo good! What a concept, a show about a man who claims he’s Cupid, banished from Mt. Olympus, only to return after matching up a number of lovers. Yeah, it was a good show. Excellent writing, nice direction, superb acting, interesting settings, the whole nine yards. But, YOU (heathen) yes YOU didn’t watch it, or at least enough of your friends didn't (heathens) that it failed miserably and landed on the dustheap with a thousand other tiny fading glories. Why not? I would like to introduce you to the too good factor. It postulates that a vast majority of superb creative content goes unnoticed by the masses. for precisely the reason that it just simply too good. Hence, brilliant artists like Van Gogh die in poverty and the Backstreet Boyz rise to incredible fame. (Cinema might be the only exception to this rule - also ancient Greek Tragedy)

What if there existed an internet community which arbitrated on behalf of all things marginalized by the “too good factor”. It would allow real talent to emerge and help tone down the poor taste of the masses.

2) Blind Brainstorm: How many times have the best ideas been shot down because the person who suggested them wasn't in the right pecking order on the totem pole. This idea goes out to all you bottom-feeders out there. We propose, every once in a harvest moon, when an organization feels like shaking the tree to get some fresh ideas, that an anonymous online meeting is hosted in which all individuals who have been invited are given avatars to represent them. No one would be made privy to the identities of the avatars (except for maybe the enlightened meeting organizer) and the forum would be open. This could also be done using interactive video characters and maybe scrambles voices. Yes, yes I know there are some serious mechanics to be worked out here and the meetings might be insanely akward with a bunch of automaton voices all croaking at the same time with weird alien faces. Even so, as a once in a while special treat to give a shoutout to the meritocracy, this might be a wonderful way to give the meek a chance to inherit the earth.

3) Panhandler Del Arte: This is an idea that elevates street performance to a whole new level. Panhandler Del Arte is a service that connects talented buskers with those gigs most starved for talent and full of the pork of bad wedding bands the world over. Panhandler Del Arte would allow buskers to enter themselves into a gorgeous online booking system, with little videos of their work and freestyle proiles. Your favorite Bar Mitzvah disco will never be the same after Crazy Legz Carmelo breakdances for a throng of screaming adolescents or how about that dude rockin out on the Shamisen at your next swanky cocktail party...KILLER! Seriously we all know buskers will put the hurt on any corporate entertainment gig any day of the week, they are better performers, they deserve it more and and even better, they'll actually be greatful for the hours dourves!

4) Build an Effigy of your Fears: This is an exercise in empowerment. First, in a moment of quient conetmplation write down the fears and insecurities that plague you most. Don't hold back, let the lead flow like wine. One you have your scribbled notes pare them down and choose the one that you loathe the most. Now comes the fun part. Build an effigy of your fear. Use pipe cleaners, cotton balls, heaping gobs of peanut butter and years of collected lint...there are no rules. Be fluid in your construction, choose essence over form. Take your time, as with lovemaking, there are no prizes for finishing early. Once your effigy is complete, staring at you from odd and lumpy eyes, you can begin to destroy it.

5) American Guy Fawkes Day: Why not have a special day, perhaps a national holiday devoted to the destruction of your least favorite historical figures. If it’s good enough for the British, it should be good enough for you too. So rack your brains, pour through the history books, find that special someone who you’d most like to take out your workaday tensions on, and build yourself a good old fashion effigy. I think this could be an event sponsored by churches, synagogues, clubs, bars, mosques and gangs around the nation. National burn an effigy day. It would be the expression of the idiosyncratic individualism which makes this country great! Build it large, build it tall, build it strong – and then DESTROY!!!!!!! RAWWWHHHHHHHHH

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Your Dreamy American Life

Dreamy American Life.jpg

What could possibly be more delicious, fresh or wholesome than the Dreamy American Life? Smell that grass? Bluebird twittering in your ear again? Why hello Mr. Whitman, what is your hand doing there?! Yes sir, the Dreamy American Life is a rock of gibraltar to them that hold fast to it, and to all the others fie for shame! Please take note, although your Dreamy American Life may look and feel remarkably similar to your own life, remember it is not the same. These are teeny tiny replicas rendered at 1-100th of the size and seeing as they are wrapped in cellophane, unlike your mind you filthy tramp, they cannot be soiled.


As the old saying goes, you are where you live. Literally. So why are so many of the places where we live so abysmally sad? This idea is very simple. Bring Back Urban Planning or BeeBUP as I have just this moment started to call it. BeeBup is not a wholly original idea, in fact, some will tell you that Urban Planning never really needed bringing back because it really never left. They are lying. Some will tell you that the phenomenally publicised town planning charettes from katrinarita have vaulted Urban Planning back into the public consicousness. I say Bobblecrap (although I usually say that anywat). Urban Planning has long been the ugly stepsister of architecture and the point is not to give it a place of glitzy popconch glory but rather to start a program that stelthily creeps into the minds and bodypolitiks of suburban neighborhoods and rural hamlets. Yes I know the Congress of New Urbanists have been offering up the koolaid for a while, but if i wanted to Congress with a higher authority, I'll read the KamaSturatra. Urban Planning comes from a different place somewhere more organic that should filter softly into the minds of a thousand town council members and village elders the world over. Ao here is my proposal...START A CAMPAIGN TO SPREAD THE WORD OF URBAN PLANNING THROUGH FORTUNE COOKIES. There is no more appropriate means of mass communication I know of.

2) Conscription: Many countries have mandatory military service. I suppose this builds national pride and a sense of defending one's country. Fine. Whatever. Maybe. Try this one on for size. ERASMUS Conscription. ERASMUS stands for: European Community Action Scheme for the Mobility of University Students.
So instead of teaching young people how to shoot a gun or operate a tank, why not teach them how to navigate a global life, how to work within forgeign cultures, how to appreciate all kinds of different ideas. This would increase national security tenfold becuase it would breed understanding and real communication between nations on a broad scale. Imagine if every single American were forced to spend a year working abroad in a foreign country. Most Americans can't even find Canada on a map, much less Zaire. It would be great PR for any nation that participated - because although people are unique and have strong national identities, when it comes down to it, people are people are people: eat, sleep, love, hate, piss, shit, live, die. Mandatory ERASMUS Conscription would help the next generation get to the core of what it means to be human. Now that's a Dreamy American life!

3) Dreamy American Land: A corporate training event to beat out all coporate training events. Imagine a place tucked away in the woods. A campus of sorts. It would have various buildings, houses, shops, activities etc. But, this campus would be staffed by actors who have been given a new set of rules to live by. This micro-world would function like no other place on earth. Corporate teams that came to Dreamy American Land would have to figure out what was going on in order to interact and succeed in the world. How do you get people to talk to you, what does their language mean, how do you get tickets to the movies would all require discovery. They would have to work at sharing information about how to do things, how to interact with the 'natives'. It would be a corporate training experience like none other. Maybe Steve Case will tackle this one when he's done with Revolution?

4) Sleep Retreat: I think you can figure this one out on your own, without my sassy, inane commentary that makes your scalp itch (I know you thought it was dandruff). If you can't, you probably should be watching Fox News, or reading New York Magazine, or staring blankly into space.

5) Buy Evaporated Air:

From too much love of living,
From hope and fear set free,
We thank with brief thanksgiving
Whatever gods may be
That no man lives for ever;
That dead men rise up never;
That even the weariest river
Winds somewhere safe to sea.

Algernon Charles Swinburne

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Playdough Contest is ON! See Sept 11 Post for details

Getting to Work

Hi ho, Hi ho, it’s off to work we go! But how? did we ever get there in the first place? Back in the day, humans ran around in small packs gathering nuts and berries to feed off of. I remember one of my anthropology professors saying that this gathering process only took about four hours a day, leaving these neanderthals plenty of leisure time to practice religion and make cave paintings.

How did we ever go from working 4 hours a day to working 16+ hours a day? Certainly work is pervasive now, more than ever. We make all sorts of decisions based off of work. Work dictates where we live and how long we commute. It dictates the people we meet, know, and come to love. It even dictates what we think about day in and day out.

So is work just a necessary evil? What would life today be like without work? How would you define a purpose every day? Do we really even need to have a sense of purpose? Where has purpose gotten us? Take a look around the globe. People with an over zealous sense of purpose are causing trouble everywhere you look. Could it be that purposeless meandering through life is the most peaceful way to live?

We take our theme today, “Getting to Work” as a jumping off point for these and many other interesting ideas!


1) Get an Aeron (although, please, not an actual aeron but perhaps something like an Aeron, an Aeron knockoff perhaps or the platonic ideal of an Aeron would be fine as well):
I guess the contrartian streak in us couldn't let this one go, or rather couldn't let YOU work any more. At least not in the same old nose meets grindstone in unfortunate collission kinda way. Yes the time has come to stop the madness and make the leap, work from home. Countrary to popular belief, you do not actually need any definable skills, ideas, intelligence or work ethic to successfully work at home, what you do need however, is a REALLY REALLY GOOD CHAIR. So here is our recommendation, invest in your butt, slate has a wonderful run down of chairs that rival some really shitty used automobiles in price. There is always this quasi authoritative looking thing for less money. And if you are still waffling on price, well just go steal a few milk crates, you cheap bastard.

2) PRE-MIXED COMMUTER PODCASTS: Oooo, this is an idea I am really excited about. First you create a website, lets call it the Pod-tastic Commuter Computer. What this handy little site does is create a pre-mixed podcast based on pre-selected criteria such as morning news, music, talk radio, erotic fiction (naughty!) or that language course you've been procrastinating about. At the site you simply enter in the approximate time of your commute, along with said criteria and presto, your Pod-tastic Commuter Computer will spit out a perfectly packaged podcast for you to rake with you as you grab a donut mightily with your teeth, race out the door and into your own little commuter blissmobile...ah the joys of technology.

3) Right to Work: The ecclesiatical writer said,

Therefore I saw that there is nothing better, than that a man should rejoice in his work; for that is his portion: for who can bring him to see what will be after him?

This quote might be right. Really, what is more noble than working? To work, in this day and age, means to be a productive member of society, contributing to the national economy. There are all kinds of work. Some work exists simply to support other work. But it is all tied together in a tightly woven matrix that economists, sociologies, psychologies (academics in general) devote lifetimes to parsing.

Do we have a right to work? Or is it a priveldge? Who gets to work? Visas are hot commodities in most industrialized nations. Immigrants flock in search of steady, secure work. In a culture that is never satisfied, always grasping, ever seeking the eternal more, here a novel idea: take a second to reflect on how nice it is to be able to work – whatever it is you do to support yourself. It’s like gathering nuts and berries – except it’s emails, faxes, pay stubs, and client meetings – less romantic, but still every bit as important.

4) Green Breathing: Have you ever left your window open and noticed a black film develop on your window sill? If you answered yes to that question you probably live in a major urban center. Perhaps London, New York or Tokyo.

Logic would tell us that if black crud is being deposited on our window sill, it's probably coming from the air. Typically people breathe air and so it follows that we are breathing aforesaid black crud. Why aren't we doing something to clean the air we breathe? Green buildings are becoming more popular, but the vast majority of people just keep sucking down the same old dirty air.

Perhaps the worst case is riding your bike to work along the highway. Here's the idea, lets engage in an activity which requires our body to breathe at an accelerated rate. Now let's do this activity right by the source of pollution. Why don't more people wear these? Sure, they're scary looking, but to be honest, who wouldn't want to look scary in New York City. Consider it also as a personal saftey measure. This cycling anti pollution mask sells for around $40.

City Mask

We encourage you. Bike to work! But be good to your lungs - wear a particle respirator!

5) Walk to Work Day: I have had my fill of bicycles and their pesky tribe, automobiles make me wince, Segways and I have long parted ways. Were talking about a revolution here so I propose a national walk to work day! Yes perhaps a bit more relevant for the urban folks, but don't you crap out on us suburban refugees, strap on your sneakers and hit the streets. This international holiday would become a tremendous tour defeets uniting us all, if only for a brief moment, in the one precious bi-pedal act that separates us from other beasts of burden.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Homo Ludens or The Word of the Day is Play

WELCOME FELLOW TRAVELLERS! Given that it’s Monday and on top of that Sept. 11, you are most likely bitter and sullen. Accordingly, either to cheer you up or perhaps to make you more miserable we have elected PLAY to be the inspiration for the day.

Playing carries with it many connotations from the ridiculous to the sublime. It is of course the oft desired and too little achieved antidote to work. That which we do to counter our more stressful and less enjoyable obligations. It is also a forum to break with convention and escape the dictates of social conformity.

Play crosses over from the elemental to the technical. From building blocks to xbox. Some of us play by writing and others choose to write plays. Play is even religiously sanctioned, or at least the absence of work.

Much of our play subverts our pathetic pretenses to cleanliness. Hence so many forms of play being exceedingly dirty some of them downright dirt-tastic still and some are so mindblowingly filthy we blush just to think. Don’t even go there. Even though I know you undoubtedly just did.

Accordingly, we dedicate this day to play and we'd love to hear your ideas about this fascinating little word.


1) RECESS: Call me crazy but it seems to me that the american workplace (and possibly european, asian and middle eastern although obviously to a much letter extent) has become for many a place of drugery. How is it tenable that our society founded on precepts of life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness (see happiness) has allowed the condition of the modern workplace to become the glaring antithesis of all these things. Step 1. Bring back recess. Why shouldn't we be allowed 30 minuts, an hour, or two hours to blow off steam during the day run a lap, grab an ice cream cone, surf the internet for a riding crop. My prediction: Bring back recess and watch worker productivity soar to astronomical new heights.

2) DEEP PLAY by DIANE ACKERMAN: Here's a book idea for you. Explore this spiritual and philosophical perspective on play.

3) PLAY WITH YOUR FOOD: That's right we're breaking every rule in the book on this one, but playing with your food doesn't have to be a disgusting, wasteful affair. We are recommending a new type of restaurant or home dining experience where the eating is bundled with some sort of fun activity. So maybe its a board game where you get to take bites if you correctly answer some trivia. Or maybe it playing chinese checkers with m&m's. Speed eating, Slow eating. My favorite would probably be sushi chess where you get to eat a piece of your opponents sushi whenever you capture it from the board. Mmmm sushi. Playing with your food is not only some kind of childish impulse mind you, not only would people learn to enjoy family dinners a little more, it would facilitate a whole bunch of other much needed rule breaking such as talking with your mouth full and yelling at the dinner table and eating your desert first.

4) PLAY WITH YOURSELF: That's right we're breaking every rule in the book on this one, but playing with yourself doesn't have to be a disgusting, wasteful affair. There are millions of ways to have fun with yourself. Let's start with the classic: a game of solitare. It's not so much the game that is fun but the rhythym of putting down the cards, kings and queens, aces and jacks. It's kind of meditative. You never win, but it's still fun. Hitting golf balls on the driving range is another great way to play with yourself. Treat yourself to a bucket of balls and a few hours smacking them as hard as you can. Really, how far can you drive them? It's a great way to relieve stress. Why not get even more creative? Turn on the radio or your favorite CD and dance with yourself. When dancing alone, you're much less likely to step on your toes, and if you can't keep rythym, who cares? FYI - This is also a great way to get exercise. These are just a few of the many ways you can have fun alone. Now that you've got your creative juices flowing get out there and come up with some great new ideas!

5) Play-Dough Challenge: one more from the kitchen.


Playdough Recipe

  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tablespoon cream of tartar
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 cup water
  • food coloring

Combine ingredients in a saucepan. Heat gently, stirring all the time. When the dough has a good consistency, take it off the heat and allow to cool.

As play-day draws to a close we want to leave you with a challenge. Spread the word, tell your friends, let your parents know, call up your cousins, email your brothers and sisters, send faxes to your business associates. We are proud to announce the first ever


THE CHALLENGE: 1) Make a batch of fresh playdough (for the truly hardcore see sand playdough recipe). 2) Think of an awesome idea – it could be anything – and represent that idea using playdough. 3) take a digital photo of the idea sculpture and send it to YOFAD (your five a day). 4) We will judge the sculpture-idea-photos based on originality and design-aesthetics.


THERE WILL BE A PRIZE OF UNDISCLOSED AND DISPUTABLE AWESOMENESS WHICH WE WILL SEND TO YOU. You will also be featured on our blog and allowed to pick the theme for a day.

Entries must be received by 12:00am Greenwich Meantime on Tuesday the 19th of September 2006!

If you intend to compete, please RSVP by email and tell us your team name and where you’re from.



Four cups of sand
2 cups of cornstarch
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
3 cups of hot water

Mix sand, cornstarch and cream of tartar in a large pan. Stir in hot water. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until water is absorbed and mixture is too stiff to stir. Cool until it can be handled.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

a beautiful sunday in new york city (day 3)

1) Lojack for your blood: This idea comes from an anonymous contributor.

I had an idea when a guy I knew overdosed and died on cocaine. It was called the computer drug addict chip. It's a cocaine sensitive micro chip. It's linked to a network like the tracking devise - lojack. You are on a web with your chip and when you react to a level of cocaine in your blood it sends a signal to a computer which alerts medical dispatch to your location so you don't die.

Great idea - there are so many applications for this kind of product in medicine! I once read about a similar product which was a wearable blood purification device. It constantly cleaned the blood of the person who was wearing it. It was intended for use in biological warfare or with HIV/AIDS patients.

2) Great Fantasy Idea: Quit your job. Go buy a nice road bicycle. Buy some powerbars. Take off for the Fall touring around New England on bike, enjoying the fall colors, eating at cozy restaurants, sleeping in bed and breakfasts and exercising your body ever day in the crisp, fresh aumtumnal breezes. Breath taking vistas of forests burning with color await you.

3) Pay-for-Services-Rendered Real Estate Broker: Hate paying fees to your real estate broker? I do. Does a 6% commission seem too high? Yes. Well then why not pay brokers for the services they render? Let's take the profession up a notch. Get a broker to actually work for YOU, as opposed to guarding their financial interests like a lion guards an antelope carcass. What would be a fair price to pay? $20 and hour? $40? $50? It would depend on the experience and skill of the broker. The best brokers would be hired to take care of the best jobs at releatively fixed rates. Why not??? What is a broker if not a specialized consultant.

4) INVEST-STER: While we are on the topic of real estate, how about INVEST-STER a real estate related social networking applications that would allow property owners to connect to each other swap props and find out about deals before they hit the open market.

5) Collective Purchasing: I guess I got the real estate bug. This is an idea I have actually purused briefly, so i know its got merit. Create a forum or service where propsective home buyers can meet each other and scope out larger buildings which they can buy at a discount. These groups would also become support networks to collaborate on projects, renovations and talk about potential properties to go in on. Yes sir, we're putting the party back in Property Acquisition.