Posts tagged ‘economy’

April 3, 2011

Strange bedfellows

Did you know that having affairs and unprotected sex is patriotic?

It is if you are potential Republican presidential canditates Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum.

When asked to reflect on how the fact that he had cheated on both his first and second wives might affect his chances with conservative voters if he chose to run for president in 2012,  the now thrice married Gingrich responded:

“There is no question that at times in my life partially driven by how passionately I felt about this country, that I worked far too hard, and that things happened in my life that were not appropriate.”

Gingrich was working hard having one of those affairs while he was spearheading fellow patriot Bill Clinton’s impeachment. This would mean that at the time Monica Lewinsky was running around her condo screaming “Out, out damn spot,” Newt was running around on his wife by hitting his girlfriend’s G spot.

This brings us to Mr. Santorum, who this week blamed “abortion culture” for the problems with funding Social Security. You never thought of that? Well, Rick, whose first name is often misspelled because the P is silent, did.

And so did Randall K. O’Bannon, director of education and research for the National Right to Life, who supported Santorum’s connection between abortions and Social Security payments. The Los Angeles Times reports:

“The loss of 53 million innocent lives is tragedy enough,” O’Bannon said, referring to the number of abortions since 1973. “But in allowing this to happen, we have also brought serious social and economic consequences on ourselves, not only depriving ourselves of the energy, the industry, and the ideas of those we have aborted, but also eliminating a significant portion of the tax base that funds government programs like Social Security and Medicare. You can’t lose 53 million lives and not expect it to have a serious economic impact.”

Not to mention how much tax revenue has been lost because Maury Povich could have been charging much higher ad rates to personal injury attorneys and trade schools. No wonder the Bible forbids a man from spilling his own seed. No wonder the Pope disapproves of birth control. No wonder Kim Kardashian is trying to get nailed by more guys than drywall. It’s about the economy stupid.

Well, Mr. Reagan, you almost had it right.

It’s moaning in America.

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March 28, 2010

Cialis in Wonderland

I had plenty of time to contemplate the change because the doctor was running an hour behind schedule.

I was pleasantly surprised to see that the  walls of the waiting room were no longer painted an antisceptic grey. They were now a calming warm sandy neutral.

It may be the case that it  seemed like an aesthetic improvement to my eye, simply because  I was there out of concern for my blood pressure, about which, to jump ahead, I had good reason to be concerned.

The walls of the examination room into which the nurse escorted me were also newly painted.  Oh, and look, the wallpaper border, finally, had been  mercifully removed. The changes were calming and welcome, no doubt about it. I was feeling a wee bit better already, despite the wait.

That feeling didn’t last long.

After the nurse made some small talk, took my vitals and left me to wait some more, it was hard not to miss the other change in my doctor’s office since my long overdue visit. The paper that covers the examination table was now covered with the Cialis logo.

“Cialis,” yes, the magic little orange pill that, as the extensive pamphlet on the desk next to the chair in which I was sitting put it, “is indicated for the treatment of erectile dysfunction.”

One pill, “36 hour Cialis is the only ED tablet that’s clinically proven to both work fast, in as little as 30 minutes for some men, and work up to 36 hours.”

The other pill, “Cialis for daily use is clinically, proven low-dose tablet for ED you take every day so you can be ready anytime the moment is right.”

No pressure, guy trapped in examining room alone with reading material. And try not to think of your high blood pressure which, you soon will be told,  is most likely caused by your stressful family life– which in turn might leave little time or desire to “anticipate sexual activity.”

I’m almost sure there was no music being piped overhead but I’m quite sure I had   the urge to sing along with ” target=”_self”>Toby Keith:
I ain’t as good as I once was
I got a few years on me now
But there was a time, back in my prime
When I could really lay it down
And if you need some love tonight
Then I might have just enough
I ain’t as good as I once was
But I’m as good once as I ever was

My doctor’s office, I thought, would be a reasonable place to expect that nothing, let alone my masculinity, would be marketed to me. But there it was staring me in the face: Madison Avenue and Wall Street  pre-emptively looking out for the little big man’s exile on Main Street.

I certainly didn’t need a visit to the doctor’s office to be reminded that advertisers,  have uncovered the sudden dereliction of  American masculinity and have quite benevolently made it their mission to help restore it.

It’s their gift–with purchase, of course–to me and to men anywhere near a television, computer or magazine.

Apparently, the ladies think I  stink at being a man. “Smell like a man, man,” warns Old Spice. “Anything is possible when your man smells like a man and not like a lady.”

Old Spice advertisement
– Watch more Videos at Vodpod.

And I don’t even know what it takes to be  a man, anyway. “Wash like a man, feel like man,” promises Gillette with it’s “Odor Shield” shower gel.

I don’t dress like one. “Wear the pants,” insists Dockers.

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I kowtow for money and romance. I don’t stand up for myself. No matter, though. I am what I drive. Dodge Charger is “Man’s last stand.”

And if all else fails, Calvin Klein X underwear assures me I can prove to you that I’m a man. Wanna see?

Mark your spot and  dummy up.

“Smart may have the brains, but stupid has the balls. Be stupid,” advises the current Diesel campaign ad.

Who knew I was too smart for my own good? That’s probably why my blood pressure is high.

This downward economy  has disproportionately affected male workers. We now have  an educational system where girls  get the best grades and most of the college degrees. And we live in a culture where it’s not unusual that dad may likely stay home with the kids while mom is the primary breadwinner.

Madison Avenue is betting that my masculinity is vulnerably bluefaced and fair game for the bottom line. “I see you,” it tells me not so naively.  Hop aboard  sexism and homophobia. This is a whole new world.

Which brings me back to Cialis and to the pamphlet which, as you might imagine, now has me by the balls.

“In the rare event of an erection lasting more than 4 hours, seek immediate medical attention to avoid long-term injury.” Well, I probably wont be able to afford to see the doctor again, what with all the new purchases I have to make to be a real man.

I’ll just think of Liz Cheney. That should take care of the problem immediately.

“The most common side effects with Cialis were headaches and upset stomach.” Good to know that.  Suppose I ignored the warning  to “not drink alcohol in excess” and suddenly found myself on top of Glenn Beck.

Good to know that the cause of head spinning nausea might not be entirely his fault.

March 7, 2010

*The Great Dress of the Great Recession

Victor and Rolf, Spring 2010

“With the credit crunch and everybody cutting back, we decided to cut tulle ball gowns.” Viktor and Rolf

Read more on why and how the dress was made here.

October 18, 2009

Every picture tells a story, don’t it?

tom_kolovos_wordpressnew

All dressed up and nowhere to go? You’re not alone.

You’ve got the 4 models in the Victor Skrebneski produced fashion feature in the 27th anniversary issue of Today’s Chicago Woman to keep you company.  Spread on the floor, each in a 2 page spread,  in various stages of orgasmic exhibitionism which every couture clad professional gal surely finds herself now and again and again, the first model appears to be using her bejeweled bangled hand to pocket pool herself and, when she reappears at the end, she’s using her entire forearm to anally….WTF?

“Success stories don’t get much better than this” proclaims the cover. Really? Yes, the caption does, in all fairness, refer to the real estate agent on the cover but who cares about her and her success when Skrebneski locates the multiple listing service in your G spot?

In stark contrast, and  as conceived by Maurizio Cattelan and  photographed by Pierpaolo Ferrari, the cover of the November issue of W magazine is  part of what the editors describe as a “politically and religiously charged portfolio” starring Linda Evangelista.

I can’t guarantee that what you’ll find inside the pages of the 4th annual “art issue” has any more or less artistic merit than what you find inside Today’s Chicago Woman, but  I am sure that the cover photo has a  politically charged urgency that taps into the global zeitgeist and that stops you dead in your tracks as it sets your mind racing.

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Here’s the surreal juxtaposition of Linda”I don’t get out of bed for less than $10,000 a day” Evangelista, the most cinematic of the 80’s “greed is good” supermodels, a good deal more rotund  than current standards allow but no less the superb “still actress” she always was, holding a cardboard sign that declares “IT MUST BE SOMEBODY’S FAULT.”

As obvious as the cardboard sign is to read (and agree with if it refers to the global economic meltdown), what it means depends on how you read it. For starters, where in that sentence is the correct inflection? (Fans of the masterful film writer and director John Sayles will recall the “I didn’t ask for the anal probe” scene from Passion Fish.)

And how does one read that sign given the rest of the images in the photo?

She’s is, after all, wearing an Oscar de la Renta dress and $1,699,000.00 in De Beer’s diamond jewelry including a double cross. She’s perfectly manicured, coiffed and made up but the expression on her face is alarmingly vacant.  What, if anything, is really bothering, bewildering and bewitching her? An American flag can be seen  clearly affixed to a building behind her. The gaze of the suited black male is ambiguously affixed to her? To us? To the studly white uniformed male intruding in the right foreground?

Who is she? Victim? Perpetrator? Prophet? Judge? Jury? Grand Inquisitor?  Who are the men and who are they to her?

And what is IT? The spectacular fall of the supermodel? The divulsion of the unregulated derivative/Bernie Madoff ponzi economy?  The inability of Miley Cyrus to, like,  construct a proper sentence in, like, English ? The collapse of the luxury goods market? Is she sympathetic or pathetic?

Life imitated art Thursday night, making the timing of the politically and religiously charged portfolio even more prescient, at a town hall meeting in New Orleans where President Obama was asked by Tyren Scott, a  4th-grader, “Why do people hate you? And why, aren’t they supposed to love you, if God is love?”

The President came up with an unfortunately  simplistic and patronizing answer, as if to prove that you can graduate from Harvard and teach at the University of Chicago, but you’re still not smarter than a 4th grader. When Frank Rich and Maureen Dowd have lost any semblance of faith in your competence, you’re just stroking your own oversize ego when you declare:

“First of all, I did get elected president, so not everybody hates me; I got a whole lot of votes. A lot of it is what’s called politics, where once one party wins, the other party feels like they’ve got to poke you a little bit to keep you on your toes. So you shouldn’t take it too seriously.”

Seriously, Tyren, IT MUST BE SOMEBODY’S FAULT. And after 9 months of on the job ineptitude on foreclosure reform, health care reform, banking reform, immigration reform. ‘don’t ask don’t tell” reform and evisceration of every campaign promise by special interest politics, the fault lies squarely with Barck Obama. Location, location, location.

Good art sometimes thrives on ambiguity and even derives its meaning from it. Political leadership does not.

TheBestDressedList.com

tomkolovos.com


November 15, 2008

10 things you can’t afford to live without

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We are all being forced to cut back on the non essential things in our lives. Here’s my list of things you can’t afford to live without:

10 New York Times Select. The online version of the newspaper of record. If you were part of the 70% + of people who thought Iraq was responsible for 9/11, don’t worry, you won’t hate everything. The Op Ed page has Bill Kristol who convinced John McCain to put Sarah Palin on the Republican presidential ticket. You’ll like him.
indianmathonline.com You can’t afford those damn American Girl dolls anymore for your children/other people’s children? Good.  You are not the only one that thought they were always a transparent antifeminist waste of money. American girls don’t need dolls, they need math skills. Come to think of it, so do boys. Playing with dolls or soccer balls will not be a valued skill set in the 21st century global economy. If that surprises you, then you need to fork over $150 a year, per child, ASAP–before their math score turns out to be 150 on their SAT.

8 Window shopping. You go to a museum to educate yourself about the history and quality of art. You don’t go there to bitch that you can’t afford the art or to ridicule the artists. Try the same logic in a high end department or specialty store.

7 A museum membership.Museums exist for a reason. If you are unsure why, now would be a good time to find out for yourself and for any children in your life.

6 A good hairstylist/colorist. Length is not a hairstyle. Peanut brittle is never a convincing shade of hair color even if you are the governor of California and are married to a Kennedy. Oh, and ladies –male and female alike–highlights are not a hair color either.

5 A great pair of  shoes and jeans. I mean ones that other people consistently compliment you on and not the ones you’re wearing while you are reading this.

4 A friend that will bring you chicken soup when you have the flu. That eliminates everyone from your Facebook/bigmuscle/jdate account. Now what?

3 Your own personal Gayle King: Someone who (or something that) would have no real reason for being if it were not for you.

2 A loving mother. Just like she keeps telling you: you really are going to miss her when she’s gone.
1 The knowledge of what  the hell has happened to Nicole Kidman’s face. Did anyone catch a glimpse of Clutch Cargo Kidman on “Oprah” this week? Caveat emptor.








September 21, 2008

Back in Black (from the bridge to nowhere)

I’m back!

I have not blogged for almost 3 months and over the next few moths maybe I can find the time to tell you why.

Let’s start with why I’m back to begin with. Since I started blogging for nbc5.com, I’ve been posting my picks for the best and worst dressed celebs at the major awards shows. Hey, it’s frivolous fun and at the end of the day not a dumb thing to do when your website is called TheBestDressedList.com.

Since the Emmy Awards will be handed out tonite, I will post the obligatory list tomorrow.

But in a week in which the headlines have been about the  surprise(?) enormous mismanagement of the U.S. economy and the reality that we face an international global economic collapse that would make the Great Depression look like a trip to Disneyland, I’ll be honest with you, the list of who is wearing what will be frivolous.

As an image consultant, I’m sometimes asked a really important question: “Can a client who has very little substance, make up for it by finessing great style?” Quite frankly  I’m surprised I’m not asked this question more often. My answer is always: “No. Not in the long run.”

The reason I believe this to be true is because if great style, or any style at all, could be a substitute for substance, it would have to be based on smoke and mirrors, misrepresentations and, a word we are uncomfortable using publicly, lies. Eventually, the truth will come out and the charade is over.

Or maybe not. Maybe not if we all really want to collectively continue to believe the charade because it’s more comforting than the truth.

As I write this, I defy anyone to suggest to me that ordinary Americans have the slightest clue about the global economic implications of the last week. While I’m at it, I defy anyone in the Bush administration to have explained it to me sometimebefore this week.

It’s going to take a long time and, OMFG, a lot of my money and yours before the charade is exposed and we can go back to hitting our collective “the fundamentals of the economy are strong” snooze button.

Funny enough–well, funny only in a black comedy ( and I don’t mean TheJeffersons)– the political landscape in the country is facing an equally crucial wake up call. I had no idea how utterly naive it would seem in 2008, when it seemed perfectly logical in 2007, for me to tell USA Today that:

“This is an election, maybe the first one since Kennedy-Nixon, where appearance really does matter, because we have credible female, black, Hispanic candidates, style and substance may actually be competitive, or even equally important to the public.”

Suddenly, it doesn’t really matter how many sources have picked up that quote or in how many foreign languages. As of the day Sarah Palin joined the the Republican presidential ticket, substance has taken a seat at the very back of the political tour bus. How Ms. Palin, and therefore John McCain,  has been packaged to the public in this election will make it possible for those of us who grapple with image, either for a living or academically, to think, rethink, publish, blog and (maybe even blush) for years to come.

After a lot of thought and head scratching, I have lots to say on the subject ofimage and politics in this election. I will share them with you in blog size bites in the next few week/months. (Yes, Marcus, I know this blog is too long….)

Enjoy the Emmys tonite.