It's a Gift: Your Mudflaps, Your Message

Generally speaking, I'm not what you'd call a "goal-oriented" person, but that doesn't mean I don't have dreams. Like any human I have my aspirations that serve as beacons and influence my life decisions. Sure, I don't aspire to much, and while some might call that lazy I prefer to think of myself as an "ambition minimalist." Here are my primary dreams:

1) To one day own a Scattante;

2) To never, ever participate in a triathlon for as long as I live;

3) To one day visit a city with umlauts in the name.

I'm proud to report that I accomplished Dream #1 quite some time ago, and as far as #2 goes hopefully it will be many more years before I can declare overall victory, but at least I've been successful to date. #3, however, has eluded me--until now, for I am pleased to report I'll be visiting (and speaking at) the Göteborg Cycel Festival in Göteborg, Sweden on June 11th:

Not only am I tremendously excited about this opportunity, but I'm also relieved, for the organizers are allowing me to speak in American which means I won't have to fudge my way through the presentation by reading off Ikea furniture names in an authoritative manner. If you're in or around Göteborg on or around that date I sincerely hope you'll attend, and if you can show me where Göteborg is that's even better, since like most Americans I can't even find my own country on a map, much less somebody else's.

And don't tell me to just use the Internet, either. Like most Americans, the only thing I can find with that is dirty videos.

Speaking of goings-on overseas, in the country shaped like a boot that's always hanging in pizza places, there's a big bicycle race happening. The current leader of that race is Alberto Contador, and in the blog I am "curating" I described a painting I would have liked to have made of yesterday's stage, if only I were able. Well, obviously I'm not able, but a certain Erik K is, and I very nearly "snarfed" in my Froot Loops when I checked my emailings this morning and saw this:

I don't think it's a stretch to call this both transcendent and achingly beautiful, and in terms of immortalizing triumph it makes Washington Crossing the Delaware look like a bunch of yutzes piddling away in a paddle boat.

Speaking of both dreams and being immortalized, bicycle cycling advocate and giant suit enthusiast David Byrne undoubtedly realized one of his own dreams when he was recently immortalized on the cover of Momentum Magazine:

Not only that, but it was also recently his birthday, and here are just a few gifts he did not receive:

A New Car

A Used Car

A Futuristic Space Car

A Novelty Car Air Freshener To Hang from the Rear-View Mirror He Does Not Have

A Set of Custom Mudflaps That Say, "I Don't Have A Car:"

Actually, I suppose that last one could have been an ironic gift from Brian Eno.

Anyway, I wanted to show David Byrne my appreciation for all he's done for the "bike culture." However, I couldn't just send him a $40 gift certificate to AutoZone, so instead I decided to honor him by using his birthday as a Day of Reflection. And what did I reflect on? Well, David Byrne, naturally. I started by asking myself the following question:

"What do I know about David Byrne?" Without resorting to the Internet (where I'd only be able to find dirty videos anyway) I realized I knew three things:

1) David Byrne likes to ride his bike;

2) David Byrne does not have a car;

3) David Byrne was in the Talking Heads, who got their start in storied New York City rocking and rolling club CBGB--which, in a neat bit of irony, is now a John Varvatos clothing boutique:

It is a rule of physics that all things tend towards douchery, and CBGB is a good example of this. Simply put, things no not stay cheap and interesting forever. You can call it selling out, or gentrification, or Disneyfication, but if enough people like something eventually someone's going to be willing to pay a premium for it, and it will finally reach a point at which the people who made it interesting in the first place will no longer be able to afford it and only the shell will remain. It's not right or wrong, it's just the Physics of Douchery. Hence CBGB being unable to afford its rent, and instead of playing host to a bunch of actual dirtbags paying small amounts of money to be entertained, its shell is now home to douchebags paying large amounts of money to look like dirtbags. Consider that John Varvatos's chief contribution to the popular culture is the overpriced grungily-bedazzled Chuck Taylor:

Though you can also buy a $645 "Bowery Boot" that looks the way a cheap pair of boots used to after its owner shuffled in and out of CBGB for a couple years:

Continuing along this line of thought on my Day of Reflection, I stumbled upon another neatly ironic little tidbit. While David Byrne makes music and in his spare time talks about how he likes to ride bikes, John Varvatos makes clothes for douchebags who want to look like they play music, and in his spare time does Chrysler ads:

Generally speaking, I have absolutely nothing against cars, or commercials, or even car commercials. However, in terms of sheer douchiness I found this particular car commercial tremendously offensive. Basically, here's what it's saying:

1) John Varvatos is from Detroit and designs overpriced, douchey clothes while listening to the Stooges;

2) Chrysler is a Detroit company (though from what I can tell the particular model in the ad is made in Canada);

3) Somehow, this Canadian-built car that John Varvatos had absolutely nothing to do with is cool like the Stooges.

Sure, I suppose the ad is honest in that it's saying if you're the kind of idiot who would pay $675 for a pair of "Bowery Boots" you'd also feel at home in a 300, but it's still pretty depressing. I suppose whether it's putting studs on Converse or making a commercial that's essentially just a half-assed game of "Six Degrees of Iggy Pop," the goal is just to reduce everything to easy references and render them compatible with our modularly idiotic plug-and-play bullshit culture.

I guess what I mean with all of this is that I'll take David Byrne bragging about not having a car over a bunch of douchebags trying to convince me to buy one.

Given the current state of douchefication, it's no surprise that some stoner who's drawing a map with a Sharpie is considered a creative genius:

The Mission Map Project from Agency Charlie on Vimeo.

"You'll really get to know us by going to the places we go to... It can become a glimpse of our lifestyle," says Mike Giant, and I'm glad finally someone has taken it upon himself to create the definitive Aging Hipster's Guide to San Francisco's Mission District. Sure, you can turn off your phone and wander with a paper map--just as long as you've watched an Internet documentary about the map and have a full understanding of its compelling backstory first.

Speaking of art, as I mentioned on my Emergency Blog, I had extended the deadline for the "There Will Be Action Wipes" contest, but this extension officially ends NOW. In the coming days I will share some more entries and eventually choose a winner, but given the sheer volume of greatness this is going to be a formidable task. For example, I've received not one but two Warholian submissions. There's this one:

And this one:

There was also this entry, which the submitter appropriately titled "Masterpiece:"

More in keeping with the "international symbol" theme was this submission, entitled "All You Haters Action Wipe My Elephant Trunk:"

While it's easy to imagine this sign gracing the side of a desert highway:

Hopefully John Varvatos takes note when he blasts by in his Chrysler 300 while blasting the Stooges.

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