Thursday, November 29, 2007

HOW TO (NOT) OVERTHROW THE GOVERNMENT





Holy shit. In the past month, I've experienced a deadly explosion at a mall, a political assassination via bomb attack, a typhoon, an earthquake, and today, an attempt to overthrow the Philippines' government. The Coup attempt was made by a senator and a general who were on trial today for ANOTHER coup attempt they had in 2003. So they just walked right out of the courtroom and proceeded to take over a posh hotel just 3 blocks from where I work. Imagine waking up in the morning and saying to yourself "Today is the day I'm going to overthrow the government." It's actually a pretty attractive thing to dream about, but this guy took it to the proverbial "next level." Here's CNN's take on it:
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MANILA, Philippines (CNN) -- Dramatically played out on live television, an opposition politician and rebel military officers surrendered to government forces after taking over a luxury hotel in Manila.

"We're going out for the sake of the safety of everybody," Philippines Sen. Antonio Trillanes said.

The senator made the decision to give up after the military peppered the inside of the hotel with tear gas. Live pictures from inside the hotel showed reporters and rebel soldiers covering their faces.

An armored vehicle was also seen firing into the lobby of Manila's Peninsula hotel and later rammed through the front entrance of the building.

"The situation is contained within the Peninsula hotel, Philippine Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro told CNN.

"The perpetrators are in the process of being arrested." Those who held the hotel were shown being loaded into a Philippine National Police bus.

Teodoro said no one was injured, but Associated Press reported that at least two people were injured.

The standoff began hours earlier when a group led by Trillanes and Army Brig. Gen. Danilo Lim bolted from a court hearing on charges linked to a failed 2003 coup attempt. Video Watch footage of troops storming the hotel in Manila »

"What happened, to me, was clearly either an attempted rebellion or an attempted coup d'etat," Teodoro said.

Philippines military and police personnel had been surrounding the hotel, where the group was asking for President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to step down. After Trillanes' announcement, soldiers milled around the outside of the hotel, but the scene had calmed noticeably.

Arroyo had issued orders to the military and police in response to the seizure of the hotel, located in Manila's Makati financial district, journalist Adrian Addison told CNN. Few supporters of the rebels were visible around the Peninsula hotel, Addison said.

Philippine authorities gave the rebel group until 2:30 p.m. (0630 GMT) to allow guests to leave the hotel, and until 3:00 p.m. (0700 GMT) to surrender, the ABS-CBN news service reported.
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Businessman Peter Parcel was caught in the middle of the hotel's takeover and subsequent tear-gassing. Listen to the eyewitness in the hotel describe what happened Video

"I couldn't see and couldn't breathe," he said, noting he faced "at least 100 guns" as he exited the hotel.
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I got let out of work early because everybody was wondering if full-scale civil war was about to jump off. I immediately went back to my apartment, grabbed my camera, (like any international man of adventure would do) and rolled back out into the street to get pix. It was really weird walking right down the middle of an empty Ayala avenue, which is usually so traffic packed it's impossible to even cross. I could only get so far until the Police barricade which was set up a few hundred yards in front of the Peninsula hotel, where the perps were holed up. After I shot some photos, I walked back to the crib and watched it play out live on CNN, and heard hundreds of bullets being fired outside my balcony. A few hours later, after the rebels surrendered, I walked back by the hotel just as the tanks were rolling out. That was so fucking surreal watching a giant military tank rolling right down the middle of the street. There's a Govt. imposed curfew tonight from midnight-5AM. This shit is gonna make Miami feel even more tame than it already felt, but that's OK. I think I'm about ready for a little bit of tame.

Monday, November 26, 2007

NOTHING SAYS "EXCELLENCE IN ADVERTISING" LIKE FULLY AUTOMATIC WEAPONS




Aren't guns wonderful? I mean, you never know when an angry suit from Proctor & Gamble is gonna go all suicide-bomber and storm the convention center because he's pissed about the pack shot on their latest toothpaste ad. After this photo was taken I asked one of the SWAT guys if I could get a close-up of him putting his gun to the side of my head. He declined. I guess that would've been against his orders.

Anyway, BBDO-GO dominated the awards, winning the agency of the year honors based on a points system determined by the amount of Bronze, Silver, & Gold awards won. BBDO amassed over twice the amount of points as TBWA, who finished second. The next day, a full color photo of the agency appeared on the cover of the "Philippine Daily Inquirer." The guys also graciously invited me to be in the photo which will appear on the cover of next month's "Adobo" magazine, which is the biggest Ad industry magazine in the country. I wish I could share the credit for all of it, but the ideas that won all these awards were hatched long before I got here. I'm just happy to be in such good company, and share in the spoils of their success.









Sunday, November 25, 2007

MORE EXISTENTIAL NEUROMANCY

This is one of the most beautiful songs ever written, with lyrics that would make Sartre proud. Like Roxy Music, Tuxedomoon were always trying to find that something, just out of reach...glowing
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In a Manner of speaking
I just want to say
That I could never forget the way
You told me everything
By saying nothing

In a manner of speaking
I don't understand
How love in silence becomes reprimand
But the way that i feel about you
Is beyond words

Oh give me the words
Give me the words
That tell me nothing
Oh give me the words
Give me the words
That tell me everything

In a manner of speaking
Semantics won't do
In this life that we live we only make do
And the way that we feel
Might have to be sacrificed

So in a manner of speaking
I just want to say
That just like you I should find a way
To tell you everything
By saying nothing.

Oh give me the words
Give me the words
That tell me nothing
Oh give me the words
Give me the words
That tell me everything

Oh give me the words
Give me the words
That tell me nothing
Oh give me the words
Give me the words
That tell me everything

THUS, EVEN ZARATHUSTRA COULD BELIEVE IN YOU

I was riding up to Subic Bay for the Philippine Ad Congress awards (more on that later) and I found myself listening to this classic Roxy Music cut about 6 times in a row, and deciding that these are the best lyrics ever written. Bryan Ferry manages to weave abstracted meditations on mortality, vanity, sensual dystopia, post-modern isolation, false idol worship, and even Nietzsche into an epic song that just rolls on and on like a never ending dream. This song makes me believe in the future of civilization. To see that something, just out of reach, glowing...

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Well I've been up all night again
Party-time wasting is too much fun
Then I step back thinking
Of life's inner meaning
And my latest fling
It's the same old story
All love and glory
It's a pantomime
If you're looking for love
In a looking glass world
It's pretty hard to find
Oh mother of pearl
I wouldn't trade you
For another girl
Divine intervention
Always my intention
So I take my time
I've been looking for something
I've always wanted
But was never mine
But now I've seen that something
Just out of reach - glowing -
Very Holy grail
Oh mother of pearl
Lustrous lady
Of a sacred world
Thus: even Zarathustra
Another-time-loser
Could believe in you
With every goddess a let down
Every idol a bring down
It gets you down
But the search for perfection
Your own predilection
Goes on and on and on and on
Canadian Club love
A place in the Country
Everyone's ideal
But you are my favorita
And a place in your heart dear
Makes me feel more real
Oh mother of pearl
I wouldn't change you
For the whole world
You're highbrow, holy
With lots of soul
Melancholy shimmering
Serpentine sleekness
Was always my weakness
Like a simple tune
But no dilettante
Filigree fancy
Beats the plastic you
Career girl cover
Exposed and another
Slips right into-view
Oh looking for love
In a looking glass world
Is pretty hard for you
Few throwaway kisses
The boomerang misses
Spin round and round
Fall on featherbed quilted
Faced with silk
Softly stuffed eider down
Take refuge in pleasure
Just give me your future
We'll forget your past
Oh mother of pearl
Submarine lover
In a shrinking world
Oh lonely dreamer
Your choker provokes
A picture cameo
Oh mother of pearl
So so semi-precious
In your detached world
Oh mother of pearl
I wouldn't trade you
For another girl

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

SUCKERED AGAIN BY CORPORATE MEDIA

I was checking my e-mail today, and a link on the page caught my attention. It said something like "Watch the Bachelor season finale SHOCKER!" I hate that fucking show and all other shows like it with a passion. But, because the headline claimed some kind of "shocker" I fell for it like a fucking idiot. I thought to myself "I can spend a minute of my life watching The Bachelor if someone is going to get royally fucked." In the back of my mind I was hoping that this "shocker" had something to do with the chick who gets picked revealing that she's really a lesbian, and that she just came on the show to fuck with the structure, bring down the babylon and punk everybody out, and that she would rant & rave about how fucked reality TV shows are, and maybe they'd even get security on her. I'd get to watch Joe Lonely try to calculate the proper response that says 'manly, yet contemplative!' AT LEAST I was hoping for something like he gets attacked and nearly has his eyes clawed out by angry, scorned reality TV star wannabe.

So what did I get? This nondescript, almost handsome "guy next door" looking country-fried hick, getting all weepy with another bumpkin while he blabbered predictable shit like "I hate to lose you," and then proceeded to lose her. The dude doesn't pick either girl. So what? It still looked exactly like you thought it would. There aren't enough colorful adjectives in the world to save a show like that from choking on it's own vomit, because you can't polish a turd. No matter how hard you try. Isn't it sad how many things in life are consistently EXACTLY HOW YOU EXPECT THEM TO BE?

It's my own fault. That's what I get for believing even for a second that there could be anything close to "shocking" happening on "reality" TV.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

JESUS LOVES YOU AND YOUR 15 HOUR WORK DAY

Did this story come straight from the bible? The irony is so thick you could have fooled me.
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NEW YORK - A labor rights group alleged Tuesday that crucifixes sold in religious gift shops in the U.S. are produced under "horrific" conditions in a Chinese factory with more than 15-hour work days and inadequate food.

"It's a throwback to the worst of the garment sweatshops 10, 20 years ago," said Charles Kernaghan, director of the National Labor Committee.

Kernaghan held a news conference in front of St. Patrick's Cathedral to call attention to conditions at a factory in Dongguan, a southern Chinese city near Hong Kong, where he said crosses sold at the historic church and elsewhere are made.

Spokespeople for St. Patrick's and another New York landmark, the Episcopal Trinity Church at Wall Street, said the churches had removed dozens of crucifixes from their shops while they investigate the claims.

"I don't think they have a clue where these crucifixes were made — in horrific work conditions," Kernaghan said.

Kernaghan said the factory's mostly young, female employees work from 8 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. seven days a week and are paid 26 cents an hour with no sick days or vacation. Workers live in filthy dormitories and are fed a watery "slop."

Kernaghan said factory workers took photos and smuggled out documents detailing practices there. While none of the crucifixes sold in New York were identified as made in China, they bore serial numbers matching products made at the factory in question, Kernaghan said.

Joe Zwilling, a spokesman for St. Patrick's, said church officials had not heard about the issue before Tuesday. Trinity spokeswoman Diane Reed said her church had been "under the impression that these were mass-produced in Italy."

St. Patrick's and Trinity bought the crosses from the Singer Co., a religious goods company based in suburban Mount Vernon. Co-owner Gerald Singer said the religious objects were made in China and purchased through a Chinese manufacturer called Full Start.

"Whether they came out of a sweatshop, we do not know," Singer said. "We asked Full Start to sign off that there are no sweatshop conditions involved, and no children and that they abide by Chinese law. This is a black eye for us."

An after-hours call to a U.S. office of Full Start Ltd. in East Providence, R.I., was not immediately returned Tuesday.

A man at the Full Start factory in Dongguan said the allegations were "totally incorrect."

The working conditions at the factory were "fine," said the man, who refused to give his name. The 200-plus employees work from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. each day, with an hour and a half break for lunch, he said.

The employees were rarely asked to work overtime, but were compensated when they did, he said. When pressed for more details, the man said he wasn't in charge of those issues and hung up the phone.

Kernaghan said the crosses were exhibited at an annual trade show organized by the Association for Christian Retail, a Colorado-based trade association that works with thousands of religious stores across the country.

Bill Anderson, president and chief executive of the Christian trade association, issued a statement saying: "While we occasionally hear this issue raised, and believe there are factories in China where human rights are violated, we believe claims that products sold through CBA member stores are made in these shops are irresponsible and unfounded."

Dongguan lies at the center of China's export manufacturing industry, which relies heavily on low wages to remain competitive. Factories there have been accused in the past of labor abuses, including those making products for McDonald's, Disney, Mattel and the Beijing Olympics.

ROOM SERVICE

And the second...

video

THE ICING ON THE CAKE

I just got my hands on the hi-res copies of the 2 NU107 TVC spots we filmed last week. Here's the first:



video

Monday, November 19, 2007

ART IS NOT A MIRROR, IT IS A HAMMER





I got an amazing book a few days ago called "The Design of Dissent." After viewing work that illuminates the human condition for the rest of humanity, all other visuals seem a little meaningless. "Can you make the logo a little bit bigger?" Sure, we can make the logo bigger, chief.

Friday, November 16, 2007

AMERICA IS KILLING IT'S YOUTH

Take one look into Alan Vega's eyes and tell me he doesn't mean it more than anyone who ever stepped onto a stage. To say that Suicide was the most ahead-of-their-time band in history is doing them a disservice; they didn't even exist in the same time-space continuum as the rest of the world. Suicide was, and will always be, the biggest "FUCK YOU" to every institution, every record label, every scene, every eardrum ever perpetrated in the name of music. It is simply impossible to gauge the scope of their importance. There will never be another.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

I LOVE YOU



More sad news from the headlines:

Megan Coulter, a Mascoutah, Ill., eighth-grader, served two after-school detentions last week. Her offense? Hugging two friends and therefore violating the Mascoutah Middle School's ban on public displays of affection.

Coulter's case drew dozens of newspaper headlines and landed her on NBC's Today Show. But it also illustrates a key challenge facing America's schools: When is a hug inappropriate - or "extreme," as its been dubbed by some administrators? And, more broadly, how far should schools go in policing the behavior of a generation that often takes its social cues from Paris Hilton and Britney Spears?

Student-on-student public displays of affection (PDAs) have long been problematic for school administrators and parents. Experts say anti-PDA policies have existed for nearly two decades, although it's not known how many schools and school districts have imposed such rules. In 1999, a U.S. Supreme Court ruling held schools responsible for creating environments free of harassment among students; that decision then led many lawsuit-averse administrators to ban most forms of student contact - except, of course, for high-contact sports like football and wrestling. Among the most extreme policies is in Vienna, Va., where the Kilmer Middle School has a blanket "No Contact" rule that bans even high-fives. The Fossil Hill Middle School in Fort Worth, Texas, has banned students from hugging and holding hands. Earlier this year, the Percy Julian Middle School in Oak Park, Illinois, banned hugs.

Other schools have a broad ban on "inappropriate displays of affection," or IPDAs. Proponents say it gives school administrators more discretion in interpreting what constitutes "inappropriate" behavior. Yet that same discretion potentially exposes administrators to accusations of unfairly targeting, say, a Latina for braiding a friend's hair, or for showing favoritism by failing to reprimand the football team's quarterback who playfully smacks a teammate's back after a win.

Practical considerations - like hallway traffic control - are behind some of these no-contact measures. For example, at Iowa City, Iowa's South East Junior High School, girls who hadn't seen each other for an entire 42-minute class often stopped to hug each other in hallways during the four-minute break between classes. The hugging clogged the 700-student school's hallways. So Deb Wretman, the principal, developed a "hands-off, or handshake" slogan to limit greetings to a handshake. (She is loath to call it a "policy," and points out that "you won't find anything in our handbook that refers to 'no hugs' or 'public displays of affection.'") While there's no penalty for "violating the slogan," Wretman says the effort has significantly reduced hallway congestion.

Under the most extreme anti-PDA policies, however, even a student who hugs a friend whose parent has just died could potentially face suspension. The lack of nuance in such policies bothers critics like Lisa Graybill, legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union's Texas Chapter. "Preventing harassment and teaching kids to respect each other is important, but having yet another reason for kids' behavior to be criminalized is unnecessary," she says. "It's draconian to ban all forms of touch."

Megan Coulter's case began in earnest at a sports event a couple of weeks ago. Her parents say her southern Illinois school's vice principal asked her and a male friend to stop hugging. Then, on Nov. 2, Megan stood near a bus in the school's parking lot and put her arm around a male friend's shoulder. The vice principal, who did not return calls seeking comment, immediately issued a detention order. Minutes later, as Megan walked across the school's front lawn, a female friend gave her a hug. The vice principal issued the second detention order.

"I honestly think I shouldn't have been punished, because the hugs were nothing inappropriate," Megan, 13, said in a Today show interview, her face expressionless, her brown hair pulled back, one hand clutching her mother's. "There wasn't bodies pressed up against each other."

Now, says her mother Melissa Coulter, Megan is being shunned by friends, whose parents deem her a "bad influence." Yet the Coulters say they still support anti-PDA policies, particularly for teenagers. "I don't want them to be all over each other in the hallways," Melissa Coulter told TIME on Sunday. "We just need to clarify how they apply it. Maybe the administrators weren't given enough latitude in using their judgment." The Coulters are waiting to see if Megan's school reviews the policy for the next year. If that does not happen, they will take the issue to the school board.
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Can you believe it that in America, in (nearly) 2008, public affection is slowly becoming an act of radicalism? Are the people making these rules impotent, or just loveless? I think they need a hug. I like the way they even invented a clever acronym for "inappropriate displays of affection" - IPDA. I came up with a better one- "Inadequate Pawns Dig Authority."


Mr. Wilson predicted this in 1985-

"If I were to kiss you here they'd call it an act of terrorism--so let's take our pistols to bed & wake up the city at midnight like drunken bandits celebrating with a fusillade, the message of the taste of chaos."

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

LIQUOR, DESTRUCTION, SPANDEX: ALL THE INGREDIENTS OF A GOOD TVC




On Monday we shot the TVC's for NU107's 20 year anniversary & 14th annual rock awards. The concept is that yours truly plays a rockstar hopelessly out of touch with the times, yet still living the life just as hard as he was 20 years ago. We started at 11AM and finished at 8AM the next morning. In just under 24 hours, I got to destroy a guitar, birthday cake, flat screen TV, lamp, dishes, carpet, bed, and a nicely framed picture. And I did it all while completely drunk. They call it "method acting." In this case, the method was easy- get fucked up and destroy shit. I have a little bit of experience doing that, so it was easy.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

ATTACKED BY GOD FROM ALL SIDES


The Philippines is a very religious country. Right now, as I type this, I'm looking out my window at big green neon letters on top of a building that say "IN GOD WE TRUST." That's one of the only things I don't really like about this country, except when I'm in a cab. When I get in a cab I'm very excited to see that cross hanging from the rear-view mirror, because then I can be reasonably assured the driver will immediately turn the meter on and keep everything honest. You see, in guidebooks (written in typically alarmist fashion) they always say shit like "Many drivers will try to rip you off by not turning on the meter and then asking for an inflated rate." Not true, as long as your driver has the fear of God in his heart. The one and only time I had a driver try to pull the "no meter" shit on me was with this young guy driving a "pimp my ride" cab bumping obnoxiously bad modern R&B. Sure enough, no cross dangling from the mirror, or any other religious paraphernalia in the cab. Because he knew that there would be no lightning bolt waiting to strike him down the second he got his con on, that gave him the mental freedom to act shady. CAB DRIVERS + GOD = GOOD! I look for the guys who are deathly afraid of that ominous lightning bolt in the sky. I know they'll get me to the destination in a righteous manner.

GREENBELT MALL + GOD = NO GOOD! I went walking around at the Greenbelt mall today. I'm definitely NOT a mall person, but in Makati if you want to see a movie or just waste some time, the mall is about the best option. Greenbelt is kind of like a little oasis of Green in the city too (whoever named this place was a fucking GENIUS!!!!) It seems removed from the urban cityscape, noise, and smog of the city. Unless you go there on a Sunday afternoon, where you will escape the city and smog, but not the noise. Today's noise came in the form of a preacher blabbing on and on over a LOUD P.A. system. He kept on talking about how God wants us to reject sin. Every few minutes or so he would pause for a second, and then I could hear birds chirping, and the water bubbling in this nice little fountain with fish in it. I would feel tranquil for a few seconds, and then he'd start telling me what God wants again. I was thinking to myself "What if God wants me to enjoy the sound of these birds and this bubbling water?" Maybe I should get my own bigger, badder P.A. system so I can wage a GOD-OFF BATTLE ROYALE with this dude next Sunday. He can tell everyone to reject sin and I can read passages from Bertrand Russell's "Why I Am Not a Christian." I'm sure his audience would be larger.

Oh well. At least it was better than that time in New York where this radical Islam dude was standing on the sidewalk with a mic and a few cronies, yelling about how the White man is the Devil. I walked past and he pointed at me, saying "look at this Devil!!!" I started laughing in his face and blowing him kisses.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

A PLACE IN TIME CAN BE SOMETHING ELSE

In case you were wondering where I got the name for this blog, here it is. Bey's book "T.A.Z." is one of my absolute all-time favorites, right alongside Battaile's "Guilty," Nabokov's "Lolita," and Camus' "The Stranger." It's easy to find good books to read. It's hard to find books that change your life. T.A.Z. is that book. Thank you, Mr. Wilson.

BEAUTY AND DANGER...THE PERFECT COMBINATION

This song was supposedly never released commercially. Art for art's sake. No chart position, no billboard soundscan, no commerce. Just sweet, sweet music.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

WAR IS PEACE, IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH, FREEDOM IS SLAVERY





Have a look at this disturbing article I read today:
http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/research/4226614.html

"In the past decade, a wave of researchers using scans has laid bare the rough schematics of how our brains handle fear, memory, risk-taking, romantic love and other mental processes. Soon, the technology could go even further, pulling back the curtain guarding our most private selves. Indeed, boosters say, a nearly foolproof lie detector based on brain scanning is just around the corner.

If they’re right, then there may come a day when others—the government, employers, even your spouse—might turn to technology to determine whether you are a law-abiding citizen, a promising new hire or a faithful partner."

More proof that (sadly) Orwell WAS the visionary genius we thought he was. Yes, he was right, and only time will tell how many years off his predictions were. Have a look at the state of the planet today, and then tell me that figuring out how to read someone's mind is a good use of time and money.

I'm just REALLY, REALLY, HAPPY that I'll be dead before this technology comes to fruition. I know that the thought police wouldn't like what they'd find inside my head.

DUDE, WHERE'S MY COUNTRY?

I just wanted to share a few of my favorite quotes from the greatest founding father of them all, Thomas Jefferson. What would he say about the state of the nation now?



I abhor war and view it as the greatest scourge of mankind.

I have seen enough of one war never to wish to see another.

Conquest is not in our principles. It is inconsistent with our government.

Experience hath shewn, that even under the best forms of government those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny.

I was bold in the pursuit of knowledge, never fearing to follow truth and reason to whatever results they led, and bearding every authority which stood in their way.

I have recently been examining all the known superstitions of the world, and do not find in our particular superstition (Christianity) one redeeming feature. They are all alike founded on fables and mythology.

All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.

Bodily decay is gloomy in prospect, but of all human contemplations the most abhorrent is body without mind.

Do you want to know who you are? Don't ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you.

Every generation needs a new revolution.

Commerce with all nations, alliance with none, should be our motto.



-So, anybody heard any good George W. Bush quotes lately?

Monday, November 5, 2007

DOPE, GUNS, AND FUCKING IN THE STREETS

Hey Miami-
you can keep your anaesthetized house music, plastic surgery, fake tits, velvet ropes, and VIP lists. Fuck that. THIS is my kind of party.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD



I've been interested in photography for many years, and even though I still consider myself an amateur, I've shot a few photos here in Manila that make me feel very proud. This is my favorite photo I've ever taken (that's not of a family member.) The look on the faces of these people is so beautiful. And not just the genuine smiles, but the warmness, the openness. It's amazing how one image can give you hope that the world hasn't completely gone to shit, that humanity is still alive. Too bad the image most foreigners have of this country is one of terrorists & kidnappings. They need to see more photos like this one. THIS is the true nature of the Philippines. But even though photos can say so much, you still need to see these things with your own eyes. It's like Charlie Parker said- "If you don't live it, it won't come out of your horn."