Missing in action

Last night, I ended up at the Indian Motorcycle Cafe, a lounge/dance club/restaurant/clothing store along the King Street club strip. While the company that actually made Indian Motorcycles has been out of business for fifty years, someone bought the rights to the brand name and created a line of clothing that features the logo. The club takes the branding up another notch — the Indian logo is everywhere: on the beechwood-and-metal panelling (the designers read a lot of wallpaper* magazine) , the felt of the pool tables, the museum-like displays that showcase miniture models of Indian motorcycles and old advertisements, the frosted glass behind the bars, and even the glass cases for the firehoses. While they never charge a cover nor for coat check, the place screams expensive, with dozen of leather armchairs arranged around coffee tables, a couple of gas fireplaces and pairs of giant plasma computer monitors behind most of the bars, flashing old photos of happy Indian motorcycle riders and advertisements for cheap martini nights. It looks like yet another one of those places from the “club scene” of a movie, or perhaps a Smirnoff Ice commercial. It’s somewhat yuppified cheese, but being an Asian and a Honda driver, I have a high degree of tolerance for such places.

Paul and I were there, attending a farewell party for Sarah, one of his classmates from his Taekwondo class. Paul left early, but I had bumped into my sister-in-law Grace while there, and decided to hang out with her and her friend Anita for a little while longer. We stayed on the extremely crowded dance floor for a while, and I noticed something was missing.

As I’ve mentioned in some other postings, Accordion City is a very multicultural city. This is reflected in a lot of dance clubs, where you’ll see people of every race and dozens of nationalities, and compared to the States, inter-racial dating is as big a deal (trust me, I’ve done it in both countries). A good number of the couples were mixed race, a clear violation of what was until recently part of the Bob Jones University code of conduct. Around me on the dance floor were:

  • black men (mostly with clean-shaven heads)
  • white men (mostly with clean-shaven heads)
  • white women (mostly in boobalicious sleeveless tops, in spite of the twelve-below temperatures and the snowstorm raging outside)
  • middle eastern men (clean-shaven heads)
  • middle eastern women (boobalicious sleeveless tops)
  • south Asian men (hair spiked with graviton particle gel)
  • south Asian women (boobalicious sleeveless tops)
  • east Asian men (hair spiked with graviton particle gel, myself included)
  • east Asian women (boobalicious sleeveless tops)

…all shakin’ their rumps to Nelly’s Hot In Here (So Take off All Your Clothes)

…but practically no black women (and therefore no boobalicious sleeveless tops). At a club where the music is a hodgepodge of hip-hop, R&B, house, reggae and dancehall, this is extremely unusual. This is certainly not the case at other clubs that put out the same vibe and cater to the same sort of clientele.

Anyone got a theory as to why this is so, or did all the black women hear the weather report and say “I’m making it a Blockbuster night”? Your comments, please.


This lends a new meaning to the phrase "fact-check your ass"

A number of people have written to me, telling me that the photos from the Butt Skirt posting are Photoshopped. Cass pointed me to the ever-reliable Snopes site, where they very recently debunked the photos, and also feature the infamous breast scarf shots.

My friend Zooko points out that if the butts were actually silk-screened onto the skirts, they’d look right from only one angle. And if you silk-screened butts onto skirts, it’s most likely that you’d choose an image from a right-behind-you viewing angle. That’s clearly not the case in this shot:

Photo: Japanese butt skirt

So alas, the photos aren’t of some new fashion. It’s probably just Japanese porn catering to their underwear fetish. It just seemed so plausible because of the breast scarves, the tentacle porn (almost work safe), the vending machines that sell used girls’ underwear (this link is work safe), the hentai video games (including a particularly vile one called “Battle Raper”, a Mortal Kombat-style game that takes “to the victor go the spoils” way too far) and all the other weird stuff that comes from The Land of the Rising Contradiction.

(The breast scarves, however, still seem to be real. I stumbled across this Japanese page which seems to have some information about them.)

I think it’s also that we — okay, maybe I mean “I” — really wanted to believe that such things existed. So here’s a revised butt skirt photo, with a little X-Files twist:

Photo: Butt skirt shot captioned with 'I WANT TO BELIEVE'

Recommended reading

Michael Dingler has come up with an answer to the butt skirt that should please the ladies.

The phrase “fact-check your ass” has been attributed to blogger Ken Layne.’s Blog Glossary says that the phrase means “to use Internet search engines to ascertain the veracity of dubious claims made in the press.”


Tired: Breast scarves. Wired: Butt skirts.


See this entry for details.

Take a look at this:

Photo: Japanese butt skirt.

No, it’s not a see-through skirt. Rather, it’s a regular skirt with an pretty realistic image of panties and legs silk-screened onto it.

It’s possible that these are Photoshopped fakes, but I also once thought that Japanese tentacle porn and the purchase of used girls’ underwear were urban legends.

Call me crazy, but this faux-peeping-tommery seems dirtier than actually seeing the woman nude. Maybe that’s the intent. These clothes do come from the land that brought you tentacle porn.

Photo: Japanese butt skirt.

My friend Josie sent me the photos yesterday; she got them from someone else. My apologies in advance to any Playboy editors who might be reading and want to buy the rights to these photos from me.

Photo: Japanese butt skirt.

According to the person who forwarded the mail to Josie, these skirts are “all the rage” in Japan. Didn’t I say that about the breast scarves too?

Photo: Japanese butt skirt.

Of course, these photos have probably cemented my reputation as the go-to guy for kinky Japanese fashion. It’s a cross I’ll learn to bear.

Photo: Japanese butt skirt.

What is it with the Japanese, anyway? Maybe’s it a crazy island empire thing.


Wait for it…

I’m a little busy today, so I won’t be able to post until much later. I promise that it’ll be worth it, and here’s a three-word summary of why:

Disturbing. Japanese. Fashion.


I’d just like to say one thing…

What the hell, people?!


Not-so-smart mob

Updated Thursday, February 20th at 5:45 p.m. EST

Thomas, as we bloggers like to say, fact-checked my ass.

I stated that Iraq kicked out the arms inspectors in 1998, but in actuality the inspectors left under orders from their leader, Richard Butler. The December 18, 1998 issue of the Washington Post reports that they left because they knew that the U.S. would start another bombing campaign. Other reports state that Baghdad was being uncooperative, while Baghdad accused the inspections team of having spies among their number.

More details are available at FAIR’s (Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting) site:

Thanks for the heads-up, Thomas!

I had a conversation last week that went like this:

Her: So are you going to the anti-war protest tomorrow?

Me: I’m not sure. I still have to think about my position on it.

Her: What’s to think about?

Me: For starters, what you just said: “What’s to think about?”

Don’t get me wrong; I do believe that protests and demonstrations can be good things. I am mindful of the fact that my own native country has managed to rid itself of two corrupt leaders through demonstrations. I’ve even participated in some myself. But I made damn sure I’d thought out my position very clearly before joining and doubly so if I was going to do an interview. If you’re going to shoot off your mouth, make sure your brain isn’t loaded with blanks!

With that in mind, here’s a video called Devil’s Advocate Goes to the Protest (QuickTime required). In it, Evan Coyne Maloney goes to the New York anti-war rally and conducts interviews with results that are simultaneously hilarious and sad. Some of the questions that he asks:

  • How would you solve the problem [if war is not the answer]?
  • Why was the UN unable to disarm Iraq while conducting inspections between 1991 and 1998? (The inspectors were kicked out in 1998.)
  • How much time should the inspectors in Iraq be given? Wasn’t eight years enough?
  • Has the world community in the past lived up to its responsibility with dealing with Saddam Hussein? Would they do it now?
  • Do you think that President Bush will keep the oil fields after invading Iraq? Why did the U.S. not do that after the first Gulf War?
  • Do you believe that Saddam Hussein has chemical or biological weapons?

It’s interesting: a right-wing guy borrows a page from Michael Moore’s book to great effect.

Speaking of Moore’s technique, keep in mind that the interviewees weren’t expecting to be interviewed, the questions were chosen with care and that this, like any other video, is the product of editing. Still, I’m sure that all of them did the interview of their own free will and out of a desire to make their opinions heard.

I’m still doing a little work right now, so I’ll turn this over to the comments. Let me know what you think, and we’ll continue the conversation there.

(A big high-five to John “Lemonodor” Wiseman for telling me about this.)

Recommended reading

Thinking as a Hobby, by William “Lord of the Flies” Golding.


It’s all Nasreen’s fault

My friend Nasreen Rahmann grew up in Germany and as a result has German tastes in pop music.

Which means “none at all”.

(I kid, I kid. But really, where else would David Hasselhoff’s singles be elevated to number one on the charts?)

She was here for about five years working on her Ph.D. in biology, but that didn’t stop her from diving straight into the social scene here in Accordion City. She was one of the most enthusiastic regulars at the Bovine Sex Club’s Kickass Karaoke and had a knack for belting out some of the schmatziest adult contemporary tunes with gusto. Her favourite artist to cover was…urgh…Bonnie Tyler. I’ve seen her cover Bonnie a zillion times, each time as intensely as her first. She couldn’t get enough of ol’ Bonnie, while I usually feel great pain every time I hear her songs.

I didn’t realize how closely was I was listening to her until this afternoon when I took a break from some mad database coding to go buy some vegetables at Kensington Market. We eat a lot of vegetables for a bunch of non-hippie bachelors.

Kensington Market, for those of you not familiar with Toronto, is a charming bohemian mish-mash of old-style food markets (each one specializing in meats, fish, cheese, nuts and spices or fruits and vegetables), second-hand clothing and furniture stores, a couple of very boho cafes, specialty stores such as a head shop and an african drum shop and some offbeat restaurants. Many of the stores provide their own music, often putting their speakers outside their front door. Walking up the street I heard Cheap Trick’s Surrender (the only top 40 song to ever make mention of the Philippines) and Bob Marley’s Them Belly Full (But We Hungry).

At the fruit store on Augusta, I was picking through squash when I caught myself singing along to the crescendo of Total Eclipse of the Heart, which was blasting out the stereo speakers:

And I need you now tonight

And I need you more than ever

And if you’ll only hold me tight

We’ll be holding on forever

And we’ll only be making it right

Cause we’ll never be wrong together

One of the guys working at the store — a Chinese guy with that Dustin Nguyen 21 Jump Street haircut, probably a university student earning some extra cash — joined in, his arms open Broadway singer-style. I took a butternut squash and held it as I would a lover’s face and sang to it:

We can take it to the end of the line

Your love is like a shadow on me all of the time

I don’t know what to do and I’m always in the dark

We’re living in a powder keg and giving off sparks

I really need you tonight

Forever’s gonna start tonight

Forever’s gonna start tonight

He turned to me and put his index finger to his lips because the closing chrous is supposed to be quiet.

Once upon a time I was falling in love

But now I’m only falling apart

Nothing I can do

A total eclipse of the heart

Once upon a time there was light in my life

But now there’s only love in the dark

Nothing I can say

A total eclipse of the heart

We had a good laugh, after which he rang up my bill.

“That’ll be eighteen twenty-five. You do karaoke, don’t you?” he said.

“Yeah. Is it that obvious?”

“Karaoke people aren’t afraid of looking like retards. Nice singing with you.”

Why do I even know these lyrics?

Nasreen, this is all your fault.

(P.S. I still feel a lot better than this loser, who was a die-hard Lionel Richie fan for the longest time. I’ll bet he sings Say You, Say Me in the shower.)