Category Archives: Mattel

Hot Air

Caffeinated Philosophy

Overheard at Soma Coffee, one barista speaking to another:

Life is more than fish sticks.

Fish Sticks

So, so true.

Magic, Tragic Formula

As a student at the University of Chicago, Kurt Vonnegut wanted to let academe know that the plots for fictional stories can be represented as graphs. You know, the visual aids that we normally associate with economists, behavioral psychologists, and other illusionists.


Vonnegut In The Army

Huh. Who’da figured the likes of Truman Capote and James Patterson are, at heart, mathematicians?

Vonnegut pitched this concept for his master’s thesis at the august institution. He was told, forthwith, to kiss off. The late Indy native once explained the dons didn’t dig his brainstorm “because it was so simple and looked like too much fun.”

Anyway, Open Culture tells us about Vonnegut’s proposal, which he went on to espouse and further explain throughout his life. Plus, his own novel plots reflected the basic assertion he wanted to make in his thesis paper.

And, since we’re larcenous hoodlums here at Pencil World HQ, we’ve copped the chart that Open Culture commissioned designer Maya Eilam to draw up, illustrating V’s idée. Here it is [broken up so you can read the text]:


Eilam Infographic Detail


Eilam Infographic Detail


Eilam Infographic Detail

Vonnegut would have had us believe that the stories a culture tells about itself also can be plotted thusly. And in that we we can learn about said society. Cool, no?

Living Dolls

I’ve always thought the Sports Illustrated annual swimsuit edition is stupid. SI takes inhumanly glamorous dames and poses them in faraway and gorgeous locales, all the while cladding them in eensy-weensy bikinis that expose as much mam, camel-toe, and bootie as can be displayed on a Kroger magazine rack.

For the boys, right? If the giggly, sweaty lads of this holy land want porn, there’s plenty of it on the Internet. They don’t have to pretend they’re buying this particular issue of the weekly sports news pub just for the articles.

Plus, there’s the whole creation of impossible standards of beauty for young girls to fail to live up to and young boys to be sorely disappointed in their future girlfriends and wives for. All in all, the swimsuit edition is nutty.

Now it’s deranged. Guess who is adorning the pages of the 2014 one-handed reading edition?


The doll.


Yes, This Barbie®

A hunk of plastic that, too, has been making girls feel like crap about their bods for 50 years.

Boys, it’s time to grow up.

But even more weird than grown men turning Japanese over a sports mag are the rationalizations SI and Mattel are spewing left and right. For instance, some copywriter, who obviously downed an LSD-and-crystal-meth-laced latte before he started clacking his keyboard, authored the following words that supposedly came out of Barbie’s mouth:

I, for one, am honored to join the legendary swimsuit models. The word “model,” like the word “Barbie®,” is often dismissed as a poseable plaything with nothing to say. And yet, those featured are women who have broken barriers, established empires, built brands, branched out into careers as varied as authors, entrepreneurs and philanthropists. They are all great examples of confident and competent women.

Notice I said the copywriter was a he. Because it couldn’t have been a woman, could it? Can any female human being be that unhinged?

Your Daily Hot Air

Super Quick Hits


The website PolitiChicks, “The Voice of the Conservative Woman,” has selected — get ready for this — The Hottest Conservative Supermen in America.

A panel of six Tory dames, all of whom appear to take cosmetics and physical esthetics tips from the Mattel Corporation, selected hot sausages from among all the talking heads, bloviators, gasbags, intentional misinterpretors, and dissemblers in the Right Wing phoni-verse. I should state here that there are plenty of reasonably intelligent male conservatives in the holy land, including, but not limited to, George Will, David Brooks, Tom Friedman, and Barack Obama. Just because a guy leans Right doesn’t mean he’s suffering from anencephaly.

Barbie Dolls

PolitiChick’s Selection Panel

OTOH, PolitiChick’s fap list leans heavily troglodytic.

And, yeah, there are some handsome hunks of cartilage on the roster, but, man….

Okay, there are a couple of handsome (or at least non-terrifying) knights on steeds for conservative princesses to fantasize coming to their collective rescue. Consider David Spady of or Sean Hannity of Fox News, both of whom make the list. Any reasonable straight woman or gay man might deem the two bonkable (as long as they could ignore the incipient nausea caused by the duo’s babblings.)


Red Meat: Spady & Hannity

But get this: the list also contains the eerie specters of Tucker Carlson, Louie Gohmert, and Mike Huckabee. The Carlson tab is mildly puzzling, considering he was probably named Most Likely to Be Molested In A Holding Cell in his high school yearbook. But Huckabee is as attractive as a shift manager at a CVS on the outskirts of Little Rock. And Louie Gohmert? Louie Gohmert, for chrissakes!


Canned Spam: Huckabee & Gohmert

And here, all this time, I thought the fringe right was wingnutty only in their political thinking.

(h/t to Wonkette.)


Swear to god, liberals and conservatives name their spawn differently, reflecting their political orientations.

This is science, man. A researcher at the University of Chicago, Eric Oliver has discovered that conservatives tend to dub their unfortunate offspring with more traditional names. Not only that, they tend to prefer names with harsh consonant sounds, like Kurt.


Future Republican

Liberals, on the other hand, dig more vowelly monikers — cool, huh? I just made that adjective up — leading them to hang names like Ella and Sophia on their trophy children. Also, libs like names that have L sounds in them. Duh, right? Ls can be found in the words lesbian and homosexual; whaddya expect?


If you don’t know that Ayn Rand is the single most important figure in American politics today, you don’t know nuffin’.

The US House of Representatives has been commandeered by a pack of ideologues who rode the Me Party wave back in 2010. And because these ideologues refuse to compromise on anything due to the fact that doing so will turn them into commie, fag, Muslim abortionists and (worst of all) RINOs, Congress has ground to a halt. Thanks, pals.

In case you haven’t guessed by now, Ayn Rand, before whom the Paul Ryans of the world genuflect, embodies every single thing in the world I find repellant.

The only thing she did in her entire life that I even slightly approve of is smoke — and that’s because I detest people who don’t have at least one good vice.


Rand, Smoking

Not that I don’t detest Ayn Rand. I do. As should everyone with even the slightest shred of human decency, compassion, agape, and good sense.


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