Category Archives: Fashion

Baseball Records of Another Kind — When the Spaceman Was the Posterboy For Stereo Speakers

Just stumbled across this advertising masterpiece in my 1975 Boston Red Sox souvenir program, the same precious archive that stores the Bob Montgomery denim leisure suit from Jordan Marsh.

Spaceman Stereos

Spaceman Stereos

Strangely, I never knew the real origins of Bill Lee’s “Spaceman” nickname. But it’s the “cool guy” hat (reminiscent of Rudy from Fat Albert) and the turntable that make me smile.

Bill Lee has long been a media darling for saying what’s on his mind, demonstrated on this autographed baseball below:

Staying (Kinda) Classy -- Red Sox legend Bill Lee sometimes autographs baseballs "Yankees Suck Pond H2O."

Former Red Sox star Bill Lee sometimes autographs baseballs “Yankees Suck Pond H2O.”

I caught up with Lee recently for an Atlantic Magazine story on the waning Red Sox-Yankees T-Shirt War.

This quote from our conversation has nothing to do with stereo speakers or 1970s fashion, but it sums up life:

“Without rivalries, there is no game,” Lee adds. “You have to respect your opponent, but when your opponent is down, you must step on them and never let them get up. You want to make sure the enemy isn’t still breathing.”

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Filed under advertising, Fashion, Red Sox, Red Sox Schlock, Sports, Sports Psychology

Fashion Flashback: Carlton Fisk Apparently Didn’t Want to Pose in This Denim Suit

Jordan Marsh, now part of Macy's, had no idea the 1975 Red Sox would become American League Champions when they signed backup catcher Bob Montgomery as a spokesmodel. (Click to enlarge).

Jordan Marsh, now part of Macy’s, had no idea the 1975 Red Sox would become American League Champions when they signed backup catcher Bob Montgomery as a spokesmodel. (Click to enlarge).

This was almost three decades before Johnny Damon, Jason Varitek and Tim Wakefield went on Queer Eye for the Straight Guy to makeover their wardrobes.

I love the 1970s — people took you seriously when you wore clothes like this.

Bob Montgomery is a classy guy, but I can’t imagine that the backup catcher was the first choice of Jordan Marsh or Haggar to walk the runway.

Carlton Fisk must have said “No way!”

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Political Fashion Watch: Yet another reason to LOVE the Boston Herald

Will Gov. Patrick's fashion sense influence other politicians to be more daring?

Long before I started writing for the Boston Herald, I have been in love with its front page layout staff. Perhaps it is a symptom of my obsessive hoarding of newsprint, but I seriously have a collection of “classic” Herald covers and back page sports covers.

Mocking Gov. Deval Patrick for his gorgeous purple scarf proves yet again that the Herald is the Boston newspaper with a sense of humor.  Capturing the governor’s pursed lips and look of disdain only reinforces his image as an elitist who looks down upon the gray scarf-wearing masses.

Some might say that Patrick is daring and self-confident to wear purple in a world where politicians stick with the dark blue suit, red tie and gray.

But face it, he looks ridiculous.  If he were wearing it in a tongue-in-cheek context to say, promote Newbury Street Fashion Week, he could pull it off.  Instead, he comes across as a combination of:

  1. Fred, the ascot-wearing Mystery Machine leader on Scooby Doo.
  2. A contestant on Stacy London’s “What Not to Wear.”
  3. A character in a Christopher Guest mockumentary.
  4. A colorful villain on the 1966 Batman series. Both the Riddler and the Penguin favored bright purple in their wardrobes.

If you want the back story on Gov. Patrick’s purple scarf, the Herald is reporting that his wife did not make him wear it.

Boston Herald photo by Matt Stone

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How come I was never issued an emergency gas mask like this?

Which gas mask would you rather wear?

I’m clearly not the only one fascinated by the gas mask bra, a serious product developed by Dr. Elena Bodnar — a physician who discovered that victims of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant disaster were just as likely to be harmed by particle inhalation as radiation.

But science really has little to do with why the irreverent and attractive Bodnar is getting us to ponder the nuances of emergency preparedness.  Isn’t “Cleavage in a Crisis” the ultimate fantasy news crawl for Fox News, CNN, MSNBC and the rest?

And then there is Bodnar’s habit of taking her bra off during press conferences and wrapping them around Nobel laureates. No wonder why CNET’s Elizabeth Armstrong Moore is smitten by the inventor’s “alluring Ukrainian accent.”

Celebrating Cleavage in a Crisis (Source:

My flippant enjoyment of this story is a dramatic 180-degree turn from the brief time in my life that I needed to wear a gas mask. In January 1991, I was in Jerusalem when the first Gulf War broke out. I had my very own mask like the one at the top left of this post, complete with its own Hebrew-decorated carrying case (I couldn’t read the disclaimers, but I know I was supposed to stab my leg with the syringe if the guy on the radio said so). I wrote in my journal through the foggy lenses while the freaky air raid sirens were wailing at two in the morning.

My Gulf War buddies in Jerusalem.

I was in Israel doing volunteer work for the phenomenal Project Otzma with other goody-two-shoes Americans. My friends all took the gas masks seriously, but they didn’t get too uptight about it. They posed for endless pictures with the masks, bought satirical gas mask t-shirts and did their best Darth Vader impressions.  I was too pissed to join in the fun. I was pissed that we all had to carry around gas mask boxes slung on our shoulders like purses. I was pissed that we were supposed to pretend that Israeli kids decorating their boxes with crayons was uplifting and defiant.  I was pissed that Iraq was sending missiles into Israel to retaliate for the United States attacking Iraq.

Anyhow, I refused to pose for a Tacky Tourist Photo in the mask and don’t regret it.

But years later, my humorlessness about possible poison gas attacks dissipates when we are talking about hypothetical scenarios and hot pink bras.

Congratulations, Dr. Bodnar for bringing your unorthodox idea to market and selling the hell out of it!

Sex appeal aside, does the gas mask filter work?

The Emergency Bra Website claims its lingerie is “a public risk management tool that can provide a person with a critical time window that might be sufficient to escape from life threatening environments.”  The bra “can reduce health consequences of accidents involving harmful airborne particles, such as those released by fire, explosion, terrorist, radiological, biological attack and natural disasters.”

As for the logistics, here’s what happens when the bra comes off… It’s very airline stewardess-esque:


UPDATE (9/28/10): Just learned first hand from Dr. Bodnar that her Emergency Bra is NOT meant to be a substitute for military-issued gas masks or specialized respiratory devices used by emergency responders.  So, in retrospect, thank you Israel, for hooking me up with your gas mask instead of a bra.

(RELATED STORY: “Austin Powers” Fembot Fashions Thrive in Syria)


Filed under Fashion, Lingerie Gas Masks

Adventures in Litigation: Naked Cowgirls & Buttsketch Bragging Rights

Could this "Buttsketch" be confiscated as trial evidence?

Wow, what a month for asinine litigation!

First, it was the Naked Cowboy vs. the Naked Cowgirl, the ultimate battle in Manhattan tourist cheesiness. The Cowboy says he wants a franchise fee from the Cowgirl, because apparently, he holds the copyright on nudity.

Unfortunately, she doesn’t own the copyright for crassness.

And now, there’s the soon to be infamous Buttsketch vs. Rear View Sketch lawsuit, which you can savor in a 90-page court document posted here.

Both the Buttsketch and the Rear View Sketch artists specialize in flattering fashion drawings of the human posterior, which are a huge hit on the trade show entertainment circuit.

Either battle would make a sweet Supreme Court case. And yes, that is my rear end, vintage 2006, pictured above at a Boston trade show. As anyone who knows me will attest, once I stumble across an extremely offbeat character, I will write about them for life (see “Supreme, Vermin“).

I also profiled the Buttsketch founder at a New Orleans convention in 2000.

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Lady Gaga: “Classless Songbird?”

Going Gaga Over Baseball: The Fast Track to Getting Autographs? (Source: NY Daily News)

EXCLUSIVE: Get a sneak peek of what Lady Gaga will look like 50 years from now!

(For the record, Red Sox-crazy celebs like Jennifer Garner show up to Fenway Park in much classier outfits!)

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Going ga-ga over fake celebrities

Every day, dozens of brides line up to marry George Clooney — having no fashion qualms whatsoever with a one-size-fits-all wedding dress.

Our culture is so starstruck and celebrity-obsessed that we even get a thrill meeting wax figures of famous people. Take a look at my friend Ilya, co-founder of Tacky Tourist Photos, who seems a little too excited about meeting the fake Jessica Simpson.

Or Heather, who likes to flirt with both the fake Clooney and the fake Tiger Woods.

Hey, I’m not suggesting that I’m above the peasantry. I’m included in the above slideshow and I also relished the opportunity to pose with the fake Elvis and the fake Evel Knievel.

I could be the most Wax-Museum-Obsessed Writer in America.

I’ve defended the right of Yasser Arafat to be in New York’s Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum — because evicting wax terrorists is a slippery museum slope — and I have endorsed the beheading of Hitler at the Berlin branch.  Much heavier stuff than flirting with George Clooney or Jessica Simpson, I know.

How about you?  Anyone have any funny wax museum stories or photos to share?

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Kellogg’s forgives Miss Michigan over cereal confusion

Miss Michigan had bragged about being from the state of Kellogg's cereal, but inadvertently asked Miss America viewers if they had eaten their Wheaties, a General Mills product.

Miss Michigan had bragged about being from the state of Kellogg's cereal, but inadvertently asked Miss America viewers if they had eaten their Wheaties, a General Mills product

Tony the Tiger is a beast of compassion.

Culture Schlock has just learned, directly from the source (a nod to old-fashioned journalism), that Miss Michigan Nicole Blaszczyk is NOT in trouble for her snafu the other night confusing her state’s Kellogg’s cereal with Minnesota’s General Mills.

Here is an official statement from Kellogg Company spokeswoman Kris Charles on this biting issue:

“As a company founded in Michigan in 1906, we are proud of Miss Michigan. We are understanding of her momentary confusion during the Miss America pageant. We wish her continued success and hope she regularly enjoys Kellogg’s brands such as Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes, Rice Krispies and Frosted Mini-Wheats.”

Charles also tells me that Miss Michigan will be receiving a gift basket filled with Kellogg’s products. With the pageant over, there now should be more opportunities to eat Pop-Tarts!

For the record, the General Mills Wheaties people did not respond to our earnest inquiry.

Taking a page from Kellogg’s, we forgive them.


Also check out:

BACKSTABBING BEAUTIES: “Miss America contestants now slam home states for cheap laughs”

GEOGRAPHY DISASTER: “Enough already, leave Miss Teen South Carolina alone!”

CROWN YOURSELF AS MISS AMERICA — A fun photo upload graphic courtesy of the TLC network.

MISS AMERICA CONTESTANTS SALUTE TACKY TOURIST PHOTOS — Miss Maryland calls the project “a great idea!”

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Filed under Beauty Pageant Politics, Fashion, Lost Causes

Crowns of Kitsch: How Miss America contestants brand their home states

Miss Atomic Bomb 1957, pictured here in her mushroom cloud evening gown, cared more about winning the Cold War than achieving world peace.

I know this sounds like the guys who say they read Playboy magazine for the interviews, but my love for the Miss America, Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants has nothing to do with the swimsuit competition.

I’m attracted to the written and the spoken word.

And the kitschy Miss America introductions where contestants brag about their home states cannot be missed. For some bizarre reason, Culture Schlock is the only place where you can find a transcript of these 2010 introductions — although footage of the opening dance number (“I’ve Gotta Feeling” by the Black Eyed Peas) is widely available.

In the past, I discovered that Miss America hopefuls were mocking their home states just to ingratiate themselves with the audience. This year’s batch of introductions, which MUST have been written by the contestants and not professional writers, contains far less rhetorical backstabbing.

Some Culture Schlock awards for the gals:

MISS CONFUSED — Miss Michigan proudly noted that Kellogg’s cereal is in Battle Creek, but oddly went on to trumpet Wheaties, a General Mills product and sister brand of Cheerios. She could have sung the praises of Toucan Sam, Tony the Tiger or Snap, Crackle and Pop, but instead she tread on Minnesota territory.

MISS UNDERSELL — Miss Minnesota, meanwhile, instead of bragging about Cheerios or Wheaties, strangely pointed out the Vikings lost an important football game. C’mon, is that the best you can come up with to sell the Land of 10,000 Lakes?  No Mall of America shopping jokes or noting your state loves celebrity politicians (U.S. Sen. Al Franken, Gov. Jesse Ventura)?

MISS INCOHERENT — Maybe this is more of a reflection of Northeastern prejudice or my inability to understand Southern dialects, but after six or seven TiVo rewinds, I still have NO idea what kind of music Miss Mississippi likes.

MISS IRREVERENT — Miss Alaska better watch her back when she returns to Juneau and Fairbanks. Fellow beauty queen Sarah Palin might go rogue on her.

MISS UNEXPECTED — Who knew that Iowa was America’s secret cauldron of video game development and innovation?

And now for the full roster of state introductions in all their unedited glory….

DId Miss America contestants get to write their own introductions to their states?

1. ALABAMA — “Home of the 2009 college football champion, the Crimson Tide, I’m Liz Cochran, Miss Alabama!”

2. ALASKA — “Born and raised in America’s snowglobe — and no, I can’t see Russia from my house — I’m your Miss Alaska, Sydnee Waggoner!”

3. ARIZONA — “From the state that gives you everything grand, even a big hole in the ground. Representing the Grand Canyon State, I’m Savanna Troupe — Miss Arizona!”

4. ARKANSAS — From the state with the nation’s only active diamond mine, I am Sarah Slocum, Miss Arkansas!”

5. CALIFORNIA — From the home of the Governator — I’m here to PUMP you up. I am Kristy Cavinder, Miss California!”

6. COLORADO — “From the state with four seasons: Almost Winter, Winter, Still Winter and then Finally Summer, I’m Katie Layman, Miss Colorado!”

7. CONNECTICUT — “Representing the state that brought our nation the Constitution, I am Sharalynn Kuziak, Miss Connecticut!”

8. DELAWARE — “From the state where ladybugs always give us luck — I’m hoping Lady Luck shines on me! — I’m Heather Lehman, Miss Delaware!”

9. DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA — “From the nation’s capital, I’m here to tell you that our security here is much tighter than the White House State Dinner. I’m Jen Corey, Miss District of Columbia!”

10. FLORIDA — From the college football capital, home of Mr. Florida, Tim Too — Tim, I’m single (shows empty ring fingers). I’m Miss Florida, Rachael Todd!

11. GEORGIA — “From the home of the Masters Golf tournament, where I didn’t meet Tiger Woods, I’m Emily Cook, Miss Georgia!”

12. HAWAII — Proudly representing paradise with a 21-letter state fish — Humuhumunukunukuapua’a — I’m Raeceen Woolford, Miss Hawaii!

13. IDAHO — “You call them poe-tay-toes, you can call them poh-tatt=ohhhs. But call me Kara Jackson, Miss Idaho!”

14. ILLINOIS — “Let me hear you make some Illi-NOISE! From the land of Lincoln, I’m Erin O’Connor, Miss Illinois.””

15. INDIANA — “Ladies, hold on to your crowns… From the home of the world’s fastest race, the Indianapolis 500, I am Nicole Pollard — Miss Indiana!”

16. IOWA –– From the state that brought you the video games ‘Madden,’ ‘Rock Band,’ and ‘Guitar Hero,’ I’m Anne Michael Langguth – Miss Iowa!”

17. KANSAS — “Celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Wizard of Oz, there’s still no place like home. I’m Becki Ronen, Miss Kansas!”

18. KENTUCKY — “From the state who gave you Muhammed Ali, Johnny Depp and my boyfriend, George Clooney, I’m Mallory Ervin, Miss Kentucky!”

19. LOUISIANA — “From the state of letting the good times roll all the way to the Super Bowl, I’m Katharine Putnam, Miss Lousiana!”

20. MAINE — “From the state that sees the sunrise first each morning, I’m Susie Stauble, Miss Maine!”

21. MARYLAND — “From the home of the Chesapeake Bay, where you can get your oysters fried, stewed or nude, I’m Brooke Poklemba, Miss Maryland!”

22. MASSACHUSETTS — “From the state where you really can pahk your cah in Havahd Yahd, I’m Amanda Kelly, Miss Massachusetts!”

23. MICHIGAN — “From the home fo Kellogg’s cereal, have you had your Wheaties this morning? I’m Nicole Blaszczyk, Miss Michigan!”

24. MINNESOTA — “From the state where the Minnesota Vikings — oh wait, the Saints stole my intro — I’m Brooke Kelly Kilgarriff, Miss Minnesota!”

25. MISSISSIPPI— “From the home of (undecipherable) music and the birthplace of Elvis Presley, I’m Anna Tadlock, Miss Mississippi!”

Miss America contestants are no longer mocking their home states for a cheap laugh

26.MISSOURI— From the home of the world’s most famous birds and our nation’s best baseball fans, I am Tara Osseck, Miss Missouri!”

27. MONTANA — “From the Big Sky country, where the skies are as a big as our hearts, I’m Brittany Wiser, Miss Montana!”

28. NEBRASKA— “From the home of the Huskers, where even a third grader can spell “Ndamukong Suh,” I am Brittany Jeffers, Miss Nebraska!

29. NEVADA — “The only World Series you’ll find in my state requires a good poker face. I’m Christina Keegan, Miss Nevada!”

30. NEW HAMPSHIRE — “Fasten your seatbelts because you want to. From the only state that gives you the freedom to be smart, I’m Miss New Hampshire, Lindsey Graham!”

31. NEW JERSEY — “Where big hair and fist pumps really aren’t accepted, and no, I don’t know ‘The Situation.’ From the Real Jersey Shore, I’m Ashley Shaffer, Miss New Jersey!”

32. NEW MEXICO — “From the state where we put chili on just about everything, I’m Nicole Miner, Miss New Mexico!”

33. NEW YORK — “From the state where Lady Liberty is our Miss America, I am Alyse Zwick, Miss New York!”

34. NORTH CAROLINA — “From the Tar Heel state, I hope to leave a footprint on your heart tonight. I am Katherine Elizabeth Southard, Miss North Carolina!”

35. NORTH DAKOTA — “From the state where seeing three cars on the road is considered heavy traffic, I’m Katie Ralston, Miss North Dakota!”

36. OHIO — “From the (home of) the reigning Rose Bowl champions, I’m Erica Gelhaus, Miss Ohio!”

37. OKLAHOMA — “Where the winds come sweeping down the plains and the wave of wheat sure smells sweet, I’m Taylor Treat, Miss Oklahoma!”

38. OREGON — “You can volley your way into my state, I’m your Miss Oregon, C.C. Barber!”

39. PENNSYLVANIA — “Coming to you from the home of the reigning Super Bowl champions, the city of Brotherly Love and the sweetest place on earth, I’m Shannon Doyle, Miss Pennsylvania!”

40. PUERTO RICO — “Yes, we are back in Miss America, so you better start practicing those rolling R’s. I am Mimi Pabon, Miss Puerto Rico!”

41. RHODE ISLAND — “From the state that brought you the Farrelly Brothers and Family Guy, I hope to put a smile on your face. I’m Julianna Strout, Miss Rhode Island!”

42. SOUTH CAROLINA — “From the state where its still against the law to keep a horse in your bathtub, I’m Kelly Sloan, Miss South Carolina!”

43. SOUTH DAKOTA — “From the state where there’s more cows than people, I’m Morgan Peck, Miss South Dakota!”

44. TENNESSEE — “From Graceland to Dollywood and all that’s in between, I’m Stefanie Wittler, Miss Tennessee!”

45. TEXAS — “From the proud new home of the World’s Largest Indoor Sporting Arena, we love our Cowboys!  I am Miss Texas Kristen Blair!”

46. UTAH — “Coming from the only state that begins with U (double gun points to audience), I’m Whitney Merrifield, Miss Utah!”

47. VERMONT — “From the healthiest state in the nation, where we enjoy our Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and maple syrup, I’m Laura Hall, Miss Vermont!”

48. VIRGIN ISLANDS — From the U.S. territory where instead of making snow angels during the winter season, we can make sand angels, I am Shayla Solomon, Miss Virgin Islands!”

49. VIRGINIA — “They say you measure life in love. If that’s the case, the people in my home state are truly living!  I am Caressa Cameron, Miss Virginia!”

50. WASHINGTON — “From the home of Microsoft and Starbucks, we are educated and caffeinated!  I am Devanni Partridge, Miss Washington!”

51. WEST VIRGINIA — “John Denver coined us with song ‘Country Roads,’ but we just call it wild and wonderful, I am Talia Markham, Miss West Virginia!”

52. WISCONSIN — “Coming from the state where cheese isn’t just for eating, it’s also a fashion accessory, I am Kristina Smaby, Miss Wisconsin!”

53. WYOMING — “From the state with the lowest population and some of the highest elevations, I am Anna Nelson, your Miss Wyoming!”


Also check out:

BACKSTABBING BEAUTIES: “Miss America contestants now slam home states for cheap laughs”

GEOGRAPHY DISASTER: “Enough already, leave Miss Teen South Carolina alone!”

CROWN YOURSELF AS MISS AMERICA — A fun photo upload graphic courtesy of the TLC network.

MISS AMERICA CONTESTANTS SALUTE TACKY TOURIST PHOTOS — Miss Maryland calls the project “a great idea!”

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Filed under Beauty Pageant Politics, Fashion, Miss America Introductions

RECYCLED FASHION: How to turn your supermarket into Project Runway


Paper or plastic?  For a brief time in the 1960s, the disposable paper dress was all the rage. Could Emily Berezin’s grocery bag recycling dress follow suit?

I once made a clunky costume out of trash bags — cape, belt, vest and shorts — for a Create-Your-Own-Superhero themed Halloween party. Trashman (and sidekick Garbageboy) also wore plastic hubcaps as belt buckles.

But Emily, who ironed sheets of grocery bags together and used newspaper to prevent the front of the dress from melting to the back, looks like she should be walking down a fashion runway. And she definitely should be competing on Project Runway.

Although this is not the kind of fabric that would hold up during the harsh Pittsburgh winters!


Grocery Girl in Action

I stumbled across Emily’s portfolio while researching a Herald business story on insect-based advertising, the bizarre use of houseflies (“flyvertising”) to pull mini-banners through the air at trade shows. I highly recommend you check out her biting satirical commentary on our consumer culture. She sculpted Wonder Woman out of pasty Wonder Bread (the crust hair is AMAZING) and makes “BRAnd bras” out of snooty designer labels.

I mean this in only the most complimentary way, she’s a smartass who can sew. Perhaps this holiday season you might consider giving that special someone an embroidered cockroach?

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