Culture Update

Slowly getting back into the swing of things here… got a few articles I wanted to share:

I have some friends who just came back from Alaska and bought some liquor at the duty-free shops and ran into the problem of transporting it home now that you can’t take liquor on a plane.  They aren’t alone.

This one is for Lauren: this article about the hoody (hoodie?) is amazing for two reasons: first, it is a very interesting piece on how culture changes and a simple piece of clothing can change people’s perceptions.  Secondly, I can’t believe that they wrote that much about a sweatshirt.  Really.

This is a very cool idea: basically a YouTube for Xbox games, allowing consumers to write video games.  I don’t like Microsoft, but I have to give them kudos when its due.  Now if they could just make using Word easier, it would be great.

Kickball is back!  That either makes you happy or it brings back bad, bad gym class memories.

Just in case you don’t have enough with a brand logo being on your underwear, socks, pants, t-shirt and, of course, your hoody, you can always have one tattooed on you.

Advertising is the art of the 20th century (be afraid) and this is someone’s attempt at listing the Creepiest Icons in Advertising History.  He forgot Joe Isuzu.

I have made mentions of the growing power of China, and Asia in general, in a global economy a few times before, but here is an article about counterfeit phones posing a threat to the companies who sell the real thing.  Counterfeiting is a major issue in China, and is one that needs to be resolved if they are to get the investment from the big branded companies.

Tagging for travel sounds cool and the concept might be a technology that could become really big.  Though I still like sitting down with a guide book and reading it, folding pages, underlining it and being able to take it with me.

Trend alert!  Hyphy dancing. Of course, according to some, its already too popular (read the last part of the article).

Remember "Pretty In Pink" or the "The Breakfast Club"?  Teen movies have changed and this article offers an interesting history of them.  Of course, being a teen has also changed… I remember being mainly concerned about the "fag tag" on the back of my shirt, not taking the right prescription drugs for my ADHD, terrorism, or STDs.

Last but not least… further proof that apparently no one can make their own decision without being influenced by celebrities.

Since I figured you couldn’t find me in enough places online, I decided to add another place:

It is part of a new site called – they bill themselves as a kind of "Myspace for adults" so you have more intelligent exchanges and less smut.  Of course, that’s part of the appeal of Myspace for a lot of people, so we’ll see where this goes.  However, a big part of it is their blogging feature, and I already have this one, so that won’t get filled in too often.

American Sub Cultures

As noted in my previous post, I’ve been doing quite a bit of traveling.  It has been exhausting and I look forward to being home, but one thing that just about any kind of travel gives you is a different perspective and exposure to different cultures.  Even in this "United" country of ours, a short plane ride can land you in the middle of somewhere that can be as different as a foreign country. 

One interesting observations I’ve made over the last few weeks is the number of "sub cultures" that exist and make up the threads of our larger cultural tapestry.  Some examples:

Bikers – a dinner at Quaker Steak & Lube happened on bike night and it was interesting to see the various people who are into the biking "thing" and the wide spectrum of people that it attracts.  There are people who are clearly into the biker image – the stereotype that probably a lot of non-bikers have: tattoos, leather, lots of drinking and partying and kind of a crude attitude.  However, most people there were clearly not full-time bike gang members, but rather people who lead rather quiet normal lives but love the freedom of the open road that is afforded only on a bike.  Then there were the "crotch rocket" fans, juiced by the speed.

Iced Tea Drinkers – Yeah, I know this is weird one, but bear with me: while in the Harrisburg, PA area, I found out just how fanatical people are about their iced tea: at a local Wal-Mart Supercenter, they had THIRTEEN DOORS of prepared iced tea in the refrigerated section.  That is thirteen refrigerator doors full of gallons, half-gallons and single serves of prepared iced tea, with all sorts of flavors, from traditional lemon flavored to my new favorite, southern style sweet tea, which is a new addiction of mine.

Business travelers – While staying at a Holiday Inn Express in the middle of the Poconos (the nicest Holiday Inn I’ve ever stayed at, BTW), they had a complimentary "Manager’s Reception" with an open bar and grilled hamburgers and hot dogs.  As I looked around I saw that I was surrounded by road warriors, with their cell phones, Palm Treos and/or Blackberry hand-helds attached to their belts.  They wore clothes that were easy to press in the hotel rooms – no button down Oxfords here – and exchanged bad jokes and travel war stories.  I’m starting to identify with them…

BBQ fanatics – I’m one of them and at the Harpoon New England BBQ Championships, I was exposed again to them.  Its not just the competitors, but the general public as well.  The response I typically get when I say that I’m a certified BBQ judge is remarkable.  People love barbecue and are quite passionate about it. 

Sports car fanatics – Two weekends ago I was with Meghan visiting some friends of hers and bore witness to someone going to a "Trans Am Meeting" and saw first-hand the gathering of Corvette enthusiasts.  I know that people were fans of such sports cars, but until you see someone’s house with dozens of trophies won for their show car and dozens of cars gathered in one spot driven by people wearing Corvette-themed shirts and hats, you don’t really get how passionate they can be.

That is all I can think of now, though I’m sure I’m missing some. 

Hopefully they will come to me as I start to get back into keeping this blog up-to-date again!

On The Road

The Pop Culture Gangster has been conspicuously absent, as you may have noticed.  I suppose saying "sorry" won’t help, will it?  It really isn’t my fault, I swear.  I haven’t traveled on business since the beginning of May, but starting on July 17th I began a four-week marathon of business travel that is finally wrapping up tomorrow.  In fact, I write this while sitting in a hotel room in Birmingham, Alabama.  I also did some travel for fun, basically resulting in me emptying and refilling my suitcase way too many times.

By the time I get back to Providence, RI tomorrow night, I will have been on 11 different planes, traveled to or through 9 different airports, stayed in  6 different hotel rooms, and driven four rental cars.  Add into that some personal trips the last two weekends and since my last post on July 13th, I have slept in 10 different beds in 8 different states.

If I add in this coming weekend’s trip to New Hampshire and go all the way back to July 1st, and go through August 13th, it would be:

  • 11 planes
  • 9 aiprorts
  • 8 hotel rooms
  • 4 rental cars
  • 12 beds
  • 9 states I’ve slept in….
  • 11 states I’ve traveled to or through
  • 3 different time zones.

So please forgive me for not keeping up with this blog.  I’ve been a tad busy…