June 11th, 2006

krazy koati

Mist is swirling, creatures crawling

If nothing else World Cup Soccer offers Singapore the chance to present new strange and incomprehensible images to people's perception. Today, for example, I found Mastercard set up its little kiosk urging people to connect the credit card to major soccer. It did this by the simple tactic of having two unfortunate people dressed in black spandex pants wear an enormous maniacally grinning soccer ball costume. It didn't have the World Cup mascot bondage gear; this was a bare soccer ball, with the black pentagons and, well, a face. And two spandex-clad, gloved arms sticking out from its cheeks. The head was deformed a bit from its own weight, so it looked partly deflated.

Only one set of adults actually lifted a terrified child to hug either soccer ball. Some of the men who squeezed the hands of the balls were then immediately approached by young, taut-bodied women wearing extremely short shirts and tops colored the Mastercard logo colors who gave them flyers. At the kiosk watching over this the barker tried to encourage people to ``hug my large balls'' -- I have to assume he said that on purpose -- and to reassure people it was fine to photograph them, ``if you have your camera.'' While I did have my camera, the maniacal grinning giant soccer balls were unnerving enough I wanted to flee more than I wanted to document it.

Meanwhile, only a few feet away, another kiosk celebrated the two-year anniversary of Disney's Princess magazine.

Trivia: The first edition of the Oxford English Dictionary identified 13,478 main words beginning with `D'. Source: The Meaning of Everything, Simon Winchester.

Currently Reading: Willard Gibbs, Muriel Rukeyser. So in 1909 Henry Adams considers whether Gibbs's thermodynamics could be extended to the study of history. Could be a good story in that idea. (Rukeyser's book was originally published in 1942.) But Adams had a bigger idea, that society occasionally undergoes phase changes, like from the old (pre-1600) Religious Phase to the (1600-1900) Mechanical Phase, and then to the present Phase of Thought -- and, obviously, these phases are changing faster as society advances. He projects that the rate of progress will grow infinitely large and mankind will enter the Ethereal Phase of radical and incomprehensible changes of human thought around 1917 or so.