Has there ever been a hotter summer look than the Facekini?

Women balaclava style face masks at a beach, Qingdao, Shandong Province, China - 14 Aug 2014

Women balaclava style face masks at a beach, Qingdao, Shandong Province, China - 14 Aug 2014

The Guardian

Swimmers in the eastern Chinese city of Qingdao have already made waves on the internet for their bizarre swimming gear: colourful, full-face masks. Dubbed ‘facekini,’ the fabric masks cover a swimmer’s entire head and neck down to the collar bones. Holes are cut for eyes, nostrils and mouth

Women balaclava style face masks at a beach, Qingdao, Shandong Province, China - 14 Aug 2014

Not since my buddy Dunny  (@PistoffIrishman) unleashed the Doc Martin/Coorduroy Pant Summer Collection down at Seabrook Beach, has the high fashion industry been turned on its head like this.

A flummoxed yet intrigued Tim Gunn reading this blog.

A flummoxed yet intrigued Tim Gunn reading this blog.

The Facekini is the answer to all your summer worries.  Did you neglect to do a couple sit-ups during your winter hibernation…aka you’re looking all frumpy and fat as shit?  No worries, throw on a Facekini.   Ordinarily, I’m one in a sea of muffin tops, sucking-in as I stroll the beach at low tide.  When I put on my electric facekini, the beach bunnies take notice.  I’m the mysterious, sexy guy sending out the vibes, flooding more coastal basements than a tropical storm…and that’s even before I tame the waves with an epic body surfing sesh’.

Say what you will about the Chinese, but they’re clearly best in class when it comes to stamping out self-confidence issues.  Take for example this strapping lad who appears to be housing China’s nuclear arsenal in his swimming trunks…heads up Hawaii.



Back Off in Haiku. 8/19/14.


Sound Off

All of us have rights.
To protest and shop elsewhere.
Standing up is good.

Lower management.
They should be the first to go.
Art T should grow balls.

Why aren’t they fired yet?
They’re not doing their damn job.
I would have been fired.

One store at a time.
Find the workers who won’t work.
Fire them on the floor.

Good while it lasted.
But Art T ain’t the boss now.
Let the cousins fight.

Time to start over.
Art T can open a chain.
Workers will follow.

[no Backtalk today]

Back Off in Haiku. 8/18/14.


Sound Off

Paving completed.
Give or take massive pot hole.
Sidewalks will crumble.

Noise ordinances.
They are there for all of us.
Police will enforce.

I’m an old person.
Never told my boss what to do.
MB kids should learn.

Food shopping is fun.
All these wonderful new stores.
I’m way too happy.

Proactive police.
That isn’t what I’m seeing.
Arrest people NOW!!!


Art and Art should hug.
Just hug each other tightly.
Jesus would hug them.

Chickens and roosters.
Keeping Frank awake all night.
That’ll drive you nuts.

Competing health cares.
Not enough hugs in the world.
Those things just spread germs.

Traffic officers.
They should have reflective gloves.
And watch out for cars.

Backtalk and Sound Off. 8/16/14.


Sound Off

Let’s let the kids smoke.
They can do ev’rything else.
Like get abortions.

Not taking a stand.
Don’t see it as our battle.
Just want cheaper food.

Art S. will sell out.
Then the prices will go up.
Support the workers.

Take the damn signs down.
Get some restraining orders.
Enough with the games.

Too much noise out there.
We don’t need all the sirens.
Just serenity.

Methuen’s messed up.
Taxes increase ev’ry year.
Who voted for this?


Kool Aid aisle 4.
Arthur T. handing it out.
Break time is over.

Enough with the threats.
Put money where your mouth is.
Sell it to Art T.

Deval should stay out.
Here’s the secret he’s hiding:
Wife works for Art S.

Big boardroom secrets.
Bring him back and fire again.
I don’t think that’s right.

Not trusting Deval.
Only Art T. is worth hearing.
Consummate that deal.

Managers move up.
Glad they promote from within.
But why only dudes?

Art T. or nothing.
Arthur T above The Board.
I want Art T. back.

The Paint is Down…



The paint is down.
The lights are up.

Some people get up in the middle of the night
to watch meteor showers.
Some stay up late
to catch Santa Clause.
Others get up early
to experience a sunrise.
Somewhere in Lowell right now
someone is taking their Benadryl
and setting their alarm:
two-way traffic is coming to downtown.

A webbed folding chair has been placed by a door.
It will be carried down and set up.
Maybe at the corner of Market and Shattuck
Perhaps at Merrimack and Palmer.
4 am can’t come soon enough.
It’s historical.
For the first time
in what seems like forever
there will be something else
being discussed in Backtalk.


Backtalk and Sound Off in Haiku. 8/15/14


Sound Off

Just fire all of them.
The managers and workers.
Then shoppers return.

I’m not returning.
We all want our country back.
It’s more than a store.

Shoppers have free choice.
I choose to buy food elsewhere.
You greedy bastards.

Don’t waste tax dollars.
On unemployment bennies.
Workers walked away.

Welfare should run dry.
Social security will.
That seems suspicious.

Neighbors are quite rude.
Loud music and loud people.
Whither in the clouds.

One store at a time.
That’s how I’d rebuild MB.
Fire 90 percent.


71 stores.
Why can’t they just split them up?
Two names already.

The kids of Art S.
Really should disown the guy.
Inheritance dies.

Deval’s lawyer/wife.
Could settle the entire mess.
Let’s play Red Rover.

Just go back to work.
Millionaires don’t care bout you.
You still need your job.

Hannaford discount.
For seniors on Tuesdays.
Go pick up Mory.

Greek Orthodox Church.
They should fix Market Basket.
Prob’ly wouldn’t hurt.

Backtalk and Sound Off. 8/14/14.



Wasn’t Tony ‘s fault.
No way is he a killer.
Accidents happen.

Company burning.
Art S. plays a mean fiddle.
Get him overalls.

No pity for fools.
Mr. T is using you.
Workers be suckas.

Deval’s lawyer wife.
Working for the wrong Arty.
Cautious politics.

Hannaford Basket.
Spending all the same money.
Just don’t get as much.

Circular logic.
Lack of printing equals fear.
Shoppers mean business.

Cronies get the jobs.
Not the qualified people.
Nothing seems to change.

Sound Off

Thanks for your business.
But Art S. is a goat fart.
I can’t work for him.

Put your pants back on!
Time to get back on the clock.
We have a dress code!

Critics are morons.
Incredibly ignorant.
How’s that possible?

I hate Obama.
Nothing but total evil.
He has no conscience.

Creatures of the Lowell Line: Argghh! Legit Pirates



The purple line isn’t necessarily the type of vessel that I would expect to run into a Pirate, given its questionable seaworthiness and it’s lack of direct lines to Tortuga. Then again, it’s probably the mostly likely place.

If anyone has any treasure buried somewhere near North Billerica, you may want to check on it.

h/t to me for having the balls to snap candids of a guy who thinks he’s a pirate.

Backtalk and Sound Off in Haiku. 8/13/14.



Employees greedy.
They don’t care about vendors.
They deserve to starve.

Art S. gets no love.
Less popular than Congress.
High five there genius.

Art S. feels the love.
Big signs loudly thanking him.
From competitors.

Not supporting them.
Just can’t buy from empty shelves.
[shelves aren’t all empty]

Art S. & The Board:
You forgot your history.
Grampa is spinning.

Get guns off the streets.
Five long years of hard labor.
Really bad prison.

Gas line will be here.
There’s no way you can stop it.
Fighting just costs more.

Sound Off

The Board needs to go.
They should have seen this coming.
This hurts the tourists.

[really vague complaints]
[something about labeling]
[political stuff]

Just give him a chance.
Art S. could be what you need.
Feel the savior’s knee.

The Board shows mercy.
Fall before the merciful.
Before they sue you.

Carlton Fisk is nice.
Met him at a recent event.
Got an autograph!

Obama is worse.
Much much much worse than Nixon.
I don’t like that guy.

Jeanie Buss, doing more for Native American equality in 140 characters than Pocahontas did in a lifetime.

Jeanie Buss

Whoah! Can we all step back and admire the stand that Jeanie Buss is taking here. Not drafting any Redskins to your fantasy team? Wow! There’s not enough reverence and respect available to shower someone who does something so selfless. Sure, she has enough cabbage in her checking account to scratch together a pay check for Kobe, but what the tribes on the reservations really need is someone with a bottomless pit of courage to refuse to let the likes of RGIII, a dude with the pocket presence of rodeo clown, occupy her #1 QB spot. F’n bold. It’s hard to find someone out there that would willfully pass on the opportunity to have Pierre Garcon occupying your only IR spot for all of two weeks. Never mind forgoing the excitement of having the great Roy Helu Jr. staying loose on the sidelines for when Alfred Morris dies in week 4 from trying to tippy toe through stacked boxes on 3rd downs.

I think Jeanie Buss is making it clear to us all that there are more important issues out there. All I can say is that this message has not been lost on me. I hereby resolve to not draft any Redskins on my fantasy team as well, and together, Jeanie and I will sleep better knowing that life on the reservation is better today than it was yesterday.