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Smiley simulacrum: drawer pull June 28, 2012

Posted by Samuel Snoek-Brown in Decor, Simulacra, Smiley.
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Drawer pull. From an end table at Target.

Jennifer and I were shopping at Target the other day when she pointed to this end table and said, “Does that look like a smiley face?”

Why yes, my happy, observant wife. Yes, it does look like a smiley face. 🙂

I’m not seeing this table on Target’s website, but here’s the whole table:


Ryan Iz Da Bomb June 25, 2012

Posted by Samuel Snoek-Brown in Public art, signs, & graffiti, Smiley.
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The other day, I stepped out of my building’s front door and started walking down the street to a birthday party for my Buddhism teacher, and I spotted this on the sidewalk.




! 🙂 !

It was the smiley that got me — makes me happy every time. 🙂

(Also, my wife loves the squiggly exclamation marks on each side.)

Singing magnet (“You Are My Sunshine”) June 21, 2012

Posted by Samuel Snoek-Brown in Kitchen & Bath, Smiley, Video.
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Singing magnet (“You Are My Sunshine”). From my personal collection.

Not exactly sure where I picked this up, but I love it. When I’m in the kitchen making dinner — or breakfast, or just grabbing a snack — I like to push the “nose” on this thing. Yeah, the music is tinny and electronic and maybe a little grating, but it’s such a happy song! Makes me smile, every time. 🙂

Ceramic bank June 18, 2012

Posted by Samuel Snoek-Brown in Decor, Smiley.
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Ceramic bank. From my personal collection.

As you can probably tell, this happy guy is a little the worse for wear. We’ve been using this bank to store the quarters for our laundry, but I think the humidity of the laundry has affected the paint. It’s bubbled and cracked in a few places, making this otherwise happy bank look a bit like a zombie smiley face. (Which is kind of cool.)

So we’ve finally retired him, just today replacing him with a cheap Mason jar for the coins and letting him live out the rest of his days as a simply reminder to smile. Even when you’re a member of the undead. 🙂

“Smile! You’re at Mr. Smiley’s!” June 14, 2012

Posted by Samuel Snoek-Brown in Movies, Public art, signs, & graffiti, Smiley.
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Lester Burnham (Kevin Spacey) in American Beauty.

Oh, Lester Burnham. What do we do with you?

Okay, I know, American Beauty gets a lot of flack these days as overrated, as too tied to a particular moment in the zeitgeist — too tied to the last of the Clinton years, when everything was going fairly well but no one was exactly happy and we didn’t yet have any overt reasons for feeling that way, and how all of us just wanted to cut loose, regress into adolescence, and be free, man! — and so not really the timeless classic we all thought it was going to be. And yeah, there are probably a couple of halfway good reasons for the backlash. But you know what? I don’t care. I still love the movie, and I still love Lester Burnham.

And I really, really love this scene in the movie, when Lester’s wife Carolyn and her lover pull into the drive-thru at Lester’s “least possible amount of responsibilty” job: Mr. Smiley’s. Sure, I love it for the name and all the smiley faces everywhere — the bags, the window, Lester’s nametag, Lester’s face. But I love it even more for the result: busted and desperate, Carolyn begins a sloppy apology, but Lester interrupts her and — sincerely — tells her, “Honey, it’s okay. I just want you to be happy.”

It’s a wonderful prefiguring of Lester’s final words, when he asks his daughter’s friend, “Is Jane happy?” The friend assures him that Jane is happy, and Lester smiles and simply says, “Good.”

So what do we do with you today, Lester Burnham? The same thing we’ve been doing since we met you in 1999: we smile, because you just want us to be happy.

Smiley simulacrum: ginger iced tea June 11, 2012

Posted by Samuel Snoek-Brown in Food, Simulacra, Smiley.
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Smiley in a ginger iced tea. Noodle House Thai restaurant, Abu Dhabi, UAE.

This one is tricky and I almost didn’t see it. A few years ago, Jennifer and I were out to dinner with some friends of ours, Heidi and Rodney and their daughter Maeve, at a Thai restaurant in Abu Dhabi. One of us (I forget who) ordered a ginger iced tea with dinner, and when the waitress set it on the table, she placed a straw in front of the slender glass.

And then I saw it.

Two ice cubes were pressing against the inside of the glass, creating two tiny dark spot in all that gingery beige. And below them the curve of the glass reflected the white straw…. And viola! A smiley face!

Seriously, I see smileys everywhere! 🙂

“Mad Dog” graffito June 7, 2012

Posted by Samuel Snoek-Brown in Public art, signs, & graffiti, Smiley.
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“Mad Dog” graffito. NE Portland, OR.

The other day I was making a quick trip to our local public library, which I love doing on foot because there’s a lovely tree-shaded pedestrian lane that extends from our neighborhood park through a small residential area to the library (and cafe, and our vet’s office, and the Whole Foods store — I love where we live).

On the way home, my wife called, so I stopped at a bench along the lane, and when I sat down to talk on the phone, I found this smiley graffito grinning up at me! 🙂

I love happy surprises.

Reader-submitted smiley underwear June 4, 2012

Posted by Samuel Snoek-Brown in Clothing & Accessories, Reader submission, Smiley, Web smileys.
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First, a warning:  If you’re a kid and you don’t want to look at underwear, don’t look at this. And if you’re a parent and don’t want your kid looking at underwear, tell them to go play outside for a while. In fact, tell them that anyway — playing outside is awesome.

But let’s be honest: No one appreciates a good underwear joke more than a six-year-old. So, what the heck. Carry on.

Smiley underwear. Submitted by Julie and Dylan S.

I wish I could say my friends Julie and Dylan had actually taken this photo, but as you can see from the watermark, it comes from the Lolbrary. Julie spotted it online, shared it with her husband Dylan, who then thought of me…. And here it is! Thanks, Julie. Dylan, and Lolbrary!

Also, while I was debating on Facebook exactly how I might go about describing these silly panties, another friend of mine struck comedy gold: Crystal C. suggested the tagline, “Smiling from cheek to cheek!” And that, happy readers, was MORE than enough to put a smile on my face! 🙂