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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: Β 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! πŸ™‚


Zoo trip t-shirts (sort of) May 17, 2012

Posted by Samuel Snoek-Brown in Clothing & Accessories, Office, Smiley, Web smileys.
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This past Monday, my wife and I decided to spend the morning at the Oregon Zoo — we’re members, so we can just drop in any time we want. Turns out, we weren’t the only ones with that idea: the zoo was absolutely packed with happy kids (and exhausted chaperons) on school field trips.

In order to keep all those kids together, the schools kitted them out with t-shirts designating which school they belonged too, and much to my delight, one of the schools — Wee Wisdom Preschool — wore bright yellow shirts with classic black smiley faces!

I had the camera with me and wanted to snap photos of the actual shirts, but I knew it might look strange for some random guy to start photographing groups of kids, so I opted to enjoy the smileys without the photos. But I had a hunch that a school that would use a smiley on their t-shirts might use the smiley in other ways, too, so I noted the name and looked them up online when I got home.

And sure enough, Wee Wisdom Preschool has a big, bright smiley face right at the top of their sidebar!

Logo and mission statement for Wee Wisdom Preschool in Beaverton, OR.

Their motto (on the parent info page) is even “The Happy Place to learn!”

School doesn’t get much more smiley than that, happy readers! πŸ™‚

BONUS: a smiley face not smiling April 20, 2012

Posted by Samuel Snoek-Brown in Art, Clothing & Accessories, Smiley, Web smileys.
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This is not a political blog. But the smiley face is so useful a symbol that occasionally it creeps into politics, usually in cartoons. That was the case when I posted about the censorship of Mark Twain, and it was the case this past week, when political cartoonist Mike Luckovich included a smiley in his cartoon “Haves and Have Nots.”

Or, he almost included a smiley.

The first panel from the cartoon "Haves and Have Nots" by Mike Luckovich, from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 11 April 2012.*

Look closely at the t-shirt the man on the left is wearing. Recognize that half-circle of yellow and those two black dots? Seems this guy is wearing a smiley face shirt!

But where’s the smile?

Seems the guy’s arm is hiding it. And that’s probably not an accident: this family doesn’t seem very happy with this stack of tax forms on their kitchen table. But then, why put a smiley face on this guy’s shirt in the first place? Luckovich could have put anything on that shirt — a satirical mock-up of a corporate logo, a random drawing, nonsense words — or he could have put nothing on the shirt at all. Why go for the smiley and then hide the smile behind this guy’s arm?

I think Luckovich does that intentionally, to put the idea of happiness in our heads and then steal it away from us, so we can see just how unhappy this family is. But then, he could have gone for broke and shown us a frowny face instead, right? I don’t think so. For one thing, I think that would have been too obvious, too in-your-face. But more importantly, I think he doesn’t want to tell us this family is inherently unhappy, which a frowny shirt would imply (who would buy a frowny shirt but someone who’s already frowning?); rather, he wants to suggest that this family is inherently happy, or has the potential to be happy. Notice that the arm obscuring the smile is the same arm resting atop the tax forms, and that hand is holding the pen needed to fill out those forms. So it seems to me that the only thing interfering with that family’s inherent happiness is the fact that they “have to pay taxes.”

I’ve wondered before how often the smiley gets used to make a political point (in that case, it was regarding censorship), but now I’m also curious how often the smiley gets hidden to make a political point. Less often, I’d imagine, but it seems a subject worth researching.

Any happy readers happen to be librarians or pop culture scholars? Give us some answers, gang! πŸ™‚

* (Because this isn’t a political blog, I’m only showing the relevant panel from the cartoon. But if you want to get political, you can check out the whole cartoon at the website for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, where this cartoon first appeared on April 11. Just make sure you leave your political comments there, for Mike to see, instead of here.)

“History of Art” t-shirt March 19, 2012

Posted by Samuel Snoek-Brown in Art, Clothing & Accessories, Smiley.
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"History of Art" t-shirt, by the Sock and Roll Corporation (1991). From my (or rather, my wife's) personal collection.

Hi, happy readers! I know, it’s been almost a month since I last brought you the smileys. But fortunately, you’re all still smiling, now more than ever!

So I thought, what better return to the twice-weekly posts than a “history” lesson — and in art, no less! This t-shirt belonged to my wife (we finally had to let it go — it was getting pretty threadbare). Her parents used to take the family to the big art museums in Dallas and Fort Worth when she was a kid, and they picked this shirt up at the Dallas Museum of Art. You can see from the shirt’s copyright in the caption that the thing was more than 20 years old when we finally bid it farewell, so my wife certainly got a lot of happiness out of it! So, all’s well that ends well!

Now that we’re back, you can look forward to some great smiley posts coming up, because in this month-long absence a whole host of happy readers have been sending me some terrific smiley images. Plus, I’ve picked up a few new one of my own! So buckle in, gang. Spring time is here, we’ve done our cleaning, and we’re ready to let the happy faces shine!

Sleepwear February 23, 2012

Posted by Samuel Snoek-Brown in Clothing & Accessories, Smiley.
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I call these my “happy pants.”

The "happy pants." From my personal collection.

My wife rolls her eyes every time I call them that. But you better believe I wear these all the time. They’re warm, they’re lightweight, they’re comfortable. And yes, they make me happy.

How could they not? They’re absolutely COVERED in smiley faces!

That's a whole lot of happy!

More buttons January 23, 2012

Posted by Samuel Snoek-Brown in Clothing & Accessories, Smiley, Web smileys.
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More buttons. In Boerne, TX, April 2011.

I love smiley buttons. I own two already, which is why I didn’t shell out for these buttons when I found them in an antique store in Boerne, TX, last summer. But it was a bit odd to find them in an antique store. Are smileys really that old?

But sure enough, tonight my wife and I were watching Back to the Future Part II, and in one of the scenes where Doc and Marty go to the future — 2015, just a few years away now! — and Marty stops at an antique store, there in the window is a display of “antique” smiley faces!

Smiley faces are antiques! (So is that Macintosh computer, which is funny, because I'm typing this post on a Mac right now.)

We don’t have flying cars or self-drying clothes or hover boards, but Back to the Future Part II did get one thing right: smiley faces are antiques.:)

T-shirt December 26, 2011

Posted by Samuel Snoek-Brown in Clothing & Accessories, Smiley.
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T-shirt. From my personal collection.

This is probably my largest smiley face, in terms of the size of eyes and mouth. And it seems to be up to something. I wonder if I should be worried. I wonder if, like Spider-Man’s black alien suit, this shirt will change my personality when I put it on.

Now I’m the one who’s up to something! πŸ˜‰


Clog heels December 12, 2011

Posted by Samuel Snoek-Brown in Clothing & Accessories, Smiley.
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I miss these shoes.

Clog heels (or so my wife tells me). Formerly from my (wife's) personal collection.

Okay, they weren’t actually my shoes. Several years ago, when we lived in Denton, TX, my wife and I spied these clog heels in a vintage clothing store and I insisted she get them. My wife is wonderfully indulgent! And she actually wore them a few times, too, but come to find out, wood soles and plastic uppers aren’t as comfortable as you’d think. Still, we kept them in storage and lugged them around all our various moves around the country until this summer, when we both began streamlining our wardrobes. And it was time to let the smiley shoes go.

But the whole point of collecting smileys — and of this blog! — is to share the happiness, so I take comfort in the knowledge that somewhere out there, someone is getting happiness out of their footwear!

Walk on, happy feet!

Pac-Man … something … in a car November 10, 2011

Posted by Samuel Snoek-Brown in Car, Clothing & Accessories, Decor, Smiley, Toys.
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Pac-Man on the dashboard of a car in Portland, OR.

What better manifestation of the smiley face in three dimensions has there ever been than Pac-Man? Sure, the guy is so happy partly because he’s overdosing on those power pellets, and he doesn’t do much to help those poor ghosts have a nice day. But if you ever try to turn a wide-grinning smiley into a sphere, you inevitably wind up with Pac-Man. And he does always make me smile.

What exactly this is, though, I can’t tell you. I stumbled across it while walking the streets in my neighborhood back in August and grabbed this quick snapshot on my cell phone as I passed the car. Looking at it later, I thought for a while it might be this bizarre Pac-Man hat, but the seams are different and that Pac-Man hat is HUGE. This guy is more pouch-sized, almost like a small Pac-Man purse. But then, why is it out there on the dashboard for all the world to see?

To make all the world a happier place, you say? Okay, I’ll buy that. πŸ™‚

Tie October 3, 2011

Posted by Samuel Snoek-Brown in Clothing & Accessories, Smiley.
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Smiley tie. Photo courtesy Jennifer Snoek-Brown.

My wife took this photo of one of her former colleagues back when we lived in UAE. So of course I got jealous — not that she was taking pictures of other guys, but that this guy has one of the coolest smiley ties I’ve ever seen! I definitely want this tie!

Thanks for the photo, Jennifer. And now you have your Christmas shopping list. πŸ™‚