Things that are no longer: punk, bad-ass, or rebellious.


Not only are there two reality shows about ink shops, there’s now one dedicated to people who have had horrible work done and are a) living with it, b) getting it lasered off, or c) getting it covered with another (usually much bigger and sometimes worse) tattoo.  What looks cool when you’re twenty almost never looks cool to you when you’re thirty.  And I can’t tell you how many forty and fifty year olds I’ve seen with faded, blurry messes left of their former glory.  It’s with you forever but it doesn’t look fresh or cool forever.  My advice?  Design it yourself or have a favorite artist design it and hold on to the design for an entire year before getting it done.  If you wake up and go to sleep every single day of that year with intense anticipation of getting that tattoo, go ahead.  If there is even a single moment during that year when your desire wavers in the slightest, put it aside.  If you can’t maintain that intensity for a year, you won’t really want it on your body forever.


Piercing is an intensely painful process that can lead to disfigurement if it doesn’t heal properly.  I saw a girl with super-weird looking three-inch long keloid-type scar tissue hanging from both her earlobes.  People often tell me they get “addicted” to piercing.  How does one get addicted to punching holes in one’s body?  This smacks of self-loathing to me.  Piercing is really a form of socially-acceptable mutilation and anyone who gets addicted to self-harm needs to stand back and look at that for a moment.  Same thing with the tattoo advice: wait at least a year and wear a clip-on or some sort of temporary jewelry there if possible to get a feel for it.  When I was younger, I didn’t go by this rule.  Now I’m left with three piercing holes I’m happy with and two I’m not.

Extreme hair colors and styles:

I love purple and blue hair.  I used to have it.  I helped many friends to create all sorts of rainbow effects on their heads.  I envied my friend’s cheetah-print foot-tall mohawk.  Unfortunately, very few people will take you seriously at first glance with extreme hair.  It’ll be very hard to get a lucrative job unless you work in a more creative, artistic or unconventional field where these things are appreciated or at least accepted.  But seriously, when I see 5 year olds with mohawks and green highlights, there is clearly nothing outsider about it anymore.  It’s more like a costume now, and costumes are for parties and Halloween.

While I completely understand the desire to assert individuality in our society and (if you are a child) to emotionally separate somewhat from your parents/caregivers as you move toward adulthood, there are, in my mind, better ways of achieving this.  More often than not, I find that some people like to create extreme and elaborate looks to gain acceptance into a social sub-group or community other than the one they are born into.

I’ve got a different approach.  Work on yourself.  Expand your field of interests and knowledge base.  Make decisions not out of spite against parents or societal norms, but out of a desire to grow as a human being and be better than what you see the average is.  Move out of your comfort zone and associate with people different from yourself; people who are involved in things which are new and that seem exciting to you.  Befriend people from different social strata and age groups, both older and younger.  Set life goals and push yourself to meet them and then accomplish more.  Acquire new skill sets.  This kind of change is what will give fulfillment and makes you truly an individual.  Surface changes are just that–surface.

Raiders of the Lost Ark


Recently, I attended an IMAX showing of Raiders of the Lost Ark, the adventure classic by Spielberg and Lucas, starring Harrison Ford.  Seeing it on the very big screen was fantastic, and they did a good job of cleaning up the image without making it look “done.”  During the scene where Indy faces the cobra, you used to be able to see reflections on the glass that stood between them.  That appears to have been fixed.

Yet, watching the film years later as an educated adult, I have to say that I’m a bit disappointed with some glaringly apparent errors in continuity, geography, and cultural inaccuracies.  Also, there were some things that just didn’t seem to make sense.    Now, I’m not talking about the continuity errors that you would have to be paying super-close attention to have noticed; i.e. the position of a particular object from shot to shot (visit for a fairly comprehensive rundown of that stuff).  I’m talking about mistakes that positively cannot be ignored.

Why is the Ark hidden in the Egyptian city of Tanis if it was stolen from Solomon’s temple by ancient Babylonians?  Wouldn’t they likely have brought it to their capital city of Babylon?  How would the Babylonian Empire ever fall if they possessed the power of the Ark of the Covenant?  We would all be under their rule by now, don’t you think?  Then again, how would the kingdom of Solomon ever have been defeated if they had the power of the Ark to back them?  Doesn’t make any damn sense.

When Indy gains control of the truck which contains the Ark and is fleeing the Nazis, he moves quickly from a bleak, craggy desert (which Belloq told Marion is “three weeks in every direction”) into a lush palm forest.  What the what?

I feel like a modern moviegoer almost knows a bit more and/or can easily access so much information now via online sources that it can be pretty difficult for some movies to hold up to even the slightest scrutiny.  It didn’t ruin the film, but it lost some of its magic for me.  I guess that’s a function of watching it with the eyes of an adult.

Nevertheless, I still love this film on the whole and it is my favorite of the entire franchise, followed closely by Last Crusade.  Don’t even talk to me about Crystal Skull which was such a massive disappointment.  The Beef is annoying as hell, and they couldn’t get a decent story together.  It was further ruined by the fact that pre-Columbian crystal skulls are a bunch of hooey.  While I admit some are very beautiful, they are not true Mesoamerican artifacts.  Get over it.

What is going on in Colorado??


I read a news piece last night about some poor girl in Colorado who was struck with BUBONIC PLAGUE.  She likely caught it from fleas off a dead squirrel in a campground where she was staying with her family.  Fortunately, she survived, but really, I think Colorado has been through enough lately.  Can it please get a break already?


By the way, do a thorough rodent search if you are staying in tents, cabins and outbuildings provided by a campground.  These animals carry plague, hantavirus, Lyme disease,  rat-bite fever and Typhus, to name just a tasty few.


Stay safe my fellow campers!


PS – Warm wishes of love, health and happiness to my two favorite Colorado residents J & G on their recent marriage!

Haters gonna hate.

(and a bad-ass gold tooth, though I think it’s classier/less flashy to get a molar in gold)

When I heard “Video Games” for the first time on the radio a while back, I was really impressed.  The music had a great new-old sound and she painted a picture.  Then I saw the video which was plenty iconic and fun.  Loved poor drunk Paz stumbling in her couture.


Then came the backlash.  While the DJ’s loved it at first, later they couldn’t play it on my local radio station without making snide comments or expressing ambivalence where once there had been nothing but love.  People trashed her music, her vocals, her looks, her street cred.  Now, I agree, her live performances on Later with Jool Holland and SNL were lackluster.  Nevertheless, as a performer myself, I know that even when one has talent, one also can get plenty of nerves no matter how long you’ve been at it.  On LwJH, you could hear the nervous quavering while she tried really hard to do lots of vocal tricks and doohickies to make up for the fact the song was so stripped down live.  Lots of artists “tart” up their songs for live performances.  I concede, it was a miss that night.   Her presence was of someone who hit the big time a bit before their stage persona and showtime “gameface” fully developed.  And yes, she made the mistake of enhancing with some injectables.  It was too much and probably looks better now that it has settled.  I almost made the same mistake but my aesthetics specialist sagely talked me out of it and assured me my super-thin upper lip looks more in balance with my face and that no matter what, I’d look trouted if I did otherwise.  We’re not all so lucky.  Remember Jess Simpson’s unfortunate lip augmentation?  That eventually settled too.


In addition to that, some have criticized her authenticity.  Come on, now.  There is virtually no successful recording artist out there who has not worked hard to craft an image and persona to make damned sure it’s as marketable as possible and will push music sales over the top.  Others have taken issue with her lyrics.  Yes, I agree, they’re not all amazing, but have you ever listened to some of the goofy shit that Bjork has done lyrically, vocally, and instrumentally?   And what about Anthony Kiedis?  Lots of people love RHCP but sometimes it just sounds like he’s singing “yabba dabba dibba dabba dibba dabba doo” over and over in some of his songs.  Even well-loved, seasoned artists have missteps.


If you listen to her album as a whole musically–including her vocals, there is something there.  There is a subversive, super-crafted, totally intentional charm that’s also present in her videos and I’m not the only one who felt it.  Love or hate it, Born to Die was strong enough to garner over 100K in album sales.  Face.