By Chris Lane
By Jeff Balke
By Aaron Reiss
By Angelica Leicht
By Dianna Wray
By Aaron Reiss
By Camilo Smith
By Craig Malisow
More Tats, More Deviance
Texas Tech studies body ink
By John Nova Lomax
Texas Tech's school of sociology will soon publish a study claiming a link between the number of tattoos a college student has and their level of social deviance, which is defined in the study as proclivities for binge drinking, promiscuity, frequent marijuana use and occasional use of other drugs, a history of arrests, and cheating on tests. (Even one "intimate piercing" shows the same correlation, the study's authors say.)
Before you conclude that "inked = degenerate," the Tech researchers urge a more nuanced interpretation. They say that people with only one tattoo or chaste piercing (a belly-button ring, say), a number they estimate at a full 25 percent of the American population, are no different from anybody else. Tasteful little tats are no longer the bold declarations of "hope I die 'fore I get old" rebels without a cause they once were.
And that, believe the Tech researchers, is the rub. To show what a rebel you are, it is no longer sufficient to get inked up. You have to maintain that image with lots of whiskey, coke and screwing around — that whole Lola's lifestyle.
"I think that's true," says 14-year veteran tattoo artist Ryan Scroggins. "Everybody has tattoos now," he tells Hair Balls. "It used to be just sailors, bikers and prostitutes. Now even rich-ass yuppie girls have them."
The tat epidemic is so pervasive, he decided to leave the business a few years ago. He recalls that back in the '90s, there were only 20-25 tattoo shops inside the Loop; now there are more than 100. That glut has caused prices to plummet. He says that customers would ask him for a quote, and if he said $200, they would tell him they could get the same one down the street for $50.
"Never mind if that guy down the street sucked," Scroggins says. "People just don't care about quality any more." He says that he once earned $1,000 a week tattooing; now he would be lucky to make that in a month.
Scroggins, who is also a killer ska keyboard player, has all but left the biz. Today he works as a herpetologist at the Houston Zoo. "Somebody asked me the other day why I took a huge pay cut to work at the zoo," he says. "I told them there was more of a future in it."
Phone-Dating Models for Dummies
By Richard Connelly
The Los Angeles Times had a report recently on a Texas guy whose story we had missed: Using a "high-pitched voice" on the phone, he had somehow convinced rich guys that he was Bree Condon, who, the article informed us, is "a successful model and aspiring actress who'd done a Guess jeans campaign and posed for Maxim magazine's swimsuit issue."
We know what you're asking: How the hell did these guys ever get rich when they're so dumb? But you're not thinking like a rich guy. An actual rich guy (apparently) trolls the Web site SeekingMillionaire.com in search of tail, since it's so damn hard for rich guys to get laid otherwise.
Instead of Condon, the men were talking with Justin Brown, who was calling from "a budget motel in Austin, Texas," the Times reported. (Note: There seems to be confusion on how to spell Bree's last name; we're going with the Times spelling.) Police found an iPhone some fan had gifted him with, along with a small dog. He's accused of bilking a Florida doctor out of $15,000. (His name can be found in the directory of Florida Doctors We Never Want to Be Treated By.)
As a public service — because we're all about the public service when it comes to rich guys — here are four tips on how to tell if you're talking to a guy in a cheap Austin motel room instead of a Maxim supermodel:
1. Bree Condon's sexy love nest does not feature the sound of 18-wheelers roaring down I-35.
Note: This applies only at night. During daytime hours, given Austin's traffic, the tip is that Bree Condon's sexy love nest does not feature the sound of endlessly honking horns on I-35.
2. The room that Bree Condon is calling you from probably does not have walls so thin you can hear recent UT grads in town for a game yelling "Hook 'Em!" as they do beer bongs.
To be fair, we're actually not that familiar with Bree Condon's social life; maybe she does hang out with beer-bonging frat boys. It's safe to say they'd be USC fans and not Longhorn fans, though.
3. Dude: A "high-pitched voice"? Really?
This fools you? We're thinking Homer Simpson whenever he has to pretend to be a woman. Hey, it doesn't work for us, but whatever trips your trigger.
4. Bree Condon's home probably doesn't feature meth-fueled hookups with prostitutes.
Most cheap Austin motels do.
This has been a public service announcement. For idiots.
From Russia, with Love for Phillip Morris
By John Nova Lomax
In advance of its March 26 release date, there are now trailers and posters galore for I Love You Phillip Morris, the Jim Carrey/Ewan Macgregor film based on the Houston Press articles and ensuing book written by former staffer Steve McVicker.