By Chris Lane
By Jeff Balke
By Aaron Reiss
By Angelica Leicht
By Dianna Wray
By Aaron Reiss
By Camilo Smith
By Craig Malisow
WHATEVER, POLITICAL ANIMALS
Four Loko Ban in Texas
Danger drink remains in spotlight
By Craig Hlavaty
It's funny how certain things become your beat. Some guys get latched onto animal rights, some find their niche working for homeless people, while others find themselves covering a can of liquid death, in my case, Four Loko.
I was the one who drank three cans of Four Loko awhile back for Hair Balls, spending close to 12 hours in a caffeine- and alcohol-soaked hell of my own design. All through it, though, I always said that just because the drink tastes like sugary nail-polish remover, it shouldn't be outright banned because some folks can't handle themselves.
In the wake of my sordid adventure, I noticed that most of the other outlets covering Loko weren't even trying it for themselves, and if they were they were not getting drunk off it, instead turning their noses up at the two sips they took.
The Twitter site @4lokolunatics somehow raised me up as a folk hero for actually getting drunk off the stuff before I made any public declarations. That's pretty flattering, I guess, and almost makes up for passing out for three hours on the work sofa.
The drink is now being banned or under review in nine states across the country, with more surely to follow. The FDA is looking into the drink and the other popular spirit Joose to see if it's time to shut both down, or at least make drastic mods to the ingredients.
On a recent trip to Louisiana to tailgate an LSU Tigers game, I found the stuff was ubiquitous as beer or jambalaya. Sadly, I can admit I drank another half a can with friends, but felt like utter garbage minutes later. Old habits die hard, what can I say?
A Texas ban is sure to be imminent with the recent news of a 14-year-old girl from Arlington dying in a car accident where empty cans of Four Loko were found among other alcoholic beverages. My question is, why not just sell it at liquor stores exclusively instead of next to beer and wine at your local convenience store? It seems to me that the liquor stores have a better handle on fake-ID sales than Chevron or Texaco might. Just our thought.
We contacted the folks behind @4lokolunatics to get their side of the story. They are resolute in their support of the drink, even taking a vaguely libertarian stance on the substance, saying, "Four Loko is harmless in moderation; irresponsible people shouldn't be the people who force lawmakers to institute bans. We don't pretend like Four Loko is made of ambrosia and nectar and came from the teat of the Virgin Mary. We know that it's a dangerous drink, but we drink it anyway."
For now, it's still game on for the loco folks needing their Loko fix. As for me, I'm back on Lone Star and whiskey.
DOING IT DAILY
There is a ton of stuff each day on the Houston Press blogs; youre only getting a taste of it here in the print edition. Head to blogs.houstonpress.com/hairballs (or /rocks or /eating or /artattack) and under Tools on the top-right side of the page, use the categories drop-down menu to find these stories:
Royal weddings were in the news, so we looked at the five hottest royal brides throughout history. Beyoncé's breasts were in the news, thanks to a racy British TV ad for her new perfume, so we examined five examples of the Internet's strange obsession with Beyoncé nip slips. (Someone had to do it.) We also found ten kinky items from this year's Fetish Fleamarket and repurposed them away from perversion to more wholesome use.
Say, did you see how that Jaguars game ended? Everyone did, as the unbelievable Hail Mary was shown in every highlight show known to man. We presented it in Tecmo Bowl form. We officially declared dead the 2010 Houston Texans, and likely Gary Kubiak's tenure here. In celebrity-type news, we pondered Tiger Woods's Twitter account and wondered how Eva Longoria could be surprised that an NBA player cheats.
We discovered a possible HPD memo on how to make up the $10 million in annual revenue from redlight cameras, went to George W. Bush's River Oaks book signing, examined how pathetic Texas is in preventing kids from smoking, and marveled at Governor Rick Perry's apparent openness to invading Mexico.
We picked the best bets of the second incarnation of the Cinema Arts Festival Houston, quickly becoming a hotly anticipated annual film event. We checked out the first Songs from a Room Houston, a UK living-room concert series started by Twilight star Robert Pattinson. We presented our rundown of the top five movie families we'd never spend Thanksgiving with, and we talked with legendary comedy duo Cheech & Chong about their concert tour and why it's inevitable that one day we'll be able to legally toke, even in Texas.