WHATEVER, SOCIAL DISTORTION
For Five Bucks I'd...
What Texans would do for a Lincoln
By Craig Malisow
Hair Balls has five bucks burning a hole in our pocket, and we're thinking about spending it on a postcard from a Houston-based model no one's ever heard of. Or possibly a Texas State Fair award-winning pecan pie recipe.
The problem is, there are just so many awesome things we can get for a five-spot on www.fiverr.com, a Web site where people offer random/borderline sociopathic services, and we need your help making the right choice. Here are five things Texans will do for $5. We don't know how to feel about this.
1) A woman from Houston will "like any facebook page, follow any twitter account, and subscribe to any youtube channel." If NAMBLA has any social media presence, we're totally taking her up on this.
2) Melany will talk to us "over Skype for 10 minutes." Topics include, but are not limited to, "fashion advice, hair styling, makeup, boyfriend/girlfriend advice, school issues, bullies, etc." Given Melany's apparent young age, we don't know how far to go with the joke possibilities without popping up on some FBI radar, so we're going to leave this one alone.
3) A dude will "post your band sticker on the most popular street in austin texas, s. congress." We were going to go with this right away until we remembered that we weren't douchebags.
4) A woman who is licensed to practice law in Texas "will send you a photo of the world's cutest dog, my Scottie glen, with your choice of pose and personalized message, and all proceeds go to local animal rescues..." She had us at "your choice of pose." But since she also provides a service whereby she'll critique your online dating profile and pic "with brutal honesty," we'd like to get all meta and use the pic of her and her dog as our profile pic, thus making her critique her own picture and her own dog. That shit's deep.
5) Of course, we've always dreamed of having a message carved into a tree behind a complete stranger's house, so you can imagine our near heart attack when we came upon maliciousdelano's offer: "Send me your name and whatever message you want carved into a tree behind my house."
We were also intrigued that maliciousdelano's eight-year-old son "wants to try his hand at selling online also!" He'll paint you a picture of anything for $5. But based on the samples his mother has posted, the lad has no sense of advancing and receding colors, atmospheric perspective, negative space or, for that matter, basic perspective: in a truly haunting portrait of what appears to be a deranged man in blue coveralls and wizard hat and his dog on a boat, moments before they're devoured by a phalanx of headless, multicolored sea-birds whose terrifying wingspans nearly blot out the entire sky, the man's hand is practically as large as his head. What the fuck, Michael? That's worth a buck-fifty at the most. But if we give you $5, will you promise not to blow it on Legos like you say, but to invest in art school instead?
Let us know if you find any other good offers, 'cause the holidays are right around the corner and we've got a ton of gifts to buy.
Tea Party on Texas License Plates
By Richard Connelly
Texas — ever eager to do its part to foment rightwing nuttism — may be giving official state sanction to the Tea Party, via license plates.
New proposed license plates from MyPlates.com are out for review, and they include the "Don't Tread on Me" flag that had been part of the American Revolution but now has been hijacked by the crowds at Tea Party rallies. It's a warning against socialist Muslims who have given tax cuts to the middle class, and keeping government hands off Medicare, and so on.
The new plates — including the "Come and Take It" flag, also a Texas tea party favorite — are apparently a way for those people who splatter their SUVs with bumper stickers to have just one more chance at getting their message across.
Or maybe not. Kim Miller Drummond of MyPlates tells Hair Balls the plates should not be interpreted as political.
"It's not our intent to get caught up in that," she says. "We are working on a flag series. We got the Texas flag design done first. Now these two. Working on an American flag. The Gadsden and Gonzalez flags are really just two more on a list of flags we think appeal to Texans."
She says MyPlates reps "frequently hear that Texans are interested in Texas and American history and symbols associated with patriotism and ideals of independence and freedom."
Or whatever Rush and Glenn Beck are telling them at the moment.
MyPlates, by the way, doesn't offer any "pro-life" license plates.
"An activists' group takes that to the legislature about every session, I think. They lobby hard, but it hasn't passed in Texas," Drummond says.
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:
We took a look at five long-gone examples of Mad Men architecture in Houston — they don't make 'em like that anymore. The Houston GLBT Center abandoned its Montrose home to jump on the Washington Avenue bandwagon, and Missouri City decided to ban daycare centers in strip malls.
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With the proposed new license plates mentioned above, we decided to take Texas's apparent attempt to endorse rightwing extremists by offering a few license plates of our own. We also kept watch on the King Street "Patriots," a group of white conservatives who are aggressively serving as poll watchers in minority voting areas. In response to the group, the Harris County Clerk put out an announcement saying voters can't wear shirts featuring Obama or John McCain, leading us to wonder just who wears a John McCain T-shirt these days.
We wrapped up the first-ever Houston Fashion Week with lots of photos from Tranquility Park's runway shows. We ran down our list of the best (and most recent) political gaffes captured on YouTube. We interviewed actress (and Houston native) Loretta Devine about her role in Tyler Perry's controversial new film For Colored Girls. And we said goodbye to Penthouse founder Bob Guccione with a smattering of our favorite celebrity Penthouse covers.