BME Podcast #1: Allen Falkner Talks Suspension

Holy crap, it worked! Welcome, friends, to the inaugural BME Podcast. Isn’t this exciting? We figured it was time to revive the old BME Radio format and spruce it up a bit with all sorts of Web 2.0 nonsense, and so here we are. As I mention on the show, this is very much still in the experimental stages, so any and all feedback is very much appreciated, both in terms of the sound quality and technical aspects, as well as guests you’d like to hear and topics and issues you’d like to be discussed. If things go well, you could be hearing a whole lot more of my deep and manly timbre.

On today’s podcast, our guest is Allen Falkner, who joins us to discuss the upcoming SusCon he’s organizing, Nevada’s current attempt to ban suspension, the six-hour suspension Chris Glunt just performed, and more. (Also, visit him at Fade Fast for all your tattoo removal needs!)

Stream or download the show below:


Right-click and “Save Target/Link As” to download the .mp3 directly

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Music featured:

Capital H – Global Food Shortage
Drive-By Truckers – Where the Devil Don’t Stay
The Gaslight Anthem – The ’59 Sound

Full Coverage: Links From All Over (Feb. 20, 2009)

[CNBC] Scandal rocked the worlds of sports, print media and soft-core pornography this week when it was revealed that Sports Illustrated digitally removed IndyCar racer Danica Patrick‘s lower-back tattoo from her photos in this year’s Swimsuit Issue. (The chilling photographic evidence is above.) When made aware of this startling injustice, Patrick’s camp issued the following response:

“Danica is aware of the edits and is comfortable with the final photos.”

What sort of high-level coercion are these Sports Illustrated fat-cats using to elicit this sort of timid, fearful response? The publication outright refused to comment on the subject, for at least a day, until CNBC’s Darren Rovell was able to squeeze the following explanation from an SI spokesperson:

“The Swimsuit Issue emphasizes natural beauty […] The freckles are left on and, in this case, the tattoos came off.”

Oh. Well, that makes sense. When you look at it that way, actually, this is a fairly historic move for the Swimsuit Issue. Indeed, the magazine’s photo editors also went ahead and Photoshopped all of the models’ breasts back to their original sizes, used only natural light, and limited their airbrushing to erasing offensive tattoos like Patrick’s. The issue has thus far sold seven copies.

[Citizens Voice] So you may have heard about the case of this cretin, this fool, Holly Crawford of Sweet Valley, Pennsylvania, who was arrested for selling what she called “Gothic Kittens.” These are just like regular kittens, except this dildo had pierced their ears, the napes of their necks, and cut off their tails and pierced the remaining nubs, and then attempted to make a business of selling these to … who the hell would buy these? Anyway, the case is going to court now, Crawford is facing criminal charges and, as such, more details are emerging:

“This was tying a rubber band around a cat’s tail so tight that it falls off,” said Deputy District Attorney David Pedri. “She caused the cats pain. She did this to sell them to make money.”

Crawford’s defense attorney, Demetrius Fannick, argued state law “goes on and on” about specific acts of animal cruelty, but nothing about piercing cats and docking their tails.

Prosecutors said a part of the cruelty included Crawford tying rubber bands around the tails of the cats so they would fall off. She’d then pierce the nub.

“There’s nothing in the statute that expressly says you can’t pierce your cat’s ears or necks, or even crop their tails,” Fannick said. “It’s a case that you will be for or against as an animal owner. Let the legislature say you can’t pierce or tattoo your animal, and it will be different.”

Magisterial District Judge Paul Hadzick said the case was a gray area in the law and predicted it might one day cause for a clarification in the law. At the very least, he said it’s a case that should be decided by a jury or a higher judge.

“I don’t think that the decision is for me to be made here,” Hadzick said.

While it’s probably true that this is fundamentally not all that different from pet owners who clip their pets’ ears and tails, this just seems particularly idiotic to me for some reason — probably the winning combination of animal abuse with the hoary old “piercings are goth!” chestnut.

[Scripps News] Good news, tattoo artists, the recession is over! For you, at least! The anecdotal evidence is in and has decisively shown that people would rather get tattooed than eat or give their children medicine.

“My question is ‘What recession’?” said Kate Hellenbrand, a tattoo artist for the past 38 years. “Every day, new clients are being born. The media promotes the industry. There are ads everywhere and sports heroes, rock n’ roll stars and models all have tattoos.”

While this may be true, it may also be a touch skewed coming from one of the most famous tattoo artists in the world, but nonetheless. The article goes on:

Sergio Reynoso of Salt Lake Tattootland was one of the few vendors who said the recession has hurt his business. Since about 80 percent of clients are Latinos, many experiencing trouble finding a job in a down construction industry, he has noticed a drop in business. He has, however, been doing a good business lately repairing or sprucing up bad tattoos done on the street by less qualified artists.

I’m not so P.C. that I’m going to act terribly offended by the implication all Latinos seem to be in the construction industry, but holy crap is this poorly written. Anyway, let’s bring it on home:

Even in Seattle — where thousands have been laid off in recent months — tattoo art is a shelter in the storm. Seattle tattoo artist April Cornell keeps quite busy.

“If you weren’t watching the news, you would not know there was a recession,” she said.

Artist Vinnie Almanza of Anchorage, Alaska, said he was booked all weekend in Salt Lake and is booked through June at his home shop. “One thing people definitely don’t have a problem spending on is their ink,” he said. “It’s like an addiction.”

There you have it: A statistically meaningless sample size that likens the impulse to get tattoo work to your common booze and drug addictions, as proof that tattooing is recession-proof. I can’t wait to read several thousand more of these articles over the next 10 months, at which point I will have to sell my computer, to eat, or more likely, to get tattooed. Best recession ever!

Full Coverage: Links From All Over (Dec. 11, 2008)

Photo source: The Sporting Blog

[The Sporting Blog] Spencer Hall over at the TSB checked in this morning with a tale of intrigue and deceit (and poor decision-making) that could only have occurred within the confines of collegiate sports. Kirby Freeman signed with the Miami Hurricanes a little while back and, in an attempt to assert his devotion to the team, got the team’s “U” logo tattooed on his back. Well, as Hall writes, sometimes these things aren’t meant to be. Things were going well …

Until now! (DUH-DUH-DAAAAAAHHH.) Freeman transferred to Baylor after losing his starting QB job, and has had the tattoo changed to either a zero or an “O” for “Ohmigod, that is one lopsized zero. Did you play for Oregon?”


This reminder that a scholarship is four years, but a tattoo is for life comes from The Sporting Blog.

Sound advice!

[Intelligencer] Ha ha, so apparently all the children in Belleville, Ontario, have taken up the time-honored tradition of good old-fashioned cigarette smoking, and some of the elders are displeased. A youth activism group, Unfiltered, has taken up the task of weaning these kids off smoking by handing out temporary tattoos, apparently? At this point, this article takes a delightful turn wherein the townspeople become very concerned that this trickery could actually lead to the young’ns wanting real tattoos, which would be at least as bad as them smoking a pack a day, probably.

“People have been smoking forever, but we just found out that it’s not healthy,” Dolan said. “People have had tattoos forever, maybe it’s going to take us a longer term to find out it’s not healthy.”

Dolan told the board he has been told permanent tattoos put a strain on the body because some of the ink enters the individual’s bloodstream and is then filtered through the body. This, he said, puts an extra strain on some organs.

Dr. Richard Schabas, medical officer of health, said he was not aware of any medical problems linked to tattoos. The only concerns, he said, would be with the needles used to inject the ink. If those needles are not properly sanitized there can be infection problems.

Schabas said the health unit does carry out routine inspections of tattoo parlours in the area. However, he told Dolan there may be some validity to his concern.

“As a matter of policy, I’m not sure we should be encouraging tattoos,” he said.

Schabas said using temporary tattoos to appeal to children is an understandable tactic but may need to be re-examined.

“You walk a fine line here, Bob. You want to relate to kids but, on the other hand, we want to ask ourselves if we want to normalize a behaviour that, maybe, we don’t want to,” he said.

First of all, yes, we “just found out” cigarettes aren’t healthy, what, yesterday? Sixty years ago? Whatever. Anyway, this whole thing makes my brain collapse in on itself. How old are these kids that are smoking? If they’re over the age of 10, I don’t think the temporary tattoo offensive is going to have much success, sadly. But at least the Belleville town council is doing its part to combat the “normalizing” of Pagan dick-choppery like tattoos and such. Can you imagine what it would be like to live in a world where people thought it was OK to get tattoos? Terrifying.

[NY Post] Continuing this election season’s trend of all candidates (and their families) engaging in ritualistic anti-American ink-jamming, as they call it, Caroline Kennedy, one of the front-runners to fill Hillary Clinton’s vacant Senate seat, apparently has a miniscule tattoo on her forearm that nobody had ever noticed until the New York Post realized they were short a column the other day. It is apparently a butterfly but it may as well be a birthmark or a bruise — it is seriously barely there. Naturally, though, because she is a Kennedy, and there is always some sort of sordid tale behind everything those freaks do, this is not just some innocuous splotch of ink:

Kennedy got the tattoo while vacationing with her family in Asia during the late 1980s.

During a night out in Hong Kong, Caroline, her brother, John F. Kennedy Jr., and her cousins Edward “Teddy” Kennedy Jr., 47, and Kara Anne Kennedy, 48, challenged one another with a mischievous dare, a source said, noting that the group had consumed a few drinks.

The boys challenged the girls to get a late-night “tat” at a nearby parlor.

Caroline and Kara went first and emerged “bruised and bloodied,” emblazoned with butterflies on their arms.

But when it came time for Teddy and John Jr. to reciprocate, the men “chickened out,” refusing to go through with the dare, the source said.

When reached for comment, Kennedy corrected the horrible newspaper, and said she actually got the tattoo on a dare from Governor David Paterson, thereby securing Clinton’s Senate seat. Ha ha, timely references.

[Twitter] Hey, did you know BME has its own Twitter feed? True story! If you like BME, but don’t feel like it’s quite pithy enough for you, add us! And while you’re at it, head on over to BME Shop! The holidays are fast approaching, and there’s no better present for grandma than one o’ them split cock T-shirts. And keep on sending in your photos of you decked out in BME gear and jewelry!

[YouTube] This one’s a little on the esoteric side, but do you know BME mainstay and perpetual image-leaderboard contender Perk900? (Of course you do.) Well, some time ago, he apparently worked at Blockbuster Video and was the subject of a short film, which you can see below. Did someone say Cable Ace Award?

Full Coverage: Links From All Over (Nov. 7, 2008)

[Daily Mail] God this is the worst article ever. Local idiot Liz Jones chimes in with over 1,000 miserable words about how every tattoo a woman wears is a “tramp stamp” (and not just those placed in the manner displayed on the comely young lass in the above photo), and how all these misguided starlets are just ripping each other off forever and ever, with regard to everything:

Yes, I am talking about tattoos, the most tasteless, tacky, tawdry, terrible plague to infect our nation since mad cow disease.

Ha ha oh right, this clown is from Britain, where everybody gets BSE all the time, probably because the cows are all tattoo sluts. Tattoos are definitely worse than bacteria prions that eat your goddamn brain.

It is nigh on impossible these days to find a young, famous, beautiful woman who has not got a tattoo.

A reasonable person may notice this trend and note that perhaps there has been a paradigm shift and that, hey, pretty girls like tattoos, so maybe they’re not this uglifying force that some have thought them to be. Alas.

Danish model Freja Beha Erichsen has 12, including the word ‘float’ on her throat, while English rose Lily Donaldson has just the one – words of nonsense about her family on the inside of her left wrist.

What we can take away from this is that Liz Jones does not have a family, because she buried them under her house, but if she did, she would surely not do something as stupid as get any “words of nonsense” about them tattooed on her body. She would not “feel” any “feelings” about them, or try to “remember” or “pay tribute” to them. Because she is nature’s most perfect, soulless killing machine.

Musicians have long adored tattoos: Janis Joplin had a floral tattoo bracelet, which has clearly inspired the tattoos sported by Joss Stone, who has garlands of flowers on her feet.

The words “clearly inspired” suggest a direct causal relationship. I’ve never listened to Joss Stone and probably could not pick her out of a line-up — is there any reason to believe that she got flower tattoos because Janis Joplin did first? Based on the nonsense that comprises the rest of this article, I’m going to guess no, and that in addition to being a sensationalist, Liz Jones is also a piss-poor logician.

What I hate most about all these celebrity tattoos is not just that they have spawned a rash of copycats the length and breadth of the nation, it is that tattoo wearers think that by writing on themselves, a la Angelina Jolie, they are somehow ‘alternative’, ‘deep’ and ‘profound’, that they have meaning in their lives.

Wow, she is still talking. I’ve skipped several hundred words already and this thing just keeps going. I feel like I’ve always been reading this.

I particularly detest the tattooing of names of loved ones, a la Johnny Depp and his ‘Winona Forever’, or David Beckham and his tattoo of his son Brooklyn’s name. It is as if the person is trying to say: ‘I love my son/boyfriend/wife more than you love yours.’

Someone’s projecting!

When I mentioned this saddest incarnation of the tat to Helen Mirren, who has the Indian Lakesh symbol, meaning ‘whole woman’, inscribed just below the thumb on her left hand, she rolled her eyes. (Helen Mirren is, by the way, the only woman in her 60s I can think of who doesn’t look ridiculous sporting a tattoo).

She got hers when she was drunk one night on a theatre tour in Minnesota. ‘It was years before tattoos became fashionable. I’m appalled they have become middle class,’ she said. ‘There is no respect for rebellion any more.’

For what it’s worth, Helen Mirren, in addition to being a pretty tremendous actor, also thinks that date-rape is a hilarious joke and that woman should just get over it, so perhaps she is not the most astute cultural observer of all time.

Jones then ends the article by telling a brief story about her friend’s grandmother, who is a holocaust survivor, and thus has a concentration camp number tattooed on her wrist. According to Liz Jones, this is the only sort of tattoo that it is acceptable for a person to have nowadays.

[] Here we’ve got an uncharacteristically positive story about Body Integrity Identity Disorder and amputation as a viable course of action for those suffering from it. The proponent, Christopher Ryan, is a psychiatrist at the University of Sydney, and, while he doesn’t propose just cold cutting off folks’s legs whenever they want, he does admit that, after the proper evaluations have been done, many can be effectively “cured,” and that such procedures should be “likened to plastic surgery.”

“I realise that the idea strikes almost everyone as lunatic when they first hear it. However, there are a small number of people who see themselves, and have always seen themselves, as amputees,” he said.

“They are often miserable their whole lives because of their ‘extra limb’, and we know that at least some of them feel much better if it is removed.”

Full Coverage: Links From All Over (Oct. 23, 2008)

[Simcoe Reformer] God, so this HORRIBLE woman is saying all sorts of terrible things about this shop, Ink Sensations, and talking to politicians about making body modification — all modification, including dyeing your hair and cutting your fingernails too short — a crime punishable by drunken firing squad, and all because somebody there pierced her 15-year-old daughter’s tongue. Wait, hold on, after reading past the headline, it seems like she actually likes piercing a lot and just wants responsible legislation in place:

“I was flabbergasted that there is no law against minors getting pierced without a parent’s permission,” said Cheryl Blake, a Waterford resident.

While most shops have their own regulations — usually a 16- or 18-year-old age of majority — it is an unwritten rule, not something mandated federally or provincially.

Blake isn’t against body modification. She’s taken her other two daughters for piercings.

“But I made sure it was done in a sterile environment and that they knew the possible risks and follow up care,” Blake said.

With her youngest daughter, she’s not sure those steps were taken as she wasn’t there.

She’s begun a Facebook group, Ink Sensations Simcoe-Unethical Business Practices, which has 131 members.

[…] She wants more regulations on the industry and is starting a petition to take to MPP Toby Barrett to introduce a private member’s bill regulating tattoo artists and body piercers.

“A governing body should set certain standards on how this is done,” Blake said. “Your hairdresser needs to be certified but someone who puts a needle in your body doesn’t?”

Body piercer George Lewis, who owns Tattoo Art in Kitchener and handles the piercing shop at Ink Sensations, said he’ll be right beside Blake in the fight.

“I’ve been trying to get better regulation for years,” Lewis said, who has been piercing for 30 years. “But it takes more than one person to move a mountain.”

He admits that his protege, who he trained to do piercings at Ink Sensations, did something wrong. His policy is that anyone under 16 requires parental consent.

“He didn’t ask for ID and he’s been severely reprimanded for that,” Lewis said. “His job is pending. But she signed a legal document saying she was 16 so she committed fraud.”

Oh. That actually sounds quite reasonable. Well, I’m still outraged.

[Contact Music] Update! We’ve discussed the ridiculousness that is the Los Angeles Fire Department banning tattoos, and I made the bold and groundbreaking declaration that firefighters can look however they damn well want. Well, it turns out that international playboy Brad Pitt and I are totally and completely simpatico:

A source close to the tattooed actor tells Star magazine, “(He) thinks it’s ridiculous that these guys who risk their lives to help people have these restrictions put upon them.

“He wanted to make sure the department heads knew that the people of L.A. don’t care about tattoos – they care about them doing their job well.”

It’s like … it’s like we’re the same person.

[] The self-proclaimed “fashion and lifestyle blog for women lawyers, bankers, MBAs, consultants, and otherwise overachieving chicks who work in conservative offices and need to look professional, but want to be fashionable” just conducted a readers’ poll about whether or not tattoos are acceptable among female lawyers. Well, the votes have been tallied and the results from the 1,500 participants are:

– 43% of you said a professional woman could never have a visible tattoo
– 30% of you said it was fine if it could be covered by clothes or makeup
– 12% of you said only so long as it wasn’t visible when you shook hands or interviewed
– 8% said sure, a visible tattoo was fine

Par for the course, more or less. Common remarks centered on tattoos being a “distraction” in the workplace, and one dickbag in the comments expertly stated that tattoos are for “hookers, not lawyers.” Cute! The editorial consensus, though, happily (and idealistically) enough, was that if you’re in a position where a charm tattoo on your ankle is going to hold you back, it’s probably not the sort of place you’d want to spend much of your life. In conclusion, people on the Internet have opinions about things.

Full Coverage: Links From All Over (Oct. 20, 2008)

[Joplin Globe] It’s pretty often that we stumble across stories of backwards school boards that have decided students with tattoos and piercings are an affront to the education system and do not even deserve access to the same crippled-by-No-Child-Left-Behind embarrassment programs as all the others, and who cares right? What have stupid kids ever offered society other than scabies and juvenile diabetes? Well, the mavericks on the Joplin R-8 Board of Education in Missouri have turned their discerning eyeballs on the swill merchants who are pushing these ideas of “body” “art” on the little scamps: teachers!

Joplin R-8 Board of Education members Tuesday night gave administrators the OK to change wording in the district’s employment policy to not allow any part of a tattoo to show.

The policy previously instructed teachers to wear clothing that “minimizes” tattoos, but it did not prohibit part or all of the tattoo from showing.

The board also wants to make that policy apply to all district employees, not just teachers.

Superintendent C.J. Huff said he brought the issue to the board because someone had raised concerns about teachers with tattoos. The board members appeared to be in unanimous agreement about tattoos not being appropriate in a professional and, specifically, a classroom setting.

[…] Joplin resident Maurice Filson encouraged the board to adopt a policy that requires teachers to cover their tattoos. He said refusing to do so would be a statement that might speak louder than the body art itself.

“You already know the problems our children are facing, so for the sake of our kids, I hope this can be properly addressed,” Filson said.

Do those problems include low test scores and problems focusing in class? Because I have a feeling that even if the subject matter of these classes isn’t engaging the little ragamuffins, then maybe more interesting individuals at the helm could be of some help. But as I’ve said before, it’s hard to argue with an employer that seeks to enforce a dress code, so … keep up the work, Joplin Board of Education. You are doing a job.

[Greensburg Daily News] So what with it being election season and all, does anybody know when we cast our ballots for mother of the year? Because, even though it’s only October, I have a feeling it’s going to be tough to beat Indiana’s proudest daughter, Jessica Middleton of St. Paul, who had herself a pretty spectacular twenty-second birthday:

According to Greensburg Police Chief Brian Heaton, Jessica L. Middleton, 22, was arrested early Saturday morning on charges of neglect of a dependent, a Class D felony. Heaton said at 10:26 p.m. Friday, the department received a call of a 2-year-old in a car unattended in the city parking lot just off the downtown square. Due to a high call volume taxing the on-duty officers he had at the time, Officer Mike McNealy didn’t arrive immediately. When he did, he found a child being cared for by some friendly passers-by.

[…] Heaton said they may not have found Middleton without thew help of a 16-year-old male who said he was friends with the mother. He told officers Middleton, who turned 22 on Oct. 15, went to Somers’ Ink, a new tattoo parlor downtown, for a tattoo at around 9:30 p.m. Afterwards, Heaton said the teenager informed officers she went to the Tiki Bar for a birthday drink. He identified Middleton to officers, who allowed him access to the bar for the purpose of making their arrest.

Booze and tattoos? Sounds like a pretty sweet birthday to me! Other than the whole borderline-infanticide thing, which really sounds like it was being blown out of proportion. When asked for a comment, Middleton told reporters that she used to babysit herself in the car all the time, eating cigarette butts and strangling herself with the seatbelt, and she turned out pretty well, didn’t she? Middleton then fell down, soiled herself and a rabid coyote ran over and licked her fresh tattoo, thus capping the greatest birthday she or anyone else has ever had.

[YouTube] No snark here, friends: The video that follows is of a ballet performed by a pair of amputees, one male and one female, and it’s about as beautiful as anything you’ll find on these here Internets:

UPDATE: Brain Piercings, Face-Tattoo Hoaxes and a New Article

Ha ha, remember that brain piercing story from the other day that seemed more than a little far-fetched and which Ferg‘s medical connection thoroughly debunked? Well, Master Piercer Elayne Angel (and wife of Buck Angel) wrote in to offer her own input (it’s bogus!), including a link to this site — it’s written in Portuguese (and the translation is mostly just a reiteration of initial blog post on the subject), but it includes this abjectly terrifying Photoshoppery:

Photo source: Vida Universitaria

Guhhh. I hate the Internet.

In other news, astute reader Lynette writes in to touch on the plight of our friends Bambang and Nanang, the victims of a practical joke that led to them tattooing their faces. Lynette … is not sympathetic:

I know S.E. Asia’s culture and politics well (my extended family are from Malaysia which is next door to Indonesia) and [to be honest] don’t feel in the slightest bit sorry for them …

Putting aside the beliefs in mystics/ghosts/spirits (something which exists mostly in rural areas of these nations, the urban areas are more high tech than the UK!), these scum were applying for “jobs” that would have involved spying on their own people and reporting back to the Indonesian security forces.

This could easily result in the village being stormed by cops/soldiers on “suspicion” of drug dealing/smuggling etc. When this happens, it isn’t like the politically correct West where people are [released] on bail and the worst what may happen is they get evicted or ASBOs. When the village is stormed, the menfolk (other than the spies/grass) are separated and executed (if they are lucky they are just shot, if not they are tortured), the women are used for the sex industry/forced breeding (i.e. rape) and the children are sold to rich families and the money taken by the government/soldiers.

Then the houses are bulldozed or lit on fire and the area cleared for logging or palm oil plantations (the government/soldiers’/cops’ families get the building jobs, etc.). This happens all across S.E. Asia and is rarely reported other than by activist groups and is covered up by the West, as it’s how we get our cheap furniture and “green” biodiesel.

This wasn’t a joke: it was a way of weeding out grasses/untrustworthy scum, and to deter people from taking these “jobs.”

Yowza. I can’t personally confirm these allegations, but that’s pretty damning if true. Anybody else from the Indonesia/Malaysia area that can back this up?

And lastly, we’ve just put up the latest of dreamy Paul King’s piercing history articles — this time, it’s labrets and lip piercings! Clicky below for the piece:

Full Coverage: Links From All Over (Oct. 14, 2008)

[] So, approximately 9,000 people have sent this to me over the last couple of weeks and, even now, I can’t tell whether the original author is legit in his assurance of the efficacy of his plan:

So they will cut you hair first, then bore in your scull two tiny foramens with a drill, then drag the ring through them with the bent needle. The foramens will be done on your nucha – there is an especially sensitive range of a brain. The ring will easily massage it and keep you in the state of euphoria. The only problem you can face is that you will have to try hard to find a piercer. There are very few persons capable. And the price is $1000 for the whole procedure.

Hot damn! Where do I sign up? Really though, this seems like the sort of thing my uncle would send in an e-mail. (“Hey, I’ve got a piercing for ya — right through the brain!” Nyuk nyuk nyuk.) Luckily, the ever-industrious Ferg spoke to a doctor friend of his, and came back with the following results:

I have to say that the anatomical descriptions and descriptions of the procedure are vague and weird. Whoever wrote it would certainly not have my vote of confidence. This is what a nuchal line is:

As you might have imagined already, the risk of haemorrhage and death are ridiculously high as well as that of contracting meningitis (inflammation of the membranes around the brain):

There are three membranes that surround the brain. One is closely attached to the skull itself (the dura), the second – the arachnoid – is full of blood vessels and holds in the cerebrospinal fluid, then the third, the pia mater, is what’s adherent to the brain itself.

Should one accidentally rip through the membranes, then CSF (cerebrospinal fluid) would leak out and the patient would die within minutes, or, should one rupture a blood vessel accidentally, then the piercee would either haemorrhage out (to death?) or into their skull, thus compressing the brain and resulting in coma, death, seizures, etc., etc.

I would have thought that foreign bodies rubbing directly on the brain would cause irritation and thus neurological deficits as well as seizures. (Are seizures pleasant?) Anyway, I’m no specialist and I’m sure it’s totally possible to do and survive. Whether their claims are true (euphoria?) needs to be substantiated.

Well, there you have it. Maybe it’ll work and maybe it won’t, but … please don’t try to pierce your brain.

[Toronto Star, Niagara Falls Review, Guelph Mercury] There’s a lot to lose for a tattoo/piercing shop owner who doesn’t abide by the regulations outlined by the local board of health. Fines and closures are the obvious disciplinary measures, but standard operating practice in most places also includes the health board itself disseminating information to the shop’s customers, warning them to undergo blood tests, often for HIV and hepatitis. The damage to one’s reputation for actions ranging from poor bookkeeping of spore tests to actually using dirty instruments can be devastating — and for some reason, Southern Ontario has been seeing a lot of these cases lately. Last summer, Oshawa’s Longhorn Custom Bodyart Studio was the subject of a $10 million class-action lawsuit filed by former customers who had been alerted of the fact that the shop had potentially been using improperly sterilized needles:

Durham Region health authorities warned that possible use of non-sterile equipment could lead to transmission of HIV and hepatitis B and C and sent letters to 2,400 people, urging them to see a doctor and get blood tests. The 530 results that have come back so far were all negative, said spokesperson Glendene Collins.

More recently, Venom Ink in St. Catharines (and Niagara Falls) and Stigmata Body Art in Guelph faced similar issues. Stigmata Body Art was fined after it “failed to comply with an order issued in July 2007 by Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health to produce the results of spore tests, which check for proper sterilization of equipment,” while Venom Ink’s piercing business was shut down entirely for using non-sterile equipment.

After talking with the owner of the business, public health officials believe there are 40 customers who received piercings during the three months Venom Ink was in business – two months in St. Catharines and one in Niagara Falls.

[…] Employees working Saturday afternoon said they did not want to discuss the health department’s notice and threatened to charge a reporter with trespassing if he came by again.

In all cases, it’s still recommended that clients who received work from the aforementioned shops between certain dates seek out HIV and hepatitis tests:

– Longhorn Custom Bodyart Studio: Nov. 17, 2006-Aug. 1, 2007
– Stigmata Body Art: February, April and May 2007
– Venom Ink: It’s recommended that anyone who received a piercing from Venom Ink should seek testing

[Huffington Post] We’re through the looking glass, people — it’s the dawning of a new era. Writers are now beyond recounting their experiences with tattoos and piercings, and have moved onto the next, Falkner-approved level of body art memoir: Tattoo removal stories. Anya Strzemien over at HuffPo tells her story:

The first tattoo was a star on my wrist. Not so original nowadays, but we didn’t have Lindsay Lohan and Sienna Miller back then. [Ed. note: Slam fucking dunk.] And, sure, you have to be 18 to legally get a tattoo, but this was in the early days of Giuliani administration in New York, back when we were barely carded for anything (especially alcohol, I was elated to learn).

The second tattoo came about during my freshman year of college, and this one really marked some silly adolescent judgment on my part. I knew what I wanted it to say (and it’s something so college, so 18, and so earnest that I can’t even bring myself to tell friends what it means anymore, let alone HuffPost readers), but I didn’t want it to be in English. Arabic, Farsi and Hindi looked too linear, Chinese felt too cliché. So, naturally, I settled on Japanese. I could have lived with the star for the rest of my life, but really, Asian character tattoos are a crime of fashion that should be punishable by law. The characters themselves are beautiful, but as a tattoo…especially on a non-Asian body…well, nothing says “I Tried To Rebel In The ’90s” more.

So when I turned 29 in August, I decided it was time for me and the tattoos to part ways, and schlepped out to New Jersey to see Dr. Mitchell Chasin at the Reflections Center For Skin And Body, where I was told the cost of the removal for an average-sized tattoo like mine would be about $300 or $350 per treatment, and it would take at least four treatments (the number varies depending on the color and type of ink, skin type, and quality of the tattoo). So if the average number of treatments is four to ten, then it costs between $1200 and $3500. Note to 16-year-old self: you were wrong.

The post also includes some (inexcusably poor) photos, and assorted musings on the oozing, bubbling and general grossness that comes along with tattoo removal. But surely the erudite HuffPo commenters will have worthwhile input, right?

A tattoo just means you’re dumb enough to let ANYONE stick a needle in ya.

Oh for God’s sake.

The Funniest Practical Joke of All Time

Photo source:

Those guys up there? Not happy. Not even a little. And with good reason! Bambang (left) and Nanang (right), two native Indonesians who were looking for government jobs, received word from a local village chief that there was a new requirement to work as an intelligence officer in Jakarta: facial tattoos. The only problem, of course, is that the chief — who received his information via text message — had been lied to, and he passed along some dreadfully poor instructions:

The official, who said it was a job requirement to have their faces tattooed with dragons, was later discovered to be a hoaxer — but not before Nanang, 30, and Bambang, 40, had already undergone the painful and disfiguring procedure.

The three men believe the anonymous trickster was a kind of “mystic”, as they didn’t feel in control of their actions when following his strange instructions.

“I was half conscious when the shop owner tattooed my face, and didn’t think it was a con,” victim Bambang said.

“I just realized it was a con on Friday night. I was shocked and I cried.”

A horrified Sawiyono realised he had been tricked when double-checking the bizarre request with a legitimate government representative.

Yikes. And somehow, this is the third hoax of its kind to go down recently in Jakarta. On the plus side, though? EPIC BURN. Eh? Am I right, fellas? Ashton Kutcher is seething with envy right now. (I’m just kidding, this is horrible.)

Fooled job seekers stuck with facial tattoos [National Nine News]

New Rule: Firefighters Can Look However the Hell They Want

While I think it’s silly for most employers to take a hard and fast oppositional approach to modified employees, I’m on record as saying that it’s their choice and that, in arenas such as the military where decorum and obedience are of the utmost importance, even arbitrary enforcement of anti-modification rules seems in line with their power structures. (Even if tattoos and tattoo culture seem indelibly linked to many branches of the military, but alas.)

With all that said, leave the damn firefighters alone. In June, L.A. Times columnist Sandy Banks wrote about the Los Angeles Fire Department’s new policy that firefighters must not have any visible tattoos, either while on call or while in the firehouse:

It’s a “grooming issue,” said Capt. Armando Hogan, spokesman for Chief Douglas Barry. “We need to make sure we’re professional-looking. We’ve got an image to uphold.”


This is a department that recently cost the city $16 million in payoffs to firefighters who’ve been insulted, harassed and discriminated against on the job. [Ed. Note: Emphasis mine.] And they’re worried that people will think they’re unprofessional because a guy has his kids’ names inked on his arm or flames crawling up his neck?

You know what? If you’re working in a customer service job, fine — a grooming standard should absolutely be adhered to. But firefighters? If you’re coming into contact with a firefighter, it’s probably because they’re saving your life, saving your house, or saving someone you know or love. If the barista’s forehead tattoo is a turn-off, understandable, but is anyone seriously going to file a complaint that the guy showing up at 4 a.m. to put out a fire had some visible kanji?

Well, it seems like things are getting worse in L.A. Dan Stark, a heavily tattooed eight-year veteran of the department, has been the butt of some idiotic harassment as of late. Banks gives an update:

The day the policy took effect in April, he said someone left a copy of the edict on his station’s kitchen table, next to a photo of a group of shrouded Muslim women, labeled with the names of five firefighters — including him — who are heavily tattooed.

Then he found his station locker covered with copies of the policy, he said. That meant someone had broken into it, or used the spare key kept in the captain’s dorm. Later that day, he said, someone drew a picture of a mummy and captioned it “Stark’s new uniform.”

When he complained about the ribbing, one captain told him to quit griping and be a team player, he said. Another suggested he get some tattoos removed, as a sort of goodwill gesture. Another official said he risked ruining his career if he kept complaining. None apparently forwarded his complaints up the chain of command.

So … that’s pretty great. To recap: Fire department is exposed for abuse, hazing, etc., and revamps its policies to ensure proper treatment of its firefighters. Another new policy is put into place to prohibit visible tattoos on firefighters in the same department. Tattooed firefighters start getting shit from non-tattooed ones. Nobody does anything.

As Banks points out, the real issue here isn’t tattoos, though that serves as a microcosm of the glaring hypocrisy of an organization that has apparently done nothing to combat its internal problems. But again, of all professions, as far as interaction with the public goes, firefighters rank pretty high on the virtuousness list. The ways in which corruption can manifest out are few, and they’re pretty much just there to save our asses and occasionally pose shirtless for hunky calendars. If any profession deserves to be cut some slack on this front, it’s probably them.

Los Angeles Fire Department tattoo coverup muddles real mission, Discomfort over L.A. Fire Department’s tattoo policy is more than skin deep [Los Angeles Times]
Firefighter Tattoos [Strike The Box]