Tag Archives: Columns

Life As We Blow It #90: The outrage factory


Everything is outrageous. Outrage has become our default setting.

It’s exhausting, really, being outraged all the time. What’s worse, it blunts the impact of outrage. These days, that shit’s like the dollar in 1930: barely valuable enough to be worth churning out.

Of course, there are things by which we should rightly be outraged. Many of them, in fact.

Shark Week? Not so much.

Read the rest at Creative Loafing

LAWBI #74: Last-Minute Halloween Costumes

This year, Halloween is on a Thursday.

Which makes this Sat., Oct. 26, Halloween for Adults. When the treats come in shot glasses rather than plastic jack-o-lanterns. When the only real fears are of making an ass of oneself at the party, or of wondering why the pizza delivery guy is looking at one funny on Sunday, before remembering one still has about a pound of makeup caked on half of one’s face.

You know, Saturday night is just a few days away. And you promised, despite your better judgment and general disdain for such things, to dress up for the party this year. It’s been a busy several weeks, and now you’re finding yourself up against the wall, having to choose between grabbing a Sexy Casper The Inexplicably Horny Male Pre-Teen Ghost-Nurse costume at the pop-up Halloween store over on 66th Street, or not wearing a costume yet again, and — let’s face it — coming off like a humorless sort of fun-sucking joy vampire.

Yet again.

Listen: Getting caught without a costume at the last minute doesn’t have to be a disaster. In fact, an enterprising sort might actually snatch victory from the jaws of defeat by taking a cue from the ephemeral nature of our digital age, and doing something timely. Something ripped from the blog-headlines. Something right-freaking-now. This way, while everyone at the party pretends not to notice they’re all dressed as zombified Walking Dead versions of the characters from Mad Men, they’ll actually be talking about how clever and plugged-in you are.

Check out just a few of the possibilities:

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LAWBI #72: Grand Theft Auto V Isn’t Kid Stuff

Highly anticipated video game Grand Theft Auto V was released last Tuesday; it earned $1 billion in sales in three days, making it perhaps the fastest-selling entertainment product in human history.

Grand Theft Auto V will undoubtedly be hailed by some as a masterwork of game design, conception and execution. It’s also undoubtedly one of the grittiest, most casually violent and morally ambivalent games ever to earn the Entertainment Software Ratings Board’s “M for Mature” advisory. While the ESRB’s attempts to legally restrict the sale of games based on content have failed thus far, many, many retailers have voluntary policies on the books, and will not sell an “M”-rated game like Grand Theft Auto Vto anyone under 17.

Which means fuck-all if some cretinous parent wants to buy it and use it as a babysitter for their 10-year-old.

On Monday, gaming site Kotaku.com published an essay by an unnamed video game retail worker titled “I Sold Too Many Copies of GTA V to Parents Who Didn’t Give a Damn.” In it, the anonymous author writes about being worn down by selling so many copies of GTA V — and other “M”-rated titles — to parents who are obviously buying the game for kids “who could barely see over my counter,” despite the clerk’s attempts to sway them without pissing them off.

Read the rest at Creative Loafing  

LAWBI #60: Trail Markers

I came home from band practice a couple of weeks ago, and there was a new trail marker in the dining room.

Not a literal trail marker, of course. Rather, it was one of those objects that show up in my life every now and then, and seem to serve a purpose wholly different than the one for which they were designed: they seem intended to also let me know that I’m not where I was the last time I saw one.

A reissue of an old R&B album, rather than the latest CD by the latest mopey college-rock act. A title for a vehicle, sent after the last payment was made. A mortgage, signed, sealed and delivered. A wedding ring.

The oldest trail markers didn’t tell you how far you were from your destination, or even what your destination might be. They had no numbers, no arrows, no hints, no help. The oldest trail markers basically just told you that you weren’t where you were the last time you saw one — that, like it or not and rightly or not, you were covering ground, moving from one place to another.

Read the rest at Creative Loafing … 

LAWBI #58: Woke Up In Ybor City …

Singer-songwriter Craig Finn said once that he never really woke up in Ybor City before he nurtured that memorable lyric from the richly imagined soil of The Hold Steady’s youthful-loser landscape.

Well, I sure have.

In my Jeep, in the HCC parking garage. On the sofa in the old Creative Loafing offices above Cafe Creole. In a “loft” on the other side of the railroad tracks that was more of a hostel-slash-squat, spooning a pretty girl I sort of knew on top of somebody’s loft-in-a-box-in-a-loft and surrounded by people who were still partying.

And other times—the last one at the REAX Magazine office, to the sound of a cop on horseback galloping up onto the porch in pursuit of an assault suspect running from Club Empire. (We found unexploded pellets of pepper spray—the kind they fire from paintball-type guns—all around the place the next morning.)

Read the rest at Creative Loafing