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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Is the tattoo fad fading?

Is it finally happening? Has the tattoo finally lost its allure with the young and impressionable crowd? Can the old navy salts now reclaim their territory as the only guys who really know what tattoos are about?

I’ve criticized the tattoo fad a couple of times in this space over the past three and a half years with my argument that although tattoos may be "cool" for a period of time, the popularity will wear off the same as it did for Fu Manchu moustaches, Afro haircuts, and pegged pants. The difference is you can easily get a haircut, shave a moustache, and throw away weird clothes. A tattoo? It’s painful and expensive to remove. Once you have one, it is usually for life.

Do you really want Mary Jane’s name and yours surrounded by a heart etched on your arm forever? Especially since she ran off with some other guy 6 months ago. Do you want your friends saying, "Damn! I can’t believe he still has that tattoo!" Even an authority on the pop culture like Paris Hilton says tattoos are "unoriginal". Pop singer Christina Aguilera is having hers removed at no small and painful expense. Is the day coming when the pop crowd will see someone with a tattoo and say, "Remember those?"

The dermatologists have to be salivating over this prospect. There are a lot of "tramp stamps" out there that I’m sure the girls are wanting to have removed. Gosh, it seemed so cool to have that eagle creeping up your back in 2002; not so much now. Even rapper 50 Cent is having his tattoos removed now that he is trying to establish an acting career. Who would have thought? They seemed like such a good idea at the time.

For those who can’t endure the pain and expense of tattoo removal, there is a product available called Wrecking Balm Tattoo Fade System that claims to "fade away" that tattoo. They have a magazine ad with a girl looking at the tattoo on her back saying, "What was I thinking?" She is depressed because it is bikini season and she doesn’t know what to do about people seeing "that hideous stamp of identity."

So, what is next to leave the culture of the young? My guess is the boys who punched out their ear lobes with gigantic holes in order to wear ear rings will be lamenting that decision soon. That is a huge defacement and may not be repairable. Maybe they will have some use if another remake of King Solomon’s Mines comes along. They can wear black makeup and play the parts of African tribesmen.

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Thursday, April 22, 2010

Sign the bill, gov

Do you ever wish college students knew half of what they think they know? I’ve been watching them burn U. S. flags, grow their little protest beards, and chain themselves to buildings for as long as I can remember. They enjoy their version of feeling politically involved unless it interrupts something more important like spring break. Such idealism! Now they are chaining themselves to the old capitol building in Phoenix to protest the probable passing of SB1070 which is nothing more than a reinforcement of federal law that prohibits illegal immigration.

What is their complaint? Do they believe in illegal immigration? SB 1070 is basically just an exclamation mark on federal laws which are ignored. Under the bill, those who are illegal immigrants will be arrested because they are breaking federal AND state law.

One of the loudest gripes is that legal Hispanic citizens may be profiled and asked for proof of citizenship. I don’t see that as a big deal. All they have to do is carry I.D. and the experience is over. There is way too much sensitivity over this. Have you ever traveled in Europe? I did while in the military and was constantly asked for my identification card. Later, I was there as a civilian and was constantly asked to show my passport. It didn’t bother me at all as I realized those were the local laws and I respected them. How is this different.?

One person writes to the Republic today that the protesters "efforts should be directed toward repealing the federal law making illegal entry a crime." Maybe that would make them happy as there would be no more expensive fences to build, no expense of border patrols, and no local enforcement of laws that the federal government doesn’t seem to think are important. But, I wouldn’t want to hear complaints of long emergency room waits for patients with insurance as uninsured immigrants are being treated for free. Also, no complaining allowed when a ‘91 Honda plows into their car and the driver is illegal and without insurance.

Being in the U.S. illegally and complaining about it is the highest form of arrogance. Linda Valdez of the Republic says that illegal immigrants are "God’s children." In other words, the hell with our laws. Maybe she should check what Mexico does with those who try to sneak past their southern border.

It may all be academic even if SB 1070 is passed as it probably won’t be enforced anyway regardless of the 70% approval it has. If federal laws have been ignored, what kind of power will a state law have? Plus the cops are busy with so much other stuff they will overlook a problem that should have been nipped in the bud a long time ago. Let’s also remember who is running Washington and how much they are going to need future votes after the fiascos of 2010. Somehow I see about 15 million new Hispanic voters coming on board soon. But, until that unfortunate day, it’s nice to see Arizona making a statement.

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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

I painted my house, saved $300

Since I live in a neighborhood with a homeowner’s association, I am expected to keep my property looking good to enhance the look of the community. I like our HOA as they drive the streets and keep any eye out for those who would choose to let their property deteriorate to a point where it lowers the property value of everyone’s home. I’ve been through neighborhoods where cars sit on blocks in the driveway for six months or someone never cuts their grass and it’s not a pretty sight.

Our board is reasonable and if they see something amiss, they will send a letter to the resident asking them to correct it. Recently they made a sweep of my street and, although I didn’t get a letter, many of my neighbors did for some small infractions. Since most of the infractions were minor and dealt with areas that needed a bit of "sprucing up," Barb and I decided that maybe the front of our place could use a coat of paint since it gets a lot of sun and can look pretty bleached out after a period of time.

One guy gave me an estimate of $300 plus the cost of the paint which would be about $80. Barb and I looked at the house, then looked at each other, and decided that we could paint the place ourselves and save a few bucks. When my neighbor moved a few months ago, he gave me some leftover trim paint so I saved some money there. I bought the rest from Dunn-Edwards for $50 plus the cost of rollers, and miscellaneous items like masking tape. I used my neighbor’s ladder to get on the roof while Barb masked the coach lights and started painting on the bottom.

We finished the job in two days and, although it took longer than spray painting, I think rolling the paint looked much better. I am not a very handy guy at fixing things and doing repairs around the house but I’m proud of that paint job and the money savings it gave us. I also found out that I am bit out of shape as I was really stiff and sore after we finished the job.

Homeowner’s Associations can be good and bad. We are lucky with ours but I have heard of some nightmare associations that go over the top in their demands. One place I heard about had a retired army general for a president of the HOA and he tried to run the place like an army base. Big mistake and he was quickly booted out. A good HOA operates with reason and common sense.

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Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Can't get a date? Read this.

For you single guys who think you are Mr. Cool, you may want to check out a couple of new books discussed in yesterday's (4-6) Arizona Republic. One of them was written by a couple of ladies and is titled "Undateable: 311 Things Guys Do That Guarantee They Will Not Be Dating or Having Sex."

That sounds serious and even if you think you are the coolest guy in town, it seems inevitable that when the list of mistakes you can make with women has 311 entries, you are bound to screw up somewhere along the line. For example, in this world of first impressions being lasting, it is suggested that you lose the "soul patch" under your lower lip. Why? Because what men wear is usually the deal maker or deal breaker on the list of how women judge a guy. Most women feel the soul patch is a loser and even if they like you otherwise, they still have that underlying worry about what kind of guy would grow a soul patch in the first place.

If you don’t pass the initial 15 to 20 second appearance test, "The door starts to close" says Pepper Schwartz, a female professor of sociology at the University of Washington. Besides the patch, novelty belt buckles, "mandanas", high waisted jeans, tube socks, and Speedos are big time faux pas items. Oh, yeah, if you still wear your high school ring, that may be a deal breaker too; at least I would hope so.

While men have over 300 negatives that annoy women, men usually list only about 10 items about women that are annoying and, if the woman is good looking enough, they will overlook 9 of the complaints even if some of them are wearing eyeliner out to their ears, talking baby talk, referring to their boobs as "the boys" and wearing men’s neckties a la Ellen DeGeneres.

Why are men so lenient? If you are a man, it’s an easy answer. Men will put up with about anything if there is even the slightest chance of having sex with a woman. Being a man, I can understand that logic. Maybe it’s why we are often referred to as "pigs" by the ladies.

When I was dating many moons ago, guys had a standard "look." Clean shaven, slicked back hair, dark slacks and a white shirt. We all looked like clerks in a grocery store but that was all there was to style in those days. I hate to think of someone rebelling and growing a soul patch then.

To leave a comment or read other comments, click "Jim's azcentral blog" under links in the right column.