Flakka Fever

This is the first time I've written about flakka, but, rest assured, it won't be the last. I'm super fascinated by it -- mostly because of the name. Also because Florida. In other parts of the country, it's referred to as "gravel." Florida is no slouch when it comes to the branding game.

Since flakka burst on the scene in 2013, the media’s gone crazy for the street drug that makes folks go nuts. Gawker’s Sam Biddle has a handy guide to all things flakka, aka Alpha-Pyrrolidinopentiophenone, a synthetic cathinone. It runs in the neighborhood of $5 a pop and purportedly makes those high on it act like superhuman zombies. The drug’s ground zero is Broward County, Florida, although its presence is slowly creeping across the country. In Ohio and Texas, flakka’s known as “gravel.” The drug can be swallowed, smoked, snorted, or shot, and flakka fiends have been known to attempt to kick in police headquarters’ glass doors and accidentally impale themselves on fences.

Can I Have Another?

My favorite part of "Is This Burger Obscene?" is the comment: "Obscene and immoral is right, and nothing to be proud of having eaten. Disgusting: you and the burger."

I'm disgusting, that's right!

"I ate half the burger at a high rate of speed. I’ve never smoked crack, but this, I imagined, is what smoking crack is like. You’re barely coming off your high when you realize what you really want in life is more crack."

Take It Off

Always a surprise when you write a post about going to the biggest strip club in America and people want to read it. Who knew!

I'm disappointed I didn't get one of the T-shirts.

"What I’m trying to get Anakar to tell me is what he’s doing to bring in a whole new generation of young men who may be more inclined to turn to their screens to get turned on than to head to the strip club. But he’s not in the porn business, and these aren’t cam girls demanding tokens. For better or for worse, he’s in the flesh business. I ask him if one day virtual reality or some future tech device we can’t yet envision could threaten his livelihood. 'I don’t think it beats reality,' he says. He leans forward to drive home his point to me and underscore what he’s selling. In the case of you and your machine, 'You don’t have the true fantasy, which is reality.'"


Camming Isn't Everything, It's The Only Thing

I've got a new post up on Forbes, this one on cam girls and $, "Meet the Vince Lombardi of Cam Girls."

Here's a quote from Nikki Night that didn't make it into the piece:

"It makes you feel empowered to have people look at you and say, 'You're gorgeous, you’re interesting.' We’re told we have to be this, we have to be that at work. Especially women. You have to look a certain way. As soon as you start camming, you see the real me. Me being myself. Me being me is not a size two. I might have cellulite, but people think I’m beautiful. They value my friendship. They value my time. I am interesting. People want to listen to me. It's very empowering that way. It takes a lot of balls to do it at first, but once you do have that, there’s this unbelievable feeling you have of being free, and once you're free, you're free. I own it. I don’t have a stigma about my job. I own it."

Eye of the Beholder

A Hearst heiress claims Cosmo is porn. But is it? Other than the tops of SJP's tits runningeth over, I didn't find the cover ... pornographic, per se. Inside, there were lots of ads. They may have exhibited the pornography of women, but I didn't find them to be ... porn. The front of the book was mostly: fashion, OMG hot actors, and stuff to do/read/smear on your face. There was a beauty image featuring a Darth Vader mask wearing a pink satin sleeping mask, which some Star Warsians might find offensive, but I don't think they would find it particularly titillating. Questions answered involved: how to style your hair better, how to get tan, how to minimize pores. One two-page spread wondered: "Are you a Kendall or a Kylie?" (Why can't I be both?) The back of the book had feature stories on: a young woman who had liver cancer, a model with vitiligo, the cast of the "hip-hopera" Hamilton. It wasn't until page 163 of the issue's 212 pages that things got, well, randy. In a photo, a hand held a cob of corn aloft. "Long Live the Hand Job?!" the headline crowed, confused. The piece was written by Tracy Clark-Flory, who's a friend of mine, and its point is really about love, not sex. The following pages host a personal essay about a woman who slept with a male model and lived to regret it: "Suddenly, the sight of his well-sculpted body was the last thing I wanted to see." Most of the rest of the sexy content was helpful, seemingly written for those who are still trying to figure it all out. Victoria Hearst is finding success in her attempts to get store copies of Cosmo covered up because, in her mind, it's "pornography." But it didn't seem to be porn to me. It seemed like it was a product that was created to meet a demand. Young women want to understand their sexuality, and it appears there are too few outlets for them to do it. So, there's Cosmo, leading the way.

How to Paint Your Spirit Animal

I went to a painting class called Paint Your Pet. I can't paint. I have a pet. The way it goes, you send in a photo of your pet beforehand, and then someone sketches the outline of your pet, and then you show up for the painting class. That way, your pet doesn't look like an alien blob. We were instructed to paint the background first. I did mine: blue and green. Then I looked around and saw that almost everyone else had a blue and green background. Initially, I'd wanted to paint the background jet black, but I hadn't. Now I was sorry. Then it was time to paint the body. So I painted part of the dog's body black. (The dog isn't black.) I didn't like that. Now I had a boring background and a black dog. So I took a bunch of black paint and a bunch of red paint, and I swirled them together, and I painted everything on the canvas other than the dog's eyes, and nose, and tongue this color. At some point, the instructor came by and indicated that what I had done was wrong. I got the sense that he thought what I had done was bad. He didn't like what I had done, I surmised. So I told him something like this is where I was going, so I was going to go there. He didn't really say anything, or maybe he said something; I don't remember. It seemed like I had to wait forever to do the eyes, and the nose, and the tongue, but when I did them, I made the dog have crazy red eyes, and a swirly orange noise, and a weirdly pink tongue. By now, the instructor was avoiding me. Everyone else had followed the directions. I guess they had taken the assignment of painting your pet literally. They had nice looking paintings, but I was unaware what it was they were trying to represent. Sometimes in my fiction, a crazed black dog with wild eyes and a lolling tongue will present itself, and I guess that's what I was trying to paint. I was trying to be creative. I think I succeeded.

Buy THE TUMOR! "This is one of the weirdest, smartest, most disturbing things you will read this year."