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Tattoo Supplies and Equipment | Kingpin Tattoo Supply11.10.17

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Kingpin is proud to offer professional artists the best in tattoo supplies. We carry a wide range of the best tattoo needles, needle cartridges, and tattoo machines (including coil machines and rotary machines).

If you’re new to Kingpin we welcome you to call us and order one of our tattoo sample packs.

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Continuation of gang tattoo-removal program is positive – Walla Walla Union-Bulletin08.31.17

The ripples created by the recent closing of Walla Walla General Hospital continue to be felt in the community and often in unexpected places.

Few gave much, if any, thought to the closing of General on the INK-OUT gang tattoo-removal program based at the hospital. Yet, the consequences of having that program go away are very serious to those who need their gang tattoos removed so they have a better opportunity to change their lives for the better.

Well, those few who were very concerned about ending the INK-OUT program have come up with an excellent solution. INK-OUT will be housed at The Health Center at Lincoln High School, currently moving into a new space at Walla Wallas teen center, which is located on Third Avenue just behind the high school.

This move could have a great many pluses.

Its located at a space that might be more comfortable for those seeking to have their tattoos eliminated. In addition, many General Hospital staff members who trained for the tattoo removal program were barred by Washington state law from volunteering post-work hours at a job for which they are paid. So, this move could result in more volunteers to safely removed the tattoos.

INK-OUT offers tattoo removal through a special laser that breaks up tattoo ink and allows the smaller particles of ink to be absorbed into the body. The targeted group for the INK-OUT program, which started in 2013 and has served about 50 people, is former gang members who want to be rid of permanent markings of their gang- and drug-influenced lives.

The need for gang tattoo removal became apparent through a task force study on reducing gang activity in the Walla Walla Valley, facilitated by Community Council. While grants from Sherwood Trust and Blue Mountain Community Foundation kicked in the majority of funding needed for the equipment required for tattoo removal, General Hospital agreed to provide the office space for machinery and staff.

Its great that a solution was found to keep this important program up and running so more gang members and others will get an opportunity to leave their past behind without tattoos.

Editorials are the opinion of the Union-Bulletin’s Editorial Board. The board is composed of Brian Hunt, Rick Eskil, James Blethen and Alasdair Stewart

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Law Enforcement Blotter: Tuesday, August 29 – Alexandria Echo Press08.30.17

Gas leak, comp could smell possibly natural gas in the area as he drove through, Alex.

Suspicious vehicle, small green car has been parked occupied in the area on Co Rd 30 many times recently, car is back again today, unable to locate.

Theft, theft of door mat, Brandon.

Suspicious activity, caller had to evict a renter and the renter is supposed to be out by today, caller said that this person may have just driven through her yard, Brandon.

911 hangup, unable to contact, Nelson.

Threats, Alex.

911 hangup, a male wanted to know what could be done about terroristic threats, he hung up after being asked for the address, Evansville.

Fraud, some money taken out of his mother’s account by an internet scam, Alex.

Fire, passerby could see flames in basement, Alex.

Suspicious activity, very tall man with British accent is knocking on doors trying to sell educational books, unable to locate, Miltona.

Theft, stolen debit card.

Check welfare of person, comp has not been able to get in touch with his wife for three hours, not answering phone, made contact with person one, everything fine, Osakis.


Tuesday, August 29

Fight/assault, three or four people fighting in the church parking lot, person one and three stated that they were training for MMA.

Suspicious activity, comp states a male stopped him in the middle of the streets this morning and confronted him about his kids being disrespectful.

Property damage crash, State Hwy 29 S.

Suspicious activity, comp states a vehicle occupied by a male and female looked like they were scoping out comps truck or place, comp is headed to work now and is uneasy about it, person one practicing for her driver’s test later today.

Assault, states male slapped her phone then went dead, out of service message on redial.

Check welfare of person, comp states her niece has been dealing with drugs and depression, she hasn’t heard from her this week and she hasn’t shown up for work, comp is also concerned that parties who she stays with are weird about letting her leave, no contact made.

Suspicious person, male acting very strange, unwilling to speak with officer, no criminal reason to detain him.

Hit and run, 15th Ave E/Jefferson St.

Suspicious activity, reporting a young girl with two boys, looks like missing girl, made contact with juveniles, female not female of interest.

Suspicious activity, discovered a male sleeping in one of the apartments, male woke up and fled on foot, advised to change locks and contact if individual returns.

Theft, DVD player from vehicle.

Child custody matter, comp wanting it documented that he has not seen his daughter since July 4 and that he is supposed to see her three hours a week.

Violation of court order, ex is violating order by randomly texting non-custody related dialog to her.

Fight/assault, comp states a female attacked her while she was checking on her friends cats, states it was all because of a feud over laundry detergent.

Public assist, person one using Plenty of Fish app stated somebody was demanding he send them money, advised of scam and to block all numbers and stop speaking with this party, he is not out any money.

Public assist, has prescription meds for his daughter but mother won’t tell him where daughter is.

Suspicious activity, homeless man at park for last three days, has been talking to teens.

Public assist, has questions regarding getting help for a friend that is threatening to harm himself.

Public assist, comp would like an officer out to talk to his son regarding some suicidal thoughts and threats he’s made today.

Suspicious person, male party was looking through car in the lot.

Juvenile trouble, 16-year-old daughter left on foot to go stay with a friend after mother told her no.

This is not a comprehensive report of all local law enforcement activity, rather, a brief recap of daily calls for service.

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New regulations would stop dangerous tattooists, industry expert says – Taranaki Daily News08.29.17


Last updated17:00, August 29 2017


Tattooist Stacey Drummond is glad more regulation is coming to the industry in Stratford.

New regulations covering tattooing and beauty treatments will control “back yard tattooists” who are putting people in danger, an industry expert says.

The Stratford District Council is currently in the processes of creating a bylaw covering beauty therapy, tattooing and skin piercing in the district, after council officers identified a gap in the regulations.

Stacy Drummond, who has been tattooing for 25 years and spent the last eight years operating the Impressions in Ink Tattoo Studio in Stratford, said the new rules would control the people who didn’t know what they were doing.


Drummond has been tattooing for 25 years and spent the last eight years in Stratford.

“There’s a lot of people doing damage because they don’t have the proper sterilising equipment,” he said.

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“I think it can only be a positive for everybody, it has to be. It’s going to make everyone step up their studios just that little bit more.”


He said more people were taking up tattooing with the availability of kits online, but said it was dangerous if not done right.

The new bylaw, which is currently a draft and could be changed after public consultation, would mean activities such as tattooing,body piercing, hair removal,manicuresand laser treatmentwould all need a license to operate.

Shops offering services such as makeup, facials and body therapy would need to follow the code of practice in the bylaw, but wouldn’t need a licence unless the council found they were not complying with the regulations.

Traditional tattooing, such as ta moko, and tattooing done for free would be exempt from the bylaw.

Using unsanitary equipment led to the risk of contracting hepatitis Cand AIDS, and Drummond said the regulations should have been brought in years ago.

“The councils just weren’t taking tattooing seriously,” he said.

“To be a hair dresser you had to have a health licence and then we were piercing skin and everything but we weren’t even looked at for a long time.”

TradeMe’s decision to allow the sale of tattooing kits online meant there were more people doing it, Drummond said, but that didn’t mean they were doing it right.

“It comes down to common sense and if you’re not cleaning your stuff you shouldn’t be tattooing,” hesaid.

“We’ve got an association and we’ve managed to get the ink off TradeMe but they can still get the equipment that every now and again comes with little bottles of ink and that’s just crap ink.”


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Walla Walla gang tattoo-removal program gets new home | Local … – Walla Walla Union-Bulletin08.29.17

While the closing of Walla Walla General Hospital erased some medical services and providers in Walla Walla, the INK-OUT gang tattoo removal program previously based on the hospitals campus lives on.

Starting in early fall, INK-OUT will be housed at The Health Center at Lincoln, currently moving into its own new space at Walla Wallas teen center, which is being called Hub on Third, at 534 S. Third Ave.

Launched in 2013, INK-OUT offers tattoo removal through a special laser that breaks up tattoo ink and allows the smaller particles of ink to be absorbed into the body.

While anyone can use the service, the targeted INK-OUT audience is former gang members who want to be rid of permanent markings of their gang and drug-influenced lives.

The need for such a service became apparent through a task force study on reducing gang activity in the Walla Walla Valley, facilitated by Community Council. While grants from Sherwood Trust and Blue Mountain Community Foundation kicked in the majority of funding needed for the equipment required for tattoo removal, General Hospital agreed to provide the office space for machinery and staff.

John Cress, former executive director of Walla Walla General Hospital Foundation, said while his organization wrote the grant for INK-OUT, no one involved felt like the hospital or its foundation owned the equipment.

So when General Hospital announced in June its doors would close in late July, Cress and others sprang into action to rehome the tattoo removal program.

Sergio Hernandez, equity and access coordinator for Walla Walla Public Schools, Dr. Robert Betz, INK-OUTs founding researcher and physician, and Stan Ledington, executive director of The Health Center, worked with hospital officials and contractors for the teen center to create the infrastructure and support needed for continuing the work of the program, which has served nearly 50 people from Walla Walla and around the region in four years.

Not all have finished, Hernandez said. Some are still in the process.

Coming together to move INK-OUT is simply more of the community effort the program has enjoyed since the beginning, Cress noted, adding that he is hopeful the change of venue will attract more volunteers.

Many General Hospital staff who trained for the tattoo removal program were barred by Washington state law from volunteering post-work hours at a job they got paid for. So moving it opens up this new opportunity, he said.

For more information about INK-OUT, call The Health Center at 529-6551.

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NSW prisons to be raided in contraband crackdown; authorities warn offenders ‘will be found’ – Gears Of Biz08.25.17

NSW prisoners have been put on notice deal in contraband and you will get caught and spend even more time behind bars.

All state prisons are being raided as part of Operation Purge and the secret weapon is a border collie called Hank.

Hank, who is trained to sniff lithium an ingredient in mobile phone batteries is being used in the crackdown which began at Long Bay jail last week.

Every cell and inmate was searched and drugs and weapons were netted and four prisoners charged.

Corrective Services Minister David Elliot said no stone would be left unturned.

No pocket will be safe, no corner of a prison cell will be unaccountable, well be making sure that if you do bring in contraband you will be found, he said.

Prisoners caught with contraband face a two-year extension to their sentence.

Police will be looking for makeshift knives, guns, drugs, phones and even improvised tattoo equipment in the coming months as all 36 NSW prisons are targeted.

Deputy Commissioner Mark Wilson said police would have their work cut out for them.

Theyre [prisoners]ingenious and they have a lot of time on their hands to devote to trying to improvise and make improvised weapons so its a constant battle, he said.

Mr Elliot said a major reason for launching the operation was an incident last month in which a Parklea Prison inmate shot a video showing him in possession of drugs and weapons.

The video, uploaded to YouTube from inside the facility, showed the inmate holding a knife and what he said was the drug ice.

He said prison guards were smuggling in the contraband.

The Government intervened in the running of the private jail and is now considering the future of its operator.

Currently only two prisons in the state have received approval to use phone-jamming technology to make mobile phones useless within their walls.

The measure requires Commonwealth approval and a guarantee that the technology will not affect phones being used by the businesses and residents nearby.






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Cosmetic/medical tattooist Jennifer Griffin helps change lives with unique profession – Lynchburg News and Advance08.23.17

When Jennifer Griffin first learned about permanent medical tattooing and makeup, she thought of its obvious benefits.

“I thought, How cool to wake up in the morning and not have to do your eyeliner? she said.

But, she quickly realized, theres so much more of a need than I realized.

Medical tattooing can be used for scar camouflage; to create the appearance of hair thats been lost to ailments like alopecia, which occurs when a persons immune system mistakenly attacks their hair follicles; and even areola replication for cancer survivors who have had mastectomies.

Griffin, who has been doing cosmetic and medical tattooing for four years, has worked with cancer survivors, in both areola restoration and on eyebrows that didn’t return after chemotherapy treatments. She’s also camouflaged scars, including for a man who had scarring from a hair transplant.

And the permanent eyeliner and eyebrows she frequently does are about more than just convenience for some clients, like a legally blind woman who had been filling in her eyebrows from muscle memory. Griffins work allowed her a more permanent solution.

Griffin, 32, got into the field after meeting her mentor, a woman who did permanent medical tattooing.

A lifelong artist and painter who earned her bachelor of fine arts from The New School University in New York and also took upper level art courses at Parsons School of Design, Griffin said her interest was immediately piqued.

Ive always had an interest in cosmetics, she said, and with her art background, its sort of the perfect blend of both worlds. Skin is just my newest canvas.

After working with the woman whom Griffin said has recreated everything from belly buttons to fingernails in tattoo form for clients Griffin eventually enrolled in Floridas Academy of Cosmetic Arts and Sciences, where she received training in medical tattooing, permanent cosmetics and semi-permanent eyelash extensions.

She finished the program in May 2013 but has returned to the academy from time to time for advanced continuing education courses, including in 3-D tattooing for areola restoration. Shes also certified in blood borne pathogens, which focuses on safety and sanitation.

She moved to Lynchburg from Cleveland in January 2016 and also holds a Master Permanent Cosmetic Tattooist license in Virginia, which allows her to provide services like scar camouflage and areola replication.

Currently, she works at Caspian Tattoo on Wards Road three days a week and Maven Salon in Cornerstone the other two. Shes an independent contractor in both locations, operating her own company, Beyond the Surface Permanent Makeup.

When Griffin began planning her move to Lynchburg, she approached Caspian owner David Casper about working with them to provide her services locally.

Casper said its something theyd considered previously, after getting a few requests for permanent tattooing, so he scheduled a meeting with Griffin.

When I met with Jen, I was very impressed, Casper said. Shes well-educated and very well-rounded. She knows her craft, and shes just incredible at what she does. She comes with a lot of credentials.

Most of Griffins work is in permanent makeup like eyeliner and eyebrow shading, as well as more specific requests like helping a client whod had a mole removed from her face on doctors orders.

“She really liked it, so we tattooed it back on over her scar. Sometimes its something someone brings you thats doable that you didnt think about.

Griffin uses ink specifically formulated for the face usually mixing custom colors for her clients, noting that its not as simple as picking a brown out of a bottle along with a piece of equipment called a Nouveau Contour machine, made specifically for permanent makeup.

Griffin said a popular misconception about medical tattooing is that it hurts like a regular tattoo. But, she said, its really nothing to be nervous about in terms of pain tolerance.

Wendy Neighbors, whom Griffin has worked with several times, compared the feeling to a sneezing sensation: Its like a tickle.

After getting permanent eyeliner, Neighbors returned to Griffin last year to get her eyebrows done.

I actually had it scheduled years ago and I chickened out, Neighbors, a hairstylist, said during her session with Griffin in 2016. A client was telling me about [Griffin] and knew her. I was just like, Wow, Ill try it. [And] I love it. I enjoy it. It makes you look a little more awake.

When working on Neighbors permanent eyeliner, Griffin didnt tattoo it all the way across her lids, instead opting to stop about halfway across. This allows Neighbors to finish it herself with pencil eyeliner, depending on the look shes going for on that particular day.

Its a technique Griffin often uses to achieve a more natural look and to go along with her ethos that permanent makeup should enhance features and not replace them.

I tell people not to get it permanent if you dont normally do it, she said. I dont do fads. You want [something] that will age with you.

She draws everything on with a makeup pencil before doing any permanent work. And even after thats begun, shes still deliberate with each stroke.

I have a pretty conservative hand. I start light [but] can always thicken it up.

When it comes to eyebrows, Griffin uses two types of techniques that mimic hair growth: lines created with small, thin needles, called hair strokes, or powder fill.

Not everyone is a candidate for hair strokes, so in some cases, powder just suits them, said Griffin, who works around existing hair instead of shaving it off. Because of the coarseness of their hair or if they have very oily skin, hair strokes arent something I recommend.

Powder is more shading. Its soft shading to create a soft, powdery make-up finish, where the hair stroke is more line work. Its teeny tiny lines and the overall compilation of all of them creates that illusion of hair growth or a little bit more of a 3-D quality.

Every procedure gets two visits, one for the initial work and then a touch-up four to six weeks later.

The follow-up, she said, is really essential to lock in the color [and] get the longevity you want. Its like a perfection visit.

I had one woman who [didnt want the follow-up]. I was like, Ill be the judge of that, she added, laughing. Please come back.

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Waikeria prison staff pounce on contraband –

Last updated20:42, August 23 2017

Department of Corrections

Synthetic cannabis was included in contraband thrown into Waikeria Prison.

Synthetic cannabis was found after an attempt to smuggle contraband into Waikeria Prison.

Prison staff managed to stopthe attempted smugglingof two packages, which also included tobacco, mobile phones and chargers.

The contraband was packaged up and thrown into a garden area, but staff found the packages before they could be collected by prisoners who work in that part of the unit.

Department of Corrections

The contraband was packaged up and thrown into a garden area of Waikeria Prison.

“Contraband is dangerous in a prison environment. We work hard to prevent it being introduced to our prisons, and to identify thoseresponsible,” DaveAlty, deputy prison director said.

READ MORE:Prisoner pressured to return from funeral with contraband

“There will always be some prisoners who attempt to push boundaries and try to smuggle contraband items into prison using a wide range of methods.”

Contrabandin prisons includes tobacco, alcohol, communication devices, drugs, drug paraphernalia, tattoo equipment, and weapons. It also includes some everyday and seemingly innocent items that while not illegal, may be used inappropriately by prisoners.

Cellphones are unauthorised as they can be used to organise the introduction of contraband, facilitate criminal activities in the community, and harass victims.

“The security of our facilities and safety of those accommodated and working within is paramount. Corrections staff put a significant amount of effort into stopping contraband from being introduced into our prisons.

“Our intelligence staff are constantly working to identify and mitigate risk areas in the physical environment and to stay informed about new methods of concealment.”


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Meet Mosul’s rebellious tattoo artists – Al-Monitor08.23.17

MOSUL, Iraq Mosul’s first tattoo parlor is hidden behind a simple sheet metal wall.Tattoo artistAmar, 29, has a thin mustache and a bigsmile. He opened hisshopfour months ago in the neighborhood ofKaramah, which, though impoverished, was spared from much of thefighting between the Islamic State (IS) and the Iraqi army.Atabout 15square meters (161 square feet), the shop isjust big enough to fit in the dozen young Moslawis huddling around Amar, who is busy sketchinga design for a tattooon the shoulder of his friend Zaid.

“I was nineor 10 when I tattooed someone for the first time,” Amartold Al-Monitor.”Saddam Hussein was still around!” One after the other, Amar’sfriends undress to get their tattoos, bursting with laughter as they do so. The group, listening to deafeningly loud music, seems unbridled. “We’re getting drunk all the time now,” commenteda tattooed man,who says he has barelytasted whiskey since 2014, when ISoccupied the city.Most of the men sporttattoos of tigers anddragons, busty pinup girls andscorpions, but Zaid optsfor a design to symbolizehis newfound freedom. On his skin, as the pearls of blood from the needle’s prickeventually fade, a butterfly tattoo is revealed.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi proclaimeda “major victory” in Mosul on July 9, nine months after the start of a bloody urban battle between ISand the Iraqi army.For three years, the city had been the largest stronghold in terms of both population and territory of IS. But in the eastern part of the city, which was recapturedby pro-government forces in January, business has resumed forsome:Amar has already tattooed nearly 300 customers since he opened for business, charging anywhere from $5 to $200 a piece.

Not even the capture of the city by IS in June 2014 and the gradual establishment of a bloodthirsty regime could stop the artist. But secrecy was key. He closed his salon and only practiced at home. “I only tattooed close friendsthose I could trust,” he said.”The rule was: If they catch you and want to kill you, you accept and you do not give my name.”

During 2years of IS occupation, Amartattooed more than 50 people.”People wanted to get tattoos because IS forbade it. It was their way of resisting,” notedthe father of two, whose wife has a tattoo of a rose.But an IS collaborator ended up reporting him.Amar was sentenced to 10days in prison and 100 lashes onthe back,but he resumed his work soon after his punishment. “I love what’s forbidden,” Amarsaid, a smirk on his face.

For some tattoo artists, their resistance to the so-called caliphatewas not justsymbolic. Hussein, 23, who uses a nickname for security reasons, decided to learn how to tattoo a week after Mosul fell into the hands of the jihadis.He taught himself by watching tutorials on the internet, thougha lack of equipment forced him to build his own machine usingparts from an electric razor, a USB cable, a pen, some tape and a sewing needle.

Amar and friends pose for a picture in his tattoo parlor in eastern Mosul, Iraq, May 21, 2017.(photo byCharles Thifaine)

By day, Husseintattooed bodies of all shapes and sizes. By night, he roamed the streetswith his fellow anti-IS rebels to tag houses of IS members with the letter “M,” which stands for “muqawama,”the Arabic word for resistance.

Thissmall attempt at psychological warfare was enough to put the lives of thegraffiti artists at risk. But they didn’t stop there. Phones were forbidden, but when Hussein managed to get one, he became an informant for Iraq’s counterterrorism services. Husseinspeaks with a shy smile on his face, buthe freezes as he looks at a photo on his smartphone.It is of a friend who had also joined the network of informants. “He was denounced. Murdered with a bullet in the head,” he said.

For Hussein, the threat is threefold: tattoo artist, informant andShiite. Under the rule of IS, hisreligious denomination could have meant death. IS even killed his father’s cousin.To keep his religious identity a secret, Hussein had to count on his neighbors. “Our neighbors told IS fighters that we were Sunnis. That’s why we’re still alive,” he whispered. In Mosul, as elsewhere, resisters and collaborators often lived on the same street.

On the eve of the battle of Mosul, senior Iraqi commanders were convinced that the resistance would play a key role in the urban warfare to come. “When our troopsarrive near Mosul, we expect some kind of uprising,” Lt. Gen.Najim al-Jabouri, the commander of the Ninevah operations, told Al-Monitor in August 2015.

Some of the city’s residents are accused of welcoming the jihadisin 2014 andprecipitating the fall of Mosul. Others, at the time, pledged allegiance to Baghdad. “Every day we hear about attacks carried our by civilians. Some of them were veterans of the Iraqi army. Others work with the intelligence services,” the commander explained. But the revolution never came.

The home of Hussein’s uncle, which serves as a tattoo parlor for young artists like Hussein, is packed. Every day, more and more relatives, soldiers and strangers arrive to get their first tattoos. “People are no longer afraid,” Hussein said.”Freedom is on the move. It changes very slowly, but society is better now than it was before the arrival of IS. Now we have our eyes open.”

Meanwhile, in Amar’s parlor, many customers are arriving to gettheir firsttattoos. Ahmed, 19, arriveswith a special request. Arrested by IS militants and held for several days, Ahmed was terrifiedat the thought of being executed.On his shoulder, he cut the shape of a heart, in honor of his mother. Now, he wants to turn the scar into a drawing. “The time of IS is gone.Now is the time to get a professional tattoo!” Ahmed yelled.

The jihadislost the battle for Mosul, but the tattooed rebels say their fight continues. “Even before IS I was not free to drink alcohol and do what I wanted,” Amar said.”Before, the people were more strict, but they have suffered so much under IS that our society has become more open.”

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Tat II – The Adirondack Daily Enterprise08.18.17

In last weeks column I made a mistake that must be corrected. Id said when I was a kid the only people with tattoos were veterans. For the most part, thats true, but a small number of The Inked Set were never in the service for all sorts of reasons, antisocial behavior not the least of them. They were our town hoods.

As I recall, they went extinct sometime in the mid-70s, victims of changing times and social mores. But from the mid-50s they were a local fixture, every bit as noticeable and accepted as hunters, gamblers, booze hounds and other colorful types.

They were few in number (especially compared to booze hounds), but were disproportionately visible. First, was their uniform. They sported cuffed, low-slung Levis, held up with an engineer belt (perhaps with a buckle sharpened in machine shop), black engineer boots, and a T-shirt with a pack of cigarettes tucked in the sleeve. For thems rolling in moolah, la piece de resistance was a black leather jacket with at least 15 zippers, hanging from each one a lucky rabbits foot (lucky for the hood, not the rabbit).

Then of course was their crowning glory the euphemistically-labeled ducks tail haircut. In case you never saw this classic Coif of Cool, it consisted of a lot of hair, combed back on both sides, with a spit curl hanging over the forehead. The bottom of the back was combed over from each side and then given an upward flip, a la a ducks tail. To less polite company it was never called a ducks tail, but was instead known by the initials of its less refined name D.A. The whole doo defied gravity as well as convention, being held together by a fistful of Wildroot, Alberto VO 5, or in extreme cases, Vaseline Petroleum Jelly.

Another part of their outfit was The Look. This consisted of their eyes at half-mast, the corner of one lip turned up in a slight but constant sneer. The Look was the visual equivalent of Up yours and your poodles too.

So what about the tattoos, you ask? Well, even though they didnt skimp when it came to rabbits feet, hair pomade and shivs, when it came to tattoos they were seriously challenged.

DIY skin art

The problem was tattoo shops or more exactly, the lack thereof. Quite simply, there wasnt one. Those bygone days were The Dark Ages of tattooing. Today, you want a tattoo, its no sweat. In fact, you can get any kind of fabulous inking you want without leaving the confines of My Home Town. Just strut into Studio 518 Tattoo at the bottom of Berkeley Hill, and Tim McCormick will hook you up to your hearts content (with or without an arrow going through it and Mom scribed thereon).

But, alack and alas, back in The Good Old Days such convenience was not to be had here. In fact, Ive no idea where the nearest tattoo shop even was. Montreal? Albany? NYC? Given the paucity of customers, a tattooist trying to make a living outside a major metropolitan area or big troop town was destined to a life of poverty, not to mention solitude.

Besides, as a group, hoods were not creatures of delayed gratification. If they wanted a tat, they werent about to plan and wait patiently for it. Uh-uh, theyd take it into their own hands in this case, literally. Yep, they did their tattoos themselves. (The issue was moot anyway, since they were so young, no tattooist in his right mind wouldve done the work and nor would a tattooist out of in his right mind, either.)

Their equipment was as basic as it gets a sewing needle with thread wrapped around the eye, and a bottle of India ink. Their method was self-evident: First they poked a bunch of holes in their goombahs dermis, then they dipped the eye in ink and swabbed it on the punctures. It was a tribute to basic rural handicraft, and the design was basic. It was also crappy.

The big question

I said the design because there was only one I ever saw. It was a dagger with the hooligans initials underneath. The daggers looked like daggers sort of. Certainly, they were longer than they were wide and had a point at one end. Not a sharp point, maybe, but a point nonetheless. The initials looked like initials, but given the artists illegible scrawl with pen on paper, his work on skin with a sewing needle could generously be called cryptic. Of course, we already knew the kids names; otherwise, the Ds could be mistaken for Os, the Ls for Is, the Ms for Ns, or even Ws. They were less units of distinct lettering, than they were alphabetic Rorschach Tests.

No matter. The hoods were enamored with them and made sure they were on display at every opportunity, which, given those old Adirondack winters, meant for half the year it was an exclusively indoor sport. I knew those tats were hardly in the same category as the professional ones, for example, my fave, the dagger with Death Before Dishonor written around it. But, still, they were tattoos.

Besides, it didnt matter what some dweeb like me thought. At an age when the biggest thrill for rest of us was finishing a Pigs Dinner at the Altamont Dairy Bar, those guys had girlfriends. And their girlfriends were genuine, 100 percent hood girlfriends. Their makeup was too garish, their sweaters too tight, their fingernails too long and blood-red besides. They were hormonal H-Bombs with attitudes that ran the gamut from aloof to downright poisonous. To them a tattoo even a crappy homemade one was forbidden fruit, and thus all the sweeter. Those couples were in their own world and the opinions of the rest of us on Planet Earth were not only unacknowledged, but unnoticed.

Whenever I mention those hoods today, people inevitably ask me two questions.

The first is, What ever happened to them?

What happened to them is pretty much what happened to the rest of us. They sowed their wild oats, then settled down and got real jobs, got married, raised families, and now their biggest thrill is going to their granddaughters basketball game or their grandsons glee club concert.

The second question is, When they were young, did they have any idea what theyd think about their tattoos when they got older?

That question is a small part of a larger one, namely, When all of us were young, did we have any idea what wed think about anything in the future?

I cant answer for them or anyone else; I can only answer for myself.

And my answer is I had no idea no idea at all.

The rest is here:
Tat II – The Adirondack Daily Enterprise

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