Tattoo News Review
02:09 PM
J. R. Celski.jpg
Tattoos on beautiful Olympic bodies were the biggest buzz this past week. The hottest one: USA speed skater J.R. Selski's chest piece (above) -- screen-capped around the world -- revealed as he took his shirt off after being disqualified in the men's 1000-meter short track speed skating on Sunday (he won the Bronze in the men's 1500-meter last week). Speculation over the meaning of the tattoo sped over Olympic blogs. Celski is of Filipino and Polish heritage and so talk of the tattoo being a blend of those countries' flags seems to hit the mark. [Thanks to Regin Schwaen for the link!]

Then there is Britain's ice dancing minx, Sinead Kerr, whose New Jersey license plate lower back tattoo was (ironically?) revealed during her performance to Johnny Cash's "I've Been Everywhere." In 2005, she explained why she got the tattoo: "JP (the pair's longtime ballroom instructor, John Paul Deloose) said I should get one to remind me of my back so I would shake it more. He felt I wasn't sexy enough last season." And nothing says "sexy" like bad tribal.

The mini-Olympic rings tattoo on hockey player Julie Chu's foot stars in this NBC video --  a sweet story on how her whole family got matching tattoos in honor of her making the Olympic team. More on that tattoo here.

Chu's not the only tattooed hockey player on the US team. The identical Lamoureux sisters sport a family crest -- inked at their kitchen table by a local tattooer -- but on different body parts, which helps tell them apart.

And Bronze-medal winning snowboarder Scotty Lago shows off his tattoos (including faded lip work) and talks about more to come in this video.

Whether kitchen scratched, tramp-stamped or lip inked, the tattoos still mark bodies of those who can kick my butt as I type this sitting on my own big Greek one, so respect.

Ok, let's hit headlines in my own ring: the tattoo law links...

There's more news on South Carolina lowering the tattoo age requirement from 21 to 18 years of age. As I noted in a previous news review, much of the push to change the law comes from the inequity of allowing 18-year-olds to go to war but prohibiting them from marking their experience on skin when they return. That and of course money leaving the state as those under 21 go to Georgia or North Carolina to get tattooed. The Governor will decide whether the new bill changing tattoo requirements will be put into law. Keep in mind that the art was completely banned in the state until 2004, but it wasn't until March 2006 when regulations were in force for legal tattooing. [Oklahoma was the last state to lift their tattoo ban in May 2006.]

New York City's tattoo ban was lifted in 1997. Of course, many -- myself included -- were getting work pre-legalization, but once the signs were allowed to flash "Tattoo" neon in shop windows, the amount of tattooed bodies in the city made it like a Hieronymus Bosch painting, a garden of epidermal delights. Also delighting in the tattoo tidal wave has been law enforcement, melding old school skin art with technology to identify suspects -- as this popular NY Times article pointed out last week. We've talked about databases of criminal tattoos before but the article shows just how detailed -- and some argue invasive -- the Real Time Crime Center can be.

As this Orlando Sentinel article points out, the popularity of tattoos dilutes criminal tattoo identification because so many are getting inked with designs that once solely marked gang members.

And simply, so many are getting tattooed with flash designs. Will everyone with "Mom" on their bicep be a suspect because one idiot with that tattoo committed a crime? I'll be keeping a watch on the legality of these tattoo databases and whether they begin to truly impinge on civil liberties. 

In pop culture and on its fringes, here are the tattoo headlines ...

Now there is someone in this world with an Ashton Kutcher tattoo. [right]

No.1 tattoo rule: Spell Check.

Nicole Richie regrets her dumbass tattoos.

With Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland release next month, we'll be seeing more of these Lewis Carroll tattoo stories.

Still diggin USA Today's Tattoo Tuesday blog but wish they'd credit all the tattooists whose work is featured.

Executive Chef of Sysco Food Services, Randy King, says Uncover those tattoos to restaurant workers.

And ending on a tear-jerking story...

Tattoo tributes to Renee Benson, a 29-year-old Orange County native who died of several forms of cancer, marked over 50 of her friends and family last week during a fundraiser at HB Tattoo in her honor. [More than $2,500 was raised for Benson's family to help cover medical costs.] Warning: the photos will hit you.


next, i want to see if shaun white and his coach actually get matching tattoos in vancouver (as "promised")!

Olympic tattoos are cool, even ones as simple as the rings.

One of the thrills of my tattoo-blogging adventures was meeting, last May, Ronda Rousey, the first American woman to ever win a medal in judo. Check out her (summer) olympic tattoos here:


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