1. Dirty Jack's Bar, Cincinnati. Two months ago a new Ohio law went into effect allowing citizens with concealed weapons permits to carry their guns into bars. While opponents of the new law feared that it would lead to a spate of sloshed shootings, Ohio's nervous night-club owners have so far managed to keep the peace. But things recently turned ugly at Dirty Jack's, a dank, depressing dive-bar in a quarter of Cincinnati that hosts a weekly "battle of the bands." Last month, it was the scene of an actual gun battle, as drunken members of one bad-hair band fired shots at the members of another. Though several people were hurt during the melee, nobody was killed. But according to the weary bartender who took our call last night, "If we're lucky there won't be any battling bands here for a while."
2. Greenhouse, New York City. Packed with hammered hipsters, wasted Wall Streeters and busloads of Asian tourists, New York's Greenhouse Club aims for a zen, rain-forest kind of feel. Five-thousand crystals dangle from the ceiling, while lush natural scenes peek out from behind the club's recycled glass bars. Bamboo floors and leafy wall coverings add to the club's squeaky-green theme. But while Greenhouse's buff bartenders will gladly whip you up a martini spiked with wheat-grass juice if you're feeling blue, not everyone makes it out in good health. In 2009, two people were stabbed after a fight broke out on the club's dance-floor. in 2010, an off-duty Emergency Medical Technician was shot in the leg by a jealous rival. And just this February, Real Housewives of Atlanta Radhida Ali star went medieval on a bouncer who tried to evict her party from the club , leaving him with 50 stitches in his face and severing a nerve and an artery.
3. L&L Club, Chicago. These days, Jeopardy is the main attraction at this classic Midwestern dive, but the unobtrusive hole-in-the-wall has won worldwide notoriety as the favorite hangout of not one but two serial killers: lecherous cannibal Jeffrey Dahmer and kid-loving circus clown John Wayne Gacy. A recent Citysearch review praised the bar's "warm, neighborhood feel," but warned that it's "not suitable for children. " While some online critics deride L&L as "loathsome and lonely," others have commended the establishment for its largesse. The barkeeps make sure that the men's room is filled with free condoms, while the ladies room is loaded with free tampons. Some claim the place is haunted, but the only ghosts we saw during a recent visit were slowly sliding down their bar-stools. But to be honest, we're not too sure about the food.
4. Any karaoke bar in the Philippines. If you love Frank Sinatra and Karaoke but you really can't sing, we beg you to stay far, far away from Manila, where a single sour note while performing My Way may land you in the city's morgue. Nobody is quite sure why the Philippines are so enthralled by Ol' Blue Eyes. (We're still trying to figure out why David Hasselhoff is so hot in Germany.) But in just the past decade, outraged Filipinos have shot more than a dozen second-rate singers for mangling their way through Sinatra standards, says The International Herald Tribune. (Word has it that they're fiercely protective of Lady Gaga as well.) If you ask us, its probably best to avoid karaoke bars entirely on your next trip to the archipelago. But if you feel compelled to wow the natives with some old-school standards, may we suggest that you start off with a Madonna ballad?
5. Abdille Nuradin's Bar, Mogadishu, Somalia. Hidden on a sketchy side-street in the center of war-torn Somalia, Abdille Nuradin's bar has managed to remain standing for over a decade, notwithstanding countless bomb threats, automatic rifle assaults, and occasional gunshots from militant Islamists opposed to Nuradin's Western ways. But don't blame the decor! Compared to Dirty Jacks or Chicago's L&L club, this swank African bar is as posh as the Plaza, while the drinks here are ten times cheaper. But if you decide to swap your sobriety for a six-pack of 60-cent Heineken's, don't say we didn't warn you: There's a 50/50 chance that hordes of angry Al Shabab guerrillas will kidnap you and your entire family while razing the entire neighborhood to rubble. On the other hand—60-cent beers!
Dan Cronin, a 61-year-old addiction interventionist, will run his 14th Ironman triathlon in Panama City, Florida, on Saturday. He's raising funds for Veterans Healing Initiative (VHI), a California-based nonprofit that moves veterans with drug problems out of jail and into treatment. The organization, he tells The Fix, is running out of money. “The troops are giving their lives for us, and a lot of them aren't getting taken care of." Cronin wants to prevent what he saw Vietnam do to his generation: “A lot of those guys came back damaged and we never did anything for them.”
Cronin raced his first Ironman on a dare 12 years ago, and he has 20 years' experience as a drug and alcohol counselor, as well as more than 20 years' sobriety. For the past three years he's been a volunteer member of VHI’s clinical advisory board. So far, Cronin's raised more than $28,000 in sponsorship for his Florida race, and if he beats his personal best of 11:49:42, some sponsors will double their donations—100% of which go toward VHI’s work with vets.
VHI is affiliated with treatment programs across the country, including some specifically designed for women veterans. They handle 90-100 cases a month and place vets into the most appropriate treatment settings, says Jonathan Gervasi, a spokesman for Cronin’s private intervention consulting business. “The majority of VHI's vets who are suffering from substance abuse and PTSD have come from Iraq and Afghanistan.” PTSD is reportedly rampant among veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts. In 2009 the US Army reported 230 suicides—160 of them active-duty troops—and more than 1,700 known suicide attempts. Increasing numbers of soldiers turn to drugs, especially prescription painkillers, to alleviate traumatic stress. The army reported more than 106,000 self-referrals for prescription drug problems in 2009, and 74 overdoses. To learn more about Cronin’s race, or to donate, visit VHI’s website.
They may not quite measure up to the drug submarines or cross-border tunnels previously produced by Mexico's inventive cartels, but the Mexican army is still pleased to have seized two huge catapults just south of the US border that were being used to hurl pot into Arizona. The devices apparently had some impressive capacity: 1.4 metric tons of marijuana were picked up in the same raid. Authorities had an idea of what to expect this time; back in January two other catapults were confiscated in the same area—the border city of Agua Prieta—in the first reported instance of this method being used. The US National Guard's remote surveillance observed people preparing catapults and using them to launch some pungent missiles across the border last week. The Mexican army says the three-meter tall devices were capable of flinging two kilograms of pot at a time.
The NYPD has yet another shocker to add to its recent catalog of corruption scandals. A Brooklyn narcotics detective was convicted Tuesday of planting drugs on a young couple. Jason Arbeeny—a 14-year veteran in the Brooklyn South unit—planted a small bag of crack cocaine on Coney Island residents Yvelisse DeLeon and Juan Figueroa back in January 2007. The innocent pair testified that they were stopped by two plain clothes cops as they drove up to their apartment building. Then DeLeon observed Arbeeny place something in the car. “He brought out his pocket,” the 35-year-old victim told the court. “He said, ‘Look what I find.’ It looked like little powder in a little bag.” At the trial Justice Gustin L. Reichbach angrily rebuked the NYPD over its slew of scandals. “I thought I was not naïve,” he said. “But even this court was shocked, not only by the seeming pervasive scope of misconduct but even more distressingly by the seeming casualness by which such conduct is employed.” Sadly, Arbeneey doesn't stand alone in his disgrace. Several Brooklyn narcotics officers have been caught mishandling drugs they seized as evidence, while hundreds of drug cases that might have been tainted by corrupt practice have been dismissed. The city has also made payments to settle civil suits over false arrests. One former detective, Stephen Anderson—who didn't know Arbeeny—testified that officers in narcotics units often planted drugs on innocent people. Reichbach also noted a list of flawed procedures and "unacceptable practices," like drugs seized as evidence not being counted or sealed until they reach the precinct. But he added that such procedural breaches “pale in significance” compared to the overall “cowboy culture” of the drug units. Arbeeny faces up to four years in prison.
According to a study of over 100,000 American nurses, women who have three or more alcoholic drinks in a week have slightly higher chances of developing breast cancer than those who abstain. This is interesting in light of the numerous studies that tout the health benefits of moderate alcohol—and this data follows all these women for up to three decades, so it's worth paying attention. Still, other relevant factors—such as exercise schedule, eating habits and general overall health—should never be ignored. In other words, a woman who drinks three light beers a week while following a diet of lean proteins and vegetables and training for an Iron Man faces very different risks from one who drinks the same while plowing through a carton of Camels and feasting on Ho Hos. That said, the nurses who averaged three to six drinks per week had a 15% higher chance of developing breast cancer than the teetotalers—and the risk grew by 10% for every 10 grams of alcohol drunk per day, never mind whether it was beer, wine or hard liquor. But what about those other studies, like the one claiming red wine protects against heart disease? Well, these researchers hedged a little, saying only: “deciding whether to avoid alcohol is a personal choice that should be based on a woman’s other risks for breast cancer and heart disease.” As for those women who like to go on vacay and really tear it up, while keeping the liquor consumption in check the other 51 weeks of the year, the news isn't so bad—it's cumulative, consistent drinking of at least three drinks per week that carries the highest risk in this area. In a point we can only hope everyone already understood, leading breast cancer specialist Dr. David Winchester points out that this study doesn’t suggest that women can avoid breast cancer simply by not drinking.
- Perry Says Alcohol, Painkillers Not Involved in Speech that Went Viral [ABC News]
- Fatty Foods Addictive Like Cocaine, Shows Growing Body of Research [Bloomberg Businessweek]
- Atlanta Voters to Decide on Sunday Alcohol Sales [Neighbor Newspapers]
- Prison Guard Arrested for Selling Heroin [KSL]
- Slideshow: Mexicans Commemorate Drug War Victims in "Day of the Dead" [BBC]
- Heroin Addicts Cost Society 850,000 Pounds Each, British Police Warn [Daily Telegraph]
- Bubba Smith Died of Drug Intoxication, Says Coroner [LA Times]
- Former Kiss Guitarist Brands Gene Simmons a Sex Addict [Ultimate-Guitar.com]