Generally, we hate soft features. Whether it be an article on healthy recipes with a tiny connection to New Years resolution so it doesn't seem totally random or another article about some old guy that basically says "Old people can be useful". Stories like those aren't news. They're boring filler.
But we also understand they're a necessary evil. It's not like news organizations can just make news happen. If shit don't go down then shit don't go down. We just wish the Record would print more interesting features. Especially because jack and shit went on yesterday. We would write about Fitzy's flood map column but none of us knows shit about insurance or flooding. Plus we suspect the source of his FEMA-rage is because he's probably one of the people affected by the higher insurance rates. I guess we could tackle it stylistically considering the first word in it is the letter "I" which is a big no-no. It does seem like a very bloggy column. Thing is, as much as we crack on the guy, he's actually a pretty good writer. It's his choice of topics and opinions that are in question.
Or we could write about the pending layoff delay, because Obama didn't just tell us last night we need to deal with these problems head on instead of putting them off until later.
Or we could say something about how if the past is any indicator we'll probably lose our slice of the stimulus pie before it even gets here. Completely fucking over our poor urban forest.
But instead, we're taking this opportunity to show that soft journalism can be interesting. It can be more than just reprinting recipes from some lame cookbook to fill space. It can be more than "Hey! Remember Chris Isaak!?" Features can still be *gasp!* informative! And we want to show that not all features have to appeal to fatty housewives or depressed old people. So what will our first exercise in soft news be about? Drinking of course. Namely, drinking on the cheap during the recession.
Now, we hate recession trend pieces as much as the next guys, but hopefully some of the knowledge we drop will be helpful. If not, then somebody leak a document revealing gross government misconduct so we'll have something to write about tomorrow.
Drinking on the cheap is fairly easy, especially if you're willing to part with that nagging part of your soul called dignity. Without dignity, the world is your inexpensive oyster. If you're a woman, just slap on a low cut top and you're set. Those titties are like two fleshy credit cards with no bill. Use them while they're still hovering well above your belly button.
If you're a guy, it's admittedly a little harder. Mostly because guys aren't too big on dignity to begin with. Bris Isaak will drink a dipping cup of ranch for $10, and that was before the economy cratered. So for dudes (or a flat-chested or fat chick), it comes down to being less picky. Don't like going to a bar like the Circus Room or Winchesters because they're shitholes? Well guess what? Those places are dirt cheap. If you don't give a shit about hitting on a member of the opposite sex that's still desirable when you're sober and just want to get good ol' fashioned shitfaced then dive bars give you the most bang for your buck. They're usually cover charge free and you usually aren't paying more than $3 for a beer. Plus you're not surrounded by douchebags trying to impress some hot broad by acting tough and starting a fight because there aren't any hot chicks to impress. So, bonus.
If you've got too much dignity to hit up a shithole then your other option is to pick a bar and plant your flag. Find a bar that you're comfortable in and patronize it regularly for months. This won't pay off immediately, you gotta spend money to make money after all, but eventually you'll befriend the bartenders and achieve "regular" status and you'll get all sorts of crazy drink hookups. Just remember to tip well, just because they're your friends doesn't mean you don't hook them up for hooking you up. And if you are going this route, don't show up every Friday at 10 and expect to have time to shoot the shit and befriend bartenders. They're busy serving other people. At least, if they're a good bartender they are. Nobody wants to wait 20 minutes at the bar to get a drink. That's the exact reason I don't drink at Brandenburg's/Touche, if you don't have tits or personally know the bartender it takes a half hour to get a drink.
Of course, if you really want to maximize your drunken fun then we've got one word for you. Pregaming. Why spend $20 to get a buzz going when you could down a 6-pack before heading out for a third of the price? You have to be careful though and not go overboard. Just ask Bris. You drink too much and you're the guy who's sloppy drunk at 8 hitting on sober women while trying to convince them your name is Houston Mandolph. Then everybody thinks you're a lush. My general rule of thumb is to down a tall can while you're in the shower. Kill two alcoholic birds with one stone. That way, you get just the right head change going before you head to the bar for an all out assault on your liver. Just make sure you have one of those rubber shower mats. We don't want to be responsible for MADD creating a shower drinking branch.
If none of these ideas will work for you, chances are you're way too poor to even think about heading out to the bar. We feel your pain. It's tough to decide whether you should spend your last $10 on hamster food or dollar beers. We hope Nibbles' ghost will forgive us. The solution, again, lies with your dignity. If you must stay home and drink, then hard liquor in plastic bottles is the way to go. Sure, $6 vodka tastes like pure gasoline, but you can barely taste it after your 10th shot. If you're too much of a pussy for the hard stuff, then we'd like to introduce you to your new friend Natty Light. It's ridiculously cheap, it tastes like ass watered down with ball sweat, and it gets you drunk. It's like Pabst Blue Ribbon without the lame punk/hipster stigma.
We could go on, but this thing is getting ridiculously long, and it wasn't nearly as informative as we'd have liked it to be. I guess that means we failed. So I guess that means Soft news/features really are totally useless except as a means to fill space. And we filled a lot of space today. Hopefully tomorrow this space will be filled with actual news.