|THE BLACK LIST: UNDERPANTS, CHECK. DVD REMOTE, CHECK.|
|By The Black Table||
The week before Christmas is always a dead zone at work, where nothing really gets accomplished, but no one can just say, "Fuck it. I'm going home to get back in my underpants and watch DVDs" because you don't have any vacation days left. With more free time on your hands and less work to actually do, well, invariably those thoughts turn into opinions and those opinions are mailed in to the Black List by clicking that toilet over there on the right.
To celebrate the holidays and help the workers of the world burn at least six-and-a-half minutes of productivity, we present 10 reviews, covering everything from the changing Google logo to Christmas itself.
With underpants on and DVD remote in hand, the Black List wishes you all a: Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas and Happy Kwanzaa. And if you don't celebrate anything, have a nice day.
JESUS' BIRTHDAY: There's always a big celebration at my parent's house for the world's most famous Jewish carpenter and I really want no part of it this year. Last year Jesus threw up all over my couch after his 2,002 shots of Rumplemintz. And he insists on blowing out all the candles on his cake even though he's been burning down their kitchen since like 1974. And he always complains. I've never seen such a complainer: "This cross is heavy! My feet hurt! Nobody listens to me until it's too late!" Sometimes I just want to yank his beard and punch him in his thorny head. Why should Jesus hog all the attention? There have been other famous people born on Dec. 25. Sissy Spacek star of "Carrie", baseball's all-time stolen base leader Rickey Henderson, and Henry Thomas, wonder-eyed kid star of "E.T." were all born the same day as Mr. I-died-for-your-sins-so-you-could-be-happy. Bah, he can save the guilt trip. I'm onto his game. Jesus had better look elsewhere for fawning adulation, piles of gifts, and undying love. There's no way I'm spending Dec. 26th cleaning the couch again this year. D- -- A.J. Daulerio
IN AMERICA: Jim Sheridan's semi-autobiographical "In America" isn't the immigrant movie the trailer portrays it to be. The Sullivan family is not in America so much as New York, and New York is foreign to one and all unless you were actually born in one of the five boroughs. (And even then ) The Sullivans are broken, as Sheridan tells us in the first five minutes. Once there were three children and now there are two. And the Sullivans have had a great fall as a result. Though there are some needlessly sentimental moments in this (The Langley Schools Music Project "Desperado" ripoff to name one), but they were forgivable. Taking on life, death, love, redemption, and forgiveness can be pretty heady stuff. But Sheridan, who co-wrote the script with his daughters, doesn't pander to us. He just makes his characters likeable and compelling enough to make you want to hang out with them longer, well past the ending credits. Notice is due to the Bolger sisters, who play the Sullivan daughters. These are children who act like children, not children trying to be adults trying to be children. If you're looking for a movie to see with the folks (only The Dad likes LOTR), this will satisfy everyone. B+ -- Aileen Gallagher
THE FLAVOR FLAV ALARM CLOCK: You dialed 911 a long time ago, and you want to see how late they reactin'? That's why there's a Flavor Flav alarm clock. Flav, as you old-school hip-hop fans remember, was the comic jester in the otherwise deadly serious Public Enemy, and one of his trademarks was an enormous clock he wore on a rope around his neck. The alarm clock reproduces this look, except that Flav has no knees, like Hank Hill's father. Hit the snooze when you hear such Flavisms as "Bass In Your Face," "Get Up Get Down," "Yo G Yo," and, of course, "Yeaahhhhh Boyeeeeeee!!!" This would seem to be the perfect gift for your sophisticated bitch who wants to bring the noise every morning, but at $85, you'd need a Terminator Amex to pay for it. The revolution will be merchandised. B -- Bob Cook
STEVE BARTMAN-RELATED AUCTIONS: Let me get this straight -- the lawyer (naturally) who caught the foul ball Chicago Cubs fan Steve Bartman unwittingly tried to intercept from outfielder Moises Alou, the play that somehow single-handedly destroyed the Cubs in the 2003 National League playoffs, goes for $106,000? And it's bought by Haray Caray's restaurant, which is going to destroy it in February? And Bartman doesn't get a stinkin' dime out of this? That's just wrong. On the other hand, the infamous ball sold for the same price as a Mickey Mantle home-run ball from the 1964 World Series, so that should tell Bartman now is the time to cash in on his infamy. First item up for bid: his Walkman. C -- Bob Cook
THE EVER-CHANGIN' GOOGLE LOGO: On many important and/or interesting days each year, I would go on completely unaware that it was the anniversary of flight, or Boxing Day in Canada, or. . . whatever. These holidays are good to know about, in some twisted and sad sort of way. Thanks to Google, who elects to change their logo on holidays so as to inform us of whatever important day it is, I do not have to go through life oblivious to Flag Day. A- -- Miss Tenacity
THOSE SUPER LONG, SUPER SKINNY SCARFS: How come this trend hasn't gone away already? I expected long skinny scarves to go the way of the trucker hat and flash mobs -- to be declared over as soon as they were in. But no, I see them everywhere. On hipsters and dorks alike. Last night at about 2 a.m. in some an uncool part of Brooklyn, some guy is obviously freezing his ass off, long skinny scarf draped across his neck -- flying out behind him, long enough that he almost tripped on it. Was it warming his neck? Okay, maybe a 1 inch by 3 inch part of the back of his neck where the stupid scarf was touching his body. The rest of the 12-foot fringed wacky-striped piece of yarn was trailing behind him. Was it keeping him warm? No. Was it making him look cool? Hardly. Was it tripping him up, almost sending him flying into oncoming traffic? Why, yes! Hmm... maybe they're not so bad after all.... D -- kowgurl
HANDBAND, THE AIR INSTRUMENT TOY: While I was looking through the Sunday ads, I noticed a gem of a toy at Toys R Us called "HandBand". "HandBand" is toy that enables kids (or adults even!) to create realistic guitar, keyboard, or drums sounds simply by wearing gloves that detect your movements and transmit signals to an overly large receiver/speaker that you clip onto your belt. Most of us can relate to a situation in which one would need a toy like this. And that situation is whenever you are listening to a song, and the "sweet part" of the song comes up, whether it be a Dave Grohl drum fill, a Jimmy Page guitar lick, or even a piano synthesizer breakdown in a Rush song, or my personal favorite Heart's Magic Man (4:00 minutes in, I highly suggest you check it out). At this point in the song, it is almost mandatory to break out an air instrument. People usually default to an air guitar, but an air drum fill, or air piano lick can both be equally satisfying. So, what do you do when playing air won't cut it anymore? Get HandBand, and it will translate your flailing arm movements and random finger wiggling into pure rock n' roll. (...and no this will not make you cool) D- -- Jeff Chin
THOSE LITTLE BACKPACKS WITH WHEELS: Ah the joys of riding the D.C. Metro on a daily basis. Between the sardine can cars, the all-too-often delays, and the obscenely obese government workers, I didn't think it could get much worse. But, you see, now there is a growing contingent of assclowns towing their backpacks on wheels. Not big backpacks, mind you, but normal size backpacks. I just don't get it. You take up extra room on the train, and run over my feet at least twice a week. What could you possibly have in there that you have to wheel around? Rocks? Your fucking XL size lunch? People that have these fall into one of 2 groups -- really lazy, or too fat to be able to wear it properly. Please, I'm begging you-lose the wheels. There's a reason they call it a BACKpack, asshole. F+ -- Adam Brecher
WORKPLACE MARTYRS: Normal worker bee: Works 8 hours. Goes home. Has a life. Workplace martyr: Cannot leave. Even when there's nothing to do. They create work for themselves -- just make stuff up. Exhibits delusions of grandeur wherein they truly believe their employer cannot stay in business without their constant presence. They don't go to lunch ("Oh, I'll be ok, I'll just eat some red vines at my desk -- I'm just so busy!). They stock-pile sick and vacation days ("It's just NEVER a good time for me to get away!). They are also masters of guilt ("Oh, you're leaving? Is it five already? I'll be lucky to get out by 7" -- or, see variation: "It's five o'clock. Why are YOU still here? Aren't you usually gone by now?") These people exist solely to make the rest of us look bad. They must be stopped. Do your part to stop martyrs in the workplace. Leave at 5! D- -- Sybil Slavin
GETTING INTO AN ACCIDENT THE FIRST TIME IT SNOWS: Every year, on the occasion of the first snowfall, there are those drivers who do not alter their speed or driving habits in the least. Then you see them up the road, in the ditch, shaking their heads like, "how could this have happened to me?" And then you drive by them, safely going 15 mph, hunched over the wheel, traction control on, thinking, "what a yutz". This year I was the yutz. Am the yutz. I took a Michigan corner on glass-slick packed snow at my usual 10 mph over the posted limit, thinking only of how to endure the next five hours at my in-laws, spun out, locked my brakes, and clipped the curb. Not so much "clipped" as "slammed into and bent the front tire at a 90 degree angle, causing the transmission hose to rupture, spraying red trans fluid like so much blood". (Actually, it was my husband who was driving, I just wrote this in the first person so he'd let me submit it. I had to spend all day at the in-laws. But I got some laundry, catalog reading, and support garment discussing done so it wasn't a total failure.) D+ -- Elise Gilmer