|THE BLACK LIST: BACK IN BLACK WITH 76.5% MORE CRAP.|
|By The Black Table|
And we're back!
For the last two weeks, the Black Table has been vacationing on the Bowery in downtown Manhattan, sunning ourselves with 120 watt lightbulbs, petitioning the Olympic committee to recognize tequila drinking and caps as a competitive sport and waiting for last week's endless Best of The Black Table retrospective to wrap up so we can get back to the business of reviewing things. And so here we are, back, with a brand new year and all new things to slap grades on.
Over our break, none of you seemed to take a vacation, the submissions kept pouring in, so this week's edition of the list will include a few more reviews than usual -- a whopping 17 in all. This means we're reducing the economic output of the temporarily employed by 76.5% more than usual. It also means the cupboard is bare for next week, so if you've got an opinion and a penchant for expressing it, by all means, click that toilet right over there and submit something.
Put 'em on the glass.
THE RANDOM NAME GENERATOR OF WHOEVER KEEPS SPAMMING ME: If I'm going to be spammed -- and that's a whole separate topic -- but if I'm going to be spammed, I have to admit I prefer to be spammed by people that have the newfangled name generator. You might know the one: A first name that's not a name, a middle initial, and a last name that's not a name, like Brobdingnagian D. Convoking, or Barkeeper H. Redeemer, or Griddlecake K. Madden. It's no great technological feat to randomly slap together such names, but you've got to pick the right word list, and spam from these assemblers get a grin from me four times out of five. For a split second, I believe that there is such a person as Hezekiah U. Crudely in the world, and it's funny. Not funny like Milo Minderbinder or Major Major Major Major, but it's close enough for government work -- though I can see a seminal satirical novel of 21st century culture featuring characters named Expiated E. Liaised, Taoist A. Emblazoning and Mithridates T. Scenario. It goes without saying that what these spammers are peddling is uniformly vile, but like good advertising, these e-mails capture your attention in a way you don't resent, even though you'd never, ever buy the product. It's a strange world where correspondence from Innocuous B. Priestlier provokes more of a reaction than correspondence from sexysingles69, but, well, it was a strange world anyway. A- -- Sean Weitner
BOOK BLURBS: Meet the world-weary book reviewer and blurb writer. After years spent slaving at Big Book Review Journal and Big Publishing House, their thin Reviewer-Blurbers' Phrase Book is getting dog-eared. Time to limn the bottom of the shallow synonym barrel and dredge up words and phrases and sentences at once brilliant and moving, full of redemption, love
and loss. Sentences that are "wickedly funny," "unclassable" and "unputdownable," uniquely fascinating paragraphs of exquisite detail, woven in breathtaking prose full of redeeming pleasure, a magical, unforgettable review of intriguing insight, fully realized and richly nuanced, magnificent, masterful, engaging, compelling, an immaculately done mini treatise with beautiful clarity, an exhilarating, impressive, beautifully written, dazzling prodigious feat of exhaustive repetitive blurbing that numbs book buyers' synapses and rapes the adjective of any real meaning. Sigh. F -- Deanna Larson
PEOPLE WHO DON'T EAT HAMBURGERS BECAUSE THEY'RE AFRAID THEY'LL GET MAD COW DISEASE: These are the people who won't fly in airplanes because they might crash, and who don't ride the subway because they might get Sarin-ed, but who drive around in SUVs that are one sharp turn away from flipping over and bursting into flame. These are the people who stopped drinking Pepsi because they're still afraid they might find a syringe, but who smoke 37 packs of cigarettes a day. These are the people who, if Al Qaida attacked a sewage plant, would swear off urinating. These are the people who, despite loving the delicious juicy taste of an all-beef patty, are afraid of the Mad Cow epidemic that has struck one poor cow and so instead they eat celery and wipe their brow in relief as they drive the beef industry into the ground. Hey, pal, you just lowered your chances of dropping dead from some freak occurrence from one-in-a-kajillion to 0.99-in-a-kajillion -- and all it cost you was living your life in total abject terror! Congrats! Other safety tips: Abstain from sex forever. Never leave your house. Wrap your head in cellophane. Lock yourself in a coffin and don't come out until the clock strikes you're-dead. Better safe than sorry, right? Right, you idiot? Right? D- -- Konstantine Simakis
THE ADULT SWIM "VOICE": They're just modest, white sans-serif text on black screens, noticeably voiceover-less, but the title cards that bumper commercial breaks on the Cartoon Network's Adult Swim bloc are the coolest thing on TV. Even MTV's best self-promo films jock Adult Swim's coolness. It's like a real, honest voice that doesn't pander to its audience. It says "Hi." It says "How are you?" It says "I know you're a grown man sitting on the couch, watching cartoons. That's O.K. Pass me the dutch." It's almost like the TV is really <I>speaking</I> to you. Like the channel gained sentience and is trying to communicate. It renounces its existence as a corporate brand-builder and is sneaking these secret messages through the airwaves without Time Warner's knowledge. It's crying for help. We have to do something. We have to help the Adult Swim voice. We must destroy the AOL/Time Warner building. O.K., suit up, and let's rendezvous at HQ at 0600 hrs. Bring no ID. A- -- Josh Abraham
THE SHOE SALESMAN AT NEIMAN MARCUS: While trawling the sales racks at the legendary shoe emporium, trading curt "excuse me's" with long-taloned women in white coats, I happened upon a pair of soon-to-be-last-season Prada pumps in an enchanting geometric printed silk. As the blood rushed to my head, you appeared at my side and graciously departed to locate a pair in my size. Not once did you offer me a withering look, even as I struggled with getting last year's Prada pull-on boots off. You thanked me profusely for my purchase and sent me on my way, dreamy-eyed and impervious to the cruel winter wind waiting outside. For this, I can only offer you my thanks and exorbitant amounts of cash. A -- Stephanie
NOT SHOWERING: Maybe those kids with the hackysacks and tofu meats and String Cheese Incident bootlegs are onto something. Not showering, if you work at home like I do, is a good way to experience your body in all of its fluctuations. Whenever you're waiting for Photoshop to boot-up or your email to send, give the pits a sniff and marvel at the parade of subtle stenches wafting up your neck-hole. You will notice that each pit has a character of its own, how long the soap you use lingers, how fetid the deodorant you slopped on three days ago grows after repeated jogs around the block and sweat-inducing household cleaning tasks. You will even notice how long it takes your roommate to stop being polite about your yellow B.O. haze, and to start being real. And let's not even mention your crotch B- -- Paul Salamone
THAT "ASK ME ABOUT MY BOWEL MOVEMENTS" BUMPER STICKER: This had to be the greatest -- and most elusive -- bumper sticker of all time. I spied it once, and one time only, in the suburbs outside New York City in the mid-1980s. Like Nessie, it emerged from the smog of the asphalt, elicited oohs and ahhs from me and my teen pals, and quickly disappeared from sight. I never got to ask the owner of the car (and of the sticker) about his colonic excavations, but I surely wish I had. I am also so despondent that I never got to have my own sticker -- with which to bond with, snuggle, discuss irregularity. Frequently I lay in bed at night, wondering if I shall ever have the chance to glimpse that poetic vehicular query again. If anyone sees "Ask me about my bowel movements" on a car, truck, tram or schooner, please contact me. There's so much I never got to say. A -- Jonathan Gardner
JANUARY 2004: Your dog's wearing an ugly ill-fitting sweater you would've thrown into the East River. Your throat, virus or not, is permanently full of a hunk of phlegm. Your "hot" water takes 10 minutes to reach "less cold". Your food all tastes like shit. Your increased alcohol consumption puts a complete kibosh on the happy electro-chemistry from your anti-depressants. Your hair looks like a dried-up mop that's been sitting in a scuzzy bucket for 10 years. Despite obsessive moisturizing, your thumbs each sport small but abysmal cracks that hurt like a motherfucker. Bally Fitness has changed its hot, sweaty, thongy, squishy-titted soft porn TV campaign. And no amount of "Cool New York" events or WinterFuckingFest fun can change the fact that we're ALL on a slippery slope ending with a face plant on Valentine's Day. F -- hillmarky
THE ODDLY VIOLENT NEW AD FOR SUBWAY'S ATKINSWICHES OR WHATEVER THEY'RE CALLED: Can Atkins make you crazy? Your wife might freak out if you eat a carb, apparently. Quick plot summary: Yuppie African-American lady spots Subway wrapper in trash. "Low-carb diet, huh?" she seethes before tearing up husband's den and sending autographed baseball through window. Then she storms into dining room and waves Subway wrapper in husband's face as he eats. Wife: "What the fuck are you doing, you fat asshole?!?" (Paraphrasing.) Husband: "But honey, it's an Atkins sandwich. Can't you smell the powerful ketosis reek seeping from my every pore?" (More paraphrasing.) Then somehow the baseball bounces onto the table in front of him. I forget how, exactly. I was pretty drunk. Wife is like, "Whoops!" Not to be a sexist pig, but do you think there'd be a negative reaction if the ad showed some guy busting up his wife's sewing room because she was too damn fat? C -- Jim Treacher
VISITING EPCOT WHEN YOU'RE 25: The last time I visited EPCOT, Ronald Reagan was only in stage one of Alzheimer's, so I was due for a visit to the weirdest Disney theme park of all -- EPCOT. Me and four friends all got the hook-up on the free passes from a family member/Disney cast member. I really tried to enjoy the park in a non-ironic way, but that shit ended about five steps past the front gate. Jesus H. Christ. Why are all eight members of that morbidly obese family wearing matching fluorescent orange T-shirts? Why is that 47-year-old male Disney-freak trading (worthless) collectible pins with a 7-year-old? Why am I never more than 10 feet (probably "tazer-reach") from a Disney "cast member"? The park is getting a bit dated now. The first ride you see (the one inside the giant golf ball) is still called "Spaceship Earth." You will laugh your ass off at the futuristic predictions -- the usual "we'll all be riding jetpacks to work" kind of stuff. Oh, and the flaming gay dog show guy from "best in show" whored himself out to make a video appearance in the EPCOT ride "test track." Between the Wal-Martian theme park visitors, robot-like Disney employees and retro-uncool rides, EPCOT is an orgy of ironic fun. A+ -- J.F.
GET IN SHAPE RESOLUTIONS OF FAT MEN: Every January it's the same. You walk into your usually sparsely populated gym for your morning workout and there they are, a heard of flabby men. Where did they come from? They've never been there before. They groan, look tired, breath hard from walking, wear headbands, stand in front of the machine you'd like to use for an eternity having an internal debate about whether or not they should work that particular muscle, ultimately opting to spend the majority of their time sitting in the sauna. Okay, look tons-of-fun, I understand it's your New Year's resolution to get in shape. You're orca-fat and you have man-boobs. I agree, by all means get in shape, but please realize that while sweat is a necessary part of any workout using the sauna to break that sweat isn't fooling anyone. You can't sweat out ten years of cheeseburgers and neglect in one session. You're right, it's not fair that I've been blessed with skinny genes, but you know and I know you'll keep this up for a couple weeks and go right back to being not slim. I'm just saying, if one of you could stick with this treadmill thing for over a month, I'd gladly change my opinion. Yes, you have to run on it or at least walk briskly and sauna sitting does not a work out make. D -- Ross Tucker
GOING TO LAW SCHOOL BECAUSE IT'S HARD TO FIND A JOB: Law school seems like a really good idea when you stare at your crap paycheck and think, "Hell, it wouldn't be so bad to slave in a suit for a while until you got those loans paid off." What people forget though is law school is really hard and most people who go to halfway decent ones are unattractive, socially awkward alcoholics with appalling taste. You're better off hanging out at your parents' until you find a better job, because think about it: When the massive law school classes graduate three to four years from now you're going to have to fight tooth and nail for one anyway. Unless you have a good GPA from a top-ten, in which case you're an employed, unattractive, socially awkward alcoholic with appalling taste. D- -- Priyanka Mattoo
THE NATION OF ISLAM AND NEVERLAND: Michael Jackson's affairs are now reportedly being run by the black separatist Nation of Islam. Just when you thought that his latest scandal couldn't possibly degenerate into more of a circus, why not add a hate group ready-made for tabloid TV? Despite his many oddities, Michael Jackson has always advocated racial harmony and represented humanity and charity. It would be even more sad and pathetic if his dementia has put him in the hands of a hatemongering cult. For their part, this is the most business the Nation of Islam has done with someone this light-skinned since they killed Malcolm X. Too bad they got there too late to stop Jackson's two phony marriages to white women. D- -- Matthew Sheahan
GILLES PETERSON'S WORLDWIDE ON BBC: This radio program has given me hope in the new year that quality music is still being broadcast. Peterson is a deejay with relentless energy that pumps the best tunes from around the globe. With American radio stagnating, it's comforting to hear a jock providing a soundtrack that incorporates funk, house, hip-hop, soul, and broken beat jams. Plus, his whispery voice gives a story behind the tracks -- a narrative that American radio fails to provide. The Brits may have bad teeth, but they know their music. Thank you, Mr. Peterson. A -- dan martino
"DEAD HOUSE UR" MOCA AT THE GEFFEN CONTEMPORARY IN L.A.: An art installation piece, like the interior of a small house. A blue-blazered, take-charge Latina with a radio and a flashlight opens the door for you, and guides you through the dark entry hallway. Then leaves you to roam at will. There's a narrow winding wooden staircase, with doors off it at every level, but none of them open. If you go through a big glass door on the first level, then through a totally dark room lined with black foam, then through a well-lit room, then through the only other door that works, you'll find the "secret room". Unfortunately for me, the "secret room" was filled with more blue-blazered, take-charge Latinas with radios, who informed me that the "secret room" was off-limits because "someone broke something in there." In the doorway a woman pontificated to her boyfriend about the art experience, the "secret" being indeed sacrosanct, the policing with radios being part of the statement. Whatevah. I think one of the blue-blazered, take-charge Latinas said it best, "There's just a lot of doors that don't open." D+ -- Angela F.
THE TWO WEEKS AFTER CHRISTMAS: To paraphrase a popular holiday ditty, "it's the most depressing time of the year." The two weeks after Christmas, when all that holiday cheer and good feeling has been drained and there's nothing left but a vague memory of the shopping you did, the gifts you opened, the drinks you drank. How can so much build-up be gone in a flash? New Year's? The lamest holiday. It's Christmas hanging on for one last gasp of air. It doesn't help that it's been near two degrees for a while. No white Christmas, no walking in any wonderlands, no sleigh bells ringing, no listening. Baby, it's fucking freezing outside, and it really, really sucks. D -- Bob Sassone
WEAPONS OF ASS DESTRUCTION 3: SODOM IN THE SPIDER HOLE: This is not a real porno but I have seen a lot of porn and this would be better. In this movie, you'd follow the exploits of Sodom McLain (top starlet Sindee Chasm) as she takes on all cummers in the final installment in the WAD series. In parts 1 and 2, we followed McLain's rise to sinful despotism as she ruled her tribe of "Anal Extremist" followers with an open-booty policy. With unmatched skills of reception, McLain showed her expertise in hiding, concealing and withholding weapons of ass destruction in a sphincter grip. This time around, the lusty lass succumbs to a task-force of anal intruders in her secret spider hole carnal cavern. First cummer Sexretary of State Colon Dowel (Ron Rimmer) drives his wood into the dicktator's quivering government orifice. Next up, Lt-General Toolio Sanchez (Ricky Romeo) and Chief Administrator L. Pole Reamer (Bill Bulger) get embedded. Watch in shock and awe as Sodom takes a coalition of tools in a tag-team MOAB (mother of all bung-holing) tour de force. Keep your finger off fast-forward, because Sodom's on the whorepath for her final debriefing. Emerging from her dirt-hole, our demonic despot gets poked and prodded by a full company of troops, doctors and "orificials". Reach for the tissues as Chief of Staff Dick Myers (Blake Stallion) leads a crack team probing the depths of Sodom's mysteries. Mission Accomplished! A++ -- JonathanAG