|THE BLACK LIST: NOW SERVING REFILLS OF HATE-O-RADE.|
|By The Black Table|
Welcome to the March Madness. Everybody in Black List land this week is angry about something, whether it's the wastefulness of the Baby Boomers, offensive Asian stereotypes or the endless dreck that was the Academy Awards. (Other than Michael Moore getting stomped by an elephant, was anything worth watching?)
Now we're back to the salt mines, and dammit, it's got us all pissy. Perhaps it's the month of March itself. March always seems like it should be sunny and warm, but it just ends up a dreary extension of February that never ends. Get us to April and baseball, please. Or we'll crush your freaking skull.
Thirteen big honkin' reviews on the BL this week. As always, the link
to the right is your ticket to ride.
THOSE OSCARS: For the record, I love the Oscars. People always make fun of the Oscars, but, really, they're the best award show we have. At least there is the *pretense* of quality there (hey, has Steely Dan stopped winning Grammys yet?). And as a Lord of the Rings acolyte, I certainly had no problem with the Hobbit Sweep. But jeezus; the Oscars have never been *this* boring before, have they? Hath Janet Jackson wrought THAT much? Dull and neutered from start to finish, this was the equivalent of sitting through your father's end-of-the-year insurance awards banquet down at Knights of Columbia. And seriously, what has happened to Billy Crystal? Did I blink and miss his transformation into Henny Youngman? If the Oscars can't provide us with a trashy, guilty good time, what hope is there? D -- Will Leitch
BABY BOOMERS: Last week, Alan Greenspan championed the taboo idea of fixing our frightening budget deficit by cutting Social Security benefits for future retirees. I don't think any Gen Xer with an IQ over 70 has ever counted on getting back all the coin siphoned off our paychecks by the government, but seeing this in black and white really chapped my ass. All of MY money is going to fund the boomers' retirement, and 40 years down the line, I will not be afforded the same courtesy. Those boomers really make my blood boil. I'm sorry you were idiotic enough to lose 90 percent of retirement money during the tech bubble, buying up 300,000 shares of some craporific penny stock with no profits and no prospects. But I don't want to pay for your stupidity. Our grandparents' generation was full of savers who ferreted away money during the Great Depression and the war. The Boomers are expected to
inherit trillions from them. But since they are a generation of spenders, we won't see a dime, and -- if that's not enough -- they're going to hog all the social security money, too. Thanks, guys. I look forward to my next 80 years in the job market. D -- Erin Schulte
PUTTING YOUR NAPKIN ON TOP OF YOUR DRINK TO SIGNIFY THAT YOU ARE SMOKING: I don't know how it works in California or other fascist anti-smoking states, but here in New York, the beer-swilling community has come to the following agreement: Placing a napkin or a coaster on top of your drink means "I'm out having a cigarette." It instructs those around you that the seat is taken and reminds the bartender not to dump your drink (especially tempting for bartenders in upscale establishments). While I am unsure how this habit started, it spread quickly. I've seen the napkin-cover used in bars in three out of the five boroughs (readers in the Bronx and Staten Island can weigh in on their habits) with increasing frequency in the past few months. Who started it? Where? Absolutely unknown. But it's one of those things that will work its way into the behavioral vernacular, like not making eye contact in elevators. While drinking without smoking still warrants an F-, this little habit, this sans-smoke signal, is pretty neat. A -- Aileen Gallagher
GETTING AN ACTUAL CHECK FROM THAT CD SETTLEMENT: When a web address -- MusicCDSettlement.com -- went around last summer saying that if you filled out an online form you would get money back for having purchased music in a store between 1995 and 2000, I filled it out on a whim. Today I actually got a check in the mail (and a letter from NY Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, addressed to "New York Music Purchaser") for $13.86. I'm trying to think of which embarrassingly lame high school CD purchase I should consider nullified. B+ -- Kate B.
WHISTLING: Whistling is acceptable when: a) you need to get your dog's attention before it gets hit by a scooter/hovercraft; or b) you're spending a contemplative evening at a mud-wrestling match. If you whistle for any other reason congratulations, you're a dipshit. Subway whistlers are the worst, mostly because they only perform when the train has been stuck between stations for at least 15 minutes. And, no, Mr. Happy, it's not any less annoying if you are "riffing" to the tinny flotsam from a neighbor's headphones -- this is a byproduct of poor headphone construction, NOT an invitation for you to play spitty karaoke to music we don't want anyone else to know we listen to. If I need to spend 45 minutes with the soundtrack from Chess, don't you think I've had a bad enough day without you outing me? You know that lady who screams about Jesus in a voice that's perpetually on the verge of cracking? I'd rather ride with her from midtown to Planet Xenon than spend 30 seconds with you and your jaunty trills and grace notes. Shut the fuck up. F -- Carissa B.
THAT WEIRD TAMPAX COMMERCIAL: Here's the plotline: A man and woman are out on a romantic rowboat getaway when suddenly the boat springs a leak. The fumbly bumbly guy immediately panics but luckily our heroine knows just what to do. She pulls a tampon from her box of Tampax and she takes care of that pesky leak. Um, ick. What girl brings an entire box of tampons on a date? If you need that many tampons to get through an afternoon, maybe it's a good idea to stay home. In the commercial, the man looks slightly pleased by his date's ingenuity. Now they can continue on their lovely romantic evening. In real life, he'd probably be: a) bummed because his date's on the rag; and b) really grossed out by having to face the sight of that little string floating around in the standing water. It makes me think there must be thousands of household uses for my tampons that I just haven't considered yet. I could be insulating the walls or scrubbing the floors with these super absorbent little marvels. Why didn't hints from Heloise teach me this? D- -- Deidre Woollard
LOW-CARB ORANGE JUICE: As if it weren't bad enough that the counterintuitive horseshit that is the Atkins "diet" has made America look with scorn on such patently unhealthy items as "bread" and "vegetables," now there's low-carb *orange juice*? Because a glass of normal orange juice is, you know, bad for you, just like those behemoth apple fritters at Starbucks that look like glazed Krakens come ashore. Sure, one of them is 8 delicious ounces of antioxidants and immune-system-boosting vitamin C, while the other is 2000 calories of insulin-level raising glop, but carbs is carbs, boys! Pour yourself a tall glass of low-carb OJ, America, and wash down that bacon and fried eggs. How else could you possibly lose weight? D -- Rob Lagueux
THE WILLIAM HUNG PHENOMENON: I work every goddamn day. I can't sing for crap. Somehow, this William Hung moron, all deficiencies withstanding, decided that he'd camp out on one of the American Idol tryouts and give it a whirl. So he makes it in front of the three nitwits and starts throwing down some Ricky Martin. And wouldn't you know, William is appalled that they think he's dreadful. So you think to yourself, as you're watching this with the utmost displeasure, that, "Well, that's the last of him." A week later, you read that he's getting $25,000 to make special ppearances and he has a record contract. And who's paying for this? When I tart hearing "She bangs, she bangs" around the office, I realize I work with idiots too. I can't wait till I see him on a commercial hawking Quiznos Subs singing along with the Sponge Monkeys or being cast as a version of Corky on the Chinese "Life Goes On". Thank God for people like William Hung; I'm tired of idolizing George Takei, Shorty of Indiana Jones fame or Rob Fukuzaki. We wait forever for respectable representation of Asian males, and we get a Down Syndrome one. F -- Paul Chan
CALLING DJs "TALENTED": First, be a relative of a famous person. Then get a really big music collection. Next, think up a cool handle like "Mr. Turntable." Then, dress hot or weird. And finally, don a pair of expensive headphones. Yep, goddamn, they're talented! They don't write music. They don't play music. But they put out "albums". And, they can, after who knows how much at-home practice, nearly seamlessly integrate the end of a 70s R&B song with the beginning on a 90s R&B song. WOW!! Let's interview them, and get their take on which way music is heading. Let's grill them on what they're listening to these days. Let's ask them: Trance or Jungle? Let's go to their shows and watch them move their heads up and down and side to side in time to the music (while holding their headphones!!). Let's ask them to actually get behind an actual drum kit and actually keep an actual fucking beat, instead of turning on some fucking drum machine. D -- hillmarky
SMUCKERS' UNCRUSTABLE SANDWICHES: I have seen the future and it can be found in your grocer's freezer. The future, my friends, is not about flying cars, video phones or even a cure for genital herpes. It's about being able to have a peanut butter jelly sandwich in 20 seconds or less, depending on your microwave's wattage. Utilizing the latest in cryogenic technology, the folks at Smuckers have found a way to take an ordinary peanut butter and jelly sandwich, bore out the center to remove the crust, seal it away in a space age polymer sleeve and freeze it in a state of suspended animation until the need to snack commences. Granted, a four pack of these palm-sized beauties costs just a much as the ingredients to make at least 11 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches the old-fashioned way, but think of the time and labor the Uncrustable saves by giving you next to immediate bliss without the hassle of crust. Just be sure to buy at least two packages, because more than once I've munched my way through a box for dinner only to wake up craving some for breakfast. Also available in Grilled Cheese. A -- Todd Munson
THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST: First things first: This movie was clearly made with skill and, yes, passion. (Gibson can direct, that's for sure.) Cavaziel is almost brave in his performance. We done? Good. Because it's seriously possible than Mel Gibson might be insane. It's impossible to put the violence aside, because that IS the movie. We learn nothing about Christ, nothing about His teaching, nothing even about what kind of man He was. We just learn that He got worked over real good. Legitimate question: What is the point of this movie? Is it that Jesus was a man? Well then how come He shows no discernible human characteristics? Is it that we get a full feel for His sacrifice? If so, then why is the point of every torture scene, "Jesus, those Romans and Jews were DICKS! They're so mean and they're LAUGHING about it!" What does the endless torture have to do with anything? Would it have been less of a sacrifice if they'd given Him a painless lethal injection? I'm just asking. No, the only point here is that Mel Gibson equates emotion with fury and violence. He also has clear issues with Jews (and homosexuals, I might add; has there ever been another instance where Herod was so fey?). This is his interpretation of his strange, flawed, singular "religion." Because he's such a skilled filmmaker (which was admittedly a surprise), it's that much more powerful -- for better or worse (worse, actually). C -- Will Leitch
YOUR FUCKING FABULOUS-ASS FRIENDS: Shit, your friends are cool. They're all adventure travel, well-paying jobs, know the DJ/been the DJ, great-sex-with-attractive-strangers cool. And you love them, really, you do. They're fun and like to drink and knowing them means you have the most exciting life a lazy, social-phobic person such as yourself should ever be allowed to have. Problem is, around them you start playing a hipster version of "keeping up with the Joneses." Their easy wit and impossibly styled hair will prompt you to spend your rent money on lost weekends in Spain, your grocery money on authentic old-school Pumas and your "really important operation" money on a picture phone with which to document their fabulous asses. On the plus side, should you have to move back in with your parents, they'll supply you with all the sympathy drugs you'll need to kill the pain of living on the wrong side of the river. B- -- Carissa B.
FREEBALLIN' AT THE GYMNASIUM: Because it's so cold, I often find myself wearing thermal underwear 'neath my trousers as opposed to my regular boxer/briefs. Unfortunately, I've been forgetting to take that into account when I go to the gym in the morning, leaving me with one of two options: either wear the thermals under sweat pants and perspire madly into something I'm gonna have to wear all day or just go it commando and freeball. I choose option 2. Usually, it's pretty decent -- if I'm running on the treadmill or whatever, it's not like I have the cardio or the inclination to sport wood at the same time, and the gentle sway of Mr. Junior adds a metronomic backbeat to my seven-minute mile. However, there's certain things that I should abstain from when lacking underpants - yoga and bench-pressing especially. I had to quietly excuse myself from a Vinyasa class with mutterings of trick knee when really I had just wedged a lobe of scrote into a particularly bad stretch. It's a mixed man-bag. B- -- K. Thor Jensen