|THE BLACK LIST: GOODBYE 2004 ... HELLO, LIQUOR CABINET.|
|By The Black Table|
It's time for all those year-end retrospectives. 2004 was the year that "the country lost its innocence," or "America came of age" or "Al Sharpton finally got a job." That sort of thing. Like most years these days, 2004 was pretty much a blur for The Black Table. It's not so much that we were drunk all the time -- though that's an excellent guess -- but more that, as we get older, life is starting to seem like an obstacle course that's repeated until death.
Valentine's Day? Jump! Summertime? Climb the rope! The stress of birthdays? Get through those tires! (Keep your feet moving!) The holidays? Just one last stretch to go It is beyond our abilities to try to attach any overarching significance to this phenomenon except to say that we found some gray hairs the other day, and we doubt that's a trend that will reverse itself anytime soon.
It's the holidays, which means The Black Table is eager to get home and inject eggnog into our eyeballs. Henceforth, Amy Blair's rockin' Week in Craig column on Friday will mark the BT's last new content for two weeks. Next week, tune in for The Black Table's "Best of 2004," where we feature the most Black Table-esque stories we ran this year. We will return with new stories on Monday, January 3. Though we'll be around all week too, so, you know, don't forget us. We love you, like, a lot.
DIMEBAG DARRELL'S MURDER: The only thing that shocked me more than hearing that Pantera's former guitarist and the godfather of drop-D tuning was killed in Ohio by some shithead (who carried around invisible dogs and was pissed that Pantera broke up) was the reaction it received. I figured maybe me and my boys from back home and some of the WSOU DJs would care, but MTV ran a two-hour tribute Saturday night, CNN covered the story sans irony and treated Dimebag like a star and at least five bands at the two shows I went to last week dedicated their sets to him. That's a lot of respect for one of the masters of a genre repeatedly held to ridicule. At the very least, that's a lot of closeted angry people who've air-guitared the riffs to "Walk," "A New Level" and "Fucking Hostile" before heading to the cubicle. If anyone's interested, I'll be spending my 40 days of mourning down at 7B playing the Vulgar Display of Power album repeatedly on the juke and taking down bottles of Jaeger Lone Star State-style. Feel free to join me. F for Dimebag's murder, his punk asshole killer and the weak-ass
security in Ohio; A+ for an original Cowboy From Hell. -- Jason Notte
UBIQUITOUS CHRISTMAS MUSIC: Bah, humbug. It seems like the older I get, the more annoying the holidays become. When I was an apple-cheeked six-year-old, Christmas music meant only one thing to me: less than 30 days 'till that jolly old elf came down the chimney with a sack of good-boy booty. And I loved it. These days, forget the 30-day rule. They were blaring "Come All Ye Faithful" and "O Holy Night" even before Halloween this year at the mall (as a "faith-based" side note, it seems like they have been playing more and more of the religious songs and less of the secular favorites like "Frosty the Snowman"...) And the first time I heard it on the PA this season, I got that queasy feeling you get when you approach a deadly wreck on the freeway: You know what lies ahead, and you do the best you can to steel yourself for the inevitable awfulness. The mad rush of fatass suburbanites doing battle over the last Tickle-Me-Cabbage-Patch-Furby. The insufferable yuppie scum Lexus ads featuring red-bowed luxury automobiles. The sanctimonious once-a-year-only do-goodery. The increasingly in-your-face religiosity. The jack-booted conformity. This is what Christmas music reminds me of now. One of the local easy-listening stations started playing Christmas music 24/7 the day after Thanksgiving and will continue to do so until the holiest of holidays. When I mentioned how burned out on the holidays this makes me to a co-worker, she sharply reprimanded me, telling me that she's been "getting in the mood" since August. If a holiday takes that much "foreplay" to get excited about, maybe it's time to reexamine your beliefs. D -- Sean
CLOSER NOT A DATE MOVIE: The damn thing looked good. In the sea of vomit that is the holiday movie season, I thought, yes, finally, a decent movie that will produce several hours of in-depth conversation that I can really sink my teeth into. By the time I left the movie theater, I felt like I'd been dumped, cheated on, deceived and slapped in the face. So I, of course, immediately needed a glass of wine. The lucky fellow that accompanied me that evening was a friend of mine who recently crossed over to the potential side of relationship land. It is a very awkward time. You say things and do things to test the water, dance around shit and see if this whole damn thing will work out. But the movie got to me. I started going on and on about how everything is fucked up and nothing ever works out and love is bullshit. Basically the kind of stuff you reserve for your best friends or the end of a relationship. Needless to say, I think I scared the ever living shit out of that boy. I usually reserve the "crazy girl" act for a bit later in the relationship, say, the three-month mark. But there's nothing like a wordy, emotional movie to really bring it out of me. B -- Angie York
EMBARRASSINGLY PERSONAL PHONE CALLS IN THE OFFICE: I know it's difficult to hash out personal matters with two toddlers at home running around and demanding your attention every three seconds, but having intensely personal discussions about your career aspirations, financial situation and religious beliefs in the middle of the office is not a solution. Especially when those personal discussions devolve into arguments and then a full-blown verbal assault. The people around here who are trying to work don't know whether to leave the area, listen intently, or start screaming. So, micro-managing your life on the phone in full earshot of your office-mates: F. Our intimidated boss who won't fire you for it: C -- Too Embarrassed To Say
SEEING THE DAILY SHOW LIVE: You, too, can sneak out of work at 4:30 to stand in a velvet-roped line on a sidewalk of 54th St at 10th Ave, be punished by the 30 mile-per-hour winds whipping in from the Hudson, only to be corralled an hour and a half later into a tiny cinderblock square room with 100 other people while an NYU student shouts instructions at you like you're an enemy combatant. Jon, for the all the populist rhetoric, how about little concern for the people? Don't get me wrong: Once inside, it's all gravy. Steve Colbert with a nice little Week in God routine, you yucked it up with that fat drunk Hitchens, even the warm up comedian -- Paul something -- was money. But the wait, Jon! It's effing freezing out there! C -- Gabe H
TED LEO AT THE BOWERY BALLROOM: What the fuck do you mean you haven't seen Ted Leo live in concert seven times since 2002? He started off a song Sunday night remarking "This one goes out to the army we have, not the army we wish we have." Every song he plays feels like it's the last song he's ever going to be able to play, and he wants you to know it. He started off another song remarking "You can always count on The Bible to give you those one-line zingers." He was there, and he came back out for us twice. Dave and Chris, his "Pharmacists," look either like they are competing in a Steven Wright lookalike contest, or maybe for "most likely to get stopped at an airport and asked if they are really John Walker Lindh." He makes us laugh, he makes us sing, he makes us dance. He started off his last song with "Don't you guys have to go to work tomorrow? Well, I don't." It's only a matter of time before the hardest working man in indie rock is back on tour, and if you miss it again, well, you missed it. A -- Michael Roston
I AM CHARLOTTE SIMMONS: I am always proud of myself when I read a big, huge book. I lug it around coffeeshops with a smirk, nursing my wicked tendonitis with the self-satisfaction of one who has inspired awe in the regulars at Starbucks. So whenever a Tom Wolfe novel comes out, I jump all over it; it always promises both gleeful readability and impressive girth. If it weren't for the likes of Wolfe and Ayn Rand, pretentious readers such as myself looking to impress strangers with the thickness of their reading material would be forced to read actually challenging work, such as Infinite Jest or (shudder) Gravity's Rainbow. I Am Charlotte Simmons, however, is proving to be yet another effortless page-turning submergence into the hedonistic, depraved life on even the most Ivy League of campuses. I was prepared to give a glowing review of the 678-page behemoth, but then I read a really well-written review that called it out on a lot of relevant issues. The most significant of these was that Wolfe's writing from the perspective of college students is about as convincing as Tom Brokaw throwing up gang signs. I can excuse his constant breaking of Fourth Wall to point out the anthropological curiosities of campus youth as parroting the perspective of the equally outsider protagonist, Charlotte. But the dialogue and character arcs are so much more contrived than Wolfe has ever sounded writing about astronauts, businessmen and acidheads. Now I'm second-guessing my love for the book, which means I'm in danger of losing steam, and only on page 260. Damn you, relevant criticism! It still beats Dan Brown. Girth: A; Research: A; Narrative: B-; Killjoys Who Remind Me I'm Still Only Capable Of Reading 'Subpar' Material: D -- Erin McReynolds
PEOPLE WHO BRING CUPS OF COFFEE ONTO THE SUBWAY TRAIN: I've lived in New York for over eight years now and feel pretty acclimated to the quirks and eccentricities of my fellow Gotham dwellers. But there are still things that puzzle and bother me and make me wonder what exactly people are thinking. One of those mysteries is why people feel the need to carry hot takeout cups of coffee with them on the subway. I know it's cold out, but carrying a piping hot liquid on a crowded train seems like a recipe for disaster. I always stand as far away from such inconsiderate souls as I can and hope against hope that their must-have caffeine does not splash, scald or stain me. I simply don't understand why they can't either drink their coffee before they get on the train, or wait until after their commute to get some. It's not as if it's freezing cold down in the subway station. Maybe I'm missing some essential needs of the avid coffee fan as I tote around my one-liter Diet Cokes, but I don't think so. All I can do is stand as far away from these annoying people as I can and give them a big F -- Rachel Kramer Bussel
THINKING, FOR ONE BRIGHT, SHINING MOMENT, YOU'VE WON THE LOTTERY: Oh my god, the winning lottery number is shockingly similar to mine. My six-numbered charm, the one I've hung my hopes on for eight years. Eight years of buying this goddamn season ticket. Eight years of heartbreak checking the numbers twice a week. Eight years of having my "I QUIT YOU FUCKERS!!" dream shattered into a million pieces. OK, don't scream. Get that ticket out and check it number-by-goddamn-number before your hands start shaking. Slowly now. First number ... same. Second number ... same! Third number ... SAME! Fourth ... oof. Fifth number ... MATCH!! Sixth ... not. Huh. Well, four numbers! That must be good for something!! Four numbers matching, what's my prize?! Ah. $75. And the jackpot total that evening was ... $3.2 million. I SEE. I should be happy with my $75 winning, I guess. It almost covers the annual season ticket cost. Almost. Just in time for taxes, too. C+ -- theysuredo
ONE NIGHT STANDS WITH YOUR BROTHER'S FRIENDS: Six years ago (at the oh-so-reckless age of 21), I submitted to a self-imposed ban against "relations" with my younger brother's friends, after having hooked up with three of them in as many months. It didn't matter much at that point anyway -- I'd already test-driven all the models I was interested in. Flash forward to two weeks ago, which found me acting just as recklessly, trying to justify my day-long drinking binge with my brother and his friends as a symptom of an impending mid-twenties crisis. Luckily for me, one of his friends who'd been across the country attending college for the past eight years had recently returned home and was partying with us. This friend had dimples, a killer smile and a tight body. So when I chose to take a cab home alone after 10 hours of drinking, and he followed me out of the bar, what choice did I have? Of course, we were all coy at first: him, suggesting he take us to go get breakfast somewhere; me, insisting that he was in no shape to drive to the only truck stop that was open, yet generously offering to let him drive us to my apartment, where I'd let him crash for the night. We quickly reached an agreement, and after a fuzzy car ride, we arrived at my apartment where we wasted no time getting out of our bar-scented clothing and proceeded to work off the numerous beers we'd consumed. In the morning, I woke up feeling a little guilty, but not guilty enough to keep me from enjoying some hungover morning sex. The next day, I ended up confessing my sins to my brother, who pretended not to care, but instead has spent the last two weeks keeping me and his friends far apart. One night of great sex with yet another one of your brother's hottie friends: A-. Getting a UTI from said night AND taking shit about the incident from your brother's other friends for the next six years: D -- klay
Each and every week, Black Table readers like you write the Black List and get absolutely nothing in return. Ain't that some shit.