|THE BLACK LIST: SMOKING IS BAD! BAD BAD BAD!|
|By The Black Table|
Weirdest thing happened today: We were outside sneaking a cigarette when, out of nowhere, a big chunk of ice hit us right in the eye. It was raining a little bit, but it wasn't sleet: We looked to our right and saw a little girl there, about six years old, taking ice cubes out of her Subway cup and throwing them at us.
"Hey, kid, what are you doing?" we said. "Jeez."
"Smoking is BAD! BAD BAD BAD! You shouldn't smoke!"
There are lots of things we could have done here. We could have told the kid to scram. We could have thrown an ice cube back at her. We could have even made angry, growling grownup noises. But we didn't. Instead, we apologized, threw our cigarette in the street and went back upstairs. After all, smoking IS bad.
We have 10 reviews this week on The Black List, and hoo boy, are they fun. Use the box on the right to be a part of our pants party.
THE NATIONAL ZOO'S 24-HOUR PANDA CAM: Check me off as the latest casualty in America's love affair with pandas. Initially, the National Zoo's 24-hour real-time panda coverage struck me as excessive. Even the voyeuristic appeal was lost on me. One fateful evening, though, I took a closer look at the grainy, night-vision footage of baby panda Tai Shan. The dozing, fuzzy angel jerked restlessly in his sleep, apparently having some sort of nightmare. My nurturing instincts flared up, but, without proper direction, left me feeling twitchy, anxious ... and addicted. The next 48 hours blurred together as I watched Tai Shan sleep, eat, clumsily attempt to groom himself and, at one high moment, share some delightful nuzzling time with his mother, whom I had learned to identify with and envy. My own hygiene fell to the wayside as I sat glued to the screen, waiting for next time little Tai Shan rolled over in his sleep. The National Zoo's website says that the panda's mother, over the course of one day, spends "just 50 minutes in contact with the cub." For me to say the same would be to admit defeat. Living vicariously through a mother panda: B. Watching Tai Shan's eyelids flutter: A -- Katie Pearce
COCAINE'S A HELL OF A DRUG: There are three problems with nose candy: 4 a.m., 6 a.m., and, inevitably, 10 a.m. New Yorkers have always loved the booger sugar. It goes along with our second and third favorite activities: drinking and networking. But when you're back at the apartment, wearing nothing but boxers and socks, snorting ashes on a CD case because -- just maybe! -- it's the fairy
dust, there's a problem that needs to be addressed. And, oh, there's that girl in the bathroom. She came home with you because there was talk of calling the dealer and getting more. This, of course, was a story told to get the precious creature downstairs taking a piss home. Hopefully naked. However, the dealer is passed out. And despite how much you want this girl on all fours, panting and moaning, Mr. Winky has said goodnight. Really, it's never worth it: F, motherfuckers -- yabba-dabba-doo
PEOPLE WITH AIDS: THE STREET: I am walking home down Park Place. To my right, the Brooklyn Bridge, huge, sweeping, the baroque curves of stone and steal bright lit. The whole thing very... purrrdy. Behind me, a particularly drunk, particularly cracked out, particularly loud homeless man. Up ahead, a curiously long street sign. As I get closer I begin to make out the words: "People With AIDS Plaza." Needless to say, I started to die laughing. It didn't matter that I was in the middle of crossing the street, or that theafore mentioned bum had been following me for 10 blocks. I simply died. Advanced Human Immunodeficiency Virus: F. Streets named after it: A -- Josh Neese-Todd
SIRIUS RADIO CHANNEL 1: I've had satellite radio for over a year now. I started out listening to the channel that played the music that was popular when I was in high school. (Channel 22, First Wave). That was cool, until about six weeks in, when I discovered that if I heard another Squeeze song that I was going to go homicidal. Then I flipped to channel 21, Alt Nation. Somehow hearing Switchfoot every hour started to wear thin. I played around with Classic Rewind and Classic Vinyl. But Dino-Rock has never been my thing in the long term. Where to go for all of the old familiar? Back to my childhood, Top 40. At first it was hard, but now, as I work here in the office, I have the musical companionship of Ja Rule, Mariah Carey, The Pussycat Dolls and the Cast of Rent. Sure, I have to endure Lindsey Lohan and Ashlee Simpson, but I also get The Black Eyed Peas, and frankly, that makes it all worthwhile. B -- Bunny
ELIMITASTE: In my life-long quest for fresher breath, quitting smoking hasn't crossed my mind as a good solution. And even if it did, ElimiTaste Smoke Screen gum neatly stops the debate. I'd never heard of this product until Sunday. It's probably something advertised on late-night TV, right between the ad for doggy steps and the latest Ronco gadget. But a friend had a bunch of free packs, so I now have 144 pieces of gum at my disposal. The "Insane MaxxMint" flavor is a little too X-TREME! sounding for me, but it tastes pretty good. It makes my mouth not taste like cigarettes, which can only be a good thing. And there's no sugar in there either, so ElimiTaste will not make me any fatter, either. What a product! I can feel the minty goodness for quite a while. Whether it makes kissing me any better, jury's still out on that one. And the jury may be out for a long, long time. B+ -- Aileen Gallagher
SHEDDING YOUR CONVICTIONS, ONE X AT A TIME: They're invading the bars, the floors of the bathrooms of the bars, the alleys around the bars. That's right. Those mid-twenty-somethings who still don't know how to hold their liquor, yet continue to imbibe more than is needed to kill an alcoholic sperm whale. In school, they were straight-edge to be different. While their classmates were doing jello shots on some unsuspecting freshman's back porch, they were at home writing atrocious music in their bandmate's mom's basement. But don't worry. They still stand out in the crowd. In rooms filled with slightly buzzed, kind-of-aging hipsters just trying to go home with that pretty girl in an intelligent, low-decibel manner, these fellas are belligerently thrashing around as if the hardcore music will never leave their heads. Oh, careful. You almost slipped on that liquor-soaked vomit. Whose? Oh, the guy with "drug free 4 lyfe" tattooed across his bicep. D- -- jagdeep
BEER AND SLEEPY HOLLOW: Sometimes not making sense is funny and entertaining, like the total weirdness of the Burger King running back interceptions, Deion Sanders notwithstanding. Sometimes it is a Bud Light commercial. You have no doubt seen the Headless Horseman spot. Let's review: He can ride a horse, he can read his mail, there are lights on in his house, but when he tries to drink a beer, it spills down his cloak. No head does not stop him from seeing, but he can't drink? If he can't drink, why does he keep beer in the refrigerator? (Wait a minute, colonial times...refrigerator...???) You have asked us to suspend reality for a headless horseman. OK, I love the story. But now he gets furious because he can't have a Bud Light? Just doesn't work. Neither do the lame punchlines at the end, although the beer commercial requisite fair maiden is fun to look at. Still, a big fat D -- Roy Felipe
PHILIP ROTH REVISITED: Oh, Mr. Roth. You give this twentysomething, shiksa grad student such a girl-boner. From playing with stereotypes on both sides of the religio-cultural-gender divide and allowing me to experience the bathroom habits of thirteen-year-old boys, thank-you. For your utter lack of political correctness, your multiple train-wreck-esque marriages and your memoir of your father's last years, thank-you. For making it easier for me to bond with my male, septuagenarian friend, thank you. Most of all, thanks for being a better writer at your worst than Eggers or his ilk are in their wettest dreams of authorial inspiration. Re-reading "Portnoy's Complaint": A -- Mara
BEING CONTACTED BY AN OLD BOYFRIEND: Imaging perusing your blog one day when, up pops an old flame's name and phone number with the comment "still thinking." Disquieting to say the least. You ponder as to whether or not to call said old flame, when curiosity gets the better of you. You phone, make arrangements to make a 300-mile trip to see him and meet at a truckstop called The Flying J. After 15 minutes with the man, you realize he has put on 20+ pounds, has lost most of his hair and is broke. After 30 minutes with the man, you realize he hasn't changed in the least in 13 years. Back home, your conversations on the phone and the Internet remind you of his surly disposition and paranoid personality. F. Remembering why you took out the restraining order in the first place. A+ -- Angela Genusa
SIX BLOGS OF SEPARATION: Not long ago, I was reading one of ESPN.com's
Sports Guy columns by Bill Simmons. I see that the first stop on his book
tour is in Manhattan. Interesting. I later read some of Simmons'
chat with Chuck Klosterman, not really my thing; however I realize
that I have spoken to a few people at the various publications Klosterman
has contributed to. Neat. A couple of days later, I see that Deadspin.com
has covered the Simmons' NYC signing and Klosterman
is there. Hilarity ensues. Fast-forward, I am inexplicably watching
"Quite Frankly with Stephen A. Smith," when I overhear a question
from the audience about the St. Louis Rams. Innocent enough. I find out
later (on Deadspin) that
this is Will Leitch. What? Black Table/Deadspin/Life as-a-Loser Will
Leitch? Once this settles in, I realize that I had been reading TheSimon.com
before this distraction. Innocuous? Yes, until I realize that I used to
read Life as a Loser on this site before both ended abruptly. The next
day, I see this very same item on Gawker.com. Browsing this same site
today, I read a snippet about a Natasha Lyonne-resembling Halloween costume.
my brain says, through a work-induced haze. Ah yes, it was an obscure
Vice magazine "tidbit" I had gleaned over about an hour ago.
The same Vice magazine whose editorial submissions guidelines I had read
and chuckled about the day before (an
entirely different Black List submission). I can't even keep the chronology
of these events straight anymore, nor do I have the energy to explain
how Rupert Murdoch, Howard Stern, Condé Nast or Metro North Railroad
fit into this. Have I become the personification of a target demographic?
I thought that those "averages" only existed in the calculators
of analysts and crib-sheets of ad-reps. However, I cannot complain. My
productivity has increased, and I am finally prompted to make a submission
to one of the aforementioned sites. Procrastination Aggregators: A
Each and every week, Black Table readers like you write the Black List and get absolutely nothing in return. Ain't that some shit.