|THE BLACK LIST: NOW, WAIT. WHERE DO MY BALLS GO AGAIN?|
|By The Black Table|
We were sitting around our apartment the other day, as we tend to do, when the movie The Road To Wellville came on. Based on the infinitely better T.C. Boyle novel, it was about the weird commune Dr. John Kellogg put together in the 1800s to help sick people get better, and, more accurately, hypochondriacs get decidedly more crazy.
The film had the strangest cast we can remember: Anthony Hopkins. Matthew Broderick. Dana Carvey. Lara Flynn Boyle. John Cusack. Bridget Fonda. And it's absolutely terrible. But it did get us thinking about cereal, specifically info we found at Wikipedia:
"Breakfast cereals have their root in the temperance movement in the United States in the last quarter of the nineteenth century. Americans were still eating essentially an English breakfast of eggs, bacon, sausage, beef, and low on fiber. As such, many people suffered painful and debilitating gastrointestinal disorders."
Why is this on our minds? Because it was just Thanksgiving, and here we are, almost a week later, and we still can't walk upright without grabbing our goiter.
We have 10 Black List reviews this week, par for the course, and that's
how many we'll have next week too. Want yours to be one? You know how
it works: Form on the right. Fool.
STUDENTS DYING: Somehow, somewhere, I woke up as a special ed teacher, which shocked me as much as it did anyone else I know. It's a field I never expected to be involved in and only managed to stumble into after a long and convoluted series of events. My perception towards my job tends to differ from many of my colleagues; where quite a few of them want to save every soul they come in contact with, I just want to teach them how to read. I like to think I have no illusions about it all. But, as I came to find out first thing Monday morning, the biggest illusion I created, that of level disinterest, shattered. An ex-student, a graduated senior, one who had just stopped by my class to say hello a few weeks ago, was murdered at a party over Thanksgiving weekend. Trying to break up a fight between his girlfriend and another girl, he was knocked on the head by a 40 bottle and then stabbed to death, once in his throat and seven more times. They cut his fucking throat. Dazed, on the pavement, he died instantly. He was a really good kid. He wanted to graduate high school and go to college, which he did. The ladies absolutely loved him. He had a
nice smile. He was responsible, brave and, like I've been muttering to anyone who will listen, although he wasn't a great student, I wasn't worried because I knew he'd be a good man. And, despite all that, some douchebag motherfucker killed him. He deserved so much better. Having anyone you know murdered: a big fat fucking F -- seth
ORPHAN THANKSGIVING: Having Thanksgiving dinner with your family is like feeding tacos to a toddler. After a few pleasant moments, there will be a explosion of crap. So this year, I avoided the crap by staying here in New York and having Thanksgiving dinner with friends. It was so nice to eat, drink and swear as much as I want without criticism from family members. Plus, none of my friends asked me why I wasn't married yet. The only problem I have "Orphan Thanksgiving" is the term itself. It totally blows. It sounds like my friends and I are bunch of characters from Oliver Twist sitting around the table with cockney accents begging for more porridge. In fact, we had more food on Thanksgiving than any Orphan Annie could ever imagine. So I suggest a new title like, "Avoid A Meal With Your Family Thanksgiving" or "Thank God, I'm Not At My Folks Thanksgiving." It's wordy, but oh so true. Thanksgiving with Friends: A. The term "Orphan Thanksgiving": D -- Nichelle
"LET RING:" A few years back, I was at a friend's house when his cell phone rang. He was a room over at the time and asked me to see who it was. I looked at the phone twice and told him it said "Let Ring." He responded "then let it ring!" It turned out to be an ex-girlfriend of his that he apparently no longer wanted to converse with. He informed me that he tried erasing her from the phone, but when she'd call he could no longer recognize the number and, when he put her back in, his friends would just pick up -- thinking the two of them were still going out. Armed with this knowledge, I first put "Let Ring" to use on a girl I'd parted ways with after she'd gone down on a friend of mine in the back a cab outside of Manitoba's -- while I was in the front seat. She kept calling back for "advice" and "you know, just to talk." "Let Ring" served me well in this regard and, eventually, the calls stopped. Now, it's become a staple. I use it to block my old college chum, whose wedding I missed after a series of auto mishaps and office run-ins. I also use it to block his best man, who continues to lord it over me to this day. I can't say it's made me a better person, but at least I'm less bothered. Being an asshole: C. Being an asshole with an airtight screening system: A -- Jason Notte
SYMPATHY E-CARDS: I know it's supposed to be the thought that counts, and in my time of mourning, I can appreciate thoughtful people thinking nice thoughts and sending me their very thoughtful e-sympathy cards, even though it took two seconds of clicking on the sample card o' the month at eHallmark.com for free. But don't pressure me, you thoughtless bastards, just hours later, to acknowledge your four-second act of kindness by sending me e-mails like this: IT LOOKS AS IF YOU DIDN'T OPEN YOUR E-CARD YET; HEY, DID YOU SEE THE E-CARD I SENT YOU AT 3:09 P.M.?; LIZZNER@AOL.COM, IT LOOKS AS IF YOU HAVE NOT YET OPENED YOUR E-CARD. I was too busy mourning my kittycat's death to sit through your 30-minute animated cartoon of Sylvester and Tweetybird singing "Seasons in the Sun," which, incidentally, took another 10 minutes to load. If I'd watched the whole thing, I would have had no time to bury Mushpuss in the backyard, who, by the way, was my only friend who really did care about me. Kiss off. C -- Caren Lissner
TY PENNINGTON'S CAREER: Seriously, how much must this guy hate himself? For the longest time, he was just the hot carpenter on "Trading Spaces," lusted after by women and men alike. No one was the wiser. Now, he's a shill for Sears, of all places, and the television commercials are terrible. Have you seen them? He's walking around like fucking Ziggy, dribbling idiotic pablum on everyone in sight. Even the ACTORS in the commercial with him obviously hate him. I'd feel bad for him, but then I think about the big fat checks he must get from Sears, and then I just get disgusted. Hope you're sleeping well at night, Pennington, because no one respects you anymore. (If they did to begin with.) D -- MG
IBM LEXMARK KEYBOARD: I normally blow through the "electronics" department at my local thrift shops, for obvious reasons. Occasionally a cute little transistor radio or space-age looking black and white TV will catch my eye, but for the most part, it is just a big pile of ruined crap. Last week, however, I made the find of a lifetime: The IBM Lexmark Keyboard. It immediately caught my eye with its attractive beige housing and contrasting light and dark beige keys. The housing was heavy, and I knew there was some serious shit inside. I checked the tag on the back... Ha! As I suspected, made in the good ol' US of A. Damn straight. I was further impressed by the full set of F keys along the top AND 10 key function conveniently located just to the right of the regular letter keyboard. Other functions include "Num Lock" (for the 10 key bitch), "Caps Lock" (so you don't have to hold down the "shift" key all the time) and "Scroll Lock" (I am not currently able to understand its use). The familiar blue IBM logo is set at a pleasing angle to the top left of the keyboard. So at a paltry 99 cents (marked down from $1.98), it was easier than falling in love. But as it turns out, the best was yet to come. Imagine my delight when I plugged my new keyboard into my computer and found that signing in to my email account created a sound akin to hammering nails! That's right. No "quiet-key" bullshit here. And the spacebar! My lord. BLAM! BLAM! BLAM! We makin' some noise and gettin' some shit done and no mistake. My "new" loud as fuck IBM keyboard: A -- Pfenning
HOW STUPID HUMANS CAN ACTUALLY BE: I just got an e-mail from my close friend Javier Lopez at the Banco La Caixs in Spain. Seems he is sitting on tens of millions of dollars and needs my help to distribute it. Poor guy. Runs a bank in another country and is reduced to begging for the help of strangers by email. If I were not so moved by his plea, I would find the syntax of the message amusing: "Please dear You...." As I delete it, I know that some poor slob somewhere is going to think "Hmmmm, easy money" and click on the link. What makes people so gullible? Every other day on the local news, some poor old lady is lamenting that she gave this guy $10,000 IN CASH to pave her driveway, and he surprisingly never came back. I suppose anyone can get caught up in a good scam, but what makes older people so susceptible? The so-called Greatest Generation beat the Depression, won WWII and prospered for decades -- but somehow they can't resist giving cash to total strangers and falling for every investment scam they hear? How could they have been smart enough to raise children, pay off a house and retire, but suddenly can't be trusted to say no to second-rate con men? These aren't frail 90 year olds suffering from dementia. They seem to have not learned a thing in 60 years. I am getting dangerously close to being officially "old," and I worry at what age do I start trusting everyone blindly, believe that there really is an easy way to make millions and pay for something in advance with cash. I hope it's a long, long time. Sheesh. D -- Roy Felipe
CROCS FOOTWEAR: Why Crocs? Soft and super comfortable. Light, weighing only six ounces. Bacteria and odor resistant. Vented so air passes through, keeping feet cool. Non-marking slip-resistant soles. Available in all the colors of the rainbow and then some. Why not Crocs? Because they are the butt-ugliest footwear ever. Since when did it become fashionable to dress like a middle-aged suburban mom going out to work in the garden? And if your idea of an appropriate outfit to wear to the grocery store is a flannel shirt, green sweatpants and a pink pair of these kicks, stay the fuck in the house. Not being able to leave the house without seeing a pair of Crocs. F "Ultra- hip Italian styling:" F -- Tony G
AMSTERDAM: Amsterdam; a beautiful, cosmopolitan city filled with art treasures and kind, friendly English speaking inhabitants, is relatively inexpensive, simple to navigate and only a few hours from the US. And oh yeah -- they also have incredible weed that you can walk into a hundred different places, pick up a gram for 10 U.S. dollars and proceed to smoke just about anywhere. If you haven't been yet, you have no idea what you're missing. And that's not even counting all the hos! A+ -- MS
RAT HUNTING AT THANKSGIVING: I know it's been like 15 years or so since my father gave up his deer license, but I just don't think I ever fully understood his passion for hunting until now. Upon arriving home for Thanksgiving my Dad immediately brings out his spiffy new air rifle (a glorified BB gun really) and declares that he is currently stalking a rat that has begun to consume the bird seed. See, the bird seed is on the ground because the squirrels knocked over the feeder. So now there's a ton of bird seed on my parents' porch that's attracted this rat, and my father did not clean up the bird seed so that he may now stalk and kill a rodent. The trap has been set. My father has taken the small glass peak hole out of the door. He's positioned a ladder so that he can fit the air rifle through the hole and aim. The wait begins soon after he has made an announcement that we need to be extremely quiet because if we make a noise, it will interrupt the killing. Mom and I continue watching television. Ten minutes or so go by and, despite our hysterical snickering, suddenly we here a POP! My dad comes running into the den and yells, "Victory is mine!" Seriously ... I'm not kidding ... I've never seen the man more happy. A -- Angie York
Each and every week, Black Table readers like you write the Black List and get absolutely nothing in return. Ain't that some shit.