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MYSTIC TAN, one of those self-tanning spray things: A-

TAMPAX COMPAK TAMPONS, which are so small they cannot be seen by the naked eye: A-



MYSTIC TAN: Does your Casper-like glow blind innocent children on contact? Than get your Albino ass over to the nearest tanning salon that offers Mystic Tan, one of those spray-on tanners. Here's how it works: You step into a private booth, don a shower cap and lube your hands and feet with lotion. (Skin is noticeably thicker there, so you won't uniformly tan without slathering on the cream that's provided.) You then face a wall with three mini-nozzles. At the press of a button, those jets emit a mist containing a water-soluble dye for roughly six seconds. Once it stops, you turn around and get sprayed on the butt for another six seconds. Even mighty-whiteys can expect immediate subtle golden color, the tan deepens in several hours and lasts about a week. By the next morning, baby, everyone will think your middle name is Melanin. Of course, sun-free tanning ain't cheap. Expect to pony up about $25 a pop. And the dye still has to work out some kinks. For several hours after misting, you'll smell like a combo of shoe polish and your grandmother's lethal perfume. But look at it this way, it's better to smell like Grannie than to prematurely look like her from all that sunbathing, right?: A- -- Theresa O'Rourke

L'OREAL FERIA HAIR DYE: The ad made it look like it couldn't go wrong. The sexy foreign chick, shaking her shiny red hair back and forth, seductively told me her secret, Feria, with triple highlights, only from L'Oreal. I thought, I too could be an alluring, irresistible redhead, fantasy of men, envy -- and maybe even fantasy of women. So I went for it, dreaming of a changed life as I shelled out my $10 at Duane Reade. Then I got home and discovered the nasty underbelly of hair dye: The stench, even with the special "ampule" of pleasing scent marked "3", the staining, of both sink, floor and scalp, and the snickering, of boyfriend, as he watched me transformed from a mild, pleasingly attractive brunette to a brassy, unnaturally-colored, not-quite redhead, without even a sultry foreign accent. But hey, it does make a change. C+ -- Ruth Gutman

THE CREST SPIN BRUSH PRO: Oral pleasure is getting cheaper. Don't pay $50 for the top of the line brands. For $6 at Wal-Mart or Walgreens, Crest offers an electric toothbrush that's so much fun you'll check your smile at every reflective surface, and constantly buy new lipstick to compliment your pearly whites. The brush comes with one detachable head (you can buy more when the original gets frayed) and enough AA batteries to get you started. Because of the batteries, you don't need to find a place in your crowded bathroom for a wall-charger for this one (like the more expensive brushes). Whether you've got two front teeth or ten, the shiny, happy, I-just-left-the-dentist's-office feeling will have you tonguing the backs and fronts of your teeth all day. If you have sensitive gums, this toothbrush won't aggravate or bloody them like simple flossing does. It's recommended that you only use it once a day and rotate it with your manual toothbrush, but honestly, it's so much fun, you'll never want to stop. Keep AAs in a near by drawer. The packaging doesn't warn against the panic that ensues when the brush sputters to a pathetic low-battery stop). A- -- Mary Gustafson

SHARK WEEK 2003: Shark Week 2003 started off tremendously. The startling, terrifying footage of shark behavorial scientist Erich Ritter getting his calf shredded by a pissed off Bull Shark in "Anatomy of a Shark Bite" seemed to indicate that Discovery Channel knew what it was doing: tense footage coupled with informative science-y stuff, fear, and blood. They had me at hello. Then they just got silly. (Hey, Monster Garage may not be as


compelling to me as the more gadget-oriented, Home Depot-loving set, but I get its appeal. Just keep Jesse James out of Shark week, wouldja?) And come on, Heidi Klum goes on a shark dive? Unless she gets her face torn apart by a Tiger shark, it doesn't belong on Shark Week. I want chum. I want blood. I want to be scared to take a shower. Not this time. "Anatomy of a Shark Bite": A+ Rest of Shark Week: D -- A.J. Daulerio

MISS TEEN USA: Can you say 'scrumptious'? These teenage pageant girls are as juicy looking as a basket of fresh green apples. They're a collection of golden limbs and sparkling smiles with nothing sagging or jiggling in the slightest. This is the way skin is supposed to look -- taught and tan, stretched tight as a drum over springy muscles. Everything is still moving up. The problem is, these girls are so young that you could be thrown in jail for simply thinking thoughts like this. That would explain why all the male judges looked so damn uncomfortable, like they were sitting on sharpened wooden stakes. And the poor judge who was interviewed right after the swimsuit competition... I thought he was going to cry as he stuttered and stammered his way through a response: "Uh, they showed a lot about themselves." Nice try, but we can see right through you, pervert! Some highlights? Miss New Jersey is Miss Photogenic, Miss Washington has thick thighs, Miss Massachusetts has a six pack and is actually of legal age, Miss Tennessee is first runner up, and Miss Oregon is Miss Congeniality as well as the winner of the Miss Teen USA. And Miss Alaska has the biggest rack. A -- Trevor Thompson

ASHTON KUTCHER'S LITTLE FEDORA: What is with the hat? No, not the foam trucker variety. (That's not even worth further commentary.) Seems our dear Mr. Demi Moore has taken to donning a tiny version of a fedora. The hat in and of itself is utterly ridiculous. It looks awful on him, and it's a style that cannot be carried off by anyone under the age of 75. But it's not the ugliness of the hat that's so bothersome. It's the array of connotations it carries with it. Is this Kutcher's nod to P. Diddy's proclamation that the two of them were the "new Rat Pack"? (And do two people a pack make?) Is this ironic cool? Or does he honestly think it's attractive? Ashton, date and hang out with people your own age and hurry up and get "Dude, Where's My Car II" out, because we're sick of this crowd you're running with. It's unbecoming. D+ -- Claire Zulkey

PRESEASON FOOTBALL: In every single one of the thousand-odd football games I've played, nothing mattered to me more than winning. So it's with a strange fascination that I watch the National Football League's preseason. Even though these exhibition games aren't nearly as fun as the games in the regular season (the third quarter is always especially dull), it's interesting to see a football game in which the best players in the world are getting together, and yet none of them cares who wins. Each team has about 90 players on its preseason roster, half of whom will make the team for the regular season. About 30 guys know they're going to make the team, and those 30 care only about not getting injured -- they couldn't care less what the scoreboard says. That leaves 60 guys fighting for 15 jobs. You'd think those 60 guys would care about winning, but you'd be wrong. Those guys want two things out of the game: They want to play well, and they want the other players at their position to play poorly. And there's something compelling about seeing a receiver from Valdosta State drop a pass, knowing his dreams have just slipped through his hands. B- -- Michael David Smith

THE COMEDY CENTRAL "ROAST" OF DENNIS LEARY: Ninety minutes and not a single Bill Hicks reference? Some "roast." Comedy Central will be showing this 3 times a week until you're eligible for the Social Security you're never getting, so you might as well get it over with now. Educational for anybody who hasn't seen more than 45 seconds of Leary's act: A) He's calculatedly unpleasant and proud of it, B) He had a video on MTV before today's average MTV viewer was born, C) Hey, he's really a great guy who just likes to break balls, D) Repeat. Kiefer Sutherland is sitting next to Leary the whole time for some reason, but apparently there wasn't enough free liquor within reach to make him jump up on the table and go "Fuck these fucking pants." They're threatening to roast Colin Quinn next time, which is good news if you're a fan of panicky half-sentences and the phrase "Come on, folks." C- -- Jim Treacher

NESTLE ICE JAVA: Sure, as a product name, it's sort of odd. Shouldn't it be called Iced Java, with a "d", or maybe Java Ice? Ice Java just sounds weird. But this stuff is great. It's not just a pleasing coffee beverage, it's a way out. A way out of paying three or four dollars for one of those Starbucks or hip coffee shop concoctions. It's amazing how good this stuff tastes, as long as you're careful with your milk-to-Java ratio (too little of the Java and it tastes like wimpy, milky iced coffee; too much Java and it tastes like someone has taken a needle and injected pure coffee beans into your throat). It's only $4 for a big bottle, which will yield several large drinks. If you still miss that Starbucks experience, set up laptops and notebooks around your apartment, throw a few newspapers and magazines around, and hire hip people to sit around your apartment like they're writing something. B+ -- Bob Sassone

THE WEST SIDE HIGHWAY: This is a big long road that goes all the way up Manhattan until it becomes the Henry Hudson Parkway. Why does the road's name change? It's just the same road. It's in the same municipality. Best way to drive is to hunch up your shoulders into a clinch and then grimace for the next several miles until your exit. According to construction alerts, they're closing at least one of the tollbooths at the Henry Hudson until 2004 for "painting." We've painted whole apartments in less than 3 hours, and they're closed for the next six months. Fucking New York, man. C- -- Dave Gaffen

TAMPAX COMPAK TAMPONS: Every girl knows tampons may cause toxic shock syndrome, a disease that may result in death. What they don't know? The same fate is theirs if a man sees period plugs in the handbag. Thus, the invention of the "Tampax Compak." This season's bar purse is small and the Compak allows you be fashionable while bleeding. For seven days of the month, you can feel like McGuyver expanding the applicator into full size when you're ready to use it. Although this tampon looks like it couldn't stop even a trickle of uterine matter, it does the job well. In addition to curbing Aunt Flow, you don't even know it's in there. You can't feel it at all… like that stoner you used to fuck in college. Once again, we are permitted to carry Baby Louis Vuitton, while our men may continue to pretend their ladies have no bodily functions. A- -- Tracy Weiss

BEN AFFLECK'S SELF-DEPRECATION: The Big Sausage Head showed up on late night television a week after "Gigli" was released, yucking it up over the quotes and headlines slamming his first movie with new-wife/well-insured-butt of Jennifer Lopez. Well we here in $10-a-ticket America would like to laugh along with him, but Affleck shouldn't get applause for trashing his own piece of crap. Eventually overblown star vehicles like "Gigli" will force higher ticket prices of good movies. Besides, I never heard an apology for the three-hour travesty of Americana called "Pearl Harbor". Or "Bounce," "Reindeer Games," "Boiler Room," or "Daredevil". In fact, ever since the success of "Good Will Hunting," too many people have assumed he can do more than just pose with that shit-eating grin and claim to help "independent cinema have a chance" with Project Greenlight, while cashing his HBO paycheck. Stick by the following mantra: "Friends don't let friends see Ben Affleck movies." Not nearly as dangerous as drunk-driving, but just as traumatic. D- -- Brian Check







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