|THE BLACK LIST: THE EVER LOVING KINDNESS OF STRANGERS.|
|By The Black Table|
For about a month now, The Black List has been crippled, unable to allow readers to automatically submit their reviews through a simple form. As a result, the number of reviews dropped off a cliff, forcing us to scramble together copy at the last minute, pestering friends and former contributors to submit.
Not that you should care about how The Black List comes together, since you probably didn't notice anything different. We were fueled by the kindness of strangers over the last month, who responded to the last-minute calls with reviews and advice on how to fix our problems.
And now our problems are solved. You can submit a review by filling out that form right over there and clicking a button.
I would like to thank everyone who wrote a review, got a friend to write a review, gave us tech support or offered their expertise. I owe you a drink. But extra special thanks to Rachel Bowers, my step-sister, for forcing Jason Runcie, a senior computer science major at WPI, to bail us out.
We have 14 reviews this week -- and a brand spanking new form -- thanks to the ever loving kindness of strangers.
PARTYING WITH PRESIDENTIAL PROGENY: Sure, Chelsea Clinton is all grown-up now, living in the city, dating a nice American boy she met at Oxford who looks just like her daddy did at her age, and sitting in the front row at Versace shows, but she's just overcompensating for being raised by unhappily married policy wonks. She only wishes she could be a Bush. The president's gorgeous niece, Lauren, and his kinda cute daughter, Barbara, were in New York last week for Fashion Week, dinner hosting, dirty dancing, and cavorting with gentlemen of a certain orientation they probably wouldn't bring home for dinner. At the Zac Posen afterparty last Thursday, they danced in a big knot of junior socialites subsequently dubbed "the prom" by us eye-rolling guests. I'd met Lauren once before, and on top of her overpowering graciousness and charm, it was obvious that, as Fitzgerald put it, "her voice was full of money." Poor Chelsea. She's pulling down six-figures, working 18-hour days at McKinsey, and she only makes the papers when feuding with her boring Bill Jr. boyfriend on the street. Lauren face's was on a billboard on Houston St. by the time she was 19, while the New York Daily News is busy trying to
spin Barbara as the Paris Hilton of the Beltway. Who cares if Bill &
Hilary's daughter is a Rhodes Scholar? George H. W. Bush's grandchildren
are the Oval Offspring I'd rather hit an open bar with. A -- Greg
DWARF REALITY DATING SHOWS: Peter Dinklage what hath you wrought? It's one thing to dress dwarves like elves or attach them to a harness and hurl them onto a mat at the local bar, but constructing a reality show about a desperate dwarf's search for love spells trouble. I know dwarves are becoming more accepted by the long-fingered population as "humans", but honestly isn't anybody scared that these teeny-tiny people are taking over? And once the dwarves start popping up everywhere what's the next crop of social aliens to assimilate? Pretty soon we'll see conjoined twins on Trading Spaces and retards on Fear Factor drinking blenders of their own drool. It's a slippery slope, America. D -- A.J. Daulerio
McDONALD'S "I'M LOVIN' IT" ADS: Somewhere beneath the biggest set of Golden Arches in the land, there's a 63-year-old ad exec who really thinks he's got it nailed. He's got "urban" guys playing basketball but, get this, ON SKATES! He's got some of that cool hip-hop the kids have been talking about in the voice over, with phrases like "my team's all hype" and "on the court I'm the No. 1 ace!" He even has nice shots of the kids eating big greaseball burgers after the game, showing that with proper exercise you can eat anything. He's never felt so in touch with America's youth in his life! In fact, he's so overcome that he hardly notices the burly men cleaning out his office and hoisting him out by the shoulders to turn his office into a Baja Fresh. I'm lovin' it. F -- Jason Notte
DISH-SOAP AS A MASTURBATORY AID: If you're like me, you've tried to enhance your masturbation experiences by utilizing anything in your house that doesn't contain nails. (OK. So you're not like me. I'm fat and lonely. Sue me.) Over the years, I have tried them all and want to offer my opinion on one of life's most overlooked sexual secrets: Dishwashing liquid. Not all of us have $11 for top-of-the-line sexual lubricant. And, as we all know, it is IMPOSSIBLE to screw hollowed-out Styrofoam without it. That's where dish-soap comes in. It's affordable and, quite possibly, one of the least viscous products known to mankind. It's also available in antibacterial forms which is always a plus -- particularly if you reside in Kentucky. Dish-soap can be used by both males and females and, unlike standard creams and lotions, it will remove grease stains left over from that night you drank 17 beers and went home with, as your friends like to say, that "androgynous person." Most importantly, you can leave dish-soap lying around your apartment without attracting odd looks from friends, family and the cable-repairman. Not so with K-Y. Try it, and your junk too could smell like a country rain. A+ -- Steve Willey
THREE FEET OF NEBRASKAN SNOW: Recently in Nebraska, we got 32 inches of snow in two weeks. I realize that, at times, snow can beautiful. It bleaches dead grass and leaves and can make everything outdoors seem more serene. But then you have to shovel the shit. I have moved over 371 cubic yards just from my driveway and sidewalks. I'm little more than a bulldozer that takes smoke and piss breaks. In front of my garage, I have a snowdrift that would challenge the Eiffel Tower for vertical supremacy. Each day I notice new flags from various countries planted on its summit. The other problem is that here, snow doesn't melt. It's supposed to, right? WTF? Did I miss some new discovery that says snow no longer has to obey the laws of thermodynamics? People have also told me that (get this!) all this snow is good for Nebraska's drought. Well that's great for farmers, but tell that to my cat who now is forced to burrow like some mutant gopher every time he has to take a poo. I swear to God, if one more fucking flake lands on my property, I will murder our local meteorologist. Snow sucks. F -- Steve Willey
ATKINS DIET, EPHEDRA AND SOCIAL DARWINISM: There is nothing wrong with being morbidly obese if you are still functional. I used to weight 320 clacks on the ole' abacus and could do cartwheels around my skinny cohorts. But now that I have found Jesus (he was one of the bussers at Denny's) and had a heart attack, I dropped 160 of it. Whenever I go to visit my hometown of Xenia, Ohio (and yes, I have fucking seen Gummo) people don't ask me how it was done, but tell me how I did it. "You're on the Atkins diet!" Wrong, bitch. I had a heart attack. And right after, through a steady regiment of blood sausage and bacon sandwiches (hold the bread, I'm watching my figure), I lost the weight. Or another popular one: "You take ephedra." Oh, yes. After a heart attack, I was looking for a drug that would raise my body temperature and heart rate until I felt like a suicide bomber inside the Dove Awards show. The truth is, I just started jogging, and avoided the 3 a.m. trips to Waffle House. And so: Dr. Atkins, fuck you. Anna Nicole Smith, eat me. When people get Big Macs and peel off the bun, or faint when you eat a granola bar after they polish off their second bag of pork rinds, they need to die. I don't want a lecture when I have a pint of Guinness after work instead of the Evian of beer, Mich Ultra. F- -- Micah Barcelo
FOR THE PERFECT MASHED POTATOES: If you want to make the most awesome mashed potatoes in the universe, you (apparently) need a potato ricer. That's what I was told, just before I bought one on a whim for 20 bucks. Contrary to my initial reaction, a ricer does not magically turn potatoes into rice. It looks like an incredibly oversized garlic press or, if you're a complete imbecile in the kitchen, it looks like a playdough press that you might have had as a child (the kind that turned the dough into colorful spaghetti). You put your cooked potatoes into the cuppy part of the machine, clamp the cover down, squeeeeeeze, and the potatoes come out looking like maggots into your waiting bowl. Add some heated milk and butter, salt and pepper, stir et voila. My mashed potatoes came out wicked fluffy and virtually lump free but had a noticeable grainy texture, which is probably the potato's fault (not the ricer's). B+ -- Amy L. Stender
GETTING VALENTINE'S DAY CANDY FROM A CORPORATION: Whoa, didn't even know this phenomenon existed. That could explain why, when opening the delightfully twee ribbon-tied bundle on my desk this morning I squealed and let go of the thing like a stale turd. Personally, I look forward to holiday-specific candies in all of their various incarnations, and the charming, chalky Conversation Hearts are no exception. But these little shits were just plain frightening. "MARRY ME" was replaced with "WE CARE ABOUT U!" "BABY" with "WE THINK U ROCK!" Christ, what a turn-off. Candy should inspire carnal thoughts and childlike happiness. These make me want to die. Or kill. F -- Stephanie Benard
SIBERIA: Ah, Hell's Kitchen... the last bit of Manhattan that scares the living crap out of the out-of-towners. Readily available hookers, crack and buses to other depressed urban enclaves all within blocks. Right in the middle of this little slice of heaven is Sibera, discernable only by a red light outside the door and done up in slapdash Communist propaganda on the inside. The fucking coxswain owners won't let you curse in the bar, nor will they let you play the Pac Man table. However, it's the only place I know where the bartender is PASTED by 2 a.m. and the gratis shots of Jameson flow as freely as the streams of urine outside the Port Authority. The jukebox ain't bad either. Wallow in the filth, comrades. B -- Jason Notte
GRAMMY SPEECHIFYING: Enough about Janet's tit, already, huh? Perhaps instead we should focus on asses, as in the asses Justin Timberlake willingly kissed last Sunday in his Grammy apology for the much-maligned Super Bowl wardrobe malfunction. At least Janet Jackson had the guts to stick to her story and resist pandering to the hand-wringing moralizers. Major news organizations report Janet refused to issue an on-air apology during the awards show, a condition CBS demanded before she could appear. Justin, on the other hand, gave an apology about as convincing as the syrupy expressions of love in his nasally songs. During the Super Bowl, the whole world saw the size of Janet's right boob; now we also know the size of her balls. Janet: A+, Justin: F -- Brad Davis
THE STAR WARS SPECIAL EDITION DVD RELEASE: George Lucas has decided to release the Special Edition versions of his original Star Wars Trilogy on DVD in September. These are not the versions released in 1977, 1980, and 1983 respectively, but rather the enhanced versions re-released in the late 90s with added scenes and egregious digital manipulation that would portend the bland perfection of the later prequels. Im certain many fans rejoiced when the DVD announcement was made, but a better reaction would have been to storm Skywalker Ranch and burn Lucas at the stake for thinking he could leave fans salivating all this time only to appease them by throwing them a rubber bone. Heres a clue, George: They make double-sided DVDs. Put your precious Special Edition on one side and the original theatrical release on the other. Ill gladly take a galaxy of awkward rubber aliens over any of the soulless cartoon creatures youve concocted in recent years. Z --
THE EVENT CO-ORDINATOR: You have a friend like this. This is the person who calls you because they want to do something for somebody's birthday/last day of work/ritual castration and don't want to put the legwork into finding a place to go. They may ask "do you know someplace COOL where we can hang out? EVERYBODY'S coming out." This means every asshole you ever wanted to avoid in college will be there. You give this person your list of places, maybe with accompanying Citysearch links so their simple ass doesn't get lost, and hope they pick a place with at least a decent jukebox. A week later, you get the invite and not only do they throw your whole list to the shitpile, but they pick some lame-ass tourist spot like Coyote Ugly or Down the Hatch so everybody can feel like they're on campus again. Fuck this person. Delete their emails. D- -- Jason Notte
GETTING TOO COMFORTABLE AT YOUR FIRST JOB: The anxiety is gone and the monotony has set in. As you tell yourself daily, your first Big Girl Job is just a stepping stone. The 16-hour days are a cakewalk and setting your alarm to be in by 9 a.m. on Sunday is second hand. But somewhere inside you -- evil is lurking. When you hear your boss screeching your name through the wall instead of using the phone like a normal person, you begin foaming at the mouth. From your windowless cubical, you find yourself yelling back at her, speaking in tongues. Voices tell you to roll your desk chair over your pager until the motherfucker cries out for mercy. Out of control and exhausted, there is no energy for family, friends, for sex, for updating your resume. Leaving you to marinate in the bitter juices of defeat, you seek solace in the only person who can understand. Jack Daniels. Welcome to the real world, please drive through. F -- Tracy Weiss
PRESIDENT'S DAY SALES: First, came cutesy Washington's or Lincoln's Birthday sales. Next, it of course morphed into Presidents' Day sales. Fair enough. But then, They began slamming Presidents' Weekend Blowouts! into our saturated seasonally-depressed minds. More recently, I have shit my patriotic knickers in anticipation of the spectacular Presidents' WEEK sales events. Now, to some marketing miscreants, it has somehow become perfectly fine to hold Presidents' MONTH savings celebrations. No. No. No way. We The People, OK, I The Person, declare this to be unquestionably unconstitutional, and therefore, a legitimate reason for unreasonably insane anarchy. I am going to put on a white powder wig and a black stovepipe hat, grab a bottle of Jack, take the next train to D.C., and chop down every fucking cherry blossom tree I can find before I am beaten into unconsciousness, which could take a while, because I'm a pretty strong guy, will be drunk, and am already fully juiced with bug-eyed, misplaced rage. Check tomorrow's AP Strange News blotter. I'll be in it. F -- hillmarky