|THE BLACK LIST: WE'RE HALFWAY THERE, WHOA OH, LIVING ON A...|
|By The Black Table|
It is worth pointing out that as of Thursday, 2004 is half over. This is amazing to us; we feel like we're still nursing New Year's Eve hangovers. We're halfway to 2005? When did that happen? Has time always gone that quickly? Six months already? We haven't even decided what this year's resolutions are going to be. And now it's half over.
What's particularly disconcerting about this is how much more important than the first half that the second half of 2004 will be. Most of 2004's big news so far has involved looking forward to the cool stuff happening in the coming months: the election, the Olympics, the conventions, the premiere of Wife Swap. We feel as if we have wasted the first half of 2004. We feel that everything is moving too fast. We feel closer to death, daily.
Fortunately, this existential malaise is easily rectified by 11 Black List reviews, which, mercifully, are below. To put your name on this stellar marquee, just use the form to the right. And think of this week as halftime; think of this week as a big resting naptime.
PEOPLE WHO CLAP AT THE MOVIES: A confession: When I'm watching a baseball game, I yell at the TV; sometimes I even throw things. This is a visceral, gut reaction, though, similar to a scream after you've stubbed your toe. And it's a lot different than standing to applaud a film over the closing credits. Not only is the creator of the film not there to hear you, you're clapping for celluloid; you're clapping for something that was finished months ago. This is the equivalent of applauding your toaster for successfully making toast. This is the equivalent of cheering your alarm clock for waking you up. This is asinine. D -- Will Leitch
SIGNING KOBE BRYANT AS A FREE AGENT: One of the best players in the NBA has a knee injury. A few doctors have examined him, and they all agree that he needs surgery. But their diagnoses differ sharply about how well he'll recover. Some of the medical experts assure him he'll be patched up and ready to go at full speed by the start of the season. Others say he'll be unable to play for years and that his career is likely finished. The player is a free agent, but no team is offering him a contract. It's too big a risk. It's utterly impossible that any team would build around a player who might not ever play again. He's told to wait it out and make sure the surgery goes well. If it does, he's assured he'll get his choice of multiyear contract offers that exceed $100 million. This describes Kobe Bryant's
situation. Bryant is preparing for a criminal rather than a surgical procedure, but the stakes are the same. Either he'll be ready to go at the start of the season or he'll be behind bars. There's no middle ground. The evidence in his forthcoming rape trial essentially boils down to one woman's word against Kobe Bryant's, and no legal expert can possibly predict with any degree of certainty whom the 12 jurors will believe. And yet many franchises want to build their teams around him right now. The trial starts in August. Even thinking about signing him before it's over is idiotic. D- -- Michael David Smith
OH MY GOD, YOU ARE SO PALE: Now that summer has arrived, here's a note to all the too-tan assholes in America: Some people cannot get a tan. My skin, unfortunately, does not brown when sun beats down on it; my skin gets red and spotted, and it eventually blisters until I look like a week-old puff pastry. Why must all of my friends shove their forearms next to mine to compare skin color? I know I'm pale, you nimrods. That's why I'm wearing SPF 50, a caftan and a hat. That's why I'm carrying an umbrella. Being pale is an unfortunate part of being Irish, and I will show off my alabaster and freckled skin with pride. Or at least until I find a tanning cream that doesn't make me look like George Hamilton. D -- Katie
EVERYBODY COUPLING UP AND LEAVING TOWN: Where is it written that this has to happen? Does Giants coach Tom Coughlin come up to you at the beginning of life and tell you that sometime in the second quarter you're going to have to take whatever girl you're dating at the time and move to Saskatoon because, for some reason, you just can't make it in the NYC area as a couple? It seems that ever since I passed the 25 threshold, if anyone's with someone for more than a year, they're calling movers and booking plane tickets. I'm sorry, didn't I just see you go out with the last girl for FIVE YEARS and fuck it up? Didn't I hear you say two guys ago that he was the one, and this is it, and all that other horseshit? And don't give me the "I'm making a new life for myself" line... you're moving to a suburb of some second-rate city where your "new life" will consist of finding the Wal-Mart, taking fertility medication and finding religion so that you can make new friends. You suck... and your fiancé's ugly. F -- Jason Notte
FOAM BEER COOLIES: I still have no idea where to purchase these things. They are one of these mysteries of suburbia right alongside cow-shaped mailboxes and seasonal welcome mats. They should have memos distributed to people who are about to turn the age in which beer coolies lose their ironic kitsch. I'm 30. I think I missed the memo. These were once props we used to imitate drunk uncles. Now, people are not even offering them to be funny, they're just grabbing fuchsia or lime-colored coolies and shoving the cans in them. Drink a beer out of a beer coolie, and your whole attitude changes. Your belly sticks out. Your face becomes flush. And you hold your beer differently. Your elbow just sticks out instinctively. It's one of these things adults use to remind themselves that they're supposed to be having fun. You're actually projecting having a good time. But, you're also telling people you're serious about your beer. They say, "I'm a guy who likes his beer cold and his hands dry." However, they also say "I'm a guy who likes to talk about yardwork". Honestly. Ask the next dude you see with a beer coolie about a weed whacker. You'll be there for hours. D -- A.J. Daulerio
BUS DRIVERS HAVING NERVOUS BREAKDOWNS: This morning my bus driver kicked everyone off the bus. He had an argument with a female passenger, and he said he was stressed out. I kid you not. Everyone off -- because he is stressed. People are getting off the bus, looking completely fucking bewildered, not fully understanding the reasoning. The bus driver gets off and paces in front of the bus, yelling how he can't take it anymore and he doesn't have to deal with us. He then just sat there with his arms crossed while everyone stared and laughed. What makes me laugh even more about this is that the bus route starts three stops before mine; I can't imagine how stressed you can get in about 10 minutes that you would kick some 30 commuters off your bus during rush hour. F -- Haley Papageorge
PEOPLE WHO HAVE KEYS TO THE FRONT DOOR AND STILL CALL ME TO BE BUZZED INTO THE OFFICE: It is my job to answer the phone. I understand this. But you must understand that I have a Master's degree and therefore a lot of anger. Most of it has become directed towards the people who cause my phone to ring. Now, if I irrationally hate people who are calling the office on genuine business, imagine how much more I hate people who call the office unnecessarily. Or, more specifically, people who call the office to be buzzed in because they are too lazy to use their frickin' keys. Seriously, how hard is it? Did you not put the key on a key chain? Do you store it in your rectum? I just want help understanding the fantastic series of events that must take place every morning to prevent you from gaining access to your key. Do you just need another one? Is it that simple? I have 20 extras. And I'm going to start pelting you with them every time you walk by my desk. F -- Serena Lu Chang
THE FIRST BEE TRAPPED IN MY CAR OF THE SUMMER: It's a bright sunny day, so you know what? I'm gonna take a drive down the shore. Yup. Gonna roll the windows all the way down and crank some Radiohead. So relaxing. I wish I had more time to ... what the FUCK?! HOLY SHIT THERE'S A BEE IN MY CAR!! GAAAH! GET AWAY GET AWAY GET AWAY! SHIT SHIT SHIT. OK. REMAIN CALM. You're only in the fast lane of the Parkway ... GO OUT THE GODDAMN WINDOW, STUPID BEE!! WHY ARE YOU IN HERE?! And so, after pulling over to the side of the road and standing outside your car like the loser you are, the bee decides that there are no flowers in your car and leaves. F -- Steve
WEARING KITTY EARS: One of my best scores at Book Expo America was not, in fact, a book, or any sort of reading material whatsoever. Instead, it was a pair of kitty ears, a cheap little plastic headband with felt feline protuberances that turns me instantly from sad, depressed, lonely girl into fun-loving, happy-go-lucky-wannabe-extra from Josie and the Pussycats. That may be overstating the case, but I find it truly impossible to be down while wearing these ears. Others must think so too, because everywhere my friend and I went at the otherwise relatively sober convention, publishers, authors and booksellers wanted to know where they too could get kitty ears (in the children's section, of course, though I think they're perfectly suited to adults as well). They're quite fun to wear out and about, and if you wear them long enough, your head starts to feel funny when you take them off. Kitty ears are a very simple and effective pick-me-up, as well as a surefire way to get people to talk to you. These days I'm all about cheap and natural highs, and my kitty ears certainly fit the bill, so much so that I will probably be sporting them all summer. A -- Rachel Kramer Bussel
ENEMAS: They say people can be classified by their 'fixations.' Some have oral fixations, some genital; some, like me, have an anal fixation. It's rooted in not getting enough love or some such shit at a crucial developmental moment when I was a child. Or maybe I just love the sensation of anal stimulation. Nothing wrong with that. Which is why at least once a month I try to get down to the clinic for a piping hot enema (or "high colonic," if you're new age.) Just the mere thought of it sends shivers up my spine. The cushiony flow of warm liquid deep in my bowels is a tear-inducing rush and restores my sense of oneness with myself and nature. Also gives me the vim and vigor to hump like Sting (an invaluable upshot at my ripe age). Afterwards there's this clean feeling only baby skin can touch, lasts until your next movement, and you walk around all loosey-goosey like a cowboy after a week in the saddle. A -- Bobbi Gula
BEING MURDERED BY YOUR GIRLFRIEND WITH CRUEL AND UNUSUAL WEAPONRY: "You've got to be goddamn kidding me. You're going to kill me with a fucking bow and arrow." But, to your surprise -- just as your anger surges at how fitting it is that, with this girl, even your death will have to be confusing and difficult -- a silver lining slowly emerges. Her Nugent-esque selection of weaponry will, in all likelihood, send your demise straight to the front headlines of most major media outlets. And in your last moments on this earth a smile creeps across your face knowing that Katie Couric will agree that you were the more level-headed person in the relationship. B+ -- mike
Each and every week, Black Table readers like you write the Black List and get absolutely nothing in return. Ain't that some shit.