|THE BLACK LIST: WE'RE WATCHING SO YOU DON'T HAVE TO.|
|By The Black Table|
There's a convention going on this week in Boston, which we at The Black Table are trying to make as interesting as possible, with varying degrees of success. We know this is an important election and everything -- to say the least -- but let's say we don't suspect many of you will be watching Barack Obama speak instead of, say, "Wife Swap." And, frankly, we don't blame you. Which is why we're watching it so you don't have to. We're kind that way.
So, here, let's start with the first thing you may have missed last night: Bill Clinton's hum-dinger of a speech. Sure, the phone book is more readable than his memoir My Life, but when Clinton turns on the charm, crowds turn to interns in the palm of his hand. A highlight? After Clinton smiled his way through the line "strength and wisdom are not opposing values,'' the crowd screamed and cheered as if he were the reunited, back-from-the-dead Beatles.
Almost makes you wish he could run for Presi...
...uh, what were we saying?! Oh, yeah! We've got a whopping 12 reviews this week, but like a rehabbed Olsen sister at a Stuckey's buffet, we just want more more MORE. The box on the right will do the trick, as always.
RICKY WILLIAMS: You are 27 years old, and you have made millions of dollars trying to avoid 350-pound men trying to knock your head off at full speed. You are a loner, not particularly liked by your co-workers, not because you're a jerk, but just because you're different. You're quiet. You're soft-spoken. You're intellectually curious. And after spending a whole summer driving around Australia talking to strangers and trying to figure out what you're doing with your life (you're only 27, after all), you have a revelation: You hate your job and don't want to do it anymore. So you quit. Haven't you earned that right? A young dreamer trying to figure himself out, working hard enough to earn the freedom to do so and taking an astounding leap of faith. Only a Dolphins fan could disapprove. A -- Will Leitch
MANDALS: You poor girls. For us menfolk, summer equals high season for sundresses and tank tops, all designed to provide a splendid seasonal display of adorable female flesh for eager male eyes. And what do you ladies get in return? That's right: An eyeful of gnarled, hairy man-toes. Bring on the men's sandals! As if the sight of our pasty chicken legs were not enough of a sexy summertime treat, you
gals can now share in our deficient podiatric hygiene as we crack another Corona and prop our dogs up on the patio table for all to see. With their faggy leather straps and clunky buckles, mandals may not be cool, but they sure are comfortable, and this time of the year is all about feeling good, even if it means looking like a cargo-shorted reject from the set of the Ten Commandments. Oh, we love our mandals, and we love that you hate them. Sure, they look ridiculous, but so what? It's summer! A -- Jason Reich
SHUFFLE PLAY MODE ON MY iPOD: One afternoon in New Hampshire, enticed by the heady notion of a mall without sales tax, I plunked down a week's salary for a sterling 20-gigabyte miracle machine. And yes, the iPod has changed my life, blah, blah, Time Magazine, blah. But as I suspected, the iPod is a flawed machine, as all machines are flawed (as Thom Yorke informs me, over and over again). Whenever I set my iPod to shuffle -- which is all the time, because I am the type of man who cannot decide on anything - no matter how many times I shuffle and reset, the playlist goes something like: Radiohead, The Strokes, Radiohead, The Strokes, The Vince Guaraldi Trio, Radiohead. Each shuffle commences with the same 60 or 70 songs by the same 20 or 30 artists, neglecting several thousand worthy obscurities, denying me the point of the iPod itself: The full-body tingle I would no doubt experience if I stumbled across the Go-Go's "Vacation'' during another gloomy trip on the E to Kew Gardens. The more I shuffle my iPod, and the more history repeats itself, the more I realize Thom was right: Technology serves only to expose the echoing vacuousness of life itself. D- --Michael Weinreb
YIN AND YANG THROUGH THE EYES OF A THREE-YEAR-OLD BOY: How can
life be so mysterious to me at age 32 and easily figured out by my three-year-old
son? Yin and Yang? Studied for centuries to no avail
took my son
about 11 seconds. According to him, it basically boils down to this: Every
good guy needs someone to fight. Spiderman - Green Goblin. Batman - Joker.
Daredevil - Bullseye. His thought process translates into everyday life
OZZFEST: Paying upwards of $50 for nosebleed seats and enduring the price gauging, asshole rent-a-cops and other indignities of Jones Beach (excuse me, Tommy Hilfiger at Jones Beach) might be a complete waste for most shows. And even most of Ozzfest was a wash, with this year's slate of grunting meatheads trying to distinguish themselves from one another among the $5 pretzels and $35 t-shirts. But the top three acts vindicated both the naïve teenagers and aging punks and metal heads who sat through both blistering sun and soaking rain last week. Slayer, Judas Priest and Black Sabbath played excellent sets and showed the youngsters how it's done. Priest played all their favorites and put on their old show, motorcycle, gay leather outfits and all. Black Sabbath opened with 'War Pigs' complete with accompanying anti-war video. Yes, Ozzy still has one foot in the grave, but the songs are still great performed by the original band. A -- Matthew Sheahan
THE MIRACLE OF LIFE: Everyone knows that open plan offices suck. The only thing worse than sharing a pod with eight of your co-workers is when the one sitting three feet away from you is nine months pregnant and killing time until maternity leave by obsessively organizing her workspace and chatting with well-wishers. The caliber of conversation in the pod has also taken a nosedive as the blessed date draws nigh. In the past week alone, I've heard about:
Adoption is looking more and more like the way to go. D- -- Amy Lewis
ORAL B BRUSH-UPS: Sometimes when we forget to brush, we dare to dream that rubbing our front teeth with our index fingers will help to compensate. The alkaline flavor left behind is a cruel reminder: Sticking your finger into your mouth is gross. Oral B probably forgot this when they created Brush Ups. Veering away from traditional gums and mints (which involve relatively little hand-mouth contact), this item is basically a finger sock with a minty film on its textured surface. The idea is to rub your covered finger across your teeth for "a just-brushed feeling," then look at the strip and see how much crud you scraped off. As much as I enjoy finger-to-tooth friction, toothpicks already scratch off tartar for free. The Web site says it fits over most fingers, but for now people with exceptionally bloated digits will have to use ribbed condoms doused in Scope to simulate the feeling. C -- Juan Aguilar
THE BOURNE SUPREMACY: Reviewing a movie like a good hack critic. The theater is filled with the rabble. Have to sit in the second row like a dentist patient. Movie begins. Decent spy thriller. Wants to be a thinking man's summer blockbuster. Whatever the hell that means. The movie is plagued with the "shaky cam," that film school tool that is to realism what spray snow is to a Christmas tree in Texas. And when married to crystal meth fueled editing, robs a movie of any visual cohesiveness. There's a twisty plot, one-dimensional-teetering-on-three-dimensional characters and combustible moments of tension -- not bad for mid-July Hollywood. Maybe it was the seating; maybe this geezer's senses are overwhelmed by having to watch a picture show that only a hummingbird could comprehend. But I couldn't follow the car chase climax: What the fuck happened exactly? On an unrelated note: When did Will Hunting get so beefy? C- -- John DeVore
RUNNING INTO C-LIST CELEBRITIES IN RANDOM HOTEL ELEVATORS: Ah, the surreal experience of running into a semi-celebrity, especially if it's in a city other than New York or LA. It's never a life-altering experience; you don't gush, fawn or even acknowledge that you know who that person is. You may even search your memory banks as you're chatting with the C-lister about the weather or the baseball game from the night before, trying in vain to figure out what that person's done other than an '80s television show you never watched. But it's always fun to have such random encounters, if only to have a new story to tell at parties and bars for the next couple of weeks. So, thank you, Ed Begley Jr. Talking to you was at least my sixth- or seventh-favorite memory from my weekend in Pittsburgh (way behind going to PNC Park, but just ahead of finding Astronaut Ice Cream at the Carnegie Science Museum). B -- Joel Keller
WATCHING FULL HOUSE IN A SPORTS BAR: It's really not justified no matter what the venue, but having the '80s sitcom "Full House" on the large screen TV at your favorite sports bar is enough to make you want to get up and storm out ... if you had the energy to do that. One scene involved Michelle (one of the Olsen twins) taking a large bite out of a giant hoagie sandwich, prompting a guy in the back to observe: "OK, we know that one's Ashley." C- -- Rick Chandler
BIG GAPING HOLES IN PEOPLE'S NECKS: I was buying a ticket for the Long Island Railroad from a guy sitting behind that bulletproof glass ticket window with the speaker in it. He turned toward me to reveal he has one of those throat cancer larynx voice box things in his neck. He conducted the transaction by talking to me not only through the croaky larynx machine, but also via the microphone in the glass, creating this weird and tremendously disturbing double-speaker effect. It's totally true, this just happened to me, and I had to tell someone about it. C- -- Jason Reich
KOOTCH DRYING: I've always had a long list of gym gripes (man stink, lycra, excessive grunting) and phobias (touching any surface in the locker room shower, encountering standing pools of sweat), but this really takes the cake. You -- sandy blond, 30+ and aging rather ungracefully -- stand shamelessly before a mirror for all to see, wrapped in one of those towels that is the size of a place mat, primping and drying your hair when suddenly the unspeakable happens. You allow your hand, still clasping that humming blow dryer billowing hot air, to fall below your waist and then below your belly button and then below your hips until it's undeniable: You're blow drying your kootch. While your clear violation of locker room code fills me with a nauseating combination of shock and awe and a desire to scream, "Can't you just dry your kootch in the privacy of the mold encrusted shower like everyone else," it inspires nothing more than some grimacing and eye rolling from my peers. Call me a prude, call me a germaphobe, but I can't be the only girl who has a problem with this. I mean, who knows what's down there causing all that unrelenting dampness? I'll never put one of those communal blow dryers anywhere near my face again. F -- GP
Each and every week, Black Table readers like you write the Black List and get absolutely nothing in return. Ain't that some shit.