|THE BLACK LIST: DEAR JEWS: HAPPY CHAKA KHAN!|
|By The Black Table|
In the spirit of the holiday season, one of The Black Table editors gleefully paid his human resources manager the $25 entry fee so that he could go to the company holiday party. This is absolutely true. They even came by his desk and shook him down for the money. That's OK, though; he'd much rather drink with his co-workers than join 2,500 of those record clubs you can join for a penny, which is what he would have done otherwise.
'Tis the season. If you haven't done your holiday shopping yet, you are a poor excuse for a American and therefore must renounce your citizenship. You make us sick, honestly.
We have 10 reviews this week in the Black List, which is a nice number, just one less than the number of teams in the Big Ten. If you want to be a part of next week's manifesto, use the form at the right, and you'll have your name in stars, baby, stars.
Oh, and to our Jewish friends -- Happy Chaka Khan! Wang Chung for all eight days!
BREAKING UP WITH YOUR BOYFRIEND IN DECEMBER: If you were smart, you would have ended things in a nice holiday-free month, like August, and not in the middle of the busy holiday shopping season. But with that festive troika of Christmas, New Year's Day and Valentine's Day quickly approaching, now's really your last chance to call it quits until March. Sure, it may seem cruel to abandon your special someone on the eve of the most wonderful time of the year, but you'll actually be sparing him a lot of grief. Spending Christmas together, opening presents, making gingerbread men, decorating the tree, cuddling on the couch sipping hot chocolate with all the lights off except for the muddy purple glow of Chirstmas lights ... those will just be more bittersweet memories he'll have to try to forget later. Trust me, now's the time to give him his walking papers. If nothing else, think of all the money you'll save on presents. C+ -- Tim Moyle
75 PERCENT OFF WRAPPING PAPER: It's the first of December, there are only 24 days left to shop for gifts and you can't do what you did last Christmas. Among the few scouring the decimated shelves at K-Mart at midnight on Christmas Eve for whatever was left, perhaps you made out with a corded telephone (Dad!) or maybe a surge protector (Brother!). You may even found a nice soap dispenser from Martha Stewart Everyday (admit it, you're keeping that.) One afternoon on your lunch break,
you spot bins of wrapping paper, all 75 percent off. You call up some rusty math skills and figure a three-pack will come to around a buck and a half. You can't top that. I'm sorry, you just can't. Okay, maybe you can now relax for a few weeks. Progress has been made, and the gifts, ah, maybe they can wait a little while longer. Besides, you can always do an amazing gift-wrap job on that Jaclyn Smith tracksuit if you do end up waiting until the last minute. The thought that counts: A. Being labeled a cheap bastard behind your back: D. Being told to your face you are a cheap bastard: F -- Jill Sheehy
INTERNSHIPS: For those of us lucky enough to be in college, this time of year is an uncertain one. January 1 deadlines for summer internships are rapidly approaching, and every wannabe i-banker and dot-com exec out there is fiercely competing with his peers. I find myself going over interview questions in the shower, and my dreams have been replaced with horribly realistic and terrifying visions of foot races and hand to hand combat with my intellectual peers. The words Goldman Sachs and Merrill Lynch top my Christmas list this year, and for this generation of post-dot-com scholars, the only route to the MTV Cribs ivory dreams of plasma TVs and Benz coupes is the cutthroat world of corporate indenture. Sucking up to the man: D+. Plasma TVs: A- -- DB
MICHAEL MCDONALD'S MOTOWN II CD: The worst part of Michael McDonald's
Motown II release is that the "II" implies some retard over
at the record company let him do this before.
THE MACINTOSH "SAVE" NOISE: After half an hour of reading every random blog you've bookmarked, getting up for a glass of water, resolving to clean your kitchen sometime in the next week and checking your email for the third time in 10 minutes, you manage to write a whole sentence. Eagerly, you hit Apple + S. "Pring!" You're rewarded with the sweet sound of progress. Sometimes, desperate for praise, you'll even hit Apple + S when you haven't actually written anything. But your Mac knows when you're trying to cheat. So, when you're really stuck, you insert and delete a letter just to hear the noise. For being a rule-follower: C-. For motivating a writer when booze, cigarettes and coffee fail: A+ -- Josie Richstad
KINSEY: First, the laughable stuff: Watching Liam Neeson and Laura Linney trying to play twenty-something newlyweds at the outset of this production just doesn't wash. Linney, at 40, can still pull off a youngster well enough, but the tricks Neeson uses to seem younger (smile a lot, speak in a slightly higher register) don't come across, perhaps because he's 52. This is particularly jarring in a dinner sequence where John Lithgow, all of 59 years old, sits next to him in the role of his father. (Later on, when Kinsey reaches an age closer to Neeson, and Lithgow gets significant aging makeup applied, the result is better.) Besides that, however, this is the rare movie that would have benefited from an extra 20 minutes of screen time, instead of the overly tight two-hour running time it's been given. That's due to the strength of the performances and characters, especially Neeson, Linney, Peter Sarsgaard as Kinsey's bisexual assistant, Tim Hutton, Tim Curry and William Sadler as a freaky-ass sex maniac. It's also a fine parable for our current puritanical political environment: like that time 50 years ago, the mere dissemination of information is considered scandalous, no matter how illuminating. The Movie: B+ Asking Actors To Play Characters Thirty Years Younger Than They Are: D -- Dave Gaffen
SPORTS NIGHT: THE ENTIRE SERIES ON DVD: Adrift in the idiocy of the formulaic crap the networks recycle as comedy these days, I had forgotten how great this show was. The dialogue is sharp and witty, the characters are bizarre and neurotic. Also, writer/creator Aaron Sorkin is quirkily determined that, dammit, his characters won't wait until they're standing still to speak. Clearly his camera operator is a Steadicam wunderkind. We have the recent advent of the television series on DVD to thank for resurrecting this terrific show. Now I realize this current craze does mean that one day, not too far in the future, episodes of, like, Quintuplets will be considered worthy of their own DVD release, shudder, gag. However, if it means gems like Sports Night as well as the twisted hilarity of Arrested Development can end up in my DVD collection, so be it. For sports lovers and uh, whatever the opposite of that is, rent it. Seriously A+. And an A+ for Arrested Development too while I'm at it. -- Jen Pike
DISNEYLAND'S FASTPASS: For me, going to the amusement park has always been a ride-punctuated Wait In Line. The Saturday after Thanksgiving, Anaheim was quite crowded, despite the rain. Swiping my park admission stub at the entrance to the Tower of Terror, I got a second ticket with a time to return printed on it. There was hour until then, and an hour window for the line-jumping privileges. This left me free to check out the much-less-popular [though still innovative and entertaining] Muppets 3-D Thinger-jigger. After Muppets, I went and got a FASTPASS to the Mickey's Head RollerCoaster and then rode the Tower [nice, spooky]. Rinsed and repeated all day, didn't spend more that 40 minutes in a line the whole time, across two theme parks. For making amusement parks a steady stream of ride-riding, for free, FASTPASS gets an all-caps A -- Hal
SCOTCH TAPING YOUR NIPPLES: I woke up late, so getting into work on time was my top priority. Dressing was not. With a hoody, jeans and four hours of sleep, I was late, but close. Then I realized that the promotions job that I hold in a different department of my building requires me to be dressed semi-professionally. And that job literally starts as soon as I finish this one. I can squeak by with a nice T-shirt, but, well, I am not wearing a bra. My boobs are not giant by any means, but my nipples are definitely in your face. There is really only one solution: Clear plastic scotch tape. My nipples are now safely strapped down. Having nipples so big you need to tape them down: C-. Knowing all that stands between your boss and your boobs is tape: A -- Crystal
GETTING CAUGHT "RAPING" YOUR ROOMMATE'S STEPSISTER: I understand that from your angle this must have looked bad: criminal, even. You, my roommate's stepdad, walking in on me on top of your daughter, her top off and eyes closed. Especially since we had been drinking since three p.m., and you had to walk her drunk ass home. But I assure you, this was completely absolutely and totally consensual. No, I was not attracted to her. No, I don't really even like her. This was no more than an idiotic drunken moment. Seriously, we're all adults here, right? Just consider this an image that will forever be burnt into your mind as payment for letting you stay with us for Thanksgiving. B+ -- Orion Thompson
Each and every week, Black Table readers like you write the Black List and get absolutely nothing in return. Ain't that some shit.