|THE BLACK LIST: THE IDES OF MARCH MADNESS.|
|By The Black Table|
Employers, take notice: The men who work in your office are taking Thursday and Friday off. Sure, if you're lucky, they might actually be in the office, but with the NCAA tournament starting, don't expect them to actually get much done. Their Excel spreadsheets are going to morph suspiciously into tournament brackets. Save yourself the trouble, and don't come by their desk without warning.
In other news, a bunch of baseball players with big heads will talk to Congress on Thursday. Set Tivos to "stun." And Woody Allen has a new movie opening on Friday, with Will Ferrell. This is officially the nerdiest intro to the Black List of all time.
We have 11 reviews this week. That's about average. We would set them up in a bracket for you, but that would give us a headache. (We hate Excel.) If you want to be a part of our March Madness, use the form on the right. Go get 'em, Tigers.
HOOTIE THE NEW BURGER KING SINGER/SPOKESPERSON: The last time I dropped acid was in college. Watching TV last week, I thought I was experiencing some surreal flashback. Is that Hootie -- or as he likes to be called, Darius Rucker -- in a cowboy hat singing about the new Tendercrisp Bacon Cheddar Ranch sandwich at Burger King? Strumming an acoustic guitar, the animated, colorful backdrop of a country Alice In Wonderland setting unfolds behind him. There's a porn star on a swing. A gay Chippendale model dancing around a stage coach. And a catchy tune by the LeVar Burton of rock bands gets stuck in your ear. For a moment, I thought this commercial on the television screen is not real ... you are becoming delusional and might want to make a stop at the crazy facility ... you had to be cool and drop acid? Just like the pamphlet said, it destroyed your mental health ... you think that scary clown on the top of the green hill is the king of Burgerland? ... your brain chemicals are oozing like french fry grease. But just like that, I returned to reality. Reality television. Someone was about to get fired or cast off or told they just didn't have what it takes to be America's next great custodial engineer. But whatever. The peeps at the Burger King ad agency are selling Technicolor dreamscapes for sandwiches. Maybe they put the acid in the ranch dressing? For creating such a disturbing but memorable ad, BK's ad agency gets an A -- dan (soulstatik)
ALMOST GETTING RUN OVER BY A LEXUS WHILE CROSSING THE STREET: At first, you're pissed. I mean, come on, you had the walk sign. You give the guy the finger before even
making eye contact. It feels good to tell someone who is probably someone else's asshole boss to fuck off. And then the eye contact thing happens, and you realize that you have all the control. For the next second or two you want to milk it for all it's worth. As he mouths "I'm sorry," you realize that even though his car cost more than you make in a year, he's still just a human being and is allowed to make a mistake every now and then. You drop the bird and mouth, "It's OK" and then wave. What could have been an awful event turned into a split-second scene of two human beings suddenly understanding one another. A -- Matthew Rorem
MIAMI VICE: SEASON ONE ON DVD: When I was a kid, I used to watch Miami Vice and dream of a life of pastel clothes, synthesized music and a cranky, tan detective for a husband. Twenty years later, DVD in hand, I have to wonder: Has my fantasy aged well? We're talking about a show that glamorized the tackiest decade ever. Do I dare watch? Will it make me cringe? Or will my Crockett-and-Tubbs double-team dreams remain intact? Worry not, Vice fans. OK, so the acting is kind of lame. But between Don Johnson's sleeveless tank tops and Philip Michael Thomas's too-tight pants, I was practically licking the screen. Plus, since every woman on the show is so hideously decked out in hot pink and white plastic, it's easy to imagine a sleeker, cooler you actually having a shot with one of the Vice boys. Until you realize you wore pink pleated jumpsuits with shoulder pads back in the 80s, too. Oh, well. Twenty years and Nash Bridges later, Don Johnson has been reduced to a bloated has-been, and who the heck knows what happened to that other guy. In my dreams and in my DVD player, however, Crockett and Tubbs eternally live on in all their pastel glory. Well worth the wait. A -- jj
RICK ANKIEL: He was being crowned the next Sandy Koufax before he was old enough to buy a drink. He was being mercilessly mocked by a heartless East Coast media for mentally imploding in the 2000 NLCS a year later. He spent years trying to return to the St. Louis Cardinals, overcoming Tommy John surgery, a malicious public and an overbearing, convicted felon father. Last year, he made it back and then, out of nowhere, his demons returned this spring. Ankiel now is trying to make it as an outfielder, which is about as likely as him making it as a hockey player. It's easy to make fun, but Ankiel's story is a tragic one, an example of a fragile young man unable to get out of his own way. We were all hoping for a happy ending. It didn't happen. Sometimes, gang, sports are no fun. F -- Will Leitch
MASTERCARD COMMERCIALS: It's one thing to make a job in the music or entertainment industry look cool. It's one thing for a commercial to play off a new graduate's sense of insecurity about entering the working world, and to make precious note of how expensive even a crummy interviewing jacket can be for the likes of us. It's even fine that they've made analogous our "getting a job" to that game of life where the money is PAPER instead of plastic, and no consequences stem beyond the scope of a game board. All that's fine. My problem with the commercial is the way MasterCard treats my potential internships like a prize for using some money you somehow already have. So you know what? Bite me, MasterCard: F. No credit: A -- Anna Jonsson
CHRISTIAN CO-WORKER: Dear Christian Co-Worker: I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for your kind emails as I am home taking care of my fatally ill father. But this email takes the cake: "I think you can be muslim or hindu or athiest and scared of dying too because you don't know Jesus but if you are Christian and do know Jesus then there is no reason to be scared because you know its all in his hands and that the instant you leave this earth and your body you will instantly be in Gods presence in Heaven. I think its a blessing your Dad's passing. What better place to be?" Thanks Christians, you always know exactly what to say. F -- librarian
GETTING A "NO SALE" FROM A DRUG DEALER: At a bar on Saturday night, I was sitting waiting for a friend to return and texting another friend in the meantime. A man with a thin mustache and a hat sat down next to me. I looked at him and he asked, "Hey, how you doing?" "Pretty good," I said, and my eyes returned to my phone. He sat there another 20 seconds or so, then got up and disappeared. My friend came back with the drinks and said, "Hey, that guy in the doorway just offered me coke." I looked up, and it was the same guy. So that was a first. I've been offered drugs on the streets of every major city I've ever visited, but not once in a bar. And not that I would buy it, given my mood that night and general value/safety concerns about buying drugs from a stranger. But to not even get the pitch was a little disheartening. Do I look that lame? It was, in the end, vaguely insulting -- the adult equivalent of getting picked last for kickball. It was still feeling, in the back of my mind, that I don't quite belong at this playground. D -- Aileen Gallagher
GANNON/GUCKERT GIVES WAY TO GRAFF: So this time a legit blogger, Garrett M. Graff, got into the White House briefing room, and not because he sold his sweet body to other men and then, when he got "outed," decided to leave the public eye (out of respect for his *wife and kids*) for like five minutes only to return with his own blog and some lame-o interviews. No, this blogger actually has creds, and not of the-$1,200-weekend-Republican-operative-rate-kind either. Maybe Graff will actually write about how retarded Scott McClellan is and how nothing is ever said at White House press briefings. Stupid complacent Washington press corps! A, for bloggers getting into the White House for real -- DMW
KRISPY KREMES AT THE GYM: Spring break starts next week at my big southern university, and the gym has been packed with self-tanned students getting in shape for that romantic drunken hookup on the floor of the Ramada. Just imagine my delight when I walked in this morning to find a big ol' box of Krispy Kremes sitting on the front desk, labeled simply "Spring break 1 week away." So funny. So cruel. (Three girls had already succumbed to temptation.) Gym employees with a sick sense of humor? Automatic A -- cinetrix
THE ANGRIEST BALLOON-ANIMAL MAKER IN THE WORLD: Balloon-animal makers -- even when they're dressed up as creepy-ass clowns -- are supposed to be happy and friendly, or at least act that way. They're supposed to make funny, entertaining comments to passers-by and look like there is nothing they'd rather be doing than making giraffes and lions out of long, multi-colored balloons. What they AREN'T supposed to do is curse the living bejeezus out of their balloon animals and lash out at them with the sort of sociopathic malice a serial killer would envy. But there he stood at the top of the metro escalator at Washington, D.C.'s Union Station, practically strangling the balloon animals as he made them and talking to them like an enraged pimp: "Fuck you, bitch. That's right, fuck YOU. Whuh, you don't like it? Well fuck you! Oh so how you like me NOW? Don't know why I take this shit..." For appealing to my warped sense of humor and making me laugh: B+. For freaking me out and making me want my mommy: D- -- Chris Beecroft
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