|THE BLACK LIST: WE'LL MISS YOU MISTER NICE POPE GUY DUDE.|
|By The Black Table|
The Black Table has been accused of being alcoholics, drug-addled miscreants, nihilist fools and godless heathens, but we reject such labels. And our readers do too: The Black Table was pleasantly surprised by the outpouring of Black List submissions this week about the death of the Pope. A few were humorous, a few were morose, but all, refreshingly, were respectful. This is good. We'd rather not spend our free time debating blowhards on Scarborough Country.
Anyway, the poor Pope did expire in just enough time: He didn't have to worry about losing the hour of sleep on Daylight Savings Day. We, however, still think it's last Wednesday. Which might have nothing to do with daylight savings, now that we think about it.
Regardless. We have 11 reviews this week. We love them, we love you, we love all of it. Use the form on the right to play around in the shallow end of our pool.
JOHN PAUL II: Though I long ago rejected Catholicism and all religion as ancient superstition and hokum, I still had a lot of respect for the recently deceased Pope. As a young priest, John Paul II opposed Nazism and risked his life to rescue Jews during the Second World War. As a bishop, he risked his life again fighting Communism. While his archconservative views on some social issues drove more people away from his church, he never allowed his ideas to fuel malice or hatred. He railed against poverty, injustice and war fervently and consistently, and he gave no moral quarter to contemptible politicians who are Christian in all but deed. The ghoulish media deathwatch of the Pontiff may deserve a big fat F, but John Paul II deserves an A for a life well lived. -- Matthew Sheahan
THE POPE: My thoughts from back when the Pope was still alive are on our Most Holy Father. Breathing is shallow, kidneys are failing, a feeding tube has been inserted. And that's just me -- the Pope isn't feeling very well either. One has to wonder if, like Terri Schaivo, the Pope is clutching a stuffed animal there in his hospital bed. If so, what would it be? Teddy bear? Beanie Baby? One of those oversized Pandas you win at the carnival? We can rule out the plush SpongeBob SquarePants. Also, anything with a squeaker is out. By all accounts John Paul II has been a terrific Pope -- lauded for being Polish, and taking trips abroad. These are hardly resume enhancers in any other line of work, but when you're Pope the bar is slightly lower. My thoughts wander to other Popes. Pope Sixtus V
(1585-90), who, before becoming Pope, was admonished by the Spanish Inquisition for being too cruel. Pope Stephen IV (767-772), who took over by force and broke the kneecaps of the previous Pope. Pope Leo V (903), who reigned for one month before being thrown into prison. And now it seems we will have a new pontiff. The Cardinals will soon gather in Rome, huddle to elect a successor, and then the multitudes will see the smoke from the Vatican chimney change color, signaling that a new Pope has been ... no, wait. That's how we choose teams in my fantasy baseball league. Though I am not Catholic (there's tough steroid restrictions), I appreciate the papal office. Dating to St. Peter in the time of Christ, it is a position steeped in history and mystical power. The Pope is our only real superhero. He wears a colorful costume, fights crime, and drives a bulletproof car. If there weren't a Pope, Stan Lee would have to invent him. Now they will choose Pope No. 266. There are many ways they can screw this up (Pope Dennis I ... Pope Flava Flav ... Pope Regis). We pray they make the right choice. "Angele Dei, qui custos es mei, Me tibi commissum pietate superna; illumina, custodi, rege, et guberna. Amen." Translation: It's all about wearing the big hat. B -- Rick Chandler
MY MONEY IS ON THE BRAZILIAN: No, I'm not talking about the World Cup. With the passing of Pope John Paul II, there is much discussion and excitement (among the media) about the how the media will cover the selection of a new Pope in the Information Age. Never mind how the media will cover the death of a Pope in the Information Age. How will we know? Can we get a camera inside the Vatican? "And now, MSNBC's religious commentator Pat Buchanan weighs in with his prediction?" 'Fraid not. To get the most accurate prediction of how the Information Age will present this ancient and odd process, one need only to turn to overseas online gambling websites (try PaddyDaddy or Readabet.com) where you too can get your lay your money down on PopeMania 2005. I can't even imagine the research that goes into making the odds, but I bet the Internet helps. It ain't March Madness, but we have only technology to thank for opening up the channels of communication and allowing such vital information to flow freely. Laying bets on the new Pope: D. -- Dean Hanlon
STEVIE WONDER'S "GOLDEN LADY:" For years and years, I've been loving Stevie Wonder's "Golden Lady", both for the outer space cartoon synth sounds and the overall vibe. It's a love song, Stevie Wonder writes great love songs, etc. Recently, though, something started to really bug me about it: what the hell does Stevie Wonder know about gold? Isn't the effect kind of ruined if you can't see it? Gold is dense. Gold is cold to the touch. Gold is extremely malleable, and highly conductive, which is why they make circuits out of it. Gold costs a hell of a lot, and it's usually followed by the word "flake" or "nugget." Cold? Dense? Flaky? Unless this song is really about Nicole Ritchie, it's crap. Stevie, sing what you know. F -- Jim Jazwiecki
THE FIVE-BOROUGH MAPS HAWKER NEAR THE SOHO GASETERIA: Black leather jacket. Black wrap-around sunglasses. Raspy Coney Island carnival-barker voice. "FIVE BOROUGH MAPS! HALF-PRICE!" he hollers at taxi drivers while sticking his product in front of onrushing cars smack in the middle of Lafayette St. A voice that belongs to a man seriously committed to making a sale. A voice easily audible through the cracked window of a seventh floor office across the street. A voice that, for several years now, has signaled to me that Spring is finally here. A -- hillmarky
POST-ADOLESCENCE WISDOM TEETH: So what if they've been there since your teens? Everyone knows getting all four of your wisdom teeth extracted is much better when you're in your 30s, self-employed and devoid of the warmth that was mom and dad's dental insurance. Like saving up for your first car, you're much more appreciative of getting those cavity-encrusted bastards carved from your jaw when you've earned the money to do it. Forget a semi-exotic vacation or putting premium unleaded in your car -- nothing says 'you've arrived' quite like an impending case of dry socket. Eating ice cream, having your momma come baby you and hoarding full-price painkillers: A. Having four huge holes in the back of your mouth for store-brand Spaghetti-O's to get trapped in *and* the bill to show for it: F -- Amy Hooker
GAY GUYS THAT DRESS LIKE STRAIGHT GUYS: Sometimes I enjoy gay guys that wear tailored clothes and use hair products. There is a comfort in their smooth, moisturized skin and unconfusing sexuality. But sometimes I would just rather gay guys dress like straight guys. And I don't mean in soccer shorts or sleeveless t-shirts. I mean like REAL straight guys. I'm talking stained, ill-fitting shirts. Ugly running shoes. Messy hair. White tube socks. When I see a guy walk down the street in his older brother's XL Old Navy shirt from high school, and he turns to give his boyfriend a kiss on the lips, my heart skips a beat. God bless 'em, they just don't care. A -- Mateo
SPOTTING A FORMER CO-WORKER WHILE DINING AT AN ALL-YOU-CAN-EAT CRAB HOUSE: You were never really close, even though you spent eight hours a day together. It's been a few years, and she looks fine and not depressed. So why is it that you don't want to go over and talk to her? Is it because you think she'll bore you to death talking about the eating habits of her moody pet ferret like she used to when you were file clerks for that company that sold condos in upscale retirement communities? Later, when you've cracked apart that final crab claw, you see her notice you in the mirror over the lobster tank. But instead of coming over, she pays her bill and leaves. You're slightly offended but after discovering the mint-flavored toothpicks by the cash register, you forget all about her .C- -- Matthew Rorem
SWATCH WATCH NOSTALGIA: Remember when Swatch was really cool in the '80s? So do East Village hipsters. That's why they're sporting those neon-colored bands and plastic-faces once again. The design hasn't stayed the same though. I remember my first Swatch had a hot-pink face with wacky-cool geometric shapes instead of numbers. I really rocked third-grade with that watch. Now that we children of the early '80s are all grownup, Swatch wants to meet our more adult needs. My friend's usual good taste ran amuck when she bought a Swatch that I named The Bunny Kama Sutra. Why such a name? On the watch face, each number is replaced by a pair of rabbits doing -- well, what rabbits do best. Oh Swatch, we loved you so much. Why didn't you realize that my generation of compulsive nostalgia would have gleefully bought an exact replica of the watch I had back in 1987? You needn't sully yourself with overt sex images and willful irony. D- -- Alison Rogers
MULLET-WEARING OPERA STARS: Move over, Russell Crowe. My top action hero this week is Dwayne Croft, who sings baritone for the Metropolitan Opera. He's got the hair, he's got the pecs, and unlike that whiny Aussie, Croft can both act and sing. Typically typecast as a pirate or noble swordsman, his death scene, as "Rodrigo" in last Saturday's performance of Verdi's "Don Carlo" (in the arms of another man), literally blew away the bland, chubby tenor, left the society gals gasping and moistening their orchestra seats and inspired us all to liberate Flanders. For giving my love of opera a more tangible object of desire: A. For justifying my current boyfriend's mullet to my opera-loving friends: A -- Mia Amato
CHOOSING TO LIVE WITH A SMOKING-HOT ROOMMATE: The Colorado girl, I kind of hated her off the bat, and was the first one to vote thumbs down when asked, but thanks to a sheer dearth of cool roommate candidates, we were forced to pick her; She was the least rotted among the flotsom. It actually took me awhile to understand why I hated her. After all, she was: a) very sweet; b) liked to clean now and then but wasn't anal; and c) not fat, thus satisfying the top requirements of the three remaining male roommates. But the second day she moved in, when she walked around in a tight white t-shirt and green short shorts, I discovered the source of my disgust: She was fucking HOT. We go out sometimes, and I see her getting hit on by everybody, and I see sometimes how uncomfortable it all kind of makes her, so, as a roommate, all I want to do is make her feel comfortable. I don't want her to think that I, a person she lives with, too has the hots for her. At the same time though, the thought of her occupies every hour of my waking life. So listen to one who is down in the trenches: Don't do it. Don't ever live with a hot roommate. When she starts talking about how she appeared in a Pringles commercial wearing silver underwear while leaping on a trampoline. When you walk into her room and she's wearing a skirt, and little underneath, lying flat on her bed, and then you see her cross one shimmering leg over the other, seemingly in slow motion. When she shows you the movie where she doubled Natasha Lyonne as a dead hooker, which comes complete with a tight closeup of her ass you will surely grow mad with intense rage. So please, trust me. Also, last night she talked openly about waxing her cooch. F -- Jerry Abejo
Each and every week, Black Table readers like you write the Black List and get absolutely nothing in return. Ain't that some shit.