|THE BLACK LIST: FIRST PAT O'BRIEN, NOW PAULA ABDUL...|
|By The Black Table|
You know it's almost summertime when you are sitting at your desk, minding your own business, when suddenly your boss comes by, slaps you on the back and you scream. Not a manly howl to the heaven's either; we're talking a legitimate little girl screech. We sounded like Carol Ann from Poltergeist (before, she, um, died).
You see, we spent last weekend in the sun. We spent it at baseball games, in big fields of grass, on the back porch under a cloudless Illinois sky. And because we were being tough, because we were insisting that sunscreen was for wussies, we sat there and just cooked. And now we cannot move. And now we are screaming in the office.
Yep: Summertime is here. We're ready to stay indoors.
Hey, look, we've got 11 reviews this week. Saddle up to our bar and use
the form on the right to play our game
THE SILENT TREATMENT: Sorry girls, your secret's out. And it's time someone exposed your bratty attempt at gaining the upper hand as nothing more than a puerile little game. I'm talking about the silent treatment, shutting us out in a juvenile attempt at winning arguments. You think that by sitting there and ignoring us, by giving us one-word responses to our sincere questions, that by pretending to not even hear us, that this is winning? You think that by wearing a blank, disaffected expression, you're sending the gears of our minds into overdrive, thinking and overthinking about just what caused this sudden silence? And do you think that the longer you stay silent, the more we feel like we're walking on eggshells; the more our already jangled nerves split and fray; the more everyday sounds like the tap of a shoe or the clunk of a toilet seat amplify and expand until our brains are just throbbing out of our skulls to the point where we just can't take it anymore? C'mon ladies, we're all adults here. How 'bout dropping the four-year old pout and hashing out our problems like the full-grown adults we all aspire to be. Don't you think it's time you joined us way up here, up on the high road? You certainly can't do this forever. So why won't you talk to me? TALK! TALK! FOR CHRISSAKES, I'M TEARING MY HAIR OUT, WHY WON'T YOU TALK TO ME, YOU'RE DRIVING ME CRAZY! TALK, GODDAMN YOU, TALK! I'LL DO ANYTHING!!!! F -- Jerry Abejo
LACROSSE: How to explain this sport? Think of a cross between ice hockey, soccer and, um, butterfly collecting. America's real
national pastime, lacrosse was first played by the Oneida Iroquois more than 500 years ago. And, coincidentally, it also strongly resembles America's second-oldest sport -- chasing squirrels with a rake. A game played on a football-sized field where players are required to use helmets and run in comical circles, it is the only sanctioned sport where rules allow you to poke your opponent with a stick. And in the women's version, there is no out-of-bounds. I personally have seen women's lacrosse players wandering downtown, claiming they were in the middle of a match. Common terms in lacrosse are "crease," "middies" and "God Damn it, that hurts!" The lacrosse ball, you see, resembles a racquetball, but is solid rubber and can become a deadly missile if thrown properly. Here's to you, lacrosse! After watching two entire matches in person, I still have no idea what your rules are. B -- Rick Chandler
BBC NEWS DAY IN PICTURES: Every day BBC News Online puts together 6-10 photos from around the world chronicling the events of the day. While American "news" outlets seem to follow the rule that bad news is the only news, the BBC Day in Pictures is filled with at least as much beauty as tragedy. So when I feel helpless about my generation in Iraq, AIDS in Africa or human rights in North Korea, I can look at the Day in Pictures and see Indian army officers performing stunts on poles and blowing fire to attract recruits -- much cooler than the Army of One. Even what is violent is made fascinating through the Day in Pictures; one photo of people reflected in the blood from an Iraq suicide bomber at first strikes me as fine art, then nauseating as I read the caption. The Day in Pictures always reminds me that there is more to life than my sheltered little corner, and it has become part of my morning routine to browse through the photos and imagine what other things are going on around the world, to sip my coffee and wonder what other people's lives are like, and think of the ways that we're a lot alike. For a snotty white college girl, a little perspective deserves nothing less than an A -- Julia
SURVIVOR GUILT: And thus it came to pass that the Unemployment Angel of Death did passeth over my cubicle. Unfortunately the three other technical writers here failed to swab their cubicle walls with the requisite lamb's blood and were summarily laid off. Oh, I'm sorry, they weren't "laid off." This time it wasn't the dreaded Reduction In Force (RIF). No, this was simply a "strategic realignment." You bust your hump, you do your job, and for what? So some VP somewhere, who has no idea who you are or what you do, can eliminate a box on an org chart. I've survived at least four or five of these fiascos, and every time I'm overwhelmed with relief to still be getting a paycheck and guilt over being the one of the survivors. Grade?? I need something lower than F. How about a G? -- JLG
SWHEAT SCOOP: There are certain health-food-store products that, while virtuous, are ineffective and gross enough to prompt even the crunchiest eco-warrior to lay down her recyclable sword and capitulate to the demands of real life. Swheat Scoop biodegradable wheat-based flushable kitty litter is one of them. It is the kitty litter equivalent of an organic reusable menstrual pad, except much worse at performing its appointed duty. Instead of soaking up the cat pee and making discreet, odor-free, easy-to-scoop clumps like the clay stuff from the deli, it combines with the pee to form this horrifying, indestructible, ammonia-reeking cement that will stick to the bottom of the retardedly expensive charcoal-filter litter box that you bought as an impecunious college student until you reach in and pry it (the pee-cement) out with your rubber-gloved hands. Fuck that. Tidy Cat it is, till Raffles learns to use the toilet as something other than a drinking fountain. Also, the name 'Swheat Scoop' is queer. F -- emily gould
THE FALL OF SMALL BUSINESS AND ITS ATTENDANT ASSHOLES: A friend of mine works for a large bookstore chain store in the Midwest, one recently credited with driving a beloved local competitor out of business. Ever since the announcement of the store's demise, hordes of SUV-driving, McDonald's-chomping, NPR-listening, selectively boho boomers have made his life hell by proclaiming loud and long how much he, his employer and The Man all suck. Mind you, they do this while patronizing said evil corporate behemoth, sucking down coffee from its in-store Starbucks franchise, plundering its Oprah's Book Club selections and putting money in its coffers. The classiest trick? Some of them bought up marked-down books from the dying indie store in its final days, then took them to the chain store (without removing the price stickers) and tried to return them for a full refund. Fight the power, suburban consumer commando. Fight. The. Power. C- -- Bergman
A VOYEURISTIC CRACKHEAD: A night of inebriated fun on the LES with one of my favorite friends. Soaking up some of the booze with a slice from the scuzzy pizza place on the walk home. So far so good. Things started to turn when I decided that I needed to pee. After "locking" myself in the bathroom, I began. Seconds later the door flies open, and I respond like anyone would, "Dude, I'm in here." The dude closes the door quickly, which would have been great if he'd been on the other side of it. Instead I am trapped in a bathroom with a crackhead that's dirtier than the toilet seat I'm hovering above. At which point I go, "What are you doing? Are you just going to stand there and watch me pee?" "Yes," he says, and he does. At this point I am seriously resenting the gallon of beer housed in my bladder; finally the peeing ends, and I run out of the pizza joint, grabbing my friend on the way. I proceed to tell her the story and she, in a very blase tone says, "Oh, I would have kicked him in the balls. Maybe you should go back in and kick him in the balls." I opt out of that plan and run into the corner store. Having a crackhead watch you pee: D. Being too drunk to actually care: A -- mel a.
"SALMON-FREE" WATER: I don't remember what channel I was watching -- my husband insists on the cable package where you get like, five different ESPNs and that redneck channel with the fishing shows -- when this ad comes on featuring a guy in a deliberately bad bear costume and bear makeup that looks like it was done at a face-painting booth. He's drinking a Dasani bottled water (that's from Coca-Cola, for all of you non-marketing whores out there) and talks about how great it is between sips. He says he's not into the whole "natural mountain stream" thing, which is, of course, the selling point for most bottled waters. The kicker is when Mr. Bear leans into the camera and says, "There's salmon in there. And you know what they're doing? Spawning -- IN the mountain stream!" This is at once repulsive and brilliant, because Coke caught some pretty serious flack when it initially launched Dasani. Basically, the stuff is tap water that's been tinkered with by adding chemicals. Yummy, right? But hey, if you're implying that your competitors just might have fish-jizz reside in their water, maybe customers won't be skeeved by the thought of a few pesky chemicals. Dasani water: C. Coke's cojones: A -- MC White
PEOPLE WHO WANT TO TALK "OFFLINE": What does this bizarre phrase even mean? We're in a meeting when you, Ms. MustAlwaysSaySomething, have (surprise!) an opinion, so you add 10 MORE minutes onto this meeting and then want to "talk offline" about it with me. What line are we on? I'm right the fuck here, and you just made your points. This makes no sense. Incidentally, I think you mean you're going to email me, which is talking "online," you moron. Can we please stop acting like I'm joining a conference call from the Midwest? Do you think it sounds cool? Because that look I'm giving you is me wanting to smack you. You are unworthy of a letter grade. We can talk about it offline if you like, but I'm going to delete that email and read some porn-spam. You get to stew in a CHECK-MINUS -- chris lucas
FINDING OUT I'M ANTI-BASQUE ON GOOGLE: When I Googled my name last week, I learned, to my surprise, that I am anti-Basque. A Basque blogger called me out for mentioning the group in an article about terrorism -- not like I was the first to write this. Now I've never been to Spain, I've never met a Basque person and I do not want them hunting me down for no reason (if I slept with their boyfriends in a youth hostel, that's another story. But I don't recall having done that either). Hopefully if I ever go to Europe again, my name won't appear on any government lists for siding with Franco. Finding out who hates me with a Google search: B+. Being accused of racism by someone I've never met: F -- R.
PAYING SOMEONE TO RIP YOUR CUNT HAIR OUT BY THE ROOTS: My best friend swears it doesn't hurt that much, summer (and by extension, bikini season) is approaching, and I'm a sucker, so I schedule my first Brazilian wax. Half-way through, I find myself doing yogic breathing and meditation to keep from popping the esthetician in the face. Three quarters of the way through, she looks up from her scrutiny of my c--t, three sticky fingers smashing my clit to the side so as to get the best angle for hair removal, and informs me that my hair grows in so many directions, it's not waxable. So she moves on to plucking each one by hand. My gay lover's endorsement, post-painfest, is cold comfort for my throbbing hairless pussy. Asking for a landing strip and getting a lopsided postage stamp firmly cements this Brazilian wax with an F -- minirabs
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