|THE BLACK LIST: THIS JUST IN -- LIFE HAS MEANING.|
|By The Black Table|
We know this is hardly timely or anything, but we're sitting here on our couch -- where we've been pretty much for the last eight hours -- watching "Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind" on HBO. We were blown away by this movie when we saw it, and there are even times, when the light strikes us just right and the perfect sad, wistful song comes on the radio, that we think it might be our favorite movie of all time. Is that weird? Do you think that's strange?
It's an overstatement, of course, but it's that time of movie: The kind that makes you feel like maybe your life is a little more important than it is, the kind that makes the day-to-day drudgery somehow mean something. We dunno. Probably just us.
Anyway, we've got 10 reviews this week, which, you know, is how much we have every week. Play with us by using the form on the right, won't you?
HYBRID CAR ENVIRONMENTALISTS: Recently, I've been put over the edge on environmentalism. A classmate of mine recently purchased a Toyota Hybrid and was giving me an earful after I tossed a plastic bottle into the TRASH instead the oh-so-good-for-the-earth recycling bin. Seeing as she was such an eco-expert, I had a few questions for her. How much fossil fuel did it take to power the factory that made the car? How many tons of low-grade ore were strip mined to produce metals that were further refined and processed into alloys to build the car? Did the manufacture of the tires, motor oil, electric motor parts, and batteries have any environmental impact? When it was shipped across the Pacific Ocean, was the freighter hybrid powered? She couldn't answer these questions, but she let me know that she gets more than 50 mpg IN THE CITY and thus was part of the solution. Vocal idiots that think good gas mileage offsets the environmental impact of building an automobile: D- -- Matt Smith
PRETENDING TO LIVE IN NEW YORK: In my efforts to land a publishing job in New York, I listed my cousin's Upper East Side address on my resume. In actuality, however, I live on the West Coast. I didn't receive a single call when I had my real address down, but after changing it, I've received several. I imagine employers have their reasons: They don't want to deal with relocation expenses and delays. Or, perhaps, they know their company sucks and the pay is crap, so they can't imagine anyone wanting to move across the country to come and work there. Or maybe it's just as
simple as them wanting to hire someone who already knows the city-livin' drill. Whatever it is, I set out to negate their collective lines of reasoning. Now, I am receiving calls from employers who want me to come in the next day for an interview. At first I did it--booked my flight, blew $700 for the last minute fare, the super shuttle, the cab rides, all that. Now, I just lie. "I'm out of town, how 'bout next Tuesday?" After all, I suck at interviews. Me going in for one, if anything, furthers me from actually getting a job. I look great on paper, but I must be a real jack-off in person. And I must say, a rejection is far more stifling when you fly 6 hours x 2 to receive it. Jumping on the subway to get dissed would be far more convenient. F -- Veronica Waters
CHOREOGRAPHY AT THE HALLOWEEN PARADE: With my subway stop west of Sixth Avenue and me stuck on University Place, I decided to try work my way up the parade route and cut over. About a half-hour or so into the walk, I realize "Thriller" has earwormed its way into my head after being played in the street least five times on repeat. At 10th Street, it actually gets louder, and everyone around me suddenly has stopped. Since the crowd has conspired against me, I turn toward the street to see a set of speakers hanging off the tailgate of a pickup and roughly 50 individuals dressed as zombies. As if Debbie Allen was signaling to them from Jefferson Market, they break into the dance sequence from the "Thriller" video complete with the zombie-claw motion that every frat boy at a bar on Halloween has emulated since he was pounding shots of amniotic fluid in the womb. A few recently deceased white people are out of step, but for the most part they pull it off. While people have been putting obscene amounts of time into Halloween costuming for some time now, this block-off-Broadway production had to take some serious hours. We're not talking about you and two of your friends practicing in front of a mirror just before going out, we're talking studio sessions weeks in advance with a paid choreographer running the whole show. While I'm sure David Parsons and Twyla Tharp would be impressed, the crowd seemed just as amused by the guy who stacked a bunch of cardboard boxes on his head and labelled himself "suspicious package." At any rate, it was better than the clowns who dressed up as The Gates, but not really worth the expense of holding up my trip home by nearly an hour. Next time stay dead, you fucking tools. F -- Jason Notte
UNITED STATES OF PIZZA WITHOUT EGG: You know, there's a lot to love about Nice, France. The prevailing odor of sweat and urine. The parade of belly buttons of 40-year-old women. The clothing sizes that more than once misled me into believing I could fit into shirts that eventually ended up half-strangling me with their straitjacket-like death grip. And the pizzas with one egg, overeasy, baked beautifully into the center. How I actually detested the aforementioned three things, and how I hold nothing but the purest of loves for you, egg pizza. My question is, eggy, why do you mock me so? Do you know what happened when I visited the Olive Garden in hopes of reuniting with you? I was laughed at. Heartily. As heartily as you filled my sad, suffering stomach those two lonely months in Europe. I hope you are happy, egg pizza. Because I am crying right now. Memory of egg pizza: A+. Knowing I'll never be able to find egg pizza anywhere other than not here: D-, with a side of tears. -- Lindsey Weeks
CERTAIN EXCLUSIONS APPLY: I am fed up with asterisks exclusions. They show up everywhere, the advertiser's antidote to shameless hyperbole. "Everything's on Sale!" the sign proclaims in letters large enough to see from the neighboring time zone. Then, etched into the bottom of the same sign in three-point text you see "* certain items excluded." No, I'm sorry, if you put up a big sign saying everything is on sale, you don't get a free pass to contradict yourself on the same sign. You might as well put up a sign that says "Don't trust us!" I once saw a sign outside a tire repair shop that said, "We specialize in all kinds of tires." OK. Stop. Think about that for a second. Worst of all is when this line of thinking enters my personal life, with that fine young lady I've somehow convinced to accompany me home for the evening. As things get hot and heavy, the negotiations begin. "What do you like to do?" I ask. "I'm open to everything..." she replies, which raises my temperature and sends my imagination reeling. So I start in with that thing I've always wanted to try, if only I could find a willing girl. Record-scratch-sound effect, she bolts up in bed, looks at me wide eyed, slack-jawed, shocked that I would ever think she was that kind of girl. Somewhere, etched into her subconscious is an asterisk. "* certain sex acts excluded." Realizing you've been had, and might also be a perv. F -- Dave Bittner
MY SITE METER IS WATCHING YOU: I knew my site meter provided basic information -- visit lengths, IP addresses, search terms. (For the record: I am NOT "Sebastian Junger + girlfriend.") But the other day I discovered that it does even more. You come to my site? I get your goddamn GPS coordinates. Hi, guy who lives three blocks from me! Slacking off at work or school? Your institution's name gets tracked. (Brandeis, Columbia, NYU: do your homework.) It's thrilling, but it's a double-edged sword. What do you do when you learn that your boyfriend's mom has been reading your site from her office? You panic and comb your archives for references to drinking and/or humping, that's what. And what to make of the fact that someone in the Turkish government has been checking up on me? Finally, what's the protocol for contacting the avid reader at NPR headquarters in hopes of getting a job? Watching: A+. Being watched: C+ -- mary phillips-sandy
AMERICA'S NEED TO HAVE ITS LEADING MEN'S HETEROSEXUALITY AGGRESSIVELY REINFORCED: While flipping through the lower channels Wednesday in a rare (and unsurprisingly fruitless) attempt to find something watchable on network TV, I stopped for a couple minutes on "Freddie," Mr. Prinze Jr.'s eponymous ABC sitcom. Freddie and Brian Austin Green were pretending to be a gay couple, but when the person they were fooling left, the erstwhile David Silver kept his hand on Freddie's shoulder and sort of massaged it a little. Typical of the homophobic response our society expects of every American male when he's confronted with affection or physical contact by another man, Freddie says, "Let go" and then, looking angry, "Ima beachyou...," prompting Green to remove his arm and the laugh track/studio audience to guffaw heartily. Here's how I would have written the scene: Green: puts hand on shoulder of Prinze Jr., makes massaging motions. Freddie: Ponders a moment, then says, "A little to the left. Yeah, that's the stuff." (Cliched in its own way, sure, but we're talking sitcom here.) Freddie Prinze Jr. having his own TV show: D+. Mainstream entertainment's addiction to homophobia as humor: F -- Snake Plissken
DUDE IN A DUSTER: I'm not sure if duster is the correct term, but trenchcoat sounds so high school psycho. Every day I stare out the glass walls of my office, overlooking a massive parking lot, and there he is, striding confidently over acres of asphalt, ground length black coat swirling, heading off towards ... well, nowhere. Tall, thin, dark, he almost creates a shadow where there is none, for yes, he strides in the middle of the day, in 95 degree weather, in his black coat. Who are you, mysterious man, and where do you go? And what the hell is wrong with you? Having something to ponder when I'm supposed to be working. A -- LoriW
DISCOVERING PEOPLE STILL THINK GEORGE CARLIN WRITES EMAILS: One would think that by 2005 that everyone with access to a computer and some neurons firing in their cranium would be aware that any forwarded email attributed to comedian George Carlin is complete bullshit, and especially one about Katrina. However, my inbox proves that there's still a healthy amount of naiveté out there amongst those with me in their address book, so allow me to make something clear to those who are not yet sufficiently jaded about email forwarding: You are neither helping Mr. Carlin's career nor the victims of the hurricane by sending on this nonsense. You are not entertaining anyone, and it only makes me think less of your sense of humor. You are, however, letting me know that you aren't really fond of using your brain, and hence making me feel better that I never gave you money. B- -- Doug Hein
THE RANDOM BROKEN-NECKED ANAL SEX IN "NAKED LUNCH:" OK, so we all like the odd bit of random, perverted sex in a book, but when it's this random and this perverted, you've got to ask yourself: Is this the sort of book my mother would approve of? I'm not saying it's a bad book, it's fantastic, I'm just saying that maybe the frequent scenes of broken-necked anal rape could be toned down somewhat. I mean, when I'm just settling down for a quick read before bed, the last thing I want to hear about is a man being raped, hung, having his neck broken, his nose and genitals ripped off and then being thrown out of a window. Oh, who am I kidding, of course I want to hear about it, I just don't want anybody reading over my shoulder on the bus. A -- Louis Goddard
Each and every week, Black Table readers like you write the Black List and get absolutely nothing in return. Ain't that some shit.