Sunday, April 08, 2007

TANBR Recommends: Installment #4

I'm planning some interesting columns for the upcoming weeks. With the NBA regular season coming to a close, maybe I can actually write something basketball-related, for instance. Until then, here's more stuff I like:

(This is supposed to be an every-other-week column, but I didnt' remember that until after I had already written it. Whatevs.)

Proline Portraits Trading Cards

Sonny Jurgensen, are you peeing into a fireplace?

Recently, I was sifting through a box of old cards and found that, for whatever reason, my brother and I were partial to an early-nineties series called NFL Proline Portraits. Rather than your run-of-the-mill football action shots, these cards featured players in their own casual elements--Troy Aikman doing chest presses in the gym, Pete Metzalaars painting the town red in a turtleneck, some dumb bum for the Chargers chillin' on the practice field with Zubaz biking shorts. Apparently, this set existed in some cultural vacuum before something could be deemed gay. (Seriously, Troy Aikman is sweating all over heart-rate equipment. I might have to borrow someone's scanner.) These cards could never be released now because people, even kids who would have bought the cards, would have jumped all over them. Maybe before irony took everything over, people could try new things without fear of ridicule. I guess that's what the nineties were like.

One last thing: this is one of the first sets I can remember that had a good selection of former greats--the O.J. card became pretty popular for obvious reasons. (And it's amazing how many cards were wasted on coaches, Stay in School messages, and stupid insert cards like "New York Jets: Teamwork!" I'd be pissed if half a pack was still made up of that filler.) The real coup de grace for Proline Portraits though, is the bizarre NFL Wives Insert Set. Again, it's not, like, lingerie pics or anything. It's just Yancey Thigpen's wife making gumbo or something.

Why did anyone think this would be a good idea? To get autographed no less.

Target's Wedding Registry System

1. Tell Target's Guest Information representatives you want to start a registry.
2. They give you a scanner, which you use to mark everything you want, which automatically is sorted and put onto a list.
3. When people want to buy stuff for you, they just print out that list, pick out Blender X, and the cashier marks it off. When the next person prints out the registry, it shows that someone already bought Blender X, so there aren't any duplicate gifts.
4. Put your junk in that box.

Basically everyone else in the game is copying Target right now. They've stream-lined the process more logically than I would have thought possible. I can't imagine getting married without the registry being so easy. This goes right next to "getting a plane ticket" in the category of shit I never would know how to do if it weren't for computers. What did people do before? Just hope that their family had good taste in sheets?

By the way, gentle reader, if you're interested, my name is Christopher Bowes, and I'm getting married in May in the state of Louisiana. Pace.

White Tees

I'm surprised that more hasn't been made of this phenomenon. For the past two or three years, many African-American men across the land--and the other ethnic groups imitating them--have seen fit to leave the house wearing some combination of a fitted cap, jeans, Air Force Ones or Jordans, and an over-sized white t-shirt. From a fashion standpoint, it's deplorable. Wearing a plain, ill-fitting shirt of the most basic material is anti-fashion. I'm much more interested in the blipster movement.

If you can read the caption above, I don't really need a comment. Terrabull.

As an equalizing concept though, it's pretty great. Young Jeezy wears white tees. Allen Iverson wears white tees. And so does the guy standing outside the Exxon where I buy my High Life. If I wanted to wear a white tee, all I would have to do is go to the Exxon where I buy my High Life, plunk down $5.99, and decide whether I wanted a XXL or XXXL. Never before has an article of clothing been so egalitarian.

Easter Mass

If you only go to mass once a year--and many people do--today is the day to do it. Even Christmas is kind of a bank robbery compared to Easter. Though the congregation's goodwill is at a higher level for Christmas, the sense of renewal associated with Easter is on a whole other level, and that energy is extended to the music, the readings, and the homily too (sermon if you're uncool enough to not be Catholic). Usually, people who haven't been to church in a while are scared off by the idea that they'll get condemned or judged. (And I'll admit that happens. Going to the "co-habitation is wrong" talk the day after moving in with your girlfriend is rough.) But Easter is such a hopeful day that it's almost impossible for the homily to be about something negative. You're safe. People dress in pastels too. It's cool. I swear.

"The People's Court with Judge Marilyn Milian"

People watch judge shows because they're comforting in the same way fast food is. A Chicken McNugget in New Orleans is going to taste very similar to one in New York, and a judge show, whether it's "Judge Joe Brown" or "Judge Judy" or "Texas Justice" is going to present clueless plaintiffs and defendants, a sassy adjudicator to keep them in check, and a case obvious enough for you to rule on within five minutes. No matter when you tune in, you can figure out who is right or wrong with a modicum of information.

"The People's Court" plays by those same rules; it invented them, in fact. What separates it is the indelible music that no one else can rip off, along with its whole package of presentation with the letters of people's names being typed out with sound effects and whatnot, and, more importantly, the grounded but authoritative Marilyn Milian. She's of the same no-nonsense mold as most other TV judges, but she seems to have a respect for the law that's absent from other shows. For example, I've seen shows in which she's actually suspended a judgment until she could get more information and available evidence. The show ends without a verdict. That might not be a judge show at its most entertaining, but it's definitely reverent. If you're going to waste twenty-two minutes of your life on a court show, just make sure it's the O.G.

Rack 'Em

This is obviously exploitative, but is it racist? State your point in the comments.

Watching the Masters and Predicting the Commercials

IBM= 1 point

AT&T= 1 point

some ad for other CBS programming= 2 points, 4 points if you try to name a specific show ("Criminal Minds" is still on the air?)

a mutual fund service= 2 points

Cingular= 2 points

anything else= 5 points

There isn't a more old man event the entire year. And yes, you have to predict the commericals in order. Matter of fact, this whole column is pretty old man. I was going to recommend Listerine's Whitening Pre-Rinse, but I guess I'll skip to the music.

New Hotness

At some point this week I'm going to do a whole run-down of the big music releases of the past month, including Timbaland's Shock Value. I was underwhelmed by it, mostly because he set out to balance and meld all types of different music and failed in that goal, thus, I think, failing in his potential to solidify a concept over the course of an album. Guess what though? The one track where he did that most effectively is only available as a bonus cut on the UK edition of the CD. I guess people on this side of the pond couldn't handle something that knocks as obviously as this:

M.I.A. feat. Timbaland- "Come Around"

I slept on David Banner's Certified last year when it came out, but this song has been in heavy rotation since I bought a used copy of the album last week.

David Banner feat. Twista- "On Everything"

So far this is the slow jam of the year. Imagine if Ne-Yo could write songs for Michael Jackson instead of just singing them himself. Come back, MJ. Come back.

Ne-Yo feat. Jay-Z- "Call Me Crazy"

Oh, also, P.T., good look actually recommending something to read last time around. We were starting to look like illiterate boobs. I'm in the middle of a few things right now, (Including One Hundred Years of Solitude, which is a weird thing to read without someone making you do so. No comment yet.) but I'll definitely have something to push by TANBR Recommends #6.

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