This Is the Week That Is

BTdingbat3.gifIncoming! February 14, 2005
by your humble coëditor, Geoff Wolinetz, over at The Black Table.

Music for the Masses

500 Best Songs!

Hey, kids! Do you like the rock 'n' roll? If so, head on over to
Matthew Tobey's City of Floating Blogs
to check out the O.C.D.-enabled megalist of 500 bestest songs ever, compiled from suggestions by the Internet's finest music dweebs, among them your humble Y.P.R. coëditors.

& Recently . . .

David Foster Wallace, TV Guide Synopsist by Teddy Wayne

Pimpin' Like a Pirate by Nick Jezarian

Tetherball with Grandma by Geoff Wolinetz

Daniel Robert Epstein


Dear Wikipedia

The Y.P.R. Book Club Returns!
Y.P.R. solicits your spur-of-the-moment, off-the-cuff, split-second, ad-lib snap judgements regarding Malcolm Gladwell's Blink: The Power of Thinking without Thinking.

Send us your reviews, parodies, deleted chapters, etc. by February 28th, 2005. Blink!

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Learn Many Languages!

Meat-stuffed pasta pocket:
Ravioli (Italian)
Wonton (Cantonese)
Kreplach (Yiddish)
Pierogi (Polish)
Pelmeni (Russian)

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Thursday, February 17, 2005    |    Fiction

David Foster Wallace, TV Guide Synopsist

by Teddy Wayne

Monday 9:30 p.m. – CBS “Two and a Half Men”
Is anyone else so grammatically vexed by the absence of hyphenation in THM's title that they completely forgo watching 80s casualties Chaz Sheen and Jon Cryer's antics in this "My Two Dads"/" “Full House”-minus-the-homoerotic-subtext-rehash? Charlie1 and Alan organize a bake sale for Jake's school, but run into problems with the jealous head of the P.T.A.

Tuesday 8 p.m. – FOX “The Rebel Billionaire: Branson's Quest for the Best”
The effects of late global capitalism are extrapolated and entertained through Trump-lite Virgin mogul Branson’s H. Hughes–a wannabe herding of his photogenic charges through time-delimited, logic-deficient stunts in far-flung environs meant to render awed the audience w/r/t grandiosity of sybaritic quality of life of the contestants and the contrapuntal circling-flies poverty/preposterously rich oral culture of the natives: tonight in Fiji, the teams have 24 hours to design and market a new children's toy made only of straw, grass, and steel.

Wednesday 11 p.m. – PBS “Charlie Rose”
You know you should watch intellectual-by-TV-standards Rose chew the fat about Third World debt relief with renowned economist and Bono pal Jeffrey Sachs, but look me in the face and tell me you'll somehow pry yourself away from the 11 p.m. “Seinfeld” rerun and Britney on Leno at 11:35 (though as everyone knows his unsubtle-to-toddlers monologue sucks the air out of the lungs of comedy itself and the first guest doesn’t get going until 11:50 or so,2 in which case you might as well watch minutes thirty to forty-nine of Rose/Sachs).

Thursday 8 p.m. – FOX “The O.C.”
Seth, Ryan, Summer, and Marissa enact various courtship rituals in the domain of the homecoming king/queen-, glossy magazine-, you-should-really-model-, no-I'm-serious-you-should attractive set, expressing insecurity only in the unctuous way truly confident people do--you know what I mean, and if you don't, then you probably also express insecurity in the UWTCPD--while Sandy and Kirsten defy mortality via Botox, pilates,(3and sex that, were it just a tad more randy, might sic the censors on R. Murdoch.

Friday 12:30 a.m. – USA Weekend at Bernie's II (1993) *½
Notable only for the continuing career slide of former 80s WASP wet dream Andrew McCarthy (see role opposite 2.5 Men's Cryer in far superior M. Ringwald vehicle Pretty in Pink), and for the fact that it was his third starring role with a partially or fully inanimate object/human in six years.4

Friday 7:30 p.m. – UPN “Girlfriends” (rebroadcast)
Ghettoized to both UPN and this dire pre-UPN Friday Night Movie timeslot,5 when no one but the anhedonic losers who have no exciting weekend plans are settling in for a long stultifying night in front of the old CRT,6 “Girlfriends” widens the of-Mexico-sized racial gulf as Middle Americans are fed convivial images of what black people are “really like,” if by “really like” one means non-threatening jocose one-liners that prop up stale black myths while preserving white hegemony, symbolized most comprehensively by “Girlfriends”’s chasing the tepid 7 p.m. heels of pseudo-“Honeymooners” pabulum “The King of Queens.” Toni and Joan clash over relationship advice for Maya.

Sunday 4 a.m. NBC – Paid programming
Either the ravages of insomnia, the diminishing effects of the eight Miller Lites you shotgunned at the bar for the prerequisite Bogartesque detachment needed to discuss the on-stage Kinks-derivative band with the E.A. Poe-raven-haired neo-punk chick who revealed just enough lower back to titillate you with both flashes of tanned flesh and a portion of, thank God, a non-Chinese calligraphic tat, or your deferred childhood dreams of wanting to create your own V8-knockoff may lead you to call in and purchase Jeremy Winslow’s Amazing Veggie Juicer as you watch the weathergirl-pretty host (the flawless generic beauty of which host leads you into gauzy contemplation of a fantasy life with her, who must surely be less disingenuous and prone to excessive exclamations when not in the headlights of a camera) chant overdetermined bromides about the superb taste and color of the product while J. Winslow rattles off specious facts about carcinogens and free radicals in good old A.&P.-bought vegetable juice, and but so you suspect that he subsists on a liquid diet solely of non-free trade Kenyan coffee to maintain his Kelly Ripa-on-amphetamines aura of frightening peppiness.7

1Note liberal Hollywood scion-cum-former Fleiss client Sheen’s pull in securing further fourth-wall recognition by sharing a name with his character, while poor Duckie withers anonymously on the periphery.
2Plus has anyone on “The Tonight Show” reconsidered the radically uncomfortable arrangement of forcing earlier guests to remain on stage as later guests are being interviewed, unlike in the separatist universes of Letterman, O’Brien, and Kilborn? An armada of inconveniences attack all guests involved, including: visual awareness of chronological order (and, consequently, relative importance) of the guests; awkwardness of earlier guests’ forced smiles/laughs/verbal jousts during later guests’ canned anecdotes about on-set high jinks; lack of chairs for larger groups, esp. music groups, such that the marginalized members must hover conspicuously behind the chairs like hormonally-inflected teenagers crowding around their first porno mag.
3Or if not pilates, some equally exotic yet salubrious exercise that has quadrupled in popularity in the last half-decade because of A-list celebrity endorsement.
4Cf. Weekend at Bernie’s (1989) and Mannequin (1987).
5And you just know the bottom-feeding execs at UPN aren’t quite springing for even Golden Globe-nominated fare.
6Cathode ray tube, K.F. Braun's 1897 Frankensteinian creation that allowed such later devices as the radar screen and television.
7Having once sat in on an infomercial taping in the late 1980s for a product I cannot recall but which was similarly ludicrous and existent only through the medium of advertising, I can assure you that the in-person preternatural sunniness and hyperactivity of these infomercial hawkers is even more terrifying and dread-producing than it is on screen, although you are compensated for your time and can experience the sensation of being forced to clap in Pavlovian fashion when the “Applause” sign lights up for things that by no stretch of Jules Verne’s imagination merit applause.

Teddy Wayne is a writer living in Manhattan. His work has also recently been published in McSweeney's. He runs a 4.3 40 and was a Southwest Conference First-Team selection at cornerback.

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