Archive for March, 2008

In last week’s NY Times Dining & Wine section, one columnist struggles with whether or not to allow his teenage son to drink at home – which would hopefully stop him from binging outside the home. Initially he imagined himself as a cool Euro-styled vittner, exposing his son to the joys of a fine glass of the grape stuff over dinner. Presumably, while his teenage son eloquently expounds on the difficulties of growing up in today’s media-saturated world, clearly enunciates his wants and needs, professes respect for the wondrous changes his and his classmates’ bodies are undergoing, and respectfully solicits advice from his parents.

Or, something. That’s all beside the point. I actually want to share a fact that he found in his ponderings:

I found ample evidence of the dangers of abusive drinking. Recent studies have shown that heavy drinking does more damage to the teenage brain than previously suspected, while the part of the brain responsible for judgment is not even fully formed until the age of 25.

“If we were to argue that responsible drinking requires a responsible brain, theoretically we wouldn’t introduce alcohol until 25,” said Dr. Ralph I. Lopez, a clinical professor of pediatrics at Weill-Cornell Medical College who specializes in adolescents.

Huh! I don’t know about you, but as someone who is approaching the quarter-century mark, that is a huge relief. You know? I’ve felt like I had an unformed brain of a baby, but it’s reassuring for a doctor to confirm the fact for me.

Last Saturday night (morning) when I was blackout drunk and calling the director of All Things Considered (yes, that All Things Considered. for real.) John Whitey Whitey Whitey (this is not, in fact, his name)… my judgment was called into question.

But it wasn’t my fault! My judgment mindgrapes aren’t fully formed. Phew!!! What a relief.

The columnist, who is presumably well over 25, arrives at this conclusion:

Although the issue is not settled in my household, my cautious opinion now is that my teenage sons have more to gain than to lose by having a taste of wine now and then with dinner. By taste, I mean just that: a couple of sips, perhaps, not a full glass, and decidedly not for any of their friends, whose own parents must make their own decisions.

The years between ages 15 and 25 are dangerous straits, and it doesn’t help to know that alcohol is associated with many of the hazards young adults face. Finding that sweet spot between sanctimony and self-centered frivolity is a parent’s job. I think I’m there, but it’s not quite comfortable.

Um? Does anyone ACTUALLY think that a 25 year-old should still be actively parented? That it is a parent’s job to make ANY decisions for a 25 year-old?

Oh, btw Mom and Dad… it’s totally your own fault that NPR is going to deny your membership next time around. Shouldn’t have let me have that wine with dinner. For shame.

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Hi. How are you? Are you comfortable? Good. Let’s have a chat.

I – ah – I want you to know. That I know.

It’s OK! Let’s just talk about it, OK?

I know, because the website that hosts our blog – it tells us what you search for. What brought you to us.

So you see, I know that you’re searching.

I know that you’re searching for “Jason Schwartzman naked.”

And also, “lesbian sex in H&M dressing room.”

When you’re searching for these things, what is it that you’re really searching for? Really.  You know where I think you should try looking?

Inside your own heart, my love. It’s been there all along.

Oh, but to the people who found us by searching “horse fuck”? You were looking in the right place. Clearly.

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A mere 25 minutes before the Mets’ opening game against the Marlins, let’s take a moment to give thanks for another season of the Mets, and another season of Mets Update for Girls.

Look to it as your definitive guide on all things Mets. Today, Santana takes on Hendrickson in pitching and facial cuteness.

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Celebrate April Fool’s Day by flinging balls around!


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If you’re anything like me, a lot of your life is spent watching movies and abusing various substances (for your sake, I hope you’re not like me). These movies are usually watched late at night, and are of dubious quality. If you’ve had a bit to drink (or have abused other substances) and it’s late at night, you rarely want to watch Gone With The Wind. But the crappy late night movies that you watch have their own qualities, and they deserve recognition. I plan to do just that in this new Brooklyn Skeptic semi-regular feature: Movies For Substance Abusers.

Movie: Lake Placid

When: Friday, 12:30am

Substances Abused: A few beers, a couple glasses of wine, ChezJJP.

After a happy hour with bearclaws, a quality movie with oneiroi and recklesley, and the above mentioned substances, ChezJJP and I sat down on a cool March night and turned on the Bill Pullman classic Lake Placid. It’s the story of a New York woman who is summoned to a small Maine town when a local deputy has been killed by something in a nearby lake. Bridget Fonda plays an the uptight Manhattanite who meets with local policeman Bill Pullman. Pullman employs his “act by squinting” method, and you get to see him rock some bitching shorts.

As the group go to the lake to investigate the murder, they figure out that it’s a crocodile that is killing everyone. This brings in wacky character actor Oliver Platt, who plays a crocodile lover or something (things were already getting hazy for me at this point) who comes in by helicopter and brings some much needed comedic relief to the proceedings. The crocodile then proceeds to bite off heads, chomp people in half, eat live cows, attack boats and helicopters, and make Betty White swear. At one point, everyone’s favorite Golden Girl looks at Bill Pullman and says “If I had a cock, this is wear I would tell you to suck it.” Priceless. I’m pretty sure she calls someone else a “fuckshit.” If only the rest of the gang had been there to see that. I’m sure Estelle would’ve joined in the fun.

While the end is pretty wacky, I must say I was disappointed. From the moment Pullman and Fonda met in the beginning, I was waiting for them to make out. And then it never happened. What the fuck Pullman? It ends with him inviting Fonda out for a beer? She almost got bitten in half! Oliver Platt is in the hospital and several people have had their extremities bitten off by a 30-foot crocodile! Tell me what would make you feel better than some squinty Bill Pullman action?

Grade: C+

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The Plot: A college kid joins a group of math geniuses to earn money for med school by counting cards at a Vegas casino.

Is It Worth Eleven Dollars?: No. I saw this at a screening earlier this week. While it had a sort of entertaining first half, it quickly folds (PUN WHAT WHAT?) into a collection of cliches and predictable plot lines. Kevin Spacey is fun playing the character he seems to always play, Kate Bosworth is hot, and the kid from the worst movie ever doesn’t get too annoying. It’s worth renting.

Where is it playing in Brooklyn/Manhattan?: Prospect Park Pavilion, United Artists on Court Street.

Superhero Movie:

The Plot: A spoof of superhero movies from the guy who brought you a bunch of other shitty spoofs.

Is It Worth Eleven Dollars?: No. This looks better than the recent collection of shitty spoofs (Date Movie, Epic Movie, Meet the Spartans), but, then again, so does a hernia. It’s funny that the majority of these movies need to put what genre they’re spoofing right there in the title. I think it’s because they’re trying to capture an audience that is so fucking stupid that they wouldn’t otherwise know.

Where is it playing in Brooklyn/Manhattan?: Prospect Park Pavilion, United Artists on Court Street.

This man is stupid.

Stop-Loss:The Plot: A group of young men from a small town are called back to active duty in the Iraq War, and take off their shirts in protest.

Is It Worth Eleven Dollars?: I would say yes. Although I found it interesting when I saw the trailer that Kimberly Pierce’s follow-up to her Oscar winning film Boys Don’t Cry seems to be about…boys crying. All the same, there’s a collection of strong young actors including Ryan Phillipe, Channing Tatum, Rob Brown and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Iraq movies haven’t been doing so well (Rendition, Lions for Lambs, In The Valley of Elah, Redacted – seen any of these?) but this has been getting some okay advanced reviews and could break the funk by featuring less preachiness and more hot Texan dudes getting naked.

Where is it playing in Brooklyn/Manhattan?: Prospect Park Pavilion.

Run, Fat Boy, Run:

The Plot: Simon Pegg (Shaun of the Dead) runs a marathon to impress his ex-fiancee.

Is It Worth Eleven Dollars?: Probably not. There are, however, some interesting people involved in this productions. Michael Ian Black wrote the original script, which was re-written by Simon Pegg. The location changed from the United States to London and David Schwimmer directed. I want to like this movie. But I don’t think I will. Sorry bearclaws.

Where is it playing in Brooklyn/Manhattan?: Union Square.


The Plot: Demi Moore and Michael Caine steal diamonds.

Is It Worth Eleven Dollars?: I don’t really know anything about this movie, and I don’t really need to. Demi Moore and Michael Caine steal fucking diamonds? Can you think of a plot that is sexier than that? Seriously, try. I dare you.

Where is it playing in Brooklyn/Manhattan?: Landmark Sunshine.

Chapter 27:

The Plot: Jared Leto is Mark David Chapman, the man who shot John Lennon. And then, judging by the picture below, ate him.

Is It Worth Eleven Dollars?: No. Who asked for a movie about this? Advanced reviews are terrible. Oh yeah, and Lindsay Lohan is in it.

Where is it playing in Brooklyn/Manhattan?: Appropriately, at the Angelika.


The Plot: A gold digger mistakes a bartender for a wealthy suitor, but then falls in love with him anyway…after wacky hijinks, mind you.

Is It Worth Eleven Dollars?: No. What is it with the French and mistaken identity comedies? There are plenty of other tired comedic formulas that you can drive into the ground.

Where is it playing in Brooklyn/Manhattan?: Cobble Hill Cinemas.

A Boy and His Dog is playing as the midnight movie at the Sunshine tonight. Also, check out this website for the New Directors/New Films series, playing through April 6th.

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I went into H&M in all seriousness. I wanted a cheap dress. That I liked. But the thing is, I think there is some kind of nefarious shit going on. I think that most dresses that I would actually want to buy are priced above $40. And if I’m looking to spend above $40 I’ll go somewhere that is not H&M. That is for sure.

So what are we left with, in the below $40 bracket? Some of this stuff…

On this yucky rainy day I bring you the next installment of H&M: Good Enough for Madge, Good Enough For You?

(The first installment is here.)


 This one was up on a really high rack, like they didn’t expect anyone to actually get it down. When I was standing on my tiptoes to knock the edge of the hanger, I got a few looks. Maybe it was the BO, maybe not. We’ll never know.

(ha! BO jokes. classic.)

This was comfortable, fine, whatever. My issue comes, obviously, with the giant bow across the tits. I feel like giant bows have been consistently derided in celebrity fashion for a few seasons now. Which makes it exactly the right time for H&M to incorporate the look into its ready-to-wear? I don’t know. I’m not ready for it, though.

Let’s move on.


Oooh. Now, this. THIS I can feel good about. How can I describe the secret, dare I say naughty (ew) thrill I felt when I picked these up? These are NOT your 6 year old-self’s overalls, I’ll tell you that much. I did not include a butt shot because it was too lewd. These were tight. And wide legged. At the same time. Modern science. Amazing.

Let’s try it another way, shall we? 


Yes! Hello, Kelly Kapowski! I knew you were in there somewhere.

 It’s nice to see you again.

Why, yes, I have lost weight. How nice of you to notice.

Your hair is looking especially lustrous, also. I knew not to believe those cocaine rumors.

Oh! Thanks! Do you like them? Do you think I should buy them? You know, they remind me of you.  I feel… powerful in them.

Oh, OK. I understand. The week after Easter is a busy time for all of us. Believe me. I mean, I believe you.

Call me!


I’m happy for H&M that they’re experimenting with organic cotton, but does it have to look so much like it’s made out of organic cotton? 


This dress, in case you can’t tell, is covered with fringe. Actually, to be precise, it’s covered with little loops of poleyester thread. So if you wanted it to be true fringe, you’d have to take a blade to it. But why would you want to do that? It’s so handsome, as is. 

I took a video of this dress, because, as you may know, fringe is a dish best served IN MOTION. But I couldn’t email it off my phone. So here’s the next best (actually, much much better) thing:

Talk about fringe!!

Actually, when I was leaving the dressing room I saw a very chic looking lady holding this dress, waiting to try it on. Huh.



Look at this, huh? Look closer:


Weird. I ran out of words.

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I know that it’s been going on for a while now, but last night was my first foray into this year’s Brooklyn Restaurant week. A joyful time, for those of you who do not know, you better recognize. $23 3-course prix fixe meals at some of Bk’s finest eating establishments. And when a place isn’t fancy enough to dole out 3 courses that are worth $23, then they generously offer a 2-for-1 at $23! Amazing.

So, when my lovely auntie invited me out for a French-African meal at Carroll Gardens’ Korhogo 126, of COURSE I said yes!

Here it is. It used to be called Bouillabaisse 126.

Since reservations are at a premium during RW, we were relegated to a 6:30 dining spot. Totally fine. After a lovely little sit in the park on Smith and Carroll, we wandered across a BQE overpass (also lovely!) and found the restaurant.

Nicely lacquered wood benches covered with sort of African-looking cushions. Homey-feeling hutch as the wait station, topped with small tribal-looking carved masks and statues. It is no wider than an average brownstone, so at my table against the wall I could see right into the kitchen across the way and see what they were doing. Nice plating, I noted on the way to the bathroom.

Anyway….. what am I here to talk about? Oh right. The food.

One downside of Manhattan’s RW can be that the menus are very small – the fanciest places obviously want to limit the number of things you could get for such a low low price. This menu was nice. I liked it. The least exciting thing on the appetizer menu was a Greek Salad (because of when, you know, the Greeks colonized French-colonized Africa. it was complicated). The most exciting thing (I thought) on the app. list was escargots served in puff pastry with fennel compote. Truth be told, I mostly got it because of the fennel compote – a winter vegetable I love but rarely prepare myself.

When it was served up it was definitely NOT your traditional French escargots! When they are stripped of their shell and butter sauce, it turns out that escargots look sort of like swollen mussels (the kind from the sea, not your bicep), and also taste like a milder, less briny version of mussels. These were prepared in sort of a ratatouille, with richly savory tomatoes. Delicious. Except… I think they got confused somewhere between fennel “compote” and fennel… quartered and steamed. It was nicely steamed, to be sure. Not overcooked, not undercooked… but compote it was not. Whatever.

Auntie got a nice plate of citrus-ey calamari and baby octopusses (ew) I mean octopi. They tasted nice, and were a lovely texture, though she was a little freaked out by the bulbous things that seemed to be baby octopus heads that were still attached to the baby octopus bodies.

On to the main dishes! The seafood menu had 2.5 x more options than the meat or veggie menus so we said – OK! We get the message. And ordered some seafood. Bouillabaise. Again, with the fennel! Bouillabaise with fennel. And I love me some West African peanut stew. So we got that.

The Bouillabaisse base (ha!) was outstanding. SUCH a flavorful broth. And it came with toast points spread with some kind of artichokey aioli – really really delicious. As it should be – the whole restaurant used to be named Bouillabaisse (126). And it came with a variety of seafoods in it. But you know how seafoods all take different amounts of time to cook? And how they’re really easy to overcook? Um, me too. And, Korhogo 126 knows it too. Because while the tilapia was perfectly tender, the mussels and shrimp were straight up overcooked. Maybe that’s why they changed their name. Whatever. Let’s move on to the stew, eh?

Now, when you think of stew, it’s steaming and hearty and generously proportioned, right? Me too. Stew’s made of cheap ingredients so that you can have a lot of it, right? Unless it’s, um, saffron stew, or whatever. Do you think of a scant 3 tablespoons, served with a hearty 1 cup of quinoa? OMG, me neither. We have so much in common, you and I. But on this? We differ from Korhogo 126. Weird.


An example of what google images classifies as “stew.”

That thing I mentioned above? About the scant blah blah, that’s what I was served. It was weird – like in a diet program where they’re like, you can eat your peanut sauce and lose weight too! I wanted to ask the waiter if he thought I was too pudgy or something. Because. The small bowl the “stew” was served in. Was. Not even. HALF FULL. In fact, it was not even HALF EMPTY! That’s right. What’s an optimist (or pessimist) supposed to do when you’re barely at 1/3 full (or 2/3 empty)? I don’t know.

OK, to give credit where it’s due, the stew was tasty. Not a stew, as you or I would classify it, but you know, it tasted peanut-ey. It was about as much peanut dipping sauce as you’d get for a plate of spring rolls at most Thai places. Whatevs. Oh! And in the menu it was “stew with okra.” I love okra in stew! It finds its natural place there, where its gooeyness has an appropriate time and purpose. But uh… steamed on the side of my plate? I’m back at diet camp, where I’ve never been, so how they can do such an effective job evoking it is beyond me.

Ugh. So then they bring over the dessert menus. Which have on them, yes, a list of desserts. But also prices. So I think OK, they didn’t want to print up new dessert menus just for RW. Saving trees! Props to you, Korhogo 126, I think in my head.

But THEN. Then… well, let’s save that for later. (This is called dramatic tension and foreshadowing) My Momi (the name of the dessert I ordered. not my actual, um, mom) was a banana-millet cake that was really nice! A kind of gooey banana bread. Served with a poached pear, vanilla ice cream, and African honey. All that was a little too sweet, but overall pretty nice. But, do you know what they served it on? Right, a plate, smartass. But what was BETWEEN the plate and the other stuff? Looked to me like nothing but chocolate syrup. And tasted to me like Hershey’s chocolate syrup. Now, that stuff is fine and good, but how distinctive is the flavor of Hershey’s!! It was like they were writing a movie about someone writing a song, and the song they came up with was “Like a Rock.” And that wasn’t a pertinent plot point. I wanted to suspend my disbelief, but I just couldn’t.


This girl knows what I’m talking about.

Auntie’s dessert was plated on an intensely sweet strawberry sauce that also tasted commercial – it was some combination of strawberries and ice cream and something else. I guess their take on strawberry shortcake? Not so impressive, and not at all nuanced.

Whatevs. Remember that dramatic tension I mentioned earlier? Can you guess what happened? They CHARGED US for the desserts! Assholes! The whole point of Restaurant Week is that you know, up front, how much you’re paying and how much you’re getting. So I do not appreciate them trying to pull a fast one and make us look like some fucking cheapskates just because they can’t stick to a deal.

Suffice it to say, if I had been paying, I would have put up a stink. Auntie is gracious and a grown-up in many ways that I am not, and we left quietly. But I took a solemn vow that I would write a disparaging review for these jerkstores that dared besmirch the decency and trust of restaurant week. For shame, Korhogo 126, for shame.

Pros: Excellent bouillabaisse broth, charming French waiter

Cons: Bloodsucking lying two-faced trolls, heavy-handed with the Hersheys

Korhogo 126

126 Union St., Carroll Gardens

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On last night’s Idol, Kristy Lee Cook took her “simple hick girl” thing a little too far. That’s right. She sang “God Bless the USA.” I just want to remind our readers that this was, in fact, the same song that my entire elementary school sang together – along to the tape, of course – in front of all our parents as some kind of Bush I era No Child Left Behind initiative.

Below, I dissect the implications of this act, based on whether she is a retarded back-woods blond or an evil genius. Please join me in this excercise.

Possibility 1: Kristy Lee Cook is a hick. She’s a simple girl who loves horses and God and America. She chose a song that reflects two of her three interests.


  • Her earnest rendition of this classic Operation Desert Storm tune will resonate in the hearts of other hick Americans and she will continue on into the late rounds of Season 7
  • She will have followed in the rich tradition of all-American sweethearts who pull at the heartstrings of nationalists, a la Josh Gracin, Marine and Popular Idol Contestant of Season 2

Possibility 2: Kristy Lee Cook is an evil genius. With her keen sense of America’s socio-political breakdown, she calculated that the most willful and extravagant American Idol voters are, in fact, the Christian Right. In the off-months between elections, pastors have no choice but to encourage parishioners (via fear of eternal damnation and skin-melting heat) to vote for the Idol contestant who most closely holds their anti-abortion, America First beliefs. This is Kristy.


  • Exploiting this voting block for every consecutive performance, Kristy Lee Cook will sail through the final rounds, eventually being crowned as this season’s American Idol.
  • Kristy Lee Cook will ruin the only genuine thing about the show: that contestants are generally clueless n00bs, who, thinking they are the next Celine Dion or Whitney Houston, pick songs that are hopelessly wrong for them. But this is good. Nobody likes a calculating, know-it-all music exec in the lithe body of a 20-year-old farm girl.

I ask you, dear readers, to decide for yourself.

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Hats Off!

Last night I attended the screening of a documentary film called Hats Off! Shot in New York for over ten years, the film is about an aging actress named Mimi Weddell. She is currently ninety-three years old, and has starred in numerous commercials, independent films, commercial films and television shows over the years. The documentary itself is quite fun, and a great look at what it’s like to be an actress in New York City. After the film Mimi and director Jyll Johnstone spoke to the audience. We learned that the film is being shown at Quad Cinema on 13th Street starting this weekend (and probably into next weekend), and it is self-distributed.

Check out their website and see if you’re interested.

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