Archive for May, 2008

After a brief hiatus for a Florida vacation, here’s what’s coming out in Brooklyn and Manhattan this weekend.

Sex and the City

The Plot: Four women have a lot of sex in an urban area.

Is it worth eleven dollars?: If you’re me, no. If you’re you, maybe. You pretty much know if you want to see this movie or not. If the thought of watching these four women for almost two and a half hours (I’m not joking, the movie clocks in at 145 minutes) makes you want to cover yourself in Chanel Number 5, light yourself on fire and then ask someone to put it out by beating you with a Manolo Blahnik, then you should probably avoid the multiplexes this weekend.

Where is it playing in Brooklyn/New York?: Pavilion, BAM, Cobble Hill Cinemas, United Artists on Court Street.

The Strangers

The Plot: Creepy masked people haunt Liv Tyler demanding refunds for Jersey Girl.

Is it worth eleven dollars?: Yes. This will be my alternative to Sex and the City. Early buzz is pretty mixed, but some great critics have chimed in saying that it is an above average thriller in the tradition of Straw Dogs and the incredible French horror film Them.

Where is it playing in Brooklyn/New York?: Park Slope Pavilion, United Artists on Court Street.

Bigger, Stronger, Faster

The Plot: Documentary about steroids and why America is obsessed with strength.

Is it worth eleven dollars?: Yes. So far this has gotten fantastic reviews. This is director Chris Bell’s first documentary (or feature length film). Like Morgan Spurlock, Bell apparently uses his own family as a case study for the film, but also manages to interview people like Ben Johnson.

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

The Foot Fist Way

The Plot: A Tae Kwon Do teacher at a strip mall has a nervous breakdown.

Is it worth eleven dollars?: Maybe, although this might be more of a rental. It’s barely being released in theaters because I think distributors probably think it will gain more of a following on video. All the same, it looks pretty amusing. Danny McBride got his start in David Gordon Green’s drama All The Real Girls, but since seems to enjoy starring in more comedies. This summer he can be seen in this, Tropic Thunder and Pineapple Express.

Where is it playing in Brooklyn/New York?: CC Village East Cinemas on Second Avenue.

Savage Grace

The Plot: Something about a crazy lady who sleeps with her son. Or something.

Is it worth eleven dollars?: Yeah, I know next to nothing about this movie, except that it’s causing some controversy because of its depiction of an incestuous relationship between a mother and son. But Julianne Moore is in it. I just looked up the director, Tom Kalin, and his last movie was the awesomely titled Robots of Sodom. So this looks like a good bet.

Where is it playing in Brooklyn/New York?: IFC Center.


The Plot: A woman hits a homeless guy with her car, and has to decide whether to save him or let him die.

Is it worth eleven dollars?: Yes. The film was directed by Stuart Gordon, the man who was responsible for the incredible Re-Animator back in the eighties and most recently directed the David Mamet-penned Edmond. His films are always quite sick and dark, but usually laugh out loud funny. The reviews thus far state that this movie is no exception.

Where is it playing in Brooklyn/New York?: The Angelika.

The midnight movie at the Landmark Sunshine is To Catch a Thief. The IFC Center lists its Midnight Movie as being Battlestar Galactica (many Brooklyn Skeptic hearts just went all a flutter). I’m assuming they mean the mini-series two hour opener, but it doesn’t say.

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:Don’t Judge Me:

Last night I watched the series premiere of Denise Richards: It’s Complicated.

Let me just say, it is not complicated. At all. It’s about as complicated as a bowl of sand. (Uhh, just roll with it.)  Now, before you ask me why I wasted a half hour of my life on this show, I will ask YOU, why not? I like to give people a chance to explain themselves, even really dumb people. And, as we all know, Denise Richards is not only one of the worst actresses of all time, but is also…really dumb. Or so she seems. Therefore I figured this show might shed some light onto the real Denise. The Denise we’ve all learned to loathe and disrespect.

And so, my review:

Denise Richards is as stupid as we thought.

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About 80% of Brooklyn Skeptic is currently chilling in paradise:

This is our back yard.

But even as the sun caresses our pallid blogger-faces and the sea breeze flows across keyboards, our hearts remain nestled in Brooklyn’s bosom. So, to ease my sunshine-induced night terrors, I’ve been creating Fantasy Bar Crawls. If I could chose any five bars in walking distance of each other, where would I go?

I’m starting in South Slope, because it’s my favorite place to hang out. It’s a little out of the way, which means the crowds are smaller and they’re mostly the people who actually live in the neighborhood. Sure, I might have made up the name “South Slope,” but I’m referring to the area south of Park Slope and north of Sunset Park.

Royale: 506 5th Avenue, between 12th & 13th Street

As per an earlier analysis of this bar, Royale is the best happy hour in town. I would suggest hitting this place before the weird DJs and track-jacket-hip types show up. Best between 5 and 9 PM.

Bar BQ: 689 6th Avenue at 20th Street

After throwing back your two-for-one at Royale, you should probably have dinner before drinking more. Head to Bar BQ for authentic Brooklyn-style barbecue (not a real cuisine, btw) and, on Monday nights, free bourbon. It’s goooood.

Buttermilk: 577 5th Avenue at 16th Street

After the rollicking (and often incredibly loud) live bluegrass at Bar BQ, you’re going to want a slightly quieter place to chill. Buttermilk has a lot of nice nooks where you can enjoy microbrews in the company of good looking 20-something and 30-something year old South Slopers.

Commonwealth: 497 5th Avenue at 12th Street

By now, you’re a couple of sheets to the wind, so it’s time to check out Commonwealth and search for your true love in the personal ads tacked to the bulletin board. When that freaks you out too much, resign yourself to a long, lonely life aided by their Antioxidant Martini.

Barbes: 376 9th Street at 6th Avenue

End your night here. There is always music playing in the back. The lights are dim. One of the toilets has graffiti that says “Lesley,” which is, in fact, my name. It feels like home to me.

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It started about a month ago. After the creeping onset of panic infected the Hillary campaign and supporters. Slowly losing both the pledged delegate vote, popular vote, and the super delegate vote…some began making outlandish claims of mythological primary where Hillary is in fact winning.

The first time I started hearing this argument fully was with Sean Wiltz’ article in Salon called, “Why Hillary Should Be Winning” (which annoyed me enough to send a response into Salon, later selected among “editor’s choice” woot).


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I haven’t been 100% up on what was and wasn’t getting included in the Farm Bill as it made its way through Congress over the last year – but I read just now that today Pres. Bush vetoed the Farm Bill! And then the House overrode the veto! The Senate will begin consideration tomorrow, and according to the AP they’re expected to have enough votes to override as well.

Read Bush’s veto notice here, and the USDA support of the veto here.

NPR’s coverage highlights that the vetoed bill contained prosocial things like food aid for the poor, biofuel development, and incentive to let farmland lay fallow (this is prosocial because of its long term benefits to the land). Unsurprisingly, NPR’s take on things is different from the federal government’s. What IS surprising is that the issues the feds object to are totally easy to agree wtih. Bush’s and the UDSA’s statements cited subsidization of farmers with income over $15 million (?!!?! This figure comes from Bush’s statement – I don’t know where that number comes from); funding and authority for the noncompetitive sale of National Forest land to a ski resort; and a $170 million earmark for the salmon industry.

Here are the beginnings of my thoughts on the Farm Bill as it stands now (or, as the media is reporting that it stands now):

PRO: Cuts tax credit for corn-based ethanol (less sustainable of biobased fuels), and creates tax credit for cellulosic ethanol (more sustainable of biobased fuels).


PRO: Adds $10.4 billion over 10 years to nutrition programs, including food stamps and food pantry donations. 

CON: Well, not a con so much as a ‘that’s good, but you need more.’ As in, those are poverty mediation efforts, not poverty prevention/eradication efforts. But they’re necessary for the world we live in now.


PRO: Increases funding for land stewardship. Almost $30 billion, according to NPR. When food prices are so high, farmers have way more incentive to plant, and take advantage of the record prices. It takes $$ to encourage them NOT to plant. Not planting is important in safeguarding the longterm viability and quality of the soil.


CON: National reserve land gets turned into a ski resort!


PRO: The bill would deny all subsidies to people with more than $500,000 a year in off-farm income and bar “direct” payments to those with more than $750,000 a year in farm income.

CON: Is this stringent enough?


CON: This salmon farming business – wtf? Haven’t seen an explanation of that anywhere yet.


And yet… I’m confused! Is Bush trying to distract us with images of richy rich farmers raking it in, when really he wants higher corn-based ethanol rates for his buddies at high corn-producing outfits like Monsanto and Cargill? Or does he want to squeeze the nutrition and emergency food money out? And did the Dem’s in Congress really let these porky earmarks in at the last minute?  Or was Bush just feeling bored and ornery and wanted to use his veto power while he still could? All of the above?

With a 1700 page, $300 billion behemoth legislation like this it’s pretty safe to assume that no one has read it cover to cover. Shit gets snuck in at the last minute – who the fuck knows how. The legislators are so disassociated from the actual effects of their work that budget items and restrictions and tax credits get traded back and forth as though they were items of comparable value. 

drama Drama DRAMA!

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The New Kids on the Block performed on the Today Show last week. Watch it:

I don’t know. This upsets me a little. I’m not sure why. Oh, maybe it’s because the New Kids are close to 40 and are performing a medley of their hit songs from when they were 17. Because it’s painful enough to watch teenagers dancing poorly to pop songs, let alone some 37 year old has-beens. One of whom (literally) suffers from panic attacks when on stage (Jon), and therefore looks extra awkward. Am I being too harsh? Can someone else watch this and tell me if I’m being too judgmental? Also, is it just me, or does it sound like Joey’s microphone is louder than the other mics? Or I guess he might have the mic right up to his mouth. Like a beat boxer. Only, instead of beat boxing, he’s singing “Step by Step.” I think that might be it.

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For those of you who work in midtown, and actually want to stick around the neighborhood after work, the HBO Bryant Park Summer Film Festival starts in mid-June. I’ve been to this before, and it’s quite nice, but also kind of a pain in the ass. If you want to do this, definitely get there early and bring a blanket.


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It’s been hard to avoid hearing about Park Slope in the news recently. The New York Times printed an article in the weekend Style section that addressed some of the neighborhood ire. Between a Sex and the City-style television show that is set to take place in Park Slope to a group of “stroller nazis” (i.e. women who have children and choose to push them in strollers all in the name of the Third Reich) trying to shut down local bar Union Hall, there’s a lot to talk about. The thing is, none of it is very interesting. In fact, it bores this shit out of me. Wait a minute, Park Slope has been yuppified? Get the fuck out of here (and by here I mean this small, overpriced Park Slope boutique)! What tipped you off, genius?

Anyway, I don’t really want to get into it, because Lord knows there have been enough articles and comments about the subject. But as a young man in his mid-twenties who has no children, is not a coop member (and thus has never missed a shift or been on probation) and has not been pushed in a stroller in the past twenty years, here are three things that I like a lot about Park Slope.

  1. There are more old man bars than you can throw an orthotic insoled shoe at. Off the top of my head, I can think of Farrell’s, O’Connors, Old Carriage Inn and of course Jackie’s Fifth Amendment, all of which have enough stories and old man musk to last me until I’m sitting on one of their bar-stools talking about World War 4 and when I was forced to vote for President Chelsea Clinton.
  2. Park Slope teens are bad ass. While they can be pretty intimidating, they’re also incredibly impressive, and seem to run in packs like wild dogs. These kids will get shit done when they’re older. And by “shit” I mean more than just chain-smoking outside of Tea Lounge.
  3. Park Slope is the perfect place to spend a hungover Sunday. There are a ridiculous amount of diners to eat away your headache, a massive park with endless green grass to sit in as you contemplate how you’re failing at life, movie theaters all around to sit in darkness and watch better looking people make life decisions so you don’t have to and, most importantly, a great collection of bars, delis and wine stores to have another drink on a Sunday evening while you forget that you have to be at work the next morning and that you’ve been late every day for the past week and that maybe your horoscope was right and you really are going to need to make some drastic changes in your life.

Anyway, there you go. Park Slope can be annoying, stuck-up, snobby and overpriced, but so can Williamsburg, Brooklyn Heights, Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill, Prospect Heights and many other Brooklyn neighborhoods. Stop complaining about it, or the Park Slope teenagers will put their cigarettes out on your face.


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Welcome to Brooklyn Skeptic’s newest (god-willing) weekly photoblogging extravaganza.

Kentile Floors Sign from 9th Street – Gowanus

Right now we are tentatively calling this “Brooklyn Skep-Pics”. Now I say tentatively because I’m open to ideas and because I worry about misleading droves of the good natured “skep” enthusiasts in Brooklyn. There’s a group of people you don’t want angry at you. If you are a lost and confused honey bee fan, please click here to be redirected.

For those of who have stuck around, let us know if you have any name suggestions and please feel free to shower my pictures with compliments.

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This has been reported much more frequently than when I started writing this…so let’s at least recap.

Bush had a delightful day yesterday. He decided that, after pretty much forgetting about Israel for seven years he should pay them a second visit. Maybe wish them a happy birthday. And reminisce over the days of the Nazis….

Some seem to believe we should negotiate with terrorists and radicals, as if some ingenious argument will persuade them they have been wrong all along,…We have heard this foolish delusion before. As Nazi tanks crossed into Poland in 1939, an American senator declared: “Lord, if only I could have talked to Hitler, all of this might have been avoided.” We have an obligation to call this what it is – the false comfort of appeasement, which has been repeatedly discredited by history.


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