Friday, March 30, 2007

Reviewed: Time Warner Cable Service Representative, Unknown Male

I’m not even going to get into the whole, “but they said they were coming today” and “I waited a week for this appointment” and “it is still doing it, even if I reboot the box” and “don’t make me reboot the box again, I’m telling you that doesn’t fix it” and “for English, press 1.”

At 3:30 Angelique assured me that the reboot would fix it. I tried to trust her, even though I knew it wouldn’t. I even implored her to just stay on the phone with me a little bit longer until it started f-ing up again so that she could then send someone out. Thirty seconds after she hung up, it f-ed up again.

So I called back and got Unknown Male, let’s just call him Reeve, since that’s probably the exact opposite of what his name actually was. Reeve mumbled, “Remind me to tell you about our (unintelligible). This is (unintelligible), can I help you.” I explained the whole story to him, and then he interrupted me and said, “(unintelligible) next appointment is Tuesday between 8 and 6.”*

I said, “Actually, that’s not going to work for me. I need someone to come out today. Can I speak with someone else who can help me with this?”**

Reeve said, “Whatever” and transferred me to the weird hold music.

1 Star. I’m crying. I’m seriously crying.

*Numbers may be exaggerated.
**Implied calm and reasonable tone and diction may be exaggerated.

Guest Review: Antibiotics

Sure, every doctor's office in Iowa City is plastered with posters from the friendly Antibiotic Resistance Task Force of Greater Iowa reminding you that if you have a virus and take antibiotics, you are contributing to the eventual downfall of our species at the hands truly bad-ass super-bacteria. But you know what? I have to get on a plane in 24 hours and I just don't have time to worry about apocalypse. Are you a head cold or a sinus infection? Who cares? Write me a script for some tasty, tasty medicine or I'll make a scene in the waiting room. And if I wake up feeling better tomorrow, you know who I'm going to thank. I'm going to thank you, Azythromiacin.

87 stars. Yeah, you sometimes cause yeast infections, but who has time to be sick?

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Do You Like Stuff? Do You Hate Stuff?

Starred Review is now accepting guest reviews. Send us your reviews at Please no attachments, just copy and paste into the body of the e-mail. Nothing over 500 words (although, even 400 words is pushing it so keep that in mind. Short attention spans, people.) Rate on a scale of 1-100 stars. And remember, we will be judging your work mercilessly.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Reviewed: Above the Influence commercials

Maybe it’s because I used to draw rudimentary cartoons of my family on Microsoft Paint, which I found hilarious but everyone else seemed unamused by, but I’m such a sucker for these cartoon commercials with the little dog. Awww, he’s just so cwute and cwuddly and then he posts up his wittle fwag. I mean, these commercials really work on me; drugs are bad.

The bald cartoon guy is like, “I feel bad. But if you did it with me I would feel less bad.” And then dog is like, “….” and trots away. There’s this doodly doo music in the background…(sigh). I think a little tug is made at all our hearts as we think about the times we’ve sold out our loved ones to feel less bad.*

50 stars, because after a little research, these commercials lost significant points (-50) since Above the Influence is the same organization that came up with that leeches crap (S.L.O.M.-ing? congratulations on finding something more annoying and ineffective than the truth commercials) but then rebounded with even further research, when I discovered a rumor that Souther Salazar is the artist behind the cartoons (+51!).

*Pointed Reference: Dude, you knew I didn’t want those Pumas as much as you, even though they were 2 for $120 and you only had 60 bucks.

Disclaimer: Opinions expressed in reviews do not represent the opinions of this blog on any issues of prescription or recreational drug use.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Reviewed: Tommy Donnelly

Let's get one thing straight: The show isn't good. First of all, it introduces too many characters in the first episode making it impossible to really care about any of them. The narrator, Joey Ice Cream's presence and subsequent disappearance in some scenes is neither funny nor necessary. Sometimes they have New York accents and sometimes they sound a bit Irish, and other times they sound like any other person on television with a trained non-accent.

Oh, and they use the same story line in every episode. How many times is Jenny going to tell some guy she loves him, sleep with him, and tearfully leave him in the morning? Better yet, how many girls are "the one" for Tommy? So far we have Jenny, the wife of the guy he killed, and some other dude's wife in tonight's episode. The show will be cancelled in a couple of weeks and I know I will succumb to buying it on DVD. Why? Because of Tommy Donnelly.

He looks innocent, but there is blood on his shirt. He absolutely loves his mom and will do anything for her, which directly means that he will be completely devoted to me, once I snag him. And look at his brothers, (okay, not the older one with the limp, or that other one that looks like couldn't pass an elementary reading test, but the youngest one) if Tommy were to ever die in the melee, one of them would have to take care of me, right? AND, Tommy draws; he's a sensitive guy.

70 stars. I used to think I was a pretty decent judge of good and bad TV, but the Black Donnellys has sucked me in thanks to a hot lead male and my ever present desire to be right on the peripheral of the Irish Mob.

Reviewed: Current Rolling Stone magazine movie reviews (page 80-81)

Here’s what I want to know—is the writer of these movie reviews one of those MTV idiots that won the job on that show? I wish I knew. (Peter Travers, who are you?) As much as I usually love crappy reality television, I didn’t watch past the first episode of MTV’s recent flop. Anyway, the point being, who hired this Travers guy to write these moronic reviews?

This dude reviews The Shooter (Mark Wahlburg), Reign Over Me (Sandler/Cheadle), The Lookout (indie thriller with Jeff Daniels), I Think I Love My Wife (Chris Rock) and Premonition (Sandy Bullock) in the current issue of Rolling Stone. Here’s the thing—I may not be smart about music (only my closest friends know the humiliation of the first live concert I ever attended) but I friggin’ know movies and I’m not a snob. I’m open to anything under the sun save porn (…), and usually even the worst reviews of things--as long as they are written with aplomb--send me to the theater. I mean, really, isn’t that the point?

I think this is what Travers needs to get. People don’t read reviews to hear some imbecile declare the main characters’ names in The Shooter (Bob Lee Swagger and Nick Memphis) to be “great.” The last time I read phrases like “the plot thickens when” and “the web he spins will pull you in” (not to mention using “bogus” as a criticism) was in my high school newspaper.

Anyway I guess, who am I to be saying why people read reviews? All I know is why I do, which is to hear someone say something smart and interesting about something and tell me how to think. If I wanted to be influenced by a frat boy I would have gone to more football games in college.

1 Star. P.S. The Lookout also stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt but his name was too long to include above.

Reviewed: VH1's Movies That Rock

Since when is "Showgirls" a movie that rocks? Elizabeth Berkley's dance movies have not progressed since her "Saved by the Bell" days. Each close-up of her dancing shows this look on her face like she is trying to drop a deuce. She isn't graceful at all; she simply gyrates her body forcefully in an assortment of directions. Take for example her audition for the Las Vegas show. You see her lying on her back, on the floor, thrusting her pelvis violently into the air. This is not dancing and this is certainly not sexy. Spano, I think you are still too scared to really dance.

5 stars. I don't buy the storyline, I don't buy her dance moves, and I especially don't buy that it "rocks."

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Reviewed: Guerilla Warfare at the Apple Store

Publicizing your blog can be an annoying and uncomfortable task, so we decided to take different measures, i.e. plastering our blog on all available computers at the Apple Store on 5th Avenue. We got two pages up before Michael, the iPod tech, said, “What are you doing?” Our plan failed for a number of reasons: 1) we’re pretty much cowards, 2) we easily get bored with ourselves, and 3) everyone is more eager to check out Mac computer performance than to stand there and read our blog. Michael didn’t even seem as interested in our reply as he was in standing around looking hip. We did, however, succeed in snagging this incredible photo of our temporary handiwork and super cool Michael off to the side working his Applepack, pretending not to pay attention.

19 Stars, only because we overheard in the elevator, “Does this store even have a name?”


I admire websites that are simple, straightforward, and don’t promise more than they can deliver (don’t make me register,, you know I’m just going to use a fake name and you don’t have any information about whether karma has paid back Eric Jameson yet anyway.) Crying While Eating is the best way to spend the next 30 minutes to 2 hours and then wonder what happened to all your time. I can’t get enough of this site. My favorites are SpencerK (that video is ART, man) and the twisted parents that have put up hilarious videos so people can laugh at their kids.

The only problem is the group videos—they just don’t work. I can make one exception, and one exception only, and that goes to Joe/Chris, huddled together in a dark basement with sleeping bags during an air-raid crying and eating Gushers. Rock on, dudes. The rest of the groups go too over the top in their crying, which is actually the problem with a lot of the videos. The best cries are the understated ones, e.g. Daniel L eating a bagel and crying about inconsistent weather. This is the gold medal. Real, true crying involves humiliation, missed chances, and when the Puma store doesn’t have your size.

77 Stars. The more recent posts have too many activists eating organic products and crying about things like global warming and gentrification. Note: Don’t forget to scroll to the bottom and check out Daniel’s moment with the cat. Kudos, my friend.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Reviewed: Frye Boots

Yes, I have enjoyed the fashion era of boots, and yes, winter is ending. However, I still really feel like boots will carry over through the summer. Just in case they don’t (and you know even if they don’t I’m still wearing them, just like those girls that can’t give up on their Uggs) I must express my love for my Frye boots.

Because of Frye boots, I completely understand cowboys now. It’s like something you can see on screen in Clint Eastwood’s eyes; he loves his boots. Boots are like the best of old friends; they keep you warm and safe and you can wear them with skirts or pants. The Frye Company completely gets it! Their boots have trustworthy spirits, plus other Frye-wearers on the subway totally check out your style.

Oh, my Frye Campus Boots in Distressed Brown Leather (see pic), I give you 95 Stars.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Reviewed: Bliss Triple Oxygen Instant Energizing Mask

So at this point I think I can admit that the lady at the makeup counter at Bloomingdale’s totally hosed me. Ladies, you know what I’m talking about. You walk up a little self-conscious because you did your own makeup and there’s all those lights shining on your face and you’re not really sure what you want to buy anyway but you were lured in by the possibility of becoming beautiful. Then the lady with all the makeup comes up and takes a look at your skin and even though you say, “I’m looking for a mascara” she says, “Oh honey, you need to moisturize immediately.” You know you’re done for when she asks what you regularly use, and you say Neutrogena, and she starts laughing. Laughing!

Of course you’re going to buy some ridiculously overpriced pink foam that supposedly puts oxygen into your skin (and really, when she rubs it on your hand you see the difference, you really do) but later, you admit to yourself at home that night, or even the next day, that the luscious-smelling pink gel that magically turns to an oxygenating foam probably only amounts to some kind of chemical reaction similar to the vinegar and baking soda volcano that you would recognize if you had paid more attention in Mr. Liudahl’s class.

48 Stars because I can keep living the lie, since it’s such a pretty color of pink and the gel-into-foam thing will still be magical every time I do it.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Reviewed: Sundae Cones

I had my first sundae cone this summer, starting a wild affair and leading to my abandonment of the ice cream sandwich. Ever since, I find myself standing in the frozen section of the grocery store trying to decide which brand to buy. I'll go with Blue Bunny for a fix, but it's not my fav.

They all have nuts, so if you're allergic, too bad for you. The best part of the whole thing is the chunk of chocolate inside the tip of the cone.

93 stars. Sometimes during the first couple of bites a thin sliver of the chocolate shell will break off. You, however, will not notice the greasy chocolate stain it left on your pajama shirt until morning. Also, who came up with the idea to put caramel in them? It's overkill.

Friday, March 9, 2007

Reviewed: Chiquita Pre-Cut Apple Slices

Call me lazy, but I love bags of pre-cut apple slices. I can buy a bag for a couple of bucks and get plenty of little red and green slices for snacking. Don't get me wrong, I love biting into a nice, crisp granny smith apple, but all the juice trickles down your hand leaving a sticky mess. Also, this saves the time it takes picking out the best apples, taking them home, washing them, and then cutting them up. I'm letting some machine do that for me, thanks.

90 stars. I'm lazy, but at least I'm eating fruit.

Reviewed: Using the phrase "Facebook ya later."

A couple of nights ago a friend and I were playing darts at a local bar. The dart boards were set up in a small room near the back by themselves. At the time, we were the only ones in the room. Enter the creepiest guy ever. The guy had had a few too many and thought my friend was cute. He let it be known by backing us into the wall proclaiming his love for her and for the western part of Illinois in general. I said, "Great, Facebook ya later." He stumbled off, never to be heard from again.

98 stars. Topical, in this web 2.0 era.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Reviewed: Wasting Time on Bad Re-Runs to See Two Characters Get Together and Then Realizing It Wasn’t Worth It

It happened. And it was bad. Katie Holmes’ performance of Joey’s love declaration to Pacey (which was preceeded by a 10 minutes too long scene of Dawson telling her to go and then crying like a 9-year old as she leaves. Less is more, people, less is more) is super awful. Furthermore, Joey’s lines are like, “I knew I loved you the moment you kissed me” and the kiss is cold fish, man.


The only entertainment I got from this final scene at Pacey’s boat as he’s about to set sail, the culmination of weeks of buildup between these two, was pretending that Joey’s “permission to board” line was a sudden kinky turn. But even then, I can hear the writer’s sighing as they wrote this scene, “Isn’t she cute?” (I hope they went on to see their careers fail miserably.)

5 Stars. I am now freed from my 9am weekdays addiction.

Reviewed: Passive-Aggressive Postal Carrier Battle

So yesterday my mailman started a quiet war that I will not retire from a loser. Apparently in Brooklyn there are rules about brownstones—if it is zoned as a single-family residence they only deliver mail to one box. The first time I called the post office to ask that my mail be delivered to me instead of my upstairs neighbors, they said to just put a box on my door and it would happen. So I did. Two weeks later with still no mail, the mailman tells me this supposed “rule.” I said, “You can’t just walk two feet over to deliver to my box?” and he gave me a haughty “no.”

Yesterday my neighbors had a package that was too big for their tiny mail slot. The mailman put my mail in their slot, THEN WALKED THE TWO EXTRA FEET and deposited their too-big package into my box, thus insuring that the duty to deliver their package suddenly fell to me.

Oh, it’s on.

77 Stars. The mailman fired first. I’m stealthily waiting to initiate my barrage.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Reviewed: Sleazy Guy on the Street Says “Good Afternoon, Gorgeous”

I’ve gotten pretty good at the disgusted/annoyed look I usually give this situation so I was surprised when the dark-haired guy in a stadium jacket (and a New Jersey accent no less, which made it awesome) totally brightened up my day. In fact, small things such as this in the past 2-3 years have made me realize that I’m going more and more post-feminist. So I guess I'll just chalk this up next to the baking, waxing and my collection of figurines. Next stop, post-post-feminism, which means that the New Jersey guy could buy me dinner and a wrist corsage.

95 Stars. Oh, and p.s., I was wearing my legwarmers at the time, which apparently look good in addition to keeping me warm. Natch.

Reviewed: Going back to the old way

For so many years I did not like my mom’s style of making PB&J, but lately I’ve been making them her way—heavy on the jelly, heavy on the peanut butter. I finally figured out what is important in this seemingly simple sandwich. It’s not the jelly (although I use Polander All Fruit and it’s delicious) or the peanut butter (I use natural organic, ditto on the delicious) but the bread. The bread is the secret of the sandwich. Think about it, it’s 1/3 of the makeup, and unlike the two other ingredients, has the highest perishability factor, and therefore is the most important in terms of quality. Going old school would mean Wonderbread, but I’ve found that it’s like a sponge in a puddle in terms of jelly-soak. Go healthy instead, trust me, and get a bread like Oatmeal or 9-Grain (7-Grain works too, but avoid 12-Grain.)

71 Stars. I love my mom, but I’ll never eat baloney and mayonnaise sandwiches again.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Reviewed: Legwarmers

I defy you to make fun of me! I friggin' love legwarmers. Walking around in the winter is cold, especially in New York, but legwarmers save the day. Now that they're back in style, wear them with boots or flats (high heels only if you’re asking for it) and you’re good to go. They are so much more than eighties exercise videos. They really are.

89 Stars! I’ll never change my mind, never!

Reviewed: Dawson Leery on TBS

Last year I didn’t have cable, so I was spared the 9am EST weekday re-runs of Dawson’s Creek, but now the show falls perfectly into my breakfast-eating/tv-watching time and I have unwittingly become enslaved by the Joey/Pacey love affair (why is it so necessary that I find out how they finally get together?!) The thing that most enrages me about my unwitting addiction is the annoying, whiney, irritating movie dork Dawson Leery. Yes, I have a weakness for young adult dramedies (see previous unexplainable and humiliating obsessions with The O.C., Felicity, Boy Meets World and Sister, Sister) but none of those had a Dawson.

For one, chokers were so 1995, not 1998. Get with it, dude. Fashion faux pas aside, Dawson has this lack of humility that I suspect owes to his secret everlasting belief that Katie Holmes is still in love with him, when everyone watching knows that she’s too attractive for Dawson. Of course Pacey gets the girl. He’s an interesting character; he loves kids and boats. Dawson just sits around and rearranges the posters in his bedroom and tries really really hard to be cool. He tries so hard that it embarrasses me, and I'm just sitting on the couch with Cheerios.

12 Stars. Sometimes I start to wonder why it bothers me so much. Am I like Dawson and everyone is afraid to tell me? It's a really frightening thought.

Reviewed: Margaret Mitchell House Tour in Atlanta

Look, people who control the museum tour, you just can’t have a giant portrait of the writer with a confederate flag in the background and then stick a MLK Jr. photography exhibit in the basement as a way of saying it’s okay. Sure, you addressed the racism of the book (complicated) and the movie (outright) but what about the conspicuous confederate flag just over Ms. Mitchell’s left shoulder? The portrait was done posthumously, which hardly seems fair. Please don’t anyone paint a picture of me after I’m dead with a heart-shaped frame of Jonathan Taylor Thomas in the background, even if the work of my life only amounts to reviving Bop magazine. Either take down the stupid portrait or I want my $9 back.

0 Stars.

Monday, March 5, 2007

Reviewed: Bar Stamps

No matter how much I scrub, there is still a smudgy remnant of last night on my hand. I want to move on with my life and it’s hard when all day people look at me like some boozehound who doesn't know how to bathe. I realize there has to be some way to differentiate the kids from the adults, but why the industrial strength stamp ink?

10 stars. What’s wrong with wristbands?

Reviewed: Wristbands

Unlike sorority girls and hipsters who collect their bands like bangles, I actually can and do find scissors. Even in drunken moments of frustration I can usually summon the strength to tear it off my body. After all, it’s only paper coated in wax, or sometimes, flimsy plastic. Getting one off doesn’t even qualify as resourcefulness.

70 Stars. Because age should be an accessory, not a brand.

Reviewed: Hand Dryers

So what if I claim to be a friend to the earth, I hate hand dryers. They take forever to dry your hands (is using 30 seconds of electricity worse than using 14 inches of paper towels?), and because bathrooms usually only have 1 or 2 you don’t get the luxury of taking the time to get your hands dry. You know, the social responsibilities of taking turns. On the other hand (ha! awesome pun!) it’s always fun to see the ever-present hand dryer vandalism--push butt(on), rub hands under (w)arm hair—and air-drying leaves the skin feeling freshly clean and soft. It just sucks when the person before you didn’t have the social responsibility to spend the time and you grab a wet germy doorknob.

23 Stars.