What's hot lists are crisp

January 06, 2004|by TIM ROWLAND

Even though I am a relatively new dad-like-figure, I have The Look down.

Cock head slightly to the right, knit brows, half-smile, lean foreword with interest. And I say "Really? No kidding" or "Wow, son of a gun," or "Suh-weet."

This in response to the teen-like-figure Alexa, who has just, with a great deal of pride, informed me that she has just obtained the new Jack Black soundtrack.

"Really? Jack Black? Suh-weet."

Of course, I have no idea who Jack Black is, but unless you wish to be classified as a hopeless dolt by your hip kid, you have to pretend you do by giving The Look of sincere interest and significance-comprehension.


I try to keep up, or I used to, anyway. But each year I get further behind, a fact born out by those annual Jan. 1 "What's Hot, What's Not" lists.

For example, the list I have at my disposal informs me that Jack Black is Hot while Jimmy Fallon is Not. Problem is, I've never heard of Jimmy Fallon either. Jimmy's whole time in the sun came and went, and I never even caught up to it.

In fact, I can't even say "Suh-weet" anymore, because just as I was starting to catch on, "Sweet" has been relegated to the Not camp, replaced by a new Hot expression, "Crisp."

To an aging fogey such as myself, these Hot/Not lists are one continuous sock in the kisser.

I was feeling quite "with it" when my hip family members got me a White Stripes CD for Christmas, after I had heard a couple of their songs and expressed an interest. They do everything they can to stem my chronic pop culture retardation tide, and apparently saw an opening.

Imagine my depression on Jan. 1 when I saw that White Stripes is a Not. Dang. So close. To add insult, Alexa made a copy of the CD, Andrea snuck the original out to her car and I haven't seen (or heard) either disc since.

Some of the Nots on the list I can relate to and say "good riddance," to wit: Martha Stewart (although hasn't she been a Not for about five years now?), mutual funds, trucker hats, tiny dogs (are you listening, Jake Biscuit?), Powerpoint presentations and homeland security.

And I was intrigued by some of the new Hots for the coming year, even if I didn't fully understand.

Like, "Cheeseburger-flavored fries made of meat." That's got positive-experience written all over it.

I was briefly intrigued by "Tanktops with Yiddish sayings," but a quick Internet search showed about the only thing available is a predictable old "L'chiam." If a tanktop can't work in an infinitely more linguistically picturesque Shlemiel, Shlimazel or Kibbitzer, what's the point?

"Baked denim wrinkles" are Hot, although I don't know whether you wear them or eat them. Also Hot is "celebrity poker," and here they are so right.

I'm probably the only one, but the last three months of the year I became enthralled with something called the "World Series of Poker" that they kept running over and over again on ESPN 2.

You would never think that two cowboys (one nicknamed "Jesus"), three geezers, two Asians, one Jew, two Arabs and an accountant named, no kidding, Chris Moneymaker, all sitting around a table playing cards for hours on end could make for riveting TV. But for some reason it fascinated me. It was sort of like what would happen if the United Nations Security Council held their meetings in Las Vegas.

It's fine with me that Botox is no longer Hot, but taking its place is "toe reductions." I suppose if she wants to get a toes job instead of a nose job it's her business (if she falls over, she falls over) but it still reminds me a bit of Granny threatening to give Jethro a tongue prunin'.

I'm also happy that iceberg lettuce is a Hot, replacing infant greens, which is a Not. Here's my rule about lettuce. If a green is lying on a plate, you should be able to stick a fork in it and lift it up. I know this goes against every culinary rule out there, but you can keep all your snob lettuce. I want something that goes "crunch."

Like hip expressions, I think it's better for lettuce to be crisp than suh-weet.

Tim Rowland is a Herald-Mail columnist.

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