The Black Column

Martha Stewart’s new cookbook on how to prepare goat and lamb.

Martha Stewart’s new cookbook on how to prepare goat and lamb.

Back in black
You heard it here first: black is the new black. The way I see it, Metallica released its self-titled “black album” in 1991 (which to some, was a black day for the band), and Jay-Z released The Black Album in 2003. Now it’s my turn … I give you The Black Column.

Why celebrate the color black? It’s mysterious. It’s powerful. It represents many things to many people. Since summer is officially here, I thought I’d give the black sheep of summer colors some love. And to quote the ever-so-wise Wesley Snipes from his performance in Passenger 57: “Always bet on black.”

Read on. You may learn a little something.

Black lung
For almost two weeks, we’ve been living under a canopy of smoke. I find it interesting that people are still outside jogging, riding their bikes and working on their lawns … even on the worst days. That can’t be good for you.

Butte County Public Health Officer Dr. Mark Lundberg says that even the healthiest of beasts can have their lung function temporarily altered. Not to mention the smoke could affect people with unknown, pre-existing heart conditions. If you smoke … I guess you’re safe.

Black beans
Now available at my favorite taco truck, Tacos El Paísa. Try them in your next deluxe veggie burrito.

Black Francis …
is better than Frank Black and waaaay better than Charles Michael Kittridge Thompson IV.

Black History Month Year
Takes place in February (October in the UK) … and should last more than a month. There. I just made it official.

One of the better-known Blaxploitation films of the early ’70s. An African prince gets bitten by a vampire and … head down to Paradise Lost’s new digs on Park Avenue and rent it.

Fear of a Black Planet
Public Enemy’s best album. That’s all I’ve got.

Black Tooth Grin
This was the official mixed drink of Pantera. I’ve actually never tried one, simply because I’m afraid to. Those fools knew how to tie one on. It’s simple: pour a double shot of Crown Royal (Jack or Seagram’s 7 will work, too), and add a splash of cola. And to quote late, great Pantera guitarist Dimebag Darrell: “Slam it back! It ain’t no candy!”

Black widows
Watch for them when you clean out your garage … unless they’re radioactive black widows.

Jack Black
I love Jack Black, but I could get by with just two offerings: High Fidelity and the first Tenacious D album.

“The blacks” in Basque, and the name for the riot-control units for Basque Autonomous Police in Spain.

Black metal
Nothing will stop you dead in your tracks like a guy with blood spatter on his painted face wearing spiked arm bands and holding an upside-down cross.

I recently saw photographer Peter Beste’s new book, True Norwegian Black Metal, nestled on the rack at a hip San Francisco bookstore among cheerier-looking volumes on food and self-improvement. Beste spent the past five years in Norway hanging out with some of the more notorious characters in the country’s black metal movement. This goes beyond kitsch. Some of these guys have done time for burning churches, violent crime and even murder. The photos tell the story, and I was gripped … hope that didn’t by me a one-way ticket to Jahannam.

Beste also assembled a five-part documentary of the same name for video Web site VBS.TV, where they concentrate on Gaahl, frontman for metal band Gorgoroth. It’s interesting, but I prefer the book so I don’t have to listen to Beste and his douchebag cronies talk—almost ruined it.

The Man in Black
May he rest in peace.

All Blacks
New Zealand’s No. 1-ranked rugby team. The team does a Mäori dance before each international match called the haka. Coming soon to a high school football field near you.

Back In Black
Self-explanatory. If you’re from a small town like, say … anywhere north of Sacramento, you own this record.

Black Market
I just sold a baby here. Just kidding … it was actually Craigslist.

Black … out