Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Top 18 Overrated Things

Well, I have to admit it... Rob's second-to-most-recent post really inspired me. Reading about all that music that people overrate so frequently, compounded by the arduous two-day task of composing my favorite last tracks, has really gotten me thinking: maybe it would be easier if I took a swing at some things I don't like! Now, I'm not good at specifics... we all know that. So, this is going to be a pretty wide-ranging list. However, you can be sure that hobos, vice-presidents, and fictional plot devices won't be on it. (Hey nerdos! I just linked to a bunch of my old lists... in case you haven't read them! I want you to get a sense for who I am so that we might one day be able to call each other friends!!!)

18. Butterflies
Why do you people like butterflies so much? All day, all I hear is, "Oh my gosh, I saw the cutest butterfly today. It was in a stroller and its mom looked so proud and it was sort of pointing and laughing at me on the subway. OMFG so cute." You guys... that sounds boring. I can point and laugh, why don't you like me? It's just that, um... I mean... what I'm trying to say is... wait. You meant babies, right? Shoot. I like babies.

17. The electoral college
Ugh... this one has me real angry, you guys. And I'm not going to screw it up like babies/butterflies. (And now that I think about it, I don't like babies that much. They are scary-looking and wrinkly and they shit without warning and no one yells at them!) Anyway. The electoral college is seriously overrated. Just ask Sammy Tilden, Grover Cleveland, Al Gore. These are the only three guys in US History to have won the popular vote, but lost the electoral vote. They would have been three of the sweetest presidents, too! Well... okay, fine, Grover Cleveland had two other chances, once before this loss, and once after... and maybe Gore is more effective as a powerpoint-writer/award-winner... but seriously, Tilden was a Nic Cage-style badass. More importantly... the E.C. makes it possible for a candidate to win eleven--ELEVEN--of our fifty states [the most populous 11, obvs: California (55 votes), Texas (34), New York (31), Florida (27) Illinois (21), Pennsylvania (21), Ohio (20), Michigan (17), Georgia (15), New Jersey (15), and North Carolina (15)] and still win the election. The other candidate would have an overwhelming victory in the popular vote, but come Inauguration Day, they'd be nursing a double whiskey coke and growing a beard. That's BULL.

16. Man-eating anythings
Why do we reward these assholes? Oh, hey, huge sharks that kill humans! Let's give you a week of programming--maybe you can use those commercial blocks to peddle your pro-Carcharodon message of people-munching. What up, big mean bears! You wanna star in a documentary? How about a bunch of them! Great! AGH, my face! Guess what. We are easy to kill. We are fleshy, pale, hairless things who like microwave hot wings and internet porn. Ruthless killing machines shouldn't be so proud about doing us in... we were easy prey. And we shouldn't congratulate them!

15. Hybrids (if you buy a shitty hybrid)
Aw, man! I just bought a hybrid and I am totally doing my part! My carbon footprint is like, a baby shoe! I am a better human than that fat man spreading mayonnaise on his belly! Wait, what? Not all hybrids are created equal? Some just flat-out blow? WHOA! I sure hope I fall on the right side of that fence! DO YOUR RESEARCH, AUTO-CONSUMERS! THEY HAVE MAGAZINES ON THIS STUFF! (I THINK!)

14. Early SNL
When they released the first season on DVD, I couldn't wait to get my hands on it. But, I'm poor, so I didn't. Luckily someone left it in Caitlin's suite in EC, so now we own it? The thing is, when I watched it, there were long, long stretches of sketches that were just... bad. Like, weirdly bad. And like, badly weird. It's cool to see drugged-up people make fools of themselves, but when you have these incredibly juiced up perceptions of them already, to see them do it is just, well, sad. I'm obviously not saying there weren't incredibly funny moments... the iconography is there, no doubt. (And even the most batshit Muppets sketches are better than what has passed for humor on recent seasons of SNL, if for no other reason than there was some effort evident in their sheer absurdity.) But... I dunno, man. I wasn't blown away.

13. The color red
I am tired of meeting people whose favorite color is red. (Frankly, I am tired of meeting people who want to talk about their favorite color.) So many bad things are red! Blood, red pen marks on bad essay, red states... that's only three and I'm having a panic attack! Also, what about when the stock market loses points--they report that shit in RED. You owe it to the economy and therefore America (whose favorite thing is economics) to not like red anymore. Go turn in your government -issued Favorite Color Cards now!

12. Feta cheese
This is a good cheese to have on, say, a gyro or... on the side of some souvlaki. Maybe on top of a Greek salad. Great! If you are doing any of these things, you are eating Greek food. DUDE. How often do you do that? Probs like, three times a month. IF YOU'RE REALLY WEIRDLY INTO GREEK FOOD. And yet, when people list their top five cheeses (which is all the times), feta always sneaks in! What is that!? GUYS! You know you don't like feta that much! You just like saying feta! That's fine, but wait until you've thought of a fifth cheese and then say it as much as you like! Feta feta feta... I GET IT. But, please... Jarlsberg. Havarti. Muenster. Colby fucking Jack, if you must. But not feta, friends.

11. Lemons
Lemons are a fine garnish on fish or in iced tea, but I personally think that limes beat them in every other category. Lime goes better in beer. Key Lime Pie >>> Lemon Merengue. Lime-infused tortilla chips are more addictive than morphine. No one calls Brits "lemonies". Also, I would rather eat a whole lime than a whole lemon. Just sayin'. (BTW: Jack Lemmon is totally cool.)

10. Calling Derek Jeter overrated
Sports dudes. (Of which I am one.) You are in a business that is a little different than music. Whereas musicians like Radiohead do not show up on trading cards with their "music stats" printed on the back, athletes do. (Sidebar: how sweet would music trading cards be?!?!?!?! Built To Spill's card would have stats like "Jangly, angular guitar riffs per album: 6.3"! Springsteen's early work would have "Dylanesque lyrics per song: 25.34"!) ANYWAY. You can use those stats. IF YOU DO, the Jeter overrated diatribe goes out the winder. .315 life time batting average. on pace for 3,000 hits, bats a quaint .314 in the playoffs, etc etc etc. Plus he's clutch, plus he's a leader, plus he's gutsy, plus he sleep with hot ladies. NOW, if you're one of those wacky sabermetricians and you want to talk about how he's the most ineffective defensive player in baseball... (btw, good on ya saber-bos for inventing a useless need--people to give you stats above and beyond the normal, non-mom's-basement-dwelling stats--and then filling that void... that is American and I am a patriot!) GUESS THE DUCK WHAT. My favorite team, the Minnesota Twins, is chock-a-block full of effective defensive players and they sure as hell don't have the recent World Series to show for it. My favorite player, Little Nicky Punto, the tiny superhero, is an absolute DEMON in the field... only problem is, he loses his swing for seasons at a time. Ya need clutch hitting to win, folks.

9. "Radio, Radio"
As one of the biggest Elvis Costello fans this side of the Big Drink, I feel a certain pride in taking issue with the quasi-reverence that is paid to this song, and that one performance on SNL in 1977. It makes for an interesting curio of a protest anthem, but you've got to admit that it's directed at a pretty small niche... even in '77, I'm pretty sure people had realized that radio is subpar and that you can get all the listening advice you need from your friends and the guy at the record store. Radio corruption goes back to the 50s and the Payola scandals, dude! What's more, this is nowhere near the best Costello song. It's not the best early Costello song, it's not the even in the top five songs on This Year's Model. To be honest, it's kinda generic. It's even got some of that Weezer-hypnotism that Rob loves to rag on! It's a fine song, just don't let your Elvis Costello exploration begin and end with it.

8. Illinois
This is an issue of honesty, folks. Illinois is part of the mid-west. I love the midwest. I love their hotdish. I love their waves of wheat. I love Minnesota, mostly, but I love it all secondarily. Now here's the thing about some Illinosians I've met. (Whoa! I thought I made that word up, but spell-check is giving me the okay! Nice!) Anyway, some of these cats like to pretend that being from Chicago (or near Chicago... or being able to spell Chicago) makes them somehow not midwestern. GUYS! Play fair! I think Chicago is great. I've been there twice and both times were super-great. I rode in a ferris wheel, I ate pizza, I have NO complaints. But be true to your ethos, dudes!

7. The Dark Crystal
Labyrinth, The Princess Bride, The Neverending Story. You don't need a fourth movie. It will only be worse than the other four. If you are one of the kids who liked Dark Crystal more than these touchstones of childhood, you were pushed into the sandbox frequently as a child and forced to eat caterpillars. I'm sorry for bringing up that memory, but you need to deal with it.

6. T-shirts
I think t-shirts are a fine garment. I'm wearing one right now. However, it's important to note that I'm only wearing one because my laundry is in the wash right now. I'm wearing this because I have no other options. It is though I am a member of the Donner Party and I am chewing on my uncle's flesh for sustenance. Except I am wearing a t-shirt. T-shirt wearing is all well and good, but it is, at best, a default option. It's not the best option.

5. Skylights
You guys. If you want natural light to stream forth from the Heavens, there is a really good place to see it. It is called the out-of-doors. You can go to your door, open it, and walk into a non-shady place. The sun will stream accordingly. Note: If you don't have a door, you can probably climb out a window. If you don't have windows, you are inside a box and are sort of fucked. Skylights are expensive, opening doors is not--again, if you have a door.

4. Bernini
Do you guys know about this thing called the Uncanny Valley? It's the totally sweet idea that when a human likeness (a robot, an animation, etc.) looks and acts too much like a human being, it's revolting and scary and creepy. Bernini's sculptures were basically the marble version of photorealism and it sends my brain on a crazy camping trip in the Uncanny Valley. Everytime I see Apollo and Daphne, I get worried that at night, those two come to life and run around the Galleria Borghese, playing pranks on ridiculously stereotyped Italian security gaurds. Stone should not have such tenderness! (And now that I think about it, that Apollo/Daphne midnight gallery romp sounds pretty cool. Like A Night at the Museum for the Squid and the Whale crowd.)

3. "Scrubs"
When you can basically improv a better version of a show after watching a few episodes, something has gone wrong. The initial thrust of this show was great, but when it turned into the Family Guy of hospital dramedies, shit got real. Real bad.

JD: I've got a patient here with an enlarged heart...

The Todd: (to some nurse) And I need you to be patient with my large, hard--(the nurse slaps The Todd)


JD Voiceover: And then I realized, maybe it's not such a bad thing to have an enlarged heart. Well, no, it probably is a bad thing for Mrs. Kowalski, but what I'm really saying is, maybe I need to care more!

Eliot walks in, bouncing and grinning.

Eliot: JD! You were wrong about that thing you said earlier, but I'm gonna let you off the hook. However, when I say let you off the hook, I mead "lord it over you".

JD Voiceover: As long as I'm under you... get it, that was a sex thing. Oooh, also--here's a visual gag. Remember the enlarged heart thing? (Eliot's boobs grow.) HAH! Score!

Dr. Cox walks in.

Dr. Cox: I hate you all but not as much as I hate a list of pop culture references and catchphrases. You should all feel suitably shamed. You are bad doctors, for certain, but for some reason, I am not a bad doctor for failing to be a better mentor.

The show closes as the hospital burns to the tune of Jeff Buckley's "Hallelujah".

2. Being careful not to leave your prepositions dangling
I basically just put this here so I could rep Rob's new slant rhyme: "Hangin' preps, no regrets!" That's some poetry to be proud of!

1. Shoes, frankly
I am not wearing any right now and I feel fantastic. So why do people insist on imposing this totalitarian feet-imprisoning trend? Aaaaah, I am spreading my toes right now and it is awesome. The thing is, though, I am alone and at my house in Buffalo. This sort of behavior might not be cool at a party in New York City.


El Gigante said...

On "Radio Radio" is there some sort of weird squeezebox, someone rhythmically stepping on a bat as the play a cowbell sort of noise in the background? Or do I just happen to have not one but TWO funky recordings of the songs? What is that noise? What instrument is producing it? Oh and a theory about the previous post, maybe people will vote for you if comments get responded to via other comments.

Peter said...

Yeah, man... I've wondered about that before. It's like this weird hissing noise. Totally in rhythm, but it sounds like the CD is skipping almost. I don't get it. Anyway, thanks for the comment! (See, I'm learning!)

Rob said...

The weirdest thing about that noise in "Radio Radio" is that it isn't QUITE on the's just a tiny bit off.

It wouldn't, however, be my #1 "sound that you can't quite tell if it's supposed to be part of the song or not" (list sometime? MEBBE), because that would be the Clash's "Rock the Casbah," which has that noise that sounds EXACTLY LIKE A CELLPHONE over ten years before people really started using cellphones. Weird.

Colin said...

What's with your obsession with Minnesota? What a stupid state. Bernini's pretty cool though.