Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Top Saddest Thing About Baseball Season

1.) The end.

(FYI: This isn’t really going to be much of list, just a collection of thoughts about the Minnesota Twins, Game #163, and baseball in general.)

I jumped out of my seat as fast as I could after Alexi Casilla flied out center to end the game; I was absolutely determined not to see the White Sox celebrating their victory and subsequent clinching of the AL Central crown. But celebrate they should, I suppose… it was an absolute artwork of a game. Still, one bad pitch gets slapped 461 feet and that’s the season.

In the 8th, I couldn’t help but think, “These are the Twins, man! They do the little things right, they play small ball, they’re fundamental… someone’s gonna tie this up.” I actually found myself convinced that Nicky Punto was going to knock one out of the park. (Nick, on the most offhand of chances, if you are reading—know that I am the only kid walking around NYC with a #8 jersey that reads “Twins” on the front and your name on the back. You’re my guy.) That’s what a great ballclub does, I guess… they make you believe.

As per usual, my mind has been flooded with a host of clichés… tokenisms about there always being a next year, and hockey season being a few weeks away, and the fact that it’s only a game. Well, DFW said that clichés stick around for a reason—they’re deep, transcendent truths and the fact that we’ve heard them a million times doesn’t detract from their validity. That maybe true, but I just have to take an issue with that last one: “It’s only a game.” Yeah. It is. It is only a game. And that’s what I love about it. I love games, because we need games. We need to be able to play and (sometimes!) win at ultimately meaningless things because we need that release. We’re in the midst of a financial crisis, the likes of which we haven’t seen in decades. Thursday night, a vice presidential candidate is going to take the stage for a debate who believes the earth was created in six days. There are still good-hearted American kids dying in Iraq, not to mention the good-hearted kids on the other side, as well. Excuse the preachiness, but that’s why we need to spend three meaningless hours on the couch every once in a while, it’s three hours you don’t have to spend staring at headlines that make you want to jerk your car off a bridge. 

I’m not saying we should trade in our moral compasses for a glove and a bat. I’m just saying it can be a symbiotic relationship. Besides, the will to compete and the urge to cheer are basic human drives, as is the will to create artificial sets of rules and go and out play by them. It’s all story…

Anyway. Now that I’ve mentioned Sarah Palin, Iraq, and the human condition in general… I left my house and went for a walk. (A walk I went on after the 1998 NFC Championship Game, after Super Bowl XXV—well, kinda—after the 2003 West Conference Finals… and a whole host of other times.) “Unsatisfied” by the Replacements came on my iPod. That was quaint. I walked up to the liquor store with the cat that I like, but it looked like she was off for the night. I made a concerted effort to avoid any brands relating to the color white, socks, or Chicago in general. As I rang out with the cashier… the little cat strolled out of the back room and sidled up to my sneakers, as if she knew somehow. (She didn’t. She’s a cat and I am  human who is regularly nice to her. Anyway, though, it was a sweet gesture.) Here’s the thing. We’ve got five young pitchers with great arms and brains. We’ve got the AL batting champ and the likely MVP runner-up. We can win without Torii and Johan. We’ve got speed, we’ve got heart, we’ve got fundamentals. Granted, it didn’t win us the World Series or anything this year… but it at least got us past #162. Even if just for one game.

Well. Thanks for a great season, guys. Pitchers and catchers report in 137 days. I hope I can last that long.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Top 25 Fictional Characters that I Would Like to See Show Up in the Next Super Smash Brothers

25. Guybrush Threepwood

24. Funky Kong

23. Indiana Jones

22. Bartleby the Scrivener

21. Curious George

20. Waluigi

19. Sam Malone

18. Sheela Na-Gig

17. Eugene Henderson

16. Lucille Bluth

15. Walter Sobchack

14. Kelly from The Office

13. Kelly from From Justin to Kelly

12. Kelly, the character who draws those absurdly preachy political cartoons in the Onion

11. Fictional Gene Kelly

10. Fictional Jimbo Wales

9. Merkin Muffley

8. Lieutenant Frank Drebin

7. Crow T. Robot

6. Tyrone Slothrop

5. Mustapha Mond

4. Stephen Daedalus

3. Charles Foster Kane

2. Mary Richards

1. Fat Albert

The Top 9 Slang Terms I Tried To Make Popular, Peter Edition

As a response to Rob's recent list of slang he tried to get off the ground, here is my own chronicle of words and phrases I tried (and failed) to introduce into the popular lexicon.

By the way, I was going to do a Minnesota Twins related list, but seeing as tomorrow is the Biggest Game of All Time, AKA, the Twins v. the Bitch-Sox for the AL Central Crown, I figure I'll save it for tomorrow, win or (KNOCK ON A LOUISVILLE SLUGGER BASEBALL BAT) lose. WIN TWINS!

9. “Pancho”

There was time when I was, oh, let’s say, seven years old, when I used to call most people “Pancho”. I had a pretty good reason for this quirk. We had a foosball table and my dad nicknamed all the little foosball player-men Pancho, because they were a tan shade of plastic, with little black helmet hairpieces. Total Panchos. Anyway, I started doing that one day while my buddy Julian was over and he started doing it at school the next day, and pretty soon, everyone and everything was Pancho. It didn’t last past the fifth grade. I tried!

8. “Face”

Hah. Yikes. My bold, high-school attempt to replace buddy/guy/friend/you with “face”… it was synecdoche pushed to its lamest extreme. “Hey face!” I’d say to my friends, instead of, you know, “Hey, Matt!” or “Hey, Nik!” Yeah, it was an awful idea. Only slightly worse than Pancho.

7. “Stay black.”

Today in the shower, I was thinking about things I say, and that turned into things I want to start staying, and I arrived at “Stay black.” I should definitely start saying this! Like, always! End of a meeting, looks like we’re moving forward with purpose and direction? Stay black! You totally just made out with your crush of five years? Stay black! Good episode of Gossip Girl? Dude… stop watching Gossip Girl.

6. “Balla, narc, or poseur”

Once upon a time, Eva and I invented a sweet game called “Balla, narc, or poser”. The object of the game is to decide whether the historical figure (usually a president) is a balla, a narc, or a poser. I’ll just copy/past the gchat—you’ll get the gist.

me: john Quincy adams… total poser. TOTAL poser.

Eva: he did make it into Profiles in Courage, though

me: i think all american history can be broken down into ballers and posers.

More like Profiles in BOREage.

Eva: I agree

on both counts

me: henry clay = baller.

samuel tilden = poser

Eva: Garfield, baller or poser?

poser, I think

me: in his first term, he was a total baller, but as he got on in years, he faded into poserdom.

oh yeah, garfield was a huge poser.

Eva: this is true

me: a poseur even.

Eva: Baller = Taft

he was so fat!

slash phat!

me: YES!

it's true!

oh, there are also a few narcs.


Eva: obviously!

Wilson was such a narc.

5. “Make arrest.”

I was obviously obsessed with The Departed during my senior year of college, so for a while, a thing that I decided was really fun to do was to text Rob and Tom the phrase “make arrest” at completely random moments. (Not random in that annoying, girlish sense, ie: “You guys, Trent was so random and awkward last night. He kept like, saying these things from these random movies and it was totes awkward, but like, cute-awkward… or, well, maybe awkward-cute, but, whatever, anyway, SO random!" Not at all random like that... my use of "make arrest" was lacking in purpose, order, or cause.) Anyway, I kept doing this for awhile, and then I started introducing it into conversation, but the problem was, it didn’t really mean anything. It was just a fun thing to say… which was actually really fun? Oh, well. It died.

4. “What powers does he have?”/”What cool features does he come with?”

This is one that I really should have put more of an effort into because it could have really taken off. For a while last year, whenever one of my friends would talk about someone new, I would always say, “What powers does he/she have?” to mean, “What is he/she like?” The thing that I really liked about it was that it cast social skills and personality traits as magical attributes. Then, I thought about it for a while, and it sounded like I was treating human people like action figures… things that could have battle damage or shoot plastic missiles. (Although, it’s true, most of my closest friends are battle damaged. Or just damaged.)

3. “Mom”

Earlier this year, I started calling everyone “Mom”. It is safe to say that I missed my mom. I stopped discriminating between sexes—referring to Tom as Mom after a while (I played the rhyme up quite a bit), and then just random folk I met on the street. Everyone became Mom. Then, it lost its luster, so I stopped doing it. (But now all of Caitlin’s girlfriends call each other Mommy! COINCIDENCE!?)

2. “No one knows!”

This is slightly akin to Rob’s “that’s made up”… but I am still trying to make it work, every chance I get. Here’s the deal. I frequently say things that demand explanation or qualification. Example… Some Person: Peter, why are you so upset about the White Sox losing to the Tigers? Peter: No one knows! What I love about this is that the reason in the example is clear… I’m upset because the White Sox blow and one more loss would mean the Twins would be in the playoffs. But it’s more important than that! “No one knows” is an existential expression of the true uncertainty of this (American?) life. No one actually knows, because absolute truths don’t exist. More importantly, though… it is fun to say! No one knows!

1. “Ah, life”

Folks! This was a longtime favorite. This was such a catchphrase that I tried to put it on a shirt. It was a mantra, a heartfelt admission of the ridiculous ebb and flow of the human condition. When something wonderful happened, “Ah, life,” I’d say. When something disappointed me, “Ah, life,” I’d say. When the Twins and the White Sox had to play a single, win-and-in playoff, scheduled for tomorrow at 7:30, AH FUCKING LIFE, SAYS I!!!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Top 10 Things That I Think Smell Good, But That Are In Some Way Hazardous

Paul Newman Watch = RIP... :( Twins Watch = you gotta believe! Obama Watch = +8 in the Gallup AND I got a Duane Reade cashier to PROMISE to vote for him.

10. Woodshops

This is a total childhood thing. I used to hang out with my dad in the woodshop, watching him work while toiling away on my own little "special projects". (NB: Most of my special projects were stray pieces of wood that happened to look like ducks or something. Oh, also, I ran a business for a while in the 4th grade where I sold little wooden cars. FOR A HEFTY PROFIT!)

9. Spray paint

Looking at the rest of this list, one might get the impression that I have an inhalant addiction. I assure you that I do not. (Although I have seen the movie Love Liza in its entirety and I think it is not too bad?) Also, looking at the list so far, one might get the impression that I have a home-improvements affinity. Again, I assure you that I do not. In my one year tenure as a resident of my current apartment, I have do absolutely nothing to improve my home. However, I've built several tables for my lab. (For one of them, I was just like, "LOOKIT. Here is a large, wooden rectangle. Here are metal poles that I will use as legs. I WILL MAKE THIS WORK," and I did. Because that is totes in my job-descripsh.)

8. Spent matches

You would think it's just for their power as a masking agents, but no, I really just like the smell of burnt sulfur, totally independent of other nasty smells. I dunno, man. Sometimes I just sit around lighting matches, letting them go out, and smelling the results. Years from now, I will be arrested for stealing the complimentary matches they give out at some nice (and, frankly, some not-so-nice) restaurants. I will be imprisoned for this crime for 10 years, but I'll be let out after 2, after an intrepid law student stumbles on a flaw in the case: the matches are, in fact, complimentary. A TV movie will be produced, starring Devon Sawa as me, but never broadcast. 

7. Turpentine

This just gross, I'm sorry. I used to do a lot of oil-based painting, okay? Is that so weird? NO. It isn't. Is it weird that I enjoy the smell of turpentine? Yeah, kinda. Is it weird that I kept at painting even while I obviously had no skill and no desire to be taught? Yes, definitely. Is it weird that in my later periods, I spent FAR more time cleaning my brushes than I did actually putting paint on canvas. Sure. Does this speak to some sort of compulsion or addiction? Get out of my house!

6. Rubbing alcohol

Um. Yeah. What can I say, it has a bracingly pleasant odor. You guys think I'm weird, don't you? You can admit it... Well, fine, tomorrow I'll just do the Top 12 Indiest Indies Of All (Indie) Time so I can get back to my fucking bread and butter. Oooh! Oooh! How about Top 26 Quirkiest Quirks That I Happen To Share With Quirky Film and Television Actor Michael "Captain Quirk" Keaton. I QUIT.

5. Bars

I was kidding about quitting!!! Okay, um, bars. What do bars smell like? Mmm, stale beer and second-rate perfume. It sounds like a Journey song already! Oh, you know what REALLY smells amazing? Super sketchy dive-ass bars. Man, this one time I was at TimeOut on Amsterdam with Pat and Frank (and maybe Rami was there, too?)... by the way, TimeOut doesn't exist anymore. ANYWAY. There had just been some party there and a bunch of food was left over... so Pat's playing with the food and he stumbles upon some hot peppers. Well, this gigantic mountain lion of a man, replete with mane and skeezy-ass goatee, comes over and chews us out for touching his foodstuffs. Then, he lays us 10 to 1 that we can't eat a pepper without crying. Long story short, I made a hundred dollars that night! NICE.

4. Basements

Mostly, it's just the smell of laundry... takes me back to childhood... when I did all that laundry? You guys, it is a warm, musty soapy smell--what is not to love? (Translation: When people go, "Ew... there is a mildewy aroma in this room," I go, "COOL! I WANNA SMELL!" I have terrible taste. And smell? Oh, gosh...)

3. Permanent markers

Especially those really thick, metal ones. I'd sniff those so hard that I'd end up with a comical fake-Hitler mustache. Oh, man... then I bet I'd walk into a social gathering where it would be TOTALLY culturally-inappropriate for me to have such a faux-costume on and there would be screwball hijinks and madcap wackiness a-plenty!

2. Gasoline

Preferably Mobil. (Preferably pre-2000, when it didn't cost that much--am I right or am I right! Who am I kidding, I live in NYC.) Also of note... many of the entries on this list are hydrocarbons. Perhaps I just like the smell of hydrocarbons? Once I had a chemistry teacher who would bug the kids who wore gel in their hair by saying, "Mr. So-and-so, I notice that you are wearing hydrocarbons in your hair. Are you trying to attract a female mate?" Legend has it that he jumped out of window to prove a point once. ONCE.

1. Cigars

My uncle is a cigar aficionado and when he smokes his Cubans, he wears a fez. No lie. Also, once upon a time, Frank and I sat on a stoop while smoking Cubans on 47th Street, singing "You Got What I Need" by Biz Markie. In friggin' harmony, dudes. THAT IS AS GOOD A WAY AS ANY TO END THIS LIST!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Top 8 Things Casey Affleck Has Done (For America?)

Yo. A while back, Rob accused Casey Affleck of coattail riding. A little after that, he wrote about his BJ Novak man-crush. Well, guess what, sportsfans. I'm going to kill two related birds (Birds that are brothers? BYRDS that are brothers?!) with one list-shaped stone!

Here are eight great things Casey Affleck has done (each thing happens to be a movie), and therefore, eight great reasons to have a mancrush on Casey Affleck!

8. American Pie

In a blink-and-you'll-miss-him role, Casey plays Thomas Ian Nichols' big bro, which is for some reason hilarious to me. Thomas Ian Nichols... is he okay? I worry about him. I mean, you kind of want to know that the Rookie of the Year kid is doing alright. Maybe he needs a blanket or some sandwiches. I should give him a call. (Full disclosure: I don't have his number or address, on account of I don't know him for real.) Oh well. This is a list about Casey Affleck, not Thomas Ian Nichols. (Also, note: About half the time when I type Casey Affleck, I accidentally type "Casey Afflecky". WEIRD.)

7. To Die For
This is one of those movies that comes on TBS every two months or so and I always end up watching half of. This is to say, unfortunately, that I have never seen To Die For in its entirety in one sitting, but I've always meant to, and to me, that's what counts. Like I meant to go abroad junior year, but I got kinda busy. Like I meant to get my French up to conversational speed, the situation where I needed it never cropped up. Like I meant to cut down on coffee, but the thing is, I love coffee. Anyway, I don't see anything glaringly wrong with this movie, so maybe someday, I'll watch the whole thing.

6. Gerry
You know what is a fun name/word to say? Gerry! Gerry gerry gerry. Gerry reminds me of gerry-mandering, which is an equally fun word to say, if not a horrible practice. Gerry reminds me of when I used to do improv and most people in our scenes ended up getting named "Gerald". Gerry reminds me of a not-so-offensive-anymore ethnic slur against Germans--a group of which I am a part! Gerry is also a Gus Van Sant movie, I guess... in which Casey and Matt Damon walk around the desert. Then one of them dies? Guys, I fell asleep during Gerry.

5. 200 Cigarettes
Listen. I have needs. This movie fulfilled that need. I don't know why MTV knew that I needed a film set in the 80's where Paul Rudd hooks up with Courtney Love in a bathroom, Jay Mohr takes Kate Hudson's V-card, Dave Chappelle drives a cab, and Elvis Costello shows up for like, two seconds, but then again, I don't know why we were put here on this green earth, either. Maybe to enjoy 200 Cigarettes. Oh, Casey shows up in a dark alley, wearing weird Punk-New Wave makeup and hair. IT IS WORTH A LOOK, OKAY.

4. Ocean's Eleven
I think Ocean's Eleven is the Halloween of movies. (I'm not saying that it's particularly scary or something during which parents should be on guard against child predators.) Ocean's is a romp, it's fun, it's full of grown men playing pretend and acting like kids--hell, it's a bunch of guys pretending to be guys pretending to be other guys. (That's like a quote from Tropic Thunder or something!) And Casey's right there in the middle of it... goofin' off with Scotty Caan, in my second favorite Scotty Caan role. (The first OBVIOUSLY being Charlie Tweeder in Varsity Blues. TWEEDER! Also, is it cool that I keep calling him Scotty? He probably doesn't read this blog... I wish he did?) This movie is just plain fun.

3. Good Will Hunting
Okay. So... was Casey supposed to be retarded in this movie? Don'tanswerthatIlovehiminthismoviesomuch! Wow. Yo, this shit got creepy. Um. I'm going to start from square one. Hey! Did you know that Casey Affleck is quite a good actor? This is an opinion I happen to hold. One film in which he shows off his I-am-quite-a-good-actor chops is 1997's Good Will Hunting. It is about a janitor who is good at math but has had a rough life blah blah blah you know the plot of Good Will Hunting. Remember the part about Casey Affleck having a crush on the take-out girl. That was funny.

2. Gone Baby Gone
Casey had a really good year in 2007. In fact, it was really difficult for me to pick the ordering on #1 and #2. I put Gone Baby Gone at number two just 'cause the role feels like less of a stretch, but eff that, really, because this is a stand-out performance and frankly, one that deserved even more recognition than it got. The younger Mr. Affleck put his heart and guts on display in the role and I'm not going to forget it any time soon. If you like noir, if you like moral drama, if you movies--check this out.

1. The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
Just an intensely good movie. Apparently there was a dark, brooding zeitgeisty thing going on in American film in 2007... also, BTW, why Roger Deakins didn't win for Best Cinematography for this, AND why Nick Cave didn't even get nominated for Best Score, I DO NOT KNOW. Anywayz. This is Casey Affleck's movie from start to finish. I'm remembering a great scene at a dinner table where Robert Ford lists the similarities between himself and Jesse James--I cannot shake this scene from my mind. Affleck is comically creepy, poignantly twisted, and absolutely heart-breaking in this performance. I have a feeling he's going to have a long, long career.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Top 9 Slang Terms I Tried to Make Happen

I could make these up and it would probably be funnier, but it is actually true that I've been obsessed for a long time with trying to start using a slang term that would catch on.  Here are some of my attempts:

9. "51 cent"

Peter and I came up with this one a while ago.  It is a simple term for those souvenir flattened pennies that you can buy at a lot of tourist attractions.  It's very low on the list because it has limited applications, but it's a pretty sweet name (in reference to--if you can't tell--the price of the pennies).  Here is an example of usage:

Me: "Yo, Peter, I just got a 51 cent with the World Trade Center on it."
Peter: "Ace."

8. "8 Mile'd"

Let's be honest first, the movie 8 Mile was awful.  But the strategy Eminem uses near the end of it, where he (in a rap battle) admits directly to a lot of bad things about himself so that the other guy will look stupid if he tries to say anything mean to him, struck me as something that needed a slang term.  So I started 8 Mile'ing people and then telling them that they just got 8 Mile'd.  Moral of the story: now everyone knows that I fucked a peanut butter sandwich.  This was not such a good slang term.

7. "That's made up"

This is something relatively new that I've been saying recently because it's pretty fun to say.  It's a dismissal of something, most frequently used with something that's not ACTUALLY made up, but seems made up, or you wish were made up.  For example:

Peter: Did you hear that there's a movie coming out called The Family that Preys?  Like, "preys" with a fucking e?
Rob: That's made up.

I haven't really kicked it into full gear and tried to make this one catch on yet, but I may soon.

A similar one that I used to do but don't as much any more is "That's not real."

6. "I dig it like a pony"

This one seemed fool-proof.  I was so convinced that this one was going to catch on, because it
1) plays off an already popular slang phrase ("I dig it"...or that one dude in The Warriors: "CAN YOU DIG IT???")
2) makes reference to something that is both widespread and hip (The Beatles)

Eventually, I think it failed because it takes too long to say.  Seven syllables to express your approval is admittedlty a lot.

5. "Tole"

Okay, I didn't I actually came up with this myself, or at least I don't think I did.  However, the lack of an Urbandictionary entry for this word, which is internet slang for "totally" that can also be used in real life, leads me to believe that it's not actually any sort of accepted use, and some friend of mine probably started doing this and I just picked it up.  Come forth, friend of mine who invented this great and spread-worthy slang term!

4. "Manual sex"

This doesn't really count as a "slang term" per se--in fact, in a lot of ways, it's the opposite of a slang term: I'm trying to create a more codified general term to replace the slang.  Here's what I mean, at the risk of sounding vulgar (which Lord knows this blog does NOT do): fellatio and cunnilingus, or whatever slang you want to use for them, both fit under the category of "oral sex."  However, there is no gender neutral term for handjob/fingering (I'm sorry I told you this would get gross), hence, a very sensible one on which we can all agree: manual sex.  This is going to catch on yet, I'm telling you.

3. "Ace"

Let me be specific: this is "ace" used as an adjective, often with an expletive added as an adverbial modifier.  For instance: "That's fuckin' ace."  I had been working on this one for a few years (2-3, I think), and then I recently discovered that Jake and Amir were making it happen too, but kind of ironically:

Well, I'm not going to claim I was the first person to use the word that way, but I was tole doing it before Jake and Amir.  I am, however, glad, that they started it up as well, because it's a damn good slang word.

2. "Hangin' preps, no regrets"

This is one of the ones I'm working hardest on (hangin' preps, no regrets) right now.  You say it after you just left a preposition hanging and you don't even give an eff 'cuz you know how ace you are.

1. "Meatbone"

This one is almost certainly the best, and has a great chance of catching on.  It was developed collaboratively with several people after I noticed the demand for such a term.  (I believe Tobin Mitnick gets the actual credit for suggestion this specific word.)  The term "meatbone" refers to when a conceit of fiction occurs in real life.  Most of the more obvious examples are visual, cartoony ones: for instance, someone slips on a banana peel, or someone holds up an entire intact fish skeleton, or a cat watches a fish in a fishbowl with its eyes moving back and forth, or someone chows down on a big hunk of nondescript meat attached to a bone that serves as a handle (from whence the name is derived).  But it also applies to when aspects of life follow certain stereotypical fictional routes: if your wife was actually having sex with the pool boy, for example, that would be an excellent meatbone (though not too excellent for you, you cuckold).  A list of the top meatbones is forthcoming.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Top 14 Links I Have Forwarded in the Past Few Days

14. http://www.amazon.com/Lost-Supermarket-Indie-Rock-Cookbook/dp/1593762038

Including The Mountain Goats’ John Darnielle’s recipe for ginger fruit punch. (Although, unfortunately, after some research, it seems that JD disavowed this cookbook after they failed to send him a copy and edited the shit—sorta—out of his recipe.)

13. http://www.somethingawful.com/d/feature-articles/email-4cham-hijackers.php (Something Awful continues to lampoon the hell out of Levi Johnston, to my delight, as well as Rob's)

Something Awful: #1 in the nation in Levi Johnston-related humor.

12. http://endhits.portlandmercury.com/archives/2008/09/15/around-the-world-with-the-moun (map of all the places mentioned in Mountain Goats songs)

This really isn't that amusing unless you're a huge Mountain Goats fan and spend a lot of time trying to track down rare recordings of songs they have performed maybe once. ("Going to Buffalo"!? Does anyone have this? Hello? Internets, are you listening? On the internet, no one can hear you scream. Well. On second thought, they might hear it, but they probably won't comment.)

11. http://elitish.com/?p=83 (The Top 5 Best and Worst Pitchfork Media Reviews)

As co-owner/operator of a listblog, I have to spend some time researching my colleagues/competition. And, as an ashamed-to-admit-it Pitchfork regular, this was a fun little trip down dorky-memory lane. (“Oh man… I do remember that Lifter Puller review. That was weird! This internet man agrees with me! I’m okay, he’s okay!”)

10. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_unusual_deaths

Highlights include the Burman king who laughed to death, the baseball player who swung his bat too hard, and the compulsive hoarder who was crushed under his collection of stuff.

9. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/20/us/politics/20biden.html?hp and http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/09/20/bidens-gunsmoke-moment/ (A pair of great Biden pieces)

You guys, I really like Joe Biden. Like, I like like him. I don’t believe in that whole “guy you can have a beer with” thing, but if Joey B wants to have a beer with me, I’m totally cool with it.

8. http://www.forbes.com/opinions/2008/09/14/sarah-palin-feminism-oped-cx_hm_0915mansfield.html?feed=rss_popstories (A really shitty Forbes piece that asks if feminism was necessary, based on Sarah Palin's success)

Aaaaaaah, this is so bad… this is so so bad. You know how much I like like Joe Biden? That’s how much I hate hate Harvey Mansfield. Wait, what are you saying, Harv? Sarah Palin is the VP candidate and Hillary Clinton is out of the race because Miss Alaska has the capacity to love and be loved and Hill doesn’t? I’m sorry, I just had a stroke. (Also, this quote: “You may be sure that I am not the first one to notice that feminist women are unerotic.” I just had another stroke. Two strokes is unhealthy for one day?)

7. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RIPZkNJS4-0 (Russian TV news report on the fall of Lehman Brothers) 

Surprisingly, this is the only Youtube entry on the list. Not the funniest video per se, until you realize that the first guy they interview is actually my friend Pitr and he’s telling the Russian media bald-faced lies. (PS: I had to google whether the correct usage is bald-faced or bold-faced. Either way, kudos to Pitr for pulling one over on the Ruskies!)

6. http://blog.wired.com/music/2008/09/could-stephen-c.html (Wired post on the recently announced Stephen Colbert Christmas special) 

In answer to the question posed by the headline: DUDES, NO! It’s going to be tee-riff! Just ‘cause Toby Keith is going to be part of the festivities, doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it, y’all. I mean… I mean… Elvis Costello, guys! Declan MacManus! The little hands of concrete! The King of America! (Those are all the same people, to clarify.) Well done to the commenters on this post... no need for Toby-bashing. It only takes away from the time you can spend celebrating the promised Stewart-Colbert duet!

5. http://www.theonion.com/content/news/epa_shuts_down_local_ghost

I don’t know if I’m out of line in saying this, but has The Onion been better than average lately? Obviously it had it’s hey-dey, but the past few years certainly fall under the heading of “lull” in my estimation. Perhaps it’s election-year intensity that’s got everyone firing on all cylinders. (Also, the Onion News Network material is fan-friggin’-tastic. Honestly, it’s secretly some of the best comedy online right now.)

4. http://movies.yahoo.com/movie/1809873025/trailer (Trailer for Synechdoche, New York

This film looks ballin’ as all get-out. Kaufman’s directorial debut is reportedly quite dark—and am I the only one who’s catching a 8 ½ vibe here? (Fun story: I was playing trivia tonight and the team I was grading scored 8.5 points in one of the rounds, so I wrote “Fellini’s” next to their score and put 8.5 in quotes. I am a HUGE douche—and now I’m telling you about it! Gosh! What is wrong!)

3. http://www.theonion.com/content/news/nascar_cancels_remainder_of_season

Very classy, The Onion. Not only is their sports-parody second-to-none, this was actually a truly heartfelt tribute to DFW, funny and poignant.

2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schmidt_Sting_Pain_Index

Someone needs to make Julian O. Schmidt the American poet laureate. Honestly, these descriptions of painful experiences elicited by insect stings are as beautiful as they are unhelpful! Can pain have an “aftertaste” or be “irreverent”? Will you ever find yourself in a doctor’s office saying, “Gee, doc… the pain is rich, hearty, and… slightly crunchy? Gosh, it’s almost like someone has mashed my hand in a revolving door!”—to which he will surely reply, “Well, buddy… looks like we’re dealing with a bald-faced hornet sting. (To which I will reply, “Are you sure it isn’t ‘bold-faced hornet’?”)

ALSO: How shitty has Dr. Schmidt’s life been that he can use fire-walking with a rusty nail in one’s heel or bubble-bath electrocution as frames of metaphorical reference?

1. http://blog.wired.com/music/2008/04/a-scientific-at.html (Wired post on a scientific attempt to create the world's most unwanted song)

Download this song immediately. Listen to it time after time after time. It is a breath-taking work of art. The final chorus is what I expect to hear playing as the world sinks into a lake of fire. (Yes, I just made a reference to Ragnarok—the Norse “Twilight of the Gods”. Yes, I expect to be around for Ragnarok. Yes, I am going to dwell on this for a while…)

Top 4 Reasons to Audition for the Varsity Show Creative Team

This is the most narrow-in-scope list I've ever done, but F it!

4. To be an integrally creative part of the oldest performing arts group at Columbia

Former creative team members include Rogers, Hammerstein, and Hart, screenwriter I.A.L Diamond, Thoroughly Modern Millie composer Jeanine Tesori, and writers for the TV shows Cosby, Murphy Brown, Friends, and The West Wing.

3. To challenge yourself to create something of this magnitude

This will almost certainly be the single project you have worked the most on in your life, and the time and professionalism will show.

2. Because the field is wide-open and you have a great chance to make your mark

There will be very few (if any) returning creative team members this year, which means 2-3 new writers, a new director, new composer(s)/lyricist(s), a new art director, a new choreographer, and new producer(s)!

1. Because it's really fucking fun

Most fun you can have at Columbia, swear to God.


Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Top 5 Songs About Hockey

I said I'd probably post about the Emmy's but I'm not going to. Way to go, 30 Rock... way to go, Tina and Alec... nice bit with Ricky Gervais demanding his Emmy back from Steve Carrell. All that being said, the Vikings won their first game of the season, the Twins are still in the AL Central hunt, and, most importantly, hockey pre-season starts this week. It is a good time to be a fan of sports or well-written situational comedy!

5. (tie) Hockey Hair – Atmosphere / Ice Hockey Hair – Super Furry Animals

Neither of these songs are that much about hockey, or hockey hair, to be perfectly frank. Then again, hockey doesn’t get a lot of name-checks, so you kind of have to take it where you can get it. Incidentally, you might be saying to yourself, “Wow, for a five item list, it’s pretty weird for your number five to be a totally unqualified inclusion.” Um… yeah. I don’t know what I’ve gotten myself into, folks. I like hockey and music and lists—you wanna make a federal case out of it, I friggin’ dare ya.

4. The Hockey Monkey – The Zambonis

This song is a pinnacle of absurdism. In fact, it is number four on my forthcoming list The Top 53 Pinnacles of Absurdism, just behind Waiting for Godot, The Myth of Sisyphus, and Cabin Fever. The plot is as follows: there is a hockey-loving simian in town. The monkey, beloved by many children, is a bit of a Pied Piper figure, and leads the kids down to the pond to partake in a game, much to the chagrin of parents, teachers, and local law enforcement officials. The monkey is either abnormally good at hockey or the kids are just very kind to animals because, as evidenced by the video, they apparently have quite a barnburner of a game, which ends in a 9-9 tie. To me, this is sheer brilliance.

3. The Hockey Song – Dr. Stompin’ Tom Connors

It is unclear what discipline Stompin’ Tom Connors received his doctorate—possibly music or hockey, but more likely for wearing a sweet hat. Despite this song’s status as the frozen equivalent of Take Me Out to Ballgame… (or a near approximation thereof, I mean, they don’t sing it at games or anything) it is worth noting that the chorus is a fine little tautology. I mean, if the good old hockey game is the best game you can name, I suppose the converse would certainly follow as a truth-statement. But hell, I’m not gonna rag on your rhyme scheme, Tom Connors. You, after all, are a doctor.

2. Fireworks – Tragically Hip

I stole this from something I wrote a long time ago about this song. It was too precise to not copy/paste… (translation: I am too lazy to not take an opportunity to be self-reflexive.)

“The relationship between sports and love is a funny one. Some guys keep their sporting lives separate from their romantic lives. For other guys, sports can be a great way to relate to the opposite sex. That line in this song—“You said you didn't give a fuck about hockey / And I never saw someone say that before”—it kills me every time. But the guy lets go of Bobby Orr so he can hold his girl’s hand.

On a side note, I definitely fall into the latter category of guys. Once I saw Mike Mussina take a perfect game into the 9th inning against the Red Sox. With two outs and a 1-2 count on Carl Everett (who doesn’t believe in dinosaurs), I called my then girlfriend and made her turn on the TV. Everett bloops the next pitch into center for a single and my dad just glares at me. What can I say? I was trying to share something I love with someone I loved. Sorry Moose.”

1. Hit Somebody (The Hockey Song) – Warren Zevon

Warren Zevon is criminally underrated. Like, to the point where I want to be a Batman-style vigilante and go around punishing the evil-doers who fail to rate Zevon’s genius as a lyricist/singer/human person. This is my favorite Warren Zevon song and it is an absolute gem. A perfect distillation of narrative into song. A passionately delivered epic, almost Greek in scope. A richly orchestrated tale of one man’s lifelong quest for the simplest of holy grails: one… damn… goal. With this song, Zevon soars out of the novelty box so many tried to fit him into and lands in the pantheon of high art. And amazingly, he takes a subject as potentially unrelatable as hockey (that whitest of white sports) and turns it into the most impeccable conceit for a good life well-earned. Buddy, our protagonist, trades the spotlight and salary of a superstar for the scars and sorrows of an enforcer, protecting his teammates and securing their success in the process. In the end, he pays the ultimate price for his fleeting taste of fulfillment. How fucking beautiful and epic is that!

The Top 13 Fictional Sports Teams

I'm probably gonna post again later tonight during the Emmy's--the list may or may not be about the Emmy's. Anyway, I'm watching like, five football games at once right now, so this one kind of came naturally.

A few thoughts: My legs hurt so much! Does anybody know what I can do about that? Also, last night, Caitlin and I both got home from separate parties around 2 AM and proceeded to watch ALL of the Comedy Central roast of Flavor Flav. It was magic and racist--not even tacitly racist! I never really bought it before, but Laksh is right: Katt Williams is a brilliant comedian. (Not even just for a former pimp!!!) Finally, what is the deal with the weather in NYC being so goddamn beautiful? Not even just for September! 

13. The Seattle Worst-Case-Scenarios (hockey)

12. The Tempe Fightin’ Conceits (basketball)

11. The Cleveland Inoffensively-titled Indigenous People(s?) (proud, strong stock-car racing)

10. The Manitoba Hockey Players (Canadian Football)

9. The Kalamazoo Claims Adjusters (curling… there must be curling teams, right?)

8. The Ocala Gray Panthers (senior league basketball)

7. The Duluth Gay Mafia (gay football)

6. The Scranton Strugglin’ Screenwriters (lacrosse)

5. The Rochester Evil Frenchman (Arena Football)

4. The Kansas City Awkward Silences (soccer)

3. The Bristol Palins (OMG ZINGZING!)

2. The Hartford Unreliable Narrators (football)

1. The Washington Post-9/11 Americans (Post 9/11 baseball)

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Top 6 Scenes from the Movie Cabin Fever

To my knowledge, not a lot of people have seen the movie Cabin Fever.  That's too bad, because Cabin Fever is friggin' great.  It's a horror movie with UTTER NONSENSE humor thrown in.  And by utter nonsense, I don't mean Family Guy-esque pop-culture-seizure "randomness," I mean really, seriously, nonsense.  Or even when the humor is coherent, it has nothing to do with the style of the rest of the movie  Basically, this movie rules and is amazing.  Here are the best scenes in it that I could find on YouTube.

6. Dr. Mambo

An awesome idea is to shout "OOH, FACED!" at people when you diss them.  I love this movie.

5. Racism!

The second part (which occurs at the end of the movie) is such a lame joke that it somehow increases the hilarity of the situation 5000%

4. This clip is actually gross and don't watch it

The part at the end with Dr. Mambo is fucking awesome though.

3. Hunting squirrels

Um, I love this movie.

2. Pancakes!

This is quite seriously the weirdest thing that has ever been in any movie ever. The biggest comedic gem of the whole thing is easy to miss the first time (hint: it's what the guy who gets bit shouts after it goes back into normal speed)

1. The End

I love this movie.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Top 5 Reasons I’m Glad I’m Out of College

5. My apartment doesn’t have an RA.

No one will ever knock on my door and say, “Hi… I know I’m a member of the same peer group as you and it’s frankly odd that I’m not partying with you right now, but could you possibly tone the noise and/or substance use down, because there are people on this floor who aren’t as cool as you and your friends.” That being said… we don’t throw a lot of parties anymore. Oh well.

4. Foreign people are, at best, just mildly sketchy other people.

…As opposed to in college, when being foreign meant you a) had an inherently gifted understanding of human nature, b) were probably some type of royalty, and at least owned some type of villa, c) operated on an elevated aesthetic plane, and finally, d) were God’s gift to sex.

3. I can get a drink at a bar or a meal at a restaurant without running into anyone I know.

It’s nice to meet someone who hasn’t already formulated opinion on you based on your comment in your Ignorance in Science seminar or that tacitly racist joke you made at an improv show, and vice versa. That being said, graduation means an end to campus celebrity. In real life, you’re either actually famous or you’re just not. Or you have a blog. (Or you compensate by having famous friends.)

2. I never, ever wake up in the middle of the night thinking, “Oh, frig—I have to write that paper!”

That being said, this doesn’t mean you won’t have stress dreams about papers you have due. Is it weird that I still have dreams about the last (three) papers of college? Oh man… that was a RIDICULOUS day. One paper on empathy for Soc Cog, one on hamster sex for Neurobio of Sex, and one on the cellular bases of memory formation… all in one day. And of course, all I could think was how apropos each paper was for that particular day. ZING!

1. Um… I dunno if y’all realize this, but the good times do not end at 21.

‘Nuff said! I have to finish this list ‘cause I got a party to go to!