Thursday, April 30, 2009

Top 7 Reasons That the Original Tom Waits Version of 'Downtown Train' Is Better Than the Rod Stewart Cover

Better like this?

...Or better like this?
The right answer is the first one and here's why.

7. It's on Rain Dogs.
...and Rain Dogs is either the best or second-best Waits album of the 1980s. I know the classic critical opinion is that Rain Dogs is the dopest shit of the Reagan Era and I have nothing but love for it, but honestly, I kinda dig Franks Wild Years a tiny bit more. That being said, "Downtown Train" is a classic track on a classic record.

6. Authenticity, Pt. I.
Tom Waits IS a mad street poet, a junkie prophet, an alley-cat with a song to sing for the moon. Rod Stewart is a big blonde sex bomb. Don't get me wrong--Rod is one of England's national treasures. (OMFG, someone make THAT sequel RIGHT NOW! CALL NIC CAGE! National Treasure 3: The Treasure is Rod Stewart!!!) But there's just something off about him singing this urban paean of longing and loneliness.

5. It was originally released in 1985.
Hey! That's the year I was born! Nice! Rod Stewart's version was from 1989... when I was in Germany. So, ya know, guess I just wasn't around for it.

4. Authenticity, Pt. II.
"Downtown trains are full with all them Brooklyn girls"? What does Rod know about Brooklyn girls!? (What does ANYONE know about Brooklyn girls...)

3. It's more desperate and gritty.
The Waits version keeps its instrumentation true to its content. The Stewart version is all synthy and sheeny and jingly. It's still a great pop song, but it just can't compare to the gristle and grind of Waits. This isn't a song about a guy who gets the girl. He's never even actually talked to this girl. He's homeless and he sees her every night and he loves her and he will never have her. That's a beautiful story, right there. Rod Stewart gets to get the girl. Have you friggin' seen the video for "Hot Legs"? Trust me, he gets the girl. For this song to work, you need to believe that the singer doesn't get the girl. 

2. Not only is it a great song, it's a phenomenal video.

1. It's Tom Fucking Waits.
I mean, really.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Top 15 Songs With Long Titles on My Computer

The other night, I heard Tom and Caitlin discussing the current state of music while The Decemberists played on The Colbert Report. The general consensus was that Tom doesn't get music today and that musicians, The Decemberists especially, take themselves to seriously. I'm not entirely sure I agree, but I see where they're coming from. (I think it takes a certain amount of self-awareness and goofiness to write a folk-rock-opera, especially one about rakes and drowning and queens and... whatever the fuck The Hazards of Love is about. That being said, I dunno if we really needed a folk-rock-opera.) 

Anyway, I think a good sign of a band taking themselves too seriously is the length of its song titles. But they could also just being having a good time... who knows, really. I don't, but that's not going to stop me from continuing to write this list.

(The opposite of really long song titles is rap skits. Oh man, the minute you record a rap skit, you are basically saying to the world, "Listen. We're only in it for the goofs." Like, "Where Are My Panties?" on Speakerboxxx/The Love Below. Good call on that one, Laksh.)

15. "You Are A Runner And I Am My Father's Son" - Wolf Parade

I have no way of evaluating the truth of this statement, but the boys in Wolf Parade are Canadian, and that’s as good as trustworthy. (They are Canadian, right? Did I make that up? “Oh, Peter… he thinks everyone is Canadaian.”)

14. "Up on Your Leopard, Upon the End of Your Feral Days" - Sunset Rubdown

You can make your own Sunset Rubdown song. It’s really easy. Just come up with a balls-to-the-wall ridiculous statement about another person, with a hint of nature-themed mysticism to boot. (For instance, “You Painted My Woods With Sunfire, I Cried ‘Nay!’”) Great, there is your title. Now, just drone anxiously and yelp for five or six minutes about childhood and wolves and maidens or whatever, and you are basically there.

13. "Oh God, Where Are You Now? (In Pickeral Lake? Pigeon? Marquette? Mackinaw?)" - Sufjan Stevens

Several of these are longer via the addition of parentheticals. (That is kind of cheating, but whatevs.) There were also a bunch more Sufjan songs with long titles, but I figured it would be overkill. Hey, by the way, it’s almost getting to be time for us to say, “Remember Sufjan Stevens?”!

12. "Final Countdown Of The Collision Between Us And The Damned" - Public Enemy

Really just a 49-second loop of beats and bleeps. And I guess at the end we collide with the damned? That part is less clear.

11. "I'm Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How To Dance With You" - Black Kids

Oh, Black Kids. If only you had like, two other songs that I liked.

10. "Listening to Otis Redding At Home During Christmas" - Okkervil River

It would be kinda funny to start an Okkervil River tribute band called like, Overkill Revir. Oh god, if I ever do that, just… beat me with a book or something.

9. "Nothing In This World Can Stop Me Worryin' Bout That Girl" - The Kinks

As featured in Rushmore! Man, how good were The Kinks. I mean, yeah, “You Really Got Me” and “Lola”, sure, fine. But those boys could range it from straight-up, boogie-down garage rock (the aforementioned) to giggly goof-ass college boy stuff (“A Well Respected Man”) to emo/indie bedrock (“Strangers”, “This Time Tomorrow”).

8. "Excuse Me While I Break My Own Heart Tonight" - Whiskeytown

You’re excused, Ryan Adams!

7. "Pigs That Ran Straightaway Into the Water, Triumph Of" - The Mountain Goats

The refrain of this song is “I come from Chino, where the asphalt sprouts!” so I always imagine that it is being sung by Ryan Atwood of The O.C. …I’ve said too much. 

6. "Thank You Mario But Our Princess Is In Another Castle" - The Mountain Goats & Kaki King

Hey! Cool! Another Mountain Goats song. And one is about video games, no less.

5. "Stuck Inside of Mobile With the Memphis Blues Again" - Bob Dylan

Note: Back in the 60s, this sort of predicament was cool to joke about, now it’s a DSM-IV recognized psychological disorder. 

4. "(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love, and Understanding" - Elvis Costello & The Attractions

Oh, hello, my karaoke song. Don’t believe me?! FEAST YOUR EYES! (Thanks for the video, Lauren.)

3. "Christmas Card From a Hooker in Minneapolis" - Tom Waits

This is maybe not so long of a title, actually, but… I mean… goddamn. That is a title. It’s got stuff we can ALL agree on as a family—Christmas, Minnesota, and prostitution. NICE.

2. "Rocket Man (I Think It's Going to be a Long, Long Time)" - Elton John

As previously mentioned, this was my favorite song for a little while when I was a little guy. (Maybe five or six or so.) Despite my early introduction to metaphors, it took me a super-long time to get that this was about the horrors of fame, not the horrors of space travel. Not gonna lie… I kinda like it better my way.

1. "This Is How You Spell 'HAHAHA, We Destroyed the Hopes and Dreams of a Generation of Faux-Romantics'" - Los Campesinos!

WHAT! That’s not a title, that’s a bowl of word salad. Los Campesinos!, you are on warning. (I kid, I kid… I like you guys. I’m still really sorry you didn’t make our Top 15 Albums of 2008 list—even after you basically wrote our theme song, “My Year in Lists”!)

3 Eloquent Defenses of Laugh Tracks on the Blogs of Television Writers/Critics

While I was wasting a little time in between writing my paper, I found these today.  I thought they all had something interesting and worthwhile to say, especially as I have often personally defended the laugh track as having its place and time and enhancing a show that is well-built with it in mind.  Maybe some time I will share my own thoughts on the laugh track/studio audience laughter issue in full.  Until then, THESE:

A pretty full-throated endorsement of laugh tracks for single-camera comedies.  Not sure if I fully agree, but interseting.

Probably more negative than positive in this one, but it contains an good defense of the laugh track's use in certain situations.

The best of these, though it's more about studio audience laughter than laugh tracks per se.  That's probably good, since very few people (other than #3 above) I know of actually think that canned laughter in single-camera sitcoms should come back.  So the point about taped-live shows is more interesting to argue.  Also, might I add that this blog, written by a former writer for Taxi among other shows (but it's Taxi that I care about because I LOVE TAXI) is absolutely delightful in general.  I'm going to subscribe to it in Google Reader right NOW.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Top 9 Videos From the Wisest Man On the Internets

A few days ago, Rob changed my life. He introduced me to "edarem". Edarem is the username of some sort of demon-wizard-sage-prophet living in a basement somewhere, sending out truths into the ether via his computer. Also, it should be noted that Michael Marlin was responsible for letting Rob know about this guy in the first place. (OBVIOUSLY.)



It is too late. Nothing can prepare you.

9. "You Always Hurt the One You Love"

I'm gonna level with you. I used to listen to this song a LOT as a kid. And by kid, I mean, where the hell is my Spike Jonze CD.

8. "Don't Throw Those Mini Blinds Away!"

This is your regular, run-of-the-mill cowboy-song-lip-synching, until he starts playing the old "How much plastic can I stick between my teeth?" game.

7. "NUCLEAR - How To Pronounce It"

Notably, this is the only video he made wearing that ridiculous wig.

6. "The Way Some People Talk..."


5. "Walker, Texas Ranger"

I bet he knitted that shirt.

4. "Backscratcher"

The twisted, bizarre, possibly nude side of edarem!

3. "English - A Very Difficult Language"

This man takes even the most tried-and-true, wakka-wakka observations and crafts them into poetry.

2. "Scrubs Theme Music"

Hehehe... he's so full of talent! It's not easy to get that second "I'm no Superman!" He's RIGHT, dammit!

1. "I Just Love 30 Rock"

This is the first one Rob showed me. It is purebred crystallized mad-genius, forged in the molten core of the sun, and slicked with the dew of the New Age's dawn. I watch this like, five times a day.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Top 12 Things To Do To Ruin 4/20

Today was April 20th, also known as 4/20. 4/20 was Hitler’s birthday, and now, it’s National Smoke Weed Day. This is an extreme case of correlation not equaling causation.

Not that I have any qualms with the day or anything, just because I enjoy being contrary…

12. Walk into one of the headshops down in the Village, and ring out in a sing-songy voice, “Helloooooo, is there any chance you happen to be selling any a-WEEEEED?!”

11. Rent every damn Sean Penn movie except for Fast Times at Ridgemont High.

10. Bike around with a boombox blaring “Truckin’” on repeat, and if anyone says anything to you, scream “NAH MAN, I’M STRAIGHT-EDGE!”

9. Insist that since possession is 9/10ths of the law, the real day of celebration should be September 10th.

8. Invent a new sport: Frisbee skeet!

7. Go to White Castle and order a salad.

6. Send out the email reprinted in this blog post.

5. Watch Little Shop of Horrors, The Day of the Triffids, or The Ruinsreally any movie with evil plants in it.

4. Actually, watching The Ruins will ruin just about any day.

3. Oh shit, that last pun was TOTALLY unintentional.

2. Write a list that devolves into unintentional puns.

1. Actually get arrested for marijuana drug possession.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

54 "Band Interests" of Asher Roth, According to his Facebook Page

Dear The World,

If you haven't heard of Asher Roth yet, please prepare to meet the worst human being alive.  Are you mentally ready yet?  Okay, here he is: no embedding, so click here.

I have some difficulties expressing exactly what disgusts me so wholly about Asher Roth, though I will attempt in a future post.  Until then, please enjoy this vomit-inducing list of Asher's "band interests" on Facebook.  I'm fairly certain that this is actually just a list of everything he has ever heard of.

1. happiness
2. health
3. 70 and sunny
4. good weed
5. good people
6. mario 3
7. water
8. breathing
9. walks
10. naps
11. starting chants
12. rock paper scissors
13. seeing
14. doing
15. making up words
16. people watching
17. dreaming
18. psychoanalysis
19. space
20. gambling
21. 4 am
22. battle dances
23. watching people hurt themselves
24. scares
25. teleporting
26. not paying attention
27. coincidences
28. pick up lines
29. hiding the fact that I'm a rapper
30. 11:11
31. trying to meditate
32. green tea
33. soft boiled eggs
34. making out
35. booty
36. cleavage
37. intelligent conversations
38. dares
39. patron shots
40. jack and ginger
41. singles up the middle
42. not washing jeans for months
43. 3 move checkmate
44. manipulation/mind control
45. turkey salsalito
46. mtv jams
47. ehonda's 100 hand slap
48. cloning
49. lunar/solar eclipses
50. prank calls
51. ruining pictures
52. smoothies
53. making vulgar rap songs
54. breakfast

The existence of 35-37 alone, whether or not it was intentionally ironic, should be enough to legally put this man to death.  Also, everything else.  Though I admit that I agree with 23 if that "people" is Asher Roth, and he hurts himself in a way that horribly disfigures him forever.  No thanks to Lauren Glover, who discovered this abomination of a found art trainwreck.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Top 9 Childhood Influences

I could, and therefore, probably will do another one of these that only covers sports-related influences. By the way, please continue to pardon our tardiness with the listing. Rob is like, graduating, and I am like, lazy.

Murder By Death
Oh gosh, I watched this constantly as a kid... didn't get half the references or the dirty jokes, didn't recognize a single person in the once-in-a-lifetime cast, but it flat-out killed me. Neil Simon is just a brilliant, brilliant guy, ya know? And casting Peter Sellers as a Charlie Chan parody? If that isn't an inspired bit of genius, I don't know what is.

8. Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young
I think these guys might actually have been the inspiration for writing this list in the first place. Last week, I started listening to their first few albums on repeat, basically... just out of the blue. All these memories flooded back--me in my living room, listening to my dad's vinyl copy of Deja Vu, my parents harmonizing on "Teach Your Children", getting the twenty-five-years-too-late gossip about Judy Collins and Stephen Stills. I could listen to "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes" a million times and never get sick of it. (Fun fact: in high school, Matt and I wrote a movie and a key plot point was one of the characters listening to "Love the One You're With" thirty seven times on repeat. Anyway.) That was kind of how I learned about love, as a kid. You fall for someone, you write a song. They break your heart, you write another. It just makes sense. Mr. Stills says it even better: "There are three things men can do with women: love them, suffer for them, or turn them into literature. I've had my share of success and failure at all three." God, I hope I say something like that some day.

7. Dr. Doolittle
There was a period of my life--it may have been a year or so--where I watched this every day. I actually don't remember a lot about it, to be totally honest, but at the time, I was convinced that Rex Harrison was a god. HE COULD TALK TO THE ANIMALS. (I had not yet fully grasped fiction.) The last act of that movie is the most ridiculous, drug-infused explosion of madness, by the way... friggin' huge snails?! An islander dude named William Shakespeare X?! A MOTH THAT FLIES BETWEEN THE EARTH AND THE MOON?! This was my childhood.

6. Elton John's Honky Chateau
This was the main casette in rotation in our car's tapedeck. Every song on it is perfect. I had "Rocket Man" memorized by the age of four or so. I fell in love with a girl named Amy in kindergarten, so "Amy" became my favorite song for like, a day. We had a cat named Honky, so "Honky Cat" was a big hit with me. For some reason, I loved "I Think I'm Gonna Kill Myself", too... which distressed my parents to no end. And John's delivery of the word 'shackles' in "Slave" always got me really psyched. The standout track is probably "Mona Lisas and Madhatters" though, which I rediscovered when it showed up in Almost Famous, and again when I moved to New York for college.

5. The Adventures of Robin Hood
I've already gone off on my love for this film a few times, most recently here... suffice to say, this is where I learned what heroism looks like. (Heroism looks like Errol Flynn throwing a dead deer onto the king's banquet table, incidentally.)

4. A Prairie Home Companion
I can't count the times that Garrison Keillor's voice was the last thing I heard before falling asleep. Okay, that sounded intensely creepy. Um, anyway... best living American story-teller? Maybe?

3. Into the Woods
Okay, so, I know I don't mention this a lot, but I'm kind of a musical theater person. And Into the Woods is why. I mean, for my money, there isn't a better musical out there. There also aren't many better examinations of parent-child relationships or morality or the concept of story or the idea of what consitutes a happy ending... I could keep going. The only thing that kills me is that I never got to play the Baker. (I played the goddamn Steward, just in case you're wondering. Don't. Get. Me. Started. This concludes the gayest rant on PaRMLoT.)

2. Bob Dylan's Blood on the Tracks
So whether this album is ALL about Sara or TOTALLY inspired by the short stories of Anton Chekov, this album takes that artist-plus-artist's-beloved-equals-art equation and runs with it to friggin' Mexico. (Not that it has a Latin vibe, or anything.) I remember one summer, after my high school girlfriend and I set a date for our break-up... I was working maintenance at my dad's college and she was running the new student orientation. I spent all day driving around in a truck, listening to this. My buddy Trey tried to steal it from me, I think, so I could move on... both to another album and to another girl, I guess. Sometimes you just have to listen to Blood on the Tracks over and over and over until you get it, though.

1. Cat's Cradle
Hands down, not-even-close, best book ever written. Changed me for good, and continues to change me every time I read it. When Laksh bought me a new copy for Valentine's, I was like, "This girl is golden." There is simply no other document that explores the interplay of science, religion, and humanity than this novel. And my dad gave it to me to read when I was eight.

Thanks, dad.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Top 5 Links Rami Has Forwarded Me In The Past Few Days

Caitlin is watching that Chrismukkah episode of The O.C. where Seth buys the same gift-package for Summer and Anna. I am about to fall asleep while hugging my football. (2009 schedules released today! The Vikes are second-from-the-bottom in terms of strength of schedule... of course, that's skewed by the Lions.) Anyway, friend-of-the-blog Rami has been a bad-ass link-machine in the past few days.

Kick it!

There is NOTHING intuitive about this combination, but somehow it works. It's like if someone was like, "What if Kurosawa made The Mighty Ducks! What if Billy Wilder directed Can't Hardly Wait! What if Jaws was a documentary shot in real time?" (Attn: Frank, those are your next three projects.)

I'd rather see this than the current Broadway incarnation, frankly. (Attn: Frank, weren't we supposed to see that?)

If I could turn back time, I'd put this on my Top 8 Paul Rudd Roles list. (Attn: Frank, also Brian Fantana. I'd put that on too.)

I had a roommate in college. We'll call him Shmars. Long story short, he did this. Once, he had a friend visiting. She was from, oh, let's say, Shmaustralia. Anyway, Shmars was with another sheila that night, so his friend needed a room. I, being a shmentleman, let her crash in my bed and I slept on the common room couch. That night, as I pulled cowboy hat (don't ask) tight over my face to drown out the world/the pain, I heard Shmars playing the opening chords of 'Wonderwall' and croon-deucing that sheila. The world is too much with us. (Attn: Frank, remember that?)

This is just gold. (Attn: Frank?)

Friday, April 10, 2009

Top 7 Reasons to Watch Better Off Ted on ABC

First off, I would like to take a moment and give Peter and me the sole credit for How I Met Your Mother having a banner year ratings-wise.  I'm willing to say that the show's increased viewership this year is mostly related to our constant plugs.  (The show has also been fantastic writing-wise this year, something for which we can take less credit.)  However, HIMYM no longer really needs your support to ensure its survival--it's been renewed for at least two more seasons.  But I DO need you to watch Better off Ted, an ABC sitcom about the research and development firm at a large, slightly evil corporation.  Here's why:

7. Portia di Rossi is fantastic

Almost the entire main cast of Arrested Development have gotten quite a career bump from the canceled series--the show made a star out of Michael Cera and re-made a star out of Jason Bateman, as well as bringing a lot more light to people like David Cross and Jeffery Tambor who had been quietly having already fantastic careers.  But it never seemed to me like di Rossi had gotten the Arrested bump into another great role, until now.  She's the highlight of the show as the titular Ted's boss, Veronica, played with some of the same energy as Lindsay Bluth but directed in a much colder, more megalomaniacal way.  In some ways, she's a female Jack Donaghy, but she's both less human and more prone to error than him.  Check out this great bit of dialogue:

Ted: I have to watch Rose [Ted's daughter].
Veronica: I can wash Rose.
Ted: I said watch her, not wash her.
Veronica: Hmm.  Even easier.
Ted: The fact that you thought I was going to go wash Rose right now makes me thing that you may not know much about children.
Veronica: I know they need to be cleaned.

That sums up di Rossi's character very well, to me.

6. Speaking of which, that dialogue

A lot of shows and movies attempt and fail to get that kind of fast, banter-y funny style of dialogue down, and it often either comes off as overly smart and not actually funny (I'm looking at you, Diablo Cody) or like it's just about subjects too dumb for anyone to ever talk banter-y about.  But Better off Ted does it and succeeds, mostly because it has real jokes:

Ted: We may have created a monster in the lab.
Veronica: It's not a monster, it's a cyborg that can kill without remorse.
Ted: I was talking about Phil.  What were you talking about?
Veronica: I was...also talking about Phil.  (beat)  It's classified. (beat) But it's going to be a fantastic new tool if we can get it to tell the difference between soldiers and children.

Shit yes.  That is just straight funny.

5. Research and development is a great area for a comedy

I can't believe that I haven't seen a comedy deal with this before, because the possibilities for plotlines are seriously endless.  A company that makes new things can always make something new to have a conflict around.  A short list of things that the company has made/done so far (mini-list!)

1. weaponized a pumpkin
2. created ascratchy material for chairs to make employees uncomfortable and more productive
3. cryogenically frozen one of their scientists, just to see what would happen
4. grown beef outside of a cow
5. installed new towel dispensers that only dispence about an inch of towel when prompted
6. installed new motion-sensors that don't sense black people (more on that...NOW)

4. In the most recent episode, "Racial Sensitivity," the company INSTALLED NEW MOTION-SENSORS THAT DON'T SENSE BLACK PEOPLE

I can't stress how much I want to high-five the person who thought of this brilliant concept and the brilliant developments that ensue--first, the company attempts to make amends by creating separate, manually operated "blacks only" versions of everything run by motion-sensors (which is just about everything in the building, including DRINKING FOUNTAINS).  Then, the company decides to hire white people to shadow the black people and set off the sensors for them--a really wonderfully underplayed white slavery joke.  THEN, the company realizes that they'll get prosecuted for racist policies if they only hire white people for this shadowing job, so they have to a black person and a white person to shadow the black person, then another black person and another white person to shadow THAT black person, ad infinitum!

There's little more in the world that I like than a joke that goes to infinite regression.

And there's also little more that I like than a good race joke that doesn't trade in stereotypes OR people's misconceptions of stereotypes.

3. The scientists' lab is a meatbone science-lab

Okay, maybe this is the real reason I like the show.  The portrayal of an R&D lab doesn't even pretend to be realistic, but is rather like a live-action version of a cartoon science lab.  Which is AWESOME.  Beakers of green liquid bubbling everywhere, droppers used for everything, two of the main characters frequently described as "lab partners"--man, I cannot get enough of that.

2. The show gets good REALLY fast

I'll be honest, Better off Ted has a mediocre pilot.  But almost every sitcom ever has a mediocre pilot--it's just something really hard to do quite right.  (Arrested Development and the British The Thick of It are just about the only two pilots I would describe as great.)  So let's go by how long it took other currently-great shows to get great.  The US Office took around ten episodes (until "The Fire"), 30 Rock took eight (until "The Break-Up"), How I Met Your Mother took six ("Slutty Pumpkin"), but Better off Ted took four.  Or, if you're feeling generous, I'd even listen to an argument that it took only two--the second episode, "Heroes," is extremely strong.

1. The show doesn't have great ratings right now, spread the word and KEEP IT ALIVE!

This show has a fresh voice, its own style, and tons of potential, which it's already delivered on in 3 of its 4 episodes.  This show must be kept alive, because it is good television.  WATCH IT.  Do it for me if not for yourself, and you will end up doing it for yourself.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Top 16 GChat Profile Photo Types (and What They Say About You!)

16. You with your hot friends
You’re probably pretty normal, and also pretty pretty.

15. You with your ugly friends
You know what you’re doing… you know exactly what you’re doing.

14. You as a baby
You had a great childhood! Too bad things have gone downhill…

13. A different baby
Your childhood was fine, but more importantly, you steal babies!

12. You, “Yes We Can” poster style
You supported Barack Obama last November and are therefore 1/1,000,000,000th president.

11. A landscape
You love nature... and are maybe a little insecure? It's okay! We here at PaRMLoT love you, at least.

10. You drinking
You are the coolest person on the internets and can always be counted on to be having fun at any given instant, ever. Also, your liver is the size of a friggin’ suitcase.

9. A cartoon character
You are the second coolest person on the internets and can usually be counted upon to be patrolling the seas on a giant seahorse at any given instant, ever.

8. A picture of yourself taken by you, digital camera
You have no friends.

7. A picture of yourself taken by you, laptop
You have no friends or arms.

6. You slightly out of frame
You’re always on the move! Watch out, Governor! I’m comin’ up behind you!

5. You mostly out of frame
You are positively hideous.

4. A cute, little animal
You have never once murdered an animal. (Possibly because you are one.)

3. You, kinda blurry
You cannot be photographed! The result would be too perfect, too beautiful… it would burn the eyes and soul of anyone who looked upon it! Your visage is the samizdat!

2. You, glamour shot

1. No picture
You’re normal.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Top 6 Best Butcherings of the National Anthem

This is one of my new favorite things to search for on YouTube.  Enjoy the fruits of my labors:

6. Pretty standard-issue bad, until 2:10, then the rest is amazing

5. American Idol is uniquely good at finding the worst people at everything...INCLUDING THEIR WINNERS!! ZING!!!

4. Roseanne.  Just...Roseanne

3. This one's funnier for what happens than it is a truly heinous piece of singing...but it's still great

2. Within fifty years, this National Anthem will have somehow started an entire artistic movement (sorry about the jump cuts)

1. But the best of all is Carl Lewis.  Two clips, because neither of them contain the entire thing:

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Top 2 Things That Are Borderline Unforgivable

2. The Minnesota Twins did not win their season opener against the Seattle Mariners.

You guys better win tonight or I am taking over the team like that kid in Little Big League. There will be a reckoning! No one is safe! Not even you, Nicky Punto! Now, slide into first base head-first! Again! Again! Who do you play for! Again! Again!

1. I put up a "Happy Birthday, Paul Rudd" list, but not a "Happy Birthday, Mom" list?!

You guys, this was just bad, bad form. You may recall that yesterday, April 6th, I posted a list chronicling the eight best roles Paul Rudd has played, in honor of his 40th birthday. Well, where the hell was I on March 28th, and where was the tribute list to my dear mother? (Note: I'm not "just now bringing this up" 'cause my dad told me to or anything like that. It dawned on me this morning and I felt totes bummed, so I had to do something about it. In fact, DAD, where was the "How dare you not tribute your mom in list fashion!" email?! Diffusion of responsibility!) Anyway, here are the Top 8 Roles My Mom Has Played:

8) Department chair
7) First soprano (not like, first ever, but still!)
6) First librarian in space (that was a first)
5) Also the second librarian in space
4) "Melissa" in A.R. Gurney's Love Letters
3) Wife
2) Mother
1) Third librarian in space

I love you, Mom!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Top 8 Things Paul Rudd Has Ever Done (AKA, Happy Birthday Paul Rudd!)

Attention, the Internet. (Especially you, Parmlotters!) Paul Rudd--noted man among men and PaRMLoT hero--is 40 years young today. Because I am the kind of guy who can admit to a healthy, non-threatening, "I bet that famous guy would totally get me" mancrush, I present you eight of my favorite Paul Rudd roles. (Sorry Anchorman fans, I left off Brian Fantana because Rob doesn't like that movie and mentioning it in a positive light would probably incur a Merkin Muffley Exclusion level cataclysm.)

Oh, also... baseball is here! (Just in time for the Twins to lose their opener to the Mariners. Goddammit. Is Seattle even a city? Whatever. 161 and 1 is not SUCH a bad record.)

8. "Nick Carraway" in The Great Gatsby

Hear me the frig out, America. This is not a good Gatsby adaptation. I will grant you that up front, no money down. But Rudd gets Nick, he gets him in a very quiet, honest way—he’s subtle without being a cipher, a little lost without being emo.

7. "Peter" in I Love You, Man

Mostly for this quote in a recent Times article: “Mr. Rudd, who sees a little of himself in Peter, said he happily occupied a middle ground between macho and metrosexual. ‘I can talk about sports and stuff,” he said. “But I have a season pass for ‘Antiques Roadshow’ on my TiVo. And I can talk to you about all the seasons of ‘Project Runway’ and do it without any shame.’” 

6. "David" in The 40 Year-Old Virgin

I like watching people meltdown on screen… it’s not a sadistic thing, I just love the moment when the meltdown ends and the redemption starts. This character is one of the most desperate takes on hopeless romanticism and it’s start-to-finish gold. 

5. "Jack" in The Oh in Ohio

Have you seen this movie!? You should. I pumped for it back in ‘05, mainly because of the cast—Rudd, Parker Posey, Danny DeVito, Keith David—and then when I sat down to watch it, I was all, “Aw man, this is a ladies movie about lady parts.” But then Paul Rudd and his beard show up and it is ON. This is a guy at his cynical, beard-wearing, brown-bag-drinking, Mischa-Barton-screwing best. (Well, that last bit is gross, to be fair.)

4. "Adam" in The Shape of Things

This is a crazy-good play and if nothing else, it filled me with the unshakable fear that I would one day be betrayed by an artist. I suppose it happens to everybody in one way or another, but… oh man, in this one... I felt for you, buddy.

3. "Josh" in Clueless

Aw man, remember when no one knew who Paul Rudd was? Those were the days. Clinton was in the White House, Counting Crows was on the radio, and we all cheered the coming Robotocalypse as Deep Blue beat Gary Kasparov at chess. 

2. "Andy" in Wet Hot American Summer

This is when I full-on realized the genius of Rudd. (This is also when I full-on realized how cool denim jackets look.) Andy is simply one of the most lovable assholes ever captured on film, an absolute testament to how much fun it is to watch this guy work. He spits “Fuck you, dyke!” at his semi-girlfriend one second, lets a kid drown the next, and tops it all off by throwing another out a moving van… and you still want to hang with him.

1. "Pete" in Knocked Up

Every once in a while, I go off on a thing about how Paul Rudd legitimately deserved a nomination for this role. You don’t want to be around when this hurricane starts a-blowing. Dude was the heart and soul of this film—the angry, snarkier than thou, hey-check-out-my-baller-Tom-Waits-tee-shirt heart and soul. That scene in the playground with the bubbles, where he says that his children’s smiling faces remind him how he can’t manage to find happiness in his life… killer. And that’s totally his actual Tom Waits tee. I bet that guy has some of the best tee shirts in the world. (Not the best, though. The best tee shirt in the world, of course, is Laksh’s Bon Jovi shirt from some tour back in the 80s. It’s just his face with like, crazy hair and ice-blue-fire eyes. It is the coolest thing imaginable.)