Friday, July 31, 2009

Top 22 Under-the-Rader MLB Deadline Deals


Well, we here at PaRMLoT are all about bucking trends little by little, AKA, when I'm supposed to be finishing a chapter for work, I write lists about fake things that happened in baseball today (but not really).

Anyway, we've all heard that story about the baseball player who got traded for an expensive dinner or a handful of bats... well, guess what. THINGS LIKE THAT STILL HAPPEN. For instance, today--the date of the Major League Baseball trade deadline--the following trades happened:

22. Gary Matthews Jr. traded from the Angels to the Astros for a relatively sizeable hunk of cheese

21. Marco Scutaro traded from the Blue Jays to the Oriolies for four screws, a thumbtack, and a sheet of paper with a crudely drawn penis on it

20. Heath Bell traded from the Padres to the Mets for the Asian Jonathan Papelbon

19. Eddie Guardado traded from the Rangers to the Twins for some twine and a particularly sharp chicken bone

18. Stephen Drew traded from the D-Backs to the Mariners for the entire Internets

17. Rocco Baldelli traded from the Red Sox to the Braves for a DVD copy of Entrapment

16. Nick Johnson traded from the Nationals to the Rays for two DVD copies of Entrapment, plus a VHS of Youngblood

15. Huston Street traded from the Rockies to the Brewers for a sturdy 50 year-old oak

14. Boof Bonser traded from the Twins to the Dodgers for the farm, and all its residents

13. Ricky Nolasco traded from the Marlins to the Nationals for the philosophical idea of the Washington Nationals

12. Grant Balfour traded from the Rays to the Tigers for a potato alarm clock and Eva Mendes, who is a lizard

11. Khalil Greene traded from the Cardinals to the Yankees for the gay Jonathan Pabelbon

10. Vernon Wells traded from the Blue Jays to the Cubs for the island nation of Papau New Guinea

9. David Eckstein traded from the Padres to the Rangers for Jupiter’s moon Io

8. Fausto Carmona traded from the Indians to the D-Backs for the naming rights to the next Farrelly Brothers' comedy

7. Willy Aybar traded from the Rays to the Cardinals for the blind Jonathan Papelbon

6. Mark Teahen traded from the Royals to the Rockies for a handful of grapes and $150,000

5. Dennys Reyes traded from the Cardinals to the Rangers for a high plains drifter with nothing to lose but his past

4. Marlon Byrd traded from the Rangers to the Mariners for a can of wasabi peas and a “Kick me!” sign

3. Homer Bailey traded from the Reds to the Yankees for whatever the Native Americans sold Manhattan for

2. A.J. Pierzynski traded from the White Sox to the Indians for window-mounted AC unit and Jhonny Peralta

1. Jonathan Papelbon traded from the Red Sox to the Tigers for the female Jonathan Papelbon

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Top 10 Best Sitcom Episodes of the 2008-2009 Television Season

Well, I had meant to do this before the Emmy nominations were out, but now they are, so that ship has sorta sailed. I'm still offering my opinion, even when there is a much more respected one out there!

10. 30 Rock - "Kidney Now!"

I think I was more into this year's 30 Rock finale than most people--I thought it was far better than last year's finale, scattershot Emmy winner "Cooter." A lot of my enjoyment came fromm the fact that I'm a sucker for satirical points about the division between medium and message, which two of the three plotlines (1. a charity song to selfishly get one person a kidney and 2.a catchy but relationship-destroying catchphrase) dealt with.

9. Flight of the Conchords - "Prime Minister"

Of all the fun things in this episode--the guest starring roles of Art Garfunkel-obsessed Mary Lynn Rajskub and self-important Elton John impersonator Patton Oswalt to start, not to mention the cameo of Garfunkel himself--the one that pushes this episode into the sublime is the parody of Korean karaoke. The whole bit, sung by Bret, complete with both-languaged subtitles and marvelously weird stock footage, is the most consistently hilarious straight two minutes on TV since Alec Baldwin's therapy session last year on 30 Rock.

8. South Park - "The Ring"

I've knocked South Park before here, but man, when they get it right, they get it right. Calling out the Jonas Brothers' purity rings not for being lame but for being an elliptically dirty marketing trick--THAT is satire.

7. The Big Bang Theory - "The Bath Item Gift Hypothesis"

This is a show that started with a terribly lame pilot, but has grown into one of the best sitcoms on TV, centered on Jim Parsons playing an self-important Aspegian asexual (and getting an Emmy nom for it, huzzah!). I wouldn't pick this episode to start with (for that I'd recommend either the first season's "The Loobenfeld Decay" or this season's "The Vegas Renormalization") but once you've familiarized yourself with Parsons' character, his every move in this episode is gold.

6. How I Met Your Mother - "The Naked Man"

Television critics smarter than me have pointed out that at HIMYM's best, it often recalls Seinfeld's social-deconstruction-via-term-invention but with more heart, and this episode is a prime example of that, in what is almost certainly the show's best season to date.

5. 30 Rock - "Gavin Volure"

I was a lilttle underwhelmled by this episode at first, but I kept thinking about it and remembering lines from it, and when I watched it again and realized that it's exactly the groove that 30 Rock has settled into--in a good way. It's not as mind-blowingly surprising as, say, last year's "Secrets and Lies," but it's just an excellent and consistent half-hour of comedy, with jokes like, Steve Martin: "This is my expert on fine art and yelling," John MacEnroe: "Why isn't there any good art in this house!" that I can only describe as perfect.

4. How I Met Your Mother - "Intervention"

Maybe my favorite episode of HIMYM to date, this just has callbacks building on callbacks building to an earned climax--this is like great sitcom writing 101. And something as wacky as old-man makeup as a plotline could only be sold by Neil Patrick Harris.

3. 30 Rock - "Generalissimo"

As I indicated before, I don't think that 30 Rock quite had the highlights of its best episodes last season, but was overall more consistent. That was helped out by a pair of reliably good-quality romantic storylines, Baldwin with Selma Hayek and Fey with Jon Hamm (whose good looks and serious comedic chops make him my biggest man-crush in a long while). This stellar episode is kind of a stand-in for how the several episodes with those characters were for me--brought over the top by Baldwin playing his gay Mexican doppelganger.

2. The Office - "Broke"

Even more so than 30 Rock, this one is a stand-in for The Office's superb 6-episode storyline about the clash between Michael Scott and Charles, the stuffy suit played by Idris Elba. This whole season saw Michael Scott shouldering not only the comedic weight that he always had on the show, but also the dramatic weight--with a major love interest early on and a major professional conflict later. Together they made this season of The Office the best yet, though it was more about the consistency in arc from episode to episode than it was about individual 22-minute chunks. I elected this one the best (over other close calls like "Heavy Competition," which may have the best Office line of all time in, "The meatball parm is their worst sandwich!") in part because all of the wonderful subtle details about Michael that appear when this show is firing on all cylinders. The fact that he has been drinking milk and sugar--JUST milk and sugar--every morning for the past six years, is too perfect for words.

1. Better Off Ted - "Racial Sensitivity"

Well. I have waxed poetic about this episode already. Suffice to say I thought it was the best half-hour of TV this season. Watch it, already.

CAVEAT: I have yet to see more than the pilot of Party Down. Also, there are other shows that I didn't watch, but they're shows that for the most part I don't like.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Top 18 General Hospital Spinoffs

(...not including Port Charles.)

18. Typical Firehouse

17. Nonspecific Police Station

16. Regular Ol' Post Office

15. Conventional Airport

14. Everyday Cancer Treatment Facility

13. Humdrum Law Firm

12. Commonplace Commons

11. Normal Widget Factory

10. Ordinary Department of Sanitation

9. The Usual Supermarket

8. Vague Federal Building

7. Run-of-the-Mill Dental Practice

6. Just Your Average Bank

5. Literally Any Bus Depot

4. Your Basic After Work Hangout

3. What You'd Expect Of A Veterinary Clinic

2. Ill-defined Struggling Coffeeshop That Caters To Local Artists

1. Indistinguishable From Every Other Performing Arts High School

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Top 17 Things I Texted Rob While Watching "The Dark Knight" Tonight

Hi, all. Hi, dears. Hi, friends of the blog.

On Sunday nights, I like to kick back and relax while watching a fine, fine film. This tradition is known in Hell's Kitchen as "Sunday Night Movie", or SNM for short. (IT SOUNDS LIKE S&M, WHAAAAT!?!) Anyways, tonight, Caitlin and I were all, "Oh, hey, The Dark Knight... haven't watched you since, um, ever." AND WATCH IT WE DID!

But for me, watching a movie is a multimedia experience. As in, I was texting Rob the whole time. About a movie we've both seen. A lot.

1. 10:01pm
"Watching Dark Knight. Forgot how baller this movie is."

2. 10:09pm
"'D-did yer balls drop off!?' ...brilliant."

3. 10:33pm
"You have been cast as Commissioner Gordon in The Dark Knight."

4. 10:57pm
"Oh hi I am The Dark Knight I am so fuckin good."

5. 10:58pm
"I am the Batman!"

6. 11:05pm
"Oh shit you are not dead, you just arrested The Joker (cast as Jordy)..."

7. 11:09pm
"Dude the good cop bad cop shit is not gonna work on Jordy!!!"

8. 11:14pm
"Morgan Freeman (as played by Caitlin) is gonna hook me up with some sonar shit."

9. 11:16pm
"Jordy is wearing waaaaay too much makeup."

10. 11:20pm
"Oh fuuuuuck there goes half your face Aaron Eckhart! You didn't need it, to be fair... All you need is that chin dimple, the source of all your power."

11. 11:22pm
"Whoops Rachel (Dawes slash Leopold) is dead... Bad info! (I originally typed 'bad indo', lol...)"

12. 11:35pm
"Hospital fail!!!"

13. 11:43pm
"OMJerz don't blow up the (two) Staten Island Ferry(s)!"

14. 11:53pm
"Why does this movie keep being the best ever!?!"

15. 12:00am
"Rob, you thought we could be decent men in an indecent time! WRONG, BRO!"

16. 12:05am
"Not Deniro we deserved, but Deniro we needed... (Caitlin made that joke.)"

17. 12:07am
"Oh! The Dark Knight! THAT's the name of the show!"

Top 6 Lines of Criticism that I Find Stupid

Like most irritable, pretentious jerks, I read a pretty good amount of criticism--especially criticism of newly-released movies, books, and TV shows. Sometimes I find it enlightening, sometimes I find it engaging but disagree with it, and sometimes it makes me really, really angry. Mostly, it makes me angry when one of the following happens:

6. Defending something by saying, "You couldn't have done better."

Okay, this isn't something that any professional critics actually say, so I'm starting off with it. I don't know who came up with the ridiculous idea that you have to be good at something in order to recognize when it's terrible, but that person is terrible at coming up with critical ideas (and I'm no good either). Do you have to be Steven Speilberg to know that the movie Bride Wars is terrible? Do you even have to see the movie Bride Wars in order to know that Bride Wars is terrible? Or even better is extrapolating this to other things: can only the greatest rodeo clown tell you when a rodeo clown is terrible? Do you have to be an excellent prop comic in order to find this incredibly unfunny?

(P.S. If you are going to claim that there is no such thing as an excellent prop comic, you are wrong)

5. Praising a movie/show/book for "subverting convention"

There are times when "subverting convention" can be good--if a joke or situation is well set-up to resolve in a more realistic or different way than it frequently would in fiction. But I think it's often really much lazier to defy fictional convention for the sake of defying it--there's a reason that, say, the original ending of Clerks (with Dante getting shot for no reason) is unsatisfying and stupid, and it's the same reason why the two main characters HAVE to get together at the end of Eternal Sunshine, and that's the same reason why episodes of The Sarah Silverman Program feel pointlessly nihilistic at their end whereas How I Met Your Mother provides normalcy and relative closure. Convention, especially in structure, is there in the first place because it usually dictates good storytelling. Altering it doesn't mean you're doing something good, and it often means you're doing something bad.

4. Turning a critical essay into a showcase for the critic's own intelligence and humor

I'll admit, I do this sometimes. But I don't have any pretensions to being a real critical source, and the few things I've ever written with the intent of being a real, critical article (rather than something for yuks), I try to avoid self-indulgent jokery. The buzzword for this kind of stuff is "snark," and I would say that this excellent essay by Heidi Julavits is about the first and last thing that needs to be read on the subject.

3. Praising comedy as meaningful for its dramatic elements

This is one that REALLY gets me. There is some cultural value that we place on things only when they are dramatically weighty, and as a result, we get reviews for things like Superbad that say something like, "It's often hilarious, but what really makes Superbad a great movie is the friendship between the two main characters." I'm paraphrasing, but you get my point. Yes, Superbad is hilarious. Yes, it has an honest and positive depiction of male friendship. But why is it the latter that makes it great? Doesn't the latter serve the former rather than the other way around? Why do reviewers thing something is inherently meaningful when it tugs at their heartstrings but not when it makes them laugh?

2. Reviews where "judgment" is passed definitively, but only in the last sentence or two

The purpose of criticism should be to identify the audience that would enjoy a movie, let the members of that audience know that they would, and let those who wouldn't know that they wouldn't. That's easier said than done, but it's often not even attempted, especially with criticism written by non-professionals (read: students). I can't tell you how amateur reviews I've seen that consist of 1) three sentences of plot summary 2) one "thumbs up" or "thumbs down" sentence of passing judgment.

1. Criticizing a work for the possibility of it being misunderstood

Okay, this is the reason I wrote this list. I saw Bruno yesterday. It's great, well worth seeing, and I personally liked it a whole ton more than Borat for reasons that don't need to appear on this list. But while Googling criticism of it online, there was one anti-Bruno refrain that I found troubling: "What if the people watching and interacting with Bruno don't understand that the vast majority of gay people are nothing like that?"

This is, to me, a wholly worthless line of thought. Should Sacha Baron Cohen stop doing Bruno for fear that people might not get that it's an absurdly cartoony characterization? Should we include title cards that explain the "real" meaning of what someone is doing? Should we stop making any sort of art for fear that it might be misunderstood? If you can argue that Baron Cohen shouldn't have made Bruno because it might be fodder for homophobes, it's a slippery slope down to arguing that Saving Private Ryan shouldn't have been made because it could be seen as glorifying war, or that Huck Finn shouldn't have been written because it can be completely misread to be seen as endorsing racism. If Baron Cohen had stopped himself from creating something as intelligent, hilarious, daring, and deep as Bruno because he was worried about making bigoted people more bigoted, the world would've lost a great movie.

Friday, July 10, 2009

The Top 19 Things Your Dentist Won't Tell You

19. "I'm just not that great when it comes to incisors."

18. "Honestly, plaque doesn't bother me that much. I just like judging you."

17. "Floss is for little girl-men."

16. "Though I routinely sanitize my instruments, I myself have not been sanitized in years."

15. "I've won far more awards for my cat-juggling than my dentistry."

14. "I secretly take X-rays of my dental hygienists... because I get off on skeletons."

13. "Once, I cooked an egg in the autoclave."

12. "Once, I punched a chicken in the heart."

11. "You're going to die someday."

10. "I have this thing on my foot that just won't go away."

9. "I have killed far more men than mosquitos."

8. "My favorite song is 'Waiting for Tonight' by Jennifer Lopez."

7. "My office's toybox is full of garter snakes."

6. "I pull for the Toronto Blue Jays. In every sport."

5. "I am a world renowned scrapbooker."

4. "You know that song, 'Your Love'? Y'know... 'Josie's on vacation far away...' etc, etc. Yeah, I wrote that."

3. "I still use America Online."

2. "I invest all my money in Nuva rings and Pez."

1. "I sometimes confuse my wife's Nuva ring for Pez."

Sunday, July 5, 2009

The First 10 Things I Tweeted on Twitter

So, I have a job as of late, which keeps me quite busy. So busy, in fact, that I have taken up "microblogging," where I "tweet" "posts" 140 "characters" "at" "a" "time." That's right, I'm using twitter. Follow me!

As you can maybe guess from that name, my original idea was to have a Twitter account that was a fake spambot and make all of my "tweets" in some way about Viagra or meeting horny singles in your area or making money from home by posting links on Google. So before I quit that, here were my first few tweets:

1. hey there just thought i would let people know about some really great deals on name brand prescription drugs #iranelection

2. wasn't trying to spam there just letting those rebels know that i support their politics with rock bottom deals on viagra act now

3. michael jackson's heart stopped the way your heart will stop when you see how low our prices on levitra are #ripmichaeljackson

4. @aaroncarter7 love your work just letting you know you could be longer and stronger act now save $$$$ please her tonight

5. this shall be a twitter of news and politics and savings we pass on to you

6. just got back from going out and let me say our savings have just "gotten back" from being really good and now are really really good

7. @Viagra2Shop you are my arch-nemesis. my lex luthor. my waterloo. but god damn it if i don't love ya for it

8. proposed bill on climate changed passed the house but still no news on my proposed PILL on CLIMAX change act fast (you always do)

9. i'm not sure how much longer i'm going to be able to keep up this shitty premise for a twitter

10. if you who want to know what employed adult life is like it's like this: i just watched 20 minutes of how i met your mother bloopers

And so the experiment ended. But the experiment in LIFE and hashtags and character limits continues at

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Top 16 Tranny Movies

Guess what?! A dear friend-of-the-blog Jordy "Tranny" Lievers is in town! In honor of her visit, we've compiled a list of the best tranny movies that I made up just now at work. It should be noted... true friendship is the ability to repeatedly call someone a transsexual and genuinely mean it in the most kindhearted way possible.

16. When Harry Became Sally

15. No Country for Almost-Men

13. Boys Don't Cry... During Their Sex Change Operations

12. Strangers on a Tranny

11. Quick (Sex) Change

10. Tranny Given Sunday

9. Girl, Operated

8. Tran

7. About a Girl-Boy

6. Monster's Balls

5. Trannyformers

4. When a Man Loves a "Woman"

3. While You Were Sleeping... I Became a Dude

2. Man Girls

1. Transamerica