Saturday, August 23, 2008

Top 5 Kitchen Tools or Appliances

Dan's Top 5:

We needed another off-the-wall list, I think.

1. Can Opener - Let's face it. If you've been hoarding food for the zombie apocalypse and you don't have a can opener, you're royally fucked. Canning is one of the best ways to preserve food, but pretty final if you don't have the means to open the can again. How are you going to eat those Spaghetti-O's if all you have is a screwdriver? Pretty ironic tool to have, since you'd be screwed at that point.

2. Toaster (or Toaster Oven) - I don't really care one way or another if I have a toaster or a toaster oven, because both accomplish the exact same thing: they get my Pop-Tarts warm. Sure, you could pop these in the microwave, but have you ever done that? Pop-Tarts suck if you nuke them. I keep telling myself I'll use the toaster oven for something else, like toasting bread, but first I'll have to load it with strawberry jam, frosting, and sprinkles.

3. Refrigerator/Freezer - Now, the refrigerator is a great appliance, sure. But sometimes you forget what's in there and have to open the door and decide what it is you want to snack on. In my house, the permissibility of this act was a few notches above performing satanic rituals. For a long time I actually did believe that it was possible to let all of the "cold" out of the refrigerator. Now I'm much wiser, and I've finally decided to have an ice cream sandwich.

4. Microwave - I assume this would rank a lot higher on most people's lists, but let's be honest... how often are you truly satisfied with the microwave's results? Everything that you decide to microwave suddenly "tastes microwaved." Also, employs a technology that has the potential to wreak havoc on a city's water supply (see Batman Begins).

5. Electric Mixer - have you ever tried mixing cake mix or cookie dough by hand using a spoon? If you haven't, let me fill you in - it can become a form of self-torture if you're working with something that's thick enough. A lot of whatever you're mixing does tend to get stuck to the beaters, though licking it off tends to be pretty damn good.

Honorable mention: Dishwasher (overrated), Whisk.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Top 5 Songs About Jail/Prison

Tim's Top 5:

I don’t listen to much country music at all, which really limits the opportunity to hear jail-related songs that aren’t from Dr. Dre. Given that limitation, I really like the list that I have here, though I give you liberty to interpret it broadly to include any sort of police custody or punitive conduct by the state.

1) Care of Cell 44 – The Zombies – The opening track from the seminal and all-too-good album Odessey and Oracle [sic], it’s easily the bounciest and cheeriest song you’ll hear about a prison stay.

2) Folsom Prison Blues – Johnny Cash - It’s hard not to put this at #1, but it’s really just too obvious.

3) Mama Tried – Merle Haggard (by way of The Old 97’s) - This is quintessential country storytelling. If there’s a better lesson to be had for parents that 1) their children’s acts aren’t necessarily attributable to them and 2) people who refer to their mother as mama are invariably homicidal maniacs, I’m unaware of it.

4) Jenny Was a Friend Of Mine – The Killers - Clearly the narrator of this song is in police custody for a killing, making it one of the finest police procedural songs in history. If only someone could write a song for the Miranda warnings.

5) Chain Gang – Sam Cooke - Sam Cooke wouldn’t ever serve on a chain gang, since he’d be shot to death before the police would ever get the chance to arrest him. That said, he still captures the basic ethos, if with less emotional weight than Paul Muni.

Honorable mention: “Jailhouse Rock” by Elvis Presley; “Trapped on Death Row” by Dr. Dre; “Prisoners of Love” from The Producers (non-musical version); “Doin’ Time” by Sublime (note: this song actually has nothing to do with jail or prison); “Jail Guitar Doors” by The Clash

Dan's Top 5:

Welcome back, Tim. I was beginning to think we'd lost you. Sucks about your injury, and I hope recovery goes well.

1. The Clash - I Fought The Law - This may even be my favorite Clash song, so I'm really surprised that Tim didn't mention it. My favorite part of the whole song is when the lyrics mention the "six gun" and there are six corresponding snare hits. Green Day deserves to rot in hell for their cover version. Cruel irony that Joe Strummer died first.

2. Dropkick Murphys - The Fields of Athenry - This one is an Irish tune originally from the 70's that documents the oppression exerted by the British on the Irish for attempting to survive during the famine of the late 1840's. Essentially, a man has stolen food and awaits a voyage on a prison ship to Botany Bay, Australia. It's a very sorrowful and reflective tale. So naturally, I feel its best treatment comes at the hands of the Dropkick Murphys. (It also gains points because it's not overplayed, as "Shipping Up To Boston" is)

3. Johnny Cash - Folsom Prison Blues - No explanation needed. If you feel that there is a needed explanation, go watch Walk the Line.

4. The Killers - Jenny Was a Friend of Mine - Tim summed this one up perfectly. I'm really surprised at how well the content of a police interrogation can be put to music. Funny thing is, in all the years that I've listened to this song, I've never once considered the possibility that the narrator could actually have committed the crime.

5. Elvis Presley - Jailhouse Rock - Though Elvis was apparently the king of rock 'n' roll, I've never had an affinity for most of his work. This song is pretty much the lone exception. The conclusion of The Blues Brothers, quite possibly the only good SNL-based movie in history, earns this enough points that it should be higher. But I like the position of my other picks better, and I'm way too lazy to go back and change things.

Ryan's Top 5:

The time for being obvious is now.

1. Folsom Prison Blues - Johnny Cash - "I shot a man in Reno just to watch him die." Fucking top that.

2. Jailhouse Rock - Elvis Presley - Hello, my name is Ryan, today I write lists for Rolling Stone.

3. Jailbreak - AC/DC - This song, like many of their other songs, kicks ass.

4. Holloway Jail - The Kinks - I love the way the guitar sounds in this song. And I love simple songs where the theme is People-Taking-Babies-Away. See The Ramones' "The KKK Took My Baby Away."

5. Jailbreak - Thin Lizzy - I also like catchy songs. To-NIGHT there's gonna be a jailbreak...

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Top 5 Overrated Baseball Players

This list was an idea I stole from a Pittsburgh Pirates message board. (Yes, my sports-fan masochism has extended to the point of joining a Pirates message board.) The list is fairly self-explanatory, but I'm limiting it to recent performances and opinions, primarily so that I can include my #4.

Dan's Top 5:

1. Derek Jeter - I firmly believe that there are probably tons of Yankees fans that believe Jeter is still the best player on the Yankees, despite that his OPS is below the league average and worse than five other Yankees. (I can only assume this, as I have never met a Yankees fan.) Mostly, this one is derived from personal animosity more than anything, as I'm sure that Alex Rodriguez is still not getting his deserved admiration from Yankee fans (I've been an A-Rod fan since his Ranger days), and I'm sure half of the women in New York would risk sacrificing their groin muscles in opening their legs quickly enough to let Jeter infect them with his demon seed. And have you seen his defense? Sheesh.

2. Jason Varitek - This stems almost entirely from the fact that he got on the All-Star team this year, which is a point we've already beaten to death (See this post about the All Star Game). But even though it's been beaten to death, there's no point forgetting past atrocities. Like December 7, 1941, when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor. But before I shoot myself for referencing Animal House, I'm reminded of the recent influx of Japanese talent in the majors...

3. Kosuke Fukudome - In addition to being a Pirates fan, I'm also a Cubs fan. (I'll figure out my NL Central loyalties if and when the two teams can compete with each other.) I remember watching the first game of the season, and Fukudome got a perfect batting average for the game, even driving in a 3-RBI homer. It seems like the rest of the season, which has led him to .269/.369/.399 (.768 OPS, which is the league average and a just a hair better than Ryan Theriot), is lost on the Chicago Cubs fans, most of whom still idolize the new Japanese player.

4. Ken Griffey, Jr. - The only reason that Griffey is on this list is because he was just traded to the White Sox. And Mr. Ken Tremendous over at FireJoeMorgan did such an excellent job writing about coverage of that trade that I'll just redirect you to it. Obviously, I think he's a great player in terms of his career - I mean, who else has his name on two different Super Nintendo baseball games? But clearly he can't be playing for too much longer. He had his name on Super Nintendo baseball games, for crying out loud.

5. Eric Gagne - Remember when I was in high school and I was playing my first season of fantasy baseball? Of course you do. That year, I had both Eric Gagne and "Everyday" Eddie Guardado. That's 97 saves, people. So ten saves and a 6.98 ERA this year? You may be saying, "Dan, how can you say he's overrated when everyone knows he's washed up?" Well, he's still being paid to play baseball, so I think he's overrated.

Honorable mention: Can someone hand me the rosters for the Yankees and the Red Sox?

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Top 5 Songs on the Top 5 Albums by Your Top 5 Artists

By far the most ambitious project we've undertaken on this blog, but for our 100th post, could you expect anything else? I'm going to assume for the sake of variety that all these lists are personal preferences, lest we get three instances of The Beatles at #1. Of course, if anyone else is trying to fool themselves by being be objective, then by all means.

Dan's Top 5:
I'm pretty satisfied with this list, having included less than ten songs out of 125 that I don't listen to regularly. I was really considering adding Bowie instead of Pink Floyd, but I had called Floyd my favorite for so long in high school, and Bowie is just too hard to whittle down to five albums.

  1. Peter Gabriel

    1. Peter Gabriel 3

      1. Games Without Frontiers

      2. I Don't Remember

      3. Biko

      4. No Self Control

      5. Intruder

    2. So

      1. Sledgehammer

      2. Red Rain

      3. In Your Eyes

      4. Big Time

      5. That Voice Again

    3. Peter Gabriel 4

      1. Shock The Monkey

      2. I Have The Touch

      3. The Rhythm of the Heat

      4. San Jacinto

      5. Lay Your Hands On Me

    4. Us

      1. Secret World

      2. Come Talk To Me

      3. Digging In The Dirt

      4. Blood of Eden

      5. Kiss That Frog

    5. Peter Gabriel

      1. Solsbury Hill (my favorite song ever, and it's on one of his worst albums. Really, Up deserves to be here. But whatever.)

      2. Moribund the Burgermeister

      3. Modern Love

      4. Down the Dolce Vita

      5. Humdrum

  2. Muse

    1. Black Holes and Revelations

      1. Invincible

      2. Knights of Cydonia

      3. Take A Bow

      4. Starlight

      5. Supermassive Black Hole

    2. Absolution

      1. Stockholm Syndrome

      2. Butterflies And Hurricanes

      3. Hysteria

      4. Thoughts of a Dying Atheist

      5. Falling Away With You

    3. Origin of Symmetry

      1. New Born

      2. Plug In Baby

      3. Bliss

      4. Citizen Erased

      5. Micro Cuts

    4. H.A.A.R.P.

      1. Knights of Cydonia (Live)

      2. Butterflies And Hurricanes (Live)

      3. Stockholm Syndrome (Live)

      4. Hysteria (Live)

      5. Invincible (Live)

    5. Showbiz

      1. Showbiz

      2. Falling Down

      3. Cave

      4. Sober

      5. Uno

  3. Radiohead

    1. The Bends

      1. My Iron Lung

      2. Fake Plastic Trees

      3. Street Spirit (Fade Out)

      4. Planet Telex

      5. Just

    2. OK Computer

      1. No Surprises

      2. Airbag

      3. Paranoid Android

      4. Karma Police

      5. Climbing Up The Walls

    3. Hail To The Thief

      1. There There. (The Boney King of Nowhere.)

      2. A Punchup at a Wedding. (No no no no no no no no.)

      3. 2 + 2 = 5 (The Lukewarm.)

      4. Where I End and You Begin. (The Sky is Falling In.)

      5. Go to Sleep. (Little Man Being Erased.)

    4. In Rainbows

      1. Reckoner

      2. Bodysnatchers

      3. Videotape

      4. House of Cards

      5. Weird Fishes/Arpeggi

    5. Kid A - it took me forever to warm up to this album

      1. Optimistic

      2. Everything In Its Right Place

      3. Idioteque

      4. The National Anthem

      5. Morning Bell

  4. Duran Duran

    1. Rio

      1. Hungry Like The Wolf

      2. Rio

      3. Save a Prayer

      4. Hold Back The Rain

      5. The Chauffeur

    2. The Wedding Album

      1. Ordinary World

      2. Come Undone

      3. Too Much Information

      4. Breath After Breath

      5. Love Voodoo

    3. Duran Duran

      1. Planet Earth

      2. Girls on Film

      3. Careless Memories

      4. Night Boat

      5. Anyone Out There

    4. Red Carpet Massacre

      1. Falling Down

      2. Tricked Out

      3. Skin Divers

      4. Nite Runner

      5. Red Carpet Massacre

    5. Seven And The Ragged Tiger

      1. The Reflex

      2. The Union Of The Snake

      3. New Moon On Monday

      4. Of Crime and Passion (OK, I don't listen to these last two at all. But what am I going to do, say I like Medazzaland?)

      5. The Seventh Stranger

  5. Pink Floyd

    1. The Dark Side of the Moon

      1. Brain Damage

      2. Eclipse

      3. Time

      4. Us And Them

      5. Money

    2. The Wall

      1. Comfortably Numb

      2. Run Like Hell

      3. Nobody Home

      4. Another Brick In The Wall, Part 2

      5. Mother

    3. Wish You Were Here

      1. Wish You Were Here

      2. Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Parts I - V)

      3. Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Parts VI - IX)

      4. Have A Cigar

      5. Welcome To The Machine

    4. Animals

      1. Sheep

      2. Pigs (Three Different Ones)

      3. Dogs

      4. Pigs On The Wing (Part One)

      5. Pigs On The Wing (Part Two)

    5. Meddle

      1. Echoes

      2. One Of These Days

      3. Fearless

      4. A Pillow Of Winds

      5. San Tropez (I hate this song, but I hate "Seamus" even more.)

Ryan's Top A Lot:

  1. The Beatles

    1. Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band

      1. A Day in the Life (again this song pops up in the #1 spot, maybe it IS my favorite song of all-time, I just don't realize it...)

      2. Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band

      3. Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds

      4. Getting Better

      5. Good Morning Good Morning

    2. Abbey Road

      1. Here Comes the Sun

      2. The End

      3. I Want You (She's So Heavy)

      4. Because

      5. You Never Give Me Your Money (note: ranking these was very difficult, esp. due to my refusal to consider the medley one song...otherwise the medley should be anyone's #1) (other note: Mean Mr. Mustard sounds like it could actually be on Nilsson's "The Point!")

    3. Magical Mystery Tour

      1. I Am The Walrus

      2. Strawberry Fields Forever

      3. All You Need Is Love

      4. Hello, Goodbye (my dad's favorite, incidentally)

      5. Penny Lane

    4. The Beatles (White Album)

      1. Happiness is a Warm Gun

      2. Helter Skelter

      3. Dear Prudence (I freely admit I have problems ranking #s 2 and 3, see the White Album list and the Top 5 Beatles songs list)

      4. While My Guitar Gently Weeps

      5. Back in the U.S.S.R.

    5. Revolver

      1. Eleanor Rigby

      2. Yellow Submarine

      3. Taxman

      4. Got To Get You Into My Life

      5. And Your Bird Can Sing (whew--I don't know what I was expecting with this list, but it is definitely proving a lot more difficult than planned... If The Beatles was that hard, I worry about the projects to come...)

  2. Harry Nilsson

    1. The Point!

      1. Me and My Arrow

      2. Think About Your Troubles (note: so damn good)

      3. Everything's Got 'Em

      4. Poli High

      5. Life Line

    2. Aerial Ballet

      1. Everybody's Talkin'

      2. Good Old Desk (a personal favorite...oh, right, we're doing a list about this)

      3. Don't Leave Me (excellent scat)

      4. Daddy's Song

      5. One (not really one of my favorite songs, but still good...see Coconut below...I originally ranked Nilsson Schmilsson above Aerial Ballet, until I realized this was simply not the case; anyway, I typed up the rant about Coconut before this rant. I'll stop now.)

    3. Nilsson Schmilsson

      1. The Moonbeam Song

      2. Gotta Get Up

      3. Without You (really overdone, but this song is still good, damn it)

      4. Jump Into The Fire

      5. Coconut (admittedly not my favorite Nilsson song, but still a good song...I've downgraded it to 5...this song mainly irritates me because whenever you do a search for Nilsson, anywhere--google, limewire, etc.--this is the first song to pop up. I mean, Nilsson had so many better songs than this one. Meh, whatever.)

    4. Harry

      1. I Guess The Lord Must Be In New York City

      2. The Puppy Song

      3. Mother Nature's Son (per wiki, this was the Beatles' favorite cover of one of their songs)

      4. Mr. Bojangles

      5. Nobody Cares About The Railroads Anymore

    5. Pandemonium Shadow Show

      1. 1941

      2. Sleep Late, My Lady Friend

      3. Without Her

      4. Cuddly Toy (hmm, here's some random Nilsson song titles: cuddly toy, the puppy song, good old desk, the moonbeam many ways he appeals to the 4-year-old in me)

      5. You Can't Do That

  3. Ben Folds/Five (nuts to you if you think this is cheating)

    1. Whatever and Ever Amen

      1. Brick

      2. One Angry Dwarf and 200 Solemn Faces

      3. Evaporated

      4. The Battle Of Who Could Care Less

      5. Kate

    2. Ben Folds Five

      1. Alice Childress

      2. Philosophy

      3. Jackson Cannery

      4. Boxing

      5. Julianne

    3. Rockin' the Suburbs

      1. Still Fighting It

      2. Not The Same

      3. The Luckiest

      4. Zak and Sara

      5. Annie Waits

    4. Naked Baby Photos (this is a compilation CD of previously unreleased tracks, but it has my two favorite BFF songs on it, so I have to include it...see #s 1-2)

      1. Eddie Walker

      2. Emaline

      3. Underground (the best version of it)

      4. For Those Of Y'All Who Wear Fanny Packs

      5. Twin Falls

    5. Songs for Silverman

      1. Landed

      2. Time

      3. Prison Food

      4. Bastard

      5. Late (the first of two tributes to Elliot Smith to appear on this list...see BDB below)

  4. Badly Drawn Boy

    1. One Plus One Is One

      1. Four Leaf Clover

      2. Year of the Rat

      3. Fewer Words (the other tribute to E.S.)

      4. Logic Of A Friend

      5. One Plus One Is One

    2. About A Boy

      1. Something To Talk About

      2. A Minor Incident

      3. Silent Sigh

      4. I Love N.Y.E.

      5. Donna and Blitzen

    3. The Hour of the Bewilderbeast

      1. The Shining

      2. Disillusion

      3. Once Around The Block

      4. Pissing In The Wind

      5. Everybody's Stalking (this song does not sound like a BDB song)

    4. Born in the U.K.

      1. Born in the U.K.

      2. The Time of Times

      3. Journey from A to B

      4. Degrees of Separation

      5. Promises

    5. Have You Fed The Fish?

      1. You Were Right

      2. Born Again

      3. Have You Fed The Fish?

      4. All Possibilities

      5. The Further I Slide

  5. John Lennon (solo career)

    1. Imagine

      1. Imagine

      2. Oh Yoko!

      3. Jealous Guy

      4. How Do You Sleep? (or, "Suck it McCartney!")

      5. Oh My Love

    2. John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band

      1. God

      2. Working Class Hero (he says "fuck" twice. Cool.)

      3. Mother

      4. Isolation (hey, according to wiki, this is one of Roger Waters' favorite songs of all-time)

      5. Remember (man this song takes me back to my Lennon obsession in high school)

    3. Mind Games

      1. Meat City

      2. Mind Games (as sung by Kevin Spacey.) (maybe not.)

      3. Tight A$

      4. Aisumasen (I'm Sorry)

      5. Bring on the Lucie (Freeda People)

    4. Double Fantasy

      1. Watching the Wheels

      2. (Just Like) Starting Over

      3. Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy) (has "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans" in it)

      4. Woman

      5. I'm Losing You

    5. Rock 'n' Roll

      1. Stand By Me

      2. Be-Bop-A-Lula

      3. Rip It Up/Ready Teddy

      4. Ain't That A Shame

      5. Peggy Sue

Tim's Top 5:

Given that the formatting would take forever, in part because I'm down to typing with six fingers and because it's blurring lines together, I'm forsaking it for now.

I. The Beatles –

A. Abbey Road
1. Polythene Pam
2. Something
3. Here Comes The Sun
4. You Never Give Me Your Money
5. Golden Slumbers

B. Revolver
1. Taxman
2. Tomorrow Never Knows
3. She Said She Said
4. Eleanor Rigby
5. Got to Get You Into My Life

C. Rubber Soul
1. Run For Your Life
2. In My Life
3. Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)
4. You Won’t See Me
5. The Word

D. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
1. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (reprise)
2. A Day in the Life
3. Lovely Rita
4. Getting Better
5. Good Morning Good Morning

E. A Hard Day’s Night
1. Things We Said Today
2. Can’t Buy Me Love
3. A Hard Day’s Night
4. You Can’t Do That
5. If I Fell

II. Pearl Jam –

A. Yield
1. Faithful
2. Wish List
3. In Hiding
4. Given To Fly
5. Brain of J.

B. Vs.
1. Elderly Woman Behind The Counter In A Small Town
2. Rearviewmirror
3. Glorified G
4. Daughter
5. Animal

C. Riot Act
1. Save You
2. Love Boat Captain
3. I Am Mine
4. Thumbing My Way
5. Can’t Keep

D. Vitalogy
1. Corduroy
2. Not For You
3. Spin the Black Circle
4. Last Exit
5. Immortality

E. Pearl Jam
1. Life Wasted
2. Gone
3. World Wide Suicide
4. Come Back
5. Severed Hand

III. Bruce Springsteen –

A. Born to Run
1. Thunder Road
2. Born to Run
3. Backstreets
4. Jungleland
5. Tenth Avenue Freeze Out

B. The Rising
1. Lonesome Day
2. The Rising
3. Worlds Apart
4. Into the Fire
5. Mary’s Place

C. Darkness on the Edge of Town
1. The Promised Land
2. Darkness on the Edge of Town
3. Prove It All Night
4. Badlands
5. Adam Raised a Cain

D. Born In The U.S.A.
1. No Surrender
2. Darlington County
3. My Hometown
4. Bobby Jean
5. Glory Days

E. The River
1. The Ties That Bind
2. Independence Day
3. The River
4. You Can Look (But You Better Not Touch)
5. Out in the Street

IV. Elliott Smith

A. Figure 8
1. Stupidity Tries
2. Son of Sam
3. Everything Reminds Me Of Her
4. Pretty Mary K
5. Junk Bond Trader

B. Either/Or
1. Ballad of Big Nothing
2. Pictures of Me
3. Speed Trials
4. Between the Bars
5. Alameda

1. Waltz #2 (XO)
2. Bled White
3. Independence Day
4. Baby Britain
5. Bottle Up and Explode!

D. From A Basement on a Hill
1. Pretty (Ugly Before)
2. Coast to Coast
3. A Distorted Reality Is Now A Necessity To Be Free
4. A Fond Farewell
5. Shooting Star

E. Roman Candle
1. No Name #1
2. Condor Ave.
3. No Name #3
4. Roman Candle
5. Last Call

V. Guided by Voices

A. Mag Earwhig!
1. I Am A Tree
2. Jane of the Waking Universe
3. Portable Men’s Society
4. Can’t Hear the Revolution
5. Bulldog Skin

B. Isolation Drills
1. The Brides Have Hit Glass
2. Fair Touching
3. Twilight Campfighter
4. Skills Like This
5. Chasing Heather Crazy

C. Bee Thousand
1. Tractor Rape Chain
2. Echos Myron
3. Smothered in Hugs
4. I Am A Scientist
5. Gold Star For Robot Boy

D. Alien Lanes
1. Game of Pricks
2. Watch Me Jumpstart
3. A Salty Salute
4. Blimps Go 90
5. My Valuable Hunting Knife

E. Under the Bushes Under the Stars
1.Cut Out Witch
2. Don’t Stop Now
3. The Official Ironman Rallying Song
4. Underwater Explosions
5. Your Name Is Wild