Wednesday, May 23, 2007

15 Best Songs About Rivers

A slight edge was granted to songs about actual rivers, instead of those that used them only as a poetic device. Songs about canals were included as being somehow riverlike.

1. The Pogues, The Broad Majestic Shannon (A magical song, one of my absolute favorites.)

2. Woody Guthrie, The Grand Coulee Dam (Columbia River)

3. Johnny Cash, Big River (Mississippi River) Beating out Proud Mary and god knows how many others...

4. The Kinks, Waterloo Sunset (Thames River)

5. Brendan Behan, The Banks of the Royal Canal Discovered through Dylan's beautiful cover on the Basement Tapes.

6. Traditional, I Am a Pilgrim (Jordan River)

7. Sufjan Stevens, Decatur, or, Round of Applause for Your Stepmother! (Sangamon River)

8. Thomas Allen, Erie Canal

9. Traditional, Shenandoah (Missouri River)

10. Muddy Waters, Rollin' and Tumblin' (If the river was whiskey... Here we enter the realm of the poetic device - although maybe not.)

11. Radiohead, How to Disappear Completely (Liffey River)

12. Nick Drake, River Man

13. The Standells, Dirty Water (Charles River) One of the least convincing badboy anthems every recorded, making it the perfect song for Boston.

14. REM, Find the River (No actual river, but it deserves credit for mentioning more plants than any other song in recorded history.)

15. Ron Sexsmith, Riverbed (One of the world's greatest songwriters, and still rather underappreciated.)

Twenty-five Songs which might form part of a "forty minute classic rock block" or equivalent, but would rarely be heard in any other context

1. Bad Company, "Bad Company"
2. Styx, "Renegade"
3. Foreigner, "Juke Box Hero"
4. Eagles, "Tequila Sunrise"
5. Heart, "Barracuda"
6. Journey, "Lovin', Touchin', Squeezin'"
7. Rush, "The Spirit of Radio"
8. Doobie Brothers, "China Grove"
9. REO Speedwagon, "Keep on Loving You"
10. Boston, "Rock and Roll Band"
11. John Mellencamp, "R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A."
12. Bob Seger, "Her Strut"
13. Steve Miller Band, "Rock 'n Me"
14. Lynyrd Skynyrd, "Gimme Three Steps"
15. The Cars, "Good Times Roll"
16. Todd Rundgren, "Bang the Drum All Day"
17. Supertramp, "Logical Song"
18. ZZ Top, "Tush"
19. Molly Hatchet, "Flirting with Disaster"
20. Foghat, "Slow Ride"
21. Queen, "You're My Best Friend"
22. Eddie Money, "Take Me Home Tonight"
23. Fleetwood Mac, "Landslide"
24. Rick Derringer, "Rock and Roll Hoochie Koo"
25. Steely Dan, "Rikki Don't Lose That Number"

Friday, May 18, 2007

Top 10 Completely Insane TV Shows

Here's another opportunity for nostalgia

I have to say, I sorely miss ALL of these shows--especially Alf (shouldn't it be ALF?), Dinosaurs, and Herman's Head. Sitcoms have fallen SO far in the past 15 years that I am positive I would watch all three of those shows if they started running new episodes. What will kids today look back on fondly when it comes time for their list in 15 years? Two and a Half Men? At least Will Ferrell is working on a Land of the Lost movie.

Top 10 Summer Movie Disappointments

Here's a good list to expand on

This got me thinking about the absolute stink bombs I've seen in the past. Having seen all the movies on the list (as I'm sure many have), it was interesting to look back an contemplate just how BAD most of these films were, and how many could also be included. I'm just not sure I can get on the bandwagon hating on Buffy and Alien 3 though. I really do enjoy those films now with years between me and the initial let down.

The main problem with this list is that I can't remember which bombs came out in the summer and which were release during the rest of the year. Surely masterpieces of shit like Batman & Robin, Johnny Mnemonic, Windtalkers, Pearl Harbor, and Rent (yes…I said Rent) should be considered. Please comment with some clunkers of your own. And if you haven't heard Kevin Smith's story about the origin of Wild Wild West you must rent An Evening With Kevin Smith.

Friday, May 11, 2007

10 Songs about Tragedy from the 1960s

10. Nightmare, The Whyte Boots. Such a blantant Shangri-Las rip-off but its so over the top I thought it had to be on the list.

9. Tommy's Doll, Ernest Tubb. "He layed there for a moment like a tragic broken toy... And whispered with his dying breath someone please hand me my doll"

8. Tell Laura I Love Her, Ray Peterson. One can only assume that there were a lot of car crashes in the 60s as a result of ill-fated teen love.

7. Why (The King of Love is Dead), Nina Simone. This one is a little different than the other ones on the list because its about an actual, national tragedy.

6. Elusive Dreams, Lee Hazelwood and Nancy Sinatra. The tragedy might be a little tangential in this one ("But this time, only two of us move on. And now we have each other. And a little memory to cling to.") But, its a really good song.

5. Leader of the Pack, The Shangri-Las. The classic ill-fated teen love car crash song. "Is she really going out with him?" (Wasn't that line used at the beginning of one of The Damned songs?)

4. The First Mrs. Jones, Porter Wagoner. "Did my little story scare you?... After all you are the Second Mrs. Jones."

3. Ode to Billie Joe, Bobbie Gentry. When I was 4 or 5 my dad was tucking me into bed one night and I turned and asked him - Dad, what were they throwing off the Tallahatchie bridge?

2. Last Kiss, J Frank Wilson and the Cavaliers. Way better than the Pearl Jam cover.

1. I Can Never Go Home Anymore, The Shangri-Las. "And that's called, sad."

Thursday, May 10, 2007

11 Most Useful Pompous Words

Hobbledehoy – A gawky adolescent boy; a callow youth. (As used in Trollope: “In truth, they are not as yet men, whatever the number may be of their years; and, as they are no longer boys, the world has found for them the ungraceful name of hobbledehoy.”)

Ergasiophobia - Fear of, or aversion to, work. (Not the same thing, mind you, as simple laziness.)

Afflatus – A sudden rush of divine or poetic inspiration. (Especially felicitous when such inspiration is accompanied by bloating or gas, as it so often is.)

Hebetate - To grow dull or stupid.

Colposinquanonia - Estimating a woman's beauty based on her chest. (Alas, a common folly, particularly in America.)

Cachinnation - Loud or hysterical laughter.

Napiform - Shaped like a turnip. (You would not believe how many things are shaped like turnips, just waiting to be identified with this word.)

Charientism – An artfully veiled insult. (Known in some communities best left unmentioned as a “neg.” )

Foofaraw – Excessive or flashy ornamentation; a fuss over a trifling matter. (As used in the immortal and never answered Kent Brockman question from the Simpsons: “Argle-bargle or foofaraw?”)

Melolagnia – Amorous feeling inspired my music. (I’m not sure if a word exists for odors – smellolagnia, perhaps – but it certainly should.)

Adoxography - Skilled writing about an unimportant subject. (Especially useful for the Internet age, as well as for all manner of squibs.)

Sources: Assorted, but these are both good.

The first use of each of George Carlin's "Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television" in the HBO original television series Deadwood

1) Shit:

Sol: (To Seth) Byron Samson's comin' for him.

Clell: (To Sol) Sir, would you please get the fuck out of here 'til we have finished our previous conversation?

Seth: (To Sol) How many in his play?

Sol: (To Seth) A dozen, shit faced. Samson just caved in Tommy Raymond's head over at the no-name frog. He went against it.

2) Piss

Byron: (Yelling in to Seth) All you're doin' stallin', Bullock, is pissin' me off!

3) Fuck

Clell: If I'd a got there, I'd a been prospectin'. Jesus Christ Almighty. No law at all. Gold you can scoop from the streams with your bare hands. And I gotta go and fuck myself up by supposedly stealing Byron Samson's horse.

4) Cunt

Jane: (Yelling to no one in particular) It's only Wild Bill Hickok you got stalled here in the muck! You ignorant fuckin' cunts.

5) Cocksucker [a particular Deadwood favorite]

Seth: That's a deal you loud mouthed cocksucker!

6) Motherfucker

Ellsworth: You're welcome! You conniving, heavy thumbed motherfucker.

7) Tits

Bill: (To a man at his table) Does bosom mean tit?

All in the first episode, four from the very first scene, two also from quite early on. Notably, none of them is first uttered by Swearengen.

As a bonus, each word's first use by Swearengen:

1) Shit:

Al: You don't shoot nobody 'cause that's bad for my business and it's bad for the camp's reputation. (Examining Trixie's bloody nose) He beat the living shit out of you, didn't he?

2) Piss

Al: (To the quieted crowd) Well, I guess when it starts pissin' rain in here, you know who to blame, huh?

3) Fuck

Al: Starting right the fuck with Custer gettin' himself massacred, it's been one thing after another.

4) Cunt

Al: (To Dan) That's her Derringer. I warned you about that loopy cunt!

5) Cocksucker

Ellsworth: (To Al) Now, with that Limey damn accent of yours, are these rumors true that you're descended from the British nobility?

Al: I'm descended from all them cocksuckers.

6) Motherfucker

Al: I fucking started this job, I’ll fucking finish it. (He points up to the roof of the Grand Central) This motherfucker.

[Oddly, this doesn't come until the third season.]

7) Tits

Al: Oh deep fuckin’ thinkers in Washington put forward that policy. This year though, so many soldiers desertin’ to prospect, give up the ghost let us all back in. And of course, Custer sorted out the fuckin’ Sioux for us, so now we’re all as safe as in our mother’s tits.

All but the last two from the pilot.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Same Title, Different Song: A Top 10

Just when things were getting interesting, let's go back to classic rock. I'm not talking about covers here, but entirely different songs that happen to have the same title. In no particular order:

1. Somebody to Love (Jefferson Airplane vs. Queen). The classic argument: Slick vs. Mercury. Range vs. Power. The decadent '60s vs. the decadent '70s. For a while I was a hardcore Airplane partisan, but then this song became the theme for that dreadful Julia Stiles NBC miniseres on "the '60s," nearly pushing me over to Queen. But I'll stand by Grace on this one: "When the truth is found... to be LIIEEESS."

2. Good Times, Bad Times (Rolling Stones vs. Led Zeppelin). The Stones song isn't bad, but I'd rather never hear it again for the rest of my life than miss out on the first five seconds of the Zep tune.

3. What Goes On (Beatles vs. Velvet Underground). Richard Starkey is a wonderful human being, but I don't think he holds a candle to Lou Reed in the songwriting department.

4. I'm Free (The Rolling Stones vs. The Who). A toughie. I say the Stones song edges out the Who take on "Tommy," but the electric heft of the Isle of Wight live track is overpowering. Stunningly, given that we're talking about a Pete Townsend song here, the Stones version is in a commercial, but the Who one isn't. Quick, Pete, call State Farm and get them on board!

5. Gloria (Van Morrison/Them vs. U2). Wow, I love both these songs --as much as anything else on this list. But I think U2's Gloria, particularly the live version on "Under A Blood Red Sky," reaches a level of classic rock sublimity that pre-Astral Van can't quite match. "Hey, this is Red Rocks!... This is the Edge!"

6. The End (The Beatles vs. The Doors). Apparently, lot of people think the Doors epic is pompous psychoblather poured over a single, repetitive riff. Not me. It kicks ass.

7. Girl (The Beatles vs. T. Rex). I love T.Rex, but the Fab Four win this one going away. Still, The Beatles and Stones come out of this little mash-fest at a combined 1-5. What's the deal? Somebody needs to convince Sister Hazel and Staind to commence writing songs with old British invasion titles... I could see Nickelback coming out with a new single, "Dandelion."

8. Changes (The Zombies vs. David Bowie vs. Tupac). A three-way! I'd love to put the Zombies first, thereby further cementing my cred as a classic rock snob, but in point of fact, this is one of the weaker tracks on "Odessy and Oracle" (or maybe I just cleverly enhanced it with that last sentence... you decide). My order: 1) Bowie; 2) Tupac; 3) Zombies.

9. Trouble (Elvis Presley vs. Coldplay vs. Pink vs. Ray Lamontagne). A four-way! I actually don't really know the Pink or the Elvis songs very well, but know that they exist is good enough. Unfashionably but truthfully, I'd put Coldplay first, Ray second, the King third, and Pink last.

10. Crazy (Patsy Cline vs. Aerosmith vs. Seal vs. Britney vs. Gnarls Barkley). A five-way! (If you want to be boring and look up the Wikipedia entry on songs called "Crazy," feel free to do so.... there are probably even more. But I thought of these all by myself!) Where to begin? Actually, most of these songs suck hard. Patsy deserves the edge for alltime classic classicness, but she's never compelled me. I say: 1) Gnarls (As Dick Clark used to say on American Bandstand, "it's got a beat. I can dance to it."); 2) Patsy; 3) Britney; 4) Seal; 5) Aerosmith. Man, I hate Aerosmith.