Friday, October 31, 2008

Top 5 Songs I Hate but Everyone Else Loves

Requested by Darielle

Three or four times a semester, I find myself at TRAX, Susquehanna University's campus nightclub. I usually only go if there's a live band playing, but sometimes I attend fraternity functions where there's a DJ there, instead. Either way, there's always one or two moments where the band or the DJ starts playing a song, and within seconds the whole place is screaming - "I love this song!" I hear all around me. Half the time when I hear this, I know it's time for me to leave, because in a matter of seconds, I'll be subjected to the worst kind of hateful song - the one everyone else loves and sings along to... poorly.

5. "Welcome Home" - Coheed and Cambria
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think it's possible to "take premise to" something. That's not how the word works. Yes, it's a wicked guitar part, and it's fun to play on Rock Band (until you get to the endlessly repetitive outtro,) but the lyrics are so stupid that they sound like they were written by someone with no command of the English language - and these guys are from Queens. They should know better.
4. "Snow ((Hey Oh))" or to a lesser extent"By the Way" - Red Hot Chili Peppers
When you've been in Rock and Roll for almost twenty years, you should know better than to make "Hey Oh, listen what I say-oh" the hook to your song and expect people to take it seriously. But people still do! That's ridiculous. "It's a way-chill song!" they say. So? There are a thousand other "chill" songs that don't suck. (See: Sublime). I have the same kind of problems with "By the Way", because the two songs sound a lot alike to me, and because when your chorus is a total nonsensical jump (standing in line to see the show tonight and there's a light on/heavy glow*/by the way, I'm trying to say I'll be there...) Okay... what did that have to do with anything and how can a glow be "heavy"? Who says that? Also, both songs have a kind of monotone feel to them that drives me nuts, because when people sing along to them and it sounds like a Borg hive.
3. "Sweet Home Alabama" - Lynyrd Skynyrd
Maybe it's just because I hate southern rock. Maybe it's because Lynyrd Skynrd is a bunch of Confederate flag-waving hicks and I can't stand them. Maybe it's because the song was a rebuttal to the absolutely-true Neil Young social commentary "Southern Man" and because they dis him in the song. Maybe it's because Kentucky Fried Chicken uses this song in their commercials, ignoring the fact that Kentucky and Alabama are not the same state. I just hate this song. So much.
2. "Don't Stop Believin'" - Journey
Bring on the mega-cheese. This song is so melodramatic and cheesy that it's ridiculous. Yes, it's so catchy that it hurts, which almost makes me hate it more. It's ridiculous and I CAN'T STOP SINGING IT!!! MAKE IT STOP!!
1. "Livin' On a Prayer" - Bon Jovi
Don't talk to me about New Jersey. I'm from New Jersey. He does not speak for us. Bon Jovi is a talentless hack with stupid hair. So there. The synth bass that opens the song makes me physically ill, the lyrics are clichéd and there's a key change at the end that's not only unnecessary, but it also makes anyone at the club who's singing along start screaming off-key, which is just painful. I feel sick just talking about it.

My apologies about the lateness of today's entry. I hope it was worth it. Also, I hate you.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Top 5 Outdated Phrases I Still Love to Use

Tonight's list is disgustingly short, because I really doubt that you need me to write a paragraph on each of these words. Anyway, I highly recommend using these words in the following week and commenting back on your personal experiences in doing so. (Also, props to Darielle's computer for the typing.)

5. "Swell" - Because I have no idea what the frak it means. Apparently, in the 1920s, this was considered a very rude word to use. (See: The Music Man)
4. "Fella" - Yes, on occasion, I still call guys "fellas". Usually used in context of significant others, as in "Hey, Brittany, how's yer fella?"
3. "All is Groovy" - I use this one much more than #2, but it's more common, and thusly a lower priority. Extracted from the Simon & Garfunkel song "Feelin' Groovy".
2. "Nifty" - My sister used to say this when she was a wee lass. I don't even know what era it's from, but nobody else says it, so blah.
1. "Boy, Howdy" - Making sarcasm more fun since 1895.

Have a favorite antequated slang term? HIT ME WITH A COMMENT. PLEASE, I feel unloved.

CODA: This list was revised in Top 5 Revisions I'd Like to Make to Previous Lists.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Top 5 Best Ways to Keep Warm

Suggested by Liz

Baby, it's cold outside. Winter's coming and it's time to bundle up. Here's a few fun and practical ways to keep warm this winter.

5. Get super-bundled! - Yes, of course blankets, sheets and thermal underwear will keep you warm. But blankets, sheets and thermal underwear sporting the names, faces or symbols of superheroes have been scientifically proven to be 10-30% warmer than those without them. That's not just my opinion, that's SCIENCE.*
4. Do the Locomotion - When in doubt, put on some boppy rock music, I'm thinking maybe OkGo, and dance around for hours until you're tuckered out. This is only a temporary solution, so from here you'll want to proceed to either suggestion 5 or 3.
3. Two Birds with One Stone - Light your roommate on fire. Two problems solved.
2. Tauntauns - When in doubt, slice open a tauntaun with your lightsaber and sleep inside of its belly for the night. Yes, they do, surprisingly, smell even worse on the inside than the outside, but if it's good enough for Luke Skywalker, then it's good enough for you.
1. Sweet, Sweet Love - The world's most reliable heat machine is the human body. Get jiggy wit it.

*Warning = Not actually science.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Top 5 Reasons to Vote Obama

The election is a week away and you've probably already picked your candidate, but in case you haven't, here's a brief Top 5 reasons why I think he deserves your vote.

5. John McCain - Note that the opponent's flaws are #5 on the list, no higher. Unlike Senator McCain, Senator Obama's policies themselves are worth votes. Barack Obama does not need to launch a smear campaign against his opponent in order to make himself look good, he already looks good. However, it is this writer's opinion that John McCain would make a very dangerous President. As a Navy Airmen, Senator McCain honorably served his country. However, his lingering military mindset makes him trigger-happy to the extent that he has literally guaranteed to launch more wars during his administration. This is frightening to me.
Though he served honorably in our military, his tactics in this campaign have been less than honorable. While personally dodging responsibility for these actions, John McCain's campaign has trained its door-to-door canvasers in some states to call Obama a terrorist. In the final debate with Obama, McCain refused to disavow the actions of supporters at his rallies when they shouted things like "Kill Obama". I've had enough of dishonorable leadership in the White House.

4. Message of Hope - From the beginning of the Obama campaign, one of the main themes has been "Yes WE Can." Americans today feel very detatched from their government, and it's good to see a serious Presidential candidate make us feel important and involved again. Look how Obama has mobilized young people and older voters alike. It's simply unprecidented. I attribute this to this message of hope, this "Yes We Can" mentality.

3. Ending the Health Care Crisis - What is the purpose of Government? Even the most conservative American will agree that its purpose is to protect its citizens. Does not providing health care to all its citizens fall into this category? The Obama/Biden plan does not create a huge, tax-expensive federal health care service, but instead helps health insurance and care companies meet the needs of citizens in a way that is affordable to all clients, so that an illness doesn't have to cripple a person's ability to make ends meet.

2. A Balance with Taxes - The wealthiest Americans have had eight years of tax breaks under the Bush Administration. Seems only fair to me that the next administration favor tax breaks for the low and middle class. The Obama plan will cut taxes for all families making under $250,000 a year, maintaining or in some cases raising taxes on the more wealthy people who can afford it. I'd prefer that no one's taxes get raised. Hell, I'd prefer that no one had to pay taxes, but we've got to pay for our government some way, and the Bush tax plan has put is trillions of dollars in debt. I'm ready for a reversal.

1. New Age of Diplomacy - It's about time that America's image abroad is one of peace, not bullying and war. Barack Obama is dedicated to talking first before making threats or using force. I want to see an America that is respected around the world for being reasonable, a diplomatic force rather than a military force. Joe Biden is a world-renowned diplomat, and will make a great adviser to the charasmatic and well-tempered Obama. I'm ready to see our troops come home. I'm ready to see us spend money on building schools instead of bombs. I'm ready for a New Age of Diplomacy, and I believe that Barack Obama can make this happen.

Tomorrow: Something funny again!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Top 5 Bounciest Languages/Dialects

Some languages are just more fun to speak than others. The quality I use to define a fun language is its BOUNCINESS QUOTIENT. The Bounciness Quotient is basically the intensity of your urge to bounce up and down with your words while speaking. To best convey what I mean here, I have placed a word or phrase next to some of the qualifying languages below that is increasingly fun to say. For best results make sure to speak in the proper accent and with proper pronunciation.

5. English with Italian Accent - "Wassamatta witchoo?!"
4. Hindi - To the untrained Western ear, this language can sound kind of silly, due to all those fun "bloobidy" sounding words. (Not to be unfair, I welcome those whose first language is Hindi to pick on my language. We do, after all, have words like "poppycock.")
3. Spanish - Any long sentence spoken very quickly. Put on Telemundo on a Saturday night and try not to bounce to that announcer guy's voice. Go on, I dare you.
2. Italian - "Bongiourno! Molto Piacere, mio bambino!"
1. English with fake Swedish Accent - "Hello! I am come from Sveeeden!" (See - Jamie Lee Curtis in Trading Places - I found a clip; start watching around 3:50)

Now anyone can comment on posts - no need to register for any kind of account. That being said, PLEASE COMMENT!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Top 5 Reasons to Still Love Power Rangers

Yes, I was one of those kids - I used to run around in my Red Ranger costume, wielding plastic dinosaurs and screaming something about it being Morphin' Time. Back in the 90s when the show first premiered, I was immediately captivated by the show's edginess (hey, look, violence!) intelligence (I learned a valuable lesson today...) and clever production design (I have to buy that right now!). Today, I find that I can still enjoy Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers, the jumbled hodgepodge of American Teen Soap for Preteens and Super Sentai from Japan, and here's why...

5) Body Language - I can't get enough of watching the masked Rangers talk with their bodies. Just watch any of the rangers talk when in costume. It's like they're communicating through some kind of ninja sign language. Of course, if they didn't, we'd have no idea who was talking half the time.
4) Power to the Nerds! - I always identified best with Billy, the bespectacled Blue Ranger. He always had the right answers, and we knew he was smart because he never said "yes," no no, he said "affirmative!" with gusto and confidence. He was a nerd and a superhero. And those striped shirts! Great fashion sense!
3) Giant Robots are Always Cool - I think this one speaks for itself. Being one of the guys in the clunky robot suits rampaging through the tiny paper-maché city is definitely on my list of dream jobs. And once the awesome Dragonzord was introduced, it was like getting a new Godzilla movie every weekday at 4!
2) Introduction to Consumerism - Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers taught me well at a young age how to be completely driven by greed, one of the most important skills for any capitalist, especially in America. Power Rangers toys became the ultimate childhood status symbols. Had the Megazord? You're a popular kid. Had the Dragonzord with matching Dragon Dagger? You're even better. Have all of those, plus the action figures, plus all the to-scale weapons? You're a neighborhood hero. Power Rangers helped the "now" generation learn the lessons of the "me" generation in seconds flat.
1) 90s Nostalgia - I don't know about you, but nothing makes my day like watching some Power Rangers while organizing my Pokémon Cards, feeding my Tamagotchi and/or singing along to Hanson at the top of my lungs. Honestly, 80s nostalgia has overstayed its welcome. It's time to put away the Ninja Turtles shirt and stop pretending we saw Back to the Future in theaters. We, too, have a storied heritage, and its name is Power Rangers.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Top 5 Reasons to Buy an iPod Touch

I enjoy gadgets. I also enjoy music, video and the internet. My iPod Touch is a gadget that plays music, video and connects to the internet. That might not be reason enough for me if it didn't look and feel like something from Star Trek. Then I knew I had to have it. That may have been all I needed to know before I laid my money down for the iPod Touch, but here's five more awesome reasons why you should get one, too.

5. The iPod Touch is now available with up to 32Gs of memory. Tell me that's not enough for you. C'mon, honestly.
4. The iPod Touch's web browser is surprisingly easy to use, and it gives you the same internet you can access from any desktop or laptop, unlike many other mobile devices that provide stripped-down text-only pages created based on basic CSS data. It loads fast and responds fast. They keyboard even learns words you make up.
3. Let's face it, it looks like it's from the future. It makes you feel like you are from the future. I mean, it's significantly more high-tech than some of the stuff you see them using on even the most recent Star Trek shows. The iPod Classic, though originally looked cool and original, is now stale.
2. The click wheel is tiresome and annoying. Just pausing your music can be a pain if you're in the middle of doing something else - you can accidentally start playing another song instead. Making On-The-Go playlists is a pain and having to jockey back and forth through menus can be frustrating. The multi-touch screen is extremely simple to navigate and saves a lot of time and effort, in addition to being much, much prettier. (Yes, you do have to clean it often with a dry micro-fiber cloth. This is not a big deal for me personally since I already carry one for my glasses, but I understand that this is a drawback.)
1. What's the coolest geek chic gadget to have on the street these days? What else but the iPhone. The iPod Touch is exactly the iPhone, except without the camera-phone. It has all the things that make the iPhone cooler than other phones. You can still access the internet via Wi-Fi, store music and video (which looks awesome on that big screen) and run cool downloadable applications. You just don't have to pay the whopping $65-a-month data fee on your phone bill every month. The iPhone is hilariously expensive when you factor in AT&T's surcharges. With the iPod Touch, you get the best features of the iPhone without having to fork over a crapload of cash - just the one-time price of purchase and rare, optional and inexpensive software updates. Seriously, there is no cooler gadget to be carrying around than the iPod Touch. Well, at least no cooler non-fictional gadget.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Top 5 SNL Sketches

Requested by: David L.

Like most people, I've drifted in and out of enjoying Saturday Night Live. Of course it's not always going to be great - the writers change, the cast shifts and a lot of what makes a great episode has to do with who's hosting. These days, I don't even stay up to watch the show; I go on Hulu on Sundays and sift through the sketches, usually picking out the political ones. But of course, when trying to compile a Top 5 countdown for a show that's been on the air for over 30 years, there's a lot of history to consider. I can only say that I will probably look back at this list in six months or a year and wish I'd made some changes. Enough of my yappin', here's my list for the day.

5. "Moleculo: The Molecular Man" (3/10/2001 - Season 26, Episode 14 - Host: Conan O'Brien)
Conan O'Brien is, Moleculo, a superhero with a huge padded suit and a compulsion to turn toward the screen and bellow "THE MOLECULAR MAN" whenever his name is mentioned, even if he's out of costume. Yes, it could very easily have been a sketch on All That. In fact, it has echoes of Kel Mitchell's "Repair Man". Except this time it's Conan O'Brien, so it's automatically 200 times funnier. (Honorable mention: Conan's opening monolouge, during which he takes the cameras across the street to his own studio only to find drummer Max Weinberg and his wife having sex on his desk.)
4. "The Usual Suspects" (5/20/2006 - Season 31, Episode 19 - Host: Kevin Spacey)
Kevin Spacey is pissed at Adam Sandberg for being late to practice, and Adam pulls a page out of Kevin's own playbook and makes up a long, detailed story based on the bulletin board behind his head. Perhaps, in most cases, a throwaway, but this sketch has real sentimental value for me because I saw this literally an hour after seeing The Usual Suspects for the first time. (The Usual Suspects has since become one of my all-time favorite films.)
3. "Weekend Update w/Tina Fey and Jimmy Fallon" (Every fricking time they did it.)
There never has been or ever will be a better Weekend Update team than Tina Fey and Jimmy Fallon. Their deadpan, their wit and their damn good writing (thank you, Tina!) are unmatched in all the decades of the segment.
2. "Love Boat: The Next Generation" (2/23/1993 - Season 19, Episode 12 - Host: Patrick Stewart)
As a rabid Trekkie, nothing made me happier than when, while sick on the couch one summer afternoon in my mid-teens, I stumbled upon a re-run of SNL hosted by none other than Patrick Stewart, Captain Jean-Luc Picard of The Next Generation. Contrary to his stictly-business character on his show, Patrick Stewart is one sassy Brit. He has a goofy-as-hell sense of humor and a great sense of comedic timing, as best demonstrated by the sketch "Love Boat: The Next Generation", which featured the SNL cast (which then included names like David Spade, Tim Meadows, Phil Hartman and Chris Farley) playing the entire TNG cast in a Love Boat episode. From the opening scene "Mr. Data, set a course... for LOVE." to Tim Meadows as Geordi, your friendly bartender and his catchphrase "outta sight!" (Geordi is blind) I laughed so hard I made myself sick for a whole other day. WORTH IT.
1. "First Presidential Debate" (10/07/2000 - Season 26, Episode 1 - Host: Rob Lowe)
Where to begin. For starters, while I've never been a big fan of Will Ferrell, his impersonation of the then-Governor George W. Bush is even funnier now that we've had eight years to grow to hate the guy. Darrel Hammond's Al Gore is spot-on. Every joke made at either of their expenses is fair and right on target. This is the sketch that started a dozen jokes, from "strategery" to "lock-box". The greatest of all of SNL's great election-year sketches, which in themselves are arguably the best the show has to offer, this is one moment in television that no one who lived through the Bush Administration should ever go without seeing.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Top 5 Summer Movies of 2008

For many, summer is a time to relax, enjoy the sun or take a vacation. Personally, I'm far too hyperactive to ever relax, I hate the outdoors and I work during the summer. But there is one part of summer that makes me jump for joy and perform silly dances in public: SUMMER MOVIE SEASON! Summer movies are often the ones that filmgoers, particularly young people, remember, because of their flashy effects, big-name actors and billion-dollar advertising campaigns. Personally, I'm a fan of the summer movie season because it's generally when studios release their best genre films. I love sci-fi, I love superheroes, and as you're about to find out, I love cute robots.

5. Tropic Thunder. To date, the most expensive comedy ever made, not just for the big ol' explosions but for its three big-name actors. How can you go wrong with Ben Stiller, Jack Black and Robert Downey Jr.? Stiller, who also co-wrote and directed, is probably the weakest link in the movie comedically, falling into one of his tired stock characters (see Heavyweights, Dodgeball), but is more than compensated for by Jack Black (who plays a brilliant caracature of himself and actors like David Spade, Eddie Murphy and Mike Meyers) and the new king of the summer blockbuster Robert Downey Jr as an Oscar-winning method actor... in blackface. Risky? But of course. But he pulls it off perfectly, and banter with foil (and actual black guy) Brandon T. Jackson as Alpa Chino keeps the performance from crossing the line from funny to offensive. (Unless you count the "full retard" scene, which I personally found hilarious but can understand why it ruffled feathers.) All-in-all, the strongest comedy of the summer.

4. The Incredible Hulk. I'll confess that I've never seen Ang Lee's oft-panned Hulk, so I will not, like the majority of reviews I've read for this film, be comparing the two. The new film featuring the Green Goliath may be the first Hulk story I've actually ever found compelling, and this is coming from a life-long comic book geek. I've never cared for the character, to be honest. And I won't lie to you and say that Ed Norton's performance as the undersexed Bruce Banner is Oscar-worthy, but he at least managed to bring some humanity to the story. Tim Roth makes a badass villain in his triumphant return to genre cinema (his last two efforts were the lackluster Jennifer Connelly vehicle Dark Water and the god-awful Tim Burton remake of Planet of the Apes). Also, as a friend of mine pointed out after seeing the film, Liv Tyler's "Betty Ross" is actually the only useful love interest in the superhero genre, actually managing to get Hulk out of trouble instead of constantly needing to be rescued. Most importantly, though, it worked in conjunction with Iron Man to create the very first cohesive superhero universe on film - a very exciting prospect for nerds like me. (Hooray, Robert Downey Jr.!)

3. Iron Man. Speaking of... Iron Man is perhaps the most fun superhero film to date. Yes, the effects are terriffic and who wouldn't kill for one of those suits, but the real hero in this movie is its snappy dialouge and less-than-spotless characters. Yes, it's hard not to quote The Big Lebowski any time Jeff Bridges shows up on screen, ("hold still, you little prick!") but he does a more-than-decent job bringing this little-known character to life. I'm a little upset that Terrance Howard is not returning in the sequel, but he was probably the least notable actor in the film, so I'm sure I'll recover. Also, Gwyneth Paltrow was cute. Again, this movie was a great kickoff for the new Marvel Studios Universe. (Samuel... L... Jackson. SAM JACKSON!)

2. WALL-E. Pixar Animation Studios, the last great hope in animation, does it again with their latest, which is simultaneously their smartest and cutest film yet. This movie has something for everyone- kids love it because of the cute robots (I also love it for the cute robots) and adults will enjoy its clever storyline and social commentary, as well as its aesthetic and surprisingly compelling love story. I mean, seriously, Pixar managed to make two computer-generated robots more convincingly smitten than most live-action screen couples. I will concede that the environmentalist message is somewhat shoved down the audience's throat, but it did also have to be clear enough that kids would get it. (Let's not forget this is a family film.) Bonus points for the risks the movie took: the silent first act and the integration of live-action footage. Serious Oscar buzz for this film beyond the Best Animated Feature category is not unfounded.

1. The Dark Knight. Big frakking surprise, this is. A great screenplay, thrilling action and a soon-to-be legendary acting performance by the late Heath Ledger make this not only the best Batman film, not only the best superhero-genre film, but maybe one of the best action-dramas to date. There's little I can say here that hasn't already been said by almost every film critic in the mainstream media - the movie just works. Aaron Eckhart and Heath Ledger both deserve Oscar nods, and Ledger probably deserves the win, though he will probably recieve the award more because of his death than his performance. Now the second-highest-grossing film of all time (within the United States), it's as much a popular success as a critical one. This movie is not perfect, however. Chief complaint: Nolan seems uninterested in encorporating any more of the Batman supporting cast. The detective who tries to beat Joker in his cell should have been Harvey Bullock. The characters shared many traits, physical as well as in terms of personality, and there was no reason not to pay homage to the comics or the animated series by using his name. Personally, I hope to see more references to the source material in the future. Still, once again, Christopher Nolan brings legitimacy to the superhero genre and honors the name of Batman.

Comment quick! The Friday request deadline is fast-approaching!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Top 5 Reasons to Read this Blog

5. Most blogs out there are super-specialized, focused very specifically on one topic or another. This blog has no focus whatsoever, besides the theme of a Top 5 every day.
4. You'll never know what to expect. This week will feature lists ranging from "Top 5 Movies of Summer 2008", "Top 5 Reasons to Buy an iPod Touch" and (I kid you not) "Top 5 Bounciest Languages". At least one thing in your life should be unpredictable, and I aim to provide it.
3. It's audience-participatory! If you post a comment on one of my lists, you can count on a response. You can even attach your own Top 5 response to one of my lists! Plus, there's REQUEST FRIDAYS! On any thread on this site, you can post a request for a Top 5, and on Thursday night I'll select one to post on Friday. (If your request isn't picked the first time, try posting it again in one of the following week's threads.)
2. HUMOR! As if there aren't a billion other places to go for a laugh on the internet, it's my hope that you may find a few here.
1. Because everyone needs a website they can go to on a DAILY basis for entertainment. This page will feature a new Top 5 EVERY SINGLE DAY. GUARANTEED.

Got requests? Got comments, rebuttals or (tasteful) wisecracks? Comment below! Come back tomorrow for a new Top 5!