Monday, October 31, 2011

Top 5 Zombie Movies of All Time

Over 40 years ago, there was Night of the Living Dead, then--nothing.  Zombies spent decades taking a back seat in horror to vampires, ghosts, demons, and aliens, with the best zombie offerings being low-budget productions, or corny flicks with gory zombies mindlessly slurring, "brains."  Luckily, the genre picked up enough in the last decade to make a decent top five list.  So here we go:

5: I Am Legend (2007) - They can call them whatever they want, but these are zombies, not vampires (photophobic zombies, sure, but zombies nonetheless).  This movie got a little cheesy at the end (the howling zombies were ridiculous), but it's still one of the best zombie flicks out there, and Will Smith is great.  Be sure to check out Vincent Price in The Last Man on Earth (1964) (especially the creepy scene where the bodies of the infected are being tossed into a fire pit--including Price's daughter), and Charlton Heston in The Omega Man (1971)--both earlier adaptations of Richard Matheson's book, I Am Legend, obviously the basis of this movie too.

4: 28 Days Later (2002) - Terrifying, often creepy, full of action, and occasionally suspenseful.  This movie defined (or at least, redefined) the modern zombie apocalypse sub-genre.  Oh, and it made the zombies fast, making them frightening in a way that Night of the Living Dead's zombies weren't.

3: Zombieland (2009) - This quasi-spoof on modern zombie movies (unlike Shaun of the Dead, which is a straight-on spoof, and good in its own right) not only holds its own as a great zombie movie, but it's a great movie overall.  It's at times hilarious, touching, and frightening.  Plus, it's got a healthy dose of Bill Murray returning to his comedic roots--what more could you want?

2: Diary of the Dead (2007) - George Romero offers up another classic here.  Some kids are making a horror film when the zombie apocalypse happens.  They end up filming the events documentary style as they trek across the country to find one of the kids' family--who are, predictably, dead.  It's a really well-done zombie film, melding technology with the zombie apocalypse idea, truly bringing zombie movies into the modern age.

1: Night of the Living Dead (1968) - The best is the classic of the genre that all zombie flicks must be compared to.  Mindless dead (called ghouls, not zombies) return to life (possibly from radioactive contamination from a downed space probe) and relentlessly follow a small band of survivors.  The black and white filming adds to the movie's creepiness.  The zombies are slow (in contrast to zombies you see in modern movies), and the horror is almost completely psychological as the group of people suffer from infighting and their own internal fear, all the while with the zombies approaching.  This Romero movie holds up today as well as any of its time.

Happy Halloween.  Comments/criticism below.  Share via FB, G+, and Twitter.  "Like" this post, +1 it, add it to Reddit, Digg, or StumbleUpon, if you enjoyed it.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Top 5 Favorite Things to do in Rochester, NY

I lived in Rochester, NY for two years, and was fortunate enough to have some good friends with whom I could enjoy the town.  These are my top 5 favorite Ra-cha-cha activities.

5: Papercut Ninjas - Local punk cover band--three guys bringing you all the hits from the 80s, including 99 Luftballoons with one verse in the original German (but at a much faster pace, of course).  I was as much of a groupie as this band had, seeing them almost every time they played in the time I was living there.  Not that they  knew that or anything...

4: Dinosaur BBQ - A blues/biker/BBQ joint that attracted suits during the day, and a varied crowd at night.  Live music, a good bar and beer selection, and pretty amazing food, Dinosaur was one of the must-see places when I had visitors.

3: Wegman's - Wegman's is a supermarket, but the flagship store is so much more.  It's got prepared foods, a restaurant, and an amazing selection of foods (cheeses, olive oils, fruits and vegetables, etc.).  Oh, did I mention the gigantic walk-in beer fridge with the great selection of craft beers?  Yeah, that too.

2: Nick Tahoe Hots - Originator of the "Garbage Plate" and still the best plate in town.  What's a "Garbage Plate"?  Only the most amazing delicious food you've ever consumed form a Styrofoam container.  Just Google it.

1: The Old Toad - My vote for best bar in Rochester.  It was a real British pub that was brought over to the US.  They also had British students come and serve as the staff for months on end in some sort of tavern exchange program.  Another great thing--real ales--always three, and always changing by the week (or occasionally sooner).  This was a great place to drink, a great place to meet up with friends, and a great place to just chill after work.  Except for the one night where my bike was stolen from outside--that was not so great.

So that's my five.  Props go to the 10 Ugly Men Festival, but since I only went once, it wouldn't be fair to add it.  Anyone else been to/live in (or near) Rochester and want to weigh-in?  Do so below...

Friday, October 28, 2011

Top 5 Worst Wrestling Finishing Moves

Wrestlers are often known for their finishing moves.  Some are great and look convincingly painful (The Undertaker's "Tombstone"), others don't seem so impressive, but are good because they're performed so well (The Rock's "The People's Elbow"), and some are just painfully bad.  These are the worst of the bad ones.

5: The Stroke (Jeff Jarrett) - This move isn't the problem so much as the way Jarrett delivers it and the way other wrestlers take it.  Jarrett just sort of falls forward, rather than slamming the guy down.  The recipients usually just put up their hands, castrating the move completely.  Double J sucks.

4: The Crown Drop (Jerry "The King" Lawler) - If Lawler wasn't 100, was in shape, and anybody believed for a second that he could kick anyone's ass, his finisher would still be among the absolute worst.  It's a fist drop that usually lands awkwardly.  In his day this move sucked.

3: The Splash (The Ultimate Warrior) - Maybe the most hated wrestler by other wrestlers, Warrior was known for being selfish, dangerous (legitimately, because he didn't know what he was doing), a terrible wrestler, and having the worst promos.  The Splash is something that you can watch 100 times and never once imagine it hurting half as much as all the other moves leading up to it.  If you did this to your mom, she'd get up and yell at you.  So, so lame.

2: The Worm (Scotty Too Hotty) - This is just fucking stupid.

1: The Big Leg Drop (Hulk Hogan) - So lame.  It's a leg drop--primarily because Hogan was such a bad wrestler that he couldn't pull off anything more complex.  It's amazing that this guy was once the most recognizable wrestler in the world.

What do you think--are these moves as bad as I think they are, or are there worse ones?  Share your comments below, please.  And like, follow, Reddit, Tweet, etc. this post! 

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Top 5 Halloween Songs People Just Told Me About

Many folks provided feedback to my top 5 Halloween songs--some on the blog, some on Facebook, a lot on a Halloween message board I post to.  This included many songs I've either never heard before, or never associated with Halloween.  In the spirit of the season (get it, spirit?), today's top 5 is the best of these songs.

5: re: Your Brains (Jonathan Coulton) - A fun, funny, laid back song about zombie co-workers who want to come inside your office and eat your brains.  A great line: "We're not unreasonable, no one's gonna eat your eyes."

4: Dracula (The Ascetic Junkies) - A cool, light, bluegrass/indie-pop song with a nice sound, all about a young girl visiting Dracula.

3: Li'l Red Riding Hood (999) - A punk cover of the 1966 song by Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs with dark undercurrents of the wolf viewing Red as a meal (and impliedly viewing her as a sex object).  Perfect for Halloween.

2: Red Right Hand (Nick Cave) - I've heard this song in so many places for years, but it was never on my radar as a Hallwoeen song.  It's perfect though!  I'm still not entirely sure what it's all about, but it's got a cool, ominous sound to it, and it feels just creepy enough. 

1: Walk Like a Zombie (Horror Pops) - This song is awesome.  It's a bizarre, fun, pop song that I haven't been able to get out of my head since I first heard it a week or so ago.  Damn earworms.  Anyway, I couldn't find a website for the band, but I did find a youtube of the song.  Enjoy!

In light of these, and some other songs people pointed out that weren't on my list, I may need to re-think the original top 5.  But, that will have to wait for next year!  Thanks for all the suggestions to: Jim in LA, Kevin, Johnny_Majic, Mark, Frankie's Girl, stormygirl84, Xane, Dinosaur1972, DarkManDustin, black juju, Cyclone Jack, talkingcatblues, and davidrael.  As always, follow, Tweet, like, share, Digg, etc. this post.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Top 5 Product Names We Use Every Day

Quick--what do you put on a scraped knee?  Yeah, of course, an adhesive bandage.  That's what came to mind, right?  ...but if you thought of something else, "Band-Aid" for example, then check out my top 5 brand names that have slipped into the vernacular.

5: Q-Tip (cotton swab) - The cotton swab was invented by Leo Gerstenzang of Leo Gerstenzang Infant Novelty Company in 1923 when he stuck some cotton to the end of a toothpick (after seeing his wife do the same when cleaning, which really means she should be credited with the invention, but that's 1920s America for ya).  He marketed his product as "Baby Gays" and later "Q-Tips Baby Gays" ("Q" for "quality").  After early 1920s society's crazed infatuation with infant sexual preference passed [citation needed], he shortened the name to "Q-Tips."  Today, we use multiple brands of cotton swabs to clean our ears--against doctors' orders--and we call them all Q-Tips.

4: Xerox (photocopy) - Founded in 1906, The Haloid Photographic Company later changed its name to Xerox Corp. and began making copying machines.  We've been "xeroxing" documents ever since (on machines made by a wide variety of companies), much to Xerox Corp.'s dismay--"Xerox" is still a valid trademark, and the company fights vigilantly to keep it from becoming genericized.

3: Kleenex (facial tissue) - Kleenex was originally used as a face towel substitute (to remove makeup).  It was patented in 1924 by Cellucotton Products Company of Neenah as an "absorbent pad or sheet to remove cold cream."  A decade later it was marketed as a handkerchief substitute, ensuring that in ensuing decades, men would have no idea how to fold the square of fabric that comes with the rental tux on their wedding day.  The name is technically still a recognized trademark, but is on the verge of being genericized.

2: Escalator (moving staircase) - As early as 1859 and continuing through the 19th century, patents were issued on various types of moving staircases.  In 1900, Charles D. Seeberger registered the word "escalator" for a moving stairway, coining the word from verb "escalade" (using a ladder to climb a castle wall).  Otis Elevator Company bought Seeberger's trademark in 1910, and by 1921 developed (more or less) the modern escalator.  The trademark is officially genericized, and the only people who call escalators "moving staircases" are children whose parents haven't corrected them yet.

1: Zipper (separable fastener) - The idea for the zipper has been around since the mid-1800s.  variously called "automatic, continuous clothing closures," "clasp lockers," and "Judson C-curity Fasteners," separable fasteners gained a toe-hold when B. F. Goodrich Company fastened the device to boots.  Zippers caught on and never looked back.  Today, all separable fasteners by any company are called zippers.  In fact, I'll bet you never encountered the term "separable fastener" before now.

Hope this was interesting (and you thought Atari games and comic book movies were nerdy topics).  Shout out to Steve, Bob, Jay, Rebecca, and Evan on episode 320 of the SGU podcast for inspiring this top 5 with their funny and random musings on the same topic.  Please leave your comments below, and don't forget to follow the blog, like it, Digg it, share it via FB and G+, Tweet it, etc. (there are just too many social media outlets).  

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Top 5 Grossest Physical "Improvements"

Every woman I've known has tried to doll themselves up to some degree before going out.  Some women go several steps further, having breast implants or Botox treatments.  Here are the top 5 things women do to look better, but which make them look far, far worse.

5: Over-plucking - Removing your eyebrows and painting (or worse, tattooing) them back on looks bad.  Nobody's clamoring for a girl with clown eyebrows.

4: Excessive makeup - Speaking of clowns...  If applying your makeup takes you more than 20 minutes, you're using too much.  If someone pokes your face and never reaches skin, you're using too much.  If anyone close to you can smell only your makeup, you're using too much.  Most of us aren't looking for a girl who looks like she's made of plastic--we want Barbie's figure, not her skin.  (Seriously though, we don't want Barbie's figure either--it's weirdly proportioned.)

3: Manicure nightmare - Some girls get the French manicure with the black line between the white and pink parts.  This is not hot.  Instead, it makes it look like you've been digging through muddy trash and did a poor job washing your hands.

2: Toenail grooming - If you find yourself meticulously painting (or having someone else paint) your really long toenails, you have a problem.  Sure pedicures can look good, but long toenails are gross, whether pink, red, or whatever.  Also, leaving a pedicure with long nails shows you know they are long, you had an opportunity to remedy the situation, and you did nothing.  Along the same lines, a french manicure on your toes makes it look like you have long toenails, even if you don't.  Bad, bad, bad.

1: Lips with too much silicone - Someone finds this look hot.  Someone must because if you search "silicone," the first things you find are pages of pictures of girls with bad silicone lips, which shows a lot of girls are doing this.  Really though, this is not good.  I sorta feel bad for this person, but then, she seems pretty pleased, so who am I to judge?  

Ladies, please don't do these things; natural is nice.  Sorry for the straight-male-centric stance in this post, but I am what I am.  So, what do you think--am I way off base?  Post your comments below, and share on FB/Twitter/G+, or follow the blog.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Top 5 Worst Trick-or-Treat "Treats"

You spent the time getting dressed up.  Although you keep cutting your tongue on the mouth slit of your cheap plastic costume and the rubber band your mom used to replace the mask's string is pulling your hair out, you soldier on, determined to get as much free candy as you can carry.  You have one night--no extensions.  Things start off great with some candy bags or full-sized candy bars (see the best trick-or-treating treats), then, ...tragedy!  Here's 12 year old Kooz's thoughts on the worst things you can get while trick-or-treating.

5: Coupons - Let me be clear: there are two kinds of coupons a kid could get for Halloween.  The first is the $1.00 coupon for McDonald's.  That's gold, Jerry.  Gold!  The second is the percentage/dollar amount off something the kid isn't going to buy anyway.  Thanks for wasting my time.  You get an egg next year.

4: Pennies - Lady, we aren't 3.  We know pennies aren't real money.  Don't pawn off your garbage change on us!  Penny for my thoughts?  I'm thinking egg.

3: Fruit - Kids don't want fruit.  Kids certainly don't want fruit in lieu of candy.  It doesn't matter if these are the best peaches or the most delicious apples--we don't want them!  But even if we did, our parents wouldn't let us eat them for fear that you're a psychopath putting razor blades in the fruit.  (And can you blame them?  You're giving fruit on Halloween!).  Egg.

2: Hard candy - Although I'm fairly certain the only time I encountered this was when I visited a house with the light and an old woman who was totally unaware it was Halloween.  The only sweets the blue-hair had was hard candy stuck together in a porcelain bowl.  Even when it's fresh, loose hard candy is absolutely inedible.  That sucked, but you can't blame her, she was caught off-guard.  No egg, but c'mon lady, turn off your light!

1: Nothing - Don't put on your porch light and certainly don't have Halloween decorations up if you don't intend for trick-or-treaters to come to your door.  If you violate these rules, you'd better dig through the cabinets and find a fruit roll-up or chocolate chip granola bar for me.  Don't be a jerk and send me away empty-handed--even the old lady in #2 gave me crappy old candy.  For nothing, you bought yourself a solid dozen.

There's one I didn't include since it never happened to me, but there is at least one documented case of some poor kid getting a rock.  My kids are 20 months and -2 months, but when they're older, I can't wait to see what kind of crap they get!   Check out more Halloween top 5 lists: best Halloween songs, best vampire movies, best Oktoberfest beers, and Tim Burton movies (that's not such a stretch if you're familiar with his work).  As always, if you have a comment, please post it below (and follow the blog, or share on FB, Twitter, or G+).

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Top 5 Annoyingly Misspoken Words

Language snob alert.  These misspoken words aren't egregious penalties worthy of punishment, but boy are they annoying.  You've heard them all.  You might even say a few incorrectly.  Well, school's in session.

5: Jewelry - "Jewlery."  First, yes, I know it may be said (and spelled) differently in GB and Australia.  In the US, say the word "Jew," then the Spanish word "el," and add the "ry" pronounced "ree." It is not pronounced "Jew-lur-ee."  Although this incorrect pronunciation is ubiquitous and I'm sure it will be an accepted form soon.

4: Chipotle - "Chipolte."  For some reason, people have trouble putting the "t" before the "l."  This mistake has been around quite some time, but has become more common with the Chipotle restaurant chain. It's "chi-poe-t-lay," not "chi-pole-tay."

3: Probably - "Probly."  There is an "ab" in the middle there, folks.  Just sayin.'

2: Espresso - "Expresso."  It's got an "s" in there, not an "x."  However, spelling it with an "x" is actually an accepted variant.  Therefore, if you correct someone, you are in the wrong!  But this list is for annoying misspoken words.  I'm counting a technically proper, but very uncommon variant as misspoken, and this one is certainly annoying--when you know the preferred term, it's impossible not to notice someone using the "x" form.

1: Frustrated - "Fustrated."  You must have the "r" in there.  No question.  Leaving it out is incorrect.  It isn't even difficult to pronounce, it's just learned incorrectly.  This grates on my nerves, and is the one word on the list I might actually speak up about. 

Best joke about a mis-heard (not quite misspoken) word: A father is speaking to his daughter's boyfriend.  He says, "Since you are getting serious with my daughter, you should know, in the interest of full disclosure, that she has acute angina."  The boyfriend says, "Yeah, well you should see her tits!"  Comments below, and share us on FB, Twitter, and G+.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Top 5 Most Frustrating Droid Apps

There are hundreds of apps that are useless or have problems that prevent them from working.  This post isn't about those.  This is about the apps that could be useful, but have problems that make them too annoying to use.

5: Yahoo! Fantasy Football 2011 - The problem has since been fixed, but had been that every time the app was opened, the Yahoo! yodel would blast from your phone, regardless of whether or not you had the volume off.  Perfect terrible for updating your fantasy lineup during business meetings.

4: Talking Tom and all the related apps - My 20 month old loves these, but he can't control his little fingers, so he touches the screen in the wrong place bringing up ads or options to download the pay version of Talking Tom--all while simultaneously freezing the current "game," causing my son to freak out.  I finally dropped a dollar to stop this from happening.  Of course, the pay version also has places on the screen to touch that bring up ads and freeze the game.  So annoying.

3: Metro North - This is supposed to tell you the next few trains and whether they're on-time or late, helping you determine if the train arriving on track 3 is the one you need.  The problem is an update to the app that caused it to take forever to load, letting the trains depart before you could consult the app, making it worthless.

2: Words With Friends - It is such a fun and addicting game, but its the buggiest popular app on the Droid system.  Games disappear, it freezes and won't let you make moves, and suffers from a million other small problems.  It's death by a million papercuts.  I deleted it.  Plus, it didn't keep track of a win/loss record, games played, etc.--come on, such an obvious feature!

1: Evite - Evite does not have a Droid app.  Shame on Evite.  Really.  Although I shouldn't be surprised, Evite is the most user-unfriendly popular site on the interwebs.  So yeah, the worst app is this one that doesn't exist.

I have a Droid Incredible which suffers from the famous "storage problem" so I haven't downloaded many new apps lately.  Let me know what apps should be on this list but aren't--WARN US!!!  And as always, follow us on Twitter (@KoozTop5), and share us via Tweet, Facebook, or Google+ by clicking the links below.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Top 5 Reasons You Don't Need to Answer Your Smartphone Right Away

From time to time, the Kooz Top 5 will feature a guest blogger.  Now is one of those times.  Please welcome Michael Small who brings us today's top 5.  Take it away, Mike!

In many ways, technology has improved our lives.  We live in a world of instant news and current world events, high speed problem solving computers, and high efficiency green energy.  One technology has improved the ways we communicate, in both volume and speed: the smartphone.  Yet there are some who have abused this technological wonder and passed the decency boundary to the point where society now has 'cellphone free' zones.  This post is for those people.

5: The rest of this bus/subway/train car really doesn’t care what's for dinner or if Johnny did his homework--we just want to get where we are going without having to worry about math or dinner plans.  And for those mad-texters--when you assume your ‘text’ position in these cramped quarters, you intrude on our personal space…

4: Responding to your phone at the table with your hands below the table cloth doesn’t look like you are responding to an e-mail--it looks like something else… Yeah, we went there…

3: Are you showing the person you’re with that you are so important and have to respond to a text/e-mail right away?  Seems more like you're saying: “You don’t really matter to me--I’m just biding my time chatting with you, until the next ‘where r u’ or ‘lol’ comes in."

2: Yes--you'll be talking too loud for this elevator.  No matter what you say or do, the other people in this little rectangular box can hear what you're saying.  Covering your mouth and phone with your hand will muffle the noise, but we can still hear you.  Besides--you’re going to have to repeat yourself 5 times or say “What?” a bunch of times, and ultimately lose the call anyway.  How long is the elevator ride anyway?

1: You’re in a Bathroom--whatever you're saying/writing can wait its turn after a #1 (or #2--yeah, we went there too…).

What about you guys?  I'm sure you can come up with reasons people should leave their phones in their pockets.  Share your thoughts or let us know how Mike did by commenting below.  Thanks, Mike, for filling in.    As always, follow us on Twitter (@KoozTop5), and share us via Tweet, Facebook, or Google+ by clicking the links below.

Top 5 Funniest Facebook Posts I Read This Week

I read #1 this morning and literally laughed out loud (or lol'd?  Do I need to write it out in a blog post?  Can anyone correct or confirm my blog grammar conundrum?).  It got me thinking that I often read funny quotes, comments, and observations form Facebook friends.  I scrolled back a few days and grabbed a few I think are funny/clever.  Also, these folks are pretty consistently interesting with their posts, so if you know 'em, friend 'em (my apologies if some links don't work--I got permission to use names, but privacy settings are what they are).

5: "J-Lo, do you really think we believe that you go back to 'the block' in your Kohl's clothes?" - Christie E. Cartolano

4: "'nick nick nick nick nick who who who won the tickets'  That was my phone's voice recognition technology for Amadeus, Amadeus.  Amadeus.  Amadeus, Amadeus.  Amadeus.  Amadeus, Amadeus.  Oh, oh, oh, Amadeus." - Suzanne Hereth Kozlowski

3: "Says apparently Hall of Hall and Oats will be performing live, somewhere in the area in a couple of weeks.  No Oates, just Hall.  Seriously?  That must be illegal in most countries." - Eileen Maher

2: "Just learned that 'deadmau5' is pronounced 'deadmouse' and not 'dead mow five' like I had believed." - Suzy Ruffy

1: "Just saw a guy using a payphone.  I can only assume he's being told where to deliver ransom money" - Gonzalo Daniel D'Alessandro

One I didn't use but which made me laugh was: "Imagine if vampires were real... damn" - Vinny C.  I don't know if it's objectively funny, or if it just caught me off-guard in a silly mood, but it made me lol.  Or laugh out loud.  Whatever.  What are the funniest things you've read on Facebook/Twitter lately?  Post them below (and don't forget to Tweet or FB share this link).

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Top 5 Tastiest Non-Sweet Breakfast Cereals

I love cereal.  I used to have it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner as a kid, and occasionally still do.  I like sweet cereals, but there are some non-sweet cereals that I couldn't do without.  Those are listed below.

5: Crispix (Kellogg's) - It has a rice side and a corn side!  I don't know why that matters, since they taste the same, but it makes them cooler than rival Chex (did you know Crispix was invented about 30 years ago to compete against Chex?), so it makes the list by a slight margin.

4: Kix (General Mills) - Some would argue that this should count as a sweet cereal, but no, it isn't.  This processed, puffed corn is "kid tested, mother approved."  Of course, if you do some Google searching, you'll find plenty of mothers bitching that they don't approve of the salt content, some chemicals, that Kix are a choking hazard, or that it contains too much sugar (it doesn't).  Those moms are nuts.  Kix are Kooz tested and approved.

3: Puffed Rice (Quaker) - This not only tastes amazing, but it's so light, it's almost non-existent.  Lest that read as criticism, allow me to disabuse you of the notion.  Puffed Rice is the only cereal on this list that an average person can eat an entire box of in one sitting, making it well worthy of the number 3 spot.

2: Rice Krispies (Kellogg's) - It talks to you!  Was there anything cooler as a kid?  Well, yeah. lots of stuff.  Even in the cereal arena there was plenty cooler.  But of the unsweetened cereals forced upon you as a toddler by sugar-wary mothers, this was, I guess, the coolest.  When it comes down to it, it's a really tasty cereal, even when it gets water-logged with milk.  Not to mention, it tastes great when mixed with melted marshmallow and cut into bars!

1: Cheerios (General Mills) - Cheerios is one of the first solid foods that you eat as an American kid, and it stays with you your whole life.  It's no wonder they are the number one selling cereal in the States.  I remember my Aunt Joan putting Cheerios into a frying pan with butter and serving them to me and my brother and cousins during sleepovers.  No idea why she thought that was a good idea--her furniture must have been covered in butter grease the following morning--but we loved it, so it was all good.

Argue it if you want to, but corn flakes by any name are gross, and that's that.  Apologies to my dad for not including Post Raisin Bran--yeah dad, I know that Kellogg's is the one that used to coat its raisins with sugar, but Post is clean and should be on the list.  Nope--if it's got fruit in it, it's a sweet cereal.  Comments below, share via Facebook or Twitter, or follow the blog--thanks!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Top 5 Best Halloween Songs

Another Halloween themed list--I'm getting into the season.  This is more of a "pop" list; it won't contain things like the theme to Friday the 13th or other orchestral type music.  I hope you'll find a song or two you didn't know, and come to appreciate them every October.  (I'm guessing they'll be #5 and #2, but who knows.)  Follow the song-name links to hear these tunes.

5: Zombie Zoo (Tom Petty) - A relatively unknown Petty song (in fact, that isn't Petty's video I linked to--just some video some couple made; Petty never made a video as far as I can tell).  It's often thought to be a prostitution cautionary tale, but it's actually about a deathrock club called "Zombie Zoo" in LA.  Deathrock was like punk/goth in the early 80s (or for those too young to know goth, think emo but less whiny).  Petty was eating at a restaurant next door to this club, met some of the kids who were at the club, and wrote this song.  Cool story; cooler song.

4: Nightmare On My Street (DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince) - I'm pretty sure I couldn't find a video because there were problems with copyright violation or trademark infringement or some such intellectual property nonsense when this came out, causing it to get pulled.  Anyway, maybe it's just my "Parents Just Don't Understand" hangover that makes me love this song, or maybe the mental image of Will Smith getting chased by Freddy Krueger.  Either way, this is a great song for thirty-somethings at Halloween (anyone older didn't care and anyone younger doesn't remember).

3: Thriller (Michael Jackson) - Vincent Price's laugh would alone raise this to top 5 status.  The video gives it the bump to number 3.  That may be unfair, since this is a Top 5 "songs"--not "videos"--list, however the video is simply iconic.  The song is really good too and might have made #3 on its own.

2: Monster Mash (The Misfits) - The Misfits took Bobby "Boris" Pickett's Halloween staple and sped it up to bring a gothic-punk feel.  Fast guitar and faster lyrics fire you up to play some serious beer pong at your Halloween party, or just chill in a crowded, costume-filled room and take it all in.

1: Werewolves of London (Warren Zevon) - Beat these lyrics for Halloween: "I saw a werewolf drinking a pina colada at Trader Vic's--his hair was perfect.  Ahh-ooooooooooooooh, werewolves of London!  Huh--draw blood!"  If you can do so with a catchier beat and hook, I'll cede the number 1 spot to you.

Lots of good songs out there--let me know what good ones I'm missing so I can download them in time for the holiday!  And if you're feeling festive, check out these links: Best Trick-or-Treating and Best Vampire Movies; or for drinkers, Top Oktoberfest Beers, and Top Drinking Holidays.  And don't forget to share this on Facebook or Twitter.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Top 5 Best Things from Trick-or-Treating

My heyday of trick-or-treating was in the late 80s, and some things may have changed in the decades since I last went out (I'm sure you'll let me know in the comments), but I remember these things being the best things you could encounter when out for Halloween.

5: The "reach and grab" - Occasionally, you'd hit a house that others missed, or a couple that went way overboard on their candy purchase, or someone looking to unload candy late in the evening.  These folks were so happy to see a trick-or-treater that they'd hold out their bowl and tell you to take as much as you'd like.  You'd always take one, hesitant lest this be a cruel joke, waiting for them to urge you to take more.  At that point, you grabbed as much as you could possibly fit in your hands.  Always a welcome surprise.

4: Real money - There is some argument about this, since getting a 50 cent piece or a buck sorta took the fun out of things, but you always got enough candy anyway, and if you ended the night with a few dollars in your pocket as well, good for you!  You never appreciated the cash the night of, but when you went to the store November 1st with free reign to get whatever additional candy you wanted, it all became worth-while.

3: The candy bag - You had to love the people who gave you a small, paper, Halloween-themed bag.  When tallying your candy and sorting into "keep" and "trade" piles, you cherished these little bags.  It was a present from a stranger--much better than simple candy.  Plus, you knew that if they went through the trouble to make the bags, they put thought into what the bags contained.  It wasn't odd to find several different candies as well as stickers, baseball cards, and other knick-knacks.    

2: The full-size candy bar - Despite your gigantic haul of candy overall, nothing was better than digging out that full-sized Milky Way or Charleston Chew.  It almost didn't matter whether or not you liked the brand since a full-sized candy bar made excellent trade bait.  Full-size candy bars were hallowed in my neighborhood.

1: The basket - The Halloween Holy Grail--on a somewhat desolate street, you approach a house with it's light on.  You ring the bell--no one answers.  Just as you're calculating how many eggs are needed to teach these people the error of their ways, you notice a basket with a sign: "Take One - Happy Halloween!"  One of two things happened next--either (1) you cursed your luck at arriving too late and finding the basket empty (or worse--filled with Dum-Dums), or (2) you stole glances at your friends and determined how to split the booty, leaving only undesirable items and a few decent treats to give the sense that you didn't just raid the joint.  I often expected someone to come out yelling at me, but it never happened.  

As far as what the best candies to receive were, that deserves a top 5 of its own.  For a rough guide, check out the Top 5 Best Candy bars.  Please leave your comments below, and follow us, Tweet us, and Facebook/G+ share us!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Top 5 Best Oktoberfest Beers of 2011

Oktoberfest has passed for this year, but plenty of great Oktoberfest beers are still on shelves.  I've been lucky enough to sample a lot of Oktoberfest beers this year and last.  Here's my take on the best of them.

5: Oktoberfish (Flying Fish) - Light brown color and a sweet smell but not sickly sweet.  A bit watery, but overall a good beer with a robustness and a mild sweetness to it.  Hints at various spices--but just barely.

4: Hex (Our-toberfest) (Magic Hat) - Slightly opaque with a dull orange/rust color, subtle spice hints and some nuttiness in the nose. Tastes malty and not too sweet despite the caramel hints.  Nice aftertaste too.

3: Saranac Octoberfest (Saranac) - Sweetish smell with bitter overtones that hint at the sharpness of the first sip.  However, the beer coats your mouth and the succeeding sips are smoother and quite mellow.  The bitterness comes from hops, but they are well-balanced with the malt.  The caramel finish leaves you wanting more.

2: Samuel Adams Octoberfest (Samuel Adams) - Orange colored and not much of a smell, but it does have the amazing creamy mouthfeel you find in most Sam offerings.  Mellower than most Oktoberfests and very light on the spices which only exist in the aftertaste.  Tastes malty with a mild sweetness.  This well-balanced beer is just about perfect.

1: Berkshire Oktoberfest Lager (Berkshire Brewing) - Brownish-orange and slightly hazy colored, this is a really appetizing beer.  Hints of mild sweetness in the nose--it starts malty up front, then mellows to a sweet aftertaste.  It's full-bodied and creamy too.  This is the beer equivalent of a five-tool player in baseball--it has everything going for it and no shortcomings.

Special shout out to Stone Hill Brewers Oktoberfest, brewed by Chuck--tried it this year and it was amazing, but can't put it on the list since it's a home brew and unavailable to you guys (unless you know Chuck).  Anyway, if you're a beer fan, you should check out Beer Advocate.  The website is an amazing beer resource. If any of you are on there, post your username below.  And post your comments too!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Top 5 Best Guns N' Roses Songs

So I was just invited to a Gn'R concert in December.  I'm leaning toward not going, since I am not a big fan of anything Gn'R past the Use Your Illusion albums (The Spaghetti Incident?  Yuck.).  He told me I need to give a second chance to a bunch of Chinese Democracy songs.  I will, but in the meantime, here's my list of the five best Gn'R ever recorded.

5: You Could Be Mine - (Use Your Illusion II, 1991) - When T2 came out in theaters, it was an event--everyone was talking about it.  This song captures all the excitement of the movie with fast drum beats, faster guitars, and as always, interesting lyrics ("With your bitch slap rappin' and your cocaine tongue you get nothin' done").

4: Welcome to the Jungle (Appetite for Destruction, 1987) - Among the most recognizable openings of any song, ever.  (Go ahead, click the link and check.  See?  Told you so!)  Extra points for the B-side of this single being Mr. Brownstone--awesome in its own right.  This is Axl and Slash's first collaberation, and it's one of their most memorable.  No song touched this as a veiled warning for coming to the big city until Jay-Z's Empire State of Mind.

3: Patience (Lies, 1989) - One of the best monster ballads of all time, this song was entirely acoustic and entirely without percussion.  It's soulful and it speaks to a love we've all experienced--that confusing, possible unrequited (but possibly not) love.

2: November Rain - (Use Your Illusion II, 1992) - The best monster ballad ever--beating even Poison's awesome duo of Every Rose Has Its Thorn and Something To Believe In.  November Rain was like three songs in one, and it covered a full spectrum of emotions from elation through sadness to anger and settling on peace.  The video was pretty great too.

1: Sweet Child O'Mine (Appetite for Destruction, 1988) - I've explained to a lot of people that Axl, the name of the hot lead singer of Guns N' Roses, is a boy's name.  This song was written by Axl in five minutes when he heard Slash messing around playing the opening melody.  They originally thought it would be a throw away filler song on the album, but for my two cents, it's their most honest, sincere song.  Underneath the guitar, bass, drums, and screeching vocals, there's something just sweet about it all.

This was one of the hardest lists to narrow down--I'm sure you have comments on how stupid it was to overlook your favorite.  Let me have it below (and don't forget to Tweet or FB share this post).

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Top 5 Best Tim Burton Films

Tim Burton has an amazing track record of directing and producing really odd, weird, strange, and fantastic movies.  While he's fallen off a bit recently, his best work is at once dark, funny, heartwarming, and clever.  Here are the best movies he's either produced, directed, or both.

5: Edward Scissorhands (1990) - Vincent Price plays an old inventor who creates a human boy, Edward.  Sadly, the boy remains unfinished, having scissors for hands, when the inventor dies of a heart attack before completing his creation.  (Heart breaking that he was in the process of giving Edward real hands when he died.)  Edward goes on to grow up alone and develop no social skills until he is found by an Avon lady who brings him home.  People discover Edward is a terrific hairdresser, but their latent prejudices come to a head when those who have been taking advantage of him turn on him. - Burtonesque: A manufactured man with scissors for hands--the creation of a mad scientist--intersecting with the real (our) world.

4: The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) - One of the few commercially successful stop motion films in the last twenty years, this has become a classic for both Halloween and Christmastime.  This is the story of Jack from Halloweentown discovering Christmas and usurping the role of Santa to disastrous effect.  Don't worry, everything works out in the end.  Burtonesque: Halloweentown filled with creepy monsters, ghosts, and ghouls; the icons of every holiday alive and interacting with each other and the real world, but only on a limited basis.

3: Big Fish (2003) - The story of a dying man told through a lifetime's worth of very tall tales; and the story of his wounded relationship with his son.  This is so beautifully done, and so well acted--it's impossible not to cry by the end.  This is easily the best movie on the list, but it isn't the best Tim Burton movie (as in, it isn't the film that best reflects his whimsically trippy style).  Burtonesque: Tall tales including stories of giants, werewolves, creepy circuses, and a town called Spectre, and their relative truths in the real world.

2: Beetlejuice (1988) - A couple dies to find themselves occupying the veil between the living and the dead, trying to rid themselves of a live family who've moved into their house.  When they summon the crude Beetlejuice by saying his name three times, they get more than they bargained for.  Burtonesque: Ghosts, the rules that apply to ghosts, and the red tape and hierarchical structure of the afterlife, all bisecting with the real world.

1: Pee-wee's Big Adventure (1985) - Pee-wee Herman's bike gets stolen, and his quest for its return leads him on a wild goose chase to the Alamo, encountering all manner of bizarre and quirky people on the way.  This movie is responsible for a dozen or more classic movie quotes, and should be on everyone's list.  Burtonesque: Leaping from bizarre situation to bizarre situation, including an unforgettable stop in a magic shop.

I tried to find a spot for Mars Attacks! since nobody seems to remember he both produced and directed that spoofy gem, but he's responsible for so many masterpieces that I'm not sure it would place any higher than 8.  Unfortunately, two movies that should be on this list aren't, as Burton dropped the ball on Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Alice in Wonderland, two stories in his wheelhouse.  Let's hope he finds his mojo again and gives us more of the good stuff.

Share with Facebook or Tweet this, if you like it.  Also, comment below (I'd love to know your top 5).

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Top 5 Best Candy Bars

Who doesn't love a candy bar?  Fascists, probably.  But they aren't reading this blog anyway.  Here are the five candy bars I'd want if I were trapped on a desert island.

5: Symphony with Almonds and Toffee Chips (Hershey's) - Really smooth, velvety, melt-in-your-mouth milk chocolate with bits of almond and toffee in it.  A regular Symphony bar is so rich and smooth that it's great on its own, but when you factor in the crunchy bits, it's downright epic.  My favorite is to get a piece and let it melt away, then chew up the remnant almond and toffee.

4: 100 Grand (Nestle) - Formerly the $100,000 bar (when that was a lot of money--maybe it's time to bring it back), this is milk chocolate with crisped rice covering a small batch of soft, chewy caramel.  It isn't one bar, it's two half-bars in a regular-sized package.  There's something very satisfying about biting through the crisp and rich chocolate and hitting that chewy center.

3: Payday (Hershey's) - Sick of chocolate?  Hershey's figured you would be and came up with the Payday bar--soft, chewy caramel covered in peanuts.  The best of it?  The peanuts are salted!  Mmm...

2: Almond Joy (Hershey's) - Chewy and sweet coconut covered in milk chocolate with an almond right on top.  It's two half-bars per package--the only way this could be better is if they provided a variety option, letting you get an Almond Joy half-bar and its cousin, a Mounds half-bar (the same coconut, no almond, dark chocolate instead of milk), in the same package.  We can dream, right?

1: Twix (Mars) - You get two of them!  Sometimes, they are just stale enough that the caramel is a little bit harder than intended, and if you bite it just right, the caramel and and cookie split and you get two distinct candy bars in each stick of Twix.  Twix has had multiple variations over the years, but it's never mattered--original Twix is number one.

Man, I look at the list and there are so many missing!  But alas, there's only room for five...  What would you add?

Monday, October 10, 2011

Top 5 Coolest Celebrity Chefs

Fact: one-third of all shows on television are food shows.  (Not a true fact.)  Really though, there are a lot of cooking shows out there, giving rise to the phenomenon of the celebrity chef.  There are hundreds from Julia Child to the Wok with Yan guy--here are the coolest ones:

5: Mario Batali - Iron Chef, host of a handful of cooking shows, and holder of a Michelin Star, no question that Batali is a stud in the kitchen.  He also pops up on a ton of different shows, seems to know everybody in the culinary world, and is just a well-liked, cool guy (with one notable exception--see below).  Plus, though he seems to have a wholesome, nice image, he is really a man's man that Maxim magazine would be proud of.

4: Gordon Ramsey - He has no less than seven current food-themed reality t.v. shows in two continents, all running at once.  It's a wonder he ever has time to oversee his vast empire of Michelin Star restaurants.  His shows are incredibly formulaic, and they serve primarily as a platform for Ramsay to pimp himself, but he deserves the accolades he gives himself.  He's a culinary superstar, a former pro-soccer player, and is apparently feuding with Batali, which only makes them both a little cooler.  He's also terrific about finding new ways to belittle other chefs.  Mitchell and Webb did a great take (though not by name) on one of his shows here.

3: Masaharu Morimoto - This guy was the badass of the Iron Chefs in the original Japanese Iron Chef.  He went on to be the only original Iron Chef to cross over to Iron Chef America.  He also (metaphorically) kicked Bobby Flay's ass twice (once officially, and the other time Bobby Flay was given the win, which was bullshit).  He's also a world-renowned sushi chef.

2: Tom Colicchio - Colicchio is the head judge on the best cooking reality show on television--Top Chef.  What's cool about him is that he's honest.  He doesn't pull punches, but he's also not a dick simply to create a persona (I'm looking at you, Gordon).  You get the sense that the guy you see is who he is, and the guy you see is a cool guy.

1: Anthony Bourdain - Probably the worst actual chef on the list (in fact, he styles himself a "cook" rather than a "chef"), but it doesn't matter--he's by far the coolest celebrity chef in the world.  He's one of the only people with a cooking show travelling the world eating weird stuff who is actually honest about the gross meals ("Worst.  Iguana.  Ever.").  While in these various places, he is constantly drinking the local liquor to excess (and often, hilarity).  He also ate a still-beating cobra heart, which is the best thing ever.  Oh yeah, he's an amazingly gifted writer (unlike Ramsay, who "wrote" a "with" book, which was pretty mediocre).  Everyone should read Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential.

I've been to Colicchio's and Bourdain's restaurants; both were pretty good, but neither blew me away.  Doesn't matter--their star status is beyond reproach and is not dependent upon their cooking.  Have you tasted anything from these chefs?  If so, tell us how it was.  What about other chefs--anyone missing from this list?  Make your argument below.  And don't forget to share this on Facebook and G+, or tweet it using the links below.

(Dig the most annoying celebrity chefs too!)

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Top 5 Reasons This Is The Last Sunday Top 5


I've been doing this for a while and been putting up a new post every day.  From now on, I'll be skipping Sundays.  Here's why.

5: Maybe it's because it's NFL season, but you guys don't read this blog on Sundays.  Maybe you're in church all day or something, hell, I don't know.  All I know is I see a big drop off on the weekends, but especially Sundays.

4: I work a lot, then I come home and work some more, then I sit down and research and draft a new top 5.  It's not easy!  I'm exhausted and need to reintroduce myself to my family and friends.  (Internal monologue: "Aww, poor me.  Like this is the reason I'm so busy.  Idiot.")

3: A really good top 5 is wasted on a Sunday.  For example, I did the Top 5 Yo Gabba Gabba Characters, which I really liked.  It got very few hits.  Also did the Top 5 Coolest Transformers.  Same result.  I don't want anyone to miss something good just because I posted it on a day when they aren't bored at work and therefore not screwing around online.

2: I annoy my Facebook friends and Twitter followers quite enough during the week.  A day without a link to this blog will be appreciated by them.

1: I just don't feel like it--there's too much going on Saturday night to worry about this blog.  Plus, I'm afraid of what kind of top 5 I might come up with drunk--we are heading into Oktoberfest/Halloween/Thanksgiving/X-mas season after all...

So that's it!  You'll still get (or be burdened with) Monday through Saturday...

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Top 5 Songs by the Cars

The Cars, fronted by Rick Ocasek, are one of the best bands of all time.  They had a ton of really good songs--some of the most memorable of the 70s and 80s, but so many people forget about them or don't realize just how many good songs they had!  Here's my top 5, but there are a bunch more (maybe the commenters can add others).  

5: My Best Friend's Girl - How can you not dig these lyrics?  "You've got your nuclear boots, and your drip dry glove; oh when you bite your lip, it's some reaction to love, o-ove, o-ove..."  Sorta great that it's a song about him sweating his ex, who's currently with his best friend, a la Jessie's Girl...

4: You are the Girl - Another song about an ex, and another song with really cool lyrics: "Why don't you dream anymore?  What's in the way?  How come you point to the door and ask me to stay?"  It also has a great popcorn/bubblegum pop rhythm, which makes it fun.

3: Magic - I remember seeing this video as Rick Ocasek walked on water in a pool--it was the coolest effect I'd ever seen (I was 8)!  The lyrics of so many Cars songs are just great, but this song's are my favorite: "I see you under the midnight, all shackles and bows.  High shoes with the cleats a-clickin' a temperamental glow--but then you let me go..."  I love the imagery and the unusual word choices--there's something that's just cool about it, and about Ocasek's slightly delayed singing style.

2: You Might Think - Remember the video where Rick Ocasek's head was attached to a fly?  That was for this song.  This is probably the most distinctive song for the band, and Ocasek is amazing in it--especially in the a cappella break.  There's something real about his voice--aloof yet totally in the moment.  Plus, the musical hook to the song is so great and one of the most memorable of the 80s.

1: Drive - One of the greatest Cars songs and it's not sung by Ocasek.  Drive was a melancholy ballad from the perspective of a guy watching his former girlfriend (or his unrequited lover, I'm not sure which) messing up her life, and he's showing her again and again that he's the one who'll be there for her.  Everything about this song is haunting and sort of mysterious, and the lyrics--when you hear them--stick with you and force you to consider them.

So, did you know that the very unattractive Rick Ocasek met his future wife, supermodel Paulina Porizkova, on the set of the Drive video?   Crazy, right?  (Not that they met on the video set, but that they got married!  Talk about hitting above your average--good for you, Rick.)  This was a tough list because there are so many good songs to choose from, so what did I leave out that you think belongs in?

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Friday, October 7, 2011

Top 5 Items on Taco Bell's Menu

It's among the best fast food restaurants, and I'm hugely craving a run for the border, but not gonna do it...  Got me thinking about all the delicious (but gross) things on the menu though.  Here's the top 5 (but really, there aren't many menu items you can go wrong with).

They don't look like this.
5: Hard Taco - The original.  What makes the Taco Bell hard taco terrific is that if you give it some time, the beef-ish meat product soaks into the shell softening it enough that it won't crack when you bite into it.  There's a Goldilocks factor to this--too soon and the shell will crumble, dropping meat-like stuff into your lap.  Too late and everything will be cold and the grease will congeal slightly.  But when it's right--it's just right.

...or this.
4: Soft Taco - The first soft taco I ever had was from Taco Bell.  I remember them selling a six pack or something, and buying a sixer of soft tacos to bring to the movies (so much better than Milk Duds, and they don't stick to your teeth!).  In my defense, I was 13.  These are easy to eat and really good.  They used to cost less than a buck (and I don't mean 99 cents), but they've since increased--it's too bad.  But yeah, I still buy them.

...or this.
3: Double-Decker Taco - So, what's better than a hard taco and a soft taco?  Both, separated by a layer of refried beans.

...or this.
2: Chalupa - A chewy, slightly fried shell surrounding (probably) meat, sour cream, cheese, tomatoes, lettuce... it's just amazing!  It isn't a true Mexican chalupa, but who cares--the shell is not as crispy, which makes it better.  Unlike so many things on the menu, the Chalupa has some heft to it and is filling and satisfying.  Plus, it's a unique texture, which is nice--it makes you feel like they made it just for you.

...but this isn't too far off.
1: Grilled Stuft Burrito - So it occurs to me that the insides of every Taco bell item are the same, and it's the method of getting it to your mouth that distinguishes each food item.  This is the exception.  First, you only need one--this burrito is enough to fill you.  I always throw in a few other items when I order because I get excited that I'm at Taco Bell, but I rarely eat them after having this burrito.  Second, something happens when the sour cream warms up and mixes with the juices from the meat and the other ingredients.  It becomes sweet and tangy...and awesome.  The rice is also a different ingredient from most other (non-burrito) menu items, which is cool in that it distinguishes the Grilled Stuft.  Finally, this is grilled!  They wrap it up then toss it  into what I imagine is a panini press.  I don't know if this helps in any way, but in my brain it does, and sometimes that's enough.  This is the King of the Border.

All these items are with beef (or whatever it is).  You don't order chicken at Taco Bell, and if you order steak, you have a very low opinion of steak.  Comment below and don't forget to like us on Facebook!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Top 5 Steve Jobs Accomplishments

Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple, Inc., died yesterday from cancer.  Our thoughts are with his family and loved ones.  Many would say a person's family is the person's greatest accomplishment, therefore, this top 5 will only look at the technological achievements of Jobs.  (In fairness, he didn't create all these things, but he was the guy in charge, and without him they may never have been developed.)

5: iPad - A tablet computer--brilliant!  Smaller and less useful than a laptop (or "notebook"), yet more useful for some functions than a smartphone, a lot of people bet against the iPad's success.  Those people were way wrong.  Hasn't revolutionized the world the way 1 through 4 have, but it's still young (it was introduced last year--2010)...

4: iMac - In '98, Apple introduced the iMac, a Macintish computer with translucent neon colored casings, rounded corners, and a community of Apple lovers (I'm pretty sure that came standard with it, same as the old Saturn cars).  The iMac also marked the beginning of a new golden age at Apple.

3: Macintosh - The first personal computer (that anyone but uber-geeks had access to) to use a graphical user interface (you could interact with images on the screen instead of needing to type code commands to get something to happen).  Imagine a world without the computer mouse?  Goodbye usable internet and smartphone.  The 1984 Macintosh paved the way for competitor Microsoft's Windows.  (Okay computer guys (and gals), tell me where I screwed up.)  Also, Macintosh gave rise to one of the greatest commercials of all time.

2: iPhone - In 2007, this revolutionized the "smart phone"--every solely touchscreen smartphone is essentially an iPhone clone.  This one device can take the place of an iPod, a computer, a phone, a camera, and miscellaneous other items.

1: iPod - Ever since we were kids, we yearned to listen to our music whenever and wherever we wanted.  In 2001 we got our wish.  Current models of the iPod can likely hold every song you've ever heard, and still have room left over for a few movies.  The iPod, and the inevitable iTunes, changed the way we listen to and buy music.

Every item on this list was a game-changer.  I bid a sad farewell to a giant of our time.  Today, everyone's a Mac.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Top 5 Disney Villains

We all remember the Disney classics, right?  But do you remember how bad some of those bad guys (and gals) were?  Far worse than wanting to make coats out of puppies, these top 5 were the worst characters Disney has ever breathed (animated) life into.

Behold, my parrot!
5: Jafar (Aladdin) - Way into forced servitude (of Jasmine, his concubine in a movie by any studio other than Disney; and of the Genie, whom he referes to as "slave").  Also bent on obtaining phenominal cosmic power (which is his undoing, as it always comes with "itty bitty living space").

I too have a bird.
4: Maleficent (Sleeping Beauty) - The "Mistress of all Evil" is among the most powerful Disney villains.  She is adept at black magic, including teleportation and shape-shifting (including into a dragon!).  She also claims to summon "all the powers of Hell" while fighting Prince Phillip (the good guy).

How creepy is this guy.
3: Scar (The Lion King) - Weaves a web of deceit and lies, all for power.  Murders his brother to become king, tries to kill his nephew, rules with an iron fist.  His whole demeanor betrays his Hitler- and Stalin-esque character.

She wants this box to get filled with her rival's heart.  Nice.
2: Queen Grimhilde (Snow White) - Super vain, she gets jealous that Snow White is more beautiful than her and even more jealous that a handsome prince is singing a love song about Snow White, so she orders her hunter to take Snow White into the forest and kill her.  As proof of death, she orders her hunter to carve Snow White's heart out and present it to her in a box.  Did I mention that Snow White is her step-daughter?

One of the four horsemen?
1: Judge Claude Frollo (The Hunchback of Notre Dame) - Nobody knows this guy because the movie wasn't in the same class as the others on this list, but this guy is the worst.  He is the ultimate hypocrite--a religious man and a justice minister (sort of like an attorney general) who uses his position and warped morals to attempt genocide on the Gypsy peoples living in Paris.  He also murders a poor gypsy woman, believing her to hold stolen goods (which are not goods at all, but Quasimodo--the "hunchback" of the title).  He then tries to drown baby Quasimodo but is stopped.  As an adult he again tries to murder Quasimodo, dying in the process.  In case you missed it, yeah, I typed "genocide" up above.

There you have it.  I'll bet you had no idea about Frollo, right?  Well now you do.  But don't bother renting the movie, it's still not so great.  Anyhow, comment below (and share this on Facebook and Twitter by usning the links that follow).

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Top 5 Best Comic Book (Super Hero) Movies

Lot's of super hero comics have graced the silver screen, and more are on the horizon.  Organizing them into the top five is a tough chore, and I've probably left out your favorites--but here's my take:

5: Watchmen (2009) - I never read this as a comic/graphic novel, but I feel like I should.  The movie was visually appealing (forgetting the unclad Doctor Manhattan), but the premise is what gets this into the top 5.  Something is awesome about alternate time lines and realistic superheroes being held responsible for their foibles.

4: X-Men (2000) - The original X-Men movie was really good--we forget because every installment since then has sucked (here's hoping for something decent from X-Men: First Class).  Hugh Jackman is great as Wolverine, Halle Barry is good (and sexy) as Storm, and Patrick Stewart is amazing (as usual) as is Sir Ian McKellen (Dr. Xavier and Magneto, respectively).  This was just a well-done superhero movie--just enough action to go with a good plot and well-written story line.

3: Batman (1989) - Back when Tim Burton could do no wrong, he directed this "dark knight" version of Batman.  I can remember kids getting the bat symbol shaved into their heads and people dressing in batman costumes lining up hours in advance to see the premiere (the only other thing that similarly motivated people those days was Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back).  Jack Nicholson as the Joker was primed to go down as the best Batman villain of all time (until a guy named Heath Ledger made Nicholson's Batman look like a bad guy on Scooby-Doo).  This movie was fantastic for the time, and it resurrected superhero movies from the malaise brought on by too much Superman and TMNT.

2: Hellboy (2004) - Ron Perlman is just perfect as Hellboy.  The visual effects in this movie were good, but the story is great--Nazi's use black magic to bring Satan spawn to our world to help their cause; baby demon grows into an adult anti-hero champion of good--it's predictable, but you don't care.  Hellboy is a fun movie, a good action movie, a really interesting story line, and a really well-acted film (for the genre).

1: The Dark Knight (2008) - I wanted to dislike this movie.  It was way too popular among way too many people--how could it be good?  The I saw it, and curses, foiled again!  This movie is amazing.  Heath Ledger was simply fantastic--one of the best villains ever.   I could have done without the last 40 minutes of what was already a long movie, but so what.  Every scene the Joker was in had me on the edge of my seat, and that makes up for too much Two-Face.  

Yeah, I left off the original 1966 version of Batman for two reasons--first, there's already too much Batman on the list.  Second, this is a best movie list.  The 1966 Batman is only a good movie because of how campy it is.  And boy, was it campy!  For anyone who remembers it, two words--shark repellant.  F'ing shark repellant!  At least it didn't take itself too seriously ("Some days, you just can't get rid of a bomb.").

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Monday, October 3, 2011

Top 5 Sega Genesis Games

We previously looked at the Top 5 Nintendo Games, now let's turn our attention to Sega Genesis.  With its super-comfortable controller and ease of use, Genesis was the game system when I was in college in the mid-nineties.  Let's see what the good games were:

5: Golden Axe - This game was pretty cool.  It's the only action game on the list, and with good reason.  Golden Axe allowed you to choose the kind of character you wanted to play, use magic and weapons, and even ride animals, all as you hack 'n slash through Turtle Village on your way to fight Death Adder and regain the golden axe.  Or something.  Whatever, it was a fun game for the game play, not for the story.

4: NHL '93 - All you need to know about this game you could learn from Swingers.  "I'm gonna make Wayne Gretzky's head bleed for super fan number 99 over here"; and, "Check it out, little Wayne's legs are shaking."

3: Coach K College Basketball - Take your pick from the top 32 Division I-A basketball teams and kick some ass.  This game was probably the best basketball game for any system at the time it came out.  It was fun in part because you could choose one player to dominate, and you could run him until your opponent caught on.  There was no real X and O strategy, but you did need to psyche out your opponent.  I constantly lost this game to my roomate Chris, but it still rates #3 on my all-time list--it's got to be a good game if you can lose and still remember it fondly!

2: Evander "Real Deal" Holyfield's Boxing - I spent hours trying to create the perfect boxer then take him to the championship and through to retirement with a perfect record.  Difficult opponents, mandatory challengers with different skill levels, and deterioration of your boxer's skills at a certain point made getting the world title tough, getting there undefeated tougher, and retiring undefeated nearly impossible.  The game play was terrific.  This might be the best boxing game ever made.  (Punch-Out fans can criticize all they want, and I agree that Punch-Out was great, but it was a fun game with a boxing theme, not a boxing game.)

1: Madden NFL '94 - Simple formula to win: pick the Cowboys, line up in the shotgun, and pitch it to Emmitt Smith, and run anywhere.  He was faster and better than every other player in the game, and unfairly so (which was great if you got to pick the Cowboys).  This was the first viable football video game, and the last great football game that didn't require real strategy.

There were a lot of fun games for genesis, but not a lot you could call great.  But then again, maybe I'm wrong.  Come at me with what you've got.  (And yeah, I'm aware of Sonic, I just choose to ignore him.)  (If you like this post, please share it on Facebook or Tweet it using the links below.)

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Top 5 Sushi Rolls

I like sushi, but I will say this up front--this is my list, and yours will be different.

5: Salmon Cucumber Roll - Very simple--nice, neat salmon flavor slightly enhanced by the subtle cucumber.  The cucumber crisp crunch gives it a touch of texture.  A bit of soy sauce (and in this one instance, for the salt) helps enhance the flavor an make the cucumber "pop."

4: Yellowtail Scallion Roll - Softer and milder than tuna, you can really taste the scallions if this roll is made correctly (in rolls with other fish, I find the scallion gets lost behind the tuna, eel, salmon, etc.).  The scallions should also add just a hint of a crunch.  This is a really good beginner roll--it's not "fishy" and it's not overwhelming.

3: Crunchy Spicy Tuna Roll - An inside-out roll with sesame seeds dotting the outside, crunchy tempura flakes in the middle, and tuna diced or mashed together with spicy mayonnaise.  Don't worry--the spicy mayo is not very spicy, but if you want some heat, add a bit of wasabi.  Some places mess around with the formula (adding scallions or putting the tempura on top), but I haven't found a combination or addition that makes this better than it already is.

2: Rainbow Roll - There is no set recipe for this, but it's usually a vegetarian roll (often cucumber, avocado, or scallion) with a piece of colorful sashimi (raw fish) draped on top.  This gets the #2 spot because it's one of the prettiest rolls you'll see.  It's often served with several different fish of varying colors, and makes a strong visual impact.  It's beautiful and it's delicious.

1: Tuna Avocado Roll - My go-to roll.  Creamy avocado with cold, flavorful tuna--good with a touch of wasabi and a few dashes of soy sauce.  (A note on soy sauce--it's good when it's soy flavored, not salt flavored.)  It's a hearty, full-bodied roll, with the tuna and avocado working together to create an explosion of flavor.

I think this is a pretty weak top 5 subject, which is why it's being run on a Sunday.  You guys barely seem to notice this little corner of the web on Sundays...  As always, please tweet this or share it on Facebook using the links below (or share a different, better post).

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Top 5 Reasons Yankees Will Beat Detroit

With Boston's and Atlanta's epic fails behind us, it's time to focus on postseason baseball.  What a great series for fans of baseball history--ghosts of Ruth, Gehrig, Cobb, and Greenberg will be present when the Yankees beat the Tigers.  Here's why (why the Yanks will win, that is, not why the ghosts will be there--which they won't in reality, since ghosts aren't real).

5: CC is better in the postseason than Verlander.  Verlander was terrible in his one stint in the postseason (granted, he is having an anomalous year, so who knows).  He went 1-2 in 4 starts with a 5.82 ERA.  In the last two years, CC if 5-1 in 8 starts, and seems to step it up to the level of competition.

4: Tigers don't hit in the postseason.  Miguel Cabrera, Detroit's best hitter--has a subpar .265 career postseason batting average and .315 on base percentage.  Jhonny Peralta is the only Tiger with decent postseason stats (.333 average, .467 in the ALDS), but that's based only on 11 games 4 years ago, and he's considered an serviceable hitter at best.

3: Jeter ramps it up in Divisional Series.  He has a career .351 average and 10 homeruns, and he thrives on big games and big moments.

2: The rain-induced postponement of game 1 will help the Yankees.  CC can come back on short rest and be brilliant.  Tigers Manager Jim Leyland says he won't use Verlander on short rest.  The game will continue on Saturday, moving game 2 to Sunday.  Game 3 will be Monday, game 4--Tuesday, and game 5--Thursday.  That means CC can throw twice (games 3 and 5), but Verlander will only go once--either 4 or 5.  Even f Verlander isn't good (see #5), the less the Yanks see of him, the better.

1: They are the f'ing Yankees!  But seriously, that means they have a lot of experience--and being there does give an edge, however slight.  This is expected to be a pretty close series, and the experience factor could be the difference that puts the Yanks on top.

Who will represent better in the comments below?  Yankees fans or haters?  We'll see...