Friday, September 30, 2011

Top 5 Lyrics That Nobody Knows

Misheard lyrics.  We've all been there...  You're driving along, singing with the radio.  Then when you try to sing that same song in the shower, you realize you don't know the actual words.  Here's a list with some lyrics  I'm pretty sure you won't know:

5. Purple Haze (1967, Jimi Hendrix) - Everyone hears: "'excuse me while I kiss this guy."  Jimi was progressive, but not that progressive.  It's actually, "'excuse me while I kiss the sky."  Okay, this one's a gimme.

4. 3 A.M. (1997, Matchbox Twenty) - "She thinks that 'happiness' is a mouse that sits on her doorway."  "Happiness" is actually a "mat" that sits on her doorway in the song, but I think the visual is cute, so it makes my list.

3. Rock the Casbah (1982, The Clash) - Everything in this song is misheard.  "Shout we don't like it!  Rock the cash bar, rock the cash bar" is really, "Sharif don't like it!  Rock the casbah, rock the casbah."  I know, right!   Really, there is almost nothing intelligible in this song.  But it's great, so we love it.

2. Blinded by the Light (1977, Manfred Mann) - You know it starts off, "Blinded by the light," but what happens next in the song is cause for debate.  Most commonly, people hear something about feminine hygiene: "wrapped up like a douche, another roller in the night."  Sure, it doesn't make any sense, but it does make you do a double take.  The real lyrics are: "revved up like a deuce, another runner in the night."  Still doesn't make sense, but these are the real lyrics...  Or are they?  Go ahead, click the link above and listen again--we'll wait.

1. Smells Like Teen Spirit (1991, Nirvana) - Another one where you can't make out a single word (other than "hello").  Thank you Weird Al for giving us an alternative version (which itself makes reference to the incoherent ramblings of Cobain in the original).

What are your funniest misheard lyrics?  Share them in the comments...  And share this post via email, Facebook, and Twitter, below!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Top 5 Sweets That Don't Exist Anymore, But Should

Who doesn't love remembering extinct candies and other treats?  I left off novelty candies (the Ken Griffey Junior candy bar, for example); there are just too many and too few are memorable.  One interesting thing I noticed--I am a big chocolate fan, but not a single chocolate entry made the top 5.  Anyway, here's a tasty trip down memory lane...

5. Ecto Cooler - The Real Ghostbusters cartoon heavily featured Slimer, a bad guy from the movie Ghostbusters, who morphed into a sort of a sidekick on the cartoon.  Ecto Cooler was created by Hi-C to take advantage of this loveable sidekick and sell some Citrus Cooler under a new name.  One day, someone realized that the cartoon was off the air, there hadn't been a Ghostbusters movie in years, and Ecto Cooler disappeared.  Or did it?

4. Fruit Wrinkles - There was something delicious about these little fake fruit bites.  They were tiny, tasty, and had a texture that hasn't been matched by anything similar (really--my wife has bought no less than a few dozen various fruit snacks over the years, only to be disappointed time and time again).  We miss you, Fruit Wrinkles, please come back!

3. Bonkers - Remember Bonkers?  You'd eat them, then giant fruit would fall from the sky and kill you!  Awesome!  These were great.  They looked cool (I can't find a good pic, but you get the idea from the wrapper), and tasted really good too.  I'd probably hate them now because they were so sweet, but at 12, I loved Bonkers.  (You thought I was gonna say I was bonkers for them, didn't ya?)

2. Pine Bros. Cough Drops - These were the soft, chewy alternative to Luden's.  I can remember all the kids buying these and eating them like candy.  They were a perfect treat--a nice combination of chewy, yet hard; sweet, but not too sweet; juicy, but not make-you-drool juicy.  They stopped making these some time ago...but lo and behold, they're back!  Haven't tried the re-launch, but will always fondly remember the originals.  (One note--the re-launch comes in a new package with the name/tagline: "Pine Bros. Softish Cough Drops"--I love the word "softish"!)

1. (Original) Good 'n Fruity - The original version of these were similar to their licorice cousins, only with fruit flavors.  They were amazing--a candy shell that was sweet and crunchy, covering a fruit licorice center that was juicy and flavorful.  Good 'n Fruity was revived as a brand, but the new version are basically jelly beans.  This is number one on the list because the originals were really good, but more so because the comeback was (and is) so disappointing.

Okay, technically, Bonkers did have a chocolate version, but there's no way we're counting that, right?  Let's hear what you've got...  And don't forget to share this on Facebook or Tweet it using the links below!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Top 5 Worst 80s Sitcoms that we Actually Watched

A lot of great shows came out of the 80s, but here are a few rare misses that lasted long enough to establish a following...

5. Full House - Does this count as an 80s sitcom?  It ran from '87 to '95.  Anyway, Bob Saget is so funny and so raunchy--but not in this show.  In Full House, Bob plays Danny Tanner, a loser who lives with a failed rock star, a lonely man who plays with puppets, and a gaggle of kids including Mike Seaver's real-life sister, Candice Cameron.  The show is about how everyone is a loser, but that's okay because as long as you live with other losers, life is bearable.  At least I think that's what it was about--I had a lot of trouble caring what was happening by the end of episodes...  Besides, this show spawned the careers of Olsen twins, and that's reason enough to have the show at number 5..

4. Webster - All you need to know about this show you can get from this picture.  See how pissed the guy looks?  That's the same face you'll be making when you realize a half hour of your life has slipped past, and you'll never have it back.

3. Mama's Family - It's a youngish woman playing an old lady--oh how clever.  Cheap sets, lousy acting, and truly unfunny humor, this show had no redeeming qualities.  Here is, apparently, the "funniest" moments in the show's history.  Yes, "funniest" belongs in quotes.

2. Small Wonder - What do you get when you mix bad writing and bad acting with really bad pseudo-sci-fi?  You get a girl unlike other girls!  Terrible.  Besides, what kind of creep is capable of building a realistic android, and does so in the form of a 10 year old girl?  This kind.  Dude, come on.

1. Family Matters - What a shitshow this was.  The show started as a boring, run-of-the-mill family sitcom, and would be comfortably sitting in the trashbin of history if not for a minor character, Steve Urkel.  Urkel eventually stole center stage with his hilarious infuriatingly annoying catch phrase: "Did I do that?"  Oh, Urkel, you did so much more than that.  You made Family Matters the worst sitcom of its decade.

Okay, before you say it, Charles In Charge was not a bad show.  It wasn't formulaic, it had Nicole Eggert, and it had Scott Baio--it was fun.  So what do you think should be number 1?  Anyone ever make it through a whole episode of Mam's Family?  We'd love to hear about it.  Oh, and don't forget to share or repost on Facebook by clicking the link below.

(Check out the Top 5 Funniest Network Sitcoms of 2011!)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Top 5 Funniest Will Ferrell Quotes in Anchorman

Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy.  The last truly great movie Will Ferrell starred in.  It popped into my mind on my drive home, so now I must remind you all of the funniest lines Ron Burgundy spoke--behold (and follow the links for clips):

5: Veronica: "For the entire Channel 4 news team, I'm Veronica Corningstone."
Ron: "And I'm Ron Burgundy.  Go fuck yourself, San Diego."

4: "Discovered by the Germans in 1904, they named in San Diego, which of course in German means 'a whale's vagina.'"

3: "I don't know how to put this, but I'm kind of a big deal.  People know me.  I'm very important.  I have many leather-bound books and my apartment smells of rich mahogany."

2: Brick: "Yeah, there were horses, and a man on fire, and I killed a guy with a trident."
Ron: "Brick, I've been meaning to talk to you about that.  You should find yourself a safe house or a relative close by.  Lay low for a while, because you're probably wanted for murder."

1: "It's so damn hot... milk was a bad choice."

If you don't know or can't remember these quotes, go watch the movie again!  Really, it's one of the funniest movies of the last 10 years.  Hmmm, that might make a good top 5...

What are your favorite quotes from Ron (or from Anchorman in general)?  Share them below (and don't forget to share this post on Facebook!).

Monday, September 26, 2011

Top 5 Words We Don't Use Literally

I am tired of people using thee words incorrectly.  Please stop.

5: Geek - A "geek" is a sideshow performer who bites the heads off of rats, snakes, and chickens, and performs other grotesque acts.  It is often used to mean a smart nerd or a computer nerd.

4: Instant - We like to think "instant" means really fast.  It doesn't.  It is an imperceptibly small amount of time. Instant pudding?  Not if it's taking me 2 minutes--call it "pudding that you can make really, really fast without the need for most of the ingredients traditionally required in the production of pudding" instead.

3: Decimate - "Decimate" doesn't mean to almost completely destroy or devastate (usually the proper word) something.  It literally means to reduce something by 10%.  When this referred to military discipline in the ancient Roman armies, it was significant, as one in every ten soldiers in the unit was killed.  Referring to a sports victory, it seems less significant (and less impressive: "the Knicks decimated the Celtics by a score of 100 to 90!").

2: Ultimate - This refers to the last in the list, not the best.  Thus, the ultimate chapter of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows isn't the best one ("The Flaw in the Plan"--in which the good guys kick ass), but the last one ("Nineteen Years Later"--wherein we learn the futures of some of the Hogwarts kids).  Likewise The Ultimate Warrior was the last warrior in a line of warriors, but as any 80s wrestling fan knows, he was far from the best.

1: Literally - Why do you still get this wrong?  It means "actually" or "in a literal sense"--so when you say, "I was so scared, I literally shit my pants," you must mean you pooped in your skivvies from fright.  It is literally not to be used for emphasis.

As Steve Martin said, "Some people have a way with words.  Some people... not have way."  Let's see if, from your comment below, a way you have (ha!).

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Top 5 Least Funny Comedies on Adult Swim

Adult Swim is Cartoon Network after dark.  It's credited with fueling the second comings of Family Guy and Futurama, but it also runs a lot of its own programming.  Some of its shows are real winners.  Others, not so much...  Here are the losers (and clips for each at the links):

5: The Drinky Crow Show - Based on a comic strip nobody reads found in your free neighborhood weekly paper, the show sounds like it could be funny.  The main characters are a drunk crow and a drunk monkey who spend their time on boats and in bars, apparently in the 19th century.  However, the show turned out to be about two annoying assholes, and not much else.

4: Assy McGee - In contrast, this show is not based on a funny premise.  Here, a pair of legs and buttocks walk and mumble while playing the role of tough-guy police detective.  Jokes include the buttocks firing his gun, and the buttocks drinking beer as though its anus were a mouth!  Oh, the hilarity--it's a butt, and it's a cop!  I can't believe that someone sat through the pitch meeting and still signed on for 20 episodes and two seasons of this.

3: Fat Guy Stuck In Internet - A live-action show about a fat computer nerd sucked into his internet to save humanity--think Tron, only not cool and with crappy effects.  Unfortunately, this show is about as funny as Tron, which is to say, not at all.  It was poorly written and poorly acted.  People have made better shows from their garages.

2: Xavier: Renegade Angel - Here is how the show is described in Wikipedia: "The show is known for its ubiquitous use of surrealist and absurdist humor presented through a psychedelic and New Age lens."  Great, a show that's not funny and tries to make you feel stupid for not laughing at it.  I'll pass on the surrealist and absurdist--I prefer my humor to be funny, regardless of the "lens."  Everything about this show sucks.

1: Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job - Hey Tim and Eric--lousy show, terrible job, please go home.  Need more reasons to hate this show?  How about this, or this, or this?  It's like two of your unfunny friends put together a bad sketch comedy show.

So I know there are legions of Tim and Eric fans out there--if any of you find your way here, defend your show below.  Anyone else watch Adult Swim?  What shows do you love/hate?




Saturday, September 24, 2011

Top 5 Quintessential 80s Pop Songs

I was 5 when MTV first aired, and my babysitters forced me to watch music television all day.  In the end, I loved some Guns n' Roses and Poison, have fond memories of Michael Jackson (the music, not the guy), and listened to a lot of rap in its greatest age.  However, none of this triggers 80s nostalgia like the following songs do.  This list isn't the best of 80s music, but the songs below force you to imagine big hair, leg warmers, and radical jean jackets.  

5: Karma Chameleon (Culture Club) - As a kid, I didn't know if Boy George was a man or a woman, but I didn't care.  I (according to eyewitness reports, which I dispute) just wanted to run around singing: "comma, comma, comma, comma, comma, comma."

4: Jessie's Girl (Rick Springfield) - Ah, a song about lusting after your best friend's girlfriend from afar (just like the Cars sang about 3 years earlier, but whatever).  How did this become a timeless classic?  Probably not from the lyrics, "I've been funny, I've been cool with the lines..."  If you're saying it, then no, no you weren't.

3: Hungry Like the Wolf (Duran Duran) - Duran Duran was great, and this was easily their best song (until Come Undone in 1993).  Hungry was a peppy, upbeat stalker anthem ("Mouth is alive with juices like wine, an I'm hungry like the wolf," and, "High blood drumming on your skin, it's so tight; you feel my heat, I'm just a moment behind.").  Somehow, nobody finds this song creepy or disturbing.  The 80s was an interesting time.

2: Take On Me (A-Ha) - The hook ("I'll be gone, in a day or twoooooo"), with its high-pitched falsetto, is one of the most memorable moments in 80s song history.  The music is instantly recognizable, and a few lyrics were pretty cool too (For example, "But that's me stumbling away, slowly learning life is okay.").  Plus, who could forget the bizarre comic book video!

1: Come on Eileen (Dexy's Midnight Runners) - Besides having the coolest band name, Dexy's Midnight Runners sang this 80s anthem, giving rise to the dirtiest joke ever made on American Dad where the band is inspired to write the song based on "what they just did" to Francine, whom they mistakenly think is called Eileen.

I know what you're thinking, but Journey's Don't Stop Believin' can't make the list because it's timeless (and it's too closely associated with the (non-80s) Sopranos now).  You must have an opinion on this topic--let's hear it!

(...and don't forget to Tweet or share this post on Facebook.)

Friday, September 23, 2011

Top 5 Best "Corey" Movies

In the mid-80s, Corey Feldman hit his acting stride starring in Gremlins (1984), The Goonies (1985), and Stand By Me (1986).  Corey Haim was not as popular, but was building a solid, if not successful, career of his own.  Then these two Coreys teamed up in The Lost Boys, and changed the world of television forever.  Okay, "forever" is a stretch.  I'm pretty sure I recall them claiming they would be bigger than Abbott and Costello, or something like that, which is an obvious "fail."  Still, they did make a few movies together.  Here are their best offerings (10 points if you've seen all 5).

5: Lost Boys: The Tribe (2008) - This sequel to The Lost Boys is the last movie the Coreys made together before Haim's death from an overdose in 2010.  Falling well-short of its namesake (or more appropriately, cashing-in on it), this movie is awful.  Worse, Haim is in it for only a moment right at the end.  But as dreadful as this piece of crap is, and with only a few seconds of Haim, The Tribe is still better than all but four of their joint on-screen endeavors.

4: National Lampoon's Last Resort (1994) - A film so bad it will make you angry (see the trailer at Rotten Tomatoes).  You thought a turd so imperfect could only be shat by a Wayans, but the (writer, director, producer--who do we blame credit?) here made a comedy so predictable and goofy, that it serves as a study in how to stifle humor.

3: Blown Away (1992) - This movie has only one single redeeming grace--the cute girl from Charles In Charge (Nicole Eggert, not the other one) gets naked.

2: License to Drive (1988) - Heather Graham co-stars opposite the Coreys in this fun romp full of adolescent hijinks.  It wasn't too funny and it missed the touch of warmth that made Ferris Bueller's Day Off (released two years earlier) one of the most memorable teen movies of the 80s, but License To Drive is an entirely watchable film.

1: The Lost Boys (1987) - Yes, the Coreys made one legitimately good and enjoyable movie together.  The Lost Boys is a cult horror/vampire classic, and though the effects don't hold up so well over time, the film is bolstered by serious star power and an appealing storyline and a well-drafted script.  The Coreys are also funny here--which is odd, since their later attempts at humor fell flat.

And there you have it--anyone seen all five?  Let's hear your opinion on the list or your reminisce about the Coreys in general in the comments below.  ...And don't forget to +1, tweet, or share this post on Facebook!


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Top 5 Reasons I Hate Last Night's Cabbie

Last night I worked late on a presentation for the morning.  I left my office at 9:18 hoping to catch the 9:37 train out of Grand Central.  It takes 20 minutes to walk, 11 by subway (if you don't have to wait), and 7 by taxi.  Not wanting to take any chances, I flagged a cab.

5: Rather than go across town at 52nd, he started driving down Broadway toward Times Square.  Even a person who's never been to NYC could tell you traffic will be really heavy on Broadway as you approach Times Square.

4: He moved to the far right-hand lane.  This seems like nothing unless you know that Broadway is a 4 lane road with bumper to bumper NYC traffic, and Grand Central is on the left.

3: I told him to get back over to the left, and that I was pissed and going to miss my train.  It was now 9:29 and we had moved 6 blocks.  He moved to the left lane behind a parked car, then couldn't merge back into traffic for 2 lights!

2: At 9:35 I told him I had 3 minutes to catch my train.  He said he's go left on 42nd Street, not knowing that cops don't allow left turns onto 42nd from Broadway at certain times.  He had to go down to 40th to turn left, which means he over-shot Grand Central by a few blocks, and we still weren't across town.

1: At 9:42 I told him to stop the meter and that I'd walk.  I had missed my express 9:37 and the local 9:40.  Next train wasn't til 10:22, which meant I wouldn't get home until 11:30.  As I was paying--fool that I am, I paid him--he had the balls to blame the traffic.  This is the same traffic he drove into and should have avoided in the first place! 

What an asshole!  Maybe I'm the asshole for paying.  Oh well.  Sitting on the train now.  Back to my dreaded commute.  Sorry for the rant.  Back to your regular programming tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Top 5 Things That Bugged Me About the Two and a Half Men Premiere

Charlie Sheen (born Carlos Irwin Estevez--bet you didn't know that!) was roasted by Comedy Central and killed on the show that resurrected his career, both on the same night.  Although Two and a Half Men hasn't been funny for years, this season's premiere has made it officially unwatchable.  Here's what bugged me about it:

5: Charlie Harper (Sheen) is dead, and the show opens at his funeral.  But is anyone sad?  No, they are all just angry.  In fact, most of the attendees are angry ex one-night-stands constantly making quips about what a jerk Charlie was.  Okay, fine.  Sheen pissed off everyone involved with the show, and payback's a bitch.  But this was a pretty lame send-off.  This is a prefect example of how writing while angry is seldom funny.

4: Ashton Kutcher  played a dimwitted millionaire who doesn't drink or fool around--until he meets straight-edge Alan and ends up hammered with two girls.  Most of the jokes focused on how "big" Ashton is.  Where exactly is the audience saying, "Hahahahahaha--he has a big penis!  Hilarious!"  Ugh.  I kept hoping for Ashton to break character and tell the audience they got punked.  That would have been great--if the whole Charlie Sheen being crazy thing was planned as the biggest practical joke ever, and he's back in next week's episode (it could happen--an entire season of Dallas was revealed to be one character's dream).

3: At the funeral, Rose (Charlie's stalker) revealed that she and Charlie were married, she caught him cheating, and she pushed him in front of a subway train.  She was one of the endearing characters on the show--flawed, but human.  She was often given the touching lines.  Now she's a murderer.  Classy move by the writers.  Oh, and she says Charlie exploded like a balloon full of meat.  Wow, really?  That's funny how?

2: John Stamos had a cameo where he recalled having a threesome with Charlie and some girl, and when the girl passed out, he and Charlie kept going.  Then he runs out, embarrassed and ashamed.  Because what this episode really needed was a good gay joke.  I got the image of Producer Chuck Lorre on the playground telling the other kids that "Charlie's gay," on the day that Charlie is home sick.  Lorre is one bitter dude.

1: Finally, back at the funeral, Rose says her meat balloon line, and what's the reaction--horror?  Embarassment?  Uncomfortable stares?  Nope--the only notable reaction was from Jake (the "half" man from the title).  Jake, who has grown up in front of viewers from a chubby, loveable kid to a less chubby and somewhat annoying teen.  Jake, who learned so much from his uncle Charlie over the previous 8 seasons.  What's Jake's reaction to hearing his uncle's death essentially referred to as a bursting human-sized overstuffed sausage?: "I'm hungry.  Is anyone else hungry?"  Jake is devoid of emotion, and like Dexter, he might be a sociopath.

Phew, okay, just needed to vent.  Yeah, yeah, yeah, it's a comedy.  but Cheers, All in the Family, M*A*S*H--they all handled character departures with grace and humor--something Two and a Half Men didn't manage.  I stopped watching this show years ago because it got boring and repetitive, but I got sucked in to this.  Never again.  To paraphrase the old Presidential proverb: "Fool me once, shame on... shame on... you... fool me... you can't get fooled again."

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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Top 5 Worst Atari 2600 Arcade Ports

We recently looked at the top 5 Nintendo games; but before Nintendo, there was Atari.  In the early 80s, game makers for the Atari 2600 took great arcade games and imported them over to the Atari.  However, the Atari 2600 versions had to be scaled back, often with unintended and crappy consequences.  Here's the worst of the lot.

5: Donkey Kong - We got used to Donkey Kong tossing barrels at our Mario while we tried to climb ladders to save a princess.  Atari gave us a ginger bread man rolling film reels at our (not too bad looking) Mario while trying to save something that looks like a yellow fish on top of a blue-and-pink blob resting on yellow dots.  And this is the least offensive game on this list...


4: Zaxxon - Fly your space ship in a 3-D landscape of launching rockets, buildings and silos, laser cannons, explosions, and more!  Unless you are on the 2600, in which case you apparently play a different game altogether where you control--hell, I don't know, a peach-colored mushroom?--through a monotone field of putrid green while avoiding giant purple things (pretty sure it's a radar dish) and purple/pink Volkwagon Bugs!  So lame--this would rank higher if it had been more popular.


3: BurgerTime - In the 80s, kids enjoyed making video burgers by stepping on giant burger ingredients--buns, lettuce, patties, etc.--whilst simultaneously avoiding creepy, undulating hot dogs and condiments who inexplicably do not want you to finish your kitchen duties.  Atari 2600 used this to turn a generation of kids against working in fast food.  In this offering, yellow rectangles fell on top of other yellow rectangles when your white hieroglyph moved over them (it in no way "stepped" on them) while avoiding the dreaded white squares, red squares, or horror of horrors, the red blob-thing!  A stupid game made much, much worse by Atari's execution.

2: Pac Man - Everyone played Pac Man.  Everyone remembers what it looked like in the arcade--bright orange, pink, red, and powder blue ghosts with big googley eyes; red cherries; cool Tron-esque walls (yes, I know Pac Man pre-dated Tron by 2 years); and big, round power pellets.  How did Atari do?  Not even close.  The elegant round power pellets were reinvnted as dull yellow squares.   The dots reincarnated as hyphens.  The maze was different.  The game invites questions--why did you do this, Atari?  And why does Pac Man have an eye?  And why doesn't his mouth open like a pizza slice instead of a vice?  And why are the ghosts all one color?  And why... forget it.

1: Rampage - Easily the most egregious offense committed by Atari in the port arena was to trick unsuspecting kids into thinking they'd be able to play Rampage at home on their 2600.  Rampage was a huge hit.  In it you controlled one of three monsters with the goal of tearing down buildings, eating people, smashing cars, and occasionally punching your friend who is controlling a different monster.  Remember how if you "died," your monster would shrink back to human size, but would be a naked little man or woman?  Remember eating your friend's monster after it shrunk back to human size before your friend could get a new quarter into the machine?  You don' if you were only exposed to Atari's joyless, soulless, depressing version.  The picture speaks for itself:

And there you have it.  Please share your thoughts below.  I know I left a bunch out...

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Monday, September 19, 2011

Top 5 Vampire Movies of All-Time

Despite the recent vampire craze (led by the Twilight series of books and movies and the True Blood HBO show and series of books; both followed by dozens of cheap imitations), there hasn't been a really good vampire movie in over a decade.  Here is my take of the best vampire flicks of all-time.

5: The Lost Boys (1987) - In late 80s Santa Carla, California, Kiefer Sutherland wasn't a federal agent, he was a vampire, and the #2 leader of a group of teen vampires.  This film starred both Corey's, and Bill S. Preston, Esq. (Haim/Feldman; Bill from Bill & Ted).  The Lost Boys is a little cheesy, but I'm a child of the 80s and was 11 when this came out, so I am bound by nostalgia to include it on the list.

4: Dracula (1931) - Bela Lugosi's classic is the defining film of the genre, and is the classic Dracula.  The reason we have handsome, charming vampires in fiction today is because of Lugosi's portrayal 80 years ago.  If you don't know much about vampires but have a picture in your head from years of Halloween commercialism, what you think of is probably derivative of Lugosi.

3: Shadow of the Vampire (2000) - Willem Dafoe plays Max Schreck, the actor who played Nosferatu (see #1 below).  In this "behind the scenes" retelling of the Nosferatu story, Schreck is actually a vampire who causes all kinds of problems during the filming of the original Nosferatu.  A cleverly done and perfectly acted chilling and surreal film.

2: Interview with the Vampire (1994) - Anne Rice reinvented the vampire mythos with this book in 1976.  This movies stars two of the generation's greatest actors (Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt, despite what you might think of them otherwise), as well as Antonio Banderas, Christian Slater, and Kirsten Dunst.  Interview with the Vampire traces 200 years in the life of a vampire--including struggles with morality, the search for other vampires, love and loss, and plenty of action.  This is probably the most complete vampire film ever made.

1: Nosferatu (1922) - In 1921 when this was filmed, the studio couldn't get the rights to Bram Stoker's Dracula, so it tweaked the Dracula story and changed the names.  Perhaps because it's a silent era film, Nosferatu has played only a minor role in the way we picture vampires.  Regardless, Count Orlok--with his decrepit and almost rotten appearance--is straight-up scary, and this movie is horrifying in its relative minimalism.  If you haven't seen this, you should--even if you're not a silent movie fan.

There are a lot of good and entertaining vampire movies out there that fell short of the list.  Did you have any favorites that didn't make my cut?

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Top 5 Yo Gabba Gabba Characters

It doesn't matter if you watch this show--just read on and make sure to play along and follow the links.  I watch this show.  I have to.  My son is 1 1/2 years old.  He likes to dance to the theme music.  I am taking him to the live version of the show with my friend and his daughter.  This will be the first live show I've attended since my son's birth.  This is what my life has become.  Anyway, here's this bizarre show's best characters:

5: Biz - Biz Markie is "Just a Friend" to the characters in Gabba land, which is just fine.  I'm pretty sure he's on the show to remind us how old we are--he was popular over 20 years ago.  He also teaches children how to beat box.

4: DJ Lance Rock - The host of the show who's always smiling.  He's 1/2 Pee Wee Herman and 1/2 Shock G from Digital Underground (of "Humpty Dance" fame).  He's a goofy guy who's probably okay in real life.  I imagine this gig causes him to suffer mercilessly at the hands of his friends.

3: Do It - Watch this clip at about 1:15.  A guy named "Do It" comes out and breaks it down.  This one scene earns him a spot above all but two characters the show has featured.  I have asked multiple adults about this segmant, and not one can make any sense of it.  The biggest mystery--why is he named Do It?  Oh Yo Gabba Gabba, you are an enigma.

2: Leslie Hall - Words cannot do justice to what this lead singer of Leslie and the LY's did on this show.  For this impossible-to-turn-away-from train wreck, see here.  Every time I rewatch it, I can't believe it.

**WARNING--THE FOLLOWING LINK IS NSFW**
1: Muno -  "He's tall and happy!"  He's the lead of the show.  He's also a giant studded dildo who's teaching your children.  The picture speaks for itself.

My name is Kooz. I like to dance!  I also like comments--make 'em below.  

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Top 5 Best Company Abbreviations You Didn't Know

You've heard of these companies, but do you know what the names stand for?

5: AT&T - In 1880 American Bell Telephone Company (Alexander Graham Bell's company) began a project to run wire cables from New York to Chicago.  A corporation was established to oversee the project--The American Telephone and Telegraph Corporation.  This later became AT&T Corp., which was eventually bought by SBC Communications and renamed AT&T Inc.--the AT&T we know today.

4: Sunoco - Founded as Sun Company Inc. in 1886, it later changed its name to Sun Oil Company, and later still to Sunoco.  It's always been an oil/natural gas company.

3: Nabisco - The National Biscuit Company set up shop in 1898 in the world's first skyscraper (the Home Insurance Building in Chicago).  Nabisco doesn't make biscuits, but they make a variety of cookies and crackers you eat all the time (Oreo, Chips Ahoy!, Ritz, Fig Newtons, and on and on and on).

2: JVC - We have JVC to thank for the VHS tape, but early in its history, JVC  was known by its full name The Victor Talking Machine Company of Japan, Limited--later shortened to Japan Victor Company.  Originally the company sold gramophones and records of vaudeville monologues.

1: A&P - A&P is a supermarket (as in a giant grocery store) in the northeastern U.S., but in 1859, A&P's forerunners were purchasing cheap tea from Chinese plantations and selling it in New York under the banner of The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company.  It later expanded to selling groceries in its empire of 16,000 stores at its peak in 1930.  By 2010, it had lost much of its market share, and filed for bankruptcy with only a few hundred stores remaining.  Its future remains uncertain.

So there you have it--something different.  Not so funny, but hopefully interesting.  Ah, whatever, nobody seems to read this blog on Saturdays anyhow.  And in case you're wondering (and I realize you're not), I did very much want to use "Esso," which is or was the operating name of several Standard Oil companies (Standard Oil of New Jersey, for example), however, Esso is not an abbreviation--it's derived from the company's name: Standard Oil = S.O. = (phonetically) Esso.  Pretty stupid, huh?

Friday, September 16, 2011

Top 5 Crappy Beers

No micro brew or craft brew here--only traditional terrible, get-you-drunk, $2.99-a-sixer crap.

5: Schaefer - America's oldest lager (first brewed in 1842) and best-selling beer in the world until Budweiser surpassed it in the 70s, Schaeffer is ... [searching for something nice to say] ... certainly an attempt at brewing!  Okay, so it isn't actually very good, but it's cheaper than soda and will get you drunk.  Since they've been making it for almost 170 years, the brewers have learned how to keep Schaefer just this side of palatable.

4: Natural Ice - Natty Ice is the best-selling ice-beer on the market.  The market for ice beer, of course, is made up primarily of under age college kids who buy Natty Ice because it's cheap and has a high abv (5.9% alcohol by volume).  Rumor has it that drinking Natty Ice on a sober stomach may cause blindness.  Still, f'ing Natty Ice yo!

3: Rheingold - "My beer, is Rheingold Extra Dry beer."  The company and intellectual property have been sold many times over, but the current incarnation is a light and crisp, mildly refreshing drink that approaches what one might call "lager."  It's only available in limited places in the Northeast, so that makes it kinda cool too, I guess.

2: Coors Light - People drink bad beer to get drunk quickly and cheaply.  This is Coors Light's calling.  It's nearly flavorless, and it's a tad less carbonated than other shitty beers, so it goes down quickly and easily without making you full.  Want proof that Coors Light has no concern about making a good, flavorful beer?  Their labels now show you when the bottle is "Super Cold"--cold numbs your tongue and dulls your sense of taste, making terrible swill passable.  'Nuff said.

1: Meister Brau - Unfortunately, the "Master Brew" is no longer being produced, so if you haven't had it before, you're s.o.l.  It's number 1 here because as bad beers go, it was delicious.  Plus, thinking about it always makes me laugh to remember my friend Pony trying to convince people it actually translated to "Mister Beer"!  Eh, sure, why not...

"Oh my!  No Budweiser!"  Whatever, let me have it by commenting below...

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Top 5 Worst Supports for Quack Cures

Lose weight instantly!  Amazing cancer cure!  Increase your "length" by up to 4 inches!  Miracle cures are more popular today than snake oil was a century ago, but it's mostly bullshit.  Here's the worst justifications of this garbage.

5: It utilizes "Space Age" technology - The space age began when the Soviets launched Sputnik in October of 1957.  This is a claim that the technology the product uses is half a century old.  When the Space Age began, most people had never seen color tv.  Wowee!  It's super-dooper!

4: It's based on "ancient Eastern" knowledge - Old doesn't mean good or effective.  Ancient Egyptians used spells and potions to drive out the demons of disease; ancient Olmecs ritually sacrificed children to appease... whoever.  The idea of adopting these practices is silly.  However, if it's an ancient Chinese secret, you've got a bullshit money magnet!

3: It uses the power of magnets, or the earth's magnetic field - Speaking of magnets, we all know what they do--they stick to your fridge.  Study upon study has confirmed they have no affect on pain alleviation (the iron in your blood is not even ferromagnetic!).  But we've seen magnets stick to stuff, so they must help, right?

2: It's a secret that "the doctors don't want you to know" - Yes, they do.  That's the point.  People get hurt and sick constantly, so doctor's are flush without conspiring to keep you ill.  If doctors (medical researchers) discover a better method of pain management, cancer prevention, etc., we hear about it through published medical studies.  Think your doctor wouldn't want the Nobel Prize for curing AIDS?

1: Anything that uses the word "quantum" - Quantum mechanics is a field of study in physics dealing with sub-atomic particles and their interactions.  Gaining a working knowledge of quantum mechanics takes years of study, and is so hard to master that physicist Richard Feynman famously said: "Anyone who says that they understand quantum mechanics does not understand quantum mechanics."  One thing scientists can say--the study of quantum mechanics has yet to produce useful medical effects.  But it sounds scientific enough to separate you from your money.

My favorite bit of pseudo-scientific healing equipment crams everything the guy could think of into one item.  It's a bracelet made of copper with magnets embedded in it and the word "Jesus" inscribed on the front.  It's advertised as having "the soothing power of copper, penetrating power of magnets, and healing power of Jesus"--I'm sure it's based on the principles of quantum theory too...  Have you ever been duped by a false claim?  We'd love to hear about it (and we're sorry)!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Top 5 Rodney Dangerfield One-Liners

Henny Youngman was nicknamed King of the One-Liners, a title only appropriate because Rodney Dangerfield hadn't yet started his career.  Don't know what I mean?  You will after you read today's top 5:

5: One day I came home early and saw a man jogging outside my house naked--no clothes on.  I asked him why, he said "Because you came home early."

4: I come from a stupid family.  During the Civil War, my great uncle fought for the West!

3: I was tired one night and went to the bar to have a few drinks.  The bartender asked me, "What'll you have?"  I said, "Surprise me."  He showed me a naked picture of my wife!

2: My psychiatrist told me I'm going crazy.  I told him, "If you don't mind, I'd like a second opinion."  He said, "Alright, you're ugly too!"

1: I passed a bar and saw a sign outside saying, "Inside: Topless!  Bottomless!"  I went inside; there was nobody there!

Okay, so these aren't all literally "one line," but they're funny as hell, and there are a lot more where these came fom!  Share your favorites by commenting below.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Top 5 NYC Steak Houses

I work in New York City and am often asked for dinner recommendations by out of town friends.  If they're in the mood for steak, this is what I'd tell them.

5: Gallagher's Steak House - A New York institution, Gallagher's has been slinging steak since 1927.  Upon entering the restaurant, you pass the dry aging room, with beautiful cuts of beef hanging and waiting for you to order them.  The steak is good, but the Power Lunch menu is perfect.  I have a friend who swears by the oysters, and when it comes to pre-meal table items, Gallagher's skips bread or rolls and provides it's own fresh hand made potato chips--this alone is reason enough to go!  (And if you do go, let me know--I work in the office across the street!)

4: Peter Luger Steak House - If Gallagher's history seems impressive, consider that Peter Luger's was 40 when Gallagher's was opened.  Despite (or perhaps because of) it's 120+ year history, Peter Luger's is overrated.  And while they tout their steak sauce, it is average at best.  They also had (and I believe they still have) a cash only policy, which is ridiculous considering the prices on their menu.  Further, the restaurant is cramped and not as nice as you'd expect.  That said, they have a killer porterhouse, and if that's your thing, this is your place.

3: Morton's: The Steakhouse -  Yes, I know it's a chain.  However, the ambiance is terrific--it's classy and elegant, yet not too formal.  The sides are great, the cuts of beef are large and perfect, and the cooking is spot-on.  The medium rare is perfectly medium rare every time, which really good places can screw up sometimes.  Morton's non-steak options and sides are as good as anything else out there too.  Plus, it might be the most affordable restaurant on this list.

2: Ben Benson's Steakhouse - Good portion sizes of great beef.  Also, a very deep menu and an award-winning wine list.  One of the best steak houses anywhere.

1: Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steakhouse - Tuna Tartare or Steak Tartare to start, then any steak on the menu.  I mean, really, any steak--there is no possibility you can go wrong.  If you are lucky, they'll have a special that calls to you--ignore the ridiculously high price and just get it--you won't be sorry.  I was fortunate enough to try a tenderloin special that had three tenderloins with three different sauces (which incorporated, among other things, truffles and foie gras).  Normally, I don't go nuts for high-end ingredients, but man, used correctly they are amazing.  That was one of the best meals I've had in years.  Your wallet will be lighter when you leave, but your belly will more than balance that out.

So there you have it.  There may be better steakhouses out there in NYC.  I'm constantly trying new places and in a year, I could re-do this list and have a very different opinion for 2 through 5.  I expect debate--let's hear it, carnivores...

Monday, September 12, 2011

Top 5 Television Cyborgs

As all dorks know, a cyborg is a being which is part biological and part robotic.  A sci-fi staple, cyborgs have been responsible for decades of nerdgasms.  These are my favorite cyborgs from t.v. (sadly, this is actually a top 5 list for me...):

5: Inspector Gadget - Didn't think of him when you thought of cyborgs, did ya?  What would childhood have been without Inspector Gadget?  Probably the same, only we wouldn't have made the joke "go, go, gadget arms" whenever we couldn't reach something.  Still, nostalgia dictates I include him.

4: Cybermen - Despite having the second least creative name on the list, the Cybermen are interesting villains in the Dr. Who universe who are bent on "deleting" humans and turning them into more Cybermen.  After invading the planet, Cybermen broadcast to the humans: "Cybermen will remove fear.  Cybermen will remove sex and class and color and creed.  You will become identical.  You will become like us."  Sounds like [insert your opposing political party here] to me!

3: Borg - "Borg," really?  All they did was drop the "cy"!  That is so lame, and I was disappointed enough at Star Trek: The Next Generation for this that they only rank third on my list.  Plus, they are a sort of Cybermen ripoff in that they were also bent on creating more of their race by "assimilating" humans.  However, these were cool because they were involved in several interesting storylines, and they assimilated not only humans, but every race they encountered (which makes sense; of course since it was Star Trek, every race looked like humans with Halloween facial prostheses, so, not that big a deal I guess).

2: Daleks - Also from the Dr. Who-verse, Daleks are the gaudiest looking cyborgs on the list, by far.  What makes the Daleks cool is their sarcasm.  They are also cool because they look so goofy--they are kitschy in this sleek, iPad/Google age.  The new incarnation of Dr. Who didn't really redesign the Daleks, so they look pretty much how they did in the 60s, which is also kind of cool and fun.

1: Cylons - The Cylons were created by man--and were created to be awesome.  The reimagined Battlestar Galactica and its prequel show Caprica show us exactly what Cylons are capable of--but no spoilers here.  I'm not gonna say any more than that if you are a sci-fi fan and you haven't watched the reimagined BSG, you need to.  There's a reason the Cylons are number 1.

So there you have it--my nerd side exposed for the world to see (because this blog made people think I was sooo cool until now).  What do you think?  Any big omissions?  Disagreements?  Please comment below!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Top 5 Coolest Transformers (Cartoon)

Transformers was a great show.  It had action, drama, and cool characters--all an 11 year old needed in an after school cartoon.  It was one of the first shows I watched that had a feature-length movie in theaters.  I saw it when I was 10, and all I remembered was the Transformers swearing--way cool.  Here's my list of the coolest Transformers from the cartoon (not the coolest Transformer toys--that's a topic for the future).  (For you nerds who know what this means, this deals with Generation 1 Transformers only.)

5: Optimus Prime - Leader of the Autobots, Prime transformed from a big rig to a cool robot with a battle platform.  Prime was also one of the best leaders on kid-tv.  He surrounded himself with talent and utilized other autobots to take advantage of all their unique skills.  (Note: Even if you don't normally click the links in these blogs, click on Prime's name for a good laugh.)

4: Soundwave - Three things made Soundwave great.  (1) He had a cool computerized voice made by a vocorder.  (2) In his robot mode, he had a dope cannon on his shoulder like a pirate with a parrot.  (3) In his transformed mode, he was a boombox who had other transformers living inside him in the form of cassette tapes whom he could call on for various tasks.  That's enough to get him into the top 5.

3: Grimlock - He was a crazy bad-ass, but he was a good guy, and that idea was new and different for me.  He also transformed into a robotic T-rex, which was just ridiculously awesome to us kids.  He was a robot, a dinosaur, and a Transformer.  Nobody cared that his character was essentially mentally challenged--he was just awesome.

2: Megatron - Voiced by the legendary Frank Welker (Fred from Scooby Doo, The Real Ghostbusters, as well as many, many more roles you'd know), Megatron transformed from an energy blast firing Walther P38 to a bad-ass looking silver robot with a laser cannon strapped to his arm.  Plus, he was an asshole--the perfect villain.

1: Starscream - He turned into an F-15!  He was also open about his desire for a coup d'etat overthrowing Megatron and installing himself as Decepticon leader.  He's among the smarter Decepticons and he's a sneaky, underhanded, untrustworthy jerk, which fans found endearing.

Sorry Smokescreen and Bumblebee fans, but they doesn't make the cut.  Well, who's your favorite?  Post below...

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Top 5 Drinking Holidays

Many holidays provide an excuse to drink.  Some seem to exist only to promote consumption of alcohol.  The best of these is the subject of this Kooz Top 5.  (Note, I couldn't include "anyone's birthday" because although it always provides a great excuse to drink, it isn't technically a recognized holiday.)

5: Fourth of July - BBQ and beer.  U-S-A!  These colors don't run!  Team America, f*ck yeah!  Obama is a Muslim!  (Oops, sorry.)  Joking aside, in the U.S., this is a great day because it's a chance for families to get together, then leave and get drunk with friends!

4: Cinco de Mayo - Something happened in Mexican history on this day--I challenge you to name what it was.  (I further challenge those of you who answer to remember by the end of the night.  Tequila = borracho = perdida de la memoria.  !Juepa!)

3: New Years Eve - Yay!  We made it around the sun one more time!  Let's sing a song incorrectly (it's "auld," not "old") and drink gross $6 champagne!  We can't taste it anyhow; we've been hammered since well before they wheeled out Dick Clark's corpse!

2: Halloween - Finally, a holiday that mixes horror, humor, candy, and mysterious boozy punch.  What more could you want?!?  (Oh, you want to be someone or something else for a day, act like an ass, and get away with it?  Yeah, Halloween is cool for that too.)

1: St. Patrick's Day - Named for the famous Catholic drunkard, St. Paddy [citation needed], this is the pinnacle of drinker's holiday.  Everybody's Irish (read, drunk) on St. Patrick's Day.  Celebrate by wearing silly green hats and shirts and buttons with slogans that were hilarious 20 years ago.  Guinness and Irish Car Bombs are the drinks of choice, but whatever--as long as you're stumbling home, you did it right.

Top 5 worst days for these holidays' celebrants?  Fifth of July, Seis de Mayo, New Years Day, etc...  Thoughts?

Friday, September 9, 2011

Top 5 Worst Current TV Commercials

We all hate commercials, right?  Sometimes I see one so bad, it makes me angry that someone was paid to create it.  Here's my top 5 worst commercials for now.

5: Uncle Majic the Hip Hop Magician - Just look at this.  This is real.  Okay, this one doesn't make me angry, but it makes me wonder how he can afford to keep making commercials.  Who is watching this and thinking, "oh yeah, I'll pay him to come to my house."

4: ITT Tech - The ones that follow some guy who had no friends or future until he got an ITT Tech "degree" and is now successful and respected.  The same commercial includes a disclaimer that ITT Tech credits will not transfer.  An Associate's Degree from ITT Tech costs between $45,000 and $70,000, but barely increases job potential (especially in this college grad-saturated market), meaning ITT Tech grads will never get out from underneath their student loans.  About 80,000 people a year attend ITT Tech.  They've found half a dozen moderately successful grads to feature in commercials.  Sad.

3:  Skittles - That weird one with the Skittles tree growing out of the kid's stomach.  It's implied the kid is kept alive as a Skittles farm--he's given just enough food to live and keep growing Skittles.  The kid is miserable, near death, and has a tree growing from his stomach... mmm, appetizing!  Do the ad execs even realize they are selling a food product?  Plus, the spot implies Skittles are part fruit and part human.  Umm, gross.  There is nothing redeeming about this stupid commercial.

2: Charmin - Charmin has a message for us: bears shit in the woods; inferior toilet paper sticks to their hairy, shit-covered asses; and luckily, Charmin is strong enough to wipe bear shit off a bear ass without shredding or leaving cling-ons (baktag, not these guys) [you're welcome, nerds].  This is an example, but you've seen multiple variations on this theme.

1: Bucky Larson -  Because of this (and every other) Bucky Larson commercial, I don't want to see this movie, which is probably for the best.


I also hate every commercial with volume cranked to a higher level than the program.  On December 15, 2011, the CALM  (Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation) Act goes into effect and will require commercials to be no louder than the underlying show.  Until then, what commercials piss you off?

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Top 5 Favorite Wrestlers


Let me be clear--I primarily watched wrestling in the late 90s when the WCW/WWF feud was in full force.  This list necessarily leaves off the best wrestlers of today because I have seen 3 matches in the last 5 years.  But I think most wrestling fans will remember these guys.

5: Bill Goldberg - When Goldberg came on the scene, they made a big deal about his undefeated streak--as though such a thing matters in a scripted "sport."  Regardless, Goldberg completely captivated my attention.  He'd enter the ring through a cloud of smoke, inhaling and visibly exhaling as he stood for a moment before running to the ring.  What I remember about him most was that his trapezoids were enormous, and his bald head and goatee made him look ferocious.  The spear, normally a lame and poorly-executed move, was a thing of beauty when he did it.  A lot of people said he was a "Stone Cold" Steve Austin clone (even Stone Cold himself on Stern's radio show), but it wasn't true--they were very different personalities and very different fighters.  Goldberg was the better of the two for pure excitement.

4: Bret "The Hitman" Hart - He just seemed cool--a guy who could get away with wearing hot pink because he was just so good at kicking ass.  His sharpshooter was a good finishing move, and he was a great technical wrestler.  Also, the (real) drama with him and Vince McMahon outside the ring was interesting.  Who can forget a late-eighties Bret Hart coming to the ring and giving his (then) cool wraparound shades to a young fan before each match.

3: Diamond Dallas Page - I swear DDP was drunk for most of his career.  He'd stumble into the arena in jeans, flash his "diamondcutter" sign, sprint to the ring, then fall into a corner, hammered.  He'd wrestle for a bit then ultimately perform the diamnondcutter, one of the best finishing moves ever.  He got a bit lame as he got more popular, swapping the jeans for shiny blue pants, but he was still part of the best match I've ever seen, earning this high ranking.

2: The Rock - The Rock had it all--he was a good wrestler, he looked like a good wrestler, and he could talk like a movie star (which he became).  He is the coolest guy ever to wrestle.  Ever.  How cool is the Rock?  He's so cool that if he jumped the shark, Happy Days would still be on t.v.  He kicked ass.

1: Rowdy Roddy Piper - Piper made his living less through his wrestling and more through his mic skills.  As the host of Piper's Pit, he revolutionized the way wrestlers are interviewed.  He was really funny and sarcastic at a time when guys like Hulk Hogan were telling kids to eat vitamins and say prayers.  He was years ahead of his time.  Finally, he was the star of the cult sci-fi classic They Live--how can it get any better.

Who are your favorites?  Anyone on this list make you want to choke slam me?  By the way, props to Macho Man, RIP.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Top 5 Worst Shows on the History Channel

Remember when the History Channel showed history shows?  Me neither, but I'm told it did (right before it turned into the WWII channel, which was right before it turned into the Civil War channel, which was right before the current crop of crap it runs).  It is pretty awful now, but here's its worst offenders:

5: Only in America with Larry the Cable Guy - I don't think Larry is funny.  I understand some people do, and that's fine.  In this show, Larry travels the country to experience the different cultures of regional America.  Which is historical, because...oh, right.  I'm sure it's hilarious though.

4: MonsterQuest - With episodes tackling the existence of such monsters as Birdzilla and the Black Beast of Exmoor, MonsterQuest shows us that Americans will watch anything if it's presented as true.  Also, it's not a history program.

3: UFO Hunters - The History Channel execs sat around a board room and said, "What other bullshit can we peddle to our Red Bull-and-Cheetos-stained-t-shirt-wearing lonely fans?"  They ultimately shat out this monstrosity.  The tagline of the show is "Hoax or History"--well, it's not history, so...


2: Ancient Aliens - The folks at History Channel accidentally let a history-themed show into their lineup!  Unfortunately, it's Ancient Aliens.  The ancient aliens idea has been so thoroughly debunked as to make the premise of this show laughable.  The original idea clearly ran its course by the time they resorted to an episode on Aliens and Monsters in season 3, but it keeps on chugging.  And that isn't even the worst show on the channel...

1: Sliced - The idea of Sliced was to take everyday objects and cut them into halves using chainsaws, sawzalls, etc. to "see how they work."  Instead, they destroyed whatever they were trying to cut, using no precision at all, then gazed cluelessly at the mess of parts on the ground.  While it was a cool (if stale) idea, it was so poorly executed as to make it laughable.  Ever seen the inside of a computer?  Did it give you any idea as to how it worked?  This show had nothing to do with history, but it was cancelled so it's history now!  Waka waka.

So that's it.  A list of crappy shows.  Know what show should be on the History Channel?  Finding Bigfoot.  Instead of a whole paragraph for #1, I could have simply typed: "Umm, no they're not."  Oh well.  I guess there's crap everywhere (it's on Animal Planet).  Hate History Channel too?  Share your lamentations below.  

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Top 5 Ska Bands

In the mid-'90s, ska music experienced a brief revival.  This list is the best ska music of that era had to offer.  Before anyone makes the comment, Sublime is not on this list because they were not a true ska band, although they were awesome.  Without further adieu:

5: The Mighty Mighty Bosstones - The Impression That I Get was one of the most commercially successful ska songs of the '90s, by one of the most commercially successful ska bands of its time.  Many properly credit The Mighty Mighty Bosstones with bringing ska to the masses (along with No Doubt).  Not a personal favorite, but good enough for 5 on the list.

4: Save Ferris - Originally seen as a watered down version of No Doubt, Save Ferris developed a unique and interesting sound.  They quickly turned into a pop band, but their legacy is forever cemented in ska history with their golden achievement--an amazing cover of Come On Eileen (often misattributed to No Doubt).

3: Dance Hall Crashers - Check out the album Honey, I'm Homely! for a perfect example of everything right with ska music--clever lyrics and  fast, upbeat, harmonic sounds.  Part of Dance Hall Crashers' appeal is that they are fronted by two women with interesting and unique harmonies.  They're just cool, man.

2: No Doubt - Gwen Stefani looked awesome and sounded even better in the early days of No Doubt.  No Doubt's Tragic Kingdom is one of the best and most successful ska albums ever, and although the band was a  huge commercial success, good music is good music, regardless of who listens or how popular it is, so it's forgivable.

1:  Reel Big Fish - Sell Out, She Has a Girlfriend Now, a great cover of Take On Me, and an appearance in BASEketball propel Reel Big Fish ahead of No Doubt, but barely.  The most raw sound on this list, Reel Big Fish just sounded like they had fun with everything they did.

So, that's my list.  Anyone you think I missed or short-changed?

Monday, September 5, 2011

Top 5 Favorite New York Yankees

I previously gave my top 5 best Yankees list, but it did not go over well (it has the fewest hits of any Kooz Top 5 post).  I think the problem is that everyone knows the top 5 best Yankee hitters.  As for favorite Yankees, that's a different story and is personal for everyone.  Here are my favorites:

5: Paul O'Neill - We traded Roberto Kelly to get him--the same Roberto Kelly who led off Opening Day in 1989 by going 4 for 4.  The same Roberto Kelly who could dash to first in 3.9 seconds.  The same Roberto Kelly who was one of the few bright spots on an otherwise dismal Yankee squad.  And all these years later what I am most thankful of Roberto Kelly for is being trade bait for O'Neill.  O'Neill is the most intense player I've ever seen, and he was fun to watch--angry or otherwise.

4: Constantino Martinez - I can remember one year, 1997 I think, when Tino was pure magic.  He seemed to homer every time he came up in a big spot.  He even won that year's Homerun Derby!  I was thrilled to see him for Old Timer's Day in 2011, and even more psyched when he hit one out.

3: Derek Jeter - Jeter and I are almost the same age, and in his rookie season, we were about the same height and build.  While I am considerably more handsome than Jeter, he can hit a bit better than I can, which made me comfortable with him as Yankee shortstop over me.  Seriously, he is the first Yankee whose career I've watched from beginning to beginning-of-the-end (or maybe not, despite an ugly first half he's batting close to .300 as I write this).  It's been a fun ride.

2: Alvaro Espinosa - Not a ton of range at short, but this Yankee from '88-'91 whipped the ball sidearm to first at close to 100 mph.  I just loved watching him play.  There was something endearing about knowing that he was so weak in the batter's box that he once had the longest streak of at bats without a homerun in the majors.  In an interview Yankees Magazine, he said black beans and rice was one of his favorite dishes.  I've been a fan of it every since.

1: Don Mattingly - He was THE guy when I was growing up, and he had a sort of rivalry that fans manufactured with Boston favorite Wade Boggs.  In the New York/New England area, a regular dbate was which of these guys was the best in the game.  (Yeah, Tony Gwynn was doing something special in San Diego at the time, but nobody was paying attention.)  Mattingly had the sweetest swing in baseball, always took the first pitch, never struck out, and in 1987 hit six grand slams.  Boggs and Mattingly finally played together on the Yankees when Boggs was signed in 1993, but by then the best years of both were behind them.  Still, it was great to see the two great rivals of my youth play together for my team.

So who are your favorite Yankees?  Hate the Yankees?  Who are your favorite players?  Hate baseball?  Well, that's just too bad...

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Top 5 Drinks in my Childhood Fridge

I was hot and thirsty at a local fair yesterday, so I bought an ice-cold Bud Light.  This usually undrinkable beer not only quenched my thirst; it brought me back to my childhood.  I didn't drink Bud Light as a kid, but the moment got me thinking about what I used to drink in the dog-days-of-summer.  The items in my fridge that got me through the summer were:

5: Orange juice from concentrate - Not a carton of OJ from concentrate, but the Coke-can sized canister of orange syrup kept frozen until the need for OJ arose, at which point mom or dad would mix the orange ice-block into a pitcher of water and stir until something resembling orange juice appeared.  Not good, but drinkable and hard to forget.

4: Tang - It was good enough for astronauts so it was good enough for me.  I usually mixed way too much of the orange-ish flavored powder into the cold water and ended up with half a glass of Tang and half a glass of Tang-flavored sugar sludge, but that was part of Tang's charm and by far the best part.

3: Nestle Quik - Mix several heaping tablespoons of this brown powder into some milk, and presto--chocolate milk so sweet, it was to adults what garlic is to vampires.  In hind sight, milk was not the best decision for a cool drink on a hot summer day--it gets warm too fast and it leaves a gross film in your mouth.  But if you knew Nestle Quik was in the cupboard, it was hard to turn it down.

2: Unfrozen Fla-Vor-Ice pops - A rainbow of connected perforated plastic sleeves intended to be frozen and eaten but mistakenly put in the refrigerator.  This only happened once, but was a delicious treat.  These had no distinct flavor and zero nutritional value, but people didn't care about that as much back then.  Because finding these cold but not frozen was like finding the Ark of the Covenant (without the Nazi face melting and ancient Israelite ghosts), the one time it happened to me was awesome enough to be number 2.

1: "Purple stuff" - Made famous in Sunny Delight commercials from the 80s, purple stuff was any kind of "grape juice" that came as a powder in a canister, waiting to be mixed into cold water.  It did not taste like grapes and it was not juice, but for 10 years of my life, it was my favorite drink.

I loved these drinks, but I wouldn't drink most of them now.  What did you drink in July when you were 13?  Post your answers and comments below.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Top 5 Annoying Sounds on the Commuter Train

I commute from Connecticut to Manhattan daily, usually by train. When I arrive to work agitated, it's usually due to one of the following.

5: Talking - Unless you are a child--and a small one at that--you shouldn't be talking above a whisper on the train.  This (obviously) doesn't apply to the beverage car; or to the vestibules, where it's okay to chat, be on a call, etc.  But if your're sitting next to a stranger at 8:15 a.m., and you see someone you recognize sitting two rows away, it is not okay to yell out: "Hey Bob, it's Mindy--Jack's sister!  Did Jack tell you he's going to Peoria for a wedding?  I know--Peoria!"

4: Headphones that are too loud - If I can make out the lyrics to the song you are listening to and you're wearing headphones, you need to turn down the volume.  Ass.

3: TV without headphones - This is ridiculous, and shouldn't be on this list becaue it shouldn't ever happen.  That said, I was on a very quiet early-morning train filled with people in suits reading the Times.  A guy was taking up two seats--one for him to sit, and one for his portable DVD player which was running an epsiode of Sanford and Son on full blast.  There is so much wrong with that situation that I don't even know where to begin.

2: Playing games on cell phone or iPad with volume up - One of the most annoying sounds in the world is a video game that someone else is playing which you can't see.  It's especially awful when you're trying to read, sleep, or play your own game with the volume off.

1: Phone calls - How have people not come to understand this?  It is not okay to use your phone in your seat on a quiet train!  Nobody wants to hear one side of your inane conversation about how your step-dad is lousy in bed and that's why your mother is leaving him (true story).  These people always seem to the same folks who are huge advocates of privacy rights--cognitive dissonance anyone?

What annoys you on your commute?  Do you even have a commute?  Share your thoughts and stories below. 

Friday, September 2, 2011

Top 5 Coolest Names From History

What's in a name?  Let's see...

5: Black Bart - His real name was Bartholomew Roberts, but this Welsh pirate from the 1700s was known as Black Bart.  He has the quintessential bad guy name.  But don't take my word for it--ask Ralphie who he shot in his backyard with his official Red Ryder carbine-action 200 hundred shot Range Model air rifle with a compass in the stock and this thing that tells time.  Yup, you guessed it.

4: Wild Bill Hickok - Shot in the back of the head in a town called Deadwood while playing poker (holding aces over eights--forever known as the dead man's hand), he was one of the most notorious gunfighters of the American West, and had a name to match.

3: Genghis Khan - Founding father of Mongolia and reigned over more than 25% of the world's entire population at the time.  Plus, who can forget Captain Kirk screaming "KHAN!" (about a different guy, but still--that name has power).  It all comes together to make Khan a pretty cool name.

2: Magnus Ver Magnusson - Four-time winner of the World's Strongest Man competitions back in the 1990s.  He had the most bad-ass name ever, and he lived up to it by being a living mountain.  But the best bad-ass name isn't the coolest name from history; that belongs to...

1: Finn McCool - Yeah, that's a real name.  He caught and ate the salmon of knowledge and gained its wisdom, occasionally carried a magic bag of weapons, killed bad guys, and currently sleeps awaiting Ireland's greatest hour of need, at which point he'll wake and arise in glory to defend his homeland.  His f'ing name is FINN McCOOL!  COME ON!  Every Irish pub in the world should have a poster of this guy hanging right over the bar.

You think you know better?  Call me out.  (Or call me out specifically on how Magnus is not a "historical" figure, Finn is a mythological character, or Black Bart and Wild Bill are nicknames--whatever, it's my list.  When there's a blog called Whoever-You-Are Top 5, you can make your own list.)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Top 5 New York Yankees of All Time (non-pitchers)

5: Derek Jeter - This guy can't catch a break.  He is one of the best hitters for years, and he's called overrated. He has one bad year, and it's predicted to be the end of his career.  I'm glad to see him bounce back and hover (at this point) around .300.  He has done more for the current Yankee franchise than anybody--and no, I'm not forgetting Mo.  But Jeter does it daily, and did it off the field as well.  Truly great.

4: Mickey Mantle - The hard-drinking, hard-living, womanizing sonofabitch is one of the games legendary figures.  He was great, and had all the talent to be even greater.  Imagine Mantle playing now--with no winter job, strength and conditioning coaches, video, etc.?  We might be talking about him as the best ever.

3: Joe Dimaggio - In his later years, he was consistently announced as "the greatest living ballplayer"; and that was with a living Ted Williams!  Plus, he was married to Marilyn Monroe.

2: Lou Gehrig - My friend's kid's middle name is Gehrig, and with great reason.  Larrupin' Lou has a legitimate claim to being the single greatest Yankee who ever lived, stat-wise.  If you compare the numbers from his prime years with Ruth's, Lou might just come out ahead.  Do we have any Sabermetric guys out there who can give us an analysis? 

1: Babe Ruth - Duh!  It's his house!  Or it was until they demolished it, made it a parking lot, and built Papa George's House next door.  But still...  He gets the top spot because (1) he revolutionized the way the game is played, (2) he was a larger-than-life personality and his charisma could put him over The Iron Horse, and (3) he was one of the best pitchers of his day.  Ridiculous.

Probably no surprises here, but if you have complaints, post them below.  Or keep an eye out for my upcoming post on my favorite Yankees and post your guesses below--I'll bet you can guess #1, but not #2!  Stay tuned...