Sep 28 2010

jeremiah was a bullfrog

I recently became friends with someone whose all-time favorite band is U2.  As if that’s not enough, her favorite sports team is the Boston Red Sox and her favorite television show is The Wire.  One of her favorite movies is Slumdog Millionaire, which she has delivered directly to her flat-panel television via Netflix.  And I’m pretty sure she eats cupcakes while she watches.  On the surface, none of those things have anything to do with anything.  But the thing is, I have this list.

Once my friend got over her horror that I would be so petty as to A/ make a list of things I spite and B/ actually write it down, she issued a challenge.  And we all know how much I enjoy a challenge.  That’s why I’ve compiled below a similar list of things that bring me joy.  According to our initial discussions, this was only to be at least one-fourth as long as my spite list.  But my spite list consists of eighty-one items, and listing only twenty here is too easy to be worthwhile.  So I upped the ante by suggesting I exceed the spite list by at least one.  The only other stipulation was that I am not permitted to use this list as a way to make fun of her.  It’s amazing how well she knows me.

Antoni Gaudi / Arrested Development / aquariums / Baltimore, Maryland / Batman / Bill Bryson / blogging / bowling / Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band / buildings / Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid / chimpanzees / Chuck Klosterman / Conan O’Brien / crosswords / cycling / Daisy / dreams / euchre / Euskaltel-Euskadi / fantasy football / freshly cleaned sheets / game night / Games Magazine / Harry Potter books / history books / Homestar Runner / hot dogs / Iceland / Indiana Jones / Joel and Ethan Coen / Jon Krakauer / Karaoke to the Death / Kate Winslet / Lake Diane / Lake Tahoe / Lando Calrissian / Lego / Louis Kahn / macaroni and cheese / Marta / Michigan Wolverines / mimes / museums / nephews / New York Yankees / NFL / Nick Nolte / nieces / The Old 97’s / Old Town Alexandria / Outer Banks / pie / pigs / Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania / Pittsburgh Steelers / Pixar movies / Polaroids / Prince / pug farts / Ricky Gervais / roller derby / sandwiches / Santiago Calatrava / schnitzel with noodles / Scrabble / The Simpsons / snowboarding / soup / South Park / spite / Star Wars trilogy / strange maps / sushi / swimming / szechaun chicken / Thanksgiving / Tour de France / trains / traveling / vegetarian chili / video games / water skiing / westerns / Wilco / yinzers / Zooey Deschanel / zoos

Aug 25 2010

doo doo doo doo doo

When I look back on my life, I realize that I’ve done some great things.  I wrote the great American novel.  I discovered cold fusion.  I co-founded a beloved karaoke contest.  It’s been an enjoyable life so far, but I haven’t done the one thing I’ve wanted to do more than anything.  Reproduce?  Contribute to society?  Win the respect and admiration of my peers?  Nah, I don’t care for that stuff.  What I want to do is this….

I want to compile a list of all the pop songs that feature “doo-doo-doo” in the lyrics, edit them for quality, and then compile the best ones into a collection called The Doo-Doo Box Set.  I think it’s why I’m alive.  I’ve thought about doing The Doo-Doo Box Set for years, but I’ve never taken the time.  I once had a playlist in iTunes consisting of a few doo-doo songs, but I lost it when my computer died last year.  Well, it’s time to rebuild my list.  It’s time to fulfill my destiny.

I’m basically starting from scratch here and would greatly appreciate any suggestions.  Do you know any doo-doo songs?  If so, please leave a comment or send me a message with artist and title information.  I promise to thank you in the extensive hand-written liner notes that will accompany the box set.

Okay, fine.  This endeavor hasn’t exactly been my lifelong dream.  It’s only been my lifelong dream since March, when I saw Wilco at the Strathmore Theater.  The concert was less than two weeks after Alex Chilton died, and they closed their main set with a timely cover of a doo-doo song: Big Star’s “Thank You, Friends.”  It was one of the most joyous moments in all of my concert-going experiences.  I want to share that joy, and The Doo-Doo Box Set is my means to do so.  Yes, there is the likelihood that I will be hailed as a visionary, as nothing like this undertaking has ever been attempted before.  But I’m not doing this for personal glory.  I’m just a humble man who wants to share some songs with nonsensical lyrics.  Is that so wrong?

Big Star – Thank You, Friends / The Police – De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da / The Rolling Stones – Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker) / The Beatles – Happiness Is a Warm Gun / Lou Reed – Walk on the Wild Side / Suzanne Vega – Tom’s Diner / Wilco – How to Fight Loneliness / Creedence Clearwater Revival – Lookin’ Out My Back Door* / Simon and Garfunkle – Mrs. Robinsonⁿ / Sir Lord von Raven – Take It or Leave It∞ / Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – Do You Love Me? (Part 2)∞ / Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – Jangling Jack∞ / Brendan Benson – Life in the D‡ / Frank Zappa – Broken Hearts Are for Assholes™ / The Sleepy Jackson – Old Dirt Farmer∞ / The Sleepy Jackson – (Just Like) Starting Over∞ / Raffi – Banana Phone* / Crosby, Stills, and Nash – Suite: Judy Blue Eyes* / David Bowie – Rebel Rebel∞ / Paul Weller – Roll Along Summer∞ / The Chameleons UK – Inside Out∞ / Van Morrison – Jackie Wilson Said (I’m in Heaven When You Smile)♪ / Dexy’s Midnight Runners – Let’s Get This Straight (From the Start)♪ / The Jam – Burning Sky♪ / Cherry Twister – Sparkle‡ / Delays – Wanderlust‡ / Junip – Always∞ / Charles Wright & the Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band – Express Yourself∞ / The Clientele – I Wonder Who We Are‡ / Gomez – Win Park Slope∞ / Kinky – I Say Hey∞ / The Beach Boys – God Only Knows* / The Beach Boys – Good Vibrations* / The Old 97’s – The Villain / The New Pornographers – Chump Change / The New Pornographers – Mass Romantic / Cut Copy – Out There on the Ice∞ / Kinky – Monday Killer∞ / Amy Correia – The Bike∞ / The Cranberries – Ode to My Family∞

* Nominated by Mariser
ⁿ Nominated by FS
∞ Nominated by Crankypants
‡ Nominated by Silverchimes
™ Nominated by M—–l
♪ Nominated by Homebody

Aug 18 2010

we’ll take potpourri for $100, alex

Days like today are difficult for us.  We see at least three blog-worthy items in the news, but there’s no way we’re going to get to them all while they’re still timely.  We could not mention any of them (and let’s face it – that’s our default response in these instances), or we could lump them all together into one half-assed post.  If you guessed half-assed, you’d be right.  We’re feeling especially uncreative, so we’ll even bullet point this shit.

  • The Wrens released a new – though unfinished – song today.  We’re more than a little shocked.  We see on their Facebook feed that they’ve been working on new material, but they’ve been saying that for the past seven years.  This is supposed to appear on their next album, but those of us who don’t want to wait until we’re fifty to hear it can pick up a copy of the upcoming Dear New Orleans benefit disc.  Or listen here.
  • The role of Elizabeth Salamander has been filled in David Fincher’s remake of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.  Meet Rooney Mara.  She has kind of an unusual name – until you realize that her great-grandfather is NFL legend and beloved owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers: Art Rooney.  I’m sure that’s why she got the gig.  Everybody loves the Steelers.  I guess she’s also related to some other NFL owner.  Some team in New York?  That’d be the Bills, huh?
  • A recent Zagat survey has rated local-chain-made-good Five Guys as the best fast food burger in America.  (This is actually yesterday’s news, but we weren’t about to bump Rushmore down the page on her birthday.)  The In-N-Out people are not pleased, but if they don’t like it they should make a better burger.  We remember when there were just three Five Guys stores – one of which was half a block from our house.  Also, we used to serve the guys their coffee.  They’re really nice people and we congratulate them.  They deserve it.
  • And this last item is really old news, but in keeping with the title of this post, here’s that video of drunk and swearing Alex Trebek.  Frankly, we’re starting to get annoyed with this asshole for not yet returning our call.  It’s been eight months. What’s the goddamn holdup?

May 28 2010

two thumbs way up

May 23 2010

M is for "miserable failure"

This is our thousandth post here at  We could have spent the past almost four years doing something productive like meeting girls and dating.  Instead, we’ve been doing, well, this.  We’d been wondering for a while how best to celebrate this milestone.  (To say nothing of whether it’s worth celebrating at all.)  Given our conflicted emotions over the value of this colossal waste of time, we decided recently that the best way of commemorating the occasion is with a list of our greatest failures over the years: posts that were never written, (good?) ideas that were abandoned, arguments that were…. not lost, exactly, but won unconvincingly.

And so it’s perhaps appropriate that this list of our many shortcomings is yet another post that will never see the light of day.  It’s been a week since we last updated, and we’ve been reluctant to write anything else until this one is behind us.  So we’ve been stalling, which ends now.  We’re gonna punt instead.  It’s not lazy, it’s meta.  And a little bit lazy.  How we ever generated a thousand posts is beyond our comprehension.

May 16 2010

collect them all!

I’ve never really thought before about what my favorite songs are once you get past the top five or ten.  So I didn’t have any major crises of conscience (read: Coldplay) when it came to expanding that list to the Hotrod Top 100.*

ABBA – Waterloo/AC/DC – Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap/AC/DC – You Shook Me All Night Long/Arcade Fire – Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)/The Beach Boys – Don’t Worry Baby/The Beach Boys – Sloop John B/The Beatles – She Loves You/The Beatles – Ticket to Ride/Beulah – Night Is the Day Turned Inside Out/Big Star – September Gurls/Big Star – Thirteen/Billy Bragg – Waiting for the Great Leap Forwards/Billy Bragg & Wilco – California Stars/Bon Jovi – Wanted Dead or Alive/Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy – I See A Darkness/Bonnie Tyler – Total Eclipse of the Heart/Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band – Brilliant Disguise/Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band – Thunder Road/Bryan Adams – Summer of ’69/Buddy Holly and the Crickets – Everyday/Built to Spill – Car/The Clash – I Fought the Law/The Clash – Rudie Can’t Fail/The Clash – (White Man) In Hammersmith Palais/Creedence Clearwater Revival – Lodi/The Cure – Close to Me/Dar Williams – Highway Patrolman/David Bowie – “Heroes”/David Bowie – Space Oddity/David Bowie – Suffragette City/Def Leppard – Photograph/Del Shannon – Runaway/Derek and the Dominos – Bell Bottom Blues/Dexy’s Midnight Runners – Come On Eileen/Don Henley – The Boys of Summer/Dusty Springfield – Son of a Preacher Man/Elton John – Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters/Elvis Costello and the Attractions – High Fidelity/Elvis Costello and the Attractions – No Action/Elvis Presley – Suspicious Minds/Everclear – Wonderful/Flaming Lips – Bad Days/Fleetwood Mac – Second Hand News/The Grifters – Holmes/Guns N’ Roses – Rocket Queen/Guns N’ Roses – Sweet Child o’ Mine/The J. Geils Band – Centerfold/The Jackson 5 – I Want You Back/Jackson Browne – Somebody’s Baby/The Jayhawks – Blue/Johnny Cash – Wreck of the Old 97/Johnny Cash – Sunday Morning Coming Down/Journey – Don’t Stop Believin’/Kelly Clarkson – Since U Been Gone/The Kinks – The Village Green Preservation Society/Led Zeppelin – When the Levee Breaks/Liz Phair – Divorce Song/Lyle Lovett – The Girl in the Corner/Lynyrd Skynyrd – Free Bird/Madonna – True Blue/Matthew Sweet – Sick of Myself/Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs – Stay/Michael Jackson – Billie Jean/Neko Case – I Wish I Was the Moon/Neko Case – That Teenage Feeling/Neutral Milk Hotel – Holland, 1945/Night Ranger – Sister Christian/The Old 97’s – Big Brown Eyes/The Old 97’s – Designs on You/The Old 97’s – If My Heart Was a Car/Outkast – Hey Ya!/Palace Music – Ohio River Boat Song/Pavement – Range Life/Peter, Paul, and Mary – Stewball/The Pixies – Here Comes Your Man/Prince – Little Red Corvette/Prince – Purple Rain/Queen – Fat Bottomed Girls/Radiohead – Creep/The Replacements – Achin’ to Be/The Rolling Stones – Let it Bleed/The Rolling Stones – Tumbling Dice/The Ronettes – Be My Baby/Roy Orbison – In Dreams/Sam Cooke – (What a) Wonderful World/Sinéad O’Connor – Nothing Compares 2 U/Smokey Robinson and the Miracles – The Tracks of My Tears/The Temptations – Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me)/Tom Petty and the Heatbreakers – American Girl/Tom Waits – Jockey Full of Bourbon/The Traveling Wilburys – Handle With Care/Uncle Tupelo – Gun/Van Halen – Ice Cream Man/Van Halen – Jump/The Velvet Underground – Sunday Morning/Warren Zevon – Werewolves of London/The White Stripes – The Hardest Button to Button/Wilco – Box Full of Letters/Willie Nelson – Sad Songs and Waltzes/The Wrens – She Sends Kisses/The Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Maps

* There are 101 songs, but that’s because I like to include the ‘Honorable Mention’ on the lists I make.

Mar 28 2010

the spite locker

Yesterday I got to thinking about all the things that other people have ruined.  There are many, many things that might otherwise be enjoyable or have some merit but for their their gross overvaluation, their ubiquity, or their fawning acolytes.  (Or – usually – some combination of the three.)  It occurred to me that this list has never been compiled in one place.  I aim today and henceforth to rectify that situation.  And so, following is a partial list of things that are not worth your time.  Consider this a work in progress.

American Idol / Animal Collective / Anthony Bourdain / Apple / Austin, Texas / Astana / bacon / Baja Fresh / Baltimore-Washington Parkway / birthdays / Brooklyn, New York / Boba Fett / Boggle / Boston Red Sox / camping / carols / Christmas / Cincinnati Bengals / Clerks / contemporary short stories / cupcakes / Dave Eggers / Dazed and Confused / Eastern Market / eggplant / Ethan Hawke / / fixies / flat-panel televisions / Foo Fighters / Frank Gehry / The Fratellis / golf / GPS / graphic novels / Halloween / happy hour / / / internet slang / Irish bars / Japan / King Library / Kings of Leon / Kurt Vonnegut / Lance Armstrong / Ledo Pizza / LOLcats / Lord of the Rings movies / Lost / marijuana / Megan Fox / Minnesota / Netflix / The New Pornographers / next-generation video game consoles / The Ohio State University / Old Town Theater / Penn State / pirates / puppies / The Rocky Horror Picture Show / Scare Force One / shorts / Six Apart /Slumdog Millionaire / The Smiths / softball / spin class / Spoon / Subway / Team HTC / track jackets / U2 / ultimate frisbee / unicycles / University of Maryland basketball / U.S. men’s Olympic hockey team / Washington Capitals / Washington Redskins / The Wire /yoga / zombies

Mar 1 2010

down on the farm

My sisters are fighting.  I’m not sure how it started (or if that even matters), but I definitely have mixed emotions about this particular argument.  On one hand, Sister #1 is being willfully stubborn and contrary against all logic, which I respect even though she is dead wrong.  On the other hand, Sister #2 can be…. well, she doesn’t have the palate of a six-year-old exactly, but sometimes it seems that if it doesn’t give you cavities she’s not interested.  Fortunately they have an older brother who is more than happy to sort these things out for the both of them.  And so, here are the five least delicious and the five most delicious vegetables.

The Worst

5/ Potatoes (baked): Baked potatoes are a dry and starchy mess.  On their own, that is.  But they’re never served that way.  Instead they come in two varieties.  One is slathered with sour cream and chives, and sour cream is vile.  The other is drenched in melted cheese and bacon bits.  Let’s not pretend anybody is eating those for the potato.

4/ Brussel Sprouts: Hey, you want the gigantic feeling of sticking an entire head of lettuce into your mouth at once?  Then brussel sprouts are for you.  Unfortunately, making you feel big is all they have going for them.  They sure don’t taste like anything you’d want to put in your mouth.

3/ Eggplant: I’ll concede that it’s possible I have never had properly prepared eggplant.  But then, it’s not like I haven’t given it a fair shake.  It’s not my fault nobody seems to be able to do it right.  Eggplant has all the charmless texture of mushrooms and none of the flavor.  It doesn’t help its case that this one is never, ever, served on it’s own.

2/ Lima Beans: Green, vaguely kidney-shaped sacs of dirt are foul.  End of story.

1/ Beets: Beets are so gross that even the fact that they can be refined into sugar can’t help them.  This disgusting vegetable really has it all.  Or – if you prefer – has nothing.  Its mouthfeel is at once both slippery like eggplant and mealy like lima beans.  And they’re not content to be merely bland like a plain baked potato.  No, they’re aggressively distasteful.  Beets dare you to eat them, and they don’t lose.

The Best

5/ Potatoes (any way other than baked): What a difference preparation makes.  Slicing that dense, starchy mass into more manageable bits is the greatest thing that ever happened to the lowly potato.  Sure, potatoes that are deep fried, au gratin, or whipped with butter and garlic might not be any better for you than the cheese and bacon monstrosity listed above, but they taste a hell of a lot better.

4/ Spinach: I yam what I yam and that’s all what I yam.  Yum.

3/ Corn: This isn’t a list of most nutritious vegetables, but corn still gets knocked a point for being probably the least healthy on this list.  Disgusting-ass beets, included.  [And also, I guess, for not really being a vegetable. -Ed.] There’s no question that every single one of us has way too much corn in our diet.  But that doesn’t make fresh corn – or better yet – corn-on-the-cob any less tasty.

2/ Broccoli: There aren’t many vegetables that hold their own equally well both raw and cooked.  Broccoli is the king of that short list.  In fact, it’s the only one that – on it’s own – is equally delicious cooked as it is raw.  And vice versa.

1/ Asparagus: Okay, I’ll admit I’ve never tried asparagus raw, but who would want to?  Roasted (or grilled!) asparagus is the alpha and the omega of the vegetable experience.  Bold flavor.  Appealing mouthfeel.  Few – if any – supporting ingredients are required to make it palatable.  Asparagus has it all.  Plus it makes your pee smell funny.

Feb 13 2010

kttd through the years

I'm feeling pretty good today about my strategy for KttD X, after settling on my songs as of last night.  And I've got a few minutes before we head out to Dulles to pick up "Lord" Ramsey on the way to the roller derby.  So for no reason other than killing time, here's a list of all the songs I've sung in the long and glorious history of Karaoke to the Death.

KttD I:  Garth Brooks, "Friends in Low Places"; Bryan Adams, "Summer of '69" (WINNER!)
KttD II:  Prince, "Raspberry Beret"
KttD III:  U2, "With or Without You"; Billy Joel, "Uptown Girl"
KttD IV:  Tammy Wynette, "Stand by Your Man"
KttD V:  Night Ranger, "Sister Christian"
KttD VI:  Kelly Clarkson, "Since U Been Gone"; Duran Duran, "Wild Boys" (WINNER!)
KttD VII:  Journey, "Open Arms"
KttD VIII:  Laura Branigan, "Gloria"; Sarah McLachlan, "Angel"
KttD IX:  Alicia Keys, "No One" (WINNER!); Billy Joel, "An Innocent Man"
KttD X:  … ain't tellin' yet.

Read and post comments |
Send to a friend

Dec 27 2009

my holiday in more than one hundred bullet-pointed words

A couple of hours ago, I got home from my annual December tour of the flyovers.  Here are a few of the highlights:

  • I kicked my sister’s ass at Rummikub.  It’s mostly a game of chance, so it’s not as satisfying as a Scrabble victory.  But the important thing is that I won.  A lot.
  • I watched Elf as I wrapped presents for the unknownth year in a row.  It was weird that I wasn’t wrapping presents on Christmas Eve this year.
  • I met up with a friend from high school I haven’t seen in at least ten years, and maybe since graduation.  That was good.
  • My ploy to buy the love of my nieces and nephews through cool Christmas presents continues apace.
  • I went to see Up in the Air by myself on Christmas Eve.  That was a little ironic, but I enjoyed it anyway.
  • I’m sick and tired of coming home sick and tired.  I’ll settle for just tired if my sister agrees not to bring sick kids from here on out.