Sunday, December 30, 2007

Memories of 2007

Its time once again to bid farewell to another 365-cycle of our lives. If you're anything like me you've experienced a lot of ups, downs, laughter, heartache and fun over the past year. So what are your favorite memories of 2007?

My list:

1. The birth of my son.

2. Our fantastic vacation to Hawaii.

3. Attending Superbowl XLI to root the Colts to victory.

4. Christmas back home in Indiana after some unexpected hardship.

5. Catching a baseball at an Astros game.

What's your Top Five?

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Winter Holiday Traditions

Tell us your top five holiday traditions - the ones you've done for years, and the new ones you're creating now!

1. Put up a Christmas tree asap
2. Visit our family members
3. This year we bought an advent calendar in the shape of a house with little doors and we filled each day with tiny presents.
4. Each year M. and I buy a new ornament for each other - that's a throw-back to my childhood when my mom bought us a ornament every year
5. Make a great meal on Christmas day

What's your Top Five?

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Holiday Programming

What are your favorite holiday specials? Includes both old and new tv specials and movies...

What's your TOP FIVE?

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Favorite Winter Holiday Songs

One of my favorite things about the holidays is pulling out my Christmas albums singing along. I also love finding new music, so I'm somewhat selfishly hoping to make some discoveries with this post, and I hope you will too!

1. The Weepies, All That I Want - this is that song that plays during the Old Navy commercials, lame, I know, but it's a really good song.

2. Tracy Chapman, O Holy Night- Most people pull out all the stops for this song, but I just love how her version is so mellow.

3. Barenaked Ladies and Sarah McLaughlin, God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen - this is such a fun song, and I love how they have fun with it.

4. John Denver, What Child is This

5. Oh, Come, Oh Come Emmanuel - these last two are my favorite to sing by myself or with someone else, or to listen to by just about anyone.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

News Stories of 2007

Nothing can top our infamous VP shooting an old man in the face last year (oh, it still kills me!) but there were some doozy news stories in 2007 too. What were your favorites? The ones that made you laugh, the ones that made you cry, the ones that shocked you, the ones that made you think, Where's this liberal media I keep hearing about?

1 Aqua Teen Hunger Force Bomb Scare
2 Douche Mike Pence saying Iraq was like a market in Indiana.
3 Damien Hirst creates diamond encrusted human skull.
4 Taking the pill "blurs" gender. What century is it?
5 Coyote in Chicago's loop

Monday, December 10, 2007

Television of 2007

Continuing with our "Best of 2007" blowout, what was your favorite TV of 2007? Series, mini-series, TV movie, news program, anything.

My list:

1. The Sopranos-Loved the ending, loved the last season.

2. Californication-I'm the only person I know who likes this show so much. I first started watching because a friend of Carrie and I's was in the first few episodes but it really hooked me. The cast is great.

3. The Office-Funniest show on TV, but in one of the greatest tragedies of 2007, our DVR screwed up and we had to re-boot our cable box. As I result I'm behind about 6 episodes.

4. The Daily Show-Still great despite the rotating cast of 'correspondents'.

5. Big Love-I find the 'Law of Diminishing Returns' usually applies to most TV dramas and that is the case with Big Love. Although not as deep as the first season, season 2 was still engaging and dramatic.

What's your Top Five?

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Movies of 2007

This is a bit tricky pre-Oscar season - but what were your favorite movies of 2007?

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Songs of 2007

I was pretty thrilled that Lyman invited me to be a contributor to Top Five because I'm an OCD List Maker and I think this is a really cool site. We're planning a Top Five Blow-Out for the end of 2007 - so be sure to check in twice a week (Mondays and Wednesdays), and post your Top Five in the comments!

To get things rolling, list your Top Five Songs of 2007 - that doesn't necessarily mean songs that were released in 2007, just the songs that have been wearing out your play list this year - the songs your S.O. can't stand to hear one. more. time. Your soundtrack of 2007.

Here's mine:

1. Anchorage by Michelle Shocked - this is an old song, but I just discovered it this year. It's a song about long time friends that have lost track of each other and gone different directions in life, but very sweet.
2. Drive Somewhere by the Vulgar Boatmen - another oldie. Also check out You and Your Sister.
3. Lovestoned/I Think She Knows by Justin Timberlake. My pal John Mayer clued me into this song a few weeks ago - I plan to wear that sh*t out by the end of the year!
4. Long Time Traveler by the Wailin' Jennys - gorgeous a capella about, uh, death.
5. Less Talk, More Rokk by Freezepop - my favorite song on Guitar Hero 2 (is that lame or really cool?), bought the cd on a whim and it rocks! I mean, ROKKZ!

Monday, June 25, 2007

John Hughes Movies

What would the 80's have been like without John Hughes? His movies capture teenage life in the 80's perfectly.

So what are your favorite John Hughes movies? (we can figure movies he wrote or directed into the list, see IMDB link above)

My List:

1. The Breakfast Club-Nobody and I mean NOBODY was as cool as John Bender. DID I STUTTER?

2. Ferris Bueller's Day Off-Well, maybe Ferris comes close to being as cool.

3. Planes, Trains, and Automobiles-What a fantastic movie this is. John Candy's best for sure. Funny and touching at the same time.

4. Sixteen Candles-Grandma Helen: Oh Sam, let me take a look at you. Fred, she's gotten her boobies.
Grandpa Fred: I better get my magnifying glass. Ha Ha Ha.
Grandma Helen: Oh, and they are so PERKY.

Samantha: I can't believe my grandmother actually felt me up.

5. Some Kind of Wonderful-Mary Stuart Masterson and Lea Thompson in the same movie? Yowza!

What's your Top Five?

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Game Shows

I'm sure you all heard last week was Bob Barker's last episode of The Price is Right. So today we are discussing Top Five Game Shows: A Bob Barker Tribute List.

My List:

1. The Price is Right-An obvious choice. But seriously, can any other show match the excitement of Plinko? the cut-throat competition of the contestant who bids $351 after the contestant before him bid $350? the hilarious boos that ensue after a contestant fails to spin the wheel a full 360 degrees on the Showcase Showdown? the shockingly coy contestant who gets to reach directly in to Bob's pocket for a $100 bill after bidding an exact amount? Game shows can get no better.

2. Win, Lose, or Draw-My favorite as a kid. What a great idea for a show, b-list celebs get together and play charades by drawing instead of acting it out. And the set was had couches and a coffee table like they were right there in your living room.

3. The Newlywed Game-I'm telling you, the urban legend of the lady who gave a saucy answer to the question "where's the most uncomfortable place you've ever had sex?" really did happen, I saw it on a game show bloopers program once.

4. Stump the Schwab-You probably don't know this one. It's a sport trivia game show where contestants try to stump the head of ESPN's research department. Geeky, I know.

5. Hollywood Squares-What a great idea for a show, c-list celebs give scripted yet hilarious answers to trivia questions and the contestant has to either agree or disagree to get their X or O on the life-size tic-tac-toe board ... genius. Although I will say when I was a kid and had a huge crush on Punky Brewser I watched the show for an entire week and she only got chose once. What a gyp. (on an unrelated note, Punky Brewster is still hot)

What's your Top Five?

Monday, June 11, 2007

Board Games

No matter how advanced computers get, no matter how realistic and intense the XBox becomes, no matter how popular poker board games will always be around. We all have memories of the board games we used to play with our friends and families and we all have fond (and some not so fond) memories of them.

So what are your favorite board games?

My List:

1. Monopoly-Although I'm usually subject to Monopoly ass-whippings from my wife who employs the "buy everything you land on" strategy, this is a classic game built on the very concept our great country was founded upon-gluttonous capitalism. My two favorite aspects of the game are the deal-making you can do with other players and the game modifications you can utilize to shorten the game.

2. Jenga-I know, not technically a board game I'm going to count this one. I don't think there's a better game to play with a bunch of people at a party where copious amounts of alcohol are being consumed.

3. Trivial Pursuit-This one would've probably been #1 on my list if not for the fact that every time I've tried to play "team" TP it's been one of the most frustrating experiences in my life because team members do nothing but bicker about which answer to say.

4. Sorry!-Basically a kid's game. I used to play this game for hours with my grandma.

5. Stratego-This game falls in to the Risk/Axis and Allies area of nerdy board games. It's a one-on-one capture-the-flag game where you strategically deploy your army trying to protect your flag.

Big ups to A Mulder for this week's list.

What's your Top Five?

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Guilty Pleasures

Our first genre-crossing Top Five can include movies, TV shows, books, whatever. We all know that there is a lot of crap permeating pop culture. Britney Spears, The Bachelor, Cosmo Magazine, there is enough garbage out there to fill all of the landfills in Jersey. And the fact is, we all have a little bit we love. What guilty pleasures do you have when it comes to pop culture?

My list:

1. Made-This reality show on MTV is one of my favs. I can watch marathons of it all day long. High school kids are transformed from shy geeks to prom queens, athletes, musicians, whatever. At one point every kid breaks down, cries and quits. But they always find a way to succeed in the end. So inspiring.

2. Poker TV Shows-Contrary to what they might tell you, you won't learn a whole lot about how to be a successful poker play from watching it on TV. Regardless, I can watch the same World Series of Poker episodes over and over again.

3. Kelly Clarkson-A jazz bass player digging a pop star from American Idol? You bet. That girl rocks.

4. Shopping Malls-As much as I hate corporate fashion stores and chain restaurants there's nothing like a good mall to help you get stuff done in a short amount of time. And with a baby? fuggetaboutit

5. Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy-This Will Farell movie is about as dumb as it gets but I love it. I have so many lines memorized but hardly anyone gets it when I say one.

What's your Top Five?

Monday, May 28, 2007

Star Wars Characters

I don't know if you've noticed but this is the 30-year anniversary of Star Wars. There was a huge convention at the LA Convention Center over the weekend and I in my infinite geekiness would've gone if I hadn't been so disappointed by the last two movies.

But no matter how bad Episodes 1-3 were, Star Wars is still a landmark in pop culture and played a huge part of my childhood. Everybody's seen the movies. So who are your favorite Star Wars characters?

My list:

1. Han Solo-I wonder how many fights there have been between kids over the years over who gets to be Han while playing Star Wars.

2. Darth Vader-The greatest villain ever. Too bad he had that goofball moment in Episode 3 where he "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" like a little schoolgirl.

3. Yoda-Sure the puppet Yoda was cooler than the digital one, but you have to admit that light sabre fight with Count Doku in Episode 2 was pretty badass.

4. Lando Calrissian-Sure he turned on Han in Empire, but the Star Wars movies are all about redemption and Lando redeemed himself in Jedi going undercover to rescue Han and becoming an Admiral for the Rebellion.

5. Darth Maul-One badass sith! I'm glad he was killed off before he get over-exploited and watered-down by Lucas.

What's your Top Five?

Friday, May 25, 2007

Food Network Chefs

I remember when I was a kid I would watch Yan Can Cook on PBS with my grandma every day around noon. Well gone are the days of obscure cooking shows on little-watched channels, Food Network is a phenomenon. Chefs who started on the channel have their own talk shows, appear on the Today Show, and are very popular TV personalities. So who is your favorite Food Network Chef?

My list:

1. Tyler Florence-As far as food you care to make with relative ease, Tyler is the best. His food is great and he's good at explaining what he's doing. And has anyone else noticed that two out of his three shows features hot chicks? In How to Boil Water he cooks with the smokin' Jack Hourigan and in Food 911 he actually goes to some hottie's house to teach her how to cook. Smart guy. His third show, Tyler's Ultimate, is his best.

2. Mario Batali-Sure he can be a bit pretentious at times, but he is a world-class chef who really and truly knows authentic Italian cooking. Italian is my favorite food to cook, so watching Mario is a lot of fun for me.

3. Alton Brown-Anyone can follow a recipe word-for-word and wind up with a pretty good dish. But if you want to start creating your own dishes it's good to know some of the science behind cooking. Alton's show is great for that and he's incredibly knowledgeable not only about food science but history as well.

4. Bobby Flay-I dig Bobby. His dishes are always creative and look beautiful. Have you ever seen an episode of his show with his wife? She's young and pretty and is really snappy with Bobby. It's weird. She seems to dislike him almost as much as those two ladies he cooks with on Throwdown.

5. Paula Dean-Great home cooking and a lot of fun to watch. She's getting in to the Emeril-zone of annoying with her live show. Stick to Paula's Home Cooking and skip the live crap which is more style than substance.

What's your Top Five?

Monday, May 21, 2007

Coen Brothers Movies

It seems as if the music topics aren't getting much traffic, so let's get back on track with another list about films. Some of the wittiest, sadistic, creative, and well-written movies of the past twenty years have been made by the Coen Brothers. Although their past few films haven't been up to par with their previous work, they remain some of my favorite filmmakers of all time.

My list:

1.Fargo-A friend once told me that in Eastern Europe cinema classes Fargo is regarded as the perfect film. It would be hard for me to disagree.

2.The Big Lebowski- The Dude: Walter, the chinaman who peed on my rug, I can't go give him a bill, so what the fuck are you talking about?
Walter Sobchak: What the fuck are you talking about? The chinaman is not the issue here, Dude. I'm talking about drawing a line in the sand, Dude. Across this line, you DO NOT... Also, Dude, chinaman is not the preferred nomenclature. Asian-American, please.
The Dude: Walter, this isn't a guy who built the fucking railroads here.

3.Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?-From music to cinematography to set design to acting, a beautiful and funny movie on every level.

4.Barton Fink-I love it when artists create art about the creation of their art. Brilliant movie.

5.The Man Who Wasn't There-One of their oddest films, a dark and melancholy noir about a guy trying to start a dry cleaning business.

What's your Top Five?

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Drving Songs

Where would mass transit be without music? Radios, iPods, tape decks, CD players, they all make your commute a little bit easier. So what songs do you like driving to?

My list:

1. "Spirit of the Radio" Rush-like my friend Ryan once said, "Rush makes your foot a little heavier when you're driving."

2. "Where or When" Frank Sinatra-the best thing about playing a song in the car is singing along with it, and I love singing along with this one.

3. "Breed" Nirvana-when you're going out for the night you like to get amped up, this track gets me amped up like none other.

4. "Triumph" Wu-Tang Clan-hip-hop is so much fun in the car, who remembers the first scene of Office Space?

5. "Cornbread" Lee Morgan-I'm of the opinion that the music you put into your head will come out of your instrument so when I'm headed to a jazz gig this is a track I want to play. It's funky and gets you in a great headspace.

What's your Top Five?

-Big thanks to Drew for today's topic

Friday, May 11, 2007

TV Moms

A Mother's Day Tribute List.

The TV Mom has been a staple character since the beginning of television. With Mother's Day right around the corner let's take a moment to recall our favorite TV Moms.

My List:

1. Carol Brady/The Brady Bunch-I'm totally serious when I say I think Carol was hotter than Marsha.

2. Lucy/I Love Lucy-About as funny as a mom can get.

3. Marge Simpson/The Simpsons-A beehive hair-do with a gambling problem, perfect.

4. Carmela Soprano/The Sopranos-What a terrific actress and complex character.

5. Estelle Costanza/Seinfeld-Another hilarious lady. At times reminds me of my grandma.

What's your Top Five?

Monday, May 7, 2007

Saturday Night Live Cast Members

It's an institution that has given birth to some extremely funny characters and some extremely bad movies. It goes through good seasons and bad seasons but everyone seems to have their favorite skits and their favorite cast members.

NOTE: I'm talking about cast members in regards to their runs on SNL. I love Sarah Silverman and Damon Wayans but their time on SNL was less than memorable.

My list:

1. Eddie Murphy-If you can watch 'Eddie Murphy: Best of Saturday Night Live' without laughing out loud every other minute then you are a humorless miser. Genius.
3. Mike Meyers-Too many funny characters to list. My favorites include Simon, Dieter, and of course Wayne Campbell. The early 90's were the greatest years of SNL and Meyers was one of the best cast members then.
4. Will Farrell-I don't think I realized how funny he really was at the time.
5. Molly Shannon-There's something bizarrely sexy about her. I think 'The Delicious Dish' might be my favorite skit ever.

What's your Top Five?

Thursday, May 3, 2007

John Cusack Movies

In the spirit of the film that inspired this blog today's topic is films by everybody's favorite nice, funny guy John Cusack. A friend of mine once told me "John Cusack plays the same character in all of his movies, but we really REALLY like that character." But if Must Love Dogs is on your list we need to have a serious talk.

My list:

1. Say Anything-"I don't want to sell anything, buy anything, or process anything as a career. I don't want to sell anything bought or processed, or buy anything sold or processed, or process anything sold, bought, or processed, or repair anything sold, bought, or processed. You know, as a career, I don't want to do that." Great writing. And whatever happened to that hottie Ione Sky?
2. High Fidelity-I have an obvious soft spot for this one. Love the way music is used in this movie. Without a doubt Jack Black's funniest performance ever. This is one you can watch over and over again. Also one of the few instances where the movie might be better than the book.
3. Being John Malkovich-Brilliant, dark, funny movie. Doesn't rate very high in the "you can watch it over and over again" category though.
4. Grosse Point Blank-What a clever idea for a movie. You have to love a comedy where the main character is an assassin.
5. One Crazy Summer-This one barely edged out Pushing Tin for me because it is one of the quintessential 80's movies. Demi Moore, Booger, Rich Little ... good cast and funny flick. I owe this one another viewing.

What's your Top Five?

Sunday, April 29, 2007

80's Sitcoms

No Madonna love I see so I figured I'd throw up a softball for today's topic.

If you had to sum up the 80's in a few hours all you'd really need to do is throw together some sitcoms and the decade would be well-described. Looking back there was a lot of crap on television in those days, but who knows good from bad when you're twelve years old?

My list:

1. Cheers-Consistent and funny writing, great characters, and great setting means one of the best shows of all time.
2. A Different World-Made me want to apply to Hillman College after high school.
3. ALF-Even though the puppet was the best actor in the cast, the show was flat-out funny.
4. The Cosby Show-I remember anxiously waiting for Thursday every week so I could watch the new Cosby Show. I watched a rerun a few years ago hoping to relive some childhood memories of my former favorite show. Instead I realized how bad it was.
5. Small Wonder-Speaking of bad, this show was so utterly wretched it was good. If a DVD ever comes out I'll be the first in line to get it.

What's your Top Five?

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Madonna Songs

It seems like Madonna has been around since I first new what music was and she's still going strong. Not only is she a pop music icon but she went through her sexed-up, S&M phase while I was going through puberty. YOWZA!

Did I ever tell you about the time I met Madonna when we were opening for her when I was with Buble? Watch it! Don't trip over that name I just dropped.

Love her or hate her, you know all of her songs.

My list:

1. "Oh Father"-One of the most beautiful and haunting melodies in the history of pop music. I don't know why this song wasn't an enormous hit.
2. "Open Your Heart"-I always pretended I was the little boy at the end of the video who she kissed after leaving the peep show. Great song.
3. "Into the Groove"-Great 80s drum machines and keyboards on this one.
4. "La Isla Bonita"-Too sexy! Too sexy!
5. "Ray of Light"-I don't like a lot of her recent stuff but this is just a good song. The Pearl Jam version is just as good.

What's your top five?

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Top Five--Gangster Movies

Welcome to the maiden voyage of my Top Five blog.

Today's topic: Top Five Gangster Movies, organized crime bosses kicking ass and taking names, one of the greatest film genres ever. My list:

1. Goodfellas-Better than The Godfather? Oh yeah.
2. The Godfather-"Leave the gun, take the canoli." One of the greatest lines in the history of cinema.
3. The Godfather Part 2-One of the most creatively told movies I've ever seen.
4. The Departed-Like Shakespere with Southie accents and machine guns.
5. Scarface-Not a great piece of cinema, but I don't think anyone will ever out-badass Tony Montana.

What's your top five?