Category Archives: Total trivia

Boris, could you please first do something about the hair?

I said this on Twitter earlier today:

But that’s not exactly right.

Trump’s hair and Johnson’s do have things in common — they’re both light-colored, they’re both flamboyant and they’re both ridiculous.

Boris Johnson's actual Twitter profile photo.

Boris Johnson’s actual Twitter profile photo.

But there’s a huge, defining difference, which actually makes them opposites: Trump’s hair is ridiculous because it’s so obvious that he goes to far too much trouble to make it look like that. Johnson’s is distracting because he goes out of his way to look like he does nothing with it, that he has never in his life seen a comb or had anything to do with one.

In any case, both are distracting, and do not inspire the kind of confidence one would like to have in the head of a major country.

Boris’ hair in the actual, formal portrait photo at right, reminds me of my grandson — he resists anyone combing his hair, firmly declaring that he prefers that it remain “bumpy.” In a 4-year-old, this is endearing, and I have been known to compliment him on the bumpiness of his hair. In fact, I regularly reach out and muss it up for him.

But in a grown man who wishes to be taken seriously by other grown men, it is ridiculous.

Now is the time on bradwarthen.com when we all harrumph together over men among us with ridiculous hair.

Harrumph, harrumph, harrumph, harrumph, harrumph…

What sort of hair should a serious world leader have? The sort that we don’t notice. The sort that, if someone asks us to describe it when we’re not looking at it, we can’t. We shouldn’t even be able to swear whether he has hair or not, unless it’s right in front of us. It should be that understated and unobtrusive.

I’ll pause now for a moment while you all say, Hear, hear!

Hear, hear! Hear, hear! Hear, hear! Hear, hear!…

The candidates as the cast of a WWII B movie

battleground

How did I get on this subject? Well, Bryan had said something about liking Scott Walker before he dropped out, and I said he failed to stand out and distinguish himself. All the other candidates have a shorthand character people can describe, for good or ill. For instance, Lindsey Graham, who did no better in the polls than Walker, was known as the hawkish guy with the wisecracks.

So I got to thinking about how we all think we know the candidates, even though we don’t really know them any deeper than we do the characters in a cliche-ridden B movie — as a group of familiar types.

So let’s treat them like old-style contract players and cast them in an imaginary flick about World War II, since most of us are familiar with the genre. The title of the film? I dunno. “Hell is for Sad Sacks,” or something like that.

Here we go:

LuzLindsey Graham‘s the wise-cracking guy who nevertheless can give a pretty good speech about why we fight, and though he’s obviously no John Wayne, he’ll likely be a passable soldier when the shooting starts. Think L.Q. Jones — the character, not the actor who played him and adopted the name (even though he was poorly cast) — in “Battle Cry.” Think the book version. Only Leon Uris fans will get that, so never mind. Instead, think George Luz in “Band of Brothers.”

HallScott Walker is the replacement who gets killed at the start of the first battle, and no one in the unit can remember his name. Or maybe he was a member of another company entirely who ended up fighting alongside the main characters because the drop zones were all messed up. Think Private Hall in “Band of Brothers,” the guy who is the first character killed on D-Day. Or, to switch genres, anyone in a red shirt on “Star Trek.”

FrankoTed Cruz is the blowhard who talks big about how many Krauts he’s gonna kill, and the first time he’s within hearing of the guns he’s found cowering, quivering, in his foxhole. Everybody hates him — he’s always figuring an angle for getting ahead, at the expense of the other guys in the platoon — so they’re inclined to leave him there in the hole, but someone calls the medic. In “The Dirty Dozen,” he’d be Victor Franko.

RicklesDonald Trump is the utterly corrupt quartermaster who runs the black market operations in the area. A real weasel, although a tremendous businessman (ya gotta give him that) he’s all about insulting the other guys in the battalion. He’s even trading with the enemy; anything for the deal. He gets along great with Starshina Putin, his counterpart in the Red Army unit just over the hill. Think Don Rickles in “Kelly’s Heroes.” (He’s not smooth enough to be Milo Minderbinder.)

earnest young officerJeb Bush is the well-meaning but largely ineffectual officer who lives under a huge shadow. His father was a general and even his ne’er-do-well big brother made a name for himself earlier in the war. He got great grades at West Point but thus far hasn’t distinguished himself. He’s not a bad guy, but he’s not the kind of guy the men are all that eager to follow into battle. Picture Tom Hanks’ kid in “Band of Brothers.” (I’m not going to be cruel and call him Lt. Dike.)

PopsBernie Sanders is “Pops,” the impossibly old guy who somehow got drafted anyway. The young guys all think he’s great and look out for him, even politely listening to his crackpot ideas about politics, the Army, etc. He likes to freak out the recruits by popping his teeth out without warning. For some reason I’m picturing James Whitmore in “Battleground,” but I’m not sure that’s quite right. Can anyone think of somebody better?

Savalas 2Chris Christie is the crusty sergeant who’s been there and done that and rides the younger guys pretty hard, calling them “craphead” and “boy in the bubble” and such. Maybe Telly Savalas, in either “Battle of the Bulge” or “Kelly’s Heroes;” take your pick. But not in “The Dirty Dozen” — totally different character. Was James Gandolfini ever in this kind of movie? That would be perfect, but I don’t think he ever was.

WebsterMarco Rubio is “College,” the guy who earned half a degree before deciding he’d better join up. He’s a slick talker and will probably get into politics when he gets back home. The guys respect him for his ability to talk his way out of KP and such, but he hasn’t proven himself to them yet, and some wonder how he’ll measure up in combat. Think of David Kenyon Webster, the Ivy Leaguer in “Band of Brothers.”

StrayerJohn Kasich is the battalion executive officer, like Major Strayer in “Band of Brothers.” (Yeah, I keep citing “Band of Brothers,” which doesn’t fit the mold of the stereotype-ridden B movie. But there were just so many characters to choose from.) He’s regular Army and he knows his way around and the guys pretty much respect him and accept him in the No. 2 role, but people just aren’t sure how he’ll lead if the Old Man gets hit. This guy doesn’t usually have a lot of lines in the movie.

rooseveltI don’t know who Hillary Clinton is. It’s tough, since the Pentagon hadn’t yet rubber-stamped an OK on women in combat. I’m still working on it… She’s not a nurse (unless we’re talking Nurse Ratched, and that’s the wrong genre), and I don’t see her as the dame back home who wrote you a Dear John letter and broke your heart. Maybe she’s the long-suffering wife of the good-time company commander who chases all the nurses — Deborah Kerr in “From Here to Eternity.” But I don’t see her with Burt Lancaster. Maybe I’ll just say she’s Eleanor Roosevelt. She should like that…

Really, Trey? THAT’s the look you’re going with?

gowdy_surfs_up  download (3) 596-trey-gowdy-610 FILE - This file June 28, 2013 file photo shows House Oversight Committee member Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., during a hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington. House Speaker John Boehner on Friday declared he’d schedule a vote to create a select committee to investigate the Benghazi attack, escalating a political battle that has raged since the final days of President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign. A senior Republican aide said Boehner was considering Gowdy to chair the select committee. The aide wasn’t authorized to speak publicly on the matter and demanded anonymity. It’s unclear when Boehner will schedule the vote.  (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

I was out of pocket yesterday playing in a charity golf tournament (to benefit Healthy Learners) out at Fort Jackson, which means I probably had a better time than you did. (How did I do? Well, the official score was 70, which sounds great until you learn that it was captain’s choice — which, for the uninitiated, means that we had four tries at every shot — and that was the team score. When I left, the leading team had come in with a 56, and we were tied for last place. But it was a beautiful day, and we had a good time.)

But while I didn’t blog exactly, I did mini-blog and bit, and this was my most popular Tweet of the day, garnering a number of reTweets and favorites:

You may have noticed that South Carolina’s own Rep. Gowdy has made almost as many attempts to do different things with his hair as Eric Clapton, only with less success. I am not the only one to compare the above look to Oswald Cobblepot, a.k.a. The Penquin, on “Gotham:”

Others have mentioned Draco Malfoy, possibly after seeing this particular do.

You might be tempted to say that he’d look better if he just grew it out some, particularly on the sides. But then you would take that back upon seeing this. And let’s not even get started on this one

The most normal he has ever looked was when he went with the neoclassical Brutus cut, as they called it when it came into fashion in the early 19th century. Or perhaps we should call it the Cassius look, as in:

Let me have men about me that are fat,
Sleek-headed men and such as sleep a-nights.
Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look.
He thinks too much. Such men are dangerous.

Maybe that’s why he abandoned it. He didn’t want Kevin McCarthy talking about how “yond Trey hath dim’d the star of Hillary Macbeth…”

But when the big day came, what did he do? He whipped out the Butch Wax and went with the kewpie doll look:

Gowdy look

Planned Parenthood chief is already wearing her Halloween costume: Claire Underwood

Richards

One of the frustrating things about these danged Interwebs is that it’s now impossible to fool yourself into thinking you’re having an original insight. Especially insights of the more superficial kind.Claire

For instance, lately I’ve been on a roll with seeing people on TV and realizing that they look just like some other person, and thinking I want to do a blog post to share this recognition, and when I check I find that everybody else has noticed the same thing.

For instance… I recently saw Hitchcock’s “The Lady Vanishes,” and for most of the movie I tried to think who it was that Michael Redgrave looked exactly like. I knew it was another actor, but not a marquee idol by any means. Yet it was someone I had seen a lot of recently. I refused to let myself Google, “Michael Redgrave looks like…,” forcing my brain to work a little, if only on a silly pop culture problem.

Finally, I came up with it: It’s that guy who plays “Littlefinger” on “Game of Thrones,” and Councilman Tommy Carcetti on “The Wire!” That is to say, Irish actor Aiden Gillen. Congratulating myself, I went ahead and did the internet search, and… every other sentient being on the planet had already noticed it.

Dang.

So it was that when I saw a picture of Cecile Richards of Planned Parenthood on my Washington Post app this morning, and thought, “Claire Underwood!,” I thought I was just being perceptive as all get-out. Of course, the vast majority of people, who saw her on TV yesterday, had beaten me all hollow.

Dang yet again. I was all ready to say it looks like somebody already has her Halloween costume on, and other facile manifestations of a feeble wit, and I was too late.

Frustrating…

Michael Redgrave

Michael Redgrave

Aiden Gillen

Aiden Gillen

 

Oscar the Grouch is in grave danger

Oscars

I assume you’ve noted the disturbing pattern:

  1. (CNN) — Legendary fashion designer Oscar de la Renta, who spent half a century putting high society in haute couture, has died. He was 82…
  2. South African athlete Oscar Pistorius has been given five years in jail for killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp….

On the chance there is some sort of twist on the Rule of Three in operation here, if you’re Oscar the Grouch, you’ve got to be worried…

images (8)

Is SC the ‘most patriotic’ state?

patriotic-states

That’s the conclusion based on this survey:

 South Carolina is the most patriotic state in the nation, a real estate research firm has found.

The ranking is based on Movoto Real Estate’s measure of the number of people who Googled for American flags. The state also has the seventh highest veterans per capita, and 16th highest funding for veterans per capita….

Seems like a rather slim criterion to me. A state could top the list if, for instance, it was ordering flags in order to burn them or something.

Nevertheless, I don’t doubt that South Carolina is at least among the most patriotic states, whatever your criteria. We have definitely come a long way on that score since that time, so very long ago that it’s hardly worth mentioning, when we, you know, launched a war — the deadliest war in the nation’s history — against the United States.

 

Bee Gees tune makes my hypothetical band’s playlist

Last night, I was watching an episode of “The Americans” and it ended with a song in the background that was a pleasant-enough-sounding ballad, but for one thing: It seemed to be very close to something very familiar, and something that I wanted to hear, but it never got there. It was too busy being artsy, too free-form, too showy in its refusal to be anything like the original.

I now know it was Roberta Flack’s version of “To Love Somebody.” It was pleasant, but considered as a cover of that song, it was awful. It left out all the best bits, such as the change when it launches into “you don’t know what it’s like,” and then when it takes it down a notch, for “to love somebody.”

Everything that made the song special was missing, including the appealing rhythm of the verses, in between the aforementioned best bits.

Frankly, I hadn’t ever realized how special the song was, until it had been stripped of what made it that way.

So I’m unilaterally adding it to the playlist for my band, for when I have a band. I’m not consulting my bandmates on it, because I don’t have any, and it wouldn’t do to start having artistic differences before we even get together.

I’m even thinking of going out on a limb and adding “I’ve Gotta Get a Message to You,” because I’ve always known that was great, even though it was by the Bee Gees. After all, the Brothers Gibb were pretty good before disco (he said defensively).

This is coming together well. Before long, I’ll have a complete playlist for my ultimate cover band, and that will give us a head start when I get around to actually putting the band together. Don’t you think?

Have fun storming the castle (a bit late)!

Click on this to blow it up.

Click on this to blow it up.

I missed this reunion of the cast of “The Princess Bride” when it happened a couple of years ago (to celebrate the film’s 25th anniversary), but since I just ran across it today, I thought I would share.

The photo, near as I can tell, came from Entertainment Weekly. Here are some close-ups from it.

So you want me to go back to politics and other serious stuff? As you wish…

Here’s how we used to find stuff out in the old days, kids

Since this post the other day, I’ve been listening more closely to the Christmas music to which I’ve been exposed.

This morning, I heard something really unusual. What got me was the very different rhythm part of this rendition of “O Come Emanuel.” I’d actually been listening a while before I realized what the song was — even though it’s my favorite Advent song. This was before coffee, you understand.

I wanted to know right then who it was. But I couldn’t do what I would normally do. I was driving the truck, which is straight-shift and takes two hands, and wearing my winter coat that zips up, and couldn’t get at my phone to get my SoundHound app to give it a listen and ID it for me. Frustrating (in any event, as I discovered when I got to work, I’d left my phone at home — again, the lack of coffee).

So I decided that I’d fall back on trying to find out who that was when I got to a keyboard. To my inexpert year, it sounded like Pearl Jam. So I hunted on Google, and on YouTube. I asked everybody on Twitter:

Heard a very offbeat rendition of “O Come Emanuel” on radio this a.m. Sounded like… Pearl Jam. Google couldn’t find that. So who was it?

Weirdly, no one answered. I asked again about six hours later. Still no takers. Which is unusual. Normally, someone at least guesses.

So you know what I did? I found out the old school way. Soon as I got a moment (late this afternoon, after a busy day) I called the request line at Magic 98.5. I asked who that was doing “O Come Emmanuel” between 7:45 and 8 this morning.

Turns out it was Third Day, a Christian rock band that formed back in the early ’90s. You know, when everybody was trying to sound like Eddie Vedder.

The fact that my crowd-sourcing efforts failed, I suppose, testifies to grunge-style Christian bands  occupying a lesser-known part of the pop music spectrum. Even Rob, Dick and Barry might have had trouble with it.

I’m just glad I solved the mystery. I’m sure you’re happy for me.

The resurgence of The Chicken Curse?

522792_216874205110417_1504477813_n

My friend Doug Nye is gone, and many think his great discovery, The Chicken Curse, is gone with him.

But it pops up now and then.

The Chicken Curse, properly understood, is not just about the Gamecocks football team losing. So the recent winning seasons by the home team don’t mean the Curse is dead. In fact, as I was introduced to the concept in the late 1980s, it’s more about people who otherwise have nothing to do with South Carolina being done in by an incidental association with our flagship university, particularly with anything bearing on its athletic programs.

Under this interpretation, for instance, we understand that Gary Hart missed his chance at the Democratic nomination for president in 1988 because of his relationship with a former USC cheerleader, Donna Rice.

Anyway, the thing that brings all this to mind is the fact that, just days before the BCS Championship game, The Wall Street Journal carelessly decided to run a lengthy interview with Lou Holtz talking about how great the Irish were this year, headlined, “Why Notre Dame Is Back on Top.”

Textbook case of the Curse, as I was taught to understand it…

Which is Rothko, and which is ADCO?

Three years ago, the staff of ADCO had our annual Christmas party at Hobby Lobby. After refreshments, each us was given a canvas and paints, and challenged to create something for the walls of our offices.

We were encouraged to paint in the style of Mark Rothko, and most of us cooperated. We were generally pleased with the results, which you can still see today adorning the walls of 1220 Pickens St.

Fast-forward to this year…

Last Thursday, our office Christmas party consisted of lunch at Hampton Street Vineyard, followed by a tour of the Rothko exhibit at Columbia Museum of Art.

Now, here’s a test of your artistic perspicacity: Above and below are images of two paintings. Can you tell which is by ADCO, and which is by Rothko himself?

No cheating! To check yourself, you may look it up on Google Images after you share your answer. You’re all on the honor system, and sure, you are all honorable men. And women.

IMG_1022

What is the sound of no cookie crumbling?

Tom Priddy, former colleague at The State and the man who introduced me to Internet porn*, encountered a terrible omen last night:

Uh, oh. Not only did my fortune cookie not have a fortune in it tonight, but it didn’t even have a cookie. Yep. It was a package of air. Never opened. Just a bubble. I think maybe I’d better just stay home tomorrow . . .

The only explanation I could offer him was that maybe it was a Zen cookie. What is the sound of no cookie crumbling?

* Perhaps that calls for an explanation. Tom was an early computer guru at the paper, and by the late 80s or very early 90s had taken a job with Knight Ridder corporate doing something technical and mysterious, although his office was still at the paper in Columbia (he was maybe the first person I knew to have such a long-distance job enabled by technology). He was helping me on a project one day in his office, and somehow it came up that people were using computers and modems — not the Web, this was before common access to the Internet — to share dirty pictures. I said “Really? Show me.” Several minutes later — it took some time to identify a relevant server, dial up and establish a connection — a picture started gradually revealing itself on his screen, very slowly, one line of pixels at a time. We continued with the task I had come there for while it unfolded. It turned out to be a fairly unremarkable picture of a nude woman lying on a bed, with her head tilted back looking at the camera. Not really X-rated, more hard R or NC-17 at most. I made a note, and promptly assigned a reporter to do a story on this new form of high-tech porn, which ended up running on our features front.

This guy just makes me want to give up

As you know, I’m working on some mutton chops for “Pride and Prejudice.” I really didn’t start early enough to get them nice and bushy, a la Regency Period.

From my sideburn days, in college. They show up better when they're not white.

I know from experience that sideburns take time. To grow them really big would take close to a year. And even more maddeningly, the part of my beard I don’t want — the mustache and chin area — grows much more quickly and thickly.

All I can say is that by the time I shave the middle part, just before opening night (which is just over two weeks away!), they will be passable, although not nearly as good as Mr. Bennet’s in the 1995 TV series. Good thing I’m playing Sir William, eh?

This would be easier to accept if I hadn’t watched a movie with my wife the other night about Beatrix Potter, whose father was played by John Woodvine, below. That’s just totally unfair. I console myself by saying that they have to be fake. They do, right? No actor could take that much time out of his life to look like this for one role…

Shawarma: The lunch of superheroes

The above sign, spotted today at Al Amir on Main St., got me to thinking of “The Avengers.”

Tony Stark: You ever try shawarma?

SPOILER ALERT! OK, not really, because it reveals nothing about the plot, although it will ruin a tiny little fun surprise. It’s just one of those little lagniappe things at the end of the credits. Although, come to think of it, this does tell you that all the heroes survive the movie, so SPOILER ALERT!

At the end of the climactic battle, as he’s lying dazed among the rubble, Robert Downey Jr., who as Iron Man has 90 percent of the movie’s good lines, reassures his comrades that he is alive by saying offhandedly, “You ever try shawarma? There’s a shawarma joint about two blocks from here. I don’t know what it is, but I wanna try it.”

Then, the fun part: After all the credits — apparently, Joss Whedon needed the help of about 3.7 million people to make this flick — you see the exhausted heroes lounging, disheveled, around a table in the shawarma joint, slowly munching away in complete silence. This continues for more than 30 seconds, as a restaurant employee sweeps up in the background.

This sort of backhanded, non-branded little product placement has apparently launched a bit of a shawarma craze:

Those of you still reading will likely recall Tony Stark’s fascination with shawarma toward the end of the film. During the climactic battle, Stark suggests the team adjourn to a nearby restaurant to try the dish, which Wikipedia describes as “a pita bread sandwich or wrap” filled with spit-roasted meat (commonly lamb, goat, chicken or a mixture of various meats). At the very, very end of the film, after the credits have rolled, we witness the superhero team sitting at a table, silently eating their shawarma for a surprisingly long amount of time.

Now, based on that short in-joke, TMZ claims that the Los Angeles shawarma industry has seen a massive spike in popularity since the release of the film. “At Ro Ro’s Chicken — a famed Lebanese joint in Hollywood — the manager says shawarma sales jumped 80% in the days after the movie opened,” the gossip site claims, while saying that a number of other Lebanese restaurants offered similar results…

That’s fine. Just as long as they don’t start rebranding it the Super-Gyro…

Fifty years of summertime pop, rated

The sleeve of my "Honky Tonk Women" single.

Last week, I called into question the value of recent pop music. I was moved to do so by this feature on NPR, regarding “The Songs Of The Summer, 1962-2012,” which ran the gamut “from surf rock in the early 1960s through British then American rock ‘n’ roll, disco, power ballads, R&B, boy bands and hip-hop.”

I thought it particularly meaningful that it counted from what Gene Sculatti’s The Catalog of Cool described as “The Last Good Year.”

I listened to the Spotify mix that the story linked to (there’s also a version provided by NPR itself, but you don’t get to pick where you jump in — it’ more like conventional radio that way).

The list confirms me in my belief, that there hasn’t been a summer like that of 1966 since. As I said before:

Puts me in mind of the summer of ’66. I came back from the beach determined to go out and buy three singles: “Green Grass” by Gary Lewis and the Playboys, “I Am a Rock” by Simon and Garfunkel, and “Little Red Riding Hood” by Sam the Sham and the Pharoahs.

OK, so sue me. I was 12. At least “I Am a Rock” was cool.

But look at what else came out that summer:
PAPERBACK WRITER – The Beatles
WILD THING – The Troggs
PAINT IT, BLACK – The Rolling Stones (still my favorite Stones song)
SUMMER IN THE CITY – The Lovin’ Spoonful
HANKY PANKY – Tommy James & The Shondells
STRANGERS IN THE NIGHT – Frank Sinatra
MOTHER’S LITTLE HELPER – The Rolling Stones
AIN’T TOO PROUD TO BEG – The Temptations
DIRTY WATER – The Standells
WHEN A MAN LOVES A WOMAN – Percy Sledge
SUNSHINE SUPERMAN – Donovan
MONDAY, MONDAY – The Mamas & The Papas

Not to mention these forgettable items that I loved at the time:
RED RUBBER BALL – The Cyrkle
SWEET PEA – Tommy Roe
THEY’RE COMING TO TAKE ME AWAY, HA-HAAA! – Napoleon XIV

That was all just one summer.

Come on — what will today’s 12-year-olds have to look back to in the future?

The answer to that question doesn’t appear to be very encouraging.

Gradually, over the past week, I listened to that mix while doing a lot of other things. Here’s how I rated what I heard, on a scale from zero stars to five:

2012: Carly Rae Jepsen, “Call Me Maybe”

2011: Adele, “Rolling In The Deep”

2011: LMFAO, “Party Rock Anthem”

2011: Nicki Minaj, “Super Bass”

2010: Eminem featuring Rihanna, “Love the Way You Lie”

2010: Katy Perry, “California Gurls”

2010: Taio Cruz, “Dynamite”

2009: Black Eyed Peas, “I Gotta Feeling”

2009: Taylor Swift, “You Belong With Me”

2008: Coldplay, “Viva La Vida”

2008: Katy Perry, “I Kissed A Girl”

2008: Lil Wayne featuring Static Major, “Lollipop” – Only gets a 1 because, if you only hear a second of it, it’s catchy. After 2 seconds, you hate it

0 2007: Rihanna featuring Jay-Z, “Umbrella”

0 2007: T-Pain featuring Yung Joc, “Buy U A Drank”

2006: Gnarls Barkley, “Crazy”

0 2006: Nelly Furtado featuring Timbaland, “Promiscuous”

2006: Shakira, “Hips Don’t Lie”

0 2005: Gwen Stefani, “Hollaback Girl”

0 2005: The Pussycat Dolls featuring Busta Rhymes, “Don’t Cha”

0 2004: Juvenile featuring Soulja Slim, “Slow Motion”

2004: Usher, “Confessions Part II”

2003: Beyoncé featuring Jay-Z, “Crazy In Love”

2003: Chingy, “Right Thurr”

2003: Sean Paul, “Get Busy” – This would get a 2, but for the monotony.

2002: Avril Lavigne, “Complicated” – Almost it to a three in the middle part, but not quite.

2002: Jimmy Eat World, “The Middle”

0 2002: Eminem, “Without Me”

0 2002: Nelly, “Hot In Herre”

0 2001: Destiny’s Child, “Bootylicious” – What did this in from the start was the ripped-off sample from Stevie Nicks’ highly irritating “Just Like the White-Winged Dove.” It only got worse from there.

2001: Eve featuring Gwen Stefani, “Let Me Blow Ya Mind”

1999: Christina Aguilera, “Genie In A Bottle”

1999: Jennifer Lopez, “If You Had My Love”

0 1999: Len, “Steal My Sunshine”

1999: Smash Mouth, “All Star”

0 1998: Next, “Too Close”

0 1998: Vengaboys, “We Like To Party”

1998: The Backstreet Boys, “Everybody (Backstreet’s Back)”

1997: Hanson, “MMMBop” – Bubblegum, but not bad bubblegum. The chorus almost raises it to 3.

1997: Notorious B.I.G. featuring Puff Daddy & Ma$e, “Mo Money Mo Problems”

1997: Puff Daddy featuring Faith Evans & 112, “I’ll Be Missing You” – How much credit should a sample get? Because without that, this is nothing.

1996: Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, “Tha Crossroads”

1996: Los Del Rio, “Macarena” – Yes, the craze became a joke, but at least it has some musicality.

1996: Mariah Carey, “Always Be My Baby”

1995: Seal, “Kiss From A Rose”

1995: TLC, “Waterfalls”

1994: Ace of Base, “Don’t Turn Around”

1994: All-4-One, “I Swear”

1994: Lisa Loeb, “Stay” – Keeps threatening to sound good, but doesn’t get there.

1994: Warren G & Nate Dogg, “Regulate”

1993: Tag Team, “Whoomp! (There It Is)”

1993: UB40, “Can’t Help Falling In Love” – Too bad Elvis never heard this version.

1992: Boys II Men, “End of the Road”

1992: Red Hot Chili Peppers, “Under the Bridge”

1992: Sir Mix-A-Lot, “Baby Got Back” – I agree with the sentiment, at least.

1991: Bryan Adams, “(Everything I Do) I Do It For You” – Not his best effort.

1991: DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince, “Summertime”

1991: EMF, “Unbelievable”

1990: Mariah Carey, “Vision Of Love”

1990: New Kids on the Block, “Step By Step”

1989: Martika, “Toy Soldiers”

1989: Richard Marx, “Right Here Waiting” – Syrupy.

1988: Cheap Trick, “The Flame”

1988: Steve Winwood, “Roll With It” – Not as good as his work with Blind Faith, not by a long shot. But it’s catchy.

1987: Heart, “Alone”

1987: U2, “With Or Without You” – Perhaps their best song.

1987: Whitney Houston, “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” – Excellent example of the genre, but I’m not a big fan of the genre.

1986: Madonna, “Papa Don’t Preach”

1986: Peter Cetera, “Glory Of Love”

1985: Huey Lewis & The News, “The Power of Love”

1985: Tears For Fears, “Shout” – One of the best of the 80s.

1984: Cyndi Lauper, “Time After Time” – Not as good as “Girls Just Want to Have Fun”

1984: Prince & The Revolution, “When Doves Cry” – Not as good as “1999”

1983: The Police, “Every Breath You Take”

1983: Irene Cara, “Flashdance…What a Feeling”

1982: Paul McCartney & Stevie Wonder, “Ebony & Ivory” – Just chock full of good intentions, though.

1982: Human League, “Don’t You Want Me”

1982: Survivor, “Eye of the Tiger”

1981: Rick Springfield, “Jessie’s Girl”

1981: Kim Carnes, “Bette Davis Eyes”

1980: Lipps, Inc., “Funkytown”

1980: Billy Joel, “It’s Still Rock & Roll to Me”

1979: Donna Summer, “Bad Girls” – It would be a 1, but I don’t want Bud to hate me.

1979: Anita Ward, “Ring My Bell”

1978: Andy Gibb, “Shadow Dancing”

1978: Frankie Valli, “Grease” – Sorry, Frankie, but there were better songs in that show.

1977: Fleetwood Mac, “Dreams”

1976: Starland Vocal Band, “Afternoon Delight” – An oddball little hit.

1976: Elton John & Kiki Dee, “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart”

1976: Wings, “Silly Love Songs”

1975: The Captain & Tennille, “Love Will Keep Us Together” – Perhaps a better song, done by someone else.

1974: Bo Donaldson & The Heywoods, “Billy, Don’t Be A Hero”

1974: George McCrae, “Rock Your Baby”

1973: Diana Ross, “Touch Me In The Morning”

1973: Jim Croce, “Bad Bad Leroy Brown”

1972: Bill Withers, “Lean On Me” – This just gets better and better.

1972: Sammy Davis, Jr., “The Candy Man” – How did this get in there?

1971: Bee Gees, “How Can You Mend A Broken Heart?” – I’m throwing the Bee Gees a bone here.

1971: Carole King, “It’s Too Late”

1970: The Carpenters, “(They Long To Be) Close To You”

1970: The Jackson 5, “The Love You Save”

1970: Edwin Starr, “War” – Good song, though it overstates its case (“absolutely nothing”).

1969: The Beatles, “Get Back”

1969: The Rolling Stones, “Honky Tonk Woman” – Not only a superlative summer song, it’s a great driving song, too.

1968: Simon & Garfunkel, “Mrs. Robinson”

1968: The Rascals, “People Got To Be Free”

1967: Aretha Franklin, “Respect” – Give her some.

1967: The Doors, “Light My Fire” – I probably would have rated this higher at the time.

1966: Tommy James & The Shondells, “Hanky Panky”

1966: The Troggs, “Wild Thing” — Elemental, proto-punk, garage band purity.

1966: The Lovin’ Spoonful, “Summer In The City”

1965: The Byrds, “Mr. Tambourine Man” — I’d have given the Dylan original another star.

1965: The Beatles, “Help!” — I feel bad that I didn’t give the Beatles five stars on anything, but none of their best songs were listed.

1965: The Rolling Stones, “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction”

1965: Sonny & Cher, “I Got You Babe”

1964: Dean Martin, “Everybody Loves Somebody”

1964: The Animals, “House of the Rising Sun”

1964: The Beach Boys, “I Get Around”

1963: Lesley Gore, “It’s My Party”

1963: Jan & Dean, “Surf City”

1962: Ray Charles, “I Can’t Stop Loving You”

1962: Neil Sedaka, “Breaking Up Is Hard To Do”

1962: Little Eva, “The Loco-Motion” – Had trouble deciding on this one; may only be a 3.

Naked without a jacket

Some of y’all were advising me on a “look” for my band, once I start a band. That, of course, is a worthwhile consideration — yet another thing to settle before actually forming the band itself, along with the band name and playlist.

But y’all were a bit off with the platform shoes with goldfish in them and other suggestions. As I responded, my own concept of a “look” is somewhat different.

I tend to think back to when I saw Dylan with The Band in Memphis in 1974. Basically, they were casually dressed with dark sport coats over work shirts, and jeans or other casual pants. I seem to recall a scruffy old sofa on the stage. It was comfortable, homey, and vaguely old-fashioned. They were dressed sort of like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance kid, only without the guns and cowboy hats.

That’s the sort of look I’m comfortable with. It’s the way I dress. It’s more or less the way I’ve dressed since high school. There was once a sort of clearance/warehouse sale at the base exchange at Hickam Air Force Base back in 1970, and they were getting rid of all kinds of out-of-style items. I picked up a couple of sport coats for $5 each. One of them I really liked. It was wool, a sort of rough, tweedy wool. It was a dark, dark blue with other dark colors in it, vaguely seen, and a faint sort of reddish pinstripe running through the hard-to-see pattern. I wish I still had that jacket, even though it wouldn’t fit me now. It was very like what The Band would wear, or what a cowboy in a particularly cool western might wear, and have to pull out of the way to draw his sixgun.

Over the years, I got dressier than that, and took up such items as the bow tie. But nowadays, when I do wear a tie, I’m the only one at ADCO who does. And more and more often, I don’t wear one at all. So I’m drifting back more toward that look I had as a student. But part of that look is that I always, always wear a jacket.

How could I not? How would I get around? Where would I put my:

  • Car keys (right outside pocket)
  • Wallet (sorry, but I’m not going to deform my spine by sitting on a wallet in my hip pocket)
  • notebook (my Moleskine fits perfectly in my inside pocket on the right
  • flip-up shades (breast pocket)
  • pills, tissues, etc. (antihistamines and such that I always carry — left outside pocket)

Where would all that stuff go without a jacket? And then there’s my iPhone, which I wear clipped to my belt — you want me to go around with my phone exposed to the weather?

The other day, on NPR, I heard an interview with British actor Bill Nighy, who among other things said the following:

SIEGEL: You have a look and bearing that says, at least to my American eyes: British gentleman. Is it true that you feel naked if you’re not wearing a suit?

NIGHY: Yeah. In fact, a jacket, really. I’m a jacket man. And if I’m without one, I am kind of seriously disabled. I don’t know how to operate in shirt sleeves.

SIEGEL: You don’t?

NIGHY: It makes me anxious and uneasy.

SIEGEL: Even to a reading for a part or something very informal?

NIGHY: Yeah. It’s ludicrous. People sometimes inquire why there’s a lack of classical work on my CV with the emphasis on Shakespeare and I have joked in the past that it’s because I can’t operate in those kind of trousers. But, in fact, it’s true. I can really only operate in a decent lounge – what we used to call a lounge suit. It is kind of my muse and I am ludicrously attached to the idea.

I did a play on Broadway here in New York and the director desperately tried to get a jacket off me. He said, you’re in the garden. It’s summertime in England. What would you be doing wearing a jacket? I said, I always wear a jacket in the garden. Anyway, he did get the jacket off me and he actually made me appear without socks, which was deeply unsettling.

SIEGEL: This was very difficult for you.

NIGHY: Yeah…

Exactly! How indeed does one get along with a jacket? I can’t imagine. I gathered that this was supposed to be heard as an expression of the actor’s eccentricity, but I thought he made perfect sense. No wonder I like Nighy in pretty much anything I see him in (“Page Eight,” “I Capture the Castle,” “Love Actually“).

As for going about without socks? Totally beyond the pale. Let’s not even go into that.

Like Butch and Sundance, but without the guns and hats.