Thursday, January 01, 2009

Top 10 Top 10 Lists

As a native Californian, I find that most freaks who give the word "Californian" a bad rap are transplants who grew up somewhere else. So, while most of the nation thinks of Californians as assholes, they're really thinking of the assholes who moved to the Golden State from elsewhere. True Californians aren't assholes--we're too much better than everyone else to stoop to that level. Similarly, there are plenty of posers who claim to love the 80s, but who really just love the music. Anyone who lived through the Reagan-Bush years and was paying enough attention to remember James Watt, five-pound blocks of cheese, the U.S. invasion of a Caribbean island medical school, and the omnipresent fear of armageddon brought about by an octogenarian with a shaky grip on reality and a firm grip on the nuclear launch codes doesn't love the 80s. But we do love the music, in the same way that everyone loves SUVs, Republican economics, and crack. And so, here are the Top 50 videos from 1983. (Although, seriously...Islands in the Stream? WTF? I am still down with Sweet Dreams, however.)

I'm not as fond of the FBI's reverse Philly as I am of the use of Craig's List to commit a heist, but I do give props to the g-men for showing more than a passing knowledge of tech and tech culture. Likewise, I'm not as big a fan of The Big Gulp Heist as I am of the Washington-Jackson Switcheroo, but that might be because the BGH targeted my bank and required me to get a new ATM card at an inconvenient time this year. Nevertheless, the same entrepreneurial spirit that got us into the current economic repression recession is alive and well as shown by this list of the Seven Best Capers of 2008.

The best lessons are worth learning repeatedly, which is how Jesse "Hymie Town" Jackson tops this list of 2008's Top 10 Open Mike Moments.

All you geeks out there among my six loyal readers probably not only know but also have used all of these at some time, so I'm providing this list to the remaining four readers so they might defend themselves against you: Top 10 Harmless Geek Pranks

Whatever your musical taste, from kids music to jazz to mixtapes, NPR's got your top 10 music list.

  • I'm particularly fond of Aaron Perks's Peaceful Warrior from the pretentiously titled Geniuses Collide In 2008's Best Jazz list. From the same list, Roy Hargrove, Dave Holland, Vijay Iyer and Ahmad Jamal are also more genius than collisions.
  • On the The Year In Music For Kids (And Parents) list, I'm liking Sleep, from Scribblemonster & His Pals, not just because it accurately describes how 3B has been behaving in the hour after we put him down. Ham & Burger's Jungle Jim is also cool, perhaps more so for 3B's burgeoning imagination and his love of Pork and Beef's Great Adventure. And of course, MM&W rocks the dollhouse with Where's the Music?
  • Also, I found Chiwoniso from the The Best African Music Of 2008 list a better practitioner of "mesmerizing musical sorcery" than the Kasai Allstars are advertised to practice, but the Allstars are worth a listen as well. However, the must listen for me was the Orchestre Super Jheevs des Paillotes track from African Scream Contest: Raw & Psychedelic Afro Sounds. Superfast, supercool and freaky.
  • I never understood what the deal was with Seinfeld, but I'm listening to Wale and DJ Nick Catchdubs riff on it repeatedly as well as Cops Keep Firing from Nas and DJ Green Lantern, both off of the The 10 Best Mixtapes Of The Year list. Hip hop keeps moving ahead, but unfortunately, its common and familiar topics--racism and law enforcement abuse--remain with us.
  • And finally, if you're like me and your lifelong dream is to be just like everyone you don't know, go and buy every album on the NPR listeners' most popular albums list, even those that are ripped off from other musicians.
And for those of you six loyal readers who can count, you're right--that's only 9 Top 10 lists, but that's all I could afford in an economy like this. Maybe if you're lucky, W. will send you a bonus Top 10 list as an economic stimulus parting gift.

Subscribe to the Bradstein feed--Vorsprung durch Technik!


  1. "Islands in the Stream" would be enough, but I completely forgot about Kenny's duet with Sheena Easton! I'm bloated on 80's pop-cheese!

  2. Happy New Year!! I will look into those lists after I am done watching the Rose Parade.

  3. I've been checking out more James McMurtry lately:

    nobody's from here
    most of us just live here
    locals long since moved away
    sold the played-out farms for parking lots
    went off looking for a better way

    This is the URL

  4. If I leave a comment does my new picture show up?

  5. you idiot.
    "...islands in the stream...that is what we are..."
    how will I ever get that out of my flippin' head?

    ....I say that I loved the 80s. Here's what I mean: I was a mere child in the 80s. The latter part of the 80s were pretty sweet if you ask me. The music of the 80s was rockin' (Safety Dance, anyone?), and I was devoid of true responsibility. My clothes were washed, dried, & ironed for me. My meals were prepared for me. Hell, I didn't even blowdry my own hair.
    Yes, there were certainly benefits to the my little world.

    ...oh, and Californians...well, most Texans don't think of them as "assholes"...most everyone I know thinks of Californians as two different stereotypes: "tree-huggin' hippie-liberal granola lovers", and "Hollywood starlets/starlet wannabes".
    And to quote some VERY conservative Republicans around me: "If it weren't for earthquakes and cost of living, Laine would move there right now."

  6. VDaddy: The 80s was sort of the Cheetos of decades, no?

    KMoo: Saw the parade. Didn't see your float though. Someone around here was distracting me.

    MrJ: That's good. It gets tiring listening to Big Yellow Taxi.

    KMoo: A picture shows up, but you looks suspiciously like Liberal Banana in it.

    L-P: Glad to be of service. At least I didn't Rickroll you.

    Also, there are affordable places in Cali, and the earthquakes aren't that bad, really. I always thought they were fun. Buildings are pretty well built to withstand them and they're not nearly as frequent as tornados, which nobody builds anything to withstand.

  7. I think my sister looks like a conservative banana, considering the neighborhood.

  8. Anonymous10:22 PM

    Dude, I once ate some of a five-pound block of cheese (my grandma got one). It was horrible, if I recall correctly. And on a whim, I decided to Google "five-pound blocks of cheese, and came across this in a NY Times article from 1982:

    "The minister at Beulah Baptist, the Rev. J. C. Crawford, was less than sanguine about the Federal Government's largess. 'Man cannot live by cheese alone. Only rats can,' Mr. Crawford said. 'We certainly need more than cheese. Cheese won't keep the people warm. Cheese won't pay the rent. We need jobs. But when you're poor you have to accept what is given.'"

    Ah, New Jersey, how do I love thee.

    Down Under!
    Hungry Like the Wolf!
    She Blinded Me with Science!

    I'm actually a little disturbed that I could immediately call up melody and lyrics from pretty much that entire list. I must not have been paying attention much in school that year. Oh riiiight -- I was in junior high. That explains everything.

  9. CAGirl: Point well taken.

    Amama: Any time I think about the cheese I think about the Circle Jerks. (And if that sentence doesn't attract the weird porn fetish searches, I don't know what will.)

  10. I counted 11. I need to go to bed.