Category Archives: top ten

Ten Things You Can’t Smell With a Cold

When your nose gets all plugged up on account of that cold that just won’t go away . . . like that annoying sort-of friend down the street growing up . . . or, you know, responsibilities, your ability to smell reaches desperately low levels. I’m talking Mariah Carey in Glitter levels. But it’s not completely gone. You can still smell some things. Garlic. Ammonia. Farts. Even brownies. You can smell brownies with a cold, though the taste isn’t quite as supremely glorious as it is in a fully decongested state.

But some things you just don’t smell with a cold.  Some of them are not missed. And no, this is not completely random. I do have the sniffles.

1. Caramel. Ugh. And yes, people without colds can smell caramel. Go run and find some. It smells good.

2. Popcorn. Unless it’s burnt popcorn. Then you can definitely smell it. Triple Ugh.

3. Lilacs. Although that may be because I just don’t have any lilacs around.

4. Pepper. And it doesn’t make you sneeze. The cold makes you sneeze. And the sneeze makes the pepper pretty much unusable.

5. Your own breath. It’s debatable if one can smell ones own breath anyway, but with a cold it just ain’t happening.

6. Snow. And no, you can’t really smell snow without a cold. But there it is, all falling on my stuffed up nose, and it’s not helping.

7. What the Rock is cooking.

8. Honey. The first time I ever tried honey (on Chicken McNuggets, FYI) I could neither smell it nor taste it. I spent the next ten years having no clue whether I liked honey or not.

9. Cool Ranch Doritos. This one depends on the severity of the cold, but if you’re so stuffed up that you can’t smell Cool Ranch Doritos, be sure to grab a mint in light of number 5 and the fact that not everyone has a cold.

10. Gravy. It’s true. And it’s tragic.

Top Ten Things I Can’t Think Of

10. The word inciting. Except not that word. It’s another one.

9. The next eight things in this list.

8. A scenario in which the Cubs win the World Series in the next three years.

7. The explanation of the Fibonacci sequence.

6. The tune to this one song that’s in this one commercial.

5. The lyrics to that song.

4. What the commercial was for.

3. Why I thought this blog post was a publishable idea.

2. Why I’m still going to publish it.

1. The heaviest of the noble gases.

Ten Things to Remember When You’re Feeling Blue

10. The Heimlich.

9. There are other words than Smurf, okay?

8. You’re not alone. That’s why the Blues is plural.

7. If you say you feel cerulean, no one will think you’re sad. They’ll think you’re fabulous.

6. Watch out for green people. They think they’re the only color with problems. Verdigris is bitter.

5. It’s probably time to get out of the water.

4. If you go to a Picasso exhibit, you should totally try to blend.

3. Look both ways before you cross the street. That’s just good sense for people of all colors.

2. The Avatar jokes are coming. Be ready with a comeback.

1. True love or not, dating an Oompa Loompa is a bad idea for a multitude of reasons.

Top Ten Movie Soundtracks That Are Better Than Their Movies

I meet a lot of my music at the theater. Sometimes I don’t even bother seeing the movie. And there was an era in the ’90s when soundtracks were the only reason I’d even care about a film. So this is a nod to those flicks outdone by their tunes. Not all are bad movies. But they’re among my favorite albums of all time.

10. So I Married an Axe Murderer

Jane, get me off this crazy thing . . . called . . . love.

I always liked this movie. Loved, maybe. It’s full of quotable hilarity (It’s like an orange on a toothpick.) Ironically, one of its only weaknesses is the incessant recurrence of “There She Goes” throughout its entirety. But as fine as the movie is, and as annoying as that song becomes by the time it’s over, I love the soundtrack more. But since the movie’s so good, it comes in at number 10. (Let’s be honest, this one’s just here as an argument starter; I could have just as easily listed Tommy Boy.
Soundtrack highlight: “Brother,” Toad the Wet Sprocket

9. Dead Man Walking

I watched the movie once. I've listened to the soundtrack dozens of times.

Another great movie. And great in an entirely different way. But the soundtrack is complete, a work of art.
Soundtrack highlight: “In Your Mind,” Johnny Cash

8. Singles

Cameron Crowe, king of the scene-stealing soundtrack

Singles wasn’t terrible, but it pales in comparison to the Seattlecentric mix of greatness assembled by Cameron Crowe. And really, Crowe deserves a list devoted entirely to him. And that’s no slight against his skills as a filmmaker, he’s just got supreme taste in music.
Soundtrack highlight: “Breath,” Pearl Jam

7. Pump Up the Volume

The movie was obscene, but the soundtrack was filthy.

Christian Slater delivered a disturbingly fun performance as the same character he played in every movie from Heathers on, but he didn’t have a prayer of living up to the music his character cued up throughout this flick.
Soundtrack highlight: “Wave of Mutilation,” Pixies

6. Natural Born Killers

Oliver Stone likes to shock maybe a little too much, but he always sets it to good music.

Oh, Oliver Stone. I remember this movie. I can’t dream of a scenario when I’d ever watch it again. I could do with another spin of that album, though.
Soundtrack highlight: “Sweet Jane,” Cowboy Junkies

5. Elizabethtown

Two volumes of musical goodness

Cameron Crowe, again. I debated leaving this one off and substituting Hope Floats somewhere in here, but that movie was so not good, I didn’t see the point in including it’s just-okay soundtrack. This one, however, was inspired by Patty Griffin. In the end, the decision was a no-brainer.
Soundtrack highlight: “Jesus Was a Cross Maker,” Rachael Yamagata

4. Marie Antoinette

I've never seen it. But come on.

Sofia Coppola is probably a great director. One of these days I’ll actually watch one of her films. It would be easier if I could stop listening to this music.
Soundtrack highlight: “Natural’s Not in It,” Gang of Four

3. Footloose

Everybody cut. Every. Body. Cut.

Take away the soundtrack and what have you got? Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon would be the hardest game ever. John Lithgow would be a beet farmer in Pennsylvania. Sarah Jessica Parker never would have been sexy in the city, nor would she have married Ferris. And what’s-her-name who played the lead female role would have a shelf full of Oscars.
Soundtrack highlight: “Footloose,” Kenny Loggins

2. Dirty Dancing

Yeah. I'm putting Baby in a corner.

This movie is not good, people. It’s not. But it did bring dancing back with music that made it easy.
Soundtrack highlight: “Hungry Eyes,” Eric Carmen

1. Reality Bites

Here's the reality: the movie bites.

Never has a movie made it easier for critics to be honest with their one-liners. I mean, really. It’s too bad, because the music is so fantastic. And the cast is all kinds of awesome . . . look at those three! Just don’t watch the movie. Ouch.
Soundtrack highlight: “Stay,” Lisa Loeb

Top Ten Signs It’s Not Really Friday Even Though It Feels Like It

10. Rebecca Black doesn’t even pause to deliberate before choosing option A: kickin’ in the front seat.

9. You’re the only one at the office in a Hawaiian shirt. Except for Louie. Louie always wears Hawaiian.

8. Standard responses to “Got plans for the weekend?” are slightly more vague than usual.

7. Keep getting emails saying you’re late for the Tuesday status meeting.

6. Capacity for focusing on work gets stronger as the day progresses.

5. You order the Friday special. Server says it will be ready in about a day.

4. About halfway through you realize the sermon has that “Sunday morning” vibe.

3. Your “TGIF!!” exclamations are met with puzzled stares instead of fake smiles, eye rolls, and/or face punches.

2. The calendar says it’s Wednesday.

1. Robert Smith: not in love.


Top Ten Signs You’re In Love With Your Toaster

It's a toaster. Does that make you feel funny?

So hot.

10. Your lips are golden brown.

9. Every time you hear Barry White you crave Pop-Tarts.

8. You die in the bathtub.

7. When people use your microwave, you say, “It’s cool, I swear, we’re just friends.”

6. You found this post on google.

5. Cleaning the crumb tray takes all weekend.

4. You daydream about being an Eggo waffle.

3. Your facebook relationship status: “It’s really, really, really complicated.”

2. Making coffee is just . . . awkward.

1. You’re constantly telling people who see you with a butter knife that it’s not what it looks like.

Top Ten Things I’ll Have To Do Now That I Have a Job

I start a new job tomorrow. This will force me to do certain things I may or may not have previously done for the past three years. Crap.*

10. Shower almost every day.

9. Dust off all my business casual clothes.**

8. Buy gasoline.

7. Talk to people. Out loud. In person.

6. Set the #*#&$*$ #@)((E**$ alarm clock every @(#*@#$*$(#Q(() @&#^#&@@ day.

5. Stop breaking out into song at the top of my lungs at random intervals.

4. Pack a lunch. Probably the same thing. Every day. Forever.

3. Learn people’s names without using the twitter autocomplete feature.

2. Remember that in person people can actually see my eye rolls and hear when I mumble profanities under my breath.

1. Work and stuff.

*That’s not on the list, it’s just an interjection. I actually do that multiple times a day. Sometimes thrice before breakfast.

**I don’t mean that as an idiom. I will literally have to remove the dust that has accumulated on my clothes. Not kidding.

10 Things Chicago Athletes Aren’t Allowed To Do

As a favor to new Cubs Carlos Pena, Matt Garza, Fernando Perez, and returning fan favorites Kerry Wood and Reed Johnson, I thought you’d like to know the rules. They aren’t all that complicated, nor do they make a lot of sense, but they are undeniable and unforgiving. These 10 things, you simply cannot do and expect to be accepted by the Greatest Fans in the World ™.

10. Show too much emotion.
9. Show too little emotion.
8. Get injured.
7. Play while injured and make your injury worse.
6. Play while injured and try to avoid making your injury worse.
5. Miss time due to injury.
4. Put off surgery too long.
3. Accept a no-trade clause much less invoke it.
2. Have dinner.
1. Under any circumstances point out that any of this is the slightest bit silly or that the Greatest Fans in the World ™ include temperamental, irrational, racist, ignorant, or otherwise mercurial members among their ranks.

Just don’t do any of that and also play awesome, and this town will love you to pieces!

What Was Ailing Aramis?

That Charlie Horse is a beast to get to.

In the latest (and as I recall only) episode of Aramis Ramirez‘ True Confessions, the secret of the abominable first half that plagued the Cubs’ 3rd baseman and emasculated the Chicago offense came to light . . . kind of. Aramis Ramirez was hurt, but he’s not going into details.

I’m not going to say specifically what it was, but I wasn’t healthy. . . . Not only the thumb, just injuries in general. I wasn’t healthy, put it that way. It’s tough enough to play when you’re healthy.

I’m not denying Ramirez was hurt, but I’m deeply troubled by his simultaneous transparency and secrecy. If he had never said anything about it, I wouldn’t care, but since Aramis brought it up, I need specifics. And since he’s not going to say what was holding him back, I have no choice but to come up with my own diagnosis. Here are ten possibilities for what may have been holding Aramis back.

10. Ramirez is a nanosophobe, and his fear of dwarves crippled him until Ryan Theriot and Mike Fontenot were traded. Ramirez’ OPS before the Theriot trade: .700. Since: .830. Actually, that one’s so believable, I’m tempted to just stop right here. But I must press on.

9. He sneezed while stepping out of a hot tub after a long night of browsing the Internet. None of that actually hurt him, but after thinking about how his former teammates had been shelved by such mishaps, his sense of mortality overwhelmed him. Then he got better.

8. Jock itch.


7. He was pregnant. He hid it well as all pregnant men do, and then he delivered during his DL stint in June. After the understandable recovery period, he’s been hitting the snot out of the ball, all for his beautiful baby quadruplets.

6. He really hated how Lost ended. Every time he saw a baseball he thought of that one Samurai-looking Other who didn’t add a single shred of explanation to what was going on in that temple.

5. Enlarged testicle. As much as you may think guys like to brag about that, it’s not a source of pride when one of your grapes swells into a lemon, especially when you black out from pain every time you make lemonade.

4. Headaches. Not Percy Harvin migraines or anything, just like . . . caffeine headaches, you know? He switched to decaf (see #7) and really should have eased into it, because the sudden switch had his temples pounding. Well, not pounding exactly, just sort of a mild but incessant throbbing. It was worse when he stood up, so when he got in the batter’s box, he just wanted to sit down as fast as he could. Three strikes and it was sweet relief with a nice cold towel to the forehead back in the dugout.

3. He traded places with Jodie Foster one Friday after both of them had been complaining to one another about how much easier the other one had it. A magic spell allowed them to switch bodies (and lives). As it turns out, Jodie Foster can’t hit for crap. On the plus side, the level of understanding between Foster and Ramirez was heartwarming and hilarious.

2. He became addicted to prune juice and couldn’t take a full swing without . . . you know. After his two-hit, three-pair-of-pants performance on opening day, he had to choose between the juice and offense. And while he couldn’t hit with any regularity, he . . . well, you know.

1. Complications from the removal of a third nipple. It took months of counseling to convince him that his nubbinectomy didn’t rob him of his hitting mojo. Same thing happened to Koyie Hill. Some guys never recover.

Ten Reasons I Hate the Mets

Playing the Mets feels like a punch to the crotch. Just ask Santo.  

This season has been brutal to watch, painful to listen to, and arduous to describe. It’s no picnic coming up with something to write about this team on anything resembling a daily basis, not that you care. Really, you don’t. As a collective group, the Chicago Cubs fan base crossed the Care Barrier more than a month ago. I’m not writing about this team out of a belief that people care, I’m writing out of obsessive compulsion.

If I’m to lure you to be likewise obsessed and compelled to the point of actually reading something here, I have to get unethically manipulative creative. So I turn to the wisdom of the wizard of direct-response marketing: Denny Hatch. Denny is an astute business man who knows, among a panoply of other business success secrets, how to trigger the emotions of his audience to move them to the point of action. His arsenal of instigation includes seven emotional catalysts guaranteed to push people’s buttons: fear, greed, guilt, exclusivity, salvation, flattery, and anger.

Fear is played out with Cubs fans. Day baseball at Wrigley might be putting the Cubs at a disadvantage and dooming us to centuries of failure, but that’s just one monster of many lurking in the shadows. Greed is a chord best strummed in the spring when fans hope to get their tickets and have their money, too. Guilt is best explored during the holidays, because that’s what all the celebration is meant to cover up, isn’t it? Exclusivity? I’ll leave that to people who think the bleachers is a country club from which the $10 crowd should be banned. Salvation? Not until Bobby Scales comes back. I have completely abandoned flattery. That leaves me with anger, so I’ll muster all I have for the Mets.

Fortunately, I hate the Mets, so there’s a lot of anger to muster. Why do I hate the Mets? I’m so glad I asked on your behalf.

Ten Reasons I Hate the Mets

10. They suck.
9. 1969
8. They let their cats wander out into the on-deck circle.
7. I’m still mad about their fake prospect who could throw 163 mph.
6. They play in New York.
5. Blue and orange? Really?
4. Dwight Gooden
3. I just do.
2. That stupid home-run apple
1. My mom always told me that when a New York Met wore a C on his jersey, it stood for “Cocaine.”

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