Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Top ten week

I loved top ten lists way back when David Letterman was still funny (sometime in the 70s if you ask me) and way before his occasionally humorous, but now so over top ten lists started. These are my choices. If I don’t get comments, I presume you all agree with me.


Jazz numbers
10 Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy – The Andrew Sisters
9 Mack the Knife – Louis Armstrong
8 What a Wonderful World - Louis Armstrong
7 When the Angels Sing (Fralich in Swing) – Ziggy Elman (born Harry Finkelman)
6 Song of India – Tommy Dorsey take on a Rimsky-Korsakov piece
5 Tie - Opus One and String of Pearls – Glenn Miller
4 Every Tub - Count Basie (a really underrated number - the great Lester Young on sax)
3 Beginning to see the Light – Louis Armstrong version of the Duke Ellington classic
2 In the Mood – Glenn Miller
1 Sing, Sing, Sing – Louis Prima (see my 12/10/07 post on Prima’s remarkable number)

Honorable mention - Take Five - Dave Brubeck

Non-domesticated animals
10 Monarch butterflies
9 Chameleons
8 Octopi
7 Otters
6 Wolves
5 Kinkajous – aka honey bear or nightwalker. I used to care for one when I was young
4 Orangutans – so what chimps are closer dna-wise – these guys are more human to me
3 Blue whales (unless they are extinct, and then, sorry)
2 Ants/Spiders – any kind
1 Cheetahs

Kings and Queens
10 Ghengis Khan
9 William the Conqueror
8 Peter the Great
7 Ramses the Great (because those amazing piles of rocks are still standing)
6 Sulla the Happy (pre-figured Julius Caesar)
5 Sargon II (Assyria - look him up)
4 Charles XII (Sweden – a real swashbuckler; see my June 27th, 2008 post)
3 Psammetichus (from Herodotus’ Histories – fascinating and more than a little nutty)
2 Mad Ludwig II of Bavaria (no Ludwig, no Disneyland Castle)
1 Cleopatra (what are the chances we’d still be talking about her today)

Honorable mention: David; Solomon; Cyrus II, Peter the Great, Catherine the Great; The Great Inca; Napoleon

Magical beings
10 Witch from Snow White (“Who’s the most beautiful one of all?”)
9 Witch from Hansel & Gretel (the archetype if there ever was one)
8 Tinkerbell (people forget how murderous she was – but cute)
7 Puck (Shakespeare’s magical imp from Midsummer Night’s Dream)
6 Mr. Mxyplx (a magical little man from another dimension in Superman comics. The only way to defeat him was to trick him into saying his name backwards, which Superman always managed to do)
5 The Wicked Witch of the West (I’m still scared of her)
4 The Weird Sisters from Macbeth (“Double, double, toil and trouble”)
3 Peter Pan (was there anyone ever cooler in a fight this side of James Bond?)
2 Merlin (the greatest traditional sorcerer)
1 Gandalf (a mix of Merlin and the god Odin; he has become so much more)

Black and white movie/tv comedians (even if they did some color)
10 Lou Costello
9 Oliver Hardy (the prototype John Candy)
8 Bob Hope
7 Charlie Chaplin (not as funny as some others; points for being an often imitate, original icon)
6 Buster Keaton (Better than Chaplin in my book)
5 Harpo Marx (he would have nothing to say about this)
4 Danny Kaye (possibly the most multi-talented star of that or any era)
3 Curley (the greatest Stooge)
2 Stan Laurel (originally Stanley Jefferson, if you care)
1 Julius “Groucho” Marx (tv/movies/Broadway – who was funnier than Groucho?)

Honorable mention: Buckwheat (Our Gang), Harold Lloyd, Chico Marx and Moe, Larry and Shemp.

Aliens (he/she/it must interract with Earthlings and be an intelligent being)
10 Thor (Stargate One - not the Norse God)
9 Q (Star Trek – The New Generation)
8 Superman (hard to think of him as an alien, but he was)
7 Starman (a great Jeff Bridges’ role)
6 Valentine Michael Smith (from Stranger in a Strange Land; not sure he qualifies as he is an earthling, but was raised by Martians on Mars)
5 Predator (so good, they spun a whole series off of him)
4 Shape shifter from X-files
3 Uncle Martin (from My Favorite Martian)
2 Spock
1 ET

Presidents (a list I change regularly, at least from 7-10)
10 Dwight Eisenhower (because I needed a number ten and he enforced Brown v. Bd. of Education)
9 John Adams (even though a one term president; he prevented a ruinous war we could not win through no fault of his own and had to fight off the hidden hand of one of the worst VPs in U.S. history)
8 Harry S. Truman (tough time to be President; remember, after the war, the Brits even kicked Churchill out for a while). He gets criticized for “seizing” a steel mill, but if you actually read the case, it wasn’t that bad. Ended segregation in the military.
7 James Polk (you might not like the way he did it, but he expanded this country to its modern continental borders, and, is anyone complaining anymore?)
6. Ulysses Grant (a recent spate of biographies this past decade or so convinced me he was a far better president than he is given credit)
5 FDR (even if he screwed everything else up as his critic’s claim, what credit do you get for fighting WWII? – most polls rate him with just behind Lincoln and Washington)
4 James Monroe (although not one of the Olympian like forefathers, he is highly under rated as a president)
3 Theodore Roosevelt (Not perfect, but an interesting balance of conservative and Progressive ideology)
2 Abraham Lincoln (If nothing else, the most beautiful writer in U.S. history, bar none, in my humble opinion; and let’s face it – he’d be number two even if he never wrote a thing)
1 George Washington (Because he set the standards for our presidents to come)

Meals not including deserts
10 Linguini with meat sauce and a soft, doughy Italian bread
9 McDonald’s two cheese burgers with fries and a vanilla shake
8 French toast with maple syrup
7 Roast beef, mozzarella and coleslaw on white bread sandwich
6 French onion soup au gratin
5 Chimichanga with rice and twice cooked beans
4 Chicken Marsala
3 Prime Rib (rare, and only rare; did I make myself clear? Don’t bother if it’s not rare)
2 Slice of Pizza (I grew up with a thick somewhat doughy crust, but crispy is growing
on me)
1 Sesame Chicken with fried rice, egg roll and won ton soup dinner

Sexiest women entertainers
10 Pam Anderson (I know all the complaints - too much make up and implants, but her body is a prototype that makes other starlets look like little boys)
9 Shakira (I like to look at her too, but when she dances, there is no one like her today)
8 Mariah Carey (sure, a prima donna and a nut, but so sexy, I just stopped thinking)
7 Angelina Jolie (so beautiful, sometimes it hurts to look at her, but not when she’s anorexic; she may have ruined everything with this mommy business)
6 Racquel Welch (what the prototypical woman looked like before Pam Anderson)
5 Kim Basinger (director John Huston said he had seen many women at 5 in the a.m with no make up and she was the prettiest. I believe it)
4 Joey Heatherton (oh, my God; oh, my God – I’d have killed all of you for a night with her when I was 14)
3 Jean Harlow (the first modern sexy woman in movies)
2 Grace Kelly (almost perfection; and the sexiest standing still or lying down)
1 Cyd Charisse (perhaps others were more beautiful, though others might differ, but when dancing, no one could touch her; not even Vera Ellen, or you, Shakira)

Honorable mention - Gabrielle Anwar - this tiny little beauty was the girl who danced with Al Pacino in Scent of a Women is now a 30 something sex symbol on a little known cable show called Burn Notice where she plays the sometimes homicidal and always exciting wannabe girlfriend of the star. I say she gets him in the end unless they cancel it in the off season some day.

Basketball players
10 Nate Archibald
9 Kareem Abdul Jabbar
8 Pete Maravich
7 Julius Erving
6 Magic Johnson
5 Larry Bird
4 Jerry West
3 Wilt Chamberlain
2 Oscar Robertson
1 Michael Jordan

Black & White Movies
10 Angels with Dirty Faces (my first beloved movie; I still cry at the end)
9 Miracle at Morgan Creek (a new old favorite)
8 Topper
7 Inherit the Wind
6 A Night at The Opera (my favorite Marx Bros. movie)
5 The Maltese Falcon
4 The Mark of Zorro (the 1940’s version)
3 March of the Wooden Soldiers
2 Casablanca – (“I came to Casablanca for the waters” “The waters? What waters? We’re in the desert” “I was misinformed” and a hundred other examples of brilliant writing)
1 Miracle of 34th Street (The original and ONLY the original)

Did you notice Bogie made it three times on that list?

10 Salvatore Dali
9 Van Gogh
8 Giovanni Bellini
7 Hieronymus Bosch
6 Andrea Mantegna
5 El Greco
4 Da Vinci
3 Pieter Bruegel
2 Caravaggio
1 Michaelangelo

I started these lists well over a year ago, and every once in a while I found it and added to it. Glad I finished it before Shakira was too old for anyone to remember her.


  1. Anonymous6:28 AM

    Not Bad...your forgot some

    Basketball (you know they continued to play after the 1990's)
    Need to add...
    LeBron James (after he is done, he will be one of the best ever)

    Nice call on Q
    Need to add...

    Too subjective to comment
    However, Need to add...
    Kate Beckinsale

    Once again too subjective
    However, Need to add
    Chicken Parm

    Magical Beings
    Does Yoda qualify?

    Ok thats enough


  2. Good comments. Kobe is in my top twenty, Shaq top 30. James will be in there somewhere someday, but you exposed the weakness in my sports commentary. My interest lagged over ten years ago.

    Chewie could be a top tenner, but not on my list. Yoda rates higher though and I should have made him ten and given Thor an honorable mention. Next time. By the way - I don't think the force can be categorized as magic. At least not in the universe it is drawn from. Then again, Mr. Myxplx doesn't really do magic either - it just appears so to us.

    As to women and meals being too subjective, of course, but aren't they all?

  3. Anonymous9:25 AM

    As usual you list of women (Anwar excepted) is horrendous. Skakira's ass (while dancing) is amazing but who cares about the rest of her.

    How about an honorable mention for the Mole Men; they should be in there somewhere.

    "Salted Nuts" (sometimes Peanuts) Awesome jazz number. Best version by Dizzy Gilespie and Miles Davis (who I don't usually like)

    And even though he's fictional I like Ozymandias.

    Did you read in the papers today about the guys arrested for indecent behavior in a prking lot with 2 blow up dolls?? (It's true) He thought they were both Pamela Anderson.

  4. Anonymous9:26 AM

    PS Shaquille O'Neil is the most overrated player in YEARS

  5. Well there's enough material here for many blogs. Each list deserved a separate blog with some arguments and such. Royalty, hoops, movies, and painters, are my blog material either past or future so we will skip all that. Quick comments:
    Jazz - Kind of Blue (Miles Davis), Girl from Ipanema (Getz/Gilberto),April in Paris and One O'Clock Jump (Count Basie), Satin Doll (Ellington), Birdland (Weather Report), Street Life (Crusaders).
    Women - This assumes in their prime - Jacqueline Bissett, Kathleen Turner, Kim Novack, Sharon Stone, Angie Dickinson.
    Animals - Brown Bears, Crocodiles, Scarab Beetles, Cicada-Killers, Tarantulas, Snow Leopards, Tigers.
    Aliens - Klatu and Gort, from the original Day the Earth Stood Still.
    Presidents - surprised on how much agreement we have, except Jefferson in and Eisenhower out.
    Comedians - neither KRAMDEN nor NORTON?????
    Magical - Dr. Strange, Albus Dumbledore, Lord Voldemort, Morgan Le Fey, and Conan's arch enemy, the snake sorcerer, Thoth-Amon.

  6. Bear jumps in - my comments on his comments -

    Jazz - we are obviously lean towards different eras of Jazz - I prefer swing - you more modern Jazz. I have no problem with your Basie or Ellington suggestions. That's not the Miles Davis number I would choose, but, wouldn't argue with him in any larger list of great jazz hits. I was thinking of On Green Dolphin Street and should have at least made it an honorable mention. I just am not a big Weather Report or Crusader fan although I did like some of their stuff.

    Your choice of woman - no problem with any of them. They are all subjective opinions, but, as Eric noted, perhaps this is the most subjective.

    Animals - also extremely subjective. I wonder what our individual choices says about us psychologically. Big surprise Bear chose bears as his number one choice.

    Aliens - yeah, I suppose those are good choices too.

    Presidents - JEFFERSON? JEFFERSON? ARE YOU TRYING TO MAKE ME MAD? I put in Eisenhower because I like round numbers (10), but, could easily be convinced of others in his place, BUT NOT JEFFERSON.

    As to Magical beings, I have trouble taking Harry Potter seriously, although I did read most of the books. Dr. Strange I always thought overrated. If he is included, why not Dr. Fate or Spectre (who practically has the power of God)?

    Morgan Le Fay is a great choice though.

  7. I almost forgot. Bear absolutely vanquished me with Kramden and Gleason. I think Lou Costello is gone from the list and maybe even Bob Hope. They were both funnier. Thanks. The problem is - and it is one of life's great questions - who is ranked higher of the two?


Your comments are welcome.

About Me

My photo
I started this blog in September, 2006. Mostly, it is where I can talk about things that interest me, which I otherwise don't get to do all that much, about some remarkable people who should not be forgotten, philosophy and theories (like Don Foster's on who wrote A Visit From St. Nicholas and my own on whether Santa is mostly derived from a Norse god) and analysis of issues that concern me. Often it is about books. I try to quote accurately and to say when I am paraphrasing (more and more). Sometimes I blow the first name of even very famous people, often entertainers. I'm much better at history, but once in a while I see I have written something I later learned was not true. Sometimes I fix them, sometimes not. My worst mistake was writing that Beethoven went blind, when he actually went deaf. Feel free to point out an error. I either leave in the mistake, or, if I clean it up, the comment pointing it out. From time to time I do clean up grammar in old posts as, over time I have become more conventional in my grammar, and I very often write these when I am falling asleep and just make dumb mistakes. It be nice to have an editor, but . . . .