this blog is officially defunct.
move on over to whiteboredfunnies.com
Since I couldn’t be home in Boston during Passover, we had our seder the weekend before. I tweeted it. Here’s the recap:
The tweder plate is set, the wine is poured, let’s tweet this seder up, Chosen Tweeples! (Auntie Selma is going to be so confused.)
Cup #1 and kiddush. Passover_WIN: 4 required cups of wine! Passover_FAIL: it’s Manischewitz.
Passover fun fact: The Hebrew slaves did not exodus as one massive group. Several Jews left early to beat the traffic.
Modern plague: “The Twilight Saga.”
Ritual: Washing of the hands. Even our Talmud is neurotic.
Ritual: Eating of a green vegetable. Jews eat so poorly, our God had to set aside a special day for us to try a salad.
The 4 Questions: When are we eating? How long is this gonna take? Why are you handing me parsley? Srsly, we’re eating when?
Modern plague: The cast of “Jersey Shore.”
The wise son tweets: hold up, imonna google this passover shit.
The wicked son tweets: passover? WTF?
The simple son is playing world of warcraft.
And then there’s the son without a smartphone. FAIL.
Ritual: 10 drops of wine for 10 bad-ass plagues. Actually, darkness is kind of lame. Locusts, now THERE’S a plague.
Passover quiz: if the exodus happened today, which Jonas brother would be slain? trick question, god hates all of them.
elu-hohtzi-hohtzi-anu, hohtzi-anu et-ha-Tivo, DAYENU!
Passover fun fact: the Jews were in the desert for 40 years, but half that time was spent waiting at the Sonic drive-thru.
Cup #2. Passover survival tip: spike the manischewitz with patron.
modern plague: health care reform. wait, who the fuck invited glenn beck to my seder?!
mmmm… bitter and unleaveney charoseth sandwich.
we interrupt this seder to eat too much food and ransack the house for a stale cracker. #afikoman time!
and we’re back with Cup #3! clearly, the lord was a bartender when he was in grad school.
Passover fun fact: “Eli’s Coming” by 3 Dog Night was far bigger hit than “Elijah’s Coming” by Neil Sedaka.
Popular ritual chants: “To Him it is fitting, to Him it is due!” and “It happened at midnight!” and “YANKEES SUCK!”
Cup #4: nearing the end of the seder, which is good, because I’M FUCKING WASTED.
As we say in my house: “the Passover seder is now ended, according to custom and law…sorta.”
Pics (below): the best matzo ball soup in the world; the baseball we keep on our seder plate so we should never forget the suffering of red sox nation.
a pretty awesome combo this morning of a douchebag license plate and parking_FAIL.
this person parked their stupid-ass giant car adjacent to my favorite spot — except they’re over the line and into said spot. didn’t get a photo of it, but there’s a solid 2 feet of free space on the other side that they decided to avoid.
add that to the sad-ass yuppy stones-lovin’ and i couldn’t resist leaving this note to get me a tiny bit of s-a-t-i-s-f-a-c-t-i-o-n.
(let’s assume it was a snow day.)
believe it or not, this was the hardest one. i had it down to a top 60 or so and i firmly believe i could have made 6 completely different lists from that.
twitter rules for this. otherwise i’ll think too much about it and get angry again.
10. frank black and the catholics / show me your tears / 2003
the beginning of something really special for frank black as he embraced his country soul. fave tracks: “horrible day” and “coastline.”
9. bright eyes / i’m wide awake, it’s morning / 2005
another folk/country slam-dunk. some really raucus stuff and some beautifully simple treats. fave tracks: “at the bottom…” and “first day…”
8. cody chesnuTT / the headphone masterpiece / 2002
prince meets ween meets al green meets why the fuck hasn’t he made any more music? fave tracks: “boy life in america” and “look good in leather.”
7. the shins / oh, inverted world / 2001
yeah yeah yeah. thank you zach braff for ruining it, except it’s impossible to ruin this album. fave tracks: “know your onion!” and duh.
6. fountains of wayne / welcome interstate managers / 2003
a fantastic concept album about shitty jobs. listen for the homage theme and guess the bands. fave tracks: “valley winter song” and “hackensack.” both and neither are about somerville.
5. vampire weekend / vampire weekend / 2008
an intriguingly layered musical event with sublimely short oddball lyrical ideas. fave tracks: “campus” and “cape cod kwassa kwassa.”
4. ben folds / rockin’ the suburbs / 2001
the storytelling pop album of the decade. fave tracks: “still fighting it” and “not the same.”
3. green day / american idiot / 2004
almost hard to say anything more. it’s our “tommy.” fave tracks: “jesus of suburbia” and “wake me up when september ends.”
2. bruce springsteen / the rising / 2002
the boss reminds us why he’s the boss. lasting memories from pre- and post- 9/11. bringing the rock and the sadness closer and farther apart. fave tracks: “mary’s place” and “my city of ruins.”
1. the postal service / give up / 2000
haunting and quirky, wall-to-wall originality. can’t understand why death cab is so much more popular. this album told us what the decade would be like and they were right. fave tracks: “the district sleeps…” and “nothing better.”
we’ll cover top 10 albums next week.
for now, the master.
as i said before, top 10 lists fill me with anxiety. how do you balance “legit” vs. what struck you emotionally? i can tell you my 3 favorite movies of all time: rushmore, joe vs. the volcano, 2001: a space odyssey — but are they the best movies of all time? even i know joe would never make it onto a top 50 or top 100, let alone a top 10. but it hits me in an emotional place that is nearly unmatched among the hundreds of other “great” movies.
having said that, even deciding which of my favorite 25-30 movies belong at the top was damn near impossible. if i redid this list tomorrow, maybe 2-3 would remain the same. but films i axed for fear of reprisal (ratatouille and spider-man 2 spring to mind) would likely pop up.
here we go.
10. memento / 2000
started out the decade with a bang, didn’t we? the movie that put chris nolan and his brother on the map is a work of incredibly intricate creativity. conceiving a wholly unfilmable premise (a man who cannot retain short-term memories searching for his wife’s murderer) and then playing it straight? nice work. but then concocting an entire structure and editing philosophy to work in delectable sync with that premise? i don’t love the word “genius” but dammit, here it applies. if you’ve never seen it (or saw it once and couldn’t follow), give it a rental. it deserves your close attention.
9. me and you and everyone we know / 2005
miranda july is a little-known performance artist slash writer slash filmmaker. this movie is a gem: one of those inherently sweet, quirky comedies that will linger with you because it’s so damn honest. somehow she manages to make anxiousness, awkwardness and disillusionment seem really cute. but not in an irritating way. call it a slice of life; not quite a series of vignettes, not quite a strong narrative, it’s a lovely little take on people and who they are in relation to other people. it should really be higher on this list.
8. the squid and the whale / 2005
along with me and you, my other favorite movie from 2005. there’s something about jeff daniels’ performance that reminds me of my dad. the guy was nothing like daniels’ pretentious, stoic and overbearing patriarch. maybe it’s just the beard (though my dad was cleanshaven). but unlike some of noah baumbach’s other scripts, these characters are pretentious but the movie is not. it’s got a genuine heart that wants to hug jesse eisenberg and tell him everything’s gonna be all right. stellar performances all around. it made me not hate brooklyn so much.
7. pan’s labyrinth / 2006
safe to call this the “sleeper” on this list. which is odd. guillermo del toro’s carefully crafted world is so rich in detail and so specific – it’s the kind of imaginative creation that feels authentic because you can feel that it’s real to him. but ultimately, this is a tragic and beautiful tale of a girl trying to save her mother from the all-too-real monsters of war, violence and tyranny. translation: i’m not normally into elves and shit. but this movie rules.
6. wonderboys / 2000
if i recall, the boston globe review compared curtis hanson’s adaptation of michael chabon’s novel “a lazy saturday afternoon” and they meant it in a good way. i’ve never shaken that description, because it’s perfect. driven by michael douglas’ inspired and rounded performance as a wayward (and often stoned) writer/professor, nothing about wonderboys ever feels forced or inorganic. it just carries you along on an odd little adventure built of many moving and interlocking parts: a novel on screen (featuring a dynamite score headlined by a fantastic, oscar-winning song by dylan). robert downey, jr. is especially spot-on, the beginning of a solid run for him that continues to snowball.
5. kill bill (vol. 1 and 2) / 2003-4
kicks ass. what’s more to say? okay, you got me. vol 1 is all about the glitz, the glammer, the pop-and-movie-culture mashups, the over-the-top-comical body/blood effects, the showmanship of the anime sequence, the tarantino-by-way-of-scorcese music beds, and the killing. oh, the killing. but a perfectly paced final 2 minutes sets you up for vol 2, a surprisingly thoughtful backstory and satisfying conclusion. will tarantino make anything as good or better than these 2? has he already? who knows. but these are the films that made me want to go back and watch pulp fiction and the others again. hey. the guy’s a tool. but he’s a really talented tool.
4. adaptation. / 2002
true story: at the end of my first viewing of adaptation in harvard square, a guy just a few rows behind me said: “hey, you laughed at all the right parts.” newsflash, that guy’s a douche. but in a way, he exemplified the spirit of spike jonze’s and charlie kaufman’s winding tale. it’s highbrow, oh yes, but never spares in swiping at all things highbrow. is it as much of a puzzle as other kaufman scripts? in a way, no. these are genuine fabricated characters and that paradox is hilarious and effective. watch it again as a commentary on hollywoodization. if you already watched it that way, watch it again as a commentary on translation of art from one medium to another. if you already did both of those, watch it and remind yourself that you like nic cage even if he frequently pisses you off.
3. eternal sunshine of the spotless mind / 2004
so many charlie kaufman scripts, so few spots on the list. (honestly, synecdoche belongs on this list, but having only seen it once, i felt that would be cheating.) up until this point, you weren’t sure charlie could make you cry. sure, he’s brilliant and outlandishly creative, blah blah blah. but where’s the heart? well. it’s here. and maybe we have michel gondry to thank for that, i don’t know. but jim carrey puts in my favorite rendition of charlie kaufman here, tapping into the heartfelt loneliness more than the self-hatred (see john cusack, nic cage and phillip seymour hoffman for the latter). so you root for carrey when he falls in love with kate winslet — but even better, watching their love in reverse allows you to unravel the joy in love and the magic of its promise. wait, that all sounded really fruity. jon brion’s score is rad.
2. the royal tenenbaums / 2001
as mentioned above, rushmore is one of my favorite movies of all time. it was unlikely wes anderson was ever going to manage that again. and with tenenbaums, he didn’t. but it deserves placement in the argument. i describe it as “chekhov in the city” and that makes sense (in an early scene, the young margot is reading chekhov, so clearly wes and wilson were honing in on that vibe.) the movie isn’t carried by any one particular member of its all-star ensemble cast — but its heart comes from gwyneth paltrow’s margot, who is at once sad and wry, depressed and oddly euphoric on occasion. plus, the entire movie is highly, highly quotable. you’ll notice that music has a huge impact on me (positive i’m not alone in that regard) and they hit a home run with the brooding-mixed-with-joyful soundtrack. the theme color is pink: pretty yet fading, ultimately soft and comforting.
1. punch-drunk love / 2002
fact: i was so disappointed with magnolia that i despised pt anderson after watching it for the first time, nearly a year after its release. but mostly, that was due to a long build-up before i saw it and therefore impossibly high expectations. fact: i love the goofy, bizarre, vulgar adam sandler movies as much as the next guy who came of age during the 90′s. fact: the two teamed up to create a truly oddball gem of a movie built around an impossible love story, a ragtag pile of story turns, tricks and quirks, a jon brion pastiche score culled from rewired songs from nillson’s disastrous popeye music — AND IT WORKS. it works on all levels. it frankly has no right to work. but adam sandler is fantastic, basically translating his early film persona into an arthouse hero desperately in need of psychotherapy and anger management (btw, anger management sucks). and, unlike the dangerously-close-to-self-serving magnolia, it’s only 90 minutes long! i love this movie. i fucking love this movie. and that’s why it wins the #1 spot.
but as you well know: ask me in a week, and i just might make the case for spider-man 2.
i was really trying to avoid “top 10 of the decade” lists. reading and compiling. frankly, top 10 lists fill me with panic and dread, great anxiety and great regret — but they’re also really fucking fun.
i was asked for 3 lists: top 10 tv shows, movies and albums of the 2000′s. today we’re covering tv shows (the rule was to select just 1 season per slot. grrr.)
10. lucky louie (hbo) / complete series / 2006
i am pretty sure that my friend rich and i are the only people in america that watched this show. since it aired, comedian louis c.k. has become far more popular due to roles in the invention of lying, a regular stint on parks and recreation, and some choice youtube clips of his stand-up. but the brilliant (and doomed) lucky louie takes the cake when it comes to deconstructionist sitcoms. built on exuberant profanity, occasional nudity, drug use and violent crime – filmed before a live studio audience – it smacked you in the face with inappropriateness that just felt right.
9. boston legal (abc) / season 2 / 2005-6
very hard to choose just 1 season of any of these shows. but i’ve selected season 2 of david e. kelley’s comeback series boston legal because this is when it truly found its rhythm as a bona fide comedy and the shatner/spader relationship really blossomed. throw in stellar arcs featuring guests such as michael j. fox and parker posey, along with the additions of candace bergen and christian clemenson (as a brilliant lawyer with asperger’s syndrome) to the cast, and you’ve got yourself a hilarious, shocking, irreverent and self-aware dramedy that has not found a successor in the current lineup.
8. the office (bbc2) / series 1 / 2001
the beginning of it all. i have nothing against the american series but ricky gervais is the ultimate cringe-comedian. i dare you to watch david brent giving a motivational speech and not twist your face in a grimace, praying for it to end. the truth is that both series 1 and 2 set the stage for an exceptional and unexpectedly moving christmas special (unofficially series 3).
7. wonderfalls (fox) / complete series / 2004
quite likely doomed before it even began, bryan fuller’s and todd holland’s wonderfalls was a magical little show that deserved a better time slot and a lot more oomph in the marketing. a midseason replacement, fox pulled it after the 4th episode (aired out of order, to add insult). unfortunately sharing a somewhat similar premise, it followed on the heels of the success of that schlock piece of christian propaganda joan of arcadia – but unlike that train wreck, this was a thoughtful and quirky show about a girl from niagara falls who might possibly be losing her mind. rent it. it’s freaks and geeks with god issues.
6. the west wing (nbc) / season 4 / 2002-3
again, almost impossible to choose just 1 season of one of the finest american series in history. intelligent, witty, quirky, impeccably acted — there was nothing to not like about the west wing. why season 4? primarily because of the election story arc. everybody loves election time; the drama, the intrigue, the cattiness. the peak moment of the entire series may be the fantastic debate episode, in which martin sheen’s jed bartlett runs circles around james brolin’s moronic governor richie. for those of us still stung by bush’s 2000 “win,” this was the best revenge we were gonna get.
5. jericho (cbs) / season 1 / 2006-7
these guys got the shaft. jericho had the perfect template for a long-running series — a small town dealing with the aftermath of a major nuclear attack on the u.s. — and it just kept getting better. most impressively, they attempted to approach the lives of their characters from a wholly realistic perspective. family relationships, love in time of war, changing political climates (hell, changing governments), isolation and great uncertainty. jericho had heart and it’s a crime that cbs ignominiously canned them for a reality show based on lord of the flies. a huge fan campaign (brilliantly delivering hundreds of pounds of nuts to CBS – watch the show!) resulted in an abbreviated second season, but the damage was done. 3 years later, we’re without jericho season 4, which would have been awesome. trust me.
4. brotherhood (showtime) / season 1 / 2006
the smartest show you didn’t watch. brotherhood came out of nowhere. appearing on showtime in the summer of 2006, it told the story of the caffee brothers of largely irish providence, rhode island — one a mob thug and the other a rising politician — based on the true stories of boston’s billy and whitey bulger. sporting a murderer’s row of compelling performers and authentic new england accents (thanks in part to plenty of homegrown actors), the writers had a hell of a lot of fun painting a gritty, down-to-earth portrayal of local politics and the mob and how they are nearly indistinguishable. i know exactly what i’m doing when i say this was the best mafia show of the decade.
3. friday night lights (nbc/directv) / season 3 / 2008-9
thanks to a creative strategy, this fan-favorite was not doomed to the fate of jericho. directv stepped up to the plate to bring us season 3, which re-aired on NBC a few months later — a template that earned this gem a season 4 and season 5. friday night lights is not about a football team. it’s about a small texas town and the thousands of stories of the people of that small town, striving to live, love, make ends meet, and find some semblance of the american dream. and there’s some football involved.
2. alias (abc) / season 1 / 2001-2
before it completely derailed into self-parody (sadly too soon: the slide began at the end of season 2), alias was a nonstop thrill-ride, a high-flying spy novel with a sense of humor, an emotional core, and plenty of WTF moments for sci-fi fans to embrace. jj abrams jumped from the soap-ish felicity to the bond-ish alias without missing a beat, either a testament to his versatility or a display of his creative insanity.
1. lost (abc) / season 3 / 2006-7
in just a few weeks, lost returns for its final season — what will no doubt be a teasing, maddening, infuriating and thrilling end to the most rewardingly puzzling series of all time. lost has no interest in exposition. only questions, questions, and more questions! faced with the impossible task of choosing only 1 season to honor (otherwise all 6 seasons would be on this list — and season 6 hasn’t even aired yet!), i went with season 3 because of its breathtaking finale and the growing importance of michael emerson’s villainous (OR IS HE?) benjamin linus, one of television history’s most fascinating characters.
nobody needs to rehash the incredible success of boston sports teams this decade… but… hell, here i go:
3 superbowl championships
2 world series championships
1 nba championship
1 ncaa hockey championship
not to mention countless trips to the postseason for all 3 teams, nailbiting win streaks, mvp awards, dozens of probowlers and all-stars, and millions of stories from millions of fans.
what i want to tell you about are the five unlikeliest and most pivotal moments of the boston sports decade. these are bizarre yet key events that shaped a dynasty, unraveled years of irrelevance and ended 86 years of futility. here we go.
5. nomar sits out. (7/1/04)
i hate to pick on nomar. he did great things in a red sox uniform. but on july 1, 2004 in yankee stadium (i was there), he sat on the bench while his teammates fought like hell to avoid a 3-game sweep (and falling 10-games behind in the AL East), going blow-for-blow until ultimately losing in the 13th. the controversy swirling around him since the a-rod trade rumors in the off-season and during his injury-plagued year came to a head just a few weeks later, when theo pulled off the ballsiest move of his young career and shipped nomah out for … uh … who? just kidding. orlando cabrera and doug mientkiewicz will never be enshrined in cooperstown but neither one will ever have to buy a beer in boston ever again. by the way, a lot of folks remember this game for “derek jeter’s amazing catch into the stands” in which he “sacrificed his body and left the game with contusions” resulting in “his teammates pulling together to win for him.” i was there. first, pokey reese made an incredibly athletic catch in that game that far surpassed anything jeter could’ve pulled off and b) it was a foul ball close to the 3rd baseline that required absolutely no jumping. he was showboating on an easy pop-up and tripped. I WAS THERE.
4. hank blalock homers in the all-star game to preserve the patriots’ win streak. (7/15/03)
you read that correctly. this is an incredible math problem and kinda fun. the patriots had gone 8-0 since starting off the 2003 season at 2-2 in the wake of belichick dumping lawyer milloy to the bills, who thumped them 31-0 on opening day. on december 7 the pats took on miami IN A SNOWY FOXBOROUGH, a notoriously tough environment for the traveling fish. well try this on for size: their first 2003 matchup in miami would have occurred in a balmy foxborough in october had the NL earned homefield advantage during the 2003 world series. thanks to hank blalock, the AL won the all-star game, the football locations were unaltered, and tedy bruschi brought in a late-game interception for the only TD of the game. cue “rock n’ roll part 2″ and snowballs flying high in gilette. the win streak was preserved and the patriots went on, of course, to win the 1st of 2 back-to-back superbowls (and the 2nd of 3 in 4 years). does your brain hurt yet?
3. celtics pull no. 5 in the NBA draft. (5/20/08)
the history-making disappointment of the decade. the C’s had a 38% chance of landing a top-2 draft pick and in a case of cosmic jokery, they wound up snagging no. 5. i’m not even a huge basketball fan and i was distraught. imagine the collective despair felt around new england when this turkey happened to an irrelevant and fading team that had all but turned paul pierce’s career into a bust. but think about it: if they’d grabbed no. 1 or no. 2 we’d be staring at greg oden on the bench, or watching an electric kevin durant perform without a supporting cast (pierce would’ve been traded, you know this to be true). instead, danny ainge redeemed his drifting front-office career by putting together the trades that brought in ray allen and kevin garnett, while building a solid team around the big 3 with rajon rondo, kendrick perkins, and a plucky bench. the celtics hoisted banner 17 and have a good shot at raising number 18 before 2010 is over.
2. mo lewis’ hit on drew bledoe. (9/23/01)
we have every reason to believe that bill belichick would have benched bledsoe in favor of tom brady eventually. he had a history of overriding popular opinion and benching a franchise quarterback (bernie kosar in cleveland) and sportswriters michael holley and bob ryan have speculated he may have gone a similar route in new england. but the key here is eventually. it may have taken another 5-12 season for such a move to make political and organizational sense. mo lewis not only helped to smooth the transition publicly but managed to salvage a 2001-2002 season that resulted in a superbowl win – the first in patriots’ history and the first meaningful new england sports championship in 16 years.
1. manny’s foul ball smacks a kid in the face. (9/2/04)
not just any kid. in an eerie twist, manny’s wayward foul ball smacked up the face of the kid who lived in babe ruth’s house. like pedro, i never believed in any damn curses, but come on. in the midst of a huge august/september run by the red sox, in which they pounded the best AL contenders on the road and put together monster win streaks en route to the playoffs, manny just happens to bloody up a kid living in ruth’s house? and 7 weeks later, the red sox complete the greatest comeback in the history of sports, against the hated yankees, ultimately winning their first world series in 86 years? sure, i could give this spot to dave roberts’ steal, or any one of papi’s three game-winning post-season hits, or schilling’s bloody sock performance. but when it comes to the red sox, i prefer to stick to the spiritual. manny broke the curse that night. and some teeth.
here’s hoping the next decade gives the rest of america reasons to hate us and envy our teams.
holy fuck! all those home runs are a lie! the championships mean absolutely nothing! FML!
nah. here’s the lie: that any of it mattered in the first place.
i love baseball. i love the red sox. i love fenway park. i love big papi.
as recently as 2 years ago, i took this shit way too fucking seriously.
now, thanks to everybody taking steroids, i have been forced to come to terms with the fact that they are merely guys who play baseball for a living and i am merely a dude who spends too much money on them and time caring about them.
newsflash: you don’t play baseball for a living (well, maybe you do, but i doubt you’re reading this blog) and you did not win a single baseball game for the red sox. you watched them do it, either on tv or in person. you cheered for them, you cried over them, you drank beers when they won, you drank beers when they lost — hell, you just drank a shitload of beers. and that’s about it.
so, please. explain to me how their steroid use has any affect on your life whatsoever?
do yourself a favor. get over it. like them, or don’t like them. but don’t act like anyone betrayed you. especially you, mr. shaughnessy. (you’ve made quite a pretty penny thanks to them, as opposed to the rest of us who have just spent a pretty penny). they may have done permanent damage to their bodies. they may have done something illegal. they may have “cheated” in the eyes of other players who did not. but that’s a problem for them and the people in their industry. all you did was watch and have fun. so what the fuck are you complaining about?
as my friend Mu would say: live ya life.