Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The 100 Coolest Things of 2007... 20 to 11

Hey, we're almost finished with our latest Top 100 Coolest of the Year list! We've counted down 80 things that were cool about 2007, and with 20 left, here's the next ten...

20. Paula Maddox
Its misleading to say that I end up being friends with my Drama Moms, ie, mothers of those students in WalkAbout... while its true, its also important to note that 9 times out of 10, I never even meet the dad, only the mom. Which is why I was always fond of those moms like Jana's mom, Paige & Garretts mom, Hannah's mom and of course, Courtney & TJ's mom. Courtney & TJ's mom, Paula, really went one step further... she got involved totally, to the point where she's earned the "assistant director" title already.

Here's Paula, with a fancy camera and her hair did

Paula is a hip, hip lady who loves Jesus and Journey, her husband of something like 67 years and she loves these middle schoolers, just like I do. What's funny is that I'm actually getting old enough to be able to relate to some of the middle schooler parents, including Paula. What a great friend a fun chick

19. Babies Everywhere!!
If one more person says to me, "Hey, ____ had a baby, when are you and Steph going to start?", I'll probably...

...sorry, this can't wait. On tv, right now, there is a commercial for Amitizia, showing this rather attractive blond lady probably in her 30s or 40s, getting ready in the morning, making coffee, zipping up her skirt and so on. What disturbs me about this commercial is that Amitizia is a constipation medicine. I just threw up my Raisin Bran in my mouth, which is ironic, because Raisin Bran has enough fiber and bran to keep you regular. Just sayin'.

...smack someone. I hear it alot nowadays, and why wouldn't I? Tommy and Amy McLeod had little Sophie... Ryan & Melissa had little Mattie... Leslie Cordell-now-Ailsworth and her hubby had their little one... one of my BFFs, Shelby, has a child now (though I think that her kid was born before 2007, I discovered this in 2007, so thus, it counts)... our friends Jeff & Lauren had their little one...

Its 2008, but I know of two more couples who just announced they are going to have themselves a rugrat. Babies, babies everywhere!

And, to answer your question, we just bought a house, so we're at least a year away from thinking about having children. So, there.

18. "Say It Right" by Nelly Furtado
I love this song, first of all. Its fun, its catchy, its peppy, and Nelly has a great voice in this tune. But what really makes this song to me is the video, and in that video you not only see Nelly, you see Timbaland.

Timbaland just looks cool here. Like, all he does is a little scat, and say "hey" about three hundred times, and yes, he looks like he does the hard work. Well, he and that gay dancing trio who does this shoulder arm thing that I tried once and thought I had dislocated my elbow. Bad times, bad bad times.

Anyway, I watched this video about 36 times, according to my count, putting it at number 4 on 2007's list on my iPod.

17. The 40-Year Old Virgin
Yes, yes, I was one of about 4 people who had not seen this movie, when I finally broke down and watched it this past summer.

Here's what I said about it on June 12th:
If you don't like American Pie humor, this is not for you. I say American Pie, but the humor is not as directed at teenagers, as it is directed at the side of us that laughs at things we know we shouldn't laugh at.

Steve Carell, in his star making turn, plays Andy. Andy works at SmartTech, collects valuable toys and though 40, has never had sex. When his buddies Dave (Paul Rudd), Cal (Seth Rogan) and Jay (Romany Malco) discover this, they make it their mission to... well, make him not a virgin. One attempt includes a funny turn by Leslie Mann, but it, like others, fail miserably. Enter Trish (Catherine Keener), who works across the street at the eBay store.

Though very crude, with lots of F-bombs and lots of crude terms for various things, this is, at its heart, a sweet movie. And oh, its funny... I laughed for ten minutes when Dave used the phrase "Man-o-lantern". First, the fact he's a virgin is met with very little ridicule, which is great considering this world wants you to have as much sex as possible. Secondly, though morons they may be, his friends turn out to be pretty loyal in the end. And third, Catherine Keener.
40 year old virgin

Okay... since I wrote that in June, I've watched it at least four or five times via Charte On Demand, and each time, it gets a little better. In fact, when I finally get to the Dave100 completion, it will be hard not to include this movie. Movies that I saw after 2006 aren't eligible.

16. "DisneyWar" by James B. Stewart
Perhaps my favorite book of the year, or at least, favorite nonfiction, Disney War is a behemoth. At 608 pages, its something you have to want to read, filled with names and figures and stats and all the stuff that make a good business story...

The book takes on Michael Eisner, and his 20 year reign at the top of the Disney empire, starting from his hiring, helped by Walt's nephew Roy, and taking it all the way to the tense shareholder's meeting in 2004 where Eisner got a no-confidence vote, bolstered by Walt's nephew Roy, who Eisner has just forced out.

Along the way, you'll see how powerful Michael Eisner became, and how he was a genius in the 80s bringing Disney from the sludge and dreck that they were putting out. Eisner had a vision for the future, a vision that he worked hard to put in motion. He and Jeffrey Katzenberg, his studio chairman and good friend, gave the Disney Company a renaissance. Katzenberg was almost directly involved and at least partly responsible for "Who Framed Roger Rabbit", the string of animated hits from "Little Mermaid" to "The Lion King" and also helped bring Pixar to Disney's door step.

When Frank Wells, Eisner's second-in-command, died in a plane crash in 1994, Eisner refused to promote Katzenberg to the position, to which Katzenberg--forced to resign by Eisner--left and formed DreamWorks Studios.
disney war

Eisner's ego began to get bigger and bigger, as Disney went from a string of hits to a string of failures, including the bungled purchase of ABC Family and its subsequent failure to revive, the bungled response to the unsuccessful Comcast Cable hostile takeover, and the terrible movies and sequels that popped out ("Pearl Harbor", anyone?)

Eisner also had issues with power, hiring incredible talents away from other companies where they held lofty positions, only to be stripped of much of their powers and responsibilities because of Michael Eisner's paranoia that his command is challenged... notably is the hiring of Michael Ovitz, who Eisner had begged for years to come to Disney, then said immediately after bringing him on, "I just made the worst decision of my career."

Before you think its totally Anti-Eisner, know that he gives many interviews for the book, and the author even spends time with him during conferences, lunches and vacations, and the author gives tons of credit--deservedly so--for Disney's dramatic rise in the late 80s and early 90s.

The book is an unabashed look at the underside of the company that Steph Leann and I hold so dear, at a company that has risen, fallen, risen and more, and at a CEO who pushed heavy for "Dick Tracy" because he thought that "Pretty Woman" was going to be a colossal failure, and he's not even sure that... who? Julia Roberts?... even has talent.

15. Rush Limbaugh
I won't spend time defending him. Those of you who like him like him, those of you who don't... well, don't. But here's why I do like him... he doesnt tell you what to think. He doesn't say "You should vote this way!" or "You should think that Obama is this!"...

Instead, listening to his show via Rush 24/7 & podcasting, I learn lots about politics. And candidates. And the news. Not just through him talking, but by the audio clips he plays too... I was able to hear for my own ears what Hillary stands for, what Obama has to say, about how crazy Huckabee actually is, about how moderately liberal McCain is, and darn it, its informative.
rush limbaugh
Three words... Rush is Right

Yes, I've listened to Air America. I tried, anyway. It was... well, it was hateful and spiteful. It was "Bush is a criminal! If you don't believe that, you must be one of those stupid Christians who always want your way!" No, KT, I'm not making this up.

I dunno... its a tough year coming up. There's not a single Republican candidate who is truly a Conservative--cause Thompson dropped out--so I've got to keep myself up to date with who is saying what, who is flip-flopping on what, and to do so, I recommend Rush to you. Don't give it one show, give it a few weeks. It'll change your whole perspective.

14. "Grey's Anatomy"
Many couples have a "thing"... be it traveling together, or camping, or cooking, or whatever. The "thing" that Steph Leann and I have, other than visiting Disney World every few years when we can pay cash for it? Movies and tv. We love it. Nothing makes me feel closer to my lovely wife than sitting close to her on the couch, arm around her, as she wrapped under a blanket watching LOST, or perhaps CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, or the latest movie that came in from Blockbuster Online or, as we did lots and lots this year, "Grey's Anatomy".

I started to watch this show when it first came on the air, on video, but I didn't have a chance to keep up with it. So, we picked it up on DVD and watched the first season... and The Lovely Steph Leann fell in love with Bailey and George and, of course, McDreamy, who is a solid member of The Colin Firth Club, and I fell in love with Izzie and Meredith and then Addison, and we just loved watching it over and over.

The show is just fun... its very worldly, obviously, with the amount of who's sleeping with who, but I will say the best episode was in Season Two, called "Damage Case". It features a husband, pregnant wife and her parents who are involved in a car accident caused by a surgical intern from another hospital, who falls asleep at the wheel. The wife has massive injuries and eventually dies, though Alex performs a C-section to save the baby. The scene when the grieving father comes in to meet the intern, laying in his hospital bed, is beautiful. Amazingly written, acted and directed.

The music is also just great, including wide exposure for Brandi Carlile, Jem, KT Tunstall, Psapp, Ingrid Michelson and more.

Fun trivia... all the episodes were originally song titles. And Kate Walsh? One of The Hottest Chicks Not Named Steph Leann or Ashley Judd.

13. "Snow (Hey-Oh)" by The Red Hot Chili Peppers
Track 2 on the Jupiter CD of Stadium Arcadium, this song was introduced to me by Tyler Campbell back at the very end of 2006, so technically it qualifies for The Coolest Things of 2006... but I truly didn't start diggin' this song until January. And its just so cool...

John Frusciante, guitarist for the Chili Peppers, starts off with a rapid guitar riff, Flea jumps in with a nice little bass line, and Anthony Keidis joins in with a song about what he says is "a repeated failure to start your life anew, and how difficult it can be to get rid of old ways of thinking, and destructive ideas we become so attached to".

Though "Snow" refers to the cocaine that Keidis and Frusciante struggled with early in their careers, the explanation and song kinda sounds like what we sinners go through daily, doesn't it?
When will I know that I really can't go to the well once more? Time to decide on, when its killing me, what do I really need, all that I need to look inside.

Note... before you think that Keidis and the Chili Peppers are getting too philosophical for your tastes, lest you forget the song three tracks later, a love ballad called "Hump de Bump".

12. Podcasting
My iPod has been a learning process all along, learning new tricks of the trade here and there... so it was in early 2007 that I truly learned the art of picking up the PodCast.
For those out of the know, iPod Broadcasting, or Podcasting, is a method of getting various shows and programs on your iPod. Some are specifically for iTunes, to be on your iPod, like The B.S. Report with The Sports Guy, from ESPN, and others are snippets from shows--like ten minutes from Sean Hannity, or a single hour of the 3 hour Dave Ramsey Show--and still others are complete shows like Rush Limbaugh or CarTalk.

I've had as many as 17 podcasts that updated daily and weekly, but I'm down to 11 currently, because I simply don't have time to listen to them everyday.

My Fave Five Podcasts of the Year:
5... Pardon the Interruption--the complete show from the day before
4... CarTalk on NPR--the complete show from the previous week
3... Strong Bad Emails--From Homestar Runner, its the email portion, where Strong Bad comically answers viewer mail. Its updated infrequently, however, with sometimes a month or more between updates
2... The Dave Ramsey Show--Usually an hour of the show, mostly from the previous day, but because his show never mentions date or time, it could be posted anytime
1... Rush Limbaugh--the complete show, on podcast. We've already been through this.

11. "Fergalicious" by Fergie
There, I said it. Does it really matter that I have a guilty pleasure? I mean, does it really matter that much that this is the number one played video on my iPod in 2007 with... 41 plays. Wait, did I say 41? Um... I meant... uh... 4.1 plays... yeah. There was that one time that I listened to 1/10th of the song, after my fourth time, right... (uncomfortable laugh)... yeah, haha... so, 4.1 plays. Right... um... (reaching for the nearest Creative Memories scrapbook album to smack myself repeatedly in the head for this entire paragraph)


Top 20 Most Played Songs of 2007:
1. Over My Head (Cable Car) - The Fray, 48 plays
2. How to Save a Life - The Fray, 40 plays
3. Chains - Tina Arena, 24
4. Callin' Baton Rouge - Garth Brooks, 23
5. Snow (Hey Oh) - The Red Hot Chili Peppers, 22
6. Breath Again - Toni Braxton, 22
7. Linger - The Cranberries, 21
8. Head Over Feet - Alanis Morissette, 20
9. The Light In Your Eyes - Blessid Union of Souls, 19
10. Learn to Fly - The Foo Fighters, 17
11. My Favorite Mistake - Sheryl Crow, 17
12. I Have Nothing - Whitney Houston, 17
13. You Mean the World To Me - Toni Braxton, 16
14. Rock Your Body - Justin Timberlake, 16
15. Drops of Jupiter - Train, 16
16. Stand Up - Ludacris, 15
17. Loungin' (Who Do You Love?) - LL Cool J, 14
18. 19. Until I Fall Away - Gin Blossoms, 14
19. Bye Bye - Jo Dee Messina, 13
20. The Trolley Song - Judy Garland, 13
21. Dilemma - Nelly, ft Kelly Rowland, 13

Top Ten Videos of 2007
1. Fergalicious - Fergie, 41 plays
2. Say It Right - Nelly Furtado, 20 plays
3. Stand Up - Ludacris, 17 plays
4. White & Nerdy - Weird Al Yankovic, 16
5. London Bridge - Fergie, 13 (language!)
6. Hey Ya! - Outkast, 10
7. And Our Feelings - Babyface, 8
8. Possession - Sarah McLachlan, 8
9. You Mean the World to Me - Toni Braxton, 7
10. Over It - Kathrine McPhee, 6
10. Behind These Hazel Eyes - Kelly Clarkson, 6
10. As Good as I Once Was - Toby Keith, 6

Things I'm Looking Forward To in 2008
* The Dark Knight
* Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows
* Paying off the student loan
* Moving in to The Cabana (next week!)
* Heading back to Stamford CT & NYC for another mission trip
* Finally getting a Wii. Its going to happen
* Finally getting a store. It has to happen.

Things That Really Disappointed Me in 2007
(In No Particular Order)
* Movin' Out... I was so excited about this Billy Joel musical. And it was terrible. I was sad.
* Spider-Man 3... What a terrible movie. Emo Parker just killed me
* Bug... I love Ashley Judd. But this flick?
* "Drive" gets cancelled... That's right, we don't need "Drive", so we can have "Moment of Truth". Thanks Fox!
* Missing Andrea's Wedding... I hated that I missed it. Seriously.
* Dubya supports amnesty bill... The immigration package that was terrible. Absolutely terrible. It went down in flames.

And finally... the Top 100 Things of 2007! Who's Enchanted? Who's saving money? Who's saving a life? And how? Coming up!

Plus... Sunday, don't forget the 2008 Super Bowl Running Diary!

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