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Brought to you by the Letter P

Last night as I was trying to sleep I got this vision of foods that start with the Letter P. I started making the list in my head, and when I thought I had it all done, I kept thinking of more and more.

Now this morning I've forgotten three of them, but oh well; I'm sure you'll remember and remind me. The following are the top ten foods that begin with the letter P.

#10 Pickles - I like them just about any way you can think of, although my favorite is sweet and sour. (Picture: pickle on right)

#9 Parmesan - The best "add to" cheese in the world.

#8 Peanut Butter - We should do an entire list just on things we could make with the peanut butter

#7 Pie - For example, I think my favorite is chocolate peanut butter pie, but there are enough kinds to suit everyone.

#6 Pork - I can't decide whether I like chops, barbecue or just a nice pork loin, but this is one overlooked meat.

#5 Soft Pretzels - They should be served in restaurants instead of bread.

#4 Popcorn - Recently has become a huge craving of mine...dripping in hot butter. I'm weird, though: I like it almost as much the next day once the butter has softened the corn.

#3 Potato - Originally I didn't even have this on the list, and then I remembered at the last minute. This is another we should do a top ten list for. I'd lean to fries, but I'm willing to be convinced.

#2 Peaches - There is little better than biting into a fresh peach, savoring it as the juice runs down your chin. Yes indeedy; I could suck on a peach for hours.

and the number one food that starts with the letter P....

#1 Pizza - What'd you think it was going to be?

Best of the '90s #7 (part 2)

We continue our look at the best movies from 1996

#5 WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE’S ROMEO + JULIET – It blows my mind that R+J doesn’t get more respect. Taking the Shakespearian language but putting it in a modern day context; fantastic performances by Paul Sorvino, Pete Postlewait, Harold Perrineau (before he lost his son Walt), John Leguizamo (who either seems Oscar worthy or terrible, but its great here), Paul Rudd and Miriam Margoyles. And then there’s the wonderful chemistry of Leonardo DiCapprio and Claire Danes. The fish-tank scene is one of the most romantic EVER. And we’re not even counting the most startling use of soundtrack of the entire decade (with the possible exception of PULP). I have never seen music so important or woven into the framework of a movie like R+J. I have to tell you a quick story about the film. I took my sisters to see it. They knew nothing of Shakespeare. One sat silent, enraptured. After about ten minutes the other one turns to me, and in all seriousness, asks, “Why are they talking like that?”

#3 (tie) SECRETS AND LIES – The most difficult aspect of this film is the accents the characters have. It’s almost impossible to understand them the first half hour. My advice: use captions until you get a feel for the London feel. The reason you should make the effort: an incredible film, a character study of a family trying to cope with a secret from long ago. There are no explosions or special effects, violence or sex, just a well-acted film, a delight for all serious movie fans.

#3 (tie) BREAKING THE WAVES – I have a love/hate relationship with director Lars von Trier. He despises America, and some day I’ll tell you about the ordeal it was to watch his vitriol in DOGVILLE. However, I want to talk about BREAKING THE WAVES. It was filmed digitally, which in ‘94/’95 was a brand new format. The quality of the film shows it, often coming in grainy. The scene or section separations are pointless as well. But if you care about films you need to see BREAKING THE WAVES, for it contains the single best acting performance I have ever seen by a woman. In her first role, Emily Watson is breathtaking. She plays Bess, a girl who’s “touched,” as they call it. Bess talks to God, and God talks back, a device that would seem fake in any other movie, but somehow works. I’ll leave it to you to discover what happens in the film, but I put the film—sometimes difficult to watch—this high because the performance is so damn good you can scarcely believe it.

#1 (tie) THE ENGLISH PATIENT – In the late ‘90s it became the fad (everywhere from late-night comedians to Dawson’s Creek) to trash THE ENGLISH PATIENT, to call it boring. All I can say is that people who find this film boring reveal their own ignorance. I’ll admit there is a poignancy of the forbidden love that will not be understood by those who didn’t go through it. However, I can’t see how any fan of movies could not be swept away by the story. (Not for nothing, but the film did win 9 Oscars.) Taken from an impossible to adapt book, THE ENGLISH PATIENT is a grand romance on many levels, in an around a cruel war. Featuring one of the best soundtracks in history and arguably the best collected acting of the decade, this is one patient you should definitely admit.

#1 (tie) HAMLET – When the ’96 Awards season came around, Kenneth Branaugh’s HAMLET was nary to be found. It’s a damn shame, because this film is probably the best Shakespeare to EVER hit the big screen. Featuring virtually every word of the Bard’s best play, Branaugh brings Denmark to life in glorious 70 millimeter. Though a bit old, his Hamlet seems to truly encompass the insanity of the Danish Prince. Kate Winslet has never been better as Ophelia, and that’s saying something. (The steaminess between the two, including Ophelia-nudity is a treat!) The rest of the cast—it would make your eyes pop just to see it—is fantastic, and the sets are brimming with color, sharpness and life. At four hours, it’s a commitment to watch HAMLET, but one you should make.

Best of the '90s: #7

1996 was a great year for movies. They hit all over the place, and foreign films (at least, foreign made, if not foregin language) were big as well. One of the best reviewed movies was FARGO, but for the life of me I haven’t been able to get into it, though I’ve tried. Some movies you’re just not meant to like, I guess.

But there were plenty I loved. Popcorn flicks like MISSION IMPOSSIBLE, THE ROCK, LONG KISS GOODNIGHT, INDEPENDENCE DAY, and TIN CUP.

There were several movies that might make the list, if only I’d seen them, like WHEN WE WERE KINGS, SLING BLADE, SHINE, GHOSTS OF MISSISSIPPI, PORTRAIT OF A LADY, and STEALING BEAUTY.


Laureate was consulted on this list, a great help. His major disagreements would mean including TRAINSPOTTING, LOOKING FOR RICHARD, MARS ATTACKS, and FARGO.

Finally, there were my personal favorites from the eyar, movies that I watch over and over again: FROM DUSK TIL DAWN, BEAUTIFUL GIRLS, and GHOST IN THE SHELL.

But after careful and agonizing consideration, these were the best films of 1996. (I am splitting it in to because there is so much I want to say about each one.)

#10 EVERYONE SAYS I LOVE YOU – Have you ever wanted to hear Julia Roberts sing? Me neither, but somehow it works in this clever sly sweet funny comedy/musical. A Woody Allen film, but I would imagine anyone who enjoyes intelligent humor would enjoy the time spent. Stand outs include Edward Norton, Tim Roth, and a young delicious Natalie Portman.

#9 JERRY MAGUIRE – This movie was so big that many of the lines have become cliched. People forget how good it actually is. Somehow the earnestness works. If you haven’t seen it, see it now. And if you haven’t seen it in a few years, rent it again. Just ask my brother.

#8 BOUND – Before they made THE MATRIX, the Wachowski Brothers made this nifty little film noir. There are, ahem, interesting females, doing interesting things. I can still remember seeing this with my brother Achmed, and after a particularly wonderful scene, Achmed turning to me and saying, “This is the greatest movie I’ve ever seen.” Joe Pantalino and Gina Gershon are fabulous, but it’s Jennifer Tilly who steals the show. This movie is not for kids, but if you enjoy crime thrillers with a brain (and a pulse!), you’ll definitely want to check out BOUND.

#7 ANGELS AND INSECTS – An English film, which some people really hate, but there is a great treasure to be had here. The film is dy and serious, but pay attention to what’s going on just below the surface. There is a secret, one so dark that one character remarks, “Whom can I tell that I would not destroy in the telling?” The ending pay off is immense, and makes any slowness worth your time.

#6 THE CRUCIBLE – They took out Arthur Miller’s original Communist Witch Hunt analogy(although: he wrote the screenplay, so I suppose he did), but this adaptation of THE CRUCIBLE is still awesome. Joan Allen is amazing, Daniel Day-Lewis, one of my favorites, is incredible, Winona Ryder as Abigail Williams is very good as the vixen who causes all the trouble. You can see how she’d tempt men, make them lose their souls. Paul Scofield as Cotton Mather is so venal…I hate that guy! From the opening scenes to the harrowing end there is a menace and a undercurrent going on, enough to make my gut tighten. I felt like I was there. I liked how dirty everyone was too; something you rarely see in a period film, but very accurate. Mostly, I liked what this film made me think about.

Up next: The second half of 1996's top ten

A Reader's Favorite Pictures

I wanted to do a top ten list of the pictures posted on Monkey Barn last week, but I was afraid I would be biased. I may still do a list, biased or not, but for now, I asked Guest Top Ten Lister Mysteria to do one for me. The criteria: ignore who posted what picture, and just look for the ones that moved you in some way.

Mysteria had an awful time (she told me) cutting it down to ten. However, I nagged her, and this is eventually what she came up with:


#10 The Kat's up - The sheer comical presents of he cat says it all

#9 Orange peel frog - Taste the frog or the peel and you will feel bitterly ill

#8 Mr. Chuckles - This guy's smile ... It's cute, it's funny, It's adorable, It makes you smile

#7 Mouth Watering - She's about to bite and so will he!!! {I love this one. It is now my wall paper at work}

#6 Piece by Piece - Reality is only what it seems.

#5 Day Night , Gray Light - It has that Two Halves make One Whole, Not one without the other feel to it {Perfect for # 5 on a top ten list}

#4 Behold the Sun - It sends a powerful message that anyone can hold the universe in their hands

#3 Wo/Man - It gives you a sense of completion, they just fit

#2 Primate in the Rain - This one is so beautiful. it inspires me to pond about this primate

#1 Child in the Wind - This one even more so I can only come up with one word for the caption: POWERFUL. I just can't stop thinking about it.

There you go. If one of you would like to do your own favorite ten photos, let me know and we'll set it up and give you a day.

Up next: not telling.


[Today was supposed to be #7 in our continuing look at the best movies from each year in the '90s. However, I got the list all done and realized it was way too powerful to go at #7. So, back to the drawing board. Luckily, Homer bailed me out.]

One of my favorite Simpsons episodes—and one of the two most quotable ever—is when Homer joins Hullapalooza. Rather than do a traditional top ten list of quotes, I wanted to walk you through the episode, highlighting the quotes I love. If pressed, my favorite quote is the one I say with my brother ( I mention that when you get there).


Otto wrecks the bus (again?), and the kids are sent home with a letter, which Marge reads aloud:
Dear parents. Due to yesterday's unscheduled field trip to the auto wrecking yard, the school bus will be out of commission for two weeks. By reading this letter out loud, you have waived any legal responsability on our part in perpetuity throughout the universe.

So Homer's driving the kids to school....
So... how about those rainbow suspenders, huh?
Pretty cool way to keep your pants up, eh?
I see these kids now with "Jive" printed on their shirts. Pftt... Now, I can teach you how you're supposed to say "jive."
Dad... Please just drive the car, dad.
I'm watching the road, sweetie. You jive turkey. See? You got to sass it. Quit jivin' me, turkey. You got to sass it. A "turkey" is a bad person.
In order to sink even lower, Homer turns on the radio to his favorite station, which he's the only one in the car to enjoy.
Radio Announcer:
KFSL -- Fossil 103. Classic hits from Abba to Zeppelin, comma, Led.
Milhouse asks Homer to change the radio station, but Homer retorts that it's Grand Funk Railroad. No one knows what he's talking about, and Homer is surprised. Homer drops the kids to school, and they rush out of the car.
For more information on Grand Funk, consult your school library!
Dad, please, you're embarrassing us.
No, I'm not.....Grand Funk Railroad paved the way for Jefferson airplane, which clearedthe way for Jefferson starship. The stage was now set for the Alan Parsons project, which I believe was some sort of hovercraft.
Dad! No one cares about any of your stupid dinosaur bands! You have the worst, lamest taste in music ever.
[turns off the radio]
I'm just trying to party with you guys.
Homer, first of all, it's "par-tay", and second, we wouldn't "par-tay" with you if you were the last dad on Earth.

Later, Homer walks into a music store (Suicide Notes, which used to be Good Vibrations)
Now, here are some of your no-name bands. Sonic Youth? Nine Inch Nails? Hullabalooza?
Hullabalooza is a music festival; the greatest music festival of all time.
There can only be one truly great festival a lifetime and it's the "Us Festival."
The what festival?
The "Us Festival"! Geez! It was sponsored by the guy from Apple Computers.
What computers? [in 1996 that made sense]

Later, Homer is upset about the music....
Why do you need new bands? Everyone knows rock attained perfection in 1974. It's a scientific fact.
What's wrong, Homie?
[sighs] I went to the record store today and they were playing all that music I've never heard of. It was like the store had gone crazy.
Hmm. Record stores have always seemed crazy to me, but it doesn't upset me. Music is none of my business.
That's fine for you, Marge, but I used to Rock 'N' Roll all night and party e-ver-y day. Then it was every other day. Now I'm lucky if I can find half an hour a week in which to get funky.

The next morning, Bart and Lisa wait for another embarrassing ride with Homer
Bart: Dear Lord, if you keep Homer from embarrassing us today, we promise to build several churches in your honor.
Lisa: Bart, no!
Homer passes in front of Milhouse without stopping.
Milhouse: Hey, wait! I'm okay today! My mom bought me deodorant!
Homer takes the kids to Hullabalooza (first giving them tickets with an authenticator spot, itself a commercial for Clark Bars and Jostens class rings). Once at Hullabalooza they find it's a tad commercial:
Peformer: Before we start, we have a lost child here. If she's not claimed within the next hour, she will become property of Blockbuster Entertainment.

Homer has a rough go at it, including misunderstanding Karma, being accused of being a drug trafficer AND Narc, and not getting enough butt support from the hostile crowd. To top it all off, she's shot with an inflatable pig out of a cannon, and somehow survives. A man approaches Homer.
Hullabalooza Manager:
Sir, I run Hullabalooza's pageant of the transmundane --the freak show, very much for you to be that fatso.

Homer is flattered, but Marge doesn't take it the same way. Later that night at home....
So... you want to go on tour with a traveling freak show.
I don't think I have a choice, Marge.
Of course you have a choice.
How do you figure?
You don't have to join a freak show just because the opportunity came along.
You know, Marge, in some ways, you and I are very different people.
[my brother and I use this last line a lot. Good times!]

Then Homer starts running into famous people.....
: Hey cannonball, I like your statement: when life takes a cheap shot at you, you stand your ground. Billy Corgan, Smashing Pumpkins.
Homer Simpson, smiling politely.
You know, my kids think you're the greatest. And thanks to your gloomy music, they've finally stopped dreaming of a future I can't possibly provide.
Well, we try to make a difference.

The Hullabalooza crowd is just slightly jaded.....
: Oh, here comes that cannonball guy. He's cool.
Are you being sarcastic, dude?
: I don't even know anymore.

The Hullabalooza tour heads to Springfield.
Hey, Homer, looks like our next stop is your hometown, Springfield.
Is it true that we have to bring our own water?
We got a little rule back home: if it's brown, drink it down; if it's black, send it back.
The hometown show's the big one, Homer.
Yeah, people who called you a weirdo in high school get to see what a successful freak you've become.
[points to D'Arcy]
Hey, I wasn't a weirdo. I was in the audio-visual club.
Really? Me too! But I got kicked out 'cause of my views of Vietnam. Also, I was stealing projectors.

Bart is interviewing Homer for a school project (the person he admires most)
So, what's it like being famous, dad?
People know your name, but you don't know theirs. It's great.
Do you wear boxers or briefs?
[checking] Nope.
What religion are you?
You know, the one with all the well-meaning rules that don't work out in real life. Uh... Christianity.
[with my luck, this will be the day my mom reads]

Homer leads his family backstage at Hullabalooza.
Stage Manager:
Who is playing with the London Symphony Orchestra? Come on people, somebody ordered the London Symphony Orchestra... posssibly while high. Cypress Hill, I'm looking in your direction!
[What's even funnier is that they think they did, but it was actually Peter Frampton]

Homer gets ready to take the cannon ball in front of everyone, but he's scared because a doctor warned him if he did it again, he'd die. At the last minute Homer jumps out of the way, causing the crowd to boo.
I thought I had an appetite for destruction, but all I wanted was a club sandwich.
The Smashing Pumpkins and a member of Cypress Hill discuss:
Lee Ranaldo:
Oh, man. Homer wussed out. I'm so disillusioned.
Kim Gordon:
Hullabalooza isn't about freaks; it's about music, and advertisement, and youth-oriented product positioning.
That, and getting toasted. Nicely toasted.
Homer gets ready to leave:
I'll miss you, Pumpkins, but I just can't share your bleak world view. I've got too much to live for.
We envy you, Homer. All we have is our music, our legions of fans, our million of dollars and our youth. [pause] Woo-Hoo!
Let's all go out and buy fur coats!
I want a walk-in humidor.

Finally, in the most brilliantly satyrical denouement in Simpsons history, the family drives home...

Homer: So, I realized that being with my family is more important than being cool.
Bart: Dad, what you just said was powerfully uncool.
You know what the song says: "It's hip to be square."
That song is so lame.
So lame that it's... cool?
Am I cool, kids?
Good. I'm glad. And that's what makes me cool, not caring, right?
Well, how the hell do you be cool? I feel like we've tried everything here.
Wait, Marge. Maybe if you're truly cool, you don't need to be told you're cool.
Well, sure you do.
How else would you know?

You know how you'd know? If you're visiting the Hyperion Institute every day. (The REALLY cool kids donte to the cause.)

Join us Monday when hopefully I'll have the Movie Years straighted out and can once again give you some great flicks to watch. (And you better be!!!)

Secrest out

Jelly Belly

For Dinosaur Present Day (Featuring T-Rex) I was given this huge bag of Jelly Bellies. It weighed 2 kilograms. (For those of you in America, that's like 28 pounds.)

I'd never had Jelly Bellies before, and had a lot of fun trying each flavor. (The hard part was then attempting to match the color with the pictures on the back. Many of them are very similar looking).

Of course, it wasn't all beer and bellies. You never knew when you'd get a heinous Licorice, or even worse, Cappuccino or Cafe Late. It was like at any time you could be poisoned.

Still, that's a small price to pay for so much jelly goodness, and in some ways made the process sweeter; knowing potential death lay in every bite.

Though I liked all flavors (except the aforementioned three), I did come up with ten favorites. I was kind of surprised at my choices. I guess sometimes flavors don't come out well in Jelly Belly form. (Example: I love blueberries, mangos and raspberries like I love a cat-fight, but those flavors weren't as nuanced as I'd like.)


10. Toasted Marshmallow - It was very different, but I liked the hint of burnt 'mallow. Stood out from the crowd.

9. Strawberry Jam - just had that extra oomph that the Strawberry Daiquiri and Strawberry Cheesecake lacked.

8. Island Punch - Slightly tart, but in a good way. (Just how I like my women.)

7. Sizzling Cinnamon - There were two cinnamons (my mom drove herself crazy asking "Why?"), but tasting the second, I understand. I'm not a big Cinnamon fan, but I like my candy like I like my women: hot and burns my mouth.

6. Tutti Fruiti - Hard to go wrong there.

5. Peach - Just a good all around belly, and it went with almost all other flavors.

4. Chocolate Pudding - It didn't bowl me over, but was subtle, and I like my bellies like I like my women; sophisticated flavor.

3. Buttered Popcorn - Who knew? Fantastic stuff.

2. Tangerine - Not sure why this one stood out among all the other sour ones. I guess I like my bellies like I like my women: sharp and peelable.

1. Wild Blackberry - I'd have never guessed this would be my favorite, but go figure. It was sharp and subtle at the same time, powerful but not overpowering. (You know: kind of like how I like my women).

Up next: the next year in our series of best movies from each year of the '90s.

Newspaper comic strips

The Top Five Funniest (as of right now) Newspaper Comic Stips in current circulation

5. Boondocks

4. The Norm

3. Pearls Before Swine

2. Foxtrot

1. Get Fuzzy

The top ten Newspaper Comic Strips of all time

10. Katzenjammer Kids

9. Get Fuzzy

8. Pogo

7. For Better or Worse

6. Popeye

5. Dilbert

4. Foxtrot

3. The Far Side

2. Peanuts

1. Calvin and Hobbes

Bart's Road Trip

When I first saw the Simpsons episode where Bart gets a driver's license and they go on a Road Trip, I wasn't that impressed. However, every time I see it I like the episode more and more. First Bart has to spend time with Patty and Selma at work, then he, Milhouse, Martin and Nelson rent a car and go on a Road Trip that takes them through Branson Missouri to Noxville Tennessee for the World's Fair, only 14 years too late. Meanwhile, Lisa is enjoying spending time with Homer at work while Marge is all left out. Bart enlists Lisa's help getting home when it all goes wrong, and Lisa eventually turns to Homer. All in all, a very great episode. The following are the top ten quotes from that episode. I hope you enjoy.


#10 Patty and Selma talk about their job at the DMV
Patty: Some days, we don't let the line move at all.
Selma: We call those weekdays. [the gruesome twosome laugh]
Patty: Good one.

#9 Lisa discovers that atomic power isn't quite as thrilling as cracker production.
Homer: Donut?
Lisa: No, thanks. Do you have any fruit?
Homer: [offers some of the donut he's eating] This has purple stuff inside. Purple is a fruit.
Homer: Oh! This is a map of nuclear sites around the country. As a safety inspector, I'm responsible for changing most of these light bulbs.
Lisa: Why are there so many burnt-out ones?
Homer: 'Cause they won't hire me an assistant.

#8 After running out of money and losing their car, Bart tries to get a job as a Courier so he and the gang can travel back to Springfield
Courier Supervisor: Well, you don't look 25, but your unlaminated out of state driver's license is good enough for me

#7 Bart and the Gang try to decide where to go on their Spring Break Road Trip
Martin: Well, I realize it's trite, but we could tour the bridges of Madison County.
Milhouse: Hey, who has better vacation ideas than AAA? [reading a guidebook] According to the publisher of this AAA guidebook, no one.
Nelson: I've always wanted to see Macon, Georgia.
Milhouse: Wait! How about a fair? Not just a county fair, not just a Europe fair, but a World's fair -- the World's Fair in Knoxville, Tennessee.
Bart: Keep reading.
Milhouse: The Hungarians have built a giant motorized Rubik's cube, and the fair's symbol is the SunSphere, which sits atop a 266-foot tall steel shaft.
Bart: What's inside?
Milhouse: An information desk.
B+N+M: Cooool!

#6 Homer and Lisa continue to have fun togeether, making a crank call
Homer: Hello, I'd like to speak with a Mr. Snotball, first name Ura.
Moe: Ura Snotball?
Homer: What? How dare you? If I find out who this is, I'll staple a flag to your butt and mail you to Iran. [hangs up]

#5 Lisa finds out Bart's troubles and needs to bring in Homer to help
Homer: What's wrong, honey?
Lisa: There's something troubling me, dad, but I don't think I can tell you because it's a secret.
Homer: Ah, you don't have to tell me, but I thought we trusted each other with our secrets now. I mean, I haven't told a soul about your boyfriend.
Lisa: Langdon Alger? Oh, I don't like him anymore. Okay, but you gotta promise you won't get mad or tell anyone, especially Bart.
Homer: I promise.
Lisa: [Jenna von Oy-esque] Bart rented a car with a phony driver's license and drove Milhouse, Martin, and Nelson to a week out in Knoxville and their car got crushed and they're out of money and they can't get home and Bart's working as a courier and just came back from Hong Kong!
Homer: [face reddens, then returns to normal] Yes, that's a real pickle. Could you excuse me for a moment?
[puts on the radiation suit hood, which muffles his voice]
[yells his head off as the faceplate fogs up]
Homer: All right, I have thought this through. I will send Bart the money to fly home, then I will murder him.
Lisa: No, no! Then he'll know I told.

#4 Nelson, we hardly knew ye
Nelson: What is this place?
Bart: Branson, Missouri. My dad says it's like Vegas -- if it were run by Ned Flanders.
Nelson: [sees a sign extolling the virtues of an Andy Williams concert] Andy Williams!
Bart: Aw, we don't need to stop here.
Nelson: Yes we do. [punches Bart in the back of the head]
Mr. Williams' vocal stylings have a varied effect on the boys. Bart, Martin, and Milhouse are fast asleep. Nelson, however, is enthralled.
Andy Williams: [singing off-camera] huckleberry friend Moon river, and me. [audience applauds]
Nelson: I didn't think he'd do "Moon River," but then -- bam! -- second encore!

#3 One of the best endings to the Simpsons ever, after Bar has returned from his trip.
Marge: [answering] Hello? Oh hello, Principal Skinner. No, Bart has never been to Hong Kong. Good night. [hangs up] [the phone rings again] [answering] Hello? Tennessee State Police? No, my son's car was not crushed in Knoxville. I don't know where to begin
telling you what's wrong with that. [hangs up] [the phone rings again] [answering]
Hello? No, Bart is not available tomorrow to deliver a human kidney to Amsterdam.
[Homer, who has dived under the covers, snorts]
Homer, are you laughing at me?

#2 The Greatest Latin Term I've ever heard (other than semper ubi sub ubi)
Marge: The national grammar rodeo? I wish I were going. Oh, wait, wait; I wish I _was_ going. Is that right, Bart?
Bart: I dunno.
Lisa: It's not fair. I'm the best student in school, how come I never heard about this competition?
Bart: Maybe because you are, as we say in Latin, a "dorkus malorkus."
Lisa: That's not Latin. [to Marge] Mom, Bart's faking it.
Marge: Lisa, you've had your glory. Now it's Bart's turn.

#1 The boys get to the World's Fair only to discover that it was in 1982 and now the Sunsphere is a Wigsphere.
The boys -- newly be-wigged -- sit at the curb to consider recent events. Bart takes solace in the fact that they still have the car and the wad of cash, but Martin spent the last ten dollars on a talking Al Gore doll. ("You are hearing me talk...") Nelson, angrily, throws a rock at the Sunsphere, which topples, and crushes their car.

Bart: We got no car!
Martin: We got no money!
Milhouse: And no one knows we're here!
B+Ma+Mi: We're stranded!
Nelson: But on the plus side, I knocked over the SunSphere. [camera cuts back to wider angle, showing the crushed car under the sunsphere] HA-ha.

My brother and I use this term all the time to connote something good when all else is going wrong.

Up next: like anyone cares.

BEST OF THE '90s - #8

After a break for the holidays we're back with our series ranking the '90s year by year for movies, and ranking the best movies within that year. We've already done #10 1990, and #9 1992. Today we are at #8.

I struggled with naming 1991 to this spot. If you take a look at the entire year, 1991 is one of the best years in history. The films at the top aren't as good as other years, but other words, 1991's all star team would lose to other years, but if you had to make an entire league from one year (or put another way: if you could only watch films from one year for the rest of your life), 1991 might well be your pick.

Movies that probably would have made the list, but I haven't seen them: BARTON FINK, KAFKA, THE DOORS, GRAND CANYON, THE FISHER KING, BUGSY

Films Ajax demands go on his list that aren't included on mine: THE DARK BACKWARD, THE PIANIST, BUGSY, NIGHT ON EARTH



#9 (tie) BOYZ IN THE HOOD & NEW JACK CITY - BOYZ was the more celebrated of the two, but you really need to see both to understand the times. Black culture had made this explosion in white surburbia (that really hasn't abated), and these two movies personified that new "coolness." NEW JACK CITY seems a bit silly now, but I remember my school being transformed by the film. People today really don't get how bad crack was; much worse than cocaine or heroin ever was. NJC gets that. And BOYZ probably should have gotten an Oscar nomination. A very important film.

#8 CITY SLICKERS - You've probably seen this a hundred times on TBS, so you forget what a ground-breaking film it was. Kind of brought back the buddy-comedy and resurrected Daniel Stern, Billy Crystal and Jack Palance all at once.

#7 JFK - A tremendously flawed film, but still worthy of watching. This film is what gave Oliver Stone the reputation of craziness, but it's quite well put together. JFK won't answer who shot the president, but it will explain the culture of the conspiracy.

#6 THELMA AND LOUISE - Many argue that "Girl Power" started with this movie. A film about two women on the run, it spoke to an entire generation. Maybe they won't all criminals, but women seemed to understand what it was like to be trapped.

#5 FRIED GREEN TOMATOES - A lovely, sweet, snarkily vicious film; another girl movie, but one that everyone would love. Just an excellent film, and you need to see it.

#4 TERMINATOR 2 - I still remember opening night at the theatre; there were people sitting in the aisles! This was an "Event" movie, one of the first huge sequels, packed with special effects and a great soundtrack. Amazingly, 15 years later the special effects still hold up well. If you're young, I don't want to hear from you again until you rent both one and two and watch them.

#3 BEAUTY AND THE BEAST - Remains the only animated movie to be nominated for Best Picture, and what a lovely film to hold the honor. Even thought THE LITTLE MERMAID, started the great run at Disney, it was BEAUTY that first showed their A Level work. Great Songs too, which reminds me: you know how Angela Lansbury sings the "Tale as Old as Time"? I like to sing "Tale as old as Me" just to be funny. You should too.

#2 CAPE FEAR - DeNiro's best performance of the decade,and Nick Nolte's and Juliette Lewis's too, for that matter. Scorsese takes the original and fills his remake with menace and seething sexuality. The scene that takes place on the stage? I still get goosebumps. This would make a GRRRRRREAT date movie. It will scare her AND turn her on. Can't ask for more than that.

#1 SILENCE OF THE LAMBS - By now it's iconic, but people don't remember what an impact this film had. There had never been anything like it. Introduced Anthony Hopkins to the world, even though he was already an accomplished actor. (His only Oscar, which is almost criminal.) Jodie Foster was great too. This is one of only three films in history to win all five top Oscars (Actor, Actress, Screenplay, Director and Picture), and it deserved them too. I know you've seen it before, but do yourself a favor and see it again.

Up Next in the series: the seventh best year of the '90s
Up Next in Rank Everything: I'm leaning towards a Simpsons episode

Rejected Hyperion X website names

In honor of the relaunch of Hyperion X, I thought I'd do a top ten list about it.

When I started to put all my old X columns up, I naturally picked the name I'd checked it a few weeks earlier and the name was available. Imagine my horror when I suddenly found the name gone! I can only assume one of you sick evil freaks took it first. Why, I ask. Why?????

Anyway, I had to do some real soul searching to come up with a new name. (See the home page for details). Along the way I thought of and rejected quite a few others. Here are the best.


#10 XhyperionX - I thought this would look cool, but in retrospect it just looks dumb.

#9 Hyperion X-rated - Might have gotten me too much unwanted cross-traffic, you know?

#8 HyperionXXX - Even more so.

#7 Hyperion X marks the spot - This one is just lame, unless we're talking that girlfriend of Jerry Seinfeld's. You know the one....

#6 Hyperion Extra Large - Again, I'm thinking I'd get some unwanted cross traffic.

#5 Hyperion Ecstasy - It would probably look more like Hyperion XTC. I'm not into drugs, but on the plus side, it's possible I'd get more donations to Pay-Pal from confused college kids.

#4 Brokeback Hyperion - Ajax keeps trying to take me to see that movie; I wonder why?

#3 Hyperion X-Men 6: Why are we following a cripple? (This will be the last one in the series)

#2 Hyperion Ex-Girlfriend (the truly scary one)

and the number one rejected name...

#1 Hyperion After Dark - Actually, I like this one so much, I grabbed it up. Now if I can just come up with a good idea to fill it.

Up Next: Either a Simpsons list, or underrated songs.