Top 10 80’s Songs

October 27, 2015 by cloften  
Filed under General Insanity, Silliness and Rants

First, you need to understand that when I say the best what I mean are songs that I think are the best.  If you are looking for a list of the most impactful or meaningful or blah blah blah songs, go somewhere else.  If you are looking for commentary that uses phrases like “guitar riff” or “vocalization” go somewhere else.  The social status of these songs or their musical genius is irrelevant.

i love the 80sWhat is relevant then? General awesomeness.  I’ll evaluate these in 4 categories.  How I liked the song then, the music video then, how I like the song now, and how I like the video now. The video was an important part of the song in the 80s.  This was hard.  Limiting to 10 was challenging.  I may create a post at some point with the 100 best songs from the 80’s and not put any commentary.  I would feel better about that.  I feel like I am hurting someone’s feelings.  It would be like a list of my top 2 favorite daughters (I have 3).

10. Caught up in You by .38 Special

The song then—I remember the song and kinda liking it, but I don’t remember loving it.

The video then—No memories

The song now—Love it! It may now be my number 1, crank it up, don’t get out of the car until it’s over song.  I have been known to play it on repeat online.

The video now—Oh my goodness! You have to watch this.  It was trying to be funny then, I’m sure.  It succeeded.  However, the level of unintentional comedy of the video now is off the charts.  Must watch!

You’re Welcome!

9. Total Eclipse of the Heart by Bonnie Tyler

The song then—Epic.  Wailing female vocalists are my thing and this song may be the best of all of that category.  Has an awesome haunting quality about it and I loved it.

The video then—Confession (don’t judge me). I thought she was very good.  That is essentially all I remembered from that video.  Good looking girl wearing white walking around in some mansion or something.  It was a little creepy, but her being cute made up for it.

The song now—Still love it for all the same reasons  It is definitely one of the top songs in the  “if I hear it, I will be singing it for days” category.

The video now—A) She’s not that attractive. B) That video is creepy.  Way creepier than I remember.

8. Come on Eileen by Dexy’s Midnight Runners

The song then—Great song.  Very catchy.  I’d say it’s easy to sing along too, but it would be more accurate to say that it is easy to mumble along with except for when he says “Come on Eileen.” No one knew the words to that song.

The video then—Hmmm, is it them walking around the street? Don’t remember.  I’ll let you know in a second.  Obviously, I don’t remember the video.

The song now—Still great.  Also, in the era of Google, you can finally know what they are singing.

The video now—Oh yeah! The blue overalls.  Completely unremarkable video.  I’ll still put it in here, just in case you don’t know the song and you can hear it.

7. The Reflex by Duran Duran

The song then—The best of Duran Duran as far as I am concerned.  Though Rio seems to be the song they play the most on 80s on 8 on SiriusXM.  Hungry Like the Wolf seems to be most people’s favorite.  Super catchy and fun song.

The video then—Perhaps one of the best videos of all time. (Cue Kanye)  Again, not because of artistic reasons, but for weirdness and unintentional comedy.  Watching it now may make it seem dated, but it was kind of ridiculous then too, but in great ways.

The song now—What is this song about?  I almost hesitated to put this on here because I don’t know what the song is about and there is a theory that it is dirty.  (My wife believes this and is calling for the song to be banished from the list) However, the band is quoted as saying that they don’t even know what it is about.  I’m going with that and keeping it on the list.

The video now—Watch it for the hair.  Watch it again for the awesome special effects waterfall.

6. Against All Odds by Phil Collins

The song then—I’ve been surprised by how many people don’t know this song when I mention it among my favorite 80’s songs.  Big fan of the power ballad love song genre.  While you may not put this is in the category of “power ballad,” that makes little difference to me, since this is my list.

The video then—I never saw the movie that this came from.  It was rated R and I was 12 and from a very conservative home.  However, there was enough in that video to pique the interest of a 12 year old boy. (I apologize if that it TMI). I remember liking the video for sure.

The song now—Still awesome.  Love to belt this one out in the car.

The video now—Now that I am 43 and can do what I want, I don’t want to see the movie.  It looks absolutely ridiculous.  I also judge the 12 year old me.

5. Jesse’s Girl by Rick Springfield

The song then—Loved this song then.  I was only 10, but I loved it.  Had no idea who Jessie was or even the concept of a love triangle.  Just knew that this song was great.

The video then—Here I go again.  Was there a video for this? I’m not sure.  If I had to guess, I would imagine it is just him singing with his band.  We will see.

The song now—One of my 2 go to karaoke songs.  First song I ever sang at a karaoke party.  Love it.  If this song isn’t on your list, you either didn’t experience the 80’s or we may not be able to be friends.  Great song.

The video now—I was mostly right.  90% is just him singing with or without his band.  Toss in a few poorly acted angsty scenes of him pining over the girl and a super-angsty crashing his bathroom mirror scene and you’ve got the video.  Only good in an ironic way.  He also smoulders a lot into the camera.  He was a heartthrob.

4. Eye of the Tiger by Survivor

The song then—How is this not #1? What is wrong with me?  This is one of the most popular songs of all time!  Rocky III was an amazing movie and this was an incredible song.  You hear this song and you just know that you can knock out anybody, including Mr. T.

The video then—Was there a video? (Recurring theme)  This song comes on and I remember the movie.  That means, most likely that the video was probably just movie clips.  If so, I loved it.  If not, that’s why I don’t remember.

The song now—My other go to karaoke song.  I even sang this song in a mullet wig at a church event once.  There may or not be video evidence.  The band intentionally raised the key of the song so I would almost be able to hit the high note, but not quite.  Very entertaining.  This song was and is one of the greatest.  The 80’s song that sold the most copies that was not also a fundraising song (Like We are the World).

The video now—Nope, not a video from Rocky III at all.  The band trying to be tough.  It is ridiculous.  I watch this and I have to tell myself that they couldn’t have been serious.  Watch it and decide for yourself.

3. The Power of Love by Huey Lewis and the News

The song then—Another great song from another great movie.  This seems appropriate to honor this song the week after Back to the Future day.  Huey Lewis dominated the pop charts for a couple of years and this is far and away the best one.  The fact that it was part of one of the best movies is just bonus.

The video then—Mostly just the band performing the song in a bar environment.  I always was disappointed by the video.  I wanted Marty and Doc to be in the video.  There is a moment at the beginning with the DeLorean and another at the end.  Other than that, it ignores the movie altogether.  Not a great video. The fact that the video is just blah and is this high on the list, speaks to how great a song this is.

The song now—Still great.  This song might be the one that gets stuck in my head the most after putting this list together.

The video now—Still awful

2. Borderline by Madonna

The song then—I’m not trying to get 80’s hipster on you, but I think Madonna’s best stuff was from this album. Borderline and Lucky Star and Holiday.  The Like a Virgin album made her number one in the mainstream, but this song was always the best.  The closest she ever came to recapturing this was Crazy for You which I believe was from the movie Vision Quest.  Great ballad, great song!

The video then—Most videos were just artsy and weird, this was one of the first I remember to try and tell a story.  She is getting discovered and  photographed by this creepy dude and there is jealous also creepy boyfriend or something.  This was her maximum cuteness in my mind, even though I didn’t understand her outfits.

The song now—Still the best.  The girls know for sure that there will be no changing the station if this song comes on.

The video now—Still cute.  I’m judging 1984 Charlie a little less.

1. Call Me by Blondie

The song then—What does an 8 year old know about music or anything?  Nothing.  However this is a great song.  I would call the radio station every day to request it in the hopes that it would stay number one even longer (as if requests and plays in El Dorado Arkansas were moving the needle)  This was all the manipulation of my 14 year old brother, but nonetheless, I loved this song, the intro comes on and you are ready to go.  Blondie had some great stuff in the early 80’s.

The video then—I was 8 and by the time videos were mainstream, this song wasn’t popular.  I have no memories at all of this.  The best standard guess is her singing in front of some psychedelic background.

The song now—It was number one then and is still number one.  I hesitated for a while when putting this list together.  I considered all the songs in the top 4, but not for long.  This is the one.

The video now—The definitive 80’s music expert (My brother Brad) says he doesn’t remember this video though it is the one that Blondie says is official on their website. *shrug* She’s prettier than I remember.  I remember being scared of her, probably because she had two colors of hair, blonde and black.  I thought that was creepy.  (I was 8).

There you go THE list.  I guess this is the part where I ask for your inferior list.  So, what you got?  What are your top 80’s songs?

Top 10 Loftens’ Most-Used Movie/TV Quotes

September 2, 2010 by cloften  
Filed under General Insanity, Silliness and Rants

I made a run at something similar to this before, but I didn’t like it, not enough to delete it though.  Once it gets posted, it is written into the record.  Anywho, here is a better list, not that anyone cares.  I take that back, my brother will like this.  So this one’s for you, Brad-o.  (Friend him on FB if you like.  He’ll say yes to just about anyone, especially if you’re friends with me)

One of the defining characteristics of being a Loften is making pop culture references and quoting movies or TV shows in casual conversation.  It’s who we are.  It’s what we do.  I’m afraid, however, that we are in a season, where it has taken an ugly turn.  I try not to be judgmental, and I want to be a relatively cool dad.  However, we are starting to get a lot of random quotes around the house from various pre-teen Disney and Nick shows.  Lauren will say something, and I’ll say, “Where does that come from?”  Way too often the answer is Gibby.  Who is Gibby?  Some character from iCarly, which is the “best” of these shows, which is akin to saying “least annoying mosquito.”  Sometimes it’s Fred.  I can see these coming, because of the annoying voice that accompanies it.  If you don’t know who Fred is, I will do a public service by not telling you.

All that said, taking Gibby, Fred, and the cast of Tru Jackson, VP out of it, these are the best and most used references around the Loften home.

10. “Spongebob! This pencil is broken.” — Patrick Star from the TV show Spongebob Squarepants

This is my only shout-out to stuff that my kids watch, mostly (entirely) because this is the only show they watch worth watching.  Patrick is trying to write a poem and borrows pencil and paper from Spongebob.  Patrick is frustrated that the pencil doesn’t work, because it won’t write any words.  To which Spongebob replies that you have to think of the words yourself.  This is a new, but now common, thing to say around the house when you need a comedic break from your homework.  You take a deep sigh, hold up your pencil and declare that it is broken, because it will not write words.  Homework cannot continue until the Spongebob retort is given.

9. “Faboo” — Wakko Warner from the TV show Animaniacs

If you don’t know who the Animaniacs are, I feel bad for you.  Do you remember when cartoons were funny and clever?  Yeah, I know it’s hard, but try.  This was a show in that genre.  Funny for kids, smart and funny for adults.  It was around in the early to mid-90’s.  Pinky and the Brain were birthed out of that show.  Don’t know them either? Pity.  Wakko Warner was a character patterned somewhat after Harpo Marx (BOOM! uber-dated reference), except that Wakko would talk on occasion, with his own vernacular.  He often shortened words.  Faboo was short for fabulous.  That’s how we use it.  We use it so much that it doesn’t even feel like a pop culture reference anymore.  In fact, I may be the only that knows that it is and where it comes from.

8. “John Coctoasten”  –Fletch from the movie Fletch

Fletch is making up a name to try and convince someone that they knew each other from a while back.  He introduces himself as “John.”  “John, who?” “John Coc…toast..en” is what he replies mumbling, hoping she will make her own connection.  I have had to confess at various times that the Loftens are not very good at remembering people’s names.  (Please Grovers, do not assume that I know your name.  Especially if we met on a Sunday.  I don’t remember anything from Sunday morning.  It’s kind of a crazy day for me.)  So it is not unusual for Heidi and I to try and remember someone’s name.  “I think his name was Mike?  Uh, Mike De…Do…uh…”  To which the always helpful, sarcastic spouse (could be either of us) will reply “Coctoasten?”  Did this to someone not a Loften recently.  The awkward pause and stare made it all worth it.

7. “What’s ‘taters, Precious?” — Gollum from the movie Lord of the Rings: the Two Towers

Being from the South, taters is a common word.  It doesn’t feel like slang.  It’s just a much simpler way to say potatoes.  Isn’t two syllables always better than three?  Save energy, man!  Well apparently, Samwyse Gamgee was from the southern part of the Shire, because he says taters as well.  The Yankee, Gollum, not knowing this word responds with “What’s taters, Precious?”  Then Sam responds with, “Po-tay-toes.  Boil ‘em, mash ‘em, stick ‘em in a stew.”  Classic.  This must, must be said any time, anyone, anywhere says taters.  It’s not optional.  Sam’s response is optional, but strongly encouraged.

6. “Tie on the bed, throw the rope out the window” — Chico Marx from the movie Horse Feathers

Come on guys, everyone knows this quote right?  Right?  No one. Fine.  I am pretty sure no one else in our house has even seen this movie.  However, Marx Brothers movies are quite popular with Loften men.  They are hilarious and well-written, you know just like…basically nothing today (You kids get off my lawn!).  Chico and his brother are trapped in an apartment but they have a rope.  He tells his brother, Harpo to “tie on the bed, throw the rope out the window.”  He doesn’t understand.  Chico repeats this over and over.  Finally, Harpo takes his tie off, puts it on the bed and throws the unattached rope out the window.  See?  High comedy.  So this gets used when someone is giving overly complicated directions and someone else just isn’t understanding.  Someone, well, really just me, will scream “Tie on the bed, throw the rope out the window.”  Similarly…

5. “You stay here and make sure he doesn’t leave” — King of Swamp Castle from the movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail

The king is trying to get two idiot guards to watch his son and keep him from leaving his room.  He repeats this over and over again.  The two guards just can’t get it.  It’s a hilarious scene.  Probably top 5 funniest scenes from any movie.  This line gets repeated at our house not when the directions are overly-complicated, but when they are incredibly simple, but just not being heard, understood or followed.  (I know what you must be thinking.  With 2 perfect angels in your house, when could that ever happen?  I know.  It’s rare, but it happens)  When someone, read Cloften, says this to his spouse, exasperation has hit its peak.  This is either met with much needed comedic relief or it turns the focus of frustration to the quoter.  It’s a great quote.  Very funny.  Use with caution.

4. “What about second breakfast?” — Merry from the movie The Lord of the Rings: the Fellowship of the Ring

Lord of the Rings is the only entity that gets two entries.  It is from two different installments, but nonirregardless Lord of the Rings clearly is deep into Loften culture.  Our kids are notorious eaters, always have been.  They like food, all kinds of food, in significant quantities.  It is common for them to want to eat at 9 or 10 am, after they have already had breakfast.  Sometimes they will even say, “what’s for breakfast?”  “Haven’t you already had breakfast?”  This is where the Lord of the Rings quotes take over.  This is essentially the same situation Aragorn finds himself in with the Hobbits.  They reply, “We’ve had one breakfast, yes.  But what about second breakfast?”  Second breakfast is now part of our vocabulary.  We don’t have to have second breakfast every day, but it cannot be ignored, if the need arises.

3. “These pretzels are making me thirsty” — Cosmo Kramer from the TV show Seinfeld

Kramer is hired to have a bit part in a movie and this is his only line.  He practices saying it in front of the gang and everyone critiques it and says it their own way.  Now at the Loften house, if someone says something of the same cadence, for example, “This shirt is making me hot,” someone will, not may, will respond back with “these pretzels are making me thirsty.”  At that point, everyone has to repeat the phrase back with their own inflection.  Last, almost always, read always always, is Mom.  Sometimes she has to rebuked by one of her daughters, “(clearing throat loudly) Mom!”  “Oh, sorry.  These pretzels are making me thirsty.” Again, as with many of these quotes, our girls have never seen this on TV.  It doesn’t matter.  This is what we do.  They play along, no problem.  They love it.  I pity their therapist when they are older.

2. “Other options?” — William Wallace from the movie Braveheart

William Wallace has returned from York to discover that the English have invaded and sent a huge army.  He is trying to rally the nobles where they have this interchange. One of the nobles believes that the English are too many and it is time to consider other options.  To which Wallace replies, “Other options? Don’t you wish at least to lead your men onto the field and barter a better deal with Longshanks before you tuck tail and run?  You are not allowed to utter the words “other options” without doing it in Scottish accent.  Sometimes our Scottish accents devolve into British, Irish, Australian, Italian, Norwegian (?).  It’s the effort that matters here.  If you do forget to at least give the Scottish accent effort, someone must and will point it out.  You then correct yourself.  There are no exceptions.  None.

1. “You serious, Clark?” — Cousin Eddie from the movie Christmas Vacation

Clark Griswold is trying to get the kids excited about Christmas and gives a report that he heard that Santa’s sleigh has been spotted.  To which Cousin Eddie in all seriousness replies, “You serious, Clark?”  Let’s just agree right now, that Cousin Eddie is top 3 funniest minor characters in a movie comedy, ever.  I would just say number one, but I don’t want to just pop off like that. Hmmm. The Black Knight (Holy Grail) ?  Carl Spackler (Caddyshack)?  Nevermind.  The uses for this quote are abundant.  If someone says something serious, if someone says something ridiculous, if someone misspeaks and says something ridiculous, the list is almost endless.  Typically, Heidi or I will add, “Get yourself something, real nice.”  This is another quote from Eddie in another scene.  It is completely out of context, but sometimes you just feel compelled to go on an Eddie quoting streak.  “This here’s a quality item.  If you don’t mind me asking, what’d she set you back?” “She falls down a well, her eyes cross.  Kicked by a mule, they go back.” “Got the girl in the clinic getting cured off the wild turkey.”  “It’s the gift that keeps on giving.” CLOFTEN, wake up!

Sorry, I got into a Cousin Eddie-induced trance.

Advice for Villains

March 10, 2010 by cloften  
Filed under General Insanity, Silliness and Rants

I have a new list going in my head.  Don’t know if I have 10 yet, and typically you guys have some great ideas, so help me out.

What advice would you give to movie/tv villains?  The most obvious one is just kill the hero when you capture him.  Don’t monologue.  Nothing elaborate.  Just do it.

What else you got?

Pop Culture References That Are Now Engrained in Loften Culture

February 24, 2010 by cloften  
Filed under General Insanity, Silliness and Rants

I have said on various occasions that you could get a pretty funny 30 minute reality show out of what goes on at our house in a week.  Heidi would hate it.  Maylee would love it.  Lauren and I would take it our leave it.  We appreciate whatever audience we have to our insanity, be it just the family, her classroom, or the poor people at Fellowship who have to hear/see our routines frequently.

Anywho, I was struck the other day by the number of ridiculous references from pop culture that are now just a part of our collective vocabulary.  This will be an ongoing list of such things as they happen and/or I remember them, not a fixed list like some of the ranking lists I have put out in the past.

Second Breakfast from The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring.  The full quote is

Pippin:What about breakfast?
Aragorn: You’ve already had it.
Pippin: We’ve had one, yes. What about second breakfast?

It is common for us on a day where somebody gets up early and someone else gets up later, for the early bird to eat once and then eat again when the family is up.  A phenomenon now known as Second Breakfast.  You must, of course, say the line, “We’ve had one, yes. What about second breakfast?” in your best British Hobbit accent.

“It’s your birthday. It’s your birthday. You’re the birthday boy or girl.” from the Simpsons 

In my college days, I will confess that I watched the Simpsons.  As most college students did/do, I found it hilarious.  However, at some point it became too much for me, as I was maturing and the show kept going wherever it was going.  Anywho, a handful of Simpsonisms still are a part of my vocabulary, with this being the biggest.  This is from an episode where they are celebrating one of the kid’s birthdays at some place that was supposed to be like Chuck E. Cheese.  The mechanical mouse is displayed and sings that line.  The Loften family tradition is now, on birthdays, to multiple times throughout the day to sing that line to each other.  Even though the girls have never seen one minute of one Simpsons episode, they do it as well.  The best was early on when the girls were younger and they would say, “Dad, I am not a boy or girl.  I am a girl.”

Two-face from Seinfeld.

This is from one of the most famous episodes of Seinfeld, the one with Festivus.  Jerry is dating someone who looks really good in certain light and terrible in others.  He refers to that as a two-face.  A common phenomenon, we believe, in celebrities/actresses.   So Heidi and I will be watching a movie or the Olympics or anything and one of us will say, “He/she is kind of a two-face.”  Yes, we do that.  We evaluate celebrities good looks together.  Is that weird?

Other options? (said in Scottish accent) from Braveheart

So the scene is William Wallace has returned from York to discover that the English have invaded and sent a huge army.  He is trying to rally the nobles where they have this interchange:

Craig: With such a force arrayed against us, it is time to discuss other

William: Other options?  Don’t you wish at least to lead your men onto
the field and barter a better deal with Longshanks before you tuck
tail and run?

You are not allowed to utter the words other options without doing it in Scottish accent.  If you do forget, someone must and will point it out.  You then correct yourself.  There are no exceptions.  None.

John Coc…tos…ten from Fletch

From perhaps the most quotable movie of all time.  Fletch is trying to pretend that he knows a woman and introduces him to her as her husband’s friend, John.  “John, who?”  “John Coc…tos..ten”  He mumbles the name hoping it will sound like some name she recognizes.  So now around the house if someone asks you for someone’s name and you don’t know, then you mumble ala Fletch, “Sam…er.ta Li.bah.soe.gooz?”  A pastor and his wife, shouldn’t one of us be good at remembering names?

“These pretzels are making me thirsty” from Seinfeld

Kramer is hired to have a bit part in a movie and this is his only line.  He practices saying it in front of the gang and everyone critiques it and says it their own way.  Now at the Loften house, if someone says something of the same cadence, for example, “This shirt is making me hot,” someone will, not may, will respond back with “these pretzels are making me thirsty.”  At that point, everyone has to repeat the phrase back with their own inflection.  Last, almost always, is Mom.  Sometimes she has to rebuked by one of her daughters, “(clearing throat loudly) Mom!”  “Oh, sorry.  These pretzels are making me thirsty.” Again, as with much of this, our girls have never seen this.  They play along, no problem.  They love it.  I pity their therapist when they are older.

She Blinded Me with Science, by Thomas Dolby

There was a time when I got on Youtube with the girls and showed them the goofiest songs/videos that I could remember from the 80’s:  Down Under, Run Runaway, Safety Dance, Girls Just Want to Have Fun and She Blinded Me with Science.  Their two big takeaways were the guy swinging the giant log on Run Runaway and the song Blinded Me.  Now anytime someone says the word science, someone else will sing the line “she blinded me with science.”  Then someone else must make the beep, boop, beep sound.  (Optional, a third person shouting in a serious voice, “SCIENCE!”) If you are confused, go listen to the song.

PIV-OT! PIV-OT! from Friends

Heidi and I were both pretty big Friends fans back in the day.  I know that I am supposed to be embarassed by that, and I should refrain from mentioning that public.  Someday, when I’m respectable, I will.  Anywho, there is an episode where Ross has talked a couple of the others into moving a couch.  The couch is way too big and they trying to take it up a winding staircase.  The whole time he is shouting, “Pivot, pivot” in one of the most annoying voices ever.  Of all of these on this list, this one is Heidi’s.  First of all because that’s her sense of humor.  Second, because she is always making me move furniture.  So, of course, we are holding a couch, chair, table, etc. and she is shouting, “PIVOT!”  Isn’t good that we found each other?

Best Action Heroes in a Battle Royal

January 30, 2010 by cloften  
Filed under General Insanity, Silliness and Rants

So here is the setup.  We have the top 10 action/adventure heroes and they have been tasked with eliminating the other 9.   There is no reasonable or even unreasonable scenario where you could make a movie where this would be the case, so I will not try.  Those with superpowers like Superman are not eligible and those with unrealistic technology also will not be considered like Iron Man.

Each will be analyzed for his particular strengths and weaknesses.  One strength that each of them has is their uncanny ability to cheat death, so it will seem ridiculous that any of them would ever be eliminated.  Also, you will find that qualities such as kindness and commitment to family will be under the “weakness” category.  Clearly, this is not a moral assessment.  It is only a weakness with respect to things that could be used against you in such a battle royal or your inability to make the hard decision when it counts.  If this all seems a little too violent for you, replace the word “killed” or “eliminated” with “tagged by a paintball.”

Batman is not under consideration here.  Even though he doesn’t have super powers and his technology isn’t too unreasonable, it just feels like he should be in a different discussion of superheroes.  Also, I want  to include warriors from previous eras, but it’s too hard to judge.  All things being equal, I believe that Maximus would dominate everyone on this list (with the possible exception of #1), but you can’t really compare him to people with sniper rifles and machine guns.  For that reason Indiana Jones also does not appear on this list.

One final note, Chuck Norris was going to be asked to participate but was deemed too awesomely destructive.  The person who was going to ask him was turned to stone just looking at him.  His beard volunteered to participate, but Norris was unwilling to part with the beard for the 30 seconds it would take to eliminate the competition.

10. MacGyver

The mullet can only carry you so far

The mullet can only carry you so far

Strengths: Ability to make incredible weapons, defenses, gadgets in general with q-tips, peanut butter, and empty jars of baby food.  Ability to think quickly in tense situations.  Mullet.

Weaknesses:  Lacks the killer instinct.  Nice guy.  Hates guns and violence.

Outcome:  After being chased to a remote location, MacGyver finds himself holed up in a bunker.  While trying to figure out a way to escape using only a spork, the wheels from a kid’s Big Wheels, and a left over piece of ooey gooey butter cake, John Rambo approaches the scene and destroys the bunker, the entire area, and all neighboring cities with a relentless assault with multiple grenade launchers, rocket launchers and possibly a suitcase nuke.  (Wait, that seems more like an episode of MacGruber)

9.  B.A. Baracus

Murdoch! I ain't gettin on no plane

Murdoch! I ain't gettin on no plane

Strengths: Ability to build elaborate contraptions.  Can drive a van as if it were a racecar.  Awesome nickname, attitude and Mohawk.

Weaknesses: Unwilling/unable to fly unless tranqed.  Easily duped into being tranqed when it is obvious he is going to have to fly.  Good at shooting guns, but not actually hitting the people that he is shooting. (Lots of ammunition used on A-Team, no bad guys ever injured or killed)

Outcome:  While tracking Dirty Harry, Harry is able to slip out of his grasp by, of all things, getting on an airplane.   He does not realize that he is being chased by John McClain.  In a battle of witty things to say, John McClain trumps B.A.’s “I pity the fool” with quotes from Tombstone.  The last thing Baracus hears before he passes is “I’m your huckleberry.”

8. “Dirty” Harry Callahan

Morning, fatso. Bressler wants to see you.  (not the quote you expected?)

Morning, fatso. Bressler wants to see you. (not the quote you expected?)

Strengths:  Anger and general disdain for humanity. Snarl.  Love for guns.

Weaknesses: Anger becoming bitterness and uncontrollable range.  Maybe just a wee bit obsessive?  Don’t tell him I said that. (No seriously, please don’t tell him I said that)

Outcome:  Harry never really got into the spirit of the challenge.  No one can tell him what to do.  All he wants to do is lock up punks.  He notices some guys robbing a convenience store near Dirty Harry’s location.  Harry is sucked into the trap and takes out each one of the punks with his Smith and Wesson.  He never notices that Jack Bauer is one of the hostages.  It’s all over for Harry.

7.  John McClain

If it were a glass walking competition, he would have done better.

If it were a glass walking competition, he would have done better.

Strengths:  Ability to withstand large amounts of pain.  Sacrifice his body for the greater good.  Intensity balanced with lighthearted look at life.

Weaknesses: Always in the wrong place at the wrong time.  Relies too much on luck

Outcome:  While he is certainly the people’s choice, there should be little doubt that he lacks the skill and training to take on the higher level secret agents.  After taking out B.A. Baracus, McClain unfortunately found himself on a plane hijacked by terrorists.  After foiling their plot he gets Seattle only to stumble upon another terrorist plot to poison the world’s Starbucks supply.  After successfully putting down the second plot, he runs into Casey Ryback.  Ryback could have shot him at any time during the previous 24 hours, but for reasons known only to him, he chooses to battle McClain in fisticuffs.  In a long drawn out battle, McClain goes down in what history will soon call the most over the top death scene ever.

6.  Casey Ryback

You want fries with that?

You want fries with that?

Strengths: Martial arts skills.  Creative ways of killing people.  Cooking.

Weaknesses:  Hmm, shall we say that he is a little hefty?

Outcome:  Greatly fatigued by his altercation with John McClain.  Ryback stops for a snack.  Large meat lovers pizza and a diet coke.  Finishing that and just as he is about to order his main course, he is confronted by a man with a gun who appears to be Tom Cruise.  However, before he pulls the trigger, the assailant says, “I want you to know who got you.”  He rips off the mask and it is Ethan Hunt.  As he fires, Ryback says something that no one, I mean no one in the pizza place could understand.  Hunt gives that swarmy, creepy smirk that used to be charming and is now just weird.

5.  Ethan Hunt

The plot of the sequels will self-destruct in 10 seconds.

The plot of the sequels will self-destruct in 10 seconds.

Strengths:  Those creepy, look like someone else masks.  (I know what you may be thinking. That is unreasonable technology. Maybe, but it is not on the level of say the GI Joe movie and is really not that much of an advantage.  I mean, really, what’s the difference between a piece of bubble gum that becomes a bomb and a regular bomb or a mask that makes you look like a senator and like a ski mask?)  Good looks.  Death-defying stunts. Wide range of abilities to kill you including fisticuffs and all kinds of weapons.

Weaknesses:  Something in his personality that makes people close to him want to betray him.  His inability to notice that he is being betrayed.

Outcome:  In the battle of Napoleon complexes, Ethan Hunt and Jack Bauer are obsessed with each other.  Both are quite short-tempered and have little patience for each other.  However, it is Hunt’s giant ego that gets the best of him.  As part of his spy cover, he adopts the persona of an actor, goes on a talk show and jumps up and down on a couch like a buffoon.  Seizing this opportunity, Bauer hides in Hunt’s dressing room and captures him.  He tortures him for a while to get information out of him.  Bauer doesn’t need any information from him, but tortures him just the same.

4.  John Rambo

They drew first blood.

They drew first blood.

Strengths: Knowledge of weapons.  Knowledge of like huge weapons.  Access to steroids and HGH.

Weaknesses: Lack of finesse.  Intelligence. Vocabulary. 

Outcome:  After destroying an entire Afghan village for no particular reason, he sets up an arsenal in the ruins that would make him the 5th most well-equipped army in the entire world.  Taking a break from surrounding his village with land mines, he shoots himself up again with steroids.  This sets him on a steroid rage tantrum that distracts him from what comes next.  Bond air drops from a low flying plane.  He chooses a parachute that doesn’t work on purpose just to make it interesting.  He makes a parachute out of his shirt in part to save his life and in part so he can show off his abs.  He eliminates Rambo as he is putting his head through a concrete wall.

3.  Jack Bauer

The only reason you're conscious is because I don't want to carry you

The only reason you're conscious is because I don't want to carry you

Strengths: Chloe O’Brian’s technical knowledge.  The ability to extract any information from anyone anytime.  A complete disregard for the rules.

Weaknesses:  Is captured an inexplicable number of times.  Gets attached to people he barely knows which causes him to surrender way too much.

Outcome:  In what can only be considered a breaking of the rules, Bauer has Chloe O’Brian using NSA satellites to track each of the other 9 guys.  She is, of course, unable to find or track Jason Bourne, even though on occasion he is sitting in the cubicle next to her.  This allows Jack to survive multiple attempts to take him out.  However, the now late Ethan Hunt had alerted the Chinese government as to Bauer’s whereabouts.  They have Bauer surrounded at a local bus station.  He is going to fight his way out until he discovers that the Chinese agents have kidnapped a young boy that he had met for five minutes that morning at a coffee shop.  Jack then immediately surrenders.  The Chinese government take him back to China where we can only presume he is dead—for the 15th time, a number heretofore only seen amongst villains on daytime soap operas.

2.  James Bond (Daniel Craig version)

No way I am putting a pict of his abs here.

No way I am putting a pict of his abs here.

Strengths:  Handsome.  Buff.  Abs that make every man that watches him cry.  Mad spy skillz.  Sweet vehicles and gadgets.

Weaknesses:  A little too concerned with being handsome, buff and having abs that make every man that watches him cry.  Much too public profile.

Outcome:  At one point, Bond captures Bauer, because, you know, why not?  Rather than eliminating him, he wants to see what it’s like on the other side.  He starts monologging and telling Bauer about his sinister plan to take him out and Bourne.  He then leaves the room and Bauer escapes and kills all of Bond’s henchmen.  Frustrated with himself, he goes to the casino and has a drink (you know what he has).  Bourne, wanting this to end with a bang, poisons his drink while simultaneously shooting him and blowing up the casino.

1. Jason Bourne

Don't blink.  You'll be dead.

Don't blink. You'll be dead.

Strengths:  Having minimal long term memories gives him few attachments.  Has all the super spy skills—driving, shooting, fighting, breaking into places, being awesome, super stealthy.  Cold, calculated, smart.

Weaknesses: He did have a moment of conscience, but he got shot and dumped in the ocean (I think he learned his lesson).  Quite obsessed with finding answers to his past.

Outcome:  He at one point had every other contestant in his sniper sights except for MacGyver who went down too quickly.  He chose not to eliminate everyone himself instead choosing to observe everyone else’s tactics.  Also, just for fun he does the whole competition left handed and speaks only Mandarin Chinese.

Top Pop Culture Icons and Characters on 24

A couple of things before the list. First, this is coming from someone who just started watching 24 in the last year. Therefore, some of the people on the list were nobodies at the time and became well-known after. For me, the reverse was true. Second, this is not a list of the best characters. If that were the case, Chloe would be near the top and Kim Bauer would be at the bottom, maybe just ahead of some of her equally ridiculous boyfriends. This is a list of best actors/actresses to appear on the show because of their pop culture coolness. (According to IMDB Bubba from Forrest Gump will be on the show this season, so the rankings will definitely change)

Not on the list, Kevin Dillon (maybe if I were a fan of Entourage, I would put him on), Janeane Garofalo (classic c-lister with no big anything) Peter MacNicol (that dude from Ally McBeal). Also this is a top 11 list.  Why?  You’ll see.

11. The Allstate guy (Dennis Haysbert) as President David Palmer, Day 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5. allstate haysbert

Some of you might think of him as that dude from The Unit, but I’ve never watched that show. To this day when those Allstate commercials come on, my girls get a little freaked out. I think his voice intimidates them. As someone who gets called “ma’am” at the drive-thru, I understand their point.

10. Charlene from Designing Women (Jean Smart) Day 5 and 6 Designing-women-Charlene-Stillfield

I don’t want to say too much here or my man card could be revoked. Can I just say my mom made me watch it growing up? No matter what she plays, won’t she always be that woman from Designing Women? Oh cool, look Charlene married the president. That’s a long way from Atlanta. Wait no, I didn’t remember Atlanta on my own. Wait no, give that card back!

9. Darlene from Roseanne (Sara Gilbert) as Paula Schaeffer, Day 2 sara gilbert

Though all grown up now, she is still the obnoxious kid from Roseanne and always will be. I kept wanting her to be sassier on the show, thinking “hey, who tamed Darlene?” You want to know why I will never be allowed to direct/produce a show? Because I think they should have had one short scene where she is on the phone talking to her mom about the crisis and you cut to Roseanne Barr. I would do stuff like that all the time.

8. Jin from Lost (Daniel Dae Kim) as Tom Baker, Day 2 and 3. jin-lost

So I’m watching Agent Baker and I’m thinking, “Man, Jin has gotten a lot better with his English, no accent.” Also, I’m thinking that he is destined to be like the guy who goes down to the planet with Kirk and Spock and he is toast. However, he made a solid 11 episode, 2 season run. Way to go, Jin.

7. Howard Payne from Speed and Shooter from Hoosiers (Dennis Hopper) as Victor Drazen, Day 1. shooter hoosiers

I don’t know where to put Dennis Hopper on this list. Those two pop culture characters are good, not great. The bigger question: How does a guy like that end up doing a small role on what at the time was a new show that may not have even made a full season? Was he friends with Kiefer? the producer? Did he lose a bet? Does he just like cashing checks? He did phone his performance in with his over the top acting and unbelievable accent. He was forgettable to the point that I had the list put together and double-checked IMDB to see if I had forgotten anyone, and I had.  Couldn’t leave him out though.  I’m rambling now.

6. Jon Voight owner of 1983 LeBaron Convertible (Jon Voight) as Jonas Hodges, Day 7. seinfeld jon voight

John Voight has been an actor for almost 50 years. He has won an Academy Award and been nominated multiple times. So, what is he most know for in my mind? Biting Kramer on Seinfeld and not exactly being the owner to George’s car. I’m sure the star of Midnight Cowboy, Deliverance, Coming Home, Runaway Train and Ali would be glad to know this. Second in my mind is Patrick Gates in the National Treasure movies. (BTW, it is mandatory at my house to sing, “I’m just driving around in Jon Voight’s car,” when you see him. Mandatory.)

5. Curly Bill from Tombstone (Powers Booth) as Vice President Noah Daniels, Day 6. curly_bill

I would like to know what information Olivia Taylor had on Curly Bill, because he should have won election in a landslide. Please, don’t take this as sexist, but in a string of mediocre presidents that 24’s America elects, she might be the worst. (Well except, of course, for the one that was convicted of treason) Nothing else to say, except, “Well. . . bye.”

4. Arthur Hoggett from Babe (James Cromwell) as Phillip Bauer, Day 6. cromwell

Would it have killed them for during one of the father/son moments between Jack and his dad for him to say, “That’ll do Jack. That’ll do”? Would it have? Come on. Another example of why you cannot put me in charge of your TV show. Does anyone else have a hard time imagining him as sinister? He has been in a lot of stuff, but he can never be sinister. He’s Arthur Hoggett for goodness sake.

3. Ricky Stratton from Silver Spoons (Rick(y) Schroder) as Mike Doyle, Day 6. silver_spoons_image_ricky_schroder

“Silver spoons togetherrrrrrr. You and I.” You can drop the y from your first name, you can be on NYPD, you can do whatever you want. You are the kid from Silver Spoons hacking into the government computer with Arnold Jackson. That’s it. That’s who you are. You can drop the k next if you would like. It’s not gonna work. Seriously, isn’t he trying to hard being the over-the-top tough guy? Shave the facial hair, call Carlton from Fresh Prince and let’s make the Silver Spoons reunion happen.

2. Samwyse from LOTR aka Rudy aka Mikey from Goonies (Sean Astin) as Lynn McGill, Day 5. rudy

Harrison Ford aside, has there ever been someone else with so many classic pop culture roles as Sean Astin? Ok, Sylvester Stallone (I sense a future list here). How about this: has there ever been someone with so many iconic pop culture roles that never became a superstar? Stallone, Ford, Ian McKellan are not going to do bit parts on 24. There may not be anyone else on the Sean Astin list.

1. Sylar from Heroes (Zachary Quinto) as Adam Kaufman, Day 3. sylar_l

The fact that I don’t watch Heroes anymore almost made me put him down. (Thought this season was getting bizarre) Still, I believe Sylar may ultimately go down as one of, if not the best TV villains ever. Now that he is about to make a run as Spock, one of the most recognizable tv/movie characters of all time, puts him #1 on the list. Seriously, the whole time we are watching season 3, I kept waiting for him to take Chloe aside, do that thing with his finger and take the part of her brain that makes her so awesome as a computer hacker/analyst/dominator.