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My R.E.M. top 10
It was a fantastic show, but I’m saving my verbiage for a review in the Chronicle. Since the band crisscrossed their entire career in the setlist, I’m inspired to name my ten favorite Stipe/Mills/Buck/Berry compositions.

10.”At My Most Beautiful” (1998)
Peter Buck’s Beach Boys influence at its most naked.
9.”It’s The End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)” (1987)
A total classic.
8.”Let Me In” (1994)
The stirring and depressing tribute to Kurt Cobain, nearly played on one fuzzed-out guitar.
7.”Flowers of Guatemala” (1986)
Their best early ballad.
6.”Man on the Moon” (1992)
My favorite of their “biggest band in the world” era hits. Now connected with the Andy Kaufman bio-pic, it’s many times more poignant.
5.”Stand” (1989)
Endlessly rewarding dunce-pop.
4.”Country Feedback” (1991)
Ominous – more ominous than it should be, at this point in the band’s life.
3.”The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonite” (1992)
Basically improves on the formula of “Losing My Religion” (a great song, by the way) and adds the saddest keyboards this side of Bauhaus.
2.”Harborcoat” (1984)
My favorite of their early jangle-rock tunes.
1.”Imitation of Life” (2001)
It’s an unpopular choice, but that’s because everyone’s wrong and I’m right. This is a perfect pop song, larded with hooks (the riff, the strings, “That’s cinnamon, that’s Hollywood,” “Cry-ei-ei-ei-ei-ei”) and deceptively simple lyrics. And I’ve always dug the production on Reveal.

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I say it’s my birthday
I turned 22 today and was presented with a huge bill from my phone company. It was a welcome-home present from the subletters who leased from the previous tenants – they hadn’t paid their bill for August. Fortunately, I’m seeing these guys tonight:

To brighten my day, send messages/cash donations to dave-at-davidweigel.com

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Camper Van Beethoven
I’ve been listening to the ouvre of this great defunct college-rock band, and my 10 favorite songs weren’t hard to pick up.

10.”Seven Languages” (1993)
And I would come to visit you
But I can’t find my car keys
And I can’t remember where you live
And if I had just a little time
I could speak seven languages
I could walk on water

9.”Crossing Over” (1988)
I’m crossing over county lines,
I’m tired of drinking 3.2 beer.
I’m crossing over in my mind,
Forget about the last five years.

8.”One of These Days” (1988)
But if you fight and if you fail,
don’t fall back into yourself
You can fall back on me

7.”Tania” (1988)
We carry your gun deep within our hearts
For no better reason than our lives have no meaning
And we want to be on television

6.”Sweethearts” (1989)
Angels wings are icing over
Mcdonnell-douglas olive drab
They bear the names of our sweethearts

5.”Eye of Fatima” (1988)
And this here’s a government experiment and we’re driving like Hell
To give some cowboys some Acid and to stay in motels
We’re going to eat up some wide open spaces
Like it was a cruise on the Nile
Take the hands off the clock, we’re going to be here a while

4.”We Saw Jerry’s Daughter” (1986)
And nobody wears flowers in the hair
Cuz flowers are everywhere

3.”Good Guys and Bad Guys” (1986)
So just be glad you live in America
Just relax and be yourself
Cuz if you didn’t live here in America
You’d probably live somewhere else

2.”(I was Born in a) Laundromat” (1989)
Just give me some tension release

1.”Take the Skinheads Bowling” (1982)
I had a dream–i wanted to sleep next to plastic
I had a dream–i wanted to lick your knees
I had a dream–it was about nothing

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C’est la fun
I left Kate’s house last night fully expecting to go home and compile a new CD of Pet Shop Boys and Erasure songs for which to work out with. Then I switched on my monitor and Mindy Hagen was IMing me.

Who’s Mindy? She’s a Medill senior, like yours truly, only she’s devoted her life to newspapering. And she’s really good at it – google her name and find some of her stories. When I was a sophomore, taking over the Chronicle, she was the inaugural “Tool of the Week” (a weekly award for the biggest schmuck on campus) in response to a slander of our fine paper. So when Mindy invited me to a party, I felt fairly sure it would involve pig’s blood and telekenesis at some point.

Lo and behold, it was legit. It is truly fine to be a senior. We’ve forgotten how to be petty.

Down the street, a few students who owned conjoining apartments had opened up their backyard and placed a keg strategically. So a mob showed up. At least 100 people were mingling and crushing while I looked for old friends, and finally found my neighbor from the Plex, Jamar. He had been storing one of my accordian files in his room when I was gone during Spring quarter. No one had picked it up – he’d left it under a bookshelf in the Theta Chi frathouse. We strolled up campus, he hit on girls, and we ended up entering the unlocked house to scrounge around for my files. The lock was broken; I tucked it under my arm and headed home, while Jamar hit on more girls, this time from DePaul.

Outside my apartment – and this was weird – I saw Kate and her roommates. They were pumping another girl for details on another party. Cops milled around us as we stood there (I’ve gotten used to cops breaking up groups of students around my place – it’s close to campus), so we soaked up the sense of danger and split as soon as they closed in on us. It was only 8 yards to my house.

Fun, basically. I don’t have enough of it.

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The mighty ten
My friends CJ and Dean have been decorating(polluting?) their blogs with lists – their favorite movies, fight scenes, John C. Reilly movies, etc and so on. So here are my ten favorite shows of all time ever, for real.

A word about my judgment. I don’t like to watch the same movies over and over again. In this new and frightening age of RealMedia and DVD collector sets, it’s easy to collect a show and find that you don’t want to watch the entire series over and over again. Except for some shows. These are the few that I can put on at any time of day, any point in the episode, and enjoy them fully.

10.Seinfeld (1990-1998)
I don’t think it’s the greatest half-hour sitcom of all time. You need that kind of qualifier when you’re talking about this show, which lost the Emmy to Murphy Brown but won our hearts. A lot of my derivative one-liners have their genesis here, as well as in #6, #2 and #1.

9.Oz (1997-2002)
Gripping, disgusting prison melodrama acted out by the best character actors on TV. It slacked a bit in the final seasons, but season one is absolutely perfect, sense-numbing television. You even get to like the crippled narrator guy.

8.Yes, Minister (1980-1982)
The legendary brit-com about an ineffectual government official and his secretaries. This would be a good way to teach new Americans the language – cue up a VCR and have them follow the verbal acrobatics of Nigel Hawthorne. Definitely the most complex punchlines of any show on this list.

7.Buffy The Vampire Slayer (1997-2003)
Alternately vastly underrated and vastly overrated. It’s not the best TV show ever – season one is patchy, seasons six and seven are depressing. But seasons two through five contain some of the best drama, dialogue, and teen catharsis I’ve ever seen.

6.Mr. Show (1995-1998)
The best sketch show ever, bar none, period, full stop, stop arguing with me. Bob Odenkirk, David Cross, and Tom Kenny wrote and performed dumbfounding and twisted bits that I still quote in mixed company, drawing stares and pity.

5.The Sopranos (1999-present)
The backlash started around two years ago, didn’t it? Well, it was silly. The well-drawn, pathetic characters, subtle morality plays, and absolutely hilarious dialogue (Step up, Tony Sirico) have moved past the first season’s tight story arc and created their own appalling universe.

4.The Larry Sanders Show (1992-1998)
THIS is the best sitcom of all time, which is frankly amazing. There’s nothing hysterical about Garry Shandling or Jeffrey Tambor or Rip Torn independently of each other – they’re funny, but not gods. Except on this show. Here, they are bronzed and glistening deities of situation comedy.

3.South Park (1997-present)
Sadly, the show got much, much better after the media stopped watching. Seasons three through six (and some of the new season) contain weird-ass parodies (a cripple fight that is ripped off, frame-for-frame, from John Carpenter’s “They Live”), bizzare plots (the musical journey of a gerbil through a gay man’s anus and intestines), and one of the funniest characters in TV history – Eric Cartman.

2.Mystery Science Theater 3000 (1988-1999)
It changed America. Making fun of retarded sci-fi movies came out of the basement and into … well, not the sunlight, but a room on the first floor with really good blinds. Their best shows – “Manos,” “Attack of the Eye Creatures,” “Pod People,” are my most treaured possessions.

1.The Simpsons (1989-present)
Well, duh.

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Read it, know it, live it
Without actually finishing the book yet (it is awfully long), I’m gonna plug “Nobody’s Perfect” by Anthony Lane. The movie reviews are always the first thing I read in the New Yorker – like Chris Eigeman’s character in “Metropolitan,” I save myself the trouble of actually watching the stuff. For my money ($10 – I got it used), Lane is just as good a critic as Pauline Kael, and his essays and profiles, which make up half the anthology, are almost head-spinningly good. My favorite so far was a take on Gore Vidal’s hobby of reviewing the 10 bestselling novels of a given week. The fact that Lane takes a dig at Vidal in the process (“He dropped a brace of Vidal smart bombs – phrases such as ‘I once wrote the screenplay’ and ‘when my father was in the administration.”) was a factor in my decision.

And I bought a Joe Bob Briggs book, too. What does that say about me?

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Is a very very very fine house
2006 Sherman was a house, until my landlord bought it and carved out 6 apartments. I got the rooms at the top of the building – my ceiling is kinked in two places, matching the contours of our roof. Unfortunately, the structure of this house has made my apartment a Pullman. Bedrooms are on the right of a small hallway; the bathroom and kitchen are on the right. Everything bleeds into a sizeable den.

With a push, I’d admit that the bathroom is the apartment’s greatest weakness. It’s barely big enough to allow an average sized man to stand up straight and extend his arms.

But everything works – especially the DSL connection. I’m pretty sure I could live in a cave constructed from my own waste if I had DSL.

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Zevon Top 10
Sappiness reigns supreme for me, and it was no different when Warren was alive. While I fight the temptation to lard up this list with ballads, Warren’s harder-edged songs don’t have the same appeal for me that they do for the rest of his legions.

10. “If You Don’t Leave Me I’ll Find Somebody Who Will” – Under a minute long but still one of my favorites.
9. “Excitable Boy” – Hilarious ragtime about an inbred millionaire.
8. “Keep Me in Your Heart” – Yes, it’s two weeks old, but I see the potential for this one to become a classic. The lyrics are universal enough to please any coffee bar hack.
7. “Life’ll Kill Ya” – The melody is nothing new, but the lyrics and performance are unstoppable.
6. “Splendid Isolation” – The theme song for the depressive male. “I’m putting tinfoil up on the windows/Lying down in the dark to dream/I don’t want to see their faces/I don’t want to hear them scream”
5. “Looking for the Next Best Thing” – Ironic balls-out rocker. “Don Quixote had his windmills/Ponce de Leon took his cruise/Took Sinbad seven voyages/To see that it was all a ruse”
4. “Carmelita” – An Eagles-style ballad about Russian roulette. And he even got the Eagles to sing on it.
3. “Reconsider Me” – Another could-be standard. The best break-up song this side of Nilsson’s “Don’t Forget Me.”
2. “Lawyers, Guns and Money” – For me, his funniest song. “I was gambling in Havana/I took a little risk/Send lawyers, guns and money/Dad, get me out of this”
1. “Mutineer” – A perfect forlorn love song that manages to open with “Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum” and still work.

I really don’t consider “Werewolves” to be one of his 10 best, but it’s a good song.