Monday, August 25, 2003

I always look forward to the annual Sporting News ranking of cities in North America based on their sports teams. I think it's because my hometown had the honor of being 1998's worst sports town in America, due to the perennial lousiness of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore basketball team. (This year, you'll be happy to note that Princess Anne has shot all the way up to 281. Ha ha ha, fuck you, Altoona! We're gunning for you next year, Bourbonnais, Illinois!)

Anyway, it's admittedly a dumb list. I mean - Los Angeles #1? Unless "leaving fashionably early" and "post-game traffic" are categories, how the hell could L.A. be the top sports town in America? Baltimore-Washington ranked together? People in Baltimore loathe the Redskins, and now that the novelty of Camden Yards has worn off, no one in DC really cares about the Orioles any more. And why New York and Chicago are on the same list with cities whose claim to sporting fame is hosting a South Atlantic League team is beyond me. So why create this list? For the same reason I'm posting about it here - absolutely nothing worth writing about happens in August, so stupid lists are employed to fill column space until the news cycle turns itself around and inspiration returns.

Hey, did someone say stupid lists?

Words that Snoop Cannot Physically Pronounce

- sloe gin fizz
- blizzard
- schism
- e-business
- Ben Gazzara
- Zizzer Zazzer Zuzz

Next year's music critic buzzword labels:

- Roots electronica
- Post-aggro thrash rap fusion
- Acousticlash (ironic, campy songs performed by hipster jug bands)
- Post-rock novelty songs
- Scrimshaw
- Drum and treble (a scintillating combination of looped techno beats and Tuvan throat singing)
- Unamericana

Traits I look for in a diner:

- Breakfast must be served 24 hours a day. No exceptions. If you can’t walk in there at 3 in the afternoon and get two eggs scrambled, toast, bacon and coffee, it ain’t a real diner.
- Meatloaf, chili and chicken fried steak must be on the menu. I would never actually order these items from a diner, but it’s part of the essential je ne sais croissant of the diner experience.
- For that matter, no more than two of the following items should not appear on a diner menu: buffalo chicken, wraps, any type of salad besides a side or chef salad, or any sort of non-American food. (Spaghetti is acceptable, but frowned upon.)
- Your waitresses (no waiters, thanks) must be middle aged, or at the very least look ten years older than their actual age, and they must loudly discuss the details of their ruinous personal lives within earshot of the customers.
- The jukebox cannot contain any song recorded after 1969. (Also, I prefer one central jukebox to those wall mounted jukeboxes that have popped up all over the place recently, but this isn’t a deal breaker.)
- A diner must be locally owned. The Silver Diner or Johnny Rockets or any of those other 50’s chains are not real diners, but a pale synthetic version of the real thing. Accept no substitutes. (Although, I must admit, the Silver Diner makes a pretty good Reuben.)

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