The 200: 184-167

Time for Part 2 in my countdown to No 1.


184         She Sells Sanctuary   The Cult

183         Bigger Than Us  White Lies

182         Buildings & Mountains   The Republic Tigers  You Tube

181         Speakers Push The Air     Pretty Girls Make Graves

180         The Rat    The Walkmen

179         Elephant  Jason Isbell     You Tube

178         Animal Life    Shearwater

177         Feel Good Inc    Gorillaz

176         Feeling Good     Nina Simone

175         Why Can’t I Be You?   The Cure

174         Sometime To Return    Soul Asylum

173         Two Receivers    Klaxons

172         Lose Yourself      Eminem

171         To Turn You On   Roxy Music

170         Relative Ways    …And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead

169         Something To Talk About    Badly Drawn Boy

168         True Believers     The Bouncing Souls

167         Wrecking Ball    Crooked Fingers  You Tube


To put the list together, I identified 250 or so songs that I thought I’d include in the list. Then I started grouping them by preferences: My Top 40, Next 40, etc. I built the list from the top on down, the reverse of how I’m revealing it.

I tried to have a little fun with the each CD, grouping them by song titles or themes (such as The Rat, followed by Elephant and then Animal Life), or the two songs about feeling good back to back. I also tried to swing back and forth between styles.

179 – My most countrified song on the list (I did enjoy some Randy Travis back in my college days). Cancer sucks, but this song is simply beautiful.

171 – I once attended a Bryan Ferry concert in New York with a buddy of mine at Radio City Music Hall. We were seated next to two gorgeous co-eds. Midway through the show, these two comely lasses turned to us and asked, “Do you guys get high?”

Alas, that’s the end of the story. Love might have been the drug for the former Roxy Music frontman Ferry, but cannabis was not the gateway to anything besides a slightly loopy ride home on the MetroNorth for my friend and I (no need to out him here, just in case his wife or kids are part of my readership).

Previous Songs


TBtB: Washington Nationals



Part 5: Nationals Park

The rare modern stadium without a corporate sponsor. Alas, Nationals Park doesn’t exactly ring out as requiring a lot of deep thought, though it is a nod to the place that predated old Griffith Stadium.

One would think the club’s D.C. location would offer ample naming opportunities for the ballpark. Then again, one would think the club’s D.C. location offered the architects ample opportunities for exciting backdrops, and they failed miserably in what’s an otherwise OK park, as I recall from my one visit there.

If nothing else, can we try to keep this thread from going all OTP: Politics, please?

Ballpark History

Built: 2008

Capacity: 41,339

Name:  Nationals Park (2008-present)

Other ballparks used by club in its current city: RFK Stadium 2005-07. Previous DC teams played at Griffith Stadium, 1911-1965, Boundary/Nationals Field, 1895-1911

Distinctive Features: A sliver of the crowd can get a glimpse of the Capitol. Cherry blossoms line the leftfield pavilion.

Ballpark Highlights: Randy Johnson beat the Nats 5-1 to win his 300th career game while pitching for the Giants.

President Barack Obama throws out the first pitch to open the 2010 season, proving conclusively that baseball was not his sport.

In 2010, top pick Stephen Strasburg was absurdly dominant in his closely watched Major League debut, striking out 14 Pirates* and walking none in seven innings.

In 2012, after almost seven full seasons of futility that bore striking similarities to another famous Washington outfit, the Generals, Teddy Roosevelt won the President’s Race.

Jayson Werth’s ninth-inning home run off Lance Lynn gave the Nats a 2-1 victory in Game 4 of the NLDS, the first time Washingtonians had seen the home nine win a postseason game in 79 years.

*At the time, the equivalent to fanning 11 major league hitters.


TBtB: The Boston Red Sox



OK, let’s face it. This one probably isn’t going to change. Fenway is just the kind of name we’re looking for in this endeavor, a distinct name with a connection to the neighborhood. And I’m not just saying that because of my lifelong Sox fandom. Fenway’s a legitimate keeper.

And, given the success of TBiA in our second installment, there is a natural tendency to go with what works. So, we’re probably not looking at a lot of real alternatives.

In the event that the status quo is the overwhelming choice, perhaps we can take this thread in a different direction. What would you call the place if you were starting from scratch? Block out the 100-plus years of history of the Fens and come up with the best possible name.

Then, when the vote happens, you can go ahead and vote for Fenway.

Ballpark History

Built: 1912

Capacity: 37,281 (day), 37,731 (night)

Name:  Fenway Park (2004-present)

Other ballparks used by club in its current city: Huntington Avenue Baseball Grounds 1901-1911

Distinctive Features: How long do we have? The Green Monster, manual scoreboard and that ladder in left; the triangle in center; Pesky’s Pole down in right; the wall in foul territory in left that shoots out toward the diamond, often forcing shortstops to play balls hit down the line; the Citgo sign.

Ballpark Highlights: In 1912, the year the park opened, the Red Sox won the deciding game 8 here to win the World Series, 4-3-1.

In 1917, Ernie Shore relieved a pitcher, whose days on the mound were close to numbered, after the starter walked the leadoff hitter and got himself ejected. Shore and the Sox caught the leadoff runner for stealing, then he retired the next 26 batters in order in the first perfect game to be later expunged by Fay Vincent’s great no-hitter purge of 1991.

One night after Carlton Fisk’s iconic 12th-inning home run pushed the series to a seventh and deciding game, Joe Morgan’s single in the ninth inning scored Ken Griffey with the winning run for the Big Red Machine in one of the best World Series ever played.

One of the single-greatest collections of baseball talent gathered at the 1999 all-star game, highlighted by the appearance of the greatest Red Sox player of all-time, and the guy my father wanted to name me after before Mom Unacceptable nixed his plans, Ted Williams.

In 2004, the Red Sox began the greatest comeback in the history of history, tying Game 4 with a ninth-inning run off Mariano Rivera then winning the game in the 14th inning on a two-run home run by David Ortiz. It was the impetus to the club’s first World Series title in 86 years.

The 200

Sometime in late-2015/early 2016, I stumbled across one of the many music blogs on the old innernet. This one grabbed my attention because the author of the now-defunct site had recently updated his Top 200 songs of all-time, complete with mp3s of each track.

I dug into his list, and ran across a bunch of interesting finds, his taste for indie rock overlapping somewhat with mine. But his list stuck with me for another reason – about half of the Top 200 songs were performed by about 10 or so acts. And none of them were the Beatles or Elvis or the Rolling Stones. Rather it was the bands in his wheelhouse. And as much as I respect the good Canadians from Godspeed You! Black Emperor, I doubt even Godspeed You! Black Emperor’s Mothers believe their sons (and one daughter) are responsible for 1/20th of the greatest songs of ever.

I shared my thoughts on the subject with my son, the other music nerd in our family, and we began batting around ideas. Eventually, we decided we would try to assemble our own Top 200, but with the caveat that each band could only be represented once.

Originally, it was supposed to be a simple list. But when Christmas 2016 rolled around, I thought it would be cool to put together the songs on a bunch of CDs for him; Ian being the only person under 25 who listens to CDs. Which I did, gifting him with a 12-CD set for the holidays last year (and he responded with a 3 CD, 60-song list for me. In his defense, he’s been listening to music about one-third as long as I have, so the numbers work).

Recently, I was thinking that the whole endeavor demanded a shit-ton of work to share my efforts with just one person. So, I thought I’d reveal the Top 200 here, for anyone who might be curious. I don’t claim these are the definitive Top 200 songs of all-time – just the ones that could make up a list of my favorites.

I recognize that my musical tastes are not in line with most people my age, or any age for that matter. The list skews heavily toward the alternative/modern/indie rock side of things (you can see I’ve been around awhile), though there are a few pop, hip hop and R&B tracks, and even a countryish one, though I’m not sure you’d ever find it on Hot Country 107.

With each CD listing, I’ll offer some thoughts on a few songs, plus a few You Tube links to songs that I think might appeal to a wider audience. I’d add more links, but that would also amount to a shit-ton of work for the four people who are likely to read this.

200         To Hell With Good Intentions  McLusky

199         Lawyers In Love  Jackson Browne

198         Repatriated Handsome Furs

197         Golden Blunders   The Posies

196         Heaven is a Better Place Today   Tragically Hip

195         Emerge   Fischerspooner  

194         Bloodbuzz Ohio  The National

193          The Skin Of My Yellow Country Teeth  Clap Your Hands Say Yeah

192         Teenage Kicks    The Undertones

191         Idioteque   Radiohead

190         If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next  Manic Street Preachers 

189         Metro   Berlin  

188         The City Sleeps   MC 900 Ft. Jesus 

187         Don’t Haunt This Place  The Rural Alberta Advantage 

186         Bohemian Like You      The Dandy Warhols

185         Cuts you up     Peter Murphy 

200 – I turned Ian off immediately with my first choice, McClusky’s To Hell With Good Intentions. Eh, our tastes aren’t exactly in sync.

190 – I always wondered if Manic Street Preachers were street preachers that could be classified as Manic, or simply preachers on Manic Street. I’m sure it’s the former, but I’ve always been partial to the latter. Either way, they have one of the more interesting histories, as former guitarist/lyricist Richey Edwards simply disappeared in 1995 shortly before he was to head to the United States on a tour. He was pronounced dead seven years later, but his body has never been recovered.

188 – I am fairly confident that this is undeniably the finest song ever written from the perspective of a serial arsonist. It was written by a guy who took his “band” name from Oral Roberts’ revelation that a 900-foot tall Jesus had convinced him to build a hospital in Tulsa.


TBtB: Padres Voting Thread

Unlike our two previous installments, the Padres nominating thread didn’t seem to generate a consensus choice for a name for the lovely little ballpark near the Pacific Ocean. And opinion was equally spread with our nominating committee, which is why a hefty six choices will be put before the electorate. As was the case with the Rangers, if you choose one of the selections, you’ll be asked to follow up with a second question.

Voting will conclude one week from today, at which point we’ll announce Team No. 4.

Choose One:
A) Ballast Point
B) Gaslight Grounds
C) The Mission
1) Alone
2) Mission Field
D) Padres Park
E) The Shipyard
F) Tony Gwynn Field

TBtB: San Diego Padres

Part 3: San Diego Padres
Ooh, It’s the new Petco Thread.
The Padres have an interesting history, in the fact they have so little of it. Other than Mr. Padre, Tony Gwynn, it’s a franchise short on long-time Pads. Eric Show, he of the John Birch Society membership, Pete Rose’s Ty-breaking hit and a drug-related demise, remains the club’s all-time win leader, and its retired numbers list includes a famous, and widely loathed, Dodger.
The ballpark, by most accounts, is among the league’s best. It replaced a stadium once named for a sportswriter, which was a nice feature for this former member of the frat. Oddly, it was the original park that underwent multiple name changes, from San Diego to Jack Murphy to Qualcomm, and for one night in December 2011, Snapdragon Stadium. However, that was when the building’s sole tenant was the now-departed Chargers.
Petco is the only name the new place has ever owned. Will inertia be enough to keep it?
Ballpark History

Built: 2004
Capacity: 40,209
Name: Petco Park (2004-present)
Other ballparks used by club in its current city: Qualcomm (San Diego, Jack Murphy) Stadium 1967-2003.
Distinctive Features: The Western Metal Supply Co. building in the left field corner; a ship’s whistle from the USS Ronald Reagan sounds upon a Padre homer or victory; it’s located in San Diego for crying out loud. What else do you need?
Ballpark Highlights: Tony Gwynn’s San Diego State Aztecs played the first game in the park, setting an NCAA attendance record.
Japan defeated Cuba to win the first World Baseball Classic title here in 2006.
In 2007, Barry Bonds homered off Clay Hensley to tie Hank Aaron’s record for career dingers.
San Francisco’s Tim Lincecum threw the park’s first no-hitter against the Padres in 2013. When he repeated the feat the following year at China Basin, he became the first pitcher to no-hit the same team twice since Addie Joss.
Once a year, the Padres don the sport’s worst uniforms, saluting the strong naval presence in the city by dressing as if they’re in the army.

Five times the farewells

Today I say goodbye to not one daughter, but five. Adios Kiera. So long Kiki. Sayonara Munder. Ciao Butler. Goodbye Poggy.

Oberlin College and Conservatory, one of the finest liberal arts colleges in the country, welcomes my daughter of many names. It wouldn’t surprise me if it found a way to bestow a few more on her before she’s done.

Kiera, the name on her birth certificate, was the extraordinarily hard-working student who got into Oberlin. The girl who competed in a one-way academic war with her older brother. When he graduated second at Nativity, she pushed herself to finish first (tied with oldest friend Allison). When he got accepted into one of the nation’s best universities, she was determined to get into a school of similar renown. My counting skills aren’t strong enough to tally the number of times I entered her room to say goodnight, only to find her finally conked out, her schoolwork still across her chest as she studied late into the evening. It’s extremely gratifying to see that insane work ethic rewarded with her acceptance into such an outstanding school.

Butler is the name given to her by her older brother when a Bulldog basketball game happened to be on TV, and is a fitting name for her when she’s in her public servant guise. The girl who joined the United Fund’s Power of Youth group as a mere freshman. Over the past four years, she and her cohorts raised close to $50,000 for various community endeavors. Butler is the girl who, sparked by a video of injustice, decided to pursue a career in civil rights work, the ultimate manifestation of her desire to leave the world a little better than she found it.

Kiki, the name given to her by her younger brother when he struggled to say Kiera, is the performer. The girl who amused her siblings and friends with a charming English accent or spot-on impersonations of Sarah Palin and Shakira. The Andrean Theatre Company member who stole damn near every scene she was in for four years. Her freshman-year, impromptu, unapproved dance number during the troupe’s performance of Zombie Prom remains one of the funniest and most bizarre things I’ve seen. Her explanation why she went off script, “It was your fault. You were a terrible audience. You weren’t laughing at any of our jokes, so I had to do something,” was indisputably Kiki.

Munder’s the soccer player. My nickname for her, a shortened version of the equally ridiculous Shortmunder. There were few things in this life that gave me greater pleasure than watching her on the pitch, controlling the back, exhorting her teammates and, of course, launching throw-ins over the heads of surprised opponents who couldn’t believe a girl that small could be that damn strong. For three years she almost never left the field. So it was fitting that, as beaten up as she was from 80 minutes of Lawrenceburg thuggery and the hard turf at IUPUI’s stadium, she was on the field when the 59ers claimed their first state championship in soccer last fall. She achieved this all while remaining true to her nature, offering regular “Thank yous” to each and every boy and girl who handed her balls before her throws and to the fans who complimented her, even as she raced back into position. She fouled infrequently and routinely offered to help her opponent up when she did. She proved one didn’t need to sacrifice sportsmanship and character to be successful. Others could take note.

That she is joining Oberlin’s women’s soccer team, giving me a few more chances to watch her play over the next four years, thrills me to no end. I’m sure I will make the four-hour trip across the Indiana Toll Road/Ohio Turnpike more often than is recommended for either me or my vehicle.

Finally, and perhaps most meaningfully, is Poggy, the name her older brother called her before she even exited the womb. Poggy is the unique, true-to-herself goofball who has been an immense source of pride for 18 years. Poggy’s the three-year-old girl who returned home soaking wet from a trip to the mall, explaining her condition to her mother with a simple, “I fell in the pond, kersplash.” She’s the girl who at her first high school dance casually informed her date, “I don’t slow dance,” so she spent those lame ballads doing a slowed-down version of her fast dancing. Her first date with her first high school boyfriend took her to three playgrounds and a hardware store, because damn if she doesn’t like a good hardware store visit.

Poggy never met a silly hat she didn’t have to have. She never saw a pair of ugly socks she didn’t think would go great with her Catholic school uniform. And on the occasion of her 16th birthday, she proudly walked the school halls sporting the sash and tiara her mother gave her that morning to commemorate that special day.

She’s never doubted who she was, and what makes her happy. She never felt the need to conform to others’ expectations or preferences. If you didn’t like her, that was on you. As a person, I envy that. As a father, I treasure it. I knew she might make mistakes. But if she did, they would happen because that was her choice, not someone else’s. That’s remarkably reassuring to an old man.

All five of these wonderful young women leave today. Our home will be a lot emptier.