Top Eleven – Paul McGann

Counting down the 11 8 days to the 50th anniversary, here are my top 11 stories for each Doctor, continuing with 8 (Paul McGann).

He only had one turn at the Doctor on TV, but Paul McGann went on to star in dozens of audio adventures in the Big Finish series.

Doctor Who: The Moviedoctor-who-96-tv-movie-8thdoctor
The universe hangs by such a delicate thread of coincidences that it would be useless to meddle with it, unless like me you’re a Time Lord.

It wasn’t the greatest thing ever, but in 1996, after being without the Doctor on television for almost seven years, we got another glimpse at our hero. Personally, I find it great campy fun, and Paul McGann makes a great Doctor. It was hoped that this would turn into a pilot for a Fox TV series, but the ratings didn’t justify it. So, back to sleep it went for another nine years.

Special bonus: The Night of the Doctor

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Top Eleven – Christopher Eccleston

Counting down the 11 9 days to the 50th anniversary, here are my top 11 stories for each Doctor, continuing with 9 (Christopher Eccleston).

Eccleston didn’t stick around long enough to have 11 stories (if you count multi-part episodes as one). So, we’ll just go with a ranking of what we have.

1. The Empty Child / The Doctor Dancesmummy
Are you my mummy?

It’s World War II and a mysterious alien disease threatens to turn everyone into the zombie likeness of a small boy wearing a gas mask and searching for his mother. This is the introduction of Steven Moffat’s writing to Doctor Who, and it’s fantastic. Not only does it have a creepy “monster” but it introduces Captain Jack (John Barrowman) to the world of Doctor Who. It also has great performances by Florence Hoath as Nancy and a pre-Merlin Richard Wilson as Dr. Constantine.

2. Dalekd-doctor-dalek-eye-496
Your race is dead! You all burned, all of you. Ten million ships on fire. The entire Dalek race, wiped out in one second. I watched it happen. I *made* it happen!

They had just brought Doctor Who back to television after an interminable absence, and while I liked the new show, I still wasn’t positive that they were really going to carry on from the original series. Yes, Rose featured the classic villain that started the 3rd Doctor’s era (the plastic-controlling Nestene Consciousness and its mannequin minions), and a lot of the trappings of the Doctor (the TARDIS, sonic screwdriver, etc.) were still there, but this wasn’t the same Doctor. He was often in a bad mood and his appearance–leather jacket and short hair–was a far cry from the wild outfits of the past. He seemed depressed. Well, from seeing his first realization that the creature locked up in Van Statten’s dungeon is a Dalek, we know why. The extent of the Time War comes into focus, and Eccleston fully inhabits the character of the Doctor–at least for me.

3. Bad Wolf / The Parting of the Waysdw_bad-wolf_rose-as-bw
Time Lords have this little trick, it’s sort of a way of cheating death, except, it means I’m gonna change. And I’m not gonna see you again, not like this, not with this daft old face.

This two-parter starts out as a silly romp through TV show spoofs (Big Brother, The Weakest Link, What Not To Wear) and winds up with the shocking departure of two of the three lead actors. I didn’t follow all the rumors and news surrounding the show then the way I do now, so it came as a total shock to me when Christopher Eccleston started regenerating. Add in a fleet of Daleks and Captain Jack turning to dust, then that guy from Harry Potter showing up as the Doctor, and this was a pretty exciting finale.

4. The Unquiet DeadDoctor_Who__The_Unquiet_Dead
But its like – think about it though. Christmas. 1860. Happens once – just once – and then its gone, its finished. It’ll never happen again. Except for you. You can go back and see days that are dead and gone a hundred thousand sun sets ago. No wonder you never stay still.

This is a nice little ghost story with some Christmas-y elements that features a fine performance by Simon Callow as Charles Dickens. The alien Gelth are refugees from the Time War, and they think it will be just nifty to put their gaseous forms into dead human bodies. The Doctor isn’t even all that opposed to it (as icky as it sounds to Rose), but then the Gelth get greedy.

5. Rosedoctor_who_screencap_1
Nice to meet you, Rose, – run for your life!

Here we go. It’s 15 years, 3 months, and 20 days since Doctor Who was on regular TV. But wait a minute…this guy look like he’s just come off a WW2 U-boat. Are we sure it’s the same show? Well, it is and it isn’t. For one thing, it’s got an actual budget. No more running through quarries or up and down the same corridor. No more wobbly walls. No more terrible effects and bad makeup. And the companion…she’s swinging from ropes and saving the Doctor instead of standing around screaming in terror. But, really, there’s the good old Autons as villain #1. There’s the TARDIS and the sonic screwdriver and a brief nod to regeneration. And the first word out of his mouth is “Run!” It’s perfect.

6. Father’s Dayep1x08
I should have known. It’s not about showing you the universe. It never is. It’s about the universe doing something for you.

Rose can’t resist the chance to save her father’s life, despite the damage to her personal timeline that it will bring. Not only does it set off a paradox, but a set of ugly creatures swoops in to try and handle it…by destroying everything in their path.

7. The Long Gamesnapshot200505072000051lo
The thing is, Adam, time travel is like visiting Paris. You can’t just read the guide book. You’ve got to throw yourself in, eat the food, use the wrong verbs, get charged double and end up kissing complete strangers – or is that just me? Stop asking questions. Go and do it!

This episode reminds me of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, with the Doctor as Willy Wonka, Rose as Charlie, and Adam representing all the bad kids who didn’t do as they were told while in the candy factory. First, Adam doesn’t appreciate the universe he’s being shown, and then he tries to take personal gain from the technology he’s seen. So, Adam gets dumped and the good little child, Rose, gets to inherit the factory. Meanwhile, there’s a mind-controlling alien and Simon Pegg as its mouthpiece.

8. Aliens of London / World War ThreeAliens-of-London
Excuse me, do you mind not farting while I’m saving the world?

The Slitheen. No, farting aliens who unzip themselves from human skins isn’t exactly something that showcases how the show has matured, but the episodes aren’t really as bad as this particular bad joke makes it sound. At the very least, it introduces us to Harriet Jones, future Prime Minister, played marvelously by Penelope Wilton.

9. Boom Townboomtown-dinner
You’ve been in that skin suit too long. You’ve forgotten. There used to be a real Margaret Blaine. You killed her and stripped her and used the skin. You’re pleading for mercy out of a dead woman’s lips.

Really, I don’t think there was any big clamor to bring back the Slitheen, but this one gives us a chance to see how the Doctor deals with “bad guys” after the events of the Time War. He’s not very forgiving. But, of course, his companions and the TARDIS have other plans.

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Top Eleven – David Tennant

Counting down the 11 10 days to the 50th anniversary, here are my top 11 stories for each Doctor, continuing with 10 (David Tennant).

1. The Girl in the Fireplacereinette
I’m The Doctor. And I just snogged Madame de Pompadour!
This one has just about everything present in modern Who–a little time travel, plenty of romance, the Doctor as clown and hero, crushing sadness, a dash of scifi, and even the hint of Doctor Who backstory (“Such a lonely little boy. Lonely then and lonelier now! How can you bear it?”). Sophia Myles crushes it as the older Reinette Poisson (Madame de Pompadour), and the connection between the Doctor and her feels more real in the 40 minutes of this story than any of the future ones where he seems to be in love with Rose.

2. Human Nature / Family of Bloodfamily
I’ve seen him. He’s like fire and ice and rage. He’s like the night, and the storm in the heart of the sun. He’s ancient and forever… He burns at the center of time and he can see the turn of the universe.

In this one the Doctor isn’t even the Doctor for most of the story. Instead, he’s hiding in the guise of John Smith, a school teacher in rural England in the early 20th century. But it’s not just play-acting. He’s buried his true persona, his memories, and even changed his physical attributes to become human…and then he’s forced to choose between an idyllic life with a family and kids or the wandering Time Lord. It reminds me very much of ending of “The Last Temptation of Christ.” And David Tennant plays the two characters of John Smith and the Doctor with such light deft that you can see both men as different creatures without condescending to the audience by beating them over the head with it.

3. Silence in the Library / Forest of the DeadDOCTORWHOx409x2538
Hey! Who turned out the lights!

Steven Moffat’s plans for threading the character of River Song (Alex Kingston) throughout the 11th Doctor’s reign may or may not have been pre-planned from here, but he sure picked up the ball and ran with it. Like River or not (and I do), this is where her backwards journey begins. But it’s not just the River Song show. The best companion in the new series (and one of the best ever), Donna Noble (Catherine Tate), gets a huge and sad tale to go right along with the Doctor’s own. Throw in a really scary monster–the invisible, flesh-eating Vashta Nerada–and this is one great two-parter.

4. Blink
Blink_(Doctor_Who)Don’t blink. Don’t even blink. Blink and you’re dead. They are fast. Faster than you can believe. Don’t turn your back, don’t look away, and DON’T blink.
This one doesn’t even feature the Doctor all that much. It’s really brought to life by Carey Mulligan before she went on to become Oscar-nominated Cary Mulligan (for “An Education”). The weeping angels are handled so well in this one, and I remember watching it in the dark and nearly jumping out of my skin. They’ll probably never have the same impact, sadly, despite being mentioned again and again as one of New Who’s best villains.

5. MidnightTen_utter_terror
Ahh, taking a big space truck with a bunch of strangers across a diamond planet called Midnight? What could possibly go wrong?

Basically, just David Tennant as the Doctor and a handful of extras with a completely unseen monster–just banging on the metal walls of the cylinder in which they’re riding. This one is intense, and the scenes where the Doctor is trying to convince the murderous mob first not to throw a suspect passenger out to her death, then not to throw him out, and the face-to-face conversation with the entity that has possessed said passenger are riveting. It also features the 2nd Doctor’s son, David Troughton, and a pre-Merlin Colin Morgan.

6. The Waters of Marsp00j5gkh
There are laws of time. Once upon a time there were people in charge of those laws but they died. They all died. Do you know who that leaves? *Me!* It’s taken me all these years to realize that the laws of time are *mine* and they will obey me!

During the year leading up to the end of David Tennant’s run, we were left with a small number of specials instead of an actual season. Most of them were “ok”–enjoyable, but nothing special–but this one shook the Doctor’s own faith in his abilities, as he goes against the rules (because they seem stupid and cruel) only to find there are limits to his powers. It also leads straight into his final two-part story, The End of Time.

7. Turn LeftDonna_and_the_Time_Beetle
Sometimes I think there’s way too much coincidence around you, Donna. I met you once, then I met your grandfather, then I met you again. In the whole wide universe, I met you for a second time. Like something’s binding us together.

In her own little “It’s a Wonderful Life,” Donna is shown what would have happened had she made the wrong turn on the fateful day she met the Doctor. It ain’t pretty. It turns out that an attack by the unseen Trickster’s Brigade (a Sarah Jane Adventures villain) affects a parallel universe where everything is just anti-good.

8. The Impossible Planet / The Satan Pitthe-satan-pit
We are the legion of the beast. The legion shall be many; and the legion shall be free. He has woven himself in the fabric of your life since the dawn of time.

As with many monsters, this one is scarier in the first part when you don’t see him, but there are plenty of creepy bits to this two-parter, including the unsettling look (and initial introduction) of the Ood, the mysterious writing that even the TARDIS can’t translate, and a deep-voiced spirit that possesses a hapless crew member. This is a “base under siege” episode with the base simultaneously threatened with attack from an unseen evil entity and being sucked into a black hole. The tension is ratcheted up to…eleven.

9. School ReunionDoctor-Who-fina
The Doctor likes traveling with an entourage. Sometimes they’re human, sometimes they’re aliens and sometimes they’re tin dogs.

Companions from the past, Sarah Jane Smith and the Doctor’s robot dog, K9, return as a link to the stories of the 70’s and 80’s. Sarah Jane was one of the longest running companions, starting with the 3rd Doctor (Jon Pertwee) and getting dropped off miles from her home when the 4th Doctor (Tom Baker) gets a summons to return to Gallifrey at the end of The Hand of Fear. This story reunites her with the Doctor, but she gets to see him hundreds of years older, several regenerations later, and with a new, young companion. Anthony Head (Giles of Buffy fame) gets a chance to camp it up as an alien baddie, too.

10. Army of Ghosts / Doomsdaydoctor-who-four-to-doomsday7
Cyber Leader: Daleks, be warned. You have declared war upon the Cybermen.
Dalek Sec: This is not war – this is pest control!
Cyber Leader: We have five million Cybermen. How many are you?
Dalek Sec: Four.
Cyber Leader: You would destroy the Cybermen with four Daleks?
Dalek Sec: We would destroy the Cybermen with one Dalek! You superior in only one respect.
Cyber Leader: What is that?
Dalek Sec: You are better at dying.

The heart-wrenching end of Rose as a regular companion brought two big surprises–the return of Mickey and the appearance of the Daleks in what was a Cyberman story. A dream match up between two of the Doctor’s oldest foes really serves to highlight the also-ran status of the modern Cybermen, but it’s fun to watch, if only for the above exchange. Meanwhile, Torchwood is introduced as a sorta well-meaning but inept organization designed by Queen Victoria after an earlier meeting with the Doctor (see Tooth and Claw) scares her into finding ways to prevent him and other aliens from invading England. Oh, yeah, did I mention it was the end of Rose, too?

11. The Christmas Invasion05DrWhoXmasList1
See, that’s the thing, I’m the Doctor, but beyond that, I… I just don’t know. I literally do not know who I am. It’s all untested.

This is the first David Tennant episode, and like the first one for any Doctor, it’s met with a bit of hesitation. “Am I going to like this Doctor? What if the actor is all wrong? I really liked the last guy.” And for most of the episode, he’s stuck in a coma! It turns out this is as planned, as the tension of an alien invasion that threatens to kill a bunch of hypnotized humans builds up to a fantastic reveal for the 10th Doctor. He comes out with a bit of the swagger and sword play of the 3rd Doctor and the quirky alien humor of the 4th. This episode started the great tradition of Christmas episodes and planted seeds for future events (the severed hand, controlled regeneration energy, Harriet Jones, Torchwood, etc.).

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Top Eleven – Matt Smith

Counting down the 11 days to the 50th anniversary, here are my top 11 stories for each Doctor, starting with 11 (Matt Smith).

1. The Doctor’s WifeDW_60x4_The_Doctor_s_Wife_330
Rory: He’ll be fine. He’s a Time Lord!
Amy: It’s just what they’re called. It doesn’t mean he actually knows what he’s doing.

The first story by Neil Gaiman is a fantasy come true for the Doctor and fans of the show. Finally, the silent co-star of the show for 50 years and the Doctor’s constant companion for 700 years gets a chance to speak.

2. The Name of the Doctordoctor-name-4
Time travel is damage, it’s like a tear in the fabric of reality. That is the scar tissue of my journey through the universe. My path through time and space. From Gallifrey to Trenzalore.
This one is almost a mini-anniversary episode all by itself. There is so much here for fans of the classic series. Plus, we get the fun trio of Vastra, Jenny and Strax, some new, terrifying monsters in the Whisper Men and a resolution to the mystery of Clara Oswald.

3. Vincent and the Doctor
Vincent and the Doctor (1)The good things don’t always soften the bad things, but vice-versa, the bad things don’t necessarily spoil the good things and make them unimportant.
A bittersweet tale written by Richard Curtis (Love Actually, Notting Hill, Blackadder) and featuring a fantastic guest performance by Tony Curran as Vincent van Gogh, this one isn’t epic or loud. It’s just a love letter to an artist and gives the Doctor a chance to show Amy (and us) that not everything can be fixed with the wave of a magic wand, er, sonic screwdriver. There’s also a lesson about judging a book by its cover and a glimpse of how great Bill Nighy would have looked as the Doctor.

4. The Girl Who Waiteddoctor_who_s06e10_the_girl_who_waited_013
Do not be alarmed. This is a kindness.

Karen Gillan got to show her acting chops as Amy gets trapped in an alternate time stream with a bunch of well-meaning but deadly robots. The scenes with her and Rory are heartbreaking.

5. The Eleventh Hourdoctor-1
I know what I need! I need… I need… I need… fish fingers and custard!
When Matt Smith first appeared at the end of David Tennant’s last episode, I was slightly put off by the fact that this big, weepy goodbye moment could be pierced by an odd-looking thing that wasn’t David Tennant. So, for the intervening months I was a bit apprehensive about the new Doctor and whether or not the show would crash and burn along with the TARDIS. But almost from the moment Matt Smith popped his head out of the doors of his overturned machine, he ruled as the Doctor for me. I’m going to miss him terribly.

6. The Pandorica Opens / The Big Bang5x12-The-Pandorica-Opens-doctor-who-13372703-1280-720
It’s a fez. I wear a fez now. Fezzes are cool.
It was building to this 2-part story from the beginning. Russell T. Davies put in little hints that would tie into the season finale throughout his series (see “Bad Wolf” and “Vote Saxon”), but none of them were the focus of the entire series the way Steven Moffat wove the crack in the walls of time and space throughout Series 5. Yeah, the big reset button and all the paradoxes stretched the levels of disbelief a bit, but the drama and humor in it won out in the end.

7. The Impossible Astronaut / Day of the Moonimpossible-astronaut03
I am being extremely clever up here and there’s no one to stand around looking impressed. What’s the point in having you all?
Another 2-parter, this one from the beginning of Series 6. It’s not quite as effective as Pandorica/Big Bang, but it introduces a creepy new monster in the Silence and guest stars Mark Sheppard (He who must appear in every scifi show by the Queen’s Law). The scenes in the orphanage were especially creepy with the Renfield-like caretaker and Amy being stalked by the creatures.

8. Asylum of the Daleks
asylum-of-the-daleks-promo-pics-d-5Run, you clever boy, and remember.
The kick off to the 7th series of New Who, this one was pretty much going to be a standard adventure story…until Clara ‘Oswin’ Oswald showed up. The previously announced new companion wasn’t expected to arrive until after the demise of the Ponds some five or six episodes later, but surprise! Here she was, and she stole the show.

9. Amy’s Choicenormal_dw_5x07_amy_s_choice_122
You’re a Time Lord, let’s call me the Dream Lord.

A choice between realities and, finally, the settling of the question of whether Amy’s going to pine after the Doctor or stick with her childhood sweetheart, Rory. I love the turn taken by Toby Jones as the Dream Lord. He gets all kinds of snarky with the Doctor and hits him right in his core and answers a question we’ve all asked: Why doesn’t the Doctor ever go back and revisit his old friends? The living ones anyway. “Is that the right word for the people you acquire? Friends are people you stay in touch with. Your friends never see you again one they’ve grown up. The old man prefers the company of the young, does he not?”

10. A Good Man Goes to War6x07-a-good-man-goes-to-war-doctor-who-22613257-1014-570
When you began all those years ago, sailing off to see the universe, did you ever think you’d become this? The man who can turn an army around at the mention of his name. “Doctor”: the word for “healer” and “wise man”, throughout the universe. We get that word from you, y’know. But if you carry on the way you are, what might that word come to mean?

The introduction of Vastra, Jenny, and Strax. Madame Kovarian. The Headless Monks. Dorium Maldovar. This one’s got Star Wars written all over it, too. As the ending for the first half of Series 6, it also brought back characters from earlier in the season and set the stage for Let’s Kill Hitler, which would lead off the second half.

11. The Time of Angels / Flesh and Stone
5x04-Time-of-Angels-doctor-who-11744272-1280-720The eyes are not the windows of the soul, they are the doors. Beware what may enter them.
The second appearance of the Weeping Angels after 2007’s Blink, this one’s not so jump-out-of your seat scary as it is a puzzle box for the Doctor, River and Amy to figure a way out of. It features a nifty appearance by current Game of Thrones star, Iain Glen (Jorah Mormont), as Father Octavian, the leader of the religious soldiers who are investigating the crash of the Byzantium.

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Return To My Mis-spent Youth

Gather ’round, kiddies, and I’ll tell you a story. It’s about the days when there weren’t no Xboxes nor Playstations. Sure, there were some home game consoles, but mainly we fed quarters into machines. Oh, so many machines…

Coin-operated video games were everywhere in 1982. I can remember at least five arcades in Bangor, but they weren’t limited to special rooms just for sweaty game geeks. Every single convenience store, pizza parlor, drug store, laundromat and video rental store had at least one game sitting in a corner. And when I say “mis-spent youth” the accent is on “spent,” because I must have dropped hundreds of dollars in quarters into those things between discovering Pong at the campground up the road in the mid-70’s until they all went away around 1987. It was the Golden Age of Arcade Video Games.

Well, today, I got to spend some quality time with my old friends, and I didn’t have to feed dollar bills into the change machine. My Disney-employed daughter got us into DisneyQuest with one of her annual perks.

In case you don’t know what DisneyQuest is, imagine the biggest mall arcade from your youth (talkin’ to the old folks here, kids). Now, take that arcade and double it…then put one of those double-sized arcades on each floor of a four-story building…add two large snack bars, a build-your-own virtual roller coaster simulator ride, a 3D pirate ship adventure, a magic carpet ride, animation art classes, and a couple of other rides and simulators, and you might just about have a picture of the place.

That list of games from the “Golden Age” link above? Yep, pretty much every one of them is there. I personally played Galaxian, Centipede, Missile Command, Ms. Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, Frogger, Galaga, BurgerTime, Dig Dug, Joust, Robotron 2084, Tron, 1942 and…my favoritest game of all time…Asteroids! (And did the virtual roller coaster and pirate ship thing, as well as shooting some baskets, driving about six different race car games, and blasting bugs in a weird, Japanese safari game.)

Needless to say, it was a ton of fun, and if I were rich, I’d have the biggest, baddest game room ever. (And I’d probably spend 99% of the time playing Asteroids.)

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Another Member of the Family

This afternoon, we went to the guitar show just to look…after all, most of the guitars there ranged from $2000 to $20,000. But Venita thought it would be a good place to take pictures and that I would like to walk around drooling at all the shiny. And, boy, there was some shiny. There were guitars, basses, mandolins and banjos of every race, creed and color. Gibsons, Fenders, Gretsches, Yamahas, Taylors…green ones, red ones, black ones, sparkly ones…ones covered in fake blood…ones that were such a deep mahogany they sucked out your soul…new ones, old ones…really, really old ones. There was a small row of National steel guitars that made me hyperventilate with desire.  It was after that when I determined to treat this more like a museum than a guitar store (as if looking at a $95,000 guitar didn’t do it before then).

Anyway, as we were going up and down the rows, a nice young man in a small booth was packing up and selling out his stuff. Front and center, he had an acoustic 12-string for sale at a reasonable price (i.e., one that I could afford to pay cash). I started to walk away, but I have always wanted a 12-string, and so…I am the proud owner of a 1986 Alvarez 5221. Huzzah!

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Goodbye I-4! I won’t miss ya!

Today sees the end of a phase of my life that has lasted pretty much uninterrupted for 32 years. In 1981, I got my first real job and, naturally, that meant that I had to get dressed and ready to drive to work…my first commute.

Over the years, the ride (or walk) to work has taken on many forms. It’s been at various times of day, as with going to the Hogan Road McDonald’s in Bangor…opens, closes, and shifts in between. It’s been short, as with the jaunt across the old Brewer bridge to a bank processing center. It’s been long, as with the drive down to Northeast Harbor to an insurance company’s office. It’s been done on pleasant spring mornings and in treacherous icy snowstorms. It’s been in cab rides to the airport in the wee hours of each Monday morning. It’s been in a carpool with a buddy. It’s been part of a circle of dropping kids off at school and of being dropped off and picked up myself.

Today is the last time I will need to do any of that for the foreseeable future. Tomorrow, my commute is from my bed to my PC, as I join the ranks of the work-from-home nation.

I might miss my time to listen to podcasts and music, but I won’t miss the traffic, and I will certainly enjoy getting back the couple hours of prep and drive time each day. It will be nice to save money on gas and food. There will be less social time at lunch, but there will be less money spent on it, too. And I will have time to cook dinner rather than dragging butt home around 7pm each night and saying, “Screw it. Let’s go to McDonald’s or order pizza.”

I might revisit this after a few months and come to hate it, but I don’t think so. I’m comfortable sitting at a PC and communicating with people via the internets. And technology makes it such that I could go to Panera or Starbucks and do the same thing in a different setting (with lattes!). So, I’m betting that this will work out just fine.

But for now, I gotta go. It’s foggy out this morning, and that means slow traffic and accidents on the road…

Posted in Car Talk, Life, the Universe and Everything | 10 Comments


Here’s a note, kids. When you spend 10 years annually harassing an idol with something super nerdy like…oh, I don’t know…a list of the Top 100 (or so) Demented Hits (from Funny 25’s), you should have the decency to make sure it’s right before you send it to him. Otherwise, he might send you a really nice email pointing out that it has mistakes in it…ya know, in case he wants to use it for something in the future.

It’s all fixed now, Doctor D!

Oh, and in my year of failing to update the blog in favor of Facebook posts, I forgot to mention that he gave me a shout out on his January 14 show last year when I pointed out that “Fish Heads” by Barnes & Barnes had finally become the number one most requested song of all time (according to me). You can hear it at Doctor Demento Online (if you pay for it first), and here’s a promo:

I have been trying to contact my inner 12-year-old and let him know about all of this, but I think he’s gone into catatonic shock.

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It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad Countdown

Last night the Doctor Demento Funny 25 once more treated us to another batch of silliness (Doctor Demento! Huzzah! Long may he reign!) and gave us our annual update to the madness that is the Top 100 (or so) Demented Hits (from Funny 25’s). This year, it was all about Ookla the Mok, and the band had the #1 song (Tantric Yoda) as well as #11 (Go To Bed) and #15 (Mr. Mxyzptlk/Bizarro World). Since there weren’t any additions to the countdown above it, that puts “Tantric Yoda” into the top 100 (or so) at the currently 17-way tie at number 95.

In fact, the only returning songs to the countdown were “Pencil Neck Geek” by ‘Classy’ Freddie Blassie and Shel Silverstein’s “The Smoke-Off”. Blassie’s wrasslin’ rant gained a few points but didn’t move up from its #7 spot. Meanwhile, the kick from being in this year’s top 20 pushed “The Smoke-Off” up from #15 to a tie with Travis Meyer’s “The Devil Went To Jamaica” at #12.

Here’s this year’s list from along with some fun links.

#25 GoogleArt Paul Schlosser
#24 Green Eggs And PeasCirque du So What?
#23 What It Was, Was Football (Part I & Part II)Deacon Andy Griffith
#22 Space OddityJimmy Fallon
#21 WednesdayDave & Brian
#20 Pencil Neck GeekFred Blassie

#19 The Smoke-OffShel Silverstein
#18 When You Wish Upon A Death Starthe great Luke Ski
#17 What Can I Do For You?Garden Fresh
#16 We Were Never Ever Actually TogetherEric Schwartz
#15 Mr. Mxyzptlk/Bizarro WorldOokla The Mok

#14 Pregnancy Is StrangeCarrie Dahlby
#13 MenfriendsFlat 29
#12 Touch My JunkHarry Shearer
#11 Go To BedOokla The Mok
#10 Betty RubbleSteve Goodie
#9 Don’t Roof Rack Me Bro (Seamus Unleashed)Devo
#8 Weird Al Yankovic For PresidentSneaky Pete
#7 Share It MaybeCookie Monster
#6 TitanicRyan Hopak & The Happy Chinchillas f/ Dana Shaw

#5 2012 The Musical (edit) – Premeow & Awesomedot TV
#4 In The 80sDevo Spice
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#2 Garden Of Your Mind – Mister Rogers Remixed by John D. Boswell
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Posted in Demento | 1 Comment

With Great Intelligence comes Great Responsibility

(Avert your eyes if you haven’t seen the Doctor Who Christmas special yet. *SPOILERS*)

This is one of the reasons I love Doctor Who so much…especially when it’s being run by someone who’s a fan of the show, like Steven Moffat. If you’re a casual fan, then The Snowmen is a lovely little romp through Victorian England with a disembodied voice controlling evil snow and ice. We get to meet the new companion and big mystery for the second half of the season (who is Clara Oswin Oswald?) and enjoy some hilarity at the expense of a somehow-resurrected-from-the-dead Sontaran nurse (who I hope will return as a sidekick for the Doctor, as they make a very funny team).

BUT if you’re an obsessed Whovian, you also get one of the most awesome nerdy nods to your devotion to all things “Who” yet. Not only was the villain of the piece the Great Intelligence, but that is an enemy who appeared in two previous episodes starring Matt Smith’s professed “favorite” Doctor, Patrick Troughton (the 2nd Doctor). That would be a nifty little reference by itself, but the name of the first episode? The Abominable Snowmen. (Heh) And, then, just to add icing to this continuity cake, he has the 11th Doctor waving a map of the London Underground in the “face” of the Intelligence and telling him that it’s from 1967 and shows London’s greatest weakness….meaning that the 11th Doctor gave the Great Intelligence the idea to attack the London Underground in the 2nd Doctor’s story, The Web of Fear.

I know that all this is not meant for you normal people, but how amazing is it that we have a show-runner who is good enough to weave such things into a story that appeals to casual fans as well as über-nerds like me without messing up the tale for either set of people? Pretty fricking amazing, I’d say. Thank you, Steven Moffat.

Posted in The Big Screen, Wouldya Lookit That! | 1 Comment