Wednesday, May 14, 2003


Top Five Westerns

5) The Searchers
4) The Magnificent Seven
3) The Quick And The Dead
2) High Noon
1) The Wild Bunch

Top Four Journalists

4) Ian Johnson
3) Sebastian Junger (The Perfect Storm, etc.)
2) Robert Kaplan (Balkan Ghosts, etc.)
1) Mark Bowden (Black Hawk Down, Killing Pablo)

Top Five Punk Covers

5) Tell Me, The Dead Boys
4) I Fought The Law, The Clash
3) California Sun, The Ramones
2) My Way, The Sex Pistols
1) Knights in White Satin, The Dickies

Top Ten Cities That I've Visited

10) Prague, Czech Republic.
9) San Francisco.
8) Bolzano, Italy.
7) Guadalajara, Mexico.
6) New York City.
5) Salzburg, Austria
4) (cringes) Paris, France.
3) Venice, Italy
2) Rome, Italy
1) New Orleans.

Top Five Most Hated Sports Franchises

5) Washington Redskins
4) New York Football Giants
3) Boston Celtics
2) New Jersey Devils
1) Dallas Cowboys

Top Five Versions Of Puccini's "Nessun Dorma" From Turandot

5) Aretha Franklin
4) Enrico Caruso
3) Andrea Boccelli
2) Luciano Pavarotti
1) Russell Watson (shut up)

Top Five Political Columnists (Michael Kelly would have been on this list if he were alive)

5) Michael Ledeen
4) Nat Hentoff
3) P.J. O'Rourke
2) Mark Steyn
1) Christopher Hitchens

Top Seven Small Towns That I've Visited

7) Frankenmuth, Michigan. Look up the term "cheesy" in the dictionary and you will find a picture of this recreation of someone's idea of a cozy German village. The only guilty pleasure on the list.
6) Lucca, Italy. One of the few towns in Europe with its medieval walls completely intact.
5) Wilmington, North Carolina. Pretty colonial architecture, nice people, underrated beach nearby. Oh, and only a few miles from the SC border, with, y'know, fireworks.
4) San Marino, Italy. A gorgeous little independent country at the top of a mountain in Central Italy, a half hour from the beach.
3) Acquaviva, Italy. Nothing special, but this was Giovanni's home town in Puglia. This was the only southern Italian town that I spent any real time in, and had that shimmering-in-the-sun quality that I'd heard about so much with Mediterranean places.
2) Oberammergau, Germany. This is the template for all cute, charming German towns, and I fell in love with it instantly.
1) Bellagio, Italy. A stunningly picturesque little village in the middle of Lake Como, so stunningly picturesque that they named the world's most garish casino after it.

Top Three Offensively Stupid Faux-Italian Things That Americans Say That No Real Italian Would Be Caught Dead Saying

3) Appallingly incorrect noun genders, as in "LA FORNO."
2) Italian-Americans who insist that Italians call their country "IT-LY."
1) Bruschetta, which idiots pronounce "BROO-SHETTA" and gently but firmly correct you when you pronounce it properly ("Bruce-ketta").

Seven Cities From Hell

7) Jacksonville, North Carolina. Otherwise known as The Place Where Camp Lejeune Wipes Itself.
6) Fort Wayne, Indiana. If you've been there, you'll know why.
5) Chester, Pennsylvania. I must have been very bad in a previous life to have to see this place every day on my commute.
4) Mostar, Bosnia. And I saw it *before* the war.
3) Paterson, New Jersey. I had to include at least one place from New Jersey on this list, so I chose the town that the September 11th hijackers felt at home in.
2) Bratislava, Slovakia. Full of Joe Stalin's idea of great architecture.
1) Reno, Nevada. Good God, what an awful place.

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