Category Archives: lists

Welcome Back, Pants


The Pants Institute is pleased as pants to present: The Classic Pants TV Lineup!¹

From the conservative black & white pinstriped pants of the 50s to the colorful polyster prints of the 60s and 70s bellbottoms and on through the high-waisted peg-legs of the 80s, this look back at the golden era of Pants TV will bring a smile to your pants.

  • I Love Pants: This classic show from the 1950s features a young married woman’s antics, which frequently involve trying to sneak around in her husband’s pants.
  • Growing Pants: A family learn that as the kids get older, they must wear larger sizes of pants, or be increasingly uncomfortable.
  • All in the Pants: A 70s show about the life and family of a middle-aged middle-class white man who struggles to adjust to changing societal norms for who wears the pants in the family.
  • I Dream of Pants: An astronaut happens across a pair of magic harem pants that can fulfill his wishes, but only if he wears them in secret.
  • Three’s Pants: In this madcap 70s comedy, 3 single young adults sharing an apartment are always getting their pants mixed up in the laundry.
  • The Pants Boat: Each weak, different styles of pants are paraded on the decks of the Pantsific Princess, a cruise ship that promises to pair up pairs of pants.
  • Pantasy Island: Each week visitors arrive on a tropical island to act out their wildest fantasies of wearing different pants.
  • Diff’rent Pants: 2 young boys from Harlem must trade in their worn-out jeans for new fancy pants when adopted by a man with millions of pants.
  • The Facts of Pants: A group of teenage girls in a boarding school learn about love, life and pants.
  • The Golden Pants: 4 older women live together in the 80s and wear 4 distinct styles of pants.
  • The Pants Bunch: When 2 families merge their wardrobes, how will they ever fit all their 70s polyester pants into one dresser?
  • Welcome Back, Pants: A high school teacher and his students teach each other lessons about changing pants fashions and returning classic pants styles.

This post is for Mary, who requested a pants post when I asked for suggestions on things to post about. This post is also dedicated to my dear friend Elizabeth, who first introduced me to the comedic power of pants, and who should have been wearing her birthday pants today. I still miss her every day.

Can’t get enough pants? Try these on for size:


¹ I had just about finished this post when I had a nagging memory that my blogging buddy Painted Maypole had years ago done a pants-TV-themed post, as part of a challenge to write a post in the style of another blogger. (She chose me!) Happily, there is only a wee bit of overlapping in the pants shows. And these are rerun pants, anyhow…

Who’s who?


With the excitement building for the new episodes of Dr. Who to start¹, there has been a lot of who-buzz. But Dr. Who is not the only Who who is out there. I offer you this list of whos: a sort of Who’s Who of Whos.

  • who: an English interrogative word a relative pronoun used to stand in for a person².
  • WHO: The World Health Organization
  • who: the sound made by a hooting owl
  • Dr. Who: A British sci-fi/fantasy TV show that has been on for decades, about The Doctor, a time-travelling alien who gets to have a new body every so often.
  • Whovians: Fans of Dr. Who (you know who you are)
  • The Who: A British rock band, originally formed in the 1960s
  • Who Are You? A hit song by The Who. (And the title track of the album “Who Are you?”)
  • Who am I? A 1998 Jackie Chan movie where he plays an amnesiac spy. (It features this very memorable fight scene with a man with very long legs and very good balance. [youtube])

  • Who dat? A phrase used to show support for the New Orleans Saints (a football team)
  • Who’s Who: a type of publication listing biographical information
  • Whoville: a fictional town (or possibly two towns of the same name) in two Dr. Seuss stories: Horton Hears a Who and How the Grinch Stole Christmas.
  • Whos: Inhabitants of Whoville. Cindy Lou Who is one such Who.
  • Who’s on first? Abbott and Costello’s famous comedy routine of name/pronoun ambiguity. (If you don’t know it, you can read the full transcript. Better yet, watch this clip from the 1945 movie The Naughty Nineties on [youtube])
  • whodunnit: a nickname for a type of story where the reader (or viewer) tries to solve a mystery along with the protagonists
  • Guess Who's Coming To Dinner

  • “Guess who?” Something sometimes said by a person sneaking up behind another person, often while preventing that person from seeing by covering the eyes.³
  • The Guess Who: a Canadian rock band best known in the 60s and 70s
  • Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner?: A 1967 drama/comedy movie starring Spencer Tracy, Sidney Poitier and Katharine Hepburn. (It’s not actually about dinner with a Canadian rock band, but about a family coming to terms with an interracial relationship.)
  • Who can it be now?: A song by Men at Work
  • Who’s that girl?: A song by the Eurythmics
  • “Who’s a good boy?” Something often said to dogs.Cf this Onion article:
    Nation’s Dog Owners Demand to Know Who’s a Good Boy

    With canine-cuddliness levels at an all-time high and adorability-boosting ribbons and chew toys plentiful at pet stores across the nation, no resolution to the good-boy-identity issue appears to be on the horizon.

  • “Who cares?” A question sometimes asked by someone who doesn’t⁴

Who’s got more whos?

¹Season 7, part 2 starts this Sunday, March 30th
² Prescriptive grammarians will say that who is only to be used in cases where the pronoun/interrogative is in the subject, or nominal, position, and that whom is what you must use in object positions. However, contemporary usage allows for use of who in object positions.
³ I’ve never enjoyed this game.
⁴ I care.

Whose whos are whose? (image credits):Horton Hears a Who!, Whoville from the 1966 animated movie How the Grinch Stole Christmas (based on the book), Who Dat, The Guess Who Greatest Hits album cover, The Who logo, Jackie Chan’s Who Am I?, Who’s On First? screenshot from youtube clip from The Naughty Nineties,Tardis, World Health Organization logo, and Introspective Pug.

Easy as pie

pi pie
My 2010 Pi Pie

Happy Pi Day! In celebration of Pi Day¹, and its auspicious landing on a Thursday, I offer to you this very large helping of pie-themed things. Mmmm, pie.

  • Four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie: a line from the nursery rhyme Sing of song of sixpence²:

    Sing a song of sixpence
    a pocket full of rye
    four and twenty blackbirds
    baked in a pie

  • Little Jack Horner: Another nursery rhyme with pie.

    Little Jack Horner
    Sat in the corner,
    Eating a Christmas pie;
    He put in his thumb,
    And pulled out a plum,
    And said ‘What a good boy am I!

  • little jack horner  wsatterlee 1882 king with pie 012

  • Can she make a cherry pie?: A line from the folk song Billy Boy.
  • pie in the sky: used to describe plans or hopes considered unrealistic and overly optimistic
  • “high apple pie in the sky hopes”: a line from the song High Hopes, a song sung by Frank Sinatra
  • as easy as pie: an expression meaning “very easy.” In my experience, pie is not the easiest thing in the world to make. It involves crust, an oven, preparation of ingredients.³
  • “If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe,” a quote by Carl Sagan
  • As American as apple pie: an expression meant to describe something quintessentially American. Of course, many cultures have versions of apple pies.⁴ Apple pie has nevertheless achieved a place in American culture:

    Although apple pies have been eaten since long before the European colonisation of the Americas, “as American as apple pie” is a saying in the United States, meaning “typically American”.[14] In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, apple pie became a symbol of American prosperity and national pride. A newspaper article published in 1902 declared that “No pie-eating people can be permanently vanquished.”[15] The dish was also commemorated in the phrase “for Mom and apple pie” – supposedly the stock answer of American soldiers in World War II, whenever journalists asked why they were going to war.[16]

    (From the Apple Pie Wiki Page⁵.)

  • American Pie: Don McLean’s signature song, first released in 1971. Bye-bye Miss American Pie… (I’m quite fond of this large-scale lip dub video version of the song produced by the city of Grand Rapids Michigan.)
  • American Pie (1999): a movie that includes various analogies of sex and pie.
  • pie-eyed: drunk
  • piebald: having patches of black and white (or other colors), especially describing the coat of an animal.
  • pie chart: a type of graph in which proportions of a whole (such as a whole data set) are depicted as wedges of a circle
    pie-pie-chart
  • piece of the pie: an expression meaning a share in something, such as a reward or credit.
  • mud pie: a pattie-shaped blob of mud, commonly made when playing in the mud
  • sweetie pie: a common term of endearment
  • cow pie: Not actually a pie made of cow (that would would be a beef pot pie), but a lump of cow manure. (Definitely not a term of endearment)
  • pie in the face: a bit of slapstick comedy, usually involving a whipped cream pie. Just like it sounds, it involves someone getting a pie in the face.
  • 10 banana cream pies: Sesame Street once featured a rather clumsy baker who would stand at the top of a flight of stairs, and announce the number of some sort of dessert he was holding, before falling and spilling all of them. He may not actually have used banana cream pies for 10, but the phrase seems to have stuck. (cf. the use on the show The Family Guy.)

Have more pies to bring to the table? Throw ‘em in the comments.

¹ So-called, as the date (at least as it is written here in the US) is 3-14, is reminiscent of the number Pi’s initial 3 digits: 3.14. My past celebrations of Pi Day have included easy as pi, my personal gallery of Pi Pies, and a Pi-themed list.
²I was surprised to learn that this nursery rhyme was actual used by pirates to convey messages. This is the sort of thing that would usually send me to Snopes to check, but in this case Snopes is where I found it.
³ Toast is much easier to make.
⁴ I love tarte aux pommes as made in France. You know what was hard to get in France when I lived there, though? Doritos.
⁵Really. Apple pie has a Wiki page. So do pumpkin pie, pecan pie and cherry pie.

Images: Little Jack Horner and the king with the pie are both from Project Gutenberg.

a post in a thousand

Here is a list of a thousand things:

I know, I know. This list is not 1000 things long. But they are thousand things. Because this is my one thousandth post on this blog. (Also, the word “thousandth” is really hard to say.)




image credits: millefiori bead from Fire Mountain Gems, mille-feuille by okki, paper cranes by James..g, the M in stone photo is my own, taken in Barcelona. The thousand dollar bill is not mine, nor did I take it.

Here be Dragons

With Chinese New Year on the way this Sunday, we have almost run out of the year of the dragon. I started putting this list together as the Year of the Dragon entered, but now am barely managing to post it before the Dragon departs.

Dragons are creatures that have appeared in the mythologies of many cultures in Europe and Asia, and they are featured in many a song and story, among other things. Here are a dozen arbitrarily chosen dragon things to usher out the Year of the Dragon:

  1. Custard the Dragon: A poem by Ogden Nash from 1936

    Custard the dragon had big sharp teeth,
    And spikes on top of him and scales underneath,
    Mouth like a fireplace, chimney for a nose,
    And realio, trulio, daggers on his toes.

  2. Puff, the Magic Dragon: A song by Peter, Paul & Mary that was inspired by Custard. (The dragon, that is. Not the dessert. But you never know. Sometimes if I eat dessert right before going to bed I get really weird dreams.)
  3. Dragonfire: A song written by Sandra Boynton in/on the book/album Dogtrain [mp3 sample]
  4. St George and the Dragon: a European legend of a man who slays a dragon.
  5. Smaug: the treasure-hoarding dragon from J. R. R. Tolkiens classic novel, The Hobbit.
  6. dragonfly: an insect that is neither a dragon nor a fly. Dragonflies are of the order odonata.
  7. dragonfruit: a thing that is neither dragon nor fruit. No, wait. It *is* a fruit. But I’m mostly sure it’s not a dragon.
  8. dragonfruit

  9. dragon dance: a Chinese tradition involving a large costume of a dragon, which is operated by multiple people. The dragon dance is often part of Chinese New Year celebrations.
  10. Dragon Ball: While it sounds like it could be a formal-dress version of a dragon dance, it’s actually a media franchise including manga, anime, and video games. But they do feature dragons who can grant wishes.

  11. Dungeons & Dragons: Sometimes known as D & D. A role-playing game, or universe of games. To be honest, I have no idea what role dragons play in any of it.
  12. Enter the Dragon (1973): Bruce Lee’s legendary martial arts movie. Bruce Lee does not actually enter a dragon in this movie. But he does enter a sort of dungeon, come to think of it.
  13. Here be dragons: A phrase associated with unexplored territories on old maps. Possibly this is based on only one such map, The Hunt-Lenox Globe. According to its wiki page,

    It is notable as the only instance on a historical map of the actual phrase HC SVNT DRACONES (in Latin hic sunt dracones means “here be dragons“.)

There are loads more great books, movies, legends, and things with dragons. I could easily add another few dozen dragons to the list, but we’d be well into the year of the snake by that time. Instead, I’ll wrap up and get to bed. But please feel free to add more dragons in the comments!

12 twelve things for 12/12/12

Today is December 12th, 2012: The 12th day of the 12th month of the year 2012. Or 12/12/12. How could I resist making a list for such an auspicious day?¹ Here are 12 things featuring 12:⁴

  1. A dozen eggs: the standard number of eggs as they are sold, at least in the US and Great Britain. A standard egg cartons fit 12 eggs. (But they also come in other sizes.)
  2. A dozen roses: probably since they hatch out of eggs, roses are often also sold by the dozen. Rather than being sold in the egg carton packaging, which doesn’t hold up well to the egg sprouting, they are instead sold in bunches, and placed in vases.
  3. Cheaper by the Dozen: A biographical book by Frank Gilbreth about a family with 12 children, and subsequent adaptation to a 1950 movie of the same name. (The 2003 movie of the same name with Steve Martin is not based on that book, but also features a family with 12 children.)
  4. a dime a dozen: an idiom meaning “very commonplace.” As in: Those are nothing special. You can get them a dime a dozen. (Note that eggs, roses, and children all cost much more than a dime.)
  5. 12: the number of jurors on a US trial jury. 12 Angry Men (1957) is a movie about the jury on a murder trial. (Also remade in 1997.)
  6. Twelve Monkeys (1997): A movie directed by Terry Gilliam, and one of my personal favorites. It is not about 12 monkeys serving as jurors on a murder trial. That movie is called Twelve Angry Monkeys, and hasn’t been made. Yet.
  7. 12 days of Christmas: a period of festivities celebrated in many European Christian traditions that begins on December 25th. They are sometimes wrapped up by festivities on the 12th night, also known as Epiphany Eve.
  8. Twelfth Night: a comedy play by William Shakespeare.
  9. 12 step program: a program for addiction recovery.
  10. monklogo

  11. 12-hour clock: the convention of dividing the day into 2 12-hour chunks, a.m. and p.m. As such, 12 is the number of hours on a standard analog clock, and 12-hour digital clocks (as opposed to clocks set for 24 hours). 12:00 (12 o-clock) is noon or midnight.
  12. 12th grade: The final year of the American secondary school system, also called senior year. There are 12 numbered grades in the American school system, plus kindergarten, which isn’t numbered. (There are also 12 grades in many other countries’ school systems.)
  13. Little Twelvetoes: a song from Schoolhouse Rock about aliens with 6 fingers on their hands and 6 toes on their feet, and discussing the implications for counting (namely the use of base 12). The original song/cartooon was from 1973, but I quite like the cover version by Chavez from the 1996 tribute album Schoolhouse Rock! Rocks:

¹ In the past, I made list for 7/7/7, 8/8/8, 9/9/9, and 10/10/10. I celebrated 11/11 on multiple occasions, including 11/11/11

² I didn’t celebrate 6/6/6 with a list, as I didn’t yet have this blog. Like wise for 5/5/5, 4/4/4, 3/3/3/, 2/2/2/, and 1/1/1.³

³ I have to say that this post is the last post that I am likely to post according to this pattern. While I may well choose to make a list of thirteen things, it will almost certainly not be on 13/13/13. Unless, of course, the calendar gets radically restructured next year such that we have a 13th month.

⁴ Really, more than 12, if you want to get picky. But 12 items on my list.⁵

⁵If I have 12 12 things, does that make this list a gross one?⁶

⁶ This footnote is here because I didn’t have room in my list for a foot, which has 12 inches.¹²

¹² And this one is here just to have a footnote 12.

image credits: eggs, roses, clock, 12 Monkeys

Saving All My Pants For You

ImageChef.com - Custom comment codes for MySpace, Hi5, Friendster and more
This edition of National Pants Radio is dedicated to those who seriously love pants: a playlist of classic pants songs to fit all body types.

  • All You Need Is Pants – The Beatles
    However, shirts and shoes are also required for service in most establishments.
  • Pants Me Two Times – The Doors
    Pants me once, shame on you. Pants me twice, shame on me.
  • Pants Will Keep Us Together – Captain and Tennille
    Especially if they are stitched well.
  • Pants Will Tear Us Apart – Joy Division
    At the seams.
  • Can’t Buy Me Pants – Beatles
    I’m not buying that. Money can buy many things. Even pants.
  • Making Pants Out of Nothing at All – Air Supply
    Would these be invisible pants?
  • Do You Believe In Pants? – Huey Lewis & the News
    Yup. Except maybe the invisible ones.
  • You Give Pants a Bad Name – Bon Jovi
    That style is really unflattering.
  • You’ve Got to Hide Your Pants Away – The Beatles
    Just toss them in the hamper.
  • Tainted Pants – Soft Cell
    I don’t even want to know what those stains are.
  • Where Did Our Pants Go – The Supremes
    Did you check the dryer?
  • A Man Without Pants – Engelbert Humperdinck
    Is he, by any chance, wearing a trenchcoat?
  • Need Your Pants So Bad – Fleetwood Mac
    Um, I’m using them right now. Can’t you get your own?
  • They’ll Never Take Her Pants From Me – Elvis Costello
    That’s just creepy.
  • Addicted To Pants – Robert Palmer
    You and me both, Robert. Better than heroin, though. Or leggings.
  • The Power of Pants – Huey Lewis and The News
    Sustainable. Renewable. Fashionable.
  • Saving All My Pants For You – Whitney Houston
    Um, thanks. I’ll be sure to make space in my closet.

Today marks the 6th anniversary of this blog and a special day for me to reflect on the meaning of pants.

The Opposite of Chipmunks: Cloying Holiday Songs and Their Antidotes

Has the holly jolly omnipresence of Christmas music been threatening your sanity? Before you let Rudolf drive your sleigh over the edge, just adjust your dials. I’ve put together a playlist of holiday song antidotes to help get the relentless ring of jingle bells out of your ears. ¹

  • All I want for Christmas Is You: What do I get? The Buzzcocks
  • The Happy Elf: Working for the Man, P. J. Harvey
  • Santa Claus Is Coming To Town: Man That You Fear, Marilyn Manson
  • Here Comes Santa Claus: Psycho Killer, Talking Heads
  • Frosty The Snowman: Damn it Feels Good to Be a Gangsta, Geto Boys
  • The Little Drummer Boy: Don’t Bang the Drum, The Waterboys
  • I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus: Lapdance, N*E*R*D (No one Ever Really Dies)
  • White Christmas: Black Celebration, Depeche Mode
  • Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Only Happy When It Rains, Garbage
  • A Child This Day Is Born: Birth, School, Work, Death, The Godfathers
  • Holly Jolly Christmas: Helter Skelter, The Beatles
  • Oh Holy Night : Head Like a Hole, Nine Inch Nails
  • Sleigh Ride: Garbage Truck, Sex Bob-omb
  • Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire: Burning Down the House, Talking Heads
  • Do You Hear What I Hear? Smells Like Teen Spirit, Nirvana
  • All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth: Bloodletting, Concrete Blonde
  • Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree: The Downward Spiral, Nine Inch Nails
  • Christmas Shoes: These Boots Were Made For Walkin’, Nancy Sinatra
  • It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas: Atrocity Exhibition, Joy Division
  • Home For The Holidays: Institutionalized, Suicidal Tendencies
  • It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year: Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now, The Smiths
  • Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer: Don’t Push Me, 50 Cent
  • The Chipmunk Song: That’s When I Reach for My Revolver, Moby

How about you? Any songs in particular spurring you to spike your eggnog or jam candy canes into your ears? And what songs might you use to counteract?

¹ I did a bit of Christmas shopping yesterday, mostly looking for things like pajamas for the kids. I can’t even count how many times I heard Mariah Carey’s “All I want for Christmas is You.” All I wanted for Christmas shopping was a break from the treacly music. It was such a relief to get back to my car and put on my iPod. When Joy Division came up on shuffle, I knew I’d found an antidote to the ravages of holiday cheer.²

² For the record, I don’t actually hate holiday music. Some of it I actually like. I just can hear too much of it, especially when the songs are so saccharine that they make me throw up a little.³

³ Oh, fine, I do hate some holiday music.⁴

⁴ Would this be a good time to promote Neil’s Sixth Annual Blogger Christmahanukwanzaakah Online Holiday Concert? I may even participate again. You’ve been warned.

happy songs

It’s happy music fun time!¹ While most of my favorite music tends to run to the angsty, I do enjoy me a catchy beat and a perky melody now and then. Inspired by Mary Lynn‘s list of songs that make her happy, I’ve put together a happy list of my own. Here are some songs that make make me sing along, tap along, or just plain dance around like an idiot.

  • Safety Dance, Men Without Hats [YouTube]
    We can dance if we want to. We can leave your friends behind.
  • Multi-Family Garage Sale [Bargain Bin Mix], Land of the Loops [YouTube]
    I do so hope no one ever gets video footage of me dancing around the house to this song.
  • And She Was, The Talking Heads [YouTube]
    The world was moving, she was floatin’ above it
  • Goody Two Shoes, Adam Ant [YouTube]
    Don’t drink, don’t smoke. What do you do?
  • Lust for Life, Iggy Pop [YouTube]
    I can’t even make out most of the words in this song. But it’s got a good beat, and you can dance to it.
  • Tainted Love, by Soft Cell [YouTube]
    Don’t touch me please, I cannot stand the way you sneeze²
  • Should I stay or Should I Go, The Clash [YouTube]
    Darlin’, you gotta let me know
  • How can I live without you, Cracker [YouTube]
    How can I live without you, if it means I gotta get a job?
  • The Tide is High, by Blondie [YouTube]
    I’m not the kind of girl who gives up just like that.
  • Island in the Sun, Weezer [YouTube]
    ...I can’t control my brain.
  • I Wanna Be Sedated, The Ramones [YouTube]
    I can’t control my fingers, I can’t control my toes
  • Blister in the Sun [YouTube]
    When I’m a-walking’, I strut my stuff. (And this one has even led to spontaneous family dance parties in the bathroom.)
  • Sweet Potato, Cracker [YouTube]
    Be my sweet potato, I’ll be your honey lamb.
  • I’ll Tell Me Ma, Sinead O’Connor [YouTube]
    She is handsome, she is pretty. She is the belle of Belfast City.
  • Three Little Birds, by Bob Marley [YouTube]
    Every little thing’s gonna be all right.

There we go. A bunch of songs that make me happy.³ (Yes, I realize that there isn’t a song on here that’s under 10-years-old. And that the 80s are over-represented. What’s your point?)

¹ With the good news that my mother’s surgery went very well, I’m ready to do a happy dance.

² Not the actual lyrics, but the ones I sing.

³ This list goes to 15. Tomorrow I’m going to make one that goes to 11. How about you?