Avitable recently wrote a blog entry titled "What's Better Than That?" (which was a continuation of a blog entry he made in 2010) where he asked his readers to contribute a "greater than" chain of items. I came up with a few random topics, but felt uncomfortable just tossing them out without any explanation, so I decided to make a blog entry of my own.
For reasons I will never understand, I have a big problem with drinking out of anything made of plastic. I hate drinking from plastic containers of any kind. The feel of it is wrong, and the idea of it touching my teeth freaks me out. For this same reason, I don't use plastic drinking straws. Unless I've got a plastic cup, then I use a straw because it's a lesser amount of plastic touching my mouth. Ideally, I want to drink out of something made of glass. Paper cups are okay too. Of course, just about anything is okay compared to plastic. Hideous plastic.
I'm not talking about a style of cuisine. I'm talking about food in a country. With this in mind, Italy is the country where I most love to eat. Pizza, pasta, gelato... all my favorite foods are Italian. The problem is that Italian food seems to always diminish (or outright suck) outside of Italy. Take my favorite dish, for example: Fettuccine Alfredo. At the original restaurant where it was invented in Rome, it's made from impossibly thin noodle ribbons mixed with lots of butter and parmesan cheese. THE END. Go to Olive Garden here in the States and suddenly "Fettuccine Alfredo" becomes these thick, gummy noodles covered in a weak cream sauce that's got some garlic and other shit in it. THAT'S NOT FETTUCCINE ALFREDO! It would be like ordering a hamburger and getting a slice of chicken between two slices of turnip. After Italy, I like eating best in Spain and right here at home in the USA. The worst place I've been to eat is Korea. Not because the food is necessarily bad, but because vegetarian options are severely limited. After four days of kimchee and pickled vegetables, I didn't want to eat anymore.
All of my favorite music is stuck in the 80's. That's when Depeche Mode, The Thompson Twins, OMD, New Order, The Smiths, Erasure, Duran Duran, and loads of other bands I love were at their peak. No other era of music even comes close. Though I have to say that I've really been liking the latest stuff I've been hearing from the likes of Matt & Kim, Foster the People, Mackintosh Braun, and such. Add in the awesome new album by OMD, and the 2010 decade is off to an exciting start. Then comes the 1990's, which I like pretty much because the earliest parts were a continuation of the 80's, and a lot of bands I love continued to release new stuff. That was also when the "Seattle Sound" exploded and I loved being in the middle of it all. After that I'd have to go with the 1960's, simply because that's when the Beatles were dominating. From there on out... meh. I thought the 2000's were pretty lame for the kind of music I like. And the 1970's were polluted with really bad disco, which I hated, so badly that I took refuge in the emerging punk rock scene. As for the future? If the great stuff I've been loving recently continues, I'm looking forward to the decade.
Here's the deal. I love Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back. These two movies alone are more beloved by me than all other sci-fi in the universe combined. But then Return of the Jedi came out and fucked up everything because George Lucas wanted to sell cute Ewok toys more than he wanted to tell a compelling story. Even so, The Star Wars Trilogy sat at the very top of my list... until the prequel trilogy was unleashed. Thanks to Jar Jar Binks, Annie Skywalker, and stupid-ass shit that reduced Star Wars to idiotic burp and fart jokes, the unthinkable happened. Star Wars was ruined for me. As much as I tried, I couldn't un-watch The Phantom Menace. It was then that my love of Star Trek (the ORIGINAL cast series and films) grew brighter, eclipsing Star Wars in a way that was previously unthinkable. Sure I thought that the sequel series kept getting worse and worse (Voyager was so awful I stopped watching), but the bulk of the Star Trek Universe is pretty good stuff. Even so, everything else in sci-fi falls way, way behind Star Wars.
I understand why most of the world thinks Disney is the premiere source of animation on earth... honestly I do. The golden age of Disney spans decades, and has given us some of the most breathtaking animated features ever seen. But the films of Hayao Miyazaki are mind-blowing. They use animation as a way of telling stories that are truly revolutionary and remarkable. Animation allows us to break the bounds of reality. But Miyazaki breaks the bounds of imagination. I dearly love and treasure his every work, and when you take his entire oeuvre you get something unmatched in brilliance, eclipsing even Disney. Then along comes Pixar, whose work I also love. They simply don't know how to make a bad film, and may eventually overcome Disney in terms of masterworks. No list of animation favorites would be complete without Aardman, responsible for Wallace & Gromit and other genius. If I were to continue, I'd have to put Satoshi Kon on the list. Possibly Dreamworks. I'm sure there are many others.
You simply cannot exceed the greatness that was the original "Bond Girl"... Honey Rider as played by Ursula Andress. She set the benchmark for everyone that would follow, and has one of the single best entrances into a film ever made. Over the years new Bond Girls would come and go... some of them cool (Pussy Galore), some of them hot (Mary Goodnight), some of them bizarre (Xenia Onatopp), some of them boring (Octopussy), and some of them just plain bad (Christmas Jones). But the ones I always liked best were the Bond Girls who were beautiful and badass. I loved Melina from For Your Eyes Only because she was ruthless in her revenge, and equaled Bond in smarts. Jinx was played by Halle Berry... so enough said there. And Michelle Yeoh's turn as "Wai Lin" was so kickass that I found myself praying that the character would be reprised in the next Bond film. When compiling my list, I was surprised that there were very few Bond Girls I actively disliked. Most of them rose above the typical "damsel in distress" crap that women usually get relegated to in films like this, which I didn't realize until now. Interesting.
Shocking, I know. But seriously... nobody can touch them. Nobody comes close. For now.