Friday, June 11, 2010

My Top Tens

The top three are listed in order of preference; the last seven in each category are arranged chronologically.

Matthew Rozsa's Top Ten (#1-3 in each category):
Favorite President: Franklin Roosevelt (1933-1945), Grover Cleveland (1885-1889, 1893-1897), Lyndon Johnson (1963-1969)
Favorite Book: "The Age of Jackson" by Arthur Schlesinger (1945), "Major Campaign Speeches of Adlai E. Stevenson - 1952" by Adlai Stevenson (Written in 1952, Compiled in published book form in 1953), "Frankenstein" by Mary Shelley (1818)
Favorite Play: "Death of a Salesman" by Arthur Miller (1949), "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" by Tennessee Williams (1955), "Ghosts" by Henrik Ibsen (1882)
Favorite Short Story: "The Death of Ivan Ilych" by Leo Tolstoy (1886), "The Overcoat" by Nikolai Gogol (1842), "The Cask of Amontillado" by Edgar Allan Poe (1846)
Favorite Movie: And Justice For All (1979), Life Stinks (1991), About Schmidt (2002)
Favorite Television Show: The Twilight Zone (1959-1964), Trailer Park Boys (2001-2008), Mystery Science Theater 3000 (1988-1999)
Favorite Website:,,
Favorite Song: "Squidbillies Power Ballad" by Shawn Coleman, "Come Together" by The Beatles (1969), "White & Nerdy" by Weird Al Yankovic (2006)
Favorite Essay: "J'Accuse" by Emile Zola (1898), "A Humorist's Confession" by Mark Twain (1905)*, "Nonoverlapping Magisteria" by Stephen Jay Gould (1997)
Favorite Speech: "Speech Nominating John Sherman for President" by James Garfield (1880), "Nobel Prize Acceptance Address" by William Faulkner (1950), "The First Inaugural" by Franklin Roosevelt (1933)

Presidents, #4-10:
Thomas Jefferson, 1801-1809
Andrew Jackson, 1829-1837
Abraham Lincoln, 1861-1865
Chester Arthur, 1881-1885
Theodore Roosevelt, 1901-1909
Woodrow Wilson, 1913-1921
Barack Obama, 2009-Present

Books, #4-10:
"Candide" by Voltaire (1759)**
"The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" by Mark Twain (1884)
"One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest" by Ken Kesey (1962)
"An American Melodrama: The Presidential Campaign of 1968" by Lewis Chester, Godfrey Hodgson, and Bruce Page (1969)
"Education of a Public Man" by Hubert Humphrey (1976)
"Aliens Ate My Homework" by Bruce Coville (1993)
"Green Bay Replay" by Dick Schaap (1997)

Plays, #4-10:
"Life of Galileo" by Bertolt Brecht (1943)
"The Glass Menagerie" by Tennesee Williams (1944)
"The Crucible" by Arthur Miller (1953)
"Inherit the Wind" by Jerome Lawrence and Robert Edwin Lee (1955)
"A Man For All Seasons" by Robert Bolt (1961)
"Copenhagen" by Michael Frayn (1998)
"The Pillowman" by Martin McDonagh (2003)

Short Stories, #4-10:
"The Tell-Tale Heart" by Edgar Allan Poe (1843)
"The Dream of a Ridiculous Man" by Fyodor Dostoyevsky (1877)
"An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" by Ambrose Bierce (1890)
"The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman (1892)
"The Adventure of the Yellow Face" by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1894)
"The Unnamable" by H. P. Lovecraft (1925)
"The Devil and Daniel Webster" by Stephen Vincent Benet (1937)

Movies, #4-10:
The Producers (1968)
Network (1976)
RoboCop (1987)***
Batman Returns (1992)
Groundhog Day (1993)
Saw VI (2009)****
Inglourious Basterds (2009)

Television Shows, #4-10:
Seinfeld (1989-1998)
The Tonight Show with Jay Leno/The Jay Leno Show (1992-Present)
King of the Hill (1997-2009)
SpongeBob Squarepants (1999-Present)
Aqua Teen Hunger Force (2000-Present)
The Venture Brothers (2004-Present)
The Mighty Boosh (2004-2007)

Websites, #4-10:

Songs, #4-10:
"I Am The Walrus" by The Beatles (1967)
"Hey Jude" by The Beatles (1968)
"Carry On Wayward Son" by Kansas (1975)
"Epiphany" by Stephen Sondheim (1979)
"The Galaxy Song" by Eric Idle (1983)
"Experimental Film" by They Might Be Giants (2004)
"21 Guns" by Green Day (2009)

Essays, #4-10:
"The Progressive World Struggle of the Jews for Civil Equality" by William Howard Taft (1919)
"Gamalielese" by H. L. Mencken (1921)
"The Battle of Athens, Tennessee" by Theodore H. White (1947)
"Letter to Robert J. Biggs" by Dwight D. Eisenhower (1959)*****
"Why I Wrote The Crucible" by Arthur Miller (1996)
"A Bouquet Arrives..." by Roger Ebert (2007)
"Women at Risk" by Bob Herbert (2009)

Speeches, #4-10:
"Suicide Speech" by Otho (69)
"Bunker Hill Oration" by Daniel Webster (1825)
"The Gettysburg Address" by Abraham Lincoln (1863)
"The Economic Bill of Rights" by Franklin Roosevelt (1944)
"Pro-Civil Rights Plank at the 1948 DNC" by Hubert Humphrey (1948)
"We Shall Overcome" by Lyndon Johnson (1965)
"Eulogy for Gerald Ford" by Jimmy Carter (2007)

Other Favorites:
Favorite Football Team: Green Bay Packers
Favorite Baseball Team: New York Yankees
Favorite Food: Fried chicken
Favorite Color: Green
Favorite Commercial: Bacardi Commercial (with theme song "Daylight")

* - Technically "A Humorist's Confession" is an interview that Mark Twain had with a reporter from The New York Times in 1905. Even so, I decided to count it as an essay rather than as a speech.
** - Technically a novella, but it's more of a book than a short story.
*** - Although "RoboCop" is commonly derided as a cheesy B-movie, the actual film is a synthesis of intellectually provocative science fiction, poignant drama, thrilling action and biting social commentary. While I don't wish to elaborate any further than this (and thus spoil the plot for those who haven't seen it), suffice to say that I would highly recommend it (and NOT its two sequels) to anyone whose tastes haven't been narrowed by conventional wisdom and sheer snobbery.
**** - Fuck the critics; see and
***** - Technically a private letter written by the president to a veteran.

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