Top 15 Dire Straits/Mark Knopfler songs

In keeping with the weirdest top lists I can possibly come up with, and in honor of buying my ticket to see Mark Knopfler in concert this summer, here’s my list of favorite songs from both his solo and Dire Straits days.

15 Sons of Scotland (Shot at Glory)
Who else could make Scottish soccer interesting? (Don’t answer that!)

14 Your Latest Trick
That amazing sax sells it. . .

13 Skateaway
I can picture Rollergirl so well. . .

12 Going Home (Local Hero)
Hardly anyone remembers this movie for anything but this song. . .

11 Private Investigations
Film noir music. . . I think that genre–if there are enough examples to call it a genre–was invented here.

10 Portobello Belle
I think I saw this girl at the famous market once. . .

9 Boom Like That
If you hate McDonald’s, this is the song for you.

8 Once Upon a Time–Storybook Love (Princess Bride)
You love the movie, you love the song. . . now you know who does it.

7 Sultans of Swing
“When he gets up under the lights to play his thing. . .”

6 Romeo and Juliet
Make sure you get the fingersnaps in the right place.

5 Brothers in Arms
Ah, that guitar outro. . .

4 Silvertown Blues
This is how all songs should be crafted. . .

3 Telegraph Road
14 minutes of sheer awesome

2 Tunnel of Love
When’s the last time a guitar solo broke your heart?

1 Sailing to Philadelphia
Even without James Taylor this song would be the most amazing tune ever. . .

;o)

Top 15 outings of 2013

Was talking to a violinist who told me the last time he’d played Summer from the Four Seasons, he’d been going so hard he lost control of the bow and hit a percussionist twenty feet behind him right between the eyes.
“There there,” his wife soothed. “It was just a percussionist. . .”

15        Oct 5   Burning Man Decompression
Woulda been higher if not for the allergy attack, but awesome because I finally—yes, finally!—got to shoot my buddy Christiane in conditions that didn’t cover her face or had the sun behind her or anything.

14        Apr 3   UCLA Beach Volleyball
Never cared much for my favorite sport on the sand—with just two players—but seeing ladies I’ve been rooting for made it a whole lot better.

13        Mar 14 2 Broke Girls at Paley
Getting to see the upcoming episode a few days early was cool, but finding out how witty Kat—well, the entire cast, really—was had to be the highlight.

12        Aug 27            Caprice/Missy Peregrym
I love Caprice Crane’s books enough to put up with her idiosyncrasies at her signings, but every time has been with the faint hope that her buddy Missy—who plays Andi on rookie Blue—might show up, and she finally did. . .

11        Oct 12 NCIS: LA convention
Well, not exactly a convention, but certainly a get-together of fans flying in all the way from Germany, with plenty of people from the show and even officially recognized by the network, with their PR people in attendance. One of the actors even showed up. . .

10        May 4  UCLA Archaeology open house
Even without Dr. Cooney giving the lecture—she had to give way for a British lord—it was mostly, though not thoroughly, fun herding Christiane’s kids around.

9          Feb 10 What is art? Paulina Logan and Vixen
Loved Vixen’s fire act and Paulina’s Lovely so much I went twice. . . though the second time was also to take photos, and included a UCLA gymnastics meet beforehand. {Two links}

8          Sept 21 Marina V house concert
A house concert at the musician’s house—that’s new, right?

7          Dec 24 Stomp
The Percussionist’s Wet Dream

6          May 16 Natalie Gelman at Hotel Café
(Bonus for being on the same blog: June 5 Before Midnight/Riddle the Sphinx at Molly Malone’s)

5          Sept 18 Los Angeles County Fair
“I went to the LA County Fair and all I got was this Jeri Ryan poster. . .”  (and the next 5 blogs after the one linked)

4          June 22 Molly Quinn in Kindertransport
I keep tellin’ ya, everything’s better with redheads. . .

3          July 9   Catalina
Birthday trip.

2          Oct 26 Mark Knopfler at the Wiltern
Happy to finally take the Telegraph Road in person. . .

1          May 12 Daniela Ruah in Proof
Getting a hug from your favorite actress is too awesome for mere words. . .

;o)

2014 top 15 actresses

Women are their most beautiful in the morning: no makeup, hair wild, in their natural state.

And with that positive note, here’s the annual, albeit late, list of the sexiest women on TV, most of them actresses but not necessarily. As always, the caveat is no cable, on shows everyone can watch.

15 Amy Acker–Person of Interest
Amy’s whacked-out psycho has quickly become the best part of this show, particularly after seeing her so timid on Dollhouse.

14 Maggie Lawson—Back in the Game
A not-very-famous actress I’ve enjoyed for years, probably since Cybill. Love her girl-next-door demeanor and looks.

13 Cobie Smulders–How I Met Your Mother
Nine years into this show, she’s still so gorgeous.

12 Jill Wagner–Wipeout
She returned and the show went right back to the awesomeness it had before she’d left.

11 Ming-Na Wen–Agents of Shield
Such a classically beautiful woman; even though I couldn’t stand her character on Stargate: Universe, and Melinda May acts a lot like her, this role has to be a lot more fun for her as well as the viewers.

10 Bellamy Young–Scandal
Her sweet role as Hotch’s girlfriend on Criminal Minds is likely a thing of the past, but even if her character here is too much, she’s still lovely to look at. . .

9 Mircea Monroe–Hart of Dixie
While not as gorgeous as she was in Drive—as a redhead—her amazing blue eyes are well worth a worshipful gaze or two.

8 Michelle Borth–Hawaii 5-0
Every year she’s on this list, and every year she’s on a different show; it’s the mark of a quality actress to be so in demand.

7 Molly Quinn–Castle
College-aged redhead whom I saw in a play a few months ago. Such a nice girl. . .

6 Missy Perygrym–Rookie Blue
Also met her this past year, and she and her show just get better every year. Also a sweet lady in person. . .

5 Kristin Kreuk–Beauty and the Beast
While the show is a sacrilege compared to the amazing original, I could watch her ethereal beauty forever. . .

4 Kaitlyn Black–Hart of Dixie
Once again the best thing about the show. Those eyes. . .

3 Darby Stanchfield–Scandal
Have yet to meet her—someday—but I wouldn’t be surprised if she’s exactly like her character, all that sassiness with a pinch of Meredith from Castle. . .

2 Daniela Ruah–NCIS: Los Angeles
Holy crap, she’s not first this year! Even after I met her in person after a play. Sweetest person ever to be in Hollywood.

1 Chloe Barret —Agents of Shield
Daniela certainly didn’t lose anything, we just have a newcomer of exceptional beauty who can also do excellent comedy while showing plenty of intelligence. Joss Whedon sure know how to pick ‘em. . .

Extra credit

Rudabeh Shabazi and Bri Winkler
When Rudabeh is anchoring the channel 7 news on weekend mornings and Bri is doing the weather. . . let’s just say no one’s listening, just watching. . .

;o)

Top 15 Hottest Nathan Fillion co-stars

So yeah, this is the kind of shit that comes out when I’m completely bored and not at all disciplined in my internet viewing. {Where’s all this porn people talk about. . .?}

So I watched Jane Espesen’s internet series Husbands all in one go, and playing the newscaster is none other than The Fillion. {kinda like we say “The Shatner,” which I think Nathan would like} Luckily his long list of credits includes a bunch of voiceover work, which simply does not count here and makes it tons easier for me to wade through. However, let’s not be disingenuous: this is a list of beauties who’ve been in the same movies as the guy, though not necessarily had any scenes with him; some I just don’t know, not having seen them. Others, as you’ll see below, I know they weren’t in the same scene, but I’m too damned tired to actually go hunting for the movie, or some info that would say one way or another.

15. Emmanuelle Vaugier {Water’s Edge}
Never heard of it, never saw it. . . doesn’t matter. Her ethereal beauty makes it worth watching.

14. Dana Delany {Castle, Desperate Housewives, Pasadena}
C’mon, it’s Dana Delany–what else is there to say?

13. Gina Torres {Firefly}
Zoeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!

12. Stana Katic {Castle}
Uh-huh. . .

11. Charisma Carpenter {Miss Match}
If you can say no to {viewing} her, you’re a stronger man than I. . .

10. Paula Marshall {Miss Match}
Still the cutest who ever lived. . .

9. Eliza Dushku {Buffy}
And yes, she’s known as The Dushku around these here parts. . .

8. Christina Hendricks {Firefly}
Ah, Saffron. . . {The rest of this entry has been redacted to keep the author from embarrassing himself. . . again.}

7. Keri Russell {Waitress}
That WTF look in the middle of the movie, followed by a three-day perma-grin. . . visual bliss.

6. Mircea Monroe {Drive}
Back when she was even hotter as a redhead; no one has ever worn jeans better.

5. Jeri Ryan {Dracula 2000}
I finally saw this hilarious clunker, in which Nathan appears in exactly one scene. . . as a priest in a confessional! Make of that what you will. Immediately following this we go to a bayou where Dracula’s modern-day Demeter–this time a plane–has crashed, and we get a very sexy blonde reporter in front of the wreckage, asking the cameraman, “You getting the tits?” Oh yes, Jeri Ryan, everyone is. Quickly she’s turned into one of Dracula’s brides, where she gets to taunt our heroine and then play with the hero. . . until he sticks a wooden stake through her heart. Her look of surprise–and, I think, hurt that he would do such a mean thing to her–is priceless. . .

4. Malinda Clarke {Firefly}
Quite possibly the only prostitute character I would ever indeed pay for. . . (dammit, where’s that redactor when you need him?}

3. Darby Stanchfield {Castle, Waitress}
I don’t know how many ladies have had to play Nathan wife/ex-wife, but she’s got to be the only one who’s had to suffer through that twice. That second taste of deep-friend twinkie, when she’s coming down the stairs in her undies and lifts her shurt to rub her tummy. . .

2. Dina Meyer {Castle, Miss Match}
Excuse me, that should be Dina freakin’ Meyer!

1. Morena Baccarin
When asked what character I would like to be on Firefly, there was only one possible answer: one of Inara’s customers. . .

Also-rans
Ellen Page {Super}
Never thought I’d see her like that. . .

Angeline Ball {Outer Limits}
The best part of one of my favorite movies, The Commitments.

In an episode of something called Total Security, he had these three gorgeous ladies as co-stars: Tracey Needham, Kristin Bauer, and Lisa Boyle; hope he had fun. Similarly, in something called Hollywood Division, three beautiful actresses shared the camera: Moon Bloodgood, Tsianina Joelson, and Leighton Meester.

And then of course, the best for last: Felicia Day. . .

;o)

Top 15 TV Babes 2012

Subtitled: Sexiest actresses

Lord Byron: All tragedies are finished with a death; all comedies are ended by a marriage

Like on the TV shows blog, only broadcast need apply—no cable

15. Stana Katic {Castle}
Okay, Stana looks so gorgeous when she smiles. . . I can’t leave her out.

14. Sela Ward {CSI: Noo Yawk}
Still the epitome of classic beauty. . .

13. Erin Cummings
I first saw Erin Cummings on an episode of Cold Case, where she proved to be an absolutely perfect redhead. Since then her hair color has changed, but here on Made in Jersey she’s back to red, though she’d be higher on this list if it wasn’t for all makeup, heels, and attitude. Joisy girl indeed. . .

12. Missy Perigrym
No other reason to watch Rookie Blue, no more reason necessary to watch it. . .

11. Molly Quinn
Castle’s little redheaded girl has grown up. . .

10. Bellamy Young
Having seen this lovely actress for years, particularly a few episodes of Scrubs, I guess it was inevitable for her to become First Lady, even if it’s a Scandal. . .

9. Meghan Ory
Who woulda thought, so soon after the most luscious Red Riding Hood ever, Amanda Seyfried, we’d get another gorgeous crimson-draped dessert-carrying lady, this time on Once Upon a Time.

8. Rudabeh Shabazi {Eyewitness News, Channel 7}
Most likely the most gorgeous news reporter ever, and that’s saying a lot. With a special shoutout to meteorologist Bri Winkler. . .

7. Janet Montgomery
The actual Made in Jersey girl, which I find hilarious, having heard her usual stuffy-upper-class-British twang so often.

6. Jeri Ryan {Body of Proof}
If I need to tell you who this is, you should get off the internet right now; you obviously don’t know how to use it!

5. Amanda Righetti
Three straight years on this list for The Mentalist redhead.

4. Kaitlyn Black
She appears on Hart of Dixie much less often than she should, but when she does it’s usually comic genius. . . at least I think that’s what it is, I’m so struck dumb by her ethereal beauty. . .

3. Paget Brewster
Probably her last appearance in this category, with her leaving Criminal Minds again, albeit this time of her own choosing.

2. Darby Stanchfield {Scandal}
I have to admit I will never forgive Shonda for putting the most awesome redhead ever {and that’s saying A LOT} in bed with Jeremy from Sports Night, though his taste is obviously better now. And just when you think things couldn’t get better, she’s back as the Deep-fried Twinkie on Castle. . . never thought there would be a mother-daughter duo on this list. . .

1. Daniela Ruah
This woman is so incredibly attractive she’s even hot in a Marine Corps uniform, which is not easy; I knew many attractive female Marines, but they weren’t so in uniform.

Too many also-rans to list. . . which is obviously a cop-out but has to be done, or my brain might explode. . . or rather, other parts. To tide you over, here’s a recap of the previous years.

2011
15. Ghida Fakhry–Al Jazeera English
14. Stana Katic–Castle
13. Lana Parilla–Once Upon a Time
12. Madeleine Stowe–Revenge
11. Jill Wagner–Wipeout
10. Jeri Ryan–Body of Proof
9. Missy Peregrym–Rookie Blue
8. Rachelle Lefevre–A Gifted Man
7. Michelle Borth–Combat Hospital
6. Amanda Righetti–The Mentalist
5. Nathalie Kelley–Body of Proof
4. Molly McKinney–Aqua Kids
3. Julia Benson (Anderson)–Stargate: Universe
2. Paget Brewster–Criminal Minds
1. Daniela Ruah–NCISLA
2010
15. Rochelle Aytes–The Forgotten
14. A.J. Cooke–Criminal Minds
13. Melina Kanakaredes–CSI Noo Yawk
12. Emily Procter–CSI Miami
11. Leighton Meester–Gossip Girl
10. Cobie Smulders–How I Met Your Mother
9. Michelle Borth–The Forgotten
8. Eliza Dushku–Dollhouse
7. Morena Baccarin–V
6. Alana de la Garza–Law And Order
5. Heather Stephens–The Forgotten
4. Amanda Righetti–The Mentalist
3. Paget Brewster–Criminal Minds
2. Stana Katic–Castle
1. Daniela Ruah–NCIS Los Angeles

;o)

Top 15 TV Shows (2012)

I suddenly miss Sydney. . . the city, not some random chippie of that name. Been too long, need to go back. . .

So I’m a bit late on most of my 2012 best-of lists. To make up for that, I’m passing up all the usual links and commentary I would put in here. Also as usual, we’re only talking broadcast TV—cable is something else entirely {History Detectives and Sherlock aired on PBS, so there!}

15. Once Upon a Time
14. Rookie Blue
13. CSI-NY
12. Person of Interest
11. How I Met Your Mother
10. 2 Broke Girls
9. History Detectives
8. Hart of Dixie
7. Wipeout
6. NCIS:LA
5. Suburgatory
4. Scandal
3. Big Bang Theory
2. Castle
1. Sherlock

Alternates: CSI, Criminal Minds, Family Guy, NCIS

;o)

Top 15 Songs of 2012

P.G. Wodehouse

To my daughter Leonora, without whose never-failing sympathy and encouragement this book would have been finished in half the time.

 

So. . . title is self-explanatory, right?

15. Halie LorenFeeling Good

As far as I’m concerned, Halie Loren is jazz.

14. Riddle the SphinxOne Man Band

A sad little paean which kicks up into rock ballad territory halfway. Showcases Christiane’s voice and pianowork, as well as Christo’s “world percussion.” He’s the only drummer I know who hits the cymbals with his hands.

13. Paulina LoganRoad in the Sky

Paulina is known for her sad songs of longing, but with the exception of “Shut the Door,” this is her hardest rockin’ tune, incredibly catchy as she sings about the “trip” she’s embarking on. . . and I’m gonna keep on going here just so I don’t end in a preposition.

12. Cindy AlexanderGrow Up

Not to take anything away from the verses, but Cindy’s strength has always been in the chorus–or as they call it now, the “hook”–and this song is another great example. The only other of my fave musicians who is such a master is Kari Kimmel.

11. Shannon CurtisBook of Fiction

If you subscribe to the theory of infinite universes predicated on every choice you make–or counter-factuals–this is the song for you. Still a love song, though; be warned. {Shannon is still giving away her entire new live album, at the link above.}

10. Scout SmithLoverboy

Everything you need to know about Scout’s voice and song-crafting ability is right here in this very heartfelt tune. Can get overly dramatic, but hopefully she’ll prune that as she leaves her teens.

9. Kat ParsonsLove Changes Everything

Kat-nip is the cutest little thing to hit the airwaves since. . . you get the picture. Whereas it was a bit incongruous to see that sweet face singing about her former lover on her last album, this song–and video–is so perfectly Kat. . .

8. Riddle the SphinxProfessional Pretender

After an unintentional laugh at the thought of a lawyer singing about a liar. . . I had no idea my buddy Christiane could craft such elaborate lyrics, or that she knew how much I love internal rhymes.

7. MeikoLeave the Lights On

If there’s anyone who could beat Kat-nip for the title of “cuteness personified,” Meiko is the challenger. Don’t remember how young she was when I first met her, when she was waitressing at Hotel Café, but I am in shock to find she’s in her 30s now, cuz she looks exactly the same. On the other hand, as much as I’ve loved her previous songs, this one shows her evolution as a crafter of fine tunes. One of the very rare songs I loved the first time I heard it.

6. Lindsey Yung—Hold

The music can get a little slow and ponderous, and Lindsey’s vocals go a bit drama queen–especially in complete contrast to her Scent of Summer–but in this case those qualities fit well with the lyrics and make the song what it is. {You can get a free download at her website—link is on her name.}

5. RushThe Wreckers

Sometimes it takes me 10 years to get into a Rush song; this one did the trick immediately. I supposed it helps that I understood what was going on in the lyrics right away, as well as the historical background of it. I specifically love the way Neil took a chance by making some of the verses with the same rhyme in all four lines, which is not easy.

4. Natalie GelmanLaugh So Hard You Cry

Speaking of emotional vocals! Natalie has a gift for converting real life into catchy tunes. Check out Streetlamp Musician and The Lion as well.

3. Riddle the SphinxSkies of Aleyeska

Five or six years ago I heard Christiane solo this song at a Borders, and never heard it again until this CD. You can almost transport yourself to the tiny island–Scotland or Ireland, I forget–although I imagine most women wouldn’t find it a compliment to have their blue eyes described as “glacier.” That fact, as well as having been on quite a few of those desolate islands, gives me a chill every time I hear this song.

2. Far Beyond FrailA Changed Man

Speaking of loving a song the first time. . . This duo has always been fantastic with music and vocals, but this time it’s the lyrics that shine the brightest. I can hear the anger and frustration in Sharilynn’s every note as she divests herself of the man she can no longer love. . .

1. Marina VRun

Vaguely stalkerish in the most catchy way; in fact, she almost makes the stalker seem sympathetic, especially if it’s her in the role. If you listen closely there’s a touch of wurly-like keyboard that lightens the tone a bit.

So this is the second time in three years that Marina V has taken the title of my fave song of the year. Wonder how she does it. . .

;o)