Inventory : 16 Films Featuring Manic Pixie Dream Girls, 10 Great Songs Nearly Ruined by Saxophone, and 100 More Obsessively Specific Pop-Culture Lists
Each week, the writers of The A.V. Club issue a slightly slanted pop-culture list filled with challenging opinions (Is David Bowie's "Young Americans" nearly ruined by saxophone?) and fascinating facts. Exploring twenty-four great films too painful to watch twice, fourteen tragic movie-masturbation scenes, eighteen songs about crappy cities, and much more, Inventory combines a massive helping of new lists created especially for the book with a few favorites first seen at AVClub.com and in the pages of The A.V. Club's sister publication, The Onion.But wait! There's more: John Hodgman offers a set of minutely detailed (and probably fictional) character actors. Patton Oswalt waxes ecstatic about the "quiet film revolutions" that changed cinema in small but exciting ways. Amy Sedaris lists fifty things that make her laugh. "Weird Al" Yankovic examines the noises of Mad magazine's Don Martin. Plus lists from Paul Thomas Anderson, Robert Ben Garant, Tom Lennon, Andrew W.K., Tim and Eric, Daniel Handler, and Zach Galifianakis-and an epic foreword from essayist Chuck Klosterman.
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October 12, 2009
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Excerpt from Inventory by A.V. Club
Text Excerpt 1
Take One Down, Pass It Around
47 Songs That Contain Lists
1 Paul Simon, "50 Ways To Leave Your Lover"
Suggested courses of action: hopping on the bus, slipping out the back, making a new plan.
2 Lucky Starr, "I've Been Everywhere"
Some of the far-flung places the singer has been: Australian locations in the original, North America's Ferriday, La Paloma, Opelika, and Crater Lake (for Pete's sake) in later versions.
3 The Nails, "88 Lines About 44 Women"
A few of the women, and their defining characteristics: Tanya Turkish (liked to fuck), Terri (didn't give a shit), Patty (shot cough syrup in her veins).
4 Butthole Surfers, "Pepper"
Texans in love with dyin': Pauly (gunshot), Flipper (virus), Mikey (knife wound).
5 Violent Femmes, "Kiss Off"
Quantity of unknown substance that Gordon Gano takes, and why: three (heartache), four (headache), six (his sorrow), nine (a lost God).
6 Deirdre Flint, "Jenny Of 100 Dates"
Some of the terrible dates Jenny endures on her way to true love: an Amway salesman, a Catholic priest, an obsessive Baywatch fan, a Mormon looking for a seventh wife, a Montana militia leader, and a "gastronomic nightmare" who can't stop burping.
7 Wilson Pickett, "Land Of 1000 Dances"
Complete list of dances mentioned (994 shy of what's promised): pony, mashed potato, alligator, watusi, twist, jerk.
8 Traditional, "12 Days Of Christmas"
No one gives these birds for Christmas anymore: turtle doves, French hens, calling birds, geese, swans.
9 Bob And Doug McKenzie, "12 Beers Of Christmas"
Practical Canadian holiday gifts: beer, French toast, smokes.
10 Pop Will Eat Itself, "Can U Dig It?"
Characters (real and fictional) endorsed by PWEI: Optimus Prime (but not Galvatron), Alan Moore, Dirty Harry, Bruce Wayne, Renegade Soundwave, AC/DC.
11 Billy Joel, "We Didn't Start The Fire"
Historical fires not lit by Billy Joel and his unnamed compatriots: vaccine, Communist bloc, children of Thalidomide, Liston beats Patterson, Wheel Of Fortune, AIDS, crack, cola wars.
12 The Nails , "Things You Left Behind"
Some objects a lover failed to take with her upon leaving: stockings, beads, records, autographed picture of Junior Wells, a dozen contraceptive sponges. (Anyone here got a rhyme for "sponges"?)
13 Jim Carroll, "People Who Died"
Some of Jim's friends, and their paths to the other side: Teddy (fell from roof), Cathy (suicide by reds and wine), Bobby (leukemia), G-Berg and Georgie (hepatitis), Tony (couldn't fly).
14 R.E.M., "It's The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)"
Seemingly random items that may or may not relate to Armageddon: book-burning, bloodletting, tournament of lies, Leonid Brezhnev, Lenny Bruce, Lester Bangs. (Leonard Bernstein!)
15 Reunion, "Life Is A Rock, But The Radio Rolled Me"
So, what kind of music do you like?: Carly Simon; Denver, John; Osmond, Donnie.
16 Lou Bega, "Mambo No. 5"
Some of the women Lou would like a little bit of: Monica, Rita, Tina, Jessica.
17 Julie Andrews, "My Favorite Things"
Things that wouldn't be quite right: non-cream-colored ponies, brown paper packages sealed with tape, soggy apple strudels.
18 Madonna, "Vogue"
Actors who never saw Swept Away: Greta Garbo, Grace Kelly, Marlon Brando, Jimmy Dean.
19 Bob Dylan, "Subterranean Homesick Blues"
Strange courses of action Dylan suggests: hanging around an inkwell, writing Braille, watching the parkin' meters, jumping down the manhole.
20 The Divine Comedy, "The Booklovers"
History's greatest writers reduced to mere syllables: Virginia Woolf ("I'm losing my mind!"), Joseph Conrad ("I'm a bloody boring writer"), Henry James ("Howdy, Miss Wharton!").
21 Bing Crosby, "These Foolish Things"
Some of the foolish things that remind the poor singer of you: the scent of smoldering leaves, the wail of steamers, silk stockings thrown aside.
22 U2, "Numb"
Activities The Edge suggests you avoid: aping, gaping, shackling, compensating, filling out any forms, hovering at the gate.
23 The Psych edelic Furs, "All Of This And Nothing"
Things you left him that he couldn't understand: a picture of the Queen, a room full of your trash, a phonebook full of accidents, a visit from your doctor.
24 Steely Dan, "Things I Miss The Most"
Besides the talk and the sex: Eames chair (comfy), pans (good copper ones), Strat ('54), houses (Gulf Coast and Vineyard).
25 The Yardbirds, "Ten Little Indians"
Capital offenses, apparently: lying about another's best friend, pulling your mother down, forgetting to say prayers, taking the name of God in vain.
26 Alanis Morissette, "Ironic"
Things Alanis Morissette mistakenly believes meet the dictionary definition of "ironic": a death-row pardon two minutes late, good advice unheeded, traffic jam when you're already late, meeting the man of your dreams...and then meeting his beautiful wife.
27 The Moonglows, "The Ten Commandments Of Love"
Thou shalt: have faith in everything he says and does, Kiss him when you hold him tight, treat him sweet and gentle.
28 The Notorious B.I.G., "Ten Crack Commandments"
Selected advice for street-level entrepreneurs: Don't share information about your personal finances, don't trust anyone -- even your own mother, never use your own product, do not extend credit to drug addicts.
29 Prince Buster, "10 Commandments"
Bible-inspired instructions for loving Prince Buster: Thou shalt not search his pockets at night, annoy him with hearsays, or covet thy neighbor's dress, shoes, bureau, bed, or hat. Also, if thou commit adultery, Prince Buster will murder you.
30 Daft Punk, "Teachers"
Not teachers of the classroom variety: George Clinton, Mike Dearborn (in the house, yeah), DJ Sneak, Derrick Carter, Dr. Dre (in the house, yeah).
31 Hercules, "7 Ways To Jack"
Among numbered instructions for how to jack, a.k.a. dance sexily, in the '80s heyday of Chicago house music: visually touch the body in front of you, caress it with your eyes, drink it in slowly; close your eyes, remember the body you've just seen, then slowly undress it; lose complete mental control, begin to jack.
32 Scritti Politti, "Lions After Slumber"
My, my, my, he's got a lot of things, among them: charm, hunger, insulin, a refrigerator, drugs, drugs, drugs.
33 Ice-T, "99 Problems"
Types of hos and/or bitches in Ice-T's possession: one from the east, one that likes to jack it off and rub it in her chest, one with a posterior the size of a television, one who favors velvet in the color blue, one whose breasts give powdered milk.
34 Buzzcocks, "I Need"
Classic punk band seeks: sex, love, drink, drugs, food, cash, you to love them back.
35 Cole Porter, "You're The Top"
Ostensibly but not obviously terrific things you are: Mickey Mouse, the Nile, cellophane, turkey dinner, Whistler's mama, Durante's nose.
36 George Gershwin, "They All Laughed"
Ultimately successful people who were initially laughed at, and why: Christopher Columbus (thinking the world was round), Edison (because he recorded sound), Marconi (because wireless was a phony).
37 Material Issue, "Goin' Through Your Purse"
Items carefully returned to your handbag after surreptitious rummaging: makeup, compact, lipstick (shit like that), keys, cigarettes, his lighter, picture of sister, picture of mother, picture of all the guys who date you, high-school graduation ring, check stub, and poetry from some stupid jerk who's trying to steal your heart away.
38 The B-52's, "52 Girls"
Girls named, na-amed, na-amed today: Hazel, Mavis, Candy, Jack Jackie-O.
39 Asylum Street Spankers, "Beer"
Unacceptable alternatives to fermented malt beverages: speed (a drag), coke (a joke), DMT (too rich), heroin (death), marijuana (makes you like Madonna).
40 Ian Dury & The Blockheads, "Reasons To Be Cheerful"
Just a few of the many, many things that kept Dury going: yellow socks, carrot juice, parrot smiles, acne-free days, Dominicker camels, all other mammals, sitting on the potty, curing smallpox, saying "hokey-dokey," and bottoms (round or skinny, no preference).
41 John Cougar Mellencamp, "R.O.C.K. In The U.S.A. (A Salute To '60s Rock)"
Artists who turned the world upside-down and filled heads with dreams: Jackie Wilson, Shangri-Las, Martha Reeves, don't forget James Brown.
42 Arthur Conley, "Sweet Soul Music"
Artists whom Arthur wants you to illuminate: Lou Rawls, Sam And Dave, Wilson Pickett, Otis Redding, James Brown again.
43 Willie Dixon, "29 Ways"
Just a few of the routes to Dixon's baby: through the chimney like Santa, a hidden door behind the grandfather clock, a hole in the bedroom floor.
44 Amy Rigby, "20 Questions"
Some of the interrogatives presented forcefully and then pitifully: why he's coming in at 3 a.m., why he didn't call, whether he loves her, whether he ever loved her.
45 Nick Drake, "One Of These Things First"
Things Nick Drake could have been: sailor, cook, signpost, clock, pillar, flute.
46 Paul McCartney, "Junk"
Stuff McCartney spied at the junk shop: parachutes, army boots, motorcars, handlebars.
47 Elvis Costello, "This Is Hell"
Stuff in hell: failed Don Juans, Julie Andrews recordings, that shirt you wore with courage.