Playground Notes: Lists provide endless enjoyment

Danny Schoenbaechler

Don’t ask me why, I’m a huge fan of lists.

I like ’em, I’ll admit it. It gives everyone who sees them a chance to critique and correct the obvious flaws in reason.

In sports, there is an endless supply of informal lists to argue over. Bonds versus Ruth, Celtics versus Lakers, the billy goat versus the curse of the bambino, and, of course, beer versus no beer at Western athletic events.

To settle this once and for all: It’s Ruth, Celtics, billy goat and beer.

A few days ago, I was at my house reading the latest edition of Blender. The magazine had ranked the 50 worst songs of all time.

By choosing Starship’s “We Built This City” as the No. 1 worst song ever, the magazine seemed to have the right idea.

They did however, make a few enormous mistakes.

At No. 5, the mag chose “Ice, Ice Baby” by Vanilla Ice. Not only is this nowhere near the worst song ever, it should be recognized as one of the best.

Just try and find an unhappy group of people listening to: “All right stop, collaborate and listen. Ice is back with a brand new invention.”

Or the unforgettable lyric: “Deadly when I play a dope melody, anything less than the best is a felony.”

I actually recited this masterful song as the final exam in my high school public speaking class.

As a list lover, I wanted to form my own type of Western sports list. After brainstorming with some friends, we decided that a list of which Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles that athletes relate to is a necessary entity.

I decided to run a nowhere-near-scientific sampling of the test with some Western soccer players.

It turns out that none of the players chose Leonardo.

This was surprising to me, since I always considered sword-swinging Leonardo to be the top turtle. It turns out that Michelangelo is the teenage turtle de jour.

As I thought about this, however, I realized that I would have to be April, the reporter. So I have decided that I don’t even like my own list.

Man, these things are fun.

A quick Googling on the internet provided a list of a gagillion lists.

I found a couple favorites.

First off, a list of scariest dictators. According to the news site www.Pravada.Ru, Kim Jong-Il of North Korea is the top gavel of scary rulers.

Coming in behind Mr. Jong-Il was Saudia Arabia’s King Fahd and Prince Abdullah. That’s more than one person, which could be cheating, but I don’t think Fahd and Abdullah care.

The two upsets on the list were Saddam Hussein finishing a mere No. 3 and the Jesse Orosco of dictators, Fidel Castro, finishing a lackluster No. 9.

Come on Fidel, you seem to be losing it a little bit, don’t ya.

The other interesting list was on

They ranked the top-100 April Fool’s Day hoaxes of all-time.

Coming in at numero uno, was my favorite non-American country in the world – Switzerland.

It turns out that in 1957 my Swiss ancestors got a little confused. A show on the BBC called “Panorama” announced that a very mild winter helped to almost eliminate the dreaded “spaghetti weevil.” Because of this, Swiss farmers were experiencing an exceptionally large crop of spaghetti.

Along with the story, a picture ran of a woman picking spaghetti from a tree. Interested viewers called the station wanting to know how to grow their own spaghetti. They were then told to “place a sprig of spaghetti in a tin of tomato sauce and hope for the best.”

While we Swiss are excellent at making watches, running banks and protecting the pope, we apparently can be a bit gullible.

But that’s all right, at least we finished first on a list, and I sure do love lists.

Danny Schoenbaechler is the Herald sports editor and sports columnist. Reach him at [email protected]