OUT OF LEFT FIELD
The 47th Annual Isaacs Ratings of Esoteric Distinction
"What did I ever do to dis Isaacs
guy to gimme such a low rating?
Does anybody think Boss Claus
would keep me on da job dis long
if I was such a loser?"
These are the ratings for
people who hate ratings
By STAN ISAACS
Can you name the gates of the old city in Jerusalem? You cant? Well, that is because you are not a devotee of the not-quite-world famous Isaacs Ratings of Esoteric Distinction (IRED). This is an enterprise treasured by some, ridiculed by many, in which we fill the gap of creating and rating categories that nobody in his/her right mind ever thought of putting under the looking glass.
IRED fans know that the category,, Gates of the Old City in Jerusalem, were rated in 1979, the 17th edition of the IRED that delighted or puzzled Newsday readers for some 40 years. Jerusalem Gates has an honored place in the IRED annals along with Race Track Paddocks, 1978; The Pep Boys, 2001; and the ever-popular Seven Santini Brothers (moving company in New York). And for the record the Dung was ranked the No. 1 Jerusalem gate.
The ratings, which were launched upon an unsuspecting world in 1960, and moved to thecolumnists.com in 2001, were conceived as a loving spoof of The Ring magazine boxing ratings. In those days Ring was the only entity that dealt in ratings, but they have mushroomed like, well, mushrooms, inspiring the IRED to rush in where nobody else dare tread.
New categories achieve the limelight every year except for the one staple, Chocolate Ice Creams, which highlights each endeavor. The proprietor rejects the accusation of elitism for listing chocolate ice creams from foreign precincts on the grounds that the love of chocolate ice cream is a universal craving. Early on I declared myself an authority on chocolate ice creams and have been at it for so many years-ever looking for new finds, ever tasting-that people dont dare dispute my claim. I admit that when people who dont know my name say, Youre the chocolate ice cream nut, arent you? I modestly nod.
The IRED, as regulars know, are non-partisan without redeeming social value. Herewith the 47th edition:
Chocolate Ice Creams: (1) Berthillion, Ile de St. Louis, Paris; (2) Haagen Dazs; (3) Dr. Mikes, Bethel, Conn.; (4) Godiva; (5) Bassetts, Reading
Terminal Market, Philadelphia; (6) Double Rainbow, San Francisco; (7) Olympic Mountain, State of Washington; (8) Mercis Vienna, Aus.; (9) Ben & Jerry; (10) tie, Edy, East Coast, Dreyer, West Coast.
Steven Wrightisms: (1) Id kill for a Nobel Peace Prize; (2) I intend to live forever so far so good; (3) Borrow money from pessimists; they dont expect it back; (4) I almost had a psychic girl friend, but she left me before we met; (5) The hardness of the butter is proportional to the softness of the bread.
WWs: (1) Walt Whitman; (2) Walt (No Neck) Williams: (3) William Wadsworth; (4) Wendell Willkie; (5) Wendy Wasserstein; (6) Walter Winchell; (7) Willie Wonka; (8) Willie Weinberg: (9) Wally Westlake; (10) tie, Walt Whitaker, Whitaker Walt.
Foundation Sires of Horse Racing: (1) Darley Arabian; (2) Byerly Turk; (3) Godolphin Arabian.
Senators That Hard Right Hardheads Would Like to Get Rid Of: (1) Ted Kennedy, MA, (2) Russ Feingold, WI; (3) Barbara Boxer, CA; (4) Bernie Sanders, VT; (5) Patrick Leahy, VT; (6) Chuck Hagel, NE; (7) Carl Levin, MI; (8) Tom Harkin IA, (9) Richard Durbin, IL; (10) tie, Joseph Biden DE,, Hillary Clinton NY, Christopher Dodd CT, Barack Obama IL..
Senators Whose Departure Should Elicit Cheers From Clear-Thinking Americans: (1) James Imhofe, OK; (2) Joseph Lieberman, CT; (3) Mitch McConnell, KY; (4) Jon Kyl (AZ); (5) Saxby Chambliss, GA; (6) Tom Coburn, OK; (7) Richard Shelby, AL; (8) Jim Bunning, KY; (9) Mel Martinez, FL; (10) Ted Stevens, AK.
Lucy Putdowns of Charlie Brown: (1) You, Charlie Brown, are a foul ball in the line drive of life; (2) You are a miscue; (3) You are a called third strike; (4) You have dropped a rod and reel in the lake of life; (5) You are three putts on the 18th green.
Rest Stops on the New Jersey Turnpike: (1) Walt Whitman; (2) Molly Pitcher; (3) Joyce Kilmer; (4) Thomas Edison; (5) Alexander Hamilton (6) Woodrow Wilson; (7) Clara Barton; (8) James Fenimore Cooper; (9) Richard Stockton; (10) Vince Lombardi.
Howard Woods Guest Rating of Favorite Birds at his Feeder in Haverford, PA: (1) house wren; (2) robin; (3) catbird; (4) mockingbird; (5) goldfinch; (6) song sparrow (7) black- capped chickadee; (8) tufted titmouse; (9) cardinal (10) downy woodpecker.
Characters in Robert Services Poems: (1) Dangerous Dan McGrew; (2) Blasphemous Bill MacKie; (3) Claw-Fingered Kitty; (4) Hard Luck Harry; (5) Mucklug Mag; (6) The Dago Kid; (7) Gum Boot Ben; (8) One-Eyed Mike; (9) Pious Pete; )10) Sam McGee.
Movie Cowboys Fast on the Draw: (1) Gregory Peck (The Gunfighter); (2) James Stewart (Destry Rides Again); (3) Montgomery Clift (Red River); (4) Gary Cooper (The Plainsman); (5) Alan Ladd, (Shane); (6) Ken Maynard (The Kid from Cheyenne);(7) Bob Steele (Durango Valley Raiders); (8) Henry Fonda ("My Darling Clementine"); (9) W. C. Fields (My Little Chickadee); (10) Gary Cooper (High Noon). Note: The Gary Cooper of High Noon had gone back quite a bit from the Cooper who shot cross-handed in The Plainsman but he still rated a spot in the Top Ten.
Giants: (1) Carl Hubbell; (2) Bill Russell; (3) Goliath; (4) Mel Ott; (5) Hercules; (6) Man Mountain Dean; (7) Willie Mays; (8) Edna Ferber; (9) Paul Bunyan; (10) The Jolly Green.
The Overrateds: 1. Martin Scorsese; 2. Bill Clinton; 3. Mark Rothko; 4. Starbucks; 5. Tom Stoppard; 6. Andruw Jones; 7. Radio City Music Hall; 8. Joe Buck; 9. Rodeo Drive; 10. Andy Roddick.
Memorable Rides of Those-Were-The-Good-Old-Days-of- Coney Island: (1) Bumping autos; (2) Cyclone; (3) Tornado; (4) Steeplechase horses; (5) Parachute Jump; (6) Wonder Wheel; (7) Tunnel of Fun; (8) Bobsled; (9) Merry Go Round; (10) Thunderbolt.
Entities That Never Quite Made It in a Big Way: (1) Edward VIII, Duke of Windsor; (2) Harold Stassen; (3) Nixon Supreme Court Nominees, Clement Haynesworth, G. Harrold Carswell; (4) William Jennings Bryan; (5) Harriet Miers; (6) Howard Dean; (7) Zeppo; (8) G. David Schine; (9) Charlie (trying to kick the football) Brown; (10) tie, Karl Spooner, Clint Hartung.
Greatest Paintings; (1) Michelangelos Sistine Chapel; (2) Picassos Guernica; (3) Velasquez Las Meninas; (4) Rembrandts Danae; (5) Ingres Grande Odalisque, (6) Eakins The Gross Clinic; (7) Manets Bar at the Folies Bergere; (8) Cezannes Bathers; (9) Van Goghs Starry Night; (10) Courbets LOrigine du Monde.
Santas Reindeer: (1) Dasher; (2) Comet; (3) Dancer; (4) Cupid; (5) Vixen; (6) Prancer; (7) Blitzen; (8) Donder.
Wisdom of Bill Veeck: (1) Baseball is almost the only orderly thing in a very unorderly world; if you get three strikes, even the best lawyer in the world cant get you off; (2) It isnt the high price of stars that is expensive; its the high price of mediocrities; (3) We cant always guarantee the ball game is going to be good, but we can guarantee the fan will have fun; (4) I have discovered in 20 years of moving around a ball park, that the knowledge of the game is usually in inverse proportion to the price of the seats; (5) (to midget Eddie Gaedel) Eddie, how would you like to be a big-league ballplayer? Eddie, youll be the only midget in the history of the game. Your name will go into the record books for all time. Youll be immortal; (6) My epitaph is inescapable. It will read, He sent a midget up to bat.
Lewis and Clark: (1) Clark; (2) Lewis.
The George Bush Legacy: (1) Abu Ghraib; (2) Katrina; (3) Guantanamo; (4) Waterboarding; (5) Halliburton; (6) Blackwater; (7) Body Armor; (8) tie, Dick Cheney, Karl Rove, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Alberto Gonzalez, George Tenet, Scooter Libby, John Bolton, Thomas Ridge.
©2007 by Stan Isaacs. The Stan Isaacs caricature is ©2001 by Jim Hummel. The illustration is from IMSI's Master Clips Collection, 1895 Francisco Blvd. E., San Rafael, CA, 94901-5506, USA. This column first posted Nov. 26, 2007.
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