If a mountain man felt compelled to dance, how would he do it? If koala bears could talk, what would they say? And what’s the right pickup line, if you’re a necrophiliac? (Maybe “I’m pretty sure I’m not going to get you pregnant.”)
In the throes of debates like these, we’re lucky to have the learned people of McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, America's best low-budget humor website, and their edifying work. From their best-looking writers comes this collection of over three hundred lists, including...
“Signs Your Unicorn Is Cheating on You.”"Errors in Communication Between My Hairdresser and Me, in the Form of What I Said and What He Heard""Things This City Was Built On, Besides Rock 'n' Roll""Things This One Girl Sitting Near Me in a Movie Theater Said Out Loud When One of the Characters Was Shown Pulling Into a Gas Station""Future Winners of the New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest""Adjectives Rarely Used by Wine Tasters""The Collected Apologies of Lawrence H. Summers, President of Harvard""Exactly What I Mean When I Say My Ex-Girlfriend Kristin and I 'Wanted Different Things from Life’"And much, much more...
|Publisher:||Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group|
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About the Author
McSweeney's is a small group that sells taxidermy equipment and also produces books, a literary quarterly, and The Believer, a monthly review. Based in San Francisco, McSweeney's is also home to 826 Valencia, a nonprofit educational center for Bay Area youth.
Read an Excerpt
Mountain Man Dance MovesThe McSweeney's Book of Lists
VintageCopyright © 2006 McSweeney's
All right reserved.
[Note: Lists are best read first column first, then second column. When a list does not end at the bottom of a page, it will continue on the next page]
THINGS KOALA BEARS WOULD SAY
by Timothy Weinmann
Climbing trees is fun!
Let's volunteer at a soup kitchen this Christmas.
My tongue is funny!
Eating leaves is fun!
Will you help me think of something nice we can do for Grandma?
Look, a pouch!
Let's prevent a forest fire!
No, you're the cutest ever.
Camus is boring. I find Karl Jaspers's philosophy much more enlightening.
Let's make cider!
I bet I'll live forever!
FORMER JOBS HELD BY THE GUY YOU ONCE SAW WEARING THAT "PUSSY PATROL" T-SHIRT
by Mike Sacks
Part-time perineum security guard
Executive vice president of technology and worldwide operations for Merrill Lynch
EXACTLY WHAT I MEAN WHEN I SAY MY EX-GIRLFRIEND KRISTIN AND I "WANTED DIFFERENT THINGS FROM LIFE"
by Dan Kennedy
Something I didn't want from life was for us to stay together after she slept with another man in exchange for cocaine.
Something she wanted from life was for us to stay together after she slept with another man in exchange for cocaine.
7 HABITS OF HIGHLY SUCCESSFUL PEOPLE
by Brendon Lloyd
TOURISM SLOGANS THAT FAILED TO SEAL THE DEAL
by Michelle Orange
Kyrgyzstan: Kazakhstan's Mexico
Germany: Let It Go
Venezuela: We Dare You
Cambodia: Nike's Best Kept Secret
It's Worse in Western
Canada: Turn Left at Greenland
Syria: Come for the Ruins, Stay Because We Confiscated Your Passport
ANECDOTAL LEADS FOR NEWS STORIES REPORTING THE END OF THE WORLD
by Hart Seely
Nine-year-old Joshua Harding didn't plan to miss classes Tuesday at West Monroe Elementary School. Nobody did.
But dismissed were his classes--for good.
After carefully parking his red Toyota Matrix in the lot outside Dick's Sporting Goods, John P. Boyce strode briskly into the West Burlington store.
He was looking for rain gear on a day when rain gear would not be enough.
"The prices are outrageous," said Boyce, fifty-eight, of West Street, as he sifted through brightly colored slickers and tall rubber boots. "Then again, I guess you could say it's a seller's market."
An hour later, it was a nobody's market.
Tamika Carter had dieted all spring to lose twenty-eight pounds in time for the Independence Day weekend. She skipped lunches and jogged each night after returning home from her job at the Pancake Circus.
"I always try to lose weight before summer," the twenty-seven-year- old Sacramento waitress said. "You want to look good on the beach."
But this summer, looking good on the beach would turn out to be far less important than Carter could have imagined.
Mo Bushnell was not happy.
Not happy at all.
With a wheezing gust from his eighty-four-year-old lungs, the opinionated former Ashtabula steelworker had managed to blow out all the candles on his large chocolate layer cake. But it was abundantly clear that Bushnell's birthday wish would not be coming true.
Not this year.
Though the sign outside Desi's Show Lounge shouted closed for good, Andrew Kramer kept pounding on the front door, as if trying to rouse what spirits of romance might still reside within the abandoned South Side disco.
As his knuckles rapped against the empty building, Kramer found himself humming the classic disco oldie "Last Dance" by Donna Summer.
"Last dance," he sang.
"It's the last chance. For
It was the musical sentiment that echoed across Sarasota Tuesday.
Claude D. LaMont grinned as he stepped from the yellow taxi, then turned to hand the driver a crisp $50 bill.
LaMont was returning from the Oneida Indian Casino, where he had just lost every last penny in his bank account. Not only that, he had gambled away his house, his car, and all his earthly possessions.
"Who the heck cares?"
LaMont said, flicking his cigarette butt to the curb. "In a matter of hours, we're all dead."
And he was right.
With a broad smile emerging from his salt-and-pepper beard, gas station attendant Earl Talbot hailed the little man in the shiny red Porsche that had pulled up to pump no. 3 and demanded,
"Fill 'er up!"
Without skipping a beat, Talbot unveiled the sawed-off shotgun he kept behind his back and blasted four bullets into the unidentified driver's skull. Then, with a tortured howl directed at the sky, Talbot placed the muzzle of the gun in his wide mouth and pulled the trigger.
For the Exit 41 Kwik Fill, the final exit had come.
GOOD LAST LINE TO A SYNDICATED PRISON HUMOR COLUMN
by Mike Sacks
"Anyway, I guess that's why they call it prison."
REJECTED BOND GIRLS
by Rebecca Waits
SIGNS YOUR UNICORN IS CHEATING ON YOU
by Christopher Monks
Seems emotionally distant and uninterested
Wears fancier tail ribbons
Starts working out at the gym
Quickly closes its laptop when you walk into its enchanted den
Credit card bill full of charges to area elf lodges
The "three C's": confrontation, criticism, and complaints
Every time you say the word "magic" it sighs forlornly
Is making a movie with Angelina Jolie
BARTLETT'S FAMILIAR QUOTATIONS
by Martin Bell
"Hi there. John Bartlett."
"Reservation should be under 'Bartlett.' That's two T's. Yes. 'Bart- let-et.' "
"Yep, that was me. I'm that Bartlett."--John Bartlett
"Yes, I'd like another one."
". . . and I said, 'Yeah, and you can "quote" me on it!' Ha, ha!"-- John Bartlett
"Ah, yes, where's your restroom?"--John Bartlett
"Hey there, my little . . . my little cowgirl. I'm Jack Bartlett. Want credit for a quotation? I don't think anyone's laid claim to your phone number yet. Nice. Just . . . just one second, let me get a pen."--John Bartlett
"That's not funny. It's not funny. Don't ask me what, you know what. The little quote fingers. All the goddamn time. Everything I say. Just . . . just stop. Okay?"--John Bartlett
"No, how about you please leave the premises? Huh? How about you don't make a scene? How about . . . how about that? Well, fine. Fucking . . . fine. Don't touch me! Don't you dare touch me! Fuck you, you fucking piece of . . . of fuck. How's that for a bloody quotation?"--John Bartlett
"Oh, nice one, honey. Yes. Clever. That's becoming quite a familiar quotation in its own right, isn't it? Maybe I should just add it to the next edition. 'Mother was right.' Author: Mrs. Bartlett, world- renowned nag. Year: 1859. Attribution: A short play entitled Every Goddamn Weekend."--John Bartlett
"Right. Well, you call him and talk about it. Hey, and when you bring it up, ask him about the 'Bartlett's' on the cover. Singular possessive, mind you. Note where the apostrophe is. Ask him if he thinks you're entitled to half the royalties. Just ask him. I have my hunch, but I'm sure his legal opinion counts for a lot more. Go on, call Stanley. If you need me, I'll be in bed."--John Bartlett
PUNCH LINES THAT WOULD ONLY SEEM FUNNY TO YOU AND THE GUY YOU JUST SPENT THE LAST TEN YEARS WITH IN A PIT
by Mike Sacks
"When the buzzard came down and ate that dead rat's eye."
"The month we couldn't move because we were so weak with hunger."
"The sun that time."
"When the kid peeked over the lip of the hole and then ran off and never came back, he almost slipped and fell in also. The look in his eyes, oh man!"
"Hallucinating for the entirety of 1999 that we were characters in a classic Beach Boys song."
"Let's get serious now. The past ten years have been a hell of a ride, bro. Good times."
THINGS THIS CITY WAS BUILT ON BESIDES ROCK 'N' ROLL
by Eric March
Navajo burial ground
Twelve billion tons of reinforced concrete and steel
Waterlogged corpses of Irish immigrants
Previous bizarro underground version of this city
OTHER PLACES JIMMY BUFFETT WASTED AWAY
by Chris Steck
NAMES THAT COULD POSSIBLY PASS FOR CRIES OF PASSION IF ACCIDENTALLY YELLED DURING SEX WITH ANYONE NOT SO NAMED
by Emily Lloyd
NAMES GAS-STATION ATTENDANTS CALL ME THAT LEAVE ME FEELING OVERWHELMED
by Rob Eccles
GUIDE TO DETERMINE IF YOU ARE IN A JERRY BRUCKHEIMER MOVIE
by Peter W. Suderman
Your girlfriend is a waitress, but could be a model.
A bus explodes.
A psychopathic millionaire devises an elaborate plan to murder you or someone you know . . .
. . . and you feel compelled to stop it.
You are Nicolas Cage.
Despite a total lack of training, you are able to shoot and fight with the accuracy and ability of a Special Forces soldier.
You are a cop or scientist, but could be a model.
A building explodes.
You are in a shoot-out on the streets of a major city . . . . . . and it involves helicopters and rocket launchers.
Everyone around you is a model.
Teams of well-trained henchmen are shooting at you, but they all miss.
You are engaged in a knock-down, drag-out brawl with the leader of a major crime organization . . .
. . . in slow motion.
Everything that has not yet exploded explodes.
NOW PLAYING AT THE ZOMBIETOWN 12-SCREEN CINEPLEX
by John Moe
Breakfast of Tiffanys
My Dinner of Andre
Better Off Dead
A Beautiful Mind
Throw Momma from Her Brain
Alive (two screens)
Ocean's 11 with the Tops of Their Skulls Removed
ADJECTIVES RARELY USED BY WINE TASTERS
by Adam Koford
CURRENT FOOTBALL PLAYERS IF THEY DECIDED TO SPELL THEIR LAST NAME LIKE BRETT FAVRE
by Jason DeLorenzo
CINEMATIC EXPRESSIONS OF INNER SELF-LOATHING IF THERE WERE NO MIRRORS TO SMASH
by Ross Murray
Junkie jazz singer sees self in back of spoon; uses telekinetic powers to bend it until it snaps in two.
Actress who clawed her way to the top catches reflection in pond; uses nearby backhoe to drain pond.
Woman who married for wealth rather than love looks at photo on driver's license; goes to DMV to ask for new photo.
Politician who has forsaken his grassroots values discovers potato in shape of own head; mashes it.
Burned-out rock star looks down at himself during out-of-body experience; refuses to go back in body "until we start seeing some changes around here, mister."
Aging supermodel has plaster cast made of face; backs over it in SUV.
Alcoholic author looks at reflection in a tumbler of Scotch; drinks Scotch; pours another to see if he looks any better in this one.
TWO BUGS ON DISPLAY AT THE MONTREAL INSECTARIUM, THE FIRST OF WHICH I THOUGHT VERY IMPRESSIVE UNTIL I SAW THE SECOND
by Dan Guterman
ALTERNATIVES TO "OPENING A CAN O' WHUPASS" FOR THE LESS CONFRONTATIONALLY INCLINED
by Ian Carey
Unsnapping a Purse o' Politeness
Decanting a Carafe o' Contrition
Unzipping a Fanny Pack o' Friendliness
Sipping a Demitasse o' Diplomacy
Refrigerating the Tupperware o' Temperance
Unscrewing a Thermos o' Thoughtfulness
Gently Folding a Napkin o' Negotiation
Checking the Date on a Carton o' Caution
Serving an Aperitif o' Avoidance
Lightly Greasing a Ramekin o' Retreat
Applying a Beechwood Veneer to a Hutch o' Hiding
Cleaning out a Drawer o' Disappearance
PROPOSED NICKNAMES FOR THE TODAY SHOW'S MATT LAUER
by Dan Kennedy
Mr. Smuggy Pants
Smugly Grinning, Esq.
Rich Smugly, President, Above It All, Inc.
YOUR RECURRING DREAMS ABOUT UNICORNS EXPLAINED,1970S BASEBALL EDITION
by Carlton Doby
You have an unresolved financial conflict with former Red Sox pitcher Dick Pole.
You are worried your father will die and your mother will marry former Royals first baseman Pete LaCock.
You are concerned that former Rangers pitcher John Henry Johnson will lose all his teeth.
You are jealous of your father and sister for monopolizing the affections of former Tigers pitcher Woodie Fryman.
You are envious of former Astros third baseman Enos Cabell, although why exactly is unclear.
POPULAR SONGS RENAMED ALONG THE LINES OF THE CATTLEMEN'S BEEF BOARD AD CAMPAIGN "BEEF, IT'S WHAT'S FOR DINNER"
by Geoff Smith
"Me, It's What's for Leaning On"
"Wu-Tang Clan, It's What Ain't Nothing Ta Fuck Wit'"
"Back, It's What Baby Got"
"The House, It's What's Burning Down"
"Alles, It's What California's Über"
"The Street, It's What's for Dancing In"
"Penis, It's What's Detachable"
"Dead, It's What Ed Is"
"The Dust, It's What Another One Bites"
"The Bong, It's What Hits Are From"
"U, It's What I Would Die 4"
"London, It's What's Calling"
"Brooklyn, It's What There's No Sleep Till"
"The Volume, It's What's Pumped Up"
"Bigger, It's What Some Girls Are Than Others"
EXCERPTS FROM AN ACTUAL 1970 VIETNAM-ERA NAVY-RECRUITMENT FILM TARGETING BLACK AMERICANS, NARRATED BY LOU RAWLS
by Angelo Young
"Of course, everybody has to go through boot camp . . .
you get checked in and you get threaded out."
"Of course, you have to get the ol' bod in shape, you know what I mean? And you learn to swim--yeah, swim, man, you dig?"
"And, don't forget, you're getting paid all the time, you understand?"
"You don't have to go alone. The navy has what they call the buddy system. Where you and a friend from home can join the navy together. And that's a gas."
MY FANTASY SPORTS ROSTERS
by John Moe
QB: Steve McNair
RB: LaDainian Tomlinson
RB: Franco Harris
WR: Marvin Harrison
TE: Jaclyn Smith with a huge plate of bacon
DEF: Soviet Union, circa 1944
G: Dwyane Wade
G: Aldo Nova
F: A pony
F: Christian Laettner (Duke version only)
C: A 23-foot-compendium of Shawn Bradley, Manute Bol, and Gheorge Muresan
1B: Todd Helton
2B: That girl in college who, when I looked back on it, might have been kind of into me
SS: Omar Vizquel
3B: A constantly regenerating pizza
OF: Ichiro Suzuki
OF: Kid Rock
C: Thurman Munson living to a ripe old age
LHP: World peace
RHP: I become the lead singer of Led Zeppelin
QUESTIONS FROM THE FBI EMPLOYMENT APPLICATION MEANT TO FILTER OUT UNICORNS DISGUISED AS PEOPLE
by Wendy Molyneux
Would you describe yourself as unicorny?
A. One horn in the middle of my head.
B. No horns.
True or false: I am a unicorn.
LAST NAMES CLEARLY DERIVED FROM ANCESTRAL PROFESSIONS
by Sam Means
WHAT TO THINK ABOUT WHEN TWO ADULTS COME AND COMPLAIN TO YOU ABOUT HOW THEY CANNOT GET ALONG WITH EACH OTHER AT WORK
by Dave Best
Being in a spaceship
and no gravity
and shit like that.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This book really underlined for me how literary wit can sometimes be spoiled by a bad visual presentation. Splitting up the lists into two columns and crowding more than one list on a page sometimes seemed to spoil the humor in some cases. I didn't like reading to the end of a list only to turn the page and find two more items tacked at the top of a page, especially when the final item in a list so often serves as the "kicker" or punchline. Some good gags in here, but ultimately they work better in a single-column scrolling web format.
This book has a higher ratio of laugh-at-loud jokes to failure than most comedy out there, though like all McSweeney's material, there will be a faction of people who don't get it, and another faction who "get" it but aren't amused anyway. While there are a few lists here and there that evoke that same chafing, all-right-all-right-we-get-it-move-on feeling a particularly bad night of SNL or the like evokes, the vast majority instead evoke an odd appreciation for the magically banal in life. That's not to say there's any deep meaning here--I should think the writers would be floored by that suggestion--but there's a sinister glimmer in most every sentence here. From Carlinesque language play to unicorn fetishes, from "Nonrecommended Questions for Your Five-minute Speed Date" to "Signs Your Unicorn is Cheating on You," if you're willing to suspend not just your disbelief, but your belief in the literalness of the material world, you'll be in for a wickedly funny ride.
parts of this little book were really funny. but then again, parts of it weren't. among the goodies --> lesser known movie prequels: there are plenty of mohicans, borderline-inappropriate dancing. (!!) hee hee.