Everyone wants to know what everyone else is thinking and these lists do just that. Do people stuff the ballot box and push some unlikely underdog to the top of a list? I’m sure, but that’s America my friend, where anyone can rise to the top if they have enough friends with high speed Internet and time to vote.
Each year, I do my own list that’s a bit more unconventional. Little nuggets I’ve picked up along the way, spending a lifetime in our great Capital Region. See if any of them sound familiar.
Best place to take the kids for lunch and see your waitress sing and dance- Johnny Rockets. The hot dogs are great too.
Best cartoon from my childhood- Johnny Quest.
Best place to take your kids if you’re nearly broke- Chuck E Cheese. I take my youngest twice a month, and with just $3, he can play 12 games.
Best place to take your kids if you are completely broke- the pet store. They don’t have lions and tigers and bears, oh my, but they do have spiders and lizards and snakes. Unfortunately, you missed the best pet store ever. Fifteen years ago, there was one in Latham with a monkey named Jimmy. If you caught him in the right (or wrong) mood, he threw feces at you. Now that’s entertainment.
Best place to take your little ones on a rainy day- any book store with a decent children’s section. You can sit with them and read at no charge.
Best time to talk to your kids- when you are driving. Make them unplug their iPod’s and touch screens for 20 minutes. Some of my best bonding comes during the shortest drives.
Best way to be a parent- don’t be their best friend. They want discipline, curfews and limits, even if they say they don’t.
Love and relationships
Best place to find someone- Facebook. With all the friends of friends of friends, there are a million people to click with.
Best place to lose someone- Facebook. Be careful those ‘friends’ don’t cross the line and innocent flirtation leads to something naughty. My tip- if the conversation isn’t something you’d want your significant other to see, you shouldn’t be having it.
Best therapy that doesn’t involve a co-pay- the treadmill at your local gym.
Best time to see people at the gym who want to work out- between 5 a.m. and 5 p.m.
Best time to see people at the gym who want to mate and date- between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. It’s ‘happy hour’ without the cocktail waitress.
Best movie I’ve seen in the last year- Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Laugh out loud funny.
Best invention known to man- the DVR. So simple even Jimmy, the feces throwing monkey, could figure it out.
Best two reasons to get Showtime-Californication and The Tudors.
Best song I’ve heard in a long time- It Don’t Break Even by The Script. Brilliant and so true.
Best song to play if you got dumped- What Hurts The Most by Rascal Flatts
Best song to play if you can’t find love- Just Haven’t Met Her Yet by Michael Bubl
Best song to play if you want to see me change the station- Empire State Mind by Jay Z and Alicia Keys. Monotonous and overrated. The guy calls himself “The new Sinatra.” Please.
Best restaurant I’ve eaten at in the last year- Canali’s in Rotterdam.
Best restaurant you’ve probably driven by but haven’t tried – Moscatiello’s in Troy. If you’ve been to HVCC, you’ve passed it.
Best bargain for your buck- Lanie’s Caf in Loudonville. Don’t let the zip code fool you. The prices are reasonable, the food delish.
Best patio with a view- The Sports Grill in East Greenbush. Albany’s skyline is so close, you’ll want to touch it.
Best commercial jingle ever written- “Give me back that filet of fish. Give me that fish, Oooooh” by McDonald’s. Admit it, every time it comes on you, cringe, then sing.
Best line from a TV commercial- “I love your chin dimple. What?”
Best local TV jingle- “Martin, Harding and Mazzotti, do it again call 1-800-LAW-1010” If I’m ever again attacked by a monkey throwing feces, I’m calling in the ‘heavy hitters.’
Best place to buy designer brands at bargain prices – Marshalls.
Best place to shop if you want to use it twice and throw it away -The Christmas Tree Shops.
Best shopping idea in a long time- Using the Price Chopper Advantage Card to buy gas. I saved $18 the other day.
Best example of how not to handle car safety issues- Toyota.
Best example of how not to handle marital issues- Tiger Woods.
Best way to tick off the voters- threaten to withhold their tax refunds.
Best way to get stuck in traffic- Drive on Route 7 near the Northway in Latham.
Best surprise- while folding laundry, you find a crumpled up $20 bill in your jeans.
Best way to blow $8 – go to any automatic carwash. Why so expensive? It’s water.
Best way to make it rain – spend $8 on a carwash.
Best stuffing in the world – your mom’s.
Best man in the world- your dad.
Best place to hide when you’re fighting with mom and dad- your grandparents.
Best feeling in the world- carrying a sleeping child upstairs to bed.
Best two words to hear- you’re hired.
Best two words to say- I’m home.
Best three words to hear- I miss you.
Best three words to say- I forgive you.
That’s it boys and girls; my list for this year. If you enjoyed this issue, I hope you’ll pass it onto a friend. And, if you don’t, well… I forgive you.
John Gray is a Fox23 News anchor and contributing writer at the Troy Record. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org