It’s my birthday! Today I turn 35 so to celebrate I am writing another vanity list. Over the past two years I have written two other lists of this nature for my birthday. First we had my Top 10 Favorite Books and then we had my Top 10 Favorite Movies. This year I am going to focus on lists. This is my all time favorite list of lists.
The List: Top 10 Poisonous Foods We Love To Eat
I am a food fanatic – as you will see as you progress through this list. I wrote the list of poisonous foods because I find it fascinating that so many things we take for granted are potentially deadly – though most people don’t realize it. In a way I hope these lists will make people more aware of what they eat and I hope that they prompt people to read the back of a packet to see what it really is that they are going to shove down their gullet. My favorite item on the list is castor oil (number seven) as I think most people are unaware of the fact that it is the source of the deadly toxin ricin.
The List: Top 10 Creepy Aspects of Victorian Life
I realize it is a recent list, but I have to say I loved putting this one together. I love death, I love the macabre, and I love history. This list let me combine all three! From freaks to natural catastrophes, the Victorians had it all and this list aimed to show that. My favorite item: number 2 of course – memento mori. Historic photos of dead people. It doesn’t get much better than that.
I was raised a Catholic and in my late twenties I went to the seminary. While I didn’t graduate as a priest, my time there was probably the most important in my life. I learnt a great deal about classical philosophy and developed a deep desire to find and present the truth as supported by logic. The most important thing I learnt at the seminary is that we must always seek the objective truth and not reject ideas that don’t suit our opinions when these ideas have sound reason behind them. This list was, for me, an opportunity to present the teachings of the Catholic Church as they really are – without the myths and misconceptions that are so often heard. My favorite item? Number six: the Church is anti-science. Most people don’t realize that the Church has not opposed evolution ever and this was my chance to illustrate that.
The List: Top 10 Unusual Cooking Concepts
Another food list – surprise! Just prior to leaving Great Britain I had dinner at the Fat Duck restaurant (voted best in the world for a number of years) and my whole concept of cooking and eating was turned upside down. This list was my homage to the great modern chefs who are looking beyond food into science to create some of the greatest dishes imaginable. I hoped that this would inspire readers to take risks with food and try things they would normally think ridiculous. After all, how many amazing things have come from people experimenting with concepts that seem ridiculous? My favorite item? Number eight: other senses. This is something that struck me as the most significant from my fine dining experiences in Europe – food is not just about taste – it is about smell and sound also.
The List: Top 10 Incredible Recordings
This was the first list in which I really poured out my heart. It was my first list in which no research was required; I already knew what I wanted to include. It also happens to be the list that generated our first serious boost of traffic by making the front page of digg. That front page produced an immense amount of traffic and shortly after we were front-paged by Reddit. From that moment on we suffered severe downtime due to the traffic and it took us a year and a half to get things stable. But it was worth it. Why? Because the people that stuck with us through the downtime turned out to be the smartest and nicest people on the Internet! My favorite item? Number 1 – Moreschi. Because he is a castrato and his voice is scary as hell whilst being one of the most important recordings in history.
The List: Top 10 Best of the Best in Movies
As a kid, going to the pictures was a rare privilege. In small town New Zealand the local theaters had one screen and one movie. Remember – this is the early eighties. I remember going to see Sheena, Queen of the Jungle because there was bugger all else to see. Since my youth I have been fascinated by movies and moved far more than I ought to be by actors on the silver screen. This list gave me a chance to expose not just the greats in front of the camera, but the greats behind the camera. The unsung heroes of cinema so to speak. My favorite item? Number two – best actress Maria Falconetti. My reason? Most people don’t know who she is and it was her only real film – but despite that she is known in movie circles as one of the greatest actresses ever. Additionally, Saint Joan of Arc (whom Falconetti portrayed) is one of my favorite saints.
The List: Top 10 Listverse Mistakes
A strange list for my top ten favorites I agree, but this list helped me to reflect on how others saw the site and my efforts. While many of the comments spoke in favor of my efforts, this list helped me to resolve a few issues that caused discomfort to the readers. I would like to think that since this list was published I have rectified the majority of the items there. My favorite item is number seven (not checking the uniqueness of lists). Since I posted the top 10 listverse mistakes, I have not posted any lists that were not original or did not include permission to reproduce. I also think that this list shows how incredibly humble I am. Okay – that was intentionally ironic.
Religious sentiments of the enlightenment period has caused many myths about the middle ages of Europe to arise. Nothing annoys me more than for people to repeat silly myths that were invented in order to cause hatred (“let them eat cake” anyone?) This list about the Middle ages let me show life in medieval times in a more accurate light. Forget the “dark ages” – a term that was specifically coined to cast a negative light on the times. The Middle Ages was a great time to live and this list showed us why. My favorite item? Number three: fantastic weather. Forget the cold rainy days – the Middle Ages was blisteringly hot despite being in the middle of an ice-age (the same ice-age we are in right now!)
The List: Top 15 Incredible Historic Photographs
Further to my favorite subjects previously mentioned, I love photography. I suck at taking photos but I love them. More especially I love historic photos which show us the minutiae of life that we otherwise overlook. This list was very chilling for me as it made me feel as if I was looking at a mysterious spooky past that we only know through paintings. Who would have believed that the first photo was taken while the inquisition was still holding auto de fé, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams (the FIRST one) were still alive, and Beethoven was still writing music?! I don’t know about you, but that seems so creepy to me. My favorite item? Number 1- the oldest photograph in history. For the reasons previously mentioned.
The List: Top 30 Brilliantly Timed Sports Photos
It has to be our most copied list. For the final list of my favorites I had to use this one. Every time I look at this list I laugh out loud – and that usually takes a lot! I am not a particularly big fan of sports but I do love these ridiculous snapshots of people at their worst visibly. My favorite item? Item 10. It couldn’t really be any other could it?
The Site: Cogitz.com
This isn’t about my favorite lists, this is an announcement. I have recently started a new site which, time-willing, will allow me to write longer articles on subjects (mostly bizarre) that have already been covered on listverse, and should allow me to introduce a few bizarre topics that I have not yet been able to put into a list here. The site is called Cogitz and I hope you will all take the time to go and check it out and subscribe to the updates. We have already covered a variety of bizarre subjects so be sure to check it out.
Happy birthday me!