Some Underrated Things

Today I am going to write about a few things that I find to be underrated in society today.

Billy Ray Cyrus
Even as a country music fan for two decades, I never have understood how or why “Achy Breaky Heart” became such a smash hit in 1992, and how it is still the first song most non-country fans remember from the 90s decade, or the genre as a whole. That song? Overrated. The rest of Billy Ray’s discography? Vastly underrated.

When the song was new, the craze swept the nation.Our fourth grade class float in the homecoming parade was based on the song, with all of us sitting expressionless on a flatbed, going down the road wearing t-shirts with construction-paper broken hearts taped to them. And you know what? We had to win a drawing against all the other grade school classes who wanted that to be their class’s song in the homecoming parade which was country music themed that fall.

While the song skyrocketed Billy Ray Cyrus to fame at the time, he’s now made fun of for that song. People look at his flowing mullet and stupid song and think he was some hack, but the crazy thing is I actually think he’s a very underrated singer with a lot of good songs that never came anywhere close to the popularity of “Achy Breaky Heart.” Songs like “In the Heart of a Woman,” “Could’ve Been Me,” “Southern Rain,” “Back to Tennessee,” “Busy Man,” “Ready, Set, Don’t Go,” and “Words by Heart” were all really good country songs.

Prank Calls
I know very few people who like the old Comedy Central show “Crank Yankers,” but I always have found it utterly hilarious. The premise of the show is a bunch of celebrities (Jimmy Kimmel, Sarah Silverman, Tracy Morgan, Dane Cook, Tony Barbieri, etc.) making prank calls to strangers. The phone calls are then reenacted by puppets in the fictional town of Yankerville. An ingenious idea for a TV show, in my opinion.

Before the days of caller ID, making prank phone calls was always a favorite pastime of mine and my friends’. Whether it was with Jordan in the 80s, with Dusty in the 90s, or with Chris in the 00s, I was always teaming up with someone to make prank calls. They were almost never harmful to anyone, just funny to us. Along with “Crank Yankers,” there were the Touchtone Terrorists and Jerky Boys who also made prank calls.

Dusty and I made a habit of calling local radio stations with bogus dedications to classmates from other classmates, or dialing an office and pretending to cry uncontrollably and just blabber inconsolably until someone became really concerned. Chris and I would prefer to fill up voice mail boxes with dramatic readings of the ingredients of Skippy peanut butter, or perform a live happy-birthday-gram to someone, only to tell them at the end of the call that their credit card would be billed $29.95 per minute for the previous call. Even I appreciated falling victim to a prank call, as manager Aaron Pratt can attest to.

Sadly, I think the art of the prank call is as good as dead with cell phones automatically displaying the phone numbers and land lines with caller ID.

Sporcle
I can’t tell you how many freaking hours (well into the hundreds, I’m sure) I’ve wasted on this website in the past year—yet I’ve never heard of anyone else ever visiting sporcle.com unless I told them about it first!

The idea is very simple—you can create and play quizzes made by other people where you basically have to guess a list of items. From games as obvious as “name the countries of the world” to more obscure topics like “name the top 100 baby names from the 1940s”, it’s just endless entertainment. I actually find it’s very beneficial to play a quiz or two in the morning to get my brain running a little. Plus, I enjoy lists of things, especially statistic-oriented things baseball-related. While it’s one of my top 5 websites visited on a daily basis, I bet no one else I know visits it on a regular basis.

Gravy
You know how many times a year I eat gravy? Not nearly enough. If gravy can be considered a condiment, it’s by far the most underrated. I like very few things more than an entire meal hidden under thick country gravy. Why should it be just a Thanksgiving or Christmas feast thing? I want to see gravy as an option in more restaurants, and with more different foods.

Lauren can attest to this—while I was still living alone in 2007, one of my favorite meals was a big hamburger set on an open-faced bun, stacked with mashed potatoes and topped with gravy. Low in calories, but high on delivering satisfaction to my stomach, I always said. In today’s fast-paced world, we need fewer gangs, less teenage sass, and more gravy.

Honorable Mentions

  • mashed potatoes
  • stuffing/dressing
  • “Party Down”
  • John Goodman’s “People Like Us” song from “True Stories”
  • Urlesque.com
  • seasons 3-4 of “The Simpsons”
  • fountain pop
  • Metrodome
  • hot pink
  • bowling
  • country styled snap-up shirts
  • blogs
  • back roads (as opposed to major highways)
  • snot rockets

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6 comments

  1. Good blog. My two cents:

    1. The Oak Ridge Boys originally wrote that song, but knew they would need to start cutting themselves every night after singing “Achy Breaky Heart” and “Elvira” during the encores, so they gave the song away.

    2. Jim Florentine was the main guy from Crank Yankers. Check out his 5 part series entitled “Terrorizing Telemarketers”.

    3. I found canned gravy in the grocery store the other day. Sarah can attest: You should have seen the overwhelmingly happy smile on my face.

  2. So you were living alone in 2007?

    Prank calls were one thing, but did you really need to order me all those march of dimes leaflets?

  3. Ah, yes…the prank phone call. I hate to admit it, but I, like Ryan, made many a prank phone call in my younger days. My friends (Denene and Nadine) and I used to call a teacher of ours and pretend to be someone named “Daisy” and told her that we were having an affair with her husband. I’m sure she believed it. Ha…And those poor people in the phone book with the last name of Frankenstein…I’m surprised they didn’t get an unlisted number. Good, old fashioned, fun!!

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