At Hikone, Japan
1 Potable Water vs. 9 Loreley Beer Garden
Potable Water: Hi, everyone, look at me. I'm Potable Water! I'm an essential ingredient in civilization anywhere. The Romans kicked ass because they could build aqueducts to bring me into their cities and rehydrate them after trips to the vomitoria. Ever wonder why all the ancient Egyptian cities were on the Nile? That's right, me. (You're welcome for Moses and the pyramids, by the way. No trouble at all!) You know, it's not an accident that the Cradle of Civilization is between two rivers, is it? That's right Sumerians, I'm talking to you. You're nothing without me. Everyone wants me! The United States is willing to drain the entire fucking Colorado river to grow lettuce for their Big Macs in the Imperial Valley, and the entire West is eyeing Lake Superior like it's the last bit of steak on their girlfriend's plate. Israel and Lebanon could go to war over me. The Russians tried to fuck me over in the Aral Sea, and what do they have now? The world's giantest fucking sandbox. They learned their lesson. Fuck oil, if the world goes to hell in a handbasket, it's just as likely to be over me than it is oil. That's right _ me! Me! Me! Me!
Loreley Beer Garden: OK, who needs a drink? Thought so. Loreley Beer Garden 78, Potable Water 74.
6 Exile on Main Street vs. 3 Bob Dylan
If this were a matchup between the Stones and Bob Dylan, it would be a knock-down, drag-out, classic for the ages, albeit one that would be accompanied by the sound of snapping pelvises and the distinct scent of liniment. As situated, however, it's one great album up against the whole of Robert Zimmerman himself. And musician-poets from Minnesota are not to be trifled with. Bob Dylan 91, Exile on Main Street 75.
At West Egg, N.Y.
5 Boogie Nights vs. 4 The Federal Reserve
I assume that the first time CrimeNotes laid eyes on Alan Greenspan, his reaction was much like that of Philip Seymour Hoffman getting a gander of Dirk Diggler's Peacekeeper-like dong: gulping, swallowing hard, goggle-eyed _ the whole bit. Meanwhile, the actual Federal Reserve is a kinda-sorta governmental system of entities that isn't exactly transparent. (And you know a guy like Jack Horner is all about transparency in government and open-records laws.) The Fed is dry and arcane and doesn't include a shirtless Heather Graham at all, not even under the best of circumstances. Also, I once paid the equivalent of $18 for Chinese food in London because £1 is almost two bucks now. Thanks, Federal Reserve. Boogie Nights 72, The Federal Reserve 56.
10 All Things Considered vs. 2 Rose Bowl
By happenstance, two things from my childhood have met here in the second round. When I find myself explaining my childhood in Ohio, I explain my crosscutting football allegiance thusly: "When I was a kid, I was obsessed with the Cleveland Browns. I only watched college football twice a year. I'd watch Michigan play Ohio State [pause] and then I'd watch Michigan in the Rose Bowl." (It usually takes Ohio State fans that extra second.) What I don't talk about, because no one asks, is that I also remember listening to NPR's All Things Considered anytime I was in the car with my mom. I developed a deep and abiding love for the show and all things NPR that ... apparently had little impact, because I basically never listen to it these days. It's not that I don't like it, it's just that I don't ever bother to listen. Meanwhile, when I was walking through leafy Pasadena streets on the way to the Rose Bowl, my girlfriend at the time (an Ivy League grad who cared little for college football; no, we're not together anymore) thought I was unwell because I kept bouncing up and down, walking too far ahead of everyone and generally tugging at the leash like a puppy smelling a far-off barbecue. I think I acted reasonably calm, consider I was on the cusp of my first in-person glimpse of The Promised Land. Meanwhile, the most excited anyone's ever gotten for All Things Considered can be seen in the video below. Rose Bowl 97, All Things Considered 81.