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Who'll make it onto Dalton Ross' iPod?

Dalton Ross tries to decide who’ll make his iPod cut. Plus: The EW senior editor gets pumped for ”Deadwood,” lists the lamest white rappers ever, and answers reader mail

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Guns N' Roses: Jodi Summers / Retna

Who’ll make it onto Dalton Ross’ iPod?

Technology scares and confuses me. So understand that I’m a little behind the curve on anything that begins with a lowercase e or i or ends in the letters com. (Remember, I’m also the loser who watches TV for a living but is too lazy to order a DVR for my house.) So it figures that I would wait until this late in the game to finally start filling up my iPod with songs. The problem is, I need a little advice. For me, having one of these devices is not about downloading songs — it’s about transferring my previously purchased records and CDs into one place. But, you see, there are a few ways to go about this.

The first school of thought: Add it all. Basically, put all your favorite albums on there to create the ultimate library.

The second school of thought: Pick and choose. Instead of adding full albums, take only the songs you like to create more of an ultimate mixtape as opposed to the ultimate library.

The third school of thought: Throw the damn thing in the trash and keep getting funny stares from techno-savvy hipsters as you walk down the street with your oversize portable CD player.

I’ve crossed the third option off my list, basically because this thing seems pretty expensive (it was a gift) and I’m a cheap bastard. So that leaves the first two choices. My initial leaning was option 2. I’ve talked to EW’s Dan Snierson extensively about this, seeing as we got iPods at about the same time. Dan’s philosophy is simple: ”All killer, no filler.” When you’re listening to music, you don’t want to waste time and energy skipping songs you don’t want to hear. I agree with this 100 percent. When I listen to music, I want to hear the best of the best, and for the most part can kick the rest to the curb…not that I’ve actually kicked anything to the curb in my life before, or even fully understand what that entails.

So that’s what I started doing. Some albums, like Fun House by the Stooges, I put almost every track on. From others, I just took a song or two. But then I started to worry — what happens to the tunes I don’t put on? If iPod is the wave of the future, if this is going to be how I’m listening to all my music from now on, then is the rest of my record and CD collection — the songs I don’t put on — being rendered obsolete? In some cases, no big whoop; every album has a track or two than you can do without hearing ever again in your life. But what about those wonderfully middle-of-the-road tunes — the ones that aren’t top-tier, but you wouldn’t mind rocking out every once in a while?

Let’s take the case of Guns N’ Roses’ Appetite for Destruction. Great album with great artwork. In some pictures Axl has his hair teased out like the Bride of Frankenstein; in others it’s productless and superstraight. I don’t know why, but I love that. In any event, when it came time to pick out some Appetite tracks, I was stumped. Of course, you know I was gonna grab ”Welcome to the Jungle,” ”It’s So Easy,” and ”Paradise City,” and there were a few easy cuts, such as ”Think About You” and ”Anything Goes,” mostly because I can’t listen to the lyrics (”I’ve been thinkin’ ’bout, thinkin’ ’bout sex, always hungry for some that I haven’t had yet”) without breaking into fits of laughter. But what about the middle ground, songs like ”My Michelle” that I don’t necessarily want to hear all the time but am not quite ready to throw into the scrap heap? And there were others as well. I may not want to dance with ”Mr. Brownstone” every day, but a fix once in a while never hurt anyone, right?

Am I overanalyzing things? Yes. Do I need to stop putting every single song on trial before adding to my iPod? Yes. Are these rhetorical questions driving you insane? Oh, yes. But I am open to any and all suggestions. Remember — I am lazy. Really lazy. Which is why I haven’t yet figured out how to program playlists, which could probably solve this whole dilemma to begin with. What’s the way to go — all killer no filler, or full library? Help a technophobic loser find his way.

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OBSESSION OF THE WEEK

Honestly, I was a little disappointed in Sunday’s Sopranos finale. I’m not saying there should have been explosions and people having their heads chopped off — oh, wait, there were! — but it definitely seemed a bit on the low-key side. I was excited to hear, however, that Deadwood (which returns on Sunday for the start of season 3) will also be coming back with two two-hour movies once these 12 episodes wrap up. Okay, I’ll be honest: I only understand about, oh, 55 percent of what happens on this show, but the performances are so incredible that my ignorance remains bliss. Am I bit obsessed? Well, I have been known to keep a running tally of times the word c—sucker appears in each episode. (Makes a great drinking game, I might add, although it helps to have a defibrillator.) Anyway, like I said, season 3 kicks off on HBO this Sunday, and if you can handle the dude from Major Dad acting like coldhearted bastard, then I recommend you check it out.

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THE LIST

Us old-school folk who like to reminisce about the days when people wore huge Volkswagen logos around their necks love the Beastie Boys, and there’s little doubt that Eminem possesses some genuine talent. But for every King Ad-Rock and Slim Shady, there are scores of embarrassing white rappers. In celebration of all those who put the honkey in phonkey, I present the Top 5 Worst White Rappers of All Time:

1) Dee Dee King (a.k.a Dee Dee Ramone)
Dee Dee Ramone was the longtime bassist for one of the world’s most important rock bands, the Ramones. He also recorded perhaps the worst rap album ever, Standing in the Spotlight. featuring timeless classics like ”2 Much 2 Drink” and ”Commotion in the Ocean.” Using the alias Dee Dee King, he sounds like a confused homeless man with a Casio. No doubt Joey, Johnny, and Marky got a good chuckle out of this one.

2) Vanilla Ice
This one is almost too easy. Truth be told, his flow is not completely terrible, but anyone who raps about Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles earns an automatic spot on this list.

3) The Pillsbury Dough Boy
First of all, it doesn’t get any whiter than the Pillsbury Dough Boy, and yes, he tried rapping in an truly unfortunate commercial that still haunts me to this day. His opus was titled ”The Dough Boy Rap” (sample lyrics: ”Just wrap a wiener filled with the cheese/ Pick it up, it’s sure to please”).

4) Prime Minister Pete Nice (3rd Base)
3rd Base certainly had a few decent songs, but his whole shtick with the cane and cigar was pretty weak (not to mention a Slick Rick rip-off). Plus, he and MC Serch always went out of their way to dis the Beastie Boys, which is kinda akin to Ian Ziering talking smack about De Niro.

5) Mike ”Boogie” Malin (Big Brother 2)
The low point for this walking identity crisis during season 2 of Big Brother was when he performed an impromptu rap for the rest of his houseguests, which included rhyming one of his fellow contestants’ names (Hardy) with party.

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READER MAIL

Wow. Wait, let me spell it backwards — wow. That’s all I can say after going through the insane amount of e-mails turned in last week, most of which were in reaction to my list of the Top 5 Shows to Never Make It Past Season 1. First off, the answer to last week’s trivia: What do all the honorable-mention series — The Ben Stiller Show, Undeclared, Action, and The Tick — have in common? A very popular guess was that they were all shows Judd Apatow worked on. Apatow did work on Undeclared and The Ben Stiller Show (as well as Freaks and Geeks), but the Apatow connection ends there. My favorite — and technically accurate — response comes from Michelle Reaves, whose answer was ”They are all better than According to Jim.” But the truly correct answer, as many of you knew all too well, is that they were all canceled by Fox. Now, on to the rest of the mailbag…

I suspect I’m the 5,652nd person to ask this, but… have you not watched the one season of Firefly? — Tanya

Actually, Tanya, you were more like the 8,732nd. I knew by leaving Firefly (another Fox program!) off the list I would invite scorn and ridicule, but for me, it just didn’t make the cut. Not to imply I didn’t like the show, just not as much as the others. Here are some other programs that people nominated for the list: Earth 2, Wonderfalls, Love Monkey, John Doe, Space: Above and Beyond, Police Squad!, Karen Sisco, Now & Again, Keen Eddie, Book of Daniel, Surface, Invasion, Coronet Blue, Brimstone, Cupid, Odyssey 5, and Quark.

In fact, people were so into the list that they didn’t know where to stop (although I suppose anywhere before Surface probably would have been a good point). Here are some of the shows that lasted more than one season…yet people nominated them anyway: Andy Richter Controls the Universe, Joan of Arcadia, The Job, Arrested Development, Get a Life, Felicity, and Sports Night.

Dalton, I’ve been a faithful reader since you did the ”What to Watch” column in the print EW. Anyway, I feel compelled to defend Jenny McCarthy as an, um, author. I have *cough* read *cough* her first two books. And um, they’re funny! Maybe you have to be a woman who has gone through pregnancy and childbirth to appreciate them. I’m assuming that isn’t you. — Stacey Tardif

I should make a point about the whole Jenny McCarthy thing. I got a lot of flak from some people for mocking the Jenny McCarthy book without reading it. The whole thing about it is — and maybe this did not come off clearly enough — I wasn’t trying to slam the book, but rather the fact that the onetime eye candy from Singled Out is up four books to my zero. In fact, I thought it was pretty clear that the person getting dissed and dismissed the most was yours truly.

I used to work at a Barnes & Noble, and you wouldn’t believe the number of copies of Jenny McCarthy’s book we moved. Surprisingly, it was usually uptight pregnant women and/or their mothers/mothers-in-law doing the purchase. I’d casually let it slip that she used to be a Playmate, and they’d usually say, ”Oh, but she’s soooo funny!” Obviously, they never saw Dirty Love. Okay — that’s it. Now, go out and get yourself a TiVo already, okay? — Kevin Burk

Kevin, I can’t even program my iPod, so the home TiVo is going to have to wait a bit. I’ll get to it right after I figure out a way to corner the uptight-pregnant-woman market.

Hey Dalton, I was at the Cult and Bonham, too! Clear back in what…1991? Back when rock really RAWKED!! Did you catch Bonham covering ”Black Dog” and adding, like, 14 verses? ”Craptastically amazing” doesn’t even come close! — Bryan Petersen

Yes, Bryan, I absolutely remember when ”rock really RAWKED!!!” The Cult/Bonham tour was in 1990, and I’ll share a funny story about it. I went to see the show in New York (where I was in college) and at the end of Bonham’s set, Jason came back out on stage and said to the crowd, ”For one night, and one night only! For my father! ‘BLACK DOG’!!!!!” And then the crowd went wild and they launched into the Zeppelin classic. Fast forward a few nights to the Patriot Center right outside Washington, D.C. (where I was visiting home), and I’m at the show again. (What can I say? Big Cult fan.) Sure enough, at the end of the Bonham set, JB comes out says, ”For one night, and one night only! For my father! ‘BLACK DOG’!!!!!” Now that, my friend, is craptastically amazing.

Dalton, first, I’m so glad to find you here. You keep disappearing from the places I’m accustomed to seeing you in the magazine and giving me anxiety attacks that you’ve moved on and I’ll have lost my pop culture soulmate who occasionally makes me shoot Coke out of my nose while reading because he says something I thought only my twisted mind had thought of. Anyway, my question: So glad to hear Brisco County is finally coming to DVD. Any news about Jack of All Trades? — Lisa Rutherford

First off, what kind of ”coke” are we talking about that is shooting out of your nose, Lisa? Because I’m not sure whether to be amused or a bit concerned. As for Bruce Campbell’s Jack of All Trades, its time for DVD release may have come and gone, considering they already put Cleopatra 2525 (its companion show) out. But, as we all know, these days it seems everything comes out eventually, so keep your fingers crossed. As for me and the mag, I’m doing more editing there these days, which is why you haven’t seen my name as much, but keep your eyes peeled — I have some stuff in the works. Maybe. No promises. Remember — I’m lazy.

In the meantime, send your comments, questions, quibbles, and, yes, iPod programming suggestions to theglutton@ew.com. Or just fill out the handy-dandy form below.