Top ten lists


I have in my right hand, direct from my home office in Corn Borer, Indiana, today’s categories:
Top five silly things flight attendants say
Top ten additions to Facebook’s “Like” button
Top ten animals left off the ark
Top ten Christian insults
Top ten clues a man should wear a shirt in summer
Top ten differences between “secretaries” and “administrative professionals”
Top ten most popular shows on The Vatican Channel
Top ten new uses of term “Polar Vortex”
Top ten politically correct Christmas—excuse me, holiday—song
Top ten reasons Halloween strange holiday
Top ten reasons Santa on naughty list
Top ten rejected Pokémon characters
Top ten rejected titles for Star Wars Episode VII
Top ten signs Facebook was down yesterday
Top ten signs Batman is turning 75
Top ten signs Han Solo has turned 70
Top ten signs you had a bad Christmas
Top ten signs the staff is stressed out
Top ten signs you’re a lazy writer
Top ten signs you’ve been watching too much “reality” TV
Top ten surprises in The Young Messiah , the film of Jesus’ early life
Top ten surprises in Star Wars: Episode VII
Top ten things hated from than the IRS
Top ten things not to say at airport security
Top ten things you’ll never hear God say
Top ten things you won’t hear at commencement
Top ten turn-ons for women
Top ten ways to avoid talkative air travelers
Top ten ways to reduce the national debt
Top ten worst names for new pope


Top ten surprises in The Young Messiah

March 2016

Friday, Anne Rice’s novel, Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt, debuts as a major film. So, with that in mind, I have in my right hand, direct from my home office in Corn Borer, Indiana, the Top ten surprises in The Young Messiah .

10. Jesus turns bathwater into wine

9. Brings gold, frankincense and myrrh to “Show and Tell”

8. No one wants to play hide and seek with him

7. At school, Jesus blows the curve on every test

6. Classmates go to Jesus rather than the school nurse

5. Jesus casts out monsters from under his bed

4. Is the undefeated “King of the Mountain”

3. Everyone wants to trade lunches with Jesus

2. Church of the Nazarene’s “Bible Bowl” team undefeated

1. Jesus’ brothers and sisters get tired of Mom asking, “Why can’t you be more like your older brother?”

Copyright © 2014 James N. Watkins (Written before Lifetime broadcast The One, another fictionalized account of Jesus’ early years.)


Top ten animals left off the ark

March 2014

With Hollywood launching its version of Noah, I have in my right hand, direct from my dingy in Corn Borer, Indiana, today’s category:

10. Flying Platypuses

9. Vampire Bunnies

8. Giant Chihuahuas

7. Land Sharks

6. Boneless Chickens

5. “Wild Things”

4. Three-Humped Camels

3. Wooly Minis

2. Furry-Bottomed Baboons

1. Amicable Cats


Top ten new uses of term ‘Polar Vortex’

January 2014

I have in my right mitten, direct from my home office on the frozen tundra of Corn Borer, Indiana, Top ten new uses of term “Polar Vortex.”

10. Dairy Queen’s latest shake

9. Professional wrestler whose nemesis is “The Alberta Clipper”

8. Siberian version of the American “swirlie”

7. Military exercises in northern Iraq

6. Santa’s newest reindeer

5. Latest coaster at Six Flags Anchorage

4. New dance craze in Greenland

3. Star Wars: Episode VII new villain

2. Spinning out of control on ice (“My car just polar-vortexed!”)

1. Russian outhouse

And these additions from my Facebook friends. Thanks!

A band, of course. And “Russian Outhouse” would make a great name for a band. Sharyn Kopf

A r-e-e-e-e-ally bad mood swing. The kind that “sucks you in.” Jena Morrow

A molar polar vortex: ice cream hits tooth with cavity. Jane Simerman

Brand of new toilet that’s guaranteed to flush in any temperature! Rosa Bennett Liston

Brain freeze from eating ice cream too fast. Brenda Hendricks

Movie sequel to a certain animated Christmas feature with Tom Hanks. It could be the wildest train ride of all! Bonnie Rose

The “Bi-Polar Vortex” is caused by this winter weather Pam Halter

Eskimo sex Name withheld for sake of your reputation, but you know who you are!


Top ten rejected titles for Star Wars Episode VII

Unless you’re living on the frozen ice planet of Hoth, you know that Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens is coming to theaters December 2015. So, I have in my light-saber-wielding right hand, today’s category. (I wrote the first five to inspire my Facebook friends to join in the fun. Dave Ficere gets a free copy of Squeezing Good Out of Bad for his winning entry.)

10. The Franchise Awakens

9. The Empire Strikes Back . . . Again

8. Return of the Star Wars Action Figures

7. The Phantom Marketing Campaign

6. The Revenge of Episodes I-II-III

5. Jar Jar Banks Must Die (Betty Winslow)

4. Star Wars IX: Grandpa Skywalker Awakens From His Nap (Marcia Whittum Woodard)

3. Star Wars: Disney Strikes Back (Lynn Kahkola)

2. Star Wars: All About that Base, No Rebels (Debra Stetler Levite)

1. George Lucus Needs Money (Dave Ficere)

But wait, theres more . . .

Star Wars: The Next Generation (Amy Crofford)

Star Wars VII: I Thought We Were Done Three Films Ago (Maurice M. Gray)

Star Wars VII: Princess Leia Meets Princess Anna, The Musical (C. Kevin Thompson)

Tar Swars IIV: The Force Awakens in a Tatooine Bar (C. Kevin Thompson)

Star Wars VII-IX: What a Load of Sith (Marcia Whittum Woodard)


Top ten additions to the LIKE button on Facebook

January 2014

“Like” just isn’t appropriate when someone posts “I just got engaged!” “My hemorrhoids are bothering me” or “My dog just died.” So, my I suggest, from my home office in Corn Borer, Indiana:

10. Dislike

9. Love

8. Hate

7. Ewww!

6. Praying

5. LOL (Laugh Out Loud)

4. TMI (Too Much Information)

3. Sorry

2. Get a room!

1. Log out, you’re drunk!


Top ten signs you’re a lazy writer

October 2013

10. It takes too much effort to write nine more


Top ten signs Facebook was down yesterday

September 2013

Facebook experienced a system-wide outage, so I have in my right hand, with a little help from my friends:

10. In nine months, statisticians note a spike in births.

9. Workplace creativity up by 30 percent.

8. “Grumpy Cat” is even grumpier!

7. Purchases of actual greeting cards and postage stamps surges for one day. Linda M. Au

6. Several people were taken to the ER suffering from withdrawal symptoms related to addiction to James Watkin’s humor. Donald James Parker

5. Writers everywhere added 7,000 words to their work in progress. Sharon Kirk Clifton

4. Neighbors reportedly communicating in front yards. Mark Howe

3. Everyone had time to make those wonderful recipes, but realized they couldn’t because they
were saved to their wall. Jane Simerman

2. Several rumors died from lack of circulation. Lori Schaefer Hollinger

And the number one sign Facebook was down yesterday:

1. Independent thought was witnessed today on a wide scale with an increase of imaginative creativity. Deb Evans Smeddel

(Congratulations, Deb, you’ve won a $25 gift card to the Corn Borer, Indiana, Sushi Bar and Bait Shop!)


Top ten things hated more than the IRS

June 2013

Uh . . . I’m sorry. I’ve got nothing.


Top ten most popular shows on The Vatican Channel

March 2013

10. Popes and Recreation

9. Housewives of Vatican City

8. NCIS: Rome

7. Survivor: Vatican City

6. Pontiff of Interest

5. The Big Hat Theory

4. How I Met Your Mother Superior

3. Two and a Half Monks

2. Sects and the City

1. The Pope Is Right


Top ten worst names for new pope

When elected pope, cardinals traditionally take on a new name. (Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger became known as Benedict XVI.) And so, in my right hand, direct from my home office in Corn Borer, Indiana, today’s category:

10. Pope Bob

9. Pope Version 159.0

8. Po’ Diddy

7. Pope Meister

6. Pope a’ Palooza

5. Pope Pourri

4. Pope Abdul Osama Muhammad I

3. Pope Skywalker

2. Pope Judas II

1. Pope Benedict, Jr.

And these additions from my Facebook friends:

Pope Acabana (Cardinal Barry Manilow) Dave Knickerbocker

Pope Sicola Ron Sutler

Pope A Smurf Maurice M Gray Jr

Pope Peel (the Pocket Fisherman) Becca Anderson

Pope Cycle John Bray

Pope Endicular (for the upstanding Pontiff) Dave Knickerbocker

H.R. Popenstuff Maurice M Gray Jr


Top ten surprises in Star Wars: Episode VII

October 2012

Disney has purchased Lucas Films and is planning to relaunch the Star Wars franchise with a new episodes opening in 2015. So, I have in my right bionic hand, direct from the Rebel base, tonight’s category:

10. After having a crush on what turns out to be his sister, Luke Skywalker, swears off women and joins a monastery on Tatooine.

9. Due to budget cuts, the Empire returns with a smaller, more fuel efficient “Death Meteor.”

8. Disney World opens a theme park on the moon of Endor featuring the musical review, “It’s a Small Galaxy After All.”

7. Yoda goes on the motivational speaking circuit. “Try not. Do, or do not. There is no try.”

6. The Max Rebo Band performs at aforementioned theme park playing Disney show tunes.

5. Jar Jar Binks loses a recall election to a swamp rat.

4. A new villain emerges, Scar Vader.

3. Chewbacca stars as “The Beast” in “Disney on Ice.”

2. The Empire and the Rebel Alliance battle for control of Star Wars merchandizing rights.

1. Han Solo and Princess Leia get married and have a precocious son who turns to the dark side and we’re right back to Episode I.

[Please note, three years before its release, I predicted Kylo Ren! Sometimes I amaze myself!]


Top ten signs Han Solo has turned 70

July 2012

10. Forgets to turn off directional light on Millennium Falcon

9. Spends day yelling at padawans, “Get off my lawn!”

8. His cholesterol number is in hyper space

7. He and Princess Leia celebrating 45th anniversary

6. Instead of the Mos Eisley Cantina, hangs out at Endor Senior Center

5. Chewbacca is suffering from male pattern baldness

4. Has switched membership from Rebel Alliance to AARP

3. No longer depends on The Force, but fiber

2. His blaster is firing blanks

1. Has replaced Millennium Falcon with Millennium Scooter


Top ten ways to reduce the national debt

July 2011

10. Sponsor a national garage sale (Do we really need two Dakotas?)

9. Make Chuck-E-Cheese tokens legal tender

8. Turn Blair House into an upscale bed and breakfast

7. Have senators and representatives salaries based on median income of their constituents

6. Have the presidency be a volunteer position. (Does someone worth $5 million need $400,000 a year, plus housing and generous pension?)

5. Make the U.S. government an Amway distributor (just sign up ten more countries, who sign up ten more countries . . . )

4. Tax junk mail, spam and telemarketing

3. Creditors who forgive debts can rename national landmarks: The Wan Ting Monument, The Grand Dragon Canyon, The Statue of Liang Ting, . . .

2. Have Bill Gates write a check

1. Cut up Congress’ credit card


Top five silly things flight attendants say

June 2011

I have in my right hand, direct from a layover at O’Hell International Airport in Chicago, “Top five silly things flight attendants say.” (It’s summer, and I’m too lazy to write ten!)

5. Let me know if there’s anything I can do to make your flight more enjoyable (How ’bout giving me the whole can of soda? How ’bout an in-flight magazine that doesn’t have the crossword puzzle half done? How ’bout spraying some air-freshener in the lavatory? How about . . . Oh, that’s right; it’s just part of the script.)

4. To fasten your seat belt, insert the flat metal tab into the buckle, then . . . (If a passenger doesn’t know how to use a seat belt, he or she probably shouldn’t be out unattended.)

3. In case of the loss of cabin pressure, oxygen masks will fall from the overhead panel. Put the mask over your nose and mouth and breathe normally. (I’m sorry, but if a gaping hole opens in the cabin, I don’t think I’m going to be breathing “normally.”)

2. Please return your seat to the upright position. (But I’m so enjoying the luxurious, relaxing half-inch of “reclining.”)

1. In the event of a water landing, your seat cushion can be used as a floatation device. (If I’m hurtling toward the ocean at 500 mph, I’m afraid I’m going to use my seat cushion for something other than a floatation device.)


Top ten ways to avoid talkative air travelers

March 2010

On today’s flight from Dallas to San Jose, a man behind me talked to his brand new BFF non-stop for the three-and-a-half-hour flight! So, I have in my right hand, direct from my temporary office here at the Mount Hermon Christian Writers’ Conference, today’s category:

10. I’m sorry. Did you say something or are the voices back?

9. Would you like to hear about an amazing multi-level marketing opportunity?

8. Yo no hablo Inglés.

7. Wanna see pictures of my cats?

6. (Hold index and middle fingers together, bring together with extended thumb which is “no” in sign language.)

5. Typhoid isn’t contagious, is it?

4. (No number 4. Hiding in miniature toilet to avoid talkative seat mate.)

3. You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. . . .

2. If you were to die tonight, where would be spend eternity?

1. I’m an author. Wanna hear about my books?

Write your own top ten lists! Learn how to entertain your family, friends, co-workers and total strangers with Writing with Banana Peels


Top ten reasons Santa on naughty list

December 2009

I have in my right mitten, direct from my home office in Corn Borer, Indiana, today’s category: top ten reasons Santa Claus is not a good role model.

10. Breaks into homes in the middle of the night (trespassing, breaking and entering both felonies).

9. Morbidly obese from diet of cookies and milk.

8. Tolerates prejudice (reindeer call Rudolph names, won’t let him join in any reindeer games).

7. Shows preference toward children of rich parents over the poor in annual gift-giving spree.

6. Shows judgmental attitude by keeping list of “naughty and nice” children.

5. Exhibits conditional love by basing gifts on aforementioned list.

4. Smokes.

3. Investigators concerned about content of pipe as Santa is constantly “jolly” (see depiction of St. Nick from original edition of A Visit from Saint Nicholas.)

2. Once arrested for punching out co-worker (click here for details).

1. Has author on his “naughty” list


Top ten signs you had a bad Christmas

December 2008

10. Instead of Christmas, you celebrated Festivus

9. Uncle Harold drank too much egg nog

8. The Bumpuss’ dogs ate your turkey

7. You watched Ernest Saves Christmas

6. You received a gift certificate for Weight Watchers

5. Three words: Batteries not included

4. Two words: Chia pet

3. One word: Fruitcake

2. The letter carrier suffered a hernia delivering your credit card bill

1. You forgot the reason for the season


Top ten differences between ‘secretaries’ and ‘administrative professionals’

April 2007

I have in my right hand, direct from my home office in Corn Borer, Indiana: Top ten differences between secretaries and administrative professionals

10. Secretaries make coffee; professionals procure international resources to motivate and empower staff.

9. Secretaries take memos; administrative professionals expedite inter-office communication.

8. Secretaries type letters; administrative professionals facilitate company communication with national and international clients.

7. Secretaries file; administrative professionals manage and organize data for efficient retrieval of corporate records.

6. Secretaries unjam the copy machines; administrative professionals maintain high-tech equipment vital to day-to-day operations.

5. Secretaries answer the phone; administrative professionals manage communication between staff and customers.

4. Secretaries listen to office gossip and complaints; administrative professionals act as corporate arbitrators and manage conflict between administrators and staff.

3. Secretaries order office supplies; administrative professionals manage inventory of critical corporate resources.

2. Secretaries buy gifts when boss realizes he or she has forgotten spouse’s birthday or anniversary; administrative professionals facilitate crisis management at the executive level.

1. Secretaries get little respect in the corporate environment; administrative professionals get just a bit more.

While working at a publishing house, we executives could be gone for days at a time and the company would continue operating just fine. But if any administrative professional was gone for more than an afternoon, the house collapsed. So, my best wishes go out to all the administrative professionals who keep business, well, in business!


Top ten clues a man should wear a shirt in summer

August 2000

I have in my right hand, direct from the home office in hot and humid Corn Borer, Indiana, today’s category:

10. Take a tape measure. Drop it on the floor. If you can’t pick it up without bending your knees, put on a shirt.

9. If you have a tattoo containing any of the Federal Communication Commission’s seven dirty words, put on a shirt.

8. If you don’t want to appear as a suspect on TV’s COPS, put on a shirt.

7. If you have more chest hair than your neighbor’s poodle, put on a shirt.

6. If you’re over 40, put on a shirt.

5. If you’ve had open-heart surgery, put on a shirt.

4. If your mother, wife or daughter (and especially all three together) can’t reach around you for a hug, put on a shirt.

3. If you don’t want to die of melanoma, put on a shirt.

2. If your measurements exceed 36A, put on a shirt.

1. If your family or neighbors have cut out this column for you, put on a shirt.


Top Ten Politically Correct Christmas—excuse me, Holiday—Songs

December 1998

10. Chestnuts Roasting on an Environmentally-friendly Fuel Source

9. Rudolph, the Endangered and Exploited Specie

8. We Three Politically Oppressive Patriarchs

7. Rocking Around the Recycled, Flame-retardant, Artificial Holiday Tree

6. All I Want For Christmas is a Dental Plan

5. Frosty the Snowperson

4. I Saw Mommy Suing Santa Claus for Sexual Harassment

3. I’m Dreaming of a Racially Diverse Christmas

2. I’ll Be Home For Ramadan (or Chanukah or Kwanzaa or Winter Solstice or . . .)

1. We Wish You a Non-sectarian Holiday


Top ten reasons Halloween strange holiday

October 1997

I have in my right hand, direct from my home office in Corn Borer, Indiana, tonight’s category. It’s the only time of year when . . .

10. . . . you can cross dress without having to come out of the closet.

9. . . . Americans actually consume a waxy substance known as “candy corn.” (The rest of the year the material is used to manufacture patio candles and seals for toilets.)

8. . . . wearing a white sheet is politically correct.

7. . . . extortion is legal under the guise of “Trick or Treat.” (“Hand over the candy or I’ll toilet paper your house.” You see, this is how protection rackets get started. One day it’s Tootsie Rolls, the next it’s unmarked, non-sequential twenty-dollar bills!)

6. . . . children can play with knives and matches. (That’s my theory why kids love to carve jack-o-lanterns and light them.)

5. . . . the fashion police takes a day off.

4. . . . after 364 days of spending billions of dollars to look beautiful, America spends another billion to sport warts, long noses, the complexion of a corpse, and teeth only an orthodontist could love.

3. . . . no one is on a diet!

2. . . . You can wear a mask and go house to house collecting loot in a pillow case—without spending time serving time.

And, the number one reason Halloween is a strange holiday . . . people celebrate the holiday (which is short for “holy day”) of “All Hallows Evening” (an ancient rite of moral purification before “All Saints Day”) by dressing up as devils, vampires, axe murderers, and other morally challenged characters.


Top ten things not to say at airport security

Three weeks after 9/11

I have in my right hand, direct from my home office, Top ten things not to say at airport security:

10. So, you’re one of those under-paid, under-trained slackers I’ve read about.

9. Hey (as you duck for cover), be careful with the box.

8. Hi . . . if the security officer is named Jack.

7. Just a little lower to the left with that wand. Oh, yah, right there.

6. I’m not taking off my belt without at least dinner and a movie. (Yep, the matronly security lady was asking all the men to take off their belts before we went through the metal detector.)

5. (As the metal detector sounds the alarm.) Oh, I’ve been wondering where I put my samarai sword!

4. I have the right to remain silent. Anything I say can and will be used against me in a court of law. I have a right to an attorney. If I cannot afford one, one will be provided for me.

3. This x-ray machine just shows up guns and knives, not drugs, right?

2. Clever comebacks to stupid check-in counter questions

“Has anyone you don’t know asked you to carry a package on board?”

“Only this box that keeps ticking.”

Security have absolutely NO sense of humor. You’ll be in cuffs before you can say, “I was kidding!” In fact, it’s a Federal offence to joke about weapons. You may, and I quote, be subject to prosecution for violations of Federal Criminal Statutes and subject to civil penalties up to $10,000 for each violation of Federal Aviation Regulations.

And, the number one thing not to say at airport security . . .

1. Osama bin Laden!


Top ten signs you’ve been watching too much ‘reality’ TV

I have in my right hand, direct from my home office, tonight’s top ten list. Top ten signs you’ve been watching too much reality TV.

10. At the last family reunion, you voted off your brother-in-law

9. You’ve installed a video camera in every room of your house

8. For chocolate and peanut butter, you’ll strip naked

7. You’ve named your children Ozzy and Sharon

6. While in financial planning meetings, you shout “Hit me with the digits!”

5. You purchased William Hung’s CD

4. While your neighbors were on vacation, you sneaked in and completely remodeled their house

3. When you have guests over, you serve Madagascar hissing cockroaches

2. You’re actually interested in “the simple life” of Paris and Nicole

1. You know the story behind each of these signs (Seek immediate help!)

Experience some really real reality this summer. Turn off the TV, put down the paper, log off the Internet, and enjoy the simple life with your family and friends. Play catch. Grill out. Go for a walk or a bike ride. Visit the zoo. Build a tree house. Go fishing. Tell someone you love him or her. Now that’s real!

Copyright © James N. Watkins


Top ten turn-ons for women

Men, I have in my right hand, direct from the home office in Corn Borer, Indiana, the Top ten turn-ons for women:

10. Cards, flowers and chocolate (I am required by the Valentine’s Day industrial complex to include these cliches)

9. Watching a “chick flick” with her . . . without mocking it

8. Listening to her problems

7. Listening to her problems without offering solutions

6. Watching the kids so she can have a girls night out

5. Complimenting her looks, clothes, dinner . . . anything

4. Taking her side on issues with your mother

3. Putting your dirty socks and underwear in the hamper

2. Putting the lid down

1. Emptying the dishwasher (without being asked)

And now, women, I have in my right hand, direct from the home office in Corn Borer, Indiana, the Top ten turn-ons for men.

Who am I kidding? Anything and everything!

© Copyright 2014 James N. Watkins

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