Thursday, October 13, 2022

The albertnet Tier Lists


My older daughter suggested this post. She says tier lists are insanely popular. I can’t figure out what the attraction is, but I don’t exactly have my finger on the pulse of … well, anything or anybody. So what the hell, I’ll give it a whirl.

What is a tier list?

A tier list is basically a ranking of things from best to worst … I think. It started out with video game characters (protagonists?) that gamers rank based on how tough, fast, or skilled they are, I guess. “S” is the best and, according to Wikipedia, “may stand for ‘Special,’ ‘Super,’ or the Japanese word for ‘Exemplary’ (, shū).” Next down from S is A, followed by B, C, D, E, and then F, like with grades. (Never mind that students never get an “E” grade, though I once got an F+ on a bio quiz.)

How does one consume these lists? I have no idea. All my google searches simply turn up tier list generators. It’s like everyone is an author and nobody is a reader. I guess if I were on social media I would be exposed to actual lists. My daughter suggested YouTube and I found “Schlatt’s Cereal Tier List,” a 14-minute ranking of breakfast cereals, to be fairly amusing. I suppose this Schlatt guy knows what he’s doing, because his video has over 13 million views, which is even more eyeballs than my fart jokes post got. (Roughly 26 million more eyeballs, if you want to get precise.)

The example tier lists I’ve seen from the various list generator websites are pretty boring; for example, one that ranked best to worst candy (Snickers and M&Ms at the top, Jelly Belly at the bottom) seemed totally arbitrary.

Tier list generator sites

I got lost pretty quickly trying to find the perfect tier list generator. A site called had lots of ads, including a video that actually had sound, at a super obnoxious volume. It was an ad for, whatever that is. I will never know, because their jingle, and the very fact of their jingle, are so annoying I’m banning the company for life no matter what they’re hawking. And when I tried to mute the video, it darted away from me, nefariously. 

This site had an insane number of templates. I thought these would just provide background stuff, splashy graphics and fancy fonts, so I chose what I thought would be a playful, fun, modern, and worldly template: “Genshin Impact Characters.” But actually, this “template” was a full-blown list creator whereby you drag little characters up to the grid to rank them. But how could I possibly have any opinion about any of these little avatar dudes?

I tried a few more sites and found all of them more or less tedious to work with. I honestly don’t care much about colors, fonts, or little photos I have to drag around. Nevertheless, I persevered, and eventually created…

My first tier list

I finally took some time on a site,, and created a list of THE BEST ANIMALS, just as a proof-of-concept. I don’t have particularly strong opinions on animals, nor am I really an expert, but for what it’s worth here is my very first tier list:

I hope you agree with my ranking, or—better yet!—vehemently disagree with it, so you can fire the first round in a fusillade of angry comments below this post. As for the quality of the list itself, I know it has plenty of flaws. The most glaring, perhaps, is that the picture next to each item doesn’t match the item, except in the case of Humans. The photo library on the site happened to have a free image of a human. But all the other free images I scrolled through didn’t happen to be of a cat, a shellfish, a bird of prey, etc. I searched the image library for “cat” and was told, “Register to browse millions of free photos and images.” Like hell I will!

Biting the bullet

Well, there’s almost nothing I won’t do for my albertnet readers (other than actually travel anywhere to research anything, or spend money, etc.) so I settled on what appeared to be the most promising site, Canva, and actually registered, and in relatively little time put together what I hope you’ll agree is a better effort:

The problem is, at heart I’m more of a writer than a graphic designer, thus I still found the process tedious. It’s also the case that there’s no easy way to add footnotes, and yet I’m sure you’re dying to know why I ranked human flesh over, say, soft drinks. (If you’re wondering about “sand,” it’s a reference to “Raising Arizona.”)

I really feel I need a template with more room for text (unless I decide the go the vlog route like Schlatt with his cereal). And so I created…

The albertnet tier list template

I needed a template that could be squished, stretched, and otherwise modified at my whim, without some website reigning me in. So, I messed about with tables in Word, with the idea of turning them into simple graphics. Here’s a more verbose take on Dining Options, to showcase my new template.

Dining Options


Homemade pasta with heart-healthy Bolognese Ragu or Alfredo, made at home with my kids (who, in this hypothetical scenario, are miraculously visiting their childhood home simultaneously)


Very authentic Chinese food at a local place that uses Sichuan peppercorns and MSG


Little Star Chicago-style pizza (or Zachary’s, if my kids insist)


Super-high-end Italian where the pasta serving is smaller than my fist, so I have to eat it painstakingly slowly, and then the check comes and it’s like $100 a head


Leftover beans and rice with extra hot sauce because the rice is starting to go bad


Cold cereal that has gone stale and takes like 20 minutes to get soggy in the blue-tinted skim milk that is somehow all we have


Sitting for over half an hour in line at a fast-food drive-thru, as miserable as the poor feedlot cattle that gave their lives so I could save a few bucks while giving myself heart disease

 Tour de France winners

Now that I have an EZ template, I can go crazy on my tier lists! Here’s one that just occurred to me:

Tour de France winners


Bernard Hinault, who not only won five times, but had the panache to sprint for flat-stage victories when he really didn’t need to, and also liked to throw punches at protesters who interfered with the race


Eddy Merckx, who would have won six Tours had it not been for a crazed fan who punched him in the stomach causing some kind of internal organ injury


Greg LeMond, who won by the slimmest margin ever (8 seconds), giving us the most exciting Tour ever against Laurent Fignon, the “distant professor”


Cadel Evans, the only rider I can think of in the modern era who actually appeared to have raced pan y agua (i.e., clean)


Miguel Indurain, who was boring as hell to watch but did have pretty good form


Jacques Anquetil, whom I couldn’t pick out of a line-up but who, it must be said, also won five Tours


Christopher Froome, one of the most grotesquely awkward riders ever to race a bike, but who is admittedly one of the savviest dopers any sport has ever produced


I suppose there’s no reason I have to go with the S/A/B/C/D/E/F scale. Let’s mix it up a little:

Technological innovations

Where has this been all my life?

GPS on my phone and in my car

Game changer

Aerodynamic bicycle wheels

Yes, let’s forestall arthritis!

Biometric smartphone authentication (awesome when it works, maddening when it doesn’t)

Please laugh at my expense!

Camera phones: you’ll never miss another shot of my comically elongated head, like I’ve got the worst case of encephalitis ever

I love overpaying!

Electronic bike shifting: it’s just as good as traditional shifting, but costs way more!

Let’s just give in and be dorks

Digital wristwatches

Narcissism is the new black

Social media

Okay, that’s enough

I could go on and on with such lists, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned from my readers, it’s that my posts are “too long.” Well, this is probably my shortest in years … are you happy now? 

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