The first list inspired much more thought, and made it necessary to write a sequel. Since I will end up with two lists of five, I will make a compulsory Top Ten at the end of this article.
5. DANIEL IN THE LIONS DEN
While not really a pit per se, it’s close enough, and is one of the most famous stories, albeit complete biblical nonsense, but still, it deserves a mention beyond honorable.
The fable of Daniel in the lions’ den appears in the sixth chapter of the Book of Daniel (duh). This story is about how Daniel’s master Darius the Mede is tricked into making a decree that condemns Daniel to death. From Wikipedia:
Daniel’s jealous rivals trick Darius into issuing a decree that for thirty days no prayers should be addressed to any god or man but Darius himself; any who break this are to be thrown to the lions. Daniel continues to pray to the God of Israel, and the king, although deeply distressed, must condemn Daniel to death, for the edicts of the Medes and Persians cannot be altered.
Because he broke the rules of making wishes to the wrong sky magician, the king has Daniel cast into a pit of lions because the guillotine had not been invented. The lions weren’t all that hungry because Daniel walked out unscathed, and everybody knows that if you survive your execution then you’re free to leave. That’s just the rules.
Not to get completely epicurean here, but theoretically, God could have easily just not had Daniel sent to the den at all, or immediately smote the assholes that got him tossed there, but he doesn’t. Instead, he waits until the last second to place that gubernatorial phone call to make Daniel un-delicious looking to the lions just to test him. Why? Just to show that he can. The god of Israel is all about dick measuring, which is why he makes everyone start by removing an inch.
God also just loves bar bets. “Hey, bet you I can send that dude into a pit of lions and he’ll be fine.” Actually, that last sentence just basically just summed up the book of Job, btw. Spoiler alert: In the book of Job, god and Satan play fast and loose with Job and his family’s lives to see who has the bigger phallus.
When Daniel survived, it became evident that it was a trick, so just for being jerks the king has the people who conspired against Daniel, and their wives and children (hey, why not) thrown into the lions in his place and they get properly eaten the fuck up. Relax. It’s the Bible. It didn’t really happen.
4. THE RANCOR PIT FROM RETURN OF THE JEDI
Yes, there are two great pits in the first act of Return of the Jedi. Located in Jabba’s palace, this pit is where the mighty carnivorous rancor lives. It’s a cross between a dinosaur and a grumpy relative and it lives in the pit Jabba the Hut uses to execute his hapless victims when he doesn’t want to bother with the whole sail barge trip to the sarlacc pit. Jabba executes humanoids so often that he must have needed a more convenient method and had this pit built so he could murder more quickly and present the rancor feeding frenzy as entertainment when his exotic dancers don’t want to blow him. Jabba is basically just running the “Bunny Ranch.” I wonder which aliens have the Lamar Odom wrap… “Oh yah, ya know, you get those Gungans in here, they buy three or four crazy green bean headed prostitutes and a bucket of death sticks… three days later we find them unconscious and we have to attach them to our 2-1B medical droid.”
The pit is actually located right in front of Jabba’s throne/bed/toilet. It’s where groveling pussies come to beg for mercy, or make pathetic offers via holograph, as Luke does through R2D2’s laser disc projector. Jabba scoffs at Luke’s embarrassingly low offer of “these two droids,” which makes C3PO flip the fuck out, and rightfully so. Way to screen the message beforehand, R2.
Since Jabba doesn’t go for Han Solo’s release in exchange for two outdated servant bots, which he has plenty of already, Luke has to show up in person to use Jedi intimidation. This whole scene actually serves to show the impotence of the powers of the Jedi. Sure, Luke easily mind tricks the two mucous faced rhinoceros guards and the penis headed vampire man, but the two thousand pound lizard that shits where it sleeps can’t be fooled into just giving Han back, even for a sail barge full of republic credits. Maybe Luke should have bought back his speeder and tossed that in as well… As a side note, the rebels are kind of like ISIS in that they’re seemingly able to afford tons of ships and bases without actually producing any goods or services. Not to mention the fact that they handily paid Han for dropping Leia off at Yavin and then incorrectly noting that his Millennium Falcon was un-traceable which led the Empire right to them. “Not this ship, sister.” Yes Han, anything can be tracked especially if they clearly see you get away, and have a preloaded tracking device. Remember those two dim-witted storm troopers you tricked with a simple, “Hey down there, could you give us a hand with this?” Ya, that was probably the tracking device you essentially helped them load. Leia correctly didn’t buy Han’s line of bullshit, but didn’t have another ride home. Still, even though he led the Death Star right to their base, the rebels rewarded him with a pile of car batteries, so he could go pawn them or something. Whatever they were, it sure wasn’t cash. There must have been gold in those tackle boxes because the rebels were able to quickly whip up some sleek gold medals to give their heroes upon returning from blowing up the Death Star, so we know they have gold ore laying around. It must be useful in making blasters and other “clumsy” weapons. The same weapons that easily slaughtered 98% of all the Jedi…
Now, Jabba should have taken Luke up on his offer because it’s not wise to hold high-ranking prisoners of the Rebel Army unless you’re trying to go to war with them, but Jabba just doesn’t give a fuck. As a gangster presumably in the spice smuggling trade based on his prior interactions with Solo, it’s in his best interest not to piss off the rebels attempting to usurp the Empire. So when the son of the intergalactic Reich’s leader, and known badass Jedi, Luke, shows up and offers him money, droids, and his maiden head, Jabba tells him to piss off, hits the trap door button and Luke plummets to his doom at the hands of the mighty rancor, or so it would seem. Bad move by Jabba for certain.
So Luke shows up in person to cut a deal, which he has to know Jabba won’t take, since Jabba is an already independently wealthy real estate mogul. He pretty much owns Tatooine, and has everything he needs in his palace already, including a mechanized draw-and-quartering machine that puts disobedient droids to death. So what the fuck was he thinking? “Oh I can just negotiate with this guy. Heck, maybe we’ll get an even better deal and I can free Salacious B. Crumb as well.” Luke foolishly plants his dumb ass right on the trap door during the barter session, and even though Lando and Leia could have easily yelled out to him, it’s C3PO attempting to tip him off. Unfortunately, he never quite spits it out, and Luke never “sensed” a trap making him 0 for 2 in trap sensing, and he succumbs to the pit… Side bar: To be fair to Luke, I guess he did sense that trap on Cloud City, he just chose to ignore the advice of Yoda, the grand master wizard Jedi, and Obi Wan, the all knowing ghost oracle, telling him NOT to go. Obi-Wan must have been pissed because he then said, “If you choose to face Vader, I can’t help you.” Really? Why the fuck not? Because Obi-Wan secretly wants that snot nosed disobedient padowan to get his ass whipped. What he really wanted to say was, “Luke, if you’re going to ignore my ghostly advice, let me know now so I won’t have to take any more time out of my busy apparition schedule to brain haunt you. You’re on your own now, bro…”
Back at Jabba’s palace, after falling into the pit Luke makes quick work of the rancor by tossing a rock into the controls of the door which then short circuited, bringing the massive door crashing down onto the rancor’s skull. Then the fat old hillbilly rancor wrangler cries.
Why Luke didn’t just use the force to close the door on its head, or open the door to escape himself, as evidently is possible since we’ve seen Darth Vader do it, is beyond me. Even easier may have just been to make the rancor beat itself in the head with a club or just put it to sleep. Perhaps this witless flesh-eating monster is on the list of reptiles that are smarter than a Jedi.
It should also be noted that Jabba doesn’t follow the agreed upon yet unofficial intergalactic all time rule of execution I mentioned earlier with Daniel, where you can’t get double jeopardy on a death sentence. Even though Luke escaped the rancor pit execution, Jabba just sends him to a different pit for execution, and this time adds in his coconspirators to the list of soon-to-be sarlacc food. Why Jabba didn’t just have him “blastered” to death by the numerous bounty hunters within ear shot right away; well, I guess I just don’t understand “super-villainy.”
3. THE PEACH PIT FROM BEVERLY HILLS 90210
If you had a crush on Kelly Taylor (Jennie Garth), Brenda Walsh (Shannen Doherty) and/or Donna Martin (Tori Spelling) when you were in 6th grade, then you know of the Peach Pit. It was the go to hang out for 90210 cool guys Dylan McKay (Luke Perry) and Steve Sanders (Ian Ziering), and part time employment for new kid on the block Brandon Walsh (Jason Priestley).
Nat Bussichio (Joe E. Tata) ran this interesting short order style diner where the one-percenters’ kids from Beverly High liked to go after school to socialize and hook up with babes like Kelly, Donna, and Brenda, and to a much lesser extent Andrea Zuckerman (Gabrielle Carteris). Well, nobody was really hooking up with Brenda. We THINK Dylan may have grabbed a booby in a heavy petting sesh, but nothing below the belt. No sir, that was for Jesus.
The Peach Pit wasn’t just a hangout; it was the 90210’s answer to the Max, the diner in Saved by the Bell. Just like the Max, the Pit was a place where relationships blossomed, rumors were started, friendships collapsed, and where Brenda got PTSD after being held at gunpoint by an armed robber.
Things got even darker in season five when they changed the Peach Pit to that stupid ass nightclub, Peach Pit’s After Dark.
However, season five also gave us the remarkable debut of Valerie Malone (Tiffani Amber Thiessen, a.k.a. Kelly Kapowski).Thiessen embraced the role of Malone, which was the antithesis of her innocent, bubbly, cheerleader archetype for which she became famous in Saved by the Bell. She was no longer the nice girl we all knew and grew to love as Kelly. Here, as Valerie, she easily and routinely manipulated the group, especially partial love interest Brandon Walsh. She cock teased him so hard it gave ME blue balls. I felt so bad for him, but Jim and Cindy Walsh (James Eckhouse and Carol Potter respectively) should not have been so naïve as to let their friend’s daughter (Thiessen) live with them after Brenda decided to remain in London at drama school.
The Peach Pit was an essential piece at the heart of the show Beverly Hills 90210. Sure, those self-entitled snobby white kids may have driven Jaguars and BMWs, but inside they yearned for more. The Pit gave them something to fill that void in their chest. It give them soul, character, and a place to waste their ridiculously large allowances on lavish Neapolitan flavored fifties style milkshakes while the homeless problem reached critical mass just a scant 12 miles away on the I-10 in downtown LA. Yes, those poor 30-something year old high school kids loved the Peach Pit; or at least they pretended to, in a superficial ironic dive bar hipster way.
Another thing that I “heard” about in Tiger Beat magazine at the time was that Thiessen actually dated Brian Austin Green for real, and they even moved in together in 1994. So yes, secondary character David Silver (Green) the funky white boy school DJ, snowed us all, as he was literally taking Kelly Kapowski to pound town. Literally. If only Scott Scanlon (Douglas Emerson) was so lucky (you didn’t really think I’d miss an opportunity to make a joke about suicide, did you?). BTW, I listed 12 characters and their real names all from memory. Sickening.
2. BRAD PITT
Talk about a pussy crusher… If you didn’t want to be Tyler Durdin after seeing Fight Club, then chances are you didn’t like this article and probably didn’t read this far down. Fight Club is number one on my favorite movies of all time list hands down, whatever that means.
1999 was an incredibly difficult year for me. I was 20 years old, and like most 20-year-old males, I had no direction, no money, no girl, and no juice at all. Another mid semester flunk out had left me a drift in a sea of self-“pit”y. Maybe it was my life at the time, but I’d like to think that Fight Club would have spoken to me at any age. However, I’m not here to write about just that one awesome movie, I’m here to talk about an incredible actor, and fellow Mizzou grad before Mizzou got all preachy, the great William Bradley Pitt.
Brad Pitt, a.k.a. the former Mr. Jennifer Aniston and current Mr. Angelina Jolie, has banged a veritable who’s who and who gives a shit if I’m just a waitress at Chili’s of Hollywood’s top poon, and probably even poonanny. Let’s not got started on the trim or the beave or the strange or the completely forgotten about fan girls that have spread eagle at the altar of Brad Pitt’s (probably) girthy love rod. I’d totally go gay if he asked. Maybe even if he didn’t.
If you don’t like Pitt because he’s rich as sin, he’s got a super hot babe, adopted African children, is devastatingly handsome and has his own island, I feel you. But you can’t say his movies suck. His top four over at IMDB: Inglorious Basterds, Fight Club, World War Z, and Ben Buttons. Now that’s a heck of a batting order. Continuing on: 12 Years a Slave, Money Ball, Ocean’s 11 (12 and 13 are embarrassingly bad, remember when that nancy boy used rhythmic gymnastics to defeat that laser maze… think hard about that and tell me 12 was anything but a partial birth abortion), Snatch, Twelve Monkeys, se7en, Legends of the Fall, Cool World, Johnny Suede, Cutting Class, Growing Pains… He was in fucking Growing Pains! And who could forget his epic role on Friends as Will Colbert, the co-founder of the “I hate Rachel Green Club!” Thinking back, that may have doomed his marriage.
1 .THE SNAKE PIT FROM INDIANS JONES AND THE RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK
“Bwaaaaaa! Sorry Indy.” The view from a top the pit of snakes was so frightening even the fearless Nazi resistance fighter Sallah (John Rhys-Davies) had to gasp. “Asps. Very deadly… You go first.” Yes, the brave Sallah indeed.
It was only a matter of time. Since Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) got himself a goddam partner in Marion Ravenwood (Karen Allen) with possession of the headpiece for the Staph of Ra, he was able to unlock the mystery as to where the Ark of the Covenant was buried. The staph indicated to Indiana that, in fact, the Nazi’s were digging in the wrong place. This gave Indiana and Sallah a chance to enjoy some celebratory dates, but thankfully the gleeful Sallah noticed the dead Capuchin monkey, which alerted him to the dates having been poisoned. It also provided his band of renegade slave labor the opportunity to be first to uncover the tablets of the Ten Commandments. However, before they could unlock the mystery of the ark, Indiana Jones had to face his biggest fear… Snakes. “There’s a snake in the plane, Jock!” Don’t tell that to Sammy Jackson. He thinks he coined that phrase.
It was at the end of both the figurative and literal rope. The Ark of the Covenant was within reach, but the devastating pit contained enough snakes to make it look like the floor was alive. If you’ve got a weak stomach, this scene is probably not for you. It’s not that there was anything particularly gross or disturbing, it’s just kind of creepy to see a snake slither out of a skull’s mouth, unless you’re at your weird friend Greg’s house in 8th grade and he just got a corn snake for his birthday and he happens to have a skull in his terrarium. Indiana needed to face his fear, even though his torch was running out, and it looked like the Nazi’s were about to discover him. So he did, and he got that Ark… just in time to hand it right over to Dr. Rene’ Belloq (Paul Freeman), yet again.
Other than the skull snake and the king cobra square off, the snakes weren’t that scary to me. I never thought Indiana was ever in any real danger. My skin crawled worse earlier in the movie when Indiana had a back covered in tarantulas. No way I could have maintained my cool for that. I’d have been stop-drop-and-rolling all over the place… Side bar: Remember growing up and learning stop-drop-and-roll, like it was vitally important information for us to know? Did we have a rash of children combusting spontaneously during the 80’s? I don’t remember that, but I sure remember having to practice that stupid shit. I feel like it’s innate in us to stop-drop-and-roll. I think I’d probably instinctively do it. It’s not like I’d go dive on a pile of oily rags if I was on fire. How about this for doing stupid shit, did your family ever have a practice fire drill in the middle of the night that is so ubiquitous in sit-coms? FUCK NO! That never happened. Never. Not once in any family ever, and yet it was the plot of every 9th sitcom I’d watch on a sick day from school. Who the fuck wrote that fake ass plot line? However, I do miss “fake fire drill” humor, and also “burning the pot roast” humor. “Cheryl, the pot roast can’t be burnt! The boss will be over for dinner in 20 minutes! I’ll lose that bonus for certain. Great job, honey. No Destin, Florida vacation for us this year. Now we’ll have to go to Gulf Shores, Alabama.” Why was every show from 1975 to 2005 geared at middle class losers…
From this scene, the big scoop of knowledge we used to like to drop on our fellow 5th grade buddies was this bombshell, “Did you know, that in the snake pit, you can SEE the glass between Indiana and the snake, just for like a second… but I saw it… for real… but it was at my cousin’s house… he’s a cousin you don’t know… his name is uh, Teebor, I think…” But you really could SEE THAT FUCKING GLASS! It made Indiana into such a pussy in my book. I mean I figured he was probably was working with a stunt snake, but a sheet of glass? Let’s just say, “You wanna talk to god? Let’s go see him together. I’ve got nothing better to do,” doesn’t really sound as tough coming from a guy not willing to really go mano-y-snake-o with a venomous cobra… Sidebar: I can’t ever think about that snake scene without also thinking of that time Macho Man got bitten by that snake. I like to think that Macho Man was backstage, probably not paying attention when the handler brought out the “de-venomed” cobra… “Ya ya ya brother, I heard you. I get tied up in the ropes, Jake brings the snake over, we get face-to-face, just like Indiana Jones, and it all works out fine, just like Indiana Jones.” Maybe Lanny never pointed out the glass to his older brother.
Here are two other quotes from the movie that I just liked as a kid:
“I’m gonna blow up the Ark Rene’.” – I thought it was hilarious that a man was named Rene’.
“Lightning. Fire. Power of god, or something…” – One time my college roommate and I were home and something fell in the other room and he said, “What was that?” and I said, with pristine timing and perfect inflection, “Lightning. Fire. Power of god, or something,” And it cracked him the fuck up for a week. I don’t know why I remembered that inconsequential throwaway line, but I’m glad I did.
THE GRAND CANYON
This grand feat of nature and one of the seven wonders of the world needs to be seen to be appreciated… is not true. Observing the Grand Canyon is just as easily accomplished by viewing a postcard. There ya go. I just saved you a trip. I’ve been there and I gave it a thumbs down. It’s exactly what you’d expect and have already seen a million times on TV and the various internets. This is the excuse I use to avoid nearly every family outdoor adventure, and make fun of my friends who think SCUBA diving is an impressive sport. “I’m not going because it’s going to look exactly what I think it will look like, and there are already pictures of it’s existence, much better pictures than those you’ll take on your iPhone, so it’s pointless.” Now I don’t have to spend four days walking down the Grand Canyon while camping with my in-laws.
This is probably one of the first things you’d think of when someone says pit. BBQ pits are awesome because they bring campfires to a steel structure the size of a suitcase contained in you carport, but they are ridiculously over priced. You absolutely don’t need all the frills. Nobody ever thinks, “I’m going camping! I can’t wait to make soup.” Those secondary burners are useless. Get a gas grill with two sides of two burners. That’s all you’ll need. You’re never going to be tasked with providing hot dogs for 300 boy scouts in under 25 minutes because they have to get back to the ropes course pronto to earn their merit badges before the blind folded two-team huge planks of lumber ski race. And even if you are, how often does this occur? Maybe once a summer? Don’t buy anything over 100 bucks. I bbq probably three nights a week and I have a collapsible, portable, propane grill. It costs 79 bucks.
I’m nasty with the tongs and it shocks me how other people can be so awful at such an easy task. Here’s the secret to being a good bbq griller: impatience. Everyone errors on the side of caution and over cooks everything. One, you don’t want a flame lapping your meat, so if that’s happening, hit it with a squirt bottle. Two, put Himalayan pink sea salt on everything. Not a ton, but some on each side. Three, take the meat off the grill sooner than you’re planning, by 5-10%. If I think something needs about 30 minutes, I put the timer at 25. I don’t even need a timer anymore because I’m like a fucking ninja. Plus, you can always put it back on the grill. Finally, remember if you do go camping, bring one of those collapsible cups that can compact down to the size of a hockey puck, and one of those pocketknives with the spoon and the fork. Those things were sweet.
The Marianas Trench is located off the coast of Guam and is the lowest point on Earth. It is named for its location near the Marianas Islands, of which Guam is one. I lived in Guam for the last four years, and while I never actually got to the Marianas Trench, once I began to learn the geography of the area, it was easy to see why it exists. There is a big fault line out in the Pacific Ocean. These two pieces jutted together to form jagged, coral islands and atolls. Guam and the other islands exist because of this. Not only do these fault lines cause huge trenches, they also cause mountains. I’ve been to the top of the highest point of Guam, Mount Lam Lam, and technically, since it is the very tip of the ridge that starts at the very bottom of the Marianas Trench, I’ve been to the point on Earth that has the greatest elevation change, which many incorrectly describe as being the highest point on Earth. The deepest part of the trench, known as Challenger Deep, is measured at 10,900 meters from the sea level, which is 6.8 miles deep. Mt. Lam Lam is 1300 feet above sea level. Impressive right? Not really, it’s only about a 20 minute walk from where you park your car to the top.
LONDON SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA
I know, technically they don’t play in a pit. It’s only a pit orchestra when it accompanies a musical or opera and is located in the pit in front of the stage. However, the London Symphony Orchestra is the most famous, and the best, and thus it wouldn’t matter if they played in a pit, or a chasm, or while fixing a car at the Indianapolis 500, we’re calling them a pit.
“I PITY THE FOOL!”
Famously uttered by Mr. T in the 1980’s, I don’t know the exact origins, but it’s most famously associated with T, so I’m going with him as the author, even though the author was definitely whoever wrote the scripts for the A-Team and not Mr. T just ad-libbing. He’s far too stupid. Trivia: What does the “T” stand for? It stands for “tough.” His name is technically Mr. Tough. However that name wasn’t cool enough for the A-Team writers, so he was given an upgrade to B.A. Baracus. More trivia: Guess what the “B.A.” stands for? If you guessed “Bad-Attitude” I’ll give you partial credit. As revealed in the pilot episode, “B. A.” stands for the nickname of “bad attitude”. However, in the Season 4 episode “Lease with an Option to Die”, we learn from his mother that his full name is Bosco Albert Baracus.
It’s also a fact that Mr. T released an album. On it, he basically does spoken word rap, which usually starts, “I’m Mr. T, and I’m here to say…” I can only imagine that it sold at least ok, because future projects this dumb did also get green lit, such as “Vincent Laguardia Gambini, (Joe Pesci), sings for you.” I owned that album, and while dreadful, the song, “Wise Guy” does offer some sound advice that “it’s the bitches that will getcha.” Also, if you hear that the father of the waitress from the casino you’re currently banging owns stocks and bonds, then you should end his life via drowning and leave his carcass to be found in an undersized lake.
UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH
Pitt. Someone suggested this one to me, and I’m only putting it on the list because it’s well known, not because I have an allegiance. If I have one allegiance, it’s to the Mizzou Tigers. Other than that, my allegiance is to the home team and the points. If you can get both, bet it, especially if it’s over seven.
THE PIT FROM SILENCE OF THE LAMBS
Many of you probably thought about this pit right away. If you’ve seen Silence of the Lambs, then you infamously know the, “It puts the lotion in the basket,” scene. However, this pit doesn’t crack my top ten because of one thing, it’s not THE first thing you think of when you audibly hear the movie title. No, you think of the same scene everyone does, the dick tucking scene. This movie is far more famous than it should be because of that one scene. Sure, it’s a great movie, but you remember it mostly because of the creepy murder guy turning his penis into a vagina.
As a male, I can tell you honestly, that every single man ever in existence has done this move, more than once. In fact, most of my twenties involved humor based specifically on a man making his bits into lady bits. There’s even a word for it. It’s a man’s version of a vagina, thus the term “mangina” is used. We also used “munt” and “mussy” commonly. You can do the reverse math on those. If for nothing else, this movie popularized genital contortionism and may have even spurned, “The Puppetry of the Penis,” show. One thing is for certain the disappearing wang is far more memorable than the pit, and that one moment turned this psychotic nightmare for Clarice into an Adam Sandler level comedy, at least for me and all of my idiot buddies.
The Top 10 Greatest Pits of All Time
10. The lion’s den from the book of Daniel in the Bible
9. The La Brea tar pits in La Brea, California
8. The Money Pit movie starring Tom Hanks
7. Pity City; the Nasty Boys famous wrestling maneuver
6. The rancor pit from Return of the Jedi
5. The Peach Pit diner from Beverly Hills 90210
4. The tiger pit from the movie Swiss Family Robinson
3. Brad Pitt
2. The snake pit from Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark
1. The salacc pit from Return of the Jedi