Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Greatest Rock Video Ever? Plus, Week 13 NFL Picks

A little over 20 years ago Guns N' Roses released the Use Your Illusion albums. There were a lot of good songs contained on those two records, and several atrocious ones (hello, My World), but  one of my personal favorites is "Estranged." This is mainly because it spawned one of the most over-the-top, ridiculous music videos of all time. It's a video that involves Axl Rose jumping off of an aircraft carrier, Slash soloing in front of an ocean full of dolphins and a plot more intricate than "Trapped in the Closet."

This was the video where the boys from GNR said, "we are on top of the world, let's burn this mother down." Frankly, I think it deserves further exploration and dissection with a Deep Dish video breakdown. We did this last year with Soundgarden's awful "Black Hole Sun" to great acclaim. So put on your flannel and come back with me to the year 1993...

00-0:30: This first thirty seconds of the video really sets the tone for what we're about to receive. First, a definition of the word "illusion." Thank you, it's about damn time someone explained it. Consider the stage officially set! Next, hey a tire swing and a swingset....but no one is on it. Innocence has clearly been lost. But who's? Everyone's, that's who.

0:30-1:25: Have you ever seen a SWAT team that also doubles as an EMT unit? Well, you have now, thanks to Rock! By the way, the production value here is just top notch. It's like a Michael Bay movie, or an episode of CSI, everything's all blue and green and flashlights abound. That dinosaur's shadow also had me scared for a second there. What a sneaky metal band they were. Hey, there's Axl curled up in the fetal position, he's not in good shape. Again. We may have to get the straight jacket and go all "Welcome to the Jungle" on him again.

The models are not impressed.
1:25-2:20: We interrrupt this police raid for standard concert footage. Have to admit, even though it's cliche, watching a stadium fill up with people thru time-lapse photography gets me everytime. It's like PEOPLE HAVE ARRIVED, RAISE YOUR GOBLET TO ROCK.

2:20-2:55: The plot thickens, one of Axl's illegitimate children make an appearance. And of course models watch the concert and nod condescendingly, comfortably aloof from the proceedings. The strobe lights are not appreciated and may send me into a coma at any moment.

"No one understands my rock problems."
2:56-3:55: The band finishes the concert, but they appear tired, because the road is a bitch, you know? And here we go, Axl has left his sleeping body behind and is drifting like a spirit. Because really, who needs this business? It's supposed to be ABOUT THE MUSIC. He returns to the fetal position in the shower, and then a girl who may or may not represent a young Slash slides down a pole for no apparent reason. Say what you will about this video, but these Slash solos are still epic.

3:56:-5:20: Ah yes, Axl's mansion in the hills. The perils of rock and roll decadence on full display. Is it a mansion though, or the world's most expensive daycare/insane asylum? Lots of kids trotting about and people that look like nurses. We then get a much needed definition of Estranged with a bonus meaning! I think Webster's got a kickback on this video. And everything is white - white outfits, white limos, white walls, white dogs, but then... a black elephant. Oh, what does it all mean? Other than the obvious conclusion that Axl is pretty much racist. But that's too easy.

5:20-5:30 Don't you hate it when a dolphin emerges from the tour plane? This is what happens when you hire Jacques Cousteau as your stagehand because you're kajillionaires. Mo aquatic special effects, mo problems. This song still has over 4 minutes left, don't go anywhere.

These are ideal conditions for electric guitar.
5:31-7:00: Now we're on the Sunset Strip, after an apparent flood. The crowd of people outside the Rainbow sure seem ambivalent about Slash rocking out a solo on the freaking sidewalk like a boss. C'mon people, it's Slash, not C.C. DeVille. Slash could've thrown his hat down and made at least $50 bucks here. Opportunity missed. I think that's Matt Dillon from "Singles" smoking a cigarette at the 6:43 mark.

7:01-8:30: Here's the part of the song where we jump off of ships! Luckily, a random bandmate is aboard swabbing the deck and throws Axl a lifeline. Is that Izzy, Gilby or Dizzy? Or Daffy? It doesn't matter, Mr. Rose has no need for your flotation devices today, good sir. He has his dolphin friends to help him, and they ask nothing in return. Slash rises from the depths to take his 8th face-melting solo on a 9-minute song. It's not overdoing it though, because this one is a sunset solo and includes dolphin noises, so it's way different than the others.

8:31-9:00: Duff McKagan makes a cameo appearance and is all "hey, remember me? I'm still in this band, too, wait don't go, I'm more than a bassist, remember the first chords of 'It's So Easy'? All my idea...noooo!"

9:01-9:30: The real star of this video is that Charles Manson shirt. What a great Christmas gift idea..."I saw that shirt and I thought of you, honey! Let's listen to the White album." There's no way that shirt smells good. If you can't find a shirt that says "I'm drunk on fame and going insane," I guess you buy that Manson shirt instead.

This dolphin sadly died 12 seconds later.
9:30-9:51: We wrap it up with a final definition of "disillusion." I'm super prepared for those SATs now. Axl's Converse drifts to the ocean bottom and we finish with him sitting on a couch with a dolphin, smirking like, "yup, can you believe you just saw that?" And the dolphin is wearing a flannel shirt, because why not. Rock masterpiece complete. Fin (Word play!)  

Week 13 NFL Picks 
Atlanta -3.5 over N. Orleans
Chicago -3.5 over Seattle
Minny +9 over Green Bay
San Fran -7 over St. Louis
Arizona +4.5 over Jets
Carolina -2.5 over KC
Indy +4.5 over Detroit
Buff -6 over Jacksonville
Miami +7.5 over N. England
Cincy -1.5 over San Diego
Houston -5.5 over Tenn
Tampa +7 over Denver
Dallas -10 over Philly
Washington +2.5 over Giants
Balt. -5 over Pitt
Cleve +2 over Oak

Week 11 Record: 9-4 (week 12 was my bye week)
Overall record: 65-65-2 (Back to .500!)

Thursday, November 15, 2012

NFL Week 11 Picks, Plus Favorite Quotes from "Revolution" That Were Never Actually Said

So, there's this new show on NBC called Revolution. If you've heard of it, please excuse this brief description: the power went out all over the world and SHIT GOT REAL. Many of our East Coast friends can more than relate to this right now. On "Revolution," no one knows how or why the power went out, but the world becomes an apocalyptic wasteland over the course of 15 years and grass grows really high, because lawn care was the first thing to go.

I've only seen one episode (as far as you know), and was unimpressed with this fairly obvious attempt to rip off elements of "The Hunger Games" and "Lost." Not that I'm fan of "Lost" - those last couple of seasons were an abomination. Hey, let's spin a big wheel and move the island! Brilliant!

Anyway, this particular episode revolved around a group of misfits with surprisingly stylish hair saving a Peter Pan like crew of kid rebels. It was all very "A-Team." The lead actress, Tracy Spiridakos, is hilarious. She walks around with a bow and arrow that should say "Katniss" on it and acts every scene with her eyes (clearly a graduate of the esteemed Tyra Banks drama academy).

As I watched this new show, I kept hoping for certain lines of dialogue to be said, and they were not. This disappoints me to no end. There were some great one-liners that were out there ready for the taking, and they just drifted away into the dark, dark world. I've done this once before with Hawaii 5-0, and I will do it again here. Here are some great lines that should be said in "Revolution," but most probably won't ever be, and that is a tragedy:

"Well, of coursed I'm pissed, I haven't listened to my Ipod in 15 years!"
"It may be dark around the world, but I see a light in your eyes, girl."
"Just look at all those Pop Tarts...and not a working toaster to be found."
"I knew my degree in candle-making would pay off someday."
"You hated me on Lost. Hate me again
on this show."
"Hey honey, I'm home from hunting, what's on TV tonight...dammit, I keep forgetting!"
"Man, I sure wish people in the 2000s had conserved energy better. Those bastards."
"I used to love the sunset. Not anymore"....(sheds tear)

"Let me go, and I'll give you my DVD
"I so wish I could tweet what an A-hole you're being right now."

"Look, we can either make out or join the revolution,
we can't do both."
"Listen kid, there was this thing called Pandora and you could listen to all this music online, but then this other thing called Spotify came along and...ahh forget it, it's not gonna make sense."

"No, I'm Rizzoli, she's Isles, get it straight!" (crossover episode)

"Looks like (removes sunglasses)...someone dimmed his lights for good." (special guest appearance by David Caruso).

Week 11 NFL Picks
Buffalo -2 over Miami
Washington -3.5 over Philly
Green Bay -3.5 over Detroit
Arizona +10 over Atlanta
Tampa -1.5 over Carolina
Cleveland +7.5 over Dallas
Saint Louis -3 over Jets
Indy +9.5 over New England
Cincy -3 over K.C.
Oak +5 over N. Orleans
San Diego +7.5 over Denver
Baltimore -3.5 over Pitt
San Fran over Chicago

Last week: 5-8
Season: 56-61-2

Friday, November 9, 2012

Week 9 NFL Picks!

What a triumphant week for America. Yes we can! What I'm obviously referring to is that the New York Mets released Jason Bay on Wednesday. A former slugger, Bay hit 26 homers for the Mets in three seasons while batting .234. He was actually even worse than those numbers appear. He batted .165 last year. Half of the Mets pitching staff had a higher batting avg. than him. He never got a hit in a big spot, and he never adjusted to what pitchers were throwing him. He wasn't much of a fielder either.

Jason Bay's Met career in summary.
But, it's hard not to feel bad for him. He always played hard, and said the right things, and by all acounts he was a good teammate. He just happened to lose all his skills practically overnight. Suffering two concussions certainly didn't help, nor did getting booed regularly. How can you not feel bad for him? But, then I remember he's already earned over $40 million from the Mets, and will earn $17 million this year sitting at home on the couch. It is doubtful he ever plays again in the majors. That adds up to about $55,000 per Cheeto he will eat next summer. Now I'm just jealous. And kind of hungry. Vaya con Dios, Jason Bay.

On to the picks:

Buffalo +11 over New England
Get this man the ball, Buffalo!
The Bills don't give CJ Spiller the ball 25 times a game, because, well they're the Bills, and aren't great at the whole talent evaluation thing. Tom Brady rocked an interesting tweed coat to an Aerosmith concert this week, apparently with no shirt underneath. I mean, WTF? What a d-bag move. The collection of his embarrassing photos continues to grow with each passsing day. Plus, who the hell goes to Aerosmith concerts anymore? Most overrated band in rock history.

Giants -4 over Cincy
I'm a big fan of this Eli Manning Looks at Things Tumblr. How about one of him looking at Tom Brady in that dumb tweed coat? Too much to ask?

Tampa -3 over San Diego
Doug Martin will set another record and have 400 yards rushing this week. ON ONE PLAY. On the flip side, Norv Turner will also set a record by punting on 4th and short 38 times.

Detroit -2 over Minnesota
What is up with Calvin Johnson? Only 1 TD catch so far this year. Well, for one, he's getting sextuple teamed...and not in the good way (said in a Rodney Dangerfield voice). Stafford needs to realize everyone else is wide open for TDs galore.

Carolina +4 over Denver
Carolina has looked better in recent weeks, and Denver is due for a hiccup.

"I'll stop this train...I mean land this plane!"
Miami -6 over Tennessee
I watched the movie "Flight" this past week, and I now never want to step on a plane again. Thanks, Hollywood. I enjoy how Denzyl Washington is slowly working his way through the transportation industry with devastating effects. Last year was the runaway train in "Unstoppable," a couple of years before that was the ferry destruction in "Deja Vu"... I'm not sure what his next move could be, he's running out of modes of transport. My hope is some sort of runaway Segway. He could just be on it the whole time with his feet tied to it or something, going "Okay...Alright...let's go!"

New Orleans +2 over Atlanta
A strangely low line that seems to be going with the logic that the Falcons have to lose sometime.

Jets +6 over Seattle
Tony Sparano and Mark Sanchez in a hostile environment...yikes, get the adult diapers ready. The Jets won't win this game, but Seattle doesn't blow anyone out. Seahawks have protected the diminutive Russell Wilson nicely by attempting the fewest amount of passing plays in the league, but the Jets are solid against the run and should be able to slow down Lynch. Seahawks win in a close one. Look for Tebow to play, celebrate wildly on 3 yard runs and thoroughly screw up any momentum the Jets have. Like always.

Oakland +8 over Baltimore
This one looks too easy, so I'm going opposite.

Dallas -2 over Philly

"I'm reading Clock Management for Dummies,
I'll give it to you when I'm done."
Philly is toast. Repeat toast. This could be Andy Reid's last game. It could also be Jason Garrett's last game. It's a total COACH OFF. They should just settle things with a pre-game tractor race, Footloose style.

Houston +1 over Chicago
JJ Watt against Jay Cutler. Wouldn't be surprised to see Cutler come up with a little case of this this Sunday.

Two games I don't care about:
San Francisco -11.5 over St. Louis
Pitt -12.5 over K.C.

Last week: 7-6
Overall record: 51-53-2

Friday, November 2, 2012

Week 9 NFL Picks, Plus Mid-Season Awards

We've come to the midpoint of another NFL season, so it's time for some reflection and review of the most valuable and least valuable players so far. There's nothing more cliche than doling out mid-season awards, but it's either this or review the Jets' trainwreck, and I'm not going down that road, it's too depressing.

AFC Half Season MVP Offense: Peyton Manning, Broncos
"Utah, get me two!"
There are some other fine candidates here, including Big Ben, Arian Foster and the scarf-loving, sheep-courting Tom Brady. But for me, it's Manning or GTFO. The man is playing on a spindly neck that's supporting a giant head that's barely attached to his spine and still getting it done despite a weaker arm. Meanwhile, I'm subjected to watching strongnecked Mark Sanchez fire balls into opposing D-lineman every week.

AFC Half Season LVP Offense: Shonne Greene, Jets
What a worthless running back. Greene runs with a refrigerator repair store on his back. He couldn't gain you a yard if you spotted him 2.9 feet. Of course he put together one great game against a terrible team to fool people into thinking he's still decent. I AM NOT IMPRESSED, SHONNE!

J.J. Watt was built by Cyberdyne Systems in the year 2088.
AFC Half-Season MVP Defense: J.J. Watt, Texans
J.J. Watt is possibly not born of this earth. Perhaps he was chiseled from a meteorite and fused with scalding hot magma. Or maybe he was sent from the future for the sole purpose of spiking quarterback's heads into the field turf and swatting their passes into the ionosphere (way higher than stratosphere). The Looper of defensive ends. Regardless, the fact is, he can't be bargained with. He can't be reasoned with. He doesn't feel pity remorse or fear. And he absolutely will not stop UNTIL QBs ARE DEAD....this scouting report is brought to you by Kyle Reese.

AFC Half-Season LVP Defense: Mario Williams, Bills
Williams makes a bejillion dollars and has three sacks and 13 tackles in 7 games and is terrible against the run. He's also Buffalo's best player. Well done, Bills. Runner up for this award? Any Jets linebacker.

NFC Half Season MVP Offense: Adrian Peterson, Vikings
Tempted to give this to Matt Ryan, because the Falcons are undefeated and he's got no running game, but he does have outstanding receivers. So we go with Peterson, who's come back from a serious knee injury to lead the league in rushing. The dude is a beast.

"Go free ball, you're better off without me carrying you."
NFC Half Season LVP Offense: Michael Turner, Falcons
There are beached whales and there is Michael Turner. Beached whales have a better chance at gaining 3 yards a carry even with no opposable thumbs. This is the first year I've had Michael Turner on my fantasy team, because I am brilliant. He's had about 100 rushing attempts inside the 10 yard line this year and only scored 3 touchdowns. How efficient! Runner up: Michael Vick (and it was very close).

NFC Half Season MVP Defense: Tim Jennings, Bears
Jennings already has 6 interceptions and 13 passes defensed. He would have 21 interceptions if he got to face Jay Cutler every week. There's nothing like a shutdown corner. He makes me weep for my old friend Revis. Runner ups: Charles Tillman, Bears and Chad Greenway, Vikings, a tackling machine.

DeAngelo Hall leads the league
 in Ghost Tackles.
NFC Half-Season LVP Defense: DeAngelo Hall and the Redskins secondary Hall has always been one of the more overrated players in the league, but he's taken it to new heights this year, getting toasted enough times to make a Pop Tart envious. The Redskins secondary is on pace to give up more than 5,000 yards receiving.

Week 9 Picks:
Denver -3.5 over Cincy
Green Bay -11 over Arizona
Miami -2 over Indy
Cleveland +3.5 over Baltimore
Buffalo +10.5 over Houston
Carolina +3.5 over Washington
Detroit -4 over Jacksonville
Chicago -3.5 over Tennessee
Seattle -4.5 over Minnesota
Tampa +1.5 over Oakland
Dallas +4 over Atlanta
NYG -3.5 over Pittsburgh
Philly +3.5 over New Orleans