Tuesday, October 25, 2005

WEEK SEVEN NFL DRUNKPIX

It seems I've made another error. Last week, upon a reader's feedback, I noted that I had been mistakenly thinking that the ESPN analyst making picks was Marcus Allen when it was actually ex-Redskin Eric Allen. Turns out, I fucked up again! Eric Allen never played for the Redskins, I was confusing him with ex-Washington runningback Terry Allen.

So what does all this mean? Last week, I tried to say that I'd made the mistake on purpose because I'm incredibly racist. That wasn't true. The real reason, when it comes down to it, is that I just can't stand people with the last name Allen. I'm tired of all these Allens coming into our country, taking jobs having to do with being named Allen, messing up class rosters by being all early in the alphabet, bein' all rhymin' with the name "Fallon," and confusing people trying to write blog entries about their Allen-ness. It's high time they left us alone and went back where they came from - the wombs of women with the last name Allen.

Nice week for us on the picks. We both went 9-5, no thanks to Eli Manning's sudden goodness, Steve McNair's billionth injury (sprained left pussy, maybe?), and Minnesota's comeback in the battle of two coaches who are so fired, they left the field looking like 40s Dresden. I think we're all done picking San Francisco and Houston for the next couple years, not that we were before this week, but Washington , Oakland, and Detroit might make for some sticky picking in the coming weeks and not just because they're pouring molasses on our picks. Also, since when was Seattle allowed to actually do shit? They better start being less consequential quick or I'm writing an angry letter. I figure, a letter could still probably beat them head-to-head, even though the Rams clearly can't.

WEEK SEVEN RESULTS
Mike Golic: 11-3 (also the ratio of daily meals Golic eats vs the national average)
Sean Salisbury: 10-4
Chris Mortensen: 9-5
KEVIN: 9-5
DAN: 9-5
Ron Jaworski: 9-5
Merrill Hoge: 7-7
Eric Allen: 7-7

AFTER SEVEN WEEKS:
Salisbury: 69-33
Hoge: 62-40
Mortensen: 62-40
DAN: 61-41
Golic: 61-41
Jaworski: 59-43
KEVIN: 57-45
Allen: 53-49

Still plenty of season to play, and I gots an appetite for some Salisbury steak! I am going to eat Sean Salisbury, in the form of picks!

Saturday, October 22, 2005

MLS PLAYOFFS SEMIFINAL MATCH - FINAL SCORE: DC UNITED 0, CHICAGO FIRE 0

It's headlines like this one that continue to pistol-whip that dead horse about why soccer will never be as popular in the US as the rest of the world. How in the hell can a playoff game end in a tie?

Zero-zero ties (or nil-nil, as people who pretend to be sophisticated enough to enjoy soccer call them) are boring enough and already deservedly draw the ire (or the not-giving-a-shit) of Americans. But a playoff game ending in a tie? Come on, MLS! Does that stand for "Majorly Lame Sport?" I know it doesn't, but I'm just saying other words that fit the abbreviation that more humorously describe it!

A 0-0 playoff game, though, even soccer should know better. At least have the game go into pentalty kicks and have nine people score with unexciting ease then have one dude hit the crossbar and go back to his home country and get murdered. Players being murdered and riots causing hundreds of trample deaths are the few things soccer has that US Sports don't, and until the sport learns how to market itself properly, it's never going to grab our country's attention. A good first step would be having playoff games not end in ties.

A good second step would be playing football.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

GIANT HUGE CONCERT REVUE REVIEW – DAY ONE

Last weekend, Kevin and I attended the Across the Narrows festival, a two-day indie-scribable concert event occurring simultaneously on Coney Island and Staten Island (we went to the Coney Island show both days.) Here’s the highlights from day the first:

We arrived halfway through Death From Above 1979, a raucously earsplitting duo that’s essentially a metal band with a name and album cover designed to convince hipsters they’re not uncool for listening to them. There’s only a drummer and an electric bassist, both playing and yelling as loudly as possible, so they basically sound like if the other two Ben Folds Five members just went fucking berserk. The crowd was sparse at 4 pm, but that didn’t reduce the amount of death that came from above; their music was fist-pumping and heart-pounding and pounding-pumping-hearts-with-fists and I’m sure they’d be a blast at a smaller venue. In short, I Death From A-Loved them. ARBITRARY GRADE, to take the fun out of all this: B+

Talk about tough act to follow, after those metalheads came Rilo Kiley, a quirky, folk-tinged crew with a cute female lead singer. They opened with a string of quality tunes off their recent major-label debut, then continued to get more and more country as their set went on, peaking when they played “Boot Scootin’ Boogie,” “Thank God I’m a Country Boy,” and the Dueling Banjos theme simultaneously while drinking moonshine. Actually, they closed with their single that isn’t called “Bad News,” though the fact that their innocent little indie outfit managed to score a major label deal and a hit single is certainly not bad news to the rest of the festival’s up-and-comers. In short, they Rilo Kind-of surprised me. GRADE: B+

The lone black eye of the two-day festival were indie-stalwarts Built to Spill, a mid-90s alternative group that doesn’t so much write songs as they randomly play a riff four times then play another one on and on for six minutes. They sound like if Stephen Malkmus and his talent were divided up into five people. They’re not bad, but I can’t listen through a full album of theirs, and their slothlike live show didn’t change that (I wish actual sloths had been involved.) By the time they were done, more eyes in the crowd were looking at watches than at the stage. In short, they were Built to Kill…the concert’s momentum. GRADE: D :(

After years of telling people and being told “this is a rip off of Gang of Four,” it was sort of surreal to see the massively influential British quartet intact before my very eyes, and to this day, these grown up lads from Leeds pack a punch that completely justifies their past decade of retrospective worship. Yes, they’re influential—you can still hear Franz Ferdinand’s entire career within every one of their effortless riffs—but they’re just as listenable today as they were to stunned post-punk audiences two decades ago. Lead singer Jon King was an absolute lunatic, dancing as hilariously wackily as you’d expect a 60-year-old Brit to dance while constantly dropping the mic, running around the stage, and eventually smashing a microwave with a bat as the beat to a song. In short, they were the highlight of the concert, first and Gang-of-Foremost. GRADE: A+

The headlining Pixies hit the stage with blindsiding punctuality (actually earlier than they’d been scheduled on the bill) and after opening with a blip from “In Heaven” and a ballad version of “Wave of Mutilation,” they blitzed into a one-two punch of “Where is My Mind?” and “Vamos” and the crowd was off and moshing like crazy, instantly reminding me why I don’t like a lot of people that like the same music I do. The band’s pace was sickeningly swift as they cut through more than half their entire catalogue in a little more than an hour; after “Mr. Grieves,” “Nimrod’s Son,” and “Broken Face,” I was prompted to ask the rhetorical question, “does this band have a bad song?” Rhetorical answer: no. The moshing was distracting, particularly this drunk/high dude in a Yankee hat who kept intentionally slamming into people, promping me to steal his Yankee hat and have him immediately start drunkenly pummeling me. Fortunately, I was able to grab his lapel and throw him, and he went down like a Yankee free-agent-pitcher, came back to his feet, shook my hand, got his hat and left. During all this, “Debaser” was playing, which made it surreal to the point where I no longer believe it actually happened. Throughout the set, the band pretty much just stood there, with Frank Black’s Herculean physique in the spotlight and the rest in darkness until Kim Diehl played “Gigantic” as the encore. In short, despite a performance that didn’t add much over the albums, these guys are still my Pix as one of the greatest bands of all time. GRADE: A-

(Stay tuned... Beck, Belle & Sebastian, and the Polyphonic Spree to come, whenever I get around to writing it!)

WEEK SIX NFL DRUNKPIX

It seems I've made an error. One of our readers graciously pointed out to me that the ESPN analyst providing weekly picks was, in fact, ex-Redskin Eric Allen, not Marcus Allen, as I'd been writing here for weeks. I give everyone my utmost assurance that this was not an honest mistake, but rather a reflection of my intense personal racism which prohibits me from acknowledging the difference between people who are of any race but mine. Therefore, my amazingly racist nature manifested itself in my being racist by racially judging Mr. Eric Allen, resulting in racism. I apologize to all races, particularly Native Americans, and the mistake will be corrected in Drunkpix posts from now on (I'm not changing the ones prior to now, I'm not that not racist).

As for the picks, we did ok, but those lucky bastards at ESPN had a really good week of not picking ridiculously stupid upsets. Everyone had the Seahawks, Falcons, Colts, and Panthers correct, everyone but Kevin and I had the Cowboys right, and everyone also anticipated Tommy Maddox not having the worst game in NFL history except for Kevin, who actually had the Jaguars over the Steelers. The week cleared up some things; the Redskins, Dolphins and Chiefs are just ok, the Broncos and Colts are good, and the Texans, Browns, Jets, Titans, Raiders, Saints, and Vikings are not going to the playoffs.

Also, is Mike Tice not the most fired man in the history of jobs? I challenge you all to prove me wrong.

WEEK SIX RESULTS:

Sean Salisbury: 11-3
Chris Mortensen: 11-3
Mike Golic: 10-4
Merrill Hoge: 9-5
KEVIN: 9-5
Ron Jaworski: 9-5
DAN: 8-6
Eric Allen: 7-7

THROUGH SIX WEEKS, THE JOCK CONTINUES TO LEAD THE NERDS:

Salisbury: 59-29
Hoge: 55-33
Mortensen: 53-35
DAN: 52-36
Golic: 50-38
Jaworski: 50-38
KEVIN: 48-40
Allen: 46-42

(Just wait until the talent competition, Salisbury, our electic-violin closing musical number will triumph over you and the rest of the Alpha Betas once and for all!)

Monday, October 17, 2005

FOOTBALL AND MELLENCAMP

Did anyone else catch, during Sunday night’s unthralling (what’s the opposite of enthralling?) Seahawks/Texans ESPN game, they once threw it to commercial with a montage of stadium concessionaires while John Mellencamp’s “I Ain’t Even Done With the Night” played? The song, which you’ve probably heard if you’re cognizant that classic rock radio exists, is a powerfully lame ballad in which Mellencamp wails aimlessly over a jingling mandolin. It’s a lame song even by Mellencamp’s lofty standards. And, yet, there it was being used on Sunday night football, instead of “The Authority Song” or “Rockin’ in the USA” or any other song that’s still lame, but that you could at least reconcile its inclusion in a broadcast trying to maintain a moderate level of excitement.

At that moment, while Mellencamp protested to the night that he wasn’t yet done with it, I realized that football is so popular in our country, the NFL is flaunting the fact that it can do anything with the broadcasts and viewers will keep coming back.The NHL has launched a new dramatic ad campaign with a gladiatorial hockey player being dressed for “hockey battle” by his female sex slave in order to get the league some controversial attention, but people still aren’t scouring the four-digit channels to find OLN. Baseball has chosen the Smashing Pumpkins’ “Cherub Rock” as the theme song to their ’05 playoffs, which is pretty dated, but could you imagine if baseball used that damn Mellencamp song instead? You’d fall so asleep, you’d suffer brain damage. Last year baseball tried to be even trendier by using Franz Ferdinand’s “Jacqueline” in their playoff promos, apparently attempting to restore the chic-European-discotheque atmosphere that baseball has lacked since the retirement of Kirby Puckett.

Bottom line, football sells itself. It doesn’t need gladiators or Scottish danceable pop or P.T. Barnum promoting it to keep people glued to their sets. The NFL knows it, too, and it wants us to know that it knows it, sort of like how a girl who knows a guy likes her can ask him to do increasingly unreasonable things for her benefit; the least reasonable of all things, though, is playing “I Ain’t Even Done With the Night” during anything that’s supposed to be exciting. But, like that dumbfounded boy on the other end, I keep coming back to the NFL, only instead of hoping against hope that someday we’ll get together, I’m hoping, against the same infinitesimal probability, that the Steelers will actually win a Superbowl. Yes, they’re now 3-2, but as the soon-to-be motto of the NFL says, they ain’t even done with this night.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Where are they WOW!

This is a new feature on Internet Follies where I'll select an actor from our childhood, remember them and discuss their influence on us. If I'm lucky enough, we'll find out what they're doing now! This is a completely original idea. I am very glad that I thought of this first!

I recently saw the film "Thumbsucker". While I liked the movie, I was haunted by the fact that the actress portraying the character Rebecca could be Becky "The Ice Box" O'Shea all grown up.

I don't have to remind you that The Icebox is the no-nonsense tomboy from Little Giants who makes Gloria Stenheim look like a misogynist. The character was so influential that it helped pass the Equal Rights Amendment. She was momentarily fooled into thinking that she needed to give up her go kart and the dirt on her face for pom poms until she realized that she should have confidence in herself and accept who she is: a dominating middle linebacker with the prowess of Lawrence Taylor and speed of Dwight Freeny trapped in the body of an unattractive 12 year old girl. This little girl and her Little Giants helped make "The Annexation of Puerto Rico" part of our modern lexicon. Could it really be the Icebox?

Could this:














really be that?















I should have known that the Icebox hadn't melted into a hot pool of water with big boobs. The search for the Icebox continued. The character of Rebecca in "Thumbsucker" was played by Kelli Garner. You might remember her as Howard Hughes' young wife Faith Domergue in "The Aviator." You may also know her by her nickname "Tits McGoo."



















So what has become of the Icebox? It seems that Becky O'Shea's real name is Shawna Waldron. Following the one-two punch of "Little Giants" and "The American President" that knocked America off its feet, Shawna struggled to find roles as ambitious as The Icebox. Waldron soon quit acting but kept the nickname. She received a full ride to Miami to play middle linebacker and tailback. Registering 3000 tackles and 10,000 yards as a true freshman, Icebox was on pace to shatter every record set in the history of athletic records. However, Waldron rediscovered her passion for the arts. With a heavy heart, she took off her shoulder pads forever and committed herself to "tackling" films instead of people.

Check out Waldron in her upcoming film, "To Kill a Mockumentary." IMDB describes it as "a hilarious mockumentary following a group of mockumentary film makers as they shoot their first studio film." Starring Jason "I was in Mallrats and Dazed and Confused" London and Mickey Rooney(!), this is a must-see. Waldron even co-wrote it. Hopefully Spike doesn't try to ruin this one too!







The Icebox is a lady now

WEEK FIVE DRUNKPIX

Another tough week of picks; Philly went down, 4-0 Tampa got beat, 4-0 Cincinnati got beat, Green Bay finally won, the Patriots are still good, the Bears are still bad, and no one now knows what to expect from Jacksonville, Seattle, Cleveland, St. Louis, or Detroit. WOOOO! NFL Football! Catch the fever! (not Typhoid)

WEEK FIVE RESULTS:

Sean Salisbury: 9-5
DAN: 9-5
Merrill Hoge: 8-6
KEVIN: 8-6
Mike Golic: 8-6
Marcus Allen: 7-7
Chris Mortensen: 7-7
Ron Jaworski: 5-9 (OWCH! Jaws!)

THROUGH FIVE WEEKS:
Salisbury: 48-26
Hoge: 46-28
DAN: 44-30
Mortensen: 42-32
Jaworski: 41-33
Golic: 40-34
KEVIN: 39-35
Allen: 39-35

Still plenty of season left to play. Which is bad news for Texans fans.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

DAN'S FANSHMABULOUS NHL PREVIEW

Hockey season is upon us once again, and if you’re one of the people who helped ESPN’s televised rodeos earn higher ratings than their NHL coverage, then you probably don’t give a shit! Fortunately, yours truly is here to explain to you the sport that’s so good, the average American can’t ever follow it. Or, as I call it, the “Arrested Development” of sports.

WESTERN CONFERENCE PREDICTIONS
1. Detroit Red Wings
2. Calgary Flames
3. Anaheim Mighty Ducks
4. San Jose Sharks
5. Vancouver Canucks
6. Colorado Avalanche
7. Nashville Predators
8. Edmonton Oilers
[9. Dallas Stars, 10. Los Angeles Kings, 11. Phoenix Coyotes, 12. Chicago Blackhawks, 13. Minnesota Wild, 14. Columbus Blue Jackets, 15. St. Louis Blues]

We’ll start with the conference that plays its games after the important coast goes to sleep. People are down on the Red Wings this year, which is understandable— Brendan Shanahan just turned 56, Steve Yzerman is 80, and Chris Chelios is the half-formed titular creature from “The Mummy”—but expect new coach Mike Babcock, hardened by his experiences getting laughed at in middle school, to keep Detroit with the league’s elite. Calgary isn’t far behind, boasting the league’s best overall player in Jarome Iginla, and the city’s 335 residents would be ecstatic if they weren’t huddled together for warmth nine months a year. It’ll come down to the Sharks and the Ducks in the Pacific Division, but nostalgia always wins out, and San Jose’s Starter Jackets will be no match for the Niedermayer-Federov-Selanne flying V. If the NHL’s new rules do open up the game, keep an eye on the speedy Nashville Predators, at least until speedster Paul Kariya gets speedily injured. Colorado will still be good, too, but replacing Peter Forsberg with Pierre Turgeon is sort of like an art gallery replacing a Picasso masterpiece with Pierre Turgeon.

ESPN hailed Jeremy Roenick as a perfect fit in Los Angeles, which I understand in the sense that there are lots of loudmouthed assholes on the West Coast, but I didn’t realize people in California also constantly cross-checked one another. Dallas will have a shot at the playoffs after they fire coach Dave Tippett (the NHL’s Mike Tice…I give him fifteen games), but they, like Chicago and St. Louis, just don’t impress-a-me much. Last but not least, Wayne Gretzky is now coaching Phoenix, generating unprecedented hockey buzz throughout Arizona. The state now boasts a rate of two hockey fans per species of scorpion.




This is Arizona. Hockey is played here.






EASTERN CONFERENCE PREDICTIONS

1. Ottawa Senators
2. Philadelphia Flyers
3. Tampa Bay Lightning
4. Boston Bruins
5. New Jersey Devils
6. Toronto Maple Leafs
7. Pittsburgh Penguins
8. Florida Panthers
[9. Montreal Canadians, 10. New York Islanders, 11. Atlanta Thrashers, 12. Carolina Hurricanes, 13. Buffalo Sabres, 14. New York Rangers, 15. Washington Capitals]

The wide-open East is buzzing with bees this year—storyline bees. The biggest of all is the arrival of 18-year-old phenom Sidney Crosby, a prospect with “the skill of Lemieux and the vision of Gretzky” according to the magazine Hyperbole Weekly; he’s essentially a combination of each member from the “Prostars” 80s cartoon. Crosby joins a Pittsburgh lineup which has added Ziggy Palffy, John LeClair, and Mark Recchi, in addition to Lemieux, to form a sort of Russian-dolls-inside-one-another of oldness. Can the Pens go from worst to first? Not likely, as the revamped Flyers have added Peter Forsberg to a lineup that was a win away from the Cup Finals last season. Don’t worry, Flyers fans, Bobby Clarke went ahead and got his big slow dudes too, adding defensemen Derian Hatcher and Mike Rathje after he was unable to sign Warren Sapp and that giant rock thing from “The Neverending Story.”

Also among the league’s elite are the Ottawa Senators, a team with explosive speed and scoring talent in front of goaltender… Dominick Hasek?? Is that a misprint? Sounds to me like some kid in Ottawa is screwing around with trades on NHL 97 for Genesis. The returning champion Lightning lost The “Boulin Wall” in goal, but should be fine with John “The Graheme-lin” Grahame (instead of Kremlin, keeping with the theme of political walled things). I’m sure the Devils will be fine, they’re hockey’s Atlanta Braves minus the playoff chokes, the Bruins are deep enough on offense to make me somehow hate the Patriots even more, and the Maple Leafs will count on drooling vegetable Eric Lindros for some toughness, which might backfire if opponents distract him by telling him about the rabbits. Keep an eye on feisty Florida, now coached by Jacques Martin—the French national anthem plays whenever he enters a room—who complimented a talented bunch of grapes with the ageless Joe Nieuwendyk. I mean "ageless" literally, a number does not exist for his amount of years on this earth.




Can Eric Lindros (top left) make an impact on something other than a brainscan?




My Stanley Cup pick?
I’m going out on a limb, and I might just plummet and break my leg like that kid from “A Separate Peace,” but I’m taking the Vancouver Canucks over the Flyers in seven games. The Flyers, up 3-2 in the series, will blow a lead in the third period on a soft goal allowed by Robert Esche, who will have played well up til that point, then they’ll lose game seven and Esche will join Mitch Williams in the Philly Protection Program. Bobby Clarke, like Phillies GM Ed Wade, will never be fired, and Vancouver’s presence will ensure that the Cup Finals draw poorer ratings than Rodeo’s Stanley Cup Finals, a competition to see who wins the spittoon that some hick named Stanley used to own.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

WEEK FOUR DRUNKPIX

Most of the favorites won in week four, so it was a generally good week for prognosticators, except for ones who picked the Vikings to upset the Falcons in Atlanta (Tice pick, Dan). Kevin's faith in the Saints finally came through, but his lesser-of-two-evils choice of the 49ers fell short. Everyone missed the Chargers' upset over the Patriots and the Jaguars' loss to Denver, but everyone did correctly have Baltimore, Tampa, Carolina, Indy, and Cincinnati.

The Redskins may be 3-0, but if this were college football, they'd still be ranked 22nd, they've basically beaten UTEP and Central Florida so far, not even convincingly, and we all know they'll start losing when it counts. But still, with them and the Bengals both undefeated, we've been again reminded that truly anything can happen in the NFL on any given Sunday. Except for the Packers winning. They fucking suck. They are truly, deeply horrible. Man, do they suck.

If you're keeping score:

Sean Salisbury: 39-20
Merrill Hodge: 37-22
Ron Jaworski: 36-23
DAN: 35-25
Chris Mortensen: 34-25
Marcus Allen: 32-27
Mike Golic: 31-28
KEVIN: 31-29

It's early. Once Salisbury and Hodge get their concussions and Jaworski chokes on a cheesesteak, we'll shoot right up to the top.