Saturday, September 26, 2009

Now + here = Nowhere ???

A friend recently shared a music video with me (love that Facebook feature) that was pretty disturbing: Depeche Mode's "Wrong." That, of course, got me thinking about music videos, and what a huge new thing they were back in the teenage years. You may not believe this, but those were the days when MTV and VH1 did nothing but air music videos, and artists / bands went crazy trying to one-up each other in producing visual images that went with their music. Some videos involved travel to exotic locations (love those mullets!), others just made sure to throw in prominently featured T&A (great song, great band), others simply went for sex and violence (albeit subdued by today's standards), and we even had videos paying tribute to other videos.

But it seems to me that, at least during the 80s and early 90s, videos tried very hard for the macabre angle. Some of the attempts were pretty lame, like this effeminately mulleted post-apocalyptic hodgepodge, or this would-be werewolf lunacy (great song, though!), this wedding gone wrong, or this utterly cheesy elevator ride down to hell. But some videos managed to be truly creepy, like this nightmare of being drowned, buried, and stung by gigantic mosquitoes, this unsettling claymation (and a phenomenal song to boot), and the grand-daddy of all disturbing videos:

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Milton Bradley

It seems like it was only last week / last blog post that I mentioned Milton Bradley's insanity. And that's because it WAS that recent. Well, Milton's tired act just played itself out, again, in yet another city. The Cubs have suspended him for the remainder of the season. Bradley's always been talented, and he can be quite pleasant when he's not crazy. Sadly, those quiet interludes of sanity are becoming less and less frequent in the maelstrom of his craziness.

I remember Milton's tenure in Cleveland very well, and it was a lot like his tenure in every other team he's played for. Loads of potential, initial niceness, and a rapid descent into lunacy. During his breakout season with the Tribe, Milton tried to pick a fight with Travis Fryman because Fryman rightly took Milton to task for not running out a ground ball. Of course, Milton cried racism. When manager Eric Wedge benched Milton for not running out yet another ground ball, Milton accused the entire organization of being racist, sulked, pouted, and effectively ran himself right out of town. The Tribe ended up trading him for about a nickel on the dollar, and yet it was a textbook case of addition by subtraction. Milton subsequently played himself out of favor with the Dodgers (he went after fans in the stands), the Rangers (went after one of the radio broadcasters who criticized him for not running out a ground ball), the A's (tore ligaments on his knees while being restrained by his own coaches as he tried to go after an umpire), and now the Cubs (got into dugout confrontation with his manager, accused entire Chicago fan base of being bigoted, embittered, and stupid).

Where will Milton Bradley go from here? I imagine some desperate team will take a flyer on him next season. The talent is still there, and even though Milton has a Monopoly on bipolar stupidity, some team GM without a Clue will pay him some Easy Money and roll Yahtzee on crazy Milton. Good luck.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Crown Victoria breaks down

I didn't get a chance to watch last night's US Open women's semifinals live, because I was watching my beloved Buckeyes lose yet another heart-breaker they should have won. But thanks to the DVR, I was able to catch up and just finished watching Serena "Crown Victoria" Williams lose her match to Kim Clijsters. Down a set and trailing the second set 5-6, Crown Victoria was serving at 15-30, and committed a double-fault for match point because of a somewhat ticky-tacky foot-fault call. At that point, Crown Victoria lost it and went on a paranoid rant that would have made Milton Bradley proud. She spent the next couple of minutes alternatively preparing to serve out match point, then stopping, screaming obscenities at the line judge who called the foot-fault, then preparing to serve again, then stopping and ranting at the line judge yet again. Predictably enough, Crown Victoria's tantrum practically forced the chair umpire to penalize her a point for unsportsmanlike behaviour. Game, set, match. Would Crown Victoria have been able to mount an epoch-making comeback when facing match point against a player who appeared to have her number? Highly improbable, but not impossible. Regrettably, Crown Victoria's antics make the question moot.

I've always supported Crown Victoria, even though she's a textbook example of the "Gracious winner, sore loser" corollary. She heaps effusive praise on opponents after she's defeated them, almost to a fault, but when she loses, she refuses to give opponents credit, instead saying things along the lines of, "She made a lot of lucky shots, and I made lots of errors." Being a somewhat sore loser does not a sports villain make... but even the biggest Crown Victoria apologist might have a tough time defending last night's meltdown. I'm not passing holier-than-thou judgment here. I may not be a professional athlete, but it doesn't take a professional athlete to understand that emotions and frustrations are brutally magnified in the heat of competition, especially when the stakes are high. That having been said, Serena's "Ugly American" moment cost her the match, and possibly a few fans.