[Author's note: If you were around here last year, you might have seen a link to the weekly post I wrote at SBN Houston. This is the inaugural 2011 edition of that weekly column, which will now appear at BRB (generally on Tuesdays). If this is all new to you, you can find a general description of this whole thing at the above link. Enjoy.]
"Let us toast to animal pleasures, to escapism, to rain on the roof and instant coffee, to unemployment insurance and library cards, to absinthe and good-hearted landlords, to music and warm bodies and contraceptives ... and to the 'good life,' whatever it is and wherever it happens to be." --Hunter S. Thompson, The Proud Highway: Saga of a Desperate Southern Gentleman
I read The Proud Highway in late 1998, not terribly long after it had been released. Sitting here, roughly 13 years later, the above quote is one of only two things I can readily recall from book. This, I suppose, means that The Proud Gentleman was nowhere near as great as Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas. Then again, few books by any author stack up well against Fear and Loathing, so whaddaya gonna do?
ANYWAY, The Proud Highway's apparent lack of transcendent greatness aside, I was reminded of the above quote Sunday morning as I prepared for your Houston Texans to kick off the 2011 season. No matter our political or philosophical differences outside Reliant, when it comes to your Houston Texans, our political differences fall by the wayside on gameday; as tGC touched upon, "American football is, to paraphrase Lombardi, America." More to the point, for many of us, Houston Texans football is HST's theoretical "good life." Here's toasting it. On to the Hangover...
Career sacks by Mario Williams. His two sacks of Kerry Collins on Sunday also gave him 11 career games with at least that many. Considering that he has more sacks against Miami than any other non-AFC South opponent, and considering the Dolphins gave up four sacks last night (three to defensive linemen), you've got to like Mario's chances to increase both of those totals Sunday.
My daughter is a strange kid, which is probably to be expected, what with genetics and all that. In addition to being a criminal mastermind, she is obsessed with tornadoes and black holes ("space twisters"), and her favorite band is Old Crow Medicine Show. Oh, she also refers to herself in the third person. Actually, that's not true; she refers to herself in the fictional third person (fourth person?). So, for example, she'll walk in and tell me "Jessie the Cowgirl wants cookies," where "Jessie" is Sophia. Or, more accurately, where Sophia is "Jessie."
Her latest nom d'imaginaire is "Cinderella," due to the fact that we've watched Cinderella roughly 4,387 times over the past month. Seriously, it's gotten to the point where I expect rats to not only talk to me but also to tailor my pants. Like any movie, if you see Cinderella enough times, you start to notice things that previously slipped past you. Case in point, when the palace clock strikes 8 p.m., the 11 on the clock face is incorrectly written as "XII." Also, when the Fairy Godmother changes the four mice into horses, only one of the two unnamed mice has a hat; when they turn back into mice, both of them have hats.
However, it wasn't until more recently that something about the movie itself dawned on me: the moral of the movie sucks. At its basic level, the message is, hey, don't worry about doing anything for yourself, just cry and let the universe hand everything to you.1
Think about it: ol' Cindy is bummed because (a) her life sucks due to her stepmother and stepsisters and, more immediately, (b) she doesn't get to go to the royal ball, right? At no point does she think, "Hey, I don't have to do what my stepmother says; I'm outta this hellhole!" Nevermind that she's (apparently) of legal marrying age or that her harridan of a stepmother had no legal control over her --- English Common Law forbade adoption, as it screwed up the regular lines of inheritance --- Cinderella just continues to toil as a slave rather than doing something (ANYTHING!) about it. Hell, the mice make her a dress and, when the stepsisters tear it up, rather than try to make another one now that the stepmother and the two younger harpies are gone, Cindy just sits her sorry butt down and pouts. If the Fairy Godmother doesn't show up and start magicifying things, Cindy would have bippity-boppity-boo-hoo-hooed all night and never met the Prince. What kind of lesson is that for little girls? "Don't worry, dearies, even if your life is a gigantic ball of suck, all you need is a little magic and a wealthy man to make it all better!"
Kicking The Dead Horse (2011 Version).
Number of yards and rushing TDs, respectively, that Arian Foster needs to surpass Domanick Williams (nee Davis) for the all-time team lead in both categories (3,195; 23).
81; 530; 4.
Number of receptions, receiving yards, and receiving TDs, respectively, that Arian Foster needs to surpass Domanick Williams (nee Davis) for the all-time team lead among RBs in both categories (154; 1,276; 5). (Steve Slaton also has 5 receiving TDs.)
I'll Take "Directions An Arm Should Not Go" For $500, Alex.
Note: if you are squeamish, you might not want to look at that picture that you just looked at.
I Got Yer "Obstruction" Right Here! /grabs crotch
I can't speak for the other attorneys in the crowd, but I find it nearly impossible to watch legal dramas. There are a few exceptions (Boston Legal, The Practice, Murder One), but, for the most part, the law you see practiced on TV eschews most of the basic rules of evidence, hearsay, and procedure. This invariably leads to me objecting (out loud) during the show, which is both as sad and as lame as it sounds.
Possibly because my post-law-school resume consists of the public defenders' office and criminal appellate work, however, I find police dramas even more annoying to watch. Whereas I just get irritated by the flaws in the legal shows, I get angry at the flaws in the police shows because (a) I'm a defense-minded jerk and (b) I see the police saying incorrect things on these shows so often that the public actually believes it to be true.
Case in point, the favorite lie of all the police on the Law & Order franchise: if you refuse to talk to police, they will arrest you and charge you with obstruction of justice. Because, you know, that whole Fifth Amendment thing is, like, optional or something. Look, generally speaking, the police can request that you cooperate if you have knowledge of a crime. In Arkansas, for example, Ark. R. Crim. P. 2.2 (2011) reads:
Rule 2.2. Authority to request cooperation.
(a) A law enforcement officer may request any person to furnish information or otherwise cooperate in the investigation or prevention of crime. The officer may request the person to respond to questions, to appear at a police station, or to comply with any other reasonable request.
(b) In making a request pursuant to this rule, no law enforcement officer shall indicate that a person is legally obligated to furnish information or to otherwise cooperate if no such legal obligation exists. Compliance with the request for information or other cooperation hereunder shall not be regarded as involuntary or coerced solely on the ground that such a request was made by a law enforcement officer.
(emphasis added). What they can't do is threaten you with criminal charges if you don't wish to cooperate. (There is even a separate rule here that, if they ask you to come to the police station, they "shall take such steps as are reasonable to make clear that there is no legal obligation to comply with such a request.") The only way you can be charged with obstruction when asked by the police to provide information about a crime is if you lie to them or do something to otherwise hinder the investigation.2 Merely staying quiet? Ain't a crime. If anything, it's a good idea. (Note: that's just the defense attorney in me speaking again. YMMV.)
Team Records and Career Milestones Likely To Be Achieved in 2011.
Matt Schaub needs 23 completions and 221 attempts to pass David Carr for first in both categories. (Schaub already holds the team records for passing yards, passing TDs, and fewest passes thrown wearing stylish handgear.)
Andre Johnson needs 741 receiving yards to reach 10,000 for his career, and he needs 1,312 receiving yards to move into the top-30 all-time (assuming he finishes with at least 397 more yards than Donald Driver). Should he get 120 catches and finish with at least 70 more catches than Chad Ochocinco, Johnson would move into the top 25 all-time.
Odd -- And Slightly Telling -- Fact.
No defensive back currently on the team has an interception returned for a touchdown for the Texans. (Johnathan Joseph had three with Cincinnati.)
Negative Is Only Good On X-Rays and STD Tests
Shaun Cody has never filled us with much confidence as a 4-3 DT and we questioned his projection as a starting NT in a 3-4. He didn’t put in exactly a vintage performance in this encounter to put those doubts to rest. Against a none too potent Colts running game he put up a run defense grade of -1.6 and was rather easily controlled on a few inside runs.
The idea that Cody had a good game seems to come solely from the fact that he recovered a fumble. Don't get me wrong --- kudos to him for getting the ball. That said, let's not try to fool ourselves into thinking that Cody (or Earl Mitchell) played particularly well against the run.
Of the Colts 15 runs, 7 went up the middle, and 5 went to the left or right guard. 14 of those runs were on 1st or 2nd down, against the base 3-4. The Colts were pretty obviously targeting what we all know to be the weak spot in this run defense, and they had success, netting 5 yards per carry in the first half. Worse still, despite all of these runs coming at or near the NT, only Mitchell made even one tackle (a stop for no gain).
Cody and Mitchell's "success" on Sunday had a lot more to do with how few rushing attempts the Colts had and the fact that the Colts have a poor running game to begin with. Once the score started to get out of hand, the Colts began passing almost exclusively. Against a team that doesn’t fall apart so quickly (and can therefore continue to run), the lack of decent run defense could be a huge problem. This is what scares me most about playing New Orleans, Pittsburgh, and Baltimore.
That's right -- Staying Alive, the sequel to Saturday Night Fever, was WRITTEN AND DIRECTED by Sylvester freaking Stallone. Odd enough on its face, right? But, here's where it gets really strange: we're not talking about the Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot /Demolition Man-era Stallone. We're talking about 1983, just-made-Victory, First Blood, and Rocky III-era Stallone. It's only two years prior to making Rocky IV. Stallone was pretty much the biggest action star on the planet at the time, and he (apparently) felt so strongly about Saturday Night Fever having a sequel that he wrote and directed one. This would be like ... actually, I can't even come up with a good analogy. Leo DiCaprio following up Blood Diamond and The Departed by writing and directing a sequel to Boiler Room, where Seth tries to get a job with the SEC? Something like that.
After That, We'll Replace Your Microwave With A Nuclear Reactor
Now that it looks like the esteemed doctors of internet medicine were wrong and Kevin Walter does not have a "broken shoulder," it's possible that this whole "we should sign Randy Moss" thing might be moot. Even so, I am baffled that anyone suggested it in the first place. I'm not even talking about Moss being moody and taking plays off; I'm talking about the fact that replacing Kevin Walter with Randy Moss is like replacing a tow truck with a Ferrari Enzo and then trying to tow something.
What I mean is, the role Walter plays on this team is that of (gritty) possession receiver. He's willing to take a hit and make catches over the middle. Randy Moss' game is pretty much the opposite of that, as he's been almost entirely a deep threat for years now. So, if Walter needs to be replaced, that implies that the role Walter plays needs to be filled, right? So signing Moss would address that ... how?
Not to mention, once Arian Foster is back in the lineup, on most plays, Kevin Walter (or whomever is playing WR2) is in reality the fourth option in the passing game behind Andre Johnson, Foster, and Owen Daniels. Heck, with the emergence of James Casey in the passing game, there will be some plays where Walter is the fifth option. Why in the world would you bring in a Randy Moss for that?
There were also talks of bringing in T.O. While I admit that Owens would theoretically play a role more similar to what Walter does, it still makes little-to-no sense to me to pay for a guy who thinks he should be option 1 or 2 when he almost certainly won't be. (Not to mention, he's still recovering from offseason surgery.)
Random '90s Rap Video
Per PFF, J.J. Watt had 5 pressures of Kerry Collins Sunday in addition to his fumble recovery and team-leading 5 tackles. He and Mario Williams combined for 16 pressures, 7 tackles, 2 sacks, 1 forced fumble, and 1 fumble recovery. All told, the Texans had 21 pressures, 3 sacks, and 5 hits on the 34 plays where Kerry CoLOLins dropped back to pass. Meaning that the Texans' pass rush --- a creature that, prior to 2011, was spotted about as often as a Yangtze River Dolphin --- directly impacted over 85% of the Colts' pass plays. Viva Wade!
Unnecessary Archer Quote
He'll have an unexpected dinner guest who may be his son. And, for dessert, we will have the truth. You hear that mother?! After lifetimes of your secrets and lies, we will finally have the truth! Oh, and hopefully shitloads of vodka.
The "Marijuana Pepsi Sawyer" Inexplicable Decision Of The Week
Much like the decision to name your daughter "Marijuana Pepsi," the Colts' decision to block Death, Destroyer of Worlds with only Dallas Clark was downright baffling and, if you are Kerry Collins, painful. The second time was particularly funny only because Mario seemed to realize that Clark had no help, so he just kicked it into a higher gear and ran right by Clark and nearly ran through Collins.
I am particularly fond of the juxtaposition of Mario's expression with Clark's.
Random List Of Things That I Recommend For One Reason Or Another
- Hayes Carll. Particularly "Trouble In Mind" and "KMAG YOYO." Or, if you want to start with a couple songs, "Bad Liver And A Broken Heart" and "Chances Are" are tough to beat.
- xkcd. If you aren't reading this every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, you are not living a complete and fulfilling life.
- Hunter S. Thompson. In keeping with the opening of this column, and because I'm a huge fanboy, I recommend all of his early books -- Hell's Angels, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, The Great Shark Hunt, The Rum Diary, The Proud Highway, and Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail '72.
- Watching the highlights from Michigan's comeback against Notre Dame last Saturday.
- Boardwalk Empire. Season 2 starts next week on HBO. If you missed season 1 ... I'm not sure what to tell you. Maybe you can find it somewhere. It's not on Netflix streaming yet, however. Even if you missed it, you should still jump into season 2. Shouldn't be too hard to catch up.
- Continued creative use of James Casey in both the running and passing games.
- Candied jalapenos. Specifically, candied jalapenos on a brisket sandwich. You can thank me later in the form of a brisket sandwich with candied jalapenos on it.
- This photo shoot of Alison Brie. (SFW-ish)
- Not watching television shows made after 1980 that have a laugh track. You are smart enough to know what is funny and what isn't. If the show puts in a laugh track, they either think you won't get the joke, or they are trying to hide the fact that the jokes suck. Either way, laugh tracks should offend you.
- Shiner Oktoberfest. For the 3 of you who haven't already tried it.
Most Promising Fact About The Upcoming Opponent.
The rely on Reggie Bush as their RB1. Which, in turn, gives me an excuse to post this:
When asked what it felt like to hit Bush that hard, Sheldon Brown said, "It was like running through a cardboard box. Seriously. Cardboard box."
Bush's line last night v. the Patriots: 11 carries for 38 yards (3.45 y/c), 9 catches for 56 yards and a TD.
TXT MSGS of the Week
Pancakes won't know that Mario caused a 20-yard loss on that play. Cuz it won't be in the box score.
Displaced Texan, who also sent something similar to my wife:
What a glorious Sunday. Sex your wife real good.
1 Which is also, more or less, the premise behind "The Secret," though sans Fairy Godmother (I think).
2 Also, if the police have a reasonable suspicion that you COMMITTED a crime, they can only detain you for a relatively short amount of time before they have to either arrest you or send you on your merry way. And, because the Fifth Amendment says that they can't make you be a witness against yourself, they sure as hell can't charge you with obstruction of justice simply for refusing to give information about a crime you committed, you smooth criminal.
3 Other than the headband and the creepy blank stare.