You don't understand; I wasn't just impersonating him. No, sir. For exactly three minutes and twenty-six seconds in 1984, I was Kenny Rogers.
It was the school-wide talent show at James Lewis Elementary School, and I was doing the best version of "The Gambler" that a first grader could muster. Rocking a blue-and-white striped shirt and white pants, with cowboy boots and hair that can only be described as Jimmy Johnson 1985, I followed a fifth-grade girl who had butchered Deniece Williams' "Let's Hear It For The Boy." The music teacher's arpeggio of the opening chords kicked in, and I was ready.
On a warm summer's evenin' / on a train bound for nowhere. . .
When I finished the song, the two hundred or so kids watching applauded louder than they had for any of the previous acts. I felt like a star, and, with only one act left, I felt sure that I was going to win. I figured this would be the first of many wins, culminating in a dominating string of performances on Star Search. Ed McMahon would eventually declare that they weren't going to bother with Junior Vocalist competitions any longer, since I'd set the bar too high for any future competitors. Then he'd ask for my autograph.
The only thing between me and my impending dominance of the American music scene was three girls and a guy doing some sort of choreographed tap-dance routine to Tony Basil's "Mickey." This wouldn't be a problem, unless, say, they were fantastic. Which they were. In just over three and a half minutes, I saw my dreams of music glory set afire and stomped into dust with matching tap shoes. The small gym erupted with applause when they finished, leaving no doubt as to who won the contest.
I was crushed, as six-year-olds are wont to be when their dreams of world conquest are torn asunder. I might have even cried. (Spoiler alert: I did.)
Through the years, however, I've realized the irony in this whole thing. I'd been counting my money while (metaphorically) sitting at the table, immediately after singing a song that warned me against such behavior. So, to a certain extent, I suppose you could say that the line, "in his final words I found an Ace that I could keep" was actually true. Which makes my claim that I was Kenny Rogers even more accurate.
November 7, 2010.
The last time a team that employed Wade Phillips had 42 or more points scored against them. The team that day? The Green Bay Packers, though there were two defensive touchdowns and multiple field goals to go with three TD passes from Aaron Rodgers. Wade Phillips was fired a few days later.
September 17, 2006.
Number of previous games between 1981 and 2012 in which a Wade Phillips defense had allowed six touchdown passes.
Number of previous games between 2002 and 2012 in which the Houston Texans' defense had allows six touchdown passes.
Big Picture Point Of The Previous Four Items.
The loss to the Packers sucked, sure. But everything points to its being a huge statistical outlier rather than some new sort of normal for your Texans. Wade Phillips had never fared that poorly in pass defense in terms of scoring, nor had the Texans -- even some of the most hapless Texans teams of yesteryear. Schaub was sacked as many times and threw as many interceptions Sunday night as he had been/thrown in the rest of the 2012 combined.
Throw in Arian Foster's having the worst game of his career when he had at least 12 carries, the Texans' average starting field position (despite four touchbacks and a punt that was a fair-caught at the 35) being just shy of the 18-yard line, and the Packers' rolling into this game thinking no one believed in them and their season was on the line, and you start to see how the wheels managed to come to such an alarming degree. The important thing is that they learn from the beating. Because every gambler knows the secret to survivin' is knowin' what to throw away (Joe Marciano) and knowin' what to keep (not Joe Marciano).
If there is anything worth taking away from the Packers game as an area for future concern, it is that Johnathan Joseph is really, really struggling. We suspected it when Mark Sanchez was willingly throwing at him, but some (including myself) wanted to chalk that up at least in part to terrible, slippery turf at MetLife. Aaron Rodgers left no doubt, however. He went at Joseph as if there was no difference among the Texans' DBs. This worries me.
Career receiving yards for Owen Daniels, good for 11th among active NFL TEs and second all-time in team history.
Career receiving yards for Andre Lamont Johnson, good for 7th among all active players, 38th all-time, 1st in team history, and 1st among WRs drafted in 2002.
Sacks needed by J.J. Watt to pass Mario Williams for the best single-season total in team history.
Highest single-season total of games for Mario Williams with more than one sack.
Number of games in 2012 with more than one sack for J.J. Watt.
Number of sacks needed by J.J. Watt, relative to any sacks by Antonio Smith, that Watt needs to pass Smith for second all-time in team history. Currently, Watt is tied with Kailee Wong for fourth with 15. Connor Barwin is third with 16.
Number of passes defended that J.J. Watt needs in 2012 to match the league leader among linemen in 2011 (Greg Hardy).
On The Off Chance That Someone Hasn't Seen This Yet.
Top speed in miles/hour reached by Felix Baumgartner in his 24+ mile skydive on Sunday.
Top land-speed in miles/hour ever reached by any human being, achieved by RAF pilot Andy Green on October 15, 1997.
Forgive My Pedantry.
According to everyone who is paid to talk about such things, the point of the pink gear throughout October is "to raise awareness about breast cancer." To which I have to ask: has there ever been anyone in the history of NFL-watching ever who tuned in to an October game, saw the pink items, figured out what they were for, and said, "wait . . . boob cancer is a thing?!? I had NO IDEA!"
I don't even ask that to be flippant. It's a serious question. If your goal is to raise awareness, why wouldn't you pick a cancer or disease about which people are woefully underinformed rather than one that has organizations and yearly races and all sorts of other stuff that supports their efforts?
Could it because the goal is not really to raise awareness, but, rather, to raise cash for the NFL? Because, when I hear that the NFL keeps $45 of every $100 sold in pink merchandise, while less than $4 goes to cancer research, that would be my initial assumption.
Before you say it, yes, I realize that October is "Breast Cancer Awareness Month," so the NFL's statement is just mirroring the language of the movement. I get that. It still doesn't change the silliness of the whole thing. If anything, it just makes the question broader: has anyone ever seen something that was randomly and unexpectedly pink and suddenly become aware of breast cancer? More to the point, has increased awareness in October -- however one wants to define that increase -- translated to increased awareness of the causes and prevention of breast cancer? At least one breast-cancer advocacy group, Breast Cancer Action, says it has not, arguing that the month is little more than a PR campaign designed to get people to buy pink stuff and get women to schedule mammograms. The Cancer Prevention Coalition goes even further, suggesting huge flaws and conflicts of interest in the Awareness movement.
Look, I love boobs. Boobs are wonderful. I would love it if breast cancer were eradicated so that all boobs could live without fear. But the whole pinksplotation of this AWARENESS movement is irritating at best and counter-productive at worst.
/puts away soapbox
//can no longer reach top shelf
Passing yards needed by Matt Schaub to reach 20,000 for his career.
Rushing yards needed by Matt Schaub to match Robert Griffin III in career QB rushing yards.
Uncomfortable Movie Plot Summaries.
A couple weeks ago, a friend was bored and emailed me the following:
Uncomfortable Plot Summaries is a game wherein you summarize popular movies in a succinctly Debbie Downer way. Jurassic Park? A theme park's grand opening is pushed back.
Forrest Gump: Retarded man brings chocolate to a girl he has stalked for 30 years.
We then spent far too long coming up with more, sending only the summaries and making the other person guess the movie. I've put many of the summaries below for you to take a shot at. (Answers are in the footnotes.)
A man with emotional issues works through them by analyzing his dreams.
An egomaniac falls into a severe depression when he realizes his life is meaningless, empty, and repetitive day after day; tries to kill himself, but fails.
A rich woman goes slumming with an impoverished man; lets him die at the end.
Obsessive cop tracks a bookish murderer, neglects his wife and child.
Family of a socially awkward pre-teen goes to great lengths to see her perform a dance routine, but her grandpa waits in the car during the performance.
Orphan with daddy issues raised by eunuch develops messianic complex. This person has disastrous taste in women, was cuckolded by a dude he propped up, and might secretly expose the vanity of the rich while showing the fruits of the gilded age as spoiled, if not poisonous.
Nincompoop feels pressured by her whorish friends to fornicate, settles on semi-incestuous statutory rape.
Unhappy passengers on a ship bound for Cuba mutiny and sail to America, where they become tangled in complex federal litigation over property rights.
Teenage runaway kills a woman upon arriving at her new destination, roves the countryside with three of the town's outcasts, and later kills the first woman's sister.
Funnier Than It Should Be.
Random '90s Rap Video.
Marijuana Pepsi Sawyer Inexplicable Decision Of The Week.
[Author's note: It's a sad day in Two-Day Hangover Land. It seems that Marijuana Pepsi Sawyer has gotten married and changed the name on her public profile to the much more professional sounding, "Marijuana Sawyer-Clardy." Dang. Thankfully, we have a long memory around here, at least when it comes to stuff like this, so we'll just forge ahead and pretend like nothing has changed.]
Much like the decision to name your daughter "Marijuana Pepsi," the Dallas Cowboys' end-of-game plan against Baltimore made zero sense. Dallas, with one timeout still in their pocket, completed a pass over the middle that put them at the edge of field goal range (51 yards) with :27 on the clock. And then they waited, apparently for Miles Austin and Dez Bryant to run back to the line of scrimmage. And the clock ticked away until, finally, Tony Romo signaled timeout with 7 seconds remaining. The long field goal missed, the Ravens escaped with a win, and the rest of the football world laughed at the Cowboys.
 Though I don't know this for a fact, I'd say there's a less than 1% chance that I got home at the end of the day without dirt or food stains on those pants. I was a messy child.
 Groundhog Day
 Little Miss Sunshine
 The Dark Knight Rises
 The Wizard of Oz