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Battle Red Bag 2015, Episode 6: There Is No Pain; You Are Receding

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The Bag tackles Beethoven, Joni Mitchell, loss, home-improvement stores, Michigan Football, and assorted other stuff.

A modern-day Joni Mitchell.
A modern-day Joni Mitchell.
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Joni Mitchell1 once sang, "You don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone." But, then, she also sang, "I deal in dreamers and telephone screamers." Point being, there were a lot of drugs being done in the late 60s and early 70s. But my other point being, as clichéd as that line from "Big Yellow Taxi" sounds, it’s also true.2

It is especially true in the world of the NFL where, when your team is good – or even when one aspect of your team is good – it is easy to fall into the mindset that "good" is the new normal. You look up, Wade Phillips has your defense looking like the most dominant thing this side of Gregor Mendel using a Punnett Square, and you just start to assume that your days of being a fan who watches his or her team dominated by scrub QBs and mediocre offenses are long gone.

Then – poof! – it’s a few years later and Matt Hasselbeck rolls out of a hospital bed and dominates you at home and you start to wonder if the halcyon days of 2011 were as good as it was ever going to get. You hope against hope that you are wrong, but you can’t shake the feeling that you are right, and that you’ve already seen the high-water mark along an otherwise dry creek bed.

Ugh.

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Jaguar Paw:

If given a choice between having nails driven through your eyes and watching the Texans on Special Teams, would you buy the nails at Lowes or The Home Depot?

Also, how much bleach will make me okay with being worse than the Jags and the BESFs?

Lowe’s, definitely. I used to totally be a Home Depot guy, mainly because there’s a Home Depot in Little Rock, but the only Lowe’s is in North Little Rock, which sounds like less of a distinction than you might imagine. I loathe driving to North Little Rock, especially when you’re talking about the outlying areas north of I-40.

That said, Home Depot sucks. It really does. At least compared to Lowe’s. Home Depot’s selection is crap, it’s impossible to find someone when you actually need help (and impossible to get them to leave you alone when you don’t need help), and their prices always seem about 20% higher than Lowe’s for the same or similar products. So, yeah, if I’m buying nails to jam into my eyes so I don’t have to see another stupid block in the back or 12-yard kick return, I’m getting those nails at Lowe’s. No need to double down on my anger by going to Home Depot before I stab my own eyes out.

As for the second question, there is no amount of bleach that will do it. There is only the sweet release of death.

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Random List: Five Fairly Recent Movies Most People Seem To Like (That I Secretly Hate)

  1. No Country for Old Men
  2. Slumdog Millionaire
  3. Avatar
  4. Gravity
  5. The Hurt Locker
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Tim:

You are somehow gifted with the ability to guarantee a championship for one of the teams you passionately root for. That title will be won at some point in the next two years. In doing so, however, you must also choose another of the teams you passionately root for to be cursed with a winning percentage between .300 and .450 for the next ten years AND similarly guarantee that said team will not win a title, or even qualify for the postseason, during the next ten years. Which of your two favorite teams are you selecting? Why?

Or...you can pass on the above scenario entirely in favor of the status quo (e.g., simply operating in the unknown as you do today, with zero or all of your teams potentially winning this year or at some point in the future). Would you do that instead?

Teams I passionately root for, in order of passion (where "passion" is defined as "their success or failure has an appreciable impact on my level of happiness over a period of time"): Michigan Football, Houston Texans, Tottenham Hotspur, Cleveland Indians, Houston Rockets, Michigan Basketball. However, because this list is more exponential than linear, it seems sort of like cheating to include the Rockets or Michigan basketball for purposes of your question. So we’ll limit it to the first four.

The answer, of course, is that I would give Michigan Football a title, and I would relegate the Cleveland Indians to the .300-.450 range. Why? Because, as an Indians fan, it wouldn’t feel all that foreign, and knowing they wouldn’t make the post-season for a decade would not be terribly different from what I already accept about the team.

Why not the Texans instead of Michigan? That’s a tougher question. Ultimately, it boiled down to 1997, when the Coaches’ Poll gave Tom Osborne half of a national title as a parting gift because his QB cried on TV, and 2006, when the stupid pollsters let Florida jump Michigan after USC lost, just so they would avoid a Michigan-Ohio State rematch in the national title game (only to then allow an LSU-Alabama rematch in the title game a few years later). I’m bitter, and it’s a bitterness that only a Michigan title can cure.

The only way I would take the status quo option is if I was otherwise forced to relegate Houston to the decade of known failure, because I could not waste J.J. Watt’s career like that in good conscience.

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Random List: Five Arguably Bad Movies That I Love Anyway

  1. Road House
  2. Point Break
  3. Days of Thunder
  4. Commando
  5. Rocky IV
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Trutxfan:

With all things being equal, the events in the world are seemingly moving to a tipping point. Does the Texans’ season thus far lead to the conclusion that the human race is going to destroy itself in the near future?

Only if the human race decides to stake its existence on the abilities of Ryan Mallett and Brian Hoyer. And I choose to think that we’ve evolved enough as a species to realize that such a decision would be suicide. Not even an NFL team would be stupid enough to do that.

Oh. Wait.

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JLC:

Could you please compare and contrast the 4th movement of Beethoven's 9th symphony with AC/DC's Thunderstruck?

When I am driving these are 2 of my favorite driving songs to jam out to. To me both are high in energy and and bust the top off of my enjoyment scale.

This is interesting, and well above my pay grade, but...I'm intrigued enough to do some research.

From the outset, both the 4th movement and Thunderstruck manage to be simultaneously frenetic (almost anxious) and slow-building. Even over the rapid guitar, Thunderstruck's opening manages to move along at a plodding and measured pace. The 4th movement's instrumentation is not as in-your-face as AC/DC's, but the feel is the same.

According to the Google, Thunderstruck comes in at 132 beats per minute, while the 4th movement is somewhere between 130 and 144, depending on who you ask. Which means that both songs fall into that sweet spot for driving, as defined by the two greatest driving songs of all time (Eastbound & Down, at 118 beats per minute, and Danger Zone, at 155). So it makes sense that you would appreciate both of those songs in the car.

If I were to contrast the two songs, I'd simply point out that Thunderstruck is played before every University of Florida home football game, whereas most people in Gainesville think Beethoven is a reference to Charles Grodin.

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[1] Adam Duritz once allegedly sang that as well, but I’ll go to my grave denying that the Counting Crows’ version of the song exists at all.

[2] Which, I suppose, is why it’s a cliché. Otherwise, it would just be a stupid saying and people wouldn’t use it because it would just be wrong.

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