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Battle Red Bag, Vol. 4: We Did It Like This, We Did It Like That, We Did It With A Battle Red Bag

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Guess which person in this picture gets discussed more than once in this week's Bag.
Guess which person in this picture gets discussed more than once in this week's Bag.

A few days after I posted last week's Battle Red Bag, I received an email with the subject "Mail Bag -- Mulligan."  Reader CowboyH8ter was underwhelmed (at best) with my answers to one of the Bag queries.  I'll let him explain:

Love your writing, but I couldn't sit by and not call BS on the answer to your "musical collaboration" question.

You've got the opportunity to mix two people and slam them together and you pick Mozart and Jimi Hendrix?  WTF?  Mozart is the guy yuppies who don't know crap about classical music, let alone its composers, listen to just to say they listen to classical music.  Yeah yeah, he did amazing things. "He composed music as early as 5," people say.  Unfortunately not many people have heard said music, because if they did, they'd know that playing major scales up and down, while technically music, isn't something you want to put on your iPod.  

You've claimed to have deliberated on it...try again.  

You wanna be mind-f**ked?  Then you go to the limits by combining Les Claypool and Igor Stravinsky.  I don't have enough folds in my brain to be f**ked enough by that compilation!  Slash and Saint-Saens! Wagner and Stevie Ray Vaughn!  Bach and Charlie Parker!  Prokofiev and John Coltrane!  Paganini and Victor Wooten! Freddy Mercury and Danny Elfman! Weird Al and Pavarotti!  Could you imagine?  And yours:

Mozart and Hendrix, Kanye and the Black Keys. Horribly inadequate.  Don't sell yourself short.

I politely request a mulligan.  



Damn, yo. I admit that I wasn't terribly thrilled with my modern pick, but I thought the all-time pick was solid.

Still, maybe he has a point.  So here's my mulligan:

Modern: Bela Fleck and Neil Peart

All-time: Hendrix (I'm sticking with him, damn it!) and Jascha Heifetz

Now, on to the bag, in which we discuss abbreviated bucket lists, Texans defensive investments, some dude named Nnamdi (thrice!), Morgan Freeman, shower repair, possible rookie holdouts, Alison Brie, matter/antimatter, special teams, BRB cage fighting, and hors d'oeuvres.


Who would win a cage fight among all the BRB writers? What do you think each writer's special move would be?

First, the moves:

  • Tim: The rage and inability to feel pain that accompany the 12 hours of drinking he did before the fight. (It should be noted that the drinking would have been done regardless of whether there was a fight scheduled for later.)
  • BFD: Boring his opponents to sleep with tales of how things were when he was a kid in the 1930s combined with relying on the idea that no one would punch a geriatric.
  • Kerns: Whatever martial arts that he learned while using the P90X DVDs.
  • Rivers: Feigned indifference to the conflict, followed by a vicious (and insightful) attack on something someone else just did.
  • TexansDC: 619.
  • tGC: Near-permanent invisibility.
  • MDC: Massive amounts of pure hatred thrown about all willy-nilly.

As for who would win?  Would a true narcissist pick anyone other than himself?

~Jay (again):

Is there a more awesome tv show than Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman? Morgan Freeman teaches you about f**king quantum physics for chrissakes!

In terms of non-fiction TV? No way.  How could it possibly get better than having Ellis Boyd "Red" Redding tell me about time travel?  It couldn't, that's how.  Not when every episode that talks about the creation of the earth or the universe makes me think of "Oh, Andy loved geology. I imagine it appealed to his meticulous nature. An ice age here, million years of mountain building there. Geology is the study of pressure and time. That's all it takes really, pressure, and time."  (Fun fact: I'm a weird kid.)

As a runner-up in this category, I will say that Wonders Of The Solar System with Brian Cox is pretty sweet.  But Brian Cox never played Principal Joe Clark.


Ok ok, so Houston is ready to back up the brinks truck to Nnamdi’s front door (and why not? It’s Bob’s money), but what free agents not named Nnamdi would you be most excited seeing in a Texans Uniform (Any and All Positions)?  Let’s just pretend that we revert back to 2010 CBA rules concerning free agency.

In descending order of the amount of excitement I would feel:

DT Brandon Mebane

S Eric Weddle and/or S Dawan Landry

CB Chris Carr

G Justin Blalock

P Adam Podlesh

WR Sidney Rice

K Matt Bryant



I see where CERN has managed to trap antihydrogen for 15 minutes+:

- Which theory do you think comes the closest to explaining the apparent lack of symmetry between matter and antimatter production in the early days of the universe?

- How long until we have warp drive?

- If Shake molests a goat in the woods, and no one is there to hear the goat cry...would Shake still be an honorary Aggie, or do you have to have a witness?

I tend to buy into the Affleck-Dine mechanism as the current best explanation.  The baryogensis theories that merely try to modify the standard model to account to CP asymmetry don't wow me because, of the two I've read the most about, neither produces a CP violation anywhere near the right order of magnitude.  Also, as I understand it, Affleck-Dine not only would seem to account for matter/antimatter asymmetry, but also for the relative masses of normal matter and dark matter.

As for warp drive, the part that concerns me is the ambient gas through the universe (2 atoms of hydrogen per cubic centimeter).  I don't see any way to get around the fact that, as the warp drive causes the spacetime in front of your ship to compress, this hydrogen would create so much energy that it would destroy your ship entirely.  Assuming, however, that someone (perhaps Leonard Susskind's great-great-great grandson?) figures out a way around this problem, I still think you're looking at 150 years or more.  Sucks.

Re: Shake.  I think there has to be a witness.  Otherwise, every dude born in the state of Arkansas would be an honorary Aggie.


All of this talk about defense for the Texans, what about our kickers? Turk was terrible last year and I think Rackers only had a one-year contract. How do you think the Texans will address those two positions?

One of the names I mentioned above in the free agent question was P Adam Podlesh, so I'm right there with you on the punter thing.  Turk was just ... Chad Stanley-esque.  Eww.  I do NOT want him back.  If I recall, Rackers signed a two-year deal last April, so I think we get another year of him.  He's not the greatest, but he's good enough that I don't see a need to waste any free agent dollars or camp roster spots to bring someone else in.  Now, if you'll excuse me for a moment, I have to go break something to cope with not drafting Alex Henery.


What is your gut feeling on the Texans going after Scrabble? I mean is there really any reason for us to get excited? The Texans haven't ever shown us that they would do what it takes to really be a contender so why get my hopes up. For some reason I always get my hopes up I guess it comes with being a fan.


Now the real question.  Last week I tore down my shower, I was trying to please my wife by removing all the moldy silicone. Now I'm left with the task of putting it back together. I may not put back the shower doors and just opt to put a shower curtain but I still have seams to fill with silicone. What is the best silicone I can use for the shower that will at least slow the mold from coming back? Thanks in advance your advice would be greatly appreciated.

My gut feeling?  No way it happens, both because of the cost and because (as you mentioned) it's just not in keeping with our "why would we sign top talent through free agency?" approach.  I've pretty much refused to even consider what-if scenarios that involve Nnamdi signing with us.

Oh, and Polyseamseal Tub & Tile Adhesive Caulk has always worked well for me.


1) If you consider anybody to be your mentor, who would it be and why?

2) Assuming you are throwing a party, and you're willing to spend decent money (i.e. maybe $150, not a wedding) on it, what hors d'oeuvres would you pick?

You know, I guess I don't really have anyone I would consider a mentor.  I mean, I've gotten important and insightful career/life advice from a few different people that I trust, but I don't have one person that I would say has been an honest-to-goodness mentor.  I've never even stopped to consider this before.

Now, for the food.  The first thing that popped into my unmentored brain when I read this was Atomic Buffalo Turds.  Take half a jalapeno, sliced lengthwise and seeded, and fill it with cream cheese.  Shove a Lil' Smokie on top of the cream cheese, wrap the whole to-do in bacon (secure with a toothpick), dust with your favorite BBQ rub, and smoke at 250-275 until the bacon is crispy.  Here's a pic:


In the three or four years I've been making those, I don't think I've ever had a single one left over when the meal was finished.

Along with the ABTs, I'd probably go with roasted baby bell peppers stuffed with goat cheese and an assortment of beef, chicken, and pork satay with a variety of dipping sauces (spicy peanut, Padang yellow sauce, and chili-lime most likely).  Do these food go together in any kind of coherent manner?  No.  But they all taste fantastic, and themed parties are lame.


As we all saw, the Texans basically dedicated the draft to the defensive side of the football. A lot of people might have seen this as a "we haven't put enough into the defense, so it needs more investment," but this made me look at how much we actually had invested in this defense so far.

Using the draft as a measure of potential and investment, our defense is definitely doing less with more, and it makes me all the more excited about Wade's arrival. I was blown away when I really started to look at our starters-

1st round picks
Mario Williams
Brian Cushing
JJ Watt
Kareem Jackson
Jason Allen

2nd round picks
Demeco Ryans (1st pick)
Shaun Cody (5th pick)
Connor Barwin (14th) or Brooks Reed (10th)
Bernard Pollard (if he stays)

This list does not include Antonio Smith, who was selected in the 5th round, or Glover Quin in the 4th. Now of course I understand that we don't get credit for players we didn't draft, just as we don't get the flack for drafting Shaun Cody so early.  However, with these things canceling each other out somewhat, more than 70% of our starting lineup was selected within the top 50 picks of the draft. Comparing this to other teams, are we far more invested in our defense than most? Are other great defensive teams doing it without spending so many 1st round picks? Do draft values translate to better defenses or not necessarily?

Well, my guess is that Pollard is gone, but I still see what you're getting at.  I'm just not totally sure I buy the larger premise that first- and second-round picks, especially picks we didn't make, show a real investment in the defense.  I mean, regardless of where he was picked, the fact is that Jason Allen was cut by the Dolphins.  Ditto that for Cody.  So the mere fact that they were drafted high however many years ago does not mean that they are not average (or worse) players today, ya know?  Likewise, Kareem Jackson was asstacular last year, and that would hold true whether we (stupidly) took him in the first or somehow got him in the seventh.

Of the guys on that list, the only ones who have played at a level commensurate with their draft spots are Mario, Cushing, and DeMeco.  I have high hopes for Barwin and and J.J. Watt (and slightly less optimistic hopes for Brooks Reed).  So, again, I don't know that the Texans have more invested in their defense in terms of high draft picks than other teams do, but I think it's pretty obvious that the Texans have less invested in terms of talent, regardless of round, than teams like the Steelers or Ravens do.

All of that said, I am still bullish on the arrival of Wade Phillips, and I think it's highly likely that we see a marked improvement in the defensive play this year.


1.  What's a fair number of hours (or % of my waking life) that I can reasonably spend playing Madden '12 beginning this August before it is officially deemed problematic and unhealthy?  Note:  Have you seen the updates they are making to the Franchise mode?  Holy hell!

2.  If one random day I happen to see Fred Durst walking aimlessly down a darkened alley ... what's the best way to dispose of the body and leave no evidence?

3.  What are the odds the Texans back-door their way to a 10-6 record in 2012, luckbox their way to a playoff spot, promptly get throttled in the wild card round, yet still sign Gary Kubiak to a 4 year $14M contract?  I say 99.9% (leaving 0.1% depending on your answer to #2 above).

4.  If I ever happen to meet Alison Brie in a real life normal setting, what are my chances?  On one hand... she's a super hot TV star that everyone seems to like.  On the other hand... she's kind of whorish (so I hear) and I never see or hear about her partying it up and she's never on TMZ.  In my favor (?) is the fact that, among other things, I am a [patent] lawyer and a borderline drunk who writes a blog. 

5.  How much can I fairly bill my client for constructing these five questions?

1. Depending on how much sleep you need in order to be functional at work, I see no reason at all why you couldn't play from when you get home (say 6ish?) until 2 or 3am every night.  Plus some 18-hour weekend days would totally be doable.  It's only problematic if you get fired because you've stopped going to work.

2. There's not one person on the planet who will notice or care that he is missing.  Just stab repeatedly and walk away.

3. I see you are assuming we'll play 16 games. Very optimistic! The opening stretch of the season is brutal, but I think your scenario is likely enough that I'm now worried about it.  Thanks.

4. From the linked article: We had gone too far for me to back down now, and I wasn't about to let this little fairy destroy my hard-earned sexual legacy; I've made out with Mormon chicks, for Christ's sake! Luckily, I had my affinity for pot on my side, and the idea of free drugs outweighed any long-term insecurity. 

So, yeah, I'd say your odds are better than they would be with most chicks.  (Man, I love Alison Brie. Gratuitous photo time!)


5. The fact that you were thinking about your client as you finished the questions says to me that the entire time it took is billable.  [Note: That is not legal advice.]


Is it going to take a Russian oil Oligarch to grab Nnamdi Asomugha? He'd be nice to have, especially considering he wipes out have the field like the first click in a fresh game of jezz ball.

I included this question because I had no idea was jezz ball was.  Now I do.  Warning: it's fairly addictive.  Also, if Nnamdi did wind up in Houston... No. No, I refuse to play this game.


You have one week to live.  How are you spending your last seven days on this planet?

Little-known fact about MDC (other than the fact that he occasionally refers to himself in the third person): I have a tremendous phobia about somehow knowing when I am going to die.  The very idea creeps me out.  This is the main reason that I could never kill someone in a state that had capital punishment.  You're lucky, Petey Faggins! /shakes fist

So, between that phobia and the realization that 168 (or so) hours is not all that long, this was a terribly depressing question to answer.  But I am a team player, so I marched onward.  First, I set some basic ground rules: 1.  Maximize the amount of time I spend with my wife and kids (and, to a lesser extent, my parents and brother). 2. No television or movies or reading (see #1).  3. Within reason, cost is not an issue.  4. As much sex as possible is implied throughout.

Day 1: Early am flight w/ wife and kids to Orlando to see Disney World.  Neither of the kids has been, and there's no way I'd shuffle off this mortal coil without having spent a day there with them.

Day 2: Early am flight w/ wife and kids to Kansas City.  Have lunch with my dad and brother at the Majestic Steak House.  Spend the evening on the Plaza with my wife.  Get outrageously drunk.

Day 3: Make two-hour hungover drive to SW Missouri to see my mom.  Because she owns a bar, proceed to get even more outrageously drunk, this time for free.

Day 4: At this point, I was tempted to go to Paris or Rome or somewhere else awesome that I've never been, but then I realized that the travel time involved would cheat me out of a day.  Can't have that.  So we leave the kids with my mom and hop a flight to Houston.  Eat lunch at Ninfa's on Navigation.  Meet up with assorted ne'er-do-wells in and around Houston.  Get black-out drunk while forcing all those around me to do the same.  "I'm dying, you know? And you can't be bothered to do another shot? What kind of friend are you?"

Day 5: Brunch in Houston (most likely Cadillac Bar, but possibly Rainbow Lodge).  Fly back to Little Rock, where my mom meets us with the kids. Spend the evening writing letters to each of the kids to be given to them on specified dates in the future.

Day 6: Drive to Memphis. Eat a triple-triple with bacon at Dyer's.  Drink on Beale.  Eat ribs at Cozy Corner.  Drive home. That night, hang out with basset hound, playing tug-of-war with a rope and scratching his ears.  Attempt to come to terms with everything.  Fail.  Consider getting drunk, but opt against it because who wants to nurse a hangover as they die?

Day 7: Hang out around the house with the family.  Spend a good deal of the morning making phone calls to people who matter to me. Drink screwdrivers, just to make sure I don't contract scurvy on my last day on Earth. Mix in a couple phone calls to people I hate, just to wish them nothing but the worst in their future endeavors.