I gotta say: three weeks in, and you people have not let me down once in the question department.
With the exception of about two people, everyone who sent in questions for this week's Battle Red Bag sent multiple questions. I like that. I did pick and choose a little, so some parts of multipart queries got cut, but I'll likely use some of the deleted material in subsequent bags.
After the jump, we hit on musical duos, Pulp Fiction, cyborg lovin', sausage, movies set in Hawaii, antimatter v. exotic matter, how to be a drug kingpin, mustard, and the Texans.
Plus some other stuff. Enjoy.
Dear Sir,Since there is a distinct lack of music discussion emanating from your sack, I posit the following question. If you could force any collaboration between two artists (a) in history and (b) currently performing, who and why?Regards,DisplacedTexan, Esq
Hey, thanks for asking me a question that required way, way more thought than I normally give in an entire week! (Jerk.) After much deliberation, here's what I've got:
(a) Who: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Jimi Hendrix. Why: Mozart was amazingly adept at composing in a whole range of styles, and he was open to experimentation with new sounds (chromatic harmonies, for example). Hendrix was similarly gifted, in that he experimented with the electric guitar through feedback, distortion, and other ways to get more from it. I'm imagining a collaboration between these two would result in something like Mozart's Symphony No. 33 in B-flat Major, but with Hendrix's electric guitar handling the melody throughout. (The B-flat Major would also play well given Hendrix's blues-playing background.)
(b) Who: Kanye West and The Black Keys. Why: It seems a bit cliched to pick Kanye, given how he collaborates with pretty much everyone, but he's the most original guy out right now in terms of experimentation and production. He's also certifiably insane, which is always a plus in my book. Paired with the Black Keys, I like the idea of the interplay between the raw, gritty Keys sound over Kanye's hyper-produced style. Added bonus: both Kanye and the Black Keys have a great sense of how to make a video that people will enjoy (or at least talk about), so that would probably a video greater than the sum of its parts.
1) With sports stars of old getting statues around stadiums all across the US, do you think the Texans will be able (or want) to honor old Oilers guys like Bum or Earl? It would be flat wrong to have a statue of Earl Campbell in Tennessee.
3) You go into a grocery store. You have the option of Bum, Earl or Nolan Ryan. Whose sausage do you buy?
1. The idea of a statute of my long-lost Uncle Earl residing in Methopotamia just made me slightly sick. That said, I don't see how the Texans could/would pull it off. BeelzeBud obviously kept all of the Oilers' history, imagery, etc., when he moved the team, so it's different than when Art Modell went to Baltimore. I mean, city of residence aside, I've never considered the Texans an extension of the Oilers, ya know? So it would seem odd to put a statute of Earl outside Reliant, if only because he'd be in an Oilers uniform (I assume).
2. The Rockets. The Astros are ... what's the word? Oh, right: TERRIBLE. Sure, they've got a couple of intriguing young pieces, and new ownership might come in and clean house sufficiently to get rid of the biggest problem (rhymes with Ted Paid). But the Rockets are just in a better position overall, with Morey being about 123819201965009100781233 times more competent than Ed Wade and with the NBA allowing over half the teams into the playoffs each year.
3. Earl, out of family loyalty.
1. Can you take the Bar exam without a Law Degree?
2. Can you practice Law without a Law Degree?
The answer to both of your questions is
"Fried Green Tomatoes" it depends. In most states, the answer to the first one is "no," making the second one "no" as well by extension. However, in California (and possibly other locations that I am too lazy to research), a person can basically learn by being an apprentice with a practicing lawyer for a while, then take the bar. Perhaps predictably, the passage rate for people who go this route is absurdly low, as law school is less about learning black-letter law and more about learning to "think like a lawyer." Yes, that sounds trite and cliched, but it's true, and it's not even a process that I can really explain. You just wake up one day in law school and realize that something has changed in the way you process fact patterns and draw conclusions and whatnot.
Also, lawyers are terrible people who are absolutely no fun to be around. I just thought I'd throw that in there, in case any of you were unaware.
I've been bouncing around this hypothesis for years --- and it's borderline blasphemy --- but nonetheless:
If John Travolta and Eric Stolz switched their roles in Pulp Fiction, I think it would have made for a better movie in every way. Discuss...
I have spent roughly 10 hours thinking about this theory since Dave sent it to me. Despite having seen Pulp Fiction at least 1,000 times (literally), this had never even crossed my mind. So, I watched it two more times in the past couple of days, mentally replacing Travolta with Stoltz throughout. Going with the premise that Stoltz is a better actor than Travolta, I tried to figure out which scenes Stoltz's acting ability would have improved.
Scene 1: Car Conversation, Brett's Apartment. Nothing in this scene jumped out at me as something that Stoltz could not have pulled off. The chat about Amsterdam and weed and mayonnaise on fries --- I can almost see where Stoltz (who is, by the way, a terribly underrated actor) would have improved all of that. Ditto the conversation about TV pilots and foot massages. (In particular, I think Stoltz could have delivered the "It's not; it's the same ballpark" and "Would you give a guy a foot massage" lines surprisingly well.) Vincent barely spoke inside Brett's apartment, either, so that part doesn't really matter here. Verdict: Stoltz
Scene 2: The Lounge. Vincent's dialog is minimal in the bar, and Stoltz could have pulled off the mini-rant about his date with Mia not being a date. I have a very hard time, however, seeing Stoltz as even remotely cool/tough enough to deliver "You're not my friend, palooka" and "You heard me just fine, punchy" lines to Butch. Verdict: Travolta
Scene 3: Lance's House. This was the weirdest scene to review because it is almost entirely Vincent and Lance. Travolta in something of a cameo as a suburban drug dealer would have been fantastic, if only because it would have seemed fitting given how low his profile was in Hollywood immediately prior to Pulp Fiction. Stoltz would have nailed the "I just got back from Amsterdam" and the rant about someone keying his car. (Which is to say, Stoltz would be much more believable talking about how he would've shot someone who keyed his car than he would trying to be tough in Butch's face in the previous scene. Not sure what that says about him.) Verdict: Stoltz
Scene 4: Mia's House. Mia's house would have been fine with Stoltz as Vincent. I mean, Vincent was insanely high off the "mad man" heroin and just sort of wandered around the living room while Mia got ready. (In the extended version of the film, Mia comes down with a video camera and is asking Vincent all these questions about whether he likes the Beatles or Elvis, etc., and that conversation was definitely geared toward Travolta as Vincent, but it was cut, so, whatever.) Verdict: Stoltz
Scene 5: Jack Rabbit Slim's. This is the scene that would have pretty much had to been cut from the final film in our Stoltz-Travolta swap scenario. It's not just the dancing part, though that's certainly a huge reason; I just can't see Stoltz talking about Mamie Van Doren or Jayne Mansfield. Given that this was the date that made up so much of the conversation earlier in the movie, I don't see how you could cut this and have the film make sense. You'd more or less have to replace it with an entirely different date scene. Verdict: Travolta
Scene 6: Overdose, Lance's House Again. For all the same reasons that Stoltz could have been VIncent in the first scene at Lance's house, it would seem to work again here. The only question I have is whether it would be believable to see Travolta with someone like Trudy. Still, verdict: Stoltz
Scene 7: Butch's dressing room. Brief interaction between Vincent and Mia. Not enough dialogue to really matter. Verdict: Push
Scene 8: Butch's apartment. Vincent poops, gets shot. Verdict: Push, though it would probably be more fun seeing Stoltz get shot.
Scene 9: Brett's Apartment, Jules' car, Jimmy's House (a/k/a "The Bonnie Situation"). For some reason, I just cannot picture Stoltz accidentally shooting Marvin in the face. I suppose it's because he seems like he'd be too smart to be talking to someone in the car while pointing a gun at them with his finger on the trigger. (Seriously, who does that?!) On the other hand, I can definitely imagine Stoltz nailing the conversation about the bathroom towel, the abrasive interaction with Winston Wolf, and the 'I'm a race car and I'm in the red" lines. Verdict: Stoltz
Scene 10: The Diner. "Bacon tastes good. Pork chops taste good." Travolta nailed his dialogue in this scene, from beginning to end. Verdict: Travolta.
SO...yeah. In the end, I think Dave might be right that Stoltz would have been better as Vincent overall. However, it would've been at the expense of one of the movie's most iconic scenes and would have drastically changed some of the most quoted Vincent lines from the film. Throw in the part about Stoltz being a soulless ginger, and I think that pushes it far enough back toward Travolta that I am going to have to disagree with Dave, but just barely.
I'm an out-of-work history teacher, and I write for a blog. Needless to say, money has not exactly been rolling in lately, and I am considering pursuing a life of crime as a drug kingpin. As a lawyer and blogger, I was hoping you could give some legal advice on a few things like the best way to launder money, how to best dispose of a body without any legal problems (theoretically, of course), and what do you do when you find a rat in your organization?
If not, then could you at least get BFD to stop insisting on his daily sponge baths? I think I heard the sponges crying stinky tears last time.
First, let me just say that I applaud your entrepreneurial spirit! Now, I think the most important thing you initially have to nail down is what type of drug you are going to sell. Given your access to high school students, I think you should take a lesson from The Wire, and I would highly suggest that you consider heroin.
The reason that the access to kids of that age is important is because you are going to need people to man your corners, and kids are much easier to persuade. Plus, many of them will have younger siblings, so you will have a fairly constant stream of new cornerboys as you need them. Finally, kids are much less likely to try to get high off your supply, if only because needles freak kids out.
So, assuming you are selling heroin, let's turn to your questions:
The best way to launder money?
Well, that depends on if you are trying to launder the money the old-fashioned way, where it's channeled through a business that pays taxes on it, so the IRS doesn't get suspicious about your spending habits, or if you want it to disappear so that you don't have to give the IRS its share. I recommend the former approach. Sure, taxes suck, but you want to be able to spend that money, right? Now, you have to make sure that you don't pick a business for your front that would be easy for someone else to examine and see if your income was legit. So, you know, don't use something that has an easily calculable inventory (Avon lady, bar, etc). Pick something that is difficult to compare income with sales --- anything coin operated is great, especially a laundromat or a car wash. (Take care to account for discrepancies in water usage.)
Disposing of a body? Well, I am assuming you don't live in a place like East Baltimore, where there are hundreds of abandoned row houses in which you can dispose of the bodies. In that case, what you're gonna have to do is buy a boat. You then take the body out on the water, far from land, and weigh it down (logging chain works well). The last step, just to be safe, is to cut the abdomen open so that gasses don't build up and bring the body bobbing back to the surface. However, if you live near the ocean, this step can probably be omitted.
Finally, what about a rat? The boat again comes in handy. I suggest you re-watch episode 2.13 ("Funhouse") of the Sopranos.
Good luck, and happy drug slingin'!
[Note: None of the above is intended as actual advice, legal or otherwise. "Just say no" and whatnot.]
PUT YOUR NAME ON IT (Lockout Edition): _____ regular season games in the 2011 NFL season will be missed as a result of the current labor strife.
Bonus: Explain your answer.
Four weeks' worth.
I think both sides are willing to engage in some amount of brinksmanship on all of this, with each group thinking that the other will certainly cave in time to start the regular season as planned. Which, I think, pushes the likely timeframe for reaching a deal sometime into Week 1 of the season, when both sides realize that they were wrong about the other's caving, and the fans are vocally angrier than they've been so far. So you get a deal done on Tuesday or Wednesday after what should have been Week 1, the teams get three weeks to get ready, and there you go.
Next question, and let's do some compare and contrast. Here's Anant:
Just wondering, do you think there's any chance of the Texans taking a flyer on Plaxico Burress? Mike Vick came out and has managed to turn his life around. This time he might be an even more explosive player than he was due to his improvement as a passer. Hopefully Plaxico can come out and make a similar turnaround. I know the Texans would like WR2, and Plaxico would fill that role well. From what I hear, he stayed in shape in prison. I definitely think he is worth giving a chance, but it has not been the front office's m.o. to take on guys who get in trouble, but our WR crew, I think, could keep him in check. Andre is as high a character guy as you can get, and we have a ton of good guys. Plus, I think Plaxico could bring some more swagger to the locker room, which i think the team needs a little more of.
Now contrast that with MeMongo:
Did you hear that crap on the radio yesterday (610 Sports Radio) about how the Texans should consider Plaxico Burress?!! Two years in the big house and they think Bob would put him in our locker room? No way.
Santana Moss is getting up there in years, but he may still have one season in him (maybe). I heard other crazy rumors about T.O. or Ocho Cinco, and, as bad as they would be for the locker room, it would be a pretty legit thing to have them line up with A.J. until we can draft a solid WR next year. Hopefully we are targeting a WR and QB in next year’s draft to start the process of building the next decade of killer offense.
So that begs the real question here for the mail bag:
What do we do to strengthen the WR scenario, and what is the long term plan in terms of building the next wave of offense as ‘Dre and Schaub head toward the twilight years, which we can probably assume will be in three to four years.
The short version of my answer about Plaxico is "ain't gon' happen." This team is so averse to anything resembling character issues that I can't see their first big exception to that rule being a signing of Cheddar Bob. Also, he was a Spartan, so I hope he never finds work again.
Now, as to what we're going to do at WR2, Kevin Walter signed a 5-year, $21M contract just over a year ago, so barring injury, he's your WR2 as of right now. My hope --- and this sort of ties into MeMongo's last question --- is that Dorin Dickerson can see the field more and start to develop this year. (6-2, 226, with 4.4 speed? MANCRUSH!) I also think you're going to see Jacoby Jones given every chance to fish or cut bait this year, though he's so enigmatic that it's hard to guess what he'll do with any increase in touches.
As for building an offense for 2015 and beyond, I think were at least a year too early to start developing skill position players for that time period. If you have a QB that, by 2015, is ready to step in and take the reins, you're probably going to get a ton of value for him in 2013 or 2014 as trade bait. That said, you should at least mentally prepare yourself for T.J. Yates, Starting QB. It's better to be proactive in these things.
First, what are your thoughts on the Texans implementing the pistol formation? No, I'm not talking about becoming a run heavy team like Nevada and asking Matt Schaub to run a mid-line option. I'm talking about getting Matt Schaub out from underneath center while still being able to use our normal running attack. It's been noted by some that Schaub looks more comfortable in the Shotgun. There was some talk about how Myers' low stance forces Schaub to get in an awkward position to take the snap. The pistol lets Schaub be in more or less a Shotgun look while not having to sacrifice our standard running game. I know some people view some of college football's offenses to be "gimmicky," and plenty of teams at the college level who use a pistol offense fall into that category. I don't think the formation itself is a gimmick though. The basic principle behind it just makes sense to me.
Kubes' offense is built on timing and precision so I think he would be hesitant to implement it. The mesh points for the running game wouldn't be that difficult to work out, but there could be some timing issues. It would be more difficult in the passing game trying to figure out the timing on routes and nailing down what Schaub's drop would need to be in the passing game would take a lot of time to get perfect. It should be doable, but considering how precisely every little step in the passing game is planned out I'm not sure Kubes would be willing to experiment.
My gut reaction was "What, like Nevada's run-heavy offense," but papabear graciously addressed that concern. I'd forgotten about the whole "Myers' ass is too low" thing, but that might be the strongest selling point for this idea. (Though that idea presupposes that we've got a lot more time with Chris Myers, Starting Center, which worries me.)
The more I've considered this idea, the more I like it. It has the added bonus of giving Schaub a fraction of a second more to get rid of the ball, which is great. My concerns are (1) that no center on the roster has experience snapping a pistol snap, which could cause for some serious growing pains as the first year using the formation wore on, and (2) that you'd be asking Schaub to learn a new system of footwork in a season where we might not even have a training camp.
All of this is purely academic anyway, though, because I think papabear is 100% correct that Kubiak is so anal (read: Shannahanian) in his offensive planning that the unknowns of switching to this formation would prevent him from ever seriously considering it.
[Tangent: I absolutely hate --- HATE! --- the concept of scripting the first X number of plays. Sure, it probably makes for an easier walk-through on Friday, but it still baffles me. How about you wait until, you know, the game is actually being played, and then you call plays based on what the other team is showing you? How about you have a little flexibility and, regardless of what the script says, don't have Schaub throw a fullback screen on second down if the previous running play just lost yardage? Is that asking too much? Really?]
What is the combined number of sacks for the upcoming season for our Houston Texans' defense? With the new 3-4 front, I'm hoping for a big increase.
I am similarly excited about the prospect of more sacks. So, looking at the defense through a lens of how I expect their respective number of snaps to play out, here are my guesses:
Mario Williams: 18
DeMeco Ryans: 3
Brian Cushing: 10
Connor Barwin: 8
J.J. Watt: 7
Earl Mitchell: 3
Amobi Okoye: 6
Antonio Smith: 7
Brooks Reed: 5
Tim Jamison: 3
Shaun Cody: 1
Darryl Sharpton: 3
Stanford Keglar: 1
Jesse Nading: 2
Glover Quin: 1
Brandon Harris: 1
Shiloh Keo: 1
If my mental math is correct, that's 80 sacks. Which, now that I write that, seems absurdly high, as it is 5 per game, which would be like a record or something, I imagine. And that's only if we actually get 16 games. But ... whatever. Hope springs eternal, and I'm sticking with it. A little explanation, though:
I think DeMeco will only have three because he's not going to be asked to blitz much at all. He'll show blitz fairly regularly, but I doubt he's sent more than maybe once per game. Which is good because, as much as I love DeMeco, he's not that great on a blitz.
I think Brooks Reed will "only" get five because he's going to be fighting for playing time more than a lot of people realize. In the 3-4, he'll be behind Mario or Barwin. In the 4-2 nickel, he's not likely to get on the field much.
Yes, I think we'll utilize far more blitzes from defensive backs than in years past.
Finally, I seriously doubt that both Watt and Smith will get 7, but, in a vacuum, I could see one or the other doing it, so I hedged and gave it to both.
Since you brought up M-theory: I heard recently about the creation of antimatter in some particle accelerator or other. Could you explain in layman's terms the difference between antimatter (positively charged electrons...huh?), and exotic matter, which has negative mass? Which would more effectively annihilate an object -- say, a Twinkie, or Peyton Manning? How long before exotic matter is created under lab conditions?
The best way to explain it is by example. Pretend you have an atom of hydrogen, which has an atomic mass of just over 1 amu. In that atom, you've got a positively charged proton in the nucleus and a negatively charged electron in the first shell.
Now, an atom of antihydrogen would still have the same atomic mass, but the antiprotons in the nucleus would have a negative charge and the positrons in orbit around it would be positively charged. If you caused these two atom to come in contact, they would annihilate one another. (Due to the laws of conservation of energy and momentum, they would not actually blink each other completely out of existence, but would form (usually) a mass-less photon.) Antimatter has been created, as you mentioned, at the CERN Large Hadron Collider, though, because you cannot store antimatter in a container made of regular matter, the longest they've managed to keep any antimatter in existence is about 16 or 17 minutes.
While antimatter is real, at least in the sense that it can be created and observed, exotic matter is a catch-all term for a few different types matter in particle physics. One use of the term is for, basically, any matter possessed of a property that would violate the known laws of physics. So, for example, a particle that had imaginary mass would always travel faster than the speed of light (so that the imaginary part of the mass in E=mc^2 would be cancelled out and leave you with "real" energy). Or, if a particle had negative mass, it would be exotic and would behave exactly the opposite as you would expect a particle with mass to behave under a given condition.
The term is also used for matter that does not necessarily violate any physical laws, but which have either never been seen, are very rarely seen, or are known (sorta) to exist but are not understood. While the matter that violates the laws of physics is not likely to be created in a lab, at least some forms of the other three uses of the term already have been. For example, quark-gluon plasma, which exists only at insanely high temperatures, has apparently been created at Brookhaven RIHC. (FOUR TRILLION DEGREES CELSIUS!) Likewise, there are some claims of the creation of a pentaquark (i.e. four quarks and an antiquark) and H dibaryon (i.e., two up quarks, two down quarks and two strange quarks). So, at least in those cases, I think there's a good chance that you see some confirmed creation of these types of exotic matter under lab conditions within the next 25 years or so.
As to which of these is better to annihilate Ol' Fivehead? Antimatter, for sure. We just need to create an antiPeyton to run into him. I assume it would look a lot like David Carr.
1. Has there ever been a more plain vanilla sports franchise than the Texans? If so, who?
2. Wouldn't it be awesome if you could have a hot female T-1000 rather than a human girlfriend/wife? This is a consistent topic of conversation between my buddy Alan and me. The advantages you can think up are limited only by your own imagination This can't be more than 50 years in the future, right?
3. Who would you like to punch the most in the Texans' front office and why?
4. What is the best animal?
5. Name a movie set in Hawaii that is worse than Blue Crush. This was on HBO Sunday morning and I was too hungover to find anything else on tv. I suffered through it until Necessary Roughness came on after that. Even worse movie. Also, name a sports movie worse than Necessary Roughness.
1. My thought process after reading that question: "Oh, sure there's ... um ... there's ... well, no ... um ...." Assuming we are talking about "plain vanilla" equating to "devoid of personality," it's tough to come up with many. I almost said the Pittsburgh Pirates, but they had the "We Are Family" days in the 1970s, and they once dressed like this, so I think they've got the Texans beat. The Utah Jazz and the San Antonio Spurs were pretty personality-less, but, at least for the Spurs, the championships sort of make that moot (much like Seinfeld was a show about nothing, which was only cool because the show was also good). Um ... the Chicago White Sox, save for the brief stint of Albert Belle, have been consistently bland. Oh, so have the current iteration of the Cleveland Browns.
God, that was a depressing list.
2. Well, the T-1000 was liquid metal, right? So, technically, that same hot chick could turn into a dude at any time. That's a little unsettling. Assuming you could program her to a "No Dong, Ever" setting, though, you are exactly right --- the possibilities are mind-blowing. In addition to the obvious (varying sizes of boobs, hair color, ethnicity, height, whatever), she could also make herself look and sound like random celebrities, alive or dead. So, one night, you're giving your little DiMaggio to Marilyn Monroe and, the next night, she's Alison Brie. Or Isla Fischer. Or your best friend's wife.
Throw in the part where she could also severely jack up anyone who ever annoyed you? Man ... wow. Dudes 50 years from now are going to have it SO much better than we do.
3. Rick Smith. Just to see if he'd have to ask Kubiak's permission before he reacted to the punch.
4. Domesticated: Dog. Pretty much any dog, though I am incredibly partial to the basset hound. If I had to pick one specific dog, however, it would not be my basset hound, Elvis. It would be Tim's dog, Charlie (with apologies to Butters).
Wild: Hippopotamus. Despite looking like some adorable Dr. Seuss creation, they are (surprisingly) considered the most aggressive animal in the world by a lot of people. They are also faster than you (can run 18 mph) and allegedly kill more people each year than any other animal. I can't find a cite to it, but Steve Irwin once said that he considered a five-minute segment where he and his crew crossed a river full of hippos to be the most dangerous moment ever filmed on Crocodile Hunter. (I assume that he'd probably revise that answer slightly today if he could.)
5. Worse movie set in Hawaii? How about Pearl Harbor? "You're gonna be a daddy!" "No, you are!" I'm gonna be violently ill. Seriously, Blue Crush sucks something fierce, but Pearl Harbor was so bad that I found myself rooting for the Japanese. 50 First Dates also made me want to run my head into a wall, but Blue Crush was still worse than that one, I think.
As for a sports movie worse than Necessary Roughness, Wildcats starring Goldie Hawn was pretty terrible. Other possible "winners" off the top of my head: Rookie of the Year, Summer Catch, Eddie, My Giant, D3: The Mighty Ducks, and Radio. Actually, now that I think about it, doesn't Eddie have to be the answer? I mean, in addition to the absurdity of the plot, what with Whoopi Goldberg being named coach and all, it also had WAY too many lines delivered by basketball players, all of whom were to acting what Whoopi is to sexually arousing.
1) Which three condiments would you say that you use the most? What do they often go on?2) The NFL, looking to further cut costs to prove that they are poor, declares you the unchallenged emperor of the NFL competition committee. What are your first declarations?