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Battle Red Bag, Vol. 9: Let Slip The Bags Of War

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No need to mess around with some silly opening vignette today. On to the bag!

This week, we ponder time-travel problems, advice for new college students, Madden rankings, parenting, murdering a stranger versus murder a friend, Amobi Okoye, free agency in the secondary, regional BBQ variations, my hatred for the Chiefs, sexy actresses, and where the line is on edible versus inedible in nature.


In the midst of my nightly efforts to try to take over the world, I had a random thought:

If I ever did stumble upon a time machine... how long could I last in the past before I started f--king up the future? I mean, there's no way I could pass up stuff like "invest in Microsoft at a penny per share" or "bet on the Oilers to blow a 32-point 2nd half lead" [might as well profit from my pain, right?].

I say I'd last about a week before my sense of ethical responsibility to the future would be nonexistent.

On the bright side, maybe my interference with future events keeps the Indians from putting Jose Mesa on the mound for that Game 7 in 1997?

And yes, I would totally use my knowledge of the future as a pick-up line on chicks. I wouldn't even need a million dollars at that point. I mean, I would have a million dollars, I just wouldn't need it for that.

Well, if we're defining "f--king up the future" as "doing things that benefit me and are generally awesome," I salute your one-week estimate, because it's about 167 hours longer than I could hold out.  I mean, if I stumbled upon a time machine --- which, based on observable evidence, would almost certainly look like a phone booth1 --- the only reason to use it would be to go back and do something awesome. And pretty much every awesome thing that you could do would impact the future somehow, right? I mean, I guess you could go watch Skytanic the Hindenburg crash without changing anything, but time traveling for the sake of passive observation would lose its appeal in about 12 minutes.

Time travel, of course, opens us up to any number of paradoxes, from John Connor sending his own dad back to sire him, to Doc Brown creating an infinity loop by bringing Marty McFly to the future to prevent Marty Jr. from committing the crime that was the impetus for Doc to go get Marty in the first place.2 One could even argue that the very act of going back in time immediately changes the future from whence you came. (The one exception to this would seem to be going back to a time before humans existed. Which is why Chuck Klosterman thinks that the only reason to invent time travel is so you could eat a dinosaur.)

But, ignoring all of that stuff, if we're talking time travel as portrayed in most movies, where paradoxes aren't much of a concern (provided you don't kill one of your ancestors), I think using your knowledge of the future to bag chicks would be awesome.  I suggest that your first stop be the California Institute of the Arts, circa fall 2001.  Betting on sports outcomes --- while cliched, I guess --- would be a must.  Gimme $10,000 on Appalachian State!  /drinks heavily

I hadn't even considered the angle of buying stocks while they are wicked cheap.  Just as fun and profitable would be to go back to the early 90s and buy up the stock of a bunch of the companies that ceased to exist when the tech bubble burst.  Then shoot just far enough into the future to dump all of the stock at its highest price.  Then laugh at the people who didn't know.  Because what good is having billions of dollars if you can't laugh at those who don't?

As for Jose Mesa, if I ever stumble upon a time machine, both he and Moises Alou die.  Straight up.

1 I know that the Matrix wasn't technically time travel. Apparently Keanu Reeves just likes playing roles that require him to travel in a phone booth.

2 Speaking of the Back To The Future franchise, even if Biff Tannen became a total yes-man to George McFly after George punched him, which is about the only way you could explain Biff's station in the new 1985 as a car-washing monkey, he was still the guy who tried to rape Lorraine. I don't care how well he could wax your car; that seems like the kind of past transgression that would make it awkward to be around the guy. "Hey, remember that time you tried to rape me?" "Yeah. Umm." "Yeah."


As I head off to college in the next two weeks, I was wondering if the all mighty MDC had any advice. Things you wouldn't think to bring but should?

Now I also have a question for Madden 12. They have realsed the ratings for the top 10 rookies in the draft. JJ Watt came up with an 80. What do you expect the rest of the Texans draft class to have?

And lastly for the Texans. We have a second round pick from last year that hasn't seen any playing time due to an injury. What are the odds that he may actually be featured as the second back in our system?

Reading your first question, I realized that my freshman year of college was fifteen years ago. Good god, do I feel old. Not bfd-level old, mind you, but old.

Advice, you say?  The three best pieces of wisdom I can give are as follows:

(1) Don't get yourself a girlfriend any time soon.  (Related: if you have a current girlfriend from high school, dump her.  Seriously.)  The amount of available and willing ladies, especially during the first few months of school when people just start getting to know one another and all tend to hang out in large groups, will make having a girlfriend impractical at best and maddening at worst.  Just skip it.

(2) Assuming you have a roommate, try to arrive at your dorm before he does on move-in day so that you have your pick of which bed you want.  Seems minor, I know, but there are all sorts of little factors that can make one bed vastly superior to the other --- is one up against a wall that has pipes running through it, is the room laid out so that sunrise or sunset could make one bed preferable, etc.?

(3) Be active, but don't sign up for a bunch of stupid stuff.  This might seem contradictory, but it's not.  By "be active," I mean, if your friends are going out, go out with them.  Play intramurals.  If there's a group or whatever that really interests you, go for it.  But DON'T go signing up for every student organization.  95% of those suck.

As for the rest of the Texans' rookies on Madden, someone told me the other day that Brandon Harris got a 70 and Brooks Reed got a 69.  I figure Roc Carmichael will be around 58, Shiloh Keo around 60, TJ Yates in the mid-50s, Derek Newton in the 59/60 range, and Cheta Ozuogwu around 52.

Finally, I think that Ben Kerns Tate is going to supplant Derrick Ward at some point during the year.  I base this entirely on the fact that Ward is either the fastest slow guy or the slowest fast guy I've ever seen, and his YPC last year will almost certainly regress back toward the 4.0 neighborhood.


Pretty simple question here: Who would you consider to be the sexiest female movie star of all time?

Also, who was your first TV/movie crush?

I would totally write out more, but I have the mother of all hangovers right now, and just getting through those two questions took me 5 minutes.

Sexiest of all time?  That feels a lot like trying to compare NFL players from the 60s to players today, where modern medicine and science have made everyone bigger, stronger, faster.  I mean, someone like Sophie Marceau is muy caliente, but I don't know how you compare her with Marilyn Monroe or Jayne Mansfield.  Different eras, different games, you know?

All that said, let's give it a shot.  I'm trying to differentiate between "hot" and "sexy," though I admit that it's a pretty tenuous distinction.  Still, here are my Top 5, in descending order:

5. Halle Berry.  At her sexiest in Swordfish (though cosplay enthusiast might gravitate toward her role as Catwoman).

4. Audrey Hepburn.  At her sexiest in Breakfast At Tiffany's.

3. Charlize Theron.  At her sexiest in 2 Days In The Valley.

2. Claudia Cardinale.  At her sexiest in The Professionals.

1. Angelina Jolie.  At her sexiest in Mr. & Mrs. Smith.

There are about 20 women who could probably go somewhere on this list, so your methods may vary.

Now, my first tv/movie crush? Alyssa Milano.  Between her role on "Who's The Boss?" and her part in Commando, I was fairly sure that I was in love with her and that we would be wed.


The raging debate amongst my college friends, who hailed from all corners of the Southern US, was over regional BBQ. The contenders were: Virginia (tomato-based), North Carolina (vinegar-based), South Carolina/Georgia (mustard-based), Memphis (dry rub), St. Louis, Kansas City, and Texas brisket. We will assume, since this is after all a Texans blog, that brisket would win hands down. Excluding brisket, rank order the other six.

Ah...a debate I've had many, many, MANY times over the years.  I grew up in Southwest MO, but the BBQ my dad made was decidedly a Texas/Memphis hybrid of brisket and dry-rubbed ribs.  I lived in KC for 6 or 7 years, then St. Louis, and now the mid-South.  I've also made BBQ pilgrimages to all sorts of places (most of which were crap).  Point being, I've got a good frame of reference here.  So the first point I'll make is that there is no such thing as St. Louis style or a regional flavor that you would associate with St. Louis.  I have no idea how they managed to get lumped in with real BBQ regions, but good Q in St. Louis is as hard to find as a Cardinals fan who isn't an insufferable turd.  Hell, Chicago has more of a regional flavor than does St. Louis.

Now, you touched on it slightly, but I think it's just as important to factor in what the standard meats are in these areas along with the bases for the various sauces.  For example, in Eastern North Carolina and much of South Carolina, you're getting primarily pulled or chopped pork from an entire hog.  The meat has a less smoky taste due to how little of the finished product is actually exposed to smoke.  In Western North Carolina, around Lexington, you see pulled pork from butts/shoulders as well as a sweet, ketchup-based sauce.  Similarly, in western South Carolina, the sauce is peppery and tomatoey, while Central South Carolina has the mustard-based sauce you mentioned.  (There's also a pocket of South Carolina that uses a sort of watered-down version of the North Carolina vinegar and pepper sauce.)  In Memphis, it's primarily ribs, with sliced pork shoulder and (occasionally) pulled pork.  If you find a place that uses sauce, it will either be a style similar to the glaze recipe I gave last week (brown sugar, vinegar, mustard, spices) or it will be a spicy and slightly sweet tomato sauce.  KC is wet ribs, brisket, and sliced pork, and the sauces are cloyingly sweet a lot of the time.  Oh, and for a real odd twist, Kentucky BBQ has mutton as the most common meat.  Virginia is a lot like Western North Carolina, though not as sweet, and they do a whole lot of ham.

Ranking them, and leaving aside Texas-style brisket, I would say (1) Memphis, (2) Central South Carolina/Georgia, (3) Kansas City, (4) Eastern North Carolina, (5) Western South Carolina, (6) Eastern South Carolina, (7) Virginia, (8) Kentucky, (9) St. Louis (assuming you can find something that qualifies as a regional flavor).


I have been asking this around to various friends and coworkers and find that my line crosses far more species than the average person. Where do you draw the line as far as what animals are acceptable to eat? I have consumed my share of unusual critters such as kangaroo (delicious), worm (less delicious, but at least they were deep fried), jelly fish (decidedly less delicious), guinea pig (actually pretty damn good) and alpaca (very similar to kangaroo). I would totally eat horse, and probably even dog. Generally, I tend to draw the line on bugs and critters primarily because larger animals can be dressed and cleaned, but with the smaller ones, you're getting everything. So again, where's your line?

On the list of weird foods, I've had raw quail eggs (very good), emu (meh), snapping turtle (delicious), baby octopus (ugh), ants (chocolate covered), and opossum (like greasy, dark-meat chicken). I would definitely eat horse. I think the only mammal I wouldn't eat would be dog, and that's only because I like dogs far more than I like people.

What I really want to eat is an endangered species, preferably the last member of that species. I can think of few things that would be more delicious than perfectly BBQed Giant Panda.  I realize that this is just my own psychosis, but whatever.

Barring some survival situation, in which all bets are off, I think I draw my line at insects larger than an ant. The idea of crunching into a large exoskeleton is pretty nasty.


1.  I'm always amazed at how my dislike of teams is influenced by their fan base (or at least the fans from that base with which I've interacted).  For example, a hefty portion of my zealous disgust for the Cowboys is generated by my interactions with, and subsequent fervent distaste for, many of their alleged fans.  Would you care to comment on that phenomenon, including specific examples that apply to your warped fandom?

2.  I believe that every parent's goal is to give his/her child a better life than the one he/she had.  For an incredibly lucky sap such as myself, I fear that is the impossible dream.  Your thoughts on the matter?

You might ask if this is this a subtle way of me probing your relationship with your father and/or mother.  Maybe it is, and MAYBE IT IS.

1. Yeah, I am definitely subject to that phenomenon.  For example, it wasn't until I moved to Kansas City and had to deal with Chiefs fans on a regular basis that I developed an all-encompassing hatred for that team.  These are people who buy a red car and then HAND PAINT, with minimal artistic skill, a Chiefs logo on the door.  They spend all of 2000 blaming the team's shortcomings on Elvis Grbac --- who was in the process of throwing for 4,100 yards, 28 TDs, and 14 INTs --- rather than on the pass defense, who were at or near the bottom third in most important categories.  (Why, you ask?  Because they were still bitter that the team kept Grbac and let Rich Gannon go after 1998.  Nevermind that Grbac threw for 7,500 yards, 50 TDs, and 29 INTs in his two years as KC's full-time starter.  In 2000, other than Tony Gonzalez, Grbac's two receiving targets of note were Derrick Alexander and Sylvester Morris.  I love DA, but he should never have been a WR1, and I'm pretty sure you can find SlyMo bagging groceries at a Hy-Vee in Lee's Summit, MO, these days.)

2. That is (or should be) every parent's goal, I agree.  I would also agree that you are incredibly lucky, in that you wound up with two awesome parents and even a sibling that you seem pretty fond of.  I would not go so far as to say my parents were awesome, but they were incredibly supportive of anything I wanted to do.  To this day, I have to be reminded by other people (usually my wife, sometimes employers or a bartender) to know my limits.  It rarely ever crosses my mind that I wouldn't be able to do something, and I credit my parents for this.  They never blew smoke up my ass and told me that I could be a professional football player, but in absolutely everything academic or anything that interested me, they always made me think, "When it came to stuff like that ... I could always just play," to steal a line from Good Will Hunting.  

I try to take that approach with both of my kids, but in a more focused manner than my parents did with me.  While I was ADD-bouncing from one activity to another, I encourage both kids to stick with things that they enjoy.  Right now, my son is at a Chinese-language camp in northern Minnesota.  I'm pretty sure no one else in our entire neighborhood speaks Chinese, but he'd been talking about wanting to learn it for the last year, so we encouraged that.  My daughter loves to dance and loves baseball.  When she's a little older, I'll probably get her into both.  (The latter because I want to see a lefthanded girl shortstop out-playing the boys.)

I kind of started rambling there.  My bad.  So, yeah, I want my kids to have a better life than I did, and I definitely want to avoid some of the mistakes my parents made, but I would say that I was a pretty lucky s.o.b. myself.  Still, I think I can do it.  As for you?  Well, to steal another line, "God tells me he can get me out of this mess, but he's pretty sure you're f--ked."


Seriously, what the hell?  Seriously!

Defend your not moving to a different state.

For those of you too lazy to click on the link, the city council of Gould, AR, was catching flak from the "Gould Citizens Advisory Council."  The city's solution?  Pass an ordinance that (a) banned the Council from doing business in Gould and (b) mandated that "no new organizations" could be formed in Gould without city council approval.

When Gould's city attorney told the council that this ordinance was unconstitutional, they responded by firing the city attorney. The city council continues to defend the ordinance, not by disputing that it is illegal, but by arguing that there needs to be "oversight" or "control" when it comes to deciding who can form a group that might discuss the city. Just think about that for a second.

But Tom asked me to defend not moving from this State. Well, I've stated many, many times that I would like to move. I am no fan of Arkansas. That said, I have a pretty sweet set-up here, so it would take much more than a handful of nitwits down in the Delta doing something stupid before I felt like I had to move.


Given your training in legal procedure, evidence, etc., do you think you could get away with murder? How would you do it, and who would be your target? Seems like offing a stranger would be easy, but icing somebody you know adds a high degree of difficulty. Also, I assume since you're answering this question from me in a public forum, you could never murder me without getting picked up by Johnny Law within 24 hours. So that's one less person.

According to this report, identifying a motive for the killing greatly improves the odds that police will solve the crime. That makes sense; it's going to be a lot easier to narrow the list of suspects if you have a sense of why the person was killed. So, yeah, I would say that killing a stranger, especially if it was just to watch him die, would be far easier than killing someone you know.

Who would be my target? I'd go the Navin R. Johnson route and just flip open the phone book to a random page. I'm not sure whether I'd go with the hard to mess up "12-gauge from close range" or something less obvious, but the key would be not doing anything where, in a struggle, the victim might scratch you and wind up with your DNA under their fingernails. Maybe curare darts? That'd be cool.

If I was targeting someone I knew? I think the key would be to create a situation where you were hanging out with the person, but no one outside of you two knew that you were hanging out. So, you know, you tell the significant other that you are going to the store, but you stop by the friend's house on the way. You'd have to park a couple streets over, so no one saw your car out front. Pour a little poison in his beer when he's not looking, then leave out the back. Obviously, you'd have to take some steps in the days leading up to it to make it truly clean. Make a point of visiting the same friend with other people a few days before so that any fingerprints could be explained. Stuff like that.

[Author's note: The staff of BRB do not condone the senseless killing of anyone, be they a friend or just someone who sounds like a typical bastard.]


1. How can Amobi Okoye make it in the 3-4? All speculation is that he will play end, but I see you are projecting him at the nose. Gut feeling? Based on anything you think others are missing?

2. Assuming the Texans miss out on Nnamdi & Joseph, who is at the top of your FA list specifically at CB?

1. Well, in a traditional 3-4, he'd almost certainly have to play a DE role. The reason I think he can work at the nose in Wade's system is that Wade's NTs are not responsible for eating up two blockers. They play a one-gap system. Last year, when Amobi was put in a one-gap/penetrate-first role at UT, he played fairly well. I see no reason it couldn't work here. Besides, it's almost a matter of semantics to a large degree, as Wade's lines, when he doesn't have a massive NT, tend to be three guys who are all roughly the same size. Case in point: last year, Igor Olshansky (DE) weighed more than Jay Ratliff (NT).

2. If we miss on those two guys, I'd like to see us sign a couple solid veterans over, say, spending too much on Antonio Cromartie. (I don't want Ike Taylor at all.) The only one of the higher-profile names I'd be interested in would be Brent Grimes. If that didn't work out, I'd take any two of the following: Chris Houston, Eric Wright, Brandon Carr, and Stanford Routt, with Houston and Wright being my faves of the four.