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Battle Red Bag, vol. 13: What Is In This Man's Bag, Mother?!

Brbag_medium[Author's note: This bag is "vol. 13" because we ended last summer with vol. 12, and I like to pretend like The Bag transcends the boundaries of seasons and years (and, obviously, good taste).]

Women will never understand men. Actually, that's probably not fair to either group and is just a gross over-generalization. What I should say is that certain women (i.e. those with whom I have any consistent interaction) will never understand me. Sure, they might think that they understand me, and they might even have a decent handle on most of what makes me tick, but they will never truly get me.

Case in point, I mentioned Google Glasses to my wife. She said they sounded stupid. I pointed out that (a) constant heads-up access to the internet is what I've always needed, (b) that these would make me very similar to a Terminator, and (c) that it's entirely likely that these glasses will be what propels me to world domination. She still didn't get it.

Then she asked the question that no male would ever ask in this situation: "Why would you want to be a Terminator?"

It's a shame, really; she probably would have liked being married to the ruler of the entire world. Now I will have to kill her some day for doubting the power of the glasses. This is how it has to be.

ANYWAY . . . I got a lot of submissions this week, so I had to save a few for next week. If your question didn't get used this time, it will definitely get used next time. This week, we rank the best Archer episodes, discuss my failings as a human, describe why Titanic was terrible, ponder cold fusion, consider the most-depressing foods, make far too many Amobi Okoye references, explore U.S./U.K. differences, pinpoint the genealogy of Smurfs, cheer for Tottenham Hostpur, and some other stuff. Enjoy!


What are the five best Archer episodes?

When grungedave first sent this question some weeks ago, I thought the answer would be fairly easy. Then Season 3 had to go and hit its stride, making my job much tougher. (I suppose I could list the Top 5 from each season, but that would (a) not answer the question as asked and (b) seem like cheating.) So, fully aware that I am going to leave out at least two or three episodes that some people would put in this list, here goes:

1. "El Secuestro" (season 2). The only thing that was no difficult about this list was picking #1; no other episode could possibly be the right answer. You've got Pam kidnapped thanks to Cheryl, the first appearance of Babou, Malory's rant about the pygmy chieftan, Pam's back tattoo, Cyril using phone sex as an excuse, Archer's refusal to negotiate with cyborgs, Brett getting shot (again), Ray wearing a turtleneck just to irritate Archer, and even a backstory about Pam paying for college. The number of quotable lines from this one is off the charts, too. ("Tum again?" "Like a huge, sweatery Lindbergh baby." "I am literally wet with jealousy." "It's like Meow-schwitz in there." "Who taught you how to punch? Your husband?")

2. "Lo Scandolo" (season 3). I'm a little wary of including an episode that aired just last week. That said, "Lo Scandolo" was amazing. The Italian prime minister --- Italy doesn't use a king --- is dead in Malory's apartment. And, by "dead," I mean "shot to death while wearing a zentai suit." Also, the chair he's sitting in purposefully lacks an actual seat in order to provide . . . access. From there, the whole thing turns into a classic single-room murder mystery, complete with a new paternal backstory for Archer as well as an "ELEGANT DINNER PARTY, HAHAHAHA!"

3. "Placebo Effect" (season 2). Some people apparently prefer part one of the cancer arc, "Stage Two," to "Placebo Effect." To those people, I would say, "You obviously haven't seen my movie Terms Of Enrampagement." The whole RAMPAAAGE! part of this episode is great, but it's the Magnum, P.I. and Family Feud riffs --- to say nothing of the jokes about the Irish --- that make this episode so great. ("Oooh, I know! Casablumpkin!")

4. "The Limited" (season 3). Full disclosure: my first reaction to this episode was, "Oh, so 'Skytanic' on a train?" That was unfair. On repeated viewing, "The Limited" succeeds in ways "Skytanic" did not: Nova Scotian separatists, the return of Babou ("Yes, all of it, you fox-eared asshole!"), Cheryl's fortune in the form of train cars, a fight on top of a train, the Canada/America jokes, and Malory's distinction between racism and elitism, to name but a few.

5. "Job Offer" (season 1). It says something about the show that only one episode from the first season made it on to this list. Namely, that the show is really just hitting its stride and has not grown stagnant. This episode was my second favorite from season 1 --- I actually prefer "The Rock" slightly --- but it's the better of the two episodes in that it really defines the Barry/Archer dynamic that becomes important in season 2 and it features the best line from the entire run of the show.


Hello, hello.

I'm not a regular poster in BRB. I am, however, a lurker and/or rec'ing machine. So, maybe, these question(s) will help me .. er, de-lurk.

Anyways. I'm currently double-majoring in Philosophy and Political Science. I'm planning on using these two majors as my pre-law courses to go into law school. So, I'm curious: will double majoring give me an advantage in law school?

If not, then I'd probably minor in Political Science, instead.

Oh, before I forget. I decided to write a haiku, being that I'm a philosophy major and all, related to BRB.

Tim. Amobi.
Never apart, as skies clear after rain.

Did I run this question just to run the Timobi poem (that I also bolded)? I'll put it this way: it certainly didn't hurt his odds.

Now, to answer our un-lurked friend's question, some of the other attorney types here might disagree, but I would say that the double major would not help you, at least not in terms of better preparing you for law school. Fact is, there's a reason that most schools don't have a true pre-law curriculum and a reason why you will invariably have someone in your 1L class with an undergrad major in divinity or cartography or whatever major "Super Smash Bros. Melee: Theory & Practice" fits into: law school is an organic experience, and it does not build upon what you actually learned in college.

What I mean is, law is by turns intellectually stimulating, mind-numbingly boring, and needlessly tedious, but you could literally do it without any undergrad degree at all. Hell, outside of the trade-school style law schools that focus solely on teaching state-level procedure, half of most law school instruction is the cliched "teaching you to think like a lawyer." For that reason, if I had to recommend an undergrad major for someone interested in law school, my answer would be any subject that teaches you to think differently (math, foreign language, even philosophy (especially epistemology), and stuff like that). Alternatively, I would just recommend that someone major in something that they are actually interested in, as a huge part of getting into law schools is your undergrad GPA.

Building on that last sentence, I should add: if the extra classes for the Poli Sci major are the type that you are sure to get As in, that could absolutely help you as far as getting into a better law school. But as far as whether the distinction between a major or a minor in a subject matters in terms of how you'll do in law school, it does not.


You get to do a stunt with any ONE Texan, but you must include the following : 2 wheelchairs, a mask of Bum Phillips, pyrotechnics, a ninja sword, and Earl Campbell Sausage? Describe what the stunt is and who you pick.

Wow. OK . . . let's see. Since you included a ninja sword, I'm going to take the obvious choice of Antonio Smith. The stunt would be Antonio and I in our respective wheelchairs on slightly offset, opposing thirty-foot ski-jump-style ramps. As we launch off the jumps (start times staggered to account for weight difference, such that we leave the jumps simultaneously), the pyrotechnics go off all around us. I throw 20 sausages at Antonio, who slices them into perfect quarter-inch rounds, which land on toasted buns on a table below. The sausage sandwiches are then served by a Playboy bunny wearing a Bum Phillips mask.

Okay, now that I'm sane again: What break-up song would you play if we lost Airian Foster and/or Mario Williams in free agency this year?

My breakup songs always tend toward mid-90s country music for some reason. So, for Mario, the answer is pretty easy: Little Texas' "What Might've Been," which, incidentally, was the first song I ever learned on guitar and was the song I played roughly 3,593 times when my girlfriend dumped me during my senior year of high school.

For Foster? Hmmm . . . I guess I'll stick with the theme and pick Clint Black's "Better Man." I saw an interview once where Clint said this song was about breaking up with someone in a way that was less painful than it probably should have been because you knew you were better for just having known the person, however briefly. I can dig that. There would be something perfectly poetic about this song in the Arian Foster context, especially the line "still I think about the years since I first met you / and the way it might have been without you here."

Also, though you didn't ask, if we lost Shaun Cody, I'd stick with country, but go back another 25 years or so to Roy Clark's "Thank God and Greyhound."


I'm not sure if the Blue Fugates have been a topic on the Bag before. And I don't really have a question about them. Other than, what do you think about a race of blue-skinned inbred mountain people from Kentucky who may or may not be distant relatives of Scott (hint: they totally are.).

So, you know how conventional wisdom says that the Smurfs were a metaphor for communism? I believed that, too, until I heard about the Blue Fugates. Now I realize that the Smurfs were little more than a cartoon version of these cerulean hillfolk.

Think about it: they are shoeless and shirtless, the two most unliked Smurfs are Brainy (an unaware, bumbling, over-educated elitist) and Vanity (self-explanatory). The most popular Smurfs, along with the damn pater familias, were Hefty (a tattooed dude who will kick your ass) and Handy (who fixes stuff that should have been replaced years ago). And, perhaps most tellingly, literally every dude in town wants to bang his sister.

[Author's tangent: Every time I see a reference to the Fugates, I immediately start singing "Blue balls of Kentucky, keep on shinin'."]

Also, too: "Scott" writes in response: I'll double-check this, but I think that, under Kentucky law, there's a minimum metropolitan population threshold which, if your community doesn't hit, provides an affirmative defense against incest due to impossibility of alternative options.

If this is true, it is either the most predictable thing that ever happened, or it's a sign that Kentucky just doubled-down on Arkansas and West Virginia.


If Tim Tebow were to shit in the woods, and nobody was around to hear it, would it still make ESPN headlines?

How could he possibly shit with Woody Paige's head shoved that far up Tebow's ass?

And, on a more serious note, Matt Leinart: does he stay, or does he go? Do you think he would even have a choice? Personally, my feelings wont be hurt if he stays or goes because Mr. Checkdown at least knows the offense.

I don't think he has any say in the matter. I also don't think he stays. In the brief time he had the reins of the offense, he inspired our own Rivers McCown to nickname him "Floaties." Throw in that cutting him would save $1.225M in a year when every cap dollar is precious and that T.J. Yates --- aka "The Only Texans QB To Win A Playoff Game" --- is firmly the #2 QB in 2012, and I just can't see any way (or reason) that Leinart hangs around and earns $3M in 2012.


Which do you think is more likely: a future where humans have progressed, and have flying cars as in BTTF2, or one in which we've devolved, as in Idiocracy?

For no bonus at all: explain why the idea of flying cars is ridiculous and would never work in reality, or would at the very least cause a shitload of fatalities until people determined that it would never work.

Sadly, I think the fact that we don't yet have hoverboards or flying cars suggests that the latter is far more likely. I mean, Idiocracy kind of sucked, especially the second half, BUT the opening sequence was scarily realistic. Meanwhile, my jacket won't dry itself and the Cubs are not going to win the 2015 World Series.

Embrace the electrolytes is what I'm saying.

As for the bonus question, my first thought was the (apocryphal?) story about a two-car collision in 1895 in Ohio . . . when there were only two cars in the entire state. Flying cars have never really made any sense to me. I mean, I can wrap my brain around the concept of a flying car, but I can't comprehend the typical idiot driver not causing all sorts of floating-highway death driving such a car. The overwhelming majority of people can't even drive safely in two-dimensions, and I frequently see them pass in no-passing zones or texting while navigating a busy street; you're telling me that this wouldn't be even worse if you gave them a third dimension in which to display their lack of non-retardation?


Who's on your list of all time greatest movie villains?

Without putting too much thought into it, my top five are probably:

5. Colonel Kurtz - Apocalypse Now
4. Communism - Rocky IV
3. Anton Chigurh - No Country For Old Men
2. HAL-9000 - 2001 A Space Odyssey
1. Frank Booth - Blue Velvet

That's a quality list. The Rocky IV inclusion is particularly inspired. Let's see . . . my list would probably be:

5. Lotso Huggin' Bear - Toy Story 3
4. Gunnery Sgt. Hartman - Full Metal Jacket
3. Warden Samuel Norton - The Shawshank Redemption
2. Alex DeLarge - A Clockwork Orange
1. Nurse Ratched - One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest


As a fellow Tottenham Hotspur fan, I too hate [Arsenal] with an undying passion. Please explain the following:

1) When did you discover that THFC were the only team worth cheering for in Europe?

DisplacedTexan (nee Evan) deserves the credit for this. I loosely followed EPL soccer via West Ham United until Evan showed me the light a couple seasons ago. I believe his most compelling reason was that Spurs are "the Texans of the EPL." It requires a rather long explanation, but he is right.

(I should mention that I don't consider Spurs the only team worth rooting for in Europe; I like Ajax and Glasgow Rangers as well. However, I definitely consider Spurs the most important team among these by far.)

2) Who is sexier - Gareth Bale, Rafael van der Vaart or former RAF pilot Scotty Parker?

I'll answer the question this way: when Welsh Jesus punctuates a glorious run down the left side with a perfect cross into the box, panties drop all over north London.

3) If you had the entire A*****l squad at your mercy, explain how you'd handle the . . . disposal.

Thanks! COYS!

With pigs, of course.


Would you be pissed if the Texans gave up a home game to come over and play the London game? And why?

Personally, I wouldn't be angry about it*. A buddy of mine is a Bears fan, and he had a fantastic time in London at Chicago's game this past season. I've been looking for an excuse to go back --- aside from my own Anglophilic tendencies --- and this would be a perfect excuse.

*If the Texans struggled after the London game, I would retroactively change my position on this of course.

Also, what 3 things, if any at all, could the U.S. learn from us Brits? What could we learn from you? The answer can be as vague or as specific as you like.

Hmm . . . without getting too deep into politics, I think Britain could teach the U.S.:

1. There is value in having a viable third political party (and I would LOVE to have U.S. President's do a weekly question-answer session like England's PMQs).
2. Relegation is an awesome concept.
3. Self-deprecating humor never goes out of style.

On the flip-side, the Brits could learn:

1. Indian food is not the only acceptable vehicle for spiciness and strong flavors. (I love fish and chips, but, honestly, by the end of my last trip to England, I would have stomped a koala to death in front of toddlers for a bottle of hot sauce.)
2. A financial system that leads to 15 different champions in 20 years is superior to one that leads to 4 different champs over the same span, with United, CSKA London, or Arse (/spits on ground) winning every title since 1994.
3. It's "curb," not "kerb."


The search for cold fusion: Holy Grail or Questing Beast?

Unless and until Andrea Rossi's E-Cat is reviewed and confirmed by independent scientists, I've got to go with Questing Beast. Now, it's not that the idea of cold-fusion (or, more accurately, low-energy nuclear fusion) is impossible; we're dealing with quantum-mechanical objects ("QMOs"), not solid particles, and QMOs' ability to function as both a wave and a particle makes cold fusion possible from a theoretical physics standpoint. Still, Fleishmann and Pons revealed their (now debunked) cold-fusion experiment in 1989, yet we've gotten no closer to actually discovering a cold-fusion process in the 23 years since, despite a massive amount of interest and effort through the early 90s.

As for Rossi's machine, it just screams hoax. All of the "demonstrations" have been in front of invited guests. Even when scientists are among the invited guests, they only get to observe, not look at the machine or the underlying testing. The only journal that has published Rossi's paper is a journal that he started in 2010. No one has been allowed to independently test the machine to verify Rossi's claims. Rossi, by his own admission, fooled a Greek company into thinking that he would build one of these e-cats for them, then cancelled the build at the last minute. And, perhaps most damning, Rossi was already jailed once for fraud; in the late 70s, he claimed to have created a technique to cleanly turn waste into oil --- except his definition of "cleanly" involved dumping toxic waste when no one was looking.

You know the Sagan Standard: Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Rossi has not met this standard, nor has anyone else who claims to have unlocked the secrets of cold fusion. I like that the process is theoretically possible, but so is time travel, and I haven't seen any DeLoreans or a TARDIS materializing out of thin air lately.


If the "rule" is that wide receivers take 2-3 years to develop, what should the Texans realistically expect from a first-round WR in 2012?

I'm not entirely sure that this is the "rule," at least not these days. Looking at the first-round WRs since 2005, we've got 24 players. Of those, only Braylon Edwards, Roddy White, Santonio Holmes, Darius Heyward-Bey, Michael Crabtree, and Hakeem Nicks appear to have made some sort of leap forward after a few years. And, in the case of Edwards and Holmes, the production returned to previous levels the following season.

With Nicks and White, neither guy was a full-time starter until his third season, so I suppose we can chalk that up to development time. Crabtree and Heyward-Bey, however, both improved with the arrival of a new, better coach, so it's hard to chalk them up to development time.

On the flipside, Calvin Johnson was injured in his first year and then was amazing in his first full season. Dez Bryant was injured in year 1 and then good in year 2. Maybe Kenny Britt would have made a leap this year, but he got injured too soon to tell. A.J. Green and Julio Jones were both very good WRs from day 1. The rest of the guys on the list --- everyone from Troy Williamson to Jeremy Maclin --- have maintained a pretty similar production (or lack thereof) throughout their careers.

All of which is a long way of saying, I have no idea what you could reasonably expect. If the WR you draft is going to be a pro-bowl-caliber player, the odds are just as good that he'll be that from day 1 as that he'll need a couple years before you realize it. On the other hand, if he's unproductive from day 1, the odds seem better that he'll be a bust than that he'll suddenly become Jerry Rice in year 3.


What is the most depressing meal you can think of? Like, if you saw a roommate eating this meal, you would strongly consider seeking help for them.

Five contenders off the top of my head:

1. A ketchup sandwich.
2. Anything with Marmite on it.
3. A Winter Double King pizza.
4. Leftover Skyline chili.
5. Rice cakes, dry.


Is there a turning point in your life that wasn't under your control that you look back on and wonder how your life would be different if things had turned out differently? For me, it's living in North Dakota, both moving there in the first place (in fifth grade) and then moving away (in seventh grade). I know I personally wouldn't be the same if I'd never lived there, and I'm sure I wouldn't be the same if I'd stayed there instead of moving away.

Mine's similar: moving from Kansas City to Aldrich, MO (pop. 58 once we arrived) in 1986. Small-town, rural Missouri changed me in ways --- both good and bad --- that are too numerous to list. If nothing else, the general lack of education was what made me decide early on to go to college (only 3 of the 20 in my graduating class went right out of high school).

Also inspired by living in North Dakota, what are some impressive-sounding but actually kind of lame accomplishments? I think passing the bar has to be up there. To the uninitiated, it sounds like you've accomplished something special, but, at least in Illinois, 90-something percent of first-time takers pass.

I was also going to say passing the bar, but for a slightly different reason. In Arkansas, the first-time passage rate is something close to 78%, and that's up from the year I took it when it bottomed out around 65%. Seeing such a low passage rate, you'd assume that it was a relatively hard bar exam. You would be wrong. I didn't take BarBri, and I studied after work (2 hrs) and on weekends (14-16 hours, total) for 4 weeks. When I got to the actual test, I was literally irritated by how over-prepared I was. So, to me, passing the bar isn't impressive; the fact that so many people in Arkansas don't pass it the first time is impressive (albeit in a different way).


I was recently taken to task for saying that I didn't think Titanic was that great of a movie. 3 hours plus of waiting for a ship you know is going to sink to actually sink just isn't all that entertaining to me. I was struck speechless by this, however, because all I could think at the time was that I was being castigated by someone who had recently stood in line for 4 hours to see the new Twilight movie. What would have been an appropriate response in this situation?

The only thing you should have been taken to task for was suggesting that Titanic was anything better than human excrement smeared on celluloid. That movie was horrendous. For one thing, it was absurdly and unnecessarily long. (Pro tip: A movie about a boat sinking should never be longer than it actually took the boat to sink in real life.) Worse, as a love story, it sucks because we all realize that Rose was a selfish whore --- she gave about three seconds of effort trying to let Jack get on whatever that flotsam was she was using, then rather than tell Jack to find another piece so that he can live, she begs him to just hang on to the side of hers; she has pictures of herself her room on Bill Paxton's boat, but no pictures of her actual husband from later in life; and, while it was totally up to her to do whatever with the necklace, she doesn't even mention to Paxton that she knows where it is, leaving him to continue searching for something that he can never find.

I suppose you could also be taken to task for discussing the relative merits of ANYTHING with someone who would pay to see Twilight, let alone wait in line to do so. (Obligatory Reasoning With Vampires link.)

As for an appropriate response? Assuming "beat her senseless with New Moon" was not a viable option, I'd go with telling her that you are not surprised that someone like her would think that Titanic was a good movie, since Hollywood aims that type of movie directly at the kind of person who lacks the ability to think critically about anything, then openly mocking how horrendous Twilight is, both as a book and as a masturbatory film for sad, lonely women.


You strike me as a man of relative intellectual honesty (I say "relative" because you still will not admit you were wrong about Amobi Okoye). Anyone who is fortunate enough to possess that quality can look back on his life and point to any number of mistakes he made along the way. Kindly share what you believe are the three (3) biggest mistakes you've made in your first 30+ years on this Cochranean highway we call life.

Firstly, regarding Amobi, I will admit that I was wrong . . . to underestimate Richard Smith's absolute lack of talent as a defensive coordinator. I stand by the idea that Amobi could have been (and could still be) a good player for the right team. Moving on . . .

Here's the thing with my biggest mistakes, at least prior to 2005: if any of them had turned out differently, it's highly likely that I would not have wound up meeting my wife, which means that my kids would not be my kids. And, while they are both capable of being tremendous pains in the ass (as is my wife on rare occasions), they are still my favorite people in the whole world. Point being, it's hard to feel too bad about any past decisions.

That said, there were certainly mistakes that, at some point, I regretted to a large degree. In no particular order, the top three would be:

  • Going to Mizzou instead of Yale, Michigan, or Duke. I got into all four schools --- hooray for being valedictorian at a tiny, crappy public school! --- but Mizzou predictably offered me much more money, and I listened to my mom's argument that I should stay closer to home. (Why, mom? WHY?!?!?!) Then I got to MU, dicked around, lost most of my scholarship money, and wound up transferring (twice!) before I was finally done. Probably not the greatest decision anyone ever made.
  • Marrying my first wife. We'd dated for a couple years and, more importantly, I was working in a jewelry store, so there was never going to be a more cost-effective time to propose. It wasn't long into the marriage before my "starter wife" jokes were less jokey and more foreshadowy. Lesson learned: In matters of the heart, just as in matters of NFL linebackers, cost-effective is not an argument in favor doing something.
  • Not taking advantage of more opportunities in law school. I really just wanted to be done with school and out of St. Louis forever, so I took a quick, easy path through school rather than taking part in clinics or externships or whatever. Considering the insane cost of law school, I definitely wish I'd gotten a little more bang for my buck.