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Battle Red Bag 2015, Episode 1: A Man Has Got To Have A Code

We're getting the bag back together, and we're doing it with BBQ, Back to the Future, and assorted other things of questionable merit.

Dem Internetz

The bag is back. Next week, I'll actually (maybe) write some kind of lead-in. This week? Let's just get right to it.


Capt. Ron:

Do you trim and smoke a brisket whole, or do you prefer to separate the "flat" and the "point" to smoke them separately?

If I am cooking a whole brisket, I keep it whole. More often than not, I will cook a flat only, since my wife and kids are heathens who don't appreciate the delicious fattiness of the point. But that's neither here nor there, I guess.

My reasons for cooking the whole brisket as a single piece of meat are:

(1) while the grain structure of the flat is such that the fat cap will not melt and soak into the flat (which is one of three reason why you should cook fat-side down, by the way), the fat that is between the point and the flat will manage to soak in to a certain extent;

(2) The key to good brisket is to maintain the humidity in your pit and to bring the whole thing to temperature as slowly and evenly as possible. If you separate the two pieces, every time you do something that changes the humidity in the pit (i.e., opening the pit to look at the brisket), the flat (having a higher water content than the point) is going to be the piece doing the heavy lifting and releasing moisture. That's no bueno. If you keep the point on, the fatty layer between the two pieces insulates the flat and lets the fattier (and naturally more moist anyway) point be the piece that will give off more moisture into the pit. Additionally, the increased thermal mass of the whole brisket, as compared to two separate pieces, allows for a slower, more consistent bringing to temperature.


There is one thing that has always bugged me about time travel theories. Wouldn't you have to travel through space as well as time? To go back 5 minutes you'd have to account for rotation of the earth and its movement around the sun because it wasn't 'here' yet. To go back years you'd have to also account for movements of the solar system, our galaxy, and expansion of the universe. Are space and time inexorably linked, so if you travel back in time you 'automatically' travel through space with it? If so, how and why? What am I missing here?

That is definitely one of the issues with time travel as depicted in most popular culture, and it is the subtly brilliant thing about the T.A.R.D.I.S. using "relative dimension in space." Not counting the couple of times you see the T.A.R.D.I.S. fly through actual space, it simply dematerializes in one spot and rematerializes in another. This way, there's no "travel" and the movement of the earth through space or the solar system through the galaxy or the galaxy through the universe, etc., is not a problem.

When you're talking about more familiar time-travel scenarios (say, Back to the Future), the earth's movement becomes a problem for a couple of reasons. First, if the time-travel requires literal travel through spacetime (even at faster-than-light speeds), you would presumably have to have a destination that you were traveling to. But asking "where is November 5, 1955?" is an almost nonsensical question. (I suppose you could assume that the Delorean at 88 MPH became like a T.A.R.D.I.S. and dematerialized at Twin Pines Mall, then rematerialized instantly in Otis Peabody's farm in 1955. That might get around the problem, at least for Back to the Future purposes.)

Though, building on that last thought, it still presents a problem in Back to the Future III. If we go with the dematerializing/rematerializing in the exact same spot theory, the train scene near the end of BttF 3 is screwed. The Delorean rematerializes on a completed train bridge over the gorge where the train crashed in 1885. Except, with plate tectonics, that whole bridge is in a different spot by somewhere between 6 and 66 feet in 1985. So, even with this more useful theory, Marty is still dead at the bottom of the gorge; it just happens in 1985 instead of 1885.


After recently finally meeting and hanging out with a seemingly-cool girl after wading through a bunch of miserable wastes of space, only to have her meow at me and rub against me like a cat, I'm contemplating taking up the eternal bachelor lifestyle. Is this a bad idea, or is being rich and spending my money on myself totally worth it?

I have two good friends who are bachelors by choice. They both have more dispoable income and freedom to travel than any of my married friends. So, if freedom and disposable income are things you enjoy, you could certainly do worse than perpetual bachelorhood.

Don't get me wrong -- far more often than not, I like being married. I'm just saying, if the goal is being rich and spending money on yourself, putting off marriage for as long as you can is probably the smarter play.

All of that said, I'm actually more interested in the part of the story you left out. What in the world was the chain of events that led to the meowing and cat-like rubbing?? I mean, I know I've been out of the dating game for a long, long time, but what the hell? Is this really a thing?


If you had it to do all over again, would you still (1) go to law school and/or (2) become a practicing lawyer?  Why or why not?

Yes to both questions, though my reasons why are pretty unrelated to one another.

(Backstory for those unfamiliar with it: I went to law school because I figured I need to go to graduate school of some sort, and -- despite having an undergrad degree in business -- I had no interest in an MBA. So, law school "won" by default.)

I would still go to law school, even if given a do-over, because I genuinely enjoyed law school, I made some of my best friends to this very day at law school, and -- most importantly -- I would not have met my wife or had the kids that I have now without it. I only met my wife because I came to Little Rock to work during the summer after my second year of law school, and she happened to be the paralegal at the firm where I worked that summer. Without law school, that doesn't happen.

As far as becoming a practicing lawyer, I would still do it, but I would have done it sooner rather than later. I didn't take the bar exam for 2.5 years after law school because I was working as an investigator for a county agency, and I really enjoyed that job. Even after I took the bar, I went into practice with the state, which was great experience, but was not near as personally rewarding as I've found private practice to be.

But...yeah. I'm pretty happy with both decisions, and I'd stick with 'em a second time around.


If Aaron Rodgers is a 10 and Matt Cassel is a 1,  Bryan Hoyer is...

a) A 1.5
b) Not visible on the scale
c) The 8th Plague
d) George Blanda's revenge

Honestly, I'm torn between either (a) (because I don't want to admit that the Texans opted for someone worse that Matt Cassel) or (d) (because it makes the most sense). But it's late August, and delusion springs eternal. So, I'll go with (a).

I suspect, however, that the correct answer is: (e) Going to make us pine for the halcyon days of Sage Rosenfels.


What was the worst CD you ever owned, and what circumstances led to you buying it?

If we're sticking only with CDs I actually purchased, I'd say it was probably Jet's "Shine On." In addition to being the album that spawned the greatest Pitchfork review ever, this album was not only terrible, it was terrible for 15 tracks. Meaning that someone, somewhere, decided to create an album using the "throw s#!t against the wall and see what sticks" method. The only single that arguably above awful was "Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is," and even it was only "good" when you compared it with the other 14 tracks.

As for what led to my buying it, the answer is booze. Specifically, I was drunk and was (for reasons that are no longer clear to me as I write this) attempting to buy the previous Jet album, "Rare Tracks," on Amazon. Somehow or another, I completely failed at that endeavor.


You should keep your opinions out of the recap homie.  They make you look uninformed rather than funny or observational.  Not trying to be mean I just don't know how else to communicate that.

1. That's not a question; what part of a call for questions threw you off so badly? Are you aware that I am now going to have to answer entirely in questions, just to keep things in balance?

2. Do you see the irony in sending me your opinion about how I should keep my opinions out of something?

3. Do you understand the concept of blogs, including the fact that "blog" is defined as "a website containing a writer's or group of writers' own experiences, observations, opinions, etc., and often having images and links to other websites"?

4. What "opinion" in the "Hard Knocks" recap prompted your email? Was it something about Brian Hoyer? Are you actually Brian Hoyer?

5. If you are not Brian Hoyer, are Eritrean separatists forcing you to read the "Hard Knocks" recaps under threat of death? If not, why do you continue to read if my approach bothers you? Has no one explained that reading BRB (or any blog) is not compulsory?

6. Why do you assume that we are "homies"? Isn't it more likely that I dislike you, if not for the content of your email, then certainly because of your flippant attitude toward punctuation?

7. Most importantly, how unfamiliar are you with BRB generally, and me specifically, that you would assume that your email would in any way change how I approach those posts, or that I would even take your concerns seriously enough to do anything but forward your email to others and make jokes about you in a post? Are you not aware that my sense of self is inflated to a level that would rival Bunk Moreland's?