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Battle Red Bag 2015, Episode 2: Mile High Clubbin'

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This week's Battle Red Bag comes to you from the friendly skies, courtesy of Delta Airline's in-flight WiFi. Technology, y'all.

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"MDC has ANSWERS, bruh."
"MDC has ANSWERS, bruh."
Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

As I write this post, I am in the sky somewhere between Little Rock and Detroit. Eventually, Watt willin' and the creek don't rise, I'll end the day in Salt Lake City.

I am a huge fan of travel, both in terms of destination and the process of getting there. Or, to paraphrase my idol, Roger Creager: "Even the gettin' there makes me smile." Travel is awesome.

And, despite their NBA team and Draconian liquor laws, Utah is also surprisingly awesome.

Also, too, I've been drinking since around noon. So let's just cut to the chase, folks.

HoustonTransplant:

I've been doing quite a bit of research and reading on newbies getting into smoking their meats. I haven't actually ventured into doing this so figure it's about time I do. Through my research I've come across two options; The Pit Barrel Cooker (PBC) or a Big Green Egg. I don't believe I'm ready for the big offset type and I don't want to get a cheap offset from the hardware store. My father-in-law has had his Egg for over 10 years and it's still going strong. The PBC is newer to the scene, but has been favorably received. It also seems to cut down cook times by design. Given that I'm brand new to this, what would you recommend?

File this under "Learn Something New Everyday." I had no idea that someone had taken the old Ugly Drum Smoker concept and turned it into a finished product. And the $299 price point is pretty nice, all things considered. But...we'll come back to that.

If you want the easiest temperature control imaginable, it's really hard to do better than the Big Green Egg. I believe BFD is a proponent of the Egg, so he could probably tell you more about the intricacies, but my limited experience with them is that they are tremendous. The ceramic body and tight tolerances make it insanely easy to hold the BGE at a consistent temperature for a far longer period than you can get in any standard metal smoker.

Unfortunately, the smallest smoker-capable BGE runs about $300 more than a full-sized Pit Barrel Cooker. So it's hard comparison to make. And, honestly, at $600, I'd be more inclined to go with the non-WiFi version of the Daniel Boone Pellet Smoker from Green Mountain Grills.

At the end of the day, though, if you're leaning more toward the PBC, whether for price or for style reasons, I would strongly suggest a Weber Smokey Mountain. There are myriad BBQ discussion boards online where you can get details on a few easy modifications that will make the WSM infinitely more usable than a PBC. It will never hold temp as well as a BGE, but it will turn out some tremendous BBQ and will be much easier to use than then PBC.

By the way, you are very smart for not going with a cheap offset. All you're paying for on those is the cost of the steel, and they are a nightmare to cook with unless you have the kind of obsessive personality that will allow you to stand there for 10 hours, staring at the thermometer and adjusting accordingly.

WakePhil:

I just got to thinking about what I'd want from the afterlife if it existed and existed forever.

If it could be made so that I could spend every day in some tropical location, fishing, drinking on the beach, sharing that with all the friends and family you like, no hangovers, and it never gets old... obviously that's pretty cool, but boring for this hypothetical exercise. It's more interesting trying to think of what you'd want to keep you interested for eternity, assuming the same attention span you have now.

What I'd want to see is a detail log of everything I've done in my life with stats, random facts, etc. For example, I'd want to see a graph of all the women I've fantasized about, how often, and by age (I have a feeling this would be a hilarious timeline). Detailed statistics of all the traveling I've done, or stats from athletic achievements (down to pick up basketball games and the like).

I suspect that could keep me busy for awhile, but I think the next feature could keep me busy for eternity. I would want to be able to tweak key decisions and see how my life would have played out differently, or tweak totally inconsequential decisions and see what happens.

Even cooler if you had access to this information for everyone. Follow around historical figures and tweak stuff. Kill Hitler or kill Newton just to see what happens. Find the right series of events that gets you Allison Brie. Seems like it would be the biggest time waster ever.

Anyway, couple questions:

1) What would you want to see with that much information on your life?

2) If you could go back and tweak one moment in history, what would it be?

As I mentioned when you first sent this roughly 3.5 years ago (also"holy shit!), I really, really love this question. Having now had ample time to ponder my answers...

1) I would want the information to function in the same way that I wish Google Glass would ultimately work. Which is to say, I wish that, as I talked about something, I would instantly have access to all relevant information in some sort of heads-up display that only I could see. Also, considering this is the magical afterlife, I bet the voice recognition and the software would be far more intelligent. So, when talking about "women I used to have a crush on," I could get specific pictures of each female with the date ranges for said crush superimposed as well as the context that led to each crush (e.g., "You saw her randomly at the lake during summer vacation in 1994 and found that her tan and two-piece made her odd laugh suddenly endearing.")

I think the sports-achievements idea (including informal sporting activities) is genius, but I'd take it a step further. I want to know what my lifetime high score is for literally everything. What's the most hot wings I've eaten in a single sitting? What's the hottest thing, in Scoville Units, that I've ever eaten? How many words have I read in my life? How many have I written? How many hours have I spent on the internet? Which day of the week is my highest average internet usage? How many times have I watched Pulp Fiction? How many inanimate objects have I broken in fits of rage related to the Texans? How does that number compare with broken items related to Michigan football? How many times have I flogged the dolphin? How many ounces of vodka have I drank? Bourbon? Beer? Orange juice? Orange juice that wasn't mixed with vodka? How many times have I had sex and eaten BBQ in the same 24-hour span? How many times have I made jokes about BFD's age? Hairline? Propensity for getting hit by a car?

2) Which moment in my own history would I tweak? I'm assuming this is like a choose-your-own-adventure book, by which I mean I can cheat, see how the change plays out, and then go back to the decision point and try again if I want to.

In that scenario, if I'm only picking one moment in my history, I'd toy with the decision on where to go to college. I got into Yale, Michigan, Mizzou, Rice, Washington University in St. Louis, and a couple of others. Ultimately, I went to Mizzou because my parents wanted me to—and because the financial aid package was basically, "we'll literally pay you to go here"—and I left after one year for a variety of reasons. I'd like to go back and see how the ensuing 20 years played out had I gone to each of the other college choices.

Now, if we're talking about having the ability to alter any moment in history, just to see how it plays out, there are two possible answers. The more interesting answer on a global scale involves going back and interfering with the moment of Hitler's conception in various ways. But...this is all just a theoretical exercise that doesn't actually impact history, so that big-picture stuff is only so interesting. The more intriguing one to me would be to go back to a specific NFL draft and change a specific Texans draft pick. Round 1 of 2006 seems like the most obvious choice, but I think Round 1 2007 is more interesting. I'd love to see how the future unfolds if the Texans took Patrick Willis, Marshawn Lynch, or Michael Griffin instead of Tim's boy, Amobi Okoye.

A close runner-up would be the Texans' third-round pick in 2010. What if they had taken Jimmy Graham instead of Earl Mitchell? What if they'd taken Aaron Hernandez? Colt McCoy?

Bucky Pastorini:

I have always been curious about this personal hygiene device, having never seen one.  I'm just a Central Texas boy, and I readily profess my ignorance regarding most things that don't happen in my little corner of the world.

My wife, a much less ignorant human, toured Italy recently for work.  I asked her to take pictures of the bidets she found in her hotels (ancient civilization landmarks be damned).  This investigation raised more questions than answers, so now I'm  seeking your worldly knowledge.  You have some of that, right?

You see, Matt, I thought that a bidet would be a toilet bowl with a little foot pedal you could use to make water come up from the bottom of the bowl, targeting your affected area.  Apparently, at least in these Italian hotels, that is not the case.  It seemed to be a toilet bowl with a water faucet where the tank usually is.  This does not seem to be remarkably convenient.  It seems like you would need to get at least half undressed and have a bath towel handy.  Is that what European folks do? If so, wouldn't it be easier to just take a quick shower after? Doesn't it seem like you run a very high risk of splashing fairly dirty water on the bathroom floor?  Is it something you have to practice? Should I start a bidet manufacturing company that sells my "foot pedal fountain" idea? Would my questions seem offensive to European bidet enthusiasts?

Please, MDC, help me understand.

I've always thought the concept of a bidet was brilliant. In my perfect world, a regular toilet not only flushes, but also hoses me off, uses air (and/or silk) to dry me, throws a light puff of baby powder on the undercarriage for good measure, and sends me on my happy way.

After your question, however, I realize that my utopian dream is way, way off. My vision is shattered. My understanding is wrecked. So, I did what I always do in those situations, and I ventured off into the internet to find more information.

According to this Instructables post:

On most standalone bidets you can either face the bidet's water controls or you can face away from them, as you would on a toilet. It is easier to control the flow and temperature of the water if you face the controls, but if you are wearing pants you will generally need to remove them in order to straddle the bidet in this manner. There are a variety of bidet designs, so the configuration of the jets and the part of your body that you wish to clean may dictate which way you need to face.

Straddle the bidet, sitting on the rim and align the anus with the column of spray water. Note that most bidets don't have seats, but are still meant to be sat upon; you just sit directly on the rim.

Gradually open the spray valve until adequate pressure is achieved to flush the remaining feces from the anus.

I would put a "The More You Know" graphic here, but, honestly, I just feel dirty and confused. Let's move on.

jbruss1319:

After I found Battle Red Blog several years ago, it quickly became one of my few daily reads. A large part of that early addiction was reading articles written by yourself (I contend that the Two Day Hangover is one of the very best things on the internet). After reading your response to Yahoo in the last Battle Red Bag, I realized that now I take for granted how much I appreciate your writing style and sense of humor. My question is what experiences or influences have led to such a style that I enjoy so much?

Also, on a somewhat related note, I can remember seeing a sig from a BRBer a long time ago that included the following:

"I'm dropping knowledge like a librarian with Parkinson's." -MDC

Any chance you remember that and can provide some context for that quote? I would love to know how that conversation came to be.

Thanks for the compliments, though I would put the 2DH behind 75% of porn at the very least, which puts it in the bottom third of the internet just as a matter of simple math. But I digress.

Experiences or influences? I don't honestly know. I read a lot (and I'm fortunate enough to read very, very quickly), to the point that I often have 2-4 books going at any one time. I guess that has an influence, since I will quit a book if the writing is bad. At the very least, that probably reinforces to me what I like and what I don't like.

If I were pointing at specific influences, I'd say the two most obvious are Hunter S. Thompson (whose work I wouldn't even pretend to be able to match) and Chuck Klosterman (who I shamelessly ripoff when it comes to footnote jokes and generating globally applicable theories from discrete pop culture moments). There's a certain amount of law-school training that goes into my style, I'm sure, at least in my hesitation to write something where I feel like the dots aren't connected. That can be a blessing and curse, depending on the subject matter.

The "dropping knowledge" quote was something Johnathan Loesche, formerly of Big Cat Country, said one time in the comments to something I wrote. I've searched for the original post and comment, but haven't found it so far. But I'm sure it happened. I think.

Tim:

What single player in Houston Texans history would you say you were most wrong about?  I mean, I know there have been several.  You're wrong a lot.  But pick the one you'd say you were furthest off on.

I have never been wrong. There have just been moments when my completely accurate evaluation of a player was thwarted by terrible coaching or poor luck on the part of the player.

THAT SAID...it almost has to be Amobi Okoye, at least when we're talking about players who underperformed my expectations. I thought he was going to be a star. I even defended him after Wade Phillips cut him, and I'm pretty sure I could talk myself into taking him back right now. Hell, I literally wanted him over Patrick Willis, even if Willis had been available for that pick.

In terms of players who overperformed and proved me wrong in that regard, the most obvious would be Brian Cushing. I mean, he is the player whose selection caused me to write the second-greatest comment I ever wrote on BRB. Your post about his selection was similarly inspired.

Tim (again):

What stands out in your mind as the cruelest thing you ever did to someone else?

Raising children to be fans of the Texans, Michigan Wolverines, and Cleveland Indians. I could firebomb a Cambodian village and not feel as guilty as I do about the doomed fandom I've foisted upon my offspring. If anything that doesn't kill you makes you stronger, my kids will be world-champion powerlifters because of this.

unka.dan:

Will you please do a "The Unbearable Powerfulness of Ranking" of Hoyer, Mallett, and Savage as starting QB for the Texans?
  1. The death of your dog
  2. Urban Meyer's smug face
  3. Scabies
  4. CBS
  5. Books written by Jonathan Franzen
  6. Brian Hoyer
  7. Post-nasal drip
  8. Ryan Mallett
  9. Ryan Mallett's punctuality
  10. Tom Savage