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Battle Red Bag, Vol. 19: Admitting We're Human

We start with heartbreak, have lunch with Glover Quin, and end on the failure of establishment media. It's the Battle Red Bag.

Ivanna Tinkle

I have spent the last five months in an incredibly unfulfilling relationship where I gave everything that I could, and, after one month of bliss, got four that made suffering a daily requirement. My heart, my bed, my home, money, time, effort. My ego. Flowers, trips, and, eventually, space. While I had a death flu, I walked four blocks to get this girl a brownie because she was on her period. But it didn't really matter, because depending on who you believe, either (a) she was never physically attracted to me or (b) she is depressed and would rather run than deal with her own mental issues and fix them. I think you can guess which side I am on. Despite all of that mess, I am absolutely still in love with her at the moment. And she is leaving.

I am not writing to complain about that, though it did feel good to put it out there. I am writing to talk about the aftermath of such a relationship. What do you take from it? I think anyone who is devoted to learning is going to find something new about themselves whenever they embark on such a journey. Here are two of the more important things I found out about myself this time:

A) I need to put much more effort into teaching myself how to cook.

When I found myself a bachelor at college for the first time, we had a mess hall. Because I was too lazy to go down 16 floors at a reasonable hour every night, I didn't go there very much. Related result: I lost quite a bit of weight.

After that, I moved back in with my mother largely because (a) I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and (b) she'd had a pair of heart attacks and needed financial and emotional support. While I helped out a lot more around the house (taking my sister to school, helping with laundry, etc.), one area I never touched was the kitchen. The main reason is that my mom smoked until the day that she passed on, exclusively in that room, and it's hard to get your bearings in an area you can't stand to be in.

When I suddenly found myself alone again, I had no freaking idea how to do anything. Everything had always been cooked for me or incredibly simple to make. I found a lifestyle I believed in, and I implemented it, but I still had very little idea of what I was doing. I can open a can of beans, dump said contents on a plate, and use the microwave. I can cook scrambled eggs or turkey bacon in a pan. I can put some steaks on a grill. But I never learned how to actually, you know, cook.

When the ex-girlfriend came into my life, I became utterly dependent on her cooking. She's a pastry chef now, but has all sorts of cooking experience. She kicks ass at it. Everything tasted great, except for some black bean brownies that I curse the recipe for.

I'd like to think I'm a man of a few values, and one of them is to not get dependent on anything. When I was a kid, I had an incredible caffeine addiction. Kicked it. Video games? Kicked it. My tendency to be incredibly lazy with my downtime to escape a world where I was super depressed? Kicked it. Other stuff we don't really need to get into here? Kicked it.

But learning how to cook, and cook healthily, will be a new challenge. A challenge I am kind of looking forward to, if I'm being honest with myself. I bought myself some Alton Brown cookbooks, as my recent exposure to cooking shows has taught me that he actually knows what he is talking about. I've got a new place that actually has a stove worth using. Next up: better materials at home.

B) It is important for me to feel important to someone.

This is some dangerous territory, because it's very easy to get stuck propping up someone who doesn't really bring enough to the table to justify things. But, it's true. I've always wanted to be a father. I've always wanted to date someone who puts me in the center of their world and wants to share everything with me. When I was in high school, this tended to manifest itself as me being super clingy and super annoying. Now, it tends to manifest itself in "rescue" situations, like it probably did this time.

You know the cliche about how men always want to date their mother? I don't think I want to date my mother -- but when I lost her, I lost the last person that I really felt I was important to. I have some really good friends, and some of them might even read this, but they all have their own lives to worry about. I can't blame them for that. My families have never been really close to me to be honest. They are also a bit depleted from all the deaths. And though I feel like I have the ability to intimately talk about things with one of my aunts and one of my uncles, they aren't going to drive down from Waco just because I need a hug.

So, I have to be really vigilant about this. I am, as mentioned before in this space, a sap. I love to do the grand romantic gestures and I love the idea of having the kind of person I'm talking about so much that I am liable to go for that even when logic dictates more of a wait-and-see approach. I can only allow myself to date someone who sees that and mirrors it back to me. It's a weird balancing act with heart and head -- as is most of life.

Doing what I did here: letting a woman who I'd known for years but had never met escape a terrible situation of near-homelessness, extreme poverty, and threats ... and stay with me until she got on her feet, was, in retrospect, a terrible thing to build a relationship around. It was also the first time I ever really took a big risk.

I plan to take more risks. But also to make them a little bit smarter.

Without further adieu, I now answer your questions below:

Benjamin Hamel writes:

I can't help but notice that after his hit in Week 1, the sound of which can probably still be heard 20 years from now as Daniel Thomas's family donates his brain to science, and his shot on Jake Locker, proving that Titans are in fact mortal, that GQ has been absolutely bringing the wood this season. Is there any doubt that he's the hardest hitter on this defense?

Tim writes:

It's March of 2013. You're Rick Smith. You can only sign one--Glover Quin or Connor Barwin. Who are you signing, what are the terms of said deal, and why did you pick Quin over Barwin or Barwin over Quin?

I think it is factually accurate that (A) Glover Quin's transition to safety has been even more effective than any Texans fan could have dreamed and (B) he is the hardest hitter on this defense asides from a healthy Brian Cushing. Quin can get the temporary nod. More importantly, other than Jimmy Graham and that absurd long pass interference call against Cincinnati in the Wild Card round, I can't remember any receivers really taking advantage of him. (I write this before Jeff Cumberland rips a touchdown off of him.)

And well, yes, I would think Glover Quin is the higher priority over Connor Barwin right now. The Texans lose much more in their base package on the downgrade to Quintin Demps or Troy Nolan than they would letting Whitney Mercilus play. Quin is an integral part of the dime defense. To make matters worse for Barwin's agent (at least in the world where you want bidding wars), Quin is almost assuredly going to command less money than Barwin. The franchise tag for safeties was just $6.2-6.6 million last year, as compared to roughly $11 million for defensive ends or, in a fantasy world, $9.1 million for "linebackers." I think we could see Quin's situation play out a lot like Michael Griffin's did in Tennessee last year: a franchise tag that's ripped up for an extension sometime before the season.

Let's say the announced terms of said deal are something like four years, $26 million, and that it's a little friendlier to the Texans than that amount would indicate.

falling4popcorn writes:

what is the weakest part or player on our team right now?

what would would you do for Klondike bar?

That Klondike bar advertisement has always been a weird rhetorical to me. I mean, the least you could do is nothing, right? I'd do that for a Klondike bar. But there is no direct structure that says we have to do something amazing for a Klondike bar ... I mean, you have to pay for it at the grocery store, but beyond that, we are free to barter for its services without having to figure out the exact break-even point of owning a Klondike bar. And is it something that we have to physically do, or is it something that we have to endure?

Anyway, I think the most I would do for a Klondike bar is something tolerable, something that I'd maybe enjoy after doing it, and something that would be convenient. I would definitely jog for a Klondike bar. I don't think I'd cut my lawn for a Klondike bar though. Maybe if I had a mechanical mower. I would perform an errand for a Klondike bar. I would not watch a Napa commercial for a Klondike bar.

What I am trying to say is that I would watch Trouble With The Curve for a Klondike bar.

The weakest part of the Texans is their specials teams, because Shayne Graham is a replacement-level kicker, Donnie Jones is an adequate punter, and I would not watch Trindon Holliday return a kick for a Klondike bar.

kurtie! writes:

I was the one who had the portal to the ocean in his sink. Apparently, Liquid Plumr does the trick. *NOT DRANO*

1) Given the Royce White situation with his anxiety and fear of flying, how would you accommodate a similarly skilled rookie for the Texans? Private bus? Force him to go along with everyone else? Didn't Alonzo Spellman have anxiety issues, too? Did they even bother to try and help him? I'm pretty sure they did nothing for Ricky Williams other than let him wear a helmet during interviews.

2) My wife is always talking about having more kids. We already have six. She is of course, fabulously good looking. How do I resist?

I have to admit that I did not know much about Royce White's anxiety when the Rockets drafted him. I mean, I knew he was scared to fly, but I don't really know how comfortable he is in general. Really, I don't think it's something that will be put out there completely for a long time, so I feel a little uncomfortable guessing at the true extent of his disorder. But, let's take this question at face value: as much as I am rooting for Royce White and his football theoretical to succeed, I think an anxiety disorder is something that would knock him down my draft board. Basketball has five players, in baseball everything is done individually. In football, units need to be a family. Chemistry is incredibly important. If it reached the point where we thought we were getting too much surplus value to pass up on him, we'd be going in on a trial basis only. He'd be working on his anxiety, and we wouldn't invest so much in him that we'd be screwed if it didn't work out. So I'm guessing he'd be a fourth-round pick or thereabouts. (For the record, Spillman was bipolar and not taking his meds, Ricky Williams definitely had S.A.D., and probably also depression as well, which made it that much weirder that Mike Ditka traded an entire draft away for him. Testing for this kinda thing is so much more available these days.)

As for the wife, it kind of depends on a lot of factors that you don't put down here. Do you want another kid? I mean, at six I'd personally be ready to go get my tubes tied. But I don't think there's anything wrong with putting more kids out there as long as you love them all and are willing to support them to the end. If you'd like advice on how to avoid her altogether, my suggestion is that you start writing about sports. That tends to keep women away in droves.

BarryfromTexas writes:

I wasn't able to watch much of this Thursday's night game. However, I believe it was last weeks game (Browns v Ravens), that I thought the NFL Network gave more "all 22" shots of the game during the game. These may not be the regular "all 22" but they seemed to have a stretch of the game that most of the camera work (not counting replays) gave a wide shot showing at least most of the 22 players on the filed. I want to say this was for a large portion of the 3rd quarter.

Did anyone else notice this? Was this an experiment by NFL Network concerning the game watching experience, or was this all happen-stance? The other question I would have is did something similar happen during the Cards v Rams game?

This is actually fairly common for the one-game networks. Get those cameras in all sorts of crazy angles and let them fly. NFLN does the best job of it, IMO, because Mike Mayock is in that booth and wants it to happen. But, for instance, NBC has a very extensive network of cameras for Sunday Night Football. If you're willing to put up with their website, you can actually watch from any of those camera angles in-game, which can be pretty fascinating. I have no idea why they aren't more heavily utilized, but my guess is something along the lines of "make sure Joe TV Viewer can always follow the ball."

5stringJeff writes:

"The quality of a beer is inversely proportionate to the quality of its advertising:" Hypothesis, theory, or axiom?

I think that's a hypothesis that fails. Mainly because the quality of just about all alcohol advertising is bad. Man, I guess if I had to pick the best beer commercial of the past year, it might be the Heineken one where the dude is flying all around the party with the cute Asian girl. Hard liquor commercials are usually a little better, but for beer it's almost 100 percent brutal, and that's without docking it extra points for those fucking sexist "Man Up" ads. The best you can hope for is something totally inoffensive like Blue Moon's watercolor ads.

Now if you want to say it's proportionate to the frequency of its advertising, I think you might be getting warmer. Probably not all the way to axiom, but definitely in theory territory. All I have to say is I've never seen a Shiner Black commercial.

jeffersonscottsworth writes:

Ok bud. You opened the can. Now for the worms.

Broadcasts that look for the emotional response, not the intellectual response. This is the trend in sports broadcasting, but due to the ratings this gets, do you think that the journalistic tendency for this has intruded into the rest of the media? I.e. the "news" as a whole? Is it like pictures on the menu? Do we only respond to the visual and emotional now? Does no one think anymore?

Well, the first great success of the internet was bringing like-minded people together. That created niches for every segment of society, and while I'm sure this is going to sound snobby or downright elitist, I do think that the vast majority of stuff that actually makes you think has been pushed out of the spotlight.

News as a whole has a giant gaping hole in that nobody trusts it anymore. Nor should they. Time and time again over the past twenty years, and I'm trying my damndest not to make this political, establishment journalism has tended to take whatever is parroted by those in power and print it without questioning anything about it. I wouldn't say that it intruded into the rest of the media -- I'd say it started there. We are given more emotional and visual scenes these days because the truth of most newsworthy situations is not good for those who are in command of the status quo.

Plenty of people think. There are plenty of people in the world that either know in their hearts or know in their heads that what is presented is not necessarily what is happening. But publicizing those things is not good for those who actually have power, so it doesn't happen. I don't know what the tipping point of journalism losing its morals was, but I'll tell you that (again, no politics) the war on whistleblowers in this country is disgraceful to the nation it stands for.