Time for your weekly edition of the Deadspin Funbag. Got something on your mind? Email the Funbag. Today, we're covering ice cream machines, Kennedy, robot coaches, and more. Image by Jim Cooke.
Before I get to your letters, some quick housekeeping: I was scheduled to attend tonight's National Press Club Book Fair and sign books and shit, but then my son got pneumonia. I was told it was mild pneumonia, and not Secret of Nimh-level pneumonia, but then I started coughing up chunks of lung sponge myself. My old lady keeps trying to get my son to cover his mouth when he coughs, but I know better. I didn't start consistently covering my mouth for coughs until age 27. That kid ain't covering SHIT.
The worst part is that I took my kid to a birthday party a week or so ago just as he was coming down with this. I didn't realize he was sick until he was sitting at the birthday cake table and coughing in the face of every child in plain sight. I could see bits of spittle fly from his mouth into the mouths of his friends. It's horrifying when you know that you're responsible for the future misery of 10 different households. I should buy every guest a crock of soup.
A medical issue last year has forced me to take a blood thinner (Coumadin) on a daily basis. I will likely be taking them for the rest of my life. It blows. I'm not supposed to drink, but I have one here and there. Not good enough.
I've got this overwhelming urge to drink shot after shot of a high quality bourbon… but it ain't happening. I'm managing to control the impulses. I was never a problem drinker, but GOD I LOVED drinking. Nothing like a handful of beers with the guys to ease stress.
But I need other options. What are suitable replacements for alcohol in your life when you've still got the urge but can't partake? It's too late to start smoking weed, right? I'm not Willie Nelson, for goodness sake.
It's NEVER too late to start smoking weed. I didn't start smoking weed until after college, which is all kinds of wrong. It's the exact opposite of how you should do things. When I was in high school, I was morally against weed for some reason. I have no clue why. I was really scandalized whenever I heard about people doing it and I looked down on the burnouts toking up out in the woods.
This was back in '90s, when kids who smoked weed were really into Phish and old Dick's Picks bootlegs of Grateful Dead concerts, and I fucking hated ALL of that, which I stand by. Those people ruined weed for a whole generation, I tell you. I would have been able to handle the crippling anxiety and self-loathing of teenage virginity much better if I had gotten on board the hippie train, but that music was dogshit.
Anyway, one of the saving graces of starting weed at an older age is that it's still new and exciting and naughty when everything else in life—booze, sex, tobacco—is just starting to become routine. It's good to stagger your introduction to new vices, so that you always have a new, awful habit to look forward to. I scheduled my first weed buy when I was 25 or so and I felt like I was organizing a casino heist. SO MUCH DANGER. I've never felt so alive. YOU ARE NEVER TO OLD TO BREAK ALL THE ROOLZ.
So by all means, get started on being a useless, pot-smoking bag of shit. It's always good to try new things: weed, sweetbreads, becoming a licensed gun owner, and such and such.
What would happen if solid evidence came out that some country (Russia, Cuba) was behind the JFK assassination? Does Obama nuke them? Are diplomatic meetings just extremely awkward going forward?
I don't think anything significant would happen because too much time has passed. Even if you knew for certain that X country was to blame for the killing, the principals involved would probably all be dead, or near dead, or (in the case of Fidel Castro) dead but kept in a warm bath of Cuban infant cord blood until reanimation takes place. I don't know how you can avenge Kennedy's death when the world's balance of power and the players involved have changed so radically since that time. The only thing that would happen is that Vanity Fair would have a fresh excuse to run yet another cover with old photos of the Kennedy family in between months where they run old photos of Grace Kelly on the cover.
There comes a point when history remains history, no matter what you discover after the fact. After, say, a hundred years have passed, and the world's population has turned over completely, people treat new discoveries about history with an objective sense of curiosity instead of having a visceral reaction to it. For example, let's say you're an archaeologist and you stumble upon some ancient burial ground and you analyze the bones and you discover that 20,000 people were killed on this site back in 569 AD. You're not gonna be sad if you discover this. You're not gonna even cry. You're just gonna be like THESE STAB HOLES ARE FASCINATING! EVERYONE COME SEE!
That's not quite the case with JFK, obviously. There are plenty of people who are still alive (my parents included) and who still remember that day as arguably the saddest day in American history (for my generation, 9/11 takes the honors). I'm sure they would have an angry, emotional response to the discovery that Lee Harvey Oswald was a Russian double agent working in conjunction with the reverse vampires. But the anger would be dispersed: Why did this come out now? Did that Warren guy know all this shit and not tell us? And why weren't we informed that JFK had a hooker blowing him in the footwell during the procession? You wouldn't be able to do much about it.
With the union nixing a longer schedule, and having all four big networks paying astronomical dollars to broadcast football and ticket prices about as high as they can before they are starting to depress attendance (even further than it already is), and literally everyone and their mom buying NFL gear, have we reached Peak NFL?
I think we've passed Peak NFL. Youth football participation is already way down thanks to concussion awareness, which means the talent pool will get thinner. That will coincide with the Ginger Hammer expanding the league to London and LA and penalizing defenders for leading with their head, neck, shoulders, chest, hands, or diaphragm. All of that will make the product shittier and eventually decrease its market value.
Even though last night's game was damn near a work of art, this hasn't been a great NFL season. Everyone is hurt. Apart from maybe Seattle, every team is flawed in some obvious way. The teams with shitty QBs (and there are many) have REALLLLLY shitty QBs. It is not an ELITE season. So whether you think Peak NFL was back when you could openly choke offensive players LIKE A MAN, or back in the Bill Walsh Era, or (like me) during the remarkable stretch of great Super Bowls from 1997 to last January, I don't think the future bodes all that well. But I'll still watch. I got fantasy money to lose.
There is a spider in my car. I never see it, but most mornings there is a fresh spider web waiting for me inside the car. I should drive it off a cliff, right?
Do you think a computer/robot would be a good NFL coach? If it had all the situational stat lines for players, win% that it could update for each play, would it be a successful coach? Would it be the BEST coach?
No. As much as I hate the idea of INTANGIBLES and all that nonsense, there's still a human element to the job. It's not simply a matter of having the best strategy—it's convincing all the players that you have the best strategy and that they should be confident that you know what you're doing. A robot doesn't have that ability because robots are assholes. You think Steve Smith is gonna take orders from a robot? BITCH YOU AIN'T EVER PLAYED THE GAYME. He'd cleat that thing into a million pieces.
You can't have the robot be the head coach. HOWEVAH, you could have a human head coach and just hire the robot as a shadow assistant. None of the players or token assistants ever need to know that the head coach is getting all of his ideas from the BlitzTron 9000. You just keep that robot locked in a dungeon so that no one is ever the wiser.
I spotted this truck in east Alabama, on the road during the second half Alabama-Texas A&M game. It has a Tennessee Volunteers license plate on the front.
SEC! SEC! SEC!
My favorite Big Ben Roethlisberger urban legend, relayed to me by a bartender friend who had the pleasure of encountering young Ben back during his drinkin' heyday. Ben orders a BUD LIGHT LIME, which the bartender informs him that they do not carry. Ben proceeds, according to my bartender friend, to flip the fuck out, along the lines of "YOU DON'T HAVE ANY BUD LIGHT FUCKIN' LIME? DO YOU KNOW WHO THE FUCK I AM?" To this day, whenever Ben comes off the field after a 3-and-out, sulking and glaring daggers at Todd Haley, I just imagine that his disappointment isn't with the game's outcome, but with the regrettable lack of Bud Light Lime in the Gatorade coolers.
You could start an entire Reddit thread of people who have had unfortunate encounters with Ben Roethlisberger. I'm not sure there's another active sports figure who has personally pissed off more people than Big Ben (and I mean in terms of face-to-face interaction—I'm not talking about some athlete that pissed you off because he had a bad fantasy day). The list is like Big Ben, Tiger Woods, A.J. Pierzynski, and Floyd Mayweather. I'm talking about guys who are dicks to everyone ALL THE TIME, and not fake nice like A-Rod or Dwight Howard.
How often in a fellow's lifetime do you think he has actively fapped to internet porn while one star was actively transmitting an STD to said film co-star(s)? I would put the O/U at 5 and start taking bets from there.
But they're all tested! I think most of those people get their diseases well before hopping in front of the camera, so that's why I would take the under. But I'm probably a fool.
The more intriguing question is... how many times has the average man watched a porn scene in which a child has been conceived? Obviously, none of those children end up actually being BORN. They got yanked out with a hook at the end of the first trimester. But I bet you've watched at least two or the future abortions conceived on film in your lifetime. Don't be comforted by the fact that they use the withdrawal method. That shit ain't foolproof!
I'm a casual smoker and I bought myself a zippo lighter. It makes a noise when you open and close it, but mostly I like it because, unlike a Bic, it stays lit once you fire it up. Secretly, I imagine that I will need it when a bunch of guys are trying to kill me. They're all in a building that I have secretly wired with explosives. There is a trail of gasoline leading to the explosives, and I fire up the zippo, casually toss it on the gasoline, and then ride away in my motorcycle while shit blows up behind me. That's what a zippo is for.
Goddamn right it is. Half the time, I think smokers like to smoke just because you get to play with fire 20 or 30 times a day. It never gets old. Even when you put the lighter away, you still get to hold a burning object in your hand for a minute or two, and that's no small thrill in an otherwise boring existence.
Any time someone has a Zippo at a bar, I ask to play with it for three minutes. Then I try to do that thing where you flick your wrist and it opens by itself, like they do it in old movies and videos. I cannot do it. I suck at lighters. I can't even get a Bic to work. In order for me to properly work a lighter, I need to be inside a ventless room with no air circulation of any kind. Otherwise, I'm doomed. Fucking wind.
If you were an NFL team owner would you wear a suit and tie to every game and make every guy in the owner's box do the same?If I had a billion dollars to spend on a NFL, I might do it Hugh Hefner style and show up game day in pajamas with a 22-year-old blonde on one arm and a bottle of Cristal in the other, just to make peoples heads explode.
Yeah, I wouldn't wear a suit to those games if I owned the team. If I owned an NFL team, I would be like Mark Cuban and try wayyyy too hard to be the COOL owner. Look at me! I dress casual and sit with the fans! If you players need tickets to a show or you just wanna come play some pinball, my door's open! Then the players would make fun of me and the GMs would never use any of my ideas and eventually I'd grow to loathe them and then I'd show up to every game in, yes, a suit ... in order to assert my authority over the entire enterprise. Those guys wear suits so that every goddamn person in the stadium and watching on TV knows who signs the checks. Pretty obnoxious.
Why does it seem when someone is eating in a movie that 90% of the time it is Chinese food? You never see someone powering through a five-dollar footlong or chicken quesadillas from Taco Bell? I understand you wouldn't use the brand names in movies but it seems like the overwhelming food choice for movie characters seems to be Chinese food.
It's because the cartons and chopsticks give the actors something to do with their hands while they talk. They can hold up a takeout carton and fiddle around and LOOK like they're eating even though they didn't take a bite of anything. Any time I see those cartons in a movie, I want Chinese food more than anything else in the world.
I worked on a shoot once and found out that a lot of TV shows and movies have a cheat where the actor puts a piece of food or a utensil down right at the beginning of a scene, so that the viewer thinks they just took a bite of something, even though they didn't. It's a cheat. I felt so used when I found out. I want to believe that the Ghostbusters really did eat all of the petty-cash Chinese food before that first call came in.
I'm married with two young kids and have recently taken to referring to my pre-marital life as "before the merger," the way NFL records and stats are cut off at the NFL/AFL merger.
I see what you did there.
Why doesn't the NFL just flip the value of a safety and field goal with kickers getting better and better? The loss of that 3rd point should be enough to decrease the amount of kicks, and honestly I think this better matches the difficulty of each scoring play to begin with.
I'm fine with that. The reason a safety is only two points is because it's also a turnover, so you can potentially swing the game by nine points so long as your GLORY BOY offense gets a TD after the free kick. But I'm OK with making it a three- or even a four-point score, because safeties are so rare. That's why defenders get so excited when they think they've gotten one. They jump around and make the "A" with their hands like they just won a million bucks because 1) they never get them, and 2) defenders hate that offensive players usually get to do all the scoring, and get real excited when they get points of their own. Everyone loves to score, no matter what the sport is. Not scoring sucks.
How many disease-free mosquito bites would it take to kill the average human?
According to this site, the average mosquito bite drains 0.001 and 0.01 milliliters of blood. And according to this site, it would take 2.24 liters of blood loss to kill an 80 kg person. So if we're being forgiving, a swarm of 224,000 mosquitoes ought to be able to do the job. Of course, with global warming, we're much more likely to encounter giant DEATHSQUITOES who can suck you dry within five seconds, so I look forward to that showing up by nearby ponds with the next three summers.
So my wife and I have gotten in numerous arguments over this. If one spouse is home and the other arrives, who's responsibility is it to say hi or hello first? The person already home or the person walking in through the door?
It's "Honey, I'm home!", right? You walk in and announce your presence first. Then everyone drops their shit and rushes to greet you like you're some kind of war hero. I can't always anticipate your arrival. I might be taking a shit, or talking on the phone to my mistress, or playing or a video game, and sometimes that takes priority over greeting you at the door.
Do verified people get extra options where they can see replies/RT from other verified people? Take an average Lebron James tweet for example - if you click on the replies its 20,000 idiots asking him for an autograph or professing their hate for him. How would he ever know if someone like Durant zinged him (which has happened due to Cowboy/Redskins rivalry)?
Because if someone like Durant zings him, he'll get 30,000 people saying OMG DURANT ZINGED YOU BRO YOU GONNA TAKE THAT SHIT?! Also, athletes follow only A) other athletes, B) terrible musicians, and C) pussy. Those three categories of people use Twitter almost exclusively to mingle with each other, so someone like LeBron probably notices replies only from people he himself is following, if that makes sense.
How do you think the Harlem Globetrotters would do if they had to go up against a real NBA team— say, like, the Jazz, or the Grizzlies?
They'd get slaughtered. It's hard to know just how badly they'd get slaughtered because the official Globetrotters roster skips using real player names and uses nicknames like Quake and Special K (what the fuck?) instead. But suffice it to say, all of them were too old/short/selfish/terrible to make an actual NBA roster. I don't think they'd even beat a good college team. I KNOW BASKETBALL.
Is there anything in reality TV more unfair & puzzling than only having one ice cream machine on Chopped? They have multiples of every other piece of cookware, they have an excess of fruits, veggies, spices, etc., but despite nearly 98% of episodes featuring the ice cream machine in the dessert round, they stick to only having one.
That's gamesmanship, baby. You gotta decide to make your basil brie frozen custard right away, or else the 500-pound tattooed guy will beat you to it and make a horsehair gelato of his own.
Email of the week!
So, the other day I was working with my Audio Production lab partner (she is incredibly socially awkward) on a project in a recording studio. It was just the two of us. She suggested an idea for our project that I thought was awesome, so naturally I held out my fist for a fist-bump. She looks at my fist as if I was giving her the finger, looks me in the face for 10 incredibly awkward seconds, and then says "I don't do that." Ok, that is weird, but no problem, I will just switch to a high-5. So I stick out my hand ready to accept the high-5 thinking nobody intentionally denies both a fist bump AND high-5. I was wrong. She again, looks at my hand, looks into my eyes for about 10 seconds, then says "Yeah I don't do that either." WHO DOES THAT?!?!? Is it more common than I think? Should I say something??
Try a chest bump.
Drew Magary writes for Deadspin. He's also a correspondent for GQ. Follow him on Twitter @drewmagary and email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also buy Drew's book, Someone Could Get Hurt, through his homepage.