Bubble Teams Belong In Hell

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Photo: Angelica Alzona (GMG)

Today, we’re talking about chicken pot pie, the NCAA tournament, dirty belts, and more.

Your letters!


Do you like calling it The Bubble? It never made much sense to me. There’s gotta be a cooler name for it too, right? The Cusp or Purgatory or maybe something that references basketball like The Last Second Shots or The Jump Balls.


I just like that BUBBLE has become official terminology to the point where you see it in the ESPN ticker and don’t even blink. “Oh yes, the bubble teams. I know them.” The term is fine with me because it conveys the idea that Arizona State is precariously situated on a molecule-thin bubble which could go POP at any second, disappearing and sending them plummeting down into hell, where a literal Sun Devil presumably awaits them. If we switched that term out with a different one, I promise you that you’d get tired of it within a year because Joe Lunardi and other puds would keep beating it into the ground. We could call them Buttersnatch Teams and the phrase would still become a wilted bit of sports media vernacular. People like me can ruin anything. You know that by now.

More to the point, FUCK bubble teams. Bubble teams are annoying. If you’re the borderline 57th-best team in college basketball, you have no right to bitch about whether or not you belong in the big boy tournament. No one gives a shit. Bubble teams either bow out quickly, or they bust your bracket because you (again, by “you,” I mean “me”) never pick the right bubble team to make a run. If it were up to me, the tourney would have SIX teams and that’s it. Tough shit if you don’t like it, GEORGETOWN. You should try shooting better than 44.5 percent from the field if you don’t wanna end your season playing in the Avis Rental Car “We Try Harder” Fairbanks Classic. Bubble teams are annoying. The fact that they get their own vestigial showcase on Tuesday night before the real tourney begins only makes it worse.


All I want from the NCAA tourney are ELITE teams grouped together with farmland nobody schools. That’s how the magic happens. No one is excited when the eighth best team in, like, the Big East becomes a Cinderella story. That’s a waste of everyone’s time. And DOUBLE fuck perennial powers that get relegated to the bubble in a down year and still end up making noise. I remember when UNC made the Final Four as an 8-seed once. No one was overjoyed. There’s a cottage industry of bracketology that lasts the entire season and is devoted to speculating about the chances of, like, Indiana to make the field. Wake me up when the real bracket is ready. Any team not in it can go shoot dice for all I care.


Are Chicken Pot Pies bullshit? I’m talking about the Marie Callender ones you get at the grocery store. They take an hour to heat up in the oven and almost ten minutes in the microwave. They’re supposed to sit for 5 minutes before you eat them but they always still burn my tongue after 10 minutes. That’s why I submit Chicken Pot Pies are bullshit.


They’re not bullshit. I’m not Megan Greenwell. Chicken pot pies are safe from my scorn. If you don’t like the frozen kind because they set your epiglottis on fire, you gotta stop eating those. You gotta either order a pot pie at a restaurant (I know that’s unlikely, nouveau diners love to serve it as re-imagined comfort food, à la meatloaf, when it still sounds like the boringest item on the menu), or you gotta take the time out to make one yourself. Follow the recipe here if you dare.

I wasn’t all that into pot pies when I was a kid, but that was because, like you, I usually encountered the freezer aisle variety: the kind of meat pie that tastes like something Australians eat with ketchup for a snack. Frozen foods are easy and cheap, but it’s hard to find any that are as good as the real deal. The Trader Joe’s frozen crap comes in handy if you’ve got nothing else for dinner, but it’s still you compromising quality for the sake of ease. A homemade chicken pot pie is basically a nice stew with a bonus sheet of lard draped across the top. I put hot sauce on mine because I’m weird. Anyway, try it outside the freezer aisle and then you can be like me and get all snotty about REAL cooking. Oh, I never eat anything mass produced, except for family size bags of Nacho Cheese Doritos. Those I simply cannot replicate from scratch.


By the way, whenever I make pot pie at home, I HAVE to do the Cartman voice. It’s a reflex at this point. NO KITTAY THIS IS MAH PAHD PYYYYYE!!!! We don’t even own a cat, and yet.


I’ve always eaten breakfast sausage links with a fork, but my wife says they’re related to bacon and should be treated as finger food. Is she crazy? Or am I?


Awww, bacon and sausages are family now! I usually eat breakfast sausages with a fork, because it’s practical and because I’d look weird just chowing down on a bunch of them bare-handed. BUT… sometimes I grab one and pop it in my mouth, just to be a rebel. Like if I’m at a hotel breakfast buffet and they’ve got a tray of sausages out, I’ll take a few with the tongs and then snack on one with my fingers as I peruse the rest of the spread. I’ve eaten whole frankfurters this way, too! This is disgusting and impolite when other people do it, but totally adorable when I do. Definitely.

Sometimes it’s fun to be disgusting. When I eat with my hands, I feel like a dirty caveman, which is all I’ve ever wanted out of life. That’s especially true of foods that SHOULD be eaten with a knife and fork, like greasy-ass Jimmy Deans. I enjoy throwing decorum out the window and going on a meat spree with no utensils of any kind. It’s freeing, in a way. Ain’t no book-readin’ fancypants gonna tell me how to eat MY pig assholes! So anyway, you’re right. Breakfast sausages are not a finger food by nature. But who says you gotta live by society’s rules?


Now I really want some sausages. In a pot pie. I won’t even use my hands. I’ll just slam my face into that pie, like I’m at a pie-eating contest.


Can we chill with all the NFL topics in the Deadcast and Funbag? It’s fucking March, dude.


You’re right. It’s too much and I’m sorry. The NFL should calm the fuck down until the draft, and then calm the fuck down for another few months after that. Let’s see what else we can talk about…


By the end of this year, Chase Daniel will have made $28.3 million in the NFL. He is guaranteed $3 million next year, with $3 million more due if he stays on the Bears roster. As a minimum he will make $31.3 million for his career, while throwing 1 TD and only 51 completions. That’s $614k per completion. He will make about $400k per pass attempt! I know some QBs have probably made some money and never completed a pass, but nowhere near $31 million, right? Is Chase Daniel the most overpaid in NFL history?


You ever met Albert Haynesworth? My answer to you is no, Chase Daniel is NOT the most overpaid player in NFL history. Remember Matt Flynn earning nearly $20 million in his career based on just one dead cat bounce start in Green Bay? Flynn played the market much better than he ever played football, and he’s hardly alone in that.

Take a look at the all-time earning leaders over at Spotrac, with the Manning brothers topping the list at nearly half a billion combined. Holy shit. Dave Gettleman says Eli is still underpaid. Sitting at No. 17 on that list is Sam Bradford, the eternal poster boy for overpaid NFL talent. Remember: Bradford got drafted first overall back when there was no rookie cap, so he got $50 million guaranteed before he even took a snap. And somehow, he got even less productive after that. Bradford’s rookie deal was so bad that they INVENTED the rookie cap to prevent it from ever happening again.


I know Sam Bradford played a lot more games than Chase Daniel, but the man “earned” over $130 million in his career almost solely on his draft slot reputation. Chase Daniel had an easier time making his money, but he’s a career backup. He’s not SUPPOSED to play. By rarely taking the field (he’s thrown just four TD passes in 10 seasons!), he’s kinda doing his job. And that’s as far as I go defending Chase Daniel before becoming an honorary member of the Andy Reid coaching tree.

Further down on the earnings list is Mark Sanchez, who made nearly $75 million in his career. Nnamdi Asomugha made nearly as much. And just wait until Kirk Cousins becomes the all-time earnings leader one day! It’ll be the only significant title he ever wins. You can find a lot of overpaid players scattered throughout NFL history. Given how much I’ve lost in DFS pools, I deserve a cut of all that.



If an NBA star tried to increase their point total by one per game, starting with one point scored in game one, how many games in a row could they keep this up? Assume the players sole purpose is trying to do this and not to help his team win. My guess would be about 40, eventually they would miss a free throw they need to beat the previous total by exactly one.


I don’t think they could make it five games, perhaps not even one. Can you imagine James Harden summoning the willpower to score just ONE point in a game? Not a chance. He’d lose patience and start jacking up threes from midcourt after about five minutes of dormancy. I know that Harden loves to dribble around for hours without actually doing anything, but he DOES tend to shoot the ball, if only because the shot clock forces him to. I don’t think he, or any other superstar, would be able to help himself.

All of these players have egos. They have to have egos in order to thrive in such an insanely competitive setting. They can’t just shut that sociopathy off. It goes against what made them successful to begin with. Also, shaving points to the exact number is too much to ask. You’d have to be mindful of your point total all game long and deliberately make/miss shots accordingly. As good as NBA players are, they can’t always make the ball do what they want it to do. At some point in the scandal, the player you paid off would run out of time to hit the number dead on, or he would accidentally (or deliberately) top it with no way to bring it back down. He wouldn’t last 40 games. The scandal would be over in less than a week.


I thereby propose to James Harden that he attempt this. I’ll give him ONE dollar for every game he successfully increases his point total by one. Tell me that’s not worth it, sir.



What would happen if the selection committee just plum forgot to add a team like Gonzaga. Would they have to quickly call a re-do and insert the Zags in? Or would the yokels in Spokane scream their heads off to no avail as the tourney continues on as the NCAA spouts bullshit about the sanctity of the tourney?


The latter. First of all, it’s Gonzaga. Gonzaga stopped being cute roughly 20 tournaments ago. Whatever gripes people have about the field of 68 go away right around noon on Thursday. After that, the field is the field and no one gives a shit because it’s time to drink. Gonzaga would get left on the curb. The NCAA is like the NFL is in that it rakes in billions in rights fees from networks but can still boss those networks around. So even though Jay Bilas is refreshingly vocal about how amateurism a big fucking sham, CBS and ESPN and the like can’t really make the NCAA do anything about it. They can quibble with the field during the selection show but they can’t bitch their way into Gonzaga getting a re-do. And fans like me are of no help because I’m not gonna, like, boycott the tourney because of it. What am I gonna do if I don’t watch the tourney? Read? I don’t think so.

Now if DUKE got left out, that would be another matter. If the committee “forgot” to put Duke in the field, Coach K would fill up his diaper and stomp his foot and make frowny faces and demand Nike send a convoy to Indianapolis to reengineer the field on his behalf. The NCAA would bend over for Duke. Frankly, I’m surprised they don’t gift Coach K and Jim Boeheim a bye through the first two rounds every year just because they love them so much.



How many people have ejaculated onto the Bean in Chicago?

Aw man, I’ve touched that Bean. God dammit. Anyway, I assume a drunk hobo and/or Shane Dawson jacks off onto it every night. “Oh wow, I can see my dick’s reflection! Cool!” We’re talking hundreds of potential incidents. There are Motel 6 bedspreads that are cleaner than that sculpture. If you ever visit Chicago, please do not cum on the Bean. Cum on the Hancock Tower instead. That’s more polite.


I’m biased because I lived in Chicago as a kid and I love the city dearly, but I do love that Bean. It’s awesome. Every city should have a fucking giant bean mirror, and that giant bean mirror should be sterilized and free of stray hobo ejaculate.


When did the sports score scroll get so damn detailed? I just want to see the scores. Winners and losers. Do I really need to see every single stat line? Do I really need to know if the 4th string tight end had 1 reception for 2 yards? If they are doing this for fantasy sports, doesn’t everyone have an app that auto updates and blasts notifications at them real-time?


I’m on the record as saying that networks should go ahead and ditch the ticker entirely. You will be stunned to learn that they have NOT taken my advice. Anyway, if they wanna keep the thing, that’s fine. My eyes will inevitably wander down to it if it sticks around. But you’re right in that they’ve littered the crawl with a lot of bullshit. They’ll leave out vital scoring news but still tell you that Barney Fufkin has 22 yards receiving with no TDs. They clearly use an algorithm to determine what goes in the crawl and what doesn’t, and the result is often a mess. I can’t believe a superfluous graphic ticker can’t give me the WHOLE story of a game. That’s modern technology for you, kids!

Anyway, they should just run breaking score alerts and fantasy leaders if they’re gonna run anything. I’m sick of watching the ticker go by and being meticulously informed that my asshole fantasy team did nothing.



Why is it that a Blizzard from Dairy Queen is inedible with any utensil other than that red plastic spoon they give you? Are there any other food products besides ridiculous shit like caviar that have such a weirdly specific utensil requirement?


You can eat a Blizzard with a regular sundae spoon if you have one on you, as you almost certainly do. It’s not that high-maintenance of a foodstuff. You can’t always suck it through a straw, but you can use any long spoon to dredge the bottom of the cup for cookie and candy bits. That’s what I live for. Fuck man, now I really want a Blizzard: a breakfast sausage Blizzard.

Sundae spoons look awkward and pointless. They are the Shawn Bradley of utensils. And yet, they exist for a reason. There really is no better way to rummage through a Royal Oreo Blizzard than with one of those bad boys. It holds up much better than the straw-spoon hybrid that they give you at other joints. All that little open flap at the end of the straw-spoon does is slice the front of your tongue off. I don’t appreciate it.



This morning I accidentally peed a little on my belt. I just wiped it off with toilet paper and figured it was fine, as urine used to be used for tanning leather I think. I don’t do this often, but it certainly wasn’t the first time it’s happened. Is this a common thing that nobody talks about, or am I a disgusting man?


I’m not sure if it’s common. I don’t piss on my belt as a matter of routine, but I’m sure it’s happened. I bet my belt buckle has touched more bathroom floors than I care to envision. It’s encrusted in filth and I’m too lazy and too MANLY to hose it down like a defiled Bean sculpture. I can’t be bothered. Same with shoelaces, keys, loose change, and drawstrings. Those will all remain stained with dirt and piss forever more.

Speaking of drawstrings, I habitually lose drawstrings inside my waistband. It’s horrible. Also, some of my sweats have the drawstring ends pre-looped inside the waistband, others do not. I always forget which pair has which. What I’m saying is that maybe I should wear grownup pants for once in my life.



Does Trump read his Twitter replies?

I actually think he does. The average sane celebrity doesn’t, but Trump is far from being an average sane person. He’s retweeted enough random memes from piddly shit accounts that I really do think he spends every weekend scrolling through his mentions and nodding along when people agree with him, and then calling up Carl Icahn when he gets hate tweets sent his way. “Who are these Krassensteins? These guys are nobodies. How much you think they’re worth? Five bucks? MAYBE five bucks, okay okay.” Like so many other people, Trump has internet poisoning. He can’t help but look, even when he shouldn’t. Plus, every mention is ABOUT him, good or bad. It’s his dream world in there.



I ended up having a half-day long group chat with two friends of mine about chili. I had just found a combo of meet-beans-peppers that really worked for me (turkey, red/green jalapeno/poblano, great northern/light red kidney), and I found out that my friends had WILDLY different chili recipes. Different onions, different beans, different veggies; and they sounded great. The conclusion we came to is that chili is to cooking as jazz is to music. You can incorporate so much from the food world; there are general rules, but no real stylistic rules. You’re like Thelonious Monk with a single pot. Is chili the most expressive food to cook?


Please don’t basketblog my chili. I don’t want jazz in my head when I make it. I don’t even LIKE jazz, man.

Anyway, I dunno if chili is the most expressive food in the world to make, but it does allow guys like you and me to PRETEND it is. It’s a recipe that allows for a lot of tinkering and personalization, which means that your chili feels like YOURS, which means you can end up getting overly proud of it, as I do for no good reason. You can experiment with chili. You can obsessively stir it over the course of a full afternoon. You can add your own proprietary blend of spices. You can enter it into a cookoff against other overly proud guys who think THEY make the best chili in the universe. Chili freaks are like beer snobs in that they can take a simple thing and project all of their egotism and competitiveness onto it. If it’s like jazz in that sense, well then maybe that’s why I don’t like jazz.


And that’s why I will only listen to Ratt while making chili. Do I stir it round and round to the tune of “Round and Round”? Reader, I very much do. Chili is METAL to me.


What position in sports do you think incurs the most blows to the balls, as a matter of course? My first reaction was catchers, but I could see it being something in rugby, at the bottom of scrums or whatever too. Guarding Draymond doesn’t count as an actual position.


I’m gonna discount goaltending here because that seems like the most obvious way of getting your nuts destroyed during a sporting contest. You’re talking about blows delivered from another human and not a projectile object, yeah? I do believe MMA is your answer across all sports. After all, nut shots used to be legal in that sport. OB-ZURR-UV!

Fantastic. They may have legislated groin pummeling out of UFC, but that’ll never stop an enterprising fighter from savaging your ballbag when he feels cornered. UFC loons are absolutely the kind of people to indulge in gratuitous bagtagging. Makes them feel more gladiatorial.


If you want to limit the question to team sports only, it’s probably some lacrosse position. Or soccer! Take it from someone who’s taken a screamer directly to the gonads: if you’ve ever played soccer, you’ve suffered a groin shot. That’s what happens in a sport that encourages mass kicking. It’s tailored to crushing your poor testicles. My son plays soccer and every practice, some poor kid goes down in a heap from getting one in the twig and berries. Poor guys. To think that they only mandate SHIN guards.


What is your opinion on ankle socks? These are gross; it makes you look like you are not wearing socks with your shoes, and wearing shoes without socks is the grossest thing a man can do. Yet everyone at the gym is wearing ankle socks or extremely low cut socks. Idiots. I wear Happy Socks, and they look awesome. I cannot tell you how many girls have said “nice socks!” to my blue with white polka dot socks.


Do you… do you work for Happy Socks? I wear ankle socks. They’re fine. I spent my childhood wearing tube socks, and my pasty legs did NOT appreciate it. They’re way too fucking hot. Whether I scrunched them down like leg warmers or I yanked them all the way up like a pair of tights, I got overheated within 12 seconds. Ankle socks are a nice compromise because they help prevent odor, but they don’t make it look like your feet are wearing turtlenecks. It’s no crime to show off more ankle skin, baby. The ladies go WILD over that.

Honestly, if I could get away with no wearing socks, I’d probably do that. My feet would appreciate the freedom, and I promise you that wearing shoes without socks is NOT the grossest thing a man can do. They can do so much grosser.


Email of the week!


Last year I ran into a towel hook (1 cm x 1 cm square shaped at the end roughly) in my bathroom in the middle of the night. My specialist surgeon described the damage by saying “Imagine a basketball being crushed by a pneumatic press, it blows out on both sides.” This was not enjoyable to hear hours after emergency surgery, but two additional surgeries later at least the eye is physically there still. I have a distinct lack of depth perception though.


Welp, never using a towel again.