Could A Dog Win The Hot Dog Eating Contest?

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Illustration: Chelsea Beck (G/O Media)

Today, we’re talking about subtitles, dad shoes, sexy words, pot luck, stray penis hairs, and more.

Your letters:


Would Joey Chestnut still win the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest if they allowed dogs to enter? Not that they ever could of course, citing cruelty to animals, but my money would be on any good-sized dog to win the title.


Dogs would have to abide by the No Barfing Rule at that contest though, and I don’t think your average dog gives a shit about booting during a hot dog binge. Also, hot dogs are a big choking hazard for dogs, just as they are for human children. Turns out that shaping extruded meats to be an exact match for a mammal’s windpipe could present issues! WHO KNEW.

Anyway, Joey Chestnut won the title last week by eating 71 hot dogs in 10 minutes. I did not watch him do this, because I think that shit is gross to watch, even when the broadcast team says nice shit about me. I’m not like Peter King where I find the whole thing morally repugnant (won’t someone think of the kids?!), but I don’t wanna spend my lunchtime watching a bunch of people literally cramming wet hot dogs into their faceholes as they desperately hold back all the ensuing pre-barf. I’d rather just relax and drink some iced tea.


I think a dog could take out Joey. Certain dog breeds have no governor on their appetites and will eat themselves to death. My dog is small but has that particular gene. One time my kid dropped a whole garlic knot on the floor. It was gone in a flash. Get a dog that has that same condition and is five times ol’ Carter’s size, and it’ll eat 72 hot dogs, and then it’ll eat Joey as a palate cleanser. I’m probably wrong about all this but I don’t want to be. Stupid dog would choke or barf and ruin my take.

By the way, Chestnut had some spicy words for Peter King after King tweeted his displeasure with the contest:

“I’m an athlete. I think Peter King, he’s kind of narrow minded… It’s easy to criticize something. He could easily criticize NASCAR for greenhouse gas emissions. It’s just kind of absurd. The amount of food we’re eating is very, very small. Actually most of the contests involve donations to food banks. He’s just kind of narrow-minded.”

That’s exactly how I would expect Joey Chestnut to react. What about cars? Cars kill people. Should we ban THEM, huh?! The world is too damn PC… I GIVE TO CHARITY AND HAVE MANY FRIENDS.


Can we get dad shoe ranking? I’d probably rank the classic white New Balances at the top, Merrells or any hiking boot worn in a non-hiking setting in second, and chunky loafers in third. Am I missing any?


I have New Balances (as seen on my gorgeous feet here) because they were on sale online for $30, but I did NOT buy a white pair because I know instinctively that I am not a clean enough person to wear white apparel and footwear responsibly. If I have gleaming white sneakers, I will immediately step in some city soup at a bus stop. It’s hard law. White shoes are not safe from me.

In a quintessential dad move, I bought my New Balances to replace my Merrells, because even though Merrells cost $100 and look like they’re built for free soloing El Capitan, they wear out fairly easily. My height and weight aside, it’s not like I’m the sort of person who would put massive strain on a pair of shoes. I don’t go chasing after bank robbers in these things. I buy shoes strictly for back and arch support. Look at the pitiable brands it has led me to. So anyway, New Balances compete for the title, especially ever since David Brooks went and ruined them further. I also wear Oofos sandals in the summer, which are like a slide version of those old Skechers sneakers with the rounded soles where it looks like you’re walking on half a wheel of cheese. WORKS YOUR CALVES! No one wears these Oofos slides because they’re fetching. I know I don’t. All my shoes are unofficial prescription shoes.


That’s all in the realm of casual footwear, though. There are so many other varieties of dad shoe out there, all of which are designed to make you appear like you’re strutting around in ski boots at all times. Like you said, there are loafers out there for dads who still think it’s sharp to dress like an eighth grader in a choir recital. Bonus points if you’re not wearing socks. Perfumes the whole house with dad foot musk. There are also docksiders, which are the same as loafers in that dads wear them anytime they want to drink an IPA at a country club. Then you got your dress shoes from Rockport, or Florsheim Comfortech, or any other brand that sells shoes that LOOK nice but really make you look like you’re in a Men’s Wearhouse ad. Those are very dad shoes. When you go to a job you hate every day and want to do the absolute spiritual and physical minimum while there, those are the dress shoes for you.

But none of the above options represent the MOST dad shoe. That crown, of course, belongs to Tevas. Don’t listen to our Giri Nathan, who preaches the gospel of Tevas and presumably spends every off day listening to the Spin Doctors and playing hacky sack. Tevas are the worst. You could be a 15-year-old girl wearing Tevas and you’d still look like a fucking dad. And a narc. A narc dad. Pair them with a rasta hat to complete the effect. Even I won’t wear Tevas for fear of looking too middle-aged, so what does that tell you?


(you tell me that makes them cool)

SHUT UP. Here are the rankings.

  1. Tevas
  2. New Balances
  3. Margaritaville brand footwear (which really exists)
  4. Crocs
  5. Dr. Scholl’s
  6. LL Bean
  7. Merrells
  8. Sperry
  9. Florsheim
  10. Skechers
  11. Rockport
  12. Birks
  13. Asics (I’m wearing them right now)
  14. Like, British Knights

That’s it. That’s my list. If you can find it on a shelf at DSW, it’s a dad shoe. You may believe Crocs deserve to top this list, and I can’t fight you on that. But did you know that Crocs are making a comeback? It’s very true and very scary. I’ve got a seventh grader and she said that the in look at school was wearing Crocs with white socks pulled all the way up. I asked her in earnest if this was a Nazi thing. She said no, but I remain skeptical.


Anyway, if you think the youth of America might save us from the transgressions of our elders, that little Crocs fad will do severe damage to your faith, much more so than any “Millennials Don’t Like Not Being Vaccinated And That’s So WEIRD” trendpiece you see at the Wall Street Journal.


What is the sexiest sounding word in the English language to say out loud? I say it’s effervescent. God, I feel so classy and educated when I say it. “Hey babe, could you grab me an Alka Seltzer effervescent please? That full rack of ribs from Famous Dave’s is really tearing me up right now.”


Are you sure it’s not passport? Highly EROTIC word. I made that reference while wearing Tevas.

I assume you’re not counting words that connote sex outright: sex, crotch, fuck, suck, fucking, humping, balls, dildo, tits, fingering, titfingering, MOM, etc. You’re hunting around for more general words that have a sexy FEEL to them. Words that are smooth, which was itself once a sexy word before Rob Thomas came along. I still want to include “Sex” here, because it’s a terrific word and because I still hold it in mythical esteem, like the eighth grader I am. I used to see the word “sex” in public when I was a kid and be hypnotized by it. George Michael came out with “I Want Your Sex” and I was like oh wow, he’s just saying it outrightgoddamn. I walked through our local video store and would catch a glimpse at softcore movies like Sex Games sitting right out on the New Arrivals shelf and I was, again, entranced. I could’ve stared at that VHS box all day. Whoever named sex sex? Gold star for them.


As for more secular portions of the English vocabulary, I’m like you in that I find certain words deeply satisfying to read or to speak. I might also be triggered, in a good way, by certain words that hearken back to the more sexually charged moments of my existence, and yes I’ve lived through some of those! Not a lie. So anyway, here are some words that I find pleasurable, for one random reason or another…

  • sweat
  • heavenly
  • chimichurri
  • silken
  • glazed
  • crosshatch
  • leisurely
  • legs
  • verdant
  • arglebargle
  • swollen
  • rude
  • mincemeat
  • cannon
  • gatefold
  • bildungsroman
  • vivacious
  • slipstream
  • pushpin
  • gingerly
  • Zima
  • sussudio

I need an ASMR clip of those words being read only slightly aloud. Your assignment now is to write a Penthouse forum letter using those word but NO sex words. Can you do it? I sure can’t.



Ok, so the US team just won the Women’s World Cup, I recall a question about how well the best college football team (Alabama) would do against the worst NFL team (Cleveland) and the answer was that the NFL would still win. So what about the USA woman’s soccer team? How would they do against a good (men’s) MLS team? A decent men’s national team?


They would lose to a professional men’s team or an international one. I’m not fucking up this question the way I probably blew the hot dog contest question, or the way I blew the “Could Serena beat a male pro?” question from a few years ago. I said Serena could beat a male pro, and even Serena says otherwise. So no, I don’t think the USWNT could beat Atlanta United, or some lesser MLS team.

But that doesn’t fucking matter now, does it? They would also lose to a team comprised exclusively of Godzillas, but that’s not the sport they play and that’s not what I paid to see. They beat the piss out of the WWC field and that’s all I give a crap about. I found Sunday’s victory EFFERVESCENT. They sent those Dutch ladies back home to their wooden clogs and their shitty weed brownies and their DVD copies of Goldmember. SUCK IT, HOLLAND. Soccer is ours now, unless our men are playing it in which case we eat hog.



Which commissioner do you think most actively dislikes the sport he’s in charge of? Other than maybe Adam Silver, it seems like you could make a pretty good case for any of them.


I don’t agree with that. Have you met Roger Goodell? Roger Goodell adores football. Roger Goodell believes football CURES brain injuries rather than causes them. One of my chief complaints about the Ginger Hammer is that he likes football more than he ought to. He loves football so much that his view of the sport is completely distorted and impervious to factual claims against it. Our own Chris Thompson, who pretty much despises football, would make a WAY better commish than ol’ Rog. He would actually apply a critical eye onto the league over which he presides. Crazy to think that might help improve things.

That leaves us with Rob Manfred (“My name is Fred, and I’m a man same as you!”) and Gary Bettman. Gary Bettman is just a sniveling lawyer who started out in the NBA before moving over to hockey. There’s no evidence he likes hockey. He may not even know what hockey IS. I wish this made him a sober, objective commissioner, but it has not. Bettman is like Goodell in that his only motivation is to please all of his rich dickhead bosses, which means watering down the sport by littering Sun Belt cities with it, cancelling entire seasons, shaking loose change from employees, and letting any white shoe conman buy into the league by racking up massive debts that he will inevitably pass onto other people who cannot shoulder it. If you like hockey, you would not do this to the NHL. So many sports have to routinely validate themselves while operating under shoddy leadership, and sadly hockey is now one of them. It’s just Bettman’s luck that, in consecutive years, two long-established franchises finally won their first titles. The Caps and Blues did Bettman a favor that he doesn’t come close to deserving.


And yet, he’s no Manfred. I’m not a baseball purist but even I think Rob Manfred expends way too much energy trying to fuck around with a sport that made over $10 billion last year alone. Manfred is like, “We need STARS! And we need an infield TRIANGLE instead of a diamond! Oh, and instead of extra innings… penalty kicks!” I could kiss that man for cracking down on mound meetings and shaving seconds off of endless commercial breaks. But Manfred’s stewardship of baseball, thus far, has consisted mostly of him floating out a bunch of gimmicks and resorting to possible equipment subterfuge to make baseball something other than what it is. There’s an IDEA of modern baseball that he’s after that he likes more than the real thing, and it shows.

[watches one NFL game]

Okay, here are 57 different new rules I would propose to the Tweaking Bylaw And Replay Fussing Sub Committee to make all this better…




The Blues & Raptors won. Are sports better off when new teams get through & win titles, or is it better when the Yankees, Cowboys & Lakers win?


It’s better when new teams win. You have been conditioned by the Cowherds of the world to believe that Americans secretly crave dynasties and that major market teams are what MOVES THIS BUSINESS. That’s all horseshit. There’s a reason I constantly go through a fickle fan cycle of cheering for the underdog and then immediately turning AGAINST that underdog when they become a perennial favorite. It’s much better when new teams win shit and create a history of their own. And it’s better when every team in every league can lay claim to a certain swath of their respective sport’s history. Unless it’s international competition, in which case I want the US to beat everyone senseless every minute.

I like witnessing greatness like anyone else, but that doesn’t mean it always has to be wearing the same uniform or playing in fucking Boston every time. I like a little variety, and I like it when new teams get a ring and therefore leave a league with one less anodyne team to assist in filling out the schedule. The Raptors finally won a title. The Raptors, even sans Kawhi, are INTERESTING now. Their team history finally has a backbone. Everything you do as a franchise in the past helps establish the storyline of its future, so now we get to endlessly speculate about how the Raptors will survive without Kawhi, and if Masai Ujiri will somehow mastermind them back to the promised land regardless, and about a zillion other things that will grow tiresome by November and have me pining for, like, the Timberwolves to win stuff instead.


Still beats watching the Lakers win some shit. You’ve seen their fans, right?


Which states have the biggest disparity between how beautiful the state’s geography is and how terrible the people are? Example: I’m in Nebraska. The people are fine and the scenery (away from the interstate) is pretty good. Utah is gorgeous, but the Mormons and granola types seem insufferable. Florida has beaches and the Evergreens, but also has Florida Man and retirees, and voter suppression. So that’s the criteria. What’s the biggest disparity?


I can’t possibly imagine Nebraska as the paradise you claim it to be. I went to South Sioux City, Nebraska once and it was pretty much exactly what I expected. The most exciting thing I saw there was a bridge. It’s no Utah. Utah is a fucking geological wonder that was overrun by Mormon couples intent on churning out 19 babies, each one named Baylee. These are not TERRIBLE people to encounter. They just politely want to water down your beer and eradicate you from the face of the Earth. But at least they’re not as nasty as, like, Pennsylvanians.

I am of the mind that the nicer a state is physically, the more dickish its residents tend to be, in order to hog all that scenery for themselves. Floridians will gladly take your tourist money, but then they would like you to DIE. I’ve seen how those people vote. I’ve said this before, but the rest of the American Southeast is impossibly gorgeous, and also home to millions of insane dickheads. They don’t like you comin’ onto THEY POPPITY. They want it all to themselves. You wouldn’t love the Mississippi Delta sunset the way they do when they’re shooting at empty cans after drinking a case of Bud Light.


I’m sorry. I have digressed. Nasty habit. My answer to your question is Alaska. It’s the last frontier, and we stocked it almost exclusively with snowbillies and butt rock enthusiasts who will rent out helicopters to shoot at polar bears for sport.


I’m in my 30s, and I still get invited to at least five to seven potlucks a year for various adult life milestones and other joyous occasions. There are always a few of us in the group who privately message each other, “When will this stop? Do we have to go?” Yes, the company is great and obviously well-meaning, but there’s only so many “innovative” room-temperature casseroles I can turn down before I feel like a real asshole. Can’t we just order pizza instead?


You can but it won’t free you of the potluck cycle. I have kids and my whole life now is shuttling from one potluck event to the next: soccer team parties, swim meet psych nights, neighborhood hoedowns, family gatherings, and on and on and on. It never ends. I’m at the point where Pizza Night is as special to me as it is to the kids because it means I don’t have to wash any goddamn Tupperware. That counts as a joyous occasion in my universe.

I wish there was an endpoint to this: twilight years filled with tasteful Ina Garten country banquets and clambakes featuring whole lobsters and cases of natural wine … but that’s all an illusion. Money is tight and group ordering is a pain in the ass. That means it’s a never-ending pasta salad spread for you.


By the way, my wife is a preschool teacher and every year her place hosts a back-to-school picnic where parents each bring a dish for everyone else to enjoy. I look forward to this picnic because at least one family ALWAYS brings Popeye’s. It’s a lock. When I see that shit on the calendar, I get horny for Popeye’s immediately. So while you may be trapped in potluck hell for time eternal, just know that bringing Popeye’s can salvage anything. And weed, too. Weed and Popeye’s and you’ll be a-ok.


What is the rivalry game you want nuked the most? I think I’m going to go with a Notre Dame vs. anybody.


I understand your choice because fuck Notre Dame, and also because Notre Dame juggles 14 different ongoing rivalries that all cannibalize each other. Their main rival is USC but I haven’t given a shit about that rivalry since the notorious Bush Push. Notre Dame’s rivalry games are only of interest to me when they are on the losing end of them. Otherwise, that program is too incompetent and too full of itself to maintain an annual rivalry that’s anywhere as compelling as OSU-Michigan or the Arn Bowl. For a rivalry to work, both sides need to its history as much as they revere their own, and that will NEVER happen for ND. ND is too busy kissing its own ring to do rivalries properly.

Anyway, I’ve said this before, but I want Sox-Yankees banished from existence because they’ve already played each other 58,000,000 times and both fanbases still never shut the fuck up about it. Watching those two play is like watching two neighbors tussle over dogshit that hasn’t been curbed. The only people NOT over that rivalry are its participants. Ditto Celtics-Lakers. I’d rather be stuck on a desert island with Kevin Durant’s Instagram feed than live through another episode of those franchises all freely grudge-fucking one another.


Also, newly manufactured college rivalries need to be expurgated from society. Spencer Hall is the authority on this, but I don’t need Maryland and Iowa battling it out for the Golden Huckleberry trophy or whatever the fuck. If you want to mint a new rivalry, you have to do it the old fashioned way: by playing tightly contested championship games and sending cryptic, passive aggressive messages to the opponent via your choice of stadium tunnel arrival wardrobe. ZOMG HE’S WEARING AN ORANGE TANK TOP THAT IS SOME HEAVY SHAAAADE…


Do other males have to contend with hairs growing out of the side of the penis, or am I in my own private hell on this one?


Nah nah you’re not alone. Well, I mean, you’re not alone in the sense that I also see a couple tree branches sticking out of there from time to time… God, but what if WE are alone? What if you and I are the only ones with this follicular pubic deviation? Scary thought. I’m gonna go shave my dick now to ease my mind.


Am I the only one who’s sick of watching shows wherein the producers decide that people who speak excellent English but have some sort of accent that lightly inflects their voice need FUCKING SUBTITLES to make them understood by viewers who apparently have a MAGA gene that triggers confusion when they hear a voice speaking English that doesn’t sound enough like John Wayne’s? What the fuck is this?


I know people who turn on subtitles so that they never miss ANY word said on screen. I do not do this—even though I am now officially hearing impaired—because I feel like subtitles distract from the images on screen, and because I’m a proud dickhead who doesn’t want help attempting to parse the dialogue on Peaky Blinders. I’m like no no no I’m a WASP, I can understand my own kind thank you very much… what did he just say again?

I understand why producers add these subtitles, especially given the vagaries of home sound systems and Hollywood mixing practices that drown the shit out of dialogue at every opportunity (as always, Christopher Nolan is the worst offender when it comes to the latter). HOWEVER, I do think it’s lazy if you’re a viewer and you need everything spelled out for you, literally, on the bottom of screen. No, you may not understand certain shit, but maybe if you try to listen, you’ll get better at it. You might even have a better chance of relating to a character that way, instead of being like DURRRRR I CAN’T UNDERSTAND WHAT THIS FRENCH FAIRY IS SAYIN’ DURRRRR. It’s okay to make some effort, unless you’re watching Dark Knight Rises. Then, assistance is required.


I do like it when movies like Trainspotting offer subtitles cheekily, when it’s like listen man, you’ve come this far but we’re not gonna ask you to understand Spud in THIS scene.

Email of the week!


Friend of a friend knew Boris Yeltsin’s grandson when he briefly attended Brown here in the US. Fitting the national and familiar stereotypes, dude liked to drink. He liked a specific drink, of his own creation: He would take a two-liter bottle of Coke or Pepsi (though I think Coke was his favorite, because why not?... is American dream) and pour half of it out. He would fill the other half with equal parts Stoli 100 and malt liquor, put it in the fridge to chill, and then enjoy. He called it, as you can probably guess by now, the Diesel. I want to say he lasted a year-plus in Providence before they sent him back to Poccnr.

This was also right around the time his grandfather lost his grip on power and himself and passed over control of the country to some faceless, nameless spy guy that everyone was sure they could control. It all worked out!


Indeed it did. That does NOT sound like a good drink. It sounds like the correct drink for a Yeltsin. But not a good one.