Shelled Vs. Unshelled Peanuts... Who Ya Got?!

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Illustration by Jim Cooke
Illustration by Jim Cooke

Your letters:


My wife and I have a debate about peanuts still in the shell. I insist shell peanuts are superior in every way, seasoning, texture and taste. She thinks they taste the same as any other peanut you can buy and doesn’t understand my affinity towards those messy little nuggets of goodness. I’ve asked many coworkers but am still not satisfied with their answers. I need a definitive call on this. What’s your take?

I think they taste better in the shell, but that may be a delusion. Whenever I eat peanuts in the shell, I’m like, “These taste so FRESH!” even though the only reason they aren’t shelled is because it would cut into BIG NUT’S overhead costs, and even though the bag was probably sitting in a Georgia warehouse for eight years—with some dude named Rusty farting all over the place—before someone finally shipped it to my local ballpark.


Also, the fact that you have to do manual labor before eating your peanut can trick you into overestimating its deliciousness. Think about where you normally eat those peanuts. It’s either at a sporting event, or at a Five Guys waiting for your burger. In both situations, you’re thirsty and hungry as shit. On top of that, you gotta crack open a shell just to get at your appetizer. Half the time, the goddamn nut meat jumps out of shell and lands on the floor before you even have a chance to eat it. Or worse, you accidentally break the peanut in half and the meat is trapped in a nefarious SHELL CUFF that’s even harder to split open. Once you finally get to eat the peanut, you’ve EARNED it. That’s part of the reason they’re so tasty. It’s like waiting in line forever at Pepe’s pizza. By the time you get to eat, you are going to WILL yourself to have it be the best pizza you’ve ever eaten.

The truth is that a big tub of Virginia Peanuts—the blistered fuckers—probably tastes as good, if not better, than the whole peanuts you get from Frankie the Peanut Guy. But ambiance matters. Presentation matters. On a certain level, it doesn’t matter if you’re tricked into believing something tastes better than it does, because it still tastes great to YOU. You’re sitting out in the stand on a hot summer day, drunk as balls, cracking peanuts open because there’s nothing else to do between at-bats. All of that can, and should, factor into your enjoyment of that stupid little peanut. And with ballpark peanuts, you get to litter with near impunity! I’VE NEVER FELT SO FREE! Those shells will biodegrade one day, I think.


The obvious solution here is to just sell shelled Virginia peanuts at the ballparks, so that you have an option. But good luck getting BIG NUT to go along with that. They aren’t dumb.

(NOTE: I just learned that three staffers here EAT the shells. Three! Fucking Burke said, “Why wouldn’t you, that’s where all the flavor is,” like a goddamn serial killer. Are the rest of you doing this? This is insane. I feel like I took a pill and fell down a rabbithole.)


So this past year two notable things happened about a month apart - I turned 30 and I had a baby. I’ve noticed that almost immediately my level of old-man noises - grunting, heavy sighing, yeeeeping, etc. has increased tremendously. Is this a rite of passage for hitting 30 and/or becoming a parent? I let out a low rumbler of a grunt just because this email window took a few second to open. GURGGGGG.


It gets worse every year, especially during winter. For the past month, I have woken up in the morning and treated my family to a symphony of grunts, farts, snorts, snarfs, hacks, coughs, and wheezes. I do that thing where you cough to the point of nearly barfing, just so you can unearth a loogie from deep in the recesses of your throat. Then you hack 50 times to finally get the thing out. I sound like a jet engine failing.

And it only gets worse as you get older because everything starts to break down. The simple act of taking a shit requires all manner of fiber supplements and muscle spasms. Also, I’ve noticed that openly groaning makes me FEEL better whenever I have to fart, or piss, or digest a bowl of chili, or cope with chronic, random pain (which also increases with age). And since older men don’t give a fuck, I go ahead and groan, because I clearly don’t care about anyone else hearing it. My kids will need years of therapy to recover. There are sounds that come out of me that belong in the director’s cut of The Exorcist.




Which is the most famous mustache? Or perhaps, which is the most famous facial hair?


Hitler. Hitler is the runaway choice. He is the Secretariat of recognizable facial hair. His mustache is so famous that they basically had to retire it. Even Michael Jordan—also one of the most famous people to ever live—couldn’t rock a Hitler ‘stache without people saying, “The fuck is Michael Jordan doing wearing Hitler’s mustache in that underwear ad?”

What you’re looking for is a mustache or type of facial hair that, if you see it even in a silhouette, would automatically make you think of its originator. I can only think of a few examples in real life (not fictional characters like Ming the Merciless, etc):

  1. Hitler’s mustache
  2. Lincoln’s beard
  3. Hulk Hogan’s Fu Manchu
  4. Salvador Dali’s thing
  5. Ramses II, who had that beard cone thing going on
  6. Groucho Marx’s mustache, which was painted on and which I’ve always thought of as 10 percent blackface
  7. Ditka’s mustache
  8. Gene Shalit’s mustache, which looks like one of the old porn pubic hair photos I used to gawk at on Mullets Galore
  9. Mr. T’s beard/mustache/sideburns combo, which probably still needs the feather earrings and Mohawk to be recognizable
  10. Tom Selleck’s mustache
  11. Rollie Fingers’s mustache

If you expand it to movies and TV, the list gets longer and would include shit like Wes Bentley carving his beard with a doily stencil.




I have a 5-year-old daughter and a 3-year-old daughter. Over the course of the last 4 years or so, we have purchased at least 100 barrettes to keep the girls’ hair out of their food. For the last couple of weeks, I haven’t been able to find a single one. Where the hell are they, and how did this happen?


They’re in a drawer somewhere. In every house, there is a drawer that contains 5,000 barrettes and ponytail holders. But you will only find that drawer if you’re looking for something OTHER than a barrette. If your kid runs down the stairs screaming because she can’t find a fucking barrette two minutes before school, that drawer is automatically sucked into an invisible fourth dimension and guarded fiercely by the Hair Dragon, which spits flaming hairspray that does +20 damage.

Also, check the floor of your car. You’ll almost certainly stumble upon a barrette that has impaled half an old Quaker granola bar.



How far does “Super Bowl-winning head coach” goodwill go? The Packers have been stuck with shitty-ass Mike McCarthy for 10 years (TEN YEARS) because he won one Super Bowl. Even that Super Bowl was thanks to Rodgers blacking out and playing like Jesus, not amazing coaching. I’m starting to think he could’ve literally shit on Ted Thompson’s face the year after they won, and nobody would’ve blinked an eye. Christ, I cannot wait until he gets fired.


I was dying during the Sunday Night game because Collinsworth was like, “Mike McCarthy was surprised when fans called for his head early this year.” Like, really? You were 4-6 at the time, with no defense, in a town that pretends to be nice but will cover your fucking head in Velveeta and bite it off if you don’t win every game 40-0. Also, any time a Packers running back goes on a hot streak, you move mountains to ensure he NEVER gets the ball. And you’re shocked that people would question your abilities?

And then Collinsworth spoke as proxy for Beav and was like, “I’m a pretty accomplished coach in this league!” Fuck that. You get three years of goodwill after a title, if that. If you start losing regularly, the grace period cuts off. And if you just stumble along instead, making the playoffs and then blowing it because you’re too stupid to go for it on 4th and 1 with Aaron Rodgers as your QB, you shouldn’t act blindsided when people start to openly wonder if you’re the man for the job. Brian Billick won a Super Bowl, man. Brian Billick couldn’t get a job cleaning the floors in Buffalo right now.




We all see presidents age and go gray as they serve. What does Trump’s hair look like 4 or 8 years from now. Does he embrace baldness? Does he never give up on the combover?


It’ll stay the same. There’s already a staggering amount of upkeep that goes into that pompadour, and Trump is considerably more vain than any other President who has ever lived. So the hair will stay the same, but the rest of him will bloat and sag and then wither. You can already see the process taking its toll on him. He’s all fat and wrinkly and sometimes his eyes are dead white. By 2020, it’ll just be that pristine weave sitting on top of a pile of orange gravy.

The other important thing to remember is that Trump is a sociopathic narcissist, so a lot of the things that might keep other Presidents up at night—say, deciding whether or not to go to war—barely show up on his radar. I guarantee you that bombing some village would bother him far, far less than, like, someone tweeting that he has a triple chin. That’s the shit that really takes a toll on him.




I have an issue with never deleting emails after I choose to ignore them. Because of this the email app on my iPhone currently has a red alert bubble that says “21,807". Anyone that uses my phone is appalled, but I think it’s too late to do anything about it now.


Dave Dameshek keeps track of people who have compiled insane inbox numbers over on his Twitter feed. I think it’s too late for you to do anything about it, short of switching phones (which may not do the trick) or switching to a new email provider. If you can find a way to wipe your alerts clean, you should just get into the habit of deleting shit you have no interest in reading. It’s not THAT hard, even if you get a decent amount of emails every day. If you like checking your phone as much as I do, it’s just one more thing you can do in order to shun the outside world. I can’t live with unread mail cluttering up my inbox. It gives me anxiety. I either delete or send it off to a folder where it will remain forevermore.

Also, while it doesn’t get rid of the alert bubbles, I turn off ALL push notifications except for text messages. I don’t want fucking Facebook buzzing me because Darla Cummings posted a photo of a robin outside her window. You don’t need any of those push notifications. It’s all a big con to convince you that you’re more important than you are. “My God, Ben has an email! WE MUST LET HIM KNOW.” Don’t give into the vibrations, man. Keep your shit clean. It’s more of a boss move to get to things when YOU decide to get to them, and not when your phone shocks you like a dog crossing an invisible fence.






When I hear someone say they can’t cook, I immediately write them off as an idiot because what I hear is they can’t follow simple directions. I’m not talking about someone who can’t make a soufflé or complex pastry. I’m talking about someone who would botch Hamburger Helper or burn eggs. Am I wrong to feel this way?


I think you should look down more on people who WON’T cook. I get people who are too busy to cook, or people who live in a utility closet in Manhattan and don’t really have the space or resources to cook. And I get people who are just shitty at it. There’s nothing more discouraging than buying a bunch of ingredients and making a recipe and having it turn out disastrously. I wanna die when that happens. We could’ve just ordered Chinese, man. I get something like that putting you off cooking for a while.

But if you’re just one of those macho dipshits or liberated gals who like to make a point of openly declaring, “I don’t cook,” fuck you. You’re worthless. You’re basically telling everyone that you’re lazy, and that you find the act of cooking beneath you, like you’re fucking Don Draper expecting the world to hand you a Manhattan and a casserole when you come waltzing through the door. It’s one thing if you’re bad at cooking; it’s another if you won’t even try. You deserve to eat nothing but moldy Domino’s crusts for the rest of eternity.



You’re walking down the street, and you get jumped by some guy. He beats you up pretty badly. Nothing terrible, but you’re bruised and bloody and scraped up. You go to the hospital, but nothing’s broken and you don’t stay overnight. The cops find the guy, and his lawyer wants to settle out of court. How much money do you ask for?


What about JUSTICE?! What about sending that THUG to Poundtown for 20 years so that he doesn’t terrorize other innocent, beautiful people like me? I DEMAND VENGEANCE.

For real though, getting justice would mean going to court on a weekday, so fuck that. I would basically cut a finger off to avoid ever having to walk into a courtroom, so I’d probably settle for my hospital tab—a few hundred bucks?—plus some flash money for emotional distress. Call it $500 even and you can walk after beating my ass. If you hurt my back though, I want 10 million. And I want you to get the gas chamber, you son of a bitch.




What happens next year when teams win championships and are invited to the White House? Do you think teams will decline?


I think certain players will decline, which is actually a common occurrence. Remember Tim Thomas, the Tea Party goalie? Or James Harrison? Or Tom Brady, who bailed on meeting Obama back in 2015 for “family reasons” [thinking face emoji]? It happens all the time. I doubt any pro sports team would formally decline to meet with Trump, save for a handful of NBA teams eager for Woke Points. The rest of them are NEVER gonna bail. God forbid they get an angry letter from Waylon in Fucktaw complaining about it.



Is there anything more frustrating in sports than when a coach leaves his offense on the field on 4th down only for the QB to do a hard count and then call a timeout? It’s just a moment of excitement followed by bitter disappointment as I realize the coach doesn’t actually have any balls. I’m also pretty sure it has never worked on any team except for the Raiders.


I hate it. It’s the football equivalent of a pickoff move, and it only works against MY team, or any other similarly annoying franchise that can’t win anything because they’re too busy jumping offside on 4th and 10 at the 40. Otherwise, it’s the worst sort of cocktease: a team keeping the offense out there in order to do something potentially daring, only to end up doing the safest thing possible, wasting a damn timeout in the process. They should just outlaw it. NO TIMEOUTS ALLOWED THERE. If you keep the offense on the field, they stay there. Live with it.


New guy who joined my company this week just took a dump and came out of the stall with his blazer on. Suspect at best, right?


Well wait, are you sure he was wearing it while shitting? Because that’s some risky business, amigo. I’m nervous shitting with a hoodie on. Imagine doing it with a sport coat. The chances for a rogue wipe hitting your coattails are HUGE. And sports coats aren’t cheap. If your man was really willing to tempt fate like that, I’d have grave concerns about his ability to assess risk.

By the way, I think we’ve all had that moment where you go to take a shit in a stall somewhere in parts unknown, and there’s no hook for your jacket. In fact, there’s no place at all for your jacket: no shelf, no sink, not even a doorknob to use (the number of times I have placed a jacket on a door handle only to watch in horror as gravity takes hold and the jacket pulls the handle down and slips off… it’s really harrowing). Where the fuck do you put your jacket then? I’m not even pretending I have a good answer. Do you wear it? Do you put it in your lap? Do you put it on the toilet tank? Sometimes I put the jacket right on the shitter floor and it’s just the worst. I want to apologize to the thing.




My buddies and I were completely engrossed in Westworld and we always end up arguing over the exact same question: if you copulate with one of the host robots are you masturbating or having sex? One half of the room argues that it’s sex, because the hosts can experience emotions and are therefore capable of making love with real people. The other half says that it isn’t because the hosts are made out of symbiotic material.


This is tough because you’d never say, “Hey guys, I masturbated using a robot.” You would say you had sex with it. You would say, “I fucked the SHIT out of that robot.” That doesn’t mean you should be PROUD or anything. It’s like fucking a blow-up doll. Yes, you fucked it, but that ain’t worth much. Everyone knows it’s just dressed-up masturbation. If you buy a fake vagina and bone it, you’re committing an act of onanism. Well, the robot is just a set of fake genitals with the rest of the body attached.

Sex is, at its root, a biological act. I never saw Westworld, but I assume you can’t impregnate an android on it. If there aren’t two living creatures coming together in biological congress, I say you’re just whacking off into Honda engine.



I’ve been living in Vietnam for a year now, and one of the best parts of living here is that every single toilet has a small hose next to it. Just like the ones they use on kitchen sinks except these are for blasting digested phơ off of your taint. It’s magical and extremely pleasant. I can’t go back to a life of wiping my bleeding, cracked butthole after a rough chipotle session. Why hasn’t America gotten behind spraying the poop away? It’s cleaner, easier, more comfortable, and efficient. I can literally use two squares of single ply to pat myself dry. Hell most places don’t even have toilet paper. You just let it breeze out.


I’m intrigued, but where do you aim the hose? Let’s say I’m your standard American sitter. Do I snake the hose around back and blast down? Do I go between the legs and jet straight up? I want this to work but I feel like I’m a pair of drenched pants waiting to happen. And how do I avoid spraying the floor? This is why they have bidets in fancy places. You need the gushing water to be housed IN the toilet, otherwise human error could have terrifying, poopy consequences.


Also, I have concerns about drying my asshole properly after power-washing it. Toilet paper is designed to dissolve in water. Ever wipe your ass when it’s wet, like when you take a shower and don’t realize you have to shit but then you do? It’s AWFUL. I wanna start life all over again when it happens. I would need a sturdy, clean towel for wiping, AND a place to hang my coat. Denny’s isn’t gonna give me either of those things.



Today I was doing a very overdue load of laundry and realized that I had just washed literally 30 T-shirts. What is the right amount of T-shirts for an adult male to own?


I own about that many, but rarely wear them all because I just wear whatever is on the top of the drawer (to the point where my wife will go into the drawer and put the bottom ones on top just so that I will wear something relatively different from the week before). Let’s face it: you could own a million T-shirts and you’d still only wear, like, three or four of them. You got your favorite band shirt, your favorite white T-shirt, your favorite college or high school shirt, your favorite pro team shirt, and the rest are filler. You could probably get away with owning just a dozen. But if you’re like me, you suddenly turn into an episode of HOARDERS whenever someone suggests you do away with any of your old T-shirts. “What? You want me to throw away that STAY CLASSY tee? NEVER. It still holds up!”



I’m on a date last night, and the conversation veers into sandwich territory. I told my date that I don’t eat paninis, because the bread abrades the roof of my mouth. She suggested that I am just very sensitive. What gives?


Abrades? What the hell is wrong with you? It’s a hot pressed sandwich. Eat it. I BET YOU DON’T COOK, EITHER. I bet cooking abrades your hands or something. If I see a menu that has ANY hot sandwich on it—pressed or not—and that hot sandwich also includes a bunch of Italian cold cuts with long names, I’m already fully erect. I fear nothing, and neither should you.



When walking down a hallway with a full mug of coffee, do you: a) grip tight but keep your arm loose so as to act as a shock absorber, or b) strong-arm it and, through sheer force, will the coffee to stay in the mug?


I keep the whole hand and arm rigid, like I’m wearing a fucking air cast. I could get into West Point if they ever saw me handle a coffee mug with such intense discipline. And if someone says hi to me, I raise the cup up slightly to acknowledge it, like I’m a weary homicide detective. “I got three dead bodies down by the pier and shitload of paperwork from the Chief today. Gonna be a long one.”


Email of the week!


I am a 3rd Assistant Engineer onboard a merchant vessel. There are three other licensed engine officers and a couple of unlicensed that make up the engine department of a ship. The nickname of 3rd Engineers is, lovingly, the Turd Engineer because we are in charge of the MSD (Marine Sanitation Device) system. An MSD system is basically a big tank where all the waste products from the ships toilets and drains collect. In the tank is bacteria which eats the shit, literally, and itself poops out something called effluent which can be safely pumped overboard. Ok, enough of the lesson, let’s get into it.

So, when we are in US ports we can’t just discharge the stuff over the side so we send it into a sewage holding tank. Once we leave port it’s my duty to pump out that tank. I had just taken over from the previous third, and from all accounts he was terrible at his job.

So I line up the system and turn the pump on. Usually this happens without a hitch, so I went up to the engine room head to drop some heat. I come back down about 10 minutes later and there is shit water spraying everywhere out of the seals for the inspection plates on the top of the MSD. I line everything up to start taking suction from the MSD tank again (one of the streams of shit water is arcing through where my face needs to be to close one of the valves). Everything calms down, so I go take a shower (because, shit) and head back down to start pumping out the sewage holding tank again, this time intending to keep a close eye on anything weird happening. Alas, water starts leaking out of those seals again (not spraying because I am there) so I line it back up normal and the leak stops.

By now I am starting to get a little frustrated because this is a simple system and is pretty hard to fuck up. The overboard pump is running full time and I take the inspection plates off the top to look into the tank and see that it is having black water (poop water) dumped in at a ridiculous rate. At this point I start to think the pump may be fucked and isn’t doing its job, so I shut off all water to accommodation areas (the galley and crew rooms) which should mean no more water coming into the tank. Doesn’t stop the flow in the least. At this point I call the 1st Ass. Engineer because this is getting a little out of control for me. He takes a look at the pump and goes I think it’s fucked. The 2nd Ass Engineer pops by and goes nah, it’s just airbound and opens up this little port on the side of the pump as the 1st is turning the pump on.

The 2nd then gets a face full of shit water because this pump moves shit (25 tons/hr). So, the pump is working, but we’re still getting shit water coming back into the tank when there shouldn’t be any. After trying and failing many different solutions, we conclude that there has to be a clog in the overboard line which is causing the water to go back up into the house and recirc to the MSD system, but since there is so much head pressure (the weight of the water above the part we want to open) we can’t open this section of the pipe because we would be dumping metric tons of shit water onto the deck. So we open up the shore connection on deck and start pumping it out there. Just picture a stream of steel grey water shooting about 20 feet and hitting everything out on the poop deck (We didn’t give a fuck because we were at hour 13 of working on this by now). Now we can open up the section of pipe, but there is still shit water in the line so it dumps like a ton of water on the deck. We then hook a fire hose up to the pipe and blow 100 bar water through the pipe and free up the clog. Line everything back and presto, it works. This is hour 16.

We go to sleep and the next morning I get the good news that I have to now sterilize three decks of the engine room with bleach. Side note, that effluent looks like water with chia seeds in it. The chia seed looking stuff is the bacteria’s poop made up of digested human poop. So, that’s what we were cleaning up with squeegees, copious amounts of bleach, and regular water.

tl;dr- don’t fucking flush a hand towel down a god damn toilet. And don’t eat corn on a ship, someone is gonna have to deal with it.


Feel like I’m just gonna avoid ships entirely.