We’ll Never Colonize Space

Illustration by Sam Woolley/GMG
Illustration by Sam Woolley/GMG

Your letters:


What year would you set as the over/under on outer space having its first homeless human?


Never. It’ll never happen. Maybe this take will age about as well as some olde tymey rant about the Internet (“People don’t want computers in their homes!”), but I don’t think mankind will ever establish settlements away from Earth. I know Elon Musk talks a big game about living on Mars and Newt Gingrich once promised a moon colony, but none of that will ever happen. When the U.S. sends an astronaut to go live on a space station, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of people on the ground whose primary job is to make sure that astronaut stays alive, because dying in space is so incredibly easy to do. There is no oxygen. There is space debris floating around at tens of thousands of miles per hour. There is cosmic radioactivity that will grow tumors on your tumors. One slight fuckup and you’re dead instantly. I saw Apollo 13. I know of what I speak.

We’re not meant to live anywhere but earth. All of your body’s mechanics were engineered for Earth’s particular amount of gravity, atmosphere, and sunlight. The rest of the solar system gives zero fucks about any of those prerequisites. Simply hanging out in zero gravity causes your bones and muscles to begin eating themselves. Living away from Earth means condemning yourself to a cosmic prison. You have to be the best of the best of the best to survive it. And we’re gonna send a bunch of regular puds to go live on the out there, and become so comfortable there that they can have babies or even become space hobos? Yeah no, it’ll take centuries of planning, finance, and engineering to get you the Total Recall slums you so desperately crave. And even then, it’s unlikely.

Look at this fucking country right now. You can’t even teach kids about global warming in school without some official in a MAGA hat bursting through the wall to pass out free coal and scream DURRR FAKE NOOS. Silicon Valley’s brainpower is a fucking joke. Rich assholes are far more obsessed with making money than making things that make money. We don’t have our shit together. We haven’t even managed to colonize THIS planet properly, and we already live here. We’ll never be a multiplanetary species.

Which is a shame, because time is running out. Whatever resources we could have directed to send a manned expedition to Mars have now been re-directed to Donald Trump’s greens fees. Colonizing the far reaches of space will require un-fucking everything BEFORE humans can really bear down and get to work on the nuts and bolts of extraterrestrial living. I don’t have much reason to think that’ll happen before, like, Yellowstone explodes. If I have learned anything in my time here, it’s the science will let you down even more than your fellow man will. Our only hope… is the alloys. If the alien alloys can give us super space living powers, we might be able to pull it off, unless Steve Mnuchin uses them to build himself a luxury toilet instead.


Hot take: football would be better if offensive linemen could catch passes.

Fight me.

(fights you)

Listen, I enjoy the occasional tackle eligible pass as much as you do. And when they send out a d-lineman to play fullback? That gets me all warm and chubby, my friend. I’m like HOLY SHIT THAT BIG FAT GUY IS PLAYING WHERE THE SKINNY GUYS USUALLY PLAY!


But, as irritating as the NFL rulebook can be, there are reasons that certain rules have evolved the way they have. If every lineman was eligible, that means they could go downfield on every play. It would be impossible to defend that many men running downfield to potentially catch or block. All the Patriots had to do was sneak one extra eligible dude into a playoff game to beat the Ravens and break John Harbaugh’s brain for good. Linemen have to stay linemen, or else the whole system breaks down. I once played touch football and we had so many players that some guys (me) were assigned to line duty and made ineligible to keep order. I was deeply unhappy about this.

By the way, and I may be wrong about this, but it IS legal for an o-lineman to run with the ball, so long as they are behind the QB when they get the handoff, and are also stationed at least a yard behind the LOS, and have recited all eight stanzas of “America The Beautiful” prior to the snap. It tends to be more trouble than it’s worth.



Best steak sauce - who ya got? Chimichurri, béarnaise, peppercorn, mushroom, winey stuff, etc. So much choice!


This is where all the steak snobs barge in and scream at you that a well-cooked steak doesn’t need sauce and that anything other than salt and pepper on a steak is a WAR CRIME. As always, these people need to calm the fuck down.

Sometimes I enjoy a steak on its own, dragging it through its own fatty juices. But sometimes, a good steak sauce can really KICK IT UP A BRO FLOOR. For Christmas, my mom made beef tenderloin, and that would have been fantastic on its own. But, as a bonus, she also made a sauce using dried porcini mushrooms, plus the water they were soaking in, plus a shitload of heavy cream. My friends… it was awesome. I felt like a fucking oil baron eating it. Steak sauce is a force of good in this world and don’t let some deranged beef purist tell you otherwise. There is only one truly unacceptable steak sauce, and it is ketchup. Otherwise, I’d rank them like this:


1. Chimichurri

2. The mushroom thing

3. Béarnaise

4. Peppercorn

5. Au poivre

6. A1 (which really helps if you’ve got a bad steak)

7. That gorgonzola shit (GUHHHHH)

8. Nail gun to the balls

9. Ketchup

And triple super fuck those steakhouses where they charge you $5 just for sauce. What a racket. Was plunking down $45 for a strip steak not enough for you jackals? WHERE DOES IT END, MAN? I am sick of BIG STEAKHOUSE extorting customers for red wine reductions and sides of creamed spinach.



I have been trying to decide what is the most Italian name: Dino, Rocco, or Tony? I gotta go with Dino.


I dunno, I think Rocco is up there. ALL RIGHT ROCCO! ALL RIGHT, SLY!

But truthfully, none of those names are as Italian as the entire V category: Vinny, Vito, and Vincenzo. If your parents name you Vito, you are absolutely gonna either work in sanitation or be a bargain contract killer, or both! You’re never be, like, a pediatrician. You won’t get to run a kiddie medical practice and go, “Eyyyyy parents! DOCTUH VITO HERE’S GONNA TAKE REAL GOOD CARE OF DIS LITTLE PRICK A YOO-UHS.”


By the way, the horrific strain of baby-naming that has infected white America has yet to cross the Tyrrhenian Sea. The list of popular Italian baby names is mostly classic shit like Alessandro, Lorenzo, and Leonardo. No enterprising Mormon in Genoa has named their kid Valynteena yet. But give it time. Bad taste is our largest export.


This upcoming offseason in the NFL has the potential to have an insane number of moves at QB. In quickly looking through the list of teams, I only felt confident in correctly naming half of next season’s starting QBs. What are the biggest, wildest moves on the way?


I’m not convinced it’ll be all THAT wild. In general, the NFL QB carousel is a lot like the coaching carousel in that there’s a lot of turnover, only it usually ends up with the same assholes just in different places. Look again at the potential QBs to move here: Kirk Cousins, Tyrod Taylor, Alex Smith, Andy Dalton, A.J. McCarron, Eli, two of the three Vikings QBs. Apart from Cousins and maybe Teddy Bridgewater, the rest of that lot consists of placeholder QBs who will start for a month or two before some rookie finally takes over. Somehow, eight teams will still end up quarterbacked by a McCown next year regardless.

Really, it’s gonna be all about Cousins. If you go by DC sports talk radio (and really, why wouldn’t you?), he’s as good as gone. For a while, I wasn’t entirely convinced it was a lock given that the Skins can afford his bigass franchise tag. Then I saw this:


What a fucking idiot. They really are gonna do it. They’re gonna let Cousins walk to some place like Denver and it’ll be both insane AND hilarious. I cannot begin to overstate how badly that team has fucked this all up. Letting a perfectly decent quarterback go—after the RG3 fiasco, no less—would really be Peak Snyder. He may as well start dropping refrigerators directly onto fans from his private jet.


My dogs are little and get cold easily I put coats and sweaters on them when it gets chilly. I’m kind of selective about the wardrobe selections, too. Does this make me a monster?


Nah, it’s fine. I got a small dog, too. When it’s cold, he likes a sweater. They look quite debonair on him, actually. Looks like he’s gonna invite you over to his ski chalet for fondue and Pictionary.

Unless you’re carrying your dogs onto airplanes in a little doggie valise and talking to them in your doggie-voice at all hours and hand-feeding them foie gras-flavored jellybeans, you’re not one of THOSE dog people. You’ve haven’t crossed over into auditioning for Legally Blonde 3. That’s a whole other level of spoiling your pet.



I started lifting weights again a couple months ago and my always opinionated father-in-law keeps hassling me to change up my routine, which has worked for me since high school. His theory is I should be lifting minimal weights, e.g. 10 lbs weights for bench, like a hundred times in a row. Compared to my traditional approach - starting off with some decent weight and increasing with each set of 8-12 reps - I think his practice is both less effective and would make me look like a fucking idiot at the gym. So who’s right, both from an effectiveness and “looking cool” standpoint?


My advice is to NEVER ask anyone for lifting advice, ever. If you ask 100 assholes about how to lift, you will get 100 different, incredibly long-winded answers. I would rather ask people if a hot dog is a sandwich than solicit their opinion on lifting weights.

For example, I can’t really lift anymore because my back is all fucked up. Every time I get a little bit of gym inspiration and attempt a single concentration curl (look at me lifting AND thinking at the same time!), my body reacts swiftly and violently to the strain. So my advice to you would be to keep it relatively light and do more reps at a lower weight so that you burn calories, protect your joints, and stay nice and toned. You don’t have to go as far as your father-in-law and lift a single feather eight million times. That’s boring and makes you look like a weakling. Like, that resistance training with the rubber bands? That’s really good for you, but also so fucking dull. I’m bored and irritable just picturing Tom Brady’s little pliability routine in my head. I’d much rather dazzle everyone at the Crunch gym by racking up big plates on the leg press and pretending I’m summoning the adrenaline rush to rescue an infant trapped under a fire truck. But unless you play tackle for the Dallas Cowboys, you probably don’t need that kind of bulk. You can find a happy medium.


Now, if you cut that above paragraph and paste it into some bodybuilding forum, you will get 5,000 angry replies saying that’s all wrong. That is because weightlifting fanboys are all completely insane. You’re better off figuring what works best for you on your own instead of having Beefcake Eddie lecture you about your deadlift technique and protein intake.




If a quarterback came into the NFL with all of the skills of Aaron Rodgers both mentally and physically, but was unable to speak out loud, would any team take a chance on him? It would suck because he couldn’t talk during meetings to discuss the game plan and would be hard for him to make any audibles at the line of scrimmage because his linemen wouldn’t be able to see him. I feel like some team like the Browns would at least give it a shot.


I don’t see why a mute QB couldn’t succeed. He could just use hand signals instead of calling out audibles and snap counts. And imagine the gushing from scouts. Nothing makes a scout more engorged than silence and rectitude. “This fine young man doesn’t talk any guff! He’ll run our system exactly as we devised it to fail!” They’d go wild over Mute Aaron Rodgers. Cleveland would take him at No. 1 and No. 4. Andy Benoit already has him above Russell Wilson on his big board.


What is the maximum coin denomination that can be deposited into or withdrawn from the Take-a-Penny tray?


I’ve seen nickels and dimes in there. I’ve never seen any big shot leave a quarter in there. That would be downright obnoxious. Guys just tossing away quarters like they‘re nothing. In my day a quarter got you a free shitty toy from the grocery store gumball machine! That’s real money!

By the way, nothing feels better than when you’re just short on change, and the take-a-penny tray is empty, and the cashier decides to have mercy on you and spot you the penny anyway. That is the nicest thing anyone can do for anyone else. I thought I’d have to break a 20 but you saved me! I will never forget such kindness, sir.



Why hasn’t the Harry Potter franchise branched into prequel movies? They’re already talking about it for Game of Thrones and they did it with The Hobbit. Isn’t there big money to be had from awkward teen Voldemort?


Well, they already pooped out that one extra Potter book that was actually a play written by some random guy and not J.K. Rowling. So if you’re REALLY jonesing for a series of horrible prequels featuring young Tom Riddle complaining to his girlfriend about sand, I’m sure Hollywood will get right on it the second Rowling either passes away or sells the character rights to Disney. No story is ever allowed to end anymore. You’ll get your gritty Mad-Eye Moody origin story movie one day.

Needless to say, you should be careful what you wish for. When I was a kid, I remember praying that George Lucas would make prequels to the original Star Wars trilogy. There was always the fact that Star Wars began on Episode IV, and the rumor that Lucas had originally envisioned nine episodes for the series from the outset. And I wanted to see all that because hey, “clone wars” sounded like some cool shit, right? But for a long time, that all felt like it would never happen, and that Lucas would simply leave it at three movies and never make another, nor would he allow anyone else to make one.


So when he finally decided to MAKE the prequels, I was just as overjoyed as anyone else. They could make a zillion more Star Wars movies (and they will), but none of them will ever be as deliriously anticipated as The Phantom Menace was. I know you’re seeing a lot of deranged fanboy complaints about The Last Jedi, but those are NOTHING compared to how angry they were over that first prequel. Lotta dorks put all their eggs into that basket, and I was one of them. Always better to seek out new stories than to demand an old favorite of yours get resurrected and beaten in to the ground.


Out of the total number of billionaires on the planet, what percentage of them have had someone murdered?


It’s probably low. Why bother directly killing anyone when you can ruin lives in so many other legal, indirect ways? I’m a capitalist, but even I know that to amass a billion dollars, you probably had to do something hurtful, like enact layoffs, rip people off, skirt regulations, or take advantage of appalling labor conditions somewhere. Those are the quietly damnable acts of the insanely wealthy. No need to hire an actual assassin when you can just lobby government to cut off your enemy’s Medicaid. That shit is both clean and effective.


If Morgan Freeman is flipping channels and comes across Lean On Me, is he pleased or is he sick of himself?


I don’t think it fazes him either way. Like, maybe if he comes across Street Smart or some other obscure old chestnut that he perhaps appreciates more than you do, he pauses and smiles a little. But if it’s Shawshank or something else he’s seen himself in 50,000 times? He doesn’t even blink. It’s just part of the background. And I think that’s the healthy reaction. You can’t ruminate over shit you’ve done or else you’ll end up utterly paralyzed. I mean, imagine channel surfing with Morgan Freeman and landing on Evan Almighty and he stops you and is like, “OH FUCK YEAH! I AM SO GOOD IN THIS!” That wouldn’t be healthy. You gotta be cooler than that to be Morgan Freeman. More people in this world could stand to be bored with themselves.


This new Han Solo movie, I don’t know. Making individual movies is fine and maybe it will be fun. But I’ve got a bad feeling on this one. Why haven’t we seen any trailers or real photos yet? If we don’t get a trailer during the Super Bowl that could mean something is not right.


Well, have you seen this rumor? Not exactly reassuring. Like, no one needed a movie where we find out how Han Solo got his name. (“Birth” would have been a sufficient background explanation). I don’t mind when the Star Wars brain trust fires GLORY BOY directors who want to put their own, unwelcome spin on the franchise. But this might be the movie where Star Wars fatigue sets in. How the fuck do you cast someone who can’t act to take the place of Harrison Ford? Isn’t the whole point of the casting process to weed out the shitty actors? They’re gonna have to replace the new guy with either CGI Harrison or Christopher Plummer four weeks from the release date.


What’s the difference between a Scumbag and a Shitbag? Each has to be reserved for certain types of people, right? The masses need clarification.


Personally, I just use shitbag in place of douchebag now, mostly to mix things up but also because the term douchebag was long ago co-opted BY douchebags, which rendered it unreliable. I cannot trust any douchebag pronouncements if they come FROM a douchebag. Ergo, shitbag.

To me, a scumbag is someone who directly engages in seedy, repulsive behavior. Like if you’re out there harassing waitresses or trying to sell phony gold futures to nursing home residents, you’re a true scumbag. A shitbag is much broader. It could just be a guy with annoying hair.



My wife believes that small versions of everyday objects are “cute” - even objects that are inherently not cute to begin with. Tiny tube of lotion? Cute. Tiny pen? Cute. Those tiny jars of ketchup and mustard you get at fancy restaurants? Same. She’s even got a tiny construction set for her desk (“look at the tiny bricks and 2x4s - aren’t they SOOO cute?”)! Maybe it’s the Y chromosome, but I just don’t think anything is made more adorable simply by virtue of it being a smaller version of an everyday object. Am I wrong? What is it with this obsessive behavior? Can it be cured? Please tell me I’m not crazy.


I don’t think your wife is an outlier here. I have definitely spotted a tiny airplane can of Coke and been like OMG LOOGIT THE TINY CAN! It’s like R2D2, but a soda! Adorable! Shrinking something makes it inherently more detailed and less imposing. That’s why people go apeshit over pictures of toy dachshunds on the internet. There’s a novelty to tiny things that, paired with their harmlessness, makes them appealing. Like, imagine if Trump were four inches tall. You could fit him in your shirt pocket! Look at the cute little President! He’s so funny when he’s mad!

My wife is staunchly against large things, which I take personally because I am, myself, a large thing. Like, if I buy a chicken to roast and it’s too big, I’ll hear about it. For me, the chicken can never be large enough. I’d roast a 100-pound oven stuffer if I could. This isn’t Europe, lady. We have space for big chickens here in the U.S. of A. I find all this anti-bigism problematic.



Would it be easier for one of the actors/actresses on Grey’s Anatomy to perform a surgery, an appendix removal for instance, than it would for an actor on Law and Order to convict someone of a crime, assuming that they had to operate within all legal parameters? For sake of argument, they would both get two weeks of training from a professional doctor/lawyer on top of the “knowledge” they already have as an actor.


The lawyer, no question. The conviction rate in America in 2012 was 93%. If you put a cop on the stand and have the cop say, “Yeah, that’s the guy who did it,” you’ve more or less secured a guilty verdict. I know this because I’ve tried to dispute a parking ticket. [shakes fist]

Anyway, even with limited legal knowledge, putting some THUG behind bars would be a cakewalk compared to donning latex gloves and navigating a bodily cavity to snip out a slippery piece of intestine. They let Roy Moore be a JUDGE here, for God’s sake. Why, it’s almost as if the criminal justice system is inherently flawed and gives innocent minority defendants virtually no hope of freedom!


Email of the week!


I was over at the place of a friend I’ve known for 20 years recently, and he dropped a bomb on me ... he regularly eats peanut butter and mustard toast. Got to be just plain yellow mustard, French’s or similar, according to him. This is a combination I was unfamiliar with, and highly skeptical of. He assured me it’s delicious, and I assured him he was a sociopath. His wife and mother both agreed and told me how horrible it was.

The thing is, the next time I was over he sprung a surprise piece of peanut-butter-and-mustard toast on me and insisted I try it. Clearly the man is passionate about his breakfast of choice, and who am I to turn down a food adventure? I gave it a shot, and I have to say, it was pretty darn tasty. The combo of salty and sweet peanut butter combined pretty well with the tanginess of the mustard; you really didn’t taste the mustard, it was just kind of peanut-butter-plus. Maybe it’s just because I love mustard anyway, but is this a thing? Am I too a sociopath?


Without being harsh… yes.

Drew Magary is a Deadspin columnist and columnist for GEN magazine. You can buy Drew's second novel, The Hike, through here.