What Is The Ideal NBA Finals Result For Haters?

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Today, we’re talking about bad bathrooms, breakfast in bed, rugby, Game of Thrones, and more. 

I was out walking my dog with my kids the other night when I saw a friend on the street, so I stopped and we had ourselves a “visit,” as middle-aged people do. I guess I was yakking for too long because my 10-year-old walked up to me and he goes, “Dad, dad: You’re turning into mom.” Burned us both in one efficient insult. The little booger.


Anyway, let’s you and I have a visit now. Here are your letters:


Which of the following outcomes would deliver the sweetest schadenfreude for a bitter asshole like myself?

1. The Warriors are crushed by the Bucks in the NBA finals.

2. Durant isn’t able to play, but the Warriors win the NBA Finals without him, proving that they never really needed him.

3. Other?

I guess the second one, even though the Warriors had already proven they didn’t need Durant before he even came aboard. He’s cake frosting to that team, which apparently still nags at his ever-emerging ego. If the Bucks destroy the Warriors in the Finals, it’ll be satisfying but it won’t exactly be a shock given how they’ve decimated the East, and given how the decimated Warriors have had to drag themselves to this point. Also, the Warriors still have three titles in their back pocket. Any schadenfreude you get from seeing them lose now is fool’s gold. It was like watching the Pats lose to the Eagles in the Super Bowl. That was neat, but the Pats still had five titles to fall back on, with a sixth one in the offing. Eventually, teams become schadenfreude-proof, and you’re only owning yourself if you think there’s some mass humiliation out there that can undo all they’ve done. Bob Kraft is gonna beat his handjob charges, man. In the end, the bad guys get theirs.


[Exhales] BUT … if you’re like me and you still foolishly buy into the glory of small victories, I just thought of an obvious ideal scenario for you: The Warriors and Bucks meet in the Finals, wherein Golden State blows a 3-1 series lead to Milwaukee, Kevin Durant is healthy but commits a backbreaking turnover that costs them Game 7, and then he tries (and fails) to defend himself online, using far too much of the crying-laughing emoji. That’s the best I can hope for, and I will absolutely fire off obnoxious, Pyrrhic tweets if it happens. Everyone involved will still be butt rich in the end, but it will be I who has the last laugh, I tell you! MWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.


Why is rugby not more popular in America? I’m an American who has watched football my entire life, and I still cannot understand this. Rugby has more action, less equipment and far fewer rules to parse and comprehend than football. It also has tons of contact, but manages to do so with fewer catastrophic injuries to players. Is it because the important games are on in the middle of the night, or are Americans just genetically predisposed to watch sports with a zillion rules and a lot of standing around like football and baseball?

The main reason is because we suck at it. As I write this, the U.S. ranks 15th in the world in rugby, its team almost certainly comprised of amiable bros who got really, really into intramural rugby when they went to Berkeley. We’re as useless in rugby as we are in soccer, if not more so. If you wanna watch good rugby, you gotta watch off-hour matches from abroad featuring the Springboks playing the Ibexes and such and such. And most Americans won’t do that because 1) EW! FOREIGN SPORTS! and 2) Their sports fandom plate is already full. Being a sports fan is hard work, man. Kinda. You can’t ask me to casually keep tabs on Six Nations when I already use so much energy trying to figure out which NHL teams are still actively playing hockey.

If rugby is gonna be big in the States, it’s gotta take place during East Coast Bias hours, and it has to be a domestic league. I actually watched Major League Rugby the other night. It was a game in Brooklyn featuring Rugby United New York versus Austin Elite. It was NOT elite. Americans are a haughty bunch who DEMAND all the best players in a sport play in one league, and that that league be located close by. One of the transitions I had to make in becoming a soccer watcher was accepting that the best players are scattered across leagues that are themselves scattered across continents, and that virtually none of those best players play in OUR league. I’m the ugly American going DURRRR I ONLY WANT THE BESTEST PLAYERS as I make nachos in the toaster oven. If someone started the XRL here, and it was somehow NOT a scam (unlikely), the other four major sports leagues would take clumsy steps to ensure that it arrives stillborn. Roger Goodell would suspend eight of his own players on the league’s opening day, JUST TO SEND A MESSAGE.


I know you say that rugby is easy to comprehend, but I actually played rugby for a year in college (mostly for the drinking) and I can tell you that I don’t remember any of the rules at all. I played second row, which sucked, and had to be instructed as to what do throughout virtually every match, I was so clueless. When we watched the fabled Austin Elite last night and my kid asked how the sport works, I was at a loss. I enjoy watching rugby despite my ignorance, but still. It’s not THAT easy to understand a lineout. It’s like football, but ALSO like cheerleading. I have no excuse here, given that I watch football and the NFL frantically rewrites their rulebook every offseason, like they’re passing a bad tax law. I guess that takes up so much of my energy that learning the ways of a whole other sport is simply too much to ask.

Also, once you know other sports have forward passing, it doesn’t help. Rugby is so close to football (actually, I should say it’s the other way around, given that rugby existed first) that people like me will waste too much time weighing the two sports against one another. Some fabled New Sport would have to be its own thing, like sharkfighting or something. I know why rugby doesn’t have forward passing, but I’m ingrained to want it. This is a shame because rugby is fun to watch and SHOULD be bigger here. Alas, watching football has ruined it for me. It has destroyed my brain.


Speaking of which, you noted that rugby doesn’t have as many catastrophic injuries as football, which is likely true. But it still isn’t the healthiest pursuit for your skull. Take it from me, a newly minted brain surgery haver. I know this good, even though I came about my trauma all backwards. I play football for 10 years, I play rugby for one, and yet the one time I suffer a Traumatic Brain Injury, it’s from going to a karaoke bar. Go figure.


Eli stinks but he’s going to be a Hall Of Famer. Will he be the worst player in the Hall Of Fame?


Oh no, not even close. Joe Namath is in the Hall of Fame and he threw more picks—WAY more—than touchdowns, and his career QB rating is a miserable 65.5. I know Namath played in a different era, but even Jay Cutler laughs at those numbers. Eli, by contrast, has still thrown over 100 more TDs than picks. Impossible to believe, but it’s true! I looked it up and everything. He’s also in the all-time top 10 in passing yards and in touchdowns, ranking eighth in the latter, right behind draftmates Big Ben and Marmalard.

All I can ever remember about Eli is the last shitty throw he made, but he won’t be the worst Hall of Famer. Remember: guys get into Canton for sending football writers WINE. Notoriety matters nearly as much as ability. Eli’s gonna get in mostly because he’s who he is, but he does have SOME credentials to speak of. It’s not like Curtis Martin, who was somehow a shoo-in despite being history’s most annoying fantasy back.


I can’t believe I spent that much time defending Eli Manning. I’m ready for him to get put down so that I can make fun of Duke boy instead. Let’s move on already.


How different would the NBA look if they did away with corner threes and just arched the three point line to the regular sidelines?


It would suck. Hard. As it currently stands, a corner three is shorter than one from the top of the key, but it’s better to have that slight variation in distance along the arc than to end the corner three and have the line look like a fucking archery bow someone painted on the court. It would look stupid (not that I wouldn’t get used to it after roughly 10 minutes) and, more important, it would change the spacing of the NBA game to such a degree that everything would look clumsy and rotten as teams adjusted.

In general, I want more three-pointers, not less. I know the Rockets play a stultifying brand of nü-basketball that makes me want to die, but that’s less about their love of the three-point shot itself than about their love of leaning in on threes to draw cheap fouls. When teams just take normal threes, it’s deliriously entertaining. There’s no point in reducing the aggregate number of threes made and, in the process, rendering the corner near the baseline a no-man’s land for scoring. You could set up a lemonade stand on that part of the court if players can’t shoot three from there. It would kill the flow of the game. I don’t wanna do anything that brings the NBA one step closer back to the Sweet River Baines era.


Also, a shorter corner three is fairer. If the backboard can’t help you out, you deserve a little break on the distance for your attempt. I have zero statistical evidence to back up this assertion. In fact, data shows that the corner three might be a little TOO easy. But I don’t give a shit. MOAR TREYS FOR DADDY. Let’s talk about installing a four-point line instead of fucking with something that’s already an inherent good.


As I type this, I am taking a dump. My in-laws are also here, which basically makes me a troop. Anyway, my wife and I just had a silent argument in the next room. I mimed, “I have to shit,” and she mimed back, “use the bad bathroom.” I responded with my hands flailing wildly, “The bad bathroom shares a wall with the couch your parents are sitting on...this is a shit they will most definitely hear through two pieces of drywall.”

She mouthed, “I don’t care.”

I, knowing that she will not raise her voice to stop me, decide to shit safely in the good bathroom. Am I right or was I subconsciously looking for an excuse to shit in the bathroom with more legroom?


Both. Ain’t no sin to want to shit in comfort. We also have a bathroom here where legroom is at a premium. I save my dumps for elsewhere. I regret nothing. Also, why are you downgraded to steerage when it comes to taking a dump? You’re not good enough for the better toilet?! YOUR HONOR HAS BEEN BESMIRCHED. If you’re discreet and polite, I don’t see why you can’t use whichever bathroom you like best. Unless the good bathroom has a toilet made out of endangered spotted owls, it’s not fair to restrict it to only a certain class of people. Your old lady will still divorce you over this, but at least you’ll have been RIGHT, which is what truly matters.

By the way, toilet comfort issues notwithstanding, I wouldn’t worry that much about your in-laws hearing you take a dump. What are they gonna do, cut you out of their will if they hear you having a normal, human bowel movement? You didn’t marry into the Trump family. Everyone else can handle you grunting one out, provided you don’t make a racket in there like you’re fighting a tiger barehanded.




My coworker says she LOVES vegetables. Who actually likes veggies? I know as an adult I should eat them to be healthy but what kind of weirdo actually likes them?


I like them. Don’t you feel embarrassed now? You put your foot in your mouth right in front of a card-carrying salad eater. WAY TO GO, MATT.

In all seriousness, it only took me around 40 years to treat veggies as potentially tasty food instead of as forced medicine. This is because I am guy and guys are like DURRRRR ONLY MEAT FOR ME DURRRRR. This Foster’s ad acted as my mission statement for decades. It’s also because I grew up in a time when Americans didn’t really know HOW to cook vegetables. Every childhood memory I have of vegetables features them either steamed or boiled. Steamed broccoli is worthless. If you’re lucky, there’s butter on it. Otherwise, steamed broccoli lives up to every bad stereotype of broccoli. It’s a whole other flavor if you roast it properly, or if you smother it in kung pao sauce. Sure, the latter obliterates any nutritional value you’d get from broccoli, but my only goal here is FLAVOR.


And veggies can definitely have flavor if they’re done right. Kimchi fried rice alone justifies their existence. Good veggies are increasingly prevalent now that other kinds of ethnic cuisine have taken root across the country, and now that foodie culture, in all its obnoxiousness, has endeavored to build quality menus around, like, celery root. You gotta be willing to try vegetables in new ways, and you gotta not act like a six-year-old when you’re confronted with them. Don’t get me wrong, I’d still rather have bacon. And I still roll my eyes when people are like, “Meat is OVER … the real star of your plate should be baby artichokes!” That’s all just BIG VEGAN propaganda. But it’s worth being periodically reminded that, like, eggplant parm is really fucking good.


Does Trump know any phone numbers?

Yes. Not because he’s some memory-juiced savant, but because he’s an old fuddy-duddy who fears non-Twitter forms of modern technology nearly as much as he fears germs from other people taking a shit nearby. So I think he knows the phone number for Trump Tower (and takes loads of misplaced pride in it being a 212 number), plus he knows the numbers for all of his Important Industry Friends, like when he calls Carl Icahn at 3 a.m. to complain because he wishes USA Today featured Erika Eleniak in their Life section more often. I also think he knows the number of certain people he likes to yell at and threaten to fire: Scottish greenskeepers and what not.


Finally, he knows phone numbers for women. Donald Trump is the byproduct of a corporate age where Rolodexes were enormous symbols of status and power and virility. He’ll forget to sign an executive order for $500 billion in funding for a Godzilla Force but he’ll never forget the time he managed to score digits off of Barbara Hershey. When it comes to certain highly antiquated and extremely vain matters, the man puts what’s left of his liverwurst brain to active use.

Also, he knows how to call Domino’s.


What would you say is the proper distance waiting in line behind someone anywhere (a store, movie theatre, etc). I’ve been a firm believer in the Pivot Rule (if I can pivot out like I got a rebound and nail you in the face with my elbow, you’re too close). However, I notice people (mostly senior citizens) who will stand so close to you that you get worried they’re gonna do something weird. What’s your take?


Senior citizens stand close to you so that they can grab you if they fall. They also do it because they’re fucking rude and impatient and don’t think you matter. I resent Aunt Phyllis crawling up my ass when I’m in line for groceries. She knows that I know that I’m not gonna have the heart to bitch her out for it, too. That piece of shit.

Anyway, I have never measured the proper distance here but I’ll go ahead and guess that I instinctively put half my height between myself and someone else in line. So three feet. That way I’m not invading anyone’s personal space, but I am making it clear that I am participating in the line. Because sometimes you get people who are standing far back in the line and then they’re like, “Oh! We’re not in line! We just like to loiter in staggeringly inconvenient places!” That’s always a fun moment. Call it three feet and then come back and yell at me when it turns out I guesstimated all wrong.



The reason Game of Thrones feels so rushed is because David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have been focused on their Star Wars trilogy, right? I mean, they were the ones who decided to make this season just 6 episodes.


I don’t watch the show but I assume that a saga that wide open and sprawling is bound to have an ending that feels abrupt. You lived in that world for a while and got used to it, yeah? So when the end finally comes, it feels rushed because you weren’t emotionally prepared for it no matter how hard you tried to be. This is an annoying comparison to make, but I remember reading the last Harry Potter book and getting to the chapter called “The Battle of Hogwarts” and being like oh shit, it’s really come to this, huh? Even though I had thousands of pages before that to TELL me that moment was coming. Sometimes you get so invested in certain stories that ANY way out feels wrong. You don’t really want it to end. No wonder GRRM can’t finish the fucking thing.

But again, I haven’t watched Game of Thrones, so maybe the end did feel perfunctory and stupid. Maybe David Benioff and D.B. Weiss were just sick to death of the show and had enough money to cut bait early. HBO wanted more episodes, but those two demurred, either because they were burned out or because they were finally freed from the constraints of the books and could ratchet up the plot machinations to a more appropriately Hollywood speed. Regardless, they could have milked three more seasons out of that fucker and at the end you woulda been like Dr. Rosenpenis and said, “I mean the very end, when the show actually died. That was extremely sudden!”


I think you can complain about those two being distracted by their own Star Wars trilogy, but that’s SOP in movies and TV right now. Once certain writers/producers hit it big, they end up inundated with so many different projects that it can’t help but dilute the quality of their work. There are 500 different TV shows right now and they’re overseen, as a collective, by a grand total of like eight people. But I look forward to Game Of Jedi coming out in theaters and explaining to my kids why Luke and Leia DO fuck in this one.


Here’s my hot take: Breakfast in bed is only for crazy people. I’ve never had it (nor would I want to) but the idea of trying to eat an omelet or some shit while sitting upright in a bed just sounds messy, awkward, and uncomfortable. Am I wrong?


You’re not. I remain unduly influenced by the opening credits sequence of Trading Places, where Winthorp gets served breakfast in bed like a true baller. But even I know that breakfast in bed would be murder on my back, and that toast crumbs would be stuck in my sheets for a month after I tried it. No thanks. Mother’s Day was just over a week ago and every year, I jokingly ask my wife if she wants the kids and I to make her breakfast in bed, and she always says HELL NO. She gets it.

Breakfast in bed is not for fancypants suburbanites treating themselves to Belgian waffles while reading the Times Sunday Style section in their jammies. It’s for supremely lazy bachelors and bachelorettes wolfing down bagels in bed because it’s the primary piece of furniture in their respective apartments. I know that’s why I used to eat breakfast in bed. I wasn’t gonna pause Mario Golf to eat donuts over the kitchen sink. Much better to eat them while still in my underwear and thus turn my bed into a fucking roach party. That’s the civilized way of doing things. I haven’t had breakfast in bed since I was hospitalized.



We are supposed to brush our teeth after every meal, right? So why do we do it in the bathroom next to the toilet? Shouldn’t we be doing it in the kitchen?


Well that’s assuming you actually follow the draconian orders of Dr. Giggles and brush after every meal. Me? I say FUCK THAT and just do it before bed and after I wake up. I’m not gonna do it after every meal like a NERDY NERD who brushes his teeth at the office and shit. Also, if I brushed my teeth in the kitchen sink, my wife would stab me with a salad fork. To her, there are sinks for spittle and sinks for meals, and never the twain shall meet. I know this because I hocked a loogie into the kitchen sink once and she nearly had me arrested.


Recently, in one of your responses, you used the phrase, “It’s 2018, man” to justify crying during movies. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s totally fine to cry during movies, but this made me realize that people are increasingly using the phrase, “it’s [year]” to justify something. When did people start using this phrase and why does it matter what year it is to justify something? I couldn’t help but imagine someone back in the day saying, “C’mon, Arthur, it’s 1318. We don’t shit in the streets anymore.”


I bet Galahad DID say that to King Arthur, even though people absolutely shit in the streets back then.

The point is that I don’t think you’re picking up on a new trend. It’s in Blazing Saddles, brother.

“This is 1874! You’ll be able to sue HER!” As long as I’ve been alive, loudly declaring what year it is makes for cheap shorthand: a way to say that things are different now and that you don’t have to worry about doing things the way people in old times did them. It’s an easy way of acting like we’ve progressed as a society. I shouldn’t use that construct anymore, given that America is determine to GALLOP headlong back to the fucking Stone Ages. If anything, I should only use it to note how fucked things are compared to how they used to be. “Bro, it’s 2019! We don’t use fire in 2019. Remember? They outlawed it and said it was a tool for virtue signaling.”


Email of the week!


I’m a father of two, one of which is 5 weeks old. Like most parents, I am tired and pressed for time. But, this past weekend, I was allowed to go to a movie with a few old friends. I remember asking myself why we are seeing a movie of all things with this grand opportunity of freedom?

Once we plopped down in our seats, I was flooded with this sense of tranquility. I realized I couldn’t give less of a shit about the movie, but that I had 1 hour and 45 mins where I was not obligated to do a goddamn thing. I didn’t even need a movie playing. I’d gladly pay money to sit in a dark, silent movie theater and stare at a blank screen.

I don’t have a question, I just wanted to tell someone about my happiness.

And I am happy for you, sir.