Time for your weekly edition of the Deadspin Funbag. Got something on your mind? Email the Funbag. Today, we’re covering Shel Silverstein, NHL game delays, soup inflation, and more.
Can I get a cracker ranking? Here’s mine:
1) butter (club, ritz)
5) cheese crackers (cheezit, goldfish)
6) witness my own beheading
7) rice crackers
Hey, I like rice crackers, you son of a BITCH! Also, I think that you lumped too many different crackers together. Goldfish are their own thing. A Cheez-It is TOTALLY different, especially if you have a seasoned cracker palate as I do. TRUE CRACKER FANS KNOW WHAT I MEAN.
Anyway, I thought we had ranked crackers here before, but I appear to have been mistaken. Well, it’s unlike this site to let such an obvious and pointless listicle slip by. So I’m gonna give you my rankings right now. Please note that I already see you typing a joke about Larry The Cable Guy belonging in these rankings. You’re very clever. Let’s go:
- Wheat thins. To me, the ideal cracker is one that pairs well with lots of different shit, but ALSO tastes perfectly good on its own. That’s a Wheat Thin. There’s nothing BIG CRACKER loves more than to sell you on a cracker’s versatility, so that they take up a greater market share of your overall gluttony. “Stack ‘em! Dip ‘em! Spread ‘em! DRY HUMP ‘EM!” In the case of Wheat Thins, the ads are true. I can eat them with cheese, or I can forgo decorum and just dump a box directly into my feedhole.
- Goldfish. They’re lovely, but you can’t dip them in anything. If I ever see someone try to put a slice of pepperjack onto a single Goldfish, I will call the police.
- Graham. These masturbation antidotes probably belong at No. 1 on this shit if only for graham cracker crusts and S’mores. It’s also one of the only crackers that is somehow sweet but defies being labeled a cookie. I salute its refusal to abide by genre stereotypes. By the way, graham crackers are made with graham flour, which seems to have NO other use in the culinary world. I promise you that, somewhere, there is a fancy pants chef who is coating lamb chops with it. IT DRAWS OUT THE GAMEY FLAVORS.
- Everything flatbread. It’s a cracker with eight pounds of bagel seasoning on it. I approve.
- Triscuit. Lotta people don’t like Triscuits but I am abnormally drawn to shredded wheat products for reasons that escape me. It’s like Big League Chew, only WHEAT. I can’t resist. Your average Triscuit has 900,000 grams of partially hydrogenated soybean oil in it, and its flavor and texture overpowers everything else in your mouth, but they’re still delicious.
- Oyster. I like saltines, but you have to crumble them if you want to eat them in your soup (which I do). With oyster crackers, I just dump the bag right into the soup. And then I dump another bag. And then another. By the time I’m done, there’s no liquid left in the bowl. It’s a bunch of wet cracker mush. I love it. Tastes like carbs.
- Stoned Wheat Thin. There are a lot of different fancy pants rich person crackers that people set out with fine cheeses and sliced pears, but this is the best one. Very sturdy.
- Melba rounds. These are also very sturdy, which is good when I want to drag a cracker through some sort of cream cheese dip. I want a pound of dip on the cracker, and not every cracker is up to the task. The cruel irony is that, somehow, every box of melba rounds has half of its content already pulverized. They must use the boxes to protect other fragile items in the shipping container.
- Saltines. Official re-introductory food for anyone coming out of a bout of the stomach flu. I think I’ve vomited more saltines than I’ve consumed. I know that isn’t physically possible, but I swear the devil plants an extra sleeve of them inside you when it turns out you aren’t quite ready for solid foods yet.
- Animal. They changed the recipe to Barnum’s Animals. They used to taste like straight-up shortbread and now they taste like ASS. It’s like they swiped out the Zoo animal crackers from your local vending machine and didn’t think anyone would notice. Well I did. WHAT IS PRESIDENT TRUMP DOING ABOUT THIS?! Golfing on the job yet again, are ya Tubby?
- Pretzel thins. You want a smoking hot take that has been baked golden brown and then sprinkled with a touch of sea salt? Here it is: Pretzel crackers are better than actual pretzels. I’ll eat pretzel crackers and pretzel hamburger buns. But put a bunch of pretzels in my Chex Mix and I start bitching endlessly.
- Pita chip. I only need three pita chips to make it through one container of hummus. I’m very efficient. By the way, if you’re using pita as a dipping vessel, warm pita bread triangles are the way to go. I can’t stop eating them. They are the sticky rice of Middle Eastern takeout food.
- Ritz. If you have kids, you know that one Ritz cracker produces a metric ton of crumbs on the floor. I’m sick of it. Fuck you, Ritz crackers. You’re a goddamn mess. I don’t care how good of a mock apple pie I can make from you (it really does taste like apples).
- Rice. Again, I like them. I know I’m alone on this, but I’ll eat anything that has a mystery sodium glaze on it.
- Chicken in a Biskit. I’ve never had these. Do they taste like chicken bullion? That sounds okay.
- Water crackers. These are the fancy crackers people set out with various runny cheeses. They ALL taste stale. It’s a mortal lock. I don’t know how Carr’s got a stranglehold on the cocktail party market, but I would like Wheat Thins to DISRUPT it.
- Bagel chips. You need a fucking dog’s jaw to get through one of these. Human tooth enamel is not meant for the rigors of bagel chip consumption.
- Matzo. Please don’t accuse me of anti-semitism.
- Crispbread. This is dryass rye cracker bread that is meant for dying sailors but has been marketed as a kind of upscale digestive. Avoid this cracker. It’s for teething infants.
Shel Silverstein vs. Dr. Seuss, who you got?
Aw, man. Don’t make me choose. I’ll go ahead and confess here that, when I was a kid, I didn’t like Shel Silverstein books. I think the drawings freaked me out. (To be fair, open up a Silverstein book and you’ll encounter, like, a nose with hairy feet). Also, The Giving Tree is an unbearably sad book, and even now I have a hard time reading it without turning into a big fat puddle of sadness. THAT PIECE OF SHIT KID DIDN’T KNOW HOW GOOD HE HAD IT WITH THAT TREE!
So I never read A Light in the Attic or Where the Sidewalk Ends until I became a dad myself and now I like Shel Silverstein a lot. Also, he has easily the most badass author photos of anyone in history. He looked like a goddamn biker genie. He was awesome. And as much as I love Dr. Seuss, reading Green Eggs & Ham to a child gets exhausting after the 90th time. It’s the “12 Days of Christmas” of children’s books. Please don’t make my rhyme “mouse” and “house” again, you motherfucker. The repetition is eating away at my soul.
It’s clear to me that Seuss is for younger kids (or twee adults who love giving Oh The Places You’ll Go as a graduation gift), while Silverstein is for slightly older ones. His shit is now so popular at my kid’s school that they actually banned kids from bringing in his poems for assignments, because every kid would just bring in a Xerox of “Sarah Sylvia Cynthia Stout” and read it out loud. And I can’t blame the kids. There’s a pretty huge dropoff from Seuss and Silverstein and Sendak to the rest of children’s literature. The rest is SHIT.
Is this the worst NFL season ever? September and October produced a total of 3.5 watchable games and it seems like parity has finally been achieved, but if this is what it looks like, fuck that. The AFC may as well not even exist outside of New England. And the Falcons! They should be the most exciting team since the Greatest Show on Turf, but I’m just kinda not that impressed? There were only two good playoff games and they both involved alien Aaron Rodgers. I guess the Cowboys were something, or something, but overall, football bored me more than entertained me this year. Even an amazing Super Bowl won’t do much to redeem it. I have little hope next year will be any different.
The NFL is run by assholes and shitbags but I don’t know how it’s their fault that eight of the 10 playoffs games this year weren’t competitive affairs (and one of the “good” ones, KC-PIT, was pretty dreadful in its own, Andy Reid-esque kind of way). The league had awful luck with primetime blowouts just a couple of years ago, and then we had one of the best Super Bowls ever. It’s all pretty random.
There are only a few things you can do to have a tangible impact on the closeness of games. The first is to have the NFL’s fabled “parity,” which has been with us for so long that a handful of teams (Patriots, Steelers) have mastered the salary cap to the point where that parity is actually kind of horseshit. The other thing you can do is loosen up the rules so that offenses can pass the ball all over the place and erase large deficits with relative ease. Again, the NFL’s already done this. The last thing you can do is draw games out even LONGER, like in college football. That Clemson/Bama game was close because it was nine fucking hours long. It was ridiculous. I shouldn’t be looking to NFL games as a model of brevity by comparison.
There have always been shitty NFL games with abominable coaching and/or quarterbacking, but the badness of games has been exacerbated in recent year by three things. First of all, no one knows what the fucking rules are anymore. Secondly, replay and other stoppages are a drag on everything, and I am now an old man who wants replay outright banned from the sport.
Thirdly, people fucking HATE the NFL. So when the NFL doesn’t give you what you want, you’re much more apt to complain about shortcomings in the game that, perhaps, you were more willing to forgive in the past. Given the moral compromises I’m making to tune in, the NFL better fucking DELIVER me some 35-31 shootouts. When it doesn’t, I’m that much more annoyed. See how that works? The on-field product is the same in a lot of ways, but now that you know Roger Goodell’s flaws, you’re much more likely to notice the flaws in what he’s selling you.
That’s why ratings were occasionally down this season. People will still tune into good football. But when it sucks, the TV goes off a lot faster. I’ve got alternatives to riding out some 42-10 shitfest. I got back episodes of Black Mirror burning a hole in my DVR and I’m just waiting for you to give me an excuse, amigo.
Would they have to cancel an NHL game if a fan threw a cup of hot coffee onto the ice? I imagine this would cause considerable damage to the ice that couldn’t be repaired by the scantily clad rink girls. Are we one incident away from only being allowed to purchase STARBUCKS RESERVE™ Cold Brew Growlers at hockey games?
I don’t think it would damage the ice as much as you think it would. They’ve actually had to alter NHL games in the past because of iceholes (look at THIS farging icehole!), but even a boiling hot cup of joe would probably spread out and cool too quickly to form a literal pit. At the very worst, they might have to delay the game to apprehend the coffee bandit (FACKIN’ TAWMMY WENT TO DUNKIN!) and bring out the Zamboni to resurface the ice (which always takes 10 minutes longer than I assume it will), but I don’t think they would have to actually cancel anything. They played an outdoor hockey game in fucking L.A., for God’s sake. Dumping Starbucks on the ice there would probably HARDEN it.
For the record, I will never get tired of watching ice melt. Ever have a cup of tea that’s way too hot, so you drop an ice cube in it? Watching that cube melt is my bliss. So soothing. It just disappears like MAGIC. One time I had a shitload of excess ice I had to melt, so I dumped it in the sink, put on a kettle, and poured boiling water all over it. I felt like a God. I’m gonna open up a series of ice melting parlors all over the country. It’ll be the hot (or should I say… COOL?) new therapy treatment.
Why don’t the networks set a week in the spring and air all of their pilots for new series? I think they make something like 80-100 and almost none of them get picked up. I’m sure the majority are fucking garbage, but I bet some studio exec is fucking up badly. Let’s see them. I could see pilot week being fun times. Or not. I’d probably avoid them like the plague once I saw how truly awful most of them are.
They can’t do that because once you air a TV show, you have to pay all sorts of extra fees to producers and writers and actors and anyone else who gets union-mandated broadcast royalties. LOUSY UNIONS! Instead, the networks spend even MORE money re-shooting those pilots and running them through focus groups until every one of them stars Poochie. And then they drop 80 of them en masse anyway. The system works!
Amazon actually DOES let you view test pilots, which is how shows like Transparent ended up getting picked up for a full run. And IFC’s old “Brilliant But Cancelled” series aired a few cult pilots that never made it, like this one:
But in general, you don’t want to watch any of these things. People always say they want one thing when they actually don’t. You don’t want to invest your time in a show that you already know is unfinished. And, as Mike Schur has already said, most pilots are garbage. The Simpsons pilot is shitty. The Seinfeld pilot is shitty. There are a few exceptions like The Sopranos and Lost (dramas are almost always better in pilot form than comedies), but usually it takes an inordinate amount of time for a show to find its footing and make its characters into people you give a shit about. And that’s with all the other established GOOD TV shows out there already that you haven’t watched. Networks are better off airing Celebrities Play Operation! instead, and so they do.
Hey what’s the go-to activity to kill time when your wife is shopping without acting completely disconnected? It’s smell all the candles right?
Well, now you can just look at your phone. Smartphones have basically destroyed the old stereotype of bored men who are dragged along on endless shopping expeditions. Prior to phones, those stereotypes were a THOUSAND percent accurate. You couldn’t dick around on the internet, and you couldn’t even leave the store because, without calling or texting, how would your lady know where you went off to? That’s how I ended up fighting a mirror once. The boredom was REAL, my friends.