Illustration by Sam Woolley

Time for your weekly edition of the Deadspin Funbag. Got something on your mind? Email the Funbag. Today, we’re talking first bites, kiddie sports, The Ringer, and more. 

Before we get down into the guts of the Funbag, some very dry and tedious busywork: First, I got a newsletter now, because making people sign up for spam is the hot new thing in tech. Secondly, I got another book tour coming next month. I wish there were tour shirts to go with it, like when Megadeth hits the road and you can pay $35 for a shirt with all the dates on the back. Ooooh, Cedar Rapids! That was the show I was at! No such luck though.

Okay, now for your letters:

Kiran:

If you could rob one store overnight with a zero percent chance of being caught, which store would you pick? Best Buy immediately jumps to mind (give me all them big ass TVs) but something like Macy’s or a Costco would probably make more sense for life-living purposes, right?

I can’t pick a bank, right? Because banks and jewelry stores are the obvious answer. If we’re talking strictly about loading up on cool shit, my answer is Bass Pro Shops. You can steal a whole boat AND an ATV! Shit, I’d also loot the taxidermied animals. I’d grab a whole stuffed grizzly bear and park him right next to my front door. Then I’d hide behind it and people would walk into the house and I’d lean the bear in and go GRRRRRRRR! and they’d shit their pants. Tell me that wouldn’t be a good time. YOU CANNOT.

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I went to a Bass Pro Shop (do you keep it plural if you’re just talking about one of them? Is OUTDOOR WORLD just the store’s sub-name?) for the first time this spring, and immediately felt like I had wasted my life up until that point. My wife saw the look on my face and was like, “Oh shit, we’ve opened Pandora’s Box.” At any moment now I could pull a Mosquito Coast and load up on nature supplies and uproot my family and force them to live off the SEA.

Anyway, that store has all the good dad shit: boats, fishing rods, guns, more guns, trucker hats, beef jerky, EVERYTHING. And they had a sit-down restaurant (I ordered alligator nuggets, which came with a small tub of disturbingly green mayonnaise… only bad part of my visit). Plus it looks like a big mountain lodge. I’ve always wanted to live in a mountain lodge, with all the wooden rafters and what not. I would steal the WHOLE shop and make it my house. I want a lodge on a lake and I want a bearskin rug for fucking on. If the Zombie Apocalypse comes, I’m barricading myself that store and not a Walmart. Frankly, I’m looking forward to it.

(By the way, younger me would have answered The Sharper Image in a heartbeat. All the lightning orbs and massage chairs I want! THE CRIME OF THE CENTURY.)

Philip:

I was wondering if it is okay to have a favorite athlete rather than a favorite team. My late friend never had a favorite NBA team, just cheered for whichever team was the current employer of his favorite player (Shaq and then Lebron). I was never really an NBA fan until more recently so I followed his lead and rooted for LeBron wherever he went. Is this okay for NBA due to the nature of the sport? Would this be okay to do for NFL and, for example, become a Derek Carr fan? In my defense, I live in an area that does not have any pro teams (South Carolina) and was born in an area that didn’t have many (upstate NY).

I say this is only okay if you start off rooting just for players and not teams. It is NOT okay if you start out as a fan of one team, and then ditch that team just because your favorite player bolted. You know exactly which kind of fans I’m talking about: Favre and Peyton fanboys. Those people are vile scum, and they should be ridiculed to the grave for donning half-and-half jerseys. You have to be team-agnostic to become a player-only fanboy.

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By the way, it’s perfectly acceptable to go in reverse and choose a team for life BECAUSE your favorite player is on it. That’s how 85 percent of kids end up picking their team and that’s established practice. You start off loving the player, and then the team gets its hooks into you, and then your favorite player leaves for the goddamn Patriots and you are stuck with some loser franchise for life. That’s the proper way of going about things.

Beau:

If a basketball was physically capable of jumping from the three point line and dunking the ball, would that count as a 3?

Yeah, of course. It’s all about where your feet are positioned before you take the shot. So if some enterprising young player decides to HACK THE MAINFRAME by implanting rocket boosters inside his rectum and dunking from beyond the arc, that’s a legit three. I mean, apart from the illegal rocket booster part.

I gotta tell you I find it hilarious that there’s been an entire basketball revolution around teams getting together and being like, “Hey, what if we got better at shooting three pointers?” Like, there was nothing stopping them before from doing just that. And it’s not like the ‘80s and ‘90s were bereft of good shooters. Teams had Dennis Scott and Reggie Miller and the rest. Yet I distinctly remember that taking a three-pointer was considered risky and players that took a lot of threes were selfish GLORY BOYS. Teams had one three-point specialist and they would only let him shoot if they executed a series of nine different screens and picks to get him free. And when teams did build around the three, it was like DURRR THAT’S A GIMMICK OFFENSE IT’LL NEVER LAST DURRR.

Then Rick Pitino came along and was like, “Oh wow, these shots are worth one extra point. Let’s try to make more of those,” and they DID. Then pro teams crunched the numbers and now it’s like a revolution even those three-pointers were always there. Maybe these guys CAN dunk from beyond the three, they just haven’t tried it yet. I like it when teams decide to be awesome at awesome things.

Matt:

Had a terrifying thought while in the mall this weekend: In the men’s room of an average Cheesecake Factory-level restaurant, how many people do you think have shoved their dicks into each Dyson Airblade hand dryer?

God dammit, you ruined my day. Bastard. Rest assured that if a man can stick his dick in something, he will. HOWEVER, I assume sticking your dick in an Air Blade would be extremely painful. Do you really want your testicles smashed between two sheets of gale-force air? There are only two reasons to pull that stunt: A) You’re a teenager and acting on a dare, or B) You’re a perv who enjoys getting your nuts smashed. Both of those types exist in abundance at the Cheesecake Factory, so now the dryer is ruined for me forever. Even if I don’t touch the sides of it, that dryer is still blowing scrotum bits directly onto my hands. No thank you. Get me a paper towel.

Jon:

My son made the “All Star” team in little league, but I may turn it down because it sounds like a pain in the ass with travel, tournaments, and tons of practices. Also, we really don’t fit in, the other kids look like little baseball robots and have insane baseball dads who spend tons of money on hitting coaches, clinics, etc. My kid is just average, but looked good on a bad team so it may be his only chance to ever be an “all star”, what should I do?

Well, what does HE wanna do? If he’s interested, you gotta let him go for it. I think it’s worth doing it for at least a season to see if it sucks, and then you’ll know you did the right thing by quitting and letting the boy stay home and fuck around on screens instead.

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I’ve done the thing where you get up at some ungodly hour to drive your kid to some ungodly place just to wait an ungodly amount of time to see them in action for a grand total of three minutes. It blows, but if the kid is into it, you have to make that sacrifice. And if the kid wants to bail, you have to make sure they truly despise it, and they aren’t just huffing and puffing for five minutes because they struck out a couple of times.

The driving part of parenting only gets worse as the kids get older, by the way. Since all of my kids are now out of preschool (no diapers, no strollers, no bottles, etc.), I kinda thought I had it made. But no, driving FUCKS you. I had to pick my kid up from a party on a Saturday and the party ran till 11. That meant I couldn’t booze and had to get into the car at 10:45 to go get her. And while I was driving, I was like, “Oh shit, it’s gonna be like this for ALL of middle school.” It’s just gonna be me chauffeuring the kids around to sports and birthday parties and even movies. Fucking hell. I gotta teach these kids how to use Uber. I see no danger in it.

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And the logistics of driving are even worse than the actual dirving. Every fucking weekend, it’s like trying to solve a goddamn riddle. Child A needs to be soccer at 11 a.m. but Child B needs to be at gymnastics at noon but there’s ALSO a birthday party for Child C at the same time, followed by a communion potluck at 2:15 p.m. Who’s gonna take which car? You can’t take the sedan because it doesn’t have the car seat in it, UNLESS you change the car seat. Hmm. Oh, but then you’ll have to take the potato salad with you and that might spoil! So what if you drop Child B off then come BACK home and drown yourself? It’s awful, and I swear to God it’s a daily occurrence. Logistics should be outlawed.

So I understand the parental urge to just cancel all plans and just do nothing. But you know what? I’ve had empty days for these kids, and the charm wears off roughly but 9:15 a.m. By that time, I’m willing to drive the fuckers anywhere. I’ll drive your ass to Ohio if it gets you out of the house.

Ryan:

I am a chef by trade and it drives me nuts when people say “Mmmm” as soon as the food touches their lips. This is absolute bullshit, right? At the earliest to express pleasure is 2-3 chews. Ideally it’s when you are about to swallow that masticated mass of food that you are fully informed on whether or not it was really good. The only time I experience a true visceral “mmm” is when I’m by myself experiencing my form of meditation with a personal favorite like Ben and Jerry’s.

Yeah it has to register first. There needs to be enough time for your taste buds to take in the flavor and then wire the goodness over to your brain. Any sooner and you’re just faking it. Please note that I am not one of those frauds. I am not a table performatively oohing and ahhing over my dish just to inspire Order Envy in others. That shit has to be earned. And when it’s earned, I never shut the fuck up about it. It’s awful. Mrs. Drew will just sit there rolling her eyes while I’m like, “This is fucking AMAZING. You want another bite? That shit you ordered is hot sewage compared to this.” I even talk about the food when I’m eating alone. I close my eyes and I’m like, “That’s so good.” It’s like I’m praying to my soup dumplings. “Our Soup Dumplings, who art in heaven… juicy be thy name…”

HALFTIME!

Elie:

When I was a kid my parents made a big deal about how UNSAFE it was to sit in the front seat. I remember begging and begging to be let into that magical enclave until one day when I was like 11, I just sort of sat there and they didn’t care at all. It was super anticlimactic. What’s your protocol on this? Is there a magical age where it’s OK to have a child in the front seat? Are parents just worried about other parents judging them on their parenting?

See, I’m surprised it was a big deal when you were a kid because I grew up in the ‘80s, and parents would let babies ride on the fucking roof back in the ‘80s. Like, remember when kids would sit in the way back? You go to prison for that now. If it were up to BIG BOOSTER SEAT and your pediatrician, your kid would be in a rear-facing Britax seat until age 36. Worse yet, they’ve conditioned many parents to also believe this. It’s coddling, is what it is! I say that strapping your child to the radiator teaches them some grit.

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The CDC recommends that kids remain in the back seat until age 12. And look, I get why. The front seat is inherently more dangerous than the back. But sometimes car pool math forces you to stick a kid in the front, and it’s not the end of the world. I mean sure, the airbag could deploy and kill your child, but you should live for the danger once in a while, you know? I promise you that you will make every single car seat transition a bit sooner than is formally recommended, and you will feel like shit about it. I have let the 11-year-old ride in front because I am a rebel. Then my wife yells at me and I force the girl to sit in the back the next go round. Sorry, gal. Sorry for giving you a taste of the good life before cruelly wresting it away.

Chris:

Why haven’t you written a “Why the Ringer Sucks” article? Has Bill Simmons lost his mind? Who exactly is the audience for this site? Just folks who want to hate read the articles? When are you going to write a Ringer takedown?

Former Deadspinner and current buttboy Kevin Draper wrote a fairly damning indictment of The Ringer here a while back, and there’s not much to add to it because then otherwise people will just be like DURRRR YOU GUYS ARE SO BUTTHURT DURRRR. Also, it’s tricky because I have to balance my relentless distaste for Simmons with the fact that he’s giving some good writers a place to work and (BIAS ALERT) some of those writers used to be my colleagues. Any site that employs Rob Harvilla has a lot going for it.

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That said… OH GOD MAN FUCK THIS ASSHOLE. I gotta listen to Simmons prattle on about how he’s some kind of tech visionary now when all he did was get canned from ESPN, poison the well on his way out, and build the same inconsistent website somewhere else using seed money from some VC bro he hangs out with at Soho House. Give me a fucking break. I like Kevin Clark and Bryan Curtis and Alan Siegel and Kate Knibbs, but I don’t like it when The Ringer posts shit that is clearly just a poor writer being forced to expound on one of Simmons’s Simmons-y musings. There are times you can tell he was just sitting in some foosball-enhanced conference room, bouncing a tennis ball against the wall, and being like, “Who won Guardians Of The Galaxy, you guys? Someone run with that, and throw in an OC reference while you’re at it!” All of these pet projects of his would be better without him anywhere near them. And that is why America needs CLOWNFISTER more than ever.

Jeff:

Both modern TV shows and radio DJing really took off in the 1950s, so we’ve accumulated a solid 60+ years of TV/music history to date. On the spectrum of media consumers, which generation has it better? 70-year olds who got to experience it all firsthand, have “perspective”, and probably remember some really obscure stuff lost to time? Or teens who may not fully appreciate all the history but can still cherry-pick the best of the past, present, and anything good coming in the next six decades? As an 80s kid, I’m literally 50-50 on this.

Oh I think it’s better now. I refuse to make like Cameron Crowe and buy into the idea that growing up with Zeppelin is, like, DEEPER than growing up now with the favorite contemporary artist of your choosing. Who am I say living through one stretch of pop culture history matters more than living through another? I grew up with boomers pushing ‘60s porn on everyone and it was the worst. And they still do it! That thrill of discovery is the same regardless of generation, and I’d rather grow up with an ever-expanding back catalog of pop culture that’s been fully digitized and easily accessible than go back to the stone ages, where you had to wait in line outside a fucking Dayton’s for three hours just to get Def Leppard tickets.

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I traffic in a lot of ‘80s nostalgia porn, and I’m not above looking back wistfully on the pop culture of my youth, like I grew up in a cool Richard Linklater flick. I cherish all those memories, but they turn sour the second I lord them over anyone else. The second I go up to some teenager and am like YOU DON’T GET HOW DANGEROUS GnR WERE BACK IN THE DAY, then I’m just a bitter old fart. Also, discovering old crap can be just as rewarding as having the phenomenon occur in real time. I discovered Bob Mould long after Hüsker Dü had broken up and it was still a seminal moment in my existence. How you find your heroes is immaterial so long as you find them, and no sane person prefers living through cassette tapes and scrambled cable porn.

Ed:

My fiancee and I (we live together) ordered Chinese food and got eggrolls and there were four in the order. I ate my two almost immediately and when she had finished her meal there was still an uneaten eggroll so it went into the fridge with the rest of the leftovers. And now it’s just sitting here. And I want it. Communal leftovers like fried rice or general’s chicken seem like fair game, but that’s “her” eggroll, right? Is there a statute of limitations after which I can snag that sucker? Obviously I’m just going to get TWO orders of eggrolls next time, but that doesn’t help me right now.

That’s yours! You should have just eaten it the second she opted to have just one of them. If she expressly forbids you from eating it and pulls that “I’ll have it for lunch tomorrow” move (eyeroll), then maybe she has a case, and only because she’ll get mad at you and you can’t fight back even though you should be able to on general principle. But if she’s just leaving it out in the wild? Fuck that. All bets off. Whoever wants it, gets it. Eat first, apologize later.

Alex:

I can’t imagine how this would be possible but televised baseball would become more watchable if the main camera was from the catcher’s perspective, right? Like in a video game. That way we would get a better perspective on how fast the pitches travel and how much they move.

No, I don’t agree. They have catcher cam every once in a while, but you don’t want the whole game broadcast like that. Otherwise, I can’t see the batter in full, which means I can’t watch him preen and pose after launching some meatball into the bowels of the upper deck. That’s very crucial.

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Also, I don’t wanna flinch every time I look up at the TV. That baseball is going 90 mph. What if it comes through the TV and hits me in the nutsack? No thank you. I’m not a professional hitter. I’m not gonna be able to glean what kind of pitch it was if I’m watching it delivered to the plate in real time. I can “see” the pitch much better if I’m behind the pitcher and at a greater remove, and even then I usually need the announcer to tell me what kind of pitch it was after the fact. Oh, so that was a cutter? How did the color guy know that so quickly? He must be a wizard!

Cam:

Are you good at day-drinking? Maybe it’s my lack of control, the fact I usually drink-high ABV beer, or the fact that I don’t drink AND eat but I’m a terrible day-drinker. I get a hangover mid-afternoon and act like someone that needs a Snickers until it wears off.

Yeah I don’t fuck with day drinking, for the most part. It’s the only thing keeping me from being a hopeless lush. I wait the day out, and THEN destroy myself. That’s the healthy way of doing business.

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Day drinking is fun once in a while, like when you’re at the beach and you know that your day is wide open and you can nap most of the afternoon. And it’s fun to be drunk at a time when less fortunate people still have to run around doing lots of tedious horseshit. Not you! No, you’re all lit up and strolling around without a care. It’s a fantastic feeling. That’s when day drinking makes the most sense. It does NOT make sense if you have commitments later on—ballet recitals, work, court dates—that will be MISERABLE to experience while nursing a pre-hangover. Unless you are a full-fledged alcoholic who doesn’t even register the buzz of alcohol anymore, you will pay dearly for the sordid thrill of cracking open a beer at lunchtime. I would rather be productive during the day and then overly reward myself for it once 5 p.m. hits.

I’m also gonna confess here that I don’t understand brunch drinking at all. If I’m hungover on a Sunday morning, the last thing I wanna do is go to some packed New York diner and drink boozy tomato juice. Nothing about that strikes me as restorative. Gimme a recliner, a blanket, some Advil and a cup of tea instead.

Adam:

What’s the best nickname for a big, satisfying sandwich: Sammich, sammie, or sando? I gotta go with sando.

I think sammich is the only one of those I’ve said out loud. Mostly I stick to calling the sandwich a sandwich. Those nicknames don’t even save you a syllable! Sando does nothing for me.

Email of the week!

Seth:

A friend of mine was helping his sister move to a new apartment about two hours from where he lived. He spent the whole day in the hot sun moving boxes, unpacking, etc. She treated him to a meal of pizza and wings, classic movers food.

An hour into his drive home, he starts to feel the unmistakable rumble of wing shits. Heat + Sweat + Wings + Beer + Time = Trouble. He’s on a wooded country road, very few cars in sight, so at first he decides he’ll start speeding to try to make it home. Then he realizes an hour is much too long to hold this enemy at bay. And he pulls off the road.

As he opens the door and gets ready to haul ass into the woods, in his words “it just exploded.” With no alternative, he heads into the woods and strips down, using his clothes to help clean up. He leaves his shorts, shoes, and t-shirt in the car. Luckily, he had a second t-shirt in the car. He lays this down on the seat to protect it from the obvious danger.

When he’s back in the car for another half hour, the rumbles come knocking again. Committed to NOT reliving his recent past, he starts to speed, thinking he can hold it at bay. He gets about 15 minutes from home and another car appears on the horizon.

This car has sirens. He gets pulled over by a cop, which prompts the following exchange:

Friend throws his hands out the window as cop approaches.

“Don’t come any closer please sir.”

Police officer reaches for gun.

“Why shouldn’t I come any closer?”

“I’m naked sir.”

“Excuse me?”

“I’m naked.”

“And why are you naked, son?”

“I shit myself sir.”

“Okay. I’m going to approach the car and get your license and registration from behind you.”

It’s at this very moment that our friend’s mind races 15 miles back into the woods to his now-stained shorts and realizes, he left his wallet in his shorts.

“Sir, I don’t have my license.”

“Why not?”

“Well, when I shit myself I took my clothes off and left them in the woods and my wallet was in my shorts.”

“Son, I don’t mean to be rude, but are you retarded?”

“No sir, I’m a teacher.”

The cop retreated to his car and within 3 or 4 minutes another cop arrived. Friend sees the cop doubling over with laughter. Cop returns to the car with the registration and tells friend to keep it under the speed limit. No ticket given.

Friend calls his brother on the way home and tells him to unlock the back door and turn the downstairs shower on. No questions asked. What a brother, he didn’t even find the story out until weeks later.