Photo illustration by Sam Woolley | Photos by Getty

Time for your weekly edition of the Deadspin Funbag. Got something on your mind? Email the Funbag. Today, we’re talking fried food, drying your feet, dad gags, and more. 

Your letters:

Jacob:

If you could give a championship to any one player in any sport who would you pick? No one loses a ring, and none of the recipients teammates get one either. I’d pick Ichiro or Steve Nash.

I have to discount shameless homerism for this because otherwise I’d just pick a bunch of guys from my favorite team, like Joey Browner, Chris Doleman, John Randle, Randall McDaniel, Randy Moss (but not Cris Carter), and Miracle Year Randall Cunningham.

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But that violates the spirit of what you’re asking, which is: Which athlete, in general, has brought you so much joy and happiness that you wish you could bestow a ring upon them? This is a variant of the tweet that went around this weekend asking people to name their five favorite athletes of all time (The correct answers are Rickey Henderson, Rickey Henderson, Rickey Henderson, Rickey Henderson, and Rickey Henderson), but I’ll try my best to compile a proper, unbiased list of my favorite all-time non-titlists:

1. Bo Jackson. Even today, it hurts to remember that Bo had his career cut short well before he had a chance to win a title in either baseball or football. He was so entertaining that winning was almost beside the point, but still. He’s immortal to anyone my age who played Tecmo Bowl, but I’d love to have that immortality codified with a ring.

2. Charles Barkley. Frankly, it’s more fun that Barkley has to serve out the rest of his time as Earth as a guy who never won a ring. Imagine how much worse his “players today are pussies!” takes would be if he also had a title to go with it. But he was also a fucking blast as a player, and I can hand him a ring while also having the satisfaction of NOT giving one to Karl Malone. Tough shit, Mailman. Barkley gets his and you get a bowl of hot dirt.

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3. Eagles-Era Randall Cunningham. This way Randall gets a title but Buddy Ryan doesn’t. By the way, did you know that Cunningham once conducted a sitdown interview with Donald Trump? With Billy Joel music playing in the background! The 1980s were fucking weird, man.

4. Nancy Kerrigan. Just seven weeks after getting kneecapped by Tonya Harding’s goons, Kerrigan went out and skated her ass off in Norway on one knee, only to get a silver medal for it. Silver! FUCK YOU, JUDGES. I didn’t see Oksana Baiul skating out there with half her LCL missing. NANCY WAS ROBBED. I want medals for her and Roy Jones Jr. and that one U.S. basketball team that got hosed by the Russians.

5. Chris Webber. The 2002 Kings were clearly hosed out of a trip to the Finals, so I’d be more than happy to make it up to the man who had the softest hands in basketball. I remember parroting analysts who made that claim any time I mentioned Webber in a bar. “Well you know, his hands were VERY soft. Never dropped a pass!” Made me sound sage and wise.

6. Barry Sanders. It would be utterly fitting to give him a title but withhold one from the rest of the Lions franchise. Same with Megatron.

7. Tim Howard. The only way an American is winning the World Cup is either via expatriation or this magic genie scenario, so I’ll give Howard one for spending 90 minutes blueballing Belguim on our behalf.

8. Russell Westbrook. I already know he’s not winning a title anyway.

9. John Kruk. I loved that ’93 Phillies team before it turned out that Lenny Dykstra was a shitbag, Darren Daulton was an insane truther, and Kruk was just a goober destined to be a “guy’s guy” analyst on TV for the rest of his existence. That team reinforced all my wet dreams about being able to rise to the top of your profession despite being fat, lazy, drunk, and/or terrified of Randy Johnson fastballs. So I’d still want Kruk to get his. Lenny can rot in hell forever, though.

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10. Ken Griffey Jr. and Barry Bonds. But I’d want Griffey to accept his ring with his hat backwards, and Bonds to accept his with his 2001-size roid head, and I’d want the ceremony to take place in front of Mike Lupica and no one else in attendance.

11. Jake “the Snake” Roberts. Did you know that Jake the Snake, along with George “the Animal” Steele, never won a WWF belt? They give belts to EVERYONE. It’s like an employee of the month award. Roddy Piper never won the heavyweight title but at least he got an IC belt for his trouble. Jake got nothing! That is HORSESHIT. I’m genuinely angry.

12. Bernie Kosar. Poor Bernie. It’s like an alcoholic sidearmer can’t catch a break in this world! [Update: Apparently Bernie has a ring, from riding the bench for the Cowboys in 1993. Who knew!]

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That’s it. That’s my list. If you were some dipshit Yankees fan hoping for Don Mattingly on this list, you can mail me your tears.

By the way, another fun game is to take AWAY a ring from an athlete, provided you only get to take away one of them if they’ve won multiple titles. So that’s a YOINK for you, Ray Lewis. See how much you feel like dancing now.

 

Jon:

What’s the hierarchy of fried foods? Would you rather eat fried shrimp or fried chicken? And what about less common fried foods like arancini and mozzarella sticks? And where do you put regular fries and sweet potato fries?

Fried chicken is the GOAT of fried foods. NO ONE DENIES THIS. Fried chicken is so good that it’s basically its own genus of food. You got hot chicken, Korean fried chicken, fried chicken sandwiches, chicken fingers, wings, karaage, chicken and waffles, etc. The only limit to fried chicken is your IMAGINATION. And perhaps lethally high blood pressure.

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I agree with my bestest friend in the world Guy Fieri that a lot of fried foods are not only bad for you, but that frying can also wipe out the flavor of whatever it is you happen to be frying. All novelty fried foods are garbage. I’ve had a fried Oreo. I’d rather just have an Oreo. The only reason to eat a novelty state fair fried item is so you can be like LOL LOOK AT ME I’M GONNA DIE. You’re better off killing yourself with straight-up Popeyes because fried chicken is different. Fried chicken is special. So here is my list of most important fried foods:

  1. Chicken
  2. Potatoes (fries and chips)
  3. Donuts
  4. Spring rolls
  5. Shrimp
  6. Onions
  7. Whole clams
  8. Soft shell crabs
  9. Fish
  10. Calimari
  11. Eggplant

By the way, summer is peak season for eating fried foods. Ever go on some beach vacation and eat nothing but fried crap for, like, three nights straight? It’s an awful feeling. Halfway through any clam basket I’m like, “What have I done?”

 

Carson:

Do you dry off your feet, or any part of your body, before stepping on the bath mat outside the shower? I have a roommate who (I imagine) turns off the shower and steps straight onto the bath mat, leaving it soaking wet for the next few hours. This is unacceptable for a few reasons, but mostly because now if I walk into the bathroom I have to step on a soaking wet floor sponge.

I dry off in the shower because the shower is nice and toasty compared to stepping right out and standing in the freezing chill of a room temperature bathroom. Then I’m like OH GOD I’M GONNA FREEZE TO DEATH. It also mitigates the soaking of the bath mat, as you explained. Once a bath mat is wet, it STAYS wet. You could set it out in Death Valley and it wouldn’t dry out.

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However, I do not actively dry to bottoms of my feet after showering. I dry off the rest of me, but then I rely on the mainly bath mat to do the dirty work on my soles. Why else have a bath mat, really? That saves me the burden of, like, picking up my leg. Very strenuous for a man my age.

By the way, once a week I will shower without realizing the towels are in the wash, which results in me dashing out of the shower, buck naked and soaking wet, and securing an extra towel from the closet. It’s a horrible moment. You can see the wet footprints, too. It’s damning evidence of my idiocy.

 

Chris:

I grew up a big Auburn fan, and one of the things about the Iron Bowl is that the intensity is greater arguably because Auburn and Alabama are in the same division of the same conference. Last year during the NFL Regular season, the Eagles played the Steelers. I have a friend from Pitt who’s a big Steelers fan and they didn’t even think of this as a rivalry game at all even, though they are in the same state because they are in completely different leagues of play. With the exception of the NBA, this is true for every major Sports League: Dolphins and Buccaneers, Jets and Giants, Raiders and in the NFL; Marlins and Rays, Royals and Cardinals, Nationals and Orioles. Are the big sports leagues missing out on some awesome rivalries by not including teams in close proximity into the same division?

YES. They are. Think about some of the best pro sports rivalries: Sox/Yankees, Dodgers/Giants, Bears/Packers, Cubs/Cardinals, etc. Those rivalries are great in part because of their proximity. You want those fanbases to run into each other and talk and clash and even make babies. You want them to melt into one another. That gives your rivalry a kind of depth and intimacy that can’t be matched by a rivalry like Pats/Colts, which holds up only as long as both teams are playing well. Keeping those rivalries regional helps them survive through downturns. For example, I know the Browns have been awful forever, but those fans would still give a kidney to beat the Steelers once a year.

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So I’m all for an extralocal realignment where the Skins and Ravens play every year, along with the Mets and Yankees, and Jets and Giants, and Cubs and White Sox. Owners would never go along with this kind of shit because they all have a hard-on for maintaining territoriality, but it would be a shitload of fun compared to what we have now, with some neighboring teams keeping each other at arm’s length.

You know what’s weird? Only the NBA seems impervious to fostering local rivalries. Like, I don’t think there’s much of a blood feud between the Heat and Magic. Hell, the NBA has teammate rivalries that tend to dwarf any regional animus between franchises. I don’t know why the NBA has this problem when college ball has loads of neighborly hatred. I could use more of that if only to avoid hearing about the goddamn Celtics and Lakers for the 90,000,000th time.

 

Dustin:

How many Americans do you think can actually drive stick today? I’m not talking about people who learned when they were 16 and have subsequently forgotten. I’m thinking of people who could actually hop right into a stick and drive it with minimal stalling. In my immediate family, three of the six people can drive stick, but I think the percentage of Americans that can drive is way lower than that, like 30%.

According to a recent study, only 18 percent of Americans can drive stick. I am in the SOFT 82% that cannot smdh. One time my dad took me to a parking lot to give it a shot and gave up on me after roughly five seconds because he was scared I was gonna break his car. Thus, I drive around this country barely a man. Whenever I get into a car with someone who can drive stick—and they’re shifting around and pumping the clutch in perfect coordination while weaving in and out of traffic—I feel hopelessly inadequate. I may as well be sitting next to Kyle Busch, so limp are my driving skills.

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I say all this knowing damn well that driving stick in any congested area is a fucking nightmare. Teach me stick shift and I’d probably last a week before running back to automatic transmissions. You shift once and it’s over! I’m weak but I’m not stupid.

HALFTIME!

Kevin:

Why do people order coffee on airplanes? Coffee will make you have to piss and shit, both of which I try to avoid on planes. Plus when you factor in the increased spilling risks on an airplane, it just seems ridiculous.

Well, I think some people are just coffee whores and will drink coffee anywhere it’s available, without any consideration as to whether or not drinking 60 gallons of coffee a day is good for your nervous system. Also, I’ve gotten coffee on a plane because the coffee in the terminal is too expensive, or because the line to get it as too long, or—and this is most important—because taking coffee on an airplane is a complete pain in the ass. You only got two hands, and you’re boarding with at least one carry-on, plus your boarding pass. There’s no free hand for coffee in that process. I’m surprised 5,000 Americans aren’t sent to the ER every day with burns from some pud bringing coffee onto an airplane. I’d rather just bite the bullet and drink the plastic thimble of sewage they got on the United drink cart.

 

Andrew:

I have two daughters under the age of six and a son who is two. My day-to-day life is...umm...exciting! One of the benefits(?) of this arrangement is that the girls play with baby dolls and my son grabs their baby dolls and runs away. Tears follow and the words “I want my baby back!” are often said. I immediately capitalize on such an opportunity to launch in to the old Chili’s commercial jingle about baby back ribs (). The bass “barbeque sauce” being the highlight of the performance. No one laughs. I am greatly amused. I imagine/hope I’m not the only that does this. What other harmless phrases illicit this type of reaction?

Yeah that’s a clutch weapon in the Dad Joke arsenal. My wife hates the McDonald’s jingle. Like, HATES it. So anytime someone says “I love it” or “I’m loving it” out of context, I chime it with an exquisitely timed BA-DA-BA BA BA!!!!! Now, that usually results in her looking at me like she wants me dead. But in my heart, I know she secretly is…I dare say…lovin’ it. BA-DA-BA BA BA!!!!! Tell you aren’t laughing on the inside, dear.

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Also, I have that old Tom Jackson NFL Primetime tic where, if you mention Michael Jackson by name, I will go HEE HEE, OWWWWWW! Then I grab my dick. That’s ripe fruit to be picked. Only a fool would ignore the chance to do that move. I look and sound just like Michael Jackson when I do it, too. True story.

 

James:

OK, so Lonzo Ball suffers some sort of freak career-ending injury in his first pre-season game. How does the LaVar Ball damage control train operate? Is it a case of “oh well, on to the next kid”, does he mold Lonzo into some other media icon (actor/rapper), or does all faith in LaVar’s offspring and hype evaporate, leaving him screaming from within the abyss of anonymity?

I think LaVar has already milked the teat enough where he’s famous in his own right. He’s not just Lonzo’s dad. He’s That Asshole On TV now. Pretty big accomplishment for him. So even if Lonzo Ball goes out there and loses both legs in a bizarre gardening accident, First Take is still gonna bring Big Daddy Ball on to dish out fiery takes and sell $50 bottle of BBB power tonic. Even if every one of his kids washes out, LaVar is still gonna find something to sell. He’s like Tomi Lahren in that he figured out how to game the system. You’re not getting rid of him that easy because he knows how to STAY actively hateable.

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Also, there’s no defending LaVar after he got that female ref pulled from an AAU game. He’s a shitbag. You can get away with being a loudmouthed asshole and pretending you’re helping your kids by alternately pumping them up and taking scrutiny on their behalf. But LaVar has clearly made people around him uncomfortable and miserable and you can’t excuse it away by interpreting it as some kind of performance act, or a strange act of fatherly love. At some point, you become the troll you say you’re only pretending to be.

 

Brian:

What is the best time of day to drink when you’re with kids so that you can A) not get as rattled by the minute-to-minute insanity, B) not be an embarrassment as a husband and father, and C) not feel like shit that night or the next morning? Too early and it’s day-drinking territory, which you’ve addressed before. Too late and it’s after bedtime when it doesn’t matter anyway. How can I best use alcohol to get through a day with my kids?

Unless you’re on vacation (go to any beach at noon and the happiest people there are often the parents drinking early), I really wouldn’t recommend drinking much earlier than the universal cocktail hour of 5 p.m. If you drink at lunchtime, it’ll make the late afternoon that much more difficult to plow through. Oh, and you’ll murder your liver etc.

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Every parent knows that late afternoon is the witching hour for kids, when they turn feral and start fighting and screaming and refusing to fucking eat and attacking the throat. It’s enough to exhaust any grownup. So I’d say to weather that storm the best you can before finally succumbing and turning to demon alcohol around 5:00 (4:00 if you wanna cheat) to get you through the rest. That’s an EARNED drink right there. Once that mojito touches your lips, everything gets just a bit easier.

After dinner, you can pound away. Ninety percent of kiddie tantrums are caused either by fatigue or hunger, and dinner usually peps them up so you can survive the home stretch to bath and bed time. I would also strongly recommend finding other families to drink with, because the kids can fuck off somewhere to play together or watch a movie (movie night is the best) while the adults stay upstairs to get loaded. It’s a pretty foolproof. Nothing beats a good game of “Wait, whose kid is that crying?”

 

David:

The cafeteria in my office building charges an extra dollar if you want cheese on your deli sandwich. It is my assertion that this is a blatant money grab bc no one eats a deli sandwich without cheese. The cheese is assumed to be part of your sandwich.

Jesus Christ, do you work for the Bengals? Charging for cheese ain’t right. I’d be livid if my work cafeteria charged everyone a lousy buck just for some sad slice of provolone on your sandwich. Even Subway doesn’t charge you for cheese. This is BULLSHIT. What’s next, they charge you for shredded lettuce? For napkins? Where does this chicanery end?! I say you storm into HR and demand free cheese or else you’ll burn the place down. I see no flaw in this plan.

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You know else should be free? Sour cream. I get it when burrito joints charge a little extra for guac. BIG AVOCADO has them by the nutsack. But sour cream? FOH. A dollop of sour cream costs half a cent, and yet some places have the balls to charge for it when it’s VITAL to your burrito or taco. It’d be like a sushi joint charging for soy sauce. Any place that charges for sour cream is holding you ransom and violating seven different human rights statutes. You’re legally allowed to perform a citizen’s arrest.

 

Mark:

Is it socially acceptable to toss fruit stems on the ground if you’re eating outside? I was chilling in my hammock in the park, high as a kite, eating grapes like some sort of Greek God, and when I finished with a bunch, I tossed the remaining stem on the ground. My fiancé was horrified, claiming this was tantamount to littering. I argued that there’s no real difference between the grape stem and any other stick or plant matter already cluttering up the grass. It’s not even unsightly like an apple core. Who’s right here?

You are, with the caveat that you gotta throw that shit in the bushes. The bushes are nature’s garbage can. If you just drop an apple core on a sidewalk, that’s weird, right? You are not putting that apple core in a place where it can properly, and privately decompose.

 

Kyle:

Were the late 90s/early 00s the peak of sports fandom? Sportscenter was still good, we didn’t yet care about what football did to people’s brains, Joe Paterno was still a closeted rape-apologist and stadium deals were still sort of acceptable. Now it feels borderline socially irresponsible to love many sports.

No. Now is better. I’m just like you in that I pine for the days of Dan and Keith, but I promise you that being a sports fan is much more fun NOW. Do you really want to go back to life pre-RedZone? Christ, I remembering schlepping to bars just to watch my asshole team lose on Monitor No. 13 (no sound). Fuck that. And remember when you had to tabulate your own fantasy stats? Can you imagine doing that now? That’s insane.

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So don’t fall prey to In My Dayism when it comes to sports. We’re just coming off the Cubs winning it all and the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history. Things are swell.

 

Email of the week!

Anon:

During last year’s Super Bowl, we went to a small get together at friends’ house. Their two kids are the same age as ours so it usually works. The kids play together while the parents eat and drink, then once the game starts, our 9YO will watch the game off and on while we continue to eat and drink. During the pregame, the kids were in the back yard running around when said 9YO comes in, looks at me like he’s just seen the Star War prequels, and whispers “I need to go to the bathroom (whispers lower) I have to poop”. As the only male child at the party, and seemingly already into his teenage embarrassment stage, he didn’t want to use the bathroom downstairs so he asked to use the upstairs bathroom, and wanted me to stand outside like a secret service agent to ensure no one came up and realized he was taking a dump. After a very long time he opens the door and says, “Daddy, I need help. It won’t flush.” I walk in and see a Chipotle-burrito-sized turd in the toilet. I chugged the rest of my beer and channeled MacGyver and said “We got this.” At first I tried the hot-water-method of melting the turd. Didn’t work and just made the bathroom smell terrible. Then I saw it, the toilet brush. I pushed that turd down the copper tube. Done. Problem is, the turd was so large that the toilet brush had to go so deep down the tube it was stuck. Like Sword in the Stone stuck. After what seemed like an eternity of brute force and delicate maneuvering the brush finally came out. We cleaned up the water mess that was splashed all over the floor and headed back downstairs. These friends are smart asses/assholes who had they known about this would never let it go. So if you publish this story, please delete my name.