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 animal attacks, pee tapes, Red Vines, and more.

Before we get into the Funbag, here are some quick announcements. First of all, I started a newsletter, which you can subscribe to here if you feel like doing that to yourself. Secondly, The Hike comes out in paperback on July 4. There will be a small tour, with the requisite drinking and merriment. I’ll post dates here sometime when I feel like it.

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Now for your letters:

Brian:

Is a flying car a plane?

No it’s an aircraft, but it’s not a plane because a plane has wings and a tail and shit. If we’re going by my imagined design of a flying car—which is probably not structurally sound—it still looks and drives like a landbound car, only you can push a button and zoom up into the sky if the left lane is shut down due to roadwork. There are some flying car prototypes out there where I’m like, “That’s not a fucking flying car.” If there’s a helicopter rotor and just one seat, it’s not a flying car. It needs to be relatively compact and so user-friendly that you can fly it while simultaneously reaching into a McDonald’s bag to grab an early fry or two before landing home.

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Truthfully, there probably needs to be a future beyond cars and planes, where a new sort of craft becomes the dominant mode of transport. I can guarantee you that there’s a team of Apple engineers holed up right now who have been given orders to develop not an Apple car, but a CAR KILLER. Just a dozen Steve Jobs wannabes around a fancy white table going, “What if it had NO seats?” They desperately want Tim Cook to unveil some hovering trapezoid three years from now that changes the entire foundation of human transportation. But they’ll probably come up empty and just push out another iPhone with a slightly better camera.

Even though we need to move on from cars for the good of both the environment and urban planning, they’ll never be able to kill the car entirely, because the science isn’t feasible AND because there are people like me who are wedded to the idea of cars, flying or not. I want an enclosed pod, with X number of seats, and a kickass stereo system, and I want it to be PRIVATE, so that I don’t have to make any needless stops and so I can scream obscenities at other flying car drivers as they fly by. I’m too used to car culture to accept the iZoid, or whatever the fuck they try to invent to top it.

Rob:

If you were to wear a suit of metal spikes covering your entire body, would you be invincible to every type of animal attack? I would have to assume so???...

No, no way. You could still get badly fucked up. Some animals have insanely tough skin. An elephant’s skin is over an inch thick. Stepping on you would be like stepping on a tack for them. Also, many of them may not CARE if they get pricked by metal spikes as they throw you around until your body is limp and ragged. I have read enough florid descriptions of bullfights to know that getting stabbed only makes the bull angrier. A bull could still ruin you. A hippo could still ruin you. An anaconda could still ruin you. It could probably find the weak spot in your armor and then strangle you from within. And we haven’t even gotten to microbes. No one ever beat anthrax with pointy armor.

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You also need to factor in mobility to surviving an animal attack. A suit of metal spikes is extremely heavy. Back in the day, soldiers who wore full plate armor were well-protected from arrows and sword attacks. Spanish conquistadors could be outnumbered 100:1 by native armies and still defeat them with good armor and harquebusiers. BUT the armor was so heavy that if you fell from your horse, you were dead meat because you were literally unable to get up. People could just walk up and slit your throat, easy peasy. Armor is fickle like that. Do you know they would march through the Amazon rainforest in this shit? Can you even imagine? I’d fucking kill myself.

Chet:

Let’s say you are Vladimir Putin, and you do, in fact, have the Don Trump piss tape in your possession. At what point do you release it? On the one hand, it would create absolute chaos in the American political landscape immediately. On the other hand...I assume Putin wants to ensure he squeezes every last drop (no pun intended) out of this useful idiot before he sets the world on fire with the tape. So do you release it...during impeachment hearings? After Trump takes some sort of anti-Russian policy position? Or do you simply wait until he’s out of office and release it just for fun? As if to say “Your precious democracy elected this fucking guy.” What makes the most sense strategically?

Oh, I’d never release it. I would use it to extort Trump until Trump is dead, and then use it to extort his kids, and his kids’ kids, and his kids’ kids’ elementary school friends. Vladimir Putin has no interest in YOU ever seeing that tape. A secret loses its power once it’s no longer secret. I think Putin is cut from the same cloth as J. Edgar Hoover: men who prize secrets because those secrets give them permanent dominion over certain individuals, and because—on a primal level—they relish having sole possession of such treasures. I bet Hoover treated his MLK tapes like he owned a fucking Picasso.

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So if it were up to Putin, you’d never see the pee tape. Why end Trump’s career when you can keep the ongoing disgrace of America going on and on in perpetuity with it locked safely away? He probably has it stored in a giant warehouse next to the fucking Ark of the Covenant. I keep waiting every day for that pee tape to break, but I should know better. It’s gone, man. We’ll never have the chance to watch Donald Trump order escorts to piss on one another. SAD.

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Frank:

What’s the best way to split a cab fare with a buddy when you’re making two stops? Does the person who gets out first pay the whole fare to that point, half the fare to that point, half the total fare? How much compensation is necessary if the first stop is out of the way?

Don’t bother. Dinner math is annoying enough. When it comes to cabs and/or Ubers, I would just pay it all if I were the last stop, and then my friend can get the next cab, or a round of drinks later on. I’m too drunk and tired to haggle, and a round of drinks is really useful as make-good currency anyway. I used to do cab math and try to split the fare evenly, but the chances of you having correct change for that at 3 a.m. are .00000002%. You’re either paying it all, or paying nothing, or grunting and throwing a sawbuck at your friend and hoping that magically evens things out. It’s not worth splitting hairs when you can just come out even later on.

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Please note that this assumes your friend is not a deadbeat who never pays shit back. If you are friends with a deadbeat, make his ass walk. I know that, with Uber, there’s always that awkward moment when someone has to take the initiative and actually order the thing, knowing full well they’ll get charged for the whole ride. It’s natural to have your inner cheapskate be like, “Oh shit, I’m the one who’s gonna have to pay it all, huh?” But eventually you have to grow up and have faith that you’ll get compensated on the back end.

Simon:

What percentage of people masturbate for the last time realizing they are doing so?

Aw man, you just ruined my day. I think it’s a pretty low percentage. I can’t imagine there are too many old fogies with colon cancer who have a whole final night of masturbating planned, with candles and decorations and a favorite last porn clip queued up and waiting for them. That’s not it works. Either you die before getting a chance to jerk off again, or you become so sick and frail that, at some point, you’re like, “Oh, I guess that was it for me and jerking it.” Just a very terse realization that that chapter of your life is over. I’m gonna go cry now.

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Brendan:

I work in an office with a pretty excellently stocked kitchen. One of the more popular items we have is the giant container of Red Vines. What is the most vines I can take in a kitchen run without being seen as a glutton? I think the number is either 3 or 4 but I can’t really decide.

Yeah, that seems like a reasonable handful. If you take a dozen it’s too conspicuous, like running out of the kitchen with a bouquet of roses in your hand. As always, the key to office gorging is to take a small amount, and then wait a few minutes, and then take another small amount, and then repeat the process until there are only two Red Vines left and you hate yourself. Then someone finally finishes off the bucket and you have the audacity to be upset with them. No matter how responsible you may be for it, there’s nothing more dispiriting than an empty office kitchen. It’s a space of infinite cruelty.

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Johnny:

I was reading some news on English soccer and noticed both the press and the coaches are mean as hell when they’re talking about teams and players. I saw some coaches publicly calling out dudes for fucking up just one play. Should American press and coaches do this? Would teams be better?

I think it really depends on the team and the situation. Like, college coaches who throw their players under the bus (see: Kelly, Brian) can funnel a gallon of liquid shit. But if you’re coaching grown men and they all show up to the game hung over, I think you’ve got the right to blast them so long as you also take some accountability for the assbeating (Tom Coughlin never, EVER did this). In general, I think the best coaching strategy is to say nothing of substance publicly and ruthlessly own the shit out of your players in private meetings.

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English soccer teams are a whole other matter. I support those coaches going ballistic because A) When they get mad, it’s fucking HILARIOUS (’Arry went out there and played like right shite, ‘e did!), B) Soccer players are fancypants GLORY BOYS and deserve to get knocked down a peg, and C) There’s only so much some loser soccer coach can do to influence a game. You put the best players out there, hope they score a lot, and make a few key subs if guys look gassed. EASY JOB. I could and should be hired to do it.

I feel like Denny Green and Jim Mora essentially killed that postgame rant. They were so good at bitching out their own team that no coach does it anymore because they don’t want to become a meme-able distraction. I need a nihilist coach who isn’t afraid to turn into Don Rickles at the postgame presser. “Folks, this team is a fucking disgrace. Someone take us out back and fire paintballs at our asses.”

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Spencer:

Recently, a friend of mine was at a large music festival and overheard someone crying in the stall next to them. They peaked over to discover an honest-to-goodness supermodel totally hammered and crying because they were too smashed to wipe their own ass. My friend, being the good Samaritan she is, ended up guiding said supermodel through the process. Is she crazy for helping a stranger, albeit a very famous stranger, wipe their own ass?

Ooooh, was it Kate Moss? Or maybe one of those supermodels who’s fake BFFs with Taylor Swift? I bet it was the latter. Anyway, your friend definitely went above and beyond the call of duty in wiping a stranger’s ass. I’d like to think I have that kind of innate kindness within me, but I know that’s a lie. We’re talking about a dirtyass festival toilet. God only know what kind of Satanic plague awaits you if you delve into the muck. If I’m wiping a drunk supermodel’s ass, there better be VIP passes to the exclusive, supermodel-only festival viewing terrace for me. I want entrance into the land of milk & honey. It’s only fair. NO FREE WIPES, LADY.

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HALFTIME!

Matt:

First bite of a meal: side dish or main attraction? I started thinking about this recently and I realized I take a bite of a side dish 100% of the time. I have no idea why.

Meat first! I’m not patient enough to start with the side dish, and I hate people who performatively eat the vegetables first and are like OH THESE ARE THE REAL STARS OF THE PLATE. Fuck you. You gotta hit the meat first, when it’s at its freshest/most sizzling. The chef will disappointed if you don’t make it a priority to lop off the fatty, charred end of that ribeye and let it EXPLODE in your mouth. I wanna be the first person at the table to be like, “Oh, this looks so good,” and then I wanna be the first to be like, “Ommmmigod it IS so good!” I want my ordering skillz firmly established right away.

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By the way, the current dining scene must be a total nightmare if you’re some fussy dipshit who has to keep everything on the plate separate. Restaurants today are big into harmony, which means everything is commingled on the plate, and you use your knife to wipe each bite of meat with whatever fancy celery root puree is pooled below. If you’re like Andy Rooney and need everything segregated like a TV dinner, you’re screwed. I have no sympathy.

Brett:

Do you think the NFL would ever consider adopting a loan system like international soccer leagues? The gap between the college game and the professional is sizable and there are enough teams with quarterback needs that it seems like someone might be willing to take on a Goff or a Garoppolo in exchange for paying all or a percentage of their yearly salary with play time stipulations set by the team the player is under contract to (and whom he wouldn’t be allowed to take the field against). What are the negatives I’m not seeing (besides injury) in having this opportunity to develop players before they get to start?

Well you can’t just say “besides injury” because that would be such an overriding concern. If I loan out a soccer player, there’s not nearly as much injury risk. At worst, the guy maybe chips his tooth on a champagne flute. If I have a high draft pick like Goff or a prized backup like Janeane Garofalo, I can’t risk lending them out to some other team and seeing them get killed. You got NFL coaches who are roasted just for putting dudes on the kickoff team, so imagine one of their players getting hurt, and not even in the course of playing for them. They’d get crushed.

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Also, the NFL would never have a loan system for the same reason you rarely see in-season trades in the NFL. Teams want to develop players within their system, which is always some proprietary, utterly byzantine series of playbooks that every player is expected to master (and players who are talented but cannot master it are seen as useless). Teams don’t want you learning some other system from some other team. You’ll come back to them babbling playcalls in some strange, unknown language, and then they’ll have to have you unlearn everything you’ve learned.

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This lack of fluidity is a real problem in the NFL. The whole chess match shit has gone way too far, to the point where a lot of otherwise good players are sent out onto the field not knowing what the fuck they’re supposed to be doing. If the NFL was smart, they would simplify the rules of play to the point where schemes are more uniform and raw talent can shine through. I have exactly zero confidence that they’ll ever do this.

Taylor:

If you want the house colder, do you turn your AC up or turn your AC down? My girlfriend says turn it down, as in decrease the temperature, and I say turn it up, as in increase the cooling power. There’s an 8-0 record of winning trivial bets on the line. Who’s right?

I say UP, because you are upping the output of cool, crisp aircon goodness in your home. I know that’s confusing because you’re actually lowering the temperature, but your girlfriend just has to accept that this is a frustrating bit of linguistic jiu-jitsu. I polled the Deadspin staff on this and the majority say UP if they want it colder. I did not bother asking Marchman for an answer, seeing as how he probably thinks a damp washcloth is the only real air conditioning anyone needs.

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Brian:

I’m in the market for a new ceiling fan light fixture in an oft-used living space. The current fixture has a broken chain; the break point is up inside the casing (irreparable), and it’s about 37 years old. The question now is: do I go with another multi-bulb setup (the current one has 5 — 1 in the center w/ 4 on radial arms), or one with a single bulb?

I would get one with a single bulb that has some kind of opaque covering for it. You don’t want a circle of bare bulbs staring down at you from the ceiling. One stray look upward and you’re blinded for a good ten seconds. It’s fucking awful. Also, even though taking the cover off can be dicey, having just one bulb means there are fewer bulbs to change. That’s important because changing a ceiling fan bulb can be a real pain the ass. You gotta get a step ladder. Then you gotta carefully unscrew the bulb while a dozen fly corpses land on your face. Then you gotta screw in the new bulb and pray you don’t slip and accidentally rip the goddamn fan out of the ceiling. It’s a fraught process. It’s like playing Operation, only the shocks are deadly.

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This is more discussion of home air circulation than you probably asked for BUT…as someone who has lived through home renovation, I cannot recommend ceiling fans enough. If you ever get sucked into some horrific remodeling job, make sure you put one EVERYWHERE. Put one in the fucking broom closet if you can. Ceiling fans are lovely. They’re quiet, and consistent, and you don’t have to plug them in like some stupid table fan. I like to lie there and stare at one and pretend I’m Martin Sheen at the beginning of Apocalypse Now. ALL I COULD THINK OF WAS GETTING BACK INTO THE JUNGLE.

Paul:

Like a team that’s up in basketball, is there any benefit for a Jeopardy! contestant who’s leading in Double Jeopardy to intentionally milk the clock by hemming and hawing over which category and/or clue to select next? Especially if it’s a category the leader knows nothing about. Is there a time limit on choosing a clue? Sure it would be obnoxious, but that hasn’t stopped any number of contestants from employing annoying strategies (ie. Arthur Chu). I’ve tried asking Ken Jennings this and get nothing.

I assume producers cut tape and have a little chat with you if you sit there for five minutes hemming and hawing about picking a category. I can’t find a specific rule that forbids milking the clock, but that may be because there’s no upside to doing it. I mean, yeah, maybe you could bank $1,000 off of the first question and then spend the rest of the taping making armpit farts. But that’s hardly a “victory,” seeing as how you minimized your winnings and earned the wrath of everyone at home and in the studio audience. Your goal is to amass as large of a war chest as possible so that you A) Have Final Jeopardy leverage and B) Win lots of money at the end. You can’t do that by playing Martyball. Anyone too chickenshit to duck questions isn’t qualifying for a taping anyway. Your average Jeopardy contestant can’t wait to win money AND wipe their intellect all over the telecast.

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If anything, you want to choose categories quickly, so that you can answer more questions and potentially make even more money. This former contestant wrote a post detailing shortcuts that experienced players use to help keep the round moving. I hope all future players follow these instructions, because nothing pisses me off more than an unfinished Jeopardy board. I’ll never know what that $800 question in Potpourri was, and it will torture me forever.

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Zach:

What would be the more achievable feat for an average semi-athletic person:

A) Return a serve in bounds from a star tennis player (a serve specialist like Milos Raonic), or

B) Make contact and get the ball in play from a pitch from a star MLB pitcher (power pitcher like Aroldis Chapman)

And how many attempts would it approximately take to achieve one of these feats? Feel like I would get lucky about 1 of 100 attempts.

It has to be the serve (resident tennis person Giri Nathan agrees), even though I know full well how terrifying it is to stare down a serve going 1,000mph. I don’t know how pro players even see it. It’s like hitting a bullet. I would just close my eyes and stick my racket out and pray I hit something. At least the serve bounces before it reaches you. That’s a crucial bit of slowdown.

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But I still think my odds of success there are slightly better than if I had to hit a Major League fastball. I wouldn’t even be able to stand in the box, man. The second the ball leaves Chapman’s hands, I am running out of there like a total sissy. No fucking thank you, sir. I’d rather eat a Penn tennis ball launched from a bazooka. Hell, I’d rather take a punch.

Kraig:

What would happen if the Raiders when on the most historic winning streaks in all of sports and went 19-0 for the next three years and one 3 consecutive Super Bowls while riding a 57-game winning streak? They still move?

Yup. Do you see Mark Davis giving Vegas back $750 million out of the goodness of his heart? Neither do I. He could probably bleed Nevada dry for extra parking money with a team that dominant.

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Email of the week!

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Jim:

Recently, my kids ate the bare minimum amount of dinner in order to qualify for dessert, as always. That night’s selection was from the plastic sugar variety pack box: Gushers, Fruit Roll Ups and Fruit by the Foot. Of course, there was only one Fruit by the Foot left, almost certainly because I ate one long after their bedtime, and they both demanded it. I immediately went into mediation mode trying to come up with some grand bargain so there wouldn’t be a huge fight, but my heart wasn’t in it and they weren’t buying it. At that very moment, I realized that the individually wrapped Fruit by the Foot felt bulkier than normal. I tore it open to reveal TWO separate rolls where there was only supposed to be ONE! Both kids went away happy for at least the next 6 minutes, and I experienced a wave of serendipitous euphoria unlike anything I’d ever felt before.

Am I making too big a deal of this, or was this truly something special?

‘Twas a miracle. Write of it on sacred parchment.