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An Extremely Mild And Pointless Defense Of Raisins

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FunbagTime for your weekly edition of the Deadspin Funbag. Got something on your mind? Email the Funbag.

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Raisins are fucking awful. Who likes them? What are they even good for? They look (and taste!) like shriveled Teletubby testicles.


You know, once in a while I hear from raisin haters. And while I’m the last person who should chastise people over their food hang-ups, I don’t really get what John Oliver and the like have against nature’s Skittle. It’s a little chewy wad of fructose. Seems fairly harmless. I like raisins in cookies, and in salads, and in oatmeal, and even in curries. They add the fabled textual element to dishes, plus a little punch of sweetness. Every food needs PUNCH. We should make the whole meal out of punch. I even like the yogurt-covered raisins, mainly because the yogurt part has been stripped of ANY possible nutritional element. I am also unreasonably impressed by golden raisins. Oh wow, these raisins are GOLDEN. Salvaged from the great treasure caves of Babylon, they are!

Raisins are fine, America. I mean, they don’t give me a raging erection. I’m not like, “Whoa, the raisins really take this dish to NIRVANA!” But they’re certainly not offensive in the way that demon mayonnaise is. You can pick the raisins out of things. And if you do, it doesn’t leave raisin slime on the rest of your meal. What’s the issue with them, then? Is it because they’re mummy grapes? Is it because some grape was left to shrivel up in the sun and become a potentially ideal home for wasp eggs? Is that it? I guess that’s kinda valid.


Anyway, that’s my throaty defense of raisins. I hope you enjoyed. Now prunes? Prunes can burn in hell.


What’s the best way to get off a conference call when you have to take a dump? Particularly when it’s about to end but then some asshole says something that’ll surely keep it going for another 15 minutes.

Just say you have to leave. There’s no need to explain. One thing that people always get caught up in is concocting excuses when, the majority of the time, an excuse isn’t necessary at all. It’s not like people WANT to hang around on that conference call much longer (except for ONE idiot at the office, and there’s always one). Just bail. People are far less curious about your potential absence than you think they are. They’re not like, “Whoa, Bram really had to bolt there. Do we think he MURDERED another man?” It ain’t some grand mystery. You either had another meeting, or you were bored, or you had to shit. Who cares.

Don’t waste your excuses for piddly things. Save them for when you really need them. Like when you ditch your bride at the altar. Now THERE is when a valid, workshopped excuse really comes in handy. “Honey, I’m so sorry. I didn’t realize that I had a dermatologist appointment scheduled that same day, and you know damn well how hard it is to move that shit around. People wait a whole year to see this guy!”



What do you think would happen if everyone on the planet dropped a bowling ball on the ground at the same time?


Nothing? Like, I assume you’re concerned it might cause a blanket earthquake that ripples over the surface of the planet and activates every volcano along the Pacific Rim, dousing us in hot magma and suffocating the world in a lethal fog of ash for hundreds of thousands of years? That wouldn’t happen. You need a bit more force than that. It’d still be pretty cool though. I’m game if you are.

By the way, my sons still do not know how to roll a bowling ball. I take them to the alley once in a while out of sheer boredom, and I implore to NOT throw the balls. And what happens? My boy runs out and launches one of those fuckers like he’s tossing an eephus pitch. It’s got the arc of a fucking Steph Curry three-pointer. When it lands, it’s like hearing ice crack. One day I’m gonna have to pay some sort of fine on their behalf, and it’s gonna suck.


You know what? While I’m being completely random, here’s something I never realized until recently: bowling shoes are a LIE. Oh sure, you need them if you’re Pete Weber and you’re putting nine G’s worth of topspin on that shit in the middle of the Funyuns Classic or whatever. But I was at the alley with my kids and the dude at the counter was like “You don’t have to rent shoes if you don’t want.” Blew my mind. I thought you had to rent the shoes. I thought they’d drag your ass away if you dared to step onto the alley in a pair of Asics. But no! All this time, I could have saved money and dicked around at the bowling alley in my own kicks instead of ponying up for a pair of uncomfortable clown groom shoes. Unbelievable. BIG COBBLER really did a number on all of us!


I’m thinking about a diet of cereal (with milk), deli meats, alcohol, and water. Like 2 weeks tops. What’s going to happen? Will I get bored? Is this a good idea?


Andrew, I am not a licensed medical professional, nor am I a nutritionist. But I’d just like to say… I think this is a FANTASTIC idea. I see no potential drawbacks to this plan, apart from mass blood vessel spasming. Just gut it out. I think you’ll come out on the other side looking trim and smelling like cider vinegar. WHO SAYS NO?

For real though, you’ll probably get bored. Also, you probably won’t lose any weight because I know damn well that any man—particularly a single man—can eat an infinite amount of cereal and cold cuts (but not together). How many bowls of cereal could you eat if left unchecked? 46? I know I could. And how many pounds of smoked ham could you throw down if handed an endless supply? We are talking about two of the most easily binge-able foodstuffs ever devised.


One massive adjustment I’ve had to make in my old age is realizing that I can’t get away with housing an entire box of Cinnamon Toast Crunch the way I could back in college. Every morning I eat a bowl of frosted shredded wheat, and I use a small bowl and a small spoon to keep my portions in check. It is, hands down, the saddest thing you’ve ever seen. You would hug me if you witnessed it in person. But I can’t eat more cereal than that or else THE FATNESS. It’s not fair.

You’ll never lose weight and keep it off if you subscribe to some sort of fad diet where you eat only X food or drink only algae smoothies. The best way to stay healthy is to eat less but to EXPAND your choices, so that everything you eat is tasty and satisfying. Will it EVER be enough? Probably not, but at least it’ll help you main some semblance of self-control. I’ve had to stay off cold cuts for a while now because of my blood pressure. But you know what I did the other day? I bought some roast beef and some provolone. Then I nuked the roast beef for a few seconds before rolling it up IN the provolone and eating it like a little, naked cheesesteak bomb. It was bliss. I regret nothing. Next time I’m gonna add some raisins to it and see what happens.



Was riding on the subway this morning and noticed a number of people dressed in business suits riding the subway to work while also standing with scooters. Is this some weird new trend I’m not aware of? Wouldn’t the whole point of a scooter be to avoid having to ride mass transit and is bringing a scooter on the train somehow better than a bike?


I assume they use the scooter to cut down the time to GET to the train. Saves them three precious minutes and it makes them look cool and fun while they do it! That’s the kind of urban transport solution that BIG SCOOTER is ready to provide to upscale Americans. Scooter and bike-sharing apps have already exploded across California. Are these companies run by deluded morons whose entire plan for DISRUPTING urban transport is that it’s better to ask forgiveness then permission? You know they are.

“When you ride a Bird, it reminds you of being free,” said the 39-year-old. “It gives you freedom. Like you have wings.”


You’re on a fucking scooter, kid. Let’s not get crazy here. Anyway, the streets in D.C. are now growing increasingly littered with dipshit scooters and ugly bikes, and I assume Metro will be crowded with them soon, as well. When I was downtown watching the Caps clinch the Stanley Cup on Thursday night, some asshole pushed through the crowd—and we’re talking an extremely dense crowd full of small children and wobbly drunks—with a Limebike. And the whole point of a Limebike is that you can ditch it! The fuck are you doing, guy? I hate everyone.


The worst thing about this craze is the sense of superiority these companies—and their users—feel because they’re using an alternative transport to cars. And listen, I understand that cars are an inherent evil. They’re bad for the environment and they’re an inefficient and expensive way of moving people around from place to place. But your nobility in shunning a car does not cancel out the INCREDIBLE douchebaggery of blindly speeding down a sidewalk at 15 mph while you’re talking into a Bluetooth headset.

You are not doing society a favor when you rent a scooter. We need to address the car issue but the solution to that, of course, is both hard and dull. I’ve got a boner for the Hyperloop like any spiritual 12-year-old, but I know that’s not what will make things actively better. We need to fix and expand existing mass transit. We need more affordable housing in city centers. We need more walkable areas. Those are all solutions that are hiding in plain sight. Will any of that shit get done? No, because it isn’t sexy. What IS sexy is some YouTube CEO piling up VC money after telling a bunch of old farts that driverless Razor scooters are the way of the future and a surefire SUBWAY KILLER.


I’m gonna go live on a farm in Holland or something.


I was recently at a concert and people were leaving before the concert was over to try to avoid traffic. Is that worse than leaving a game early for the same reason? Which is worse?


The concert. Don’t get me wrong, I still reserve the right to make fun of Marky Mark for bailing early on the Super Bowl, but that’s the Super Bowl. If it’s a regular season game, no one will blame you for caving into your dad instincts and fleeing the second a lead gets out of hand.

But if you leave a concert* early, you suck. Why the fuck did you even go to the thing if you’re gonna bail before the encore? That’s when they play “Free Bird,” man! EVERYONE KNOWS THIS. The only time I left a concert early was at an Oasis concert and it was because my wife was pregnant and terrified that the sounds of PURE RAWK coming out of the amps would cause the baby to eject out of her body and out onto the festival lawn. Am I still an insensitive blob who is sad we left? I AM. We were getting into the car when I heard them start into “Champagne Supernova.” I was gutted. And the baby turned out fine! We could have stayed. I STILL ROCK. I’M NOT THAT OLD. OH GOD I’VE COMPLETELY LOST IT HAVEN’T I?


*This applies to a band you came specifically to see; I’m not talking about some dumb festival shit where you suffer through 98 acts just to see Deerhoof or whatever. 


If Trump and Kim Jong-un played one-on-one to 21, what would the final score be?


Kim would wreck him. He’s only 34! Don’t you feel bad about your life knowing that now? I can’t believe I’m seven years older than an established dictator. I haven’t ordered ANY killings in my lifetime. I feel like I’m so far behind. I bet Kim is so young he wouldn’t get ANY of my Monty Python references. NI!

Anyway, while Kim is out of shape, he’s also half Trump’s age, and he loves basketball. He would beat Trump 21-0, and then he would get Trump to give up $4 billion in US treasury bonds in exchange for giving Trump potential, but not definitive, access to the new IHOP burger. I have seen the future, and it is one where America plays itself over and over and over again.




Settle this random office debate that popped up when we surprisingly lost internet today - if the colosseum games were brought today, who would do better? Trained animal trainers or military trained special forces (Seal Team Six, Rangers etc). Assume everyone gets the same types of weapons to use and face the same animals.


The trainers! Why, if you’re a smart and levelheaded trainer who knows how to properly communicate, you probably won’t even have to use a weapon in the arena at all! LET THAT BE A LESSON TO AMERICA’S POLICE DEPARTMENTS.

Also, have a gander at the weapons that were used back in gladiator times: spears, swords, slings, lead-weighted darts (neat!)… these are not weapons that your standard Navy SEAL is trained to use. I know people tend to venerate those guys as supermen who can kill a dozen terrorists using only a fork and a roll of Saran Wrap. But at no point during Hell Week are trainees forced to take down a lion using only a fucking trident. The lion would eat the SEAL, and then a million Bradley Coopers around the world would all cry out in sorrow, as if they themselves had been eaten.


By the way, I’m so anti-gun that I firmly believe that, in addition to banning guns from civilian life, all standing armies of the world should ALSO ditch their firearms. From now on, only swords and bows allowed. Tell me you don’t miss medieval combat. You keep hearing it. Well, we’re gonna look STRONGLY into bringing that back. From now on, if you really want to fight a war, you have to fight it Helm’s Deep-style.


I feel like when I was growing up pee smelled like pee, or nothing at all and I was just fine with that. Now that I’m 40-something I almost feel like I can smell what I’ve eaten via my urine. I think there’s undeniably a correlation to stool and what you eat but I’ve never noticed this with peeing before. This is a standing-while-peeing situation so I’m not mixing the smells or anything. I quit smoking a few years ago and folks have said that your sense of smell is increased but I never really noticed that but I’m wondering if I just missed this for the past 40 years, or is it possible that… my internal system ain’t working as well to filter things out and thus- ham-sandwich-smelling pee?!?!? What’s wrong with me?


I feel you, sir. It was only a couple of years ago where the only thing that made my pee smell weird was asparagus, and asparagus pee is a kind charming anomaly. “Oh wow, my piss SMELLS! Ain’t that some shit!” But now… it’s EVERYTHING. It’s coffee. It’s vegetables. It’s certain spices. I think I had some weird piss the other day because I ate, like, fish.

And my booze piss has become intolerable. The other night I drank some cheap beer and then took a piss and let it mellow, and when I came back to the toilet in the middle of the night to piss again, the smell nearly gave me a concussion. I may as well have pissed on the walls. It’s like a mouse died inside my bladder, and I’m not happy about it. I hydrate like I’m running a marathon and yet my piss smells like I just crossed a desert on a donkey. I can’t believe I’m gonna have to buy scented urinal cakes for my own goddamn bathroom. It ain’t right. I’m not as disgusting a man as my urine would have you believe!



I’m not sure if you recall this, but before he robbed an entire taxpayer base and then went Full Pepe on social media, Curt Schilling had a fairly decent public image for his GRIT on the field and for his role in raising awareness and funding in the fight against ALS. It was in this capacity that he met my uncle Tom, who spent over a decade with the disease and passed away a couple years ago. Anyway, Tom had met Schilling during some ALS event and got a signed game-worn Red Sox jersey out of it. After Tom died, the signed jersey made its way to me because I’m a Sox fan (I know, I know). As you can imagine, this jersey carries sentimental value. But, then again, it’s a Curt Schilling jersey. Do I risk wearing it to games/bars and being forced to explain myself in social situations? Or do I just bury it and numb any feelings with alcohol? Keep in mind I don’t live in Boston, so I can’t depend on Dennis and Callahan listeners to soften the social backlash.


I can only speak for myself here, but I think I can compartmentalize between Curt Schilling the pitcher and Curt Schilling the deranged online rage-goblin with a brain made of raw biscuit dough. If you want to pay tribute to the former Curt by either framing his jersey or busting it out to wear on special occasions, I think that’s all right. You’re sticking to sports there. Sometimes it’s impossible to separate the athlete from the man, like if you wore an Aaron Hernandez jersey. But truly, NO ONE DENIES how good of a pitcher Schilling was back when folks like me mistakenly assumed he was a sane person.

If someone yells at you for rocking that jersey, well look: You’re a Sox fan. People were gonna yell at you anyway, and you’ll have deserved it. Just calmly explain to the heckler why you have the jersey and what it means to you, and I’m 100 percent certain that will resolve ANY animosity between you and that blind drunk Yankees rushing at your with a pair of custom brass knuckles. This is a kind and gentle world!



How far can you drive from your driveway if blindfolded? Assume in this case there is no other traffic and red lights/stop signs don’t count. You’re allowed to hit a couple mailboxes. Related: What’s the farthest you can drive on pure memory? Assume there are zero street signs and you just have to go off of where you’ve made it before. You could make it from DC to ______.


My driveway features a retaining wall, so if I put on a blindfold, I wouldn’t make it out of the driveway without sideswiping that wall, and then bashing into some other car parked along our street. I’m not Daredevil. My senses and instincts are not magically heightened when you make me blind as a bat. I am helpless. I wouldn’t make it a block. On a normal day, I can pull out of my driveway and go to the grocery store and be on mental autopilot the entire time, but that doesn’t make me a fucking ninja. There are all sorts of visual and audio crutches I am using to make that drive, even when I’m not really thinking about how I’m using them. But I require them all the same. It’s humbling thing, to realize that your instincts are essentially a hilarious lie. I wish every fucking scooter app CEO was forced to attempt a blind driving test.

As for the driving question, I could make it to Miami because I know how to get onto 95 from where I live. From there, I assume it’s a straight shot down to South Beach, with NO ambiguous highway divides of any sort! Please note that I am a dad, so even if I get lost attempting this, I will never admit to it.



Settle an argument between my wife and I. Outside of baking, is it reasonable to place food inside the oven while it preheats?


Yeah I do it. I get impatient. I try to hold out for the preheat but it takes FOREVER, so when it hits 200 or whatever I’m like “Good enough!” and then I just throw the chicken in anyway. What does it matter? The food itself needs to gradually heat up anyway. Why not do it WITH the oven itself? I got shit to do. I’m not gonna babysit an oven with my thumb up my butt. I want my food to start cooking right now, this instant. I can’t wait one more goddamn minute.

I’ve even put ready-to-bake cookie dough in the oven when it’s preheating and it’s turned out okay. All my children are now dead from salmonella poisoning, but the cookies were perfectly edible.



Why did Trader Joes and Whole Foods change the shape of butter? It used to be a nice long rectangle, now it’s all boxy and doesn’t fit into classic butter dishes. What gives?


Does Whole Foods do that too? That drives me nuts. A stick of butter was already the perfect shape. It’s easy to check the measurements along the wrapper and hack off a tablespoon or two as needed. The pats melt perfectly and the stick, as a whole, ALSO melts perfectly. Ever watch a stick of butter melt in a saucepan? It is deeply satisfying, if not downright erotic. Sometimes I swirl the pan and that really kicks up the melting action. This is not a shape that needed to be reimagined. But Trader Joe’s did just that, because they’re Trader Joe’s and their entire existence is based on being quirky and annoying.

And I’m gonna tell you something that you will absolutely agree with: those odd-shaped sticks they sell? They’re smaller. I know they claim it’s the same size as a regular-shaped stick of butter, but that’s just a convenient lie. They are STEALING butter on every purchase, skimming it off the top (literally!) and adding it to their vast butter reserves! And you know where those reserves go? You guessed it: RUSSIA. It all goes back to Russia. I will not rest until Mother Russia has paid for its butter crimes. You hear me, Putin? I got you figured out. Your days of smearing an extra generous helping of butter to your kulich are OVER!!!! I HAVE THE EMAILS! I KNOW ABOUT YOUR SECRET MEETING WITH THE LAND O’LAKES GIRL!



What really happened to Cameron at the end of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off? I mean, do we really believe he finally confronted his dad and everything was just great after that?


I do NOT believe that, but I’m glad the story ended where it ended. I don’t require a sequel where Cameron turns out to be a deeply unhappy father of four who is as emotionally detached from his own family as his own father was from him. But I’m sure they’ll go ahead and make that movie anyway.

One of the drawbacks of the endless sequel economy—apart from the fact that it results in bad movies—is that movies now steadfastly refuse to leave the unknown unknown. They’ve already made two Star Wars movies based off a handful of lines from the original trilogy, and those lines were all ANYONE needed. They’re supposedly making a Joker origin story even though the whole reason Heath Ledger’s Joker is legendary was specifically because he had no origin story. Whatever happened to the thrill of mystery, man?


[someone reminds me about the end of the Sopranos]




Would it be okay for me to eat trail mix with a spoon?

Yes, unless you are literally on a trail. If you’re at home munching on peanuts and M&Ms like a dweeb, have at it. Trail mix is the soccer dad SUV of snacks, so you may as well co-opt it entirely.


Email of the week!


I was at a rain-delayed MLB game with my brother recently, and we noticed how easy it would have been in that pre-game moment to get onto the field. There were a few security guards around but the grounds crew was nowhere to be seen—maybe talking strategy in the clubhouse. Everyone seemed distracted by the rain. Talk turned to the idea of sneaking on the field near first base and bolting for the infield tarp before the guards could snatch you. You could easily crawl underneath the tarp in the space between two weight bags, then crawl to the middle of the tarp. There were these fairly big bubbles of air in the tarp, enough that a person could comfortably chill out for a while, and if you stayed low, it would be difficult to even tell which bubble you were in.

Our question then is: what could security do to get you? If they tackled or sat on you, there would be risk of suffocation, and they aren’t going to want to risk killing someone publicly. I’d say that getting the crawler out safely and alive would be their top priority in the era of viral videos. So...would they crawl under and engage in a high-speed crawl chase? Would they have to summon the whole grounds crew and then roll the tarp back up, getting the infield wet? Would they just wait you out?


My friend, perhaps you aren’t old enough to remember the Vince Coleman incident, but I do. If you sneak under a tarp, security is not your primary opponent. The tarp is. The tarp always wins. Never challenge a tarp.

Drew Magary is a Deadspin columnist and columnist for GEN magazine. You can buy Drew's second novel, The Hike, through here.

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