Illustration: Sam Woolley (GMG)
FunbagTime for your weekly edition of the Deadspin Funbag. Got something on your mind? [Email the Funbag](mailto:funbag.deadspin@gmail.com).   

Today, we’re talking about woke Axl Rose, salt, rich assholes who exercise a lot, and more.

Your letters!

Pat:

You have to give up one for the rest of your life: candy or alcohol? The answer has to be candy right?

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LOL what makes you think I haven’t already been forced to make that choice? Get to age 30 and the candy is the first vice to go, amigo. As you get older, you slowly divest yourself of all the fun things: sugar, fat, drugs, friendship, casual touch football outings, etc. Candy is right up there on the triage list, and it’s not even that big of a deal. If you rid this world of all the candy, I wouldn’t shed a fucking tear. You’d be doing my ass a favor.

Candy is a goddamn scourge. Every year, I swear to myself that I won’t eat any Halloween candy, then I see a Take Five in my kid’s bag and I break. Then I do a mini-binge and feel like ass for a week. GARRRRRRR CANDY [shakes fist]!!!! I’m sick of it being so sweet and tempting. And everyone has it! You can’t walk five feet in this country without stumbling upon a goddamn candy dish. It’s a minefield. We’re all trying to kill each other with stale Skittles.

By the way, last week I got rid of all the Halloween candy. After every Halloween, the kids keep it all in a bag, and they would gladly nurse that bag for an entire calendar year if they could. Instead, I donate it all when they aren’t looking, and then they RAGE. They rage like drug addicts ransacking the house in search of spare cash. And they get REALLY mad at the idea of me donating it. What? You gave it to people in need? How dare you?! Then they calm down after 10 minutes and everything is normal again. Candy is poison. I’ll survive without it.

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But you will pry my whiskey bottle from my cold dead hands. Given my intake, you’ll be able to do that fairly soon!

Ned:

Is it more difficult to motivate oneself to work-out on a regular basis as a professional athlete and/or as an actor/musician/other figure whose ‘brand’ depends on looking fit and healthy?

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No, and I say that knowing that a professional athlete’s workout is, by orders of magnitude, much longer and more arduous than the average pud’s daily workout. I go to the gym and dick around on an elliptical machine for 45 minutes every day, looking like a chump. Meanwhile, Von Miller spends his offseason dragging tractors up fucking mountains. Calling my workout a “workout” is a hilarious overstatement when Marky Mark is getting up at 2:30 in the morning to drag 500-pound crosses around his lawn. That requires motivation … insufferable, deeply annoying motivation.

HOWEVER … athletes and other famous types have all the resources, time, and financial incentive in the world to get jacked. Like, Gwyneth Paltrow doesn’t look young and fit because of all the moon dust she snorts, or because she has grit. It’s because she’s fucking LOADED. She can afford personal trainers to kick her ass and nutritionists to count her calories for her and doctors to ShopVac fat out of her pores. Getting in shape IS her life, and there aren’t a whole lot of stumbling blocks to her achieving that goal. She doesn’t have to work three jobs, or eat at Mickey D’s because she’s only got five bucks in her wallet, you know what I mean? There will always be lazy people, but it’s a mistake to chalk up people’s poor health to a general lack of motivation.

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The rich are healthier than the poor, especially in this country. Not to get preachy on you, but wealthy Americans’ life expectancy is up to 15 years greater than that of poor Americans. Part of this, of course, is because they can afford health care. But it’s also because they have access to every possible resource they need to get healthy and to stay that way: nutrition, exercise, education, etc. It’s a serious problem because everyone deserves to have enough time and money to go flipping monster truck tires around a race track to get cut, but only a fortunate few can. I SAY WE EAT THE RICH AND USE THEIR PROTEIN-LACED MUSCLES TO GET SWOLE.

Also, working out isn’t such a burden if you’re already in fantastic shape and you feel fucking great. I remember when I was in the best shape of my life back in 1997. I remember it distinctly, because I know I’ll NEVER EVER EVER feel that good again. I could do pull ups back then! More than one! It was FUN to do them! I felt like a GOD. I won’t feel that good again until I drop dead.

Matt:

Woke Axl Rose is shocking everyone, right? Maybe it shouldn’t be. Go watch his “Welcome to the Jungle” video. On the TV sets in the video, it’s 50% teenage horndog, 50% human atrocities. Axl knew what was up 30 years ago. THAT should be what shocks everyone.

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Yeah it’s not that shocking, because Axl Rose was a teenage punk from Indiana who fucking hated both his abusive religious stepfather and the police in equal measure. He wasn’t exactly a pro-authority figure kind of guy in those days. It was Axl Rose who taught me everything I know about REBELLION, dammit!

So no, it’s not exactly surprising that he would use his Twitter feed to yell at the President. I think what’s shocking about Axl these days is how reliable he’s become. He’s punctual, he’s coherent, he’s professional. I dunno what kind of meds he’s on but they must be the greatest meds in the world because, for roughly four decades, he was an AWFUL, abusive human being to a whole lot of people. He did some truly unforgivable shit, so I don’t know if Axl should necessarily get credit merely for not being a deranged, selfish asshole.

I guess I’m glad he didn’t go the way of Ted Nugent, though. Too many metal icons became MAGA turds. Like it’s genuinely dispiriting to have Dave Mustaine be like, “I’ll tell you who should rust in peace: Hillary Clinton!” I wasn’t ready for everyone to get so old so fast.

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Christopher:

Are salt grinders bullshit?

Not to go against my colleagues at The Takeout, but I’m fine with a salt grinder. They work pretty well, and they look super classy on the table when you pair them up with a matching pepper grinder. You’re living your best life with your Restoration Hardware eight-speed Himalayan pink salt mill. No one is gonna begrudge you that. Salt grinders are the original Gruden grinders.

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I like using a salt grinder because every salt shaker on earth comes out either too slow or too fast. With a salt grinder, you get a nice even spray and some semblance of control over just how quickly you’d like to die of hypertension. You can hold it high over your steak and MAKE IT RAIN. Hell yeah, bitch: have ALL the salt.

It’s true that I don’t like refilling a salt grinder because I am a profoundly lazy man. If I twist the thing and nothing comes out, I just give up. Looks like I’m never eating again, folks! But it still beats using table salt, which is too fine to be reliable. Ever unscrew a salt shaker and have the salt trapped in the threads spill all over? That’s the fucking worst. You’re never gonna be able to clean all that shit up. There are grains of salt on my floor that have been there for nine years. You can oversalt something instantly using table salt, which is why I only use it for baking and shit.

By the way, here’s a little salt hack my wife came up with. You take an empty spice jar, like an old cinnamon jar. You wash it out, dry it, and then fill it with kosher salt. VOILA. You got a kosher salt shaker that seasons evenly and consistently. HOORAY!

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Scott:

Does Trump believe that Melania loves him?

I guess he does? I mean, he’s delusional in every way about how people perceive him, so sure: Melania loves him more than anyone has ever loved anyone and that’s just so true and everyone feels that very strongly. This is corny, but I don’t think Trump really knows what love is and I don’t think he gives a shit. I think it matters much more to him that Melania NEEDS him. I think he equates love with holding personal and financial dominion over people. His family “loves” him because they’re all on the gravy train, and he thinks this is a normal and good way of living. And it is. Totally healthy and great for all parties involved.

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By the way, I know this take has already been issued, but Melania sucks. She absolutely sucks. She’ll never leave Donald. She’ll never betray him. She’ll never tell the world how much she hates him. I know people want to ascribe hidden pangs of guilt to Melania and the rest of Trump’s hideous family, but there’s nothing there. They all suck, and they’re all sociopaths. Don’t expect a face turn from someone who’s already shown you their true face.

Mark:

I went to the dentist the other day and got my usual goodie bag on the way out with a toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, etc. and it got me thinking, I don’t think I’ve ever purchased dental floss in my life (I’m 26). I’ve always just used the stockpiled stash I have from the dentist. What is another item you’ve always had at home but never/rarely purchase despite it being a commonly used and disposable item?

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I used to NEVER buy a toothbrush because they were free at the dentist, so I would just use the free one until it looked like someone had cleaned barnacles off a ship with it. Then I would make a new appointment to get another one. Then I got married and was promptly told that I was a disgusting monster. So I can’t do that anymore, even though I would very much like to. We paid like $100 for an electric toothbrush. I was aghast. The thing demands you brush for two minutes. TWO MINUTES! Do you know how long two minutes takes when you’re brushing? I got shit to do, man.

Anyway, I’m trying to think of the free shit people routinely get: hotel shampoos and lotions, promotional t-shirts, protein bars at the gym, breath mints, pocket bibles, coasters, Frisbees, free pens from any local real estate agent, LOVE, etc. There’s a real estate agent here who gives away jars of apple butter, so I have like two unopened jars of apple butter in my kitchen that will last me for the next 40 years. Don’t get me wrong, I like apple butter. I used to spoon it right out of the jar when I was a kid. But finding multiple uses for apple butter every week is far more effort than I care to expend.

I’ve gotten to a point in life where I’m probably always gonna pay for something even when I can get it for free. Like, I could wear only free PTA T-shirts for the rest of my life and save some dough. Will I? No. No, I’m okay to buy T-shirts on my own like a big boy. I also use flossers instead of floss, because floss always slips out of my clammy hands unless I wind it around my finger over and over until the blood supply is cut off. I used to do this a LOT when I was a kid. I would garrote my own finger, watch it turn purple, and then go, “COOL!” I was not the smartest child.

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HALFTIME!

Joe:

With the success of recent music biopics like Straight Outta Compton and the upcoming Bohemian Rhapsody, what is the next band movie you’d like to see come out? For my money, it’s Pantera.

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None. No more. Please god no more band movies. Why would I watch any band movie when I can watch a band documentary featuring the REAL musicians acting like real assholes? Band movies are even more useless than sports movies. There’s no reason to spend $14 to go watch a high-gloss reenactment of a band that already exists. The closest you’re gonna is get a decent approximation of that band, like you’re listening to Greta Van Fleet. It’s still not gonna beat the real thing. I love Hüsker Dü and that band’s story has more than enough juicy material to make a movie. In my brain, I write and direct New Day Rising and win several Oscars for it, spurring a Dü-naissance in the process. In reality, I don’t think anyone needs to see Jonah Hill playing Bob Mould when you could just read a book about him.

I’ve watched biopics like Ray and Walk The Line and found them to be perfectly decent, but none of those movies were necessary. They’re basically video compilations, existing strictly to goose up back catalog sales and so some actor can get praise for uncannily channeling a dead rock star thanks to a decent makeup job. At this point, getting acclaim for starring in a biopic is a virtual lock for almost ANY actor. It’s easy! I’m much more surprised when an actor openly fails at the job, the way Leonardo DiCaprio did in J. Edgar.

Look at that goddamn makeup. It’s like they bought him a J. Edgar Hoover mask at Spirit Halloween. Anyway, I’d much rather watch a movie about a fictional band instead of a real one… unless that movie is Almost Famous, because FUCK Almost Famous. What a load of cutesy horseshit that movie was.

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Tim:

If a rookie QB throws a TD to a rookie RB/WR, who gets to keep the ball? The QB, or do they King Solomon that ball?

I think the RB or WR would get to keep it because there would be a tacit understanding that the QB will throw plenty more touchdown passes in his career, and because part of a QB’s job is to be deferential. You see this in every press conference, where the QB is like, “Our guys were incredible out there today: Jaquon and the wideouts, Gummy Joe and the offensive line… everyone worked hard all week and I’m just so happy for us AS A TEAM.”

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The QB is automatically a team leader and the highest paid dude on the roster, so it behooves him to pretend like he’s the least important guy on the offense. You never see Aaron Rodgers be like, “Yeah, I’d like to award myself a game ball because I made everything happen out there because my teammates are fucking flotsam.” But he should! He should say that in every press conference, because it’s true.

Ari:

Last week I was talking to a few friends of mine and they all swore that they don’t watch non-HD porn and could never masturbate to it. Are they insane? Sure, there’s so much 1080p porn that it really doesn’t matter, but there’s surely some older, slightly grainy but great video that these snobs are missing.

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I’m just amused by the idea of a guy with his phone in one hand and his dick in the other, bitching about picture quality. WAIT A SECOND THIS PORN IS ONLY 24 FRAMES A SECOND! HOW’S A MAN SUPPOSED TO FIND PLEASURE IN THAT?! These fucking kids today, man. Spoiled rotten. I spent my teens gratifying myself to scrambled cable signals and the back pages of Hit Parader magazine, and little Johnny Millennial out here is demanding porn in ATMOS! Talk about being unable to handle adversity! In my day, the only porn you got was a crusty old copy of Ulysses, and you liked it! Buncha PORNFLAKES, if you ask me!

Anyway, your friends are not insane, just poisoned. The internet lets them be as picky as they choose, which of course means that they’re ENDLESSLY picky, which means that no single clip will ever satisfy them fully, which is healthy! Always good to have sexual ADHD.

Randy:

When it’s warm, ever notice that when people come back to the office from lunch they smell like “outside.” It not that they stink, it’s just that you can tell they just came from outside. Am I wrong?

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Do you live near a chocolate factory?

In all seriousness, I have never smelled “outside” on a fellow citizen, but I have a weak nose. I can barely smell my own piss. By contrast, my wife can smell someone farting in the Ukraine. If there’s a gas leak ANYWHERE in my county, she will sniff it out like a bloodhound and then immediately call the gas company to warn of an imminent pipeline explosion. Such a sensitive nose, and yet she’s married to a living fart machine. She has regrets. Anyway, she could probably smell outside on a person. But I’m hopeless.

I do believe the air outside has a distinct smell. Of course it does. Like, when you walk off a plane in Florida and get a whiff of the air, it SMELLS like Florida. Ever open up a suitcase after a beach vacation? You shit SMELLS like the beach. Every place on Earth has its own ineffable musk of smog and food and industry and animal dung and people and everything else. That’s what makes traveling so cool, and it’s why you can’t necessarily replicate the FEEL of one place in some other place. The air makes a huge difference. But I can only smell that terroir for roughly nine seconds before my body adjusts and I’m back to being the olfactorily clueless doof that I usually am.

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Alex:

I thoroughly enjoy Dwayne Johnson as a human, but I realize that I’ve only seen one of his movies (Moana) in the last 10 years. Since he’s the highest paid actor in the world, is that an acceptable pop culture blind spot, or am I fucked up?

No man, I’m right there with you. I went down his entire iMDB resume and, like you, the only movie of his I’ve seen is Moana, which is a great fucking movie. I still haven’t seen any Fast & Furious movies, but I swear I’ll get around to it right after I finish watching all the Marvel movies, along with Deadwood, and Game of Thrones, and Killing Eve, and Homecoming, and … God, I’m never gonna finish anything, am I? What a load.

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Anyway, I’m biased since I’m in the same boat as you, but I think it’s fine if you haven’t seen the majority of The Rock’s filmography. He makes a LOT of shitty movies. I’m not gonna sit here gnashing my teeth because I never bothered to watch Journey 2: The Mysterious Island. The Rock makes expensive B-movies for airplane passengers, and that’s a perfectly acceptable niche for him to ply his trade in. One day he’s gonna go Indie and play Lou Reed in an attempt to win an Oscar, and it will prove to be a colossal error in judgment. Rock on the Wild Side will make six dollars at the box office.

David:

Musically, I’m a child of the 80's. Growing up, I heard a lot of bad corporate rock. But I don’t get the hatred of We Built This City, by Starship. I mean, it’s not a great song, but somehow it makes it onto lists of worst songs (Blender/VH-1, Rolling Stone, GQ and probably others). I think it only gets there simply because Starship is the successor of Jefferson Airplane and they didn’t stick to the ethos of the 60's.

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I remember that Blender list! I actually enjoyed that magazine. You look at that magazine and it was big, folks, I mean REALLY big. Are we gonna bring Blender back? Lots of people are saying we’re gonna bring it back. Should we bring it back? I dunno, maybe.

Anyway, you’re right about “We Built This City.” It tops every worst song list ever because A) It’s a cheesy corporate rock song about how awful cheesy corporate rock is, B) It was recorded by a legendary 60s band that was renamed and repackaged to sell 80s soft rock, C) Grace Slick shits on it all the time. It’s a convenient whipping post when (old) people want to bitch about brazenly hypocritical sellout rock.

But I didn’t give a shit about any of that context when I was a kid. When I was a kid, it was just a catchy song on the radio, and it’s still pretty catchy today. I’d much rather to listen to “We Built This City” than “White Rabbit.” You know it’s true. “White Rabbit” makes me wanna fucking kill myself. Gimme the garbage Starship song anytime, thanks. It’s fine.

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Brett:

One of the things I love about being a parent is getting to re-experience memories from your own childhood as you introduce your own kids to cool things. We just took our toddler to her first water park. During the visit, I found myself in the wave pool, and can say with certainty that none of the 150+ people in that wave pool were having more fun than me, a 37-year old adult. For 30 glorious minutes, I was 7 years old again. So, as an experienced parent, what are the best children’s’ activities to re-live as an adult, that take you right back to being a kid again?

Going on a swing! Swings are fucking great, and I regret that I can’t use one regularly without looking like a pederast. But for real, what cheaper thrill is there? You pump your legs a little bit and suddenly you’re flying! I love it, especially if I’m drunk. I like to swing next to my kids at the playground and have a little competition to see who can go higher (SPOILER: it’s me!), and then my wife is like, “You should stop because the entire swing set is shaking” and then I’m like “STOP TRYING TO SUPPRESS THE REBIRTH OF MY INNOCENCE” and then the chain breaks and I go flying off into oblivion. Happens every week. Totally worth it.

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Also, playing with your kids’ toys is a blast. I like any motorized car where you roll it against the floor and it gets the wheel going super fast. Then you let it go and VROOOOM! It goes all the way to the wall and smashes right into it! Good shit. I wouldn’t mind doing that for a living.

I was horsing around with my son last week and we did this thing where we pressed our heads together and tried to, like, push each other around. We were head wrestling. I enjoyed it immensely. I felt like a daddy tiger teaching his little tiger cub to be strong. This is probably a more accurate depiction of our session, though:

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Email of the week!

Jack:

We recently had a dinner party and there was a woman there who we don’t really know but is friends with one of the friends that we had over. My wife said we’d met her before, I don’t really remember that, but whatever, we said she could come. She’s a bit quirky but was mostly pleasant.

Anyway, as dinner was wrapping up, she still had some steak left on her plate, and she said she was full and asked for a bag to take the rest home to give to her dog, which of course I was fine with. Then she comes into the kitchen with other people’s plates that also had some leftovers on it, as well as the plate of steaks that was on the table for people to serve themselves from (there was about a steak and a half left on it). At first I thought, “Oh, she’s helping clean up, that’s nice of her,” and was about to tell her that it wasn’t necessary and to go sit down and have another drink. But then I see her, without asking, proceed to put all of this other steak into her bag to take home with her. I was thinking those leftover steaks were going to be the next night’s dinner, but I guess they instead went to the most spoiled dog ever.

How fucked up was this, and should I have said something to her?

Damn. She took ALL the steak! That’s fucking bold! I say put her AND the dog in jail. You didn’t cook up a ribeye and a half just so that Fido could have a treat! OUTRAGEOUS.