Time for your weekly edition of the Deadspin Funbag. Got something on your mind? Email the Funbag. Today, we’re covering soccer choking, onions, orphan spies, and more.

I think it’s about time we started previewing some shitty NFL teams, no? That’s right: The WHY YOUR TEAM SUCKS series boots up again this month, which is good, because these teams are suckier than ever. If you wanna send in a rant about why your team sucks (emphasis on YOUR team … don’t send me some angry missive about how much you hate some idiot rival team), hit up the email link above. Get them in early, because there’s gonna be a cutoff for submissions again this year. There is only so much suck I can take in.

Your letters:

Blair:

Parenting feels like a never-ending string of assuring yourself, “Oh, just a few more months until [development milestone] and it will be easier.”

Once she sleeps through the night it will be easier.

Once she walks it will be easier.

Once she talks it will be easier.

Once she talks in complete sentences it will be easier.

Once she ...

What do you think is the milestone that it gets easier at?

I think that you and I both know the answer is NEVER. Christ, that hurts to admit. The milestones come and go, but then new challenges emerge. The child can walk, but now it’s walking into a river. The child can talk, but now it’s telling you to fuck off. The child can read, but now it’s reading Penthouse Letters. I plug up one hole in the dyke, another one busts open. It’s maddening.

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And apparently the worst is yet to come. Any time I talk to someone with teenaged children, they’re like, “Wait until they become teenagers.” They say it ominously, like a fucking grenade is about to come flying through the window. Oh, wait until they become teenagers … and then your head will blow right off. I assume the only balm to parenting teenagers is the evil bit of joy you get in warning other parents about what assholes teenagers are. MWAHAHAHAHA JUST YOU WAIT MY FRIEND.

Anyway, the only time this gets easier is when you face facts and acknowledge that it will NEVER get easier. I’m through hoping for a day when my children stop being destructive lunatics. I have accepted the nature of my plight, and that has brought me some measure of peace. I don’t yell anymore when the youngest one throws a fork across the room. That is just the chaos of the universe at work. It’s natural law.

Also: kindergarten. Parenting is hard, but it DOES get a bit easier when there’s a bus that takes the child away for seven hours a day: seven blissful hours. Every parent cries that first day at the bus stop … because they are FREE. Now, for kicks, here are the best ages of children under 10, ranked:

1. 1

2. 9

3. 5

4. 8

5. 7

6. 6

7. 0

8. 2

9. 4

10. 3

I originally had two last until the other dads on staff reminded me that 2-year-olds aren’t dicks on purpose. Whereas 3- and 4-year-olds know PRECISELY how evil they are.

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Also, you can still keep a 2-year-old in a crib. God, cribs are great. I would keep a child in a crib until age 26 if I could. Once you put them in a bed, they’re like, “Why would I stay in this bed if I don’t have to? Why don’t I just come downstairs 50 times?”

Zvulun:

At the airport, what is the earliest time before you reach the TSA conveyer belt for it to be appropriate for you to start taking off your shoes?

Any time prior to displaying your license and boarding pass for the TSA agent is too early. And unnecessary. You can just untie your shoes while you wait to pass through, and then slip your shoes off at the conveyor belt. Taking your shoes off prior to that increases your risk of stepping on gum and/or discarded vials of insulin. I have my shoes untied and my belt unbuckled before I get to the steel loading table. Either I’m getting on a flight, or I’m taking my dick out. YOU WON’T KNOW UNTIL THE LAST MOMENT.

Brian:

Has any MLB team ever abandoned the traditional starting pitcher strategy, and simply assigned one pitcher to each inning of the game? Imagine, for example the Nationals, who could start Strasberg for the first, Scherzer for the second, Gio for the third, Zimmerman for the fourt, and Fister for the fifth, then turn it over to Solis for the sixth, Thornton for the sevent, Barret for the eighth, and Storen for the ninth. Instead of having your starting pitchers pitch once a week for seven-plus innings, have them pitch five or six days a week, for at the most one inning per game. Each pitcher could come in and throw their absolute hardest. It would be like having a closer pitch every inning. No pitcher would ever face the opposing lineup more than once also.

That’s basically what happens every All-Star game. And the Tampa Bay Rays once used nine pitchers in a nine-inning playoff game against the Red Sox (not a blowout, either). When the rotation is thin or pitchers get hurt, you’ll sometimes see a game pitched by committee from start to finish. And I’m sure Tony La Russa has tinkered with the idea of a permanent committee while driving home shitfaced from the local Houlihan’s.

But as specialized as pitching has become, no manager has ever installed a season-long rotation of nine one-inning closers. What if one of them gets hurt? What if one of them throws 40 pitches in one terrible inning and needs an extra day of rest? What then? It’s too fragile to keep up for very long. Plus, certain pitchers get better as the game wears on. You’re not getting the most out of, say, Max Scherzer, if you only let him throw 10 pitches before yanking him out of there. Pitchers must be allowed to get into rhythm … to FEEL THE GAME. Also, if I had to sit there and watch nine different pitchers amble out to the mound, I would burn the stadium down. Even between innings, a pitching change is as endless as staring at popcorn in the microwave. If I had my druthers, MLB teams would only be allowed to employ ONE pitcher, who pitches every day until he dies. No subs. Tough shit.

Aaron:

What’s up with men calling each other “Buddy”? It’s kind of condescending.

Yeah, any time someone calls you “buddy,” they’re basically about to punch you in the kidneys. “Hey buddy, how about you use a turn signal next time?” “Looking good, BUDDY.” “Listen, buddy: You only get 15 items in this fucking express lane.” “Buddy” should be the exclusive domain of angry male strangers making veiled threats at one another. If a friend texts me, “Good to see you, buddy!” I assume they’re either being sarcastic or that I’ve been sent some kind of autotexted salutation.

Evan:

I just received an email from a local car dealership that is asking people to come in and buy a 10-pound bag of Vidalia onions for $10 to help benefit local kids. Is a car dealership selling onions the worst fundraiser ever put together?

That’s not a bad price for that many Vidalia onions! This site sells a 10-pound bag for four times that price! Why, it’s almost too good to be true. You better make sure those a real Vidalias, not bullshit counterfeit Vidalias. Also, don’t let the dealership sell you Onion TrueCote to keep the onions fresh in your refrigerator longer. Do your onion homework, man. If that deal’s legit, think of all the onion stuff you could make: onion soup, onion loaf, onion jam, onion bread, onion pie, onion milkshakes … you could really make a party of it.

Justin:

Please settle a debate my wife and I are having: What ingredients are needed to make guacamole? I say guac can be nothing more than mashed avocado. Sure, that’d be a sorry-ass guac, but it still counts. My wife says you have to add “something” more to transform mushed-up avocado to make it guacamole, but she admits that she can’t name what that “something” has to be. I win, right?

I’ve actually fed mushed-up, plain avocado to a baby (as baby foods go, avocado is pretty solid). I don’t recall ever calling it “guacamole” in front of the child, mostly because I’m the kind of shitty parent that has to couch all incoming food in some kind of euphemistic phrasing so that the kid doesn’t freak out. OOOH THIS IS GREEN FUN SAUCE, etc.

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Anyway, since this is apparently the month to argue about guacamole, I will say this: It’s your right to mash up some plain avocado and call it “guacamole” if you want to, and it is MY right to throw that guacamole in your face and tell you to get your head out of your ass. That’s not real guacamole. You’re a lazy and terrible person.

As for the whole peas-in-guac thing, I honestly don’t think people were as annoyed about the IDEA of peas in guacamole as they were the Times INSISTING that it’s the optimal way of making it, as noted here:

It’s just so fucking smug, like, “We found the secret to guacamole, and you will shit your dick when we bestow it upon you.” That’s what I found repellent about the whole enterprise. Don’t sit there pretending your weird-ass pea guacamole is the secret to universal tranquility. I’ll try it, but don’t expect me to grovel at your feet. This is a standard food-writing trope now, where it’s like, “Once your grill your steak on a cinder block, you’ll never eat steak any other way!” Color me skeptical. There are many, many fine ways to make guacamole (but mine is the best and I’ll fucking stab you if you disagree).

Ben:

Re-watched Skyfall the other day, and M says something about how orphans always make the best recruits. This got me thinking ... do all first-world government agencies have some sort of orphan scouting program to outfit their super-secret spy programs?

They should. I bet Russia has one. I bet Putin does a weekly sweep for orphans around Moscow. One second, you’re a 5-year-old urchin living under a highway overpass; the next, you’re whisked into a secret government bunker, injected with elephant muscle serum, and trained for the Moscovite version of the Treadstone program.

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I doubt the United States has a similar program, because I assume that every U.S. military leader has Colin Cowherd’s attitude about teamwork. If you’re gonna pilot this helicopter to help us strafe a Syrian village, I need to know … WHO’S YOUR DADDY? Scrappers from whole families only, please!

Dirk:

If you are eating at one of the deluxe restaurants at a sporting event (think glass windows separating yourself from the masses below), do you have to stand for the national anthem? Last week, about half of the restaurant stood up (those closest to the glass windows with a view of the field). Were the people who remained seated Communists? It seems like if you are not hearing the anthem from its primary audio source, you should get a free pass to continue crushing hot dogs.

So you can’t even hear the anthem coming from the field while you’re eating? Just over the TV feed? Fuck that. Keep eating. If people wanna stand for it and let their sliders get cold, that’s fine. But you are under no obligation to stand. If people want to get angry at you about it, they should direct their ire at the local sports team, which bowed to BIG CHAIN RESTAURANT and installed a Capitale Grille at the loge-level deck for all the richy-rich folk. That’s the REAL affront to American values, I say. They designed a stadium amenity that compels you to NOT pay attention to what’s happening on the field. It’s not your fault if you oblige them.

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Frankly, we overuse the anthem at sporting events. It should be reserved for playoff games and All-Star games, not for random Hawks/Raptors games in the middle of winter. We shouldn’t be running the Anthem into the ground to the point where it become ambient noise while you eat mozzarella sticks.

HALFTIME!

Morris:

An acquaintance of mine (we used to be closer: college roommates, occasional annual visits) recently finished writing a book. He was always an ungrateful bastard, but he recently asked me to review it on Amazon because it helps with his visibility metrics or whatever. He even offered to write something I could just cut and paste. It’s no skin off my back, so I obliged, but then what he sent to me was so douchey that I couldn’t post it to have my name attached to it forever on the Internet. I think he even tried to use what he thought my writing style would be, using terms like “the action was full gear with damn near blood everywhere!” He even had the gall to tell me how many stars to put! Do you post the review as is, do you rewrite it, do you just burn the bridge and say fuck it? By the way, I have no plans on reading this book ever.

I wouldn’t post the review. I would tell him you still have to read it, and then never read it. If you don’t even like the guy, then I don’t see the downside of flaking out on him. What’s he gonna do, never talk to you again? Sounds like the optimal outcome for you.

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Take it from someone who writes books: Asking people to read a book you wrote is a HUGE favor. You may as well ask them to build you a pool house in your backyard. It’s a lot of homework. No one should ever feel obligated to follow through with such an insane request. If some friend reads a stupid book you wrote or even reviewed it without reading it, you owe them a case of beer and a yearlong dessert-club membership. If your friend doesn’t understand the customs involved, ignore his sorry ass.

Kevin:

At one point in the second half of the WWC Final, Japan made the score 4-2. I got nervous for a second, not because I much cared about the outcome of the game, but out of mortal fear of the reaction had the U.S. blown a 4-0 lead and lost the game. What would have happened? Would the internet be filled with sexism, Rovellian takes about lost endorsements, and bandwagon fans crying? Would people just not tweet, Facebook, etc for the rest of the night?

I wasn’t all that nervous because, chances are, you’re not losing a game when you can knock in a shot from 70 goddamn yards away. That means things are probably going your way. Also, as a Minnesota Vikings fan, it was nice to watch a team and have absolutely no sense of fatalism. I wasn’t gonna bring that irritating baggage into the game. That’s what Boston fans do, even though they’ve won everything. I GAWT A BAD FACKIN’ FEELING ABOUT THIS! No sense in getting my insufferable self-pity all over a new squad. I’d much rather go into the affair with a fresh dose of confidence, only to see that confidence quickly erode in the face of unexpected disaster.

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Anyway, had the U.S. women’s team blown that lead, it would have been the biggest sports choke of all time, and people would have responded with sympathy (which is sexist!) or outright scorn (also probably sexist). And the entirety of the United States would become Cleveland overnight. All our factories would shut down. Bridges would collapse. Every body of water would catch fire. Everyone would be homeless and roam the land with little more than a ratty blanket and an old shopping cart. And at least five dudes you know would be like, “Pfft, I wasn’t watching that anyway.”

James:

I’ve got an 8-month-old, and changing his diaper seems to get harder every week. Does it just get worse and worse until he learns to use a toilet, or is there some age where kids are willing to stop squirming for 10 seconds so you can keep their shit contained?

It gets worse and worse because, as they grow more aware of what is happening down there, the more antsy they get about a pending diaper change. They’re only human. No one likes to shit their pants and then have some big clumsy dad come and wipe their ass skin clean off. They roll and laugh and squirm and it’s terrible. My youngest kid liked to thrust his hand down INTO the poop. Laughed the whole way through, too. He’s a psychopath and I fear him.

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It gets a little bit better as children age and become a touch more cooperative in the process. If your children aren’t potty trained early (it can vary), you’ll find yourself at some point changing their diaper while they stand. As someone with a bad back, I can tell you that this is agony. It sounds easier. It is not. I want to die every time I do it. STOP STEPPING BACK YOU ARE HURTING DADDY.

Cori:

If humans one day gain the ability to, surgically or otherwise, completely change their outward appearance in any way they want, how would it affect professional sports? Think about it in terms of Ballghazi: Tom Brady accepts his four-game suspension and the Evil Hoodie immediately sends Tom under the knife to look like Jimmy Garappolo, then changes him back after the bye. Would the Ginger Hammer/Jury/Executioner immediately mandate all players undergo pregame DNA testing?

If such technology existed, I would mandate that my football team consist of 50 Nicolas Cages.

Anyway, you really WOULD have to test guys prior to games to ensure there was no funny business. A simple thumbprint ID would probably work. You could also tattoo them, I guess, although that would be dabbling in Nazism, which is never a good idea. What you’re talking about is basically radical plastic surgery, and there’s nothing against plastic surgery in any sports rulebook as of now, as far as I know. If Tom Brady wants to look like Nicolas Cage, or go out onto the field with two full breast implants, that’s legal! AND SEXY. I’m in favor of it.

Dylan:

At what point in the day is it too late to take a nap? At some point you have to draw the line and just power through until it’s an acceptable time to go to sleep for the night. Otherwise you’ll never fall asleep when you need to later that night.

Yeah but doesn’t age factor into this? If you’re 22 and you plan on being out until 4 a.m., a nap at 5 p.m. isn’t gonna kill you. That’s just sound preparation in advance of CRUSHSLAYING Bud Light Limes and getting rejected by hot ladies.

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I am not in that position. If I napped at 5 p.m., I wouldn’t get a full night’s rest for another eight weeks. That is the price of fatherhood. Thus, my rule is that I never want to wake up from a nap AFTER sunset. If I assume that I’ll be napping for an hour or so, I try to get down anytime between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Any later, and I risk waking up when it’s dark outside and being like HOLY SHIT DID I SLEEP THROUGH?!

(This actually happened to me once in college during Senior Week. I got up, went to a party, got completely shitfaced by 2 p.m., then passed out in my room. When I woke up, it was 5 a.m. I’ve never been more confused. I basically stole a day from my own life. I don’t recommend it.)

Josh:

A major-league pitcher finishes the season with the exact same stats as 2014 Clayton Kershaw except for win-loss record. Due to a combination of horrific run support and horrific luck, his record is 0-20. Does he win the Cy Young Award?

No. I think that baseball writers will concede an average won-loss record to a pitcher, because they’ve been convinced by NERDY STAT NERDZ that W/L record isn’t all that indicative of a pitcher’s true performance. But they wouldn’t be able to get over 0-20. At 0-20, sportswriters would be like WINNING HAS TO MEAN SOMETHING, BY GOD. What if the pitcher got poor run support because he’s a POOR LEADER?! Ever think of that, huh? That won’t show up on a stat sheet! A good pitcher magically transmits his goodness to the rest of the team!

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(For the record, even though W/L record is a weak stat, I’m still awed any time a pitcher wins 20 games or more. If some modern-day pitcher pulled a Denny McClain and won 30 games, my fucking head would explode. ZOMG 30 GAMES THAT’S 10 MORE THAN 20 HOLY SHIT.)

Koala Meatpie:

My girlfriend of seven years eats with her mouth open whenever we are alone. I find it the most insufferable thing ever, and constantly have to remind her / ask politely to eat like a civilised person. I recently got fed up with it and started acting sarcastic, say, by surprising her by tying a bib around her neck. Her excuse is that she “forgets,” but it seems like more effort to eat with your mouth open than not ... at this point, what should I do?

Don’t use sarcasm. If you use sarcasm to correct her, she’ll just chew even louder, and then dump her chewed-up wad of eggs into your lap. It’s a poor strategy. Everyone gets defensive in that situation.

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I sympathize with your ladyfriend because I ALSO eat with my mouth open, like a goddamn savage. I have crowded teeth, so chewing with my mouth closed puts me in GRAVE danger of biting my cheeks (eating half the burger in a single bite doesn’t help matters). So sometimes I lapse and chew with my mouth open. I am corrected on this at every meal. Every last one. WHY CAN’T YOU LOVE ME FOR WHO I AM?! When no one is watching, I smack the FUCK out of my lips and open wider than a canyon. It’s my own private joy.

Anyway, I realize that no one wants to hear me smack and lick my way through a plate of pasta, so I do my best to keep my shit contained. I would just gently remind your girlfriend, perhaps before the meal, not to sound like the Tasmanian Devil when she eats. And then praise her when she follows through. Just like my parenting books say! Everything will be fine if we all just treat each other like children.

Email of the week!

Jon:

So it’s gotten to the point where my family needs a minivan. Now, I’d like to spend as little on the minivan as I possibly can since I know the kids (and me, to an extent) will make the interior as messy and dirty as we possibly can. I’m planning on spending between $30-35K. (I’m not sacrificing anything in safety since even the base level minivans have most safety systems standard.) However, my wife wants a model with leather seats, moonroof, navigation system, DVD players, and a bunch of other things I’ll never use, that’ll cost around $40,000, if not more. I’m totally opposed to spending $40,000+ on something which the kids will tear to shreds, and I don’t think kids should have that much access to TVs in the car. Also, my rationale is since I lived without all the creature comforts for so long, why can’t the kids and my wife? We can afford the high-end minivan, but an extra $5,000 still buys a lot these days (like a semester or tuition at a public university) and I really don’t want to spend more than I need to.

Keep in mind I’ll be the one driving the minivan 95 percent of the time while my wife gets to keep her car. Am I being unreasonable here? And how would I convince my wife that I’m right and we don’t need a luxury-lined minivan?

It is your right as an American father to be a cheap bastard. Buy one of those car DVD players that straps to the headrest for $100 and tell your wife it’s just like having the luxury model, even though it TOTALLY isn’t. That’s the dad move. I will always put my foot down in support of the cheaper, flimsier option.


Drew Magary writes for Deadspin. He’s also a correspondent for GQ. Follow him on Twitter @drewmagary and email him at drew@deadspin.com. You can also order Drew’s book, Someone Could Get Hurt, through his homepage.

Illustration by Sam Woolley.

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