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Christmas Candy Vs. Halloween Candy: Who Ya Got?!

Illustration: Angelica Alzona (GMG)
FunbagTime for your weekly edition of the Deadspin Funbag. Got something on your mind? Email the Funbag.

Today we’re talking about groomzillas, NFL bye weeks, Olive Garden, shitty teams, and more.

Happy 2019, kiddos. Drew is doing well and appreciates everyone’s love. While he’s recuperating, I’m next on the rotation of guest Funbaggers. Keep sending us all your most deranged questions.

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James:

Christmas vs. Halloween vs. Easter candy - who ya got?!

Let’s start by ruling out Easter, which really only offers marshmallow Peeps (garbage), Cadbury creme eggs (worse than garbage), and plain milk chocolate in various shapes (fine in a pinch, I guess?). Jelly beans aren’t that good and aren’t even really an Easter candy; they’re just a regular candy that’s been co-opted by Big Bunny. Ham is mostly terrible too, which makes Easter easily the worst food holiday.

Christmas vs. Halloween is trickier. Christmas comes with more homemade stuff, and not to go full food snob, but most mass-produced candy is awful if you don’t have the palate of a 6-year-old. Give me some peppermint bark and dark chocolate-coated toffee over literally any other candy on earth. Do not attempt to shame me for being a sophisticated lady with sophisticated tastes!

That said: Halloween cannot be beat on diversity alone. Candy corn sucks, obviously, but the freaky sickos who actually like it can have it but once a year. I’ve never seen Milky Way Midnight, the far more delicious spinoff of regular Milky Way, outside the confines of a Halloween variety pack. Even Reese’s peanut butter cups, which are both the best mainstream candy and ubiquitous year-round, are really an October food. Most Halloween candy is bad, because most candy is bad, but there’s so much of it that everyone can find something to love—and it’s the one time of year when there’s not something slightly off about an adult eating a handful of fun-sized bars.

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Jordan:

I have a friend getting married soon. His bachelor party is being planned now and he wants to spend six days in a medium-sized European city. Distance and cost of getting to Europe aside (also a big, ridiculous ask!), six days is too much fucking bachelor party. I’m in the wedding party so I feel like I have to go, but this is an over the top request, right?

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Jordan, you already know the answer, but I’m happy to confirm your suspicion that your friend is an asshole. A European vacation is something people save up to take with their partner, or a tiny number of beloved friends, or by themselves. It should never be a mandatory activity planned by someone else unless that someone else is paying. If your pal has a castle and a private jet, this is a fine bachelor party idea. Otherwise, someone needs to talk him out of this.

Here are the rules of bachelor/bachelorette parties, according to me. Any disagreements? Write them down and flush them down the toilet.

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  1. No more than 10 close friends (this should be easy, because nobody has more than 10 close friends)
  2. No more than two nights
  3. No more than four hours’ drive from the greatest number of people
  4. Plan some goddamn activities that aren’t drinking
  5. Bear your friends’ budgets in mind, and if you don’t know their budgets and don’t feel comfortable asking, you’re not good enough friends to invite them to your bachelor party
  6. No penis straws or boob-shaped things, for the love of god

Dustin:

1) What are your thoughts on reconfiguring the NFL bye week system? My proposal is to have one single bye week where every single team in the league is off for one week after Week 8. This is perfect for fantasy, since you never really have to shuffle your lineup around and it would give every player a chance to rest mid season and freshen up. Only downside is that there would be absolutely no NFL football on that week, but it’s a price I’m willing to pay.

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This is the worst idea I’ve ever heard! First of all—not that the NFL has ever made a well-reasoned decision—making decisions about actual football based on what’s most convenient for your fantasy team management would be insane. But much more importantly: That fall weekend without football would be miserable. I’m not nearly deranged enough to spend all day every Sunday watching games, but I want the knowledge that I could. Despite the knowledge that Thursday games are almost always shitty, on my way home from work last Thursday I got irrationally annoyed when I realized there was no game that night. I have the right to 17 weeks of games on Thursdays, Sundays, and Mondays, and you can’t take that away from me! Under your proposal, the first week of November would have no football, which would give us literally no distractions from the finally weekend of election madness. No thank you!

The bye week system as currently constituted is fine. It results in more weekends with no marquee matchups than is preferable, but give me a 6-0 Jags-Colts game (on a week I had Luck in H2H, not that I’m still bitter) over nothing.

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John:

It’s the time of year where my wife and I start taking stock of our pile of un-used gift cards. We sometimes will re-gift them after going un-spent for a year, use them to buy presents, or make an effort to spend them before we receive this year’s holiday gift card salvo. We seem to receive an inordinately large number of Olive Garden gift cards. We currently have over $100 in store credit to Olive Garden, I’m sure we’ll be north of $150 by 2019. We never go to Olive Garden. Even the idea of FREE Olive Garden isn’t appealing enough to motivate us to want to go and spend these. My question is: What percentage of Olive Garden gift cards (or any big national restaurant chain) gift cards go completely un-used? It can’t just be us, right? I’ll be that 50% of Olive Garden gift cards are never actually redeemed for a meal.

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The answer to your question ranges from 10 percent of In-N-Out (which is delicious, and which I’m sick of people saying is overrated. Fight me!) to 73 percent for Olive Garden or TGI Friday’s (only 48 percent for Applebee’s). But of course, the actual question you asked is not what’s interesting here. What I need to ask you to examine, John is what about you makes everyone in your life think the best gift for you is an Olive Garden gift card?!? Unless you live in a town small enough that Olive Garden is the only decent food option for miles—which it doesn’t seem that you do—or you’re a known Olive Garden obsessive—which you’re apparently not—it’s not normal that everyone who has to get you a gift independently thinks “You know what John will love? A trip to fake Tuscany!”

Barry has this shit take that there’s no reason to pay money for Italian food because dumping a jar of Prego over some Barilla pasta is just as delicious as handmade spaghetti with a nonna’s eight-hour bolognese. This is obviously insane, but it does apply in the case of Olive Garden. The food isn’t even that cheap! At the Secaucus location (chosen to avoid the possibility of price gouging at Times Square), tortellini with chicken will set you back $17.50, stuff you with 1,990 calories, and be worse than a $3.99 package of Trader Joe’s cheese tortellini with some olive oil and a chicken breast. I say this not to shame people who don’t have the time or resources to cook, just to say John, it’s time to tell your loved ones that you would prefer literally any other gift. (Also: Donate those gift cards!)

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HALFTIME!

Ryan:

I want a ranking for things that give you satisfaction. From getting something unstuck from between your teeth to proving someone wrong to taking off uncomfortable ski boots at the end of a long and glorious winter day. I need clarity, damnit.

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You’ve never worn a bra, have you, Ryan? Taking one of those fuckers off at the end of a work day is No. 1 by a huge margin. Imagine the ski boot sensation, but for your entire torso, and it’s a symbolic fuck you to whichever men have annoyed you that day. It’s glorious.

Here’s the rest of the top 10:

  • Getting into a bed made with clean sheets
  • Closing all the tabs after you’ve finished a big project
  • That first blast of a cold shower after exercising on a disgustingly humid summer day
  • Nothing but net
  • Finally getting to pee when you really, really had to go
  • The moment you realize the thing you spent hours cooking came out perfectly
  • When you space the lawnmower laps perfectly so the last pass is exactly the width of the mower
  • Someone canceling plans just as you were about to have to get off your couch to go meet them
  • Getting the water out of your ear after you’ve been in the ocean

Karl:

I am, and probably will forever be a Detroit Lions Fan. The Detroit Lions have always been, and will forever be - ASS! Why do people continue to be fans of teams that suck and will always suck? Why do people waste time, energy, and money on teams that are always bad? How do I break free? I can understand when people are fans of teams that have up and down years, but when your team is permanently dumpster, why do I keep going back for more?

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Hope is an irrational thing! Logic tells us that of course the Lions will never win a Super Bowl, but… what if they did? What if they did after you abandoned them for the fucking Chiefs with their shiny young MVP, or whoever? What if your former ass team accidentally made a good draft pick and all of a sudden they were the hot ticket with the shiny young MVP? How much of an idiot would you be if you had jumped ship first?

That fear, my friend, is what keeps you from making a calm, well-reasoned decision about who to root for. Al Davis nearly Al Davis–ed me out of my Raiders fandom several years ago, and then Derek Carr somehow got them to 12-4 in 2016 and everyone was talking about them as a Super Bowl contender and being a Raiders fan was fun again! (And then Carr broke his damn leg on Christmas goddamn Eve and Connor Cook had to start a playoff game and I still haven’t recovered, but.)

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Greg:

For years when I traveled I would bring home a free shampoo, conditioner, and occasional other freebies from the hotel and faithfully stuff them in a bathroom drawer.

I have short, fine hair and just dab a little conditioner in it to keep it honest after a wash. We moved last year and this year when I finally ran out of the dabs in my freebie conditioner I asked my wife where the rest was. I had a free lifetime supply and was accustomed to living like a king with this luxury.

She acted like she didn’t know what I was talking about, but when pressed said she thinks she gave it to a shelter for the homeless because they always need those types of things. I am sure you have heard stories like that before

She always tells me about how she was raised poor, but when the rubber meets the road she has no skill or desire to be a miserly ass like me. She hates it when I try hoard things like this and also buys expensive airport coffee when she could get it free on the plane. I am more than little upset about my personal hygiene products and don’t know where to go from here. Divorce? Counseling? Throw away some of her nail polish in retaliation? Hold it all in until I slowly wither and die as a person with no actual control over my so called life?

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Greg, I’m gonna need you to relax. Your wife donated to people in need! This act of generosity hardly strikes me as divorce-worthy no matter how attached you were to your tiny bottles or your hoarder tendencies, and no matter whether the donation was motivated in part by your wife’s spite for these things.

You can buy a massive bottle of Suave at Target for 99 cents. With your short, fine hair, it’ll last you all year. And buying a decent cup of Peet’s at the airport is a small price to pay for suffering the indignity of air travel in 2018. (Like your wife, I grew up in a family that usually didn’t have much money, and now that I am definitely not poor, I don’t buy luxury handbags or whatever but still get a little feeling of glee when I spring for a fancy beverage.) Maybe your wife doesn’t want your thousand little bottles cluttering up her bathroom, or maybe she thought it stupid that you were lifting a “lifetime supply” of conditioner from hotels when there’s a Walgreens just down the street and you can afford to buy a bottle. Go buy your wife a $4 latte to apologize for being a total nut.

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Kenny:

How weird is it to put the first and last name for all your cell phone contacts without exception, including your closest friends and even your own parents? Like, putting in “George Ziffeltink” instead of “Dad.”

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It is both extremely weird, and in my experience, extremely common. It freaks me out every time I make my husband call my phone because I can’t find it and I see him pull up the address book entry for “Megan Greenwell.” I know there were a lot of Megans born in the ‘80s, but I would think the actual wedding might have elevated me above the others to first-name basis! And yes, your parents should only be in your phone under the name you call them. I’m from Berkeley and thus know way too many people who call their parents by their first names, a truly sick thing to do, but nobody who uses both first and last in any context other than packages and phone contact lists.

The only healthy way to categorize your phone contacts is as such: Everyone takes a first and last name except immediate family and your closest friends (no more than 10; see the bachelor party answer for further explanation). “Tyler from Tinder,” whose last name you don’t know, does not go into your contact list; you can figure out from previous texts who you’re talking to. Occasionally you must go through and delete some last names while adding others, to preserve the integrity of the system. Doing this twice a year or so is a good chance to reflect on who your closest friends are now and who has fallen off the list.

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Brian:

Worst day of the year?

December 26th? January 2nd? Monday after Super Bowl? Tuesday after Labor Day?

The problem with this otherwise great question is the answer depends on the day of the week on which each date falls. December 26th is fine if it’s a Friday/Saturday/Sunday; terrible if it’s earlier in the week. July 5th is the worst when it’s a Thursday, for reasons whose powers I do not fully understand. (If you have a dog with anxiety issues, as I do, the 4th itself may actually be worse, but we’ve already dealt with holiday rankings.) The Tuesday after Labor Day is great because autumn is the best season.

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With that in mind, the five worst days of the year are as follows:

1. Thursday or Friday, January 2nd

You have to go to work knowing that all your lazier coworkers won’t show, but you don’t get the burst of energy that accompanies the start of the year because you know you’re about to watch football all weekend. And early January weather is awful almost everywhere.

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2. The Day Before Thanksgiving

Either you try to work but can’t get anything done because no one else is around, or you travel and spend the whole day stuck in traffic or an airport.

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3. Veterans Day

We need to come to an agreement, as a culture, on whether this is a holiday or not.

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4. Wednesday, December 26th

Again, days people treat as holidays that aren’t actually holidays are a bad category.

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5. Saturday, February 14th

You can’t go anywhere because even the shittiest bars and restaurants are filled with couples smooching, so it’s a waste of a perfectly good Saturday night.

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Tyler:

Could a decent home cook win guys grocery games against 3 professionals? I don’t mean competing against like Gordon Ramsay or Rachael Ray, but 3 normal level professionals.

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As an above-average cook with way-above-average confidence in the kitchen, and as a person who has never seen Guy’s Grocery Games, I was fully prepared to say I could beat an average line cook at it. But then I looked up the show and walked away so confused that now I don’t think I’m even smart enough to watch an episode, much less compete. According to the GGG Wikipedia entry, there are 40 different challenges that can pop up at any time, plus six “culinary quizzes”? Food competition shows are perfect television, they do not need all these complications!

Chaos tends to help randos triumph over pros, so I do think I’m much more likely to win this atrocity than, say, Top Chef (I’m team Nini in the new season, by the way). But man does this sound un-fun to me.

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Jeff:

Megan - thanks for pinch-hitting for our dearly beloved Mayo boy while he is on the mend. It got me thinking: Regardless of what happened to Drew (thoughts and prayers!), have you had an injury or medical episode that in retrospect was far more embarrassing than painful or physically damaging? What are some of the funniest injuries you’ve heard about? For the Deadspin staff? The world wants to know.

Much love to you and Drewcakes

I was going to skip this question because we did a roundup last summer of our dumbest and funniest injuries, but then social media editor Shaina Travis, who did not yet work here in August, volunteered this gem in in work chat:

one time when i was in 6th grade I was in karate and was feeling myself cos i thought i was second coming of bruce lee. My friend was over and she was like okay show me karate stuff then so i was like okay bet. So I did some karate shit and she was like haha lame. So i was like uh okay, so I climbed onto my bed (which was high off ground cos underbed storage, etc.) and I was like I’m going to do a triple spin, double kick (completely made up move). So i basically just jumped off my bed, spazzed in the air doing some kicks, did ZERO spins cos I was a chunker child, and then landed smack dab on my ankle crunching it in half.

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moral of the story: don’t do shit to impress your friends!!!! and also I apparently am not bruce lee!!!

Drew Story of the Week!

The first of many disastrous Univision meetings happened within a few weeks of my joining this company. So that Friday night, I’m sitting at a bar wondering aloud to my husband if I’ve made a massive mistake by taking this job, when a text pops up on my phone from a number I don’t recognize: “how you holding up. Then, “it’s drew. I had had maybe three conversations with Drew at that point, none about my emotional well-being, so I answered a little blandly, but he saw through my bullshit, sending a paragraph-long pep talk I’ve gone back to dozens of times since. I put his number in my phone after that, and now, every time he can tell I’m stressed, I get the same text: “how you holding up.

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Drew is just constantly 10 times nicer and more thoughtful than he needs to be, and it makes him a goddamn delight to work with. He dishes a lot of shit to the people he loves, but he also is always proactively there when you need him, with a text or a blog or an offer to help. If you’re looking for a New Year’s resolution, you could do a lot worse than “Be more like Drew.”

Also, I’ll never forgive him for telling me after we got off stage at the live Deadcast in Chicago that I had lipstick on my front tooth the whole damn time.

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Email of the week!

Ben:

I was in middle school when The Phantom Menace came out, I think 8th grade? A big group of my friends and I all went to see it together in theaters, I guess we all got dropped off by our parents which is hilarious to think about. Anyway, I was super into Star Wars in middle school and was therefore extremely pumped to see this movie. I think there was a long wait in line for tickets involved. Anyway, let’s get to the poop. A little ways into the movie, I started to feel a little rumbling in my stomach. It was so long ago that I have no idea if I’d eaten something bad, but it was clear that things were happening. I made a break for the bathroom, and as soon as I got to the stall I started puking my guts out. This is when I realized that I was also expelling huge amounts of liquid diarrhea into my pants at the same time. Hooray! Once I was done emptying every ounce of my stomach and intestines, I remembered that I was stranded at a movie theater. So, I cleaned up as best I could with paper towels, threw away my underwear (not the only time I’ve done this!) and headed back to the theater to watch the rest of the movie. I distinctly remember having to make my way back into the middle of the row past lots of other movie-watchers, hoping they weren’t smelling any shit still clinging to my body. Happy Holidays!

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All I have to add is that I hate the tradition of these disgusting emails perhaps more than anything at Deadspin, and this particular question—which combines three individual odious things: Star Wars, large groups of teen boys, and diarrhea—is somehow terrible even by that low standard. Why didn’t you find a payphone and call an adult to pick you up, dude?!?

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About the author

Megan Greenwell

former editor-in-chief, Deadspin