Before we get into this week’s Funbag, I have a highly irritating announcement, which is that I’m gonna take a sabbatical in May. Actually, I was quietly suspended by corporate for pouring a bucket of live carpenter bees down Burneko’s chimney, but that’s neither here nor there. The point is that I’m taking next month off. This won’t be the most reclusive sabbatical, since I’ll still do the podcast, plus I’ll be around at GQ, plus I’ll probably fall off the wagon and whip up a post in the event that Donald Trump and Roger Goodell make a baby together. I have a hard time staying away from this blog lyfe, and the past decade has provided clear and abundant evidence of my lack of resolve.
But I gotta make hay while the sun shines, and books don’t write themselves (unless you can afford the ghostwriter). So I’m out after this week. You’ll be fine. We’re also gonna bring in some guest Funbag hosts while I’m gone to keep you amused. You can email them your questions right here. Everything’ll be just the way it was when I get back, unless Gizmodo Media ends up purchased by Stayfree Maxi Pads or something.
Now, for my last time until June, here are your letters:
What percentage of people in white collar jobs do you think look at the keyboard when they type? I do. I’m 31 and type pretty fast but I look down at the keyboard at least every two seconds. My job involves often long memos as well as Excel. I am certain that I will never change this habit and it hasn’t impacted me so far, professionally. But it struck me recently when I was in a meeting and five other people were typing without looking.
I can only speak for myself when I tell you that I’m a hunt-and-peck typist, and that sometimes I look down at the keyboard to make sure I’m not typing “wizzlesnatch” by accident or what have you. Also, if I have to THINK about how I’m typing, it fucks with my head. I’m not conscious of how I’m typing when I type, and when I am conscious of it, I turn slow and clumsy. It’s like being asked to walk in front of a movie camera for the first time. You forget how to be you. It’s the worst. So my answer to your question is screw you for asking it. It took me 40 minutes to type out this stupid paragraph.
In all seriousness, schools don’t teach formal typing as much anymore, so the odds of you working in an office staffed exclusively with stenographical dynamos, who can crank out 200 words a minute without so much as a glance down at their hands, are slim. I actually took typing class back in school and hated it so much that I actively rebelled, and went back to hunting and pecking. Go ahead and type-shame me for this. You can’t hurt me. No matter how hard I train, I am not a man who can get any kind of productive dexterity out of his pinky fingers. Don’t ask me to type, or play the flute, or sip tea elegantly. It’s not happening. I am spiritual member of the online generation of screen-addled teens who taught themselves to type all wrong, and I’m fine with it.
The self checkout line at the grocery store is also an express line, right? I know it doesn’t say it on the sign, but it has to be implied. I’m tired of getting stuck behind some weird recluse with a cart stocked for the apocalypse when I just need to pay for three things.
Never assume anything is “implied” at the grocery store. You’ve seen the other customers at the grocery store: loitering teens, angry moms, old people airlifted directly from central casting, etc. You think these people are gonna follow some of unspoken, baseball-style bushido code? Give it up. If it just says “Self Checkout” over the aisle and nothing else, that means there WILL be people willing to own themselves by parking a cart stacked eight feet high at the register and require help with every single item they scan.
Just go to the regular Express Aisle. Or, even better, go to a regular aisle and just dick around on your phone for five blissful minutes. It’s a nice respite. I know I’m usually in a hurry to get the fuck out of there, but that’s flawed logic. The sooner I leave the store, the sooner I have to load and unload the bags, which is a real chore. I may as well enjoy a small phone interlude to refresh my soul. Ninety percent of American life is people hurrying out of some place just to end up wanting to hurry out of the next place.
Also, I’ve said this before, but if your grocery store has self scanning, use it. It’s the bestest.
Say your tongue was removed by mobsters. Would you be able to taste anything? Would you constantly be trying not to choke on your own saliva? Do you think your breath would be better without your tongue?
Man, now that you’ve phrased it that way, living without a tongue sounds downright awful. I remember watching Caligula in high school and being all excited for the porny parts. Then a dude got his tongue cut on camera a few minutes in and I was scarred for life. Fucking terrible movie. Bob Guccione deserves to rot in hell, and he is!
Anyway, living without a tongue is indeed difficult, but it’s doable. This story about a cancer patient who had to have her tongue surgically removed (a glossectomy) details what it’s like. You can still eat, but you have to limit your intake to small bites and smoothies. You lose some of your sense of taste, although you can still detect flavor thanks to your other senses. Your pattern of speech changes. Swallowing is difficult. They actually make prosthetic tongues (do NOT do a Google image search for this) which can help. Obviously, if this ever happened to me, I would order a custom silver tongue and give myself the new identity of Hans Sprungfeld, the murderous pirate.
So be grateful for your tongue: your big, slimy, nasty, alien tongue. Treat it to a soft serve cone this week. Let your tongue know how much you appreciate it. Give it a nice, wet, probing kiss. And don’t rat out Vinny The Chipmunk to the Feds, because he WILL find you.
Who wins in a fight between Jason Bourne and John Wick?
Bourne. This is because I know that Keanu Reeves has serious neck problems and can barely turn his head (I learned this from Kevin Dillon!), and I’m stupidly presuming that John Wick, a wholly fictional character, has the same mobility issues.
Also, the Bourne movies make it clear that the Treadstone program essentially turns soldiers into superhumans. They went too far with this in The Bourne Legacy, the forgettable installment where Jeremy Renner replaces Matt Damon and is given literal superpowers. There’s a quick note in Wikipedia that tells you pretty much everything you need to know about how shitty that movie is:
Aaron uses experimental pills known as “chems” (chemicals) which enhance the physical and mental abilities of their users.
Ah yes, “chems”. Very clever nickname there. John Wick’s formal training is limited to his Marine Corps service and his time as a professional assassin. His only superpower … is VENGEANCE. And while that vengeance is strong and righteous, I’m not taking him one-on-one versus a dude who can ruin your shit using just a magazine. John Wick’s passion would get the better of him. You have GOT to maintain your poise when you’re fighting a roided-up amnesiac.
Am I wrong to hate everything about Texas except the way they say “greasy”?
GREEZY. That really is fun. We should all agree to pronounce it GREEZY. Really enhances the arrival of brisket on your picnic table.
I am biased because I am an oversized white man, but I enjoy Texas. It’s nice and roomy. The barbecue is without peer. Austin is fun as shit. Its relatively mild weather appeals to the burgeoning old fart within me. Like the rest of America, Texas has an enormous amount of potential. People there just have to suck a little less, that’s all. Drive out the Highland Park trophy wives, fire the sheriffs, fix the schools, jail the oil barons, throw Ted Cruz into a ravine, hire a governor who isn’t a clueless asswipe, and incinerate everything owned by or related to the Dallas Cowboys. PRESTO! It’s a Top Five state. NO ONE DENIES THIS.
I’d tell you this is a realistic scenario but, well … when I went to the Anger Room in Dallas, the woman who owned the joint told me about the time she ventured out to Waxahachie with a Trump mannequin and a Hillary mannequin and had residents pick which mannequin they wanted to beat up. Nearly all of them chose the Hillary doll, and then went to town on it with a murderous lust. Some of them got mad if the Trump doll’s hair was out of place. Others vocally supported re-segregating the country. So yeah, Texas has a lot of work to do. Also, when Texas is hot, it makes you want to die. Venture 20 minutes outside Austin and it feels like your wagon train broke down.
I have a 10-minute commute, which is the only time that I listen to regular old FM radio. Every time I get in the car, it is always the same five songs on the radio. Shouldn’t radio be getting better to compete with podcasts, satellite, Spotify, etc, or has that ship sailed?
It sailed ages ago. Also, note the length of your commute. That explains why there are only five songs in the rotation at any given moment. They assume people are constantly tuning in and out, and that is why I’ve heard “The Middle” 9,000 times this month alone. They have their designated payola songs to whore out, and they’re not gonna risk people tuning out for some deep cut, or for a 40-minute in-depth interview with Michael Ian Black. You get weather, traffic, and a shitty Taylor Swift song, and then the cycle repeats itself.
Like you, I also turn on FM radio in the car because A) I’m too cheap for satellite, B) The kids don’t give a shit about podcasts, and C) I’m sick of my own Spotify playlists and too lazy to hook up the phone to listen to them for a quick trip to the store. I grew up on radio, so I’m kind of conditioned to enjoy the predictable shuffle of hits, the limp DJ banter about those clowns in Congress, and terrible ads for shady local businesses (Cordell And Cordell has always been there for guys in tough times!). Whenever I hit America’s Top 40 on a Sunday, I really do wanna know what’s number one so that I can go bug-eyed and cry out, “Really? That song?” I have an affection for terrestrial radio that I promise I will NEVER try to rebrand as some kind of retro artisanal fetish. You should avoid it and listen to Pod-dy By Jake or whatever else it is you like. Don’t be like me and allow yourself to be routinely ambushed by Ed Sheeran.
As for the stations, they’ll keep hanging around. They’ll keep losing ground to better media, and they’ll consolidate staffing until half the stations on your dial are JACK-FM stations presided over by a hologram of Ryan Seacrest, if that hasn’t happened already. But they’ll persist somehow, if only because they have public bandwidth. The sheer number of thriving country music stations in this stupid nation is downright appalling.
Imagine you have been busted for a DWI coming out of a sporting event. The judge passes sentence, but gives you a choice - you must watch the last 300 games of the ONE of the following teams:
The Cleveland Browns
The San Diego Padres
The Arizona Coyotes
The Brooklyn Nets
You must watch one game every night as if it is playing live. No fast forwards to overtime/extra innings or only finding the good parts. And you must watch them SOBER. No beer or any other substance to make it tolerable. Which team do you choose?
Oh that’s easy. I’m taking the Browns. Even if it’s lousy football, I’m still taking the football. Imagine packing nearly 20 seasons of terrible Browns football into a single year! I’d be riveted. I can’t even imagine how many quarterbacks I would get to watch perish. Someone would dislocate a liver.
Being an NFL fan is an odd phenomenon because the games are so infrequent that even when your team is bad—and the Browns are truly fucking bad—it still feels like a treat anytime they have a real live game to play. Plus I’d get to watch all the GOOD teams beat down on those poor bastards. I could even lay down a few bets in the process. That beats watching regular season baseball 300 nights in a row. Only a freak would volunteer for that.
Could any current or future Major League Baseball player ever get away with doing a flipping routine to go onto the field like Ozzie Smith used to do? Without getting beaned his next at bat?
God, I hope so. Can you not do that anymore? When was that unwritten rule scratched into the toilet stall? Can you really get beaned for JOY? That goddamn sport. I’m already mad about this and it hasn’t even happened yet.
My take is that if you can execute a running flip and not break your neck in the process, you should be free to flip around anywhere you like. I know I would. I would flip over the threshold into every local Chick Fil-A before ordering. I would flip at the beach. I would flip on golf courses. I would flip everywhere, because flipping is fun. My kid does gymnastics and she gladly attends five-hour practices for it, multiple times a week. Why? Because she gets to flip around with impunity. It’s a highly addictive move. Anyone who frowns upon flipping is just a BUTTHOLE dickwad who can’t pull it off himself!
I know we bitch about the bro code in MLB all the time, but it’s weird that Rob Manfred has taken it upon himself to scrutinize every established rule of the sport while blithely ignoring all the weird tribal bullshit that results in the Minnesota Twins getting pissy about a fucking bunt. There’s this whole DURRRRR WE POLICE OURSELVES HERE DURRRRR spiel that’s hilarious coming from, like, David Wells II. If you bunt on me, I set your house on fire. That’s how it’s always been and it’s served us ALL well. I bet these guys get REALLY huffy about item counts at the self checkout.
I have been a vegetarian since I was 12. I’m an avid cook but I unsurprisingly have very little experience cooking meat. I recently remarked to some friends that cooking meat is easy and more difficult than cooking without meat and even went so far as to say that I could cook a steak without any difficulty as it just involves throwing meat onto a hot pan. My friends are calling me out on this and imploring that I follow through with my boast. I am allowed to prepare myself however I want but basically I have to properly cook a steak to rare-medium rare without any assistance. I can choose whatever kind of steak I want. Can this be done or am I screwed because cooking a steak requires practice? What’s the easiest steak to cook?
Oh that’s easy. If you’re allowed to prepare for it, you should be able to cook an edible steak without much trouble at all. Just buy a standard, even cut like a strip steak, bring it room temp, season it liberally, and then consult the internet for proper grilling time. The hardest thing is gauging whether or not the steak is done on the inside when it looks nice and cooked on the outside, but sticking to the clock usually helps in that regard. As a vegetarian, you may also have an advantage because you will not be hampered by the URGENT NEED to consume that beef the second it looks close to done, a phenomenon that often leads to me pulling a steak off the grill while the insides are still bluer than Dr. Manhattan.
I know the internet has caused a lot of grief in its short lifespan, but it really has been a godsend to any dipshit trying to make a decent meal at home. You can cobble together your own, highly effective cooking school for online recipes, and tips forums, and Aaron Franklin videos. Vegetarians like you can learn the basics of cooking meat. And bloodthirsty carnivores like me can cruise through Pinterest to find vegetable side dishes that are way more exciting than a green salad but still not as exciting as the fatass end of a ribeye. The other day, I managed to reverse a sauce for Brussels sprouts I really liked that had cream, fish sauce, honey, cilantro, peanuts, and hot sauce in it. DIAGNOSIS: DELICIOUS. Everyone is getting better! This is a welcome development even as the world falls into a sewer. Let us all rejoice.
When I was 13, a friend sent me a few short pornos to introduce me to it. But it was really fucked up stuff. We’re talking animals. I deleted it, but I was an amateur at covering my tracks at the time and I know my Dad found it because he asked who was off school that day. I’m 30 now and have never discussed this with my Dad. Should I let him know I’m not some degenerate? I want to forget.
Forget it. Some stuff is fine to keep buried. You don’t have to share everything with everyone, you know? If you’ve grown into a relatively well-adjusted adult, your dad can see that. That’s proof enough. It’s not like you ended up marrying a horse. You didn’t marry a horse, correct? Just making certain.
I say this as someone whose father ALWAYS walked in on the porniest part of any movie I watched. “Whatcha watchin’? LOOKS RACY!” It’s the worst feeling, especially when you get older and realize the wily coot did that shit on purpose. I also once racked up phone sex charges on my old man’s bill (and we’re talking a while ago … like, at least two weeks) and got reamed out for it. But he still likes me fine, so far as I know. There’s no need for me to take him to a diner and have a heart-to-heart about all the times I masturbated to things I shouldn’t have masturbated to. That’s not gonna do anyone any good. Just live your life the best you can and hope it’s good enough for the people you love.
Besides, older people think everyone else is a pervert anyway. I know I do. Who are these people who like videos of girls peeing? That’s fucked up, man.
What kind of art do conservatives enjoy? To me, outside of country music, the occasional jingoist Clint Eastwood war movie, or Jeff Dunham I can’t see many types of entertainment that don’t fly in the face of what conservatives think they think about the world. It seems like there’s only 5% of any form of entertainment that apply to their worldview. Is that why they get so angry about the NFL? What do they do all day?
Nah nah, conservative people like all the same shit that liberals like, even if most of it is made by liberals. They either just ignore the subtext of certain pop culture artifacts, or they twist it their own ends. “You guys, The Avengers is a clear parable of how partially privatized paramilitary units can save the world with only a minimal number of cities left wholly destroyed!” Shit like that.
The bigger question is why so much overt conservative art is fucking terrible. Like, there’s plenty of rah-rah Hollywood product that’s fun to watch, like Apollo 13. You can call that conservative. But I’m talking about shit like those Kirk Cameron movies, the Blue Collar comedy tour, even FOX News itself. Even if you agree with what FOX News is all about, I still don’t know how you tolerate it. Like, I’m a liberal and I’d rather cut my eyes out than watch MSNBC, because it’s relentlessly unentertaining. FOX is no different. It’s cheap, unfunny, repetitive dreck. I understand the appeal of having your viewpoint validated by the man in the teevee, but I don’t see what other possible pleasure centers that’s hitting.
I think there’s an inherent defensiveness in a lot of right wing and/or Evangelical entertainment that makes everything feel like you’re watching Some Of My Best Friends Are Black: The Motion Picture. When the story, and the task of entertaining the viewer, takes a backseat to whatever horseshit you’re pushing, you end up with crap. That’s true of Aaron Sorkin movies, too. Really, no one should be allowed to make anything except for me.
If Trump were a foot shorter (5'2"), would he still have gotten elected? If not, what would have been the cutoff height?
I am probably the last person to ask about 2016 election takes, but yeah, I think it probably would have cost him. He may not have gotten his job hosting The Apprentice if he were just a little weenie, and without The Apprentice, he’s not President. Trump’s whole persona is projecting virility and wealth, and height plays some role in that. He’s not gonna pull that brand off if he’s David Faustino with a swallow’s nest on his head. I’ve seen Trump speak live in person. He’s a blithering idiot, but he’s got a physical presence that makes people go, “Wow, he’s not just some random asshole, he’s a really TALL asshole.” You hear it.
Email of the week!
I’ve been in a months-long ongoing dispute with my wife. It began as I was headed out to the store for groceries, and she instructed me to pick up some “Taco Chips”. Having never heard of such a thing I asked if she meant Doritos or some other taco FLAVORED chip. Nope, she was referring to “Tortilla Chips”. Regular-ass, dip-in-salsa, base-for-nachos, plain-salted tortilla chips. She swore up and down people used the term interchangeably. That by the way is not true for obvious reasons. Long story short, I was accused of being mean on purpose, and not just not actually knowing what the hell she was talking about.
Google “Taco Chips” and see what comes up: Bubkiss. Not a single hit, which is impossible if a single asshole on the internet had ever had this argument before us. There would be a #TacoChip movement. There would be an entire sub-reddit where Emma Watson’s face was grafted onto a fried tortilla triangle by AI for some schlub’s pleasure. There would be evidence!
Fast forward to yesterday, I was YET AGAIN asked for “Taco Chips”. And again, the back and forth began. To settle this all she posts a Facebook Poll to ask the world to weigh in on the great “Taco Chip” controversy of 2018. So far the vote is like 50-0 for “Tortilla Chip”. I’m convinced this is the pinnacle of what married people argue about. What say you!?
It’s close. By the way, Taco Chip does turn up in a Google search. I assume it’s used by people who are either from England or Wisconsin.