Time for your weekly edition of the Deadspin Funbag. Got something on your mind? Email the Funbag. Today, we’re talking about wiping, salsa, curing fish, and more.

Oh, hello again. Yes, I have returned from my book-writing sabbatical—venturing to the Yukon, wrestling wild salmon, scribbling long paragraphs about the FATE OF MAN on the back of aged moosehide—and am ready to rejoin you, my dearest online friends, once more. I feel refreshed and revigored, if such a word can be used (it can’t).

But before I jump back into this blog life, I’d like to give a round of applause to all the guest Funbag hosts who, over the course of the past month, have exposed me as fully replaceable. Let’s hear it for Albert Burneko and Matt Ufford and Megan Greenwell and Dave Lozo and Katie McDonough, all of whom did such a fine job here that I am now utterly terrified to relinquish my grip on this shithead column ever ever ever ever again.

And for those of you who only discovered Deadspin within the past month… hi. I am Drew. This is where I write about poop. LET’S FUCKING GET AT IT.

Your letters:

Clay:

Are there any rules of basketball that Jeff Van Gundy thinks are good?

Probably not. It’s weird because Van Gundy is doing precisely what I want my color commentator to do. I want him to BITCH. I want him to be unhappy with the coaches and the players and the league as a whole. I don’t want him to be happy. I want him to be as DISGUSTED with the on-court product as I am. That’s more genuine than having a block of wood like Troy Aikman sit there for three hours and be like, “I think that’s a good no-call there, Joe.” So I support Van Gundy in his efforts to complain nonstop on the air. He’s a much more tolerable Dwarf Curmudgeon than Mike Lupica.

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But the strange thing is that, whenever Van Gundy starts whining about shit, I never listen. Like, I can tell he’s unhappy with something, but I can’t pay that much attention because I have a basketball game to watch. More important, the fact that they gave him Mark Jackson as a foil doesn’t help because Mark Jackson is a humorless idiot. He’s the fucking worst, and he is terminally incapable of discussing anything with Van Gundy in any sort of meaningful, entertaining way. Every exchange between him and Van Gundy just starts off as an unintelligible grievance salad:

VAN GUNDY: See now, why is that not called a flagrant foul? They’re wrapping him up on a transition play to the basket!

JACKSON: If I’m the Warriors, I like that play.

And then it devolves into a strained buddy comedy no one asked for:

 

VAN GUNDY: Of well of course YOU liked that play. What could you possibly like about that play?

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[three seconds of silence]

JACKSON: That’s just a good hard play there.

VAN GUNDY: Puh-leeeeez!

BREEN: [chuckles before desperately trying to get back to the action]

 

Whatever insight Van Gundy brings to the table is automatically canceled out by Jackson arriving to the broadcast like the relative you dread seeing the most every Christmas. The fact that Doris Burke is sitting RIGHT THERE makes it all the more confounding. They need to fire him. Or, better yet, get some moron team to hire him as head coach so that THAT team can fire him a year and a half later when the players rebel because he won’t stop handing out TD Jakes pamphlets and dousing everyone’s ankle in Jesus oil. That way, I can hear Van Gundy unadorned and finally decide if he’s a charming crank or just a whiny dipshit.

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In conclusion, please bring back “Roundball Rock.”

Ali:

I don’t know if you’ve answered this before, but what do standing wipers do when they have the runs?

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Well, they wipe standing up. They don’t SHIT standing up. That would be a real problem. Just a big brown blotch right on the bathroom tile.

Anyway, I assume that when standers have the burrito shits, they have to crouch a bit and dig in to make sure the entire area is swabbed clean. I know sitters like me tend to envision standers being bolt upright when they reach around, clenching their buttcheeks so hard that Hernan Cortes himself could not get at the deposits lodged therein. But no, they bend a little, man. They relaxing those cheeks for proper starfish access. That’s just common sense.

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By the way, you know one thing that would scare me about being a standing wiper: what if I missed when I dropped the paper into the toilet? I know it’s point blank range, but as someone who has missed any number of easy jams into the wastepaper basket, I’m not willing to risk seeing a wad of shit-stained paper hit the seat of the toilet or, even worse, drop straight to the floor. Can you IMAGINE? I’d fucking die. You standers take a big risk every day with your poopy Cottonelle.

Dennis:

What would the NBA do if the Cavs sent out the last two guys in their bench, say Ante Zizic and Cedi Osman, and just had them take out Curry and Durant at the knees, injuring them for the rest of the series? Would the Finals be allowed to continue? Would it be declared a forfeit?

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You don’t see Kendrick Perkins suspended, do you? HEY-OOOOOOOO! My man kept his legs bolt straight like he was waiting to trip an obnoxious Southwest passenger on their way to the shitter.

For real though, what would happen is that both players in your scenario would be barred from the sport for life, and so would Ty Lue and possibly the entire Cleveland front office. Adam Silver would commission an entire Ted Wells-style investigation to get to the bottom of the Cavs’ wickedness. BUT … they would let the Finals continue. They’re not stupid. Think of the ratings after the Cavs pull a double Tonya. They’d all be BUTT RICH from the fallout. Everyone online just freaked out for a solid week because some moron GM opened up a few burner accounts. I can’t even fathom the mileage that Basketball Twitter would get out of KNEEGHAZI.

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And the LeBron takes would enter a heretofore unknown dimension of lunacy. Did he know about the assault? Did he order it? Oh, he CLAIMS he knows nothing, but everyone knows he runs that team! If the Cavs went on to win the series after that, the takes would go on until well after you and I are dead in the ground. The MJ-versus-LeBron arguments would extend to the fucking moon and back. Should LeBron’s title have an asterisk next to it, or did he finally display the kind of Jordan-like killer instinct that haters once believed he was missing? Doesn’t putting a bounty on the collateral ligaments of another player PROVE that LeBron wants it more? I say maybe!

Andy:

Based on my observations of people eating chips and salsa, every chips-and-salsa-eater in the world falls into one of two categories: either they view the chip as an integral part of the chips and salsa experience and honor it by not overloading it with salsa, or the chip is simply a vehicle to be used for shoveling the all-important salsa into their mouth and thus attempt to pile it with the maximum amount of salsa possible. What is the proper chip to salsa ratio? Is the chip vital to the balance between chips and salsa, or is it meaningless outside of its ability to deliver salsa for consumption?

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As someone who scoops up the salsa like he’s trying to pack it into an ice cream cone, I will tell you that the chip is NOT meaningless to me. I do not take that chip for granted. I promise no man will love that chip as I love that chip. But I ALSO love the salsa. Can a man not fall in love with two foodstuffs at once?

[fans self with panama hat]

No matter how much salsa you load up onto that fucker, the chip still plays a vital role in delivering both a CRUNCH ELEMENT and 500 extra milligrams of sodium to the bite. That is a crucial function. If it weren’t, you’d be eating salsa with a spoon, and that would earn you a one-way trip to the loony bin.

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Therefore, the ideal chip-to-salsa ratio is one chip to whatever mass of salsa it can withstand. For the first dip, I usually go conservative and only dip a little, to make sure the salsa is to my liking. After that, IT IS DIGGING TIME. I’m rushing all that salsa into my mouth because I’ll be goddamned if I let Jeremy get any. If I eat the most salsa, I win.

Now, the load-bearing capabilities of your chip are obviously determined by the thickness of both the chip AND the salsa. So if you’ve got those super thin, freshly fried chips that come in a greasy basket at the Mexican joint? Those are great, but they break under the weight of a single tomato chunk. And dragging them through guac is a goddamn disaster. You gotta pair up thin chips with thin dips, and thicc chips with thicc dips. That way, everything remains structurally intact and you’ll have grown a third manboob by the time the waiter comes around to take your order.

One last thing: my six-year-old discovered nachos this past weekend. You should have seen the light go on when he tried them. It was like he discovered cold fusion. He may never eat a non-nacho food again.

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Dan:

Why do Warriors fans come off so corny?

There are a few reasons. First off, Kevin Draper. Secondly, Kevin Durant. Thirdly, the Warriors sucked for the bulk of my lifetime, and so any seasoned hater like me can detect (or, as needed, manufacture) a whiff of bandwagoning to the whole enterprise. Fourthly, denigrating another team’s fanbase is the go-to move any time you can’t beat them on the court. I know that’s how I react any time my team gets their shit ruined. “Well we lost, but at least we’re not like THOSE people. We’re completely different!”

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But the biggest reason Warriors fans come off as corny is because of money. That is an extremely wealthy area that’s only getting wealthier, which means the arena ends up being stocked, from floor to nosebleeds, with tech industry assholes, celebrities, jock businessmen wearing game jerseys over dress shirts, and corporate fuckwads and their utterly disinterested guests … the kind of corny people who ooh and ahh because the concession stand serves short ribs. The wealthier the crowd is, the cornier it’ll be. Because really, how high can the stakes be for you as a fan if you’ve got $50 million in the bank and a 5,000 sq. ft. condo to fuck off to after the game is over?

You’re gonna get a much better, much more vociferous crowd if everyone in the arena has a life that is complete and utter shit. NO ONE DENIES THIS. All the old-school Warriors fans got priced out of that arena a long time ago and they’ve been mostly replaced by people for whom the outcome can’t ever possibly be life or death, and therefore their rooting attempts seem forced and lame. I know it’s cliched and not exactly accurate to say poor fans care more than rich fans, but you’re asking about corniness here. I mean, imagine a crowd that looks entirely like me. That’s a bad crowd, man. Chances are, fans who are older and wealthier and more casual are bound to look hilariously fucking stupid trying to rattle LeBron.

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This is why I always like videos of the shit that happens OUTSIDE the arena so much. Give me footage from any watch party, or from a bar, or from homemade video of a dude’s living room. Gimme one dude, alone in a shitty living room with bare walls and a TV resting on top of a used IKEA dresser. That’s where the TRUE FAN ACTION is.

HALFTIME!

Matthew:

What’s the weirdest food your kids like? Mine (3, 6) will wolf down smoked salmon (lox). They would go through a 12 oz package in a sitting if I’d let them (stuff’s too expensive for those little snots).

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Whoa hey, who says smoked salmon is weird? That’s my favorite food you’re talking about, amigo. Smoked salmon is my first food love, and always will be. Even my nine-year-old eats it, and he eats GARBAGE the rest of the time. I know the packaged stuff is expensive, so what I do instead is cure it myself. It’s relatively easy and yields a SHITLOAD more salmon than if you buy four ounces of Acme garbage from the grocery store for $6.99. Here’s the recipe!

1-1.5 lb. salmon filet, skin on

1 cup sugar

1/3 cup fine salt

1 tbsp dry dill

Splash of vodka

Okay, so mix the salt and sugar and dill in a bowl and test it with your finger to make sure it’s not INSANELY salty. I almost always end up adding a little extra sugar. Now, take a shallow dish and splash the vodka on the fish, making sure to take a swig for yourself because you earned it. TASTES LIKE DESPERATION! Then, rub the salt and sugar mix all over the fish, including the skin. Leave it skin-side up in the dish, cover it in plastic wrap, and weigh the fillet down with a heavy object to get the curing salts going if you like. Stick it in the fridge for two days. Then take the filet out, rinse it off, dry it with a paper towel, and PRESTO! You’ve got yourself a goddamn pound of tasty gravlax, and it’s all yours! I like to slice it myself, acting like a grumpy Zabar’s counter guy, before dropping entire sheets of it into my mouth. Again, I earned the right to do this.

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Oh right, I didn’t answer your question. I think the weirdest thing I’ve seen my own kid eat is a plain lemon. My youngest kid asks me to slice up lemons and limes so he can eat them like orange wedges. It’s like he wants to grow up to be a Radiohead song.

Matt:

How much would you pay to watch NFL games with fully unedited audio of players on the field? Have them either mic’d up or use long range mics to hear play calls, player/coach/ref/fan spats, and overall shit talking?

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Fully unedited? Four dollars. That would sound like a goddamn mess. I don’t want to watch a football game and hear 22 grown men all grunting and pissing and yelling out jabberwocky play calls and screaming out LET’S GOOOOOOOOO for three hours straight. You vastly overestimate how interesting all that in-game banter is. Like, I NEVER watch the mic’d up segments of NFL highlights. They’re almost always boring. It’s just 30 minutes of Russ Wilson chirping “Let’s make some plays, guys!” at his teammates as they put finger pistols to their temples. All of those guys out on the field are busy and not all of them are clever.

I need a producer to cull that footage and edit it down to just the good parts. After the games are over, put on NFL CONFIDENTIAL and gimme a sizzle reel of racial epithets and death threats and teammates calling Tom Brady a fancy asswipe. THAT is the gold, and I’d like someone to pan for that gold for me. And that is why I am asking, once more, for an anonymous mole inside NFL Films to deliver all of that company’s B-roll to ME, Drew Magary, care of Deadspin.com. You know it’s the right thing to do. Together, we could have Roger Goddell shitting hot pepperoni for a MONTH.

Alan:

If he wasn’t President, would Donald Trump have visited Melania while she was in the hospital?

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Hell no. I can’t even imagine her wanting him there. I mean, think about what it would be like to have Donald Trump visit you in the hospital. Literally anyone else would be a greater comfort. Lou Holtz would be a greater comfort. Trump would just come barging in and accidentally trip on your feeding tube and cry out “MANY PEOPLE ARE SAYING THEY LIKE A PRESIDENT WHO DOESN’T HAVE TO GO TO HOSPITALS,” and then chuck a roll of Mentos at your stoma before farting and hightailing it out of there. “Enjoy!” She doesn’t wanna be anywhere near him. She just wants to chill out in New York and fuck her personal trainer. Those two have an arrangement, and it served them well right up until the day he got elected. It’s a purely transactional marriage, and I’d almost respect the whole enterprise if that family wasn’t hellbent on motherfucking every last one of us.

By the way, the most plausible explanation that Melania went missing for nearly a month was because she is a SPY. That’s Occam’s Razor, folks. She was a Russian sleeper agent sent to marry Donald and help him become President. Only now she’s witnessed the full damage that her work has wrought upon the world, and so she has turned double agent, working for the very intelligence community that hates the President! Only she got CAUGHT, and now no one knows if they should cover it all up or jail her for high treason. WHY AM I THE ONLY PERSON WHO SEES THIS?!

[one 162-tweet rant later]

YOU MONSTERS. YOU FAITHLESS VERMIN. DON’T YOU KNOW I HAVE TRAINED MY WHOLE LIFE TO DEFEND THIS REPUBLIC FROM YOUR VOODOO SNAKERY?!

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Ryan:

What’s your ranking for the teams that are ruining the image of their cities? I’m from Cincinnati and like to think we’re one of those cities people feel bad for because the Bengals have no championships and the Reds haven’t won since 1990. I haven’t run into any real Reds hatred, but I have to admit the Bengals are ruining it for Cincinnati on the whole and bringing down the average. I imagine the Indians are ruining it for Cleveland (Chief Wahoo), the Seahawks are ruining it for Seattle (c’mon), the Packers are ruining it for the state of Wisconsin (I’ve lived in Chicago for 8 years now), etc. Who is ruining it for the rest of their city’s teams?

You know that’s interesting, because usually I think about cases where the FANS ruin everything for a team, and not the other way around. Like, if I had to read one more goddamn take last month about “Hey, you’d really like this Celtics team if they weren’t the Celtics!” I would have gone on a grenade-throwing spree. Is Jayson Tatum a nice player? He is. Do I give a shit? I do not. Do I still hope that Ante Zizic and Cedi Osman take out the Achilles heel of every last Celtics fan alive, no matter how gosh darn charming that Brad Stevens fella is? I do.

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But we’re talking about the inverse scenario here, which is a rarer phenomenon. This has to go beyond mere losing. It has to be a team that not only fails on the field, but is so hapless and pathetic off the field that their very existence is a stain upon the greater metropolitan area. That team, of course, is the Browns. When I think of Cleveland, I think 0-16. LeBron could beat Golden State on one leg and I would still think of that city as home to the shitass impostor Browns and their Jeff Speakman movie villain of an owner. If I could apologize to LeBron personally about this, I would. The Browns are a toilet.

The other clear answer is the Skins. There are plenty of awful Skins fans, but the organization itself is so genuinely despicable that they have brought GENERATIONS of shame to otherwise normal fans. I know the Bengals are deeply embarrassing and that many of their fans would rather be put on a sex offender registry than confess to liking that team. But at least everyone forgets about them during the offseason. You people have NOTHING on the Browns or Skins. The Skins are a clumsy white supremacist autocracy and the Browns are a raging tire fire all year round. Losing a lot of football games is the LEAST embarrassing thing they do. The Capitals are about to win the Stanley Cup and the moment will be RUINED the second Dan Snyder tries to mooch off some of the glory for himself.

By the way, honorable mention goes to nearly every New York sports team. They’re all so embarrassing, and in such specific ways! None of them say anything good about the city they represent. Like, the Giants are probably the best New York team to root for, and even then you gotta root for fucking Eli. I’d rather drown.

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Will:

How many animals can you name? We set up some carefully decided on but simple rules: they have to be a different species (so brown bears and polar bears count as 2) and things like different breeds of dogs/cats don’t count (a bulldog and a poodle are way different, but they can still make babies so they’re genetically the same thing). I think I can top out over 500, but could I go even higher? Am I being too confident in my armchair zoologist skills?

[deep breath]

Bear, lion, dog, cat, giraffe, mouse, hamster, rat, eagle, shark, whale, human, iguana, kimodo dragon, ostrich, rhino, falcon, cardinal, the Lorax, tiger, fox, wolf, Tiamat, snake, gecko, frog, toad, trout, salmon, tuna, vulture, orc, goblin, groundhog, coyote, armadillo, ant, spider, cockroach, fly, mosquito, praying mantis, gorilla, megalodon, monkey, baboon, Big Bird, raccoon, Animal the muppet, squirrel, halibut, koala bear, wallaby, kangaroo, elephant, hippo, antelope, deer, gazelle, shrimp, lobster, crab, goat, sheep, Pegasus, chicken, cow, pig, turkey, pheasant, duck, goose, peacock, seagull, jellyfish, penguin, zombies, buffalo, partridge, pear tree, Kraken, dove, cheetah, panther, jaguar, bobcat, mountain lion, snuffaluffagus, Santa Claus, Medusa, earthworm, the Babadook … Did I miss any? I don’t think I missed any. That’s what, 100 animals? There you go. Only 100 animals in the world. Seems about right.

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Email of the week!

Andy:

Today I was having a normal day at work, which of course is alternating pretending to be productive and fucking around on the internet. At one point while I was scrolling through Twitter, I noticed something peculiar about my “Who To Follow” suggestions (see attached picture). It was a theologian and two brands - Cottonelle toilet paper and Pepto-Bismol. This was strange because I follow no religious accounts nor do I follow a single brand on any social media accounts. I then thought about how social media sites have recently really upped their game on targeted advertising which has been doing things like predicting women are pregnant with ads for maternal items before the mothers even knew they were pregnant. I joked to myself “maybe Twitter knows I’m going to need Jesus after some explosive shits.”

I swear to God Almighty: About 30 minutes after dinner tonight, which consisted of literally just meat and potatoes, I straight blow it out my ass. Hardcore, mud-of-lake diarrhea.

Drew, have the machines already won?

It’s the freakiest episode of Black Mirror yet!