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I’ll Be Goddamned If Chili Is Ever Considered A Health Food

Illustration: Jim Cooke (G/O Media), Photo: Shutterstock
FunbagTime for your weekly edition of the Deadspin Funbag. Got something on your mind? Email the Funbag.

Today, we’re talking about pickles, basketball hoop design, BIG WEDDING, and more.

Your letters:

Ken:

How come chili is not considered healthy? Everything in it is healthy, depending on how you make it. Tomatoes, peppers, black beans, onions, garlic, spices (chili powder, paprika, turmeric, etc.) As long as you use a lower fat meat, go easy on the salt and the size of the portion, chili is not only full of yummy goodness but should be considered a super food. What am I missing?

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Well, the conditions you just laid down for chili to be healthy—lean meat, no salt, tiny portion—defeats the purpose of having chili to begin with. You need fatty ground meat, possibly sourced from Vita Vea’s lower leg, to make the chili taste good and to make it thick. Use lean meat and you end up with [every asshole chili fanboy on Twitter voice] soup. There are a million “healthy” chili recipes out there if you’re looking for validation, and I’m sure they’re suitably low in calories and fat. But that’s not the chili that you and I want. What I want is a chili made from aged bacon fat, topped with a quart of sour cream and a pile of shredded cheese, with a full bag of Xochitl tortilla chips on the side. NOW THAT’S CHILAY!

I’ve had to keep tabs on my weight my whole life and, in my case, what I eat is far less impactful than how much of it I eat. Chili isn’t healthy in my universe because I do not consume it in healthy portions. Same with pizza, which is also ostensibly made from otherwise sensible ingredients. Same with dark chocolate. Same with … well really, no food is healthy the way I eat it. I may as well just eat straight fatback while I’m failing to retain any willpower. The point is that chili could be healthy if you ruined it. But I’ll never do any such thing.

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Tony:

You order a burger at a non-fast-food restaurant and you get a burger, fries, and a pickle spear. Assuming all ingredients and presentation are fine, and ALSO assuming you LIKE pickles, when and/or how do you eat the pickle? All at once? Alternating bites? At the end as a pickletif?

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Wait, why isn’t the pickle in slices ATOP my burger? Someone at The Burger Hut really missed an opportunity there.

In all seriousness, I usually don’t eat that pickle at all. I do like pickles, but I don’t care about one on the side when I have a burger and fries to plow through. I might eat it at the end if I’m still hungry and willing to hit on any foodstuff I see left in my immediate radius. This always happens to me when I eat out, when I rule myself officially Done but then I start to nibble on leftover bread crusts on the plate because I have nothing better to do.

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I know a lot of people—New Yorkers, really—are SUPER into the pickle spear and crave it almost as much, if not more, than the sandwich alongside it. And if that pickle spear isn’t crunchy enough, they burn the diner to the ground. I am not that passionate about such matters. The pickle is a side dish. You take nibbles here and there as you see fit. Beats a sad little paper cup of slaw dropped onto your plate as an afterthought, leaking mayo like it’s nuclear waste. But it’s still not the main attraction.

Maxwell:

What’s the definitive ranking of raw meat resiliency? Or, what’s the hierarchy of meats you don’t want associated with your injury? I ask because Markelle Fultz’s shoulder is regularly described as crab meat while a Harvard runner’s foot recently turned to ground beef. Crab meat seems weaker than ground beef but the beef injury seems more gruesome. You’d probably most want a wound to resemble beef tongue, right?

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The Deadspin house style is to label virtually any expired body part on an athlete as CRABMEAT. In my mind, this is more about texture than anything else. It suggests the ligament in question is now just a pile of tender lumps. In fact, here’s a fun fact for you: I have had three back surgeries, all of which involved a surgeon removing leaked bits from a herniated disc. I was told by my doctor that the disc tissue is consistent with, you guessed it, crabmeat. When you want medically accurate injury slurs, this is the proper site to log onto. They did NOT save those exhumed bits for me, which was disappointing. To think that such a valuable bit of Drew Memorabilia could be just casually thrown into a biohazard receptacle. So disrespectful. I could have sold that disc meat on eBay for at least four dollars.

Anyway, crabmeat is blood-free and delicious. When docs told me I had a crabmeat back, that actually IMPROVED the way I looked at it. Now if they had told me, “Well, your spine is currently made of ground beef,” I would have be alarmed. Ground beef is a standard metaphor for grisly injuries, and for a good reason. Ground beef is mushy, bloody, and it’s been chopped to bits. If someone compared my body part to a raw steak, that would be fine. A raw steak is intact. Your insides SHOULD look like the ribeyes behind the counter at a Whole Foods. What you don’t want are body parts that resemble meats that have been fully butchered and/or shredded, such as:

  • Carne asada
  • Pulled pork
  • Discarded chicken wings
  • Ground chuck
  • Brunswick stew
  • Scrapple
  • Overcooked chicken livers
  • Beyond Meat

If you see those terms listed on your medical chart, you’re probably not gonna be able to rejoin the Jets for at least a month or two.

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Morgan:

I was washing my hands in the men’s room at work the other day and one of my favorite co-workers walked in. He said hi, walked into a stall, and shut the door. A few seconds later I heard a deafening iPhone camera click. What is the most reasonable explanation? Can I still be friends with him?

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I assume he was just taking a screenshot. My phone does the shutter effect when I take a screenshot, although I don’t think a screenshot merits it. I’m not igniting a little pile of flash powder while snapping a portrait of Teddy Roosevelt here. I’m just cropping out the worst paragraph from some shitty Washington Post op-ed so that I can tweet mean things about it. I do that in the bathroom all the time. Very healthy.

One of these days I’m gonna accidentally text someone a photo of my own dick, Chris Cooley–style. This is because I’m on my phone while pissing, which no one should ever ever do. And when I want to text a photo on my phone, Apple Messages will open the camera first, rather than just taking me to my photo archive. What the fuck, Apple… I have my dick out! This is invasive. Definitely Apple’s fault, not mine. So be on the lookout for Roth tweeting out a shot that has my penis in the corner of it when I meant to complain to him about a Bob Ryan column. That’ll be a superb day.

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To answer your question, you can still be friends with the toilet camera guy.

Sam:

In light of Trump grounding flights following the Ethiopian airline crash, which would you enjoy more: Trump locating Ethiopia on a map or Trump explaining how airplanes fly?

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The latter. Ask Trump to point out that country on a map and he’d jab a grease-stained index finger at Mongolia. Then you’d correct him, and he’d write ETHIOPIA across Mongolia with a Sharpie and demand the State Department confirm it. You know, just his normal fuckheadery.

Ask him about human flight though, and you’ll be treated to one of Trump’s patented, rambling soliloquies that invariably ends with him being like, “Just so you know, my good friend Gene Simmons offered me a night alone with Shannon Tweed, that’s how highly he thinks of me.” Trump has expounded on the wonders of aeronautics before and has done so, in his customary form, at the EXACT wrong time to expound upon such matters. There will come a day when Trump decides to teach America about how airplanes fly, he’ll probably do it right after a mass shooting at an orphanage. It’ll be horrifying in all the usual ways, but the transcript will be MAGICAL. It’ll even include unprompted fat jokes about Delta Burke. “She used to be a real number, you guys know that? What happened there? We gotta do something about her. You know why airplanes fly? Because pilots… they’re winners.”

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I joke, but I can’t explain airplanes to you any better than Trump can. My kids once asked my wife and me how planes fly, and neither she nor I could do a good job of it. We were at a loss. I did my whole dad thing and pretended I knew, spouting out, “Well, the crucial element of flight is LIFT,” but then they asked what lift was and I was stumped once more. My wife and I eventually looked it up (looking up answers on your phone is the modern dad equivalent of relenting and asking someone for directions somewhere) and, even after reading about the physical dynamics involved, I still couldn’t explain it to you.

I should just say that flight is the LORD’s doing. When you don’t wanna give a credible explanation for something, chalk it up to God. And if THAT doesn’t work, say that God works in mysterious ways. That way, you’ve got a convenient out for any situation.

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Andrew:

Why don’t they redesign basketball hoops so the ball can’t get stuck between the rim and backboard? This is the only time when jump ball just “happens” and players fighting over it doesn’t make sense. If it’s not a jump ball it should just be a turnover.

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How often does this happen during the course of an NBA season, though? Once a month? I can’t get too worked up over that, and my job entails getting worked up over everything. Watching a ball get stuck in the rim is the two-dollar bill of basketball game stoppages. In a way, it’s comforting to know that Kawhi Leonard can get his shot stuck up there the same way it happens to me. Kawhi’s then magically comes alive and bounces 98 times before falling through the hoop. But still, for a moment there, he and I are kindred spirits. I don’t wanna lose that.

I’m okay with making a stuck shot a turnover. If you hit the side or the top of the backboard, that’s out of bounds. Far as I’m concerned, the engineered netherspace between the hoop and its mounting bracket can count as being out of bounds as well, both rules-wise AND existentially. The ball … it is trapped. It is neither living nor dead. It knows neither sorrow nor joy. It is a ghost of this ethereal plane, imprisoned forever without trial. [Ref voice] Duke basketball.

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I don’t think it’s worth redesigning the modern basketball hoop from scratch to prevent this from happening. It took a while for the hoop to evolve to this point, with its shatterproof backboard and breakaway rim and what not. It’s a quality piece of design. I don’t wanna fuck with it. If you change the hinge so that an errant shot can’t get lodged in it once every lunar cycle or whatever, some new problem with your Orange Roundie 2.0 would pop up. Players would chip their teeth dunking on it. Let’s not do the tech bro thing where you reinvent something by ruining it.

David:

Trump has been married to Melania for 14 years now. In that time, has he learned any Slovenian?

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If he has, it’s been strictly for a bit. Trump clearly doesn’t give a fuck about his family unless he can work them into one of his patented riffs. Like, you know he’s about to get ON ONE when he warms the crowd up by looking around and going, “Where’s Melania? Is Melania here? You know, I was with Melania the other day and she was asking me, honey, how do airplanes fly? And I said to her, ‘Babe, if they make those planes in dirty and corrupt China, they don’t fly!’ That’s a fact. We’re gonna make those planes HERE, and we’re gonna sell them to my friends in the Taliban. We all love the Taliban again, amirite?”

So if Trump knows any Slovenian, it’s gonna come out in his act. “Melania says that hello in her language (NOTE: he would not know what her language is called) is ZDRAVO. You believe that? Zuh-draw-vo. That sound like hello to you? Maybe in Slovenia it does, I don’t know. But we’re not in Slovenia, we’re in LITTLE ROCK. Where’s my friend Aaron Lewis of Staind? Is he here?” He does not know any Slovenian.

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By the way, Melania is a deceptively effectual part of the whole Trump apparatus. She’s the reason Trump is anti-vax, and she’s definitely the reason he started going after your pineapple Juul pods. One day Melania is gonna say to him, “I’m worried about Barron because kids at school made fun of him for his haircut,” and then Trump will ban all hair, save for his own. He’ll make everyone shave their heads, stand in line for gruel rations, and attend mandatory history re-education seminars hosted by the Daily Caller; all so that Melania won’t hassle him about something anymore.

HALFTIME!

Mike:

Bill Simmons has mentioned that he tended bar in the late 90s. What kind of bartender was he?

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I assume he was like every other bro who commandeers the keg tap at a frat party and then only pours beers for his crazy buddies and for girls he’s trying to sleep with. In other words, he was probably like every other bartender in Boston back in 1996. Probably didn’t even need to give his resume to land a job at Daisy Buchanan’s.

Katie Nolan tended bar in Boston, too. At this point, the American sports pundit economy is structured to benefit wisecrackin’ Boston hospitality workers and exactly no one else.

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Kevin:

I’m a groomsman in a destination wedding on Memorial Day Weekend. Between flights, accommodations, wardrobe, etc. I’ve sunk over a grand into this (Note: Fuck destination weddings). That leads to this: Should I still get the bride and groom a gift? I know it’s customary but holy shit I can’t keep spending money on this.

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The rule is that you have until a year AFTER the wedding to get the bride and groom a gift. We all still abide by arcane tenets of etiquette issued by Emily Post 970 years ago, do we not?! Anyway, I would get the couple a gift, but I would also wait a few months until after the ceremony to scrounge up some more dough, so I can get them that special teak-handled cake knife they registered for. You can do the same. Of course, you will be forced to attend five OTHER weddings in the interim, further depleting your bank account. But going needlessly into debt because you’re too shy to tell a friend you’re broke is what America is all about! If you’re lucky, your friend might get divorced before you have to buy that gift. Then you’re off the hook!

I actually have to go to a wedding next month that’s being held outside the country, though it’s for extremely credible reasons. I didn’t complain about the logistics of it, and that’s frankly because I have more money now than I used to, and so do most of the other attendees. It’s not the formidable expense it would have been for me back when I was 27 and attending six weddings in a single calendar year.

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It’s peculiar, but also extremely American, for the BIG WEDDING racket to prey upon adults right when they can least afford all these trips. They know that you want your wedding to be a huge fucking rager, and they’ve managed to make that bigness virtually mandatory among young couples, affluent or otherwise. You’re in your 20s, you’re trying to start up a career and pay the rent. And now Gary wants you to come to his wedding in fucking Bali for a week. Suddenly you have to take out a second loan to handle all of those obligations.

I got married first among my friends, and we had a wedding with a band and all of the standard accompaniments. So I’m as guilty anyone else in forcing loved ones to cough up money just so that they can come kneel in servitude to my nuptials. But clearly, it would be better if every who got married young had a low-key ceremony and reception (it’s not like you can’t get drunk at a Chili’s), and then blew the doors off for a formal party 30 years after the fact. Then all of the expenses would hopefully coincide with your earning potential. I could use weddings now! I could use the break from these deranged kids. Instead, I used all that travel capital back when I was the kind of asshole who thought Fat Tuesday in Cancun was the coolest place in the world.

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I know people who have split their wedding into a couple of separate, smaller parties: one near the bride’s family, one near the groom’s, one explicitly for the younger crowd so everyone can get shitfaced and hit on each other, one brunch for the old fogies, etc. There are creative ways to make the whole occasion more practical for everyone involved, and people aren’t as shy as they used to be about re-organizing them in that fashion.

But the guests still gotta buy a gift. Just don’t buy your friend a Razor scooter, the way I did for my brother when he got married. That was not on the registry. I was not thinking right when I did that.

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Jason:

If Gronk could use The Force, do you think he would use it for good, like sending all of North Korea’s nuclear missiles to space? Or would he just undo NFL cheerleaders’ bras and siphon beer from your glass to his mouth and shit?

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He would cure brain damage with it. He would Force-shoot a basketball and then tell you you no longer have CTE.

Gronk would just use the Force for show. Please note that this is exactly what I would do as well. Yes, I could theoretically take on entire armies, Force-choke dictators, serve as mentor to a legion of young Jedi, and unite the world by harvesting all of the intangible energy that binds us together. Or I could go on Colbert and do the water bottle toss with no hands. For an appearance fee. I would choose the latter, and so would Gronk. Gronk is a simple fellow like that. His largest ambition in retirement is to party EXTRA hard, and what better way to do that than by making disco balls spin without a motor? The Force is worthless if you can’t show off with it.

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Zach:

Let’s say the Patriots and Alabama decide to switch head coaches the day before the college football season began. With no advance warning or preparation, is Bill Belichick or Nick Saban more likely to win a championship in their first season leading their new team?

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It’s Belichick, without question. Just because the Dolphins are currently somehow worse than they were under Saban doesn’t erase his established failures as an NFL head coach in Miami. Meanwhile, Belichick would fit right in at Alabama because he’s Bill Belichick, but also because Saban has designed Bama to be run like a professional football team in nearly every way. He cuts players by revoking scholarships as he sees fit. He uses location tracking to penalize fans who ditch home blowouts. He treats his players like replaceable chattel. Who do you think Saban learned to do all this from? The entire Bama process is built for a bloodsucking lake monster like Belichick to take over. He’d go 1,000,000-0.

By the way, I don’t think Saban’s tenure in Miami should stain his eventual legacy. He’s the greatest college football coach in history and will probably stay that way for a long-ass time. Spurrier was a hilarious failure in the NFL too, but he’s still Steve Spurrier. It’s all right if you only mastered ONE sport in your life. That’s one more than I got.

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Jack:

One of my biggest pet peeves in the entire world is when people refer to actors by the name of their most popular TV/movie character (e.g. calling Glenn Howerton Dennis Reynolds in conversation or online). I absolutely fucking hate it. It’s not that hard to learn the names of the people who act in your favorite things. Am I a whinyboy or is this something that infuriates others as much as me?

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“Well, ladies and gentlemen, I see the truth finally comes out, huh? Opie Cunningham is a selfish bastard.”

That tic probably infuriates Glenn Howerton more than it does you (Here’s a fun fact that I broke over at GQ years ago: Howerton was director James Gunn’s original choice to be Star Lord for Guardians of the Galaxy). But personally, I don’t really give a shit about it either way. Sometimes an actor gets defined by a role he or she played. That’s because people are lazy, but it’s also a testament to how WELL that actor defined that particular character. Those characters are real to people, dammit! Friend of the blog Daniel Radcliffe will likely have people telling him “You’re a wizard, ‘Arry,” until the day he dies. That’s an inevitable side effect of him doing his job well. Also, his face is on roughly seven trillion Harry Potter billboards and toy packages. It’s hard to fault people for thinking he IS a wizard. Do I still make a point of NEVER calling him Harry? I do. I wouldn’t do that to my BEST FRIEND. My big buddy The Dan.

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It’s hard to bitch about being an icon, and it’s also hard to fault fanboys for permanently typecasting Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker for life. Hamill does lots of other crap—most notably voicing the Joker in Batman cartoons—but he’s also cheerfully embraced the fact that he can’t ever fully distance himself from being Luke. That’s just the card he drew. Some actors, like Chris Evans, have enough talent and range to establish a name for themselves outside of their respective signature characters. But if you pass Chris on the street and yell HEY CAP!, I doubt you ruined his day. An actor’s job is to convincingly exist in another universe. When people get super into that universe, you’re bound to see some overlap. This is why I will always be the guy in the ugly shirt gif. I’ve accepted my legacy.

Email of the week!

Eric:

I get that it’s 2019 and people will get into a shouting match over the most pointless hot takes (especially online). So of course people will dig their heels into STRAWS ARE KILLING THE EARTH vs. PAPER STRAWS SUCK AND I’LL USE PLASTIC TIL I DIE.

But...in 99% of scenarios, aren’t straws fundamentally unnecessary? If you’re driving or otherwise transporting a beverage, sure, slap a lid on the thing and punch a straw through it so you aren’t risking a major spill. But at a restaurant, movie, game — almost literally any place with a table or cup-holder — all straws do is keep you from lifting your cup up two more inches. We’re adults. We can sip from a cup, yet our default action is to sip through a straw like we can’t trust ourselves to go lid-less. Why?

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Well, we are NOT all adults. Even though my kids are past toddlerhood, I still get panic sweats if they’re around an uncovered glass. And I have taken after my dad in getting super pissy when a kid spills a drink. OH CHRIST WILL YOU LOOK AT THAT?! Straws and lids are vital to the family restaurant dynamic. I accept my complicity in killing the planet here.

By the way, I went to one restaurant that had a miraculous solution to the straw discourse: bamboo straws. They work, and they won’t clog the oceans for a million years. I’m sure they cost a buck each, but is a livable Earth for your children not worth MORE? Hmm?

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[crickets]

Okay, okay. Point taken.

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About the author

Drew Magary

Drew Magary is a Deadspin columnist and columnist for GEN magazine. You can buy Drew's second novel, The Hike, through here.