Time for your weekly edition of the Deadspin Funbag. Got something on your mind? Email the Funbag. Today, we’re covering cereal, punt returns, bread prices, pooping, and more.
Maybe you’ve addressed this, but with Thanksgiving coming up, I was thinking that Thanksgiving has to be the best holiday for working stiffs. (Full disclosure: I’m a teacher, and get numerous long weekends and extended breaks.) Thanksgiving offers a (mostly) guaranteed four-day week for (almost) all people who work a 9-5 job. But when it comes to Christmas, on what day of the week is Christmas best held? Or, more importantly, what is the worst? All of this is assuming that you work at a despotic place that makes workers come in for a full or half-day on Christmas Eve.
I think it’s best if it falls anywhere between Friday and Sunday, so that you can try to take Christmas Eve off the day before. No one wants to work Christmas Eve, and no one wants to work the week between Christmas and New Year’s. Having Christmas on a Friday or Saturday preserves the integrity of that week off. If it falls on a Wednesday, that fucks up EVERYTHING. Vacation days get bungled. Schools get confused. You end up working two half-weeks and being miserable for both of them.
In fact, let’s just come out and say it: Christmas shouldn’t be on a fixed day. First of all, there’s no proof that Jesus was actually born on that day. In fact, he almost certainly wasn’t. So there’s no sacrilege in shifting the holiday around from year to year. Secondly, fixed holidays SUCK. Look at how perfectly Thanksgiving works if you have an office job. Your four-day weekend is secured every year. You can plan. You can schedule accordingly.
By contrast, having Christmas or the Fourth of July fall on a fucking Tuesday results in endless hand-wringing. What days are you getting off? Will there be a half-day? Will I be set free the exact moment traffic is at its worst (yes)?
I don’t know why we do this to ourselves. Christmas should just be the final Friday or Saturday of December. If it matches up with New Year’s, then all the better. New Year’s is always a letdown, so I’m fine if we get some hot Christmas action in there. Let’s make Christmas a floating holiday so that we can bring some measure of stability to the proceedings and make everyone happy. NO ONE DENIES THIS.
Why aren’t cereal boxes shaped like milk cartons?
Because … well, shit, I have no idea. They SHOULD be! You know what they should do? They should package it like the giant carton of Goldfish that people bring to birthday parties and college dorm rooms: a big, hulking carton that opens like a milk carton and has NO inner bag, so you can pour the goodness right into your facehole. That’s how cereal should work. No more bags. No more boxes of indeterminate height and width to mess with your cupboard. We will enforce carton uniformity, and make any deviation a jailable offense. I see no downside.
The only reason to maintain the cereal box status quo is because cereal boxes, more than any other item, fit nicely into a grocery bag. When I unload the car, I gotta deal with bags that have heavy bottles of milk and cans of soup and whole watermelons and all kinds of other cumbersome, annoying shit. My tidy little cereal box bag is a reprieve from all that insanity. Sometime I carry a heavy bag in one hand and the cereals in the other, and I’m all out of balance. God help you if someone loads your grocery bag with a box of cereal on one side and a pineapple on the other.
Is it better to be the biggest athlete on the planet or the biggest musician?
Musician. Not even close. If you’re an athlete, you’re busting your ass all year round to stay in shape, just for the hope that you can MAYBE win over a crowd of drunken assholes by MAYBE winning a title by the end of the season. You don’t have to worry about any of that shit if you’re Taylor Swift. Every crowd you play for is already in the tank for you, so long as you don’t go into a jazz odyssey on stage or anything like that. You get to pick where you play and when you play, and every crowd shows up chanting your name and willing to wait forever just to see you walk out on that stage. The second the lights go dark in the arena, you’ve already won! No need to sink eight three-pointers in a row.
I went to an Andrew WK concert (highly recommended if you have a time machine that can bring you back to 2001), and there was confetti. No Super Bowl win required. We got right to the party. There will always be a small batch of annoying fanboys who grouse about the soundboard quality from the Luxembourg show, or complain about any new album that doesn’t sound like the old album. But the complaints of those jackasses tend to go unheard during a live concert.
And the best part is … you never have to retire! Your voice might get a little rough in your later years, but crowds will still show up for you at the local Renaissance Faire. Why do you think so many pro athletes blow their money on recording studios? They know. They know that being a pro athlete is for SUCKERS. Much better to spend millions on demo tapes and pass them around to a bunch of shady label execs and talent managers and radio hucksters who will make you sign contracts that bleed you dry! That’s the good life.
Prior to Week 10, there were just over 1,200 punt attempts, and only six blocked punts. With such a low success rate of blocking punts, why don’t you see any teams give up on trying to block it, and bring as many guys as possible back near the punt returner? The returning team could put three guys on the line to create a little pressure, then line up eight guys downfield like a kickoff. As soon as the ball is snapped, you have the blockers sprint at the punting team and CRUSHKILL every man coming at them.
You can’t do that because the other team would recognize the formation and audible to a run play and get the first down with ease. Every team has a fake audible handy for that very scenario (sometimes it backfires, like when the Patriots audibled to a fake punt with safety Patrick Chung a few years ago). You have to keep enough guys near the line to at least keep the offense honest. With three guys on the LOS, it’s worth the risk of faking it if you’re the kicking team, unless it’s fourth and 30 from your own one, or your fake audible is some kind of disastrous swinging gate play with Griff Whalen snapping the ball on your behalf AMIRITE?!
Also, even if you keep guys way back in front of the returner, that’s not some magical guarantee that he’ll have better running lanes. Sometimes it helps to disguise the setup. I remember punt coverage in high school, where the coach would always bitch at everyone to stay in their lanes, and then the ball would be kicked and I would forget all of that and then sprint like hell at the return guy, only to be surprised when the return team guy wheeled around suddenly and blocked my ass into the ground. WHOA HEY I DIDN’T KNOW HE WAS GONNA DO THAT! I probably wouldn’t have been a very good pro coverage-team member.
If Michael Vick had never conducted a dogfighting operation, would he have been a Hall of Fame QB?
No. Even before Vick was arrested and imprisoned, his career was stalling. In 2006, his last full season before going to prison, Vick broke the thousand-yard mark rushing (holy shit), but barely completed half his passes. He was almost entirely run-dependent that year. After Vick got out and rehabilitated his career, he openly talked about what went wrong in Atlanta, and how indifferent he was toward film study because he was so busy electrocuting dogs. After he got out of the joint, his completion percentage and yards-per-attempt and passer rating all noticeably improved. So if he had never been caught fighting dogs, he probably would’ve kept coasting, racking up awesome rushing totals but regressing as a passer, or getting hurt. And killing dogs. That too.
He’s gonna go down like Bo Jackson and Randall Cunningham and a handful of other athletes who never made the Hall of Fame but were legitimately breathtaking to watch at times. And you know what? That’s fine. It’s kinda cool to be one of those rogue legends. I’d rather be Bo Jackson than some relative anonymous Hall of Famer like Tommy McDonald or something. Sorry, Tommy. You do nothing for me.
Do you flush public urinals after doing your business? I feel the urinal cake is a sufficient stopgap until the next naive individual pulls the lever. Is this evil?
No, I don’t think that’s evil, unless the urinal is flooded or has curdled beer piss in it. Most new rest stops and public bathrooms have no-flush urinals, where you piss onto a scented pad and then the piss goes washing down the drain. That saves water in a perfectly rational way. Why do you need to flush piss when it already comes in liquid form? Seems redundant. In an open hole, it flushes itself!
So I wouldn’t feel that bad about letting the yellow mellow, so long as you aren’t leaving an asparagus piss in there. If you’ve just had asparagus, you have to pull the trigger.
If you were an NFL player and got injured, you’d likely prefer that it happen during a home game (local hospital, friends, fans clapping as you’re carted off on a stretcher). But if it happened on the road, where would be the best and worst city for that to happen?
You’d obviously want a city that has top-flight medical care (like Boston) to treat your compound leg fracture, with easy access from the stadium to that medical care (DEFINITELY NOT BOSTON). So any centrally located major urban stadium will do, like Philly or Chicago. Shockingly, Detroit also has access to lots of good health care facilities, which makes it a top destination for shattering your femur.
Distance matters, too, obviously. Better to have a one-hour flight home with your liver in a splint than flying all the way across the country. Even if your owner splurges for a private jet and a team of masseurs to hose you down all flight long with eucalyptus oil, you still want to get home as quickly as possible, without the risk of turbulence jarring your feeding tube loose. Ever been in pain on an airplane? It’s hell. It’s like falling into a time-space lapse where you are in agony for YEARS. You start looking around for parachutes and emergency hatches and everything. “If I just skydive down to the ground and into a lake, that will solve everything.”
Why in the hell are there 400 different prices—with mere pennies of difference between them all—for sliced sandwich bread at the grocery store? I felt like I had to document this the other day, and I stood there typing in each price like a madman: $1.89, $1.99, $3.39, $3.15, $2.79, $2.29, $2.99, $2.39, $3.79, $3.99, $4.29, $3.29, $3.59, $3.49.
Two bits of craziness here: 1) That’s not even half of the loaves in that aisle; I had to stop before I had an aneurysm. And 2) THOSE PRICES CHANGE EVERY WEEK! How do they know how to price competitively? What week are you the brand that goes buy-one-get-one?
Assuming there is no BIG BREAD cartel that dictates the sourdough futures market, your fresh grocery store bread is probably priced out by a stoned teenager in the back who’s drawing dicks on birthday cakes and printing out random prices on the plastic tie-up thingies to stave off boredom. Because really, how closely are you looking at those prices? So long as that baguette isn’t breaching the $4 or $5 mark, your local soccer mom probably isn’t hesitating. She needs a proper crusty loaf for her fundraiser, and she needs it NOW.
Honestly, this is for the best. The less you know about bread economics, the better. There are wheat and yeast markets to consider. Also, being a baker is arguably the worst job in existence. You have to get up at 3 a.m. to whip up a bunch of foul-smelling starter dough just to appease a bunch of assholes coming in for the morning rush. You gotta REALLY like fondling croissant dough to do that. I’d rather clean stadium toilets.
How would you rank the different types of national anthems at sporting events? We have little kid national anthems, military instrumental national anthems, high school band national anthems (the worst), prerecorded ones ... which other ones would you rank? Obviously any national anthem punctuated by a flyover from a stealth fighter or F-18 gets huge bonus points.
Aw, man, I like high school band anthems! They’re great because there’s no singer around to fuck up the lyrics, and it’s a cool moment for the kids who get to do it, and then all of them get scared shitless and just want to finish the song as quickly as possible. I’m all about efficiency when it comes to anthem performances. If you can get out of there in 60 seconds or less, you have my vote. Here’s how I would rank them:
1. Symphony orchestra
2. Military band
3. College or high school band
4. Single, very sad trumpet
6. Up-and-coming R&B singer
8. Already-famous R&B singer who is NOT Whitney Houston
9. Local R&B singer
10. Rock band
11. Country music singer
12. Being hit be a tank
14. Madison Rising
A friend of mine thinks that putting your hand down the back of a girl’s pants in public is equivalent to putting your arm around a girl as a show of affection. Am I crazy in thinking this is crazy? Said friend is a Bills fan, FYI.
In public? That’s crazy. No one wants to see a Bills fan try to grab some burger in public. An over-the-pants butt caress is perfectly sufficient if you want people to know that you guys are two Mötley Crüe fans who happen to be in love. The standard for allowable PDA ought to be hugging, holding hands, and SOME kissing (without full-throated tongue-plunging). If you go past that, you need to get a room, because I am insecure and don’t want to see people getting laid if I am not ALSO getting laid at the moment. Try to be considerate, pants-divers.
Why don’t more teams/QBs take the delay of game penalty instead of burning a timeout? Five yards seems like an easy trade given how important stopping the clock can be at the end of close games. Someone please tell Mike McCarthy this before he burns another third-quarter timeout.
Drives me up the goddamn wall. To me, that’s a baseline indicator of a poorly coached team, because either the coach is a moron who doesn’t know how to preserve timeouts, or the quarterback is a moron who has not been told to preserve timeouts. I’ve seen QBs call the timeout to prevent a delay of game penalty on the first drive! That’s insanity. The ref should refuse that timeout. The ref should say, “Listen man, I know this seems like a good idea to you, but take this flag. You’ll thank me in a little while.” It would save so many broken televisions.
When I see someone in the bathroom stall, most of the time I see that they have their pants and undergarments pulled all the way to their ankles to the point where I can see their leg hair. I always stop my pants at the knees/upper shin area, so that nothing could possibly be touching the floor. Am I right?? Or a lunatic?
If you can shit with your pants around your knees, more power to you. I cannot. I need to spread. That’s right. I AM A MANSPREADER. DEAL WITH IT. I want all avenues open wide for every possible contingency: poop, pee, random bleeding, etc. Sitting down on the toilet is also a welcome time to get some much-needed ventilation. That package has been under wraps all morning! It needs air and light, like a common houseplant. Once I air out all that fromunda, I can start the fromunda-building process anew. It’s like clear-cutting a forest in order to save it.
I have been in gross bathrooms where the floor is all wet and I have to do everything possible to keep my belt or jeans from getting soaked in urine soup. (I have failed at times, and the result is horrifying.) That is not a fun poop. It’s tense and uncomfortable and not at all ideal. If I see a bathroom floor that’s dry and relatively clean, I’m dropping full trou. It’s worth the risk.
When is the appropriate time to start listening to Christmas music? I personally start in those waning days of November leading into December, but I know some people who start in October or even earlier. Are those people monsters?
My stance is that Black Friday ought to serve as the hard open to the Christmas music season, unless I’m drunk and in a really weird place and I need to queue up the Nutcracker Suite just so that I might be able to feel once more. But that is between me and my whiskey and my private Spotify playlist. Two stations around here are already blaring Xmas music 24/7, and that’s fucking crazy. I can only keep up the façade of jolliness for one month. After that, I’m straining.
When I make a ham and cheese sandwich, I use the cheese to spread the mayo on the bread instead of a knife.
What the fuck is wrong with you.
Is it breakfast if I wake up at 1 p.m. after a night of drinking Keystone Ice, and the first thing I eat is a burger and fries, or is it lunch because it’s afternoon? I stand by the obvious answer that the type of meal should be classified based on time.
But what of McDonald’s serving breakfast all day? Is says BREAKFAST right there on the menu. Can you have breakfast for dinner now, or will time itself rip apart and crush us all? And how does brunch factor into this argument? If it’s a weekend, you can usually use brunch as a convenient catchall for all pre-5 p.m. binging: eggs, burgers, club sandwiches, chicken kebabs, entire slabs of smoked mutton. That all gets to fly under the brunch banner.
I think I agree with Jameson: Your meal should be defined by the time you eat it. So if you’re eating pancakes for dinner, that’s dinner. You may be eating a breakfast food, but you missed out on the chance to call it a proper breakfast. That’s on you. Fry up that bacon earlier if you want breakfast credit.
(By the way, breakfast for dinner is a solid parenting staple. Tell the average kid they’re having pancakes for dinner, and they shit themselves. “You mean you can do that?!”)
What if the standard typing keyboard replaced all of those useless F1 F2 buttons with buttons for the 20 of the most commonly used English words, like “the” “and” “of” it” etc, so that when you pressed it, it would type those full words into whatever document/text box you were tying in? Would that save time writing, would it have no/minimal effect, or would it make the typing process a lot worse?
It would have no effect. As a card-carrying hunt-and-peck typist, I can spell out T-H-E faster than I can scour around some newfangled keyboard trying to spot the full word. That’s a whole new wrinkle in the keyboard setup that I would end up ignoring altogether. It’s like the word-suggestion slot machine on the iPhone keyboard. All it does it give me a headache. I turned it off the first day I got it.
The F buttons exist as a kind of blank canvas for whatever shortcuts you happens to find useful. If you’re like me, you’re too lazy to make and remember ANY shortcuts, and would prefer to bitch about having no good shortcuts for basic typing situations. Roughly 90 percent of all lifehacks are too laborious to put into practice. Anytime a savvy guy is like, “Just press Shift+F3 to change case!” I react as if I’ve been handed evidence of live aliens. THIS COULD CHANGE EVERYTHING!
People who “just aren’t on social media”: What are they hiding? Is it fair to assume they’ve all got some deep, dark secret (married a cousin, in witness protection, a tattoo of the full cast of the Airwolf TV show) that they just can’t let anyone find out about, and they’re afraid that if they sign up for Facebook, everyone will find out?
Yeah, man. What’s with those weirdoes? I don’t trust them. Oh, sure, they may say they want “privacy,” or that they’re “just lurking,” or that they “don’t want to be drawn into a dystopian, inhumane digital time-suck in which everyone argues 24/7 and nothing is resolved and no one is ever productive,” but that’s bullshit. No one can hold out that long. Or is it all for show?! They think they’re so superior because they’re not arguing with Twitter eggs, eh? WELL THEY CAN SUCK MY BALLS IF I EVER GET THEM TO READ THIS SENTENCE.
Anytime I can’t find an old friend through a Google search or on Facebook, I’m like, “Are they in jail? Did they die? Where the fuck are they?” I’m so far down the internet rabbithole that it’s unfathomable to me that people would want to, like, go outside. I think I need help. I really need to lock my phone in an aquarium.
What if not everyone pooped?
The Have-Poops would be discriminated against by the Poop-Nots, and we’d have ourselves yet another sociological rift to overcome as a species. We’re already dealing with racism and sexism and gluten-intolerophobia. We can’t handle any more conflicts like this. Some Poop-Not judge would outlaw pooping in his home state, and that would finally set ablaze our long-gestating Global Civil Armageddathon. Probably best to just get it over with already.
Email of the week!
Today at work I managed to eat three completely free meals—the type of meals where you go out for lunch, come back, and want to run yourself through the industrial shredder because there are delicious leftovers and you just wasted $6.25 on a ham sub.
For clarification, one of the meals was a free breakfast for everyone in the organization (waffles, eggs, potatoes, bacon AND sausage, some muffins and other baked goods), so I was guaranteed one. Both of my lunches, however (because, how could I turn down a free lunch) were leftovers strategically placed out after meetings. These weren’t pizza lunches either—one was Greek food (salad, souvlaki, rice), and the other was some type of homestyle meal (chicken legs, potatoes, grilled veggies, rice). Two types of chicken!
I guess I have two questions:
1. What is the largest number of free meals one employee has ever eaten during one typical work day?
2. Can I ever expect this to happen again? It’s glorious. I feel bloated and dirty and sweaty. I smell like onions and garlic. I want more.
Savor it. It’s a perfect game. You’ll never experience it again.
Drew Magary writes for Deadspin. He’s also a correspondent for GQ. Follow him on Twitter@drewmagary and email him at email@example.com. You can also order Drew’s book, Someone Could Get Hurt, through his homepage.
Illustration by Tara Jacoby.