Illustration: Elena Scotti (Getty), Photo: GMG
FunbagTime for your weekly edition of the Deadspin Funbag. Got something on your mind? [Email the Funbag](mailto:funbag.deadspin@gmail.com).   

Today, we’re talking about pizza, worst places to die, the NCAA tournament, and more.

Your letters!

Tom:

Rank the onions.

White

Red

Yellow

Spanish

Vidalia

Green

Cipollini

Other?

I must also insist shallots count, too. Leeks can go fuck themselves, though.

What did the humble leek ever do to you? Apologize to the leeks right now, sir. In a bit of irony, it is YOU who have made an onion cry. Also: if shallots count, they should be on your list and they should be way up there. Shallots are small, annoying things, but they’re your one-way ticket to Bold Flavors. RESPECT THE SHALLOT.

Anyway, I’ve spent the bulk of this year cranking out food takes for people to nitpick to death. May as well torch myself all the way and indulge in this exercise as well. Let’s know some onions. Please note that I’m not gonna include garlic here, even though both onions and garlic are members of the allium family (“allium” sounds like an ingredient in a nuclear bomb but it is NOT), because then we’ll get into a whole “Is ___ a ____?” flame war. Much better if we argue about OTHER tedious nonsense.

Here we go. Please note I’ve surely forgotten some onion types in here, such as your favorite Hobscum Bitterroot variety. My apologies.

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  1. Shallots. But is a shallot an onion? Well, look at that: I’ve managed to fuck myself right from the start. I’m moving to a cabin in the woods. Anyway, shallots are a basic ingredient restaurants use in everything, but people like me don’t catch onto the trick until roughly age 37 or so.
  2. Vidalia. Not only are Vidalia onions sweet, but they also have a cool name that implies you’re eating an EXOTIC onion when really it comes from some dumpy Georgia town that viciously guards its copyright over the Vidalia brand name, like it’s the bourbon of onions.
  3. Scallions. Make this sauce sometime. It’s no joke. Also, chopping scallions is oddly satisfying, especially in contrast to the monotony of chopping other, lesser vegetables. You really get to cut the poor fuckers down to size. Once they were long and mighty, and now they are just a pile of tiny little green rings. So sad.
  4. Maui. I forget what Maui onions are like but they have Maui right there in the name, and any food with “Maui” in it is usually awesome. Maui onions. Maui potato chips. Maui, uh, pork chops. I dunno. I trust Maui when it comes to pleasing me.
  5. Chives. Also known as dwarf scallions (NOTE: they are not known as this), chives are fucking great if you mix them into scrambled eggs. That is, if you’re willing to add one extra bit of busywork to your egg-making on a Sunday morning. I’m too busy fisting a cereal box to do this.
  6. Ramps. Foodies will tell you that ramps are the most prized member of the onion family, and that boutique restaurants devise entire menus around them for the eight minutes they’re in season every year. So when you hear someone cry out OOOOH RAMP SOUP! out on the street, they really do mean it. Also, I googled “ramps” for this post while conveniently forgetting that the onion kind of ramp is not nearly as prevalent in the public consciousness as ramp ramps are. Lot of inclined planes in my search results.
  7. Cipollini. Super tiny! Love to chop tiny round things. Doesn’t result in deep hand gashes of any sort.
  8. Leeks. Leeks are a fucking pain. They’re filthy to the core, and you gotta soak them AFTER you chop them to get all the grit out, or else it’s like eating from a sandbox, which I do not recommend. Still pretty tasty, though. If leeks were easier to prep, they’d be in more shit. I’d eat a burger smothered in roasted leeks. All the leeks would spill out of the burger after one bite, but still.
  9. Pearl. Again with the little tiny onions. When I was a kid we’d have creamed onions for Thanksgiving and I feared them as I fear my own death. I don’t know why. They’re tiny onions cooked in a shitload of butter and cream. All veggies should be creamed.
  10. Red. Eat shit, Scott Conant! You may make a fine marinara sauce, but don’t you slander those red onions! Please note that while guys like Conant find raw red onions too acrid, they cook down nicely. Again, this is if you really feel like making the effort. Me? I’ll be eating pork rinds.
  11. White. Whatever.
  12. Yellow/Spanish. These are the ones you get at the grocery store that leave a trail of crinkled onion skin behind them with every step you take. There is no stronger material on earth than an onion bag, and yet the bag is really just a sifter for papery onion bits. Annoying. WHO’S GONNA CLEAN MY CRISPER NOW, I ASK YOU?

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Anyway, I like all onions, even the pedestrian yellow ones at the bottom of this list. Hopefully they don’t change my mind by engineering a Miracle Whip–flavored onion one day.

Aaron:

The length of commercials makes me feel that much worse about partaking in watching these NCAA tourney games. Some old, fat NCAA shlub somewhere grins pastily every time a commercial break goes for seven goddamn minutes.

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But do you change the channel? You do not. I hate the NCAA as much as you do, but I’m part of the problem because I cast aside all that moral handwringing once the games start because I still want to watch them, and because I wanna badly my bracket gets torched. The NCAA has you by the nuts, and it knows it. Same way FIFA does. Same way the NFL does. Every season, these entities devise new ways to test your patience. Replay has only worsened matters because it introduces a whole new way to elongate the final minute of a college basketball game for hours on end.

Even though guys like me have complained for ages now about too many stoppages in CBB play, the NCAA hasn’t exactly leapt to address those concerns. When Jay Bilas and others cried out for reform a little while back because the quality of play had gotten so poor, the NCAA shortened the shot clock and looked into cursory pace-of-play fixes like going to quarters, but that was all they did. After that, they fixated on bullshit integrity reforms that interest few people outside the NCAA itself. They won’t radically overhaul the game until people stop watching, which they won’t. They trust that everything will take care of itself, and that’s not a bad bet because some of the games from this past weekend were fucking great, and because fans like me are easy marks. There is a forgiveness built into the sports business model that makes it nearly risk-free as an investment, and shitty people are more than happy to leverage that forgiveness into profit.

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Matt:

When the Bob Kraft tape ultimately comes out, how many people stick around for the money shot?

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All of them. I know all of Twitter is like MEW MEW I DON’T WANNA SEE THE KRAFT HOG but that shit’ll rack up a bazillion views if it ever hits the internet. I’ll watch it. I’ll watch the whole thing. I’ll project it onto a scrim outside my home for all to see. I go to a gym, man. Old guy dicks are not exactly a rare sight at your average Planet Fitness branch. Those old fogies may as well throw a lemon party, they like blow drying their nuts and prancing around the locker room while nude so much. Robert Kraft’s donger doesn’t scare me. It’s just a dick. His ejaculate won’t come OUT of the monitor at me if I watch him get a 90-second handjob. I think we’re all grown up enough to handle to this news instead of going EW ICK! at the thought of watching a rich old guy get his shaft worked. You’re on the internet. Nightmare fuel lurks at every turn. You’ll live if the Bob Kraft sex tape goes public. It’s the fate America deserves.

Ben:

Worst location to die? I’m picking airport tarmac in a plane that has landed. You’ve been cooped up for hours, anticipating getting somewhere fun, and then a blood clot flows up to your brain (or whatever form death takes). Would be horrible.

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Yeah the tarmac delay AFTER you’ve landed is a real kick in the nuts. Bad enough to be stuck there before takeoff, wondering if you’ll be trapped there forever and forced to resort to cannibalism. Taking off is supposed to mark the END of potential delays. I’ve fucking clapped for takeoff in the past after a lengthy delay. So it’s an unimaginable buzzkill when you touch down safely, taxi for a bit, and then sit there in irate puzzlement as the plane comes to an inexplicable standstill for an extra half an hour because some fucking other American Airlines flight is late of the gate you’re supposed to be parking at. Mother. Fuckers. Every time the plane moves an inch, all the Business Bros immediately assume the Fasten Seat Belt sign is about to go off and start unloading their shit before the attendant gets on the horn and implores them to sit back down, which they never do. Makes me wanna die just thinking about it. Come to think of it, maybe checking out right then wouldn’t be so bad. No flight delays in heaven brother!

My apologies. That paragraph was the textural equivalent of a tarmac delay. You want your question answered and so I’ll bypass the obvious answer of Orchids of Asia and say a hospital. Take it from a fella who almost died in a hospital just a few months ago. I owe my life to modern medicine, but there’s a reason so many terminally ill people want to die at home, and not at a hospital. You’re supposed to die in a hospital. That’s no fun. Much better to die somewhere unexpected, like on a train. I also almost died in the ocean the year before, because I am apparently driven to win a Darwin Award one day. Timing aside, the ocean would have been a better place to go. So dramatic. SO MUCH MYSTERY.

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Mike:

When typing, what shift buttons do you use?

1 - Left shift always

2 - Right shift always

3 - Left or right shift always depending on the letter being capitalized

Lemme See Which One I Use The Most Even For Keys That Are Far Left And Far Right…

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I’ll be goddamned: it’s the right shift key every time. I had no idea I did that. Please note that I’m a hunt-and-peck typist, so you should NEVER emulate my work habits. You’ll end up watching the Kraft sex tape on an endless loop and cursing yourself into oblivion. I have no clue why I use the right shift key every time, regardless of whether it’s the Q to the left or the P to the right. I taught myself to type and I did a shit job of it. No wonder I just reach for the caps lock instead most of the time. If you can type-type, I assume using both shift keys is the more efficient way of going about things. My children, ages 6–13, can all type better than I can already. They also have better handwriting than me. All of them. I’m a Disgrace with a capital D, people.

Rob:

My girlfriend and I have two cats, and every once in a while when they misbehave, I’ll give them a jovial middle finger or two for the hell of it. I should note that I have a very good relationship with the cats and obviously care about them very much. My girlfriend gets upset about this and says that they know what I’m doing. I think this is BS and the cats are none the wiser. Who is correct here?

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You are. They’re cats. They don’t know shit. I imagine they can pick up hostile or friendly vibes from their owners and react accordingly, but again, they’re cats. They’re not gonna be like, “Yo did Rob just give me the finger?” They were gonna give you dirty looks regardless because, and this is true, the cat population is conspiring to exterminate us all. That’s science. You cannot deny this.

So you’re right but your girlfriend will never admit that. If I were you, I would tell her you’re bird-flipping days are over. And then, when she’s not around, go up to the cats and whisper to them, “Your days are numbered, you two bags of shit. I’m onto you.”

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HALFTIME!

Henry:

How much competitive advantage could an NFL team gain by becoming the first team to guarantee all its contracts? Would a guaranteed contract be enough to lure enough players to live in, say, Buffalo, that it would make the Bills regular playoff contenders? My friends say no, but I think there’s merit in it.

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Well, the Vikings just gave a fully guaranteed contract to Kirk Cousins and I didn’t see them barnstorming their way to a Super Bowl now, did I? Maybe you’d have a small advantage in being able to offer free agents money and security (teams like the Vikings, in fact, manage their cap so that very few contracts are backloaded), but you’d still be vulnerable to mismanagement, fallow free agent crops, shitty coaching, bad luck, and every other factor that makes a crummy NFL team a crummy NFL team. The Patriots pride themselves on treating players like disposable widgets. Hasn’t hurt them any.

Also, keep in mind that even if a team guaranteed every contract, there would still be an infrastructure of GMs and agents and managers and access merchants out there conspiring to make even that process far more complicated and inscrutable than it needs to be. It wouldn’t be the NFL otherwise.

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Eric:

Is the MLB’s one game wild card the worst thing going in professional sports?

I like the wild card game because, even though it’s grossly unfair to force two teams that just played 162 games to play in a winner-take-all affair that represents the smallest possible sample size, it’s an effective shortcut to DRAMA. I spend every NBA postseason and every baseball postseason hoping for Gamer 7s that rarely come. May as well START with a Game 7–esque wild card round to get those sphincters clenching. Why else would I watch the A’s play the Tigers otherwise?

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My issue with the wild card round is that there’s not enough of it. Right now the bracket is set up so that the three division winners each get a bye, with just one wild card game to kick things off. Fuck that. I say we force the worst division winner in each league to play against a third wild card team in a single-game playoff. Somehow this would end up hurting likable franchises like the Mariners and benefitting asshole teams like the Cardinals, but I still stand by it. MORE SUDDEN DEATH PLEEEEEZ

Brooks:

Why do teams have to have owners? Would a sport be better if the league owned all the teams and managed the whole thing like a company? There would still be some rich dude making all the money off it, but at least they’d actually have power to change things instead of the weird voting by a bunch of old rich dudes that happens now.

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You’re suggesting we replace a de facto oligarchy with a de facto monarchy, which would probably result in making shit worse. Jerry Jones essentially owns the entire NFL right now, and it’s a fucking mess. You don’t want that. I know you’re angling for a dictator who helps the trains run on time, but I wouldn’t trust some rich asshole to be a benevolent dictator. All that guy would do is add Pepsi signage to the replay booth.

You could also structure a league like MLS, which technically owns every team and operates like a condo board for its franchises. But that’s also imperfect because it’s as vulnerable to greed and byzantine tax dodges as other North American pro sports entities. That league still has defined factions of Players and Management, with the latter always scheming to extricate money from the former. Never makes for a healthy situation. I could put on my Union Pants and tell you that the ideal scenario would be if the players owned their respective leagues, but then again I wouldn’t trust Kevin Durant to own a parrot. You’d end up with 32 teams named Follow Me On Instagram. One thing I’ve learned about America in my life is that things can always get worse. What I’m saying is that all of the sports teams should be given to ME. I’d be a firm but gentle daddy to them all. Surely I’m incorruptible.

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[gets control of all leagues]

[christens self SPORTS TSAR]

[delegates all day-to-day league business to Uncle Smithy and childhood friend Bugboy]

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Kenton:

With the trend in baseball towards home runs and strikeouts, how long do you think it’ll be before a pitcher throws a 27 strikeout game?

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That’ll never happen. Sidd Finch could be real and even he wouldn’t be able to do that. It’s impossible to ask a pitcher, even one with godlike abilities, to strike out the side for nine straight innings. You’d have to basically fix a game for this to happen. Given Rob Manfred’s desire to shorten MLB games by reducing the infield by two bases, I wouldn’t put it past him. He should rig a 27-strikeout perfect game and then also rig it so a batter breaks .400 for the full season and breaks DiMaggio’s hitting streak to boot. Also: every team gets to play in a wild card game. It’s the nightmare baseball league we’ve ALL been dreaming of!

Dan:

Even keeping in mind the fact he moved away from Buffalo in HS and is a legend of the hated Patriots, it’s basically inevitable that Gronk shows up at a #BillsMafia pre-game tailgate bacchanal within the next 5 to 10 years, right?

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I’m gonna say no, even though Gronk is hardly the type to pass up hanging out in any place festooned in Coors Light signage. He’s brand loyal to the Patriots and he’s probably gonna spend the bulk of his retirement naked and in warmer climes. If he shows up at a Bills tailgate one day, it’ll be because Papa John’s paid him to or something. Or it’ll be because ESPN hired him to replace Jason Witten, trading one meathead for another.

By the way, I’m with everyone else in that I believe Gronk was an enormously likable athlete and probably the best to ever play his position. HOWEVAH, I can guarantee that Gronk will be 90 percent less adorable in whatever post-NFL career he plans on embarking upon. I say that as someone who despises the Patriots, but ALSO as someone who’s seen a full episode of Crashletes. Unless he’s pancaking defensive ends and/or catching TDs, you’re gonna want Gronk in small doses.

“I mean, I thought I went through a lot in my life,” Gronkowski said. “Today, I saw a troop who lost both of his legs tell me he wants to get the movement back in his legs and get prosthetics in, and get back out there and kill some mother*******.”

The room responded with gasps, a burst of spit-take laughter and shrieks of approval.

“That’s what he told me!” Gronkowski said.

So, yeah. He may have retired from the NFL, but Gronk is still Gronk.

Oh, that clever boy. I hope he does standup soon!

Mike:

Please help us settle this office debate: Are there more planes or submarines in the ocean? The office consensus is, oddly, planes. Are we just biased because we’ve all been on a plane before? Are we totally underestimating what’s going on down there?

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A cursory Google search for “how many subs in the ocean” does NOT turn up any definitive number. So weird. It’s almost like that number has to stay confidential as a matter of national security. Trump’ll probably tweet it out next week.

Without hard evidence, I’m left to pull an answer out of my ass, which is extremely rare for me. I’m gonna go ahead and agree with your officemates and say it’s planes, because there could be hundreds of tinyass, single-engine Cessnas littering the ocean floor. Conversely, there are only so many submarines patrolling the oceans at a time, because they cost a lot of money and because if you hand control of a nuclear sub to Marco Ramius, he could defect at ANY second. There are also a few sunken submarines resting at sea, but I still don’t think the aggregate total of subs is enough to beat the cumulative history of mankind’s aviation blunders over large bodies of water. Air travel is the safest mode of travel in the world but it didn’t necessarily START that way, nuh mean?

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The danger here is that I’m assuming that the world’s superpowers have a limited fleet of subs out in the ocean at any given moment. Given that we spend $800 squidillion on defense every year, that might be a faulty assumption. The CIA could have a 1,000 vibranium-hulled Deathmarines swimming around out there. You tax money at work, folks!

Bryan:

Is there anything worse than expecting a phone call? Normally whenever my phone rings there is no way I am answering it. Unknown number? Not a chance I take that call. Even when my dad calls me I just assume it’s a pocket dial and don’t pick it up.

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Yeah if I get an unidentified number I never pick it up, and then I check the voice mail and it turns out it’s the President telling me I would have been eligible for a billion-dollar grant if I had just picked up the phone. CRIMINY.

But it’s 2019 and I’d rather die in the ocean than take an actual voice call. My loved ones shit on me for this because they can tell that I want to get off the phone every time I’m on it. They’ll call and I’ll be like, “Welp, nothing to report here! Okay, gotta be going! I have to make ramp soup for the fam!” The only people who call your phone in 2019 are robocallers and collection agencies. A phone call is basically an invitation to torture. I’d rather pick up a grenade with its pin pulled.

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And expecting a phone call is even worse because that means I gotta stop whatever I’m doing (vital Sudoku!) and wait around for the phone to ring, which always happens 10 minutes later than it ought to. Ninety percent of my scheduled phone calls end in a mishap where we have to REschedule the same call for another day. Ban all phone calls. Just text me what you need and I’ll get around to it a year from now.

Ethan:

Background: I work at a pizza joint. Multiple people have asked me to put their slices in for longer after I’d already warmed them up to a decent hotness (like not lukewarm). I thought they were taking it to go or something, but no, I saw them eating it right there ten seconds later. This is insane behavior, right? The last bite not being a bit lukewarm isn’t worth getting the roof of your mouth burned off, is it?

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I wanna say yes, but then again I’ve burned my mouth on pizza so many times that I know my stomach wants what my brain says I cannot have. Some people like their food hotter than the surface of Venus, and I’m more than happy to indulge them provided that they sign a waiver that absolves me from all legal liability in the event of internal tissue damage from boiling hot tomato sauce.

Personally, I find the wait for my slice to be reheated at a NY pizza joint to be fucking endless. When the dude tosses it in the oven, I think to myself, oh god, I gotta wait a fucking hour for that thing to come out. It’s like watching shit cook in a microwave, but even more tedious. Just gimme my pizza. Let’s not introduce an extended delay to this transaction. The slice could have freezer burn on it and I’d still rather not wait.

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Email of the week!

LD:

I cannot be alone in appreciating a loud, sound-concealing, bathroom fan. Like my ideal bathroom fan would sound like an F-4 in full afterburner taking off in my powder room, annihilating my townhouse and leaving a charred crater behind.

Am I really alone in not wanting to hear every turd being laid by my partner hit the bowl at 2 am when he thinks I’m asleep (I’m not b/c I inexplicably wake from deep slumber every time he has a secret poop escapade)? Do people really want to hear Nana’s abrupt wet shart coating the bowl in the powder room while we eat Thanksgiving dinner? Please tell me that Home Depot and these awful overpriced boutique hotels have it all wrong on the silent fans.

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Oh no I want a silent fan. The world needs to know that I’m cranking out a fresh batch of brownies to serve. That’s pure luxury.