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

Before we get into the Funbag, I just wanna remind you that the Deadcast is gonna be LIVE in Chicago on Monday night. Go here for all the relevant info and then come get sloppy with us as we yammer on stage and then watch the Bears lose in sickening fashion once more.

Now, your letters:

Mike:

What would Wilbon do if an intern on PTI swapped out a Cardinals hat with the Cubs hat that usually sits behind his right shoulder? The swap would occur when he is distracted during a commercial or something and when the intern knows he won’t be looking behind him. Would Wilbon completely blow up in front of all the crew (after filming concluded) and fire the intern on the spot once he realized what happened? Would he laugh it off and feign rage on the next episode? I see him going full blown Christian Bale on that poor kid.

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Nah, he wouldn’t give a shit. Wilbon has been an exalted Journalist-with-a-capital-J for so long that all of his fandom is strictly a performance. He wore a White Sox jersey on that show, for fuck’s sake. He’s about as invested in sports as your grandma is. Every so often, he dresses up in “fan” cosplay to pretend he’s one of the little people, even though he openly despises fans and wishes he was sipping Veuve Clicquot at a shitty Vegas restaurant with Tiger Woods and Charles Barkley. He doesn’t actually care. He’s been hobnobbing in press boxes and lording over junkets and tsk-tsking bloggers for so long that he can barely recognize anything except an airport valet holding a placard with his last name on it. A producer would tell him he’s got the wrong hat on in his earpiece and then he’d be like WHAT IS THIS JUNK? THIS JUNK IS JUST A BUNCH OF JUNK. And then he’d namedrop Obama.

PTI has been on the air for nearly two decades and there’s every indication that ESPN will keep it on the air for another two more. And why not? You could make a convincing argument that PTI is the most influential TV show of this century. We live in a cable news dictatorship right now, and all of those networks took their formatting and graphic cues from PTI: the rundowns, the quick hits, the little Take Games they all play. Other sports programming began to ape it long, long ago: ATH, First Take, Undisputed, etc. Like SNL, it’s a perfectly devised format, and virtually indestructible even as TV itself changes every second.

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I watched PTI every day back when it started. I worked in New York at the time and I remember I would break into a run across midtown to get home from the office so I could watch it start on time. This was 2001, so the internet existed, but the robust Take Economy that now dominates it did not, so watching micro-takes on TV was like a revelation: a very, very lame revelation. Also, I would argue that Wilbon and Kornheiser hadn’t yet adapted their worst tendencies back then. They had SOME level of self-awareness and carried on with a wink, playing up the fact that they were just two old cranky newspaper dudes who had no business being on TV.

Now it’s 2018 and that self-awareness has vanished. Those two really ARE just two old cranky newspaper dudes who have no business being on TV. They extended Wilbon and Kornheiser in 2016 for what was surely a deranged amount of money, and those guys will keep doing it forever because they’re TV guys now and they have Camera Brain. There’s a small cottage industry cosseting those two men, allowing them to stroll into a studio without preparation and mindlessly babble about Serena Williams for 22 minutes, and there’s no way they can thrive without that structure. Neither of them can write anymore. Neither of them can think deeply about much of anything except whether they liked that cocktail party they went to last night. We’re at the Larry King stage of PTI now, where you mostly on see the show on mute at a bar, or tucked in as a jokey cameo in a shitty sports movie.

I’m sure people still watch PTI, but it’s basically been eclipsed in energy and relevance by all of its talk show offspring. I would much rather watch Le Batard’s show now, which is kinda funny because I was one of those viewers who used to bitch when Le Batard subbed in on PTI way back when. Le Batard was always better than I gave him credit for, and he’s evolved into someone even more interesting. Wilbon and Kornheiser have done the exact opposite. They’re just two rich fuckheads burning time until they can get to their table at Tony’s shitty bar. I’m sure people still watch PTI, but it’s definitely an aging demographic. They have the Fox News audience now, where every ad is for buying back your gold and asking you if you have mesothelioma. ESPN should euthanize that show, or at least fire those two and just put Bomani and Pablo in the seats.

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I’m sure many canes will be shaken at the television set in transition. But the media in general is dying, and part of the reason why is because there’s a lingering superclass of galactically old, snotty farts who make millions of dollars and are inexplicably unfireable. Meanwhile, everyone else is forced to eat out of dumpsters. I say get those fuckers out of the paint and Febreze the set.

Nick:

I was always taught growing up through track, football conditioning, etc. that breathing through your nose is better while working out as it allows more oxygen to enter your lungs, but I call bullshit on this. There is no way inhaling through your tiny nasal cavity can beat taking big gulps of air through your mouth, right? I feel like I am going to hyperventilate and fall off the treadmill when I try breathing through my nose.

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That’s all garbage. You breathe through your nose when you’re idle because you don’t need to take in as much air, and because your nose has cilia that can trap bad shit in the air—germs, dust, bees, large floating Twinkies, and such and such. My nose hairs have grown so thick and lush that you could plant a fucking banana tree up there. But when you’re running, you need all the air you can get. Unsurprisingly, your nasal cavity wasn’t designed to handle this task on its own. There’s a reason man can breathe through more than one orifice, and it’s so he can breathe in truckloads of oxygen when he’s being chased by a saber-toothed tiger or whatever.

Anyone who tells you not to breathe through your mouth while exercising is probably earning a living as personal trainer to Tom Brady. This was all debunked a long time ago. I’ve tried running with my mouth closed. It’s a good way to feel like you’re drowning on dry land.

Ben:

I have no idea why I started thinking about this, but I’m hoping you can help. I watched a BBC show about Africa and there are thousands of zebra, water buffalo, wildebeest, etc on the savannah. How do they die? I mean, they can’t all get eaten by lions, right?

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Well, I mean … will YOU die because a lion ate you? No. You can die in a lot of other ways, too: disease, starvation, old age, sudden injury, jumping Snake River Canyon on horseback, etc. It’s the same deal with the animals out in the wild, only their risk of death is even greater these days because mankind will NOT stop fucking with them. Men hunt those animals. They build shit over their habitats. They pollute the animals’ food sources. Those animals should be PISSED. They’re taking their needless extinction far too well, in my opinion. That one show Zoo should be real and the animals should come beat our asses. Imagine walking out one day and coming back to discover someone bulldozed your house and put bleach in your Cinnamon Toast Crunch. You’d be upset.

Todd:

I am 35 years old and can feel myself growing older and more out of touch with technology every year. It took me a while to accept that phone calls were replaced by text messages. But now a well-thought out text often times receives a “haha” or “thumbs up” reply and doesn’t even merit an actual keyed response. Where does it stop?

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Oh it’ll get worse now that Gmail has introduced those reply options generated by an algorithm. That shit creeps me out. Now I gotta sit there and wonder if the person writing “Sounds great!” back to me really thinks my idea sounds great, or if they had their software butler answer for them. All I wanted to do was plan a birthday party, and now I have an existential crisis on my hands. WE ARE GIVING OUR HUMANITY TO THE MACHINES.

I won’t use those auto-generated replies on principle ... until I cave and start doing it a couple months from now. I have absolutely used the thumbs up emoji to reply to long texts (it’s a good way of getting overtexters to stop texting you), and I’ve texted LOL even though I did NOT, in fact, laugh out loud. “LOL” is basically “goodbye” now. Girls will use it to break up with you one day. And I’ve definitely been on the other end of such an exchange, where I text something pithy and the “LOL” I get in reply seems inadequate. Excuse me, but were not aware of the TIME I put into that joke about Burt Reynolds dying? Some people have no manners, I tell you.

That’s kind of the story of the digital age, though, isn’t it? Everyone wants attention but they don’t wanna give it. Online, I am the guy at the party who is waiting for you to finish your story so that I can barge in and top it with my own. “You think that’s funny? Wait until you hear about the time I fucked a goose!”

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Stephen:

Why is it that you never see NBA bumper stickers on cars like you do for NFL, MLB, college athletics? Obviously it is not a popularity issue as the NBA has never been bigger.

Go to L.A. You’ll see Lakers flags on cars and shit. Those people have Kobe takes you will never EVER want to hear, and their Lakers flags look just as tacky as the Ohio State flags sprouting out of a Toyota Tercel zipping along the highway on three spare tires.

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If you still think there’s a paucity of NBA car decorations after that, it’s probably because those fanbases are probably more concentrated in areas where people use public transport instead, or maybe because the NBA attracts fans who have good enough taste to avoid the standard, Suburban Dad methods of announcing their fandom. I have Vikings headrest covers in my car. This is true. I have them for both the passenger seat and the driver’s seat. I also used to have a little Vikings football that I hung from the rearview mirror, but I lost it (somehow?) and I miss it now.

I know my shirts say otherwise, but I do try to have decent taste when it comes to formal clothing, and food, and home décor. And yet I will buy and cherish ANY ugly-ass merch my team produces. I have a fucking team-themed Mr. Potato Head in my office. It’s like I’m eight years old. It’s disgraceful. I have been trained, like many other Americans, to display any and all team merch, with little regard to quality.

I should be more discerning. There’s a right way to look like a fan and I fail in this task on a weekly basis. Honestly, soccer fans are much smarter when it comes to swag. They have better jerseys. They have those cute scarves they wave around. They know how to have team spirit without looking like they just looted a Marshall’s. There should be a Swag 101 course taught in all public high schools. If we teach kids to avoid bumper stickers when they’re young, maybe we have a chance of preventing them from going full Truck Nutz.

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HALFTIME!

Garrett:

You love to walk. In theory I also enjoy walking, but run into a big issue from the months of April–September: sweat. If I am walking more than a few minutes and have to look presentable at my destination, I’m screwed. How do you deal with this? Is there some strategy that I’m unaware of? Should one walk slowly and take longer, or walk really fast so it goes quicker? Which causes more sweat?

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The first stage of sweating is acceptance. You just have to accept that you will sweat like a pig when you walk, and that you will arrive at your destination gamier than when you set out. So put on some deodorant before you go, and wear clothes that are breathable and will dry off relatively quickly once you stop walking. I know that’s not always possible. If you’re in a suit, you’re basically fucked when it comes to heat. But if you can scrap the jacket and just wear light pants (synthetic materials are your friend!) and a thin collared shirt, you at least have some chance to recover after walking a few miles.

I’m better at being hot than I used to be, and I say this as someone who will defend air conditioning to his dying breath. I sweat all the time, and I change in out of layers every five seconds to regulate my body temperature. But if I’m out and about in the heat, and my back is already drenched, I just accept that I’m gonna be hot for a while. No sense in fighting it. I live in a swamp, so it’s kind of stupid for me to resist the heat when it’s a steam bath here for five months out of the calendar year. Everyone else is just as sweltering as I am.

People who live in the Deep South understand this innately. That’s why they don’t give a fuck when they’re tailgating in a coat and tie when it’s 100 outside. That’s just part of the ambience. It’s all hot and funky and eventually you just give in and get into the rhythm of the heat. Those people know how to be hot, and we’ll all have to follow suit once the oceans reach Jacuzzi-level temperatures. This is why old people smell so bad. They hate being cold, and they don’t mind being hot, so they sit there and let the sweat build up over decades until they smell like fermented skin paste. I’m gonna smell like a fucking riverbed by the time I’m 65.

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By the way, I don’t think there’s any specific walking pace to keep cooler. You’re screwed either way. Just have a cold drink when you’re finished and that’ll get you 90% of the way back to normal.

Bill:

A friend of mine is getting married for the first time at the ripe age of 50, which is great, BUT he’s insisting on having a raging Hangover-esque bachelor party. All of us invited (who are the same age) are rolling our eyes at the prospect of being the only guys in the strip club with gray hair. So the question is: how old is too old to cash in your bachelor-party chip, or does that never expire?

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Seems kinda old to be doing that shit. I’m not even 50 and I switched over a longass time ago to preferring the “chill out somewhere cool” bachelor party to the “lose thousands in Vegas and watch two strippers do a double dong show in the hotel room” bachelor party.

The latter gets pretty sad for anyone involved who is over the age of 30. If your buddy missed out on all RAGING that because he married late, that’s his problem. You’re not obligated to try to re-create your 20s on his behalf. I’d rather go skiing or something, you know? That’s more my speed these days. If a friend of mine was having a bachelor party and was like, “Dude, we’re gonna take long hikes, then have a nice meal and go to bed SUPER early,” I’d be erect with pleasure. I’d rather be doing what I wanna do instead of what I’m supposed to do.

By the way, I went to a Vegas bachelor party once and skipped out on the obligatory strip club visit because my plane had gotten in late, and because I didn’t feel like dealing. So I played some blackjack and then turned in. And the dude who organized it still sent me a fucking BILL for the group’s strip club tab. Motherfucker, I didn’t even go! I’m still annoyed about it. Next time I’m staying home and making ribs. Bachelor parties are a scam.

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Garrison:

Are the order of the seasons a good order? What is the optimal season order? Would it be better to combat the winter weather with summer right after?

I’d say they’re optimal in their current order. HOWEVER … you and I know that fall and spring are the two best seasons. But they’re also transitory in nature and never last as long as summer or winter, which both drag on long past their welcome. Summer is, like, five months long now! The second I make the switch from shorts to pants, autumn has already bolted out the door! BULLSHIT.

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It’s grossly imbalanced, and it’s only getting worse. Where I live now, spring is just two weeks of rain before we go right to 100 percent humidity and droopy scrotums for half a year. It’s awful. Spring and fall are too short. I propose we ditch Earth and find an ALL-FALL, ALL-SPRING planet. Think about it: Nothing but crisp fall air and football games and dying trees for half a Muldrean Nebula sol cycle, and then we flip over to flower blossoms and horny day drinking for the other half! My nipples are poking through my windbreaker just thinking about it.

Now I know there are certain IDIOTS who don’t like fall, but those fuckers can eat a pile of leaf ash. I think my all-equinox planet is a great idea, and I invite the nation’s venture capitalists to fund my efforts to discover and colonize it. I’ll drive away the natives with my old man walking odor.

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Chris:

Shouldn’t every public restroom come with a “Vacant” and “Occupied” latch?

God, yes. That would spare me so much heartache. I mean, is there anything worse than yanking on a bathroom door and realizing it’s locked, and that you won’t be able to shit for a solid 15 more minutes because someone barricaded themselves inside the shitter to read an entire Tolstoy novel? It makes me want to die every time. I fully believe that when I rattle the door, the person occupying the bathroom stays in there for an extra few minutes just to spite me. Please note that I do NOT take vengeance out on those who would disrupt me mid-shit. I genuinely understand your plight, and I’m trying to finish up this dump as efficiently as I can.

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I should note that I have also had times where the restroom sign says “occupied” and it is NOT. I just spent 10 minutes clenching up, trying to not mess the floor. Turns out I could have been shitting already! GOD DAMMIT. You can’t toy with people like that. Checking a bathroom door that already says “occupied” is such a test of fate. It’s like hitting on 17 in blackjack.

Aidan:

Fuck Matt Patricia.

That seems fair. By the way, this tweet is still killing me.

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Losing is bad enough. Losing and then acting like you’re the Patriots is just pissing in the wound.

Dan:

When Presidents go to baseball games, do you think the Secret Service is ready at all times to catch any foul ball that may come the president’s way?

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Shouldn’t they shoot that baseball out of the sky? You shouldn’t be allowed to serve on the President’s detail unless you can blow an incoming baseball to bits with your Glock from 100 feet away.

I saw some photos online of Obama at a baseball game. In the pictures, he is not surrounded by Secret Service Agents with Rawlings mitts. I guess if a line drive ever comes his way, it’s the job of the Secret Service to DIVE in front of that ball. I would take a baseball to the chest for Obama. LOL just kidding I would run away like a little girl. Obama’s a big boy. He can get his own damn self out of the way.

Mike:

If the Browns go 0-0-16, would they have the same winning percentage of an 8-8 team? If a playoff spot were open between them and an 8-8 team, who gets in strictly based on W-L totals?

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Both teams are .500, so they would just go down the standard order of tiebreakers to figure out who gets to lose in the Wild Card game: conference record, strength of schedule, point differential, etc. There’d be enough variation in there to give the playoff spot to someone, but no one would be alive to see it because a team going 0-0-16 would cause everyone’s heads to detonate. My brain would cease working and I would just fall down dead. A team can’t tie 16 times in a row. It can’t. There are better odds of dogs taking flight. If such a statistical anomaly were to ever occur, it would break spacetime and we would all be sucked into a quantum realm.

Adam:

Peterman is the worst QB ever, right? Like, I feel as though I’ve heard a lot of pity being thrown his way the last few days. NFL QBs are never shown pity. It’s because people realize the historical aspect of his awfulness, right? Is his suck beyond the pale?

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You’re gonna tell your GRANDKIDS how much he sucked. That’s how much he sucks. And the Bills still might start him again! They even traded away their other backup because they liked him so much! I’m aghast. I will never stop being aghast. Nathan Peterman must be Kim Pegula’s son-in-law or something. He’s gonna end up owning the team 20 years from now. We’ve never seen suck like this. We must never forget.

Email of the week!

Rob:

After hearing the Deadcast, I looked up Chucky’s views on Big Dick Nick Foles:

“He might be next to Osweiler the biggest quarterback in this draft. Very big for the quarterback position, NFL size. Coaches, GMs covet that size.” - Miami Herald interview

“Somebody’s going to get a hard-working, experienced, big, prototypical quarterback that has a huge upside.” - Gruden QB Camp

“You’ll like his size, Mel Kiper,” - ESPN Draft Night Coverage

“I love his NFL size. He reminds me a lot of Brad Johnson.” - LA Times interview

I can’t stop laughing.