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).   

Your letters:

Nick:

We ordered BBQ brisket during a meeting the other day and everyone cut the fat off of the meat and threw it away. Here’s the thing though, I secretly ate mine. I like the fat. It’s salty, chewy fatty goodness. Plus, our brisket forefathers would have been horrified to throw away the highest calorie part of the meat. I’m just wondering if other people don’t like the fat or if it’s just some delusion that by not eating the fat they’re being “healthy”? Just enjoy the goddamn brisket and go back to foraging for greens and berries later.

The fat is the best part. I feel like if the hipster revolution has done any good, it’s that it has de-stigmatized the eating of pure fat. Restaurants now put lardo (pork fat) on pizza. They serve those bigass marrow bones so you can spread fat across a piece of toast. Pork belly, which is like 60% white fat, is on virtually every menu in some form. “Pork belly muesli! Mmmmm!” One time I ate a “bacon chop” in Portland that nearly killed me (worth it!). Every episode of Bourdain’s show features him out on a street at 3 a.m. eating some chili-spiked bowl of sheep cellulite and going, “Oh man this is good, I’m gonna shit like a fire hydrant 20 minutes from now.”

When I was growing up, it was understood that you cut away the fat and gristle from your steak. Please refer to the Ol’ 96er scene in The Great Outdoors as evidence of this fat shaming. Eating beef fat is obviously unhealthy, since it’s high in, uh, fat, as well as cholesterol. But it was also frowned upon just in general social terms. People who ate fat were gross people… so horribly gluttonous that they were willing to debase themselves by munching on pure tallow. “Are you gonna eat your fat?”, etc.

You should not feel beholden to these outdated fat views anymore. Fat is flavor. When you grill a ribeye and that salty, fatty crust forms on the edges? It would be a mortal sin to throw that away. The first thing I do, after cooking a steak and letting it rest, is carve off the little fat nub at the tip and wolf it down, right at the counter. That’s the best part of the steak. NO ONE DENIES THIS. Hell, I eat half the steak before I’ve even plated that shit. If you carve it so that you get a little bit of the fatty strip with each piece, you will quickly find yourself in flavor country. Only fools cut away that fat! IT’S WHITE GOLD, I TELL YOU! I really want a steak right now.

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Fat is filling and good. The reason buttholes who are on the Paleo Diet eat the fat is because it keeps them full and satisfied as they abstain from carbs and yell at everyone around them because they can’t eat any fucking bread. All the trendy, fatty cuts of beef (like brisket) have been marked up, like, 500 percent, in the past decade. Meanwhile, filet still costs over $20 a pound. There’s no cheap beef of any kind anymore! It ain’t right!

So tell everyone at your company picnic that they are morons. When you toss out the fatty goodness, you are wasting both flavor and money, and you are openly disrespecting your pitmaster. You should be JAILED. Show some manners and eat your fat. You’ll die young, but it will be a very classy death.

Jack:

I’m a 25-year-old man who legitimately loves U2. I’ve been going back and listening to their music a lot lately and have been enjoying most of it (even Pop, everyone’s favorite album to be announced at a Kmart). I might even call Songs of Innocence one of their best albums (and the most well known piece of musical spam ever). Am I a crazy person for getting into U2 this late into their career when they are called irrelevant (unfortunately) or are they just truly a bunch of old dad rock guys who don’t deserve to be relevant?

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Congratulations, sir. There’s clearly a big future for you in being a professional sportswriter. Pick up the entire Bruce Springsteen catalog to go along with your U2 shit and there will be a prestigious longform job waiting for you at any number of respected sports media outlets.

I’m in the middle on U2 because I’ve been to a couple of their concerts and I genuinely enjoyed their work from the ‘80s and ‘90s. I am not above getting loaded and blasting “Ultra Violet (Light My Way)” on occasion. But I don’t think they’ve made a decent album this century. In fact, I think the “failure” of Pop (which in retrospect has some pretty terrific songs on it) and the success of the album after that (the “Beautiful Day” one) basically convinced them it was better to just crank out the boringest, safest, daddest rock possible. Their new album sounds like shit you would hear in a Pottery Barn. Between that and Bono’s stint on the New York Times op-ed page, they were kinda ruined for me. Whenever Bono tries to be subversive, it’s just him trying to do what he thinks his kids think is subversive. Meanwhile he’s hanging out at cocktail parties with Henry Kissinger. He’s a deeply annoying person.

All that said, you’re free to dig them. Of course you are. In fact, we’re probably overdue for some sort of dad rock revival, where the TEENS get into shit like U2 and roll their eyes at old dudes like me and Burneko who want you to believe U2 is uncool while we, ourselves, are also uncool. I will have divested myself of all the lame bands just as they’ve become cool again. Yacht rock has already had a comeback, so dad rock is on deck. I bet my kid gets into the The Eagles or something just to spite me. I’m not looking forward to it.

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David:

When you wake up tomorrow you can either be fluent in three languages, what languages would you choose?

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Spanish, Chinese, and German. I already speak broken Spanish, but I would be thrilled to be genuinely conversant in it. As it stands now, I have no prayer of keeping up with a fluent Spanish discussion. That shit goes by me at 100 mph. Any time I pretend I can talk full Spanish, I end up exposing myself as a clueless moron. And I took Spanish for years! It’s pathetic on my end, really. I would also want to know Chinese so that I can tell people I speak THE LANGUAGE OF INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS and then fail to profit in ANY way from that skill. And I’d want to know German so that I know what my wife’s relatives are saying about me behind my back. I’m happy with those three choices.

By the way, I think you should be skeptical of any supposed cosmopolitan polymath who claims to speak five languages or something like that. I’m not just saying that because I’m a bitter, one-language loser. I’m just saying some people have a tendency to overstate their linguistic cunningness. If someone brags to you that they can speak 19 languages, quiz them on the spot. Make them say “The hamburgers are in the dishwasher” in Esperanto. Then, when they can actually do it, sheepishly say, “Actually, that was pretty good” and then slink away. That’s what I would do.

Jesse:

The NCAA came down on Louisville and ordered the 2013 men’s basketball championship vacated. Am I the only one who ignores that? Does anyone think back to Reggie Bush and think “Naw, he wasn’t the Heisman winner” simply because they took his trophy away after he was already in the NFL for a few years? What are the actual ramifications of the NCAA stripping something from a team or player after the fact? The collective memories of the fans don’t change.

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Oh yeah, I completely ignore it. As far as I’m concerned, the 1997 Minnesota Golden Gophers DID go the Final Four, and no one can ever tell me or Sam Jacobson otherwise. I saw it with my own eyes, I did! FUCK THE HATERZ. The fucking Fab Five’s tourney runs were vacated, too. Do you care? Of course you don’t. The only people who suffer from this particularly dopey sanction are the poor bastards working the arena who, unless the school goes Full Auburn, have to go up to onto the catwalk to take the banners down. No one else gives a shit. Even the college coaches who are fired in the wake of such sanctions rarely suffer. They’re still butt rich, and they barely need to wait a year before some piddly shit program reaches out to them with a job and puts them back on the path to a new Power Five job. Sometimes they don’t get fired at all!

The whole enterprise is a stupid PR ploy designed to elicit mild gasps and appease Americans’ long-held fetish for punishment. It’s also, conveniently, cost-free. It’s the literal least the NCAA can do. The NCAA also fined Louisville $15 million for their violations, but I would assume the school absorbs that fine by cutting your niece’s volleyball team. No one believes these schools are actually DISGRACED by these rulings. And why would they be? Players should be paid, and paying them is only scandalous if you’re Pete Thamel or some other hand-wringing dipshit. For everyone else, the occasional vacated title is just the cost of doing business. Nothing will change because the real disgrace in the sport is its establishment, and they’re not going anywhere.

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Cameron:

At what age do kids start waiting for all the cards to be dealt before picking up their hand vs. picking them up as you deal then, thus completely screwing up your deal?

I’m gonna say age 26. I actually don’t mind if my kids pick up the cards as I’m dealing. Even when they piss and moan about not getting a Wild Card Draw Four card, it’s fine. I count the cards off in my head, anyway. The harder part is enforcing turn protocol, because the five-year-old ALWAYS thinks it’s his turn. I will inform him that it is not his turn at least 57 times during any single card game.

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And yet, playing card games with your kids is still INFINITELY better than playing board games with them. I would rather shoot a staple gun into my nutsack than play Monopoly with kids. Gimme an Uno deck any day over that prison sentence. Shuffling the cards is where Daddy gets to shine.

Lawrence:

I remember when Trump first got elected you complained about BIG PASSPORT charging an arm and a leg for passport photos, because you might jump ship to Australia while Trump was president. Why didn’t you make the plunge? I had to move back to Australia (from Alaska) after a rather serious back injury and I am enjoying the five minute drive to the beach, the nearly 500 dollars I get every two weeks from Medicare until my back is healed and the living in sane country where Trump is not on the news every damn second. Have you looked at their student loan program or their gun laws? At least for now, it is a virtual paradise.

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It is, but it is also very, very, very far away. It’s also populated with boxing kangaroos and spiders that can drive cars, so I have cooled on Project Australia for now. I’m gonna regret this. In fact, reading your email, I already regret it. But I’m just too goddamn lazy to man up and flee this shithole. Just figuring out what to do with the dog alone has caused me to indefinitely postpone the whole project. And think of how many forms I’d have to fill out! Christ. No, in classic American fashion, I am gonna stay and tell you I did so out of principle and not sheer laziness. It’ll only be AFTER we’ve all died in a nuclear machine gun Holocaust that I think to myself, “You know, I really should have taken advantage of that whole born-in-Australia thing.”

After Trump was elected, I definitely DMed my Australian colleagues here at GMG and was like, “How are things down there? How are the real estate prices? Are the colleges expensive? How bad is the racism, really?” And then they would DM back, “Drew, it’s actually 4 a.m. here right now so please don’t ask us any of this crap.” It was a very productive exchange. I’m glad I did my due diligence before taking no action of any kind. Thanks, fellow Aussies! A ROUND OF SHRIMPS ON THE BARBIE FOR ALL OF YOU!

HALFTIME!

Nate:

Standing up for a long time with no relief is a special kind of hell, especially for the overweight & out of shape - and most NFL coaches are‎ that. It can wear you down and mess with your mind, that kind of endurance activity. Coaches are ALWAYS standing on the sidelines all game which means by the end they’ve been through their own particular kind of physical ringer. This has to affect the decisions made at the end of the game. Is Andy Reid’s fourth quarter incompetence all because he’s just TIRED and needs to sit down a little while so he can think straight?

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I don’t think so because A) There’s no shortage of adrenaline when you get to do your work in front of 70,000 screaming drunk people, and B) Andy Reid has been coaching for decades now, so it’s not as if standing for three hours is some kind of new, uncomfortable activity for him. Andy is too fired up drawing reverse triple counter passes to the third-string fullback to remember that he’s out of shape.

Plus, he gets sitting breaks. He definitely sits at the half. And what if he needs to sit down with Patrick Mahomes and go over coverages with him while the defense is out there? Again, there’s another fine chance to rest, maybe enjoy a tub of popcorn. Sean McVay spends every defensive series sitting on the bench, making adjustments. There are chances to cool your heels on the sideline if you care to take advantage of them.

I work at a standing desk and I can tell you that it’s tiring the first few days you do it, and then it just becomes the norm. You don’t have to be fantastically in shape to stand for long stretches, especially if you’re not actively MOVING, like a waiter or someone else who has hustle around during the entire workday. That’s the kind of work will make your feet ache. That’s the kind of work where taking your socks off at the end of the day is the greatest feeling in the world. I definitely still act like I spent all day in a coal mine just because I stood for a few hours, but I don’t deserve to act that way. Standing at work can be done by pretty much anyone.

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The President is the laziest man on Earth and even he can stand around—in dress shoes!—for rallies and campaign events and Denny’s ribbon cutting ceremonies. So don’t be too shocked that a dude like Andy Reid can stand there all game and still have the energy to scheme his way into blowing a 20-point lead.

Greg:

Now that we’ve seen how good the NFL Skycam view is for some plays, why not put a ref in a movable harness to fly around up there too? It would probably help with spotting the ball after inside runs and pile-ups. He could land and take off at will.

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I approve. I have no interest in vetting the potentially numerous drawbacks of this proposal. I just want a stupid ref like Ed Hochuli flying around the field like he’s in the “Livin’ On A Prayer” video. He doesn’t even have to make calls, really. He can be up there to hang out and avoid punts.

And you know what? Put the coaches in harnesses, too. Spare Andy Reid all that standing and hoist his ass over the field of play so that he can get a good look at the formations. I wanna see Belichick hock a loogie on one of his players when they line up wrong. And put ME up there while we’re at it. Let me soar above the field of play and then come back with a chafed taint and declare to the world, “If you had all watched the harness-enhanced All-22 as I have, you would know that Russell Wilson is NOT an elite quarterback.”

This may be an after-effect of watching the Winter Olympics, but too many of our sports are land-based. Let’s add some jumps and flips and shit. Hook up Antonio Brown to some cables and let him outjump defenders by 90 feet for a ball. WHO SAYS NO?

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Josue:

So my kids, age 7 and 5, still refuse to use utensils to eat. They’ll use the occasional spoon to shovel yogurt into their messy gobs, but they refuse to use a fork for anything, even spaghetti. At what age does this become socially unacceptable?

Right now. You have to get them onto utensils so they don’t show up to a birthday party and look like Nell coming of the forest to house some birthday cake. The longer you delay this kind of bad habit, the harder it gets for them to break. You gotta put your foot down and tell them FORKS OR BUST, FUCKOS. Take it from me!

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[has a 12-year-old who still eats pancakes with her hands]

[has a nine-year-old who only eats chicken nuggets]

[has a five-year-old who only wants peanut butter on toast for dinner]

DAMMIT.

Jack:

Can you explain this Russell Wilson at Spring Training thing? I’m a Yankees fan (I know, fuck me) and he’s now all over my Instagram feed. Is it just a stunt? Is he getting paid? Why did the Yankees trade for him?? FWIW my fav Yankee fan insta page hasn’t mentioned it at all ‘cause I think they know it’s meaningless. I have so many questions that I’m sure I could research myself but I’d rather ask you.

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It’s just a stunt. Baseball teams do it all the times. Garth Brooks got at-bats in Spring Training, for crying out loud. Spring Training is when Major League teams embrace the minor league spirit and cook up any sales gimmick they can to get you to come out to some meaningless split squad game being played in Tampa’s asshole. I don’t have much of a problem with it. There are plenty of fungo balls to go around for everyone, and I get kick out of the fact that Russell Wilson is probably the ONLY person there who takes the idea of Russell Wilson playing baseball seriously.

Other leagues could do this. We all hate preseason NFL games. Ah, but what if I told you that Channing Tatum was going to play an entire fourth quarter at QB for the Panthers in one? No? No, I guess that would probably suck. Still, WHO SAYS NO?

David:

Ever since I was a kid, I’ve eaten cereal out of a cup instead of a bowl. It’s probably because, when I was a wee lad, I wanted to eat cereal while I watched cartoons at my grandmother’s house, but, like all kids, I made a big mess when I tried to drink the milk. So, my grandmother, in all of her wisdom, started me off this path by putting my cereal in one of her mugs so that I could partake in my cartoon watching ritual whilst not making a milk mess in her living room floor. Is this weird?

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It’s fine. Once you put cereal in a mug, it becomes a light snack instead of a full breakfast. Go ahead and wolf down five mugfuls of Crunch Berries. That’s just healthy eating, right there.

I enjoy cereal or soup in a mug as a kind of novelty. “Oh wow, this soup is in a mug! You don’t see that every day!” I totally put my hands around the mug to get cozy with it, like I’m taking in the bouquet from a Café Americano. Very soon, some enterprising foodie will declare that mugs are the new bowls, and open up a café that sells nothing but food in mugs: salads, parfaits, small hunks of meat, etc. It’ll be very annoying. I bet everyone who goes into that shop will be wearing a scarf.

Alex:

In what league is it most depressing to follow a shitty team? My money is on the NFL – I think bad football is a more blatantly unwatchable product than bad baseball or basketball.

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Yeah but there’s so much less of it. Your only obligation to the Browns consists of three hours on a Sunday afternoon. Imagine being some schmuck who has to follow every single Mets game. Just a full spring and summer of getting pummeled in the balls, day in and day out. People who watch that much bad baseball are categorically insane. I wouldn’t allow them around small children.

Ian:

Would Trump quit being President if the Democrats took control of the House? What about if they also got the Senate? He wouldn’t actually be able to DO anything.

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LOL does he do anything now? If Democrats took back the House, he’d still be doing the same nothing, only he’d be angrier. That’s a win-win for him.

Again, I know dirty libruls like me enjoy trotting out a “Trump doesn’t really want to be President!” take every now and again, but that’s just wishful thinking. He has the entire world looking at him, 24/7. He’s in ecstasy. He’s not going anywhere. You’re gonna have to drag him out of that office by his remaining six hairs. I volunteer for the job.

Email of the week!

Ryan:

Last winter, I went on a ski trip with buddies to Whiteface Mountain in New York. The weather was not ideal - on our first of two planned ski days the temperature started at 20ºF at 8am and by noon had dropped to 0ºF, continuing to drop into the afternoon.

Whiteface has a nice mid-station lodge that we usually go to for lunch. It’s not as crowded as the main lodge and has decent food/beer available. Our plan was to go hard all morning, stop in there for lunch, then remain out in the afternoon as long as we could stand before we retired to our cabin out in the sticks of the Adirondacks to do terrible things to our bodies.

The World Cup Moguls were taking place at Whiteface that weekend, and the women’s run was scheduled for that afternoon. The event was staged a quick lift ride above the mid-station lift. While we were eating lunch, there was one girl on her back on a table doing an amazing full spread-eagle stretch for the entire room to see. There were little boys staring with their mouths gaped to the floor, but most telling of the spectacle was the look of outrage on their mother’s faces.

Our politeness and male instincts were clashing; it was extremely difficult to not follow suit with the little boys. I managed to keep my ogling to abrupt glances, but eventually it happened. With a mouth full of food I made eye contact with the girl. I looked away quickly, but the damage was done, and the girl’s disapproving face was burned into my memory.

After the weekend, I thought I’d research the women’s world cup circuit. Perrine Laffont’s face stuck out like the sore thumb of a hand model. Her smile was a bit of a contrast to the disgusted glower she had given me in the mid-station lodge, but there was no doubt that was her. As of this past Monday, I am confidently telling everyone the girl I got caught ogling won Olympic Gold.

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Truly the humblest brag of all.