Illustration by Sam Woolley/GMG

Time for your weekly edition of the Deadspin Funbag. Got something on your mind? Email the Funbag. Today, we’re talking onside kicks, hall passes, sauces, and more.

Your letters:

Kurt:

When you shave, do you start with the upper lip or the sideburn? I know with a new blade you are supposed to start with the upper lip, but I still start with at least a few strokes on the sideburn to get the blade warmed up. It terrifies me to start upper lip.

I always do the sideburn first because I want to start off my shave with the longest, broadest possible stroke. It’s like paving a road. I blaze a fat trail and then look in the mirror and marvel. OOOH LOOGIT THAT BIG STROKE. Then I check the razor and there’s an entire cat’s worth of hair stuck in the blades. It’s a really fun time.

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The upper lip is the main event of shaving. The lobster tail, as it were. So I’m like you in that I want to get good and warmed up before getting to the star attraction. Then I carefully swipe down the upper lip, see that I’ve actually done very little damage, mutter THE FUCK?, and then go over it nine more times. And even after all those swipes—with my epidermis completely sliced off—I often miss a spot. Here are now the spots I miss the most, in no particular order:

  • The corners of my mouth. Ever look in the mirror and see a stray hair poking out right there? Awful. I look like a goddamn catfish.
  • Under the jawbone hinge. It won’t shave clean! It’s like trying to shave the inside of a cave.
  • Single strip on the chin. DAMMIT. Now I look like I wanted a chin strip. I do not. I am not auditioning to be the lead singer of the Smithereens, man.
  • Random wiry hairs toward the back of my neck. That’s where facial hair ends and regular, weird body hair begins. Nothing worse than an armpit hair on your neck.

Robert:

Suppose every player on every NCAA FBS team was ruled academically ineligible for an entire season, and schools had to field teams entirely of walk-ons who were already enrolled at the school. Which programs would probably make the playoffs? Do you automatically lean towards the highest enrollments of Arizona State and Central Florida? Or do you look at state schools in areas like Alabama which have lots of folks who probably played in high school? Texas and Texas A&M are top 10 enrollments so fit both of those criteria. And what about basketball? Minnesota supposedly has the tallest average height.

Holy shit I had no clue Central Florida was so big. It’s bigger than Ohio State! Goddamn! That’s a whole lotta kids majoring in Mouseketeering.

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Anyway, the answer to this is Nebraska. I know Nebraska sucks now, but it still has arguably the strongest walk-on program in the country. There is a very real subculture of high school players who go to a school like Nebraska either to walk on, or simply because they’re fans and want to be close to the program. That’s one of the reasons I started my college career at Michigan. I knew I’d never actually play on that team, but I liked the idea of being around it. If I hang with the players, girls might think I’m on the team! One time I saw Dugan Fife at a party and was starstruck. Yes, THE Dugan Fife!

So I think any big school with a fervent fanbase like Bama, Nebraska, A&M, Penn State and Ohio State would probably do well. Those are schools that have plenty of football players who aren’t on the football team. And those guys take their flag football seriously. They will absolutely make the most of their Rudy moment.

This doesn’t necessarily coincide with enrollment size. If you go by sheer enrollment, the University of Phoenix has the field lapped. But come on, that’s a diploma mill. That school consists of 200,000 middle-aged toll booth operators taking night classes. You need a student body that’s young and beefy. There’s also a school called Ashford on the largest enrollment list. I have no fucking idea what Ashford is. They would get rolled by walk-on Texas.

By the way, the school that would suffer the most from this? Notre Dame. I’ve seen Notre Dame fans. They’re all either 90 years old or little preppy kids. I don’t think students there even LIKE that team. ND would be screwed.

Greg:

Suppose an MLB batter developed an uncanny ability to hit a line drive back at the pitcher’s head with every pitch. After he injures the first 3-4 pitchers and people figure out his superpower, what would be the most likely response? Would pitchers just give him an intentional walk every time? Would the umps give him warnings and then eject him like they do with pitchers throwing at a guy? Would they allow a new safety device on the field like a BP screen?

I think it would hasten the implementation pitching helmets, as shown here:

LOL those look so stupid. Either MLB would have to make those helmets mandatory, or the ballboy would run out to the mound with one any time the pitcher had to face the Assassin Batter. Personally, I’d like these helmets forced on MLB pitchers for safety reasons, but also because all pitchers are INSANE, and I’m all for any sort of equipment change that causes Chris Sale to start throwing Gatorade jugs around the clubhouse in naked anger. Your average pitcher is a MAGA chode with 97 different NRA bumper stickers on his Chevy Avalanche, so imagine how he’d react if the BASEBALL NANNY STATE dared to protect him from getting hit in the face and dying of a subdural hematoma. I would pay at least three dollars to see this enacted.

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For real though, having a pitch batted back at you is terrifying. I took a softball to the dome once in high school. In my opinion, softballs are not NEARLY soft enough. False advertising. Will sue.

Dan:

Where do you stand on drinking sauces and condiments? I don’t mean opening a bottle of ketchup over your mouth and letting fly (though I don’t have kids so I don’t know what parents do for sustenance in desperate moments). I made a sandwich with a can of herring, which was delicious. There was a fair amount of leftover horseradish sauce, and I couldn’t bring myself to just toss it. I made sure no one was around and drank it straight from the tin. Am I monster?

I think it’s fine if no one’s around. I’m the guy who licks the egg yolk residue off his breakfast plate, so I have no shame at all about eating like a complete savage. If I’m in a spot where I just want to guzzle some sauce, I usually do it alone OR I at least attempt to shield my behavior from onlookers. Like, if we order dumplings from Chinese takeout and I want to drink the little bit of dipping sauce left in the container (and I do), then I will clear my plate, walk over to the trash, and QUICKLY sneak my sip in before disposal. Then my wife catches me anyway and I react like that Dateline guy just busted down the door. IT’S NOT HOW IT LOOKS I SWEAR!

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The sauce is often the best part of a dish. Like chicken tikka masala. Yeah, I love chicken in any form. But my main focus there is on drenching everything in that sauce. I wanna BATHE in that sauce. There’s no shame in eating that sauce straight. I always make a point to help myself to one final portion of rice and sauce…just to add to the gluttony and have straight turmeric running through my veins. No regrets. My wife just got a new saucepan from TJ Maxx yesterday. Already, I have plans for that saucepan. Oh, the sauces I’ll drink. One pot is all I need to feel like I have a whole new kitchen.

Chris:

In having a standard, pointless group chat argument about whether or not Harry Potter is a Halloween movie (it is), we stumbled upon a plot hole within the Wizarding World: Why do they celebrate Christmas? Hogwarts/the magical community seem pretty secular and it seems silly to assume they’d worship a deity who did pretty much what any wizard could do. If you were JK Rowling, how would you explain this away?

I’m gonna back up there and contest your assertion that the Harry Potter movies are Halloween movies. Why are those Halloween movies? Those aren’t horror movies. The Harry Potter movies are just the Harry Potter movies. They’re not seasonal. If I’m watching a Halloween movie, it better have a vampire, a Frankenstein, a wolfman, or a serial killer in it. I know Harry Potter has monsters and other scary shit, but I say those are NAWT TRUE HORROR MOVIES. I cruise the TCM listings looking for anything black-and-white and made before 1940. That’s where you find the proper Halloween content.

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As for Christmas in the Wizarding World, it’s not like every American celebrating Christmas is into the religious aspects of it. Some people just like decorating trees and getting free crap. I see no reason why wizards wouldn’t feel the same way. I’m not gonna swear off the chance to get a new Firebolt from mom every year just because I happen to be more powerful than Jesus. Also, maybe some Wizards think their powers are a gift from the divine. Maybe there’s a sect of Wizards who are crazy Evangelical and like drawing crucifixes in the night sky with a custom lumos spell. In fact, there are Christian Magicians all around you! Like here! And here! You never know if the next magician you see will be one that pulls a bible out of a hat.

By the way, not to ruin your day, but we’re right on the cusp of Trump ruining Christmas. He’s already throwing down “We can finally say MERRY CHIRSTMAS again!” takes, and he’s only gonna get worse as we get closer to the real deal. We’re gonna get one of his stupid proclamations and everything. “In order to put the Christ back in Christmas, I shall adorn the White House lawn with a giant cross and then set it aflame so that all might see it burn bright with Christmas cheer.”

Andy:

Godzilla versus Darth Vader. Who ya got? No Death Star, no AT-ATs, no TIE fighter. Vader and his lightsaber versus the King of the Monsters.

Godzilla kicks his ass. Remember: using the Force takes a lot of work. I know Vader makes it look easy when he’s Force-slamming dudes left and right. But Godzilla weighs…

(looks it up)

Fuck me, 164,000 tons! That’s too much work, even for a veteran Sith Lord. Godzilla would give him a spontaneous Viking funeral within seconds.

Carson:

I have one of those shower/bathtub combos with 3 knobs. The knobs are: 1) adjust hot 2) adjust cold 3) toggle between bathtub and shower. For some reason I’ve always turned knob number 3 back to bathtub before shutting everything down. I have a new roommate who leaves it in shower position all the time. Do I know something he doesn’t, or do I need to make an adjustment?

The reason you put it back into Bath Mode is so you can run the water through the bath faucet until it’s the right temperature, and THEN toggle over to Shower Mode. If you go right into Shower Mode, you risk potentially getting hit with scalding hot water or ass-freezing water. This is true even if you’re out of the tub and you’re carefully reaching in. That shit can come out at 70 mph and still get on your arm, which is unpleasant if you’re showering at, like, 6 a.m.

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At 6 a.m., any unwelcome change in temperature on any part of your body is the stuff of nervous breakdowns. Ever turn on the bath without realizing it’s actually in Shower Mode? OMG it’s a backbreaker. Like, you hear the showerhead sputter, and you realize your horrible mistake a split second before that cold water assaults you. It’s such an awful confluence of events. Getting hit with cold shower water must be what war is like.

Matt:

Which do you get bored of sooner? Good chewing gum or bad popcorn?

Gum. Once that gum loses its flavor, it is dead to me. Besides, I’m old now. Chewing gum is too much work. My jaw gets arthritic after nine seconds. Forget it.

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Also, I’m way past the transition age where gum goes from being candy to being a breath freshener. I say that happens right around age 18.

HALFTIME!

Chris:

While reading about the Giants miraculous turn around Monday Night I noticed that they went back to a balanced Run/Pass gameplan (43/57), versus what they were doing in the prior 5 games (30/70). My question is do bad teams throw more because they are behind and feel like they need to score, or do they have bad play calling to begin with and that’s why they are behind in the first place? I obviously have zero experience coaching in the NFL but I feel like I could give you a 50/50 run/pass gameplan each week. Where do I apply??

It’s not that simple. The Patriots consistently pass more than they run, and it works from them. That tends to happen when Tom Brady is your QB. Same with the Packers before Aaron Rodgers got hurt. When you have Aaron Rodgers, it’s very, very stupid to NOT use Aaron Rodgers. Also, both the Packers and Patriots will often “run” the ball by deploying short passes, just like Bill Walsh used to do back in the day. You tailor your gameplan to do more of what you do well, and less of what you do horribly. This is why the Jaguars pass the ball five times a game.

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So when a pud like Ben McAdoo turns over playcalling duties and the new guy succeeds with a more balanced game plan, that’s because the team was passing too much when it couldn’t pass for SHIT. And as for ditching the run in the middle of a game, that only makes sense if you’re better at passing. If you’re down 21 at the half and you have Zeke Elliott back there, you should definitely keep running. The personnel dictate the system, and any coach who disregards that should be designated to the sixth hour of Mike & Mike.

AJ:

Do you think anyone has ever actually used their hall pass (as in being free to sleep with a celebrity of their choosing)?

Oh sure, but there’s a catch. I guarantee you there has been some dude out there started off not famous, said to his wife, “What if you let me sleep with (insert supermodel or actress here)? LOL LIKE THAT WOULD EVER HAPPEN!” And then that dude gets famous himself and suddenly DOES have the chance to sleep with their dream lay. I bet that’s happened.

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HOWEVER, I bet it’s pretty rare for a marriage to survive that kind of scenario. Once that dude gets a taste of the Hall Pass, he ain’t going back. So it would cause me a LOT of problems if Laetitia Casta turned out be a Deadspin reader. That would be a real sticky wicket. This is why I’m oddly grateful that, in real life, every Deadspin reader looks like Tom Ley. Absolutely no chance of temptation.

Matt:

More and more on this site and others, when an author/commenter is making whatever point they are making, their explanation begins with “I mean…” To me, “I mean…” is used when trying to explain something in a bit more detail that you have explained to some degree already, not as the opening to your explanation. EX: Q: Do you like hotdogs? A: I mean, they’re tasty!

Why would someone begin an answer with “I mean…” instead of just saying how tasty hot dogs are?

I use that a lot. It’s a verbal crutch that doesn’t add much of anything, like “The fact is” or “Frankly” or “Well.” Those are all placeholders people use while the little hamster wheel in their brain spins and they try to spit out something of substance.

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But sometimes it works in print because it makes everything feel more conversational. Also, I have a vague idea of what I mean when I use “I mean.” Like, if I want you to know I’m having a bit of trouble articulating how fucked something is, it’s nice to telegraph that struggle. “I mean…you can’t just take your dick out on the basketball court! THAT’S JAILABLE SHIT!” Sometimes meaningless phrases have their own utility. Also, I can’t write EVERYTHING in all caps. Sometimes, you gotta throw down a “The truth of the matter is…” to pre-italicize your thoughts for you.

Phil:

The NFL needs to change its rule to make successfully onside kicks more achievable right? I’m not saying it should be 50-50, but successful onside kicks are inherently good and make games make exciting, so they should work more than 20% of the time at the end of the game.

No, because as much as I love me a good onside kick, shitty teams don’t deserve that. It’s not fair to the team up two scores to make the onside kick a 50/50 enterprise. I know it’s a real letdown when the moron kicker kicks the ball DIRECTLY to the hands team, but that’s what you get if you spent the first 59 minutes of a game playing like shit. FOOTBALL IS THE LAST TRUE MERITOCRACY, DAMMIT!

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By the way, this Harvard study says that teams that run a surprise onside kick recover the ball 60 percent of the time. Motherfucking 60 percent!!!! How often does your favorite team spring the surprised onside kick? Once a year? Teams should be doing this twice a GAME. I’d do that, and then mix it up with pooch kick over the coverage once the other team gets wary of it. No one would ever see it coming! LET ME COACH THE BROWNS AND DO THIS. It can’t go any worse than how the Browns are doing now.

Bryan:

My wife last week started to cook chicken for dinner by placing it in a cold non stick pan on the stove and then turning on the heat. I looked at her and made a comment like she was crazy but she only answered, “What difference does it make if the pan gets hot anyway”. Am I crazy to think this is weird, or is this grounds for divorce?

Yeah no, she’s wrong. Don’t cook like that. There are certain recipes that call for starting with a cold pan, but they’re few and far in between. For normal cooking, get the pan hot first. Otherwise, nothing will sear. You won’t get any Maillard reaction. Gotta have that Maillard reaction. Start off meat in a cold pan and you’ll just end up with a soggy lump of gray meat instead, with some salmonella sauce on the side. Do not guzzle.

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I’ve fucked up a couple times and thrown meat onto a pan I assumed was hot enough, only to be greeted with a terrible silence. Don’t let that happen to you. Live for the sizzle, America.

Charles:

I was reading the Funbag a while back and the letter about hobbies made me think about which hobbies are the coolest; as in, if someone told me their hobby, and my perception of that person instantly improves tenfold. For me, it’s falconer.

For me, it’s any hobby where I can get free shit from that person. For example, if your hobby is deep sea fishing, I’m gonna try to angle for a free excursion out on your craft, THE FLYING WASP. Very important to me that you have an expensive hobby that I’d like to pursue myself but am too much of a cheapskate to do so. Oh, did you say you have BBQ smoking trailer that can smoke 12 briskets at a time? And that you also enjoy collecting beachfront real estate? Why yes, I think we ought be friends. I find you fascinating and useful.

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I am also still a preteen at heart who is DAZZLED by anyone who happens to be super athletic. Like, if someone at work turns out to be an expert mountaineer, I’m hugely impressed. I definitely wanna get drinks with that guy and absorb off some of his studliness by sheer osmosis. “This is my friend. He summited Everest! Isn’t it impressive that I know this person?”

Gary:

My partner and I agree that a horizontal staple when putting together documents is preferred, one of the many benefits being that when flipping through the packet, it doesn’t rip apart. However, some of our employees disagree, vehemently, and say the vertical staple is better for overall aesthetics. Being that we’re in charge, are my partner and I in the wrong, or are we right in making our employees cater to the sturdier staple job?

I’m #TeamHorizontal all the way. When the office copier collates and staples documents, it staples the horizontally. You gonna go against the copier? I think not. The only time you should do vertical staples is if you’re doing three staples down the left side of the stack in order to make a little book or calendar. My kids come back from school with a dozen of these things every week. “Oh cool, you made The Story Of A Raindrop!”

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But for your standard work handout? A single horizontal staple in the corner is fine. Just don’t be the simpleton who staples the thing way too deep into the handout so that I can’t read anything in the corner. That’s a real idiot move.

Email of the week!

Paul:

Let’s say you’re a talented, but not all-time-great, rock drummer. You spend your entire 20s working your ass off, playing fun gigs, working side jobs, always practicing, but your career never really takes off and you never find yourself in a genuinely successful band. On your 30th birthday, staring out the Chipotle window onto a rainy parking lot, reflecting gloomily upon a lost decade of chasing your dream with jack shit to show for it, you get a phone call with an offer to go on a worldwide tour with a world-class musical act, visiting 4 continents over 6 months, earning, I don’t know, $150K+ in the process. It’s your big break! You can’t believe your ears! “Who’s the act?” you ask, dumbfounded and doing a really crappy job of staying cool even though you’re trying to. “Limp Bizkit!” replies the agent. Your stomach falls out - like everyone else, you DESPISE Limp Bizkit. It will kill you inside to play music that you hate with musicians that you hate at shows that you hate for fans that you hate. You will sit nightly behind a bass drum bearing the world’s worst band name and pretend to be having the time of your life. Every musician you know will mock you mercilessly for it, plus you’ll lose all of your regular gigs while you’re out of town for six months. It will not open up any doors for you career-wise because who gives a shit that you toured with Limp Bizkit? But you have a chance, after all these years, to finally make it big. Do you take the gig?

Fuck yeah, I do.