Illustration by 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’m here to let you know that we are gonna do our first-ever LIVE PODCAST next week in Minnesota. Here are the details:

Wednesday, January 31
Amsterdam Bar & Hall.
6 West 6th St., St. Paul, MN 55102
Doors at 7 p.m.; Podcast at 8 p.m.

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We’re gonna sell tickets for $10 but that ticket also gets you three free drinks. If you plan on coming and you want YOUR question answered live right in front of your own awed face, just email me with the subject line MINNESOTA DEADCAST. I’ll print out the best ones and bring them with me to Minnesota, along with all my grievances against the local football team and the harm they’ve done to my eternal soul.

Now! Your letters:

Jeremy:

I hate the fucking Pats, and I hate the fucking Eagles, man. (I’m a Giants fan, but there are plenty of good reasons to hate these teams.) I can’t really imagine having fun watching this Super Bowl, so I’m thinking I might take my girlfriend to see I, Tonya during the game, or something. The NFL just doesn’t have enough good will with me anymore for me to watch a game that will inevitably piss me off. 1. Am I being a lame snob? 2. What is the best alternative activity during the SB?

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You’re not fooling me. You’re watching that game. I could bitch and moan about the matchup all day long, but I’m still gonna sit there and force myself to watch. The fact that the Eagles kicked the shit out of the Vikings will be more than enough to trick people (even me) into thinking they have a shot. They match up well! They can rush the passer with just four men! WHY, IF NICK FOLES PLAYS THE WAY HE DID AGAINST MINNESOTA etc etc etc. I’ve convinced myself to watch even worse football games before, and with even less circumstantial evidence.

So I’ll be watching. There’s only one football game left this season so I may as well take advantage of the opportunity to make some chili and pollute the house with kidney bean farts. The prospect of that far outweighs the prospect of having to watch Bob Kraft hoist another stupid Lombardi Trophy. I swear that man loses an inch of height and gains an inch of hair every time I see him.

Also, I have no compunction about rooting for the Eagles. They’re the underdog. They’ve never won a Super Bowl. They trashed my team fair and square. The Fuck Millie sign was probably going too far but I do admire Philly’s steadfast determination to remain on-brand. I saw that one local Minnesota newscast warning traveling Vikings fans about Philly and it was like watching the intro to the “(You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (To Party)” video.

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Jack:

Denny’s and so many other places like to advertise their “light and fluffy” pancakes. But are “light and fluffy” pancakes really the ideal? I think they suck and I will always instead order French toast if I know that is how the pancakes are served at a particular establishment. But what I really love are Swedish style pancakes, as dense and heavy as possible (i.e. crepe like) though I have no real interest in the lingonberries typically served with them, I just want them with butter and maple syrup. Am I crazy or correct?

Well, the reason that most people like their pancakes light and fluffy is because fluffy pancakes can absorb more butter and syrup than their denser, Scandinavian counterparts. That’s important. I want to spread the butter out over the stack, pour a quart of syrup on top, and then watch in joy as the pancakes sop all that shit up. Then I cut through the stack with my fork and carefully observe the cross-section of each bite, making sure it has achieved maximum saturation. For you see, light pancakes are not light at all. They are, rather, ideal purveyors of HEAVINESS. I wanna feel like I swallowed a bomb after finishing my plate. That’s just the shot of lethargy I need to slog through my day.

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Please note I’m not trying to dump on Swedish pancakes, which are also tasty in their own right. I have also ordered a Dutch baby large enough to accommodate a roller derby. I got no problem mixing up my pancake density. I even bought weird pancake mix from Ikea once to make for my kids. I ended up having to eat the whole box myself because they are picky bastards who fear any pancake that does not come from a Hungry Jack box. Hell, make the mayo pancakes if you want. I won’t judge. I am merely explaining the allure behind fluffy foodstuffs. This is why Americans will take a piece of cake and, not satisfied it’s enough, put two scoops of ice cream directly on top. We are masters at infusing fluffy junk food with other junk foods.

Chris:

Is it just me or do slot machines with digital displays just seem shadier than the old-fashioned ones? I’m sure both are designed to screw me over but something about the new ones being animated just makes me think it will always change at the last minute to make sure I lose. Plus, does anyone even know what all the symbols and lines even mean besides for the old folk the casino’s bus in everyday to take their social security money?

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Yeah I don’t trust digital slot machines or video poker machines. Besides, why would you play video poker when you can just play regular-ass poker? [retro fetishist voice] Don’t you want to FEEL the cards? Hear the satisfying whap-whap-whap of the dealer shuffling? Isn’t something lost in the transition when you just gamble on a screen? IT USED TO BE ABOUT THE POKER, MAN.

Anyway yes, I agree with Chris that the digital machines seem rigged to deprive me of extra winnings. They are rigged. It’s not like regular slots or poker, which I can TOTALLY beat using my own unique blend of skill, cunning and moxie. Vegas has no idea what to do with slot sharps like me! They’re handing out free money and they don’t even know it!

By the way, I could study the slot machine legend all day and still not remember what symbols mean what. Every time I’ve played slots like a lonely nursing home resident, there’s always that split second where I think to myself, “Wait, did I win?” before quickly realizing that I did not. Two sevens and an apple don’t get you jack shit.

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Philip:

Do you believe NFL referees’ calls are influenced by the league’s desire for a particular team to win?

No. I know the Pats only got called for one rinky-dink penalty against the Jags, but that’s more an inherent facet of home field advantage. No really, there’s math behind it and what not. Refs can be subconsciously swayed to bury calls that would otherwise go against the home team. Please note that this is a broad trend. If you are a Pats fan—and God, are you ever the fucking worst—you are not unique in your ability to manipulate the officials with your magical drunken cheering abilities. If you win a lot, you get home field. If you get home field, you get a little home cooking, and maybe you get a little bit extra on top of that when the refs are cowed by the presence of Belichick and Brady.

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But even if the Pats had been called for eight more penalties that game, I don’t think it would have mattered. The Jags still would have called for a one-yard run on every first down and Tom Brady would have converted four extra third-and-18s to seal the victory. Sometimes it’s fun to take comfort in the idea that a team you hate won only because they bought off the refs, or because the league office favors one market over the other.

That’s just wishful thinking. The refs fuck up because they are boobs, and the Pats win everything because God hates mankind and wants to speed its demise. It’s Occam’s Razor, really. I’d rather just accept it than waste my time being some BUTTHURT fanboy sitting there and hoping some imaginary high court reverses some sports outcome I personally deem to be unfair. A.J. Bouye and Myles Jack both got fucking hosed but no one is gonna un-hose it. No no, the perfect little Patriots will just get to sashay right to the Super Bowl like nothing happened at all, because everything just has to go right for those FUCKING ASSHOLE DICKBAG FUCKFACE COCKRAMMING SHITHEELS. GOD WHY DO THE BEST THINGS ALWAYS HAPPEN TO THE WORST PEOPLE?

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David:

How is it that neither of the first two picks in the NBA draft last year can shoot a basketball? Seems like a pretty important skill set for the best two players (supposedly) in the world in that draft class. “But they do so many other things on the court” is a weird notion when the objective is to score points.

Well, they both play point guard, right? History is littered with good point guards who couldn’t shoot worth a shit. Remember when Robin Ficker held up the ASON sign to heckle Jason Kidd because he had no J? SO CLEVER. Robin Ficker should be thrown into a hippo tank.

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Anyway, I’m no basketblogger, but I assume that some teams still cling to the idea of a point guard being a POINT CREATOR, a dude who can distribute the ball to designated scorers or drive the lane for easy baskets of his own. The Sixers have a bunch of studs everywhere else, so it makes sense, on some level, for them to draft a dude who could get those studs ball.

But obviously, they didn’t expect Markelle Fultz to lose his fucking shot. Here’s a video of him in college shooting like a normal, good player. And here is a video of him shooting like someone replaced his arm bones with a sack of old wrenches. I actually find this fascinating. I know golfers and baseball players get the yips. But I’ve rarely seen it happen to a basketball player, much less the No. 1 overall pick in the draft. I genuinely feel terrible for him. Imagine trying to fix your shot while everyone is staring at every shot you take, being like, “Jesus Christ what the fuck happened to your shot?” I’d be a puddle of tears by Wednesday. There will probably come a point where people go from worrying whether Fultz is ruined to outright declaring that he’s ruined. Perhaps we’ve reached that point already.

The moral of the story is that you probably can’t overlook a point guard having a shit jumper anymore. If you’re gonna keep up with Golden State you can’t just be like, “Oh hey, one of our guards can’t shoot, but we’ll be FINE.” You need a dude who can pass the ball and can also shoot a golf ball into a shot glass from 40 feet away. If your point guard can’t do that, he is USELESS. Take it from me, a certified basketball knower. Can’t have some dude like Lonzo Ball chucking up shots like Bill Cartwright. Bill Cartwright is my eternal go-to reference point for hideous shooting technique, and I do not apologize for it.

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HALFTIME!

Aaron:

Do you think dogs prefer cooked meat, or raw? Like, when I throw a steak on the grill, is the dog thinking “goddammit, why did you ruin another perfectly good piece of flesh?” right as I’m getting a good sear on it? Either way, she seems pretty damn excited about it.

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Dogs are natural scavengers, so their digestive systems are set up to consume and shit out raw meat. The dog food we buy for our family dog includes freeze dried hunks of raw meat. We call them “marshmallows” because they totally looks like marshmallows out of the Lucky Charms box, and because, like a child, the dog will eat the little raw bits out of the bowl and leave the rest of the kibble uneaten. Little fucker. He’s lucky I feed him at all!!!

I think the average dog doesn’t give a shit if the meat is cooked or not so long as they get the meat. Know what I mean? Dogs are picky but not when it comes to fresh animal flesh. Maybe there are some weak GLORY BOY dogs with sensitive doggy tummies who need their ground chuck browned and served in a dainty crystal dessert bowl, and maybe there are some dogs who thought they preferred raw meat before getting a stray bit of medium rare steak and realizing they were in a whole new area of Flavor Country. But my overall take is that all dogs are horny for meat and are too dumb and/or too busy eating it to care about the difference.

By the way, my dog is fat now. When my kids found out that he loves cheese, they just kept feeding him cheese and going AWWWWWW every time he gobbled it up. Now he’s 50 percent cheese and has to go on a diet or else his little dog legs won’t be able to handle his big fat dog body. I promised to swear off cheese in solidarity with the boy, but we had some leftover provolone in the fridge and I didn’t want it to go to waste. That dog is on his own. GET IN SHAPE, DOGGO.

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Jim:

Wouldn’t MaddenVision make the most sense for hockey games? The puck gets completely lost in the corners and along the boards anyway, and nobody can follow the puck most of the time because the center ice camera drags behind. Everyone who plays NHL on XBox is used to that view. Why wouldn’t a nondescript team like the Calgary Flames or the Islanders try it for a full season and see what happens?

No, it’s fine as is. Leave hockey alone. Before HD, people used to bitch all the time about not being able to spot the puck. Now we have HD screens that are superior to literal human eyesight and people STILL bitch! This isn’t a bingo parlor. THIS IS HUKKY. Why don’t I just replace the puck with a fucking beach ball to help you out? We can make the score graphic 90-point font for your weak-ass eyes while we’re at it.

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Sorry, I didn’t mean to get bitchy. The point is that there is probably no broadcast innovation in hockey that will get people who don’t like hockey to watch more hockey. It is what it is at this point. Even if they went to MaddenVision—which I think would be far less useful for hockey than football—you’d still find some cheap excuse to go and trim your fingernails instead. Every time I watch hockey, I think to myself, “Hey, I should watch more hockey!” And then I don’t. You cannot blame hockey for the fickle viewing habits of the American sporting public. Having a bunch of unwashed Canadian poutine-lickers chase each other around a frozen ice rink with sticks and bash each other’s brains into plexiglass should be allure enough.

Also, if you read about how the networks use SkyCam, you can tell right away that it would be impossible to use SkyCam for an entire hockey game. It’s too fast. It’s easier for football because the ball is usually going forward. If you tried to replicate the angle for hockey, the camera operator’s hand would die. He could be a porn addict and still get carpal tunnel from that much frantic hand action.

Jaime:

Just saw a full kit wanker at the gym today, but get this: he’s lobbing up air balls in a Jimmer Fredette Kings jersey! Jimmer out here fighting Starbury and inspiring middle-aged whiteboys with the best of ‘em!

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Are you sure it wasn’t the actual Jimmer Fredette?

Anyway, while I approve of the term “full-kit wanker,” I salute any guy who has the gall to walk out in public with the matching jersey and game shorts, like people on the street are gonna be like, “Whoa hey is that guy a REAL Sacramento King?” Because I’ve seen the Sacramento Kings, and it’s never out of the possibility that some rando on the street would be an official member of that team. Hell, I should pretend to be a Sacramento King. It would be the perfect lie, because why would I lie about such a thing?

I feel like soccer and basketball are the only sports that allow for full-kit wanker fans. If I ever go to a ballpark and see a baseball fan in full uniform, with the stirrups pants and the dumpy Tommy Lasorda butt, I bet I would have full legal authority to pitch that guy over the upper deck balcony.

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Brendan:

Who was the worst person at the bar I was at Sunday? The Patriot fan wearing a backwards red TB12 baseball hat or the Patriots fan wearing a “White Wines Matter” shirt?

The latter, by a good amount. By the way, you can get that shirt on Amazon for a mere $18. Small price to pay for being the life of the yacht party! You can also buy a BLUE LIVES MATTER shirt with the logo from The Punisher on it. Because nothing shows you oppose cops being stereotyped for cruelty and barbarism like a fucking Punisher logo. The copy says, “Perfect gift for police, sheriffs, constables, state troopers, other LEO, firemen, EMS, and military.” And lemme tell you, I know at least a dozen constables who would LOVE that shirt.

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Adam:

What’s more dad-awesome: Dad jokes or dad rock? I’m leaning towards dad rock, but I also REALLY enjoy teasing my six-year-old daughter with “a pair of what?” when she asks for a pear.

The dad jokes. I say this even though Def Leppard finally got on Spotify last week and I treated the occasion like some kind of ripped denim VJ Day. I am fucking jazzed to spend the entire football offseason getting loaded and rocking out to “Stagefright” with impunity, but I am also fully aware of how uncool I look when I do so.

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But I will NEVER feel bad about ambushing someone with a perfectly timed dad joke. I give no fucks. I have no shame. When my wife is like, “It’s hot,” and then I’m like, “YOU’RE hot,” you should see the simultaneous mix of surprise and agitation on her face. Never gets old! You will pry my dorky wordplay from my cold dead dad hands. I earned the right to make those puns and I don’t apologize for it. I cherish my dad jokes and my farts in equal measure.

Alan:

Below is a photo of partially eaten pan of brownies. I’m currently home alone. How do I attack ​this thing so that I:

1) MAXIMIZE the amount of brownies I consume

2) MINIMIZE the chance that my wife accuses me of eating “too much”

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What I like to do is just cut a sliver at a time from the already-cut end, so that the pan appears to be unaltered. And then, I take another sliver. And then another. And then I say FUCK IT and start cutting along the bottom. After 15 minutes, all that’s left is one small island of brownie located in the center of the pan. VIRTUALLY UNDETECTABLE.

I don’t think I’ve gotten away with eating something my wife would disapprove of. I leave a trail of evidence and cheese dust everywhere I go. At least once a week I will hear someone shout from the kitchen HEY WHO ATE ALL THE CHIPS AND DRANK A WHOLE BOTTLE OF DRY VERMOUTH? I usually blame the five-year-old.

Mike:

Why do so many douchebags wear blazers in the airport? I’m not talking a full suit with a button down shirt where someone was clearly in a meeting, removed their tie, and then went directly to the airport. That’s reasonable, and I’ve done that, rather than trying to change in an airport shitter. I’m talking about the dipshit that wears jeans, a casual button down shirt, and a blazer. Probably with loafers and a braided belt. What is he trying to prove?

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He’s still probably going to a meeting or some other event right after the flight, right? A blazer and jeans is also peak offsite attire, where corporate drones mix things up by gathering together in an office park 30 minutes outside a random city and GO CRAZY by dressing semi-casual. You’ll see blazers out for that sort of thing.

There are still old fogies out there who believe that flying is a formal affair, and they lament people dressing like slobs when they travel. But let me tell you something: It is 100 percent the fault of the airline industry that no one dresses up to fly anymore. The airport forces you to take off your shoes and accessories when you go through security. The airline herds you into a tiny gate area, makes you joust everyone else for overhead bin space, and then forces you to sit in row 87 with two inches of available leg room. There’s no food. There’s no fucking air. The flight crew is preemptively hostile to everyone. And I’m expected to wear a fucking suit? Fuck you. Even in sweatpants, I can barely breathe on your plane. Maybe treat your passengers with some dignity and they’ll repay you in kind.

Assholes.

Email of the week!

Jack:

A few months back I entered into my church’s annual Fall chili cook-off. I enjoyed the afternoon filled with a dozen chilis and nice conversation. Now, a fellow church member grows his own hot peppers and made a dried pepper mix that could be ground up. I am a huge spicy flavor guy so I ground that shit on many a bowl of chili. It burned real good!

Following that event I attended a large meeting of a city wide organization that fights for social justice causes. I was one of the representatives of my congregation. It’s basically a collection of churches, synagogues, mosques, and unions that collectively lobby the state and local governments for affordable housing, reform to the school to prison pipeline, economic justice, immigrant and refugee rights, police reform, etc. This was a big “general assembly” meeting in which the mayor and other area politicos were attending and speeches were being made. It was held in a very large predominantly African American church.

As the meeting got going I started to feel a rumbling down below. I tried to hold it in but I couldn’t help. I released a series of rancid farts. The only mercy was they were SBD. These were noxious bombs that could stun a herd of cattle. While an impassioned presenter said things like “Madam Mayor, we have an affordable housing crises on our hands!” I was releasing toxic fumes into the church puff by puff. A few folks from the local AFL-CIO two rows in front turned around and clearly were looking for the culprit as one of them covered his nose in his t-shirt. I thought I might escape with just the gas but then the second wave hit me and I had to scramble over folks in the pew to get out. I clenched like I’ve never clenched before. I made it out and asked one of the very nicely dressed ushers with white gloves on where the restroom was. He for sure clocked the sweat beading on my brow. I made it to the bathroom and release hell just in time. That pepper mix burned just as much going out. Finally I cleaned up and made my way back into the room feeling a million pounds lighter. I didn’t care if everyone knew it was me. I was free.