Time for your weekly edition of the Deadspin Funbag. Got something on your mind? Email the Funbag. Today, we're covering tire irons, treadmills, Harry Potter masturbating, and more.
Time for your letters:
Which two states, if combined, would form the best "Super State?" The two states have to share a border (no NY-CA) and would ideally complement each other in a way where the sum is greater than the two parts.
My first instinct, of course, is CAROLINA. A reunified Carolina under proper chancellorship could do some real damage. Also: the Carolina Panthers' name wouldn't feel like so much of a reach. Only the Patriots have made a more naked grab to assume territorial control over multiple states.
But stepping back for a moment, a joint Carolinian superstate isn't all that exciting. It's just like any other pair of states that should have unified ages ago: the Dakotas, New York and New Jersey, New Hampshire and Vermont, Connecticut and Rhode Island, etc. No one outside of those pairings knows the goddamn difference anyway. Plus, in Carolina, the barbecue sauces would mix into some kind of mustard vinaigrette dressing, and everything would be a mess. Here, instead, are my preferred rankings for superstates:
1. Calivada. It's like regular California, but with legalized sports betting and prostitution. Finally, casting directors can stop pretending and just DEMAND sex.
2. Texiana. Texas and Louisiana joined together in one massive orgy of drunk driving and brisket and shooting things and overly loud bar music and subjecting prison inmates to 150-degree heat. GUMBO GUMBO GUMBO YEEEEEHAWWWWWW PEW PEW PEW.
3. Orashington. I want Washington and Oregon to join forces so that we have a firm border for the nation's most insufferable people. "I foraged for these fiddlehead ferns behind my partridge coop."
4. Kentuckesee. This way, I never have to hear people bitch each other out for calling Jack Daniels "bourbon" again. "Actually, technically speaking, bourbon can only come from Kentu—" ZERO FUCKS GIVEN. Aspiring professional Southerner Spencer Hall said I should unite Georgia and South Cackalacky, but I'm defying him in order to create America's cradle of meth.
5. Pennhio. Just imagine the state high school football finals! God, life would be so empty there.
I have a 25-min bus ride to and from work every day, and I spend 30 percent of that time scanning through humorous or otherwise interesting pics on apps like the Chive or College Humor, which inevitably include equal parts funny animals, drunk bros, poorly translated Chinese signs, and scantily clad women.
Clearly, outright porn is wrong on the bus (I hope), but should I be avoiding any sites/apps that might risk displaying a scantily clad woman while riding the bus, for fear that I might offend the people watching every swipe of my phone over my shoulder?
You're not gonna fully enjoy that cleavage picture with some old Hungarian lady on the bus sitting next to you, silently snitching to god about your evildoing. What if she shakes her head at you? OH GOD. That really ruins the moment. If you're all alone on the bus, or it's an off-hour and there's no one sitting next to you or behind you (BLISS), surf away. But with people surrounding you, just bookmark that shit and then look at it with your pants down when you get home later.
I go to a gym, and I always bring dead-tree magazines with me to read while I'm pretending to work out. Last week, I brought a copy of Entertainment Weekly that featured this photo of Jessica Alba on the cover. Jessica Alba is not unattractive these days. And there were more bikini pictures inside, but I had two soccer moms on either side of me, so I had to skip that shit, because I didn't want them to see me seeing the pictures and thinking that I was some sort of scumbag who got off on looking at pictures of attractive women and getting a boner out in public, even though it was WAY more innocent than that. I swear. I'm not just gonna start masturbating right there on the elliptical trainer. That would be rude. I've only worked out naked one time to see if it gave me a boner, and that was when I was alone in a house. Kinda thrilling!
Anyway, err on the side of PG content on a bus or a plane. Unless you're watching a full episode of Game of Thrones or something: People usually give you a pass for prestige tits and ass.
Which past or present ESPN personality would make the best pro wrestling manager? I could totally see Skip Bayless throwing some kind of blinding powder in a guy's eyes while the ref is distracted, and I bet it would all kinds of fun to see Cowherd get pulled into the ring and act cowardly before getting picked up and slammed.
Skip is willing to play the heel, so I think he'd be good at it. I would also throw Wilbon's name into the mix because Wilbon comes with a pre-installed disdain for the audience. I would pay good money (two dollars or more!) to see Wilbon walk out to the ring with his nose in the air, grab the mic, and explain to all the little people why their town smells funny. He'd be great at that, because he would MEAN it. You could also make Merril Hoge a heel manager. His whole act would be smashing people with a chair and then pretending he did it because of concussions. WHAT WHAT? I DON'T REMEMBER BLINDING YOU.
Oh, and what about Stephen A. Smith? He'd be great. I kinda like him and Skippy now that I think of them as cartoon idiots instead of actual idiots.
What do you think is the most different thing about being an adult versus what you thought it would be like as a kid? For me, the worst part is how much maintenance a male body approaching 40 requires to remain in any semblance of good shape—as a kid, I had no idea it would be this bad.
No one told me about the paperwork. Like, in school, no one sits you down with a tax form and tells you, "Hey, you're gonna have to fill this out every year, and it will suck the soul right out of you." The day you sit down with a tax return is the day you realize the promise of adulthood is a lie. The whole "All the beer you want! No parents telling you what to do!" daydream is shattered instantly. My dad protected me from that horror for a while, and I owe him for that.
He also never told me about the body odor. When you're 37, the BO happens instantly. Just one step outside, and BOOM. Automatic taxi-driver stench. It's awful. I can smell myself. I can go to the gym and know that I am the worst-smelling person there, and it's awful. Unbearable. Imagine being on a treadmill next to a man with BO looking at bikini pictures. I don't want this odor.
Also terrible: paying lots of money for shit that brings you absolutely NO pleasure. Like health insurance and chimney sweeps and shit like that. Those are all necessary expenses, but they are not FUN expenses. When I was a kid, I just assumed adults got to spend their money on Ho Hos and cars and other cool shit. But no! No, when you're an adult, you end up spending $300 on fucking brake pads. It's the worst. I walk out of the grocery store every week staring at the receipt and cursing out loud. $100? I only have five bags of shit! SMH.
However, the best part of being a grownup is precisely what I imagined it would be, and that is: no tests. I was really looking forward to that as a kid, and it's as heavenly as I pictured. I'll never see a blue book exam again. It's an amazing feeling. Every day is like Graduation Day.
Starting in the first book, Harry Potter was, like, 11. Those books span seven years (so he was 11-18), and for a good portion of that life, he's locked in the basement of his aunt and uncle's house. How often did he jerk off? Six times a day? Setting aside the regular part of him being a horny teenager with no girls to pursue, I bet he just did it out of boredom. There'd be nothing else to do.
I think six times a day is a good estimate. HOWEVER, if there's one thing that can distract a boy from aggressively fondling himself, it's the discovery of magical powers. I would be so caught up in making the tip of my wand glow that I would spend at least five seconds not thinking about sex. What a gift. I would think about magic, and then I think about how magic could get me laid and/or improve my ability to masturbate. I just want to learn enough Parseltongue to charm a snake into wrapping around my penis and contracting its muscles in waves to get me off. Now that's some quality under-the-stairs time.
How many cases of planes just disappearing out of the sky would it take to bring air travel to a halt? How long until boat is again the only way to get to a new continent? Would people risk it anyway—your plane disappearing into thin air just another risk of traveling? (Assume not all planes disappear, but like an average of one every couple of months.) How long until doomsday cults start killing themselves as a result of these mysterious disappearances and even normal people start worrying about the impending Apocalypse?
I don't think it would take much, despite the fact that air travel is the safest way to travel by far, and it would require a full-on systemic breakdown to approach the number of car-crash fatalities that occur annually. Last year, 462 people died in plane crashes, compared to 34,080 people dying in car accidents in America alone. You could lose over a hundred airplanes a year and still not reach the fatality rate of cars. But if a hundred planes disappeared every year, people would freak the fuck out, because dying in a plane crash is the worst nightmare of many, many people who apparently prefer a land-based death. Steering column through the heart for me! That's the peaceful way to go!
All it took was one plane disappearing this spring for CNN to lose its mind and for people to honestly believe in spontaneous time travel. Plane crashes amplify our collective stupidity, fear, and paranoia. So call it one plane disappearing a month for people to start blaming the Freemasons and burning airfields.
Is there a white kid out there named LeBron?
Last year, 56 kids out there were given the name LeBron. One of them has to be white, right? Boy, is LeBron Fitzpatrick not ready to live up to expectations. Imagine being a 300-pound white LeBron. You'd never hear the end of it. I'd just tell everyone my name was Ron.
Do you think anyone in America over the age of, say, 60 has voted in every election and never voted for the winning candidate (not factoring in those radicals who vote for third-party candidates)? Statistically, you would have about a one in 1,000 chance of messing up ten 50-50's in a row. Do you think anyone is just that unlucky to have never voted for a winner? Right now I am 0/2 and am thinking about voting for Clinton in 2016, but I was considering just voting Republican every year until I finally nail a winner.
I cannot fathom a person existing who has voted for the following people all in a row: Ford, Carter, Mondale, Dukakis, Bush, Dole, Gore, Kerry, McCain, Romney. If you paid a political think tank $500,000 to draw a composite of this person (the going rate), it would look like the Elephant Man. That is one politically confused individual. They probably don't even deserve to vote if they're that inconsistent. If such a person exists (and again, I don't think anyone does), I bet they deliberately voted for the loser every time. They probably studied the poll results closely and then swung their vote at the last moment to the likely loser, just as an annoying form of protest. And now they work for Slate.
Obviously, the average voter votes along party lines for every election. You only pretend to agonize over the decision so that you look thoughtful and independent, instead of everyone knowing you're a slavish party devotee whose desertion was never really at risk. I know some people who have voted across party lines and pretty much all of them immediately regretted it. My dad is a diehard conservative who voted for Obama in 2008. Never again. He literally shakes his head when he mentions it, like he got drunk and slept with a hobo or something.
If Cherie (a woman) has a daughter & names her Cherie—is she Cherie, Jr.? And why don't you ever hear of this?
It's only a junior if the names match precisely: first name, middle name, and last name. It's 2014, so there's nothing stopping a woman from giving her child her full name and throwing a junior onto it. Imagine if she did it for a boy! Don't think there can't be a TAYLOR SWIFT JUNIOR in the future who is both a boy and a complete dipshit.
Obviously, this has been a male tradition for a very long time. Naming your kid after yourself means assigning a true heir. Here you go, boy! I have appointed YOU the inheritor of all my back hair and self-loathing. Now I will live on forever through you. The reason I think you rarely see women produce a female junior is because women treat baby-naming like interior decorating, and are always hunting for something new but old, fun but smart, unique but not weird, traditional but with a TWIST. If something can be replaced, a woman will want to replace it. Names included. Your baby mamma isn't gonna just settle for a junior when there's some awful designer white-girl name out there for her to glom onto. ALYVVIA. Perfect. It's Latin for "America is dying."
What do you think would happen if a professional athlete decided to pursue a career in porn during the offseason? For the sake of argument, let's say this is a fairly popular athlete. Not a superstar like Peyton Manning, but a mid-tier player like J.J. Redick or Jeremy Maclin. Would the commissioner put an end to it? Would the player's union step in?
That player's team could cite a morals clause in his contract as a basis for terminating him without pay. They could probably use that clause to strong-arm him into disavowing the porn and delaying production on CumButts of Texas, Volume XII: Jeremy's Mack-lin'! I think that would probably be enough to snuff out the controversy after a week or two of Colin Cowherd wringing his hands and screaming out MY KIDS WATCH THESE GUYS PLAY! like the braying donkey that he is. Gronk got shit just for posing in a photo with a porn star, so God only know what kind of shit he'd get for actually putting his dick on tape. I hope he raw-dogged Bibi using the Heads Up technique!
I have worked at a coffee shop for over two years. The shop that I work at is one of the busiest shops in the state of Michigan. During this time, I have memorized hundreds of people's drinks, and when they come up to order, I ask if they want their usual. The thing that annoys me the most is the people who don't tip even when I know their order. Should I be upset with this? I have even had it where I have had their drink ready before they get to the counter and they still don't tip!
I think people are so resentful of the coffee-shop tip jar that they actively shun it even when a tip is clearly deserved. You provided your customer with a level of service above and beyond the usual coffee-shop experience, in which some dipshit college grad with ear gauges takes 50 minutes to make your kid a hot chocolate. You probably deserve at least the loose change from his order.
Because there's value in being a regular. If you walk into a place and the dude knows your name and has your drink ready for you, that makes you look like a fucking big shot. God, that's great. Look, everyone! I am the Norm of this coffee shop. Everyone wants to be the Norm of whatever place they get beer/food/coffee/artisanal candied nuts. When I lived in New York, I befriended a bouncer at a bar that I went to a lot. Did I make a big show of knowing this bouncer? FUCK AND YES, I DID. My boy Floyd will only make us wait 40 minutes to get in because I'm a fucking whale. We're boys!
Anyway, the rule of thumb is: Try to tip any coffee-shop dude who makes you feel well taken care of.
When I'm running on the treadmill at the gym, I sometimes like to move as far back on the tread as I can without falling right off the back, so I can feel the ground slip away under each step. While doing this, I like to pretend that I am running over a collapsing bridge that is disintegrating underneath me, with me just a single step ahead of certain doom thousands of feet below. What other disaster/fantasy movie tropes could I be training for at the gym?
I've noticed people at my gym working with giant ropes a lot. They'll take a rope in each hand and jerk the ropes up and down, apparently to build up their ropetoids. Anyway, it basically looks like you're fighting a very angry giant squid, so if I did that training circuit (no way; looks hard), I would pretend I'm taking down the Kraken.
A lot of running snobs look down on the treadmill because you can run outside and see nature and get dipshit runner's high, but a treadmill itself is such a fascinating piece of equipment. Take any kid to a Sears and the first thing they wanna do is play on the treadmill, because treadmills are so very dangerous. If you fall far behind, you can feel your foot going over the roller, and you know that you are in the DANGER ZONE. Intoxicating. I live for that kind of action. No running trail is gonna zip me to the ground and then give me rug burn. Only a treadmill offers that kind of adventure.
One other gym note: People pooh-pooh Nautilus machines or any kind of fixed weightlifting, but it's always fun to imagine yourself working some kind of giant alien spacecraft factory machine with every military press. This final push will send Zurg to his doom!
What percentage of current NBA players can dunk? Also what percentage of the other three pro sports can dunk? I think less than 10 NBA guys cannot dunk; 80 percent of football can, 20 percent MLB, five percent hockey.
I outsourced this question to our own Reuben Fischer-Baum, who had this answer:
This SI article from 1991 counted "over 20" NBA players that couldn't dunk, and this blog from 2009 counted 29 that couldn't dunk. There were 387 players in the NBA in 1991 and 445 in 2009, so these both work out to around 95 percent of NBA players can dunk.
For the NFL, I pulled height, vert, and arm-length data from this database, from 2010 to 2014. 1,248 players were measured, and 748 had a standing reach (height + arm length - 12''; avg. distance from shoulder to top of head) plus vert of 10' 6'' or higher, which should be enough to dunk. This assumes that these players can all palm a basketball on the way up (although I have their hand sizes, if we want to calculate that). It also doesn't give them the benefit of a running start, so I just pretended that those things canceled each other out.
Kickers and punters don't go through the drills at the combine, and I'm going to assume they can't dunk. Bumping up the sample to account for that (3.5 percent of players during the last five seasons played as kickers or punters), you get that 58 percent of NFL players should be able to dunk. Using the combine results ignores the old players in the NFL, so I'd round that down to a more conservative 55 percent of NFL players can dunk.
Got nothing for MLB and NHL.
No need. I can use aggressive stereotyping and blind ignorance to tell you that baseball players are too fat and deem themselves too classy to dunk (you're showing up the rim when you do it, which disrespects the game in an unwritten way). Whereas hockey players are built for lateral movement: thick butts and thighs and whatnot. I say the dunk rate for both sports is under 35 percent, with baseball barely edging out hockey.
It's always seemed odd to me how many porn magazines are for sale in airport gift shops, but I never see anyone buy them. Is there a giant stash of unsold porn somewhere like that warehouse of lost luggage in the Carolinas?
Even if no one buys the porn anymore, I bet they still stock porn at Hudson News so that customers will walk in, take a quick gander at Playboy's Book of Lingerie, and then go buy a bag of pretzels or something. It's a loss leader. You keep the porn out, and any passing guy will be like HEY, PORN! and then feel as if he HAS to investigate. Never fails to lure people in.
When I was a kid, that airport porn rack was the entire reason for agreeing to go on vacation. Once my parents said we were flying somewhere, my focus was on the porn rack. Any time I got to spend staring at the porn rack was precious to me. I can't begin to tell you the number of time I masturbated to a mental image of half a Club International cover. Desperate times, people.
Email of the week!
Sometime around 2009, a group of us (at the time mostly engineers in our twenties) decided to take a canoe/camping trip along the Sabine River in between Louisiana and Texas. While we were getting the safety briefing for the trip, the owner of the place we rented the canoes from warned us that the trip might get a little choppy if we weren't past point X at a certain time, since they open up a dam every afternoon. We didn't give too much thought to this, as we were males in our twenties and just assumed they were being overly cautious.
Turns out, that's a bad assumption in Swamp People country, and a "little choppy" actually meant we were going white water rafting in canoes heavily weighed down by beer and camping supplies. After losing most of our food, beer, camping supplies, and dignity (I personally was rescued by some Cajun teenagers while hanging for dear life off of a tree branch), we were left with a miserable, sober night of camping on the beach. The next morning we canoed the remaining five miles in the July Louisiana heat and were picked up by a van (down by the river) and brought back to our vehicles.
Now to the point of the story: About halfway back, the van got a flat tire. There was a spare tire and a jack underneath the back seat of the van, but no tire iron. There were about 15 people in the van, in 2009, and due to circumstances we paid good money to get ourselves into, we had no cell phones. There was one house across the street with no one home; otherwise, this was a one-lane road in the middle of nowhere. We figure we're in this for the long haul (after a miserable enough night) and convince the driver to pull up about 100 yards, riding on the rim, so we could at least sit and wait under a tree. After 20 minutes I looked down and saw it, buried nine-tenths of the way in the dirt: an old, rusty tire iron.
Being engineers, we attempted to calculate the odds of this all happening simultaneously: (1) Driving in a van that gets a flat while making a 20-mile trip, (2) no passenger in the van has a cell phone, (3) the driver forgets his cell phone, (4) the van is not carrying a tire iron (but has the other supplies needed to change a tire), and (5) there's a fucking tire iron lying on the side of the road within 100 yards of where the flat took place. We were in the 1 in 1 billion range before we gave up—it has to be in that range, right? How many tire irons per mile are there lying on the side of the road in this country?
More than I am comfortable with, apparently.
Drew Magary writes for Deadspin. He's also a correspondent for GQ. Follow him on Twitter @drewmagary and email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also order Drew's book, Someone Could Get Hurt, through his homepage.
Image by Sam Woolley.
The Concourse is Deadspin's home for culture/food/whatever coverage. Follow us on Twitter: @DSconcourse.