Time for your weekly edition of the Deadspin Funbag. Got something on your mind? Email the Funbag. Today, we're covering bowling, moon colonies, giant scorpions, and more.
Before we get to the Funbag, a couple of things. First off, I'm gonna be at SXSW this year, at this panel thing on Saturday night with two Grantland dudes. (FIENDS! I'LL TEAR THEM APART!) I'm told the beer is free, after which I try to pitch you on a timeshare.
Also, and this is an odd request, but if you are a high school test administrator, please drop me an email. I require your services.
Now, on to your letters:
So Syracuse self-reported their violations to avoid most likely harsher punishment from the NCAA. How long do you think they've known about them and have been waiting for an off year where they probably won't make the tournament to self-report?
I assume, like any school, they plan their violations and punishment ALL in advance, on a meticulously arranged timetable. "See, we pay the guys this year, then we report it in five years, then we give some money to the local orphanage, and then we all go to Fiji for a couple weeks!" You can do that when you're a brand-name school like Syracuse and the NCAA doesn't really want you to fail. I mean, look at Boeheim's statement on the matter:
Much is made in the Infractions Report regarding the actions of a former employee of the local YMCA. As I explained to the Committee, this individual was not someone who was allowed unique access to the Men's Basketball Program. This was a highly regarded individual who worked for one of the most respected organizations in the country. I cannot think of a place where I would rather have my student-athletes spend their free time than a community YMCA.
First of all, I don't think the Y is all THAT respected. The Y is where you go when you can't afford a Gold's Gym membership. Take it from me, because I belonged to a Y for five years. Hang out in a Y locker room for more than 10 minutes and an old dude will ask you to clip his toenails for him. Let's not go overboard in praising the Y. Secondly, there will be people who believe this shit. They'll be like, "Aw, Boeheim was such a good dude for trusting the YMCA. What a good-natured old man." You can get away with this at Syracuse because it's Syracuse. They're in the club.
I was thinking about this because Dan Shaughnessy wrote a terrible column the other day (NOTE: There is no other kind of Shank column) excoriating UMass for honoring John Calipari when Calipari left that program a smoldering ruin two decades ago. Calipari's at Kentucky now, and I doubt he's changed much about how he does business. The difference is that he's at a brand-name school now. When you flout the rules at UMass, the NCAA is like, "Who is this Johnny-come-lately GLORY BOY?! They must be stopped!" People get suspicious. (And rightfully so at times: How else you gonna get a dude to go to UMass if you don't give him free hookers?)
But when you do it at Kentucky, you aren't threatening the established hierarchy. You can do shady shit and seem far less shady doing it. And then you can blame it all on the YMCA pool boy. NCAA penalties are all brand-driven: designed to punish "bad" programs (UMass) and teach "good" programs (Syracuse) valuable lessons. There's no rhyme or reason to their methodology except when you factor in PR.
By the way, that Shank piece is truly, deeply shitty. Take a look:
I found it amazing that [Globe writer Joe] Burris—a man worthy of marrying the daughter of Nobel Peace Prize winner Archbishop Desmond Tutu—was not allowed in the home of a man who prevailed over a program that disgraced Massachusetts. It was like getting scolded for cheating by Alex Rodriguez.
And now we are honoring Coach Cal.
March Madness, indeed.
What the fuck does marrying Bishop Tutu's daughter have to do with anything? For all I know, Bishop Tutu's daughter could be a real shithead. Only Shank could cook up a take like, "If my colleague is good enough for a religious guy's kid, he ought to be good enough for this WEASEL COACH."
You're the President of the United States. Russia states they are sending men to the moon just to do some more experiments. You don't think much of it ... you've been to the moon already, and your efforts are focused elsewhere.
But all of a sudden, Russia is up on the moon, and you realize they have multiple missions there: lots of people and lots of supplies. They are building special "bio-domes," and they appear to be taking steps to actually COLONIZE the moon.
What's your plan of action? Do you let Russia take over the moon? Do we start sending men up there to try to colonize parts of the moon as well? Do we declare war with them here on Earth?
What if they're building a moon laser? What if they obliterate us with a moon laser, swoop in, take our oil and our women, and then mount dashcams on every car? We can't let them get away with that, unless they promise to only take Oklahoma.
Anyway, given what I know about Russia, a moon colony would be nothing more than an infrastructure boondoggle cooked up by oil-industry oligarchs and designed to siphon TRILLIONS of dollars from the Russian government (and thus, its people), with Putin skimming a bit off the top so he can ride horses around in the Sea of Tears and bang moon hookers at his moon nightclub.
If I were President, and I could prove that no moon laser was being built, I would let Russia build their moon condos, let them host the Olympics on the moon (obvious next step), wait for their currency to devalue, and watch the country become a smoldering ruin back on Earth. And we wouldn't have to spend a dime to watch them commit economic suicide. In fact, this would be my presidential platform: "Vote for me and I won't do anything about Russia building a moon brothel." I'd carry the Midwest states easily.
We are now solidly in the zone where any Simpsons voice actor could die (and some minor ones already have). What do you think happens when one of them passes away? Is that what it will take to kill the show, or do they soldier on with new talent? While we are at it, how about ranking the core group in terms of most value to the franchise?
I wouldn't say Phil Hartman was a minor Simpsons voice. He voiced arguably some of the best characters (and because he died a long time ago, his run on the show essentially acts as a demarcation line for when its golden age came to an end).
That said, the show could probably keep going on forever, regardless of losing voice actors. Jim Henson is dead, but Kermit is still here. Mel Blanc is dead, but Bugs Bunny is still here. The Simpsons wouldn't be very good without its core voice actors, but since when has that show been good anyway? Quality control went out the window a long time ago. They can keep on sucking forever, and apparently are willing to do just that.
By the way, this is how I'd rank the voice actors on the show:
1. Harry Shearer (because Mr. Burns is my favorite character)
2. Dan Castellaneta
3. Hank Azaria
4. Pamela Hayden (does Milhouse AND Jimbo)
5. Julie Kavner
6. Nancy Cartwright
7. Yeardley Smith
Now, that list may look sexist, but … uhhh … Oh my god, that dog has a puffy tail!
Would you rather have to fight a giant spider or a giant scorpion? What if you could only use medieval weapons? I think a spider would be way easier what with having eight big targets to chop off. Scorpions have those claws and the poison tail to deal with.
For some reason, I think I would fear a giant spider more than a giant scorpion. The spider would have eight legs to fuck me up with, plus anal web slime to douse me in, and a gaping, hungry, salivating maw. That's all the stuff of my nightmares. I'm not saying the scorpion is much better. It would probably cut me in half with its big scorpion claws. But I could pretend I'm fighting a big lobster. Lobsters are okay, right? Although one time I put my hand in a lobster tank and kinda freaked out. Anyway, scorpion for me. I'd take it out, Clash of the Titans-style:
What would football be like if every incompletion was a live ball? The clusterfuck recovery attempt would be fun at first. But is it an upgrade? I thought so at first, but immediately changed my mind and realized it would be terrible.
It would be terrible, because teams would stop throwing the ball. There's a reason that teams who do not employ Ed Reed never lateral, and that's because the odds of a turnover are so high. If an incomplete pass were a live ball, teams would simply run the ball and throw high-percentage passes at all times. They would never throw down the field. It would be like watching the 2006 Redskins offense, but with EVERY team. You don't want that.
Now, making all PUNTS into live balls? Now, that would be fun. What's better than a live ball? There's always that split-second between seeing that ball on the ground and the announcer shrieking out HEY WAIT A SECOND HOLY SHIT THAT'S A LIVE BALL! I live for that moment. Whenever I scream it out before the announcers do, I reward myself with chips.
Where does Frozen rank among the whitest movies ever made? The part of me that believes deep down everyone's a closet racist attributes the movie's massive popularity to the fact that it makes Hoosiers look like New Jack City.
You will not believe me, but I have never seen Frozen in its entirety. My oldest kid saw it in the theater and got tired of it so quickly that I never had a chance to watch the whole thing. (My younger two kids are boys and don't give a shit about it.) So, I put the question to our Greg Howard, who is black! Here is his answer:
Nah, it's just childish. It's no different to me than any other super-childish Pixar movie. Judd Apatow movies are the whitest movies ever.
Got that? I feel like that's the correct take.
I was driving from L.A. to San Diego over the weekend to see family and was going about 80, and I realized I'd better slow down, just in case. It got me thinking: What's the fastest anyone has driven on a freeway?
The record for highest speeding ticket belongs to a dude who got busted in Texas driving 242 mph. And even though pretty much everything is legal in Texas apart from butt sex, he was going a full 162 mph over the speed limit. This was all because the guy was racing in a gumball rally, because of course he was. Ever been driving on the highway when a bunch of shithead rally cars go flying by? It's the worst. "Excuse me while I weave in and out of lanes without signaling at 150 mph. Oh, but it's for a good cause: A RACE." Quit besieging my poor minivan, rally cars. Driving was never meant to be ENJOYABLE.
By the way, my wife has relatives in Germany, and one time her aunt took us out on the Autobahn to go to her grandpa's house. The aunt was driving 130 or so like it was nothing at all. I was fucking TERRIFIED. I like me some fast cars, but 130 isn't appropriate for a Volvo, man. Those things weren't meant for that.
My husband believes that a toothpick can be used wherever there is a toothpick dispenser—at a table (someone's house or a restaurant), the register while paying the check, etc.—whereas I equate toothpick usage with flossing your teeth, which should be done away from the table (and the general public). Watching him pick his teeth and flinging microscopic food particles and saliva is fucking disgusting, especially when dining at someone's house. What is toothpick etiquette: public or private?
What if I'm chewing on it like it's a very small cigar? Because I feel like a gangster who happens to own a farm when I do that. Anyway, if you have a toothpick emergency—where a giant strand of beefy gristle is stuck in your teeth, and you have no other living priority at the moment apart from its extraction—then I think it's fine to take a moment and pick it out, regardless of where you are.
BUT … Well, I don't know about you, but I turn any emergency toothpick extraction into an extended toothpick spa day. Once the offending piece of food is out, I go right ahead and pick every other crevice. Sometime I dig too far, and the toothpick breaks off, and then I have to get another toothpick to get that toothpick out. And so on and so forth. Doing this in public is fucking gross, and I ought to know that, and yet I keep doing it. But ultimately, you're right: You should do that shit in a more discreet place. It's not my fault they put the dispenser at the hostess station and not in the bathroom! I'M NOT MADE OF STONE.
What percentage of the songs you get stuck in your head are actually songs you like? I feel like I'm at 10 percent at the most.
I'm probably getting an even worse percentage … maybe 5 percent? I saw Boyhood recently, and that movie opens with Coldplay's "Yellow" (hence, no Oscar win). That fucking dumb song was stuck in my head for a WEEK. Every time I tried to think of some cooler song to overtake it in my brain, I failed. "Yellow" was unstoppable. If I could have had the song surgically removed, I would have opted for it.
There are many scientific explanations for why a song gets stuck in your head, but I think I get bad songs trapped there most often because a) They are songs that I've heard far too often for my taste, and thus my brain knows them well, b) God is the greatest hater of them all, and c) It's my brain's way of psyching me out. It's like picking at a scab you don't want to pick at, or thinking about gross things when you already feel nauseous. The second the song pops into your head and irritates you, it catches. The irritation scratches your brain's itch, as opposed to a normal song, which doesn't get your brain anywhere near as huffy. What I'm really saying is that we need to have Chris Martin killed.
Say you assembled the best starting roster in the NBA—Curry, Harden, Durant, LeBron, and Cousins—along with an average bench so the league is mostly intact. But the team has NO coaching. No assistants, no offensive or defensive system, no one to call time outs, sub, draw up plays, nothing. How far would the team make it? Make the playoffs? Win it all? Or would egos destroy it?
They win it all. I think that basketball coaches are less useful the more talented a roster is. In other words, some guy like George Karl is really useful if you have a shitty roster, because he can make that team into some scrappy playoff tomato can full of scrappy overachievers. But if you've got five certified gods on the roster, and they're all fairly professional dudes who could probably draw up some plays on their own? Fuck that. That team is kicking the shit out of everyone. Shit, half of all NBA teams are coached by dudes who were just playing. Having LeBron be self-appointed captain/coach isn't that big of a handicap in comparison. I KNOW BASKETBALL.
I am currently doing an internship in South Florida with three other people. All four of us currently live in a two-bedroom, two-bath apartment. (It's cheaper than renting a house down here.) Well, one of my roommates eats in bed. Not, like, a slice of pizza, but full meals or chips and salsa, shit like that. Should I tell him that's fucking gross or should I let him continue to do that?
I'm assuming you don't know this guy very well, which means you'll just have to tolerate it for now, since it's his bed, and he can do whatever he wants with it. All you can do is grit your teeth and bare it, and bitch about him to your other roommates, cultivating their hatred until it one day boils over, and one of the other roommates stabs the guy in bed as he's eating a full bowl of Fettucini Alfredo. That's the right move.
Also: Never live with anyone.
Do you think movie studios will just release a film in theaters without any marketing or trailers? Music artists are starting to drop albums and songs without any buildup. Could movie studios pull off the "Hey, I wasn't expecting this" campaign?
No, because why risk it when there is an entire media industry devoted to covering your new release for free? I mean, the movie business has been getting a free ride on this shit for AGES. Every time a movie comes out, it automatically gets reviewed in every paper, and the actors automatically get featured in magazines and on talk shows. That all happens regardless of the movie's quality. One day, someone will wise up and be like, "You know what? Let's not cover the release of Grown Ups 3," and the studios will be baffled and horrified.
One other thing: The movie industry currently benefits greatly from moron fanboys who will do ANYTHING to spoil a movie for themselves from the second preproduction begins. When you've got two million people checking out a picture of some costumed actor heading to the craft-service truck, you're gonna take the free attention. It can't hurt. The only reason Beyoncé and the like announce their albums suddenly now is because of piracy.
Talking Dog or Gay Tom Brady: Which would be the bigger news story if both broke and had press conferences at 10 a.m. on a weekday? Please assume the dog is of a "Mr. Peabody" variety and answers questions blindly and eloquently from the press, and Tom Brady's statement contains no ambiguity about being sexually attracted to men.
The talking dog. I mean, it's a dog that can talk! And people love dogs, man. That dog would captivate the world, until some asshole yells FAKE, and we need to spend eight days making sure the talking dog can really talk. The Brady thing would be big news, and Pats fans would scream out I FACKIN' KNEW IT! But eventually that would subside, because of PROFESSOR DOG. Goddamn, let's make that dog president!
Should glasses be placed in the cabinet with the rim of the glass up (to reduce germs getting on the rim of the glass) or with the rim down (to reduce dust getting in the glass when not used)?
Our own Jolie Kerr has covered this dilemma in detail; I like to place them sideways. Seriously though, I just put them right-side-up in the cabinet because I am clumsy and often knock shit over when I reach in to get one. There are canisters of cinnamon in my cabinet that are very angry with me at this moment. Turning a wine glass or any other kind of stemmed glass upside-down makes it top-heavy and easier to knock over. And besides, who the hell knows what kind of filthy germs are sitting on that shelf? I'm not wiping those shelves clean daily. Better to risk a bit of dust. It adds character to wine.
Is it physically possible to kill yourself without any accessories? Say you were in some hypothetical room with padded walls and floors and nothing in it (pulling a Gus Frerotte is not an option). Could you kill yourself using only yourself to inflict damage? If possible, how long would it take?
So you'd basically try to choke yourself to death, right? I don't think it's possible to do that. You'd either pass out before dying, or your body's natural survival instincts would kick in and "force" you to release yourself from your deathly grip. I just tried choking myself now (don't worry, I kept my pants on), and after a few seconds, my brain was like, "Yeah no, you don't wanna do that."
The only way you could maybe pull it off is by snapping your own neck. But you gotta be some trained assassin to do that, right? I don't think I could pull off the "push the chin way to the side" move without screwing it up somehow and giving myself a neckache.
Email of the week!
I'm 70 years old. For her birthday party, my 6-year-old granddaughter wants to go bowling. So she, her 3-year-old brother, their parents, my wife and I go to a bowling center. Grandpa will pay. As we enter the building, I see no bowling lanes. I see a laser tag entrance, a restaurant, and one of those abominable arcades where you play games for tickets and turn them in for "prizes." I have hated those con games since I was 12.
My wife says we have to wait 30 minutes for a bowling lane. She has a pager. So now we have to let the kids play in the arcade. Some employee has a real deal for me: Put $50 on two scan cards and get $14.00 more. Each kid now has $32 to use. Everything costs $1 to $2. They spend about half the money, and our pager goes off. We walk about a block, and I finally see the bowling lanes. I tell my wife I don't want to bowl; I will keep score. Everyone laughs at me except the 3-year-old. My wife says I have to play because she has paid for my rental shoes: $4. And we bowl by the hour—$28 an hour. That's twice what I make on my job. The kids get a steel ramp to roll their ball down and gutter guards that automatically appear when they bowl. I get nothing. I'm determined not to let the 3-year-old beat me. I roll a 66. The 3-year-old gets a 47. The 6-year-old gets a 79. Two of us can't finish the game because our time is up.
We go back to the arcade. I feel like I have died and gone to purgatory. I see a beer pong game. They are getting kids ready for college. Maybe I can redeem myself by tipping over this machine, like Jesus did with the tables in the temple. I run out of time as my wife tells me the kids are getting their prizes. The 3-year-old gets a plastic Slinky and his sister gets a blow-up pink porpoise to use in a pool.
Will there still be bowling 50 years from now?
Probably, but you'll have to buy tickets to a Cowboys game to do it.
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.
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