A man surrounded by phones
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A Definitive Guide to Whipping Out Your Phone at a Concert

Time for your weekly edition of the Funbag. Today, we're talking about Adam Driver, kiddie shows, shitting after mowing the lawn, and more.

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What's up with the trend of musicians/acts banning phones at concerts? Acts such as Tyler, the Creator and The Who have voiced their opinions on not having phones, but to me it doesn't make sense. I hate watching shaky-ass videos whenever my Dad goes to some hair band concert that had their prime in the 80s, but I feel that if concertgoers want to remember the concert or they blackout, they should remember some shit from the concert.


I used to hate phones at concerts. I remember I went to see Ash at the Black Cat in DC years and years ago and people had their phones out to take pictures. And I was like YOU’RE NOT VISITING THE EIFFEL TOWER QUIT BLOCKING MY VIEW. But I’m not as big of a tightass about that anymore. Sometimes people want photos so they can look back at a show, and I do, too. Those people are usually pretty sensitive about whipping them out only occasionally during concerts, which is the exact right amount. After all, you’re there to WATCH the concert and to remember it, not to start a pirate TV station no one asked for. If you wanna take a few photos or whip up the occasional TikTok, that’s fine by me.

But you still do get fuckfaces who have their phones up for the WHOLE show, like it’s some kind of gift to the world to post on YouTube a grainy, two-hour clip of Lizzo shot from the upper deck of the Worcester Spectrum. I had a guy in front of me at a GNR concert who wouldn’t stop doing panorama shots with his fucking phone, slowly panning with his hands outstretched in front of me for two hours like he was a BBC cameraman working on Planet Earth 7. I wanted to feed that guy to Slash’s pet anaconda.

So I don’t think bands should ban phones at concerts in some Jack White-esque attempt to maintain concert purity. That’s a massive, pretentious overcorrection and a feeble attempt to defy a culture that’s gonna change with or without them. But I do think people should still be considerate when they use their phones at a show. If they don’t, you have the right to form a pop-up mosh pit and shoulder-check them into the concourse.



What are the odds Adam Driver guns for an Oscar as Joey Ramone in a forgettable biopic Blitzkrieg Bop in the near future? Nothing has been rumored, but I feel comfortable saying 100%.

Adam Driver doesn’t have to star in some shitty jukebox musical to win an Oscar when he’s probably gonna win one just over a month from now. Also, the man has taste. You can usually suss out the good actors from the shitty ones because the good ones tend to have instincts for good material, starring in movies that are either awesome or at least have some measure of ambition to them. Every actor has blights on their iMDB page, but some of them have a higher batting average than others (like Driver and Julia Louis-Dreyfus) because they take great pains to not attach themselves to garbage. I realize that only some actors can AFFORD to have such taste, and that everyone else has to take what they can get when Disney has swallowed the industry whole. But Driver clearly has the clout and the common sense to choose characters that he knows will be interesting.

That includes Kylo Ren, by the way. I know Rise of Skywalker infected everyone online with Movie Critic Brain. But I really liked it and, more relevant here, Kylo Ren was the best character in the entire new trilogy. That character was incredibly well-conceived and well-written, which was quite a feat given that the new trilogy had to concoct a villain who could be as compelling as arguably the most famous villain in movie history. Kylo Ren is a fucking badass, way more so than pissboy Anakin Skywalker. You have Driver to thank for that. He’s insanely fucking good at his job and could probably win an Oscar reading a copy of Triggered out loud on camera. He makes good shit even better simply by being in it, which means he’s the kind of guy who’ll have a stocked mantelpiece by the time he’s old and starring in terrible straight-to-Netflix crime dramas just because he’s bored. So I can’t go along with your prediction, as inevitable as it may seem.


Rock died a while back. I’ve come accept that and I’ve gotten over that it isn’t returning to cultural dominance ever again. The weird thing is how rock MOVIES have come back into fashion since then. Bohemian Rhapsody made over a billion dollars despite the fact that it’s horrible and no one listens to rock anymore. Rock songs have basically become the cultural equivalent of what old standards were when I was growing up. Nothing resembling the Glen Miller Orchestra appeared on the charts in the 1980s, but all of those songs still popped up during movies and in commercials and at weddings, just as they still do today. I grew up with that shit as operating background music, and I have now lived through rock experiencing a similar transition.

Rock had its era, and it always will. But it’s an emeritus genre of music now. It’s been decommissioned, like an aircraft carrier that’s been turned into a museum. You can pay rock a visit once in a while, like when the Grammys trot out Bonnie Raitt to play a tribute to the Moody Blues or some other shit like that. But other than that, it’s history. What I’m saying is that I am now a grandpa. Feels different.


Which do you think is more exciting to witness in baseball—a home run that just barely gets out of the park, where you're on the edge of your seat until it safely clears the wall? Or a no-doubter, gone for sure right off the bat, pitcher doesn't even have to turn around, outfielders don't even bother taking a step, monster of a home run?


The latter. I don’t want there to be any doubt. I want it to be a definite homer right from the pop of the bat. I know there’s a neat little moment of suspense to be had in seeing a fly ball and thinking "Whoa hey could this be out?", and then a massive cathartic release once it’s in the stands. But I’ve been teased by too many warning track duds to PREFER that kind of is-it-or-isn’t-it moment before a home run, to an absolute, HOLY SHIT FUCK YEAH bomb. Baseball already has enough moments of manufactured tension: foul tips and what not. I don’t want there to be any more tension embedded into the exact moment where all that tension is supposed to go away. I want the ball to DIE.


I’m 37. I just moved to the suburbs. I haven’t mowed a lawn since I was 18. Now every time I do, I need to run to a toilet and unleash hell. I am otherwise healthy, not overweight, etc. The vibration from the push mower seems to turn my bowels into stink smoothie. Is this normal? Should I see a doctor?

[general practitioner voice] Are you having normal bowel movements when this happens? Firm but not hard? I think you’re okay. But please do NOT take my word for it. I don’t wanna be held liable for telling you to ignore a suspected medical issue when the only medical degree I possess is LICENSED DOCTOR OF SEXYTIME. But I’ve been around long enough to know that vigorous physical activity can get the ol’ rectum frisky. I’ve had to shit after a long run. I’ve had to shit after football practice. I’ve had to shit after taking the dog out for a walk (and for a shit of his own). That last one is particularly devilish because I see the dog crap and then suddenly I gotta crap real bad. And I always think, "Well I played myself. I could have shat before all this and spared myself a breakneck sprint to the toilet."


But I’ve tried shitting before the walk and had nothing come out. Not a productive shit at all. It’s almost like my brain needs to see the dog go first before it can sign the permission slip for my innards to stage their own rodeo. I will not be seeing a doctor about this. I will be selling the dog, though. Carter, you little fucker.

Answering this question made me need to go potty. No lie. I gotta go drop a deuce before I get to the next question.


Okay I’m ready.


Would you pay for a toilet that weighs your poops?

GOD DAMMIT NOT AGAIN. Hang on lemme find a question that is NOT poopy.


How many sexual positions has Mike Pence been in? If the over/under was set at 1.5, would you bet your life savings either way?

MUCH BETTER QUESTION. Not at all discomforting.

I’d bet everything I have on the over. I’m not a moron. First of all, the rule of thumb is that the wingnuts who are the biggest prudes in public are always into the freakiest shit possible behind closed doors. Mother probably dresses Pence up in a full gimp outfit and then unzips the buttflap to feed his asshole lit candles all Sunday afternoon.

Secondly, even if you ARE a boring lay, you’re still gonna use more than one position. Think of the positions as primary colors. You got missionary, cowgirl, and doggystyle. Those are the three primary positions. The starting points. You can paint a whole sexual rainbow from there, but if you’re strictly all about the meat and tomatoes, you can stick with those three and still beat Jeremy’s over/under. Also, keep old person limitations in mind. Sometimes you gotta change up positions because you cramp up or because your back starts to ache. I know I’m old because I’ll watch a sex scene now and one of my first thoughts will be, "Oh, that doesn’t look comfortable. They’re not even using a tablecloth!"



Are there any children's shows you, as a parent, enjoy? Peppa Pig also has a tendency to make me legit laugh at times.

I also like Peppa Pig because I am a shameless Anglophile… NI! … and also because it’s a cute and fairly chill cartoon compared to other kiddie shows that are seemingly designed to induce seizures in your children. Sometimes my wife and I call each other mummy pig and daddy pig, which can get taken REALLY wrong if someone who has never seen Peppa Pig overhears it, especially if we’re adding a shitty accent flourish to it. AND VIS IS MY LIT-OH BRUVVA JOGE.

Peppa Pig has essentially been ruined by hack YouTube parodists and assorted Nazis who have remixed the show to inflict maximum childhood trauma upon any kid who encounters those videos down the YouTube rabbit hole. I saw my 11-year-old watching a Peppa Pig parody the other day and freaked the fuck out. I was like IS THAT NAZI SHIT? And he was like, "Uh, no." I still kept one eye open, though. Even talking about that moment right now is making me worried. I better get back to thinking about pooping. All that aside, it’s a perfectly good show.

Also, I sometimes look up when the seven-year-old is watching Henry Danger and I’ll catch a good line on it. Disney and Nick shows are notorious in showbiz for being a graveyard for writers who either used to work on network comedies or wanted to but never got the chance. But given that the most popular comedy on TV right now is, like, Netflix showing reruns of old Friends episodes, there just aren’t a lot of places for ANY decent sitcom writers to ply their trade. You’re either getting relatively low pay to write for a streaming giant, or you’re writing comfortable racial jokes for a CBS show. Thus, those Disney and Nick Jr. shows end up with better writing staffs than they normally deserve, and that’s how you end up with Henry Danger pulling intermittent chuckles out of me. It’s not because I’m old. Definitely not. You see… (Ringer voice)… I’d much rather construct a worldview of the industry that explains away my tastes rather than simply acknowledging that my tastes are substandard.




Could you ever have imagined as a child that you would be constantly surrounded by so many clueless adults? The guy stopped in the middle of the parking lot for no reason, the phone drones walking into traffic, otherwise smart-seeming people who are unaware of the world around them?

[NYT editorial board voice] Yes AND no. I was like any other kid back in the day. I thought adults were assholes and I held most of them in contempt. This is healthy. Any kid that respects adults will grow up to be Ted Cruz. So yes, if you had told me as a kid that I would grow up to be surrounded by blithering idiots, I would have nodded along emphatically. YEAH, STUPID GROWNUPS DOING ALL THEIR WEIRD GROWNUP SHIT.

But I never expected my eventual peers to be annoying in all the WAYS they now annoy me. I did not expect to be filled with pure rage because some old lady decided to stop right in the middle of the grocery store exit doors, leaving me no way out of the local Giant. I did not expect 21st century adults to design a customer service model where you are redirected 500 times before finally getting someone on the line who is still unable to help you. I didn’t expect certain doctors to suck. I didn’t expect my fellow adults would let their kids watch white nationalist Peppa Pig YouTube vids on full blast at the sushi bar. I didn’t expect them to design parking garages that have dead ends. I didn’t expect them to serve nasty artichoke dip at every single goddamn cocktail party.


I didn’t expect them to create the Internet only to end up using that same Internet to catch everyone masturbating and/or turn them into Nazi war hounds. And I didn’t expect them to elect Donald fucking Trump president. But here we are. If grownups had simply stuck to fulfilling all of my childhood pet peeves about them, I would have been WAY better off. But no, they had to really reach for the stars in this new millennium. Pretty cool.


Do people still use custom ringtones? In public and on TV all I ever hear is that Apple jingle, but wasn’t it not so long ago you’d hear Nokia rip offs of popular songs? Am I just old now?

I talked with Roth about this on a Deadcast ages ago, but ringtones are indeed dead. Setting up a custom ringtone, at least on my iPhone, is too much of a production to be worth it. There was once a day when I wanted the opening riff to "Snakes For The Divine" to be my ringtone and therefore my audible calling card. But you have to download a whole fucking app to do that shit. There are other ways to express yourself, either by using social media or by openly FaceTiming with your nieces at the airport gate while everyone waiting around you wants to throw you out onto the tarmac. Thus, I just picked the least annoying ringtone from the default Settings menu and that’s been good enough. I got more important things to do with my phone, like asking Siri if “pasta” and "noodles" are technically the same thing.


That reminds me of another thing I did not expect from fellow adults, which is that some of them use the ringtone that sounds like an old-school telephone ringing. And they set it REALLY fucking loud. Scares the shit out of me any time it goes off in, like, a dentist’s office. We got rid of landlines for a reason, you old shitbags. You wanna carry around a twisty cord while you’re at it?

Other people have the same ringtone as me, so when I hear theirs go off on the Metro I reach for mine before realizing it’s coming from elsewhere and I’m like, They use Night Owl? THEY STOLE MY TONE! There can only be one true Night Owl, and that’s me: the 43-year-old man who goes to bed at 9:30 every night.


If I am talking to someone and they say something I do not understand I, as a decent human, give them a “What?” If, after repeating what they said, I still do not understand then I usually give them another “What?” Now, if I still do not understand, this is where it gets tricky. A third “What?” is too awkward, but so is just ignoring whatever they had to say. What do I do? Please advise.

I openly give up. I say, "I’m sorry I still didn’t get that," like I’m the automated voice for a credit card company hotline. Then I say, "Let’s just move on" and the other person usually plays along. I’m half-deaf so I have a built-in excuse, but that’s what I did back when I had two functioning ears and it worked. It’s fucking annoying to repeat yourself, and it’s equally annoying to have people repeat shit to you. So the best thing is to identify that you’re about to get stuck in a broken feedback loop and then abandon that loop by talking about, like, bubble gum instead. That resets the mood.


Because it can come across as rude when you fail to hear someone more than once. I have a teenager in this house. I know when someone goes HUH? over and over, they’re not bothering to actively listen to me. So when I’m the poor listener, I try to apologize and then move onto a new subject to not listen to. That’s about as good an escape hatch as I can design. To be safe in the future, just text people and never ever speak to them in person again. That’s what’s HEALTHY for the body and spirit.


Has Donald Trump ever played a video game?

If anyone had a brain designed for gaming, it’s that man. But no, Trump has never played a video game. I mean I’m sure he bought Barron every console and does that dad thing where he walks in on his son playing xBox and is like, "What are we playing? FIFA? The soccer game? You want me to play? Okay okay I’ll play it for a second … Okay this is too hard for me." He also probably tried his hand at Pac-Man one time and then quit the second a ghost suffocated him. Much too hard for Trump to both process and accept a video game death.

But I don’t think he’s ever gone deep into a marathon session of Breath of the Wild. In Trump’s mind, video games are for kids and losers. He is very much both of those things, which makes his aversion to gaming such a tragedy. He could have been playing Death Stranding this whole time instead of destroying the country. A pity.



You now have unlimited all-access pass to any bathroom you want: any gas station, any coffee shop, any city, any time of day. No more "customers only" or "we don't have a public restroom" bullshit. All bathrooms are now open to you. But there's a catch: every time you need to use a restroom that isn't your own, you have to include, specifically, what you plan do in it. As in "Can I use your bathroom? I need to poop in it." You have to tell to the truth. You must say this every single time you ask for a bathroom or where a bathroom is. Church. A job interview. A restaurant. Do you take the pass?

Oh yeah. I’d take the pass. I don’t care if I have to openly declare my intention to poop to everyone around. You can see that in my eyes when I ask if I can use the facility. You know. There’s a PRESSURE in my face that has Emergency Shit written all over it when I ask. No sense in hiding it. Really the only thing that would make me hesitate in taking the pass is if I planned on masturbating in that bathroom. I’m not gonna do that in, like, a Chipotle toilet stall. But if I gotta tell the hotel concierge what I plan on doing once I get up to my room, THEN I might have to reconsider. Unspeakable things happen at the Courtyard Inn when I’m alone with the complimentary body lotion.


Soccer, like hockey, should have a space BEHIND the net that is in play.

I had this thought watching soccer a while back because my son was once in a youth league where you could, indeed, take the ball behind the net. Keep in mind that this was a league for, like, first graders. Best to give those kids as much room to operate as they require. But I was like, THEY SHOULD DO THIS IN THE WORLD CUP!

They should not. That’s definitely a bad idea. Soccer people have heard every last proposed American hack to their sport and aren’t interested in listening to any more of them. The game is set up the way it is for a reason. If you allow Sergio Agüero to take the ball behind the net, it fundamentally alters how the goal must be both attacked and defended. You’d be changing the job description of nearly everyone in the game, save for VAR, which would still fuck up the way it always does. You don’t want all that change, even if you hate soccer. Every time people toss out an idea to supposedly improve soccer, it’s an idea that would make the sport worse for diehards and still wouldn’t attract soccer-phobic rednecks. watch more soccer now than hockey anyway. The goal can stay where it is. VAR can get dropped into a trash compactor.

Email of the week!


A few weeks ago it was pouring rain as I left my office. After I had taken my umbrella out of my bag, but before I'd left the building, I encountered an older (50ish) female coworker I barely knew. Upon learning we were going to the same metro station, she asked if we could "share the umbrella." I really just wanted to say "no" since this umbrella was so small/cheap that it wouldn't even have kept one person particularly dry. But I took the noble route, which is to say: I lied and told her that even with the umbrella, I was planning to wait for the rain to let up. I thought this was a great excuse, until it became clear that she was happy to wait for me while I waited on the rain. So for 10 minutes, we wordlessly stood there and watched it rain. Thankfully, she gave up before the rain slowed down and made a run for it. She was soaked before she got half a block. I gave her some time to get ahead of me and then left, pleased to have my umbrella all to myself. Who is the monster in this story?

The umbrella. I fucking hate umbrellas.