This article originally appeared on VICE US.
If you missed all the festivities of this particular column a week ago, link yourself up here to some magical distraction. Also, the old Funbag email address still works, so by all means use it. And now, without further ado, let's get on to your letters:
Is it ok to walk around hotels without shoes?
I've done it, though I should add some context to that admission that will make me feel better about myself, but also move you in no discernible way. If I got to a hotel and it's got a pool and I didn't pack any flip-flops, well, then I'm probably walking to that pool barefoot. This makes for an awkward moment in the elevator, especially on the way back. Some family of eight just checked into the Hilton Dallas and they gotta share the maiden voyage up to their room with a barefoot wet guy acting like he's not barefoot and wet.
But I still do it. That little moment of discomfort is still better than having to pack extra shoes I'm gonna wear for exactly three minutes the entire trip. I am a BUSINESSMAN. I pack my rollaboard with maximum efficiency and care. I cannot waste valuable real estate inside my Samsonite by cramming a pair of dirty-ass Reefs in there. I'd rather walk barefoot around a hotel corridor. They keep those floors super clean, you know. The bedspreads are SOAKED in human ejaculate, but they gotta keep those floors looking nice. Plus all the other guests who see me get to be super jealous that I'm so casual and relaxed. They have to go to some shitty offsite presentation at noon. Me? I'm gonna have a mocktail and then swim for exactly three minutes before getting bored and then going back to my room to masturbate.
Anyway, that's my defense. I wouldn't walk around a hotel barefoot just because. This is strictly a tactical matter.
Wouldn't baseball be infinitely more watchable if coaches and umpires could fight, hockey-style, every time there was a dispute?
No, because it would make the games longer. I like hockey fights and I used to roll my eyes at the Wilbons and Lupicas of the world, who would brandish their boomer cred on TV by bitching endlessly about fighting in hockey like it was some massive affront to civilized society. I still think that's a seriously tight-assed opinion to have, BUT… I also keep dad hours and I need these games to get a move on. This is especially true of baseball, which often goes out of its way to stretch out games longer than they need to be stretched out. So while I'd enjoy Davey Martinez and Lance Barksdale going at each other with a pair of tire irons for everyone to witness, I already know that Fox would cram five separate commercial breaks into the action. Fuck that.
You know what? I don't even think baseball managers and coaches should be allowed out of the fucking dugout. Ever. You wanna pull a starter? Just make the call and be done with it. You hate that call the ump just made? Text the commissioner. I don't need a baseball game interrupted by 15 different spontaneous huddles and pissing matches.
Besides, it's more fun when the players fight instead. They've got the energy for it. The average MLB ump would suffer heat stroke after taking one swing.
My friend hates bell peppers. HATES them. What the fuck is wrong with him?
Nothing? I built a career on publicly complaining about mayonnaise, so I can't really ding people for having niche food aversions. If your man doesn't like bell peppers, let him live. It's a little odd because, speaking from personal experience, I feel like bell peppers are a good entry level vegetable. They're sweet and crunchy and strangely explosive with wetness. It's like biting into a water balloon. My seven-year-old is extremely into eating them (so long as the pepper in question is orange).
But if your buddy can't get over that hump, it's fine. As you get older and more discerning you actually STOP accepting any old bell pepper as a delightful novelty in the produce section. Unless you're eating Italian sausage and peppers, green peppers taste like shit. Also, red peppers overwhelm everything else on the plate. I heard this take once from a judge during an episode of Chopped (not the one I was on) and it stuck with me forever. Now it's all I taste when they squirt some red pepper dressing all over a hoagie or some shit like that. It's a perfectly decent flavor but it's also STUBBORN.
This psycho at my office goes into the stall for a full standing piss THEN transitions to sitting for a poop. I have heard this from the stall next door multiple times so it wasn't some one-time unexpected number two. I should call the police, no?
You should not. You're a narc if you do that. Do you really want to be the toilet narc? What if the cops shoot that poor bastard for “illegal voiding”? There's blood on your hands, Bill. Blood and poop. So long as that fucker isn't watching a video without headphones on, his bathroom habits are his own.
This is where I confess that I sometimes start off standing to piss only to realize that I'm in for the bonus plan. Then I gotta sit down and audible to a full-on shit. A couple of times I've stood up, then sat down, then stood back up to wash my hands, only to realize I wasn't done shitting, then I've sat back down AGAIN. I do NOT plan this. It's just one thing leading to another. If you're concerned that this habit betrays some sort of greater dysfunction within my excretory system, buddy … I know it. You ain't gotta tell me.
As I was sidling up to a urinal in a college campus building, I heard someone typing on a computer within the stall. This is serial killer behavior, right?
See now that? That's fucked up. Use your phone on the shitter like a CIVILIZED person. No one wants a poopy keyboard.
I got a new phone a month ago. I have some problems that half the time when I make a phone call and hold the phone next to my ear my face touches the mute button and then I have to unlock the phone and unmute myself before someone hangs up on me. My wife told me I was crazy holding the phone up against my face. She holds it next to her ear away from her face. Who do you have on this one? Hold the phone away from your face or touching your face?
You should be able to touch your face with it because most phones (iPhones, at least) have proximity sensors that put the screen to sleep the second they sense that your sweaty mug has made contact. If your phone doesn't do that, it's either broken, shitty, or you accidentally turned off the sensor and need to turn it back on. Try to fix it, because holding a phone NEAR your ear without touching it drives me batshit insane. It's like an unrequited kiss, only 7,000 times less romantic.
I have an iPhone with a proximity sensor that usually works, but it gets a little bit more inconsistent when it's hot as balls out, or if the call has gone on way too long and my ear is sweating a pint a minute. That's when my poor phone surrenders and I suddenly get a cacophony of button-mashing bleeps and blorps interrupting the conversation. It's a great feeling because it ruins everything: my chat, my hearing, AND my self-image! Really the best. This is why everyone uses speakerphone now.
The other suggestion I have is to just cave and buy a Bluetooth earpiece. You'll look like the agent in those State Farm ads, but people use those accessories for a reason. I feel like a fucking dork taking a call on my headphones and lifting my phone up to my mouth like it's the world's smallest tray of wedding hors d'oeuvres, but at least it spares my lone remaining functional ear from the indignity of bricking my poor phone. And women think it makes me look like a real mover and shaker.
By the way, I was at my best friend's wedding last month and when I asked my other friend to take a picture of my wife, I got openly tech-shamed. I handed my iPhone SE to him and he was like, “What is this? Is this the FIRST iPhone? How long have you had this thing?” They don't even sell covers for my phone at the Five Below anymore. I can shrug that derision off all I like (the phone works fine) but it really DID get to me. I spend 10 hours a day on that phone. I should probably have one that wasn't made in a goddamn cave.
I was having one of those dumb food arguments with my friend. He says salsa and hot sauce are interchangeable terms and are the same thing because they have the same ingredients. I say that's bullshit, hot sauce generally goes on top of the dish while salsa is a little heartier and you can dip stuff in it. Am I wrong?
Hell no, you're not wrong. Who the fuck thinks hot sauce and salsa are the same shit? You should call the cops on THAT guy. They don't have the same ingredients. Frank's is peppers, vinegar, and salt. There are no tomatoes in it. There are no (Aaron Sanchez voice) tomatillos in it, either. Salsa and hot sauce are both condiments, but salsa is designed to be a weighty condiment … a dominant feature of whatever you're biting into. Hot sauce is there to just make shit hotter and saltier. I have no complaints about it fulfilling that task, but it's not the same task.
God, the world is gonna fucking burn and we'll still be on here just arguing about whether or not one food is another.
Why is cold pizza so good, but cold lasagna so gross?
I'm on the record as disliking cold pizza (room temp pizza though I could eat by the truckload), but I know the answer to this. Cold pizza has no pasta in it. I mean, unless it's some weird Sicilian slice with baked ziti on top that you took a gamble on while you were shitfaced. Otherwise, you're dealing with cold bread, sauce, cheese, and toppings. It's the pasta element that renders cold lasagna inedible unless you're picking little meatwads out of it.
In other guises, cold pasta is fine. Like in a pasta salad, etc. But pasta salad features specific pasta shapes and it's dressed to be cold. There's a reason they don't make pasta salad using big lasagna sheets. Feels like you're eating a comforter.
Also, you can grab a slice of cold pizza with little muss or fuss. You can't just grab a wedge of cold lasagna out of the pan and start munching on it like it's a PB&J. People would look at you funny. You gotta cut it and put it on a plate and once you've done that, you may as well take the final step and nuke the fucker. Lasagna is one of the best leftover foods in the arsenal. There's little effort and big upside in taking full advantage of all it has to offer, and not biting into cold like you're a hobo.
If you're not supposed to use cotton swabs to clean earwax out of your ears, for what purpose are you supposed to use them?
Uhhhhhhhh … for, like, cleaning very small crevices in precious jewelry? In all seriousness, I think Q-tips play a vital role in makeup application. I know this because my wife keeps a little tray of swabs and cotton balls in our bathroom, and it's not because she enjoys, as I do, conducting experiments in DIY eardrum puncturing. Imagine her dismay when she needs to grab a Q-tip to delicately shape a stray eyeliner mark only to discover that her husband used them all to go probing for deep inner ear gunk.
I have used Q-tips for other shit. They're good for absorbing blood from minor cuts and then marveling AT that blood. I also use Q-tips to apply various medicinal ointments and unguents. Oh, and I can clear out nasty buildup around the toilet seat mounting with them. That job requires the dexterous touch of a miniature cotton lollipop. I'm sure there's a novelty book out there that outlines 1,001 other uses for them, none of which you will find useful.
Which is the worst goalie to be? Hockey, soccer, or lacrosse?
It's hockey. All of those positions are stressful to the point of being inhumane, but I'm gonna rule soccer out because a) You don't have to wear pads, save for the Hamburger Helper gloves, b) you're only gonna have to face maybe 10 shots a game at the most, and c) a soccer ball is not a hockey puck. I've taken a soccer ball to the nuts before (twice!) and it's not a festival. But I'm glad it wasn't a hockey puck, and you would be too. I know that lacrosse goalies also have to wear pads and then face down dozens of miniature projectiles aimed at their loins every game. But really, being a lax goalie is just remedial training for the Tuckers of the world to prepare for the dangers of an ice hockey gig.
That's the hardest job of the bunch. It's also thankless because you can stop 40 shots, reactively contorting yourself into the shape of a W to get a mitt on a 140mph slap shot, but if you let three other shots in, you fucking suck and everyone, me included, wants you benched. Fans are all ungrateful louts. Braden Holtby spends two hours every night out on the ice serving as a firing range target. He should be allowed to let in 10 shots if he feels like it. Also, there should be a fresh chicken shawarma sandwich sitting on top of the net if there's a break in the action and he needs a little nish-nosh.
The only thing a hockey goalie has going for him is that he gets to wear every pad known to man and carry a stick that looks like a piece of flotsam that washed up from a crashed sailboat. A soccer goalie gets nothing. You're out there all nude. Just gloves and a garish neon shirt. No mask. No stick. You should get a bat. That would be amusing.
Pop Tart—dessert or breakfast?
It's a breakfast food, although here in America the distinction between a breakfast food and a dessert is mostly semantic. The average box of Pop Tarts has more sugar in it than a tray of cupcakes, but eating cupcakes for breakfast would be WEIRD. Whereas chowing down on a bunch of factory-processed, doublewide s'mores bars is much more widely accepted.
I don't eat enough Pop Tarts. This isn't a joke. I go to the store every week and I DESPERATELY want to buy a family sized box of Brown Sugar Pop Tarts for me and the kids to delight in, but I have to restrain myself because they're bad for you. I even bought ORGANIC Pop Tarts once as a healthy compromise. It was disgraceful. Also, the real ones were light years better.
Alas, I'm at the stage of parenting where Pop Tarts are only an option as a vacation house food, where you go to the beach and buy nothing but garbage because you, and the family, are on a break from caring about your bodies. What I'm saying is that I need to rent a house soon. My appetite depends on it.
People that ride their bike while their leashed dog runs alongside them are terrible people, right?
This sounds like something I'd attempt in order to cross working out and walking the dog off my to-do list in one fell swoop. Then I'd bike roughly 40 yards before my dog stopped and resisted and ended up getting dragged along the pavement, or he somehow had the power to stop my bike with his little paws and sent me flying headfirst into the nearby Little Free Library down the block. Either way, it would be a hilarious disaster.
I do not have an active dog. Maybe you have an active dog. Maybe you have a golden retriever who needs to chase a ball down for six hours straight before he finally chills the fuck out. You can probably go on long runs with that dog and have everyone at the park ooh and ahh over your combined vigorousness. You're a Peleton ad! But strapping a dog to your bike seems like a bad idea. You'd end up looking like you run some kind of dog running sweatshop. People would talk.
But again, I don't own an active dog. If you have an energetic little boy and you live in La Jolla maybe that's a thing people do.
What is the fewest number of ingredients that can still be defined as chili? I always want to experiment more, but I'm just not sure what constitutes a blank canvas. With pizza it's a crust, sauce and a topping. With a burger it's ground meat and bread. Is meat and tomatoes the bare-minimum level of claiming you have chili?
I think chili powder is probably a vital ingredient to that mix. I'd also tell you that beans are crucial but then I'd have 100,000 snotty Texans clogging up my feed because they think Texas does everything right, from cooking beanless chili to hydrofracking under daycare centers. I don't need that shit right now. You could make a cursory chili with meat and crushed tomatoes and some seasoning, but please note that it would SUCK. You may as well just buy chili out of a can if you're not gonna put any care or personality into it, the way I so expertly do.
I've made “quick” chili recipes. I've also made ad hoc soup/stew recipes that appear in the pages of Prevention magazine and end up RESEMBLING chili without actually being chili. You don't want any of these dinners happening to you. You may as well have a big ol' slice of frozen lasagna instead.
A friend of mine from college who I have lost touch with just got married. He's 40. No kids. Honeymoon was at Disneyland. He thanked Mickey Mouse and Minions in his Instagram post. Lost cause, right?
If you think it's weird to be 40 and married, perhaps YOU are the lost cause in question. What the fuck do you think happens to 40-year-olds? Do you think they party till 6 a.m. in Vegas with all their bros every night? They do not. They sit at home and watch TV and nurse lingering joint pain and have kids scream OK BOOMER at them all day long. That's the normal progression of affairs at the moment.
The real sticking point here is the Disneyland honeymoon. That's fucking weird, all right. I could argue that your friend and his new wife maybe chose Anaheim because they were on a budget, but that argument dissolves when you consider that a) the beach is free, and b) tickets to Disneyland cost $7,000 apiece. But I do respect the fact that he did Disneyland WITHOUT being bogged down by children. That's really the way to do it. I have half a mind to go to Orlando and check out Galaxy's Edge alone. I can just send my kids pictures and they'll get the gist. Anyway, I hope your friend's marriage works out. They should really hit up Universal next go-round. I did that with my mom once when I was, like, 16. No regrets.
Is there any fast food that Trump wouldn't eat? Would he eat at Popeye's or is that "too ethnic" for him?
No no, he'd eat Popeye's. What Popeye's lacks in caucasity it more than makes up for in shitty labor practices, animal cruelty, and gratuitous trans fats. Also, even someone with a child's palate loves Popeye's food. That's right in Trump's sweet spot. He probably jacks off to slaughterhouse videos because professional escorts just don't do it for him anymore. He'll eat a three-piece meal from Popeye's, he just won't order the red beans and rice. You want “ethnic” fast food that would scare him shitless? Take him to a Fatburger sometime.
I do think there are some fast food joints that Trump would rather avoid. Starbucks, for example. Starbucks makes terrible food AND Trump doesn't drink coffee. I promise you that Trump is the last person alive who still uses the term metrosexual, and he definitely uses it as an epithet for anyone who goes to Starbucks. To him, fancy coffee is for gays and perverts.
I also think he'd avoid a Subway or a Quiznos. Trump doesn't like eating any food that makes him look sloppy or inelegant. That means very large sandwiches are out of the question. What if a stray shred of lettuce got on his tie? HE'D LOOK RIDICULOUS. Can't have that. He'd much rather eat a plain McDonald's hamburger. It's a burger, but it's shockingly neat in its form and presentation. Donald Trump likes food that, in his mind, is as well put together as he is. A sweet chicken teriyaki sub doesn't qualify.
Am I the only one who thinks it would be really easy to be a super successful bank/train robber in the old Wild West days? How did any of those guys get caught? There were no forensics, no security cameras. All you'd have to do is wear a good mask (not just a bandana over your mouth) and use a fake name. Is there something I'm missing here?
What you're missing is that the Wild West had no “laws” and that anyone could “shoot” anyone who looked at them wrong the second they strolled into the First National Bank Of Laramie. I know that I just described the current situation on the ground in modern-day Arizona, but somehow the old West was even more anarchic and violent. Also, no one had phones or TVs to distract them. If you robbed a bank in 1878, the entire state would be horny for your capture for, like, a year. Citizens back then had nothing better to do, and no optimized news cycles to wean them off the subject. Hence, you rob a bank back then and you instantly got 300,000 bloodhounds tracking you down for $200 in reward money. They could buy a whole plow with that kinda scratch!
Email of the week!
I like to take little pushup breaks when I'm at work because it helps me to feel less sedentary sitting behind a desk all day and because I'm a compulsive weirdo who likes to do pushups. I'm also very embarrassed about this and have successfully avoided any of my colleagues discovering my strange habit for over two years now. Until today, that is.
It was the end of the day, and I wanted to get one more set in before I went home to sit on the couch and be sedentary there. So I closed the door to the conference room I'm temporarily using as my office and began doing my thing, when a co-worker I don't know very well walked in to return a chair he'd borrowed. I immediately got up, but there's no way he didn't see what I was doing. He said "I found your chair," I said thanks, and he put the chair down and left as if nothing had happened. This is probably no big deal right? Please tell me this is no big deal.
It's not a big deal. I mean, you're gonna get reported to HR, but it's not a big deal.