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How Many Glue Sticks Could You Eat?

Time for your weekly edition of Drew Magary's Funbag. Today, we're talking about band names, chicken, military time, diarrhea portents, and more.
May 27, 2020, 6:00pm

Got something on your mind? Email the Funbag. And buy Drew's new novel while you're at it. Your letters:

Michael:

If someone held you at gunpoint and demanded that you eat as many glue sticks as you could for an entire hour, how many do you think you could eat?

Nontoxic glue, right? Because if it's toxic glue, I'm gonna take the gunshot. Much faster. Less barfing. If it's nontoxic glue, I think I could eat, like, five. I would absolutely barf. Perhaps the gunman would be distracted by the vomit and then I could quickly disarm him, turn the gun on him, and force HIM to eat a dozen. Perhaps. Unlikely.

Anyway, for the sake of research, I went to the cabinet and got a glue stick with every intention of eating just a bit of it. Then I went to open it and HEY PRESTO, the stick was all used up. These fucking kids. They take ALL the goddamn food in this house, AND IN SUCH CHALLENGING TIMES NO LESS. Really boils my hooves.

DISCLAIMER: Please do not eat glue. It will not prevent COVID.

Bob:

Has there ever been a band that you refused to listen to just because their name was terrible?

No. If you judged every band by its name, you'd never end up listening to anything because most band names are inexplicably shitty (the great Kyle Ryan has an entire newsletter dedicated to this subject and this subject only). You get one chance to name your band, to make your first impression on eager ears, and you end up going with Passion Pit. You've got a lot of explaining to do. Even my favorite band, Sugar, got its name because Bob Mould picked up a sugar packet at a diner and figured that name was as good as any. Not the easiest band to Google. I also love a British band named A. Just A. You search for them on Spotify and the app gives you the finger. I still love them. I can't let the name get in the way. The entire concept of a "band" is dying off anyway, so soon there won't be any names left to worry about.

On very rare occasions, there are some band names I can't get over despite liking the band in question. Like, I should love Diarrhea Planet's name. It's fucking hilarious, which is why they chose it as a name, of course. But the novelty wears off after, like, a week. After that, you're stuck with it. It's well worth it for "Ghost With A Boner," but Diarrhea Planet still one of those band names where your wife will ask you, "Hey, whatcha listening to?" and you're like, "Uhhhh …"

Archers of Loaf is another embarrassing one. That's one of those indie band names that's so self-consciously indie that you despise it on reflex. I remember my college roommate had one of their CDs in his stack and I was like, "The fuck is this group?" The band's name is some inside joke about a botched Russian translation. Whatever. The band was good, but the name wasn't one you enjoy having associated with your own personal reputation.

Sometimes you can really tell a band will suck because of their name. Like Trapt? Yeah I had them marked as shitty butt rock the second I saw that T on the end. I also lived through the early-aughts run of numbered bands like Sum 41. I always knew numbers were a bad sign. I know a lot of you revere Blink-182. I am not among you. I require rock for REAL MEN. Like, you, know, old Warrant songs.

Nick:

When eating chicken wings, do you eat the cartilage bits or ignore/spit them out? I love gnawing on those MFs and my girlfriend thinks I'm a psycho. For the record, I don't like cartilage from any other chicken part.

I sometimes eat them. My goal when eating chicken is to eat as much of the meat as humanly possible. If some cartilage gets in the way, so be it. It drives me insane when anyone in the house finishes a wing/thigh/leg and starts walking to the trash when they've left a generous surplus of meat lingering near the bone nubs. I intercept that shit and scavenge whatever tasty nuggets they have left to offer. That's me being responsible. I don't like the cartilage on its own. I just view it as necessary collateral damage.

But I won't judge Nick for enjoying it. In fact, it makes him more worldly to savor it. Americans are prissy about food like that. They're like, "Oh, I only eat the FLESH of the slaughtered animal. Eating any other part of it is strange is gross to me." Meanwhile, you go to a kickass Chinese restaurant and they'll serve you sizzling beef tendon, plus a chicken that's been butchered seemingly by a Manson family member. They don't quarter it. They hack through it anywhere they like. They don't give a shit because they aren't tightasses about a bone fragment here or a ligament there. I remember I ordered fried chicken at a Chinese banquet-type restaurant once and it came out in parts I couldn't identify. I'm used to seeing a drumstick, a wing, a barrel of a thigh, and a split breast. That's what BIG CHICKEN conditioned me to expect. I still ate that chicken. You better believe I un-conditioned myself butt quick.

Anonymous:

You know what I hate? Guys (and let's face it, it's always guys) who use military time in civilian settings. One guy says, "Is it almost two o'clock?" And MILITARY GUY replies, "Affirmative. It's almost fourteen hundred." At ease, soldier! We don't do that here. And welcome back to THE WORLD. So where do you rank Military Time Guy on annoying ways to tell time?

I have a friend who is NOT in the military who uses military time. I know this because I had to ask him the time once and saw that he had set his watch to it. I was like, "Is that a thing people do? They use military time now?" And he was like, "Oh yeah! Lots of people do!" I have never seen ANY other civilian do this. Two more people and I could have had a New York Times trend piece, but no! ALL LIES.

I can see the advantages of military time for scheduling. Prevents confusion between AM and PM if you have a particularly loaded day ahead, as members of the military themselves always do. If you're some self-styled thought leader who has to efficiently map out your week of conference calls with Manila and hot stone massages, AND you like reinventing things that have already been invented, you probably use military time. I bet Jack Dorsey uses it. Because he sucks. Also, if you're a Reopen prick who also moonlights as a pretend troop, you might also be inclined to operate on troop time. You're also DEFINITELY the kind of person who will require a military time calculator—yes, such things exist—to nail down your whereabouts on the spacetime continuum.

Ben:

Could I, at 39, dedicate a year and achieve the flexibility to do a full split (Russian or regular)? Would that be physically possible with just a ton of daily stretching? Would an old man have to tear my groin with ropes like JCVD in Kickboxer_?_

You could not. I had my last back surgery 10 years ago and have done hamstring stretches ever since then, because loose hammies are a key to keeping your back muscles limber. In that ensuing decade, I have not become Simone Biles. If I keep my legs straight and try to touch my toes, I'm still a good 10 inches away from paydirt. You can train to become more flexible than you already are, but there are still limits to that flexibility. Same as if you trained to throw a commanding fastball. You can get better at it. Will you eventually top 100 on the radar gun? FUCK AND NO, you won't. At a certain point, age and talent levels assert themselves. There's no getting past them, no matter how many times you hear the phrase "gym rat" during a college basketball telecast. Flexibility is a talent. You and I do not possess it.

Matt:

Is there anyone that was alive in 1997 who did not see Titanic ? I know it's the kind of movie that we all made fun of, but secretly liked and still occasionally watch on syndication.

Oh yeah. You're talking to a guy who only watched Avengers: Endgame for the first time a month ago. There were stragglers out there, and there still are. Titanic made $1.85 billion in global box office. There were 5.87 billion people living on Earth the year of its release (FUN FACT: The world population has grown by nearly TWO billion people since then, holy shit). Even a loose bit of math makes it clear that more people skipped Titanic than watched it, which is too bad because it's a good movie.

I saw Titanic in the theater with one guy friend in college. I think we went because we were bored. A three-hour runtime makes me groan now, but back then it meant I could burn the clock more efficiently before drinking time kicked in. I remember walking out of the theater and being like Matt up above, fronting like Titanic was a corny, shitty movie. But Titanic didn't make $1.85 billion by accident. The love story was great. The acting was great. Billy Zane was a great villain to despise. And the effects were revolutionary without being the ENTIRE story. This was wildly untrue of Avatar, which would later beat out Titanic at the box office. Save for the script, Titanic mixed together all of its elements with a lot more skill. Also, Kate Winslet was naked in it. I'd watch it again.

The one thing I'll agree with haters on is that the bookends of Titanic, with the old lady making wistful old lady faces, were useless. James Cameron just put those scenes in so he could have an excuse to dive down to the wreck.

Eric:

Last night I had a dream where my wife had diarrhea and was shitting all over the place. Just out of control shitting herself and on the floor and essentially everywhere except the toilet. Pretty foul. Then lo and behold she woke up today with diarrhea! Bad enough where she had to pause mid-shower this morning to take care of business and then resume washing. So I ask you - is this my cosmic brain being activated and sensing her digestive issues on some other existential plane? Am I emitting powerful brain waves during sleep that gave her the shits?! Neither? Both?!

Both. Definitely. I'm jealous that you willed a dream into existence. I've had dreams that felt like premonitions and woken up legitimately EXPECTING them to have come to pass and then been let down to discover that they were, you know, dreams. Like, I remember dreaming about trading emails with some famous person (don't remember who) and them offering me a job. When I woke up in the morning, I fucking checked my email to see if they had emailed. They had not. My chance to direct a live-action version of Shrek… gone like THAT. So sad.

On the flipside, I've also had dreams of shitting myself and then had to check the bed after waking up to make sure I didn't. To my great relief, I have never proven clairvoyant when it comes to arching a loaf between the sheets. The only time I ever shat the bed was 20 years ago, because I was drunk. I did not dream about it beforehand. Real missed opportunity there.

HALFTIME!

Mark:

On a regular basis I think about that time LeBron James carried a briefcase to a postgame press conference. Do you think he actually had anything inside it? And this was the same time he wore short suit pants.

I do think he had some stuff in it. Possibly the working script for Space Jam 2: We're Gonna Force Kids To Believe A Space Jam Movie Wasn't Shitty Again. Possibly a sandwich. LeBron, more than most athletes, is a businessman. So I could see him carrying around small contracts that need signing and other documents vital to his self-branding needs. May as well get all that business out of the way before heading home to drink a shitload of wine.

Even if LBJ didn't have real business to tend to that night, every athlete now must LOOK like a serious businessman, and present himself/herself as such. There are shallow reasons for this. But also, I think most athletes got fed up a long time ago with the general public thinking they were both uninteresting and stupid. So they dress sharp and get into off-the-field/court business ventures to prove to other people, and to themselves, that they aren't empty vessel. Most of them ARE uninteresting and stupid, mind you. But if one of them needs a rock a pocketwatch and carry a briefcase around to be taken more seriously, I can't blame them.

By the way, there's a flipside to this coin, with baseball players showing up to practice in a fucking pickup truck with fishing gear in the back to let you know they're real folk. Trevor Bauer thinks briefcases are for pussies. There's a certain, aggressively white segment of the athlete population that must perpetually live inside a Toby Keith song. They want you to know THEY AIN'T FANCY THEY JUST LIKE BEER AND TITTIES. They're the real Americans. Join them for a pool party at Lake of the Ozarks this summer, won't you?

By the way, I've never owned or carried a briefcase. This is not a brag. This is because I am a slob. Bragging about never having a briefcase is strictly the domain of guys who show up to a meeting in jeans and a blazer. Briefcases are cool. I should carry one around more often. People might think I have the Russians' top secret microfilm in it. AND MAYBE I DO.

Eric:

What movies should be absolutely taboo for Hollywood to fuck up...er... remake under any circumstances? I could only come up with a short list:

Jaws

The Star Wars Saga

The Indiana Jones series

The Godfather 1 and 2

Rocky 1-4 and Rocky Balboa

Gladiator

LOL what makes you think any of those movies are off limits, amigo? They already spiritually rebooted Rocky as the Creed franchise. They remade the old Star Wars trilogy as the new one. Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez tried to remake Casablanca, for fuck's sake. They let Gus Van Sant direct a shot-for-shot remake of Psycho, with the same fucking script and with Vince Vaughn as Norman Bates, as a lark. Nothing is taboo. You're getting a remake of Raiders, starring Post Malone. You're getting a new Jaws. You're definitely getting a new Godfather. All that shit is up for grabs. Easier than thinking of a NEW idea now, isn't it?

Also, I don't think anyone would be that upset if they remade Gladiator. I liked that movie plenty, but it's not holy writ. If they told you the new one was gonna star Tom Hardy, would you bitch? I wouldn't. Everything's been done, which means everything will be done again. And again. And again. The only thing they won't remake is Citizen Kane, because it wouldn't make any money.

Tom:

What's better: a great burger or great pizza with any toppings you chose?

That's like asking me to choose which one of my children I love the most. Of course the answer to that is Joe Burrow, because he has excellent table manners and because he promised he'd buy me a lake house after he signs his contract.

Anyway I love pizza and I love burgers, and it pains me to choose between the two. But if I'm on death row—fingers crossed!—and you give me the option between the pizza of my dreams and big, wet, juicy-ass burger for a last meal, I take the pizza. I've had more memorable pizzas in my time than memorable burgers. And all different kinds of pizza, too. I've had great traditional pizzas; great weird pizzas with, like, shaved potatoes on them; great white pizzas; great drunken slices; and more. Virtually anything can make a great pizza whereas a burger is, at its core, great in the same way every time. Also, there's always more pizza. I can finish a burger in six seconds. I need a tray of burgers to equal things up.

Vince:

When did the "American Dream" become being a billionaire? I always though living the American Dream meant that one could humbly perform a job—meat-cutter, mailman, salesman, garbage collector, grocery checker, you name it-—and earn a decent living? While also being able to raise a family, have affordable healthcare, take a vacation, and look forward to a good retirement. Aren't those the things that made America great and the envy of the world? After all, every country no matter how poor has its ridiculously wealthy citizens.

Nah nah, the American Dream was that anyone from anywhere could make something of themselves. Bright lights big city, etc. I'm partial to pop history books about America back around 1900 or so, and those books usually include the story of some dirt poor immigrant named Vasily Krakovev moving to Chicago from his native Poland, changing his name to Stanley Ross, working at a snail-cleaning factory in his youth, and then rising up to become the founder of a billion-dollar steel conglomerate. That's the most drastic case of the American Dream being realized, but somewhere along the way that tantalizing longshot became the ONLY dream. Just having a nice, basic life was never enough when the chance of hitting it obscenely big still felt real. So expectations for the American Dream morphed into becoming rich and famous while, in a bit of tragic irony, the chance for some destitute asshole to become the next Stanley Ross was institutionally destroyed. Every self-made man pulled the ladder up after him.

I can be as commie about this as I like, but I'd be lying if I don't go to bed at night dreaming that some book of mine sells more copies than the fucking Bible. I used to read the annual Forbes 400 list of richest Americans every year when I was a kid. I wanted all that shit and I still do. I want the Fuck You house. I want a yacht. I want fresh cracked crab to be served to me while I sip fruity drinks at a Caribbean villa. I want all that shit because I'm a lost cause, and so is this asshole country.

Michael:

What is the best way to eat eggs? In this scenario the eggs are paired with two pieces of toast and a few strips of bacon.

So a diner breakfast? If toast is involved, I usually order my eggs sunny side up so that I can break the yolk and the smear it all over the toast like proper glutton. Sometimes I get scrambled eggs and put them on the toast instead, and then wish I was eating a breakfast taco. So under your conditions, a simple fried egg works best for me.

But if I throw out the toast—and I very much want to—and pick the overall GOAT of egg preparation, the answer is scrambled. I'd eat scrambled eggs out of a used hospital bedpan.

Mike:

If you recall: back during the election in 2016, during a campaign stop, some retired military guy gifted Trump his Purple Heart, for some reason. Trump literally pocketed it, did a brief, incoherent "thanks" spiel, and moved on. Where exactly do you think that Purple Heart is sitting at this moment?

Floating on the surface of a sludge tank in a sewage treatment plant somewhere.

Matt:

I became a Warriors "fan" during their first championship run because Curry is once in a lifetime and because their style of play is fun and pissed off Phil Jackson. Don't live in the Bay Area, never pulled for them before, openly bandwagon. But...I didn't break up with another team (RIP Sonics), I've never done this kind of thing before (lifelong Laker hater and have remained in an emotionally abusive relationship with the Vikings for 44 years), and Phil Jackson is a dick. Am I still an asshole? Less of an asshole? Is there a term besides "fan" I can use to seem more socially acceptable? Temporary enthusiast? I should add that I have no plans to stay with this team after the remaining core players are gone.

You are not an asshole. Statistically speaking, it's much more likely that you are an Area Man. The fact that you don't live in Northern California muddles that a bit, but it's a strong Area Man move to notice a team when it's winning, get casually into them during the run, and then move on the second the excitement goes away. Those are people who understand how to be a casual fan. Those are the people Michael Jordan wanted to sell sneakers to.

I won't hold it against you UNLESS you bought a lot of team merch. If you bought anything more than a hat, and you flash invisible rings at people to talk shit, and you drone on at length about how Draymond kicking people in the balls is just proof that he's a COMPETITOR, you forfeit your casual fan status and advance directly to being a shitheel.

Email of the week:

Aneel:

I'm in the process of moving and changing jobs, I had to stay back for a few weeks while my wife and son got resettled. We ended up closing on our house earlier than expected so I had to stay in a hotel for a few weeks. Because I am unreasonably cheap, I'm staying in a real turd dumpster in the southwest hillbilly suburbs of St. Louis. Its the kind of place where every day, I have a contest of who has the most teeth, and every day I win.

Anyway, one day I'm walking in from the parking lot and I notice a brand new Escalade with a driver in it. It sticks out because it costs more than literally every other car in the parking lot put together. I figure they are waiting to pick someone up from the airport or something. Then, an unreasonably attractive woman walks in behind me. She would stand out in pretty much any environment. She goes into the room directly across from me.

The next morning, I open my door and at the same time, the door across the hall opens and a man walks out. My brain realizes, 'oh this person is famous' but at that same time I can see him realizing 'oh shit, this person recognizes me'. Next walks out the attractive woman and two young kids. They walk out of the hotel and into the Escalade and take off.

I (obviously) start googling everything about him and try to figure out what the age difference is between him and his wife. Turns out that is not his wife.

I believe that man was Papa John Schnatter.

I believe it, too.