Time for your weekly edition of the Defector Funbag. Got something on your mind? Email the Funbag. And buy Drew’s new novel while you’re at it. Today, we’re talking about Brodie Grundy, free throws, defecting to another country, weed, and more.
Hey! You! YEAH YOU! Are you the kind of person who loves audiobooks, because you drive from Massachusetts to Nebraska every other week for some reason and you need company along the way? Well then you’re in luck, of a sort. Because, five months after it came out in print, you can now buy the audiobook of Point B. While I had to self-publish Point B originally, I did NOT have to do that with this version. The good folks at Podium Audio bought the rights, hired a pro voice-over in Rebecca Soler to do the narration, and recorded it all nice and fancy for you. To celebrate its release, you are cordially invited to a live reading/Funbag with me TONIGHT at 8 p.m. ET over at the Defector Twitch stream.
I am very bad about listening to my own audiobooks, even the one that I myself narrated. But Point B means a lot to me, probably more than any book I’ve written. So to hear another person act out all the characters from it made me uncommonly happy. I have big dreams for Point B still. I try not to jinx them, but the audiobook makes those ambitions feel that much closer to being realized. I recommend listening to it while high as balls.
My wife and I are watching an AFL game between the Brisbane Lions and the Collingwood Magpies. There is a player on the Lions named Hugh McCluggage, which is such an ugly combination of letters and sounds. It makes my body twist in unpleasant ways. It’s AWFUL. But on Collingwood, there’s a player named Brodie Grundy, and my wife claims that this is a far worse name. She says it sounds like a disease you pick up from walking barefoot down a city street. I agree that Brodie Grundy sounds like the name of an unpleasant thing, but that Hugh McCluggage is, in and of itself, infinitely more vile and upsetting. Please advise.
Those are both solid NOTY candidates and bring me so much joy that I can’t agree with your disgust. Especially Hugh McCluggage. That’s such a perfect name for an Australian I can hardly stand it. ROIT OI’M MISTEH MCCLUGGAGE I AM. How is this man not an old Simpsons character, I ask you. If I had to be named either of those two things, you better believe I’d be Hugh McCluggage. Then I’d marry Frances FitzCarryon.
As for poor Brodie Grundy… just say the name out loud. Brodie Grundy. From now on all I’m gonna do is get high and say BRODIE GRUNDY out loud to people. It’s got a little bit of back-end alliteration and a LOT of grundle going on in it. If Brodie Grundy were an American, he’d be Indiana’s worst Congressman. I could describe this man to police sketch artists and nail every last fucking detail, sight unseen. Now let’s see what the real deal Aussie version looks like.
See now, that’s better than I would have expected. Granted, having a look that screams “rejected for the part of Aquaman” isn’t the best, but it’s better than what an American Brodie Grundy could muster. Wonder how many shots Brodie has taken TO the Grundy. It could be a dizzying number. It’s such an astonishingly bad name I’ve come around to the other side. I’m gonna name my next dog Brodie Grundy.
We know you have an Aussie escape hatch in case things go completely Postmortal in the USA. But that’s a major dislocation. What if it was now magically Canada? Would you scrub your feed of Canuck slurs and start talking up a move to your family?
I think I’d do the Alec Baldwin thing where I talk tough about defecting to a saner country, and then I’d just stick around because moving is a pain in the ass and because this is where everyone I know lives. My sloth could end up being a genuinely fatal error if Trump “wins” the election and we become an outright Nazi state in perpetuity. More Americans are defecting already and I doubt many of them have regrets. The U.S. has become literally inhospitable. If a magic butler appeared at my door and offered to whisk me away to Canada—taking care of all the logistics and expense with a snap of their fingers—THEN I’d say yes. But as it stands now, it’s just too difficult and I’m too American to summon the motivation to bolt, even now as everything burns. Also, Canada is too cold.
I did look into renewing my Aussie passport after the 2016 election. Technically, I could have pulled it off AND gotten my kids citizenship as well, because they were all under the age of 12 at the time. That is no longer the case, hence more dreaded paperwork. I fear forms. I fear filling them out wrong and then being thrown into a windowless room by unnamed authorities as punishment. Of course, the longer I stay in THIS country, the more likely that punishment is for any open dissenters.
What I would like is to live in a country with lots of space, people I know, good food, and parts with amiable weather. The problem is that I already live in that country, and it’s being fucking ruined. I keep waiting for some official Sign From God that I need to leave right now, this instant. But if the past four years weren’t enough of a sign, then I’m clearly a lost cause. I’m here for the long haul. Really, I should be. I would love to get the fuck out of here and say that America isn’t my problem anymore, but it’s my problem no matter where I am. It’s my home. There isn’t another country like it, no matter how hard I might try to will that country to be it. Therefore it’s my job to stick around and help make this country better, rather than take my money and run when the bulk of Americans can’t do that.
So here I remain, loyal to America but not exactly happy about it. I just wish this country would WORK. It’s not that fucking hard. But no, no we have a system and a cadre of Nazi-ass leaders both working in concert to keep everyone fucking miserable. I hate them all, and that’s not an exaggeration. I hate them and I want them to die. I wanna be here, in the flesh, when they all have to face the firing squad. And if you think that outcome is unrealistic, well now hasn’t this century been exactly that so far?
Will there be a baseball player who continues to wear a mask, while batting, once there is no COVID-19 related need to do so, because he will say “I just see the ball better/it helps me block out distractions”? (The answer is Clint Frazier isn’t it).
No, because wearing a mask sucks. I wear mine when I’m out. I even found one I like. I’m used to doing the mask thing everywhere I go now and it’s not that big of a deal. But it also sucks ass and the second I don’t have to wear one—when a mask is no longer necessary to protect both myself and everyone else around me—I’m burning it. And if I hate wearing the mask, what are the odds that, like, Aaron Judge doesn’t? You might get one or two players who keep the mask because they went on a hot streak with it on, but the second they cool off that mask goes right on the dugout floor. All of us will have residual trauma from living through the pandemic, but baseball players’ trauma will manifest itself in more traditional, less hygienic ways: depression, alcoholism, redpilling, wife-swapping, and such and such.
Say you’re a 75% free throw shooter in the NBA. You’re offered a deal: your FT% improves by a certain amount, but every missed free throw is truly horrific (over the backboard, short of the rim, hits your teammate in the face, etc.). How much would it have to improve for you to take the deal?
Well if I jacked it up to 100 percent, I would never miss a free throw and could NEVER be embarrassed. But let’s say you cap it at 99 percent, so that I have to miss at least one free throw, and that free throw always hits one of the babies in the family section of the bubble. I still take the deal. Those babies need toughening up. I see them on iPads all game long. They’re soft and weak and need to learn that life (and the ball) comes at you fast.
I have shot enough embarrassing free throws in my lifetime to not be embarrassed by them at all. If you saw me in the flesh, you’d say, “Well that guys looks like a walking airball,” and it’s true. If you made me a 75 percent free throw shooter, that would already be a VAST improvement over my career stat line. And if I had the ability to jack my percentage up to Mark Price levels at the risking of caving in Mrs. LeBron’s sinuses with a rare miss, I wouldn’t bat a fucking eye. You can’t embarrass me on a basketball court. I’m too self-aware for that shit.
I am an Astros fan and have been basically all my life. I grew up in West Houston following Biggio and Bagwell through the three straight 100 loss seasons to the turn-around and multiple pennants and championship season. The sign-stealing scandal has me kinda shook though. On one hand it’s bad and I would be furious at any other team that did that; but on the other hand this team has always meant a lot to me, the 2017 championship team in particular coming during a very low and dark period in my life when I really needed something to be happy about. Anyway, what should I do now?
Just keep cheering for them. They’re pieces of shit and I hope they rot, but if sports fans chose their teams based on morals, no team would have any fans. Besides, love should blind you to the Astros’ fuckery. You’ve met fans of the Cowboys, and the Yankees, and the Patriots, and the Steelers, and the Rockets, and literally every college football team. You know how this goes. First you’re concerned about your team’s behavior, then you get tired of hearing about it, and then anyone who brings it up is just a hater. If my team won a title and then were exposed as cheaters and frauds, would I disown them? FUCK AND NO, I wouldn’t. My mind wouldn’t let that happen. So go ahead and be performatively tortured about the Astros. It’s a good way to prevent incoming shit talk. But you may as well keep cheering for them. MLB as a whole has already proven to be horrifyingly evil, so it’s not as if your team is that much of an anomaly.
And at least you’re not a Cards fan.
What is the proper etiquette when you meet a pro athlete that, at least by the relative standard of their peers, was terrible? For example, when I lived in Austin a few years back, former Steelers WR Limas Sweed had an appointment at my work. As a Steelers fan, I was well aware of who he was, but since he was a total bust, I was also glad he was no longer on the team. When he came in and I met him, he was a perfectly nice person, and I felt guilty for being happy he wasn’t with the Steelers anymore. I of course took the coward’s way out and pretended I didn’t know who he was and stuck strictly to business rather than discuss his career and risk outing myself as a hater. Was that the right approach?
No. The right approach would have been to be even MORE dishonest and insincere than you were. You should have been like, “You’re Limas Sweed! Holy shit that’s so cool!” and given him a little bit of love even if you hated his guts. This is blatant WASP advice, but I’m a WASP, so there you have it. When I saw Mike Tice walking through Central Park once, I shouted HEY COACH TICE! (I even tapped him on the arm to get his attention, which you should NEVER do). Was Tice a good coach? No. But I don’t think it was the right time and place to interrupt his walk through Central Park by being like, “Hey man, you’re doing a real shit job.” If I’m gonna ruin a famous person’s day, it’s not gonna be a sports figure. It’s gonna be me spitting in Jimmy Fallon’s face when he’s drunk in a gutter somewhere. I’m gonna make my rudeness count.
Also, I’m sure other Steelers fans have been more than happy to treat poor Limas like dogshit on your behalf. It’s not like that guy WANTED to suck. I promise you he’s just as annoyed at his career flaming out as you Rooney humpers all were.
I started smoking pot just under a year ago (I’m 38) and so far it’s been great. I’m drinking a lot less, but I’m starting to get bored. My wife and I (she was a pothead in college, so this is old hat to her) went through most of the movies and TV shows we wanted to watch, then went deeper and blew through something like a hundred or so insane Hallmark movies, increasingly deeper-cut UFO documentaries, every podcast we could find, working out, taking long walks when the streets aren’t crowded, et al. It’s getting tight as we get tired of/run out of most of these, so are there any activities you guys can think of that are more/fun stoned that we might not have tried yet?
Hear me out: what if you took up knife juggling?
I find it both amusing and inspiring that you want to be ACTIVE while stoned. I too have gone to the dispensary and asked them outright for “do stuff” weed. Then they gave me some sativa and I smoked it and I quickly realized I didn’t want to do much stuff at all. However, in my green-and-sober existence, I have carved out a few very basic things I enjoy doing while high. None of them will surprise you.
1. Walk the dog
3. Play Everybody’s Golf
4. Listen to music (usually while playing Everybody’s Golf)
I have a Point B playlist that I still listen to pretty much every weekend when I’m feeling jolly. You can see that playlist here and goof on me accordingly. It’s all right. I can deal. Here is where I tell you that the character of Lara Kirsch is based in great part on Carly Rae Jepsen in the “Run Away With Me” video. I fucking love that song, man. I think you, Brian, are trying too hard to mix up your stoner activities. Instead, I would suggest you find one thing you like to do while high and then just do it 90,000 times. Weed is designed for enhanced boredom. You can’t really separate the two, unless you start jumping out of airplanes when you’re on it.
Dance critic Sarah Kauffman wrote an article last year on the comparative grace and dancer-like aesthetics of professional athletes. She highlighted the “poetic inspiration” and “elegance” of Roger Federer, Muhammad Ali, Ozzie Smith and Jerry Rice, among others. In your opinion, who is the most aesthetically pleasing athlete to watch?
Right now? Russell Wilson. But that’s a boring answer, isn’t it? You can get nut deep into Freedarko-isms if you think too hard about this kind of shit, but there are definitely athletes who have a style that naturally pulls my eyes toward them. Nikolai Jokic looks like a first grader tried to draw a person, but he passes like it’s fucking choreographed. Just the most beautiful shit you’ve ever seen. I loved watching Jamal Murray for different stylistic reasons, but for stylistic reasons nonetheless. Every time he got the ball it was like he was coming into a Wild West saloon with his revolvers blazing. He’s my new favorite NBA player. The rest of them are puke.
Honorable mention goes to Whitney Mercilus and Steelers-era Le’Veon Bell. When Le’Veon was with the Steelers, he could snake through bodies like he just spotted an insanely hot woman across a crowded dance floor.
Dwight Howard = Kamala Harris. All the tangibles are there. The resume is stacked and a highlight reel is incredible, and yet everyone seems put off by them. I promise this is not a Simmons burner account.
I can’t trust you when you say that. Just vote for her and Biden anyway.
Can you please give us your world famous recipe for MAGARY-itas?
Mark, I alas do NOT have a world-famous margarita recipe. The only time I’ve made margaritas is with a bottled mix, or with the frozen shit that comes in a can next to the Minute Maid orange juice in the freezer aisle. I have never made anything close to the quality of any margarita at any shitty Tex-Mex joint.
HOWEVAH, back when I drank, I did make mojitos and caipirinhas from scratch, and those were my lifeblood. I used to buy cheapass cachaca like 51 and take swigs right from the bottle, which is healthy! To that end, I made caipirinhas from this old Will Gordon recipe, with mint added because I got confused. And I made mojitos with the following:
-Handful of mint leaves
-Juice of one lime
-Heaping tablespoon of sugar
-Splash of seltzer
Using a mortar and pestle, I ground up the first three ingredients until they were almost a paste. Then I dumped it into two glasses, filled the glasses with ice, poured the rum up to an inch below the rim, topped it with seltzer, and stirred. Were they as good as a mojito you would get at some fancy hotel bar? No. Would they get you absolutely fucking shithoused? Yes. I miss making those mojitos. I’ve been shockingly disciplined about not drinking, and sobriety has gotten much easier as the years have passed. But I really liked the actual process of making mojitos, and getting excited to get my drunk on as I was playing idiot mixologist. And I DO miss shitty margaritas out at a Mexican restaurant. Few drinks hit more effectively than those. Have one on me.
Is Mark Jackson worse at coaching or calling games?
Calling them. He’s the worst announcer in any sport right now, and I say that with the explicit knowledge that Reggie Miller and Mark Schlereth are both still employed. I watched the Heat finish off the Celtics in Game 6 and even when Jackson was happy during the telecast (call it four minutes total), he sounded like the audience at home was a relative he was dying to get off the phone with. Andre Iguodala got hot late in that game and started piling up threes and Mark was just like THAT’S WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU HAVE SOMEONE WITH A CHAMPIONSHIP MENTALITY ON YOUR TEAM. Absolutely nothing insightful or useful to add. The pitch in his voice didn’t vary in the slightest. He doles out the most basic shit you could hear watching the game at a fucking bar, only in a monotone deader than Julius Caesar.
I think they should replace Mark Jackson with a disaffected Frenchman who smokes all game long. “Zee Lakeres… zey do nussing for me. Zey are SHIT.”
Is it just me or do only guys eat breakfast cereal? Even the “healthy” shit. It is vegetarian, fortified, lots of fiber, but in my experience it is only consumed by men.
Women eat cereal. My wife eats so many Heritage Flakes that the Giant struggles to keep up with the supply.
We all know the best waffle is better than the best pancake, but is the worst waffle better than the worst pancake?
Whoa whoa whoa, who’s “we” here, buddyboy? Because I like pancakes more than waffles, so I’m not just gonna allow you to put waffle takes in my mouth without a court order. Your takes are not the world’s takes, god dammit. You can trust me when I say this because I know I never treat my opinions as definitive truths, nossir.
Anyway, yeah the worst waffle would be better than the worst pancake. I know because we keep Eggos in the freezer and they’re always reliably delicious. But if you get a dryass pancake, it’s basically cardboard. Bad pancakes don’t even soak up syrup right. To that end, heed my warning and never make pancakes using Bisquick. They’re fucking awful. I was stunned. I followed the recipe on the back of the box and everything. I got a half-dozen used frisbees as my reward. Why instant mix like Hungry Jack turns out flawlessly while the revered Bisquick fails to deliver anything resembling an edible pancake, I’ll never know. All I know is that if you got Bisquick, stick to biscuits with it.
Email of the week!
I went to a Cardinals game with my dad the year Mark McGwire would eventually hit 70 home runs. McGwire was at about 50 at the time, and so my dad and I sat out about six rows deep in the left field upper decks hoping we could catch one. Also, I was a broke 20 year old who’d offered to pay, and those were the worst seats in the house. It’s where the families and the drunks sit.
A couple innings in, this family came and sat in front of us. The mom and dad were already drunk and arguing, which left the kids to just throw food and wrestle. I thought about moving to different seats, but McGwire had already hit a home run into our section about six rows back, and so I thought it’d be stupid to tempt fate and move. Dad agreed. But if McGwire hit one and I caught it, I was going to fight the kids for it.
Eventually one kid slapped the other and the kid dropped something. Whatever it was rolled to my feet. I figured it was a keychain or some souvenir and I was sick of them, so I just kicked it. I heard it clink down the steps. It may have rolled all the way down and bounced into the lower decks. I didn’t care. Fuck this family.
The family stopped fighting and started looking around. They were scouring the rows in front of them and all down on their hands and knees the rest of the game looking for what they’d dropped. I was happy that they finally shut up and stopped fighting.
The game ended, and I didn’t catch a McGwire home run, and I was still happy that I’d ruined this family’s evening. As I’m leaving, I overhear the mom ask one of the kids, “Did you find it?”
And he is still sobbing and goes, “No, mom! I can’t find my GLASS EYE anywhere!”
I snuck past without saying anything but I’ve been wondering for the last 20+ years, did I just do the shittiest thing anybody has ever done at a baseball game?
No, because I know who Zack Hample is.