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Do Not Besmirch The “Add 30 Seconds” Microwave Button

The Prince of Wales looks closely at the Sanyo UK Microwave Oven from the Steel Life' range, during an award ceremony held at The Victoria and Albert Museum in central. * The Homes and Gardens Classical Design Awards, recognise and reward outstanding contempary British Design in everyday items, the magazine Readers Award went to the Sanyo oven which was chosen for unusually simple, pleasant and modern styling. (Photo by Peter Jordan - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images)
Peter Jordan/PA Images via Getty Images

Time for your weekly edition of the Defector Funbag. Got something on your mind? Email the Funbag. And buy Drew’s book, The Night The Lights Went Out, while you’re at it. Today, we're talking about quitting online living, mass extinction, shitty color guys, and more.

Your letters:


Why is 30 seconds the default increment for microwaving things? Why not 15? 20? 25? I know it's unscientific, but how and why did 30 seconds become the magic number?

How dare you sully the +30 button in this forum. That’s the best button on a microwave. Do you really want a +25 button instead? Should we all convert to Base 9 math for you, too? Get the fuck outta here. If you’ve ever nuked a breakfast pastry, you know that adding a full minute is way too long. If you’ve ever nuked some leftover coffee, you know that adding just five seconds won’t cut it. Thirty seconds is just enough to heat up whatever you got hanging around with just one to four quick pushes of that button. It’s our second-greatest feat of engineering as a species, right behind the LAST button on a TV remote. Respect it.


With the recent news of a potential “planet killer” asteroid near Earth, I’ve been wondering: what are the odds that you or I will be alive when some serious shit goes down? The Yellowstone caldera going off. A major asteroid impact. Some other event that’s sudden and dramatic (not like boring old climate change). These things do happen from time to time!

They do, but “from time to time” in these instances means once every 600,000 years (as in the case of Yellowstone) or once every 66 million years (as in the case of the asteroid that ended nearly all life on Earth during the Cretaceous period). Technically speaking, Yellowstone is actually overdue to erupt, but geology doesn’t schedule this shit in Google Calendar. The chances of you and me being alive to witness the end of the world are basically nonexistent. Even if global warming turns this planet into a perpetual steam bath, the chances are that mankind will still continue existing despite all that. You may not. You may get a face full of hurricane thanks to all of that delicious carbon we’ve pumped into the atmosphere, but a handful of hardy/lucky folks will keep on truckin’. Ditto nuclear war. Ditto the gun crisis. Ditto a global pandemic, as you just saw for yourself. There are eight billion people living here now. Try as the Joker might, it’s very, very hard to kill us all.

But the temptation to live through such tremendous content is so vast that millions of people love to invest in the idea of it happening while they’re still around. That’s true of Jesus freaks who always think the Rapture is coming after the next commercial break. It’s also true for the liberal denizens of the Glass Half-Empty Internet, who believe that the ends of both democracy and capitalism are only like a year away. Everyone wants to see how the story ends. Everyone wants to say they were there for it. Everyone wants their lives to be a movie. I’m the same way. I wake up every morning hoping that this is the day we make First Contact. And then the most eventful thing that happens that day is the Old Navy clerk ringing me up for a discount that I didn’t even know was included with my purchase. That’s how life is. It’s usually more mundane than you and I envision it. This is analytically predictable. But while you and I won’t get to live through the joy of mass extinction (sorry), you will get to live, which is fun in its own way.


What band name would you create using a Gratuito​​us Simpsons Quote? The more obscure the better.

Sorry to punt on this answer, but Fall Out Boy ruined that gambit entirely. What a fucking awful band. Never name your shit after other people’s shit.


After 12 years on Twitter, I finally deactivated my account. Apart from wanting to see good/nihilistic Mets tweets, I want out. But Twitter gives you thirty days before your deactivated account is fully wiped. I’ll log back in occasionally just to reset the clock on those thirty days. How can I let this dumb website go?

You’re already in the process of doing so. Quitting Twitter is like quitting anything else: it’s hard to do it all in one go. You’ve lived so much of your life on Twitter (I’m projecting here) that your mind will rebel if that part of your life is taken away suddenly and entirely. So you quit, and then you go crawling back, and then you feel ashamed, because everyone who’s ever quit Twitter and then come back has been roundly mocked for lacking the willpower to stay away. But really, you’re just abiding by routine human impulses when you boot that account back up. Think about the progress you’ve already made in between those returns. You’re moderating your own online intake. You’re not finished with Twitter, but you’re certainly consuming less of it than before. That’s progress.

I’ve had to learn the same lessons as you. I’ve written here about taking Twitter off of my phone, to the point where readers were like, “Hey did you take Twitter off of your phone? You never mention it.” So I apologize in advance for mentioning yet again. At least I didn’t steer this conversation into Vikings chat. Anyway, I used to look at both Twitter and Slack all the time, reading both apps from cover to cover every day. More often than not, those apps made me pissy. So I removed both of them from my phone and felt more at peace. I was done inviting 5,000 cooks into my brainkitchen. If you’re in here, you better fucking deserve to be.

But periodically, usually because I was working on the road, I’d have to reinstall both apps. I’d remove them from the home screen and squirrel them away in the app library, where they were just that much more difficult to access, enough to keep me from keeping both apps open all of the goddamn time. Then when I got home, I’d delete them again. When I first did the reinstall, I was like you fucking weakling; when the rest of Twitter finds out about this they’ll roast you on a spit. I got past that. I wasn’t weak, I was just weaning myself off the online teat. I control those apps, not the other way around.

So I never read those apps top to bottom anymore. I take in what I need and then fuck right off.  If I ever feel like those apps are putting me in a bad headspace—Election Day is usually a prime culprit—I take them off the phone entirely until I’m ready to have them back on. They’re both on my phone as I write this. But I swear to god, if one of you tweets a fucking gif at me, they go right back off.

While we’re on the subject…



Probably not. Even with Elon in charge, tweeting a picture of his own ballbag every morning with the caption “The wokes will hate this!” I’ll keep doing business with Twitter as long as Elon can keep the lights on. I’ve had more good times on Twitter than bad, and it’s still the best place for me to get NFL news in real time. If I stopped patronizing every business that had a shit owner, I’d basically have to live in a fucking cave. No thanks.

And if Twitter DOES die, which seems unlikely after it’s already survived all that mass attrition this month, I wouldn’t go frantically searching for a replacement. You can tell how many brains Twitter has ruined by the sheer number of people lately who have been like, “Oh my god lol where do I go now to force everyone else to be as miserable as I am about everything lol. Maybe Mastodon lol. Or Post lol. Or Globspiel lol. Lol.” It’s an understandable itch to have, but it elides the fact that, on a personal level, you and I don’t NEED a replacement for Twitter. You don’t need any of this shit. You’ve got other news sources. You’ve got actual friends and family. You’ll be just fine. People lived well before social media, and they’ll live well after it. Twitter goes dark, you go out for a burrito, and everything is still in its right place.


Do you think legal online gaming can be the thing to make soccer more popular in the United States, namely with prop bets?

Again, soccer already IS popular here in the United States. See for yourself…

That game was a scoreless draw, too. So it appears that a considerable number of Americans have grown out of their usual idiot gripes about the sport: not enough scoring, too many ties, the offsides rule, diving, etc. All of those grievances are strictly for the clouds now. This is the result of more people stateside having televised access to good soccer (in the form of EPL, Champions League, and others), and to homegrown superstars like Christian Pulisic. Good soccer stands on its own. It didn’t need gambling to blow up here. It just needed to be seen. And now it is.

I also don’t buy that gambling makes any sport, save for maybe horse racing. It’s almost always the other way around. If you think that I, or any other diehard football fan, watch the NFL strictly because of gambling, then you are fucking stupid. I love football for itself, as do millions upon millions of others. I’m not naïve. I know that putting some action on a game will keep you around during a blowout or whatever, but you don’t see me suddenly getting into college volleyball just because online sports betting in my state became a reality a week ago. Give sports more credit than that.


Would you rather be a regular on a sitcom, or the mainstay face of advertisements (Flo, et al)?

The latter. Flo and Lily and all of those big brand ambassadors make a fucking mint shooting ads that have a production schedule of two to four days, tops. Yes, everyone in America either wants to kill these people or fuck them, or often both, but it still beats being on a sitcom and working 15-hour days telling lukewarm jokes that Chuck Lorre dreamed up while he was out shopping for a new wife. More money for less work: that’s always the goal. Being super famous sucks either way.


Is it harder to make good Mexican or good Indian food? I think that the answer is Mexican food.

There’s no obvious answer here, especially if you’re talking about making that food from scratch. If you’re talking about a basic Taco Tuesday meal, Mexican food is easy to make because most of the components—the shells, the seasoning, etc—come pre-made, often in a kit. Like you’re at a goddamn summer camp. But you can also make tikka masala in a snap simply by using sauce from a jar. I’m not turning my nose up at either meal. I started out as a cook making jarred curry. I made it for dates in college, and one time it even worked (the girl ghosted me on the second date though). To this day, I still make semi-homemade tikka masala the same way, because it’s one of those rare easy dinners that everyone in the house will eat. My eternal thanks to Mr. Patak for his host of products.

But if you’re talking about authentic authentic food from either country—both of which are quite large and have literally millions of other dishes in their respective culinary arsenals—you and I’d probably need to apprentice with some master chef for two years before we could make anything properly. This is why I go to restaurants.



I just finished watching the Oklahoma-OK State game and watched the players from opposing teams meet after the game for handshakes. How many of these players are meeting for the first time? Or is it like everyone knows each other in some way? I'm also really high right now. 

I’d imagine a couple dudes from OU know a couple from Okie State, and vice versa. It’s bound to happen with homegrown talent, and even with dudes who hail from beyond state boundaries. These guys may have gone to high school together, or they may have openly admired each other online prior to the game and were happy to meet face to face. When I played college football, we invariably played against teams that had dudes I went to high school with. So I’d spend most of the game on the sideline being like, “Oh wow, that’s Walshie!” Then we’d line up for postgame handshakes and I’d be treated to a 10-second high school reunion. It was always a pleasant moment. Not even high when I tell you that.


I think we are in agreement that Mark Schlereth is the most annoying color guy in football. I would rather staple my ballbag to my leg than suffer through a quarter of football listening to him. My question is: could he be the most annoying person in all of sports commentating? Can you name someone worse?

Jonathan Vilma, Mark Jackson and Reggie Miller all spring to mind. Other Defector staffers have tried to convince me that Reggie has improved over the years, but I’m so traumatized from years listening to this man—who was one of most bloodless assassins I’ve ever seen play basketball—sound like a donkey that just got a wedgie that I can’t mentally accept the idea of him becoming suddenly palatable. I won’t do it. Never, you hear me? NEVER.

Otherwise, I can tolerate just about any other color guy you throw at me. I’m even fine with John Smoltz, likely because I only watch five baseball games a year. Ditto Gary Danielson, who absorbed enough good will from Verne Lundquist that I don’t mind hearing his voice every Saturday, even when it’s saying dumb things. We’re way past the old days of EVERY color guy being abominable: Phil Simms, Bill Maas, Ron Jaworski, etc. All of the studio guys are still dogshit, but most of our worst color guys (at least in the NFL) have been replaced with announcers who are still fairly anodyne but, unlike Schlereth, don’t go out of the way to commandeer the entire broadcast with their room-temperature IQ. The painful thing is that I know that Mark Schlereth knows way more football than I do. He offers proof of that every game, and he’s genuinely excited about this sport, which is more than I can say for Mark Jackson etc. And yet, I still want Schlereth dead. Life is funny that way.

Now, I’m gonna use Christian’s question to say something intensely controversial: I really liked Jason Garrett and Tony Dungy in the NBC booth on Thanksgiving night. I wanted to hate both men, especially Garrett, whose face screams PUNCHABLE and whose voice isn’t much better. And yet, Garrett told me actual, useful shit all game long. And then Dungy busted out an impromptu Denny Green impression that was flawless. I swear that’s not the homerism talking, because lord knows that game was touch and go all the way throughout. But those two didn’t make the tough moments worse, and they didn’t drown out the fun moments either. That’s all I can ask for. Your counterarguments are more than welcome down below.

(On a side note, by all means use our comment section to also evaluate the World Cup announcing teams, because I personally grade those announcers strictly by whether or not they’re British.)


Is there any man who does not close the dishwasher with a footflip?

Yes because they might get caught doing the footflip by the missus and then catch hell for it. Luckily for me, I can just say, “But honey, using my foot is better for my back!” Does my wife buy this excuse? No. But the key is that I don’t actually CARE if she does or not. My only life goal, outside of making a billion dollars, is to avoid bending down as much as I can.


My team, the Los Angeles Rams, went all in to trade for Matt Stafford and gave up all their future draft picks and salary cap flexibility. They won the Super Bowl and now look like they might be bad for a while. The Lakers (not my team) traded the future for Anthony Davis and won a title, and now they stink and have no assets for rebuilding. But both teams won it all. I bought a bunch of Rams Super Bowl swag because I didn't know if they'd ever win again. But how many years of crappiness is the one title worth? At what point am I allowed to complain that the team isn't winning? Regardless, it's better to be lousy after winning the title than to tank for half a decade like the 76ers and maybe never win anything as a result of the losing. 

You just answered your own question. Bill Simmons once said that every championship team gets a five-year grace period after the fact, but I don’t know a single fan (Simmons included) who has ever bothered to honor that grace period. As far as I’m concerned, they’re your team, so you get to complain about them anytime you like.

At the same time, I also know that a title is worth it. It may shock you to learn this, but I have indeed cheered for teams that have won it all. Not in this century, but still. I was a diehard Twins fan when they won two World Series titles in 1987 and 1991, and I was a diehard Michigan football fan when they won the national title in 1997. I wouldn’t trade those titles for anything, and lord knows that the devil gifted me MANY years of crappiness in exchange for all of those rings. I have zero regrets. Neither would you, no matter how much you complained about it.


What skill would you like to have that won’t change your life? I mean, you can’t say “I’d like to play basketball like Jordan” or something like that. Something you can’t do but that would be cool if you could do it well even if you couldn’t find a way to monetize it. For me, it would be whistling. I’m well past 50 years old and have never been able to whistle. Knowing how wouldn’t really do anything to change my life, but it would be fun to do. What’s yours?

Mine is a predictable list: speak a foreign language, be able to play a guitar or piano, and know how to drive stick shift. I “speak” Spanish, but only in the high school student sense. If I wanted to speak Spanish fluently, I’d have to marry a woman who speaks zero English and then move with her to Oaxaca. And even then, 20 years later, I’d still be at the tamale cart being like, “Como se dice ‘Sprite’?” So I’d like to have true command of another language, strictly for my sake and my sake alone. And then I’d like to fucking shred some riffs.

By the way, my 10-year-old didn’t know how to whistle for a long time and spent months practicing, on his own, to finally get the hang of it. Now he can whistle like a pro, and does so constantly. I walk into the kitchen now and an Old Spice ad breaks out. I’m very proud of the boy.


What do you remember from your weight training days? Currently I go to the gym with a notebook. If I can do three sets of 10, I give the exercise a check and write down a higher weight (5-10lb depending on muscle group) for next week. If I can do one or two sets of 10, I keep the same weight for the next week and if I fail at one set, I finish out the exercise at a reduced weight/higher rep count and drop the weight five to ten pounds for the next week. Is this effective? I’ve looked online and you get all kinds of different advice. I’m too cheap to get a personal trainer, so I need the regimen of a college football weight program.

That was pretty much the same program that our coaches gave us back when I played. I have no idea if it was the right way to do it, given that this was 25 years ago, and given that I was never able to get my bench press past the 225 mark. I just remember hitting the BEEFCAKE part of the week where you maxed out doing sets of just three reps, and that always made me feel like a colossus.

But I’m still the wrong dude to ask about weight training, given that I haven’t lifted since I was in my early 20s. I’d skip asking around online, because weight buffs online are a bizarre and officious lot, and instead ask a friend you trust for their own program. Make sure that friend is appropriately jacked. Or you can skip weights entirely. I’m at the age now where I’d rather be lean than buff, which means I do a lot of biking, cardio, yoga, and push-ups, and then I leave it at that. It does the job, AND I don’t have to fuck around with any dreaded resistance bands. I’m still strong enough to bring in the groceries, open tight jars, and perform other feats of Dad Strength. But I’m not popping vertebrae trying to squat as much as Jalen Hurts, so this is my sweet spot.

You may still yearn to be huge though, in which case I again advise you to chat with a friend. Or get a free personal training session from your gym and then bail.


We've got two kids already, and my wife has her heart set on a third. I'm on the fence. I feel like we're just getting back to having functioning brains because the kids sleep enough (the youngest is two). On the other hand, I love babies and this would be my chance to be a van guy. How hard was the change from two to three for you?

Here’s what you need to know about having that third kid: You are FUCKED for restaurants and hotel rooms. Any family of four can get a table in the blink of an eye. A table for five is an entirely different affair. Either you’re squeezing into a four-top, or the restaurant makes you wait 55 minutes so that they can graft a bar table onto a regular table to make an ad hoc five-top that angers everyone else in the dining room.

And then … hotels. If I tell Expedia that I’m looking for one hotel room for five people, it won’t even accept that input. It goes FUCK YOU YOU’RE GETTING TWO ROOMS. So get ready to rent a whole lot of Airbnbs. And don’t be surprised if you hear a lot of whistling.

Email of the week!


I just discovered a note on my desk that simply said "Email Drew Magary about pieces of toilet paper stuck in butt.” I don't remember writing this, and I cannot for the life of me begin to fathom what on earth I was thinking about when I wrote it down, beyond maybe something about bad gas station toilet paper? What's the dumbest note you've found to yourself, and why do we always seem to leave notes that make no sense a week later when you find it again?

I would tell you but the note I wrote that day is still illegible. No idea. Hope you got the TP out of your butt though.

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