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Funbag

Juices, Ranked

Iraqis drink juice at a shop in a market in Iraq's central shrine city of Najaf on September 15, 2020, during the coronavirus pandemic. (Photo by Sabah ARAR / AFP) (Photo by SABAH ARAR/AFP via Getty Images)
Sabah Arar/AFP via Getty Images)

Time for your weekly edition of the Defector Funbag. Got something on your mind? Email the Funbag. And buy Drew’s novel, Point B, while you’re at it. Today, we’re talking about medals, Chinese takeout broccoli, Aaron Rodgers, doing chores on weed, and more.

Your letters:

Jack:

Orange juice is the best juice, right? (I will fight you if you say otherwise.)

It has to be good orange juice, though. The majority of orange juice sold in grocery stores across America is SHIT! It’s all pasteurized swill. The difference between plain-ass Tropicana and fresh-squeezed is so vast, they’re two different products. I simply won’t accept anything less than fresh-squeezed to accompany my sausage omelet. I’m a man of wealth and taste. In fact, I believe that the surfeit of shitty orange juice on the market has dragged ALL orange juice down in the definitive (my) juice rankings. So get ready to fight me, Jack. Because I’m gonna do those rankings RIGHT NOW.

  1. Passion fruit. They sell passion fruit juice at the Giant here and I always wanna buy it, but that juice also happen to contain a MILLION grams of sugar. Per teaspoon. That’s why it’s so good.
  2. Guava. My reigning juice theory is that if a juice is also sold as a NECTAR in Tetra Paks in the hotly contested International Foods Aisle, it’s one of the best juices you can get.  
  3. Cranberry. My dad bought unsweetened cranberry juice last summer and I drank it without knowing it was unsweetened. Damn near swallowed my own lips.
  4. Limeade. Putting limeade and lemonade on this list is a bit of a cheat. But it’s not like a glass of OJ is that much better for you, if it’s better for you at all. I like limeade better than lemonade, but Twitter has done battle with this take in the past.
  5. Lemonade. That cool refreshing drink
  6. Orange.
  7. Pineapple. I am not above drinking the leftover juice from the pineapple rings can. I used to mix it with vodka. Probably a good idea that I stopped drinking.
  8. Mango. Falls under the Nectar Rule.
  9. Grapefruit. My 8-year-old loves grapefruit, especially when he gets to squeeze out the remaining juice into a glass when he’s done. The two older kids hate grapefruit and are horrified by this love affair. They can’t even watch him eat one.
  10. Apple. When my wife had our kids, she couldn’t eat or drink before the births. They make you suck on ice chips instead. So when each kid finally came out, she was DYING for liquid, almost more than she wanted to hold the baby. I remember they gave her a huge fucking cup of apple juice one time. Ginger ale another. I will never enjoy anything I eat or drink as much as she enjoyed those post-birth drinks. By the way, apple juice has gotta be cold. Lukewarm apple juice makes the whole urine resemblance too much to bear.
  11. Cherry. I guess. Needs to be mixed with limeade for the full effect.
  12. Grape. I don’t think I’ve had grape juice in about 35 years.
  13. Pomegranate. Remember when this was a thing? People acting like POM juice was a skeleton key vaccine and shit?
  14. Tomato. I know people love it in Bloody Marys and on flights. I am not one of those people. I just can’t get on board with tomato juice. That means more for you. SO LUCKY!
  15. Please god no don’t make me think about it…
  16. Prune. Did you know prune juice is brown? It’s brown.

Chris:

Which sport has suffered worst from having no fans? I feel like hockey is nearly unwatchable with empty stadiums whereas I kind of enjoy basketball better with just the other players keeping up the energy.

OK, so the answer is college football. This college football season sucked for a million reasons. The decision to stage it at all was repugnant. The rosters were decimated. The games themselves were illegitimate. And no American sport thrives on atmosphere more than CFB does. I need the stadium to be packed with drunken students, even drunker alums, and Michigan fans sitting on their hands because they don’t really like football all that much. I need the tailgates and the unhinged College GameDay crowds and all that shit. Strip the crowds away from those games and it’s like watching a bunch of college athletes filling out a standardized test in real time. You see the sport for what it really is. The fun, which helps paper over so many of college football’s warts, is GONE. And college basketball hasn’t fared much better. I can’t bring myself to watch that shit right now.

As for pro sports, I watched a fan-less NFL season without a hitch. I really liked the bubble NBA season, but since they moved back to empty arenas the product is noticeably worse to me. I need the Zoom fans, plus the urgency of the bubble. This NBA season, so far, has reminded why I usually don’t start paying any attention to the NBA until after March Madness is over. The games are flat, and the absence of crowds only makes that flatness more pronounced. The best part of the season so far was when LeBron got into a fight with that sideline Karen. Felt like old times for half a second. If they stocked every pandemic NBA game with 1,000 mask-averse Karens from Orange County, all cordoned off in their own section a safe distance from the players, we might have something.

WWE has a Zoom fan section too, but it’s not enough. They need the rednecks to be IN the house. As for the NHL, I haven’t given a shit.

Brian:

Leaving aside the obvious issue of breaking dishes, which would be more effective for getting things clean: putting your dishes in the washing machine or putting your clothes in the dishwasher? 

The dishes in the washing machine. They’ll break, like you said, but the shards will be SPARKLING. Pristine. By contrast, at least once a week my dishwasher will see a bit of encrusted sauce on a fork and go, “Oh, I’m not cleaning that.” It’s a temperamental piece of shit, that machine. It’s not getting the soy sauce stains out of my hoodie.

Noah:

What’s the single item that’s introduced into the home due to having a kid that’s still in use at your house? For us, I’m thinking it’s going to be wipes. It’s gotta be wipes, right? Our three-year-old daughter is basically potty trained now but I’m pretty sure we’ll have a box of Kirkland wipes stashed in the garage and pouches in several rooms of the house, forever. I thought about some other things but nothing came close in terms of only-there-because-of-the-baby and also gonna-be-around-forever. They’re handy!

Hand sanitizer, too. We keep so much handsan and so many wipes in this house that we barely needed to buy extra when the stupid pandemic hit. We should have sold some of our shit on the black market at a hefty markup before the shortages ended. Alas, we didn’t, and now all I have to show for it are spotless hands and a totally unrelated and ethical income stream. HORRIBLE.

But yeah, those two items will remain in our household rotation well after my children have fucked off to college and what not. We’ve sold off all the baby equipment and even most of the kids’ toys (they’ve all graduated to only giving a fuck about screen time now). But hand sanitizer and wipes remain useful for obvious reasons. The number of people who have written into this column to be like BRO WIPE YOUR ASS WITH BABY WIPES BRO IT’S A GAMECHANGER numbers in the thousands. Everyone needs to calm down. It’s just your ass.

I can’t even think of other items that will endure through all of our childrearing efforts. I thought the minivan might become a permanent fixture of our existence. In fact, when I test drove the 2021 Sienna earlier this month for a review, I figured my wife would wanna upgrade to that car if we could swing it. But, in fact, driving that 2021 around made both of us realize we may not want another minivan at all. Clearly, we’re ready to become Cybertruck people.

The dog doesn’t count either, because it’s a dog. The only other candidate left are all the extra fleece blankets we keep around. Those blankets will now be part of our lives forever.

The Diaper Genie is long gone, though. Fuck off to hell, Diaper Genie.

Trent:

What quotable movies will be lost to the sands of time? I was on a conference call the other day and quoted a line from Say Anything. None of the people on the call (all millennials) knew what I was talking about and none had ever even seen the movie. I think some quotable movies are being passed down through the generations (my 16-year-old quotes Animal House and The Holy Grail), but what other great quotable movies will be completely lost on future generations?

Oh hey, I have a thermonuclear Say Anything take from my 15-year-old. She watched it the other night and it instantly became one of her favorite movies. And I was like, “Oh yeah! With the boombox!” And she goes, “Pfft. That was the dumbest part.” Meanwhile, that’s literally the only thing I remember from that goddamn movie. I guess Peter Gabriel doesn’t land with these kids the way he used to. I used to think “In Your Eyes” was the deepest shit in the world, but my daughter clearly lacks the corn gene necessary to appreciate it.

My kid aside, you’re being naïve if you expect people younger than you to have Say Anything committed to memory. Even though my generation is doing its utmost to force all of its childhood tastes onto our own children, not everything is gonna stick. My youngest bailed on the original Bill & Ted. My oldest bailed on Stripes. The middle one never watches movies at all. Those classic movies are my movies, not theirs. They want their own pop culture. Quotes from Star Wars and The Godfather and other behemoths will probably stick around forever, but you can’t expect more past that. Our movies are OLD to them, same way my folks’ favorite movies were old to me. I didn’t give a fuck about those movies, which is why people in your meeting were under no obligation to know or care about Cameron Crowe’s boomer-ass filmography.

Young people in 2021 don’t consume media the way you and I did. There was no internet back when I was growing up, so I had the time to watch Revenge of the Nerds 7,000 times (I legit wore out the VHS tape I recorded it on) and unwittingly learn the quotes in the process. That free swath of time for re-binging movies is gone now. People can just quote funny shit they saw online. Also, Hollywood doesn’t make comedies anymore because they can’t sell them abroad, and a lot of the best independent voices in movies today are either assimilated into the Disney Borg, or they’re working in TV.

And TV shows aren’t as quotable as movies because they’re long, and because there are so many of them. It’s a lot more diffuse, and the few things that DO manage to penetrate the collective psyche are shitty Whedonisms that could have come from any character in any big movie now. There are fewer voices in movies now (Scorsese nailed this a week ago), which means you have fewer people who inspire you, whose dialogue you’ll wanna repeat over and over again. All that quotability has migrated to other platforms. It’s not a worse development. It’s just different. The next generation’s culture isn’t yours, no matter how hard you try to make it that way.

HALFTIME!

Jon:

I was eating Chinese food leftovers tonight and noticed that the steamed broccoli in the container hadn’t been eaten – and certainly weren’t going to be eaten by me. Does anyone eat the broccoli in Chinese food? Is it supposed to be a garnish?

I’ll eat the broccoli in Chinese food so long as it’s sauced. Broccoli florets are like tiny sauce mops, so when you douse them in MSG-tastic brown sauce, they soak up all of that salty goodness. I’ll pick the water chestnuts out of my cashew chicken. That’s how little I think of water chestnuts. Sometimes the water chestnuts LOOK like pieces of chicken. This is sabotage and it makes me angry. But the broccoli in my Hunan chicken can stay.

Now, if the broccoli has NO sauce in it, then it’s worthless. I put myself on a big low-fat diet back in the mid-’90s. To stay disciplined, I ordered plain chicken and steamed broccoli whenever we got Chinese takeout. This is the shit you see on the LITE CHOICES section of the takeout menu, usually located on the lower right hand corner of the backside, just under the $5 express lunches. This is a sad fucking meal. A Skip Bayless meal. I ate few of the florets strictly for nutrition’s sake, but never finished all of them. The chicken I DESTROYED.

But I eat like a normal person again now, so I don’t fear Chinese takeout broccoli. The water chestnuts are still a waste of time.

David:

Assuming that State Farm keeps both of them as spokesmen next season, is it safe to say that we’re done seeing Rodgers and Mahomes together in any more of those god-awful ads? If you combine Rodgers’ notoriously thin skin with his fourth straight conference championship game loss, there’s a chance he goes full Christian Bale shooting one of those ads, right? You think Rodgers is back next year pushing State Farm on us all, or is Mahomes their guy now?

I assume he’ll be back. I don’t think Aaron Rodgers is some nightmare diva to work with on an ad shoot. That man saves his anger for far more intimate targets: his coaches, underperforming teammates, his family, Shailene Woodley three years from now, etc. He treasures his grudges like he’ll be buried with them. Those grudges are made with love. Lotta seasoning. Lotta checking the pot to stir. It takes a lot of years of resentment, perceived slights, and passive aggression to get the all the flavors JUST RIGHT. Aaron Rodgers can’t work similar magic on a mere one-day ad shoot. In fact, I bet Aaron Rodgers is downright professional in situations like that. Until the craft service van gets his order wrong. When THAT happens, he will plan a murder that he will commit a decade after the fact. But until then? Perfectly nice man.

Also yes, those ads are insufferable no matter who’s starring in them.

Aaron:

I’m wondering what your thoughts are on best household chores to do while high. Vacuuming would have to be at the top of the list because of its universal, year-round need (nothing like mowing the lawn while baked, but not all of us have lawns to mow for the whole year) and the ability to zone out and pay way too much attention to the pattern left on the carpet. Washing dishes by hand has to be at the bottom of the list due to the standing and the potential for serious cuts, but I think a ranking is in order.

Does cooking count as a chore? Because cooking is so clearly the No. 1 choice that I can’t even bring myself to think of it as a chore at all (although quarantine has very much tested my ability to enjoy cooking Every. Fucking. Night). I do NOT enjoy washing the dishes while jolly, because after eating I prefer to do nothing. I don’t like folding laundry while high. I definitely don’t like vacuuming while high. I don’t like doing household IT chores while high. I don’t like moving furniture while high. Those are all annoying and distracting jobs. Here are the only chores I WILL happily do while under the influence:

  • Cooking. Like I said.
  • Walking the dog. LOVE to hang with the dog when I’m stoned. He’s so fluffy and cool. And it’s nice to be outside, too!
  • Assembling things. You might think this is an AWFUL idea, but all of my FUCK THIS SHIT dad reflexes are pre-empted by weed, which means that I don’t freak out if I put something together wrong. I’m just like, “Well gee, that’s not right,” and then I fix it. Incredible.
  • Driving the kids to school in the morning.

That’s it! That’s the list.

Ben:

I haven’t heard any reporter ask the MOST important question about Champ and Major, namely, at night do they get to sleep in the same bed as the president and first lady or are they banished to the floor?

Dude, have you seen Champ and Major? They’re BIG fucking dogs. I’m sure the Lincoln Bedroom has a king-size in it, but still. Those dogs weigh more combined than Old Man Biden and his wife do. That’s too much bed real estate. Champ and Major gotta sleep on the floor, in their own gigantic doggie beds. I bet they don’t even get to sleep in the Lincoln Bedroom at all. What if nuclear war breaks out in the dead of night and the old man gets out of bed and trips over Champ? He could break a kneecap that way! NOT SAFE.

We let Carter sleep in our room last spring after he got eye surgery. Before that, Carter slept in his crate downstairs. But he was recovering and we wanted him close by in case anything went wrong. My wife put his little bed by ours and he was fucking OVERJOYED. He had made the big time. Anytime my wife told him it was time to sleep, he sprinted up those stairs like there was a raw steak waiting for him at the top.

And then, the bedroom got a little too precious to him. He’d bark at me whenever I entered the room, even late at night. He was like, “Actually, this is my room now and that’s my wife. Fuck you.”

Back downstairs and into the crate he went. Can’t have a GLORY DOG strutting around like he owns my room. KNOW YOUR PLACE, CARTER.

Jeremy:

What’s more desirable if you were a pro athlete: a top tier nickname (Megatron, Beast Mode, Nigerian Nightmare, etc) or having the crowd let out a prolonged “Dreeeeeeeeeewwwww” chant every time you make a shot/catch/hit/etc? I would imagine the former is way better in terms of #branding, but I always love a good cheer that sounds like boo but isn’t (I was saying Drew-urns). And an entire stadium cheering your name a few times a game must be pretty outstanding, too.  

“DREWWWWWWWWW” is a little close to “KUUUUUUUUUUHN” for my taste, but I’m not gonna wave off that thrill. They could also just go “DREW! DREW! DREW!” and that would do the job. That’s better than being gifted with The Mindflayer or some other cool handle. I don’t have the look, or the chin, to carry a cool nickname. I’d rather just have my real name be chanted in mass delirium. That would be fucking awesome. I’ve only been dreaming of that happening for 44 years now.

Mark:

A good portion of my life has turned into breaking down cardboard boxes. All shapes and sizes. Amazon, Target, Costco. How ‘bout you?

I got a reprieve from that at the beginning of the pandemic because my wife is heavy into Poshmark. We saved a few of the delivery boxes that arrived so she could ship out old sweaters to random people in Kentucky and what have you. But eventually the box supply FAR outstripped box demand. I tried to get away with shoving boxes into the recycling bin without breaking them down. Then my wife was like, “Drew.” Now I break them down like a good little boy so that they fit. It’s a more courteous way of destroying the Earth’s biosphere.

We haven’t ordered anything online in a while now. This wasn’t a conscious decision. There just hasn’t been much need for it. As a result, I’m going through care package withdrawal. Package delivery has been one of the consistent highlights of suburban quarantine. I may have to order a 30-pack of light bulbs from Walmart to get my fix.

Ian:

I got kind of high and imagined the NFL started giving out medals to all the players who won a game. Not for the playoffs mind you. Just a regular win. You win the game, everybody gets a little gold medal. It sounds stupid and nonsensical, but also totally on brand for what the NFL represents.

No, the NFL culture abhors the idea of participation trophies and medals. The only regular-season award they recognize is the FedEx Ground Player of the Week. So you can’t dole those out after every game. Instead, medals should be handed out to division winners and then to conference champions. No one gives a fuck about the Lamar Hunt trophy. Even Lamar Hunt’s CHILDREN don’t give a fuck about it. The better move is to line up all the players on a medal stand after a big win like that and have a tastefully dressed European woman hang a diamond-encrusted medal around each of their necks. That’s better television than a team passing around some heavy-ass tchotchke that means nothing compared to a Lombardi Trophy.

In general, medals are underutilized in sports. The only reason the Olympics still exist is because of the medal system. If worldwide pro leagues started bestowing their own gold medals, the Olympics would be rendered WORTHLESS. That’s a goddamn fact!

Email of the week!

Glen:

Back at university, there were these two lads in our wider friendship circle. One was a highly academic sort: he wrote shit poetry to girls he liked and to celebrate his record-breaking exam grades once cooked a very, very expensive chunk of fine steak with plain, boiled penne pasta because he knew how to cook literally nothing else. The other was a rich mommy’s boy with the most fantastic hair. Let’s call them Mick and Miles, respectively. Mick and Miles went shopping to the supermarket. Miles picks up a fruit salad priced at £2*. As they walk over to the self-service kiosk, Mick notices that there is a buy-one-get-one-half-price offer on the fruit salads and so he also picks one up. They go together to the kiosk and Miles rings in the items. Total: £3. Miles asks Mick for £1.50.

Mick is not happy with this math. He argues that he should only be paying £1: “You would be paying £2 anyway”, he says, “the benefit is thus to be all mine.” (He did use words like ‘thus’ when he spoke). Miles disagrees, telling Mick that his access to reduced pricing is because of him and so both should share in the spoils. In the end no agreement is reached and both buy their fruit salad separately for £2 each. I have told this tale many, many times (I am a bore just trotting out allegorical vignettes like this at every opportunity) and nearly all persons side with Miles. However, when I tell it to people who personally know Miles, and know how much of a wealthy mommy’s boy with great hair he is, those people always side with Mick. I have pondered much, too much, on what this means. Drew: is there ever a definitively right answer to who is in the wrong or is everything just relative? 

I’ll let the rest of you debate this one.