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Funbag

What’s The Best Time For The Sun To Set?

TOPSHOT - The Miami skyline is seen as the sun sets in the background in South Bay, Miami Beach, on February 24, 2021. (Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA / AFP) (Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP via Getty Images)
Chandan Khanna/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 dated email addresses, spices, the pandemic, porn actor chefs, and more.

Your letters:

Paul:

What is the ideal time for sunset? Everyone seems to agree that sunset at 5:00 during mid December sucks ass, but I think the sun setting at 9:00 in the middle of summer is too late. I say sunset around 7:30 is perfect. Dinner is usually finished by them, and I can settle into my recliner and relax just as it’s getting dark outside.

That’s still too early. Sometimes I wanna hang out outside after dinner is over. Sit on my deck. Walk the dog. Trespass onto the soccer field at a nearby private school to kick the ball around with my older son. Walk to the beach if we’re near one. I like having bonus dusk to enjoy all of that shit. That after-dinner walk on the beach is distinctly clutch. Sometimes we bring the dog (it’s legal after 5 p.m. at the beach we go to) and watch him race around like a fucking lunatic in the softening light. Best part of my vacation, every vacation.

So let’s say 8:15 p.m. is the best sunset time. That gives you an extended happy hour, and then the sun fucks off right when serious TV watching is at hand. When the sun sets any later I feel like I’m living in Scandinavia.

By the way, this answer changes if you have very small children. When my kids were still crib-bound, the sun needed to be gone by 7 p.m. and no later.

Logan:

As we approach the one year or so anniversary of when the pandemic was taken seriously (masks, distancing etc) in the US, I’m wondering what percentage of the population has not changed their lifestyle in ANY WAY since March of 2020? This should exclude things that were out of their control like not being able to go to the movies/sporting events/concerts. I’m talking things like never wearing a mask, seeing friends and family often, going to the bars and restaurants that were open in North Dakota, etc. Bonus question: What percentage of those people also DID NOT catch COVID because the world is a cruel never ending Mortal Kombat Stage Fatality?

How many people voted for Trump in November? 75 million? So, that many. Remember, part of the reason that the GOP won so many House seats in that election was because many Americans—true to form—APPROVED of their approach, or lack thereof, to addressing the pandemic. Really fucking stupid country that you and I live in right now.

I started off the pandemic as a truther. This was back in, like, January of 2020. That’s when reports of COVID spreading gained traction. But I had already lived through SARS and Zika and Ebola and other would-be pandemics that never ended up claiming as many American lives as COVID has (AIDS is the one pandemic of my lifetime to match COVID, but it broke out when I was too young and too ignorant to fully understand it). So I was like Whatever. This’ll all blow over.

Then March came around and shit got very real, very quickly. But I still wasn’t down with wearing a mask yet or anything. Took me another MONTH to start wearing one on the reg, and even then I only wore a mask inside because I hated wearing any mask at all. When I went on power walks outside, I didn’t wear a mask. Sometimes I covered my mouth and nose with my shirt if people came close. Other times, I simply turned my head away from them.

When we went to the beach in June, I explicitly told my wife, “I’m not wearing a stupid mask at the beach.” We never ate out. We never packed into bars or any of that shit. I wore a mask to the store, etc. We kept far away from everyone else, but I never wore a mask to the beach. I refused to do it.

I don’t blink at wearing a mask anymore. I wear one outside. My kids wear masks for youth sports and outdoor playdates. Masks are probably gonna be part of my routine going forward, vaccines or not, because I haven’t gotten sick at all during the pandemic.

[KNOCKS ON THE BIGGEST PIECE OF WOOD YOU’VE EVER FUCKING SEEN]

I have no doubt that wearing a mask in crowded spots is part of the reason why I’ve been so healthy over the past 12 months, so it makes sense me to keep wearing one to doctor’s offices and grocery stores and Roman orgies. Thanks to the rona (thanks, rona!), I’ve gradually become smarter about public hygiene, just as many of us have. It hasn’t been a FUN experience, although it’s been valuable in an unfortunate way.

But there’s a substantial number of shitbags and assholes out there who have been trained to believe that learning is for the weak. So they learn nothing and they do nothing. Let’s call it 40 percent of the American population. Those 40 percent never really GOT the pandemic, and so they kept listening to Kid Rock and hosting indoor baby showers and storming the Capitol rotunda. Some of them died. Some of them never got the rona. Some of them got the rona but only a mild case of it. Those last two groups … I’m not forgetting who you fuckers were and who you are. Since you’re so mask-averse, you can go right ahead and chow down on my naked asshole. Fuck you. Those of us who grew from this past year won’t be forgiving your sorry asses anytime soon.

Mike:

Shockingly you discussed both the Seahawks and Mariners on The Distraction for their respective (ugly) headlines this week. You should have also dredged up the departed Sonics just to fully complete the Seattle Sports gut shot.

I would have done that, but there was no need. This is because no one on Earth loves to bring up the Sonics more than Sonics fans do. You could be having a picnic with a Seattle person and it’d be like:

YOU: I really like this sesame noodle salad.

THEM: CLAY BENNETT IS AN ABORTION. I WILL KILL HIS WHOLE FAMILY.

I’m a hater by trade, so I appreciate the grudge. But lapsed Sonics fans love masochism almost as much as they love Gary Payton. They don’t get to play the TOO SOON card 13 years after the team left, especially since they’re the ones most likely to play it. Everyone is on your side, Seattle. No one is HAPPY that the Oklahoma City Thunder exist. Please believe that and strive to contain your inner Boston-ness. Besides, you have the Kraken coming soon! Who says no to the Kraken?

By the way, despite the fact that they’re run by absolute scum, I would like the Mariners to win a title in my lifetime. The first helmet sundae I ever ate at a baseball stadium was a Mariners helmet sundae, served at the Metrodome. I think they gave out helmets for every MLB team and I just happened to get the Mariners one. I cherished that helmet bowl. It’s weird what kinda shit you latch onto as a kid, but I liked my little Mariners helmet and I was happy when Ken Griffey Jr. made that team important. Mariners fans deserve better than Kevin Mather. Much better.

Sarah:

What movie star most often watches their own movies for general entertainment? My guess is Travolta.

OK, so we’re ruling out people like Tom Cruise who watch their own movies on an endless loop out of obsessive self-analysis, is that right? Because Tom Cruise definitely replays his own movies over and over, reviewing them like they’re still dailies. You see this part where I’m holding onto the plane as it’s taking off? I could have sold that better.

If we’re talking about a movie star watching themselves strictly for entertainment, it’s not Travolta. He’s too spaced out to bother. It has to be someone who isn’t very good anymore. Someone who has a MASSIVE ego, and the accompanying substance abuse problems to go with it. Someone who has nothing better to do. Folks, that’s Johnny Depp.

Trent:

In your next life, you’re reincarnated as a piece of sports equipment. What is it?

A SPORTS BRA, BRO! AWOOOOOOGA!

Anyway, my real answer is a snowboard. That would be a fucking blast. If the rider fucks up, tough shit for them. They break both hips while I gracefully slide all the way down the rest of the mountain without them. It’s the perfect gig.

Scott:

I manage a store that sells outdoor gear. We were closed for most of last spring due to COVID, but since we reopened in July business has been pretty good. People are looking for socially distanced ways to enjoy themselves so we’ve sold a steady stream of kayaks, bikes, backpacks, tents, snowshoes, etc. Our customers are required to wear masks and many also wear face shields and/or surgical gloves. But here’s the thing: a high percentage of these people, especially those wearing all three, PAY IN CASH! I thought it was a pretty well-established fact that, short of walking around with the TV remote from a Motel 6 in your pocket, cash was about the dirtiest thing you could keep on your person. Am I wrong!?

You are. It’s been established for a while now that surface transmission of the virus is barely a danger. I’m way past my rona truthering phase, so you can trust that I have reliable SAUCES for such information. So your customers are not undoing all their other personal rona protocols by handing you a wad of singles. If you’re like every other store right now, there are 7,000 handsan pumps located within a foot of that register anyway. You have resources at your disposal to do away with all of those filthy cash germs.

I’ve paid in cash for shit during the pandemic. One place was credit card only—it was a boutique ice cream sandwich store!—and I was fine with it. But otherwise, I can’t remember any of my cash exchanges being fraught with danger. I’m not paying in used nasal swabs. I don’t sneeze ONTO the money before handing it to people. If your customers wear masks and do the distancing and all that shit, chances are they also wash their hands regularly. Cash, as far as I’m concerned, is safe. And pretty. AND SO SEXY OH MY GOD I’D LOVE A GIANT DUFFEL BAG STUFFED WITH HUNDREDS RIGHT NOW THAT’D BE SHIT HOT.

By the way, I did shop with surgical gloves on once during the pandemic. Once. That was enough.

Steve:

Your answer to the question about mayo in Caesar dressing reminded me of the friend we still make fun of for claiming he hates mayo but likes aioli (obviously the same substance with different flavors added). While the dressing recipes you linked to do not have mayo as an ingredient, they are recipes for creating exactly that – a creamy emulsion of eggs and oil with various other flavors and an acid like vinegar or lemon juice. 

Steve, I can’t stress this enough: Fuck you with a shovel. WHAT DO YOU GOT SHIT IN YOUR EARS, ASSHOLE?

Zach:

Why don’t people in movies ever say bye on phone calls? Is this a thing among screenwriters? Should we all start doing this in real life?

In real life, all of us never pick up the phone. In movies and TV shows, no one says “bye” on the phone because that’s a waste of time. It’s easier, as a cheat, to just end the phone call whenever the critical information has been relayed. The audience doesn’t give a shit about the rest of the call, and neither does anyone in the edit bay. If you DO hear a character say goodbye on the phone in a movie, it’s because something AWFUL is about to happen to them. Then the “goodbye” has a point. Otherwise, we need to cut away from that scene and go right to the SWAT team raid.

HALFTIME!

Pat:

I had an AOL email address as my primary email for years until about 3 years ago. Over time, I became slightly embarrassed about it as it appeared that fewer and fewer people had aol.com as their suffix. Was I uncool because of my aol.com address? I used to justify it because I traveled a lot internationally in a previous career and, quite often, AOL was the only reliable dial-up internet access in places like Madagascar and Luxembourg and Trinidad and rural North Carolina. Other than Ted Leonsis and your grandmother, who do you think the last five AOL Mail users will be? Like the last living Confederate Army Veteran widow, will we celebrate and acknowledge the last living Earthlink user?

We will not. The use of services like Hotmail is not something that we need preserved in the Smithsonian for eternal posterity. Besides, there will ALWAYS be people who use antiquated email addresses. The in-joke we have at Defector is that every famous person has an aol.com address. It’s disturbingly prevalent among famous sportwriters, especially older ones. Bob Ryan signed up for AOL in 1999, got whatsatwixbar@aol.com that year, and never looked back.

There’s a certain breed of person—famous or otherwise—who is either averse to tech or has tech habits that they’ll never, ever change. Will Leitch still uses Yahoo mail and actively defends the practice. My wife still uses Yahoo mail because Gmail scares her. In fact, my wife used to give fake phone numbers when she registered for various accounts, which was a savvy move until the second something went wrong with that account. (Vincent Gardenia voice) AND SOMETHING ALWAYS WENT WRONG. She doesn’t do that as much anymore.

You have to evolve with technology the same way you gotta evolve with every other part of the culture. Yes, you can still use Lycos as your primary search engine if you like, just as you can still drive a ’76 Oldsmobile equipped with an AM radio and no windshield wipers. But for the sake of both convenience and your own reputation, you have to actually adopt some modern online practices. This is not me demanding that you open a TikTok account (my daughter told me, point blank, I’m not allowed to do that). But there does come a point where your willful technological ignorance is not as charming as you think it is. People who still have an AOL address need to get their shit together. The Venn diagram of those people and people who bitch about cancel culture is a perfect circle.

Scott:

My wife and I are expecting our second child this summer. Our son turned two in October and is fun as hell now. Ever since my wife and I started trying to get pregnant with baby #2, I’ve had this lingering feeling that I will miss it being just the three of us once the new baby arrives (and not just because newborns are objectively the worst – give me terrible twos 1000 times out of 1000). Did you experience anything like this (I guess we’ll call it simmering resentment that your unborn child will fuck up the family dynamic?) during any of your wife’s pregnancies? FWIW, I’m a second child, so there’s a greater than zero chance that baby #2 becomes my favorite. 

I have to address you anti-newborn stance first, before the rest of the internet eats you alive for it. Newborns are a complete pain in the ass, but they’re also fantastic little creatures. They’re adorable. They’re soft. You can put them in tiny dinosaur costumes and they’re powerless to stop you. All of that is fucking awesome. The spit-up, the lost sleep, and diarrhea explosions, less so. But calling newborns “the worst” is too far, sir.

Also, your two-year-old will turn three eventually. And lemme clue you in on something: three-year-olds SUCK. The terrible twos are overstated, but once kids turn three and four, they talk back with even greater ferocity and must be dealt with harshly. So don’t think your perfect little toddler is gonna be an angel forever. Every time you think you’ve got your kids solved, they go and change into entirely new people a few months later. Parenting is a carnival game I will never win.

So anyway, about your second kid. First of all, ditch the fucking attitude about newborns. Second, you will not miss it being just the three of you more than you two-year-old will. I assure you. You’re gonna hear the older one say some WILD shit when that new kid arrives. I hate it. Can we sell it? It’s ruining my life. I wish it had been born dead. Prepare yourself. You already have one kid, so you already know that none of this goes the way you think it might.

Third, and this is the most important, ACCEPT that the dynamics of your family will change when the next one drops. If you can’t, you’ll do a shit job. It’s perfectly normal to have fears about an incoming baby, regardless of whether or not you’ve already had one before. But the fears are just that. Take the time you need to process them, and then get busy mixing baby formula and whatnot. You’ll be nut-deep in parenting gruntwork, but that’s where the love happens.

Michael:

My wife and I used to watch Chopped religiously a few years ago, to the point where we’d seen nearly all the episodes. Then we had a kid, moved, etc. and our Chopped watching diminished to almost nothing. Cut to last week, and I decided to throw on Food Network on in the background as I made dinner, and an episode of Chopped was just starting. I turned it on just after the introductions, and there was one pretty good looking guy I immediately recognized, I assumed from a previous episode, and said to my wife, “Oh yeah, we’ve seen this one a while ago, it has the French guy.” As I kept watching, it gnawed at me that I knew this guy from somewhere else (and heard his French accent), and then it clicked that I’d seen him in multiple porn videos. A quick Google search confirmed this to be the case. I was correct to not mention my epiphany to my wife and pretend we had seen the episode before, right?

You sure are! I did some Googling to see if I can sort out the identity of your Chopped contestant. Instead, I found ANOTHER food competition contestant who used to work in the skintrade. His name is Emmanuel DelCour (Link SFW!!!), and his porn name was Jean Val Jean. Perhaps Jean got into porn so that he could buy bread for his sister’s starving children. THE VERY RANDY INSPECTOR JAVELIN WILL STOP AT NOTHING UNTIL VAL JEAN HAS BEEN APPREHENDED, HANDCUFFED, AND BLOWN BY TWO FRENCH MAIDS.

Kam:

Rank the grocery store spices on your spice rack. I’m not talking about the garam masala you bought at the specialty shop that one time you tried to make chicken vindaloo, I’m talking about the grocery store spices you pass by while you’re looking for the coffee cans, the ones everyone has in their kitchen. We’re talking oregano, cumin, chili powder, cayenne, garlic powder, salt, pepper, onion powder, dill, and so on. I gotta go with garlic salt at the top, followed by the pepper grinder. What say you?

Salt is No. 1. I don’t even need the food part of my food. Just the salt part. Yes I own a home blood-pressure monitor, why do you ask?

Lemme rank the others. I gotta go all the way over to my kitchen to make sure I didn’t forget anything, so thanks for the extra busywork, Kam.

  1. Salt
  2. Pepper
  3. Smoked paprika
  4. Cumin
  5. Oregano
  6. Poultry seasoning
  7. Old Bay
  8. Fennel seed
  9. Crushed red pepper
  10. Curry powder
  11. Garlic powder (this was one of those grocery items that mysteriously vanished during quarantine; I was dumbfounded)
  12. Cinnamon
  13. Cayenne pepper
  14. Turmeric
  15. Ground ginger
  16. Chili powder
  17. Ground cloves
  18. Ground thyme
  19. Celery salt
  20. Dill
  21. Nutmeg
  22. Onion salt
  23. Mayonnaise. I’M STILL MAD AT YOU, STEVE.

We have no garlic salt in the kitchen, because I just use garlic and salt together instead. Really a winning combination when you’re making cinnamon buns.

Michelle:

A work colleague told me yesterday about his brother (in Mexico) who came down with COVID. He was hospitalized but was given the option of continuing to stay in the hospital or recovering at home. He chose home, and so the hospital staff gave him some treatments to continue there. One treatment was, no kidding, laughing out loud as much as possible. They told him to watch funny movies, laugh a lot, and by extension, help increase his breathing capacity. So, I ask, what are your top 3-5 all-time LOL movies (I’ll extend this: or TV shows) that would help you get through COVID? P.S. My coworker’s brother recovered, thankfully!

This is a hard question because I’m far past the “re-watching comedy movies” phase of my life. When I was in my 20s, I watched Caddyshack enough times to memorize the script. The definitive boomer move. I don’t do that now. I need NEW comedy movies, and they don’t even make those anymore. I think the last new comedy movie I watched was Eurovision, and that movie was like FIVE hours long. I kept expecting Samwise Gamgee to pop up halfway through.

I’ve grown pickier about comedy as I’ve entered my 40s, and guess what? It sucks. All my life, I’ve hated people who are like, “It takes a lot to get me to laugh,” and now I might be one of them. Fuck me I wanna die. Lemme dig into the Youtube memory bank to get my fix:

Oh yeah, that’s the shit. I haven’t turned Full Asshole just yet! In theory, all I need is that video and Roth’s crab rangoon tweet, and I’m good to go. Throw in the first eight seasons of The Simpsons, every Dave Chappelle special, plus maybe Parks and Rec if you feel like it (I liked Parks and Rec a lot but never re-watched it). That would get me a-chucklin’.

But honestly, if I were laid up with COVID, I wouldn’t watch comedy at all. These days, I strictly wanna watch life-or-death shit. So instead of watching Slap Shot for the 900th time, I would probably watch all of Game of Thrones instead. I’d finally have the time for it. What a miracle.

Email of the week!

Scott:

Last year of college, my buddies and I hit the liquor store for some early Friday drinking. Buying some Jack Daniels, we were given a commemorative tin for some kind of anniversary or something. We return to the apartment to play video games and get drunk. One of my prankster friends goes off to the bathroom and no one gives it much thought. After a longer than normal bathroom visit, we began to hear some mischievous laughter. Our friend continues to laugh until he’s near hysteria. He opens the bathroom door and just can’t contain himself. 

No one can see what’s happening. Just an open door. There’s a thump followed by several clangs. Something hits the ground and the laughter never stopped. Everyone goes to see what’s happened. The prankster is doubled over with laughter with the tin and its contents spilled on the floor. He succeeded in filling the tin with shit in order to pull a prank, but he got so caught up in the idea, he fumbled the shit present and dropped it on the ground. I’m still friends with him to this day.

Shitting in a box is never as easy as it looks. I keep saying this.