Little bit of confusion at mailbag central this week. I got a lot of letters asking me for Christmas presents. Whoa. That’s not how this works. You’ve got the wrong guy. But, people obviously have the holidays on the brain. Welcome to the last mailbag of 2011. It’s OK to cry.
Q: So, I’m at a local beer purveyor. Wide selection, I’m off in my own world, weaving through the aisles. I see a woman bend down to pick up a case of Shock Top. Let’s just say, I’m not a fan. So, like I said, I was in self-entertainment mode, so when I see that case of beer I mouth the words, “That’s awful.” The thing is, this chick had powered out of her crouch, spun and made fleeting eye-contact. She made an odd face, like she had read my lips. Not possible, right? Bud Heavee, St. Louis, MO.
A: I’m going to say “not possible.” Not because people can’t read lips, but just because I guarantee this lady wasn’t paying attention to you. I don’t know what to make of her face. Perhaps you startled her, or she found your facial expression troubling, regardless she was hefting up a case of Peter King’s favorite beer–not reading lips. It’s funny that when people put themselves in a position like that they often assume the worst. They assign superhuman powers to people around them. I was talking junk about a guy once, a guy who played at the golf course I worked at, and a couple of my fellow employees and I were just hammering this guy as we left for the day. I’m not even sure we used his name, but the last thing I said was, “That guy can choke on a____.” A few seconds later we walk around a corner and that very guy is coming the other direction. Immediately I was like, “OH MY GOD, what if he heard me?” What if he has uncanny deduction abilities and the hearing skills of your everyday Labrador? I’M SCREWED. If I was being reasonable, I would have known he didn’t hear jackola, but I still worried about it for a while.
Q: What’s your go-to Wawa sub? Jared Fogle, Strained Belt, UT.
A: See, right away I can tell this question comes from a foreigner, because in these parts and in Wawa proper the sandwiches are called, “hoagies.” Have you not heard the Wawa Hoagie-Fest song, Jared? If I was answering your question to the letter, I’d have to say, Meatball Sub, because for some reason “sub” wins out over “hoagie” when you’re talking about meatballs. That’s REGARDLESS of location. Anyway, the reason I’m stalling is because I’m not the best guy to answer this question. I’m not really a hoagie lover. And, while Wawa is a retail nirvana in some ways–It’s not like they make GREAT hoagies. They have pretty good bread. I can say that. You know what Wawa apparently dominates? Soup. Again, that’s off-topic. My go-to is roast beef. It’s not great roast beef, but they started selling these cheddar and horseradish chips at Wawa and I load up the hoagie with those and it really turns a corner. If you’re polling the Mid-Atlantic region, I’d think Turkey and Meatball lead the way, and stay away from the chicken.
Q: Would you rather run a successful sports booking operation, or be a moderately successful sports gambler? I’m talking like, 56% winners–nothing special. You can ignore the fact that being a bookie is illegal, and assume that it would be your primary source of income. D. Jenny Ritt, Louisville, KY.
A: I think being a bookie epitomizes the phrase, “hard way to make an easy living.” Have you ever had to deal with a single degenerate gambler? It’s a nightmare. I don’t know how many “clients” you need to run a successful book, but I’d think it’d be at least a couple hundred. I guess you could weed out the real losers, but most people are just one bad bet away from turning into a total wreck. Plus, even if you are virtually guaranteed of making money, it strikes me as a stressful endeavor, or maybe taxing is the better word. It’s kind of like the people who make a living playing poker by playing 20,000 hands a day. And, as much as I like a bit of schadenfreude, I think it would eventually get old watching people run themselves into the ground. On the other hand, being a consistent 56% winner would be total bliss. Ok, so you have to hold down a real job as well, but consistently not losing money gambling on sports is great for the self-esteem. If you could be a casual gambler, not go broke and actually make a few bucks extra–That’s the dream right there.
Q: So, HBO cancelled Hung and How to Make it in America. I’m not going to act like I’m devastated about this news. Both shows were average, yet oddly watchable. How to Make it in America really captured the early Entourage spirit for me. You think HBO will ever find another 1/2 hour comedy with some lasting power? I guess hoping for another Curb is a little naive. Ron Donald, Hollywood, CA.
A: I actually liked How to Make it in America. If that means I have terrible taste in television–so be it. I think it was exactly what you’re looking for in a mindless, 1/2 hour show. I suppose if you are a hardcore New Yorker the show was cliche, or unauthentic, but I don’t give two bleeps about that. I’m not sure why cable television does better with the 1-hr drama than the 1/2-hour comedy. I think the advantages of cable, the ability to show what they want/say what they want probably helps the drama more. You put a comedy on HBO and you automatically think you need a sex scene every episode. That’s not really the case. There’s certainly never going to be another Curb, that’s like lamenting why Whitney isn’t as good as Seinfeld. 999 out of 1,000 TV shows aren’t that good. But, don’t get too depressed. There is good news regarding the 1/2 hour cable comedy. The Starz classic, Party Down, is possibly coming back as a movie. Party Down is by 9 miles the best premium cable comedy show from the last few years, and even if you’ve never seen it, you’ll recognize some of the faces. Adam Scott from Parks and Rec, Jane Lynch, Lizzie Caplan. Awesome cast, awesome premise–they need to make this movie.
Q: Do you ever get frustrated that the Chocolate Chip Cookie isn’t really a Christmas staple? Sure, I like other kinds of cookies, but sometimes you want to come back to old Mr. Reliable. Chip A. Hoy, Media, PA.
A: I know people who make chocolate chip at Christmas. It may not be traditional, but you have to GIVE THE PEOPLE WHAT THEY WANT. There’s also the neat little loophole of making the Christmas M&M cookie. This is a very similar cookie and you’ve made it festive with a very simple addition. An M&M cookie is not nearly as good as a chocolate chip cookie though–don’t get me started on that. All that said, I don’t think Christmas really is the time of year for the chocolate chip. It’d be like having corn on the cob with Christmas dinner. Ok, great, but this doesn’t feel quite right. There are other cookies that only have December to shine, so take a step back and let them have their moment of glory. You’ve got gingerbread, snickerdoodles, various incarnations of peanut butter and chocolate, what I call butter cookies–which are the ones you roll out and decorate with sugar. Are you feeling silly about complaining about the chocolate chip? I assume you probably are, so I’ll stop lecturing you and we can move on.
Q: What percentage of people do you think have a good time on New Year’s Eve? And, that’s not counting the people who lie about it. Whette Blanket, Miami, FL.
A: People do lie about it. Especially when they went to some party and a friend bailed. That party will always be the best party ever. You’d never give the person who didn’t come the satisfaction of saying anything else. New Year’s is a high-pressure holiday. I remember those years from like 21-25 where you sit around with the burden of dreaming up something EPIC for New Year’s. Sometimes these plans work out, and sometimes you end up in an overcrowded room, sweaty, sober and miserable. It’s a roll of the dice. I’ve spent New Year’s in basements, in seedy Atlantic City motels, in the quaint little hamlet of Cape May, NJ. I’ve been around a little bit. I’d say I have fun 45% of the time on New Year’s. The other times it feels forced, you’re paranoid about a DUI, whatever. I’m predisposed to being anti-New Year’s, though. Some people love it no matter what. The more claustrophobic the scene–the better. When you factor in those people, and factor in this cheesy movie coming out that’s going to have everyone looking at New Year’s with rose-colored glasses–I’m going to land on 59%. Fifty-nine percent of people of have a good time on New Year’s. That’s science.
Q: Who do you think is going to throw more TD passes next year, Peyton Manning or Tim Tebow? M. Shannahan, Landover, MD.
A: So, the question is, will Peyton play in 2012? There’s no way Tebow can out-TD pass an even moderately healthy Pey-Pey, right? RIGHT? Tebow has 11 TD passes this year. Let’s say he ends the season with 14. That’s GENEROUS. If he played the whole year, you might be looking at the 18 range, which doesn’t sound horrible until you look up Peyton Manning’s career stats. Peyton has never thrown less than 26 TDs. And, he’s only been under 30 once since 2006. Granted, we don’t know where or when Peyton will be playing again. Does he get shipped away from Indy and bogged down in some terrible offense (looking at you, Washington). Does he come out of the gate fine somewhere and get injured after a few games? Then, there’s Tebow. I believe Tebow will be in the league for a long time, but I don’t know that he’ll be starting at QB. He could be a gimmicky back up, he might play 15 plays a game at various positions, I’m not sure. There’s not even a guarantee he’ll start for Denver next year. Assuming he does, I think his best case scenario, everything breaking his way is 20-22 TDs and if I’m being blunt, he could also throw zero. I don’t think Pey-Pey’s going back to a Pro Bowl next year, but he’ll find a way to toss 25 TDs, even if it’s offset by 25 INTs.