Here at The Triangle, we are committed to answering your most burning questions. In the second issue of our mailbag, the Bake Shop, we discuss a new era of sports films, the people we’d want to be reborn as, and false prophets.
Q: I'm trying to get some of my friends more interested in baseball. That said, what would make a better movie: A friendly competition for MVP between Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder turns ugly or Bud Selig kidnaps Brewers' owner Mark Attanasio's family and demanding the Brewers back as ransom payment?
— Justin W.
Bakes: Definitely going with the Bud Selig kidnapping plot here, just in hopes that the movie can be called The Ref 2: The Ump and bring back both Denis Leary (as Bud Selig) and Kevin Spacey (as Mark Attanasio). We'll also find a role somewhere for Christine Baranski and the guy who played Santa Claus.
The more I'm thinking about this the more I'm getting really into it. The potential for side characters is incredible: Mark Attanasio has two sons, one of whom plays bass in a band called Pan Am that calls The Kinks and Oasis its major influences. And Mark's brother Paul is a screenwriter who wrote the scripts for, among other things, Donnie Brasco and Quiz Show, and is now an executive producer of House. Things could get all weird and meta! Maybe Spike Jonze would sign on!
Oh, and Attanasio's in-real-life elderly father sings the national anthem at every season opener, which means the movie could also include some kind of race against time through the streets of Milwaukee on Opening Day and/or a scene where Denis Leary-as-Selig is forced to disguise himself as one of the racing sausages (please be Cinco, please be Cinco) except oops, he ends up having to run in the race! Can I preorder this movie on Amazon yet?
Q: Katie, I'm a Washington Redskin fan and I don't know how many panned TV shots of the blank eyed Rex Grossman, the leathered Mike Shanahan, and the smug Dan Snyder I can take. My question is what do I have to root for besides some sort of bad Disney movie scenario where this team gets switched with the '92 Skins yet it's set in present day and the '92 Skins can't cope with twitter and high jinks ensue!
— Ross G.
Bakes: Ross G, meet Justin W. I'll let you two sort out between yourselves which one will be the Ben here and which is the Matt. All I ask is that nobody dump me via Oprah.
Q: Since when is a serving size of Girl Scout Thin Mints just 4 cookies ? Who is the idiot that came up with that? Everyone knows a serving of Girl Scout Thin Mints is 1 sleeve.
— Doug M.
Bakes: Serving sizes are impractical, judgmental, and terrifying. (This video does a delightful job of outlining why, and of exposing dark secrets about pasta and sauce.) Have you ever actually measured out just one "serving" of pasta? It's usually about half a cup, which is enough to fill roughly half of a baseball. The muffins or bagels you had for breakfast today were those nice big ones they have at the train station coffee shop, weren't they? Mmm, sounds delicious, and sounds like you just had three or four servings of muffin or bagel, you slob. Don't even get me started on what constitutes a serving of cheese or, worse, wine. "Over the years we’ve looked and laughed at many serving sizes,” recalls one lobbyist to the New York Times. Here, play around with this handy portion-size plate and prepare to fear food for the rest of your life!
Q: My question is how do you think the Canucks will do this season, can they improve or will we see a regression?
— Tim D.
Bakes: This is a little bit like asking about whether the 18-1 New England Patriots could improve upon that season the following year. The Canucks had the NHL's best record last season and also led the league in nearly every goal-scoring category, setting new franchise records along the way. They were one game away from winning the Stanley Cup. For the Canucks, the bar is already set so high that it's probably foolish to expect, game by game, the same kind of marked dominance they displayed last year — particularly during this upcoming season's early months, when impact players like Ryan Kesler and Mason Raymond will still be recovering from injury. (Kesler seems to be incorporating Twitter into his recovery.)
That said, getting to the playoffs won't be the hard part, even if Vancouver can't top its league-best 2010-11 season. The President's Trophy was nice, but it's historically not the best route to the Cup. Vancouver will almost certainly win the weak Northwest division, good for a guaranteed top-3 playoff seed. Once the playoffs begin, the regular season means little. But despite the losses of guys like Christian Ehrhoff and Raffi Torres (sad!), the Canucks will ultimately have back the vast majority of what was thisclose to being a Cup-winning team.
Q: If you had to relive your life as someone else, where would Jay-Z and Beyonce's kid rank? Gotta be at least top 20 right?
— David G.
Bakes: I think it would crack the Top 10 (by the way, we need to do some sort of pool about what the name will be!), which led me to realize that most of my picks fall into several broad categories:
- The Celebrity Child
Pros: Having a stylist, tickets to whatever, having Sasha Fierce and Jigga as your freaking mom and dad.
Cons: Paparazzi, hard not to turn out kinda bonkers, not necessarily getting to see parents much, finding out crucial life events via TMZ.
Sample celebrity child I'd want to relive life as: Babyonce Carter-Knowles.
- The Ridiculous Athlete
Pros: Adrenaline rushes, trophies, the thrill of victory, being a physical specimen, getting paid, being dope.
Cons: Have to go to the gym a lot, the agony of defeat, the potential for post-athlete bloat.
Sample ridiculous athlete I'd want to relive life as: Steve Yzerman
- The Guy Who's Got It All Figured Out
Pros: Spending summers fishing and winters skiing, getting lots of free gear and food from friends all around town, knowing all the good house-sitting gigs.
Cons: Sore knees, hard to return to the real world for any period of time, speech may deteriorate.
Sample guy who's got it all figured out I'd want to relive life as: Everyone I know in Jackson Hole, Wy.
- The Gwyneth Paltrow
Pros: Gwyneth Paltrow.
Cons: Gwyneth Paltrow.
Sample Gwyneth Paltrow I'd want to relive life as: Gwyneth Paltrow.
- The Great Man/Tycoon/Hedge Fund Manager
Pros: Power, influence, mansions, cash, everything the light touches being your kingdom.
Cons: People probably hate you. Actually, they definitely hate you.
Sample great man/tycoon/hedge fund manager I'd want to relive life as: Richard Perry.
- The Great Man/Tycoon/Hedge Fund Manager's Child/Wife
Pros: All the above benefits, but with none of the work.
Cons: Possible daddy issues.
Sample great man/tycoon/hedge fund manager's child/wife I'd want to relieve life as: A Jones girl. (That one is even wearing a Giants jersey! This should work out nicely.)
Q: Just heard the song 'Empire State of Mind' for the first time in awhile, and I wondered: What do we do with the line "If Jesus payin' LeBron I'm payin' Dwayne Wade"?
— Bethany R.
Bakes: You have come to exactly the right place, Bethany R., because Grantland's own David Cho happens to be the celebrated author of THE definitive treatise on this oft-misheard subject. (Hint: As with certain Seal songs, it's all just code for cocaine.) THE MORE YOU KNOW!
Q: ms baker, surely you are getting lambasted for your choice of the "snapbackiest" snapback, so i just need to clarify. if your criteria is that its a sports hat with a snapback, then anything other than what you chose would have sufficed. A) thank god you arent my woman and B) thank god im not a Ducks fan because C) i would have had to either D) begrudgingly wear a hideous hat you chose for me or E) never put that on my head which would have caused me to F) never get laid again. now i only said thank god you arent my woman in regards to the hat selection, not through anything personal. anywho, a charlotte hornets cursive styled snapback is on the mt rushmore. thanks. oh and tell your boy bill simmons that his boy, paul shirley has an eerily similar writers website, except that mr shirleys is richie cunninghams foul shot to y'alls rick berrys
— Matt B.
Bakes: Fully agreed on part A, and I’ll be sure to let Simmons know, but the Charlotte Hornets have always felt more to me like the Starterest Starter jacket, itself an impressive distinction.
Speaking of which: One anonymous mailbag writer who actually worked in the industry wrote in to say that "the snapback was easily my best seller … I'd say the snapbackiest snapback is actually the Vancouver Grizzlies — couldn't keep those in stock." And what about Starter jackets? "Starter jackets are coming back, by way of Mitchell & Ness. You'll see them in the fall. Don't tell them I told you."
See, this is why The Triangle mailbag exists. Mitchell & Ness. Coming this fall. People helping people. Just look at this happy customer who took me up on my recent suggestion to browse the bucolic settings of Prince Edward Islands via Google Street View:
Q: Katie, upon your recommendation to streetview Murray Harbour, PEI this was the first image that I was presented with. I was less than impressed.
— Shane B.
That picture is actually a live feed of the exterior of the Bake Shop. I’d wave, but I locked myself out and got stuck trying to climb back into the window. We’ll be selling nothing but Thin Mints by the sleeve until further notice.
Q: What is the best story you've ever heard that is almost-certainly apocryphal? This could be something that's pretty widely known (Richard Gere + gerbil) or a rumor that spread around your hometown and just wouldn't die.
- Dale N.
Bakes: Just a few weeks ago I was at dinner with a pal from high school and her boyfriend, and they told me about a girl they knew out in Montana who had moved to Brooklyn a few years back and ended up dog-sitting for her boss while he and his family went on a two-week vacation. A few mornings in, she went to feed the dog and discovered it was dead. Horrified (and a little bit scared she'd be blamed), she called her boss, who blithely responded that the dog "had seemed kinda sick" and asked her to bring the remains to the vet. She asked how she should do that. "Use the big suitcase in the hall closet," he said.
She dragged the dead dog into the suitcase and wheeled everything into the elevator and outside. Unable to find a cab, she decided she could handle the subway, but had trouble getting the lumpy luggage down the stairs. A man approached her and asked if he could offer a hand.
"Thank you so much," she said, half grateful and half nervous she'd have some explaining to do.
"Wow, this is heavy — what's in here?" the man said. "Oh, just a lot of electronics," she replied, trying to sound nonchalant. But as she said it she could feel her cheeks flushing. What a dumb answer, she thought to herself. It doesn't feel anything like electronics. And what if this guy is some undercover cop?
But the man said nothing, and helped her carry the suitcase all the way down the stairs. When the train arrived, he even helped make sure the bag's wheels didn't get caught in the gap between the platform and the train as she stepped aboard. And as the doors closed, before she even knew what was happening, he yanked the bag from her hand and made off, rolling it briskly behind him down the station and out of sight.
Anyway, thanks to your question/the Internet my rapt innocence has been shattered, and now yours has too. (Apparently this story falls under the same genre as another one referred to as "the purloined breast milk." I love Snopes.)
I should note, though, that while hearing this live for the first time I loudly interrupted my friends to announce "You have GOT to be kidding me. I would have DEMANDED the family send over a car service" and then spent the rest of the story waiting for the girl to get her bag searched by the NYPD on the subway platform. I lived in New York for too long.
Q: I'm very uncomfortable asking this question of anyone I know personally, so I've come to you. Here goes: Is Tim Tebow a false prophet? I was promised certain things, both verbally and subliminally, and I'm pretty sure being a 4th-string QB on a crappy team still pining for the most statistically overrated signal caller in the history of the NFL ain't gonna cut it. Is it possible that Tebow's girlish throwing motion is so overwhelmingly ineffective that not even Jesus Christ himself can get him on the field??? My soul screeches for answers.
— Karl C.
Bakes: One of these days there is going to be a mini Tebow Rapture in which he sees unexpected playing time after all the quarterbacks ahead of him are injured in an Any Given Sunday-esque sequence, throws for a fluky game-winning touchdown, and then is instantly Taken along with only his most devout believers. You need to decide where you want to be headed that day. I (and Tim, and Tim’s mom) will be praying for you in this time of tested faith.
Q: I'm going back to school to earn my Masters next week. How long before it's socially acceptable before I friend request the hot girls in my class? Is there an over/under on number of conversations I need to have with them to prevent from being considered a creeper?
— Kris K.
Bakes: This depends a lot on the details of your Masters. If you're studying, like, Renaissance History, or Mechanical Engineering, then I say friend away at random: If it's a small program, you'll end up meeting everyone pretty soon anyway, and clearly you've already got lots of strange things in common. If you're in b-school, on the other hand, then (a) why didn't you just say so? and (b) that changes everything.
From what very little I've been able to ascertain about business school — like a cult, you can only "get it" after it's already gotten you — it seems like an eccentric and expensive world where homework is called "case studies" and must be completed in groups, with every group consisting at least 85 percent of Type A personalities; talking to someone is called "networking" and immediately enters both parties into a binding lifetime agreement that they will "reach out" for endless referrals and small favors until their dying days; and people are now being awarded scholarships for tweeting haikus.
The point being: I can't pretend to know how Facebook works in such an apocalyptic environment as b-school. We've got the full range of crazy: I've seen people who join the CLASS OF 2013 Facebook groups the second they're established and friend every last classmate before even arriving on campus. These people love "networking." But I could also imagine a Tracy Flick type hoarding friend requests, accepting them only strategically, and then writing papers about the practice that include the phrases "social currency" and "as Groucho Marx said …" These people are the ones who will ruin your silly case studies, and someday, your life.
It's a scary world out there, in both love and academia. Godspeed, good soldier.
Previously from Bake Shop: Bake Shop: Snapbacks, Oreo Cookies, and Brad Richards
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If you have a question for Bake Shop, send it to Triangle@Grantland.com. We will try our best to help. Or at least Katie will.