question time 8: the curse of question time

What the hell does “hacky” mean?

Hey, watch the potty mouth, honey! Families read this blog! Ha ha, just kidding, nobody reads this blog. Swear all you want! Why not drop an F-bomb or two? Who’ll notice? Frankly, given that I routinely infuriate every last human being I come into contact with, I’m a little disappointed no one has yet seen fit to unleash a frustration-fueled torrent of vulgarity upon my person. Lord knows I deserve it, and it would be 38 percent more interesting than anything I have ever posted here.

Also ha ha, just kidding, I probably should not have called you “honey.” You are honey in neither the literal nor figurative sense. That is classic demeaning sexual harassment-type language and I deeply regret contributing to a hostile reading environment for you broads. Wait, I mean skirts. Okay, I probably should not have said those things either. (At least I did not deploy the c-word, so give me a little credit.) If I were ever to ask a question at a televised presidential town hall event, a la Ken Bone, I suspect that this paragraph would come back to haunt me, possibly limiting me to 11 minutes of Internet fame. 12 minutes, max.

Anyway, Shannon is asking this because my original social media request for questions alluded to my “hacky” answers. The dictionary defines “hacky” as “lacking originality; hackneyed,” and there’s nothing more unoriginal and hackneyed than deploying a dictionary definition. I promised you hacky, and I like to think I’ve more than delivered.

You’re welcome.

Are we there yet?

Question for you, Robert: where is there? If by “there,” you mean Grandma’s house, then no, we are not there yet. If, however, by “there,” you mean “right on the precipice of societal collapse into a hellish, anarchic murderscape,” then yes, we are most definitely there.

I know you were probably making a reference to the typical refrain you hear from the kids in the backseat on long road trips. This is not something I have had to deal with all that much, because I refuse to make long car trips with my children unless they agree to remain unconscious for the entire drive. We accomplish this by leaving at like 10:00 pm and driving through the middle of the night to our destination. The advantages are clear: the highways are near-empty, the car is quiet, and I can listen to podcasts and whatnot in peace. Disadvantage: I am driving a large motor vehicle, carrying children, in the middle of the night, without sleep. About 3:00 or 4:00 am, this is basically me:

Last year, on a hideous overnight drive from Kansas City to Florida, somewhere south of Nashville I had to pull over and relinquish the wheel to The Wife because–in a combination of highway hypnosis and sheer physical exhaustion–I was hallucinating giant soup ladles on the horizon. I am not making this up.

I assume they were a hallucination, anyway. We were approaching the Alabama border. Alabama. I would not put it past those people to erect a giant psychedelic disappearing airborne ladle mountain to welcome weary travelers to their state. Wouldn’t be the craziest thing that ever happened in Alabama.

Price, we know that you are a discerning beer aficionado. Riddle me this, if you were forced to choose between drinking Natural Ice and the fermented sweat from a feral goat strained through a dirty gym sock, which would you choose? Would its temperature have any bearing on the decision?

Was the goat sweat barrel-aged? Served in proper glassware (snifter, obviously, or a tulip glass if a snifter is unavailable)? At the proper temperature (precisely 283.5 degrees Kelvin)? Was the gym sock made of sustainably grown cotton, sourced from local farms run by guys with giant beards and ladies with tattoos and copious underarm hair?

Assuming you answered “yes” to all of those questions, then would I gleefully consume goat sweat over mass-produced skunky American lager-style pisswater? SWEET LORD NO. Pass me that Natty Ice, bro! Sure, I am one of those unbearable Craft Beer Guys, but I’m not crazy. I mean, here’s the thing: all things being equal, I’ll choose something lovingly crafted in small batches over any given AnmillerCoorsch swill, but even I am not so blindly loyal to the Craft Beer Movement that I assume that the trappings of that movement automatically make a beer good.

On a trip out of town a couple weeks ago I tried some beers at a small craft brewery that I had been wanting to try for a while, and it was all I could do to keep from gagging. They were horrible! If I thought watery disinfectant was worth drinking, I’d purchase some spring water and Mr. Clean and make my own at home. At that moment, I would have gladly taken a Natural Ice, if only to wash the taste of that nasty craft beer out of my mouth. Look, I’m all about supporting the little guy, but geez, little guy… you gotta meet me halfway.

All that said, don’t even try to tell me some craft brewery isn’t RIGHT NOW thinking about brewing and marketing a Feral Goat Sweat Double IPA. (Of course it would be an IPA. Of course it would.)

What does 42 smell like?

Late in 2012, at the end of a long season training to run a marathon, I injured my knee and got knocked out of the running game for like a year-and-a-half. (I’ve mentioned this before.) 2013 was a very long year. Every time I tried to get back into running, I hit a wall. Not a literal wall, though I might as well have, because the results were the same: I was in pain, I was angry, and I couldn’t run. If you think I’m hard to live with now, you should have been around in 2013. How my family put up with my passive-aggressive snippiness all year is a mystery to me. I imagine that every time they saw a pillow, there was an intense internal debate on whether or not they should push me to the ground and press that pillow tight to my scowling face.

I was 42 in 2013. 42 stank for me, Dan. It stank on ice. 42 smelled like failure. It smelled like an overflowing camp toilet thrown into the dumpster behind the Red Lobster. Sure, I would have preferred a pleasant melding of leather, sandalwood, and french fries, but we can’t always get what we want.

For everyone else, though? 42 smells like fermented sweat from a feral goat strained through a dirty gym sock.

Are snipes real?

They're real, and they're spectacular.

How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Roll pop?
-A different Shannon

Don’t ask me! Just watch this classic 1970s ad that OH MY GOD SHUT UP, did you know there’s an extended version of that old commercial? The one with the crudely animated turtle and owl? The one that looks like it was drawn by a drunken cartoonist with his non-dominant hand, with backgrounds painted by a concussed three-year-old? Turns out BIG LOLLIPOP was not telling us the whole story.

I had no idea this existed. My whole life, I’ve only seen the truncated version that starts with the elderly turtle and lops off the sick owl burn at the end. How has this version been hidden from me for the better part of a half-century? Of course that naked Charlie Brown-sounding kid would have sought the wisdom of a manic cow and a creepy blind fox! Why wouldn’t he? It seems so wrong on its face, yet it makes a bizarre kind of sense, like finding a lost season of Knight Rider in which he drove a Pacer with the voice of Carol Channing.

Actually, that… that idea is gold. GOLD. I will vote for any presidential candidate, regardless of party, who will make the timely production of this show a plank in his or her platform.

Hasselhoff/Channing 2016: NOW MORE THAN EVER