Welcome back to "Ask Alex", where I answer all of your stupid questions with even dumber answers. Have a question you need answered? Tweet it, email it or submit it here and I will get to it (maybe) next week.
I’m still working through the questions I got last week, plus a couple new ones this week...I promise to write as fast as I can! I also wrote most of an answer about attempts to decrease 401K deductions, but I think I want to write that as a long-form piece, so I pulled it out of this and will hopefully get to it next week.
This week, Schadenfreudelish needs help dealing with assholes on Twitter, and Alex has some ideas! Candy O’Corn has some reproductive health questions that probably should have gone to his sixth grade Health teacher, but I guess I am the best alternative to that. GoSellCrazy doesn’t like the way we slice bagels and English Muffins, and I think he is onto something, damnit!
Bo the Cat thinks Fantasy Football is dorky, which makes sense on the surface, but runs counter to my own personal associations... Then we do a little bit of beer talk with Detroit Titan Up, which leads Alex to admit that she was a terrible parent and it wasn’t because her sister had a great fake ID at 17...
And finally, TJWFW asks the most obvious question I’ve ever gotten...who’s a better advice columnist, me or Jesse Kelly?
Submitted by: Schadenfreudelish
Is it considered bad form to respond to a dickish tweet? Or should one place tweet mode on ignore? Asking for me.
Bad form? Hell no! I’m not sure that it’s always a great idea, but it’s not bad form...I mean, isn’t that kind of what Twitter is all about?
Sure, there is some confusion over what is and isn’t a dickish tweet...and I have absolutely seen people reacted strongly to a tweet that I didn’t think was nearly as offensive as they took it. Sometimes it is a misunderstanding and sometimes it is just an assumption of intent that maybe wasn’t there. So, you run the risk of being a dick to someone who wasn’t trying to be a dick to you...but, as long as you are OK with that, then you should indulge your base impulses!
I think it is good to have some flexible insults handy for these situations. Making the aspiring dick feel unimportant is always a good strategy...obviously, the fact that they are putting in the effort to insult you means that they are assuming you care for their opinion, and dispossessing them of that idea is a good strategy. So, some derivative of “Who are you?” is a pretty good start. Tone-wise, you’re going for Edward the Longshanks' “Who is this person who speaks to me as though I needed his advice?”
Some other favorites of mine include “Is it physically painful to be that stupid?” or “Am I supposed to respond to this or only the stuff that’s not fucking inane?” Depending on the person being the dick, you might be able to find something in his or her bio to pick on. “You look like a ferret had sex with playdoh”, for example. The pettier, the better! The goal here isn't to be a reasonable or decent human being, it is to make the other person mad, no matter the personal cost!!!
Of course, the other thing you could do is absolutely nothing at all. When someone sends you a really nasty tweet, there is an automatic desire to send them a worse one in response. We all kind of naturally want to get the last word in, especially if we think someone is misunderstanding us or misrepresenting what we have said (sometimes intentionally). But here is a little secret...you don’t have to. You don’t have to respond or block or mute or report of do anything...you have the option to simply scroll by and ignore them. I feel like I do that a lot more now than I used to and it is quite liberating.
As an example...this was from maybe two months ago (I only remember because, for some weird reason, it gets retweeted like once every day still). My first instinct is to respond and call the operator of the account stupid for not being able to do basic math. Or read. And then for buying obvious falsehoods from Trumpkins over “daily work loads”. Or for the obvious fact that I finished school long before Common Core was even a thing. But really, what is the point of that? I say something nasty, they say something nasty back and we spend a day trying to out-insult each other. All that does is make everyone angry and pissy and defensive all the time.
Blocking is an option, too, although I don’t really like to block people. Too many Twitter accounts view a block as an accomplishment, and feeding their habit just validates their efforts. People like that take pride in being blocked, and love to follow the block up with an assertion that the blocker is too weak to admit they are wrong. Shit, just yesterday I saw a relatively popular mustachioed Twitter user (that most of you probably follow) cry victim over being blocked with the pretty classic “I have no idea why so-and-so blocked me!” Well, you must have a pretty shitty memory, because you raised a stupid, unrelated objection to something she said once, then you blocked her when she pointed out its stupidity and have spent four months crying because she blocked you back.
So my standard response now is nothing. I don’t block, or mute or respond...I just scroll past it and move on. Once you’ve moved it off of your screen, you will forget that it ever happened and you will feel dramatically better than you would if you were waiting for the next parry in a war of insults. Then, just remember that the insult does not impact you or the sender or the opinion of any single person anywhere, whether you care about those opinions or not. After you scroll past it, it has disappeared into the abyss of “old Tweets” and no one will ever spend another moment thinking about it.
It is very liberating!
Submitted by: Candy O’Corn
Where do babies come from?
Well, from my experience…
When a boy and a girl meet and fall in love, they get some special feelings, and they start to talk about things like having babies. The girl is pretty ambivalent about the whole thing, but the boy really, really wants a family, so the girl decides pretty early on that, since it is so important to the boy, she will sign up for at least one. And honestly, his enthusiasm makes her want one just a little bit more.
Then when the boy and the girl are about to get married, the girl decides that she would probably like to get this over with as soon as possible. She’s probably not that old (she’s, like, round numbers about 27 years, one month and 28 days old) but the sister she adopted is maybe like 15, and the idea of sending her off to college and then starting over immediately at newborn isn’t terribly exciting. Also, she’s about to start graduate school, after all, and she would rather deal with the infant stages while she is still in school, rather than when she goes back to work.
So, she consults her doctor and the Internet and her friends and they all tell her “Those little pills that you take every day? Well, this is really weird, but they’ve actually been keeping you from getting pregnant all this time!” Shut the front door!!! “But it takes a few months for them to wear off, so, if you think you might like to get pregnant in the Fall, you should stop taking them in the summer.” So the girl does, because she is a planner, right? And she has a plan.
Funny thing, though...what the doctor and the Internet and the friends don’t tell the girl, is that if you have taken those pills for a long time and then stop taking them, while it might take you awhile to get pregnant, there is also a chance that you will get pregnant right away. And if you do, it is a pretty strong chance that you will have MORE THAN ONE BABY. The girl is pretty sure that her husband knows this but doesn’t tell her as a way to hoodwink her into having more than one baby!
So then, while the girl was hoping to have a baby sometime in the next summer, it turns out that she is apparently fertile like a rabbit eating Clomid-soaked carrots and she ends up having two babies in April. Beyond that, most of those years are kind of a blur, but she is pretty sure that much hilarity ensues...
Hey...what kind of bees don’t sting?
My kids told me that joke. Or, more specifically, Twin #2 told me that joke and then Twin #1 responded with “Or boobies” and they giggled for a while. OK, I giggled, whatever.
Twin #2 also told me another one just last week...Why do witches wear name tags?
It’s so they can tell which witch is which!
Submitted by: TJWFW
If I have a question, should I #AskAlex or ask Doctor @JesseKellyDC?
Well, it depends on what kind of question you have, obviously. If you are looking for an indefensible and thoroughly nonsensical ranking of foods, music or, well, anything else, then Jesse is your guy. I mean, just today he announced that PF Chang’s makes the best Chinese food on earth. I suppose I should cut him some slack...his new hometown of Houston is, after all, the chain restaurant capital of the world (sorry @blazermc88!!!).
But c’mon...PF Chang’s is like the IKEA of Chinese Food: it’s cheap, hard to pronounce and perfectly adequate if you need to provide for a bunch of college kids. Analogy-wise, it’s better than the Nickelback of Chinese food, it is more thoroughly average than that. So, like, maybe the Maroon 5 of Chinese food? I dunno, I will have to think of that...
Actually, I sort of have to take that back...I make some pretty stupid lists myself. Like, for example, Thanksgiving food, or ranking the Spice Girls (Ginger, Posh, Scary, Baby, Sporty, in that order). Or ice cream (Chocolate Chip, anything with Peanut Butter, Mint Chocolate Chip, Oreo, Cookie Dough). Or Quarterbacks (Brady, yada yada, no one else matters). Or basketball players (Jordan, Russell, Magic, Kareem, Wilt). Or Kevin Costner sports movies (Bull Durham, Field of Dreams, Tin Cup, For the Love of The Game).
Or members of the Paw Patrol (Chase, Zuma, Skye, Marshall, Rubble, Everest, Rocky, Katie, Captain Turbot, Robodog, Chickaletta, their copy of “Pup Pup Boogie”, that eagle they met once, the guy who owns the restaurant, empty bags of dog food and then maybe Tracker).
Or best songs by Taylor Swift (Blank Space, You Belong With Me, Wildest Dreams, Love Story, Style), The Beatles (A Day in the Life, Hey Jude, Something, In My Life, Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight/The End), Bruce Springsteen (Badlands, Born to Run, Jungleland, Nebraska, Growin Up), Madonna (Ray of Light, Like a Prayer, Material Girl, Vogue, Express Yourself), Pearl Jam (Yellow Ledbetter, Betterman, Given to Fly, Alive, Black) or...should I stop now? I should probably stop now.
Most important list? How about best Twitter advice-givers.
Submitted by: Mr. Bo the Cat
How in the hell do guys who play in 15 different fantasy football league get laid? Asking for a friend
Are you implying that chicks don’t dig guys in Fantasy Football leagues? Well, how wrong you are!!! There is simply no greater turn on than hearing all about his key lineup decisions during date night every Saturday before Sunday’s games. I can’t overemphasize how much we care about this minutiae...and that goes not just for women, but for men, too. Literally EVERYONE wants to know whether you are starting Doug Martin or Lamar Miller this week.
Most importantly? This is an excuse to talk Misfit Fantasy football, which, by my own sarcastic theory above, none of you give a shit about but I am going to write anyway. Why? Because Alex is in first place, bitches! I beat @raymondWPS last week, and @vixenrogue took down @marcannem96, which leaves me all along atop the standings, looking down on you peons JUST LIKE IT SHOULD BE.
To your point, though, there is such a thing as too much fantasy sports. I feel like most people (usually, but not always guys) can handle maybe 3 teams without starting to take time away from things like “having a job” or “bathing”. But that is sort of dependent on how much time you devote to it. Like, we have a couple people in the Misfit League that are clearly not spending a whole lot of time on their fantasy teams (looking at you, Daryl!)...they could probably have 100 teams without impacting their lives very much.
My husband has been a fantasy sports player as long as I have known him, and honestly I have very little idea how many teams he has or who he is playing with at any given time, unless I ask. He must be too busy fooling me into getting pregnant to talk about it. With the exception of getting super excited about a trade he made to salvage his eventual championship baseball season after Bryce Harper got hurt this year, he is not one to give unsolicited recaps of the status of his teams. Which is good, because I would probably punch him in the nuts if he did…
BUT...funny NSFW story time...I always associate fantasy football with sex. One of the complications of having my sister move in with me when she did was that it severely cramped the amount of time available to devote to mischievous activities. Part of that was just simple scheduling, but a bigger part was my own desire for 10 year-old her to not be exposed to all of the things that an unencumbered 23 year-old me would have done otherwise. As one example, my husband and I dated for probably two years before he ever stayed over at our place.
However, our roommate at the time (who I now refer to as “pretend sister”) was in a fantasy football league with a bunch of her friends, and my sister joined her as co-owner. And every Sunday, the two of them would skip out after lunch and head over to one of their apartments to eat nachos and watch the games all afternoon...and CaligulAlex had the whole place to herself!!!
Needless to say, even before @shannityshair convinced me to start actually playing a couple of years ago, I have always been very fond of the concept of Fantasy Football...
Submitted by: GoSellCrazy
Why aren't bagels cut all the way through...English muffins as well?
I’ve always assumed that it was to keep the two pieces together as a single unit but make it easy to separate. You know, like a perforation. It’s just perforated bread.
But now that you mention it, it’s pretty fucking stupid. Either slice them or don’t, but America wasn’t built on half-measures, and our packaged baked good shouldn’t be, either. If we sliced them all the way through, would there really be an epidemic of mismatched halves of bagels and English muffins? I know you can put three pairs of socks in the dryer and reliably end up with five socks, but as far as I know the dryer gnomes don’t yet have the technology to penetrate a plastic bag, so slicing the bagel all the way through and then packaging it up should result in the two halves of the bagel staying together.
While we are on the subject, why do English muffins have a good half and a bad half? Is that just the way Thomas’ makes them, or is there something inherently flawed about the structure of an English muffin that causes the eater to automatically end up two very different halves: one a delicious concave half that toasts wonderfully and serves as a tasty and functional holder of butter and/or jam, and the other a bastardized, barely edible convex half that burns around the edges and ensures unequal distribution of whatever you are putting on the muffin.
Who is to blame for this...the nooks, or the crannies? I think it’s the crannies...fucking crannies…
Also, it’s not a fucking muffin, England, get your shit together. This is almost as bad as calling french fries “chips”, the trunk of your car “the boot” or using the expression “smoking a fag” without being criminally offensive. It’s a...well, I don’t even know what it is. A biscuit, sort of? Of course, you kneelers call your cookies “biscuits”, so I guess that’s taken. It’s almost a crumpet (“bubbly pancake”) but not really. So, I am not sure what to call it, but I’m calling on the Brits to go back to the drawing board and come up with a better name.
Although, before we rule out "muffin", now that I think about it, the ass end of the English Muffin shares some inherent flaws with the unwanted stump of a muffin...hmmm...
Submitted by: Detroit Titan Up
What beer pairs well with Pizza?
This question is sort of backwards, because the vast majority of beers pair well with pizza, and the list of beers that don’t pair well with pizza is going to be quite a bit shorter. Also, I’d say the same thing that I say when someone asks what wine pairs with what foods...whatever you want! Who gives a shit what some pretentious Francophile thinks you should drink? If you feel like drinking Cabernet with your haddock, or Pinot Grigio with your sirloin, then you should go ahead and do it without worrying about the opinion of some culinary school dropout.
You may run into trouble with overly flavored beers. Fall and winter come with a lot of heavily spiced beers that are maybe not great with food: cinnamon, nutmeg or pumpkin. Harpoon makes a Winter Warmer that is really delicious for about 8 ounces worth and then starts to taste syrupy and gross. I think that might clash with pizza. Things that are heavily hopped (like any of the million modern IPAs that seem to be in a hops arms race), or overly yeasty (like Belgian beers) don’t sound great to me with pizza, but part of that could be that I just don’t love those beers, so I may be applying that basic dislike to the pairing.
Your best bet, if you don’t know where to start, would probably be with the lightest, plainest beer you can find. If you are worried about drinking something that clashes with the taste of the food, a standard light-flavored lager is a good place to start. You can branch out from there! Bud Light doesn’t win a whole lot of beer festival awards...but I can think of a lot less appetizing beers to drink with pizza.
One more thing to think about, though, is the carbonation level. Pizza is salty and beer is fizzy. Combined, that can make for a very filling meal if you aren’t careful. It turns out that there is a pretty broad range of carbonation levels among beers, too. Those basic American Light beers listed about are maybe a little higher than average, carbonation-wise (Miller Lite is slightly less carbonated than Bud Light which is slightly less carbonated than Coors Light). British Ales, which are heavier in flavor, tend to be more lightly carbonated, and may therefore settle with pizza better. Newcastle Brown, for example, is going to be noticeably less gassy than most American beers. Porters, lambics and cask-conditioned beers tend to be pretty low in carbonation, too.
And you know what else? Take this as a public service announcement that you should drink more Guinness. This came up in the Misfit DM last week because I relayed a conversation with my 22 year-old sister who confided that she has never had a Guinness (I feel like I failed as a parent). Then @BlazerMc88 said she’d never had one, either, and that’s just not right! Guinness is an amazingly underappreciated beer...it’s got fewer calories and less alcohol than Bud LIght, and apropos to this discussion, less carbonation than almost any other non-still beer. It is generally regarded as a “heavy” beer because the burnt grain gives it a black color and rich flavor, but the truth is that it is much lighter than almost any other beer.
So, do yourself a favor when you are out this weekend...have at least one Guinness to remind yourself how incredibly good it is. Also, while drinking it, randomly shout “Mon the Hoops” as loud as you can in the bar...there’s a pretty strong chance someone will respond, and you’ll be singing songs from Carousel with them by midnight…
Alex’s Random Old Song of the Week
Around about the time they were discovering Dire Straits, my kids had an absolutely mind blowing musical experience. They were singing along to Ed Sheeran’s “Castle on a Hill” and I told them that, the part in the chorus where he sings “singing to Tiny Dancer” is about another song. A song that talks about another song?!?!? Well, that is pretty hard for a second grader to get her head around...but, it turns out that they’re pretty big fans, so this week, I give you some Elton John.
Two notes… One, that video is really cool. And two, this is one of two songs that I can think of that basically includes an entire repeat of itself. By that, I mean that the lyrics in second half of the song more or less repeat the entire first half of the song. This isn’t quite an exact repeat like the other song (which is one of my very favorites), but it’s pretty close. Super special bonus prize to whoever reads this far in the column AND identifies the other song;-)
Just a gaggle of people from all over who have similar interests and loud opinions mixed with a dose of humor. We met on Twitter.