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Discourse Blog Birthday Week

Man, What The Hell? That’s the Ballgame Edition

Plus: porn, presidential punches, and high-speed motorboat heists!

IFC / YouTube Screengrab

“Man, What the Hell?” is our weekly news roundup that usually gets exclusively emailed to our Steward subscribers every Friday. As part of our Birthday Week celebrations, we’re making it available to everyone for free. If you like this and all of the other work we’re doing, please consider becoming a paid subscriber. Steward subscriptions start at just $10 a month, and you get tons of great benefits with your subscription. Just click here!

Wow. Here we are. I never thought we’d make it, but it’s finally arrived, this day of days. Finally, after years of whining at a pitch and frequency previously reserved for canine training whistles, the legendary “Snyder Cut” has arrived. Incredible! Bang! Biff! Pow! A bad movie that took two hours to roll credits has somehow been stretched on a medieval torture rack to last a full four and a half hours. Plus, this one’s got Jared Leto and the guy from Magic Mike (no, the other guy.) Someone call the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and tell them it’s time to cast a brand new Oscar — we’re immortalizing Zack Snyder in gold, baby!!!

No, I haven’t seen it yet. You think I’ve got that kind of time on my hands? Maybe when my preschooler turns 18 and moves out.

In the meantime, I’ll be here mourning the conclusion of my belated Brockmire binge — a show that was recommended to me as “the most vulgar thing I’ve ever seen” by my mother. She wasn’t kidding. If you’ve watched it, you know what I mean, and if you haven’t, well, I can’t recommend it enough. Yes, it’s profoundly vulgar, and yes, it does feature Hank Azaria’s bare ass in, like, the 2nd episode or something. But somehow, Brockmire has become a balm on my troubled soul these past harrowing months of what are hopefully waning pandemic days. Because, above all else, it’s a show that’s fundamentally about growth, and change, and getting better with the help of others. It’s the sort of thing that’s lifted my spirits after getting blasted with doom and depression each time I open the cursed bird app. I’ve spent the past few months foisting the show on friends (with some success!) hunting down clips online, and trying very hard to pace myself in order to make this Brockmire binge last as long as I could — a tricky proposition when each episode is only 22 minutes, and there’s only 32 episodes total.

But all good things etc etc etc,. So this week I finally said goodbye to my main source of media enjoyment and to characters who, over the course of those 32 episodes, somehow went on a fuller, more developed arc of personal growth than I’ve seen in most prestige dramas that drag across nine seasons before they (and we, the viewers) are finally put of their (and our) misery. I won’t bore you with what the show is actually about, or how it ends — if you really want to know, it’s on Hulu. You should watch! But, I did feel surprisingly bummed to finish it this week. Almost, dare I say?… “Emotional”?

So much of this past year has simply been an avalanche of binge-watches, feeding seamlessly from one into the next without a single after thought for what I’d just sat through. For some reason, though, this finale felt different. Like something really was ending, or was over, or was changing. Maybe it’s because I got my first COVID shot the other day, and both my wife and my parents are deuces with theirs. Maybe it’s because it’s finally warm here, and people are slowly coming out of hibernation without having to worry if they’ve been tricked by Fool’s Spring. Whatever the reason, finishing a silly little show about life and baseball and drinking and parenting suddenly felt meaningful in a way none of the other shows I’ve watched this past year have—like a threshold had been crossed, or at least, was about to be. Like ending this pandemic binge was about more than just running out of episodes to watch, but actually about closing one chapter to make way for something new.

That’s probably a good thing, right? I think so.

Anyway. Let’s get to it.

Oceans 2

I didn’t even know museum heists were a thing anymore, but evidently they are — at least, they are in Houston, where a pair of would-be Lupin IIIs used a motor boat to escape down the city’s Buffalo Bayou, after breaking into the Museum of Fine Arts. Fortunately (???) the pair were scared away when a museum alarm sounded, fleeing the scene —again, in a motor boat! — without getting their sticky bandit hands on anything of value. The two eventually ditched the boat and took off by foot through a storm drain tunnel and are currently at large.

While I would never dream of encouraging any sort of degeneracy or criminal shenanigans, I also wouldn’t mind living in a world where museum heist motorboat capers are a just a little more common.

Book of Pornmon

My entire understanding of the state of Utah comes almost exclusively from watching SLC Punk a few times in high school (I know, I know), watching The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City this past winter (I know, okay?) and a two-hour layover at an airport there when I was seven. It is into this relative vacuum, this absence, of Utah-specific knowledge that I came across the state’s H.B. 72, a piece of just-passed legislation that, should it be signed by Republican Gov. Spencer Cox, would mandate that any phone or tablet sold there have a “filter enabled at activation to prevent the user of the device from accessing material that is harmful to minors on the device.”

A full blown, statewide porn blocker.

While it’s unclear whether Cox will actually sign the bill into law (he has until the 25th to make up his mind) a part of me hopes he does, if only because kids these days really don’t understand the simple joy of stumbling across a box of vintage Playboys at a weird estate sale, or hidden somewhere in the woods.

Wax? Works!

I don’t have what you’d call a “head for business” and am, for the most part, incredibly bad at making money. Having said that, I can state with ABSOLUTE CERTAINTY that the folks at Louis Tussaud’s Waxworks in San Antonio, TX, are at least in the top 5 dumbest motherfuckers of the entire “celebrity wax statue” industry. I know this because this week museum staff removed a wax model of former President Donald Trump, and stuffed it in the facility storage room, because too many people were punching the damn thing in its big waxy face.

“Oh, but they just want to preserve the exhibit a bloo bloo bloo whaaa whaaa!” Bullshit!

Here’s a better idea: charge guests an extra…I don’t know? Twenty bucks?… for the pleasure — for the privilege! of walking right up to a life-size, lifelike facsimile of the former president and shoving their fist right into the statue’s jowly piehole. Imagine! There’d be lines around the block. I, personally, would be delighted to spend an afternoon just watching the fun go down.

This is a license to print money, and instead they’re wheeling his (fake) cottage cheese dumper into a back room and leaving it there. Idiots. Put me in charge of a wax museum, and watch the cash roll in.

Big Die Country

Can we get some Fs in the chat to pay respect for the entire state of Montana, which this week reported “the number of deaths exceeded the number of births in 2020 (12,018 deaths versus 10,791 live births), the first-year deaths exceeded births since records started in 1908.”

Not great!

Middle failson jumps to front of the line

What’s worse? That Eric “the pale one” Trump seemingly leapt ahead in line to get a COVID jab from one of his daddy’s tenants, or that he was described as being a “cool guy” in the process?

Personally, if I were the third-least-loved son out of the former president’s three unloved sons, I would simply spend my time at one of the many, many gaudy properties I own through a complicated network of shell companies and trustees, and not do the sort of thing that might remind people I not only exist, but am actively depriving them of important things like vaccines and, y’know…oxygen.

Things that made me say “No!” out loud











Who’s ready for the…

Did anything make you say “Man, what the hell?” this week? Perhaps out loud to a roommate, loved one, or disinterested household pet/plant? Misery loves company, so share your personal what the hells with us! And don’t forget to submit your Man, What The Hell? suggestions for next week to our dedicated inbox of horrors: