The Easy Lie I Gimme Schalter №13

Ty Schalter
6 min readOct 20, 2021

When now-former Las Vegas Raiders coach Jon Gruden’s old racist, sexist, misogynist emails were leaked to the media, I had the same two reactions almost anyone connected to football did:

1) “This is horrible,”


2) “There are a lot of coaches, staffers, and executives around the league whose email history would reveal similarly repugnant thoughts.”

But as Gruden’s firing leaves the news cycle, and attention turns to the actual subject of the investigation, I want to highlight the fact that just because plenty of Football Guys are racist, sexist, homophobic and/or transphobic in their hearts, doesn’t mean that they all are, or all used to be.

Just because an older coach like Gruden spouts outdated attitudes when he’s not mic’d up, doesn’t mean that all older coaches do, or did. And just because younger coaches like Brandon Staley are standing up and saying all the right things, doesn’t mean plenty of Gruden’s contemporaries wouldn’t have done the same had those emails come out twenty years ago:

It’s a very natural, human tendency to let the most regressive people set the bar for everyone else.

It’s a lot easier to nod along when a fellow parent says that children shouldn’t be exposed to inappropriate books than it is to turn around and tell them that if cops are still accosting, arresting, imprisoning and killing Black kids at disproportional rates, then “The Hate U Give” isn’t inappropriate.

It’s a lot easier to accept someone’s assertion that Gruden is a product of his time than reply that actually, fellow former Mike Holmgren assistant Andy Reid has repeatedly surrounded himself with young Black quarterbacks and top Black assistants while making multiple Super Bowls with multiple teams. Meanwhile, Gruden’s public track record tracks with what we now know are his private thoughts.

It’s a lot easier to pretend we just have to wait until the old generation goes away, so the new generation’s more progressive views can take over. But Gruden was only 34 in 1998, when he was first named Raiders head coach — one of the youngest ever.

Equity, equality, diversity and inclusion are goals we achieve over time, but not simply by allowing time to pass. And when we lazily pretend history must always have been less equal, less diverse, and less inclusive than it is now, it doesn’t just become harder to track our progress. It becomes harder to make progess.

REVIEW: Kismile Countertop Ice Maker Machine with Self-Cleaning, 26LBS/24H Compact Automatic Ice Maker,9 Cubes Ready in 6–8 Minutes,Portable Ice Cube Maker, Perfect for Home/Kitchen/Office/Bar (Black)

Yes, that’s really what this doohickey is called: Kismile Counter top Ice Maker Machine with Self-Cleaning, 26LBS/24H Compact Automatic Ice Maker,9 Cubes Ready in 6–8 Minutes,Portable Ice Cube Maker, Perfect for Home/Kitchen/Office/Bar (Black).

Welcome to the future, where brands don’t exist and products are SEO-optimized!

I never had much use for ice makers; our fridge has one and we’ve never bothered hooking it up. But when my son started doing high-school soccer two-a-days, I found myself daily dropping $5.99 at the corner store on Big Bags of ice to soak his hurty legs.

Then we went on one of our frequent camping trips, and I again found myself going to the store and disbursing liquid funds for solid water. As usual, I’d had to choose between A) buying more than we could immediately use, knowing some of that money would melt into the carpet of my car, or B) spending the entire trip repeatedly running out for ice (and inevitably, C), doing both).

*pitch man voice* Well, NO LONGER!

This little guy just needs a regular power outlet and distilled water to crank out ice all day, all night. As it says in the name, it can make 26 pounds of ice in 24 hours (assuming you’re willing to pull an all-nighter emptying the cube tray and refilling the reservoir).

There are two different cube sizes, but I always go large; the hollow-rounded-cone shape provides plenty of surface area without melting too quickly. The tray holds a decent amount of ice, but once it fills (or the water runs out) you need to dump pretty quickly before the ice starts re-melting. And, as an ADHD guy, I sometimes forget to do either for long enough that the machine flips back on and re-freezes the ice I let melt.

There is a provided plastic scoop, so you don’t stick your gross hands in the ice — but there’s no place to stow it in the machine, or even place it anywhere on the sloped, angled, rounded chassis. I usually just remove the whole tray and dump it into whatever needs ice.

As you can see from the pic, though, it’s got a perfect little home in our pop-up camper, and it keeps us from fretting about anything going bad or getting warm while the ranger station is closed.

Is it a necessity? No. At $114, will it really “pay for itself” any time soon? Not…soon, no. Is it the Dadsiest Dad thing in the world? Absolutely, and I love it for it.

Everything Awesome

As a hardcore carnivore with what I call a “fat tooth” (Dessert? Why yes I will have more meat and cheese, thank you), I’m a sucker for pieces and videos like this — especially since my wife was veggie almost the entire time we dated and well into our marriage, and our 13-year-old has been veggie for most of her life.

But what’s compelling about this piece — besides being deeply personal and sublimely written — is that it repeatedly baits you with exactly what it isn’t going to be: A vegetarian going to a steakhouse and having one bite.

The meal, and the piece, is so much more than that.

Inspired by Adam J. Calhoun’s project to strip famous novels down to just their punctuation, Thompson not only created a little tool to do the same for any section of text, but reflected on what this “literary X-ray vision” told him about his writing.

For example, here’s last week’s Gimme Schalter. Talk about seeing the seams:

The em-dashes I knew about. But, uh, the commas?!?

As I’ve talked about on here quite often, I’m officiating soccer for the first time this fall. So of course I’d be into a behind-the-stripes piece on two of the most famous soccer referees ever.

Wahl’s been one of the best sportswriters, and possibly the best soccer writer, for longer than I’ve been writing. His piece on how Howard Webb and Bibiana Steinhaus-Webb ended up married (to each other!) is fascinating, funny, and fun.

I discovered “Art But Make It Sports” this week, thanks to this delightful illustration of the current Big Story in the NFL:

The whole rest of the account is a whole lot more of that, combining art history with sports wisecrackery. It’s Ty-nip, is what I’m saying.

According to this interview with FOX Sports’s Charlotte Wilder, creator LJ Rader is a sports-data guy making most of these memes out of pictures he took at museums. He’s a real fine-art enthusiast as well as a real sports fiend, and the care he’s taken in making these memes truly elevates the art form.


I got some time to dig into my notes for A&A early this week, and finished a first draft of the synopsis. On the recommendation of I also picked up a potential comp title: Sarah Rees Brennan’s “In Other Lands,” and I plan to dig into it while doing one last final last camping trip for the year.

I also should be able to do some exploratory scene drafting!



Ty Schalter

Professional writer & talker (@FiveThirtyEight, etc.). Sports things & nerd stuff. Rather cleverer than most men; mistakes correspondingly huger. He/him.