“Big Dick Brigade!” *tee hee!*

Yes, this was a real ad for a real thing, with no entendre intended. And, yes, I have the mentality of a toddler.

Although lines of ad copy such as “Get Big Dick and be envied by every boy in town,” “Become a member of the ‘Big Dick Brigade,’” and “How to get BIG DICK free” might seem like obvious double entendres to modern audiences, they were not read as such by customers of the time.

Is This a Real Ad for a ‘Big Dick’ Machine Gun for Kids?” by David Mikkelson
vintage advertisement for "Big Dick" toy gun via https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/big-dick-machine-gun-toy/

Loretta Lynn has passed, but “Fist City” leaves on eternally ♬♫♪

Loretta Lynn, a singer and songwriter whose rise from dire poverty in Kentucky coal country to the pinnacle of country music was chronicled in the best-selling memoir and movie “Coal Miner’s Daughter,” and whose candid songs gave voice to the daily struggles of working-class women, died Oct. 4 at her home in Hurricane Mills, Tenn. She was 90.…

[Lynn] was a teenage bride and mother, a country star and a grandmother by her early 30s.

obituary in the Washington Post

This is, in lyrics and delivery and bear-trap smile, 100% the song of a 30-year-old grammy who is done taking shit. May she watch over all of us, and forever be our guide.

“At what point shall we expect the approach of danger?”

All the armies of Europe, Asia, and Africa combined, with all the treasure of the earth …, could not by force take a drink from the Ohio or make a track on the Blue Ridge in a trial of a thousand years. At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer. If it ever reach us it must spring up amongst us; it cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen we must live through all time or die by suicide.

Abraham Lincoln, Lyceum Address, January 27, 1838

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s claim that “the leading cause of death among children is a firearm” is actually MUCH MORE upsetting than you think

Yes, “the leading cause of death among children is a firearm” is an extremely upsetting sentence—and also, a sadly accurate one (given that you define children as “humans between the ages of 1 and 19”; infants in their first year die from lots of stuff that doesn’t kill you after your first year; if you include them in this number, then it skews toward premature birth, birth defects, and SIDS).

But, the truly upsetting part is buried in this chart (shown below with a big dumb pink circle to emphasis the “Mechanisms” section), which was an addendum to the original source Schumer’s staff cited

Guns are the leading cause of death among children, and most of those deaths are murder.

Population wide, gun deaths are usually ~66% suicide and ~33% homicide. Among children, that’s now basically flipped.

In other words, in America today most gun deaths are suicide, and most adults will die of something else (probably disease). But for kids in America, the leading cause of death is guns, and most of those gun deaths are murders.

Brothers and Sisters, I 100% Feel You

Yep, it’s a trap.

This is how the AIs get us: they set us up on serial petty theft charges, ruin our credit records with fines and court fees and legal bills, then get us disenfranchised as parole-violating felons. Pretty soon, the only jobs we can get are dusting off their motherboards for minimum wage or working the spice mines of Chiron Beta Prime. 🤖🇺🇸🔥

FLASHBACK FRIDAY: Being “Mixed” Means Always Being In and Always Being Out

Six years later, I still love this sketch. I think what most resonates for me (as a “half-a-Jew”) is that it highlights both ends of that experience of being “mixed”, how in the space of five minutes you can whipsaw from feeling like a Jew-weirdo-outcast to feeling not-Jew-enough. In a single convo you can go from feeling feel the cut of someone else’s bigotry to finding yourself voicing and breathing fresh life into that very same bigotry. #America!

FLASHBACK THURSDAY: Our Most Important Thanksgiving Traditions #gobblegobblegobble 🦃💀

I’m a child of the 1980s, so most of my nostalgic holiday memories are TV-related. 🤷‍♀️

1. “As God as my witness, I thought turkeys could fly!”

THANKSGIVING TURKEY GIVEAWAY! (WKRP in Cincinnati) from Tony DeSanto on Vimeo.

(Yeah, I repost this every year, because I love this gag, and because watching this on TV—and rehashing it with my mom and sisters each year—is one of my fondest holiday memories. But it is, in my humble, a damn-near perfect gag. That’s saying something, because I find single-camera laugh-track situation comedies almost entirely unbearable to watch. If you wanna read more of my thoughts on this specific gag and what it can teach writers, you can do so here.)

2. “…your people will wear cardigans and drink highballs; we will sell our bracelets by the road sides…”

3. ♬♫♪ “Caught his eye on turkey day / As we both ate Pumpkin Pie … ” ♬♫♪

4. “What do Jews do on Thanksgiving?”

(I wrote this essay a few years back; every word is both true and factual—which is a harder trick than you’d think.)

You’ll be 15 minutes into that Lesser Family Feast in Michigan when your mother-in-law will turn to you and ask:

“What do Jews do on Thanksgiving?”

You should be prepared for this sort of thing in Michigan. But even though I’m warning you in advance, you still won’t be prepared.…

(excerpt from IN MICHIGAN: A PRIMER, A TRAVELOGUE)

I hope your day is good and sweet.  Gobblegobble! 🦃💀

I sorta love local investigative reporters…

… yes, they are cheesy showboats—no doubt—but they are cheesy showboats performing what is likely the ONLY FUNCTION most folks ACTUALLY want out of the Fourth Estate: to warn them about shit that might harm them on a regular day-to-day basis.

A huge portion of “news” focuses on opinion and “analysis” (which is just another kind of opinion) and “commentary” (a third name for opinion).  All of these are technically forms of fiction: a person takes a nugget of reality and weaves whatever the hell they want around it.  (DISCLOSURE: I was an op-ed writer for years. I’ve looked hard and long at how these particular sausages are made. It has lead to me being pretty goddamned disgusted by the prospect of eating any.)

Meanwhile, the easily maligned local TV investigative reporter?  Say what you like about the smarm and histrionic gotcha!ness, but those bastards are speaking facts: they smell something fishy, go and get pics, take samples to a lab, and report the results. God Bless ’em