I could dig around and find startling statistics about the growth of whiskey consumption in the United States, but why bother? TV dramas use bottles of Pappy Van Winkle as a medium of exchange for high class bribery, and everyone has a friend with at least a modest whiskey collection that has to be toured and appreciated before they’ll pour you a drink.

The growth in whiskey popularity has roughly coincided with the growth of social media — all those new whiskey people thrust into a communications timesuck where more-or-less anything goes and, like life on the African veldt, everyone’s…

Dear Meme Manufacturer, I Believe I Was Mislead,

I am a long-time fan of your products. I found “Ten Amazing Things You Didn’t Know About Nazi Germany” so entertaining that I forwarded it to all 116 of my social media followers, especially the Jewish ones. It’s fair to say “Panda-lympics” changed how I think about both gymnastics and morbid obesity.

I recently encountered your “The Funniest Wedding Moments Ever Captured”. Having a certain amount of experience with weddings — I’ve been married four times — it was with great anticipation that I clicked through to see what I was confident…

The biggest weakness in the assault weapons ban of 1994 was how it defined “assault weapon”. The law banned firearms with specific types of grips and stocks, and whether the gun accommodated accessories like flash-suppressors and bayonets. (Because bayonets are such a huge problem.) In effect, the law banned the kinds of weapons people unfamiliar with firearms find fearsome.

Memorial for Pulse Nightclub Shooting

We should get over that. If the goal is to decrease mass murder, we should forget what guns look like and put limits on how well they work. We should make them less efficient.

There are three key differences between assault…

I understand the urge to scorn Boomers. We make no sense to younger people. We think we’re edgy and cute doing things that look to those younger/edgier/cuter than we are about as outré as cutting the grass. Like, for example, displaying our undergrad education by using italicised French in an introductory paragraph.

Lord knows those of us in the never-trust-anyone-over-thirty generation deserve some karmic leveling, so scorn away. But when we Boomers leave the stage —I mean, if we leave the stage; we’re spending your inheritance trying to live forever— we deserve respect for our significant cultural accomplishments. …

Certain human activities are being robotized out of significance. Grocery store clerks, factory welders, and office stenographers are basically gone. There is worry about what will happen to the truck drivers, librarians and letter carriers soon to follow. But in our public discussion about the artificially intelligent future, no one mentions what may be the biggest disruption of all: the replacement of teenagers with robots.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates the annual cost of maintaining a teenager at just under $14,000. Traditionally, in exchange for these subsidies, teens have performed services, doing things adults like to have done but…

We ain’t nothin’ and it’s time we started acting like it

I’ve been a magazine writer twice.

My first career took place in the 1980s — the era of big, glossy magazines appealing to broad audiences. Writing then was a genteel game run largely by a New York establishment that adhered to certain conventions. Writers submitted pitches on paper by surface mail to editors who considered the ideas and, if uninterested, inserted pre-printed rejection cards into the writer-provided, self-addressed stamped envelope to let the writer know to shop the article somewhere else.

After 20 years working in television and doing start-ups, I’ve returned to my first love and am a magazine…

Here’s something I love that I haven’t been able to squeeze into anything:

Lisa Carver, PhD, is an assistant professor in the School of Kinesiology & Health Studies, Queen’s University, Canada. Earlier this year she published the results of a study she constructed to determine how old people feel. That is, as she called it, people’s “age inside”.

“Age inside,” she explained in her paper, published in The International Journal of Aging Research, “is a type of self-reported, subjective age, that is unconstrained by years lived or physical health.”

In other words, it’s the statistical establishment of the adage “you’re…

Arthur Laffer, who poisoned Republican brains with the fairy tale that tax cuts pay for themselves, has found a new and exciting way to be wrong. As he once discarded the universally-held belief that taxes bring revenue to the government, he is now disposing of the idea that time is linear. His case study is the way Obama caused an economic collapse that started long before he took office. His dire warning is that electing a Democrat in 2020 will have the same cataclysmic result.

Most economists chalk the Great Recession up to the short-sighted irresponsibility of the mortgage industry…

Stroke of Genius: America’s Forgotten Champion

Human achievement is most awesome when one of the common folk, doing common things, rises to greatness. Da Vinci’s representation of distance and perspective may have forever changed the way humans perceive their world, but it fails to register more than a brief “oh really?” from the general public. On the other hand, I have seen people wait an hour to sit at the counter in a diner where the fry-cook can prepare and present a dozen breakfasts, keep-up a running argument with a waitress, and smoke a cigarette all at the same time.

Joseph Mulhatten, Liar

If there is a single person who can claim to be the father of modern fake news, it was a 19th Century traveling salesman from Louisville, Kentucky, named Joseph Mulhatten. For 20 years, he spiked American newspapers with outlandish tales people simply could not resist. Called, in his time, “the greatest American liar”, he rode hundreds of made-up scoops to a fame so complete that “mulhatten” came to mean any obviously false tale that the public nonetheless believed.

In modern terms, the story that Hillary Clinton ran an illicit sex ring out of a pizza parlor would be known as…

Tom Johnson

Writer, planner, marketer, political junkie, Cubs fan, whiskey sniffer, wine collector, wiseguy.

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