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Are Tater Tots French Fries?

Illustration for article titled Are Tater Tots French Fries?
FunbagTime for your weekly edition of the Deadspin Funbag. Got something on your mind? Email the Funbag.

Your letters:


Aren’t tater tots just a type of French fry? I have posed this question to friends, and nobody agrees with me. They’re fried potatoes cut up in a different way just like any other French-fry variation (crinkly, curly steak, shoestring, etc.). Why do tater tots get their own category?


They aren’t French fries. I know they’re in the French-fry aisle, and they come in the same kind of red Ore-Ida bag, and you dip them in ketchup, but they’re not fries.

This is wandering into that dangerous “Is a hot dog a sandwich?” flame-war arena, but a French fry is a single piece of potato that’s been fried up into any number of shapes and salted for your eating pleasure. A tater tot is different because it’s a bunch of little potato pieces mushed into a shotgun shell and THEN fried. It’s an aggregation of potato meat, just like a McNugget. They probably hold the potato up in the factory and blast it with a fire hose to collect all the tot bits. It’s not a humane way to treat a potato.


Thus, tater tots are NOT French fries. If they were, they’d be called tater fries, but they’re not. GAME SET AND DREW. Hash browns aren’t fries either. And neither are home fr—oh shit, that just fucked my argument. Anyway, tater tots aren’t allowed in the French-fry club. They get banished to the nerd table, forever subjected to horrible Napoleon Dynamite references.


How many guys on the men’s side do you think Serena Williams would have a legitimate chance of beating? Say everyone ranked 20th and lower?

Is it three sets or five? Shouldn’t the women also play five sets? There are plenty of good reasons for certain sports to have differing rules for men and women, but the three-set rule isn’t one of them. “Why, if these fine women play for an extra hour, we may have to summon the fainting couch!” They can last. Women give birth and run marathons and shit. They can handle five sets. We should stop coddling them, by God.

Anyway, I digress. In a three-set match, I think Serena Williams would have a legitimate chance to beat pretty much any male player, with maybe the exception of the top two or three guys. I’m not just being some thirsty asshole when I say that. (UPDATE: Or maybe I am! Turns out I was wrong as hell.) Women can serve a tennis ball nearly as fast as men can, plus they possess the same kind of lightness and agility that gives, say, female gymnasts and skaters an edge over their male counterparts. And their shrill outcries could distract any male player who is ill-prepared for them! It’s like playing against a bachelorette party. I FIND THEIR HIGH PITCHES THREATENING.


Also, this is Serena Williams we’re talking about. I’d have a hard time betting against her. She’s a fucking killer. If I had to face her serve, I’d shit a brick. I’d pay at least two dollars to watch her square off against Roger Federer.


Which industry is the worst to be a child star in? Music, movies/television, literature, circus, sports, other? (Don’t immediately discard literature: I knew a girl in college who had sold a book before freshman year. Was she was insufferable about it? God, yes. Did she deserve to be? Totally.)


Oh, like this girl? Anyway, I was gonna say MOVIES until you threw in the circus as an option. At least kiddie movie stars get to do drugs and have fun before they break down completely. Any sort of child athletic prodigy—gymnastics, tennis, acrobatics, etc.—is basically a sweatshop worker.

I took my kids to the circus a few years ago, and while the acrobats were busy swinging from flaming torches and making aerial human centipedes for our amusement, all I thought about was how shitty it must be to work for the circus. The show ends and then your evil ringmaster forces you to sweep all the elephant dung up from the tent, then he stuffs you in a boxcar and gives you a package of hardtack to subsist on until you get to the next town. That has to suck. I’d take being a Lohan over being a kiddie gymnast or being Sparkle, the Yo-Yo Girl.


By the way, I’m worried about Riley Curry getting WAY too famous. Like, trotting her out for one press conference is fun. But she’s become a permanent cuteness installation and is now basically one step away from a TV deal. They could make a terrible Disney show out of her life story, and they will! They all go from adorable to Jaden Smith in the blink of an eye. SAVE HER, STEPH. Keep her away from the filthy peasant hordes. My kid wanted to start a YouTube account the other day, and I nearly had a nervous breakdown. These little ones don’t understand how godawful the Internet is, even when I warn them.


As a society, when are we going to decide that it’s a dick move to leave a cellphone set to vibrate on a hard surface in public places? As a college student who spends a good amount of time in the library, I am probably a bit more sensitive to this scenario than others, but people need to realize that a frequently vibrating phone on a hard surface is just about as annoying to other people as having to listen to a ringtone.


Oh, it’s worse than a ringtone. I have been scared out of my seat by surprise phone vibrations. I think certain phones—probably Sprint phones—have a special EXTREME VIBRATE option that basically causes the phone to fucking explode if placed on a wooden countertop. And of course, there are the people who have both the vibrate and the ring set to the shrillest mode possible, because God fucking forbid they miss a text. You could kill a zoo with some of these phone alerts. I say keep that shit in your pocket.


What would be a cooler thing to happen to your favorite baseball team? Go 162-0 and lose in the playoffs, or have an average season but win a World Series?


162-0. That is a statistical impossibility, so I could live with the playoff choke-job just for the sensation of watching a baseball team go undefeated over the course of six incredible months. Do you realize how fucking insane that would be on television? I remember when Ken Griffey Jr. had his big home run streak, and ESPN would cut into it during live episodes of SportsCenter. You don’t have to like baseball to be transfixed by something like that. And this would be the same deal, only for half a year, with full games. It would be mind-blowing. I think MLB should rig it so that this happens. It would blot out the sun. Roger Goodell would cry like a bitch.


When I fail at untying my shoe and the laces end up in a horrible, unbreakable knot, is that my fault for messing up something I’ve done since I was a child? Or do shoelaces have some headphone-like tendencies to betray me and make me spend 10 minutes carefully retracing my steps?


It’s a flaw in the basic knot that you and I both use. I tie my shoes using the standard rabbit-goes-through-hole-to-go-pick-up-some-Slim-Jims knot. But if you fuck up untying it, you end up with a doubled-up knot that could support the weight of a fucking battleship. The more you resist it, the tighter it gets. It’s terrible. I should probably use a different knot, but that means a) I would have to change, and I fear change; and, b) I would rather just complain. Stupid shoes. I’m buying nothing but slides from now on.


When I make toast, I try to make sure I get enough butter on the knife to adequately slather each piece without having to go back in for a second dip. I feel this saves precious seconds. Also, nobody likes crumbs in the butter, right?


Right. But what if the butter is cold? I usually slice four skinny pats of butter and then place them in quadrants on the toast, to let the buttery goodness soak in. This is my fault for not having the foresight to take the butter out of the fridge in a timely matter. I fuck up butter as a matter of routine. If I need soft butter, all I got is hard butter. If I need hard butter, all I got is a tub of Country Crock that’s been sitting on a deck chair for 20 hours. My butter game is all wrong.

Also, I gotta confess something: I don’t mind scraps of other food in my food. Like, if there’s a little bit of jelly left in the peanut-butter jar from the last time I used it, that’s found jelly. Bonus jelly. I’m cool with that jelly. I know it’s not sanitary, but sometimes I just wanna LIVE, man.



Scientists determine with 100 percent certainty that life on Earth will end on a specific day in the future (say, the sun is going to explode, so the Earth won’t even exist after this date). What events still take place (or get cancelled) due to the timing of SUN APOCALYPSE 2015? What events are now part of Earth’s “victory” lap? For example, the world will end after the NFL draft, but before training camp—does the league still hold the draft?


Oh, I think the League would hold the draft and then stage a special RUN TO IMMORTALITY mini-season during the summer that earns the owners an extra billion or so before we all die in a giant fireball. We’d also get a Last Summer and Winter Olympics, a Last World Cup (with accompanying Last Bribes), a Last Presidential Election Season (featuring two candidates who will both openly deny the coming apocalypse … it’s not as if politicians actually LISTEN to scientists), and a Last Oscars that awards Best Picture Of All Time and shit like that. All of this would still be sponsored, of course. People who work for brands would still have faith in the transformative power of Coca-Cola, so they’d probably spend their final hours nailing down Official Apocalypse Coverage sponsorships with NBC and stuff.

Honestly, everything would pretty much be like it is now, because we are constantly commemorating shit on the internet anyway. They’ll commemorate the fourteenth anniversary of American Pie 2. People on the internet already act as if the world has died, so our planetary Jeter Farewell Tour would just be more of the same shit, only with more annoying Facebook feeds. “Here’s Sally and I hugging before the oceans erupt.” What a couple of assholes.





As I was painfully tearing through a third of a roll of Charmin this morning, I asked myself, “Why aren’t bidets commonplace?” They can be built directly into the toilet, they help get you a lot cleaner, and it’s not like using one—even in a public restroom—is any less sanitary than spending five minutes pulling from a communal roll of 60-grit shitpaper.


Because they’re expensive. If a city council can save $50 per toilet by forgoing a bidet, they will. Take it from me: I went toilet-shopping just the other day. And let me tell you something about shopping for toilets, sinks, faucets, tile, and other bathroom fixtures: It is BAFFLING. It’s more confusing than quantum physics. I had no fucking idea there were so many toilets. Once we were done perusing one toilet section, I thought that was all of the toilets. But there were like 10 more toilet sections. How can the market support this many toilet manufacturers offering this many models of toilet? It’s a fucking toilet. It’s white. You take a dump in it. You flush it and walk away. What more is there to it?

Turns out, discerning homebuilders can spend THOUSANDS of dollars on this shit. Or more! There is no upper limit. You could put 10 million dollars into a bathroom the size of a linen closet. It’s overwhelming. And the fancy Japanese bidet/toilet hybrids that feed you chocolate as you push out a bowel movement are on the high end of the price scale. As much as I love taking a shit every morning, I’d rather spend my money elsewhere. I can get by with a regular toilet. Never shop for toilets.



Is there anyone alive today who, knowing all of the death and destruction that could ensue, would pour money into an actual Jurassic World theme park?


Oh, hell yes. I bet venture capitalists have been exploring the idea for decades now. Wouldn’t you go to that park? I sure as hell would. That would be one of those things people feel compelled to do at least ONCE in their lifetimes. Everyone would save up a few grand to go see the bloodthirsty dinos one day. Even if the park was potentially dangerous and represented mankind’s hubris at its very worst. Fuck all that. I’m going. I’m paying the money, I’m bringing the kids, I’m raging at the rich bastards who paid to cut the T-Rex line … I’m doing the whole fucking miserable thing. By the end of the vacation, I’m probably HOPING for a raptor jailbreak that puts me out of my misery.


What if, instead of the shootout, the NHL (already prone to doing experiments outside the norm to gain an audience) instituted a system where they just threw a second puck on the ice?


That’s an affront to the game, and you are a heathen, and as a casual fan, I am all for it. Nothing gives me more pleasure than cooking up cheesy gimmicks for sports that do not require them. They should just add an extra puck for every overtime. The fourth overtime would be fucking WILD.

I think we’ve talked about multiple pucks and/or balls here before, but suffice it say it would probably make everything a clusterfuck. You’d basically be splitting any game in two, making it look crowded and confusing. I have a hard enough time finding ONE puck. You don’t want to have to find two. Plus, the camera couldn’t track both. You don’t want to end up like Matthew Perry in that old NHL ad…

That’s me watching hockey. I even dress like that.


I want to start wearing hats. Cool non-baseball hats. How did I go about doing that without looking like a douche?


You don’t. If you’re balding, I get why you would want to explore the transition into being a hat person. But if you have hair, I don’t see how any hat improves the top of your head. What are you gonna pick? A fedora? Those are for douches. A bowler? Douches. Pageboy cap? Douches. Cycling hat? Douches. The entire hat industry has been co-opted by douches. Unless you are a literal pimp, you can’t get away with it.

Also: Hats are expensive. Nice ones come in fancy boxes and can cost hundreds of dollars. I refuse to spend money on hats and toilets.



How do you think men’s bathrooms, and more specifically urinals, would be designed if our penises jutted out from the side of our hips? Let’s say 50 percent of guys have right-hip penises, and the other half have left-hip penises. Current design of urinals would suggest you’d be facing someone as you peed. Can you imagine those troughs at stadiums!? Pants would have to be weird, too.


You’d have to put a high partition between every urinal to reduce eye contact. Nothing worse than looking someone in the eye while urinating. The urinal would have to be wider as well, because aiming from the side would be a real bitch. As it stands now, a lot of urinals can be fairly compact, because you can really zero in on the urinal cake with your dick in front of you. But off to the side, it gets dicier, and men are sloppy with their piss to begin with.

And your pants would need an extra side compartment to house your junk, and then you’d have to put your wallet where your dick USED to be! What a disaster. Imagine being right-handed and having your dick on your left hip. Jerking off would result in six different muscle tears. Really problematic design.


As always, be grateful your dick is located precisely where it is. It could have been sticking out of your kneecap instead.


Instead of the inferior coccyx we’re forced to live with, what if we were born with actual tails? First, you must answer the question based on humans having tails that are canine-proportionate and mimic the actions of a dog’s tail. No cat-tail BS. Let’s also add one more caveat. Tail don’t lie: Humans can only wag it if they’re truly happy/excited, and when they’re remorseful, it tucks between the legs. So here’s the two questions: How different would our society be if we were not able to fake happiness/joy? And what percentage of the population would have the tail surgically removed?


Cue the music…

First of all, I don’t think anything would be different socially if we had tails. People barely interact with one another now. It’s not like you can see someone’s tail wagging when they’re on Facebook. It wouldn’t matter because, thanks to the internet, people are really adept at hiding their true emotions. The only people this would affect are politicians and con men. Because if the con man finally gets me to bite on that luxury-condo scam and I start to see his tail wagging the moment I say YES, the jig is up. I’m not giving Fast Eddie my 401k money. Fuck that.


As for tail-docking, maybe some snobs would do it, but I think most people would elect to go with an uncircumcised tail. I’m not mutilating my precious body to fit into your cultural norms, mannnnn. I’m bedazzling that tail and celebrating my individuality! Then I’m going home to watch some tail-insertion porn.


A friend and I were at a Cubs game in his third-generation family seats. A rare foul ball for this seating location graced our presence, and we both stand up and grab at the same time. We each caught the ball equally, but since we were in the seats that my friend had been sitting in virtually since birth, I defected and let him enjoy his moment. He had NEVER caught a foul ball there before, and it seemed pretty special for him.

Afterward, a woman attending the game with her 4, maybe 5-year-old son directly in front of us kept turning around and giving us the look. The boy was upset. The mother was RELENTLESS about my friend not giving the ball to her son. She kept saying that it wasn’t right while coddling the kid. She even went as far as to show us texts from her husband stating that my friend was an asshole. My friend explained his position politely, but essentially let her know that this meant more to him than that kid could ever appreciate. He even offered to buy the kid a ball from the gift shop. Was my friend wrong for not giving the kid the ball?


No. Fuck that kid. That kid is a spoiled sack of shit. Not to go all Peter King on him, but if your friend caught the ball fair and square, you’re under no obligation to hand the ball to some simpering puss of a kid howling for it in the row in front of you. That kid needs to learn that not everything in life will go his way. NO HANDOUTS. It’s one thing if he asked you politely for it and gave you the option of considering the idea. But this was a demand. Fuck that. That kid can fall down a well.

And fuck the parents, too. The husband wasn’t even AT the game! What kind of bullshit is that? That is horrible parenting. “Let me bitch out some stranger via text message at a ballgame I couldn’t even bother to attend.” That guy can eat an ass. These are the kind of people who get into shampoo fights at the local WalMart. They don’t deserve free souvenirs. They deserve prison. So damn entitled. I’m fuming mad, I am!



Is there a feasible way to open up a Nature Valley crunchy granola bar without approximately 650,000 crumbs flying everywhere? Even taking a bite causes a shockwave through the entire bar that shatters granola sawdust all over yourself.


Nope. Impossible. I put one of those in my kid’s lunchbox awhile back; when they brought the lunchbox back home and I opened it, the insides looked like San Andreas. Hard granola bars are a goddamn scourge. I won’t give them to my children. No foul balls, and no granola bars.


What the fuck is it about jigsaw puzzles that makes one waste hours on them? I am not talking about a jigsaw puzzle enthusiast; I am talking about regular people. People who never think, “Man, I really want to do a jigsaw puzzle.” Yet, even though I truly don’t want to do the puzzle, I end up in its grasp and waste hours on it, more frustrated than pleased.


It’s the same as solving any other puzzle or doing some kind of craft project: There’s a small release of pleasure in finishing it. And it doesn’t even have to be a big puzzle. I got eight-piece wood puzzles all over this house, and sometimes I put them together, and I’m like, “Damn! I did that all by myself!” Really proud. Like running a very small marathon. So that’s the allure. If you’re a completist, or you’re just someone who likes occasionally feeling a trivial sense of accomplishment, then puzzles are for you.

Email of the week!


I used to nanny a 4-year-old, and she developed an obsession with food. She would to go to bed at night and if she heard me washing dishes and clinking them, she would get up, thinking I was cooking, and ask for more food.

If I brought a meal over, and she and her sister had already eaten, she would ignore whatever movie I put on for them while I ate, and instead look at me over the back of the couch, completely still, the intensity of her gaze rivaling that of Hannibal Lecter. Watching my plate, not me.

She would ask to “try” things and gobble half of what was in the container. There was NOTHING she didn’t like. I knew her parents were feeding her properly, and she wasn’t under- or overweight. The one time I let her eat as much as she wanted, she, the 4-year-old, ate AS MUCH as me, the adult woman.

While I was away at college this year, her family sold their house, moved away, and told no one in our social circle. Mysterious, but I am most disappointed that I never determined the cause of her fanatical attachment to food. Thoughts? Theories?


I dunno, but can I adopt that kid? My kids eat nothing. I’d pay 10 bucks for them to morph into deranged zombie food dwarfs.

Drew Magary writes for Deadspin. He’s also a correspondent for GQ. Follow him on Twitter @drewmagary and email him at You can also order Drew’s book, Someone Could Get Hurt, through his homepage.


Lead image by Sam Woolley.

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