Category: Traditional Tuesday

Nuance is hard, and we’re not interested


This is another late-to-the-party thinkpiece about why your Facebook News Feed has been extra awful lately. If you’re not into that, I thank you for your click and wish you the best with the rest of your life.

For the rest of you, I think you know what I’m talking about.

Everyone you’ve ever met has an opinion about the recent uptick in NFL players protesting during the national anthem, and none of them are any good.

Half of of my feed thinks systemic racism is the bee’s knees, and the other half acts like Francis Scott Key has no bars.

What got lost somewhere between our TVs and Facebook, though was what this protest originally started as.

In 2014, there were a number of high-profile deaths of unarmed black men at the hands of law enforcement. It wasn’t anything new in this country, but social media made the news travel faster and further than ever before.

In the subsequent years, any killings of citizens by civil servants have been put under a microscope, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Responses to these deaths have ranged from peaceful protests and the rise of groups like #BlackLivesMatter, to riots and retaliatory killings of police officers.

Before our nation could properly address the issue at hand, camps began to form. Suddenly, the narrative was that you were either pro-black people not getting shot or pro-police safety.

As you can probably tell, this was less than constructive. In fact, I’d argue that the mutual fear shared between law enforcement and black men in this country is what put us in this mess to begin with.

And we really haven’t learned. Enter Colin Kaepernick.


Kaepernick was (is? I’m not sure at this point) a dynamic young quarterback more than capable of holding a roster spot in the NFL. Now he doesn’t have a job.

Kaepernick began last season by taking a knee during the national anthem as a way to protest the treatment of African Americans and other minorities in this country.

Again, this act wasn’t unprecedented.

There’s a clear history of athletes making statements during the anthem.

It’s important to remember that none of these protests are as offensive as Carl Lewis actually trying to sing.

Derrick Coleman really makes that video something special.

Back to Kaepernick motives, it’s important to understand that they’re not very controversial. “Stop killing black people” is only a hot take if you also enjoy casual cross-burnings in your spare time.

Unfortunately, the narrative was twisted again. Because NFL players were protesting during a ceremony that has become increasingly intertwined with the American military, those who wanted to stifle their message made it about the troops.

And you’ve got to support the troops.

So that’s why all of your casual acquaintances from high school are fighting so passionately on Facebook right now. What should have been a discussion about race in this country has turned into a debate about whether we should care more about the troops or minorities.

If you’re looking for my honest opinion on this matter, I think we need to stop wrapping ourselves in the flag every time the country is criticized.

I think the United States is the greatest country in the world. I have more opportunity here than I would anywhere else, but it doesn’t mean this place is infallible.

If enough people can identify a problem, it costs nothing to explore possible solutions, even if you don’t think the problem exists. Once a situation is fully delved into, then you can take actions toward self improvement.

But that’s hard. It’s much easier to entrench yourself in a camp and argue online.

I only ask that you try it, just this once, before you hit that publish button.


An unhelpful guide to the 2016 election

Well folks, it’s finally time for the 2016 election. I’m going to be spending my Election Day bouncing between panic attacks, so I figure I’d might as well have a little fun on one of my favorite days of the year.

If you’re bored enough to be a regular reader, you probably noticed that I haven’t posted since getting a full-time job. There are various reasons for that, but since it’s Election Day Eve, I’ve never felt like I had more job security/willingness to get fired.

To be safe, though, I should note that the views expressed in this blog do not reflect the views of anyone I work with or for. They also don’t interfere with my ability to do my job professionally, and any assertions to the contrary are silly.

With that out of the way, I’m going to break down my ballot here in Old Orchard Beach and give as much expert analysis as I can muster. Long-time reader Matthew Thomas Lauzon requested that I also look into the Massachusetts ballot, but it’s late and I’m tired and I missed my exit driving home from work, so I won’t be doing that.

Let’s get started.


U.S. President/U.S. Vice President

Hillary Clinton/Tim Kaine vs. Donald Trump/Mike Pence vs. Gary Johnson/Bill Weld vs. Jill Stein/Ajamu Baraka

This is the most important decision on the ballot, but it’s also probably the most straight forward.

I voted for Gary Johnson in 2012, but I was on a Libertarian kick through most of college, and I’m over that now. And speaking of college, I was pretty good with Baraka freshman year, but I don’t think I’d ever vote for Shao Kahn to be President.

That leaves me with Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, and trust me, I wanted to believe.

I wanted to believe that Donald Trump the candidate was performance art. I wanted to believe that Trump was using his experience from Wrestlemanias 4,5, and 23 to convince the unwashed masses to vote for him.

And I was actually willing to vote for Trump if it meant I could point and laugh at all the marks that were duped by the Donald. Like The Immortal One once said, I worked myself into a shoot.

The only person truly qualified to run the country left in this race is Hillary Clinton.

I know that she’s an unlikable robot try-hard who feels the need to convince us she registers emotions. I didn’t say she was my favorite person, just the one with the credentials to be President.

Playa Hater’s Pick: Hillary Clinton

U.S. Representative

Mark I. Holbrook vs. Chellie Pingree

I’ll be honest with you, I didn’t know Pingree was up for re-election until last week. And I know nothing about her opponent.

If I do know one thing about U.S. Representative races, though, it’s that the have some of the best commercials. So let’s see what Mr. Holbrook’s got.

Not a good look, dawg.

Playa Hater’s Pick: Chellie Pingree


ME State Senator

Justin M. Chenette vs. Timothy N. Sevigny

This race has been marred by some nastiness directed at Chenette’s sexual orientation by the Chairman of the York County Republican Committee. As far as I know, Sevigny had nothing to do with that.

The problem with Sevigny is that he’s an enigma. The dude doesn’t even have a picture on Ballotpedia.

He could be a lizard. I’m not taking any chances.

Playa Hater’s Pick: Justin M. Chenette

ME State Representative

Michael E. Coleman vs. George Hogan

Whenever I head down to the beach, I end up getting food at the place Hogan used to own. These are the stupid rationalizations that lead to critical votes in local elections.

Playa Hater’s Pick: George Hogan

Question 1

Legalizes marijuana for persons over 21 years old, subject to state regulation and taxation.

I was pretty torn on this question. On one side, you have stoners, whom I loathe. On the other side, you have pearl-clutchers and super-hippies afraid of BIG WEED taking their business.

Let me be clear, if you smoke weed, that’s cool. It’s when smoking weed becomes your identity as a human being that you tend to lose me.

Have you ever talked to a hardcore stoner abut weed? I don’t want to give that person any validity.

You don’t need drugs to be cool, you guys.

In the nature of full transparency, I would also outlaw craft beer or anything else that brings others joy.

Playa Hater’s Pick: No

Question 2

Raises taxes by 3% on income over $200,000 to create a fund for K-12 student support.

This is an awesome tax increase because I know it will never affect me. And if it did, that would be an awesome problem to have.

Rich people, it’s time for you to pay for schools, or whatever this says. I don’t care, tax them 900 percent.

Playa Hater’s Pick: Yes

Question 3

Requires background checks on gun sales between non-licensed dealers.

Guns are spooky, and I’m not above voting out of fear.

Playa Hater’s Pick: Yes

Question 4

Raises the minimum wage.

While raising the minimum wage to $12 by 2020 won’t affect me, this question does allow for “annual cost-of-living increases thereafter.”

My hope is that eventually, minimum wage will exceed what I earn, and I can get a raise without going through the awkward process of asking for one.

Playa Hater’s Pick: Yes

Question 5

Allows ranked-choice voting in federal and state elections.

Now THIS is something to get excited about.

Question 5 would introduce voters to one of earth greatest concepts: power rankings.

It’s deceptively simple. All you have to do is rank your candidates.

  1. Hillary Clinton
  2. Gary Johnson
  3. The other two

It’s that easy! And you can power-rank anything, from NHL teams to Canadians.

Playa Hater’s Pick: Yes

Question 6

Issues a $100 million bond for transportation infrastructure.

I blew a tire yesterday. It’s nice to see the state do something about it.

Playa Hater’s Pick: Yes


York County Register of Probate

Carol J. Lovejoy vs. Allen R. Sicard

I think someone named “Lovejoy” is more than qualified to register probes.

Playa Hater’s Pick: Carol J. Lovejoy

York County Judge of Probate

Bryan M Chabot vs. Bernard J Broder III vs. Robert M. Auclair Nadeau

You may not know this, but Robert Nadeau is the bad boy of probate judges. He’s been reprimanded multiple times, and he’s coming off a 30-day suspension just in time for the election.

This is the kind of local politics that I can get behind. An official who does a job that I don’t understand, and yet I can still point to that official as an example of how corrupt our political system is, man.

Playa Hater’s Pick: Robert M. Auclair Nadeau

Song with a depressingly short shelf life

Get Hype Game of the Night!

Don’t watch sports tonight. Keep your eyes glued to quality election coverage all night long.

What do I have against Kobe?

Kobe Bryant announced his retirement on Sunday with a terrible poem on a terrible website, and I’ve been through a range of emotions ever since. I’ve smiled with glee at all the hit pieces saying Kobe could never truly reach all-time greatness, and I’ve cringed at anything saying the opposite.

In fact, just this morning, I found myself yelling (internally) at Reggie Miller for suggesting that Kobe was a top-3 guard of all time.

None of this makes sense. Kobe Bryant has never done anything to me personally. He is the 5th-ish best player of his generation, and has had a top-20 NBA career. I readily admit that. Heck, I own a pair of his sneakers.

So what’s my beef with Kobe? I’m not saying this solely to setup the rest of the blog, I’m genuinely asking this question. Maybe if I put my thoughts in writing, we can discover the answer together.

The first, and most obvious answer, would lie somewhere in Eagle County, Colorado. For those of you who are unaware, that’s where Kobe Bryant was charged with sexual assault over a decade ago. The charges were eventually dropped when the accuser failed to testify in court.

Now, it’s perfectly reasonable to not like an alleged rapist. Rape is a bad thing to do. The problem I’m having, and I don’t know what this says about me as a person, is that I don’t think this is the reason I dislike Kobe.

There are people (probably too many people) that have done terrible things and I’ve given passes to. There’s some cognitive dissonance that happens when you appreciate someone’s work and ignore their deplorable actions. I mean, does anyone really get on their high horse when “Ignition” starts playing?

If we ignore the sexual assault (not a great phrase to use out of context), there’s the fact that Kobe Bryant is a lifetime Laker. It’s hard to ignore my irrational disdain for the Lakers. And this is where the Derek Jeter comparisons really start to take hold for me.

Other, non-New-Englander, people have compared the two as great players who got a lot more recognition than they deserved. I agree with that, and I’ll get to it a little bit later, but there’s an extra link between the two for me. They are the face of the enemy.

That sounds stupid, and it is. There is nothing objectively right or wrong about rooting for one team over another. I should not dislike any person based on where they go to work, but it’s an idea that’s hard to shake. And Kobe might actually be the last roadblock. I don’t think there’s anyone else on the Yankees or Lakers that I actively dislike, despite irrationally wishing that both organizations fail to achieve success.

If it’s not that, there’s only one thing I can think of. Kobe is Michael Jordan Light. He looks like him, he acts like him, he plays like him, but he’s not Michael Jordan. Kobe was never as good as Michael Jordan.

Full disclosure here, like many kids my age, I grew up worshiping MJ. Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player I’ve ever seen. LeBron’s probably close, but Kobe’s way behind.

Even this, though, is stupid. Comparing players is stupid. Comparing eras is stupid. Hatred is stupid.

I don’t know why I have this dislike for Kobe Bryant, but I’m glad he’s retiring so I don’t have to think about it anymore.

Song for when you’re done thinking about Kobe Bryant

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Maryland vs. North Carolina – 9:30 p.m. – ESPN

It’s like an ACC rivalry, but it’s not. Marcus Paige is back for North Carolina after missing their first 5 games.

Pick: Maryland +7

The Playa Hater’s MLB Playoff Preview

Yes, Red Sox fans, the MLB playoffs start tonight. I know, I was surprised too.

Tonight (and this is a spoiler alert for the Get Hype Game of the Night), the Astros travel to New York for the AL Wild Card Game, officially beginning the postseason. In order to get you ready for next month of baseball that actually matters, I’m going to give you my predictions.

Feel free to take these to the bookie of your choice.

AL Wild Card Game – Astros vs. Yankees

It’s unfortunate that the second and third-best teams in the MLB, forget just the AL, have to play each other so early. And I’m serious about this. There are four teams in the AL playoffs I would take over the best team in the NL. You want to see the Cardinals in a competitive World Series? Bring in the Orioles.

Anyway, as for this game, I like the Astros too much to see them bounced this early. Houston wins a 1-run game on the road to advance.

Pick: Houston

NL Wild Card Game – Cubs vs. Pirates

The NL this season was all about the Central Division. Everything else was just a side story. So, instead of these teams getting to face each other later, we have to knock one out right now. Pittsburgh hangs on at home for a 1-run victory.

Pick: Pittsburgh

AL Divisional Round – Rangers vs. Blue Jays – Astros vs. Royals

I’m not sure there’s ever been a top seed more under-the-radar than the Royals. And you know what? I’m completely OK with that. The Royals can stay under the radar with their small ball shenanigans. I want to watch people hit home runs and flip bats.

Pick: Houston in 4

The other series is easily the most lopsided match-up in these playoffs. This is going to be a massacre.

Pick: Toronto in 3

NL Divisional Round – Pirates vs. Cardinals – Mets vs. Dodgers

We get the NLCS a little early this season. The Cardinals are a boring lot, which is why it’s going to hurt me to put them in the World Series.

Pick: St. Louis in 4

In the second NL Divisional series, we get what will probably be the most competitive series of the whole playoffs. I see the Dodgers having the slight edge because of the two aces they have.

Pick: Los Angeles in 5

AL Championship Series – Astros vs. Blue Jays

Oh yeah. This is what baseball is all about. The two best teams in the league slugging it out in a long and entertaining series. Well, at least an entertaining series. Toronto is really good at baseball.

Pick: Toronto in 4

NL Championship Series – Dodgers vs. Cardinals

Stupid Cardinals. I hope some other team can give them their comeuppance in the World Series.

Pick: St. Louis in 4

World Series – Cardinals vs. Blue Jays

This is a battle of the two birds that your mom will call you over to look at every time she sees one. And much like those birds, the opportunity to watch this series will be over before you know it.

Pick: Toronto in 4

Link for you to click on

Fantasy Basketball

Song for partying with a drunk Kawasaki

Was wrestling good last night?


Get Hype Game of the Night!

Astros vs. Yankees – 8:00 – ESPN

Dallas Keuchel is going up against Tanaka on short rest.

Legal sports gambling: A guide

If you happened to watch any of the awfulness that was Monday Night Football last night, you might have noticed a few familiar commercials.

Draft Kings, Fan Duel, Draft Kings, Fan Duel. It seems like they owned entire commercial blocks to themselves.

They look like fantasy sports sites, but use language similar to offshore sportsbooks. Now I’ve had a few (older) people ask me about these sites, and I’d like to clear up the confusion.

When online gambling legislation was passed to clean up all of the online poker sites of the mid-’00s, there was one loophole. As long as something was classified as “fantasy sports,” it was legal.

From here we got the rise of daily fantasy sports. You put a little money in, and you could win millions! But is it worth it?

I’ll tell you what I know from personal experience. I’ve been playing on FanDuel since January, and it’s really fun. You draft a team using a salary cap, and see if you can outsmart the other people on the site.

It is not a good way to make money, however. I consider myself pretty knowledgeable about sports, and my record in money games is 75-171. My gross winnings are $272.05, while my net is around -$18.95.

But hey, if you just want to play for fun, you can sign up here.

While you’re at it, sign up for a few more things.

Fantasy Hockey

Fantasy Basketball

Song for gambling on sports.

Was wrestling good last night?


Get Hype Game of the Night!

Manchester City vs. Juventus — 2:30 p.m. — Fox Sports 2

City hopes that adding Kevin De Bruyne to the squad will help put them over the top in their first Champions League Group D clash today.

Kinesthetic Kayfabe: How this ESPN report shapes the Patriots narrative

I have a hot-and-cold relationship with sports narratives.

When I’m having a serious discussion about sports, I think they’re meaningless. I don’t believe Team A will win because they’re dedicating the game to a kid with cancer, I believe Team A will win because they have a track record of being better than Team B. That’s how things work in reality.

Narratives work in fiction, and within that context, they’re a lot of fun. Imagining sports as a scripted entity (much like professional wrestling) is a great way to pass the time in between, you know, actual sporting events.

So it is with these fiction-tinted glasses that I’m going to be looking at the latest report about the New England Patriots filed by Outside the Lines and ESPN the Magazine. Thursday really can’t come soon enough.

The booking of the New England Patriots has actually been tremendous throughout their history. For their first 40 years of existence, the Patriots were jobbers, perennial losers used to make the other teams in the league look better. The only times they actually received a main event push, it was designed for them to be squashed by the opposition.

In 1986, they were destroyed to enhance the lore of the Chicago Bears and their impenetrable defense. The Super Bowl loss in 1997 was a little more involved. The league needed a credible opponent for John Elway to go over for his first ever championship.

Enter Bret Favre and the Packers, used as transitional champions before the NFL could give Elway the belt.

From there, 2001 was the perfect time for New England’s mega-push. They were scrappy underdogs, with an unknown quarterback, riding a wave of patriotic feeling in a post-9/11 world. Up against The Greatest Show on Turf, on turf, the Pats were able to overcome the odds and win a title. This was a great story.

After a lackluster Super Bowl the next season, the NFL panicked. They felt like if the Patriots were champion again, maybe they could recapture some of the same magic from the previous season. What resulted was one of the greatest games of all time, fondly remembered for Justin Timberlake going into business for himself and exposing Janet Jackson’s right breast.

Not looking to fix what wasn’t broken, the Patriots were kept as champions the next year as well. At this point, though, the good feelings surrounding the team  were starting to fade. The story of Tom Brady’s rise to one of the greatest of all time didn’t sit well with fans of the other 31 teams. The New England Patriots were stale, and something needed to change.

To execute a proper heel turn, you need a reason for a good guy to suddenly turn bad. The Patriots failed to get out of the AFC the next two seasons, setting them up as the team that just couldn’t get it done anymore.

The turn was executed at the beginning of the 2007 season. The Patriots, no longer able to win by conventional means, cheated to beat the Jets. The NFL (I can’t stress this enough, any authority figure is automatically a heel until proven otherwise. Nobody wants to cheer their boss.) gave the Pats a slap on the wrist, and covered up any additional wrongdoing.

This would have been the perfect time for this latest ESPN report to come out. It would have really driven home the narrative that the Patriots sold their souls to the evil NFL in order to win again.

And win they did. The Patriots went undefeated in the regular season, beating the New York Giants in the final game. Those same Giants were able to overcome the odds in Super Bowl XLII and defeat the league’s hand-picked champion. This was also a great story.

From here, the focus of the narrative shifted to the league itself. The Ginger Hammer and his stooges continued to use unlimited power to dish out arbitrary and unfair punishments. For them to complete their transition in to the top heel faction, though, the league needed to betray one of their own.

Tension between the NFL and the Patriots was first teased after Aaron Hernandez was arrested. You can’t have a murderer on the roster, you know. Still, it wasn’t until Ballghazi when things really started.

After a Patriots title win, there was a swerve and the NFL came down hard on New England, suspending Brady for four games for an innocuous rule violation. From here, the Patriots turned face. Betrayed by the authority they once answered to, New England began to fight for anyone who had been unfairly punished by the league.

Like any good heel, the NFL used underhanded tactics to twist the narrative in their favor. However, in the end, the good guys won. This is another good story.

Until today, that is. This ESPN report hurts the whole story by making both sides look bad. Again, this would’ve worked when they were both heel back in 2007, but now that the Patriots are good guys, ESPN isn’t helping anyone by reiterating just how bad they were.

Right now, New England is a face that the casual viewer still doesn’t know they can trust, but there is still a way this can work.

Between now and whenever the final Ballghazi ruling will be, the NFL has to do something explicitly evil. Preferably they can harshly and unfairly punish a traditional rival of New England’s. This would force that team’s fan base to root for Brady in the next courtroom battle.

Then when Touchdown Tom finally conquers the evil NFL, the Pats will be re-cemented as faces. It’s simple booking, really.

Song for when you want to listen to Dipset, but Rihanna’s more popular

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Tsonga vs. Cilic — 2:00 p.m. — ESPN

The quarterfinals of the U.S. Open see two of the best players in the world face off this afternoon.

My first real day on the job

Yesterday I had mentioned that I have been at my new job for long enough that it might not even be my new job anymore. It’s just my job now, no matter how quickly it seems like the past month has gone by.

And seeing that I’ve been there for a month, yesterday was my first day on the job without a supervisor there to train me. Okay, maybe not my first day without training, but definitely my first day without the safety net I’m used to.

So, you’re wondering, how’d it go?

Well, if we’re maintaining the safety net analogy, I still fell, but there were some helpful bystanders there to make sure that I didn’t hit the ground too hard. Even better, I think there were even more bystanders making sure I didn’t land on anything important.

The worst thing that happened involved the teleprompter for the 6:30 newscast. On Thursdays and Fridays, I do prompter for the 10 and 11 p.m. broadcasts, which are a lot less involved. No one is watching the local news at that time.

Monday, I’m stuck working the main event. The 5, 6, and 6:30 shows flow into one another, so you have to have a smooth transition set up on the teleprompter. That didn’t happen last night.

The 6 p.m. show was ending, and I got caught slipping. As I looked for the 6:30 show to save myself before anyone could notice, I found that the file was not where it was supposed to be. Luckily, all of the anchors are super professional and were able to get by until we could find the 6:30 show.

The rest of the night was okay. I’m sure I gave off enough nervous energy that no one asked me to do anything too involved. I’m sure I screwed something else up and they were just being too polite to tell me.

Song for singing in the car after you know you screwed up at work

Was wrestling good last night?


Get Hype Game of the Night

Astros vs. Yankees – 7:00 p.m. – MLB Network

Yankees  won the series opener on a walk-off sacrifice fly. Houston is throwing their ace Dallas Keuchel against a mediocre Ivan Nova.