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Make America Teenagers Again

As many wiser men have once said, I don’t want to talk too much about Donald Trump.  You either hate him because he’s an ignorant, bigoted, sexist, xenophobic asshole.  Or you like him because he’s not a typical politician, he’s entertaining, and he’s an ignorant, bigoted, sexist, xenophobic asshole. But whether you’re like me and you’ve read four thousand think pieces on how he’ll be a worse president than he is a person, or you’re someone sick of “political correctness” and have an affinity for trucker hats, your vote counts the same.  Them’s the breaks.


The problem that I’m struggling with is that followers of Trump (and of course Trump himself) are acting like teenagers.  And I thought we universally agreed to hate teenagers?!  Forget tribalism where we pin liberals and conservatives against each other in a never ending ideological bloodbath.  The only us versus them here is that teenagers are terrible.  They are selfish, ungrateful, and think they know everything without experiencing anything yet.  Teenagers are dramatic, self-centered, and angry.  And yes, I know it’s not your fault (it’s not your fault, it’s not your fault, its…) with the hormones, the school and social pressure, the dic pics…there’s a lot going on.  But that should be okay, because most teenagers can’t vote!


Except…yeah, about that.  Why are half of us voting like teenagers?  Angry, insecure, and blaming most of our problems on everyone else, including the people trying to help us.  Yes, life is unfair, but telling your parents you hate them because you think they are giving special treatment to your younger brother isn’t going to correct that.  Neither is taking it out on your siblings.  Even if you are being wronged, blaming the ones that benefit is misguided whether in your family or in your society as a whole.  They probably didn’t ask for the special treatment, and even if they did ask it’s because they needed it.  And even in the small percentage of people who don’t really need it, they were not the ones making the decisions. I don’t blame voters for getting mad at the government for neglecting them and trying to make a change against those in power.  Sure.  Just don’t forget all the things that those parents…err…government does to make your life easier. Things that you take for granted like food safety, clean air, healthcare, education.  Those little benefits.


Even among the more appreciative,  I understand the frustration of Trump supporters (and really all Americans) that are pissed the economy hasn’t helped them specifically, or really anyone but the 1%.  But Trump?  What convinces someone that this con-artist capitalist gives a shit about your situation? I see how it’s hard to support do-nothing establishment politicians, but how is embracing an entitled rich person who cares about nothing other than making money for himself any better? Repeating catchy slogans won’t get your name on a hotel any time soon.  You’ll still be working at the food court, nervous about your future, and broke.  Only now your president will be trying to turn you against the people you work with that are in the same lousy situation as you.  Only they happen to be a different sex or race.  Divide and conquer is not a great plan for life improvement when you are among the ones being divided.  Man, teenagers sure do pick lousy role models.  Or does anyone still think Bieber should be president too?


I get the fascination with Trump.  I surely enjoyed it when he was taking down the other Republican Primary candidates.  Cruz is a liar and deserves much worse than a Trumpian nickname.  And I’m not shedding any tears for Little Marco or anyone in the Bush family either.  But that doesn’t mean Trump is not a yuuge dickhead.  As was I when I was 15.  Yeah sometimes I was funny too, but a lot of the ways I made people laugh was by tearing down others.  You can understand this behavior from our American youth, but at some point you have to grow up.  Especially if you want to be, uh, THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.  Are there some things that I wish I could say in public without worrying about it being “politically correct”? Absolutely.  But are there some things that I’m embarrassed to have said when I was in high school? Abso-fucking-lutely.  And it’s not just because certain words are “wrong” or “offensive”: I’ll say any word (even the “C” one…gasp!)  as long as the intent and setting are comfortable.  No, I’m ashamed of saying certain things or even having particular thoughts in the past because they were just plain inaccurate.  Thankfully, you learn over time that the things you thought you knew about women were way off, that relying on anger alone isn’t going to help you be happy, and that the things that you said about how hard you have it don’t compare even a little to others throughout the country and especially the world.


Aside from knowing when not to make fun of people for laughs (like when they are disabled for example) the biggest thing I learned since being a teenager is letting go of my insecurity, resentment, and default position of being defensive.  Sure, I’m still not totally secure about going bald (see Donald, we’re not so different), I still resent conservative politicians who don’t share the same viewpoints as me, and I get really defensive when my girlfriend accuses me not washing the dishes because I know I just washed those goddamn plates and it’s probably a ghost filling up the sink with dirty dishes.  But when I was a bratty, entitled teenager everything was: why not me? Affirmative action? That’s BS, why don’t I get special treatment too?  Girls don’t have to register for the draft? See sexism goes both ways!  Mexicans can just come into the US and live here, but they wouldn’t like it if WE sent all our Americans across the border! (yeah, good luck with those drug cartels though)  I was too young and dumb to understand how sweet of a deal I had it as a white male child. In the US no less.  Even in the most privileged position in society it’s hard to believe that you are already doing  GREAT.  Because there’s always someone doing better than you.  I could have sworn that  my parents (or more likely some crummy TV movie) taught me that “The Grass is Always Greener” well before I was a teenager.


Even being explicitly told how appreciative I should be, it was hard to accept that not only do I not have a real claim to the favorite teenage (or adult) pastime of melodramatically complaining about stupid shit, but that other people have it worse and being defensive about how great your life is only makes you more of an ungrateful prick.  It’s just natural to respond to confrontation with a defensive stance.  But over time you learn that when someone calls you out on something and its true… just fucking accept it.  It’s actually quite liberating.  Not only do you get to avoid looking immature by saying “yeah well they do it too”, but you don’t have to twist yourself in knots defending a horrible argument that leaves out that ever important factor of “to what degree.   Is it fair that men have to register for the draft and women do not?  I certainly don’t think so.  But is that “grave injustice” equal to getting paid less, doing more household work, having to be pregnant, monthly periods, or less representation in government, business, and the media?  Uh, yeah, they get to choose between wearing pants OR dresses. Of course, women don’t get to choose the daily harassment, alarmingly high rates of sexual assault, and just your routine condescension and patronizing. (You know that awful attitude I’m taking towards you right now) But you know I’m a guy, so I have to defend my own kind.  Bullshit.


A lot of Trump supports (mostly white men) say they are not sexist or racist, but that he still represents them.  But why? Just because of skin tone and your sex chromosomes?  Unlike my ignorant teenage self, I’m able to say now as an adult that I don’t identify with my race and gender.  And no this isn’t a Rachel Dolezal thing or me shrinking away from white male privilege.  Just the acknowledgement that siding with someone solely because of these factors is beyond stupid.   You can’t let immigrants take over the country? What makes you not an immigrant? My grandmother’s family came from another country; why does that give me more of a claim to belonging here? Skin color? Or we can’t let Muslims into the US? But what do you know about Islam that you haven’t seen on TV? Also, what in the history of Christianity makes it worth defending other than the fact that your parents decided to baptize you?  What is everyone afraid of other than the unknown?  Trump makes people feel secure by demonizing “the other”; but what if you’re really “the other”?  What makes you any more entitled to your version of what is great about America than anyone else’s?


The argument against being so defensive and protective of your “tribe” is universal.  But that doesn’t mean we need draw those lines around race or gender.  We should be mature enough to understand this.  Defending Trump because you think you both belong to the same circle is absurd when you think of the other things that divide you in your shitty life from his life of luxury.  Nothing he (or any politician) promises will ever make your life closer to his than the people around you that he’d like you to turn against.  Sometimes it takes effort to see through the politicians pandering to you.  And it takes even more effort to see through the bullshit distinctions that we are directed to focus on and understand what differences are actually worth a damn.  But as adults, we all have that ability. We outgrew caring about lunchroom gossip and SAT scores, surely we can outgrow thinking that voting according to what we see in the mirror is a good idea.  I hope.  I don’t know, maybe in reality we’re not all capable.  Teenagers do seem to love mirrors.


Berning Questions?

“Let The Revolution Begin!” That is the first thing I heard upon entering the Duluth Entertainment & Convention Center for my first ever political rally last week.  But it wasn’t spoken by the man of the hour, Bernie Sanders, or any of his rabid supporters.  It was the familiar sounds of Flogging Molly’s aptly titled song “Revolution”.  Of course, it wasn’t the last time I would hear those words that day. Or the next day. Or the next week. Or any of the weeks or months before it for that matter. Even if you’re not #FeelingtheBern it’s hard not to have heard the battle cry for a political revolution. No, the hard part is actually getting revved up for it.

Obviously some people are eager to revolt; judging by the large crowds at most of Sanders’s rallies or by his near victory in the Iowa Caucus, people are digging what Larry David seems to be saying. The weird thing is: I am too. I always have. Long before Sanders even announced that he was running for President I’ve bitched and moaned about taxing the rich. Hate Wall Street? Sure do. Think that all politicians are corrupted by big donors? Absolutely. Looking for another Democratic candidate that isn’t as slimy as Hillary? You betcha.  After months of listening to Bernie Sanders, there’s nearly nothing that I disagree with him about.  Still, after listening to the man talk in person for the first time I left the rally not inspired but questioning. What’s really the point of all of this?

It’s not that I think Clinton is guaranteed to win.  Sanders has shown he’s at least somewhat electable, and isn’t not voting for someone because you don’t think they can win a self-defeating, self-fulfilling prophecy? If enough people value income inequality as high as they do on social media Sanders should at least stay in the race for a long time.  But again, why should we care? Well, morally its obvious why we should care. And if Sanders gets the nod, great. But if Hillary does, I’m still going to vote for her even if she is a pandering, two-faced, dishonest, uh, politician. Why vote for Hillary if I don’t trust her? Because its important to vote for someone that you hope will do the thing that you want over the people that you know are trying to do the things you don’t want.  No amount of email scandals will get me to vote for a party that favors conservative “values” instead.  Plus there’s that whole Supreme Court nomination factor.  It’s inevitable that I will be choosing between the two. But I don’t think I’m lukewarm on Sanders just because its fait accompli that Clinton is going to win the nomination. I’m just not certain that Sanders is the most qualified to run the country.

It seems intuitive that you would vote for the person that most represents your views, but maybe that’s not actually the smart thing to do.  I mean, I wouldn’t vote for myself for president.  Yes, I whole-heartedly believe that Bernie and myself are right that the rich people in America are getting away with murder.  But I still don’t know the first thing about running this country and I’m not sure that he does either.  Clinton seems more competent to me and that probably shouldn’t be ignored.  If someone gets a job that you’re less qualified for, that’s okay right?  While I’d be pissed if someone I didn’t personally like beat me, I know that I wouldn’t have much of a case just because of my convictions on one particular thing.  I mean, Trump is great because he’s an asshole, calling out some people who deserve it like his fellow Republican candidates.  But he also scapegoats Mexicans and Muslims, make fun of disabled reporters, proposes ridiculous things, uses outdated Charlie Sheen catchphrases, is only rich because he inherited a ton of wealth, and even though he appeals to frustrated working class people he proposes tax plans that favor the rich. I’m sure there are plenty of mildly amusing blowhards to be found at every local bar that will be voting for Trump in an election soon, but it doesn’t mean that choosing someone like you is always smart.

I’d like to think that a vote for Sanders is a more rational one, or at the very least a more informed one.  It’s not because I find myself to be personally alike Senator Sanders, but because I’ve watched the debates, I’ve gone to the rally in Duluth, and I’ve read thousands of pages of political think pieces over the last few months.  Other than the desire for self torture and general boredom killing, I do this because I want to understand what I’m voting for. And I do think I understand not only what Sanders believes but what he’ll do as president if elected, and…. that just makes me questions why I’m doing this all over again.  Will the big banks really be broken up? Will anyone on Wall Street be accountable? Will single payer healthcare become a thing? Will people be able to start earning a living wage? Probably not.  With a Republican Congress there is no chance anything will get done.  But there’s no room for pessimism in a political revolution.

Critics are quick to point out that if Sanders was to be elected and then actually accomplished nothing he has the political revolution thing to fall back on.  He’s admitting now that he can’t do it alone, which if people are as lazy as usual and don’t vote for anything other than President (which apparently is too tough for 40% of the population already) that it won’t matter because despite what Fox News might tell you, the executive office is not a dictatorship.  So basically, a vote for Sanders isn’t just picking the best candidate for the broken system that we have but for one that we’ve imagined in our liberal fairy tale land.  There’s a lot truth to this argument of course: that nothing Sanders pledges will likely come to fruition, at least not in the dramatic ways that he is proposing it.  But… isn’t that true for any candidate? Would Trump really build his glorious wall? Would Cruz really carpet bomb ISIS into oblivion? Would Marco Rubio really further strip abortion rights throughout the US? Actually, he probably would do that.  Don’t vote for Rubio. Even though he seems the most sane and likable he still supports some of the most conservative social policies and also favors tax plans that fellate the rich.

Really you’re not going to consider switching parties and neither am I. So for me, the big question is still Hillary vs Bernie. Poor a 40oz of Olde English out for Martin O’Mally at your earliest convenience.  And this should be an easy decision.  My views align more closely with Sanders’s platform.  So vote for Bernie in the primary and if he loses to Clinton, vote for her in the general.  Even her sliminess isn’t enough to even give a second thought to considering someone as hateable as Ted fucking Cruz.  Still, I’ve got a few weeks until its time to vote, and I’ve got commitment jitters.  Would Bernie really not be as good of a President as Hillary? I mean, they seem to agree on a lot of things.  And Republicans are going to fiercely attack either one because, you know, politics.  I know Clinton is chameleon-ish enough to have shifted left with the rest of the Democrats this year, so is the biggest difference between the two of them just her wonkishness and perceived abilities to tackle everything vs Sanders’s tunnel vision on income inequality. That probably shouldn’t be underestimated. I mean it’s a huge passion issue for me too but I can’t pretend like fixing it is a panacea for all that ails the United States.  Nor can I be certain anything can be done about it, voting revolution or not.

Sanders also doesn’t seem to give a shit about foreign policy, but Clinton, while knowledgeable, is hawkish as hell and would probably just fuck things up too. Is “knowing” really half the battle when what you “know” is against everything that I “know”.   Again I’m torn between valuing experience vs shared personal beliefs vs we’re screwed either way.  Also, does foreign policy really matter when the president gets a slew of advisers, who regardless of party has made horrible mistakes and committed atrocities throughout our entire existence as an international presence? I mean Obama has admittedly given up and just subscribes to the “Don’t Do Stupid Shit” Doctrine, and even that has been a source of clusterfuckery. Sanders seems less likely to get involved in another hopeless war or global conflict or whatever the hell we want to pretend we’re not involved in, but does anyone know for sure if that is the right call?

Really unless an enemy attacks US soil or this conservative-liberal rhetoric battle turns into an actual civil war, do I really give a shit about military policy? Do I think that I know better than people with greater access to information and actual motivation to fix the world’s problems? Probably not. Most Democrats really don’t give a shit, that’s why it hardly gets brought up during the primary season.  On the Republican side they can’t get enough of the anti ISIS fear-mongering, but again I’m not voting for any of those pricks that see bombing civilians as too weak and think the best solution is more bombs. I’m not totally apathetic. I’ve read countless stories on everything that is happening in Syrian. And Iraq. And Yemen.  For some reason I still check out all the articles on North Korea’s probably fake Nuclear program, Putin’s dabbling with poison, and Iran & Saudia Arabia’s blood feud.  But I know that whoever gets into office probably doesn’t have a fucking clue what to do about any of it.  And whatever they decide to do people will still be bitching about both sides of it decades later. What’s the point?

No. Really though. What is the point? My interest in foreign policy or campaign promises still get me one lousy vote. Which is the same amount of lousy votes that is given to some illiterate boob who voted for Trump because they like trucker hats and think “Make America Great Again” actually means something.  I don’t know, maybe there is something there.  It doesn’t matter if Trump actually bans the Muslims that haunt their poor xenophobic dreams or if he emphatically tells China to go fuck itself, it’s really the symbolism.  The idea of standing up to, well, whatever the hell people think Trump is standing up to.  Personally, I think he’s a fraud who is convincing dummies to vote against their own self interests, but hey, that’s politics right? Me though? I’m supposed to be an informed voter, fully aware of Bernie’s policies. And I am.  And I support them for the most part, even if that means I’m getting taxed more or that his single payer proposal would probably eliminate my current private healthcare job. Shit. Beliefs really can trump self interest. Maybe I’m a dummy too.

Still, it’s important to stand up for what you believe in. I know that everyone having free healthcare and tuition is a pipe dream, that Congress is never going to approve a federal minimum wage that doubles what people are making now, and that big business will continue to run the world until the planet is destroyed and only the super rich escape in their private rockets.  But I appreciate a candidate speaking out against these things all the same.  It’s the symbolism of someone in politics actually giving a shit.  If everyone is promising you things that won’t happen, you might as well support the person promising you things you’d actually want.

But its hard to not be discouraged by the whole thing.  None of this will probably make a difference.  Which is exactly how you’re not supposed to feel if you want things to change. Fuck.  But I can’t help it.  It’s like this sinister voice telling me to give up before I try.  To not get invested because I have no control.  It’s particularly weird to feel this as a sports fan.  Every year we cheer for our teams, spending time and money dedicating ourselves to them when the chances of everything going right is nearly impossible.  And yeah if they lose, you’ll still have other teams to cheer for, or more likely cheer against, because sports and politics aren’t all or nothing.  But you don’t give up on your team half way through the season because you think they are just going to lose in the end.  You don’t turn your back and start routing for another team (or candidate) because you think they have a better chance of winning the whole thing.  You know there are reasons why others don’t like your team, you know there are things that your team just can’t do well, but if you want them to win, you at least wait until they are eliminated before jumping ship.  But clinging to hopes and prayers vs actual ability may be better left in sports. Maybe. I don’t know.

I read about sports just as much as I do about politics and I’ve questioned lately why I give a shit about either one.  Whether you win an election or the World Series people are probably going ask what have they done for me lately about 5 minutes after your victory. It’s thankless, and even the people that supposedly support you question every move you make. There are always candidates or teams that are underdogs and most often they fade away and are forgotten in a year or two.  And people really love when it the favorites crash and burn.  But in sports it’s supposed to just be entertainment.  If your team loses, ah well, try again next season.  Hopefully even in defeat they gave you something to follow along with for a few months.  Politics is supposed to have more meaning, with the stakes like healthcare, wages, and civil rights having more significance than how many home runs someone hit.  But the more you read about it, the more you feel like politics is just a game, just a lot of hot takes and nothing that matters long term.  Just manufactured story lines, over-sized characters, and just a general distraction to the everyday bullshit.  Ideally getting involved with politics would provide an opportunity to change not just distract from the everyday bullshit of your life, but, come on…politics.

Bernie Sander’s political revolution is supposed to be an alternative to the way politics currently work; a reason to believe that it’s not just bullshit or entertainment. And while I don’t feel like he’s just blowing smoke up our collective liberal ass, I’m not sure I believe in its potential either.  Do I believe that I can get over my confidence struggle in Sanders’s abilities to lead and cast a vote for him in the primary? Yeah, I think I could manage that much.  Because for all the build up of Clinton’s credentials, she’s carrying some serious flaws of her own.  I believe that Sanders might actually be the best choice.  But do I have the confidence in others to not only get off their ass and vote for Sanders twice in 2016, but also to start giving a shit about other elections?  To really pay attention to economic disparities or look at political proposals and ask something other than how much will my taxes go up? To trust that people want actual change instead of just another disposable cause to hashtag it and forget it? That might be too much for me.  I’m glad it’s not too much for others. People should vote for what they believe in.  I honestly wish I shared the optimism of those “Feeling the Bern”. As Fox Mulder has repeated 40 times over the last few weeks of the X-Files: “I Want To Believe”.  But in reality, I just don’t.  I believe in Bernie, you know, for the most part, but that’s not enough. Because really I don’t believe in everyone else.

New England Deflategatriots


Ding Dong, the witch is dead. Yesterday the Patriots season came to an end and the nation rejoiced. And it was a convincing loss. Fair and square. No referee bag jobs, no cheap shot to Gronk’s knees, not even the malfunctioning tablets could take the blame. The offensive line sucked, our kicker finally missed an extra point, our coach opted not to go for the points, Brady made some bad decisions, and so on. You know, football. Finally, America can be happy that New England is not going to win another title. And I’m okay with it.

Honestly, of course the hatred of the Patriots from all places not in New England was more motivation to cheer for them. At least for a while. Like most massholes, the feeling of everyone being against us, whether imagined or not, is a good enough reason to rally behind something. And after an entire offseason of listening to every worthless pundit grandstand about PSI and integrity in a sport with far greater ethical issues, it was easy to cheer hard for the Pats to be standing on that podium at the end of the year to stick it to that smug prick Goodell. Starting out 10-0 was fantastic. Winning is one thing, and for Patriots fans, an expected thing, but to go undefeated again? To stick it to the commissioner, to the petty teams left in their wake like the Colts and the Ravens, and to redeem the near perfect season of 2007? That would be perfection. Well, obviously 19-0 is perfection, but something about this season seemed like it would be more gratifying, you know, perfection with a deeper meaning. Sure we just won the Superbowl last year, but when you’ve got something to prove, don’t let recent championships get in the way.

Sadly, Denver took care of that. Not yesterday. That defeat was well earned especially from that offensive line who apparently thought the Roger Dorn-Ole-Bullshit approach to protecting the QB was a good idea. But the regular season defeat to the Broncos was when the dreams of erasing 18-1, Deflategate, and the hopes of other AFC fans came to an end. And it was the perfect game to get more pissed in defeat. Gronk was taken out in a hit that looked like his career might have ended, a practice squader fumbled a punt return at the worst time, and every call went against the Pats. (You know from a Pats’ fan perspective.) Losing in OT, in a game like that?  It was easy to blame everyone else and keep that chip on our shoulder. Once we realized our tight end wasn’t dead, and the rationalizations for not caring about a perfect season anymore were all submitted, the focus was locked in again. Win the Super Bowl and say fuck you to the rest of America.

For someone from New England but no longer living there it’s still hard for me to understand why everyone hates the Patriots so much. Well, kinda. Belichick is surly old prick, Brady is a guy that endorses UGG boots, and they win all the damn time. That I get. Still, at a gathering recently here in the Northlands, I was shocked and angered to hear people bashing Brady and how they would rather see Manning win the AFC Championship. Manning? Peyton Manning? The old washed up loser famous for choking? The guy with as many HGH allegations as Super Bowl rings? You want to hate the Patriots because they’re successful, or because the multiple cheating scandals, or because of the over exposure of their quarterback, fine I get it. But to pick Manning and his forehead instead? Doesn’t his teams always win? (at least in the regular season…sorry, can’t help it, New England) Wasn’t he just accused of cheating a few weeks ago? Isn’t he on TV every fucking commercial break? Why the hell did America want Denver to advance to the Super Bowl for their chance to get destroy by Cam and the Panthers so badly?

And the answer isn’t because Manning or Papa John’s is that wonderful, but simply: “Anyone but the Patriots”. And even as a Patriots fan I can understand rooting against a team more than wanting a team to win. Even last week I was cheering for the Broncos to win, not because I like Manning or Von Miller or Ronnie Hillman, but because they were going against Bathroom Ben Roethlisberger. Rapists should be in prison, not the AFC Championship, so I cheered pretty damn hard for Peyton and his noodle arm. Should people hate the Steelers more than the Pats because sexual assault is more detestable than deflating footballs? Absolutely! Do the seriousness of crimes really matter in sports-hate? Not at all! First of all, this is the NFL where morality is out the window. We have a team nicknamed after a racial slur because their owner just doesn’t give a shit. We have teams employing and glorifying players who threaten and abuse their wives, because owners (and fans) don’t give a shit. We have players getting brain damage every week because NO ONE GIVES A SHIT. There’s no logic to what we support in the NFL, so we love or hate whatever feels right at the time. Even if it changes every week.

And it feels good to let the hate flow throw us. It’s like every one of us has a a mini Emperor Palpatine on our shoulder encouraging us to embrace it. And really, why not the Patriots? People can hate them without having to deal with the real issues of the league. Our coach is an unfriendly asshole, but he’s not actually evil. Our QB is a model-marrying, Trump-supporting,  football-deflating, health quack pretty boy, but he’s not a rapist. And the team as whole has been known to bend the rules, sure, but it’s the fucking NFL. They just make up the rules as they go along. So yes, the Patriots are hate-able. But sports hate-able. It’s not like they employ rapists. Or murderers. Anymore.

And as a New England fan it’s fun to be the bad guy sometimes. Everyone is rooting against us? Good. I was looking for another reason to tell everyone to go fuck themselves anyway. And up until that regular season loss to Denver it was a blast. But after seeing Gronkowski hurt and the chances of 19-0 disappear, everything became less fun. It wasn’t just being so spoiled that winning alone wasn’t interesting anymore (although as a NE fan that does begin to factor in), but every game became meaningless other than a chance to lock up playoff seeding and hope that no one else got hurt. And like many Pats fans will gripe about today, it didn’t work: lots of players did get hurt. I’m sure talking about how if only Edelman was at full strength we’d be in the Super Bowl will only endear us to more people on Monday.

But more disappointing than the injuries was the way the team played in the 2nd half of the season. The home loss to Philadelphia was one of the more embarrassing losses in recent franchise history. The wins against the Texans and Titans were convincing, but not exactly satisfying. And the last two weeks of the season where they mailed it against NY and Miami were just plain infuriating. Losing against a bad team, okay. Winning against a bad team, great. But coming out and spending the whole game running out the clock? Rushing the ball 20 times a half just so that Brady won’t get hurt? Giving the ball to the other team in Overtime? If you don’t care if you win, rest players and commit to not giving a shit. But watching the Patriots sorta-kinda-but not really try to win games because they were afraid their offensive line couldn’t protect their QB and that their QB couldn’t make a play without all his weapons? Jesus Christ, it’s one thing for the fans to make these excuses but for the team to show us them was pathetic.

After watching that a small part of me hated the Patriots too. I had written them off going into the playoffs ( another good reason for people to hate Pats fans) but somehow their o-line held up against a supposedly good Chiefs defense. And their players were back! For one whole week everything looked great again. Edelman, Amendola, and Gronk were catching balls, so Brady didn’t have to throw it to someone who wasn’t white! No, I don’t think Tom Terrific is actually a racist, but he really does love his familiarity with his receivers. Still the whole gang being with him in Denver didn’t really mean shit when every Broncos defender got intimate enough with Brady to make many horny New Englanders jealous. What good is getting close enough to grab Tom Brady if you’re just going to throw him to the ground and walk away? Also, what good are your receivers when you don’t have time to throw to them?

So they lost. Manning looked as shitty as expected, but the Denver defense looked even better than expected. And they outplayed New England. Wade Phillips out-coached Josh McDaniels. Belichick’s famous half-time adjustments weren’t there.  Our defense kept us in the game, but greatest of all time or not, Brady couldn’t make anything happen. No bad calls, key injuries, or thankfully last minute shanked field goals cost them the game. (The schoolchildren may have forgiven you, Blair Walsh, but I am not there yet) They just lost. Which is probably good for New England. They lost, but unlike the last two weeks of the year, at least they were trying to win. Even as bad as they looked yesterday, there is nothing more deflating (wacka wacka wacka) than seeing a team out there tanking it on the field. At least yesterday the Patriots went down with a fight.

Sure, I’m not happy that Manning gets a chance for another ring. And I’m certainly not happy that all the Pats-haters get to be thrilled on Monday morning. But something about this season just wasn’t right. As a New England fan, I rode the chip on my shoulder for as long as I could and it was damn fun thinking about sticking it to the league with another championship for the Patriots. But after the spending weeks watching players get injured, playing mediocre without injured players, and then playing scared to make sure no one else got injured, it really wasn’t that much fun anymore. And while winning in the Divisional round was enjoyable, one good game in months didn’t mean that they were the best team. So why should they win? They didn’t deserve another Super Bowl this year. That has to be okay. Even if it takes an entire day of watching the Malcolm Butler play on repeat this Monday, it’s okay to accept defeat. We can’t win every year, just embrace it and cheer for the Panthers in two weeks. Or don’t. People will probably hate the Patriots and you as their fan either way. But I’m letting go of this season. Even if I need to rely on Russell Wilson throwing to us on the 1 yard line a little more today.

Day Old Dead-to-Me

People have asked me before what my family thinks of Day Old Doughnuts and I’ll tell them something like “Oh, they don’t read this crap”. And it’s true. Because they probably wouldn’t like it. Also because most of them didn’t know that it exist. I would never try to force anyone to read anything they didn’t want to. Now however some family members have seen the old blog and the goods news is that I was right: they didn’t like it. The bad news is that some people are pretty upset.

And I can understand that. I say a lot of not so nice things. About people I love, about people I hate, about people in general. Most of that is just me venting trying to make others, or at the very least myself, laugh. Sometimes people think it’s funny and are happy to share a post or make a comment on how they can relate to it. Other times people will disagree with me and call me out on it. Either way it’s fine. Sometimes people will be offended and stop reading. Other times people will be offended so much that they send something I wrote to the whole family and help create a shitstorm. Well, at least I can cross one person off the Christmas list.

It’s hard to understand why I feel compelled to write these things if you’ve never felt the way that I do. Or you’ve never wanted to write. Or if you are not interested in first person narratives. But I do feel these things and I do enjoy writing about them. I acknowledge some of it is part of my depression and part of it is my award winning personality. They both contribute to me feeling the need to express myself and trust me, doing it in person would lead to way more fights. That doesn’t mean that I always think I’m right, you know, at least no more than everyone thinks they’re right. Why else would they express their opinion if they didn’t believe some of it? Still I’m aware things that I say are wrong, maybe not right away, but sometimes later. And I’ve never claimed I’m being 100% truthful. I’ll take comedic license appropriating some other person’s experience as my own, or embellishing the truth. I’m not a reporter. Just an asshole with keyboard. It’s low-traffic blog on the internet. I didn’t think anyone would would care.

But apparently some people do care. So for any family or friends that do come across this site, just know that I love you. With the exception of one relative who is now dead to me. I poke fun of the people I love because I don’t want to start a fight with you every time I see you and I can’t just keep it to myself. That’s why we have the web: for people who can’t stop bitching to go be ignored in peace. It keeps the world spinning. Sometimes I may write something that seems about you but in reality it an amalgamation of multiple people that I know. Or it’s a proxy for an idea, not even a real person. Yeah, I’ll go straw man if I’ve got nothing to write about, I’m an amateur. Cut me some slack. Occasionally it might actually be about you but I’m not using your name and really.. no one cares what I say. If you want to you can disagree with me. Hell, if you’re really bored you can start your own blog called Bake Sucks and write some bad things about me. If you’ve read enough stuff here you will know that there is plenty of material and I welcome the competition.

But can I make one final appeal to people? If you really don’t like what I’m saying…. just don’t read it. Sometimes I get offended by things a writer will say and I stop reading their work too. You’ll usually find out pretty quickly that you weren’t missing much. I’m not a good writer so I don’t think people will really suffer any by bailing on me now. But if that’s not enough, I’m really not sure what else to say. If I apologize to one person there will be a lot of people waiting in line. Just going back a little I should apologize to my family, the state of Minnesota, anyone that I have previously worked with, the government, people who care about fashion, the Baseball HOF, streaming music sites, conservatives, yogis, and people with bumper stickers. Not to mention myself. I admit that I do love my family more than most of those groups, but it would be much appreciated if everyone could take a deep breathe, think about the context of what I’m saying, call me an asshole, and go back to living your life without worrying about any damn thing that I have to say.


Pass The Gravy or I’ll Fucking Kill You

I’m missing Thanksgiving for the first time this year. Well, I wouldn’t say I’m MISSING it. Wacka Wacka Wacka. I actually never cared for Thanksgiving all that much. If I want to eat a ton of food at once I will, and it sure as shit doesn’t have to be a holiday. On a semi-related note I have no idea how people are able to prepare that many dishes at once. I struggle with two burners at the same time and regardless of what else is going on, every damn time that I’m going to prepare vegetables I need to consult with the internet first. To all those that can pull off this feast preparation, god bless. This year for Thanksgiving on my own I may attempt to make Mashed Potatoes for the first time. Or maybe I’ll just make PB & Js. Not sure yet.   Did I mention that I’m 30?

Food or no food, I think what I’ll miss the most is getting pissed at my dumb uncle. Or my clueless parents. Or really whoever shows up. Every house is the same. There’s always someone at Thanksgiving who gets their information from Fox News, the tabloids at the grocery store, or similarly reliable sources like “thoughts they just put together in their brain and can’t wait to present to you as factual”. Really no matter which way you lean politically, or spiritually, or just how you feel about cats, there is always a relative at Thanksgiving who can’t stick to the script of football, drinking, and food. And then all hell will break loose. Your mother will cry and talk about how the day is ruined, your dad will start swearing and talking about some nonsense that is offensive to all parties there (and probably most human beings on the planet), and if you’re lucky your grandmother will nonchalantly drop an N bomb just to make sure the uncomfortableness of the holiday lingers until at least Christmas.

Now I know a lot of people may be thinking that I’M this asshole based off the things I write, post, tweet, share, etc. Because clearly my social media actions are vital to not only your perception of my but your life in general. Still, I think it’s fair to say that that if you know me I’m pretty liberal, passionately opinionated, and not all that great at making friends or being nice to people as a whole. BUT I’m still not the holiday instigator. I’m the retaliator. It’s true, I may ruin Thanksgiving. Hell, I may ruin my family altogether. But if everyone else just wants to talk about the Red Sox trading for Kimbrel, the Patriots pursuit of another perfect season, or whatever the hell the Bruins are doing these days, then trust me, I’m good. I’m not going to turn a sports conversation into an income inequality rant just because its meaningful to me. But the first time some asshole decides trashing Obama is requisite to passing the fucking squash, then the gloves are coming off man. And I’m not even a big Obama guy.

I just can’t fucking stand ignorance at the dinner table…. unless you are keeping that ignorance to yourself. But they never keep it to themselves. Certainly not on Thanksgiving. And this year should be especially ripe for the picking. This Thursday the hot takes on Muslims invading the US, greedy fast-food workers ruining the economy, and Black people (the nerve of them) picking on police officers will be served up nice and fresh alongside those dinner rolls. Names will be called, ridiculous points will be made on both sides, and one person will definitely try to steer the conversation into their mostly irrelevant passion cause like electric cars or the recent tax payer money spent on the new high school. What does that have to do with anything? Doesn’t matter. They have a captive audience and they are going for it.

Mom will try to get everyone to stop talking but by then everyone will be so full of turkey, alcohol, and stupidity that you’d rather get up from the table and enjoy your indigestion somewhere else anyway. At least you have the next few hours to awkwardly watch football in silence. Maybe Grandma would like to learn the intricate rules of the NFL even if she can’t be bothered with the rules of society since Jim fucking Crow. Oh Thanksgiving.  I hope everyone enjoys their mashed potatoes.

Missing Mass

Tonight I watched my first Bruins game of the year. Marchand scored a goal, some other asshole got into a fight, and I really didn’t give a shit who won. Ok, fine, I checked later.  The B’s won 4-2. But still. I don’t know when I’ll see another Boston game. Actually I don’t know when I’ll see another Boston anything. Man, I miss Massachusetts.

But really its not the sports. It’s everything. Minnesota is sorely lacking the comforts of home.  Fuck Dunkin Donuts, did you know that there isn’t a pizza /sub shop every 4 feet like there is in New England? It took me months to find a place that delivers chicken fingers. And when I finally reeled in some place, they were coconut crusted. Coconut! What the fuck is going on here?

Really what I miss though is someone telling me to go fuck myself. I’ve cut off every vehicle in this podunk town and most of them don’t even look up, let alone curse me out. I’ve accidentally closed doors on people, said the absolute wrong things at parties, and inteniontially did my job poorly. No, worse than poorly. Poorest?  I fucking suck. Buy hey, no one gives a shit. Instead people will patiently get out of my way. Or offer me food. Or ask me to help out on additional work projects. Their politeness is making me ill.

Not that I’m THAT much of an asshole (actually…) but I just can’t believe these people. Seriously, no one is this kind. I know there is a certain midwestern code of manners even this far north but why the hell won’t people just come out and say something, ANYTHING mean. Just let it out. HATE HATE HATE you sons of bitches. Sure, I’ll catch passive aggressive moments here and there but no out right abrasiveness. No rudeness. Nothing vulgar allowed either. Just “oh gee, I doughnt know if yah  wanta do that?” WHY? Tell why the fuck not. Tell me right now! I’m sorry. I love you. Yes, I’ll try your casserole.

I’m also surprised at how little anyone gives a shit that I’m from Massachusetts. If someone told me that they’re from Minnesota depending on how I felt about my home at the time I would ask what the fuck are you doing here or ask questions about how if I should move to MN instead. Or at the very least I could make fun of the Twins for repeatedly bending over for the Yankees or ask how they feel about their precious AP being a child abuser? Nothing? Not even friendly ribbing? What the fuck did we just sit through months of America hating the Patriots (after years of America…hating the patriots) for no one to tell me my team is full of a bunch of gutless cheaters. I’m not at the bar to pick up indistinguisable pale blonde girls Minnesota, I’m here to throw down! Some one fight me already!

God I’m bored.
Would I be bored and miserable in Mass too? Of course. The only real difference is that I would be surrounded by likeminded bored and miserable assholes there. The weather would still suck , the traffic would be infinitely worse, and I would hate almost everyone around me for being in too much of a rush or driving like an asshole or just being a generally cold son of a bitch. Still, after decades of being the coldest of the  cold its tough to adapt. I don’t want to pretend to care what people are blathering on about at work. I can’t fake one iota of patience. And for Christ’s sake, when its time to go, just fucking leave. This “Minnesota Good bye” where people shoot the shit in the parking lot for 20 minutes kills me and my irishgoodbye-loving self a little bit more each day. Please stop trying to be nice to me. Tell me what you really think of New Englanders. And for the love of god will someone tell me to go fuck myself. Because especially after this post, I deserve it.

I Don’t Want to Go to Work

It’s been a month since I wrote anything here and I could pretend like I’ve been busy and you’re my friend that I really just don’t want to hang out with but…nope, I’ve been pretty useless. Unless you consider drinking too much and re-watching 30 Rock to be useful. Since leaving my job behind and moving to Minnesota in the last couple months I’ve gone through the typical range of emotions from unbounded freedom and optimism about a fresh start to crushing disappointment, sadness, and the compulsion to become forever wedded to my new neighbor Lake Superior. But for better or worse for my mental health and general productivity it looks like I will be going back to work next week. I really had no intention of doing this when I was basking in unemployed bliss this summer but funny thing: I forgot that I still need money. And now that I don’t have any I guess it’s time to start earning (read: looking pensively at the article I’m reading to simulate concentrating at work) that pay check again.

This would be fine if not for just one thing: I don’t want to go back to work. No. I really don’t want to go back to work. No. I really, really don’t want to go back to work. No. I really, really, really…well, you see where I’m going here. It’s not so much that I think I shouldn’t go back to work, it’s that there is no part of me that misses, well, anything about the office. Sure, those moments of reliving Office Space or being in a meeting where someone actually uses the term Synergy un-ironically are worth a good laugh, but I’m okay with keeping them as memories. The paychecks? Never that great, I’ve recently weighed their benefit vs Plan B which involves cashing out my 401k, donating plasma, and hoping that “future me” has something better.

I know that I’m grasping at straws here but I’m desperate. And to be honest, you’re no fucking help. Seriously, for anyone that says “if you are that miserable at the office then you should try a new career”, please consider how useless this advice is before offering it next time. Unless of course you are actually offering a job opportunity to me or another lost soul. You know, an opportunity to someone who has no experience whatsoever in this new and better career because they spent their life doing something unrelated. No, you don’t want to take that risk? Then step the fuck off. Also unhelpful is reminding people that everyone hates their jobs. I’ve heard this so many times but I can’t understand how no one has noticed how terrible of a strategy this is to getting through life. If I ended an unhappy relationship and was hesitant about starting a new one would people suggest that it’s a good idea to just go for it because everyone hates their relationship anyway? Hell, if I wasn’t enjoying my sandwich but couldn’t figure out what else to eat, would anyone tell me “Hey, don’t worry about it, everyone hates their sandwich”? WHY THE FUCK DO WE KEEP EATING THESE SANDWICHES?

It’s not only worthless advice but also enforces this idea that other than a minority of people whom miraculously like their jobs that most of us are supposed to be A-OK with detesting something that we spend 40-60 hours a week. That’s insane. I suppose if we were being compensated fairly for our misery it would less depressing, assuming you either could improve your life in other ways with the additional money, or maybe if you save the extra income from your hellish job you could one day stop going and live off your misery-earned savings. But we know that’s not how it works. Not in this great society. Most of us will live paycheck to paycheck doing something mostly forgettable while repeatedly just waiting for the week to be over. Yes, I’m depressed. Why aren’t you?

I don’t want to go full Bernie Sanders/Larry David on you, but the income inequality going on has really gone from a political opinion to something that actually makes me nauseous and question if working for the rest of my life is really worth it. I think what pisses me off the most is, if we are going to have to do something we hate, shouldn’t we all at least be able to make enough money to pay for a place to live? If you were outlining the tenets of any basic society wouldn’t it be food, water, and a place to sleep for starters? You could argue about where plumbing should fit in these rankings but how can we not even get to number three on the fucking list? In one of the richest countries in the world we have to work for decades to afford a down payment on a place to live? Then work for a few more decades to pay off the rest of what we owe on that home. Then, if we’re lucky, we can finally retire from the place we hate going to (but needed to continue going to go to so we could have a place to live) only to soon have to sell the place we finally own just so that we can afford to live a little longer somewhere else. But, hey, life’s not fair. Yep. Why think about how fucked up it is that someone can make (earned is a misnomer for sure) in one day as much money as you would need to live comfortably for a lifetime when you can rely on cliches to hold down your own class?

But it’s not that bad, you could be making minimum wage. Great, someone is more fucked than me. When did that become the symbol of America? Should I really be happy that someone else is struggling worse than me? That sounds pretty depressing in its own right; that people are so pathetic that the only way to feel better about their situation is to compare them to those less fortunate. Honestly, I don’t think I’ll ever understand the pricks who spread anti-Fight for $15 memes. Well, sure I get it from the rich assholes who actually own the fast foods corporations, but from regular working class folks who say “The cashier at Burger King can’t make $15, that’s barely what I make!” and don’t realize that the problem isn’t someone fighting for their right to a living wage but the vast majority of us who aren’t putting up a fight at all.

I really can’t fathom how minimum wage workers keep going. At worst I’ll be starting a job that pays twice as well and is probably much easier. And if I was actually tempted by this carrot, I also have the potential to move up in the company and make more money; potential that millions of people getting paid too little have no chance of obtaining. I’m not saying they should just give up on life…I’m just saying that I would. Hell, I’m not sure that I’m not giving up on life now. So that probably makes me a quitter. I guess I have to accept that. And that’s the real problem. Maybe it’s just my distorted, depressed, and confused impression, but it seems that everyone else is just better at accepting. At accepting that life is not fair, that everyone hates their job, and that it could always be worse. It’s nice to accept. Accepting is everything and everything is awesome, therefore accepting is awesome. That’s how that works, right? We accept that home ownership for the middle-class is a dying breed, that the Top 1% own more than 90% of the wealth (Feel the Bern!), and that we can delude ourselves that we’re not that poor as long as someone else is poorer. Me? I guess I just need to accept this job so I keep on accepting. Seems worth it, right?