MLB should make their expanded playoffs permanent

How great was that first round?

After months of watching my beloved Red Sox stumble through life like an angry drunk trying to fight a subway train, watching multiple quality teams play meaningful, competitive baseball was a breath of fresh air. I kept the games on while working, eating, and playing video games, paying half attention to the slower innings and perking up like a golden retriever excited to see the mailman anytime I heard something that sounded like action. I learned so much about teams and players I probably would’ve only seen a couple times over the course of a normal season. I want a Tatis jersey – and I want this to happen every year, maybe with a little less A-Rod commentary.

The playoff format itself was a point of discussion among the play-by-play guys and analysts. Several made pointed out that they don’t want sixteen teams in the postseason every year because the current format makes winning your division less important. I see their point; the 162-game season is a marathon, and finishing at the top of your arbitrary grouping is a pretty big accomplishment that should be worth something.

But man, I’m not sure I can write anything that does justice to the benefits of the expanded playoffs just in terms of adding more baseball that matters. In a normal season, so many games in August and September are totally unnecessary and boring. Let’s fix that! Let’s compromise and maybe give the division winners an automatic win in the first round, or the opportunity to choose their initial opponent, or a runner on second to open each game, or let them have the DH while the lesser team’s pitcher has to hit. There are fun ways to solve this problem so we can have more good baseball.

Go Padres!

Taking a step back

I’m very lucky to have been able to work remotely during this pandemic. Removing my commute and all the preparation and expense involved with going somewhere else just to do work I could realistically do anywhere has given me a significant chunk of extra time and saved me a lot of money. As far as I’m concerned, this is the way the kind of work I do should be done.

There’s another more interesting benefit to all of this that I hadn’t expected: I’m enjoying my own interests more. I used to read a ton of analytical articles about sports, wrestling, media, and video games on my commute, at lunch, or at my desk when I needed to take a break. The only distractions I had access to in my previous working life were those accessible through my smart phone or my work computer’s web browser, and the only way to really connect with my interests through those devices was by reading reviews, critiques, and think pieces.

The problem with those, of course, is that they rely on super granular analysis, snark, and negativity to generate the clicks that get them paid. These columnists examine the things they love through a lens so powerfully analytical that it often sucks the joy right out of the topic. Message boards, forums, and reddit often take a similar approach. Now this is not to say that all criticism of our entertainment is negative or useless. On the contrary, such feedback is imperative for all artists to grow, and reviews are extremely useful to interested consumers. But when you’re spending your time writing three-hundred word paragraphs on every line uttered on a professional wrestling show, well…you’re overthinking it, probably even more so than those involved in producing it. That’s a waste of time.

But that I’m significantly less involved in that world, it’s easier to sit back and enjoy the things I like. I can smile at Shinsuke Nakamura without being reminded of someone telling me he’s being under-utilized or that he’s not putting the effort in. I can laugh at my horrible baseball team without feeling like any jackass could’ve done a better job building a functional roster. I’m having a good time watching the Patriots for the first time in years because I’m not picking apart everything that’s happening on every play. I’m downloading and having fun with a wider variety of video games just because they look cool and the headlines I skimmed were mostly positive. And I can do it all without feeling like I need to rush through it just to keep pace with the rest of the world.

And just as importantly, I can discuss all of these things without coming off as some condescending fanboy who’s never going to be happy with the media he claims to like. I can finally retire the neckbeard and fedora and hang out with the normies.

Understanding what we like and why is definitely a good thing – but getting so deep into the details that we lose sight of the qualities we found attractive absolutely hinders our ability to appreciate what we’re watching, reading, playing, and listening to. None of our beloved media content is perfect and we shouldn’t expect it to be. Taking a step back from being super critical of whatever you’re into will help you love it all the more. After all, it’s just entertainment.

Scott’s half-assed 2020 NFL season preview

After decades of watching as much football as possible every weekend, I swore off the NFL a few years ago. So many things about that league frustrated me to the point that watching felt more like a job than something I enjoyed.

Now we’re in the middle of a pandemic, I’m bored, and I’m super curious to see how the Patriots are going to do in the post-Brady era.

My strong feelings about the game, the league, and the people in and around it have persisted. The sound of Phil Simms’s voice still makes me cringe like Wolverine just assaulted a chalkboard. I figure they’re worth summarizing for context, so here’s my NFL manifesto, the truths I hold self-evident, the bottom line because Stone Cold said so.

  • 99% of the people involved with the league are super fucking stupid.
  • Ancient primordial forces have decreed that there can only be six actually good quarterbacks in the league at any given time.
  • Your team’s quarterback probably isn’t one of them, but the talking heads on TV are going to crawl right up into his ass and make a nest there anyway.
  • The fat guys are the most important people on the field and anyone who tries to tell you otherwise is a dipshit.
  • No one wants to see your kicker. Keep him on the bench where he belongs and go for it on fourth and short, you fucking pussy.
  • Fuck the Mannings.

Look at all that negativity! This is why I quit. I could go on for days.

Before I get on to my picks, I want to reintroduce you to an amazing metric I invented years ago for describing football teams: the Booze Equivalency Index. By comparing a football team to an adult beverage, I can describe in one sentence what it takes supposed “real” journalists entire articles to communicate. The powers that be are not happy about it and I am still blackballed all these years later.

And now, the main event.

AFC East

  1. New England Patriots. You remember all that negativity I spewed a few paragraphs ago? That’s nothing compared to the fiery resentment simmering in the hearts of this team’s coach and starting quarterback. Bill Belichick and Cam Newton will do everything within their power to prove their haters wrong. They will drag this team to a 10-6 record and a home game in the first round or they will die trying. Booze Equivalency Index: That old bottle of whiskey that only got opened on nights you knew your father was going to get the belt if you got smart.
  2. Buffalo Bills. Here by default, and probably a wild card team because they get four games against the next two trash bags. They’re good at everything but their quarterback can be kind of a dink and…well…come on, they’re the Bills. Booze Equivalency Index: That bottle of Sam Winter that’s been in your fridge since January. It’s probably fine, but there’s a non-zero chance you’re going to spend the next morning on the toilet.
  3. Miami Dolphins. I love Fitzmagic and his luscious chin bush as much as any other nerd that wishes he could throw a football, but this rebuild won’t be over anytime soon. Booze Equivalency Index: Hops just starting to sprout on the vine.
  4. New York Jets. Is there any more embarrassing franchise in all of sports? I’m gonna say no. They suck, they’ve always sucked, and they’re gonna keep sucking for the foreseeable future. Booze Equivalency Index: Prison wine.

AFC North

  1. Baltimore Ravens. The league has always been a cautionary tale of the haves and the have nots, and I believe that the current covidstances will make that even more apparent this season. Talented teams with smart coaches and strong cultures will be most likely to weather this storm. That’s Baltimore in a nutshell. Booze Equivalency Index: A perfectly made Manhattan.
  2. Cleveland Browns. Covid’s thrown a wrench into all the other leagues. The Bruins and Bucks, favorites in the NHL and NBA, flamed out early. If the MLB playoffs started today the Marlins, Giants, Blue Jays, and White Sox would all make it. There is nothing more 2020 than the hapless Browns somehow making the postseason and then getting stomped in the first round. Booze Equivalency Index: That sour beer you only want to drink once.
  3. Pittsburgh Steelers. Big Ben’s getting old and Pennsylvania just seems like the kind of place that’ll have a major ‘rona problem that impacts its football team. Booze Equivalency Index: A hot dog martini.
  4. Cincinnati Bengals. The smartest thing this team could do with the quarterback they just drafted first overall is store him on an island until this outbreak is over and they’ve had another year to build a better team around him. So of course Joe Burrow’s starting week one. Booze Equivalency Index: Like if you roofied yourself.

AFC South

  1. Houston Texans. I actually like the idea of trading away an overrated wide receiver for a reliable running back. Bill O’Brien seems to be getting more and more desperate to keep his job – and I could see that paying off. Booze Equivalency Index: A trendy IPA you purchased in a failed attempt to impress your Tinder date who only drinks Bud Light.
  2. Jacksonville Jaguars. Entirely because of Gardner Minshew’s mustache. Booze Equivalency Index: A gin and tonic with way too much gin.
  3. Tennessee Titans. You really expect me to believe Ryan Tannehill isn’t dogshit now? No. Booze Equivalency Index: Off-brand Dr. McGillicutty’s.
  4. Indianapolis Colts. Because Philip Rivers has nine kids. I’m just sayin’ that’s a lot of potential Covid exposure. Booze Equivalency Index: Vodka and Crystal Light.

AFC West

  1. Kansas City Chiefs. Dat offense. Booze Equivalency Index: A spicy margarita.
  2. Denver Broncos. I know nothing about this team and I’m too lazy to Google them. I do know that the other teams in this division are jokes. Booze Equivalency Index: A three dollar mystery shot.
  3. San Diego Chargers. Terrible. Booze Equivalency Index: A spicy margarita spiked with Jaeger.
  4. Las Vegas Raiders. Take a moment and think about Jon Gruden. Do you believe for one second that guy’s taking corona seriously? If I could place one bet on this NFL season it would be that the Raiders will be the first team to have a game cancelled due to an outbreak. Booze Equivalency Index: A Michelob Ultra someone left out in the sun for too long.

NFC East

  1. Philadelphia Eagles. Yeah, they’re pretty good. Booze Equivalency Index: A nice smooth New England IPA.
  2. Dallas Cowboys. After years of frustration with a coach who’s an excellent motivator and planner but can’t manage a game to save his life, Jerry Jones replaced Jason Garrett with…a coach who’s an excellent motivator and planner but can’t manage a game to save his life. Ok. Booze Equivalency Index: Harpoon UFO. A good hefeweizen, but there’s better out there.
  3. Washington Football Team. Just rename them the Hogs after their legendary offensive line and get it done with. Could be kind of feisty if Alex Smith is healthy. Booze Equivalency Index: Harpoon IPA. Generic, but fine.
  4. New York Giants. I am so glad all the Mannings are finally gone. I hope all their kids stick to academics. Booze Equivalency Index: Spaghetti-o flavored White Claw.

NFC North

  1. Minnesota Vikings. Decent quarterback, solid defense, good line. Home playoff game. Booze Equivalency Index: A nice merlot.
  2. Chicago Bears. Either Mitch Trubisky gets his shit together or he takes a seat behind Nick Foles. Whatever happens, it’ll be enough to get them a wildcard spot. Booze Equivalency Index: Ice cold PBR on a warm day.
  3. Detroit Lions. Good thing all the crowd noise is fake this year. Poor Matt Patricia’s probably toast. Booze Equivalency Index: Greek yogurt that hid in the back of the fridge and wound up fermenting.
  4. Green Bay Packers. I’m calling it now: Aaron Rodgers is washed. Booze Equivalency Index: Listerine.

NFC South

  1. New Orleans Saints. Drew Brees is not washed. Booze Equivalency Index: A delicious hurricane in a fun novelty glass straight from Bourbon Street.
  2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Tom Brady might be sort of washed. The history of legendary quarterbacks moving on to a second team late in their careers does not portend great things. That said: you’d better believe the league, the networks, and the mob all see huge dollar signs in the potential of a New England/Tampa Superbowl, and the dregs of this division are basically a guaranteed four wins. Booze Equivalency Index: A glass of merlot the vintner left in a barrel for a few years too long and released anyway, to great acclaim.
  3. Atlanta Falcons. This team is boring, so I’m going to take a moment here and say that I hope Sasha Banks eats Bayley’s god damn motherfucking lunch after that heinous attack. It’s Boss Time. Booze Equivalency Index: Miller Lite. Always on tap, always the same crap.
  4. Carolina Panthers. Teddy Bridgewater? Ok. Booze Equivalency Index: Your neighbor’s skunked homebrew, except he tried to put jalapenos in it this time.

NFC West

  1. San Francisco 49ers. How great would it be if, in a season where Tom Brady’s a Buc and the Pats have replaced him with Cam Newton, TB12’s former heir apparent stepped up and stole the whole damn show? The bitterness radiating out of Foxboro and Tampa would melt what’s left of the ice caps. Sign me up for that. Booze Equivalency Index: St. Bernardus Abt 12. The finest ale.
  2. Seattle Seahawks. Whatever, Pete Carroll’s still a terd. Booze Equivalency Index: The Alchemist’s Heady Topper. Still great after all these years.
  3. LA Rams. That championship window slammed shut rather quickly, don’t ya think? Could still knock on the door and maybe snag a wildcard slot. Their new logo’s ugly. Booze Equivalency Index: A saison with a dumb name from that new microbrewery up the street. Could be decent. Could be like licking a tailpipe.
  4. Arizona Cardinals. Yeah, let’s trade for a star receiver with a big ego when we’ve got literally nothing else of value on the team. Great plan. Booze Equivalency Index: That backwash at the bottom of your pint.

AFC Champ: Kansas City
NFC Champ: Seattle

Superbowl Champ: I hate 2020. There are no Mannings with which the NFL can piss me off, but there is a Pete fucking Carroll. Seahawks, 35-31.

On mindfulness

I’m putting this here on the off chance it’ll help someone else. Sure, I know my quirky worded rants about dipshits dipping their shit bring smiles to faces, but I can contribute more to the world than that.

So this pandemic’s a pain in the ass, right? At the beginning I thought I had it down pat – I settled into what I assumed would be a temporary routine that would keep me distracted for the month or two the world would be different.

Then things didn’t go back to normal as quickly as I thought they would. My life changed in ways I hadn’t foreseen and didn’t want. Turns out I’m not as immune to the repercussions of that kind of shit as I and a lot of people around me always thought. Like so many others, I wound up sad and angry and lonely and bored and often just sort of useless. I came to think of it as not being able to pull my head out of my own ass, because I knew the real difficulties were all internal.

There were too many days where I just fucking couldn’t. You know what I mean; there’s a malaise in the air and something akin to concrete in your veins, and even though you know you should care you just don’t. That’s a dangerous state.

I considered therapy. As is so often the case, I got pissed off at the pricing and annoying process of finding a doctor. Having to even look at a health insurance card makes me feel like a vampire confronted with a cross. “Fuck this noise,” I said. “It’s my own damn head stuck in my own damn ass and I can figure out how to put that shit back where it should be.”

So I started reading, as I always do when confronted with a problem. It ran the gamut from quick listicles to scholarly papers on modern psychology. I didn’t dare self-diagnose; I simply matched what was going on in my head with the solutions described on those pages. And I thought a lot about those solutions and where they came from and what they were trying to do. Seriously, what the fuck is all this deep breathing and visualization and confronting your feelings actually seeking to accomplish? What the hell is this mindfulness shit anyway? What’s the common thread underneath all this stuff?

After wracking my brain, I realized it’s really just preparation. Mindfulness techniques get you ready to deal with your emotions the way studying helps you ace a math test, practicing your Powerpoint slides gets you a raise after your presentation, or hitting off a tee turns into cranking big ding dongs in the World Series. If you understand what’s going on in your head and you’re in a place where you can approach it with clarity, there’s a better chance you won’t become overwhelmed when emotion happens.

For me, this means three new habits:

  1. Meditation. I covered this in a prior post, so I’ll summarize here and just say it’s the reboot button. It resets your inner monologue, breaks you out of negative feedback loops, and generates a feeling of relaxation and refreshment that allows you to think about things without all the prior built-up baggage. You’re clearing the virtual memory, zapping the PRAM, taking the cartridge out of the console and blowing in it – or, if you want a non-nerd metaphor, you’re handing all your empties over to the can guy so you’ve got room in your bin again.
  2. Journaling. The last thing I go to bed is write down all the good stuff that happened that day. This can be as simple as having had a nice iced coffee or a good chat with someone, or as complex as having had some sort of major epiphany. If there’s something I really need to work through, I’ll also scribble it down here. As a writer, paragraphs and something akin to narrative structure help me organize and understand my thoughts better than anything else.
  3. Finding the why. This is the hardest part. It requires some serious objectivity, a clear thought process, and occasional moments of luck. Meditation and journaling are essentially the flash cards that get you ready for this pop quiz. Understanding why you really feel a certain way makes it easier to deal with the negative and enjoy the positive, and helps you communicate about both simply because you’re ready to do so.

I do these things every day. Like anything else, mindfulness is a muscle you need to exercise. I feel more at peace and more awake than I’ve been at any other point in my life. My cranium still occasionally drifts up my anal sphincter, but when it does I’m much better equipped to jerk it back out without losing a day or two to moping around.

Above and beyond simply pulling my head out of my ass, one of my big goals with all of this is to improve my ability to communicate my emotions. Not being able to do so has routinely bit me right in the grundle. I’ve always been good at anger; cracking a beer and then calling someone a jackass in a clever-ish way comes naturally to me. The things that make me angry have historically been given VIP seating in my thoughts purely because they feel like they need to be dealt with. It’s easy to prioritize your frustrations as to do list items that need to be worked out and slandered for a satisfying moment of catharsis. They’re problems; they need solutions. I can unload these emotions confidently because I’ve always been ready to do so.

I haven’t given my other feelings, be they positive or negative, the same consideration. The good things especially need to be processed too. Hell, they deserve even more attention than your perceived problems. I wasn’t doing that. This meant that I wasn’t prepared to act on them or to talk about them, and when pressed I’d get flustered and either fumble a half-assed response or change the subject with something resembling humor. It wasn’t that I had no feelings, it’s that I wasn’t confident in my ability to express them and felt inadequate in the moment. It’s like not knowing the answer to a teacher’s question, but exponentially more embarrassing. I haven’t had much of a chance to really test this given the pandemic, but I hope that being prepared can give me the confidence to answer and act appropriately and proactively.

I’ve also realized that I wasn’t going quite deep enough when evaluating my frustrations. It turns out the vast majority of the issues I’ve had with other people can be boiled down to one thing: jealousy. Be it personal or professional, I’ve seen a lot of people treated in ways I felt like I deserved more than they did, and that led to a lot of negativity and useless approaches to those situations. I know now that those people got the treatment I wanted because they were offering something I wasn’t. Being able to recognize that in the future can only be a positive thing. It’ll keep me calm and help me decide whether I need to either change my approach or redirect my efforts entirely, and it’ll save a lot of very patient people from having to listen to my incessant bitching.

Interestingly, I’m also feeling more empathy for those I disagree with, because understanding yourself makes it easier to understand others. I still think all the maskless shit clowns need to put something on their god damn faces Jesus socially distanced Christ, but…I can understand why so many people are so terrified of their lives changing. That’s a big enough thing that I’ll save it for another post.

I think that’s enough touchy-feely bullshit for today. If you haven’t run off to vomit yet, then I hope something in here helps you with something someday. I can’t say I’m thankful for the last several months, but I will admit that I probably needed the swift kick in the ass that brought me to this point. If you leave with a single takeaway, I hope it’s this: mindfulness isn’t just for hippies and thin-skinned Millennials. Massholes, gamers, smart mark wrestling dorks, tech nerds, swole as fuck power lifters, drunks who think they’re just craft beer connoisseurs, fast walkers, award winning authors, and literally everyone else can all benefit too.

Going back to school in this shit is dumb

I’m not a parent so I should probably keep my mouth shut about this…but you know what? This weird insistence that children need to return to school in person affects more than just kids, teachers, and parents–it affects the entire community.

The progress we’ve made in slowing the spread of COVID-19 is entirely based on keeping people apart. Those of us who are taking the pandemic seriously have only been interacting with our closest friends and loved ones, and that at a distance. Going to school means cramming representatives of dozens or even hundreds of different families into confined, poorly ventilated spaces. We’ve all seen colds, flus, chickenpox, and herpes tear ass through classes of kids. Are we really dumb enough to think coronavirus won’t do the same thing?

And we’re talking about groups of barely supervised children and adolescents here. Teachers can’t be everywhere. Think of all the shit you were able to get away with when you were in school. For every Andrea A-Plus who’s got her shit together and wouldn’t dare jeopardize her rocket ride straight to Harvard, there’s a dozen Lick-Everything Larrys, fifteen Pass-Me-a-Pall-Mall Patties, two Teddy Terd-Smears, and a Finger-in-Your-Fries Freddy who are going to fuck it all up. Don’t even get me started on all the supposedly responsible adults you just know are going to send their sick kids to school because “errrrrrrrrrr she’s faking!” or “I need him to leave so I can bang the maid reeeeeeeee!”

So the kids who go to school will catch the virus, give it to their families, and then their families will spread it to others in the community. Fan-fucking-tastic. How this plays out is so god damn obvious that it’s no wonder all the dipshit conservatives are dead set on following through with it. Don’t believe me? Notre Dame’s already reported 29 cases in its first week since reopening campus, even though all students were tested prior to being allowed onsite and are required to fill out a health questionnaire every day. Baseball teams, professional wrestling companies, factories, and meat packing plants have all had their own outbreaks. But yeah, sure, let’s shove a bunch of immature germ factories into a poorly ventilated building with super tight traffic flows so some of them can learn their times tables and the rest of them can prepare for long, rewarding careers posting to 4chan from their parents’ basements. Won-fucking-derful.

But I’m not unsympathetic. There are kids out there who absolutely need extra attention, and school should be open for them. There are parents that can’t work from home, and school should be open for those kids too – at least for the younger ones who can’t be left alone. And it should be made real damn clear that the school building is a safe space any kid can come to when there’s an issue. If schools aren’t dumbly running at full capacity, they’ll be better able to serve the children who need them most.

And don’t get me started on colleges and universities. There is absolutely no reason those places need to pack a bunch of poorly supervised adolescent dumbasses into our cities and towns right now. Are we really doing sorority shit in this crap? They can learn remotely. Fuck, they’re probably going to have to know how to work remotely after graduation anyway if they can find any jobs at all, so think of it as giving them a head start. And yes, tuition should be reduced.

I understand entirely why all the shitty old white dudes want to ignore the danger and force things back to normal, but I will never get why a generation of children who are supposedly more in touch with the world than ever are letting themselves be dragged into this stupidity.

This pandemic is not a normal situation. Attempting to force a business-as-usual approach is foolish and short-sighted. Anyone in a position of power who’s insisting on in-person learning this fall has no business being responsible for tying their own god damn shoes, never mind making decisions that impact the communities they’re supposed to be serving.

Beer gardens should be allowed to open in Massachusetts, with or without food

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker caused an uproar earlier this week when he announced during a press conference that “Bars are closed in Massachusetts and bars masquerading as restaurants also need to be closed.” The new rules state that the first round must be paired with food prepared onsite; many businesses are struggling to understand exactly what that entails.

Although I wholeheartedly agree with him in terms of the traditional sense of the word “bar” and I think anyone crowding up to an indoor bar right now is a fucking dipshit, I couldn’t disagree more when it comes to outdoor drinking.

Here’s the deal: breweries across the state have set up outdoor beer gardens with strictly defined capacity and spacing. They’re taking reservations in advance, collecting the information necessary for contact tracing, and only letting customers stay for 90 minutes. They’re sanitizing the bejesus out of their tables, chairs, bathrooms, point of sale systems, and everything else. In my experience, breweries care significantly more about their customer base and the communities they serve than the shitbag restaurants that are all owned by local conglomerates just trying to make as much money as they can before they flip the real estate and the liquor license. Of course, this also means they lack the resources necessary to lobby Republican governors, but I digress.

Beer gardens of this ilk should be allowed to operate right now, with or without food. And frankly, I think there should be more of them.

COVID transmission happens when too many people are right on top of each other. These breweries and beer gardens are preventing that! Every weekend some dipshit doesn’t throw a giant barbecue or house party because he can go drink beer at a socially distant table with three to five of his friends is a giant fucking win. My general attitude toward the pandemic is that people need to cut the shit and stop being such a bunch of entitled assholes, but I’m enough of a realist to understand that we need to give everybody something to do. Give them their own little space, carefully limited to a safe capacity and set an appropriate distance from everyone else, where they’ve got access to a regularly cleaned pisser and where there’s a burly dude with tattoos who will remind them to put their fucking mask on when they get up from their table.

We need more outdoor spaces like this, I think, where the traffic flows are clearly marked and the sitting areas are obviously designated and distant. We should let local brewers put beer gardens up and down the damn Charles, on M Street Beach, and along the Minuteman Bike Path. Some people can’t be trusted to be responsible on their own, so let’s give them a little box to sit in and placate them with a beer and take their money.

And my god, think of the boon to local business! Everybody’s depressed and looking to take the edge off and have something that resembles a summer. Access to beer gardens can tick all of those boxes in a safe manner while creating jobs and stimulating an industry that’s quickly becoming a boon to tourism and to the state in general.

Seriously. Here’s to the fucking beer gardens and all the effort they’ve put in to provide a safe refuge in the middle of this shit. They should be applauded, and they should be rewarded for preventing people from engaging in significantly riskier behavior–not saddled with a bunch of poorly defined regulation that inhibits their ability to do business for no fucking reason. That’s not very Republican, now is it, Charlie?

Why didn’t any of you jabronis tell me I should start meditating?

Seriously. The first time I did it a couple weeks ago, for a whole five minutes, I couldn’t believe I’ve gone this far without it.

I’ve tried to do it everyday since. If it’s a work day, I try to make it happen before a meeting so that I’m ready to roll. I sit cross-legged on my couch, place my hands in my lap, lower my chin, close my eyes, and focus on my breathing for a bit. I always come out of it feeling stupidly refreshed, like I just slept in a bed of bacon egg and cheese sandwiches and for sixteen hours and woke up to Scarlett Johanssen bringing me a medium iced just the way I like it. Clearing my mind and shutting down my turbo powered mental monologue for even ten minutes leaves me relaxed the rest of the day.

Take today, for instance. I spent the morning raging against the wide variety of dipshits making this pandemic worse than it needs to be, talking to my houseplants, and generally being sort of useless. Ten minutes with an empty mind, feeling every tense part of my body pop and relax, and the dipshits weren’t holding me back anymore. I’m pretty sure I heard my houseplants thanking me.

I understand that between the bicycle, the hair, and the new age bullshit you might be getting worried about me. Don’t worry, loyal blogonauts; I’m not degenerating into a crazy hippie, although you should probably still heed Cartman’s advice and not follow me to a second location. I’m just stealing the good parts of their lifestyle. Meditation will probably never get me to the intergalactic mind door leading to the throne room of the omniscient Lord Zororgalzan and all the secrets of existence, but if it can help me reset myself and get me to stop swearing at all the dipshits so often…yo, that’s the shit.

What in the fuck should I do with my hair???

If you’re like me, you’re on the fence about whether you want some asshole with scissors breathing god knows what all over your face while you sit in an unfamiliar chair that anybody’s COVID-y ass sweat could’ve seeped into, and you realize that barber shops operate on such a tight margin that you’re not sure you trust them to do all the disinfecting the world’s only not-completely-shitty Republican governor insists they do. But while you struggle to get over your own justifiable concerns, your hair just keeps getting longer, and longer, and longer, regardless of how often you stare at it in the mirror and yell at it to use all that energy to have some little hair children in that bald spot that’s taking over your scalp like the Sahara’s eating Africa.

Fine, maybe you’re not exactly like me, but I know you wish you were and that you’re probably having similar issues convincing yourself a trip to the stylist is a good idea. Just what am I to do with my increasingly out of control coif?

Option Number 1: Cut the shit and go to the barber. Supposedly this is safe? The story that two asymptomatic hair stylists served 45 people and none of them tested positive hits Reddit every couple days. The numbers in Massachusetts are so low right now that the chances of catching it while sitting close to just one other person in a regularly disinfected chair are probably pretty slim, but those potential long term effects of catching the disease are fucking frightening and I’d rather not have to spend a chunk of the summer in isolation or the hospital before the inevitable return to lockdown in the fall.

Option Number 2: Cut it at home by myself. Age and genetics are doing their damnedest to convince me it’s time to Bic it all off anyway. It could be a whole new me for a whole new world! Then again, this requires regular maintenance and I’m a lazy shit. I have enough trouble remembering to wear sunblock as is and don’t need to increase my vulnerable surface area. And there’s a pretty good chance going full chrome dome will make me look like I’m three child support payments behind.

Those of you who are thinking “But Scott Colby, you don’t have to shave it all off! Just get some clippers and trim it!” obviously have never watched me try to do things.

Option Number 3: Embrace it. Because who the fuck do I have to impress right now? It’s safer to keep strangers the fuck away from my head and I really shouldn’t be trusted to operate any machinery up there. Maybe I can braid beads or seashells into it, or twist it into a man bun to complete my new “Somerville bike dude on his way to smoke peyote in his hippie uncle’s backyard sweat lodge” look.

And then there’s Halloween, which I believe will happen in some form or fashion even if it’s just online. Long hair opens up a world of costume possibilities, such as…

Sometimes a bowler just has to face the music.

What weird bullshit should the Red Sox put in the stands behind home plate?

One of the best things about watching Korean baseball is the way they’ve had fun with the empty stands behind home plate. I’ve seen mascots, Pokemon, and all kinds of shit back there that makes me smile. If MLB doesn’t steal this idea, then frankly, they’re fucking stupid.

We know they won’t, because we know they’re fucking stupid, but still.

If you’re the Boston Red Sox and you want to do something similar, what do you do? Realistically you’d just put Wally and his entire extended scumbag family in those seats, but let’s pretend they all died in a fire or something. I’ve got better ideas.

  • Pictures of former broadcasters. Let’s get McDonough, Orsillo, Jenny Dell, and Hazel Mae back on NESN.
  • Cardboard cutouts of the Dropkick Murphys.
  • Fallout 4 characters. Turn the place into Diamond City.
  • All the leftover Pablo Sandoval Kung Fu Panda merchandise.
  • Grab all the affiliated minor league mascots that are out of a job and put them behind the plate.
  • For one game, make it one dude in a gorilla costume and imply Theo Epstein just walked out on the Cubs and needs a new gig.
  • The Wahlbergs. No, not cardboard cutouts. The real deal. No one in New England cares if these losers get sick.

Welcome to New England, Cam

The last few days of rain and thunder are god’s way of punishing New England because it’s football team somehow landed ass backwards in bed with a former MVP to replace Tom Brady.

Number 12’s departure alone was interesting enough that I’d decided to get back into football this year. I was beyond excited to see how Bill Belichick and Josh McDaniels were going to make the league look stupid without a star passer. But this…this is going to be even more fun.

Newton signed a one-year, incentive-laden deal that maxes out at $7 million. It’s a chance to prove to the league he can still play at a high level. This guy’s going to work his ass off to stick it to all the dumbass teams that passed on him.

Belichick and McDaniels, meanwhile, have a chance to not only prove they can win without Tom Brady but perhaps that they won in spite of the increasingly immobile, noodle-armed, cult-brained QB. These guys are going to work their asses off to stick it to all the dumbasses who questioned their talent because of Brady’s presence.

Nothing has ever motivated the New England Patriots quite like spite. Combine that with easily the most physically gifted passer they’ve ever had…look out, league. The evil empire’s back.