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The 1980s: A Nice Place to Visit, But…

This morning at the campground laundry, I was asked if we were planning to keep coming back next season and beyond.

“Are you kidding? I’m pretty sure we’ve sworn off the entire summer home thing as a concept.”

I thought it was universal. A thing everyone loves, but it’s basically “Doing chores closer to the beach/woods/mountains.” And if you think it’s just me being the usual boor, I promise you I’m not alone in this.


The kids, though. They’ve had six weeks of living in the 1980s. They wake up, hop on a bike and go look for their various frenemies, for another day of pushing each other into ponds, scraping themselves up on the pavement, being stung by hornets, having wiffle balls line-drived at them from taped bats, getting locked in the campground bathrooms, taunting, yelling, and generally laughing their asses off.

In other words, they’re summering. Like a boss. With their pals, they kinda have taken over the place, riding like a gang of hardbitten eight-year-olds and terrorizing the population of mostly retirees. I’m sure we’re woefully underappreciated here.

I’d say we’re sticking out like the Massholes we are, but everyone’s a Masshole. Every cabin has signage on it declaring that its inhabitants hail from North Reading, Somerville, Wilmington. The TV screens in every trailer glow with the blue glare of the Pats game (or Sox, natch).

And the word “Masshole” is purely on-point. These are the same people who clog the aisles at Market Basket and get into fistfights over parking spaces back home. Only here there’s more public consumption of alcohol.

Toss in hordes of screaming kids, and there it is, the 1980s.

I’m sure there are a lot of people here who are only going through the motions. They don’t love it, but hey, it’s for the kids. To me, sitting around by a fire and shuffling back and forth to the pool is not an adventure.

The kids have had fun, but they’ll have plenty more back home. It’s far easier to plan and prepare for our numerous adventures back there. The house is a much better base camp. That’s why it was named Camp Lucky.

So in a nutshell, we can’t wait to get back to civilization, where it will be easier to leave it.

From time to time, that is.

Is Donald Trump Finally Changing His Brand?

trump-facebook-statement-video-dallasBy now, you’ve probably read Donald Trump’s statement on the Dallas shootings that killed five police officers and wounded a half-dozen more. My analysis isn’t about the horrific attack, nor the recent shootings or the protests. I have definite opinions on politics, race relations and gun violence, but I’m going to try, very hard, to keep them out of this missive.

A lot of the respondents to his statement on Facebook point out that he obviously didn’t write it. An alternative response points out that no typical politician writes his or her own material in events like this, and in fact shouldn’t. Well, no kidding.

But Donald Trump is no typical politician, or at least he hasn’t been until now. It is very clear to most readers that the statement is not his, not because he couldn’t write something so lucid and balanced, but because he wouldn’t.

As a nation, we were all wondering when Trump would finally shift to a ‘presidential’ mode, and start saying and publishing things that made a bit more sense than the statements he’s tended to produce during the primary season. It seems that the Dallas shooting has become his moment.

Putting aside the insidiousness of any politician using a tragedy as an opportunistic pretense to score political points, a few questions come to mind:

  1. Is this a deliberate attempt to shift from his off-the-cuff approach?
  2. Can he keep it up?
  3. How does it differentiate his vision from his opponent’s?
  4. What will his opponent do in response?

It seems that Trump’s brand, throughout his life as well as his presidential campaign, has been to ‘tell it like it is’. Clearly, that has worked up to a point, but his poll numbers have stalled in the past two weeks. Like a company’s stock values or quarterly sales numbers, the polls are the most immediate evidence that a political brand strategy is no longer working. For him to let somebody else write the copy for once must have been a very difficult decision for him: to let someone else in his organization handle anything major. That alone underscores that this was a monumental shift in Trump’s, and his campaign’s approach.

As for keeping up his new act, I suppose when building casinos or hotels, he usually had the upper hand in any deal, and was used to calling the shots. Most of us can’t simply ‘tell it like it is’ or we’d lose our jobs. Donald Trump has never been in that kind of situation, and his natural tendency is very likely to re-occur the second he gets behind a podium again. If I had to guess, I’d predict it will be three days before his new approach lapses into something more like his usual behavior. So no, I do not believe he will be able to keep this up.

As for differentiation, a brand in any genre can never be ‘Hey, we’re just like the other guy’. Despite the New York Times article stating the contrary, the two politicians made very similar statements after Dallas. They were both sensible, balanced, serious, and called for prayer, love, and a peaceful solution.

Does that sound at all like Donald Trump?

His statement on Dallas could have been pulled out of an archive of speeches made by any politician after any tragic event, going back fifty years. It is not the sort of thing that would have given him much separation from his primary opponents, and while refreshing, it isn’t going to separate him from Clinton. He has to produce statements that not only appear sane, but also match his typical forceful, hubristic brand, while establishing a vision that presents an alternative to his opponent. I think that’s a tall order.

(You may notice I’m ignoring other candidates like Gary Johnson and Bill Weld. While I think their bid is of course Quixotic, the threat of splitting the conservative vote is also a very likely factor in Trump’s new approach.)

Finally, what will Clinton do in response? Trump’s new look may present a threat to her apparent advantage in the race, but to me, her strategy should be easy: attack something about Trump or his policies, and just watch. He will revert to his usual tirades fairly quickly, shifting the focus back to what most people perceive as his obvious shortcomings in leadership and coherence.

Donald Trump has my respect for his statement on Dallas, and for the saner political strategy he may be attempting to jumpstart. It’s not too late for him, but this is only the first step in a very long climb toward being seen as a reasonable candidate by a skeptical nation.

“Parenting is Not Friendship!” (Let’s Deconstruct This)

youre-not-their-parentThere’s a saying: “I think the biggest problem is parents are so concerned with being friends with their kids. You’re not their friend. You’re their parent.” made by Charles Barkley, during a 2002 CNN interview where Barkley talked about his insights on role models and parenting.

Now this guy has done a ton of work with and for kids, giving to his community, building houses, speaking, leading, and I’m certain he can still dunk a basketball. He’s about a million times richer and more useful to the world than I am, and probably a better dad, but this Father’s Day, I’m gonna go ahead and disagree with him on this.

The sentiment sounds quaint, but over the years it has turned into something far more sinister. People now have ready access to immediate online commentary, on everything ranging from kids getting away from mom at the zoo, to freak animal attacks at amusement parks. You’ve probably shared an opinion or two on these incidents, and maybe, just maybe, you did some parent-bashing along the lines of “watch your kids” or “too many people try to be friends with their kids.” “Your Child is Not Your Friend” hector the online experts.

I don’t know if the idea originated with Barkley, but it has become more than just commentary. It’s become the driving force behind public child-shaming incidents, like making kids hold a sandwich board or shooting a daughter’s computer with a gun. An alarming number of people cheer these parents, as if they’re bringing a new wave of “Dirty Harry” style of parenting. Mom as Judge Judy. Dad as Chuck Norris. The imperious and harsh dictator of the manse. The vengeful Old Testament parent.

To me, this kind of thing only makes sense if you’re not emotionally developed much beyond a four-year-old yourself. It’s not parent as parent. It’s parent as chief-tantrum-thrower. It’s probably got a great deal in common with the trend toward authoritarianism and backlash populism that drives ever more aggressive political rhetoric.

Is it working? Or is it just a moronic escalation of aggression?

I’m not going the other way either. A lot of people rail against the ‘helicopter moms’ who ‘hover’ over their kids while they fill out homework assignments and apply for colleges. Much of this is total bullshit hyperbole at best, and it is, like the concerns over ‘friendship parenting’, based on the fact that most people really don’t want to know each others’ details. They just want to judge.

There is no rise in kids who are totally inept at everything in life because they got timeouts instead of a belt buckle. No studies have revealed that, though you’ll get the college recruiters and corporate HR professionals who give you anecdotes about applicants they’ve found wanting. I suspect that when they look at the bottom of the barrel, what they’re seeing is not new.

So if you can’t go back to the days of the woodshed, and you get frowns if you dare offer rewards or timeouts, how does the world expect parents to behave? Should we go the route Barkley and so many others have stammered about? Is it always my way or the highway?

I say screw it. I’m their friend.

After all, these kids are by far the two most important people in my life. How far? Well, if everyone else fell off the edge of the planet, it wouldn’t matter, as long as the kids are still with me. That’s the truth. My wife would say the same from her perspective.

It’s been a very long time since I raised a beer with friends down at the… It’s been forever since I rode the bike trails with the guys at the… Remember those late night sessions spinning business ideas at the… And didn’t we have fun jamming on stage with the boys at the… And how about after work, those dinners over at the…

None of that happens anymore. It’s unfortunate but also inevitable. There is no blame. We’ve all got our own things going on. Me, I’ve got the two closest people I’ve ever been with, to jump in lakes, ride bikes, shoot hoops, camp out, play video games. True, they’re kinda captive. They get some say in our adventures, while I get quite a lot. But they’re getting more input every day, and branching out a lot more with their interests.

Will they play music? Will they play baseball or soccer? Will they be dancers or gymnasts? Will they draw? Will they want to be architects? Scientists? Teachers? Will I have any influence at all? Someday I’ll lose them. They’ll have their own friends, and the bulk of their days won’t involve me anymore.

What then? I have no idea. Until that happens, there is really only one thing I can do, and that is to be their friend. Maybe the problem is that we define ‘friend’ incorrectly. I’m sure we agree we should enjoy hanging out with friends, sharing interests, and maintaining the capacity to understand each other when we don’t quite agree.

But don’t friends do much more than that? Don’t friends try to fill in the blank spots in our lives with their interpretation of what we need, whether we know it or not? Shouldn’t friends know exactly when to impose ideas, and when to hold off? Aren’t friends the people we can always turn to, no matter what, who will, with degrees of difficulty, drop everything and listen? Aren’t friends the ones we confide in with our darkest worries, yet knowing when not to burden them with our problems?

Doesn’t friendship mean absolute, unconditional understanding, if not agreement, knowing when to share and when to borrow? Doesn’t it mean doing everything we can to inspire each other to be better, to push harder? To lead when we should, and follow when we must? To be a foundation rooting each other to the soil, in a bond that will never, ever break?

Or did I just define parenting?

If friendship means being there to hold others up, to see them through their worst times and cheer them on through their best, then dammit, I’ll be the best friend they’ve ever had.

The Blind Americana Syndrome

Last July 3, we took the kids to a fireworks show in Swampscott. They played with some friends, and soon enough their excitement overflowed. It became one of those evenings where they were particularly off the rails. A loud wolf pack running, yelling and laughing with wild abandon. You know, being kids, only more so.

There were some in the crowd that didn’t like this. At the ice cream shop, the kids ran circles around me, and the gent in line in front of us turned and worked his eyebrows into a thick black line of consternation, which I ignored.

An older couple on the lawn weren’t too happy about our choice of location, too near their chairs. The man even applauded sarcastically when I picked Riley up and took her away from them.

When I think back on these events, my regrets are not that I didn’t exert more control over the kids, but that I didn’t look these people square in the eye with a dark look that clearly and pointedly said “bite me”. I wish I had explained to my fellow ice cream customer that if he couldn’t tolerate noise, he should be aware there was a fireworks show about to begin. I wish I had looked right at the clapping man, then put my daughter down and told her to continue playing.

I consider it a duty of all parents to stand up for each other against ignorant judgment. We often share memes about how cool it was to ride your bigwheel across busy highways while listening to Zeppelin, and how we all spent hours away from the prying eyes of parents and neighbors, and how there were no electronics, no tethers, no medicines. Just belts and paddles. And how exhibits at the zoo, freshly built in 1978, were dismal concrete boxes where animals dwelled, if not lived, in deplorable conditions that could easily be breached by any kid who felt like pushing through a fence rail.

Well 1978, and everything that was cool about it, just came back to bite us in the ass. So we have to decide: Is it cool to build stuff that lets kids, if allowed to be kids, imperil themselves within seconds? Is it cool to take videos and photos of kids being kids so we can share them online? Is it totally rad to bitch about parents who happen to look the other way, at another child, or to rummage through their bags to get candy, a camera phone, a set of jingling toy keys or medicine while their kids happen to get in our way? Is it cool to think we’re completely reliable and superior to literally everyone else in the universe, while at the same time believing we grew up in some kind of golden era where monkey cages, bigwheels, seat-belt-less automobiles and acid rock were all part of a great big world where kids could easily die, or survive, depending on how drunk our parents were?

If you’re judging a mom harshly for believing she had shelled out $25 per person to bring her kids to a place that had been upgraded since those days, and for daring to ‘hover’ over one of her children while another was able to fall into this 1978 concrete box without needing a ladder and blowtorch, then you suffer from this disease. Blind Americana.

It’s probably not unique to Americans, but we sure corner the market in it.

We Can’t Wait for President Trump

the-lion-guard-logoHere it is, folks, the beginning of the end of our democratic experiment. Trump’s militia is forming. In real time. It’s so new the ‘About’ page is still WordPress boilerplate:

It is happening here. We’re witnessing a pivotal moment in history that hasn’t been matched for 90 years.

Let’s say you’re a Trump voter. Let’s say you’re joining the Lion Guard. I’m aligning myself right here, right now, as your mortal enemy. No, you don’t have points to make, and no, we aren’t even going to try to convince each other. The line is drawn. From now on, you’re going to win, and I’m going to lose.


You have Trump as your savior. He’s certainly not mine, but that’s okay with you. He’s only going to wreck things for me, my life, and that of my family. Not yours.

And I know you love that. After all, I’m a latte-sipping liberal. I’ve known joblessness and poverty, and I’ve needed the support of others through entitlement programs. I’ve made use of unemployment benefits, health insurance programs, Sallie Mae, SNAP, FHA, SBA, and the public school system. My financial situation teeters one wrong move from disaster, like that careening truck on the road sign.

I doubt I’ll ever feel secure in my future as it is, never mind with President Trump in charge.

But that’s cool with you, right? Trump wants that to continue. He’ll make life in America tough for many people, especially those in need of some help. If you’re sick, he’ll kick you to the curb. Unemployed? Poor? Get a job, loser. No more handouts. Attacks against blacks and anyone else who doesn’t look exactly like Trump’s supporters are already rising because of his voice. Women? Gays? Transgender people? Latinos? Muslims? Forget about it. 

His mission isn’t just to become President. It’s to become President so he can drive the national dialogue, along with policy, to marginalize anyone who’s ever been politically correct for even a minute. And his supporters, as well as members of his chosen political party, will cheer him along. And maybe even kick some ass.

Or, will they?

You might be a Trump supporter, or just a conservative willing to hitch a ride. After all, you’re safe. He’s not going to ruin the country for you. The country you love. The country you ‘want back’. No, he’s going to give it back to you. Cleansed of people like me. No poverty, no sickness, no pansy liberals, no lattes or Priuses. No common core. No anti-bullying campaigns. No craft beer. No organic or gluten-free foods. No yoga. No pilates. No vaccinations. No community organizers. No high speed trains. No scientists. No abortions. No wind farms. No holiday trees. No anti-war movements. Nobody to gripe about school shootings. And certainly none of this paternity-leave bullshit.

Your country. Back. Whiter and shinier than ever.

Is that really how it works?

Who will fight his wars? Without us around, that will fall to your children, won’t it? And not everybody can be the intrepid entrepreneurs out to beat the world. Someone has to be the customer. Someone has to work in their factories. Someone has to build your seawalls higher (whether you believe that or not). And what are you going to eat? Of course a hero like you doesn’t eat vegetables, but doesn’t someone have to slaughter those cows? Who’s going to drive the trucks to get stuff to market and work the checkouts? You? Are you going to earn your millions doing that?

And that heart bypass you’ll need, who’s going to do it? Dr. Ben Carson? If he’s not been kicked out, he’ll probably be pretty busy.

Or maybe we’ll all still be here, just poorer, sicker, and more in need of assistance programs than ever. More people in your way at the grocery store. More homeless at your feet while you walk to work. More tent cities and anti-war protests. More people in line for medicine. More addiction. More pandemics. More rolling blackouts.

Maybe he’ll never get around to wrecking things for you. Maybe you’re in the clear. If someone’s going to be on the winning team financially, somebody has to be the sucker. It’ll be me before it has to be you, right? Or maybe not.

So when you fill in that bubble for Trump, and he takes the oath and goes into overdrive destroying me and all enemies of your chosen social order, do you really think he’ll stop before he gets to you? Are you sure you’ll be safe? Or maybe there’s a little doubt there.

We can’t wait for President Trump to find out.

The Pirate Wolf – Chapter 1: Beulah’s Report

It’s a few hours before sunrise, and if you stand in the forest with your eyes open, adjusting to the darkness of this moonless night, you might notice something. There! Movement behind the thick stand of evergreen trees off to your left. Is it a hundred yards away? Ten?

You hear a rustle from the right. There is a bush moving, just a little, then it stops. It sounds close. No more noise comes from the snow-covered ground. But now you don’t need to hear it. You can feel yourself surrounded by something. A presence that gives substance to the gloom. Your spine tingles and your stomach shrinks.

In truth, it’s a good thing you’re not really standing there in the black. You would be surrounded by hungry wolves.

On they come, flowing past the trees, like water coursing a stony rapid. They meet in glens and again separate around the pines, never pausing, focused on a single point not far off. As they close on their target, they spread apart, encircling around and beyond it. They begin to tighten their group, barring escape.

Four deer in a small clearing look up. A mother and three yearlings. They feel the presence too late. Yellow eyes stare at them from every angle. They shudder in panic.

Finally, a wolf, the alpha, steps forward to speak.

“Hello there!” he says. It is Lark, the pack leader. “Have you seen our latest trick?”

At this the wolves jump toward the deer and form a line in the open clearing. Some of them jump on top of each other, scrambling raggedly on each other’s backs. They form a standing triangle four wolves high, with Lark on top. He somersaults to the ground in front of the bemused deer and presents his paws in a kneel. “Ta da!”

One of the yearlings claps his front hooves, the other two look at him and shake their heads. Beulah, the mother deer, rolls her eyes. “Oh, please, Lark. You stole that from the raccoons.”

Lark lowers his head to one side. “It’s a coincidence, I swear it,” he says. “Oh, by the vie, you kids hungry? We got some prime cutlets here. Parmesan.” One of the other wolves steps forward and shrugs off an ill-fitting backpack. Lark pulls open the zipper and noses out a box of frozen dinners.

“You stole that, too,” says Beulah accusingly.

“Yeah, from people,” Lark agrees. Everyone in the forest knows the code. You take only what you plan to use, and not something already claimed. But with humans it’s different. You can rob them of all sorts of things.

“There’s this small group of them camping near the Greeley Ponds. Not using their bear box.” He chuckles at this. Humans can be such morons.

The young deer sniff the boxes curiously. “Kids! Get away. It’s probably chicken,” Beulah says. “We have other sources of protein.”

“Yeah,” Lark says. “You just have to eat a whole meadow of it. And you guys are pretty fast twitch, too.”

“It isn’t proper!” Beulah protests.

“You could get totally jacked, is all I’m saying.” He tears open the box and tosses a few cutlets to his pack. They dive in.

“Ugh, you guys,” Beulah says with a shake of her head. Her three boys bend their heads and go back to munching the new ferns starting to pop up through the receding snow. Spring is coming earlier than usual. “Hey, they didn’t happen to have any coffee with them.”

“You know, I didn’t happen to smell that,” Lark says, his jaws dripping with half-frozen spaghetti sauce. “We’ll send a Scout there to see if they crack any open at dawn.”

“Which one?” asks one of the wolves. Four of them are named Scout, and aptly so. They’re the ones who keep getting the assignments to watch for people. By now it’s a running joke whether the name defines the job, or vice versa.

“Oh, how about Little Scout this time?”

There is murmuring among the crew, but they agree. Little Scout is now catching some sleep back at the den. All the wolves know his reports are unreliable, if somewhat fanciful. They suspect he’s discovered the magic effects of mountain teaberries.

“Remember what he told us about the road the other day?” one of the wolves says.

“Yeah,” Lark says with amusement. “A whole line of trucks painted like the forest.”

“Like we couldn’t smell these things three valleys away,” laughs another.

“Ridiculous,” says Marcella, the wolf pack’s matriarch.

Beulah looks up. “No, we saw that,” she states.

The wolves look up, slowly chewing the last of their cutlets. “Have you been getting into the teaberries, too?” asks Wheat, one of the larger wolf lads. He is ironically named, with the darkest fur, almost black. The rest laugh.

“We did see it. Three nights ago,” Beulah says. “They had one of those spinning birds on a truck. Painted the same.”

The wolves knew the spinning birds well. Their loud rumbling shook the mountains, and their sound could be heard long before they were seen circling like giant hawks overhead. It couldn’t be chance that several of their pack had been struck with metal rain whenever these thunderous contraptions hove into the sky above them.

Little Scout hadn’t mentioned it, but they had laughed him out of the cave as soon as he started to give his report of these green vehicles rolling into the valley like a train.

“Are you certain?” Lark asks. The pack gathers around him. Their trust for Beulah’s nose, eyes and ears far outweighs that of Little Scout, and many of their other Scouts, for that matter.

“Tis true,” she says. Her spring meanders tend to stick close to her den, on a hillside just above the Mad River. She saw the trucks, maybe seven or eight of them, with their spinning bird on the largest one. “I couldn’t range far enough to tell you.”

“No matter,” Lark says to this. “But have you seen them leave?”

“Not that I’ve witnessed, no,” she says.

The wolves look at each other with fresh concern. It is strange to see such a concerted human activity going on this early in the season. The moon has completed more than three full cycles since the longest night, and the road is still traveled mainly by people in cars. These rolling boxes bear cut planks of trees on each roof, that the humans use to slide in ridiculous fashion down the snow-covered hillsides. Until the snows recede completely and the trees begin to gather water from the ground, the road is the only way in and out of the valley, at least for the people.

If the trucks and their flying machine haven’t been seen heading back down it, they’re still here.

“Thanks, B,” says Lark. Wheat and the rest of the wolves nod. “We need to talk with Little Scout. Quick Scout, we’ll need you to go find out about that coffee instead.” Quick Scout, an almost white wolf with black paws, barks and darts out of the clearing. Wheat picks up the bag. They nod to Beulah and run in the other direction, toward their den.

Beulah looks at her three growing boys browsing the young fir saplings. The wolves are known to be fierce protectors of the valley, and what bothers them should bother all. It hadn’t occurred to her to be concerned until seeing Lark’s furrowed brow. She feels a new pressure, like the barely detectable breeze before a gathering storm.

“Boys,” she says. “Let’s head back.”

A New History of NFL Rule Changes Caused by Patriots’ Cheating

A New History of NFL Rule Changes Caused by Patriots' Cheating By TOM BISHOP

Instigative Reporter | 03.25.2048 | 7:17 AM

BOSTON, PREFECTURE 18 – The oft-beseiged-by-scandal New England Patriots are at it again, if you take the latest report from the MSESPNBCNN Sports Network at face value. The first day of the Inter-National Football League’s annual meeting has opened with a torrent of acrimony and vitriol from the league’s 63 team owners not named Kraft. This time, the owners have forwarded a proposal to prohibit the use of cryogenic reanimation of past coaches, which the Patriots have now gotten away with for three seasons.

The twenty-two-time World Super Bowl Champions most recently took home the Belichick Trophy in Tokyo, allegedly with the help of the eponymous coach himself, despite his ‘official’ passing four years ago. This latest outrage comes in the wake of last year’s scandal involving anti-gravity skeletal insertions used by several players. Though it wasn’t technically outlawed, the INFL ruled out the insertions after the Patriots went 24-0 and took home their twenty-first INFL Championship in Amsterdam.

Like white-hat cyber-hackers, the Patriots have been the INFL’s “Rule Viability Testers” for several decades. Because of this, the pall of derision and ire against the team has spread around the world. In Moscow, they’ve popularized chess pawns with shoulder pads, helmet and a carved #12. Fans of the Paris “Escargot Thunder” spit into napkins bearing the Flying Elvis. In the Middle East, they burn Patriots flags instead of the Stars & Stripes. Fans of other legendary sports rivalries have turned their mutual hatred toward the Pats instead.

Let’s look at the litany of INFL rule changes made in the wake of the Patriots’ rule-bending strategies since the days of the sideline videocamera:

  • 2046/47 INFL Season: Float-Gate. Anti-Gravity Skeletal Insertions specifically prohibited by any player after the Pats allegedly covered the helio-silica surgical implants, originally designed for use in aeronautics, for 17 players over the previous five years.
  • 2044/45: Invisi-Gate. Invisibility cloaking apparel and apparatus outlawed by the league after the Patriots won three games using up to six invisible players, mostly on defense, to disrupt or assist the visible players.
  • 2038/39: Tase-Gate. Electrically-charged uniforms no longer allowed after the Patriots won seven straight victories without any of their players being tackled.
  • 2030/31: Psycho-Gate. Use of sideline psychics to read opposing coaches’ minds was considered for prohibition after the Pats were caught using them for the previous four seasons, but ultimately revised to allow each team one certified psychic registered with IMPART, NAMI, or the AFCPM (but not IAPLT – that one’s bullshit).
  • 2028/29 NFL Season: Glove-Gate. The NFL bans the use of adhesive pads in gloves worn by quarterbacks. It is alleged that QBs for at least 22 teams used these Stanford-engineered enhancements, and not even Tom Brady, though by this time he and the Pats are considered the embodiment of this sort of contrivance.
  • 2020/21: “Compression-Gate” results in rule changes for extreme compression gear worn by Patriots players to reduce their body composition profile, decreasing their wind resistance and making them more difficult to tackle. The new rules limit the tensile strength and flexibility of synthetic fabrics for NFL teams, and other sports leagues make similar changes, causing Under Armour to lose 67% of its stock value.
  • 2021/22: Gate-Gate. Because you know there had to be one. The Pats secretly test subliminal message delivery to fans during the security wand procedure at the stadium gate. Originally meant to spike concession revenues, the league has to specify metal detection equipment for every team after the Pats use RFID wands to influence fan loyalty.
  • 2018/19: Tweet-Gate causes the NFL to ban cell phones from the press box and sidelines after the Patriots are caught “crowd-sourcing” game strategy from observant fans sending Tweets and texts to team coaches during the game.
  • 2014/15: Deflate-Gate. Patriots and Tom Brady punished after equipment staff were caught tampering with game balls, because they knew their nephews playing in Pop Warner and PeeWee leagues preferred the balls to be slightly deflated. Or they had read about it in a science book, or something. It had nothing to do with any request from Tom Brady, of course.
  • 2014/15: The NFL changed the rules on receiver eligibility declarations after the Patriots skirted the spirit of lineman eligibility rules in at least two games.
  • 2012/13: After eleven years, the NFL finally changes the “Tuck Rule” that started Tom Brady and the Patriots even being a thing.
  • 2007/08: NFL charges largest fine ever after Pats caught videotaping opposing coaches from the sidelines in a scandal called “Spy-Gate”. The issue narrowly avoids becoming a US Senate Hearing.

At this year’s meeting, the INFL is also said to be considering banning Tom Brady from continuing to play and earn the highest QB ratings in the league at age 70, by outlawing “whatever the hell he’s doing” according to league commissioner Maxwell Gauthier.

Tom Bishop can be reached on Twitter at @myleftone