In search of: murdering the winter blahs

I’ve mentioned before that I believe I suffer from mild Seasonal Affective Disorder. This is self-diagnosed, not anything I’ve seen a doctor about, but it fits everything I know about myself. In late winter it manifests as the spring madness, an overwhelming need to get out in the sunshine and enjoy a nice day—which is a big problem if the weather doesn’t cooperate, which at that time of year it usually doesn’t. As spring approaches, or rather as it should but typically doesn’t, this sets up a vicious cycle of increasing agitation. But before that we have February, an excremental month of misery; winter is still well in swing but everyone is over it and wants desperately to move on.

(I swear it’s a coincidence that this post comes on Valentine’s Day. While I’ve had reasons to loathe the holiday in the past, I don’t anymore. But if today gets you down, feel free to use the pure awfulness of February itself as a cover.)

This past week in particular I’ve been feeling the blahs a little more strongly, so today I’ve been trying to figure out if there’s anything I can do about it. The problem with these blahs isn’t that I don’t have things I want to do, but rather that they’re dragging me off-task from the things I need to do. I’m blessed that my boss is me, but my boss is yelling at me to get my crap together, and darn it, he’s right.

For a little perspective, we had some decent bouts of snow recently. This has been a weird winter where the temperatures haven’t stayed cold, but nowhere near as weird as five years ago. Over the weekend we got hammered, but today the temperature has been in the high 30s or low 40s all day and it’s been sunny, so the snow is melting slowly; my car however is still buried. In spite of the relative warmth outside it’s still felt very cold upstairs where my office is, and today I noticed that I felt a persistent inner chill, like the backs of my shoulders could not get warm.

I did a little quick research on ways of improving the winter blahs and specifically how to increase energy, and holy crap is the advice out there terrible.

The main thing I keep running across on every site is exercise. Now believe me, I get it: being in better shape will make you feel better, and when you’re in a regular routine of exercising it can actually boost your endorphins. But if you’re not in such a routine, this advice is like telling a brick to try flying. The one consistent problem with all exercise routines, and the main reason many people don’t start them and don’t stick with them once on them, is that you have to get over the hump of a low-energy state to begin with. How am I supposed to exercise as a way of gaining energy if I don’t have the energy to exercise? Duh! Fire doesn’t start on its own, except in highly energized environments; it needs enough kinetic energy to begin with to set the reaction in motion.

And I love that all the articles show a woman jogging on a treadmill or something. Right. I don’t own a treadmill nor have a place for one. Going out and running isn’t an option, because it’s frickin’ cold out, there are icy patches on the ground, and after a minute I’d have exercise-induced asthma kick in. Besides that, I twisted my ankle something nasty a few weeks ago, and even though it feels better, every now and then it still wants to turn again if I’m not vigilant with it.

I get that lethargy is largely a mental problem for most people, and that’s clearly the case for me. But knowing that doesn’t really help; I want some way to kick-start the internal fires and rev up my metabolism, so the mind can follow the body. Exercise can’t do that easily because to get there you have to talk yourself into doing it in the first place. And it takes getting into a routine and staying there to really see any serious endorphin benefits, which is another thing the health junkies don’t like to admit. In other words, it takes discipline, and the precise problem I have right now is a lack of mental discipline.

Let me put it this way: I know that I could, at this moment, get up and find a space to do a few quick jumping jacks. Never mind that it’s probably bad for the floors, or that I know I’d get tired of them pretty quick. The point is I know I could do it; nothing is physically stopping me. But there is a powerful mental “Ugh” that holds me back. It’s not unlike the force I felt when I was a teenager and faced with a zip line for the first (and so far, last) time. I looked down from that tree and calculated that the fall would probably not kill me if the rope snapped, but boy would it hurt and I’d break something; and that fear paralyzed me, for several minutes. When I finally talked myself into stepping off the ledge I choked and grabbed for the rope, and ended up with nasty rope burn on my fingers for the rest of the day. This “Ugh” is not fear, but the power behind it is the very same.

So anyway, exercise is off the table. I’m negatively inclined to do anything aerobic and that’s all that I think would help—and even then only after it became a habit. Light therapy is off the table, because it’s been a nice bright day and that isn’t the problem. Drinking tea is off the table, because I’d literally rather puke. And another thing all the articles say is to get cozy and get plenty of rest—when hibernating is the exact opposite of what I want to do!

There has to be a better way, and I’m sick and tired of the vapidity of the articles out there that all say the same things. It’s like the last time I had a cold. There are a million articles that tell you to get comfy, wait it out, and use various home remedies to at least try to feel a little better. But I said screw that, and looked high and low for a more aggressive approach. I found a little hope in some places that suggested not just vitamin C and zinc, but fresh garlic—and I decided that this time I would megadose with all of the above (although to be honest, my vitamin C dose could have been even higher). I kicked that cold right in the crotch, and the next time I get sick I’ll do the very same and more.

Why isn’t there something like that I could do for a little winter lethargy? It would seem aggression is exactly what the doctor ought to order for that kind of thing. Telling someone who can’t stay on task or find the pep to get things done that they should exercise is like telling the castaways on the island to just already have a boat—when what they should do is eat Gilligan. That mental “Ugh” is a powerful force, but it is not indomitable; there must be something, somewhere, that can do violence upon it. That is what I need, and that is something you’re not gonna find on WebMD or Livestrong or eHow or Prevention or a hundred other sites, because they don’t have the balls to think in terms of getting mean with your problems.

But someone, somewhere, must have that answer.

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The new year in flux

I haven’t posted in a while, and rather than let it slide any further I felt an update was in order. A number of things are going on right now, so I’ll try to organize this as best I can.

First: About a month ago, I finally got my new computer. And I love it, mostly. I switched back from Pale Moon to Firefox, but added a whole boatload of extensions to undo the damage done by Mozilla’s stupid UX team, and that means I have a modern browsing experience again—and YouTube performs well. Even Facebook video, which is horrid, performs well. I’m still very much in the process of re-adding programs, but I had to prioritize work stuff first. And to be honest the chaos has thrown me way off my pace, but I’m finally getting used to the system.

I have a love-hate relationship with Windows 10. (Keep in mind, I came from Windows XP which was darn near perfect where its interface was concerned. Settings were easier to find, it gave me choices about things I should always have choices about, and the Start menu made sense.) Some of its issues I was able to fix with programs or some registry research. I have to fix some more of them, like the fact that since Windows 7 they’ve had auto-arrange on by default in all folder views and you can’t turn it off. This is a usability nightmare, so it’s something I need to fix soon; I’ve read there are some options for doing that, though they involve restarting the shell and I’m too lazy to do that just yet. The system sleeps when I’m not using it for a while, but annoyingly it also hibernates overnight—which it explicitly isn’t supposed to do, and of course the problem is Google-proof. Hibernation is way more annoying than sleeping because it takes longer to start up.

Below is still coming out soon. I got my proof copy just before Christmas, but I discovered a flaw (of my own doing): on right-side pages that start a new chapter, the page number is on the inside instead of the outside. Whoops. I need to generate a new PDF and get that uploaded, but I keep forgetting and putting it off. When I do that, I think I’ll skip another proof because I want to send the cover artist a copy anyway. But I need to get moving again on that. Writing has been totally on hold otherwise. I don’t have Word on the new system, and don’t plan to replace it; instead I think I’ll just switch over to using OpenOffice, period. Call me petty, but I hate Microsoft’s ribbon interface; it’s a deal-breaker, and so is the price of Microsoft Office. Good gads the price.

I did make my favorite cube steak sandwich over the Christmas break, but I did not make any fancy melty cheese slices like I was planning, or an interesting custom cheese blend either. I still want to do so. Chex mix I did make, and it was decent, but it could have been a lot better. Next time I’m mixing in a way bigger bowl, and I’m using more Worcestershire sauce than the recipe calls for and way more salt.

At the moment, and I confess this is one of the things that made me want to post tonight, I’m kind of in Bad Idea Mode again. I’ve posted before about steak-flavored potato chips, and my search for the perfect steak-flavored seasoning for chips or popcorn. My last effort produced a passable seasoning for chips, but popcorn is a tricky beast. Yet I’m thinking I want to try again with chips, and that this time I want to try with some beef bouillon to give it actual beef flavor. So I’ve been pondering: use a decent amount of granulated bouillon, cut back a smidge on the salt and the MSG (but still use some of each), eliminate onion powder entirely because you can’t get bouillon without onion in it anyway, and still include the smoked salt, pepper, and garlic. Grinding that fine should, I think, produce a mighty nice steaky flavor. But I think it’s going to take several experiments to get it right.

Speaking of bad ideas: I bought teriyaki Spam the other day because I’d never seen it before, and I do like Spam on occasion. I haven’t tried it yet, but the reviews say it makes a better stir-fry than fried slices, so I think I’m gonna make up some nice fried rice soon. I have some leftover pilaf, which I love to mix with a little butter, soy sauce, and egg; why not throw some teriyaki Spam in the mix? I’ll let you know how it turns out.

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The cold that nearly ate Christmas vacation

The night before Christmas Eve, my wife came home with a sore throat. Colds are very bad news in our house, because often we both catch them and when I get a cold, it tends to go to my lungs. This of course was the worst timing, so I decided that if I got this thing, I was gonna kick it in the teeth. And Christmas night, my sore throat began. It was time to spring into action.

I went after this cold with nearly everything I could. After doing some online research, there seems to be some consensus that vitamin C is helpful after all, and so is garlic, and zinc I already knew about. I’ve been out of my preferred zinc lozenges for some time, that have echinacea as well as vitamin C, but I decided to forge ahead using my wife’s Cold-EEZE. Online it was said that rather than take these every four hours as I’ve always done, it should be every two—so I did just that, that night and on the following day.

When Monday rolled around my sore throat was of course worse, but it was time to go beyond lozenges and really get tough with it. I took a 1500 mg vitamin C pill early in the day, along with 10,000 IU of vitamin D3 that also is known for boosting the immune system and other goodness. (It’s not like I was going to go out that day, so sunshine would not have gotten the job done.) I gargled with salt water right away to help my throat. Then I opened up a squeeze container of minced garlic, poured off the excess liquid, squeezed out a couple of cloves’ worth onto a spoon, and swallowed it down. Then, a zinc lozenge.

Throughout the day I repeated the garlic and zinc every two hours, and the salt water gargling a few times whenever my throat got very bad. I had another 1500 mg of vitamin C and a multivitamin later. By the end of the day I didn’t feel as horrible as I thought I ought to, and I slept incredibly well that night (with the help of generic NyQuil of course). And the next day most of my symptoms were practically gone. Sometime on Tuesday my nose did start running, but not for very long, and while I did eventually develop a bit of a cough it was mostly a dry one with hardly anything in my chest. I lapsed on the zinc and garlic around midday that Tuesday, because I felt they’d done their job. I did however make sure I kept up with vitamin C and D3.

I kicked my cold in the teeth. By that Friday, just before New Year’s Eve, all I had was the dry cough and that was fairly easy to control. It never set up shop in my chest in any serious way, which is a rarity. And I think for the most part, the accelerated zinc schedule and especially the fresh minced garlic did the trick.

What I read online about garlic is that fresh is better, so I figured the stuff in the squeeze bottle was close enough. The ingredient you want from it is called allicin. If you have a fresh clove, you want to crush it to get the allicin production started and then eat it after a few minutes. Cooked garlic loses some of this, but it’s better than nothing.

The next time I get sick, this is what I plan to do:

  • Immediately start taking zinc lozenges every two hours.
  • Immediately start eating about 2-3 cloves of fresh minced garlic every two hours.
  • Take about 3,000 mg of vitamin C a day.
  • Take about 10,000 IU of vitamin D3 a day for the first 2-3 days.

It’s all about getting aggressive with the virus right off the start. It worked wonders for me this time.

As an interesting footnote, not only did my wife’s symptoms persist for longer (she took zinc less often, and no garlic), but she had a bit of a relapse around New Year’s Eve. She’s better now, and as colds go this one wasn’t the worst we’ve ever encountered, but I think this proof of concept worked out marvelously.

Correction: The actual vitamin C pills I took were 1,000 mg, not 1,500 after all. They include rose hips, for whatever that’s worth. I’m still giving the garlic most of the credit.

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Christmas vacation on short notice

Christmas is sneaking up on me this year. I’ve been listening to Christmas music of course, and the tree is up, but we’re at less than two weeks now and I still have a lot of shopping to do. It’s actually quite alarming how much remains. The fact that Christmas falls on a Sunday this year is a huge fly in the ointment, and it’s made planning get-togethers a lot more difficult.

This year I got my new tree, because the old one was shedding exponentially more needles every year. The bad news is, the new tree is hinged. Apparently they all are now. Hinged trees are supposed to be a snap to assemble, but try doing it in a corner sometime and then tell me that with a straight face. And that includes lighting the thing. I think next year I’m going to have to physically move the tree further out into the living room—a process that involves moving a chair that has nowhere to go—to get this thing done. But at least it looks nice. The lighting troubles meant I ran out of tree before finishing the colored lights, so I ran the rest of them through the middle instead of the blue strand I used to do. I miss the blue strand, because that was kind of a tradition when I was a kid, but I can live with it this way; I ran out of time and patience to even think of adding it this year.

The next two weeks leading up to Christmas are also going to be pretty full. Right now I’m trying to tie up some work projects, getting my next book ready to upload, getting ready to market said book, preparing for some work flow changes that promise to be both annoying and exciting, and somewhere in there I have to get more shopping done. And wrapping; I can’t forget the wrapping.

But with time flying by I need to do one other thing: It’s time to seriously start planning my Christmas vacation.

This year instead of big movie or TV marathons, I’m thinking of doing some gaming. It feels more active somehow. (Stop snickering.) Still, I’ll have to work in some time to watch a few movies, and especially some MST3K and Stooges. The reason for that is, of course I want to cook up some special food and you can’t play an RPG while eating a cube steak.

I’ve mentioned my favorite sandwich before, and this time I won’t bother linking to it because it’s come up enough. Two years ago I tried to cook it sous vide, but I realized it just didn’t have enough time to soften the meat to make it worth my while, unless I was willing to get up early which defeats the purpose. Last year I got a mini broiler pan, and that actually worked a lot better for cooking, except of course that did nothing to soften the meat either. What I’m starting to wonder is if this cube steak approach is all wrong, and I should be using a top-quality cut instead, like maybe a thin ribeye. And maybe I’ll have to try that before Christmas, just to see. The problem with that of course is that such steaks are not sandwich-sized.

Let’s talk cheese. Cheese fries are on the menu at some point. I also want to experiment again with making slices of melt-friendly cheese via sodium citrate and, now that I have some, sodium hexametaphosphate. And it’s been quite a while since I last made any mozzarella. (I very much love my homemade mozzarella, prosciutto, and basil rolls, but they’re a lot of work. I’m thinking I should just buy some for the break, instead of making them. But still I should make mozzarella anyway, either straight or marinated.) Oh, and this year Hickory Farms brought back their bacon cheddar.

Basically my dreams are small, but I’m expecting to enjoy them thoroughly. Games, meat, MST3K, mushrooms, more games, cheese, Stooges, popcorn. Maybe I’ll build a Lego set too, which is always a fun time. At the closing of the year, it’s always worth it to revel in the holiday and enjoy the freedom I’m blessed to have; not everyone can get that week off, after all. And it’s important that I punish my body for getting older, with all the things it could consume with ease when I was half my age; it needs toughening up.

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Poor man’s cinnamon rolls

Cinnamon is a weird spice for me. I like it, but only in moderation. It’s a spice that doesn’t know its place, because it shows up in all kinds of things where it doesn’t belong. Applesauce, for one; oh sure, some people like it that way, and that’s fine, but I want my applesauce to taste like apples. Sara Lee puts it in their cheesecake bites, proving their famous slogan entirely wrong; cinnamon distracts from the flavor of the cheesecake. Most coffee cakes are better without it, and when it comes to donuts I’m always incensed that they stick the cinnamon ones in the middle of the variety pack—where the strong flavor contaminates the plain and powdered sugar donuts both!

But I do like cinnamon, when it isn’t being abused.

This is the prelude to a story about my grandmother, and one of the ways I fondly remember her. She was an excellent cook, although I never did go in for rice pudding (her signature dessert) or a lot of the Italian food she often made, because I’ve always been picky. Her chicken cutlets, though, were second to none, and even typing those words my mouth is watering and my stomach is gurgling at the thought of those pan-fried goodies. I haven’t had her chicken cutlets for many years, and yet the memory of their taste is crystal clear. Even when she made boxed macaroni and cheese, it came out tasting a lot better than normal. (My sister thinks maybe it’s because she used powdered milk for everything. Someday I want to try that.)

One of the things I remember best about her was that she was always up early. Incredibly early. But she’d also be up and about a lot of times in the middle of the night. So when my sister and I would stay over, many was the night that we’d wake up and then hang out with her in the kitchen with a bowl of cereal for a little while before going back to bed. (Funny thing about that: It’s how people always used to sleep before the Industrial Revolution, breaking up their night so that there was a quiet hour or two between sleeps. I kinda wish we’d get back to that.)

In the ’80s she got a microwave, and she began experimenting. While the rest of the world had to learn slowly how microwaves can be temperamental, she was a natural. She was the one who taught me to make poor man’s nachos—break up taco shells, cover with cheese, melt, enjoy—which I still do now and then to this day, because it’s tasty and fun and sometimes I can’t be bothered to make anything else. But she also created a simple instant dessert.

What she would do was butter a piece of bread, sprinkle on cinnamon, roll it up and pin it closed with a toothpick, and then microwave it until warm. Of course you had to do this with several pieces of bread, because just one is not enough. And so the poor man’s cinnamon roll was born: soft and hot and comforting. Grandma was a genius with the microwave.

As I’ve gotten older I’ve done this too, but I found out that white bread isn’t the very best vehicle for this sort of thing: leftover dinner rolls are. You know those rolls—the pull-apart ones you don’t have to bake in the oven, that line up like squares in the package. They’re basically white bread too, but in the shape of a dinner roll. They’re cheap, they’re delicious, and they make the very best poor man’s cinnamon rolls.

Usually my wife and I are the ones bringing rolls to holiday dinners, so I like to buy an extra package for home. That way if there are leftovers, the rolls go great with them. And if not, I can use up those rolls for a million things—like breakfast sausage patty sliders, or mini cold cut sandwiches. And for a treat, I’ll split a few of those rolls, slap on a pat of butter, sprinkle on cinnamon sugar (even better than cinnamon alone!), and nuke ’em until they’re warm and the butter has melted completely.

This time of year especially, the poor man’s cinnamon roll is a late-night delight. There’s nothing better for watching a little late TV. And whenever I make them, I think of my grandmother.

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Fast food calories: nobody cares!

A new study has determined that calorie labeling on fast food menus does not impact consumers’ choices in any significant way—which is to say, pretty much at all. What were the odds?

100%. They were always 100%.

Let’s leave aside any possible methodological issues and take this study at face value for a sec. Or even pretend it away entirely, because it ultimately doesn’t matter. The study was done based on Philadelphia already having such labeling laws, but in May all major fast food chains will have to follow suit. Is it even worth it? The study says no, this is yet another bonehead move by the government to combat a problem with a bad solution. Oh sure, it’s better than that stupid rule in NYC that you can’t get more than a 16 oz. soda with your meal, because at least it’s putting information in front of people and letting them make their own choices rather than forcing them to accept whatever arbitrary rules they’re given, but it’s meaningless because this information simply does not matter to most people.

The problem with this approach is blindingly obvious, and yet the irony is lost on those who conducted the study.

To be effective, nutrition labeling must be clearer and larger. It must also reach regular fast-food eaters—people who expressed more concern with cost and convenience than nutrition, [study author Andrew] Breck and his colleagues found.

Say what now? Breck hits the problem right on the head without acknowledging the fundamental reality that it’s intractable, or understanding the folly in thinking otherwise.

People who prioritize cost and convenience over nutrition will never respond to labeling, even if it’s shoved directly in their faces. In fact the more onerous such labeling gets, you might even reasonably expect people to straight-up rebel. After all, nobody likes the Food Nazis but themselves, and even that’s questionable. (I’ve always suspected Food Nazis suffer from the kind of deeply internalized self-loathing that tends to push people to boss others around.)

Everybody, literally everybody knows that a steady diet of fast food is simply not good for you. (Although funnily enough, researchers who’ve tried it while practicing reasonable portion control found they could still lose weight on fast food.) Having a Big Mac or a Whopper for every meal is just plain stupid, which is why almost nobody does that. In fact it’s pretty much always cheaper and healthier to cook at home. But fast food wins when it becomes the most attractive option, and that happens under several circumstances:

  • You crave a particular food item.
  • You’re out of the house and hungry, and quicker is better.
  • You’re home, but nothing you have in the house sounds good.
  • You’re home, but cooking anything will take too long and time is severely limited (by hunger, schedule, or any other reason).

That list is by no means exhaustive. The point is, nutritional labeling will never, ever make a dent in any of those reasons. By the time someone reads the label, they’re already planning to order. If you want to get people to eat less fast food, you have to give them better options to deal with the situations that send them to the drive-thru. The place to redirect towards better eating habits is in the kitchen and around the home. And that is a very, very difficult prospect.

Hence why people run to simple but pointless interventions at the wrong end of the decision chain, because they think doing something, even if it’s useless and stupid and possibly costly, is better than nothing at all. Almost no problems actually work that way. If you’ve ever had the impulse to defend a stupid decision based on the idea that it’s better than nothing, even if there are arguments as to how it can make things worse in some way, give yourself a mighty slap. And if that kind of thinking is ingrained in you, keep slapping until common sense prevails or you bleed out.

Flailing does not solve problems. Limiting what people can buy for themselves is flailing. Forcing restaurant chains to engage in labeling that will have absolutely no effect is flailing. Just because the status quo sucks doesn’t mean you can fix it by throwing darts. Breck correctly identifies why the labeling fails, but has the audacity to suggest that making the labels bigger and more obvious—which addresses none of those reasons—could accomplish anything different. If you want to attack the obesity problem, you have to look at the whys. And that will lead right back to:

  • The food pyramid is a load of steaming garbage.
  • We have an imbalance of omega-6 fats in our diet instead of also getting plenty of omega-3. (Reason: omega-3’s go bad faster; packaged food makers don’t like them.)
  • Family dinners are less common than they used to be.
  • Home cooking is less common than it used to be.

None of those problems have easy answers either. But you won’t fix any of them by flailing.

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Pointless controversy: Thursday night football has to go

Question asked: Should the NFL consider ditching Thursday night football? Yes. Yes, they should.

As an occasional diversion from the regular schedule, Thursday games are fine. They’re a Thanksgiving tradition, and in the late season, sure, why not a Thursday game now and then? But every week?

The short week is brutal to players who are still coming back from the effort of a Sunday game, and they hate it. This alone is a reason not to do Thursday games every week. This is the same reason why moving to an 18-game schedule, proposed a few years ago, was such a bad idea. Football is already rough enough on players’ bodies without making it more difficult.

The way the Thursday night games fly from network to network is just confusing, and unreasonable. There’s no call for it. Pick a network and stick with it.

The “color rush” uniforms for Thursday night games are hideous. Gads that’s so stupid. Whoever had this rotten idea should be taken out behind the shed by Goodell himself and shot. And needless to say if it was Goodell’s idea, he should shoot himself twice. Not fatally, but someone at least deserves a serious limp for it.

As a viewer, I hate the Thursday games. It’s hard to commit to watching something in that time slot on a weeknight. I hate the Monday games and the Sunday night games for the exact same reason (among others). Dudes, of course your ratings are going to be lower for night games. It’s not like the frickin’ Superbowl where people plan their whole year around it, and besides, the Superbowl airs earlier than a typical night game. After 8:00 is too late.

The Thursday night games need to go. Not entirely, but mostly. Have a few now and then as a special thing, and be done with it.

Now about London: Screw it. No more London games. It’s not that I begrudge our friends across the pond a taste of actual real football, but the travel and jet leg are murder on the teams. The time difference means fans on the east coast have to tune in in the morning, and fans on the west coast have to get up even earlier. It’s just not workable! At least these games are uncommon; there’s apparently been some talk about adding teams to the league in the UK, which would magnify this problem a thousand times.

Let’s be done with Monday night football. On ABC it was understandable; on ESPN it’s a joke. I know they’re under the same umbrella, but that umbrella is shoddy and full of holes. ESPN stopped being a decent sports network a couple decades ago, and the network deserves to die in a ditch. I hate watching anything at all on ESPN. The network is too political, commercial to the point of chopping up coverage of everything they show, and not even good at commentary anymore. People are supposed to stay up late for a dose of inferior broadcasting?

Sunday night football needs to go too. NBC is bad with sports, the opening song every week is a cringefest, and after a day of games it doesn’t make a ton of sense to throw in one more. Fatigue sets in. Sunday nights I just want to relax, pointedly not watch crap like 60 Minutes, and dread the coming Monday.

These night games feel like a chore, not a joy. They take the fun out of watching football for me, and Thursdays in particular are hated by the players. Why put them through that? It’s not helping anyone, not even the NFL’s faltering bottom line. Get rid of it already, except for a one-off game here and there and Thanksgiving. And while you’re at it, London, Monday nights, Sunday nights, and the New England Patriots too. That last one is for me—and justice.

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