I was imbibing at the Inn last week, enjoying one of Jay Hunter’s many fine Indian Pale Ales, when Bruce Spinney mentioned to me it might not be a bad idea if I showed a lighter side of myself in this space. More specifically, Bruce said that “The people I talk to don’t like it when you’re mean to Brook Pagdett.” To which I thought, “Why is Bruce spending so much time talking to Brook Padgett’s mother? That’s weird.”
Bruce suggested writing a “puff piece,” or anything designed to make people forget that I’m a lawyer and that I argue for a living. Which is hard for me, because I don’t care about fluff, and I’m only good at things that I care about. And given how much I work, I only have so many other things in my life that I could possibly care enough to write about.
But then I started to think that it’s a little bit sad that I can only come up with a few things to write about that are all town-finance related, and that maybe this would be a good exercise to knock out the cobwebs on non-local government thought. So, let’s try eleven vaguely fluffy thoughts and see how it goes.
- Time was, the Boston Globe had the market cornered on quality sports beat writers. But for my money, you can’t beat Mike Reiss at ESPN Boston for Patriots coverage. His Sunday morning notes section is a must read for me. This past week, Mike followed up with Patriots director of player personnel, Nick Caserio, who spoke at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference.
According to Reiss, Caserio was quoted as saying something that got me thinking about Grafton, when he talked about creating a culture of empowerment in the front office.
“All of us can probably speak to this to some degree; when you’re in a leadership/management position, the No. 1 quality you have to have in that position is humility and grace. You have to be willing to engage the people you work with, and you have to listen. I read this somewhere recently: It’s not about where the idea comes from or how it gets to you, if it’s good, it’s good. To give your people the opportunity to do that and express their opinions and express their viewpoints, that goes a long way.”
Of course, we do the exact opposite thing in town. Here, it’s entirely about who comes up with an idea, and what their “agenda” is when they do it. It’s no way to go through life. The culture in town government needs changing.
Wait… I thought this was a puff piece? See, I’m no good at this. Moving on.
- I have three kids, two of whom are in the Grafton school system, with the youngest set to arrive next year. So far, my kids have had five Grafton teachers in total, between stints at South Grafton Elementary School and Millbury Street Elementary School. And I have to tell you, each teacher has been fantastic. The experience could not have gone better, so far. They’ve been particularly helpful with my daughter’s food allergies, which are severe and life threatening. It’s such a load off my mind knowing that there are professionals I can rely on.
- I’m not sure what it says about me, or where I am in life, that one of my new favorite things to do is to go to the Inn on Tuesday nights and answer Barry’s dumb trivia questions. No, scratch that. My favorite thing to do is to convince people to name their trivia teams something like “Barry’s Weird Balls” so that he has to announce the team name when going through the scores. It’s getting sad, folks.
But the music and questions are usually really good, and so is the beer. So there’s that.
- My wife and I got into an argument recently. I go to Wong’s so often that when I walk in to order take out, the staff automatically pours me a Mai Tai, because they know I’ll order it when waiting for the food. A couple weeks ago, I ordered one and got in a conversation with some folks there. Forty minutes later, I came home to a very hungry and angry wife.
She thinks it’s abnormal that people make me a drink when they see me coming. I think it’s one of my great life achievements. Who is right?
- We could spend thousands of words arguing about the most iconic rock albums from the ‘60s, ‘70’s, ‘80s and ‘90s. What is the most iconic rock album from the ‘00s? Can you even think of one? And this decade is 80% done. I’m not sure if rock is dead, or if it’s just hiding out with Eddie Van Halen in his basement drinking wine.
- Speaking of Van Halen, I think you can tell a lot about a person on whether they’re a Roth or Hagar guy. I’m a Roth guy, and having spent years and years of thought on this, I’m ready to proclaim the ranking of Van Halen albums as follows: 1. Fair Warning; 2. 1984; 3. Van Halen I; 4. 5150; 5. Van Halen II; 6. Diver Down; 7. A Different Kind of Truth; 8. Women and Children First; 9. F.U.C.K.; 10. Balance; 11. OU812; and 12. Van Halen III, which, like Rocky V, never happened.
I will have a serious argument about this.
- There is effectively no difference at this moment between what people now call “country” music and what used to be “southern rock.” If they came out today, the Black Crows would be “country”. Chris Stapleton is about as much country as Neil Young, most days. This is confusing to me and I wish it would stop.
- I thought The Force Awakens was fine, and I thought The Last Jedi was fantastic, if a little disappointing from a much discussed fan-boy angle. But, if I’m being honest, I find the new movies lacking somehow, and I think it’s because I have no idea what this story is supposed to be about. The first three original movies were about Luke Skywalker’s story arc. When we meet him, he’s a naïve farm-boy who finds out he has this great power that he can use to defeat evil. Then he finds out (SPOILERS!) that the evil bad guy is his dad! Then he overcomes that and saves his dad, as well as hope and democracy and whatever. Story arc done.
Then the second set of movies, the prequels, made the entire arc about something else entirely. The three prequels served to turn all six movies into Darth Vader’s story arc. Rise, fall and redemption. Story-arc done.
What are these new movies about? Does anyone know? Because we’re two-thirds done with them, and fucked if I know.
- I don’t want to say that a couple episodes of last season’s Game of Thrones might’ve ruined the whole thing for me, but… a couple episodes of last season’s Game of Thrones might’ve ruined the whole thing for me.
- Three words: Greta Van Fleet.
- And finally, I already posted this elsewhere, but I want to bring it up here: We need to address the selection of donuts at the Worcester Street Dunkin Donuts. It’s gone way down hill, and there are days where it’s not much of a donut shop at all.
I started to notice this a couple years ago. For instance, everyone knows there is no better, tastier donut than a double-chocolate donut (a chocolate glazed donut with chocolate frosting). But everyone also knows that that’s only true if they actually glaze the donut before applying the frosting. For some reason, if they don’t glaze the donut and just apply the frosting, the donut becomes bone dry and isn’t worth eating at all.
Does our Dunkins glaze their double chocolates? Of course not. I asked a manager why they don’t, and she said, “Because it’s less healthy that way.”
Less healthy! This from the same outfit that slaps a processed sausage patty between two waffles and calls it a “breakfast sandwich.”
And now… NOW… Dunkins has entirely eliminated the Chocolate Stick. For you non-millennials, you probably know it as a “cruller,” but they got rid of anything French-sounding back in 2002. And now they don’t carry them at all.
Well, I say enough! Why must we be foisted with this substandard donut selection? Are we second-class citizens in the eyes of our corporate overlords? I, for one, will not stand for this. I say we turn that place into a recreational marijuana shop.