Ask Alex - September 22, 2017
Welcome back to "Ask Alex", where I answer all of your stupid questions with even dumber answers. Have a question you need answered? Tweet it, email it or submit it here and I will get to it (maybe) next week.
In this week’s episode, Daryl has even more questions...I am starting to wonder how Daryl functions without me! He wants to talk ballpark food, then cheese and then Supreme Court cases. Brownskin proves once again that he is a terrible, terrible human being, Rascal wants to know what I think of a Kurt Schlichter theory regarding Game of Thrones, and we tackle Bill’s newest, and potentially most embarrassing, medical problem
Submitted by: Daryl
What is your favorite snack food to eat at Gillette Stadium?
Honestly, I have been to Gillette stadium like four times...two Patriots games and two concerts. The issue is that the stadium is not in Boston, or even that close, it's in Foxborough, a small exurb that has never even decided on how it would like to spell its name. True story: you will see Foxboro and Foxborough, although I have never seen the much-more interesting and Mexican sounding Foxburro.
It is just not a convenient place for anyone who lives in or north of Boston. It’s not quite as bad if you live on the South Shore or along Rt 128, and it is very convenient for people living even further south towards Rhode Island, but it is a pretty long ride through some very heavy traffic for anyone else. Compounding this, the stadium is located on Rte 1, which is ill-equipped to handle the kind of traffic that a crowd of 65,000 generates, and the parking lots are very large and hard to get in and out of. It is really common for people to tailgate for an hour or two after the game while they wait for their turn to back their car out of their spot and leave.
I always find it amusing when TV broadcasts send the blimp to Boston to show cityscape pictures during Patriots games...it’s probably 25 miles in a straight line and at least a 30 mile drive to get from Foxborough to downtown (Providence is probably half that distance, which is why I think most visiting teams travel in and out of Providence and stay there, not Boston.)
Snack food idea...why aren’t there (more) food trucks in the parking lot? Or, really, any concessions at all? On a normal gameday, maybe 15,000 people park their cars for several hours before the game, set up grills and then just sit around eating and drinking. Why doesn’t the team make a better effort to sell them concessions? I dunno, maybe they do, or maybe other stadiums do. But I have a feeling that a food truck that could set up shop in the parking lot and sell some kind of food that can be prepared ahead of time in huge quantities (like barbecue, for example) would make an absolute mint on game days. And someone pouring Sam Adams at $9/pint would make like three mints...
All of which is to say that I don't really think I have a favorite food at Gillette Stadium. I'm not even sure I have ever bought anything to eat.
What famous piece of cheese bore the motto “Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God”?
You know, sometimes in writing this I learn things that are so fantastically inane as to be really, really interesting. And this is one…
First, backstory. The motto above was coined by Ben Franklin as a suggestion for the back of The Great Seal during the first Committee for the Design of the Great Seal. Such was the import of the Great Seal that there were three separate committees tasked with designing the seal before Congress finally selected the design that we still use (eagle holding arrows and an olive branch and E Pluribus Unum).
Franklin’s proposed design eventually lost out to the unfinished pyramid with the eye of Providence (not the Rhode Island one) that has served as a key part of the conspiracy at the center of most of Dan Brown’s novels… While it wasn’t the winning design, Thomas Jefferson liked it so much that he used it as his personal seal for the rest of his life.
And that is why, on January 1, 1802, when a delegation of townspeople from Cheshire, Massachusetts presented Thomas Jefferson with a 1,234 pound wheel of cheese made from the milk of 900 cows, the Cheshire Mammoth Cheese was inscribed with that motto. It is worth noting that the townsfolk considered this both an act of profound respect and an anti-slavery statement (the letter accompanying the cheese noted specifically that it was produced without any slave labor), and President Jefferson was so moved that he ignored his normal opposition to gift-giving and accepted the cheese (he did make a healthy donation to the congregation of the organizer as a token of gratitude).
He did not, however, free any slaves. You see, he may have hated slavery, but he loved being rich...and he loved being rich more than he hated slavery, so...
The gift of the Cheshire Mammoth Cheese went on to become the inspiration for other similar gifts, including a 1837 gift of a massive block of cheese to Andrew Jackson that was the inspiration for the fantastic West Wing episodes about “Big Block of Cheese Day”.
What I have mostly learned from this, though is that I really need a personal seal!!! I’m gonna go with a shirtless Velociraptor riding in an open-topped 911 Turbo using one hand to slug Ketel One straight from the bottle and the other to hold a 4 lb. bag of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.
Homework: someone mock that up for me, OK? Looking at you, @marcannem96...
Do you think that @molratty has ever heard of Cantwell v. Connecticut?
Daryl, this is Ask ALEX...not Ask MO.
I’m pretty sure that, at some point in either law school or her lengthy career as a lawyer, Mo has heard of the case. For the uninitiated, the case was about Jehovah’s witnesses who were arrested for violating a local ordinance on solicitation and for “breach of the peace” because some locals were offended by their anti-Catholic sermons. The court ruled unanimously that the local ordinance was unconstitutional because it afforded government officials the right to determine what was and wasn’t religious, and they further held that maintenance of public order could not be used to justify the suppression of “free communication of views”.
That’s all kinda boring...but this question got me thinking...how could Mo have finished college, then worked, then gone to law school, then practiced for over 15 years and somehow still only be 32 years old?!?! So, I hope you are all sitting down, because I have a bombshell finding for you: Mo is the Doogie Howser of Intellectual Property Law.
My intensive investigation has uncovered the following biographical information…
Submitted by: Brownskin
Dear Ask Alex, Jeep recently sent my GC a software update and I had to stay with the car for 20 minutes as it was downloaded. Then it took approximately 25 more minutes to install and configure itself. This totally qualifies as a legit reason to park in the handicap stall, right?
First of all, handicapped stalls are where you go to the bathroom and handicapped spaces are where you park your car. Unless you left your car running while you went inside and dropped a MOAB on the handicapped stall...
On the one hand, you aren’t really “parked” in a handicapped spot if you are sitting there and can move if someone really needs it. So, you aren’t committing the same kind of morally indefensible act as someone who just leaves their car there to run into whatever store you are at. On the other hand, unless every other square inch of the lot is crammed with cars, why on earth do you need to stop in that spot? Final analysis, then, is that no, it is not a legit excuse to park in the handicapped space.
Handicapped spaces are actually a pretty good indicator of, depending on your viewpoint, either the decay of society or the creep of the regulatory state. We’ve constructed this entire regime that requires licensing and enforcement by ticket or towing, all for something that should be managed by general social pressures. And you know what? I’m not sure that it couldn’t be...for example, I have never once seen a non-infant-toting person park in a space marked “Parking for Customers with Infants”, which is entirely enforced by the honor system. If stores just marked off several spots for less mobile patrons, would there really be a general disregard for that by normal parkers? I know that people are generally assholes, but this seems like something that doesn’t require intervention by the DMV and the police.
I’d be willing to make a bet that we have no way to actually measure. I would wager that there is more indefensible parking in handicapped spaces now by people who have an illegitimate handicapped placard than there would be by un-impaired people without the placards. Every single one of you knows someone who has a placard because they drive their Grandma around or because their brother once broke his leg or something like that, and that person makes use of that placard in every single lot they drive into regardless of who is in the car. The placard isn’t an accommodation to a person in need, it becomes a moral get-out-of-jail-free card for the person who is now parking his car in a place that any thinking person knows is not intended for him. Handicapped spaces should be regulated by the morals of the people and not by the authority of government.
If we back up, though, I don’t believe for a second that you drive a Jeep. I’ve owned a Jeep (my first car: a 2004 Grand Cherokee) and I drive another regularly (a Wrangler that stays at the beach and technically belongs to my pretend older sister but, in practice, belongs to my younger sister when the four of us are not treating it as communal property) and I can confidently assert that Jeep’s are not “Brownskin kinda cars”.
No...I’m pretty sure that you drive a Mercedes GLS or maybe even a Porsche Cayenne. You might drive a BMW X5, but I feel like that would sorta be slumming it in the circles you run in, and I’m pretty sure you’d find a G65 to be just a little bit too ostentatious. The optics of delivering an eviction notice in your $200,000 SUV might be a little tough.
But Jeep? Come on...those are regular people cars driven by regular people, not you blood-sucking 1%ers...
Submitted by: Kurt Schlichter via Andrew Lynch
Schlichter: Re-watching Game of Thrones right now. Just figured it out. Ned Stark is the ultimate Never Trumper
Andrew: I feel I need to #AskAlex to weigh in here
I see where he is going with this...Ned Stark stuck to his principles and moral superiority right up to the point that it got him decapitated. Being “right” in his sense of rightness turned out to be his undoing as he was outsmarted and outplayed by the less morally anchored people at court. Meanwhile, the people who accepted the inevitable (Littlefinger, the Tyrells, later Roose Bolton and Walder Frey) and allied with the Lannisters, at least temporarily, fared somewhat better.
I actually like this analogy, but Schlichter clearly didn't think this one through all the way, which I suppose is pretty standard for a guy who’s overall intellect is somewhere between “challenged by Lincoln Logs” and “allowed to use grown-up scissors”. See, in his own analogy, the people who accepted that Trump was inevitable and thought he was at least better than the alternative would be all of the people who may have agreed with Ned’s ideas but chose to survive and adapt rather than stick to their convictions and suffer. The obvious problem with this is that everyone who trusted and allied with the Lannisters eventually ends up not only dead, but forced to watch many or most of their family members die in a wide variety of horrible ways first.
So, while Schlichter thinks he is being witty and smart, he has ignored the very obvious fact that Ned Stark and his offspring are the heroes of the book. Ned may have ended up dead, but so did everyone who would qualify as a “reluctant Trumper” (which, by the way, Schlichter was not...he’s been on board the Trump train from very early on), and Ned’s house now stands in a much better way than any of the rest of them.
Littlefinger is dead, the Boltons are all dead, the Freys are all dead save for a single living heir who bears the last name Tully, and the entire Tyrell family is dead and their lands in Lannister hands. Meanwhile, Jon Snow is King in the North, Sansa remains a serious power player with a key role to be played in the ending of the story, Bran is...well, I don’t even know what the fuck is up with Bran...and Arya is simply going to kill all of those “reluctant Trumpers” one by one if she needs to.
Which, I guess, is my absolute favorite part of this analogy...Schlichter has snidely concocted an analogous storyline that obviously ends with his own throat being slit by Arya Stark.
The North Remembers. And so does Never Trump.
Submitted by: bill
What is this rash on my foot?
Without any pictures or further description, it is difficult for me to diagnose your skin problem. And further, since I am not a licensed physician, it is somewhat irresponsible for me to be handing out medical advice under any circumstances. So, of course, I will answer your question!!!
I think I have figured this one out, though, and I didn’t even need WebMD! A lesser doctor would probably assume that this was some kind of an allergic reaction and ask if you have been exposed to poison ivy or poison oak or maybe had a run in with some kind of tiny pest. And, in fairness, that’s what they’d teach you in medical school.
I, however, know that not all sources of skin irritation are covered in medical school. I also know that, sometimes when gentlemen choose to...um...pleasure themselves, they do so into a sock in order to ease cleanup and provide a somewhat softer surface than their own hand may offer. Further, I know, or...um...this girl once told me...that the product of that self-love can cause a rash or other irritation if it comes into contact with exposed skin.
I would hypothesize, therefore, that maybe you rubbed one out into a sock and then didn’t wash it completely;-) I think that’s what is causing the rash.
Dr. Alex prescribes a girlfriend, some better laundry detergent, or a box of tissues!
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Just a gaggle of people from all over who have similar interests and loud opinions mixed with a dose of humor. We met on Twitter.