On Finishing One’s Job: Yes, This Is A Super Bowl Post

Just the sight you needed early in the morning... you're welcome!
Just the sight you needed early in the morning… you’re welcome!

So at this point there’s roughly 15-18 inches of old snow on the ground, 4 inches of new snow (and counting), and I have to go to work to do… MORE INTERVIEWS!!! I’m still in a good mood. Why, you ask? Because THIS happened last night:


After watching the Patriots choke against the New York Giants TWICE in four years (2008, 2012), it was nice to see them finally do their job for a change and win a championship. Not only did they win, but they played a refreshingly good game- as did the Seattle Seahawks. For the first time in a while, I had no idea who was going to win at halftime (more on halftime later), and both teams did an admirable job of trying to bring the championship home to their fans (well, the Pats did a better job, but hey…).

I wouldn’t be a good New Englander if I didn’t dedicate some space to this momentous occasion and celebrate our first Super Bowl win in 10 years and fourth overall win. Congrats Patriots- looking forward to watching the impending Duck Boat parade in Boston (from afar, sadly)!

Here are highlights of the game in case you missed it (or want to relive it):

Other Thoughts On Super Bowl XLIX (49):

  • That Halftime Show, tho: Let me be the first to say that I do enjoy Katy Perry- I have all three of her albums, think she’s great- but when they first announced that she was headlining the halftime show I knew that she would put out some dysfunctional spectacle NO ONE over the age of 15 would want to watch. Hell, even the shining beacon of journalistic credibility The Onion correctly predicted that she would suck- although no one predicted the giant lion (Did someone plan the show thinking Detroit would make it?), dancing beachballs and surfboards and the special guest appearance by the “The More You Know” star… Arguably the best parts of the halftime show were when Katy played backup to her special guests Lenny Kravitz and Missy Elliott (where the hell have the two of you been, by the way?)- so let’s just say it was a Lenny and Missy show with special appearances by Katy and let it fade into nothingness…
  • WTF Were Those Commercials?: For a variety of reasons, whoever did PR for the NFL should be fired in a year that gave us Aaron Hernandez, Ray Rice, deflated balls, Adrian Peterson, Richie Incognito (whose BS started in 2013). The cherry on the shit sundae they’ve attempted to serve us over and over had to be the often depressing, at times disturbing, and overall boring commercials they aired throughout the night. NO ONE wanted to see Kim Kardashian West’s overexposed ass complain about her First World data problems. NO ONE needed to see 50 Shades of Grey again- the movie’s not even out for two weeks and I’m already sick of it. The Nationwide commercial- which started out with a young boy playing and talking about things he hasn’t gotten to do… and ended with him being dead of a preventable injury- was so bad Twitter already tore it apart and it’s not even up to vote for as part of Youtube’s Ad Blitz. Watching the Furious 7 ad only reminded us that Paul Walker’s dead- interested to see the numbers on that one when it comes out.  Jeep’s ad fed into ideas of American cultural imperalism- no one cares that you can drive a Jeep in the Outback, I promise. While I appreciated the sentiments of the NoMore.org, #LikeAGirl, Coca Cola #MakeItHappy, and Dove commercials, I felt like the night of the Superbowl may not be the place to touch those topics interspersed with IBS jokes and braying donkeys (just like I thought we didn’t really need an anti-abortion ad from Tim Tebow last year).Additionally, I couldn’t help but think back to who was sponsoring these ads and wonder if this was a PR move. Positive images of dads after Adrian Peterson? Domestic violence ads after Ray Rice? Call me cynical, but if you’re going to sponsor these ads and still support the same tired, ridiculous BS that the NFL does, I’m not buying.

So which ads did I actually like? Here’s a few- not all- of my favorites:

Pitch Perfect 2

Because pitchslapping…

Ted 2

Because Boston…

BMW i3- Newfangled Idea

This one gets an actual sentence- I grew up watching these two on Today and actually enjoyed watching them figure out e-mail (yes, younger Millennials, there was actually a time without e-mail).

Always #LikeAGirl

How could you not like this? In a night where heavier social topics bled into commercials in less successful ways, Always brought gender equality to the fore and got the message across well. 

Mercedes Benz- Fable

Because in a night where we celebrate (alleged) cheaters- more on that at the end- it’s important to take a minute to show that they actually do occasionally prosper…

Geico- Push It

This one doesn’t really count to me because it’s been on for weeks, but it’s still good- and much like with Missy and Lenny you have to wonder where these two have been

Snickers- The Brady Bunch

Because Danny Trejo (and Steve Buscemi)…

Clash of Clans

First- WHO THE HELL is buying Clash of Clans for them to be able to afford Lyam… oops, sorry- Liam Neeson? Second- Liam Neeson? Well played…

A Final Word On DeflateGate:

So you might be thinking, “But GotDegrees, how can you celebrate a team that cheated?” A couple points:

  • One, if you’re so worried about some deflated balls in a year where the NFL tried to gloss over multiple murders (Aaron Hernandez), homophobic bullying (Richie Incognito), domestic violence (Ray Rice, Ray McDonald), child abuse (Adrian Peterson), players with gang ties (Desean Jackson) and wild party habits (Johnny Manziel) you should take a minute to sit and reevaluate your priorities.
  • Two, so what if they did cheat? It’s the New England Patriots- they represent the area of the country that gave us the Patriarca family, Whitey Bulger, Frank Morelli, Joseph Barboza, the Winter Hill Gang, etc… I could go on, but we’d be here all month. They might as well be called the New England Yardbirds… they might be crooks, but they’re our crooks and we love them.
  • Three, 12 division championships. 6 conference championships, and 4 Super Bowls in 15 years don’t lie- if they’re cheating they’ve been doing it for so long they probably deserve an award for that alone, so…

To my fellow Pats fans, enjoy the victory- no matter how many inches of snow you have to trek through today!


Mike and Me: Giving Thanks (In The Shadow of Ferguson)


This post would have been a far different project had the events in Ferguson, MO on Monday night not taken place. My original intent was to come here and talk more generally about Thanksgiving, being grateful and teaching our students about gratitude in an age of entitlement, but to be honest at the moment that’s not where my head is at. Like many other people who watched the buildup to the grand jury announcement informing us that Mike Brown’s death would go unpunished, the press conference from Hell and the subsequent civil unrest in Ferguson, I’m pissed. I’m mad as hell, I’m hurt, I’m sickened, I’m disturbed, but worst of all, I’m not shocked. I’m not at all shocked because for most of my life I’ve internalized that this is how it is in America. And sadly, for most of my life things like Ferguson have happened to confirm that I was right.

Despite the fact that Thanksgiving as a holiday is based on the subjugation of native peoples in America and that in recent years it has become a time where we celebrate being lazy, gluttonous and materialistic, I feel the need to at least try and honor the spirit of what the day should be- a time to reflect and be thankful for our many blessings. I really want to be positive and do that today- it’s just that I know right now it’s incredibly hard for me to do that without talking about what I’m really thankful for.

Continue reading Mike and Me: Giving Thanks (In The Shadow of Ferguson)

Spotlight On The News: November 2014 (Part II)

A little cloudy, but not a bad view for the next few days- more on NASPA R1 on Monday!
A little cloudy, but not a bad view for the next few days- more on NASPA R1 on Monday!

Happy Monday! As you read this, I’m relaxing running around somewhere at the luxurious Hyatt Regency Newport (RI) on Goat Island for NASPA Region I- more on that next week-but I wanted to make sure that I had ample content for this week even though I’m taking some time off in the real world (isn’t that nice of me?) so I’m back with the second installment of Spotlight on the News. Today’s edition highlights a piece from BlueStockings Mag about Brown students of color and safe spaces (a topic near and dear to my heart), an article from theRoot.com on the Real Housewives of Atlanta, a short piece in the Providence Journal on abrasive teachers in the Providence school system, and a piece from styleite.com on She Who Must Not Be Named Kardashian-West and those photos from last week (so much for the KardASSian media blackout).

Continue reading Spotlight On The News: November 2014 (Part II)