All posts by Brian Beaudry

I'm a proud Kennewick HS and EWU alum and I live in Irving, Texas. Contact me on Twitter: @BeaudryDFW.

On Tyranny and the NFL

Let’s just sum up the whole NFL/kneeling story in a way that makes it clear what is happening.

  1. Government representatives (the police are part of the government, folks) kill several unarmed citizens with no repercussions.
  2. NFL players protest those deaths during the national anthem, calling attention to the fact that government officials killing unarmed citizens with no repercussions is antithetical to what America is supposed to be about (though too often what America does).
  3. A whole mess of people who have guns “to protect themselves from a tyrannical government” complain about players protesting, because government officials killing unarmed citizens isn’t a problem; the real problem is that they have to be reminded that America isn’t living up to its promise (something that oddly didn’t offend them when their leader’s campaign slogan told them America wasn’t great).
  4. A president who dodged the draft by lying about injuries, has routinely degraded those who have served the country, their families, and consistently insults federal law enforcement for their attempts to actually enforce the law when it comes to his crimes suggests that the protesters are “sons of bitches” and people should stop watching the NFL.
  5. The people who have guns “to protect themselves from a tyrannical government boycott the NFL (or other people have just gotten tired of the NFL’s lies and coverups and constant mismanagement), scaring the morally bankrupt NFL leadership.
  6. NFL leadership capitulates, affirming that their pursuit of more money is far more important than attempting to address the fact that government representatives are killing unarmed citizens with no repercussions.
  7. The people who have guns “to protect themselves from a tyrannical government” celebrate the fact that the President of the U.S. has defended the killing of unarmed citizens by government representatives with no repercussions, because the alternative was that they might have to think about helping fellow Americans.
  8. Their leader suggests that while it’s a good start, really, people protesting unarmed citizens shot in the streets by the government should really be deported.
  9. His fanbase continues to cheer, as the idea of deporting American citizens for protesting the killing of unarmed Americans by its government sounds great to them.

After all, there won’t be a tyrannical government on THEIR watch, no sir.

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Michael Jordan: All-Time Lucky Career

Michael Jordan seems to continually get better as the years pass since his retirement. People who grew up during his prime constantly argue online as though he went 82-0 each season, sweeping his way to every title, through sheer willpower. This is especially apparent as LeBron James eclipses most of his numbers and people are desperate to say that he’s not that good.

In fact, he was an all-time great player whose career benefited from some all-time incredible luck. Let’s break down all the things that helped maximize his career:

  1. Cocaine killed Len Bias, eliminating the Celtics’ best opportunity to continue to remain relevant for years once Larry Bird’s back started to go (another break for Jordan, who never beat the Celtics, despite Jordan fans’ attempts to bring up the names of Bird and Magic and Kareem, as though Jordan won titles when those guys were at their peak). It also crippled the Houston Rockets, who were primed as one of the best young teams in the league, making the Finals in 1986 before losing a quarter of their team in a cocaine scandal.
  2. The previous generation of stars had their primes cut short as Jordan hit his prime: Bird had a bad back and was done with the sport in 1992. Magic had HIV and disappeared after 1991. Isiah Thomas injured his ankle a bunch and retired at 32 after rupturing his Achilles. Kareem played until he was 41, but his career ended in 1989 – the Bulls’ Finals win over the Lakers in 1991 wasn’t really over the dominant Lakers team of the ’80s. So a lot of the guys he gets credit for having played against, he either didn’t beat, or beat after they were weakened. LeBron, meanwhile, was facing never-injured guys like Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett when he got into the league, and those guys were in the second half of their primes as LeBron was entering his.
  3. Geopolitical issues helped. Imagine the ’92 Trail Blazers with an in-his-prime Arvydas Sabonis instead of Kevin Duckworth. Instead, Sabonis was stuck behind the Iron Curtain and didn’t get to come to the NBA until 1996, when he was much older and, according to the doctor who examined him at that point, he could “qualify for a handicapped parking spot, based on the X-ray alone.” And in that state, the guy still averaged 14.5 points and 8.1 rebounds in fewer than 24 minutes per game. Drazen Petrovic could have been a star in the East as well, but his career started late due to issues in Yugoslavia and then he died in a car crash after four seasons in the NBA.
  4. Jordan never had anyone to chase him down. Unlike LeBron, who has had superstars in Steph Curry and Kevin Durant pushing him as they enter their primes while he ages, Jordan never had a generation to challenge him in any way. Starting in 1987 (it generally takes about three years to get to a guy’s prime), here’s the entire list of guys that were drafted before the end of Jordan’s first run and finished their careers with more than 100 win shares.
    1987 David Robinson
    1987 Reggie Miller
    1987 Scottie Pippen
    1987 Horace Grant
    1990 Gary Payton
    1991 Dikembe Mutombo
    1992 Shaquille O’Neal

    Of the seven best players to enter the league during Jordan’s prime, TWO of them were drafted by his own team. It’s difficult to compare with LeBron, as the guys who entered the league three years after him have yet to finish their careers (and some, like Anthony Davis, who already has 62.5 career win shares in six seasons, are just entering their primes), but Kevin Durant and James Harden are both already over 100 career win shares, and Russell Westbrook and Steph Curry are knocking on the door, both in the 90s. All of those guys have teamed up against LeBron, and they’re all poised to ensure there’s no opportunity for a late-prime series of titles like Jordan’s ’96-’98 run.

  5. Expansion watered down the league’s talent. In addition to the lack of talented incoming players, the league expanded from 23 to 30 teams during Jordan’s career. In a league where you could lock up, say, Scottie Pippen for 10 years at a ludicrously low rate, it was relatively easy for the Bulls to stay on top, having three of the league’s top 10 players in Win Shares from 1990-91 to 1998.
  6. He timed his exits perfectly. First of all, everyone seems to act like he didn’t play in 1995, when the Magic eliminated the Bulls from the playoffs before being swept by the Rockets in the Finals. Secondly, when he left in 1998, the league had a lockout (in part because of things like Jordan’s crazy-high salary; he was paid more in 1997-98 than 19 of the league’s 29 teams). So when the league resumed play, everyone sucked so much more than anyone was used to, only making Jordan look better.
  7. This is unrelated to his NBA career, but does relate to his legend: Let’s all remember that while the Dream Team was easily the best team in the world in 1992, their greatness wasn’t the only thing making their run so dominant. In 1991, Yugoslavia AND the USSR split up. After the United States, those two nations had been the best two in the world by far. Yugoslavia split into Croatia, the 1992 silver medalists, and Serbia, which was banned from the Olympics (they did, however, win Eurobasket when they resumed international play, meaning they may have been the best of the four split teams). The USSR’s best teams split into Lithuania, which won bronze, and Russia, which earned fourth-place honors. So, at that time, the world’s second- and third-best teams were split in half, creating the world’s second, third, fourth, and fifth best teams. Maybe someone would’ve kept it within 20 without the politics.

I’m not saying Jordan sucks; I’m simply saying he had an extraordinary amount of luck that benefited his legend greatly. Stop deifying the dude. He also didn’t have to deal with 24/7 sports coverage; according to The Jordan Rules, he considered quitting in 1991 before he won the title because he felt like there was too much damn media. How do you think he’d have handled the Twitter era?

Let’s also think about those teams that we give Jordan so much credit for beating: Ewing’s Knicks were a one-man team. The second-best player on the team was John friggin’ Starks. Going by SRS (Simple Rating System), which combines record with margin of victory to create a number for power rankings, the 2012-13 Knicks were better than any Knicks team Jordan ever played.

The Pacers, another oft-cited great team, peaked post-Jordan; while Jordan and the Bulls did defeat their best incarnation in 1998, most of their best years happened between 1999 and 2004. The ’12-’14 Pacers were equal to or better than any of the other Pacers teams in the Jordan era, and everyone’s out here saying LeBron didn’t accomplish anything by beating those guys. The ’07-’09 Celtics were better than any incarnation Jordan’s Bulls ever faced. The ‘06-’08 Pistons were better than any Pistons team Jordan beat.

All in all, Jordan stans are combining a lot of non-related information into their narrative that Jordan was the be-all, end-all, and it’s simply not true.

One thing that both sides can agree on, however, is that anyone who thinks Kobe’s name belongs in the same sentence as these two can be laughed at derisively.

 

Colonel America and the Americaneers

When you see photographs of the five living former Presidents uniting, as they often have recently, there are three ways to look at the photo: 

  1. To be happy to see them all together and uniting as Americans to achieve a common goal, 
  2. To be mad that they undermine President Trump by reminding us that America used to not be a cesspool of hate, or 
  3. Think “Holy crap! What if they were like the Planeteers and, by their powers combined, they could produce something that could battle those attempting to destroy our nation?”

I think it’s clear what my reaction was. 

We absolutely can’t use the same elements from the Captain Planet series, because then they’d be uniting to make Captain Planet. We’re not really looking to save the world at this point – we’re starting smaller by saving America. So we need to decide what “elements” we would use to make up Colonel America…

…Okay, we also need to figure out a good name for the combination of their abilities. Captain America, the obvious parallel to Captain Planet, is already taken; General America sounds like a vague concept of America instead of someone capable of battling evil, so I’ve settled on Colonel America. If you have a better one, tweet me with your improved names at @BeaudryDFW. Secondly, we need to know which former President to assign to each element. It was easier for me to come up with elements if I had a President in mind for each element.

Here’s what I’ve settled on as the best possible element/President matches:

Freedom

If you ask any American what the first word that comes to mind is when they think of America, a majority will say “Freedom!” I don’t know if that’s because we’ve just done such a good job of telling ourselves we’re so free or if because we actually are pretty free, but there’s no way we can create a Colonel America (again, pending name change) without it. I’m aware that the Patriot Act and other legislation makes my pick for this element contradictory, but c’mon, if you’re going to associate a President with someone arbitrarily yelling “Freedom!” Dubya is the guy immediately coming to mind.

Equality

Sure, we’ve never really achieved this, but it’s an ideal we’ve had since the founding of the nation. We wanted to get rid of the class system we’d inherited from the English, which never really happened, and our leaders probably never REALLY wanted to get rid of it (people in power tend to opt to keep it). But since we’re supposed to be making the union more perfect, it’s something we’re called to work on.

Obviously here, we’re picking the first Bu…no, of course we’re picking Obama. Not because of his own color making him the first black President, which would be the surface-level, basic person reason for putting him in this slot, but because his Administration produced several moves toward equality. From marriage equality to DACA to women being allowed to serve in combat roles, Americans were more socially equal to each other than ever. 

Brotherhood

Okay, we’re supposed to be crowning our good with brotherhood from sea to shining sea, so I’m using this. After looking at the first three options, it seems I’ve ripped off the French motto (taken from their own revolution) of “Liberté, Equalité, Fraternité” and converting it to more “American” terms.

Using this option allows me to use OG Bush and Clinton together. They already (SHOULD HAVE) had their own buddy reality show going on during the Bush II and Obama Presidencies, so it’s natural to have them represent brotherhood. A Republican and a Democrat that campaigned against one another and can still be friends and both support America together? Done. And, y’know, if anyone decides to spin them off into their own cartoon, I’m good with that. 

Dream

I managed to get four of the former Presidents into three categories, with one President sitting out there all alone, just like the original Planeteers managed to get all of nature’s elements into four people with a five-person crew. That means we have to shove someone into the last category, which will always seem like the cheesiest and worst one, but is actually maybe the best. Much like Heart is really an incredibly powerful element, especially among people, Dream encompasses hope and the idea that we’re constantly working to obtain a better future for ourselves and for America as a whole. Dream is what makes the whole damn thing work and keep growing through time.

President Carter, already kind of the outsider of the group due to the years he was President being separated from the others (by Reagan, who is dead, so he can’t participate in this), is also the best possible representative for Dream. The dude came up on a one-acre peanut farm, actually lived on government assistance for a while, and eventually became a successful farmer and President. He also continually works to improve others’ lives through Habitat for Humanity and is generally thought of as a good dude, if not a great President.

Great! Now we have the…Americaneers? Dammit, we need to work on that name, too. 

Finally, who’s the villain? In case it wasn’t obvious who the villain was…he was also a villain in Captain Planet. And I’m not even the first one to notice the similarities:

Let’s save America from Hoggish Greedly, Americaneers. With your powers combined…let’s unleash Colonel America. 

Ugh, that sentence would be so much better if I had better names for the group and the superhero they create. Please help me out with better names at @BeaudryDFW.

Klyde Warren Park Food Trucks (Dallas, TX)



While I’m on board with food trucks in general (I like that my office building now has a different one outaide for lunch every day), I do have to complain about the artisan food trucks. 

To go “back in my day” again…

Back in my day, food trucks were taco trucks – you’d go to these little stands that were known only by word of mouth and pay absurdly small prices for a good amount of Mexican food and eat with a bunch of strangers on some nearby picnic benches.

Now you’re (OK, I’m) dropping $8-10 on a basic gyro or a mini-pizza; it costs MORE than it would at a restaurant, somehow.

The park was fun – lots of cool stuff to do and you can visit nearby art museums for free if you want some culture (but honestly, for the air conditioning). The food trucks were so-so – the food was adequate but overpriced, but I didn’t have to go try to park again or walk around to a restaurant, so I guess it’s a convenience fee. 

The one food truck that was especially delicious was called Cool Haus, maybe, (I’m writing about this about 11 months later). Snickerdoodles with ice cream between them? Yes, every day of the week. The $5 or so for an ice cream sandwich felt ridiculous, but given that I’d just paid like $20 for basically a personal pan pizza and an aggressively mediocre gyro, it was the best waste of money I had that day.

Thank you, Cool Haus (probably).

Starburst, Symbol of the Alt-Right

I don’t know if you’ve heard, but America is in the middle of a messy divorce. Sure, the thought pieces and studies describing our separate news sourcesbook selectionsTV series, and how we’re all talking past each other make good observations, but one thing truly epitomizes what is tearing us apart: Starburst.

FaveREDs, which are bags of Starburst with only red and pink colors included, were introduced in 2016. In 2017, the product went a step further and released all-pink bags.

This was inevitable, probably. The proliferation of “Have it your way” culture has given seemingly everyone the expectation that they should get everything they want, exactly the way they want it, right now, and for free.

Back in my day (I’m 34, so basically a senior citizen), Starburst came in four flavors, like it or not. Pink and red were the favorites among most, but orange and yellow, for people that didn’t like them, allowed us to grow as human beings in one of two ways:

  1. You could give the orange and yellow Starburst to a friend (or a stranger, starting a conversation and making a new friend). This ensured we were all at least capable of generating small talk and acknowledging others’ existence. It reminded us that people had different opinions than us and that we could not only live with those differences, but that those differences could help us get the job done.
  2. You could learn to like orange and yellow Starburst. They provide a tangy pop in a line of overly sweet, soft candy. It’s a nice curveball to keep your tongue from getting too comfortable at the plate (or tube, as it were). This option had the advantage that you could also work with others who refused to grow their character to acquire THEIR candy, providing an incentive to broaden your tastes and learn to appreciate new things.

Instead of strengthening ourselves as a nation, now we’re focused on getting only what we want – never trying to grow beyond what we already like; never trying to understand why other things exist; never appreciating others for what they bring to the table.

If I post #OrangeStarburstMatter on social media now, I’m bound to be shouted down by the #AllStarburstMatter crowds who are constantly spewing nonsense about how the entire Starburst empire was based on pink and red Starburst, and orange and yellow should be happy they were allowed to exist in the same bag for so long. They would praise Starburst for eliminating those pesky orange and yellow Starburst for them. Are those the kind of selfish people we want running the show?

Let’s get back to uniting, not dividing. Don’t be tempted by the ease of having your preferred flavor pre-separated for you. As Denzel Washington said: “Ease is the greatest threat to progress, not hardship.” Don’t allow them to tell America that only one flavor really matters.

Stop Starburst now. For America.

Popeye’s (Irving, TX)

If you like cold chicken tenders and gross fries, this is the place for you!

Just close the rest of the prep area down and turn it into a bakery for those biscuits, ’cause they were the only acceptable thing associated with this place. In fairness, I would probably eat 70 of them at one sitting, given the opportunity, they’re so delicious (and I’m such a glutton). I discovered afterwards that I could’ve just bought a dozen biscuits – had I ordered that, I might have been willing to overlook the flies coming around the table every so often. 

I have been to other Popeye’s that weren’t gross, but I wouldn’t go back to this particular location with your money.

El Pollo Loco (Grand Prairie, TX)

Somehow, despite them being all over the place when I grew up in Southern California, I don’t remember ever having gone to El Pollo Loco.

That…was a mistake. (Or perhaps they have changed their menu in the 20+ years since then.)

Thanks to their insistence on moving into my work’s neighborhood and what I’m calling a “Take 5” day, wherein my favorite CEO gives us five bucks each to go grab some food at a local restaurant as a team, I went and tried an avocado chicken burrito. And I added a chips and queso. And some avocado salsa.

If you’re squeamish about seeing a couple dozen chickens on sticks being grilled, maybe order your food ahead of time and don’t look up as you’re paying for your food. If you’re not, appreciate the presentation, which is certainly better-looking than the typical assembly line of frozen food at many other fast-food joints.

Each time I’ve gone to this location (and it’s now been a lot since I’m writing this about nine months later), the food has been fresh and the service has been great. I went to another location (Watauga) and they had horchata, which is apparently Spanish for “Churros you drink.” 🔥🔥🔥

Also, they have regular churros if you like. Is it REAL Mexican food? Nah. Is it 💣? Yup.

Hyatt Regency Dallas (Dallas, TX)

Last October, the company I work for had an International Conference at the Hyatt Regency (and around town). I played no part in selecting the menu, but I salute those that did.

Since I didn’t have to pay for the food, it was already automatically great in my book, but when you can have things like unlimited fajitas or meat from land, air, and sea in one meal…what more can a fella ask for?

(This isn’t so much a review as it is me telling you I ate a lot of great food for free. Sorry for bragging.)

A dish as tasty as it is made unattractive by my desire to mound as much of it on one plate as possible.
Plating, schmating. Fish, chicken, and beef along with various sides? Yes.
Breakfast sandwich and cantaloupe. Not seen: Pineapple, which I either ate or waited for a second plate to eat.

Chick-Fil-A Catering

First of all, let’s make something clear. Waffle fries are overrated garbage, an insult to both fries and waffles. You can’t fit many into a fry container and the few that you get don’t fit well into sauce containers. They have way too much potato for their surface area as well.

That said, waffle chips are absolutely amazing. Everything that is wrong with waffle fries is corrected -they’re just as salty as regular chips, but with a little more airiness and texture. If I were putting chips in my sandwich, they would be ideal…but they’re too good to NOT eat by themselves. Why do they continue with the foolishness of waffle fries in their restaurants?

We’ve had Chick-Fil-A’s catering a few times at work, and I’ve tried a few of their meal options, all of which are good. The chicken is tasty and they top things properly. But all the meals come with waffle chips and the cookie in every box, so really, the main course doesnt matter. Somehow, there are always extra chips and cookies left over, too! Man, I love seeing the email saying we have catering for lunch.

Chapps Burgers (Grand Prairie, TX)

Chapps was just a restaurant I passed by daily on my way to work, until they closed down to remodel and rebrand as Chapps Burgers. When you add “Burgers” to a name, there’s at least a 90% chance I’m interested in eating there (exception:Burger King).

Emoji review: 👍 (The emoji reviews are probably going away soon, in case you can’t tell.)

Anyway, the new place had a Mooyah/Five Guys style ordering process, with a slightly classier vibe. The vibe costs a little more, and the burgers are different, but an acceptable option.

As you can see in the photo, the burger patty is on the thick side and doesn’t reach the edge of the bun. (I think I’m becoming a fan of thin patties; you can get more flavor with that extra surface area and that just makes more space for more cheese. That’s what we call a win-win, unless you’re lactose intolerant, in which case, I’m sorry for your loss.) So if you like ’em, in the misapplied words of Sir Mix-A-Lot, “real thick and juicy,” Chapps might have the burgers you’re looking for. 

Their fries were…well, it’s been a few months, but I’ve forgotten them, so they’re forgettable.

Major selling point: They did have Big Red as a fountain drink option. That’s very Texan of them and also something I heartily endorse. 

I wasn’t upset about my experience at Chapps, but Im not really compelled to break my new streak of days driving by it on the way to work without going in, either.