Saturday, November 28, 2015

Football Counter-Programming 2015: Week 13

The end of the regular football season is almost over for another year. And I've done my best to distract you from the gridiron struggles. But I know that I haven't really succeeded. So, many I've been going about this all wrong?

So, in an effort to be more distracting, I'm going to--this holiday weekend--rely on the two most distracting things I can think of on the Internet. (Sorry Log Lady, but you get the weekend off.)

So . . .

Yeah, that's right!

The unholy alliance of Star Wars and cats! The two things that can break the Internet!

(Calm down Luke, it will be over soon! Just a bit more distractions.)


Until next week, remember . . . no one cares if your fieldgoal kicker can bullseye womp rats in his T16 back home. What matters is can he kick a 45-yarder with the wind in his face!?

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Football Counter-Programming 2015: Week 12

The football season is slowly winding to a close. (Really, the end is within theoretical sight, I promise.) But it hasn't gone away yet and so the FC-P continues, strong in its mission to distract you from your pigskin-related pursuits for another week. No matter if your team is throwing down against a cupcake opponent (I'm looking at YOU Southeastern Conference) or whether your team is finally facing down against significant opposition that might determine your season. (You know who you are, tOSU.)

But . . . as usual, this is the end of such football talkery for this post. Now, on to the Counter-Programming!

Hit me up Log Lady!

 Do you ever write letters anymore? I lived in a time when letter writing was already becoming a thing of the past--and that was even before the overwhelming rise of the Internet and e-mail. I once had a pen pal, but that was pretty short-lived. (I don't even remember now where he lived.)

I wrote some letters when I went to summer camp and when I was in college, I wrote an occasional letter back home. But my main method of communication has always been face-to-face. (As anyone who knows me can tell you, I don't like communicating on the telephone and generally try to avoid that.)

Of course, these days, I communicate a lot in words--but I type them in this blog or on Twitter or on Facebook. And the words are not directed to anyone specific. They are just composed and put out into the world for general consumption. That is nice, because it gives a creative outlet and some (informal, to be sure) practice in the writing process. Does it weaken the overall use of language, however, when I'm not specifically targeting a person?

These days when I write something directly at someone, it is a note of specific goals. Telling Lynda that I've gone for a walk. Or leaving lists of chores for the kids to do when I'm out of the house.

Speaking of that . . . my mom used to write chore lists for me every summer morning. When she was off working and when I was home without school, she would hang a note on the refrigerator door with tasks to accomplish by the time she got home: vacuum the floors, wash and fold laundry, clean my room, wash dishes. What sort of chores did you do as a kid?

And how do you communicate? Do you write letters? When was the last time you received a letter from someone? When was the last time you got something in the mail that wasn't a bill, junk, or an annual Christmas card? Do you think it is a diminishment of our historical record that we don't write anymore? Have you even considered what future historians and anthropologists will use to determine how we lived our lives?

Or maybe it won't be so bad? Will all of our digital records more than suffice? Will it only be paper receipts from Walmart and Best Buy that tells our history? Or will future civilizations judge us by our random blog posts, our DVDs of Breaking Bad and whatever retro-tech they devise to watch our Netflix files of Friends?

(On further reflection . . . that might be our most accurate depiction. It's not all State Department communiques, after all.)

So . . . welcome future archaeologists!

My name is David and I lived in Ohio most of the time. It was a state located in what we called the Midwest. We valued corn, football, butter, and wholesomeness. Our summers were hot and our winters were cold.
We--unlike you--were able to go outside when the weather was nice. But . . . during my adulthood, we chose to stay indoors and entertain ourselves with digital communications and filmed stories on our portable computer devices. (These were the progenitors of our cortical digi-implants.)
We made movies predicting the robot enslavement, but we never took it very seriously.

Sorry about not preparing for that like we should have.

And remember (as you from the future already know) . . . no one cares if your team didn't take that Division I-AA team seriously during the late season cupcake week. A loss is a loss is a loss . . .

. . . unless that loss is actually robot enslavement. Then--well, its a paradigm shift for the whole civilization.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Football Counter-Programming 2015: Week 11

Welp. What do I talk about today?

The events in Paris have already provided plenty of counter-programming to balance against any football-related activity that might be discussed on Facebook today. I even considered not writing anything today, just in case it seemed too false or dumb against the real suffering going on over there.

But, the football games continue today, so I guess I will counter-program as usual.

Here's hoping that the Log Lady has some helpful wisdom today. (But if you are paying attention, you might already guess from the image above that things are stranger than normal this week.)

I've said before in this space that going to extremes is a dangerous path to take. True believers on any side of a two-sided argument are not interested in seeing the viewpoints of their opposite opponent. The world's complex problems are not so simple as to only have two sides. So, I try to steer my stance more to the middle, hoping to accommodate the issues somewhere in the compromise zone.

(I didn't know what else to write . . . and so I went down to the basement to sort through dirty clothes and start some laundry.)

And I am confronted again with how privileged I am in so many ways. It is no surprise that I want to sit in the middle of arguments, because I do not suffer hardships. I am not oppressed or threatened. So, I do not see the conflict from the point of view of the true believers who are willing to go to extremes to achieve their social/political/economic/religious/theoretical goals.

We can't operate exclusively from extremes though. There has to be someone willing to compromise? And I'm not saying it is ME. But there needs to be more people in the middle, trying to understand and carve out a path toward acceptance and cooperation. Otherwise, we live in chaos.

And I think that is it for me today.

Stay safe. Enjoy your time with family and friends. Try to determine what creamed corn has to do with anything other than making good cornbread.

And remember. . .

. . . no one else cares if your team is undefeated and stuck at number 7 in the College Football Playoff rankings.

Saturday, November 07, 2015

Football Counter-Programming 2015: Week 10

It's week number 10 of trying not to let football control our lives. How has it gone so far for you? Have you realized yet that leaves are changing and that there is an autumnal bite in the air? (Of course you have, because your parking space at the tailgate is near those pretty trees and last Saturday you had to get our the ole alma mater scarf you bought back in '92.)

Clearly, we have more work to do. On to the Log Lady introduction!

Don't you love the Log Lady's directness? Who starts a conversation by asking if you can see through a human's skin?
But, I guess it is a good question. We cannot see through people. So we should not assume that we can understand everyone in their fullest sense. We all have pockets of mystery. 

Let's take a look at me, for instance, I use this space every weekend to tell you not to watch football and to not let these allegiances define who you are. And yet, I do spend some time each Saturday watching some football games. 

That makes me hypocritical, sure. But it also makes me complex, you know? 

I use the construct of football to motivate me towards more blogging. But does this admission weaken my points and the things I write about? No. It simply says that people are more complicated than we allow them to be. We want the world simple and easily understood. But the world doesn't work just the way we want it to. 

The Log Lady demonstrates her wisdom in this longer-than-normal Intro. As is often her style, she counsels that the world is complicated and that many things are happening that are not simple to understand at face value. This knowledge that she has comes from her life in the Woods. Living in nature, Log Lady has learned to find a balance in the middle, in between extremes. She finds a median path, much like how she only chews the type of pitch gum that is in the middle, between too soft and too hard. 

In her own strange way, the Log Lady has a bit of Zen about her. 

Now . . . on to other things. 

What sort of gum do you like to chew? These days, I favor basic flavor Dentyne. I chew it at work almost every day, after lunch or when I have consumed too much coffee. It's a breath freshener and a way to convince my mouth that I don't need to buy candy from the vending machine in the mid-afternoon. My friend BS calls this The Gum Method. It works with varying success, I must admit. 

When I was young, I favored either Juicy Fruit gum or Fruit Stripe gum. These days, I find Juicy Fruit waaaaay to sweet for my palate. And I wouldn't chew Fruit Stripe gum on a dare.  Occasionally, I will chew some cinnamon flavored gum, but that is a definite rarity.

What sort of gum do you like the best? Do you chew often or not at all? Surely you have opinions, strongly felt that you need to share? (This is the Internet, after all.) So, go ahead and let it out. Tell me the things that must be said and that you have held inside for far too long. The comments await, at your pleasure. 

And . . . until next week, please remember that no one cares if your coach has brought in the nation's best recruiting class for the last three off-seasons.