Saturday, November 19, 2022

Football Counter-Programming 2022: Week 12


I went to the mall this morning.

It was depressing--as all trips to the mall are.

Every time I go, I am bracing internally for which stores have closed, which ones are clearly going out of business, and which table-side vendors are going to be trying to entice me if I make the mistake of accidentally making eye-contact with them as I walk by.

What was I going to the mall for? No . . . it wasn't for pre-Thanksgiving Christmas purchases.

I was there to drop off about six old iPhones at the Apple store to (hopefully) get the parts recycled and other items responsibly disposed of. These technological relics had been riding shotgun in my car for months and I finally decided to take care of getting rid of them.

BUT . . . while I was there, I ran across some really choice items that--while I would not want to own them myself, it does provide blog fodder for some counter-programming.

My theme?

And people say that men are hard to shop for . . .

I start with this one because it is slightly different in theme than the rest. It's so masculine and I just love Pacino's Tony Montana centered front middle--specifically posed with his little friend. I note internally that while I has only watched the Godfather movies and Goodfellas out of the media listed here, it is all immediately recognizable to me.

If you buy this for home display, it feels like it is best located in a basement Man Cave bar or in a shot garage or something. But what do I know? Maybe it hangs in your downstairs half-bath. You be you.

Next up we have this beauty.

This is the one that immediately caught my eye as I walked past the display area the first time. (Make of that what you will.) And I circled back to it on the way out to photograph it and the others. Lots to "love" about the idea here. (And there if there was a similar "Who's Your Batman" version amidst all of the other pictures, I sadly missed it.
I don't see Cesar Romero's Joker from 1966 on the wall behind these modern Jokers--which is definitely a shame. Especially since they are calling out famous Joker art and iconography from so many famous comics and graphic novels along the way. And I like that Nicholson's 80's Tim Burton Joker is acting as the patriarch of this evil trio--not getting his hair cut but dispensing wisdom to his fellow Joker-come-latelys.

This one is less Easter-eggy than the Jokers. There are fewer items on the wall behind. (Or maybe I'm just less familiar with what is there.) But I find it noteworthy that Bryan Cranston's Walter White has graduated into the pantheon of these murderous heavy-hitters. (What would Jessie think?) 

Swerving into a more wholesome direction we have this combo. The funniest part of this combination is obviously the Hulk calmly waiting for a haircut. (I guess the barber chair is made of vibrainium or adamantium or something? No way a stock chair will handle Hulk's bulk. Or maybe not even the Iron Man armor either.) 
And I hope Stan has a soap box to stand on when trying to get the shear's at the top of Hulk's head.
What is Cap thinking about as he relaxes on the right? Probably Peggy I guess. Or maybe Bucky. But he seems disengaged in the conversation. He has memories and experiences that the others in the scene don't . . . so I guess it makes some sense.
Now . . . the larger question is, why these three? Three appears to be the magic number in these picture designs. But are Black Widow and Hawkeye just not good enough (again)? Is Thor just not interested in Earthly haircuts? Or are his locks not cuttable by Earth's Best Equipment? (Or maybe the Stan Lee space barber scene in Thor: Ragnarok has already covered this territory suitably?)

Finally we have this.
And first off, it must be said that Snape needs to get a severe shampooing before any barber is going to cut his hair. Because it is well know--according to many students--as being greasy. But also . . . why couldn't we get a Three Joker's-style image with Harris's, Gambon's, and Law's Three Dumbledores? (Are the Fantastic Beasts movies so out-of-favor that it won't be considered?)

The answer to that last question is yes.

And why is Professor Flitwick being forced into--as Malfoy has said--"servant stuff" cutting Hagrid's hair?

Anyway . . . there you go.

I think that staring carefully at these images will definitely provide suitable diversion against college football. There are lots of details to delight in here. And I have only raised a few of many questions that can be confronted with this art. All of which are more interesting and diverting that whether or not your corner back is going to overcome his academic problems to make it onto the field today.

So boo to college football and yay to mysterious media art!

See you next week.

Saturday, November 12, 2022

Football Counter-Programming 2022: Week 11

I've been travelling this week. I spent time in SEC country--where all of the conference promotional commercials tell me that "It just matters more." 

So, I'm deep in the heart of Football Programming on a Saturday, trying to counter-program against the thing that Matters. More.

Every week that I try to distract you from the siren song of Saturday College Football is hard enough. But the circumstances are stacked against me this week. Maybe more than even I can hope to overcome.

But in the spirit of the place where I am right now, here is my attempt.


While driving on Interstate 75 the other day, a white Dodge Charger passed by me on my left. It was a newer model--the basic body design and style that has defined the Charger for maybe the last decade or so? But whenever I see this car, it always and only calls to mind one car: the Duke Boys "General Lee" car from the TV show The Dukes of Hazzard.

The prominent use of the Confederate flag iconography on the paint job of the car--not to mention it's name makes it a problematic item. But I certainly watched the show growing up as a kid. And I owned the Hot Wheels General Lee car. (My neighbor down the street had a Bo and Luke poster on her bedroom door as I recall.)


But, my question to you is . . . what are iconic cars of your youthful memory? What car makes/models are burned into your brain for whatever reason? Maybe it is a different TV show. Maybe it was featured in a movie or a music video. If you are older, maybe Steve McQueen drove it down the streets of San Francisco?

Whatever it is. Stop and think about it. What made that item important to you? What memories does it bring up in your brain now?

And maybe it isn't a car. Could be a plane, a helicopter (for any Air Wolf fans out there) a motorcycle (Street Hawk!) or any thing else.

Leave me a comment and chime in with your choice and your memories.

And remember . . . there is no car that is going to be able to save your team today when they are fighting chancy November winds. So it is best to get into your car, drive away from your TV, and take a walk in the woods.

Until next week.

Friday, November 04, 2022

Football Counter-Programming 2022: Week 10 Bye Week

 I skipped last weekend because I was sick. Because I was isolating. Because of many things.

But I'm endeavoring not to "skip" this week. At least not in the sense that I am putting something on screen. Not in the sense that I am putting extensive content down. But I didn't want to miss two weeks in a row.

Saturday, October 22, 2022

Football Counter-Programming 2022: Week 8

I'm going to busy most all of today with a trip across Ohio and back for a marching band competition.

So I'm keeping today's FC-P short.

Here is a video from last night's halftime performance of the Play Ball! 2022 competition show. The only things that are missing from this are a. the competition (baseball) uniforms and b. the audio samples. (And the absence of the samples hurts the narrative of the show a bit. But hopefully it will all be there today.)

No matter what YOU are doing today, make sure it isn't football-related. (And yes, I will be in a football stadium, but there will be no football happening in it.)

Until next week!

Saturday, October 15, 2022

Football Counter-Programming 2022: Week 7

It's good news for me today (Saturday) because The Ohio State Buckeyes are not playing today. So I don't have to work as hard (in this part of the world) to football counter-programming.

Rather I have to work hard to get in my apple-picking, pumpkin patching, leaf piling, corn mazing, or whatever else (covered bridging?) that constitutes Autumnal Bliss in this Instagram world. (Fun fact reader, I'm doing none of those things today. In part because all of Ohio is doing so as a result of the aforementioned tOSU lack of game.)

But I'm still sort of taking the day off by reducing my word count. (Really, I am. Despite that last paragraph.)

Instead of my words, I'll leave you with this video of an excellent concert that I attended on Tuesday. Grace's first concert band performance at Ohio Wesleyan. 

Yes, it is long, but it is absolutely 50 minutes well spent. 

And besides, you shouldn't be watching football anyway.

 Valdres (1904) by Johannes Hanssen

"A Letter to Herman Melville" by Karen Poremski, OWU Emeritus Professor of English

Of Sailors and Whales (1989) by Francis McBeth

    I. Ishmael

    II. Queequeg

    III. Father Mapple

    IV. Ahab

    V. The White Whale

Blues for A Killed Kat (1987) by Jack End

Schwanda, The BagPiper (1928) by Jaromir Weinberger

    I. Polka

    II. Fugue

Saturday, October 08, 2022

Football Counter-Programming 2022: Week 6

I finally had some Di Carlo's Ohio Valley style pizza this week. And it was pretty good. Not mind-blowing or anything. But much more enjoyable than I thought it was going to be.

Don't know what I'm talking about? This (admittedly a bit out-of-date) article can help you.

What is my favorite type of pizza? I grew up eating Pizza Hut, so I still tend to gravitate to the supreme-style pizzas that are heavy on the toppings, with a mixture of pepperoni, sausage, and vegetables. If I am paring down my meat topping choices to only one, I definitely always lean toward sausage as the dominant flavor.

Am I a thick or thin crust guy? I'm easy. I like both. And I won't say no to Chicago-style deep dish but it is not my preferred variety. I like New York style, but I'm not going to fight anybody about it either. Mostly I like that NY-style comes in an extra large box and it connects to my media-fueled memories of pizza consumption on TV and in movies.

Columbus-style tavern cut pizza is good and I like it. It did take me some time to get used to it however.

In general, hey . . . I like pizza. No matter what. It's a great food that is endlessly adjustable. But it always tastes good to me.

And that's about it (at least for now).

Did I distract you from watching football today?

Or did your brain's connections between football and pizza cause an undesired impulse to make you watch inevitably?

Or does the image of sad pizza forever and always turn you off from ever watching college football again?

Until next week . . . try a new pizza topping that you've never tried before. Because it is more likely that you will try something new an unexpected in the pizza world than it is likely that your alma mater is going to win big against their inter conference rivals.

Sunday, October 02, 2022

Football Counter-Programming 2022: Week 5

Sorry that I didn't get a post prepared for yesterday. It was definitely a necessity to try and distract you from college football yesterday, as conference play began. (Or so I read. I can confidently tell you with al truthfulness that I did not watch college football yesterday. One--because I only watch streaming services now and none of them offer sports. And two--because I was busy all day with a marching band competition. Which is the ultimate way to distract yourself from football of all types and all skill levels.)

Butso . . . yeah . . . yesterday was all about marching band and coordinating the event (or more accurately being available to those who were doing a lot more than me and making sure that I was helpful) and hosting and then serving the crowds and then setting up for the North performance and then breaking it all down and going home.

But I talk about marching band probably too much on this channel when I write, so, to be honest, I don't have lots more to say. I can tell you that I am tired and that my back hurts. And I just want to take the afternoon to rest and try to relax and recover.

Sorry I don't have lots of ammunition to serve as a distraction. But if I've learned one thing over the years . . . you can't truly distract Americans from football. Especially if you are trying to do it on a Sunday.

So, go ahead, I guess. Enjoy your football today. 

But don't think I am admitting defeat.

I'm recovering my energy and I'll be ready to fight tooth and nail next Saturday prevent you from watching football. So enjoy it while you can. 

Saturday, September 24, 2022

Football Counter-Programming 2022: Week 4


I love architecture.

I love looking at it. I love getting occasional times to tour office skyscrapers or stupidly expensive but amazing homes. I like to think about living in one of these showcases. Would I enjoy it?

I love watching documentaries on extreme homes. (There are some on Netflix. I'm also watching one on Apple +.) It was from the Apple + series that I learned about Gary Chang's "Domestic Transformer" home in Hong Kong.

And let me tell you, I am in love with this place.

It is so innovative. So unique. Such a wild response to a very difficult living space that turns it into something so amazing and lovely.

I won't write much more about this because I want you to spend the time watching this video. Really soak in the design of this place.

So . . . really . . . that's it for this week. Watch this video. Learn more about architecture. And DON'T watch any football today. Because if your team can't change on a dime and respond to their opponent as quickly as Gary Cheng can go from sitting room to kitchen . . . well . . . your team is gonna lose anyway.

Until next time!

Sunday, September 18, 2022

Football Counter-Programming 2022 Week 3

I'm sorry that my timing is a bit off today. Normally when I am attempting to distract you from watching football--with a special emphasis on the college variety--it is logical and most effective to center my distraction efforts on Saturday. Because that is the day in which college football is happening (for the most part). And I can't be here distracting you on weekdays when we've got jobs and other things to get accomplished. I'm just trying to get you to avoid spending hours of your precious weekend watching college football . . . on a Saturday.

So, posting about this . . . on a Sunday is not the best way for my strategy to win.

But showing up is a key ingredient to success. So I'm showing up this week, even if the effort is doomed to fail in my overall goal.

In the past, when I was very busy on a Saturday, I would carve out time during the week to plan and write and then I would schedule the post to go live on Saturday, right in the heart of the college football maelstrom. Then I would socialize my dynamite thoughts and happily check the Nielsen ratings and news the next day to see that viewership of college football had cratered in surprising ways that only a few people truly understood.

That is not what I did this week. I didn't plan ahead and I wasn't prepared. And I was entirely occupied for many, many hours on Saturday. Thus, my feeble distraction justifications here on a Sunday.

What was I up to yesterday? Doing the most non-football thing possible--helping with marching band. The North Marching Warriors competed in its first competition of the season yesterday in Bellbrook, Ohio. And they did a pretty good job and learned a lot from the experience. For a young band full of freshmen, competition experience is valuable. And they are learning what it takes to put together a quality show with few mistakes to win over judges. It's hard. But every competition helps them on this road to higher scores, more wins, and more success.

Do you want to know what the best thing about a band competition is? It's the atmosphere and the people and the joy and pleasure of watching bands perform. Unlike a sporting event where the can often be a sense of rivalry and enmity, that is largely absent with band competitions.

Sure, bands are (in fact) competing against one another. Some bands get more trophies than others. And there are scores and ranks. So I am not saying that everyone is all in it together all the time. But the vibe and the atmosphere is (to my mind) markedly more supportive. When one band is leaving the warm up area and heading into the stadium, other bands that are waiting their turn will clap, shout support, and wish good luck and good show to their (supposed) competitors. I love seeing that happen. And I love what that teaches these kids that are defining themselves in the world.

All that is to say, if you have time on a Saturday in September and October, chances are there is a marching band competition somewhere near you. Admission is not expensive. All that you spend most likely benefits the local high school marching band that is running the event as a fund raiser and to help them pay for their director, instruments, and truck rentals, and more. (School districts and tax payers just don't fund school arts programs anymore and I can promise you that running a marching band program is challenging and more expensive than you think.)

And while I'm here--let me plug the Westerville Invitational Marching Band competition coming up on October 1 in Westerville, Ohio! It's hosted by my kid's high school and I guarantee that you will have a great time on a wonderful Fall afternoon. Learn more on Facebook by following this link.

So, get out. Avoid football. Support high school arts. Enjoy the supportive vibes.

Until next week! (This time, hopefully on a Saturday.)

Monday, September 12, 2022

Football Counter-Programming 2022 Week 2: Better Late Than Never Edition

 Yes, I know that the season is already well under way. And yes, I know that may significant things have already happened. (Or at least I would know this if I watched College Football. But since the premise of these posts is that I don't . . . and I don't want you to either . . . then maybe I don't actually know that?)

(Christopher Nolan--call me. I've available to pitch similarly knotty ideas to you for future movie treatments.)

ANYWAY . . . what are you doing watching College Football!? Don't you have better things to do on Saturday?


I don't know how old any of you are. Because I don't know who actually reads these things. If I had to guess I'd say that most of you are middle age. Not because the middle-age demographic is most likely to stop watching College Football, bur rather because most of the friends, acquaintances, and family I know (who are most likely to see and consider reading this) are also middle-aged.

Given this, I think you might relate . . .

Most of the time when I look in the mirror I see what I've always seen. Me. 

(Obviously. . . . Still waiting on the jump scare scenario when I look up from the sink and see a phantom or ghost or something similarly unexpected standing behind me.) 

But it's always me. And generally I look the same. My haircut has been largely unchanged for quite a while now. I haven't acquired any strange or disfiguring facial scars in recent years. No replacement robot eyes. 

So, yeah. Mostly the same old thing.

But . . . every once in a while I look a bit deeper. And I notice that I'm looking older. I haven't been young for a while now. Heck, I'm almost 51 years old! But usually I just take a surface look and my brain fills in the gaps as it has for decades. Sometimes a bit thicker in the cheeks that a month ago. Occasionally looking a bit thinner, depending on my food patterns. But the eyes and the eyebrows, the nose and the chin and the hair and the ears are all there.

But sometimes I just look older. As old as I'm supposed to be. But it still sometimes strikes me that I'm getting older all the time and I am looking like it. My brain can sometimes trick me into thinking I'm still largely unchanged from who I've always thought myself to be. But my back and my legs and my muscles know better. And they tell me so often. And then my vision catches up in these bathroom mirror moments.

What to do about it? Nothing at all. Just an observation and a reason to sit down and type and bit and begin anew my promise of every year finding ways to distract you from spending your hard-earned weekend time watching College Football.

So, live your life. Use your time wisely this week. And don't party TOO hard when you inevitably watch College Football anyway and decide to celebrate because your Alma Mater got paid over $1 million dollars to defeat a Power 5 school. 

(Don't know what I'm talking about? Congratulations! You avoided College Football this past week. I'm proud of you.)

Monday, May 09, 2022

The MCU Ranked: An Ongoing List

Grace and I are big fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). It's almost fifteen years in the making and 25 films deep. I'm updating on WWYG?! the MCU rankings that Grace and I put together as we have watched the movies together.

And yes . . . you'll notice that we decided to include Deadpool and Deadpool 2 plus Spider-Man: Into The Spiderverse . . . and even Shazam! in our rankings. I regret nothing about this.

(This list is always being updated, as new movies come out.)

1. Spider-Man: Homecoming
2. Iron Man 3

3. Spider-Man: No Way Home

4. Spider-Man: Far From Home

5. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

6. Avengers Infinity War

[n/r] Spider-Man Into the Spiderverse

7. Black Panther
8. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
9. Guardians of the Galaxy
(n/r) Deadpool

10. Captain America: The First Avenger

11. Thor Ragnarok

12. Black Widow

13. Avengers Endgame

14. Ant-Man

15. Ant-Man and the Wasp

16. Captain America: Civil War

17. Iron Man

(n/r) Deadpool 2

18. Thor

19.  Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2

20. The Avengers

(n/r) Shazam!

21. Eternals

22. Captain Marvel

23. Iron Man 2

24. Avengers: Age of Ultron

25. Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness

26. Doctor Strange

27. Thor: The Dark World

28. The Incredible Hulk (Ed Norton edition)

Don't like our rankings? That's fine. I know there are others out there that will suit you better. Here is another web writers thoughts on the MCU phenomenon.