Saturday, September 30, 2023

Football Counter-Programming 2023: Week 5

I sometimes have draft ideas for Football Counter-Programming that I collect over the days. And I throw a few notes together and save the draft and then wait. And then when I sit down to write the words that are sure to draw you away from Saturday sportsball, I maybe just get inspired in a different direction. And I go with it and let the idea flow. And I'll see that draft idea and think that I'll come back to it on another Saturday when you need to be persuaded.

This week? Well, I didn't have a pre-existing idea. And when I fired up the laptop just now to start firing off the mind bombs against the Saturday hegemony, I saw these words floating in the draft space:

Queen's Gambit board game?

h/t to Tracy Altman

So, first things first.

I should tip the hat to Tracy--a college friend of mine who never fails to have interesting things to say on Facebook. He was the first to bring up this oddity. Because, really, what even is a board game that is based on the Netflix series Queen's Gambit--a show that is famously about . . . chess.

Isn't chess already a board game?

Am I missing the point?

The website link that I drafted in my notes above don't help me a lot either. It seems that the game "Queen's Gambit" is focused on strategy and outthinking your opponent. And . . . yeah . . . isn't that the point of almost all board games? The mechanics and the description make it sound more than that, sure. I am oversimplifying.

But even so. A bit odd.

But it got me thinking in a different way.

And isn't that the whole point of Football Counter-Programming? To make you see your Saturday differently? To look beyond the ordinary and find that special time that isn't about what everyone else is doing and watching and cheering?

So, thank you German (?) boardgame company for seeing a better-late-than-never marketing opportunity and jumping on it. I look forward to pairing a future game night with Squid Game: The Game very soon. (DON'T TELL ME if that already exists!)

And remember, your alma mater's offensive coordinator's latest kooky scheme isn't going to help it beat Rival State any more than this game is going to make you find a deep-seated love of chess.

So, find something else to do today. At least until I come back at you next week. (Maybe . . . next Saturday is a VERY busy, long marching band day for me. But more on that later . . . probably.)

Saturday, September 23, 2023

Football Counter-Programming 2023: Week 4

somebody hears you. you know that. you know that.
somebody hears you. you know that inside.
someone is learning the colors of all your moods, to
(say just the right thing and) show that you’re understood.
here you’re known.

leave your life open. you don’t have. you don’t have to.
leave your life open. you don’t have to hide.
someone is gathering every crumb you drop, these
(mindless decisions and) moments you long forgot.
keep them all.

let our formulas find your soul.
we’ll divine your artesian source (in your mind),
marshal feed and force (our machines will)
to design you a perfect love—
or (better still) a perfect lust.
o how glorious, glorious: a brand new need is born.

now we possess you. you’ll own that. you’ll own that.
now we possess you. you’ll own that in time.
now we will build you an endlessly upward world,
(reach in your pocket) embrace you for all you’re worth.

is that wrong?
isn’t this what you want?

--Vienna Teng, The Hymn of Acxiom

It was busy last weekend. And it is busy this weekend. And it will continue to be busy for the next several weekends. 

So, you might think that taking some time off to relax and enjoy some football would be a good thing.
But that is the opposite of what should happen.

Immerse yourself in other pursuits.

Don't get trapped in the pigskin prison.

Find a new obsession.

Enjoy the coming of the fall while it is still here.
Look for the diversion that is a change in season.
Embrace a shift in perspective as one time ends and another begins.

And remember . . . your alma mater is definitely scrubbing the Internet to get important data on you so that it can target its funding request emails to you in the most appropriate way. And any money that you give it is NOT going to make the football team any better.

Until next week . . .

Saturday, September 09, 2023

Football Counter-Programming 2023: Week 2

I know that I am posting a Counter-Programming effort late in the day today. And maybe it is too late for you. Maybe you've spent the first half of your day watching college football and posting about it on social media.

To which I ask . . . is your day better for having done this?

What did I do today? Well, I haven't watched college football, because I'm a man of my word and convictions. I spent several hours this morning at what I sometimes like to call Counter-Programming headquarters (a high school band room). Why do I call it this? Because: 

  1. it is about the opposite of football
  2. it serves as a training ground to adjust the brain into noticing the brainwashing of football culture and provides a counteragent against said culture.
  3. its fun and gets me out of the house
  4. it provides fun people  to hang out with
  5. the arts is good for you.

What did I do while at Counter-Programming HQ? I helped others outfit the inside of a semi trailer. I bought (and rebought) some wood. I ate a doughnut or two. I helped straighten up the band room before Monday classes. 

All of these things can be yours if you just choose NOT to devote all of your Saturday to college football!


But if that didn't sway you, how about this?

Do you remember Sufjan Stevens? 

Do you remember how he PROMISED that he was going to create fifty state-themed music albums. And how he only every really did two? (Or was it one-and-a-half?)

I ran across this article and it dredged it all up again. And it made me sad.

Naturally, I wanted him to write albums for Georgia and for Ohio, my two favorite states. But I would also be quite happy with a Kentucky album as well.

What I definitely DON'T need are any more albums about California. (There are already too many songs for that state.)

Random thought: What would a Idaho album look like?

If you could convince Sufjan to reignite this 50-State project, what states would YOU want to be first on the list? 

If you have no idea what I'm talking about, I urge you to click the link above and read the article. Naturally it would be a better use of your time than watching football today.

So, until next week--keep thinking of new things to do. And don't make it about gridirons, or pigskins, or goalposts, or anything like that.

Saturday, September 02, 2023

Football Counter-Programming 2023: Week 1


What time is it?

It's Counter-Programming time!

College Football is on the air this week--trying to sneak games into the weekdays and thinking I wouldn't notice. But the jokes on it. I'm once again beginning my ever-successful efforts to make you do/think something other than watch college football. 

Don't think I've been successful over the last few years? 

Well, look at what my efforts have actually done! I've single-handedly destroyed the conference structure that governed college football for generations. Who did it? Me, that's who. College football is an operation in name only. It's just football. I'm whittling it down bit by bit with slow and steady and unrelenting pressure. Just like a tiny drop of water working it way through a crack in a concrete dam. Soon I'll bust it open from the inside and the whole superstructure will come fall down and the attention span of millions of sports fans will sweep across the national landscape like floodwaters searching for new level ground. And who will be their new messiah in their time of need?!


Lynda walked in a few moments ago and asked what I was "looking at." I told her that I was writing a blog post. She made a surprised noise and then said "Huh. Can't remember the last time you did that." But she has fallen asleep like everyone else. I'm still here and still pushing. The dam is weakening!


Remember in the earliest days of WWYG?! when I tracked celebrity deaths. Just as a thing to do. And I usually made a comedic (??) reference to whether or not the death in question was part of some master plan of Tom Cruise. Because in the end, there can be only one. And let's be honest. I'll probably be Tom Cruise.

Well, what do you think Cruise had against Jimmy Buffett? (Not that I am any sort of fan of Margaritaville the restaurant chain or Buffett's particular version of Anglo-Caribbean kick back and drink music. (Is that it's genre?) 

My working theory on a Saturday morning? The plot for the next James Bond movie somehow involved a stop over in the Caribbean. And the film's producers had already gotten the necessary tax breaks and government approvals from the various nations of the region. 

But everything still had to be rubberstamped by the main Parrothead himself. And Cruise heard that the final approvals were imminent. So he stepped in (in the most Cruise-like extreme way) to single-handedly derail the movie's progress. Because just as their can be only one celebrity standing, there can be only one spy thriller movie franchise standing. 

And Cruise will make sure that it is Mission: Impossible. He's literally killing himself to make it possible. And if he is willing to do that to himself, then what will he do to others to get what he wants? Broccoli family, you should have been on notice long before now. But keep one eye open at night going forward. 

Cruise is out there.

So . . . that's it for this week.

Have you been sufficiently Counter-Programmed?!? 

What else will you be doing today instead of cheering on the team that has already spent your tuition/alumni money. (It won't even pay for the towels in the weight room these days.) Go pick some apples, drink a bit of iced cider. Dig out the sweater vests you stored away in April. You're gonna be needing them soon.

And remember that your alma mater doesn't need you. It just needs to stay of Mr. Cruise's good side.

Until next week!

Friday, September 01, 2023

Goodbye . . .

 . . . forever?

Accidentally, maybe. But also no. That title was only an eye-grabbing tease. Did I tease you?

Actually, this is just goodbye to #HatofSummer2023.

See below (please click as Jeb Bush might tweet).

(I apologize for sounding like Bilbo after the barrel ride to Lake Town.)