Hyper-Seasonal Clothing

Airing of Grievances

With the holiday season recently behind us, you probably think I’m referring to ugly Christmas sweaters here, but oh no. It goes far beyond that! Sure, Christmas clothing tends to be obnoxious, and poorly made. Why? Because you can only wear it for 2-4 weeks a year, that’s why. You can get away with that awful shirt and light-up pants combo from Black Friday to December 27 at the extremes, though it’s really a borderline faux pas to wear it before December 15 or after midnight Christmas day.

But 2-4 weeks is actually pretty good! Think about it. Would you wear hearts for more than a week before or a second after Valentine’s Day? What about clovers beyond St. Patrick’s Day? That ‘Merican Flag T-shirt looks great at the Independence Day carnival and fireworks, but it really starts to show it’s age by mid-July.

Your better plan is to dress for the weather or to just avoid going outside altogether. The clothing will be of better quality and much better taste. Plus you won’t have to have totes and bins holding all of the egregious clothing that you really can’t wear right now unless you want everyone to think that you just haven’t had a chance to catch up on your laundry.

I get it. I really do. I have a couple AWESOME Christmas sweaters. And my “Triple Dog Dare You” t-shirt is the shizzle! I have a few patriotic shirts and there are a couple pastel shirts tucked away for Easter in my closet, because nothing speaks to the resurrection of Jesus quite like a shirt that shows everyone just how confident I am in my masculinity. But really, why do I need these limited-use garments? If we can ship our “Detroit Lions NFC North Champions” shirts to third world countries, can’t we do the same for our kitschy clothing that we bought in last year’s after Christmas clearance sale anyway?

This whole “Complain More Often” resolution is kinda fun!

NFL Wild Card Weekend

Life

Just a few quick thoughts.

Oakland vs Houston should have been an easy win for the Raiders, but Derek Carr is out with a broken leg and their QB will actually be a third string guy. What a shame for such a great team in a great year. As it is now, I really can’t say who will win as both teams are in a QB funk. All things considered, I’m rooting for the Raiders.

Does anyone think that Miami has a chance to beat Pittsburgh? I mean really? You’ve had a great season, marine mammals. But it’s over after this weekend.

Seattle hosting Detroit is one that should be closer than some are saying. But ultimately I expect the home team to win this game, sending Detroit back… to Detroit. Which sounds really depressing to me.

And the highlight of the weekend for any football fan without a rooting interest in the previous three games is the New York Giants at Green Bay. Green Bay won in the regular season, in a lower scoring game. I expect the score to be higher for both teams and I expect to see Green Bay travelling to Dallas next week for the divisional round. #RunTheTable #GoPackGo

Home teams all around. That’s my prediction. To hedge my bet, historically the home teams win on wild card weekend 75% of the time, so one of these predictions will likely fall through. I hope the Packers win, so if I’m to be wrong in any of these predictions, I suspect the Texans could take advantage of a wounded Raiders team.

When Escalator Steps Move at a Different Speed than the Handrail

Airing of Grievances

My New Year’s Resolution, decided upon just recently, is to complain more often. If you like, we can call it an “airing of grievances.” Before you correct my attitude or behavior, please know that I am doing this for comedic purposes, not serious ones. If you have read this before, maybe just a day ago, save it. Yes, I understand that the airing of grievances is associated with Festivus. No, I won’t include the unadorned aluminum pole or the feats of strength. Maybe, I will label easily explainable events as “Festivus miracles”. What, you demand an unadorned aluminum pole? Fine. I’ll include a picture of one. Good enough.

I was at the mall recently, against my will in case you’re wondering, and I had to change levels, or floors if you will. You’ve done it before. You know what it’s like. You get on the moving steps a little tentatively at first to make sure your Crocs aren’t anywhere close to the edge of the step, then you reach out with your free hand and grasp the safety rail next to you. As you go up (or down if that’s your trajectory) you notice that your hand is no longer right beside you. And by the time you reach the next level of the mall, you find yourself standing at a 45 degree angle, possibly with a dislocated shoulder.

This is completely unacceptable! Do they expect you to let go and reposition your hand as you look at all the next floor of the mall has to offer? Don’t they understand the annoyance of that? Isn’t the customer always right? The whole purpose of an escalator is to move customers from one store to another with minimal effort. The only rational response I have left is to buy a baby stroller so I can take the elevator without looking like I’m too lazy.

/rant

Remember the Cabbage Patch Craze?

Life

Do you remember the Cabbage Patch phenomena from 1983? Whenever it is brought up, the first thing I remember is the scenes from this footage. The store clerk with the baseball bat, trying to keep the rabid shoppers from overrunning the store.

The second thing I remember is my grandmother. She was one of the millions of Christmas shoppers who were on the hunt for the doll that captivated that year. And she was searching for more than just one. She had four granddaughters who wanted one, and to give a doll to three of them just wouldn’t do!

In retrospect, I gotta say that my grandma Belva is one tough lady!

Stop Smoking Day

Discipleship, Life

I had my last cigarette five years ago today. Even now, there are times when I have a craving . And when I do, I remind myself that I am no longer a smoker. That isn’t who I am anymore .

Sounds overly simple, doesn’t it? No looking at how much money I’ve saved. No factoring of health improvements. Not even the social changes that come when you are no longer part of the smoking circle. My entire strategy to continue as a non-smoker comes down to a matter of identity.

Identity is a great tool in making any change. Sure, you can try harder. You can reward yourself. You can use any number of behavior modification techniques, but what finally got me to quit smoking after twenty years was a change of identity. I decided that not only was I going to quit smoking, I was no longer going to identify as a smoker.

I chose to remove any version of smoking from the list of my identifiers. In Biblical terms, I repented of my smoking. And I continue to repent regularly of my smoking every time I deny myself by reminding myself that I am no longer that person who smoked.

Smoking is an unwise behavior. Is it sinful for a Christian? It can be a form of idolatry, just as gluttony or sexual behaviors or a host of other things can be an idol that traps a person in failed promises. And just like anything that brings dishonor upon God, the only response we are to have is repentance.

  I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
Galatians 2:20 ESV

What’s So Civil about War Anyway?

Life

My good friend, and Civil War era historian, David Connon, will be giving a number of presentations around Iowa, then heading to Milwaukee and Chicago in the next two weeks. I have listened to his presentation of “Josiah Bushnell Grinnell and the Iowa Underground Railroad” before and I came away fascinated! I am not a fan of history, at least I wasn’t. In High School, history was all dates and places to memorize just long enough to pass a test. In David’s presentations history is about people, meaning and convictions.

Do yourself a favor and take a look at this schedule. If you can make one of his presentations, please do so! I will warn you, you very well may come away from his talk with a renewed appreciation for the history of our country and just a little bit of understanding why others made, and make decisions that just might differ from yours.


Wed., Nov. 2, 7:15 p.m., “The Propaganda campaign in Iowa,” at the Des Moines Civil War Round Table, meeting at the Machine Shed Restaurant, 11151 Hickman Rd, Urbandale, IA 50322 (near Living History Farms).

Thurs., Nov. 3, 7 p.m., “Josiah Bushnell Grinnell and the Iowa Underground Railroad,” at Kirkendall Public Library, 1210 NW Prairie Ridge Dr, Ankeny, IA 50021.

Sat., Nov. 5, sometime between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., “The Propaganda Campaign in Iowa,” at History Camp Iowa 2016, meeting at the State Historical Museum, 600 E. Locust St., Des Moines, IA 50309.  (An admission fee is required.  I will update my Facebook page when I have a specific starting time.)

Wed., Nov. 9, 7 p.m., “Josiah Bushnell Grinnell and the Iowa Underground Railroad,” at Musser Public Library, 304 Iowa Ave, Muscatine, IA 52761.

Thurs., Nov. 10, 7:30 p.m., “The Propaganda Campaign in Iowa” and “A Confederate from Iowa,” at the Civil War Round Table of Milwaukee, meeting at the Wisconsin Club, 900 West Wisconsin Avenue, Milwaukee, WI 53233.

Fri., Nov. 11, 7:15 p.m., “The Propaganda Campaign in Iowa” and “A Confederate from Iowa,” at the Civil War Round Table of Chicago, meeting at Holiday Inn O’Hare, 5615 N. Cumberland, Chicago, IL 60631.

David Connon