It is that time of year again for the annual “Airing of the Grievances” Festivus blog. So much material, so little time. I will try not to get too political and stick to things that have come up in everyday life or over the the past calendar year. Though I will no doubt wander off course at some point. I may even throw in a couple of personal ‘annoyances” that don't rise to the level of a full on grievance. So let’s get this party started. As always a big thanks to the “Founder of our Feast”----Frank Costanza, without whom we wouldn’t have this glorious holiday.
First up the NFL. I know it is a shock that there is something happening with the League that would make this list. Count me among the guys that will be on the front porch when I am eighty yelling at the paper boy. I am a true curmudgeon, so in that vein I am sick and tired of the pre-choreographed end zone celebrations that have exploded all over the NFL this year. Feel free to make me President of the No Fun League club, but I can’t tell you how ridiculous I think it is for a bunch of over paid, extra-large men trying to get in touch with their inner “Broadway choreographer” selves. If choreography and dance is your calling, pack a bag and head for the Big Apple and the “Great White Way”. I long for the old days with Billy “White Shoes” Johnson or the “Icky Shuffle”, when end zone dances were organic and spontaneous. I have an even bigger desire for a guy like Thurman Thomas who just handed the ball to the referee after a touchdown and acted like he has been there before. So boys, concentrate more on winning the game than trying to end up on the ESPN highlights at the end of the night for your juvenile gyrations and group celebrations. Stick to what you know.
Next up is appliances that have a shorter shelf life than the family pets. 2018 was the ten year mark since I moved into my current house and installed all new appliances and a heating/cooling system. This year I have had serious issues with my refrigerator, washer and dryer as well as the central air unit. Seriously, after just ten years? I remember when these things would last for a generation or more. Sure you could only get them in avocado green, harvest gold, and burnt orange instead of black, white, or stainless steel---but they lasted forever. You could count on them. I remember the old “Maytag Repair Man” commercials. He was the “loneliest guy in town” because he never had to go on a repair call. Now if you can even find someone qualified to fix these things, they often lead with—“It is probably going to be cheaper for you to just buy a new one”. We have become a disposal society that builds and buys junk. A crave for a time, long since past, when things truly were built to last.
In that vein is my third grievance about the cell phone industry. Most people are on two year contracts with these hand held addictions. As luck would have it for those that sell them, that is about their shelf life before they begin to fall apart and the battery is put on life support on an hour to hour basis. I am going on 30 months with my current one, which is held together by gray tape and bailing wire and requires a portable charger at all times. It looks like it has survived the battle of Gettysburg. These companies like Apple, Samsung, and Motorola have aligned themselves with Verizon, Sprint, and US Cellula all the while knowing they have us where they want us. They are like the “Walter White” of the mobile phone industry. Pushing their version of “Blue Ice” in the form of a hand held phone-like computer that we can't get enough of—and we swallow the addiction whole. Some of these phones cost more than the first car I bought. What is worse is every time you buy a new phone you have to get new accessories like car chargers, wall chargers and protective cases in case you drop it. Better get the insurance in case it falls in the toilet after a long night out. God forbid they keep these phones a standard size with standard accessories so you could reuse your old ones from phone to phone. Oh no, that is part of “Big Tech’s” plan to drain every penny from us as they suck us dry of our communication skills, souls and bank accounts. I hope that Steve Jobs is in a suite in Heaven where there is no wireless connection and no charging station that fits his latest device. In fact, my true wish is he only has access to a rotary phone. We can only hope God has that kind of sense of humor.
Speaking of “Big Tech”, I am pretty freaked out about these driverless cars. It was bad enough when we created the Prius and then electric cars. Now we have to drive down the road and see no one in the driver’s seat. I am not ok with that concept. I would sooner go back to horse and buggy carriages. You all live out a scene from Blade Runner or the Jetson's all you want, but I think it is a wholly bad idea and that this is just the beginning before Robot Army’s rule all of us. What happen to the days of the “Big Boat” cars like the Lincoln Continental, Cadillac Eldorado, Delta 88 Oldsmobile, Chevy Impala, Mercury Marquis, or the Plymouth Fury? The kind of car with bench seating that eight or nine people could ride in on a Friday night cruising the strip, while getting three more in the trunk to sneak in the Drive-In movie. That was when cars were cars and drivers were drivers. Try pulling one of those bad boys through the drive through at the Dairy Queen driverlesss AI Robot. Now some kid will be sitting in his mom and dad’s basement with a controller driving his driverless car from the arm chair like a drone. Not ok with it. Not ok with it at all. But what the hell, I am sure they have all the algorithms worked out. I mean, what could possibly go wrong. Pretty soon we will get on a plane with no pilots (take that hijacking terrorist). If you all want to take an Uber with no driver go right ahead. This old boy is going to be driving his big ole (needs a driver) American car until the Robot Army blows him away like some scene from the Terminator.
Last on the big list this year I am going to wade into the murky waters of all this nonsense about weaponizing seasonal songs and Christmas cartoons like "Baby its Cold Outside" and "Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer". I am loath to do so but feel compelled. I don’t want to take away from any of the very real issues we have in the world right now. I like a debate as much as the next person, and we can debate them all because there is a big buffet of issues we can choose from to argue with all these topics, but as happen in WWII I am looking for a Christmas day truce. Can we leave December out of these arguments and celebrate the season?
I am never going to be of the world view that Santa is a bully. The only Christmas bully I ever heard of was Scut Farkus in the Christmas Story, and Ralphie kicked his ass in a back ally beat down. I don’t think that Donner needs to be turned into “Reindeer DCFS” because he was hard on Rudolph as a father. Yukon Cornelius isn’t a Big Game hunter to be stalked by PETA because he had to take on the Aboninal Snow Man. Also, that same Abonimal Snow Man is not a metaphor for the effects of Arctic melt and climate change. I also don’t think the Grinch should be doing time in Shawshank with Red and Andy because he stole everything from Whoville. Geez, you would think he was part of the mob crew that did the Lufthansa heist. Also, are Santa's elves really just a representation of sweatshops in Beijing where they are making our Androids and IPhones? I ask because I think our hypocrisy on this one is pretty high, as I indicated above. We don’t seem to care how these devices get in our hands as long as they get there.
As for "Baby its Cold Outside", the Deep State conspiracy theorist in me likes to think that Dean Martin’s daughter took advantage of today’s hypersensitive environment and started the whole thing, because she is clearly laughing all the way to the bank this holiday season. It is now the number two Christmas song behind Mariah Carey and is in the top ten for digital downloads for the first time ever. So if the idea was to bring an end to this old classic, someone’s calculus on this approach was severely flawed (#BackFire). Can we all just agree to leave these classics alone and not reinterpret them? We have plenty of other ways we can debate these big issues and we can put our boxing gloves back on after the new year---but let’s enjoy a holiday ceasefire.
A couple more personal “annoyances” to me before I let you go. Steak and Shake quit serving cottage cheese in 2018. This little decision eliminates one of the best food pairings since Steak and Lobster. Now when I get the platter special with fries, I will have nothing to mix with my baked beans. Shame on you Steak and Shake. Also, the local Hy-Vee has quit stocking Open Pit BBQ sauce. It is apparently good enough for Lays to use on their BBQ chips throughout the country, but the local Hy-Vee can’t seem to appreciate that by putting a few bottles on the shelf for us local aficionados. You can do better Hy-Vee and I will be using the power of social media each week to hold you accountable until this travesty is corrected. Be “open” to Open Pit Hy-Vee. Celebrate its diversity--and its tangy flavor. Just another example of “Big Grocery” trying to hold us down while they are in cahoots with “Sweet Baby Rays’, manipulating the BBQ Sauce market through shelf space manipulation.
That wraps up this year’s list. Hope you enjoyed. You will be happy to know that 2018 has been one of change for me. I started to try and get a little healthier by doing TRX, so when the “Feats of Strength” take place this year I have a fighting chance. I hope that in 2019 there is more of a focus on grace, forgiveness, and civility. They seem to be in short supply these days. Have a wonderful holiday season with family and friends. See you back here this time next year----and remember “I got a lot of problems with you people”