Time for a Change

If I could make changes in sports I would…

Back in the day, a show titled Queen for a Day that encouraged down on their luck women to explain what they would do if their fortunes changed. The show has since inspired euphemisms based on this concept using the format ‘x’ for a Day. In that spirit, I wanted to pretend what changes I’d make if I were King of Sports for a Day.

The changes I’d like to propose are not confined to one sport alone and are mostly related to geographically aligning teams and competitive divisions to provide more TV ratings and ticket sales. Remember, these are all hypotheticals and I have no influence but thought they would be good for discussion.

First up, is my favorite sport—Baseball. Before anything else, the home plate Umpire is only located there to call safe/out on plays at the plate, while balls & strikes are decided by a virtual strike zone operated at MLB headquarters in New York. Next, there shall be 5 expansion teams located in Nashville, Charlotte, New Orleans, Indianapolis, and Montreal. The four U.S. market teams provide baseball in national markets to compete with NFL & NBA franchises. The AL gains the New Orleans and Indianapolis franchises, while the NL receives Nashville, Charlotte, and Montreal teams.  Also, the Texas Rangers will move to the NL so that there are Texas teams in both leagues. I know originally the Houston Astros were an NL team so moving them back would seemingly make more sense, but I can’t see with their recent success moving them, the Rangers could benefit from a change in League alignment. For those concerned about replay decisions, Crew Chiefs are mic’ed up and must explain the ruling that MLB replay officials decide after review. Finally, the DH is only available for both leagues regardless of the home stadium on regular season Sunday games, while the rest of the time pitchers must hit and the DH is only available during the World Series in Games 3 & 6 regardless of NL or AL team hosting, meaning no DH in the AL or NL playoffs.

Next turning to NCAA sports, conference alignments are first on the block. The Big Ten or B1G is a ridiculous name given there are well over a dozen teams in the conference. I suggest the Heartland Conference as the new name. Also, Penn State, Rutgers & Maryland don’t belong here geographically and will be aligned with the ACC. The new Heartland Conference now has two spots open and are filled by Missouri and Cincinnati. Mizzou already has a rivalry with Illinois, and they’ll get to play each other often enough with Conference implications. There are also geographic rivalries rekindled from the Big 12 with Nebraska, and likely many of the Northwestern and Mizzou fans overlap with the Cubs/Cards rivalry from MLB. Also, Louisville leaves the ACC since it’s neither Atlantic or Coastal and aligns with the SEC, as there are already perfect geographic rivalries for UofL with UK & Vandy. West Virginia also leaves the Big 12 and takes over for Texas A&M who joins the American Athletic Conference. While we’re discussing that conference, Connecticut joins the ACC. Sacramento State and San Diego State University also depart the American Athletic Conference and join the Mountain West Conference.

Now turning to the NFL, pass interference rules follow the NCAA rules which negates the spot foul that gifts the offense 30 yards on passes that were questionable to be caught. Replays are handled by the NFL offices in New York. Next, two new expansion teams and a couple of realignments. An expansion team located in St. Louis and playing in the NFC North, let’s say the Pilots incorporating a Burnt Orange and White color scheme. A second expansion team located in Toronto will play in the AFC North probably the Beavers and incorporate a Purple and Silver color combination. The Arizona Cardinals return to Chicago and keep the same name and borrow the Baby Blue and Cardinal Red colors from the St. Louis Cardinals (MLB) uniforms of the 1980’s. The Jacksonville Jaguars relocate to Arizona and become the Arizona Phoenix replacing the teal with a darker Indian Red and adding White as a secondary color while the black becomes only an accent color.

For what it’s worth, this is not meant to be an exhaustive list. I know there would be more moving parts for much of these changes and not everyone will appreciate them. Obviously, I could suggest changes to other sports and further tinker with even the sports I did mention.

What changes would you make if you were ‘Ruler of Sports’ for a Day?

A Close Shave

Time to hide the razor?

We’re just a month out from the end of the year. December for many means Santa Claus known for his beard, red suit, and rotund figure. This month is also known for its connection to facial hair and that’s the topic on deck today.

For nearly a decade or more, No Shave November or Movember has grown in popularity among men as an opportunity to celebrate facial hair. A handful of women have also opted to participate in No Shave November by avoiding shaving their legs.

No Shave November is not only about shelving razors and keeping facial hair untouched but also to bring awareness to prostate cancer and other men’s health issues. Many of those growing out their facial hair set goals that if they can reach so many inches with their beard, they will donate an amount relative to the length of their facial hair.

I usually take advantage of the month to avoid shaving and growing out my facial hair. Thanks to my attempted Halloween costumes that required a clean-shaven look I’m only sporting a little more than 5 o’clock shadow. Eventually, it should reach a length that I like. Normally, I’d already have some facial hair and have a head start on facial hair for the month.

Of course, as I’m always challenged by my boyish good looks, the facial hair doesn’t help. I’ve tried shaving more often but it still doesn’t grow in thick enough to my satisfaction. Besides that, my beard usually begins to itch as it grows so I have to apply lotions or beard oil to grow out the beard. Many times, my facial hair ends up looking like former Colts’ Quarterback Andrew Luck with full neckbeard.

 

 

Year-round, I have at least a goatee, circle beard or some other facial hairstyle. Male-centered meme accounts usually remind that the difference between a man with facial hair is that a clean-shaven man bears more resemblance to a toddler than an adult man. Of course, exaggeration is a hallmark of memes, but men sans facial hair do often skew a decade younger than their actual age. So that’s the main reason I have some degree of facial hair to age myself up.

I know some women appreciate the smooth skin look and are averse to full facial hair while others appreciate the hirsute look. Obviously, I can’t speak for what is physically attractive about men with or without facial hair, but I obviously aspire to look more rugged than not.

My ideal look would be the well-maintained full beard look but as mentioned it becomes challenging. For clarification, the full beard look I’m referring to is similar to Chris Evans or John Krasinski not exactly the Santa beard. Maybe when I get older, I can grow my beard out and have the distinguished silver facial hair look. At least thanks to smartphone apps and Snapchat filters I can have the facial hair I’d like.

What’s your opinion on beards and facial hair?

Another One Rides the Bus

1, 2, 5, 7. Move it or lose it. Get on the bu-.

I’ve written often about my wanderlust and many of the places I’ve traveled to satisfy that itch but oddly enough I’m not a fan of driving long distances or more than an hour and a half drive. I’m sure my visiting mom and dad most weekends during undergrad might negate that since it was 2 hours one way. So, most of the time when I travel it’s with someone else driving and that suits me just fine. Of course, I am also tasked with playing navigator as well. Thankfully there are other ways of traveling, and that’s today’s topic.

The obvious idea is flying from a nearby airport to an airport near the destination city. This still depends on renting a car and learning the layout of the destination city so that still means at least navigation skills to get around. An alternative to this is coach bus tours. Mom and much of dad’s family took a trip to Mackinac Island in Michigan almost a month ago and seemed to enjoy their trip.

Coach bus tours have the advantage of restaurants, lodging, and activities all being included as part of the package you pay for in addition to the driving and navigating. There are at least some stopovers in travel cities so you can explore little shoppes and choose a restaurant for lunch or dinner in these stopovers.

It’s been at least 15 years since I’ve been on a bus tour, but it was a great tour. The family was able to spend Thanksgiving in Philadelphia and New York City while my little brother was in the high school marching band. As my brother was with the band, they marched in Philadelphia’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and we spent the next few days being tourists in New York City.

Looking through some of the nearby coach bus tour catalogs, there are appealing trips I’d like to take. Guess I’ll have to save up and also be sure to have a substitute while I’m away from the pulpit, because #clergyproblems.

Among some of the more interesting trips are to the Southwest, Branson, and even Mackinac. I know that it’s been somewhere around 20 years since I’ve been to Mackinac and I’m sure visiting as an adult would have different interests than when I was in high school. The trips to Branson and the Southwest are particularly appealing because those are destinations I’ve never traveled to and are somewhere on my travel bucket list.

I have also considered the Educational Opportunity (EO) tours available to clergy for overseas trips particularly to the Holy Land and other Mediterranean destinations, or the Methodism tour in England. These are of course pricier, so I would really need to save money for these trips.

Whether traveling by bus, plane, or by car I’m always ready to expand my horizons and visit destinations that I’ve not been to before or it’s been several years since visiting them.

 

Have you ever traveled on a coach bus tour? Where is your favorite destination to travel on a coach bus tour?

A Great Personality

Personally, I don’t know my type.

As an INFJ, blogging comes naturally to me. If you believe that, you’re an INFJ, ESTP, or ESFJ. If you don’t believe that you’re either an ENFP, INTP, or an INTJ. Of course, some of you may wonder what jargon and acronyms I’m talking about. Alternatively, I’m a skeptic and making it up or you’re highly suggestible or as skeptical as I am.

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These 4-Letter acronyms are part of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) personality test. The MBTI was developed by a mother and daughter Katharine Cook Briggs and Isabel Briggs Myers. Katharine Briggs was an educator and her daughter Isabel was a mystery writer. The pair studied psychologist Carl Jung’s theory of the 4 psychological functions—sensing, intuitions, feeling, and thinking. The women extrapolated this theory into their personality test. They added an emphasis on being extraverted or introverted plus judging or perceiving.

Extraversion/Introversion-Extraverted types learn and function best when interacting with people and the physical world. Introverted types prefer quiet reflection and function best internally.

Sensing/Intuition-Sensing types are good at understanding concrete and tangible concepts. Intuitive types better understand abstract concepts and observe patterns.

Thinking/Feeling-Thinkers observe logical principles and objective truths, this helps them to use deductive reasoning. Feelers try to predict causes and assign motives to others’ actions.

Judging/Perceiving– Judging types prefer a structured manner or approach the world. Perceiving types are more open and do not require as much structure.

There’s much more written about the MBTI, and I’ve included my Cliff’s Notes version of the personality test. You can search for MBTI and take the test on several sites and find out which one of the 16 types you are. I’ve taken the MBTI several times and been identified as a different type almost every time I take it. I am an extroverted introvert, or maybe I’m an introverted extrovert. I like concrete concepts so I can observe patterns. I like objective truth, but I can predict motives. I like structure but I am very laissez faire and function without structure. Supposedly one of each of the quadrants is dominant, but you can have times where you function in the opposite quadrant. It’s also possible that Jung never was able to prove his theory and Mrs. Briggs and Mrs. Briggs-Myers were not much more informed and the test is useless. I’m willing to believe the latter more than the former.

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As the MBTI has faced recent scrutiny, the new personality test is the Enneagram. The most recent test of this personality type I found out I was a 4w6 or maybe a 3w4. The Enneagram is focused on 8 distinct types and tendencies towards a secondary type on the same spectrum. Since it’s relatively new, it’s possible that it is more reliable to the MBTI but I’m a skeptic, nonetheless.

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Before all these personality tests and types, many looked to either the Western or Oriental Zodiac signs. The Western Zodiac predicts people behave and think certain ways because of what time of the month a person is born and the location of constellations during that time of year. The Oriental Zodiac is based on an annual cycle rather than a monthly cycle. Both Zodiac personality indicators are less reliable than the MBTI and Enneagram. The location of stars and planets have little to do with your personality.

We all try to understand why we think and act the way we do, and I think the answer is simple yet complex. We are humans, and like snowflakes we are all unique. Like I mentioned with the MBTI, I vacillate between each type at any given moment.

Even as I can’t seem to make sense of why I change what MBTI type I am, or what Enneagram type I am I attribute it to that I am undefinable and the most unique. I also wonder if maybe I’m on the Autism spectrum or another mental health issue. None of this is ever been proven, and I’m probably grasping at straws like any of the other personality tests or predictors.

Of course, I probably pay attention to personality thanks to external factors. Like the cliche that a homely girl has a great personality, I’m sure based on my not-so-Adonis good looks, hopefully it could be said of me that I have a great personality. 😉

Which personality test do you prefer? What’s your Enneagram or MBTI identification?

I Love Your Accent

How’s your mom ‘n’ em?

We hear all the time, “I love your accent.” Maybe we’ve even said the same to someone else. Everyone has a trace of some accent with whatever language they’re speaking. American English has its own accents that are as separate from each other as British, Australian, or Canadian English.

While it’s true that BBC anchors employ Received Pronunciation (RP) English in the United Kingdom, it takes work to set aside their native accents. Most newscasters stateside employ a similar speech pattern to round off their native accents.

Being from Middle America, I don’t have that pronounced of an accent. Although, I do dip into a slight Southern accent since my location borders the state of Kentucky. So, the typical Midwestern accent is nuanced with a Southern accent as well.

Admittedly, I also slip into the Southern accent because I like the sound of the Southern accent. If I’m watching an Instagram story or other social media post and a cute girl has a Southern accent, I’m even more attracted to her beyond the looks for the accent alone. I also like the Southern accent when employed by anyone telling a story or giving a speech.

I know that there’s variations in the Southern accent, and comedian Tim Wilson observes how they are differentiated according to what he’s experienced.

I saw last month that a travel blog polled their followers about the sexiest accents and the results were surprising if not a little controversial when they were released. Topping the list was Texan, which again as a fan of the Southern accent I can understand, but the runner up was Bostonian. Two totally different accents with particular qualities that seems surprising that both would be at the top. If I had to guess, several women liked the Boston accent for Mark Wahlberg’s Boston accent, but I can’t imagine too many men finding the same accent attractive coming from a woman. The Texan accent at the top would appeal to both sexes. Women would like the Matthew McConaughey Texan accent or Kelly Clarkson for the guys.

For reference, here’s the full list of the top 50 U.S. accents as compiled by www.bigseventravel.com:

Top 50 Sexiest US Accents

Honestly, some of these accents I didn’t realize were so specific. I would usually clump many of those same accents together. But like I mentioned earlier, even my favorite accent, Southern has more variations than you’d typically think. Sometimes depending on the particular pitch or the attitude of the speaker, that same Southern accent could be one that is scary or at least unappealing. Looking in the direction of the whole cast of Here Comes Honey Boo-Boo.

Of course, regional accents overshadow the ESL speaker accents that we run into as well. Whether it’s an Asian, French, Latino, or otherwise those are sometimes appealing to native English ears. It also causes me to wonder if those same ESL speakers have favorite English accents or does it bother them when they are trying to learn the language.

This post is probably not surprising for many to read, given that my Bachelor’s degree is in Languages & Linguistics. Given that, I had to learn not only the Spanish for my concentration, but also the pattern of language formation, including International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) pronunciation to understand other foreign languages. I also had to learn sentence diagramming and other linguistic exercises. So, language is always something that has fascinated me, and mimicking various accents of everyday persons as well as celebrities is a personal hobby of mine.

What accent do you find appealing?

Scar Tissue

I’m going under the knife again and so I decided to write some thoughts about it.

♫Scar tissue that I wish you saw
Sarcastic mister know-it-all♪
Yes, these lyrics describe me very well. Scars cover most of my upper torso and below the skin there is much more scar tissue. As you are reading this, I am in the operating room at the local children’s hospital undergoing even more surgery. So, that means even more scar tissue. I have calculated that this will be my 12th surgery and the 6th of this kind since age 3. Most every friend who seeks to get to know me will inevitably ask how many surgeries I’ve had and this leads to me doing the calculation.
 
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One more and I’ll be like Chris Farley’s Superfan character. “That’s a baker’s dozen, Bob.” Thankfully, mine are preventative surgeries and not heart episodes like the Superfan character.
 
I make jokes and some might think that is odd, but it’s a coping mechanism. I admit that I always have a moment of trepidation immediately before I’m wheeled into the OR. To be sure, my parents and family have been more fearful and concerned than I have as they have all the time during surgery to worry and overthink. During the surgeries, I get more sleep than I do most nights and of course my overthinking is silenced for once during the day.
This surgery is at least the more minor surgery that I have undergone. One surgery replaces the pacemaker itself and is classified as an outpatient procedure. The operating time is roughly the same as a tonsillectomy. Recovery time is a little longer than a tonsillectomy but it doesn’t strain the chest structure. I always hope if surgery is necessary it’s the pacemaker replacement and not the wiring that runs between the heart and the pacemaker. If it’s the wires being replaced, that usually means open heart surgery and requires longer hospitalization. So, you can see why I choose the pacemaker replacement alone.
 
As always, I am always grateful for the surgical team that carry out the operation. I have been lucky that the same surgeon has done all but two of the surgeries. That helps put me at ease since he knows what to expect when he takes scalpel in hand and I’m on the operating table. It also helps me in establishing trust with the surgical team because I have built a rapport with the lead of the surgical team. I am well aware that eventually the surgeon will be retiring and I’ll have to establish a relationship with a new surgeon. I have confidence in who that may be, and I’ll cross that bridge when it comes time.
 
I’ll close with asking that if you’re the praying type, say a prayer that pain is minimal and the recovery is expedient.

If You’re Not into Yoga..

Should I stretch outside my comfort zone? Yoga not believe my answer

For your consideration:
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I saw this photo the other day on Instagram from El Arroyo in Austin, Texas. El Arroyo is a popular restaurant and has a daily pithy saying on their sign that many online can repost. This post was timely since this topic was already in my planning calendar and the sign was posted on Tuesday from Texas.
 
My first reactions to the word ‘yoga’ are thoughts of soccer moms and yuppies celebrating a new Eastern exercise regimen.
A second reaction is singing the lyric from “Escape (The Piña Colada Song)” by Rupert Holmes. This reaction would bother the singer of this hit and CNN’s Jake Tapper for what it’s worth.
 
I first learned about yoga more in depth during my time at Indiana State University. During warmups for drama class we practiced the easier poses and breathing techniques—not exactly my favorite thing.
I learned more about the roots of yoga during World Religions class taught by Prof. [SHE WHO MUST NOT BE NAMED] who wanted the class to know the wonders of yoga. You might be tempted to ask why yoga was included in a world religions class and that’s a valid point. Our professor explained that Yoga began as a practice of Hindus who would sought to find a way of communing with the world of the divine.
 
By breathing, stretching, and chanting the syllable of the highest deity—Brahma what we know as ‘Om’, Hindus reach enlightenment. Hinduism believes that all are divine and connected together, a belief known as pantheism. So, I’ve always been more skeptical of mixing yoga with my faith as an act of syncretism. I’ve also seen many well-meaning Christians who are as equally or more informed as I am about Christianity that practice yoga.
 
All this to say, I would avoid the chanting and mantras that do have connections to another faith that is contradictory to Christianity. This has been done with Christmas Trees and Easter Bunnies Christians were originally pagan objects of worship that the Church “sanctified” shortly the advent of Christendom. I am sure that replacing the mantras with Christian words, yoga could redeem it somehow.
I write this not to excuse Christians who want to practice yoga, on a more personal level I write it to help myself set aside the issues I may hold towards it. I know that for many yoga has helped their heart rates, joint pain, and stress levels. For myself, I need to find ways to help with joint pain and stress levels and a stable heart rate is worth considering.
 
During this season of Lent, it is encouraged to sacrifice or fast something while also adding something in place of the sacrificial object. Adding in 20 minutes of Christian yoga while shutting out negative distractions could prove beneficial to me. It’s at least worthy of consideration in my mind and per the song mentioned earlier, that’s at least half a brain.
 
What are your thoughts on yoga, can Christians practice it with some minor adjustments?