Snowless Michigan

Listen: I’m all about this nice weather we’ve been having here in south central Michigan. However, we live in south central Michigan, which means we are scheduled to get dumped on in December so we can complain about the dirty road snow until Easter. Instead, I look out my back window and see green. I hear confused birds singing. And I see tulips blooming.


Why?

I just read that Michigan has experienced its wettest year ever. Most of the wetness has been rain. I like rain. I respect it as an irrigator of lawns and a flooder of Michigan basements. But we don’t need either of those. We need the weather outside to be frightful. All this rain keeps extinguishing what should be a delightful fire.
Fire needs snow.
Snow needs ground to sit on.
Kids need snow days.
Rain needs Florida.

Malachi’s First Parody

I’ll try to hide my pride but I simply can’t — Malachi, age 6, just wrote his first song parody. I’d like to share these lyrics with you. Let me point out that I have not tampered with or suggested anything. These are all his.  We typed them up so he could have a print out, and I thought “eh, why not put that on the ol’ blog?”  So… here you are: Malachi’s First Parody.

 
———————————
Up on the Housetop
lyrics by Malachi Davidson

Up on the housetop the glasses pause
Out jumps good old Daddy Claus
Down through the chimney with lots of noise
“All for the little ones” – that’s his noise.

Ho, ho, ho!
He doesn’t go
Ho, ho, ho!
He doesn’t go, oh

Up on the housetop boom Boom BOOM
Daddy just fell into our living room.

———————————

Well done, lad! The fact that you rolled your old man under the bus is just fine, especially for the sake of comedy.

Year in Review

I try to take time at the end of a calendar year and jot down the big stuff, which helps me get an overall sense of what’s different from the year before. So many things have changed, and I dare not try to capture it here. However, even with the difficult stuff, I am looking forward to the whole routine. Seeing again that God has been faithful for another year always leads to this becoming, ultimately, an act of worship. Plus, gaining a 365 day perspective helps me figure out the places where I need to improve. Webber said that “the road to the future runs through the past”; countless organizational strategists have said “you can’t know where you’re going unless you know where you’ve been.” Throw in that “the unexamined life is not worth living” and you’ve got some motivation to look deep and wide. Deep and wide. There’s a fountain flowing. Deep. And wide.

Here’s to the revelations at hand.

The Difference between Mario & Donkey Kong


Among other things, we’re spending some holiday family time playing the Super Nintendo. With my sister in town, old family dynamics instantly arise in the presence of the 16 bit wonder. Cartridges need the dust blown off of the contacts and the console needs to be switched on and off repeatedly for the game to properly load. Kids, this is what we had to do for early video games — called “tapes” by some neighborhood parents — to work.

We’re playing the old favorites, including Super Mario World, Super Mario All Stars (which includes 1, 2, 3 and lost levels) and even some Kirby’s Avalanche. If you don’t know, Kirby is a genderless blob that will brighten your day and teach you how to explode his colorful friends.* But best of all is Donkey Kong Country. This is where my sister and I are transported back to 1994. Have you played Donkey Kong Country? Donkey and his little brother (I think) wander around a mountainous region searching for bananas. Their quest is ambiguous at best. However, there’s no doubt that a good time is had by all.

All this game play has given me opportunity to think about the similarities and differences between Donkey Kong and Mario.

  • Donkey Kong and Mario are both mammals. But Donkey Kong is a hairy monkey, whereas Mario is a facially shaved human.
  • Donkey Kong and Mario both have jobs. Mario is a plumber by trade, whereas Donkey Kong is some kind of Teamster. I can’t tell what kind, though.
  • Donkey Kong and Mario both have a cohort. Mario has — as the title implies — a brother, whereas Donkey Kong has a brother / cousin / offspring (?) named Diddy. Luigi is taller and seems to take his shameful position as #2 in stride, as if carefully biding his time until glorious revenge, whereas Diddy is a rambunctious and noisy child. In Mario Bros., the shame resides on Luigi. In Donkey Kong, the shame rests solely on the shoulders of Kong, who probably has to constantly apologize for Diddy’s antics brought about by a lack of self-awareness.
  • Mario clears pipes. Donkey Kong, based on the amount of potassium he consumes, probably does the opposite.
  • Mario: tasteful overalls. Luigi: tasteful overalls. Donkey Kong: tie and pants.
  • I have grown bored by my own analysis. Draw your own conclusions, I guess.

    ——
    * this is why I don’t write video game prose.

    A Blue Light Special at SearsMart

    Sears/KMart has announced that they will start closing stores. One writer suggests that we are witnessing the beginning of the end. Sadly, I agree.

    I grew up in Garden City, Michigan, which is known for several “firsts”, including the first KMart. This was a point of (some) pride 40 years ago but probably needs to be expunged from today’s chamber of commerce pamphlets. It’s not that KMart was never great, it’s just that nothing has changed in the past 25 years, except for the demolition of the in-store cafeteria. Mom and I used to go and get apple dumplings with vanilla sauce. Life was good. Our shopping cart, half full of discount merchandise, sat parked in the aisle that separated the cafeteria from sporting goods. Shoppers would get exhausted from pursuing deals, I guess. Over 100 of us could have fit into the cafeteria, if the need arose. Eat. Talk. Ask questions of our parents.

    “What does ‘K’ stand for?” “Kresge.” “Oh.” “This is the first KMart.” “Hm. No wonder the apple dumpling sauce is so good.”

    I remember the blue light specials. The rolling cart with the big blue beacon on a pole, noisily flashing as its capacitor charged and discharged, over and over again. “Attention KMart shoppers!”

    I remember the darkness of the store. Dirty beige. Dimly lit. Glaucoma-ish. But we didn’t have much to compare our experience to… until Target came to Dearborn Heights. The first thing I noticed when I walked into Target at age 7 was how overwhelmingly bright it was.

    I remember KMart brands… the red K and the blue/green mart logo… emblazoned upon everything from crayons to coolers. Sewing stuff said “KMart quality”, with the “quality” in cursive.

    The mighty reasonably stable have fallen. Merging with Sears probably wasn’t a great idea. The fact that you can buy Craftsman tools at KMart doesn’t do much for KMart, nor does it do much for Craftsman tools.

    Closure is immanent. Not if but when. I need to go back and see the Garden City (#001) KMart at least once more, and walk to the back of the store, past the clothing and picture frames, past the bowling balls and toys, and just see where the cafeteria once was, so I can pay my respects.

    Holiday Coffee

    Someone gave me a pound of holiday coffee. It tastes like reindeer and cinnamon. I’m glad to be able to sit at our table and watch out my window, drinking coffee and watching the snow fall. I’m noticing again that snow delays under tree accumulation until the very last minute.

    If you live in Michigan, you know that, when it comes to snowfall totals, we’ve gotten the very short and unseasonably warm end of the stick this season. On one hand, holiday travel has been a breeze on dry, warm roads. On the other hand, I put a bunch of used wrapping paper in the garbage can and didn’t even need a coat. On the third hand, I need a coat with three sleeves. Blame global warming. Blame El Nino. Blame Al Gore. But don’t blame me.

    Instead, drink holiday coffee. It seems to be working at my house.

    Nothing Deep Here

    I’m realizing that this blog has nothing to do with my expertise and much to do with what I want to remember ten years from now. This lesson comes courtesy of a blog bio I came across that describes the author as something like “a difference maker and a creative agent”, whereas I just know him as the guy who kept sniffing markers during our freshman year. He may be a genius. I’m just a guy. And no, I’m not saying that hoping that someone will go “no, Adam, you’re a difference maker and a creative agent!” because I too know the smell of markers.

    Because I’m just a guy, I realize that I have very little to offer that makes what I write stand out from the same stuff that everyone else writes. I could start penning dazzling headlines like “The Top Ten Things Worship Leaders Should Implement”, with numbered lists and flowing prose from my own rich experience. But I’d rather tell you about the fact that the Christmas Tree we have this year smells like pine and is the best one we’ve ever had.

    I want to be able to look back and see that on this day, December 19th, 2011, Zac was walking around and telling people he wants to “be one again” instead of turning three this week. I want to remember that Emily was facing the unique pressures of having to produce 4 family Christmas gatherings, complete with meals and gifts and hospitality and stuff. I want to remember that Lexi was particularly interactive and spunky, and keeps slapping Malachi, who takes it in stride and says “gentle, Lexi”, like a big/little brother should do. I want to remember that our friends stopped by and let our boys play AngryBirds on their iPhone while we talked about the best indie films on Netflix. These are far more valuable than my adolescent views on leadership, which are a dime a dozen; no one can write what I’m writing right now. They weren’t here.

    There you have it: a RadBlog epiphany. By the way, Epiphany is January 6th, which means that Sunday, January 1 is Epiphany Sunday. It’s a great day to sing “We Three Kings”. There. I added to the pile of internet repetitions for Google to find and archive.

    Life is good.