Monthly Archives: January 2015

Super Super Bowl Superstitions

As a t-shirt company, we are hip to the beauty of sports team T-shirts. Of course you will sport your finest sports paraphernalia during the Super Bowl this weekend. Your love of your team, it is as plain as the logo on your chest.

Or maybe you are the superstitious type. For you, your team colors symbolize more than just team pride. You don your jersey so that you can somehow influence the order of the NFL football cosmos. We thought we’d uncover this mysterious tribe of mystics by taking a look at some of the more prevalent Super Bowl superstitions.

“According to a poll released in January [2014] by the Public Religion Research Institute, about half of all Americans believe that some element of the supernatural plays a role in sporting events.” (http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2014/01/31/for-some-fans-super-bowl-has-supernatural-twist/) Half!

PatriotwingPlayers have rituals around everything from the pregame meal (Super Bowl Champion, Peyton Manning is known to have a very specific meal of chicken, pasta, a baked potato, broccoli, and Gatorade before every single game, St. Louis Rams quarterback Sam Bradford’s pregame meal consists of threes – 3 PBJs, 3 stalks of broccoli, 3 slices of pineapple – anything in three groups of three) to music (some players steep themselves in it, others avoid it like the plague) to the famous Aaron Rodgers beard-pull.

Fans have their own rituals. We’ve got the Super Bowl stock market indicator, game day socks (unwashed and undefeated), prayers, face paint, curses, dances, special seating during the game, special hats (what is the football version of the rally cap?)…you name it.

In a new article in Psychology Today we find support for our wacky behaviors: “Your team is depending on you. You’ve got to help them win. If you get any of this wrong, your team will lose and it will be your fault.” There it is! In black and white. My team needs me.

Sadly though, it’s not quantum theory, the butterfly effect, or The Benevolent Universe at work here. Psychology Today explains: “Humans and other animals have evolved to learn to recognize our effects on the world around us. We behave and look for how the world responds. We develop beliefs that what we did caused the outcome. We do something, something else happens, and we assume that we were the cause. Psychologists have often studied operant conditioning to understand how people and other animals learn about action and response. In operant conditioning, an animal performs a behavior and then receives a reward (usually food). Soon the animal is repeatedly performing that behavior.”

But don’t lose heart. The article ends this way: “…Put on your jersey and go join your friends. Even if you aren’t the cause, it feels good to be with friends and family during the big game. Besides, you’d hate for your team to lose if you don’t wear your jersey. You’d never live that down.” (www.psychologytoday.com/blog/mental-mishaps/201501/superstitions-and-the-super-bowl)

Have a terrific Super Bowl! Go Patriots!

image attribution: By Dhern029 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

 

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Top Ten List for the Importance of Making Lists

If you are anything like me, your inbox, Facebook, and Twitter news feeds are  jammed with lists: 5 Ways to Banish Negative Thoughts for Good, 10 Things You can Do Right Now to Grow Your Small Business, 15 Ways to be Happier in 2015. The list goes on and on.

Lists are everywhere! You might have a Google Doc of To Do lists open right now. Or you might do things the old-fashioned way and use paper and pen (many business coaches recommend both). Your smartphone, your fitness app, your brain are all set up to help you get through your day by making lists.

To_Do_ListThe most successful small business people I know make lists. They keep little notebooks in their pockets and check things off.  Who knows, they may even give themselves little smiley faces when they check things off their list. (I love the idea of Kevin Camisa giving himself smiley faces for his accomplishments!) Smiley faces or no, the fact is lists work.

Here’s why:

  1. Lists help relieve stress. Write it down on paper and let it go. This will give you a sense of moving forward and of releasing worry. You don’t have to fret about it anymore, it’s on your list!
  2. Lists help you achieve your short term goals. If you keep track of them, they are much easier to achieve!
  3. A good list will outline small steps you need to take in order to get where you want to go. “Studies have shown that people who write things down tend to get things done.” (http://immatureentrepr.hubpages.com/hub/creating-list)
  4. Lists give you direction. If you start to feel lost, just refer to your list.
  5. Lists make your long term goals more approachable. See #2. The act of simply writing them down makes them real. See #3. Creating a list of small actions you must take that lead to your long term goals will give you a clearer picture of the steps to get there.

Here is my favorite list of top 10 tips for making lists (from Richard Branson of Virgin Airlines):

  1. Write down every single idea you have, no matter how big or small
  2. Always carry a notebook
  3. Find a list method that works for you. Doodles, bullet-points, charts what suits you best?
  4. Make a list of small, manageable tasks to complete every day
  5. Mark off every completed task – you’ll find making each tick very satisfying
  6. Make your goals measurable so you know if your plans are working
  7. Set far off, outlandish goals. What do you want to have achieved by 2020? How about 2050?
  8. Include personal goals in your lists, not just business
  9. Share your goals with others. You can help motivate each other further
  10. Celebrate your successes then make new lists of new goal (http://www.virgin.com/richard-branson/top-10-tips-for-making-lists)

Branson (or his writer, but maybe it was actually him, he strikes me as his own list maker) wrote this top 10 list in relation to New Year’s Resolutions. “I have always lived my life by making lists. These vary from lists of people to call, lists of ideas, lists of companies to set up, lists of people who can make things happen. I also have lists of topics to blog about, lists of tweets to send, and lists of upcoming plans.

Each day I work through these lists, and it is by ticking off each task that my ideas take shape and plans move forward. As the new year gets started, lots of you will be busy making resolutions. If you want to stick to them, I suggest making them into lists.” (http://www.virgin.com/richard-branson/top-10-tips-for-making-lists)

FastCompany put together a great little video for making To Do lists. Put watching this video at the top of your list.

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Keeping Warm in Winter: It’s for the Birds

With apologies to our favorite customers in the South (or maybe just envy), we thought we’d take a look at a more Northern subject this week: keeping warm in winter. Earlier this week, most of New England was having a bit of an arctic blast with temperatures plummeting well below zero and windchill factors increasing the regional penchant for indoor winter activities such as watching the Golden Globes and playing with the Benedict Cumberbatch Name Generator.

We seem to be having a proper New England winter this year, so we are beginning to wonder about our feathered friends out there at the feeder. How do birds keep warm in winter? We dress in layers starting with comfortable and colorful t-shirts, of course, but how do birds do it?

Like us, birds are warm-blooded – which almost always means that they have to work to keep themselves warmer than their environment. They do this in primarily the same ways we do using feathers (layering), huddling, and fat reserves.

feathersLike multiple layers of clothing, bird feathers are terrific insulators. Downy feathers, just like cotton fibers, are great for trapping pockets of warm air next to the body. When birds puff up, they trap even more warm air. We do this by adding another shirt to our ensemble.

Huddling is something we do, too (though sometimes we call it cuddling). By scooching close to one another (imagine sitting with a friend at a hockey game, believe me, you are going to scooch) birds consolidate their body heat and expose less of their surface area. At night many birds roost, or crowd together in tight places to share body heat (we do this, too, but this is a G-rated blog post, so we won’t go into it here).

And finally, fat reserves. Birds store up on fat reserves early in the season. Even small birds can build up fat reserves “to serve as insulation and extra energy for generating body heat. Many birds will gorge during the fall when food sources are abundant, giving them an extra fatty layer before winter arrives.” (http://birding.about.com/od/birdingbasics/a/howbirdskeepwarm.htm) This is something we also do which may explain the prevalence of sweet fatty treats during Thanksgiving and the early winter holidays.

Whether or not you agree that this cold weather “is for the birds,” we, like the chickadees and titmouse at the feeder, can do something about it. Keep warm.

 

 

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The Benedict Cumberbatch name generator and the Sources of truly Creative T-shirt Design

Brandenburg Copperwire, Bodybuild Toodlesnoot, Benadryl Clavichord, Rumblesack Coggleswort. Nonsense. Or something potentially more elementary, my dear. These polysyllabic phrases are the random spawn of the Benedict Cumberbatch Name Generator.

If you are someone who is easily amused, the Name Generator is just the ticket to help you get over the bad feelings created by a disagreement with your boss/employee/peer/spouse/computer/to do list/hangover. If you are a deep thinker, you might start to wonder about the art (or lack thereof) of this type of computer generation. Or you might just continue to be amused.

Either way, we started to wonder about the art of computer generation and things like DIY design t-shirts. Whatever happened to the days of hand-drawn design?

Mona_LisaWe did an online search and came up with things like the Kurt Rambis screen-printed T-shirt on Esty. Rambis played basketball for the Los Angeles Lakers in the 80s and later coached the Lakers, Knicks and Timberwolves (not at the same time). Why anyone would want his image on a T-shirt is a mystery – until you see the shirt! It is a hand-drawn, old school marvel that makes Rambis look like KC from KC and the Sunshine Band. And what is not to love about that? The t-shirt design is an original work of art. It is no Mona Lisa, but we love it.

Which makes us wonder: Does a t-shirt design have to be hand-drawn by a real person (instead of a computer) in order for us to love it? Not necessarily. Like beauty, good t-shirt design (whether hand-drawn or computer generated) is in the eye of the beholder.

Thus the sources of truly creative t-shirt design can definitely include computers. After all, we, real people, are behind those computers. And computer programing is its own kind of art. Granted computer programming and graphic design are completely distinct forms of expression, but both are forms of expression. And we all know that the t-shirt is the perfect vehicle for forms of expression.

We gotta get back to it. Bumblebee Cottagecheese, Rumblesack Cuckooclock, Muffintop Coggleswort….

 

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