I Have a Gripe

June 25, 2017

The Plastic Predicament

Filed under: General Annoyances — alvb1227 @ 10:30 pm
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I am keenly aware that every item I throw in the garbage will end up in a landfill somewhere. I do what I can do keep trash to a minimum. Now I am not the type of person that doesn’t buy toilet paper because it is wrapped in plastic, but I do my best to make sure as much as possible in my home gets recycled, reused, donated, or upcycled.

Enter the plastic bag.

American BeautyPlastic plays an important role in our society. Plastic tubing and and syringes are used by the medical profession.  I loved the plastic bag scene from “American Beauty,” but I. Hate. Plastic.

Nothing bugs me more than when I leave Shop Rite or Target and see a shopping cart filled with plastic bags.

Why you might ask? Because, unfortunately, many of them wind up like this:

PlasticBag

I can’t tell you how often I see bags hanging in the trees, flying across the road, or worse, wrapped around an animal.

Now, I will say there are times I have been forced to use the stray plastic bag. I always keep reusable bags in my car, but sometimes I don’t have enough with me or some other odd issue. I will, however, recycle them the next time I head to the store.

So as the weather warms and more quick runs to the store happen on the way to the beach or the lake, throw a couple of reusable or canvas bags in the car and use them instead.

#KeepAmericaBeautiful

 

March 13, 2017

Working through an “Emergency”

Filed under: General Annoyances,New Jersey,New York — alvb1227 @ 7:55 pm

So as the Northeast prepares for a late-winter blizzard, the discussion of “emergency” and what “non-essential personnel” really means.

Allow me to explain.

When the Governor gets on the television and tells everyone to “stay off the roads” and “only essential personnel” should be on the roads, what does that mean?

For the average person? Nothing.

Let me tell you the story of two managers.

The first manager I am going to tell you about would require everyone to work, regardless of the weather…on time. Then two hours after everyone would trudge in, he would let everyone leave only to have a harrowing ride home. The last time I did this when I worked at this particular company, the snow wasn’t plowed on the highway and it was up over the hood of my Jeep. I generally do not worry about driving, but that ride home terrified me. I truly hated this man. It was obvious he didn’t care about his employees.

The second manager I am going to tell you about worried about his employees. He used to tell us that it was up to us if we were comfortable driving in – and actually meant it! It wasn’t a “do what you think is best” passive-aggressive mind game. He would tell us to work from home. He didn’t want anyone to feel obligated to come in and wind up in an accident. He didn’t want it on his conscious. I didn’t fear for my job if I didn’t come in and as a result, I was happy and worked hard to do the best job I could!

So while the news reports tell you to say off the roads and the Governor has declared some type of emergency alert, remember that doesn’t protect you from your boss.

So I know it is hard, but resist the pressure and REALLY do what is best for you. Be safe. Remember, if you are on the road and need assistance, you put the lives of emergency staff in jeopardy. Be safe and help keep emergency staff safe as well!

March 7, 2017

For the Love of the Library

Filed under: Education — alvb1227 @ 5:42 pm
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librariesThis morning I decided to head to my local library to do some work. I have enjoyed going to the library since I was a child. I loved the smell of the books and the quiet space. Growing up in Belleville, I would often ride my bike to the library during the summer and stay there for hours. I even remember taking a “certified babysitter” class there. At one point, I even considered going to school for library science. But the call of journalism was too strong.

When I attended Seton Hall University, again, one of my favorite spots on campus was the library. I would find a quiet corner in the stacks to read and do my homework. Last fall I

shu-library

The entrance of the Seton Hall Library. Source: Seton Hall University

headed back to the campus for Parent’s Weekend, and of course I had to visit the new library. What an amazing place! It is different building from my time as a student, but it is still a wonderful place.

This morning while working I had to stop at one point and look around. I saw a student being tutored in geometry, an elderly gentlemen helping a woman improve her English skills, people using the computers on site, and of course, people taking out books.

There are people who think the library is now passe. It is an unnecessary space that takes up tax dollars that could be used elsewhere. I completely disagree. The library provides a valuable resource for the community. From a child listening to story time, to adults attending a computer class.

So what is my gripe you might ask? That libraries today are undervalued. If you haven’t visited your local library lately, I encourage you to do so.

February 9, 2017

What Ever Happened to Being Polite?

Remember when Facebook first started? People would send each other pictures of Starbucks coffee and reconnect with long-lost high school friends.

My how things have changed.

Now social media is all about political hatred, being snarky to each other, and overall rudeness. It reminds me of how some people behave when they are in their car and get into fights with others stuck in traffic with you. It is easier to be mean to people when you aren’t face to face.

be-niceI know so many people who have fought with, unfriended, or blocked people they have known for years. Some are even family members. And even when you try to have a civil discussion with someone, it quickly turns hateful. Assumptions are made regarding political opinions, ancestry, religious beliefs, and the like; most of which are usually wrong. You know what they say about assumptions.

And while it has become worse since the presidential election, it was pretty bad beforehand. I even know many people who have given up on Facebook completely.

It is very sad. I feel like Grandma needs to give people a smack in the back of the head and remind some of good manners.

Now don’t get me wrong. I have no problem when people openly disagree with other’s opinions. This is a big part of what makes our country great. However, I do hate when things get snarky, rude, and downright mean. While I haven’t unfriended anyone, I have “unfollowed” and reduced the number of people that appear in my Facebook feed. I feel like there is more than enough hatred and negative energy in the world that I don’t need it showing up on my feed. For whatever reason, I easily pick up on other people’s energy and it is very hard for me to manage. I am also not going to set myself up for a beating by those who disagree with me. I find myself sharing less and less because I just don’t want to deal with the negativity that can come my way.

So I am asking for everyone who reads this to take a step back and think about what you are posting before you hit “post.” I haven’t walked in someone else’s shoes and I try to keep that in mind when I post something. Whether you call it the Golden Rule, Do Unto Others, Ethic of Reciprocity, or something else, I ask you keep that in mind.

It doesn’t cost anything to be nice.

February 5, 2017

Why Tom Brady will Never be “The Greatest”

Today is the greatest day in sports. And we are going to watch two teams fight it out for the Vince Lombardi trophy. The funny thing is if you watch the coverage, it sounds like one team has already won. The Patriots, and more specifically, Tom Brady and Bill Belichick.

I can’t stand either of these men. There, I said it.

In my opinion, both these men will forever have an asterisk next to their names due to the ongoing allegations (and proven allegations) that they are cheaters.

I have read plenty of articles about how Tom Brady is “the greatest football player of all time.” I couldn’t disagree more.

It is no secret I am a life-long Niners fan and I will argue to the death that Joe Montana is the greatest. However, there are several others that are in the same class.

Terry Bradshaw – This is a four-time Super Bowl winner, who played 16 seasons. He is a two-time Super Bowl MVP and a member of the Hall of Fame. I have always considered him the most underrated quarterback in NFL history. Yes, he was part of a great time, but he definitely brought them to a higher level than they would’ve achieved without him.

Roger Staubach – While playing the man was just stellar. He retired in 1980 with the highest rated passer of all time. For regular-season games, he had a .750 winning percentage. The man was brilliant when it came to his ability to scramble and a Super Bowl winner puts him at the top of the game. Above all that, he served his country admirably in the United States Navy. Imagine what his numbers would’ve been if he didn’t serve?

John Unitas – Now, I know I am reaching back, but let’s look at this man’s accomplishments. He is considered the QB who invented “modern-day quarterbacking.” He threw for 287 touchdown passes in his career and gained 14.2 yards-per-completion. You can’t argue with that.

Dan Marino – Now before you say “he never won a Super Bowl,” hear me out. When he retired in 2000, Marino owned almost every important passing record in the game’s history; most of which stood for 10 years. He had a quick QB mind, a cannon for an arm, and a grace under pressure that was just awesome.

Joe Montana – Last but not least, I have my man, Joe Cool. The man had ice in his veins. He played in four Super Bowls, won three MVPs and threw 11 TDs with no interceptions. Let me say that again – ZERO interceptions. His 10-yard touchdown pass to John Taylor is still the single greatest moment in Super Bowl history in my humble opinion. And no one handles the two-minute offense better – now or since. Period.

So where does Tom Brady sit? With Belichick as a cheater. A documented cry baby who will forever be associated with the Tuck Rule. Does the man have ability? Absolutely. Is he the greatest of all time? Absolutely not.

I want to also mention that these QBs played in eras where it was open season on quarterbacks. They had their clocks cleaned on a regular basis without a second thought. And my back still hurts from watching that hit Montana took against the Giants. Could Brady handle that? No way. He would cry home to his wife.

So sorry Brady fans, you will never convince me otherwise.

What do I say today? Go Atlanta!

 

January 16, 2017

My Problem with Pink

Filed under: Fashion,General Annoyances,Outdoors — alvb1227 @ 6:04 pm
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I hate pink. There I said it.

Yes, I am a girl and I’ve never liked pink. I’ve always liked blue. My formal china has blue in it, most of my clothes are blue, even my car is blue!

pink-shirtSo when I recently went on Bass Pro Shops to place an order, I always check out the latest hunting and fishing shirts. I saw one that I really liked. The problem? It was pink.

You have a “reel women” saying…but it is pink.

Needless to say I didn’t purchase it.

Yes, I am an angler – do I really need to have a pink shirt? I looked at the other shirt options they had available. Almost EVERY other shirt had some kind of pink in it. Pink camo? Seriously?

I remember a similar annoyance brought to attention by Alyssa Milano. She was annoyed that the only women’s shirts for NFL teams were – you guessed – in pink. So she launched her own line of NFL wear. I love it! It is stylish and you get to show off the love for your favorite team with more than just a pink jersey.

So what do I say to Bass Pro? Recognize that the women looking at your merchandise do not want pink. You will make more sales if you offer more colors and grown-up styles.

December 17, 2016

Education, Not Politics

“The classroom should be apolitical.”

I’ve heard this quote several times over the years from an educator I highly respect. And I agree with this statement completely. This does not mean we should not teach civics, history, or other potentially complicated topics. What this means is that the politics of the day should be checked at the door when you walk into a classroom to teach impressionable children. The opinions of the teachers should not enter the lesson plan. I believe this for both sides of the aisle.

So why do I bring this up?

A high school friend sent me an article that sent me flying.

inaugralparade

Now regular readers of my blog know I am a huge advocate of music in public schools. My time in marching band were some of the best of my life. I had the opportunity to march at Epcot and DC. I never had the opportunity march in Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, an Inaugural Parade, or even Giants Stadium like other friends. But I still loved every minute of it and I cherish the memories I have.

Many schools are opting out of the opportunity to march in the Inaugural Parade. While some are citing budget restraints or other issues, some are saying, quietly, that it is related to politics.

I think this is deplorable.

Now I understand first-hand what band directors are facing today when it comes to tight budgets, time constrains, and all the other challenges that face music programs in public schools today. This is not what I am discussing here.

The chance to march in an Inaugural Parade is an opportunity few students get to experience. These teachers should not allow their personal opinions related to the election to have anything to do with denying their students this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

To the band directors who are letting their sore feelings over the election prevent these kids the chance to be part of a small very club, I say shame on you.

November 24, 2016

Make Thanksgiving a “Shop-Free” Zone

Filed under: Economy,General Annoyances,Values — alvb1227 @ 4:40 pm
Tags: , , ,

I always thought one of the best parts of Thanksgiving is that it had nothing to do with shopping. Other than food shopping and picking up a bouquet of mums for Mom, it was about family and friends, sharing a meal, watching football, and taking a nap. Many volunteer at shelters, serving meals to those who are not as fortunate or may be alone. It is a day to be thankful for what you have.

thanksgivingThen a few years ago, some executive genius decided that stores should be open on Thanksgiving. It wasn’t bad enough that the day after you were thankful for what you have in your life, people would do battle with thousands of others for a good deal on a television at the crack of dawn.

My guess is that they thought this would help boost sales when the economy wasn’t great (not that it is awesome now). I remember going to Kohl’s a week or so before Thanksgiving and asked an employee about opening on the holiday. She told me that they had to be in two hours prior to the store opening, so it completely killed her day. I felt really bad for her and the rest of the employees. I haven’t stepped in a Kohl’s since.

Now you have stores like Kmart that don’t even wait until the afternoon. They are open all day. Shameful.

I do not shop on Thanksgiving or black Friday. I encourage my readership to skip shopping on Thanksgiving. Instead, I encourage you to support stores that stay closed today so their employees can enjoy a holiday with their families.

Oh, and Happy Thanksgiving!

November 13, 2016

The “selling out” of the sisterhood

Filed under: News,Politics,Values — alvb1227 @ 7:59 pm
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I have been told I am the worst feminist ever. Guess what? I really don’t care. As the reaction to the presidential election continues, I saw an article that actually referred to Clinton losing as a “sell out” of the sisterhood.

Um, what? Seriously?

I’ll let you in on a little secret. I am not going to vote for someone just because of their gender or someone feels it is “about time” to have a woman as president. I am going to vote for someone based on who I feel will do a better job for this country and their interpretation of the Constitution.

Now, truth be told, I (like many) wasn’t really crazy for either of the candidates from the major parties.

I have posted about what I think feminism should be before and I know many disagree with me. And that’s OK. We are allowed to disagree with each other and still respect each other. I would like to share another example of why I often disagree with “the sisterhood.”

Last week I was in a conference room and was listening to a discussion between a few colleagues. I chose not to participate and just listened. They were talking about a very high-ranking executive and how inspiring she is. And yes, it is laudable she has achieved such success. Then the discussion turned slightly to “encouraging” girls to go into STEM careers, (don’t EVEN get me started on that one), and actively recruiting women for high ranking positions.

It took all my effort not to have what I refer to as a “gumball moment” (brain to the mouth like a gumball machine – absolutely no filter whatsoever). I just kept my mouth shut. I knew my opinions would not be appreciated.

First of all, I HATE STEM. As many of my regular readers know, the lack of the arts in school today has me over the top annoyed.

Yet, I digress.

If girls have an interest in something that happens to be a male-dominated field, such as a STEM field, then fine. If they don’t, that’s fine too. As I have mentioned in previous posts, I have spent most of my career in male-dominated fields. First, in prepress and then in IT. Now, I didn’t expect special treatment because I was a woman. You know what I did? I worked. I proved I belonged there. When I worked in prepress, I was one of two women in a prepress role. The other women in the company included the secretary and two customer service reps. When I wanted to learn how to “strip” (film people, get your mind out of the gutter), I was told to “go back up by the computers where I belonged.” You know what I did? I took lunch times, after work, whenever possible, and showed I really wanted to learn. I eventually learned how to run a vertical camera, fix and maintain a film developer, and make bluelines. I showed them with my work ethic that I deserved a spot. I didn’t bitch about being a woman gave me a right or that they were being sexist.

I often tell another story about a man I worked with in the printing realm. He was not a fan of women in the industry and generally wasn’t quiet about it.Again, I just went about doing my job and increasing my knowledge. When a major problem took place he said I should be the one to go fix the problem. That I was the only one who knew what I was doing. That was probably the best compliment I ever received. I won this guy over. Not because I complained that I deserved his respect. I earned his respect.

That’s what I want. To earn someone’s respect. Not demand it because I am a woman. That includes demanding a particular job because there should be more women. All that is just crap.

Now I’m not naive enough to say there is no such thing as sexism. If someone doesn’t respect me just because I’m a woman, then that really isn’t a person I want to be around anyway. Throughout my career, I’ve experienced the “boy’s club” first hand. Yes, I’ve missed promotions and I’m sure it had to go with my gender. And yes, it made me angry. The way I looked at it, they didn’t deserve my respect. I continued to do my job to the best of my ability and ultimately, the joke was on them. They missed out on a great employee that could’ve provided even more of a contribution than the position I was in at the time.

So people ask me “well, what would you tell today’s young girls?” I would tell them the world doesn’t owe you a damn thing. You will come up against adversity in life and you will have to deal with it. Don’t cry sexism and demand respect. Earn it. Don’t feel obligated to go into a STEM career because you are being told to “break the glass ceiling” or some other nonsense. Believe in yourself. Rely on yourself. Know that you can take whatever is thrown at you. Be strong. And don’t feel you need to be what I call a “traditional feminist” because you always need to support “the sisterhood.” Being a feminist should be more than about supporting the sisterhood. It should be about not being afraid to go your own way. Even when it’s not popular with fellow femme fatales.

October 13, 2016

For the Love of Team

Every Wednesday night I watch Undeniable with Joe Buck. If you are not familiar, it is a great show. Sportscaster Joe Buck conducts a one-on-one interview each week with a well-known athlete. He has interviewed some great athletes. This week was one of my favorites – the great Lynn Swann.

I have always loved football. Watching teams like The Steelers of the 1970s and my beloved Niners of the 1980s hold great memories. At the time I didn’t realize it, but I was learning about a key skill for life – teamwork. A player started their career with a team and they stayed with that team until the day they walked off the field for the last time.

During the interview with Lynn Swann, he spoke about his love of team. How they sacrificed personal goals for the good of the team. When he was inducted into the Hall of Fame in Canton, he spoke of his teammates and his coaches. When he spoke of teammate, John Stallworth, he said:

“This is, this is the single greatest honor in my life. The single greatest honor of my life. And, if this is the greatest hour of my life, then I would tell you at this moment, this is only a half-hour. It’ll be the greatest hour when I can stand and sit in that back row and John Stallworth is wearing a gold jacket making this speech.”

To me, this is team in the truest sense of the word. In his greatest moment, he still took the time to recognize someone on his team he felt was deserving of induction into the Hall of Fame. Stallworth was inducted the following year.

Today’s pro athletes? Not so much.

Today it is all about the contract. There is no loyalty to a team, a coach, or the fans. It is about who will pay the most. They focus on their own stats and a fancy end-zone celebration instead of what they can do for the success of the team.

Sometimes the owners aren’t much better. While the stadiums built for theses teams are more and more elaborate, the ticket prices go higher and higher. Most people can’t afford to take their kids to a game. As a result, the scene of a father and son going to a game to enjoy a Coke and a hot dog has been replaced by guys in suits heading out after work while eating sushi in premier boxes.

I believe in loyalty.

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