I Have a Gripe

August 30, 2016

Freedom of Expression vs. Freedom from Consequences

“There’s a place in the world for the angry young man. With his working class ties and his radical plans. He refuses to bend he refuses to crawl. And he’s always at home with his back to the wall. And he’s proud of his scars and the battles he’s lost. And struggles and bleeds as he hangs on his cross. And likes to be known as the angry young man”
~ Billy Joel

So last week Colin Kaepernick turned a hose on the hornet’s nest by choosing to sit during the National Anthem before a pre-season game when the San Francisco 49ers took on the Green Bay Packers. His reason was to protest the treatment of minorities by police and other groups within the United States.

“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick told NFL Media in an exclusive interview after the game. “To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”

I have been a fan of the Niners since childhood. I had a SERIOUS crush on Joe Montana. I thought it was terrible when Alex Smith was traded and Kaepernick took over as the first string quarterback. But, I went with it. I thought he was a good player, but I didn’t think it was right that Smith lost his job because he was injured.

Kaepernick’s decision has sparked commentary, debate, and anger from what seems like every side of the ongoing discussion about race in the United States today. Personally, I disagree with his decision to sit down. I feel it is disrespectful to all of the members of the military and their families that sacrifice for our freedom. I love my country and I can’t imagine not standing.

The NFL does not have a policy on making players stand during the National Anthem. I know of people who do not stand during the Pledge of Allegiance or the Anthem and while I disagree with their decision to do so, it is their right to not participate.

Everyone makes their own decisions. That’s what this country is all about. We need to be willing to tolerate decisions made by others, even when we don’t agree. It is when people refuse to listen to each other when we don’t agree that debate turns to hateful vitriol.

Now what?

So Kap stirred up debate across the country. He has everyone’s attention. Now what? I would hope he uses this attention to do something positive. Go into communities where you feel there are issues and start a dialogue. Listen to everyone. Respect flows both ways.

Here’s the rub…

Now here’s where things get rough. Exercising your freedom of expression can come with consequences. There are rumors that Kap may be released from the Niners. He hasn’t been performing well, but it is interesting that this rumor begins to circulate right after he refuses to stand for the National Anthem. The point to remember is that if you are going to go out on a limb you need to be ready for whatever comes your way. Some people will be supportive and understanding, while others will vocally disagree. Still others will reduce to name calling and other nonsense.

“I believe I’ve passed the age of consciousness and righteous rage. I found that just surviving was a noble fight. I once believed in causes too. I had my pointless point of view. And life went on no matter who was wrong or right.”
~ Billy Joel

There have been times over the years where I opened my mouth in the name of what I felt was right. Sometimes the wind was with me and other times I got hit hard. I used to be a pretty serious hot head. Call it getting old (I prefer to call it “wisdom in age”), but maybe I am learning to approach things differently. I try to remember the old “honey vs. vinegar” line. I try to remind myself that I have not walked in someone’s shoes. Yes, I still get angry, but I try to stay calm and hear the other side before I spin like a top. When someone starts yelling, I stop listening, so I assume others will do the same. It doesn’t always work, but I try to remember that we are all works in progress.

January 18, 2014

My Reality on Reality Shows

I fully admit it – I generally don’t watch reality shows. I’ve never seen an episode of Survivor, American Idol, or any of the “Real Housewives” shows. And I certainly never watched Jersey Shore. I never understood the interest or attraction. Most of these shows seem like nothing but train wrecks. I don’t really care who the Kardashians are and the whole Honey Boo Boo thing is just plain scary. I do watch Duck Dynasty, American Pickers, American Restoration, and Pawn Stars. They are all about successful family businesses. I especially enjoy the love and faith expressed during Duck Dynasty and I always learn something interesting during American Pickers, American Restoration, and Pawn Stars. These are the few I find not a complete waste of time.

So I am sure I am late to this party, but I just learned Elisabeth Hasselbeck’s big claim to fame is that she was on Survivor. And she replaced a person who won Miss America.

This is the best that is out there to anchor a national morning program?

Now I’m going to sound like a cranky old woman…

When I was younger, if someone wanted to be famous they needed a skill. Be an actor. A ground-breaking researcher. An athlete. They needed to do…something.

Now? Make a fool of yourself on a television program. Make a sex tape. Let the entire world see what a train wreck your family is. Pow – you’re famous.

What are we teaching our children? That this is acceptable behavior? Go on a ridiculous reality show and become a millionaire.

Now being famous is the skill.

September 27, 2013

What Ever Happened to Loyalty?

Filed under: Celebrity,Economy,General Annoyances — alvb1227 @ 1:38 am
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“I’m just enjoying being here, and I’m going to enjoy the last day, being here with all these guys. Nobody said I’m leaving; nobody said I’m staying. I haven’t decided anything yet.” ~Robinson Cano

I have enjoyed watching sports since I was a kid. Whether it was football on Sunday or sitting with my Uncle Sonny on Saturdays as we ate the olives that were supposed to be for Sunday’s salad while we watched baseball. But I really can’t believe what professional sports is now.

I grew up watching Bradshaw play for the Steelers and Mattingly play for the Yankees. They played for the same teams their entire careers. They believed in loyalty and fans rooted for a team and typical working-class people could actually afford to go to a game or two during the season.

Fast forward to today…

Now, there are mega-stadiums with ticket prices that are just beyond reality. Tickets for a NY Giants game run from $110 to a ridiculous $725 and the cost to just park your car starts at $30. And why not? You have professional sports players like Robinson Cano of the Yankees expecting a $305 million for a 10-year deal, and if the Yankees don’t cough it up, he’ll just go somewhere else. Period.

Um, any of these guys ever hear of loyalty?

My husband and I will on occasion watch a Yankees game and always discuss how many empty seats there are behind home plate.

Now the capitalist in me says that they should  be able to charge what they want for tickets and players’ salaries should be based on what teams are willing to pay. But I have to say this is just so beyond reality it is offensive.

A large number of these guys can barely put two sentences together intelligently and speak like they have marbles in their mouth. In the football off season this year NFL players were arrested or charged with crimes at least 37 times, including 10 players accused of driving drunk and a murder indictment for ex-New England Patriot Aaron Hernandez, according to an article in USA Today.

Way to be good role models guys.

My beloved state will play host to the Super Bowl this season. I really wanted to get tickets figuring this is the closest I will ever get to see one in person. Do you know how much it will cost for nosebleeds? $3,000! So much for going to the game.

What happened to fathers taking their sons to a baseball game?  Can anyone afford this any more? I am guessing this is why minor league ball is becoming so popular. People can actually afford the prices.

There are lessons that can be learned from sports – being a good winner, a gracious loser, teamwork, fair play, work ethic, the list could easily go on. Unfortunately, all too many players today are about greed, excessive lifestyles, a lack of education, and a complete lack of respect for the law.

Oh yeah, and a lack of loyalty.

Like I said, way to be good roles models guys.

July 6, 2011

Casey Anthony Not Guilty…Seriously?

“Better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer.”
~English jurist William Blackstone

Well, one of those 10 guilty persons definitely escaped today when the jury found Casey Anthony not guilty of the most serious charges against her.

I’ll be honest, I didn’t expect her to be found guilty of first degree murder, but I did expect her to be found guilty of all other charges. Like millions of Americans, I am stunned. I definitely have a gripe.

First, I’m sorry, she killed that poor little girl. Caylee definitely deserved a better mother. If you have a child, your partying days should be over. I certainly wouldn’t want to be in that house for the next Thanksgiving dinner.

Second, if that first police officer had thoroughly checked out the report of remains in a swamp, they might have been able to collect DNA or other evidence that could’ve helped to convict her. That was definitely a lost opportunity.

Third, I absolutely have a beef with the jury. I think part of it might have been that they wanted their lives back. They were tired of being away from their families, their jobs and their homes. When I heard they were back already, I was sure they were going to convict. I almost fell off my chair when I heard “not guilty.” Do you all think that a mother doesn’t report their child as missing for a month while she goes out partying, gets a tattoo, and lies to the police is normal? I’m not surprised that you didn’t want to talk to the press. Did you leave your common sense at home? Shame on you all.

I am disgusted with Casey Anthony’s legal team for their celebrating and Cheney Mason’s lecturing after the verdict. I know many attorneys and respect their work. There are many good lawyers and unfortunately, many ambulance chasers. As I joke often, “So tell me, when you are a defense attorney, do you go straight to Hell? Or do you have to change flights in Albuquerque?”

Finally, I weep for this poor little child who was tossed in a swamp like a common piece of garbage. Caylee Anthony certainly deserved a better mother and better protection. She did not receive justice. This was not some terminally ill child that a mother made an impossible, heart-wrenching decision to end that child’s suffering. She just wanted to party, plain and simple.

The saddest part is that there are children and innocent people killed every day that do not get the attention of this trial, which is just plain sad. It is just a reminder to all of us if you see something, say something. Be part of the solution. Stand up for what is right.

I do believe in Karma and it will definitely be a bitch when it comes around on Casey Anthony. This woman is a sociopath and will certainly do something again that will end her up in jail. I just hope that she only hurts herself and not anyone else. OJ Simpson is a perfect example.

Some day Casey Anthony will meet her Maker and I honestly believe she will need to answer for her sins. And for that she will rot in Hell.

February 7, 2011

It is Our National Anthem – Don’t Embellish

Filed under: Celebrity,General Annoyances — alvb1227 @ 12:15 am
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So today is one of the unofficial American holidays – the Super Bowl. I love watching football. As a kid, there was nothing like Sundays in my house. We had fans of the Giants, the Steelers, the Redskins, the Niners (me), the Houston Oilers (yes, that’s how long ago I’m talking), the Cowboys and probably more that I am forgetting. While we are a proud Jersey family, there were three Giants fans in my house throughout my life.

I have to say I really enjoyed the pre-game Fox did this year. The reading of the Declaration of Independence was great. What bugged me was the National Anthem.

First of all, it is our National Anthem. There should be ZERO embellishment. If singers want to embellish or put their own spin on something, then do that with your own songs. Not the song of America. I know some of you are thinking “this is America, we are all about individualism.” Yeah, well, not when it comes to the song that defines us as a nation.

Second of all, KNOW THE FREAKIN’ WORDS! Yes, this is a huge venue. Yes, I’m sure there is pressure. But you know what? You’re supposedly a professional – act like it. If you can’t handle the jitters, then don’t accept the gig.

So, what do we take away from this Christi–uh–children? Play is straight and know the words. You’re an American after all.

Yes, this makes me nuts. This is why…I have a gripe!

October 16, 2010

Football, Loyalty and Perfection

OK, I’ll admit, many may see this as a post discussing something somewhat, well, silly, compared to the major issues of today. However, trust me when I tell you, read to the end and you will see there is a message here.

I love professional football. I grew up watching football in a household with Giants fans, Pittsburgh fans, Houston (Oilers, that is) fans, Redskins fans and San Francisco fans (me). Sunday was an awesome day in my house. Grandma’s macaroni and fried meatballs, my cousins over, playing gin with my Uncle Tony, and of course, football. It was a great day.

Those were the days of Staubach, Bradshaw, Montana, Swann, Payton and Rice. Whenever I play the “Pick Six” in New Jersey, I actually have a set of numbers that are all the jersey numbers of my favorite players. I remember watching “The Steel Curtain” and loving every minute of it.

Now, why am I telling you all this, you are probably wondering at this point? It is simple, these players, and those teams, represented two things to me; the constant pursuit of perfection and loyalty. They worked as a team and not as an individual just trying to increase their numbers so they could negotiate a better contract. There was no such thing as collective bargaining and there was respect for your coach. You started your NFL career with a team and you ended your career with that team. I mean, seriously, can you imaging Bradshaw playing in Minnesota? Payton in Buffalo? Never. Period.

When Montana left San Francisco to go to Kansas City, I was not just mad at San Francisco management for treating a player that defined the meaning of excellence, but I was mad at him. He was a 49er. How could he ever be part of any other team? It killed me. Over time, I got over it, but it still killed me. This is my favorite player of all time. He was single-handedly the reason why I was, and always will be, a San Francisco fan. Just like back then with the players, fans stick with their team through good times and bad.

Players today could learn by taking a page from these classic players. They believed in teamwork and loyalty. They played for the love of the game. They were aware that their actions off the field were a reflection on not just them, but their team. Everyone is entitled to make a good living, but the showboating and bragging that goes on today and the attention they require is shameful. Look at that nonsense with Darrelle Revis this year. Shameful.

These players taught important life lessons, not just lessons on the field.

See? I told you there was a point. I hope I made it.


September 19, 2010

The NFL and Loyalty…What Happened?

Filed under: Celebrity,General Annoyances — alvb1227 @ 4:38 pm
Tags: , , ,

Let’s make one thing clear…I love the NFL. My first memory of watching football is from third grade watching the Steelers playing the Cowboys in the Superbowl. I sat on the floor in my living room glued to the television.

Just like the years when our dads would go to work for one company and stay there until they retired, the same held true with the NFL. Those were the years when a player went to a team and stayed there. Period. Can you imagine Terry Bradshaw playing for anyone but the Steelers? I remember my stomach turning when my beloved Joe Montana went to…Kansas City? I felt betrayed.

Now it is about salary caps, contract negotiations and collective bargaining. I personally felt Darrelle Revis’ ongoing drama with the Jets was shameful. These guys make millions, not counting their endorsements. Now the players are potentially threatening a strike for next year if they extend the season to 18 games and aren’t “fairly compensated.” With all the recent opinions about public unions, like the NEA and the UAW, what about the players union? Where is the public outrage for these mega-millionaires instead of the “average Joe?”

Maybe I am naive, but when did pro football go from team loyalty to a business? I don’t see fans jumping from team to team. Why do players?

Don’t get me wrong. The owners in my opinion are just as much to blame. They want mega-stadiums and expect the local tax payers to pick up the majority of the tab through bond issues, while most of those tax payers can’t afford the new ticket prices. Life-long Jets season-ticket holders with tears in their eyes were forced to give up their tickets for their seat due to a ridiculously high “seat license fee.” And what is a seat license anyway? I NEVER heard of that one. Probably just another way to get money from attendees. And are they serious with the cost of sodas, beer and food at these games?

Like I said, call me a sucker, naive or whatever, but loyalty has always been a major issue with me. If I call you friend, you are my friend. If you light that fuse, which is long mind you, and I am done with you, then I am done. You wrong my family or my friend, you now have an enemy. I have stuck by my beloved Niners through the great years and the lean years. They are still my team. My husband has been a Giants fan for all his life. Period. People spend hundreds for special packages to see their teams if they are not local to them.

The point is, our teams make us crazy, but we stick with them. We believe in loyalty. If you ask me, the players could take a lesson from their fans.

September 13, 2010

Ines Sainz and Jets Organization: They are Both Wrong

As the Jets open their season in their new stadium, there is a side issue that has popped up regarding an unprofessional situation between Mexican Reporter Ines Sainz and members of the Jets organization.

According to reports, the “harassment” began while the players were on the field with plays being run near her and the football being thrown over her head. The attention continued while she was trying to do an interview with QB Sanchez in the locker room with commentary and cat calls. In my opinion, both sides are wrong.

My Message to Ines…

First off, look at her. She was wearing a top that she was busting out of and jeans at least one size too small. Her clothing was completely inappropriate. I have worked in male-dominated fields since college. You need to be ready to roll with the punches. Often the men I worked with would push it to the edge to see how I would react. Once they realized I wouldn’t have a fit every time they said something stupid, they settled down. If there was a time they would really push it over the edge, all it took was a look over the top of my glasses and they would dial it down. They would know they took it too far. I didn’t go to HR or hold a press conference. Ines, put your big girl pants on, that are the right size mind you, and recognize that you have dopey men around you and deal. Oh, and by the way, in 2008 when you were interviewing Patriots QB Tom Brady about what it would take for New England to beat the Jets? They were actually playing the Giants.

My Message for the Jets Organization…

OK boys, grow up. Like you have never seen a good looking woman before wearing inappropriate clothing. Instead of acting like a stereotypical idiot pro football player, act like a professional athlete. I know the bar has been set pretty low lately by your colleagues, but try to rise above it and act like adults. OK, she is a knockout. OK, she is dressing in order to get attention. Look beyond it and do your job instead of acting like a 12-year-old.

Like I said, they are both wrong. In the end, both sides want to be treated like professionals. Well how about acting like it. I know I will take some heat about “well, are you saying a rape victim ‘asked for it?'” Absolutely not. What I am saying is have your wits about you. I don’t walk down a dark alley alone. I don’t walk around the mall with my purse open. I don’t walk through a parking lot without my keys out, through my fingers without a clue where I parked. Don’t allow yourself to be in stupid situations and you will lower your chances of something stupid happening. Don’t dress like a tramp and you won’t be treated like one.

March 5, 2010

Does Anyone Really Care About the Oscars?

Filed under: Celebrity — alvb1227 @ 11:45 pm
Tags: ,

So, I’m watching the local news and I see teasers for the Oscars that takes place this Sunday. I used to watch them every so often when I was (much) younger, but in recent years, these awards shows hold little interest for me.

Let’s face it; people are loosing their jobs in record numbers, foreclosures are up and consumer confidence is down. Meanwhile, the self-absorbed Hollywood elite glam up in custom gowns and borrowed jewels to walk the red carpet and talk about themselves and their projects. In acceptance speeches, the average citizen is lectured about how we need to give and do more for those in our community who are less fortunate. They then go to opulent after parties and congratulate each other.

Seriously, does anyone really care? I really don’t need to be told that I should give back to my community, help those around me and worship Barack Obama  by these people when most of them are so far removed from real-life it is unreal. If you need to be told to be a positive influence on your community by celebrities, then you need more help than these people can supply.

So, I will not be watching the Oscars this Sunday. I feel there are much more important things to do.

February 20, 2010

Hold That Tongue, Tiger

Filed under: Celebrity,General Annoyances — alvb1227 @ 3:41 am
Tags: ,

OK, I am annoyed that I am even wasting my time with this, but like the blog says, “I have a gripe…”

Today Tiger Woods gave an apology/press conference regarding his numerous affairs. I did not see it, nor did I care to. In my opinion, this is a personal matter that should stay just that…personal. Yes, he has endorsements and is a celebrity, but I think we as a society on the whole is entirely too focused on celebrity. If he needs to make amends with his endorsement companies, then it is up to him to handle it with those companies.

When every major news show leads with this story and spends four or five minutes out of a 30 minute news show on this story, there is something seriously wrong. Does anyone know that the U.S. was working with the members of the U.N. Security Council on hard sanctions for Iran today? What about the interest rate increase? Not much time was devoted to those stories, that are far more important, in my opinion.

So I say to those who are overly-concerned with this whole Tiger mess, I say think about how important this really is in the grand scheme of life.

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