I Have a Gripe

June 25, 2017

The Plastic Predicament

Filed under: General Annoyances — alvb1227 @ 10:30 pm
Tags: ,

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!

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.

November 24, 2016

Make Thanksgiving a “Shop-Free” Zone

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

March 8, 2016

International Women’s Day -Whatever

So this morning when I logged into Facebook, I was welcomed with the following graphic:

intl-womens-day

<insert eye roll here>

I think days like this are completely bogus. And I’m sure I am going to annoy many of my fellow femme fatales. Let me explain why…

First, I don’t need a day to “celebrate” myself. You should value yourself every day. Second, you are lumping me in to a class that require special treatment and quotas. I hate quotas. I shouldn’t get something (a promotion, raise, job etc.) just because I am a woman. I should get something because I deserve it. You are insinuating that I need the help of someone else to make things happen. All it does is create animosity within a workplace.

I’ve worked in male-dominated fields my entire career. I expected nothing but what I deserve. If I didn’t get something, I would go in and fight for it. I never expected anything to be handed to me just because I am a woman. Have I worked harder than my male counterparts in some cases? Yes. Have I dealt with men who felt I didn’t belong there? Yes. Did I care? Absolutely not. I worked hard and let that speak for me.

Let me give you an example.

I worked on a help desk – generally a male-dominated field. One of my counterparts (a man) had obvious issues with me being a woman (the only woman at the time) in the group. I dealt with it for awhile. When I got sick of him, I didn’t complain to HR or cry discrimination. I cornered him and told him “welcome to America, you’re going to work with women – deal with it.” You know what? He came around and we wound up being great partners at the office. I stood up to him and I think he respected it.

That’s exactly what I’ve always done.

Here’s another example. While still working in IT, I used to support publishing processes. I loved it. I was good at it. Others knew it. Except for one male manager. He was known for not being very forward thinking when it came to women in roles of authority. Now, I wasn’t a manager, but I did have some level of authority. Again, I worked hard. I proved I knew what I was doing and had the knowledge to get the job done. One day when there was an issue he said to me “they should listen to you – you know better than anyone.”

Wow. Just wow. I won the guy over. I proved I knew my stuff. And that compliment from him meant more than he ever realized. And I didn’t need someone wagging their finger at him telling him to be fair. I did it on my own.

So what exactly is my point?

If a company has a boss, manager, etc. that has an issue with women, eventually he will be dealt with. He’ll have a hard time finding people to work for him. He’ll get his. Quotas don’t work with this guy. He’ll just resent them and make it even more difficult for those that are part of his team.

Some say “we need days like this for young girls.” I say absolutely not.

Again, what are we teaching them? Because you are a girl you should expect preferential treatment? No. Tough it out. Work hard. Prove yourself and be confident. Don’t rely on a quota – in college; in the workplace; in life.

So what should we as women do? Encourage each other. Support each other. Celebrate success and acknowledge failure. Personally, I have had more issues with women stabbing me in the back at the office than men. Men are good at the game. They help each other out. Generally women are so focused on getting ahead they don’t care who they step on or stab to get there. You want to know why men think women in the office are bitchy? That’s why.

And if you have kids? Don’t expect even more handed to you. You want to know what really grinds my gears – women who expect not only preferential treatment because they are a woman, but preferential treatment because they have kids. The built-in excuse. Can’t work late? Kids. Can’t take on an extra project? Kids. Then especially don’t complain when you get passed over for a raise or promotion. People used to tell me “well you don’t have kids, so you don’t know.” You’re right. I don’t have kids. I made that decision with my husband a long time ago. But that doesn’t mean I don’t have special circumstances. My answer used to be “well my grandmother is sick – should I wheel her in here like you do your kids?” Prepare for children. Yes, things happen, but it shouldn’t be an automatic excuse for everything. You want to be treated special because you are a woman and mother? Then don’t expect me to applaud you when you get something you don’t deserve because of a quota.

Can you tell I hate quotas?

Now are there situations when female-related issues need special attention? Yes. For example, insurance companies should cover reconstructive surgery for women with breast cancer. They should also, as they are now required to, allow women time in the hospital after childbirth. Both men and women should be allowed time home after childbirth. Beyond that? I can’t think of anything else, but I’m sure I’m missing something important along similar lines.

So my advice is simple. Be tough. Be strong. Be a woman. But don’t expect to be treated differently just because you are a woman.

January 3, 2015

Jim Rome – the True “Dork”

Filed under: General Annoyances,Marching Band,Music Education — alvb1227 @ 2:37 am
Tags:

Nothing gets my back up more than when music in school comes under attack. Well, it looks like another genius has shared a Tweet and learned the wrath of the band.

Jim Rome, host of “The Jim Rome Show” on CBS Sports Radio sent out the following Tweet yesterday.

Jim Rome
Oh yeah, that didn’t tick me off. Not at all.

Well, apparently I wasn’t the only one. He has received post after post with the hashtag #MarchOnRome to make sure it got his attention. Past and current band members, band parents, teachers let him know how displeased they were with his commentary.

What might be the best part is that he received a crushing blow from the Army Field Band.

Army BandI don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t mess with them.

The truth is that it takes great skill to not only play an instrument, but simultaneously march around a field and not get decapitated by someone twirling a flag in the color guard. To say these comments infuriated me is putting it mildly.

People like Mr. Rome are under the misconception that marching band is simply there to give football players a break during halftime. The reality is marching band is very competitive. When I was in marching band I took it very seriously and looked at the football games as prep for “the real deal.”

This is a clip that originally aired as part of the 1993 DCI World Championships broadcast. It is part of a study that was done by a professor at Indiana University to see the physical demands of a modern Drum & Bugle Corps show. They hooked up one of the tenor drummers to a device that monitored heart rate and oxygen intake and then had the corps do a full run of the entire show (approx 11 minutes). It originally aired as part of the 1993 DCI World Championships broadcast. During the test the whole second half clocked in at 192 BPM accelerating to 208. Star of Indiana made history with this show and it’s a great window into how physically demanding drum corps is. Fast forward to today, many colleges and high schools perform similarly demanding shows. It is serious work.

I am incredibly proud to be one of the so-called “dorks” Rome referred to in his tweet. As I mentioned in a previous post about a similar idiot, NEVER mess with the marching band. I’m sure Mr. Rome has learned that the hard way. You sir, are the dork. Sports programs are now the “be all, end all” they once were.

March 14, 2014

The Attempt to Ban “Bossy”

Filed under: Education,General Annoyances — alvb1227 @ 1:15 am
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“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names can never hurt me.”

That is a little rhyme many of us learn at a young age. Just about all of us were called names as children and sometimes that carry through to adulthood. Now, however, there is a constant barrage to homogenize the world in a sad attempt to protect children from, well, everything.

The latest attempt? To ban the word “bossy.”

This is the bright idea of Sheryl Sandberg. The reason? Because she feels it is a negative word toward girls and by middle school it reduces their self-confidence. I heard her tell a story that when she was a child one of her teachers pulled a friend of hers aside and suggest she no longer be friends with her because “she’s bossy.”

First of all, if that is what happened, that’s the teacher’s fault. That should not have been said.

Second, well, this could take awhile. Let me put on my feminazi hat for a moment.

For the most part, little girls are called “bossy.” They are trying to push their boundaries and have their voices heard. Historically, this is not an accepted behavior from girls. Think about it. When boys push their boundaries or act as extroverts, what are they called? “Boys being boys.” It is acceptable behavior.

Was I bossy as a kid? Probably. Am I bossy now? I don’t think so. Except now I’m an adult and generally for women, “bossy” turns into “bitchy” or “too aggressive.” Meanwhile, boys turn into “a strong leader” or “career-focused.” I do believe there is difference in how the genders are treated when they are children and it does affect how they progress.

But does that mean we should “ban” these words? Certainly not.

Instead, how about we teach children to stand up for themselves? How about teaching them “who cares what other people think?” By doing so, we would be empowering children to believe in themselves.

January 27, 2014

The NEW JERSEY Super Bowl

I love football. And even though my team isn’t in it this year (they were robbed by bad calls in Seattle), I was looking forward to watching the game taking place in my home state. Note the use of the word “was.” My gripe? The fact is everyone from advertisers, to the news media to the NFL seems to have forgotten that the game is actually in New Jersey – not New York.

From the moment I saw the logo with “NY” listed first, I knew we were in for an uphill battle. The Verizon commercial deciding if Terry Bradshaw or the little girl will go to New York sent my blood pressure to the stratosphere. And as much as I love Bradshaw, I turned off the post-game activity the moment he asked about how Seattle feels about going to New York.

Um, you realize if they go to New York they will miss the game, right?

The teams are landing in NEW JERSEY.

The teams are staying in NEW JERSEY.

The game is being played in NEW JERSEY.

New York is shutting down Broadway for a huge NFL/Superbowl event. Meanwhile, the parties in New Jersey were denied use of the logo by NFL.

Seriously?

As expected, New York will gain the majority of the financial windfall that comes with hosting a Super Bowl, meanwhile, New Jersey will get stuck paying the bill for security and logistics. It reminds me of co-hosting a party where one person does all the work and the other person, just because he or she is an extrovert, gets all the credit. Meanwhile, you’re out a ton of money and are stuck cleaning vomit out of the carpet.

Just like Rodney Dangerfield often said, “no respect.”

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