He’s A Good Man, That Dale Hansen.

26 Feb

As a person who grew up in the Boston area, I think I am like most locals when I say that ever since I can remember caring about sports, I was a fan of Bob Lobel. He was a rockstar sportscaster, who was the #1 guy in town. WBZ TV was his home, and almost the entire region tuned in to get their sports rundown from him every night at 6 and 11. He was tight with all the best athletes in town and was single handedly responsible for one of the most iconic photographs in Boston sports. The Ted, Bobby and Larry photo. Nobody could hold a candle to his popularity in the city of Boston. He was TV royalty.

In 2001, my soon to be wife moved to Massachusetts. Not long after her arrival I was watching the late news with her one night. They came back from commercial and Bob Lobel came on to do the sports. I remember her saying that he seemed almost disinterested in his reporting. Although I tried to defend him, and give her a history lesson about who he was and about his status in the city of Boston, I couldn’t help but notice the accuracy in her assessment. He did seem disinterested. He still had the snarky personality that he was known for, but something was different. I typically didn’t watch the news to get my sports info anymore, because there were so many other avenues to do so, but I watched him a few more times over the next couple of weeks and nothing changed. He really was disinterested. What had happened to Bob Lobel? He used to be a god. Then it hit me. That was the reason. He USED to be a god. Now he lived in a world in which his 8 minutes, at the end of every broadcast, had been reduced to 3 because he was no longer the only source for sports news in Boston. He was a relic, and he knew it. Just a guy going through the motions. My wife and I began watching him more often just to laugh at the utter distain he seemed to have for what he was doing. It almost appeared as though he was doing it on purpose. Knowing him, he probably was. Either way, this wasn’t the guy who commanded your attention, as he did for so many years. His mojo was gone.

In 2008, our clan decided to move to my wife’s hometown area of Dallas. Shortly after settling into our new place, we were watching the late news, and when it got to the sports segment, this Brian Dennehy look alike named Dale Hansen came on the TV. I distinctly remember my wife saying that he was the Bob Lobel of Dallas. A long time figure in the local sports world, and a rockstar in his own right. I found myself interested in what he had to say because I thought he would be a good source for me to acclimate to the Dallas sports scene. I just hoped that he was a little more happy to be doing his job than the ex-rockstar I had left behind.

It wasn’t long before I began really liking Dale Hansen. He was witty and engaging, and most definitely NOT disinterested. Over the next couple of years I learned that he was one of the key people who uncovered the slush fund scandal at SMU, during the Pony Express days, which led to the only “Death Penalty” in NCAA history. It also led to a Peabody Award for distinguish journalism. Those are the kinds of things that lead to bigger and better job offers, but if there were any, he clearly turned them down, because he remained at WFAA. Much like Bob Lobel, he had his Sunday Sports special and his charity work, but all the years behind the desk, and decreased face time, hadn’t changed his demeanor or commitment at all. In fact, he may be better now than ever before, because he did something that my hometown guy didn’t do…………. he evolved.

He evolved his game by taking the time to occasionally inject some social commentary into his reports. Not every night. Maybe not even once a week, but when he did it it became much watch television. So much so, that when one of his commentaries centered around Michael Sam, the video went viral, and led to an appearance on Ellen.

Most recently, he tackled an incident involving racism at a high school basketball game. He could have been content to just share his thoughts on the topic, but he chose to also share his own personal experience as a child raised by a racist father, and how some of that racism rubbed off on him as a young man. He wanted to make it clear how easy it is to fall into the same patterns as your parents, but that it doesn’t mean you can’t change. HE clearly did, and he wanted it to be clear that others could too. It was insightful and eloquent. His commentaries always are, and its awesome to watch.

I didn’t write this to bash on Bob Lobel, because he will always be a favorite of mine, and I know that there are probably a lot of ex-rockstar sportscasters, in major markets all over the country, who have become a little disenfranchised with their diminished roles on the news, due to all the other ways we are able to get our information. I get that, and I am not judging any of them. I really wrote this to shine a light on a man who clearly chose to create a new path for his limited air time. A path that could occasionally help a likely more testosterone filled group of viewers, take a couple minutes of their day to think about some big picture issues, while still wrapping it around a sports topic. He has done that magnificently, and for that I say thank you, Dale Hansen. You are a joy to watch, and you are STILL a rockstar.

My Open Letter To The New England Patriots

29 Jan

Here you are again. Another NFL season comes to an end, and the best organization in the league is making another trip to the Superbowl. It just seems like business as usual for you guys. Hell, for those under the age of 25, this is all they have ever known about your franchise. Steady success and constant relevance. A nice combination, but I don’t think most of them know how you got here.

It all started in the early 90’s with your ‘original’ 3 headed monster of Kraft, Parcells and Bledsoe. A man that loved the Patriots so much, that he decided to buy the team. He then hired a coach that was one of the greatest coaches ever, who then drafted the best quarterback the team had ever had. Since that time, the 3 have morphed into the ‘current’ trifecta of Kraft (The best owner in the league), Belichick (The greatest coach of all time) and Brady (The greatest quarterback ever). Over that 20+ seasons, no team in the NFL has more regular season OR post season wins than the boys from Foxboro. Your team has won 14 AFC East titles. Has had 16 playoff appearances. 10 AFC Championship appearances, and 7 Superbowl trips, with 3 wins. You have had an unprecedented 25 year run, but it wasn’t always this way.

I remember the days when the Patriots found new and inventive ways to lose games. The term ‘typical Patriots’ was one that every fan of the team used frequently. Yeah, I know we loved the guys who played for you back then. Grogan, Mosi, Hannah, Tippett, Morgan, Fryer, James, Babe, Cunningham, Nance, Gino, Nick, Russ and many others, but those players could never put together any sustained success. Y’all got lucky in 1985, and all the stars aligned, but nobody cares about a 1 hit wonder. Especially when you got destroyed in the big game. Tony Eason became the scapegoat for a team that had zero chance of winning the Superbowl that year. I don’t think the fans even had the courage to utter the words ‘maybe next year’ back in those days because we never expected anything new the next year. However, we still remained faithful.

I remember not being able to see half your games every year because they were blacked out. Sullivan/Shaeffer Stadium was not selling out in those days, so all we got to watch was your away games. Considering you were usually pretty bad, we were almost assured of seeing a loss. Unfortunately, you didn’t just lose games, you made an art form out of it. It was so difficult to get excited about watching you play, if you were on that week, but for some reason we did. All the while hoping that things would finally turn around, and that your team would start to get better. In 1993, all that hope and faith began to pay off, and we haven’t looked back since.

However, there have been some bumps in the road along the way. Tuna’s departure. Multiple high profile player releases. A video taping violation. An excellent player turned murderer, and the latest scandal of deflated footballs. Throughout all of these incidents, the fan base has remained steadfast in their support of your team. “In Bill We Trust.” No matter how much the fans have been upset with any of these things, we repeatedly saw that the decisions being made in Foxboro were always true to the mantra, “We’re gonna do what’s best for the team”, and you know what? They always have been. No compromises. To that I say thank you.

However, today I think I speak for all of Patriots Nation when I say this. Enough of the close games in the Superbowl. We are tired of biting our friggin’ nails to the bone because there are 2 minutes left and it’s a 3 point freakin’ game. Can you please go out there on Sunday and just do to the Seahawks what you did to the Colts. Seriously! I don’t want to hear another word about the Legion of Boom. They had the luckiest win in the history of the NFC Championship. Probably the 2nd luckiest win in playoff history, next to the Giants beating you when you were undefeated. They were getting smoked by the Packers, and couldn’t score against a defense that isn’t nearly as good as yours. This game could potentially to be your last shot for awhile, so why make it hard on yourself, or the fans. Please just put this team away early, and don’t take your foot off the gas for any reason. New Englanders have always had your back, and will always defend you against all criticism, but we need some new bullets in our gun. So how ’bout it. Get out there on Sunday, whoop some ass, and DO YOUR JOB!!!

An Open Letter To Jerry Jones

6 Oct

You will never get the credit. Ever. The sooner you realize that, the better off you’ll be for it.

I have dreaded this day for a long time. The day I would admit that “deep down, in places you don’t talk about at parties”, I want the Cowboys to be good again, and I want to be able to root for them again. It kills me to type those words because I have spent the last 20 years hating on them so much. Hating like a scorned lover, because that’s what I was. A long time fan that was slapped in the face by an owner who put his ego above winning, and since that decision, hasn’t won a damn thing. You have to love the irony. I know I do.

From the time I was around 8 years old(1978), I have been a football fan. Back in those days there were 2 things that were certain. The Patriots weren’t that good, and the Cowboys were awesome. I always rooted for my hometown boys, above all else, but my next favorite team was the Dallas Cowboys. Glitz and Glam. America’s Team. Tony Dorsett. Drew Pearson. Tony Hill. Randy White. Harvey Martin. Ed ‘Too Tall’ Jones, and of course, Roger Staubach. Even thinking about it now I realize I knew more players on the Cowboys than I did the Patriots. They had just come off a Super Bowl title, and they were likely every kids 2nd favorite team. Much like the Bulls of the 90’s were able to get so many lifelong fans, the Cowboys did the same thing. When you are a kid, you like winners, and when your hometown team isn’t one of them, some of your attention gravitates towards the teams that are. For me, that was Dallas.

For the first 7 years they were a playoff caliber team, even though they weren’t having a great deal of post-season success. The next 5 years things began to decline, and the writing was on the wall about the aging Tom Landry. He was 65 years old, and the coat and fedora were only a few years younger. In February of 1989, you bought the franchise and it was clear right away that Landry wasn’t part of the future for your team. As a fan, I also thought maybe it was time to move on from him. Although the idea of the team without Landry at the helm was not one that made me happy, I knew it had to be done. Shortly thereafter, Tom was out (unceremoniously) and Jimmy Johnson was in. This would be the first time where you would look very bad, in my eyes. You don’t dismiss one of the greatest coaches in history the way you did. Interestingly enough, moving on from great coaches is the one thing you actually are good at.

So, Jimmy takes over and orchestrates the greatest trade in the history of the NFL. I say Jimmy, because there is not a single person on Earth who believes you did anything more than approve a deal that a REAL football mind had put together. This trade is without question the single biggest factor in the success of the franchise in the early 90’s. Combined with no salary cap and a great coach, the team was going to be a dynasty for a decade. That was until your ego got in the way of what was best for the team. Just like that, Jimmy walked. All because you wanted more ‘credit’.

For the next 8 seasons it was a parade of bad coaches and worse draft picks. Does Ebenezer Ekuban ring any bells? 20th pick overall? Are you kidding me? Imagine how nice it would have been to get Antoine Winfield, 3 picks later. Dude is still playing, for crying out loud. Anyway, after all the failures, you decided to get smart and hire a great coach and talent evaluator. Bill Parcells came in, with the ability to ‘pick the groceries’, and it appeared as if you had decided to let the professionals handle things. Unfortunately, it would only last a couple of years, and the decision to overrule Bill Parcells on the DeMarcus Ware pick in 2005, was your downfall. You had finally given control of player personnel decisions over to a REAL football mind, but in the 2005 draft you really wanted Ware, and you forced Bill to take him. Smartly I might add. If you had just left it at that and quietly reveled in the greatness of that pick, all would have been fine. However, the thought that you may be a better GM than Parcells started to creep in and as soon as the Tuna realized it, he was out. The man who had delivered 2 playoff trips in 4 seasons, and had a ridiculous resume’, just walked.

Now you were right back where you wanted to be. In total control. Well, let me tip you into something that every other person that follows football already knows. Every owner in professional sports is in total control. As owner, you will ALWAYS have the ability to overrule a decision by someone (coach) who works for you. The real trick is to hire people who do the job so well you would never think there was a need to question it. In any business, results (wins) are the simplest barometer as to whether the employee is doing their job well. The only problem with you is that ‘owner’ Jerry won’t fire the GM. Although, if the GM was anybody but you, they would have been gone years ago. I truly believe that you would rather be average for another 20 years, as long as when the 2034 Cowboys win the Super Bowl, you get all the ‘credit’. Well, guess what?

You will never get the credit. Ever. The sooner you come to grips with that, the better off you’ll be for it.

Here’s what you fail to realize Jerry. Nobody likes you anymore, so the idea of giving you credit for anything goes against the fabric of human nature. There is nothing people hate more than someone who craves adulation. Especially as much as you do. It’s not a desirable personality trait. You’re everywhere. Pre and post game press conferences. Radio shows. Commercials. Always in need of attention. Remind me again how many other NFL owners are in front of the camera as much as you. That’s easy. NONE. Even fellow Dallas sports owner Mark Cuban has less of an ego than you, and that’s really saying something. However, your real problem is your need to be recognized for something that you don’t deserve to be recognized for. Jimmy is responsible for your titles in the 90’s, and there is nothing you can do to convince us otherwise. NOTHING! So stop trying. Your trades, contract signings, player evaluations, head coach choices and draft picks, since Jimmy left, are all the proof anyone needs to know you are not a good GM. The last few years you have made much better draft picks, but everyone knows that Stephen is the reason. You wanted to draft Johnny Clipdoard, but he talked you out of it. Thank god. In case you haven’t noticed, you have a pro-bowl QB already, who’s playing great this year because he has a great offensive line that Stephen made you draft. So again, you’re not getting the ‘credit’.

If you really want ‘credit’ for something, it should be your business sense. You’re brilliant in that field. You’d have to be to have the most valuable franchise in the NFL when your team has been a .500 team over the last 20 years. Now, that takes pure genius, and in the field of marketing and promoting, you have it in spades. On the field of play, however, you do not. Clearly this drives you crazy, and definitely clouds your judgement about on field decisions. So is the mind of an ego-maniac. You make sure that the world of the Cowboys revolves around you. Well, let me ask you this. How many NFL fans know who the GM of the Seahawks is? or the Saints? Trust me, hardly anyone, and they have rings…….recently. So, even if you take away the fact that Jimmy gets all the ‘credit’ for the titles, and Stephen gets all the ‘credit’ for the recent draft picks, when are you going to face the fact that even if you make ALL the decisions for your team, and you win a title, nobody cares who the GM is. NOBODY!! What people do know is who OWNS the championship team. Just ask Bob Kraft. A man who pays people who know football, to win games, while he sits up in his suite and counts hundred dollar bills, and never looks to get any ‘credit’. Yet, that’s exactly what he gets, while you are on your knees begging for it.

Well, guess what…………

You will never get the credit. Ever. The sooner you come to grips with that, the better off you’ll be for it, so “Get off your knees, Louie.”

I Gotta Tip For Ya, Right Here

23 Jun

What is it going to take for us to change the manner in which we tip are waiters and waitresses? It is such a broken system, and I cannot believe it is still in use, in its current form. What I really can’t figure out is why anyone thought it made sense to begin with. I know on the surface it seems logical, but when you dig a little deeper you realize it’s completely ludicrous.

First of all, in case you don’t actually know, all servers pay taxes based on a 15% gratuity of total sales for every meal check they handle for the entire year. That means if a server works five nights a week, and every night does $500 worth of checks, then at the end of the year they have $130,000 in sales. Their taxes owed would then be based on total hourly wage, which in most of America is still below $5/hr, plus 15% of $130,000($19,500). Assuming this is their full-time job, they don’t work overtime and they are actually lucky enough to make $5/hr(unlikely), then they will be paying taxes on roughly $30,000. That is about $4000 in federal tax alone. Depending on where they live, they could pay another $1000 in state tax. Of course the taxes on their hourly pay will come out of their paycheck, but that would likely only take care of about 30% of the total. Maybe they have a few tax credits, and/or dependents, that take the total down a little more, but in the end, they have a low paying job that forces them to write a 4 figure check every year to the government, based on the assumption that they actually received the amount of money that society has deemed appropriate for their services. Them’s the facts!!!

Now for the lunacy.

Let’s say the server works at an above average restaurant. Not as nice as Morton’s or Del Frisco’s, but better than Olive Garden. A $35-$40 a plate type establishment. One lovely evening our server has a table right next to a table that belongs to another server. 2 couples walk through the door at exactly the same time. 1 couple sits at our servers table, and the “other” couple sits at the other servers table. Both servers couples order the exact same meals. Both men get the filet mignon with a side of asparagus, although our servers guy is the only one who actually knows how to order a properly cooked steak. Rare of course. Both wives get the roast duck with a loaded baked potato. Identical beers and wines for drinks, and the night has begun. The service provided by both servers is superb throughout the meals. After our couples have finished their dinners, and 3 drinks each, they both order the double chocolate fudge brownie thingy that everyone raves about. Up until this point both couples are looking at a check in the neighborhood of $150, but one thing changes everything. The “other” couple just happens to be celebrating their 20th anniversary and “doesn’t know how a steak is supposed to be cooked” guy decides to end the night by splurging on a $500 bottle of the best champagne they have. Before this extra order was made, both servers had been taking equally terrific care of their customers for nearly an hour, and were on pace to receive a tip in and around $30, assuming that both couples aren’t jackasses who only tip 15%, but now through no fault of their own, the server of the “other” couple, who has now been burdened with the extremely difficult job of retrieving said bottle and 2 clean glasses, just watched their tip skyrocket up to around $130. What the what??? That shit ain’t fair. Our server got fucked by the dumb bitch greeter who could have sat them at our table. But wait……maybe our server actually lucked out, because “doesn’t know how a steak is supposed to be cooked” guy turns out to be an ass-munch who’s had too much to drink, and his UBER car is outside waiting for him, so in his rush to go home and get the sex he only gets once a month, he only leaves a $60 tip. You may say, “but Jeff, She still got an extra $30 for doing next to nothing.” Ah yes, this is true. And I kind of agree. However, the big boys at the IRS don’t give a shit! 15% of a $650 bill is $102, and that server will have to pay the taxes on it. In other words, one way or another a server gets fucked. That’s bullshit all around.

Now I know that most people agree that servers generally don’t get paid enough. A lot of people think we should follow the lead of the 8 states that require tipped servers to be paid federal hourly minimum wage($7.25). Admittedly, that would be great, but it still doesn’t address the bigger issue, which is the tipping itself. I am in no way in favor of eliminating tipping, I just believe we should completely change the system of how we do it, and it has less to do with what a customer can afford to spend and more to do with the labor the server actually does. Although the above example is an extreme case, it is still not right. Furthermore, I have just as much of a problem with 2 people eating at a cheap diner for an hour and having a $30 bill, and even if they tip 25%, the server only gets $7.50. Did our non-champagne server above work 4 times harder in that 1 hour than our cheap diner server. No way. I’m not against servers working in nicer establishments to make more money, I’m just against the server in the diner making so little because of a system that bases your labor worth on how much the customer can afford to spend on a meal. I can tell you without reservation, that if I eat a 30 minute lunch alone in a cheap diner, and my bill is only $9, there is ZERO chance that I will only tip $1.35. Are you friggin’ kidding me. I think 30 minutes of a servers time is worth more than that. I’m sure most of you would agree. So here’s how we fix it. Hold on to your hats because this might seem a little complicated at first, but try and follow along and we’ll get there.

For starters, all tipping will be included in your bill and it will be based on the price range of the dinner menu, because it is all relative to the rest of the menu. Restaurants will be given a grade based on those prices. For the sake of this blog, we’ll call it $ to $$$$. If 80% of your dinner entrees are under $10(IHOP), than you get $. Under $20(Chili’s) gets you $$. Under $40(Longhorn Steakhouse) gets you $$$ and if 80% of your dinner menu entrees exceed $40(Ruth’s Chris) than you get a $$$$ rating. Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s see the rest of the system.

The number of people in your party, the amount of time you are there, plus the restaurant rating, determine the tip. Time will be assessed in 15 minute increments, but to prevent stalling by the server, only the first 15 minutes are a given. The remaining time is from when the dinner ticket is received by the cooks until the customer pays. With the exception of the cheap diners, all this stuff is done on computers now, so this is easy to track. A 4 minute grace period will be allowed. 49 minutes is 45, but 50 is 60. $ rating is $1 per person, per 15 minutes. $$ is $1.50. $$$ is $2 and $$$$ is $3. That 30 minute cheap diner $9 bill gets a $2 tip(22%). 2 people at the same cheap diner with $23 bill and the server gets $4. Still 17%, but if said couple stays for 35 minutes it becomes $6(26%). Conversely, a party of 4 that goes to Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse for 90 minutes and drops $1000, isn’t on the hook to tip the server $150 or more. Nope. My system, she gets $72. Still a very worthy tip for 90 minutes of work. Mainly because a NORMAL meal there is usually in the $100 per person range, and that would garner a tip around $60-$80. Just because they bought some expensive wine (see above) doesn’t warrant a doubling of her tip. A server at Chili’s in the same scenario would get $48. Doesn’t that seem like a far more fair differential for 2 people doing virtually the same job? I think so. Again, I hear ya saying, “but Jeff. The server at Ruth’s Chris now loses $80 or more. That’s bullshit!” Well let me retort. Bullshit is the disparity between how much a 15-20% tip for the server is, at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, versus the server at Outback Steakhouse. Is the service better at Ruth’s Chris? Probably. Not 10 to 20 times better. The girl at the better place deserves to make more, but not that much more. Additionally, I’m not saying that customers cannot still leave more if they want to. Feel free. My way just keeps it simple and provides a slightly more balanced field for EVERYONE in the service industry, and as an added bonus, the money is in the servers check with the taxes already taken out, which means no check to the tax man. Hell, you’ll probably get a refund, and who doesn’t like those?

In the end, this is just one man’s, potentially life changing, way to fix tipping in the service industries. No more trying to calculate in your head and fuckin’ up. No more gettin’ stiffed by the customer who did fuck up. No more checks to the tax man. More balance as a whole for servers at all restaurants and the best perk of all is knowing that if you still actually leave a cash tip on the table, everyone will automatically know that you’re a good tipper, and admit it……..you looooove lookin’ good to strangers.

My Open Letter To #2

31 Mar

Oh, how I wanted to hate you.

Oh, how I wanted to see you get hurt.

Oh, how I wanted your team to lose. ALWAYS!!

Oh, how I wanted to…………

Oh, who am I kidding!!!

It’s time to quit being in denial and just admit it.

Oh, how I wish you had played for the Red Sox.

    I have been a die hard Sox fan since birth and an equally committed Yankee hater. I remember being a little kid and watching the local 9 on TV every Friday night on channel 38. Back when there was no NESN and you couldn’t watch every game. So it was always a big deal to sit down with my Dad and watch Jim Rice, Dwight Evans, and Carl Yastrzemski kick ass against whoever their opponent was that week. They were my sports heroes. The guys I wanted to grow up to be. Conversely, the Yankees were the enemy. A team with players like Reggie Jackson, Don Mattingly, and Dave Winfield. Dudes I friggin’ despised. There wasn’t enough bad shit in the world that could happen to this team, or these guys. Especially Jackson. Probably my most hated pinstriper of all time.

    As I got older, and wiser, my “hero worship” understandably faded and was replaced by respect. This respect was not just reserved for Red Sox players either. It carried over to virtually every solid, gritty player in the league, no matter which team they played for. Well, except for the Yankee players, of course. Those guys all sucked, as far as I was concerned. They were all lucky. Pure and simple. Fortunately, from the mid 80’s to the mid 90’s, the years when I was really learning all the in’s and out’s of the game, they weren’t especially dominant, so I never had to suffer through repeated post seasons. That all ended in 1996.

    Along came Joe Torrey. Big deal. Who the hell is he? I didn’t even know he used to be a player. Oh well, who cares. The Yankees need more than a new manager. They haven’t won shit in years. All their most well known players are gone and the new players are nothing special. “Oh, you got a rookie SS that’s supposed to be real good? Laddy-freakin-da!!!! We got a guy comin’ up next year that is waaaaay bettah.” That pretty much summed it up for me, and likely all Bostonians. “Suck it, Jeter” was about to be a new favorite chant of mine, and I couldn’t wait. If our guys name wasn’t Garciaparra I would have made so much fun of that name…. JETER???…….DER!!!

    Seasons came and seasons went and the Yankees were winning titles. All the while, that guy Jeter just went out on the field, game after game, year after year, and played his ass off. Consistently doing his job well, and in the most crucial situations, doing his job better than anyone else in the game. If the Yanks were in need of a big hit, there was nobody they wanted up to bat more than him. NOBODY. Bases loaded with 1 out for your team? Don’t hit it anywhere near Jeter. No matter how deep in the hole you hit it, it won’t be enough. EVER!! Although I have always believed that he was overrated defensively, he wasn’t when the money was on the line. Then he was Ozzie freaking Smith.

    I could fill this blog with all his accomplishments, but I won’t, because the list would be exceedingly long. I will mention a few though. 1996 AL ROY. 5X World Champ. WS MVP. 13X All-Star. 5X Silver Slugger Award winner. 5X Gold Glove winner. .312 career AVG. (7th in NYY history). 3316 Hits. (most in NYY history and 9th all time). However, all these stats, and the many I didn’t cover, pale in comparison to what type of leader and class act he was. I have said on many occasions that he was overrated as a SS, underrated as a hitter, but perfectly rated as a captain. He couldn’t have fulfilled that role any better and I don’t think there is a knowledgeable baseball fan out there that would dispute that. With that said, I will end this by repeating what I said at the beginning of this blog………..

    I am a huge Derek Jeter fan, and the only thing I hate about him is the fact that he forced me to like a Yankee player. Damn you, Jeter!!      Jeter?????…….. DER.

An Open Letter to the Republican Party

7 Feb

In 1988 I turned 18 and was able to vote for the first time. Like most young, first time voters, I really didn’t know a damn thing about the politics of the time. Quite honestly, I really didn’t care. I was 18. I only knew what I heard around the house, or the very little information I got from tv. All I knew was that everybody friggin’ loved Ronald Reagan and that the Republican nominee was his Vice President, George Bush. (That’s George Bush, without the H.W., because before his son became President nobody cared about that ‘middle name’ bullshit.) As I lived in Massachusetts, Michael Dukakis was a name I had also heard many times. Unfortunately, it was usually in a negative manner. I couldn’t tell you now what that negative info was, but I knew I had heard it. Therefore, it was very clear to me that I was going to help keep the Reagan train going and give my support to the Republican nominee. Bush got my vote based on this very naïve criteria. Low and behold, he won the election and I thought I was a genius. To this day, I am still happy with that vote.

In the year or so leading up to the 1992 election my knowledge about the politicians was definitely better, but hardly good. I was somewhat satisfied with Bush, but as a 21 year old I was finding him a little old and not completely in touch with my way of thinking. Then along comes this younger, more charismatic politician, who I could relate to more. Popping up on a new MTV show called Rock-The-Vote, he was talking to young people about what was important to them. Wait? What? You want to know what I think? How cool. The next thing you know he is playing the saxophone on The Arsenio Hall Show. Holy shit! This dude is awesome. Of course, it is completely ridiculous to base a vote for President solely on whether you think a candidate is ‘hip’, but at 21 years old it was definitely playing a major factor. I had officially decided the man for the job was Bill Clinton, and he got my vote. Low and behold, he won the election and I thought I was a genius. To this day, I am still happy with this vote

4 years later we were at it again. This election was hardly what I would call a difficult decision. The Republican nominee was just another old white guy with a messed up hand who talked weird, and the incumbent was the ever so cool William Jefferson Clinton. (Oh yeah. He had earned middle name status by now.) There isn’t too much I can say about this one. Clinton had my vote all day. Low and behold, he won the election and I knew I was a genius, and yes, I am still happy with this vote. ;-)

As the election of 2000 drew near, and the nominees were set, I had fully planned on using the same formula I had used for my very 1st election. Keep the Clinton train rolling and vote for Al Gore. However, something strange happened on the way to the election. I didn’t really like him. He seemed like a nice enough guy, with great ideas, but he was so damn dull and boring. Meanwhile, the Republican nominee was kind of a ‘one of us’ type of guy. He was a little dopey, but he was also witty and normal. Again, someone a little more relatable for the average citizen. When it came time to cast my ballot, it went to George W. Bush. (This is when all the ‘middle name’ bullshit started) Low and behold, he won the election (because of his brother, Jeb) and I was again, a genius. I am still happy with this vote………barely.

Then came 2004. The country was still recovering emotionally from the events of 9/11, and the man who had been President during the whole ordeal had acted exactly the way every American wanted him act. He took the fight to the bad guys, and put the world on notice that “If you weren’t with us, you were against us!” We applauded him for being a little bit of a cowboy, because we all wanted revenge. This was his badge of honor (and we fell for it. Hook, line and sinker). To me, it didn’t matter who the other guy was (Kerry), I was voting for the badass who was taking no shit. Low and behold, he won the election and I thought I was a genius. I was not. I am not happy about this vote. Not one bit!

Now we get to 2008. The year of Hope & Change. As much as I was pissed about the Bush years, I was still willing to at least give a Republican a chance to redeem the party…….barely. Admittedly, I was pretty confident that I would vote Democrat in this election, but I wasn’t completely closed minded about it. As much as I liked Barack Obama, I was also skeptical of his experience. He was smart as a whip, and said all the right things, but I still had my reservations. That was until the Republican nominee, John McCain, picked his running mate. Sarah Palin? Are you fucking kidding me? I would have been a better choice than this woman. This, in my opinion, is the day the train officially went off the tracks for the Republican party. I don’t care what bullshit story they want to tell you, this choice was made solely as an attempt to garner favor with all the female independent voters who were disappointed when Hilary Clinton didn’t get the Democratic nomination. This was the single biggest factor in decision to vote for Obama. Low and behold, he won the election and I was a genius yet again. Although I am not completely thrilled with all his decisions, I am still happy with this vote.

Then comes the most recent election in 2012. An election that I am fully up to speed on. I know the candidates. I know their platforms. I also know the distain that now exists between the parties. Nobody wants to help anybody. Although I believe Mitt Romney to be as good a man as a politician can be (let’s face it, they all suck), he has unfortunately been hijacked by the extremists (Tea Party) of his party, and is running on a platform that is completely dictated by an utterly out of touch group of morons. For crying out loud, his incumbent opponent passed the most comprehensive health reform law in history, based almost entirely on his own successful plan in Massachusetts, and after applauding the bill he was forced to rail against it because showing any confidence in President Blacula was against EVERYTHING the Tea Party stood for. For 4 years the Republicans spent every waking moment trying to find a way to make Obama a one term President, instead of actually doing their jobs and trying to make the United States a better place. In the end, all the mud slinging and scandal creating just made the Republicans look weak. As did all the religion based ignorance towards abortion and gay marriage. Naturally, my vote went to re-elect President Obama. Low and behold, he won the election. An election, that in my opinion, was a far bigger victory than becoming the first black President. This victory said that most Americans DID NOT believe all the bullshit that was coming from the right, because if they did he would have NEVER won. Instead, he destroyed Romney, and I am a genius yet again. Do you see a pattern here? I am still extremely happy with this vote.

Now you might ask yourself why I spent so much time describing every election I have had the chance to vote in. I did so to make the point that I have ALWAYS been an Independent voter. In case you didn’t notice, I have voted in 7 Presidential elections and my votes have gone R, D, D, R, R, D, D. I picked all the winners by the way. How many of you out there, who constantly talk shit about Obama, and how he is the worst President ever, can say they have voted half their elections for the Democratic nominee? Probably not many. Well guess what? I support our President, and with the exception of the 2004 re-election of George W. Bush, I have zero problem with the votes I cast for previous Republican Presidents. However, as long as the Republican party continues down the road they are on, I will NEVER vote for their party again. Furthermore, I will tell you exactly why they will not see the White House ever again if they don’t wise up. The reason is simple: Civil liberties.

Virtually every American agrees that our government is broken. We spend too much on shit we shouldn’t, and we spend too little on shit we desperately need. The deficit is crazy. The budget is crazy. The fiscal cliff is crazy. Everything to do with money is crazy. Both parties agree on this, and both sides have differing opinions on how to fix it. It makes no difference what ‘team’ your on, all Americans want these problems fixed……..immediately! But here’s where the real problem is for the Tea Party run, Republican party. Listen close, righties, because this is the only info you need if you want any chance of winning a Presidential election ever again. Forget about all that budget shit and start getting yourself on the right side of the civil liberties issues, because this is the main reason you are losing in the big dance. No matter how much a candidate, or party, thinks they have the solution for budget or deficit issues, most of the American people really have no idea who’s plan will really work. This is because it is far too big for any average person to understand, and people just end up endorsing the plan set forth by ‘their’ party. However, the one thing the average American does understand is when one party wants to deny their gay uncle the right to get married, or their wife/daughter the right to an abortion. These are real world things that average Americans DO understand and DO base their votes on. Until you start getting on the right side of the issues that real Americans can relate to, you have no chance of holding the highest office in the land ever again. Stop letting ultra-rightwing, religious nuts, dictate your platforms. I have always appreciated being an Independent voter because I have never been bound by any one party. This is the way every person in this country should be. To me, anyone who considers themselves a staunch Republican or Democrat, is only a staunch moron. No party has it right all the time. Sometimes one side has the answers and sometimes the other side does. But while voters are trying to decide who has it right in 2016, the one thing that can be a deal breaker is when you are promoting something that most Americans understand completely and don’t agree with. All the rest is just white noise. I would greatly appreciate it if you would get your heads out of your asses, tell the Tea Party to fuck off, and start getting back to debating the things we all need to understand better and just agree to agree on the things that most Americans already want in the first place. You are your own worst enemy right now, and I am tired of having only one choice.

 

 

Blowing Off Some Steam.

12 Nov

Man, do I have some shit I need to get off my chest, and it’s not politics, religion or sports. It’s political correctness, and it’s making me insane. I’m not talking about crap like calling an Asian woman, Oriental, which you shouldn’t do by the way, or the insanity of the over-offended women calling for Conan O’Brien’s head over a Muslim superhero tweet last week. No! What I’m tired of is the shit that society has convinced everybody is not cool and we have just accepted, or the things that the vocal minority complain about and we just give in to, all the while filling up our drool cups in our ever expanding vanilla lives. It has gotten out of control and I can’t take it anymore. So grab a glass of something. Light a little something else. Take a seat and buckle up, ’cause I got some not-so-politically correct shit to say.

First up:

I’m tired of hearing that “real beauty is on the inside”. That’s bullshit. Feelings, emotions, and concerns for your fellow man are on the inside. Beauty is PRIMARILY something you can see with your eyes. Inner beauty is a politically correct term used to make the less physically beautiful people of the world feel better about themselves. I’m not saying that inner beauty is not important or that the media doesn’t portray an unrealistic image of what women should look like, because they do. I’m just saying that society has somehow decided that wanting to be more beautiful is somehow shallow, and that it shouldn’t matter. Listen, I fully understand that if Jessica Beal was a complete racist bitch, I would find her slightly less appealing, but it wouldn’t change the fact that she would still be smokin’ hot. Conversely, Madeline Albright may be the awesomest, most amazingly wonderful, sugar plum fairy caring person on Earth, but she is still ugly as hell. Beauty is a tangible thing. We need not know what is on the inside of a rose to know it is beautiful, so why are people any different? What, because we don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings? Really? The only reason people’s feeling get hurt in the first place is because they have become softer due to the fact that we don’t let anyone hurt their feelings anymore. Ya feel me? Moreover, talking about what makes a woman ‘look’ beautiful has become a no-no for men, in exactly the same way that a white person cannot use the N word, but black people can. Women can talk about it all they want, but the second a man says that a woman could look better if she changed ‘this’, he becomes a sexist. “A woman doesn’t have to change her appearance for a man” is usually the quick response. This statement is absolutely correct. Disingenuous, but correct. I don’t have to lose weight to get a woman, but the pool from which I have to choose from will certainly increase if I am in better shape. While the ugly people of the world cry about inner beauty, and the ‘politically correct’ gorgeous people of the world agree, the simple fact is this……If you could snap your fingers right now and look like Giselle, Beyonce or J-Lo or Brad Pitt, George Clooney or Shamar Moore, you would do it in a New York second, and you’re a liar or a hater or if you say otherwise. I understand that there is more to a person than what’s on the outside, but stop acting like what is on the outside can’t be improved. When 2 people stand next to each, and you can clearly tell that one is more beautiful than the other, it doesn’t make someone an asshole for recognizing it. It also means it is ok to say that Kate Hudson looks much better now that she FINALLY got implants. Get over it!!!!

Next up:

I am tired of the non-racists of the world, the level headed folk if you will, feeling the need to go over and above to show how truly non-racist they are, by making such ridiculous remarks like, “I don’t see color. I just see people as people.” This is the stupidest statement EVER! Do you also not see gender? Or age? Or height? Gimme a friggin’ break. NEWS FLASH: We All See Color. It is one of the many things on the list of attributes that make us all unique. Acting like it doesn’t exist to somehow validate your own conscience is idiotic at best. Stop doing it right now. Better yet, stop thinking that you need to do it. You don’t. No black person alive will ever be happy when you make that comment. Trust me. I have first hand knowledge. Furthermore, enough with African-American. Another term that is useless. No normal black person has a problem with being referred to as a black person. This is yet another “Please know, I’m not a racist” term that is so ridiculous that even intelligent black people use it, even though it holds no weight with them. That is the ultimate political correctness gone amuck.

Last, but not least:

Enough with all the caving in to this group and that group during the holidays about what we can and can’t do to celebrate the greatest friggin’ day of the year. 95% of Americans celebrate Christmas, including atheists, so stop feeling the need to make the small minority happy. In a country where a 55% approval rating can get Washington to make something a law, why the hell are we shying away from something that virtually every single American wants? It is ridiculous. Now, as a firm believer in the seperation of church and state, I completely understant the argument from a legal standpoint, but come on. Nobody is trying to infringe on anyone elses rights or beliefs. Hell, Christmas in this country stopped being about the birth of Christ a long, long time ago. That ship has sailed. Yet every year, some other ass munch, with nothing better to do, has to come out of the woodwork and say, “Look at me, world. I’m the asshole who has so little faith in my own religion, that I can’t let my child be exposed to this awesome holiday for fear that he may convert.” So, in true all-American, don’t offend anyone fashion, we let the majority of the people suffer for the benefit of the few. For cryin’ out loud, I’m an atheist and these people anger me to no end. Please stop letting such a small minority dictate what we can and can’t do in this country. That goes for the NRA too, but I said no politics, so I’ll leave that alone. Rant over. Chick out! :-)

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