Archive | Uncategorized RSS feed for this section

Don’t Kill The Messenger

31 Aug

DISCLAIMER: This blog was meant to be a writing exercise for me. Find a topic that I have an opinion on, and attempt to write a contrarian, or outside the box, point of view. Although the topic is one that will garner few supporters, if any, it’s important to know that although I may be making some good points, and I do believe I make a fair argument, I am not trying to say that I support it. I can only say that the critical thinking side of my brain wrote this blog, and the father of a daughter side of my brain has a hard time agreeing with it. If you choose to comment at the end, I would appreciate it if you would re-read this disclaimer first, and then proceed with some intelligent feedback, and not knee-jerk reactions. In other words, I understand that it may upset you, especially if you have personal experience to draw from, but as I am a firm believer that no topic should be above debate, I ask that you be respectful in your objections. Thank you.

I saw a story today about a Baltimore Ravens cheerleader who was found guilty of having sex with a minor, a 15 year old boy, and was sentenced to go to prison every weekend for two years, while remaining free Monday through Friday. As I read the comment thread that followed the article, most remarked that it was ridiculous that she got off so easy, because if the roles were reversed, and it was a grown man who had sex with a 15 year old girl, he would most definitely be going to jail, be forever listed as a sex offender, and would pretty much be despised by every person on Earth. Does that pretty much sum it up?

Well, I’m not so sure I believe that that’s the way it should be. I think maybe it’s time that we take a step back and stop trying to convince ourselves that we should view a grown woman having sex with a 15 year old boy, the same way we view a grown man having sex with a 15 year old girl. Maybe what we need to start doing, and I know this one is going to hurt, is start viewing a grown man having sex with a 15 year old girl, the way we ‘actually’ view a grown woman having sex with a 15 year old boy. Which is to say, not nearly as big a deal. Let that sink in for a second.

Let me just be clear that my comments are in no way meant to endorse the idea of adults having sex with minors, but I think it’s important that we understand I am talking about a 15 year old high school student, NOT a 7 year old child. Obviously, there is a big difference between those two ages. Additionally, I believe we need to stop throwing the words rape, sexual assault, and sexual predator around so casually, when this topic comes up. Consensual sex between a 15 year old and a 35 year old is not rape or sexual assault. It’s sex with a minor. PERIOD! Rape and sexual assault are terms that should only be used in instances in which one person is not a willing participant. We always talk about the words that the media uses to describe someone or something, or the way the wording in a law is, and how those words can truly shift a person’s opinion about the subject being talked about. These words and terms that are used in cases that involve sex with a minor are merely used to make that person sound more evil and more awful. We hear the word rape or sexual assault of a minor, and we immediately imagine a person holding a little child down, ripping off their clothes, and forcibly having sex with them, when in fact, in a case like the Baltimore Ravens cheerleader, this 15 year old boy was all in for having sex with this woman. No reservations whatsoever. Oh, and I don’t want to hear about how he, or any 15 year old, is too young to make that choice. If he can hold down a job, choose the classes he wants to study, and is a year away from driving a car, then he can make this decision, so get over it. Anyway, no matter how much outrage people want to pretend to have about the fact that she’s not being treated the same way a man would be in the same situation, it’s because we don’t for a second think that this woman held this boy down and ripped his clothes off and forced him to have sex with her. Yet the second the roles are reversed, that’s exactly what we want to believe, even if it isn’t the case. The reason why is quite simple. Conditioning.

Our whole lives we have heard stories of real rapists doing awful things to women. Everything about the act is heinous. Whenever we hear the word rape, or sexual assault, we immediately cringe because of the images that word conjures up in our head. As a result, we are unable to differentiate, in our minds, statutory rape vs. forcible rape. No matter what, we believe that the 15 year old girl did not give her consent, and the grown man is the devil, which of course makes us want to punish him as harshly as possible. However, when it’s the other way around, we only ‘act’ like the woman deserves the same treatment as the man, but deep down, in places you don’t talk about at parties, we all know we do not view her, or the 15 year old boy, the same way. You may still find it gross. You may still find it wrong, but the majority of us are only lying to ourselves if we try to convince anyone that we are as emotionally impacted by 15 year old Johnny “getting lucky” with an older woman, as we are about 15 year old Tiffany being “taken advantage” of by an older man.

I also find it highly disingenuous the idea that somehow 15 year old Tiffany has a much more fragile mind, and is much more easily manipulated than 15 year old Johnny. A thought process that completely flies in the face of everything we know as it relates to girls being more mature at an earlier age than boys. Nonetheless in the case of sex, the exact opposite is what we believe. Johnny is just being a horny boy, but Tiffany now needs to be treated like a toddler, and therefore the man she had sex with has to be a scumbag, sexual predator, rapist who needs to go to jail for a decade? I’m not so sure. I mean, I have a daughter, and believe me I would not be happy if my 15 year old girl had sex with a 40 year old man. Clearly I would have some serious words with this gentleman, but I’m not so sure that I believe that man deserves to go to jail just because he deflowered my daughter. Call me delusional all you want, but I’m just not one of those people who wants to see the worst thing happen to someone just because they wronged me, or did something I didn’t agree with, especially when I know for damn sure that my opinion would be far different if my 15 year old son had sex with a 40 year old woman.

In this country, more than any other 1st world country, we are so uptight about any and all things related to sex, that it borders on ridiculousness. It infiltrates every single part of our daily life, and in the case of adults having sex with minors, it has gotten way out of control. I’m not saying that I believe an adult who has sex with a minor doesn’t deserve some form of punishment. However, I believe if a child is 15 years or older, and both parties are complicit, then it should be treated like a misdemeanor, no matter how old the adult is. Nobody should be going to jail over it. Give the adult a year probation and 40 hours of community service and call it a day. If he or she is a repeat offender, then you can start throwing around words like sexual predator. In the meantime, we need to stop treating sex like it so taboo. Sex is sex. You may be pissed off if a classmate has sex with your daughter or son, but your damn sure enough not going to try to act like they belong in jail because of it. Once a child reaches high school, and decides they want to have sex, why should it really make any difference how old the person they have it with is? I know it kinda does (conundrum), but to me it doesn’t matter so much to the point that the person deserves to go to jail, be labeled a pedophile, and have to be a registered sex offender for the rest of their life. I think what is more realistic is that we stop thinking that every 15 year old is only being “taken advantage” of, if the person they have sex with is an adult. The truth is, your teenagers are horny, and if they want it, they’re going to get it. The only outrage should be if they were forced to do it.

In the end, all I’m saying is that maybe we need to rethink the way we view sex with a minor, and stop vilifying a grown man who has sex with a willing young woman. I say young woman because that’s exactly what we call our 15 year old daughters right up until a man has sex with her, and then we want to turn her into a 6 year old again. We’re all being hypocrites, because some of these people do not deserve to have their lives ruined forever over sex. We all know who the real sex offenders are, who are messing around with middle school aged boys and girls. Those people are sick and deserve whatever punishment they get, but this other issue is a little over the top, and needs to stop being treated as such a heinous crime. It’s just sex.

You Only Need To Know One Thing

10 Jul

Bliss_Logo_2

For years, I have seen numerous examples of people writing letters to their younger selves. Some author wrote a book about it. A bunch of famous women have done it. Hell, even Albert Haynesworth did it recently. Although in his case he clearly missed the point, as he told his younger self he should have never left Tennessee, when in fact he should have just told his younger self not to be such an asswipe. Maybe he’ll do that in his next letter, who knows, but no matter what you decide to tell your younger self, I have to admit it does sound somewhat cathartic. An opportunity for a person to self evaluate a certain time in their life, and to give that version of themselves some meaningful advice, from the much wiser version of themselves. I suppose doing such a thing could even lead to some sort of personal breakthrough about a matter that has caused you great stress over the years. I’m sure there are many possible ways to approach writing such a letter, and just as many interesting results from doing so. With that in mind, I’ve decided that I would like to try this whole thing out, and see what I come up with. So, I will make it simple and send this to myself on my 21st birthday.

Dear Jeff,

Happy birthday, bro. I hope this letter finds you well. If you’re reading this in the evening, then I know you’re in the basement at Mom & Dad’s, legally drinking for the first time. Jack Daniels Tennessee Punch, if I remember correctly. Kind of a lame 21st birthday, I know. What the hell else were you gonna do on a Monday night? Anyway, I just wanted to drop you a line from 2015 (Crazy, right?) to tell you that you’re gonna do alright, buddy. You won’t do everything perfect, but you will definitely do it right. Every single choice you make. Every single thing you do. Every single fork in the road you come to, you make the right choice. It may sound crazy to say that, but it’s true. I say it because every one of the decisions you make, EVERY SINGLE ONE, leads you to where you are right now, and where you are right now is pure bliss. Therefore, telling you that you should do anything differently would only be risking all that you have in your future, and you don’t want to do that. I would prefer to just tell you about the best thing you have to look forward to. This thing will be the rudder that guides all the other things in your life. It will undoubtedly be the most valuable asset you have in your future, and you will do ANYTHING to protect it. Her name is Alicia.

      Alicia is your wife. She is beautiful. She is smart. She is funny. When you meet her for the first time you will think you have no chance. However, as you get to know each other better, you will begin to think that she might be the one. Although you are totally correct, you are not ready for her yet. Ironically, she’s not ready for you yet either. It will take a number of years for you two to finally give the whole couples thing a try, but those years are the years in which you learn all the things you’re going to need to know, to make a lifelong commitment work. When you finally do become a couple, your life will begin to change in ways you can never imagine. She will do things to your heart that you didn’t think were possible, and making her smile will become your number one priority. Not because she demands it, but because you don’t want her to ever be unhappy. You will laugh together. You will cry together. You will raise children together. You will have an unlimited amount of stimulating conversations, on an unlimited amount of topics. She will challenge you, support you, and most of all, she will love you. More than you ever thought anyone could ever love you. You will love her just as hard. You will have days when you will look yourself in the mirror and wonder, “What the hell did I ever do to deserve someone like this?” You will also come to the realization, very early on, that there is no way that you will not spend the rest of your life with this woman. No way! So, over the next 20+ years, you will make some seemingly stupid decisions, that will lead to many other seemingly stupid decisions, but I can assure you that none of them were stupid at all, because in their totality they will lead you down a path to what will become the greatest decision you will ever make. EVER. So do me a favor and don’t screw it up. Good luck, pal. :-)

      P.S.    Save your money.

It Matters. Trust Me.

7 Jul

Stop-Being-Stupid.-T-Shirts

I have always believed that everything you do and say, is an indication of the person you are, as well as the person that others see. Everything from the shows you watch, the clothes you wear, the music you enjoy, to the friends you choose, the opinions you have, and the words you speak. All of these things, along with many others, contribute to the image you have of yourself. More importantly, they are 100% responsible for the image that others have of you, and that is important. You can say that it isn’t, but make no mistake about it, we are all concerned about our image in some form or fashion. The real question is, what parts of your image do you actually care about, and which ones mean nothing?

I would say that most people probably have no concern what others think about their music choices, or their taste in clothing. Yeah sure, some people do, but most adults find these things to be arbitrary. We feel as though each person has their own likes and dislikes, and therefore things like these do not hold a lot of weight as it relates to our opinion of someone. In all honesty, unless you are just a total asshole, you probably do not let things that are based on personal preference, have any effect on your opinion of someone. That’s good. That’s the way it should be.

However, there are certain things that we do or say that have a significant impact on the image we project. Some are positive, and some are negative. When people find out that you donate blood once a month, that’s a positive. When people find out that you fly the Confederate flag, that’s likely a negative. When people find out that you advocate for gay Americans, that’s a positive. When people find out that you’re voting for Ted Cruz, that’s a negative. At least to most of the world. When you smile a lot and are nice to strangers, that’s a positive. When you always look miserable and act like a dick, that is a big negative.

There are a ton of things that contribute to another persons impression of you, but the simple fact is that we are ALL judged by the choices we make, and the things we say. Furthermore, we ALL judge people in the same way. It is what it is. However, there is one extremely simple, but immensely important thing that people do every day that causes others to judge them very quickly, and it’s ALWAYS negative. That one thing………bad grammar.

You never notice someone’s grammar until it’s bad. Unless they write like friggin’ Shakespeare, but that’s rare. Otherwise, people just read what you write and move on. Not if your grammar is bad though. They might not want to point it out to you, like I would, but believe me when I say, they notice it. The question is, what do they think? I know for me there are only 2 things that come to mind. Person X has no command of the English language, or they don’t care.

If you fall into the first category, I implore you to NEVER comment on anything of real substance on social media. Whenever I am in a comment thread that is discussing an important topic (Marriage equality, Obamacare, etc.), there is no better way to be tuned out faster by those you are debating, than to have bad grammar. Furthermore, if you are trying to take the unpopular side of the debate, you have just given everyone else a golden ticket to ridicule you. Why would anyone listen to the ramblings of some bozo who doesn’t even know the difference between your & you’re? Smarten up. Turn off your tv for an hour every night, and READ. You’ll be amazed at how much that will help you. If that’s too difficult, learn how the hell to use spell check. It’s easy. You know all those red squiggly lines under some of your words? That’s your computer trying to save you from looking like a jackass. Right click on the word and the pop-up screen will give you the proper spelling. It’s amazing. ;-)

The second category is the one I feel more people fall into. In my opinion, this one is worse. The ‘I don’t care’ group. Maybe you had a tough life coming up. Maybe you’re just not that smart. There are several reasons why an individual may just have bad grammar, but choosing to not care about your grammar, on a public forum, is just plain stupid. Is the opinion you wish to express on social media so important, and time sensitive, that you can’t take an extra fucking minute to re-read it, and correct any mistakes before you hit send? Let me answer that for you……..NO! So why can’t you do it? Let me answer that one for you too………YOU’RE LAZY.

You expect people to respect the opinions you have, or the comments you make, but you don’t have enough respect to write like a grown up. There are a lot of things I do in my life that establish the image that others have of me. I’m sure some are negative, but one thing I will not do is let other people think for one single second that I am fucking stupid. Believe me, that’s what it does. It makes people think, likely for more than one second, that you’re a fucking moron. All because ‘you don’t care’. That’s just dumb.

I often wonder whether it is worse to be thought an idiot, or to be so mindless that you don’t care if people think you’re a fucking imbecile. If I’m going to be thought an idiot, it damn sure is going to be because of the opinion I have, and not because of the complete inability to express that opinion in proper English. Use capital letters. Use proper punctuation. Most importantly, spell the fucking words correctly. I can’t tell you how often I am saying something on social media, and I get to a word that I am not completely sure how to spell correctly. I immediately hit google voice, and say the word. Low and behold, there it is. Spelled all properly and shit. IT IS FUCKING EASY!!!!!! Just do it. Otherwise, just continue to live in your lovely bubble of blissful ignorance, while those around you continue to believe you are unintelligent. Even those closest to you. It won’t stop me from liking you, but it will most definitely make me reconsider whether your opinion is meaningful to me.

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.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 158 other followers