Why so unhappy?

23 02 2010

One of the things that I get a kick out of is listening to people who cannot, and will not, find anything positive about their lives.
Actually, it makes me want to pull my hair out.
I’ll admit, I’m a local news junkie, which is why I spend some Tuesday nights watching Amsterdam Common Council meetings on TV, watching other public access TV shows (when they’re actually on), and listening to local radio call-in talk shows.
Professionally, I tune in so I can get a better grip on what’s going on and what’s on people’s minds. Personally, I think the participants and hosts have one common theme:
Everything sucks. There’s nothing good about my life. There’s nothing good about the community I live in. And it’s all everyone else’s fault.
Really? If that’s the case, then I have a couple of questions for you people who think everything is so terrible.
Did you wake up this morning in a warm bed? Did you wake up wondering if you will eat today? Can you take a crap in a toilet that flushes?
Look, I get the concern about high taxes. I get it. It’s a problem, and one that has to be addressed.
I get the concerns about the migration of people from New York to other states. This isn’t a business-friendly or people-friendly state.
But it’s not all bad, although there are people out there who would like you to think it is. So I have to ask, why?
Easy. Here’s why I think so many people are so negative all the time:
1. They want things to go back to the way they were. Here’s a newsflash, they won’t. The mills and factories are not coming back to upstate New York. The people who were able to hold power during those times won’t hold that kind of power again because they’re either dead, too old, or so out of touch that they sound clueless when they publicly rant and rave about how things suck.
2. They fear change. They’re afraid of the fact that there are non-whites living in their community, or that the “good ol’ boys” aren’t running things, so their racist and sexist tendencies come out. Case in point: A former Montgomery County supervisor said the mayor of Amsterdam, who happens to be a woman, said she should “go back into the kitchen where she belongs.” Whenever the subject of public benefits and welfare pop up, all we hear about is “the Spanish,” except I didn’t realize Spain was the largest source of immigrants in this area. They probably mean Hispanics, but the fact that the naysayers can’t even get the nationality right shows their pure ignorance and stupidity.
What kills me the most is that there are media outlets that not only provide a forum that allows these types of sentiments to be spewed, they, in fact, encourage it.
3. They don’t want to get involved. A lot of these naysayers use various forums to bitch and moan about how things are so terrible, but ask them to get involved, and they won’t. In fact, most of them won’t even use their real names when they participate in online forums, and nearly every bitchy caller on local talk shows is allowed to keep their anonymity.
That’s because it’s easier to stand on the sidelines and gripe instead of getting in the game and making a contribution.

Is it any wonder that New York state is considered to be one of the most miserable states to live in?
Look, conditions in this state are not ideal. I understand that. People pay a lot of taxes and get little in return.
But it’s not that bad of a place to live and raise a family. Instead of constantly griping about how much things suck, how about offering solutions to make things better?

Or would asking you to think be too much for you to handle?





Super Bowl: The Movie

31 01 2010

Today begins the week where all of us football fans (and non-fans) will be blitzed with all sorts of stories and angles about the Super Bowl, from stories about the superstars to features on the cousin of the gardner’s ex-wife who bumped into a former equipment manager for the Arizona Cardinals who once saw the Saints and Colts’ locker rooms.
Just for fun, if the Super Bowl were a movie, who would you cast to be in it?
Here’s a couple of my choices.

Colts QB Peyton Manning

Played by The Janitor from “Scrubs.”

Saints QB Drew Brees

Played by Luke Wilson

Colts WR Reggie Wayne

Played by WWE wrestler Kofi Kingston

Saints RB/KR Reggie Bush

Played by actor Omar Epps

Colts center Jeff Saturday

Played by Al Borland from “Home Improvement”

Saints head coach Sean Payton

Played by Ralphie from “A Christmas Story”

And finally, Colts head coach Jim Caldwell

Played by Nein Nunb, interim co-pilot of the Millenium Falcon

Feel free to add your choices.





Giving the face a rest

14 01 2010

I love social networking sites. I also hate them at the same time.
That’s why, for at least a little while, I’m taking a self-imposed break from Facebook and the like (not Twitter since I do not, nor will I ever, become a Twit).
Sites like Facebook are great because they are a great way to reconnect with people you would otherwise not meet up with in real life.
Unfortunately, it also allows you to use it as a sounding board, and every once in awhile, I wind up using Facebook as my therapy couch, sometimes posting without thinking and coming off sounding like a total fruitcake.
Of course, Facebook or not, that last sentiment is probably debatable anyway.
So therefore, it’s time to take a break. There are plenty of other things to do … like concentrate on this blog and my “professional” site, The Venner Vox, which you should totally check out (I never pass up on a chance to plug that site).





Now that’s good comedy

29 12 2009

Sometimes I think I was born in the wrong decade, but at least I grew up in a household where I was exposed to real entertainment.
I’m absolutely stoked that AMC is running an all-day Three Stooges marathon on Thursday. I’ll be working that night, but at least I’ll have most of the day to get my fill of Moses, Samuel and Jerome Horowitz and Andrew Louis Feinberg, aka Moe, Shemp, Curly, and Larry.
I really wish they’d still make comedy like this, although topping the Stooges would be a near-impossible task. Various comedy groups since Ted Healy’s boys first appeared on the vaudeville stage, but all of them have fallen short.
That being said, here’s my favorite Stooges episode of all time, “Disorder in the Court.” The one-liners and slapstick are classic.





Damn teenagers ruin everything … mmmmmmm

9 12 2009

I couldn’t help but chuckle at this letter that appeared in a local newspaper earlier this week.
According to the letter writer, teenagers are the new terrorists because they wear dark hoodies and are therefore responsible for every fire and break-in that takes place around town.
If there’s a wider brush that can be found to paint an entire sub-group of people, I’d like to see it.
Equally as amusing was this response that appeared in the same newspaper. However, this author’s point is well-taken.
Unfortunately, the author first mentioned in this post probably sums up the exact attitude many local residents share when it comes to the younger generation, and is exactly the reason why our young people can’t wait to get the hell out of Dodge once they graduate high school.
Granted, there are bad seeds in any bunch, but many of those bad seeds under the age of 18 are more than likely the products of crappy homes led by negligent parents.
I have a son who is merely seven months from officially being one of those teenagers. You know how he spent part of his snow day today? Helping a local business owner clear the sidewalk in front of their store.
As he grows older and is well into his teen years, I really hate the fact that there are people around here who will look at him an automatically assume that he’s up to no good.
It really irks me that some ignorant old fart would write a letter making assumptions just because he doesn’t like the way people a lot younger than him look. Hey idiot, you were a teenager, too.
And like everyone going through their teen years, you were probably a jackass, too. Maybe in a different fashion, but a jackass nonetheless.
I was one in my teen years. And, to anyone who actually reads this, admit it, you were, too.
At the same time, it doesn’t mean every person between the ages of 13 and 19 is hell-bent on ruining the community they live in.
In fact, it’s ignorant geezers like the original letter writer who are ruining our area, becuase that type of outlook is exactly what chases our young people, the future of our community, away, sometimes for good.
We can’t afford to let that happen.





From the Department of Give Me a Break

23 11 2009

Some people really need to get over themselves. I mean really get over themselves.
Apparently, an Best Buy ad that ran over the weekend put more than a few panties in a twist. Why? Because the ad contained a statement wishing people a Happy Eid al-Adha, which is the Muslim equivalent of Christianity’s Christmas. You can read about the furor by clicking HERE, and you can see the ad for yourself by clicking HERE. You’ll actually have to search for the blurb that’s causing all the controversy.
I’m not really one for poltical correctness, but I fail to see what the big deal is. We have freedom of religion in this country, which means people are free to practice whatever faith they choose.
If a company wants to wish a particular religious group a happy whatever, it has every right to.
What burns my toast, however, is the blatant secularization of Christian holidays. Santa and Rudolph have taken over Christmas, and the Easter Bunny seems to be the main focus of Easter.
I’ve got no problem with recognizing the holidays of other religions, and people who are critical of ads like the one run by Best Buy are being small-minded and petty.
But can Christians have their holidays back, too?





Stupid is as stupid does

12 11 2009

drunk-driver-statistics

Normally, I have very littlezero tolerance for drunken driving. Having been there, done that several years ago, I just consider myself lucky that I didn’t hurt myself, or worse, someone else.
However, the following story is a bit of a head-scratcher.
H/T to by buddy Shaun (the man, the myth, the legend) for sending me this link from Syracuse.com about a guy in Fulton (about a half-hour north of Syracuse) who got busted for DWI after he went to the police station to bail out a buddy, who was also picked up for drunken driving.
If you’re too lazy to click the link and read for yourself, here’s the synopsis. A guy get thrown in jail after a DWI arrest. His buddy comes down to bail him out. The buddy gets turned away for being drunk. The cops let the friend get in his car and drive a short distance before stopping him an arresting him for DWI.
I’m not really big on criticizing cops (unless it’s warranted) because they have a tough job, one I wouldn’t want.
However, if the police in Fulton knew the buddy was drunk, why would they let him drive off? Couldn’t they have arrested him for DWI when he showed up at the station since he drove there?
Seems to me like the cops took an awfully big chance by letting this guy drive off. A drunken driver doesn’t have to go far to inflict a variety of damage.

Of course, there is something to be said about not showing up at a police station plowed in the first place …