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JB's Fifth Annual Festivus "Airing of the Grievances"


It is that time of year again. Welcome back to the Fifth Annual Airing of the Grievances. Frank Constanza’s gift that keeps on giving back to all of us during the Holiday Season. If you are new to this blog and are sensitive I encourage you to back out now and keep on scrolling, because if I haven’t offended almost everyone by the end then I probably didn’t do a very good job. If you are back for another year then Buckle up—its been a long year. As you know the purpose of the “Airing of the Grievances” is to let everyone know how they have disappointed me in the last year. If I was being true to that edict this would probably be a novel and not a blog. We will stick with the abbreviated version in the interest of time. There is nothing like a bunch of pissed of people gathering together for the Holidays.

As always, I will try to have three or four “Primary” Grievances and maybe throw in a few annoyances and some bonus thoughts at the end. I always try hard to stay away (at least directly) from politics—and this year COVID, as well. We will see how I do on that score. If you want to listen to people rant about that there is a big buffet of options on cable news to satiate your appetite on those matters. Also, remember, I am just saying out loud what many people are already thinking. This blog is about having  having a sense of humor. If you are a fun hater then stop reading now. Let’s get started.

We will lead off with all the kids (and too many adults) that are buying jeans that have been “distressed” or “pre-ripped”.  I don’t get it. It is apparently now all the rage to buy jeans that look like you were in a Game of Thrones battle and just barely survived. The real kicker is that people are willing to pay $200-$300 for a pair of these things. Is it about looking sexy or is it pragmatic and about form and function? Hell, maybe it is just more comfortable—though I can’t imagine wearing a pair of these things waiting in a long line at the club or bus stop. I have seen less skin at swimsuit competitions for Ms. America.

If I knew there was so much money in all this I would have started my own side hustle by hosting “Jean Parties”. I rent out the back room of a local bar and invite twenty-five friends, or people interested in this product, to a party where you pay me a fee to drink wine (or whatever else you want) and we use box cutters and scissors to “rip” jeans I have procured from Goodwill. By the time you get a good buzz on, I sell you the jeans you distressed (while calling them art master pieces) at an exorbitant price so you can keep them to wear and be a hit with all your friends. A lot like one of those “Wine and Paint” or Tupperware parties. Everyone goes home happy.

I remember when I was a kid that when you ripped your jeans, your mom or grandma put a patch on them. It was like a badge of honor. It meant you were a warrior on the playground or ballfield. The patch was like a medal of honor. Let’s bring back the “Patch” Maybe we can get some of the “Cool kids” and Influencers on Instagram to embrace it and make them great again.

Maybe we can just start distressing or ripping all of our clothes. I bet if we made cuts in the masks we currently wear, and now accessorize with daily, that there would be some people that would lose their shit about it. I am not trying to be a downer about all of this. I have as much “Fashionista” in me as the next guy. I know it has been a long time since I was a run way model, but I have to think Gianni Versace is turning over in his grave. For all you that continue to get on board and ride the “Distressed” Jeans train--- Keep buying those $200 Diesel and ALGOLDE’s. I will be at Farm king at the 20% off sale getting my moneys worth on a pair of good old fashion Levi’s--looking like Brad Pitt in his hey day.  One last pro tip here about these jeans. Not everyone should wear them. Phone a friend before you get in the “Distressed Jeans” game. You can thank me later.

I usually like to take a shot at “Big Sports” every year. The International Olympic Committee is on my list in 2021. We held the XXXII Olympiad in Tokyo this year after postponing them for COVID in 2020. I don’t think it is really a secret at this point that the IOC is the personification of corruption and stupidity so let’s call them out here. Almost no host city ever breaks even on this event. The number of payoffs and bribes to those that decide who get the games, and the subsequent demands those same people make, really make it virtually impossible for it to be financially sustainable. The pitch is that it will be an economic boon for the host city that receives the invitation, when in reality it is a money sucking vacuum of tax payer dollars that subsides the whole thing.

These committee members decide what sports get to stay and what ones are discontinued. Say goodbye to Baseball and Softball after 2021. They are gone. But don’t worry, we still have Ping Pong, Badminton, and Gymnastic Trampoline. “Dear IOC: If I wanted to watch competitive Ping Pong I would  re-watch Forrest Gump for the twentieth time”. Did you know that Tug of War was once an Olympic Sport? In that vein, maybe we should have a “Squid Games” competition in the Olympics (if you don’t get this reference please consult your kids or grandkids—you are old). Sort of a “Last Person Standing”/Hunger Games extravaganza. It would be a boon for the NBC’s ratings, which are hemorrhaging faster than the band playing on the Titanic. The whole thing has become a boondoggle. It is political, dirty, and disgraceful. I feel bad for those athletes that spend a lifetime preparing and sacrificing to represent their countries, while corrupt bureaucrats leach off them in the name of greed. “Get it together IOC—You can, and should do better”

Let’s turn our sights on youth sports as well as parents who coach them and have kids in those sports. When I was a kid you played all the sports in their appropriate season and in the summer you either got a job, if you were old enough, or you enjoyed summer vacation. These days we have all these “Travel Sports” to help enhance opportunities and exposure for young student athletes to show potential. We never traveled out of town when I was in Little League, but now some of these kids playing Travel Baseball or Basketball maybe taking trips from one to seven hours away every weekend of the summer. There is a ton of cost associated in it, not only for the player, but for the families trying support those kids (which I totally understand). The problem is that not everyone has that kind of financial bandwidth to have that opportunity. I also don’t think that it is really all that healthy for the kid or the families. It has to be disruptive, and it is certainly expensive. Baseball bats that cost $300 and Basketball sneakers that cost $250. Its insane. I get why parents want their kids to have opportunity. I really do. I don’t begrudge them that at all. I just think it is excessive and unnecessary---and not going away because it is big business at the top of that pyramid.

If travel sports don’t make you crazy, then hold my beer because I have something that should do the trick. It’s the parents that either Coach youth sports teams or sit in the stands cheering them on every game. By “cheering” I mean adults acting like adolescents in a fit of rage in the guise of support. If you haven’t been out to a third-grade summer tournament lately--- treat yourself. You will inevitably get to witness a Coach that just watched the “Any Given Sunday” locker room speech by Al Pacino, before taking his ten-year-old kid to the ballpark--- mistakenly thinking that they were playing in the World Series. Some of the language you hear will make you think David Chappelle is a choir boy. Not to mention the unreasonable expectations put on these kids in front of everyone in the bleachers.

“Dude, don’t high five your kid for flipping the bird to the umpire because he thought it was a bad call”. In my world (and many others) that makes you a jackass, and more importantly, it is going to be the down fall of the kids and the future of this country. Also, here is an idea. When you win a low tier ten-year-old tournament, don’t lift your kid in the air like you are Mufasa and he is Simba in the Lion King- in celebration—it’s just not that cool. You didn’t just get presented with the Lombardi Trophy or win the Super Bowl. Put the victory dance on simmer big guy and slow your roll, and trying to show a little sportsmanship. If you want to feel relevant again, go home and cue up Springsteen’s “Glory Days” for the hundredth time and celebrate in a champagne bath without the rest of us. For the love of all that is holy just stop being “That Guy”.

Speaking of parenting we will finish the primary part of this year’s list with “baby bump” pictures and “gender reveals” --- and how they are the gateway to being a “Helicopter Parent” I hate criticizing parents since I am not one, but I get to see the finished product after they graduate from high school. Too many times it is not pretty. It all starts in the womb—literally. Now days it is apparent that the “in thing” is to find out what the gender of your kid is before they are born. That is certainly your right, and I could see how you would potentially want to satisfy that curiosity. I think it sucks for the Doctor. Over the last eighteen months we have sucked the soul out of most of our medical professionals through the pandemic. One of the few joys they had left was making that big announcement when a new born kid was introduced to the world. “You have a healthy new baby girl”. Now with all this upfront information it is sort of anti-climactic, when it should really be like Steve Harvey announcing Ms. Universe for the physician (A true mystery). Let them have their moment. They deserve it. 

If you do want to find out, it doesn’t mean you have to share it with the rest of the world on social media. Though this is the fad now days too apparently. You see all kind of creative ways to do the “reveal”. It is a cottage industry. There are people making real money off this phenomenon. Some “Father to be” literally died this past year in an explosion while he was rigging up his “reveal” device. I think this is Darwin’s ways of saying that this just isn’t a solid idea. I am sure that Father’s kid that was born will not be doing a reveal if they ever have a baby. If you want to find out—find out. If you want to share with family and friends---do it. I just think it is getting a little over the top. If you are going to “Go Big” on this, then can I suggest you do some pink/blue smoke thing in your house chimney like the Vatican when they announce the Pope. At least that shows a little creativity on your part and is pretty cool. You can then walk out on your deck or porch in a pink/blue “Pope” hat and waive to the neighborhood for acknowledgment.

While you are leading up to the reveal we also get the every 3-4 week “Baby Bump” picture update. I am a documenter myself, but not sure about this one. Maybe it is because I have a “Dad bod” and it makes me feel self-conscious as I follow the updates.  So much so that when the baby is finally born I am still going to look pregnant myself. I don’t know—I am probably being too hard on myself. Maybe it is because I think that parents these days have a very unhealthy obsession with there kids from before the time they are born that then carries on throughout their childhood. It then manifests itself badly as they transition to adulthood.

I deal with far more parents than students in my world. Students actually need to be learning how to be independent and self-sufficient. Some parents call their kids three to five times a day. I wonder what they are going to do if something were ever to happen and they can’t be there (like when they die)?  The sad thing is I know parents do it out of love. I am just not sure it produces the ultimate outcome they are really hoping for in the end. We have more anxiety than COVID in our youth right now.  I can’t prove it scientifically but I am pretty sure there is a direct correlation to parents that do “Baby Bump” pictures and “Gender reveals” to those that ultimately become Helicopter parents.

Alright, I think I have taken some pretty wide swaths with this year’s edition, so a few things before we finish. I am still pissed at the cell phone industry. My battery continues to wear out after eighteen months. Fast food and the NBA are getting worse not better and Twinkies are still to small while costing too much. My rants clearly are not making a difference. When will the insanity all end. While I am at it, I am also tired of people that don’t walk their dogs on leashes and don’t pick up their natural evacuations. You give all dog owners a bad name and it pisses me off.

This year I want to introduce a new twist. The 2021 “Face of Frustration” that represents all the “Airing of the Grievances” are about. Sort of like the Time “Person of the Year”, but someone who is a real turd. There were certainly a lot of worthy candidates this year but I think in the end the crème rose to the top for this first annual award. I would like to recognize over paid, whining, cry baby, Hollywood “Has-been” Alec Baldwin to represent everything that has been wrong about 2021. The good news is I don’t think we will be hearing about him and his “Schweddy Balls” for a long time. Congratulations Alec, you beat out some real losers like Jeff Bezos and his phallic rocket with “Blue Balls Boosters”. You also bested serial cover up artist and NFL Commissioner, Roger Goodell who is probably home hiding in the fetal position tonight for all his sins this past year. 

Despite all the craziness in a pandemic world there is plenty of good happening all round us. Be part of that good and do something nice for no reason this holidays season. Connect with family and friends. Fill yourself with food and fellowship, and make sure you leave Santa some bourbon and a hand rolled cigar tomorrow night (the whole cookies and milk thing is a fallacy). May the presents under your Christmas Tree be as bountiful as a Las Vegas buffet. I hope your 2022 is filled with health, happiness, and old dogs. The good Lord willing and the creek don’t rise, I will see you all back here next year in hopes that we get back to normal, when we were fighting the flu and STD’s instead of COVID.

In staying with Festivus tradition remember to record your “Airing of the Grievances” at home with an old fashion cassette recorder as is specifically prescribed by Frank Costanza. I want to make sure your kids have it documented so it can be played for generations to come. Happy Festivus. Now to the Feats of Strength.


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