Can We Not Start Doing This?

Two police officers were shot and killed yesterday by someone who apparently went out looking for cops to shoot, in some sort of apparent revenge for the recent shootings of unarmed black men by police officers. I have a couple of thoughts here.

First off, the shooter, who then killed himself, was pretty clearly around the bend. He also shot his girlfriend before heading out the door. I’m inclined to suspect he was just in a murdery mood, for lack of a better phrase.

Second, let’s not start blaming the (largely peaceful) protesters or people like New York City’s mayor. Rather, let’s blame the guy who did the shooting. Remember, Fox News crowd, if Sarah Palin, whose PAC had a graphic of various congressional districts with crosshairs over certain Congresspeople, wasn’t responsible at all for Gabrielle Giffords being shot, which she wasn’t, then the protesters and the like aren’t responsible for these two police officers being shot. So let’s not blame them, and instead blame the guy who did the shooting.

Oh, This…

…actually looks surprisingly good. I’m sure it’s going to be stupid as hell, but damn, it looks really, really entertaining!

The End of the Report

Well, last night The Colbert Report came to an end, and did so in the only way it could; buried in Highlander references, politics, and a good ole fashioned singalong (which you can view here, along with annotations for the astonishingly large number of people who appeared in it).

Colbert’s satire was a welcome panacea to the crap that the modern news media, especially Fox News, tends to spew out. He did a wonderful job of satirizing the O’Reilly-style blowhards; those self-important fools who get up on our TVs and try and tell us they know all, when really…they just don’t.

It’s interesting to consider the impact that the show has had, and while it may have technically started with its first episode, I think this is the moment when it really reached a certain epic plateau.

I’m going to really miss the show and the character that Colbert created. I don’t think we’ll see anything else like this on television anytime soon, and that’s a shame. It really was very, very good.

¡Volviendo a la normalidad!


As you have probably heard by now, we’re finally, after well over fifty years, returning to a vague state of normal with Cuba. By that I mean that we’re opening up an embassy there, and they’re doing the same here, and it’s about time. We’re also going to allow more tourism, and people will be able to bring back more stuff with them, notably cigars and rum.

This is all long overdue. Since over a decade before I was born, we’ve had a trade embargo against them. Other countries used to, but threw in the towel long ago. We continued with it. It had long-since outlived any usefulness and was really just an embarrassment to us as a country, especially once we threw Taiwan under the bus and decided to embrace China instead.

And that’s an important thing to keep in mind as Ted Cruz and the other Republicans (and, it must be said, a few Democrats), whinge and whine about our reopening diplomatic relations with Cuba. We have them with China. If we’re doing that, and engaging in stupidly huge levels of trade with China, then we have no reason to not do the same with Cuba. Yeah, Cuba’s a horrible dictatorship that mistreats its people, and so is China. Isolating Cuba and pretending they don’t exist hasn’t changed that and never will. China is slowly, very slowly, beginning to change, and that’s at least in part because we’ve engaged them.

Hopefully this will indeed herald a new era in peace and cooperation with Cuba. Hopefully things there will improve.

Oh, and hopefully we’ll get around to having trials for the people who used and enabled torture. So, you know, our new Cuban friends can’t rub that in our faces.

How to Give In to Terrorists


So various movie theater chains, including the one I work for, have opted to not show The Interview, a movie which doesn’t look all that good anyhow, and that I had never planned to see.

Now if they had run away screaming because it looked terrible and the releasing studio, Sony, had realized that not showing it would be a blow for artistic taste, well, that would be one thing. Instead, the various chains are pulling away from it because of terrorist threats.

Let me be clear. There is not any real reason to avoid screening this movie. There wouldn’t be a single terrorist attack on any theater showing it. On the off chance that North Korea is behind this, something I understand is still in doubt, they wouldn’t be suicidal enough to launch terrorist attacks in the USA over it. We about destroyed Afghanistan when some guys from Saudi Arabia attacked us. Hell, we leveled Iraq despite them not doing anything to us or posing a threat of any kind. North Korea knows full-well what would happen if they did something that monumentally stupid.

My suspicion is that the original hackings, and now these threats, are coming from a small group of people sitting around giggling about how much they’re making the world do what they want it to. These people, whomever they are, have just had several billion dollar corporations bow to their will.

So, yeah, no incentive for them or anyone else to do this sort of thing again.

It’s important to remember this about terrorism, or even the threat of it: the terrorists win as soon as they make you change the way you’re living your life. Possibly we need to stop letting them win.

*** UPDATE ***

The movie’s release has been cancelled. Way to cave, Sony. Now can we at least have a digital release, which, ugh, I might find myself obligated to buy?

*** UPDATE ***

Apparently not.

Why Tipping Matters – An Example

I was at work for 11 hours and 35 minutes yesterday. Add in the 90 minute or so commute, and we have 13 hours yesterday that were spent at work or during my commute.

I was there for the Hobbit movie marathon. All three movies, shown back-to-back, starting at about 12:30 and ending at about 9:30. It was a bit of a thing. We’d had these marathons before, for Hunger Games and Marvel movies, but I’d never worked one until yesterday.

It’s worth noting that where I work, we don’t get paid standard minimum. Our hourly wage is $4.90, though to be fair, if we make less than $3.00 hour in tips over the course of a week, the company has to make up the difference. It is also worth noting that Arizona doesn’t require companies to provide breaks or lunch periods for their employees, even when said employees are there for more than 11 hours. Also, the supervisors frown on people sitting, though if you smoke, you’re allowed to basically take a break each hour.

So keep all that in mind when I tell you that I had about $631 in sales during that movie marathon. The average tip was 13%. Most were under 10%, and only two were 20% or more. One person stiffed me entirely, despite the fact that I’d spent over eight hours upon hours waiting on them. For the record, standard tipping range is 15 – 20%, and if your server spends over a third of a day waiting on you, you should probably give a little bonus, because that’s time they aren’t spending waiting on other people.

From those movies, I took home a mere $78 for over 11 hours of work.

Now, to be fair, I do have that paycheck coming, but a: not for about two weeks, and b: when it comes, it’s going to be very small indeed, because of taxes being taken out. I might get $40 or so from yesterday’s adventure. Eleven hours of work, maybe I remind you, for about $118.

How many of you would put up with that kind of low wage? Yeah, it’s higher than minimum wage, but it’s still pretty crappy, especially given the working conditions.

So when you go out, please tip your servers and tip them well. Remember that the bulk of their income will derive from tips. Understand that time they are spending waiting on you is time they aren’t spending working other tables or waiting on other people, and that if you monopolize their time, you need to pay them more.

If you don’t like this, don’t go out to eat, or go to places like McDonald’s where tipping isn’t expected. Otherwise, please tip, and tip well. Your server needs that money.

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I Appear to Be Back

Yeah, I’m back to the daily blogging it looks like. I’ve published every day since the torture report was issued. It’s rather sad and annoying that that’s what it took to get me back, but here I am. Love me.


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