Bidding Adieu to 2022

This evening I watched 2022 ride off into the sunset from Tucson's Saguaro National Park East with my spouse of 38 years, my children, and my grandchildren gathered round... treasured memories are borne from moments such as these, and I am eternally grateful that my long-suffering spouse reminds me now and again to seize these moments before they're gone.

Saguaro-National-Park-East-2022-12-31

My wish as we dash headlong into the year ahead is that everyone who reads these brief, reflective musings has a joyful and prosperous 2023 ahead of them.

Smile

My Philosophy for Tipping

A friend of mine posted a meme in Social Media with the following text:

"The year is 2024.
You walk into your local coffee shop.
A latte coasts $12.
You have the choice of tipping 75%, 95%, or 125%.
You sheepishly tip 75% and feel bad about yourself.
The barista shakes his head in disgust."

This meme was designed to address the combined issues of soaring inflation and tipping expectations within our society, though it made me want to weigh in on the subject from an observational point of view.

Tipping has been an interesting subject for me as I've traveled around the planet. I've been to some cities and countries where tipping is considered an insult, because the implication to the staff is that you think they aren't being paid enough and you pity them. That being said, in the USA, some people AREN'T paid enough, because their employers figure that the employees will make up the rest of their wages in tips, which is why these employees are justifiably angry when they get stiffed.

Personally, I find it reprehensible that an employer expects me to cover their wage shortages. I'd rather that restaurants set realistic prices for their patrons and pay their employees a reasonable wage, where patrons are still welcome to leave a tip if they feel that they had great service. Although I must admit, despite societal expectations, I still tip based on service. Even though I leave a tip 99.9% of the time, I do not feel obligated to always leave more than my bill.

Occasionally I've dealt with an exceptionally underwhelming server, and in those one or two situations I've had no problems saying to them, "Your service was terrible," and I didn't care if those specific employees came up a little short in their wages that evening. If their employer can dock their pay for gross ineptitude, so can I; and in the future, perhaps they'll do try to do a better job.

Thought for the Day (2022-08-19)

This isn't meant for anyone in particular, but still... a few people should ponder this excerpt as they start their day.

"Above all, don't lie to yourself. The man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to such a point that he cannot distinguish the truth within him, or around him, and so loses all respect for himself and for others. And having no respect he ceases to love..."

--Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky ("The Brothers Karamazov")

Vasily-Perov-Dostoevsky

Communication Is One Thing

Someone I know recently shared the following image on Social Media, and I think I understand the gist of what the writer was trying to say:

Communication-Is-One-Thing
"Communication is one thing
but your tone while communicating
With someone is everything ."

The general thought that is being expressed is fine, I guess - but... holy cow! What's up with the grammar? Let's see, the "W" in "With" on the third line is capitalized, but not the "b" in "But" on the second line, which makes it seem like an entirely different thought. And where's the comma after the first line? And why is there a visible space before the period? Who wrote this? 1,000,000 monkeys with typewriters? Surprised smile

With that in mind, perhaps what this statement could have said was:

"Communication is one thing,
but your tone while communicating
with someone is everything."

Of course, the redundancy for "communication" on the first and second lines is kind of amateurish; perhaps another word would have been better in either the first or second line? But then again, I believe the thought that the writer was trying to express is that "tone" is part of "communication," so it makes no sense to begin the with the word "communication" since it can't be both "part" and "everything" at the same time, though we can infer by context that the writer meant "speaking" when he or she wrote "communication" in the first line. In a like manner, "tone" isn't "everything" because "speaking" is still part of "communication." In other words, "communication" is "everything," of which "tone" and "speaking" are both parts.

Taking all of that into account, perhaps this statement would have been better?

"The spoken word is one thing,
but the tone of your voice when speaking to someone
often says more than your words."

Hmm... have I overthought this enough yet? Winking smile

Thought for the Day (2022-08-06)

I just stumbled across a phrase that I jotted down about myself during my tenure in the Army many years ago:

"The folly of youthful arrogance is often matched only by youthful ignorance."

--Robert McMurray

Open-mouthed smile

A Fool and His Money

PT Barnum is famously quoted as having coined the phrase, "There's a sucker born every minute." While the attribution may not be verifiable, it is nevertheless a true statement, and never more so than in the world of "Modern Art."

While I understand that "art is in the eye of the beholder," I have made the assertion several times over the years that much of what passes for "art" these days is nothing more than a clever con job by fast-talking hucksters of today's Imperial New Clothes.

Never more has than been true than in the following article, wherein an "artist" convinced some hapless dolt to part with $18,300 for... absolutely nothing:

An Italian Artist Auctioned Off an 'Invisible Sculpture' for $18,300. It's Made Literally of Nothing

Proverbs 21:20 tells us that "A fool and his money are soon parted," and the above article is a perfect example of that simple statement's self-evident truth.

I am clearly in the wrong line of work.

Memories of Better Days Gone By

Facebook just reminded me that two years ago - before the pandemic wreaked havoc across the globe and killed 4.5 million people, before the domestic rioting and burning of our cities, before the collective meltdown of all mainstream news outlets into the primary sources of worthless and biased drivel, before the woke apologists began their Orwellian campaign of rewriting history and manipulating the English language in order to foster division between the classes, and before the second humiliating defeat of our armed forces at the hands of career politicians who have no idea how to fight/win a war - I was standing on a mountain in the Alps, looking across the glaciers and valleys at the Matterhorn. There are some days when I need to be reminded that there is beauty in this world that is worth seeing, and activities that bring you joy that are worth doing.

matterhorn-memory

It Was the Most Something on Record

Science tells us that planet Earth is approximately 4,568,200,000 years old. Science also tells us that the fossil record shows that Earth goes through massive heat and cold fluctuations, which are often several magnitudes greater than what the doomsday prophets are predicting if CO2 levels skyrocket and everything falls apart. Science also tells us that we've only been making semi-accurate readings of the Earth's temperature and other weather-related information for the past 1½ centuries, which is a mere 0.000003% of the Earth's age. That is why climate alarmists like to use phrases like "This was the coldest/warmest year on record," which is designed to sound scary, but any single year only represents a period that is 0.00000002% of global history. In other words, whenever someone says "This was the coldest/warmest year on record," they are deliberately misleading you with junk science, because the "record" is little more than a statistical blip that is re-interpreted when necessary to back up a pre-existing point of view and to manipulate public opinion. (e.g. "Numbers never lie, but liars always use numbers.")

Science also tells us that it is incapable of predicting weather patterns, which is why scientists here in Arizona couldn't tell us if we would have a Monsoon season last year (which we didn't), or if we would have a Monsoon season this year (which we did), or if we will have a Monsoon season next year (which is anybody's guess). In other words, most scientists - despite their years of study and academic accolades - are admittedly making nothing but educated guesses, and the only solid FACTS that we have are: the Earth is warming, as it has done in the past, and it will do in the future. After which the Earth will cool, as it has done in the past, and it will do in the future.

However, there is one additional point that I would like to make: I do not care whether climate change is real. From my perspective, someone would have to be a card-carrying idiot to disbelieve that humanity is leaving an indelible mark on the planet. There are currently 7 billion people on the planet, and we are consuming the Earth's resources faster than renewables can keep up, and that says nothing about the resources that are not renewable. Every day humanity discards millions of tons of garbage, pours millions of gallons of toxic filth into our water sources, and belches millions of pounds of toxic filth into the atmosphere. In short, we are killing the planet.

Let's say for the sake of argument that man-made climate change is real. In the grander scheme of things, it doesn't matter, because the planet is amazingly resilient and the climate will eventually bounce back from humanity's many transgressions. Our planet has survived asteroid impacts, global ice ages, super volcanoes, and mass extinctions. What we humans do or not do now is going to have little to no impact on where the Earth's temperature will be measured a century from now, and to disagree with that reality is pure folly.

However, there are regions of this planet that have already been rendered so toxic that life will NEVER grow there again, and there are several places where spending more than a few minutes in close proximity is fatal to anything that lives. With that in mind, climate change isn't the problem - pollution is. The earth can sustain a CO2 spike and a few extra degrees on the thermometer, but it CANNOT survive humanity poisoning everything out of existence.

Hacking - Hollywood Style

I read an article the other day about the "tech consultants" who work for Hollywood. (Sorry, I don't remember where I read the original article... and at the moment I don't feel like looking for it, either.)

Anyway, these consultants are acutely aware of the fact that real hacking does not make for gripping Hollywood-style action, so directors and assorted other creative supervisors ask for scenes which make for better movies. These requests - of course - lead to scenes which are so far over the top ridiculous that you have to completely dismiss reality if you actually know anything about computers. That being said, the article also mentioned that since these same consultants are aware that their scenes cannot be realistic, there is something of a competition between consultants to see who can make their scenes the least-plausible. (My favorite is the guy who used Excel and a MacBook to diffuse a nuclear bomb.)

With that in mind, a subreddit has emerged as a repository of all of these utterly ludicrous technology fails, and I have to admit - I'm hooked and I cannot stop laughing...

reddit

It's a Unix System, I know This! • /r/itsaunixsystem

www.reddit.com

A subreddit for every over the top, embarrassing, and down right flat out incorrect usage of Technology found in Movies, TV Shows, and Video Games!