Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Tipping Point

If you're a waiter (or Server, as is the proper nomenclature nowadays), the following scenario may be familiar to you:
You've just finished waiting on a table of four people. They were pleasant and didn't demand any special orders or run you crazy during the meal. You were prompt, got all the meals out accurately and in a timely manner. Basically, you made sure they were taken care of. After cashing them out, they gushed about how good of a server you were and would definitely ask for you again when they came back. You're smiling as one of them presses some money in your hand. The smile fades when you look and see that they just gave you a $3 tip on a $50 check.
As strange as the previous example sounds, this actually happened to someone I work with.
This happens more often than one would expect and frankly a lot of servers I know get fed up with busting their humps and getting little to nothing to show for it. So, since I am a server and have the fortune of writing a blog, I'm going to offer some guidelines, if not actual rules for tipping properly and more than a little personal opinion on the subject as well.
First things first: If you can't afford to pay for your food and a proper tip at a sit down restaurant, then go to Mickey D's or BK. They have value menus there and you don't have to concern yourself with leaving a tip.
We earn our money on the tips that we get, not an actual paycheck. At most restaurants, servers only get paid $2.13 an hour.
YES. $2.13 an hour.
Even with a full 80 hours, how much do you think that someone is going to take home after taxes? Could anyone actually live or support a family on that kind of a wage?
Secondly: As servers we are there to serve you, not be your personal slaves. We are people doing a job, yes, but more to the point, we're people. Just because we serve you is no reason to treat us like we're less than you or that when you're there, you're the only table in the place.
Has any of you seen the movie "Waiting"? There's a scene in the movie where a bunch of the waiters make a 'special contribution' to a bitchy woman's steak. As she tucks in, she's none the wiser and seems to enjoy the steak very much.
"Oh, meat" indeed.
Mind you, I've never seen this happen in any of the places I've worked, but it's a safe bet that somebody, somewhere, has made a 'special contribution' to the food or drink of guests that have pissed them off. The warning here is clear: we handle your food and on the wrong day, someone may put their professionalism aside to get theirs back. Even at the cost of their job.
Third: The proper amount to tip on a bill is 15 to 18% of your total bill.
For example: $50 bill=$7.50 tip(15%), $9.00 tip(18%), $10.00 tip (20%)
That's the norm. If the service was excellent, you can tip more if you like. If it wasn't quite up to par, then maybe 10% of the total bill is appropriate ($50 bill=$5 tip[10%]), unless your server just sucked. Then I can understand anything under 10%.
The point is: if we did a great job, tip us properly. Lavish praises are not going to pay a light bill, put clothes on our family's back or food on our table. Again: we make our living on our tips.
I apologize if the tone of this post is a little sharp. I've been a server most of my adult life and what I've mentioned here is a stinging source of frustration, because it happens a lot. (Not to me necessarilly...)Personally, I believe most people don't know how to tip, have never been taught how to do it properly or are mistaken about how we earn our money. I'm just trying to put the information out there so that the next time you go to Red Lobster, Joe's Crab Shack, Olive Garden or any of the many restaurants that are out there, you'll be able to show proper gratitude for a job well done.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Apples & Oranges & The Gulf Between

The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has been called "Obama's Katrina" by Republicans.
Are they brain dead or is it just me?
How can you even begin to compare Hurricane Katrina, which was localized to New Orleans and an oil spill that threatens the enviroment or every city that borders the Gulf, the animal life that lives in or draws sustenance from those waters and the economy of the United States that is dependent on the oil that being lost every hour the leak isn't fixed?
The only truly comparable event would be the Exxon Valdez oil spill of 1989. After 20 years, there are still after effects in the habitat in that area and may take another 30 years to recover. This is what President Obama has to deal with: something that, considering where it occured, could effect the country, the enviroment and, ultimately, the world for the next 20 to thirty years. Definitely more devastating in the long run than Katrina...I'm just sayin'...

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A Review-Iron Man 2

Just so we're clear: I am a comic geek from WAY back!
So I was very excited about the 1st Iron Man movie, though I was skeptical of Robert Downey Jr. playing Tony Stark. Watching him bring Tony Stark to life on the big screen was a joy to behold. Jon Faveraeu and Co. made Tony Stark's world feel like something that could happen in the real world. It was very believeable.
The second movie builds on the 1st and is even better than its predecessor. Outside of the returning cast of characters, (excluding Terrance Howard, but including the very talented Don Cheadle) Scarlett Johansson smoldered as Natasha Romanov/Black Widow, Sam Rockwell played Justin Hammer to smarmy perfection, Mickey Rourke, fresh from "The Wrestler", was dangerous and sinister as Ivan Vanko/Whiplash and Samuel L. Jackson owned the screen as Col. NIck Fury.
The stakes are raised as Tony Stark is dying from the Palladium in the Mini-Arc Reactor, the very thing that saved his life in the 1st movie, while competitors and the Government want him to turn over the Iron Man armor. There are some Daddy issues for Tony as well and we get to see how even a man as boudlessly confident as he could be made insecure by the genius his father displayed.
I'm not going to give away the story, but there are some cool scenes: The fight between Iron Man and War Machine, Whiplash's first attack on Tony at the Monaco Grand Prix, The fight scene with The Black Widow and Happy Hogan and watching Tony Stark build a particle accelerator in his basement.
Iron Man 2 will be a delight to hardcore fans of the comic books and to those who came onboard with the first movie. Trust me, a good time will be had by all. (In Meredith Grey Voice)Seriously? Seriously.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

A Mother's Day Post...

At work today, a co-worker was telling a group of us about her brother-in-law who said, while his prematurely born child lay in the hospital fighting for thier life: "don't worry about children, you can always get more kids, you can't get another spouse."
Does anybody else find this deeply twisted and distrurbing besides me?
The sad part is, a lot of men have similar attitudes towards children, their own or the children of the woman they're dating. They'd rather deal with the woman and leave the kids behind.
Guys or even some women, with this mentality are missing the point: women and their children are one complete package. You can't have one without the other. If you love (or even reasonably like) the woman, you love or reasonably like the child.
Motherhood is a very big and sometimes scary thing. Ideally, it's supposed to be a man and woman together in marriage raising children and training them to become good and decent, God fearing people. More often than not in the beginning of the 21st Century, women are raising children by themselves without the fathers there, but prayerfully, with a support system of family and friends to help. I could go into the whole topic of how fathers need to step up and be there for their children, but that's a whole other post...and this is about the mothers.
A lot of us don't really know what women go through to raise their kids, what kind of sacrifices have to be made and the like. I watched my mother after my parents divorced and both of my sisters struggle as the father's of their children left them in a lurch and have to fend for themselves. I have some idea, but I have no illusion that I know empirically. I do know this though, I appreciate my mother doing what she could for me and my sisters for being good examples of what women should be even in a difficult position. I appreciate them and love them and respect them. They inspire me to be there for my children (When I have them...) and my wife and treat her like the queen she is and cherish her.
In closing, I just want to say Thank you Corrie J. Sherrod for bringing me into the world and helping me, even now, navigate through it. I love you now, Mom, and I always will.
Happy Mother's Day

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

No Good Women and No Good men...

This morning on Facebook, a friend of mine was asking for opinions about the theory stating that if you see a No Good woman, it's safe to say she's dealing with a No Good man. It kind of got me to thinking...
Asking that is a lot like asking if the Chicken or the Egg came first..(If you're a Christian you already know the answer...the Chicken...but I digress...)...No one goes into a relationship looking to be a No Good anything. Everything is hearts and flowers and passion, there's not too much thought about what kind of person they are, because you think you already know them.
The only way to get to know someone, really, is to spend time with them and see how they interact with friends, family, co-workers and ultimately, how they treat you.
The Truth will out, meaning, what's really inside of a person is going to come out. If at bottom, a man or woman is a good man or woman, you're gonna see it. Conversely, if someone is a No Good Man or woman, you're also gonna see it. All you'll need is a little time and patience.
Most of us, sadly, don't have the patience.
If a man is truly into you and wants you, he'll show it. He will take the time to be with you and make time for you. He'll respect you and your wishes, but you have to let him know the boundaries. If you don't set them and let him know that you won't go beyond them, one, he'll never know and two, he will treat you however he wants to treat you.
That's where self-respect comes in: If you don't want to be treated any kind of way, Woman Up and say something. If he cares, he'll toe the line, if not, cancel the subscription. Most of us are too scared of being alone to be as ruthless as that, but it's the truth and would save a lot of people a lot of headaches and heartaches. (By the way, the previous also applies to guys seeking female companionship. Y'know, the whole what's good for Goose and Gander thing...)
Just think, if a lot of the people who are complaining about their significant others had taken the time to get to know them and teach them how they wanted to be treated, they'd know if he or she was good for them and, if not, could step off with a clear conscience and make plenty of room for the man or woman that would be a Do Right man or woman.
So, I guess to answer the question my friend posed, if you see a No Good woman, she more than likely is dealing with a No Good man...because she chose to.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

A Review-Tyler Perry's Why Did I Get Married, Too

I'll admit, I'm a latecomer to the Tyler Perry Party.
The first movie of his that I saw was The Family That Preys. I really liked it. There was drama, mad drama, love, betrayal, vindication and hope. I may not've been instantly hooked and obsessed, but I definitely liked what the brotha was doing and started watching the other films. I also had the opportunity to see his latest stage production "Madea's big Happy Family" which had me me laughing and thinking very hard. If you get the chance, definitely check that out.
But, I digress...
Why Did I Get Married 2 picked up about three years after the first film and we get to see what happened to all the characters in the interim: Marcus and Angela (Michael Jai White and Tasha Smith) reverted back to the constant bickering since Marcus now has a job as a sportscaster and Angela's salon isn't doing so well, Gavin and Patricia (Malik Yoba and Janet Jackson) look like the solid, stable couple, but there is crack in the bedrock, Terry and Dianne (Tyler Perry and Sharon Leal) are still going strong, but there are possible footsteps in the dark and Troy and Shelia (Lamaan Rucker and Jill Scott) are expecting, but Troy hasn't found work since moving to Atlanta. The four couples take a group vacation down to the Bahamas looking to just relax and chill when Mike (Richard T. Jones) shows up. The drama flows from there.
The movie is well written and Mr. Perry manages to keep the movie from becoming too formulaic and gives you twists that keep you hooked until the end. The main theme I saw was that life is short, so cherish the ones you love while you have a chance. The death of one of the main characters drives this home very poignantly. Lou Gosset Jr. and Cicely Tyson have cameos as an older couple who let the youngsters know that sometimes, the course of True Love, sometimes doesn't follow a straight line, but the bends and curves in the road are worth the ride.
All the actors turned in solid, believable performances, especially Janet Jackson who really and truly shows some nice dramatic range.
I would heartily recommend this movie to everyone, especially if you're in a relationship. It will make you laugh, it may make you cry and it will defintely make you think and spark all kinds of conversations. But isn't that what good movies are supposed to do?

Friday, April 30, 2010

Nobels and Mudslinging...

This is an old post I had on I've finally moved it here...enjoy...

Is it me or does it seem President Obama can't catch a break?

Before he even got into the White House, people were begging him to fix the mess Dubya left there and caught all kinds of flack for the bailouts and trying to kick start the economy. Since then, he's been demonized for encouraging kids to stay in school and wanting healthcare to be available to everyone and not just the priviliged.

Now that President Obama's been selected to recieve the Nobel Peace Prize for reaching out to the World and showing them that America's politics are changing for the better, he's getting static from every Tom, Dick, harry and Jane. One blogger said he was unaware that the Nobels had an Affirmative Action Quota.

Obviously, some blogs have an Idiocy and Bigotry Quota.

True, being the first Black man voted into the Office of the President is going to bring a certain amount of scrutiny, but doesn't it seem that Barack Obama's had more than the normal amount of naysayers and negative publicity? (Don't let me get started about the Tea Party Idiots.)

Empirically, I can't say it's because he's Black. Given America's beginnings as well as race relations since the Emancipation Proclamation, it's an easy dig. To be fair, not all White folks are racist or prejudiced. It's not fair for me to hold anything against them for what their ancestors did to mine. We've come a long way since the 'I Have a Dream' Speech and the fact that a Black man has been elected President, basically, fulfilling the very words that Martin Luther King Jr. Spoke about, says a lot about how far we've come as a nation.

The fact that a White politician called a Black man, who just happens to hold the Highest Office in the Land, a liar says a lot more about how much farther we have to go.

I'm just sayin'...

Got To Be Real...

Remember when Mariah Carey first came out? The woman could SANG. She could even do the Minnie Ripperton Super High Falsetto note to great effect. Her first 3 albums were packed with great singing, passion and emotion. The girl had talent and the chops and complete control of her insturment.
Flashforward to now, Mariah's music still has the great singing, but it seems overly slick and lacking real passion and emotion, like she's phoning her vocals in.
Which leads me to my point: A singer who is singing from their heart and giving the best that they have, even if they're not in Mariah's or Whitney's league, will always be better than somebody who's technically proficient, but ultimately, lacking honesty and emotion.
Take Erykah Badu, for instance. She's doesn't have Mariah's vocal range, but you won't find someone who puts more passion or soul into their performance. Chrisette Michelle is another example. She has the vocal range and the chops, but she doesn't just coast when it comes to her performance, she's singing from her heart and you can feel it.
And need I mention Jill Scott or Corinne Bailey Rae or Nikka Costa or Anita Baker or Gabrielle or Bjork?
On the male side of things, Luther Vandross was undoubtably the Gold Standard. Any of his songs fron the late 70's to the early 90's were instant classics. But, like Miss Carey (Or should I say Mrs. Cannon), his more recent recordings were slick and had his trademark vocals, but not as much of the emotion or passion of his earlier stuff.
Now, Seal may not have as much of a range as Luther, but he's got so much more soul. (Not a shameless plug of his latest release by the same name) Listen to every song on his 2nd album (The one with 'Kiss From A Rose' on it) and there is passion, soul and great emotion coming through on each track.
Sting is another performer who, though he's white, has a lot of soul in his performances. He sings from his heart and so does D'angelo, Rob Thomas, Musiq Soulchild, Bono from U2, Adam Levine, Stokley, Boys II Men, Brandon Boyd and John Legend.
Maybe I'm just picky, but when it comes to music, you can't fake it. To quote Ms. Cheryl Lynn,
It's got to be real.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Rothilesberger and Obama...a dubious connection

I was just on Yahoo Sports and they were talking about Ben Rothilesberger and his current 4-6 game suspension handed down by the NFL even though he didn't get charged in the alleged sexual assualt case in Georgia. Most of the comments were for it, some were definitely against it and others called R-berger (it's easier to spell than his whole last disrespect) a rapist. (This could be construed because he's had three different cases with his name attached come up...just sayin'...) I think Roger Godall, the current Chairman of the NFL made the right decision. Athletes, especially star athletes are usually treated like the gladiators of old: They can do or say anything the want and no one will oppose them because of what they can do in the Coliseum. This is the 21st Century, athletes have children and young people looking up to them and wanting to emulate them. They need to be more aware of how their actions and the consequences of those actions can affect those around them, from family to fans.
Now to the real reason I'm blogging about this: One of the respondents, the Johhny G he's called, said one of the most ignorant things i've ever heard: R-Berger got suspended because he's white and (President) Hussein Obama must have handed down the suspension.
Yes, it's the 21st Century and as a country, Amreica has come a long way. Unfortunately, we can see from this that as a country and as human beings, we still have a long way to go.

Monday, April 12, 2010

My First Post...

I have now become a blogger. This inspires a feeling akin to opening up the cage door for an animal and it's hesitant, if not outright scared to step out inot the freedom before it.
There are so many things I can write about, the vistas are wide open...(and, strangely, my OS is Windows Vista...but I digress)...that can be a little intimidating, but fun at the same time.
Guess I'll just have to explore what's around me and spill out what's on my mind, basically do like Madonna said on "Sky Fits Heaven", follow down my own road, reading the signs as I go...