C-Flo Tackles Rex & Rob Ryan

*In the wake of today’s news that the Ryan boys have been fired, I’d like to repost an article I wrote this past September. It originally appeared on walterfootball.com.

“We don’t win anymore.”

–Donald Trump

Some people just don’t have it.

It’s 2016. We should be past the archaic notion that inherent greatness is automatically bestowed through heredity. Buddy Ryan was a defensive genius. His son Rex has his moments. His son Rob is…Rob.

This used to be how the world was run, and in many ways it still is. The Canadian Prime Minister is a childish airhead, but he got in because the eastern half the country has a fetish for his dad, despite the fact that the two are nothing alike. Most of us, me included, have worked for some rich kid who was gifted an ownership or managerial role in a company he or she had no business being in.

Rex and Rob Ryan are twins, despite their differing tastes in haircuts and beards. I can’t possibly understand their personal relationship, as I don’t even have a brother, let alone a twin. But Rex’s recent announcement that he had his lap-band removed out of solidarity and brotherly love is idiotic.

For those who are unaware, an adjustable gastric band is like a belt for the top of your stomach, restricting how much food you can eat at one sitting. It even limits how much water you can have before or after meals. If you don’t respect your lap-band, you’re in for a world of pain, not unlike being the only 0-2 team in the league.

Rex had a great experience with his lap-band, losing over 120 pounds. Rob did not have a great experience, as there were some medical complications and he had to have his removed. So Rex, thinking that he was being a good brother, decided to have his removed. He’s already gained back 30 pounds.

If I had a twin brother who was missing an arm, I wouldn’t cut mine off too. But more than that, I’m sure my fictitious twin wouldn’t allow me to do it anyway, for the simple reason that it would be completely nonsensical. If there was true mutual brotherly love in the Ryan relationship, not to mention an iota of common sense, Rob would insist Rex keep the device that changed his life so greatly for the better. How can anyone be so selfish as to do otherwise?

Rex said, “We’ll figure it out,” which is what millennial girls say when they have no idea what they’re doing. What would the Ryans figuring something out even look like? Firing their OC after a game which included dynamic career performances from such lowly-regarded receivers as Marquise Goodwin and Greg Salas, and perhaps even more impressively, featured EJ Manuel completing a pass? Never mind that the defence looked like the Creamsicles facing the Steel Curtain, because blood is thicker than water, or something.

I used to like Rex. I completely identify with the scrappy underdog taking on the huge challenges, whether they be the Belichick empire or the bulge. But hiring his overrated brother, and following it up with abandoning a winning strategy for weight loss, both reveal a losing mentality. Rex has chosen family over merit, challenge over success, and handicap over victory. He will never win the big one, or even most of the little ones anymore. I predicted before the season that there was a 100% chance the Bills would miss the playoffs and both Ryans would be fired, but even I didn’t think it would be this glaringly obvious before 30 of the teams had even played their Week 2 game.

The Ryans remind of Tim Tebow, a cute story about fifteen minutes of fame and a stopwatch that currently reads 14:59. Rex is a has-been and Rob is a never-was, but I’m sure we can look forward to them dancing with the stars, in football and elsewhere, for a long time to come. Names have value, especially in a world where families are famous for being famous. Unfortunately, the only return to form we’re going to see from the Ryans is when they rocket past 300 pounds once more. But they’ll do it together, and that’s kind of beautiful, if you don’t think about it too hard.


C-Flo Tackles Earls.67

My wife and I decided to try the new concept known as Earls.67. I used to work for Earls, including at the original Bankers Hall location in this same spot. I used to train the servers, so I thought I’d see how things have changed (because they always do).

When we walked in, there was no one at the hostess stand, so we wandered around for a while and sat ourselves in the lounge. I later noticed that there were at least three hostesses on duty, they had just been busy chatting and giggling off to the side.

We sat there not feeling noticed, as tons of employees whizzed by. It was only a few minutes, but Earls used to train servers to greet every table within a minute. Maybe I’m too old school? A random server came by and asked if we’d been helped. She said she’d grab us our server and some waters. She never brought the waters, but since we hadn’t asked for them it wasn’t a big deal.

I found the whole experience of Earls.67 to be jarring. I think that’s the best word to describe it, and it’s the last word that should be used to describe a night out at a nice restaurant. It was great that a random server came up to check on us, but there has to be a system in place to avoid guests being missed.

Even the lighting is jarring. There is too much cool white light, when it should be warm tones. If you think I’m being ridiculous, imagine if you went to a nightclub and the dance floor was lit by bright white fluorescent tubes. It doesn’t exactly set the mood.

Our server eventually showed up and seemed distracted all night. I don’t think she’s really cut out to be a server. She was nice enough, I guess, but wasn’t attentive and would fly away from the table as quickly as she could. Every course of food or drinks we ordered was brought by a different server, which was again jarring. My wife’s latte was cold, too. Lattes should never come out cold, that’s just bizarre.

The calamari was very good, but had too much garlic. I don’t think I’ve ever said anything had too much garlic before, I love garlic. But in this case it obliterated my palate. The dynamite rolls were flawless though, I could eat those all day, every day. Great job on those, highly recommended!

At the end of the night we waited forever to get our bill. We took turns killing time by using the washrooms, but eventually I just stood beside the table with my jacket on. When that didn’t work I wandered around to try to find our server. When we finally got her, she awkwardly tried to make small talk after not engaging us in a similar way at any other point in the night. Again, she’s not really cut out for this profession. Most of the servers felt really cold, in fact. We saw about a half dozen of them throughout the night, and only one of them had a genuine smile.

Why was our server nowhere to be found most of the night? If she doesn’t even need to monitor or run any of our orders, what is she doing?

I will say the manager was great. He came over twice to see how we were doing. I appreciate managers who try to watch what’s happening in the trenches, instead of just feeling important.

I wouldn’t go back to Earls.67. I hope they don’t try to make all Earls locations into this. I sincerely appreciate trying something new, but it didn’t work for me. Mandatory tipping did seem to kill the incentive of caring and giving good service, as it should in theory. The music was way too loud and the ambiance was extremely disappointing. The experience was repeatedly jarring from every angle and it appeared to be a definite step down from the old Earls Bankers Hall back in the day. I’ll still frequent Earls, primarily the one in Kelowna, mostly because of the amazing patio overlooking the harbour.

Theories, concepts, renovations and mission statements are all great on paper. But in the end there’s no substitute for hiring caring, hard-working people and training them properly. In restaurant parlance, Earls.67 should be eighty-sixed.

For my thoughts on tipping, click here: http://powertackler.com/index.php/2016/08/07/tipping/