C-Flo Tackles Tipping

“Ever notice that former restaurant workers tend to be generous tippers?”

–Jacqueline Burt

I often hear people, especially older generations, complain about tipping. It’s too much extra money, it’s unnecessary, the wine was overpriced (seriously). So let’s talk this out.

If you ever complain about tipping being expensive, don’t expect any sympathy from me.

Look, if you’re going out in a part of the world where tipping is customary, prepare to pony up. Going out is expensive. The cost of libations and nosh has increased at a much faster rate than wages have. This is the reality. Whining about normal tipping percentages, or ludicrous margins on alcohol, is stupid. There are tons of options available. Vote with your feet. And if you live somewhere without a ton of options, why do you live there? You must love it there and not care about restaurant variety, or you wouldn’t have taken pride in your slower pace, and getting away from it all, and being off the grid. Right? Otherwise, vote with your U-Haul.

When it comes to tipping: This is the cost of going out. By bringing in a large party, you take up all or most of a server’s time, and large groups are notorious for undertipping or underestimating what each person owes. Automatic 15-18%+ gratuities on large parties are necessary to combat the selfish and the cheap. Think about how and why the system works, rather than trying to slip through the cracks unnoticed.

Additionally, servers tip out to the bartenders, waitresses, doormen, bussers, and kitchen. These tip outs are usually based on sales, not tips, as they should be. To illustrate what this means, if a server were to not be tipped on their only table, a large party, they would still tip out. This would come out of their minimum wage, and they would have worked that shift for an illegal wage, or in some cases, nothing. It’s all about incentivizing good service.

If we moved to a non-tipping system, food, drink and especially alcohol would see increased prices to pay for the increased wages. Furthermore, there would be no incentive to give good service, as a quick stop by a typical crack staff of motivated non-commission individuals can show you.

I’m not in the gastronomical service industry anymore. But I think it’s important to have perspective and look into why things are done, instead of resorting to knee-jerk solipsistic victim complexes. Grow up and stop being cheap if you’re going to go out in public. I haven’t eaten Kraft Dinner since 1984, so there’s plenty left for you to buy.


C-Flo Tackles Conscription

“I know where I’m going and I know the truth, and I don’t have to be what you want me to be. I’m free to be what I want.”

–Muhammad Ali

There’s nothing lower than criticizing someone for not wanting to serve in the military.

Conscription is an affront to human rights that could only be dreamed up by a fascist mindset. Most people are not cut out for the military, and pretending otherwise is disrespectful to the heroes who are. Serving one’s country takes an extraordinary amount of courage, altruism and willpower. To demand this of us mere mortals is a complete overreach, at least until Ray Kurzweil masters Radical Life Extension and shows us how to back ourselves up like an iPhone (there is no heaven, but I’ll see you in The Cloud someday).

Both of my grandfathers served in WWII. One of them was extensively decorated; one day he literally ran into a burning plane and dragged people out, saving their lives. He went on to have a long career teaching cadets.

We only have one life to live, making our existence the most precious possession we can ever own. The prospect of going through hell, and risking death, on the battlefield is not something a civilian would typically relish. This is especially true if one has an amazing life, full of fame, fortune and success.

Like many others, Muhammad Ali did not want to fight in Vietnam. But who can blame him? There was nothing appealing about Nam at any point. It will stand the test of time as the ultimate quagmire, an unwinnable war fought at enormous cost under false pretenses. The Gulf of Tonkin incident never even happened.

As the monthly mandatory draft rose to 35,000 young American men per month, many of them resorted to painful forms of civil disobedience. They’d do anything to fail the military physical including starvation, self-harm, and even faking homosexuality (a truly desperate measure in the sixties). Tens of thousands of males 18-25 were granted exemptions due to being college students, or on religious grounds. Ali was just one of many.

Calling someone a draft dodger, as a pejorative, is a fool’s errand. It’s also hypocritical for 99.6% of the American population. Ali, and others, chose to convert to Islam. Whether all of these people had their hearts in it or not doesn’t matter, I support them completely. When people are painted into the corner of injustice, I will always support their methods of escape, especially in matters of life and death.


C-Flo Tackles Dana White

“Did fans really not know that UFC has long used the threat of a lifetime ban to keep entrenched media in line? It’s a decade old policy.”

–Jonathan Snowden (@JESnowden)

I’ve been watching the Ultimate Fighting Championship since UFC 1: The Beginning, back in 1993. It didn’t even pretend to be a legitimate sport, and John McCain’s famous “human cockfighting” description was quite apt. There were no weight classes, no one was well-rounded, and punching your opponent repeatedly in the balls was a viable, legal strategy. The whole idea was to put fighters from different disciplines against each other, to allegedly see which discipline was superior (based on UFC 1, that would be Brazilian jiu-jitsu). It was the same idea that led to the famous Muhammad Ali vs. Antonio Inoki bout in 1976, to see who would win in a fight, a boxer or a wrestler (based on this match, that would be a wrestler).

The sport and the company have come a long way since then. Credit must be given where it is due, which is to Dana White’s vision and Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta’s money. I’ve always been big fans of all three man, as without them we wouldn’t have the sport of MMA, at least not in any sort of mainstream sense. Dana takes a ton of flack from people, but I almost always agree with him and his decisions. I’ve always really liked the guy.

However, everything changed for me on June 4, 2016, when Dana had beloved Canadian scribe Ariel Helwani forcibly removed from the building at UFC 199. Helwani was told he was banned for life from covering the UFC as a credentialled reporter. What had the six-time MMA journalist of the year done to deserve such drastic treatment?

He was too good at his job.

Earlier in the night, he had broken two huge stories before the UFC could officially announce them. Brock Lesnar was ending his five-year retirement for one night only, and would be loaned from the WWE in order to fight Mark Hunt at UFC 200. Additionally, Conor McGregor vs. Nate Diaz 2 will be the main event at UFC 202.

So, Dana had his surprises spoiled. He would later say that he was mad because Ariel ruined the announcement for the fans. How? What difference does it make? I’m looking forward to seeing Brock fight one more time just as much having heard it from Ariel as if I’d heard it on the UFC promo. It was a UFC surprise, regardless of where I heard it. That doesn’t sound like it’s about the fans, it sounds like it’s about Dana. Dana said Ariel went “beyond journalism” and did something “dirty.” What he meant was Ariel didn’t try to confirm the story with him, which prevented Dana from wiping his own ass with the First Amendment.

Can you imagine Adam Schefter being removed from an NFL game because he reported a retired player was coming back? Can you picture Bob McKenzie being accosted by the NHL for releasing draft rankings the league didn’t agree with? This is bush-league garbage that wouldn’t fly with the serious sports leagues, all of which have writers’ associations.

The likeable Helwani did the circuit of mainstream sports talk programs, calmly recounting the unfortunate events which led to the rift with the UFC. It was clear that every host he talked to was responding to the situation by taking at least one step back from their precarious acceptance of MMA as a mainstream sport, an acceptance that hadn’t been questioned in a decade. To have those old schisms appear was too much for Dana and Lorenzo, and they were forced to rescind Ariel’s life sentence after just 48 hours.

In that 48 hours was Ariel’s weekly Monday show The MMA Hour. Instead of the usual guests, listeners were treated to a soul-baring soliloquy, where Ariel became emotional multiple times. Dana would later call the episode “a pity party” and would ridicule Helwani for “crying.” So, to be clear, in Dana’s world, being sad about potentially losing your livelihood is a pity party, but getting cranky because someone else told your secret, isn’t.

I hope Dana’s kids see him cry at some point, and I hope they appreciate the authenticity and honesty that represents. I hope they’re not infected with the machismo fetish he suffers from.

Vince McMahon, Dana’s WWE equivalent, has demonstrated a similar career trajectory. They’re builders; they both took laughingstock companies and turned them into billion-dollar mainstream global enterprises. That kind of vision requires iconoclasm and persistence, and must be respected. Few humans other than Vince McMahon, Jr., could have singlehandedly demolished the territorial system of wrestling companies, assimilating everything in his path like some sort of carnival-barking Borg. But in 2016, Vince is an out-of-touch embarrassment, an anachronism from an era of ham actors and simple audiences, surrounded by sycophants and yes-men. He has outlived his usefulness and overstayed his welcome.

Dana’s decline is different, but equally present. Unlike Vince, Dana has his finger on the pulse of his industry, he can still enjoy matches as a fan, and I think he legitimately wants to give his fans what they want. On the other hand, like Vince, Dana is a megalomaniac control freak who dreams of honest reporters being replaced with lapdog shills, preferring advertising and propaganda over journalism and criticism. There is no MMA, only UFC; no professional wrestling, only WWE; no tissues, only Kleenex. You can have any colour as long as it’s White.

It’s time for White’s reign to fade to black.


C-Flo Tackles The Bible (Genesis Chapter 1)

“The best books…are those that tell you what you know already.”

–George Orwell

1 In the beginning there was The Big Bang.

2 Earth was one of the planets formed from the collapse of the first star, according to general cosmogonical consensus. Approximately 70.8% of its surface is covered by water.

3 We get our sunlight from the Sun, a G-type main-sequence star (G2V) at the centre of our solar system.

4 Sunlight is good for humans: it is an important source of vitamin D, and may help prevent a wide range of maladies such as psoriasis, multiple sclerosis (MS), and seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

5 Daytime occurs when a given point on Earth experiences illumination from the Sun, meaning the Sun is observable above the horizon; if this condition is not met it is considered to be nighttime. The transitionary phase from daytime to nighttime is called evening, and the transitionary phase from nighttime to daytime is called morning.

6 The theatre in which we observe the Sun, moon, and stars is called the sky; during daytime it manifests itself as blue because air scatters blue sunlight more effectively than red.

7 Ancient people believed the sky (called “firmament”) was comprised of solid materials; this cosmology has been inarguably disproven by modern science.

8 The sky above the clouds is sometimes referred to as the heavens. The first person to leave Earth completely was Yuri Gagarin, whose Vostok 1 spacecraft completed an orbit of the planet on April 12, 1961.

9 Dry land originally formed when cratons (basement and sedimentary rock from the lithosphere) amalgamated and rose to the surface of the planet.

10 The etymology of the word earth comes from the word erthe (Middle English, 1137 AD), a derivative of eorth (Old English/Anglo-Saxon, <725 AD), itself a derivative of ertho (Proto-Germanic, <500 AD); the etymology of the word sea is thought to come from the Old English word sae (sheet of water) and/or the Proto-Germanic word saiwaz.

11 The Earth naturally produces a great deal of food for humans and other animals, including grass, herbs, and fruit; many of these contain seeds, which act as the catalyst for reproduction in their species.

12 Over 80% of the 300,000+ plants on Earth are seed plants; fruits, vegetables, and grains are plants which, along with animals, constitute the vast majority of food for humans.

13 The Earth is approximately 4.54 billion years old.

14 Sol (the Sun) and/or Luna (our moon) serve many purposes, such as acting as navigation reference points, affecting seasonal change (from the tilt of Earth’s axis in tandem with revolutionary progress), creating the day-night cycle (based on rotational progress), and marking a year (one revolution around the Sun).

15 They also, obviously, are our primary sources of natural illumination, through sunlight and moonlight.

16 In addition to Sol, there are between 1 sextillion and 1 septillion stars (est.) in the universe, the closest of which (not including Sol) is Alpha Centauri, also known as Rigel Kent (4.37 light years from Sol).

17 Sunlight is comprised of roughly 50% infrared, 40% visible, and 10% ultraviolet (UV) light; moonlight is light from the Sun, stars, and Earth reflected back to our planet; it may appear to have a bluish tint when viewed with the human eye, due to the Purkinje effect.

18 The Earth’s rotation has been gradually slowing; when it was first formed, a day was only 6 hours long, and now a day is 24 hours long.

19 Earth is known as Terra in Latin.

20 It is very difficult to theorize about the first life forms on Earth, but a leading contender would be piezophiles/barophiles, which are deep sea-dwelling organisms that thrive under high pressure conditions; also of note, birds are thought to be theropod dinosaurs from the Mesozoic Era.

21 We have only discovered 2 million of the estimated 9 million species currently on Earth, the largest of which is the blue whale; 99.9% of species that have ever existed are now extinct.

22 Virtually all plants and animals reproduce through sexual reproduction.

23 The Earth is made up of 5 geologic layers: the inner core, the outer core, the mantle, the upper mantle, and the crust.

24 The genesis and subsequent major diversification of most known animal phyla occurred 542 million years ago during the Cambrian explosion.

25 Aristotle is the first known person to divide the living world between plants and animals, doing so in the 4th century BC.

26 Humans are the smartest animal on Earth, but there are many others that deserve recognition: chimpanzees, pigs, bottlenose dolphins, rhesus monkeys, parrots, elephants, rats, cats, dogs, whales, and octopi are just a few examples of highly intelligent creatures.

27 Humans are an anisogamous species, meaning we require a member of the male gender and a member of the female gender to have sexual intercourse in order to create descendants.

28 Over 100 billion human beings have ever lived.

29 Every plant species can reproduce sexually or asexually, or in many cases both; asexual methods include fragmentation, gemmae, or stolons; sexual methods include using seeds or spores.

30 Animals which eat primarily the meat of other animals are called carnivores; animals which eat primarily plants are called herbivores; animals which eat both and specialize in neither are called omnivores.

31 Humans created some amazing structures even as far back as centuries BC, summarized by the Greeks as the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. They are, in chronological order from oldest to newest: The Great Pyramid of Giza, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, the Statue of Zeus at Olympia, the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, the Colossus of Rhodes, and the Lighthouse of Alexandria; of these, only the Great Pyramid of Giza remains relatively preserved.


C-Flo Tackles The Taylor Hall Trade

“I was surprised there wasn’t a second piece in the puzzle for Edmonton.”

–Ray Ferraro

I’ve got a bad taste in my mouth today.

Losing Taylor Hall is jarring, and losing him for an unsexy name is confusing. I don’t have a problem with this as the foundation of a trade, but when no one believes the two players are roughly even, there has to be a sweetener. A pick, a prospect, salary retained; something, anything. Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli got outmaneuvered by a veteran GM, and there doesn’t have to be any shame in that unless you humiliate an entire city.

Adam Larsson is vastly underrated, and may well turn out to be a rock on defense and a cornerstone of the franchise for years to come. He plays the toughest competition and has the most difficult zone starts of any D-man in the NHL, and he holds his own, all while making a very reasonable salary. The problem isn’t the product, but the price.

There are tons of ways to spin this deal as a good thing, many of which may or may not be true. My brother’s friend’s sister heard Taylor Hall is a cancer in the locker room! Maybe he’ll start declining! He’s used to losing! They need a culture change! But no matter what argument you make, no matter how valid, the bottom line is there had to be another piece or two coming back the other way. Oilers management does not get or deserve any leeway from fans, and the optics of this deal show why.

Perception is reality in Edmonton. The nerve is raw. The team that sold Wayne Gretzky in his prime committed treason, and will never be completely forgiven. Running this franchise requires a great respect for the most die-hard fans in the league. If trading a beloved superstar for a diamond in the rough is the secret to success, the smart hockey fans in Edmonton will eventually understand. But, again, it still doesn’t excuse not getting a throw-in or two included. A bag of pucks signed by Martin Brodeur? Scott Stevens’ old jock strap?

If Taylor Swift is T-Swizzle then Taylor Hall is T-Sizzle, and he also brings the steak. He’s the full meal deal, and he’s easy to sell even when he’s not on sale. He’s the Messier to McDavid’s Gretzky; heart and soul on skates, speed and grit in a helmet, anger and glory on ice. He pushes the river, moves the chains, drives possession and makes it rain.

I needed a sweetener. A 7th round pick, a terrible prospect, whatever. 1 for 1 was a slap in the face. It’s the principle.

I wasn’t demanding stevia, or even sucralose.

I would have settled for aspartame.