Tag Archives: culture

Movie review: Deadpool

I had been waiting for Deadpool since Fox officially announced they would make it back in 2014. I was waiting before then, since the idea of a Deadpool movie first came about in 2009 when a horrible rendition of the character appeared in Fox’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine, the shittiest X-Men movie in the franchise to date. In fact, XMOW was so shitty Fox literally made a sequel where they go back in time to undo the events of the movie, effectively making it non-canon.

Look two faces right of Wolverine, and who is that?! Gasp, you should! Reynolds as Wade Wilson the first time, in X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009)

As tangential as that may have sounded, it wasn’t. It’s the shittiness of Fox’s earlier comic book movie endeavors that produced the colossus (ha, get it?) of a movie that is Deadpool.

Deadpool is a wisecracking mercenary who has healing powers similar to Wolverine, and who uses swords, knives, guns, and chimichangas to hilariously kill his way through life. He’s also cognitive of the fact that he’s a comic book character and often “breaks the fourth wall” meaning he addresses the audience directly.

Fox’s 2016 Deadpool stars Ryan Reynolds as the titular character Deadpool / Wade Wilson. What you may not know is that is technically the second time Reynolds portrayed the character. As previously mentioned, Reynolds played a version of the character, albeit a very much under done and poorly written version, in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. So that fact that Fox doubled down and went balls out to make a solo, R-Rated comic book flick about a character known for cussing up a storm and killing people actually got me a little hard.

If you haven’t seen Deadpool, SEE IT. Based on how many records it’s broken it’s hard to imagine there’s a soul left on this earth who hasn’t seen it. Ya know what, if you’ve seen it already, go see it again, smart ass.

Lets be honest, Fox took a bigger gamble with Deadpool than Marvel/Disney did with Guardians of the Galaxy. Which do you think is easier to market to children, talking raccoons in talking trees, or burn victim, foul mouthed, sex addicted mercenaries?

The movie was everything I expected and much more. It wasn’t just the above. Despite cramming in the character’s core persona and mythos, they managed to make the character relatable in and out of the spandex. Wilson talks like us. He walks like us. He drinks like us. He loves like us. He jokes like us. He’s not a choir boy, and he does fuck up every once in a while, but despite the fuckups he’s still a good guy, not a villain. And just like all of us, sometimes bad things befall him, for no wrongdoing of his own. And this movie did a fantastic job of showing what extremes a good people will go to in order to save themselves, and more importantly to better the lives of those we love.

Despite how much I love Marvel and their titles like Iron Man and Captain America, Wade Wilson is 10x more relatable to the audience than Tony Stark or Steve Rogers.

I don’t need to review this movie. The movie was great, and honestly you should see it. The only, and I mean only bad thing about the movie that I say actually has nothing to do with the movie itself. It has to do with the marketing. Fox was so worried about filling seats that they over marketed it. Leading up to the movie there were so many different teasers, trailers, clips, commercials starring Deadpool and viral marketing that by the time I first plopped my ass in the theater seat, I felt as if I had already seen the movie. And to be honest, I kinda did. Spend 20 minutes on YouTube and watch all the aforementioned and you’ve basically seen the movie. But just because I got filled up on Costco free samples doesn’t make the movie any less enjoyable.

Despite having blown most of its load in it’s advertising campaign, I still thought Deadpool was an amazing movie, and it definitely did not disappoint. It was funny, no, it was gut wrenching hilarious. On several occasions I thought I needed a respirator because I was laughing so hard I couldn’t breathe, which is sort of ironic once you’ve seen the movie. I particularly loved the jab about KFC sporks, especially since I thought I was the last person on earth to remember the fabled tool of the ancients. Just as Deadpool riddles his enemies with bullets, the entire movie is riddled with dick and fart and sex jokes and Mexican food. Comical jabs abound. The film has plenty of in your face comedy, but it also has tons of more subtle comedic moments that you have to pay attention to in order to appreciate. Tonally, the movie felt a lot like Archer.

The movie played very fast and loose with the whole breaking the fourth wall bit. Reynold’s Deadpool not only did so, but the movie also was self-aware and made plenty of references to out of movie productions that Reynolds and his former co-stars had participated in, such as Green Lantern, the Blade series, and the overall X-Men­ franchise even going so far as to name particular actors like Patrick Stewart, James McAvoy, and Hugh Jackman.

It also goes without saying that the movie had plenty of action. Which is interesting now that I think about it because despite centering around a guy with swords and knives and things that go boom, the movie put comedy in the drivers seat, drama in shotgun, and action in the backseat. The X franchise was so dry and dull and comedy-less with over the top action that it was refreshing to see a change of formula. Deadpool, besides his healing, really doesn’t have “super powers”. He can’t fly or control the weather or shoot red crap out of his eyes or lift the entire Golden Gate Bridge. He can run, jump, and shoot, and he does ‘em all with style. This is definitely not an action movie the likes of Michael Bay.

Most of all, I am happy for Ryan Reynolds. He seems like a nice guy who just kept getting shafted career wise. Everyone loved him in Waiting and Van Wilder, but as iconic and memorable as those roles were they probably didn’t pay too well. Blade 3 was okay, but nothing compared to Blade 2. Then he had a series of mega flops like Green Lantern and R.I.P.D. So it’s great to see him getting a stab at a role that’s finally on par with the weight his name brings to a movie.

If you want a hilarious movie, with relatable characters, excellent dialogue, a healthy dose of action, the occasional insensitive remark, and a possibly CGI’ed super suit, then this is the movie for you. Or if you’re just tired of apocalyptic (irony again!) superhero movies.

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Prepare to Be Trumped

I was reading this opinion piece on Politico this morning, and it just jumped out at me. The title is “Donald Trump is Shocking, Vulgar, and Right” and as I read, I found that the piece itself was shocking, vulgar, and correct.

I encourage you to read it, because it was enlightening. The gist of it was that while Trump has offended the Republican elite, – the unnamed, shot calling ‘ephors’ that exist in both major political parties – Trump has had unexpected success with the actual masses.

As is customary, I scrolled through the comments section to find the usual bantering vitriol one would expect at the end of any political op-ed, especially one about a controversial figure such as Donald Trump.

As is typical, you have your fair share of white-guilt liberals who think anyone who doesn’t vote Blue is a racist, old, white, evangelical, gun owning male.

Liberals have severely underestimated Trump’s appeal. I live in California where it’s pretty Democratic and I can’t believe how many ‘typical Democratic voters’ are coming out of the woodwork in support of Trump.

“I had to support Obama ‘cuz you know, I’m black and he’s my boy. But dude, Trump is killin’ it.”

Of course it’s always in private confidence to me as a Libertarian, or as an insurance agent. My black friends fear being raced out of town by their other black friends, if they admitted to supporting Trump. One such friend told me “I had to support Obama ‘cuz you know, I’m black and he’s my boy. But dude, Trump is killin’ it.” And he proceeded to tell me how what Trump said really resonated with him, even in areas I was sure they wouldn’t like Trumps stance on terrorism, immigration, and the refugee debate. And though he would never dare say that to a group of suspected democrats, he’d say it to me.

So what’s the appeal here? Why do people like Trump, or to auto-correct myself, why do so many people like Trump enough to vote for him? Trump’s got balls. He’s got chutzpah. I may not always agree with him but then again what politician do you ever fully agree with? But he says it like it is. Candor is something the black community and other minority groups can appreciate, however candor is something white liberals avoid at all costs in their embrace of self-censorship and PR verbalise.

Even I can admit Trump has made a couple gaffes, but when you break it down and scrutinize what he’s said even some of his more noticeable stumbles are really an overreaction to some benign, and common sense stuff. To quote the author;

“Apart from his line about Mexican rapists early in the campaign, Trump hasn’t said anything especially shocking about immigration. Control the border, deport lawbreakers, try not to admit violent criminals — these are the ravings of a Nazi?”

Trump has a greater appeal than most people give him credit for and it’s not something you can easily sum up in a cross-sectional analysis of poll results.

When Trump does something, he does it once, he does it big, he does it right. He pulls out all the stops. If you like keepin’ it real, then Trump’s your man since he’s the king of keeping it real. Trump says fuck the system and he’s not afraid to point fingers and call people out on their bullshit. You don’t give a fuck? Trump patented not giving a fuck.

I liken Trump to guard dog. What do you look for in a guard dog? Do you want your guard dog to be polite? To be kind? To care if the other dogs in the neighborhood like him? No. You picked that dog to keep you safe and devour any one that messes with you or your family. For the past 8 years we’ve had an apologist cupcake in the white house who only ever had the balls to pick a fight with fellow Americans across the political aisle, but who could never be bothered to stick it to Iran, ISIS, North Korea, Russia, or China. Say what you will about Trump but even democrats can concede the man loves his country, bleeds red, white and blue, and is one hell of a pro-U.S. cheerleader.

And perhaps counter intuitively, Trump might be doing so well because he’s the anti-Hillary. Yeah they’re both old and white. But the polarization is in their approach, and in their appeal.

Hillary has never known a job outside of politics. She’s been in politics since she was 21 years old. She’s been making a living off tax payers for over 40 years, with no intention of ever leaving. Donald Trump is fresh off the streets in terms of politics.

Clinton is a certifiable liar. After all, she comes from a family of liars. Her husband lied about an affair to her and the entire country. From private email servers being wiped clean to Benghazi. She lies. Her husband lies. And the entire world knows it. Trump is a crude, rude, dude, and might misspeak from time to time, but there is no one more honest than him right now in headline politics.

Trump is so bad-ass he let him self get roasted on Comedy Central.

Hillary has an army of political scientists whispering into her ear, telling her what to say, how to say it, and how to deflect criticism. Every sentence, every word, every syllable she utters is a carefully chosen, orchestrated regurgitation of politi-speak. She is a master politician, I’ll give her that. Trump is not. Trump couldn’t give two shits if what he says offends you or your kitten. He’s a master ass kicker.

Hillary Clinton could literally be caught on camera eating a baby and liberals wouldn’t care.

And I think the biggest difference between the two politicians is not just their appeal, but their audience. Hillary Clinton could literally be caught on camera eating a baby and liberals wouldn’t care. Anyone that suggested she is unscrupulous, or that she be indicted would be met with a fury of insults from her cult like followers that they are sexist, misogynist, blasphemists. In the world of Clintonites, Hillary can do no wrong.

Juxtapose that to Trump supporters. I’m a Trump Supporter, and I’ll be the first person to tell you Trump is a dick. He is! It’s no mystery, and if you ask your Trump friends they’ll tell you the same. We don’t try to masquerade our candidate as some saint, some divine messiah like what was done with Obama and what is being done with Hillary now. Trump is what he is. A flesh and blood man with a plan. He’s a bad ass mother fucker who takes no shit, gives no fucks, and takes care of business, and – yes, I will remind you – he’s a dick. But he’s an honest dick. And he’s our dick.

He’s a dick. But he’s an honest dick. And he’s our dick.

Arguments Against Minimum Wage Hikes

This is by no means a formal thesis on my stance against increasing minimum wage. Sorry, no statistics, no numbers, no conclusive studies from universities. Just reasoning, common sense, and personal experience.

As always, I have to give a stupid disclaimer. No, I do not think that everyone who earns minimum wage is an idiot, or lazy, or a bad person, or deserves a shitty life. That’s not my opinion. But it doesn’t affect my stance on the issue one bit. Sorry, pulling no punches this time.

Why am I against increasing the minimum wage? Read on.

Employees are Expensive

When people think employment they think of words like company, enterprise, corporation, which all have negative connotations and stir up imagery of monstrous evil entities with gazillions of dollars just laying around. I work for a corporation, and it employs two people, my mom and me.

Expensive personFor many businesses, labor is a HUGE expense. I don’t know percentages. And it doesn’t matter what percentage of operating costs are for labor, but it’s big, and relevant. How do I know? Go to any small mom n’ pop business in your local neighborhood. How many people do you see working there that aren’t owners? 1? 2? None?

If labor costs were the drop in the bucket that Wage Hikers make them out to be then every business on Mainstreet would be flooded with employees. But they aren’t. Because employees are fucking expensive.

And were not just talking their hourly or salary, but also their benefits, their PTO, workers compensation, and then paying unemployment once they no longer even work for you. Then, you add on top of it that employees these days are usually lazy and check their social media accounts for 4 hours, spend an hour in the bathroom, and do a half ass job the remaining hours, you realize that you’re paying your employees 8 hours for 2 hours of work.

Labor Costs Outpace Consumerism and Revenue

The big “counter attack” to the point above is “Well if employers pay workers more, then they can afford to buy more and then more people buy from that business and the business makes more money, and so then it all works out.

The premise is horrible for a multitude of reasons.

  1. It assumes that business revenue will increase. Big assumption. Higher labor could mean higher product costs, which could very well result in less customers, less sales, and therefore less revenue.
  2. It assumes that business revenue will increase immediately. Labor is an upfront cost. Meaning even if business will improve weeks, months, or years later, business can’t write I.O.U.s to their employees and wait for that increased revenue to come in. I have to pay my staff NOW. For many businesses they simply do not have money laying around to pay their workers more. It’s not a matter of fairness or equality. It’s a matter of accounting and budgeting.
  3. It assumes that business revenue will increase for every business. Even if certain businesses do see an increase in revenue, it will not be all businesses. The only businesses that will do better are those which hire low wage workers and whose consumer base is also low wage workers. So for example, fast food joints and movie theaters. Businesses that hire entry level workers but attract well-to-do clientele will not benefit from this at all. So the majority of businesses that cater to homeowners, the housing industry, contractors, real estate, will see their labor costs go up without a coinciding increase in volume or revenue.

People are Hired Based on Merit, not Circumstance

Yeah, yeah. Such-and-such lady is a single mom with two kids and she works four jobs and still can’t make a decent living at the current minimum wage, feel bad, yada yada.

And? Since when are people paid based on their circumstances, and not on their merit? What difference does someone’s sob story make? If and when I ever hire someone, the only thing I will care about is what can you do for me? How are you going to make me more money? Why should I pay you X amount? Now prove it.

If anything else mattered, people wouldn’t send in resumes and applications when looking for a job. Employers would ask candidates “How shitty is your life?” and then pay then commensurate with how shitty of a life they have. But that’s not the way it works because it doesn’t matter.

People Aren’t (Always) Worth Minimum Wage

LA recently increased their minimum wage to $15 per hour. A landslide victory for underqualified workers!

pay

Sometimes I consider hiring someone to help me out with simple tasks like writing thank you cards. My penmanship is absolute shit. I can barely read my own handwriting so that seems like a task worthy of being outsourced. Plus, it takes me forever. Why spend 5 hours writing thank you cards which is maybe $10 work, when I can writing policies which is $200 work?

Okay, so a card writer to work for three hours tops. What qualifications do they need?

  1. Good penmanship
  2. A pulse

That’s it.

Why the hell and I am going to pay someone $15 per hour to write thank you cards?

It Ruins the Pool of Candidates

Building on the previous point, not everyone is worth $15, $20, or even $10 per hour. Fact.

But having a lower minimum wage made it easier to distinguish between different tiers of workers when looking for someone to fill an opening in your business.

A $10 job attracted $10 workers. A $25 job attracted $25 workers.

Let’s say I was looking for an entry level position, again, to write thank you cards day in and day out. That’s their only job. It’s a $10 job, meaning the job is so simple that there’s no benefit to me to pay more than that, regardless of how qualified someone is. I post an opening on Craigslist and get a dozen or so people interested in the position. Let’s review the competition:

Candidate 1 – Very Overqualified: One girl is a grad student who expects $20 per hour. She’s got a bachelors in business administration and very qualified in her own right. Fair enough. She is worth $20 per hour, but my labor is not. I won’t pay $20 for $10 work. Pass.

Candidate 2 – Slightly Overqualified: This girl is still in college working on her undergrad. She doesn’t have a whole lot of experience but she’s working at it, and has good handwriting. She’s also bilingual. She’s worth $15 per hour. But again, I have a $10 job, so she is slightly over qualified. Pass.

Candidate 3 – Quality Match: Then comes some woman, 40 years old. Never graduated high school. Dropped out and had 2 kids. No college. Monolingual. But she does have great handwriting and low and behold, she has a pulse! We have a winner! But, oh shit, I forgot. Minimum wage is $15.

Now I am forced to pay someone $15, even if it is to do $10 work.

You would think this is a victory for the Wage Hikers. They think, “Aha! Andrew is now forced to hire this woman worth $10 per hour to work for him and pay her $15 per hour! Buahahahah! Our misguided plan has worked, and now low skilled people can get jobs paying higher wages! BRILLANT!

But hold on one second… that’s not exactly how it works…. Read on.

It Screws Low Skilled Workers

You can pass a law that increases minimum wage, but you can’t snap your fingers and improve the work force in a flash.

Minimum wage or not, I’m not going to hire a $10 worker for $15 per hour. For $10 per hour, Candidate 3 would have been a great choice, and she would have got the job. She’s worth $10 per hour, and I was willing to pay her $10 per hour.

Gun to my head, if I am forced to pay someone more money, I am going to find a worker who is worth it. Which means sorry Candidate 3, I’m stepping over you and moving straight to Candidate 2. True, I didn’t originally need to someone with college experience and who speaks two languages. However, if I am going spend a certain amount of money I am going to get every ounce of employee I can and sure they are worth every dime.

Example: If I was forced to spend $50,000 on a car, I would not have bought my $25,000 Nissan Xterra. I would have made sure to get a car that was worth the $50,000, such as a Land Rover, or fully loaded Jeep Cherokee.

The minimum wage changed. The candidates did not. When you raise the minimum wage, employers are going to stop hiring entry level workers and go straight to more qualified people who in their eyes would have been worth $15 per hour prior to the wage hike.

Employers are not going to suddenly stop thinking logically, and pay more money for the same labor. If they’re forced to pay better wages, they’ll get better workers, and they’ll fire their current work force without hesitation. Every candidate whose labor is worth less than the new minimum wage is going to have a very hard time finding a job and keeping it.

Conclusion

The long and short of it is that increasing minimum wage might help some people get paid more. But others will lose their jobs and either be replaced, or the employer might just decide to do without their position. It hurts the very people it intends to help. So it’s bad for employees.

It will also reduce consumption, and making hiring more difficult, so it’s bad for businesses.

Prices for goods and services will go up, so it’s bad for consumers.

When someone is bad for everyone, I don’t

 

Business Communication Part 1 – Phone Communication

I can go on for days about communication, so rather than turning this into an essay, I’ve broken this into a series of blog posts.

As part of my job, I do a lot of communicating with a very wide and diverse group of people. Some are starving college students, others are multimillionaires. Men and women, young and old, tech savvy and old school, married and single, blue collar and white collar, domestic and foreign born, first time homeowners and real estate tycoons, and everything in between. Over the years and with my experiences I’ve learned quite a bit about the dos and don’ts of business communication – what works, and what doesn’t.

This advice is not your typical “their vs they’re”, “are vs our”, “to, too, and two” spiel you can find anywhere. Assuming you are already literate, here is some communication advice you can actually take advantage of. Despite my intro, not all of this is not strictly business communication advice, but advice that will prove useful in any context.

For Part 1, the you need only relearn your ABCs, and your 123’s.

Relearn your ABC’s.

“B like Boy, A as in…. Apple, N like Nancy, C like….. ummm….. Cat?” If this sounds like you spelling out “Bancroft Street” to a stranger over the phone, then you are putting yourself and others through a lot of unnecessary trouble.

Every day I hear my clients struggle with reading off VIN numbers to me over the phone.

It’s about time you learned and memorized the US Military Phonetic Alphabet, also known as the NATO Phonetic Alphabet. This handy system will save you time and embarrassment when spouting off an endless series of letters. The system was specifically designed so that when reading off letters over radio transmission, it is easy to distinguish between one letter and another.

"Oscar Mike Golf! That was hilarious Sarge!"
“Oscar Mike Golf! That was hilarious Sarge!”

Military Phonetic Alphabet

The list is as follows.

  1. Alpha
  2. Bravo
  3. Charlie
  4. Delta
  5. Echo
  6. Foxtrot
  7. Golf
  8. Hotel
  9. India
  10. Juliet
  11. Kilo
  12. Lima
  13. Mike
  14. November
  15. Oscar
  16. Papa
  17. Quebec
  18. Romeo
  19. Sierra
  20. Tango
  21. Uniform
  22. Victor
  23. Whiskey
  24. X-Ray
  25. Yankee
  26. Zulu

When it comes in handy:

  • Driver’s License Numbers
  • Vehicle Identification Numbers (VIN)
  • Hard to spell names
  • Hard to spell street names
  • Policy numbers
  • Anything where you’re spelling out a word with tons of letters.
  • A surefire way to garner respect from military clients and peers.

A is not for Apple. From now on, it’s Alpha. Familiar yourself with all 26 letters and practice them regularly. Memorize it. Learn it. Love it.

Relearn your 123’s

Another task I do daily is collect phone numbers, street addresses, and credit card numbers. Believe it or not, there are right and wrong ways to do this.

I doubt you’re pronouncing the numbers wrong, but you could be reading them aloud the wrong way.

Do Re Mi... ABC... 123... Baby, you and me!
Do Re Mi… ABC… 123… Baby, you and me!

Credit Cards

Credit cards are conveniently broken down into four groups of four digits, with the exception of American Express. When reading your credit card to someone over the phone, make sure to read the numbers the way they are commonly displayed:

For example: 1234 pause 5678 pause 1234 pause 5678. American express displays their numbers in groups other than four. In this case, try to break them into groups of 4 anyways.

Phone Numbers

Another big one I noticed people botch often is reading off phone numbers. First of all, always read the area code. Never assume the other person knows the area code. More and more, even “small towns” have multiple area codes as populations swell. San Diego County for example has three area codes, 619, 858, and 760. Los Angeles probably has twice that.

Second, remember that people write slower than you can talk. So when reading off a number of any kind, make sure to sllllooooowwww down. The pauses let the person listening to you catch up, so they don’t have to ask you to repeat yourself.

Third, just like with credit cards, read phone numbers the way they are commonly displayed. For example: 619 pause 555 pause 6789.

Numbers In General

Do not use the letter “O” for the number “0” (zero). This can be especially confusing for alphanumeric chains where either a letter or number can possibly be correct, such as an account number or email address.

Read each individual digit. Do not combine digits to make larger numbers.

For example:

The chain “7-8-5-2” should be read “seven-eight-five-two”.

The chain “7-8-5-2” should NOT be read “seventy eight-fifty two” because this can then be misinterpreted as 70-8-50-2.

Regardless of what the number is, try to break down long chains of characters into groups of four, and pause between each group, just like you would with a credit card. This makes it easier for the person on the other end.

Conclusion

That’s it. Relearn your ABCs and your 123s. If you can do that, you’ll make life easier for yourself and anyone you communicate with over the phone.

You’re Worth What You Can Get

If you know me, or have argued with me online, you ought to know that I’m a fiscally conservative dude. People hear “conservative” and they imagine Scrooge McDuck hoarding and counting his endless piles of money while Little Timmy freezes and starves to death outside. The truth is that being a “fiscal conservative” only means that you don’t play fast and loose with your money. You avoid impulse buys, and put more consideration into purchases and decisions that might affect your financial situation. You don’t spend money on a whim. It also does not mean that you are rich.

All of that needed to be said and for good reason. I’m not a huge fan of new regulations to drastically raise the minimum wage. But no,it’s not because I’m evil.

Scrooge McDuck counting his money.
Scrooge McDuck counting his money.

While many people who are against raising the minimum wage claim that “Burger flippers aren’t for $X per hour! This is outrageous!”, my stance is very different. I think you’re worth whatever you can persuade someone to pay you.

If Joe Teenager can convince his manager to pay him $50 an hour to flip burgers, then by all means I support it and applaud it. Sincerely. The key word here though,  is “convince”.

I don’t like the idea of strong arming someone into paying you more, especially when your employment there is voluntary.

All transactions should be mutually agreed upon by both parties; the buyer and the seller. Imagine you’re selling you car and someone offers you far less than you’re willing to sell it for. You have the right to not sell it. Employment is no different. As an employee, you are selling your services in exchange for an income, or benefits, insurance, etc. The employee naturally wants to maximize his income, and the employer naturally wants to minimize his payroll, but unless both parties can reach an agreement, there should be no transaction. Forcing a wage on your employer is no different than forcing your neighbor to buy your car for more than he’s willing to pay for it, simple as that.

The gut-counter-reactions to this might be “But people need a job to live!”  True. you may need a job, but don’t forget that businesses are not in the business of hiring people that need jobs. They’re in the business of making  money. Whether you need a job or higher pay is not the business’ concern – it’s yours.

Before you sharpen your pitchforks, hear me out. Just because I’m against raising the minimum wage does not mean I’m against higher pay. Just because I’m against rape, doesn’t mean I’m against sex. Just so long as each is consensual.

I don’t mind people getting paid more. I don’t mind burger flippers getting paid more. I try to avoid Walmart which pays a “starving wage”. I frequent businesses like Costco and In-N-Out which voluntarily pay well above minimum wage. I also tip well (when deserved). I vote with my wallet. I encourage everyone to vote with theirs. If enough people do it, it could cause some shifts.

Who works minimum wage though? Who should be? Lower paying jobs are usually entry level positions that don’t require much experience or a heavy hitting résumé. Ideally, they are for teens and young adults looking to gain experience and build their résumé in order to advance to a better job.

Entry level jobs are self explanatory. They are jobs for people entering the work force. By their nature, they are meant to be short lived. You get one, grow, learn, and move on to the next level, and the next person takes your place. It’s kind of like kindergarten. They can support a lone wolf, but probably aren’t suited for supporting a wolf pack. So teens be warned! Having kids on a McDonald’s paycheck is probably not a great idea.

Here’s where “fiscal conservative” finally comes into play. Making more money is one thing. Making decisions that result in less expenses is another. People need to think of life in terms of finances. the car you drive, the neighborhood you live in, the clothes you wear, and even when and how many kids you have are all financial decisions.

Would you buy a car if you couldn’t afford the payments?

Would you buy a home if you couldn’t afford the mortgage?

Would you buy a puppy if you couldn’t afford the food?

If no, then you shouldn’t have a baby unless you can afford to raise it. Again, simple as that.

Actual ad from a NYC teen parents awareness campaign.
Actual ad from a NYC teen parents awareness campaign.

Simple as this is. Straight forward as this is. No-nonsense as this, a lot of people hear that and are offended. They’re repulsed at the idea of children being a financial decision instead of a “life decision”.

What many fail to realize is that almost every decision is a financial decision, or at the very least will result in a different financial outcome. Life isn’t free, and so long as that’s true, life decisions are financial decisions.

That’s a whole other conversation and blog post, so let me stop there. Steering this all back on track, the point to all this is simple, so let me wrap this up.

Minimum wage jobs are meant for teens and people with few obligations – not for families.

Instead of regulating businesses to take care of people, people should regulate their own actions to better take care of themselves. If you’re 40 with three kids and on minimum wage, you *probably* made some poor choices, even if it was simple having more kids than you could afford. If you meant to have one child and ended up with triplets, then clearly you’re an exception to the rule.

No matter how old or young you are, if you’re in the work force or entering soon, always be improving yourself and making yourself more commercially valuable.

If you’re a voter, vote with your wallets before you rush to the ballots.

If you’re an employer who can afford to do so, try to help your staff out a little bit. Generosity goes a long way, and happy employees work better.

No matter who you are, remember that every decision is a financial decision, whether you life it or not.

All transactions should be mutually agreed upon by both parties.
All transactions should be mutually agreed upon by both parties.

Finally, you’re not worth what you think you are. In fact, you’re not worth what others think you are. You’re worth whatever you can convince someone else to give you.

Why the World Cares About America

You read the title and I already know what you’re thinking. “Oh please! The world doesn’t care about America! How self-important! You’re so Americanly vain for even thinking that!” But hear me out for a second.

How many times have you heard people complain about the following:

“Why doesn’t America use the metric system like everyone else?”

“Why don’t Americans like football (soccer) like everyone else?”

“Why don’t more Americans listen to EDM like everyone else?”

“Why don’t American men wear capris like everyone else?”

American Fans

 

Yes, the world does care about America.

You especially hear this from Europeans. For a group of people that seemingly don’t like America, they sure spend a hell of a lot of time talking about everything American. They talk about how we don’t play the right sports, don’t eat the right foods, don’t listen to the right music, don’t wear the right clothes, don’t use the right rulers, or drink the right beer.

You’re probably nodding your head in understanding. As an American, or anyone, you’ve no doubt heard these common complaints about the US.

For you nay-sayers out there thinking “That doesn’t mean the rest of the world cares about America. We just think what they do is stupid.”…. Really? Really?

Remember that one kid in grade school you never talked to and didn’t care about? Remember you cared so little about what he did that you questioned and griped about his hobbies and interests? No? Me neither.

The truth is that people don’t talk about things they don’t care about. We don’t complain about things we don’t care about. We don’t try to convince someone that they enjoy the wrong sport, if we aren’t at least remotely concerned about their opinion.

The world does care. In fact, everyone else seems to care a lot about what Americans do and don’t do, what Americans like and don’t like.

American Football

But Americans on the other hand, don’t care what the world does.

Now think about how often you hear Americans complain that the rest of the world does like soccer? Close to never? Maybe I’m alone here, but in my 27 years of life as an American, with all my American friends, American TV shows, American news channels, and American movies, I’ve never once heard an American question or complain about why the world loves soccer. Why should we? We love football, they love soccer. Who cares if Germany or Brazil loves soccer? Good for them I guess. They found something they like, and we found something we like. All is well in the universe.

For the most part, Americans legitimately don’t give a crap what the rest of the world does or doesn’t do, likes or doesn’t like. We don’t care what you eat, where you live, what your rules are, that you don’t like guns, that your gas is so expensive, or that your cars are so small. We really don’t care.

It used to perplex me why everyone else cares so much, but I think I figured it out.

Barn with US flag

The world cares the America doesn’t care.

There seems to be a huge emphasis on the notion that Americans ought to be more like everyone else. Since we’re not like everyone else, were often viewed as being isolationists.

And that is the next big epiphany I had. The rest of the world cares that we don’t care. The world cares that Americans don’t mind not being like everyone else. The world cares that Americans march to the beat of their own drum. The rest of the world gets upset when we don’t show up to their party, because we’re having so much damn fun at our own party.

Americans don’t mind being different. Americans don’t mind foregoing otherwise unanimously celebrated events. Americans espouse “American Exceptionalism”. The world calls the United States isolationists because of this, despite our huge global presence. We don’t care, and we’re fine with that, and it bugs the shit out of everyone else. We make music that goes platinum, movies that are block busters, awesome TV shows, businesses that churn profit, Olympians that bring home the gold, and astronauts that land on the moon.

In conclusion….

This leads me to my final realization. The rest of the world wishes they were as culturally independent as we are. They hate that they drive American cars, watch American movies, listen to American music on American technology, eat at American food establishments, and speak the American language. They hate that our presence is so prevalent in their country, when their presence is so muted in ours.

When people around the world gripe about America’s preferences and culture, their complaints are not really that they that wish we were more like them. It’s that they wish they were more like us.

America Fuck Yeah!