Tuesday, June 1, 2021

The Long and Short of Haircut Gratuities

The familiar barber shop pole with its red, white, and blue stripes is easily recognizable as a place for a haircut and other services. As in other places, a man in the old West could stop in for a haircut and shave, and finish with some bay rum after shave. Many years ago, barbers also performed surgeries, hence the red and white stripes on the pole. Eventually, they only medically-related practices they performed were tooth extractions and the barbaric practice of bloodletting.

Gratuities are expected in many services. This includes barbers and hair stylists. The amount varies, but when we feel cheated, we find someone else.
Credit: Pexels / cottonbro

On a side note, by ignoring Leviticus 17:11, bloodletting contributed to the demise of President George Washington. There were many factors in his illness, but since the life is in the blood, he may have survived it if they had left more of it in him. But we can't expect doctors (and barbers) in 1799 to know modern medicine — and people in medical science are still learning.

Traditional barber shops have become a rarity. Today, barbers are men and women that often work in multi-purpose facilities. They do basic haircuts as well as elaborate styling on both men and women. They must pay for their education and their own supplies, even in the large establishments — where they often rent workspace. Hair cuttery as a whole brings in a passel of revenue. Like many services today, a gratuity is expected.

A gratuity (fancy word for tip) was originally a gift for excellent service, but it is now a part of their wages and must be declared for income tax purposes. How much do you tip? There are guidelines, but not exactly clear cut (see what I did there?) and have other factors to consider. Someone who wants an elaborate style will not only pay more, but it takes time, so a larger tip should be given if the service is good. If the customer is a problem child by being demanding or less than pleasant, it's another reason for him or her to give a larger tip.

I want something simple: make it shorter. The barber can crank out my basic conservative haircut in just a few minutes and then move on to the next cut-stomer. Sure, I can grouse over how it's unfair and I shouldn't have to pay not only for the haircut but the barber's wages, but that's just how things are. Indeed, I still give a reasonable tip and mayhaps some extra because I like the barber. Recently, I've felt cheated.

Before the lockdowns and restrictions because the election year virus (conveniently supplied from Wuhan, China) has been used to control the populace, I had no problem getting the short hair I wanted. There were times in recent weeks where I came home and my wife remarked that my hair wasn't much shorter. Is it reasonable to assume that some of these places are trying to make up for lost revenue (due to forced closures) by leaving the hair longer so people have to go back sooner? In fact, the Number Four attachment and the clippers I usually experienced went unused — it was scissors-only.

More frequent visits may generate more revenue for them, but we are also expected to give tips more often, and for less-than-satisfactory service. I believe in paying a reasonable price for good products and services, but when I feel that I am not getting what I pay for, I go elsewhere. This applies to hair services and others. Things may get better later on. The next time I go to a professional instead of having my wife hack it away with the clippers I bought (which I refer to as the hedge trimmer), I'm going to be adamant about having them make it short.

Saturday, May 8, 2021

Another MacGyver Rings Down the Curtain

by Cowboy Bob Sorensen 

Television and movie producers have been criticized by their frequent "reboots" of existing material, and some people wonder if they are out of ideas. (Why reboot? The established meaning is to reload an electronic device with the existing material.) Some try to keep to the spirit of the original, but others only have a superficial resemblance to what is being remade. In this case, MacGyver 2016.

The reboot of MacGyver bit the dust. While there are official reasons, I suggest other factors that Hollywood elitists ignore that also contributed.
Tombstone image before modifications: Vukki
The first name of the character in the original series, Angus, was kept a secret until the seventh season. May was well use it from the get-go in the new one since the secret is out. For quite a while, I expected Richard Dean Anderson to appear as Mac's father, but Anderson didn't like the new version and refused. Several character names from before were used in the reboot, but the characters were usually quite different. The Phoenix Foundation was also used as the organizations each Angus worked for.

Special Mentions

Regular cast members at the end include Lucas Till, Tristin Mays, Justin Hires (these three were in the series from the beginning), and Levy Tran (joined in season three). They do their jobs well when they have good material and directing.

David Dastmalchian played the psychotic Murdoc, and he did his job extremely well with a mix of charisma and evil that made Murdoc someone to be feared. 

Meredith Eaton joined as Matty Webber in the first season. She was originally the hardnosed boss, but her character developed and there was a balance of caring for the team and getting the job done. Also, Meredith is a dwarf. What I liked is that nobody made a deal about it. Although unrealistic, there were no jabs at her size, but I appreciated the fact that the writers and producers just let her be a person. Would that there was more of this in movies, television, and society in general instead of trumpeting that they hired someone of a certain sexual preference, gender dysphoria, ethnicity, skin color, or whatever. Just let them play their parts.

Late to the party was Henry Ian Cusick, who portrayed Russ Taylor, a spoiled rich guy and demanding owner of the company. He, too, became a valuable asset to the team and showed excellent acting skills.

Why it was Canceled

April 30, 2021 was the final show. Well, the ratings were dwindling, and that's what happens. Then there's the "real" reason it was canceled, supposedly providing information that is less commonly available. Digging deeper, I learned a new word: showrunner, which is a special kind of executive producer. Peter Lenkov, the showrunner for MacGyver and Magnum P.I. who was at the helm for several seasons, was fired for making the work environment toxic. But even with a new showrunner, ratings continued to fade.

Other Things to Consider

There seemed to be a revolving door for actors, especially the females. Reign Edwards, who played Leanna Martin, was a part of the team and then disappeared (she was eventually written out as having been killed in a CIA operation). Isabel Lucas was Samantha Cage, but chose to leave. At least her character survived an attempted assassination. Remember Pete Thornton, Mac's boss in the original series? The new show had Patricia Thornton (see what they did there?), played by Sandrine Holt, who left the show in the first season. It turns out she was one of the bad guys all along, which struck me as bad writing.

George Eads was Jack Dalton, Mac's friend. This character was borrowed from the original series, and was a strong part of the new series into the third season. George had some problems with the producers and wanted out of his contract. He also had a problem with CSI after fifteen (!) years.

People leave shows, it's a fact of life for that industry. It struck this child that MacGyver had quite a few in a relatively short time. That makes it difficult to develop storylines and have character development, and I thought that the series was a bit convoluted.

Sometimes it seems that there's a little extra beyond the acting; the actors and people behind the scenes seem to like each other and doing the show. They also struck me as growing tired and going through the motions. Although it seemed that Russ Tayler, the new boss of boss Mattie, added some spark, but the writing and directing didn't let him shine. Even so, it was probably too little, too late.

If any of y'all watched the show Scorpion, about a group of super geniuses saving all or parts of the world, there were writing similarities that wore thin. (Robert Patrick was great as the Scorpion team's handler.) Personal dramas, one thing leads to another as things go from bad to worse to heroic save, and the impossible happen. There were times in both shows that I had to turn my suspension of disbelief up to eleven and hope the next episode (of either MacGyver or Scorpion) wouldn't be so outrageous.

I didn't know that I was watching the series finale, it seemed like a season finale instead. (But then, the writers had to make adjustments to the last show because they were taken off guard.) I was tolerating the leftist virtue signaling since I liked the characters and the show was still reasonably entertaining. Riley was using her hacking skills (which originally landed her in jail, later working for the Phoenix Foundation) and teaching other wayward girls — except one, who identified as "non-binary". That's herd mentality science denial, old son.

They also openly endorsed the Marxist organization Black Lives Matter and suddenly made a big deal about blackness. Further, they did the Black Panther movie's Wakanda Salute, something made for a movie but has been liberated for the leftist revolution "culture". Indeed, people can be harassed for not complying with this nonsense.

The villains of nanobot experimentation and a planned saturation of citizens (for purposes of control) in the final episode was the United States government. If I want anti-American sentiment, I'll watch mainstream fake news media, you savvy that?

Deserved to be Canceled?

I discussed several reasons that the reboot of MacGyver was canceled. Low ratings may have been brought on by lackluster writing, disjointed storylines by cast members leaving, and other reasons. However, the leftist virtue signaling was pushing me away; when the last episode aired (again, I thought it was the season finale and not the series finale), I was seriously considering dropping the show from my watchlist.

Keep your wokeness tyranny to yourselves. I don't give a flying — I mean, I'm not interested in your ideology, television and movie producers. There are a few million people who are not into elitist leftist tactics and do not hate the United States. The producers may have been alienating their viewers for many reasons, including the show's growing political and cultural agendas. It was happening to me. Fortunately, I can stream the classics with Richard Dean Anderson.

Sunday, April 18, 2021

Smoking that Doobie, Brother

by Cowboy Bob Sorensen

Many countries, especially on the western side of the Atlantic, have decriminalized cannabis (weed, pot, doobies, grass, smoke, reefer, whatever) and legalized it for medical use. Many places have made recreational use legal as well. Even where illegal, enforcement of laws is often sporadic.

Cannabis is becoming legal in many places. However, there are scientific and other facts that are coming out that indicate legalization is a bad idea.

And there was great rejoicing among pot smokers. In fact, here in not-all-that-far-upstate New York, cops don't care. Polly Pothead in the apartment next door was chugging away so much, the smoke could be seen not only in the hallway, but seeped into our own apartment. Police did nothing. That was before it was legal, but her usage is the same as before; smoking wacky tobaccy just wasn't important enough to enforce the law. Also, she's a terrible conversationalist.

One article I found in my research mentioned that Mary Jane was originally illegal because it is harmful. (Oh, come on! Don't get a burr under your saddle. You know it's true. People who argue for its medical and recreational use cite dubious sources almost as much as a village atheist cites other atheists that have "evidence" against creation science. If nothing else, our Creator didn't design us to inhale burning leaves.) Something that was considered harmful is now legalized because governments see money in it.

People are sold a bill of goods about how marilizing legajuana will boost the economy and provide massive tax revenues. That isn't working out nearly as well as they expected. The underground economy, like the Democrat Party, doesn't want the swamp drained. That is, dealers are used to doing sneaky stuff and not paying taxes, and it's cheaper to get it from Jake the Snake than from Ye Olde Cannabis Emporium, you savvy?

Comparisons are made between grass and alcohol, as may be expected. These are not valid, however, despite some credible points that are raised  —

I'm going to change horses in midstream. Let's see what happens. When I say smoker, I'll be referring to a cannabis user. Drinker refers to alcohol, whether, beer, wine, spirits, or whatever.

  • You can't drive stoned, Sebastian. Impaired driving is a problem whatever the cause, and crying, "But it's legal now!" won't cut it.
  • Workplaces have a right to prohibit the use of loco weed just like alcohol; you can't show up to work while stoned. I sure don't want a buzzed plumber or surgeon taking care of my needs. I lack belief that anyone else would want to pay a stoner for important work.
  • People pushing to make marijuana legal appeal to medicinal use. But like evolutionists, they acted like their approach is the only approach, citing other biased advocates for support. The formulas for recreational and medicinal usages are different.
  • Standardization of pot is a crapshoot. A drinker in the formerly United States knows that there are standards, and the alcohol content is on the label somewhere, usually hovering around five percent for beer.
  • Drinking and smoking (which includes tobacco) are bad for young people. They are still developing, and those things cause permanent damage.

On a side note, I remember being a cashier and ringing up single packs of cigarettes for fifty cents each, and $4.35 USD for a carton of ten. In many places, they are about ten dollars a pack. Most of that is taxes. I reckon that putting warning labels on the package that they're harmful to your health makes it okay to subsidize and tax something that is harmful, huh?

When I posted "Cannabis and the Christian", a surprising number of religious folks argued that they have the "right" to have it, and it should be legal. Some even had complaints that resembled the abortion proponent who says, "My body, my choice". I believe they simply wanted to get high and made excuses to be a stoner while professing to be a Christian. This is taking Christian liberty far beyond what God intended. Look up what the Bible says about drunkenness and apply the principle to pot and other mind-altering substances.

There have been many problems with legalizing marijuana. Interesting how certain scientific facts as well as other contradictions to the claims of pot advocates are in abundance, but the doobie-smoking public is unknowing or uncaring.

God created bodies for health. One should expect problems when policies compromise health for pleasure and money.

It wasn’t that long ago that marijuana (now called cannabis after its genus name Cannabis sativa) was considered bad. It was an illegal drug, considered a gateway drug to harder, more addictive drugs like heroin. Private growers reminiscent of the old “moonshiners” in the days of Prohibition made it available, and drug smugglers ensured ample supplies made it past border guards. Some argued that legalization would remove the incentives for smuggling; then governments could regulate it and tax it.

Powerful special interest groups have been pushing for decriminalization first, then outright legalization next. Their success is to the point where many states have not only legalized it, but are promoting it. Users claim it is harmless and gives them pleasurable feelings. And there’s big money involved; governments enjoy the growing tax revenues.

You can read the rest of this extremely informative article by lighting up "The Bad Aftertaste of Cannabis Legalization".

Sunday, April 4, 2021

Celebrating the Resurrection in 2021

This Easter has a deeper meaning for me. Thinking about the bodily Resurrection of Jesus, but it is also the anniversary of the birth of my late father. He, too, had that blessed hope. I will meet him, my mother, my oldest brother, and others in Heaven who have gone before.

While celebrating the bodily Resurrection of Jesus is important to me, this particular observance has an extra element to bring it home for me.
Credit: Flickr / Kristin Klein (CC BY 2.0)
If anyone was looking for a longer post, yes, I've been busy:

Thursday, April 1, 2021

Shining MORE Light on a Darwinist Deceiver

This is a sequel to a sequel. Earlier, I wrote about anti-creationist tinhorn Paul Braterman and provided links to his deceptive diatribes. We can use his attacks as examples of bigotry and bad reasoning. April 1 is a good day for this (Psalm 14:1), I reckon.

In this sequel to a sequel, we have additional thoughts about a deceptive anti-creationist and his foolish misrepresentations of creation science.
Derivative from the 1909 Rider-Waite tarot deck (public domain)
The earlier article linked above also included links to other articles on the subject, including how Snopes is biased and unqualified, and they didn't bother to "fact check" Braterman's rant on their site. Bad Paulie put burrs under a passel of saddle blankets, didn't he? If you see him, ask why, if evolution were true, would there be a need to misrepresent creationists and to abandon reason. Here, we have a short article from the Institute for Creation Research that has some thoughts worth considering. 
Paul Braterman, emeritus professor of chemistry at the University of Glasgow, recently claimed online that creationism “meets all the criteria” for a “conspiracy theory.” He says creationism offers “a complete parallel universe with its own organisations and rules of evidence, and [creationism] claims that the scientific establishment promoting evolution is an arrogant and morally corrupt elite.” Is this fair?

First, we should note that calling someone a “conspiracy theorist” is a quick and easy way to avoid having to deal with the intellectual arguments for his position. It is tantamount to calling him crazy. And we all know that attempting to reason with crazy people is pointless, right?

As for that last sentence, that fits well with my refusal to "debate" those with Atheism Spectrum Disorder at length. Anyway, you can read the rest of this short article at "Are Creationists Conspiracy Theorists?"

Monday, March 1, 2021

Learning a New Word: Apophenia

by Cowboy Bob Sorensen

No need to be bothered by this five-syllable word because what it describes is interesting, and even useful. I wondered if there was a term for hearing sounds that do not exist where psychosis is not involved. Yes there is.

Our brains were designed to make sense out of patterns. There are two ways we try to make sense out of nothing, one of which is musical ear syndrome.
Credit: Freeimages
Before I get to the audio part, pareidolia seems to be more widely known. This is where people think they see things that are not actually there, such as gazing at passing clouds and seeing a dinosaur chasing a car. Pareidolia happens a great deal in the "true ghost" videos where an evil face is seen in a mirror or against a dark background. I was able to see Charles Darwin's profile in a tree, people saw a woman on Mars, and so on. It is probably worth noting that when watching the scary video collections, the viewer is prepped by the verbal cues of the narrator, and by expecting to see something creepy.

The audio version is apophenia (brief definition and pronunciation here), which is also called musical ear syndrome. Centuries ago, I was using a clock radio tuned into a talk station. Several times I woke up hearing the sounds but realized the alarm had not gone off. More recently, I was hearing distant talking or even music. In these and other instances, there was nothing I was able to discern. A common factor was white noise, including fans and an air purifier. Switch those off, and I heard nothing.

In all of this, the brain tries to make sense of auditory and visual stimuli. (I reckon that our Creator built that into our biological software to help us live our lives and even to solve problems.) When scanning this extremely interesting article, I read where people have experiences that match my own. If y'all are hearing things mixed in with other sounds, but they stop when things are quiet, that's normal. Hearing voices clearly when alone and all is quiet, well, that's an entirely different matter.

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Shining the Light on a Darwinist Deceiver

by Cowboy Bob Sorensen

This is part 2 of Conspiracy Theories, Creation, and Reason, but takes a different approach. We saw how a number of factors contribute to the act of purveying conspiracy theories, and how there are several reasons why people believe them. Then there is the alleged creation science conspiracy.

Anti-creationist gadfly Paul Braterman wrote a hit piece on creationists. It was posted on the leftist Snopes site, who did not bother to fact check.
Credit: Unsplash / Steve Johnson
We have three articles to consider, two of which are from the same ministry. Naturally there will be some overlap, but they each offer material that comprise a larger picture.

There was a time when if someone had a question about, say, that 2002 email saying the teddy bear icon in Windows was really a virus. They could check Snopes and find out that it was a hoax, and they could search for urban legends. Unfortunately, they became heavily involved in promoting leftist political views with "fact checking", and their credibility became questionable. Snopes even attacked the parody site Babylon Bee (one of whose slogans is "fake news you can trust"). They are powerful unqualified amateurs, but pretend to be experts. 

Shouldn't fact checkers check facts on their own site, or just post something because they thought their readers would find it interesting? That is hypocritical. It happened when retired professor Paul Braterman wrote an anti-creationist hit piece that targeted several creationist organizations, emphasizing Answers in Genesis. Braterman is known for misleading rhetoric and getting his evolutionary mythology wrong (as seen in "Braterman ‘slam dunk’ flunk"), and being a gadfly. He hobnobs with professing Christians who also mount up and ride for the Darwin brand, such as the comments on this post.

It is interesting how some owlhoots are so quick to demonize biblical creationists that they do not conduct proper research. I was grouped in with Answers in Genesis by atheist Michael Zimmerman when he attacked Question Evolution Day with some very bizarre material. More recently, Phil Vischer attacked AiG. When he was shown to be disingenuous by Dr. Jason Lisle (see "False History of Creationism is Full of Beans"). Vischer then compounded his false statements, prompting follow-up articles by Lisle.

Why don't they just let us be (in their view) stupid and uninformed? In "Dr. Duane Gish and Debating Evolutionists", we saw how Darwin's disciples hammered Dr. Gish, who had a reputation for defeating his opponents in debates. Many of us see the diatribes against creationists by arrogant misotheists. Creation science really puts burrs under their saddles,

Ken Ham pointed out the hypocrisy of Snopes and some of the false statements of Braterman in his article. He referenced another article by Answers in Genesis that goes into more detail, which is linked further down in this article.

Recently, Snopes, a popular website, disseminated false information with the posting of an anti-Christian commentary with an agenda—an article which had not been fact-checked. Snopes.com posted a piece entitled “Why Creationism Bears All the Hallmarks of a Conspiracy Theory.” This article made many false accusations and disseminated false information about Answers in Genesis, me, and other creation-apologetics ministries.

How could a supposed fact-checking group get away with this? Easy. At the top of the article, an editor stated, “This content is shared here because the topic may interest Snopes readers; it does not, however, represent the work of Snopes fact-checkers or editors.” In other words, they did exactly what they tell others not to do: they published an article without fact-checking. They tried to justify posting the hostile commentary by stating it’s an article they considered (without any fact-checking for themselves) to be of interest to their readers. Obviously, to them, it’s ok to pass along information that hasn’t been fact-checked, but nobody else should dare do such a thing! What utter hypocrisy.

To read the rest of this first article, head on over to "Snopes Exposed!" That's just the beginning. I'd be much obliged if you would come back for the rest.

Readers of Piltdown Superman and other sites know that biblical creationists emphasize learning logic and critical thinking: secularists and leftists tell people what to think, while we want to help people learn how to think. Sometimes we have to confront those who want to dry gulch us and point out their viperine tactics.

What a way to begin: the title, “Why Creationism Bears All the Hallmarks of a Conspiracy Theory,” of a Snopes article reprinted from The Conversation is a question-begging epithet fallacy. Such an attacking title with emotive language lets us know what The Conversation’s and Snopes’ religious beliefs are up front. Our hope is to challenge their religious beliefs in this response. We are used to being hated and attacked. Jesus even said:

"If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you.” (John 15:18 NKJV)
Nevertheless, we want readers to know that we love and care for those at Snopes and The Conversation, regardless of their views against us, and would love to see them repent of their sin and turn to Jesus Christ for salvation. Our response is said with a caring heart, though there will be times where we will be bold.

To read the rest of this second of three, visit "Fact Checked: No Conspiracy Here (But a Lot of Fallacies There)". Be sure to come back for the final article so you can get a more complete understanding of what's happening.

Our final installment discusses how Braterman confuses the Intelligent Design movement with biblical creation science (a modicum of research from the ID people would dispel that notion). He also has several logical fallacies, claiming that creationism is "hostile to science". What ineffable twaddle! Again, an honest researcher could easily find out that there are many creation-believing scientists in many fields of science — and not just creation ministries. He also tries to hoodwink us further by slipping in what appears to be an endorsement of communism, and brings up irrelevant material that should have been scrutinized by fact checkers. But he seems to be more interested in spreading evoporn than promoting truth.

To read this last article, see "Name-Calling Anti-Creationist Fails on Facts".