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Tipping part 2 Tue, Oct 10, 2017
I wrote about tipping a while ago (ok that was 12 years ago, whatever), but some things have changed.  I'm somewhat ok with tipping.  It took me a while to accept, but I've come around to the idea.  Well, not exactly.  I see tipping as just a mandatory tax.  I tip 20% at restaurants regardless of the level of service I receive.  I found that it's easier to just accept it and move on.  And that's exactly where I'm at. 

However, on a recent trip overseas where the tipping rules are different and sometimes nonexistent, I was having some trouble.  A tourist guide book recommended a whole bunch of different things depending on the type of restaurant and whether or not there was a little abbreviation on the check indicating that the tip was included.  This coupled with the language barrier just made things confusing.  And I came to the conclusion that, quite honestly, I don't care what I'm supposed to tip.  JUST TELL ME.  Don't make me have to figure out your weird customs and intricate symbology.  Just tell me what to do.  I'll pay; I really don't care.  Worrying about a tip detracts from the experience at a restaurant. #business

On the Vegas shooting Tue, Oct 10, 2017
Some guy shot a bunch of people in Las Vegas recently.  Here are a few of my thoughts on the situation: 
  • Are we not calling this a terrorist attack?  If the shooter had been even slightly Middle Eastern, CNN's headline would be "Terrorists Hit the U.S.".
  • Saying this had something to do with mental health is an insult to people with actual mental health issues.  It takes a certain amount of mental acuity to plan out an attack of this magnitude, and saying the guy was "crazy" is a total misrepresentation of the word and the idea.
  • This brings up the issue of motive:  Was he angry at those people?  Was he getting revenge for something?  Did he just want to make a name for himself?  This is the most troubling thing for me; if we can't identify something to fear, we're left fearing everything.  Hence, terrorism.
  • Personally I'm in favor of extremely strict gun laws, background checks, magazine size restrictions, the whole gamut.  Guns are tools that have the potential to be dangerous, and they should be regulated as such.  That said, none of the proposed gun law changes would've had any effect on the outcome of this situation.  Banning assault weapons means he would've used a hunting rifle or several.  Restricting magazine size means he would've had to swap out magazines, which isn't difficult.  Background checks would've found nothing because he was fairly normal.
  • The idea that the second amendment allows the populace to bear arms to support an armed insurrection against a tyrannical government has always seemed laughably naive to me.  The government has tanks and fighter jets.  End of story.
At this point in time, it seems like this was just a guy who wanted to murder a bunch of people, like a terrorist.  Apparently there was nothing we could've done to prevent it.  Even if there were no guns, this guy would've found a way to carry out this attack.  And that sucks.