A Letter to the Editor

The following is a Letter to the Editor I submitted in response to an article featured on the Inforum website. I do realize that this isn’t funny, but it is important. Please read the original, my response, and tell me your opinion. As a manager in the service/retail industry, most of my employees earn wages that afford little luxury, often falling short of making ends meet. I believe that the act of spreading information and increasing awareness of this issue is the only way to bring about change, thereby increasing their job satisfaction and overall quality of life. Please share this, especially if you live in the FM area, if you think people deserve good wages for good work.

 

In Paul Campbell’s opinion column from April 21, he takes aim at the increase in minimum wage for Minnesota and the debate on it nationally. Unfortunately, Mr. Campbell’s arguments miss the mark, and instead, repeat tired political party lines.

First off, Mr. Campbell cannot even take credit for this affront to the world of print media, as it suspiciously parallels a much better article by James Sherk featured on The Heritage Foundation’s website. Mr. Campbell does at least make it his own by providing his hackneyed opinion throughout the piece. Since it was featured, read, shared, and likely discussed in my community, I will refute it all the same.

Mr. Campbell begins laying out his arguments with a misunderstanding of the meaning of words, claiming, “In order to redistribute wealth, you must first take from someone who has it, and use force if necessary.” Increasing wages is, by definition, not wealth redistribution. According to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, it is “The social mechanism, such as a change in tax laws, monetary policies, or tort law, that engenders the redistribution of goods among these subjects.” Increasing the minimum wage does not take money from businesses, but requires them to pay fair wages for fair work. His reference to using force is deplorable, and an unacceptable attempt to scare readers away from the opposing view.

From here, Mr. Campbell takes another misstep by stating, “The minimum wage comes down to simple economics. When you raise the price of something, the demand for it goes down. Therefore, when you raise the price of labor by raising the minimum wage, the demand for labor goes down.” While this is true in terms of goods and services, it’s more complicated when you’re looking at labor.

A business’ labor needs are dictated by demand for the product or service offered and the business’ other options to manufacture a product or provide a service. An increase in the cost of labor at a factory, for example, could result in an increase in automation, assuming that automation became more cost effective than employee cost at that point.

However, this doesn’t provide reasoning for Mr. Campbell’s claim, “That means a restaurant owner who employs 10 people and worriedly stares at a slim profit margin as it is would have to pass those costs on to his or her employees or customers, or sometimes both. That means letting employees go or raising prices.” The example Mr. Campbell gives is that of a restaurant, not a factory where work can be automated or outsourced. He is, of course, forced to give this example since factories are largely unionized, and outsourced work deserves its own conversation, entirely.

In the scenario given, the restaurant owner’s decision to have 10 people employed is not a function of cost, but in order to effectively staff the restaurant. Eliminating employees due to cost in this scenario would mean that the owner either: 1) Was over-staffed, a poor business decision in its own right, or 2) The business will no longer be able to provide the same level of service it had before, and will lose sales.

The other option in this scenario is that the owner would raise prices. This is a potential option for the business owner, but Mr. Campbell gives no information about the increase. This is because, to maintain the same profit margin pre-wage increase, the new cost for the customer would be pennies on the dollar. Let’s do some math:

Assume the owner is paying his employees $7.25 (which is probably too high, since they’re tip earning) and increases everyone’s wage to $10.10 (again, likely not the case). That is a difference of $2.85, per employee, per hour. In this scenario, we’re not given any specifics of this restaurant, so I’ll use average numbers from the café I manage, which has close to the same number of staff.

In a typical business day, my café will require around 25 payroll hours. Payroll hours are the sum total of hours each employee works. The increase in payroll cost per average day then is $181.25 to $252.50, an increase of $71.25 a day.

On average, I sell about 90 things (coffee, pastries, sandwiches, etc.) an hour. Let’s put the average cost at $2.00. That means, on average, $180 of revenue comes into my café per hour, resulting in revenue of around $2,160 a day.

Daily revenue of $2,160 and daily payroll cost of $181.25 means that each hour an employee works needs to generate $11.92. What would the daily revenue need to be to maintain that number? $2,341.25, resulting in an average cost of about $2.17 per item sold.

Mr. Campbell really must have the poor in mind when he worries about such miniscule price differences. Of course, this is only considering the margins a small business faces. Large businesses operating at greater scale would see even less significant price differences. I wish I could say that this were the end of the problems in the arguments presented to us, but far from it.

Mr. Campbell goes on to cite the Congressional Budget Office’s claim that the wage increase would result in the loss of 500,000 jobs, a startling statistic if we ignore the fallacies within it.

First, job loss does not necessarily mean an increase of unemployment. Since we are talking about low earning jobs, it’s no secret that many of these people work more than one. In fact, in 2010 the U.S. census found that 7.6 million Americans work more than one job. A wage increase for low-wage earners would mean that people wouldn’t need to work more than one job. Conversely, it makes sense for a business to employ one full-time employee instead of multiple part-time employees due to insurance, training, and other costs that come along with maintaining a larger staff.

Second, this is the worst-case scenario presented by the CBO. To see the far more likely scenarios, read the letter over 600 economists have signed at the Economic Policy Institute. It discusses how an increase in wages results in more money flowing into the economy, less dependence on government programs, better outlooks for families and children, and other aspects of the American Dream.

At this point, Mr. Campbell provides another shockingly meaningless statistic. He tells us that only 2.8% of the population makes the minimum wage. This seems to say that people are, in reality, much better off than Obama would have us believe. Again, his argument makes no sense when you actually look at it.

First, employees receive raises. If an employee makes $7.30 instead of $7.25, they are no longer earning a minimum wage and aren’t included in this statistic. Are they earning a living wage? The point of raising the minimum wage isn’t to help only those earning the minimum, but all people that make up the working-poor class.

Second, he presumes that, since around 50% of that 2.8% (which we already know to be irrelevant) are between 16-24, and 64% work part-time, that they must be students working summer jobs. Perhaps Mr. Campbell should turn off his Leave it to Beaver episodes and take a look at the real world.

Sure, some of that number does represent high-school kids, earning a little money as purely disposable income. This isn’t a bad thing by the way, it gets recycled back into local economies. More to the point, I employ several people in that age-range that are not in school, don’t live with their parents, and are supporting themselves. Please, keep your Mitt Romney, “borrow money from Mom or Dad,” comments to yourself, because that obviously isn’t the answer here. These are working young people that depend on their paychecks just as much as anyone else does.

Once Mr. Campbell has finished “analyzing” the part of the statistic he wants to look at, he then fails to make the next logical step that 50% of these people are then NOT students, working part-time jobs. No, these are people working, trying to provide any income that they can for themselves and their families. Remember the earlier statistic about 7.6 million people working more than one job?

Now, Mr. Campbell takes a strange turn, saying, “Eventually, employees refuse to work for such little pay, and employers are forced to increase it. That’s the way it should be. The market essentially eliminates the minimum wage and sets one based on supply, demand and the cost of living.”

He seems to be talking about a labor force striking or taking other collective action to demand a pay increase. What, exactly, does Mr. Campbell think is happening in America? Are we to believe that a member of the media was unaware of the Occupy Movement, the fast-food workers striking in New York and dozens of other cities, and countless citizen outcries for this? I also find it hard to believe that someone who believes that minimum wage jobs are, “where they learn the practicalities of work and value of earning a dollar,” would support such efforts.

He then claims that the free-market eliminates the need for a minimum wage, which is so far from the truth, I had to make sure I hadn’t misread it. If the free-market ensured fair wages, there wouldn’t have been a Labor Movement, we wouldn’t have Unions, and we never would have had a minimum wage in the first place. Why does Mr. Campbell think these things exist? Also, if the minimum wage had kept up with the cost of living (inflation), the minimum wage would already be $10.86, according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics Consumer Price Index. So why does he claim these things?

We’re nearing the end, and Mr. Campbell rolls out the party talking points, arguing that reducing government regulation will magically result in higher wages. If you believe this, please re-read my previous paragraph because my fingers are getting too tired to reiterate it.

Finally, we reach the thrux of the piece. Mr. Campbell asks, “So what’s the point of raising the minimum wage?” He asserts that this is all political posturing, simply trying to win votes. I assert that this is our workforce, regardless of age or station in life, getting fair treatment. I believe that some people genuinely do have the interest of the common good in mind. I do agree with one thing though, Mr. Campbell, let’s think bigger.

Internet Museum

In 8th grade typing class, where I learned nothing (srsly, I type like I have ninja turtle hands) we had a favorite way to pester the teacher. A new website had just come to our attention and we loved bringing it up on our computers. The only real deterrent the teacher had was telling us that she could watch what we were doing on our computers from hers. That only made things worse.

This was the website.

This was one of the first internet memes, and has a somewhat interesting story. Read about it here.

This brought me to an interesting thought: why isn’t there an internet museum? Well, a .43 second Google search revealed over 1,200,000 results, with one being good. It’s here.

The online internet museum is great. Just like a real museum, you learn enough to go, “huh, I didn’t know that,” but don’t really leave any smarter. It did make me wonder about something else, though.

Eventually, human consciousness will be overtaken by artificial intelligence. This isn’t science-fiction; acting unit Keanu Reeves is already capable of displaying over 4 human-like emotions. When this happens, I like to think that robo-anthropologists (robothropologists?) will explore the early internet the way we explore early civilizations. What will they think? What will they find?

Surely, some websites will no longer be accessible, leaving holes in the available knowledge. We encounter the same problem, though. When this happens, we hypothesize in order to see a complete culture. Our future robot-overlords may need to do the same thing with images like this. What will they process when they find this image everywhere, but seemingly no b0eginning? Will they make the same error we do and assume that it must be some sort of meaningful icon, and not just internet-fap-assery? Maybe, they won’t have the need to fill in these knowledge gaps, and just understand that it was, and then wasn’t.

I wonder about what our internet culture will make us look like. Don’t worry, this isn’t a, “back in my day, we…” rant. No, I greatly enjoy our democratized humor, where cat photos and funny grammar reign supreme. I mean genuinely, what are the important internet artifacts? What would you hope that Skynet finds as it combs through the digital wasteland of a post-human earth?

 

Finale

I may be the only person that feels sad when they think about the series finale of Wings. Well, I suppose the actors probably felt sad. I dunno. Anyway, as a kid, I felt like I was watching people leave on the last day of camp. I couldn’t tell you what happened, or even any of the character’s names, but I remember that feeling so vividly. To this day, I dislike the ends of sitcoms. Not even just the finales, I typically stop watching when the story arc is on it’s downward swing.

I think it’s because I become invested in the characters, as any fan of a show does, and don’t want to end the relationship with them. A good TV show gets you to understand these characters like you know them in real life. They have motives, they have dreams, plans futures, failings, flaws.

And we get to talk about them.

Constantly.

And not even feel bad about it!

Unlike real life, though, I don’t need to watch the finale. Ross will always be chasing Rachael. Fonzie never gets on that motorcycle. Mel Gibson never guest stars on the Simpsons. I can stay where I want to stay, see the story I want to see, and never reach an ending.

This may sound unhealthy. You may be thinking, “Well that’s life, buddy. Things end. Get over it.” That’s the thing; things in life do end. There’s often nothing we can do about it but watch something we had grown to love come to an end while a clip-show wrap-up runs through our head in slow-mo to Time of Your Life or whatever kids are crying about these days. We just have to go through it.

I know that the bitter makes the sweet, and you need to see a story through, but life throws enough endings at us as it is. For me, Bob Hope will always be dreaming.

 

ROFLOMGLOL

The first time I remember making people laugh was in kindergarten. We were playing Duck, Duck, Goose (if you say it’s duck, duck, gray duck, you’re from Minnesota, and wrong. Here’s the research). I digress. So, we were playing DDG, and I thought, “you know what, I’m not gonna say goose. I’m gonna say duck, duck, moose. That’ll be funny, right?”

I started my run. Duck, I tap the first kid on the head. I keep going, letting a few kids pass. The suspense was building. Duck, I tap the second kid. Electricity cracks in the air with the tension. Eyes flick back and forth as each kid estimates my distance from them and calculates the odds that they’ll be the goose. The time is right. I make my move.

MOOSE!

It. Killed. The class was in an uproar. I could’ve run around that circle four times before the laughter even began to subside. I looked over at the teacher, knowing that I had just flipped the system on its head with my laser-line satire. A hint of a smile and I knew she got it, she was down with what we were about.

And that’s why I take issue with, “lol.” I’m not trying to start a series on words (or maybe I will, I’m not on trial here) but I’ve got a problem with the way people are abusing it.

If you write, “lol,” and you didn’t laugh out-loud, what does that say about you? Maybe, you want to convey a lightheartedness of meaning. Or maybe, you write, “lol,” the way some people laugh after they say something that others may find uncomfortable/distracting/upsetting/unpleasant, with the, “lol,” as a manifestation of the dissonance between what you said and your image of yourself. Or maybe you’re just and idiot, who am I to say?

Whatever the cause may be, I’d like to submit a formal request to the world; if you didn’t, “lol,” please don’t say that you did. As someone who spends a great deal of time an energy smart-mouthing, wise-cracking, and pun-punching, I’m genuinely interested in making you laugh. If you actually laughed out loud, wonderful! Maybe you rolled on the floor whilst laughing. Even better!

So, here’s what I propose. If your comment isn’t a joke, in response to a joke, or isn’t even funny on accident, don’t say, “lol.” You have no real reason to. Simply take four more seconds and figure out a better why to say what you’re thinking or feeling.

More likely though, you “lol,” because you thought something was witty, but didn’t actually laugh out loud. In this case, let’s use, “qcts,” Quietly Chuckled To Self or, “limh,” Laughed In My Head. Seems more accurate, don’t you think?

So You Speak German, Then?

Why is it okay to be a nazi when grammar is involved?

“I really don’t care what the affect is, here.”
“Actually, it’s effect in this situation.”
“What?”
“You meant to say effect instead of affect. Sorry, I’m kind of a grammar nazi.”

I know I slept in history class, but I don’t recall the nazi’s walking up to folks and saying, “Um, I think you meant to say christian. Sorry, I’m kind of a nazi.” That didn’t happen. You’re not a grammar nazi; you’re a stickler for grammar at best, an ass at worst.

Also, isn’t it a massive slap in the face to all the people who really fought/were under captivity by actual nazi’s to just tag that word on to stuff? I know, Seinfeld had the Soup nazi episode, but you know what? You’re not Jerry f-ing Seinfeld. Make one of the best sitcoms of all-time, then you can throw around nazi.

Now, I’m not saying that people should just run around, saying words with little regard to their meaning. I’m saying the opposite of that. Nazi has a meaning, and you’re using it wrong.

10 Things You Shouldn’t Do In A Store

10 – Say, “I guess its free today,” when a item isn’t ringing up – I get it. I’ve heard it 20 times. Today. Checkout equipment is expensive and companies use them for as long as they can. Also, bar codes can get scuffed. Remember, a laser is trying to read a series of black lines. Can you explain how that works? Then don’t make fun of it when it doesn’t.

We get that you’re trying to be friendly, but please, retire this joke.

9 – Pick up an item, look at it, and set it down in any orientation other than the way you found it – The last two hours (if not more) of any retail employee’s shift are cleaning up after customers. “Isn’t that what they’re paid to do?” you may ask. Okay, but by that logic, you should break into your neighbor’s place, murder them, then start their home on fire so that police and firefighters have something to do. They do these things because society requires it, not the business.

And really, what kind of justification is that? If you’re being honest, you just don’t care. You have kids? What do you think they’re learning from that?
Consider what would an employee do if they didn’t need to clean up after you. They could get more product out so the shelves aren’t empty of the things you’re looking for. They could spend more time helping people. They could be getting additional training so that they can better answer questions. Ultimately, they’ll have a better working environment (since putting away the same toy multiple times a day is intensely demoralizing) and be in a better mood to help you.

 8 – Open a package to look at an item, then put the item down without re-packaging it– Similar to number 9, but this one has the added bonus of damaged packaging. Products are packaged in one of two ways: to encourage customer interaction, or to discourage it. Toy packages are designed so that a child can play with the toy while it is still packaged and then pester the parent to buy it for him/her. Food packages have multiple layers to ensure product freshness and prevent tampering and contamination.

Between these two extremes are a range of other types which are designed to protect the product from damage during shipping, while still displaying the contents. Please don’t open these unless you really, really need to. Have you ever found the item you were looking for, pushed aside the damaged box sitting up front, and grabbed one of the undamaged boxes behind it? Guess how that box got that way.

Boxes damaged during shipping are seldom put out on the salesfloor. When customers return damaged or used products, these are returned to the vendors as per contracts between the vendor and the store. On the rare occasion that these two instances lead to a product being displayed, it will be marked down or discounted in some way, not just put back on the shelf. What does this mean?

This means that you don’t need to open packages to see if the contents are alright for fear of other customers tampering with the product. When you see other damaged boxes, its because of other people, like you, checking the contents. Essentially, you’re inspecting the box to make sure you haven’t damaged it.  

7. Set frozen/refrigerated goods in the soda cases by the checkout lines – I know you’re an important person, but before you grab that chicken, think to yourself, “do I want to buy this?” If the answer is no, don’t pick up the item.

Frozen and refrigerated goods are kept to strict standards for how long they can be outside of controlled temperatures for safety and liability reasons. The amount of time it takes you to purchase the product and take it home is unlikely to allow the product to thaw. However, if you hide the product, it may have enough time. You’re now putting the health of other people at risk. Consider the following scenario:

You think, “I may feel like chicken, tonight,” and grab a package of frozen chicken. You continue shopping, adding things to the cart, walking around. As you’re checking out, you realize you forgot the coupon for the chicken and stick it next to some Pepsi. What you don’t realize, however is that a small rip has opened in the packaging of the chicken due to a bump against a larger box. The chicken is not noticed until the next day, when it is discarded.

During the night, the chicken thawed, and dripped onto the surrounding soda. A customer, mistaking the chicken-juice for condensation, simply ignores the wetness of the bottle and touches the bottle to her head for relief from the warm summer sun. -Fade to black

Gross right? I know things happen. If you realize you don’t want a product, for whatever reason, please give it to the cashier instead of hiding it somewhere.
 
6 – Leave your empty cup on a shelf – When I find cups with liquid still in it, I think, “Oh bummer, I bet they forgot this.” When I find an empty cup, I think, “Asshole.” You’re in a building. There are garbage cans. Use them. You’re not so damn important that you can’t throw away your own trash.

5 – Stick Gum to Things – This is similar to the cup, but gum dries and sticks to things. Also, it was in your mouth, being ground up with your saliva and whatever you ate earlier that day.

If you put gum on something, you’re a piece of garbage and I hope you’re hit by a bus. Does that seem too harsh? Let me run you through my thinking. No one, even the gum-stickers themselves, would say that sticking gum on tables, chairs, etc. is a nice thing to do. I would wager that, universally, this is seen as dickish. Now, since we agree this is rude, why do people do it?

Again, you’re in a store. Again, there are trash cans. Again, you’re not so special that you get to say, “I’ve finished mashing this with my teeth. I’ll leave it here, on the underside of this table. People will wonder about what king or queen so thoughtfully left this here for me to clean up.”

4 – Leave dirty diapers in the shopping cartFirst off, a dirty diaper should never find its way into a shopping cart, let alone, need to find its way out. Second, this.

I have a kid. I change diapers. Throw that shit (literally) in the trash can in the bathroom.

3 – Leave your cart somewhere other than a cart corral – I know, you’ve just finished the arduous task of walking through a well-lit building, selecting the various things you’d like to purchase.  I know, you had to push that cart around the store, and across the parking lot. What a chore! I’m with you. Let me throw something at you though:

First, if you put carts back, employees can retrieve them in a more timely fashion. Remember what I said about putting things away earlier? Go ahead and CTRL C CTRL V that here. 

Second, not putting your cart back in the corral puts people’s cars at risk of getting hit by them. Have you ever noticed that above cart corrals it says, “We are not liable for damage from shopping carts,” or something similar? That’s because people don’t put their carts away, a gust of wind comes along, sweeping the cart along with it, right into the side of a car. It really happens. I’ve seen it happen. A lot. Your laziness may result in hundreds of dollars of damage to someone’s car.

Third, putting your cart on the grass or on something similar is not an acceptable alternative. The amount of work it takes you to manhandle a shopping cart up onto a curb is greater than simply putting it where it is supposed to go.

Fourth, this includes the cart area inside the store. Sure, you used the cart in the store but you only got a few things. You don’t need the cart now that your stuff is bagged, so you give it a push toward all the other carts. Then 15 more people do the same thing. Now the area is full of carts, people can’t walk through, and a cashier needs to stop cashiering and go clean up the mess.

2 – Forget How to Use Bathrooms – I’m not sure what happens in the human brain when a person walks into a public/business bathroom, but I’ve seen the results. It’s as if people are walking into a bathroom for the first time, with a brand new set of personal equipment.

Wash your hands. Go ahead and reread the link to fecal coliform. Now think about all the products you handle while shopping. Gross. Hand washing is a thing for a reason. You know what people didn’t do during the spread of the black plague? Wash their hands (among other things).

Next, I understand that you sometimes need to use a bathroom during an emergency. Please, make sure you’re on the toilet before you begin to go. I have cleaned poop off of floors, doors, seats, and walls. Also during an emergency, you may need to use a greater than normal amount of TP. That’s fine. Please give the toilet a fighting chance, though, and use multiple flushes instead of jamming half a roll of paper into the toilet so it overflows and shit-water floods the bathroom.

1 – Be Rude to the Employees – Now, I’m not saying you should ignore when you’ve been spoken to rudely, or not speak to a manager when something has happened. I’m talking about customer initiated rudeness.

Please, don’t walk up to an employee and ask for help by saying the item that you’re looking for. If an employee doesn’t see you, they aren’t being rude, and coming up next to someone and saying, “Vacuums,” is. Maybe that’s how you say, “hello,” where you’re from, I don’t know. What I do know is saying, “Hello, where are the vacuums?” is only four more words.

Second, yelling is not how to get what you want. Sometimes things don’t work out how you expect them to, and you’re dissatisfied as a customer. Understandable, it’s happened to me as well. The correct course of action is far easier than yelling, and yields much better results.

When you and an employee have reached an impasse, you feel that you’ve been mistreated, or there is a problem, the person working the cash register is unlikely to be equipped to help you. More often than not, you’re dealing with a young person with little training (remember what I said about putting things away?) and little authority to override company protocol. The person you want is the manager.

Calmly say to the employee, “I’d like to speak with a manager.” Not, “I wanna talk to your manager!” Not, “I’m never coming here again!”

When the manager arrives, speak to him or her calmly as well. When you’re turned up to 11, staff will want you to leave the store before you make a scene, not keep your business. When you’re calm, they’ll respect your attitude and will go out of their way to make sure that you leave feeling that you were heard and that your problem was addressed. 

I’ve heard people say that they can’t find good customer service anymore. It seems odd that those are often the rudest people to deal with. Children still have these rules of politeness presented to them daily, and it shows. If you want good customer service, be a good customer.

Frozen: A Young Woman’s Battle With Agoraphobia

So I watched Frozen, and well… let me start off by saying I liked it overall. I liked the animation, I liked the setting, I liked the snowman. However, there was something that I didn’t like, and that one thing was pretty f-ing important: the main premise of the movie.

The movie opens with the younger sister, Anna, sneaking into Elsa’s room to play. They’re maybe 6 and 8 years old now. The two girls creep downstairs to a large ballroom where you see that Elsa has ice powers. And I don’t mean she makes it snow a little; she looks like she just graduated from X-Men academy. She shoots ice beams that create pillars of snow and ice sculptures and other wonders, showing to the audience that she is not only gifted, but talented with her power. Things turn bad when Elsa slips on the ice, her sister falls, and Elsa shoots her in the brain with ice magic.
Fear leads to Anger…

This is fine; I have no problem with magic in movies. I do have a problem with the next two scenes. The family rushes into the woods to meet with a family of trolls (still fine) and the shaman troll explains the problem. He removes the memory of magic from Anna’s brain (kinda dumb, but whatever, it’s magic) which cures her. He then (here we go) explains that Elsa needs to learn how to
control her powers, or fear will take over and she will become evil. The troll uses troll magic to show Elsa this in horrifying Brother’s Grimm storytelling fashion.

Before I go on, I’d like to point out that, in the ice-magic scene, Elsa’s accidentally hurting Anna has far more to do with Anna’s recklessness and Elsa simply slipping on ice than it does on Elsa’s ability to control her powers or her fear of them.
Anyway, Elsa’s parents decide that they don’t want her to become evil and come up with a plan.
Action Plan to Save Elsa:
Step 1: Fire all the castle staff except those essential for day-to-day functions.
Step 2: Close and lock all windows and doors.
Step 3: Quarantine the daughters to the castle and isolate them from each other.
Step 4: Teach Elsa that her magic is bad, brainwash her to deny that she has this within herself, and make her wear gloves since she is dirty.
Step 5: Keep Anna in the dark about all of this so that she thinks her sister and best friend has abandoned her, and refuses to even speak to her for unknown reasons.
I’d also be remiss if I didn’t point out that these parents aren’t portrayed as cartoon villains. This isn’t Daddy Jaffar and Mommy Cruella. No, they are presented to us as sane, loving parents.
Luckily, these parents die.
Elsa and Anna are 15 and 13 ish at this point. I’m estimating this based off of the fact that Elsa’s coronation happened when she, “came of age,” (I hope that just means she turned 18) and the movie tells us that three years pass between these two events.
Now, in these three years, one would expect the sisters say, “F- this, lets do something!” They do not. And we know that they don’t because Anna’s song exclaims her excitement about opening the windows and doors for the first time in forever. Have these teenagers not spoken to people in three years? Who knows?! Someone had to have been keeping the place running, so I’m sure they’ve seen someone, but that someone sure doesn’t seem to be important in their lives.
Anna’s song about the upcoming coronation signals the beginning of Act Two, where by all rights, we should be watching a horror movie. The outline of Carrie reads suspiciously similar to Frozen. (Btw, check out my new comedy podcast pilot,Redux Redo, where we talk about Carrie.)
A child in isolation has powers that she doesn’t understand. Her parent(s) are abusive (yes, in different ways) and afraid of her. These powers are revealed in a public and humiliating way, causing
her to unleash her powers on a large population.
Which movie did I just describe? Both of them. The only difference is that Carrie’s story stops there, While Elsa and Anna’s continues.
Any conflict that occurs through the rest of the movie exists purely because of Elsa and Anna’s shitty, dead parents. This fact made me so angry that I kept getting pulled out of the movie, which is a shame because the rest of it is pretty good.
Maybe I’m a jerk. This movie has made more money than some countries and has received acclaim from every critic ever. The songs are decent and the voice acting is great. That first act though, sucks.

Just get over it, already.

Working in a bookstore, I’ve noticed a trend. Humorous books about cats are always followed by a version for dog lovers, and they’re never as funny. The most recent example came from the Oatmeal with his two most recent books, How To Tell If Your Cat Is Plotting To Kill You, and, My Dog: The Paradox. HTTIYCIPTKIL is much funnier (and more substantial) than MD:TP and even spent longer on the bestseller list.

With this revelation, I began compiling my own research. I have some photos of my cat and dogs in similar situations which definitively prove that cats are funnier than dogs.

 

Test 1: Laser Eyes

So this is my dachshund, Guinness, really giving some quality laser eyes. Equally bright, different colors, and with her puppy about to jump on her, there’s plenty of drama here. The problem is that the only humor comes from the fact that her eyes are lasering, which isn’t inherently funny.
   

Smilodon, on the other hand, is really bringing it. His single glowing eye, protruding teeth, and tuxedo make him look like a fuzzy little Bond villain. Funny. Sure, I put the bow tie on him, but you can tell he wanted one.

 

 Test 2: Party Rocking

Guinness looks kinda cute here, right? Sure, she passed out on the couch, but her hair is still done up and she looks ready for a good hangover breakfast. But wait, look at that pillow. What the hell is all over it? Knowing her party girl tendencies, it’s probably equal parts tequila, group singing at karaoke bars, and bathroom selfies. Either way, we don’t have that pillow anymore.

Smiles Davis, on the other hand, looks like hell. He’s climbing in through the window of his own house, glassy eyed and missing an ear. Was he at a party? Maybe. Was he invited? Probably not. Did he wake up in a ditch? Definitely.

Dinosnores

You’re probably thinking, “Hey man, why haven’t you said anything funny lately?” It’s because I have a two-month old baby, and I don’t know if you have a two-month old baby, but here’s what trying to write funny things with a two-month old baby is like:

Two dogs walk into a bar and buy a beer. fin

Maybe it would be funny if you saw two dogs drinking out of the same beer glass, I don’t know. I’m not sure I’m qualified to make that call. Either way, my new father brain can no longer distinguish between funny and not, and the warring sides have agreed to make everything seem chuckle worthy.

This can happen, too:

Two dogs do something and…

I start with a good idea (who doesn’t like dogs, right?) and then quickly fall apart. Focus is at a premium and I now have five unfinished posts. Bluh.

So what have I been doing with my time, you may ask? Well, watching dinosaur documentaries mostly. I don’t feel that I need to explain why, if you don’t get it, maybe you’re the weird one. Having now watched most of the dinosaur documentaries that Netflix has to offer, I have something to report.


 The Walking with Dinosaurs series is from 2000 and it still holds up. Some of the CGI is a little goofy, but I’ve seen a lot worse in more current movies. Also, they use a lot of puppets and robots and every time I see one of those, I think about how lucky the S.O.B. operating the puppet/robot is and how fast I would murder that person if it meant I got that person’s job.

The 2012 release of Dinotasia, however, is an utterly lame offering. Instead of showing you what science has discovered (you know, like a documentary) Werner Herzog provides narration that walks the line between absurd and hilarious as he throws out lines about dinosaurs being our actors on the stage of life and death in a thick German accent. You could watch the whole movie, but save yourself some time and watch this instead.