Does he (or she) deserve a tip?

No tipMany, many moons ago I’d get my hair cut at a small place in a strip mall in my hometown. The only two stylists at this joint were the owners — let’s call them Polly and Beatrice.

I’d get my hair cut by Beatrice, for $10. This was the perfect price for a college student in 1999. And, since she was the owner (AKA not paying booth rental fees or turning her earnings over to a salon head), I did not tip.

Suddenly, I’d come home from break and she’d never have availability. This was odd seeing as I would previously get in the same day. I tried a few more times, with the same results. Continue reading

Why the ‘crappy’ tip?

Originally, a portion of the restaurant's address and the diner's signature was visible. I have removed those details.

Originally, a portion of the restaurant’s address and the diner’s signature was visible. I have removed those details.

I got involved in an interesting conversation on Facebook this morning regarding tips. A waiter posted a photo of a receipt where he received $6.54 on an $85.46 bill with the caption “This is not okay people.”

I agree. That’s a lousy tip. And, knowing this particular individual casually, I suspect he’s not one to offer service that warranted a less-than-10-percent gratuity. What perplexed me, though, was how some of the commenters (conversation below) jumped to comment on the financial situation of the diner(s).

Tips are not guaranteed. They are earned. Lousy tips happen for all sorts of reasons — people didn’t like what they chose/ordered or they thought the service out of the kitchen was too slow (both of which aren’t the waitstaff’s fault, but that doesn’t mean some diners won’t blame them). It could be as simple as a personality clash. Perhaps a waiter or waitress reminds the person picking up the tab of someone they don’t like, personally or professionally. Maybe it was matter of a bad day. Continue reading

Snooki: Save the ‘expectant mom’ parking spot for your third trimester

snookiDuring her “Jersey Shore” days, Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi made headlines for drunken debauchery. Today, the mom of one-almost-two has people talking again. This time, for using an expectant mom parking spot at Babies ‘R Us.

Snooki is pregnant, but she’s not pregnant “enough,” according to detractors who got all badooglafied after the former reality star posted a photo of herself on Instagram pulling into the special spot.

They argue she plasters the media  – social and traditional — with talk of her healthy lifestyle, and shares photos of herself lifting tires like she’s a member of CrossFit. That, they say, means she doesn’t “need” a special space. Continue reading

Give Gwyneth Paltrow a break

paltrowEarlier this week, Gwyneth Paltrow was quoted as telling E! online regular folks — those of us who work in an office and have a (fairly standard) start and end time — have it easier than actors and actresses.

Specifically, she said “I think it’s different when you have an office job, because it’s routine and, you know, you can do all the stuff in the morning and then you come home in the evening. … When you’re shooting a movie, they’re like, ‘We need you to go to Wisconsin for two weeks,’ and then you work 14 hours a day and that part of it is very difficult. I think to have a regular job and be a mom is not as, of course there are challenges, but it’s not like being on set.” Continue reading

But that doesn’t make sense

just reducedI’m a tad OCD with words. Sure, I make typos, but when I hear something that’s just … wrong … I want to message a correction, such as ….

10: A radio station can’t be “all new” when they’ve had their call letters for several years and their current format for nearly one year.
9: When a realtor leaves the “just reduced” sign up — for months. The “just” passed over a couple of weeks.
8: When someone calls something “funny as hell.” Hell, I’m sure, is many things. Funny isn’t one of them.
7: Could care less. It’s couldn’t — as in could.not.
6: Also, the “who cares?!?!” (the writer always seems to think you need all those question marks and exclamation points). Someone — or several someones — always cares. Always.
5: Calling a 2-year-old a baby. By medical standards, you are no longer a baby when you can walk, talk and eat pizza. Continue reading

The most glorious baked good in the Capital Region

crodoI rarely post food photos to social media but, a couple weeks ago I had no choice. Really, it was my civil duty, my obligation to readers to share the goodness I found at The Crisp Cannoli in East Greenbush.

It’s the region’s version on the croughnut — a treat so popular people wait in line for hours in New York City just to buy one.

Locally, The Crisp Cannoli calls theirs the crodo, but it’s the same thing: a croissant/doughnut hybrid. The result is a buttery sweet pastry so exquisite it melts on your tongue like cotton candy (but it tastes nothing like the whipped sugar).

We had our crodos (the apple cider variety) more than a week ago and I’ve thought about them every day since. You can get yours at The Crisp Cannoli, 669 Columbia Turnpike, East Greenbush. They cost just shy of $4 each and are best eaten warm, right out of the fryer.

I didn’t admit to it then …

boy:girl“Turn away,” said the ultrasound tech. “It has its hand on its gender.”

We were at my 20-week scan, a two-hour appointment where they looked at everything from the valves on the heart to the length of the pinky fingers and thigh bone.

This was also the appointment where we could learn the gender. We’d known since the day the little plus sign appeared on the stick we weren’t going to find out if we were having a boy or a girl. I’d made that clear to the tech before she squirted the gel on my abdomen.

Now she’d ruined the surprise. Continue reading

What’s your Travoltified name?

travoltaSomething — or several somethings — always comes out of awards shows that trumps the awards and the gowns and run-on speeches. Basically, they’re those things we — the media and the public — just can’t, um, let go.

This year, it was John Travolta’s mishap.

The former “Grease” hottie made headlines for more than just his odd hairdo Sunday. Travolta introduced Idina Menzel  – the Broadway standout and Taye Digg’s wife — as “Adele Dazeem.” Menzel was coming on stage to sing the “Let It Go” from Disney’s “Frozen.”

Within minutes, Adele Dazeem had her own Twitter handle (and the made-up name trended for two hours on the social networking site). And now Slate has created a widget that allows you to find out how your name would sound if it was Travoltified.

Check it out here.

Sincerely,
Kurtis Brazent (FKA Kristi Barlette)