Jeff Cutler's Bowl of Cheese

Not so gentle ramblings about the inane and insane


9:09 am

We’ve Moved – Find all blog content now at

See the title. I’ve consolidated all my blog properties under one umbrella. Need your Bowl of Cheese fix? Then click on over to and read all the past, present and future posts and ramblings there. Thanks!

This site will soon just redirect you to to save you all the time, angst and effort of clicking.


9:05 am

Mum – some words and thoughts

I write a lot about my father. And by a lot, I mean I’ve written about the ways he’s inspired me and the ways in which his death a year ago has affected and changed me. But the teamwork it took to create (don’t think dirty!) me required another person. And on Mothers Day, I think it’s important that I acknowledge my mum and our decades together.

In a few hours I’ll head over to her house to prepare brunch for the entire family and we’ll celebrate my mother. But before that, here are a few of my favorite mum memories…

She was the backbone of the house – with four kids and an oft-traveling husband – mum somehow juggled it all. Baffles my mind. I love her for that.

She instilled me with insight, empathy and understanding. Whether it was nature or nurture – she still gets all the credit. I love her for that.

Without my mum, I wouldn’t be a professional writer. Her love of reading made becoming an author one of my goals. Since achieved. I love her for that.

She taught me how to cope with disaster, pain, sorrow and sickness. I love her for that.

She even gave me the ability to feel guilt. Perhaps an overly developed skill I harbor. Regardless, some guilt isn’t a bad thing, and I love her for that.

Most of all, my mum taught me innumerable other values that have shaped me. I love her for that.

From rescuing bunnies, to falling off ponies, to going to camp, to driving my Uncle Dickie around, the lessons and experiences are myriad. They all helped me learn and grow. Without mum, I’d be a different person – or not a person at all if you’re going to get all scientific.

Thanks mum. Happy Mothers Day. I love you.


11:04 pm

Apples to Apples when talking Vehicle Performance and MPG Please

For two nights now, I’ve been watching the TV and online news as they tout Massachusetts as the second state in the Union to put special license plates into place designating whether a car is electric or not. I’m fine with that. It’s actually a safety issue for first responders to know whether a car has batteries on board and if it’s safe to reach inside the vehicle.

Here I am sitting in the 37MPG Scion iQ at the Boston International Auto Show. This photo taken by Steve Garfield of

What burns me is that representatives for the state of Massachusetts are talking about giving special rights to folks who choose to purchase these vehicles – and now it will be easy to determine which vehicles get special treatment because they’ll have special plates.

Sounds OK? It’s not. Let’s look at the carpool lane (a topic that could use its own blog post rant). The official I saw talk on TV the other night said that in the future, cars with the special electric or hybrid plates might be allowed in the carpool lane even without the required 2+ occupancy. Wait a minute there!!!

My little car – a 2004 Scion – gets 33MPG and uses only gasoline. A brand new hybrid Toyota pickup truck gets only 22MPG but would get to use the lane because it has special technology on-board? Who’s running this chicken ranch? The same folks on TV were talking about special recharge stations in Cambridge and Boston for these electric and hybrid cars.

Wait until I see a hybrid Ford Excursion parked at one of these recharging stations – boasting a likely 18MPG. I don’t think many people will have enough restraint to leave the air in the tires or the side of that land-yacht unkeyed.

Hey Massachusetts! How about comparing apples to apples and giving people a break based on how their vehicle really performs. Special plates = special treatment? I don’t think so.

If you think there should be some equity, have Travis Anderson at the Globe do another story on the inequity this presents. Scion, Chevy and others (including the aforementioned Ford) have cars coming out that are gas-only and get 40MPG. Until all hybrids get better MPG, the playing surface here is still not level.


9:03 am

This Just in…Death Still Not Fun for Anyone.

Yesterday, a family friend died. He experienced/suffered an aneurism and had been on life support for a little while. I don’t know what the family went through deciding to take him off support, but I do know what they are going through now dealing with the death of this man. It blows. Death blows. And based on my experience, it doesn’t seem likely that there’s much fun in it.

We’re quickly closing in on a year since Robbie died and I’m still shocked that he’s gone. It’s not as if I can’t logically believe it, but personally and psychologically I still need him around…and he’s not. C’est la vie. Those are the cards I’ve been dealt and I’ve got to move forward. But I don’t have to be chipper about it.

In fact, sometimes I find myself having less patience for the schmoes who are still on this planet taking up precious oxygen. People who are oblivious to the needs of others. Folks who are caught up in their own aura so much that they lose sight of what a dink they are. And jerks who use their own interpretation of right and wrong to build barriers between themself and others. Again, c’est la vie. They’re not going to change.

The guy who hasn’t talked to me in ages because he has no concept of sarcasm or American societal norms

The girl who repeatedly makes commitments and then breaks them – unaware that I can’t remember the last time she was on time for anything

The group that’s so close to its own mission and so far from the needs of its constituents that it may never emerge from irrelevance

The list goes on. But I’m no better than any of them if I couch my needs in terms of what they’re doing wrong and what they should be doing for me. I’m no more worthy of a good life and success, just because I have the where-with-all to recognize when an injustice is taking place. Nobody is better…we’re all just here.

Except for the ones we’ve lost.

Except for the ones we’ve lost.


1:01 pm

Glancing Back, Glancing Ahead

2012. It’s here now and we couldn’t do anything to stop it. Maybe the Mayans will exact their revenge later this year and doom us to live in molten lava or crushing earthquakes or the aftermath of a meteor storm.

But for now, we’re sitting in 2012 on a beige couch wondering if we should have woken up earlier so we could attend Boston Media Makers.

To that end – and yes, I’m going to stop using ‘we’ as a royal statement right now to quell any confusion – 2012 might be the year of self-focus. Not inward navel gazing…too much of that happens in social media already. Further, the folks who gaze inwardly too much lose sight of the world around them. Self-focus in 2012 is more a statement of achievement for me. Instead of trying to get people to like me, I’m going to continue to be the charming, sarcastic and caring person I’ve always been and if people don’t feel like talking to me or acknowledging my existence, I’ll just feel sorry for their loss.

Self-focus will also mean setting some goals and pushing them forward. Instead of lamenting the fact that deadlines or opportunities slipped passed, I’ll be grabbing onto more threads this year. I expect my speaking and training schedule to grow, I also expect to grow as a person with the chance to meet a lot of smart folks at events all over the world.

Some of the major items on my to-do list are related to home and private life. We’re renovating our house and that’s going to be a focus. I’m also paying a lot more attention to the long term when it comes to my relationships. That’s a good thing too. But some of these things have an opportunity cost. Not to ramble back to the first paragraph, but if I’ve got stuff to do, I’m going to be quicker to say no.

More time for the people and events that matter to me will help me create a better, more successful and focused Jeff for the whole world to enjoy.

So, 2012, here we go. Let’s have some fun this year, shall we?

What are your veiled or clearly stated resolutions for the coming year?