Jeff Cutler's Bowl of Cheese

Not so gentle ramblings about the inane and insane


4:08 pm

Table Waiting – How To Fail

Lots of my posts here are rants. You might have gotten that impression by either reading some past entries or by looking at the description of this blog where it says, “Jeff Cutler’s Bowl of Cheese – Not so gentle ramblings about the inane and insane.” But if you missed that, the stuff here is supposed to get your blood moving and make you feel alive. You’re welcome.

Now on to my latest freak out. Today I had lunch at the Westin Waterfront Hotel. I ate at City Bar because the folks at MJ O’Connor’s had staffed their host station with inept, inconsiderate and ill-mannered teenagers. I have nothing against teens – except maybe their acne and attitude and general gangly, uninformed nature – so I was very open-minded when I approached the host stand looking for a table.

After receiving one of those table-buzzer devices and being informed that it would be fifteen minutes until a table was ready, I wandered around the hotel lobby for a bit. Nearly eight minutes later I went up to the gaggle of idiot hostesses and asked how much longer. I showed them my table vibrator and they looked it up on their list. All three of them practically in unison told me that it shouldn’t be much longer.

“Just about 15 minutes,” they said.

WHAT THE HECK?!! That was actually the same amount of time I had been told when I started this restaurant visit. So, here are my questions for the restaurant or you, dear readers (leave your answers in the comments here or send them to MJ O’Connor’s)…

1 – Does it really take three teenagers to manage the lunch rush at your restaurant? Especially when two of the three avoid eye contact and don’t interact with customers and are just standing there to fold napkins and shuffle menus?

2 – Have you considered training any of these kids so they know how to read a clock and realize that 15 minutes minus eight minutes does not equal 15 minutes?

3 – Would you consider using Textaurant or some other product so that people waiting for tables won’t get so fed up with waiting for tables while watching extra bodies stand around your seating area?

4 – How many visits will I have to make before I’ve taken all your vibrating table alert devices and put them in mailboxes all over the city – just to get your attention that the front of the house needs some reworking?

5 – Has anyone told the host staff to suggest diners go over to City Bar if they can’t wait a long time for a table? That’s where we ate and found out they serve off the same menu as MJ O’Connor’s.

I shake my head and wag my finger. If money was growing on the trees around me, I wouldn’t be so fussy. But if I’m gonna spend $13 for Bangers and Mash, I feel that the people seating me, serving me and providing my dining experience should put in some effort to make it memorable in a good way.

Feel free to share your best or worst recent restaurant visit.


4:08 pm

Greenpeace – Jeff Cutler’s view

Not that there’s any doubt that various charitable and social change organizations are cuckoo bananas, but I’ve come to the realization that the kids recruited to work for these groups fall into the significantly dumb realm. While this might be a feature of anyone in the 19-25 range, I suspect the kids working for companies like Greenpeace are severely afflicted.


Also see this story in the Guardian in the UK.

As shown in this photo from the Guardian story, gas pumps in the UK had to be locked up because Greenpeace activists were taking the nozzles off of pumps to bring attention the spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Here’s what I think of that……

1 – It might make people aware of the spill IF THEY HAVE JUST COME OUT OF A CAVE and didn’t know about the spill

2 – It’s totally unsafe and if a pump were authorized by mistake, gasoline would then spill all over the ground at the station causing a local spill that would have a pretty severe environmental and safety issue. I’m guessing Greenpeace would probably protest that too, but I don’t know how.

3 – Moves like this don’t really hurt BP – as I’ve pointed out in other blog posts – they only injure the owner or lessor of the station. This move doesn’t get corporate attention or affect their activities or attitude. Other than make them angry at extremists and cause them to spend more money on securing their pumps. Money that they ARE currently spending to clean up the spill in the Gulf.

4 – When BP finally throws in the towel, it won’t matter how much stomping and whining the folks at Greenpeace do, there will be no organization and no money to remedy the spill in the Gulf. Further action by Greenpeace only moves the company closer to that edge.

5 – And when informed of these factors, whipper snappers from Greenpeace just say, “well, we’re just getting the message out.” What message? That you’re idiots who drank the Kool-Aid and haven’t taken any time to look at the more complicated issues of life in 2010?

Do you wonder why I frequently brush past these kids, as they stand on the sidewalk with a clipboard in their hands? I don’t. And I also feel much better about my standard comment to them.

I usually say, “I hate this planet, call me when you colonize Mars.” It’s about as mature as the kids who believe blindly in Greenpeace’s message and approach, but I never said I was a grown-up.

What’s your take on extremism? On social causes? On the BP oil spill? Would love to hear your POV. Thanks.


7:08 pm

Shark Week and #ioilspill

I’m in the Gulf of Mexico. Not physically in the Gulf waters – for that would be idiocy – but in the region we like to call the deep south. I’m spending two weeks reporting on the BP Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico for a group called EDR and another group called CBS. But the group I’d really like to be reporting for is the Discovery Channel.

You know why?

Because it’s SHARK WEEK and everything they do this week is about wiping those horrid creatures off the face of the Earth.


OK. I know that’s not really true. And I know – or have heard – that it’s pretty unlikely that a shark will ever bite me, especially if I remain so deadly afraid of the big fishes that I let nary a toe into oceans, seas, bays, bayous and other waterways that might harbor these creatures.

I have also heard – and seen – that shark fishing is fun. In fact, while doing some of the reporting down here I talked with a guy named Tom Steber who runs a sport-fishing business. He takes people into the Gulf to catch really big fish. I got him on video to tell me that sharks are taking over the world and the Discovery Channel has it all wrong. OK, that’s another fib. Tom was fantastic and gave me some really good info on sharks and shark week and the oil spill. Give this a look and listen.