Thu, 20 December 2007
Full show notes at http://bowlofcheese.com.
Call us at 206-888-2715.
Or send an email to email@example.com.
Direct download: Bowl_of_Cheese_33.mp3
-- posted at: 12:24 PM
Sat, 8 December 2007
Just go visit Bowl of Cheese dot com
for the transcript of the show.
Call us at 206-888-2715 to be on the show or give me an idea for an upcoming show.
Or send me an email
Direct download: Bowl_of_Cheese_32.mp3
-- posted at: 4:49 AM
Fri, 30 November 2007
Go read the entire transcript at my blog
Grab the MP3 File here (see below).
Or give me a call to be on the show. The NEW PHONE NUMBER, NEW PHONE NUMBER, NEW PHONE NUMBER is 206-888-2715.
Email works OK, but leaving a comment in the show notes at Bowl of Cheese dot com is better. Just go there and sign in.
Direct download: Bowl_of_Cheese_31.mp3
-- posted at: 12:39 PM
Wed, 14 November 2007
Here's PhillyMac's contact info...he's our guest host on Bowl of Cheese number 30.
He rails on today for almost six minutes about the on-demand and Amazon rental arrangement with Tivo and how 'easy' it is to get a movie.
Contact him with comments...
e-mail: biographypodcast [at] gmail.com
voicemail: 206-202-W00T (9008)
Skype, AIM/iChat, Yahoo!: PalmMagnate
(Note: if you need an invite, email me!)
Direct download: Bowl_of_Cheese_30.mp3
-- posted at: 3:43 AM
Fri, 2 November 2007
Visit Bowl of Cheese
for the show notes. Leave a comment there or call us at 201-793-8255. Or send us an email - firstname.lastname@example.org
Direct download: BowlofCheese29.mp3
-- posted at: 1:18 PM
Fri, 26 October 2007
Get in touch by putting your comment in the comments section of Bowl of Cheese dot com
Here's this episode's transcript...
When I had Andy Rooney in the car with me the other day, I thought that he didn’t have long to live.
This isn’t a doomsday prediction but Andy Rooney is getting older and sometimes I think his comments show some senility.
In an effort to make things seamless for CBS (or whoever runs 60-Minutes these days) when they replace him, I’m doing an Andy Rooney-esque podcast.
I’m also doing this because the people at DaveBarry.com and David Sedaris.co.uk.fr won’t take my calls. I would really like to replace one of them.
But here goes my brief and brilliant Rooney swoon.
Did you ever wonder why the labels on pudding tell you that you can’t sell them individually? It’s not like you can eat more than a couple in one sitting. Is this rule in place to keep mom and pop stores from making any money by breaking apart the puddings into little orphan units?
What about the singles rack in the beer cooler? Who decided it was a good idea to gather together one bottle each from 47 odd brands of beer and charge $2 apiece for them.
It kinda makes sense, but how did the other five beers in the six pack disappear? Are they like socks in the dryer?
That reminds me, as I sit her in my office I just know that my laundry is not getting done at home because I failed once again to win the lottery.
Had I won the lottery – pretty much any lottery would do – I wouldn’t wash anything. I’d throw it all away every day and start over.
Well, I might keep two sets of clothes just so I’d have something to wear to the clothing store to buy new stuff.
But then I’d probably have to have a driver because I itch pretty easily and don’t want to be distracted when I drive by some itchy sensation in my new clothes.
I guess I’d sit in the back seat or better yet I’d lie down in the back of a limo. Sometimes limo drivers stock the back of their cars with neat little treats like crackers and soda.
On the way to the airport one time I found a sandwich in the back of the limo. It was really tasty.
But what would I do after I snack on my sandwich and have my drink? I’d probably want a pudding.
And it’s too bad, too. Because I’d only need one pudding and for some reason, they’re not marked for individual sale.
Direct download: Bowl_of_Cheese_28.mp3
-- posted at: 6:33 PM
Wed, 24 October 2007
Episode 27 for October 23, 2007 - Here's the transcript...
I’m not sure why cooler weather causes people to think the rest of society has gone insane, but it does. The sudden proliferation of brightly colored signs in every neighborhood around town is a regular occurrence on Saturday mornings from early September until nearly November. That’s right, everyone is having a yard sale. The insane part comes from the belief that people actually want their crap.
If you’re familiar with my lifestyle, you’d probably lecture me on throwing stones from my glass house. But if there’s one thing I understand, it’s that my collection of junk has value to me and I wouldn’t insult others by foisting it upon them. And IF I ever fell into the “sell all this crap to make space for more crap? trap, I wouldn’t base my pricing on some mystical process of sentimentality, greed and quarter dollar economics.
If you stroll around a yard sale, you’ll see books in moldy boxes, broken electronics and piles of National Geographics. Why would you do it? Do you need the money that badly? Will your cast offs make people happy?
What about getting rid of your junk on FreeCycle or any number of the services that will come to your house and pick up your used belongings.
FreeCycle is a trading site, or more accurately a site that allows you to offer your stuff to the first respondent. The only drawbacks are that it requires that you be online frequently so you can be first to get that great Nordic Track that someone is giving away. And that you can put up with multiple people ignoring the suggested rules and posting only ‘WANTED’ ads. That means they are not offering anything but would like a free game system, digital camera, car to “get to and from college? and more.
Some of these sad stories might be noble, but no more so than the people from the United Way or Goodwill or Salvation Army. These groups will come right to your doorstep and take away pretty much ALL your junk in one visit. No more setting up tables at 6AM on a Saturday so you can sit outside all day and make small talk with people who want to buy a Beanie Baby for $.15.
I’d like to think that as a society we’ve realized that we’re all about duplication and division and yard sales are just a step in that process. When you have first have a house and no kids, you have a yard sale to get rid of duplicate stuff. Essentially everything the guy brings to the relationship is now on sale. Then when you have kids, you buy stuff for them and upgrade some of your stuff.
13-inch TVs go on the sales block as do older video games, clothes, books, small appliances, sleds, golf equipment from 1801, candle sticks and anything that looks like it came from a house with 52 cats and an insane spinster woman (sadly, we all have crap like this laying around).
The crock pot, box of CDs and board game section are all favorites. As are the odd finds like a broken down Vespa, a hammock in a bag or telephones, telephones, telephones.
Ultimately, our quest to simplify is actually succeeding. People are recycling more and more stuff, they’re buying less and paper use is starting to dwindle as more people use electronic communication to make contact with others.
But is simplification – and I realize I’m swinging from topic to topic here – really a state of true happiness? I like my stuff. I don’t mind that a few wires clutter the floor or that I can actually find my typing machine, my N64 or my comic books when I need to.
I also don’t think that it’s necessary to hide all my clothes away so that visitors think I have a magical existence. In every life there’s some clutter. Your lifestyle dictates how well you can function within that clutter.
So the next time you’re going out yard sailing, think about yourself first and not about the poor schmoe who wants to sell you an ammo can from WWII for five bucks. If you’re going to make use of his junk, then buy it. But don’t think you’re helping others by rewarding their sloth.
Even though that strainer or funnel or candlestick holder might be a quarter, isn’t your hard-earned cash, no matter how little, better spent on stuff you really need?
Maybe it would help if the money here were patterned along the lines of the Euro and other bright currencies. Then the only colored signs you’d have to be wary of would be the sign of cash flowing out of your pocket and being traded for crap.Get in touch by going to my other site and putting a comment in any post
Direct download: Bowl_of_Cheese_27.mp3
-- posted at: 1:15 AM
Fri, 28 September 2007
This is really episode 25 since I skipped over 13, but it\\\'s still listed as 26, so enjoy.
If you want to appear on the show, call me. 201-793-8255 or leave a comment here, at jeff cutler dot com, at bowl of cheese dot com or send me an email. There\\\'s a feedback form at jeff cutler dot com.
Here\\\'s today\\\'s transcript...
Brian Andreas created a painting for my house. It\\\'s a watercolor of a golfer and some goldfish and some other random visuals. The print also features this saying:
"The first time I played golf, I had the most fun throwing bread to the goldfish in the pro shop. It made as much sense as anything else."
That\\\'s how I feel this morning as I sit in my wing chair staring at the empty spot in my living room that should be full of Vespa. If I look to my left, there\\\'s another empty spot in my house that could also be a Vespa holding space - but it too is empty.
No, I haven\\\'t lost a couple of Vespa\\\'s, I have just failed to win them.
Last night at the Allston Village fundraiser, I sat anxiously with 13 tickets for the drawing. Those 13 tickets failed to jump out of the raffle bin and their corresponding numbers were not read aloud by the organizers.
I didn\\\'t leave the bar with a Vespa, a bike, a second bike, a Razor Scooter or a three-month gym membership. And I\\\'m irked.
But the feeling I have isn\\\'t one of abject disappointment and bitter, bitter, bitter, projected loss. No, it\\\'s actually an empty and aimless gnawing.
I was pumped up to win the Vespa scooter (NOT the Razor), but only because the act of winning makes for a great story and because it\\\'s representative of doing something right...especially in this society.
Where else in the world, other than the United States, do people get credit for having a lucky circumstance? People are applauded for finding a good parking space, finding a dollar on the street, winning a free small fries at McDonalds and even for getting a \\\'free\\\' phone when they reactivate their cell phone plan.
Are we insane? Where has this predominant feeling of having to please other people with our adventures and successes come from?
If I still want a scooter - and a Vespa at that - I can afford one and should just go out and buy it. But from a use perspective and a financial one, my time and money and energy is better spent working on my writing, breathing deeply and enjoying my free time, planning (and paying for) home renovations, and thinking about my next trip to Europe or Hawaii or Chicago or Florida or event Montreal.
Ultimately, I didn\\\'t chase this scooter because I wanted attention. I chased it because of what it represented...an easy way to acquire a bit of status. People might see me in a different way, especially when I put the vanity plate on the scooter to coordinate with the vanity plate on my car. I\\\'m not saying what it would be because I still might buy a scooter.
But the scooter I buy will be the one I decide will give me the most enjoyment as I ride it around town to get my mail and to the beach to take photos and maybe even to the golf course.
And while I\\\'m at the golf course I might even find some goldfish or geese or squirrels to feed. Because that does make as much sense as anything else.
More to come...
Direct download: Bowl_of_Cheese_26.mp3
-- posted at: 12:49 PM
Thu, 13 September 2007
Wow. Jeff Cutler reaches 25 episodes. OK, really 24 because I think we skipped #13.
Call us - 201-793-8255 or drop us an email - email@example.com
And take a moment to look at our blogs...
Here's today's podcast...
For some people, setting goals is driven by their situation. They are less free - in my opinion - to make decisions that contribute to their happiness and more prone to choose 'tasks' or paths that others strongly influence.
If I were still married, I imagine that many of my decisions would follow the whims and wishes of my wife. I'd be less free to jump on opportunities like a free Six Flags Day from Scion or Podcamp Boston.
Doing tasks around the house would become a stronger focus and the me generation might face extinction.
Fortunately, I'm extremely easy-going and not at all obsessive. My journey through life is in no large way adjusted because of external drivers...it's essentially a live life and enjoy it philosophy.
That's why the cat decision is very difficult.
While I might joke about skinning and dining on cats, that isn't how I really feel about these cute creatures. From Rags to Nick to Huckleberry, all the cats in my life have been (or will be) full-fledged members of the family.
I can assure you I won't creating a Michael Vick-esque den of catfighting (I'll let the women in offices all over this great country of ours do that). But a new cat is definitely going to be a change for me.
Primarily, a cat is a little more needy than a goldfish or plant and slightly less needy than an infant. So dropping everything and riding my scooter to Florida for three months is going to be a little less realistic. And my penchant for shutting off the heat in the house will probably have to stop during the winter months.
But the things I gain will more than make up for the slight crimp in my lifestyle. My main concern is that my cat will want more attention than me or have an OCD mentality.
So prepare yourself. In this space you're soon going to hear about cute little kitten adventures and be subject to innumerable photos of kitten cuteness.
But while kittens are fun, this column is about goals. To that end, on Tuesday I listed out a few 2007-2008 goals and I'd like to share the majority of them here. The world-domination plan gets a little convoluted, so I'll save that for its own post.
1 - Invent a device that is similar to an iPhone but just plays music
2 - Write a joke for David Letterman
3 - Keep up with all my blogging and podcasting (this current post kills two birds...NO, there is no killing of pets in this blog)
4 - Cultivate some more clients who want me to write Dave Barry and David Sedaris type columns
5 - Win more cash via assorted lotteries (last night I hit Keno for $452, really!)
6 - Buy a scooter (you didn't see that coming?)
7 - Take some serious steps toward home renovations (would like to go from 923 sf to 2300 sf...maybe I just need to put some mirrors on the walls to open up the space)
8 - Land a writing assignment for the 2008 Tour de France
9 - Be more visionary in nature and convert that to billions and billions of dollars
10 - Pay a tiny bit more attention to the world around me (contrary to my miniature amount of self-focus, I would like to remember the birthdays of my nieces and nephews and siblings and parents and girlfriend as well as major holidays like Yom Kippur and July 4th and Talk Like a Pirate Day)
So, with those lofty goals in mind I'm off to play poker tonight and generate funds to help me achieve my dream. I urge you to do the same.
More to come...
Direct download: Bowl_of_Cheese_25.mp3
-- posted at: 10:21 AM
Mon, 3 September 2007
colored my hair the other day. Really. It’s a stylish and attractive
red that is at once dashing and ‘interesting’. I was trying for blond,
but the makeup of my hair and the worry that accompanied putting
chemicals on my head probably conspired to limit the colorant’s
Needless to say, now I am supporting the home-town team with the color of my hair. But that’s not the topic of today’s post…sharing time is.
Directly related to the hair-color experiment was my anticipation of
the reaction to my new hair by people and work and by family. Right now
I’m safe because Mum doesn’t read this blog so she won’t know about my
hair until she sees it this Friday at dinner. And that will be in front
of lots of dinner guests so I’m predicting she won’t make a scene.
Continuing, I really thought people at work would be vocal and demonstrative when they saw my hair. They weren’t.
Maybe this comes from my persona at the office (I’m freelancing for Brookstone right now, but have other clients regularly
where the same image is projected), one where I’m friendly and
open-minded and sharing. People may have stopped being surprised by my
stories or actions…or maybe my hair is hideous and they’re too afraid
to say anything because they care about my feelings.
It’s probably none of the above. They probably didn’t even notice.
In the same way it takes people about three months to realize a
coworker is pregnant, a simple hair-color change isn’t that significant.
Furthermore, people are self-focused to an extreme. They project
their feelings and thoughts on others and infrequently stop to take in
the whole picture. I’m trying to be different. It’s not some sort of
kharmatic change, just an occasional reminder to myself that life is
going on all around us and we should take notice.
In an effort to do so, I stopped at the beach today and took this photo…
And better than just taking the photo, I stood and breathed in the
sea air and just smiled. I thought about the sun and other people and
perceptions and our busy lives. Then I realized that it wasn’t the
color that I had outside my head that mattered, it was the spectrum of
thoughts that were going on inside my skull. And those I choose to
More to come…
Direct download: Bowl_of_Cheese_24.mp3
-- posted at: 7:27 PM
Sat, 11 August 2007
Here's the text of today's podcast.
You can reach us at 201-793-8255 or via email at podcast at bowlofcheese dot com.
Thanks for listening.
You all know the feeling of abject horror that takes over your gut and soul the moment you do something entirely preventable and simultaneously irreversible.
I enjoyed one of those moments yesterday while trying to set up my email program. The story requires a little backstory, so grab a frosty beverage or a non-crumb-making snack and snuggle up to the computer.
Here’s the sitch (as my friend Katie would say)…
I love my computer.
I love email.
I am a slight tech-head.
I’m sometimes cheap.
I’m often petty.
I am impulsive.
I am stubborn.
I can sometimes get frustrated.
I have a little ego.
About a year ago, I became annoyed with my site hosting provider because they were dinging me for about $320 a year for two sites… ideas2words.com (my Novel Ideas writing site) and jeffcutler.com (my Jeff Cutler vanity site). So I decided to move.
Let me stress that it wasn’t one factor that made me jump ship - and I still recommend their services highly (the company is ConceptHost), but I wanted more hand-holding and bandwidth than I could afford or that they could provide. The disclaimer here is that I helped found that company in the 1990s and should have stayed with them.
Unfortunately, we had worked at building a Web-rehabilitation company for about seven months without pay and I ran out of money and extra time. So I had to jump ship. The firm is now run by a team that is focused on solutions for mid-sized businesses and it’s poised for continued success.
Enough about the past.
As noted it has taken a year, but I’m finally in the throes of moving over to BlueHost.com. Their tech support has been great and the transition - as you will see - has had its bumps, but hasn’t been unmanageable.
In a nutshell, I moved two sites (soon this blog will be there too) and all my email to their servers. That last bit of info is where my particular issues began.
I live by email. My clients use it to contact me and 70% of my communication with friends and family occurs over the ‘information tubes’. Thanks to senator Ted Stevens for that wildly incorrect description of the Internet.
With my connection to others dependent on electronic communication, I knew it was vital to have a smooth transition to BlueHost. Before the Paris trip I moved my business site and email over and the move was seamless. I did it over a weekend and in about 48 hours everything was resolved - just tech talk for ironed out - and Novel Ideas was up and running.
This time - for Jeff Cutler dot com - I figured I’d make the move at the beginning of the week and things would be fine. That was my first mistake.
As many of you know, email slows to a crawl at 2PM on Friday and then restarts at about 7-9AM on Monday. People use cell phones on the weekend instead of their computers and that probably makes weekend Website transitions easier. Starting this process on a Tuesday wasn’t brilliant.
Now you’ve got the background, here’s how the move went…
10AM switch nameservers to BlueHost
10:10AM jump on live chat with BlueHost to allay my fears that I might lose emails
10:17AM fears allayed, I continue the process and all looks perfect
10:30-4PM set up new account settings in MAIL on my Mac, tested and retested settings, FTP’d the site to both locations
4:30PM smiled broadly because email was now coursing through BlueHost and was seemingly off the old provider’s servers
7PM-12PM checked occasionally to be sure all was right with the world. It was. Mail was still coming through BlueHost. PERFECT!!
Things had moved over far faster than I thought and I was home free. The next morning, mini-freak-out. Couldn’t get mail from BlueHost’s servers and mail was coming back into my computer from the old ConceptHost servers.
What had I done wrong?
Turns out that it wasn’t me, it is just the way the move to a new server system resolves itself. Some mail (if coming from other ConceptHost clients) would come right through the old email path. New emails would come through the new path or be held up somewhere.
It was just a waiting game.
Well, last night around midnight I thought everything was resolved. My mail was coming through cleanly and the old server path wasn’t delivering anything. SO I JUMPED THE GUN and went to erase my old settings in Apple MAIL.
Did you hear the Ming vase falling off the pedestal?
Adjust settings, see warning, ignore warning, click ‘delete’. Suck in air like Doc in Back to the Future. Wonder if I’m better off without those 114 emails. Vow not to do that again. Spend the next morning befuddled that I could be so dumb.
So now I’m carrying on without 114 emails. And the kick in the pants is that right now the servers have unresolved themselves and the original estimate of 72 hours will likely be true.
Lesson learned. Life simplified.
Direct download: Bowl_of_Cheese_23.mp3
-- posted at: 2:24 PM
Sun, 1 July 2007
Here's the transcript of show 22.
Call us at 201-793-8255 if you want to appear on the show.
Or send us an email
The chopstick falling into my engine was almost dehabilitating in the way it frustrated me. It clinked off some metal things and came to rest just out of sight.
This should have been the first of many clues (or the last of many based on the 25 years that I’ve tried to do things as simple as change my oil and insert an air filter) that I should let trained people work on my car.
The reason I had the chopstick in my hand while leaning in the engine compartment was because the air conditioner had starting pouring water onto my feet while I drove.
This cold water was making my car smell like a paper mill and the moisture on the bottom of shoes had created a nice case of athlete’s foot.
Now, staring into the engine, I realized with ultimate clarity that I had to throw away my car. You might think that’s a bit extreme but I had no fear that only bad things were ahead.
For instance, in a classic Things to Worry About moment, I envisioned the chopstick jiggling loose during my commute and stabbing through my tire (or worse, my brake line). THEN I’d be either flung over the cliff at the side of the highway or I’d slam full-bore into the back of an armored car.
Continuing this train of thought, the accident with the armored car wouldn’t kill me, but the angered guards inside would roll out of the truck with weapons drawn and sink 38 lbs of lead into my befuddled visage.
And this was all happening because of Al Gore.
That’s right. If Al Gore didn’t invent the Internet or pull back the curtain and show us Global Warming, none of this could have happened. None of it.
Without the advent of Global Warming, the Scion I purchased wouldn’t have existed because we’d all still be driving large, fun cars.
Mustangs and Hummers and FJ Cruisers would be all over the road. Well, all over the road in even more insane numbers. And driving the highways of America would be the activity god intended…a place to show off and score chicks.
Actually, the ozone issue and global warming are likely a myth. If they were real, then I wouldn’t have been able to keep my car air conditioner OFF as much as I did. Which likely caused the drainage tube to clog and the water to pool in my dashboard and subsequently pour onto me feet.
And because I wouldn’t have had to unclog this drainage tube, I would not have dropped the chopstick into my engine. If you’re still with me, you’ll now understand why this can all be blamed on fat Al.
If there were no Al Gore there wouldn’t be an Internet. And then how would I tell you this tale of woe? I’d likely just be ranting to people on a street corner in Kitchener Ontario where they accept people who are different.
But I’m here in my hot house, reading into the Internet, creating a podcast all because of Al.
Al Gore, I implore you. Either jump into the race so I can feel good about making fun of you without trying to tie you to real events that only have a fleeting connection to your activities.
Or move to Alaska and drape your fat carcass over some of the receding glaciers to protect them from the sun.
More to come...
Direct download: Bowl_of_Cheese_22.mp3
-- posted at: 9:46 PM
Sat, 19 May 2007
This article first appeared in mid May 2007 as my column in Gatehouse Media's chain of papers...specifically the Hingham Journal.
My regular column is called Writer's Block and the link to the story online is here...Flag Poll
Thanks for listening.
Direct download: Bowl_of_Cheese_21.mp3
-- posted at: 3:12 PM
Mon, 9 April 2007
Well, it was gone this morning.
That’s right, the spider I worried about all night. The one that had
been sitting patiently in the top corner of the bathroom, nestled
nicely where the wall and ceiling met. That spider. Gone.
I suppose that he (or she) didn’t cruise over to the toilet to
ambush my butt. And I am pretty sure he didn’t make the trek across the
vast expanse of foyer to visit me in the night. But that doesn’t mean
this spider isn’t evil. And it certainly doesn’t mean anyone is safe.
I’m just waiting to wake up one morning this week with itchy bites
all over my body. Or worse, a swollen eyelid. Or even worse, a spider
in my ear.
These might seem like trivial things to worry about, but as you know
from my companion site - thingstoworryabout.com - I am nothing if not
concerned about stuff that others choose to ignore.
In addition to the spider that has now taken over my entire house,
I’m angry at the Discovery Channel. Not only have they decided to stop
sponsoring a team in the Tour de France, but they have been airing some
mini-series, ala Dynasty, on animals killing each other.
Last night I saw lions jumping on a poor elephantom and snacking on
its hind quarters. I’d call it an elephant, except the night-vision
cameras didn’t make it seem as cute as the chained-up version I usually
see at the circus. Or the slightly dazed, short-bus version the
Republicans use as their mascot.
It seems that the United States is gripped by the very real
situation of animals eating other animals. No more cats and dogs living
together. No more hamsters living peaceful lives in plastic tube
cities. Nope, it’s survival of the fittest.
I even saw a bird of some sort snatch a rodent or rabbit or
burrowing creature from in front of its television while it watched the
Masters Golf Tournament. Suffice it to say, even Tiger couldn’t save
this furry little varmint.
Which reminds me that the word varmint is similar to Velomints which
were the first mint I remember that came in a metal tin. And one day
when I opened the tin I saw a spider inside. Since that day I’ve been a
little skittish about mints and their role in the eventual
world-domination plan spiders have hatched.
Similar to the circle of life, this discussion has come back to
spiders. And even if killing a spider causes some rain, I’ll take the
rain. For the next time I see that spider in the house, it’s going to
visit my toilet. I even thought of filming the battle for the Discovery
Channel, but I can’t afford another sleepless night.
More to come…
Direct download: Bowl_of_Cheese_Twenty.mp3
-- posted at: 11:30 PM
Mon, 2 April 2007
This is NOT a Bowl of Cheese podcast. It is a co-release of a file for my other podcast - A Life of Play.
Just trying to intro some of my other material and do a little cross promo.
Direct download: ALOP20_-_RUN_RUN_RUN.mp3
-- posted at: 5:35 PM
Sat, 31 March 2007
A few weeks ago my aunt and uncle gave one million dollars to cancer research.
In an age where many homes cost a million bucks, people pay multi-millions to take a flight to the moon, pro athletes sign contracts worth billions, and a Machiatto at StealBucks goes for almost a million—this might not seem significant. But a million dollars is still a lot of money.
To put things into perspective, at $25 an hour, you would have to work 40,000 hours to earn a million dollars. That’s only 20 years of working. Nobody even stays at the same job for more than four years, so how are you going to work 20 years straight and save your million?
Further, where has the respect for the lowly million gone? These days, people won’t even play a lottery that has a prize of ‘only’ a million dollars. They want the PowerBall jackpot that is at least $75Million before they’ll play.
Which brings me sideways to another point…the lottery is the worst way to get a million dollars and nobody should waste their cash on it. Remarkably, nobody will admit to playing the lottery but the jackpots get really big all the time. Must be one guy who is buying all the tickets.
Getting back to Alice and Steve. They gave this money away for myriad reasons. Alice’s father had cancer and so have other members of their extended family – including my mother. They’ve been involved with Dana Farber Cancer Center for years and they understood that every penny – and especially 100 million pennies or is it 1000 million pennies (good thing I’m a writer instead of an investment banker) – could do a great deal of good for research in fighting this disease.
Finally, they gave away the money because it was the right thing to do. Which brings me to the real point of this podcast…doing the right thing.
Here’s a quick mental exercise.
Old woman standing by the side of the road with a shiny metal walker. She obviously is looking for an opportunity to cross the street. Do you: A – slow down and hold up the progress of the universe to let her cross – angering other drivers and perhaps instigating road rage? B – Hide your face from the woman and drive slowly past? C – Smile broadly at her while slowing down, then floor it, squealing tires and frightening her badly…secure in the knowledge that her eyesight is probably pretty bad too, so she won’t be able to see your license plate number for the police report?
Busy restaurant on a Friday night. You and your date are seated at a table that still has the check and the previous patron’s money on it – but it is all hidden in the decorative table tent and the hostess obviously doesn’t see it. Do you: A – Bring the check to the attention of the hostess and hope that the restaurant will reward you with a free drink or maybe a tasty dessert? B – Wait until the hostess departs and then discuss with your date how much you should skim off the tip because you had to wait 40 minutes for a table? C – Quickly pocket the check and the cash and discretely leave that restaurant, heading for a more expensive joint now that you can clearly afford twice the dinner you had planned?
Cold Sunday morning. You venture down to the foyer to get your newpaper and see that your copy is all wet from the snow and a less-than-attentive paper carrier. Your neighbor’s paper seems to be pristine and you’re pretty certain that he won’t be coming down to the lobby within the next three minutes. Do you: A – Grab your paper, turn on the electric radiator and dry out your paper while making breakfast and a cup of English Breakfast tea? B – See how badly damaged your paper is and then see if you can ‘appropriate’ some of your neighbor’s paper so you both have a little damage and both have some good paper? C – Grab all the papers in the foyer and dash back up to your apartment? Then call the newspaper and complain that the papers didn’t arrive and that you want a free week and some logo gear, perhaps an umbrella and a laptop bag. Then settle into your favorite chair to do multiple versions of the crossword puzzle in pen, just because you can.
Clearly, you can see where I’m going with this. Doing the right thing isn’t always easy, but if you prefer to take advantage of people, look out for only number one, and generally tell the world to bite you—I hope your old mother never gets across the street, your friends are banned from their favorite restaurant for seemingly chewing and screwing, your favorite paper goes out of business because it can’t sustain repeated losses, and the cancer you get isn’t one of the ones that Alice and Steve’s donation helped research.
More to come…
Direct download: Bowl_of_Cheese_Nineteen.mp3
-- posted at: 5:27 PM
Fri, 9 March 2007
When asked recently what I wanted to be when I grew up, I said Aquaman.
I’ll wait while you clean the Diet Coke off your blouse or desk or dashboard. OK, let’s continue.
I think the reason I wanted to be Aquaman was a belief that I was
going to be powerful and helpful and innately good to people. But also
that I wasn’t going to be the top hero. I knew, even at an early age,
that my weaknesses were real and while I might want super vision or the
ability to run faster than light or even the skill to swing from a
hair-thin spider web, it probably wouldn’t happen.
But I did take swimming lessons and could hold my breath for a long
time, so Aquaman it was. *I also wanted to be a blond – mostly because
a lot of parents would coo over infants with blond hair and I like to
be cooed over.
The other variable that affected my decision to be a superhero like
our friend AM was my collection of comic books. I had everything from
Richie Rich to Archie to Spiderman to the Flash to Superman and Batman.
I even had some Duck Tales and some ‘Classic Grimm’s’ fairy tales.
Add to this a short attention span (some politically correct people who get horribly offended when I say that white is the new black* might call this ADD) and the ease at which a comic book can be enjoyed, and you’ve got a recipe for an addiction to fantasy.
Fast forward about 30 years and look around. Spiderman has his third
movie coming out. Batman has his 27th. Superman has died once and come
back to life. And Captain America has just bit the dust for good.
According to sources at Marvel, Cap has outlived his usefulness as a
hero and he has been written out of the future comic universe. I think
this is disgraceful because of what Captain America stands for, and
also because I was unable to get my hands on one of the
soon-to-be-priceless copies of that final issue.
As you all know, Captain America stands for stem cell research. He
was the product of scientific tampering and would have remained a weak
and ineffective clerk if not for stem cells and genetic manipulation.
It’s too bad he’s no longer with us. Perhaps the Wonder Twins will
step in to take his place. In the meanwhile, I’ll continue to fly the
Captain America flag by periodically putting a bust of Cap on my
dashboard, and standing for what I believe in.
Luckily, I think I can do that. I wasn’t a genetic experiment
success, but as it turns out, I am powerful as a writer, I am helpful
as a person and I like to think I toe the line pretty well on the good
side. I may not be Captain America or even Aquaman, but I continue to
make a positive splash in the ocean of life every day.
More to come...
*Dunkin Donuts White Hot Chocolate is the new trend in beverages and their slogan SHOULD be White is the new Black.
Direct download: Bowl_of_Cheese_Eighteen.mp3
-- posted at: 7:35 PM
Mon, 19 February 2007
Here's the transcript to this week's show. Thanks for listening. Send your comments to me at podcast at bowlofcheese dot com or call us at 201-793-8255.
Itâ��s about 21 degrees outside today and Iâ��m listening to the heat whistle while thanking president Lincoln for this â��freeâ�� day to catch up on some writing and some housework.
Iâ��m positive that Lincoln didnâ��t have me in mind when he created the Internet or when he established his birthday as an occasion for automobile sales, or even when he brought the beard into fashion.
But sitting here unshaven, I canâ��t help but tick off in my mind the freedoms all of us enjoy because of our citizenship.
Take for instance the ability to choose a table at a restaurant.
Where I live, there are some great breakfast joints. And because breakfast is THE meal of the day for me (no, I eat other meals, but breakfast is far and away my favorite), itâ��s important to have a breakfast place you can trust.
This trust is fairly straightforward. They need to know how to cook an egg; how to keep French toast from getting soggy; not to serve fruit and yogurt together (have you ever enjoyed that amorphous film that develops on the top of the yogurt when fresh fruit has been sitting on top for a minute or two â�� itâ��s tasty!); how to pay enough attention to your needs; and how to keep your teapot full of hot water and fresh teabags.
Well, Stars is that restaurant. Theyâ��ve got a perfect location overlooking Hingham Harbor and I try to have breakfast there at least once a week on my Free Fridays (more on Free Fridays in an upcoming blog entry or BOC podcast). I frequently bring friends there on the weekend and itâ��s the â��safeâ�� place to dine whenever you donâ��t want to worry about the food, the service or the venue...MOST of the time.
You see about 12 years ago they had a waitress on staff who would persistently get your order wrong, forget that you were in her section, take FOREVER to bring you the check, and she was persistently friendly. Sheâ��s no longer working at Stars, but it took them about nine years to figure out that people were avoiding her section whenever possible.
In the past four years, the situation has appeared again.
I donâ��t know if Stars is part of a public service program to bring morons â�� strike that â�� SLOW, INEPT MORONS into the foodservice business, but theyâ��ve accomplished it again.
The waitress who is now on staff, and who I vigilantly try to avoid, does not speak clearly, has messed up about 94% of my orders and is physically slow.
The last time I was in the restaurant, she had crumbs of food all around her mouth â�� making it so appetizing for me to think about food â�� and she brought me a lump of grits that was so solid and cold I could lift the whole chunk with my spoon.
Letâ��s not debate whose fault bad food is â�� a good waiter or waitress should check the order before carting it out to the customer â�� but letâ��s certainly debate our freedom to expect a certain outcome when we sign a silent contract with a restaurant by walking through the door and sitting down.
Maybe thatâ��s really what Iâ��m trying to get at today. Maybe waiters and waitresses harken back to a time when servitude was the norm. A time before Lincoln had his way. And maybe this servitude too should be abolished, and nobody should have to wait on anyone else.
But until that comes to pass, Iâ��d at least like to free this one waitress from her service role. Then my breakfasts will be free at last from the indignities. And isnâ��t that really what Lincoln stood for?
Now go buy a car and make this country strong again. Iâ��ll talk to you again during the next Bowl of Cheese.
Direct download: Bowl_of_Cheese_Seventeen.mp3
-- posted at: 4:03 PM
Sat, 27 January 2007
CALL US or write to us. The phone is 201-793-8255 and the email is HERE
And now, here's this week's episode text...
There’s a company out in the market that has the motto Expect More. Off the top of my head (as I sit here at the local National Tire and Battery location waiting for my car to be serviced) I can’t think of which company that is. But I agree with the sentiment wholeheartedly.
When I traded in my gas-guzzling Jeep for my Scion xA, I did expect more. I expected a car that would deliver 32-36MPG, a fairly maintenance-free vehicle, and a driving experience that was quieter and more youthful.
Two years later I can grin a little and say that I’ve gotten that in spades.
I used to barrel along the highway getting about 19MPG in a lumbering beast that’s greatest benefit was its four-wheel-drive and extra interior space. But the space was only excess for belongings – people got mashed if they had to sit in the back seat making my Cherokee an oversized two seater.
In my new car people are comfy wherever they sit with plenty of legroom and headroom. The car handles well, has really good road visibility and with global warming hasn’t had to plow through much snow in the two years I’ve owned it.
While the xA isn’t much bigger than a Lark or a Rascal scooter, it does have some pep and has been designed with proper thought for ergonomics and convenience.
I wish more things were designed correctly instead of being rushed to market just because of good margins and corporate pressure and promises.
Take for instance the Blue-Ray DVD player. On the face of it, Blue-Ray technology is a godsend. Room for 50GB of data on a single dvd-sized disk is a dream come true for computer users and entertainment buffs alike. Imagine backing up your photos and/or music – or even your favorite Bowl of Cheese podcasts – to a single disk. That’s the coolest.
But now imagine paying $1100 for just the player. I don’t even know how much the recorder will cost. Further, the Blue-Ray maker – Sony – has refused to allow certain movie segments to use their technology to sell films. One in particular is the adult movie industry.
I’m not a lewd and lascivious person. I don’t really watch porn and can’t imagine purchasing it, but when it comes to the economics of home entertainment, porn is a huge financial driver.
Quoting a Yahoo News article by Brian Gardiner of Extreme Tech, “the U.S. adult-film industry, at around $12 billion in annual sales, rentals, and cable charges in 2006, is an even grander and more efficient moneymaking machine than legitimate mainstream American cinema (the latter's annual gross came in at $9 billion for 2006).?
And Gardiner makes the same point I had it mind, that the fate that befell Beta technology is on the horizon for Blue-Ray.
So why are people selling it? They don’t know any better, they get a kickback or a huge margin from Sony or they just don’t want to buck the trend.
The same people who are stocking Blue-Ray are the ones who got excited about the Zune because they didn’t think the margins from Apple items were high enough. And they were the same people who pooh-poohed MP3 technology until it was in everything from alarm clocks to watches.
This ramble probably has less to do with fixing my car (it cost $622 by the way) or expecting more (and that company is Target by the way, not a car company). It’s about people having some common sense and sticking to it.
Don’t put up with crap that people push to market, make smarter decisions about what you buy and you might just be able to finally look around at the results of what happen when you do expect more.
Direct download: Bowl_of_Cheese_Sixteen.mp3
-- posted at: 3:33 PM
Mon, 15 January 2007
Wearing red and white jumpsuits - respectively - Colin and Jonah
descended upon Las Vegas Nevada last Monday to celebrate the King's
72nd birthday. They do this each year to honor the memory of Elvis
Presley, and January 8, 2007 was no different.
Even though both men are clearly insane, they have retained the
mental acuity necessary to rent flamboyant jumpsuits, board a plane,
navigate this active city and spread the word effectively to tens of
people that Elvis would have been 72 had he lived.
I was in Vegas covering CES (the Consumer Electronics Show) when I
ran across Colin and Jonah at the New York New York Casino. We were
eating in adjoining booths at the Nathan's near the roller coaster and
their appearance and APPEARANCE caused me to stare and to ruminate on
Too often, people jump on a 'tradition' because it's popular. St.
Patrick's Day, Groundhog Day, Talk like a Pirate Day - they're all very
popular but they're also 'me too' occasions. Why not establish
something that you can do that sets you apart from the masses?
Colin and Jonah, unless there's some evil intervention from their
wives or wives to be, should be able to continue their honoring of the
King for decades. They do it tastefully and with creativity.
Unlike the cretins who drink green beer or those who continue to
think chocolates and flowers need to be handed out willy-nilly on St.
Valentine's Day - these friends take a special event and put their own
twist on it. They've also created their own tradition, which is really
what I wanted to talk about today.
When we're young we effortlessly remain in touch with people we care
about and frequently take for granted the time we spend together and
the memories we create. Then as years pass, this time gets gobbled up
by other obligations that might in some instances be fleeting (first
marriages, jobs - don't get me started about people who let work get in
the way of life, games and addictions).
When was the last time you called a childhood friend or made time to
really send a note to a person you take for granted? It's funny that I
mentioned addiction in my earlier paragraph because this little story
took place in a venue - Las Vegas - that thrives on people's addictions.
And to further that thought, some of the programs that help people
deal with addiction have a cure-all for the nonchalance with which we
treat others and for the seeming disregard with which we observe
traditions. I'm not sure of the specific naming convention it has in
each program, but it's comprised of making amends to those you have
wronged in any way.
So while we raise a toast - be it beer,
champagne, soda or a jelly-donut cocktail - to Colin and Jonah, let's
try to remember the people around us who still matter. The people we
still love everyday, no matter what little things get in the way.
Maybe telling these people how much they mean could become a tradition too.
Want to get in touch??? Call us at 201-793-8255 and leave a message or a rant. We'll play it on the air. Or send an email to us!Thanks for listening and reading and thinking!
Direct download: Bowl_of_Cheese_Fifteen.mp3
-- posted at: 4:58 AM