How Sweet It Is – NOT!

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THE MAVEN, NOSHING IN THE BAY AREA

…there are those around who would rather spend their hard earned dollars on quail eggs dipped in jalapeno sauce or a rabbit cassoulet drizzled with caramel cream…

The much vaunted Michelin Guide is out with all their Stars – and Zagat has issued their oft inspired ratings – two phenomenal guides for those in quest of gastronomic retail therapy – yes, it is true, there are those around who would rather spend their hard earned dollars on quail eggs dipped in jalapeno sauce or a rabbit cassoulet drizzled with caramel cream instead of saving for a university education or even a jaunt to the local Louis Vuitton store – go figure that one! And all the while they are gorging on overpriced entrees and assorted delicacies, they are faced with the horrific experience of having to make a ‘new’ friend, albeit only until their overly-generous tip is surrendered and they are as forgotten as last nights left over stew.

“…Hi I’m Serge and I will be your waitperson tonight and our specials are blah blah blah blah…”

What am I rambling about you ask? The obsequiousness of every wait person in the western hemisphere insisting on introducing themselves to you, most generally as they lean in toward the table, interrupt your current conversation with your chosen dining companions, and begin to babble forth – “Hi I’m Serge and I will be your waitperson tonight and our specials are blah blah blah blah.” And this generally followed by the most disingenuous smile and nod of the head! I want to jump out of my chair and run screaming “Cease and desist – enough already – what ever happened to a very simple and polite “Hi – would you like something to drink while you peruse the menu?” or even “Hi – is there anything I can get you?”

Have they all forgotten they are there to serve, not make friends and socialize? If I really wanted to know their name, or for that matter, even cared about knowing their names, I would either read the name badge or ask them!” Do they really think I care? I know, I know, they were ‘trained’ to perform this level of service – well this is not a level of service I quest after, have a remote desire for, or even want. And no restaurant, no matter how wonderful the cuisine, should be awarded any stars or ratings if they train their staff to do this!

“I have too many friends now and until one of them dies, I could not possibly make your acquaintance.”

To loosely paraphrase Audrey Hepburn in the movie Charade when she drops her glasses and looks at Cary Grant, “I have too many friends now and until one of them dies, I could not possibly make your acquaintance.” That is exactly the way I feel about wait people except, I never want to make their acquaintance!

Bottom line here – Michelin should give 3 stars and Zagat should give a 30 rating to any establishment that trains their wait staff to serve, not try and insinuate themselves into every diners life!

COMING SOON, “A LONDON TRAVEL PRIMER”

Quoth the Maven;
NEVERMORE!

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Save Patricia Dunn!

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YE ARE NOT AMUSING THE MAVEN, FROM SILICON VALLEY

If I understand this correctly, Patricia Dunn, trying to protect her company from internal leaks of confidential information has been indicted on four felony counts yet our country’s federal appeals court just granted a stay in the warrantless spying being conducted by the Bush administration allowing them to continue this practice while they appeal the decision of a lower court!

How can this make any sense at all? I understand that the tactics used by HP and its contractors rode the very fine razors edge of the law, but, what the Bush administration is doing is clearly illegal (substantiated by a lower court finding) and flies in the face of our constitutionally protected rights. They are not riding the razors edge; they have toppled far beyond that apex.

The Bush administration says it can not always wait to get a warrant – well, slow down there – so trampling citizens’ rights far outweighs the need to follow the letter of the law? I think not, not at all. If we can accept this rationale, then why can’t we accept that HP, and Ms. Dunn in particular, were simply seeking to protect their stakeholders’ rights and did so with the means available to them?

I am having a very difficult time with what I perceive to be this selective legality – this is way too confusing not to mention BORING in light of all the extreme realities we should be dealing with in todays complex world.

Focus people, FOCUS – HP is not the Satan of Silicon Valley!

Save Patricia Dunn!

STAY TUNED FOR THE FIRST INSTALLMENT OF “THE AGENCY”

Quoth the Maven;
NEVERMORE!

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Is it Really the Fashion Capitol of the World? …They’re Baaacck!

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THE MAVEN, MUSING IN THE BIG APPLE

The people watching is wonderful and at times, mind-boggling here in this wonderful city; even better than any airport where you get to see ma and pa gape in amazement at the big shiny tube they are going to get into and take their first flight somewhere to see the grand kids.

I had always thought that only Barry Gibb, and he not well, still wore a mullet but let me tell you, I am amazed and still in a total state of disbelief (Ok can not forget Billy Ray Cyrus, but that is another visual I choose to try and forget) –

“…I do believe from what I have seen on the streets here, the mullet may be making a comeback…”

I do believe from what I have seen on the streets here, the mullet may be making a comeback, or at least struggling to do so….Madison Avenue, the pinnacle of chic, Fifth Ave, stalwart of the fashion industry, the Village, where all things great and odd may be seen, no one neighborhood was exempt from the “Mullet Boys” In suits and ties no less, strutting down the streets, proud as can be with those odd looking bits of hair trailing behind their heads – flowing at times, yep, some were those old long mullets we all loved and adored – always thought the mullet was the purvue of the too tight jeans, tie-dyed t-shirt, biker set or those hopelessly lost in a time warp from long long ago, but no, seems not to be the case! Reminded me of when little kids pinned bath towels to their shoulders and ran around pretending to be super heroes……this I must tell you is no super hero look – do these folks not own mirrors? Oh right, the mirror only shows the front of the ‘do’ not the back and most likely, these mirrors seem magical to the folks peering into them…”Mirror mirror on the wall, who has the best hair of all?” Alas and alack, the mirror is mute or it would surely scream back “So NOT you!”

AROUND THE CORNER, SAVE PATRICIA DUNN!

Quoth the Maven;
NEVERMORE!

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Only in the Big Apple…

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THE MAVEN, ON ASSIGNMENT IN NEW YORK

And you wonder why folks who travel to New York describe it variously as strange, wonderful, exciting, energizing, and overwhelming? Well, it’s because, as in the words of the song, “if it can happen here, it can happen anywhere” [Ice Cube] and boy howdy did it.

“…there she sat, young, some would say pretty, not particularly tawdry in a clean/wholesome way…”

Sitting down to breakfast, which I hoped would be without drama, disturbance, children whining, just wanting a simple cup of joe and quiet time for the newspaper–my god, who would have dreamed? The saga began with a seemingly innocuous request from a table nearby… there she sat, young, some would say pretty, not particularly tawdry in a clean/wholesome way, but unmistakably, and I mean this kindly, a working girl… She smiles, leans over toward the table a few feet from her and asks the businessman seated there, “would you join me for breakfast?” Seems benign enough yes, but oh no, when the gentleman refuses very politely, she turns it up a notch or two… “why won’t you buy me breakfast, I’m here all alone?”

“…folks from Los Angeles seated right next to me are in wide-eyed wonderment, this of course between stifled laughs and gasps at the performance…”

Hmmm, where and how did “join me” turn into “buy me”? The maitre’d appears at the gentleman’s table, asks what is going on, he explains, and all seems well with the world…. A few short minutes pass and loudly, oh so very loudly, the young woman is now berating the waiter for treating her rudely, she has never been treated this way before, la la la, and it goes on. Seems our waiter was asked to question why she was bothering another guest and then the floodgates opened… tears, wailing, sobs, and more diatribe; “I’m staying here in a $1000 a night suite, my parents raised me to be independent, my mother passed away a month ago, I am here all alone and just trying to have a simple breakfast, I am so sorry if you think I was bothering another guest, he would not buy me breakfast, I am just trying to relax, I am not bothering anyone”, and on and on and on. It was better than a Broadway play! Our maitre’d appears again and now she demands to speak with a manager, the concierge and hotel management–again with the mother died story, again with the rude behavior of the wait staff, etc.… the nice table of folks from Los Angeles seated right next to me are in wide-eyed wonderment, this of course between stifled laughs and gasps at the performance…

And me? I am still just sitting there sipping the coffee but must admit, fully intrigued and engaged with the performance… let’s not forget, if she was a guest, should not a room key have been able to be produced? Odd she could not find it! Odder still, if she just came “downstairs” from her suite, why the coat, scarf, jacket, gloves, and assorted other accessories? Was she going to get a severe winter chill in the restaurant on this balmy 70+ degree day? Oh we think not, not at all. As the folks from Los Angeles leaned over and intoned, “What a performance just to try and get a free breakfast!” We all laughed heartily as we watched our young lady try and scam the cashier using the old, “I left my ID up in my room–I’ll be right back” routine… last we saw, the manager had indeed arrived with security in tow… we hope she made it back to her “suite” without further incident.

My, the city’s a terrible scandal, it’s a scandal, it’s a disease! And I love it and would not trade it for a pot of gold!

UP NEXT, THE RETURN OF THE MULLET

Quoth the Maven;
WHATEVERMORE!

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