Sunday, May 13, 2007

Vito's Restaurant

Last night we celebrated Mother's Day a day early. We took Mom to Vito's. It is a place here in town that features singing waiters and waitresses doing all your Broadway favorites plus some classic Italian songs.

It's run by a nice lady and her overbearing obnoxious husband, Vito.

Vito seems to be either an ex-singer-actor or a singer-actor wannabe. If they ever do a remake of Popeye, he would be an excellent choice to play Bluto. He is large and has a bushy beard and long hair with a ponytail. Vito is a bully. If central casting is reading this, Vito is your Bluto. Write to me and I'll put you in touch with him. But I digress.

I'm not sure if it was the fact that we were a captive audience, since we put our dinner orders in shortly after 7:30 pm and were committed to pay for the meals or perhaps the kitchen staff were required to come out and sing their numbers, therefore forcing them to miss their prime objective of actually preparing food, but whatever the case we were not served until after 9:30 pm. And the food was cold. My dinner was missing and did not arrive for another 15 minutes. I would have loved to have some cheese on my spaghetti and meatballs, but none was offered.

Why am I so perturbed? Well, around about 9:15 we were growing hungry. No, scratch that. Around 9:15 we were absolutely ravenous. Maestro Vito came out to see how we were enjoying the music. We said the music was fine but what we would really like was some dinner. One of our party, who is a retired pastor mentioned we put our order in at 7:30 pm which was historically two hours in the past. Vito sharpened his tongue and with some ire in his voice said, "No you didn't put your order in at 7:30!. I looked at your ticket and it said you ordered at 8:20 pm. We are busy tonight!" In other words, "Mister Reverend-Sir, you are a lying sack of monkey-poo. This is My restaurant. I'll feed you when I damn well feel like it. Shut up and quit bothering me and listen to my highly trained and well-educated vocal stylings."

So Vito does not exactly excel in providing customer service.

If he happens to come across this thread may I make a suggestion? Berating and accusing is no way to treat cusotomers. It certainly does not set them up for a return visit to your bistro.

After offending 15 customers that had the expectation of a fairly nice evening, Vito put on a Greek fisherman's hat and launched into his version of Tevye singing Tradition. And all this while, I thought Fiddler was about Russian Jews. I am so stupid.

It is just my oppinion, however from my experience I would encourage anyone interested in a nice evening of music and dinner to go anywhere but Vito's.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Starbucks Serves Up A Tall Atheism With Heavy Cream

SPRINGBORO - A southwest Ohio woman who loves Starbucks coffee has decided to drop the Starbucks habit because she was offended by a religious-related statement the company printed on the side of a cup.

Michelle Incanno, of Springboro, said she got an unexpected jolt when she saw the statement on a cup of coffee she bought last week.

Printed on the cup was:

"Why in moments of crisis do we ask God for strength and help? As cognitive beings, why would we ask something that may well be a figment of our imaginations for guidance? Why not search inside ourselves for the power to overcome? After all, we are strong enough to cause most of the catastrophes we need to endure."

The statement is attributed to Bill Schell, a Starbucks customer from London, Ontario, and was included on the cup as part of an effort by the company to collect different viewpoints and spur discussion.

"As someone who loves God, I was so offended by that. I don't think there needs to be religious dialogue on it. I just want coffee," said Incanno, who is Catholic.

Incanno wasn't satisfied with a company disclaimer saying the quote is the author's opinion, not necessarily that of Starbucks.

It invites customers to respond at

Tricia Moriarty, spokeswoman for the Seattle-based Starbucks, said the collection of thoughts and opinions are inspired by "the old coffeehouse tradition of thoughtful discussion" on a variety of issues, including religion.

The company chooses about 30 new quotes every few months, she said. By the end of 2007, nearly 300 quotes will have been printed since the program began in January 2005.

Here is a phrase that I am certain you will never see on a Starbucks tall mocha latte:

Monday, May 07, 2007

The Lanyard

Mother's Day is approaching. I ran across this poem by Billy Collins.

I'm not sure if this is the same Billy Collins that beat me up when I was in the third grade as I was walking home from school. If it is, I'm glad he has discovered a way to vent by writing poetry.

His poem struck the same nerve in me that he must have felt.

Those hot July & August days when I was a pup were supplemented by walking to the elementary school and spending time with some older kids that were hired (or drafted by their parents) to entertain us squirts by teaching Arts & Crafts.

Now by Arts & Crafts I mean, how to make potholders from circles of elastic fabric and how to make lanyards. Of course potholders were very useful, but totally uncool. However lanyards flat-out rocked.

I present Billy Collin's poem, The Lanyard.

The other day as I was ricocheting slowlyoff the blue walls of this room bouncing from typewriter to piano from bookshelf to an envelope lying on the floor,

I found myself in the "L" section of the dictionary where my eyes fell upon the word, Lanyard.
No cookie nibbled by a French novelist could send one more suddenly into the past.

A past where I sat at a workbench at a camp by a deep Adirondack lake learning how to braid thin plastic strips into a lanyard. A gift for my mother.

I had never seen anyone use a lanyard. Or wear one, if that’s what you did with them.

But that did not keep me from crossing strand over strand again and again until I had made a boxy, red and white lanyard for my mother.

She gave me life and milk from her breasts,

and I gave her a lanyard.

She nursed me in many a sick room, lifted teaspoons of medicine to my lips, set cold facecloths on my forehead then led me out into the airy light and taught me to walk and swim

and I in turn presented her with a lanyard.

"Here are thousands of meals" she said, "and here is clothing and a good education."

"And here is your lanyard," I replied, "which I made with a little help from a counselor."

"Here is a breathing body and a beating heart, strong legs, bones and teeth and two clear eyes to read the world." she whispered.

"And here," I said, "is the lanyard I made at camp."

"And here," I wish to say to her now, "is a smaller gift.

Not the archaic truth, that you can never repay your mother,
but the rueful admission that when she took the two-toned lanyard from my hands,

I was as sure as a boy could be that this useless worthless thing I wove out of boredom would be enough to make us even."