Sunday, November 27, 2011


Not since the age-old question of "Who is the EMPLOYEES MUST WASH HANDS sign in bathrooms for?" have so many people been miffed in restaurants. More and more restaurants, particularly in NYC, are showing a "Recommended Gratuity" chart on the bottom of their checks. For instance, if you bill was $50, the bottom of your receipt would read 15% = $7.50, 20% = 10.00 and so on. 

I love this, don't you? There's no math involved and thus no chance of incorrect math (unless you make one in the actual counting of physical money).

Some folks have complained to me that it feels pushy and presumptuous of waitstaff to "point out" what's expected. "Isn't it MY choice what to tip them?" I've heard more than one person inquire.

First, this is the restaurant's choice to put this chart on your check, not your waiter's/waitress'. It also helps serve as a friendly reminder to our international guests who may not know how tipping is conducted in the states. 

Secondly, it's only "Recommended" - you can always tip what you want. Bad service is bad service, and the tip should reflect that, but excellent service is priceless and must always be recognized appropriately.

If you're ever in doubt, here's a handy website called "The Original Tipping Page."

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


I'm about to download the album of musical christmas offerings otherwise known as "She & Him: A Very She & Him Christmas." Anyone who knows me well will be a tad shocked by that pending activity. 

I'm not a fan of Zooey Deschanel. Not of Zooey the "peronality." Not of Zooey the actress. I think there's something "off" about her ... and not in a Kirsten Dunst dodo-bird kind of way. Let me explain. 

The film performances of ZD have almost always been atrocious. She's the worst thing in the little scene Eulogy, and she somehow managed to give a unintentionally scary performance in the truly terrible thriller The Happening (by all means, check out the scene in which ZD explains her "tiramisu date" to Mark Wahlberg while running away from ... wind). Even in her now-classic holiday film Elf (w/ Will Ferrell), she's more remembered for her singing than her "acting." 

Zooey has the ability of appear both childishly googly-eyed and stoned out of her gourd, simultaneously. This is not a compliment. At 31, she's already pushed the limits of her oft-used "deer in the headlights" face, not to be confused with her "who meeeee?" face. She is the female Ashton Kutcher of the bad acting world, always inexplicably trying to harness the naivete, energy and flat-out stupidity of the world's dumbest first grader but in a come-hither bod. It feels both forced and desperate ("Look at meeeeeeeeeeee!"). 

The only performance that has suited her thus far is on display in the fantastic 500 Days Of Summer, and that's only because the character is completely aloof and uninvested in anything going on around her. A tailor-made role for ZD. (You'll notice the absence of Fox TV's "New Girl," which I can't bring myself to watch after seeing the annoying previews.)

Now the nice part (it's the holidays after all). Her singing voice is instantly atmospheric and harkens one back to the days of Dusty Springfield and Nancy Sinatra. Her just-this-side-of-a-stuffy-nose vocal stylings add a surprising layer of richness to nearly any melody she puts her voice to. She sings optimistically from a broken heart. She's quite something vocally, and so is the album. Grab it. I will.  ... I just won't be watching the music videos. 

Happy Holidays!