Area Restaurant Implementing Controversial Ideas in Effort to Go Green

8 03 2010

Elmer Huggest, owner of the restaurant, O’Grady’s Garden in Indiana, plans to do his part to save the planet by implementing some new policies at his eating establishment.  Some are pretty basic; others are a little more radical.

“It’s time we take a stand and do the right thing,” Huggest stated.  “There is so much food and energy waste in restaurants in this country, and I’m going to do something about it.”  Huggest, a retired gold prospector purchased the restaurant in 2005 and has been trying to come up with ideas to “go green” ever since.

O’Grady’s Garden will be closed this week as the staff makes major changes to the place.  The first work done will be to change all lighting to energy-saving flourescent bulbs.  The restaurant will also use significantly less lighting.  Huggest admits that some patrons may complain the restaurant is too dark but believes his customers will understand once they are informed of the new “green” policies. In addition, all the cooking and refrigeration appliances are being replaced with more energy-efficient models.

Other changes, however, may be more noticeable to customers.  In an effort to save paper, menus will be printed on small, playing-card sized menus.  Huggest realizes that these menus will be more difficult to read but believes this will not be a problem because a magnifying glass will be placed on every table to assist customers.

The napkins are changing as well.  Huggest proudly proclaimed, “We were fortunate enough to find a supplier in China who makes edible napkins.  They are made of some sort of plant fibers and come in two flavors:  Banana and Plum.”  This will cut down on washing costs and may also serve as a sort of replacement for dessert for our patrons.  I tried one, and they are very filling.”  Along the same lines, silverware will not necessarily be washed after each use.  “We’re going to have our staff inspect each piece of silverware when a table clears, and pieces that are deemed to be ‘not that dirty’ will simply be wiped once and placed back on the table.  This is a true ‘green’ innovation.”

Huggest also believes that restaurants waste energy in the form of heating and air conditioning.  “We’re going to go as natural as possible.  The heat will only come on if the restaurant temperature goes below 50, and the air will only be used when it’s above 85 in the dining room.  We think this can be comfortable as long as customers dress appropriately to the season.”

Servers will save paper by no longer writing down customer food orders and instead will be required to memorize them.  “We’ll probably have a few more mistakes on orders in the beginning since most of our servers are young and from the local community college,” Huggest admitted.  “I realize some of them are not the sharpest tools in the shed, but it’s all going to be worth it once they get the hang of things…eventually.”

Huggest also is removing the restaurant’s sound system meaning there will be no light music for ambiance.  He believes that is a waste of energy but has other ideas to provide a pleasant dining experience.  “My 14-year-old daughter plays the piccolo and will be available to sit in the corner and play most evenings.  Also, we’re very proud to announce that Corey Hart will play in the dining room on the first Thursday of every month.”  Corey Hart had the 1980′s hit song, “I Wear My Sunglasses at Night.”

Previously, O’Grady’s had a policy of handing out coloring paper and crayons to children diners.  This will be cut out, but children will have an opportunity to play in a large sandbox in the middle of the dining room while waiting for their food.  “I think they are going to just love that,” Huggest said.

Not all of the noticeable changes will be confined to the dining room.  Public Restroom policies are also being affected.  “The water faucets have been programmed to provide running water for only two seconds.  When it shuts off, it will not be able to be turned back on for a full minute.  We’re very proud of our efforts to cut out the unnecessary waste of water.  We also ask that our customers follow the old addage, If it’s yellow, let it mellow; if it’s brown, flush it down.”  Huggest added that the restaurant is considering having servers check the toilets immediately after customers use them and reserve the right to evict anyone from the restaurant who flushes “only urine.”

There will also be some big changes relating to the actual food.  For example, the restaurant’s signature steaks will no longer be available “well-done.”  Huggest stated that cooking meat for an extra couple of minutes to get them “well-done” is simply a waste of electricity and will not be allowed.  “We feel that medium is plenty done enough.  People will get used to it.”

Drink spills by customers will be handled differently as well.  Servers will quickly try to “scoop” any amount of drink that can be saved back into patrons’ glasses.  There will be a “fine” added on to the bill for every ounce of drink that cannot be saved.

“Fines” will also be applied when customers do not finish all their food.  The price of the “fine” will depend on the type and amount of the food.  Huggest says a reduced “fine” will be applied when customers ask for take-home boxes for leftovers.  “It’s all well and good if they want to take leftovers home, but we can’t be sure they won’t throw the food away at home or even accidentally leave the carry-out box on top of their cars when they drive off.  Therefore, a small fine is in order.”

Huggest believes that children are the biggest wasters of food.  He is changing the kid’s meal as a result.  “The kid’s meal will now consist of a few slices of prune, one saltine cracker and a 1.5 ounce juice box whose container is made completely of recycled material.  Since the meal is a lot smaller than it used to be, customers will be happy to hear that we are reducing the price by ten cents.”

The restaurant will also attempt to reuse some food left behind on customer plates.  Huggest realizes this idea is “different” but believes it is necessary in today’s world.  “We’re going to cut out any bite marks and inspect food to see how much can be recycled.  We’ll then put it on our ‘second chance’ buffet which patrons can eat from for a reduced price.  We think we are pioneers and that many, many other restaurants will be doing this type of thing in the near future.”

When asked if this is sanitary, Huggest stated that the restaurant is committed to providing a healthy environment.  “Since we will be reusing some food, it will be necessary to take the temperature of every customer as they arrive.  Anyone with a fever will be denied entrance.  Also, our host staff will be taking a good look at every customer who is trying to come in, and only clean-looking people who look like they don’t have any diseases will be admitted.  Additionally, servers will go around the dining room and spray hefty doses of Lysol every ten minutes.  We want our customers to know we care about their good health.”

Finally, the restaurant’s popular frozen margaritas will no longer be available.  “It just wastes too much ice,” Huggest said.

Jenna McQuire, a long-time patron of O’Grady’s is not happy about this last change. “If I don’t get my Friday night mango margarita, I’m going to kill someone,” she ranted.

Customers are certainly in for some changes at the establishment.  “I think they’ll understand in the long run,” Huggest said.  “What good is a restaurant if we end up living in an post-apocalyptic world where people are beating each other with sticks trying to get at the last drops of water on earth.  Now you think about that.”





Ties Suck (Not the Kind You Wear…Well, Those Do Too)

8 01 2008

I really enjoy working with kids sometimes. Today, after a session of chess with a young teen, we were discussing the strategy involved and how it exercises the brain. We talked about how some professional chess players have matches that last a very long time. The kid said, “I think they can last a week!” After I agreed, we talked about the matches sometimes ending in a “tie.” At this point, the kid said, “That would suck. Playing chess for a week and ending in a tie is like working out for a week and finding out you’re getting fatter instead of stronger.” I whole-heartedly agreed. Man, they keep you young.





My Kid Saw Me Naked

30 12 2007

Isn’t it great when your child is a baby, and you don’t have to hide or close any doors when you take a shower or change clothes? The baby does not care if you have an extra arm, scars, or even whether you are anatomically correct (just for the record, I am). It’s like the Garden of Eden before the apple biting.

I’ve heard that it’s somewhere around age 2-3 that you are supposed to start being more careful around your child in the “nudity” area. I certainly am not one of those that feels the body au naturale is shameful or dirty (unless you’ve taken a mud bath, but that’s a different story). However, trying to be a good parent, I’ve started being conscious of the situation when taking a shower or changing in our walk-in closet.

A few days ago, I was coming out of the shower clad in a towel and making the trek to the walk-in. Down the hallway, I spied our daughter, who is smack dab in the middle of that 2-3 age range, happily playing on the living room floor with books and toys. Surprisingly, she had not found yet another dangerous object that we thought we had placed in an unreachable place. No, she was actually enjoying items appropriate for her age. She seemed not even to notice me. Therefore, I thought I did not need to worry about closing any doors. After grabbing boxers from a drawer, I proceeded into the closet and picked out something to wear (no doubt something stylish, like jeans and a sweatshirt).

As I let the towel drop, ready to don the boxers, I looked up, and there she stood. (If you’ve ever seen the movie, The Ring where the scary girl could transport herself quickly to a new location, well, it was like that). She was looking directly at me. She was looking DIRECTLY at me (we’re not talking eye contact here; we’re talking her eye level, my midsection level – staring with a sort of contemplative look on her face.) Did I quickly pull on the boxers? Did I turn around to give her a somewhat less offensive view? Did I push the door shut? No, I turned into a deer on a midnight, two-lane highway with an SUV speeding toward it and froze in terror.

The ball (no pun intended) was absolutely in her court now, as it usually seems to be. I could see her thinking. At this point, it’s important for you to know that she likes to watch the Disney t.v. show, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. This is important because they end the show with a silly song that repeatedly uses the words “hot dog.” While my daughter continued to stare at my most private part, she happily burst out into song, singing “hot dog, hot dog” repeatedly. The only thing that would have made it funnier, more embarrassing, worse would have been if she had actually pointed right at me. This, she did not do. At some point, which seemed like a LONG minute to me, she walked back toward the living room, and I was left to finally put on my clothes.

Obviously, I do NOT think she is scarred for life or anything like that. However, I wonder if maybe I am. If that song pops into my head at inopportune times in the future, I’m doomed. I’m going to do my best to keep the hot dog, buns, and beans covered around her in the future.

(Yeah, I went with a humongous large hot dog pic.)





Spoilers! Don’t Read if You Believe in Anything

28 12 2007

Over the Christmas holiday, the whole discussion about when one stopped believing in Santa Claus came up. It’s interesting that there is this big concept out there that one particular segment of society (kids) believes in, while most others do not. I decided to spend some time thinking about other beliefs that one portion of our society deems the truth, while others would scoff. (I’m staying away from the God’s existence debate in this blog, but you can count me as a believer on that one). Cher once asked in song, “Do you believe in life after love?” The Lovin’ Spoonful musically asked, “Do you believe in magic in a young girl’s heart?’ I simply ask, “What do you believe?” Let’s delve into the human mind, shall we?

Aliens Visiting Earth: There is a good-sized chunk of people out there who believe in the visitors-from-another-world-probing-people’s-butts thing. They subscribe to magazines with names like “Abduction Tales” (or is it Tails because of the probing?). They chat with others online about what is really going on in Area 51 and also in an empty wooded lot behind the super Wal-Mart near their home. These people did really well on science projects in school and always came up with something more in-depth than that dumb baking soda volcano that those of us who would have rather been pummeling someone in dodge ball resorted to. (p.s. These alien abduction people always sucked at dodge ball. They were the ones who just stood in a corner and didn’t even try to catch the ball that was careening toward their noggin.)
My Take: Hey, I like Coast to Coast with George Noory when I’m having insomnia as much as the next person, but I do not believe there is any being smart enough to travel the galaxy but dumb enough to think the best way to study us is to put something they ultimately want to keep in our rectums (or is it recti?).
When to invite these people to your party: When you might be playing Trivial Pursuit and you need someone who can answer science fiction questions.

Ghosts & Demons Among Us: These people study parapsychology in college, and, except for a few who actually find gainful employment in that field, end up working in a bookstore or library part time. They pore over photographs looking for weird white orbs in the background and listen to audio tapes recorded overnight in cemeteries hoping to catch whispered phrases such as, “I need a snorkel,” apparently uttered by someone who drowned 15 years ago. They constantly warn us of the evils of the Ouija board while secretly holding their own séances and asking if their great aunt Edna is in a happy place. They don’t date much but are prone to being attacked in their own bed by an “entity.” They have The Exorcist memorized and have probably watched Linda Blair spew the green soupy stuff in slow motion.
My Take: I certainly believe in an afterlife, but I can only keep my sanity if I refuse to believe that any spirits are wasting their afterlife time whispering into a tape recorder that someone stuck by a grave and then ran and hid behind a tree. If I’m ever a spirit in that situation, though, I plan to mess with the parapsychologists by saying things like, “It was Mr. Green with a machete in the laundry room.” (Despite my pessimism, I plan to stay away from Ouija boards just to be on the safe side.)
When to invite these people to your party: When it’s a Halloween party and you want someone to talk about “Shadow People” who are out to get you. As an aside, Shadow People would have a very unfair advantage in dodge ball.

I Deserve to Have it All Work Out. This one’s a little different. These are the people who believe that the stars will align for them one day, and, without having to do any planning or making any real sacrifices, they will find their soul mate, their perfect job, and will have the perfect house and car. These people usually drop out of college the first year. They are pretty sure they’ll win a car from Drew Carey on The Price Is Right (despite the fact that they are not actively trying to get on the show), and it will only be a matter of time before some publisher reads their blogs and begs them to turn them into a best-selling book. They know their soul mate is out there, and they are not the least bit alarmed that their past ten relationships have fallen apart within six months. Also, their retirement plans usually consist of winning the Power Ball lottery. Today’s politically correct atmosphere has really killed any gumption these people might have had at one point. They’ve had it pounded into their brain that everyone is extremely special and that everyone who plays a game is a “winner.” P.S. These people are very against dodge ball, as it is very difficult for this game to end in a tie.
My Take: It’s not going to “just happen” for you. Get a plan, and do the work.
When to invite these people to your party: Never.

The Government is Conducting Secret Projects to Screw with Me. These people have twelve months’ worth of water, canned sardines and ammunition hidden underground. They believe the government has been involved in conspiracies in the following areas: JFK assassination, 911, airplane exhaust comtrails (the white lines left in the sky), pink Teletubbies promoting homosexuality, cell phones causing brain damage, subliminal messages in pop songs and cartoons, battery packages being impossible to open, potato chip bags being only 1/3 full when you open them (due to that conspiracy known as “settling”), El Nino weather patterns, the New England Patriots’ winning streak, and dodge ball being banned in many schools.
My Take: I really don’t think the government is capable of many conspiracies more complicated than keeping that affair last summer with a 19-year-old Senate Page a secret.
When to invite these people to your party: When you’re almost out of sardines.

The Chicago Cubs Will Win the World Series in the Next Decade. I don’t know what else to say about these people other than, wow. When they chose to become a fan of the Cubs, they chose a lifetime of heartbreak. Resting your hopes and dreams on the psyche of Carlos “No Cy Young Awards Yet” Zambrano is a dicey proposition.
My Take: Long live the curse of the goat! (If the Cubs do win it soon, I may start to also believe in aliens, ghosts, etc.)
When to invite these people to your party: When you need someone to bring Chicago-style pizza to your place.





What if Your Church Was Like High School?

25 12 2007

Remember getting your high school yearbook? We received our church directory recently, and, while it was fun to thumb through, it did not have the same impact as the day yearbooks got passed out senior year. Now that we have the church directory, what do we do with it? I think it would be interesting to handle it in a similar fashion as a yearbook.

We could go around before and after church, asking others to sign it. Now that I think of it, I just don’t know if it would be the same. What would people write? “I’m so glad we’ve gotten to know each other. Stay Sweet! Stay Christian!” How about, “You always make me laugh during sermons! Man, that preacher is boooooring sometimes. Good luck in the afterlife. LYLAB” I don’t think us guys would get the kind of comments from fellow churchgoers that we used to get from male high school buddies. I just can’t see someone at church writing, “You’re OK except for being such a douche. Your friend, (insert name here),” or the ever popular, “Hey nutbag, how about I beat your face in? Sincerely, (name).”

Also, would there be the same pressure in getting certain signatures at church? In high school (at least for guys), there was a sort of unwritten competition regarding whom you could get to sign your yearbook. We all tried to get the really pretty girls, of course. It was sort of like you got 2 points for every cheerleader…3 points for a homecoming queen…4 points for signage from any girl who had “blossomed” early in the chest department, etc. Bonus points if they signed it “Love, (name)” or drew a heart, especially if done in pink or red or purple ink. Bonus points if it said, “I really want to get to know you better.” On the other hand, you would lose points if they wrote anything remotely like, “Thanks for writing that history paper for me” or worse yet, “You didn’t go to this school all four years, did you?” (especially if you had).

I’m thinking the bonus points in the church directory would come from signatures from the attractive, well-off, BMW-driving couples who go on ski weekends. Bonus points if they write, “We should get together some time.” Points would be lost if they simply signed their names, and illegibly at that. I wonder if a church directory filled with signatures, witty comments, social invitations, and even pink hearts could possibly do some good if, on judgment day, one was considered “borderline.” Is it feasible that St. Peter could browse the directory and be swayed by something like, “Matt, you seem like a really nice guy. It’s been great having you at our church. LYLAS” (meaning: Love Ya Like a Saint)? Could this make up for a certain number of episodes of having lust in one’s heart, for example? It’s all so confusing, but not nearly as confusing as being in high school. That could be punishment enough in the afterlife…sentenced to eternity in HHS (Hell High School) repeatedly taking classes like “Advanced Impossible Calculus” with a guy named Mr. Brimstoner. Plus, I don’t even want to think about the cafeteria food at HHS. I’m guessing everything would be overcooked.








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