URBAN PHILOSOPHER
Conscience Laureate

Thursday, March 29, 2012

DOES CHICAGO REALLY WANT TO SEE MY PLATE?

(Meatloaf Lean Cuisine)




My lifelong struggle with food addiction has been well documented in this blog. My parents did everything to try to help me from sending me to “fat camp,” to having me regularly visit the “fat doctor,” to  “weekly weigh ins”, you name it.  My Mother had been a nurse, so she served healthy, nutritious meals.  But I was a sneak eater.  It did not matter what I was taught at home, I loved fatty saucy, fried foods!

Four years ago, I had an intervention and lost 60 pounds by giving up totally bread, cheese and dessert in public.  I eat 100 calorie snacks at home secretly in bed at night.  I don’t know who I am keeping the sneak eating from because I am the only person in my home.  But stealth eating is the best kind.  I have kept most of the weight off.  I keep no food at home except for frozen Lean Cuisines and lettuce.

Rest assured that the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) is concerned about the city’s citizen’s eating habits and has launched a social media campaign to raise awareness of this issue.  The press release from CDH said, “Chicagoans are invited to ‘Rate Your Plate,’ this week by taking a picture of their healthiest plate and sending it to the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH). As CDPH posts the pictures to their Facebook page, the public can rate the plates through Facebook ‘Likes,’ choosing the healthiest plate and learning more about healthy eating.”

To participate, people are supposed to send a photo of their plate of food to healthychicago@cityofchicago.org.  It can also be submitted on Twitter by using hash tag, #RateYourPlateChi. Then people should log onto to rate their plates compared to others at www.facebook.com/ChicagoPublicHealth
 Can you just imagine some of the disgusting plates of food people are going to post just to be funny?  I do not plan on visiting the site for fear of losing my appetite for the rest of eternity!

Some people eat to live, I live to eat.  I would drink to that, but I don’t drink!




Wednesday, March 28, 2012

TYPICAL KATHY GETTING UPSET




I don’t just get upset about things that happen in my life, but I allow myself to be consumed by problems in my friend’s lives.  My friend Lisa told me a story about a problem she was having—and I—like some superhero—said I would get it fixed.  I have not succeeded and now I am VERY mad.

Lisa received a $200 gift certificate to the Indira salon in Park Ridge from her boyfriend as a birthday gift in January.  Lisa had never used that salon before, but her sweetie had driven by it and thought it looked very elegant.  What was stylish on the outside, turned out not to be true on the inside when it came to trying to redeem the certificate.

Lisa called to make an appointment and was told she had to give a credit card number to hold the reservation.  Since she had been the victim of identity theft in the past, she refused to give a number over the phone.  She offered to give the number of the gift certificate, but the salon employee would not accept that as a confirmation that Lisa would actually show up for the appointment.

She then spoke to the owner, Michael Nass, who also refused to let her make an appointment without a credit card number. She asked for a refund of the gift certificate--because she cannot redeem it- and the owner refused that also.  Her boyfriend paid cash for the gift, so the salon is sitting on a pile of money that will never be redeemed.

Lisa called the Illinois Attorney General’s office to find out if it were legal for a business to require a credit card to hold an appointment for services that had already been paid for.  She was told a business could ask, but they could not make the customer be obliged to give it.  The AG’s office sent her paperwork to file a complaint.

Lisa also filed complaints with the Better Business Bureau and on YELP. 

Because Indira is an Aveda lifestyle salon and spa, Lisa called Aveda to complain that one of their registered agents would not allow her to redeem her gift certificate.  The woman she spoke to said she would check into the matter, but Lisa has not heard back yet.

Lisa has also personally gone to the salon three or four times to try to use the certificate as a “walk-in.”  Twice she was told the salon was booked all day and another time she was told there was no one available to give her a pedicure. 

This is when I came in.  Lisa told me her frustration and, I, the superhero, said I would try to get the local newspaper, the Park Ridge Herald Advocate, to write a story.  The salon would certainly respond to that kind of negative publicity. For an ├╝ber publicist like me, getting a story in the local Park Ridge Herald Advocate should be easy.

Not so.  The editor declined my pitch, writing; “I can certainly understand your friend’s position. It sounds like a very frustrating situation. Probably not for us though, but I appreciate your thinking of us. Best regards and good luck to your friend.” I should have realized that Indira Salon probably advertises in the paper, and the editor would not want to make them mad.

I then sent off an e-mail to my friend Jon Yates who writes the Problem Solver column in the Chicago Tribune.  I know he usually deals with MAJOR problems, but I pointed out that even just a phone call from the Tribune to the salon might get some reaction and poor Lisa could finally get an appointment.

I have not heard back from Jon yet, but he gets lots of e-mails, so he might not notice mine right away.

Then I remembered that I write a blog that is read by 1,000’s of people around the world. (Thank you, Ireland—I have 5 fans who live there!)

If everybody who reads my blog tells one of their friends about how  Indira Salon is not allowing Lisa to make an appointment and then they tell one of their friends, we could get a lot of people talking about the unfair policy of the salon.  You could all post on your Facebook and Twitter accounts how Indira Salon is preventing Lisa from getting her hair done by refusing to make an appointment for her.

In even a further step, maybe Jason my webmaster could create the LET LISA GET A HAIR CUT web site.  I could shoot a You Tube video of Lisa with scraggly hair begging people to call the salon and demand they give her an appointment.

Or I could just give her $200 and let it end.  You decide.





Tuesday, March 27, 2012

PLASTIC IS MY FRIEND




On May 11th last year, I wrote a blog “Confessions of a Plastic-A-Holic,”  where I highlighted my love affair with plastic bags and why I was upset about the potential plastic bag ban in  the Chicago suburb of Evanston, Illinois.  Not that I ever go to Evanston, but since it is so close to my hometown, I was afraid the potential ban could spill over the border.


Some cities currently have plastic bag ban ordinances and I was excited to discover that the measure passed by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors is being challenged in court. An association called, “Save the Plastic Bag Coalition,” filed a motion last week in which, “Petitioner seeks a judgment and writ of mandate to set aside, void, annul, and  repeal San Francisco Ordinance  No.  33-12 (the “Ordinance”). The Ordinance  bans plastic carryout bags (“plastic bags”) at retail stores, restaurants, and other food establishments, and requires that consumers pay a 10-cent fee for each paper carryout bag (“paper bag”) and each compostable carryout bag (“compostable bag”).

Steven Joseph of the coalition wrote, “A 10-cent fee is, or may be, far too low to act as an effective incentive to promote the use of reusable bags. No one will carry a reusable bag with them for unplanned impulse buying. Very few people will carry a reusable bag to Macy’s or other department stores to save a dime. Very few people will carry a large reusable bag to purchase one or two small items such as earrings or a watch or a snack from Union Square or Chinatown. Very few tourists will carry reusable bags when they visit Fisherman’s Wharf and tour the city."

I was thinking my love of plastic bags might put me in a unique category until I discovered there were others like me who wanted to protect the plastic bag.  I found www.BagtheBan.com.  The facts presented reassured me that plastic bags are good and not the environmental horror that the tree huggers claim.

The site’s fact sheet said:
  

“Plastic bags are 100 percent recyclable.


Across the U.S., millions of people are choosing plastic bags to take their items home from the store. These bags can be a sustainable option for our country when disposed of properly and recycled. Millions of pounds of bags are recycled each year by being brought in to local grocers for collection. Recycled plastic bags are used to make new plastic bags and building products, such as backyard decks, playground equipment, and fences.
If consumers lose their choice of plastic bags at checkout or are forced to pay for them, people would purchase thicker garbage bags, introducing even more plastic into the environment.

Facts about Recycling

·                         Retail plastic bags are only one small fraction of the litter problem. Solving the larger litter problem isn't about banning grocery plastic bags. The solution is to create new opportunities for recycling all plastics.
·                         Plastic bag recycling has doubled in the past nine years.1 In 2010, more than 900 million pounds of post-consumer plastic bags, sacks and wraps were recycled.2
·                         According to the EPA, the recycling rate of polyethylene bags, sacks and wraps in 2010 was 14.7 percent, a 23.8 percent increase from the rate in 2009. Recycling of polyethylene bags, sacks and wraps has now grown in 9 out of the last 10 years.1
·                         These recycling efforts support thousands of green jobs which will be damaged with plastic bag bans and taxes.

Facts about Plastic Bags

·                         On a per bag basis, plastic grocery bags are the best checkout option for our environment. Plastic bags are more resource efficient, reduce landfill waste and generate fewer greenhouse gas emissions.
o                                       They take up a lot less space in a landfill: 1,000 plastic bags weigh 13 pounds; 1,000 paper bags weigh 114 pounds.3
o                                       They generate 80 percent less waste than paper bags.4
o                                       They make up a tiny fraction (less than 0.5 percent) of the U.S. municipal solid waste stream.5
·                         American plastic bags are made from natural gas, NOT oil. In the U.S., 85 percent of the raw material used to make plastic bags is produced from natural gas.6
·                         Recycled plastic bags are used to make new plastic bags and building products, such as backyard decks, playground equipment, and fences.”
Now I will admit that Bag the Ban is a project of Hilex Poly, an industry-leading manufacturer of recycled content high density polyethylene (HDPE) bags, films and related products—so they might have a vested interested.  But I don’t care where I get my supporting facts from, as long as I get to keep using plastic bags.  Another use of plastic bags that was not mentioned--they are quite handy for quietly suffocating one’s enemies.
  

1.              Municipal Solid Waste in theUnited States: 2009 Facts and Figures   and Municipal Solid Waste in the United States: 2001 Facts and Figures  ; U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; p. 53 (2009), p. 49 (2001).

2.              Municipal Solid Waste in the United States, 2009 Facts and Figures Category Recycling Rate for HDPE, LDPE/LLDPE Bags, Sacks, and Wraps, December 2010
3.              Life Cycle Assessment for Three Types of Grocery Bags – Recyclable Plastic; Compostable, Biodegradable Plastic; and Recycled, Recyclable Paper; Chet Chaffee and Bernard R. Yaros, Boustead Consulting & Associates Ltd.; 2007; p. 9
4.              ibid; p. 54
5.              U.S. Environmental ProtectionAgency; 2009; p. 53. 
6.              Analysis by Chemical Market Associates, Inc.; February, 2011.



Monday, March 26, 2012

THE RULES FOR BEING MY FRIEND




I am not an easy person to get along with because I am always right and everyone else is always wrong.  Once someone understands that, it is easier for them to fit into my world.

There are many rules on Posner’s Planet and if you want to become an inhabitant, you need to understand how my totalitarian government functions.  Below are the ten main rules that one must follow in order to become a citizen of my world.

(1)  I don’t care what is happening in your life, unless it directly pertains to me or impacts me in some way.  I will not go to your Facebook page.  I will not read your tweets.  But I expect you to follow me.

(2)  I hate everybody (except you, of course!).  Do not call me before 9 a.m. or after 9 p.m. because I don’t want to talk to people outside of those hours. I am cranky in the morning and night, just like a new born baby. The exception is if you have good gossip.

(3)  I have a landline.  Stop trying to text it.  Learn the digits of my home phone and the digits of my cell phone and comprehend the difference.  Don’t ever call my cell phone.  Always call my landline.  I forward my landline to my cell when I leave the house, so you can always reach me by calling my landline.  I go insane when my cell phone rings when I am at home.  I live in a high rise and get terrible cell phone reception.  I don’t understand why certain people refuse to call me on my landline. (This means you Mancow!)

(4)  I expect you to be at my beck and call.  I don’t like driving outside my little zone, so if you want me to go someplace with you, you have to drive.  I will give you gas money, I will pay for parking, but you have to pick me up.  You do not have to wear a chauffeur’s cap, but that would be nice.

(5)  I smoke cigarettes.  Live with it.  Don’t tell me to quit, I have heard it before.  I won’t tell you to stop drinking alcohol.  So that makes us even.

(6)  I am always on time.  In fact, I am always early.  I hate people who don’t understand the concept of time.  Do you need a watch?  I will buy you one.  I can get a great deal at Governor’s Pawn.

(7) With very few exceptions I do not care to look at pictures of your children or grandchildren.  Reread my blogs of November 16th and February 29th  to remember how I feel about children.  Unless little ones are cooked well done, I just don’t care about them.

(8)  I am always the smartest person in the room.  There are a few exceptions, but since none of you fit in that category, it does not matter.


(9)  Do not hit REPLY ALL on an e-mail unless your answer has significance to everyone.  But since that rarely happens, unless I have something to say, do NOT do it!

(10)  I will be the most loyal friend you can ever ask for.  So while there are a lot of rules, the end results of my friendship will be positive.  I won’t kill for you, but I will bail you out of jail.


Monday, March 19, 2012

Illinois Supreme Court Election 2012



My blogs have been sporadic and basically "missing in action" for the last few months as I have devoted my time to working on the Supreme Court race of Appellate Court Justice Joy Cunningham in the Democratic primary.  Election Day is Tuesday, March 20, so the journey is almost at an end.

I have written before about Justice Cunningham’s credentials to sit on this august body. I have also written how her election will make history because no African-American woman has ever been elected to the Illinois Supreme Court in its 194 years of existence.

You should punch 103 for Justice Cunningham in the Democratic primary, not just because she is my friend, but because she is clearly the most qualified.  Plus, I will be out of a job if she loses! 

I created a few fun videos on the campaign trail and you can click on the links and have a virtual “cup of coffee” with Justice Cunningham or see people, “Jump forJoy.” 

“Joy postage stamps” and “Joy for Joy Jump drives,” were two other ideas I conceived.  I even created, wrote and produced our own television show, that aired on cable access, ”The Judicial Branch,” where Justice Cunningham and I discussed important milestones in judicial history and educated viewers on how the judicial system worked.

During the campaign I did not take a single day off—I worked on weekends, holidays and was on my computer many nights until midnight.  Do I get a gold star on my report card for perfect attendance? I hope so!

So Tuesday will be a sad day and a happy day.  With your vote, it can be a REALLY HAPPY day.  Please punch 103.