A Christmas Story in Dormont


A Christmas Story

Image via Wikipedia

So, last night we went to the Hollywood Theater in Dormont to see A Christmas Story.  It was a joint venture with In Person Productions, and they brought Ian Patrella (Randy) to the theater for a meet n’ greet & commentary.  It was a great time, despite a few little quirks in the evening.

The Hollywood itself is a cool little theater, the first time my wife & I had gone there, we saw Inglourious Basterds, and we sat in the balcony.  It was very cool to see that movie in a little local theater.  Although we didn’t, we could walk there.  Ha ha.  It’s a great thing to have in your neighborhood.

Last night, there was a decidedly different atmosphere.  Of course, Christmas decorations and attire were everywhere… it was quite festive.  We arrived and were ushered in, and moved on to the concession stand.  We decided on just a large Coke to share, and were greeted warmly & quickly, although the woman made sure to note that we had several scary movies coming up in December.  Ha ha.  Do I look scary, or like a horror fan?  Maybe it’s the facial hair.

We got inside & chose some seats on the floor, near the middle in the back.  There were quite a lot of people there already when we arrived, and many more flocked in behind us.

Before the movie, Mr. Bending form In Person Productions introduced a representative for local EMT’s, as they were benefiting from a Red Ryder B.B. Gun raffle, and then introduced Ian Patrella and a gave a little talk about how the evening was going to run.

Then, they trotted out Dormont’s mayor, Tom Lloyd, to present a key to the city to Mr. Patrella.  Mayor Lloyd is a bit of a hot-button issue ’round Dormont if you’ve been paying attention to the news.  I know Mr. Lloyd has been pushing for revitalization of small businesses in Dormont… or at least that’s what his bio says, but there’s also been a quite public pissing contest (for lack of a better term) between the Mayor & the Police Chief, or maybe even two at this point.  I know it has to do with GPS units in local police cars, who can use what door to go in & out of the municipal building, and who has the power to cancel parking and/or other traffic citations… and I think even who the fines should go to, if they’re local or state violations.  Also, apparently who has the biggest cojones.  My bet’s on Mr Lloyd’s, as they’re probably dragging on the floor at this point.  Pardon my vulgarity, but really… I’ve gotten way to many impeach the mayor post cards in the mail, and too many letters to the editor in the local quarterly newsletter to take either side seriously at this point.

Speaking of point… I’m leading into the fact that Mr. Lloyd presenting a key to the city to Mr. Patrella may have not been a great decision at this point in time.  The mayor was visibly physically in distress, and I know you’re not supposed to discriminate on age, but I found myself wondering aloud how he’s able to carry out official duties.

Also… upon presentation of the key to Mr. Patrella, he proceeded to tell him that he’s never seen the movie.  Yes, we’re talking about A Christmas Story.  Yes, Mayor Lloyd looks about 347 years old.  Yes, they run A Christmas Story for 24 hours every Christmas on TBS or TNT or whatever channel.  Yes, he actually told the actor from the movie that he’d never seen the movie.  It was all very odd.  Then, he very conspicuously ambled up the aisle after presenting the key… taking his 4-5 person entourage with him.  So, apparently he couldn’t spare a few hours to watch the movie now?  I found the whole ordeal quite disrespectful to Ian, In Person Productions, and the Hollywood Theater.  Perhaps he has political or social ties to the FOHT, but they ought to reconsider letting him embarrass the city in the future.

Ian Patrella (Randy from A Christmas Story) & Me

Ian Patrella & Me

Mr. Patrella was going to provide commentary during the film, but they apparently had mic or PA issues, and he wasn’t able to really shout over the film.  I hope they got the issues resolved for the rest of the showings this weekend.  I did really appreciate the Q&A at the beginning of the evening.  Ian is a great public speaker & Q&A guy, & seemed to be genuinely having a great time.  He’s currently giving tours at the house used for the outdoor scenes which is now an A Christmas Story themed museum.  He was very cool at the meet & greet after the movie, and took the time to pause with me for a photo and sign my DVD.  I hope to make the road-trip out there some time soon!  You can also win an all-inclusive package trip by reenacting a scene from the film at AChristmasStoryScene.com!

The other interesting part of the evening was a little troll that sat behind us during the film, mouthing off how incredibly bored he was not only at the pre-film ceremonies, but during the actual film viewing itself.  He continued to ramble & talk about totally unrelated things.  After a while, my wife had enough, turned around, and asked him to please be quiet.  He mumbled inaudibly as he was scolded by the woman he was with and giggled-at by the couple they were with.  Then the big shot said “I asked ‘what is she gonna make me?'”  Yes.  This was a grown man.  I was turning to look as he asked “Is he gonna make me?  I raised up slightly in my seat, as he slouched in his.  He didn’t say one more word for the entire duration of the film.  Apparently I do look scary.  We saw the little guy afterward, and he was just under 5 feet tall.  Apparently he had something that he though he needed to prove, then decided it wasn’t that important.  I’d love to know out of a theater full of people, why people like this seem to gravitate towards wherever I’m sitting.

All in all though, the idea & the execution of the evening was great as far as the Hollywood, In Person Productions, & Mr. Patrella went.  I’d like to catch National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation there later in December.  I also cant wait to see who In Person brings around in the future.  I shot off an email when we got home to let the Hollywood & In Person Productions know what a great time we had, and Mr. Bendig from In Person wrote back very quickly, with another message to follow.  I look forward to some of the movies and personalities that they’re looking to bring to the Hollywood.  (Did somebody say… Monster Squad?)

AskCensus | A response on the ACS from the US Census Bureau:


So, out of all the people that I asked about the American Community Survey, none are so relevant as the U.S. Census Bureau itself.  After all, they’re the ones who put it out.  While PA State Rep. John Maher’s response is insightful and amusing, and the Spencarian’s Benjamin Kirby offers a different perspective… only the Census Bureau can comment officially.  It took me slightly longer than their professed 2-day response time to get back to me, but I’m sure they have better things to do than respond to some goofy idiot with pseudonym and an email account.  Also to be fair, they did kind of address my concerns on the FAQ.  I was just a little more long-winded about it.

Well, without further adieu, here’s what they had to say…

– ☞⌨☜ –

from: AskCensus <askcensus@custhelp.com>
reply-to: AskCensus <askcensus@custhelp.com>
to: recrat.demopublican@gmail.com
date: Thu, Oct 28, 2010
subject: The American Community Survey? [Incident: 000000-000000]

Recently you requested personal assistance from our on-line support center. Below is a summary of your request and our response.

If this issue is not resolved to your satisfaction, you may reopen it within the next 0 days.

Thank you for allowing us to be of service to you.

To access your question from our support site, click here.

Subject
The American Community Survey?
Discussion Thread
Response (ACSO – SLH) 10/28/2010 16:21
Thank you for using the US Census Bureau’s Question & Answer Center.  

We appreciate your feedback regarding the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. You make many valid points and in a world free of people too busy to respond we could easily get by with one mailing. As it is, our research has shown better response results from multiple mailings and reminder cards and for this program using multiple mailings to get someone to respond to the paper questionnaire is cheaper than obtaining the information by phone or personal visit.

As for the Internet response option we are in the development and testing phase for this application. The Director of the Census Bureau, Dr. Groves, supports this project not only for the ACS but also for the 2020 Census.

As for reducing the time burden on the American public, the director is dedicating resources to researching adminstrative/alternative sources for the information collected on the ACS and Census forms.

If you need more information or have further questions about the ACS, please call our Customer Services Center on 1 (800) 923-8282.

Question Reference #000000-000000
Escalation Level: 16 hours from created
Category Level 1: American Community Survey
Date Created: 10/20/2010 10:49
Last Updated: 10/28/2010 16:21
Status: Solved PII (Admin)
Cc:

[—000:000000:00000—]

– ☞⌨☜ –

Well, that was certainly bland, but at least they are looking to technological advances in the future.  I still see this statement as crazy: “…for this program using multiple mailings to get someone to respond to the paper questionnaire is cheaper than obtaining the information by phone or personal visit.”  I’d love to see that on paper.  (Or better yet, in an email.)

 

 

 

 

 

The Spencarian’s Benjamin Kirby | Thoughts on the ACS…


So, you ready my letter to anyone who would listen about the American Community Survey, right?  Hopefully you’ve also read the amusing reply from PA State Rep. John Maher.  Now we have the thoughts of political blogger, Benjamin Kirby of The Spencerian.  Through the magic of Google I happened upon his blog, saw that he liked answering political questions, and (of course) asked my question(s).  I got an excellent reply…

from: Benjamin Kirby <bkirby816@yahoo.com>
to: Recrat Demopublican <recrat.demopublican@gmail.com>
date: Thu, Oct 21, 2010
subject: Re: A POLITICAL QUESTION: The American Community Survey?

Hey, great letter, Recrat!  Really good.

I’ll try to answer it on the blog — you’ll have to forgive me if I don’t re-post the whole thing.  I’ll try to do your general concept justice, though.

Just as a quick answer, let me say that I think you’ll see huge changes in things like the ACS as well as the ten-year census over the next five to ten years.  We have Facebook, Twitter, and who knows what else in the future.  There is almost no reason to cut down a forest to do the ACS.

That said, I know some people who rely on the data the ACS provides, and it.  Is.  Critical.  It’s really important stuff, and it’s so important that people fill it out, that they’ll do whatever it takes to get their attention.  There’s the old marketing adage: tell them what you’re going to tell them, tell them, then tell them what you’ve told them.  And the only way the government can do that efficiently right now is through snail mail and paper.  Sounds weird, I know — but it’s true.

We’ll explore this more in the post in the next few days.

Thanks so much.

BJK

…and it was followed-up by a blog post:

Q & A: Answering a Question with a Question

I won’t re-post the whole thing here, but I would urge you to check out his blog, and post your comments there or here.

An excerpt…

First of all, let’s be totally fair to Recrat: he asked a great question.  The only problem with it was that it was in the neighborhood of, oh, around 1,250 words.  The highlights he asked about involved wasted resources in producing the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey in the area of money, time, energy, and paper.

Ha ha.  Sorry for being wordy, but…

Hello Pot...  ...Meet Kettle.

I guess it’s in all of us blog people. 

ACS Response from John A. Maher (PA House of Representatives)


I sent my letter about the American Community Survey to several politicians… from the mayor of my little town, to the mayor of Pittsburgh, to Pennsylvania representatives & senators, our US representatives & senators, and even the President Himself.

Only one politician has replied so far, and it’s been about 2 weeks since my missive first went out.  I figured it’s time to share, although I may keep trying.  Maybe this warrants some more snail mail.  Our first response comes from Pennsylvania State Representative John Maher:

– ★★★ –

from: John Maher <jmaher@pahousegop.com>
to: recrat.demopublican@gmail.com
date: Fri, Oct 22, 2010
subject: ACS
mailed-by: pahousegop.com

Congratulations on creating the most notable email nomme de plume that I have seen in some time!

I have a special appreciation for your experience, having been selected myself for the extended census exercise in 2000 AND 1990.  (While that is certainly not a statistical impossibility, it did cause me to ponder the veracity of the sampling method.)

Across the decade ahead, trillions of dollars of taxpayer money will be “driven out” to states, school districts, local governments and others feeding from the trough of the taxpayer using formulae anchored to the census results.  Getting the data right to begin with strikes me as a desirable goal.  Could the Census folks be more efficient?  I thought so before and am emphatic now.  Those selected for the expanded survey should be provided an access code and directed to a web site to complete the process.  Not only will forests of paper be saved, but tallying the results will require no human processing either.  Those without access to computers would dial a toll-free number, tap in the access code, and the pound of paper could be delivered.

I recall attaching a note to that effect with my response to the 2000 survey but the federal government is generally uninterested in the thoughts of a state legislator.

A larger complaint for me arises from seeing how census and other data is not used thoughtfully to measure or address concerns in a scientific, unbiased manner, but rather exploited selectively as raw ingredients to contrive formulae that accomplish what those with such power wish to accomplish.  When government behaves that way (which seems to be frequent), why bother collecting the data at all?

Thanks for taking time to send along such a thoughtful note.

John

John A. Maher
Member, House of Representatives
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

– ★★★ –

I like this guy.  His words aren’t calculated, his opinions aren’t guarded, and he has an obvious disdain for the large bureaucracy of the federal government.  (…perhaps a little animosity there too, or is that just me?) I have to agree with his last paragraph there, it seems like that backwards science all the conspiracy theorists spout about.  Just how is this data being put to use?  Shouldn’t the government already know how many people are living here and how much I made last year by looking at my Taxes?

I wrote back, and haven’t had a second reply, so I’ll leave you with my last communication:

– ★★★ –

from: <recrat.demopublican@gmail.com>
to: John Maher <jmaher@pahousegop.com>
date: Mon, Oct 25, 2010
subject: Re: ACS
mailed-by: gmail.com

Thank you for your swift & thoughtful reply, Congressman Maher!  I’m also gald you enjoyed my nomme de plume, ha ha.  I almost feel a fear for speaking my mind… something I was raised to believe should never be a problem in the great country in which we live.

I can understand your frustration with the federal government as a state legislator.  The states were originally given the majority of power.. and it seems to have shifted over the last century.

I agree completely with your assessment that we ought to be given an access code to complete the survey via internet or toll free phone number.  I’ve been e-filing my taxes since I was able, and before that I remember doing them by phone along with a simple questionnaire/help sheet on news print… that had to be over a decade ago now.  The waste associated with this whole thing is just mind-boggling.

While I understand the need for the federal government to collect data for programs they deem necessary, why not let local governments address the problems in their area, then ask the federal government for support to create their own solutions?

I really do appreciate your reply, and I will pass your name on to other voters as someone who cares about the people that they represent, and is up to the times with electronic communication.  You may be interested to also know that yours is the first reply I received out of the dozen or so politicians, government agencies, and political pundits that I’ve contacted via webforms or email… and so far the only politician to reply!

Keep up the good work, and as a citizen, I thank you for your service & commitment to the people!

-Recrat Demopublican

– ★★★ –

The American Community Survey – A letter to anyone who will listen/read/answer…


I did blog about the 2010 Census and the American Community Survey before, but I felt that my blog wasn’t enough.  I decided to try and reach out to the government, some politicians, some political pundits, and even one political blogger to express my concerns.  I’ve been sitting on this a while waiting for some more concrete replies, but there haven’t been that many.  We’ll get to the replies in later posts, but first I (with Editing help from Dave of course) present to you the letter:

– ☆ · ⌘ • ✍ • ⌘ · ☆ –

Dear [Gub’ment Employee],

Thank you for taking the time to make yourself accessible via email and/or the web, and available to address my concerns.  I realize that as a steward of the people and a government employee, your time is quite valuable. The point of my missive is speaking out against what I view as the waist of resources, money, and even time, so I will try to get right to the point.

Recently, I was notified via mail that I was a picked “at random” as a participant in the American Community Survey.  Then, a week or so later, I received the survey itself.  If it follows the same pattern as the 2010 Census, I will get two more notifications, and someone will show up at the door to ask me the questions even though it has been filled out and sent in.  Barring any other concern about the 2010 Census and focusing on the ACS, this is what I (along with 3 million other Americans) received:

  • Pre-notice Letter
  • Introductory Letter
  • ACS Questionnaire
  • ACS Instruction Guide
  • Frequently Asked Questions Brochure
  • Follow-up Letter
  • Reminder Card
  • Outgoing Envelope
  • Return Envelope

For my purposes I’d like to ignore (for the most part) the arguable statistical value of questions like when the building in which I reside was built, what time I leave for work in the morning, and how many people are in my car with me when I go to work.  I do enjoy the extensive reasons for asking each question available at http://www.census.gov/acs/www/ – but *.pdf is a “clunky” way to present them.  I would like to say that your reason for asking about the year my residence was built, “Age of housing is used to forecast future energy consumption” is flawed.  If my building was built in 1920, but recently retro-fitted with new windows, insulation, and a new energy-star furnace and/or central air, it might be better off energy-consumption-wise than a house built in the late 60’s with all original water-heaters, furnaces, etc.  (On a humorous note – remember the infamous man who had a baby a few years back?  Question 24 instructs you to only answer if you’re female and have given birth. He would now be a man and would have given birth. This could not be recorded as instructed.  Perhaps they ought to look at amending that in the follow-up survey 10 years from now?)

But, I did not intend my letter to argue the survey content. I would like to stick to what I believe is a more pressing and relevant issue, waste.  Here is what I feel was wasted in the ACS mailings.

Paper: I am not a crazy environmental activist, and I even question the actual savings when related to energy consumption on recycling, but even I am appalled at the waste of paper here.  That is three letters, a reminder card, the survey itself, a glossy FAQ brochure, and a 16-page “how to answer questions in this survey” booklet, plus the survey itself, and envelopes for all of the outgoing and return mailings except for the card times three million.  The letters alone are 9 million wasted pieces of 8½” x 11″ paper.  Think about that number.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen 9 million of anything.  The survey itself couldn’t have stated its purpose on the opening page without the need of a cover letter?  Did we really need the 16-page guide on filling out the survey?  Including the support phone number wasn’t enough?  I am not even factoring in the ink and envelope glue here.  It is 2010; I would think that most people have access to the internet or a telephone, even if it is someone else’s phone or the internet at a local library (which is still free in most communities, right?).  Why not send out a post-card or registered letter instructing people to take the survey via the web or by phone?  It can’t be much different from what has already been set up as a “support” to the paper survey.

Energy: How much energy was consumed in creating and transporting all of these mailings?  Eliminating the “you’re going to get a survey” and the “you should have gotten a survey” letters alone would have saved so much effort and, I am assuming, electricity unless you have a warehouse full of employees cranking out these surveys on Ben Franklin’s old printing presses.  Even the energy that went into the creation of this thing can be factored in.  How much gasoline and jet fuel was consumed in mailing these surveys?  So, under energy, we are wasting human energy/effort, electricity, and fossil fuels (unless every piece of mail was delivered by electric car from plants that do not use coal for electricity production).

Time: This concern is connected with the human effort element. How many people spent time on this?  How many man hours were spent compiling the questions, deliberating on how to word them, which ones to use and in what order, writing explanations on why they’re being asked, layouts for those designed, extra pamphlets proposed, decided upon, and designed, websites built, toll free help-lines set up, etc?  Then we have all of the labor; the actual creation of the paper, the printing, and the distribution?  How many people will be sent out to ask follow-up questions?  I’ll give you that my time wasn’t wasted in filling out the survey, and I’m arguably wasting more of my own time writing this letter… but what about my time wasted reading the “you’re going to get a survey” and the upcoming “you should have received a survey” letters?

Money: Certainly all of the people involved in this have been paid for their contributions; direct government employees are also receiving what I hear are excellent benefit packages.  If contracted work was used, I’m sure they were paid prevailing wages for jobs done for the government.  I’m sure the paper, ink, and distribution were not free.  I know the government does not pay for mail sent via the postal service, but how does that work?  Does it all actually go for free, or does the post office bill it out to the different government agencies per usage?  And, if you believe the old adage that time is money, then see the preceding paragraph again.  Shouldn’t taxpayers be able to vote on whether we’d like money to go into projects like this survey, or the more pressing social-programs that your survey professes to bolster once all of the information is gathered?  What about something as simple as food for the hungry, medical care for those who can’t afford it, or subsidizing housing for the homeless?  If money is going to infrastructure, why not ask the government employees about the road conditions that they encounter on the way to work on federal, state, and local levels?

While I do take a certain pride in being selected for performing a civic duty, I cannot help but wonder about the deployment of something like this on such a massive scale.  I understand that one may feel that the collection of this data is imperative, but perhaps the process through which it has been undertaken can be reviewed.  Perhaps the next time this survey is taken, eliminating so much paper will be a more viable option with new technologies appearing almost daily.

Thank you again for your time, I really do appreciate that you have made yourself available to read my concerns.

Sincerely,
-Recrat Demopublican
recrat.demopublican@gmail.com

– ☆ · ⌘ • ✍ • ⌘ · ☆ –

I have no idea why I chose to use a pseudonym when the intent was to post it here anyway… but I did.  I’d like to hear your thoughts before I post replies form others.

 

AllergyEats | Massachusetts food allergy awareness law goes into effect… but is it enough?


So, this is a good discussion for those interested in food allergies & politics:

AllergyEats | Massachusetts food allergy awareness law goes into effect… but is it enough?

I like that the laws have begun the process, but we need to see how they’re enforced and if the spirit of the laws are followed, or just the letter.

On the other hand, I’m not really all about expanding the government’s control over the minutia of our everyday lives.  The food service industry itself ought to set some standards and adhere to them, driven by the consumers who have allergies themselves or friends & family with allergies.

Once it’s started, I just wonder where it will stop.  I mean the top 8 allergens are a big concern with cross-contamination, but what about stuff that’s prevalent  but not on the list like corn, chocolate, peppers, or something else?  Expand it to the top 11?  To the top 13?  To the top 203?  Eventually no foods will be able to touch each other, we’ll just eat single-ingredient dishes, all with their own dedicated cooks and kitchens.

I just don’t know where I fall here with a solution that’s practical yet makes most people (allergic and non-allergic alike) happy.

Aller-G’s


…Saw some more cool tweets about allergies today, again from pnutfreeworld.  They all caught my eye, and put me in a slightly better mood.  I’m not allergic to peanuts, but a lot of other people out there are.  I’m allergic to shellfish, and all of us that suffer from severe allergies need to stick together… so I’ve been following allergy issues on the web more & more.  I thought I might share with the hopes that if you’re out there suffering form allergies, and you happen to stumble upon this blog… you’ll know that there’s a bunch of us out here… or if you have a friend or family member that suffers form allergies, this may offer you some insight into their world.

The first one that jumped out at me today, was this one…

Law Makes Allergies a Restaurant’s Responsibility, Too – A Massachusetts Regulation Requires Restaurants to Get Food Allergy Training

If you saw my blog the other day about the two thrilling tweets, this would be the conclusion.  Apparently it passed! I know… this is odd for me to celebrate.  Normally, I’m anti- anything that has to do with making more rules & regulations or expanding government.  But, this just hits too close for me on a personal level to not be behind it.  I just hope they go about it efficiently.

Basically, the law says that if you’re a customer, you need to speak up and inform the restaurant of your allergy, and if you’re a restaurant, it’s your responsibility to have all of your employees trained and certified on allergy safety and cross contamination issues.  I realize that this is not a fool-proof system, and that I don’t even live near Massachusetts, but it gives me hope that other states may one day follow suit.  I now have something concrete to write about to my local politicians… and say “hey, look… they’re doing something that makes sense”.

Sadly, the legislation doesn’t seem to point to chain restaurants… like Subway, where cross-contamination with the seafood sub is a major issue.  It does, however, give me hope that I will someday be able to dine in an upscale restaurant with no abnormal concern for my safety.

If you’ve read my trifecta of tirades on the food industry & cleanliness & allergy issues, (That’s 1, 2, & 3) then you know that there are others out there who think that implementing such training would not only be impractical, but it would be just not done at all or treated like a joke from all concerned parties.  I really, really hope that’s not the case once this is put into effect.  I would hope that this would be an issue that’s handled quite seriously… it is, after all, a life-or-death issue.

The second article’s title made me think, “damn right”…

Food on the road can be a minefield – Taking steps to minimize the risks from allergies

Now, this is from a Canadian publication, and they seem to have a lot more government regulation already… but I don’t really support banning things like they seem to want to do.  Education and training is what we need. This article is a nice list of websites and literature that you can look to for support in dining out while traveling abroad.

I’m going to have to look into these sites a little more, and see if there’s anything worth noting or sharing.

There are two not mentioned in the article that look promising… but they really need their databases updated if they’re going to be useful at all:  Can I Eat There? & Shellfish Free

I’m also hoping UrbanSpoon.com one day makes note of more than just gluten-allergy friendly restaurants… and picks up on the big 8.

This last one is cool on a geek front as well as an allergy front…

Peanut Allergy Blocker On The Way

The concept just blows my mind.  I’ve said before… even if I was given a cure tomorrow, I doubt I’d ever even want shellfish at this point… but at least I’d be able to eat food off of the same grill or out of the same fryer without hesitation or anaphylactic repercussions.

I’ve read a lot about the causes of allergies… and asked a lot of questions of doctors.  It’s amazing how much they don’t know… but this article is very enlightening, and it’s all broken down so it’s easy to understand:

Dr Suphioglu said that the work being done by his team also has potential benefits for all allergy sufferers. “Taking a step further back in how an allergic reaction occurs, we are also carrying out research into how we can prevent the allergen specific antibodies from being produced at all.

“In an allergic reaction, the body produces cell signalling molecules called cytokines to trigger the production of antibodies. If we can neutralise the cytokines involved with the allergic reaction, we can potentially block or reduce the production of the antibodies. In recent preliminary results we have successfully identified a substance that interacts with one of the key cytokines involved in the allergic reaction. We are now assessing the capacity of this substance to block or reduce antibody production in the allergic reaction.”

Dr Suphioglu is confident that his team’s allergy research work will result in better treatments for allergy sufferers. “I believe our research into understanding the molecular and allergenic properties of major peanut allergens together with our work on how to prevent or inhibit allergic reactions will contribute to the development of safer and more effective methods for peanut allergy diagnosis, prevention and treatment as well as benefit sufferers of other allergies.”

I’ve read a bunch of articles pertaining to the links between asthma and dust mite allergies and their relation to the severe shellfish allergies.  It’s really interesting stuff.  I hope all of these studies merge in the near future, and perhaps there will be an end to all my allergy-related rants!

Liberate Beer Sales in PA (from Sheetz)


You may have read my previous post about beer sales at Sheetz, this is a continuation of sorts.  I received an email from them today that I felt that I should pass along.

Here it is…

Liberate Beer sales in PA

Hey Sheetz fans!

Beer - Locked UpSheetz is participating in a state-wide initiative in Pennsylvania to change laws on alcohol sales in the state. These laws have been on the books since the 1930’s and we think it’s high time they be updated! Join us in this effort by signing our petition at www.freemybeer.com or looking out for people who will be positioned at some of our PA stores collecting signatures over the next few weeks.

Customer convenience and freedom to purchase beer in grocery and convenience stores is something that people enjoy in most other states across the US. In fact, in May 2009, Pennsylvania’s shoppers indicated by an overwhelming majority (70%) that they wanted to be able to make beer purchases like the rest of the country. So we are asking, why not?

We want to get as many signatures on petitions to help get legislators to hear what we’re saying and hear what their constituents want and change the law on beer sales.

Simply put, we already sell beer responsibly in 5 other states that allow us to and people can buy a six pack on their way home or while on vacation and it’s totally convenient. You should be able to have that freedom here in Pennsylvania too.

So we need your help. Go to the website and vote “YES” to beer sales or sign one of the petitions circulating at our stores. This will be a powerful way to achieve the end goal — you buying a six-pack in a convenience store!

You can help make it happen. Let’s do it!

Thank you,
The Sheetz Team

*Must be 21 or older to participate.

This email was sent to: [Me@myemailaddress]

This email was sent by: Sheetz, Inc.
5700 Sixth Ave. Altoona, PA 16602

If you no longer wish to receive emails, unsubscribe here

Copyright © 2009 Sheetz, Inc. All rights reserved.

Not that I’m an alcoholic or anything, but it’s ridiculous that we don’t operate like the surrounding states on this issue in 2009.

I signed the online petition & sent emails before, and yesterday in store I signed a paper petition.

The government shouldn’t have useless control over these types of issues.

Want Beer @ Sheetz?


I know, the following is just a form letter in the modern age… but it’s good to get acknowledged. Plus, we already know that Senator Wayne Fontata reads his mail (thanks to the idiots at Clean Water Action)!

While at the Sheetz website, I discovered a sweet little link at the bottom that enables you to fire off an email to your local politicians to let them know that you’re in support of Sheetz being allowed to sell beer in its stores. Juts click the Take Action button and it writes the letter for you, and sends it to your State Senator & State Representative. How awesome is that?

It’s 2009 and PA’s beer & liquor laws are beyond antiquated, end of story.

Forwarded Message —-
From: PA Senator Wayne Fontana Fontana
To: me@myemailaddre.ss
Sent: Fri, November 13, 2009 4:37:37 PM
Subject: Re: Freedom to Purchase Beer in Convenience Stores

Mr. Carroll ~

Thank you for contacting me recently regarding your interest in seeing beer available at more locations.

As you are probably aware, there has been great deal of discussion on this issue – both in the positive and negative. I agree with you that our laws are antiquated, but believe that we are slowly seeing change – both in new law and in legislation that is being considered. This remains one of those issues that we will need to continue to work on to address the concerns that have been raised. I have noted your support for this effort, and will certainly share it with my colleagues and take it into consideration should we have the opportunity to vote on related legislation.

Again, thank you for your communication. I look forward to further communication with you on this and other issues that are of interest and importance to you.

Senator Wayne D. Fontana
42nd Senatorial District
www.senatorfontana.com

>>> <me@myemailaddre.ss> 11/12/2009 8:31 AM >>>
Eric Carroll
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
Pittsburgh, PA XXXXX-XXXX

November 12, 2009

The Honorable Wayne Fontana
Pennsylvania Senate
Senate Box 203042
Harrisburg, PA 17120-3042

Dear Senator Fontana:

As a Pennsylvania voter, I want to add my name to the growing list of
those who are asking you to consider making a change to Pennsylvania’s
beer laws.

It is hard to ignore how backward our beer laws are in light of the recent
ruling by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court against Sheetz – taking its
license, because it did not allow for on-premise consumption.

At their worst, these laws encourage drinking and driving. At the very
least, the current laws are incredibly outdated.

Let me be clear. I want to be able to purchase alcoholic beverages in
convenience and grocery stores. Please support the call for common sense
beer laws and bring the convenient purchase of beer to the Pennsylvania
consumer.

Sincerely,

Eric Carroll

This message and any attachment may contain privileged or confidential information intended solely for the use of the person to whom it is addressed. If the reader is not the intended recipient then be advised that forwarding, communicating, disseminating, copying or using this message or its attachments is strictly prohibited. If you receive this message in error, please notify the sender immediately and delete the information without saving any copies.