People with allergies are freaks.


People with allergies are freaks.  We’re geeks.  We’re undesirable.  We’re the weak, and we should have been weeded out with natural selection.  The weirder the allergy, the weirder the person.

At least, that’s what I pick up from watching TV.  The nerdy kid always has glasses and/or asthma.  I guess at least I don’t wear glasses like some of you real freaks out there.

The latest support to this line of thinking that has come to my attention is this lovely commercial:

Of course, I see the humor, and I’m not so offended that it’s ruining my day.  It’s just that the general perception of people with allergies kind of sucks.

If the guy had rolled through the door in a wheelchair, or walked in with crutches, missing a limb, blind, deaf,  or anything similar causing the date to be undesirable, it wouldn’t be acceptable at all.  You could even throw in other stereotypes like a different race or religion.  Both would be unacceptable.  I bet even if they threw in a guy that was 500 lbs. and turned it into a fat joke it would be considered tasteless… but making fun of a shellfish allergy is apparently acceptable.

They could have done this same joke and just had the guy dressed ridiculously or something… something that’s a choice, not an affliction.

If you’d like to pull apart the commercial for other reasons, check out this blog:  Who Are The Ad Wizards Who Came Up With THAT One? Zoosk alors.

There’s a radio commercial I’ve heard recently too, maybe for a phone or something… the line is “Bob is still allergic to shellfish.”  I wish I could remember what it’s for.  At any rate, it’s not offensive… it just puts the thought out there.

At least the peanut-allergic and gluten-free people have been getting a lot of good press lately.  How about passing it along to the rest of us?

All of this happens on the heels of articles popping up about kids with food allergies being bullied at school.  I wonder why?

I’m hoping that my #FoodAllergy Tweeps will hop all over this and help me let Zoosk know en masse that this isn’t cool.  Maybe they need to read this & watch this.

As always, your comments are not only welcome, but encouraged.

Ernie and the Berts


So, I’m in a band again.  We’ve only been jamming for a short while now, but the chaos is already well underway.  We decided to play an open stage night before we were ready, just because we could.  I dig this momentum/vibe.  Plus, I got to break out the FlipOut guitar for its first show!  I didn’t realize how much I miss gigging out.  It’s addictive.

As far as a style, it’s still taking shape… but right now it’s stripped down punk/rock/pop, and it’s sloppy.  We’ll have some covers, some originals, whatever we feel like as time goes on, I guess.  Most importantly, we’re having fun.  If you’ve seen a handful of local ‘Burgh bands in the past 10 years, chances are you’ll recognize all the players here.

For more about E&tB in the future, keep watching…

To see what you missed, here’s almost our entire 3-song set thanks to Bethany.  Watch your speakers… her camera didn’t like our volume, I guess.

Ernie and the Berts “Suffragette City” (Live) Mon. June 28th, 2010 @ the Thunderbird Cafe

URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gHX_H9bg4uA

Ernie and the Berts “Radio, Radio”/”Hot N Cold” (Live) Mon. June 28th, 2010 @ the Thunderbird Cafe

URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EzbwYG0Sa0I

And, there are a few photos (thanks again to Bethany)…

Ernie and the Berts @ the Thunderbird Cafe - Mon. June 28th, 2010 - Lawrenceville (Pittsburgh), PA

Ernie and the Berts @ the Thunderbird Cafe - Mon. June 28th, 2010 - Lawrenceville (Pittsburgh), PA

I also have to say that I also learned that the Thunderbird Cafe in Lawrenceville is awesome.  It’s a great room, it has a menu devoid of shellfish, and the crowd was a nice mellow mix form all walks of life.  While I’m at it, host band Craig King & CBG Connection were awesome dudes.  They were very welcoming, and they rocked the place out with some funk/blues/rock/jazz insanity.

If for some reason you want both videos, you can get a zip of both of them in mp4 format here:  http://drop.io/EatB_06282010_TBC

Food Allergies and the Food Network…


So, during Food Allergy Awareness Week, I urged others with allergies that we may want to take the focus off of the government and move it on to other titans in the food industry.  While I said it ought to be next year’s plan, I started early.  I submitted a note via contact form at the Food Network site, and this is the reply I received (my original message following);

From: Scripps Networks Customer Service <IS6061_22115@is.instantservice.com>
To: ____@_____________.___
Sent: Thu, May 20, 2010 2:57:14 PM
Subject: RE: Food Network Specials (#6563-175954277-3355)

Thank you for your email.

We appreciate the time you took to contact us and will be glad to forward your comments and suggestions to the Programming Department for review.

Scripps Networks
Customer Service

Show: Food Network Specials
Cable Company:
Last Viewed:
Type: question

Comment:
Hello Foodie Friends,

I write to you today to express my disappointment in that fact that I haven’t seen a prominent (or any) acknowledgment of this week as Food Allergy Awareness Week, either on your website or on the network itself.

According to the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network:

• More than 12 million Americans have food allergies. That’s one in 25, or 4% of the population.

• The annual number of emergency room visits due to food-induced anaphylaxis in the U.S. ranges from 50,000 to 125,000, depending on the source.

• Eight foods account for 90% of all food-allergic reactions in the U.S.: milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts (e.g., walnuts, almonds, cashews, pistachios, pecans), wheat, soy, fish, and shellfish.

• Even trace amounts of a food allergen can cause a reaction.

These are just a few of many other interesting and informative statistics.  As a (or THE) leader in food related information and entertainment, I feel that you ought to consider yourselves somewhat responsible for informing chefs and cooks everywhere of the dangers of cross-contamination.

I love watching many of your programs, and would love to see one geared toward allergy-friendly meals, procedures, and adaptations.  Even a one-off special with several food chefs or someone intelligent/informative with impeccable cleanliness in the kitchen like Alton Brown would be awesome… but even an online article or PSA would be a great start.

Like Spider-Man’s uncle Ben said, “With great power comes great responsibility”.  You, my friends, are the great food power.

Many state governments have declared this week Food Allergy Awareness Week.  With your help, we could sway the rest of the states and perhaps the Federal Government next year!

Here are some resources for your convenience:

► Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network: http://www.foodallergy.org/
► Food Allergy Initiative: http://www.faiusa.org

Thank you for your time & attention, I hope to hear from you soon, and look forward to your thoughts on the issue at hand!

-Eric

____@_____________.___

Odd.  Who are the Scripps Networks Customer Service?  Is this automated.  It took over a week to get a reply, and this was it.  I’m highly disappointed.  I’m going to have to try an email onslaught, & perhaps some snail mail.

Food Allergy Awareness Week


If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter, you’re most likely already annoyed by my Food Allergy Awareness Week related updates, links, and tweets.  I would apologize, but I’m not sorry.  I rant occasionally about my deathfish troubles without the need of a week dedicated to it, and I generally get at least a good dialog going.  I thank you know for your patience and interest.  This week is set aside for just such ranting and lunacy, and as one of the afflicted, I feel it’s my duty to be vocal all week.

Again… I realize that food allergy cures and research aren’t top priority to everyone, and that there are many many other diseases and health issues that also deserve research and attention… a lot of them much higher on the “urgency” scale.  But, I refer you to the aforementioned duty to be vocal this week.

There are many food allergy stories out there this week if you’re looking for them.  You’ve heard my rant, now I invite you to hear the stories of others.

These sites have many many excellent resources for information, education, activism, & general awareness:

I encourage you to take the time and explore the sites if you’d like to know what it’s like to deal with an allergy yourself, or have a child with a severe allergy.  (You can also hit up my Allergies category.)

For my fellow Food Allergy Afflicted Friends…

While I get behind these campaigns to wrote to your local, state, & national politicians…  I just get a feeling that this needs to come form somewhere else.  Maybe it’s a political ideaology thing… I don’t want toe government to take care of me.  Perhaps I don’t want the government to force people to take care of me.  I feel that if that’s the case, it will be a bare minimum.  We need to get the food and health industries behind this movement.  Companies have to want to be allergy and cross-contamination friendly because it gives them an edge on the competition.

Instead of writing to a politician and getting a nifty gold-sealed proclamation… I’d rather see a special on the Food Network, a cooking publication that’s not allergy related already to pick up on it and do a special issue. I’d like to see Pizza Hut finally tell me where and how their sauce may come into contact with shellfish. I’d rather know why Subway uses one knife to cut all of their sandwiches.  I’d love to know why restaurants with multiple deep fryers don’t assign one for shellfish and one for other foods.

I’d like to see labels have to declare more than just the big 8 allergens, but to clearly define all ingredients. Even mollusks, which I’m allergic to (and which fall under the “shellfish” category) don’t have to be listed prominently under current FALCPA regulations.  There are many other things that people are allergic to… corn, peppers, chocolate, … it’s imperative that everything gets labeled!

We also need to stick together.  To me, it seems like the bulk of allergy literature relates to wheat/gluten and peanuts, and these are the ones people are most aware of.  You can somewhat easily get peanut butter substitutes, and on the other side of the ‘Burgh there’s even a gluten-free bakery.  I’ve never seen a place advertise “Shellfish Free!”  It makes me a little jealous.  (I always joke with the wife that if I ever win the lottery, I’m opening a restaurant called “F___ Shellfish”.)

I’d like to remind all of us in the top 8 that there are not only eight categories of us, but many many others without a name or a voice out there.

Let’s go after the Food Industry next ear, and not the government.

PA Gov. Ed Rendell mailed me a proclamation!


Food Allergy Awareness WeekI got an exciting piece of mail from the Office of the Governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania today.  It looks to actually be signed in felt-tip pen by Ed Rendell himself, or at least stamped on by one of his staff.  It’s got a nifty raised gold seal, and came in an official looking (& taxpayer money wasting) blue folder.

It’s a proclamation declaring the week of May 9th-15th, 2010 as Food Allergy Awareness Week in Pennsylvania.  I believe they’ve declared it in years past, not sure why they need to re-do it every year… but I’m guessing this was sparked by an email I sent recently thanks to FAAN.  Their theme this year is to “Respect Every Bite”.

Check out some photos:

PA FAAW Proclamation - Folder PA FAAW Proclamation - Inside

Here’s a scan of the proclamation itself…

PA Governor Food Allergy Awareness Week 2010 Proclamation

And, here’s the text:

Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

Governor’s Office

PROCLAMATION

FOOD ALLERGY AWARENESS WEEK

May 9-15, 2010

WHEREAS, Twelve million Americans have food allergies; 3 million are children under the age of 18; and

WHEREAS, research shows that the prevalence of food allergy is increasing among children; and

WHEREAS, eight foods cause 90 percent of all food allergy reactions in the U.S.: shellfish, fish, milk, eggs, tree nuts, peanuts, soy, and wheat. Symptoms of a food allergic reaction can include hives, vomiting, diarrhea, respiratory distress, and swelling of the throat; and

WHEREAS, food allergy reactions cause 50,000 to 125,000 visits to the emergency room each year in the U.S., depending on the source. Reactions typically occur when an individual unknowingly eats a food containing an ingredient to which they are allergic; and

WHEREAS, there is no cure for food allergy, and scientists do not understand why. Strict avoidance of the offending food is the only way to prevent an allergic reaction; and

WHEREAS, anaphylaxis is a serious allergic reaction that is rapid in onset and may cause death; and

WHEREAS, the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN) is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to raising awareness about food allergy and anaphylaxis.

THEREFORE, I, Edward G. Rendell, Governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, do hereby proclaim May 9-15, 2010 as FOOD ALLERGY AWARENESS WEEK in Pennsylvania.

GIVEN under my hand and the Seal of the Governor, at the City of Harrisburg, on this seventh day of May in the year of our Lord two thousand and ten, and of the Commonwealth the two hundred and thirty-fourth.

EDWARD G. RENDELL
Governor

I just thought it may excite some other allergy afflicted and/or aware people out there, and wanted to share the good news!  I know it’s not much, but the proclamation is a small step in the larger awareness of the issue on the whole… and a recognition by the government may lead to further legislation.

Oddly, I think the best part of it is that I got something from the highest state office with a gold seal on it that also contains the word “diarrhea”.  If that’s not a win, then I don’t know what is.