accidental existence

Life, one sentence at a time

COLUMN: Can I get a price check on public health? March 28, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — emletterman @ 12:41 pm

As my Christian County friends may ave noticed—the Headliner News site is now behind a paywall.
Despite the initial shock, that’s a good thing.
It’s good for our business, it’s good for the newspaper business.

Typically every third Wednesday I post a link to my column.
This week—in my humble opinion—I think my column is exceptionally good and I want to share it.
However, I don’t want my out of county friends to hit the paywall.
Therefore, I’ve decided to post my columns on my blog.
So enjoy friends.

Can I get a price check on public health?

Every once in a while a political quote will catch my ear and make me truly take notice. It happened in 2008 when candidate Barack Obama promised change and to a lesser extent it happened this past Friday at an Ozark candidate forum hosted by the Headliner News.

I posed a question regarding Springfield’s smoking ban to the Ward 3 candidates. While both agreed a decision of that nature in Ozark must be the will of the voters, it was Mike Esterl’s caveat that caught my ear.

An Ozark and Springfield dry cleaning business owner, Esterl said he can say for certain business is down because of the ban, citing a decline in sport-coat cleaning as proof.

“We used to clean a lot more jackets from people who didn’t want to smell like smoke after a night at the bar,” he said.

It’s an interesting angle on the prolonged debate I hadn’t even considered. Springfield media have covered the debate ad nauseam, but each and every story is centered around a bar. Granted a bar is the most logical—and easiest—place to find the story, but Esterl’s comment made me wonder just how the ban affects everyday people who don’t frequent bars.

After a lengthy discussion with my husband on the matter, neither of us could muster even one other business who may be affected by the ban, however, we could think of numerous people the ban benefits.

Did you know the surgeon general has ruled no level of secondhand smoke is acceptable to breath? That’s right—none. A fact that has prompted states like Maryland to take the ban a step further.

“On Wednesday (March 15), the Maryland Senate passed a bill that would prohibit smoking in vehicles when transporting a child under 8 years old,” the New York Times reports.

And cities like New York to ban smoking in all outside public areas. Passed in May 2011, the law made “smoking illegal in New York City’s 1,700 parks and on the city’s 14 miles of public beaches. Smoking is also prohibited in pedestrian plazas like Times Square,” CNN reported.

In fact, 35 states have laws in effect that require 100-percent smoke-free non-hospitality workplaces, restaurants or bars, according to the American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation’s.

In all, 79.4 percent of the country’s population is covered by local and state laws banning smoking, according to CNN.

Cities across the county have taken to heart the surgeon general’s warning: Secondhand smoke kills. So why is their such an uproar in Springfield? Because for now, the almighty dollar trumps public health.

It’s been almost a year since the ban was passed last April, with more than 53 percent of the vote, and according to published reports, retail sales at local bars dropped 6.3 percent from June to December compared to the same time last year.

Show me the numbers for babies who didn’t die from SIDS, because their mothers were exposed to smoke while in the womb or the numbers for children who didn’t develop respiratory infections and flood our doctors and hospitals. If money is the only factor of concern in this debate, what are the cost savings on a man not developing lung cancer?

But rather than stand up for the health of their city, the Springfield City Council caved to the pressure of the all-mighty dollar and voted 4-5 March 22 against repealing the ban, which will automatically send the measure to a second vote of the people in June. It seems when it comes to smoking, city council believes “no” means “not now, ask me again later.”

Business owners across the nation can manage to make a profit without killing their customers. So can Springfield. Banning smoking in businesses makes society better, no ifs, ands or butts.


“…got to make sure it’s right, so until tomorrow…” March 15, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — emletterman @ 2:36 pm

Another Thursday.
Another NIE delivery.
Another day in the office.

I’m in a bit of a rut lately.
Problem is, I’m not sure how to fix it.
I want a challenge.
I want a change.

My immediate dreams were effectively crushed this morning.
It was sad.
I was in a funk for a couple hours.
But that wasn’t going to change anything.
Now I blog.
Which also helps nothing, but it makes me feel better.

I want life to progress.
The rut is deep.

On a happy note, I’m making great headway on my personal New Year’s Resolution.
That I can control.
My rut has so many factors beyond my control—hence why it’s a tad bit depressing.

Can’t dwell.
Must move forward.
Try another avenue.
The rut will end eventually.

Stopped by Cashew Inn yesterday for some lunch.
It’s hard to believe it’s been 5 years since I worked there.
Still great cashew chicken.

I’m in the middle of a book I hadn’t planned on reading and now can’t put down.

NIXPO this weekend.
I’m working this 9-11 shift.
Free candy for friends who stop by.
But only if you know the secret code word.
If you have to ask, you don’t know the secret code word.
(I’m so Fight Club. Where’s Ed Norton.)
It’s not like Fight Club at all.

Ramen for lunch.
Starting to get tired of them.
However, for the price and nutritional content—they are a steal.

Company Internet training tomorrow.
I think that says it all.

Pork chops with an onion apple chutney and mashed potatoes for dinner.
One of my recent favs.
We are to the “recipe memorized, now modify to taste” stage.
Also, I might make cookies.
Feels like a cookie night.
And wine.
It should always be a cookie and wine night.

A/C is on in the office now.
And so it begins.

Spent most of the day yesterday in the park taking pictures of kids.
(In a non-creeper way)
Not a bad way to spend an afternoon.

Waiting for an interview at 3:30.
Want to go home.

I think a Target run for new summer sandals is in order.
Maybe even stock up on flip-flops from Old Navy.
Yes Adam, I do need more flip-flops.

I’m already tired of election season.
The GOP candidates.
Their commercials.
Their lies.
They all suck—end of story.

Adams and I are going to attempt to whitewash our side porch.
I’m not even sure how to do that.
The joys of being a homeowner.
Next step, tree trimming.
We’re thinking of planting a garden this year.
At the very least, Topsy-Turvey tomatoes.
Those, I think we can handle.

Danny turns 5 on Monday.

I missed my CD collection today.
Drove to Chadwick with the windows down.
Wanted to sing.
Radio sucks.
Damn the bastard thief who stole them from my car.

What is it about spring that makes people so happy?
The warmth.
The flowers.
The shoes.

My Pinterest boards are getting too full.
I need to sub-categorize more.
Too many ideas for the new home.
Whenever that will be.

No more progress has been made on my yard sale.

I need some chocolate.
I’ve been told that’s not a good statement.
I don’t need chocolate.
I want chocolate.
I maintain, I need chocolate.
Other people are just wrong.

Millie passed her physical and is good to go for another few months.
I gave her a bath as a reward.
New car smell—mmmmm.

I painted my nails a new color: Safari chic.
It’s like a gray, green, blue ish combo.
It’s been three days.
Still not sure if I like it.

It's hat time.


“…and that’s the way this wheel keeps working now…” March 8, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — emletterman @ 6:11 pm

Hello Thursday blog.
You are a day late.

It’s sleeting outside.
It was 70+ degrees yesterday.

It’s been a weird day in the office.
Started the day with an abbreviated NIE run because a basketball team is going to state.
It’s all weird.
It’s also election season.
Candidate calls are in order.
Called five yesterday, got five responses.
Called seven today, got one response.

I just drank a bottle and half of water.

New Year’s Eve resolution is still on track.
Pretty proud of that.
Goal in sight.

Staying late tonight for a meeting.
Double ugh.

My neck hurts today.
Must have slept funny last night.
I could use a neck message.
(hint hint Adam Letterman)

We painted the living room.
It was hard.
No pain, no gain
It looks beautiful.

The rain/sleet combo makes for a long, dreary day.

Garage sale prep is underway.
By underway, I mean mom and I discussed a date.
That totally counts.
What’s the going rate on a pair of used jeans?

Chuck weights 10.8 pounds.
According to our bathroom scale.
That seems large for a cat.
She already eats “indoor” cat food.

One month and one day until our one-year anniversary.
We decided on a trip to Hot Springs.
Five days and four nights.
Reservations have been made at the Arlington on historic bath house row.
April can’t come soon enough.

It’s almost St. Patrick’s Day.
A holiday devoted to my favorite color.
I have so much green clothing its hard to decided each year.

We are on track for new house shopping soon.
That is assuming we can sell the current one.
Which worries me.
However, new house shopping is fun.
So, I’m going with the positive right now.

I feel distracted writing this blog today.
I usually love blogging.
Not sure why that is.

Chuck’s boyfriend was under the house again today.
Hence, she spent the morning starring at the vents.

The weeks are too long and the weekend too short these days.

My Starbucks barista is prego.
And no barista is not the “snob” word for a person who makes “fancy coffee.”
That is the only word for people who make coffee for a living.
Just because you didn’t know that does not make me a snob.

That was bitchy.
Not sure I care.

That fact that #babiesarefollowingme bothers me a lot less these days than it used to.
I’m sure that is some sort of cosmic sign.
I am choosing to ignore it for now.

Sidebar: I told Adam to start working on twins.
Once and done.

Adam’s coordinating dinner tonight because of my late meeting.
I’ve been informed he’s not cooking.
My choices were Chipotle or Long John Silvers.

My work rut is starting to get the best of me.

We ventured to Burell Park this weekend to feed the ducks.
It’s about 4 blocks from my old apartment.
Dan and I used to walk there all the time.
He was a puppy and the aggressive geese scared him.
It’s very hard to hold a pug puppy, a bag of bread and fend off aggressive ducks.
This time I was sans Dan and plus Adam.
Much easier.

We read an article somewhere—it was either the NYT or WSJ—on French parenting.
The comparison to American parenting is crazy.
An American lady, living in Paris, wrote a book—apparently its gone viral.
Adam wants to buy it.
He’s afraid it will induce baby fever.
We will wait.
But I still think it’s a good idea.

There have been far to many reference to babies in the blog.
No we are not thinking of having a baby anytime soon.

Amelia is sick.
I have the germ-x on standby mode and I Clorox wiped my whole desk.
I hate being sick.

I’m ready to go home.
My meeting doesn’t even start for another two hours.

My mom got a postcard about jury duty.
She is super excited.
I’m a bit jealous.
And a dork.

It’s time for a Dr. Pepper.

You know this is gonna happen. I am not talking about babies.