Hello all. I have not written an article in a while, so there’s a lot to cover this week. First of all, our next Comedy Night is Saturday, October 11. This is one of our most popular events and I’ve been to every one in the last few years and the comics always put on a great show. We’ll be raffling off a “June Jacobs Spa Collection Basket” filled with products worth over $600 at the event. We will also be offering for sale limited edition prints of photographs from the construction of the Throgs Neck Bridge. If you are a fan of black and white photography or you simply grew up in the neighborhood, you’ll love these photos. The show is being held inside, so seating is limited and reservations are always recommended. Call Jerry Landi for reservations at (718) 792 2468. Hope to see you there!
General meetings will begin again after the summer recess. Our next general meeting will be on Tuesday, October 7 at 8 p.m. We are trying to pull together a number of events (Halloween Parties for Kids and Adults, Breakfast with Santa) and as always we need active members to help us attain our goals. Everyone who came to our Labor Day festivities enjoyed themselves, but I’m not sure how many of them realized how close we came this year to canceling the event.
If it wasn’t for a group of committed members rallied by Lori and Dino Masciarelli’s request for help on our Yahoo Group, the event would not have been held. The hail storm certainly did it’s damage, but the inability of our community to pull together a beach clean up that produces real results is just a shame. About a dozen volunteers were able to clean off a shady section of the beach so that we could have running races and a place to sit and enjoy the day, because boy it was hot. Thank goodness for water balloons.
Please consider coming to a general meeting and getting involved. Help us fix up the beachfront so that we have a beautiful greenspace for the kids to play in safely, for community events or just simply for the enjoyment of having a place to sit and relax.
I recently saw a commercial that made me want to throw something at the TV even more than when I was watching the Republican National Convention. Since then, I have actually seen two or three versions from the same advertiser, all for the Corn Refiners Association promoting a website, www.sweetsurprise.com and the use of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). The commercials begin with one person offering another a drink and the other person remarking that the beverage contains HFCS and that it should be avoided, but when pressed, can’t explain why. The commercial goes on to say that HFCS is just as safe as sugar. And yes, calorie for calorie, it is.
However, that’s not the reason HFCS should be avoided. As I’ve stated before in this column, we have a surplus of corn in this country. And why? Because corn responds very well to genetic manipulation and the application of chemical fertilizers. Due to these two factors, corn growers, pumped up with government subsidies, can literally plant corn and stand back and watch it grow. The surplus has given the industrial food system many opportunities to invent uses (i.e.: feeding corn to grass-eating-bovines by pumping them full of antibiotics and hormones) and “food products” that utilize all this corn. HFCS is one of those inventions. It’s found in products that it doesn’t need to be in, for example “energy drinks” and “flavored waters”. And then we wonder why we have an obesity problem in this country. A lot of us eat foods that we don’t even know what’s in them, that they’re just science experiments. Take a look at the ingredients label of your flavored non-dairy creamer next time before you pour it into your coffee; it’s all corn derived.
Aside from all that, there is another problem with corn. All those chemical fertilizers that we pour onto the corn not only stays in the corn we ingest, it also goes into the soil and stays there. Those chemicals leach into the water table and are getting in to our community water supplies and into our streams and rivers. They are contributing to our environmental problems just as much as the burning of fossil fuels. That’s why corn ethanol is not the answer to our energy needs.
Now, I’m not expecting any of you to go off on my soapbox the next time someone offers you a bottle of flavored sugar water, but just think about it and kindly say no, you’d rather have just a glass of water. From the tap. The one with the Brita filter attached. And please don’t put it in a plastic cup…or a lead crystal glass…okay, just give me a beer.
So what do we do? Read your labels, eat food that nourishes you, not just food that feeds you. Foodtown not only carries a great selection of organic products throughout the store, it recently created a section devoted to only organic products. A woman shopping in the section with me, confused by the selection, remarked to me, when we were kids, there wasn’t organic, we didn’t worry about this. Over the course of the last 40 years our food has changed: we have a tremendous variety of food options, but not many of them are actually good for you. We all remember hearing about the starving children in China, we all remember humanitarian crisis around the world such as Bangladesh, Ethiopia. And while there are still millions of people worldwide that struggle to survive, the number of overfed people worldwide now exceeds the number of starving people.
Ask your local grocers to carry locally grown or organic produce. Ask your butcher to carry organic or at least hormone free products. As I’ve said before, Menna’s on Tremont Avenue carries the whole line of Bell and Evan’s organic chicken, but he hasn’t been able to keep it in stock because people are scared of the price (it is more expensive, but it’s not pumped up with water as most supermarket chicken is). Ask Michael Menna to order some for you (I suggest starting with a whole broiler) and see if the flavor is supremely better than your basic grocery store chicken.
Change is only going to come through us, the people with the power of the purse.