The Illinois Manufacturers’ Association asked me to write a story on the Cretors, a family who over several generations has played a major role in making popcorn one of the most popular snacks in the country. They have a very interesting story and I’m glad I had the chance to write it.
The marriage of popcorn and movies has been such a harmonious and enduring relationship that most people have never even considered how the two got together in the first place. As is usually the case in these situations, there is a fascinating story of how they met. It’s a tale of innovation, circumstances and an Illinois-based manufacturer.
From Springfield’s Own magazine, my tech column on some of the more ambitious smartphone apps for personal healthcare purposes. Thank to the creators of Seinfeld for inspiring the lede.
Fans of the legendary sitcom “Seinfeld” will recall the episode in which Elaine enlists Kramer, in the guise of Dr. Van Nostrand, to steal her medical records so she can get a rash diagnosed.
The episode concludes with Elaine using a marker to replace the eyebrows that were singed off Uncle Leo’s face. And in between, Kramer takes some racy photos of George. But that isn’t important — Elaine’s medical records are what I want to focus on here.
Amid all of the absurdity, this episode did speak to a very real problem. Having to rely on a busy doctor’s office to forward your records to a hospital or specialist can lead to delays in examinations and treatment. If, like Elaine, you have a mysterious rash, that wait could be quite uncomfortable. But now, 15 years after Seinfeld shed light on the problem, there is a scratch for this particular itch, in the form of an iPhone App.
read the rest of the column here
You can’t go wrong writing about the Princess Bride. This one was quite the rage on Facebook.
They were dark times, to be sure. Relations between the countries of Florin and Guilder were tenuous. Royalty ran roughshod over the peasant class, while the unemployment rate for giants in Greenland was soaring. And, there was a shortage of perfect breasts.
That civilization could be awash in such turmoil and so thoroughly ruled by betrayal, was, well, inconceivable.
Having trouble remembering this period in history? Maybe this will help. Iocane powder was invented. Rodents of Unusual Size still roamed the Fire Swamp. No?
Don’t feel bad. This isn’t a history lesson. It’s not a movie review either, although it is about a movie — my favorite of all time.
(read the rest at the State Journal-Register)
Here’s a newspaper story I wrote on job safety that focuses on the local construction industry.
Although injuries are seen as a cost of doing business, that doesn’t mean employers aren’t making an effort to keep their employees safe. In the construction industry, for example, fatal injuries are down about 40 percent since 2006.
There are three predominate ways in which construction workers can die on the job: by falling, by something falling on them or by electrocution. It’s John Kovalan’s job to minimize the risks from all of these dangers.
This is my first tech column for SO Magazine. I bring a layman’s (or lame) perspective to the hot issues of the day. This one is about clouds.
The expression “walking around with your head in the clouds” is used to describe a person lost in a perpetual fog of revelry. Such people, while usually harmless, tend to be unreliable.
Clouds also bring tidings of bad luck. Think of Pigpen from the “Peanuts” comic strip, with his black cloud lingering ever-presently overhead.
So perhaps “cloud” isn’t the best word to describe a concept that some believe is on its way to changing desktop computing as we know it. When it comes to technology, the average user already has experienced his share of bad luck and unreliability.
In a year already beset by historic flooding and widespread tornadoes, two planning experts shared their insights into the importance of preparing for disaster mitigation and recovery in this ZweigWhite story.
Mother Nature has taken its toll on communities all across the U.S. in 2011. Along with destructive twisters, heavy rains have caused historic flooding along the Mississippi River, threatening those living along its banks.
“The parade of events has been almost astonishing. I can’t recall a year when there has been as many tornadoes as we’re getting this year. Just one after another, killer tornadoes,” says Jim Schwab, manager of the American Planning Association’s Hazards Planning Research Center.
If there is a silver lining among the many dark clouds, it’s that we’re becoming increasingly aware of the importance of planning for recovery before disaster strikes.
A transportation project for the Missouri Department of Transportation provided a case study on how construction costs can be significantly reduced without comprising the quality and safety of the roadway. The story appeared in Roads&Bridges magazine. It’s quite a piece of authorship.
On time, on budget and a minimum number of headaches—in a nutshell, those are the marks of a successful transportation project.
That’s the conventional wisdom, anyway, but in tough economic times “good enough” isn’t good enough. Transportation agencies should be asking more from their consultants, and consultants should be stepping up to demonstrate new ways to execute projects. Times may be tough, but opportunities abound to do more for less and reach goals previously unimagined.
Here’s a story I wrote for ZweigWhite on high-speed rail.
Some see HSR as the future of transportation and one of the most important initiatives since the development of the federal highway system. Others believe that while the infusion of money would certainly benefit their ailing state economies today, the projects they are funding will ultimately cost too much and the projected benefits of HSR are overly optimistic. In many instances, these contrary positions are falling along party lines.