SUPERMAN PREVAILS

Christopher Reeve
Christopher Reeve

More powerful than a locomotive, faster than a speeding bullet, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. He came to earth as a baby from the planet Krypton. On earth, he had super-human strength and X-ray vision. He could even fly! His only weakness was Kryptonite, a substance which made him powerless.

He kept his real identity secret by posing as a mild-mannered reporter named Clark Kent. Then, whenever he set out to do good deeds, he slipped into a phone booth to change into his Superman costume with the distinctive “S” on his chest.

This Superman was the character created in 1938 by artist Joe Shuster and writer Jerry Siegel. He was a hero of numerous comic books and the popular 1950’s television series called The Adventures of Superman. He starred in movies including the 2006 feature film called Superman Returns.

The actor most closely associated with this Man of Steel was Christopher Reeve. Born September 25, 1952 in New York City, Reeve had a screen and stage career. In 1978, he was chosen to be Superman in a feature film revival of “Superman,” followed by three sequels.

When Reeve was 42, he was seriously injured in a riding accident during the Commonwealth Dressage and Combined Training Association finals at the Commonwealth Park equestrian center in Culpepper. He was thrown from his horse and landed on his head, breaking his neck. According to the June 1, 1995 Washington Post article “Riding Accident Paralyzes Actor Christopher Reeve,” “He suffered fractures of the top two vertebrae, considered the most serious of cervical injuries, and also damaged his spinal cord.”

The Washington Post article described the accident, as follows:

“Reeve had been approaching the third of 18 jumps—a triple-bar about 3 ½ feet high—on the course when his horse, Eastern Express, apparently could not find the right spot to make the jump. The horse abruptly stopped, causing Reeve to “Roll up the horse’s neck and fall on his head on the other side of the jump” according to Monk Reynolds, the equestrian center’s owner.

Reynolds said an emergency medical team responded immediately and found Reeve unconscious and not breathing. “They gave him mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and he regained consciousness in the ambulance,” he said. Reeve was transported to a Culpepper hospital and then flown to the University of Virginia Medical Center in Charlottesville. His wife, Dana, and their son, his parents and his ex-girlfriend Gae Exton (the mother of his two other children) have been at his bedside.”

After the accident, Reeve was confined to a wheelchair. He made public appearances and eventually resumed his career doing mostly voice work and some directing. He wrote about his recovery in a book, Still Me, published in 1999. He and his wife founded the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation. The Reeve Foundation is dedicated to curing spinal cord injury by funding innovative research, and improving quality of life for people living with paralysis. He died October 10, 2004 at age 52.

If a member of your family has suffered a catastrophic injury and requires private duty nursing, call American Home Health at (630) 236-3501. The agency can provide round-the-clock nursing care by Registered Nurses (RNs), Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs), and Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs). Our service area covers fifteen counties in Northern Illinois including Cook, Lake, McHenry, Boone, Winnebago, Ogle, Lee, DeKalb, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, LaSalle, Grundy, Will, and Kankakee. American Home Health is licensed by the State of Illinois and accredited by the Joint Commission. For further information, go to www.ahhc-1.com.

—By Karen Centowski


To see the video Superman to the rescue, just in time! – You Tube, go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HN7OBEd5hRM.

HAIR TODAY GONE TOMORROW

shaving_head

Hair, the irreverent rock musical of the 1960’s, proclaimed its glory in song: “Gimmie head with hair/long beautiful hair/shining, gleaming/streaming/flaxen, waxen./ Gimmie down to there/Shoulder length or longer.”

A study by the New York Post, reported at http://nypost.com/2017/07/06, revealed that participants reported spending $58 per month on haircuts, hair products, and shaving supplies. That figure was based on spending $34 for a haircut and $15 for hair products. If you have long hair and have gone to a beauty shop recently, you know that figure is much too low. A more realistic figure would be $80 for a color, trim, and set/blow dry plus a 20% tip.

There is no doubt that Americans love their hair. Here is the question. Would you shave your head to raise money to fund research to find a cure for pediatric cancer? Wow! That’s a hard question to answer, especially if you’re a woman. We’re used to seeing men with shaved heads, but it’s different with a woman.

Then there’s the practical consideration. Hair only grows half an inch a month. That’s only six inches in a year. For a woman with long hair, it would take years to regrow that much hair. Besides, even during that time, the hair would need to be trimmed every six to eight weeks to keep the ends from splitting.

Maybe you’ve heard about the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, the top private funder of childhood cancer research grants in the U.S. and around the world. What started as a challenge between three friends in New York City on March 17, 2000 has grown into a charity famous for its head-shaving events. Individuals agree to have their heads shaved for contributions to the St. Baldrick’s Foundation. Currently, 83% of the money raised by the St. Baldrick’s Foundation is through these head-shaving events. According to https://www.stbaldricks.org, “Since 2005, St. Baldrick’s has awarded more than $234 million to support lifesaving research, making the St. Baldrick’s Foundation the largest private funder of childhood cancer research grants.”

People sometimes ask about the name of the St. Baldrick’s Foundation. Is there a real St. Baldrick? Apparently not. According to the article at https://www.stbaldricks.org, the name “St. Baldrick’s” is a combination of the words “bald” and “St. Patrick’s” since the first event was held on March 17, 2000, which is St. Patrick’s Day.

The head-shaving events generate the most money and publicity for St. Baldrick’s Day, but corporate sponsors are also very important to the foundation. In addition, donations of goods or services such as office supplies, event T-shirts, advertising space, and printing help keep expenses down. Volunteers are also essential to the success of the foundation.

If your child has cancer and needs pediatric private duty nursing, call American Home Health at (630) 236-3501. The agency can provide round-the-clock nursing by Registered Nurses (RNs), Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs), and Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs). Our service area covers fifteen counties in Northern Illinois including Cook, Lake, McHenry, Boone, Winnebago, Ogle, Lee, DeKalb, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, LaSalle, Grundy, Will, and Kankakee. American Home Health is licensed by the State of Illinois and accredited by the Joint Commission. For further information, go to www.ahhc-1.com.

—By Karen Centowski


To see a video of a head-shaving event, go to Mackenzie Shaves Her Head for Charity—St. Baldrick’s—March, 2012 YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lxB9Inq9Apk.

THE CHANGING FACE OF RETAIL

Ever since the first enclosed shopping mall opened outside Minneapolis in 1956, shopping malls have dominated retail. The mix of anchor stores including Sears, JC Penney, Macy’s and hundreds of smaller shops proved a winning combination. Serious shoppers could purchase clothing, jewelry, toys, books, Halloween costumes, and even major appliances from a variety of stores. Teenagers could go to the mall to “hang out.” Mall walkers could use the indoor walkways as exercise areas. The mall was the place to be.

These new shopping malls ranged from the humongous Mall of America in Minneapolis to the upscale Watertower Place on Michigan Avenue in Chicago to the local malls outside large cities across America. At its peak, there were more than 3,000 malls in the United States. Only 1,100 currently exist.

Anchor stores such as Sears. JC Penney, Carson’s, and Macy’s were critical to the success of the malls. They drew a large number of customers within the malls. The smaller shops benefited from the increased foot traffic past their stores. In addition, retailers often signed co-tenancy agreements in their leases with malls. These agreements allowed them to reduce their rent or get out of a lease if a big store closed.

Major department stores such as Sears, JC Penney, Carson’s, and Macy’s are struggling to stay alive. According to an article “America’s Malls Are Rotting Away” published December 12, 2017, “Sears, which had operated nearly 3,800 stores as recently as a decade ago, is now down to 1,104 stores. Macy’s closed 68 stores this year, and JCPenney was set to shutter 128.” Carson’s has recently announced it is going out of business.

What caused these anchor stores to fail? A number of factors contributed to the failures. Too rapid expansion. Changing habits of shoppers. Online shopping. Competition from Amazon.

Each story is different. For example, consider the story of Sears. This company had started out in 1888 as a mail order business. Using its famous Sears Catalog, it was able to reach potential customers in big cities, in small towns, and on farms across the United States. Sears sold everything from clothing to musical instruments to houses. Sears opened stores in large cities. By the turn of the century, it was the nation’s largest employer.

In the 21st century, things changed. Sears faced increased competition from companies such as Walmart and Home Depot. To raise capital, it sold off its Craftsman tool line, DieHard batteries, and Kenmore appliances brands. It sold off real estate of underperforming stores. According to http://money.cnn.com/2017/11/30/news/companies/sears-losses/index.html, “Sears, which had operated nearly 3,800 stores as recently as a decade ago is now down to 1,104 stores.”

To see a video about the changing face of shopping malls, go to “American shopping malls struggle to survive You Tube.”

—By Karen Centowski

THE ICE BUCKET CHALLENGE

Would you be willing to have a bucket of water and ice dumped on your head for a charitable cause? In 2014, thousands of individuals in the United States raised money and awareness of the disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) by participating in the Ice Bucket Challenge. ALS is also known as motor neurone disease and, in the United States, as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Wikipedia, “Ice Bucket Challenge,” gives the rules, as follows: “Within 24 hours of being challenged, participants have to record a video of themselves in continuous footage. First, they are to announce their acceptance of the challenge, followed by pouring ice into a bucket of water. Then, the bucket is to be lifted and poured over the participant’s head. Dumping the water can be done either be another person or self-administered. The participant can then “call out” or nominate a minimum of three other people to participate in the challenge.”

The people who were challenged could choose to donate, perform the challenge, or do both. In one version of the Ice Bucket Challenge, a person who poured the ice water over his head was expected to donate $10. If he did not perform the challenge, he was expected to donate $100.

Ordinary people, celebrities, and even politicians participated in the Ice Bucket Challenge. Barack Obama, President of the United States, was challenged by Ethel Kennedy, but he declined and donated $100 to the campaign. Justin Bieber, LeBron James, and “Weird Al” Yankovic also challenged President Obama after they had completed the Ice Bucket Challenge. After completing the challenge himself, Former President George W. Bush nominated Former President Bill Clinton.

The Ice Bucket Challenge went viral on social media during July—August of 2014. According to Wikipedia, there were more than 2.4 million tagged videos circulating Facebook. Wikipedia describes the effect this had on donations: “Within weeks of the Ice Bucket Challenge going viral, The New York Times reported that the ALS Association had received $41.8 million in donations from more than 739,000 new donors from July 29 until August 21, more than double the $19.4 million the association received during the year that ended January 31, 2013. On August 29, the ALS Association announced that their total donations since July 29 had exceeded $100 million.”

If a member of your family has ALS and requires private duty nursing, call American Home Health at (630) 236-3501. The agency can provide round-the-clock nursing care by Registered Nurses (RNs), Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs), and Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs). Our service area covers fifteen counties in Northern Illinois including Cook, Lake, McHenry, Boone, Winnebago, Ogle, Lee, DeKalb, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, LaSalle, Grundy, Will, and Kankakee. American Home Health is licensed by the State of Illinois and accredited by the Joint Commission. For further information, go to www.ahhc-1.com.

To see a video The BEST Ice Bucket Challenges! YouTube, go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P-RHswHbnow.

—By Karen Centowski

DEALER WANTS TO BUY YOUR CAR

If you are the owner of a Chevrolet, you may have recently received a postcard from a manager at the Chevrolet dealership where you purchased the car. On this computer-generated postcard, the manager says that she is interested in buying your 2009 Chevrolet Impala. She says that the Chevrolet dealer has customers looking for these vehicles, but they don’t have any on their lot. She asks you to please call her ASAP, and she gives her phone number.

The postcard itself is a top-notch job in marketing. The name, address, phone number, and logo of the local dealership on the postcard gets your attention and keeps you from immediately throwing the postcard into the wastebasket. You have done business with this dealer in the past and have had a good experience. In fact, you probably continue to take your car to that dealer for routine maintenance. If you’ve ever needed a major repair, for sure you have taken the vehicle to a Chevrolet dealer. The “message” on the card is written in the handwriting style of a woman. It’s a personal touch to a business transaction. Finally, the writer appeals to the universal desire for a good deal by saying, “As a manager, I can offer you more!”

Is this a legitimate offer to buy your car, or it simply a trick to get you into the dealership so they can sell you a new car? Does the dealer actually have a potential customer who wants to buy a 2009 Chevrolet Impala? How much more in cash can the manager really offer? If she gives you $500 more than the Kelly Blue Book trade-in value of your car, is that really such a good deal? You would no longer have your car and would have to buy another one. You’d be standing there in the dealer’s showroom salivating over all the new cars. The dealer has you exactly where he wants you.

Ask yourself this question: Would a dealer send out thousands of postcards to find one 2009 Chevrolet Impala to sell? With all due respect to owners of 2009 Chevrolet Impalas, these are not high value collector cars. How much money would the dealer make by selling one 2009 Chevrolet Impala?

More likely, a computer at Chevrolet headquarters has generated thousands of postcards to Chevrolet owners like you. Each postcard is personalized with the owner’s name in the “handwritten note.” Each postcard names the correct make and model of the owner’s car. Each postcard is “signed” by a manager at the dealership. It is all a clever marketing tool to get you into the showroom.

If you really are interested in buying a new Chevrolet, do your research and go to your friendly Chevrolet dealer. You don’t need an invitation. They will be delighted to see you.

—By Karen Centowski