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Edward M. Sweatt and Carolyn H. Swcatt Publishers
Edward M. Sweatt Editor
Lynn S. Carlson Managing E^dttor
Susan Usher News Editor
Doug Rutter Sports Editor
Eric Carlson Staff Writer
Mary Potts & Peggy Earwood Office Managers
Carolyn H. Sweatt Advertising Director
Tlmberley Adams. Cecelia Gore
and Ltnda Cheers Advertising Representatives
Dorothy Brennan and Brenda Clemmons Moore ..Graphic Artists
William Manning Pressman
Lonnle Sprinkle Assistant Pressman
PAGE 4-A. THURSDAY, MARCH 24, 1994
Why Not Return Proceeds
To Help Shelter's Animals?
Recently hired Animal Control Supervisor Greg Thompson
seems to have a good plan for making his department operate
more efficiently and humanely to better serve animals, citizens
and the department's staff.
Last week, the county board of health went along with
Thompson's suggestion for a policy change allowing vicious ani
mals to be declared dangerous BF.FORF. they attack people. (The
policy would not affect guard dogs on private property and dogs
engaged in a legal hunt.)
Thompson also asked for and was granted permission to up
date his department's policy on using tranquilizer guns instead of
firearms to subdue pets and wild animals in some cases, and to
require that only pets vaccinated against rabies be allowed to be
quarantined at home while under observation for rabies after they
bite someone. Both changes make good sense.
The supervisor should have been granted his request to allow
proceeds from the sale of euthanized cat carcasses to help feed
and care for animals housed at the shelter. While a couple of
health board members indicated they considered the suggestion
frivolous, there certainly are many examples of governmental in
come being channeled to benefit specific related social problems.
Some citizens and groups take issue with the policy of selling
the carcasses of euthanized cats to research labs in the first place.
But while the process may be somewhat distasteful, the alterna
tive?hauling them off to the county landfill?is more so. Until
the world becomes perfect and every pet owner behaves respon
sibly, the current disposal method would appear to be the best op
The courts direct a portion of the fines levied against batter
ers toward domestic violence shelter and prevention programs. A
percentage of the taxes on liquor sales is returned to communities
for alcohol education and alcoholism treatment activities. It
seems anything but outrageous to allow the few thousand dollars
a year the county earns from selling cat carcasses to help feed
and attend to the shelter's cats and dogs.
Lack Of Leadership Prompts
Break in Five-Year Tradition
Of After Prom For WBHS
BY PATRICIA POULOS
The National institute on Drug Abuse reported in 1991 that approxi
mately 60 percent of all high school seniors regularly drink alcohol. Car ac
cidents are the leading cause of teenage deaths according to the National
Center for Health Statistics, and over half?some 3,5()0 a year?are alco
hol-related. Hundreds more young people perish in other alcohol-related
accidents?a fall, a fire, a drowning or poisoning.
It personally saddens me that some teens mistakenly think the best way
to celebrate on special occasions is to drink alcohol. But celebrating prom
and graduation with alcohol has left some students with embarrassing
memories, horrendous hangovers and family and/or legal trouble. Some of
their friends were not as lucky and have become one of the teenage statis
tics on alcohol-related deaths in North Carolina.
Five years ago a few concerned parents and teachers at West Brunswick
High School realized that injury and death statistics for teens peak on occa
sions such as prom and graduation. As a result they launched ambitious ef
forts to provide safe and appealing options for celebration, and organized a
chemical-free, all-night After Prom Party.
Schools and public agencies gave their sanction; local media spread the
word; restaurants, grocers and distributors donated refreshments; cash do
nations and prizes tlowed in from citizens and merchants in an open-hand
ed show of support. These combined efforts treated juniors and seniors at
West Brunswick High School and their guests to a fun-filled evening, thus
creating memories and establishing a tradition.
Regretfully, this tradition will be broken and. because of lack of leader
ship, no After Prom Party will occur on April 29, 1994. For the past two
years, committcc members have sought a new chairman. Many people have
been supportive and hard-working, but either cannot or will not assume the
In May 1993, after four years as general chairman. I resigned in order
to provide ample time for new leadership and innovative ideas. Some peo
ple have expressed an interest in being part of the 1994 After Prom Party
crew, but none feel that they can take the helm. At this time my personal
commitments prevent me from resuming my previous role. I am disap
pointed and disheartened that our students at West Brunswick will not have
the benefit of the After Prom Party safety net as an option to other activities
this year. WBHS students escaped alcohol-related accidents and deaths dur
ing prom weekend over the past four years. Could the After Prom Party
have been responsible?
The After Prom Committee will donate the account balance of $263.81
to the West Brunswick Students Against Driving Drunk (SADD) Club for
various prom activities. This club's chief function is to promote seat bell
awareness and the consequences of drinking and driving.
Thank you to all the people in our community who so generously con
tributed money, prizes, time and talents over the past four years My heart
felt appreciation also to those who served as committcc chairmen and
members and helped make the dream a reality. I have great pride in our
April 29, 1994, WBHS Prom Night, should be a night to remember?
with every student able to remember it It should be lun, not fatal!
Patricia Poulos lives at Ocean Isle Beach.
I Good sense is of all things in the world the most equally
distributed, for everybody thinks In is \o well sup/died with it,
that even those most difficult to /'lease in all other mailers never
desire more of it than they already pos\ess
I Many men are like unto sausages: w hatever you stuff them with,
that they will bear in them.
1 guess I'm not a people person. I
use the automated teller machine to
get cash even when the bank is
open. I'll buy a book of stamps out
of the machine in the post office
even when there's someone working
I appreciate the clean, quick effi
ciency of it all, and I don't feel even
the least bit deprived by that lack of
Automated telephone answering
services are a different matter.
I don't call places of business un
less I have business to do. When I
call. I expect to be able to ask a
question, get an answer, hang up and
get back to my own business.
Just minutes ago, I disconnected
from trying to find out why there
was a balance forward on a bill I re
ceived yesterday; my records indi
cated I paid it on time.
I found the conversation a trifle
one-sided. After ten full minutes of
pushing the pound and star buttons,
redialing and choosing the wrong
"menu items," I got my answer?
from one of those disembodied com
puter voices that sounds the way a
ransom note pasted together from
newspaper headlines would sound if
it could talk.
To get from here there went
something like this:
"Thank you for calling the
Knucklehead Company 's Customer
Care Service. You may (as if you
have a choice) use our automated
answering system to choose from
one of the following customer ser
vice departments. Note that at any
time you can interrupt any message
or skip ahead to the next menu item
by pressing the pound button.
"For questions about billing, an
explanation of your first bill or the
payment mailing address, press I.
To learn the nearest sales office lo
cation. press 2. For information on
company services, press J. To dis
connect service, press 4. To speak
with a customer ser\-ice representa
tive, press 0 or stay on the line (until
the end of lime). To repeat this
menu, press the star button.
Not wanting to commit until I
heard all my options, 1 listened the
whole menu before pressing 1.
"For an explanation of the
charges on your first bill, press I.
For the billing payment address,
press 2. For information abitut your
account, including your current bal
ance, press If your account is past
due and you have been advised to
speak with an accounts receivable
representative, press 4. For all other
billing inquiries, press 0 to speak
with a (living, hrenthing) customer
sen-ice representative. To repeat this
menu, press 9. To return to the list of
departments, press 7."
After pressing 9 to peruse the
menu one more time, 1 pressed 3,
which then told me to enter my ten
digit invoice number or my eight
digit account number and then the
pound sign. I did so.
"That's more than ten digits,"
said the Disembodied Omnipotent
Ruler of Knucklchcads. "Please en
ter your number again and then
press the pound button. "
Finally! Out of the mouth of a
digital babe came my current bal
ance and the amount and date of my
last payment. Maxine Headroom in
dicated my account was in good
These folks must choose their
marketing advisors from the White
House's rejects. I'm just a lowly
small-town newspaper flack, but
I've got sense enough to know that a
rigmarole like that is bad for cus
tomer relations, even with clients
who are more...well, mellow than I
Remember the meeting in the
movie "Big," when someone de
signed a new robot toy that trans
formed into a skycraper? Tom
Hanks innocently asked, "What's
fun about that?" Everyone in ihe au
dience knew he was right, even it
the notion hadn't occurred to any of
the "experts"populating the board
If I were in one of those meetings
and someone said, "I know, let's
spend thousands of dollars on a ma
chine that'll answer our phone and
alienate, confuse, delay and annoy
our customers," I'd have to say,
"What's smart about that?"
When someone said, "Hey, when
we all sneak away after lunch on
Fridays, we can have the machine
say, 'All our customer service repre
sentatives are busy helping other
clicnts at this time; please stay on
the line and your call will be an
swered in Ihe order in which it was
received," I'd blurt out, "They didn't
just fall off a turnip truck! They'll
know you're lying!"
You, the audience, surely know
WARDEN, ITS AH EXPLOSIVE 3/JWTTflN
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ARE FLARING WE CCULVHAVkA
fVU-SCMi *WQH Aiffl hasPJj
IP SETTERCAUTffE (JENERAL
ASSEMBLY FOR SOME HELP,
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GENERAL ASSE/MBLYI i
Mystery Meat, Death
Spurn, Spam, Spam, Spam,
Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam,
You may have noticed a lot of
columns anil food articles rcccntly
about that well-known luncheon
meat know as Spam.
The reason for this sudden notori
ety has nothing to do with any earth
shattering development (or health
advisory) regarding the consumption
of "this time-honored product."
Rather it is the result of a market
ing campaign by the Hormel Foods
Corp. of Austin, Minnesota, makers
of Spam and other "time-honored
products" such as "Dinty Moore"
beef stew, "Mary Kitchen" hash,
"Top Shelf" unfrozen entrees and
"House of Tsang" Oriental food
Newspapers all over the country
are receiving packets of information
about "this time-honored product,"
including a gift catalog, a cookbook
titled "The Great Taste of Spam"
and a lovely 4-by-6 photograph (sui
table for framing) of assorted Spam
"Spam luncheon meat fans around
the world arc now able to display
their loyalty to this time-honored
product, thanks to a first-ever mail
order gift catalog," writes V. Allan
Krejci, director of public relations.
And what a catalog it is! Imagine
being the first one on your block to
erect a bright yellow basketball
backboard with SPAM written on it
in giant blue letters!
Watch your golf partners drool
with envy as you tec up for the first
hole with your very own SPAM golf
ball! ITien invite them over for a
game of poker with a deck of SPAM
And won't the girls be impressed
when your boxer shorts ride up
above your belt to display the words
SPAM! SPAM, SPAM, SPAM,
SPAM around the waistband!
ITiis catalog has it all: Spam hats.
Carlson ^?L f
Spam shirts. Spam clocks and
watches. Spam sunglasses. Spam
tote hags. Spam fanny packs. Spam
cups. Spam banks. Spam aprons.
Spam water bottles. Spam pocket
knives, Spam pencils. Spam wind
socks. Spam wooden airplanes and
even "HO" scale railroad cars with
(you guessed it) printed 011 the side.
Those who can't get their fill of
luncheon-meat lore will want to or
der the 232-page "Hormcl l(R)th
Anniversary Book" or "In Ouest of
Ouality," a 357-page volume outlin
ing the first 75 years of the Hormel
history. Both books arc "filled with
Personally, I'm not a real fan of
processed animal-flesh products.
Kven "time-honored" ones like
Spam, bologna, potted meat, Vienna
sausage and even?I hesitate to ad
I love the taste of hot dogs. And I
would probably enjoy other molded
mystery meats. But whenever I eat
them, I get headaches, my vision
goes blurry and I break out in a cold
sweat. Then I feel an irresistible
urge to visit the bathroom.
It wasn't always that way. In fact,
I survived for several years of my
childhood on little more than hot
dogs, bologna and Franco-American
spaghetti. Not because we were
poor. But because those were the on
ly foods my little pea-brained palate
My mother did her best to inject
some variety into this dreadfully
monotonous diet. She fried thinly
sliced wieners into a dish that came
to be known as "hot-dog pennies."
She also introduced me to the vast
culinary possibilities of fried bol
She seemed sympathetic to my
addiction. When the school lunch
program failed to offer my mini
mum requirement of at least one hot
dog per day, she would drop an
Oscar-Meyer into a thermos full of
hot tomato soup and wrap up a bun
with lots of mustard and ketchup to
include in my lunch box. Every day.
I don't remember eating much
Spam, however. I think perhaps my
dad might have overdosed on it in
Which must have been what hap
pened in my relationship with tul>e
steaks. One day, back in the '70s, I
was on a road trip and stopped at a
7-11 to grab some lunch. There in
the refrigerator section was a beauti
ful, iridescent red 12-inch hot-dog,
just begging to be popped in the mi
Undaunted by the tell-tale red dye
staining the bun, I wolfed that baby
down with gusto (along with some
mustard and onions). Twenty min
utes later my palms began to sweat,
my vision started shimmering and
my innards were tumbling like a
commercial clothes dryer.
Without going into detail, let's
just say I got rid of the problem. But
I never again ate another microwave
hot dog, which henceforth came to
be known in my mind as "death mis
I figured my body had finally
reached the point of saturation with
all those helpful chemicals that al
low processed meats to remain in
cans anil refrigerator sections for
several generations. I had overdosed
This self-diagnosis was reinforced
during our sojourn in the restaurant
business, where 1 performed an in
One day I was throwing away the
empty box from a shipment of
frozen franks and found half a dog
stuck to the bottom. Being the mis
chievous sort, I went outside and
impaled it on a rusty nail over the
restaurant doorway?like one of
those Jewish good-luck things.
'vlouiiih wen! by. Lots of months.
Hot summer months. So many that I
forgot the decorative doorway dog
was up there. Until 1 climbed up a
stepladder to string Christmas lights
and found it pointing at me like an
After nearly a year, the little guy
was still intact. Maybe a bit shriv
elled, like it had been slightly over
cooked. But it didn't look much dif
ferent from the ones we served
every day with chili and slaw.
I pondered the implications, con
sidering that any other food product
left outdoors for that period of time
would have succumbed to the forces
of decomposition long ago. But
even bacteria wouldn't eat a hot
And so I continue my abstinence
from the "time-honored" products of
the meat processing industry, secure
in the notion that a kajillion mi
crobes can't be wrong.
W?: welcome your letters to the editor. Letters must include your
address and telephone number. (This information is for verification
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number.) Letters must be typed or written legibly.
Letters received after noon on Tuesday cannot be considered for
publication in that week's edition.
Address letters to:
The Brunswick Beacon, P.O. Box 2558. Shallotte NC 28459
Anonymous letters wi!! not be published.