Author: hooptieguy

Idea of the Day – 6/12/15

Idea: Mobile VIP Lounge

What is it?

A restaurant insert (maybe 6 x 8 x 7) for a high margin, exclusive VIP section that can be easily removed and setup in every restaurant.  It’s walls are flexible, but sturdy.  It has openings that act as windows that can be shuttered so VIP patrons will have the option to be seen or not be seen, by the other patrons.  It has a customizable, slick outer design that makes it look like a cool section.

Who wants it?

When you go to restaurants, it’s always hit or miss when a patron finds the section that provides all that they need in terms of privacy and comfort.  We want to create that feeling at any restaurant to be used and removed at the restaurant’s discretion.  The restaurant can offer access at a per minute rate or to patrons of choice.  The value for patrons is exclusivity.  The value for the restaurant is that it can insert and remove a high margin section with minimal infrastructure expense.

Channels for Sales

Getting booths at restaurant trade shows.  We can bring a prototype that will catch everyone’s attention.  Have people come in and experience a VIP section at a trade show.

Potential Problems

-Building a prototype can be difficult and expensive

-Finding customers #1-10

Thoughts?  What is your idea for the day?


“Kick the Bucket”

As with most things, the term started because of birds.  As you know, 6,000 years ago, God created the Earth.  After filling the planet with enough tricks to make someone/something believe and effectively prove the theory of evolution, he decided to make a creature that was smart enough to discover the evidence for evolution, but not smart enough to understand it was a big joke.  So, God made man.
Darwin, evolution

The biggest sucker of them all!

After that, he made a bunch of animals including birds.  God has been quoted as saying that this is where He messed up.  He tried making birds awesome by turning them into dinosaurs, but then He thought, “What am I even doing this for?  I’m God.  I can’t be second-guessing myself or what are people going to think?”  So He threw the dinos way underground to stick with His evolution trick.  After throwing away the dinos, he decided to give birds a chance by giving Adam, the first man, a pet chicken.
Rocky II, chicken

It looked exactly like this

One day, Adam, while trying to catch his chicken, accidentally kicked over God’s lunch bucket.  God looked at Adam, then at his spilled lunch.  He then had a nice long laugh at the hi-jinx that just occurred. He then turned to Adam and said, “Man will know death.”
And that’s why they refer to dying as “kicking the bucket”.

Is Organic Food Better for You?

USDA Organic


Is organic food better for you?

The three most important deciding factors when it comes to the consumption of food are if it tastes good, if it’s attainable, and its nutritional qualities.  Simply, people need to eat food with nutrients to keep them alive and they need that food to taste acceptable and be attainable so they will put it in their body.  

Does organic food taste better?

My favorite pro-organic description of taste was provided by the former head of the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (found here).  He explains how taste depends on so many factors, but, if all variables were controlled for, he would still assume organic tastes better.  A large part of this belief comes from the story of freshness and higher quality that consumers assume of organic food.

So, for those who believe organic food is more fresh and of higher quality than conventionally-farmed food, organic food will taste better.  From our current understanding of taste (summarized well here), an underlying belief in the food has a large effect on if we will eat it.  

Is organic food attainable?  

Yes, however, it tends to be more expensive and is sold at fewer places than conventional food (general info here).  So organic food is less attainable than conventional food.

Is organic food better for you? 

When it comes to the nutritional benefits of food from organic farms vs the produce from conventional farms, organic food is not better for you.  This was the conclusion of the following 3 peer-reviewed, academic papers reviewing over 50 years of scientific literature on that topic.

Study #1: Are Organic Foods Safer or Healthier Than Conventional Alternatives?: A Systematic Review (found here)

Conclusion: The published literature lacks strong evidence that organic foods are significantly more nutritious than conventional foods. Consumption of organic foods may reduce exposure to pesticide residues and antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Study #2: Nutrition-related health effects of organic foods: a systematic review (found here)

Conclusion: From a systematic review of the currently available published literature, evidence is lacking for nutrition-related health effects that result from the consumption of organically produced foodstuffs.

Study #3: Nutritional quality of organic foods: a systematic review (found here)

Conclusion: On the basis of a systematic review of studies of satisfactory quality, there is no evidence of a difference in nutrient quality between organically and conventionally produced foodstuffs. The small differences in nutrient content detected are biologically plausible and mostly relate to differences in production methods.

[If you’re into reading more about that last study, here is a fun back and forth that the Chief Scientist at The Organic Center had with Dangour et. al about their results. Keep reading and you’ll see Dangour et. al’s response as well]

If these studies and their results make you mad or think that this whole mess is crazy, get involved and link in the comments to examples of peer-reviewed systematic review studies from other reputable academic journals that disagree with these results.  

In conclusion, compared to conventionally-farmed food, organic food may taste better to pro-organic people, it’s less attainable for more people, and it’s not nutritionally better for you.

The 5 Best “How It Should Have Ended” Episodes

If you like movies and you haven’t had the chance to check out the YouTube channel How It Should Have Ended, be prepared to spend some time running through some of the great videos they created.

After spending some time going through their 100+ videos, here’s my Top 5 List:

#5: Scream

#4: Lord of the Rings

#3: Fast and the Furious 6

#2: Indiana Jones & The Last Crusade

#1: Jurassic Park

Check it out.  Which ones are your favorite?

How does this video not have 1 million views left? Is it the length? It’s almost as long as some of the necks of the giraffes in the video (ba duhn chh).

Starting out with a “Knock Knock” joke has never been more likely to help someone get laid.  Unfortunately for George Zimmerman, the people he’s hooking with will be his fellow inmates.

Ryan’s 5 Favorite readings for the week

This is what Ryan is reading these days…

How to Buy Happiness: Paying for experiences with others gives the highest return on a happiness investment

The Case Against Empathy: People empathize with what happens to an individual, but it’s impossible to empathize with what happens to all individuals.  This leads to a societal over-support of some causes and under-support of larger causes (ex. “each day, more than ten times the number of people who died in Hurricane Katrina die because of preventable diseases, and more than thirteen times as many perish from malnutrition.”)

How to Have a Longer Marriage than Kim Kardashian:  There are 4 relationship traits that can be used to successfully predict 93% of marriages that end in divorce!

The 5 Ugly Lessons Hiding in Every Superhero Movie: We’re tired of rooting for the underdog in superhero movies.  If this guy is right, we are all becoming Yankees fans!

31 Charts That Will Restore Your Faith in Humanity: Slowly but surely, we’re getting better.  Every so often, it helps to take a step back and remember that.


Bonus video: David Foster Wallace’s speech at Kenyon College

I hope my kids can land someone like Jason Collins

Jason Collins comes out as the the first openly gay athlete playing in a major American team sport.

How to help a homeless person in Chicago

You probably have come across people in your life that are going through a hard time and can truly use some help.  If you are like me, you want to help that person, but the biggest reason you hesitate to do anything is because you don’t know the best way to help him/her.  The goal of this post is to simply answer the question: “How do you help a homeless person in Chicago?”  This is by no means an exhaustive solution nor does it incorporate a desire for grand societal change.  It’s just an account of the resources we currently have available to help people in Chicago and how to best utilize them (from my limited understanding).

If you don’t know any homeless people, remember that this cat does and he wants you to help them.

The Backstory

Yesterday, I was leaving Chic-Fil-A with my lunch to head back to the office and a homeless guy asked me for money.  As mentioned before, I like to help homeless people get lunch.  So, I ended up taking my new friend, Everett, into Chic-Fil-A to grab lunch.  We talked for a few minutes and I asked him about his life and how he got to where he is.  I also asked what his plans are for getting out of his current predicament.  He didn’t really have any.  Life had beaten the shit out of him and he was more or less on the ropes waiting for life to keep the beatings coming.  He seemed to have learned helplessness.

I asked Everett if he had access to a phone (he had a cell…apparently that’s not uncommon).  I took down his number and I told him I would do some research about next steps for him then call him with what I found out later.

Steps on How to Help a Homeless Person in Chicago

Now, it took me about 30-45 minutes of calls and redirections and mini interviews to get this info, so please skip to these steps to help out people immediately.  Also, if possible, please stay involved during these initial steps since these are the hardest things for people to do, especially in a place of severe depression.

  1. If the person is about to become homeless due to lack of money for rent for their current place or is on his/her way up and needs help with a security deposit for a new place, call the Chicago Homeless Hotline at (800)654-8595 and dial 4.  They can help setup a case and actually keep the person off the streets.
  2. If the person is already homeless (like my friend Everett), he/she should get a case manager.  The easiest way to do that is to go to a Community Service Center.  The nearest place from downtown Chicago is at 4740 N Sheridan Rd.  They can be reached by phone at (312)744-2580.  Here is a list of all of the other locations in the city and description of what their services are: Community Service Centers.
  3. If the person is unable to make it to the nearest Community Service Center while the center is open, he/she can go to the nearest hospital emergency room and dial 01 to get picked up and taken to the nearest shelter.  I was explained passively that this is another method to begin the process of finding the case manager, but the homeless person would have to take down the info of the police officer or social worker who drives them to the nearest shelter.

And that’s about it.  Helping guide someone to a case manager is apparently the best effort that a random person, such as myself, could do for someone homeless or on the verge of it.  Not everyone will be ready for this kind of help, some case managers might be imperfect, and I’m sure there could be many other problems that come up, but according to the people who help out homeless people in Chicago for a living, this is the best thing we can provide.

The Rest of the Everett Story (thus far)

So what happened to Everett?  I called him to tell him about the Community Service Center nearby.  I offered to Uber him a taxi to take him to the place.  He thanked me for the offer, but said he has a bus pass and that he would like to take care of the travel himself.  I asked him to repeat the address to me 3 times.  He did.  I have no idea if he then  hopped onto a bus and traveled up to the Center.  I’ll be calling him next week to check.

(cue the Michael Jackson music)

I’ll post an update next week on what I hear back from Everett.  Also, if you’re in a city different from Chicago, what’s the process to help homeless people in your city?

It begins… Welcome to the “What’s Your Point?” Era

I’d like to welcome everyone to the era of “What’s your point?

It should be noted that this should be read entirely as if I sound like the “Can You Dig It’ guy

Intellectual and pseudo-intellectual discourse has been going on ever since man was able to put enough words together to form a point (both coherent and incoherent).  I don’t believe we are at a time in history of exceptionally stupid people.  I do believe however, that the internet has helped give a voice to both the masses and the individual.  One of the problems that we have found is that many individuals don’t talk so good.  This wouldn’t be an issue except for the fact that things stay on the internet FOREVER and the internet is  EVERYWHERE.

“Why don’t you do that kind of sexy stuff to me?” said no goat ever

For those reasons, I believe it’s high time we start asking people who share their opinions in a public forum, “What’s your point?”  This might best be explained by a personal example:

I was at a bar with a group of friends on Halloween.  One of my friends brought a coworker, who was an accomplished young lawyer working at one of the more successful law firms in Chicago.  This was a week before the 2012 elections so a certain amount of political discussions could be expected.  In this instance, our conversation fell to the situation in Benghazi.  The lady had been actively following the situation which, by some news outlets, had been deemed as a massive cover-up by the Obama administration.  She sputtered out “facts” that she received from a single news source.  When someone asked her a question about a detail, she vituperatively said, “you’ve got to learn the facts!”  After she hijacked the conversation for 20 minutes, I stopped her and asked, “What’s your point?”

“I’m saying that Obama is a terrorist” she aggressively responded.

“So he’s a terrorist for his actions or lack thereof in this situation?” I ask.

“No!  Not just this.  Other stuff too!”

“So you’re claiming that the American president is an American terrorist?  Interesting.  What’s your point in claiming that at a bar with strangers on Halloween?”

The thing about fiscal policy under this administration…hold on, I just pissed my sheep.

“Doesn’t it bother you that your president is a terrorist?”

“I clearly am not sold on that point, but, more importantly to me right now is to find out what’s your point in trying to convince me, a stranger, that the American president is a terrorist?”

Then the conversation broke down a bit before it got better.  She thought I was being argumentative by that line of questioning and I had to clarify that I was genuinely curious to hear her answer.  Ultimately, she didn’t have one, but I approached her with no judgment and a certain amount of respect.  Afterwords, the group kept hanging out and ended up talking and smoking hookah back at her place while watching Fox.

It was exactly what you’d expect

My point of this story is this: I believe we need to start holding each other accountable for what’s being said in public.  Freedom of speech is not at risk, but PURPOSE of speech certainly is.  When we fill the internet with ill defined, poorly worded misstatements throughout our discussions and comments, we miss out on some of the true power of progress that the internet empowers us to have.  We can do better then what we’re currently doing and the easiest way to get there is just to ask people who provide their opinions in a public forum: “What’s your point?”

The “What’s Your Point?” Era is here!!!!  CAN YOU DIIIIIGGGG IIIIITTTTT!!!!!