Thursday, November 26, 2009

26 NOV 09: Extra Conditioner?

So what are you drinking for Thanksgiving Day? I didn't ask what you were eating - but drinking. Sports talk host Dan Patrick mentioned Wednesday some holiday visitors love to hit the bottle - and let's say he was NOT describing the Pepto-Bismol after dinner.

The topic of alcohol has been on many minds in Columbus lately, in light of the "Mimosa Madame" case. One reader reported by e-mail the matter extends far beyond Formal Elegance....

Richard, I don't understand the arrest and conviction of the Columbus bridal shop owner for serving drinks containing alcohol to her customers when it has been common knowledge in Columbus that many of the local more expensive hair salons in Columbus have been serving wine and champagne to their clients for years. Is this a case of selective enforcement? Wouldn't it have been better for the city to put out a public notice to all businesses in the city that it was prohibited and only make arrests after they were all informed. But to let other businesses do this for years and then arrest one business owner seems suspect.

And by the way some of the city senior centers have been serving non-alcoholic beer at some of their special events for years. In case you didn't know, the beer advertised as non-alcoholic does contain alcohol. Just thought you'd like to know.

Let's take these complaints one at a time. First of all, I thought the "alcohol" used by stylists only was used to make your hair smell nice after it's cut.

It's one thing to make a general statement about hair salons, but we wanted some specific examples. After all, it's not fair to comb all salons with a wide brush....

So we asked, and the reader responded:

Richard, Williams' Hair Salon at Cross Country has been doing this (serving wine and champagne to their customers) for many, many years (at least 15-20). According to my daughter and many of my friends other salons in Columbus do the same.

Ooh boy - this would be an unusual assignment. A single guy would stand outside a hair salon, and approach women as they leave to ask probing questions. This makes snappy one-liners at nightclubs seem downright tame.

But to get to the split end of this accusation, we went to William's Salon Wednesday. A young woman walked in with a boy, then walked out a couple of minutes later. When we stopped her, she didn't seem to be 21 -- and her blonde hair didn't seem to have changed color at all.

It turned out the young woman's mother was inside William's Salon. But when it came to the beverage question? "They have a Coke machine.... they buy it for you...." Hmmmm - I once received a miniature bottle of wine on a trans-Atlantic flight, but that was only about six ounces big. That doesn't even qualify as a "fun size" can of soda.

I also stopped an older woman who went to the salon for a perm. Edith Battiato said she's had the same stylist for "11 or 12 years," and that person now owns William's Salon. Battiato assured me she's never seen alcohol served inside the business -- but she seemed like the type who would rather drink sweet tea.

An employee of William's Salon happened to step outside the door, to chat with a man. The woman named Christie flatly said, "No, we do not," when we asked the alcohol question. So at this point, anyone with evidence to the contrary will have to smuggle a bottle out in one of those giant purses.

Now to the second part of this e-mail. Are city senior centers serving saucy substances? And could anyone older than 65 say that last sentence clearly, if it's happening?

We again asked for specifics about where this is happening - and this response came:

The South Columbus Sr. Center (aka Frank Chester Sr. Center) has been serving non-alcoholic beer (0.5 % alcohol) at their annual Octoberfests for years.

This was confirmed to your blog Wednesday by staff member Brenda Coyle. She said the center manager purchased the beer. But the manager was out when we called, and Coyle didn't seem to know about the small amount of alcoholic content. Clearly this shows the need for an A&W root beer stand south of Manchester Expressway.

But is that small amount of alcohol in a "non-alcoholic beer" really an issue? People at the Government Center suggested we check Georgia state rules on such things. Drivers of commercial vehicles cannot carry non-alcoholic beer in their cabs at all -- but we're talking about an Oktoberfest party, not truck drivers hauling beer-battered shrimp to Red Lobster.

The web site of Barber's Driving School includes the section of Georgia law on what defines an "alcoholic beverage." The threshold for beer and wine is 0.5 percent of alcohol by volume. But Anheuser-Busch claims its well-known O'Doul's brand has less than that. So again, the burden of proof is on our accuser - and we're not paying for the laboratory tests.

When it comes to the bottom-line point of our e-mailer: perhaps Formal Elegance and its "Mimosa Madame" received Columbus Police attention because someone complained to officers. If alcohol also is served at salons, perhaps everyone at those places likes it - and you know how stylists and their customers love to keep their little secrets.

Instead of our usual news summary, we'll close on this Thanksgiving Day with our response to a challenge. A woman suggested online two weeks ago we note one thing per day for which we're thankful. It was a great idea, and I came up with this partial list:

+ For (ahem) Someone bigger than I to guide me each day. Hopefully you DO know the "thanksgiving" today is for more than the cooks.

+ Free places to exercise in Columbus, such as the Riverwalk. But at this time of year, I wish the city would ask for federal stimulus money to line the path with heaters.

+ Strength to exercise on the Riverwalk. Now if some prison inmates please will pressure-wash the mud away, so I don't slip and fall....

+ The place where I worked for 12 years. The nice "official" sport shirts and ballcaps still fit.

+ Golden Donuts, which threw in an extra apple fritter at no charge the other day when the one I requested fell apart in the cashier's hand. I'd never heard of a "broken fritter" before.

+ Life in a country with an abundance of food overall. Perhaps Second Baptist Church will share some food from its FREE Thanksgiving dinner today, to refill the Valley Rescue Mission.

+ A car which still runs well after 15-and-a-half years. The highway gas mileage remains strong - and one of these days I'll get the semi-functional odometer fixed, to know exactly what that mileage is.

+ Places in Columbus where you can win money in free poker tournaments. But I sometimes wish they'd change the rules, so the top 30 players get paid instead of the top two.

+ Cash on hand, in the bank and other places. I've almost recovered everything I lost in last fall's economic meltdown - although I fear it's due to investments in China.

+ And for all of you who visit this blog, whether it's every day or once in a while. Several even have sent donations this year, which is especially welcome. Rest assured not one penny will be given to someone scalping Iron Bowl tickets.

Our main topics the last three days were the result of blog readers' tip. To offer a story tip, advertise to our readers, make a PayPal donation or comment on this blog, write me - but be warned, I may post your e-mail comment and offer a reply.

BURKARD BULK MAIL INDEX: 410 (+ 11, 5.6%)

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author -- not necessarily those of anyone else in Columbus living or dead, and perhaps not even you.

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