Archive | February, 2011

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The ABC’s of Social Media and Happy Hour

Posted on 16 February 2011 by admin

Numerous restaurants in Richmond are violating, some without knowing, some simply disregarding, what many see as an invasive prohibition on social media promotion.

Gone are the days of Speakeasies, Prohibition-era liquor establishments, where liquor discreetly flowed for those whose tongues were agile with the correct password for entry. Even though billions of dollars now steadily pour into the coffers of alcohol manufacturers, in Virginia restaurants dare not speak easy about happy hour pricing.

Not too long ago restaurants were completely prohibited from promoting happy hour outside of the storefront. In late 2009, the ABC board approved the posting of a 17″ by 22″ sign in the window of a restaurant. This action symbolized forward movement from an organization often thought of as conservative.

When but not What

The momentous change spawned signage in windows, announcing, yes the business has a happy hour–a fact probably already known by 10 of 10 adults. In an urban setting, the sign might make a difference, but in a suburban setting, most restaurants receive specific destination traffic.

What really matters to those seeking the heaviest drinks for recession-light wallets are the prices, the choices, and the times. Times are actually allowed on the posted sign, but no specific mention of available selections, or the special prices is permitted.

“What the customer is deprived of is the information about what kind of specials are being offered,” said Thomas Lisk, an attorney at Eckert Seamans who previously served as chairman of the Industry Advisory Panel to the Virginia ABC Board during its regulatory review process.

…Finish reading the article, find out what promotions are legal and illegal, and take the poll at Richmond.com

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Medicine helps snuff out smoking habit

Posted on 10 February 2011 by admin

Back when I was a fiscally struggling undergrad (my, how things don’t change), I took a series of lab-rat gigs at VCU. The money wasn’t great, but it paid out right away and I didn’t have to donate anything other than my time, patience and a little blood. The studies were only for tobacco research and required that I be a smoker. This is a preface to the bigger story, the current one of my becoming a non-smoker.

One of the gigs required that I stay overnight, go without coffee two days prior and no cigarettes were allowed 12 hours prior to check-in at MCV hospital.

Once settled in, I was given a series of hourly tests that involved my cognitive reflexes and memory retention. I found it rather interesting that they wanted to know how my brain worked without tobacco.

I interrogated the doctors and researchers about tobacco and the brain to learn just why nicotine is so addictive. Here’s what I’ve learned and why it is so hard for many of us to just quit cold turkey.

Simple science behind addiction

There is a perception out there that tobacco is merely a physical addiction. See, the tricky thing is that your brain is a tangible, physical part of you, but there are also many complex, mysterious things happening inside it that we can’t see. Science has made huge leaps in explaining some of it. Point being, they’re connected—mind and body. Withdrawal isn’t simply about nicotine decreasing in the bloodstream (physical), it is also about the way your neurotransmitters are firing messages (mind).

A smoker is going through nicotine withdrawal the minute they put out a cigarette. Let’s be science-like and call it pain conditioning. Pain conditioning (and pleasure conditioning) involves neurotransmitters that reinforce the neural pathways which develop with newly learned behaviors.

Think of a neurotransmitter as “an automobile wearing ruts in a gravel road.”

This applies to all types of behavior and learning—from avoiding touching a hot iron to associating an “A” on a test with a reward. I could go on with the examples but, basically, that “deep neural rut” in your neural pathway is what makes a reaction become automatic.

For smokers, the reactions are provoked by times, meals, activities and emotions.

To learn more about the science of addiction and the success rate of Chantix, please jump over to Richmond.com to finish reading!

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