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Great American Patriots

Fran Lee, Pooper-Scooper pioneer, dies [Great American Patriot]

Curb Your Dog - 1We often take things like dog poop-free streets and free toilets for granted. But these advances were the result of the hard work and dedication of great American patriots.

One such patriot, Fran Lee, who helped push through New York City’s strong Pooper-Scooper Law, passed away earlier this week. She was 99. The New York Times has the story.

In the early ’70s she founded Children Before Dogs, a group whose aim was the elimination of all such waste from city streets. As she explained often in interviews, Toxocara canis, a tiny roundworm found in dog feces, poses health risks, especially to children. At its most severe, it can cause blindness.

In staunch contrarian fashion, Ms. Lee initially fought the city’s plan to enact a pooper-scooper law. By her lights, such laws were far too lenient. In the world of which she dreamed, no dog would be allowed to besmirch the city’s streets for even a moment: instead, it would attend to its affairs at home, on newspaper, before padding outside. She envisioned, as she told The Times in 1972, a battalion of city “poodle maids,” who would prowl New York issuing summonses to the masters of dog offenders.

Ms. Lee’s stand put her at the forefront of the pitched battle over dog excrement that raged in the city for much of the ’70s. When she appeared in public, outraged dog owners hurled invective; occasionally they hurled the subject matter of the debate itself. Ms. Lee had no qualms about responding in kind.

Our streets are safer and our shoes are cleaner because of her work.

Taco Bell founder dies [sad]

Taco Bell at Milton AvenueIt has been a sad month for American food pioneers.

Last week came word that SpaghettiOs inventor Donald Goerke passed away. Today we learned that Glen W. Bell, the man who founded Taco Bell and popularized Tex-Mex in America died as well. He was 86 years old.

“His innovative business acumen started out of humble beginnings and created one of the nation’s largest restaurant chains in Taco Bell. Mr. Bell introduced an entire nation to the taco and Mexican cuisine,” he added.

A grateful nation mourns their passing.

Spaghetti Os creator dies [American Patriots]

Spaghettio's - 347The AP is reporting that Spaghetti Os creator and great American Food Patriot Donald Goerke has died. He was 83 years old.

The 35-year veteran of Campbell’s not only developed Spaghetti Os, but also helped introduce Campbell’s Chunky Soup.

From the AP:

Goerke was marketing research director of Campbell’s Franco-American line in the early 1960s when his group started dreaming up pasta in shapes that would appeal to kids. He chose the o’s. They were marketed with the unforgettable tagline, “Uh-oh, Spaghetti Os.”

Goerke retired in 1990 and passed away last Sunday from heart failure. He did not live to see his famous product deflavorized by heath advocates.

[via Consumerist]

Did the President say the Twitter guys are as important as the Founding Fathers?

I am not going to weigh in on the Obama school address “controversy” other than to say it is stupid. If the president wants to talk to kids on the first day of school, that’s fine. He is the president and that is his prerogative.

What I will take issue with is some of the parallel structures the President used towards the end of his speech. Here is the text:

The story of America isn’t about people who quit when things got tough. It’s about people who kept going, who tried harder, who loved their country too much to do anything less than their best.

It’s the story of students who sat where you sit 250 years ago, and went on to wage a revolution and they founded this nation. Young people. Students who sat where you sit 75 years ago who overcame a Depression and won a world war; who fought for civil rights and put a man on the moon. Students who sat where you sit 20 years ago who founded Google and Twitter and Facebook and changed the way we communicate with each other.

So does that mean the Twitter guys are the modern-day equivalent of the Founding Fathers?

I don’t know about you, but I can think of a few patriots the President could have mentioned without lowering the bar of greatness quite so dramatically.  I’d like to nominate James Guilliow, the inventor of the cup-holder, Helen Barnett Diserens, who developed under-arm deodorant and the Committee to End Pay Toilets in America, whose work liberated us all from the indignity of pay-toilets to name a few.

The Pay-Toilet Address

Automatic ToiletI wrote this as a memorial on the 18 month anniversary of the new pay toilet installed in Madison Square Park. It is one of two pay toilets that have been installed in New York by a Spanish company seeking to undermine the right to pee for free that was hard won by the Committee to End Pay Toilets In America over 30 years ago. Thankfully, plans to install 18 more pay toilets have stalled.

One score and fourteen years ago, great patriots brought forth in this Nation, a new right, conceived of necessity, and dedicated to the proposition that all men should be able to pee for free.

Now we are engaged in a great public struggle, testing whether that right, or any right so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. Here in New York, at Madison Square Park, is the latest battlefield of that struggle. It is fitting that when we look at the new pay toilet erected here, we remember those great patriots who fought so hard that we might pee for free.  It is altogether fitting and proper that we remember them in our hearts.

But, in a larger sense, we cannot give up—we cannot capitulate—we cannot leave unfinished their great struggle. The patriots of CEPTIA, living and dead, who fought here and across our Nation, have earned their place in the American cannon, far above our poor power to add or detract from their accomplishments.

The world will little note, nor long remember what we do here today, but it can never forget what CEPTIA accomplished.

It is for us of the 21st century, rather, to be dedicated again to the unfinished work which they who fought to end pay toilets years ago so nobly advanced. It is up to us to be dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that despite the recent setbacks we have suffered, we take increased devotion to the cause for which the patriots in CEPTIA gave their full devotion—that we highly resolve that the struggle to banish pay toilets from America shall not go unfinished—that this Nation, under God, shall have a new constitutional amendment banning pay toilets in all their forms—and that the right of all the people, rich and poor, to pee for free, shall not perish from this earth.

(Hat tip, Gothamist)

Previous topics mentioned in this post:

€1. Pay toilets


ACTION ALERT: Greatest charity ever?

deep-dish pizza

While driving around town today I spotted an ad on the back of a Coors Light beer truck for what might be the greatest charity ever: Pizzas 4 Patriots.

The folks at Pizzas 4 Patriots understand that when you are overseas, nothing quite makes you feel at home as drinking a cold beer and eating a greasy pizza. This phenomenon explains why Americans instinctively flock to Pizza Hut locations when traveling in Europe (plus, Pizza Hut offers free refills).

Apparently our military men and women serving in Iraq face a chronic shortage of pizza. To remedy this, the folks at Pizzas 4 Patriots have chartered a DHL cargo plane and are trying to fill it with pizzas and beers that they hope to deliver to our military men and women in Iraq before the 4th of July.*

If you can’t have a backyard cookout to celebrate the 4th of July, the next best thing is a cold beer and a greasy pizza.

Check out Pizzas4Patriots Providing pizza for our troops overseas! to see how you can help. The website even plays “I’m Proud To Be An American” in the background. Nice.

*The Pizzas 4 Patriots website does not mention shipping beer overseas, however the ad on the back of the beer truck did.

Previous topics mentioned in this post:

#17. Five-dollar large pizzas

PATRIOT PROFILE: Gov. Christine Gregoire

One of the things about freedom, is it is always under attack from those who seek to limit choice and undermine the pillars of American Greatness.

 Some try and introduce European-style credit card fees; others try to curtail our right to talk on the phone; while still others try to bar Americans from using free toilets in businesses.

Thankfully, in America we have patriots like Washington Governor Christine Gregoire, who stand up and fight for the things that make America great—like the right to pee for free. has the full story:

Starting July 26th in Washington State, stores with three or more employees working at the same time must allow customers access to an employee restroom so long as it doesn’t pose a security threat. Businesses also have to provide bathroom access to anyone with an inflammatory bowel disease who can present a card or signed statement from a doctor saying they’ve got a condition.    

PATRIOT ALERT# 3 – Louisville Mayor Jerry E. Abramson


As readers of this blog will know, in a great act of corporate branding Kentucky Fried Chicken agreed to pay to fill 350 potholes in Louisville provided they were allowed to paint their logo over them.

Not to be outdone, the radical animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals sent a letter to the Mayor of Louisville offering to pay to fill 700 potholes. All they wanted in return was the right to paint an anti-KFC logo on freshly filled potholes. 

Now there is nothing I love more than negative ad wars between corporations. But there is an important principle at stake here. Fried chicken, big business and fast food are some of the most American things there are. And when you combine the three in the form of KFC… well, lets just say, God Bless America! On the other hand, radical, unwashed hippies whining about animal rights when we’ve got a recession on is, well, rather European.

Thankfully, Louisville Mayor Jerry E. Abramson had the courage to stand up for the things that make America great and turn down PETA’s offer.

WAVE 3 TV has the details:

“KFC is a great corporate citizen of ours. They employ lots of people in our town. They do great things for our hometown and we’re glad to work with them on this pothole program. But PETA, ummm… not so much,” said Chris Poynter, a spokesman for Mayor Abramson’s office.

Write Mayor Abramson and thank him for defending the things that make America Great.

Mayor’s Office 
Metro Hall / 4th Floor
527 W. Jefferson St.
Louisville, KY 40202
(502) 574-2003

PATRIOT ALERT #2. James Guillow – Cup Holder inventor

The real shame with the history books is that all too often they overlook our nation’s greatest patriots. Take for example, James Guillow, the inventor of the cup holder. Now, I am not all together certain that Guillow is even an American – Wikipedia did not have too much info on him – but anyone who invents something as critical to modern life as the cup holder is an American in my book.

Apparently this Guillow fellow invented the cup holder in 1943. But due to some oversight (probably the fault of the douche bags in the corner office) the cup holder wasn’t widely introduced until the 1980s.

But the cup holder’s real proliferation started because of another great American institution – the personal injury lawsuit.

According to Wikipedia:

The installation of cup holders in automobiles increased significantly after Stella Liebeck v. McDonald’s Corporation, where a 79-year-old woman in Albuquerque, New Mexico ordered hot coffee from a McDonald’s restaurant. She then spilled the coffee on her lap and was seriously scalded. She subsequently sued McDonald’s in a jury trial. Liebeck was awarded US$2.7 million in damages by the Jury, which was later reduced by the judge to US$640,000.

A cornerstone of modern life, the cup holder, was born out of American ingenuity and frivolous lawsuits.

God Bless America. 


When looking for facts to support my recent post Why Europe Sucks €. 1 Pay Toilets, I stumbled on the little known history of a band of Great American Patriots on Wikipedia.* They were called The Committee To End Pay Toilets In America (CEPTIA), and their mission was to rid America of the European phenomena of pay toilets.

A campaign by the Committee to End Pay Toilets In America (CEPTIA) resulted in laws prohibiting pay toilets in cities and states. In 1973, Chicago became the first American city to enact a ban, at a time when, according to the Wall Street Journal, there were at least 50,000 units in America[1], mostly made by the Nik-O-Lok Company [2]. CEPTIA was successful over the next few years in obtaining bans in New York, New Jersey, Minnesota, California, Florida and Ohio[3]. Lobbying was successful in other states as well, and by decade’s end, pay toilets were almost unknown in America. By then, those remaining toilet owners who had pay toilets found they were losing more money than they made, due to stolen or vandalized pay boxes, as well as lost business.

We are all indebted to this fearless band of Great American Patriots.

Liberty or Death!

*In the true American fashion, I did not start researching my topic until after I had already posted my thoughts.

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