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What I Heard This Week! July 19, 2018

What I Heard This Week July 19, 2018

This one was hard to write. A 29-year-old Corpus Christi woman was arrested after having sold her son, age 7, and was also in the process of trying to sell her daughters, age 2 and 3. I admit that there have been many times that I thought about getting rid of my children, but I swear, I never walked into my other office, filled out the classified ad form and paid my five dollars.


What a crazy week. My sister arrived from Austin this weekend to help me get the last of my mom’s stuff packed up and sent to either Mom’s new home in Waco, to other family members, friends or donated to a non-profit. We are fortunate to have so many non-profit resale stores in this area where you can donate and feel good about knowing that someone will love and appreciate that sweet little memory that you are releasing to a new home. In my own attic, I rediscovered a group of 5 vintage wood-carved sailors that I ‘donated’ to my sister and her husband for their new Rockport home since they lost everything in Harvey. (Now I know I have a place to stay in Rockport when I visit. wink. wink.) I am calling this my PRE-estate sale. So, Mom’s stuff is moved, and the townhouse is ready to rent. Well, almost. All was going well over there until the AC went bonkers (it’s ONLY 9-years-old) so I now must purchase a new unit, then the AC unit at my house got a less than a thumbs-up report card today, and the refrigerator in the rental unit is trying to die…a slow death at around $150 a repair job and its only Tuesday. But, when all is said and done, life is perfect, don’t you think.


Consequences: Houston Astros relief pitcher Ken Giles has, as I see it, been put in time-out for poor performance and acting out. When you’re 5 and you have a meltdown, it’s a timeout. Any mother will tell you that. When you’re supposed to be an Astros ‘team’ player and you misbehave by spouting a totally inappropriate, unflattering, four-letter directive to your team manager after he goes out to the mound to pull you from the game, you get demoted to Triple-A Fresno.  It gives you ample time to get your mind right.


In 2012, a girlfriend took a picture of her very proud boyfriend while he siphoned gas from a police car, then they posted it to Facebook and police arrested him soon after. Don’t you just love social media.


Shaquille O’Neal has listed his Orlando-area estate for $28 million. The 31,000-sq-ft property (my entire office is 2960-sq-ft. so does that mean that about eleven of my offices would fit in his house?) overlooks Lake Butler, has 12 bedrooms, 15 bathrooms (yikes, about the time you finish cleaning the last toilet, the first one would need to be cleaned again), 17-car garage, recording studio, fitness facility (no, not a fitness room, a fitness facility) and a 95-ft pool with hot tub and swim-up bar. Sigh. Oh, and the swimming complex is nicknamed ‘Shaq-apulco.’


CODE RED. CODE RED. You need to read this. SPCA of Brazoria County is filled to maximum capacityAll fees now associated with adoption of all animals is currently FREE and includes microchip, rabies and the spay or neutering procedure. What a deal! Adopt two kittens so they can keep each other company…our two Harvey rescue babies have brought so much joy to our home, filling a spot with love that we didn’t even know was empty. I went over to SPCA just a few minutes ago and took pictures. It is such a pitiful situation but most of all, it just makes me sad to know that there are so many irresponsible pet owners in our area that do not have their pets spayed or neutered. If you can’t adopt, then save your newspapers, old towels, blankets, cat and dog food, office supplies, hand soap…the list is endless. Please spread the word to your neighbors, friends, and family. Go. Today. 979-285-2340.  spcaBC.org


A group of 47 scientists are proposing that mankind sets aside half of the Earth in various reserves, in order to protect the dying bio-diversity and protect Earth’s animal and plant species. Interesting.


RECENT BIRTHDAYS: Children’s performer Raffi is 70. Celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck is 69. Actress Anjelica Huston is 67. Writer journalist and columnist Anna Quindlen is 66. Actor Kevin Bacon is 60. Country singer Toby Keith is 57. Actress Katherine Helmond is 89. SOAP. She may be 89, but in my opinion, she was one of the sexiest women in television, in her day.

Actress Shirley Knight is 82. Singer musician Robbie Robertson is 75. Julie Nixon Eisenhower is 70. Rock star Huey Lewis is 68.  Attorney Gloria Allred is 77. Self-described feminist lawyer who has gone after OJ Simpson, Eddie Murphy, Tiger Woods, Michael Jackson, Anthony Wiener, Donald Trump, and Bill Cosby.  Humorist Dave Barry is 71. Talk-show host Montel Williams is 62. Actor Tom Cruise is 56.

Journalist Geraldo Rivera is 75. Singer John Waite is 66. Missing You. Rock musician Kirk Pengilly is 60. INXS. Former ‘First Child” Malia Obama is 20. Actress Joan Van Ark is 75. Boxing Hall of Fame Roberto Duran is 67. Remember his fight with Sugar Ray Leonard. Actor Ned Beatty is 81. Deliverance.  Former President George W. Bush is 72. Actor Sylvester Stallone is 72.

Actor Grant Goodeve is 66. Oldest son Steve Bradford on Eight is Enough. Playwright Tom Stoppard is 81. Shakespeare in Love, Anna Karenina, Empire of the Sun. Actor Donald Sutherland is 83. Camilla Duchess of Cornwall is 71. Actor David Hasselhoff is 66. Country singer Luke Bryan is 42.

Singer songwriter Bill Withers is 80. In July of 1972, Bill Withers stepped into a recording studio for the first time ever and just two years later he had written and recorded the #1-Hit, “Lean on Me.” His story is interesting. He was the youngest child, born in 1938 in a West Virginia coal-mining town, leaving school at age 13 after his father died. At 17, he joined the Navy and overcame his stutter, settling in California after his discharge nine years later. Although he wanted a career in music and had debuted “Ain’t No Sunshine,” he continued to work full-time in an aircraft factory assembling toilet seats because he had a hard time accepting his new career. “It was like I was on vacation from the factory and at some point, I would have to take my tool box and go back to work,” believing the music industry was fickle. Other hits included Use Me, Just the Two of Us, Lovely Day and Grandma’s Hands plus three Grammy Awards. One of my favorites.


Texas Highways was my magazine of choice a few days back and I was surprised to learn that James Avery, founder of James Avery Artisan Jewelry, died in April at the age of 96. Almost everyone has at least one piece of his jewelry. I have several and I have to say that “they’re all my favorites.” Avery earned a degree in industrial design and began fabricating jewelry in his in-law’s garage in Kerrville in 1954. He quickly found success selling his products through churches on consignment then opened his first store in Dallas in 1973. He said, “I’m not concerned about having eternal life at all. Man will be gone from this planet before too many more years. But while we’re here, let’s be kind to each other and help each other reach out and do whatever we can for each other.”


Bush’s Beans announced that Duke, the unofficial company mascot, died on June 27. Sam (his real name) was suffering from an aggressive form of cancer. Their commercials just won’t be the same.


Senator Rand Paul says he still has trouble breathing since he was attacked in his yard by his neighbor who was angry about Paul stacking yard debris near their property line. The neighbor was given a 30-day sentence, one year of supervised release, 100 hours of community service and a $10,000 fine which Paul thinks is not acceptable. He has filed a civil lawsuit against the neighbor asking for medical costs and attorney fees relating to the incident. That seems ONLY right to me.


The rescue of the boys from the Tham Luang Cave in Thailand affected me more emotionally than anything has in quite a while. Kudos to every single diver and volunteer from around the world (I heard there were over 200) that jumped in and gave everything they had, including the life of one diver, to bring the boys and their coach back. A real life ‘Dream Team.’ Finding and then freeing the Wild Boars and their coach proved to be an uncharted, unprecedented challenge because nothing like this had ever been done before. For a few long weeks their children were our children as we held our breath waiting for them to be rescued.  Success. These were the real Avengers. And btw, all the boys could swim.


In Georgia, a 14-year-old was killed when a tree fell on his tent at a Boy Scout camp. Sad. My son said that the first scout camp he attended, a huge tree fell 40-feet in front of him. I told him that things like that happen when you go outside in the real world. See above.


Remember me telling you about the fabulous new hotel in Houston that Tilman Fertitta owns…well, the construction company has filed a lien for $20 million because Fertitta’s company Landry’s has failed to pay the contractor and several of its subcontractors in a timely manner. Hmmm.


Researchers at Dartmouth’s Geisel School of Medicine are getting $5.3 million from the Patient-Center Outcomes Research Institute to study ‘medication-assisted treatment for pregnant women with opioid use disorders.’ Geez. I have a better idea. Let’s put tighter restrictions on the sale and use of opioids. Go for the drug companies and educate the doctors that are writing the prescriptions. There just must be something that can be prescribed that doesn’t cause a chemical dependency.


Chappell Hill Lavender Farm and Windy Winery will celebrate 13th Annual Lavender & Wine Fest in Chappell Hill, Texas on Saturday, August 11 from 9-3. Local crafts, lavender, plants, demo, live music.


In 2015, the FDA said they were banning all artificial trans fats from all food in the US with a deadline effective June 18, 2018. The time is now. Trans fats raise LDL “bad” cholesterol and make you more likely to get heart disease and lower HDL “good” cholesterol. Good job FDA.


Bayer (pesticide business) will merge with Monsanto (genetically modified crop portfolio) and will create the largest seed and agrochemical company on our beautiful Earth. Monsanto’s name will be dropped as part of a campaign to win back consumer trust (reference the alleged harms of pesticides and GMO’s.) Hmmm. Are our memories that short?


A Charles Schwab survey of 1000 adults show that 62% say spending time with family tops the list of things that make people feel wealth in their day-to-day lives.


29-years ago, Keanu Reeves & Alex Winter teamed for Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure…. now they will reteam for Bill & Ted 3/Bill and Ted Face the Music. Means nothing to me, but you may be interested.


Bad News: The Monkees had to postpone the last four dates of their tour because guitarist Mike Nesmith had a minor health issue. Those were the days…Tiger Beat and Mickey Dolenz.  Nice.


National Moon Day is observed annually on July 20 and commemorates the day man first walked on the moon in 1969.  NASA reported the moon landing as being “…the single greatest technological achievement of all time.”  July 20, 1969, Apollo 11 landed the first humans, Americans Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, on the moon.


Thanks for reading this today. Have a great weekend.

Much Ado About Nothing – Period Party

Much Ado About Nothing July 19, 2018

Much Ado by Jean Ciampi

I got an invitation to a Period Party. As a writer – well, in the loosest interpretation of that word – I thought I’d been invited to a fun little soiree involving punctuation and editing marks. My brain was so busy trying to decide which red gel pen I’d take as a hostess gift that it took a while to realize this wasn’t what the invitation was at all. I’d actually been invited to a party to “Celebrate and Welcome” a ten-year old girl into womanhood.

Maybe it’s because I raised boys. Maybe it’s because I’m older, but I honestly thought it was a joke. But no, for some bizarro reason, Period Parties are a thing. Now, I don’t want to be indelicate here, but as I run the memory reel back several decades to when I started my period, I don’t remember wanting to have a big, public party that included neighbor ladies I barely knew.

No, I was mortified at the realization that I was being forced against my will towards adulthood (I recognize now, a wise instinct) and that my credibility as a hard-core Tomboy was going to be increasingly compromised. To make it all worse, my older brother cemented my mortification in place by teasing me unmercifully. Poor thing, he had such little practical experience with PMS, but that’d come later. Basically, happy, carefree life as I’d known it was officially over. This was a reason to sob in my room, not throw a party.

While the struggle to overcome my curiosity to witness firsthand what must surely be an indication of the fall of our society, I’m going to find a polite way to decline the invitation. That there simply is no party-appropriate wrapping paper for whatever impossible gift I might find (what the heck do you even take to such a party), I know myself well enough to admit I’d never get through the event without making way too many inappropriate jokes. Let’s blame that back on my brother.

Instead, I think I’ll throw myself a menopause party. I’ll invite all my friends who will show up in comfortable clothes, bring lots of wine, fight for the best spot under the ceiling fan, and collectively not care about what anyone else has to say about it. And it will be the best party ever. Period.

What I Heard This Week! July 12, 2018

What I Heard This Week July 12, 2018

If you enjoy “nibbling on sponge cake” and like your “booze in the blender”, you can now look forward to retirement, because Jimmy Buffet is due to open his first of many senior neighborhoods loaded with beachfront access, live entertainment, lap pools, spas and more, but only for those of us that are 55 or ‘better.’ The first retirement community has been named Latitude Margaritaville and is located in Daytona Beach, Florida where residents expect to be moving in by late summer. There will be two-and three-bedroom homes from $200,000’s to $350,000. Do you think that they will have happy hour before or after Wheel of Fortune?


For neighbors and friends, each Christmas I try to make a homemade cooking item like beef stew seasoning, cinnamon extract and my favorite, Madagascar vanilla extract. To make it is quite simple – dark colored bottles, Madagascar vanilla beans and lots of liquor – the better the liquor, the better the extract. I’ve got the “buy 11 Gallons and get the 12th FREE” punch card at Spec’s. I just can’t imagine a world without vanilla extract. So boring. Remember Granny on the Beverly Hillbillies used it on her neck and wrists instead of perfume. I feel the same way. (I also believe they should bottle wood smoke for men but that’s another column.) So, in Madagascar, vanilla farmers are now having to stamp a code on their vanilla beans, so if a thief steals the crop, it can be traced. WHAT. Do you know how skinny a vanilla bean is? I was amazed and totally unaware that vanilla is such a big business now. It’s not easy to be a vanilla bean either. Vanilla blooms only once a year and for ONLY ONE DAY. It must be pollinated by hand and the fruit takes nine months to mature. New vines take three years to mature. Vanilla thieves now face up to four years in jail. One farmer said it’s not enough. She wants a life sentence. “You invest all your life in growing the vanilla, stealing it is the same thing as killing someone.”


An additional note on vanilla beans: I looked up the company OliveNation, where I have always ordered my vanilla beans and to order one bean is now $9.49 plus shipping and if you happen to need 11-pounds, you’re going to be out $5,822.49 plus shipping. Look out Homemade Vanilla Blue Bell.


Seventy-two years ago, in July 1946, French designer Louis Reard unveiled a daring two-piece swimsuit in Paris. It was dubbed “bikini” after the US atomic test that took place off the Bikini Atoll in the Pacific Ocean earlier that week. The reason for the tiny swimsuit was wartime rationing of fabric. (Quit it. It was designed by a man.) Enough said. Reard had trouble finding a model to wear the revealing two-piece so he asked an exotic dancer who had no qualms about appearing almost naked in public. The bikini was a hit, especially with men, and became a mainstay of European beaches in the 50’s. His advertisements stated that it isn’t a genuine bikini, “unless it could be pulled through a wedding ring.” America was a little slower in embracing this new skimpy thing but the 60’s brought the hit song, “Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka-Dot Bikini” and the beach blanket movies of Annette Funicello & Frankie Avalon, then The Beach Boys had hit after hit about California surfing and the bikini was truly born. My mother sewed, so she made my first bikini with chains of crocheted daisies in yellow and white. Funny how you remember certain things.


You must be famous if you’re known by only one name…Cher, Plato, Einstein, Mozart, Elvis, Oprah, Twiggy, Prince, just to name a few, but the most famous of all was Koko, the 280-pound gorilla who learned sign language, loved cats and learned more than 1,000 words, died in her sleep recently at the age of 46. Koko’s real name was Hanabiko, Japanese for fireworks child. She was born July 4, 1971, at the San Francisco Zoo. If you want to watch something very sweet, then pull up one of the many documentaries about this amazing animal.


RECENT BIRTHDAYS: Actor-comedian David Alan Grier is 62. Boxer Mike Tyson is 52. Olympic gold-medal swimmer Michael Phelps is 33. Actress Mariette Hartley is 78. Actress Meredith Baxter is 71. Bridget Loves Bernie and Family Ties. Actor Michael Gross is 71. Steven Keaton from Family Ties.


Rocker Nils Lofgren is 67. Crazy Horse and E Street Band. Britain’s Prince William is 36. Actress Olympia Dukakis is 87. Singer songwriter Brian Wilson is 76. Actor John Goodman is 66. Actress Nicole Kidman is 51. Actress Kathy Bates is 70. Pro Football Hall of Fame John Elway is 58. Actress Mary Stuart Masterson is 52. Actress Nancy Allen is 68. Carrie. Reggae singer Astro is 61. UB40.


Actor John Cusack is 52. Randy Jackson is 62. American Idol judge. Actress Frances McDormand is 61. Actor Chris O’Donnell is 48. Actor Nick Offerman is 48. Parks and Recreation. Actress-singer Ariana Grande is 25. Rock musician Jeff Beck is 74. Musician Mick Fleetwood is 71. Actress Liv Tyler is 41.


Actress producer Mindy Kaling is 39. Singer Solange Knowles is 32. Actress Olivia de Havilland is 102. I could write a whole book on this interesting woman. Actor Jamie Farr is 84. Cookie-maker Wally Amos is 82. Dancer choreographer Twyla Tharp is 77. Rock singer actress Deborah Harry is 73. Blondie. Olympic gold-medal track star Carl Lewis is 57. Actress Pamela Anderson is 51. Hip-hop artist Missy Elliott is 47.


Actor comedian Dan Aykroyd is 66. Crystal Head Vodka and SNL. He would like to see Nupita Nyong’o and Taylor Swift cast in the upcoming, all-female reboot of his hit movie “The Blues Brothers”. Aykroyd says, “In this movie, these ladies inherit the franchise from Elwood. You know, they get the Bluesmobile. They get to drive the Bluesmobile, they get to fight the Klan and the Nazis – it’s really neat.” Hmmm.


This morning at my office, we jumped on the subject of ‘first phone numbers’. Four of us (all over the age of, harrumph, excuse me,) aww, let’s just say that we were very young and remembered when phone numbers had a prefix…for instance, PL-24252, which was my first phone number. The ‘PL’ stood for PLAZA which was the telephone exchange. These were hubs through which the calls were routed. Phone subscribers were given a unique 5-digit number which followed the telephone exchange. After that, our office conversation was on a roll, so we discussed party lines where if you were very quiet you could listen in to other conversations without anyone knowing. Somehow, the conversation then progressed to a young age when we called the 7-11 convenience store and asked, “Do you have Prince Albert in a can?” and if the clerk said yes, then we would reply, “Well, then let him out.” We were such hellraisers, as you can tell. 😊 All our dads smoked pipes (think Mad Men) so we thought we were really clever. For those that don’t understand, Prince Albert was a brand of pipe tobacco in a cute little red can with a flip-lid or the giant economy size that looked like a small paint can. I think my dad had a key to open it that looked like a miniature flat screwdriver. When the can was empty, you never threw it away because it became home for all your treasures. Like a cigar box. AND it smelled so wonderful. Even today, I love the smell of pipe tobacco. Isn’t it funny how smells bring back sweet memories?


On July 6, 1957, Paul McCartney and John Lennon met at the Annual Woolton Parish Church Garden Fete, where there was a dog show, a brass band and The Quarry Men. Fifteen-year-old Paul McCartney showed up to watch. Later McCartney just happened to play a few songs on the guitar that he just happened to bring with him. Two weeks later he was invited to join The Quarry Men. Yikes, that was sixty-one-years ago.


An e-mail announced this week that H-E-B has FREE 1-hr delivery on beer and wine but the offer only good until 09-03-18. It was easy to download the app called Favor. Really.


Speaking of wine, Haak Vineyards in Santa Fe, Texas did it again. At the prestigious Los Angeles International Wine Awards, they won 1-Gold medal, 1-Silver medal and 3-Bronze medals, then at the Lone Star International Wine Competition they received 1-Gold medal, and 5-Silver medals. You should hop in the car and drive over to Santa Fe for a sweet stroll around the vineyard or call H-E-B right now.


If you have been reading this column for any time at all, you understand that I think we could and should treat our Earth better than we do. One of the many things we need to work on is to provide for the butterflies and the bees. Every time I hear the mosquito-man, or the mosquito-plane come by, I worry for the bees. You can help by installing more bat houses and using less pesticides. With that in mind, remember that the Third Annual Honey Expo is July 21, from 11am-5pm at Brazoria County Fairgrounds. It’s free and in addition to classes in beekeeping for adults there are classes for kids on honeybees and pollination, demos, tastings, local honey, a butterfly tent, snacks, soaps, lip balm and crafts all relating to bees and butterflies along with how we can contribute something positive to our environment. Brazoria-county-beekeepers-association.com


The first drug in the US derived from marijuana, was approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Epidiolex will treat two rare and severe forms of epilepsy.


In July of 1953, Elvis paid $3.98 plus tax to make an acetate record as a birthday present for his mother. The two guys that recorded it made note of this incredibly shy young singer. When they recorded him a year later they were not terribly impressed until they took a break from recording and heard him “messing around” with a guitar, playing and singing “That’s All Right,” but he sang it at least twice as fast as the original song which had been written and originally performed by blues singer Arthur Crudup. After two more days of recording, they released “That’s All Right (Mama)” to a Memphis radio station, then two weeks later released it as a single with “Blue Moon of Kentucky” as the B-side. Rolling Stone magazine lists it as “#113 of the 500 Greatest Songs of all Time.” It was an instant hit, the rest is history.


On June 23rd, Zsa-Zsa, a 9-year-old English bulldog, won $1,500 as first place in the 2018 World’s Ugliest Dog Contest. Sadly, she died in her sleep this week with no known health issues. Zsa-Zsa spent the first five years of her life in a puppy mill in Missouri until she was put up for auction and bought by a rescue group. After being adopted, she spent her days in a very relaxed position unless food was involved. Favorite snacks were Slim Jim’s or a steak burrito from Chipotle. Left to cherish her memories, is her owner, Megan Brainard and last words…help promote pet adoption.


Six Brazoswood baseball players and one player from Sweeny have been named to the Texas High School Baseball Coaches Association academic all-state team. Our congratulations to Bucs’ Tanner Bundick, Ryan Faltisek, Horacio Garcia Jr., Nash Neff, Tyler Reinhardt and Daryl Soliz Jr., along with Sweeny’s Jaden Bohlar. Way to go, guys. You have made your community proud.


To help protect the environment, SeaWorld Entertainment is now removing all single-use plastic straws and plastic bags from the company’s 12 theme parks. YES! Then, Starbucks decided to remove all plastic straws from their stores. What a great start to cleaning up unnecessary plastic from our Earth.


July 17th is World Emoji Day. Can you send a message using ‘just’ emojis? I’ve tried to do that in a text to my kids. They either thought I was extremely brilliant or really, really old. I don’t know which. Oh, well.


Thanks for taking the time to read this today. It is appreciated. Don’t you need to place an ad to sell something that’s just taking up space in your garage or attic? Call Connie, Pam, Patricia or Janice.

Much Ado About Nothing – Letterbox

Much Ado About Nothing July 12, 2018

Much Ado by Jean Ciampi

It’s time once again to open my mailbox at MuchAdo@TheSourceWeekly.com. This is something I do quite frequently … if, of course, by “quite frequently” we mean every few years. While I was hoping for emails containing glowing feedback about my column or a letter from the Pulitzer committee congratulating me on my win, I found instead a lot of unrequested correspondence.

I do appreciate Zodor Horseshoes taking the time to message me, but I’m really not in the market for horseshoes. Now if they had donkey shoes, I’d consider getting a donkey and putting him in a nice pair of lace-up saddle shoes in a color that complimented his donkey-ness.

I got quite a few messages screaming out in the subject line that “Gluttony is a Deadly Sin” and begging me to “Stop Being Obese.” Admittedly, I was a bit taken back by their assessment of my body mass index based simply on my email address, but I did skip that last Oreo cookie just the same. Otherwise, I would have had to open the email for a “Christian Friendly Weight Loss Pill.” Believe me, I was tempted because I’m curious how exactly you religiously align a diet pill. But the whole “Lead me not into temptation” thing had me on the delete button instead.

Single Spark Events, though, did get my attention with their email about the “Monster Margarita Festival.” I had no idea monsters enjoyed an occasional alcoholic beverage! They sent another email about the “HUGE Kids Festival” which I deleted. I felt bad for the smaller kids who would obviously not have a festival. I did forward their email regarding the “Kingwood Free Kids Festival” to Children’s Protective Services as I thought it unconscionable that there’s an event passing out free kids. As a parent, I can tell you, there’s no such thing as a free kid.

Unfortunately I simply didn’t have the mental fortitude to open all 28 messages about boosting my brain power. Obviously, someone actually reads this column and has identified a dire need. I do appreciate the tenacity to continue sending those messages several times a day, but should my brain power ramp up any further than it is, I’d blow circuits, fry my hair, and become a one-woman OSHA reportable incident.

Meanwhile, keep those cards and letters coming! You have the address. No electronic stamp required!

What I Heard This Week! July 5, 2018

What I Heard This Week July 3, 2018

In Georgia, a 46-year-old woman went outside in her own front yard to take a picture and a bobcat attacked her, so she grabbed the cat by the throat and didn’t let go until she choked it to death.  She was treated for rabies, a broken finger and several bite and claw wounds to her hands, arms, chest and legs. It just so happens that her father-in-law was once a bobcat trapper. What are the chances.


How to win the war on drugs: 1. Legalize drugs. 2. Require all drugs be purchased through your local cable company customer service.


A black felt Bicorn-style hat believed to have been dropped on the battlefield at Waterloo 203 years ago by Napoleon Bonaparte, was purchased at auction for more than $400,000. The buyer was an unidentified private collector from Europe.


If you didn’t get Napoleon’s hat, then there is still time to purchase a private jet once owned by Elvis Presley that has sat on a runway in New Mexico for nearly four decades. Red velvet seats may seal the deal for you. It sold last year for $430,000. Better hurry.


The Miss America organization has announced that the pageant will no longer judge contestants on their appearance. Swimsuits are out and “each candidate will participate in a live interactive session with the judges, where they can highlight achievements and goals in life.”

Golfer Bubba Watson has donated $200,000 to the Travelers Championship to support the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp for seriously ill children. Pay it forward.


A woman has been ordered to pay more than $200,000 to her ex-boyfriend. Why, you ask? Hmmm…it seems that in 2013, when the boyfriend was accepted to study at Los Angeles’ Coburn Conservatory of Music, she intercepted his acceptance email and declined the “full” scholarship offer because she didn’t want him to leave her. I hope the girl will be able to get some help in the self-esteem department and eventually get rid of the huge “L” on her forehead.


Do you ever think about your own obituary and what it will say? I have a file in my desk that is titled, “My Funeral.” When I see something that I like; music, quotes, prayers, thoughts and more, I stick it in my funeral file. I believe I’m making the job easier for my children when my time comes. Well, in Minnesota, an 80-year-old woman died, and here are small bits of her obit: “She married…had two children, Gina and Jay. In 1962 she became pregnant by her husband’s brother…moved to California…abandoned her children…will now face judgement…she will not be missed…understand that this world is a better place without her.” Hmmm. A little harsh, perhaps. In Texas, the obit of a 74-year old male read…“a model example of bad parenting combined with mental illness and a complete commitment to drinking, drugs, womanizing and being generally offensive…he lived 29 years longer than expected, and much longer than he deserved.”  I just got back from a 10-day driving trip with my two kids. It was fun, but perhaps I should write my own obit. 😊


An American sperm donor, who has fathered 33 children, with 10 more on the way, has been banned from donating sperm in Israel. His nickname is ‘The Sperminator.’ Sometimes I have no comments that are printable. On a more positive note, just think of the lovely obit and all those children that he will leave behind. Surely, one of them will have something nice to say. If this isn’t enough information for you, then note that there is a documentary.


RECENT BIRTHDAYS: Singer Barry Manilow is 75. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is 75. Comedian Joe Piscopo is 67. Saturday Night Live when it was funny. Actor Thomas Haden Church is 57. Actor Greg Kinnear is 55. Tennis player Venus Williams is 38. Rapper Kendrick Lamar is 31. Baseball Hall of Fame Lou Brock is 79. Music legend Sir Paul McCartney is 76. Have you seen his ‘Car Karaoke with James Corden?’ It’s really good…a guided tour of Liverpool and some of the greatest hits ever, very sweet and very emotional.  


Actor Malcolm McDowell is 75. Remember A Clockwork Orange? Comic Tim Allen is 65. Tim the Toolman and Buzz Lightyear.  Actress Ally Sheedy is 56. The Breakfast Club and St. Elmo’s Fire. TV anchor Hannah Storm is 56. Actor Chris Evans is 37. Captain America. Actresses entrepreneurs Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen are 32. Actor Robert Englund is 71. Playwright actor Harvey Fierstein is 66. Mrs. Turnblad in Hairspray. Comedian Sandra Bernhard is 63. Singer Tom Jones is 78. He still looks and sounds sooo good. Actor Ken Osmond is 75. Leave it to Beaver. Actor Liam Neeson is 66. Vice President Mike Pence is 59. Rocker Dave Navarro is 51. Red Hot Chili Peppers.


Vanna White, age 61, became the official cohost of Wheel of Fortune in 1982, has worn over 6,500 outfits, never the same one twice and helped give away millions of dollars in cash and prizes over the past 35 years. The mother of two (age 24 and 20), says she is not going anywhere anytime soon. We all have a Vanna White dress in our closet and I remember telling my daughter to just get up on stage and act like Vanna White. What an icon.


Rock singer Ann Wilson is 68. Heart. Actress Kathleen Turner is 64. That husky voice. Romancing the Stone. Singer Paula Abdul is 56. Actress Zoe Saldana is 40. Star Trek, Avatar, Guardians of the Galaxy, Avengers: Infinity War. Rapper Macklemore is 35. Actress Isabella Rossellini is 66. Actress Carol Kane is 66. The Princess Bride. Country singer Blake Shelton is 42.


O.J. Simpson is 70. On June 17th, 1994, 95-million viewers were glued to their televisions as he led police on a low-speed chase along a southern Los Angeles freeway in his white Ford Bronco. He was arrested and charged with murder in the slaying of his ex-wife and her friend Ronald Goldman. Simpson shocked the nation when he walked out of court a free man in 1995 after his defense team proved there wasn’t enough evidence to find him guilty. The case cost nearly $20 million (in 1995 money) to fight and defend. While he was awaiting trial in prison, he was allowed to continue signing memorabilia as part of a marketing and merchandising plan by his defense team to generate money. He would sign cloth numbers that were later sewn on jerseys and sign leather pieces that were made into footballs. Later he landed in prison for armed robbery and kidnapping.


Richard Harrison, better known as the “Old Man” in the TV show Pawn Stars, has died at age 77.


Mark your calendars: The much-awaited documentary about the late comic genius Robin Williams will air on July 16, 2018 on HBO. Robin Williams died in 2014. The show is titled Robin Williams: Come Inside My Mind.


LeBron James announced he is leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers for a four-year contract with the Los Angeles Lakers – and, cough, cough, $154 million. I wonder how much that is per day. My son says it’s $105,479.45 per day.


Speculation is that Ewan McGregor is going to reprise his role as the iconic Jedi master, Obi-Wan Kenobi, in Star Wars 9.


A 46-year-old, well-known criminal in France, escaped after an armed commando landed a helicopter in the prison courtyard then carried him away. Officials believe that they had scoped out the place with drones. BUT, there is more. He had done it before. In 2013, he took four guards hostage, then used plastic explosives hidden in tissue packs to blast through five sets of prison doors, escaping from another prison. At one time he renounced crime and wrote a book that said his life of crime was inspired by American films such as Scarface and Heat. Hmmm. No more hall passes for this guy. This has Hollywood written all over it.


In June of 1885, the Statue of Liberty arrived in New York Harbor, a gift of friendship from the people of France to the people of America.  The 450,000-pound, copper and iron statue, was reassembled and dedicated the following year in a ceremony presided over by US President Grover Cleveland and is known around the world as an enduring symbol of freedom and democracy.  French sculptor Fredeic-Auguste Bartholdi modeled it after his own mother. The statue alone (without the pedestal) cost the French an estimated $250,000, more than $5.5-million in today’s money. “Lady Liberty” was originally copper-colored, but over the years has gone through a natural color-change process called patination that produced its current greenish-blue hue. President Cleveland said, “We will not forget that Liberty has here made her home; nor shall her chosen altar be neglected.” 


US News and World Report’s annual list of Best Places to Live has several Texas locations including Austin as #1.  Other locations in Texas are San Antonio #14, Dallas-Ft. Worth #18, Houston #26, Killeen #90, El Paso #105, Corpus Christi #106, Beaumont #113, McAllen #115 and Brownsville #121.  Judging by the 5:00 traffic that we seem to be having lately in our small town, it must also be considered one of the best places to live.


In Richmond, Texas, three masked men kicked down the door of a home and held a 7-year-old boy in a bathtub of hot water to force his family to turn over cash and valuables. The boy was treated for burns. That was rather brutal.


In Italy, thieves used a blowtorch to pry open steel bars, then crawled in through a narrow window and stole a bunch of organic cheese. They did this twice in 24-hours. All in all, they made off with almost 25,000 pounds (271 wheels weighing 90 pounds each) of Italy’s famous Parmigiano-Reggiano with a total street value of $300,000.


People at Glenwood Caverns Adventure theme park in Glenwood Springs, Colorado, were evacuated because of a wildfire that was quickly stopped by fire crews. That’s an adventure that could be skipped.


In Topeka Kansas, a law went into effect that protests Good Samaritans who break into vehicles to save overheating children, animals and vulnerable adults. Why the heck would anyone need a law to protect this?


In Las Vegas, the names of about 7,200 registered sex offenders are due to be posted on a state website beginning in October. Why wait until October?  The kids and I ended our 10-day trip and flew home from Las Vegas last weekend. After looking at all the billboards and “other” things, it’s no wonder that there are many sex offenders there.


Stay cool, and many thanks to the readers that missed this column and let me know. That made me feel good, but I was having fun on vacation and rocket launching in White Sands with my daughter. More about that next week.

Much Ado About Nothing – Win A Cremation

Much Ado About Nothing July 3, 2018

Much Ado by Jean Ciampi

I had this actually sent to me, so you can’t accuse me of making this up. Besides, you can’t make up stuff like this. One day in the mailbox, there’s a letter from The Neptune Society announcing the opportunity to “WIN A PRE-PAID CREMATION!” … Really? What’s second prize?

Naturally, this sets off a fire storm of questions in my mind. Questions like, what do you do to get on this mailing list? Do they know something that I don’t? I mean, I’ve been running! I’m healthy! Are they after my gold fillings?! Do I have to be present to win? What if I do win? Do I have to collect immediately, because I’m not doing all this running to go ashes-to-ashes quite this soon.

So I go to the website looking for some answers. I want to know if I win, can I transfer the prize? This might be the perfect solution for what to get my dad for Christmas this year and at just the right price for my budget! However, I’m almost sure that wrapping up the prize certificate with a box of matches would certainly send any hopes of an inheritance up in flames.

What I did find on their website is information on how my cremated remains can be placed in an underwater memorial reef off of Key Biscayne, Florida. I’m married to an Italian, but this gives a whole new meaning to “sleeping with the fishes.” Becoming a citizen of their “classical recreation of The Lost City” 40-feet underwater lets me do my part to rebuild the coral reefs. Yeah, I get to be fish food. And my family will all have to be certified scuba divers to come put flowers on my gravesite. Which isn’t a bad thing. I’ll find out which of them are truly devoted to my memory and which ones need to be haunted by the Ghost of Christmas Future!

Regardless of how charming the whole contest seems at first glance, I think I’m going to pass … on the contest. Not pass on. Which would then make me rethink trying to win a free cremation. For now, I’ll just wait for Ed McMahan to show up and tell me I might have already won a million dollars.

Much Ado About Nothing – Snakes

Much Ado About Nothing June 27, 2018

Much Ado by Jean Ciampi

Forget about “Snakes on a Plane.” Let’s talk Snakes in a Pool Toy. While one is simply a bad 2006 movie with Samuel L. Jackson that was made, I’m sure, for the sole purpose of bringing the entire airline industry to its knees, the other is a true story of horror like Hollywood could not invent. It seems a perfectly nice family in Arizona came joyfully bounding out of their house last week to play in the pool only to discover a rattlesnake in the pool noodle. Not since Biblical documentation have people actually walked on water.

But wait! There’s more! There had been some canoodling with the pool noodling rattlesnake because baby rattlesnakes came slithering out as well. In my humble snake-fearing opinion, this is reason enough to fill your pool with cement and adopt a large family of mongoose. What’s worse, the fire department in Buckeye, Arizona says this was not the first report of poolside reptile possession of foam toys. Now if you’re wondering why the fire department is involved with this situation, just ask the homeowner near Helsinki, Finland who can blame a snake for setting his house on fire.

As any sensible, rational person would do, this homeowner – who has remained nameless because no one could probably pronounce his name anyway – poured gasoline onto a snake he found in his yard. Mind you, the snake was trespassing on private property, so there is a level of culpability on the snake’s part for what happened next. It seems he managed to ignite himself on a hot lawn mower and then in a flaming blaze of retaliation, flung himself close enough to the house to set it on fire. Snakes are diabolical like that.
And that right here, my friends, is why you can’t trust snakes. With snakes you’re not safe to go out into your own yard, board a plane, or even use the toilet in peace. Oh yes, they show up there, too. Even the Target store in Lithgow, New South Wales, Australia had a snake in the underwear display. Of course this is a brilliant marketing ploy as anyone who finds it, will definitely need a pair of clean underwear. Google it if you’ve run out of material for your next nightmare.

All this to say: Be aware. Watch your step. Carry a hoe.

What I Heard This Week! June 21, 2018

What I Heard This Week June 20, 2018

You must read this. It’s called “The Old Man.” An old man had lived all his life in the Florida Keys and is on his deathbed and knows the end is near. His nurse, his wife, his daughter and two sons, are with him. He asks for two witnesses to be present and to be videoed to record his last wishes, and when all is ready he begins to speak: “My son, Bernie, I want you to take the Ocean Reef houses. My daughter Sybil, you take the apartments between mile markers 100 and Tavernier. My son, Jamie, I want you to take the offices over in the Marathon Government Center. Sarah, my dear wife, please take all the residential buildings on the bay side of Blackwater Sound.” The nurse and witnesses are blown away as they did not realize his extensive holdings, and as he slips away, the nurse says, “Ma’am, your husband must have been such a hard-working man to have accumulated all this property.” The wife replies, “He had a paper route!” ha-ha


Seen on Facebook: giggle…The Coastal Bend Crawlers are currently seeking sponsors for their 3rd Annual Go Topless Weekend on May 18th, 2019. Hey, I don’t make the news, I simply tell you what I read this week and I read the above information. So?


Facebook: So apparently RSVP’ing back to a wedding invite ‘maybe next time’ isn’t the correct response.


An off-duty Houston police officer paid for a man’s groceries after the gentleman had a diabetic episode in a parking lot and collapsed.  While he was getting medical attention, his unattended groceries were stolen. Oh, no. Walmart’s surveillance footage was viewed but there was a visual obstruction in the way. The rookie police officer said that part of her job “is to care about people and to help people. I’m not just here to arrest people. I do care about this community.” She also said, “You have to treat people like they were your own family.” Years ago, a couple of people spray-painted some interesting graphics on my Volvo wagon and the police found them on Walmart video buying the paint. Love it.


George Strait is donating his services and leading a new tourism campaign called, “Find Yourself in Rockport-Fulton.” Strait says the coastal area, which was hit so hard by Harvey, is one of his favorite places.


Rosanne Barr explained her infamous tweet last month as, “Rod Sterling wrote Planet of the Apes. It was about anti-Semitism. That is what my tweet referred to – the anti-Semitism of the Iran deal. Low IQ ppl can think whatever they want.” This was tweeted on June 13, 2018. What? Rude is still not funny.

Lubbock, Texas: A land so flat you can watch your dog running away for a couple of weeks.


On September 24th and 25th, 2018, 80-year-old Bill Cosby will be sentenced for assaulting Andrea Constand in 2004. The once beloved TV dad just fired his entire legal team and retained Pennsylvania attorney Joseph P. Green. Is an appeal possible? Will Camille divorce him? Is he looking back over his life and kicking himself in the seat of his pants. The front part. I have always told my children, “NEVER satisfy a short-term impulse at the expense of a long-term goal. Never do what feels good in the moment if it’s going to cost you something that matters a whole lot more in the end. The trade is never worth it.”


The new Post Oak Hotel, owned by Tilman Fertitta, will have a 22nd floor, 5,000-square-foot Presidential Suite that goes for $12,000 per night. It has a private elevator from the garage for those that need a discreet entrance. His own 10,000-square-foot personal penthouse will be finished later this year and will be available to anyone who wants to pay $100,000-per-night before taxes. Yikes. I couldn’t afford just the taxes.


RECENT BIRTHDAYS: Singer Stevie Nicks is 70. As a member of Fleetwood Mac and as a solo artist she has produced over 40 top-50 hits and sold over 140 million records, making her one of the best-selling music acts of all time with Fleetwood Mac. Singer Hank Williams Jr. is 69. He says, “If you mind your own business, you’ll stay busy all the time.”  Actress Genie Francis is 56. General Hospital.


Singer-actor Lenny Kravitz is 54. President Donald Trump is 72. Singer Boy George is 57. Britain’s Prince Philip is 97. Attorney F. Lee Bailey is 85. Model-actress Elizabeth Hurley is 53. Olympic gold-medal figure skater Tara Lipinski is 36. Americana musician Bridget Kearney is 33. Lake Street Dive. ‘First child’ Sasha Obama is 17. Actor Timothy Busfield is 61. Thirtysomething. Actress Adrienne Barbeau is 73. Maude.


Rock musician Frank Beard is 69. ZZ Top. Actor Hugh Laurie is 59. TV personality Dr. Mehmet Oz is 58. Actor-comedian Jim Belushi is 64. Actress Helen Hunt is 55. Actress Courteney Cox is 54. Actor rapper Ice Cube is 49. Actor Neil Patrick Harris is 45. Doogie Howser, M.D. He says, “Jim Henson was the only piece of fan mail I ever wrote when I was a little kid.”


D.J. Fontana was the last surviving member of Elvis’ original trio of musicians. He was a member of the Rock Hall of Fame and met Presley on the Louisiana Hayride, a country music program based in Shreveport and became his regular drummer in 1955, playing on more than 460 of Presley’s early recordings. Mr. Fontana died last week at the age of 87.


Blues Brothers Band musician Matt “Guitar” Murphy died at the age of 88. He appeared in the 1980 Blues Brothers movie and its 1998 Blues Brothers 2000 sequel. He also played in the Blues Brothers Band with the late John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd when the group performed “Soul Man” during a Saturday Night Live sketch in 1978 and stayed with the touring band until 2002 when he had a stroke and semi-retired.


Kristin Harmon, American primitive painter, actress and author, once married to actor and musician Ricky Nelson, died from a heart attack at age 72. I remember watching her on Ozzie & Harriet.


Stephen Hawking’s remains were laid to rest at a memorial service at Westminster Abbey, all while the European Space Agency blasted and beamed his words of peace towards a black hole, some 3,000 light-years away. Hawking’s work on black holes was among his most influential, building along with the ideas of Albert Einstein and challenging many scientific assumptions. His neighbors at rest will be Charles Darwin and Isaac Newton. What a Thursday night poker game that’s going to be.


Stephen Hawking predicted the world will end, global warming causes the Earth to become a fireball with a global temperature of 482 degrees and sulfuric acid raining form the sky. He predicted that humans will have to leave Earth and repopulate elsewhere.  He said, “The best hope for the survival of the human race might be independent colonies in space.” Hmmm. Let’s take better care of our Earth.


‘The question we ask ourselves is not “what we can do?” but “what we should do?”’ Apple CEO, Tim Cook


“Good friends, good whiskey and good lovin’, I want to thank you Lord.”-  Hank Williams, Jr.


All-Star pitcher Kevin Brown retired from the Yankees in 2005. Last week he saw two men in a white sports car taking mail out of his mailbox, then they sped off. The next day he waited with a gun and when they tried it again, he detained the pair (a little) while they waited for the law to arrive. The pair face charges of mail theft and forgery. Love it.


In downtown Lake Jackson, a different band plays every Friday night at the Civic Center. It’s quite nice to sit here and work and listen to background music. This past Friday evening, the band was playing “Should I Stay, or Should I Go?” when it suddenly came a torrential downpour. Were they singing that song for a reason…were they trying to decide whether to stay or go. When the rain came down, the music stopped abruptly. It was clever, so I was just wondering…


Tattoos are a permanent reminder of a temporary feeling. – George Carlin


Nine passengers were admitted to the hospital after the Sand Blaster coaster on the Daytona Beach Boardwalk in Florida derailed, sending two to the ground and eight other passengers that had to be rescued. This happened just hours after an inspection was completed. One woman fell 34 feet, bounced “like a ping-pong ball” between the rails and woke up with the coaster dangling over her head. Yikes.


John Wayne Walding – “Be a part of something bigger than yourself.”


Watermelon Salad – this is a winner at our house. Wash the watermelon with soap. Yes, wash it – it’s dirty. Then cut it in half (a round watermelon works best) horizontally. Place one half on cutting board, flesh down. Cut slices 1-2” wide depending on what size you want your sticks. Rotate the cutting board and cut slices perpendicular to the other slices. You now have sticks that can be eaten very neatly by children and adults because you have the green part to hold on to and now it’s easy to take the sticks and cut uniform squares of watermelon for your salad. Fill a bowl with your squares, add a cup or so of blueberries, a nice firm feta cheese (get a block and crumble it yourself – it’s tastier) then garnish with chopped mint leaves. It’s pretty and super tasty. You can also add thin sliced purple onions, fresh basil, kalamata olives, fresh lime juice, salt, pepper, or an olive oil vinaigrette or a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. We use a good cherry balsamic. Leftovers last for a day or two in fridge.


“That’s the greatest award of all, isn’t it? Good children.” – Sylvester Stallone


Officials say three people were killed and over 300 injured in Western Japan after a 6.1 magnitude earthquake struck Osaka.


Ocean’s 8 the movie – Danny Ocean, now deceased master thief, has a sister, Debbie (Sandra Bullock), recently released from prison, who attempts to pull off the heist of the century at New York City’s star-studded annual Met Gala. Her first stop is to assemble the perfect crew. She did. It was a perfect crew, a perfect cast, and they wore perfect clothes, but there was just a little tiny bit of something lacking. There was never the feeling of real peril and we wanted to feel danger because this great cast could have handled it. We wanted to see them put to the test. But, set that aside.  It was a fun and likeable movie. Gage and I enjoyed it.  Anne Hathaway showed what a great actress she is. It’s a thumbs up. It’s fun.


As I Get Older I Realize: 1.) I talk to myself because sometimes I need skilled and savvy advice. 2.) Sometimes I roll my eyes out-loud.  3.) I don’t need anger management, I need people to stop doing stupid stuff.  4.) My people skills are just fine. It’s my tolerance of nincompoops that needs work. 5.) The biggest fib I tell myself is, “I don’t need to write that down, I’ll remember it.” 6.) When I was a child I thought naptime was punishment. Now it’s like a mini-vacation. 7.) The day the world runs out of wine is just too terrible to think about. 8.) Even duct tape can’t fix stupid, but it can muffle the sound. 9.) Wouldn’t it be great if we could put ourselves in the dryer for 10 minutes; come out wrinkle-free and three sizes smaller? 10.) “Getting Lucky” means walking into a room and remembering why I’m there. Sigh. Thanks for reading this. Lisa

Much Ado About Nothing – Hurricane Season Again

Much Ado About Nothing June 20, 2018

Much Ado by Jean Ciampi

Hurricane Season started a few weeks ago. Again. I’m not sure I’m ready for this, to be honest. As I type this, I’m half asphyxiated with paint fumes from 14 doors, door frames, and hundreds of feet of baseboards all shiny with their fresh coat of oil-based paint. I still have a tendency to lie down on the floor to try to hug my carpet, that carpet that took no less than three months to get ordered, delivered and installed. And walking into a kitchen that has working appliances and running water still conjures a real sense of awe. No, I’m not sure I’m ready, nor do I think I’m alone in that.

Already we’ve had a “rain event” that had every news outlet and meteorologist frothing like rabid wolverines over computer models, chances for development, and generally calling for the end of human existence as we know it on the Gulf Coast. In response I’d like to say, “Stop that.” On behalf of everyone suffering with PTSD (Post Traumatic Storm Disorder), please cut the hype, doomsday predictions, and storm mongering. It makes us all break out in ugly hives or drink too much. It’s only June and already some weather girl is strapping herself to a light pole on Galveston Island waiting for her chance to be the next Jim Cantore on the Weather Channel.

If you know someone who flooded during Harvey, try to be sensitive that it’s been a long, stressful, exhausting year. Avoid making loud noises, especially those that sound like nail guns, air compressors, or power tools. Do not brag about how close the water came to almost but not actually getting into your house. This makes people who flooded hate you in a grind-your-teeth, plot-your-demise kind of way. Please don’t ask if someone had insurance unless you’re offering to purchase a sofa or replace the damaged lawn equipment. Insurance policies bring their own brand of demonic headaches.

In May, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said there was a 75% chance of above average activity during this year’s hurricane season. I don’t even know what that means, because hurricanes are like tax audits. If you’re the one that gets it, your day is pretty much ruined. Now’s the time to pick your religion and pray that someone else draws the short straw this year.

What I Heard This Week! June 14, 2018

What I Heard This Week June 14, 2018

The original map of the Hundred Acre Wood from Winnie-the-Pooh is set to be auctioned in London next month with an estimated price tag of up to $200,000. Four other Winnie-the-Pooh illustrations are also being offered at the same auction. Christopher Robin, the film, is due to be released by Disney in August. With my kids all grown up now, I tend to miss Pooh, Christopher Robin, Piglet and Eeyore. Those were sweeter times than Grand Theft Auto and Battlefield 1 video games.


California will require almost all new homes to be built with solar panels by the year 2020. Why is California always light years ahead of the rest of us? Yes, what a great idea.


Mamoudou Gassama is a 22-year-old migrant from Mali who arrived in France in September without documentation. Some people in Paris are now calling him Spider-Man of the 18th, after he saw a child suspended from a balcony then scaled 4-balconies to the 5th floor to save the 4-year old that had been left alone by his father while he went grocery shopping and then stopping on the way home to play Pokémon Go. What! Not all heroes wear capes. So, our young hero is now being offered French citizenship. Someone needs to tell the dad that you don’t leave children alone ANYWHERE. Home, bookstores, bathrooms, grocery stores…ANYWHERE.


June 19th is National Martini Day. If you like gin, try Hendricks. In addition to the traditional juniper infusion, Hendrick’s uses Bulgarian rose and cucumber to add flavor. My mind says,” Cucumber. Salad. Healthy. Works for me.”


Former President Bill Clinton and James Patterson (who has written many novels including ‘The Quickie’ and ‘Kiss the Girls’) have co-authored a book, “The President is Missing.” Hmmm. In promoting the book, inquiring minds seem to be more interested in Monica Lewinsky and why Clinton never issued a private apology, as he insists that his public apology was adequate. Yikes. My mind imagines Hillary sitting at home watching the interviews on the telly, whispering to herself, “I should never have let him out of the house.” My son calls this book tour a ‘slow-motion train wreck.’ Someone should have worked with Clinton on some proper answers to the inevitable questions.


Near Baytown, a nine-month old baby girl was accidently left behind in a hot vehicle for three hours and died. Parents don’t forget your little ones. I heard you are supposed to put something next to the car-seat that you are not likely to forget. Like your shoe, because you won’t go anywhere without a shoe.


There may be ex-wives, ex-husbands, ex-football players, but there are NO ex-Texans.
In New Zealand, foreign property buyers must pass a good-character test. Matt Lauer, former Today show co-host, will be allowed to keep his ranch in New Zealand but the Overseas Investment Office does not condone the inappropriate way that Lauer behaved and will continue to monitor the matter.


“We don’t stop going to school when we graduate.” – Carol Burnett


Scientists are saying that the Kilauea volcano has now covered over 8 square miles. According to the US geological Society, the Kilauea volcano has erupted approximately 63 times between 1750 and 1982 and has been continuously erupting since January 3, 1983. Yikes, that’s 35 years.


RECENT BIRTHDAYS: World Golf Hall of Fame Hale Irwin is 73. He says, “Feeling tired should almost never be an excuse, because your body has huge reserves of energy. But if you eat badly, stay out late drink too much and so on, you’ll pay a price on the course.” TV host Anderson Cooper is 51. Singer Ronnie Dunn is 65. Brooks & Dunn till 2011. Model Heidi Klum is 45. Singer Alanis Morisette is 44. Actress writer Amy Schumer is 37. Prince would have been 60. ☹ Actor Bruce Dern is 82.

Actor Parker Stevenson is 66. Actress Angelina Jolie is 43. Financial guru Suze Orman is 67. Jazz musician Kenny G is 62. Author Patricia Cornwell is 62. Actor Michael J. Fox is 57. Writer-producer Aaron Sorkin is 57. A Few Good Men, The American President, Charlie Wilson’s War, Moneyball. Actor Johnny Depp is 55. Actress Natalie Portman is 37.

Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger is 95. Actress Lee Meriwether is 83. Actor Louis Gossett Jr. is 82. Actor Todd Bridges is 53. Willis Jackson on Different Strokes. Singer Nancy Sinatra is 78. Comic-strip creator Scott Adams is 61. Dilbert. Rapper and Mr. ‘Kardashian’ Kanye West is 41. Former President George H. W. Bush is 94. Last week the family celebrated what would have been the 93rd birthday of Barbara Bush.

Musician Ronnie Wood of the Rolling Stones’ is 71. He will release a new book in October and according to his website, “Ronnie Wood has chosen nearly 100 painted set lists to be published for the first time. Presented in chronological order, the collection follows the group’s travels to foreign rehearsal locations that were kept secret at the time. They reveal the songs rehearsed for historic performances, such as the Rolling Stones’ 2014 inaugural concert in Israel, as well as documenting the shows as eventually played. The colorful hand-lettering recalls Wood’s early art school days when he worked as a sign writer. The set lists are visually eye catching and filled with fascinating details. Wood’s calligraphy is interspersed with his own illustrations, doodles by fellow band members, and jotted notes that all add up to paint a picture of life on the road with the Rolling Stones.”


Legendary chef and TV and travel host Anthony Bourdain died at the age of 61 from apparent suicide while on location in Paris. “As you move through this life and this world you change things slightly, you leave marks behind, however small. And in return, life and travel leaves marks on you. Most of the time, those marks on your body or on your heart are beautiful. Often though, they hurt.” – Anthony Bourdain


Jerry Maren, the last living actor who played a Munchkin in The Wizard of Oz, has died at the age of 98. He was just 4’-3” tall and 18 years old and one of more than 100 actors who played Munchkins in the 1939 classic.


Father’s Day: I’m going to share this list of tool ideas that someone sent me…Mini Battery Tester, Yeti Bucket, Outdoor Knots Guide, Nebo Cryket Flashlight, Milwaukee Bit Set, Mechanix Fast Fit Work Gloves, ‘Man in the Mirror’ Book (solving the 24 problems men face), Makita Quiet Impact Driver Tool, Gerber Suspension Multi-Plier, BenchMade Blade Sharpener, Maratac AAA flashlight, Ironclad General Gloves, Kershaw Leek Blackwash Knife, KeySmart Keyring, Leatherman Sketetool, Leatherman Style PS Multi-Tool or you can just get him something really useful like a tie to decorate his closet.


June Weddings: Chocolate fountains are so 20th century. This is the future. At my wedding we’re having a queso fountain.


Ticks are supposed to be a problem this year. Yes, even in South Texas. Consumer Reports suggests the following things to ‘tick proof’ your yard without spraying. Since ticks like the shade of taller grass and cool damp areas on your lawn, keep your grass cut and bagged, trim or weed-wack tall grasses and weeds, blow away leaves or bag them to eliminate the damp cooler areas that ticks love, trim low-hanging tree branches to at least 18-inches above the ground, or lay a mulch moat; a 3-foot barrier of mulch (wood chips or bark, not shredded) around the perimeter of your yard. This creates a dry and hot obstacle to ticks. Wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, socks and closed-toe shoes and always perform a tick check as soon as you return indoors.


The Freeport Re-Tail Shop is celebrating its Grand Re-opening On Saturday, June 16th from 10AM to 3PM. Located at 515 W 2nd Street, this SPCA of Brazoria County thrift shop offers a unique, ever-changing selection. The flea market type layout has a “Doggone Good Deals” main area and a more select side called “The Cat’s Meow”. Merchandise includes home goods, furniture, collectables, clothing, home improvement items, office supplies and more. The re-sellable stock is donated and much appreciated. Proceeds from sales support the SPCA of Brazoria County located in Lake Jackson at 141 Canna Lane. For more information about the shelter and all programs visit the website at www.spcabc.org. Be sure to say hello to the new director, Kristen.


Saudi Arabia issued the first driver’s licenses to 10 women as they prepare to lift the ban on women driving, but some women who campaigned for the right to drive, remain under arrest.


A study is now showing that most women with a common form of early-stage breast cancer can safely skip chemotherapy without hurting their chances of beating the disease. Staging and genetic testing will be used to gauge each patient’s risk. Hmmm. As a former breast cancer patient who went through months of treatment and years of recovery, this is good news, great news in fact because it will also save huge amounts of money and chemotherapy is so hard on your heart, but I can’t stop wondering if it’s for the benefit of the insurance companies. I’m just not sure what to think. It’s supposed to be put into effect immediately, so if you are diagnosed in the future, be sure to research and get the facts.


For Mother’s Day, my music-loving son bought two tickets for us to see one of my favorites, The Doobie Brothers. They were sharing the Smart Financial stage with Steely Dan and to announce this precious gift, Gage used my existing grocery list and marked out ‘bleach’ that I had written on the top of the post-it-note. Lying on the note was a twisted piece of aluminum foil. I was of course curious and asked about the foil. He told me to figure it out for myself. Still puzzled, he offered, “Steely Dan and Doobie Brothers. A steel doobie. Get it, Mom?” I’m so glad that to-date, his college education is so thorough. He’s a funny guy. Doobie Brothers was pretty good on about half the songs, but Steely Dan was a great concert from start to finish. Fun night. Thanks, Gage, for a very, very memorable Mother’s Day. You make my job as a mom, FUN. I’m so glad that I “force-fed” music to you every day and every night when you were little.


Happy Father’s Day to all the hard-working, loving and appreciative dads out there. Thanks for taking the time to read this…Lisa

Much Ado About Nothing – Manners Refresher

Much Ado About Nothing June 14, 2018

Much Ado by Jean Ciampi

Gather around everyone! It’s time for a quick refresher course on some foundational principles for being a decent human being. Don’t panic, it’s nothing complicated or scary. No one is going to expect you to cure cancer or kiss your sister, but we’re getting a little lax on some lessons we should have learned in Kindergarten. Let’s get started.

“If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.” I understand that sometimes there are not-nice things that need to be said, but any Southern lady can tell you that you can say not-nice things in a nice way. Punctuate just about anything with “Bless your heart” and it’ll go over much better than just being ugly. If our words were physically manifested on our bodies, we might think twice about spewing out a bunch of sour ugliness. By the way, this rule applies tenfold for anything posted on the internet.

“You don’t build yourself up by tearing others down.” This includes your country, your elected officials, your parents, other sports teams (with the exclusion of the NY Yankees), your boss, the other drivers who can’t use a turn signal (bless their hearts), and most certainly anyone of a different race, color, creed, heritage, religious faith, or country of origin. If you struggle with this rule, refer to the one above and just keep your mouth shut.

“Lead by example.” If you want your kids to be productive, self-sufficient assets to society then be that. If you want to live in a world that’s not filled with hate, fear and intolerance then don’t be hateful, threatening and intolerant. Be the change you want to see.

While this is pretty basic stuff, so many of us seem to have lost sight of how to play nice with the other children. It’s not enough to just accept that haters are going to hate. We can do better than that and be bigger than hate. I understand that no one wants to be told they have bad breath, but, at the same time, sometimes you just need a helpful breath mint, a friendly smile, and a cheerful “Bless your heart” to save you from some unnecessary embarrassment. Think of this as a breath mint for your manners. Now go out there and be better humans!

What I Heard This Week! June 7, 2018

What I Heard This Week June 6, 2018

Senior Prank Day is tradition at every high school. Truman HS in Kansas City wasn’t the exception, but officials didn’t think it was very funny when 18-year-old, ‘A’-student, Kylan Scheele listed his high school for sale on Craigslist for only $12,275. The individual that saw the post took it as a possible threat and reported it. A threat?!? Well, it seems that the way he worded the ad was the problem. He listed all the amenities of the school then stated, “The reason for the sale is due to the loss of students coming up.” That statement was taken as a threat instead of the ‘loss’ being all graduating seniors. Good grief. I understand both sides but what has our world come to…Kylan says that if he had it to do all over again, he would still pull the school-for-sale prank but would use a better choice of words to make sure no one misunderstood him.


“Don’t ever confuse what is legal with what is moral…You’re either principled or you’re not.” Oprah Winfrey


Because of perfect weather conditions, the ‘Hill Country’ is having an exceptional harvest of peaches this year – the best harvest in years. Think back to that long cold Texas winter that we had…well, by peach standards, long and cold. I never even got my heavy coat out. The relatively dry weather meant natural sugars weren’t diluted by rain, making this year’s fruit exceptionally flavorful. Add wineries and German food to the list of things to do and it sure looks like a road trip may be in order. (There is also a guy in town that makes fresh sangria to order that is fabulous, but I can blame it on a peach trip.)


In 1973 the International House of Pancakes shortened its name to IHOP. Now, after 60 years, there is an announcement that they will change their name to IHOb on June 11th. Hmmm. What does the “B” stand for? Some suggestions were biscuits, bacon, butternut squash, bagels, beer, burrito and barnacles. I suggested breakfast, but according to the posts, the odds are against me. There is a way you can vote on their website which has a countdown clock to the announcement. Inquiring minds want to know.


Firefighters in England rescued a man who found himself stuck in a tree while trying to chase his large green parrot. It took 35 minutes to rescue the man but unfortunately the escapee remained loose.


Allergies might be on the rise because kids are too clean. They’re saying that kids may not have the necessary exposure to germs required to build up the immune system which could lead to something called hygiene hypothesis. Listen, right now I live with two cats, a 21-year-old male child and an 18-year-old female child. To even describe their rooms would scare you straight off this planet. But, if no one finds E. coli or salmonella in their rooms, things are ok. Not to mention all the money I’m saving on allergy meds.


Fashion designer and businesswoman Kate Spade (55) was found dead in her NY home and is reported to have taken her own life. How sad.  I have always loved her Kate Spade designs. Her newest venture was Frances Valentine, a shoes and accessories brand that she named after her daughter. The designer had legally changed her name to Kate Valentine in honor of the label.

“Surround yourself with the things you love. Discard the rest.” Kate Spade

“If you’re as honest and fair as you can be, not only in business but in life, things will work out. I hope that people remember me not just as a good businesswoman but as a great friend – and a heck of a lot of fun.” – Kate Spade


RECENT BIRTHDAYS: Director actor Clint Eastwood is 88. Wait a minute. That can’t be. Singer Gladys Knight is 74. The Pips. Dr. Ruth Westheimer is 90. Sex therapist, media personality, actress, voice actress and author. Pro and College Football Hall of Fame Gale Sayers is 75. Actress Sondra Locke is 74. Willard, The Outlaw Josey Wales, Every Which Way but Loose, Sudden Impact. Singer John Fogerty is 73. Creedence Clearwater Revival and is currently touring with ZZ Top.

Actor Brandon Cruz is 56. The Courtship of Eddie’s Father. Country singer Wynonna Judd is 54. Actress Idina Menzel is 47. Elphaba in Wicked. Actor Anthony Geary is 71. Luke on General Hospital. Singer LaToya Jackson is 62. Singer Melissa Etheridge is 57. Actress Lisa Whelchel is 55. The Facts of Life. Rock musician Noel Gallagher is 51. Oasis. Musician Charlie Watts is 77. Rolling Stones. Actor Jerry Mathers is 70. Leave it to Beaver. TV personality Andy Cohen is 50. The Real Housewives.

NFL Hall of Fame Joe Namath is 75. That’s soooo hard to believe. Singer Augie Meters is 78. The Texas Tornados. Comedian Mike Myers is 55. Actress Octavia Spencer is 48. Rapper DMC is 54. Actress Brooke Shields is 53. Author Larry McMurtry is 82. The Last Picture Show, Lonesome Dove. Brokeback Mountain, Terms of Endearment. Rock singer Ian Hunter is 79. Mott the Hoople.


Robert Mandan, who starred as wealthy, womanizing Chester Tate in the 70’s sitcom Soap, has died at the age of 86. I loved that show.


‘We’re the ones who decide, “Do I hate, or am I filled with love?” ‘ Former US President Jimmy Carter


Flag Day is June 14th. In case you have forgotten or perhaps it’s no longer politically correct to teach this…the stars on the flag represent the fifty states, and the stripes represent the colonies. The red represents valor, displayed by soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines who have given their lives, so our flag can continue to stand tall. Don’t forget to put your flags out next week.


Loch Ness is a large, deep freshwater loch (or lake) in the Scottish Highlands. For hundreds of years, people have described sightings of the Loch Ness monster aka Nessie. A New Zealand scientist is leading a team to the lake next month to conduct DNA tests and determine what species live there. He says he wants to take people on an adventure and communicate science. One theory is that Nessie is a long-necked plesiosaur that somehow survived the period when dinosaurs became extinct.


‘Embrace the mess…your life won’t always unfold according to plan.’ Betsy Devos, US Secretary of Education


Sephora has announced that they will offer interactive make-up classes geared towards transgender customers and those who identify as neither masculine nor feminine. In the US, about 4 percent of Americans identify as LGBTQ which is about 10 million people, which means tremendous buying power.


According to NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, there is a 70 percent chance of 10 to 16 named storms (where it is at least a tropical storm) during this storm season. NOAA experts’ based predictions on the average water temperatures in the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea combined with the possibility of a weak El Nino developing in the Pacific Ocean. New equipment and techniques make them more accurate each year.


A successful woman is one who can build a firm foundation with the bricks others have thrown at her.


Richard Gere, a very young and good-looking 68-years-old, just married a 35-year-old. That’s a big difference in dog years – heck, that’s a huge difference in human years. Richard, Richard, Richard. You could have had me.


A ‘federal’ jury ended a trademark battle between Buc-ee’s (with their round logo and a buck-toothed beaver in a baseball cap) and Choke Canyon’s Bar-B-Q (a round logo showing a lip-licking alligator with a hat that looks like a cross between a short brimmed retro cowboy hat and a fedora.) Jurors were asked to decide, “if Choke Canyon’s branding confused customers familiar with Buc-ee’s logo and merchandise and profited through unfair competition.”  Well, surprise. I wouldn’t have thought it was similar at all and all evidence indicated there was no confusion, but the jury that deliberated for six hours determined that the alligator logo too closely resembles the Buc-ee’s beaver.


There is a teacher in Louisiana who asked the students in her second-grade class to write about one invention that they don’t like. After four children wrote about the same invention, the teacher decided to post one of the essays. Misspellings included, it said, “I don’t like the phone because my panert are on their phone every day. A phone is sometimes a really bad habet. I hate my mom’s phone and I wish she never had one. That is an invention that I don’t like.”  Yikes. Every time I go out to dinner I see families where every single member is on a phone. Pay attention.


The Dallas Zoo has a new baby giraffe that was named after retired Dallas Cowboy star player Jason Witten. Baby Witten is very outgoing.


The lucky Houstonian who won $30.25-million in the Texas Lotto last month came forward to claim the huge, gigantic, unbelievable, prize which has a cash value option of $20,327,988.00. WOW! MJ’s All-Season Food Store received a $308,766.64 selling bonus.


Shiners Hospital for Children in Galveston will admit several children with burn injuries suffered in the volcanic eruption in Guatemala.


My clever son was able to get cheap, nosebleed tickets to see the Farewell Tour of Paul Simon. We are firm believers in ‘cheap tickets allow for more concerts’ and we love concerts. We arrived in good time, parked, went through security then made our way to the very top of Toyota Center with a quick bathroom and food stop. (We might still be feeling the effects of the chili-cheese fries.) We had been sitting for less than five minutes when a young man approached and asked, “Are there three in your party?” First thought…we were in the wrong seats. He tore off three of his tickets and invited us to join him on the 19th row of the floor seats. We were cautious, not believing that someone would be so kind, BUT WE GOT THERE ASAP. We introduced ourselves to Charlie, his aunt and uncle…our row mates for Paul Simon. Charlie said, “No offense, but I chose the people with the worst seats in the house.” No offense taken AT ALL. Thank you so much! Gage and I agree that Paul Simon was one of the best concerts with the best sound that we have ever seen. Many thanks to Charlie for making Audrey’s first arena concert a stupendous one. Hope he is reading this.


Music is moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and charm and gaiety to life and to everything. – Plato


Thanks for taking the time to read this…Lisa

Much Ado About Nothing – Willis Carter

Much Ado About Nothing June 6, 2018

 

Much Ado by Jean Ciampi

The City of Houston paid a sculptor to create this massive, 32-foot tall, weird, reflective bean thing then proudly planted it near the Museum of Fine Art. I’m not sure why that much metal was wasted on such a thing when there is a real hero desperately in need of recognition and adoration, a true man among men: Willis Carrier. This man should be elevated to saint status, have elementary schools named in his honor, and every July there should be an official holiday complete with parades. Willis Carrier invented the air conditioner.

Where would we be, oh sweltering Gulf Coast of Texas, without this man? Houston wouldn’t be the fourth largest city in the US, that’s for sure. Instead the entire area would be populated by drunk, divorced, chaffed, irritable isolationists and boasting the highest homicide rate on the entire planet. Satan himself would sell his luxury condo for pennies and leave town grumbling about intolerable conditions.

Willis Carrier isn’t just cool, he’s the King of Cool. I suppose when one of your relatives is burned at the stake as part of the Salem Witch Hunts, you become a little hyper-sensitive to being hot under the collar and embody a new motivation for redeeming your family’s name and reputation. Talk about a Phoenix rising from the ashes!

Certainly there needs to be a distinctive tip of the hat to the Egyptians for figuring out how to make clothing out of cotton. Without them, we’d still be wearing wool all summer, which a large majority of people were through the 1800’s. Even swimsuits were made out of wool until the 1930’s! Just the thought of it makes me scratchy, chaffed and irritable.

Without Mr. Carrier, we’d be facing a world without leather car seats, ice cream trucks, and Slurpees®. Humidity would be an unstoppable, mold-growing, hairdo-killing scourge. We’d have no safe retreat from mosquitoes, sunburn, or the neighbors. To be honest, without Willis Carrier’s air conditioners, we’d have long since given the lower half of the Louisiana Purchase back to France and thrown in pretty much every other state south of St. Louis.

So today when you crank that thermostat down to single digits and your house is like a frosty beer mug, stop and send up a prayer of thanksgiving to Willis Carrier. Oh yes! Thank you!

What I Heard This Week! May 31, 2018

What I Heard This Week May 31, 2018

Be forewarned that you may consider this a bit mushy. My daughter/last child graduated from high school on Saturday evening, so I find my emotions to be a little raw right now. I was fine at graduation but there were so many friends sitting next to me, just watching for weakness, that I had to suck it up and be a big girl. 😊 But, two weeks ago as I watched her get off the yellow school bus in her cap and gown to visit teachers and students at Bess Brannon Elementary where she started public school in 4th grade, it was a different story. It pokes at my heart just to think about it. There are so many sweet memories with Mrs. Arthur, Mrs. Nordt, Mrs. Hendrix, and Ms. Kahanek-Janek.  Tiny little flecks of tears entered my eyes that day, but I wasn’t alone. This growing up stuff sure happens fast. Thank you, teachers! She turned out OK. Wink.


The aim of education is the knowledge – not of facts, but of values.” – William S. Burroughs


Have you noticed the flags in the medians in LJ? The Brazosport Breakfast Lions Club places these flags around town, 6 times a year. They look so good! Businesses and individuals sponsor the flags. You can sponsor one flag or several. Just call Ronnie Martin at 979-236-8817 or run by Grapevine Gifts and sign up. See page 12 of this paper.


You never realize how little self-control you have until the chips & salsa are in front of you at the Mexican Restaurant. This is so true.


Weeknight Roast Chicken: I found this recipe about 6 months ago. The kids and I use it often. It is foolproof and perfect. Place 12-inch oven-safe skillet on middle rack and turn oven to 450 degrees.  Take a whole 3.5 to 4-lb. whole chicken (I go organic because it’s hormone and antibiotic-free and I can taste a difference) and pat it dry with paper towels. Drying is an important step. Take a tablespoon of olive oil and massage it all over the dry chicken. The chicken will really like the attention so take your time. Salt and pepper. Pat it on. Tie legs together with twine (kite string at our house) and tuck the tips of the wings behind its back. Place chicken in the preheated, very hot skillet, breast side up and cook for 25-35 minutes. Turn oven off and leave chicken in the oven and continue cooking for another 35 minutes or until breast registers 160 degrees and thighs register 175 degrees. The drippings are fantastic and make great gravy, the skin is so delicious and every time I cook this I get brownie points from my kids. I roast vegetables on another pan so it’s an easy dinner worthy of company. Stuff the bird or sprinkle with lemon pepper, garlic, fresh rosemary or thyme from the garden. It’s all good. If you don’t use the drippings that night, don’t waste them. Store them in the fridge or freezer to use in something else. We used ours in pho the next night. Let me know.


On a First United Methodist Church sign in Texas: “Too hot to keep changing sign. Sin bad. Jesus good. Details inside.”


As I watch a TV report on Tropical Storm Alberto and all the flooding that it brought, I am reminded of the June 1st official start day of hurricane season. With our warming planet, it could be that the calendar may need some date changes in the future. We’ll see.


A Tesla sedan in Autopilot mode crashed into a parked car. No one was hurt. BUT, the parked car just happened to be a police vehicle. Hmmm.


Congratulations to Brazoswood Water Polo, both girls’ and boys’ teams. What a great year! Coach Brown – you’re the best!


RECENT BIRTHDAYS: Singer Taj Mahal is 76. The American blues musician’s given name is Henry Saint Clair Fredericks. TV personality Tom Bergeron is 63. America’s Funniest Home Videos and Dancing with the Stars. Actress Roma Downey is 58. Singer-actress Cher is 72. TV-radio personality Ron Reagan is 60. Rock musician Jane Wiedlin is 60. The Go-Go’s.

Actor Tommy Chong is 80. Singer Bob Dylan is 77. Actor Gary Burghoff is 75. Priscilla Presley is 73. Actor John C. Reilly is 53. His new movie ‘The Sisters Brothers’ is described as a cross between a dark comedy and a western. The trailer looked great. Racecar driver Tony Stewart is 47. Singer Leo Sayer is 70. You Make Me Feel Like Dancing. Actor Mr. T is 66. Actor Judge Reinhold is 61. Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Director Nick Cassavetes is 59. The Notebook. Actress Joan Collins is 85. Alexis Carrington on Dynasty. Comic and TV game host Drew Carey is 60. Singer Jewel is 44.

Actor Michael Constantine is 91. The Windex bottle-toting Greek father in My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Room 222. Songwriter Bernie Taupin is 68. Best known for his long-term collaboration with Elton John. Model Naomi Campbell is 48. Actress Jennifer Goodwin is 40. Mona Lisa Smile.


The 91st Scripps National Spelling Bee Finals is on ESPN on May 31st with a $40,000 cash prize. Then, June 1st, Cinemax will release C.B. Strike, a crime series based on J.K. Rowling’s Cormoran Strike books about a peg-legged private inspector and his beautiful secretary. I didn’t even know that Rowling had written a series like this, but that’s because it was published under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith. On June 8th, Won’t You Be My Neighbor, a documentary about Fred Rogers, and Ocean’s 8 are both due to release. 


It is reported that Daniel Craig could earn as much as $25 million for starring in the new James Bond movie, Bond 25. When asked in 2015 whether he would star in another Bond movie, he replied, “Now? I’d rather…slash my wrists…” hmmm.  What a difference a day makes…and $25 million. That is a massive paycheck for driving fast cars and drinking martinis which now makes him the highest paid star in Hollywood.  Since 1962, there have been 24 movies and six actors have portrayed Bond with a combined gross of over $7 Billion. Ian Fleming wrote his first James Bond novel, Casino Royale, at the age of 44. He also wrote the children’s favorite Chitty Chitty Bang Bang for his young son.


So, Anne-Elisabeth prepared for graduation with new red shoes (made from recycled water bottles – you can wash them in the washing machine), a beautiful embroidered dress, earrings that were a graduation gift from me and her brother, and her cap decorated to look like a Pantone color swatch in UH Cougar Red. She did not forget the words to the Pledge of Allegiance and I believe that she pronounced everyone’s name correctly, then smiled our way as our ‘family of friends’ hooted and hollered for her from the stands. A rainbow appeared as the choir sang and the thunder & lightning didn’t become obvious until graduation was over, when we were on the field taking pictures. The raindrops held off until we approached our car to head home. Classmates arrived at our house for movies and breakfast which was served until 4 am when I pulled out pillows and blankets for those that decided to spend the night and enjoy ‘leftover’ waffles, fruit salad and sausages the next morning. It was such a great night but I’m still so tired. No joke. I fell asleep on the floor the next day. Twice. You only graduate from high school once and I think hers was perfect, but I couldn’t help but have twinges of guilt every time I thought about Santa Fe and what their graduation ceremonies must be like this year. I can’t even imagine. In our new world, we need to take time to not only appreciate the BIG moments in our lives but the small ones as well.


National Hug Your Cat Day is June 4th. Watch out, Winnie and Sully, our adopted Harvey alley cats who have brought nothing but love and compassion into our lives.


Seen on Facebook. As we come closer to the one-year anniversary of Harvey here are 10 Things that some of us learned from the 2017 Texas Flood: 1. Social Media apps saved lives. 2. The Cajun Navy and Texan Navy are better equipped than the Federal Government and much faster. 3. Race does not divide us; the media divides us.  4. JJ Watt and Mattress Mack are faster than FEMA. 5. We will find the means to cook in any situation. 6. All Lives Matter…including animals. 7. No water is too deep nor too shallow for passage. 8. A Cajun and a Texan can launch a boat anywhere.  9. Our strength is “Togetherness.” 10. Under no circumstances will we be defeated. #TexasStrong


“Remember, half the doctors in this country graduated in the bottom half of their class.” – Al McGuire


At Miller Outdoor Theatre, Joseph & the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, based on the story of the “coat of many colors” in the Book of Genesis, is playing June 6-8.  


New explosions at the Kilauea Volcano continue sending more lava and toxic air into our world. Thousands and thousands of masks have been distributed because of the poor air content. There are more evacuations and serious health concerns as it seems that there is no end to this major natural disaster. Tourism is down on the islands 50%, even in the unaffected areas.


The American Cancer Society now says that people should start getting screened for colon cancer at age 45 instead of 50. The group lowered its guidelines after research showed people are getting colon cancer at younger and younger ages in the US. I wonder why.


Active Shooter is a controversial new video game that was due to be released on June 6th.  It is a School Shooter Video Game where players could choose to be members of an elite SWAT team or an active shooter. It will not be released after all. Gosh. Why was this ever, even a possibility.


ABC canceled “Rosanne,” the No. 1 show on television, almost immediately after Barr tweeted what is believed to be racist tweets. I think she is just plain mean, not funny. Rosanne apologized and blamed it on a ‘joke that was in bad taste’ and ‘Ambien’ tweeting. What?!? Drug maker Sanofi says, “While all pharmaceutical treatments have side effects, racism is not a known side effect of any Sanofi medication.”  Now, just think of all the people that she left without jobs because of her narcissistic need to pretend she is funny. Free speech and tweeting (and everything else in life) should still involve manners. If only people would stop to think about how the consequences of their actions affect so many people around them, in EVERYTHING they do.


When my kids were little, they loved band-aids so therefore band-aids appeared in their Easter baskets, Christmas stockings; there are simply fun band-aids everywhere you shop. Some look like bacon, chocolate, pickles, tattoos, macaroni & cheese, cowgirls, princesses…you name it.  Recently, I was trying to use up an old can where the yellow band-aids looked like crime scene tape with, Crime Scene Do Not Enter written on it.  As I took out the last band-aid, (because I had succeeded in burning my leg with a soldering iron) I saw something rolling around in the bottom of the can. It was a little, bitty, tiny plastic gun to further the humor of crime scene tape. It was cute, but Santa Fe is still so fresh that it takes away some of the fun that was meant to be. How our world has changed recently.


Don’t forget to tear out the chicken recipe and thanks for reading this.

Much Ado About Nothing – Family Court

Much Ado About Nothing May 31, 2018

 

Much Ado by Jean Ciampi

In this trough between Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, there is no better time to take a look at some examples of beautiful, happy families in their natural habitat: the courtroom. Parents are busy suing their children while the kids are getting lawyered up to go after their parents. Tell me, Hallmark, how are you going to handle this fine kettle of smelly family fish?

In St. Louis, 17-year old Anthony Dwight is suing his biological parents because he was born white. Did this boy skip Biology class in school? Exactly why would he expect his very white, Midwestern parents to produce anything but a white child? But yet he wants to hold them responsible for their “selfish desire to bring another white child into this world,” which, I’m sure, no one regrets right now more than they do. Of course, this is nothing that $20,000 to pay for the treatment to turn his skin color to “dark black” wouldn’t cure. Maybe they just need to turn his behind a bright red.

And Michael Rotondo. THIRTY YEARS OLD and his parents had to get a court order to have him removed from their couch after eight years! I’m guessing they already tried throwing his Xbox into the front yard so when he frantically ran out there to reclaim it they could lock the doors and bar the windows. This college educated, deadbeat dad then whined in court that he didn’t have money for moving boxes so he couldn’t leave. I don’t know about the liquor stores in New York, but around these parts, you can pick up some nice, sturdy boxes for free.

Since I’m always looking for the silver lining, I’m ready to jump on the opportunity presenting itself here! I am going to hang out a lawyer shingle for my new firm, “Grow the Heck Up Legal Services.” I’m not sure what white Anthony Dwight is paying his lawyer (where did he get that money?), but I’ll represent his parents for free. That I’ve never been to law school is beside the point. I’ll simply show up in court and throw out the GROW THE HECK UP defense. Same with Michael Rotondo: Grow the Heck Up! Case closed.

Ultimately, though, the way to avoid these situations all together is, when you have the choice, just raise hogs instead

What I Heard This Week! May 24, 2018

What I Heard This Week May 24, 2018

A 51-year-old Iowa man says his dog shot him while they were playing and roughhousing on the couch. Ballew, a pit-bull-lab mix ‘must have disabled the safety on the gun in his owner’s belly band and then stepped on the trigger, then shot him in the leg.’ I would have been embarrassed to report that tale.


A graduation ceremony is an event where the commencement speaker tells thousands of students dressed in identical caps and gowns that ‘individuality’ is the key to success.” –  Robert Orben


“Poly Pop”Tiki Kitchen and Cocktails in downtown LJ just opened. After visiting them on Friday night, I know why my appraisal on my office property went up so much this year. The appraisal district thinks that one street over, I am selling $30 drinks, great food and turning people away each night. I should open a restaurant! Poly Pop has done it right with delicious food and I had a yummy Tiki Rita as my drinking buddy. We tried Paradise Pot – chicken, spinach, coconut rice, oranges, blueberries, avocado and pomegranate seeds with a pineapple citrus drizzle served with a purple orchid, and Vegetarian Ramen with brussels sprouts, roasted chickpeas, carrots, mushrooms and corn. It was perfectly wonderful. I heard that the Lavender Collinsvodka, lavender and soda served with a 6” sprig of lavender is a winner, too. Just letting you know.


Gel manicures have always been of interest to me because they’re so beautiful.  I tried them once and lost most of my nails, but the truth is, I’m really a “clip ‘em short, file them and if it’s Christmas or my birthday, slap on a coat of clear polish,” kind of person. (I was jealous of Cher for a bit back in the 80’s but I got over it.) Plus, I have always feared the acetone they use to remove the polish. Today I heard of a different danger involved…the UV rays from the curing lamps are four times stronger than those of the sun. Think skin cancer. Think melanoma. Naked nails are in so take advantage of this fad and let your gels go free.


Wine & Stars in the Vineyards at Haak Vineyards & Winery on May 25th at 6 pm.  It’s free but an RSVP requested so they can plan.  www.haaakwine.com or 409-925-1401. Remember it’s National Wine Day!


Due to lack of space I had to take out a wonderful recipe for Roasted Chicken. Be sure to look next week because it’s delicious, foolproof and guaranteed to win compliments at your next dinner.


The owners of a donut cafe in Reno found a woman stealing money from the tip jar on the counter so they posted the surveillance video on Facebook. This was not done to embarrass or bring the woman to justice, but because they wanted her to know that they started collecting food for her hoping that she would come back to the café, so they could help her realize that there are other ways to get help and find food. Customers were offered a discount if they brought in a donation of non-perishable food item for her. The owner said he has two children and wanted to help teach them to spread kindness. The woman did not return to the café, so the food was donated to a local food bank.


Santa Fe High School. This was at least the 20th school shooting in 2018. Prayers are still needed for our neighboring community. I stand behind my theory of “video games where you shoot people” being a real problem. In real life we shouldn’t shoot people, even pretend people. It was hard to send my child to school this week. Judge Judy was a morning talk show guest. I have always loved her no-nonsense attitude and tongue lashings that she gives people that are acting stupid. As a former gun owner, her opinion is that the minimum age for purchasing guns is raised to 21. YES! She also suggests that there needs to be huge consequences for owners of guns that end up in the hands of shooters. Agreed.


RECENT BIRTHDAYS: Musician Steve Winwood is 70. Actor Gabriel Byrne is 68. Actor Ving Rhames is 59. Mission Impossible.  Actor Emilio Estevez is 56. Actor Harvey Keitel is 79. Along with actors Al Pacino and Ellen Burstyn, he is current co-president of the Actors Studio. Singer Stevie Wonder is 68. I’m glad I got to see him in concert. Counterculture icon Wavy Gravy is 82. Actor Lee Horsley is 63. He recorded the audio version of Lonesome Dove. Football Hall of Fame Emmitt Smith is 49. The NFL released a highlight reel on his birthday to celebrate the all-time leading rusher during his fifteen seasons in the league.

Prince Charles is 70, or is he? Prince Harry and Meghan delayed their honeymoon to celebrate Prince Charles’ 70th birthday with a garden party at Buckingham Palace. Hmmm. Charles’ birthday is November 14th.

Actor Danny Trejo is 74. Actress Debra Winger is 63. Urban Cowboy. Singer Janet Jackson is 52. She was the first black woman to win the Icon Award at the Billboard Music Awards last week. Political correspondent Tucker Carlson is 49. Boxing Hall of Fame Sugar Ray Leonard is 62. Regarded as one of the greatest boxers of all time. Comedian Bob Saget is 62. Full House.

Basketball Hall of Fame Dennis Rodman is 57. He has a bromance going on with Kim Jong Un and now thinks he deserves some of the credit for brokering peace between North Korea and the US if a summit between the two actually happens. Rodman said that he helped Kim Jong Un understand Trump a little bit better by gifting Trump’s book, “Art of the Deal” for his birthday in 2017. “I don’t want to take all the credit…,” but then in a later interview he said, “If I don’t finish in the top three for the next Nobel Peace Prize, something’s seriously wrong.” Hmmm.

Actress Candice Bergen is 72. Her new movie is Book Club with Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda and Mary Steenburgen. Singer Billy Joel is 69. “Next phase, new wave, dance craze, anyways…it’s still rock & roll to me.” Actor John Corbett is 57. Partner of Bo Derek since 2002. Baseball Hall of Fame Willie Mays is 87. In 1950, when the Giants signed me, they gave me $15,000. “I bought a 1950 Mercury. I couldn’t drive, but I had it in the parking lot there, and everybody that could drive would drive the car. So, it was like a community thing.”

Rock singer Bob Seger is 73. Katmandu. Actress Julianne Phillips is 58.  First wife of Bruce Springsteen. Actor-director George Clooney is 57. Who cares about George! Did you see the smoking good looking dress that Amal wore to THE wedding? It was fabulous and is the most ‘searched for’ guest outfit from the wedding. Late Show host Stephen Colbert is 54. Actress-writer-director Lena Dunham is 32. Actor Robert Pattinson is 32.


Clint Walker, star of TV western ‘Cheyenne’ has died at age 90. Was he on the recent ‘cowboy’ list?


So, now I’m off to prepare to graduate the child that came out of my womb yearning for college. It’s all she’s ever wanted, and she has worked so hard.  I mean, really, really, hard. I know, I was there – helping anywhere I could help, just wanting so much to be good for something besides making PB&J sandwiches and she always allowed me to help. She listened. She applied what she heard. I couldn’t be any prouder of her achievements and she has so many, including a kind heart, great values and a most wonderful smile.  Anne-Elisabeth received the Tier I Scholarship to attend University of Houston this fall.  I am so proud. It all comes together when I get to see her as Student Body VP on the platform speaking at graduation. She hopes she doesn’t forget the words to the Pledge. I bet she doesn’t.


Thanks for reading this and being a part of the family.

Much Ado About Nothing – Hacked

Much Ado About Nothing May 24, 2018

 

Much Ado by Jean Ciampi

My next door neighbor got a United Nations Development Programmed grant. No really! He sent me a Facebook direct message to tell me he got $150,000.00. His exact words were, “I’m no joking or pulling legs.” Here’s where it gets really exciting: he saw my name on their lucky winner list, too, and I should contact the claiming agent RIGHT NOW to claim my lucky prize (link included). What are the chances?! I just wonder why he didn’t mention it to me 20 minutes earlier when we were chatting at the mailbox.

Needless to say, I didn’t click on the link, but I did go take a look at the profile of the “claims agent.” It was a nice touch to have pictures of money, but there was also a meme posted that wasn’t in English. A quick hop over to Google Translate to discover my agent is bilingual in Kwa, the native language of the Yoruba people in Benin, Africa. Pretty impressive for a guy who, from his profile picture, looks like Mr. White America and studied at Texas A&M. Anyway, my online conversation with my neighbor ended when I reminded him I work the US State Department. Go figure.

But wait! My luck had not run out! Two days later I got another Facebook direct message from an elderly friend who I very rarely speak to letting me know that ups had just brought him $50,000.00 and that I “needs” ups to bring it to me, too. I had to think about it for a minute before I realized that ups was not the opposite of downs but UPS, the United Parcel Service. Again, a link was shared that I could contact my agent to claim my big prize, too. Uh huh. I’ll do that, and then I’ll use my ups money to buy a unicorn.

From pictures on the internet, Benin, Africa seems to be where National Geographic goes to take pictures of topless native women with baskets on their heads. How does this country have enough broadband and electrical grid to power this kind of nefarious industry? That Benin is the birthplace of the voodoo religion may not be of any small coincidence. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to send my bank account information to Winnie Mandela.

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    I loved this: In the 1960’s, people took LSD to make the world weird, Today, the world is weird, and people take Prozac to make it normal. Riddle:  What has an eye but cannot see? Kim Jong Un hopped over a concrete barrier to enter South Korea, becoming the first North Korean leader ever to […]

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