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Much Ado About Nothing – Shopping

Much Ado About Nothing March 15, 2018


Much Ado by Jean Ciampi

Some women are shopaholics, whether they admit it or not. For some, an intervention and a 12-step program should really be more critical than the One-Day-Only sale at Kohl’s. Personally, I’m not one of those women. At the same time, I’m not one who is wearing the same outfit since 1987 because I don’t want to go to the mall. (By the way, that outfit is back in style!). Regardless of where you fall on the shopping spectrum, there are a few things that are just torturous to shop for.

Jeans. Jeans are not fun to shop for. While pretty much any t-shirt can be worn by pretty much any person, jeans are individual. The perfect pair of jeans that will fit great and be comfortable are usually found next to the unicorns and the bags of Purina Big Foot Chow. You have to have your fat jeans for the days when it’s better to feel good than to look good. There are your weekend jeans, painting jeans, dress up jeans, wear with heels jeans. And really, none of them fit perfectly. With jeans, you just have to get close and live with it.

What’s worse than shopping for jeans? Shopping for bras. Sorry, guys, but if we have to suffer, so do you. This is implanted on our female psyches at an impressionable age by our mothers. It’s a miserable task, take my word for it. You have to find the one that makes you stand up, stand out and not give you back boobs. You know, back boobs, that fat that rolls over the top of your bra strap in back right between your armpits and your spine. So not pretty. Shopping for bras is nothing like a Victoria Secret commercial. There’s no angel there with a measuring tape making the experience all ethereal. It’s usually some really old lady who’s had tuna sandwiches for lunch for the past 16 years.

And at the top of the list of things we all hate to shop for: bathing suits. Unless you’re an Olympic qualifier, Speedo is not a brand anyone should consider in any style. The simplest way to handle bathing suit shopping is to accept that you’re going to be miserable and be grateful for winter because suddenly jeans aren’t so bad.

What I Heard This Week! March 15, 2018

What I Heard This Week March 15, 2018

What I Heard This Week by Lisa Baker

I was reprimanded by one of my readers last week because Thursday March 8th was International Women’s Day, a day to celebrate social, economic, cultural and political achievement of women. I’m so sorry. I was unaware of this day, and I now stand corrected. Thank you, Mark.  In my heart, I believe that I celebrate every day by raising a strong, compassionate, confident daughter that likes and respects herself enough to demand respect from those around her – she is going to make a difference in this world. I am raising a son that not only honors women but understands that every woman is capable of doing any-and-every little thing she can educate herself to do. Yes, boys and girls are different, that’s why my daughter had a Little Tyke’s workbench and my son had a kitchen set. At my house, it’s more than a day, it’s a lifestyle.

Stephen Hawking – Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change.”

Stephen Hawking, the world’s most famous physicist and one of the finest minds in the world, was diagnosed with a debilitating disease (ALS) in graduate school and given just a few years to live. He was confined to a wheelchair for decades and in later years, he communicated by blinking his eyes to control a computer and a digitally simulated voice. The 2014 movie, The Theory of Everything, was award winning. (After seeing it, I don’t understand why he never received a Nobel Prize.) Hawking said, “Despite my disability, I have managed to do most things I want. My main regret is that it has prevented me from playing with my children and grandchildren as fully as I want.”  He died Tuesday night at the age of 76. He has the greatest quotes.

Stephen Hawking – “One, remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Two, never give up work. Work gives you meaning and purpose and life is empty without it. Three, if you are lucky enough to find love, remember it is there and don’t throw it away.”

Last week, my daughter wanted to go to White Oak Music Hall and see Coin, an American Indie pop band. The tickets were only $20, and I like their music, so I agreed. The venue is awesome, and the parking was a dream. If I wanted to drink, I had to have an armband which meant they would check my driver’s license. As good as that would have make me feel, I opted for water. It was an hour and a half dance party, the lighting was great, and the boys are so cute, but man, did I feel old. The music had so much bass it made my teeth hurt and it was just so stinking loud. Apology to my mom. What goes around, comes around.

An 18-year-old waitress at a La Marque Waffle House has received a $16,000 scholarship from Texas Southern University after she helped cut up food for an elderly customer that was on oxygen, had trouble with his hands and was struggling to eat his meal. She was working to save money for college. Nice story and smart move for TSU. We need more compassion in the world.

Stephen Hawking – However difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at.”

The US Army Corps of Engineers said leading up to and during Harvey they worked diligently with officials in Houston to inform the public on flooding risks from reservoirs but that some local officials didn’t issue advisories for days.

There was a sale at the Alamo Village Set in San Antonio, where over 2,000 items from movie sets dating back to the early 1950’s, were sold. Scripts from Lonesome Dove, antiques and artifacts from films like The Alamo, Davy Crockett, and The Man Who Came Back. Bet that was interesting.

RECENT BIRTHDAYS: Former astronaut Frank Borman is 90.  Apollo 8 and oldest living former American astronaut. Actor Michael Caine is 85. He has hinted that his days as a film star may be coming to an end, but he was great in Interstellar. And remember Alfie. Composer-conductor Quincy Jones is 85. He has recently apologized for recent claims that included he knows who killed JFK, that Michael Jackson stole many of his hit songs, that Marlon Brando had sex with Richard Pryor and other stuff that makes me think he’s either not getting enough attention or he’s not just getting old, he’s acting old. He acknowledged that his friends “called him out.

Prince Albert II is 60. Ruler of Monaco. Singer-musician Taylor Hanson is 35. Hanson. Olympic gold-medal gymnast Simone Biles is 21. Actress Barbara Feldon is 85. Agent 99. Actress-singer Liza Minnelli is 72. Singer-songwriter James Taylor is 70. Singer Mary Wilson is 74. The Supremes. Oooh Child. Rock singer-musician David Gilmour is 72. Longtime member of Pink Floyd. Director Rob Reiner is 71. Meathead. Likely the most underrated film director of the modern era. The Princess Bride, When Harry Met Sally, Misery, A Few Good Men. Reporter John Stossel is 71. Hmmm. He doesn’t look like 71.

Comedian Billy Crystal is 70. In ‘When Harry Met Sally,’ he said, “When I buy a new book, I read the last page first. That way, in case I die before I finish, I know how it ends.”

Boston Celtics legend and NBA Hall of Fame JoJo White died from complications of dementia that was brought on by the removal of a benign brain tumor in 2010. He was 71.

Texas-New Mexico Power Co. is warning customers of a scam in which threatens that your electric service will be disconnected if you do not make an immediate payment. Hang up on them and call the number on your bill if you wish to check your billing status.

A 10-month old French Bulldog puppy named KoKito, died after a United Airlines flight attendant told the owners to place the dog and its carrier in the overhead bin for a three-hour flight leaving Houston to NY. United Airlines said that this was a tragic accident, pets should never be placed in the overhead bin and that they assume full responsibility. As a new mother to our two ‘Harvey’ rescue kittens, I realize how quickly a pet becomes a huge part of the family.

Stephen Hawking – “People who boast about their IQ are losers.”

Being in the newspaper business is ‘pretty fun’ most days. I get to meet a lot of new people and find out about how and why they went into business. This last week I met Jayson at Jay’s Oil 2 Go. This one is a winner. Book your appointment, pick the time and location and he will come to you for your oil change. It comes with free vehicle inspection, tire and brake check, window wash and a vacuum of the interior of the vehicle. I would call fast because this nice guy is going to be busy. See his ads on pages 16 and 19.

The Texas Department of Public Safety will begin recording the height, weight and waistlines of its more than 4,000 troopers during their routine physical readiness test. The state has slowly increased its fitness standards since 2010 and some officers are concerned that this is an attempt to push out older troopers. Bah. Maybe they just want healthy officers.

According to Ancestry.com, the most popular last names in the state of Texas are Garcia, Smith and Martinez. Popular names in other states include Smith, Johnson, Williams, Jones, Anderson, Brown, and Miller. Minnesota adds Nelson, North Dakota adds Olson and ‘Irish’ Massachusetts adds Sullivan. Hawaii has Lee, Wong and Kim and California has Garcia, Hernandez and Lopez.

A Nederland woman was charged with continuous sexual abuse of a family member and sentenced to 50 years after she forced an 11-year-old into sexual acts in 2015. It occurred a second time in 2016 when the victim was 12. The woman will not be eligible for parole and will be a registered sex offender for life. Not long enough or tough enough in MY opinion.

Audrey Hepburn – “To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.”

For the love of Texas: Since Harvey, I haven’t worked in my garden except to dig up sweet potatoes that came up accidently in my compost pile. They were big, fat and delicious because my “compost gardens” are always better than the stuff I plant on purpose. One year I had 5 different kinds of tomatoes all winter long just from my compost. With that said, I feel that, on occasion my job is to remind you about pollinators, so here goes. Too soon, flowers will only exist in photographs without pollinators.  1 out of every 3 bites of food you eat is available because of the butterflies & bees, and according to the Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission, they service over 180,000 different plants and more than 1,200 crops. Without these butterflies & bees, our food supply will be in peril. They are losing their nesting and feeding habitats because of pollution, climate change, disease as well as the misuse of chemicals. What can you do? Plant flowers that continuously flower for as long as our zone allows. For us, that’s a pretty long period of time. I had five different kinds of zinnias last year, along with the tiny flowers that bloom when I allow my broccoli, cilantro, and dill, to go to seed and I plant milkweed for the monarchs. So, please plant flowers. Have fresh water for the pollinators, don’t forget to feed the hummingbirds and the birds, and eliminate the use of pesticides in your yard and garden. Become a part of the solution.

This is interesting. New research is questioning the use of the usual saline IV bags used on almost every patient in every hospital in the US. By using a different intravenous fluid, it could greatly reduce the risk of death or kidney damage. Some doctors are hoping the results will persuade hospitals to switch.

Elvis ‘D/8520’ Presley performs shows as the late superstar Elvis A. Presley and has now officially filed to run as the Libertarian nominee for a congressional seat in Arkansas. All Shook Up.

Stephen Hawking – “Silent people have the loudest minds.”

The Walt Disney Co. is investing $100-million to bring themed treatment rooms, linens and gowns featuring each child’s favorite characters, play cars with Disney-themed games, activities and even pop-up movie theaters in children’s hospitals across the nation. They will begin with Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston. WooHoo

The state of Oregon has sued Nevada gambling mogul Steve Wynn and the board of directors of Wynn Resorts for failing to act in the best interests of shareholders and stop sexual misconduct. Oops.

James Dean died at the age of 24 in 1955. The cherry-red jacket that he wore in Rebel Without a Cause is expected to bring as much as $600,000 when it goes up for auction.

It was so windy when I was walking to the gym that I was blown into the wine store.

If you hear a story that you feel needs to be in this column, let me know (in case I forget or don’t see it.) I won’t promise you that I’ll use it, but I’ll consider it for sure. Thank you for the emails and phone calls saying such nice things about the column. I love to hear from you and I appreciate the fact that you picked this paper up to read today. Lisa@TheSourceWeekly.com

– Lisa


What I Heard This Week! March 8, 2018

What I Heard This Week March 8, 2018

What I Heard This Week by Lisa Baker

Tourists catching a flight out of Las Vegas can now dump their leftover legal marijuana in metal containers set up at the airport. The 10 green bins are named “amnesty boxes” and are there to prevent agents from finding pot on passengers during security screenings since the drug is legal in Nevada but still banned by the US government. Years ago, I remember Hobby Airport allowing me to mail my baby buck knife back to myself because I had left it in my purse. If someone had told me then that someday we would be dumping pot at the airport…

In 2005, Franklin Graham visited Angola Prison (Louisiana State Penitentiary) where the Graham family had donated more than $200,000 to help build chapels and support prison ministry. In earlier years, a new warden had decided that prisoners shouldn’t be buried inside crate-like boxes not much sturdier than cardboard, so a casket-building program was started. When the younger Graham visited, he asked to have the carpenters make a casket for his mother, Ruth Bell Graham and his father, then to burn the builders’ names into the wood. The caskets cost $215 each. Ruth Bell Graham died in June 2007 and Rev. Billy Graham died last month. The caskets said, “Hand-Crafted by Richard Liggett, Clifford Bowman and Paul Krolowit.”

eeeeeek.  A woman was at Memorial City Mall one morning last week before the retail store where she worked opened for the day.  A man attacked her in the restroom, choked her with a plastic bag used as a rope, hit, kicked and stomped on her then left her unconscious on the floor. She sustained injuries to her face and lost several teeth. Warning. Never let your guard down. It can happen anywhere.

Anne-Elisabeth and I went to the Rodeo on Friday evening and saw Leon Bridges perform. He was, of course, spectacular. The new stage rolled out, his band members were dressed in sharp black suits, the lights went down, and Leon Bridges appeared in black and white silk polka-dotted shirt and black pants. No boots and jeans for these guys. It was perfect. But, there are no words to describe the new stage. We had $6 tickets and it cost $7 to ride in from the Reed Road Park-n-Ride. So, for $13 each, it was a very affordable and entertaining evening. Go see the stage!

Rodeo Food: This year there is a bacon cheeseburger with a funnel cake bun, bacon-wrapped cinnamon rolls, deep-fried cookie dough on a stick, chocolate cobbler, fried bread pudding on a stick, pizza on a stick, cookie-dough parfait, liquid-nitrogen-dipped blobs of cotton-candy-flavored whipped cream…artic bonbons that disintegrate on your tongue and create plumes of smoke in your mouth, a foot-long corn dog slathered in crushed Flamin’ Hot Cheetos and more. Oh, and salad.

Flamin’ Hot Cheetos were the invention of then 55-year-old Richard Montanez, who was a janitor at a Frito-Lay plant. He was inspired by the Mexican dish Elote (corn dusted with spices) so he thought to add some chili powder to unflavored Cheetos. The rest is history and now Fox Searchlight will film a movie about his wild success story. Nope, I’m not kidding. Coming soon to a movie theatre near you.

Experts are warning that video footage is becoming very easy to recreate. It’s call a deepfake – an ultra-realistic fake video made with artificial intelligence software. Until now, computer-generated video was a laborious pursuit only available to big-budget Hollywood producers, but recently hobbyists (that’s a nice word for them) have been experimenting with more powerful tools which make it so easy to make fake, look real. So, if you find a “Lisa Does Dallas,” don’t believe it. Just kidding. Experts worry that people will use it to blackmail others. The article said that we need to educate people that this is a possibility, so warning. You read it here first.

RECENT BIRTHDAYS: Actors James and Oliver Phelps are 32. Harry Potter. Author Tom Wolfe is 88. The Bonfire of the Vanities. Actress Laraine Newman is 66. Saturday Night Live. Singer Jay Osmond is 63. Pop musician John Cowsill is 62. Rock singer Jon Bon Jovi is 56. Actor Daniel Craig is 50. Singer Chris Martin is 41. Magician Penn Jillette is 63.  Actor Dean Stockwell is 82. Energy Secretary Rick Perry is 68.

Musician Emilio Estefan is 65. Actress Patricia Heaton is 60. Gay rights activist Chaz Bono is 49. Actor director dancer Tommy Tune is 79. Hall of Fame auto racer Mario Andretti is 78. Actress Bernadette Peters is 70. Country singer Jason Aldean is 41. Former CBS newsman Bob Schieffer is 81. Former professional wrestler Ric Flair is 69. Actress Tea Leoni is 52. Latin singer Julio Iglesias Jr. is 45.

David Ogden Stiers who was the tall, balding, somewhat snobbish surgeon on M*A*S*H, died at the age of 75. He was also the voice of Cogsworth, the strong-willed pendulum clock in the 1991, Beauty and the Beast.

My peeve for the week. Lowe’s on Saturday morning. The lines were really, long outside, so I decided to do self-checkout lines inside. Huge mistake. I was carrying everything because someone had borrowed my basket while I was looking the other direction, (hope you enjoy that Boston fern that I hand-picked). There were “only” about ten people in each line inside ☹. Three registers out of four were working. The fourth one had a bag over its head like an empty gas pump. It was excruciating to watch the difficulties involved in getting through those lines. By the time I left, there was only one register working. Wouldn’t it be better, more cost & time efficient to have a trained real person to check people out?

According to Wikipedia: A pet peeve is a minor annoyance that an individual identifies as particularly annoying to themselves, to a greater degree than others may find. Its first usage was around 1919. The term is a back-formation from the 14th-century word peevish, meaning “ornery or ill-tempered”. So, there is it.  I’m ornery and Ill-tempered.

The Oscars: Jennifer Garner had on a drop-dead gorgeous cobalt blue gown with her hair parted and swept to one side. It was stunning. She was stunning and my favorite. Ben Affleck, eat your heart out. You didn’t deserve her. Rita Moreno showed up wearing the same dress that she wore 56 years ago (1962) when she won the Oscar for “West Side Story.” The skirt fabric was Obi, which is the sash that Japanese women use in their kimonos. She simply changed the neckline and added a necklace. That’s true style in my book, but she shouldn’t have changed the neckline. Lupita Nyong’o was another perfect look in gold. I don’t think I’ve ever seen her in anything BUT perfect. Helen Mirren looked fabulous. She has so much style. Emma Stone wore a silk pant suit that was really, nice. Did you know that until 1940, women could be arrested for wearing pants in public and it wasn’t until 1972 that girls were guaranteed the right to wear pants to school. I remember my first pant suit – the top matched the pants and was the same length as my fingertips, khaki-colored polyester double knit that is likely still around today because polyester doesn’t die. Oh, yes. The Oscars. Keala Settle performed “This Is Me” from “The Greatest Showman.” Nice. Eddie Vedder played Tom Petty’s 1999 single, “Room at the Top,” which was beautiful, while the Academy recalled the lives and legacies of those that had left us this year. Many were upset because they missed some important people like Robert Guillaume, John Hillerman, Adam West, Jim Nabors and Rose Marie but it would be hard to remember them all. They’re dropping like flies. 😊 A man was arrested after stealing Frances McDormand’s trophy during the Governors Ball. She was reunited with Oscar and celebrated with a double cheeseburger from In-N-Out Burger.

Thank you for reading this today.
Hope you have a great week…
– Lisa


Much Ado About Nothing – What I Don’t Understand

Much Ado About Nothing March 8, 2018


Much Ado by Jean Ciampi

Did you know that 48.8% of Millennials felt climate change was the most critical issue facing our world today and that 78.1% said they’d be willing to change their lifestyle to protect the environment? I do my part and recycle and stuff, but I’m going to let younger, more energetic minds worry about the big issues, and I’ll worry about things like, why do cows all point the same direction when they stand together in a field? Maybe it’s part of climate change.

After you find the answer to that one, can someone please tell me why several days of sub-freezing weather only kills vegetation that has been paid for? If I paid good money for something in my flowerbed, it’s dead. Frozen, mushy, brown and dead. But the weeds come back energized and heartier than ever after their winter cryo-therapy. Why? If I bought weeds, would they die? Could I shred up some dollar bills for mulch for a better effect than wasting those same dollars on weed control and Round-Up®? Wouldn’t that be environmentally more responsible than applying all those chemicals anyway?!

Here’s another good question that maybe anyone can field: What’s an Instant Pot? Is it not cool to just have a Crock-Pot® anymore? Or is an Instant Pot just a Crock-Pot on crack? Maybe it should just be called a Crack-Pot. In so very many ways, I think that might fit.

I realize I could just ask Alexa or Siri or whoever the unseen-but-all-hearing entity is that lives inside the electronics that seem to have invaded my life. Except I don’t understand those either. To be honest, I’m still utterly fascinated at the magic of radio waves. My television screen had a message telling me to speak my request into my remote control. There was a time when doing things like that would get you a one-way trip to the booby hatch, so I’m not sure I’m completely comfortable with that quite yet.

Oh yeah, and can someone tell me why a good pair of scissors comes in a package that can only be opened with a good pair of scissors? Not to state the obvious, but if I had a good pair of scissors to open the package, I wouldn’t, well, need to open the package.

You see, Millennials, why I leave it to you to fix the big things.

You can also find “Much Ado About Nothing” online at www.thewriterjean.com.

What I Heard This Week! March 1, 2018

What I Heard This Week March 1, 2018

What I Heard This Week by Lisa Baker

There is a revival of the cocktail culture, and in an attempt to encourage more women to drink scotch whiskey, Johnnie Walker is rolling out a limited U.S. edition and changing their logo from Johnnie, the traditional top hatted man, to Jane Walker, a female version. Women, are you encouraged to go buy Johnnie Walker or is this just plain silly. Why do women need their own whiskey?

The Family of a Houston woman is suing her former landlord and a pest control company, claiming that a bedbug-killing heat treatment used in the woman’s apartment, killed her. The treatment was a non-chemical method which raises the temperature to above 139 degrees. The woman entered the apartment after treatment and in a short time, lost consciousness and was rushed to the hospital where she died of hyperthermia – a condition that results when the body absorbs more heat than it can dissipate.

Flu activity has declined for the third straight week, so it’s a hopeful sign that the season may have peaked – but no one will say that out loud since it’s been such an unusually bad year. I still have tea tree oil and other essential oils running at my office every day. None of us had the flu.

Rita Schiano – “Talking about our problems is our greatest addiction. Break the habit. Talk about your joys.”  This was very interesting to research because it makes you think about ‘The Laws of Attraction.’ Do you want to attract people that only talk about their problems or do you want to spread positive energy that creates an environment for others around us to do the same. Could we change the world by letting go of negative conversation? This has my attention.

Mattel, best known for clean-cut Barbie, is releasing a game called Flushin’ Frenzy that sends brown plastic poop flying into the air. Hasbro released Toilet Trouble where water squirts on you from a toy toilet. This year they are releasing Don’t Step In It, a game where players are blindfolded and have to avoid stepping in piles of poop made out of a clay-like substance. Hog Wild Co. has Sticky the Poo, where you throw a squishy poop shaped mess with eyes and it clings to the wall.  Their rainbow version is called Sticky Unicorn Poo and it has rainbow colored poop. Poopeez makes squishy collectibles with names like Pooji, Skid Mark and Dumpling which is aimed at boys age 7-years and up.  Geez. Go buy your kids a game where they can actually learn something.

March 2nd is “Read Across America Day,” Grab a book & read so your kids don’t have to play poop games.

In early 2016, General Mills starting using natural sources for color, such as turmeric, strawberries and radishes in their Trix cereal. Well, people whined… “natural just doesn’t taste as good as artificial dyes and flavors,” so now Classic Trix is back on the shelves, along with the healthy version. Hmmm.

Reddit cofounder Alexis Ohanian, installed four giant billboards in California proclaiming that Serena Williams is the “greatest momma of all time,” to welcome her back to tennis after giving birth in September. Eighteen years ago, I had my daughter and went back to work (with her in tow) in less than a week and no one gave me a party.

Barbara Streisand loved her Coton du Tulear, Samantha, so much that she recently revealed that her two new pups, Miss Violet and Miss Scarlett, were cloned via cells extracted from Samantha’s mouth and stomach.

RECENT BIRTHDAYS: Singer Mitch Ryder is 73. CC Rider, Devil with a Blue Dress On.  Singer Michael Bolton is 65. Film music company executive David Geffen is 75.  Asylum Records in 1970, Geffen Records in 1980, DGC Records in 1990, and DreamWorks SKG in 1994. Actress Tyne Daly is 72. Cagney & Lacey.  Country singer Mary Chapin Carpenter is 60. Actor William Baldwin is 55. Author Amy Tan is 66. The Joy Luck Club. Actor Jeff Daniels is 63.

Britain’s Prince Andrew is 58. Author Toni Morrison is 87. Beloved. Movie director Milos Forman is 86. Amadeus. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. The People vs. Larry Flynt. Musician Dennis DeYoung is 71. He is credited as the writer of more Styx songs than any other Styx member. Actress Cybill Shepherd is 68. Moonlighting. The Last Picture Show. Taxi Driver. Psych. Actor John Travolta is 64. Game-show host Vanna White is 61.

Actor Matt Dillon is 54. Rapper Dr. Dre is 53. Actress Molly Ringwald is 50.  American artist, author, actress, fashion designer and heiress Gloria Vanderbilt is 94. Actor Sidney Poitier is 91. Actress Sandy Duncan is 72. Newspaper heiress Patricia Hearst is 64. Basketball Hall of Fame Charles Barkley is 55. Model Cindy Crawford is 52.

Nanette Fabray, Broadway actress and singer, died at the age of 97. In her 20’s, she began to lose her hearing and several years later she learned that she had otosclerosis, a disease of the bones of the inner ear that limits the transmission of sound. She underwent several operations from the 1950s to the 1970s that helped restore her hearing. She learned sign language and served on several national commissions to help provide education and job training for people with hearing loss. On the Carol Burnett Show in 1968, she performed an a cappella version of over the Rainbow singing and signing.

Don’t read this one if you don’t care for blood and guts talk. There is a 26-acre research farm affiliated with Texas State University close to San Marcos, called the Freeman Center ‘body farm’ (Forensic Research Anthropology Facility.) Yep, for the past ten years researchers have been studying how human remains decompose and what that means for solving crimes involving dead bodies. 500-bodies later, there are remains in various stages of decay, bodies under tarps or tires, under the ground, and tied up. The lab trains cadaver dogs and helps locate human remains.  What happens to a body depends on the season, heat, humidity, whether the person was on strong antibiotics, the intensity of the sun – all such interesting information.

Singer Paul Simon announced that his 2018 spring tour will be his last. He feels that the travel and time away from his family, detracts from the joy of playing. Simon is 76. He definitely “still has what it takes.”

American Farm Kids: At a high school in North Dakota, a group of students played a prank. They let three goats loose inside the school. But before turning them loose, they painted numbers on the sides of the goats: 1, 2 and 4. School Administrators spent most of the day looking for No. 3. And you thought there was nothing to do in North Dakota!


“To make an oven interior look new, put ¼ cup baking soda in a bowl, then add enough dish soap to form a paste. Remove the oven racks and set them aside. Wipe out scorched food bits with a paper towel and then rub the paste on with a sponge. After 10-minutes, scrub and wipe the interior clean with a damp microfiber clot.” HGTV Magazine

Two shoplifting suspects running from police scaled a fence to get away…oops, they landed in the secure parking lot of the police station. They were arrested.

This is too funny, and I need to share it with you. I’ll set the scene. Boudreaux and Thibodeaux are on their lunch break: Boudreaux and Thibodeaux dey work togetter on da Red River near Moncla. One day, dey sit down to eat when ole Boudreaux pulls out dis long round plastic ting out his lunch box. Thibodeaux say, “Mais, Boudreaux, what dat is you got?” He tell Thiboudeaux, “Dat’s someting new dey done come out widt. It’s what you call a Termis Bottle.” So, Thib ask, “A Termis Bottle…..,what dat do????”
Boudreaux say, “Mais, you put someting hot in it an it keep it hot. You put somting cold an it keep it cold.” Thibodeaux reply, “Oh man, what dey gonna tink of next????? Hey, by da way, what you got in dat new Termis Bottle?”
Boudreaux say, “A cup of soup an two popsicles!!!”

In California, an employee of Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia (40) has filed a complaint with the state. He was fired after he refused to play ‘spin the bottle’ with his boss. It is the second accusation of sexual misconduct against Garcia, who is currently on a voluntary unpaid leave of absence while the Assembly investigates claims that she drunkenly groped a former legislative staff member. Staffers have accused her of fostering an improper work environment, including allegations that she discussed sex and used alcohol at work. Hmmm.

A librarian who had been cataloging old books at New York’s Union College found a grimy, leather-bound 1793 almanac where tucked inside was a yellowed envelope with the hand-written words “Washington’s hair.” Inside was a silvery lock of hair tied with a thread. The book belonged to Philip Schuyler, son of General Philip Schuyler who served under Washington during the Revolutionary War and founded Union College in 1795.  It is likely that Martha Washington gave the snip of hair to Eliza Schuyler, daughter of the general and wife of Alexander Hamilton. The envelope notes, “from James A. Hamilton given him by his mother, August 10, 1871.”  And that is your wee bit of history lesson for today.

Pollutants are generally associated with cars, but according to a study published in Science magazine, our deodorants, perfumes, hair sprays and soaps that keep us smelling good and petroleum-based chemicals in paints and other consumer products, along with pesticides, are as harmful as the emissions from today’s cars and trucks.  So, use as little of the product as you can to get the job done. I use a natural mineral salt deodorant that contains none of the harmful chemicals found in regular deodorants. It’s called Crystal and I give it five stars. Years ago, you could only find it at health food stores, but I now buy it at HEB.

Dick’s Sporting Goods Inc. one of the largest retailers of its kind in the US, is ending sales of assault-style rifles and banning the sale of guns to people younger than 21, according to company Chairman and CEO Edward Stack. He said, “We support and respect the Second Amendment, and we recognize and appreciate that the vast majority of gun owners in this country are responsible, law-abiding citizens. But we have to help solve the problem that’s in front of us. Gun violence is an epidemic that’s taking the lives of too many people, including the brightest hope for the future of America – our kids.”

An impressionist painting by Edgar Degas that was stolen from a Marseille museum in 2009, was found by French customs officers. It was inside a suitcase on a bus and none of the passengers claimed the suitcase during the search.

Thank you for reading this today.
Hope you have a great week…
– Lisa


Much Ado About Nothing – Tide Pods

Much Ado About Nothing March 1, 2018


Much Ado by Jean Ciampi

“God grant me the detergent to wash my clothes, the food to fuel my body, and the wisdom to know the difference.” I honestly thought that the Tide pod thing had reached the pinnacle of stupid until I read a headline in the New York Daily News that said “State lawmakers implore Tide to make less tasty-looking detergent pods.” Obviously someone hasn’t realized that you can’t out-think stupid.

In case you’ve actually been leading a productive, useful life and missed it, the youth of today, the leaders of tomorrow think its fun to challenge each other to explode one of the plastic laundry detergent pods in their mouth. While this might get a bunch of other idiots to watch you do it on YouTube, it also gets you a certain level of priority in the Emergency Room since you’ve likely just poisoned yourself.

Ok, so we can all accept that teenagers have a propensity for stupid. As I recall, teenagers of my Dad’s generation had a thing for swallowing live goldfish — although in their defense, live goldfish aren’t considered deadly bio-hazards. My generation covered ourselves in baby oil before lying in the sun which is why so many of us are dealing with skin cancer. You can already see the increase in risk and the decrease in smart.

What has me smacking my own forehead in utter amazement is that government lawmakers – people that someone actually cast a ballot and put in office – are now trying to pass legislation to keep companies from making anything but food look like food. Have we devolved to such a level of ignorant that this has to happen?

If people will eat Tide pods for fun, then I can assume there are people who will still be reading this, so I’ll just say again: You can’t out-think stupid. Before you ever pass the law that requires soap to look like dirt, teenagers will have long found something more ridiculous and dangerous to do. It’s obviously not enough to just go out and win a trophy, since everyone has one of those.

The way I look at it, teenagers are finally washing their own mouths out with soap. If they could find a way to paddle their own rear ends, there might be a glimmer of hope for the future of our society.

You can also find “Much Ado About Nothing” online at www.thewriterjean.com.

What I Heard This Week! Feb. 22, 2018

What I Heard This Week February 22, 2018

What I Heard This Week by Lisa Baker

A flight from Dubai to Amsterdam had to make an emergency landing in Vienna after one of the passengers had uncontrollable, noisy flatulence. He was asked to stop by his disgusted seatmates who then complained to the crew. The captain then issued a warning to the two men complaining, a fight broke out, the plane made an emergency stop to remove the two men that complained and two women that happened to be sitting on the same row as the men involved, but the farting man stayed on the plane. Get the guy some Beano. The four individuals removed from the plane have been banned from flying Transavia Airlines in the future.

People love a good comeback story. Disgraced and disappointing Johnny Manziel says he was self-medicating with alcohol for bipolar disorder and wants to make a comeback to football now that all that is behind him. This comes at the same exact time that Manziel is releasing a new clothing line called ComebackSZN (Comeback Season for the Hip-Challenged.) How convenient. I’ll believe it when I see it.

According to Google, the top searched “how to spell” word in Texas, is Maintenance.

There is a new exhibit at Houston Museum of Natural Science that opened earlier this month called “Message in a Bottle.” It’s a collection of messages in all sorts of bottles found while cleaning up riverbeds and waterways throughout the nation over the past twenty-years, by Chad Pregracke. There are messages of heartache, anger, jokes, song lyrics, messages written on dollar bills and a Yahtzee sheet.

Mattel’s revenue fell 11 percent last year, so they are looking to turn business around by updating classic brands such as Barbie and Hot Wheels. However, the card game, Uno, had sales up 12 percent in 2017. An Uno smartphone app is in the works for the spring and Mattel has launched a way to play the card game through Facebook Messenger.  Now Mattel is launching the new card game Dos (isn’t that clever) and will have similar rules as Uno, except players make two piles of cards and can throw down two cards at a time instead of one. Cost: $5.99 and it goes on sale at Target in March. Time for family game night again.

As Steve Wynn resigns as chairman and CEO of Wynn Resorts amid sexual misconduct allegations, the company that bears his name is leaving him without any severance or compensation and prohibits his involvement in any competing gambling business for two years. Bummer. Imagine that. Consequences for bad behavior.

There is a norovirus outbreak among staff and volunteers at the Pyeongchang Olympics. Last week the total was up to 261 cases. The outbreak has been traced to contaminated water used in food preparation. Excuse me, I’ve got to go wash my hands.

Houston police said an SUV plunged from the third story of a parking garage after the driver accidentally hit the gas pedal instead of the brakes. Firefighters rescued the woman who was not hurt.   This one would be hard to live down.

The flu seems to be slowing down just a bit. Texas’ new death toll stands at 4,153. Yikes.


Scott Israel – Broward County Sheriff – “I’ve said this time and time again. While the people who are victims of mental health illnesses in the country are being treated, in the opinion of this sheriff, they should not be able to buy, surround themselves with, purchase or carry a handgun. Those two things don’t mix.”

RECENT BIRTHDAYS: Actor Joe Don Baker is 82. Tennessee Sheriff Buford Pusser in Walking Tall. Author Judy Blume is 80. Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing.  Actor-talk show host Arsenio Hall is 62.  Actor Josh Brolin is 50. Actress Christina Ricci is 38. Wednesday Addams in The Addams Family. Actor William Katt is 67. He was the ill-fated prom date in Carrie and his mother was Barbara Hale who was Della Street in the television series Perry Mason. Actor LaVar Burton is 61. Kunta Kinte in Roots.

Actor-rapper Ice-T is 60. Tennis Hall of Fame John McEnroe is 59. Actress Jane Seymour is 67. Singer Melissa Manchester is 67. Blues-rock musician Gary Clark Jr. is 34. Football Hall of Fame Jim Brown is 82. Actor Lou Diamond Phillips is 56. Basketball Hall of Fame Michael Jordan is 55. Actress talk-show host Ellen DeGeneres is 60. Actor Tom Selleck is 73. US Air Force Major General Charles E. ‘Chuck’ Yeager is 95.  Michael Joseph Jackson Jr. aka Prince Michael Jackson is 21.

Musician Peter Tork is 76. The Monkees. Rolling Stone announced today that Micky Dolenz and Mike Nesmith will tour for the first time as a duo, this June. Peter Tork is skipping this tour to focus on his upcoming Lead Belly tribute blues album, “Relax Your Mind” and Davy Jones died at age 66, in 2012. I, for one, would sure love to see them.

Victor HugoMusic expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.

Reverend Billy Graham, preacher to more people than anyone in history, first noted evangelist to take his message behind the Iron Curtain, and advisor to past presidents, has died at age of 99. He was known as a master of the media since he was the first to use telephone, television and satellites to deliver his message to homes, churches and theaters around the world.

A team of 75 staff members from eight specialists at Texas Children’s Hospital have successfully separated 13-month-old identical twin girls conjoined who shared a chest wall, lining of the heart, diaphragm, liver and a large blood vessel connecting their hearts, a very complex procedure.

Useless Information: Zebras are black with white stripes, not white with black stripes. Even under the white hair, they have black skin.

A Prairie View A&M student who said she had been sexually assaulted on campus, filed a report with the university’s police department, went for a sexual assault exam and identified her assailant as policy requires, but  her coach responded by telling her multiple times that she did not need to alert her parents and then…drum roll please…the coach paid for a plane ticket to help the alleged assailant avoid arrest and disciplinary action by the university. The coach left his position several months later, telling the girl’s teammates that she was the reason for his departure. The teammates then retaliated against her. Six, on-campus rapes were reported by Prairie View A&M in 2015. Yikes. Not good.

I am thankful for all those difficult people in my life, they have shown me exactly who I do not want to be.

Former first Lady, Rosalynn Carter is recovering from surgery to remove scar tissue from a portion of her small intestine where a cyst had been removed many years ago. Mrs. Carter is 90.

McDonald’s is taking cheeseburgers and chocolate milk off the Happy Meal menu, in an effort to cut down on the calories, sodium and saturated fat and sugar that kids consume at its restaurants. You can still ask for cheeseburgers and chocolate milk, but it will not list them on the menu. I’m a firm believer that cheeseburgers and chocolate milk are ok, but always in moderation.

According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, “Commonly used food dyes such as Yellow 5, Red 40, and six others, are made from petroleum and pose risks such as hyperactivity, cancer and allergic reactions.” Despite these concerns, millions of pounds of these petroleum-based dyes continue to be used in our food. No warnings. No labels, No nothing. So, avoid products that contain names with numbers. Pick up organic vegetables, fruits and spices that can be used to color frosting and foods naturally, like beets, cranberries, pomegranate, strawberries, roasted bell peppers, paprika, mango, carrots, golden beets, curry turmeric, saffron, blueberries, basil, spinach, mint, avocado and green tea powder.

Quincy Jones – “They were the worst musicians in the world.”  Quincy Jones speaking about the Beatles. Huh? So wrong.

Fergie, of the Black Eyed Peas, sang the national anthem at the NBA All-Star Game and tried something different. She was on pitch, but her tempo, musical accompaniment and very sexy delivery were not exactly typical for a sporting event. Charles Barkley joked that he “needed a cigarette” after her performance. Shaquille O’Neal liked it and said, “leave her alone.” Rosanne Barr said that she sang “better” when she did it almost thirty years ago. Hah. That was a silly thing to say.

Tom Petty’s family says his death last year was due to an accidental drug overdose, because he suffered from emphysema, a fractured hip and knee problems that caused him great pain. He should have rested but was committed to finishing his tour which he had just finished a few days before he died in October at age 66. Too many pain medications.

KFC has been forced to close stores across the UK due to the lack of chicken. What can I say. I hope they have Popeyes, Church’s or Cane’s.

omgosh. Justin Theroux and Jennifer Aniston broke up. In a perfect Hollywood world, Brad Pitt is waiting for her at the corner. In a perfect world, Brad would be waiting for ‘all of us’ at the corner.

Police in a Philadelphia suburb were notified that a person in a Tyrannosaurus rex costume was walking their kid to school this week. I don’t see that as a problem and neither did the officers.

In a suburban Detroit home, a man destroyed his home by using a smoke bomb to get rid of skunks. A spark quickly spread from a crawlspace to the first floor, through the walls and the attic, finally destroying the entire home. No skunk carcasses were found in the ruins.

Dang. I missed it. While we are all glued to our TV’s watching the Olympics, sixty-four dachshunds were at Sam Houston Race Park competing in the 11th Annual Weiner Dog Races. Roxy, age 6, took the top spot with rescue Snookie, age 7, coming in second.

Lexus was the most dependable vehicle brand for the seventh consecutive year in JD Power’s annual survey. Porsche, Buick, Infiniti and Kia were the other top five performers and the worst were Chrysler, Land Rover, Fiat, Jeep and Cadillac.

A 61-year-old Florida man was arrested after using his apartment wall for target practice. His neighbors that shared the wall, awakened to a loud bang, finding holes in their bedroom and living room walls.

Thanks for reading this…

– Lisa

What I Heard This Week! Feb. 15, 2018

What I Heard This Week February 14, 2018

What I Heard This Week by Lisa Baker

Billionaire casino mogul Steve Wynn stepped down as CEO of Wynn Resorts, which he founded, because of sexual misconduct allegations. Not a single person, but dozens of former and current employees have accused him of pressuring employees to have sex with him – and other things. He blames his ex-wife for somehow pulling this all together in order to ruin him. As I roll my eyes, I wonder to myself, “How did she do that.”

The Food and Drug administration approved the first drug for breast cancer patients with inherited BRCA gene mutations who have already undergone chemotherapy. The drug has been on the market since 2014 for ovarian cancer. This is great! We were all clapping until we got to the part about the drug, Lynparza, costing $13,886 a month without insurance. I remember sitting by myself in the doctor’s office the day I received the diagnosis of breast cancer and feeling sick to my stomach.  I can’t help but believe the only thing worse would be to have someone tell me that there is a drug out there, but you can’t have it because it’s too expensive. I’m speechless. $13,886 for a month.

Italians recently began to understand why their postal service is considered to be unreliable. More than a half-ton of undelivered mail was discovered in a postman’s garage. That’s 1,260 pounds. Police were tipped off when volunteers from a recycling center reported receiving 25 big yellow containers from the postal service, with mail inside. So, a thief with a conscience for recycling. He can’t be all bad.

The South African city of Cape Town is running out of water. Soon. Like it should happen around the middle of April. It’s blamed on climate change and the city’s growing population. They need rain. When they run out, people will turn off their taps until it rains and line up for rationed water. It will be the first major city in the world to run out of water.

Japanese scientists are suggesting that when they used the chemical Dimethylpolysiloxane (found in silicone) that they can mass produce hair follicles that grow hair when transplanted into mice. This chemical is also used to cook French Fries. If I see a bunch of bald guys lined up at McDonald’s when I head home…

A McKinney, Texas doctor, linked to at least six overdose deaths and who had prescribed more than 1.5 million hydrocodone pills over a 37-month period, was sentenced to 10-years in prison and more than $50,000.

The wife of Donald Trump Jr. opened a letter addressed to her husband and found white powder inside.  She reportedly started coughing and feeling nauseous after that and was sent to the hospital. Turns out, it was just cornstarch. That’s pretty rough stuff…cornstarch.

Ancient Egyptians regarded a tattoo as a sign of wealth. I’ve told you before in this column that the inks used can contain printer toner and car paint. A new study has found that the inks also can trigger a permanent allergic reaction, invade lymph nodes and cause tumors at the site of the tattoo. Just saying.

One-year-old Lucas Warren is the new SpokesBaby for Gerber. His photo was chosen from more than 140,000 entries. He will receive $50,000 and his image will be used in the company’s social media posts. His parents were very excited and hope that this will help increase the acceptance of special needs children. Lucas has the biggest, prettiest smile you have ever seen, and has Down Syndrome.

Me: Let me sleep. Brain: LOL no, let’s stay awake and remember every stupid decision you ever made in your life. Me: okay.

RECENT BIRTHDAYS: Actor James Spader is 58. I loved him in Boston Legal. Country singer Garth Brooks is 56. He is opening and closing act at the Rodeo this year. Actor-comedian Chris Rock is 53. Actor Ashton Kutcher is 40. Former Argentinian President Isabel Peron is 87. She was the third wife of Juan Peron (behind second wife, Eva Peron) and served as president of Argentina after his death in 1974.  Former Vice-President Dan Quayle is 71. Rock singer Alice Cooper is 70. Country singer Clint Black is 56.

Olympic gold-medal boxer Oscar De la Hoya is 45. Journalist Roger Mudd is 90. Actress Mia Farrow is 73. Singer Joe Ely is 71. His music is described as honky-tonk, Tex-Mex, and rock and roll. Actress Judith Light is 69. Country singer Travis Tritt is 55. Baseball Hall of Fame Hank Aaron is 84. Football Hall of Fame Roger Staubach is 76. Actress Jennifer Jason Leigh is 56. Fast Times at Ridgemont High.

Actress Faye Dunaway is 77. Bonnie and Clyde. Actor Carl Weathers is 70. Apollo Creed in Rocky. He was killed off by an internet hoax last week but lived to tell us he is actually alive and well.  Movie writer-director Steve Soderbergh is 55. He secretly shot an entire movie using his iPhone. Rapper actor LL Cool J is 50. Rock singer-musician Dave Grohl is 49. Foo Fighters. Actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus is 57. Seinfeld. She is now fighting breast cancer.

Actor Patrick Dempsey is 52. Dr. McDreamy. Actor Robert Wagner is 88. Singer Roberta Flack is 81. The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face. Killing Me Softly with His Song. Feel Like Makin’ Love. Olympic gold-Medal swimmer Mark Spitz is 68. World Golf Hall of Fame Greg Norman is 63.  Actress Emma Roberts is 27. Actress Chloe Grace Moretz is 21.

Singer producer T-Bone Burnett is 70. In 2005, he worked with actors Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon for their singing roles as Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash in the film Walk the Line and produced the film’s soundtrack album and wrote the score.

LL Bean, famous for their lifetime product replacement program guarantee, is no longer interested in replacing worn-out boots that you found at a garage sale. Yes, there has been some abuse from customers and non-customers, so now LL Bean is forced to have stricter rules which require providing proof of purchase and one year to make a return.  I worked for Sears in high school and a lady (I use that term lightly) brought in a bathing suit that was many, many years old. Even the style was out-of-style. It looked like she had tied it to her bumper and drug it through the streets. We had to go back through years of hand-written (no computers) steno pads, then gave her money back. That still bothers me.

By the way, thanks for reading this today…

Please spay or neuter your pet. Seriously. Harvey affected every one of us. Some more than others. Since my daughter and I rescued the litter of five kittens in the middle of the storm, I seem to have a huge weak spot for the SPCA.  From August 24th to September 24th, they received 783 pets into their care.  Support them if you can. They need your help with either money or supplies. SPCABC.org

A 20-year-old Florida man that won a $452-million Mega Millions jackpot, chose to take a one-time lump-sum of $281,874,999. He said, “I intend to take care of my family, have some fun along the way and cement a path for financial success so that I can leave a legacy far into the future.” Nice words.

A dinosaur skeleton has been unearthed in Egypt’s Western Desert. It’s the size of a city bus and researchers are hoping to find many more of the new dinosaur species which are long-necked herbivores. It lived about 80-million years ago and is being called the “holy grail” of dinosaur discoveries.

Useless Information: The dot over the letter ‘i’ is called a tittle. Tittle also means ‘iota’ or ‘little bit’ as in, I don’t care one tittle.

A North Dakota woman was sentenced to life in prison without parole after killing a pregnant 22-year-old neighbor by cutting the baby from the mother’s womb as she faded in and out of consciousness.

A professor of psychology at San Diego University, says, “The more we learn about kids and smartphones, the more we’re going to see that limiting their exposure is a good idea.”  I say it’s so hard for kids to separate what they see on social media from real life. Snapchat or Instagram photos make everyone look happy and everything is perfect, which is not always real but who is going to post something that makes them look bad. They post the newest clothes, the cutest pets, and ‘everything perfect.’ It is believed that this is contributing to teen depression which had a 60% rise in the US between 2010 and 2016. There is a company now that manufactures lockable phone pouches that students keep with them but can’t be opened until the end of the school day. Hmmm.

Fidel Castro’s oldest son committed suicide at the age of 68 after being treated for depression in recent months. His nickname was Fidelito or Little Fidel because of how much he looked like his father who died in 2016.

If you get into a collision on the road, you need to quickly determine if everyone is safe, then you need to think outside the box and figure out if the crash was an accident or was it staged. Yep. Get your normal information…name, address, driver’s license, car insurance and license plate number, then look for witnesses. Ask for their statements about what they saw and make sure to get their contact information. Make a recording of the event with your cellphone, take photos of the witnesses, the other drivers involved, their DL info and count the passengers in the other vehicle – con artists often file claims for people who weren’t in the car during the collision. Beware of tow trucks that appear before you’ve called for help. Beware of people who try to encourage you to use a specific doctor, lawyer or body shop. When in doubt, call the police. Record the officer’s name/s and get a copy of the report for your insurance company.

Netflix cut its ties with Kevin Spacey last fall after he was accused of sexual misconduct with a minor, then suspended production on House of Cards and wrote Spacey’s character out of the series, then canceled a new movie project where Spacey would have starred as the late author Gore Vidal. It was reported that all in all, this could cost the company around $39-million. Sorry, Netflix.

The Printing Museum, in Houston, which has been closed since a May 2016 fire, has reopened with a fresh look, updated displays, and a bindery with tools for making books. Printing isn’t dead, and this museum is fun. 1324 West Clay. 713-522-4652. Thank you for supporting print.

The city of Lake Jackson is 75 years old. The first shovelful of dirt to build LJ was turned on December 8th, 1941, one day after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Dow Chemical was building the first plant along the Texas Gulf coast near Velasco and Freeport therefore needed housing for the families of the employees who built and then operated the plant.  Alden Dow was a student of Frank Lloyd Wright and developed a master plan for the city. Check out page ___ for planned celebrations honoring this event. Happy Birthday Lake Jackson, City of Enchantment.

Tomorrow is National “Slap your Annoying Co-Worker Day.” If you’re not sure who that is, I would call in sick. Just kidding.

– Lisa

Much Ado About Nothing – Olympics

Much Ado About Nothing February 14, 2018


Much Ado by Jean Ciampi

I’m sorry, but there will be no column this week. For that matter, next week is kind of questionable as well. Honestly, don’t really look for much from me until after the Olympics are over. I’m completely and unashamedly addicted. If there were a 12-Step Program for Olympic coverage, I’d have the meetings at my house – during the commercials, of course.  Otherwise, please no talking.

I’ll watch anything Olympic. Every sport. Preliminary qualifying rounds for the Skeleton could be broadcast at 3:40am local time and I’m setting an alarm. I don’t want to miss one thrilling moment of seeing tiny people go screaming headfirst down a treacherous ice track on a tiny sled at 60mph to what could be, with one misjudged turn, their untimely death. This year, brothers from Latvia are battling each other for a medal in the sport. One is at his third Olympics with no medal and the other one earned silver in Sochi. Oh the drama! I’ve got to see how it comes out. Meanwhile, I’ll wait while you go Google “skeleton” and “Latvia.”

Over the past three years and 50 weeks, I haven’t thought about – and certainly haven’t watched – men’s half pipe competition. Now? Now, I’m asking the cashier at Target how did the Canadian not land that backside triple 1440 nose grab? Then I’m leaving the store in complete shock that she was not as impressed with his follow up chicken salad and the backside rodeo. I’m completely baffled by some people’s priorities.

I think it was utterly brilliant to hold the Olympics in South Korea. With the attention of the entire world focused on the Korean peninsula, there’s no way that wacky North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un is going to misbehave with one of his atomic missiles that seem to always be pointed at us. Nothing makes the whole planet side against you than screwing up the Olympics with a hostile act of aggression. For that matter, I’m even building up some hard core resentment against Mother Nature for her failure to cooperate with the events in the mountains.

So, if you’ll excuse me, the women’s biathlon qualifying rounds are starting. How do you not watch a bunch of girls awkwardly slush through the snow with a rifle on their backs then stop and shoot the nose off a gnat? Chant with me now: USA! USA!

You can also find “Much Ado About Nothing” online at www.thewriterjean.com.

Much Ado About Nothing – Zombie Ants Redux

Much Ado About Nothing February 8, 2018


Much Ado by Jean Ciampi

Originally published May 6, 2010, I’m rerunning this column as proof that no one – not man nor beast or even ants – are safe from the Zombie Apocalypse.

I was sitting around somewhere recently where I had to wait. Probably a doctor’s office or the oil change place or something. This is usually the only chance I have to actually pick up a magazine and thumb through it. At this particular hurry-up-and-wait location, I picked up a back issue of Texas Monthly to read the article on fire ants. Oh, that was a mistake.

It seems that those wacky researchers at Texas A&M have discovered that there is this certain type of fly that will lay eggs in the neck of fire ants. The larvae then start to feed on the fluids of the fire ant’s body until it gets to the brain. As it devours the ant brain – and what a gourmet meal that has to be – the ant slowly becomes a zombie. The ant zombie then mindlessly wanders away from the mound forgetting that it has important work to do, like organizing commando raids on innocent gardeners.

Eventually, far from the mound it used to call home and completely devoid of brain function and bodily fluids, the ant’s head finally just falls off and the new fly emerges.

First of all, this whole thing has a gross-out rating of 38 on a scale from one to 10. I hate fire ants as much as the next guy, but fly larvae who live in ant necks and eat their brains is disgusting. Don’t get me wrong, just because it’s disgusting doesn’t mean I’m not all for it. I just think that there’s a B-horror movie script in this: “Attack of the Zombie Ants” or “Lord of the Brain-Eating Flies.” Feel free to pause here and come up with a few of your own.

Secondly, what super nerd A&M scientist happened to be tagging along behind some pregnant fly to discover she was planting larvae in ant necks? Or did he work backwards? “Hey, where did all these headless zombie ants come from?” Either way, there’s a guy out there who probably needs a make-over on several levels.

What is completely alarming, though, is that more and more I find myself wandering into a room and wondering why I’m there, sometimes feeling dehydrated … Could someone please come check my neck?!?!

You can also find “Much Ado About Nothing” online at www.thewriterjean.com.

What I Heard This Week! Feb. 8, 2018

What I Heard This Week February 8, 2018

What I Heard This Week by Lisa Baker

A student spit on a teacher at Cypress Woods High School so the teacher took off his belt and struck the kid. Wrong thing to do. Of course, it’s all on video. If these teachers don’t think that they are being set up to be videoed, then someone needs to let them know. First off, we don’t know all the facts, but if a child of mine spit on a teacher, there would be hell to pay. But some of us are raising a bunch of kids that don’t understand consequences because there are none. When I was young, and dinosaurs roamed the Earth, we all believed that there was a paddle in the principal’s office that had holes drilled in it so there was a swooshing noise as it flew through the air and made contact with your behind. When someone got in trouble, we all got quiet and listened, so we could hear if there yelping involved when the paddle hit home. We would never, ever have spit on a teacher. I’m not saying that all teachers are perfect because THEY ARE NOT, but we need to raise children to respect not only the position, but to respect themselves or we’re not going to have any teachers worth anything because NO ONE WILL WANT TO BE A TEACHER, or fireman, or police officer. Next week I’ll talk about the paddle with the nails in it…or so we thought.

The first delivery of prescription marijuana in Texas has been delivered. There are three dispensaries in the state, two in Austin and one in Schulenburg.

An autopsy has shown that the young unclothed boy, 3 or 4-years old, whose body washed up on a Galveston shoreline in October, showed signs of neglect and abuse, malnourishment and he had died before being placed in the water, not drowning as had been previously believed. The FBI is offering a $10,000 reward for successful identification and location of the family members caring for the boy at the time of his disappearance. Call 1-800-CALL-FBI or 409-765-3776. Someone, somewhere knows something. Crime Stoppers is offering a $5,000 reward. They released the actual photo of the child the day they found him as a last option. He was a beautiful child with long eyelashes.

Meryl Streep, 68, has filed an application to trademark “Meryl Streep” so others may not profit from her name and fame. I didn’t know you could do that.

Nearly forty years after his wife drowned, investigators are now calling 87-year-old actor Robert Wagner a ‘person of interest’ in the death of Natalie Wood. It is believed that he hasn’t told the whole story about what happened during the boat trip the night of her suspicious death. Really!

The father of two young women that gave statements at the sentencing hearing of Larry Nassar, asked the judge if she would give him “five minutes in a locked room” with Nassar. The judge said no, so he asked for one minute, then rushed across the room to take care of Nassar himself. The father was released without charge. I can’t believe that this hadn’t happened earlier and most of the parents that I know, agree with me.

Not far from the temples of the ancient city of Tikal in northern Guatemala, even the most experienced archaeologists were surprised to find about 60,000 homes, palaces, tombs and even highways hidden in the humid lowlands under the cover of tree canopies in the jungle, built by the Maya over a thousand years ago. Researchers found the structures by shooting lasers down from planes that pierced the thick foliage and painted a 3-D picture of the ground below.

DeLorean Motor Co. plans to start manufacturing the new DeLorean locally in Humble, in early 2019. When the original two-seater rolled off the production lines in 1981, it sold for about $26,000. A used DeLorean now typically costs $55,000 to $65,000. The new DeLorean will sell for around $120,000.

Have you seen the new concert stage for the Rodeo? You should. It’s fan-damn-tastic. OK. Incredible.

RECENT BIRTHDAYS: Rock singer-guitarist Graham Nash is 76. Country singer Howard Bellamy is 72. TV Chef Ina Garten is 70. Model Christie Brinkley is 64. Rapper T-Mo is 46. Singer guitarist Dave Davies is 71. The Kinks. Actress Morgan Fairchild is 68. Actor Nathan Lane is 62. The Birdcage and MouseHunt. Two of my favorites. Actress Katharine Ross is 78. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The Stepford Wives. Vanessa Redgrave is 81.

Actor Tom Selleck is 73. Magnum, P.I. Actress Ann Jillian is 68. It’s a Living. Rock Musician Louie Perez is 65. Los Lobos. La Bamba. Talk show host Oprah Winfrey is 64. Olympic gold-medal diver Greg Louganis is 58. He has been called both “the greatest American diver” and “probably the greatest diver in history.” Actor Gene Hackman is 88. Good grief. I can’t believe this. Oscar for Best Actor in The French Connection. Unforgiven. 79 films. It is said that he is retired but still in charge. I believe it.

Drummer, singer-songwriter, record producer and actor Phil Collins, is 67. Genesis. In the Air Tonight.  Actress Carol Channing is 97. She’s so cute. Composer Philip Glass is 81. I can listen to his music all day long. Google Philip Glass – Metamorphosis.  Actress Jessica Walter is 77. Play Misty for Me. Remember Clint Eastwood as a disc jockey and she was the obsessed fan. I had forgotten. Dang. I love this job.  Baseball Hall of Fame Nolan Ryan is 71. Rock singer Johnny Rotten is 62. Sex Pistols. Actress Minnie Driver is 48. Good Will Hunting.

Comedian Tommy Smothers is 81. I just watched the 20-year reunion show 1988-monologue. I do encourage you to Google it. Funny, I called my son and told him to watch it. It was interesting to look back at why CBS kicked them off the air. They were clean cut, ‘boys next door’ so censorship was not expected. They asked for and were given creative control in 1967. They were up against Bonanza on Sunday evening, where nine other shows had been canned because they didn’t have the ratings to compete with Bonanza.

The city of Friendswood is allowing homeowners that flooded last year along Clear Creek to rebuild at ground level, even though they will be subject to severe flooding in storms much less powerful than Harvey. City officials are using a 20-year-old flood insurance map that underestimates the risk of future floods for thousands of homes in order for approximately 300 homeowners to make repairs without going to the expense of elevating their homes. Friendswood had over 2,400 homes that had from 6” to 48” plus inches of water last year.

Keurig Green Mountain has plans to purchase Dr. Pepper Snapple for nearly $19-+—————–billion. *4an’t some things just stay the same. Several years ago, when Snapple bought out Dr. Pepper and shut down the Dublin, Texas plant, I said I wasn’t ever going to drink Dr. Pepper again. I was depressed. OK, I have cheated a few times but not often. I’m a Waco girl. I still have a couple of bottles of Dublin DP in my file cabinet. I’ll break one out when my daughter graduates from high school.

In the past, I have used this column to complain about a few things, but I’m going to repeat one complaints now because it’s meaningful…why don’t they make women’s clothing with pockets. Real pockets, not half pockets or stitched pockets where your phone falls into the toilet or on to the floor. Men would not put up with a 3” deep pocket. Yes, I got an Otter Box this time. It’s not pretty at all and I wish I had my beautiful tortoise shell back but l I can only lose my phone so many times before I must change my ways. Perhaps this will keep it dry.

Former New Jersey governor Chris Christie has signed to be an occasional contributor to ABC News. Hmmm.

Giant manta rays are being added to the threatened species list by the federal government. Last year, scientists were pleased to discover a large population of juvenile manta rays at the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary, the protected coral reefs about 100 miles off the coast of Galveston.

A Houston chemical container company now faces environmental charges after using a hidden storm drain to dump benzene and other highly toxic, carcinogenic and flammable liquids into waterways near homes and schools that lead to Sims Bayou and then Galveston Bay. Employees were injured as the chemicals burned through their gloves, irritated their eyes then the company refused to pay for their medical care, so they tattle-taled on them. Gee, do you think this will be good for the manta rays.

Researchers at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Shanghai have now used the same cloning technique that produced Dolly the sheep in 1996, to clone two healthy female monkeys named Zhong Zhong and Hua Hua. Since Dolly, they have produced dogs, cats, pigs, cows, ponies and many, many other animals but never a primate which they think will bring them closer to replicating humans. The belief is that this will help in the research of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

The flu season is in its third month and its no better. Continue practicing flu prevention. Wash your hands, don’t put your fingers in your mouth, eyes or nose, and stay home if you can. Flu death in Texas is 2,897 on January 27th.  The Brazoria County Health Department said the flu season started October 1 and as of January 19th, had recorded 1,946 cases. The way I understand it is, there is Flu A and Flu B. If you had one of those, you can still get the other. We have at least another month to go before it slows down.

J.J. Watt won the NFL’s Walter Payton Man of the Year Award for raising more than $37-million in 19 days for Harvey relief fund. He, of course, said, “It’s about so much more than just one man, it’s about a whole city.” He’s so cute and humble. The Man of The Year honors a player each year because of their charitable contributions off the field and excellence on the field. The only other Houston winner has been Warren Moon.

It’s time to prune the crepe myrtles. For those that do it correctly, it’s called pruning. For those that go to cutting and sawing with no knowledge of how to do it properly, it’s called “crepe myrder.” Please avoid the mutilation and read some instructions first. Your trees will be prettier for it and we won’t talk about you behind your back.

Kimberly-Clark, maker of Huggies, Kotex, Scott toilet tissue, Viva and other consumer products says that declining fertility rates in the US have contributed to a decline in diaper sales. The company now plans to dismiss around 5,000 people and sell or close about 10 manufacturing facilities. Amazon.com has launched its own private label brand of diapers.

My son comes home from college often to work at The Clarion but one week-end he came home, just because. He arrived after I was in bed and wanted to talk. A lot. I kept falling asleep as he spoke. He would say, “Mom, are you listening? what did I just say?” and I would repeat small, very tiny words that I pulled from the fog of my non-working brain. This went on forever. It was a lot like Chinese water torture except for people that love each other. Gage, I will do better next time. Love, Mom

Thanks for reading this.

– Lisa

What I Heard This Week! Feb. 1, 2018

What I Heard This Week February 1, 2018

What I Heard This Week by Lisa Baker

A mom turned her 14-year-old son over to police after he and his two friends carjacked an 81-year-old woman at gunpoint outside a Walmart in Florida. Surveillance video captured the three youths and then…his mom saw the video of the carjacking on the news. What a woman. I nominate her for Mom of the Year for the guts and the unbelievable love that it took to turn him in.  He will benefit for the rest of his life. When my kids were that age, I believed in the “pinching of the earlobe between two fingernails,” when discipline was needed, especially when they had embarrassed me in public. It leaves no real evidence other than pink earlobes, but it gets immediate attention. I picture that poor mom with an earlobe in hand, marching her son into the police station.

The Houston Boat Show saw an 18% increase in attendees over last year as 81,000 people shopped earlier this month, looking to replace vessels damaged by Hurricane Harvey.

United Airlines turned down one traveler’s request to bring her ‘emotional support peacock’ on a flight even though the woman said that she had purchased a second ticket for the peacock. The airlines had explained to the customer on three separate occasions that the animal did not meet guidelines including its weight and size. What about the poop?

The head of Hawaii’s Emergency Management Agency has resigned and the employee who issued a ballistic missile alert to residents causing mass panic for 38 minutes earlier this month, has been terminated. As it turns out, the employee who had worked at the agency for 10 years, intentionally sent the message because he really thought the island was being attacked, but the worker had made similar mistakes twice before.

A Houston woman posted an ad in her husband’s girlfriend’s name on Craigslist ‘seeking sex from married men.’ The ad included the girlfriend’s name, age and a personal photo. Investigators traced the ad to a computer at the scorned woman’s workplace. Hmmm. In discussion with my peers, many believed that she deserves a standing ovation for creativity and sheer guts.

Mistakes are proof that you are trying.

The appraisal district took ALL my money this morning, so as I left the substation in Clute, I decided to treat myself at Dairy Bar with one of their delicious cheeseburgers. A smiling Robert (who took my order) asked if I wanted large fries and a drink with my order. I told him that I really DID want large fries, large onion rings, large milkshake and a sherbet but I would settle for just small fries and no drink. He must have seen the desperation in my eyes knowing that I had just signed over my firstborn at the tax office. He walked away from me for just a moment then turned around holding a small dish of coconut sherbet and a spoon, saying, “Here, try it.” It was so delicious – it tasted just like vacation. The next time you’re on Plantation Drive, be sure to stop and have a dish of Robert’s special sherbet. Tell him that Lisa sent you.

Hope you saw the once in a “Blue Moon” on the 31st.  Actually, it was a Super Blue Blood Moon. Even though it’s called a blue moon, the moon appears red because it is the only color on the spectrum that will make it through the Earth’s atmosphere, giving the moon a reddish glow. It won’t come again until 2037.

Helen McIntire is retiring from our office. She has been here from day one, 19 years ago. We will all miss our co-worker and our friend. If you ever need anyone to pray for you, Helen is the girl. The office won’t be the same without her. Come by on Thursday afternoon and help us wish her the best.

RECENT BIRTHDAYS:  Actor Richard Dean Anderson is 68. MacGyver. Dr. Jeff Webber in General Hospital. Rock singer Robin Zander is 65. Cheap Trick. Princess Caroline of Monaco is 61. Actress Mariska Hargitay is 54.  Actor Jerry Maren is 99. He is the last known surviving Munchkin from The Wizard of Oz. Cajun musician Doug Kershaw is 82. Louisiana Man. Olympic gold-medal gymnast Mary Lou Retton is 50.  Cartoonist Jules Feiffer is 89. He is considered the most widely read satirist in the country. Actor Scott Glenn is 79. Urban Cowboy, The Right Stuff, The Hunt for Red October.

Musician Lucinda Williams is 65. Passionate Kisses. Rock singer-musician Eddie van Halen is 63. Talk-show host Ellen DeGeneres is 60. Celebrity Chef Graham Kerr is 84. The Galloping Gourmet. Singer Steve Perry is 69. Journey. Actress Linda Blair is 59. Regan in The Exorcist. Celebrity Chef Guy Fieri is 50. Actor James Cromwell is 78. The Green Mile, Space Cowboys, The Queen. Ballet Mikhail Baryshnikov is 70. Actor Alan Cumming is 53. Most recently the master of ceremonies in Cabaret on Broadway. Country singer Tracy Lawrence is 50. Sticks and Stones.

Candice Bergen, 71, will star again as the popular Murphy Brown in the CBS 2018-2019 season. The original show earned 18 trophies and tackled current political and cultural issues. Murphy Brown, a single, very successful business person, became pregnant and decided to raise her baby without the father, calling it a lifestyle choice. This prompted then VP Dan Quayle to voice his opinion about “the breakdown of family values.” She responded that families come in all shapes and sizes and that’s what really defines a family is caring and love. Yep, she was a rebel in 1988. Shoulder pads and all.

Elton John announced the ‘Farewell’ Yellow Brick Road tour will include Toyota Center Dec. 8th & 9th.

Madonna. Madonna. Madonna. Someone must not be getting all the attention that she needs at age 58. Recently, she posted an Instagram picture posing topless with a $4,000 Louis Vuitton handbag printed with the Mona Lisa and a caption that read, “Still drooling over a handbag…”. Hmmm. And what’s with the gold and diamond things on her teeth they call Grillz. Is that age appropriate or considered even the least little bit fashionable?

Taco Bell is now serving fries. They can be topped with beef, pico de Gallo, nacho cheese, sour cream, guacamole, bacon or jalapeno peppers. Dang.

The National Hurricane Center’s official report on Hurricane Harvey has been released, five months after what we hope was the only ‘once in a lifetime event’ that will rock our world. Fingers crossed. The report confirms and exceeds what we knew already. Rainfall amounts were likely even more extreme in places with levels so high that flood gauges could not capture them. The hurricane center estimates damage at between $90 to $160 billion. The storm killed at least 68 people but attributed another 35 deaths to indirect causes. “The most significant tropical cyclone rainfall event in US history.”

The Spoetzl Brewery, in Shiner, Texas, which has produced Shiner beers for more than a century, (for those of you that are math-challenged, that’s more than 100-years), announced that they will have a $1.2 million, 30-second commercial, that will air statewide during this year’s Super Bowl. I love Shiner Black Bohemian Lager. Then my second favorite is Shiner Bock. But there are 12 other selections that might do something nice for your taste buds…IPA, Holiday Cheer, Ruby Redbird, Strawberry Blond…it’s a long list. You can try them out this Sunday during The Super Bowl LII. May Justin Timberlake have no controversial costume problems this time around.

Remember, most people aren’t really all that they ‘post’ to be.

– Lisa

Much Ado About Nothing – New California

Much Ado About Nothing February 1, 2018


Much Ado by Jean Ciampi

Betsy Ross, get out your needle and thread, sister, because if a group of West Coasters get their way, we’re adding a star to Old Glory with the establishment of our 51st State: New California. It seems some folks over there aren’t feeling so sun-shiney about their state’s state of affairs and want a divorce. They’re not making this up just for attention, either. No, they have a hashtag on Twitter, people. This is for real!

The coastal counties from Los Angeles up just past San Francisco into Napa are getting voted off the island. According to the executive summary published on their website, “After years of over taxation, regulation, and mono party politics (There should be a comma here. That’s them, not me.) the State of California and many of it’s (Respectfully pointing out that it should be ‘its’ and not ‘it’s’. Again, not my typo.) 58 Counties have become ungovernable.” No kidding ungovernable. They need to get the grammar police sworn in immediately! You can’t run a respectable state while ignoring comma laws! It just invites anarchy!

So they’ve gone so far as to even design a flag, which is important. You can’t run the idea of a new state up the flagpole if you don’t actually have a flag. The problem with the flag, as I see it, is the big, fat LONE STAR on it! Maybe they’ve gotten so caught up in the whole secession ho-haw that they overlooked the fact that the United States already has a Lone Star State. And may I speak for all Texans both living, dead and yet unborn: Back Off There. Stick an avocado on it instead. Pay attention, that whole “Don’t Mess With Texas” isn’t a joke.

Honestly, I get it. I lived in California in the early 90’s and they’re nuts. But is ripping yourselves to pieces the answer? In Texas, 84% of us still aren’t speaking to the City of Dallas or the Texas Rangers organization after they refused to switch home-stands with the Astros during Hurricane Harvey, but we don’t cut them out of the State. El Paso is closer to Los Angeles than it is to Houston, but we don’t act like we don’t know them just because we never see them.

Work out your problems, California. If we’re going to get a new state, I think Puerto Rico may have dibs.

You can also find “Much Ado About Nothing” online at www.thewriterjean.com.

Much Ado About Nothing – Blueberries

Much Ado About Nothing January 25, 2018


Much Ado by Jean Ciampi

I bought a pint of fresh blueberries recently at the grocery store despite the fact that they cost more per berry than an ounce of pure silver. But, I’m trying to eat better, so what the heck. I splurged. It wasn’t until I got home that I noticed that the label on top of the container said, “I am healthy!” Wait. What? Was there a question about that? They’re blueberries not chocolate chips!

Okay, now I’m suspicious. Why would they say that? What kind of world do we live in that we can’t just trust blueberries to be what you expect them to be – healthy? I mean, if you’re really blueberries the fruit and not actually BlueBell the ice cream, then you don’t need to state the obvious, do you?

I completely understand that blueberries plus pancake batter, lots of butter and warm maple syrup might tip out of the healthy spectrum. Blueberries that are just an adjective to describe cobbler or pie justifiably don’t make the cut. And just because blueberries are part of the Red, White, and Bluebell flavor of ice cream, there’s no way you can call it healthy even if you squint and lie to yourself. But these are just plain old naked blueberries supposedly fresh out of their natural habitat wearing nothing but what God gived ‘em.

So I started reading the label more closely. Maybe there’s something there that they’re trying to distract me away from seeing. Okay, these blueberries came from Canada which rules out my suspicion that maybe they’d been imported by the Columbian drug cartel and this was an effort to keep them from being confused with kilos of cocaine. Although isn’t Canada frozen over right now? Where exactly are they growing blueberries in the snow. Again, suspicious.

All I’m going to say about this is that the cherry tomatoes grown here in Texas don’t feel the need to be defensive. And for that matter, the Oreos don’t either. You don’t see “We’re Not Healthy!” stamped all over those. No, they quietly list off their refined sugars and processed flours and preservatives in discrete small print on the back. They’re just Oreos and we accept and embrace them for just being what they are. Which, obviously, I can’t say about blueberries now.

You can also find “Much Ado About Nothing” online at www.thewriterjean.com.

What I Heard This Week! Jan. 25, 2018

What I Heard This Week January 25, 2018

What I Heard This Week by Lisa Baker

Many things are changing in Saudi Arabia. The country is getting its first movie theatres. Soon women will be allowed to drive and now 12 camels have been disqualified from this year’s “Camel Beauty Contest” because their handlers used Botox to make them more handsome for the judging. Or should this be pretty? I just couldn’t tell from the pictures. This is a perfect example of men objectifying camels again. So many questions. What about the talent competition?  Where do you inject the Botox? The face?  The hump? Must be tough to be a ‘hot’ camel these days. Especially if you are retaining water.

People are eating Tide Pods. Yes, laundry detergent wrapped in a soft, squishy dissolvable covering. It’s a viral fad called Tide Pod Challenge. Remember the Ice Bucket Challenge? Same thing, except this is for people with less brain cells. You bite down on a pod, making sure of course, that you video yourself or get one of your stupid friends to video it for you, then you’ll need to call poison control before you post your video and see how many ‘likes’ you have. Poison Control Hotline is 1-800-222-1222. So far, in the first 15 days of this year, there were 39 reported cases of teens poisoned by the capsules. That’s seizures, respiratory arrest and even death.

Shakespeare’s scripts contained over 2200 never-before-seen words. He liked to invent words, turn nouns to verbs and use cleverly applied prefixes. Many of these words have become some of our everyday language. The top ten words I found…Addiction, Arch-villain, Assassination, Bedazzled, Belongings, Cold-blooded, Dishearten, Eventful, Eyeball, and Fashionable. If you’re bored at this point, don’t read the next ten. Half-blooded or Hot-blooded, Inaudible, Ladybird, Manager, Multitudinous (means numerous), New-fangled, Pageantry, Scuffle, Swagger, and Uncomfortable. Interesting.

When GasBuddy surveyed their customers on ratings and reviews for “who has the best gas station,” guess who won? Best Coffee? Cleanest? Customer Service?  Outdoor Lighting? BEST Restrooms? and Overall, the BEST? Do you need a hint? Well, the mascot is a beaver. Congratulations, Buc-ee’s. We didn’t need a stinking survey to tell us what we already knew.

Don’t settle: Don’t finish bad books. If you don’t like the menu, leave the restaurant. If you’re not on the right path, get off it. – Chris Brogan

Researchers have developed a non-invasive blood test that can detect signs of eight types of cancer long before any symptoms of the disease emerge. Cancer of the ovary, liver, stomach, pancreas, esophagus, colon, lung and breast can be screened all at once. Great news because ovarian, liver, stomach, pancreatic and esophageal currently have no screening tests. The research was said to have been like looking for a needle in a haystack.

Newest Kardashian and Kanye West baby is named Chicago West. She will be called Chi which is pronounced SHY. She joins Saint and North. My momma always said, “Lisa, if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”

As I sat down for a recent meeting, we were notified that we had an absent board member who needed to attend his own company meeting for SwampButt Underwear. His website says Science Sweat Stink Stank and SwampButt Underwear where there are two styles and both fit snuggly with no droop. That’s what it says. Personally, I hate droopy underwear. I’m ordering a pair for my son and I’ve now done my part for local business by telling you. Pay it forward. Small businesses need your help. swampbutt.com

Elton John emotionally announced that he will retire from performing after a lengthy Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour of 300 shows over a three-year period. Rocket Man is almost 71.

RECENT BIRTHDAYS: Actor Hector Elizondo is 81. Former AC News anchor Diane Sawyer is 72. Golfer Jane Stephenson is 66. Actor Ralph Fiennes is 55. Actress Betty White is 96. Actor James Earl Jones is 87. The voice of Darth Vader. Talk-show host Mary Povich is 79. Actor-comedian Steve Harvey is 61. Singer Susanna Hoffs is 59. The Bangles. Actor-comedian Jim Carrey is 56. World Golf Hall of Fame Jack Nicklaus is 78. Opera singer conductor Placido Domingo is 77.

Singer Mac Davis is 76. He wrote for Elvis, “Memories, In the Ghetto, Don’t Cry Daddy, A Little Less Conversation” then in the 70s he did “Baby, Don’t Get Hooked on Me, I Believe in Music” and starred in North Dallas Forty with Nick Nolte. I always thought he was very attractive.

Basketball Hall of Fame Hakeem Olajuwon is 55. Actress Tippi Hedren is 88. The Birds. Marnie. Actress Shelley Fabares is 74. The Donna Reed Show. Former ABC newswoman Anne Compton is 71. TV chef Paula Deen is 71. Butter. Actor Desi Arnaz Jr. is 65. Yikes, Little Ricky. Dino, Desi and Billy. Actress Katey Sagal is 64. Dancer singer Chita Rivera is 84. I saw her recently singing and dancing with Tommy Tune in Galveston. You would never believe that she was almost 84.

Actress Jill Eikenberry is 71. Singer-songwriter Billy Ocean is 68. Actor-director Robby Benson is 62. Actress Geena Davis is 62. Rapper Kid Rock is 47. He just donated $122,000 from sales of merchandise promoting his potential US Senate campaign to a voter-registration organization. I guess he isn’t really running for the US Senate after all.

After 50 years on the road, 77-year-old Neil Diamond has announced that he will retire from touring after having been diagnosed with Parkinson’s. He will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Recording Academy at the Grammy Awards this Sunday. I may have said this before but when I saw him in concert in Houston in the 90’s, I was amazed at the audience participation when he started singing “Sweet Caroline.” Everyone sang and danced in their seats in unison, all while waving their arms. It reminded me of the Wiggles concert that we had taken the kids to a few weeks before. Happy memories.

Twenty-five years ago, Fort Bend County’s assistant engineer had a meeting with US Army Corps of Engineer and was told that the footprint for Barker Reservoir was bigger than the land owned by the government, therefore the reservoir, while dry most of the time, could fill during a major rainstorm. He warned the county judge, county commissioners, the FB County Drainage District and the county emergency management coordinator. The land in the reservoir was sinking, therefore the houses being built were at a level lower than the water level the dams were designed to hold.  They ignored him, attacked him for writing the memo, and questioned his credentials. Around 9,000 structures were damaged during Hurricane Harvey in this area. Hmmm. He kept a copy of the memo.

“I cannot help but express the pain and shame…over the irreparable harm caused to children by church ministers. It is fair to ask for forgiveness.” Pope Francis, in an apology for sexual abuse by Catholic priests.

Ladies at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Nassau Bay take recycled plastic grocery sacks, cut them up and make ‘plarn’ which is then used to crochet sleeping mats for those that need a soft place to sleep or sit, like the homeless. They look great and I heard that there are instructions on Pinterest.

I’ve reached that age where my brain went from “you probably shouldn’t say that” to “what the hell, let’s see what happens.”

Remember all the problems that American Airlines has had with their new uniforms. Thousands of complaints from flight attendants and crew members about hives, wheezing, vertigo, headaches and other health problems. The supplier, Twin Hill, remains confident of the quality and integrity of their product and will continue to supply uniforms until its contract ends in 2020, but after that, Lands’ End will have enough uniforms ready for all 51,000 employees minus the pilots, who are still looking for a new supplier. In the meantime, airline employees can choose to wear an approved alternative.

Guinness World Records, the world’s authority on record-breaking achievements, honored Dolly Parton as the artist with the most hits on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart by a female and the most decades with a Top 20 Hit on that same chart. Dolly Parton turned 72 last week.

Almost 160 victims and Olympians that former doctor Larry Nassar abused under the guise of medical treatment, have now confronted him before the court. Kyle Stephens said, “Perhaps you have figured it out by now, but little girls don’t stay little forever. They grow into strong women that return to destroy your world…I have been coming for you for a long time.”  The former sports doctor pleaded guilty to molesting girls at his Michigan State University office, his home and at a Lansing-area gymnastic club, sometimes with a parent present. Why didn’t someone have the courage and character to come forward before now. Prison will not be good to him…inmates don’t like child predators. Good. As this paper goes to printer, he was sentenced to 40 to 175 years in prison. The judge said, “You’ve done nothing to deserve to walk outside a prison again.”

Don’t forget the Houston Auto Show this weekend. One NRG Park. January 24-28.+

Food Thoughts: Red Lobster turns 50 and changes are coming. You can order online and there’s delivery. ‘Loaded Seaside Fries’ topped with cheese, fried clams and a ladle of hot clam chowder on top, Yucatan Shrimp, Petite Red Lobster Rolls and Shrimp Pot Stickers are just a few of the additions to the new menu. Kitchens are being redone, and Beyoncé is getting credit for increased sales from younger eaters when she used ‘Red Lobster’ twice in her 2016 song, “Formation.” Repeat after me…cheese biscuits.

McDonald’s is testing the use of fresh beef in new burger called ArchBurger. They have made several changes to their menu recently to appeal to those concerned with the ingredients in their food. No artificial preservatives in Chicken McNuggets and apple juice in the Happy Meal has less sugar. Isn’t that the way it should have been all along. Burger King introduced Double Quarter Pound King, its own version of McDonald’s quarter-pounder. McDonald’s & Burger King did not immediately return our calls seeking comment. Wink, wink. All this food talk, I’m starving.

The whole world has a packaging problem and it’s our job to encourage and help companies reduce packaging waste. Think about how much trash YOU have each week. Plastic never breaks down but ends up as very tiny particles that are eaten by animals and invades our food sources. Coca-Cola announced it wants to recycle a bottle or can for every beverage it sells by 2030 and reduce the amount of plastic it uses in bottles. McDonald’s plan to use all recycled or other environmentally friendly materials for its soda cups, Happy Meal boxes and other packaging by 2025 and they plan for all their 37,000 restaurants worldwide to recycle customer waste by that same year. This is good.

The flu season is not getting better, it’s getting worse. Hawaii is the only state that doesn’t have wide-spread illnesses. Now they are saying that you can SPREAD the flu virus just by breathing, which means that you can GET the flu the same way, just by breathing. Hold your breath.

Remember, your vibe attracts your tribe.

– Lisa

Much Ado About Nothing – Cold

Much Ado About Nothing January 18, 2018


Much Ado by Jean CiampiTexans are good at a lot of things, and, as a result, we have an impressive ego about how universally awesome we are, especially around Houston. However, we as Texans do have one weakness: the cold. We don’t do cold or ice or sleet well at all. A few hours of fluffy snow that melts within a few hours so we can go back to our shorts and sandals is okay every nine years, but not the hard core stuff.  Cold is our kryptonite.

During this recent freeze, all Texans were like stunned sea turtles. Even the sea turtles were stunned sea turtles. Poor things had to be thawed out in warm water which probably gave them turtle soup nightmares. My nightmares, however, were caused by all the weather warnings and frenzied news channel weather people triggering off my Post Traumatic Storm Disorder. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one.

I noticed at least two of my neighbors had their windows open, which I thought unusual considering the sub-freezing temperatures. Then I realized they were airing out the wood smoke that had filled their houses. Don’t judge, we don’t use our fireplaces much around here, so I suppose it’s easy to forget to open the flue.

Personally, I spent the Ice-pocolypse binge watching Netflix. It was that show ‘The Crown’ about Queen Elizabeth so I rationalized that it was sort of educational and therefore not a complete waste of a day. And a night. And maybe part of the next day but whatever. It’s too cold to do anything else so, again, don’t judge.

To people living in colder climes, we just ask that you don’t laugh at us when we try to make sleet angels or google the difference between sleet and snow. Yes, we used the Whataburger gift card we got for Christmas to scrape our windows. What else do we have? Besides, Whataburger is Texas. They understand and will still accept it. And there’s no reason to smirk behind your mittens because we took three boredom naps, stress baked all the frozen fundraiser cookie dough, and cycled through all five stages of grief and loss during our one day at home for weather.

Face it, we don’t do cold, but, thankfully, winter is now probably over since it’s now 70 degrees outside again..

You can also find “Much Ado About Nothing” online at www.thewriterjean.com.

What I Heard This Week! Jan. 18, 2018

What I Heard This Week January 18, 2018

What I Heard This Week by Lisa BakerFewer than 3 percent of cars sold today in the US have stick shifts and clutch pedals. You can’t even get a stick shift in a Volkswagen Beetle. I had a 1975 chocolate brown Toyota Celica that I couldn’t quite get into reverse, so the first day I had the car, the boy that carried out my groceries had to do that for me. (That tells you how long ago it was, because no one has carried out our groceries in forever.) After that, I always pulled through to the second parking place, so I could go forward. It took me about a week to master shifting and reverse, then it was THE MOST fun car to drive. It was a 5-speed and I rolled through those gears. I’m making wistful sounds right now.

American Girl Dolls is introducing Luciana, an 18-inch doll, a creative, confident 11-year-old girl and aspiring astronaut who dreams of being the first person to go to Mars. She has skills and brains, is a good leader and team player, has STEM-inspired outfits and accessories including a flight suit, space suit and a Mars Habitat loaded with science and research tools. To insure the doll’s authenticity, they worked with female experts from NASA. Barbie. I miss playing with you in your wedding dress and putting together carboard furniture to go in your Dream House where you could live happily after with Ken. My, how times have changed.

A Louisiana teacher was ejected from a meeting room by a marshall, handcuffed on the floor and put into a patrol car when she stood up at a school board meeting and asked why the superintendent was getting a raise while educators and support staff hadn’t received a raise in 10 years. This teacher had won a teacher of the year award in 2016 and is said to be a really, good teacher and nice person. It’s all on video so there are facts. I watched it all and she should not have been arrested. Maybe there was more to the story.

A New Jersey couple were renovating their new $2-million condo, only to find that the inside of the walls, the insulation and the ceiling had been stuffed full of water bottles filled with urine. There were also containers of partially eaten Chinese food, cupcake wrappers, construction debris, and the insulation in the master bedroom was soaked in urine. The couple tried to sell the condo back to the construction company but are now suing the company. Ugh.

You saw the picture of the little boy in the hoodie that had “Coolest Monkey in the Jungle” written across the front. The ad prompted some celebrities to end their partnerships with the H&M clothing line. Well, this little boy’s mom doesn’t have a problem with it and says, “(I) am the mum and this is one of hundreds of outfits my son has modeled. Stop crying wolf all the time, unnecessary issue here…get over it.” “Everyone is entitled to their opinion about this…I really don’t understand but not coz (I) am choosing not to but because it’s not my way of thinking, sorry.” OUCH. At my house, if momma is happy then everybody is happy.

Part of my children’s Christmas gift (memories instead of stuff) involved tickets to see Neil deGrasse Tyson, astrophysicist, director of the Hayden Planetarium, author and science rock star. He and his enthusiasm strips down complex ideas, make jokes and suddenly you understand what a black hole is. All this is done while he is walking around on stage in his socks. He recently released “Astrophysics for People in a Hurry” and it immediately went to No. 1 on the New York Times’ nonfiction best seller list. He’s a good Google.

Neil deGrasse Tyson – “Kids should be allowed to break stuff more often. That’s a consequence of exploration. Exploration is what you do when you don’t know what you’re doing.”

RECENT BIRTHDAYS: Country singer Naomi Judd is 72. Singer Rod Stewart is 73. Boxing Hall of Fame and entrepreneur George Foreman is 69.  Singer Robert Earl Keen is 62. Singer Mary J. Blige is 47. Texas-born, Mexican-American rock musician Alejandro Escovedo is 67. Singer Pat Benatar is 65. Hall of Fame race car driver Bobby Rahal is 65. Folk singer Joan Baez is 77.  Rockabilly singer Roy Head is 77. Treat Her Right.

Comedian Larry Storch is 95. Ahh. Remember him on F Troop. CBS newsman Charles Osgood is 85. Singer Shirley Bassey is 81. She recorded the theme songs to Goldfinger, Diamonds Are Forever, and Moonraker for the James Bond movies. Game show host Bob Eubanks is 80. Actress Yvette Mimieux is 76. Musician Robby Krieger is 72. The Doors.

Musician Stephen Stills is 73. Actress Victoria Principal is 68. Actor-Director Mel Gibson is 62. NFL quarterback Eli Manning is 37. The Amazing Kreskin is 83. He predicted that Trump would be elected 11 months before it happened. Actress Kirstie Alley is 67. Country singer Ricky Van Shelton is 66. Radio-TV personality Howard Stern is 64. Entrepreneur Jeff Bezos is 54. Amazon.com.

Rock singer Jimmy Page is 74. Led Zeppelin. Rock singer-musician Dave Matthews is 51. Singer Crystal Gayle is 67. Don’t it Make My Brown Eyes Blue. Floor length hair. Voted one of the 50 Most Beautiful People in the World by People magazine in 1983. Baby sister of 84-year-old Loretta Lynn (who btw fell and broke her hip last week.)

Physicist Stephen Hawking is 76. A good quote of his (and he has some really great ones) is, “I believe alien life is quite common in the universe, although intelligent life is less so. Some say it has yet to appear on planet Earth.” Hmmm.

Ray Thomas, Moody Blues founding member and flautist, died at age 76. Thomas stepped back from the band due to ill health in 1999 and in 2014 confirmed that he had been diagnosed with inoperable but treatable prostate cancer. Nights in White Satin. The Moody Blues are to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in April.

President Oprah? Fact or Fiction or just Fantasy?

Stephen Hawking – “My advice to other disabled people would be, concentrate on things your disability doesn’t prevent you doing well, and don’t regret the things it interferes with. Don’t be disabled in spirit as well as physically.” That’s good advice whether you are disabled or not.

Houston Auto Show, January 24-28, at NRG Center and presented by The Houston Chronicle.

In Southern California at a private residence, authorities found 13 siblings, ages 2 to 29 years old, all malnourished, in filthy conditions and some chained to furniture, after one of the children, a 17-year-old, jumped out a window, called 911 and led police to the home. The child that escaped was so small that police thought she was 10-years-old. The mother and father are being held on $9-million bail.

Mahatma Gandhi – “I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet.”

The LJ Civic Center Ballroom will be the location of the annual Daddy-Daughter Dance this year. February 9th and it always sells out so get your tickets soon. Tickets are not sold at the door.

Actually, this was a really boring week. I struggled to find something interesting to tell you. I will do better next week.

Dr. Seuss – “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”


– Lisa

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