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Holiday Tips

Much Ado About Nothing December 14, 2017

Jean Ciampi - Much Ado About Nothing

Much Ado About Nothing by Jan Ciampi

Yes, the holiday season is here. Stop looking so surprised, overwhelmed and freaked out. It shows up same time every year, and the stores have been throwing up warning signs since mid-August. Yet here we are with panic rising in our throats. Not to worry, oh festive elf! I’ve got some fool-proof pointers that will make this year as smooth as eggnog (as long as the eggnog is 85% bourbon and fool-proof actually means 90-proof).

Tip #1: Do all your holiday shopping online late at night. Everything looks better and affordable online late at night. Sure, blurry-eyed exhaustion may cloud your better financial judgement, but you can cut back other places later. Think of what you’ll save in heating costs by burning your unopened credit card statements in the fireplace!

Tip #2: Go gift cards! Invited to the wedding of an old boyfriend once, I took a nice Macy’s gift card. Just the gift card. I didn’t actually put any money on it. Which I hope made for a horribly awkward situation for the lucky bride and groom later, but he didn’t invite me to his subsequent weddings. See how that’s a win? So stuff those stockings with empty gift cards. You come off looking like Santa himself and there’s zero guilt when they get lost later.

Tip #3: Don’t overthink your holiday dinner. Make a Chef Boyardee pizza kit crust into the shape of a Christmas tree and “decorate” it with pepperonis, post it on Pinterest, and look forlorn if anyone mentions turkey. If your family still insists on squelching your inner creative diva, lock yourself in your room – at least until the dishes are done.

Tip #4: Know now that anyone who tells you Christmas cookies aren’t breakfast food is not your friend. Those people are toxic and you don’t need them in your life. You need Christmas cookies in your life. Freeze a few. You’ll need them in February, too.

Last Tip: Remember the Holiday Serenity Prayer. God grant me the serenity to accept the presents I cannot exchange, the courage to exchange the things I can, and the wisdom to save the receipts. From my family to yours, have a wonderful and blessed Christmas season and year to come!

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

What! Dec. 7, 2017

What I Heard This Week December 7, 2017

An Oregon woman visited her boyfriend at the Oregon State Penitentiary and kissed him one very long “super kiss” as she was leaving. At the same time of the kiss, she was also passing seven tiny balloons filled with methamphetamine from her mouth to his. Two of the balloons ruptured in his stomach a short time later and he died of methamphetamine toxicity. Hmmm. He was serving a life sentence for aggravated murder in the stabbing death of his mother-in-law (yikes) and his girlfriend has now been sentenced to two years behind bars on drug conspiracy. That’s a heck of a kiss.


J.J. Watt and Jose Altuve received the Sportsperson of the Year Award during Sports Illustrated 2017 Sportsperson of the Year Show in New York City. Watt, honored for his $37 million fund-raising effort for Hurricane Harvey relief, and Altuve for his role in leading the Astros to their first World Series title in the storm’s wake, are the first Houston athletes to receive the award, presented since 1954.


So, you’ve planned your trip, then traveled to Hotel Charleroi in Belgium. Sitting all by yourself in the hotel room, you suddenly realize that you are, oh, so lonesome. (Now in real life, I can’t imagine feeling this way because there would be no office phones ringing, no kids needing something, no cats to feed, no clothes to wash…just pure nothing…but, for the sake of this short paragraph, you are sitting there and lonely.) Fear not, call downstairs and for just $4.00 a night, you can rent a goldfish. That’s cheaper than bad pay-for-view movies or ordering off the room service menu. Just one clever listener that lets you go to bed when you want and watch whatever you please on the television. Soon to be available at a Motel 6 near you, I’m sure. Beats the heck out of spending quarters on the vibrating bed.


In Des Plaines, Illinois, there is a replica of Ray Kroc’s first McDonald’s location with the original sign out front looking just like it did in 1955. Vintage cars and everything. The old sign says that burgers are 15-cents and “we have sold over 1-million.” My little bit of research showed that McDonald’s quit updating the “burgers sold” number in 1994 and just stayed with the “over 99-billion sold” theory. In one of their training manuals it is noted that they sell “more than 75 hamburgers per second, of every minute, of every hour, of every day of the year.” If there are about 31.536-million seconds in a year, then multiply that by 75 burgers to get 2.365-billion a year and since it’s been 23 years since ’94, it would be approximately 55-billion more burgers (give or take a few.) When my kids were little and said, “What’s that?” I always told them that it was Dr. McDonald’s office. Therefore, in my mind, they would never want to go. Yikes. Sidetracked. I started this paragraph to tell you that they are getting ready to tear down the museum because of repeated flooding and a decline in visitors to the site. That’s a shame. Modern history.


Are you looking for a new Christmas tradition? Go see the Season of Light, the classic Christmas full dome planetarium show celebrating the customs of Christmas and exploring the question, “If the star of Bethlehem was a natural phenomenon, what might it have been?” Wonderful for the entire family and includes a beautiful tour of the winter circle of constellations. BASF Planetarium at The Center for the Arts & Sciences 400 College Blvd. 979-265-7661


A six-year-old was asked to write a letter to Santa. It said, “Dear Santa, Santa I’m only doing this for the class. I know your notty list is empty. And your good list is emty. and your life is emty. You don’t know the troubles Ive had in my life. Good bye. Love, Im not telling you my name.” (ps. the “troubles” in his life were just his brother.) Sibling rivalry.


According to 5 Gyres, by the year 2050, there will be more plastic by weight in the ocean, than fish. We should be so proud of ourselves. Go to 5gyres.org.


HAPPY BIRTHDAYS: Actor Ed Asner is 88. Actor Sam Waterston is 77. He’s great! Actress Beverly D’Angelo is 66. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. Recording executive Berry Gordy Jr. is 88. He has been partners with Diana Ross since 1965.  Former Late Show Orchestra leader Paul Shaaffer is 68. Actor Ed Harris is 67. Apollo 13. Former NASA Astronaut Barbara Morgan is 66. Actor Judd Nelson is 58.

Singer Randy Newman is 74. His awards have included – Academy Award for Best Original Song (2011, 2002) · Grammy Award for Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media (2011, 2000) · Grammy Award for Best Song Written for Visual Media (2007, 2003, 2001) · Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Composition (1985) · World Soundtrack Award for Best Original Song Written Directly for a Film (2006)


A celebration of life will be held for Bonnie “Miss Kitty” Smith at 2pm on December 18 at Kitty’s Purple Cow. Bring a dish and a bottle. I remember the first time I stuck my foot inside the door of that old purple building on Bluewater Hwy for one of Miss Kitty’s cheeseburgers and fries. I thought she was old then, wearing shorts (we called them hot pants) and waiting on every busy table in that restaurant. I fell prey to the poster of the lovely muscled young man in the women’s bathroom that had a little white door that covered his private parts. The devil made us all open that tiny little door. What I didn’t know was when you lifted the door, a loud buzzer went off all over the building, so you then had to face every single person in the restaurant knowing what you had just done as you shamefully walked back to your table. My kids loved popping quarters in the juke box. Her Sunday morning homemade waffles were the best. Today I realize that the famous Miss Kitty was much younger then, than I am today. She was 87 when she died and had never slowed down. Her family plans to keep the restaurant open. (note: the young man was clothed under that little white door.)


Animal control officers in a suburb of Dallas near Interstate-35, found themselves on two strange calls last week. First, they were called to pick up a 15-foot albino python. The snake was dead, so police assume that it was a pet that someone had dumped and left to fend for itself or it had escaped from a nearby home. Sad. One of the postings said, “maybe they will find the owner once they open up the snake.”  The same animal control officers had been called earlier to retrieve a pit bull from a tree. If you travel that direction, don’t drink the water.


If you missed the only visible supermoon of 2017 which happened on December 3rd, don’t fret, because on January 2nd and 31st of our new year (2018) there will be opportunities to view two more supermoons. Go to Virtual Telescope Project for live images.


The Houston Ballet Nutcracker is coming December 10-23, to Smart Financial Centre (thank you, Harvey) and December 30-January 6 at Hobby Center. 1-800-745-3000 Houstonballet.org. The Health Museum in Houston will have a Teddy Bear Checkup on Saturday December 9th. Take your favorite child and their teddy bear for an annual checkup. There will be information on healthy eating, healthy snacks, breakfast, photos with Santa and more. That sounds like fun. Perhaps I can borrow a young child.


Schlitterbahn Water Park and Resort on North Padre Island could be auctioned off a foreclosure sale in February if a deal for the property is not reached before then, according to US Bankruptcy Court in San Antonio. I saw a drone video of the property and it’s so sad to see all the graffiti and vandalism that has happened there.


If you hate where you are, “MOVE!” You are not a tree.


– Lisa

Starving Student

Much Ado About Nothing December 7, 2017

Jean Ciampi - Much Ado About Nothing

Much Ado About Nothing by Jan Ciampi

College. It’s the place where you pay big bucks to learn big things. My youngest son is currently close to finishing up his first semester at college and is learning some really big things. Like how not to starve to death. Last August, we settled him into his new dorm room with clean sheets, a manageable class schedule, and an ample meal plan. By Thanksgiving break, his checking account was dry, his gas tank empty, and he had $1.19 left on his meal plan until the end of the semester. Desperation is the mother of invention.

He reports that he’s started hanging around with sorority girls and his scrawny friends. Obviously, these are people who are not utilizing their meal plans and are happy to let him mooch a lunch now and then. I’m hoping the parents of those kids are all socialists or at least voted Democrat in the last election.

It seems that since the days when my dad let me starve in college, they’ve upped the age that you can sell plasma. So that option is out for him, at least for another year. But, by then, I’m hoping he’ll have wrestled his budget to the ground.

He “rented” his car so an international student in his dorm could take his test for his US driver’s license. He convinced drunk fraternity boys that he was cheaper than Uber (he wasn’t). He found a $5 bill in the dryer. He’ll be fine.

Discovering a new, hunger-fueled resourcefulness, he used his last nickels to buy a four pound jar of discount peanut butter at the Dollar Store. He can’t afford bread, but, no worries, the plastic spoons at Chick-fil-A are free. Coffee creamer and ketchup packets are yours for the taking just about everywhere. And if he tags along with someone going out for Mexican food, there’s that big bowl of free chips. I hardly worry that he’ll waste away to nothing.

I know, though, that college is making him smarter because he hasn’t asked me for money. Eating crow and swallowing your pride just aren’t that filling. On a positive note, I bet he’ll never run out of money again. Of course, he may also never be able to face another box of no-name mac-n-cheese ever again either. So college really is making him a better, healthier, smarter person!

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

Harvey Lessons

Much Ado About Nothing November 30, 2017

Jean Ciampi - Much Ado About Nothing

Much Ado About Nothing by Jan Ciampi

It’s been just over three months since Harvey, the Zombie Hurricane that Wouldn’t Die, showed up like an infected poison ivy rash to make my life a miserable mess. While it has been an incredibly challenging experience, it has also been a remarkable opportunity to discover new skills and new uses for old swear words.

To be honest, I’m not sure the English language actually has enough salty expletives to get through something like this. I’ve sent inquiries into the furthest back alleys of Detroit and really bad parts of New York City to see if maybe there are cuss words I’ve missed. I do try to hide my crazy as much as possible (which isn’t much), but there are certain times, certain contractors, certain managers at big hardware stores that won’t be named for legal reasons that just need to have their ears ring a little (a lot).

Through this, I’ve developed a deep, passionate appreciation for modern conveniences like indoor plumbing and solid walls. Not to mention, I completely get prehistoric man falling on his face to worship the discovery of fire. I was exactly the same way when I finally got my stove back in my kitchen. Three months is a long time to have to leave your cave to go forage for food every time you want to eat.  I think I was about one more Egg McMuffin away from punching someone in the throat. By the way, if you’ve never celebrated a major holiday at Whataburger, you’re sheltered.

I now know that if you clench your jaw, dig your fingernails into the palms of your hands and try to name every US president in your head while someone tells you how the flood waters came oh so frighteningly close to almost nearly but not quite coming into their house, then you’re less likely to access your vocabulary of foul language or administer throat punches. You’re better off finding other members of your water-logged tribe. They’re the ones staring at the 28 different shades of “ceiling white” paint, too overwhelmed and exhausted to pick one. Or they may be having a meltdown in the flooring department. In both incidences, approach slowly, no sudden movements, while offering soft words of encouragement and shots of whiskey.

And just think, only six more months until hurricane season.

What! Nov. 23, 2017

What I Heard This Week November 23, 2017

Leonardo da Vinci’s long-lost painting, Salvator Mundi, sold recently in NY at auction for, hold on, $450,312,500 (that’s in millions.) The painting shows Jesus holding a small orb in his hand, symbolizing the world and is one of the few surviving pieces of da Vinci’s work. Before the auction, it had been expected to sell for $100-million. Good grief!


A North Korean soldier tried crossing the heavily guarded border with South Korea and was riddled with rifle and pistol wounds. He collapsed 55 yards south of the border, was bleeding profusely and was rushed to a hospital near Seoul by a US Black Hawk Military helicopter. While doctors struggled to repair his intestinal wounds, they found dozens of parasitic worms, some being 11-inches. This gives you an indication of the deplorable conditions in North Korea. They use human waste to fertilize fields, helping parasites to spread. Hmmm.


Astros second baseman Jose Altuve was named the American League Most Valuable Player. In the game of life, this is probably more important than winning any game or series. This guy is a great role model for our kids.


I saw this on Facebook and had to share with my readers: You are holding a cup of coffee when someone comes along and bumps into you or shakes your arm, making you spill your coffee everywhere. Why did you spill the coffee? “Well, because someone bumped into me, of course!” Wrong answer. You spilled the coffee because there was coffee in your cup. Had there been tea in the cup, you would have spilled tea. Whatever is inside the cup, is what will spill out. Therefore, when life comes along and shakes you (which WILL happen), whatever is inside you, will come out. It’s easy to take it, until you get rattled. So, we have to ask ourselves…what’s in my cup? When life or business gets tough, what spills over? Joy, gratefulness, peace and humility? Or anger, bitterness, harsh words and impulsive reactions? You choose. Today, let’s work towards filling cups with gratitude, forgiveness, joy, words of affirmation and kindness, gentleness and love and patience for others. Happy Thanksgiving.


Holiday Joke #1: What did the turkey say to the hunter? Quack, Quack, Quack.


What a train wreck. There’s not enough space to list all the famous people that have been accused of sexual harassment in the past few weeks. Now it’s Charlie Rose. Personally, I can’t wait until they start naming the not-so-famous people. What got me was what Kevin Spacey said when accused of sexually abusing a 14-year old. My ears heard…I‘m now gay and was under the influence of alcohol, so it really wasn’t my fault. Being gay doesn’t make you a predator and coming out isn’t going to protect him.  Wrong is wrong. That was a pathetic effort to distract from unacceptable behavior. And by pathetic, I mean weak, feeble, unsuccessful, loser and so on. He is the one that all of us mothers warned our sons of, but we just didn’t know that he was going to look like Kevin Spacey. Aauuggh.


Remember April, the very famous pregnant giraffe that had her own live stream “giraffe cam,” while the world waited for her to give birth in upstate NY. The owner of Animal Adventure Park dropped a hint that April may be pregnant again. Baby Tajiri was born on April 15. I’m not falling for that again.


Kerrygold Pure Irish Butter tastes so much better than any other butter. That’s all my family uses now because IT TASTES SOOOO GOOD. The company says it’s because they use milk from cows that are grass fed and never treated with antibiotics or growth hormones. What a cool idea. Real butter from real cows that eat real food. No defective Skittles for these cows. Add a package to your grocery basket. It’s the time of year that no one will even give you a second glance. I put a quart of half-and-half AND a quart of cream in my basket yesterday. Because I can.


BIRTHDAYS: Singer-songwriter Neil Young is 72. The following information was posted on his Facebook on November 11.  Hi there, December 1st will be a big day for me. The Visitor will be coming to your town. I will be going to my town. You will be able to hear me and see me. My archive will open on that same day, a place you can visit and experience every song I have ever released in the highest quality your machine will allow. It’s the way it’s supposed to be. In the beginning, everything is free. Lots of Love, neil

Sportscaster Al Michaels is 73. Monday Night Football. Pro football Hall of fame quarterback Warren Moon is 61. Olympic gold-medal gymnast Nadia Comaneci is 56. She was the first gymnast to be awarded a perfect score of 10.0. Retired MLB All-Star Sammy Sosa is 49. Actor Anne Hathaway is 35. Britian’s Prince Charles is 69. His mom let him do some “official palace” work this past week and it made the news. I don’t think she lets him do too much. Singer-songwriter Stephen Bishop is 66. On and On, It Might Be You, Save it for a Rainy Day.  Pianist Yanni is 63. Former US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is 63. Rapper Reverend Run is 53. Singer Gordon Lightfoot is 79. Movie director Martin Scorsese is 75. Actress Lauren Hutton is 74.

Actor-director Danny DeVito is 73. Producer Lorne Michaels is 73. Saturday Night Live. Actor Entertainer. Poet, novelist, literary critic, essayist, inventor and environmental activist Margaret Atwood is 78. The Handmaid’s Tale. Figure skater Tonya Harding is 47. The movie, “I, Tonya” is scheduled for release on December 8th, and it has a 92% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. They describe the movie as based on the unbelievable, but true events…is a darkly comedic tale and one of the most sensational scandals in sports history. I, Tonya, is an absurd, irreverent, and piercing portrayal of Harding’s life and career in all of its unchecked and checkered glory.”


John Hillerman, who played Tom Selleck’s snooty British sidekick, Higgins, in the 1980’s TV series “Magnum, P.I.” died at the age of 84 at his home in Houston. He was born in Texas and educated at UT.

Mark LaMura, who played Pine Valley’s Mark Dalton and the brother of Erica (Susan Lucci) died at the age of 68 of lung cancer.

When you say “evil,” does a picture of Charles Manson come to mind? He died. Enough said.


The Food and Drug Administration approved a drug with a “digital ingestion tracking system” which would know when medication was swallowed and transmit data to a smartphone. The sensor is the size of a grain of sand and would be important in treatment of psychiatric illnesses which rely heavily on patients who must consistently take their medication if they are to maintain stability. It would also be beneficial to patients with diabetes and dementia. Hmmm. I think I’ve seen a movie with this theme and it did not end well.


The Angleton Wildcats are not only in the playoffs, they are undefeated. The Angleton Chamber of Commerce wants you to PAINT THE TOWN PURPLE.  Paint something on your Angleton business window today, to support the team.


Holiday Joke #2: What did the pig say when he was stranded in the desert? I’m “bacon” out here.


Black Friday Special: On November 24th, all adoption fees will be waived on all pets with black fur anywhere on their body at the SPCA at 141 Canna Lane in Lake Jackson. From noon to 6pm. Now, on Cyber Monday you can buy unique one-of-a-kind auction items to help support the SPCA. info@spcabc.org


Brian Ching played with the Dynamo. He will now build and operate a soccer bar and restaurant in East Downtown at St. Emanual and Walker Streets. It will be called Pitch 25 and will feature a soccer field that’s just a little bit smaller than a basketball court – There will be 20-plus televisions where you can even watch European games. The large outside area will be called the Yard at EaDo. (East Downtown) Sounds like a soccer lover’s heaven.


While my kids and I were helping build a sandbag dam during Harvey, I was privileged to meet Mia Spargo who was patiently waiting while members of her family worked alongside her. I introduced myself to her by telling her that I liked her hair-do and that I had had a “do” just like hers when I was fighting breast cancer. Mia is 10 and has the greatest smile. She also has a brain tumor that she has been fighting for 5-years. In her spare time, she runs Mia’s Magical Toy Drive so she can provide toys for the children being treated for cancer at Texas Children’s Hospital because she knows how it feels to be in the hospital while everyone else is home celebrating. Mia need donations of new toys since these kids are recovering from cancer and can’t be exposed to germs. Donations accepted until December 18th. Please call Ray 979-824-2452 or Marina 979-388-3700 and let them know that you want to help Mia.


#GivingTuesday is a global day of giving fueled by social media. It is celebrated on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Perfect opportunity to help Mia…see above.


Holiday Joke #3: What did the mother turkey say to her disobedient children? If your father could see you now, he’d turn over in his gravy.


For the past 17-years, hundreds of volunteers from Living Stones Church and Victory Camp have hosted the Christmas Train at Victory Camp in Alvin. There are over 300,000 lights and hundreds of Christmas decorations, colorful gingerbread villages, and life size storybook illustrations. Trains depart every 7-10 minutes and kids 2 & under are free. Order tickets online because you save $$. 281-388-2267


Serena Williams and her new husband, Reddit co-founder, Alexis Ohanian were married. The wedding pictures were pretty spectacular (and a little over the top…ok, waayyyy over the top.) Gaudy comes to my mind.


I was in a meeting one afternoon and the word “scupper” was used in a report. I didn’t know what it meant and immediately asked for a definition. (Our end of the conference table agreed that it sounded boat-like.) I looked it up as soon as I got back to my office, so I could give YOU a proper defination. Always trying to help my readers. SCUPPER: an opening cut through the sides of a ship at deck level so that water falling on deck may flow overboard. Aaahh, yes, now I’m visualizing Pirates of the Caribbean and I can see the deck of the ship. My only sailing experience was with a 12-ft Sunfish so I had to think bigger than that. The next definition was…an opening in the wall of a building through which water can drain from a floor or flat roof, which was how it was used it in our meeting. I like my Pirates of the Caribbean mental experience better.


May I take a moment to say how THANKFUL I am that you read this column. It makes me feel so good that you take the time to pick up The Source Weekly and read it to the end. And to stop me in a meeting, in the theatre, in line at the grocery store or an email just to tell me that you enjoy reading us. Our office family wishes your family nothing but the best this Thanksgiving. Our friends and families have been through a lot in recent months and we all need to take the time to remember how thankful we are for all the things that we have because the secret to having it all…is knowing you already do.


– Lisa

Snail Slime

Much Ado About Nothing November 23, 2017

Jean Ciampi - Much Ado About Nothing

Much Ado About Nothing by Jan Ciampi

I’m all about putting my best face forward, wearing my sunscreen, and avoiding crossing my eyes while sticking out my tongue for the sheer threat that it’ll get stuck like that. I’m even to the age of worrying about finding a good moisturizer. While I don’t need one formulated in space by technology developed on Mars by Hubble Telescope engineers, I still want a moisturizer that hides the fact I’ve been tired since 2009. What I don’t want is snail slime.

Oh yes, snail slime is becoming all the rage in skin care, hadn’t you heard? Seems those wacky Koreans, when not busy trying to nuke each other, have been smearing snail mucin – that’s the technical term for that weird snail trail – onto their faces for years. And now snail cream is as close as your local Target store. No really, go in and ask an associate to help you find that. I double dare you.

I’m not afraid to try new things (remember, I’m the one who signed up to do goat yoga), but I think I’m going to draw a shimmery silver line on this one. There are just way too many questions – like how exactly do you harvest snail slime? How do animal rights activists feel about this? How do the snails feel about this? Is it an option to commune with the snails and just let small herds of the shelled slugs worm their way across your face? … Nah, probably better to buy snail cream with an easy to use applicator.

The biggest question of all has to be “Why?” Although, snail farmers in South America swear their hands are baby butt soft and any wounds heal twice as fast, I’m going to call foul. First of all, you’re a South American snail farmer. You can’t be trusted. Of course your hands are soft, because duh, you’re not exactly a brick layer. Wounds heal twice as fast as what? Faster than wounded lady bug farmers? May I just point out that Lubriderm and Band-Aids give me the same results without the “Ewww” factor.

Natural beauty comes with a high price, I get that. I’m just not sure I’m willing to hand over that last small sliver that’s left of my better judgement and common sense for a jar of snail snot. I think I’d rather be wrinkled.

What! Nov. 16, 2017

What I Heard This Week November 16, 2017

If you happen to be thinking about a tattoo, then you should know that tattoo ink can be made with a variety of chemicals, arsenic, lead, nickel, preservatives, plastics, bacteria…carcinogens…things not approved by the Food and Drug Administration for skin injection. Some of the inks contain pigments used in printer toner and car paint. If you decide to eliminate the tattoo with laser or ultraviolet light, the process could cause the release of toxic chemicals especially with yellow. Ick.


I remember my first bikini wax. My sister did it with duct tape and melted crayon. To this day I can’t look at a box of crayons without crossing my legs. – Contributed by Penny


November is National Novel Writing Month or NaNoWriMo. There are now apps that will help you write the novel that’s been floating around in the back of your brain for all these years. Planster, Novel in 30, Ulysses, The Brainstormer, Lists for Writers, Write or Die, The Hemingway app and AutoCrit are just a few that I’ve found. Local author Ron Rozelle is having a writing workshop at The Center for the Arts and Sciences. I believe his January-2018 class is full, but he may have another one in the Spring. I think my own novel will be true life because most of my real stories are so much better than fiction. I will change the names to protect the innocent, of course. Hmmm. Maybe not.


I keep seeing a half page ad offering “previously unavailable franchise opportunities” in Brazoria County…for what, you ask?!? SCHOLTZSKY’s. Yes, Scholtzsky’s. Please, please, please. Someone needs to buy this franchise, so we can have a restaurant close to us again. I remember my first sandwich in Austin, Texas in the 70’s. It was the best thing I had ever eaten.


Legendary gossip columnist Liz Smith has died at the age of 94. She was born in Fort Worth and was known more for giving her readers information about the “behind the scenes” lives of the rich and famous rather than a bunch of scandal. At her peak, she earned more than $1-million a year.


When things don’t happen right away just remember it takes 6-months to build a Rolls-Royce and 13-hours to build a Toyota.


A three-year old boy died in New York after having a severe reaction to a grilled cheese sandwich at his preschool despite having a known allergy to dairy.


About 20 drivers were pulled over in Billings, Montana last week. The officers asked for their driver’s license and registration, then returned to their patrol cars to scan for any outstanding warrants. If everything checked out, then they returned with a written warning and a frozen turkey in their hand. Yes, they passed out turkeys. There is so much good in the world. The turkeys were donated by a local businessman.


Not a single wild salmon returned to the Magaguadavic river to spawn for the first time on record, in New Brunswick, Canada. It means that whatever wild salmon that existed there are now extinct. This is blamed on the construction of dams, loss of habitat, pollution, climate change and overfishing. Sigh.


10 Rules to live by:  Always, always, always, be thankful. Sometimes silence is better than being right. Love is not what you say. Love is what you do. Let go of what’s gone, but keep the lesson. If it’s what you love, never give up. Keep going. Don’t let others steal your peace. Be patient. Things will get better. Integrity is everything.  It’s okay to be afraid but don’t let fear stop you. Live in the moment, but look forward to what is coming next.


If it doesn’t open…it’s not your door.


HAPPY BIRTHDAYS:  Actress Kate Jackson is 69. Charlie’s Angels. Scarecrow and Mrs. King. Comic-strip artist Tom Wilson is 60. Ziggy. Singer Randy Jackson is 56. Actress Winona Ryder is 46. Actress Sally Field is 71. Actor Ethan Hawke is 47. Local musician Robert Ellis is 29. Check out his third album, “The Lights from The Chemical Plant” which is influenced by his hometown, Lake Jackson.

Actor-comedian Sinbad is 61. Actor-comedian Tracy Morgan is 49. Singer Bonnie Raitt is 68. Yikes, I’m getting old. TV personality Mary Hart is 67. Entertainment Tonight and Miss South Dakota 1970. Singer and former child actor Leif Garrett is 56. His first acting job was in 1969 playing the son of Elliott Gould and Dyan Cannon in Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice. Country singer-songwriter Ray Wylie Hubbard is 71.

Actor Chris Noth is 63. Mr. Big in Sex and the City. Actress-comedian Whoopie Goldberg is 62. Comedian talk-show host Jimmy Kimmel is 50. Actor Steve Zahn is 50. I loved him in Sahara. Actor Gerard Butler is 48. Actress June Whitfield is 92. Absolutely Fabulous. Actor Stanley Tucci is 57. Actress Demi Moore is 55.  Actress Calista Flockhart is 53. Jazz musician Ellis Marsalis is 83. His son, Delfeayo Marsalis is playing at The Clarion at Brazosport College this Friday. My spies say it’s going to be a lovely concert.


US Kentucky Senator Rand Paul has a neighbor that assaulted him while he was mowing his grass, causing six broken ribs. This is stupid stuff because the belief is that the neighbor was mad about leaves and debris along the fence line of their homes. This guy is in big trouble. Pretrial court date has been set for November 30th and he could serve jail time if convicted.


STOMP is showing this Saturday and Sunday at The Grand 1894 Opera House in Galveston. If you’ve never seen Stomp, then it’s a little hard to explain the concept but I imagine percussion, dance, comedy, lots of people moving and making music with all sorts of household items including trash cans. And it’s more fun than you can ever imagine.


Harris County started demolition on the first of dozens of flood-prone homes along the San Jacinto River. I watched the video and it must be so sad for the owners of the homes. You would think that some things (like decking & PVC pipe) could be salvaged and used again. We live on the Oyster Creek and thanks to Harvey, after the water receded we found a relatively new and seriously heavy, 8’x30” section of decking that will now be a portion of our fire pit area as soon as we can figure out how to drag it about 10-feet.  I do love a good recycle.


Kids today don’t know how easy they have it. When I was young I had to walk 9-feet through shag carpet to change the TV channel.


You know you’re a redneck when: Warning, this is one crazy story.  A woman had three children, a daughter and two sons. They were legally adopted by their grandmother and the mother had no contact with them until they were adults. In December 2008, the woman married her son who was 18. He annulled the marriage two years later and listed incest as the reason. In 2016, the same woman married her daughter, convincing the daughter that it was legal even though they’re biologically related. Six months later, both women were arrested and charged with incest. The daughter had been told that the mother had consulted with three lawyers who each advised her that there would be no problems with the marriage. A judge has now voided the marriage and found that the mother “induced” her daughter “by fraud to enter the marriage.” Another court date is set for January. I told you it was a crazy story.


Trying to understand the behavior of some people is like trying to smell the color 9.


– Lisa

Goat Yoga

Much Ado About Nothing November 16, 2017

Jean Ciampi - Much Ado About Nothing

Much Ado About Nothing by Jan Ciampi

In a time fraught with heartache, destruction and chaos, I had finally found the source of all goodness and light in the universe: Goat Yoga! What could do more to heal the wounds of the world than relaxing, restorative yoga alongside joyful baby goats? No, I’m serious. Goat yoga! It’s really a thing. Google it if you don’t believe me, I’ll wait.

I didn’t even bother looking to see if there was a Groupon before I typed my credit card number into their website to sign up for the next Sunday morning class and my chance to Down Dog with a fuzzy bundle of bounding happiness. To be honest, I don’t even like yoga. But goat yoga?! I’m all about that. I’d probably consider repeat root canals if I got to hold baby goats at the end!

Ninety minutes, 20 baby goats, and you can even rent a mat from them if you don’t want to do your next class covered in goat berries. Short of having a free wine bar as part of the class, just tell me how it could possibly ever get better?! All I had to do was contain my excitement for three days before it would be class time!

Then it happened. I should have seen it coming. My children grow up and go away to college. Harvey floods my house. My dog dies. And goat yoga gets cancelled. Even now I can’t type those words without wanting to cry out in despair. Cancelled. Why?! I just can’t fathom a why.
Yes, the email said I’d receive a full refund to my credit card. But did it offer any kind of recourse? Any consolation for the disappointment? I hold the yoga instructor completely responsible. The baby goats were surely still on board, ready to prance and frolic regardless of whether or not I showed up in stretchy pants and carrying a bottle of lime infused water. It had to have been a failure of the instructor. And that is exactly why I don’t like yoga. But I do still like baby goats.

I wonder, though, while I’m waiting to sign up for another class time, I could find something better, more in line with things I like. Do you think they have goat beach vacations? No? Well isn’t that just too baaaaaaad.

What! Nov. 9, 2017

What I Heard This Week November 9, 2017

There is a new restaurant in Paris called O’Naturel, that seats 40 diners and your meal will run around $35. When you arrive, you are asked to remove all your clothes and leave them in a restaurant wardrobe. Yep. You dine naked at this restaurant.  Paris also has a public pool with “clothing-optional” hours and a “Nudist Zone” within the city’s largest public park, but alas, it’s closed for the winter.


This week, Anthony Weiner started his 21-month prison sentence for sexting a 15-year old.


Sex symbol, Sophia Loren, will entertain you with an onstage conversation, questions and answer, this weekend at The Grand 1894 Opera House in Galveston. TheGrand.com


Astros, we thank you for the most wonderful World Series.

The June 30, 2014 (yes, 2014) cover of Sports Illustrated declared that the Houston Astros would be the 2017 World Series Champs. How did they know?

In Game 5, a well-known YouTuber ran out onto the field shirtless & wearing American flag briefs, and was charged with criminal trespassing.  Heck, in the 70’s, they were butt-naked or is that buck naked. It was called “streaking” and everyone clapped.

Houston ISD canceled classes on Friday so everyone could make it to the World Series parade to celebrate but there was so much traffic that some people were never able to get there. Memorabilia of some kind is everywhere you look, now offered on TV (World Series bats for only $129.95) and in every store that you walk through. Parking around Minute Maid Park WAS going for $75 during World Series games. Supply and demand.

Mattress Mack (Jim McInvale) made a bet with his customers on the World Series. He promised to refund customers of Gallery Furniture who spent $3,000 or more on mattresses, if the Houston Astros won the World Series. McInvale said, “It’s the best thing we could ever possibly do. The Astros inspired the city. We’re thrilled to give this money back to excited customers. We bleed orange out here.” He also flew 98 Astros fans to Los Angeles for Game 6 of the World Series and 40 of those people received free tickets to the game from him. The others already had their tickets. He says that his faith defines him. I second that. There is so much good in the world and he is a big part of it.

Carlos Correa proposed to his girlfriend Miss Texas USA, right after the game. He said, “Daniella Rodriguez, will you make me the happiest man in the world? Will you marry me?” That was one huge chunk of a diamond ring he placed on her finger. He was setting high standards.

Model Kate Upton wore a long-sleeved lace gown by Valentino to marry Houston Astros pitcher, Justin Verlander. From what I could tell the dress had a 1980’s vibe…long sleeved lace and was very pretty. The ceremony was held in Italy just days after the Astros’ World Series win against the Dodgers. A wedding ring and a World Series ring. Let’s face it, rings or no rings, it was a pretty eventful couple of weeks for all of us. Thank you, Astros.


Star Wars Fans – The Houston Symphony has just announced that April 20-22, 2018, they will be celebrating the 40th anniversary of Star Wars and the music of John Williams’ most unforgettable scores. What would Star Wars be without the music.


American and Southwest Airlines are expecting their average prices to increase the rest of this year.


HAPPY BIRTHDAYS: Former First Lady Laura Bush is 71. Actor Ralph Macchio is 56. Actor Matthew McConaughey is 48. Rapper-producer Sean “Puffy” Combs is 48. Reverend Billy Graham is 99. I wonder what he thinks of our world right now? Musician Cyril Neville is 69. Neville Brothers. Rock singer David Lee Roth is 63. Race car driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. is 43. Singer Jose Feliciano is 72. Rock musician Joe Perry is 67. Aerosmith.  Actress Amy Irving is 64. Actor Colin Firth is 57.


Language is always changing. What is Phubbing?  Have you ever been phubbed? I’m betting YES.  (Think snub and phone – it’s the practice of snubbing someone in favor of your mobile phone.) So, let’s say that you sit down at a table and look down at the menu, then look up lovingly at your table companion and they’re on their phone…or you are having a nice conversation with the new mom in your kid’s class and suddenly she is on her phone right smack in the middle of you spilling your guts about little Stevie’s mom and that horrible outfit that she is wearing. It could be the long, anticipated date night and your partner is texting during the meal. Or better yet, taking a picture of your meal to send to someone. I see it this way, instead of the phone being a small part of our personal life, our personal lives have become just a small part of our phone life. I have been to dinner more than a few times and watched a whole family – kids and adults alike – every single one of them, stay on their phones even while eating. If we’re not careful, in the future, none of us will have a real relationship with anything but our phones.


On Saturday, my mom and I visited Peach Street Farmers Market located in Angleton between Arcola and Chenango. There was music, fresh veggies, Mother Teresa’s canned Italian food, goat soap, yard eggs, fresh roasted coffee, jams and lots more. Every Saturday morning. SUPPORT FARMER’S MARKETS.


It’s almost time for the SPCA New Year’s Eve Gala and the Painted Chair auction is scheduled again. Such a fun event. They need your help painting or reupholstering any type of chair, including children’s chairs. What a fun project for you, your friends and family to work on. Their goal is to auction off 30 chairs at the event and everything that they make will go towards our furry friends. I repurposed a chair years ago for a Junior Service League event by covering a $15 flea market chair purchase in classified and display ads. Then I bought it back at the auction. It sets at my front counter and gets lots of attention. If you have a chair to donate, contact lainiep96@gmail.com to arrange pick-up or drop-off.


Prince Harry has a girlfriend, Meghan Markle, who is now putting her acting career on hold to become a full-time philanthropist and just happens to be looking for a place to live in London close to Kensington Palace. Hmmm. She is cute.


Walmart is testing a delivery program where customers can use their smart technology to unlock the front door and watch a livestream delivery of their requested shopping order. Sigh. Amazon announced the launch of Amazon Key ($250 kit includes their electronic door lock and webcam.) This service will be available in Houston. I went to the streets and asked 16 people what they thought. 14 – NO, 1 – YES and 1 – MAYBE. Our questions were: Security: – do you turn off your alarm system for the whole day? Pets – do you get rid of them for the whole day? What’s your opinion?


A 26-year-old man is being held for robbing a bank in Largo, Florida. His mistake was doing a Google search of how to rob a bank before he robbed the bank. Sigh. Mental note to one’s self…


This was in the Chronicle as Jokes on Us…I think it’s rather thought provoking. “The cost of living is going up and the chance of living of going down.” If it wasn’t so true, it might be funny.


An open-mind vs empty head. Hmmm. Have a nice week.


– Lisa

Food Trucks

Much Ado About Nothing November 9, 2017

Jean Ciampi - Much Ado About Nothing

Much Ado About Nothing by Jan Ciampi

Food trucks are all the rage these days. Amsterdam has The Kitchen of The Unwanted Animal, a food truck cooking up pigeon, parakeet and “my little pony burgers,” and here in America, we have the Spamobile… Spam®? Yup. Google it because I can’t make that stuff up. While I’m more likely to eat deep fried dung beetles than stand in line at the Spamerican Tour truck for “Sunny’s Coconut Spam Spears with Spicy Pineapple Chutney” or even a spicy Spam breakfast burrito, I’m hipster enough to go for waffles or cupcakes or even investigate an authentic taco truck. Or so I thought.

I’m probably not a reputable authority on this matter (or really on any matter, if we’re going to be honest about things) because I have a deep, burning hatred for all things cilantro which is all too often found in tacos, but I thought the taco spectrum started with chicken and ended with beef. That was before I found myself at Chico Chuck’s Taco Truck. I think Chico Chuck’s super power is the ability to take anything that even closely resembles a meat source and put it on a tortilla.

At some point during the discovery process, I made the mistake of asking what exactly is barbacoa. Let’s just establish right now that one should never ask a question unless you’re prepared for the answer. I shouldn’t have asked. I wasn’t prepared.

According to Chico Chuck, barbacoa is the cooked head of a cow. Think Heloise the Heifer meets Marie Antoinette. Everything from the cowbell on up gets tossed into what I’m guessing is a cow head shaped crock pot — brains, eyeballs, tongue, teeth. In my overworked imagination, you can hear one last, tragic, disembodied “mooooo” as the lid is slammed onto the pot. If there was ever a more convincing argument to “Eat More Chikn,” I’m not sure it would beat out barbacoa.

The take-away from all this is to seriously consider consuming anything from a place that is, by its very nature, a flight risk or one that can be impounded for health code violations. Remember, too, that antacids can overcome a lot of things, but not your long- or short-term memories. And really, peanut butter sandwiches are not a bad thing!

 

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  • Much Ado About Nothing - Crabbiness

    by on January 4, 2018 - 0 Comments

    If you have a verifiable emergency, call 9-1-1. Indicators that you might have an emergency are the presence of more blood than can be contained in an average sized Band-aide; firearms being used inside a building that isn’t a gun range; and fire where fire shouldn’t be. All those things constitute a call to 9-1-1. […]

  • What I Heard This Week! Dec. 28, 2017

    by on December 28, 2017 - 0 Comments

    My list of New Year’s resolutions. Here’s the first: (1) Stop procrastinating so much. I’ll post the rest tomorrow or maybe the day after. House for Sale that once belonged to Rockets Hakeem Olajuwon. 7,271-square-feet for $595,000, includes four-bedrooms, six full baths, two half baths (can you imagine cleaning eight toilets), pool & spa, waterfall, […]

  • What I Heard This Week! Jan. 4, 2018

    by on January 4, 2018 - 0 Comments

    They ordered their pizza 5 minutes before the New Year and when it arrived they firmly stated, “Wait, we ordered this pizza a year ago.” 😊 Reliable, smart, compassionate Hoda Kobt has officially replaced Matt Lauer on “Today” and the former (fired) newsman sent her a congratulations text. Whoopee. I don’t know why it would […]

  • Much Ado About Nothing - Blood Donor

    by on December 21, 2017 - 0 Comments

    Christmas shopping recently quickly reminded me that this is truly the season to be bled dry. From your MasterCard, checking, savings, 401K, and your children’s college funds should all be liquidated, right? But until you’ve really opened a vein, you haven’t been bled for Christmas. This Christmas give the real gift: The Gift of Life. […]

  • Much Ado About Nothing - Space Trash

    by on January 11, 2018 - 0 Comments

    Attention People of Earth! It’s like this: remember that 9.4-ton unmanned space station that China launched, oh, way back when? No? Well, it’s going to be crashing into Earth sometime in the next couple of months. While nothing can ruin your day quite like being obliterated by space debris with a “Made in China” tag […]

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