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What! Dec. 21, 2017

What I Heard This Week December 21, 2017

Another human foot has washed ashore in Canada. That makes thirteen (13) feet attached to sports shoes, that have been found in this area since 2007. This most recent one was a tibia and fibula attached to a left human foot with a white ankle sock in a black running shoe. These feet have their own Wikipedia page and a map showing where all the feet were found. eww. One theory is shoe technology. More and more sports shoes are using air pockets or light foam which make them much more buoyant. One article said, “Notice there are no feet washing ashore in stiletto heels or flip flops.”


Onomatopoeia: is a word that imitates a natural sound. Boo, chomp, crunch, eek, huh, sniff, eek, giggle…just to name a few.


This was on Facebook. I found it to be very true especially with the recent cold weather. Why I prefer Summer over Winter. “When you get in a hot car, the a/c begins to work immediately. When you get in a cold car, the heat doesn’t start working until you get where you need to go.” Yep.


Ocean’s Eleven starred George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Elliot Gould, Bernie Mac, Matt Damon, Carl Reiner, Casey Affleck and was a remake of the 1960 Rat Pack film starring Peter Lawford, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr. and Joey Bishop. It is one of my favorite movies. Then came Ocean’s Twelve and Ocean’s Thirteen. I love them all. Now, there’s going to be Ocean’s Eight, starring Sandra Bullock, Anne Hathaway, Cate Blanchett, Mindy Kaling, Rihanna, Helena Bonham Carter, Awkwafina and Sarah Paulson.  (What a group, but what happened to Julia Roberts?) Sandra Bullock stars as Debbie Ocean, the ex-con sister of Danny Ocean (Clooney & Sinatra). The heist goes down at the annual Met Gala. Is it called Ocean’s Eight because it will take only 8 women to ‘kick the same patootie’ it took 11 guys? Release date is June 8, 2018. I’m ready.


Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity at University of Houston has been suspended until 2023 because of abusing pledges during a three-day ritual last year that left one with a lacerated spleen. The indictment says that one pledge was forced to roll in vomit, spit and feces and had to go without food, drink and sleep during the three-day period. He was tackled in the dark by fraternity members and was later hospitalized. Sorry, folks, but five years is not enough time. Hazing is unacceptable just as bad behavior is unacceptable.


He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree.” Roy L. Smith


To keep up with Amazon, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. will change their legal name to Walmart Inc. in February. Walmart wants to be your ‘everything’ just like Amazon and I bet if they take the dash out, this will work. Right. You know, keeping up with the Jones…the Hatfield’s and the McCoy’s.


Which reminds me. Remember the show in the 70’s called Alias Smith and Jones. Their outlaw names were Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry, two of the most wanted and most successful outlaws in the history of the West, good-looking (and I mean, REALLY good-looking), popular with everyone except the trains and bankers, and with all their robbing and stealing, they had never shot anyone. The two of them decided that they wanted out of the bank and train robbing business, so as the show evolved, it was the story of the two of them trying to stay out of trouble until the Governor felt that they had earned and deserved amnesty. Sally Field played Clementine Hale and Susan Saint James was Miss Porter.


Daily Specials. Did you know that on Whiskey Wednesday at The Fill Station (new Brian’s BBQ) in downtown LJ you can get ½ price whiskey flights? And at Happy Hour (3-6pm) you can get a beer and chopped beef sandwich for $7.


RECENT BIRTHDAYS: Actor-comedian Tim Conway is 84. Just thinking of him makes me smile. Actor Don Johnson is 68. Miami Vice and white suits. Singer Lulu is 69. Think of “To Sir with Love.” Comedian-actress Rosanne Barr is 65. Actress Kate Capshaw is 64. She met her husband, Steven Spielberg, working on Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Rock singer Ozzy Osbourne is 69. Actress Daryl Hannah is 57.  ‘Splash.’ Actress Julianne Moore is 57. Impressionist Rich Little is 79. “The man of a thousand voices.” Singer Tina Turner is 78. What’s Love Got to Do With It, We Don’t Need Another Hero, Proud Mary, Private Dancer…

Pop musician John McVie is 72. John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers, Fleetwood Mac.  Actress Kathryn Crosby Is 84. The daughter of a West Columbia, Texas schoolteacher and politician, she went to Hollywood as a beauty contest winner and onetime queen of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. Actor economist Ben Stein is 73. Footwear designer Manolo Blahnik is 75. TV Host Bill Nye is 62. Bill Nye, the Science Guy. Actress Cathy Lee Crosby is 73. Wonder Woman in 1974. Broadcast journalist Stone Phillips is 63. He was born in Texas City. Pop singer Britney Spears is 36.  Actor Jeff Bridges is 68. Actress Patricia Wettig is 66. Thirtysomething.


Several months back when I was trying to assist us (you & me), on our journey to become way cooler people than we really are, I explained the Danish term ‘hygge’ (hue-ugh) which translates to ‘coziness’ in English, but recently the word has been used more to describe a sought-after lifestyle. So, today your new hip, trendy word is ‘lagom’ which is Swedish and is defined as not too little, not too much, just right. You know, like Goldilocks. This too, is a lifestyle or way of living, with suggestions of reducing your environmental impact on the world…making life easier, more enjoyable and less expensive by being frugal, fair and creating balance. Pay attention because you are going to hear this word again. Lagom. It will be named on shampoo bottles, candles, sandwich meat and paint colors as everyone jumps on this fad. OK, maybe not sandwich meat but you know what I’m saying.


Good news for many…Pfizer, maker of the little blue ($65 a single pill) Viagra, will now have a little competition when Teva Pharmaceuticals launches their own little white impotence pill. No word on what the cost is but Pfizer has decided to make its own generic version of Viagra and sell it for half the price. Good grief.


A Saudi prince was the mystery buyer of Leonardo da Vinci’s painting “Salvator Mundi” which brought $450.3-million at auction last month. Hmmm. Where will it end up.


A LAW WENT INTO EFFECT in Texas on September 1, 2017, that allows estate executors, guardians and trustees to gain access to the digital assets of those who die. It could include photos, digital music library, emails and credit card loyalty points. It could be a domain name (toys.com just sold for $5-million) but you will need to leave written instructions in a will or trust. So, if you have any embarrassing information with your “digital assets” you better make provisions quick.


This one is sick. A Wisconsin man was sentenced to federal prison after he was caught in a Houston undercover sting where he believed he was meeting a Houston mother at a hotel to have sex with her four-year-old child. I’m not telling you ‘all’ the ugly, just enough to gently remind you that there are some people in this world that we need to protect our kids from. Sigh.


Which is worse? Pitching a hissy fit or pitching a conniption fit? I guess it just depends on what part of Texas you are from.


The Houston Zoo welcomed Hasani, a three-year-old African lion that came from the Oregon Zoo. Since the zoo carnivores eat more than 36,000 pounds of meat annually, they would love it if you would help them with an end-of-year ‘Gift of Grub’ contribution. In fact, they have quite a few new mouths to feed with so many new baby animals…two baby Masai giraffes, a baby California sea lion, a baby Asian elephant, two baby Red River hogs, and two baby jaguars.


Personal story: First, I’m going to set this up by telling you that I’m allergic to cats. My daughter and I, along with a few employees, were up at The Source Weekly office one day during the catastrophic Harvey weeks. As we came in through the back door, Anne-Elisabeth heard a very faint meow. I ignored her plea of, “Mom. Please. Kittens. Listen,” and went to work. An hour or so later, in the rain, 7 of us ended up rescuing 3, three-week old kittens that were surrounded by water underneath our deck. Kay’s husband had to come up with his electric drill to help us remove boards from the deck to get those babies out. They were so very tiny, cold, dehydrated, wet and almost dead. We dried them off, kept them warm, then an hour later as we left, we saw (gasp) two more babies underneath the generator behind State Farm. OMG. Five kittens. We took them to the Gaspard’s house (which is kitty city,) drained Orren and Margaret of information, bottles and all sorts of kitty things. That evening, the SPCA kindly provided milk and droppers. They were fed every 2 hours. We lost 3 of the kittens over the next 24 hours which was pure agony that I can never forget, so we were very determined that the last two males were going to live. And my, how they have lived. We now have Winnie who was Winston until the vet found girl parts.  She has the most beautiful eyes and has the looks of a Blue Russian, is a very healthy eater, moves so gracefully and is full of love. You only have to say her name and her motor just rumbles in utter contentment. Then there is Sully (Sullivan) who was also supposed to be a male but, alas, wasn’t. Sully has a mild case of gender identity disorder (what would you do if everyone told you that you were a boy for the first 6 weeks of your life then decided you were a girl – talk about confusion), she is believed to be the runt of the litter, has soft little white stripes on her belly, might have selective hearing, can jump to the top of the shower door and is the sweetest most affectionate little ball of fur that you have ever seen. We don’t think she knows how to meow because instead, she chirps like a bird. They know yum-yum (food), nite-nite (they run to their sleeping box) and treats (self-explanatory.) Oh, and Mr. Strawberry, their favorite toy. My son, Gage, who is also allergic to cats, says that our house has an unbelievable amount of love in it now. What I am trying to tell you is that there are a ton of the cutest, sweetest puppies and kittens just looking for new parents at the SPCA. It breaks my heart to go over there and see animals just begging to have you touch them. If you had asked me 6-months ago if I was going to have two cats… absolutely, NOT.  There was no way.  But it sure has been fun. Expensive, yes. But who needs to be able to send their kids to college!


CVS Health, the second-largest US drugstore chain announced plans to buy Aetna, the third-largest health insurer, in a $69-billion deal. This merger could change the health care by lowering prescription costs. Something’s got to give. We can’t keep on like it is.


Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI) St. Luke’s Health System and Dignity Health said they agreed to merge operations, creating what could become one of the largest not-for-profit US hospital systems. The new system would have 139 hospitals in 28 states and employ 159,000 people.


A Utah man fled from police, then hid from them in a church’s boiler room, only to have to call 911 six hours later to be rescued because he had accidently locked himself in and couldn’t get out.


Merry CHRISTmas, my friends. Remember that when you quit believing in Santa, you get underwear.


– Lisa

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!

 

What! Nov. 2, 2017

What I Heard This Week November 2, 2017

Thanks to the Astros for giving us all something to think about besides Harvey…something that made us proud and have happy, heartfelt thoughts. We all needed this. GO ASTROS.


After actor Paul Newman made the 1969 auto racing movie “Winning” his wife, actress Joanne Woodward gave him a Rolex Daytona with an art deco-inspired dial that was recently sold at auction for $17.8-million. The inscription on the back of the watch in all caps said, DRIVE CAREFULLY ME.  It is the most expensive wristwatch ever auctioned, but not the most expensive timepiece. A pocket watch made by Patek Philippe in 1933 sold for $24.4-million in 2015. Time IS money.


Paul Newman – “When you see the right thing to do, you’d better do it.”


In Utah, the mother of a 13-day-old infant boy and the woman’s boyfriend have been charged with first degree murder and three counts of child abuse. The baby was found unresponsive on the floor with a fractured spine and a broken rib with bruises and abrasions that were believed to be bite marks. The baby appeared to have no health problems when born. In my opinion, certain actions in this world are non-negotiable. The punishment must fit the crime and there should be just penalty for evil actions. An “eye for an eye.” No excuses.


Three teenage boys cruised several St. Louis neighborhoods and were able to “borrow” 48-pumpkins, a gourd and then somehow stuffed all that plus themselves into one small Subaru Forester before police found and arrested the porch pirates’ aka pumpkin-nappers aka thieves. I didn’t know that a Subaru Forester was that roomy. Then the tough job of finding the owners of the pumpkins began with a “pumpkin line up”, a social media post from the police department and at last report, all but 13 had been reunited with their owners. I did see the pumpkin line up and not a single pumpkin was decorated, so I have no idea how the people knew “their” pumpkin. Poor boys.


Researchers from the State University of New York at Fredonia found that sea salt – the same stuff that we use in cooking and in the salt shaker at dinner every night – is just one more thing that helps us with our daily intake of plastic particles. Yep, plastic particles are just everywhere now and you could be ingesting as many as 660 particles a year with your salt. We’ve got to start taking better care of our Mother Earth.


Paris Hilton, the former Simple Life star is the highest-paid female DJ in the world, commanding up to $1-million for a one-night gig. Kim Kardashian was her former assistant.


Budweiser plans to release a limited-edition 1933 Repeal and Reserve Amber Lager this holiday season. The forgotten recipe dates back to pre-Prohibition days but back in 1920, it couldn’t be sold outside St. Louis due to the enforcement of Prohibition which banned the manufacturing, transporting and sale of alcoholic beverages. Just little bit of history that you can pick up and drink in 2017. It’s described as a “light, hoppy aroma and a rich caramel malt taste” with 6.1% ABV and will be packaged in vintage bottles.


Nancy Rosatti recently retired and sold Elaine’s Fashions & Accessories in LJ. We will miss her kind heart, beautiful smile and a more than gracious attitude. Thank you, Nancy, for years of making us beautiful and always having something wonderful for graduation gifts or a last-minute birthday surprise. We will miss you and wish you the very best in this new chapter of life. Congratulations to Terry & Julie Edwards, the new owners of Elaine’s Fashions. You have some very BIG Brighton’s to fill. 😊


HAPPY BIRTHDAYS: Rock musician Bill Wyman is 81. The Rolling Stones. Actor Kevin Kline is 70. Rock singer-musician David Hidalgo is 63. Los Lobos. I love them! Russian President Vladimir Putin is 65. Cellist YoYo ma is 62. Civil rights activist Reverend Jesse Jackson is 76. Comedian Chevy Chase is 74. Author R.L. Stine is 74. Actress Sigourney Weaver is 68. Gospel/rhythm & blues singer CeCe Winams is 53. Rock musician C.J. Ramone is 52. The Ramones. Actor-screenwriter Matt Damon is 47. Singer-songwriter-producer Bruno Mars is 32.


Actress Nanette Fabray is 97. Actor-comedian John Cleese is 78. Actress Cassandra Peterson is 66. Elvira, Mistress of the Dark. Actress Sophia Loren is 83. She is coming to The Grand 1894 Opera House in April 2018. Hockey Hall of Fame Guy LaFleur is 66. TV news correspondent Deborah Roberts is 57. Journalist Barbara Walters is 88. Actor Michael Douglas is 73 and his wife, actress Catherine Zeta-Jones turned 48. Model Cheryl Tiegs is 70.


Pro Football Hall of Fame Tony Dungy is 62. His book, Quiet Strength was No.1 on New York Times Best Seller list. It’s a great book. Dungy is an evangelical Christian and at one point in his coaching career considered leaving football for the prison ministry.


“Others determine your reputation, but only you determine your integrity.” Tony Dungy


Robert Guillaume died at the age of 89.  I remember him best as Benson, the level-headed butler on the TV series Soap and then the spin-off show, Benson. He was a hoot and the only sane person on the show. I can still see him rolling his eyes. He was magnificent on Broadway, Off-Broadway and was the first black ‘Phantom,’ replacing Michael Crawford in a 1990 production of The Phantom of the Opera in Los Angeles. He earned a Grammy for voicing the role of Rafiki in Disney’s The Lion King. I could go on and on.


New Orleans musician Fats Domino died at age 89. He was big in the 50’s and 60’s when he sold more records than anyone except Elvis during that time and was one of the first people admitted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He had more than three dozen TOP 40 hits including Blueberry Hill and Ain’t That a Shame. Supposedly, Elvis once said, “Let’s face it, I can’t sing like Fats Domino can.”


A lot of fellows nowadays have a B.A., M.D., or Ph.D. Unfortunately, they don’t have a J.O.B.Fats Domino


Former architect, Robert L. McKay, who designed the first Taco Bell restaurant (the Spanish-style arched and tiled building that is still the signature look,) then was so intrigued by the fast-food concept that he closed his architectural firm and joined Taco Bell, eventually becoming president, died at 86. McKay helped American consumers understand the exotic Mexican dishes that we now eat every day…like tacos and burritos and embraced the concept of franchising. Taco Bell had around 900 restaurants when it was sold to PepsiCo in 1978 for $125-million in stock.  I wonder what that would be in “today” dollars.


A 31-year-old Galveston man died from flesh-eating bacteria he likely contracted in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. It is believed that the carpenter suffered a skin puncture from a nail while repairing homes damaged by the flooding. It is also believed that a 77-year-old Kingwood woman died in September from the same infection after falling in floodwaters and cutting her arm.


Remember Howard Johnson’s. HoJo.  How about Sambo’s Restaurant. The name became controversial but in truth, was named for owners Sam Battistone and Newell Bohnet who opened the first restaurant in 1957. Steak and Ale? They always had frozen salad plates. I loved that. How about Bob’s Big Boy. Today I saw that the company owning 24 Dairy Queen locations in Texas has filed for bankruptcy and that they are shutting them down. The list does not have West Columbia on it. Whew. I would miss my cherry and banana Blizzard on the way to Austin.


Creepy Hollow Haunted House, is off 288 in Rosharon. Now, I’m not a haunted house sort of person. I won’t even watch CSI by myself. What I do appreciate is an organization that gives money back to the community and Creepy Hollow does just that. Just ask the LJ Lions Club. For those with weak bladders, go prepared. When my son worked there, I was certainly NOT prepared as I waited in the parking lot to pick him up. The website says: Do not enter if you suffer from asthma, heart conditions, prone to seizures, heart conditions, physical ailments, respiratory or any type of medical problem or are pregnant or suffer any form of mental disease including claustrophobia. No refunds for the wimpy or those that don’t follow the rules. There is a good reason that they post this. It’s still open this week-end and there is a $5.00-off coupon on their website for up to 4-people.


Typeractivity: the overuse of personal devices with special emphasis on texting. My daughter’s typeractivity is very distracting when I am trying to talk to her.


Target is listening to their customers saying that want they more emphasis on Thanksgiving and just an ease-in to Christmas promotions. It is hard to walk into stores in August and see Christmas trees. Thank you, Target. Another BIG thing for Target will happen on November 5th when they unveil Hearth & Hand with Magnolia, a collection of Joanna Gaines’s signature designs with modern, classic, industrial and vintage touches…“modern farmhouse style.” The merchandise is supposed to be arranged like a little shop inside Target. I don’t know about you but I loved visiting Magnolia in Waco and this looks like pretty good stuff.


I love you like biscuits and gravy” – unknown origin but understood by people all over Texas.


I was reading a newspaper when out of the corner of my eyes I flashed over an ad…Female Replacement SALE…for just the smallest moment I thought to myself, “What the heck?!?! Female Replacement Sale?!?!” My brain went in to overtime.  “I thought it was harder than that to replace a female…who would be having the sale…why aren’t we running that ad in The Source?” Yep, it was an ad for cows and I’m still blond. You guys would be so bored without me.


Former Vice-President Al Gore visited Rice University last week speaking on climate change and how the warming of the oceans will lead to more storms like Hurricane Harvey in our future. He said, “We can’t treat the world like an open sewer.” “Every day we’re dumping 110 million tons of CO2 in the sky and it traps heat.” We all know that when Gulf water is hot, a hurricane is more likely. My son said it was a great talk.


A new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, states that within the next three decades, floods that used to strike the NYC area only once every 500 years could occur every five years. The primary blame for the predicted change is sea-level rise caused by global warming. Hmmm. Is anyone listening?


November 4th is the new full moon. Prepare accordingly.


– Lisa

Girl Boy Scouts

Much Ado About Nothing November 2, 2017

Jean Ciampi - Much Ado About Nothing

Much Ado About Nothing by Jan Ciampi

Men in dresses who aren’t even Scottish. Women in the men’s bathroom and not because the line is too long next door in the girl’s room. Boys want to be girls who want to be boys, and it all just gets so confusing. Now Boy Scouts are girl scouts but not Girl Scouts. Just girls being scouts ala Boys, although boys can’t be Girl Scouts so how is that fair? Because it has to be fair. And everyone needs a trophy.

Starting next year, Boy Scouts of America are allowing girls to join their ranks. Because how else can you earn your merit badge for Utter Absurdity? What exactly is wrong with girls being Girl Scouts and boys being Boy Scouts? Wouldn’t it just be easier to let the boys in on the cookie sales thing and let the girls do… I don’t even know what it is that Girl Scouts can’t do that the boys do, except pee against the trees when they go camping.

Honestly, I don’t think everyone has thought through this whole thing or considered the doors that will be blown open that can’t be closed again. How long will it be before a Siamese cat wins the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show because Fluffy the Persian identifies as a German shepherd. Will Lassie and Toto get cast as the leads in the Broadway musical “Cats”? And will crazy cat ladies be obligated to have dogs, too, on the basis of canine equality?

So if you ask me – and quite frankly, no one does – girls in Girl Scouts and boys in Boy Scouts or stop all the silliness already, lump them all together and call them “Scouts.” Whoever shows up, pays their dues, and builds a soapbox derby car is in.

Because, guess what!? Both sides are already charged to “Be Prepared” and “Do a Good Turn Daily.” Who knew, but both sides of the Scout debate have the same motto and slogan. We should probably now realize that what they’ve both been saying since the 1940’s is “Be prepared to do a good turn daily, because the world is going to get crazy and people will be weird, but someone still has to step up and sell cookies, salute the flag, deliver mulch, and help old ladies across the street. Scouts, it’s on you.

What! Oct. 26, 2017

What I Heard This Week October 26, 2017

What I Heard This Week - Logo

By Lisa Baker • 10-26-17


What the heck is pupper necking? Well, according to UrbanDictionary, it is, “the act of slowing down traffic to look at a cute dog.” So, when my daughter and I were at the SPCA this week, legally adopting the two baby kittens that we rescued from the back of my office during Harvey, I found myself pupper necking (and kitty necking) because there are some pretty cute babies that are in great need of being adopted. 141 Canna Lane LJ. You don’t have to bring them home to provide for them. Just tell them the donation is because you are a pupper necker.


At a Welsh food bank, someone donated a can of Heinz kidney soup (a discontinued flavor) that was 46-years old. FORTY-SIX-YEARS-OLD.


Remember the Borden Dairy Company and Elsie the Cow? She was a cartoon logo developed as a mascot in 1936 to symbolize the “perfect dairy product.”  What many may not know is that Elsie had a fictional cartoon mate, Elmer the Bull who was created in 1940 and used for Borden’s (then chemical-division) as the mascot for Elmer’s Glue-All. This is weird to me since I thought glue was made from boiling connective tissue of dead animals (like cows?!?) But I looked it up and in years gone by glue was made from milk…so that’s the real story. There’s more. If you add vinegar to milk and heat, the milk will curdle and form lumps. ahhh – this is how you get the famous curds and whey from Little Miss Muffet. Take this mixture, strain to separate the curds from the whey, add baking soda to the curds and stir. Now you have casein or white glue. More completely useless information.


Storms make trees take deeper roots. – Dolly Parton


The Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield, Massachusetts plans for Sotheby’s to have a public auction of 40 works of art, including two that Norman Rockwell gave as gifts to the museum when he lived nearby. Norman Rockwell died in 1978. Thomas, Jarvis and Peter Rockwell are part of a group who are going to court to halt these plans. Massachusetts law requires the museum to maintain any gifts it receives for the people of the county and the general public.  Seems more than fair. The problem is that “the arts” don’t always get the funding that they need and museums suffer, requiring them to make it work.


If you live anywhere in Texas you know about Nutcracker Market. This year you can shop November 9-12th. It was started in 1981, to raise needed funds for Houston Ballet Foundation, its Academy and scholarship programs. Last year, over 105,000 shoppers spent over 19.5 million at more than 280 national and international booths. If you want that same experience, but closer to home, the 35th Annual Mums & Mistletoe Market will be here November 17th from 9am-6pm. Shop with 50-vendors and don’t forget the cheese soup at their Market Café.


No one is perfect – that’s why pencils have erasers. – unknown


A young unidentified child, likely 3-5 years of age, was found washed up or placed on a little stretch of beach in Galveston last week. He hadn’t been dead very long. NO ONE HAS REPORTED A MISSING CHILD. Anyone with information please call 409-765-3776 or Crime Stoppers at 409-763-TIPS, Galveston Police Department at (409) 765-3702, FBI at (409) 935-7327 or Texas EquuSearch at (281) 309-9500.


The Guinness World Record for longest dog tongue belongs to Mochi. He is an 8-year old St. Bernard from South Dakota with a tongue length of 7.31-inches. I dare anyone to say that I don’t save the best information for this column.


HAPPY BIRTHDAYS: Musician Bob Weir is 70. Founding member of The Grateful Dead. Singer John Mayer is 40. Now touring with musician Bob Weir (see above in case you forgot what you just read) in a band called Dead & Company. Actress Suzanne Somers is 71. Actor Tim Robbins is 59. Actress Margot Kidder is 69. Astronaut Mae Jemison is 61. Country singer Alan Jackson is 59. Animator Mike Judge is 55.  King of the Hill, Beavis and Butt-Head. Reggae singer Ziggy Marley is 49. Rapper Eminem is 45. Years ago, when I first heard someone say his name, I thought it was M&M like the candy. What can I say…I’m old. College and Pro Football Hall of Fame Mike Ditka is 78. Jazz musician Wynton Marsalis is 56. His very talented brother, Delfeayo Marsalis is coming to The Clarion on November 17th.

Ex-actress Reverend Mother Dolores Hart is 79. As a young Hollywood starlet in the 60s, Dolores Hart had it all. She was considered the next Grace Kelly for beauty and acting talent, had a seven-figure studio contract, roles opposite Anthony Quinn, Robert Wagner, Montgomery Clift and was the envy of girls everywhere for giving Elvis Presley his first on-screen kiss. She was also the star of MGM’s highest grossing film of 1962, Where the Boys Are. Then one day she walked away from it all and became a nun.

Rapper Snoop Dogg is 46. Fashion designer Ralph Lauren is 78. Country singer Natalie Maines is 43. The Dixie Chicks. Singer Usher is 39. Director Philip Kaufman is 81. The Right Stuff. Singer Dwight Yoakam is 61. Parodist Weird Al Yankovic is 58. TV’s Judge Judy Sheindlin is 75. Black Panthers co-founder Bobby Seale is 81. Actor Christopher Lloyd is 79. Emmett “Doc” Brown in Back to the Future. Actress Catherine Deneuve is 74. Actor Jeff Goldblum is 65. Christian singer TobyMac is 53. Rock musician Zac Hanson is 32. Hanson Brothers.


Election Day – November 7, 2017: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

What’cha handing out for Halloween this year? In the past, I’ve given pencils, toothbrushes, individual packages of pretzels AND in a weak moment, candy. Here are some ideas if you are thinking outside the candy box. Take a permanent marker and draw a jack-o-lantern face on the outside of a clementine. They’re so cute, easy to peel and everyone loves a clementine.  Fruit leather strips, individual packages of crackers, chips, pistachios or popcorn are also great ideas. Halloween themed water bottles, spider rings, stickers, or glow-sticks are all available at the dollar store – they have a great selection of affordable items. So, don’t feel bad about a no candy rule. The parents will appreciate it. Be sure to come by The Source Weekly office on Halloween and have your picture made in costume for the paper and get a treat.


Broken crayons still color…


Get your Halloween picture turned in for our Pumpkin Coloring Contest. You could win a gift card.


The Teal Pumpkin Project was one clever mom figuring out a way for her son with severe food allergies, to participate in trick-or-treating a few years back. Instead of handing out sweet treats, she has a treat bucket full of non-food goodies to hand out. To alert other families in her Tennessee neighborhood that it was a safe place for kids with allergies to stop, she painted one of the front porch pumpkins teal – the color of allergy awareness. Her efforts came to the attention of Food Allergy Research & Education who took the project national in 2014. There is an interactive map where you can register, therefore sharing locations of participants taking part in the Teal Pumpkin Project. Awareness partners now include CVS, Michaels and Oriental Trading.


Babe Ruth wore a cabbage leaf under his baseball cap to keep cool and changed it every two innings.


Brian’s BBQ – The Fill Station, is now open in Downtown Lake Jackson. We’re so proud of you. I say this as I sit at my desk with a little mustard on my chin from my smoked Turkey Sandwich that Debra picked up from there this morning. SOOOO good. Welcome to Lake Jackson. We are so excited to have you guys right down the street.


Some guys get a new corvette when they turn 60.  VERY proud, new Rocket’s owner, Tilman Fertitta, says, “I will not make any decision based on what I paid for the team. If I had to make a decision based on that, I shouldn’t have bought the team.” “I want people to talk about the Houston Rockets the way they talk about the Los Angeles Lakers or the Boston Celtics.” “We’re going to make good decisions and we’re going to do whatever it takes to win.” “Anybody can build a boardwalk. Anybody can build an aquarium, anybody can build tall buildings. Not many can own a team in their hometown.” Sounds like we may have a winner.


Two shareholders of Blue Bell Creameries have filed suit against the company, alleging that mismanagement by executives and board of directors led to a Listeria outbreak two years ago that damaged the company’s finances and brand. Some analysts estimate that the company’s sales fell by hundreds of millions of dollars as a result. Since the outbreak, Blue Bell has slipped to the fourth best-selling brand, now behind Breyer’s, Ben & Jerry’s and Haagen-Dazs.


Coach Chris Foerster, the Miami Dolphins’ offensive line coach has resigned rather than be fired after a 56-second video was released on social media showing him using a twenty-dollar bill to snort a white powdery substance off his desk right before he leaves for a team meeting. Sad behavior but if you watch the video, he says (to someone) that he “thinks of them” as he snorts, “Hey, babe, miss you…” then the rest of what he says is not repeatable in a family newspaper even in 2017. That part is even sadder. I am embarrassed for him and especially for his family. The video was originally released by a model who lives in Las Vegas. Just another example of stupid behavior and someone saying, “Gee, I just never really thought that I would get caught.”


More than 6,600 inmates serving prison time in Texas donated almost $54,000 from their commissary funds to the American Red Cross to be used for storm relief from Harvey. Nice.


A hand-written letter on embossed Titanic stationery that was written by one of the Titanic’s passengers a day before the ocean line sank, has sold at auction in England for $166,000. It was said that the letter was “the most important Titanic letter we have ever auctioned” because of its content, historical context and rarity. It was found in the pocket notebook of the gentleman that wrote it, when his body was recovered. His wife survived the disaster. One line in the note was, “If all goes well we will arrive in New York Wednesday am.”


A mentally ill Florida man shot and killed his mother’s friend because he believed the man was flirting with his imaginary girlfriend. When officers arrived, the suspect shot at the deputies and began walking towards a school located just a few hundred feet away, which was immediately placed on lockdown. Later the suspect entered his own home and killed himself. He was found to have an AR-15 rifle and a .22 caliber rifle in his possession. Hmmm.


According to Rawlings Sporting Goods Company, the average lifespan of a baseball in Major League play is six pitches. They don’t wear out…that takes into account the foul balls that are lost to fans, the fact that every home run ball is lost, and every time a ball gets scuffed the umpire sets it aside for the next day’s batting practice. There are 144 baseballs opened and ready for each game, and an additional 6 dozen in reserve. GO ASTROS!!


– Lisa

Just My Luck

Much Ado About Nothing October 19, 2017

Jean Ciampi - Much Ado About Nothing

Much Ado About Nothing by Jan Ciampi

I have a friend who is a force for all goodness, and, in return, constantly receives back happiness and light from the Universe. I, however, must be sending out the cosmic equivalent of chain letters, head lice, and invitations to join pyramid marketing schemes, because I seem to suck in dumb bad luck with the magnetic force of an unmeasurable black hole. Why else would I end up looking like a Jackson Pollock painting in Home Depot?

Honestly, I walked into the paint department with the intention of picking out a shade of currently fashionable gray to paint my soon-to-be textured brand new sheetrock. I walked out stained, soggy and emotionally scarred. It took maybe 12 minutes.

It starts when the ding-a-ling paint counter girl puts a blop of wet paint on the lid of the miniature sample can of the first color I’d picked out. Except she didn’t dry it or tell me it was wet, and I immediately get paint all over my hand. Then, she’s giving me a paper towel and sloshes the open container of the second color onto the front of my black t-shirt. In the ensuing melee, I smear the third color up my other arm. It’s like I’ve been dropped into a really bad Three Stooges movie.

As she’s trying to salvage the counter and floor, I’m in the ladies room trying to replicate the deep cleaning action of a Maytag front loader to save my shirt. Of course, some mom walks in with her baby while I’m half naked in front of the hand dryer trying to blow dry to a point of wear-ability and she’s snickering at me. Okay, from a woman who has probably been burped up on no fewer than six times that day, I can probably take that.

So I couldn’t get all the paint out. I couldn’t get the shirt dry. I couldn’t remember where my dignity had gone. I couldn’t help but think I was developing an allergic rash from the hardware store bathroom hand soap. And I couldn’t stop wondering what exactly I’d done to make Karma hate me so intensely.

Of course, my eternally sunny friend reminded me that, in the end, I did get 10% off my paint samples to make up for the mess. Honestly, I think I might hate her.

What! Oct. 19, 2017

What I Heard This Week October 19, 2017

What I Heard This Week - Logo

By Lisa Baker • 10-19-17


In Dallas, a police helicopter discovered more than 3,000 marijuana plants growing in a remote area. No suspects were found but Dallas police Major Max Geron urged anyone who might be missing their marijuana to be sure to “call us.” Oops.


The Dow just hit 23,000. That’s a huge milestone. It was just August 2, that it hit 22,000. Where’s all the hoopla?


Brian’s BBQ will have a new downtown Lake Jackson location called The Fill Station. IT WILL BE OPEN SOON!  I promise. I know this for sure because I drive by every other day and yell, “I’m waiting!” They are now yelling back. Oh, and did I tell you that they are going to serve whiskey and there is a huge picture of John Wayne on the side of the building. Finally, someone that truly understands Texas and what we really want. John Wayne, Whiskey and BBQ. Heavy sigh. See you in line.


Coach Inc. brand is famous for is beautiful leather purses and had recently purchased Kate Spade and shoemaker Stuart Weitzman. They have now announced that they will rebrand and change their name (which seems to be a trendy thing to do right now) to Tapestry, Inc. Hmmm. I wonder what name Harvey Weinstein will pick for his makeover?  I can think of a few names. That’s all I’m going to say.


Hurry. The Bellamy Brothers are entertaining on the last night of the fair, Saturday October 21st. Also, Nooney & The Zydeco Floaters. bcfa.org


In a place called Dumpty Doo (Australia’s Northern Territory) scientists are beginning an experiment to try and save the banana. Yes, the standard Cavendish Banana. The most popular fruit in the world. Baby’s first food. The fruit that is sweeter and better to cook with when it’s black, splotchy and overripe.  Scientists are planting thousands of small banana plants that have been modified with genes from the musa acuminata banana variety hoping to escape the effects of fusarium wilt aka Panama Disease Tropical Race 4 or TR4. Fungicides and fumigants are useless against it. Once TR4 hits a banana farm, the only recourse is to eradicate all the plants and start over. If this doesn’t work, you may not be able to find this delicious fruit readily available in our grocery stores, in a few years.


JJ Watt suffered a tibial plateau fracture of his left leg, a break at the top of the shinbone within the knee joint. That hurts me just to type it.


The new River Oaks District shopping center on Westheimer has a 5-ft. tall security robot named ROD2 (a play on the River Oaks District and the famous Star Wars droid, R2D2.) Its eye-like cameras continuously compile information on surroundings, reading license plates, recognizing familiar faces and monitoring for unusual or suspicious activity, all while greeting you with a “good morning” or “good afternoon.” FYI. If you see its normally blue lights turn red, then you have hung around too long taking your selfie and ROD2 is mad. Be polite and move on.


A family cruise turned into a parent’s worst nightmare when an 8-year old child got on her tippy-toes for a better look over the rail (they were thinking that the railing was the same height and she couldn’t see over) and fell to her death two stories below.


An old canoe surfaced in Florida after Hurricane Irma. Using a technique known as radiocarbon dating, archaeologists determined that it could date back to the 1600’s. It could be that the wood is older than the canoe. Officials now begin a preservation process to make sure the canoe doesn’t deteriorate before it is relocated to a museum.


HAPPY BIRTHDAYS: Singer Jackson Browne is 69. Actor Scott Bakula is 63. Rock singer Sean Lennon is 42. Singer Jerry Lee Lewis is 82. TV personality Bryant Gumbel is 69. Country singer Gene Watson is 74. Farewell Party. Singer Daryl Hall is 71. Former auto executive Lee Iacocca is 93. Actress-director Penny Marshall is 74. Singer-musician Richard Carpenter is 71. I remember hanging at the skating rink every Friday and Saturday night listening to The Carpenter’s sing…Rainy Days and Mondays, Top of the World, We’ve Only Just Begun, They Long to Be Close to You.

Singer Tito Jackson is 64. Singer-musician Sammy Hagar is 70. Van Halen.  Singer Marie Osmond is 58. Actress Kelly Preston is 55. Olympic silver medal figure skater Nancy Kerrigan is 48. Pro Football Hall of Fame Jerry Rice. Considered by some to be the greatest wide receiver in NFL history.

Britain’s Duchess of York, Sarah Ferguson is 58. Chef Emeril Lagasse is 58. Broadcast journalist Chris Wallace is 70. Actor Hugh Jackman is 49. Actor Kirk Cameron is 47. Growing Pains. Actress Melinda Dillon is 78. She was the mother in A Christmas Story in 1983. Yikes, has it been that long? Singer-musician Paul Simon is 76. I was in Houston at a Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers concert (Bluegrass) and Paul Simon came out on stage and sang a bit (it so happens that he is married to Edie Brickell who was touring with the band.) The crowd went wild and so did I.


Deaths: Remember Elizabeth Baur, who helped Raymond Burr bring the bad guys to justice as Officer Fran Belding on the long-running NBC crime drama Ironside?  She died at age 69.

There was a best-selling business management book, “The One-Minute Manager,” by Spencer Johnson (who died recently at age 78 of pancreatic cancer.) His idea was that businesspeople needed to connect with their co-workers by spending a full minute giving sincere praise or if needed, a reprimand. It had a money-back guarantee. Business schools taught it and businesses everywhere handed the book out like candy. Other books followed. “The One-Minute Father”“The One-Minute Mother” and “One-Minute for Myself.” The idea in these books was that there should be one-minute in the day is where you stop and look at what you’re really thinking and what you’re really doinga quiet time that you can listen to your own inner wisdom. His No.1 best seller was “Who Moved My Cheese?” which had main “mice” characters named Sniff & Scurry and two people, Hem & Haw. The four of them lived happily in a maze eating cheese until one day the cheese disappeared. Sniff & Scurry scampered away to find new cheese while Hem and Haw whined and whined about their fate and their terrible hunger. How do you adapt to changing circumstances?  Johnson was once a physician turned children’s book author. His decency and morals will be missed.


The quicker you let go of old cheese, the sooner you find new cheese.” – Spencer Johnson


I haven’t said thank you enough to the City of Lake Jackson for everything that they did during Harvey. Those guys worked and they worked and they worked. I tried to do my part with breakfast for the pump guys or meals for different working locations during the flooding (anything besides pizza in a box – bless their hearts) but I know it wasn’t enough. Special thanks to Eddie Herrera (hope I got your name right) who was checking a drain valve in my alley, way after midnight one night and had been working since early that morning. It was so appreciated.


The Bible is available in nearly 2,500 languages including Klingon, Vulcan and Romulan, three languages created for the Star Trek series.  Hmmm.


Elton John will be playing his piano at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas for the last time on May 19, 2018.


The landmark Sears store in Houston Midtown will close after this last holiday season. The liquidation sale will start on November 10th. The store opened in 1939 as a modern air-conditioned shopping center where the floors were connected by escalators. There was a muralist that painted walls with scenes from Texas history and a large painting of Sam Houston. Corrugated metal coverings were added in the 1960s, an effort to modernize the building. I can only hope that whoever owns this building now, understands that this art-deco needs to be saved.


Stephen King’s IT is back after 27 years and scaring another generation of moviegoers. Opening weekend IT took in an estimated $117.2 million, so IT officially had the third-largest opening weekend of 2017. IT also earned 87% on Rotten Tomatoes and a B-plus CinemaScore. You wonder what this does to the future of Sweet Potatoe and clowns like him who are loved and adored equally by kids and adults.


The Ronald McDonald House Houston on Holcombe is increasing its campus by 40 percent…adding 20 bedrooms to the 50-bedroom campus. This facility provides accommodations for out-of-town families of seriously ill children being treated in the Texas Medical Center and must turn away 12-15 families each day.


The Harlem Globetrotters are coming January 27th.  If you have little kids, they need to see these guys. When I was in high school, I would buy tickets to take my date but tell him that my dad gave me the tickets. Because I love the Harlem Globetrotters. It’s always a fun time.


If the video title and description is fact, then I watched a video of a lady (I use that word loosely) at a convenience store, using a plant watering bucket to top off the gas tank on a rental car. The story stated that she was doing it before taking the rental car back, so that the gas tank appeared full. Hmmm.


If you’ve never been to Frankel’s Costume Shop in Houston, you better hurry because the 40,000-sq-ft building with its 57,000 rental costumes, will be closing soon. The land that the building sits on has been sold. Frankel’s is not just a Halloween shop – theatre and professional entertainers all have a special place there. If you couldn’t find it anywhere else, you could find it at Frankel’s. They have expanded their hours to allow them to sell their massive inventory in a dignified fashion and not garage sale style. My son was a magician so I remember some long hot hours spent in the magic section. They will be missed by many.


Leonardo Da Vinci could write with one hand and draw with the other simultaneously. He always wrote backward so that one could only read his writing with a mirror. Heck, I write notes to myself that I can’t figure out what I said the next day. Perhaps I should be using a mirror. Nah. I just need to write better.


It’s Daylight “Saving” Time not Daylight Savings Time. Benjamin Franklin did not originate the idea of moving clocks forward. His suggestion was that Parisians wake up at dawn, then they could save the modern-day equivalent of $200-million plus by using sunshine instead of candles. So, Franklin simply proposed a change in sleep schedules, not a time change. The American farmers were not happy with the change in 1918. They had to wait an extra hour for dew on hay to dry, hired hands worked less hours and the cows were not ready to be milked an hour earlier to meet shipping schedules. Hawaii and Arizona, except for the state’s Navajo Nation, do not observe daylight saving time and the US territories of American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and the Northern Mariana Islands. Some Amish communities also choose not to participate in daylight saving time. We change on November 5th.


Research at Mayo Clinic Cancer Center has shown that a three-month course of chemotherapy was almost as effective as six months of chemotherapy treatment for stage 3 colon cancer treatment. The shorter schedule also resulted in fewer side effects such as nerve damage because unlike hair loss and diarrhea, nerve damage doesn’t stop when the chemo ends.


Babe Ruth wore a cabbage leaf under his baseball cap to keep cool and changed it every two innings.


According to RawlingsQuoting Boutwell, McPhee says the average lifespan of a baseball in Major League play is six pitches. “Not that it wears out. But every foul ball is lost to the fans. Every homer is lost. Every time a ball gets scuffed, the umpire banishes it down to tomorrow’s batting practice.”

Additional tidbit:
There are 144 baseballs opened and ready for each game, and an additional 6 dozen in reserve.


– Lisa

Jean Ciampi for Commissioner Major League Baseball

Much Ado About Nothing October 12, 2017

Jean Ciampi - Much Ado About Nothing

Much Ado About Nothing by Jan Ciampi

I love baseball, from t-ball to Little League to college ball to the pros. Of course, with the Houston Astros in the post-season play-offs, lots of people are loving baseball. But I even love baseball when the Astros can’t buy a win against the Iowa School for the Blind’s practice team. It is only as a result of this deep abiding love that I point out that there are some glaring, fundamental problems going on in the sport, problems I will straighten out when I become the next Commissioner of Major League Baseball.

Okay, blah blah that there’s not an opening right now, but I fully expect to get the call to the bullpen to take over when word of my sweeping reforms and improvements gets out.

First order of business will be making the pitchers in the American League bat. No more of this silly designated hitter ho-haw. There is no reason why the pitcher can’t step up to the plate and hack away like the rest of the team. If you don’t want to be embarrassed that you can’t hit, take lessons or look for another job. This is, after all, BASEball where the objective is to run the bases. It’s not PITCHball. I’m sorry, Carlos Beltran, it’s not that we don’t love you, Sweetie. Remember, you’ve got a fine career ahead of you in coaching

Next up to bat will be a dress code. I’m not going to nit-pick the small things like whether the pants are worn down to the cleats or pulled up to the knees, but I think it’s important the players look professional on the field at all times. That means no more of that long hair everywhere. Cameron Maybin, this means you. You’re a great addition to the team, and we’d like to keep you. But there’s only a spot there for you because we got rid of Colby Rasmus this year, most likely because he wouldn’t get a good clarifying shampoo and a haircut. As commissioner, I say get a cut or get cut! If they aren’t going to let girls play, then the boys who do play can’t look like girls.

Now, if you need me, I’ll be here with my peanuts and cold beer waiting for the next first pitch and my call up to top of the big leagues! Let’s play ball!

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  • Much Ado About Nothing - Zombie Ants Redux

    by on February 8, 2018 - 0 Comments

      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 […]

  • Much Ado About Nothing - Blueberries

    by on January 25, 2018 - 0 Comments

      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 […]

  • What I Heard This Week! Feb. 8, 2018

    by on February 8, 2018 - 0 Comments

    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, […]

  • Much Ado About Nothing - New California

    by on February 1, 2018 - 0 Comments

      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 […]

  • What I Heard This Week! Feb. 1, 2018

    by on February 1, 2018 - 0 Comments

    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 […]

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