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What! July 20, 2017

What I Heard This Week July 20, 2017

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By Lisa Baker • 07-20-17

Researchers have developed a ‘red wine pill’ that gives all the benefits of red wine without the alcohol. It’s called a grape.” Norm Macdonald

I don’t typically win anything (well, a set of cheap luggage that broke into little pieces the first time I used it, then once, I signed up for Dallas Cowboy tickets in someone else’s name, and the guy that won said thanks, and took someone else to the game…the 80’s were not good to me,) but I recently won $1000 at Tri-City Auto, just because I’m smart, good looking and fun to be with…ok, well, not actually. It was luck of the draw and I had a really hard time walking away with that money because I didn’t do anything to deserve it. But, I’m going to tell you this…if you need your vehicle repaired, call Bart at Tri-City Auto. He’s one of the best and you will leave there feeling like he was honest and did the best job he could do on your vehicle. Just like Henry always did.

A naked, 25-year-old man, sitting in front of a store in Angleton, was taken into custody without incident. Did I mention that he was naked? Perhaps alcohol was involved. I bet many us can remember at least one time that alcohol got us naked.

A woman was found guilty of aggravated murder, felonious assault and conspiracy in the November 2013 killing of a Cleveland veteran firefighter/husband that she had been married to for only four months – she wanted to collect his life insurance Oops, the firefighter was married previously and never changed the name of the beneficiary on his life insurance policy, so his ex-wife will be the one to inherit $100,000 plus his city pension. What goes around, comes around. Sometimes it takes a while. Sometimes it doesn’t. 😊

Blue Bell has announced the release of Sweet ‘n Salty Crunch. It’s a vanilla ice cream base with chocolate-coated pretzel bites, chopped roasted almonds and milk chocolate chunks. If the pretzel bites just had a little dab of peanut butter in them, it would be perfect.

There is an online retailer (because they’re too embarrassed to show these in real stores) that’s selling an $80 male romper (think the blue Dow or Dickies coverall with short sleeves and cut off 10 inches above the knees…yep) with a really, really, close-up picture of North Korean leader Kim Jon Un’s face (eyebrows at underarm level and mouth at belly button level) on it. I can’t make this stuff up. And it sells for $80?!? Well, maybe it sells. I just got my “People of Wal-Mart” pictures that an unnamed friend sends to me, and I didn’t see a single person wearing this romper. Close your eyes and imagine this.

Imagine this: You’ve said yes, to the dress, and the order for the bride’s maid dresses have been made, you’ve made your down payment (or paid the whole shebang), and then…aaauugggh, your bridal dress store files for bankruptcy and shuts their doors with no warning. A bride’s worst nightmare. The bridal chain, Arnold Angelo, did this exact thing. They didn’t even tell their employees. Not nice. Some competing bridal companies are trying to come to the rescue and provide samples, discounts and other dresses that they have in stock. One bride tweeted, “My wedding is in 29 days. I’m glad that orange is my wedding color because I’m gonna be married in jail if I can’t get my dresses.”

A recent study shows that those that drink diet soda are at a greater risk for dementia and strokes.

There’s a business in Houston where you can hire mermaids to entertain and explain the finer skills of mermaiding at your next pool party. I wish this had been around when my daughter wanted to be a mermaid…yikes, it’s $400. Maybe not, but wouldn’t it be fun to try on a mermaid tail and pretend to be Ariel for an afternoon. www.HoustonMermaids.com

HAPPY BIRTHDAYS: Actor Will Ferrell is 50. Singer-musician Christine McVie is 74. Fleetwood Mac. McVie and Lindsey Buckingham are on tour now and were on a late night show a couple of weeks ago sounding really good. Racing Hall of Fame Richard Petty is 80. Writer-director-comedian Larry David is 70. Seinfeld. Daughter of President Lyndon B. Johnson Luci Baines Johnson is 70. Actor-comedian-sex deviant Bill Cosby is 80. Ick. Fitness guru Richard Simmons is 69. Actress Cheryl Ladd is 66.

Olympic gold medal figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi is 46.  Actor Tab Hunter is 86.  “Young Love” was released in 1956. Actress Sela Ward is 61. Sisters, Once and Again. Rock guitarist Richie Sambora is 58. Bon Jovi.  Wildlife expert Jeff Corwin is 50. Folk singer Arlo Guthrie is 70. Singer-actress Jessica Simpson is 37. Chef Wolfgang Puck is 68. Actor Kevin Bacon is 59. Singer Toby Keith is 56.  Actor Patrick Stewart is 77. He says, “Being cast as Jean-Luc Picard (in Star Trek) was the most significant thing that ever happened to me because there wasn’t an area of my life that it didn’t touch, mostly for the better.”

Actor Harrison Ford is 75. Doesn’t seem possible. Actor-comedian Cheech Marin is 71. Actor-director Cameron Crowe is 60. Actor Brian Dennehy is 79.  Soul singer Leon Bridges is 28.  Actor Richard Roundtree is 75.  Shaft. Author Dean Koontz is 72. Football Hall of Fame O.J. Simpson is 70. Pianist, composer and TV personality John Tesh is 65. Actor Jimmy Smits is 62. Actor Tom Hanks is 61 Actress Kelly McGillis is 60. Top Gun. Actress-singer Courtney Love is 53. Actor-director Fred Savage is 41. The Wonder Years. Singer Mavis Staples is 78. In the 2015 documentary Mavis! she revealed that Bob Dylan once proposed to her, and she turned him down.

Mark Lester is celebrating his 59th birthday and is the English, former child actor known for playing the title role in the 1968 musical film version of Oliver! You’ve seen him. What is interesting is that he is now an osteopath but was the close, long-time friend of Michael Jackson…they were even godfathers to each other’s children. Lester defended Jackson throughout his trial on child molestation charges in 2005. OK. What’s even more interesting is that Lester believes that Paris Jackson could be his child because he had donated sperm to Michael Jackson as a gift in 1996 and he is willing to take a paternity test to prove either way. Huh. Do guys do that? Make gifts of their sperm? I thought they just borrowed each other’s lawn equipment and tools.

RODEOHOUSTON will have a new rotating concert stage next year at Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo that is THE latest technology so you can boost YOUR experience. It’s star-shaped with five-star points where each star point can be raised individually or jointly and can be lowered or raised to and from the arena surface…it rotates and as it is positioned and ready for each performance the star points lower and open like the petals of a flower. Watch the video. Garth Brooks will be the first entertainer to perform on the stage on February 27th, 2018.

Krispy Kreme Donuts is celebrating their 80th birthday. KK opened their doors on July 13, 1937, when Vernon Rudolph bought a secret yeast-raised doughnut recipe from a New Orleans French chef, rented a historic building in Old Salem, Winston-Salem, N.C. and began selling donuts to local grocery stores.  I LOVE Krispy Kreme.

Houston Rockets owner, Les Alexander, announced that he is putting the team up for sale. Alexander is among the richest team owners in all of sports and bought the team before the ‘93-‘94 season for $85-million. The franchise is now valued at $1.65billion. That a tidy little profit because there is a big difference between a million and a billion. Many prominent names are floating around as purchasers including Tilman Fertitta, Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale and Houston Astros owner Jim Crane.

A Corpus Christi ATM repairman accidently locked himself into a small room connected to the money machine while changing a lock last week. He sent several notes out through the receipt slot“please help I’m stuck in here and I don’t have my phone please call my boss at (phone number.)” Many people thought it was a prank and walked away so he was in there for several hours. Even the police thought it was a joke. When someone did finally take the plea seriously, they could hear a faint voice calling to them as they approached the ATM. Bless his heart.

Martin Landau died at age 89 of an unexpected complication after a brief hospitalization. He was a true legend of the screen.

In the U.S., presidential job approval ratings were introduced by George Gallup in the late 1930’s (probably in 1937) to gauge public support. President Trump has historic disapproval ratings (58% disapproval to 36% approval) which is the lowest for any President at the 6-month mark in 70 years.

Walmart has upgraded their beef to certified Angus across the US as they compete with others…such as Aldi or Amazon’s purchase of Whole Foods.

The Blue Whale Challenge; it’s a social media game (appealing to teens) that presents itself as 50-days of dare-challenges that are assigned by an anonymous administrator with the participant submitting photo evidence each day to prove their task is completed, then on the final day the participant is supposed to commit suicide and post it on social media. Some of the tasks include watching horror movies, drinking bleach and committing acts of self-mutilation. Our world is a crazy one and you better pay attention to your kids because they are being led to believe that crazy is normal.

Nitrates added to processed meats are not healthy for you. Oscar Meyer is now saying that their nitrates are derived from celery juice which sounds healthy…but nitrates can combine with compounds found in meats and at high temperatures fuel the formation of nitrosamines, which are known carcinogens in animals. The World Health Organization says there is a chemical reaction that happens regardless of the source of nitrates (including celery juice.) They say that nitrates are nitrates and are calling for a cancer warning label on processed meats, regardless of how they’re made.

Elevate your legs above your heart every day for 20 minutes to increase circulation and prevent spider veins.

I just finished piddling in my garden and I am “all better” now. I cut some rainbow swiss chard which I will wrap around chicken thighs, sauté, then cover with a white wine lemon sauce that my kids are crazy about, then I cut some lemongrass into 5” sticks that I’ll use as skewers for grilled chicken this week-end – the taste that the lemongrass gives the chicken is yummy. I picked a few Zinnias for my desk and pulled a few weeds. It’s just amazing what 30-little tiny minutes of mindless thought in the heat and sticky air, can do to clear all the mud that gets stuck in your brain during the day. Even the aphids didn’t get a rile out of me. Now the ants are another story. If someone has a great organic recipe for killing those little critters, let me know.

Happy 18th birthday to my sweet girl, Anne-Elisabeth Inez. Seventeen plus years ago, I went to Nick Giannone (Industrial Medicine Doctor) for what I thought was an upper respiratory infection. Dr. Nick was so happy because he didn’t often, get to give such a happy diagnosis. I have had so much fun with you but I never, ever thought the time would go so fast. I love you beyond compare and I am so super-proud to be your mother. The law now considers you an official adult. Get over it.

– Lisa

What! July 13, 2017

What I Heard This Week July 13, 2017

What I Heard This Week - Logo

By Lisa Baker • 07-13-17

In a thousand years, archaeologists will dig up tanning beds and think we fried people as punishment.”  Olivia Wilde

In Panama City Beach, Florida, a mom saw her 8 and 11-year-old sons far out in the water, caught in a rip current. Family members ran into the water but the current proved too much for them. On the beach, strangers saw what was happening and began to form a human chain to reach the family. The chain grew to 80-people and stretched more than 100 yards. It took them a while, but this group of kind human beings brought everyone safely to shore. What an inspiring story about good in the world.

This one is scary: According to a survey conducted by the Innovation Center for US Dairy, 7% of surveyed Americans think chocolate milk comes from brown cows and 48% of those same adults admitted to not being sure of where chocolate milk DOES come from. Dang. Does that mean that skim milk comes from skinny cows? Whole milk comes from sturdy, solid cows…and strawberry milk comes from the Red Angus?

SPAM was first introduced in 1937, which makes it 80-years-old. The brother of a Hormel executive won a $100 prize that year in a competition to name the new food item. Popular beliefs are that the name is an abbreviation of “spiced ham” – “spare meat” or “shoulders of pork and ham.”  I remember my mother slicing it, rolling it in flour, and frying it for dinner. Add an iceberg lettuce leaf with a canned pear half, a dollop of salad dressing, grated cheese and a maraschino cherry and we had a meal fit for king. Oh, wait! Tom says not to forget the pork and beans with that same meal…straight out of the can. Yep.

A new study says that it’s safe for breast cancer survivors to have babies. Some breast cancers are estrogen fed. Estrogen can sometimes cause cancer cells to grow and spread, leading some to fear that getting pregnant could bring back their cancer. But researchers followed 1,000 women that had breast cancer for a decade and found that getting pregnant did not mean women were more likely to have a reoccurrence. I was lucky when my breast cancer was diagnosed…my kids were 4 and 7. But to a woman that hasn’t completed her family, this is pretty wonderful news.

On July 2nd, an impressive 964-pound Tiger Shark was caught off the shores of Texas City during the 55th Annual Tackle Time Fishing Tournament. State record is 1,129-pounds. Yikes, that’s big.

The Houston Rockets announced that they have signed James Harden to a four-year contract extension that will run through the 2022-2023 season. It was reported that Harden will now earn $228 million through the end of his contract.

A microbiologist says that your damp bath towels need to be washed every three times you use them because where there is moisture, there are microbes. I say, I’m washing once a week and you better get it to the laundry room or you’re going to use it for two weeks.

A grandmother was interviewed for a research paper and asked to define success in her own words. “Success is when you look back at your life and the memories make you smile.”

The iPhone is now 10 years old. Just think about how your life has changed by having a miniature computer in your pocket or purse. I can see lots of positive but there is also great negative. I say just leave it in another room when you head to my kitchen for a meal. #DeviceFreeDinner – because dinner is for laughing, not texting.

Pay attention to what you pay attention to.”  Amy Krouse Rosenthal (read it twice…I love it)

The first Ruby-throated Hummingbirds making their way south for the winter could start arriving in late July and will continue through the end of October so get ready. They need us, so get your feeders cleaned up and ready to go. The Gulf Coast Bird Observatory is gearing up for their Xtreme Hummingbird Xtravanganza September 16th and 23rd, during the peak of the migration. They need volunteers. www.gcbo.org

32-year-old fraternal twins Danielle and Kim just happened to get pregnant and were both expecting babies on April 22nd. Total coincidence. Not planned. April 22nd came and no one had given birth so they decided to induce on the same day. On April 30th, both women gave birth to healthy baby boys. Aww.

Rumor has it that the new Beyoncé twins will be named Rumi and Sir. But no one knows for sure.

Puerto Rico has had tens of thousands of cases of the Zika virus since last year but now says their epidemic is over because the number of newly-infected people has gone down since the peak of the virus. Yikes.

Department of Motor Vehicles: Some locations such as Oregon and Washington D.C. are creating a third gender option on your driver’s license for individuals that identify as gender-neutral.

HAPPY BIRTHDAYS: The 14th Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso is 82. Former President George W. Bush is 71. Actor-director Sylvester Stallone is 71. Rapper 50 cent is 42. Real name…Curtis James Jackson III. Actress Katherine Helmond is 88. I loved her as the ditzy matriarch, Jessica Tate, on Soap and she was on Who’s the Boss? Actress Edie Falco is 54. The Sopranos and Nurse Jackie. Country musician Dave Haywood is 35. Lady Antebellum. Author David McCullough is 84.

Beatle’s drummer Ringo Starr is 77. Actress Shelley Duvall is 68. Actor Jamie Farr is 83. Choreographer Twyla Tharp is 76. Rock singer Deborah Harry is 72. Actor-comedian-vodka maker Dan Aykroyd is 65. Track star Carl Lewis is 56. “At the end of the day, if you’re a professional athlete in track and field, you are the CEO of your company.” Actress Liv Tyler is 40.

Musician and flashy dresser Doc Severinsen is 90.  When the former ‘Tonight Show’ bandleader retired to a small town in Mexico, he met two guys, a guitarist and violinist, that played Latino music (Severinsen called it “Spanish flamenco gypsy” music) at a local Italian Restaurant.  Severinsen sat there almost every night for two-months listening to them play before he started sitting in and playing with them. They recorded a couple of albums and then toured together. When they came to The Clarion a few years ago, Severinsen and the guys were unbelievable (and of course, he had on the most gorgeous jacket.) It was without a doubt one of the best musical experiences I have ever had. I encourage you to pull up some of their music.

I wonder if common sense will ever make a comeback…nah.

Sidewalk weeds can be a real pain. Thankfully, there is a super simple solution: Salt. Don’t use chemical weed killers when you can buy a .99 cent container of salt. Simply sprinkling very little salt on the sidewalk cracks where the weeds appear will eliminate growth quickly, plus you have helped Mother Earth and the cute little girl with the yellow dress holding the umbrella.

My fortune cookie today said that l will have full contentment by summers end. Hmmm.

Because of my appreciation of 70s rock music (which is nicer than saying I am old), my 20-year-old son wanted to gift me with tickets to see Roger Waters of Pink Floyd fame. When I suggested that perhaps he might want to take someone a little closer to his age, he insisted that it should be the two of us. Well, the concert staging was very dramatic – a giant alarm sounded and a wall of screens turned into a factory with smokestacks – it’s more of a show than a concert. The greatest hits were pretty good – he delegates a lot of the vocal work to others, but Roger Waters still lives to offend people. I guess that when you base songs on George Orwell’s “Animal Farm” novel, things just can’t be classified as fun. It was suggested that anti-depressants should have been available at the merchandise tables, next to the t-shirts and posters. What did I learn? I can have a great time anywhere with my sweet kid…and I wasn’t as old as most of the people there. At least in my mind.

Church: a place to come together and worship. In Tennessee, The Freedom 4 All, Inc. United Fellowship Center had filed a permit to run a church at a building located in an office park, north of Nashville. Oops. After seeing heavy traffic on weekend nights, code inspectors paid their entry fee of $40 and found it was a front for a ‘swingers’ organization called The Social Club.

The Gulf Coast Bird Observatory needs your help since they are hosting informal Saturday workdays in July and August, to help populate their native plant nursery. They need help propagating plants and organizing their nursery. If you can provide seeds or cuttings from your yard of locally-adapted plants useful for landscaping and backyard habitat or those useful as nectar plants for hummingbirds, butterflies or larval host plants for butterflies. Drop off plants, seeds or empty pots or go to their website for more information. www.gcbo.org

I’m sharing what I just read but I have not tried this to see if it works… Let’s say that your sweetie gave you a dozen roses for your anniversary or birthday and you would like to save them FOREVER…take a couple of the individual roses and cut an inch off the stems. Next, dip the end in cinnamon and place it inside a potato. Yep, a potato! Finally, you need to plant the potato in dirt and in a few months, they say you will have the start of your own rose bush that will keep that special memory alive if you water, fertilize and trim it.

The Holocaust Museum Houston has announced their $49.4-million Capital Campaign and plans to more than double the size of the facility. Nearly 40% of the museum’s 110,000 annual visitors are middle and high school students. With the expansion, they are expecting to increase attendance by 35%. If you haven’t gone, you need to. The current facility closes July 24th with the temporary operations opening September 5th at 9220 Kirby Drive. Children & students with ID are all free.

Yesterday, I parked next to someone that had taken up two spots. Two BIG spots. Last week I found several new dings on my car where someone felt that it was easier to open their car door on my car than to be careful.  So, when I found ‘Funniest Messages Left on Windshields of Terrible Parkers,’ I had to share some of the good ones that I can repeat: Dear Person, I’m sorry I put a dent in your car. I didn’t want to but I did it when I tried to park next to you. I’m not leaving my information because you chose to use two spaces and I just wanted to park in one. The scratches are because I used a towel that had sand on it and I tried to clean the dent/paint off. Beaches are fun. Please look your car over for the dent and scratches and each time you see them, remember not to park in two spaces. Sorry!!! Another one: Many three-year-old’s have trouble staying within the lines. Maybe if you practice coloring, it will help with your parking.

A successful businessman was asked what his top three tips were for success. “Read something no one else is reading, think something no one else is thinking, and do something no one else is doing.”

If you’re planning your own “Museum Day” don’t forget the Art Car Museum, 140 Heights Boulevard in Houston. They’re closed each Monday & Tuesday. It’s fun and admission is FREE.

– Lisa

What! July 06, 2017

What I Heard This Week July 6, 2017

What I Heard This Week - Logo

By Lisa Baker • 07-06-17

A Michigan man was trying to get a bee hive out of his garage so he did something really, really, silly. He used a smoke bomb from his collection of fireworks. His house was spared since the fire was contained to the garage and a neighboring fence but there are just ashes left of the structure. No word on what happened to the bees. Don’t use smoke bombs inside a structure. Duh.

The 2,700-square-foot, 3-bedroom, “Flintstones House” in Hillsborough, California, was originally listed for $4.2-million in September 2015. It is believed that it sold recently for $2.8-million. Many call the orange and purple house an eyesore, but others feel that it is a landmark. Either way, the house is getting a new owner. It’s worth a look if you get a chance.

A Florida man could end up facing charges after he accidently shot himself in the penis. He was rushed to the hospital after he sat on a loaded gun in the driver’s seat of his vehicle and the gun accidently discharged. Now, if that wasn’t enough, it seems that the man could face arrest charges because he had a previous conviction for another offense PLUS a felony possession of a firearm is punishable by up to 15 years in prison or a $10,000 fine. I googled ‘man shoots self in penis’ and believe me, he’s not the first man to shoot himself in his private area. Some guys will do anything to get attention.

Privacy Rights Clearinghouse is a non-profit that has a two-part mission…consumer information and consumer advocacy. They say that if mail has your name and address on it, just to be on the safe side, you should confetti-cut, shred it. If you are tired of the mailbox being full, then visit optoutprescreen.com to reduce credit card offers and dmachoice.org to get less junk mail. Tear this column out so you will remember to do it later.

China Star Buffet will open in the old Ryan’s Buffet Restaurant in LJ in the fall after remodeling.

Make a wish and toss your coins into the fountain at the mall. An elderly, 80-year-old Chinese woman was superstitious and sought ‘good luck’ by tossing nine coins at the plane as she was boarding at the tarmac in China. Great idea except she tossed at least one of the coins straight into the turbine engine. A passenger spotted her and reported what they saw. The flight was delayed for five hours while the airlines conducted a full exam of the plane’s engine. An airplane engine might look like a fountain to some people, I just don’t know. Sounds like she was a pretty good shot.

According to Dictionary.com, ‘Chutzpah’ means fearlessness. It takes chutzpah to stand in front of the whole class and announce that you are a better writer than William Shakespeare. Chutzpah is a Yiddish word meaning impudence or gall. Bravery that borders on rudeness is chutzpah, which rhymes with ‘foot spa.’

Optimism is going after Moby Dick in a rowboat, chutzpah (see above) is taking the tartar sauce with you.Zig Ziglar

Less than half of Americans got a flu shot last year. Researchers are testing a new flu vaccine patch that looks like a giant band-aid with a bunch of tiny needles that you apply yourself and is supposed to deliver as much protection as the traditional flu shot. It is expected to be ready for distribution within 5 years.

The first known promotional products in the US were commemorative buttons for the election of George Washington in 1789.

HAPPY BIRTHDAYS: Rock singer Chris Isaak is 61. He has been called the Roy Orbison of the 90’s. American rock singer and songwriter Patty Smyth is 60. She has been married to John McEnroe since 1997. Designer Vera Wang is 68. Actress Julia Duffy is 66. Newhart. Singer Lorrie Morgan is 58. Director Mel Brooks is 91.  Blazing Saddles, Spaceballs, Young Frankenstein, History of the World, The Producers and the list goes on and on. Actor Bruce Davison is 71. Willard. The rat. Actress Kathy Bates is 69. Fried Green Tomatoes, Molly Brown in Titanic, Misery (which still scares me.) Actress Alice Krige is 63.

Actress Mary Stuart Masterson is 51. Fried Green Tomatoes. Actress June Lockhart is 92. Lassie. Lost in Space. Petticoat Junction.  Singer Carly Simon is 72. Mockingbird and You’re So Vain. Actor-comedian Jimmie Walker is 70. Dy-No-mite! Good Times. TV personality Phyllis George is 68. Miss Texas 1970 and Miss America 1971. Actor Gary Busey is 73. Eric Trump could be his brother. Rock musician Ian Paice is 69. Deep Purple. Actress Sofia Vergara is 45. Actor Kevin Hart is 38. Singer, actress and businesswoman Jessica Simpson is 37.

Playwright Neil Simon is 90. If you can go through life without experiencing pain you probably haven’t been born yet. Journalist Geraldo Rivera is 74. Boxer Mike Tyson is 51-years-old. “I’m in trouble because I’m normal and slightly arrogant. A lot of people don’t like themselves and I happen to be totally in love with myself.”  Hmmm.

Blue Bell is introducing three flavors – “Cookie Two Step” features vanilla ice cream mixed with brown sugar, chocolate cream-filled cookies (a la Oreos) and chocolate chip cookie dough, Pineapple Sherbet, (I haven’t had that since I was a kid) and Red, White & Blue Bell which is vanilla, strawberry and blueberry.

Temperatures in Iran have now reached 129F setting the record for the hottest day in the country’s history and one of the highest ever in the world. I wonder if they know about Blue Bell.

The Ohana Surf Dog Competition benefiting the Galveston Island Humane Society, is scheduled for Sunday, July 16th. Surfing will begin at 9am at 28th Street and Seawall Boulevard, three blocks west of the Galveston Pleasure Pier. About 30 dogs are expected to surf this year, but it could be more if you call today and get Bailey, Max, Charlie, Buddy, Rocky, Jake, Bella, Lucy, Molly, Daisy and Maggie signed up for the competition. There will also be pets available for adoption at the event. FUN.

Five Astros were picked to play in the 88th Annual All-Star Game which will be played on Tuesday, July 11 at Marlins Park in Miami. Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa, George Springer, Dallas Keuchel, and Lance McCullers, Jr. Way to go, boys!!

35-year old, Tara Lipinski, who won gold during the 1998 Winter Olympic figure skating, has married TV producer Todd Kapostasy. She is the youngest person to ever to win a World Figure Skating title, doing so at the age of 14 years, and at age 15, was the youngest Olympic gold medalist in the individual ladies’ singles event. She was so cute.

The super-volcano that lies directly beneath Yellowstone National Park was hit by more than 460 tremors between June 12 and June 20.

The Department of Homeland Security is demanding airlines and airports worldwide tighten their security so terrorists cannot smuggle bombs onto planes. There is new concern about advanced technology that allows bombs to be hidden in laptops.

Amelia Earhart: The Lost Evidence, airs on History Channel this Sunday evening.  The new documentary features evidence that may prove that famed pilot Amelia Earhart, may have ended up as a Japanese prisoner of war. For decades, it has been believed that Earhart and her navigator Fred Noonan, crashed somewhere in the Pacific after their plane ran out of fuel and were never recovered. But a new photograph discovered in the National Archives may be the breakthrough clue in uncovering what happened to the two flyers.

Twenty-year-old Jack D. Young, has been indicted on thirteen, two-count indictments alleging intoxication manslaughter and manslaughter, and charged with one count of intoxication assault and one count of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, after being involved in the head-on fatal bus crash in March 2016 in Leakey, Texas, where thirteen senior passengers died on the bus that was carrying members of the First Baptist Church New Braunfels. He was on his phone, texting, had taken prescription medication prior to the crash and marijuana was found in his vehicle. Several witnesses reported his erratic driving to law enforcement before the crash.

Maybe if we tell people the brain is an app, they’ll start using it. NAH.

Cooking classes at H-E-B in LJ again. WooHoo. Friday, July 14th is an adult class. Saturday, July 15th is the Guys Beer Bash night and Sunday, July 16th is Ladies Brunch class. Call or go by today and get signed up. Kenzie at 979-412-1893. These classes are fun and your belly is full when you leave.

The Beatles classic, “All You Need Is Love” is now 50-years-old. Yikes.  I saw an original video of them recording it…dressed in their Nehru jackets with their little round spectacles.

British author Michael Bond died. Bond was best known for Paddington Bear.

My kids are 18 and almost 21. But, there are still times that I use Common Sense Media app to look up movies for appropriate content. I used it every single time we watched a movie when they were little, but now that they’re older, I don’t want to be stuck watching a movie that makes all three of us uncomfortable. This site rates (1.) educational value, (2.) positive messages, (3.) positive role models, (4.) violence & scariness, (5.)  sexy stuff, (6.) language, (7.) consumerism, (8.) drinking, and (9.) drugs & smoking. Every category is rated. Use it. You will be glad that you took a few minutes to educate yourself…if for no other reason than to have conversation that you are prepared for, so you will have good answers and great discussions with your kids.

Coming soon to a theatre near you:  Despicable Me 3 – Common Sense Media says that “kids will learn the value of friendship, values and families – and that not all families are alike.” Cars 3 – They say, “This is an entertaining film rather than an educational one, but there are lessons about the importance of learning from your elders and believing in yourself. There’s also a strong female-empowerment message.”

The TSA in Boston found a 20-pound live lobster packed away in an ice chest in checked luggage.  It is legal to carry seafood onboard a plane but it must be stored in a clear spill-proof container. The owner was not pleased with the picture ending up on social media. I wonder what happened to that lobster! Never mind, I know. Lobster rolls.

The best sermons are lived, not preached.

– Lisa


Much Ado About Nothing July 6, 2017

Jean Ciampi - Much Ado About NothingMuch Ado About Nothing by Jan Ciampi

There is evil in the world. You don’t have to look too far to find it, actually. I only had to go as far as my own garage. All this time that I’ve been in love with my car (and I do love my car), it’s been quietly festering a hatred for me. And maybe it’s not the entire car that hates me, but for sure the GPS has a desire to see me dead. Recently, it came pretty close to getting its wish!

One night last week I went to a meeting near downtown Houston. I plugged the address into my GPS, believing naively that I’d take the most direct route to my destination. My GPS, however, thought we’d take some crazy joy ride through some weird side streets and loop around through a few neighborhoods before we got to the destination. Since I definitely had somewhere to be, I thought this wasn’t really the time for a nasty confrontation with my car, so I bit my tongue and followed directions.

That was my first mistake. My car now realized what a mushy pushover I could be. When I come out of this meeting, it’s late and dark. I tell the GPS to take me home because I’ve gotten so turned around getting to this place that I’m not completely sure how to get back out. That was my second mistake.

My GPS, hell-bent on taking me down the Trail of Transportation Terror, sends me through parts of Houston that only a truck-mounted automatic assault rifle would make me feel good in. The GPS told me to turn on streets I’d passed two blocks before, to go the wrong way on one-way streets, and to turn onto streets that didn’t even exist. My car had decided I’d suddenly developed a crystal meth habit and needed a dealer, that it was time to make a few bucks “the hard way,” or it just wanted me dead. Those were the only possible reasons it was doing this to me.

I finally made it home in one piece, and I’ve managed to forgive my car. We all have those moments when we go off the grid. But I’m smarter now. Not only do I own a paper map, but I can read it and fold it. Take that GPS! Now who wins?

I’m Dead!

Much Ado About Nothing June 29, 2017

Jean Ciampi - Much Ado About NothingMuch Ado About Nothing by Jan CiampiIt’s all fun and games until you show up dead. Trust me, I know. You can only imagine my understandable surprise and concern to discover that, sadly, Jean Ciampi passed away January 9, 2015. If you think it’s funny, go Google search yourself and see if you missed your own funeral by two and a half years. If someone had actually notified me of my untimely demise, I would have possibly attended the event, signed the guest book, and tried to piece together what exactly happened that I turned up dead in Ventnor, New Jersey.

What was yet even more alarming was to then discover that since the time of my unfortunate passing, I’ve still been voting a consistent Republican ticket in Florida. I’ve always said, “Vote early and vote often,” so I’ll stand by that. But for the sake of clarity, I vote issues not party lines – even from the grave.

Of course, this then led me to check Facebook to find out what else I didn’t know about myself. For a split second, I thought I’d become a Spanish-speaking male gymnast managing a Tommy Hilfiger in Venezuela – and not at all bad looking, if I can say that. Obviously, at least in that case, wires have just gotten crossed somewhere causing confusion. Anyone who knows me knows I’ve never spoken Spanish beyond ordering a beer and finding a bathroom.

So back to the George H. Wimberg Funeral Home in Linwood, New Jersey (I’m guessing that’s somewhere near Ventnor. If you’re from New Jersey, feel free to jump in here.) I’m scanning through my obituary and seeing a couple of things that need correction. For example, they got my age wrong. I’m not, despite all appearances, 87-years old. They also got all the names of my family members wrong. But I guess they did go astray on that one critical detail that I’m not actually dead, so I shouldn’t be surprised that they missed the mark on those things, too.

Regardless of all that, from the condolences left online at the funeral home’s website, I see how much people really do appreciate my cooking and baking. I hate that it’s taken this for me to find out, but still good to know. And the indications are that I’m a pretty okay person. Or at least I was. May I rest in peace.

What! June 29, 2017

What I Heard This Week June 29, 2017

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By Lisa Baker • 06-29-17

My 17-year-old daughter loves movie scores…loves them. If you have ever watched any part of a movie on mute, you know that without music, scary scenes aren’t as scary and happy endings just aren’t very happy. But when you add a live orchestra, it takes the emotional impact of a movie’s music to a whole new level.

With that in mind, I recently arranged our family vacation around a concert by Hans Zimmer, a German composer and record producer who announced last fall that he was going to do just three concerts (they lied) in the states. The three of us planned for months so we could get cheap hotel and cheap airfare…the plane left in the wee hours of the morning…we thought we were so smart. We arrived in LA, and took the bus to Enterprise, which happened to be half the price of the first two car rentals I found…always keep looking. We pulled into our hotel at 8:30am and thanks to sweet Emma, the Marriott Residence Inn desk clerk that allowed us to check in 6 hours early, we were unpacked and eating the complimentary hotel breakfast with brie and croissants at 9am.  No pour-it-yourself waffles in the shape of Texas. It was a huge room full of fine food. And, yes, it was only 9:00am. We then napped and my son spent the afternoon with some of Hans Zimmer’s tech guys, while my daughter and I walked to Bottega Louie where we ate Portobello fries and drank a Toyoko Mule before we packaged up a box of macaroons to take with us. From our hotel, it was one block to LA Live for the concert which was w-o-n-d-e-r-f-u-l.

Since the 80’s, Hans Zimmer has composed music for over 150 films. His works include The Lion King (for which he won an Academy Award), Pirates of the Caribbean series, Dark Knight Trilogy, Inception and Interstellar, Driving Miss Daisy…just to name a few.

We set our alarm for 4am the next day and headed up to San Luis Obispo (according to Ian Landau, it’s one of the one of the Four Happiest Cities on Earth) to tour the packaging department (thank you, Jay Singh) of Cal Poly University, where my daughter is dreaming about spending four college years. We ate fabulous donuts at SloDoCo (go to their menu online – it is the most unbelievable thing you have ever seen) and then we drove back to LA by way of the ocean, 60 degree temps and no humidity. We might have stopped and played in the ocean. It was beautiful.

On our third day, we hurried over to Disneyland, drank Dole Whips and had our picture taken with Mary Poppins. “A Practically Perfect Day.” Disney is one of the happiest places in the world.

On our fourth and final day, we packed our bags, left my daughter at the hotel doing homework while my son and I visited the Hollywood Walk of Fame – 2,600 five-pointed terrazzo and brass stars embedded in 15 blocks of Hollywood Blvd. and three blocks of Vine Street sidewalks. It’s a popular tourist destination with as many as 10-million visitors a year. I looked at five stars, then I was bored. We visited Grauman’s Chinese Theatre and looked at the feet and hand prints of famous people like Trigger, then ventured over to The Hollywood Bowl. WOW. Loved it. The history of Hollywood is interesting but the best part of Hollywood was the gelato from Grom. Delicious.

Our 8:30pm flight which was delayed until midnight so we finally arrived home at 6AM, five hours later than planned, but happy. The three of us all agreed, this trip will be hard to top in the future.

I will note that we used a brand new park & ride near Hobby called FastPark. It’s all covered parking, I had a coupon and we are sold…especially since they handed us three bottles of cold water on our way back to the lovely humidity and heat of Brazoria County.

Spanish astrologist and tarot card reader, Pilar Abel, announced two years ago that she is the child of artist Salvador Dali who died in 1989. A judge in Madrid has recently agreed to exhume Dali’s remains to obtain DNA samples for a paternity test. Because Dali and his wife (married 1934-1982) did not have any children, his estate, valued at approximately $325-million, was donated to the Spanish Kingdom following his death. Hmmm.

A jury has awarded $870,000 to a man whose surgeon removed the wrong testicle. I don’t care who you are, that hurts.

My co-workers at The Source Weekly work hard all day long to help me find interesting and informative ‘stuff’ for this column…just this morning Tina offered me a story about a 19-year-old pregnant woman, holding a baby but still able to beat her boyfriend bloody with a pot of chili, a bat and a knife. My son said that was a waste of a good pot of chili. Maybe there’s another side of the story, but I doubt it. Now, if that wasn’t enough, Connie mentioned that a woman in South Carolina delivered a 14-pound, 1.4-ounce baby…that’s two regular babies. I feel for that new mom like I do for the guy that the doctor removed the wrong testicle. Ahhh.

George Clooney and business partner, Rande Gerber, are selling their tequila company that they started just four years ago after failing to find the perfect tequila while on vacation in Mexico. They were offered $1-Billion for Casamigos and the deal is expected to close before the end of the year.

A young girl fell from an amusement park ride at Six Flags Great Escape in New York, this last weekend. Bystanders broke her 25-foot fall from the gondola ride. It was reported that ‘Human Error’ on the part of the 14-year old girl caused her to slip out of the 2-person gondola while riding with her younger brother. Momma told you to sit still and keep your hands inside.

Mary Poppins is flying in…The Center for the Arts and Sciences. July 7th, 8th, 9th, 13th, 14th, 15th, and 16th. You won’t want to miss it. An extra performance has already been added. Go to TheCenter@bcfas.org or call 979-265-7661 for tickets. This production is generously sponsored by Olin Corporation.

Search teams at the Grenfell Tower fire in London have retrieved and identified 18 of at least 79 people that lived in the building…but, because of apartments being sublet, people living illegally in the country, and the fact that there are only ashes left, it will be almost impossible to have an exact number, especially since some victims may never be formally identified. It has been reported that a flammable material on the building might have been responsible for how quickly the flames spread. Seven other buildings have been found to have the same material because it was more affordable to use. The tower’s residents had repeatedly complained to local officials about the building being a fire hazard.

When you get ready to sell a property, it is recommended that you don’t do anything shocking in either the structure, painting or remodeling that might distract future buyers and make it difficult to sell. So, when the Longaberger Company Headquarters office building (which happens to be shaped like a giant  picnic basket) was put on the market in Newark, Ohio, no one expected that the building would linger, unsold, for almost 2-years. They have dropped the price on the 180,000-square-foot building from $7.5-million to $5-million since it hit the market but there are still no potential buyers. It has been suggested that a buyer could remove the 150-ton handles from the roof and come up with a great paint color scheme to make it fit in to YOUR company plans. I think it’s cute but then I love kittens. It looks like foreclosure is now inevitable.

HAPPY BIRTHDAYS: Prince William is 35. He’s a prince, Need I say more? Cartoonist Berke Breathed is 60. Bloom County. Actor John Goodman is 65. I don’t think he gets the recognition that he deserves. Clyde Drexler is 55. Carson Daly is 44. Actress Frances McDormand is 60. Musician Mick Fleetwood is 70. Fleetwood Mac. Paul McCartney is 75. You will be glad to know that he is finally letting the sides of his hair go grey.

When people say, “Stop living in the past, my thought is…but the music was so much better then!”

I first met Ken (Carson) back in 1961. My Barbie Doll was so happy to have him. He was blond, buff, blue-eyed and handsome. Well, after watching Barbie go through her evolution…different skin tones, hair styles and careers and such, Ken was feeling pretty put-off. Now Mattel says there’s Asian Ken, Ken with the man-bun, Ken with corn-rows, Ken with cool glasses, Ken as a bleach-blond surfer, Ken with olive-skin and more. Fifteen new dolls and seven skin tones. Sigh.

When a man is wrapped up in himself, he makes a small package. John Ruskin

Death Valley had a recorded temperature of 127 degrees last week. The hottest atmospheric temperature ever recorded on Earth was 134 degrees in July 1913, at the same location. The first days of summer have brought some of the worst heat the western US has seen in years, forcing flights to be canceled (planes are certified to take off in temperatures up to 118 degrees) and straining the power grid. Aviation experts say that the hotter, thinner air saps power from airline engines and makes it harder for the plane to get off the ground.

Martha is a big Neapolitan Mastiff; not very pretty, lazy, very sweet but gassy dog. She just won the 29th annual World’s Ugliest Dog Contest. Martha won $1,500, a trophy and a trip to New York to be on morning talk shows where I saw her. It’s a really, nice story. Several weeks ago, she was a rescue animal and nearly blind from neglect. After several surgeries, she can see out of one eye. Life is good.

Be decisive. Right or wrong, make a decision. The ‘road of life’ is paved with flat squirrels who couldn’t make up their minds. – Unknown

Grand Theft Avocado: A trio of California produce company workers were stealing avocados from their company and selling them for ‘cash unauthorized from the company grounds.’ Mission Produce estimates more than $300,000 worth of avocados were lost. That’s a lot of guacamole.

People have only as much liberty as they have the intelligence to want and the courage to take – Emma Goldman

Have a great Fourth of July and remember that the Fourth of July is known as Independence Day because that is the day that the Second Continental Congress adopted the full and formal Declaration of Independence. Even though we had declared that we were independent, the American Revolution was still being fought, which meant that we were still not independent. Regardless of the ongoing war the following year, people in Philadelphia celebrated a muted Fourth of July.

While celebrations on July 4th during the American Revolution were modest, after the war ended in 1783 the Fourth of July became a holiday in many places. The celebrations included speeches, military events, parades, and fireworks. To this day the Fourth of July is the most patriotic holiday celebrated in the United States. I’m off to visit Tom and get my fireworks.

– Lisa


Much Ado About Nothing June 22, 2017

Jean Ciampi - Much Ado About NothingMuch Ado About Nothing by Jan Ciampi

I don’t know why so many people waste their time judging others based on stupid, superficial things like the melanin levels of their skin, their stand on a power greater than themselves or how they cast their ballot. I could care less how well you wear the color orange, what you do on Sunday morning or if you wrote in Mickey Mouse to be governor of Idaho. However, I believe there are real points that separate us all into one category or another.

A friend of mine recently stated that he judged people by how well they navigated the self-check lanes. Yup. That’s valid. We’ve only had about 20 years of watching the demonstration. Where do you go that there hasn’t been a cashier scanning your stuff? It’s not that difficult to replicate the process on your own, especially with the disembodied voice telling you to “place the item in the bagging area.” But, if you can’t get it, and I’m trying hard to accept and love you even with your short-comings, please use the cashiers but try to pay attention next time.

Straight up, I’ll judge you based on your opinion about the designated hitter. There’s something fundamentally wrong with anyone who thinks the pitcher should have a free pass with the bat in a game where the point is to hit the ball to get on base. That’s why it’s called baseball and not Pitcher’s Mound Ball. It just makes zero sense. You’d never have a rule in football that you couldn’t tackle the quarterback. If the pitcher was that precious, there wouldn’t be a whole bullpen full of replacements! Be forewarned that when I’m the Commissioner of Major League Baseball, that mess is going to get cleaned up. American League pitchers might want to start taking batting practice now.

And, I’m not ashamed to admit, I’m probably going to judge you on whether or not you have a library card. How do you not have a library card? They’re free. Then you get to read books that are free. There are movies, too, if you can’t force yourself to read a book. (Force yourself to read a book anyway.) Get a library card!

Of course, there are good people and then there are cilantro eaters. You’re one or the other. And honestly, the other stuff I can probably get past.

What! June 22, 2017

What I Heard This Week June 22, 2017

What I Heard This Week - Logo

By Lisa Baker • 06-22-17

June 24th is Eat Cereal Day…which reminds me…Lucky Charms now has a gluten-free version. For those families that can eat whatever they want, who cares! But for the people (me) that have a gluten-free person living/eating in their household…yippee!!! Burger King has just introduced the Lucky Charms Shake…vanilla soft serve ice cream shake covered in Lucky Charms with marshmallows and whipped cream. Forget your Unicorn Frappuccino. This is magically delicious.

Texas: where Coke really means Dr. Pepper.

Thousands of rats have descended on villages on an island in southern Myanmar (between Bangladesh and Thailand,) giving residents reason to believe that there is impending disaster since scientists have shown that mice and rats are sensitive to electromagnetic waves similar to what often occurs before a major earthquake.

Remember the AMC Gremlin that was produced from 1970-1978? How about the 1985 Yugo? It sold for $3990.

Walt Disney World has decided to honor the 2-year-old boy, Lane Thomas Graves, who was killed by an alligator while playing at one of its resorts, by constructing a lighthouse sculpture. The lighthouse is a symbol used by the Lane Thomas Foundation, which was set up by his family following his death and is dedicated to supporting families of children needing life-saving organ transplants. Lane’s parents did not sue the park after his death.

Remember, David Vetter, also known as the boy in a bubble. He spent 12-years behind a wall of sterile plastic at Texas Children’s Hospital before dying in 1984. Baby boy, Sebastian Romero, was born 4-months ago without a functioning immune system. Doctors at Texas Children’s Hospital took all that they learned from the Bubble Boy, grafted bone marrow and filled his small body with infection-fighting white blood cells. Sebastian just left TCH just 3-weeks after his procedure.

Texas loves Whataburger. Ask anyone. I think it’s the mustard. In addition to great taste, teens love to steal the table tents. Whataburger even provides them to graduating seniors with the class year on them. We have one at our house. Well, the ‘thing’ right now is Whataburger birthdays, engagements, shower & wedding cakes and groom’s cakes. One of the cakes that I saw was made like the large 44-oz. BIG cup laying on its’ side. One couple used the sacks for wedding favors and printed labels that said, ‘What-A-Night’ and had their initials and the wedding date printed on the sack. But the cutest thing was a baby announcement…the couple had placed a sack, cup, a stack of ketchup, three table tents that showed the date of birth and their newborn baby rolled up with gold hamburger paper and a blue “special” circle sticker. The baby was then placed right in the middle of an orange and white striped placemat on an orange tray. It was CUTE!

Now you can buy Whataburger ketchup at H-E-B. But wait, what would I use to dip into the ketchup? On June 24th, a packaged version of the Whatafries (think potato chips shaped like fries) are coming to all H-E-B stores. Cut from REAL potatoes and ready to eat straight from the bag. Hmmm.  I’m confused. Wouldn’t it be easier to just go to Whataburger, order your fries and not worry if they’re real or not?

For player’s weekend in August, Major League Baseball will relax uniform policies and allow players to put nicknames on the backs of their jerseys, as long as it isn’t inappropriate or offensive. What would go on your jersey?

Inmates have filed a lawsuit seeking emergency relief from “cruel and unusual punishment” of indoor heat (no air conditioning) in prison. They describe not being able to read because of sweat in their eyes, soaking wet clothes, sleepless nights and much more. TDCJ has provided ice water, fans, cool showers and more but inmates say it’s not enough. Officials for the country club…I mean the prison, say that most prisons in Texas do not have air-conditioning in the housing units. hmmm.

I’m on the Lonestar diet…BBQ, Mexican, Whataburger, Repeat.

Have you counted your blessings lately? What if God started, one by one, taking away all the persons and things that you have failed to be thankful for? Who or What would be left? Would we have our limbs and our loved ones? We all have the tendency to give strong negative thought to only the things that go wrong in our lives, but we forget to say thank you for all the things that are perfect. Let’s face it, almost everything is perfect. Today is a good day, while you sit at that red light, to start the count.

You know you’re a Texan when Whataburger is pronounced Waterburger. Yes.

Hurricane season is under way and it’s looking like the gulf coast is paying attention.  We hope that Cindy didn’t get your copy of The Source Weekly wet.

Two cases of tuberculosis have been confirmed at a high school in Fort Bend county, so the county health department plans to test more than 600 students and staff members to see if anyone else has contracted the bacterium which can be effectively treated but can be deadly if not.

A fourteen-old middle school boy who was accidentally shot by his twin brother while they were hunting a snake, has died. No charges were filed. What a huge load for a kid to carry through his life.

HAPPY BIRTHDAYS: Mastermind musician Brian Wilson is 75-years-old. It was announced on his birthday that on September 22nd, he will release Payback, an 18-track featuring music from nine of his solo records and two previously unreleased tunes, along with photos. Wilson continues his super successful Pet Sounds anniversary tour. We saw it in Boston and it was great!

Actor Richard Thomas is 66. John-Boy Walton. His parents were dancers with the New York City Ballet and owned the New York School of Ballet. Comedian Tim Allen is 64. Tim the Toolman. Actress Ally Sheedy is 55. The Brat Pack. TV anchor Hannah Storm is 55. Actresses Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen are 31. Actor Malcolm McDowell is 74. A Clockwork Orange. American crime-novelist Patricia Cornwell is 61. Dr. Kay Scarpetta.  Actor Michael J. Fox is 56. Actor Johnny Depp is 54. Rock musician Frank Beard is 68. ZZ Top. Pro Football Hall of Fame Joe Montana is 61.

TV personality Dr. Mehmet Oz is 57. American songwriter and session musician Spooner Oldham is 74. President Donald Trump is 71. Singer Boy George is 56. Comedian-actor Jim Belushi is 63. Actress Helen Hunt is 54. Actor-rapper Ice Cube is 48. Actor Neil Patrick Harris is 44. Singer Barry Manilow is 74. Actress Joan Van Ark is 74. She has not grown old gracefully. Boxing Hall of Fame Roberto Duran is 66. Widely regarded as one of the greatest boxers of all time. Actress Laurie Metcalf is 62. She won her first Tony this month for “A Doll’s House, Part 2.” Actress Nicole Kidman is 50.

American singer, songwriter, actor and record producer Lionel Richie is 68. He was a member of The Commodores, co-wrote We Are The World with Michael Jackson, is a five-time Grammy Award winner and is one of the world’s best-selling artists of all time.

In 1924, the “Happy Birthdaysong was written. Some records show it to be the most often sung song in the world.

Sean “Diddy” Combs aka Puff Daddy, is the top earner on Forbes’ list of the 100 highest-paid celebrities (June to June). His earnings for the past 12 months totaled $130-million. Yikes. (#2) was Beyonce with $105-million. (#3) Harry Potter author JK Rowling with $95-million. (#4) Rapper, singer, songwriter, record producer and actor Drake with $94-million. (#5) Portuguese professional footballer Cristiano Ronaldo with $93-million. (#6) Canadian singer, songwriter and record producer, The Weeknd with $92-million. (#7) American radio and television personality Howard Stern with $90-million. (#8) British rock band Coldplay with $88-million. (#9) American author and philanthropist James Patterson with $87-million and (#10) American professional basketball player LeBron James with $86-million.

Former NBA player/star, Dennis Rodman, returned to North Korea recently. Rodman’s visit coincided with the surprise release of Otto F. Warmbier, an American college student who had been sentenced to a 15-year prison term for trying to steal a propaganda poster from a hotel lobby, and was then held prisoner in North Korea for more than a year. He was returned home in a coma last week and has since died. This should serve as another reminder of the barbaric nature of North Korea and its dictatorship.

You know you’re a Texan when you say Puh-Con instead of Pee-Can.

Puerto Ricans voted ‘yes’ to becoming the 51st state. It is complicated, since they are a territory, not a state…they are US citizens, but don’t pay federal taxes and can’t vote in presidential elections. They are now $70-billion in debt and filed for bankruptcy last month. Hmmm.

The mother of Ethan Couch, the Texas teen who used an “affluenza” defense after he killed four people in a 2013 drunken-driving crash, may have violated her bond by drinking alcohol. She tends a bar at Honky Tonk Woman in Ft. Worth where she is allowed to possess alcohol but not consume it. Nothing like setting a good example for your children.

The number of people dying on US roads due to distracted driving is still rising. New technology is being developed that could help detect if a person has used their phone while driving. It’s called the ‘Textalyzer’ and would allow police to plug into a driver’s phone immediately and quickly see the last 90 seconds of phone activity – no personal data other than activity. As it stands now, it takes months, probable cause and a warrant. Some critics say it’s an invasion of privacy. Pooh. I say, get it into police cars tomorrow.

And God promised men that good and obedient wives would be found in all corners of the world. Then He made the earth round…and He laughed and laughed and laughed.

On Saturday, I had a date with my son to see “Freaky Friday” the musical, which btw, was really, good. Then we left the theatre and walked the block to push the bayou bubbling button, then on to the Downtown Aquarium and rode the Sharky Shark train like we did when he was little. Thank you, Gage, for allowing me this bit of nostalgia. Then we went cruising the eclectic Montrose area looking for a restaurant and happened to see the crews installing the new painted rainbow ‘Pride Houston’ crosswalks at the four corners of Westheimer and Taft. What a great day!

Some people feel the rain – others just get wet. Roger Miller

– Lisa

Slippery Slope to Luby’s

Much Ado About Nothing June 15, 2017

Jean Ciampi - Much Ado About NothingMuch Ado About Nothing by Jan Ciampi

I had never eaten at a Cracker Barrel restaurant until this past week. But, too, I’m also the person who never watched an episode of “Dallas” – probably for the same reasons. It took less than 34 seconds to realize exactly why I would probably never go back to Cracker Barrel again any time soon: I don’t ever want to be that old. When you suddenly find yourself eating at Cracker Barrel just know you are on a slippery slope to the Luby’s buffet and a full-care nursing home.

Straight up, Cracker Barrel is basically a senior citizen theme park. Those rocking chairs on the porch are just age-appropriate thrill rides. Think rollercoasters for people over 65. Stopping at Cracker Barrel for dinner is not unlike going on a fall foliage bus tour without having to get up the steps of the bus or obtain a medical release from the six medical specialists who currently file on your insurance. At the end of the day, you still get to eat with a huge group of other old folks then exit through the gift shop.

Oh yes, the gift shop. Where else can you get unlimited refills on your ice tea, purchase a cotton/poly blend quilt for $79.99, and pick up a complete collection of Tony Bennett’s greatest hits on CD? Not since the old Stuckey’s sold those weird pecan roll things has there been such a flurry of excitement in the retail world.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that the food wasn’t good at Cracker Barrel. In their defense, there was no blue Jell-O on the menu. You still have to wait to progress into your Luby’s stage of decline to get that. I will warn you, though, that this is not the place to go if having your food touch each other is going to trigger you. I spent most of my meal digging the green beans out from under the mashed potatoes. This wasn’t a problem for me, but I know this can cause PTSD in others.

The greater concern for me was if I was given an automatic membership into AARP with my meal. I’m not sure I’m quite ready for that (regardless of my eligibility). Nor am I willing to purchase shoes with Velcro closures. Sorry, Cracker Barrel, but give me another 20 years and I’ll be back.

What! June 8, 2017

What I Heard This Week June 8, 2017

What I Heard This Week - Logo

By Lisa Baker • 06-08-17

Warning: Reading this little story may make you smile. As you have likely heard, Mr. Met, New York’s beloved mascot, was caught on video making an obscene gesture to a fan…a security guard laughed when he was told the story, then noted that Mr. Met couldn’t have flipped his middle finger because the costume only has four fingers.

A man leaving the scene of the terror attack on London Bridge and Borough Market was caught on video walking slowly and appearing to try to prevent his pint/solo cup of beer from spilling. Hmmm.

Crayola recently removed Dandelion yellow from the crayon box. Such suffering with us all wondering about a 24-pack with only 23 crayons. Good news. The contest to name the new blue hue ended last week – we should know the winning name soon. The new hue was inspired by blue pigment discovered recently at Oregon State University.  The YInMn pigment contains yttrium, indium, manganese and oxygen and is the most beautiful shade. I entered three different crayon names for the contest and was always told, “great minds think alike, so think of another name.” I think that Trump sent in ‘covfefe.’

The original Star Wars is 40-years-old. George Lucas has always said that all 8 films are meant to be watched in numerical order, but most people don’t abide.

This year, Charlie Chaplin’s birthday was celebrated at Chaplin’s World museum in Switzerland with 662 people dressed up as The Tramp. It set the record for the largest gathering of people dressed as the character from the 1915 silent film. What a fun day…kids and adults were there.

Visit the National Museum of Funeral History in Houston and see a replica of the 1966 Batmobile from the TV show. Their new exhibit is a tribute to George Barris, known throughout the world as the ‘original’ King of Kustomizers. He created iconic automobiles including the original 1966 Batmobile, the Beverly Hillbillies jalopy, the Munster Koach and casket turned dragster (the Drag-u-la) for the Munsters, and many KITTS for Knight Rider. The Batmobile was auctioned in 2013, two years before Barris’ death and sold for $4.6-million. On occasion, the kids and I have “Museum Day” and everyone gets to pick a museum, and I must say that The Museum of Funeral History is interesting and worth the trip.

The Clooney twins – Ella and Alexander, are finally here.

Mary Kay Letourneau and husband Vili Fualaau, with whom she began a sexual relationship in 1996 when Fualaau was her 12-year-old sixth-grade student, have legally separated (but are still living in the same house.) They have two daughters together (the first child was born while Letourneau was serving seven-and-half-years in prison for second-degree child rape) in addition to the 4 now adult children from her previous marriage. In 2002, Fualaau and his family sued the school district and the police for “failing to stop the relationship.”  He claimed that he was suffering emotionally as result of his relationship with Letourneau. But, in 2004, soon after Letourneau’s release from prison, they were engaged and then married in 2005. The couple have hosted a series of “Hot for Teacher,” nights at a local bar where she greets people and he DJ’s. Oh, my.

You’ve seen the Arby’s Roast Beef Sandwich sign. Did you ever wonder where Arby’s got the name? Me neither, but I’m going to tell you what I read.  AR-BY = RB which stands for Roast Beef. Hmmm.

Four homeless residents were injured as the result of a car that jumped the curb at a downtown Houston intersection while they were asleep on a sidewalk. The injured were treated and released.

HAPPY BIRTHDAYS: Actor-director Clint Eastwood is 87. Yikes. That’s hard to believe. Football Hall of Fame Joe Namath is 74. Actor Tom Berenger is 67. There is some belief that he is “The Sexiest Actor Alive.” He once worked as a flight attendant with Eastern Airlines. Rapper DMC is 53. Actress Brooke Shields is 52. Actor Morgan Freeman is 80.  I love him. Actress-singer Sally Kellerman is 80. Hot Lips Houlihan in M*A*S*H. Actor Stacy Keach is 76. Rock musician Charlie Watts is 76 & rock musician Ronnie Wood is 70. Both Rolling Stones.

Actor Jerry Mathers is 69. NO! Tell me it’s not true…Theodore Cleaver is 69!  Singer John Fogerty is 72. Sex therapist and media personality Dr. Ruth Westheimer is 89. Actor Bruce Dern is 81. Actress-singer Michelle Phillips is 73. Actor Parker Stevenson is 65. Financial guru Suze Orman is 66. Jazz musician Kenny G is 61.

Actor Anthony Geary is 70. He has received a record eight Daytime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series. Luke and Laura. Singer LaToya Jackson is 61. Actress Annette Bening is 59. Actor Rupert Everett is 58. Singer Melissa Etheridge is 56. Actress Lisa Whelchel is 54. The Facts of Life. Pro and College Football Hall of Fame Gale Sayers is 74. Singer Wynonna Judd is 53. Rapper Cee Lo Green is 42.

Singer Gladys Knight turned 73-years-old. Her 1973 hit song, “Midnight Train to Georgia,” was originally written and performed as a country song by Jim Weatherly under the title, “Midnight Plane to Houston.”  “I’d rather live in her world, than live without her in mine.” Most romantic line ever.

Singer Peter Yarrow is 79-years-old. He was of the Peter, Paul and Mary folk-singing group and was accused and pleaded guilty to immoral liberties with a 14-year-old girl that appeared at his hotel room with her 17-year-old sister during a series of concerts in Washington in 1969.

Actor Brandon Cruz is 55. The Courtship of Eddie’s Father…where Bill Bixby is left a widower raising his mischievous, freckle-faced, 6-year-old son, who desperately wants a new mother. Remember the great theme song, “You’re My Best Friend.”

Harvard has said just kidding to at least 10-incoming freshman students because of what they posted on Facebook. Things like making fun of sexual assault, the Holocaust and ethnic groups. Your momma told you to be careful on social media. How exactly do you tell your friends that you’ve been uninvited to Harvard?

A Pennsylvania ice cream maker released a new Harry Potter inspired flavor based on Hogwarts’ favorite drink…butterbeer. J.K. Rowling once described butterbeer as tasting “a little bit like less sickly butterscotch.” Oh, Yum. Yuengling’s Ice Cream company started off as an offshoot of the well-known Pennsylvania brewery during the prohibition years but is now a separate company. What a good fit.

The Pink Star Diamond was supposed to sell for around $60-million when it went to auction in Hong Kong. It is 1.06” by 0.81” (59.60 weight in carats) and set on a ring. 132.5 carat in its rough state and took two years to cut and polish. The Pink Star was sold to a well-known NY diamond cutter who paid $83-million (which included Sotheby’s commission) and has renamed it the Pink Dream.

A 73-year-old man was fishing with hand lines offshore New South Wales in Australia when a 440pound, 9-footlong, great white shark jumped into his boat. He immediately radioed the Marine Rescue Unit for help…they didn’t believe him until they saw his injuries. That’s a pretty good fish story.

Because of cheap natural gas, Three Mile Island may close. Exelon Corporation announced the plant that was the site of a partial meltdown in 1979 will close in 2019 unless the state of Pennsylvania comes to its financial rescue. It was the worst accident in US commercial nuclear plant history…because of cheap natural gas, The Brayton Point Power Station, the largest coal-burning power plant in New England, is shutting down. The plant has burned coal since 1963.

Olivia Newton-John, 68, has revealed that her breast cancer has returned after 25-years and has spread to her sacrum, the large wedge-shaped vertebra at the end of your spine.  She says that she is confident that she will return to the stage later this year after treatment at the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Wellness and Research Centre in Melbourne, Australia.

The US successfully destroyed a mock warhead with an interceptor missile launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in central California. This is key to prepare and protect US territory from a North Korean attack.

The Bryan Museum in Galveston, located in the historic Galveston Orphans Home, contains one of the world’s largest collections (70,000 items) of historical artifacts, documents and artwork relating to Texas and the American West. if you haven’t been, put it on your summer bucket list.  J.P and Mary Jon Bryan have a deep appreciation for art and history, and are proud to share their collection. This summer the Bryan Museum and the iWrite Literacy are hosting History Camp, a five-day historical fiction-writing camp for incoming 4th-6th grade students. For more information or to sponsor a camper, call 409-220-3223.

There’s a Full Moon on Friday June 9th.

Comedian Kathy Griffin vs. consequences. She released a video of Trump’s severed, bloody head that was supposed to be funny. Liberals, conservatives, republicans, democrats, and most of the American public were appalled. Griffin then issued a video apology and begged for forgiveness…then she lost her job at CNN and sigh, Squatty Potty also cut business ties with her. Griffin then held a press conference with her lawyers to speak out against the president and his family…she stated, “He’s a bully. I dealt with older white guys trying to keep me down my whole life, my whole career.” What?!? Remember Carol Burnett? She is a funny redhead! And I don’t remember one single time that she had to do a stunt like this to be remembered.

Haak Vineyards & Winery celebrates their Sunday Concert Series with Rat Ranch Bank on June 11th. www.haakwine.com.

No Name Festival is June 9th and 10th in Brazoria…dominoes tournament, pool tournament, Miss Brazoria pageant, BBQ cook-off, youth hamburger cook-off, parade, washer tournament, crafts, food vendors and a carnival all sponsored by Brazoria Chamber of Commerce.

The Canada Centre for Child Protection want teens to send images of naked mole rats instead of sexting. They are hoping to protect teens and inspire laughs. Have you seen a naked mole rat recently? Look it up. It WILL make you laugh.

Mattress Mack announced that Gallery Furniture will refund customers who spend $3000 or more on beds, if the Astros win this year’s World Series. Astros lost one game this week after an 11-game winning streak.

And always remember, life is way too short to continue writing with a pen that you don’t like.

– Lisa

Parenting Advice

Much Ado About Nothing June 8, 2017

Jean Ciampi - Much Ado About NothingMuch Ado About Nothing by Jan Ciampi

As I have just recently graduated my last child out of public schools with no interaction with CPS, the court system, or Federal Law Enforcement Officials, I feel I have credibility to pass along advice to parents coming along behind me. While I believe that half the fun of parenting is discovering new and better ways to screw up your kids and ruin their lives, these are tips to keep them from screwing up yours.

Big Parenting Mistake #1: Teaching your children to mow the yard. Do this and you’re setting yourself up for disaster. After a couple of summers, you’ll be fat and lazy sitting on the porch with an ice cold watching them work like rented mules. Next thing you know, they’ll graduate from high school and go to college, leaving your much older, fatter, lazier self alone to push the mower. Don’t think you’ll pay the neighbor kids to mow because you’re paying college tuition, so you can’t afford those things.

Do not let your children learn to drive. Driver’s training is Big Parenting Mistake #2. Sure, those first few times they run to the store for you on their own is great, but then they start realizing they have freedom. This is a dangerous thing in a child. Suddenly, it will occur to them that they can drive other places besides the store, like out of state. Then one day they get in the car, drive away and don’t come home to mow the yard. That’s going to hit you especially hard if you’ve already screwed up and made Mistake #1. Plus, they took your car.

Have you allowed your children to start becoming free-thinking, independent people? Wow. You’ve just made Big Parenting Mistake #3. This almost completely guarantees that your children are going to screw up your life. Count on them wanting to think for themselves, be independent and not stay home to mow your yard. Probably with your car.

Children with no skills, ambition or transportation are more likely to stick around and take care of you in your old age. They’ll gladly heat frozen pizzas, apply bunion cream and pluck the hairs out of your withered, old chin until you die. And with the money you save not paying college tuition or financing a new car, you can pay someone to mow your yard.

What! June 1, 2017

What I Heard This Week June 1, 2017

What I Heard This Week - Logo

By Lisa Baker • 06-01-17

An investigator from the Sheriff’s department, knocked on the front door of a home located at the dead-end of a gravel road in the rural foothills of North Carolina. The guy that answered the door said, “I guess you are here for the opium.”  Well, the investigator was NOT there for the opium but was more than a little interested at that point. The planted field contained about $500-million worth of opium-producing poppy plants. Oops.

A Florida man found a rattlesnake. The next day his neighbor was playing with the snake, acting silly and said that he was going to kiss it. Well, guess what…the snake bit him on the face…the man was taken to the hospital in critical condition…it is believed that the snake escaped. How stupid is stupid.

The new, much larger Buc-ee’s opened in Brazoria with their gigantic inflatable beaver sitting out front with his big toothy grin. Life is good.

Tiger Woods was found in his car in the early morning hours and after they woke him, he was arrested for driving under the influence but released a statement saying that alcohol was not involved and that he had an unexpected reaction to prescribed medications. The police agreed. Both drivers’ side tires on his Mercedes were flat along with minor damage to the vehicle. Poor guy just can’t seem to shake it.

General Manuel Antonio Noriega, the former military leader of Panama, has died at age 83.

Dina Merrill died recently at the age of 93.  The American actress, heiress, socialite, businesswoman and philanthropist was born Nedenia Marjorie Hutton and was raised in a lavish 118-room estate in Palm Beach.  Her mother was Marjorie Merriweather Post (Post cereal and one of the nation’s richest women) and her father was E.F. Hutton, founder of the stockbroker firm. Becoming an actress was not considered proper for someone of Merrill’s privileged status, but she changed her name (she didn’t want to trade on the Hutton name) and the rest is history.

The Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus ended its 146-year reign because of declining attendance and high operating costs. What happened to Bello and how did he get his actual hair to stand up that high?

A Texas junior high school teacher has been disciplined after handing out special mock end-of-the-year awards to an honors class…awards like “Most Likely to become a Terrorist” – “Most Likely to Cry for Every Little Thing” – “Most Likely to Become Homeless” and last, but not least, “Most Likely to Blend in With White People”. Obviously, this plan was not well thought out and perhaps more than just a touch insensitive. It would be interesting to hear the teachers train of thought.

The Brazoria County Beekeeper’s Association will host its second annual Honey Expo on July 22 at the Brazoria County Fairgrounds. Admission is FREE. Sweet. Mark your calendars. Plant some flowers.

God has blessed you richly, so get down on your knees and thank Him. Don’t forget the less fortunate or God will personally kick your ass. I’d love to do it for Him, but I can’t be everywhere. – Willie Nelson

Actor Roger Moore died in Switzerland, at age 89. He was the third James Bond and starred in seven films including The Spy Who Loved Me and Octopussy. That’s more than any other Bond actor. As a young adult I never understood the “shaken, not stirred,” business. I now understand and appreciate the oh, so small, ice chips in a martini.

Gregg Allman died at the age of 69 of liver cancer complications. He made some of the greatest music EVER.

The Global Seed Vault is carved into the side of a mountain midway between Norway and the North Pole and holds more than 500-million seeds from around the world that could be used to recreate food supplies in case of worldwide agricultural calamity, such as war, drought or floods. Recently unseasonably warm temperatures caused water to breach the entrance. The seeds were unharmed but remediation efforts include removing power transformers from the entrance of the tunnel, allowing fewer people into the tunnel and building waterproof walls inside the tunnel entrance. The Norwegian government owns the vault which is made of angular concrete. I had always heard of The Vault but had never seen pictures or known It to be real. It is real.

A $20-million project to widen a Galveston beach by about 150-ft., between 10th and 61st streets has been finished. Sand was dredged from the Galveston Ship Channel. It was the largest beach nourishment project ever accomplished in Texas.

In New Delhi, a group of rhesus macaque monkeys each weighing around 12-17 pounds, will climb the wall of an apartment building, snap off a water pipe and drink the spraying water. They jump onto balconies, parade into kitchens, open refrigerators and help themselves. If a home is raided by the animals, it is left in shambles. They bite around 1,000 people a day, and can create up to $300-million in crop losses each year, so officials are searching for ways to use birth control on the animals especially since they were recently declared vermin. India has monkeys, Texas has wild hogs.

After 70-years of service, Prince Philip, 95, the husband of Queen Elizabeth, will be stepping down from his royal duties.

HAPPY BIRTHDAYS: Rhythm/Blues singer Ron Isley is 76. The Isley Brothers. Actor Judge Reinhold is 60. He was Detective Billy Rosewood in the Beverly Hills Cop series. Actress Joan Collins is 84. Comedian Tommy Chong is 79. Singer Bob Dylan is 76. Singer Patti LaBelle is 73. Singer Rosanne Cash is 62. Actor/comedian/game show host Drew Carey is 59. Singer Jewel is 43. Game-show contestant Ken Jennings is 43. Sportscaster Brent Musberger is 78. Singer Stevie Nicks is 69. Actress Pam Grier is 68. Actor Philip Michael Thomas is 68. Country singer Hank Williams Jr. is 68. Actress Genie Francis is 55. Luke and Laura. Singer-actor Lenny Kravitz is 53. Actress Helena Bonham Carter is 51. Actress Lee Meriwether is 82. Catwoman in Batman and Ruth Martin in All My Children. Actor Louis Gossett Jr. is 81.

Actor Mr. T is 65. If you ask him about his real name, he will tell you, “My first name is ‘Mr‘, my middle name is ‘period‘, last name is ‘T’. He once worked as a bouncer and a bodyguard to Steve McQueen, Muhammad Ali and Diana Ross.

A 10-year-old boy was briefly hospitalized after sliding off a waterslide with an 80-foot-drop during opening day of a new California waterpark.

According to Texas Beach Watch, there are high levels of fecal (that’s poop) bacteria in the water at beaches in Corpus Christi and Galveston. Texas Beach Watch will be testing the waters until the levels have gone down. Maybe they are already down.

Bill Cosby: The jury has been chosen. Really. Does it matter what color the jurors are? Right is right and wrong is wrong. Let the proceedings begin.

Nancy shared this on Facebook so it must be true…six really, good reasons for drinking more beer. 1. Beer increases bone density.  2. Beer lowers the risk of heart attack. 3. Beer lowers your cholesterol level. 4. Beer decreases your risk of getting diabetes. 5. Beer can prevent kidney stones. 6. Beer protects from dementia.  You can’t argue with science.

A well-known South African big game hunter was leading a group of hunters on a 10-day, licensed hunt when they happened upon a herd of breeding elephants in Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe – the same park where Cecil the Lion was killed in 2015. Three elephants charged…one of the other hunters shot one charging elephant which then collapsed and fell on top and crushed the leader of the group. The leader was a husband and father of five children and was close friends with another hunter that was eaten by a crocodile last month. Hmmm.

I’m getting ready to plant okra, cucumbers, and eggplant in the garden now. New dill is coming up everywhere from the fallen seeds. I just dug up a few purple potatoes.  I planted yellow, red, purple and green bell peppers, but, so far, all my plants are producing green peppers only…someone is laughing hard about switching those tags over at Home Depot. Don’t forget crop rotation. Mother Earth News has a great video on this, in case you are unfamiliar or a new gardener. It explains rotation very simply. The zinnias have been gorgeous this year. When is the last time you saw a grasshopper?  I saw one in the garden today along with butterflies, wasps and bees on the dill flowers.

The “Juice,” aka OJ Simpson, may soon be a free man as the former football star will get a July parole hearing which is likely to lead to his release from prison. So, where is everyone else? Robert Kardashian, his friend and defense attorney during his ’95 murder trial, died in 2003. He was the guy that started all this “Kardashian” thing that we have going on now.  Judge Lance Ito retired in 2015.  He is now 66 years old. Famous witness, Kato Kaelin, performed the national anthem at a rodeo in 2016. He is 58 years old. Attorney, Johnny Cochran died from a brain tumor in 2005. Dream Team attorney Robert Shapiro has a net worth of $100-million and is 74-years-old. Marcia Clark is an author and television correspondent at age 63. Christopher Darden, at age 61, is an author, actor, lecturer and practicing attorney.  Detective Mark Fuhrman was fired from the LAPD in 1995. He has written true crime books and hosted talk radio and is a collector of war memorabilia, medals and is age 65. F. Lee Baily is 83 and his cross-examination of Fuhrman is considered to be the key to Simpson’s acquittal. He also attracted attention for keeping a silver flask on the defense table which claimed to contain only coffee. In 2014, he was denied a license by the Maine State Bar Association and the Main Supreme Judicial Court. His net worth is $5-million. I love the internet. The white Bronco belongs to a collector and the glove is not talking.

Why did Miley Cyrus go through her twerking phase and display her tongue? She says it’s because she spent every day from age 11 to 18 with either her dad or her grandma and she had to “break free.” Huh? And just how do you spell maturity…

A University of Houston math professor was forced to add etiquette guidelines to his website. Why? The professors say it is because clear communication instructions will help students in their academic and professional careers –in other words, what you say to your friends is not what you should say to your college professors, adults, and future employers. There is massive amount of informality during student correspondence along with essays having slang, text speak (cuz, plz, LOL, BTW and others) and some instructors said that students are even calling them by their first names.  PLZ.

Comments, suggestions, or complaints. You can email me at lisa@thesourceweekly.com. Please use pretty words and remember that I may not answer you immediately or at all.

– Lisa

Back to Running

Much Ado About Nothing June 1, 2017

Jean Ciampi - Much Ado About NothingMuch Ado About Nothing by Jan Ciampi

I use to run – and not just because I was being chased. I actually would run for, I don’t know, I can’t remember why I would do that, but I did. Now, for some reason yet unknown by me, I’ve decided to start running again in earnest. I’ve probably managed to kill off the last brain cell in charge of logical decision-making, and running is the obvious fallout. Here are a few things, though, that I’ve discovered in my recent return to recreational running.

First of all, anyone who tries to sell you the line of garbage about endorphins and improved physical health blah bluh bluhh is probably addicted to catnip and concealing a criminal record. The truth is that running, if done right, will improve your cardiovascular system if, and only if, you don’t die first. As I was slogging along on my last run (which had the appearance of a forced death march), I kept wondering if I’d stay conscious long enough to tell the paramedics that my heart was in much better shape from running before he administered oxygen and the shock paddles.

Then there’s the whole fake news stuff about how you’ll look better because of running. After a run of any distance, I look like I’ve been picked out of the moving fan blades of a jet engine. I smell bad. I look bad. And I have an attitude that doesn’t even register anymore on the bad spectrum. There are encounters with rabid dingoes that are more pleasant than being around me after a run. So unless you really like the wild-eyed, red faced, oxygen-starved look, then no, I don’t look better because of running.

Sure, you’ll sleep better (if your calves don’t cramp in the night and cause you to scream obscenities). You’ll meet great people (like the formerly incarcerated catnip dealers). You’ll feel better (when you stop hurting, the toenails grow back and the blisters heal). And think of all the cool fun runs you can join (that cost as much to register for as a case of decent wine, so what really is the better choice?)

So, until this flight of fantastical thinking passes, I’ll be out there setting personal records that can be measured on the same scale as glacier movement. Feel free to tie on your shoes and join me!

What! May 25, 2017

What I Heard This Week May 25, 2017

What I Heard This Week - Logo

By Lisa Baker • 05-25-17

PLEASE REMEMBER WHY we have Memorial Day. It is not only to get 50% off your online purchases or to buy 3 tires and get one FREE. Memorial Day is a day to reflect on those military service members who have served and died. Thank you.

Poor little Anthony Weiner, former Democratic Congressman. His wife filed for divorce after his recent guilty plea as he admitted to sharing sexually explicit pictures (sexting) and messages that encouraged a 15-year-old girl to engage in sexually explicit conduct. This time he’ll have to register as a sex offender and could go to prison.

Apple became the first US company with a market value of more than $800-billion.  Investors seem to be betting on the new iPhone coming out this year.

85-year-old country singer Loretta Lynn has started rehabilitation and is expected to make a full recovery after suffering a stroke at her home in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee.

Buc-ee’s is building what may be the longest carwash in the world. The 255-foot cleaning tunnel is part of a 56,000-square-foot store with 120 gas pumps that will be finished in Katy this fall.

There is tiny Henderson Island, 6-miles long and 3-miles wide, halfway between New Zealand and Chile, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, some 3,000 miles from anywhere and is reached after a 13-day voyage by ship from New Zealand. Researchers were astonished to find an estimated, 38-million pieces (or 17.6 tons) of floating, mostly PLASTIC trash, that had washed up on the beach, noting that it is the highest density of trash ever reported in nature. Sad. There was a crab with what looked like a face cream jar that it was hauling around on its back instead of a shell.

Chelsea Elizabeth Manning (formally Private Bradley Manning) was freed 28 years early because President Obama commuted the bulk of her remaining sentence of violations of the Espionage Act and other offenses (leaking government secrets to the public.)

A judge has confirmed that the one sibling and five half-siblings of Prince, are his rightful heirs. They will share what is estimated to be around $200-million since Prince died without a will. Around 45 people have come forward claiming to be his wife, children, siblings or other relatives including a prison inmate. All were ruled out by DNA testing. Since his death, Princes’ Paisley Park studio complex and home has been turned into a museum and concert venue. There’s no grass growing under their feet.

Senate Bill 2118 needs full House approval and Governor Abbott’s signature to become law, allowing more Texas community colleges to offer bachelor’s degrees in applied technology, applied science and nursing.

Three young Mississippi men were arrested and will be charged with capital murder after stealing a car with a 6-year-old in it, then shooting the child. His mother had left the child in the car with the engine running while she ran into the store. Sigh. Parents, pay attention.

In New Orleans, the last of the four Confederate monuments – a statue of Robert E. Lee – has been removed from its concrete pedestal.

Neglect no opportunity to play leap-frog. It is the best of all games and will never become professionalized. – P.G. Wodehouse, humorist

According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, of the 222 prescription drugs that were approved by the US Food and Drug Administration from 2001 through 2010, almost 1/3 of them ended up with warnings about unexpected, sometimes life-threatening side effects or complications. Do your research.

HAPPY BIRTHDAYS: Boxing Hall of Fame Sugar Ray Leonard is 61.  Actress Anna Maria Alverghetti is 81. She won the Tony Award for Best Actress in 1962 for Carnival. Former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright is 80. Actress-singer Lainie Kazan is 75. My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Football Hall of Fame Emmitt Smith is 48. Dallas Cowboys. Baseball Hall of Fame Brooks Robinson is 80. Country singer George Strait is 65.  Rock singer Bono is 57. U2. Olympic gold-medal swimmer Missy Franklin is 22.  Singer Leo Sayer is 69. I just listened to, “The Show Must Go On” and “You Make Me Feel Like Dancing,” and a song that Leo Sayer wrote for Roger Daltrey’s first solo album called “Giving It All Away.” A musical blast from the past. I remember listening to him on an 8-track tape deck. I’m old.

Singer-actress Cher is 71. Singer Celine Dion is 49. Did you see the two of them on the Billboard Music Awards last week? Celine Dion sang, “My Heart Will Go On,” and did she ever sing!  Drake was obviously impressed because he said that he is thinking about tattooing her image on his rib cage. That was on the same evening that Drake surpassed Adele’s record for the most wins in a single night. Cher shut the house down with her hits “Believe” and “If I could Turn Back Time.”  She’s got no reason to rewind the clock because her vintage black motorcycle jacket, lace bodysuit, knee-high boots and huge curly wig, looked (and sounded) like it WAS 1989.

American guitarist Dick Dale is 80. He is known as The King of the Surf Guitar. Dick Dale and His Del-Tones. If you ever get to feeling sorry for yourself, read his story.  Singer Pia Zadora is 65. Country singer Randy Travis is 58. Actress Mary McDonough is 56. She was Erin on The Walton’s.  Actor Will Arnett is 47. Rock musician Bill Kreutzmann is 71. Grateful Dead. Hall of Fame Willie Mays is 86. Rock singer Bob Seger is 72. The Silver Bullet Band.  Rock musician Jane Wiedlin is 59. The Go-Go’s. TV personality Ted Allen is 52. Chopped.

Counterculture icon Wavy Gravy is 81. His name was given to him by BB King at the Texas International Pop Festival in 1969. He was the official clown of the Grateful Dead. Ben & Jerry’s had a Wavy Gravy Ice Cream – caramel & cashew brazil nut with a chocolate hazelnut fudge swirl & roasted almonds. It’s my job to keep you informed.

Ken Levin, 86, and his 23-year-old son, graduated together from The University of Houston this spring. I don’t know about you but I welled up just reading the article. I never had that kind of dad.

Nigeria – Three years ago, 276 schoolgirls were kidnapped by Boko Haram. Recently, 82 of the girls were released by their captors leaving only 113 girls that remain unaccounted for. Some of these girls were forced to marry their captors and give birth to children in remote forest hideouts.

My granddaddy was a barber in Waco, Texas. His barber shops were the place to hang out (talking, no texting) while waiting for haircuts. Buster shined your shoes and Granddaddy knew everything that was going on around town. This recent memory made me think about barber poles, one of which I have in my office.  Barber Pole (from the Latin, “beard”) and according to Wikipedia, “the origin of the red and white barber pole is associated with the service of blood-letting and was historically a representation of bloody bandages wrapped around a pole. During medieval times, barbers performed surgery on customers, as well as tooth extractions. Barber shops were also places of social interaction and public discussion.” Like coffee shops today, I guess.

– Lisa

Banana Trees and the Road to Hell

Much Ado About Nothing May 25, 2017

Jean Ciampi - Much Ado About NothingMuch Ado About Nothing by Jan Ciampi

I can’t verify this, but if things continue as they are, I may be driven to the point that I have the opportunity to find out first-hand. But, I’m pretty sure that the road to Hell is trimmed in banana plants, those big, floppy-leafed scourges of the yard. The only thing that could possibly make banana plants more hatefully heinous would be cross-breeding them with poison oak. At which point, we need to tap out and surrender the planet because we’ve lost the war on agri-terrorism.

If you’re considering planting one of these pests in your yard, just go home because you’re drunk. You’d be better off – and definitely happier in the long run – if you simply backed up a cement truck and paved over your entire property. Although, this may be the only way to get rid of the chlorophyll creatures from the pits of someplace unspeakable once you’ve got them.

Despite my homeowners association frowning on such thing, I’m talking napalm, flame-throwers, small nuclear devices detonated from a safe distance across the street. Voodoo and practitioners of the dark arts are also not off the table in my battle against the bananas. Here’s the problem: you can hack them to the roots, dig them out and salt the earth and they’ll still find a way to come back. They’re vegetational herpes. This is truly the price we’ve paid for the whole mishap in the Garden of Eden: God said, “Get out and go live in shame with the banana plants.”

So after two long, bloody years of hand-to-leaf combat, I finally felt I had eradicated the green plague. Then as I’m licking my wounds and trying to recover from the resulting PTSD, the banana plant in my neighbor’s yard has sent up a scout on my side of the fence. Naturally, I’m triggered. The machete has long since been put in a locked location to keep me from hurting myself or others (like my neighbor who obviously shops in the garden center at ISIS Depot).

Unless your family name is Dole and you live in a jungle in Nicaragua, there’s no reason to have banana plants. Propagating this problem should be considered a crime against all humanity and punished accordingly. For the sake of all that’s holy, If you want a banana, go to Kroger.

Last Little Bird

Much Ado About Nothing May 18, 2017

Jean Ciampi - Much Ado About NothingMuch Ado About Nothing by Jan Ciampi

In just a few days, my tenure as a grade-school parent ends. Despite those times when we just weren’t sure if it would really happen, my youngest son will graduate from high school – We hope. Although, there is still time. Not until I actually hear his name called and the diploma put in his hand, will I breathe. That’s the same time his counselor will stop eating Valium like LifeSavers, the principal will stop considering a career change, and his first period teacher will look up and think, “Oh! That’s who that kid is. His face isn’t familiar.”

I’ve always said he is the child my parents wished upon me. This is the kid that would have qualified us for the elite Navy Seals special ops supreme command of Parenthood if such a thing existed. He has made us battle ready for any level of mischief, mishap, or outrageous improbability. While they say it takes a village to raise a child, I disagree. In this case, it takes a village, a fully functioning medical/surgical facility, an offshore bank, several high level negotiators, a contact at the United Nations, a building permit, and friends with “connections.”

Then just about the time I think I’m on the top of my parenthood game, he’s leaving. He never listened when I told him to clean the bathroom, wash denim separately, or mow the lawn. But when I told him to dream big and chase after it, he listened to that! I pushed him to take harder classes and do his homework on time. Of course, he never did that. But when I push him to be independent, smart and self-sufficient, he’s all over it. What the heck?!

So it seems I have worked myself out of a job — a job with rotten pay, long hours and amazing benefits. It’s a job I have loved more than anything else and one I must have done right. The last little bird in the nest is spreading huge, strong, powerful wings that will let him soar to places beyond what either of us could have dreamed.

And just as he did when he marched off to Kindergarten, he’s not looking back. If he did, he’d see the endless pride on my face and my heart in my hands. He’s going to be great! And I’ll be okay, too.

Naked Garden Day

Much Ado About Nothing May 15, 2017

Jean Ciampi - Much Ado About NothingMuch Ado About Nothing by Jan Ciampi

World Naked Gardening Day is the first Saturday in May. So, gosh darn it, we’ve missed it. I’m guessing, though, this is a bigger celebration in areas that don’t have mounds of fire ants. As someone who has had a miserable tangle with poison oak after pulling weeds in my flowerbed while fully clothed, I’m not sure I grasp how this is a good idea. Thank goodness, World Naked Gardening Day has a website (www.wngd.org) to answer that and so many other questions!

Don’t go to this website, however, unless you are prepared to be exposed to naked gardening. Unfortunately, no one warned me in advance. I admit I initially had trouble absorbing their information because I kept thinking: How are these people not getting seriously sunburned?!

While their website does explain why you should garden naked, more importantly, they tell you how! “Find an opportunity to get naked.” Okay, that seems a bit obvious, but then you can naked garden with your friends, family, even your gardening club. Whoa Nelly! I’m not sure what the demographics are of your gardening club, but I’m nearly positive I could kiss goodbye any chance I had at “Yard of the Month” if I showed up naked to the next meeting of my club.

They also suggest you “Do it inside your house, in your backyard, on a hiking trail, at a city park, or on the streets.” Really?! In Texas? Now I see how I win “Yard of the Month.” We’re talking about a prison yard! I hope, too, they didn’t mean Estes Park in Colorado when they said park, because there was two and a half inches of snow that Saturday which gives a whole new perspective to freezing your buns off!

Celebrate World Naked Gardening Day next year on May 5, 2018. Maybe start slow by just watering your houseplants in your underwear. The website does suggest when you naked garden, be sure to “tell someone about your experience… email it to your local newspaper.” Yeah, do that. I double dog dare you to do that! Include your address and phone number, so the local newspaper can send out a photographer (to take your mug shot for the local police department!).

Seriously, if you garden naked, garden smart. Wear sunscreen. Avoid poison oak. That’s all I have to say on that.

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