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Much Ado About Nothing – Bugnapping

Much Ado About Nothing September 19, 2018

Much Ado by Jean Ciampi

I get it that maybe you hate your job. I’ve had jobs I hated. One summer, I sold pots and pans door to door. Clarification: I went door to door but sold zero pots and pans. I hated it. When you hate your job, though, the smart thing to do is find another job and move on. I suggest professionalism in the hopes you’ll get a good reference and you never know who you’ll run into in the business world. Unless you work at the Philadelphia Insectarium and Butterfly Pavilion. Then all bets are totally off.

Last month, a group of employees at the Philly Insectarium finally got fed up with I don’t even know what. The list of things that could be horrible about working at the Philadelphia Insectarium are almost uncountable, starting with spending every day with a bunch of creepy bugs that you’re not allowed to stomp on, smash, or spray with Raid. I can only guess that the employee benefits package sucks. As if they’re going to offer medical or life insurance to people who work around deadly six-eyed sand spiders. Another day, another claim on the company policy! Employees dropping like rare, endangered, poisonous flies!

Whatever their reasons, employees started carting off boxes of bugs. More than 7,000 insects gone, including an entire colony of cockroaches, over several days. In case the staff uniforms pinned to the wall with large knives weren’t a clue to who the bugnappers were, then the fact that it was all caught on the security cameras made it a little easier to figure out. Police are currently investigating and have recovered some of the little creepy creatures at a residence. They found some bugs there, too. The rest are still unaccounted for – bugs and “buglars.”

According to statements, the haul was only valued at $40,000. Hello! You just committed a felony for a bunch of roaches that a lot of people would have paid you to take out of their apartments. It’s not like they lifted a priceless Rembrandt painting that could be sold on the black market for millions. No, we’re talking lizards, snakes, millipedes.

So maybe you get a job at the Insectarium because you’re just not the brightest firefly in the jar. This means, kids: Stay in School! Stay out of Jail! And, for now, don’t buy undocumented insects.

What I Heard This Week! September 20, 2018

What I Heard This Week September 19, 2018

Tim Conway, one of the world’s funniest people, is experiencing dementia at age 84. Conway’s daughter has gone to court in an attempt to become her father’s conservator, so she can make medical decisions for him, since her father cannot “properly provide for his personal needs for physical health, food and clothing since Conway is almost entirely unresponsive.”☹ He is now in a skilled nursing facility. Tim Conway, thank you for all the moments you forced uncontrollable laughter in our lives.

Tchotchke – chach ka, NOUN, a small object, bauble or miscellaneous item that is decorative rather than strictly functional; a trinket. Or a pretty girl or woman. “Just look at my little tchotchke growing up.”

A pair of Dorothy’s ruby slippers that were on loan to The Judy Garland museum were stolen 13-years ago but have now finally been recovered. “We are grateful to the FBI and all those that worked so hard to bring this piece of cinematic treasure out of the shadows and into the light. After all, ‘There’s no place like home,’” said Grand Rapids PD Chief Scott Johnson. The shoes are estimated to be worth between $2-million to $7-million. The museum opened in 1975 and says it has the world’s largest collection of Garland and Wizard of Oz memorabilia and is located at the house where Judy Garland lived as a child.

Police officers found two Catholic priests having sex in a Volkswagen Beetle in Miami Beach. The officers had to tap on the window to let them know that people passing by on South Beach could see them. Both priests were arrested and charged with lewd and lascivious behavior and have been relieved of their church duties.

A human case of West Nile Virus was confirmed by the Texas Department of State Health Services in a resident of Brazos County. Since the mosquitoes are carrying us away in Brazoria County, it reminds me to practice the four D’s. 1.) Drain standing water around the house, including tires, cans, flowerpots, rain gutters, buckets, wading pools, puddles, etc. Trim grass and shrubs. 2.) Wear insect repellent containing DEET. 3.) Stay indoors at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active. 4.) Dress in long sleeves and pants when outdoors to prevent bites. Good luck. I have one of those machines on my back porch that attracts the mosquito with the light and then sucks him into a chamber. It seems to be doing a good job at my back door but no further than that. The word “mosquito” is Spanish for “little fly”.

Geoffrey Owens, former Cosby Show regular who played Elvin Tibideaux, the husband of the eldest daughter of Bill Cosby, was working the cash register at Trader Joe’s recently when someone photographed him, then submitted the pictures to celebrity websites. SHAME ON YOU. “I’d been teaching acting and directing for 30-plus years, but it just got to a point where it didn’t add up enough,” said Owens who has lost residual income in recent years after allegations and criminal charges against Bill Cosby prompted several networks to stop airing reruns of the sitcom. Hollywood and others ran to his defense, celebrating honest work and offering him jobs. But he is humble. “It would be lovely as one of the results of this, some doors open in terms of giving me the opportunity to audition. That, I would appreciate – always, as all actors do,” Owens said. “I don’t necessarily feel comfortable being given things as a result of this. I’m not in a position to turn things down but … I like the idea of, you know, put me in the room with everyone else and see if I’m the right one for the job.” I take this as an opportunity to remind people that their bad choices always affect every single person around them in some way.

Bill Cosby’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame was vandalized recently when someone scrawled the words Serial Rapist across the star. Hmmm. I should be given an award for keeping my mouth shut when there is so much that could be said. People make choices. Choices make history.

RECENT BIRTHDAYS: Rock musician John McFee is 68. The Doobie Brothers. Actor Tom Wopat is 67. Luke on The Dukes of Hazzard. Actor Hugh Grant is 58. Actor Adam Sandler is 52. Model Rachel Hunter is 49. Pop-jazz singer Michael Bublé is 43. Country singer songwriter Hunter Hayes is 27. Singer Pink is 39. Actor Idris Elba is 46. Could he be our next James Bond? Senator Bernie Sanders is 77. Rapper Wiz Khalifa is 31.

Country singer David Allan Coe is 79. Comedian Jane Curtin is 71. Comedian Jeff Foxworthy is 60. Country singer Mark Chesnutt is 55. Actress Barbara Bain is 87. Mission Impossible. Actress Jacqueline Bisset is 74. Singer Peter Cetera is 74. Chicago. Actress Jean Smart is 67. Designing Women. Actor Ben Savage is 38. Actor Ed Begley Jr. is 69. Country singer David Bellamy is 68. The Bellamy Brothers.

Actor Mickey Rourke is 66. Jazz musician Earl Klugh is 65. Another one of my favorites. Magician David Copperfield is 62. Actress Jennifer Tilly is 60. She is also a World Series of Poker Ladies’ Event bracelet winner which means she is a really good poker player.

German born composer Hans Zimmer is 60. Gladiator, Pirates of the Caribbean, Sherlock Holmes, Inception, The Dark Knight, The Lion King, The Da Vinci Code, Interstellar, Hidden Figures, The Prince of Egypt, Dunkirk, just to name a few. At our house, the kids and I play ‘what movie did this music come from?’

Neil Simon, considered the most successful American playwright of all time, died at age 91. The Odd Couple, Barefoot in the Park, Brighton Beach Memoirs, California Suite, The Goodbye Girl. He was the author of more than 30 plays and more than 20 screenplays. In 1966, he had four shows on Broadway at the same time. He said, “It’s not all about the laughter – it’s about the feelings that the audience gets.”

A mom made a deal with her 6-year-old daughter, that she could order one Barbie Doll from Amazon in exchange for some chores. Several days later the mom discovered that the daughter had gone back to the computer and ordered another $400 worth of toys. They donated the toys to a local hospital and the child is now banned from Amazon. Hmmm. Too many unanswered questions for me. Why the heck would a 6-year-old be allowed on a computer with access to Amazon, because along with access to Amazon, your kids have access to a whole lot more than that.

At Banner Desert Medical Center in Mesa, Arizona, there are 16 intensive-care-unit nurses that are pregnant and due to give birth sometime between October and February. Don’t drink the water.

The Food and Drug Administration announced that teenage use of electronic cigarettes has reached an epidemic proportion and they are now giving suppliers 60 days to prove they can keep devices out of the hands of minors.

Jimmy Buffett, the Margaritaville singer who has long been known as the King of beach bums, will license the use of his Coral Reefer brand name to medical marijuana company Surterra Wellness Inc. for a line of cannabis products including vape pens, gel caps, edibles and lotions. Buffett had reportedly been approached by other cannabis companies but chose to work with Surterra because of the firm’s focus on medicinal, rather than recreational, marijuana. Last month, Surterra announced that billionaire chewing gum heir William H. Wrigley Jr. II, known as Beau, has joined the company as chairman of the board.

More is more and less is a bore.” 96-year-old Iris Apfel, American businesswoman, interior designer and fashion icon. If you haven’t seen the documentary, ‘Iris’, then you need to. It’s a hoot. She has Ten Life Lessons which are: 1.) Don’t obsess over your age. 2.) Pick a partner who celebrates your successes. 3.) When something excites you, go for it. 4.) To stay young, you have to think young. 5.) Care about your own opinion above anyone else’s. 6.) But don’t isolate yourself, either. 7.) Money doesn’t buy success. 8.) Style is not about spending money. 9). Start new endeavors with one small step. 10.) Don’t pretend you are younger than you are.

On Fridays we close the office, so I get to listen to music. Today I am listening to Doc Severinsen with Gil & Cartas. The album is El Ritmo De La Vida. It’s a recommendation for happy music.

If you let the water run while you are brushing your teeth, then quit it. You can save a bunch of water by waiting until you rinse your toothbrush. When I was little, I can remember my grandparents filling a ‘reusable’ glass cup (not a paper or plastic cup) with water, brushing their teeth, then rinsing their mouth from the water in the cup, then swishing their toothbrush with what water was left in the cup to rinse it off. So, brushing your teeth took about 3 inches of water in a cup. If you brush your teeth, twice a day, for 2-minutes, that’s 8.8 gallons or 3,212 gallons annually that’s wasted. Enough water to fill a small pool. My grandparents also filled the sink basin with several inches of water to wash their face…yes, you reused the water in the sink to rinse your face. We are so lazy and wasteful now. Put a post-it-note on your mirror to remind you to turn off the water.

Did you know that a Redneck Margarita is tequila and Mountain Dew? Carrie Underwood sings about it on her new album, Cry Pretty.

Last week I had to put my daughter’s car into the shop. Seems ‘someone’ had driven with the emergency brake on. Tri-City Auto referred me to Moody and Sons in Angleton. It was a most pleasant experience. Nice people. Timely. Just paying it forward in a world that seems to find fault in so much.

If you have an item hanging around your living room, garage, back yard, wherever, that you wish to give away…and who doesn’t, just call our office, tell us what you have, and your ad is FREE. 979-285-9200. Yes, if you are giving it away, the ad is free. We make it so easy for you. Connie, Janice, Patricia and Pam are just sitting here waiting for your call. Think: bedspreads, coffee makers, wheelbarrows, tools, dishes, bags of clothing, BBQ grill, whatever. It’s the stuff that is taking up valuable real estate (space) at your home or office. Don’t forget that you can Read Us Online. FREE garage sale ads too.   www.TheSourceWeekly.com

An EGOT is the achievement of having won all four of the major American entertainment awards, an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar, and a Tony. Not many people achieve this success. But last week John Legend, composer Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyricist Tim Rice also reached EGOT status on the same evening as they were presented their missing Emmys for their work on Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert. Some of the past winners of the EGOT were actress Audrey Hepburn, director screenwriter comedian actor producer composer & songwriter Mel Brooks, actress Rita Moreno, actor James Earl Jones, actor Christopher Plummer, actress musician Barbara Streisand, actress musician Liza Minnelli,  Actress comedian Whoopi Goldberg, composer Andrew Lloyd Webber, actress Helen Hayes, composer Marvin Hamlisch, songwriter Robert Lopez, singer songwriter & actor Harry Belafonte, record producer singer & film producer Quincy Jones, plus a few more.

Thank you, Mr. Castleberry for your kind words about this column but most of all, thank YOU for reading it each week.

What I Heard This Week! September 13, 2018

What I Heard This Week September 12, 2018

Hope you enjoy the few snippets below, containing news, community, entertainment and opinion about what I have heard or read this past week.

In Greensville SC, a 38-year-old man wearing a wig, makeup, women’s shoes and clothing tried to take a picture of a woman from under the stall divider of a bathroom in a convenience store. The woman saw a cellphone appear under the potty divider, called 911, police found the video, then charged him with voyeurism. That’s so weird. Of all the things to take pictures of…what! A woman going to the bathroom?!? Maybe he got all dolled up but still needed some instruction on how to tinkle like a girl.

A crack 2-miles in length has opened in the middle of the Arizona desert. Google Earth found it first in 2014. Then it grew bigger. It seems that there is a ‘dry vacuum underground that’s widening due to aquifer depletion’ which means we have sucked too much water out of the Earth. Due to the remote location, they believe that the crack is unlikely to pose a danger to anyone, but some areas are now 10-feet across and up to 25-30 feet deep. Yikes.

Wrong is wrong, even if everyone is doing it. Right is right, even if no one is doing it.

In May, a Rhesus macaque was flown to San Antonio International Airport and while the cargo was being transported, the monkey escaped but was quickly cornered in a baggage handling area where he was sedated, and the trip continued. What a fun day for the monkey. But there is more. In April, four baboons at a San Antonio research facility rolled a 55-gallon barrel close to a wall in their open-air enclosure and then used it to climb up and over the wall. Three of them were captured within 30-minutes and the other one returned to the enclosure on his own. Don’t you wish you had been a fly on the wall when they planned that escape. All barrels have been removed from the enclosure. Ha-ha.

Speaking of The Monkee’s…I spent Friday evening with my 22-year-old son and a guy whose picture I had pasted on my wall in the early 70’s. We visited the Heights Theater to see Michael Nesmith and the First National Band. I think I’m in love again. Fifty years ago, he headed off to Nashville and the music that was produced is now recognized as the foundation of country-rock and alt-county. He is such a good songwriter, musician, funny guy plus just downright cute for a 75-year-old that had quadruple bypass surgery just a few months ago (even wiping a tear from his eyes a couple of times.) Two look-a-like sons played with him and he wore a white suit, sparkly shoes and a matching sparkly cowboy hat, not the green knitted cap that you remember. ‘Joanne’ was #21 on Billboard Top 100. I know you remember the song. ‘Her name was Joanne, and she lived in a meadow by a pond, and she touched me for a moment, with a look that spoke to me of her sweet lo-ooo-ove.’ Fun night.

Lindsay Lohan is getting a new reality show. That is exactly what the world needs right now.

Happiness is letting go of what you assume your life is supposed to be like right now and sincerely appreciating it for everything that it is. At the end of this day before you close your eyes, smile and be at peace with where you’ve been and grateful for what you have. Life is good.

Animal Rescue in Poland is searching for an 18-ft-long Indian Python. Her nickname is Bertha and she has been shedding her skin, so they know where she has been but NOT WHERE SHE IS, and that skin is some-kind of big and long. Indian pythons have been known to swallow a deer whole but if Bertha isn’t found before the cold Poland winter, it’s unlikely that she will survive. Residents were told to avoid walking and sleeping near the river. Ya think?!? No one. No one would have to tell me even once.

RECENT BIRTHDAYS: Actor Elliott Gould is 80. Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch is 51. Actor David Soul is 75. Detective Kenneth “Hutch” Hutchinson in Starsky & Hutch. Actress Barbara Bach is 72. Former Bond girl 1977 and married to Sir Richard Starkey (Ringo) since 1981. Singer Shania Twain is 53. Actor Jack Black is 49. Singer Le Ann Rimes is 36. Actor Bill Daily is 91. Astronaut Roger Healey on I Dream of Jeannie. Cartoonist R. Crumb is 75. Fritz the Cat. Actress Peggy Lipton is 72. The Mod Squad.

Actor Timothy Bottoms is 67. Sonny Crawford in The Last Picture Show. Actress Cameron Diaz is 46. Violinist Itzhak Perlman is 73. Singer Van Morrison is 73. “Well, it’s a marvelous night for a moondance, with the stars up above in your eyes.” One of my favorites. Actor Richard Gere is 69. He will become a new father in a few months. Rock musician Gina Schock is 61. The Go-Go’s. Singer Jose Feliciano is 73. Rock musician Joe Perry is 68. Aerosmith. Actor Colin Firth is 58. Movie director Guy Ritchie is 50. Actor Ryan Phillippe is 44.

Last year, Southwest has announced that soon they will fly to Hawaii, but a year later they are still trying to obtain ‘Federal Aviation Administration certification for extended flights over water.’ Well, I don’t know about you but seems like a good idea to me. They were quoted as saying, “No one will remember the day we started, but they will remember if we started poorly.” Thanks, SW! You are exactly right.

Jane Fonda, Dolly Parton and Lily Tomlin are making a ‘9 to 5’ sequel, as the exhausted office staff of Judy, Doralee, and Violet. I’m wondering if the egotistical, arrogant, lying, sexist, Mr. Hart (Dabney Coleman) will still be working for the company. Jane Fonda was a naïve new employee who had to work because her husband had recently left her for his secretary, Dolly Parton was his mistress (at least that’s what he told the office even though she was happily married) and Lily Tomlin accidently puts rat poison in Mr. Hart’s coffee. It was really a cute movie and should be a good sequel with these three talented ladies. I bet that #MeToo movement is a part of the story. Nearly 40-years later, 9 to 5 remains one of the top grossing comedies of all time with an adjusted gross of $356-million.

Surprise. Wanda Barzee, a woman convicted of helping a former street preacher kidnap teenager, Elizabeth Smart, from her bedroom in 2002, will be freed from prison more than five years ‘earlier than expected.’ Smart says, “It is incomprehensible how someone who has not cooperated with her mental health evaluations or risk assessments and someone who did not show up to her own parole hearing can be released into our community.”  I have seen Elizabeth Smart speak about her captivity and read her book. When Smart was raped, tortured and starved, Barzee never intervened. Early release is wrong in every way. Smart is now married with two children and another on the way, is kind, gracious and has forgiven her captors. How can our judicial system let something like this happen? Barzee will be under federal supervision for five years. Tax dollars, well-spent.

Burt Reynolds died. Remember Gunsmoke, Sally Field, the mustache, the Cosmo centerfold on the bear rug, Deliverance, Semi-Tough, The Longest Yard, Smokey and the Bandit, Cannonball Run, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas and plenty more. He was set for Quentin Tarantino’s upcoming “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’ story about the Charles Manson/Tate murders that’s due to be released July 2019. In his last appearance he was to play George Spahn, the 80-year-old nearly blind man who rented his LA ranch out to Manson, but unfortunately, Reynolds had not yet shot his scenes. He was expected to film his part at the end of September. It would have been a great part alongside Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie, Luke Perry, Dakota Fanning, Al Pacino, Lena Dunham and Rumer Willis.

A South Carolina woman has been charged with murder after killing her husband by putting eye drops into his drinking water. His autopsy uncovered a high amount of tetrahydrozoline in his system, which is a chemical found in over-the-counter eye drops. The woman confessed to investigators for the alleged poisoning and has also been charged with malicious tampering with a drug product or food.

The Lake Jackson Historical Association is preparing for a fundraising event, “An Evening with Ronee Martin.” If you don’t remember, Ms. Martin appeared on Season 11 of America’s Got Talent as a wonderfully talented vocalist and songwriter. She was fabulous, so it should be a good concert. The Clarion at Brazosport College or Lake Jackson Historical Museum for tickets. September 15th. 7pm.

9/11: Seventeen years ago, at 8:45am, an American Airlines Boeing 767, loaded with 20,000 gallons of jet fuel crashed into the north tower of the World Trade Center near the 80th floor of the 110-story skyscraper, killing hundreds of people and trapping hundreds more above the crash. Everyone thought it was an accident.

Then 18 minutes later, a United Airlines Boeing 767 crashed into the 60th floor of the south tower of the World Trade Center. America realizes this was no accident. The skyscrapers that were built to withstand 200mph winds and conventional fires, could not take heat generated by burning jet fuel. Almost 3000 people died in the WTC, including 343 firefighters and paramedics, 23 NY police officers, and 37 Port Authority police who were trying to save the people trapped on the floors above the crashes.

At 9:45am, American Airlines Flight 77 slammed into the west side of the Pentagon killing 125 military personnel and civilians along with all 64 people aboard the plane.

A fourth plane, United Flight 93, was hijacked and crashed into a rural field in western Pennsylvania around 10:10am but because of a delay in take-off, passengers on-board learned of the horrible events in NY and Washington and tried to regain control of the plane. One of the passengers, Thomas Burnett, Jr., told his wife over the phone, “I know we’re all going to die. There’s three of us who are going to do something about it. I love you, honey.” Another passenger, Todd Beamer, was heard on an open line saying “Are you guys ready? Let’s roll.” Flight attendant, Sandy Bradshaw, called her husband and explained that she had slipped into a galley and was filling pitchers with boiling water. Her last words were “Everyone’s running to first class. I’ve got to go. Bye.” All 45 people aboard were killed. The intended target could have been the White House, the US Capitol, Presidential retreat Camp David, or several nuclear power plants along the east coast. It is believed that their acts of bravery saved the lives of many people on the ground.

The Islamic terrorists were allegedly acting in retaliation for the US involvement in the Persian Gulf War and the continued military presence in the Middle East. Of the 19 terrorists, some had taken flying lessons at US commercial flight schools. They were able to smuggle box cutters and knives through security at three airports. Because the planes were loaded with fuel, they all became guided missiles.

Osama bin Laden was killed during a raid of his compound in Pakistan by US military forces on May 2, 2011.

Continue to pray for the nearly 75,000 responders and survivors since health officials have certified more than 5,400 of them with 9/11-related cancers. Many others suffer from the same mental health problems as soldiers returning from war.

This morning I called “treat” to my kitties, I found that they had already discovered the new container of their favorite treats that were placed high, opened the bag and were sitting, looking at me like, “Been there. Done that, already.” Thanks for reading this today – Lisa

Much Ado About Nothing – Mauled by Bears

Much Ado About Nothing September 12, 2018

Much Ado by Jean Ciampi

I just got back from the Emergency Room. Lots of blood, pain, and 8 stitches in my left shin from being mauled by a bear. … No, really, a bear. … Okay, a small bear. Think Paddington kind of bear. It was, after all, only 8 stitches. … No?  … Fine, the real truth is that I got mauled by the corner of the dishwasher door. The stitches are real, but the bear maybe not as much. But any good journalist will tell you, though, to never let the truth come between you and a good story. So I’m sticking with the bear.

Let’s face it, we’ve all done it. If you’ve spent any time at all in a kitchen and have experienced the posh luxury of not eating on paper plates, then you’ve probably caught your leg on the open dishwasher door at some point. And it hurts. I, however, can’t just bump my shin, mutter some form of the word poop through gritted teeth, and then move on with my life. No, I have to go full combat mode. And lose.

When the ER doc looks at your leg and says, “The dishwasher did this to you? Through your jeans? Wow. I mean, I can see your tendon” then you know you’ve pretty much done a number on your shin. At the same time you start feeling a little stupid for being so badly roughed up by a kitchen appliance. That’s why you need a bear.

I think the only thing that impressed the ER doctor more than what brought me there was how I reacted to getting it fixed. When he shot me several times in a part of my leg that is nothing but nerve endings and bear drool, I commenced with a vocabulary that would get me inducted into the Marine Corps. The guy in the next room may have needed to add heart attack to his triage notes. And the kid in the waiting room who thought he broke his arm, thought again. Pain killers should not hurt that bad.

So if anyone asks what happened, I was mauled by a bear. A Whirlpool Gold Series Bear. With delay start option. And moving forward, my trust issues include the microwave and the refrigerator. And I’m totally good with paper plates.

What I Heard This Week! September 6, 2018

What I Heard This Week September 5, 2018

J.J. Watt originally planned to raise $200,000 to help the rebuilding process after Harvey last year. The Houston Texan star (and clearly the ‘star’ in all our hearts) now says he has distributed the $41.6 MILLION that his foundation raised. I have goosebumps up and down my arms while typing this. The funds have already been used to clean up more than 600 homes, distribute more than 26 million meals and provide health care for more than 6,500 people. He’s done his homework and found legitimate organizations that helped carry out his plans for rebuilding. Modern Day Saint.

In memory of 9-11: “A great people has been moved to defend a great nation. Terrorist attacks can shake the foundations of our biggest buildings, but they cannot touch the foundation of America. These acts shattered steel, but they cannot dent the steel of American resolve. America was targeted for attack because we’re the brightest beacon for freedom and opportunity in the world. And no one will keep that light from shining.” President George W. Bush

Did you know that there is a ‘Texas’ Pledge of Allegiance? It is as follows: “Honor the Texas flag; I pledge allegiance to thee, Texas, one state under God, one and indivisible.” It has come to my attention that you can sign a form at the beginning of the school year that allows your child to ‘sit it out’ for the US Pledge of Allegiance and the ‘Texas’ pledge? Hmmm.

Nothing great is ever achieved without enduring much. St. Catherine of Siena

There were so many people parking in front of my office last evening, then unloading their dogs and walking to the right down Parking Way, out of my view. Finally, someone I knew was getting out of their car, so I asked. Seems that The Wine Revue in beautiful downtown LJ was having ‘Pooches on the Porch.’ I may have to get a dog.

Billy Graham has 6-rules of living. The article was published in Reader’s Digest last month and if everyone would not only read the rules but also practice them, our world would be a perfect place.  1. Make it your goal to live at peace with others. 2. Avoid revenge. 3. Guard your tongue. 4. Never repay evil with evil. 5. Treat others as you’d want them to treat you. 6. Practice the power of forgiveness.

Thank you to Ninfa at First state Bank LJ for helping me get my new debit card. I’m sorry I lost the old one. In my own defense, I was left unsupervised for a short period of time.

A Salt Lake City unlicensed home daycare owner was arrested after breaking a baby’s legs when she slammed the 10-month old child on a bathroom floor because _______ (you can fill in the blank here because no matter, I can’t think of a just cause.) She admits slamming the child feet-first and said that she would rather be deported to Mexico than go to jail. Hmmm.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were 2.29-million new cases of sexually transmitted diseases such as chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis in 2017. That’s nearly a 10% increase.  Health officials were especially concerned by the 67% jump in gonorrhea cases since 2013 because the bacterial infection has become resistant to all antibiotics except ceftriaxone. They expect that it’s only a matter of time before super-resistant strains will emerge in the US. In other words, if you are having unprotected sex, then you are stupid.

Contrary to what we have read in the past, and now according to a new ‘massive’ study, co-authored by 512 researchers from 243 institutions, the optimal amount of alcohol someone should consume is ‘none.’ Guess I won’t need the dog, after all. See above.

RECENT BIRTHDAYS: Jazz musician Branford Marsalis is 58. Actress Melissa McCarthy is 48. Actor Macaulay Culkin is 38. Country singer Brian Kelley is 33. Florida Georgia Line. Comedian actress Lily Tomlin is 79. Singer Barry Gibb is 72. Singer Gloria Estefan is 61. Actor G.W. Bailey is 74. Staff Sergeant Luther Rizzo in M*A*S*H. Actor Paul Reubens is 66. Pee-Wee’s Playhouse. Actress Diana Scarwid is 63. Inside Moves. Mommie Dearest. Silkwood.

Talk-show host Craig Kilborn is 56. Actress Marlee Matlin is 53. Actor comedian Dave Chappelle is 45. Ahchoo in Mel Brooks‘ Robin Hood: Men in Tights. Actor Rupert Grint is 30. Harry Potter. Actor Steve Guttenberg is 60. 1984 Police Academy. Supposedly there is a new Police Academy film in the making.

Actress Mitzi Gaynor is 87. Singer Beyoncé Knowles is 37. Actor comedian Kyle Mooney is 34. SNL. Comedian actor Bob Newhart is 89. Actor William Devane is 79. Knots Landing. Actor Michael Keaton is 67.  Batman. Actress Raquel Welch is 78. We all remember the image of her in that doe-skin bikini that became best-selling posters, then turned her into a sex symbol. She still looks better than fabulous.

According to Wiktionary: Wet Willy (plural wet willies) (slang) A prank whereby a spit-moistened finger is inserted into an unsuspecting person’s ear, often with a slight twisting motion. See below.

Let’s see if I can get this one right. It’s hard to see what I’m typing when I laugh this hard. A man in Florida was arrested after allegedly “giving his girlfriend a wet willy while he was belligerent.” The girlfriend had allegedly come home and found the man drunk on the living room floor. The man and his girlfriend then left and went to a friend’s house where “he continued to drink and was belligerent.” On the way home, he grabbed her arm and gave her a wet willy. He was arrested on a battery charge. He says he wasn’t drunk. So, you laughing yet? I bet you are at least smiling.

Sawdust is man glitter.

Coming to Smart Financial Centre: Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. Willie Nelson & Family, Roy Orbison The Hologram Tour, Marina McBride, and Mannheim Steamroller. I just saw Tony Bennett there and you should have heard him sing ‘Fly Me to the Moon’ and ‘I left My Heart in San Francisco.’ Then he wooed us with ‘How Do You Keep the Music Playing?’  He still has what it takes.

Instead of a sign that says, Do Not Disturb, I need one that says Already Disturbed. Proceed with Caution.

“Time is passing. Yet, for the United States of America, there will be no forgetting September the 11th. We will remember every rescuer who died in honor. We will remember every family that lives in grief. We will remember the fire and ash, the last phone calls, the funerals of the children.”President George W. Bush

A&M opened the season with their new $7.5 million-a-year coach, Jimbo Fisher after ditching Kevin Sumlin to bring Fisher from Florida State.  For those bad at math, that’s $75-million over a 10-year period. Hmmm. What exactly does that say about the priorities of our universities. What exactly does that say about the priorities of our society? Sigh.

The Big Bang is a scientific theory about how the universe started, and then made the stars and galaxies as we see them today. The Big Bang Theory TV show will call it quits after their 12th season. It is promised that, “the series finale will bring The Big Bang Theory to an epic close.”

Just in case you didn’t get a chance to watch, Leonard Botello IV, owner and pit master of Truth BBQ in Brenham, did a great job on the finale of ‘Chopped Grill Masters’ but failed to win the $50,000 grand prize. Dang. But, he is still No. 1 on our list and in the Top Ten of Texas Monthly’s “Top 50 Barbecue Joints in Texas.” It doesn’t get any better than that.

The Harris County man who put a 23-month-old toddler in scalding water and stomped on the child because he had a dirty diaper and cried, was sentenced to 26 years in prison. Not long enough. The water was so hot that the child has permanent scarring.

‘Deathtrap’ opens this weekend at the Center for the Arts and Sciences, Dow Arena Theatre. The story is a success of Broadway history, full of thrills and laughter. Friday is opening night and I’m making cookies. Be a part of it. Mature audiences, please.  979-265-7661. I can make suggestions on how to have a good time, but you need to pick up your phone or computer and get your own tickets. 😊

School officials saw a video of a middle school teacher that she had posted to her private Facebook account. The problem is that the teacher moonlights as a pole-dancer and has now been suspended ‘with’ pay pending the outcome of an investigation because the school district’s policy says, “employees are role models who are responsible for their public conduct even when they are not performing their job duties.” My question is which school official saw the video. Hmmm.

George Clooney tops the Forbes 2018 list of highest-paid actors with $239-million in pre-tax earnings. This also includes the upcoming sale of Casamigos Tequila, which Clooney co-founded plus earnings from endorsements and older movies. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson came in second with $124-million pretax. Forbes says Johnson has a huge social media following that helped him nearly double his 2017 earnings. Robert Downey Jr. was third with a measly $81-million, Chris Hemsworth with $64.5-million and Jackie Chan with an embarrassing $45.5-million.

I don’t have grey hair. I have wisdom highlights.

As I sat at my computer yesterday working on this column, a hummingbird flew right into the big plate glass window at the front of my building. I rushed out and found it twitching and fighting for life. Back to the kitchen for a towel. As I opened the front door to pick it up, I questioned whether I planned mouth-to-mouth or a good hard rub like you do puppies the moment they are born. I just don’t know. Anyway, I stepped out and the tiny, beautiful creature came up struggling, but finally flying. She was a little unsteady like she had had one too many, then she found her mojo and disappeared over the top of my roof. It reminds me that it’s time to put out hummingbird feeders. I have one outside my kitchen window and three hummers were fighting for nectar even in the rain on Labor Day. My daughter and I were working on a project at the kitchen table and watched. Such a pleasure. Easy and inexpensive nectar solution is one-part sugar with four-parts boiling water, stirring until the sugar is entirely dissolved. There is no need for red food coloring. Let it cool to room temperature and store in a CLEAN, sealed container. Please make sure that there isn’t any trace of another food in the container because sugar water can be easily fermented by exposure to yeast and that’s not good for the bird’s tiny system. I picked up a new feeder at Walmart for $7.00 that looks like it’s dishwasher safe which doesn’t really matter because IT IS going in the dishwasher this evening when I change the water, even if it’s not dishwasher safe.

Thank you for taking the time to read this. You make it fun for me to keep reading and repeating. Lisa

Much Ado About Nothing – North V South

Much Ado About Nothing September 5, 2018

Much Ado by Jean Ciampi

If you listen to the Flat Earth people, you believe, if you go far enough, you can eventually get to the edge of the Earth. At that point you fall off into the Abyss to be eaten by sea monsters. While I’m relatively confident this is not factual, I do know that if you go north any further than about Oklahoma City, things are no longer as they should be.  I believe once you’re out of range of a Whataburger, a Buc-cee’s bathroom, and some way of picking up an Astros’ broadcast, you have left civilization and should turn around immediately. No one should be expected to spend any extended time in a location without a Chick-fil-A. Yet, here I am.

If the absence of sweet tea wasn’t enough of an indication that I had sadly left the South, then realizing that practically every grocery store, daycare, and dentist office sells a complete selection of hard liquor cleared up any doubts. You can spend 20 minutes browsing brands of single malt scotch at the corner gas station. There are more types of tequilas than candy bars! What happened to that “Don’t Drink and Drive” message?

Liquor stores are called Party Stores. I suppose when every store is a liquor store, you have to find a way to set yourself apart. At the party store, along with all the makings for a Long Island Ice Tea and bottles of wine that are more than my monthly mortgage payment, you can also pick up the “Cheese of the Month” which might just happen to be the 2017 Supreme Champion at the World Cheese Awards. We’re not talking Velveeta here. Not at the party store. No, sir. Go back to the Shell station for that.

Party stores have gift ideas like personalized specialty glasses for your favorite Moscow Mule drinker. Every place else just has a local jackass with a red Solo cup. Party stores offer a full deli stocked with imported prosciutto. Other spots have packages of peppered beef jerky. If you ask me, it’s all just a bit of semantics.

Maybe there needs to be a little less focus on alcohol and more attention paid to negotiating a Ninfa’s or Pappasito’s here in the frozen tundra. Michigan may not be the edge of the Earth, but I think you can see it from here.

What I Heard This Week! August 30, 2018

What I Heard This Week August 29, 2018

Getting old is terrible. I used to wake up feeling like a million bucks…now I feel more like a bounced check.

Bush Intercontinental airport has opened four nursing rooms equipped with AC and USB power outlets, changing tables and glider chairs. Most rooms can accommodate three mothers at a time as well as additional children and an area to put the stroller. Way to go! Wish there had been something like this when I was nursing my two kids.

A lone kangaroo caused a timeout at a soccer field during a National Premier League match in Canberra, Australia. Twice. Because of a record dry winter, there is very little food, so mobs of kangaroos are hopping into towns to munch on green lawns, sports fields and schoolyards.

This is a crazy story. Volkswagen has quit using ‘hail cannons’ outside their factory in Puebla, Mexico after local farmers blamed the cannons for a drought that lead to the loss of nearly 5,000 acres of crops by keeping away precipitation. The automaker was using cannons to emit shock waves into the sky, which is believed to prevent the chunks of ice from forming, therefore eliminating hailstorms and damage to the new cars. I don’t make the news, I just read it and then figure out what I think you will be interested in knowing.

For decades, China restricted the number of babies that a couple could have, with their one-child policy. Traditional preferences for male children resulted in selective abortion therefore, there are now fewer females to marry and bear children. Three years ago, they decided to change that number to two children per family.  China now has more than 1.4-billion people, is aging quickly and has a smaller workforce left to support their growing elderly population that seems to be living longer.

The only rule is don’t be boring and dress cute wherever you go. Life is too short to blend in. Paris Hilton

Contact lens packages don’t currently tell users how to dispose of the lens, so many users either flush them down the toilet or wash them down the sink instead of putting them in the garbage. A 2015 study said that there were 93,000 to 236,000 metric tons of microplastic swirling around in the ocean. If that was 3-4 years ago, what’s it like now. Dispose of your contact lenses properly. They are medical devices so do not expect them to be biodegradable.

When I first learned to cook, there were only Red Delicious apples and Granny Smith green apples. You ate the red ones and baked pies with the green ones. That was it. Today, there are Braeburn, Fuji, McIntosh, Honeycrisp, Cortland, and my personal favorite, the Pink Lady, plus many more. Well, the Gala apple which we all love, originated in New Zealand in the 1930’s and has now risen in popularity, giving it the classification of ‘new favorite’ over the Red Delicious. I think we would all agree.

Climate change has created heat so bad in Japan (and right here in the USA in case you haven’t noticed) that their government officials are urging male citizens to use parasols or umbrellas to keep healthy in the heat. Male officials posted fun pictures of themselves on social media with their UV umbrellas, as stores immediately reported a surge in sales among men in their 50’s to 70’s.

In the past two years, Brad Pitt has given his estranged wife more than $1-million and lent her another $8-million to buy her current home. She says, “he has paid no meaningful child support.” Hmmm.  I wonder if Angelina fully understands how a normal, regular, average mom in the normal, regular, average world, survives and raises kids with the amount of money they are paid for child support.

RECENT BIRTHDAYS: Former FBI Director Robert Mueller is 74. Actor David Duchovny is 58. Actress Charlize Theron is 43. Actor Dustin Hoffman is 81. Actor Keith Carradine is 69. Actor Donny Most is 65. Ralph Malph on Happy Days. Britain’s Princess Beatrice is 30. Rocker the Edge is 57. U2. Singer JC Chasez is 42. ‘N Sync. Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak is 68. Wrestler actor Hulk Hogan is 65.

Actress Viola Davis is 53. Actor Chris Hemsworth is 35. Actor Robert DeNiro is 75. Singer Belinda Carlisle is 60. The Go-Go’s. Actor Sean Penn is 58. Pro Football Hall of Fame coach Bill Parcells is 77. Chef Giada DeLaurentiis is 48. Talk-show host James Corden is 40. Singer Kenny Rogers is 80. Actress Kim Cattrall is 62. Country singer Kacey Musgraves is 30. Rock singer Robert Plant is 70. Led Zeppelin.

Singer songwriter John Hiatt is 66. Actress Joan Allen is 62. Actress Vera Miles is 88. Lila Crane in Psycho. Actress Barbara Eden is 87. Actress Shelley Long is 69. Singer Rick Springfield is 69. Ex-NBA player Kobe Bryant is 40. Rock singer-actor Gene Simmons is 69. Chef Rachael Ray is 50. Michael Jackson would be 60 this week.

Everyone has either read, watched the movie or heard about Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café by Fannie Flagg. She is such a wonderful story teller. (When I am in the car, I am always listening to a book on tape. Always.) Last week I finished a Fannie Flagg book-on-tape called The Whole Town’s Talking. It was a very whimsical story of Lordor Nordstrom, an immigrant, his Swedish mail-order bride, their descendants and neighbors as they live, love and died in Elmwood Springs, Missouri, from 1889 to 2021. Their final resting place comes alive in the afterlife with mystery, love, laughter as odd things happen in the cemetery. It is such a sweet story and I was reminded that life is such a gift. I’m turning in the audio tonight, so you can check it out at the LJ library tomorrow.

The Eagles’ greatest hits album, released in 1976, has passed Michael Jackson’s Thriller to become history’s best-selling album of all time. Hotel California, released in 1977, is now the third best-selling album of all time. The band was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1998 and received the Kennedy Center Honor in 2016.

Viktor NekrasovAugust was nearly over – the month of apples and falling stars, the last care-free month for the school children. The days were not hot, but sunny and limpidly clear – the first sign of advancing autumn.”  (Obviously, this person was not from South Texas.)

On September 17th, the new service animal policy (i.e., trained service animals, psychological support animals and emotional support animals) from Southwest Airlines goes into effect. It says, “Southwest will only accept the following species of animals in our cabin as trained service animals – dogs, cats and miniature horses.” Hmmm. Cats. I have cats and I promise you that if I asked one of my cats to help me cross the street, they are going to give me the, “you, my friend, are only good for food,” look as they turn and walk away. Miniature horses. Well, that’s a different story. If you research, miniature horses are not uncommon for service roles since they can do everything a dog can plus pull a wheelchair and they’re tall enough to support people that need an additional way to balance themselves. So, listen up. If anybody tries to stop you from bringing your miniature horse that performs specific tasks for your health, safety, or accessibility on a flight, they’re breaking the law.

I just talked to my son who told me that he hadn’t showered because they haven’t had hot water at his dorm since yesterday. I told him that it didn’t matter since it’s pouring rain today. He then assured me that it was ok because he had an airplane bath…a swipe under each wing and the tail. I’m still laughing.

It has now officially been one year since Harvey visited our area. I found the little piece of paper where I wrote down the events of each day, the rain amounts, the water levels and such. When I read it, it made me feel physically ill. It’s been a tough year for so many and for some, it’s not over until they get to live in their homes again. I read that there were 150,000 homes flooded and damage was estimated at around $125-billion. Sigh.

Our largest grocery store chain has begun the process of phasing out the one-time-use plastic bags as more and more people begin to understand the impact on the environment. Kroger Co. says that the goal is to be plastic-free at its nearly 2,800 stores by 2025. They order about 6-billion bags each year. Why wait until 2025. Do it this year or charge for the bags if you don’t bring your own. Do it now.

I’m going bagless. I have been bringing my own bags to stores for years, but sometimes I forget when it’s a trip for just a few items. I decided two weeks ago that unless I need a one-time use bag for trash in my car or if I have too many items to carry, I am asking store clerks to let me carry out my purchases either in my purse, in my hands or in a small, lightweight bag that I’m now carrying in my purse. So far, the response is all positive. Go bagless. See above.

You know you’re getting old when: I walked back in to sit at my desk after spraying the weeds in front of my office. It was a really clear day and I always want the front of my office to look pretty when you visit. (As you have read in this column, I always use vinegar, salt and Dawn dishwashing soap because it’s so much better for the environment than weed killer. The soap causes the vinegar to stick to the weed and the salt drips down and makes the soil less desirable for the weed to return. You should use it too.) It was so hot out that morning and I was dripping wet with sweat, so I thought I would pull my hair up. No hair clips in my desk drawer, just a box of black binder clips, so the hair went up as I said to myself, “What do I care, I won’t see anyone today, anyway.” Yep. It held my hair up. And the Fed-Ex guy didn’t say anything insulting as I signed for a package five minutes later. And then the UPS guy appeared with more school supplies for my daughter and was very courteous, not laughing either. Then, about 30-minutes later some dark black clouds appeared and before I knew it, there were massive amounts of rain. Now, I will have to re-spray the weeds again because I bet it all washed off, but I don’t have the guilt that I would have if I had sprayed with Roundup and it had washed into Oyster Creek.

Hey, those binder clips also work great for attaching a bed sheet to cover and protect your favorite plants this next winter if-and-when it freezes. The clips also make a great keychain for extra keys since the handles pop-off when you squeeze them together.

A federal appeals court ruled that the Trump administration endangered public health by keeping a widely used pesticide on the market despite extensive scientific evidence that even tiny levels of exposure can harm babies’ brains and has ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to remove ‘chlorpyrifos’ from sale in the US within 60 days. This pesticide is used to spray apples, citrus and other crops.

My mother moved very quickly back to Waco in May, leaving me with tons of her stuff, so I have spent the past few months cleaning out her house and wondering what I could have done differently to help her to ‘like living here.’ I had entertained her, cooked for her, worked in her yard, taken her to concerts and community functions, all so she would feel like she was a part of it all. Well, her 83rd birthday was last weekend and guess what, I got to meet her new boyfriend when I arrived in Waco. They graduated together. Their reunion was in the spring. It all fits into place now. Hmmm.

Thanks for reading this. I appreciate it. Lisa





Much Ado About Nothing – Blessed are Teachers

Much Ado About Nothing August 29, 2018

Much Ado by Jean Ciampi

School is back in session. Teachers, unsung warriors that they are, have once again manned the battle lines to fight for the ongoing education of the next generation. Truly there is no level of sainthood great enough to crown the heads of these bold, brave souls who selflessly walk into the classrooms of darkness and shine a light. Let us pray.

Blessed be the elementary school teacher. Kindergarten teachers who fight the battles of noses that will ceaselessly run snot, shoes that refuse to stayed tied, and 5-year olds who are genetically coded to ask 43.2 million questions before noon of every single day. First- and Second-grade teachers with classrooms full of children refusing their lunches because they spent the morning eating crayons, boogers and Elmer’s glue. Third- and Fourth-grade teachers facing down the “indoor voice” that is perfect if indoors is a jet propulsion lab.

Blessed are the middle school teachers who have mastered the art of not laughing until the students can’t see them. Theirs is the world of “Stop that!” “Keep your hands where I can see them,” and “Bring the signed permission slip or you can’t watch THE video.” Not that THE video is going to teach anything that hasn’t already been learned on the bus.

Blessed be the junior high teachers. Theirs will be a consecrated, shiny, elevated place in Heaven for this is the special ops, SEAL team branch of teachers. Lord! Extra prayers for them!

And blessed be the high school teachers. They possess a special gifting to juggle the Ivy League auto-accepts and the unwed teenage mothers, the class president, the class clown, and the kid dealing drugs out of his third-period gym locker. They must face the AP, SAT, ACT, standardized, and the daily test of the parking lots at school.

Bless the teachers as they navigate helicopter parents, school shooters, and an education system that seems determined to break their spirits and their bank accounts. They have accepted a profession – no, a calling! – that is critical and pivotal. And not just because the nuclear waste dump wasn’t hiring. They do it for the love of the job or because they have a serious screw loose. Most likely both.

Say a prayer for them, then hug a teacher because if they didn’t do that job, you’d have to..

What I Heard This Week! August 23, 2018

What I Heard This Week August 22, 2018

The way I see it, ‘Chopped’ is a game show and a cooking show and reality television all wrapped into one. They take four pretty good chefs, give them a basketful of sometimes bizarre, unrelated ingredients that really don’t work well together at all, then ask them to prepare a fabulous dish in 20-30 minutes. Last night, two of the ingredients were short ribs and spicy grub worms. Ick. Lake Jackson’s own Leonard Botello IV, owner and pitmaster of Truth BBQ in Brenham, was among the four pitmasters competing in Food Network’s Chopped Grill Masters competition, a five-part series featuring 16 chefs representing regional barbecue styles from Kansas City, Memphis, Tennessee, North Carolina and Texas. Winners from each regional competition will face off on the finale airing August 28, with a grand prize of $50,000. (PS – Botello won last night and will represent Texas.) woohoo!! Go, Leonard.

ABC 13’s Ed Brandon passed away this week. He was chief weatherman from 1972 to 1989 and 1990 until his retirement in 2007.

Ford Motor Company marked the production of the 10-millionth Mustang. Mustang is the best-selling sports car of the past 50 years in the US and the top selling sports car for the past three years. A 22-year-old, third-grade school teacher bought the first Mustang on April 15th, 1964. It was skylight blue and she paid $3,447.50. Gail Wise is now 76 years old and still owns the fully restored mustang with just 68,000 miles on it. Today’s value is estimated at approximately $350,000 to $450,000. My first car was a ‘66 Pony. Should have kept it. It sure was fun back in the 70’s.

A real estate agent in Granbury, Texas had someone dress up in a giant T. Rex costume, then pose for pictures while mowing the grass, showering, raiding the refrigerator, taking a nap and fishing on the lake, to help advertise and sell a house. Within two days, the agent had over 45 showings and a contract on the cute little, 796-square-foot home that had an asking price of $89,900. Smart advertising.

“…to me, Aretha Franklin was really the top, the best. She was one of those people who opened her mouth and out came brilliance.” James Taylor

Bill and Jen Arnold, stars of “Little Couple” have finally sold their home in the Houston Braeswood area after a year on the market and 10 price cuts. Yep. My first thought was the home was set up for little people and that was the problem, but the home had been remodeled for people of standard height. Harvey probably didn’t help things.

There is a bristly, swiveling, motorized ‘thing’ that spins when a cow brushes against it, allowing the cow to be brushed and buffed in places that the animal cannot reach. They’re called mechanical brushes and they are required for cattle in Denmark but not in the US or Canada. On average, cows will spend seven minutes a day rubbing their heads, necks and backs on these body buffers. This is important to their well-being since some of these cows may never leave the barn or experience the joy of a pasture during their lives, so there’s not really an opportunity to find a fence post or a tree to rub against. This makes for happy cows. I wonder if they make them for cats. And people.

In Dreams: Roy Orbison In Concert – The Hologram Tour is coming to Smart Financial Centre in Sugar Land. The tour promises “breathtaking state-of-the-art cutting-edge digital and laser technology and extraordinary theatrical stagecraft.”  Remember “Oh, Pretty Woman, Only the Lonely, and Crying?” I’m betting that ‘hologram’ Orbinson will be a great show. Orbison died in 1988. I love watching him play in the Traveling Wilburys with George Harrison, Tom Petty, Bob Dylan and Jeff Lynne.

RECENT BIRTHDAYS: Boxer Leon Spinks is 65. Remember the ’78 fight with Muhammad Ali. Actress Sela Ward is 62. Jazz musician Kirk Whalum is 60. I will Always Love You with Whitney Houston. Actress Lisa Rinna is 55. Billie Reed on Days of Our Lives, Taylor McBride on Melrose Place. Wildlife expert Jeff Corwin is 51. Rapper Lil’Kim is 43. Rock star Ringo Starr is 78. Actor comedian Jim Gaffigan is 52. Actor Brian Dennehy is 80. Sheriff Will Teasle in First Blood. Semi-Tough with Burt Reynolds.

Actor Richard Roundtree is 76. Shaft. I can still remember some of the words from the theme song. Actor Jimmy Smits is 63. Actor Tom Hanks is 62. Actress Kelly McGillis is 61. Singer Arlo Guthrie is 71. He is coming to Jones Hall on February 20, 2019. Actress Sofia Vergara is 46. Singer-actress Jessica Simpson is 38. Rock singer David Crosby is 77. He is the father of Melissa Etheridge’s two children. She could have had Brad Pitt but decided against it. Hmmm.

Comedian-actor Steve Martin is 73. Author Danielle Steel is 71. Actress Halle Berry is 52. Actress Mila Kunis is 35. Football baseball player Tim Tebow is 31. Director James Cameron is 64. Actress Angela Bassett is 60. Actor Timothy Hutton is 58. Actor Steve Carell is 56. Actress Rumer Willis is 30. Actor Danny Bonaduce is 59. The Partridge Family.  Actress Debi Mazar is 54. Extra Virgin. White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders is 36. Bet she feels older than that. Especially right after a press conference.

Actor George Hamilton is 79. Forever tan. Rock singer musician Mark Knopfler is 69. Dire Straits. Singer Kid Creole is 68. Jazz musician Pat Metheny is 64. Rapper Sir Mix-A-Lot is 55. International Tennis Hall of Fame Pete Sampras is 47. Actor Casey Affleck is 43. Actress Rosanna Arquette is 59. Actor Antonio Banderas is 58. Actor writer Justin Theroux is 47. Actress Angie Harmon is 46. Actress Jill St. John is 78. Former President Bill Clinton is 72. Actor Gerald McRaney is 71. Simon & Simon.

Tipper Gore is 70. Wife of former VP Al Gore. Actor John Stamos is 55. Actress Kyra Sedgwick is 53. Country singer Lee Ann Womack is 52. Actor Matthew Perry is 49. Country singer Clay Walker is 49. Actor Sam Elliott is 74. Actress Melanie Griffith is 61. Actress Amanda Bearse is 60. Married with Children.  Actress Gillian Anderson is 50. Actress Anna Kendrick is 33.

On the Trinity River, in Liberty County, ‘somewhere south of Highway 59,’ Lance Stephens reeled in an alligator gar measuring 8-feet, 4-inches, weighing 264-pounds, with a 44-inch girth. He caught it with gaspergou and will have it mounted.  But he’s still not going to tell you exactly where he caught it.

So, do it. Decide. Is this the life you want to live? Is this the person you want to love? Is this the best you can be? Can you be stronger? Kinder? More compassionate? Decide. Breathe in. Breath out and decide.Meredith Grey

Apple became the world’s first publicly traded company to be valued at $1-trillion.

New Zealand plans to ban disposable plastic shopping bags by this time next year. As you know, the bags are polluting the coastal and marine environment, so a number of countries have introduced bans or restrictions on the single-use plastic bags, including France, Belgium, China, (and even Hawaii and California). Carry your re-usable bags with you in your car.

The Taj Mahal and 100 other sites in India went litter-free in June with a pledge to get rid of all litter for 500 meters (.31 miles) around the buildings, plus an awareness campaign warning about the dangers of single-use plastics. Anyone listening?

Ironic: The Kentucky Coal Mining Museum switched to solar power last year to save on energy bills. The owners said they installed the solar panels because two kinds of energy can work together. Hmmm. I agree.

You remember the ‘animal cracker’ box, don’t you…red box resembling a circus boxcar with four animals riding in the car. It had ‘Barnum’s Animals’ crackers written on the side and as a kid, you loved to have that string handle hanging on your wrist. Your own private box of cookies. Thanks to the efforts of PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) the box has been redesigned to where the lion, giraffe, elephant, gorilla and zebra are free-roaming animals. If you remember, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus closed last year after 146-years. I wonder if PETA will have a problem with us eating the animals.

Sweden’s tallest peak, Kebnekaise, shrunk in height by 13-ft in July during a glacier-melting heat wave.

A Houston sports bar is getting a lot of support after saying that they won’t be purchasing the NFL Sunday Ticket package offered by DirecTV this year due to National Anthem protests. “If the NFL and media continue to use these games as a way to further divide our country, we will stop showing any NFL games altogether,” Henry Hudson’s Pub management wrote. “We come together to watch these games and support our teams for entertainment, it is not political, and it is not educational. It is for our entertainment and it always has been. We fully support anyone’s right to raise awareness for their issues and causes and believe that as sports celebrities they already have a large platform to do so,” the statement continued. “There is a time and a place, and the beginning of an entertainment show is not it.” According to USA Today, the NFL Sunday Ticket package cost the regular home subscriber $293.94 for just the basic package. But, bars are charged depending on their occupancy and can run thou$ands.

Another bar story that I love. A 31-year-old man from Palm Beach was having dinner with his long-term girlfriend and their twin daughters in Savannah, Georgia, when he walked by a 21-year-old waitress and groped her rear end. Without missing a beat, the waitress turned, threw him down then told a co-worker to call the police. The man was arrested in front of his girlfriend and children and charged with sexual battery, then spent two nights in jail before being released. The waitress said, “I honestly didn’t even give it much thought, I just did it. I didn’t even know I could do that. I don’t care who you are. You have no right to disrespect me.”   Oh, and what makes this story even better is that there is a surveillance video that is just awesome.

The original hand-drawn map of Winnie-the-Pooh’s Hundred Acre Woods sold at auction for $571,000, a record price for a book illustration.

A new Oscars category to recognize popular movies was announced by the Academy. The move is seen as a bid to boost the award show’s ratings. I personally like the idea.

Robert Redford is 81-years-old and has said that he will retire from acting after his next movie, “The Old Man & the Gun” is completed. Redford made his film debut in War Hunt (1962). Inside Daisy Clover (1965) won him a Golden Globe for best new star. He starred in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969), which made him a major star. In 1972, he had Jeremiah Johnson, and in 1973, the greatest hit of his career, The Sting, for which he was nominated for an Academy Award. All the President’s Men (1976) was considered a landmark film. The first film that Redford directed, Ordinary People (1980), won four Oscars including Best Picture and the Academy Award for Best Director. In 1980, he starred in Brubaker, and Out of Africa (1985) won seven Oscars including Best Picture. He released his third film as a director, A River Runs Through It, in 1992. Certainly, one of my favorites. He didn’t mention retiring from directing and producing so there is still hope for more.

Thank you for taking the time to read this. Don’t forget to recycle and share the paper with a friend. Lisa


Much Ado About Nothing – On the Move

Much Ado About Nothing August 22, 2018

Much Ado by Jean Ciampi

Heed my words: Do not pray for patience as God will provide the opportunities for you to learn it. Never ask, “What else can possibly go wrong?” Trust me, nothing tempts the Universe to yell, “Hold my beer!” more than that. And never ever, don’t ever say never. I actually said once I’d never live in the Middle East which landed me in Saudi Arabia for three years. As Harvey threatened Texas, I said, “My house will never flood.” It flooded. And then I said, “I’m never moving again.” Fill out the change of address card because I’m moving. TO MICHIGAN!

Imma gunna freeze! Michigan, where cold fronts are six foot deep! You don’t understand, people; my blood is so thin, it’s invisible! I fully expect by the end of my first winter to be found encased in ice like a Yeti on the backside of Everest, a look of miserable shock forever captured on my face. Ice belongs in tea or cream, not spread in deadly sheets across the road with the sole purpose of sending your car careening into a ditch so no one finds you until the “spring thaw” in July.

We’ve already bought a house there from a very nice couple who are gleefully laughing with giddy joy as they hippy-hop off to retirement in Florida. I think I may hate them. Despite that, they were so very kind as to agree to leave the outdoor patio heater and the snow blower for us. Snow blower? Are there YouTube videos for how to operate that? I mean, do you run out as soon as it starts snowing and blow the offending fluffy ice masses back into the sky? Do they have plow attachments for the mower? And in the name of all things holy, how do I get a pizza delivered in January?!

I’m trying hard to see the positives. I’ll have seasons and Hurricane won’t be one of them. I can look forward to summer – all 26 days of it. White Christmas will be more than just a song. I suppose, too, if I can survive three plus years in Saudi Arabia, I can probably survive Siberia. And as long as there’s an internet connection, I’ll keep writing this column.

What I Heard This Week! August 16, 2018

What I Heard This Week August 15, 2018

A man swimming off a sandbar near Stingray Road at Crystal Beach on Boliver Peninsula was bitten by a shark right above the knee. Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water… A Harlingen man reeled in a 12-foot tiger shark last weekend at South Padre Island after a 2-hour fight. He released the shark after taking pictures and measurements and says that he knows in his heart that he got a state record so releasing the shark was more important. Nice.

In celebration of Shark Week, I bought my son a silly stuffed shark that makes shark noises if you push its little fin. I found it at Walmart. The kitties at my house did not like it at first, but they have now warmed up to the idea because you now hear shark noises at all hours of the day and night. It’s not unusual at all to see a cat tearing through the house carrying a stuffed shark that is almost as big as she is. We laugh. Life is good. PS – It’s been 40 years since of the release of JAWS 2.

About 15 miles from downtown Austin, there is a 14-acre, rainwater-fed, state-of-the-art surf park that has rideable waves every two minutes. It’s called NLand. In addition to surfing, you can head to the NLand Juice Bar or eat at the Blue Prairie then have a beer at the NLand Brewing Company. There is live music and film screenings. Sounds like a daytrip to me.

A friend of mine has a little one that LOVES tractors and trucks. I thought of her as I read about Extreme Sandbox. It’s located in Pottsboro, a small town in north Texas and if you’re 14 or over, you can ‘rent time’ on excavators, backhoes and bulldozers then play in the dirt. The Sandbox Crew gives you 25 minutes of classroom instruction then they let you start your adventure in an air-conditioned cab as you haul wrecked cars, move barrels and dig dirt. Picnic tables are available for spectators.  There are gift certificates and different packages that start at $195 and some even include a room at Tanglewood Resort. At their Minnesota location, there is a firetruck where you can spray the giant water hose or rent it, so you can arrive in style at your wedding. Eat your heart out, Tonka trucks.

The Marriott Marquis Houston has opened its Parkview Terrace to the public, which just happens to include the beautiful Lone Star state-shaped lazy river, heated infinity pool, hot tub, fitness center and food & drinks from the High Dive restaurant. There is still a little summer left to go play. See above.

An employee spotted a garter snake in the basement of the Georgetown library in DC. They released the snake outside only to discover three more snakes in a knot hours later, so they closed the library for two days as pest control did what was needed to rid the library of the snakes. When the library reopened, one of their first scheduled educational programs was ‘Reptiles Alive,’ a show-and-tell with snakes, frogs and other reptiles. What are the chances.

After 17 years of working as a morning news anchor, Rachel McNeill has announced that she will be leaving KPRC and her co-anchor, Owen Conflenti, to move to Phoenix, Arizona where her husband will be working as the Chief of Cardiology and Director of Adult Medicine at Phoenix Children’s Hospital. I will miss her. She is very genuine and one classy looking lady.

When it rains, the frogs start their singing. You listen and say to yourself that it’s because they’re so happy that their little hole in the dirt is now cool and comfortable. Nope. The males are singing to woo the females for breeding. Sly devils. The males arrange themselves and try to sing in unison. Females (just like a girl) take their time to arrive and select a mate, preferring the ones that sing longer or louder.  It rained today, and I can hear two of them outside my office window screaming, “Pick me, pick me.”

RECENT BIRTHDAYS: Actress Catherine Hicks is 67. Dr. Faith Coleridge on Ryan’s Hope. Basketball Hall of Fame David Robinson is 53. San Antonio Spurs. Entrepreneur Mark Cuban is 60. He started out as a bartender and is now the owner of Dallas Mavericks. Actor Wesley Snipes is 56.  Author J.K. Rowling is 53. Country singer-musician Zac Brown is 40. Actor Martin Sheen is 78. Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart is 77. NFL quarterback Tom Brady is 41. Actress Evangeline Lilly is 39. Madonna is 60. She is celebrating with a fundraiser for orphans and children in Malawi. Actress Loni Anderson is 73. Actress singer Maureen McCormick is 62. Author David Baldacci is 58.

Remember the gorgeous Tab Hunter, blond and beautiful movie idol from the 50’s. He died last month at the age of 86.

Hope you took advantage of tax-free weekend to get your school supplies. At one school district, a parent will spend about $132 on supplies for a second-grader. And that’s not including new jeans and underwear. To save money, I always tried to gather stuff for my kids all year long when it was marked down, especially in September and October at office supply locations and Target. We still have more than our fair share of notebook paper in my supply closet because $.25-cents a package was always so appealing.

Tilly is the newest Asian elephant calf born at the Houston Zoo, having arrived June 17. Her older sister, Joy, was born last year and has a different mom but they share the same father, Thai aka Baby Daddy. This is a great thing for the Houston Zoo because Tilly is one of only two elephants have been born in captivity in the US this year.

A 25-year-old man who was being detained by police officers in Maryland, told them that since he worked at Krispy Kreme Donuts, he would give them donuts if they let him go.  Hmmm.

The novel, The Fault in our Stars, was first published in January 2012. The title is inspired by Shakespeare’s play Julius Caesar, in which the nobleman Cassius says to Brutus: “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, / But in ourselves, that we are underlings.” By June 6, 2014, it was released as a movie and opened at number one at the box office. It is quite a lovely love story that also tackles life, terminal illness, and death successfully. John Green is now one of the biggest young-adult authors in the world and plans to do something totally crazy by releasing the book in a much smaller form – all the original words just squeezed down to the size of a cellphone; it’s horizontal and you flip the pages up like you do when you swipe your phone screen. The spine is a hinge that helps the book remain open and the paper used is the same that’s been in Bibles forever – so very thin without being see-through. The Penguin Minis by John Green that will be released on October 23rd, are “Looking for Alaska, An Abundance of Katherines, Paper Towns and The Fault in Our Stars” and will sell for $12 each. I, for one, am excited to see this. Teens will love this.

John Green – “You don’t get to choose if you get hurt in this world, old man, but you do have some say in who hurts you.”

Just saw the email for Hatch Chilis at Central Market, so it must be the 23rd Annual Hatch Festival. Buy them for the freezer. I used my last bag in early spring to make two meat loaves that were just full of chopped Hatch peppers. So delicious.

Crestless Wave “August is a gentle reminder for not doing a single thing from your new year resolution for seven months and not doing it for next five.”

A father and his 17-year-old son were captured on video cameras installed by wildlife officials, after they shot a mother bear and her crying newborn twins inside their Alaska den. The clip shows the men skinning and butchering the bear as they declare, “They’ll never be able to link it to us.” The mother bear had been part of a three-year study due to concerns about the declining black bear population in the area. I vote for skinning the dad. Sometimes immature boys do things that they think will make their dads proud of them.

Apple became the world’s first publicly traded company to be valued at $1-trillion.

The Han Solo jacket worn by Harrison Ford in the Star Wars film, The Empire Strikes Back is expected to bring as much as $1.3-million in an auction of rare movie memorabilia on September 20th at London’s BFI Imax. There are many other items including a Star Wars lightsaber, Johnny Depp’s costume from Edward Scissorhands and a hat worn by Tom Hanks in Forrest Gump.

Brazosport Rotary Club 57th Annual Shrimp Boil and Fish Fry. Don’t worry, you haven’t missed it. Harvey changed the date and location for them last year, but it worked out so well that they decided to try it again. Thanks, Harvey. This year it will be Sunday, October 7th at Lake Jackson Civic Center. The list of various community service projects that are helped by this fundraiser is enormous, so don’t forget to support them with your purchase of meal tickets and Raffle tickets for the 2018 Honda Accord EXL with additional prizes that may include an Apple Watch, Go-Pro and Samsung tablet. Our whole community benefits in ways that you can’t imagine. www.BrazosportShrimpBoil.com

Pray for California.

A couple in Houston were fighting as they left a restaurant. Not normal fighting where you say ugly stuff to each other and then immediately regret it. Nope. They ended up taking it to the streets and were chasing, hitting and running into each other’s cars. As the man sideswiped the girlfriend’s car, he lost control of his own vehicle, struck a pole and was thrown from his truck. He died at the scene. Yikes.

A burglar broke into a home through a basement window, opened a bottle of wine and passed out in an available bed. The wife came home and discovered the stranger in her son’s bed, then told her husband. He confronted the thief but couldn’t understand what he was saying because he was so drunk.

Southwest Airlines decided to discontinue the little bags of peanuts out of concern for those with allergies. I have a son who is allergic to peanuts, so I appreciate what they’re doing but I’m really going to miss those peanuts!

The McDonald’s Big Mac is turning 50.Two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun.’ That TV jingle stuck in everyone’s head. We all knew it. I ate a Big Mac almost every single day my senior year of high school along with an order of fries and a Dr. Pepper. Well, occasionally, I ate a Filet-of-Fish. Fast food has since become a little more sophisticated. We didn’t know then that fresh meat patties were better than frozen ones and we didn’t know that kale was better than lettuce, we just knew that Big Mac’s were good. If you haven’t tried one lately, you should.

I turned this column in early this week because I’m leaving early to deliver my youngest child and 14-pairs of her shoes to college. I’m not sad, because this is what I have raised her to do, but I do know my life will be different now. I’ll let you know what happens next week. PS. I’ll have tissues in the car.

Thanks for taking the time to read this. I appreciate it. Lisa

Much Ado About Nothing – Death of Common Sense

Much Ado About Nothing August 15, 2018

Much Ado by Jean Ciampi

It is with deep grief that we announce the unfortunate passing of Common Sense. Despite a steep decline over recent years, Common Sense had been a well-loved and critical part of the community, often playing an important part of key decisions as well as in the everyday lives of neighbors and friends. Common Sense was born from Logic and Rational Thinking, both of which died many years ago. Many will not notice the quiet passing, unfortunately, as Common Sense was rarely seen in public anymore, but the loss will be felt nonetheless.

“Forbes” magazine was quick to publish the obituary, at least indirectly. They ran an op-ed piece recently by Panos Mourdoukoutas, an economist with Long Island University, entitled, “Amazon Should Replace Local Libraries to Save Taxpayers Money.” Few things could announce the death of Common Sense more loudly than this. Perhaps Mr. Mourdoukoutas has never actually been into a public library to realize what a vibrant, progressive, necessary place they still are. I think, as a taxpayer myself, I’d rather save money by no longer funding his job at Long Island University. I wonder if you could get free shipping on an Idiot Stick from Amazon Prime that could then be used to beat some sense into that man.

Sadly, the departure of Common Sense has left an intense vacuum which seems to be impacting all aspects of life across the globe. Evidence of it was seen in Cairo where the International Garden municipal park refuses to acknowledge that the “zebra” currently on display in the zebra enclosure is actually a donkey. It’s a donkey painted with black stripes. The poor unsuspecting donkey must feel like a complete ass because the black paint is smeared and running so badly he looks more like Tammy Faye Bakker after an ugly cry. Alas, Common Sense is no longer here to step in and shine a bright light into the zebra pens of our lives.

Common Sense was anything but common, but there’s still time to keep the memory alive. We must all work together, speak up when we see dumb things happening. We must do more than just shake our heads and post pictures of the ridiculous on social media. We must Stop the Stupidity! Who remembers Common Sense?! Who’s with me?! … Anyone? … Hello? … (crickets).

What I Heard This Week! August 9, 2018

What I Heard This Week August 8, 2018

Eleven ‘financial industry’ employees ranging in age from 21 to 60, will split $543-million, the biggest prize in California lottery history after each one chipped in $2. They all plan to keep their jobs. The owner of Ernie’s Liquor store in San Jose will get his own million-dollar check as his reward for selling the ticket.

The Rolls-Royce Cullinan is a ‘very nice’ SUV and is now available as the first SUV in the British automaker’s 112-year history. For a base price of only $325,000 (I did NOT add an extra zero) you can have a vertical Parthenon (think Greek goddess Athena) grille, a spirit of Ecstasy hood ornament and umbrellas hidden in coach doors that shut automatically with a push of a button. Every Rolls-Royce is hand-crafted by 60 carmakers. It has a top speed of 155-mph, features hand-cut wooden trim and hand-sewn leather details with lambswool floor mats. Options include a rear info-tainment system where passengers can input directions to the driver, a rear center console with a whiskey decanter, a rear tailgate set with mechanized fold-out chairs and a table. Sorry, the chauffeur is extra.

According to Zillow, the median home value in Texas is $185,900 and the median home value in Houston is $178,300. So that tells me that you can buy almost two houses in either Houston or the State of Texas or you could just settle for one lonely SUV with what looks like a woman flying with sheets wrapped around her arms then stuck in the middle the hood. Priorities.

Rosamond Gifford Zoo in upstate New York is proud to announce the birth of twin red pandas, an endangered species found in Asia. Their names are Loofah and Doofah after characters in “The Land Before Time.” Then, rescued and rehabbed harbor seal pups, Tomato and Ravioli, made their public debut at Moody Gardens Aquarium. Both are considered un-releasable because of poor eyesight and neurologic & balance problems.

Shark Week: A woman and two men pulled a horn shark named Miss Helen out of her tank at the San Antonio Aquarium, wrapped her in a blanket then pushed her out of the aquarium in a baby stroller. Video showed it all, so the thief had no choice but to direct police to his personal aquarium where he had placed the shark.

Terry and the T-Birds in concert. August 18th Lake Jackson Civic Center 979-415-2600

Alan Alda, 82, star of M*A*S*H, revealed that he has been living with Parkinson’s disease for over three years. “The reason I want to talk about it in public is that I was diagnosed 3-1/2years ago and I’ve had a full life since. I thought it’s probably only a matter of time before somebody does a story about this from a sad point of view, but that’s not where I am.” Alda says he went to the doctors after reading that acting out one’s dreams could be an early warning sign of the disorder. He is also speaking out to reassure people that they do not have to be fearful after a diagnosis. He boxes three times a week, plays tennis and marches to John Philip Sousa music because it’s good for Parkinson’s. Thank you, Alan Alda.

Freaky Friday, the Musical, will broadcast this Friday evening on the Disney channel.

‘Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again’ – This sequel seems to be a totally ridiculous mixture of joy, good songs, dance, love and all sorts of cheesy, happy and weepy moments. I cried. I laughed. Honestly, if you can’t go and just enjoy it for what it is, then leave the rest of us alone so we can continue singing.

Maya Angelou – “We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.”

RECENT BIRTHDAYS: Actor Patrick Stewart is 78. Actor comedian Cheech Marin is 72. Actor director Cameron Crowe is 61. Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Before moving into the film industry, Crowe was a contributing editor at Rolling Stone magazine. Actor Giancarlo Giannini is 76.  He dubbed Jack Nicholson’s voice in the Italian release of both The Shining and Batman and is the official Italian dubber for Al Pacino. Rock singer Joe Elliott is 59. Def Leppard. Rapper Chuck D. is 59. Public Enemy.

Singer Tony Bennett is 92 and just released his new single with Diana Krall. He will be at Smart Financial Centre later this month. Singer Christine McVie is 75. Fleetwood Mac. Fitness guru Richard Simmons is 70. Actress Cheryl Ladd is 67. Actor Darryl Hickman is 87. The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis. Comic strip creator Jim Davis is 73. Garfield. Actress Sally Struthers is 71. Gloria Stivic on All in the Family. Jazz musician producer Delfeayo Marsalis is 53.

In nature, when a new queen splits from her original hive, all the bees with her must find a new home. So, when you see this happening it will look like a swarm (because it is) but it is pretty safe if you don’t provoke them. When you have a problem with bees, always call a professional (beekeeper) that will help protect and save the bees – not an exterminator. WE NEED BEES.

Lady Gaga announced her Las Vegas concert residency at Park Theater at the new Park MGM resort. She will have two different shows scheduled; ‘Jazz & Piano’ and ‘Pop.’

Pink Eye is transferred from person-to-person quickly, lasts one to two weeks, is not treatable with antibiotics and seems to be on the rise this summer. The strain making its way around right now is viral instead of bacterial and more resistant to medication. WASH YOUR HANDS, don’t touch your face. Learn to sneeze into your elbow since the virus can travel with a sneeze. If you have someone in your family that happens to get this charmer, then wipe down your door and cabinet knobs, wash your sheets and towels in hot water, change your pillow case often and your tube of mascara. Now, I bet that your eye is itching or watering just reading this. Mine is.

In Texas, “Aren’t you precious,” translates to “At least your Mama thinks you’re pretty.”

French lawmakers passed legislation banning students as old as 15 from bringing smartphones and tablets to school unless they are turned off. Officials believe, “This is a way to shield children from addictive habits and to safeguard the sanctity of the classroom.” Way to go!

Socrates – “The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.”

Saint Arnold Brewing was founded 24-years ago by Brock Wagner. His beautiful new beer garden and restaurant is open to the public seven days a week. Enjoy beer, food, architecture, art and a view of downtown Houston. Love that Lawnmower.

JOKE: I was visiting my daughter and son-in-law last night when I asked if I could borrow a newspaper.  
‘This is the 21st century,’ he said. ‘We don’t waste money on newspapers. Here, you can borrow my iPad.’  I can tell you, that mosquito never knew what hit it…

University of Houston All-American defensive tackle Ed Oliver is featured on one of four regional covers for the college football preview issue of Sports Illustrated. The headline reads: “Ed Oliver Is A Big Boss. For the Cougars Now. In the NFL Draft Next Year.”

It looks like Australia just built the world’s longest cat-proof fence bordering the Newhaven Wildlife Sanctuary. It’s 27.3-miles long and after they clear the area of cats and other predators, they will introduce eleven different endangered species as part of a “rewilding” campaign. The mala is a marsupial that looks like a cross between a rabbit and a rat is only one of Australia’s most endangered mammals. Eventually the fence will extend another 84 miles making it one of the most important conservation infrastructure pieces in Australia. Feral and pet cats kill more than a million birds in Australia every single day.

Baby diapers, tissues and toilet paper are expected to get more expensive as demands for wood pulp increases. At the Source Weekly office, we can tell you that the price of paper used in this newspaper you are reading right now has increased significantly over the past few months. So please pass this paper along to a neighbor, a recycle sack or to the SPCA. We’ve got to start taking better care of our planet.

In the District of Columbia, about 18 to 22 “Violence Interrupters” will be on the streets after receiving 40 hours of mediation training. Interrupters cruise the streets of the toughest neighborhoods to identify and intervene in neighborhood conflicts and issues before they intensify. Hmmm.

This is really sad. Sabine Ntongo dropped her children off at their father’s apartment for visitation early on Saturday morning. His children cried, and the young son told his father “Daddy, I’m sorry,” just minutes before his father allegedly slit the children’s throats and left them on the bed, telling his wife he’d left her a ‘present.’ Jean Pierre Ndossoka has been charged with capital murder in the deaths of his 1-year-old daughter and 8-year-old son. I’m speechless. Stories like this used to be unusual. It seems to be the norm now.

My daughter will be studying Industrial/Packaging Design in college this fall. She plans to place special emphasis on finding more recyclable or compostable products that are safer for our beautiful home, Earth. She has longed for this career since she was a little girl. In my reading I found that Kraft Heinz Co. has just announced that it plans to make 100 percent of its packaging globally recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2025. They admit that it will be a tough road. Other consumer companies that have set deadlines to make their products more friendly to the environment include Unilever (Bryer’s, Dove,  Hellman’s Knorr, Lifebuoy, Lipton and more), Procter & Gamble (Always, Bounty, Charmin, Crest, Dawn, Downy, Febreze, Gain, Luvs, Head & Shoulders, Olay, Oral-B, Pampers, Tide and lots more), Nestle (over 2000 brands including Alpo, Carnation, Cat Chow,  Friskies, Fancy Feast, Gerber, Haagen-Dazs), and Colgate Palmolive (Colgate, Softsoap, Lady Speed Stick, Murphy Oil Soap, Tom’s of Maine, Fabuloso and more).  As consumers, we HAVE to make sure that we set our standards high and ONLY buy products that are safe for our Earth.  Starting today.

Life is what happens to you when you are busy making other plans. John Lennon

A friend of mine has a 2-year-old son in addition to 2 older teen daughters. In my opinion, boys are just different than girls. She recently let some of her friends know that she has had to resort to the ‘old wooden spoon’ to convince him to stay buckled up in his car seat. I sent her a note letting her know that when my son was younger he had to sign and date the spoons. (I say ‘spoonS’ because sometimes they would disappear, so I had several stashed in various locations.) It wasn’t often that I actually ‘had to use’ the spoon, I just had to flash it.  Often. I do miss those days. The only thing a mom can do now is to turn off the wi-fi or quit paying their phone bill. The wooden spoon was so much more fun.

Thanks again for reading this and have a great weekend. Lisa

Much Ado About Nothing – Food Offended

Much Ado About Nothing August 8, 2018

Much Ado by Jean Ciampi

Burger King offends me. Standing in allegiance with vegans and vegetarians everywhere, I must demand that they change their name. Burger, naturally, is an affront to the sensibilities of all animal lovers everywhere. Not to mention, the idea of having a crowned ruler dictating over a bun-oriented sandwich of any type seems highly archaic. To show greater tolerance and understanding, Burger King must forthwith be called Plant Based Protein Socialist Leader.

Dairy Queen also offends me. On behalf of everyone who may be lactose intolerant and unable to speak up for themselves due to irritable bowel, stomach pain and gas, I will be their voice. Again there’s the obvious issue with the crowned head of state thing, which is, of course, offensive, except to a very small portion of the LGBQT population. We’ll give partial credit for that. Otherwise, the name Dairy Queen must be updated to a more sensitive Soy Replacement Benevolent Monarch.

Freebirds World Burritos are okay. They seem to be inclusive of all avian species across the planet and have designated them as free. FreeRangeBirds World Burritos would be even better. No one wants a burrito raised in a cage, so that’d be taking the responsible extra step to ensure that there’s no possibility of anyone being offended.

Chick-fil-A, however, is a problem. While I understand it holds a high level of popularity, it has come under fire for the Conservative views of their ownership. I believe that changing the name to Empowered-Woman-fil-A would go a long way to correcting a lot of the offenses, both real and imaginary. You wouldn’t name a restaurant Babe-fil-A or Broad-fil-A. Chick-fil-A just is no longer politically correct and offends all women and those who want to be women or think their women or know women even casually.

In a world where we are all so deeply offended by every single last living thing, I think it’s time that the dining industry do their time in the hot seat. They must stop with the oppression and put the happy back in every single meal for every single person as dictated by that person’s believes and opinions no matter how individual or oddball.

So, if you don’t mind, I’d like a #2 Meal with a Diet Coke and a side of total tolerance and acceptance. Oh, and hold the onions. Onion breath is offensive.

What I Heard This Week! August 2, 2018

What I Heard This Week August 2, 2018

An experimental therapy for Alzheimer’s disease, has slowed mental decline by 30 percent in patients who got the highest dose in a mid-stage study and it also removed much of the sticky plaque that gums up the brain. Please hurry.

New federal law requires restaurants with more than 20 locations to post calorie numbers on menus and menu boards so we stupid humans can make better choices with our eating habits especially since the average American now eats approximately 200 more calories than they should per day. They’re calling it “calorie sticker shock,” as people are now realizing just how many calories most restaurant food contains. And it’s not just fast food. For instance, a plate of Chicken and Shrimp Carbonara at Olive Garden – 1,590 calories. One slice of P.F. Chang’s Great Wall of Chocolate Cake – 1,730 calories. Buffalo Wild Wing’s All-Star Sampler with Crispy Tenders and Signature Sauce – 2,450 calories. Red Robin’s Towering Onion Rings – 1,890 calories. A tub of movie popcorn – 1000 calories. So, you think a salad might be better? How about the California Pizza Kitchen Quinoa & Arugula Salad, which sounds perfect to me? Nope. It’s 1070 calories. How about The Cheesecake Factory Santa Fe Salad? 1,740 calories. And the IHOP Chicken & Spinach Salad with Grilled Chicken. 1,100 calories. We should just stay home and eat celery and drink water. Heck, a Krispy Kreme Chocolate Iced Glazed Doughnut has 240 calories all by itself, but who can stop at just one.

The manager of the only remaining Blockbuster Video store in the US says, “It’s pretty exciting that we are the last holdout…it’s very nostalgic. We have a bunch of 19-year-olds working here – it’s fun explaining to them what a floppy disk is.” – Sandi Harding

Former Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III is selling his Lake Conroe home for $2.6-million. I knew I should have encouraged and directed my children towards sports, more than I did.

Adopting stricter child marriage laws, Missouri Governor Mike Parson has signed a bill to raise the minimum marriage age to 16. What? Missouri had been the only state that allowed children at age 15 to marry with only one parent’s approval, even if the other parent objected. In May, Delaware became the first state in the nation to ban child marriage to anyone under 18, no exceptions. Hmmm. Do you know of any 15, 16, 17 or even 18-year-olds that have the education, maturity or need to be married at this age? Nope, me neither.

“It’s all about saving lives. Each life matters. When you rescue an animal from a shelter, you are saving two lives – the one that you are adopting and the next one who needs that space.” Beth Stern, wife of Howard Stern

The maker of the chocolate KitKat bar has tried for 16-years to trademark the four-finger breakaway shape, arguing that it deserves protection, but a European court ruled against KitKat and Nestle, and instead sided with makers of Kvikk Lunji, a Norwegian snack launched in 1937, two years after KitKat hit UK shelves., that is shaped almost exactly the same as KitKat.

On July 29th, 1981, thirty-seven years ago, we all watched in awe as Prince Charles married Lady Diana Spencer, a young English schoolteacher. Their first child, Prince William, was born about 11 months later and Prince Harry was born in September 1984.

On July 31st, 1975, Jimmy Hoffa disappeared in Detroit, Michigan. He was one of the most influential American labor leaders of the 20th century despite his relationships and partnering with mobsters throughout the 60’s. A popular belief is that he was the victim of a Mafia hit.

RECENT BIRTHDAYS: Rock musician Verdine White is 67.  Earth, Wind and Fire. Actor Ronny Cox is 80. Deliverance. Actor Woody Harrelson is 57. ‘Cheers.’ Activist Monica Lewinsky is 45. Blue Dress. Actor Daniel Radcliffe is 29. ‘Harry Potter.’ Rock star Mick Jagger is 75. Actress Helen Mirren is 73. Olympic gold medal figure skater Dorothy Hamill is 62.

Actress Sandra Bullock is 54. Blues musician Buddy Guy is 82. Movie director Peter Bogdanovich is 79. ‘Paper Moon.’ Singer Paul Anka is 77. Former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is 71. Filmmaker actor Richard Linklater is 58. He was born in Houston and is now working on ’Where’d You Go, Bernadette’ which was a great book. Bet it makes a great movie.

Actor Laurence Fishburne is 57. Actress Lisa Kudrow is 55. There is some speculation that there may be a reboot of ‘Friends’ soon. Actress Hilary Swank is 44. Actor Jerry Houser is 66. ‘Summer of ’42.’  Actress Jane Lynch is 58. Actor Matthew Fox is 52. Jack Shepherd on ‘Lost.’ Cartoonist Garry Trudeau is 70. Comedian Jon Lovitz is 61. ‘Saturday Night Live.’ Soccer player Brandi Chastain is 50. In 2017, she was inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame.

Former actor Jamie Waylett is 29. His only role is that of Vincent Crabbe in six of the eight’ Harry Potter’ films. Author Tom Robbins is 86. Game show host Alex Trebek is 78. Singer George Clinton is 77. Actor Danny Glover is 72. Actor Willem Dafoe is 63. Actor John Leguizamo is 54. Chi-Chi in ‘To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar.’  Actor comedian David Spade is 54. Actress Selena Gomez is 26. Britain’s Prince George of Cambridge is 5.

Nancy Sinatra Sr., the first wife of Frank Sinatra and the mother of his three children, died at the age of 101.  She married Frank Sinatra in 1939 as he was struggling to launch his singing career, sewing his signature silk bow ties and skillfully cooking his favorite Italian dishes, but it wasn’t enough for the husband who did little to hide his flings with stars like Lana Turner, Judy Garland, Marlene Dietrich, Marilyn Monroe and Angie Dickinson. They divorced in 1951 and within a week Sinatra had married Ava Gardner. Nancy Sinatra Sr. is survived by her daughters, 78-year-old singer-actress Nancy Sinatra Jr. (These Boots are Made for Walking) and 70-year-old television producer Tina Sinatra. Son, Frank Sinatra Jr. died in 2016 at 72, of a heart attack.  Frank Sinatra died in 1998 at 82, also of a heart attack.

Rabbit Trail: In reading about the Sinatra’s life, I found the story about the kidnapping of Frank Sinatra Jr. on December 8, 1963, at Harrah’s Lake Tahoe. He was 19 at the time and released two days later after his father paid the $240,000 ransom demand (which I think would be about $2-million in today’s money.) The kidnappers wanted all communication to be conducted by payphone (a public telephone that is operated by coins.)  During these conversations, Sinatra Sr. was very concerned that he would run out of coins, which then brought about the habit of him carrying 10 dimes with him at all times for the rest of his life. He was even buried with 10 dimes in his pocket. Great story.

The Toronto Blue Jays have traded suspended closer Roberto Osuna to the Houston Astros in exchange for Ken Giles and two minor league pitchers. Osuna is currently serving a 75-game suspension under MLB’s Domestic Violence Policy. He was charged with assaulting a woman in May and pleaded not guilty. Hmmm.

A Baytown woman wanted for outstanding drug charges, allegedly jabbed a police K9 dog twice (around his eyes) with an eyebrow brush while police were trying to arrest her. The poor pooch was treated at a veterinarian’s office and put back on duty.

Relatives of the nine family members killed in the ‘Duck Boat’ incident in Branson, Missouri, have filed a lawsuit against the company and are seeking $100-million.

San Francisco voted to ban carryout containers and wrappers treated with fluorinated chemicals, eliminate drinking straws and many non-recyclable plastic items like coffee stirrers…single use plastics are choking our marine ecosystems and littering our world.

At least five unsuspecting League City families fell victim to a Craigslist housing scam where they signed leases and paid thousands of dollars, only to discover that the homes were already rented and owned by another company other than the one that they paid their money to. Is everything a scam now?

“Love never Dies” – The Broadway sequel to ‘Phantom of the Opera’ was touring in Houston, is my daughter’s favorite musical and we had tickets which just happened to be on her 19th birthday. We ate first at Jinya – the very best Ramen Bar and our family’s favorite place to eat right now – especially the fried Brussels sprouts tempura, the pork melts in your mouth and the Jinya Bun is like eating a cloud.  We shopped a little, then fought the horrible traffic to get to Theatre Under the Stars on time. The review I read before this show was not flattering at all, so we were not expecting perfection. Surprise. The costumes were great, the sets were outstanding, and the actors didn’t miss a beat even though it was a Sunday evening of understudies. Was the storyline odd? Yes, of course, but let’s face it, the story of the original Phantom of the Opera is pretty, dang weird. ‘A deformed man, known as Phantom lives in the sewers underneath Paris Opera House and falls in love with a chorus singer, then kidnaps her.’ The sequel just adds Coney Island to the story. Conclusion: we liked ‘Love Never Dies’ just fine.

Last night, I was fortunate enough to be invited to attend a concert with my sweet son. I say fortunate, because he is almost 22-years-old and still wants to share 70’s rock-n-roll with me. He is super lucky in his ability to procure memorable tickets. In this case, he found $9.00 tickets online, so we ordered three, but they chose instead to send four tickets along with a note AND three paid ‘Valet’ parking passes. Hmmm. What’s the catch? When we got there, we pulled up to a special drive-through section where they not only parked our car, but then someone took us upstairs in the elevator to our box seat area where we found a sofa, two chairs and four bar stools that overlooked the private twenty-person seating area and the stage. There were super nice hand towels in the bathroom with the Mercedes-Benz of Sugar Land logo on them. I felt like I had been raised in a cave and gone to the big city for the first time. We always buy the cheapest seats available and can only believe that the box seats were not selling well so they discounted them, and we just happened to win the lottery. It was great. Oh, the concert was Jeff Beck of Yardbirds fame, Paul Rodgers of Bad Company, and Ann Wilson of Heart. Ann Wilson is crazy good, but I missed the music of Heart, Jeff Beck can still play the guitar like nobody’s business, but Paul Rodgers was phenomenal.  He’s 68, but you would never know it, the way he sounded and pranced around the stage. Hard to believe that ‘All Right Now’ was his number-one hit in 1970. My only problem was with the loudness.  Easy solution, Anne-Elisabeth and I just sat inside where it was quieter and had a wonderful time.

This morning, since it was my birthday, my daughter made breakfast for me. Scrambled eggs, avocado toast and coffee. Yum. Well, as I took my first bite, I was overcome with the smell of garlic. Trying to be gracious, I smiled sweetly and asked her if she had used garlic. Yes. How much? Well, it seems that when she sprinkled, the garlic dumped out and she loves garlic, so she thought to herself, “If a little is good then a bunch must be great.” Needless to say, I will not worry about vampires or zombie apocalypse today, but please excuse me while I go brush my teeth again.

Have a great week, and thanks for reading this. Lisa

Much Ado About Nothing – Begging Kids

Much Ado About Nothing August 2, 2018

Much Ado by Jean Ciampi

Parents, when you jokingly told your kids to go play in traffic because summer is wearing thin and so are your nerves, did you not realize they thought you meant it? While in Houston this past weekend, I was stopped at two different, very busy intersections in two different parts of town and encountered children begging among the cars. These kids, who ranged from maybe 7-years old to mid-teens, were going car to car with football helmets asking for money. No responsible adults were anywhere to be seen. I’m guessing there are no responsible adults anywhere to be seen in their lives period. What the heck, people?!

And so my rant begins. First of all, there is not one single microscopic fiber of my being that has birthed children that will let me encourage, support or condone this. One of these boys was barely tall enough to see in the window of the cars which made it pretty difficult to see him, especially when he started darting through the cars to get to the median when the light changed. How difficult would it be to stuff one of them into a car as traffic started moving and that child never be seen again? Seems like prime pickings for human trafficking to me, but I suppose I’m just an over-protective fatalist, right?

All that aside, not for one minute did I believe these kids were collecting money for a youth football team, maybe because I want to live in a world where there is no such youth sports league that would send children into heavy traffic to raise money. Bottom line, the kids were just begging. Stop me if this is an insane idea, but, since they’re obviously not actually playing football, maybe they could spend some of their time earning money working at a job. Crazy, huh?

If a little kid rang my doorbell and wanted to use my bucket, my soap, my water and my hose to wash my car, I’d pay him $10 to do it. I’d go $20 if he was big enough to wax it, too. If a kid rang my doorbell and said he’d do whatever job I’d give him to earn a little money, I’d invent work for him. But whoever taught these kids to go beg in traffic or even permitted it should be flogged. Rant over.

What I Heard This Week! July 26, 2018

What I Heard This Week July 26, 2018

According to the Planet Fitness website, this chain promises a “Judgement Free Zone,” where members feel comfortable regardless of their fitness level.” In New Hampshire, one member walked in, stripped off all his clothes, walked across the gym a couple of times, found a mat and struck a yoga pose. He was arrested for his nakedness and said that he thought it was a judgement-free zone (which is nothing like a clothing free zone.) There is belief that he might have been under the influence of ‘something.’

Retired attorney, Marshall Fogel of Denver, owns a pristine 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle baseball card that is insured for $12-million but believed to be worth more than that. It was recently delivered to the History Colorado Center for a 72-hour public display because the owner wanted the community to enjoy looking at the card. People told him that he was stupid to pay $120,000 for it in 1996. They now call him “wisely eccentric.” Great story.

Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon in 1994 and CEO, is now the wealthiest person in modern history, according to Bloomberg Billionaires Index, which says he reached the $150-billion mark last week which is $55-billion ahead of the world’s second-richest person, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, whose net worth is about $95.3-billion.

According to Wikipedia, “Shark Week originally premiered in 1988 on the Discovery Channel and was devoted to conservation efforts and correcting misconceptions about sharks.” As it has grown in popularity it has become a super hit. Since 2010, it has been the longest-running cable television programming event in history. PS – it started July 22. Shark Week.

In Houston, another child was left behind, forgotten in a sweltering vehicle for over three hours. People get busy and forget, but it is our job to remember the little ones, the aging and animals that can’t take care of themselves. Again, add something to your back seat next to your passenger, like your shoe, something that you need or have to have when you leave the car. I left Lily the dwarf hamster in my back seat one time. I didn’t know that my kids brought her along that morning, so she could go back to my office where she lived. My son cried for 24 hours straight.

Sitting at my desk this morning while working on this column, out of the corner of my eye I saw a lady walk by my dirty office window. Since people walk by my office all day long, I didn’t think much about it until Connie came around the corner and asked who she was because she had just dropped off a beautiful plateful of decorated cupcakes. I rushed outside and found her just as she got into her car. Bluntness was the only solution, “Thank you for the cupcakes, but who are you?”  Our sweet customer had just “purchased the treats at a fundraiser for a woman with cancer” and decided to bless people with drop-off’s (but prefers to remain anonymous.) How sweet. I have told my children that in life, you are responsible for doing nice things for other people because ‘it’s the right thing to do.’ It makes both of you feel good BUT even more important is to do it anonymously, not telling a soul, because that’s when the real blessings come to heart. Thank you, anonymous, for the treats and the blessings.

The Great Texas Mosquito Festival is this weekend. In addition to the petting zoo, barbecue cookoff (brisket, beef fajita, chicken & pork spareribs), Horseshoe Tournament, Grill-Master Cookoff, Mosquito Chase 5K Run, BASF Kid Run, Washer Pitching Tournament, Carnival, Haystack Dive, Cornhole, Mosquito Calling, Mosquito Legs and Karaoke, there are guest acts – Across Life (Christian band), The Spazmatics (geek chic), David Nail (country), Shayne Still (country), Bag of Donuts (super-pop) and Kevin Fowler (modest honky-tonk country).  See page 14 for schedule of events or go to MosquitoFestival.com.

RECENT BIRTHDAYS: Author Carmac McCarthy is 85. No Country for Old Men. “My perfect day is sitting in a room with some blank paper. That’s heaven. That’s gold, and anything else is just a waste of time. Supermodel Gisele Bundchen is 38. Author & underwater explorer Clive Cussler is 87. Founder of National Underwater and Marine Agency, which has discovered more than 60 shipwreck sites and numerous other notable underwater wrecks and author of more than 70 books.

Actor Jan-Michael Vincent is 74. Airwolf. Singer Linda Ronstadt is 72. She was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2012, which left her unable to sing. What a gift she has given us in music. Arianna Huffington is 68. Co-founder of the Huffington Post. Actor Terry O’Quinn is 66. John Locke on Lost. Rock musician Joe Satriani is 62. Deep Purple, Chicken Foot. 80’s Supermodel Kim Alexis is 58. Actor-Director Forest Whitaker is 57. The Butler. Actress Bridgette Nielson is 55. Last month, she had her fifth child, a girl and is mother to four sons, the oldest being 34.

Actress Phoebe Cates is 55. Comedian Will Ferrell is 51. Actor Corey Feldman is 47. Gremlins, The Goonies and Stand by Me. Sports announcer Jimmy Johnson is 75. Actor James Brolin is 78. Married to Barbara Streisand since 1998. Singer Martha Reeves is 77. Martha Reeves and the Vandellas. Businessman Richard Branson is 68. Virgin Records. “My interest in life comes from setting myself huge, apparently unachievable challenges and trying to rise above them.”

Singer Ricky Skaggs is 64. Actor Vin Diesel is 51. Singer, songwriter, actor, musician, activist, and politician Ruben Blades is 70.  Actor director George Dzundza is 73. Basic Instinct, Crimson Tide and The Deer Hunter. Actor Anthony Edwards is 56. Dr. Mark Greene in ER. Actor Benedict Cumberbatch is 42.  Rock musician Carlos Santana is 71. “The most valuable possession you can own is an open heart. The most powerful weapon you can be is an instrument of peace.”

Harrison Ford is 76. Because of script problems, the release of the ‘still-untitled’ Indiana Jones 5, has been delayed to July 2021. Yikes. That will make Harrison Ford just hours away from turning 79. It’s hard for me to believe that Raiders of the Lost Ark was released in 1981. I don’t care how old he is, I will be first in line to see him again.

A woman in Michigan once found a second-hand sofa on the street with a “free” sign attached to it so she “smelled it and everything – it looked okay.” Later, she found a 4-ft. boa constrictor in the cushions. Which leads me to this. Roommates in Virginia came home to find a snake in the toilet. I bet that was fun to watch. Talk about scaring the pee-pee out of you. After deciding the snake was real, they configured a noose on a fishing pole that enabled them to get the snake without harm. Animal control determined that it was a female ball python bred to be a pet, which was good because miles away, her owners were looking for their lost pet snake which had been missing for over two weeks. Speculation was that she came through the sewer, but more likely is she crawled into the house, then into the toilet for a drink. Either way, I’m like Harrison Ford in Indiana Jones, “Snakes. Why did it have to be snakes?”

Since there have been some super, hot days recently, we all need to do our part to conserve electricity in our area. They are asking us to reduce energy usage all the time but especially between 3-7pm. Raise thermostats up by 2-3 degrees, set programmable thermostats to higher temp when you’re not at home, use ceiling fans and limit use of dishwashers, washers and dryers in the morning or late evening hours, and if you’re lucky enough to have a pool, schedule your pump to shut off during this same time. There are more things you can do, but these are ones that suck huge energy and can be started today at your home or office.

When I was in my early 20’s, one of my first (of many) dinner parties was planned around a recipe I found in The Fort Worth Star-Telegram, King Ranch Casserole, a recipe unknown to me at the time, but it sounded delicious. Nowadays it’s everywhere; you know, it’s the “popular girl” at all potluck affairs. I cooked it that fated evening and it was beautiful! Just one small setback that really spoiled the night…I was a novice and hadn’t cooked enough to know the difference between condensed milk and ‘sweetened’ condensed milk, therefore the final tasting didn’t go over very well at all, so we ended up with pizza. No problem. There are currently many versions of this recipe but the following one is quick to fix because it uses canned soup and rotisserie chicken but it’s sooo delicious. Lady Bird Johnson listed King Ranch Casserole as her favorite dish to serve at LBJ Ranch.

King Ranch Chicken: 8-10 servings. Preheat oven to 350 F. Mix together meat from a rotisserie chicken and 2-tablespoons chili powder.  Set aside. Dice a medium onion and a bell pepper, sauté in olive oil and/or butter until softened, then add, 1 (10.75-ounce) nacho cheese soup, 1 (10.5-ounce) cream of mushroom soup, 1 (10.5-ounce) cream of chicken soup, 1 (14.5-ounce) Ro-tel tomatoes, 1 (7-ounce) can green chilies. Mix. Warm.  Add chicken mixture to pan. Warm. Butter a 9-by-13-inch pan and spread a small amount of the mixture on the bottom then completely cover the bottom with 12 corn tortillas, half the chicken mixture then 2 cups cheddar cheese. Layer another 12 corn tortillas, remaining chicken mixture and 2 more cups of cheddar cheese. Place casserole on baking sheet on middle oven rack for 35-40 minutes until bubbly. Remove, let cool for 10-15 minutes, garnish with sour cream, diced tomatoes, jalapenos and cilantro with a side of guacamole, a salad and some tortilla chips.

I have just written a song about tortillas. Actually, it’s more of a rap.

The University of Houston has received an anonymous $3-million gift to fund tuition for its planned medical school’s inaugural class. Since the average medical school debt is $190,000, this is huge. UH hopes to begin instruction in fall 2020.

Thoughts on flying. Having just come back from a vacation where air travel was involved, it is still fresh in my memory that one single person can deliver either a lovely memory of your flight or brutal thoughts of the whole vacation. Here goes. 1.) Keep your feet in your own space especially if you are, gasp, barefooted. I don’t care if your pedicure looks great – I don’t want to see one little pinky toe in ‘my’ personal space. Gross. Bring a fresh pair of socks with you just in case you need to take your shoes off. 2.) On one flight I thought there was a child sitting behind me – bumping, kicking, shoving the back of the seat, the side of the seat and underneath the seat, the entire flight. As soon as we landed, I reached down to find my purse on the floor and when I stood up, I hit my head on him because he was leaning over the back of my seat. A grown man. I gave him ’the look’ I give my ex-husband. You know ‘the look.’ 3.) What makes you think that you can sneak ahead and board before me? We set alarms to remind us to get our boarding passes, so set your own alarm or stand behind me in numerical order. We earned this position. 4.) Jumping on your phone the moment we unbuckle, then yelling over the loud noises that still exist. “We’ve just landed. I can talk now.”  Wait five minutes or just text. 5.) Use your elbow when you sneeze, cough, belch or anything else that has spit flying freely. Manners please.

Auction house, Profiles in History, will be auctioning off more than 1,900 personal items of Liza Minnelli from July 30 to August 1. When the singer-actress and daughter of Judy Garland, moved from NY to LA in 2015, she decided to clean house, so there will be costumes, clothes, photographs, belongings of her mom and dad, Vincente Minnelli, as well as gifts from Frank Sinatra and the replica of The Wizard of Oz shoes that Liza wore to her second wedding to Jack Haley Jr. (whose father was the Tin Man in OZ.)

Thanks bunches for picking up this paper today. We appreciate you. Don’t forget to sell something. Lisa

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