Welcome, visitor! [ Register | Login

Holiday Tips

Much Ado About Nothing December 14, 2017

Jean Ciampi - Much Ado About Nothing

Much Ado About Nothing by Jan Ciampi

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Starving Student

Much Ado About Nothing December 7, 2017

Jean Ciampi - Much Ado About Nothing

Much Ado About Nothing by Jan Ciampi

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Harvey Lessons

Much Ado About Nothing November 30, 2017

Jean Ciampi - Much Ado About Nothing

Much Ado About Nothing by Jan Ciampi

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

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

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

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

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

Snail Slime

Much Ado About Nothing November 23, 2017

Jean Ciampi - Much Ado About Nothing

Much Ado About Nothing by Jan Ciampi

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

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

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

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

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

Goat Yoga

Much Ado About Nothing November 16, 2017

Jean Ciampi - Much Ado About Nothing

Much Ado About Nothing by Jan Ciampi

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

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

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

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

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

Food Trucks

Much Ado About Nothing November 9, 2017

Jean Ciampi - Much Ado About Nothing

Much Ado About Nothing by Jan Ciampi

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

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

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

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

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

 

Girl Boy Scouts

Much Ado About Nothing November 2, 2017

Jean Ciampi - Much Ado About Nothing

Much Ado About Nothing by Jan Ciampi

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

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

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

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

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

Just My Luck

Much Ado About Nothing October 19, 2017

Jean Ciampi - Much Ado About Nothing

Much Ado About Nothing by Jan Ciampi

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jean Ciampi for Commissioner Major League Baseball

Much Ado About Nothing October 12, 2017

Jean Ciampi - Much Ado About Nothing

Much Ado About Nothing by Jan Ciampi

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

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

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

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

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

Bless Your Heart

Much Ado About Nothing October 5, 2017

Jean Ciampi - Much Ado About Nothing

Much Ado About Nothing by Jan Ciampi

It’s only my opinion, but the world seems to be just one bad hair day away from a complete meltdown. Mix together the pack of rabid hurricanes, earthquakes in Mexico, fires in the Northwest, volcanos in Bali with stupid, senseless shootings and bickering over religion (which includes football because that kind of is a religion) and we’re a hot mess. Maybe if we all agree to quit saying, “It could be worse,” then the universe would quit saying “Hold my beer.” It’s a small step, but it could be a start.

Besides, telling someone it could be worse is really just another way of saying “stop your belly aching.” Not that this isn’t a valid directive. In the Whiner Olympics, we’ve got real gold medal promise in the individual and team events. But, too, it is a bit insensitive and not very nice to invalidate whatever challenges someone is facing. Since we’re a society of no one having their feelings hurt, let’s not say that anymore.

Try saying “Bless your heart” instead. A solid southern principle which is basically the same idea, but it sounds better. And nobody can add hurt feelings to their mound of problems if you’ve blessed their heart.

To be honest, suffering is actually not a competitive sport despite how a lot of people seem to approach it. Yes, there are people who are worse off and there are those in much better shape. It’s not about the glass being half full or half empty; it’s about what’s actually in the glass. A glass completely full to running over with contaminated storm water is not better than a glass barely half full of spendable cash, Jamaican rum, or Godiva dark chocolate chips.

I think, too, we’d have a much better world if we could all collectively agree to stop praying for patience. Maybe then God will stop answering that prayer with opportunities to learn patience. Honestly, I don’t have to pray for those lessons, because they just keep presenting themselves completely unbidden. Despite the fact that prayers for patience, tolerance and diplomacy never leave my lips, I am overrun with chances to practice them and most often fail miserably – especially on the diplomacy part. Which is why I’m the first one to say “It could be worse” to someone so they’ll stop their belly aching, bless their heart.

Clean College Sheets

Much Ado About Nothing September 28, 2017

Jean Ciampi - Much Ado About Nothing

Much Ado About Nothing by Jan Ciampi

After nearly two months of living in his college dorm room, my youngest son proudly sent me a text message (because you know college kids can’t actually dial a phone and talk on it, they text), and he proudly declared that he had actually washed his sheets … for the first time. As a mother with at least a marginal sense of parental responsibility, I wasn’t sure if I should be overwhelmed with a sense of “Where oh where did I go wrong” or actually proud that I got this text in September and not March.

I try to place it on a scale of what are normal ranges for college freshman. On one end of the spectrum, I know his roommate is still living out of the suitcase he showed up with. At least my kid has his clothes on hangars. Okay, they were on hangars when I left him at the beginning of the semester, so in my mind, they’re on hangars. Just give me this delusion, will you? On the other end, there are the dorm dwellers with beds that would make a military drill sergeant misty-eyed. Of course, those are the kids who also have mothers driving to campus regularly to pick up laundry and drop off lunch. (I can’t even type that idea without cringing.) I guess that makes him pretty normal.

I’m reasonably certain that he has done laundry since he’s been gone despite the failure to include the bed sheets… reasonably certain, but not wholly positive. Which is why, a few weeks in, I sent a care package with socks and underwear, just in case. He’s probably too old for CPS to take him into custody for parental neglect, but, at the same time, I try to keep up appearances of being a good mother.

So I sent a reply to his text asking if he’d also gotten the sheets back onto the bed. And he had. I mean, to clarify, they were piled up on the bed with the rest of the laundry, so that sort of counts. I’m not sure if the bed was ever actually made again, and, honestly, I didn’t pursue it past there. As a parent, you have to chalk the wins when you can and let go of the rest. He has clean sheets – I’m a happy mom.

Goodbye Buster

Much Ado About Nothing September 21, 2017

Jean Ciampi - Much Ado About Nothing

Much Ado About Nothing by Jan Ciampi

“Whoever said that diamonds are a girl’s best friend, didn’t have a dog.” I’m terribly sad to say that, after over 14 years, my best friend has gone to roll in greener grass. Buster, the rare African Spotted Yard Wolf, who has, on occasion, been the guest columnist here, trotted across the Rainbow Bridge this week. (Don’t bother Googling African Spotted Yard Wolves. He was so rare, he was the only one. Actually, he was some kind of polka dotted mixed breed, but we never wanted to hurt his self-esteem by calling him a mutt.)

Buster joined our family the summer before my youngest son started Kindergarten, the same son who left just a few weeks ago to start college. Back then, I had boldly taken old towels and rugs to donate to the Brazoria County SPCA. But instead of coming back home with a nice tax receipt, I came back with the same old towels and rugs plus a puppy. You seriously have to wonder if they don’t teach those SPCA volunteers some kind of subliminal mind control techniques that convince you that you need a pet, a spay/neuter package, and a bag of Puppy Chow. More likely, I’m just a sucker for a fuzzy face and a waggley tail.

He taught my young sons important lessons about care-giving, unconditional love, responsibility, respect, and the importance of picking up dog poop before you push the mower. Lessons they will carry with them always.

Buster lead a full life, more so after he recovered from his squirrel mania. For a period, he was so neurotic over the squirrels in our yard, we couldn’t even say the word. Unfortunately, the dyslexic son couldn’t spell it, so they just became S-Q-U-earls. He traveled internationally, lived in Saudi Arabia, and regularly got more fan mail for this column than I have in the entire 8 years I’ve written it. To be honest, I think if we had a funeral service for him, he’d have more people show up than would turn out for mine. He will be sorely missed.

Will Rogers said, “If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went.”  My goal now is to try to be the person Buster always thought I was, so that maybe they’ll let me in there, too.

Harvey

Much Ado About Nothing September 14, 2017

Jean Ciampi - Much Ado About Nothing

Much Ado About Nothing by Jan Ciampi

Yup, I drew the short straw and, obviously, the short elevation. During Hurricane Harvey, my house flooded. My house flooded with water, friends, strangers, dust, spiders, bleach, fans, dehumidifiers, power tools, a handful of tears, swear words that won’t be repeated here, and on the rare occasion, a contractor (although they didn’t usually show up on time, stick around or follow through, so I don’t really count them). Mostly, during Hurricane Harvey, I was flooded in blessings.

From the friend who made me laugh into the wee hours of the storm because he’d turned the Emergency Alert System warnings into a drinking game to the one who, for days, sent me encouragement from the safety of a landlocked, Union-sympathizing state well away from the storm surge, we never felt alone. My next door neighbors spent six hours in the middle of the night bailing out the sinking ship that my house had become then swam home with pruned feet and aching backs to sleep it off, then joined the army that had shown up with the sun to cut out drywall. We’ve been blessed with great people.

About midway through the zombie hurricane that just wouldn’t die, my roof decided to finally pursue its lifelong ambition to be a screen door. Yes, my roof leaked, but I wasn’t air-lifted off of it, so there’s that blessing. I can’t get an adjuster up there, but I’ve got a tarp. And if you’re blessed with a tarp, you can go a long time without an adjuster.

I’ve been able to cancel my gym membership since I’m now on the “Body by Harvey” tone up plan. Who needs free weights when you have a pry bar, a sledge hammer, and small mountain of wet carpet, hardwood flooring and drywall to carry to the curb? I’ll use the money I save on the gym to buy hot dogs and marshmallows for when I light up that bonfire I’ve built in my driveway.

I was blessed because my neighborhood Whataburger was back open after only a day or so. The dehumidifiers dried out my house while making my hair look great. I haven’t seen a single snake. Yet.

And my motto throughout this whole ordeal has been, “Every day without tetanus is a good day.” I’m having a string of those so far. So, yes, I’m blessed.

Sharks, Toasters & Cows

Much Ado About Nothing August 24, 2017

Jean Ciampi - Much Ado About Nothing

Much Ado About Nothing by Jan Ciampi

I’m a certified scuba diver and have been for more than 25 years. But when I mentioned to a friend I was planning a spring dive trip, she immediately reacted in terror that I’d be eaten by sharks. While there is an identified group of people who would be happy to see me eaten by sharks, I’m afraid it isn’t likely. I’m at greater risk from toasters, paper cuts and cows.

Honestly, my odds are better in a school of hammerheads (which are credited with munching zero people and even fewer divers last year) than adding toast to my BLT. Toaster deaths in the US alone were up 7%. In 2007, there were more toaster related fatalities than deaths from polio. According to Dr. Kevin Willie, self-proclaimed statistical genius, “At the steep rate that toaster deaths are increasing, the entire human race may soon be wiped out.” So skip investing in most of your extended warranties, because it sounds like your Sunbeam multi-slice toaster will make them irrelevant.

Those who survive the toaster apocalypse may only meet an untimely end delivered by a grass-chomping, milk-making bovine of death. Twenty-two people die each year in unprovoked cow killings. Of those, 75% were deliberate – may I say premeditated – attacks and just fewer than 20% were gang activity. Yes, multiple cows in a group, working together. Personally, I feel I should eat a cheeseburger in retribution and as a show of outraged solidarity for these senseless deaths.

I’d gladly write a letter to my elected government officials about these problems, except I would run the risk of a paper cut. On average, 10 people die from complications related to paper cuts every year. The best way to avoid becoming one of these victims is to join the modern electronic age and go paperless. However, if you find yourself around sharp paper, remain calm. Paper can smell fear.

Of course, sharks can smell fear and paper cuts. Nevertheless, only one person in the US last year was killed in a shark attack. Although I’m not sure attack is the right word. It seemed completely accidental, and the shark apologized in a written statement to the media. Visibility was low, the swimmer got his leg stuck in the shark’s mouth, it was all just an unfortunate mix-up. Obviously not true about the cows, and you simply can’t trust a toaster now.

Extreme Midget Wrestling

Much Ado About Nothing August 17, 2017

Jean Ciampi - Much Ado About Nothing

Much Ado About Nothing by Jan Ciampi

When Extreme Midget Wrestling shows up near you, I’m sorry, but you just drop everything, change your plans, miss your parent’s anniversary dinner, and give away your tickets to whatever is on the stage at Houston Grand Opera so you can go. How many times in your lifetime are you presented with the exciting opportunity to be ringside for midgets in masks wrestling each other? From personal experience, I’m going to say maybe one, if you’re lucky, and that really may be plenty.

Before anyone gets frosty about the word “midgets,” just don’t. There’s enough hate in the world right now, and I am not going to add to it with this. I’m going strictly off their publicity: Extreme Midget Wrestling. It did not say Extreme Little People Wrestling or Extreme Person of Short Stature Wrestling. Or I would have used that. So just stop before you start.

Recently, I’m pleased to say, I was able to cross this off my bucket list without actually knowing that it was ever on my bucket list. In a poorly air conditioned space in a mostly empty mall in Texas City, I stood in line with one of my best buds hoping and praying that we could still get a standing room only ticket for the event for $25. If there were concerns about the stability of my mental state for jumping on this crazy idea, then paying $25 for it pretty much clears up those doubts.

I’m not even going into what they were charging for beer. Trust me, though, beer is pretty much a requirement with midget wrestling. You could almost get by without actually having the midgets or the wrestling, but if you don’t have the beer, you’ll lose 98% of the audience for an event like this.

So it had what one would expect from Extreme Midget Wrestling. Midgets launching off the ropes to land on other midgets on the mat. Midgets smacking each other in the face with trash can lids and yellow “Caution: Wet Floor” signs that I think they found at the mall. There were midgets in tights and capes and one wore a chicken mask thing. The midget referee would count the “knock-out” to about two before there was a miraculous recovery and Cinderella victory. Those who went ahead to the opera, probably had the same stuff without the beer.

NASA Help Wanted

Much Ado About Nothing August 10, 2017

Jean Ciampi - Much Ado About Nothing

Much Ado About Nothing by Jan Ciampi

NASA has a “Help Wanted” ad out there looking for a Planetary Protection Officer. I’m guessing the potential candidate will have 3-5 years applicable experience and be willing to relocate. With a salary that tops out around $187K, there’s naturally been a flood of applicants. I’m honestly thinking of applying myself, because if Bruce Willis or Will Smith don’t get the job, I’m the perfect candidate and a shoo-in.

I’m actually updating my resume now to indicate my experience with alien beings that speak an indecipherable language, are prone to unexpected fits of destruction, emit strange odors, and exhibit unpredictable behavior. Oh yes, I’ve raised teenagers. Honestly, any mother who has carried a baby for nine months can relate at some level to the whole alien possession thing ala Sigourney Weaver in “Alien” and the entire “Attack of the Body Snatchers” series. Others need not apply.

According to Dr. James L. Green, Director of NASA’s Planetary Science Division, the job is all about protecting Earth from nasty little foreign microbes that come back on space samples and keeping the Solar System from getting Earth cooties. Breaking it down into laymen’s terms: cleaning woman. Again, who is better qualified than a mom of boys? No one that’s who.

I’ve battled flu germs, strep germs, and germs that cause rashes, fevers, hives, snot, intestinal explosions and whining. There is no microbe that will escape the mother who cannot have the whole house go down and certainly doesn’t have time to be sick herself. I’ve beat down head lice, chiggers, poison ivy, heat chafe and whatever it is that makes boys stink. So let’s just start with “All astronauts wash your hands before coming in the kitchen and use a tissue to wipe your nose!” From there, I think, we can manage the rest.

So right after I finish crafting my cover letter, I’ll pull together my references which include two young men who, under my protection, survived all kinds of microbes and those alien years that lasted through most of junior high and high school. They’ll vouch for the fact that you’re better to think twice than tangle with a mom on a mission. I don’t care what planet you come from.

Lost Cat

Much Ado About Nothing August 3, 2017

Buster Ciampi

Much Ado About Nothing by Jan Ciampi

Filling in this week for Jean Ciampi who thinks it’s too stinkin’ hot to work is Guest Columnist Buster. A distinguished and grateful alumni of the Brazoria County SPCA, Buster currently advocates for animal rights (with the exclusion of squirrels because he believes they get exactly what they deserve).

Recently, I was out patrolling the neighborhood as any good and respectable dog does, sniffing mailboxes, trees, bushes. You know, checking the pee mail. That’s when I saw that someone had stuck a paper on a pole with the picture of a lost cat and the ridiculous claim of a $500 reward. My first thought was that this cat must have swallowed an expensive pair of diamond earrings before it ran away. Because unless the cat is actually a dog, there’s no cat worth that!

Who would pay $500 to have a cat given back? Just speaking from the dog’s perspective, I’d pay twice that for someone to load up a whole litter of cats and haul them off. But that’s just me and I’m a dog. Besides, why would you want a cat that, at best, has zero sense of loyalty and, at worst, has a miserable sense of direction? I’m thinking this cat got fed up with that family and moved in with someone on the other side of the neighborhood that has a bigger food bowl. Face it, that’s how cats are.

Of course, there’s a family that’s obviously upset. No one wants to see a helpless animal suffer – even if that helpless animal is a human. Unfortunately, there are just misguided people who actually prefer cats to having a dog. Yes, that’s stupid and those people should have their trash dumped over and strewn across their front yard to mark them as stupid. But regardless of that, this family, sadly, has an attachment to the cat that probably hasn’t thought about them even once. Because, well, that’s how cats are.

The kindest thing to do in this situation, in my humble dog opinion, would be to gently let these caring though confused people know that, for a mere fraction of that reward, they could adopt a really nice, loyal dog who would be smart enough not to run away and be their lifelong best friend. It may just be time to puppy up!

Page 3 of 4 1 2 3 4

Sponsored Links

  • Much Ado About Nothing - Hacked

    by on May 24, 2018 - 0 Comments

      My next door neighbor got a United Nations Development Programmed grant. No really! He sent me a Facebook direct message to tell me he got $150,000.00. His exact words were, “I’m no joking or pulling legs.” Here’s where it gets really exciting: he saw my name on their lucky winner list, too, and I […]

  • Much Ado About Nothing - Family Court

    by on May 31, 2018 - 0 Comments

      In this trough between Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, there is no better time to take a look at some examples of beautiful, happy families in their natural habitat: the courtroom. Parents are busy suing their children while the kids are getting lawyered up to go after their parents. Tell me, Hallmark, how are […]

  • What I Heard This Week! May 24, 2018

    by on May 24, 2018 - 0 Comments

    A 51-year-old Iowa man says his dog shot him while they were playing and roughhousing on the couch. Ballew, a pit-bull-lab mix ‘must have disabled the safety on the gun in his owner’s belly band and then stepped on the trigger, then shot him in the leg.’ I would have been embarrassed to report that […]

  • Much Ado About Nothing - Willis Carter

    by on June 6, 2018 - 0 Comments

      The City of Houston paid a sculptor to create this massive, 32-foot tall, weird, reflective bean thing then proudly planted it near the Museum of Fine Art. I’m not sure why that much metal was wasted on such a thing when there is a real hero desperately in need of recognition and adoration, a […]

  • Much Ado About Nothing - Hurricane Season Again

    by on June 20, 2018 - 0 Comments

    Hurricane Season started a few weeks ago. Again. I’m not sure I’m ready for this, to be honest. As I type this, I’m half asphyxiated with paint fumes from 14 doors, door frames, and hundreds of feet of baseboards all shiny with their fresh coat of oil-based paint. I still have a tendency to lie […]

Recent Comments

    Archive

    Sponsored Ads

    • Ad 1
    • Ad 2
    • Ad 3
    • Ad 4

    Facebook Friends

    RSS FOX News Headlines