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Much Ado About Nothing – Manners Refresher

Much Ado About Nothing June 14, 2018

Much Ado by Jean Ciampi

Gather around everyone! It’s time for a quick refresher course on some foundational principles for being a decent human being. Don’t panic, it’s nothing complicated or scary. No one is going to expect you to cure cancer or kiss your sister, but we’re getting a little lax on some lessons we should have learned in Kindergarten. Let’s get started.

“If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.” I understand that sometimes there are not-nice things that need to be said, but any Southern lady can tell you that you can say not-nice things in a nice way. Punctuate just about anything with “Bless your heart” and it’ll go over much better than just being ugly. If our words were physically manifested on our bodies, we might think twice about spewing out a bunch of sour ugliness. By the way, this rule applies tenfold for anything posted on the internet.

“You don’t build yourself up by tearing others down.” This includes your country, your elected officials, your parents, other sports teams (with the exclusion of the NY Yankees), your boss, the other drivers who can’t use a turn signal (bless their hearts), and most certainly anyone of a different race, color, creed, heritage, religious faith, or country of origin. If you struggle with this rule, refer to the one above and just keep your mouth shut.

“Lead by example.” If you want your kids to be productive, self-sufficient assets to society then be that. If you want to live in a world that’s not filled with hate, fear and intolerance then don’t be hateful, threatening and intolerant. Be the change you want to see.

While this is pretty basic stuff, so many of us seem to have lost sight of how to play nice with the other children. It’s not enough to just accept that haters are going to hate. We can do better than that and be bigger than hate. I understand that no one wants to be told they have bad breath, but, at the same time, sometimes you just need a helpful breath mint, a friendly smile, and a cheerful “Bless your heart” to save you from some unnecessary embarrassment. Think of this as a breath mint for your manners. Now go out there and be better humans!

What I Heard This Week! June 7, 2018

What I Heard This Week June 6, 2018

Senior Prank Day is tradition at every high school. Truman HS in Kansas City wasn’t the exception, but officials didn’t think it was very funny when 18-year-old, ‘A’-student, Kylan Scheele listed his high school for sale on Craigslist for only $12,275. The individual that saw the post took it as a possible threat and reported it. A threat?!? Well, it seems that the way he worded the ad was the problem. He listed all the amenities of the school then stated, “The reason for the sale is due to the loss of students coming up.” That statement was taken as a threat instead of the ‘loss’ being all graduating seniors. Good grief. I understand both sides but what has our world come to…Kylan says that if he had it to do all over again, he would still pull the school-for-sale prank but would use a better choice of words to make sure no one misunderstood him.


“Don’t ever confuse what is legal with what is moral…You’re either principled or you’re not.” Oprah Winfrey


Because of perfect weather conditions, the ‘Hill Country’ is having an exceptional harvest of peaches this year – the best harvest in years. Think back to that long cold Texas winter that we had…well, by peach standards, long and cold. I never even got my heavy coat out. The relatively dry weather meant natural sugars weren’t diluted by rain, making this year’s fruit exceptionally flavorful. Add wineries and German food to the list of things to do and it sure looks like a road trip may be in order. (There is also a guy in town that makes fresh sangria to order that is fabulous, but I can blame it on a peach trip.)


In 1973 the International House of Pancakes shortened its name to IHOP. Now, after 60 years, there is an announcement that they will change their name to IHOb on June 11th. Hmmm. What does the “B” stand for? Some suggestions were biscuits, bacon, butternut squash, bagels, beer, burrito and barnacles. I suggested breakfast, but according to the posts, the odds are against me. There is a way you can vote on their website which has a countdown clock to the announcement. Inquiring minds want to know.


Firefighters in England rescued a man who found himself stuck in a tree while trying to chase his large green parrot. It took 35 minutes to rescue the man but unfortunately the escapee remained loose.


Allergies might be on the rise because kids are too clean. They’re saying that kids may not have the necessary exposure to germs required to build up the immune system which could lead to something called hygiene hypothesis. Listen, right now I live with two cats, a 21-year-old male child and an 18-year-old female child. To even describe their rooms would scare you straight off this planet. But, if no one finds E. coli or salmonella in their rooms, things are ok. Not to mention all the money I’m saving on allergy meds.


Fashion designer and businesswoman Kate Spade (55) was found dead in her NY home and is reported to have taken her own life. How sad.  I have always loved her Kate Spade designs. Her newest venture was Frances Valentine, a shoes and accessories brand that she named after her daughter. The designer had legally changed her name to Kate Valentine in honor of the label.

“Surround yourself with the things you love. Discard the rest.” Kate Spade

“If you’re as honest and fair as you can be, not only in business but in life, things will work out. I hope that people remember me not just as a good businesswoman but as a great friend – and a heck of a lot of fun.” – Kate Spade


RECENT BIRTHDAYS: Director actor Clint Eastwood is 88. Wait a minute. That can’t be. Singer Gladys Knight is 74. The Pips. Dr. Ruth Westheimer is 90. Sex therapist, media personality, actress, voice actress and author. Pro and College Football Hall of Fame Gale Sayers is 75. Actress Sondra Locke is 74. Willard, The Outlaw Josey Wales, Every Which Way but Loose, Sudden Impact. Singer John Fogerty is 73. Creedence Clearwater Revival and is currently touring with ZZ Top.

Actor Brandon Cruz is 56. The Courtship of Eddie’s Father. Country singer Wynonna Judd is 54. Actress Idina Menzel is 47. Elphaba in Wicked. Actor Anthony Geary is 71. Luke on General Hospital. Singer LaToya Jackson is 62. Singer Melissa Etheridge is 57. Actress Lisa Whelchel is 55. The Facts of Life. Rock musician Noel Gallagher is 51. Oasis. Musician Charlie Watts is 77. Rolling Stones. Actor Jerry Mathers is 70. Leave it to Beaver. TV personality Andy Cohen is 50. The Real Housewives.

NFL Hall of Fame Joe Namath is 75. That’s soooo hard to believe. Singer Augie Meters is 78. The Texas Tornados. Comedian Mike Myers is 55. Actress Octavia Spencer is 48. Rapper DMC is 54. Actress Brooke Shields is 53. Author Larry McMurtry is 82. The Last Picture Show, Lonesome Dove. Brokeback Mountain, Terms of Endearment. Rock singer Ian Hunter is 79. Mott the Hoople.


Robert Mandan, who starred as wealthy, womanizing Chester Tate in the 70’s sitcom Soap, has died at the age of 86. I loved that show.


‘We’re the ones who decide, “Do I hate, or am I filled with love?” ‘ Former US President Jimmy Carter


Flag Day is June 14th. In case you have forgotten or perhaps it’s no longer politically correct to teach this…the stars on the flag represent the fifty states, and the stripes represent the colonies. The red represents valor, displayed by soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines who have given their lives, so our flag can continue to stand tall. Don’t forget to put your flags out next week.


Loch Ness is a large, deep freshwater loch (or lake) in the Scottish Highlands. For hundreds of years, people have described sightings of the Loch Ness monster aka Nessie. A New Zealand scientist is leading a team to the lake next month to conduct DNA tests and determine what species live there. He says he wants to take people on an adventure and communicate science. One theory is that Nessie is a long-necked plesiosaur that somehow survived the period when dinosaurs became extinct.


‘Embrace the mess…your life won’t always unfold according to plan.’ Betsy Devos, US Secretary of Education


Sephora has announced that they will offer interactive make-up classes geared towards transgender customers and those who identify as neither masculine nor feminine. In the US, about 4 percent of Americans identify as LGBTQ which is about 10 million people, which means tremendous buying power.


According to NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, there is a 70 percent chance of 10 to 16 named storms (where it is at least a tropical storm) during this storm season. NOAA experts’ based predictions on the average water temperatures in the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea combined with the possibility of a weak El Nino developing in the Pacific Ocean. New equipment and techniques make them more accurate each year.


A successful woman is one who can build a firm foundation with the bricks others have thrown at her.


Richard Gere, a very young and good-looking 68-years-old, just married a 35-year-old. That’s a big difference in dog years – heck, that’s a huge difference in human years. Richard, Richard, Richard. You could have had me.


A ‘federal’ jury ended a trademark battle between Buc-ee’s (with their round logo and a buck-toothed beaver in a baseball cap) and Choke Canyon’s Bar-B-Q (a round logo showing a lip-licking alligator with a hat that looks like a cross between a short brimmed retro cowboy hat and a fedora.) Jurors were asked to decide, “if Choke Canyon’s branding confused customers familiar with Buc-ee’s logo and merchandise and profited through unfair competition.”  Well, surprise. I wouldn’t have thought it was similar at all and all evidence indicated there was no confusion, but the jury that deliberated for six hours determined that the alligator logo too closely resembles the Buc-ee’s beaver.


There is a teacher in Louisiana who asked the students in her second-grade class to write about one invention that they don’t like. After four children wrote about the same invention, the teacher decided to post one of the essays. Misspellings included, it said, “I don’t like the phone because my panert are on their phone every day. A phone is sometimes a really bad habet. I hate my mom’s phone and I wish she never had one. That is an invention that I don’t like.”  Yikes. Every time I go out to dinner I see families where every single member is on a phone. Pay attention.


The Dallas Zoo has a new baby giraffe that was named after retired Dallas Cowboy star player Jason Witten. Baby Witten is very outgoing.


The lucky Houstonian who won $30.25-million in the Texas Lotto last month came forward to claim the huge, gigantic, unbelievable, prize which has a cash value option of $20,327,988.00. WOW! MJ’s All-Season Food Store received a $308,766.64 selling bonus.


Shiners Hospital for Children in Galveston will admit several children with burn injuries suffered in the volcanic eruption in Guatemala.


My clever son was able to get cheap, nosebleed tickets to see the Farewell Tour of Paul Simon. We are firm believers in ‘cheap tickets allow for more concerts’ and we love concerts. We arrived in good time, parked, went through security then made our way to the very top of Toyota Center with a quick bathroom and food stop. (We might still be feeling the effects of the chili-cheese fries.) We had been sitting for less than five minutes when a young man approached and asked, “Are there three in your party?” First thought…we were in the wrong seats. He tore off three of his tickets and invited us to join him on the 19th row of the floor seats. We were cautious, not believing that someone would be so kind, BUT WE GOT THERE ASAP. We introduced ourselves to Charlie, his aunt and uncle…our row mates for Paul Simon. Charlie said, “No offense, but I chose the people with the worst seats in the house.” No offense taken AT ALL. Thank you so much! Gage and I agree that Paul Simon was one of the best concerts with the best sound that we have ever seen. Many thanks to Charlie for making Audrey’s first arena concert a stupendous one. Hope he is reading this.


Music is moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and charm and gaiety to life and to everything. – Plato


Thanks for taking the time to read this…Lisa

Much Ado About Nothing – Willis Carter

Much Ado About Nothing June 6, 2018

 

Much Ado by Jean Ciampi

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 true man among men: Willis Carrier. This man should be elevated to saint status, have elementary schools named in his honor, and every July there should be an official holiday complete with parades. Willis Carrier invented the air conditioner.

Where would we be, oh sweltering Gulf Coast of Texas, without this man? Houston wouldn’t be the fourth largest city in the US, that’s for sure. Instead the entire area would be populated by drunk, divorced, chaffed, irritable isolationists and boasting the highest homicide rate on the entire planet. Satan himself would sell his luxury condo for pennies and leave town grumbling about intolerable conditions.

Willis Carrier isn’t just cool, he’s the King of Cool. I suppose when one of your relatives is burned at the stake as part of the Salem Witch Hunts, you become a little hyper-sensitive to being hot under the collar and embody a new motivation for redeeming your family’s name and reputation. Talk about a Phoenix rising from the ashes!

Certainly there needs to be a distinctive tip of the hat to the Egyptians for figuring out how to make clothing out of cotton. Without them, we’d still be wearing wool all summer, which a large majority of people were through the 1800’s. Even swimsuits were made out of wool until the 1930’s! Just the thought of it makes me scratchy, chaffed and irritable.

Without Mr. Carrier, we’d be facing a world without leather car seats, ice cream trucks, and Slurpees®. Humidity would be an unstoppable, mold-growing, hairdo-killing scourge. We’d have no safe retreat from mosquitoes, sunburn, or the neighbors. To be honest, without Willis Carrier’s air conditioners, we’d have long since given the lower half of the Louisiana Purchase back to France and thrown in pretty much every other state south of St. Louis.

So today when you crank that thermostat down to single digits and your house is like a frosty beer mug, stop and send up a prayer of thanksgiving to Willis Carrier. Oh yes! Thank you!

What I Heard This Week! May 31, 2018

What I Heard This Week May 31, 2018

Be forewarned that you may consider this a bit mushy. My daughter/last child graduated from high school on Saturday evening, so I find my emotions to be a little raw right now. I was fine at graduation but there were so many friends sitting next to me, just watching for weakness, that I had to suck it up and be a big girl. 😊 But, two weeks ago as I watched her get off the yellow school bus in her cap and gown to visit teachers and students at Bess Brannon Elementary where she started public school in 4th grade, it was a different story. It pokes at my heart just to think about it. There are so many sweet memories with Mrs. Arthur, Mrs. Nordt, Mrs. Hendrix, and Ms. Kahanek-Janek.  Tiny little flecks of tears entered my eyes that day, but I wasn’t alone. This growing up stuff sure happens fast. Thank you, teachers! She turned out OK. Wink.


The aim of education is the knowledge – not of facts, but of values.” – William S. Burroughs


Have you noticed the flags in the medians in LJ? The Brazosport Breakfast Lions Club places these flags around town, 6 times a year. They look so good! Businesses and individuals sponsor the flags. You can sponsor one flag or several. Just call Ronnie Martin at 979-236-8817 or run by Grapevine Gifts and sign up. See page 12 of this paper.


You never realize how little self-control you have until the chips & salsa are in front of you at the Mexican Restaurant. This is so true.


Weeknight Roast Chicken: I found this recipe about 6 months ago. The kids and I use it often. It is foolproof and perfect. Place 12-inch oven-safe skillet on middle rack and turn oven to 450 degrees.  Take a whole 3.5 to 4-lb. whole chicken (I go organic because it’s hormone and antibiotic-free and I can taste a difference) and pat it dry with paper towels. Drying is an important step. Take a tablespoon of olive oil and massage it all over the dry chicken. The chicken will really like the attention so take your time. Salt and pepper. Pat it on. Tie legs together with twine (kite string at our house) and tuck the tips of the wings behind its back. Place chicken in the preheated, very hot skillet, breast side up and cook for 25-35 minutes. Turn oven off and leave chicken in the oven and continue cooking for another 35 minutes or until breast registers 160 degrees and thighs register 175 degrees. The drippings are fantastic and make great gravy, the skin is so delicious and every time I cook this I get brownie points from my kids. I roast vegetables on another pan so it’s an easy dinner worthy of company. Stuff the bird or sprinkle with lemon pepper, garlic, fresh rosemary or thyme from the garden. It’s all good. If you don’t use the drippings that night, don’t waste them. Store them in the fridge or freezer to use in something else. We used ours in pho the next night. Let me know.


On a First United Methodist Church sign in Texas: “Too hot to keep changing sign. Sin bad. Jesus good. Details inside.”


As I watch a TV report on Tropical Storm Alberto and all the flooding that it brought, I am reminded of the June 1st official start day of hurricane season. With our warming planet, it could be that the calendar may need some date changes in the future. We’ll see.


A Tesla sedan in Autopilot mode crashed into a parked car. No one was hurt. BUT, the parked car just happened to be a police vehicle. Hmmm.


Congratulations to Brazoswood Water Polo, both girls’ and boys’ teams. What a great year! Coach Brown – you’re the best!


RECENT BIRTHDAYS: Singer Taj Mahal is 76. The American blues musician’s given name is Henry Saint Clair Fredericks. TV personality Tom Bergeron is 63. America’s Funniest Home Videos and Dancing with the Stars. Actress Roma Downey is 58. Singer-actress Cher is 72. TV-radio personality Ron Reagan is 60. Rock musician Jane Wiedlin is 60. The Go-Go’s.

Actor Tommy Chong is 80. Singer Bob Dylan is 77. Actor Gary Burghoff is 75. Priscilla Presley is 73. Actor John C. Reilly is 53. His new movie ‘The Sisters Brothers’ is described as a cross between a dark comedy and a western. The trailer looked great. Racecar driver Tony Stewart is 47. Singer Leo Sayer is 70. You Make Me Feel Like Dancing. Actor Mr. T is 66. Actor Judge Reinhold is 61. Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Director Nick Cassavetes is 59. The Notebook. Actress Joan Collins is 85. Alexis Carrington on Dynasty. Comic and TV game host Drew Carey is 60. Singer Jewel is 44.

Actor Michael Constantine is 91. The Windex bottle-toting Greek father in My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Room 222. Songwriter Bernie Taupin is 68. Best known for his long-term collaboration with Elton John. Model Naomi Campbell is 48. Actress Jennifer Goodwin is 40. Mona Lisa Smile.


The 91st Scripps National Spelling Bee Finals is on ESPN on May 31st with a $40,000 cash prize. Then, June 1st, Cinemax will release C.B. Strike, a crime series based on J.K. Rowling’s Cormoran Strike books about a peg-legged private inspector and his beautiful secretary. I didn’t even know that Rowling had written a series like this, but that’s because it was published under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith. On June 8th, Won’t You Be My Neighbor, a documentary about Fred Rogers, and Ocean’s 8 are both due to release. 


It is reported that Daniel Craig could earn as much as $25 million for starring in the new James Bond movie, Bond 25. When asked in 2015 whether he would star in another Bond movie, he replied, “Now? I’d rather…slash my wrists…” hmmm.  What a difference a day makes…and $25 million. That is a massive paycheck for driving fast cars and drinking martinis which now makes him the highest paid star in Hollywood.  Since 1962, there have been 24 movies and six actors have portrayed Bond with a combined gross of over $7 Billion. Ian Fleming wrote his first James Bond novel, Casino Royale, at the age of 44. He also wrote the children’s favorite Chitty Chitty Bang Bang for his young son.


So, Anne-Elisabeth prepared for graduation with new red shoes (made from recycled water bottles – you can wash them in the washing machine), a beautiful embroidered dress, earrings that were a graduation gift from me and her brother, and her cap decorated to look like a Pantone color swatch in UH Cougar Red. She did not forget the words to the Pledge of Allegiance and I believe that she pronounced everyone’s name correctly, then smiled our way as our ‘family of friends’ hooted and hollered for her from the stands. A rainbow appeared as the choir sang and the thunder & lightning didn’t become obvious until graduation was over, when we were on the field taking pictures. The raindrops held off until we approached our car to head home. Classmates arrived at our house for movies and breakfast which was served until 4 am when I pulled out pillows and blankets for those that decided to spend the night and enjoy ‘leftover’ waffles, fruit salad and sausages the next morning. It was such a great night but I’m still so tired. No joke. I fell asleep on the floor the next day. Twice. You only graduate from high school once and I think hers was perfect, but I couldn’t help but have twinges of guilt every time I thought about Santa Fe and what their graduation ceremonies must be like this year. I can’t even imagine. In our new world, we need to take time to not only appreciate the BIG moments in our lives but the small ones as well.


National Hug Your Cat Day is June 4th. Watch out, Winnie and Sully, our adopted Harvey alley cats who have brought nothing but love and compassion into our lives.


Seen on Facebook. As we come closer to the one-year anniversary of Harvey here are 10 Things that some of us learned from the 2017 Texas Flood: 1. Social Media apps saved lives. 2. The Cajun Navy and Texan Navy are better equipped than the Federal Government and much faster. 3. Race does not divide us; the media divides us.  4. JJ Watt and Mattress Mack are faster than FEMA. 5. We will find the means to cook in any situation. 6. All Lives Matter…including animals. 7. No water is too deep nor too shallow for passage. 8. A Cajun and a Texan can launch a boat anywhere.  9. Our strength is “Togetherness.” 10. Under no circumstances will we be defeated. #TexasStrong


“Remember, half the doctors in this country graduated in the bottom half of their class.” – Al McGuire


At Miller Outdoor Theatre, Joseph & the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, based on the story of the “coat of many colors” in the Book of Genesis, is playing June 6-8.  


New explosions at the Kilauea Volcano continue sending more lava and toxic air into our world. Thousands and thousands of masks have been distributed because of the poor air content. There are more evacuations and serious health concerns as it seems that there is no end to this major natural disaster. Tourism is down on the islands 50%, even in the unaffected areas.


The American Cancer Society now says that people should start getting screened for colon cancer at age 45 instead of 50. The group lowered its guidelines after research showed people are getting colon cancer at younger and younger ages in the US. I wonder why.


Active Shooter is a controversial new video game that was due to be released on June 6th.  It is a School Shooter Video Game where players could choose to be members of an elite SWAT team or an active shooter. It will not be released after all. Gosh. Why was this ever, even a possibility.


ABC canceled “Rosanne,” the No. 1 show on television, almost immediately after Barr tweeted what is believed to be racist tweets. I think she is just plain mean, not funny. Rosanne apologized and blamed it on a ‘joke that was in bad taste’ and ‘Ambien’ tweeting. What?!? Drug maker Sanofi says, “While all pharmaceutical treatments have side effects, racism is not a known side effect of any Sanofi medication.”  Now, just think of all the people that she left without jobs because of her narcissistic need to pretend she is funny. Free speech and tweeting (and everything else in life) should still involve manners. If only people would stop to think about how the consequences of their actions affect so many people around them, in EVERYTHING they do.


When my kids were little, they loved band-aids so therefore band-aids appeared in their Easter baskets, Christmas stockings; there are simply fun band-aids everywhere you shop. Some look like bacon, chocolate, pickles, tattoos, macaroni & cheese, cowgirls, princesses…you name it.  Recently, I was trying to use up an old can where the yellow band-aids looked like crime scene tape with, Crime Scene Do Not Enter written on it.  As I took out the last band-aid, (because I had succeeded in burning my leg with a soldering iron) I saw something rolling around in the bottom of the can. It was a little, bitty, tiny plastic gun to further the humor of crime scene tape. It was cute, but Santa Fe is still so fresh that it takes away some of the fun that was meant to be. How our world has changed recently.


Don’t forget to tear out the chicken recipe and thanks for reading this.

Much Ado About Nothing – Family Court

Much Ado About Nothing May 31, 2018

 

Much Ado by Jean Ciampi

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 you going to handle this fine kettle of smelly family fish?

In St. Louis, 17-year old Anthony Dwight is suing his biological parents because he was born white. Did this boy skip Biology class in school? Exactly why would he expect his very white, Midwestern parents to produce anything but a white child? But yet he wants to hold them responsible for their “selfish desire to bring another white child into this world,” which, I’m sure, no one regrets right now more than they do. Of course, this is nothing that $20,000 to pay for the treatment to turn his skin color to “dark black” wouldn’t cure. Maybe they just need to turn his behind a bright red.

And Michael Rotondo. THIRTY YEARS OLD and his parents had to get a court order to have him removed from their couch after eight years! I’m guessing they already tried throwing his Xbox into the front yard so when he frantically ran out there to reclaim it they could lock the doors and bar the windows. This college educated, deadbeat dad then whined in court that he didn’t have money for moving boxes so he couldn’t leave. I don’t know about the liquor stores in New York, but around these parts, you can pick up some nice, sturdy boxes for free.

Since I’m always looking for the silver lining, I’m ready to jump on the opportunity presenting itself here! I am going to hang out a lawyer shingle for my new firm, “Grow the Heck Up Legal Services.” I’m not sure what white Anthony Dwight is paying his lawyer (where did he get that money?), but I’ll represent his parents for free. That I’ve never been to law school is beside the point. I’ll simply show up in court and throw out the GROW THE HECK UP defense. Same with Michael Rotondo: Grow the Heck Up! Case closed.

Ultimately, though, the way to avoid these situations all together is, when you have the choice, just raise hogs instead

What I Heard This Week! May 24, 2018

What I Heard This Week May 24, 2018

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 tale.


A graduation ceremony is an event where the commencement speaker tells thousands of students dressed in identical caps and gowns that ‘individuality’ is the key to success.” –  Robert Orben


“Poly Pop”Tiki Kitchen and Cocktails in downtown LJ just opened. After visiting them on Friday night, I know why my appraisal on my office property went up so much this year. The appraisal district thinks that one street over, I am selling $30 drinks, great food and turning people away each night. I should open a restaurant! Poly Pop has done it right with delicious food and I had a yummy Tiki Rita as my drinking buddy. We tried Paradise Pot – chicken, spinach, coconut rice, oranges, blueberries, avocado and pomegranate seeds with a pineapple citrus drizzle served with a purple orchid, and Vegetarian Ramen with brussels sprouts, roasted chickpeas, carrots, mushrooms and corn. It was perfectly wonderful. I heard that the Lavender Collinsvodka, lavender and soda served with a 6” sprig of lavender is a winner, too. Just letting you know.


Gel manicures have always been of interest to me because they’re so beautiful.  I tried them once and lost most of my nails, but the truth is, I’m really a “clip ‘em short, file them and if it’s Christmas or my birthday, slap on a coat of clear polish,” kind of person. (I was jealous of Cher for a bit back in the 80’s but I got over it.) Plus, I have always feared the acetone they use to remove the polish. Today I heard of a different danger involved…the UV rays from the curing lamps are four times stronger than those of the sun. Think skin cancer. Think melanoma. Naked nails are in so take advantage of this fad and let your gels go free.


Wine & Stars in the Vineyards at Haak Vineyards & Winery on May 25th at 6 pm.  It’s free but an RSVP requested so they can plan.  www.haaakwine.com or 409-925-1401. Remember it’s National Wine Day!


Due to lack of space I had to take out a wonderful recipe for Roasted Chicken. Be sure to look next week because it’s delicious, foolproof and guaranteed to win compliments at your next dinner.


The owners of a donut cafe in Reno found a woman stealing money from the tip jar on the counter so they posted the surveillance video on Facebook. This was not done to embarrass or bring the woman to justice, but because they wanted her to know that they started collecting food for her hoping that she would come back to the café, so they could help her realize that there are other ways to get help and find food. Customers were offered a discount if they brought in a donation of non-perishable food item for her. The owner said he has two children and wanted to help teach them to spread kindness. The woman did not return to the café, so the food was donated to a local food bank.


Santa Fe High School. This was at least the 20th school shooting in 2018. Prayers are still needed for our neighboring community. I stand behind my theory of “video games where you shoot people” being a real problem. In real life we shouldn’t shoot people, even pretend people. It was hard to send my child to school this week. Judge Judy was a morning talk show guest. I have always loved her no-nonsense attitude and tongue lashings that she gives people that are acting stupid. As a former gun owner, her opinion is that the minimum age for purchasing guns is raised to 21. YES! She also suggests that there needs to be huge consequences for owners of guns that end up in the hands of shooters. Agreed.


RECENT BIRTHDAYS: Musician Steve Winwood is 70. Actor Gabriel Byrne is 68. Actor Ving Rhames is 59. Mission Impossible.  Actor Emilio Estevez is 56. Actor Harvey Keitel is 79. Along with actors Al Pacino and Ellen Burstyn, he is current co-president of the Actors Studio. Singer Stevie Wonder is 68. I’m glad I got to see him in concert. Counterculture icon Wavy Gravy is 82. Actor Lee Horsley is 63. He recorded the audio version of Lonesome Dove. Football Hall of Fame Emmitt Smith is 49. The NFL released a highlight reel on his birthday to celebrate the all-time leading rusher during his fifteen seasons in the league.

Prince Charles is 70, or is he? Prince Harry and Meghan delayed their honeymoon to celebrate Prince Charles’ 70th birthday with a garden party at Buckingham Palace. Hmmm. Charles’ birthday is November 14th.

Actor Danny Trejo is 74. Actress Debra Winger is 63. Urban Cowboy. Singer Janet Jackson is 52. She was the first black woman to win the Icon Award at the Billboard Music Awards last week. Political correspondent Tucker Carlson is 49. Boxing Hall of Fame Sugar Ray Leonard is 62. Regarded as one of the greatest boxers of all time. Comedian Bob Saget is 62. Full House.

Basketball Hall of Fame Dennis Rodman is 57. He has a bromance going on with Kim Jong Un and now thinks he deserves some of the credit for brokering peace between North Korea and the US if a summit between the two actually happens. Rodman said that he helped Kim Jong Un understand Trump a little bit better by gifting Trump’s book, “Art of the Deal” for his birthday in 2017. “I don’t want to take all the credit…,” but then in a later interview he said, “If I don’t finish in the top three for the next Nobel Peace Prize, something’s seriously wrong.” Hmmm.

Actress Candice Bergen is 72. Her new movie is Book Club with Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda and Mary Steenburgen. Singer Billy Joel is 69. “Next phase, new wave, dance craze, anyways…it’s still rock & roll to me.” Actor John Corbett is 57. Partner of Bo Derek since 2002. Baseball Hall of Fame Willie Mays is 87. In 1950, when the Giants signed me, they gave me $15,000. “I bought a 1950 Mercury. I couldn’t drive, but I had it in the parking lot there, and everybody that could drive would drive the car. So, it was like a community thing.”

Rock singer Bob Seger is 73. Katmandu. Actress Julianne Phillips is 58.  First wife of Bruce Springsteen. Actor-director George Clooney is 57. Who cares about George! Did you see the smoking good looking dress that Amal wore to THE wedding? It was fabulous and is the most ‘searched for’ guest outfit from the wedding. Late Show host Stephen Colbert is 54. Actress-writer-director Lena Dunham is 32. Actor Robert Pattinson is 32.


Clint Walker, star of TV western ‘Cheyenne’ has died at age 90. Was he on the recent ‘cowboy’ list?


So, now I’m off to prepare to graduate the child that came out of my womb yearning for college. It’s all she’s ever wanted, and she has worked so hard.  I mean, really, really, hard. I know, I was there – helping anywhere I could help, just wanting so much to be good for something besides making PB&J sandwiches and she always allowed me to help. She listened. She applied what she heard. I couldn’t be any prouder of her achievements and she has so many, including a kind heart, great values and a most wonderful smile.  Anne-Elisabeth received the Tier I Scholarship to attend University of Houston this fall.  I am so proud. It all comes together when I get to see her as Student Body VP on the platform speaking at graduation. She hopes she doesn’t forget the words to the Pledge. I bet she doesn’t.


Thanks for reading this and being a part of the family.

Much Ado About Nothing – Hacked

Much Ado About Nothing May 24, 2018

 

Much Ado by Jean Ciampi

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 should contact the claiming agent RIGHT NOW to claim my lucky prize (link included). What are the chances?! I just wonder why he didn’t mention it to me 20 minutes earlier when we were chatting at the mailbox.

Needless to say, I didn’t click on the link, but I did go take a look at the profile of the “claims agent.” It was a nice touch to have pictures of money, but there was also a meme posted that wasn’t in English. A quick hop over to Google Translate to discover my agent is bilingual in Kwa, the native language of the Yoruba people in Benin, Africa. Pretty impressive for a guy who, from his profile picture, looks like Mr. White America and studied at Texas A&M. Anyway, my online conversation with my neighbor ended when I reminded him I work the US State Department. Go figure.

But wait! My luck had not run out! Two days later I got another Facebook direct message from an elderly friend who I very rarely speak to letting me know that ups had just brought him $50,000.00 and that I “needs” ups to bring it to me, too. I had to think about it for a minute before I realized that ups was not the opposite of downs but UPS, the United Parcel Service. Again, a link was shared that I could contact my agent to claim my big prize, too. Uh huh. I’ll do that, and then I’ll use my ups money to buy a unicorn.

From pictures on the internet, Benin, Africa seems to be where National Geographic goes to take pictures of topless native women with baskets on their heads. How does this country have enough broadband and electrical grid to power this kind of nefarious industry? That Benin is the birthplace of the voodoo religion may not be of any small coincidence. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to send my bank account information to Winnie Mandela.

What I Heard This Week! May 17, 2018

What I Heard This Week May 17, 2018

Some people really mess things up for the rest of us. The city of Houston had what I thought was a great idea to allow people to Adopt-A-Drain, encouraging residents to help keep their neighborhood storm sewers clear of debris and yard waste and prevent flooding during Houston downpours by cleaning 10ft on either side of their drain 4-times a year, allowing water to keep flowing and avoid back-ups, especially as flood recovery continues after Harvey. You can even ‘playfully’ name your drain – they have “Blue Eyes Crying in the Drain, Drainy McDrain Face, Thomas the Thirsty Trench, Snakes on a Drain and my personal favorite, Sterling Cooper Drainper Pryce. (Obviously, a ‘Mad Men’ follower.) Well, as in all good things, someone decided to mess it up, naming over 200 drains after an online sex toy retailer, then people were being directed to the website of this company. Houston hopes to have this problem worked out by the end of this week since there are still over 115,000 storm drains still available for adoption. So far, over 500 drains have been successfully and lovingly placed with a family of their very own. Yay.


The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts has rescinded the honors it awarded to Bill Cosby, the first time the center has taken such action. Aye.


One lucky woman, watching the Kentucky Derby at an off-track betting parlor in Texas, picked the winners of five straight races at Churchill Downs and turned her $18 Pick-5 bet into a $1.2 million payout. That’s nice.


“I’m not a trophy wife, I’m a commemorative plaque.” – Ali Wong


In March, a veteran who lost his genitals in Afghanistan has received a penis, scrotum and part of the abdominal wall transplanted from a deceased donor in a highly experimental 14-hour operation. The patient who asked to remain anonymous, is eventually expected to recover urinary and sexual function. He also received an extra experimental step, an infusion of bone marrow from the same donor that research suggests may help the immune system to better tolerate a transplant and would also allow him to take one anti-rejection drug instead of many. Amazing. The patient was quoted as saying, “When I first woke up, I finally felt more normal.”


The book, “Soul on Ice,” was checked out of the San Francisco Public library in 1970. It was an overdue book for 47 years, four months and 29 days, with a late fee of what could have been $1,731.70, but the library caps fines at $10.01. That’s a nice story.


Antonio Banderas is playing artist Pablo Picasso in National Geographic’s 10-part series, Genius. Not only does he share a Spanish heritage with Picasso, they were also both born in the town of Malaga where Banderas crossed the street in front of Picasso’s house, as a child.


It’s a fact that anywhere in Texas you can yell “The stars at night are big and bright” and random strangers will finish your sentence.


BrickWorld Chicago is five straight days of Lego play. Lego enthusiasts from around the world build, display, play, talk, swap and win Legos. Kragle is a bad word among this crowd (a tube of Crazy Glue designed to ensure that everyone touched by it is permanently sealed in place, for those that didn’t see The Lego Movie.) Don’t touch, don’t ask how long it took to build, don’t ask how many pieces there are and most of all, don’t ride your skateboard on the convention floor. This year’s convention is June 13-17. Be sure to tip the Lego bellman.


RECENT BIRTHDAYS: Rock musician Dick Dale is 81. The King of the Surf Guitar. Singer Rita Coolidge is 73. Country singer Tim McGraw is 51. Singer Toni Tennille is 78. Actor James Mitchum is 77. He is the eldest son of Robert Mitchum who died in 1997. Rock musician Alex Van Halen is 65. Actress Melissa Gilbert is 54. Singer Enrique Iglesias is 43. Rock correspondent Kurt Loder is 73. Editor at Rolling Stone, MTV.

NBC newsperson Brian Williams is 59. Actress Tina Yothers is 45. Jennifer Kees on Family Ties. Singer Adele is 30. Singer Donovan is 72. Actor Mike Hagerty is 64. Overboard. Inspector Gadget. Wayne’s World. Sports anchor Chris Berman is 63. Rock singer Bono is 58. U2. Model Linda Evangelista is 53. Actress Christine Baranski is 66. Fashion designer Donatella Versace is 63. Actor Dwayne Johnson is 46. The Rock. Princess Charlotte of Cambridge is 3. Singer Janet Jackson is 52. Actress Tina Fey is 48. Country singer George Strait is 66.

Filmmaker George Lucas is 74. Star Wars. “A special effect is a tool, a means of telling a story. A special effect without a story is a pretty boring thing.” Director Robert Zemeckis is 67. Credited as “one of the greatest visual storytellers in filmmaking” with Romancing the Stone, Back to the Future trilogy, Who Framed Roger Rabbi and Forrest Gump. Rock singer David Byrne is 66. Talking Heads. Actor Tim Roth is 57. Actress Cate Blanchett is 49. Writer-director Sofia Coppola is 47.


Unless your name is Google, stop acting like you know everything.


A 33-year-old man in England was sentenced to life in prison after being found guilty of murdering his 32-year-old girlfriend in 2017, dismembering her body, and then admitting to police he made a necklace out of her teeth. Ugh.


Texas: Some days you eat salads and go to the gym. Some days you eat 20 tacos and drink margaritas. It’s called balance.


The co-pilot of a Sichuan Airlines flight was sucked halfway out of the cockpit window after a loud noise, then a window blowing out. The plane was shaking so hard that the pilots could not read the gauges. Luckily the co-pilot was wearing a seatbelt and was pulled back in, suffering only minor injuries. The plane was believed to be 7-years-old and mechanical failure is to blame. This comes right after a Southwest Airlines pilot was credited with landing a plane after an engine exploded in midair, shattering a window, then sucking one passenger partially out of the plane. This passenger died soon after. What the heck is going on.


In Michigan, an engineering employee has been fired after police determined that she baked ‘laxative brownies’ intended for a departing colleague’s send-off party. Co-workers believe there might have been some tension between the two. You think. If there wasn’t, there is now. The employee wasn’t charged with any crime because she ‘fessed up’ before her co-workers ate the brownies.


Shop the 6th annual Artisan’s Market at Haak Vineyards and Winery on May 20th noon-4 pm. It features beautiful, handcrafted and homemade items from talented artists and of course, wine. It’s FREE but rsvp requested so they can plan for you. www.haaakwine.com or 409-925-1401. Go do something fun while you are still alive.


If you have the defective Takata air bags in your vehicle, seek repairs immediately. Use your VIN# and go to NHTSA.gov.


Nestle is paying more than $7 BILLION for the rights to sell Starbucks coffee and tea in grocery stores worldwide. Why? Because they have failed to pull in younger consumers. Anyone under the age of 60 thinks Nescafe is boring. Starbucks will focus on their more lucrative coffee shops and higher-end Roastery locations. They will also use the $7.15 Billion to fund stock buybacks.


About a mile from downtown Uvalde, Texas, there is the birth home of country-western star Dale Evans, Queen of the West. Inside the house, it’s dusty, all the furnishings are gone, doorknobs are missing and there was some discussion that the house should be demolished but it’s now on the market for $149,000 and there might be a buyer that wants to save it especially since it was designated as a local landmark last year by the city’s historic preservation board. When Evans married Roy Rogers in 1947, she was his third wife, but he was her fourth husband. They continued as a team until his death in 1998. She died at age 88 in 2001. Evans wrote the well-known song, “Happy Trails.”


Dang.  Add Roy Rogers to my list of cowboys and westerns from last week. Oh, and Gabby Hayes.


I think I messed up. Employee Appreciation Day is an unofficial holiday, the first Friday in March, and Administrative Professionals’ Day was April 25th. It is also called Secretaries Day or Administrative Assistant Day. I think I missed it. All of it. I’m sorry. The kind and loving people I work with everyday deserve better than this.  I had giant candy bars on their desks when they came in on Monday morning, that said “I appreciate you, Thank-you and You’re the Best.”


Things Texans Love: Whataburger, Kolaches, Cowboy Boots, Tacos, BBQ, Shiner, Blue Bell, Sweet Tea, Chips and Salsa, 85 MPH limits.


There is a Rolex watch called the Unicorn, perhaps one of the most expensive watches to ever go to auction, is a manually wound vintage Rolex Daytona made entirely of white gold and was a special-order piece produced in 1970. A collector is now willing to sell it and donate 100% of the proceeds to charity to help humanity. Because of its’ uniqueness, it is expected to bring over $3 million. The band is quite beautiful.


According to Time magazine, February temperatures were 27-degrees hotter than normal at Greenland’s Cape Morris Jesup, the northern most land-based weather station. Yep. 27 degrees. Having temperatures in LJ in the 90’s is horrible. Can you imagine 27 degrees hotter?

The Avengers: Infinity War took in $1-billion worldwide in the first 11 days, $450-million in the US.


Streaming music service, Spotify, is dropping R. Kelly from its playlist. Over the years, the multi-platinum recording artist has faced many accusations of sexual misconduct and was acquitted of child pornography charges in 2008. Spotify says they want to choose program to reflect their values.  #MuteRKelly. OK. Let’s hold some more famous people accountable. Especially the ones that young adults and kids look up to. See Bill Cosby…


Rita Moreno is 86 years old and is an EGOT – that means she has an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony award. The list of people that have received the coveted EGOT award is VERY short, as in only 12 people. So, when I heard that Moreno was on a recent talk show talking about how Marlon Brando was such a much better lover than Elvis, it took me by surprise. I thought she had more class than that. The list of people that do actually have class and show it, now seems to get smaller and smaller.


Exciting graduation and end-of-school festivities are upon us. Thank you for taking the time to read this.

Much Ado About Nothing – Stalker Stories

Much Ado About Nothing May 17, 2018

 

Much Ado by Jean Ciampi

So a guy in Phoenix, Arizona meets Jacqueline Ades through an online dating site. They go on one date. She got a nice dinner and he got 65,000 text messages, a butcher knife, visits to his office, and the woman arrested while taking a bath after breaking into his house. According to the police reports, Ms. Ades was sending no fewer than 500 text messages per day to this guy following their date. You have to believe this dude is thinking he should reconsider that nice girl his mother knows from church and stay off the Tinder app.

But don’t think that the United States has a corner on the weird stalker market. Sure, having Brittany Spears and Taylor Swift as citizens does sway the numbers dramatically into our favor, but Japan is making a strong move into the creeper industry. Not in a way you’d expect, though.

In the US and in many first world countries, when someone retires, they find an interesting hobby: golf, taxidermy, competitive dog grooming, performance art. But in Japan, an increasing number of people over 60 are spending their free time being weirdos. In that country, the number of reported stalkers over the age of 70 increased 460% between 2003 and 2012 and is now 9% of all reports. While this is alarming and frightening, you still have to be impressed that there are that many older folks who can utilize the internet, text message, and drive at night well enough that someone is calling the police.

To be honest, I’m a bit baffled at how this is happening at all. Does Japan not have bingo or bus trips to casinos? Quilting clubs? Genealogy groups? Surely there’s a way to entertain mom and dad so they aren’t forcing the waitress at Japan’s equivalent of Denny’s to buy a Rottweiler and screen her calls.

And how does Ms. Ades in Arizona send that many text messages? Unless you’ve got a 17-year old out an hour past their curfew, you don’t need to send that many messages to anyone. At what point does the phone just overheat and explode?

The world is a strange place and getting stranger. Your mother was right when she told you to lock your doors, wear your seat belt, be home before midnight, and for goodness sake, don’t talk to strangers!!

What I Heard This Week! May 10, 2018

What I Heard This Week May 10, 2018

First off, Happy Mother’s Day to all great moms out there. Since both of my children will be in college this fall, I have to say that it has given me ample time to sit and think about the job I, and my village of friends, coworkers and others, have accomplished.  Well, I’m pleased with the results so far. People comment occasionally that I gave up my personal life to raise my kids. I didn’t. I simply took the job seriously and realized that I signed up for this – for better or worse, so I should work hard to make it better since I planned to be with these kids for a long, long time. There are no reruns in child rearing. Most important is to turn off the TV and spend TIME with them. If you don’t know how to do something, then read a book. I read, and I read and I’m still reading. Books on raising strong girls that will rock the world; strong boys that not only have respect for themselves, but for those around them, and vice versa. Gage and Anne-Elisabeth, I am so proud of you two and all the great things you are doing in these new chapters of your lives. Thank-you for allowing me the privilege of being your mom…it’s the most important job I have had or will ever have. I love you.


Here’s to STRONG WOMEN. May we know them. May we be them. May we raise them. – unknown


Don’t MARRY A MAN unless you would be proud to have a son exactly like him. – unknown


The very popular Yeti cooler company recently cut ties with the National Rifle Association and say that they will no longer sell products to The NRA Foundation. Huh?  Well, that’s their right. My gut tells me that this will not be a good business decision, but, I have always heard that success is about opportunity and timing. With that in mind, RTIC Coolers took advantage of this situation and posted the 2nd Amendment. Some Yeti owners, because of their unhappiness at this decision, have started blowing up their VERY EXPENSIVE coolers. Sounds silly. Wouldn’t a better idea be to donate them to your local law enforcement for their convenience and all the work they do for our community.


Former Marine colonel, Oliver North, who became a household name in the 80’s in the Iran-Contra scandal, has been announced as the next president of the National Rifle Association.


It’s easier to build strong children than to repair broken men. – Frederick Douglas


In 1983, Magic Island opened in Houston. You remember the well-recognized building on the SW Frwy near Greenbriar, with the huge pharaoh’s head on the roof. It was a private club before going public and in its heyday, there were magic shows, music, fine dining and drinks. The building was loaded with Egyptian artifacts and was so much fun to enter the elevator and have it take you down (or was it up?)  The unexpected was a little scary, too. My son spent several birthdays there because he loved magic. The building has been empty for years. The inside is covered in crude graffiti, there was a fire during Hurricane Ike and scavengers and street people have done their damage and vandalized over the years with broken marble and glass strewn about. New owner, Mohammad Athari, an area neurologist, plans to start from scratch, tear everything out (there isn’t even any electrical wire left inside) and “bring it back to life just like it was when it was new.” I hope that his dream becomes a reality.


Senator John McCain is reportedly nearing the end of his life and wants it known that he does not want Trump at his funeral. I can think of a couple of people that I don’t want at my funeral, but my plan is to just haunt them after I’m gone. Move, hide things in their home and turn the TV back on during the night. Like a mischievous guardian angel. Hah. McCain also said that he wishes he had not picked former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as a running mate in 2008. Never look back. Read my lipstick.


RECENT BIRTHDAYS: Rock musician Ace Frehley is 67. Former lead guitarist and co-founding member of Kiss. Pop singer Sheena Easton is 59. U Got the Look, with Prince. Actress singer Anne-Margaret is 77. Former Tonight Show host Jay Leno is 68. Actress Penelope Cruz is 44. TV home improvement personalities Drew and Jonathan Scott are 40. I just love them. Disgraced financier Bernard Madoff is 80. Largest Ponzi scheme in world history and largest financial fraud in US history. Now serving a 150-year prison sentence. Comedian Jerry Seinfeld is 64. Actress Kate Mulgrew is 63. Star Trek.

Rock musician Bill Kreutzmann is 72. Grateful Dead. Actor Michael E. Knight is 59. Tad Martin on All My Children. Architect I.M. Pei is 101. The Louvre Pyramid, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Comedian Carol Burnett is 85. I LOVE HER. First Lady Melania Trump is 48. Actor Channing Tatum is 38. Singer Willie Nelson is 85. Actor Perry King is 70. Riptide.

Recently retired actor Daniel Day-Lewis is 61.  He is one of the most celebrated actors of our time. The only man to ever win three Best Actor Academy Awards, who carefully picked his roles – he’s only starred in five films since 1998. My daughter and I just watched ‘Phantom Thread’ last week and we both agreed that it was one of the most beautiful films we had ever seen but also one of the strangest stories.

Actress Michelle Pfeiffer is 60. Scarface. Dangerous Liaisons. The Fabulous Baker Boys. Actress Eve Plumb is 60. Jan Brady on The Brady Bunch. Singer Carnie Wilson is 50. Wilson Phillips. Actress Uma Thurman is 48. International Tennis Hall of Fame Andre Agassi is 48. Singer Frankie Valli is 84. Singer Christopher Cross is 67.  Singer Lance Bass is 39. ‘N Sync.



Music legend Bob Dylan, turning 76, is now a whiskey distiller at a 140-year-old church in Tennessee.  It’s called “Heaven’s Door.” Dylan released a straight bourbon whiskey, a double barrel and a straight rye. Dylan knows his whiskey and says, “This is great whiskey!”  Sales of American whiskey has grown 52-percent over the past five years.


Mom Note #5 – You are entitled to food, clothing, shelter and medical attention. Anything else that you get is a privilege.


Found on Facebook: Co-Worker Says: “Have you watched anything good lately?” Mother of Young Child Replies:I’ve been really into Moana. Paw Patrol is getting kind of predictable but I’m waiting to see if season 5 is better. Also, the music in Trolls is pretty good.”  I remember those days. At our house, it was Little Bear based on character, honesty and love along with Duck, Cat, Owl, Hen, No Feet the snake & Emily, The Wiggles (we spent my birthday at a Wiggles concert one year), Arthur, the 8-year-old aardvark third grader, Blue’s Clues – an animated blue-spotted dog named Blue, Mail-time, mail-time, mail-time! Polly Pockets, Furbies, Game Boy, Babysitters Club, Babe (because baby pigs grow so fast, 48 little piggies were used during filming for the role of Babe), Mrs. Doubtfire, Home Alone, Toy Story, The Lion King, and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. STOPPPPPPPP! I’m sorry. I can tell that I’m getting nostalgic because my daughter is graduating from high school this year. I’ve have definitely enjoyed being a mother!


When you are a mother, you are never really alone in your thoughts. A mother always must think twice, once for herself and once for her child. – Sophia Loren


Recently, my daughter and I strutted our stuff through The Museum of Fine Arts in Houston to ‘ooh and aww’ at  The Glamour and Romance of Oscar de la Renta; a collection of nearly 70 ensembles once worn by celebrities, fashion icons and dignitaries. It was very nice.


Don’t raise your kids to have more than you had, raise them to be more than you were.


Raising strong boys requires knowing when to move in and when to pull back, when to rescue and when to let them fail. Dr. Meg Meeker


No one will ever know the strength of my love for you. After all, you’re the only one who knows what my heart sounds like from the inside. – unknown


Remember “Overboard” with Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell. She was an arrogant, rich heiress who falls overboard, suffers a head injury then loses her memory, and he is the poor hired help that she treated so poorly. Because of the memory loss, Russell convinces Hawn that they are married so she is forced to see the world through his eyes. There’s a remake of the movie out now where the sexes are reversed; a little twist where it’s the rich Latin playboy and an ill-treated carpet cleaner who convinces him that they’re a couple.  What I heard was the remake is entertaining but dull and lacks believability. So, just rent the original and enjoy a good laugh.


Congratulations to Bob Sipple – new Mayor of Lake Jackson.


Bay Area Regional Health Care has shut their doors. It is the second closure of a Houston area hospital in the last six months.


All my life, I have enjoyed a good western. I guess westerns may not be that popular or politically correct now but there is something so appealing about a good ‘ol cowboy movie; it’s part of our history, all those cowboys and Indians fighting and killing each other.  I  don’t care, I just love the good, the bad and the ugly guys. So, who are some of the greatest “western” movie stars of all time. John Wayne gets my first vote. I bet if you Google cowboy, a picture of John Wayne will appear. Of the 140 films he made, 83 were westerns. I loved True Grit. My second favorite is actor and director, Clint Eastwood. He has given us some of the best movies of all time. Fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. Gary Cooper in High Noon. Jimmy Stewart in The Man Who Shot Liberty Vance. Henry Fonda in The Cheyenne Social Club.  Charles Bronson in The Magnificent Seven. James Arness in Gunsmoke. One of my personal favorites is Lee Marvin with that beautiful hair playing dual roles in Cat Ballou. I never, ever get tired of watching that movie. James Garner in Maverick. Steve McQueen in The Magnificent Seven. Ben Johnson. He was an actual world champion rodeo cowboy before he was a star. Chuck Connors in The Rifleman. OK, here’s another personal favorite – Sam Elliott. He is absolutely my picture of a perfect man. That thick mustache and deep voice; I think I’m perspiring. Walter Brennan. Glenn Ford. Robert Mitchum. Kirk Douglas. Roy Rogers. Robert Duvall. Lorne Green. Michael Landon. Lee Majors. Slim Pickens. Fess Parker. And of course, Paul Newman and Robert Redford in Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid which btw, also happened to have a small role played by Sam Elliott.  I know that really doesn’t count but it’s my column. Who have I forgotten? (Tom proofed my column and reminded me of Yul Brynner and James Coburn.) Heck, how could I forget James Coburn


Teacher Appreciation Week – don’t forget to hug a teacher. Their happiness depends on how well you are raising your children. Nurse’s Appreciation Week – don’t forget to hug a nurse. Sometimes they don’t have very nice patients.


Armed Forces Day concert at Haak Vineyards & Winery in Santa Fe, May 18th at 7pm. Tickets are $7. www.haakwine.com. If you’ve never been, I can tell you, go.


Remember, your greatest contribution may not be something you do but someone you raise. Have a great Mother’s Day and thanks for reading this. Lisa

Much Ado About Nothing – Train Trip

Much Ado About Nothing May 10, 2018

 

Much Ado by Jean Ciampi

When was the last time you took a trip with your parents? The last one for me might have been a family camping trip in the early 1970’s that involved hot dogs getting dropped in the dirt, swear words getting muttered during the set-up of a canvas tent, and a whole lot of mosquito bites. Since my dad now states he’s “in the 4th quarter with no time outs remaining,” it was probably smart to not put off taking another trip together. This time, though, we decided on something that didn’t involve airplanes, uncomfortable beds, or hot dogs – things we dislike. So I booked an Amtrak train to Illinois to visit his 96-year old sister.

Since we were going to blow my inheritance on this adventure, we reserved a “luxury sleeper car” with two beds and a private bathroom. Compared to, say, a polyester sleeping bag on the ground, it was definitely luxury. Conveniently, with the bathroom set up, you could easily sit on the toilet and shower at the same time. Actually, you almost had to sit on the toilet to shower. To be completely honest, I have serious concerns about what happened to the people who were in the less than luxury cars.

Then, what should have been a 24-hour trip from San Antonio to Bloomington, turned into 36-hours of Uber, Trailways, Hertz, the train, and six hours of hard wooden benches in the Fort Worth station waiting for a little engine that actually could before we finally made it where we were going. You see, Amtrak is a wee bit loose on their schedule maintenance and it doesn’t take much to completely derail them. Figuratively speaking, of course.

But I loved every minute of it. I loved listening to my dad and my aunt tell the stories and tall tales and family legends from generations back. He taught me how to play cribbage (I won). I taught him how to take selfies (sort of). We learned to decipher train whistles (two long, one short, one long = crossing). And we shared an amazement at how you could get a really good steak and a really good night’s sleep on a train.

It was a little “Thelma and Louise” mixed with “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” with a touch of “Grumpy Old Men” and it was the best trip ever!.

.

What I Heard This Week! May 3, 2018

What I Heard This Week May 3, 2018

I loved this: In the 1960’s, people took LSD to make the world weird, Today, the world is weird, and people take Prozac to make it normal.


Riddle:  What has an eye but cannot see?


Kim Jong Un hopped over a concrete barrier to enter South Korea, becoming the first North Korean leader ever to cross. South Korean President Moon Jae-in greeted him with a handshake with both leaders stating their common goal of “complete denuclearization” and a formal end to the Korean War. Hmmm.


For the past 108 years, the Boy Scouts program has been known simply as the Boy Scouts. With girls soon entering the ranks, the organization will be known as Scouts BSA effective February 2019.


People in the courtroom gasped as the guilty verdict was announced for Bill Cosby. When prosecutors requested to revoke his bail because he owns a plane (and could flee), the comedian reportedly shouted in response, “He doesn’t have a plane, you a**hole.” Tsk-tsk. Someone should tell “America’s Dad” about consequences. Each count of felony aggravated indecent assault carries a sentence of five to 10 years, so the maximum Cosby could be sentenced to is 30 years, though it could be as little as five. He lived his entire life behind the image that he portrayed on TV exist in real life.  I feel for his family.  Families are always the ones that suffer because of bad behavior. He will be 81 years old in July.


Kendrick Lamar became the first rapper to win the Pulitzer Prize for music, which in the past has been given exclusively to classical and jazz musicians.


A massive alligator measuring 11 ft. 6 inches, was captured off Hwy 59 in Cleveland near Whataburger, creating a joint effort from 6 men just to load the hissing creature into the back of a flatbed truck. It was stated that only in Texas can you get a gator and a Whataburger in the same picture. Ward, the Tarkington cowboy who has wrangled about every kind of beast imaginable and was in the news during Harvey for rescuing cattle and horses in floodwaters, was called in to assist law enforcement in the rescue. He had captured a llama a few years ago close to the same location and said, “That llama was the worst, He was a wild llama and he tried to whoop me. I’d rather go up against a gator any day of the week than another llama.”  Only in Texas.


FYI: The city of LJ began a process of flushing and changing the chemicals in the water system. They said that residents can expect the color and taste of their tap water to change. This change ends around May 11. Questions or concerns call 415-2691.


Speaking of water in LJ…the city has been painting fire hydrants in my neighborhood. First, they painted them a messy solid glossy white, then a few days later, three city employees came back and added just a little bit of green on the top portion of the hydrants. I hope they’re not finished because they are currently very ugly. Yep, it took three city employees to make them look that ugly.


According to TrustedSec and Binary Defense, an information security firm, “Public Wi-Fi networks are like a modern Wild West – there’s nothing protecting your computer or mobile phone from those who want to steal your information.” Things like passwords and credit card numbers. It is safer to use places that hand out passwords, but your best bet is to pick up one of the personal mobile hot spot gadgets. If you ‘must’ use public Wi-Fi, don’t do banking or other sensitive work and avoid entering login information on sites.


RECENT BIRTHDAYS: Country singer Loretta Lynn is 86. Actor Anthony Michael Hall is 50. National Lampoon’s Vacation and Sixteen Candles. Actress Sarah Michelle Gellar is 41. Actor Billy Dee Williams is 81. Lando Calrissian in Star Wars. Brian’s Song, Lady Sings the Blues. Director Barry Levinson is 76. Best Director for Rain Man released in 1988. Actor John Ratzenberger is 71. Cliff Clavin in Cheers. Actor Craig T. Nelson is 74. Coach. Writer-producer David E. Kelley is 62. Actor Robert Downey Jr. is 53.

Magician David Blaine is 45. He is coming to Smart Financial Centre. Ethel Kennedy is 90. Actor Joel Grey is 86. Cabaret. Actress Jamie Lynn Spears is 27. Actor Steven Seagal is 66. Rock singer-musician Brian Setzer is 59. Stray Cats. Singer Mandy Moore is 34. Actor Haley Joel Osment is 30. Yikes. Country singer Maren Morris is 28. Actress Daisy Ridley is 26. Star Wars. Columnist Ellen Goodman is 77.  Actor Ed O’Neill is 72. Ed Bundy on Married with Children. Talk show host David Letterman is 71. Actor Andy Garcia is 62. Country singer Vince Gill is 61.

Recording executive Suge Knight is 53. I just found this online. “Former rap mogul Marion “Suge” Knight, who is awaiting trial for murder after being accused of ramming his truck into two men in 2015, killing one, was asked by a judge during a hearing to pick which team will win the 2018 NBA Finals in June. According to the Los Angeles Times, Knight, who was in a hearing for a separate case, began to answer the question, saying, “At this time …” before being cut off by the judge, who wanted a “once-and-for-all answer.” “Houston,” Knight said. “Alright, Houston. Good pick,” said the judge, concluding the unusual exchange.

Actress Ashley Judd is 50. Actress Kate Hudson is 39. Actor James Woods is 71. Ventriloquist-comedian Jeff Denham is 56. Talk-show host Conan O’Brien is 55. Actor Eric McCormack is 55. Will & Grace. Actress America Ferrera is 34. Actress Shirley MacLaine is 84. Actress singer-director Barbara Streisand is 76. Actor comedian Cedric the Entertainer is 54. Singer Kelly Clarkson is 36. Actor Jack Quaid is 26. Actor Al Pacino is 78. Actor Hank Azaria is 54. Actress Renee Zellweger is 49. She is performing an unbelievable transformation as she prepares to play Judy garland in a new film role.


Conductor and musician Andre Previn is 89. He was married to Mia Farrow and they adopted toddler, Soon-Yi Previn. In 1979, Mia Farrow divorced Andre Previn, fell in love with Woody Allen and was his partner for 12-years.  Mia Farrow discovered nude photographs of Soon-Yi in late 1991. I don’t think that went over very well. Woody and Soon-Yi dated for several years, then married in 1997 when he was 62 and she was 27.  It seemed scandalous in 1992 because I always thought that Woody was her step-father, but he wasn’t.


Use the same OxiClean stain remover you use to get rid of stains in your laundry, to tackle stubborn mildew on your bathroom grout and around drains. It’s supposed to work really well. I’ve never thought of using it.


“I asked my mom the other day if she could hear me?” She said, “No.” – Unknown


ABBA has written and recorded new music together for the first time since the Swedish pop group split in 1982. I love ABBA. Their hologram tour will feature digital versions of themselves.


The duke and duchess of Cambridge named their third child Louis Arthur Charles.


Remember to be tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and wrong. Sometime in your life, you will have been all of these.


I think it’s a miracle we made it out of our twenties. So where have all the rock stars gone? Gone to graveyards everywhere. NAH. Not really. They are so alive and kicking and dancing. Ozzy Osbourne (69) has announced his ‘No More Tours 2 Tour’ (he also did this in the 90’s).  Paul Simon (76) has announced his last run of shows. He was 26-years old when he so beautifully sang the song ‘Old Friends’ with Art Garfunkel with the words, “Can you imagine us years from today sharing a park bench silently. How terribly strange to be seventy.Anita Baker and Aretha Franklin have said that 2018 is the last year they will tour, and Elton John is following with his yellow brick road. Neil Diamond and rocker Glenn Tipton of Judas Priest have stepped back because of Parkinson’s disease. So, who is STILL rocking? ZZ Top says the best is yet to come as they start their 50th anniversary tour, John Mayer fills the void of Jerry Garcia with The Grateful Dead…Willie Nelson was born in 1933 in Abbott, Texas, which makes him 84. Steven Tyler of Aerosmith turns 70 this month. I saw him last year and he was great. Mick Jagger is 74. Al Jardine is 75 and still touring with Brian Wilson who will be 76 in June.  Graham Nash just turned 76 and sounds great. Paul McCartney turns 76 in June. He still puts on the best concert you’ll ever see. (Since his divorce from Heather Mills was settled for $48.6-million, he may have had to go back to work.) 😊  Art Garfunkel is 76.  Bob Dylan turns 77 this month. David Crosby is 76. Charlie Watts is 77 next month.  Ringo Starr is 77.  Smokey Robinson is 78. He will be at Smart Financial Centre this Monday May 7th. Frankie Valli is 83. He’ll be in Austin on May 10th. Little Richard is 85. He’s on tour right now. John Mayall is 84 and is touring Hawaii this month before he plays in California. Hope I brought you some happy memories with this paragraph. It sure was fun to look them up.


At a Clarion concert recently, I saw a friend as I walked around looking for my mother.  The friend said, “What’s up?” and I said, “I lost my mother,” and I kept walking. I saw the friend a few minutes later and she asked me if my mother had died. No, she just went to the bathroom and I haven’t seen her since.


When the Japanese mend broken objects, they fill them in with gold. They believe that when something’s suffered damage and has a history, it becomes more beautiful. It’s time we rethink our philosophy on aging.


Yesterday my mom moved back to Waco.  Four years ago, she had decided it was time to move to LJ, so we could be closer. I wanted to be a good daughter, so I moved her into my townhouse and I bought another home a block away, so I was close to her. I bought concert tickets, an Art League membership so she could paint, cooked for her, weeded her flowerbeds and did all the things I thought I was supposed to do, but she was never happy. She is 83 years old and wanted to be near what she knows and is familiar with.  I’m trying to understand. The new apartment is small, but they cook every meal for her. There is bingo, popcorn, movie day, and tons of other activities that she will absolutely hate. I am happy for her, but it will never be the same.


Here is an organic ‘Garden Pest Control’ recipe. Spray your plants once a week. Place 4 cups of water, ½ onion, 2 garlic cloves and ¼ teaspoon of cayenne pepper or any other hot pepper in a pot. Bring to a boil. Then grate ¼ bar of natural soap and add to boiling pot. Stir and cook for an additional 2 minutes, then remove from heat when the bubbles start to rise. Cover with a lid and let it sit for 20 minutes. Cool, strain and put in a heavy-duty spray bottle. Refrigerate any extra. Bon Appetit, bugs!


Answer:   A needle. Thanks for reading this today.

Much Ado About Nothing – Rutabagas

Much Ado About Nothing May 3, 2018

 

Much Ado by Jean Ciampi

I decided to eat rutabagas. There are zero logical reasons why. I’ve never knowingly eaten rutabagas before, but I’m all about an adventure. So, armed with a Google search and a shopping list, I set out to inflict rutabaga recipes upon my household for an entire week. All week, all rutabaga. Other evil dictatorships have their tortures; I have rutabagas.

Step One: rutabaga identification. First of all, rutabagas should not be confused with rhubarb. While rhubarb is another vegetable that’s really fun to say, rhubarb looks more like weird reddish purple celery. From what I understand, with half a plantation worth of sugar, you can make it into a pie, and should I decide to do rhubarb week, I’ll test that out. Rutabagas, however, look like turnips grown just downstream from the Chernobyl Nuclear Site. According to Wikipedia, it’s “a root vegetable that originated as a cross between a cabbage and a turnip.” Thankfully, there were no graphics on how you cross breed turnips and cabbages because I really didn’t want that visual stuck in my mind’s eye. What happens in the vegetable bin stays in the vegetable bin.

Interestingly, I also learned that in Europe rutabagas are commonly used to feed livestock in the winter and are often carved out to make lanterns at Halloween. Therefore, my thinking is that if Bossy the Cow will eat them raw and frozen, then how bad can they be baked and smothered in lots of butter? And if it truly does go way south, I can use the rest for nightlights. At less than a buck a pound, it’s an obvious win-win situation, right?

Rutabaga Night #1: Roasted Rosemary Rutabaga Fries. This is just one more sad attempt to make you think you’re eating French fries when you’re not. Accented with plenty of red wine and ketchup, these were actually pretty good.

Rutabaga Night #2: Baked Garlic and Herb Shoestring Rutabagas. I should have quietly stepped back from this one when it required putting a rock-hard root vegetable through the utensil we got suckered into buying that’s supposed to make zucchinis into spiraled spaghetti things. However, with plenty of red wine, we were able to improvise.

Rutabaga Night #3: Carrots and Rutabagas with Lemon and … Okay, let’s be honest. The rutabaga lanterns are cool. And the red wine was great with the pizza we ordered.

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Much Ado About Nothing – Exploding Ants

Much Ado About Nothing April 26, 2018

 

Much Ado by Jean Ciampi

In the dark, misguided world of ants, there’s a complete spectrum of ant terrorism that threatens all the insect world and beyond. The raspberry crazy ants must surely have a rap sheet for cocaine possession equivalent to the collective total of the Rolling Stones. Fire ants are just mean in an ugly, unified way, showing no thought or remorse in their attacks. And then there are the real extremists: Exploding Ants. These are the ants of mass destruction.

While I have some really great people in my tribe of friends and I would do almost anything for them, I’m probably not going to blow myself up to protect them. I’d take a bullet for my kids, but I’m still not sure I’d voluntarily explode my personage on their behalf. In the same vein, I’m not a good candidate to be an ISIS bride with a body bomb in a crowded market in Syria. That’s just not me. Not so, though, for exploding ants!

When threatened, these little ISIS-like insects will sacrifice themselves by exploding their bodies and sliming their enemies with a sticky, yellow irritant that either scares them off or kills them. If they don’t run away, I’m guessing the enemy may die of shock as much as from being slimed. Because honestly, the last thing you expect when you’re in hand-to-hand-to-hand-to-hand (they’re insects, they have a lot of hands) combat with an ant, is for it to suddenly pull the pin and blow up.

All this is not to scare you. You can still sleep at night, because exploding ants seem to be found primarily in the rain forests of Borneo. Unless you’re reading this in a wet Borneo tree, then ramp up your concern levels. But how long before they show up here? How long before other insects catch on to this trick? Or reptiles?! Personally, I’d love to see all snakes explode. But what if it continues to spread? How long before you’re hiking through Yosemite and Yogi Bear explodes because you startled him? You only have to Google “exploding whale” to see the video of what happened in Oregon in 1970. (No, really. Do it.)

As a responsible journalist, I’m here to write the news, not invent it. If you think I’ve made all this up, check it out for yourself at www.ExplodingAnts.com. But wear your Kevlar.

What I Heard This Week! April 26, 2018

What I Heard This Week April 26, 2018

A Michigan couple welcomed their new baby…their 14th child…all boys. They named him Sheboygan. Their story is that many years ago, a Native American chief was also father to many boys, but he was certain his last baby was going to be a girl. According to the tale, when that baby also turned out to be a boy, the chief named the baby Sheboygan, because “she is boy again.” Sounds like a family with a sense of humor.


A New Orleans resident who parks legally in front of his house has received ten speeding tickets from the city after traffic cameras that are located close by snap pictures of his parked car, then tickets are automatically sent out.


A 7-year-old boy was born with a cleft lip and complete Heterochromia Iridum – that means the iris of each eye is a different color. His mother happened to see a post on a mom’s group with a picture of a rescue cat who not only had a cleft BUT also had Heterochromia Iridum. Since the family lives in Oklahoma, their friends helped fund a road trip to Minnesota to adopt the kitty. Now, tell me how a cat in Minnesota ends up with a family in Oklahoma. Because there are no accidents. They named the cat, Moon.


When my son was in junior high school, his math teacher always had a riddle of the week. We always had so much fun discussing it as a family. Here’s your easy riddle: What gets wetter and wetter the more it dries.


Thank you, Dr. Pruett for the great idea for the paper. Thank you, Ms. Bahlar, for the nice card. The Source Weekly has the ‘best and sweetest’ customers!


Heinz has bottled a blend of mayonnaise and ketchup that it calls “mayochup.” They are letting the public vote on whether to put it on the shelves or not… of 930,000 votes, 700,000 have voted yes.


Half a million cars were reported as flooded from Hurricane Harvey. The Flood Guard is a waterproof cover that you zip your car into. Like a huge Ziploc baggie.  You drive in to the bag, zip it up, strap it, Velcro the padding, and attach the straps to either a post, tree or a fixed structure so the vehicle won’t float away. The car looks like the tenderloins that I vacuum-pack with my FoodSaver.


A thirty-year-old bag of Walkers Crisp Chips (like Lay’s) washed up onshore a British beach and was found by a 10-year-old boy while doing beach clean-up…cheese and onion flavored (with a touch of sea salt.) 😊 The bag dated back to the 80’s. This comes less than three months after another Walkers Chip packet was found on a neighboring beach dated 1997. Are you beginning to understand that we have a PLASTICS PROBLEM in our oceans?


The now famous Great Pacific Garbage Patch, is now estimated to contain at least 87,000 tons of plastic. That’s just in one area of the ocean.


A 33-foot-long sperm whale, not yet fully grown, washed ashore on the SE coast of Spain in February. He was rather scrawny so when they performed the autopsy, the reason became clear. The whale had 64 pounds of trash – plastic bags, ropes, netting and a plastic drum clogging its intestines and stomach because it could not process the plastic or pass it through the digestive system, causing severe inflammation as it starved to death.


Maturity:  At my age, getting lucky means walking into a room and remembering why I am there.


RECENT BIRTHDAYS: Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II is 92. There’s a lot going on with the Royal Family right now. New prince (Arthur or Philip?), Harry’s wedding, a possible pregnancy with Kate’s sister, Princess Diana’s glamorous gowns unveiled to the public along with other royal fashion on display at Kensington Palace. Exciting times and we all enjoy them sharing it with us.

Singer Iggy Pop is 71. Godfather of Punk. Actor Tony Danza is 67. Taxi and Who’s the Boss? Actress Andie MacDowell is 60. I think she is the Queen of the Hallmark channel. Former NFL quarterback Tony Romo is 38. Actor Jack Nicholson is 81. He says, “I’m definitely still wild at heart.” Author Janet Evanovich is 75. She has over two hundred MILLION books in print worldwide and is translated into over 40 languages. Singer Peter Frampton is 68. Humble Pie, Ringo Starr & His All-Star Band.


Scientists tested 24 pairs of headphones/earbuds to see how gross they are just in case you wake up in the middle of the night wondering whether you should share buds or not with your best friend. Nothing really, horrible was found other than yeast (another word for fungus) but it would still be a good idea to wipe them in alcohol before you share next time.


Are smartphones keeping teens off drugs? Researchers believe that the possibility is worth exploring because interactive media appears to play to similar impulses as drug experimentation.


Remember the popular 2005, March of the Penguins? There is now a sequel…March of the Penguins 2. Did you know that a penguin’s coloring provides camouflage in the water? The dark back fools predators from above while the white stomach fools predators from below. It’s on Hulu.


An 18-year-old bragged to his father that he had “broken into 250 cars last week,” so the dad turned him over to the police. The dad says, “I love him, but he’s got to wake up from wherever he’s at right now.” “I would rather him be upset with me than me burying him because he was on a path to self-destruction.” Give that dad a pat on the back. Good job. Tough love is hard.


The Source Weekly was faced with some hard decisions in the past few weeks. Our printer of 19-plus years was closing in Texas City, and we needed to quickly find someone new to print us. We did just that, so you may or may not notice a few minor changes to the paper that you are reading today. Honestly, you probably will NOT notice anything different –  color is fabulous, and the paper looks great.


Blue Bell is still trying to recapture customers that they lost during the 2015 listeria outbreak. The company announced a new flavor, chocolate with milk chocolate chunks and pieces of peanut butter cookie dough called “Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookie Dough” and will be sold in our area soon. Yum.


Remington Outdoor Co., whose roots go back to 1816 and is the oldest firearms manufacturer in the US, has filed for bankruptcy protection after declining guns sales. The way I understand it is if Hillary had won then gun sales would be good, but because Trump was elected and is a friend of the National Rifle Association, then people are not now rushing out to buy guns. Gunmen opening fire in Las Vegas and at schools has also reignited the debate over gun violence.


Old tobacco barns in Kentucky are now housing sheep, rabbits and hand-painted murals urging people to quit smoking. Federal grant money has helped to pay for some of these signs. It is part of a campaign to help the anti-smoking message where they have one of the highest smoking rates in the country.


Riddle answer: A towel. (I’ll be making you think harder next time.) Thanks for reading this – we appreciate you…

What I Heard This Week! April 19, 2018

What I Heard This Week April 19, 2018

In Honor of Income Tax Week –I’ve got all the money I’ll ever need – just so long as I die by four o’clock.” Henny Youngman


There’s a new ‘solar’ garden robot named Tertill that looks like a ‘Roomba’ with a baby weed-whacker superglued on its belly. It’s weather-proof, lives patiently in your garden and was invented by the Roomba people. It knows what to cut based on plant size and only cuts plants smaller than an inch. You can put a collar around plants and it will know not to go there, you can use your Bluetooth to check and make sure it is behaving, it’s 4WD, and performs best, in home gardens (not farms), and costs $249.


A survey released on Holocaust Remembrance Day last week shows that many adults lack basic knowledge of the events that happened 70-plus years ago. I’ve said it before; The Holocaust Museum in Houston is a must for families. It’s not light hearted but our children need to know what happened.


An international committee of meteorologists have officially retired four of the 2017 names from the rotating roster of cyclone names. In case you haven’t guessed, they are Harvey, Irma, Maria and Nate. The National Hurricane Center said that the names “don’t bear repeating.” Replacement names in the rotating roster will be Harold, Idalia, Margot and Nigel and I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but hurricane season starts on June 1. Sigh.  First name up is Aletta. I personally, would like to go back to the time when if someone mentioned Harvey, we all thought they were talking about the six-foot, three-and-a-half-inch tall invisible rabbit.


Just watched and listened to the Facebook LIVE Album Release of Blue Water Highway’s new album, “Heartbreak City” – these local kids are putting out some really great music. You’ll love their new album cover and I think you’ll all recognize the picture.  Look it up, I’m not going to tell you.


Earth Day is here, reminding us not only to celebrate our planet but to DO OUR PART. Why, you ask, do we only celebrate something as magnificent as our Earth, on just one day a year? I ask myself that same question every single day. Do your part TODAY and EVERY DAY to help provide a positive world for our children and grandchildren to live in. I’m going to hate to tell them that we could have done something, but we didn’t. We were too busy, too uninterested, or just didn’t think that it really affected us. Shame.


The moment has come…beginning now at age 5, girls can now join Cub Scouting. This will allow participating girls to work towards and earn Scouting’s highest honor, the Eagle Scout. Requirements will be the same for young men and young women and uniforms will remain the same, though the fit and styling may change. Providing good character and leadership opportunities will always be in style. For those of you that poo-poo the idea, I can tell you as the mother of an Eagle Scout, it is a family affair. It will be as much fun for your family as it is for your kids and you will love it. Even camping on the coldest night of the year has only positive memories for me, my son, and my daughter. If this had been available years ago, my 18-year-old daughter would now be an Eagle Scout. There is an ‘information only’ night for boys and girls on May 10th at St. Michaels Catholic Church in LJ. So, pull the kids off their cellphones and load them up. Something awesome is getting ready to happen. I promise. 409-750-3657.


A Florida couple found a letter in a bottle after Hurricane Irma hit last year. The bottle and message had been written by a child in Scotland then thrown into the North Sea in 1992, as a class project about pirates. Yes, 4,500 miles.


Local boy and musician, Justin Gambino, invites you to join him at his album release party at The Clarion on Friday April 27th. Download your FREE ticket at www.justingambino.com. Come support him.


RECENT BIRTHDAYS: Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI is 91. Basketball Hall of Fame Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is 71. Contributing columnist for The Washington Post and Time Magazine, now writes nonfiction and mystery books. Actress Claire Foy is 34. The Crown. Rock singer-guitarist Dave Edmunds is 75. Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band. Actress-screenwriter Emma Thompson is 59. Country singer-songwriter Chris Stapleton is 40. Actress Emma Watson is 28. Hermione Granger in Harry Potter. Columnist Heloise is 67. She attended Texas State University and full name is Ponce Kiah Marchelle Heloise Cruse Evans. She inherited the nationally syndicated column from her mother, Eloise, the original creator of the “Hints from Heloise” when she died in 1977.

Reba McEntire is 63. On Sunday, she hosted the Country Music Awards and sang a duet of “Does He Love You” with daughter-in-law Kelly Clarkson. Even better, was the fact that she was wearing the same low-cut, sequined red dress that she wore during a performance of the same song at the 1993 CMA Awards. The dress has been housed in a display at the Country Music Hall of Fame until McEntire retrieved it.  She looked GOOD.

Movie director Francis Ford Coppola is 79. Singer John Oates is 70. Actor Jackie Chan is 64. Actor Russell Crowe is 54. Mouseketeer Darlene Gillespie is 77. Singer Peggy Lennon is 77. The Lennon Sisters. Singer Julian Lennon is 55. Actress Robin Wright is 52. Actress Patricia Arquette is 50. Actor Sean Bean is 59. Ned Stark in Game of Thrones. Actress Jennifer Garner is 46.

Former Sex and the City star Cynthia Nixon, 51, confirmed that she will run for governor of NY this year.


It took me forever to finish this. I started, then stopped so many times because it’s just heartbreaking and unfathomable to most human beings. I had tears so please be warned. In Brazoria County (November 2016), a boyfriend of only 2-weeks (Antoine Allen Gorman, 28) was left to care for a 7-week old baby boy and two older children, 3 and 4, while his girlfriend/mother of the children (Tashiay Nelson, 29) was at work. The mom returned from work, found the baby was not breathing and that the children had been left unattended. Hospital personnel attempted to revive the baby for more than 30 minutes. The boyfriend was arrested three days later in Houston. Prosecutors allege that the boyfriend grabbed the baby by the foot and dunked him in toilet water, therefore drowning the child. It was suggested by the Galveston County deputy chief medical examiner that forensic experts needed to test for the presence of ‘semen’ in a swab of the baby’s mouth that he had taken during the autopsy. The medical examiner had found fluid he compared to soap froth in the baby’s windpipe. No sample was taken of this fluid. The DNA swab (a swab…a Q-tip) contained five sperm cells, but this amount was not enough to identify who the semen belonged to. Sigh. The autopsy could not determine how the baby died, but pictures produced in court showed bleeding in the baby’s upper chest, lower abdomen and lungs. The jury reached their conclusion less than ‘60 seconds’ after they retired to deliberate the sentence. Life in prison. ‘Boyfriend’ raised his middle finger and rested it against his face during the reading of the jury’s verdict and then did it again as Brazoria County sheriff’s deputy placed him in handcuffs. He is also currently facing a third-degree felony charge for attempted sexual assault of another inmate. I can’t even imagine what it must have been like for those jurors, the attorneys, and every single person associated with the case. The mom (who should in my opinion, needs to accept some responsibility) met him on dating app, Plenty of Fish. Enough said. There’s only one place I think they should send him and I can assure you, it’s not prison. And I would suggest surgical removal of a body part, and I don’t mean his finger.


A Chinese couple that had been trying to have a baby through in-vitro fertilization were successful four years after they were both tragically killed in a car accident. Four grandparents fought a lengthy legal battle to inherit the frozen embryos and won. Since surrogates are illegal in China, they had to travel to Laos, then the surrogate had to come back to China on a tourist Visa to give birth, so the child would have Chinese citizenship.


The Community Foundation of Brazoria County gave its Philanthropist of the Year award to Vernon and Joyce Stewart who had many of their four children, twelve grandchildren and sixteen great-grandchildren join them on stage to accept the honor. Also honored was Pearland resident and former Pearland Rotary Club president Craig Slater. Congratulations to all and thank you for being great volunteers in our community.


Volunteer Recognition Day is April 20th. Please thank a volunteer. Please be a volunteer. If you don’t know where to start, come by my office and we can talk about it for a few minutes.  “Volunteering is the ultimate exercise in democracy. You vote in elections once a year, but when you volunteer, you vote every day about the kind of community you want to live in.” – Unknown


Forgot to tell you this is Vinyl Week. Columbia Records introduced a 12-inch, 33-1/3 rpm long play record in 1948. Lighter and less brittle than its predecessors, it dominated the recorded music market.


Lake Jackson celebrated again this pastweekend with the 75th Anniversary Pioneers Banquet. Former mayors and residents with stories and memories to tell, packed the LJ Civic Center and celebrated.


Huey Lewis just announced that he has lost most of his hearing therefore making it impossible to find pitch and must therefore cancel all future shows. The belief is that he has Meniere’s disease which causes vertigo and ringing in your ears, but in some cases the symptoms have been known to subside. ‘The Power of Love and I Want a New Drug.’


The Art Car Parade was last weekend. My son was running the fog machines in one of the cars, so I ran up to support him, never giving any thought to the fact that it’s one of my favorite things to do. I just love it! When my kids were little the parade was on Mother’s Day, so we spent the weekend at the Doubletree, doing downtown stuff before and after the parade. Gage and I shared a late outdoor lunch afterwards, so the day was perfect. Favorites were Rain-X mini car with an umbrella spraying water…the singing and dancing lobster and Big Mouth Billy Bass Volvo where the crustaceans and fish all move in unison. One truck was hauling a 12’x10’ full fountain, there was the dragon motorcycle, the traveling popcorn machine, the Astros fan who motorized his lounge chair to travel 20 mph. He crashed right in front of us. A John Deere riding mower with a baby grand piano attached and a tux suited gentleman playing. But my favorite was a skinny 18-20 ft. canoe that was traveling right down the middle of Allen Parkway. Heck, they were all my favorites. Fun day with a trip to Central Market before home.


Barbara Bush died. She reminded me so much of my grandmother that died about 21 years ago. She was something special. Feisty, proud of her grey, and always willing to do the right thing for her family. Here is a nice quote from Barbara Bush. “At the end of your life, you will never regret not having passed one more test, not winning one more verdict or not closing one more deal. You will regret time not spent with a husband, a friend, a child or a parent.”


Remember to do the right thing even when no one is watching. It’s called integrity. Thanks for reading this. Lisa

Much Ado About Nothing – Bee Aware

Much Ado About Nothing April 19, 2018

 

Much Ado by Jean Ciampi

Just when you think it’s safe to go back into the house, they show up. Hundreds of them. And they’re all buzzing and flying and crawling, coming into my home while I stand by seemingly helpless and mildly horrified: BEES! A swarm just smaller than something conjured by a frightening Stephen King novel was invading my house, establishing their own independent colony, and usurping my authority over my own domain. What these little airborne bumble bodies didn’t know was that they’d picked the wrong house.

Okay, they weren’t exactly John Belushi dressed as a Bandito bee demanding all our pollen. Nor were they the Astro’s Biggio, Bagwell, and Berkman. For that matter, they likely weren’t even killer bees at all. They were relatively harmless European honey bees excited over spring in full bloom looking for a place to set up shop for their honey buzzness. It just couldn’t be in my house.

Armed with the power of Google, I called three bee removal companies, all of which said they’d come to my house and spray them dead for a “fair and reasonable price to be negotiated later.” Suddenly, I’m more horrified by the bee wranglers than the infestation. With the exception of their South American cousins with anger management issues who actually want to kill off any life form near their hives, bees are actually on the more loveable end of the insect spectrum (as opposed to say, cockroaches). No possible way did I want the bees murdered in cold honey!

I wanted these bees relocated to a nice field of clover more than two miles from where I now live. I wanted them to forget my address. Forget my house. Forget the belief that taking over my attic was like annexing Poland as a first step to total world domination. Because, let’s face it, my house is only big enough for one all-important, omnipotent queen bee, and I’m still wearing the crown in this hive. So they just needed to be moved on.

Fortunately, I found apiarists (guys in bee tamer suits) who came immediately to calmly and politely remove the buzzing interlopers to a new better-suited location. So at the end of the day, I’m happy. The bees will be happier. And my check cleared so the bee guys will be happiest of all.

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