Welcome to Issue 5 of NIPPIES on-line magazine!
Here you can read entries which were previously posted from January 2nd, 2003 to December 12th, 2002 in Nippies
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January 2nd, 2003
Love That Superglue!
Last night we at Nippies made an important discovery: superglue works best on human skin.
It all began when our little one complained that one of the "nose rests" on her eyeglasses had fallen off and was lost who-knows-where. Let us first define "nose rest", just in case you are confused. A nose rest is the lima-bean shaped plastic piece which is positioned on either side of your spectacles near the bridge piece. The purpose of the nose rests is, obviously, to keep your glasses from sliding down your nose.
Anyway, we at Nippies, being ever thrifty and wanting to avoid a trip to the optometrist's office, came up with the brilliant idea of taking two nose rests from her old pair of glasses, removing the remaining nose rest from her current eyeglasses, and placing the matching, old nose rests onto the newish glasses. Sounds good in theory, but it turns out that not all nose rests are created equal.
The notch on each of the old nose rests was too large to fit into the hole where they would snap into the new glasses. After some thought, we at Nippies told our little one to go and get a pair of tweezers, a bottle of super glue, scotch tape, and a small scissors. We snipped the notch off each old nose rest, placed tape over the lenses of the glasses (to prevent the glue from dripping onto the lenses), and attempted to "super glue" the old nose rests onto the new eyeglasses. The tweezers were clumsy so we tossed them aside and attempted to place the little plastic "lima beans" onto the glasses by with our naked fingers.
Yes, dear reader, the inevitable and painfully obvious (in hindsight)happened. Our index finger and thumb instantly bonded. But we at Nippies weren't immediately panicked. After all, the little nose rests didn't stick to the glasses, so why would our fingers give us a problem?
We decided simply to try and pull the two fingers apart. Didn't work. (But we discovered just how elastic finger skin can be.) Then we at Nippies tried running hot water over the two fingers to melt the glue. Still no go. Our little one was beginning to panic by this time. She is at the age now where her imagination is quite vivid. No doubt she thought her mommy would permanently be making the "OK" sign. We decided to admit defeat and yell out for help.
"Mr. Nippies", who was in the middle of a long distance phone call, came out to see what all the commotion was about. He laughed to see my situation, and informed me to simply "relax". He went on to reassure me that he had done this many times, and that the fingers would undo themselves. Or, he suggested, he would speed up the unsticking process by sliding a lottery ticket between the two stuck fingers. This, he assured me, always works. He did...and it didn't work. He then made his famous statement about how "Things will work out", something he always says when confronted with a problem he doesn't have a solution to at the time. He returned to his long distance phone call, leaving me alone to find the solution to my sticky situation.
A trip to the medicine cabinet came next. Surely alcohol, poured over the glue, would act as a solvent. Nope. Soap might slide the glue off our fingers. Didn't work. Finally, we at Nippies decided to take desperate measures. We took the tiny scissors that had previously been used to trim the nose rests and stretched our fingers as far apart as possible. Carefully, we snipped in tiny increments until the bridge of skin/glue had been demolished. Our little one had to leave the room. She was sure the operation would not be a success and we would be left with two holes where our skin had once been.
Voila! Our fingers were free of each other. We went to the office doorway and exhibited or unstuck fingers to "Mr. Nippies". "See? Things worked out,", he said. And went back to his phone call.
Did you ever hear the story about the wife who was angry at her husband? She bought a bottle of super glue and...
"And now, a word from our sponsor..."
December 31, 2002 - January 1st, 2003
Wishing you a "Happy New Year"
OK. We at Nippies are settled in for the night. We are not at a party, but, then again, we don't particularly like New Year's Eve parties per se.
What are we doing? We are watching the wonderful movie, Same Time Next Year. On American Movie Classics, of course. You should be, too. Especially if you are home alone and looking for something wonderful to entertain yourself with. The movie, which started at 10:15pm EST, should end at just about midnight. What a wonderful way to bring in the New Year.
Same Time Next Year is the 1970s version of The Bridges of Madison County, except with an uptempo. The movie has it's sad moments, for sure. It's bittersweet, no doubt. But there are many very funny moments.
Doris (Ellen Burstyn) and George (Alan Alda) are two thirtyish married people (not to each other) who take solitary vacations. Doris, a Catholic, makes a yearly retreat with nuns to repent for becoming pregnant at age 18. George flies in to do the books, a sentimental gesture, for his first client. They both wind up, alone, at the secluded lodge's dining room where George is staying and, after exchanging a meaningful look, end up having dinner with each other - and more. Doris never does make it to the nearby convent for her retreat.
Doris and George are just two very nice, ordinary people who soon discover they are the loves of each other's lives. "Instant rapport" is the way George puts it. But the word nice is operative here. Both realize that they must return home to their loving, trusting spouses and innocent children. And they do. But they make plans to meet the "Same Time Next Year".
And they do meet the next year, and the next and the next! George's and Doris's loving reunions are shown, in the same room, every six years until they reach their golden years. It's very amusing to watch as each goes through both the expected physical and emotional changes, and how they adjust to each other. We especially enjoyed the 1966 segment where Doris goes through her hippie phase. George catches up to her laid-back attitude six years later with a longish hairdo, a mustache and psychoanalytical babble. Time marches on but their annual rendezvous remain fresh and passionate well into their golden years...and perhaps beyond. But you'll have to watch this wonderful film to find out.
Treat yearself to this movie even if you've already seen it. And if you haven't, then you really must sit down with a cup of tea and a bowl of some sort of comfort food. This is a comfort movie.
12:10am...Happy New Year!
We at Nippies are still watching Same Time Next Year, after having taken a short break to watch "The Ball" drop in Times Square! And to kiss the only one of our family members who are home tonight (the others will return shortly). Dick Clark still looks as dapper as ever, by the way!
We have a tradition at our home. Every New Year's Eve we take the same battered party hats, the same noisemakers, and the same dented pots that we've used at midnight, on our front porch, ever since we began our little family many years ago. We bang the pots, spin the noisemakers, and exchange kisses to welcome in the new year. Our neighbors two doors down do the same. When we are on speaking terms (and that's another story), we holler New Year's greetings back and forth over the din . It's a sweet sameness...we're all still here for another new year. We at Nippies hope you are sharing your New Year with loved ones, as well.
Back to the movie...it's near the end. George and Doris are playing the scene which is the last rendevouz the viewer gets to see. As promised, we won't reveal the end. But our favorite part of the whole movie is..there are so many!...but the one we find funniest is when George tells Doris how he is at a client's dinner party, walks into a closet which he mistakedly thinks is the door to the client's bathroom, and is so embarassed by his clumsy mistake, he confides to Doris, that he remained in the closet rather than be seen exiting. His wife laughs so hard she pees on the client's carpet. Funny, huh? :) We at Nippies thought so. It's a great visual.
Good night, dear readers. We at Nippies want to wish you and yours a happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year. See you "same time next year", God willing and the creeks don't rise...
December 29th, 2002
Missing Karen Allen
Raiders of the Lost Ark is currently showing on American Movie Classics. We at Nippies suppose it is a belated Christmas present to AMC viewers.
But watching the movie brought to mind Karen Allen, who was the original romantic lead in the Indiana Jones movies. Karen hasn't really been a heavy hitter in Hollywood since the 1980s, which is amazing considering that she hit a home run in her first feature film role: Animal House. She then went on to star in Woody Allen's Manhattan, starred in Starman with Jeff Bridges, and later, in Cruising with Al Pacino. Karen Allen was on a roll.
Then came the 1990s and Karen, born in 1951, began to play more mature roles. She was cast as the mother in The Sandlot, for instance. Her starring roles in big box office films seemed to dry up, as often happens in the very unpredictable and youth-worshiping land of Hollywood.
We at Nippies know that Karen Allen has worked steadily ever since launching her career, but we hadn't really seen her in many movies and still considered her a "star", despite her lack of choice roles. She was, after all, married and busy raising a son. And so we at Nippies were really surprised to see Karen Allen play such a very small role in the hit The Perfect Storm. Her role in that film, which starred George Clooney, was really not much more than a cameo. Perhaps much of what she did in the movie landed on the cutting room floor. Who knows?
In 2001 she had a supporting role in In The Bedroom, which was critically acclaimed and brought an Oscar nomination for the female lead, Sissy Spacek. So perhaps things are looking up for Ms. Allen.
If you go to imdb.com and look up Karen Allen, you will see that she has made several new movies in the past few years. One is slated to be released in 2003. We at Nippies wish her well and hope she has a "hot streak" once again.
Money is a great legitimizer, isn't it?
We at Nippies attended a Christmas party, one of many, when this thought about money, which we've long believed, was proven once again. The party was a cross-section of just about every type of person from our area. There were poor and rich, charming and not-so-charming. Nice and not-so-nice (we assume). And there were dancers and those who never left their seat except for a trip to the ladies' or mens' room.
After dinner, we all enjoyed the "niceties". This is where a few words were spoken humorously by the party's host. Finally, the music began for dancing.
Most people dance. And most people have not had dancing lessons. We at Nippies, like the majority, were winging it. But then the dancing attorney came on the floor. He was accompanied by his dancing wife, of course.
Most of us at the party have long known that this very rich and powerful man, who dresses in expensive, and what looked to be custom-made suits, custom-made shirts, and socks that match the shirts, has had years of dancing lessons, taken with his wife. It's just one of those known facts in our little area. And in case you didn't know he'd taken ballroom and other types of dancing lessons before the party, you certainly knew after he and his wife stepped onto the dance floor. There were sweeps, dips, twirls and what-have-you, as well as graceful hand movements which were not unlike the ones professional pipe-organ players make after they do a piece. The palm was down and the fingers gracefully splayed in a slow-moving florish of the wrist.
Absolute quiet prevailed as those at the tables watched this Fred Astaire his Ginger Rogers stepping daintily around the dance floor, which they had all to themselves. Who would want to be out there competing with that?? Perhaps we all had just a little jealousy in our hearts. We certainly didn't knowingly feel jealous (dancing lessons aren't even on our priority list), but we'll concede there may have been some jealousy present in that room. Glances were exchanged between observers whenever the attorney would make one of those graceful hand sweeps, but nothing was said. People were respectfully observant and more than a few had only a faint hint of amusement on their lips. After all, this man is rich and well-known.
After "Fred" and "Ginger" had had their fill of the spotlight, they left the party quietly with more than ninety minutes left until the official end of the festivities. Things went back to normal, and the rest of us "wingers" returned to our non-choreographed, home style gyrating, stomping and stepping.
Later on, when the drinkers had had their fill of drinks, a woman filled with liquid courage, who had obviously been dying to perform all night, went up to the DJ and asked that he put on a certain CD she had brought with her. She was going to sing to the CD. Apparently, she is a local "karoake star". She sang her song in her discounted sequinned halter top.
The audience sat mesmerized, as with the attorney and his wife, but there was less quiet. One person was heard to say "Take the microphone away." The amused smiles had curled to snicker level. People were less careful in their knowing glances and winks.
Why was there a different audience reaction? The dancing attorney was just as ostentacious and, really, no more impressive than the karoake star. Money, of course, was the difference. Money had made "Fred's" foolishness more acceptable than the karoake star's. His behavior was interpreted more as eccentricity than foolishness. Yes, once again, it has been proven: if you are rich, and especially rich and powerful, you can get away with a lot more than if you are poor. Money is, indeed, the great legitimizer.
December 28th, 2002
An Old-Fashioned Christmas Party
Christmas Day has passed. So have several parties. We at Nippies attended one last night. It was a church party.
The thing we at Nippies love about this party is that it is one of the few times we can count on when our two sisters, their husbands and my husband and I get together socially at something other than a wedding or, sadly, a funeral. Why is that there is so little free time for gathering with those you love? Life is just so very hectic, despite modern appliances and other conveniences. But at this particular party, with familiar faces all around, we do get together and have a great time dancing, talking, and catching up.
Last night's party had less attendees than it has for the past few years. The snow and ice that now covers the Northeast had a lot to do with that. Many of the "regulars" at this annual post-Christmas event are now in their late seventies. We at Nippies are sure they were a bit afraid of venturing out on such a night.
When their was only an hour left to go, the crowd had thinned out. (The party really should be officially over at 10pm instead of 11. But 10 everyone has had enough partying.) So, we decided to do something we had never done in previous years. We made a call to our home, told our 18-year-old son he would soon be free of babysitting duties (he cheered), and left the party to pick up our youngest. She came to the party with us....the only 8-year-old in the room, but she loved it. She even sang her rendition of "Stop! In the Name of Love" when there were only a handful of people - mainly family - remaining in the room.
This does not sound exciting, does it? Well, we at Nippies live in a Mayberryesque type of town. If you are from New York City, you'd be bored to tears here. We at Nippies used to view the town we live in that way...boring. That was years ago when we lived away from home and only craved excitement. Time does change a person, doesn't it? Now, we don't look for excitement. Excitement is not always good...it has two faces. News of illness, death, divorce, loss of a job, etc., can all bring excitement. A good week to us, now, is when nothing exciting happens and life just goes on...
More on Ben Curtis
Many people visit this page every day. How do they find us? Often, it is through keywords in a search.
A while ago we wrote a Nippies piece on how Ben Curtis (the Dell dude), hasn't been featured on the Dell commercials of late. We at Nippies complained about this. Ben was adorable as the "Dell dude". Well, it's obvious that many people do miss Ben Curtis because a lot of the keywords that take people to Nippies have to do with that "cute Dell dude".
We at Nippies decided to do some searching of our own on the internet. We placed the words, in variations, "dell interns commercials", etc., into search boxes. Our research indicates that there is a lot of dissatisfaction, judging from the comments on grassroots web sites like this one, with the new Dell interns. We at Nippies miss that cute Dell dude, and so do many others who seem to find the intern boring. Hey, Dell...bring back Ben Curtis! That contrived group of nerds-plus-one-cute-girl just doesn't do it!! The Dell dude was the first exciting thing that happened in a computer commercial in a long, long time. You, Dell, are trying to make "new Coke", and it just isn't working.
December 26th, 2002
How are you, dear readers? We at Nippies are a bit tired. Christmas, while a happy occasion and a wonderful holiday, does wear everyone out a bit, doesn't it? And because we live in the Northeast and have been hit by the largest Christmas snowstorm since 1909 (21 inches!), we at Nippies are still digging out for under all that beautiful white stuff!
That aside, we are grateful for our White Christmas. The kids loved it and didn't mind the cold as they frolicked through waist high snow drifts. There were drawbacks to the snow, however: we couldn't even make the 2 mile trip to our sister's house for Christmas dinner.
After spending nearly an hour digging out our best "snow vehicle", which is a Chrysler and which does not have four-wheel drive, we went for a test spin up and down the street. The first few hundred feet were just fine because the snow gave us some traction. However, upon turning around, we promptly slid into a snow bank. That was the end of that. A phone call to our sister's house quickly confirmed that many of the other family members could not make it as well, including our niece, Char, who is 9 months pregnant and refused, justifiably, to leave the house.
We at Nippies and our family still had to eat, so we made pot luck here in our own kitchen. We at Nippies raided the refrigerator and freezer in search of some semblance of the makings of a supper and came up with some minute steaks, cheese, hamburgers, onions and "Chicken Voila". We prepared the Chicken Voila and fried up the rest of the ingrediets to make our family some Philadelphia Cheese Steaks, which they loved.
It was not the extended-family Christmas celebration that we expected, but we enjoyed ourselves just the same. There is something very cozy about being snowed in!
Echinacea is out: A Zinc Lozenge is now the king...
Everyone knows that a lot of people come down with colds and the flu after the Christmas season. Obviously, the rise in the incidence of communicable diseases -especially the common cold - immediately during and after the holidays has a lot to do with the large gatherings, kissing and close contact we enjoy with our friends and loved ones.
Well, on CNN's American Morning with Paula Zahn,it was reported this morning that the latest studies have shown that takinga zinc lozenge to combat the common cold is very effective! While the zinc lozenge as treatment for the common cold connection (click for link) has long been tooted as real, this study has shown that the duration of a common cold is only about 6 days for those who take zinc lozenges compared to 10 days for those who don't. That's a significant reduction in sick days! Taking zinc lozenges has also been shown to reduce the need for anti-biotics by a whopping 92%. Now, that's nothing to sneeze about!
Also, on CNN's American Morning with Paula Zahn this morning, there was some surprising news about the widely prescribed, anti-inflammatory drug Celebrex.
Celebrex, which has sales of over $6B - yes, that is six BILLION dollars, has long been tooted as a safe drug for those suffering from gastro-intestinal disorders. However, a new report in the New England Journal of Medicine states, according to the medical correspondent on CNN, that Celebrex is not quite as safe as originally thought for those at high-risk for developing bleeding ulcers. It turns out that 10% of these high risk patients will be at risk for gastro-intestinal complications when taking Celebrex. The makers of Celebrex have stated that it does reduce the risk of gastro-intestinal complications in patients at high-risk for complications compared to other popular anti-inflammatories such as aspirin. More studies are needed to determine just what is what on this issue.
For more interesting information on the prescription drug Celebrex, you might want to read this article we found at another web site. Click and paste here
December 25th, 2002
Many people are alone tonight, on this night of celebration and togetherness. We at Nippies want to wish you, especially, a very Merry Christmas. There are so many people who have no one to celebrate this special time with. And we hope that someone reaches out to invite you to share a few hours with them. If no one does, perhaps you know of someone else who might be alone. Reach out to them. And God Bless you!
December 23rd - 24th, 2002
We at Nippies want to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy Holiday Season. As for us, we are about to launch or annual hectic, last-minute shopping and gift wrapping crisis. If you are one of those super-organized people who start your Christmas shopping on December 26th and have everything finished in October, good for you. We, alas, are not one of those people.
Right now we are on the way out the door to buy the last minute things, such as stocking stuffers, that we've forgotten. As we leave, we at Nippies offer up a prayer that the checks we are about to write out do not clear before the last minute deposit we made today.
Why is it that the banks can clear a check you write out in about 24 hours, but a check you deposit into the bank can take up to a week? Surely that is one of life's greatest ironies.
And why is it that on Christmas morning, before all the gifts are opened, there are mounds of beautifully colored packages that nearly fill the room? But after your children open those packages and the gift wrap and colorful boxes are discarded, you are left with a small pile of goods that would barely fill a laundry basket. Really.
Years ago, when we were children, (and believe me, we are not all that old), Christmas morning meant a doll, a board game, maybe a coloring book and crayons. For the most part, the Santa list was generic and easily found. But somewhere in the 1960's there came the "hot toy" for Christmas madness. The first one we at Nippies can recall was "Etch-A-Sketch". We were very young back then. Every kid in the world wanted that little red box that magically etched out black line-drawings in vertical and horizontal mode. Unlike many of today's toys, it lived up to it's reputation and remains a classic even today. There is one in our little one's toy box right now
Another must have toy back then was Colorforms. Sturdy but soft shiny plastic in crayon colors that you stuck on a black shiny background. Sucha simple concept, but so very clever. We at Nippies still love them, but haven't seen them around lately.
Who didn't have a slinky or a set of Play-doh? Didn't you think you were really hot stuff when you trained your slinky to walk down the stairs? And every kid loved Play-doh then and still does now. Mothers get a little antsy, however, when they see their kid pull out the pleasant but undefinable smelling stuff out. It always seems to find it's way into the rug, we at Nippies have noticed.
Of course, nothing will ever compare to the Barbie doll-phenomena for little girls. We at Nippies never had a real Barbie, even though she was quite popular when we were small. We don't think we every asked for one. But if you did have a Barbie, you only owned one. Now, most little girls have enough Barbies to fill a school bus. Mattel just changes the length of her hair, the color of her skin, or her occupation (hasn't she been everything except a garbage collector?), and they instantly create a new demand for the impossibly perfect, forever young and beautiful Barbie.
The doll that we have the fondest memories of was named Calico Lassie. One day our mother presented us with the denim-clad doll. She was sort of the "poor girl's Barbie", we guess. She looked a lot like "Ellie May" from the Beverly Hillbillies: her shirt was gingham-checked and the belt on her denims was a rope. Even her hair looked like Ellie May's because it was styled in fluffy pig-tails. We at Nippies had that doll for years. Somehow, unfortunately, Calico Lassie got tossed out accidentally when our family moved into our grandmother's house long after we had stopped looking at her as a toy and had begun to cherish her for purely sentimental reasons. Calico Lassie was a no-reason gift from Mom. She had saved box-tops from a cereal box, put two dollars in an envelope, and sent away for her. Curious? Here's a picture of the same doll we found on a nostalgia page: (copy and paste) http://theimaginaryworld.com/tic427.jpg...
Well, we at Nippies could go on and on and on about this subject. But it is officially Christmas Eve. There is a lot to do. We wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas and a very Happy Holiday season. We'll be back soon.
Nippies to think about: Surprising medical news!
Some might propost a toast to this news...
Italian researchers have discovered that when heavy drinkers stop drinking totally, the risk of high blood pressure may increase. This finding was recently published in the journal, Alcoholism:Clinical & Experimental Research. The researchers theorize that the higher risk of blood pressure may be the result of alcohol-induced sodium sensitivity. (Paraphrased fromt the New York Post and AP, December 17, 2002)
Pass the Echina-CHOO
Another study, Nippies wants to report, suggests that the popular herbal remedy for colds, Echinacea, may not be effective at all. Researchers at the University of Wisconsin gave 75 placebo capsules (of alfalfa) to ill students. 73 other ill students were given Echinacea. After 10 days, the symptoms of both groups had progressed equally. However, surprisingly, the group who took the actual Echinacea were ill longer (6.27 days) compared to the placebo group (5.75 days). (paraphrased from the New York Post, December 17, 2002, and Reuters).
There just might be a lot of Echinacea sitting on the shelves of pharmacies in the near future.
Bad news for Estrogen replacement fans and Fans of Tans
The National Cancer Institute and others have linked long-term estrogen use to breast and ovarian cancer, as Nippies has previously reported. "A federal panel recommended the hormone be listed as a cancer agent two years ago, and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences made it official this week with the publication of the biennial report," reported the New York Post in their December 14, 2002 edition. Steroidal hormones is a group of related hormones that control sex and growth characteristics.
Other carcinogens cited were wood dust and broad-spectrum ultraviolet radiation produced by the sun and artificial sources such as sun lamps.(New York Post and AP).
Surprising New Pap Guidelines...sometimes less is enough
"Women who are at low risk of developing cervical cancer do not need to get Pap tests, according to new guidelines from the American Cancer Society.
Testing isn't necessary for young women who are not sexually active, 70 or older who have had normal Pap tests in the past; and women who have had hysterectomies for non-cancer-related reasons, according to the guidelines."
Nippies found the above medical research news in the December 18th, 2002 edition of the New York Post, page 5. The article, from the AP, went on to say that the problems with Pap tests is they detect non-cancerous lesions, causing additional tests that needlessly worry patients, cost money and can have harmful effects, including reduced fertility.
Dr. Carmel Cohen, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at New York's Mount Sinai Medical Center led the review committee.
something to "Celebrex" about...
Gotcha! The only surprising news we at Nippies have to offer about Celebrex is that you won't see a commercial for it here. In the past few days, we've seen one every time we signed onto the computer, turned on the television, or read something in print...
December 20th, 2002
A Lotta Questions Left Unanswered
Now that Senator Trent Lott has stepped down from his post as the Senate Majority Leader, which he was forced to do by the media frenzy and lack of sufficient support from fellow GOP senators, we at Nippies want to ask a few obvious questions.
First of all, why wasn't a tape of his statements made at the 100th birthday party of Strom Thurmond shown each time the controversy was covered by the television networks? We at Nippies, to this date, have not seen a tape of his exact statement. Have you?
Why isn't everyone insisting that a copy of this tape be shown??
We at Nippies are not for or against Senator Lott. But we sure would like to see a copy of the actual speech that cause such a brouhaha so that we can see and hear what was said and get a good grip of what context the statements were made.
December 19th, 2002
Have you ever seen the commercial for the Lexus December Sales Event to Remember?. It's amusing. There are three scenarios in which spouses present their husband/wife with the keys to a new Lexus as a Christmas present. We at Nippies suppose the commercial's goal is to plant the seed in our psyches that we should also go out and purchase a new Lexus for our respective spouses and surprise them with the keys on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning.
If you are not particularly well-heeled, you might first notice the houses in front of which the sparkling new silver Lexus cars are parked. The two houses visible in the commercial are both very large and impressive: one looks like City Hall in the small town where Nippies lives. The second one looks like a hotel in the Bahamas. After you take a look at the houses and shining new vehicles, notice bows sitting jauntily atop each Lexus. Each one is about 5 feet across. Unfortunately, we at Nippies, and most likely most viewers of that commercial, could not even afford to buy one of those bows. Nor would we want to buy one of those bows.
Remembering A Miracle
Sometimes, very early in the morning, we at Nippies take the time to watch a tape of a program we had to miss. We are watching one such tape of Incredible But True?, which a friend taped for us while we were out last evening.
This particular edition of Incredible But True? deals with the miraculous events which took place at Fatima (Portugal) from May to October 13th, 1917. It was on the latter date that the famous "Miracle of the Sun" took place before the eyes of 70,000 witnesses. The skeptics who were there quickly became believers as the sun spun, changed colors, and seemed to be spinning out of control toward the earth. Witnesses, who had previously been soaked and muddy, were instantly dry when the miracle had played out.
As Catholics, we at Nippies know the appearance of Our Lady at Fatima is one of the very few apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary which has been approved by the Catholic Church. If you are not a Catholic, let we at Nippies tell you that the Catholic Church is meticulous, thorough, and completely objective in it's investigation of all reported apparitions and supernatural events. Very, very few reported apparitions and miracles are ever given the approval of the Catholic Church. Fatima has that rare approval.
And so, as we at Nippies watched the skeptics try to downplay the miraculous events that occured at Fatima, we were not impressed by their opinions. In our opinion, none of the skeptics offered any scientific or logical explanation to explain away what happened at Fatima or what happened to the children who took part in the miracle and to whom Our Lady appeared. One skeptic described Lucia as an imaginative child and charismatic, as well, thereby insinuating that she may have made the whole story up and then convinced everyone to believe her. Conversely, the fact that Lucia's mother did not believe her daughter when Lucia told her she had seen the Blessed Virgin Mary (and, realistically, how many mothers of 10-year-olds would believe such a claim?) was offered by the skeptic as evidence that Lucia was probably lying.
We intend to watch the tape again, but we also didn't notice the first time the fact that Our Lady told the children, Lucia, Francesco and Francesco's sister, Jacinta, that Francesco and Jacinta would not live long but that Lucia would and that she had much work to do. Our Lady also told the children that Jacinta would not be with her family when she died. Both Francesco and Jacinta died within a few years after Our Lady's prophetic words. Jacinta died of tuberculosis despite expert medical care which was paid for by a benefactor. Jacinta died far from her family, as foretold, in a hospital (at Orem) where she had received the best medical care available during that time.
Lucia, at age 95, is still alive today. She lived a long life, as foretold by The Blessed Virgin Mary. Lucia is a nun in the Carmel order, and clearly she has accomplished much work, again as The Blessed Virgin Mary told her she would do. The skeptics have no answer for that.
December 18th, 2002
First of all, we at Nippies want to wish a Happy Birthday to our little brother, Joey!. Hope there are many more, bro.
The Overexposure of Ms. Lopez
Now, down to business. Phew...thank goodness. E!Online has announced their top celebrity for 2002. And thank goodness, again, that it is NOT Jennifer Lopez. We had to go through about 7 pages because E! starts with the 25th Celebrity of the Year and makes you work through the wannabes to get to #1....who is....DRUMROLLLLLL.....Jennifer Aniston.
Now, isn't that refreshing?? Nothing against Ms. Lopez, but, as we mentioned earlier, she's just so overexposed. Congratulations to Jennifer Aniston and to her husband, Brad Pitt. We at Nippies are sure he's so proud he's about to bust. By the way, number 2 was also refreshing. It was....Reese Witherspoon!
We at Nippies are on our way out the door to do a little Christmas shopping. But we will return later!
We at Nippies have just completed round one of our Christmas shopping. It was K Mart tonight....lots of bargains. If you haven't been there lately, you are missing out. There are bargains galore. And we found some of the hard to find toys our little one wants...
Don't Call Us, We'll Call You
Is that National Do-Not-Call law that is the top story on all the major news networks a joke, or what? For those of you who don't know what I'm talking about, this law refers to those annoying telemarketers who call you all the time and a law that will legally prevent those calls from invading your home. Yes, we at Nippies know the telemarketers are only trying to make a living. And we sympathize with that aspect of their job. Once, long ago, we at Nippies also did that "for a living". It was pure hell, and we quit after a few short months. But do you know anyone who really wants to get these calls?? We at Nippies don't.
So, here is what is going on. With the new law, you have to call a number and have your name put on a National No-Call List. Supposedly, this list will be passed on to all the telemarketing companies and they are expected to honor it by not calling you. Then, you may still get a phone call, because any company you have purchased a product or service from in the past 18 months can still, legally, call you. Now there is a gigantic loophole for you! Do you realize how many companies you have purchased items or services from in the past 18 months? If you are like we at Nippies - and like most Americans - that probably numbers in the hundreds, if not the thousands.
Think of this....when you go to the grocery store and buy your hundreds of little items, and the grocery store asks you for that special card which grants you the special price and also makes a record your purchases...does that mean every one of those companies which produce the soups, the tea, the canned goods, the deodorant, etc., etc., that you just purchased are legally allowed to call you? What about the grocery store? And so on and so forth.
What about Verizon, Adelphia, the electric company, the gasoline company, and the charge cards you use. Can they call you? It sure sounds that way.
This craziness of how we have to take the initiative and make a phone call or write a letter to stop these annoying telemarketing calls from coming into our homes just isn't fair. What would be fair is that the telemarketers should be prohibited from calling you unless YOU take the initiative to allow them to call. In other words, no telemarketers should be allowed to call your home unless you call a National DO-CALL line.
Yeah, that's the ticket. Sharing...that's what it's all about. And if you believe that, we at Nippies have a time-sharing unit our in-laws have been trying to unload for 18 years....
December 16th, 2002
Meg And Dennis
We at Nippies are Dennis Quaid fans. Hey, what's not to like about Randy's brother and Meg's ex-husband. (What was she thinking??)
Anyway, American Movie Classics is running Dreamscape, a 1984 film starring Dennis Quaid, Max von Sydow, Christopher Plummer, Eddie Albert, Kate Capshaw, David Patrick Kelly, and George Wendt, along with many others.
Normally we at Nippies are not drawn towards movies of this sort (about psychics), but for Dennis's sake, we'll make an exception. We've always liked him in everything he's been in, and thought Meg Ryan and he made a perfect couple. Since the Meg Ryan - Russell Crowe affair in 2000, it seems to us that Dennis's star has been steadily on the rise, and so has Russell Crowe's, obviously. But Meg Ryan seems to be sitting back of late after having enjoyed a decade long reign of super films and superstardom. Oddly, it was Proof of Life, the movie she made with Russell Crowe and the one that allegedly launched their affair, which was the first Meg Ryan movie we didn't like. We at Nippies didn't see or feel the chemistry there at all. Apparently, neither did Russell after a few torrid months. (At least that is what the tabloids led us to believe). And now we at Nippies have heard that Russell Crowe is supposedly engaged to marry Danielle Spencer.
Anyway, there are a lot of little tid bits to pass on to our readers about the stars in this movie. Max von Sydow was in The Exorcist. We at Nippies were shocked to find out that Max was only 44 years old at the time The Exorcist was released in 1973. He sure seemed older. But, then again, that could be because we at Nippies were so very young when that movie was the talk of the nation. Everyone over the age of 17 seemed old to us at that time. Then there's Christopher Plummer. You remember him, of course, as the head of the Von Trapp family in The Sound of Music. Of note: Christoppher Plummer was once married to Broadway star Tammy Grimes and they are the parents of Amanda Plummer of, among many other films, The Fisher King, which also starred Robin Williams and Jeff Bridges. Eddie Albert, who will turn 95 years old in April of 2003, plays the President in Dreamscape, and his list of credits would be far, far too long for we at Nippies to mention here. But who can forget Green Acres? By the way, we never noticed before, but Dennis Quaid bears a slight resemblance to Edward Albert, who is Eddie Albert's son.
Did you know that Dennis Quaid's first wife was P.J. Soles (he was P.J.'s second husband...she later took a third)? Sure, you know who she is...she played Amy Irving's best friend in Carrie and Jamie Lee Curtis's best friend in the first Halloween film a few years later. Oh, and the mention of Amy Irving brings us to Kate Capshaw, who is also in Dreamscape. Everyone knows that Amy Irving was Steven Spielberg's first wife, and Kate Capshaw is the great director's second wife, and the mother of five of his children. Kate was about 43 when she had their last child in 1996. The movie also stars David Patrick Kelly, of whom we at Nippies are ashamed to admit we don't know a thing about - except that his name suggests an Irish nationality, and George Wendt, one of the most, if not thee most, loveable character from Cheers.
By the way, if you want a plot summary on Dreamscape, fuggetaboutit! We at Nippies are too busy typing. But, hey, in case you are reading this at about 9pm Eastern Time, which is when we are writing it, and you don't like Dreamscape on American Movie Classics, you can always channel surf on over the Superstation and watch Sleepless in Seattle, starring a youngish Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks. Now there's real chemistry.
By the way, speaking of Tom Hanks and the word "sleep"...did you know that the sleeper smash hit of this past summer, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, was produced by his wife, Rita Wilson? But that's another story for another day...
No More For Gore
Jeff Greenfield of CNN just had a special report on Al Gore's decision not to run for President in 2004. We at Nippies agree with Greenfield in his synopsis and opinion of why Al Gore decided not to run in 2004.
Yes, the public and formal reason given was that he didn't want to take the country backward. The "backward" reference is, of course, to the Bush-Gore race in 2000. But we at Nippies knew in our hearts the instant we saw AL Gore's lighthearted appearance on Saturday Night Live that the man would never throw his hat into the presidential ring. He must have known he would never be taken seriously as a presidential candidate after such an appearance.
Again, in the opinion of Nippies, we think that this was a family decision. The United States is in, and is headed for, tough times. Very tough times. We have Saddam Hussein and Iraq, North Korea, and Osama Bin Laden gunning for us. War is just about inevitable. Al Gore's family just very well may have said to him, "Please, don't run. Enough." Period. Again, is't just our opinion, but we at Nippies feel strongly about it.
Jeff Greenfield focused on the fact that Al Gore has been in the political public spotlight for almost all of his life. Gore's father was a career politician. Greenfield stated that Al Gore's decision to serve in Viet Nam may have come about, at least in part, as a bid to help save his father's Senate seat. For whatever reason, his father lost.
Al Gore himself entered political life before age 30. He's run as a candidate for either Vice President or President in every race since 1988. You don't need to be a genius or political pundit, which we at Nippies most certainly are not, to realize that he's had very few private moments in his lifetime. Al Gore has nearly always been under the microscope, as all high-profile politicians are.
Yes, we at Nippies agree with Jeff Greenfield's analysis of Al Gore's decision. We also think that Al Gore, now that he has made his decision public, is breathing a sign of relief. And so, most likely, is Tipper and the rest of the extended Gore clan. Al Gore can get on with the rest of his life as just a human being, just a family man. He's earned it.
December 14th, 2002
Only The Faithful Remain
Tonight we at Nippies attended a children's Christmas Party with our little girl. The party was held by our Catholic "parish community". For those of you who are not Catholic, which I am and am proud to be, let me explain what the term parish community means.
It is no secret that there is a severe shortage of Roman Catholic priests and nuns. The exodus of Catholic priests and nuns from the religious life began in the late 1960s. When we at Nippies were attending Catholic grade and high schools during the 1960s & 1970s, there were usually about eight priests assigned to our Church, and as many as 20 nuns living in the beautiful school/church convent. The Catholic priests and nuns taught many of the classes in the combined grade and high school at which we spent twelve years. At that time, our Catholic school, which contained grades 1 through 12 (no one went to nursery school at that time, and kindergarten was not required), had an average enrollment of about 800 students.
Today, there are about three nuns and three priests, total, at the Church and Catholic school. The large convent no longer houses nuns. The diocese has turned the convent into a home and temporary shelter for abused and poverty stricken women. It's once well-tended, gated and walled garden, which had a shrine to the Blessed Virgin Mary as its centerpiece, is now weed-strewn and surrounded by a crumbling wall. It's decorative, wrought-iron gates hang tentatively from their hinges. The few remaining nuns live together in a small house nearby and commute daily to the school to perform their teaching duties. The high school now has an enrollment of 200.
We at Nippies have seen no evidence that the enrollment has fallen so dramatically in the last two decades because there is no longer a desire to attend Catholic school. Rather, we at Nippies believe the low enrollment is a direct result of the high (about $4000.00 per student) tuition. The shortage of teaching nuns and priests has necessitated the hiring of a large number of lay teachers which, of course, have to be paid. (These lay teachers make considerably less than their public school counterparts). The nuns who traditionally not only taught but ran the schools back in the heyday of Catholic education, when it seemed there was a Catholic grade school for every Catholic parish, received no salaries for their labors. The parish supported the schools and there was no tuition charged for the children of parishoners, and a very nominal tuition charged for those who were not. As many as 9 children from one family might attend a Catholic school at one time - free of charge. Our family was considered rather on the small side - there were only four of us schlepping ourselves on foot to the large brick school across from the Church each morning.
Remember, those were the days of very large Catholic families. Those were also the days on one-car-per family. We walked everywhere.
The priests no longer have time to teach. They are busy serving the parishoners of not one Catholic Church, but three. Thus, we are no longer a parish but a parish community.
There may have been as many reasons for leaving the priesthood and convent as there were defecting priests and nuns. But we at Nippies have always suspected, and this is only our opinion, that the change that came within the Catholic Church after the Second Vatican Council may have left some religious unsatisfied. There were many changes in the late 1960s. Many of the centuries old rules of the Roman Catholic Church were loosened and more liberal polities were adopted: the "no meat on Friday" rule was removed; the head covering which had heretofore been required by women entering a Catholic Church was no longer required; the Latin Mass was changed to an English Mass; the altar was turned around to face the people, the altar railing and kneeling for Holy Communion was changed to Communion held in the hand and standing when receiving the Holy Eucharist, and so on and so forth.
We at Nippies grew up with these rituals and were still quite young when the more liberal policies were instituted. It didn't phase us much at the time, and we still don't quite understand why the changes came about. We think there was pressure from many of the younger priests and nuns for the Catholic Church to "change with the times." We wouldn't be surprised if it was many of these very same priests and nuns who left when the changes finally came.
You may be wondering what point we at Nippies are trying to make here. Well, we aren't trying to make a point. But we were looking at the three priests tonight at the party, and we were very much in awe of these men. They are 83, 61, and 55 years old, and they work from sunrise to sunset - and beyond - serving the people of their three parishes. Often, they put a large part of their very modest salaries back into the Church for repairs, to pay an unpaid bill, or to buy food for the poorer families who come to them for help. Bear in mind that these diocesean priests are responsible for their own bills and must put money aside for their own retirement. Many no longer reach retirement age because the long hours and hard work are shortening their life span. Many who do live full life spans continue to work even after the retirement age of 75. The 83 year old priest just celebrated his 57th year in the priesthood, and he could have retired 8 years ago. But he knows he is needed, and so he stays. "What would I do all day?", he responded when we at Nippies inquired about his well-deserved retirement. "I'd just eat breatfast and go back to my room.". His is an admirable attitude, but Father looked as though he might need to go back to his room and take a nap,we at Nippies noticed as we looked into his puffy, tired eyes.
These priests must often be tired, and we at Nippies know they are often discouraged by the lack of respect and support that is commonly exhibited towards priests today because of the horrible behavior of the few that you hear about on the nightly news. But, still, they keep on serving God and the people of the three parishes. They visit the sick and dying daily. They serve Mass daily. They organize and attend Christmas parties, spaghetti dinners, bazaars, committee meetings, and all the rest when they must very often wish they could just be back at the rectory resting their aging and aged bodies. And, yes, these holy men grieve and pray daily for the victims of those who called themselves priests by name but betrayed the Church and God and the trust of all Catholics by harming in a most horrendous way the most innocent of God's flock - his children.
These are not easy times for the many dedicated Catholic priests. CNN, as well as most of the major networks, runs stories every day about the "sex abuse crisis" in the Catholic Church. We are supposedly a society where it is politically incorrect, insensitive and downright wrong to lump groups of people together and place blame for the behavior of a guilty few onto the innocent majority, but Catholic priests do not enjoy the benefits of this political correctness. If one is not a Catholic, one might think that all priests are horrible men who only entered the priesthood to abuse children. Nothing could be further from the truth. And we at Nippies wanted to put it down in writing.
December 12th, 2002
A Killer In London, And It's NOT Jack
If you've never tuned into NPR (National Public Radio), you don't know what you are missing.
Today on NPR's All Things Considered, we at Nippies caught Part II of a feature story on London's 1952 "Killer Fog". It was an amazing story of how the coal burning fireplaces of London residences, which nearly every London home not only had but prided itself on, caused a catatrosphic phenomenom in 1952 which was comparable to "The Perfect Storm" for both it's oddity and devestating aftermath.
It seems that a huge slab of stagnant, polluted air from London's chimneys became trapped over London for over a week on that fateful day in 1952. Over 4000 London residents perished, along with cattle and other animals. The tragic event caused a public outcry for air quality reform and regulation and for a ban of coal-burning fires, which were largely responsible for the smog and which, prior to the tragedy, were a source of London pride and a symbol of the cozy home life around the hearth which many Englanders so deeply identified with at that time.
According to the narrator of the story, London's "Killer Fog" of 1952 heralded the beginning of air-qualty awareness, and regulations in not only England, but everywhere.
We at Nippies were fascinated by the story. We've tried to recount it as accurately as we possible could here, but go to www.npr.org, All Things Considered, for the complete and fascinating - and accurate - text.
Unusual tales of this sort are not often found anywhere but on NPR and especially on All Things Considered, which manages to somehow do the impossible: to make programs both terribly interesting and educational, as well. We at Nippies consider NPR a national treasure, and listen to it, as well as the local public radio station, nearly every day.
Here's news for Martha Stewart watchers!
In the latest issue of Star (December 17th, 2002), there is a small item on page 8 that really caught Nippies' eye! (No, we didn't buy Star...it was passed on to us after a quick once-over by a friend). Meryl Streep, according to the Star, is thinking over a deal to portray the queen of domesticity, Martha Stewart, in a TV movie for NBC. The Star states that Meryl seems interested - with qualifications: she doesn't want the movie to turn out to be a "hatchet job"...Star's quote, not Meryl's...
Update: there are now reports that Cybill Shepherd is also being considered to play the role of Martha Stewart in a movie...we'll keep you posted! **********************************************************************************
Is it just us? We at Nippies recognize that Jennifer Lopez is a very pretty woman who also has singing and acting talent. But we secretely suspect that there must be at least a hundred equally beautiful and talented unknown actress-singers hanging around Hollywood just waiting for their lucky break. It's only our opinion, but we at Nippies think that the extreme overexposure accorded to J. LO (try making it through a day without at least one encounter with a photo, article, or news report on Jennifer Lopez) is a prime example of how the powers-that-be in Hollywood can actually manufacture SuperStarS when they set their collective minds to the task.
We at Nippies especially don't understand all the hoopla about her engagement to Ben Affleck. Wasn't she just married last year to choreographer Cris Judd? And, according to her biography on imdb.com, she was married in 1997 (the marriage lasted one year) to someone named Ojani Noa. It's hard for us to feel all mushy and romantic about someone who appears to fall in and out of love so easily.
By the way, we at Nippies were wondering...if Jennifer Lopez is "J. Lo", shouldn't we refer to Jennifer Love Hewitt as "J. Lo Who"??