Welcome to Issue 8 of Nippies on-line magazine!
Here you can read articles which were previously posted from March 10th, 2003 to February 3rd, 2003 in Nippies

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March 10th, 2003

Having trouble with your insurance claim?

Do you think your insurance company is acting in "bad faith"? Check out this list:

http://www.badfaithinsurance.org/indexdetaillist.html (copy and paste)

While Nippies cannot vouch for nor verify the accuracy of the list, we can say that, for the most part, we concur strongly with the findings. Nippies has had nightmarish experiences with several insurance companies, and most of these insurance companies are listed somewhere in the top ten of this list of "bad faith" insurance companies.

What does "bad faith" mean in regards to insurance claims and insurance companies? It means, simply put, that the insurance company tries to wiggle out of paying your rightful claim for compensation.

What, you may be wondering, are some of the tricks that have been pulled on Nippies by insurance companies? The first one that comes to mind is when we were 8 months pregnant and got broadsided by a speeding driver (who admitted he was speeding to us, but not to the police officer who responded to the call). The driver had a record of accidents due to reckless driving, and was carrying "high risk insurance" as a result of his poor driving record. Unfortunately, Nippies had an insurance carrier (one of those on the bad faith list) who not only did not investigate the accident, but allowed Nippies to be blamed for it because, as one attorney-friend later told us, it saved them a lot of money in case our baby was harmed during the accident (thankfully, she was not) or in case our young son had injuries (he did) which would be long-lasting. (Our son still suffers from migraines, many years later, because of the whiplash he suffered during the accident).

Another insurance company on that list tried to separate Mr. Nippies from his life insurance policy, which he'd had for over a decade, by pretending they thought he was eighty-years-old! Dozens of phone calls and letters did not remedy the situation. During the phone calls Nippies was assured that the "misunderstanding" was being corrected and our bill for that year's premium was going out "the next day". No bill every arrived. Letters were ignored. Nippies.com had to write to the President of this particular insurance company AND the state attorney general, along with sending them all the copies of documentation of our many attempts to clear up the situation and a check for the total amount due for the premium, before we were allowed to pay for the policy only one day before it would have lapsed forever.

The third company we had problems with is also on the list. They were the insurers of the high risk insurance driver who hit us in the first example. Because we were not aware, at the time, of the dirty tricks that insurance companies are capable of, Nippies not only willingly spoke to the rep of the "other driver's" insurance company the day after the accident and gave permission for them to record our conversation (because Nippies.com insurance carrier had not advised us otherwise, as they should have), but explained where we were driving our young son to when the accident occured. It happened to be basketball camp. BINGO! The other driver's insurance company rep stopped the tape recorder as soon as they got that little piece of information because, obviously, they were going to blame his whiplash on basketball camp. "Wait, don't you want to hear about the accident??", we at Nippies asked? "No thank you, we have enough information", we were told. Never mind that the kid had a headache during the entire first day of camp and didn't participate - they didn't want to hear about that! (Our son claimed to be fine right after the accident because he was so excited about going to camp).

Nippies.com won't bore you with the other stories. There are a few. Nippies was too naive to retain an attorney in the old days, which are long gone.

We will leave you with some advice: be very careful with how you choose insurance companies. More importantly, if you are injured and have a legitimate claim, be extremely careful to document all evidence of the accident with photos, statements from witnesses, etc. It is also wise to refuse to speak to the opposing insurance carrier (they have a way of twisting things in their favor), and, most importantly, get a good lawyer if you think you are seriously injured. And by "good lawyer" we don't necessarily mean the ones who advertise big-time on television, in newspapers, or in the phone book. Ask around.

Here is another web page which Nippies found very interesting. The main page is called "Screwed by Insurance" and the page below, from the SCREWEDBYINSURANCE.com web site, contains a list of related links:

http://screwedbyinsurance.com/links.html (copy and paste)

Again, Nippies cannot vouch for the veracity or accuracy of any of the URLS mentioned in the above entry. And please read the "Terms of Service" that these URLS have on their sites!


March 9th, 2003

Try this! from Highlights for Children

We ordered Highlights for Children for our little one, who is eight-years-old. She loves this magazine which, obviously, is tailored for the young. There are stories, hidden pictures games (our favorite feature), and many, many other interesting games and articles for pre-teen children.

The most recent issue had a physical challenge which dictated first lifting your right leg while keeping the knee bent. You were then instructed to make a clockwise circle with the right foot while trying to write a "6" with your right hand. Nippies doesn''t know about you, but we failed the test. While we had no problem making the clockwise circles with our right foot, when we went to make the "6", the foot immediately goes off kilter. No one else in the Nippies household could accomplish the two tasks simultaneously, either.

Try it! It's a fascinating experiment. Nippies staff doesn't know how this would work for left handed people. Let Nippies know what you find out.


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March 8th, 2003

Dred Scott Decision Anniversary

146 years ago this week, the Dred Scott Decision was handed down by the United States Supreme Court.

Judge Roger B. Taney, a former slame owner from Maryland, wrote the decision. Seven out of nine U.S. Supreme Court judges voted that Dred Scott, a former slave who had lived a number of years on the free land of Illinois and Wisconsin, should lose his bid for freedom and citizenship.

How could this injustice have happened? The Dred Scott v Sanford case is just another example just how far the pendulum of justice can swing to the right and the left. With this in mind, we at Nippies will be watching and listening when the constitutionality of whether the phrase "under God" will be decided by the Supreme Court.

A wonderful source of information on the Dred Scott Decision, as well as other important subjects from our country's history, can be found at www.historyplace.com

Here is the URL which will take you directly to a synopsis of The Dred Scott Decision: (copy and paste) http://www.historyplace.com/lincoln/dred.htm

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Suddenly Everything's Coming Up Norah

We at Nippies know that we all know that Norah Jones flew away with eight Grammy Awards out of eight nominations. But did you know that the sales of her CD spiked tremendously during the week following the Grammys? Fueled by the tremendous Grammy sweep, over 600,000 copies of Fly Away were sold in a seven day period, setting a record. What a talent!

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The "Sure-Kill"

Traffic going into Philadelphia is unusually heavy this evening, for those who are interested! Mr. Nippies, who is in Philly tonight, called from his cell phone a little while ago to report that he was tied up on the Schuylkill(which we unaffectionately call the "Sure-Kill". The trip to Philadelphia from our humble abode normally takes less than two hours. Tonight, it took nearly four hours.


March 6th, 2003

Nippies Commercial watch: Dentyne Ice!

You know the commercial where the girl with the short, dark hair and the guy with the long, dark hair bump into each other while she's boarding the subway? We at Nippies recently saw that commercial and have a comment. But first, let Nippies give you a synopsis:

Instant animal magnetism takes place between the pair, Nippies wants to report, but alas! the subway door closes and the lust-struck couple are separated. The girl goes to the subway car window and stares out longingly as the guy watches with equal longing. But a bright idea pops into her head! The girl pops a piece of Dentyne Ice into her mouth and "frosts" the window (here, Nippies asks you to suspend belief) with her icy cool breath. The frosty window enables her to write her phone number, 555-1708, backwards on the window. But the guy doesn't have any paper with him! He looks dismayed. But several other guys do have a pen and paper handy and quickly whip them out and write down the beauty's number.

Nippies staff thinks the viewer of the commercial is supposed to feel sorry for the guy - and possibly the girl -because now he's lost her forever and the other, better prepared guys have her telephone number.

Nippies has a different view on that commercial: the girl with the frosty breath should thank her lucky stars that this guy didn't have a pen and pencil handy. If he wasn't smart enough to memorize a seven-digit phone number that she was bright enough to be able to write backwards, they would not be a good match, intellectually speaking.

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Good Day Live on FOX...it's an interesting show.

Nippies has never seen the show before today, but it caught our interest. The show is based on the long-running and highly successful, Good Day LA

Jillian Barberie, Dorothy Lucey, and Steve Edwards host the show which, Nippies has learned, went national earlier this year. Nippies isn't familiar with the trio of hosts, but they are quite well known in the entertainment/gossip industry, from the information we've gathered.. Good Day Live is an entertainment and gossip show.

Nippies happened to surf into the show when Ryan Seacrest, the American Idol regular, was commenting on how terrified he is about turning 30. The guy is only about 28.

If Ryan Seacrest's fear doesn't speak volumes about how Hollywood worships youth, what does??

Also caught the tail end of a gossip item on Jude Law. Jude and his wife, Sadie Frost, have recently separated. Good Day Live said they've heard that Jude won't be attending the Oscars.

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Eternal Youth

Does Susan Lucci ever change??

Quick...it's a little after 9am and we just tuned into Live with Regis and Kelly, and Susan Lucci is co-hosting for today. This lady hasn't changed since we at Nippies first saw her, on All My Children, in very early 1972. It's just so amazing. We at Nippies don't know if Susan Lucci has had plastic surgery or not, but if she hasn't, well, we'd like to know her secret. And if she's had plastic surgery, we at Nippies would like to know who did the work so we can pass on the genius's name! (No, we aren't interested, but our readers are).


March 3rd, 2003

Chris Judd Nationality?

Most Jennifer Lopez fans know that Chris Judd, a dancer, was married to "J Lo" last year pre-Ben Affleck. However, what everyone seems to want to know is "What is Chris Judd's nationality?"

We at Nippies have gotten many, many inquiries about the natioality of Chris Judd, and have scoured the internet looking for an answer for our readers. However, Nippies has come up empty handed.

We at Nippies don't know why this is such an important issue to some, but it is. So, if you have the answer, please write to us and we'll pass on the information. Please include your source and be sure to follow our e-mail policy, which is clearly explained at the top of this page. Thank you from Nippies.com


March 2nd, 2003

Plastic Surgery Informer

We at Nippies have found an interesting page, and it's called Plastic People Page". The author has an index of celebrities and their "before" and "after" photos - before and after plastic or cosmetic surgery, that is.

We at Nippies cannot vouch for the veracity of these allegations, but it is an interesting page with interesting links. For those who like to know about these things, go to this URL:

http://www.geocities.com/Hollywood/7990/plastic.html (copy and paste)


March 1st, 2003 Tough Time To Be A Catholic Man Of The Cloth

Sad news about the state of our country: While watching EWTN (Eternal Word Television Network - the Catholic network founded by Mother Angelica), we at Nippies heard a priest reveal that there is so much concern in the Catholic Church about false accusations against priests that one parish (there are probably, unofficially, many more) has made a rule that the priests cannot even so much as straighten the cassock (white gown) of an altar boy before Mass should he notice it is crooked.

As we at Nippies have said before, we have been Catholic all our lives. We attended Catholic grade school, high school and college. Our son was and still is an altar boy (nine years total). And not once have we ever witnessed, heard spoken of, or even heard a hint of rumor that any priest we even knew ever inappropriately touched a child we knew.

No doubt some of these horrendous accusations are true because priests are human like the rest of us. There is bound to be, as in the general population, a certain percentage of sexual deviants. And, in those instances, we would like to see proper and serious punishment. But we at Nippies do not believe that the majority of the recent accusations are true.

Not many people realize the years of study, discipline and high level of intellect it takes to become a priest. These men could have easily gone into other, far more lucrative professions. Sure, there are going to be sexual predators who make it into the priesthood. They should be ferreted out and punished to the full extent of the law. They are monsters. But the vast majority of these men who become priests, we at Nippies firmly believe, chose their calling in life with the right intentions and with a great deal of personal sacrifice and selfless love for mankind.

Unfortunately, where there is money to be made in a law suit, there will be false accusations. To think otherwise is to lack common sense.

Recently, we at Nippies and one of our children had occasion to hug a parish priest we've known for a long time. Many priests, for reasons mentioned above, no longer initiate any physical contact of any sort with parishioners and most especially with children. The priest seemed so touched by the trust we exhibited with that small show of affection that it brought a tear to his eye.

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Roald Dahl: The Twits

We at Nippies make regular trips to a large public library. This particular library is a considerable distance from our home, but we go there because we love the old-fashioned atmosphere (complete with stacks) and because the selection of books is quite impressive.

However, recently we were too busy to make the trip in time to return a huge stack of books that were soon-to-be-overdue. So, Mr. Nippies made the trip for us. With him was our little one.

We gave Mr. Nippies our library card and instructions on what to do. One of those instructions was to pick out some books from the mystery section for us, and to supervise our little girl in her selection of books from the children's section. Mr. Nippies accomplished both tasks without error.

One of the children's books that Mr. Nippies and our little one came home with was The Twits, by Roald Dahl. If you are not familiar with Roald Dahl, let Nippies refresh your memory. Mr. Dahl wrote Matilda, the Danny DeVito movie and our daughter's all-time favorite film, James and the Giant Peach, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, all of which were later made into very successful movies. (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory became Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory for the movie version, but Roald Dahl did work the screenplay for the 1971 movie, which starred Gene Wilder as "Willy Wonka".)

Anywho, back to The Twits. Each night we read aloud to our little one. Normally, we have her choose from the dozen or so library books that she's brought home. The other night the selected book was The Twits. This book, with black-and-white ink illustrations on each page, is unique and amazing. Is it a children's book? Or an adult's book? Hard to tell. It appealed to both myself and our little one. The drawings surely captivate the younger set, but the dry humor also appeals to the more mature reader.

We at Nippies were captivated from the first page by the condescending and suspicious attitude of the author about people who wear full beards. That would be Mr. Twit. The author wonders what Mr. Twit has to hide. Mr. Twit's wife was also the victim of the author's disdain. Mrs. Twit is ugly not because of her false eye, large nose, crooked teeth or other less than appealing physical characteristics, but because all her life she thought ugly thoughts. Roald Dahl assures the reader that even with less-than-perfect and, indeed, even glaringly imperfect features, one can still be attractive if all one's life one has had nice thoughts. The nice thoughts will come through the face like "sunbeams". But ugly thoughts, according to Roald Dahl, eventually fashion one's features into a deservedly ugly face.

The story takes off from there. Mr. Twit and Mrs. Twit are bound together only by their mutually evil personalities. They often pull horrible tricks on each other, such as the time Mrs. Twit puts her glass eye in the bottom of Mr. Twit's beer mug or the time Mr. Twit convinces Mrs. Twit she has a terminal case of the "shrinks" after he adds a piece of wood the size of a penny to her cane on many successive nights.

We at Nippies were fascinated by this little book and read on long after our little one had made the trip to dreamland. The whole book takes less than 30 minutes to read, and we often chuckled aloud in the silent bedroom. (We hope we didn't give our little one nightmares).

If you aren't familiar with Roald Dahl, it might be worth a trip to your local library or book store to pick up some of his work. You might want to start with one of his books of short stories.

By the way, Roald Dahl was married many years to the famous actress, Patricia Neal. The couple met at a dinner party in New York not very long after the end of her ill-fated affair with the married movie star, Gary Cooper. Mr. Dahl was the one who nursed Patricia back from her near fatal series of strokes in 1965. Sadly, they divorced in 1983 after five children and thirty years of marriage.

Roald Dahl, born of Norwegian descent in 1916 in Wales, died at age 74 in 1990. His many works live on, however.

You can find a good deal of information about Roald Dahl and his life and works at www.RoaldDahlFans.com (copy and paste)


February 28th, 2003

"Under God" Decision Upheld

A sad day for America: The 9th District Court (San Francisco) has upheld it's decision that the phrase "Under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance is unconstitutional. No doubt, the case will now procede to the United States Supreme Court.

As Nippies heard one pundit ask, does this make sense? The pundit went on to say that on the day after the U.S. Constitution was completed, a special request by the authors and signers of the U.S. Constitution was sent to George Washington asking that a national day of Thanksgiving and prayer (to God) be made official. It was.

Our country has never needed to be "under God" more than it does now. Yet here we are, trying to remove God from our country. To Nippies, this does not make sense at all.

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Nippies Courage Award: Hussain Al-Shahrastani

If you were watching American Morning with Paula Zahn this morning, as were we at Nippies, you saw the very courageous former Iraqi scientist and head of Saddam Hussein's atomic program during the 1970's, Hussain Al-Shahristani.

Mr. Al-Shahristani turned down Saddam Hussein's order, in 1979, to help in the construction of nuclear weapons. For that defiance, Nippies has learned, Al-Shahristani was imprisoned and tortured for a period of nearly 12 years. He escaped Iraq in 1991 and now helps those opposed to Iraq's blood-thirsty dictator.

Hussain Al-Shahristani told Paula Zahn that even back in 1991, there was an elaborate system of underground tunnels all over Baghdad. He said the tunnel system contained large caches of biological and chemical weapons, and that there was an elite guard of over 1000 Iraqi soldiers assigned to guarding the tunnel system. When asked why the U.N. inspectors could not find an entry to the biological and chemical underground cache today, Hussain Al-Shahristani said his sources have found out that many of the original insiders with knowledge of this tunned system were "taken out" of Iraq (Nippies can only imagine what that means), and that only Saddam's most trusted insiders are now savvy to the tunnel system.

This man has no reason to lie about the danger Saddam Hussein poses to any person or any nation who doesn't obey his dictates. Al-Shahristani may have escaped Iraq, but surely he knows that he puts himself (and possibly any family left behind) at risk by going on national television and revealing such horrendous truths about Saddam Hussein, his former boss. Given the large quantity of weapons of mass destruction that Saddam Hussein had back in 1991, you can only imagine what he has amassed today. And, according to Hussain Al-Shahristani, he believes the tunnel system is even more elaborate today...possibly "multi-level".

And what will Saddam Hussein do with these biological and chemical weapons that he has tucked away in the bowels of Baghdad? We at Nippies fear he plans on using them on our American soldiers should an official war break out.

In his twisted mind, Saddam Hussein most likely views the very popuplar anti-war movement which is sweeping America and Europe as admiration for himself. He thinks he is fooling the world. We at Nippies believe he could not be more wrong. We at Nippies really believe that the world at large knows what an evil, evil man Saddan Hussein is. The anti-war movement is not about admiration for Saddam Hussein, or true disapproval of George Bush, but much more about not wanting to tangle with a man with no conscience.This would not be a conventional war. We don't want our sons, brothers, nephews, neighbors over there in Iraq where there will not be a war fought, but a cache of biological and chemical toxins unleashed on these soldiers. It would be a slaughter.

After hearing Hussain Al-Shahristani speak, we at Nippies believe it is even more reason to bring the boys home and spend our manpower on protecting our homeland. Saddam Hussein has tweaked President Bush's nose, and is sitting back and enjoying all the anti-war sentiment. We at Nippies believe our greatest danger is here, at home. There will undoubtedly be more terroristic attacks which cannot be directly traced to any one country. If we are the first to strike, the Butcher of Baghdad will gather even more sympathy for Iraq from the world at large. There will be practically no support for our cause. The lives lost will be wasted.

Please, President Bush. Bring the soldiers home. And send some long handled shovels, as well as some sonar equipment, over to Irag. Hans Blix and his crew could use them.

Here is the URL for a recent news story on Hussain Al-Shahristani, entitled Hussein a "Grave Danger"...:

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,78875,00.html (copy and paste)

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Forbes List of the Richest: Bill Gates tops the list, but, and this is no surprise but is exciting news - Oprah Winfrey is now one of the world's richest people.

Congratulations from Nippies.com to Oprah Winfrey, who is the first African-American woman to make the coveted (by some) list of billionaires. Oprah's extremely humble beginnings make her accomplishments even more amazing.

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Were you one of the lucky 25,000,000 Americans who tuned in to watch My Big Fat Greek Life on Monday night? Unfortunately, we at Nippies.com were not. But we did rent the movie - My Big Fat Greek Wedding - on which the television series is based - over the week-end. Nippies and our daughter watched it several times....right up until the deadline to return the VHS tape was only a few minutes away. (All the DVDs were rented out, by the way).

Nippies.com LOVED My Big Fat Greek Wedding. (Thanks, Annie, for recommending this movie to Nippies!) No...we have no Greek heritage, but do have a few Greek relatives. It's an original movie (Rita Wilson and Tom Hanks are two of the producers) and stands on it's own merit. But it is reminescent of Moonstruck and dCrossing Delancey in that it uses ethnic eccentricities (along with tremendous family warmth and love) as it's basic ingredient.

If you haven't rented or seen the movie, don't miss the next opportunity to rent My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Nia Vardalos, who played the main character "Toula" and who, most importantly wrote the screenplay, is, in real life, married to her own "Ian". And yes, she did get married in a Greek Orthodox Church, proving, once again, that the best and most humorous stories are those drawn from real life!

By the way, Nia was paid only $150,000 to act in My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Rita Wilson, who herself is half-Greek and who is also Tom Hank's wife, saw the play and convinced her supportive hubby to help her produce the movie. The movie opened in very limited theatres and was not expected to be the huge box-office smash that it turned out to be. The key to the movie's success was the best of all promotion tools - the human mouth! (Thanks again, Annie).

About the series: the majority the original, movie cast members of MBFGW are in My Big Fat Greek Life (the television series) except for John Corbett, who played "Ian" in the movie, and Gia Carides, who played cousin "Nikki". (Steven Eckholdt now portrays "Ian".) But the inimitable Lainie Kazan and Michael Constantine (the principal from Room 222), who played the Greek parents of "Toula" in the movie, are in the television cast. This hilarious pair are definitely not-replaceable! Andrea Martin, as "Aunt Voula", also did a wonderful job with her role in the movie and will join the television series' cast.


February 27th, 2003:

Are you being served?

For anyone who is a fan of the wonderful British Comedy, which ran on British television from 1972-1985, you will be happy to know that most of the main characters of Are You Being Served are alive and well, even tho most of them are now getting on in years. (But as we at Nippies say, aren't we all?)

Our local PBS station recently played host to the inimitable Mollie Sugden, who played "Mrs. Slocombe" on the show during it's 13 year run. PBS is Celebrating Mollie Sugden, and it's a celebration well deserved!

Of course you remember Mrs. Slocombe from Are You Being Served! She was the 50-ish sales-clerk (ladies' intimate apparel) who had a twinkle in her eye and who had a different hair-color each week...pink, blue, yellow, lavender and every other color imaginable. Gosh, she was sooooo funny!! Mrs. Slocombe also loved to talk about her "pussy"...er, her cat!

Mollie Sugden, who will turn 81 this July, looks just wonderful. She looks even better and jollier than she did during the show's hay day! Mollie Sugden graciously travelled to our area to help raise funds for public television. She seemed to be having a wonderful time during the interview. And, of course, everyone at the station just loved her. Mollie lives in "semi-retirement" in rural England, where she recently played host to a crew from the PBS. She delighted the crew with her homemade lemon meringue pies and cheesecakes, as well as other confections.

If you have never seen Are You Being Served?, you really must. Frenk Thornton (Captain Peacock), John Inman (Mr. Humphries), Trevor Bannister (Mr. Lucas), Wendy Richard (Miss Brahms) and Nicholas Smith (Mr. Rumbold), along with a few others, made up the rest of this original, hilarious cast of the long-running Are You Being Served?

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We at Nippies have been very busy taking care of personal as well as business business, but we just had to stop in and say our piece about Fred "Mr. Rogers" Rogers.

This will be short, with more later. But we at Nippies were shocked and very upset at the news of his passing at age 74. He was a "good one", and so beloved in our household. Mr. Rogers was the last face our son, now 18, used to see on the television before we left the house to take him to his earliest days of school. Our son, who shared the same first name with Fred Rogers, adored the show. So did we.

Fred Rogers was original, caring, loving, devoted, intelligent, and "genuinely kind", according to those who knew him best. He was born into a wealthy family but wealth never influenced what he did. He did what he loved -entertained children - and did it amazingly well without silliness or pretense. He treated children with respect while at the same time letting them be the little innocent souls that they all are.

Mr. Rogers combined learning of the finest type with make-believe. It wasn't an easy task, but Fred Rogers did it for over three decades. How do they make crayons? Mr. Rogers took you to the Crayola factory to find out. How do they make pizza? Yep, a trip to a pizzeria was also on the show. You name it, he took you there.

We at Nippies could go on and on, and perhaps - at another time - we will. But for now, we'd just like to say something, even if it's anemic, about the passing of this wonderful human being who made our world a little kinder, a little warmer, and just a little nicer place to be. Our sympathy to his wife, Joann(a concert pianist) and his grown sons and two grandchildren.

The importance of this modest man was obvious tonight when both Larry King and Aaron Brown of CNN took time to paid tribute to Fred Rogers. Larry King seemed to have a tear in his eye -something you don't see every day - as he said about Fred Rogers' passing..."the neighborhood ain't gonna be the same."

Good night, Mr. Rogers...


February 23rd, 2003

Legal does not necessarily mean moral. In fact, all too often, the two concepts are light-years apart, we at Nippies have observed.

The Anti-Cybersquatting Consumer Protecton Act of 1999, which passed the Senate unanimously after it was introduced by Spencer Abraham in 1999, was designed to protect trademark owners from those who would register a domain identical or confusingly similar to popular trademarks. These people, who registered domain names in "bad faith", were derogatorily labelled CYBERSQUATTERS by corporations and lawyers representing the corporate interests.

The good old boys in the Senate couldn't act fast enough to protect their fat-cat corporate buddies from the big, bad cybersquatters. Whoosh! The Anti-Cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act went sailing right through the Senate with nary an objection! Hey, lobbying pays off, doesn't it? Especially when you have a lot of money and/or are a big corporation. So, the end of domain name cybersquatting came about with the 1999 law. Fines for cybersquatting domain names were up to $100,000.00

Alas, the loophole in the Anti-Cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act that was left open for greedy corporations and individuals to come along and legally steal domain names from non-trademark owners is about 500 feet tall. The tactic is called REVERSE DOMAIN NAME HIJACKING.

How does reverse domain name hijacking work? We at Nippies have found out for you...

Let's say you are a wealthy individual or corporation. You want a .com version of a domain name, even though you have no business connected with the name, but upon checking the whois index you see the domain name is already taken. What do you now do? Being the savvy individual that you are, you check with the U.S. Trademark office to see if any one has filed a trademark application for the name. They haven't? Wow!! You make up a product or service and file an ITU Trademark application! ITU stands for Intend-To-Use. This is the beginning of the process of legally stealing someone else's domain name.

The application costs $350.00, but that's no problem for many wealthy people. It helps if you have a big-shot, tough-guy intellectual property lawyer handling your case to smooth out any snags and help you through the trademark process. You might also want to buy the .net or .org version of the domain name and put up a simple starter page to make it look like you are legitimately interested in using the domain name. Put "Coming Soon" on the page as a way of explaining why you don't really have a product to sell yet.

Now, you don't have any product to sell using the new domain name, but you dreamed one up to put on your trademark application. You might even contact the .com owner and try to get them to sell you the name they legitimately own. Hey, keep a record of that correspondance because it might come in handy later: if the .com owner is naive enough to offer to sell you the name, you might be able to use that correspondence later on as one of the conditions of "bad faith" use of the domain name.

This sleazy tactic of attempting to take domain names away from the "little people" who don't know enough to apply for a trademark, who don't think they should have to apply for a trademark to protect what is legitimately theirs, or who can't afford the potentially expensive trademark process is becoming quite popular, Nippies has learned. And it's not moral, in the Nippies book, even though sometimes it is legal.

Two recent cases, and there are many, of reverse domain name hijacking which backfired on the complaintant were when there was an attempt to take America.com and Tobacco.com away from the domain name owner. You can read more about these two cases here:

http://www.tobacco.com/attempted-hijacking/

Be sure to click on the link entitled "How to Reverse-Hijack a Generic Domain Name" which you will find on the above page.

Now that you know about this injustice, don't you want to write to your Senator or Representative to tell them you think this loophole in the Anti-Cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act of 1999 should be permanently plugged up by adding an amendment that exempts and protects those who already own domain names which predate ITU Trademark applications? Please do so. Nippies urges you to fight injustice wherever you see it. Use the link at the top of the Nippies.com page to find your Senator or Represenative.


February 22nd, 2003

Nippies is back.... sort of. Thank you for all the e-mail inquiries asking how we were doing. Yes, we did have the flu. But that didn't hold us up for long. Doing the 2002 federal income tax prep is what kept us away from the keyboard.

Smart people do their taxes as the year goes along. Not us. My husband is self-employed, and that means lots of travel, hotels, and thousands of receipts. Which he stuffs in a bag and doesn't organize. He leaves that nice little job for Nippies!

This year we at Nippies found ourselves with the horrible task of facing mountains of receipts that had to each be individually listed under the appropriate category so that H&R Block could tally up the score for us. After an hour of sorting through these little receipts, and alterantely cussing and pulling out our hair, we decided that Mr. Nippies wasn't getting away with non-participation. After all, he generates most of the work!

So, we made a duplicate set of sheets, handed him half the batch of receipts, and set him to work. He was a good boy and did as he was told. Although we at Nippies are sure he didn't like it.

Three days later, we at Nippies completed the task we had set out to do. And wonder, as we do every year, how it is possible to spend as much as Mr. Nippies spends. It must be a lot of work.

So, there you have it. We have only to run to see our regular tax preparer at H&R Block, have her tally up the total, and we at Nippies will see what we owe.

If you haven't started your taxes, don't put them off too long. Unfortunately, they do not go away. And good luck.


February 16th, 2003

We at Nippies are currently battling the flu. Yes, we are human!

Prior to getting hit with the nasty bug, our children were also down with the same malady. Nippies will return when all is well again. In the meantime, keep checking back!


February 13th, 2003

Don Imus and Phil Donahue:

Today on Don Imus, the I-man mentioned that the people from Phil Donahue's show have been calling his offices in an attempt to have Imus come on the show. Don Imus stated that his offices don't even return the phone calls to Phil Donahue's people. We at Nippies wouldn't be too proud of that, Mr. Imus!

There is just no excuse for rudeness. And, in our opinion, that seems rather rude. In all fairness, however, Imus did say he thinks Phil Donahue is a "nice" guy. But he feels that Donahue couldn't possibly believe the things he says.

Why now? It takes all kinds, Don, to make the world go round.

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On National Public Radio yesterday:

College students in Lycoming, Pennsylvania held a symposium this week. The subject: the impending war with Iraq. The purpose of the symposium was to inform students of the facts with regard to the very troubled relationship between the government of the United States and that of Saddam Hussein, Iraq's dictator.

It seems that many students not only in Lycoming, but also across the United States, did not,initially, understand the very precarious situation we as a country are now in and just how close the United States is to war with Iraq. The student spokesperson said many college age students thought that because Iraq is so very far away, how could the United States be in danger? Lately, however, the truth has been dawning on many of these students - especially the male students. Some male students have been making tearful calls to their parents and guardians with concerns about the resurrection of The Draft and how it may effect them.

On a related note, and also mentioned on National Public Radio, funding for financial aid to state colleges and private colleges and institutions of higher learning has been cut back in many states. Draconian cuts (there's that word again) have been made in some instances. This trend is alarming because there has also been a significant rise in tuition rates.

There have been hikes in college tuition as high as 24% (Massachusetts).

With concerns of the resurrection of The Draft, despite recent assurances from Donald Rumsfeld that there are no immediate plans to bring back the dreaded lottery, this news brings new worries to college-aged young men. What if The Draft is brought back but there are college deferrments as there once were? How fair would that be to potential college students who are not quite bright enough to win scholarships but who cannot afford the rising tuitions?


February 11th, 2003

A Must Watch: Tonight on MSNBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw-

there will be a story about Canada's health care system. Health care in Canada is free. Prescription drugs are 40 - 90% cheaper.

Can Canada's system work in the United States?

In light of the soaring cost of prescription drugs and health insurance coverage, unhappy doctors (a la the "medical malpractice crisis"), and the millions of Americans who are now without health insurance in the U.S., it's time to take a closer look at how Canada takes care of all these problems.

Check your local listings. Something must be done in the U.S. to fix our terminally ill health care system!

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"Dr. Germ": At least she's honest...

Many of you may remember a cover story on the New York Post a year or two ago. It was about "Dr. Germ", or Rihab Taha, as she is formally known in her native Iraq.

Rihab "Dr. Germ" Taha went to Norwich, England, on a student visa, where she earned a PhD from the University of East Anglia. Dr. Taha studied biology intensely, focusing on infectious disease. Then, armed with knowledge she gained there, she returned home to Iraq. She is now the Iraqi scientist dubbed "Dr. Germ" because she is the one who is the mastermind behind Saddam Hussein's bio-weapons program.

In the New York Post yesterday, in a very small, easy-to-miss article in the lower right hand corner of page 5 - the same page as Steve Dunleavy's cover story - the story from Post Wire Services related how Rihab Taha claims that Iraq was justified in producing germ weapons to "defend" itself.

The Post Wire Service gathered the information from an interview published on January 9th and goes on to say that "Dr. Germ" admits she compiled the biological section of Iraq's recent weapons declaration and describes it as "honest".

As we at Nippies remember it, when the 11,000 page Iraqi report on biological and nuclear weapons came out a couple of months ago, officials and pundits in the U.S. weren't as concerned about how true the contents of the report was as much as they were concerned about what was being omitted from the report.

Yep. At least "Dr. Germ" is honest. *********************************************************************************

Nippies could choose to write about the Academy Award nominations that were announced last night in Hollywood. And we will, later. But today there is more pressing and compelling news...

There was a cover story on the New York Post yesterday entitled:

SACRIFICE:They died for France but Frence has forgotten

The accompanying story, by Steve Dunleavy, who was writing from Normandy, France, went on to say in the opening lines:

"As I gaze out at this cemetery - the final resting place of nearly 10,000 American kids who made the ultimate sacrifice to save France from Hitler - my heart fills with rage. Where are the French now, as Americans prepare to put their soldiers on the line to fight today's Hitler, Saddam Hussein?"

There is, on page 4, a photo (by Tamara Beckwith) of Steve Dunleavy as he strolls among U.S. soldier's graves at the American Cemetery near Omaha Beach this past weekend.

Steve's story included a poignant quote from Caroline Buck, whose father, at age 17, joined the Merchant Marines during World War II, and whose father-in-law flew over France against the Germans in planes nicknamed "The Black Widows" because they flew at night. Mrs. Buck made a very good point when she said, in reference to the 10,000 graves as well as to the soldiers who fought and survived, that "...if it wasn't for them, the French might have ended up speaking German."

The article by Steve Dunleavy goes on to illustrate that there is growing anti-American sentiment in France. Jessica Silverman, a student from George Washington University who is studying in France, told Dunleavy that "Nothing has happened to me, but we have been told...if we face any kind of a threat, we should say we're Canadians, not Americans."

Can you believe it??

We at Nippies have a right to be very disturbed and angered at the French anti-American sentiment, even though we ourselves want Bush to hold back on taking the first strike at Saddam Hussein without U.N. backing. We do not want our son and his friends to be subjected to the horrors of war. Our family has already paid the price of war.

My father was shot during the Normandy Invasion. A good portion of his stomach was blown away. He was given a death sentence at a military hospital in Valley Forge, PA as his his 180 pound frame wasted away to less than 100 pounds. But through the prayers of many loving friends and family members and through his own determination and the determined and expert care of military doctors and nurses, my father managed to get well enough, after 18 months, to resume his life away from the tethers of an army hospital. Yet Dad was never the same carefree young man who boarded a train sometime in 1943, along with some of his childhood pals, and who waved proudly to tearful family members as he headed off to serve his country.

There were residual physical problems: one leg was shorter than the other because his hip bone had been partially shattered when he was shot by a German soldier. (One of the ironies of this is that both of my father's paternal grandparents had immigrated from Germany and Dad's last name was noticeably German...war sometimes means unknown cousins shooting at unknown cousins). More surgery resulted, in later years, for a problem with osteoporosis of the hip bone. He could not eat certain foods because a significant portion of his intestine had to be removed and a resection performed. He had a temporary colostomy for many months as his wounds healed. (I remember Dad was, on rare occasions, thank God, in so much pain from trapped gas in his intestine that he would lay down on the floor in pain.) He had schrapnel in his skull which could not be removed. There was always just a hint of melancholy behind my father's smile, and sometimes I detected a haunted look when a reference to the war was made in his presence.

Dad was given a job with the U.S. Postal Service as a reward, we at Nippies suppose, for having been in the service and wounded so badly. But he was assigned to a job which necessitated having to lift heavy mail bags. Of course he wasn't able to do the job. He had to quit because no desk job or position of less physical labor was offered to him as an alternative.

My father was, by this time, married with two children. A group of Democrats in our city, knowing that my Dad was known as a "war hero", asked him to run for "City Controller" in the small town where we lived. The Democrats knew the warm and fuzzy post-war sentiment which still prevailed amongst the town's residents would earn the war hero enough votes to unseat the Republican candidate, who, we at Nippies believe, had not served in the military during WWII. The politicians were right. Dad won the election and became City Controller - a big fish in a little pond. But after his two years were up, this group of men discarded my father and used their influence to put another, whom they could better control, into the position. Dad was again without a job. But not without a family to support. He changed to the Republican party shortly after that experience and never looked back.

Eventually my father landed another government job but which never paid him more than $5000 a year. As you can imagine, we were far from wealthy growing up because he was supporting a family of six. The Purple Heart he received was nice, but it didn't pay the bills. So my father drove 45 minutes each way to his low paying government job for nearly 25 years until the government finally recognized that many of his chronic physical problems were due to the near-fatal wounds he received on that fateful day - we at Nippies cannot tell you exactly what day because Dad rarely spoke about the actual shooting - on the beaches of Normandy, France.

We at Nippies can understand that France and Germany want to make sure that war with Iraq is an absolute last resort. We agree with that philosophy. But it's the anti-American sentiment being expressed in France (and Germany) that has us so very upset. France has no excuse. Germany has been our enemy in the past not once, but twice - in WWI and WWII.

To catch a glimpse of what the American Red Cross contributed in services and money during WWI alone, copy and paste this URL:

http://www.redcross.org/museum/ww1a.html

For a fascinating overview of WWI, please copy and paste below. Many Americans, Nippies included, have a limited knowledge of the machinations of this war. Did you know that Italy actually switched sides (going over to the Allied Forces) during WWI when they were promised land and power? Read about it...

http://militaryhistory.about.com/library/blbasicswwiovw.htm

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Dell Dude Pot Bust:

Yes, it's true. The adorable Dell Dude, "Steven" (Benjamin Curtis), was arrested in New York on Sunday evening at 11:30 p.m. and charged with criminal possession of a "small bag" of marijuana. According to a police source, Benjamin was not being charged with distribution.

A CNN article states: Benjamin Curtis, better known as the "Dell Dude" from the computer company's television commercials, was released from jail Monday after geing arrested on Manhattan's Lower East Side on suspicion of trying to buy marijuana.

Curtis was arraigned in Manhattan Criminal Court on Monday after being held in custody overnight. He was released and the case was adjourned in contemplation of dissal, meaning it will be dismissed and Curtis' record expunged if he stays out of trouble for the next year, said a spokesman for the Manhattan district attorney's office."

Dude, you're getting another chance!

Benjamin Curtis, originally from Chattanooga, Tennessee, is in New York attending a school of the arts. He's 22. This marijuana bust story is not exactly earth-shaking, shocking news. Things like this do happen. We at Nippies don't smoke pot and don't recommend it. But we at Nippies are worldly enough to know that what Ben did is not exactly extremely unusual for a guy his age, unfortunately. But Ben Curtis was unlucky enough to get caught.

But please, Ben, be careful to stay out of trouble in the future. We all are very fond of ya, including we at Nippies.

As the nuns at our old school used to say:"A word to the wise is sufficient." Nippies has spoken.

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American Idol: So far, 26 million viewers have tuned in to watch the second season of the popular show, American Idol. This week, the 2 finalists for this season were announced: Charles Grigsby and Julia Demato have made the cut. The lucky pair was interviewed on Connie Chung Live last night. We just watched the "unlive" rerun.

We at Nippies don't watch the popular show American Idol. We don't even know when it is on. However, we are fascinated by it's format and do enjoy reading about the young hopefuls and watching the clips of their performances. We also share in their joy. Show business is a very tough business, and it is great to see the joy in the faces of the winners.

Charles Grigsby, the male finalist, is in his twenties, as is Julia Demato. He appears to be a very modest young man. His mother, who was there when his finalist status was announced, was in tears. It was very touching.

Julia Demato is also in his twenties. She told Connie Chung during the interview that she takes one day at a time, and "doesn't look to the future", referring to her hopes for stardom, because you are then "setting yourself up." We at Nippies found this to be a very good philosophy and hope that Julia Demato can stick to it. Even coming so far on American Idol does not guarantee stardom, only a lot of publicity.

One of the three judges for American Idol is pop star Paula Abdul. Always sweet, Paula gifted the eight semi-finalists, which, of course, included Charles Grigsby and Julia Demato, with silver pendants on a black silk-cord. There was a star and an inscription on the pendant. Her comments to the two finalists were complimentary and positive. Paula told Charles his voice was "very smooth" and Julia that her voice was "beautiful". The compliments, obviously, were deserved. But we at Nippies think it's would be difficult to imagine Paula Adbul saying anything unkind to anyone.

We at Nippies want to wish American Idol finalists Charles Grigsby and Julia Demato the best of luck. And a very bright and happy future, no matter what the outcome. The two told Connie Chung that they will next be seen on the show in March.


February 10th, 2003

A few weeks ago, we at Nippies wrote an entry (January 23rd) about our son, the struggling musician. We talked about the fact that, along with "Mr. Nippies", we were going to see him perform, with his band, at a venue where the boys were opening for a nationally known band. Well, it is worth mentioning that he mat Matt Pinfield, of MTV fame, shortly after his band finished performing. Matt was quite friendly and offered to listen to a CD of the band's music, which he took home with him. We aren't naive enough to think that Matt Pinfield listens to every CD offered to him, but we at Nippies can hope.

We at Nippies know who Matt Pinfield is, but we don't think we would have picked him out in the crowd. However, our son did. And was thrilled to meet the guy. So we are writing about it here. If Matt Pinfield finds his way here through a Google or other search engine search, we just want to say "Thank you, Matt" for making our son's day! And you can refresh your memory of that night by looking at the photo of the young man you met by referring to his photo below in the January 23rd entry.


February 8th, 2003

Draconian schmonian: Why do people on the radio and television use words like draconian? We at Nippies don't know exactly what this word means, nor do we know the origin of the word. But Draconian sure sounds a lot like Dracula.

We were listening to a public radio broadcast the other day. The commentator used the word Draconian. The subject was Social Security. The broadcaster said that something must be done immediately to fix the Social Security system or there would have to be Draconian cuts in the future.

We at Nippies figured out, from the context in which the word was used, that Draconian most likely meant something like drastic. So why not use the word drastic, we reasoned? Drastic sounds like draconian, come to think of it. And less like Dracula.

Words are wonderful tools of expression, and we at Nippies have no problem with the use of college-level or specialized words being utilized when they are necessary. Or when intellectuals are addressing a group of their intellectual peers. But we really don't like to see hoity-toity words used when they aren't necessary. Especially when there is an ordinary two-cent word which is just as relevant and descriptive as the twenty-cent word.

Ya know what we mean?


Draconian: Nippies looked it up. It means exceedingly harsh. The origin comes from the name Draco. Draco was an Athenian politician from the 7th century who codified the laws and was known for his impartial, but strict, policies.

Maybe the word Draconian, or, better yet, Draculonian, was a good word to use in reference to Social Security afterall. Because it looks like the system will be totally anemic by the time we at Nippies are ready to collect...
Source: Dictionary.com


Similarly, the meaning of the phrase "watershed moment" has always eluded us. We must have been absent when Sister Evangelica taught that one. So, we at Nippies just looked up the word watershed on Dictionary.com, and here is the meaning #3, which is the definition we at Nippies were looking for:

" 3. A critical point that marks a division or a change of course; a turning point: watershed in modern American history, a time that... forever changed American social attitudes (Robert Reinhold).


Entertainment news:

Supergrass's lead singer: We just watched the band on Conan O'Brien. Supergrass recently performed at four sold-out shows in New York City. The band is grrreat, and we at Nippies noticed an added bonus: the lead singer looks a LOT like a young Engelbert Humperdinck.

(We at Nippies saw Engelbert Humperdinck up close recently. He still looks great, and the man is well into his sixties).

After we at Nippies initially wrote up the above entry, we asked our young musician son if he'd ever heard of Supergrass. He had only heard of Supergrass recently, but was able to confirm that the band has a large - and growing larger - following.

Compelled to find out more, we at Nippies did some research on Google. The web site www.wweek.com had an article about Supergrass which offered some interesting information. (The article was written sometime in the past because it referred to a "May 26th" booking at The Paradigm in New York City, which is not when or where the British band is currently performing this time around in the U.S.)

The band is British and the lead singer's name is Gaz Coombes. How's that for cool? No wonder he looks like Engelbert Humperdinck at his hottest. Even the tight, lapel-less grey pin-stripe suit Gaz wore for the Conan O'Brien performance had a Carnaby Street-60s London mod feel to it, not unlike the Edwardian clothes worn by Engelbert Humperdinck in the 1960s.

According to the wweek.com article, it pays to keep plugging away for your big break: Supergrass played to only 30 people in 1995 (Portland, OR) and the cover was $3.00. Yes, really. And Supergrass was not the only band on the bill. But the author of the wweek.com article says the show was a "gas" and "unless you were one of those few, it was your loss." We at Nippies guess so, because we suspect the price of the current New York tickets (The Bowery - Southpaw) are not anywhere near that paltry sum.

Supergrass's new, hot album, their third, is entitled, what else, Supergrass. Catch 'it if you can.

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A new documentary not on Elvis impersonators but on...

Neil Diamond impersonators!

Move over Elvis. There is a new generation of celebrity impersonators imitating the Solitary Man and the trend is HOT, as we at Nippies have recently discovered!

Neil Diamond's Traveling Salvation Show is one of the longest running successes in the pop music business. He still tours and he still packs arenas of 20,000+. So it was inevitable that this sort of success would breed a new crop of celebrity impersonators - Neil Diamond impersonators - out there who are making the rounds of casinos, conventions, and private parties at venues in Las Vegas, New York City, Seattle, Los Angeles and everywhere inbetween. A royal blue, beaded or sequinned shirt with shimmering, fringed silver scarf, a la The Jazz Singer, is the trademark-look wardrobe essential of the Neil-alike.

David Sarich of Mad Dash Films, an independent film company based in Atlanta, GA, spent more than 6 months on the road interviewing and looking behind the scenes and into the private and public lives of the handful of top Neil Diamond impersonators and Neil Diamond tribute bands. The result is the documentary entitled Feel Neil. The celebrity impersonators featured in Feel Neil growl and strum to "Cherry, Cherry", duet with pseudo-Barbra Streisands for "You Don't Bring Me Flowers", which Diamonnd co-wrote with Bergmans, and lead the audience in choruses of "Sweet Caroline." The film is fascinating, and it's quite amusing to see the fierce competition that permeates the plot as several of the impersonators try to assert themselves as the "real fake Diamond" by drawing parallels to their own talent and lives with that of Neil Diamond. One such assertion was particularly amusing: "He's Jewish, I'm Jewish...He's divorced, I'm divorced." Wow...what a coincidence!

What's behind the resurrected mainstream popularity of the writer of such hits of "Love on the Rocks", "America", "Cracklin Rosie", and "Longfellow's Serenade"? Good music that has staying power, that's what. Neil Diamond is one of the most prolific music writers in pop music history. The Brooklyn Roads native had his first number one hit as a composer in 1966 with the Monkees "I'm A Believer". That same song recently enjoyed a resurgence of international popularity when it became the song most closely associated with the blockbuster computer-animated film, Shrek. Suddenly, everyone everywhere, and of every age group, was singing - and bopping - to the song in a new way, thanks to Eddie Murphy's loveable donkey character. (Neil Diamond also enjoyed a cameo role in the 2001 film, Saving Silverman, the plot of which centered around a trio of Neil Diamond impersonators.)

Neil has a hardcore following of devotees called Diamondheads. A surprisingly large percentage of these fans have attended hundreds of live Neil Diamond concerts all over the world. Most of them are middle-aged women who have been Diamondheads since their teens, but there are a significant number of male fans and young fans, referred to as "second generation Diamondheads" because they picked up the Neil Diamond habit from their parents. The fans' comments are sprinkled frequently throughout the documentary. The Chicago Neil Diamond Birthday Party, which the real Neil has yet to attend, but which director David Sarich obviously did, was the grand finale of the film. At this annual celebration, the Diamondheads compensated for the lack of the real Neil Diamond by inviting a top notch Neil-alike who looks, sounds, and dresses eerily like their idol.

You can find out more about the documentary, which we viewed recently, at Mad Dash Film's web site: www.MadDashFilms.com Look under the heading of "Feel Neil".


February 7th, 2003

We at Nippies saw the Michael Jackson "special" last night, as did many, many Americans. Our opinion hasn't changed about the airing of this program: it was, at the very least, unnecessary. What did it accomplish?

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FDA orders resistance warning on antibiotics: This has been a long time coming. Finally, the FDA has ordered that antibiotics carry resistance warnings. This comes about because antibiotics have been over-prescribed for a long, long time. Many well-meaning parents take their children to the pediatrician and just about insist that an antibiotic be prescribed for various maladies, including the common cold. We at Nippies have heard friends of ours state proudly that little Johnny had a cold and they took him "right to the doctor" and "got him on antibiotics".

We at Nippies were very fortunate. Our children's pediatrician told us years ago that they (he and his partners in the group) had decided to cut back on antibiotic prescriptions unless they were certain they were appropriate. This happened the first time we rushed our youngest, who was about one at the time, to the doctors with the sniffles and a cough. "Unless the symptoms get worse,", he said, "the cold will clear itself up in 7 to 10 days." The doctor then went on to explain that they believed antibiotics were being overprescribed and that children (and adults) were developing resistance to them."

Dr. G's words made a great deal of sense to us. We at Nippies passed the wise words from our pediatrician on to some of our friends. Few listened.

We do hope that the FDAs order will be carried through and heeded by patients and anxious parents, adults and physicians everywhere.

Here is the direct link to the FDA site and story:

FDA - antibiotic resistance warning


February 6th, 2003

We at Nippies had several hours to kill today while we waited for our little one to take her weekly dance classes. It simply isn't worth the one hour round trip to go home. So we hang out at various places near the dance studio, cell phone clicked on, and pass the time.

Today we went to a not-very-far-away Burger King. (Aren't they all not-very-far-away?) We bought a coffee and settled into a booth with our two-creams-only java and the latest edition of the New York Post. When we'd gleaned all we could from the Post, Nippies.com turned to a book we'd recently acquired: Andy Rooney's Common Nonsense.

You either like Andy Rooney or you don't. We at Nippies, for the most part, do like Andy very much.

Unlike many people, it doesn't bother me to sit alone. We at Nippies are rarely alone, so we treasure the down time. Besides, the BK was nearly deserted - it was an off hour, and there was no feeling of aloneness: the few other customers were mainly solo acts like myself.

Ever notice when you are in a fast food place with a lot of other people who are alone you always choose to sit in a booth at least two booths away from the nearest lone diner? It's an unwritten rule to leave that little bit of personal space. And it's also preferable to sit with your back to the other loners, if possible, so you don't have to make awkward eye contact.

Back to the story...We at Nippies picked up Andy Rooney's book. Andy is in a class by himself. Not only is he very honest in his opinions, but he doesn't appear to pander to the politically correct police. We at Nippies.com like that about Andy. Another thing we admire about his writing: his sentences are very short. We at Nippies find ourselves typing shorter sentences tonight because of his influence. It'll wear off by tomorrow, or shortly after we finish reading his book.

Andy's suggestion that Secretary of State Colin Powell should consider running for President made sense. We at Nippies agree, and thought as much before we read Andy Rooney's suggestion. Colin Powell doesn't seem to be phoney in any way at all, unlike many politicians. But Colin Powell, according to Andy Rooney, doesn't want to be President. We heard Colin Powell express that sentiment, as well, sometime in the past. But we think we'd vote for him if he ran.

One opinion of Andy Rooney's that we at Nippies strongly disagreed with: he considered Elvis Presley to be a "phoney" (or phony, depending on how you choose to spell the word). Andy, you showed your age on this one!

After we'd read a few of Andy Rooney's more humorous essays and found ourselves laughing out loud (remember, we were alone), we decided it would be safer to turn our attention to the pages of the New York Post. One doesn't often find oneself laughing out loud while reading the newspaper.

It was not a surprise to find that Colin Powell's speech of yesterday made the cover of the NYP. But we at Nippies won't go into that. We're sure everyone has heard what Colin Powell had to say and has already discussed it with family, friends and co-workers.

Page Six, which appeared on page 10 of the New York Post, reported that Dominick Dunne is being sued by Gary Condit for $11 million. It's a slander lawsuit stemming back to when Dominick Dunne appeared on Larry King Live and "discussed rumors that Condit, through his connections to Arab diplomats and Hell's Angels, had intern Chandra Levy abducted, killed and thrown out of a plane into the ocean."

According to Richard Johnson's column, Dunne has been a no-show at some functions since the suit was filed and is, according to "one insider", "freaking out". We at Nippies are not surprised at that news. Being sued for that much money could make anyone too upset to make public appearances.

We at Nippies have gone on record as saying we like Dominick Dunne, and we still do.

Also on Page Six was a story about how Anna Nicole Smith tried to crash a Lane Bryant lingerie show at the Manhattan Center but was not admitted. She was with the crew from her E! show, according to Richard Johnson's column. That must have been very humiliating for Anna Nicole.

We've all heard about the murder of Lana Clarkson. Her body was found in the wee hours of Monday morning lying in a pool of blood at music legend Phil Spector's Los Angeles mansion. Phil Spector's chauffeur made the call to police. On page 27 of the NYP, in a story by David K. Li and Marsha Kranes, it is reported that Lana Clarkson presumably met Phil Spector at Hollywood's House of Blues, where she was working as a V.I.P. hostess temporarily, only a few hours before her murder. According to not only the New York Post, but other media sources as well, Lana Clarkson was working very hard to become more than a B film actress. Ms. Clarkson wanted to become better known in the "mainstream". Sadly, her name is now very well known in the "mainstream".

Finally, we read an Andrea Peyser's Exclusive about Leona Helmsley and the recent lawsuit that she lost. The hotel "Queen", as many of you now know, was ordered to pay $11 million dollars to Charles Bell, an openly gay man and her former hotel manager, whom she fired after only a few months on the job. Leona said he gave away free rooms, amongst other things, and he said she was biased against gays. Leona, Andrea reports, wonders if she can trust anyone again. Leona Helmsley will fight the decision.

Finally, we read that Michael Jackson will be profiled on 20/20 tonight...as we type....at 8pm. Barbara Walters hosts this special, which ABC bought from a British network only recently. This whole thing about Michael Jackson, his face, his kids, his life...do we really need to know all this? And if so, why?

One thing we at Nippies personally believe about Michael's face: the plastic surgeon or surgeons who kept doing this to his face should have known better, even if Michael didn't. Doesn't the Hippocratic Oath say "first, do no harm"...

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"Superstar" Molly Shannon on Conan tonight:

The movie Superstar didn't break any box office records. But we at Nippies really loved that movie and have seen it more than once.

Molly Shannon both starred in and shared writing credits with Steve Koren for the 1999 film. Superstar was a very funny, very realistic, albeit exaggerated, portrayal of private high school purgatory, but we at Nippies think it was most relevant for those of us who actually attended a Catholic school. As "Mary Katherine Gallagher" in the film, Molly Shannon portrayed what it feels like to be the "nerdy" one in a Catholic school. As in much of her work, Molly drew upon her real life experience of being raised without her mother. Molly's 34-year-old mother, as well as her younger sister and a cousin, were killed in a car accident that Molly was also in when Molly Shannon was only 3 years old.

Will Ferrell co-starred as "Mary Katherine's" very popular love interest in Superstar. He was terrific in the film, but, then again, Will Ferrell could portray a box of Tide and be funny.

For those of you who love Saturday Night Live, you know Molly Shannon left SNL in 2001 to pursue a film career. She has two new films coming out in 2003: Good Boy!, and The Guest. Most likely she will discuss one or both of those films tonight when she joins Conan on his show. There will most likely be a clip or two shown from the upcoming films. We at Nippies think Molly Shannon is naturally funny and a comic genius. You can be sure we will try to tune into Conan and will definitely make a great effort to see Molly Shannon's two new films.

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The European Union is divided on whether to include references to God in it's first constitution. About 20 delegates are decidedly in favor of including God, but there are some strong opponents.

The naysayers are saying that there is a strong secular heritage for Europe which does not call for any reference to God. Pat Robertson of CBN refutes this claim.

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The Gold Rush!

Gold reached a 7 year high yesterday when the price of gold went over $380 per ounce. WOW. Now we at Nippies know where all the big guns put their money when they sold their stock.

We at Nippies have a feeling that gold prices could go through the roof. Remember when gold was only $35 per ounce? If that rise from that price to the $300+ price that gold has averaged for the last several decades is any indication, then gold prices could, conceivable, go up to 4 digits. We'll just have to wait and see...

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Female Sexual Dysfunctiion or Dysfiction?

We at Nippies have been observing those new commercials which advertise a pill just for women which is supposed to help with female sexual dysfunction. But is there really any such illness? Or did the pharmaceutical companies come up with this idea to help sell more of their product? It's a hot debate.

Female sexual dysfunction, according to some estimates, effects up to half of all women in the U.S. It is basically defined as a lack of interest in sex. But is this really a medical condition, or a sign of our times? Women, after all, are busier than ever working to help pay for the high cost of living, which, to a great degree, includes the high cost of health coverage. The high cost of health coverage is greatly effected by the high cost of prescription medications (which account for an estimated 27% of healthcare costs). So, if you buy the little pill for your female sexual dysfuntcion which, perhaps, you really didn't need because you are only tired from working hard to pay for the little pill...

well, you get it. It just might be a vicious little circle.

Copy and paste here to see what this recent article says about this supposed condition:

http://ca.news.yahoo.com/030103/5/r64i.html


February 5th, 2003

From Reuters: Canadian drug vendor calls for Glaxo boycott

Very early this morning, on public radio, we at Nippies heard part of a story about a boycott being called by one of the "largest suppliers of cheap drugs fron Canada". Because we at Nippies are ever vigilant about stories concerning the pharmaceutical companies' policies on pricing (prescription drugs account for 27% of healthcare costs in the U.S.), we searched until we found the whole store...

Below, paraphrased in many places, is the essence of the Reuters story:

The pharmaceutical supplier, The Canadian Drugstore Inc., is sending out more than 50,000 direct e-mails and an additional 50,000 direct mailings on Wednesday (today) asking it's customers "to boycott British drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline Plc" for cutting off supplies to drugstores that ship medicines to patients in the United States.

According to the Reuters article we found on the internet (dated Feb. 4th), the Canadian supplier said:

"We're sending out communication to them to blast Glaxo by calling their senators and congressmen, and by not buying Glaxo products in drugstores," said Billy Shawn, founder and president of The Canadian Drugstore.

The Reuters article went on to state that GlaxoSmithKline officials in the United States were not immediately available to comment late Tuesday.

In case you are not familiar with what is going on here, Nippies will offer a short explanation. We at Nippies have written about the U.S. consumer trend of buying cheaper prescriptions from Canada in a previously entry:

About 1 million U.S. consumers, many of them senior citizens, have used online or mail-order pharmacies that ship drugs from Canada to purchase their prescription medications. Why? Because the prices are up to 90% cheaper in Canada for prescription medications - Canadian laws cap the prices of prescription medications. The U.S. pharmaceutical companies are not happy with this trend.

Glaxo is citing concern for the safety of it's customers, but some consumer groups are not buying this explanation, countering that it is the loss of profit from the premium U.S. customer that is the real concern of GSK.

Directly from the Reuters article:

Big drugmakers like Glaxo have lobbied the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to crack down on re-importation from Canada citing potential safety issues. But analysts have said the drugmakers are just looking to protect the profits of the $400-billion-per-year pharmaceutical industry.

The FDA has not moved to stop the flow of drugs from Canadian mail-order companies.

"The reason that the internet pharmacy has taken off is because people cannot afford drugs in the United States,", said Barry Power, a representative for the Canadian Pharmacists Association.

The Reuters article also stated that The Canadian Drugstore Inc. is not asking it's customers to boycott prescription drugs, which may not have generic alternatives, but rather over-the-counter and non-prescription Glaxo products such as
Nicorette and Nicoderm treatments- stop smoking aids
Commit - stop smoking nicotine lozenges
Tums - the antacid
Aquafresh - toothpaste
Citrucel - fiber supplement
Contac - line of cold medicines.

The Canadian Drugstore, Inc. is also urging investors to dump Glaxo stock. Shawn's company is asking patients to hit Glaxo where it hurts - in its stock price.

The real concern of the Canadian pharmaceutical companies is that other drug companies may follow Glaxo's lead. Shawn, the owner of The Canadian Drugstore said:"We have to stop Glaxo because we have to stop Pfizer and Merck", naming two of the world's other top drugmakers.

According to Shawn, the drugstore he uses is located in Vancouver and has alresdy been cut off by GlaxoSmithKline.

You can read more about the GSK "embargo" stories here by copying and pasting:

http://www.coreynahman.com/we_1_26.html


February 4th, 2003

The subject on Phil Donahue tonight was "Why do bad things happen to good people?"

Every human being has asked themselves this question, haven't they? We at Nippies certainly have. Everyone on Phil's panel, which included Ed Smart, the father of the little girl who was taken from her home last June; James van Praagh; Mrs. Levy (mother of Chandra); and several others including a priest, a rabbi and Reverend Robert Schuyler, had their own theories on this subject of the injustice of tragedy. In the end, the question will, of course, ultimately remain unanswered. Only God knows the answer. But we can comfort ourselves, and each other, with tentative answers until we get to meet Him face to face.

What was interesting about Phil Donahue's show was the very diverse representation of religions and beliefs. We at Nippies are Catholic. But we do not limit our definition of what a "good person" is by any color, profession, economic status and certainly not by religion.

There was a time many years ago - we were in our early twenties - when we spent several months visiting churches and meeting rooms of many different religions: Baptist, Methodist, Jewish, Christian Scientist, fundamentalist groups, ecumenical prayer groups and several others. What we found were very diverse ceremonies. But what we at Nippies also found was at least one, and often more than one, person in each group who reached out to this stranger appearing on their doorstep and welcomed me openly, genuinely, and warmly with no questions asked. In short, we always found "good people", or at least these people were perceived by us to be good.

Good people exist everywhere on this earth. We at Nippies have our own definition of what a good person is: they are the people who put others before themselves whenever they can. Sounds simple, doesn't it? But, really, human nature is, we at Nippies think, naturally bent toward selfish behavior. Present company not excepted. Sure, just about all of us are good some of the time, but very, very few of us are really good most of the time. And even fewer are good all of the time.

So, why do bad things happen to good people? We at Nippies, of course, don't have the answer to that one. However, we found some great wisdom in what a minister (we regret that we didn't catch his name) said the other day on CNN when speaking about the Columbia disaster: Perhaps God doesn't see death as a tragedy.

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The assortment conspiracy...

The other day we at Nippies were at one of the few remaining, old-fashioned department stores in our area. You know the type of store we mean: it is not in a mall but right in the downtown area of a mid-sized city. It has four or five floors (not "levels"), plus a bargain basement, and there is a department for everything from candy to furniture to pets. There is a full sized restaurant in this kind of store, and we don't mean a "snack area" which sells frozen slushies and over-sized soft pretzels with mustard on the side. This store is a Macy's sort of place, on a small scale but with all the nostalgia and comfort.

Our little one likes to visit this particular department store, so we at Nippies drive twenty minutes out of our way to visit it whenever we can. We visit the pet shop to see the expected but cute puppies and kittens as well as exotic "cordon bleu" birds and pink parakeets, browse the toy department, dream about replacing our old couch with the newest overstuffed sofas and chairs in the furniture department, and always eat in the restaurant that has real wooden chairs and tables. On the way to the restaurant, we pass the candy department. The goodies nestled behind glistening glass cases are the stuff dreams are made of: there were hand-dipped chocolates of every variety and confections that we at Nippies didn't think they even made anymore. All sold by the pound. It smelled like heaven.

There was, amongst all these heavenly sweets, one item in particular that really caught the eye of Mr. Nippies: black licorice rolls with cream in the center - the kind you have to pick through the Licorice All-Sorts assortment to get your fill of. He couldn't believe his good fortune and promptly opened his wallet and plunked down enough money to keep his sweet tooth filled with the tasty black rolls for at least a week.

Mr. Nippies loves his Licorice All-Sorts, sort of. He does not like the ones in the assortment that look like protoplasm with little candy beads sticking to it. No one in the house likes these little pieces of beaded goo, not even our dog. They invariably end up in the garbage can.

Assortments seem to Nippies to be just one big conspiracy thought up by companies to keep people buying more than they want of the candy, nuts, lollipops, ice pops, etc., just to get to their particular favorites. Most people seem to like the same favorites: with a few exceptions, most people like the cherry-flavored candies in candy assortments and the cashews in the nut assortments best. You can't tell us the producers of these assortments don't know this! We've never found a cashew left on the bottom of a can or bowl of mixed nuts. Nor a cherry ice pop remaining in an assortment that included any other flavor. How about Tootsie Pops® - cherry, grape and chocolate, usually in that order, always disappear first, from Nippies' experience. We at Nippies have personally never seen anyone fighting over an orange Tootsie Pop®. The same goes for Lifesavers®. While the green ones are good, we at Nippies have noticed that most people are eager to share the contents of that little foil roll until they see the red ring coming up on the queue. Of course you could buy a roll of all cherry-flavored Lifesavers®, but that still doesn't answer our burning question of why the assorted roll doesn't just feature cherry, grape, green and butterscotch, or is it butterrum? There isn't even a butterscotch/butterrum to be had in the whole assortment!

Children's vitamin pills in assorted flavors are really annoying, aren't they? Kids will never eat the orange ones, which taste nothing like an orange. (Come to think of it, the cherry-flavored ones bear no resemblance to a real cherry and the grape-flavored ones certainly do not taste like any grape we've ever tasted). In order not to end up throwing away one third of the bottle, we just take the orange ones out of the bottle, put them in our vitamin pill container, and ingest them ourselves.

Last but not least, let's not forget about fruit cocktail. Don't pretend you don't like the artificially-colored cherry best in that syrupy concoction. We at Nippies don't even like fruit cocktail and hardly ever buy it. But on the rare occasion that we do, the kids pluck out the few-and-far-between cherries and leave the rest. Of course, being a thrifty parent and not wanting to waste, we end up finishing the unwanted soggy green grapes and chunks of pineapple ourselves.

Come to think of it, life is a lot like an assortment of candy and nuts, isn't it? Don't we all keep going every day waiting for the cherry-flavored Lifesaver® to appear on the queue??



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