NIPPIES® online magazine
Issue #10 - July 15th - June 16th, 2003

Welcome to NIPPIES - since 1999!
We take little "nippies" out of every subject.

VIP = (Very Important Person).

NIP = (Not Important Person) - to some.

News about:
celebrities, entertainment, politics, business, finance, health insurance, society, pop culture & more - from a working class viewpoint!


September 12th - Lovely summertime is coming to an end....

lemonade stand graphic by NIPPIES(sm)

We hope you enjoyed your summer. The staff of NIPPIES certainly has, although, for us, those days of soft breezes, evening walks, starry nights and other pleasures have flown by all too quickly. The fall is right around the corner and announces its impending arrival with the occasional dip in temperature and dry leaf blown into the driveway.

In the meantime, be sure to read our new column, entitled NIPPIES.COM, which will bring for your reading pleasure essays, short stories, and other literary works of the past which are now in the public domain. The first work to be published on NIPPIES.COM is a short story by the famous 19th century author, O. Henry (William Sydney Porter).


July 15th, 2003

Vehicles you might - and might not - want...

"Only 17 of 52 tested sedans, compact cars, and other vehicles" made the top of the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) five-star list, according to an article today in the New York Post.

The cars on the list were: Audi TT two door; Buick LeSabre four-door;Chrysler four-door; Chrysler Sebring convertible;Dodge Intrepid four-door;Ford Mustang two door;Honda S2000 convertible;Lexus IS300 four-door;Lincoln Town Car four-door;Mazda 6 four-door; Mazda Miata convertible;Mercedes-Benz E320 four-door;Nissan 350Z two-door;Pontiac Bonneville four-door;Toyata Celica two-door;Volvo S60 four-door;Volvo S80 four-door.

The 2003 Toyota Tacoma pickup with extended cab got "the worst rollover rating of the vehicles tested", according to the same article.

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Another Reason To Slim Down...

An Associated Press article which appeared in the NYPost reports that researchers have tied obesity to a higher risk for Alzheimer's disease.

The results of the study was reported in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

This is another good reason not to stop for that doughnut on the way to work, or the quick fast-food to "hold you over" on the way home!


July 7th, 2003

According to Associated Press story, Spike Lee and Viacom have settled their differences.

Go to the front page of Yahoo! to read more. The AP story states that the judge lifted the injunction against TNN/Viacom and Spike TV will now, unless something further develops, be the new name of the TNN network.

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Still in search of the Dentyne Ice gum subway commercial actress or model!?

We at Nippies have received an e-mail from one of our readers stating that Ashley Scott (Artificial Intelligence:AI, Birds of Prey, Dark Angel, and upcoming movies S.W.A.T, Trespassing and Walking Tall(2004) is the actress in the Dentyne Ice subway commercials. However, we at Nippies checked the web for photos of Ashley Scott, and in our opinion, the photos of her shown do not resemble the same actress who frosts the subway window with her breath and then writes her phone number backwards. Could be her, though. Nippies' eyes aren't as sharp as they once were.

If anyone else has any other form of verification, please write to Nippies and we'll post the information. It seems everyone wants to know who this actress is...and where she got her hair cut!

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They go in threes...

For years, we at Nippies have received a phone call after every celebrity dies - especially if the newly deceased is a celebrity from the entertainment world. It's my sister who calls, and she always wonders when we will hear about the next two deaths.

"They go in threes, you know," is her always dark prediction.

Well, we at Nippies have to admit that she is often correct in her grim prediction. And once again, she's been proven right.

Gregory Peck, Katharine Hepburn, and Buddy Hacket all died within a short period of time. That is three celebrities - all from show biz.

Then, over the holiday week-end, we at Nippies, like the rest of the world, heard that Barry White died at age 58 of complications from high blood pressure. And today we at Nippies heard that Buddy Ebsen passed away at age 95. We hope that there isn't a third anytime soon. But if history repeats itself, there will be another.

By the way, we at Nippies just wrote a piece about longevity wherein we mentioned the late Mr. Ebsen. (See Issue 6, June 16th, article about Bewitched). Buddy Ebsen (June 16th, Issue 9).

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Be sure to watch The Graduate - and catch a young Dustin Hoffman in his first starring role - on AMC (American Movie Classics) this week!

Omygosh...we at Nippies are watching as we peck away at the keyboard. And this movie is soooo much better than we remembered it to be. Could it be that we at Nippies were far too immature to grasp the nuances when we saw it the first time many years ago?

Here's what we at Nippies have noticed so far:

Dustin Hoffman was incredibly young looking in this major film. Mrs. Robinson (the ever-beautiful and youthful Ann Bancroft/Mrs. Mel Brooks) wasn't old at all, although at the time when we at Nippies saw the film we thought she seemed ancient.

Katharine Ross was breathtakingly beautiful in the most classic way: high cheekbones; long, silky dark hair and doe eyes. Gorgeous! As we watched the scene where she strides across her *Ivy League-looking college campus dressed in olive-drab swamp coat (the slicker of the sixties), pegged pants over coltish legs, and burnished, waist-length dark hair fluttering in the breeze, we at Nippies realized, with some astonishment, that "Elaine", as she looked in 1967, could step onto any college campus today and not look out of place.

On the fun side, watch for a lot of faces in bit parts who later became very famous faces. (Check out who says "Should I call the cops? I'll call the cops" in the scene were Elaine comes to Benjamin's rooming house (run by another household name) and confronts him about his stalking).

We at Nippies will post more about that aspect of the movie at another time. Right now we just want to enjoy The Graduate and the breathtaking music of Simon & Garfunkle who did not, by the way, write all of the music (melody) to Scarborough Fair, but did, we at Nippies believe, write the counter melody.

*The list of Ivy League colleges consists of Princeton, Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Dartmouth, Brown and Penn (University of Pennsylvania).


July 3, 2003

President Bush says "Bring 'em on!"

By now you've all heard the latest sound byte from President Bush. He made what we at Nippies think was a major faux pas when he said the words, regarding the latest attacks by enemy forces on American troops in Iraq, Bring 'em on!.

Now we at Nippies don't really think that President Bush said those words meaning to entice Saddam's loyalists to take shots at American troops, but one can see that they could be construed to mean that. To us it is obvious that the President meant that we, as a nation, will not back down when the heat is turned up.

Unfortunately, political rivals, in this case the Democrats, are always standing on the sidelines waiting for any misstep, verbal or otherwise, that a politician may make. (Remember Trent Lott? Surely no one really thinks that Trent Lott, savvy politician that he was, meant that our nation would be better off with segregation??)

We call this method of picking up the ball and scoring points when a rival makes a misstake the "touchdown method".

So, what is President Bush going to do? We at think he'll probably do nothing. His political advisors will probably tell him that the more he tries to dig himself out of this one, the deeper he's going to bury himself.

On the other hand, we at Nippies can certainly understand how the family members of troops who are in Iraq could be very hurt by President Bush's poorly chosen words. We at have a son who is of draft age. If HE were in Iraq, and we construed anything that the President said to mean "come on and take a shot at our troops...we can take it", we'd be absolutely furious.

So, perhaps George W. Bush will go on the air and make a statement apologizing to the families of troops who are overseas in Iraq. It might be a smart move - and a compassionate gesture -for him, even if it does keep an issue going that he'd rather forget.


June 30th, 2003

Gunsmoke on TVLand - could it really have been on television all those years ago??

On week-ends, many years ago when we at Nippies were pre-schoolers, we would often stay overnight at our grandmother's house. Grandma was a widow of many, many years and enjoyed company and always had someone from her family staying over.

One of our strongest memories of these overnight visits with our grandmother was sitting in her TV room while she watched Gunsmoke. Note we are emphasizing the word she. We hated Gunsmoke, along with her other favorite, The Lawrence Welk Show, which we at Nippies thought even more boring than the western. Westerns to us meant guns, dust and horses and we at weren't attracted to any of those things. We spent the hour that Gunsmoke was on coloring under the table or doing something else. Anything, we thought, was more interesting than Gunsmoke.

So we were quite surprised when we were flipping through the stations in the wee hours of the night recently and came across Gunsmoke on TVLand , watched it for a few minutes, and got hooked. Hey, that show was darn good!

Naturally, being the researchers that we are, we at Nippies went online and let our finders do the walking. We found out some interesting things about the show from the imdb.com data base and from the TVLand summary on the show...

First of all, we discovered, Gunsmoke was the longest running television dramatic series - ever. The western, set in Dodge City, Kansas in 1873, ran from 1955 - 1975.

Two of its stars, James Arness (Marshall Matt Dillon) and Milburn Stone (Dr. "Doc" Galen Adams) were on the show for the entire run. "Miss Kitty", or Kitty Russell, played by Amanda Blake, hung in there for nearly as long and left after 19 years. By the way, Amanda Blake did not die of cancer, which she successfully was treated for, but of AIDS which she contracted, ironically, during a blood transfusion during her surgery.

James Arness was, at 6'7", the tallest actor to ever play a leading role on television. He never appeared to be that tall. (We at Nippies think the reason he really didn't appear to be that tall was because he was very well proportioned.)

The role of Marshall Matt Dillon on Gunsmoke was originally offered to John Wayne. John Wayne turned down the offer and suggested James Arness. We at Nippies think that Arness was perfectly cast.

Matt Dillon, the star of Something About Mary, was born nine years after Gunsmoke premiered. No doubt young Matt Dillon the actor enjoyed the attention he got because of his "famous" name. We wonder if his parents had Gunsmoke in mind when they chose his given name.

Peter Graves of Mission Impossible fame is James Arness's two-years-younger brother. The brothers were born and raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Peter Graves appeared on Gunsmoke.

Gunsmoke was originally a half-hour show and expanded to it's hour-long format in its seventh season.

Ken Curtis, who played deputy Festus Haggen, started out as a singer with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra. We at Nippies were surprised to discover that Curtis introduced the song "Tumbling Tumbleweed" to music audiences. Ken Curtis replaced deputy Chester Goode, played by Dennis Weaver, in 1964.

Gunsmoke's tremendous popularity caused many other TV westerns to hit the airwaves. At one point there were 30 other television westerns on TV at same time, according to the TVLand summary on Gunsmoke. (Remember Sugarfoot, Maverick, The Rifleman, Wyatt Earp, etc.?) Gunsmoke outlasted the others and, at the time of its cancellation in 1975, it was the only show of its kind still in the air.

We at Nippies could probably go on and on with Gunsmoke facts and figures and trivia. After all, the show was on for two decades. But we are, for now, gonna mosey on outta Dodge City before we start getting nostalgic about The Lawrence Welk Show. (Sorry, Grandma, we at Nippies think that will never happen.)

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Nippies was wrong about singer Lizz Wright! (see June 24th, 2003 entry)

We were most definitely not wrong about Liz Wright's talent nor her appeal! But we were wrong about two things: the spelling of Lizz Wright's name (it has two Zs, not one) and the name of her record label. The label is not "Verb" but is "Verve Records". We apologize to Lizz Wright! At least we got the name of her must-have CD right: it is called Salt.

Nippies heard about Lizz Wright on the radio during a PBS interview. So, naturally, we assumed the spelling of her name was of the conventional variety. We at Nippies.com even went online and researched her and there are a lot of other web sites out there who also misspell her name.

The official web site for Lizz Wright can be found at LizzWright.net...and if you go there right now you can register to for a chance to see her perform for free!.


June 29th, 2003

Larry King's unbeatable timing...

If you are reading this live as we at Nippies type (9:15 PM EST), then you probably already know that Katharine Kepburn died today at age 96. What you may not know is that Katharine Houghton, Katherine Hepburn's niece who co-starred with her in the acclaimed 1967 film Guess Who's Coming To Dinner, (along with Spencer Tracy and Sidney Poitier) is on Larry King (pre-recorded and a re-broadcast from last year) as we at Nippies.com type.

What timing! Unless Larry King's staff had insider information on the state of health of Ms. Hepburn and knew that death was eminent, it is amazing that Katherine Houghton would happen to be on CNN at just this time. Yes, the show is a re-broadcast. But it was announced earlier at least two days before Katherine Hepburn died that her niece would be on Larry King Live.

Katharine Houghton was born on March 10, 1945, in Hartford, Connecticut, the daughter of Marion Hepburn Grant (Katharine Hepburn's younger sister) and Ellsworth Grant. The Houghtons, as you may or may not already know, owned Corning Glass for decades. We at Nippies believe it is no longer owned by the Houghton family.

If you are reading this now, be sure to tune into Larry King Live to hear Katherine Houghton take a trip down memory lane and tell Larry some intimate details about the great, late screen legend Katherine Hepburn who, according her niece, could be "cantankerous" at times. Can't we all?

Nippies food for thought:

Has the Mars candy company (makers of M&M candies) ever filed a lawsuit against rapper Eminem?

This whole Spike Lee v. Viacom thing got we at Nippies wondering if the very well-known Mars candy company, makers of the very well-known M&M candies, every filed a lawsuit against the very famous rapper, Eminem?

We at Nippies can distinctly assuming that Eminem spelled his name M&M the first time we heard of him, which was, of course, several years ago. And it is a pretty safe assumption to think that nearly everyone in the world who every ate or heard of M&M candies would think of that candy when they first heard of Eminem the rapper.

A search on Google. com showed no evidence of any such lawsuit at all. That doesn't mean there wasn't one. Nippies is just curious! ******************************************************************************

Classic Larry King Live with Barbara Bush

As we at Nippies help our eldest pack for his "Senior Week" trip to Ocean City, Maryland, we are taking short breaks to type and watch television. One show which caught our eye is a rerun of an old (1994) Larry King Live with Barbara Bush, the former First Lady, as Larry's guest.

We at Nippies think Barbara Bush is a fascinating woman. She is the wife of one president and (now) the mother of another - George W. Bush. Nippies read years ago that Barbara comes comes from a very wealthy family: her family owned McCalls magazine, which later became Rosie and later went kerplunk. Yet she could be anyone's mother and puts on no airs whatsoever. Barbara Bush is very much in the public eye, yet shows no signs of vanity that we could detect. While her politics may not be liberal, her wrinkles are. She also does not dye her hair, as it is as white as snow.

Barbara admits to having dyed her hair several decades ago. She started going grey at age 34 and tried, as most women do, to stop the clock. She told Larry King that she gave up dying her hair because it looked worse with the dye on it than white. "Sometimes it turned orange and sometimes green" as a result of exposure to sun (golfing and tennis) and chlorine (swimming).

"You can't be married to George Bush and dye your hair," Barbara said.

Barbara is a woman who is still, after all these years as Mrs. George Bush, in love with her husband, but who also feels great admiration for the man she began dating when she was only 17 and he 18 years old. We at Nippies liked a the story she told about how George asked her (Barbara's) mother for a picture of Barbara to show to his friends. George Bush had told them she was 18, not 17, because he was "embarassed" to be dating a "younger" woman. Barbara's mother gave George a photo of Barbara at age 14 - holding a dog.

Several of the callers to Larry King Live wanted to know how Millie was doing. You may recall that Millie was Barbara Bush's dog while they were in the White House, and Barbara wrote a book about Millie, a cocker spaniel. Millie was alive and well during the interview, but has since passed on, as dogs who are in their teens tend to do.

The interview was not earth-shaking compared to some of the interviews we at Nippies have seen on Larry King's show. It was just plain homey and comfortable, as Barbara Bush herself appears to be. The most shocking thing we at Nippies noticed was how much Larry King had nine years ago compared to now. ******************************************************************************

Click below to say "bye-bye" to telemarketers by October 1st...

According to a commentator on CNN, the telemarketing industry in the United States employs over 6,000,000 people. That sounds a bit inflated to we at Nippies, but, not knowing anything about the subject, we are not equipped to refute that statistic.

However, we at Nippies are not crazy about telemarketers calling our house. And since we at Nippies did not start this whole "do not call" fad, we won't feel guilty placing a banner here for the Nippies readers to click if YOU don't want telemarketers placing unsolicited calls to your home. So, click away!

The name of the site you will be reaching is DoNotCall.gov and you will be reaching the National Do Not Call Registry, a government owned web site.

Clicking on the above banner really will take you to the DONOTCALL.gov web site. However, certain groups, such as politicians and charities, plus survey takers, can still legally call you. In addition to these exemptions, businesses with whom you have done business with in the past 18 months can still call you.


June 28th, 2003

Book and lamp graphic by NIPPIES(sm The continuing mystique of J.D. Salinger...
and by the way, where do the ducks in Central Park go in the winter??

Like nearly every other teenager in the United States, we at Nippies read The Catcher in the Rye at some point in our early years. We at Nippies don't remember exactly when we read it. But we do remember loving that book. And reading it many, many times since the first time.

Why do most of us love to visit with Holden Caulfield? We at Nippies can only speak for ourselves. Although it's been a number of years since we last read The Catcher in the Rye, more because of time limitations rather than choice, we can still remember feeling quite like kindred spirits with Holden Caulfield because we shared his view of people at large. We at Nippies were very shy during our younger years. Shy people spend a lot of time observing other people from the corners of rooms and other safe places. You learn a lot about people that way. And although we at Nippies don't think that Holden Caulfield was actually shy, he did have the feeling of not fitting in which all shy people have to some degree.

Of course, there are many people who were never entranced by J.D. Salinger's most famous book. We at Nippies knew one such person. One time during a casual conversation about books, we at Nippies naturally mentioned our affection for The Catcher in the Rye to a relatively new acquaintance named "Jake". Jake confessed that he'd never read the book. We promptly offered to let him read our dog-earred copy.

Jake was a a true preppie who had jutting cheekbones, sea-green eyes, full-lips over Kennedy-like teeth, and jet black hair which, oddly, shone red when the sun was behind him, and a razor sharp wit. His closet full of casually chic clothes included half a dozen of those expensive striped rugby shirts that the rest of us who had to pay our own rent couldn't afford. Jake's easy confidence and wit masked, it later turned out, some strong sociopathic tendencies. After he read the book, Jake reported back to we at Nippies that he didn't "get it". As a matter of fact, when he tossed we at Nippies the book, he opined, with irritation in his voice, that he thought the book was "ludicrous" and that he thought Holden's concern over where the ducks go in winter when the pond in Central Park freezes over was "ridiculous". Needless to say, we at Nippies never really became very good friends with Jake. We didn't have much in common.

J.D. Salinger still, from all reports, lives a very quiet life in Cornish, New Hampshire. He's now 84 years old, and is still a recluse. He's been married to a much younger woman named Colleen, who is in her thirties, for a number of years. There hasn't been much new material about J.D. Salinger published since his daughter, Margaret A. Salinger, published her book, Dream Catcher, in 2000. Much of our knowledge of Jerry Salinger's private life, including the fact that he is half Jewish and half Irish (his mother, Marie, an Irish Catholic, changed her name from Marie to Miriam to better fit in with her husband's Jewish background), comes from his daughter's book. "Peggy", as her friends call her, is Jerome David Salinger's daughter. She was born to J.D. Salinger and Claire Douglas Salinger in January 1956. Claire, J.D.'s first wife, was 16 when she met Salinger at a party in New York City in the late 1940s. Their second child, Matt (Matthew) Salinger, and actor, is nearly 5 years younger than Margaret.

But today there was some new news about J.D. Salinger: his yearbook, from the Valley Forge Military Academy, class of 1938, was up for auction recently. (How anyone got there hands on it is still unclear to we at Nippies). The yearbook of J.D. Salinger went for $48,000.00.

The allure of J.D. Salinger, and Holden Caulfield, is very much alive even now, more than 50 years after the first The Catcher in the Rye came rolling off the presses. No doubt the person who paid such a high price for a year book cares about where the ducks in the pond in Central Park go in the winter.


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June 27th, 2003

Ice Cream Man....love that commercial!!

We at Nippies found another commercial to rave about. It's the Ice Cream Man commercial for products sold at KOHL'S stores:Keds sneakers, Mudd socks, etc.

It's hilarious and so true. Picture a hot day in a suburb. That means no corner store for kids to pop into for instant refreshment. It often means boredom after the charm of the first two weeks of school-less days wears off. The neighborhood youth run from their homes where they have been sitting, swimming, working, reading, and waiting for something to happen.

Finally, the ice cream man in his refrigerated truck drives through the wide streets of the suburban neighborhood. No ding-ding or chimey song of the traditional ice cream truck is heard in the commercial, but a simple but catchy jingle is playing in the background as the neighborhood kids run to catch up with the elusive truck:

Ice cream man
Upon my street
I love your truck outside
Really neat

Kids of all ages in a range of attire chase the truck. Tall, short, skinny, fat - all are running their fastest in bathing suits and short and with flip-flops, sneakers, or nothing at all on their fleeting feet. But the ice cream man is having one of those days. Obviously, he's a minimum-wage college kid amusing himself by driving at a speed just fast enough to keep a few feet ahead of the bone-dry and hot children and teens.

The ice cream man (boy) is loving the futile chase of the pre-pubescent and adolescent throng. Occasionally he quickly applies the brakes to allow the throng to almost catch up. He decides to escalate the torture by visibly licking a cool ice cream treat and then sticking his arm out the doorway of the refrigerated truck to let the gang know what they are missing. Oh boy, is he having a blast. And the kids just keep on running and running.

Well, we at Nippies cannot possibly do this commercial justice. Especially as we are typing inbetween batches of pancakes, a sink full of dishes, and a washing machine that must be thumped in a specific corner to make it to the drain and spin cycles. We at Nippies, who would love to hear the ice cream man's ding-ding right now, will be back later to polish this entry.

In the meantime, if you hear a softly sung song with the words, "Ice Cream Man ...", throw on your Keds and run. You don't want to miss this commercial.

One more thing. Nippies was typing this entry when a commercial for Cingular Rollover came on. The commercial featured the same young actor - sans his goatee, as the ice cream man commercial. It must be fate.

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Martha Stewart's new magazine, Everyday Food or Every Payday, Food?

Martha Stewart's new magazine, Everyday Food, which features down-to-earth recipes, is the first publication put out by her company, Martha Stewart Omnimedia Publishing, that does not feature her name. We at Nippies think that was a Good Move, Martha.

As everyone knows, Martha Stewart stepped down as the head of Martha Stewart Omnimedia on the day her indictment was announced. The company's stock has taken a nosedive since the ImClone scandal broke a year ago. Still, there are many people who have stock in that company. Nice people. We at Nippies have no desire to see the company go kablooey. No matter what Martha Stewart may or may not have done or known regarding the selling of her ImClone stock whereby she saved herself about $48,000.00...

Taking her hame off the new magazine was a very good move, we at Nippies think. There just may be a little resentment - just a tad - somewhere out there in middle-America and lower-middle-America and among the working poor that Martha Stewart, with all her hundreds of millions of dollars, possibly, allegedly did something dishonest to save a few bucks. And yes, to someone like Martha Stewart, dear Nippies readers, $48,000 is comparable to "a few bucks" when you compare her wealth with the net worth of the average working stiff who may be more in the market for a magazine called Every Payday, Food.

So, good luck with the magazine, Martha! We at Nippies wish your company, Martha Stewart Omnimedia Publishing, good fortune, as well. And if your army of lawyers manages to clear your name, and they just might,all the better. Then, you can go on and rename your magazine Martha Stewart's Everyday Food, just like you would have in the good old days. And all the hard working folks who believed in your company enough to hang onto their Martha Stewart stock can recoupe at least part of their losses.

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Disney Movies....why is it that, quite often, someone dies?

Years ago, we at Nippies rented or tuned into (it was at least 12 years ago and that detail escapes us) a Disney movie with a bear in it. While we at Nippies busied ourselves with whatever project we were working on at the moment in the next room, our son, then about 5, plopped himself onto his pile of pillows and began to watch the film.

A few minutes later we at Nippies heard sobbing coming from the television room.. Not being able to imagine what, in a Disney movie, could have upset our son, we ran into the room expecting him to be hurt or ill.

"Why did the bear's mommy have to die, Mommy?", he asked between sobs.

Yes, the bear's mother died and the little bear was trying to to revive her. It was extremely sad. We at Nippies comforted our son and thought no more about it as the movie picked up and progressed to a more upbeat tempo.

But then we at Nippies rented Bambi a few months later. Oops....we'd forgotten about Bambi's mother biting the dust, as well. After we dried our son's tears this time, he turned to us and asked, "Mommy, how come in every Disney movie, somebody has to die??"

Well, of course somebody does not die in every Disney movie. But there are quite a few where someone does die or else was dead at the beginning of the movie. For instance, Cinderella, Snow White, Pollyanna all begin with the main character being either an orphan or motherless.

Of course, we at Nippies are going to get a lot of e-mails with examples of Disney movies where the children in the movie have the both their parents and no one dies. That's ok, write away. We at Nippies just thought we'd share the observation of a five-year-old that always stuck in our mind.

The other day, by the way, our second child, who is eight, came home from going to see Finding Nemo with her friend and her friend's mother. In Finding Elmo the Nemo is motherless. Our little one asked, "Mommy, how come in so many Disney movies, somebody dies?"


June 24th, 2003

Lizz Wright:Salt

The other day on our public radio station there was an interview with a young singer/songwriter. Her name was Lizz Wright. We at Nippies stopped putting mascara on and said out loud, "What a voice."

It wasn't Lizz Wright's singing voice which initially caught the NIPPIES staff's attention. It was her speaking voice. It's rather deep, but not husky. It's confident, but not cocky. It's warm, but not sentimentally so. She comes across as very mature, yet Lizz Wright is only 23. We at Nippies heard the interviewer say that Salt, on the Verb record label, is her debut CD.

Before we at Nippies even heard her sing we liked her. Lizz talked about being from rural Georgia and about the night she arrived in Atlanta with her mother and her aunt. The trio were staying at a hotel while en route to the university where Lizz was going to begin her higher education. At 3 AM, Liz told the interviewer, she looked out the hotel window. She was surprised, she said, to see people walking around "smoking and talking" at that hour. Having lived in the country, Liz didn't realize that people were still up and about at that hour. At home, she said, the only ones moving about in the of the night were, perhaps, the cows in the pasture. She wrote a song that night.

We at Nippies liked that story. Then some of her tunes from her new CD, Salt, then came over the airwaves. And we liked her even more. Lizz Wright's music is breathtaking, as is her singing voice.

For some reason, we at Nippies pictured a young Carly Simon when we heard Lizz sing and speak. There was just something about her spirit that reminds us of Carly in her early days. That mixture of insight, depth and maturity beyond her years.

We at Nippies searched the internet for more information on Lizz Wright. There isn't a lot. We saw a photo of her CD cover, and found a few comments here and there. No doubt there will be much more about information about Lizz Wright to be found on the internet in the months and years to come.

We at Nippies.com are going to buy Lizz Wright's CD:Salt on the Verb label.

(The original article featured in NIPPIES spelled Ms. Wright's given name with one Z instead of two....we have corrected that error and apologize to Lizz for the misspelling.)


June 23rd, 2003

Diogenes and Nippies - Searching for an honest man.

No, we at Nippies are not putting ourselves on the same plane as Diagenes of Sinope, the Greek philosopher who spent his days carrying a lantern and looking for an honest man, and his nights sitting in a tub. Diogenes was said to have acted like a dog: he barked at people and urinated in the street. The word "cynic" comes from the Greek word that means doglike.

But a friend of ours who accompanied Mr. Nippies and I to an amusement park with our children did, in a way, compare me to Diogenes. She said I was cynical. And then laughed. Hmmm.

We at Nippies knew, basically, what the word cynic means, but we wanted to know the exact definition. After all, we had, in effect, been called a cynic.

Dictionary.com defines the word cynic as:

1. A person who believes all people are motivated by selfishness.

2. A person whose outlook is scornfully and often habitually negative.

3. Cynic A member of a sect of ancient Greek philosophers who believed virtue to be the only good and self-control to be the only means of achieving virtue.

We at Nippies and our friend were at a food stand at the amusement park when the "cynical" comment was made. We had just purchased some outrageously over-priced food. (What choice did we have? A large sign right outside the entrance stated that no food is to be brought in.) The hot dogs were $3.75 each, and they were ordinary hot dogs, not foot-long weiners. The nachos were $2.75 - without cheese. If you wanted chili or cheese, that was .70 extra. Come on. Sodas, which were packed with ice, were $2.50, $3.00, and $3.50 for the small, medium and large. Soda at mixed-drink prices could only happen in an amusement park - or at a movie theatre.

Anyway, we at Nippies were starving, and so was everyone else. We plunked down enough money for a nice lunch at Red Lobster and then took our family's hot dogs, nachos, cheese, chili (for Mr. Nippies) and sodas back to the round table where the party of six was waiting. All of us ate ravenously, but the thimble-sixed container of melted Velveeta cheese ran out long before the nachos did. Under Nippies watchful eye, our little one made the 10-foot trip from the "dining" area back to the food stand with her dollar and ordered up more cheese.

This time the little plastic cup of cheese outlasted the nachos. Our party was sated, and it was time to clean up and head back to the rides.

"Be sure to throw the cheese in the garbage, or they'll probably scoop it out and resell the stuff," we at Nippies instructed Mr. Nippies. We were only half-kidding.

This was the remark that caused our friend to call us a cynic.

Well, perhaps we at Nippies are cynical on occasion, but we most definitely are not a hard-core cynic. We do not habitually think negatively, nor do we at Nippies think all people are motivated by selfishness. However, we at Nippies do concede that we think a LOT of people are selfish.

No one is really born a cynic. We learn to be that way through our life-experiences.

There was a time when we at Nippies thought almost everyone was good, that everyone was honest, fair, sincere and polite. Unfortunately, life has taught us differently.

Long ago, when we were still naive and young, and away from home for the first time, one of our friends remarked about our very uncynical nature. She said, and this is a quote, "You are just too nice. If someone pinched you, you'd probably thank them." We at Nippies remember thinking, at the time, that her remark was probably true. "Politeness at all costs" was our motto. But time marches on, and all of us change and evolve according to what happenes to us - Nippies included.

Not long after the "pinch" comment, a friend of a friend of mine broke his leg. We at Nippies hardly knew this guy with the broken leg, who was one of two roommates of our friend, John. John had mentioned to us one evening that Joe, the roommate, wanted to borrow his (John's) car because he was unable to walk to work now that he had a broken leg.

"Not trustworthy," was John's trite remark about his roommate. John turned down Joe's request.

So, we at Nippies, being the bleeding hearts that we were at the time, volunteered to walk to work every day for two weeks and so that Joe could drive our AMC Gremlin to his graveyard shift job at the local newspaper. We even filled the gas tank and washed the car inside and out before dropping it off at the guys' apartment, which was in an upscale apartment complex on the outskirts of town.

"You're nuts," John said from the doorway after we at Nippies had handed over the keys. Then he added ominously, "Don't say I didn't warn you."

During the two weeks without our trusty Gremlin, we at Nippies managed quite well. At the time, we were quite athletic. So it was no problem to walk the mile or so to the large department store were we were employed as a fashion buyer. The hoagie shop on our street and the mini-market around the corner had everything we at Nippies wanted or needed for our then uncomplicated life. The occasional cold autumn rain during the jaunts to work, the shops or the YMCA didn't even bother us. After all, the feeling of goodwill kept us warm.

When Joe didn't return our car on the designated date, we at Nippies got a little nervous. We waited a few more days and then decided to give him him a buzz. John, my friend, had already called me from Detroit (where he was on a business trip) a few days before to tell me that Joe's cast was off and he was now very capable of walking to work. "Get your car back," John advised me.

It took several phone calls and messages left with the third roommate to get Joe to return our call.

"Oh, yeah. Your car - hey, I'll drop it off tomorrow," Joe told us when he finally did call back. And so he did - without a word of thanks but with plenty of dirt and litter both inside and out of the car. The gas tank was on "E".

It would be safe to say that we at Nippies got a little cynical after that experience. We at Nippies were not looking for a thank you card, but a gas tank at least half-filled would have been nice. The warm feeling we'd felt at having done a good deed was beginning to chill and congeal.

Over the years there were plenty more lessons we at Nippies learned about the darker sides human nature. Some experiences went beyond disappointment: they were downright dangerous. Without going into boring (and sometimes frightening) detail, let's just say that we at Nippies eventually lost our Pollyanna attitude towards our fellow human beings at large. There was a slow and steady erosion of the unconditional trust we'd once felt toward strangers. No, we have not turned into cynics. But we have become much more cautious than we would like to be.

We at Nippies love to hear stories about good people. Nice people, even heroic people, are all around us - somewhere. It is wonderful to read about them. Like the doctor who gave her own kidney to a patient. Or the neighbor who visits the invalid next door several times a day to administer medicaton and to bring food, fresh laundry, and some words on encouragement. Stories like those are what keep we at Nippies looking, with or without a lantern, for the good that lies beneath the surface in all of us.


June 21st, 2003

Nippies research on the Spike Lee v. Viacomm situation: the trademark issue

We at Nippies did some trademark research on the words "Spike" and "Spike Lee". And what Nippies has discovered is that "Shelton J. Lee" (Spike Lee's real name, according to the imdb.com data base biography) and "Forty Acres and a Mule" (Spike Lee's production company) have filed several times in the past 10 years or so for trademarks on the words "spike" and "spike lee". None have been granted registrations yet from what we at Nippies can see.

We at Nippies think this is going to be a difficult case to decide. One doesn't need to apply for a trademark if you have already been using a certain word, words, or mark. Just usage grants you rights. You can put your own "tm" or "sm" (which stand for "trademark" and "service mark" respectively) after the word(s) you are claiming. And there can be more than one trademark registration given by the USPTO for the same "word", works or mark, if the goods and services for the same name are clearly different goods and services and there is no chance of confusion. (An example often used is "Apple". Apple computers and Apple music (the Beatles' old label) are distinct services and goods.)

Clearly, Spike Lee should have undeniable rights to the words "Spike Lee" in the entertainment field - or any other field - even without a trademark application or registration. He's well established. But to prove that the word "spike" should be exclusively his in the entertainment field might pose challenges. For instance: the dog on Rugrats is named "Spike", and who hasn't watched The Rugrats at one time or another? Then there is the actor/director "Spike Jonze", whom we at Nippies weren't familiar with until we researched for this entry, and the musician/actor from years ago, "Spike Jones" as in Spike Jones and his City Slickers.

It must be noted that we at Nippies have found out that Viacom (under a different name) applied for an ITU trademark application on March 26, 2003 under two different classifications of goods and services for the words Spike TV: IC (international class) 041, which is "entertainment services", and IC 038, which is "broadcasting services". Will the lawsuit effect the outcome of the trademark application? That's another good question.

By the way, Spike Lee's production company, Forty Acres and a Mule refers to an allegedly unkept promise made by a slave owner to free slaves. We at Nippies suppose each slave was promised "40 acres and a mule" upon freedom, but the promise was never fulfilled.

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Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix madness at Barnes & Noble...

Phew. We at Nippies just got back from a nearly 5 hour ordeal at Barnes & Noble, where we went with out little one, her friend, and her friend's mother for the midnight release of the new Harry Potter book.

Never in Nippies's life did we expect such a turnout. Especially at such a late hour. The "party" started at 9 PM. There was black construction paper and brightly colored foam cut-outs in the forms of rectangles, stars, squigglys, hearts, circles, etc., plus a glue stick and scissors. Children could make their own sorcerer's hat with these items. Then they got a wand and a pair of plastic, lens-less Harry Potter glasses and a thin plastic cape in blue, yellow or green to complete the Harry Potter look.

After the first hour when the hats were made and the capes, Harry Potter glasses, and wands were handed out, it was time to wait for the Magic Show, put on by a local magician. We at Nippies didn't see the show. We at Nippies were too busy waiting in live for a cup of the famously high-priced Starbucks coffee to see the magic show.

With the kids safely parked in front of the magician's glittery curtain, which was only about 4 feet high and strung between two fixtures (and with the friend's mother watching over them), we at Nippies proceeded to find the coffee line. It wasn't easy. There were two unbelievably long lines. One to register for the book, which was separated into two lines (the first book line was for those of us with last names starting with A-M and the other for names starting with the letters N-Z) and one to stand in line for the coffee.

The coffee line at Barnes & Noble, when we at Nippies finally found out which line was which, was halfway across the vast book store. We at Nippies estimated there were at least 99 people ahead of us. Still, it seemed the better alternative to crouching in front of the magician for an hour.

47 minutes later, we at Nippies had our coffee plus three bottles of water. The magician's show had ended. It was 11:15 PM, and there were still 45 minutes until the number-calling for the opportunity to purchase the new Harry Potter tome. As we at Nippies snaked through the crowd to rejoin our group, we passed fathers sleeping in chairs, mothers sitting on their butts reading books, and just generally fatigued adults everywhere. The things we do for our children!

Well, we at Nippies must say the time passed rather quickly. We found a space with our friends in the children's area, seated ourselves cross-legged on the floor with a pile of books, and read and chatted until the loudspeaker announced "blue tickets from number 600-650". (The red tickets were for those who pre-ordered). No, we at Nippies did NOT order or buy a book. The ticket was for our friend's child.

And so, soon the night ended and we at Nippies made our way back to our minivan for the trip home over rain-slicked roads.The little one's friend just got dropped off by her mother, and they will spend the rest of the night peering through the one copy of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, sharing excited whispers until they drop off to sleep. Which we at Nippies hope is very soon. Everyone is happy....especially J.K. Rowling, who must be at least $50 million dollars richer by now.


June 20th, 2003

nippies hot news nippies hot nippies hot news nippies hot news nippies hot news nippies hot news nippies hot news nippies hot news nippies hot news nippies hot news nippies hot news

Could Martha Steward be getting ready to write a book about her court experience? Nippies thinks she is....

Clad in a brown plaid jacket, yellow pants and leopard mules, Martha Stewart breezed into a Manhattan federal courtroom on Thursday and waved cheerfully to court reporters, according to an article in today's New York Post. (We at Nippies would have LOVED to have been there!)

After settling down at the defendant's table, Martha Stewart made a point of counting how many journalists were in the courtroom for the hearing, and then wrote notes in a notebook. We at Nippies smell a BOOK DEAL for Martha. Of course, that is just Nippies opinion, that's all.

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Science journal reports that shyness may be inherited.

Researchers report that shy 22-year-olds who were also shy at 2 have a distinctive brain reaction to novel images and that the amygdala structure in their brains reacted much more to the unexpected, according to Jerome Kagan of Harvard. This suggests that shyness can be inherited but does not necessarily determine eventual personality.

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Nippies loves coffee!! And coffee news...

The first genetically engineered "decaf" coffee plant has been created.

Scientists have successfully created a coffee plant in which they were able to reduce the activity of key caffeine-making genes in the coffee species Coffea canephora.

Hiroshi Sano of the Nara Institute of Science and Technology in Japan, whose team produced the plants, told Nature journal:"Theoretically, the new bean should taste like normal coffee."

We at Nippies don't know about you, dear readers, but every time we drink coffee that's been artificially decaffeinated, we get a headache. Just happened again last week. Let's hope this new plant works!

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Elton John is cleaning house - again!

From London: Elton John is auctioning off 11 years of collected artworks at an auction later this year.

This will be the second time Elton John has cleared his shelves to make room for more STUFF! Elton's shopaholic tendencies are well documented. He sold the contents of his Windsor home in 1988 in a three-day auction.

We at Nippies commend Elton's tidiness! No doubt the prolific composer will have his house - and walls - filled up again in no time.

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Max Factor heir Andrew Luster has been captured in Mexico!

Andrew Luster (yes, really, has not made a typo...that IS his name) has been captured in Mexico, where he was staying in a $34-per-night hotel next to a police station. The Max Factor heir had just ordered himself some tacos from a street vendor when bounty hunters tackled him.

The 38-year-old great grandson of make-up genius Max Factor has been on the lam since he was convicted five months ago in Los Angeles, in absentia, of drugging women with GHB, the "date-rape" drug. Luster jumped $1 million bail and disappeared three days before the guilty verdict was brought in.

The FBI has reported that an American couple who had met and recognized Andrew Luster in Mexico tipped off the bureau to his whereabouts, but the bounty hunters got there first.

Nippies has one question: Why wasn't this guy wearing any MAKE-UP to disguise himself?

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Nippies heard a buzz on this news...

A tractor-trailer carrying 100,000 honeybees overturned on The Pennsylvania Turnpike yesterday.

The PA turnpike had to shut down for about a half-hour while firefighters used chemicals to destroy the bees. There were fears that the bees would begin to swarm. The driver of the tre trailer, we at Nippies have learned, was Thomas Lee Leonard of Montgomery County, and he was stung 15 times.

We at Nippies can just imagine the poor driver's horrified thoughts when he saw the first few thousand honeybees escaping from their captivity.

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Nippies often complains to Mr. Nippies about his lack of participation in housework, but even we wouldn't go this far...

Bill Hoffman, Wire Services, reports in his "Weird But True" column that a Wisconsin man sick of his wife's nagging spiked (does Bill Hoffman have to pay Spike Lee royalites for using the word "spiked"?) her ice cream with a prescription painkiller. The man could get up to 11 years behind bars for mixing Vicodin into her dessert to "calm down his spouse after she accused him of not doing enough household chores".

Nippies thinks that this is not just punishment! If he were Mr. Nippies and WE were the judge, we'd sentence him to 11 years of hard labor....behind a mop and vacuum cleaner, and in front of a sink full of dishes!

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The AMA has endorsed human embryo cloning "only for research purposes".

We at Nippies predicted the lax attitude toward cloning that is beginning to creep into not only the medical profession, but our society, as well. The article would have made headlines a year or two ago, but now it was relegated to a short column on page 32 of today's New York Post.

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To Spike or NOT to Spike

Sorry, Spike Lee, but we at Nippies do NOT automatically think of you when we hear the word "spike". We think of spike hairdos, bulldogs with spiked collars, Spike Jones, drugs in a drink (see above entry), and a variety of other subjects - including Spike Lee. But not exclusively Spike Lee. We at Nippies mainly think of Spike Lee when we hear "Spike Lee" or perhaps Summer of Sam.

For those of you who do not know what we at Nippies are talking about, it's the recently filed lawsuit against Sumner Redstone's Viacom, by Spike Lee, to prevent Viacom from using the name Spike TV as the new name for Viacom's TNN Network because, as Spike Lee and his lawyers have argued, viewers would believe he (Spike Lee) was involved with the network, which has been billed as the first network geared toward men.

Of interest, the United States Patent and Trademark Office has a number of trademark applications either pending or granted registration with the word "spike" in them. On April 29th, 2003, a computer firm was granted registration of the term "spike". We at Nippies wonder if Spike Lee challenged any of these trademark applications and registrations? We at Nippies are just curious.

Perhaps an equitable and fair solution for all, we at Nippies think, is for a judge to just say that Viacom must use a disclaimer for the first year or two and explain that "SPIKE TV" is not associated with "Spike Lee". That way everyone should be happy...and Spike Lee with get publicity, as well.

An appelate courd judge granted Spike Lee a temporary injunction in the case. Viacom is currently involved in trying to get the judge to life the injunction, which is costing Viacom millions.


June 16th, 2003

Bewitched?

We at Nippies were reading a short story the other night which appeared in a recent issue of Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine. The story, by Melodie Johnson Howe, appeared in the June 2003 issue of Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, and takes its title from a line of dialogue spoken to the main character by the future murder victim, who is named Brendan.

Brendan, who is married, goes to the beach house of the main character, a struggling, middle-aged actress named Diana, to find out where his lover (Theo) might be. Theo is not only Brendan's lover, but is the main writer on the award-winning TV show of which Brendan is the star and on which Diana, the recent widow of a writer, gets occasional parts. Besides being friends, Diana and Theo are neighbors who own houses only a few hundred feet from one another on a southern California beach. The three had just been in each other's company a short while ago at an awards ceremony. Theo walked out shortly after Brendan's acceptance speech.

During the conversation between Diana and Brendan, Brendan glances at Diana's television set and sees that an old episode of Bewitched is on the small screen. Brendan says to Diana:

"Do you realize that every one of those stars on Bewitched is dead now?...I mean, if you think about it, they're just dead people talking."

We at Nippies found that hard to believe, and so we did our homework. And sure enough, it's true. Every single one of the main characters from the first two seasons of Bewitched is, indeed, dead. (Of course, the Murphy twins who played little Tabitha, and the Lawrence twins, who played Adam Stephens, Tabitha's little brother, are still around. It was their acting careers which died with the series.)

The deceased from Bewitched include:
Elizabeth Montgomery (1935-1995).....Samantha
Dick York (1928-1992)................Darrin Stephens
Dick Sargent ((1930-1994)............Darrin Stephens II
Agnes Moorehead (1900-1974)..........Endora
David White (1916-1990)..............Larry Tate
Maurice Evans (1901-1989)............Maurice
Alice Pearce (1917-1966).............Gladys Kravitz I
George Tobias (1901-1980)............Abner Kravitz
Irene Vernon (1922-1998).............Louise Tate I
Marion Lorne (1883-1968).............Aunt Clara
Mabel Albertson ((1901-1982).........Phyllis Stephens
Robert F. Simon ((1908-1992).........Frank Stephens
Paul Lynde (1926-1982)...............Uncle Arthur

By the way, Mabel Albertson was actor Jack Albertson's (Chico and the Man)sister. Betcha didn't know that!

Now, you may say, so what? Bewitched made it's debut 39 years ago! In 39 years, a lot of people are bound to die. Nippies concedes this point. In 39 years you are bound to have a lot of deaths occur. However, many other shows made their debut that many years ago, or nearly that many years ago, or more than that many years ago, and there are still survivors.

For instance, I Dream of Jeannie, and That Girl, which followed in 1965 and 1966 respectively, and which Nippies.com watched in our very young, single-digit years (when many of the jokes went over our heads!), still has at least a few survivors, including the main characters: Larry Hagman (Major Nelson (we at Nippies thought him to be very cute), who became famous on I Dream of Jeannie, is still kicking despite a liver transplant, and Barbara Eden (Jeannie)is still with us, and looking very good. Marlo Thomas has survived long enough to witness the return of the "flip". We at Nippies are referring to the the popular 1960's hairdo, and not the gymnastic maneuver. (Didn't Ann Marie have the perfect flip hairdo?? The stock in Aqua Net hair spray must have been through the roof in those days).

Then there is The Beverly Hillbillies, which debuted in 1962, two years before Bewitched hit the airwaves. Nippies has researched the survivors of this show! Among the living from The Beverly Hillbillies are:

Buddy Ebsen (Uncle Jed Clampett), who is now 93
Donna Douglas (Ellie May Clampett, who turns 70 this year
Max Baer, Jr. (Jethro Bodine), looking good at 66

The cast from this show has displayed remarkable longevity. Nippies wants to know: could it have been all that fresh country air and country cookin' that Jed, Ellie May, and Jethro took in during their formative years?

Alas, Grannie (Irene Ryan) died at age 71 in 1973.
Those who have passed on from the show are:

Raymond Bailey (Mr. Drysdale)
Nancy Kulp (Miss Jane Hathaway), who died at age 70 in 1991
Harriet MacGibbon (Mrs. Drysdale, who died in 1987 at age 82

Want more? How about Gilligan's Island, which made its debut in 1964...

Still living are:

Bob Denver (Gilligan)
Tina Louise (Ginger)
Dawn Wells (Mary Ann) who is, by the way, very health conscious (she once revealed in an interview that she only eats fresh fruits and vegetables, never canned!)
Russell Johnson (The Professor) turns 79 this year.
Jim Backus (Mr. Howell, Natalie Shafer (Mrs. Howell), and the lovable Skipper, portrayed by Alan Hale, Jr., have all departed for that great island in the sky.

The Nippies staff did research on other 1960s shows, as well. Amazing survivors include:

Eddie Albert (Oliver Wendell Douglas III of Green Acres (1965 debut), who is now 95 years old and
Frank Cady (Sam Drucker) who is now 88, and was on both Petticoat Junction as well as Green Acres as the amiable general store/postmaster at Drucker's General Store.

But the most amazing survivor of all is Charles Lane, the thin-faced, white-collared, perennially cranky beaurocrat who portrayed Homer Bedloe. on Petticoat Junction. Remember him? He was the one who was always trying to stop The Cannon Ball from making its run from Hooterville to the Shady Rest Hotel, run by Kate (Bea Benaderet) and Uncle Joe(Edgar Buchanan). Charles Lane turns 104 this year. His wife of 71 years, Ruth Covell Lane, passed away on November 30, 2002.

Charles Lane has a list of credits on imdb.com which is just astonishing. It goes on and on. Besides playing cranky beaurocrats and judges, he often played physicians.

Perhaps it pays to be cranky!

Nippies does not make any claims as to the scientific validity of this research. But we just wanted to pass this stuff on. Useless information? Yes. Fun to know? You bet.

Visit IMDB.com to verify Nippies research or to look up information or biographies on your favorite stars, movies or televison shows, creative talent, and other very interesting show-biz facts!

If you would like to see a photo of the mystery author, Melodie Johnson Howe, who inspired Nippies to write this little piece, click here:First Marlowe Award Presented to William Link at the Friars Club, Beverly Hills, CA on July 8, 2001

The photos were taken at the sold-out event held at Friars Club on July 8th, 2001 during the presentation of the first Marlowe Award, which was awarded by the Mystery Writers of America to William Link for his significant lifetime contributions to the mystery genre.

Also shown in the photos on the above linked page with Melodie Johnson Howe, who interviewed William Link, is William Windom, the award winning actor who appeared for many years in Murder She Wrote. Mr. Link, along with his writing partner, Richard Levinson, created Murder She Wrote, Mannix, The Fugitive,and Columbo, as well as 12 other television series!.

Amazingly, William Link and his writing partner, the late Richard Levinson (who passed away in 1987 at age 53) began writing together in junior high school!

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We at Nippies just LOVE the new CHAMPION athleticwear (or Champion athletic wear?) commercials.

Wow. Champion's sound byte is Be your own. As in "Be Your Own Champion. In other words, who needs a famous endorser's name on their sneakers, sweatshirts, tee shirts, etc., when you can be your own champion? Terrific!

We at Nippies did some research on the Champion sportswear commercials. The campaign is entitled, "Greed v. Love", and was created by Publicis in Mid America Dallas. There will be a series of :30 and :15 secont spots on network and cable. We at Nippies have learned that the Champion Be Your Own television commercial campaign began June 3rd, 2003 and the print campaign for Champion Athleticwear will begin in July, and will feature individual ads for Champion Running, the chafe-resistant running apparel collection for men and women; two new fleece categories; and new products, Space Aire Everyday Bra and Performance Underwear.

By the way, believe it or not (we at Nippies were incredulous), Champion Athleticwear is owned by none other than Sara Lee Corporation. Oh boy....Nippies.com has visions of eating a Sara Lee cheesecake, then donning all those nice Champion products and going out to "run it off".

Champion's "Be Your Own" commercials are especially poignant, if a commercial can be poignant, at a time when Nike is making deals of $90 million dollars for endorsements. The first thing we at Nippies thought when we heard about the Nike megamillions endorsement deal was: "Make a mental note not to buy Nike. We are going to be paying for that endorsement."

The Champion commercials come at a time when we at Nippies hear that the simple canvas hi-tops, like those from Converse (which were popular in the seventies), are also making a comeback in a big way.

We at Nippies think we may have spotted a trend. America is getting away from the hype and getting back to basics. Decadence is on its way out. Can it be long before plain old, long-lasting and cheap Wrangler jeans come back??



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