NIPPIES® online magazine
Issue #16: March 5 to May 13, 2004

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

VIP = (Very Important Person).

NIP = (Not Important Person) - to some.

News from a working class viewpoiont.

Topics in this issue: The Apprentice, Donald Trump, Catholic schools, tuberculosis, St. Patricks's Day, Dasani, Tammy Faye Baker, Alexis Stewart, Paris HIlton, Richard Dreyfuss, Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Molly Shannon, breast cancer drugs, Kirstie Alley, parking tickets, Julie Christie, American made tee shirts and more.

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May 13, 2004

MCI: There Goes the Neighborhood?

This article might also be entitled "MCI: The Honeymoon is over?"
Last October (Issue #12), we at NIPPIES wrote about how pleased we were with our new MCI package deal. Unlimited calling, Caller ID, Call forwarding, repair service, all for $59.99 per month, plus, of course, the applicable taxes...which are plenty. Still, we were happy. What we were told we were getting was what we got.

There were a few little snags along the way, but they were more misunderstandings than anything else. A super-high bill one month because Mr. Nippies was calling Canada and not realizing it was costint something like $1.50 per minute. So, we added on a special international calling package. Now the bill usually reached $100.00 or so, but, Verily I say unto you, it beat the service we had before MCI.

Till the phone went dead last Friday.
We at NIPPIES immediately called repair service at MCI. We pay a fee each month for repair coverage. After waiting, and waiting, we were put through to someone. They did a check from wherever it is they are. Given instructions. You know, unplug and wait 10 minhtes. Then plug it back in. The phone should work.

It didn't.

Next day, we called again. This time they gave us an appointment. For two days later. With the instructions that we would have to pay something like $75.00 if we cancelled within 24 hours. We were shocked, but said nothing.

Next day Mr. Nippies returned home and repaired the phone. We called to cancel. Were put on hold for an extraordinary amount of time. Gave up. Called back later. It was not a few hours after the 24 hour limit. We cancelled the appointment, and were told we'd agreed to pay the $75.00. Naturally, we blew our top!

Hey, we pay each month for repair coverage. We had to wait nearly three days for an appointment because their repair service was so busy. So, if we cancelled an appointment, shouldn't that make them HAPPY? Doesn't that mean someone else gets bumped up?

Long story short, Mr. Nippies called and informed MCI we will NOT pay the $75.00. They finally agreed we won't. The bill didn't arrive yet. We'll let you know.

But we are seriously thinking of moving out of the Neighborhood.


April 21st, 2004

Our Absence Explained

It's been over a month since we updated here on a regular basis. As you can see in some of the previous entries, we at NIPPIES originally took a little vacation to tend to business. However, on March 26th, a problem of another kind appeared on the horizon.

On March 26th, we learned that a local Catholic elementary grade school, one that has been in the community for 87 years, was closing, along with another only a few miles away. The announcement was very unexpected, and has thrown our lives into chaos. Our youngest child has been a student there since she started school, and our son also attended this school

Therefore, we have spent nearly every waking hour, whenever we can spare the time, in a concerted effort with other parents, to save this school It's an uphill battle all the way. The new bishop, in the diocese only six months, made the decision to close the school and, according to his own words, does not want to be known as a bishop who "reverses his decision" or "concedes". This, even though the committee to save the school has spend hundreds of manhours drawing up a plan which would merge the two schools and save the diocese money.

Dear readers, we hope to be back soon. And, God willing, we will be.

In the meantime, we do hope that you are enjoying these fine first days of Spring.


April 1st, 2004...

We at NIPPIES still are not back writing and editing full-time and daily. However, we have a few things we want to make a quick comment on!

National Walk To Word Day is tomorrow, April 2nd! Please be sure to honor this day, if at all possible. Get out those old Nikes, dust them off, and just walk, walk, walk! We have to show the gasoline companies and oil companies that we can fight back at them for those high gas prices!

By the way, if you got that silly e-mail that's been sweeping the nation - the one telling us not to buy Exxon or Mobil because that will force them to lower their prices - don't do it. Does it make any sense to boost up Sunoco or Shell to the point where Exxon/Mobil, which has merged, goes under? Hardly. We'll end up with a real near monopoly will be paying twenty dollars a gallon.

March 19th, 2004

A Different The Apprentice

We at NIPPIES don't watch any popular television shows on a regular basis. We stopped being regular watchers around the time our first born realized that there were kids' shows on the tube. He took control of the remote, and we've rarely held the thing since. We went through withdrawal at first, but then got used to not being in the pop culture TV loop. (Sad to say, the last "can't miss" show on our list was Murder She Wrote). Sure, we watch the news, special shows, movies, along with A&E, The History Channel, etc. We just don't usually watch prime time network shows Uusually. And we don't get HBO or any of the other premium channels such as Cinemax. Got rid of those years ago when the kids got big enough to be left alone in the TV room- and to change channels.

We do, however, love to read when we have the time, which is usually late at night. Fiction is our favorite type of reading, except for an occasional biography. We just finished a book which one of our friends gave us in a pile of discarded paperbacks. The books sat in the trunk of our old car for months, until the weather prevented us from making it to the library. The book we fished out from under the bag of clothes for the Salvation Army is called The Apprentice. It's a thriller.

This book has nothing to do with the popular Donald Trump television show, The Apprentice, which everyone is talking about and which we've never seen. It's a follow-up novel to another novel written by the same author. The first novel is called The Surgeon. "The Surgeon" is the nickname given by Jane Rizzoli, the detective-protagonist of the novel, to a sociopathic killer who disembowels his victims with a scalpel.

The author of the book is an M.D. by the name of Tess Gerritsen. Ms. Gerritsen lives in Maine, and not in New York City, like The Donald.

Tess Gerritsen left a successful practice as an internist several years ago to "Raise her children and concentrate on her writing," according to the mini-bio on the back cover of her book. Her first novel, Harvest, was a New York Times Bestseller. Dr. Gerritsen is also the author of the bestsellers Life Support, Bloodstream, Gravity, and the aforementioned, The Surgeon.

We at NIPPIES liked The Apprentice so much that we made a trip, once the snow cleared, to our library to get another Gerritsen book. Harvest was the only one available. So far, so good. It's about organ transplants and greed, which is truly a very frightening, but very possible, combination. Scary.

If you haven't already read any of Tess Gerritsen's books, give them a try. One warning: as a former physician, she has the knowledge to go into graphic detail when describing medical procedures such as autopsies and transplants, as well as the decomposition process. I never knew that they used towels in the OR to sop up the blood that spills out of the chest cavity in some surgeries...and then kick them out of the way when they get soaked. (No wonder nobody ever steals hospital towels like they do hotel towels.) Or that an unembalmed, decomposing body bloats at the abdomen and turns a greenish color with black veins. Nor do I think I needed to know...

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Dasani® Pulled in the U.K.

We at NIPPIES previously wrote (see March 3rd, 2004) about the differenct between spring water and purified water. Many people are not aware that "purified water", as in Dasani® and Aquafina® (bottled by PepsiCo), can and usually does mean water taken from an ordinary tap and then put through a purification system, albeit, we are hopeful, a sophisticated and thorough purification system. The folks in the United Kingdom were up in arms to learn that Dasani® was ordinary tap water taken from London, and other, British faucets- then purified.

Well, according to CNN's Jim Cafferty of The Cafferty File, Dasani has been pulled from the shelves in the U.K. Bromates were found in the Dasani® water. Some bromates are suspected to be carcinogens, or to cause cancer, according to a paper published on the National Center of Biotechnology Information web site:

"The present study showed that KBrO3 (potassium bromate) is carcinogenic in the rat kidney, thyroid, and mesothelium and is a renal carcinogen in the male mouse, KBrO3 was carcinogenic in rodents at water concentrations as low as 0.02 g/L (20 ppm; 1.5 mg/kg/day). These data can be used to estimate the human health risk that would be associated with changing from chlorination to ozonation for disinfection of drinking water."

The bromate mentioned in the above report, published in 1998, is on potassium bromate. We don't know what kind of bromate was found in Dasani,, or if the particular bromates discovered in the purified water are, indeed, carcinogenic. We at NIPPIES are not chemists, so we won't speculate on this issue. You might want to read the whole report for yourself.

Copy and paste the following URL from the National Institute of Health (nih.gov)...

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=9789944&dopt=Abstract&holding=f1000

Dasani® is made by God, polluted by humans, and purified and bottled by the Coca-Cola® company.

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More Bad News

Heck, as long as we at NIPPIES are bringing you all the frightening news this morning, we might as well keep it up.

On the news blurb at the bottom of CNN:

Liquid cocaine found in some fruit juice bottled in South Florida
We do realize that not all of us would find the above item to be bad news...

and

Tuberculosis on the rise in large U.S. cities with large immigrant populations

That's all for now, folks.


March 18th, 2004

Pass The Green Bicarb, not the Low Carb

We at NIPPIES did not go out drinking last night, but we hope that all of our readers who did imbibe did so prudently. Green beer looks better than it tastes, we think. As a matter of fact, we at NIPPIES think all beer looks better than it tastes.

We did make the traditional St. Patrick's Day dinner of ham and cabbage, as we promised yesterday. Yechhh. Where's the green bicarb when you need it? Personally, I can see why spaghetti is listed on the average menu, and ham and cabbage is not. Our teenage son, surprisingly, enjoyed the concoction and ate three servings. Go figure.

Before you write off ham and cabbage forever, however, you should get a good recipe and try to make it for yourself. The recipe we had was a verbal one from a very nice woman. She has been making it for years and, most likely, throws in a lot of spices that she didn't remember to tell us about.

Some recipes don't translate well, and this was one of them, we think.

By the way, speaking of carbs, Carnival now has a low carb cruise. Low-carb counselors are available 24-7. Can you believe it?

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Tammy Faye Has Lung Cancer

We are watching Larry King Live and see that Tammy Faye Messner (formerly Tammy Faye Baker) is announcing that she has inoperable lung cancer. She "never picked up a cigarette in her life."

This is so sad. I've never been a fan or foe of neither Tammy Faye nor Jim Baker. But I did think she was pretty cool when I watched her on Larry King a few months ago. Tammy Faye has a wonderful, self-deprecating sense of humor. She laughed about the parodies of herself which were so popular on Saturday Night Live. Her amusement, surprisingly, seemed very sincere. Tammy Faye also has unshakeable faith in God. Even now.

Larry King asked her if she's afraid. (Larry, of course she is!) She managed to laugh. Wow. What a lady. "God knows I'm scared. That's OK", she said. After her nervous laughter, she told Larry King she's a little afraid of the pain she might feel, but still thinks this is all God's plan.

Tammy Faye was asked by Larry why she went public about this personal news. Her answer made sense: she wants to break the news before the tabloids, or "rags", as she called them, get ahold of the story. Good for you, Tammy Faye! And very smart, too. It was only a matter of days or weeks before the National Enquirer picked this diagnosis up and had a field day with it. We at NIPPIES can just picture the headlines: "Tammy Faye's Brave Battle", blah blah blah.

While still on the subject of the tabloids running the story, Larry King brought up the subject of people finding a sense of satisfaction or pleasure over the misfortunes of others. The Germans have a special word for this, and it's called schadenfreude.

Tammy's doctors think the lung cancer, by the way, might be a latent metastasis of the earlier colon cancer. Tammy Faye mentioned that she didn't have chemo or radiation therapy after her colon surgery. But who knows, really, why these things happen to some and not others.

I hope Tammy Faye has a gentle journey down the road to wherever she is going and that her faith continues to buoy her up as she travels that path. Tammy Faye has proven to the world, we at NIPPIES think, that she is and always was just what she claimed to be: a woman who has tremendous faith in God and a store of spiritual strength that few of us possess.

As Larry King pointed out, we're all terminal.. How true.

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Martha Stewart Appeals to Pen Pals

By now everyone knows that Martha Stewart has written to her friends asking them to write to Judge Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum, prior to her June 17 sentencing for obstruction of justice, etc., to ask for leniency. The cover of the New York Daily News ran the headline:

HELP ME!...Martha begs friends to write judge so she can stay out of jail

The letter, sent to about 100 of her closest friends, according to the March 18th New York Daily News article, asks, in part, that, in their letters to Judge Cedarbaum, her friends "please include your opinion of my character, my work ethic, my integrity and my probity."

We at NIPPIES don't know about you, but that last word sent us to the dictionary. We aren't too proud to admit that, despite having a none-too-shabby vocabulary, although we admit we are no William F. Buckley, we had never heard of the word probity. In case you haven't, either, here's a definition from Dictionary.com:

Probity: Tried virtue or integrity; approved moral excellence; honesty; rectitude; uprightness.

So there.

Rosie O'Donnell didn't get a "Cordially, Martha" letter, but said she'll be happy to help Martha out in her hour of need, anyway.

Don't worry, Rosie. We at NIPPIES haven't received our letter yet, either! But we will be checking our mailbox daily. You know how that darn snail mail is.

By the way, if you watched Larry King Live last night, you saw 30 minutes of Alexis Stewart, Martha's 38-year-old daughter. She is soooo different from her mother. Doesn't look like her at all. Considering that this was her first time on national television, Alexis was amazingly calm, too calm. She came across as intelligent, but not very warm. One might even describe her as boring, which is something no one has ever accused Martha Stewart of being. Maybe Alexis Stewart's personality doesn't translate on television?

Martha Stewart met Sam Waksal, the head of ImClone, through Alexis. Alexis and Sam, an M.D., dated for two years, back when Alexis was 20-22 years old. Dr. Waksal is about 20 years older than Alexis. She was attracted to him because, among other things, she likes science. Martha and Sam became pals, and one thing led to another as far as Martha's investment in ImClone- and eventual dumping of ImClone stock when Erbitux was turned down for FDA approval. The rest, as they say, is history. According to Alexis, Sam Waksal is "horrified" at what is happening to Martha. Does Alexis blame herself for bringing Martha and Sam together, Larry asked? "No", said Alexis. Because "that's life".

There was one thing Alexis Stewart said that really struck us. That was that she "fainted" when the guilty verdict was announced. It wasn't that she said she fainted that made us sit up and notice, but rather that she seemed to think that was a really terrible, tragic thing. That she fainted. And no one noticed.

This week, Martha Stewart stepped down as chief creative officer and director of her company, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. However, she will stay on as "founding editorial director" in hopes that her attorneys can persuade the judge against a lengthy prison sentence. Rumors abound that Alexis may take her mother's place. Alexis told Larry King:

"Well, as far as being involved, I've always been involved, just not formally."

Alexis is part-owner of some fitness centers, and has a new boyfriend during the trial, but not at or through the trial. The unnamed man didn't know she was Martha Stewart's daughter when they met, she believes.

Alexis Stewart, wisely, does not read the newspapers, listen to the radio, or watch the television reports about her mother's trial. She deliberately avoids newsstands, etc. That is wise, we at NIPPIES think. After all, why does she need to listen to or read what others report on in this case when she is actually living through the whole ordeal?

The second half of Larry's show featured Martha's youngest sibling, Laura Plimpton, and her daughter, who is a brunette who appears to be in her twenties and who didn't say much. Laura is a dead ringer for her elder sister, especially from the nose up. She even sounds a bit like her. Laura is a writer on the Martha Stewart radio show, which we at NIPPIES didn't even know existed. Laura was disturbed at the pettiness of people and the snide remarks she hears as she walks by in the supermarket and other places. We at NIPPIES can't blame her for that.

Martha Stewart will be sentenced in June. Until then, we at NIPPIES are sure we'll be hearing a LOT about Martha Stewart.

Unless, of course, President Bush's search for Osama Bin Laden is successful. After all, we stopped hearing about the influenza outbreak- and vaccine shortage - as soon as our soldiers cornered Saddam Hussein in his rat hole, didn't we?

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Paris Hilton Here, Paris Hilton There...

Paris Hilton everywhere!

Last year, we at NIPPIES thought no one could be more overexposed than J Lo, or Jennifer Lopez. We spoke to soon.

We don't think we've opened a newspaper or looked at a tabloid that hasn't had a photo- sometimes more than one- of Paris. This is amazing, because Paris really isn't a true-blue entertainer. She started out with just the Hilton name.

Paris is really very pretty. She is young. She is rich. She is very, very photogenic. Greatgrandfather Conrad Hilton would be pleased. She's as pretty as her former step-greatgrandmother, Zsa Zsa Gabor.

By the way, Paris originally dropped out of high school, but later got her GED.

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Richard Dreyfuss in London

We at NIPPIES have previously written about how much we love Richard Dreyfuss! And we were thrilled to hear that he'll be in London this fall playing Max Bialystock (The Producers), the role now played on Broadway by Nathan Lane.

This April 1st (April Fool's Day) he'll open in the comedy "Sly Fox". All this was announced in Cindy Adams' column this past week in the New York Post.

By the way, we at NIPPIES love Cindy's column- except when she takes pot shots at Mel Gibson, which she, and her fellow New York Post columnist Liz Smith, have been doing a lot recently. Liz Smith is especially guilty of making digs. Examples, you say? In the same column where Cindy Adams praises our beloved Richard Dreyfuss, she refers to Mel's The Passion of the Christ as his "sweet new musical". Also in the March 11, 2004 NYPost edition, Liz Smith takes not one, but TWO, jabs at Mel Gibson when she says, "So what's a little sadism, where art and money are concerned - right, Mel?" AND, at the end of the same column, when comparing the crucifixion scenes in the recently aired (ABC) "Judas" with The Passion of the Christ, Liz Smith states: "The crucifixion here (Judas) did not encompass the blood-letting of the Mel Gibson's version."

Richard Dreyfuss currently lives in New York. We at NIPPIES thought it was great that, even with all his awards (he was the youngest male actor to win an Academy Award when he won for The Goodbye Girl), he still walked through the Barrymore Theater in awe of its theatrical history. According to Richard, he imagined the Lunts, the Barrymores, walked up and down the stairs, walked the aisles, touched the seats. Imagine.

Hey, if I ever get to the Barrymore Theater, we're going to walk the same walk that Richard walked and think about HIM! He's a legend in his own time, in our opinion.

Richard, if there is any reasonable way we can catch your play, we'll do it. If we can get tickets, that is.

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Got Gout?

Milk and dairy foods are beneficial in preventing gout, according to a report published last week in the New England Journal of Medicine. Vegetables once thought to contribute to gout, such as beans, peas, mushrooms, spinach and cauliflower, do not appear to be a factor.

For those of you who never understood exactly what gout is, and we at NIPPIES are one of you, it is a "form of arthritis caused when uric acid crystallizes in the joints, usually in the feet and ankles. Today it affects about 5 million adults," according to a Reuters article in the New York Post

Surely, there are many people with gout. But, personally, we've never met anyone who had the condition or disease. If we hadn't been fans of the old comic strip George McManus comic strip, Bringing Up Father, which featured Irish rags-to-riches couple Maggie and Jiggs, we would probably never have heard of gout. Several times a year, Jiggs, dressed in his tuxedo, would be laid up with a bad case of the gout. His foot would be placed up on a hassock, or foot stool, and the obligatory lines eminating from the foot would indicate pain. Too bad Jiggs didn't drink his milk.

By the way, we at NIPPIES found a terrific page on the psu.edu web site if you are interested in old comic strips.(Copy and Paste URL found below)

http://www.psu.edu/dept/inart10_110/inart10/stripbio1.html


Saint Patrick (493)
Saint Patrick, the glorious apostle of Ireland, was born in France, in the year 387. His father was an official of the Roman government. His mother's brother was Saint Martin Bishop of Tours. When Saint Patrick was almost sixteen years old, he was captured by pirates and brought to Ireland, where he met the people who would one day be his spiritual children. Saint Patrick was miraculously freed and returned to France. He was sent back to Ireland in 432 as a bishop by Saint Celestine, the Pope. Saint Patrick's most noted spiritual daughter in Ireland was Saint Bridget, called "the Mary of the Gael." Saint Patrick drove all the snakes--symbols of the devil--out of Ireland. He raised thirty-three persons from the dead. By making the sign of the cross, he caused the earth to swallow up a heathen who mocked the virginity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Saint Patrick's charioteer, Saint Odran, was martyred in place of him by some Celtic heathens. Saint Patrick was one hundred and six years old when he died. Saint Patrick, Saint Bridget and Saint Columbkille are all buried together and are the patron saints of Ireland.


Whether you are of Irish-American origin or not, we at NIPPIES wish you a very Happy Saint Patrick's Day!


March 17th, 2004

Ham and Cabbage, Anyone?

Yes, we at NIPPIES are of Irish origin. It's tough to figure out exactly what percentage Irish we are, but it's close to half. My maternal greatgrandmother came from County Kerry, Ireland, and had the name of McGillicuddy. Other names in our family, on both sides, are Walsh, Ryan, McQueeney and Mitchell. Yes, we most definitely have Irish blood in our family.

Regular readers also know that this editor is a product of the Irish-Catholic parochial school system. (Please don't misjudge the quality of a Catholic education based on our frequent misspellings and grammatical errors. We daydreamed frequently when we should have been listening to Sister M. Clementine back then, and now we are usually in too much of a hurry to proofread.) And I can tell you that I have very, very fond memories of celebrating Saint Patrick's Day not only in our home, but in school, as well.

On Saint Patrick's Day, the nuns, many of whom were also of Irish origin, sometimes 100 per cent, allowed us to throw caution to the wind- somewhat. The normally stern nuns,clad in black-and-white literally from head-to-toe, came to school on "St. Paddy's Day" with their little green plastic shamrock pins, with the words "Erin Go Bragh", which none of us knew the meaning of then and still don't know, stuck on their ample but flattened "bosoms".

We at NIPPIES got out all our Irish accessories from the junk drawers in the kitchen and living room the night before Saint Patrick's Day. And consulted with equally excited sisters and little brother about who got to wear what little do-dad. The plastic shamrock pins were already old and showing signs of wear, having been passed down from the post WWII days when our father and mother donned them for the annual Knights of Columbus St. Patrick's Day party. Other accessories, such as the green satin hair ribbons, scarves and earrings, were inspected for dirt and signs of wear. They were then carefully mended or washed and ironed and laid out for the next morning. And they were worn with great enthusiasm and pride. Even the kids who were Italian or Polish wore green on this special day and got into the spirit of being Irish.

Those were the grand old days, as the nuns would say. Our Irish grandmothers all still had a bit of a brogue because their mothers were, most often, from Ireland. The word book was pronounced like "boo" with a "k" tacked onto the end. And the old ladies referred to their possessions as "me pocketbook" and "me coat" instead of using the possessive "my".

There are very few pure Irishmen remaining in our little town. Oh, there are still some, but it's hard to believe that the part of our town named after County Cork because there were so many immigrants from that part of the Emerald Isle is now nearly 100% occupied by those of Italian-Sicilian descent. And the Saint Patrick's Day Dinner - for men only and called The Friendly Sons of Saint Patrick Annual Dinner - is still well attended. But the attendance is dwindling, as are the pure Irish.

And so, on this Saint Patrick's Day, we at NIPPIES are going to do something we've never done before: we are going to make real Irish ham and cabbage. It's our little way of preserving that part of our personal heritage which is Irish. It's in memory of Greatgrandmother McGillicuddy, and Greatgrandmother Mitchell.

The house will, of course, stink to high heaven from the smell of steaming cabbage. But that's ok. That way I can be sure that all those Irish ancestors of mine are sure to smell it. They will know they are being honored- and remembered. Along with the saint who converted the pagans of Ireland to Christianity so very long ago.

Happy Saint Patrick's Day to everyone.


March 16th, 2004

Together Again: Paul Michael Glaser and David Soul!

This is so exciting. Paul Michael Glaser and David Soul are, right now, on Living it UP! with Ali and Jack. The boys look wonderful.

Ali and Jack are asking terrific questions.

What did you think of the portrayals in the Ben Stiller - Owen Wilson movie?

Glaser and Soul both thought that Stiller and Wilson did a terrific job with their roles, and that Starsky's character was especially close to the original. Owen Wilson, as Hutch, was a little more off-the-beat, commented Soul. But he made this comment with a smile, so he obviously approved of Owen's interpretation of the Hutch character.

Are you good friends in real life?

Yes. They don't see each other all the time, they admitted, but they have remained close friends throughout the years. They keep in touch.

Why did you work well together?

David Soul compared themselves and their characters on "Starsky and Hutch" to chalk and cheese- meaning they were opposite, but it still worked. Paul Michael Glaser jokingly asked who was who....David Soul said he is the cheese and Glaser is the chalk. Glaser laughed at that.

Who chose the wardrobe? Why did you choose certain clothes?

Soul answered that they didn't choose the clothes for any other reason than the simply liked the styles. Certainly, he said, they didn't choose the clothes to start a 70s trend or with any specific agenda in mind. (We at NIPPIES think that Starsky and Hutch MADE the clothes cool, and no matter what they wore, they would have started a trend.)

Why was the show such a phenomenal success?

We at NIPPIES are glad that Paul Michael answered this one. He'd been more on the pleasantly quiet side before this question. Mr. Glaser said, in essence, that he thought the show was the right show at the right time. America had just gotten out of the Viet Nam era, and Americans were looking for people to look up to. For good guys. And Starsky and Hutch, as straight cops fighting the bad guys, filled the bill.

What was with that tomato red car?

David Soul said that they didn't think using such a brightly colored, can't-miss-it car made any sense. After all, the guys were undercover cops. But, despite his concerns about the appropriateness of such an attention getting vehicle, the car stayed. David Soul called it the "Red Tomato Car".

Paul Michael Glaser and David Soul were and are 1970s icons. Host Ali, when the duo first walked out, said they both looked amazingly unchanged. We at NIPPIES thought Paul Michael Glaser (Starsky) had hardly changed at all- except for having shorter hair. David Soul looked very different, we thought. Still, Soul looked good, just different than he did since the days when their show was at the top of the ratings.

It really was a thrill to see these two, together, again. The segment was short, and we at NIPPIES hope you were fortunate enough to catch Glaser and Soul together again.


1970s Colors Returning? Not Such a Thrill
Unfortunately, right after the Starsky and Hutch segment, Ali and Jack went into another 70s-themed segment: the return of burnt orange, brown, gold and avocado in home decorating.

Oh no!! Pull-eeze say it's not true!

I grew up during a time when avocado green, burnt orange, brown and gold were THEE colors. And I am, personally, fed up with this color scheme, like- forever. (Along with Formica® tables and chairs...) Everyone had those colors and they had them everywhere. Our house had an avocado green "sculptured" rug, and plaid furniture with all those colors in them. The "earth colors", or harvest colors,were especially prevalent in living rooms and kitchens.

The Brady Bunch kitchen was loaded with these colors. Take notice the next time you see the reruns.

We at NIPPIES are chuckling at a sudden realization. For years, we've teased the mother-in-law about her "Brady Bunch Kitchen", with it's orange formica countertops, avocado appliances, and other mish-mash of brown, green, etc.

This year Grandma decided to redecorate. Since Christmas, she's been very busy "updating" her kitchen with white, tan, and other blase colors. She plans on adding color accents, we suppose, to offset the blandness of tan and white. Won't she be surprised to hear that - thanks to Starsky and Hutch and other factors - she didn't have to redecorate after all and her earthy colors, now in a Dumpster, are back in style?

As they say, "Everything old is new again".


March 14th, 2004

Hollywood Hunt Club - Shameless?

We at NIPPIES just happened to put on the AMC (American Movie Classics) series about the Hollowood free lance photographers called the paparazzi. This particular installment of the Hollywood Hunt Club featured two paparazzi who had stationed themselves at LAX (Los Angeles International Airport), hoping to catch a few celebrities walking through the terminal. The scruffy-faced pair got increasingly lucky as the day wore on.

The shutter-bugs first subject was Molly Shannon, of Saturday Night Live. First, a little background on Ms. Shannon...

Molly Shannon, originally from Shaker Heights, Ohio, is one of those rare chameleon-like comediennes who can play a huge variety of characters and convince us that each one is real. (Tracey Ullman is another one.) In the movie Superstar, our personal favorite Shannon project,Molly portrays "Mary Katherine Gallagher", the nerdy Catholic school girl. Mary Katherine Gallagher has a few odd habits: she practices making out with trees and after praying on her knees every night, Mary Katherinc does a flip into bed- probably out of some unnamed obsessive-compulsive superstition. (If she doesn't do the flip, her prayers won't be answered?)

Molly looked very Mary Katherinish in every way as she glided through LAX. She had on very normal clothes, smiled broadly but modestly at the cameras, and willingly posed alongside her husband and her (born September,2003)infant (who was rather covered up in a stroller) before being dismissed by the paparazzi. The photographer, who looked very young, explained to his less experienced apprentice just who Molly Shannon was and that the less in demand stars in Hollywood (meaning Ms. Shannon) are far more willing to pose for photos than are the hottest celebrities of the moment.

Which brings us to Uma Thurman. Who is, at the moment, very much in demand.

Uma got off the plane with an entourage. Which included a nanny and her very young daughter. The free lancers gave not a hoot about the obvious discomfort displayed by Uma at being snapped. They persued. Not only through the terminal and outside to where a limo was waiting, but through the streets of LA to the hotel where Uma and her group were staying. The photogs, talking back and forth through walkie-talkies to get the best shots from their various positionings, finally had their patience rewarded. Uma stepped out onto an upper-floor balcony to enjoy a cigarette. (No doubt she's a closet smoker- or, in this case a balcony smoker. No one admits they smoke anymore. Especially not to their children.)

Goodness, it was sad. There is Uma, on the balcony. She inhales the smoke and savors its heavenly feeling. She is alone- she thinks. She slowly rotates her head to loosen up her neck. She has had a long and hard day. She allows her head to loll back and she closes her eyes in a moment of peace. Meanwhile, the paparazzi are very busy with their clicking and whirring cameras as they capture this "private" moment.

But it gets worse. The paparazzi wait until she emerges from the hotel with her little daughter. Then they proceed to snap photos of Uma Thurman and child as they enjoy their precious mommy-daughter time on the beach.

We at NIPPIES don't know where these photos ended up. We don't give a hoot. But we are just thankful that we aren't famous! It would not be much fun being hounded and photographed when you didn't even know there was a photographer hiding out there in the shrubs, in the back seat of a van, etc.

Take heart, Uma. In a dozen or so years- and perhaps a LOT less - the paparazzi will move onto the newer, hotter celebrities. And you won't be able to get arrested, as they say in Hollywood. If you are lucky?


March 11th, 2004

PA Attorney General Pappert Making Waves

If you go the the official web site of the Pennsylvania Attorney General, Gerald Pappert, you will see that he has been making quite a few waves since he took over the reins from the former AG, Mike Fisher. (Mike Fisher, whom we've at NIPPIES have always had a great deal of respect for, lost a bid for governorship to Ed Rendell.)

The latest news from the PA Attorney General's office is over his lawsuit aimed at 13 pharmaceutical companies. The following excerpt, in enlarged bold text, is directly from the Pennsylvania Attorney General's Press Release:

AG Pappert sues 13 major drug companies for unlawful and deceptive pricing and salespractices; alleges illegal conduct caused Pennsylvanians to pay higher prices for prescription medications Issued: Wednesday, March 10, 2004 Contact: 717-787-5211

HARRISBURG - In an effort to curb the skyrocketing costs of prescription drugs in Pennsylvania, Attorney General Jerry Pappert today sued 13 major pharmaceutical companies accusing them of unlawful and deceptive pricing and sales practices in a complex scheme to raise drug prices and capture market share by artificially inflating the cost of their drugs, some of which were used by cancer patients and others with life-threatening illnesses. "This scheme cost our citizens and the Commonwealth hundreds of millions of dollars in overcharges for prescription drugs," Pappert said at a news conference. "I am seeking to return those dollars to consumers and state programs, put a stop to these practices and thereby lower the cost of prescription drugs for all of us."

Pappert said the 42-page lawsuit, filed today in Commonwealth Court, accuses the drug companies of participating in an unfair and deceptive marketing scheme and conspiracy that provided improper incentives to medical providers to gain market share. The lawsuit alleges that the scheme forced consumers and state agencies to pay significantly higher prices for prescription drugs as drug companies purposefully inflated the cost of those drugs. It takes a LOT of guts to take on any pharmaceutical company, much less 13 of them at once! We applaud Jerry Pappert's efforts on behalf of all Pennsylvanians.

Now, if only the Pennsylvania legislators would follow Pappert's courageous example and ake on another powerhouse: the Pennsylvania Bar Association and legal reform.

If you have ever been worked over by your own lawyer in his or her effort to get you to settle quick, cheap and unfairly to you, or if your attorney has ever flat out committed legal malpractice by neglecting your case or abusing his privileges in any way, and you've tried to do ANYTHING about it, you should know that you are beginning an almost impossible-to-win fight. Good luck in your quest to find a lawyer who will take on another lawyer for legal malpractice. Attorneys watch each others' backs. Lawyers in Pennsylvania are nearly untouchable.

We at NIPPIES have written about this before in other arenas. Here is an excerpt about the powerhouse called the Pennsylvania Bar Association....

Pennsylvania is ranked 51st by HALT.org, an organization dedicated to legal reform. (Legal reform refers to the manner in which lawyers are disciplined for their misconduct.) The low ranking is for a good reason: Pennsylvania is extremely secretive and reluctant in the process of disciplining lawyers who violate the Rules of Professional Conduct, which dictates the standards of the client-attorney relationship, among other things, in Pennsylvania. Lawyers who are dishonest, incompetent, deceitful, commit fraud, and are negligent are, idealistically, supposed to be disciplined, according to the Pennsylvania Rules of Professional Conduct. Unfortunately, they rarely are.

The only agency which can discipline a lawyer in Pennsylvania is the Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania. Unfortunately, up to 87% of all complaints against attorneys which are reported to the Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania are dismissed as "frivolous". Of the remaining cases, only a scant few result in public discipline and/or the lawyer actually being disbarred. However, even if a lawyer is named as being disciplined, the extent of his offenses are not publicly matched with his name.

Even writing to the Attorney General of Pennsylvania will result in no action against a lawyer who violates the Rules of Professional conduct. The Attorney General has no control over the conduct of lawyers.

One problem with the system in Pennsylvania is clearly that lawyers are largely self-governing. It is also lawyers, for the most part, who are in the legislative branch of the Pennsylvania government and who make the rules about how lawyers are to be disciplined. And the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania is, of course, comprised of lawyers. Lawyers clearly take care of their own.

A good place to start with legal reform is with campaign reform.

Go to FollowTheMoney.Org to see how much money is contributed by lawyers and lawyers' lobbyist groups to politicians running for office, and to candidates for the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania. A LOT! (Lawyers also contribute heavily to county judges compaigns). How can a lawmaker or judge be subjective when they've been the recipient of a large campaign contribution from a particular attorney, law firm, or lawyer's group such as the Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers Association? Judicial reform is also much needed in Pennsylvania.

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Anybody Wanna Buy a Drugstore Chain? Department Store Chain?

J.C. Penney is looking to sell its Eckerd chain of drug stores. Any lookie-lous out there? You'll have to get in touch with executives of the James Cash Penney stores to find out the price.

Eckerd stores have come a long, long way since 1912, when J. Milton Eckerd opened a cut-rate drugstore in Wilmington, Delaware. If you are interested in the history of this drug store chain, copy and paste the link below. You'll see photos of the original Eckerd store, and pictures of other Eckerds, as well. The page also contains a list of articles which have put Eckerd in the news:

http://www.lissa.net/riverdale/eckerd.htm.

Marshall Field's and Mervyn's are also up for grabs

Target Corporation is also having a rummage sale. You can pick up Marshall Field's and Mervyn's (separately, we at NIPPIES think) if you don't have a yeng for owning drugstores. We at NIPPIES don't know the price that Target is asking for the chains, but the Target stock shares went up significantly when announcements were made that the two chains are up for sale.

According to a claim on the home page for Mervyn's: Target and its family of stores donates 5% of its total taxable income to community projects in the area where the particular stores are located. That is nice. But it's also a tax deduction!
Just stating the facts, folks.

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New Breast Cancer Drug More Effective than Tamoxifen

This month's issue of the New England Journal of Medicine featured an article about a new breast cancer drug which, studies show, is more effective than Tamoxifen in preventing recurrences of localized tumors in the breast and elsewhere for breast cancer patients. This is very big and very important news!

A new study, which included 4,742 postmenopausal women in 37 countries, focused on women who already had the type of localized breast cancer tumor fueled by the female hormone (the most common type of breast cancer), estrogen and were already being treated with the conventional breast cancer drug, tamoxifen. Of the women who switched from tamoxifen to the new drug, exemestane, compared to those who remained on tamoxifen, there was, according to the study, a reduction of recurrence by one third. The brand name o exemestane is Aromasin (tm).

According to the study, there were less serious side effects and were 56 per cent less likely to get cancer in the other breast. Overall, according to the report, 91.5 per cent of women inthe exemestabe group were cancer free three years after switching drugs, compared to 86.8 percent for women who stayed on tamoxifen.

The lead researcher, Dr. R.C. Coombes, professor of cancer medicine at Imperial College School of Medicine in London, warns that Aromatase inhibitors, the type of drug used in the study, can increase bone loss, which is a serious problem for older women. Other aromatase inhibitors include the brand names Femara and Arimidex. Please check with your physician for more informaton on this study! We are only reporting general information and are not a medical source. This research was funded by Pfizer, the maker of Aromasin (tm), and the results vary depending upon the type of tumor, the stage of cancer,the woman's age, and other factors.

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Pier I Replacing Kirstie Alley in Commercials

Starting this month, Thom Filicia will replace Kirstie Alley in the famous Pier I commercials. We'll miss ya, Kirstie!

No one has said if the replacement of Ms. Alley has anything to do with the tremendous weight gain that appears have taken place. Kirstie was shown in a tabloid recently eating a burger wrapped in lettuce. She did look terribly bloated in the photos. Her jowls were hanging over her chin line. However, we at NIPPIES felt really sorry for the loss of privacy that Kirstie suffered when these photos were snapped. Yes, she seemed to have gained a LOT of weight, judging from the photos. (The tabloid claims she weighs 301 pounds now.) But people in Hollywood do this all the time! Lose...gain....lose....gain.

At any rate, Kirstie's weight has been ingeniously disguised in recently aired Pier 1 commercials. In one commercial, it appears that she has on a bustle! Some are saying that Kirstie was replaced in the commercials because, quite simply, she got fat. What??? Is this any reason to replace someone in a commercial which is aimed at selling products to accentuate the home?? What, overweight women, even severly overweight women, don't know as much about home decorating as slender women?

Thom Filicia (often mispelled Tom Felicia) currently stars on Queer Eye for the Straight Guy as the interior designer. Thom owns his own interior firm, so he is well suited for the Pier I spokesperson job. Obviously, Pier 1 chose to replace Kirstie Alley with Thom Filicia.

Let's hope that Thom doesn't gain a lot of weight.

Good Luck, Kirstie. We are sure you're already getting back to your fighting weight. And, Thom, watch your calories...


March 10th, 2004

Fight That Parking Ticket!

We at NIPPIES heard a very interesting story on npr.org this morning. It was about a web site that actually helps you fight that unfair parking ticket! Having been the victim of unfair parking tickets in the distant past, we allowed our curiosity to lead us to the web site.

Sorry, the site does not tackle speeding violations, etc., at this time. Another limitation: the service is currently limited to the cities of New York City, Washington, D.C., and San Francisco, CA.

The idea was born in the 1980s when the one of the administrators of the web site, an accountant working and living in Manhattan, was unfairly ticketed in Manhattan. The Manhattanite ran down at 7:55 a.m. to move his car before the 8:00 a.m. deadline- and found his car already ticketed. The ticket-ones crawl through the bureaucratic maze was frustrating, and, as a result, an idea was born.

The idea first spawned a book of New York City parking regulations and, many years later, the parkingticket.com site was created.

Here's how ParkingTicket.com works, from what we at NIPPIES gathered. You go to the web site armed with your vehicle registration information and the parking ticket you believe you unfairly received in New York, Washington, D.C., or San Fran. You log in with an e-mail address and a password. Then you click on a bar entitled "Fight My Tickets". The system will ask you a series of relevant questions such as the city, the ticket number, the violation, etc. (All this info is on your ticket- so it's a no brainer.) On the final screen, you will be presented with a lookalike version of your parking ticket. Enter what you see on your actual ticket into the corresponding field on the look-alike ticket.

Next, parkingticket.com's software draws up a "customized, confidential Dismissal Request Letter for you, citing the exact reason(s) why your ticket should be dismissed. You will receive an email notifying you when your Dismissal Request Letter is ready," according to the information on the site. Follow the instructions on the e-mail, and you should then be able to print out your customized letter requesting a dismissal of your parking ticket. The web site gives you specific instructions for each city on how to and where to forward this letter. When the city receives your letter, officials will, supposedly, set up a hearing on your behalf- without you having to be there, according to the claims on this web site.

Finally, your particular city determine what's what with your ticket and you should hear from the city within a few weeks. If you are found not guilty, you owe the city nothing. Parkingticket.com will even help you with your appeal if you are found guilty.

Last but not least, according to the instructions on parkingticket.com, they " guarantee that your ticket will be dismissed using our system....or you pay us absolutely nothing."

So, what do you pay for parkingticket.com's help? If your ticket is dismissed, they get half of what your ticket would have cost.

You'll have to visit the web site for the particulars. As everyone knows, the devil is always in the details. But from what we at NIPPIES read, it seems like a good deal- but use parkingticket.com's services at your own risk! We are not endorsing parkingticket.com- we're just intrigued by it and think is seems like a good deal.


March 9th, 2004

Good News for Julie Christie Fans

If you are over a certain age, you no doubt remember Julie Christie. Along with Jean Shrimpton, pink-fronted lipstick, and go go boots, she defined the swinging Carnaby Street - London look that followed the Beatles to America. But Julie Christie, who had a long-running affair with Warren Beatty, disappeared from the pop culture radar screen with the seventies.

Well, Julie is back. She's always made movies - our personal favorite is 1965's Darling, which was written with her in mind. But now, in the next year, you are going to see Julie Christie in major films. Watch for Julie Christie in: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004), which is now in post-production; Troy (2004) - post-production, and, last but not least, as "Mrs. du Maurier" in J.M. Barrie's Neverland (2004), which also stars Academy Award nominee, Johnny Depp.

We at NIPPIES had not thought about Julie Christie in years. But one night, very late, we happened to catch a showing of Darling on American Movie Classics. This movie is not only a fascinating pictoral archive of the 1960s, but teaches the audience about the real curse of beauty without conscience and compassion.

While we are on the subject of the 1960s, we at NIPPIES should expound on whatever happened to Jean Shrimpton, or "The Shrimp" as she was known during her modeling career. Jean Shrimpton was probably the very first supermodel. Twiggy actually came later. But while many girls may have wanted to have a body as skinny as Twiggy's during the 1960s (and the birth of the anorexia movement), few wanted to have a face like her- cute as she was. Girls wanted to look like the Yardley of London model- Jean Shrimpton.

nippies frosted sixties lips Jean was one of the first to wear a mini skirt. It was a very hot day at the Melbourne Gold Cup in Australia in November, 1965 when Jean Shrimpton, according to legend, made her appearance both bare-legged and clad in an extremely short skirt. She was the original Yardley cosmetics girl and had a three-year contract with Yardley to represent their hair products, as well. Both men (she was Terence Stamp's girlfriend) and women adored her tossled, teased hair and huge, very heavily made-up eyes, and, as mentioned previously, pink-frosted lips. So frosted that you could almost taste the sugary-icing that she must have had on to look so delectable!

Jean's sister, Chrissie Shrimpton, also had a career as a model and dated Mick Jagger for a time.

Where is Jean today? According to the imdb.com bio, she "currently runs the Abbey Hotel B&B with husband (Michael Cox) in Penzance, Cornwall, England where few, if any, visitors to the hotel remember her as supermodel "The Shrimp", the face of swinging sixties London. A veritable Cindy Crawford of her era"

Jean and Cox are the parents of a son, Thaddeus. Her autobiography, "Jean Shrimpton, An Autobiography", was published in 1990. And she was mentioned in a Smithereen song called "Behind the Wall of Sleep"...


" She had hair like Jean Shrimpton back in 1965...".


March 8th, 2004

Spaulding Gray's Body Found In East River

The body of acclaimed actor-writer Spalding Gray, 62, was pulled from the East River over the weekend. Gray had nat been seen since January 10th, when he walked out of his Manhattan apartment and disappeared. His identity was verified through dental x-rays and records.

We at NIPPIES knew the name sounded familiar when we heard the first announcement of this news on the radio. However, we couldn't place Spalding Gray's until his photo appeared on CNN. We remember the mild-mannered actor best for his relatively small, but important, role in 1988's blockbuster, Beaches. He played "Dr. Richard Milstein", Hillary's (Barbara Hershey) obstetrician and friend who became Bette Midler's fiance for the brief period of time when "C.C." decided to give up show biz and settle down as a suburban doctor's wife. (That idea went out the window as soon as a good movie offer came in from C.C.'s agent.)

Spaulding Gray wrote the acclaimed monologues "Swimming to Cambodia" and "It's a Slippery Slope,". On Broadway he starred in a 1989 revival of "Our Town". The play won a Tony Award that year for best revival.

Kathleen Russo, Mr. Gray's wife, never gave up hope that he would be found alive. Mrs. Gray has told interviewers that she would tap strangers on the shoulder and ask them to turn around if they resembled her missing husband - just to make sure it wasn't him.

Spaulding Gray had suffered a head injury, and broken hip, in 2001 while on vacation in Ireland. He never fully recovered from that traumatic head injury, having suffered from depression on and off since that time. He reportedly tried jumping froma bridge near his Long Island home in October 2002, and, according to an AP story, he was twice hospitalized for depressions after the accident.

Gray is survived by Russo; three children; and a brother, Rockwell Gray, an English professor in St. Louis.

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School Bus Ads? JUST SAY NO!

A Pennsylvania advertising company has approached over 40 school districts in the state about placing advertisements above windows inside the school buses.

Brian Ungar, the founder of InSight Media, is claiming that the ads would be for benevalent products and services such as colleges and toothpaste. Other ads would be warning ads about the dangers of drugs, etc.

"They generate revenue through the advertising that could help offset operating costs and fund educational programs. We're not talking about a little money, we're talking about a lot of money, actually," Ungar said in the AP article, which was authored by Jennifer C. Yates, an Associated Press Writer.

Pennsylvania, if they go along with this proposal (and we at NIPPIES think they will), will not the first state in the East to do so. Massachusetts passed a law in 2002 which cleared the way for advertising on school buses. The law provides a ban on ads for liquor, tobacco, drugs and gambling. (Gee, that was a thoughtful gesture by the legislators!) As a result, a few school districts placed ads on their school buses. According to the AP story, the "Braintree school district has a $30,000 contract with a restaurant chain, and the Beverly district made $36,000 last year by selling ad space to local businesses," according to the Yates/AP article.

Boston, MA is also looking into placing ads on their buses.

The Pennsylvania school districts are not yet entirely sold on the idea, but there isn't a lot of noise being made against it,either.

The Montour School District in Pennsylvania heard a presentation from Brian Ungar regarding the school bus ads. The school district will get about $140,000 from the proposed deal. According to Dr. Joseph Findley, the acting superintendent of the Montour School District (near Pittsburgh), no decision has yet been made.

"I think it's just another vehicle for possibly coming up with revenues that are not gaining any other way," said Findley, according to the Yates/AP article.

But the Mountour Taxpayers Organization, a watchdog group, is not neutral on the school bus ad issue. Its members flat out don't want the kids exposed to ads. Michelle Bitner, the groups spokesperson, made a valid point when she stated that it is possible that there would be disagreements over what is appropriate for the ads.

We at NIPPIES agree with Ms. Bitner. People these days can't seem to agree on anything being appropriate. And since the school buses are taken by children of every race, creed and religion (or non-religion), how can any one ad be appropriate?

School Bus Media Inc., a Miami-based company headed up by David Hill, the company's vice president, has been placing ads on school buses for about four years. The company currently has, according to the AP article, about 400 public service announcements in about 120 school buses in northwestern Florida. As with the other company, the school district gets part of the money paid by advertisers. Hill has gotten criticism about the placement of the ads, but defends by stating, basically, that children are already inundated by ads- and what's a few more.

"The child rides the bus 10 times a week. He's going to and from school on the bus, all he has to do is look out (the window) and see advertising," Hill said. "He's already seeing advertising. He goes home and watches Nickelodeon or Cartoon Network."

We at NIPPIES think that's a lousy argument for school bus ads. Kids are already inundated with advertising, so what's a little more?. God help us if we buy that one. Children should be seeing less advertising and not more advertising, no matter what the ad is for. It is really unfair to place ads on school buses, where the kids are, literally, a captive audience.

Michelle Bitner, of the Montour Taxpayers Organization, explained why parents in her organization are opposed to the school bus ads:

"We as parents feel our children are subjected to an enormous amount of advertising on a daily basis and one place to keep it out of is schools and school buses," she said.

We at NIPPIES couldn't agree more with Ms. Bitner. Riding on the school bus should not be another advertising experience. And why would Pennsylvania school districts need to place ads on school buses to raise revenues, anyway??

*Pennsylvania school teachers are the highest paid school teachers in the entire United States!!!

PA school teachers average nearly $51,000 annually. Their pay is considerably higher than the average annual earnings of private sector employees in Pennsylvania, who earn about $34,542. And the state ranks third in the nation in that ratio! That means, that when adjusted for the cost of living in the Keystone State, Pennsylvania school teachers are, according to some sources, thee highest paid school teachers in the entire nation!

An article which appeared in the Post-Gazette on July 8, 2003 (by Jane Elizabeth, Post-Gazette Education Writer) bore the headline:

State's teachers at top for pay
$54,960 adjusted average leads U.S.

Ms. Elizabeth went on to explain in the article that, according to an annual state-by-state salary survey, the average Pennsylvania teacher salary during the 2001-02 school year was $50,599. But when *"adjusted for the cost of living in Pennsylvania, the state's average teacher salary rose to $54,960, making it No. 1 in the nation. The state (PA) also ranked No. 1 during the previous year's survey.

If you don't believe us, please read this article which appeared in the July 8, 2003 Post-Gazette: (copy and paste below)

http://www.post-gazette.com/localnews/20030708teacherpay0708p2.asp

There is only one advertisement that we at NIPPIES can think of that would be truly beneficial for kids to see when they are stuck on a school bus: a poster - complete with contact information - for the Stop Bullying Now! campaign that was launched on March 1st by the United States Surgeon General.
For more about the Stop Bullying Now! campaign, see the March 2nd entry below.


March 5th, 2004

Introducing the aciremA(tm) tee shirt...

The ad you see on this page is for a tee shirt which is 100% made in the United States. A rare item!

Yes, the aciremA(tm) tee shirt is a product which we are promoting because it is our family product. Our nineteen-year-old son is the designer of this tee shirt. But the t-shirt is more than just a clever use of words and a catchy design. This white cotton t-shirt is the physical expression of our beliefs.

First of all, the word aciremA(tm) is, if you haven't already noticed, "America" turned around. We at NIPPIES think it's time that America made an about turn from many of the paths we've taken.

Here at NIPPIES on-line magazine, you already know that we believe in promoting small businesses. You know that we believe that Big Business has already grown far too powerful in our country- our own government can't even handle some teams of corporate lawyers. You already know that we believe it is a tragedy that so many - perhaps most - manufacturing jobs have, literally, gone south (and far to the east, as well).

Our town, which once had a clothing factory on nearly every corner, now has not ONE clothing factory - that we are aware of - in the city limits. This is because most clothing is sewn in a factory overseas or in Mexico.

When our family began to look around for a one-hundred percent made in the U.S.A tee shirt on which to get our aciremA message, we were shocked to learn that Hanes, Fruit of the Loom, and other popular tee shirt makers do not make the whole tee shirt in the United States. Sometimes the tee shirt components are made here, but often those parts are shipped off the a foreign factory to be assembled. We could find only TWO tee shirt makers (American Apparel and SweatX) in the United States which make the WHOLE tee shirt in the U.S. The aciremA staff (our family) picked one to place the name and message on, but we will also use the other manufacturer in future orders.

Our family hopes that these tee shirts can become a sort of billboard for companies which sell made-in-the-U.S.A products, and for made-in-the-U.S.A. products themselves: companies can order these tee shirts, which will have the aciremA(tm) logo on the front, and place their own logo on the back. They can then sell - or distribute to their best customers - the tee shirts. Our tee shirts will be a human billboard, and also a statement of belief in products which are made in the U.S.A.

This is a very original tee shirt and a very original idea (the cynic in us asks:how long until a big business tries to snatch it away??) There is also a link page on aciremA.com which will list products which will advertise ONLY products made completely in the U.S.A.

So, if you are interested in being one of the very first- if not THEE first - in your city, or perhaps even your state - to wear this great tee shirt, then click on the aciremA link on this page and get ordering! There is also some whimsical jewelry for sale, as well.

Thanks from our family to yours!

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Our Sympathy to Cecily Adams' Family

We at NIPPIES were saddened to hear that the thirty-nine-year-old daughter of veteral actor Don Adams (Get Smart) and singer Adelaide Adams, has died. Cecily Adams passed away yesterday only a month after her 39th birthday.

Cecily Adams has been ill for a short time with lung cancer. She was not a smoker. Cecily is well known in Hollywood as a casting director, and was married to Jim Beaver, an actor. She was the mother of three-year-old Madeline Rose Beaver.

Our expression of sympathy goes out to the entire Adams/Beaver family.

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Sandra Bullock and Jesse James?

Stories in the tabloids report that thirty-nine-year-old Sandra Bullock is seeing Monster Garage star, and car-customizer to the stars, Jesse James. Jesse James is a descendant of a first cousin of the well-known Jesse James.

Ms. Bullock and the tatooed James reportedly met when Sandra took a young relative to see a Monster Garage taping. These two are a very unlikely couple, but opposites do attract! Only time will tell how there romance will pan out.

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Starsky and Hutch Gay? No Way!

By now everyone knows that the popular seventies television series, Starsky and Hutch, has been made into a movie. The film stars hilarious Ben Stiller (as Hutch) and Ben's real-life friend and frequent co-star, Luke Wilson.

Making a remake of a old television show into a full-length feature film is not so unusual. Think Charlie's Angels and Brady Bunch, for example. What is unusual is that there is a slight hint of the boys being gay in this movie.

Some say that there were sexual innuendos in the original television show, which aired from 1975-79, and starred Paul Michael Glaser and David Soul as partners. We are now, according to some, supposed to believe that these two men might have been attracted to each other and that it was hinted at in the TV show. Bull____, we at NIPPIES say. We loved that show, and watched it regularly. They guys were not attracted to each other romantically in any way, in our opinion. We think this is just some spin that is being put on the old show to justify the gay fun the boys are having in the movie.

At any rate, Glaser and Soul were gorgeous, and they had a huge female following. I thought Elizabeth Meyer, who went with Paul Michael Glaser during the years the show was on the air and who married "Starsky" in 1980, was one of the luckiest girls on earth. He was gorgeous- still is. She was beautiful, as well. Somewhere, way back then, I read that they met shortly after Elizabeth, a school- teacher, arrived in Los Angeles. According to an interview I read at the time, she caught Paul Michael's eye as they both were waiting for a traffic light to change. Cute story.

(March 16th, 2004 Editor's note: we at NIPPIES were able to verify the memory of the "traffic light meeting" between Paul Michael Glaser and schoolteacher Elizabeth Meyer. There is a Photoplay article from 1977 which states that the couple met at a traffic light on Santa Monica Boulevard. You might want to read this article, and then tour around David Soul's official (we think!) web pages.)

Copy and paste the link below to go to David Soul's web site. The link should take you directly to the Photoplay article mentioned above:

http://www.davidsoul.com/photoplayfilmmonthlymarch1977.html

And I felt very sad for the whole family when Mrs. Glaser contracted HIV from a tainted blood transfusion. Ariel, Elizabeth and Paul Michael's daughter, died from AIDS in 1988, and Elizabeth died a few years later after valiantly campaigning for AIDS awarness and fundraising. Elizabeth retained her beauty despite the tremendous weight loss caused by AIDS. Perhaps the beauty came from within- she was a tremendous soul, a tremendous woman. The Glaser's son survived, although he is HIV positive.

Paul Michael Glaser (Paul Manfred Glaser) is a talented director, as well as a very good actor. He has remarried - to executive producer Tracy Barone. I've see a photo of Tracy Barone Glaser. She's very pretty. The couple married in 1996, and daughter Zoe was born a year later.

David Soul acts occasionally, and has married several times.

We think the Starsky and Hutch remake will be a lot of fun to see. Mostly, we think it's a spoof of the original show. Obviously.



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