Welcome to Issue 4 of Nippies on-line magazine!
Here you can read articles and stories which were previously posted from December 11th, 2002 through November 1st, 2002

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December 11th, 2002

Fruitcake and Phil Donahue: Both are getting a bum rap...
Poor Phil Donahue. He's getting trashed all over the place.

We at Nippies are watching Imus in the Morning as we type, and they are poking fun at Phil's interview last night with Regis Philbin. It seems that Phil Donahue thought that Regis's father was a teacher and said so to Regis. When Regis replied no, he wasn't, Phil said something like, "your mother was a teacher?". Anyway, Imus and his gang played a tape of the errant interview and had a good laugh.

Phil Donahue is considered by many to be the father of the modern day talk show. Certainly, his was the forerunner of the liberal daytime talk show. Mike Douglas was, in our opinion, very conservative and non-controversial. Phil was raising eyebrows way back in the mid-60s when controversial topics rarely entered the mainstream media. Phil started out small in Ohio, dressed in his conservative suits and classic clothes, then moved onto the big time (about 1970) where he floored everyone when he donned a kilt-like skirt and talked about cross-dressing and other "taboo" subjects".. Phil was an innovator and was , to our knowledge, the first daytime talk host to "shock" his audience with his almost-anything-goes show.

Phil Donahue has now become the "fruitcake" of daytime television. You know, everyone jokes about fruitcake and how no one eats it. That there is only one fruitcake in the world that keeps getting passed off as a gift to everyone else. There was even a short mystery story about that very same myth in the new (January 2003) Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, which we at Nippies love. But that's another subject.

Of course, this fruitcake myth is full of holes. Someone, somewhere, at some point made up the myth that no one likes fruitcake, and one half of the world - the fruitcake haters - perpetuated the myth much to the chagrin of we at Nippies and the other half of the world, who love a good fruitcake! We at Nippies saw a tempting, Tastykake fruitcake at K Mart the other day and would have loved to toss it in the cart, but it was a bit pricey for such a small chunk of cake. Hey...if fruitcake wasn't popular, would Tastykake make 'em? No way. They haven't been around for since 1914 because of poor business decisions...

Well, a lot of us like Phil Donahue. Just like we like fruitcake. We don't think he's old fashioned, he's just a classic...like fruitcake. And if Phil Donahue makes a mistake - hey, he makes a mistake. He's still a legend. He's still got something to say. He's still worth watching. And if he's not at the top of his game anymore, and who is at his age, he's still better than the so-called hip hosts who bring the lowest people to discuss the lowest topics just for the ratings.

We at Nippies will throw one more analogy at you. We guess it's like those who went to see Sinatra in his last years of performing. The tickets were nearly impossible to get. The lucky ticket holders didn't care if Francis Albert Sinatra sang off key a bit and they didn't care if Old Blue Eyes wore a toupee. That was Frank Sinatra up there on that stage, and if Frank Sinatra just sat on a chair and talked through his songs, it was still worth the very high price of a very hot ticket. And the ones who weren't lucky enough to get tickets sat around and told anyone who would listen they didn't care because "the guy should retire...he can't sing anymore". Who really listened to these naysayers? Certainly not we fruitcake lovers. We at Nippies and those like us don't care about being thought cool or hip.

Phil Donahue's ratings are not good. He won't be on the air for long, most likely. So here's what to do. Run up to K Mart and treat yourself to that deliciaous looking Tastykake fruitcake. Then go home, put on a pot of coffee (or tea), and serve yourself up a nice big slice of fruitcake, a nice cup of brew, and tune into Phil Donahue. And if you're really worried about being "outed", just pull down the shades so that hip young couple next door cannot peek through their custom made mini-blinds and catch you being uncool.

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December 9th, 2002

Whole-Body CT Scans - The Newest Fad

Many celebrities, and others, are joining the trend toward what they think will bring them better health. It is the whole-body CT scan, and we at Nippies have been reading about it more and more frequently of late. (Robert Wagner has had one, among scores of other celebrities, and Oprah Winfrey had one that allegedly revealed potential health problems). What this expensive screening test entails is a CT scan of the whole body. The idea is to find disease, in the form of a tiny tumor, bulged or damaged blood vessel, etc., before it signals itself with symptomology. One Florida based company goes on the road with a trailer-like vehicle to deliver whole body CT scans for about $567.00, a deeply discounted price compared to those of conventional testing centers which are often owned by physician groups.

Sounds like a good idea, doesn't it? We at Nippies thought so at first. But according to the FDA, there are risks as well as benefits involved in this gung-ho attitude toward wellness. The most alarming thing we at Nippies read is that the whole-body scan can involve radiation exposure many hundred times more than you receive from a chest x-ray!

Before you haul yourself down to your local CT Scanning facililty, you might want to read what the FDA has to say about these scans:

"The radiation exposure of a CT exam can be several hundred times that of a chest x ray. Not only might this amount of radiation exposure give you a slightly increased chance of getting cancer, but also, if large numbers of healthy people now start to receive radiation exposure from whole-body CT screening for questionable benefit, the overall effect on public health could be detrimental."

For more information on the whole-body CT Scan, and it's risks and benefits, go to FDA.gov and click on the subject "Whole Body Scans" under the Hot Topics column.

December 8th, 2002

This and That

We at Nippies recently read that Christina Aguilerra refers to bad self as ....drum roll......XTINA! This girl/woman is screaming for attention, judging by the way she dresses. Or undresses. She's nearly naked in most publicity shots of late.


Right now, on E!, there is an hour dedicated to the OJ Trial. We at Nippies are watching.

Is there anyone who doesn't remember where they were when that famous verdict came in? We at Nippies were at home, with family. Our collective jaws dropped to the floor. We couldn't believe it. And time has told us that jaws were dropping all over the world.

Interviews on the E! documentary indicate that many - perhaps most - of OJs best friends were in a state of disbelief with the not guilty verdict. The pain in Kris Jenner's eyes when she speaks of Nicole's murder and OJs attempt to convince she and Bruce (Jenner, her husband) of his innocence is evident. The circumstantial evidence was, afterall, overwhelming, as Kris pointed out in her interview. The motive was also clear and strong. OJ was, by all accounts, a very jealous and domineering man given to violent rages.

We at Nippies were reminded of the movie Rear Window and Jimmy Stewart's futile attempt to convince his friend, Detective Doyle, of Raymond Burr's guilt in murdering his invalid wife. In exasperation, Jimmy Stewart says, "Do you need to see the bloody footprints leading up to the door?". Well, in OJs case, weren't there bloody footprints? Even that wasn't enough...

There were so many, many amazing things about that trial. It was the trial of the century, hands down. But we at Nippies found one thing that really was unbelievable. The trying on of the gloves and Johnny Cochran's famous "if the gloves don't fit, you must acquit" stuck in our gut like a dagger.

Hey, we at Nippies said to ourself. Weren't these gloves soaked in blood? Wouldn't that make them shrink a little, make them appear to be a little tight? Then there was the issue of OJ's well documented arthritis. Doesn't arthritis make joints swell? Hmmm....we at Nippies thought. OJ knew he had to try those gloves on the next day. We pictured him flexing his hands non-stop in the darkness of his cell the night before the famous try on.

Worst of all, we at Nippies thought it was a sad thing that the "race card" was ever brought into this trial by Johnny Cochran. OJ, of all people...married to a beautiful white woman, OJ living in luxury for more than half of his life, OJ being a hero to young boys everywhere, no matter what color. OJ had a good life and his life was one of privilege, not of discrimination.

OJ is a free man in the physical sense. But OJ will never be free in the real sense. Free to enjoy life unfettered by ghosts of the past, free to walk in any room without everyone wondering, wondering, just what really happened. Just by watching the E! show, you can see that his former closest friends have shunned him. One has to wonder what it is like for OJ very late at night, in the darkest hours, when he is alone with only his thoughts and his conscience.

One of the closing statements on the documentary sums up OJs post-trial life: "If there's a hell on earth, this man must be living it."


Commercial Watch

We at Nippies just spent 30 minutes watching a 1982 episode of Tattle Tales on the Game Show Network. (Wasn't Bert Convy cute?) The guests were the late Carolyn Jones (Addams Family's "Morticia" and also Aaron Spelling's first wife), Fred don't-know-his-last-name but he's a fairly well know Las Vegas impressionist, and Roger don't-know-his-last-name but his spouse's name was Toni, and their spouses. (Apparently, "Roger" and "Fred" were well known in 1982).

The actual show didn't keep we at Nippies very interested, but two of the commercials did. The first one was for Tylenol Cold and it is funny because it is sooo true. Truth about the darker sides of human nature is always funniest, in our opinion. The commercial showed "Carlina", the winner of "employee of the month" for the past 8 months at a Wal Mart-like store, bouncing around cheerfully as she stacked towels and waited on customers. One jealous co-worker snidely smiles at co-worker Carlina from a distance while she sing-songs out of the side of mouth to another new co-worker about how irritatingly cheerful and perfect Carlina always:"There's Carlina...she's never taken a single sick day...ever". Carlina's secret is revealed and it is, of course, Tylenol Cold. The commercial ends with the store manager announcing the "employee of the month for October is....Carlina!". Her jealous co-worker burns and smiles from a distance while Carlina feigns surprise at the redundant honor and tries to act modest and surprised. Very cute!
Doesn't every workplace have one of those irritatingly cheerful and perfect employees? We at Nippies remember one in particular. Her name was Robin and she really was a "company man", so to speak, at the department store where we at Nippies worked. Robin arrived early and left late, and often was seen on the floor during her lunch period straightening the racks and even shopping for clothes. Turns out she was also charging her purchases at lunchtime and then giving herself credit early the next morning when no one was around. :)

The second commercial we found quite interesting is one for Hanes Tagless Tee Shirts. What a GREAT idea! We at Nippies could fill a trash bag with the tags we've cut off tee shirts over the years for our children, who cannot stand those irritating stiff white things that dig into the back of their necks.

The tagless tee shirt. For some reason we at Nippies it will certainly go over better and last longer than crustless bread.

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December 7th, 2002

Madman Hussein

8:00 am, EST: In case you haven't heard, Saddam Hussein, or, Madman Insane, will address the Kuwaiti people during a press conference in a very short time - about noon EST. The Kuwaitis, as you may also know, are anxious to take Saddam Hussein out once and for all. This should be interesting...

By the way, what a sly dog Saddam Hussein is. Iraq released nearly 12,000 pages of documentation about their weapons programs just one day before the UN deadline. As one pundit commented on CNN, this can be a very clever ploy to overwhelm officials with a preponderance of information with the ultimate goal of masking what is not in the report.


Feeling Nostalgic?

On a happier note, tonight on AMCTV, or American Movie Classics as we prefer to call it, will feature the yuppies classic film, The Big Chill tonight on their new show, Movies At Our House. The debut of this film on the revamped American Movie Classics has been heavily advertised by AMC.

Here is a bit of The Big Chill trivia for you. You may or may not already know it, but the corpse shown being dressed at the beginning of the film was played by Kevin Costner. Yes, it's true. We at Nippies were pleasantly surprised to learn this golden nugget of information. Kevin Costner was not, however, famous at the time and was not credited. Don't bother to strain your eyes...his face is not shown. It could have been anyone on that slab getting his cuffs and tie adjusted and his shoes tied. But we at Nippies have it from a good source that it was Kevin Costner!

There was another future superstar who played a similar small role, but was credited. Tom Selleck, pre-Magnum PI, played a patient who was killed for his kidneys in the medical chiller, Coma. He was credited far down on the cast list, but that face was memorable!

This movie was hot stuff at the time, and totally science fiction. The plot involved a payment-for-organs ring headed by greedy surgeon/physician Dr. George A. Harris (Richard Widmark). Others who starred in the movie were the thirty something Michael Douglas, Genevieve Bujold, Elizabeth Ashley and character actor, Rip Torn. The film was directed by Michael Crichton, who also shared writing credits with the novelist, Robin Cook, on whose best-selling book this 1978 film was based.

We at Nippies watch Coma whenever it is on. That is a far cry from our attitude back in 1978 when Coma first came out. We were working at a hospital at the time, but found the plot so ghoulish that we refused to go and see it with the rest of the hospital gang. However, we at Nippies find the plot even more chilling today because it is no longer so far-fetched. Many in the medical community are pushing for a payment-for-organs program to be instituted. You don't need to be a genius to know that such a step would lead to the victimazation of the poor.

Anywho... if you aren't going out to a fancy dinner or a new movie, save your money and don't run to the video store. Watch The Big Chill tonight at 8pm, EST, on American Movie Classics - even if you've already seen it seven times, as we at Nippies have. The music is great. The cast is even greater: Kevin Kline, Glenn Close, JoBeth Williams, Tom Berenger, Jeff Goldblum, Mary Kay Place, William Hurt and Meg Tilly.

How can you miss?

Update at 8:45pm, EST...we at Nippies are, as we told you earlier, tuned into The Big Chill. Just hear the dialogue, delivered with delicious sarcasm, between Kevin Kline's character (who is a very successful sneaker-chain owner with 27 stores)) and Tom Berenger (who is a successful television star ala Magnum PI)..."Whoda ever though we'd make so much bread...two revolutionaries like us". Kevin Kline replies, with a straight face, "Yeah, good thing it doesn't mean anything to us.".

Oh, we love it. If you just stopped in, hurry and tune into AMCTV...catch the rest of the movie.

December 6th, 2002


Some interesting trivia for The Jeffersons fans (we at Nippies are!):
Did you know that Isabel Sanford (Louise Jefferson) was born in 1917 and Sherman Hemsley (George Jefferson) was born in 1938. Hard to believe, isn't it? Louise was already 58 to George's 37 when The Jeffersons went on the air. We at Nippies had the privilege of seeing Sherman Hemsley perform live in Atlantic City about 18 months ago. The show, which was at the Claridge Casino, featured Sherman coming out and talking about his interesting life between the acts of other comedians and performers. The show was called Sherman Hemsley and Friends and it was a great. We at Nippies also had the privilege to meet with and speak with Sherman after the show, and he was most gracious and surprisingly unchanged from his Jeffersons days.

We at Nippies also want to tell you, if you didn't already know, that the beautiful and talented Roxie Roker, who played their neighbor, Helen Willis, is the mother of Lenny Kravitz. (Roxie passed away in 1985). Lenny's father is Sy Kravitz, who is white.

We heard an interesting Lenny Kravitz once told about something his mother told him. We at Nippies will paraphrase it: Lenny once said that his mother (Roxie Roker) once told him that even though he was white, black, Catholic and Jewish (father was Jewish, mother was Catholic), the world would always see him as a black man.


Ut-oh...Something ELSE To Worry About

We at Nippies have some scary news for those who like their food deeply fried or toasted: there is a significantly higher amount of acrylamide in these foods. Acrylamide is a known carcinogen. That means that if you like potato chips, crispy french fries, and crackers - or just plain dark toast - you could be exposing yourself to a higher chance of developing cancer.

Preliminary tests conducted by the FDA found many, many times more acrylamides in the same french fries when they were placed back into the oven to darken. Are you one of those people who picks out the blackened potato chips? (We at Nippies know someone who has always wished that the potato chip companies would come out with burnt french fries!) You might want to think twice.

Being ever cautious not to hurt the economy, the FDA officials were careful to add that they have "not found acrylamide risks great enough to recommend that consumers avoid any groups of food or specific products." But this study confirms earlier surprise findings from Europe.

The FDA study also found significant levels of acrylamide in some breads, cocoas, almonds, coffees and crackers. Why do things that taste good always have to be bad for you? Please, don't write to tell us how you just love broccoli.

We at Nippies will have to develope a taste for uncooked french fries. Yechhh.


December 5th, 2002

Is Gloria Sincere?

Well known attorney Gloria Allred has filed an official complaint with child welfare authorities against Michael Jackson. The complaint has to do, of course, with the way he held his nine-month-old son, Prince Michael II, over the 4th floor balcony of his Hotel Adlon luxury suite in Berlin, Germany.

We at Nippies were watching a major news program on Tuesday and heard a reporter ask Attorney Allred why she filed the complaint. The reporter insinuated that she, Gloria Allred, might be doing it for its publicity value. Maybe, maybe not. We at Nippies, nor anyone else, can be sure of Gloria Allred's motives. However, Attorney Allred had a hot rebuttal for the reporter, claiming that anyone who sees such an act of child endangerment has not only a right but a responsibility to report said act.

Just this week, The National Enquirer reported a similar complaint was filed with Santa Barbara County Child Protective Services by Dr. Carole Lieberman, a prominent psychiatrist.

We at Nippies agree with Ms. Allred and Dr. Lieberman's decision to act. We have to wonder why that child is still with Michael Jackson after such a display. Remember last August when that woman from Steubenville, Ohio was jailed for eight days after a sheriff's duputy noticed her 2-year-old daughter and 10-month-old twin boys had sunburned faces? The mother and children were at the Jefferson County Fair when the policeman spotted the children with faces that looked like they had been "dipped in red paint". The temperature was in the nineties on the day the incident occured. The children were taken to a first-aid station by the sheriff's duputy and were later treated at a hospital and released.

The mother, Eve Hibbits, appeared on NBC's Today show the day after prosecutors dropped three felony counts and replaced them with a misdemeanor charge of child endangerment. And we at Nippies bet that the sales of SPF 45 went through the roof! We can't speak for every mother, but we at Nippies could only think "There but for the grace of God go I."

What mother has not had seen, despite precautions, at least one case of sunburn on their child? Yes, those children were very young and had to depend on their mother for protection. Yes, the mother should have had them thoroughly coated with sun screen. For whatever reason, she didn't or, if she did, the stuff didn't work. However, we at Nippies really doubt that she took those three little children to the fair with the intent to expose them to danger.

The same can not be said about Michael Jackson and his balcony antics. No one can say that he did not willfully expose that 9-month-old-child to danger. There was no guarantee the railing would not break. There was no guarantee that Michael Jackson would not pass out, let the baby slip from his arms, or that any other freak accident, such as a spider bite, could not occur.

Where was Michael Jackson's jail time? Aren't there child endangerment laws in Germany? We doubt that Michael Jackson will spend eight days in jail, or any amount of time, for child endangerment. Money, fame, and powerful attorneys, make such a difference is how justice is handed out.


Doctors Walking But Not For Exercise

Doctors here in Pennsylvania have launched a major, MAJOR campaign for legislative reform regarding malpractice lawsuits. They are complaining that good doctors are being forced to move out of the state because they cannot afford the rising cost of medical malpractice. They want caps placed on medical malpractice insurance and lawsuits. They want other steps taken to protect their pocketbooks. They are closing offices "temporarily" until the "crisis" regarding their high medical malpractice premiums is resolved.

Let us make something perfectly clear before we at Nippies proceed: we have never met a personal injury or medical malpractice lawyer that we like. In our humble opinion, they are the biggest phonies who ever walked the face of the earth. On their television ads, they smile and act concerned. They offer "free consultations". Sure...so they can cherry pick the good cases and discard the rest. Anyway....

Well, we sympathize with the good and well-meaning doctors who are facing such a crisis. But not all doctors who are protesting are good doctors or well meaning. One doctor who wrote to a local newspaper espousing his merits as a physician and how we might lose him if something isn't done about malpractice insurance really upset us. We remember him from long ago when we at Nippies worked at a local hospital. This doctor - a surgeon - was called by the nurses to come and attend to a post-op patient who was showing signs of infection in her chest incision. She had gone into the hospital for elective, cosmetic surgery on a breastbone. He did not come. The infection worsened, and the young woman died. Everyone at the hospital knew who was to blame, but no one spoke up for fear of repercussion. We at Nippies were not witnesses, but heard this from those who were actual witnesses. We would have spoken up.

Unfortunately, many good doctors do have a legitimate complaint about malpractice insurance. but while doctors might think they have a crisis, we at Nippies, and others like us who must pay for their own health insurance, have a much larger crisis to deal with: the double-digit percentage increases in the cost of health insurance. If something isnt' done about our crisis, doctors won't have to move out of state. They will go out of business, period, for lact of patients.

Where we at Nippies live, it now costs nearly $10,000 for a family of four per year for a good health insurance policy for the self-employed. We're talking about a healthy family, and that does not include dental or eye. Can you believe that? And the health insurance crisis is now spreading from the self-employed to those employed even by large companies. Many companies, in an effort to cut back on spending, are snipping away madly at their health care benefits.

Ross Eisenbrey of Economic Policies International just appeared on CNBC's Power Lunch. Mr. Eisenbrey spoke about how so many, many people in their 60s have returned to the work force because their health benefits have been cut back. They cannot afford not to work. He also stated that many companies are cutting back on health insurance benefits drastically in an effort to cut costs.

Who is to blame for this crisis? Oh, there are many factors. But no one would deny that the high and every expanding costs of pharmaceuticals is a BIG contributing factor to the double-digin inflation of healthcare.

Put your television on for an hour and write down how often you see an advertisement for a prescription drug. Chances are great that you will view anywhere from one to five commercials for prescription drugs, followed by the advice "Ask your doctor if _______ is right for you". Now, put that sort of propaganda together with a doctor's greatest fear - that he will be sued for malpractice - and what have you got? Yes, you got it. The physician is likely to try and please the patient and prescribe the medicine.

Of course, there are other contributing factors to the rising, rising, rising cost of healthcare premiums. Too many tests.Too many people suggesting to the doctor that they think they need an MRI or other sophisticated and expensive test. Nearly everyone has had a MRI for some or another reason. These tests are expensive and often unnecessary. But when a patient walks into a doctor's office and says "I think I need an MRI" for such and such,(many people do this, we have been told by an office nurse with whom we confer) and if their health coverage covers such a test, do you really think the doctor is going to deny them such a test? No, we at Nippies think not. It's called "cover thy arse".

As we mentioned earlier, we at Nippies think that there are many good and dedicated doctors. We are personally acquainted with a few of them. (So please don't write and tell us about yours!) But, unfortunately, there are also a great number who view their medical career first and foremost as a "business". And they own testing facilities, or are partners in testing facilities, to which they can send patients for tests. This should be unlawful because such a partnership can only be seen as a conflict of interest.

Hey, before you pick up your pen or sit down at your computer to write to your congressman about the "crisis" in medical malpractice premiums, as the good doctors are begging us to do, we at Nippies suggest that you FIRST write to your congressmen and senators about the rising cost of healthcare premiums among the working class. And about making pharmaceutical advertising for prescription drugs illegal. We don't have the expendible incomes that doctors have after they pay their malpractice insurance. (One local doctor was crying in his beer that the average doctor only has about $127,000 - $150,000 left after paying expenses! Oh, boo hoo hoo. He should try paying over one third of a paycheck for health insurance and only having about $20,000 left over before you buy groceries and make your mortgage, car, electrical, heat and other payments!)

The healthcare crisis balloon has to burst soon. It's only a question of when, not if, we will hear the loud bang.

December 3rd, 2002

About Buying

How is your holiday shopping going? We at Nippies have only begun to put a dent in ours. Okay, okay. We haven't even started. We admit it.

As you probably already know, if you are a regular reader here, we do our shopping at Mom-and-Pop stores or, if necessary, at K-Mart. We are always the champions of the "little guy", and right now, K-Mart is the "little guy", as far as we at Nippies are concerned. Wal Mart, of course, set records for sales on Black Friday - the Friday after Thanksgiving.

We at Nippies were once retailers, as we've previously mentioned. No, we didn't actually own the store. But we worked in various low-level and, later, upper- management level positions. After passing through the sales-trainee hell, we progressed to sales manager (first in Misses, then Juniors). Then it was onto the assistant buying positions in Mens' and Juniors. We progressed, eventually, to buyer of "Notions" (scissors, pin cusions, underarm shields - which no one wears anymore except your 90 year old greatgrandmother, pill boxes, etc.!) and, later, buyer of Junior Dresses. Further on in our career with the "Big Store", we spent time as one of the top three at one of the chain's 39 flagship stores. But the story we at Nippies are about to tell, about our Black Friday experience, took place during the time we were a buyer.

First of all, there was a popular saying that was passed on through the ranks about showing up for work on Black Friday. "The only acceptable excuse for missing work on Black Friday is to attend your own funeral." Period. No exceptions. At least that was the way it was explained at the chain where we worked.

We buyers usually stayed close to our telephones - and assistants - on normal days. But on Black Friday even the big cheeses were out "on the floor", as the saying went. And they drove the department managers and everyone else -even each other - nuts! Every hour the President, VPs, and divisional manager came through for a cash register reading. They would write down the figures. If said figures didn't match or exceed last years sales, heaven help the lowly sales manager and their sales team - and the buyers!

We at Nippies always found this particularly amusing. Really. The question that ran through my mind is "How do you make people buy if they don't want to buy?" You run the ad, stock the store, and hope people show up with their cash and charge cards. That's it! Beating them over the head certainly isn't going to make they open those wallets. Not most folks, anyway.

Part of the anxiety, we at Nippies suppose, is due to the long-standing belief in retail that Black Friday sales are a barometer of how the entire Christmas sales will go. If you have an outstanding Black Friday, then you, supposedly, will have an outstanding Christmas season.

Maybe. But while some people set their alarms for 6am on Thanksgiving night before they retire with a bellyful of turkey, dressing and pumpkin, there are many others - we at Nippies included - who wouldn't step foot in a store on that dark and expensive day. We don't like the crowds, we don't like the local news crews (isn't there always a spot during the evening news that shows the crowded stores?), and we don't think the bargains are any more bargainish then they are later on in the Christmas shopping season when the stores are really desperate to sell, sell, sell!

It was during on one of those Black Fridays that we at Nippies decided that we didn't want to stay in retailing much longer. We were watching the big cheeses on one of their frantic "readings", and thought that they couldn't possibly be that serious about a cash register's contents. Certainly, we thought, they must be thinking about something else while wearing their serious, concerned faces and matching black suits: yesterday's warm and cozy Thanksgiving gathering, their date later in the evening, or perhaps whether that special someone would finally give them a diamond this Christmas? And we wondered how, if we ever rose to their executive positions, we could pull off such a phony act as we really felt they were putting on. The Act clearly was a requirement in retail "execudom". We at Nippies decided we really couldn't do it. That was the beginning of the end of our career in retailing.

If you enjoy being part of the throng on the day after Thanksgiving - good for you. There is an element of fun in being part of a large crowd of people all rubbing shoulders and looking for just the right gifts for their loved ones on the first official Christmas shopping day. You most likely enjoy the day after Christmas shopping when the stores open at 7am with deeply discounted wrapping paper, Christmas ornaments, etc., as well. And you probably enjoy mailing your tax form at midnight on tax day. You are a joiner, a crowd lover. Good for you!

As you us, well...you'll find us Christmas shopping at the last minute - probably during the middle of the night during one of those midnight madness sales where no one shows up but we night owls. We'll be up all night on Christmas Eve, as well, wrapping and tagging. Seat of the pants, last minute shoppers.

Happy Shopping!

November 30th, 2002

Blast From the Past

We at Nippies will be attending our ___th class reunion in a little more than an hour. The fact that we are here typing instead of primping tells you we realize it's a lost cause. Whatever damage time has bestowed on us will have to stay.

We could be spending hours soaking in a tub and applying make-up. But in the end, the globs of make-up would settle into the few wrinkles we have (they aren't tooo noticeable yet!...knock on wood) and emphasize them. Besides, we at Nippies remember a day long ago when we primped too much. It was our junior prom, and, determined to have clear, tanned skin, we scrubbed with baking soda (a popular home-made pore cleanser at the time) and then spent an hour in the sun. We ended up with a red, swollen nose and went to the prom looking more like Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer than one of those models in Seventeen.

Our clothes will be informal, as well. The reunion will take place at a local "joint". This was a decision that was wisely made by the planners. Not only is it a hop, skip and jump from our former high school, but the price is low and will not dip into the college tuition fund that many of us now are tapping into for our teen-agers.

Are we at Nippies nervous? No, not really. Well, maybe a little. But we won't be trying to take the edge off any nervousness with alcoholic beverages. The five "girls" - former classmates - and I who are driving over there together learned our lesson about alcohol during the last reunion. All of us overindulged and were wondering what we'd said the next day. That is one of the great things about maturity: you really do live and learn.

Having lost several classmates since that long ago graduation day - one died only a few months ago - we approach this reunion with gratitude that we are still here to attend and with a tinge of sadness for those who will never attend another reunion. Perhaps it is for those classmates that we expect a record turnout...we will revisit each others lives and remember the good times that we all once shared when times were innocent and our deepest concern was whether we looked thin enough in our jeans. At our current age, we worry more about our genes and how good they will turn out to be.

November 29th, 2002

A True Survivor: Zsa Zsa

Zsa Zsa Gabor was in a coma as the result of an automobile accident on Sunset Boulevard the last we heard. Nippies has no update on her condition. We do wish her well. The 85 year old is quite a survivor (we read her autobiography), and if anyone has a chance of recovering, Zsa Zsa does.

Thinking of Zsa Zsa and the trivia we know about her, we at Nippies found our train of thought leading to other celebrities, as well. Here are a few little known facts we'd like to pass on:

Zsa Zsa Gabor is so fond of coffee, she keeps a cup (cold, we presume) on her bedstand so she can sip if she wakes up at night.

Gabor is, of course, a Hungarian name. Zsa Zsa's family was wealthy even before they came to America and became celebrities. Her grandmother owned a luxurious diamond salon in Budapest. Zsa Zsa once claimed that when she and her sisters, Eva and Magda, and their mother, Jolie, came to the United States, they smuggled several valuable diamonds in a jar of chicken fat.

Ozzie Nelson, the well known patriarc of the Ozzie & Harriet clan, held a law degree.

Uncle Joe of Petticoat Junction was an oral surgeon, as was his wife and his father. Can you believe that?

Walter Brennan, famous for playing uneducated hillibillies (The Real McCoys, etc.), had a college degree.

Peter Jennings never graduated from high-school. He only went as far as the eleventh grade. Obviously, he educated himself very well.

Famous Christian Scientists: Ginger Rogers, Doris Day, Jean Stapleton, and Robert Duvall.

Watch for more trivia!

November 28th, 2002

Thanking HIM

We at Nippies just arrived home from our Thanksgiving celebration. It was wonderful. Our gathering is a mixture of in-laws, neices, nephews, brothers, sisters, and on and on. The ages of the attendees range from 85 down to the nearly born. Sure, the food was terrific (we at Nippies can't get enough of our sister's bread dressing), but it was just so nice to all be together. We wish it could happen more often. We hope you had as happy a Thanksgiving and that you were with at least one family member of loved one.

Dr. Newdow, the famous athiest who wants the phrase taken out of the Pledge of Allegiance, is a guest on Crossfire tonight, along with Pat Boone. Pat Boone has a new song out called "Under God" and is, of course, a proponent of keeping the phrase "under God" in our Pledge of Allegiance.

Crossfire is playing Pat's version and having him sing along. Unfortunately, the track and Pat's voice are not in sync, but Pat's sentiment certainly is in sync with 97% of Americans, who want to keep God in our pledge. Now, as we at Nippies write, we are watching Dr. Newdow giving his version of a patriotic song.

Dr. Newdow keeps quoting our Bill of Rights as the reason he wants the "under God" phrase taken out of the Pledge of Allegience. Dr. Newdow wants all references to God from "anything that has to do with government". That means money, buildings and the whole shebang. As we've always said....why go through all this trouble if most Americans don't agree and don't want God removed from our lives?

Pat Boone made a very, very good point. He stated that America was established by those seeking freedom from religious persecution, not seeking freedom from religion. We at Nippies think the same thing. God knows our country really doesn't need to get any further away from God and the principles that people who believe in God aspire to keep: honesty, love, goodness, morality,etc. Listen, ever since the Supreme Court ruled to removed prayer from school in 1963, thanks to Mrs. O'Hair, we've increasingly moved away from keeping the Golden Rule.

November 23rd, 2002

There's More To Ron Than Just The Smokeless Ashtray

Ron Popeil's biography was just featured on The History Channel. What a guy. We at Nippies are upset that we only caught the tail end of the great inventor's bio. Did you know Ron Popeil is an inventor? Or did you think he was just a terrific salesman? He's both. So was his father, whom Ron Popeil didn't meet until he was 16 years old.

Mr. Popeil's company name is, as we all know, Ronco. Ronco! Ronco! Ronco! Boy, does that name bring back memories. Who can forget watching all those commercials, shown year-round but most especially at Christmas time, of our youth. Let Nippies jog your memory: Chop-o-matic; Mr. Microphone; The Smokeless Ashtray; Spray On Hair; The Pasta Maker; The Inside the Egg Scrambler; Pocket Fisherman, and, last but not least, the Showtime Rotisserie, which, by the way, will soon exceed $1 BILLION in sales!

We at Nippies feel especially warm and runny about Ronco and Ron Popeil. He brings back memories of our own mother and her cherished Ronco product - The Chop-o-matic. Mom never bought much and she never bought anything from television. But she fell for the Chop-o-matic, alright. We at Nippies can still see her excited face with the little device arrived in the mail. And we especially remember that we had chopped everything for about two weeks after the product arrived. Of course, the novelty wore off after that and the Chop-o-matic found a home in a dark corner of the cupboard (right next to the Four Roses booze that only came out at Christmas when Dad's old Army buddies came to visit), but it was fun while it lasted. Cleaning it after all that chopping fun got on her nerves after awhile. But it worked fairly well.

Ron Popeil's products have gotten better and better over the years. And so have the commercials. Ron is really the best salesman for his own inventions. He's a charming man and, although he must be somewhere near seventy, he's well-preserved and pleasant to watch.

We at Nippies could be wrong about this, but we don't remember seeing Ron Popeil's handsome visage until sometime in the nineties. This was shortly after the FCC removed the time limits on commercials. The informercial was born, and Ron Popeil had found his niche. We can't be certain about this, either, but we have a pretty good hunch that Ronco's sales went through the roof when Ron started doing his own commercials.

According to The History Channel's bio on Ron Popeil, many of the Ronco's commercials are taped right in Ron's own home. Ron Popeil also states in the bio that he loves what he does and would do it even for no pay. He just loves the "game". We at Nippies believe him. Anyone who is convincing as Ron Popeil is in one of his informercials just has to be in love both with his product and with the selling of that product.

We at Nippies really hope to own a Showtime Rotisserie one day soon. We have a relative who absolutely squeaks because he is soooo cheap. This man is a nice, hard-working man and well-to-do, but he doesn't spend a penny unless it's absolutely necessary or for an outstanding bargain. And this very same man spent 20 minutes one night - on his long distance calling card, yet- raving to us about how much he loves his Showtime Rotisserie. He also told us he bought one for each of this children.

Hey, Ron...if you need his name, give me a call. He's available!

November 22nd, 2002


There should be a separate category at Blockbuster and all the other chain and mom-and-pop video stores called Tearjerkers. Yes, we at Nippies know they already have a category where most Tearjerkers could fit in and we know it is called Drama. However, a Tearjerker is a cut above just a plain old dramatic film.

We at Nippies just finished watching Stella, the 1990 film directed by John Erman. Bette Midler, the divine and one and only, starred along with Stephen Collins, John Goodman, and Trini Alvarado. Marsha Mason had a small part, as well.

If you've never seen Stella, please go out and rent it some night when you are going to be all alone and have an ample supply of tissues. The Divine Miss M plays the part of Stella, a heart-of-gold, outwardly coarse barmaid from the other side of the tracks who has a short-lived affair with a medical student in his final year at Cornell. Stephen (Stephen Collins) becomes intrigued with Stella after he happens into the bar one wintry night and catches her stripless-striptease. The affair is wild, fun, and passionate - like the Fourth of July. And like Independence Day, it is a short celebration. Both Stephen (Stephen Collins) and Stella (Bette Midler) know it will end when he finishes med school because the two are, as Bette says in the film, "like oil and water."

With only six weeks left until Stephen leaves to begin his residency as a kidney specialist, Stella discovers she is pregnant. Stephen makes a half-hearted proposal and Stella sees through his effort "to do the right thing.". She declines and, as proud as ever, waves good-bye with a determination to raise her child on her own. Her friend and employer, "Ed" (played by John Goodman) and some of her other longtime friends from the bar stand by her during the pregnancy and through the first years of childrearing with her beloved little girl, "Jenny" (Trini Alvarado). Later, Stephen wanders back into Jenny's (Trini Alvarado) life and spends as much time as possible on holidays and in the summer with his beautiful daughter.

Times get tough for the independent single mother. Without the education, polish and knowhow to steer her academically-promising daughter through the temptations of a lower middle-class adolescence, Stella finds herself at a crossroads. You'll have to watch the movie yourself to find out what happens.

This is a movie that every mother will appreciate. It will, however, be most appreciated by single mothers and those who have made innumerable sacrifices to give their child what they never had. Other stars to watch for in this film: Eileen Brennan and a very young Ben Stiller.

Other Tearjerkers that come to mind: the animated Christmas classic Annabelle's Wish, and the childrens' film, My Dog Skip. Of course, there are many, many more that we at Nippies have seen throughout the years that could fit in our recommended category of Tearjerkers. We will be watching to see if Blockbuster takes up our suggestion! Dear readers, if you do see such a category, remember - you read the suggestion here at Nippies first!


Bette You Didn't Know This...

On a related note, we at Nippies love Bette Midler and would like to tell you a little more about her. We've garnered this information over the year from various sources, most notably from A&E's biography and from the imdb.com database:

Bette Midler is, as you probably know, Jewish. She grew up in Honolulu, Hawaii and graduated at age 17 (she was born in December, 1945) first in her class at Radford High School.

Bette Midler has been married since 1984 to Martin Van Hasselberg. The couple have one daughter, Sophie, who was born in 1986. She is, as you might imagine, a doting mother and a devoted wife. Her child and husband come first in her life.

Her parents were comfortable later in life, but they struggled for everything they had in their earlier years. Bette grew up in a middle-class home and she, too, worked hard to achieve success, despite her tremendous musical, dramatic and comedic talents. We at Nippies think she is the single most talented actress ever, and we've gone on record many times stating such. There is NO role beyond the scope of Bette Midler's talent, in the opinion of we at Nippies!

Bette and Martin have implied many times that they would have loved to have had more children, but it just didn't happen.

There is so much more that we at Nippies could say about Bette Midler. We couldn't possible put it all on one page. We hope to see her in more films and that she continues to delight us for years and years to come!

November 21st, 2002

Elvis Fans - Rejoice

We have some good news for all the Elvis fans out there. On Sunday, November 24th, American Movie Classics will feature an all day Elvis Marathon called, what else?, Elvis, Elvis, Elvis. We at Nippies liked Elvis Presley a lot, but were weren't BIG fans. But for everyone else who is, tune in!


Are Americans spoiled?

The other day we at Nippies overheard a cell phone conversation in a restaurant.

"Hi Jenna, it's Beth...good, and you?....that's good. Listen, do you think you could get me an appointment at ______ to get my nails done, like real quick?....I know, I usually go to ________ to have 'em done, but she's all booked up.......yeah, I know.....yeah, they look really baaaad, all chipped and stuff. I wouldn't think of leaving for Florida (pronounced Flaw-rih-dah) with them looking like this! My gawd, I'd be so embarassed.....Oh, thanks! Tell her I'd really appreciate it.....Yeah, I will. Love ya, too."

This conversation followed another similar one, a few days earlier, with a friend. This particular friend is going on a cruise. She is driving herself and her teen-aged son, along with two of his friends, to Florida. Her main concern was how the kids would be entertained in the minivan during the 24 hours of driving that the trip entails.

Entertained? Isn't the anticipation of going on a cruise enough entertainment for a teenager?

Anyway, she was looking around for some sort of AC to DC converter so that the "kids" could play video games and watch movies in the minivan.

"Whatever about letting them actually talk to each other?", we at Nippies asked.

My friend seemed appalled at this idea. "Oh no," she replied, "they'd be so bored!.Whatever on earth would they talk about.?"

She went out the next day and found her converter for her drive to Florida. It cose $219.00.

These two conversations got us to thinking about how really pampered many Americans are. Have some of us really become so spoiled that we think the world will end if we can't get a $60 French Manicure or have a TV running in a minivan? We at Nippies fear that this may be so.

We at Nippies, fortunately, live in the real world. A cruise for us or even a manicure is not on our schedule in the forseeable future. And we don't think that is a bad thing.

The "Paul Harvey Riddle" (scroll down to the November 13th entry for the link) really drives home a point about how we really don't appreciate what we have and miss, too much, what we have become accustomed to when it is not available.

November 18th, 2002

Harry Potter Mania

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets took in $28M on its first day. Surprise, surprise...NOT! With CNN pushing the movie every chance it gets, what else could we expect? (Harry Potter movies are Warner movies, and CNN is owned by AOL/ Time....)

Paula Zahn will even do a feature store on the fictional character, Harry Potter, tonight at 7pm on "People in the News". Can you believe it?

We at Nippies think it is more than a little frightening that CNN holds such tremendous control over the pop culture and trend of thought in America and, indeed, the world. In our opinion, the omnipotent power and persuasion of CNN, Time Warner, and AOL and their many, many, MANY holdings and partnerships has become very dangerous. These media giants can promote their own products and present news and issues in the slant which their policy makers deem proper.

If you want to get an idea of how POWERFUL AOL/TIME WARNER really is, copy and paste the URL below to see a list of the AOL/TIME WARNER holdings and partnerships (they even own People magazine, according to the list. You will be shocked. We at Nippies were shocked! And you might want to bookmark the holdings page and check it against what and how CNN, Time, and AOL reports and promotes.

List of AOL/Time Warner holdings: www.ketupa.net/time.htm

November 16th, 2002

Tonight at 8pm est on The History Channel you can watch a special documentary called Traitors Within. We at Nippies saw the previews and found it very interesting. Some of the traitors to be featured on the advertisement are Aldrich Ames, John Walker (not the Taliban John Walker Lindh), and Edward Lee Howard.


The Movie Didn't Do The Real Story Justice

USA Network premiered their made-for-tv movie, Dominick Dunne Presents: Murder in Greenwich last evening. As you probably know by now, the movie was about the murder of 15-year-old Martha Moxley of Belle Haven, Greenwich, Connecticutt. The movie was shown three consecutive times, beginning at 8pm eastern time. We at Nippies were much disappointed. This USA original movie fell far short of the best selling book by Mark Fuhrman.

First of all, where was Dominick Dunne? We at Nippies love that guy and his absence from the movie was sorely missed. Dominick Dunne did not "present" the movie, as we expected, except in name only.

Secondly, we didn't like the tactic of having "Martha Moxley" as a co-narratorAs . It was eerie and didn't add anything to the movie.

But there is more...

The best selling book was written in the first person narrative. The whole project would have been enriched had the director, Tom McLoughlin, stuck with the book's format and had only Mark Fuhrman filling the viewer in on his investigative discoveries. Instead, with the focus on the relationship between Tommy Skakel, Michael Skakel and Martha Moxley and the privileged lives of Bell Haven and Greenwich teens, the movie seemed to be playing only toward the high-school and college crowd. This was a demographical error, in our opinion.

The younger viewers are not the ones who were interested in this movie. And we at Nippies highly doubt that any teens stayed home on a Friday night - from 8-11pm - to watch the premiere of Dominick Dunne Presents: Murder in Greenwich. And yet, with the overabundance of pot-smoking party scenes, adolescent flirtations between Tommy Skakel and Martha Moxley, and sibling rivalry scenes between Michael and Tommy Skakel, it was the under 25 age group who were obviously intended as the target audience. This was an unfortunate choice, in our opinion, for the "suits" at USA Network to make. If USA Network executives were hoping to make a ratings-killing as they did with "Door to Door" a few months ago, we at Nippies will wager they were very disappointed.

We at Nippies think the movie was much more anticipated by the over 35 crowd. We, the more mature viewers, are the ones who are familiar with the whole Kennedy-Skakel connection and mystique, who are fascinated by the wealth and power that permeates Greenwich residents and their ilk, and who followed the story on CNN and other news channels. It is the over 35 age group who can actually connect a face with the names Skakel, Moxley, Dunne and Fuhrman. But the movie executives failed miserably to capture our attention. Scenes of Martha in a bathing suit, Martha with and without braces, Tommy strutting his v-shaped torso in swimming trunks, and the machinations of a high-school in-group left us bored and unstimulated.

Where were the facts that Mark Fuhrman so carefully uncovered in his book? The book was obviously written with painstaking attention to detail through very thorough research and organization, with the Rushton Skakel commissioned Sutton Report being the foundation and impetus which started the whole ball rolling on the reinvestigation of this horrendous crime. There must have been hundreds of pages cut out of the original script if, indeed, that first script was really based on the actual book. We at Nippies wonder what Mark Fuhrman, who is credited as the "producer" - and Dominick Dunne, whatever role he played in the movie's planning - had to say about that. Perhaps Mark Fuhrman was more a figurehead than a real producer. Pehaps there was a small budget. There could be as many reasons why this movie missed the mark as there are starlets in Hollywood. But, whatever the reason, the end result was pitiful. What a shame. This was a movie that should have been something we viewers could have sunk our teeth into. Instead, it turned out to be just a box of popcorn without the butter...all fluff and hot air.

November 13th, 2002

Paul Harvey's Riddle?

Dear Readers, we at Nippies don't make it a habit of passing along the many, many forwarded e-mails we receive on a daily basis. However, that said, we can guarantee that very few people would not be happy that they took the time to read this e-mail, which we received just a few minutes ago and for which we immediately created a special page. This is far better than anything we at Nippies could ever conjure up. PLEASE take the time to view and read the entire piece, and be sure to follow the directions at the end...PAUL HARVEY's RIDDLE

Thank you, Annie, for passing it along. You always were the wise on in the family. And thank you, Mr. Harvey,, for not only this bit of wisdom, but for the more than 50 years of wisdom which you've shared daily.

November 12th, 2002

There's Something About Cats...

Is there any lot in animal life more difficult than of a stray cat? We at Nippies have seen many stray cats come and go in our neighborhood throughout the years. Three of our own cats were rescued right from our backyard.

We at Nippies have no desire to turn into one of those "cat people" you see on the 6 o'clock local news. You know the ones....they have 17 or 39 or 99 cats living in a small ranch home. The reporter stands outside the house in an allweather coat and talks about the filth and stench that eminates from the house. "Animal feces and crumpled newspapers were two feet hign in the small home", etc. And then he or she usually goes on to report how "concerned neighbors" (translate: budinskies) have been trying to do something about the problem for years, etc. In the background you can see these concerned neighbors watching smugly with their best concerned look on their faces.

No, we at Nippies have a clean home and we also have our limits. However, that does not mean it hurts any less to look out our window and see those poor homeless creatures trying to fluff up their thin coats to keep warm during a fierce January snowstorm. We at Nippies do our part to make the lives of these cats as comfortble as possible. We do feed them and put fresh water out every day.

Last year we at Nippies fell in love with a beautiful litter of kittens and with their mother who was, herself, only a year old. The mother and two of the litter looked exactly alike except in size: each short-haired cat had grey-on-grey striped fur and beautiful bluish-green eyes. The third kitten, an all-grey medium-hair, looked like a cross between a Persian cat and a squirrel because his tail was so very thick and fluffy. The tail bore a strong resemblance to a grey feather duster.

The summer of 2001 was a happy one for those three tiny kittens and their petite mother. The weather was warm and pleasant with just enough rain to satisfy their thirst. The cats never had to look far for food. With mother cat in the lead, the three little ones would saunter carefully into our yard for their supper each evening shortly after we'd eaten ours. Our whole family often gathered at the window to watch as the feline family tumbled and played with each other for a long time before heading back to the cover of nearby foliage for the evening.

By the fall our family members had made the mutual decision, without really talking about it, to take in one of the cats. We had one cat, Gizmo, a black-and-white who was now 17 years old. Gizzy had lost his mother, a beautiful grey-and-white, 18 year old cat named Lady who had lived with us for 15 years before passing on. We'd also recently lost lost our 13 year old border-collie mix, Aggie, or more formally, Agatha Christie. With only one dog and one cat, we had room for an adoptee.

And so we set a gentle sort of "trap". My husband inverted a plastic wading pool and propped it up with a stick attached to a string. We at Nippies put a plate of food under the pool and, with hubby hidden behind a large bush with the end of the string in hand, the children and I waited for the "lucky" cat, whichever it might be, to come and eat.

"Gabriel", the feather-duster-tailed kitten, was the lucky cat who took the bait. Our little one named him after the Angel Gabriel. Hubby allowed everyone a quick glimpse of the grey furball before making a quick, pre-arranged trip to our veternarian for shots, a check-up, and other steps necessary to assure the safety of our other pets and our children. The mother cat and remaining two kittens took off in terror after they witnessed their beloved family member being grabbed, but returned within a day or two for their normal feeding.

Gabriel returned to his new home three days later with a clean bill of health Except for getting caught in an exposed couch spring and a few run-ins with our playful dog, (Gizzy, our old cat, merely tolerated the playful kitten) he quickly adjusted to his new surroundings. Gabriel did spend time sitting on the windowsill watching his family each evening, but, other than that, he showed no signs of regret toward his new living arrangements.

Gabriel has not been with us for over a year and is now a much-loved member of our family. He is the only cat in our home, as our beloved "Gizzy" died peacefully from old age about a month after we adopted Gabriel.

We at Nippies continued to feed and watch over Gabriel's remaining family members. The mother disappeared in the middle of winter. Illness, a speeding car, or another agressive animal (and hopefully not the hunting-nut who lives up the street and had been rumoured, years ago, to shoot stray animals as a teenager) could have brought about her demise - we at Nippies will never know. By the spring, the remaining two kittens, now fully-grown and named "Bossy" and "Teeny" by our children, were still showing up faithfully each day to eat. The realities of a harsh Eastern winter, which, mercifully, had not been as harsh as normal this past winter, and the passing of time had taken away much of their playfulness. Although the now fully-grown cats looked very much alike, they were easy to distinguish one from another: Teeny was smaller than Bossy and also displayed a slightly crooked jaw when he meowed, the result, we theorized, of a catfight.

Near the end of the summer, two tiny kittens, one black and the other white, began to make an appearance in our yard with Bossy and Teeny. Of course, we fed all four cats and entreated, unsuccessfully, our relatives to adopt one or the other of the homeless cats. By October, the black kitten had disappeared and so had Bossy. We at Nippies continued to care for Teeny and the little white kitten, who, as is common with white cats who have blue eyes, was deaf. Teeny and "Baby" were now dependent on us for food. Teeny would sit below the window and meow if we at Nippies did not show up on time with her special mixture of dry and canned Friskies. But the thoughts of the impending, harsh winter weighed heavily on our minds. We continued to look for homes for one of both of the cats and even considered taking one in if we could find a home for the other.

And then, three weeks ago, Teeny stopped appearing in our yard. We at Nippies, and our family, know she won't be back if she hasn't shown up in all this time. We try not to think of what may have happened to her. We miss her a great deal because, after over a year of making nightly appearances, Teeny had found a place in our hearts. Baby continues to visit several times a day. Our yard is the only home he or she knows, and it is very likely that we will adopt Baby.

There is a point to this long story: please, if you have a cat, make sure you have it spayed or neutered. Don't just allow your cat to wander outdoors and contribute to the number of unwanted and homeless animals. And if you can find it in your heart to adopt a stray cat (or dog!) from your local SPCA or animal shelter, please don't wait. Go and do it. They make wonderful and loving pets, and you won't regret your decision to a cat a home.

November 11th, 2002

Love That Dell Dude

We at Nippies have missed the "Dell Dude". Of late, the Dell computer commercials have featured a group several young actors who are portraying interns touring a Dell factory. These commercials fell very flat compared to the ones who featured the original Dell Dude. No one can compare to that adorable, impish original Dell Dude whose real name is Ben Curtis, or, according to some sources, Benjamin Curtis.

Well, we at Nippies are happy to report that our opinion must have been shared by other Dell Dude fans. Benjamin Curtis is back. We just watched the latest Dell commercial and noticed that, even though the commercial still features the other young actors, the original Dell Dude is seen at the end opening the door of a home and getting a Dell computer delivered to him. Way to go, Dell! We missed that cute dude! By the way, Benjamin Curtis is now a student in New York City.

P.S. We at Nippies did a little research on the situation over at Dell. It seems that the whole country was in an uproar over the disappearance of the Dell Dude. There's an article in USA TODAY which dispells the rumour that Benjamin "Dell Dude" Curtis has received a "pink slip" from Dell. You can read the article by right clicking, copying and pasting this link: http://www.usatoday.com/tech/news/2002-10-16-dell-dude-staying_x.htm


The Missing Portrait

Absolut Vodka is famous for the many artists who have created ads. One of the most reknowned of these Absolut artists is John Pacovsky of Pennsylvania. Pacovsky is a very talented artist who also considers himself a philosopher, according to what he has said in interviews. If you have ever had the privilege of viewing his art, you will understand that his self-perception is accurate.

Many years ago, when John Pacovsky was still a struggling artist who supplemented his income with a job at a Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania hospital, he painted a portrait of a young woman in her early twenties. This painting, done in 1976, 1977, or perhaps 1978, was done in acrylic paints and shows the girl/woman with long dark hair and wearing an Indian-style wrap-sweater. The subject now has children of her own and would like to locate the painting for purchase. All that is known about the location of the portrait is that is was sold many years ago in New York.

If you have any information about this John Pacovsky acrylic painting, please contact us and we at Nippies will pass on the information.


But Is It Safe?

Lately, there has been a disturbing amount of talk about bariatric surgery being performed on teens for weight loss. We at Nippies find this very upsetting because just a few months ago, we lost a relative of a relative to this surgery. The man, only 39 years old, was bleeding internally and didn't know it until he was quite near death. He died a day after becoming ill.

Listen, readers...yes, obesity is a health concern, especially if a teen is over 100 pounds overweight. But this surgery is far, far more serious than most people realize. It is also permanent in almost every type of procedure, and that procedure is so new that the long term effects are uncharted.

CNN just had Dr. Robert Kushner (of Chicago's Northwestern Memorial Hospital) on to talk about the surgery. He is a board certified internist. Dr. Kushner addressed the subject of bariatric surgery for very obese teens. He did stress the gravity of undergoing such a drastic procedure for the end purpose of weight loss and he did highlight that the procedure should only be used as a last resort. However, the very fact that CNN, and other media, are giving a lot of coverage (this is at least the third time this week we've hear the subject brought up) to this surgery as a possible solution to the problems of overweight teens gives far too much positive focus toward bariatric surgery as a solution to a problem that has many other safer solutions.

Thankfully, we at Nippies have never had to deal with the decision of taking a drastic measure for ourselves or our children in regard to weight loss. But if we did feel that one of our children had a severe weight problem and had to take some sort of step to have them lose weight, you can be sure it would most assuredly NOT be bariatric surgery. The cost of sending them to some sort of in-house, intensive weight loss clinic surely would be comparable to the price of the surgery and would also not be a risk to their young lives.

We at Nippies hope that a parent or teen who is considering bariatric surgery as an option will find this web site in a search and reconsider taking such a drastic step. Having bariatric surgery means altering your body permanently, risking your life, and it just is not a good solution to weight loss, in our opinion. With all due respect to Sharon Osbourne, Carnie Wilson, and Al Roker, who are just a few of the celebrities who have had this surgery with seemingly positive results, we at Nippies are asking you to consider a more sane way to lose weight. This message is especially aimed at teens, who have a tendency to look for the short and easier solution to a problem. Teens also seem to think they are invincible. And, as we all know, they are no more invincible than the rest of us. Kids, please don't do it. And parents, please don't allow bariatric surgery for your child. Find another way.

November 10th, 2002

Murder in Greenwich

The movie based on the book by former LAPD detective Mark Fuhrman, will be air on USA network next Friday evening ( November 15th ). If you haven't read the book, which is based on the murder of 15 year old Martha Moxley of Greenwich, CT on Halloween Eve 1975, you might want to watch this movie. The film will air at three consecutive time-slots on USA network. Most interestingly, the film will be introduced by the inimitable Dominick Dunne. If that name doesn't ring a bell, think horn-rimmed glasses and the OJ trial. Since the early eighties, former movie producer (The Boys in the Band, Panic in Needle Park, etc.) and now writer Dominick Dunne has concentrated his creative talents on writing about murder and crime amongst the privileged. Dominick Dunne has a personal reason for his crusade for justice: in November of 1982, Dominick's daughter, Dominique Dunne (Poltergeist), a beautiful and promising young actress, died after being strangled by former Ma Maison chef, John David Sweeney,after she had ended their romantic relationship. Sweeney served only a few years for the horrendous crime.

We at Nippies have read both Murder in Greenwich by Mark Fuhrman and Wealth of Evil, by Greenwich native, Timothy Dumas. (Dunne's book and television movie, A Season in Purgetory, is a film based on the Martha Moxley story, albeit thinly disguised to protect the guilty.) We prefer the Fuhrman book simply because it appears more factual and less folksy than the Dumas book. The Fuhrman book also did much better in sales, even though both books came out at about the same time.

It must have been quite a challenge for former Detective Fuhrman to garner the information he needed from Greenwich natives and police to put together Murder in Greenwich. As verified by Timothy Duman, Mark Fuhrman was not well received - no outsider is - in this exclusive and snooty community. He did, however, persevere and also had the invaluable access to the Sutton Report which, we believe, Timothy Dumas did not. The Sutton Report was given to him by Dominick Dunne.

Michael Skakel is now serving a 20 year prison sentence for the murder of Martha Moxley.

Skakel's father, Rushton Skakel, heir to the Great Lakes Carbon fortune (the Skakel's were, at one time, even wealthier than the Kennedys) and brother of Ethel Skakel Kennedy, had commissioned the Sutton Agency to do an indepth investigation into the Moxley murder in the hopes of clearing sons' names. The Sutton Agency was staffed by former FBI and NYPD investigators and Rushton reportedly paid six-figures for the report. Both Tommy Skakel and Michael Skakel had long been prime suspects in the 1975 murder: Tommy Skakel, 16 at the time of the murder, was the last person seen with Martha Moxley and Michael, then 15, allegedly harbored an unrequited love for the popular young blond who lived next door to the Skakels in the exclusive Belle Haven community of Greenwich, CT. Mr. Skakel hoped that even if the Sutton Report, which was supposed to be confidential, did uncover some suspicious evidence about his sons it would also help prepare a strong defense. However, it did neither. With the advent of DNA evidence and the possibility of Dr. Henry Lee and his colleagues jumping into the mix, the Skakel boys apparently paniched and altered their alibis to fit the evidence. This behavior was documented in the Sutton Report and pointed the finger of guilt at the Skakel brothers. Unfortunately for the Skakels, the report fell into the hands of those whose primary objective was to solve the murder with no consideration of wealth or power.

The rest, as they say, is history. We at Nippies cannot wait for the premiere of this movie. If you want more information on times, go to www.USAnetwork.com and check when it will air in your area. Or you can right click, copy and paste this URL into your location box to go directly to USA Network's page about the movie, "Murder in Greenwich": http://usanetwork.com/movies/murderingreenwich/

November 9th, 2002

Uncle Tom's Cabin Is Worth Reading - Again

Many of us did not read the "required reading" books in high school. We at Nippies did not always do so. One of the books that we are sure was on the list was Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin.

We at Nippies were at the library with our little one a few weeks ago. While she looked through the children's books under the watchful eye of the librarian and made her selection, we took a stroll through the main part of the library. We passed the YA, or Young Adults section, and spotted the classic. Hmmmm, we thought. We've never read that book. Better late than never, we reasoned.

If you've never read Uncle Tom's Cabin, please do so. Many say it's the book that started the Civil War. Abraham Lincoln thought so!. Harriet Beecher Stowe paints a clear sketch of both the conditions and feelings that many slaves experienced during that dark and ignorant time of not so very long ago. Surprisingly, many of the slaves were not treated with disrespect per se, and not all slave owners were cruel, according to the book. We at Nippies had always thought that all slaves were subjected to horrid living conditions, endless labor, and cruelty. But according to the book, it was mainly the slaves who worked on the plantations in the deep South who had it as bad as all that.

Still, even those slaves who lived in the main house and were treated kindly still dreamed of the day they would be set free. Uncle Tom - as subservient, humble and hard-working as he is portrayed in the book- is no exception. After many years of leading a happy life with a wife and three children in a cabin on the grounds of the Shelby home, he is sold - and therefore separated from his family - when Mr. Shelby is forced to part with Tom to settle a debt with an unscrupulous trader. Tom is put up for auction and sold to Augusting St. Clare, another kind and sympathetic Southerner with an angelic little daughter who grows to love and respect Tom. St. Clare promises Tom his freedom someday and is about to make good on that promise when tragedy steps in and Tom is sold yet again. We at Nippies won't spoil the rest of the book on you in case you haven't read it yet, but if you haven't, please do. You won't be sorry.

The book is as relevant today as it was over 140 years ago. There is a passage where St. Clare confides his real feelings about slavery to his cousin, Miss Ophelia. What he says about the rich living a life of luxury at the expense of the poor and weak "because they can" is as true today as it was when Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote Uncle Tom's Cabin in the middle of the nineteenth century. The rich are still doing it to the poor, and they always have been and, most likely, always will. Because they can.

A few years ago, we at Nippies became interested in researching our ancestry. It took quite a long time to find anything about our roots on either side of the family. The maternal branch of the family has a very common surname and because both my maternal grandfather and greatgrandfather had died at young ages either in mining or railroad fatalities, there was little information available about family history. But a stroke of luck on the internet dealing with an address led we at Nippies to not only a source of information on my family beginnings but to a book which was written about them, as well.

We at Nippies were shocked to find such famous names such as Vanderbilt, Van Doren and Wright in our mother's ancestry. However, it was a pleasant shock. None of the money of those families had made its way down the family tree to our branch, but still, it was nice to know that we had many accomplished people in our genealogy. We only wish our mother had lived long enough to learn of her ancestry. She, who grew up in poverty because her father died in a railroad accident at such a young age, leaving 6 fatherless children, would have been so thrilled and proud of her genealogy.

All we had ever known was about our father's side of the family was that he was from German and Irish stock. Ancestry was not such a big thing when our parents and grandparents were growing up, so, no one bothered to write down where anyone came from or exactly when or how they got to America. The oldtimers were too busy making a living to bother with such nonsense. All were laborers working in mines, on the railroad, or at some other lowpaying and risky job. Our paternal grandfather, whose father was born in Prussia (Germany) lost his father in the mines when he (my grandfather) was only 8. The eldest of 4 children, my German grandfather then quit school in the third grade and went to work as a breaker boy picking through coal in the mines. Fortunately, he made it out of the mines at age 18 and went to work for the Bell Telephone company shortly before the turn of the century and worked his way up through the ranks to a relatively high paying job.

My father's mother came from an Irish family who had immigrated to the United States during the great Potato Famine. (There are etchings on this found at http://vassun.vassar.edu/~sttaylor/FAMINE/) If you are of Irish descent, you might find this interesting. She, too, had to quit school in the third grade when her mother died giving birth to her fifth child. My grandmother's father continued to work in the mines while his eldest daughter kept house and took care of her younger siblings. She and my grandfather did not marry until age 30 because of these family obligations. They did not own their first home, despite the birth of three children, until they were in their mid-forties.

Poverty and hard work for very little compensation was endured, therefore, on both sides of my family. Times were very hard and conditions rough. The rich took great advantage of the poor offering them very low wages because they could. But nothing could compare to slavery and the indignities of being considered nothing more than the property - to be bought and sold - of another human being. Most appalling of all the bad things about slavery was the way that families were broken up and sold despite the pleadings of the family members. This must have been far more unbearable to the slaves than even the hard work they endured. So, we at Nippies will close this entry with the suggestion, once again....if you haven't read Uncle Tom's Cabin, please do so. It will remind you of just what can happen when we allow injustice, nourished by ignorance and empathy, to grow.

Read more about Harriet Beecher Stowe here: http://americancivilwar.com/women/hbs.html">Harriet Beecher Stowe

November 6th, 2002

Sharon Osbourne to be on 20/20

We at Nippies have some exciting news: Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne will be on 20/20 tonight at 10pm eastern time. Don't miss it. If you are amongst the many Osbourne fans, and we at Nippies include ourselves in this large group, who have missed the antics of Ozzy, Sharon, Kelly and Jack, then tune into this Barbara Walters interview!

Cindy Adams of the New York Post, whom we love to read except when she attempts to garner sympathy for her wealthy friends who do things like run "white trash" over in their rich daddy's Mercedes SUV, reports that "Mrs. Osbourne looks stunning." We at Nippies had no doubt about that. Sharon is a doll in and out, in our opinion. And for all their apparent non-conformity, Sharon and Ozzy are the epitome of a loving and devoted couple. He adores her, she adores him. And Ozzy showed his devotion during Sharon's recent illness. He frequently flew home from his tour to be with her - she insisted the tour had to go on - during her difficult chemo treatment.

Until the return of The Osbournes as a regular feature on MTV, we at Nippies and the rest of America will have to satisfy ourselves with this mini-Ozzy-fix! Don't forget to tune in tonight at 10pm!!


Happy Birthday, Richard Dreyfus

Richard Dreyfuss turned 55 on October 29th. We at Nippies want to wish a very happy belated birthday to this brilliant actor. Richard Dreyfuss is, in our opinion, one of the most talented actors of the last several decades. (Our other favorites are Tom Hanks and Mel Gibson!)

Unfortunately, luck and judgment plays a large role in an actor's career. While Richard Dreyfuss has had some luck, the accomplishments he has achieved have mainly been through great talent. Since he won his Oscar in 1977 for Neil Simon's The Goodbye Girl, which we just LOVED and still watch every few years from a tape we have - he hasn't been in a movie that has gathered the honors to equal his tremendous talent and originality. By the way, few people realize Richard Dreyfuss was the youngest male Best Actor winner to win the Oscar. We at Nippies found this out by reading his bio on imdb.com, Nippies' favorite resourse for information on our favorite movies and actors.

There is no movie which could be bad if it has Richard Dreyfuss in it...even if he's just narrating. But we at Nippies have to wonder how he could not have been in more blockbusters. This is where we think the judgment may have been lacking on Richard Dreyfuss's part. Perhaps he doesn't really care if he's in the big ones and picks his roles according to whatever story he wants to tell. Perhaps not. We'd love to have a conversation with Richard Dreyfuss about his role choices someday!

Whatever. Another one of Nippies' alltime favorite movies also starred Richard Dreyfuss. Once Around, a 1991 film that is being shown on American Movie Classics this week, is just such an outstanding film. Also starring other tremendous talent such as Holly Hunter, Danny Aiello, Gena Rowlands and Laura San Giacomo, all of whom have also not achieved the commercial success they deserved, this film, directed by Lasse Hallstrom and written by Malia Scotch Marmo, is just one of those cinema treasures that contain not only a wonderful, warm and original story, but also visual appeal as well as humor mixed in with intelligence and sadness, as well. If you've never seen it, please do. It's a keeper.

How big a fan of Richard Dreyfuss are we at Nippies? Oh, very, very big. Once we even spotted him in the audience in an old Disney documentary from the early 60s. The Disney film was a tour of the relatively new Disneyland and was, most likely, shown on The Wonderful World of Disney. We at Nippies are positive that it was Richard Dreyfuss, at about age 16 or so, standing in the audience. Perhaps someday he'll write to Nippies and verify our suspicion on this! (He was, of course, an unknown at this time).

We at Nippies also watch for his bit part in 1967's The Graduate every time the Mike Nichol's film is on television. Richard Dreyfuss was only about 20 at the time he played this bit part. He appeared at the door of an apartment when Dustin Hoffman and Katherine Ross were having a loud verbal exchange and asked if he should "call the cops?" in a delightfully nerdy, newsy, holier-than-thou tone that was unforgettable. Had anyone else played that part it would have been easily forgotten. Not with Richard Dreyfuss adding his golden touch to those few words, though.

We at Nippies hope to see more of Richard Dreyfuss in the near future. And besides a happy birthday, we wish his happiness in his marriage to Janelle Lacey, whom he married on May 30, 1999!


No "Reality" for David and Liza

We at Nippies want to tell you that Liza Minnelli and David Gest will NOT be having their own reality show on VH1, in case you haven't heard. There are a lot of stories flying around about just why the deal was nixed. The VH1 crew had already done a lot of work towards preparation. At least one show had already been in the can....a dinner party whose guests included none other than the adorable Dominick Dunne. But there were great artistic differences.

Liz Smith, of the New York Post, reports in the November 5th edition of the newspaper, that Liza and David "are vastly relieved to be rid of reality TV." It seems that VH1 was looking for more dyfunction that Liza Minnelli and David Gest could offer them. Too bad... we at Nippies love Liza Minnelli and think it would have been fascinating to watch them entertain at a dinner party each week. Of course, we at Nippies did think of some drawbacks to this format. We realize that much of the conversation at Liza and David's dinner table that would have taken place sans camera would have been curtailed and cleaned-up avec cameras to prevent lawsuits. After all, what one talks about amongst friends, and in confidence, is not exactly what one would talk about when one knows the conversation is going to be broadcast over national television!

More's the pity. We at Nippies were really looking forward to this one.


We Believe in Santa Clause 2

In case you were wondering whether or not to take your little ones to see Santa Clause 2...GO see it!! We at Nippies took our little one - she's 8 - to see it at our local theatre last evening. She LOVED it. Without being asked, she told us at Nippies that she'd give it, "on a scale of 1-57...a 58!!". Now, there is no better recommendation than that!


Better Luck Next Time, Mike

We at Nippies offer our condolences to Pennsylvania's candidate for governor who lost to Ed Rendell: Mike Fisher. Fisher is just a hard working guy (as Pennsylvania's Attorney General) who spoke up for what he believed in. Mike Fisher was not a master at the political game as was his opposition, Ed Rendell. And so, Mike Fisher lost.

It was no surprise to Nippies: Mr. Rendell is possibly the newest of the teflon politicians. He admitted that his ad campaign paid cabbies in Philadelphia $50 each to root for him in TV ads. The story broke after one Nigerian cabbie, who can't even vote, spilled the beans. And Rendell admitted he was paid over $500,000 from a huge Philadelphia law firm, Ballard, Spahr, Andrews & Ingersoll, over the past two years while he campaigned full time (leaving everyone wondering just what the law firm expects in return??). Mike Fisher was busy doing his job as PA's Attorney General while Rendell campaigned. But still, none of these glaring red flags stuck to Rendell. The cabbies were paid for their time, he explained. And, gee, he'll have to look into the Pennsylvania ethics laws about whether he can give, as governor, the big law firm any work. Well, Rendell won and he won BIG in Pennsylvania.

But Rendell smiled his big winning smile and appealed to the right special interest groups such as the PSEA (Pennsylvania State Education Association - teachers do love the promise of more money...Mike Fisher wanted to make teachers more accountable) - along the way. He moved and shook with the movers and shakers. And now he's in.

Mike Fisher, as we've said before, gets things done. It was only after we at Nippies wrote to Fisher, as a last resort, that we had major fairness problems with Verizon, Allstate Insurance, and other big businesses resolved in a fair manner. But while Fisher had plenty of substance, he lacked charisma. We at Nippies have never been big fans of charisma. It hides too many character flaws. Maybe next time, Mike.


The Lovely Audrey Hepburn

We at Nippies have written previously about Audrey Hepburn and our great admiration for the late actress. We have stated our disdain for the tabloids who dogged her in her last days. These low-class rags, as you may recall, went so far as to hide in the bushes outside her Tolochenaz, Switzerland chalet to take photos of her taking her "last walk".

Well, now we at Nippies have read in the New York Post that Ms. Hepburn's memory is being violated, as well. There is an Audrey Hepburn Museum in Tolochenaz, Switzerland that has been open since 1996. Audrey's two sons, according to the November 4th, 2002 edition of the New York Post, feel that the exhibition is "cheapening and exploiting her good name." Sean Ferrer, Audrey Hepburn's eldest child, said: "This is not Graceland....Tolochenaz was a place where my mother could be like everyone else, go to the market, go shopping and be treated like a normal person."

Her sons are demanding the return of dozens of her personal belongings, including letters, photos, and her Academy Award from "Roman Holiday", which were on loan to the museum. And we at Nippies hope their wishes are granted. Her family should have her memory preserved in the manner they think tasteful.

November 1st, 2002

The Worms Crawl In...

We at Nippies sure hope you had a Happy Halloween. We did. Over 140 individual Reese's Peanut Butter cups were handed out, as well as copious amounts of change, to both large and small Halloweeners. (We don't call them trick-or-treaters in our neck of the woods.)

But we at Nippies couldn't help but notice how Halloween has changed. When we were small, we would, believe it or not, start Halloweening at least three days ahead of the official date. Yes, true. And we made our own costumes out of what we found in the cellar, attic, or our parents closets. World War II costumes were big. So were "hobos". Kids today don't even know what a hobo is...

Halloween has changed in other ways. We at Nippies and our contemporaries were expected to perform for our money and candy. Any song would do, but our personal favorite was "Did you ever see a hearse go by, to think of the day that you would die, they'll wrap you up in a bloody sheet, and turn you under ten feet deep. The worms crawl in, the worms crawl out, in your stomach and out your mouth. Your eyes fall out, your teeth decay, and that's the end of a bloody day." Sounds gorey, but it really wasn't. We sang it to a perky melody. Besides, what little kid analyzes the words to any song? We at Nippies certainly didn't.

Nowadays, Halloweeners just come to your door and hold open their bag. You smile, fuss over their costume, and drop in their reward. We at Nippies stopped asking them the little princesses, witches and warriosr were they going to sing years ago. The inquiry was invariably met with a sort of blank stare that told we at Nippies that we were definitely way behind the times.

One thing about Halloween hasn't changed: we at Nippies still love to dress up for Halloween! So do our kids. Yes, we love Halloween! Tonight, we at Nippies were a genie, complete with turban and balloon pants. The costume was a hit, and the little kids who didn't know we knew them were thrilled with our "psychic" abilities. Ours is a small world and we grew up with many of the parents. Seeing the child of an old friend, we'd hold our fingers to our temples and magically conjure up facts about the Halloweeners: their name, their parents name, where they live, and their grandparents names were some of our psychic conjurings.

Another favorite thing we at Nippies do is take a CD of our favorite Halloween music, open the window in the front of the house, and let the music blast out the window to let the Halloweeners know they are quite welcome to stop in.

Tonight was what we Catholics call a "Holy Day of Obligation". So, right after the last piece of candy was handed out, we at Nippies, along with our little "scarecrow", headed out to Mass at the local church. We are always touched by little acts of kindness, and there was one at Mass tonight. A woman, seeing our little girl dressed in costume, came over and handed her a dollar after Mass. My daughter looked up at me, then at the woman, with the largest smile. Both she and I were surprised at the very kind gesture. Thank God for people like that woman in the world.

It's been a long day. Time to sign off and scrub off the genie make-up. Hope you had as good a day as we did!

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