Welcome to Issue 7 of NIPPIES on-line magazine!
Here you can read entries which were previously posted from February 2nd, 2003 to January 23rd, 2003 in NIPPIES

NIPPIES - Latest News

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February 2nd, 2003

Six More Weeks of Winter!

The Groundhog has seen his shadow: 6 more weeks of winter are on the way. As if we at Nippies didn't already know that!

We are real snow lovers. We at Nippies could never understand why some people (winter sports enthusiasts aside) get all down-in-the-mouth when snow was forecast by the local weathermen. Snow is a gift that only God can give. Is there anything more beautiful than a snow-covered countryside or even a snow-covered backyard?

It's the dirty work of mankind that makes snow turn to ugly grey slush: carbon monoxide from tens of thousands of exhaust pipes ruin the beautiful white layer of fluff that just days before made us ooh and aah in wonder.

Really cold weather...now that's another story altogether. While we at Nippies never get tired of the snow, we could do without the single-digit temperatures that make our heating bills unmanagable and going outside for the mail a real effort, and which turn most of us into hibernating creatures whose main source of exercise is that extra trip to the refrigerator or cupboard to see "what's good to eat" before we pop in the latest DVD release.

Here are some Nippies suggestions of things to do to make the most of these long winter months:

Make some extra trips to the library and while you are there, make a contribution. Then turn off the television and actually read the books.

Call some friends or relatives with whom you've gotten out of touch.

Write an actual letter on real paper:letter writing is becoming a lost art, isn't it?

Bake some cookies from scratch with your children or grandchildren. Bake 'em anyway even if you have no children or grandchildren to do the baking with, and share them with someone who will appreciate them.

These are Nippies' ideas of how to pass the long winter hours spent indoors. Why not dust off some of your own.


Car Talk

We at Nippies were listening to public radio's syndicated Car Talk show yesterday. Those two brothers with the Boston accent, Tom and Ray, are the only two people on earth who, in Nippies' opinion, can make a talk show about cars even remotely interesting. The boys are funny! And we at Nippies love their laughs. You could be scanning stations at lightning speed and if you have ever listened to Car Talk before, you will instantly recognize the show just by the distinctive "nyuk nyuk nyuk nyuk" that both brothers seem to sprinkle liberally throughout their time on the air.

Yesterday we at Nippies were fascinated by the show which is, by the way, taped out of WBUR in Boston. First of all, we noted that there were three calls in a row which came in from the homes of physicians. The first was a doctor's wife who was having trouble with her 2000 Buick. The second call was from a physician who was appalled over his mechanics' suggestion to cut off his Volkswagen Jetta's wheels because the bolts refused to budge. Tom and Ray suggested some alternative treatments, as well as a second opinion, for the wheels before a "wheelectomy", as they good-naturedly dubbed the feared procedure, was performed. Hilarious!

The biggest surprise was when a woman calling herself "Geena Davis" called in to chat on Car Talk. "Are you Geena Davis the actress?", either Tom or Ray asked. "Yes, I am," the woman answered. We at Nippies assume the woman really was Geena Davis the actress or else she was a really good impressionist: she sure sounded like the star of Thelma and Louise.

Geena wanted to ask about the wood-chip burning engines that had been discussed on a previous broadcast of Car Talk. Tom and Ray told her those engines were used during WWII and worked by utilizing the methane given off when wood is heated up.

Geena was charming throughout the conversation, which lasted several minutes. When asked about what she is working on now, Geena told the Car Talk hosts that she has been staying close to home recently because she gave birth to her baby only 9 months ago (she was about age 45 at the time). Apparently she is savoring her time as a new mother. We at Nippies think that is terrific decision, Geena. You can always go back to making movies, but your little one is only little once.

Now you may be wondering why we said earlier that there were three calls from the homes of physicians. Well, Geena's current husband is Dr. Reza Jarrahy, a neurosurgeon. According to the trivia about Geena Davis on imdb.com, "Jarrahy" means "surgeon" in the Persian language.

The secret to Car Talk's success is, of course, not entirely the automotive information they dole out each week. Aside from the humor, Tom and Ray feature what they call a Puzzler each week. The Puzzler is just what it sounds like: it is a puzzlle, a riddle, a conundrum, or whatever you choose to call the particular problem the brothers present for the listeners to solve each week. The Puzzler from yesterday's broadcast was particularly interesting. It is one that takes a lot of thought, but Nippies has no intent of telling you about it and denying you a visit to www.Cartalk.com.

You can read this week's new Puzzler for yourself at noon, EST, by visiting www.cartalk.com. When you visit the site, click on the FAQ link to find out more about Tom and Ray, The Puzzler, and how to send in your question to Car Talk. And don't forget to tell the boys that we at Nippies sent you.

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January 30th, 2003

This and That

Some winter money saving tips from Good Morning America this morning:

Set your thermostats at 68 degrees during the day and put a sweater on to fight off any chills. GMA also suggests setting your thermostat at 55 degrees at night. BRRRR! That sounds a tad cold to us. Nippies will bypass that suggestion!


We at Nippies will be writing more later. Right now we are off to work a small, indoor carnival for a good cause. Catch you in a few hours....


K-Mart Woes Continue

With the closing of 317 K-Mart stores (and the loss of over 30,000 jobs), we at Nippies have turned our thoughts to that retailing GIANT, Wal-Mart.

We've all heard the stories of how Sam Walton drove an old truck, dropped in unannounced and had folksy chats with his workers, lived in the same, relatively modest (for a man of his affluence) house he built in 1959, and bought his shoes at Wal-Mart despite his personal worth of many billions of dollars (which is now in the hands of his children). We at Nippies have uncovered two sources which recount those and similar tales, but with two somewhat different viewpoints. It's odd how two writers can take similar facts and shine a different light on basically the same story.

Copy and paste below to read them for yourself.

Pro Wal-Mart article:


Not so pro Wal-Mart book: Bob Ortega's book, In Sam We Trust...read the reviews:



The National "Do Not Call" Registry backlash has cometh

According to Reuters, four telemarketing companies and a trade group, in an attempt to stop the U.S. Government from bringing the National "Do Not Call" Registry to fruition, have filed a lawsuit in federal court in Oklahoma City. The lawsuit was filed Wednesday, we at Nippies have learned.

We at Nippies don't know how you fell about telemarketers. Personally, we could do without them. We have never bought any product or service (that we can recall) that was pitched to us via the telephone.

We at Nippies have several phone numbers if you include cell phones, the computer line and the regular business line. One land line, which was our main private line at one time, was chosen by us four years ago to be our "computer line". It is always busy. Our family and close friends have long since learned not to waste their time trying to reach us on that particular line.

A few weeks ago our regular phone broke down. For the first time in years, we had the ringer on the computer line turned on as we waited for an important call to come in. We at Nippies got the call we had been waiting for and then forgot to shut the ringer off. We had the computer completely shut down and went to take a short nap. It didn't take more than two minutes for that darn phone to ring. Yes, it was a telemarketer. Nippies courteously stated we were not interested in the service being offered and hung up. Duh...we forgot to turn the ringer off in our haste to get back to our nap.

We at Nippies stumbled back to the couch. We had just drifted off again when the phone rang again. Another telemarketer! Again, a little less courteously, we brushed off the solicitor. And you can bet the ringer was shut completely off after this call.

Two phone calls in less than ten minutes. Both from telemarketers. Do you think Nippies will be on the "Do Not Call" list? As sure as I am "the owner of the house", as the telemarketers are fond of asking, I will be on that darn list.


How wonderful to see Paul Harvey on Larry King Live

Paul Harvey related to Larry King that his very famous "The Rest of the Story" was both created by and has been written by his son, "Young Paul Harvey". Paul's son and only child, by the way, gave up a career as a concert pianist to assist his father in this aspect of his show.

We at Nippies were amused that Paul Harvey still uses a typewriter, but has "upgraded" to a "Selectric". He eschews computers for his personal use.

Paul Harvey also told Larry that his lovely wife, Angel, is very well. They have been married "many more" than 50 years, but his wife will not allow him to tell just how many.

We at Nippies love Paul Harvey and wish him many more years in radio and many more years of a happy marriage to his Angel.



Has Dell let a star slip through their fingers again??

We at Nippies just saw "Day 26" of the Dell interns commercials. Ut-oh! Where was the blonde actress, Amy Leland, who plays the only female intern in the popular computer commercials? We at Nippies have had many inquiries about this actress and scoured the internet until we found her name for you. She is very popular...so, why isn't she in the newest Dell commercial?

No one could understand why the Dell Dude, Ben Curtis, was visibly absent in the new commercials. Fans of the Dell Dude commercials have just gotten over that blow, and now the Dell girl is also, mayteriously, AWOL. Is this temporary?

We at Nippies will keep you posted...


The things you learn by listening to the radio

Those of you who are anxiously comparing the trouble in the Middle East with the Book of Revelation, and John's tale of the end times and the coming of the Anti-Christ, may be very interested to learn, as we did today on public radio, that the city of Baghdad is the old city of Babylon.

Charles H. Dyer is the author of a fascinating book called The Rise of Babylon, published by Moody Press. He was being interviewed today on the radio and gave some fascinating insights into Saddam Hussein, Iraq, Baghdad/Babylon, and other aspects of the current situation in the Middle East.

January 28th, 2003

More doctors join the "Campaign of Terror"

Just as Nippies predicted, doctors from other states have joined staged walk-outs. Florida has seen 800 doctors stay away from the job of healing as a way of protesting their high medical malpractice insurance premiums. A dozen doctors in Mississippi also stayed off the job. These physicians join doctors in Pennsylvania, W. Virginia and New Jersey who have either threatened to or have walked out on the job, are refusing to take new patients, and/or refusing to perform high risk procedures, no matter what the emergency. New Jersey doctors plan their walk-out for February.

The doctors are complaining that medical malpractice premiums have risen fivefold since 1975. However, the cost of health insurance for everyone has risen more than fivefold since that time...

We at Nippies went on record several weels ago as saying this "Campaign of Terror" by physicians would spread to other states after we saw the attention - and action - physicians in Pennsylvania got when they bagan complaining and threatening over this "crisis". Unbelievably, President Bush made a special trip to Scranton, PA to talk it over with the docs a few weeks ago. With all that is on President Bush's plate- Iraq, North Korea, terrorism, the economy in general, etc., it only goes to show what a well organized and wealthy group of citizens can do (local, state and national medical societies and physicians) to get attention when they want it.

You can read below to see what else we at Nippies have had to say on this issue. The whole thing is making us ill, to be honest with you. The real crisis is the over-priced, over-advertised, over-hyped, over-medicated, over-tested (which drive up costs) U.S. healthcare system with something like 40 million Americans lacking health coverage. That is the REAL crisis. But who cares about the little guy, anyway?


Our theory on what could have happened...

If you watched ABC's Diane Sawyer this morning, you saw her interviewing Scott Peterson, the husband and number one suspect in the disappearance of Laci Peterson. We at Nippies don't need to tell you who Laci Peterson is, but we will just in case your television has been broken for the past month. Laci is the 8 month pregnant woman from Modesto, California who has been missing, officially, for 34 days now. Scott Peterson claimed, in his interview with Diane Sawyer, that he had told Laci about his affair with Amber Frey sometime in early December. He claims the revelation wasn't enough to break the couple up, that Laci wasn't distraught enough to end the marriage.

Nearly everyone has a theory about what could have happened to Laci Peterson. We at Nippies haven't spoken to or heard from anyone who doesn't think that Scott Peterson may have been responsible for Laci's disappearance. Nippies has their own theory about what could have happened that night...

Notice we said could have and night. Scott Peterson is innocent until proven guilty, of course. But, like Nancy Grace and many of Laci's neighbors, we think Laci may have disappeared on the eve of Christmas Eve, or in the wee hours of December 24th, and not during the later morning or afternoon of December 24th. Laci Peterson always drew open the drapes in the morning, and she didn't do so on December 24th. While that seem like an insignificant detail to some, it may take on a great deal of importance in this case in establishing a time of disappearance. People are such creatures of habit, unless something unusual happens to change that habit.

Laci's mother has already stated she spoke to Laci at 8:30pm on December 23rd and everything seemed fine. It probably was. But perhaps shortly after that conversation Laci was doing some last minute preparations for Christmas. Perhaps she was digging through a closet, a drawer, an attic or the garage to pull out hidden gifts or some wrapping paper. Most of us do these last minute sort of things for Christmas, including we at Nippies.

Wouldn't it be very possible,then , that Laci could have stumbled across a love letter or a gift either to or from Amber Frey, who we now know was having an affair with Scott Peterson? Isn't it very possible that Laci, in shock and feeling terribly hurt, confronted her husband with any evidence of the affair she may have discovered? It would be very possible that if this did, indeed, happen, that Laci and Scott could have gotten into a confrontation over this affair.

Of course, if what Scott Peterson said is true - that Laci knew about the affair early in December, then Laci must have been very good at hiding her emotions from her family. We at Nippies can't imagine an 8-month-pregnant woman not being upset enough, upon the discovery of an affair between her husband and another woman, to at least tell someone!

Watching Scott Peterson speak with Diane Sawyer, it appeared obvious to we at Nippies that he appeared to have been making a conscious effort to look directly into Diane Sawyer's eyes during the interview. Scott has been criticized by many for not being able to maintain eye contact when being interviewed and when he was being photographed during the past month. Some seemed to think that his averted eyes indicated that Scott Peterson had something to hide. Scott seemed to struggle this morning to lift his eyes up and look directly at Diane Sawyer throughout the time they spoke.

We at Nippies. like most observers of this case, did not know Laci Peterson. We don't know if she would have shared the news of Scott's infidelity with her mother. Somehow, however, after hearing about how mother and daughter spoke daily and seemed to be very close, we at Nippies find it hard to believe that a pause, a sigh, a tremor in the voice or some other physical manifestation of Laci's inner pain and turmoil would not slipped out and indicated to Laci's mother that something was wrong in her daughter's life. Obviously, judging from her support of Scott, and from her own statements, during the first weeks after her daughter's disappearance, Laci's mother had no idea that there was any problem in the marriage. She and the rest of Laci's family stood steadfastly beside Scott Peterson even after many objective observers had long turned suspicious eyes towards Scott Peterson. Laci Peterson's family could not bring themselves to believe that their loving daughter's husband had betrayed her or them in any way. When they were confronted with the very tangible evidence of the affair between Scott and the other woman via a photograph of Amber Frey and Scott Peterson together, it is obvious that it shook their world.

Only time will tell all the details of what happened to Laci Peterson and her unborn baby, a baby that would have been entering the world somewhere around February 10th - Laci Peterson's due date. For now, all anyone can do is hope that the truth about why Laci disappeared and where she is comes to light soon so that the long road of uncertainty can finally end for the family of Laci Peterson.

January 26th, 2003

What is the name of the actress in the Dell interns commercial?

We at Nippies have had a LOT of inquiries about the actress who plays one of the interns (they needed more than one to replace that adorable Dell dude, Ben Curtis) in the new series of Dell computer commercials. So, Nippies did a little research and came up with her name for all you seekers.

Her name is Amy Leland

From the information we at Nippies have gathered, Amy Leland is not new to the big or little screen. Amy appeared in an episode of Beverly Hills 90210 way back on May 19, 1993. The episode was entitled "Commencement Part 2" and Amy Leland played the part of "The Girl". Amy also appeared in the third season of Nash Bridges; ER; Just Shoot Me; He Said, She Said and Boy Meets World. Nippies has found other credits: voice work in 1998 on The Wild Thornberrys, and parts in movies The Hollywood Sign in 2001, X-Men, playing the part of "Cerebro" (2000), and Day My Parents Ran Away portraying the "Pigtailed Madonna" (1993), as well as a number of other small parts.

But it wasn't until Amy Leland won the role of the girl intern on the Dell commercials that she became somewhat of a pop idol. Every male under the age of 35 wants to know just who's that girl?? Nippies had to find out for our readers.

Nippies has not been able to determine Amy Leland's age, but we'd say she must be in her mid twenties ?, considering her extensive resume which dates back at least ten years.

There....now you know!

January 25th, 2003

Are you a fan of author Phyllis A. Whitney?

We at Nippies are. Ms. Whitney is a well known author of over 78 books (including three text books). Her genre is generally romantic suspence. Even if you are familiar with the novelist, you may be surprised to learn that she will celebrate her 100th birthday next September and is currently working on her biography.

Go Phyllis!!

Another of our favorite authors is Laurali R. Wright, who passed away in February 2001 at the age of 61. Nippies' favorite book by the Canadian author is A Chill Rain in January, one of the books from her Karl Alberg series of novels.

Ms. Wright's work has been translated into many other languages and has earned her many awards. The Suspect earned L.R. Wright (a name she sometimes used) an Edgar Allan Poe Award. She became the first Canadian to ever win an Edgar award. In 1991, A Chill Rain in January won the Arthur Ellis Award for Best Novel. Five years later, Mother Love earned the same award (Best Novel). Laurali was also been given the Canadian Authors Association Literary Award for Fiction in 1996.

Laurali Wright's passing at a relatively young age has saddened many of her fans.


Martha Stewart Update Attorneys for Martha Stewart are trying to convince the Feds (Justice Department) to not file criminal charges against the domestic diva in liew of an SCC civil lawsuit . If this happens, there will be cries of protest across the land about how the rich and powerful are given preferential treatment when they break the law. We'll keep a Nippies watch.


Ebay headed for court?

Ebay, the online auction powerhouse, is being sued for alleged online slander, Nippies has learned. A man who feels his good name was sullied by the online feedback system utilized by Ebay claims that derogatory comments by another Ebay user against him were not taken off when he made the requset.

This will be an interesting case to watch. Ebay is very powerful and appears to have taken steps which will assure their top position on the internet remains in place. Have you auctioned anything on Ebay in the past few years? It used to cost $1.00 the last time we at Nippies sold an item with Ebay. The rules were relatively simple.

That was 1999. Things have changed quite a bit since then, despite the fact that Ebay's stock went through the roof even with the low price of $1 per auction they were charging back then.

Now, depending on what you are selling and how you are listing (with or without options), the seller can end up paying many times that amount PLUS a percentage of the total sale price on the successful auction. Ebay also has prohibited links to your site, in most instances, from the auction description space you purchase if you are selling other items on that particular web site. Ebay utilizes a watchdog system that picks up on certain keywords you might use on your description and stops you from listing an item for sale until you correct the description to their satisfaction.

Do you know of any other auction sites that you are very happy with? Have gripes about? Do you have any gripes with Ebay? Any great experiences with Ebay? Let us know. Nippies is interested.


Superbowl - Super ADS

Everyone has heard by now, but Nippies is so fascinated we'll report it again. The cost of an ad during the Superbowl is a whopping $2.2 MILLION dollars per 30 seconds. Wow...and to think that the ads that appear during the Superbowl are specially made just for that day.


Mel Gibson's latest

We at Nippies rented Mel Gibson's Signs the other night. We had previously seen the movie at the cinema. While we do NOT believe that aliens would contact we earthlings by mowing non-sensical designs into cornfields, we do love Mel Gibson, as we have gone on record as saying. Signs is worth watching. It is also currently the number one rented DVD.

January 24th, 2003

A Sad Story about a Cub Scout

There was a story that broke on local news yesterday about a young boy whose parents dressed him up as a Cub Scout, convinced him he was a Cub Scout, although he was not, and took him door to door on a solicitation mission.

The boy said nothing on the rounds. But his parents explained to neighbors that they were collecting funds for the Cub Scouts. Over $667.00 in donations was collected.

One doorstep which was approached by the family was owned by a Cub Scout leader. The man noticed that the young boy's neckerchief was knotted rather than secured by the regulation Cub Scout slide. That observation made the Cub Scout leader suspicious, and he called police to report his suspicions. He was right. The young boy was, as we at Nippies previously pointed out, not a Cub Scout.

It turns out that the family, according to the sobbing mother of the little boy, was having great financial difficulties and acted out of desperation. Their family landscaping business was failing. She seemed genuinely sorry for what she and her husband had done.

The little boy was not crying, but he broke our hearts anyway. He said that his family is "poor" and needed money.

This story is now making national news wires. Neighbors who donated went on camera giving their opinions of what happened. We at Nippies noticed many tsk tsks. One woman thought it was terrible that the parents engaged their child in such an act of deception. We at Nippies agree with her that it was very wrong of the parents to do what they did and most especially to use their child in this way.

What really bothers Nippies the most, however, is that this child was used by the media. The whole family, including the child, was on camera.

Knowing what we know about how cruel some children can be to other children, we have to wonder why on earth this child was put on camera at all. Certainly, while the parents were wrong to do this and to use their child in this way, their criminal act hardly poses a threat to national security or to the national economy. Conventional wisdom - and experience - tells us that little boy will now, most likely, be subjected to ridicule and taunts by his peers. In additon to poverty and faulty parenting, the media has added the burden of shame to this little boy's troubles.

We at Nippies think that we don't need to know all the news all the time. Certainly, the nation didn't need to know this news and to see the faces of that family and that little boy. Perhaps the media did a greater harm to the child than his parents did, and for a far worse reason: ratings and not desperation.


Laci is on everyone's mind

Missing and pregnant: Laci Peterson. She's been on everyone's mind of late. Who would want to harm a woman who is carrying an unborn child?. We at Nippies are mystified.

Laci's family spoke today about their feelings. Or, should we say, tried to speak. They were so beside themselves with grief that their words were punctuated with sobs. Laci's mother spoke about how she misses her daughter and their daily conversations, how she misses sharing Laci's joy over the impending birth of her first child. Laci's older brother spoke of how he regretted he wasn't there to protect her from whoever did this to her.

Where are the sobs and sad words from Scott Peterson? That is what everyone, including we at Nippies, wants to know.

In a few minutes, there will be a press conference held in Modesto by the Modesto police. If you are up and reading this, you can tune into CNN to see what new developments will be reported. Nippies will be watching.

Laci disappeared one month ago today. Her husband, Scott Peterson, claims Laci was fine with he left to go fishing, on Christmas Eve morning, at about 9:30am. Many doubt that story because Laci used to open her drapes every single morning. That morning the drapes remained closed.

Laci Peterson is somewhere. It doesn't look very promising that she will be found alive. With the news of Scott Peterson having a girlfriend, and having taken out a quarter of a million dollar life insurance policy on Laci, it is only natural to fear the worst.

We at Nippies were confused about Scott Peterson's behavior immediately following Laci's disappearance. He was so willing to go on television when Laci was first missing. After two days, when he was being asked some pointed questions because the spouse is always the number one suspect in this sort of case, he disappeared from the eye of the cameras. He claimed to be "too upset" to be in the public view. We could understand if he was just camera shy from the beginning, but he wasn't.

The press conference is on. The girlfriend is confirming her affair with Scott Peterson. She is young. About Laci's age. She is very upset. She met him a few months ago and claims she was told Scott was "not married". She is a single mother with a 23 year old month child. She asks that we respect her privacy. Her name is Amber Frye, and she is very shaken over her involvment in this case.

The mystery is, it seems, now beginning to be over. We at Nippies will surely be writing about sad story again.

January 23rd, 2003


It's still near zero degrees (F) here in the great Northeast! Brrrr. And we at Nippies have been trying to rescue the beautiful, white cat with the blue eyes (yes, she's deaf) from the cold for several days now. We've affectionately named the cat "Baby"

The first day of the cold snap Mr. Nippies sat for over an hour with a dark blanket over his body waiting near the cat food for the opportunity to grab her. This cat is very savvy: she opted not to eat until Mr. Nippies gave up and came into the house, claiming to be suffering from frostbite on his extremities. So far no body parts have turned black and fallen off.

Apparently a 6 pound cat with a white fur coat is better equipped to handle the cold than is a 179 lb man. God certainly knows what he is doing.

The next night we all got our thinking caps on. We at Nippies came up with a plan. First placed a wicker hamper with a brass-hinged lid on it's front side. You know the kind of wicker haper we are referring to - everyone had this brown wicker back in the early 80s when plants and wicker chests, hampers and baskets were the rage. Then we placed a paper plate with food - tuna was selectef for it's pungent odor - deep inside the hamper. One end of a cord was tied through the opened lid of the hamper and the other end was pulled taut and fed through our window and tied to our white porcelain, pedestal sink. When the cat entered the basket to eat, we at Nippies planned on cutting the string, thereby releasing the tension and trapping the cat inside when the hinged lid fell closed. In case she got out, our son was waiting on the outside of the hole in our fence which Baby customarily uses as an escape hatch. Our son had a large fishing net attached to a wooden hoop and handle in which he planned to catch the fleeing cat. Near the other excape hatch, which is near our the gate that leads to the front of our property, Mr. Nippies was waiting with a large blanket to throw over the cat. Yes, it was the same old Army blanket he had hidden under the previous day and which is not stuffed near the bottom of our back door in our near-futile effort to prevent cold air from entering the house.

Alas, all went well - almost. Baby went into the hamper and began to eat. When she had pulled her white tail in sufficiently and I was sure the lid wouldn't snap closed on it, I planned on cutting the string. But before I could cut the string, the cat sensed something was wrong. Perhaps he smelled a human or saw a shadow. Because he is deaf, we think his other senses are extra sharp. He backed out of the basket and flew to his escape hatch where our son was waiting and jumped right into the basket. Triumphantly, Mr. Nippies called out "We got him!". Our little one and I cheered and were in the midst of jumping up and down when we heard a few expletives wafting through the open window. We stopped mid-jump and hurried to the window to see what had gone wrong. The cat had jumped out of the fishing net and had dashed off to parts unknown.

Sadly, the cat became extremely cautious after what, we at Nippies are certain, he considered to be a "near death experience." Baby runs now if he even feels a snow flake hitting his nose. It's too bad you can't reason with a cat.

Today it was even colder in our neck of the woods than it had been on the days of our failed attempts to catch the cat. But we at Nippies dare not try to catch Baby again - at least not too soon. Even a trip to our window to check on her can result on her scampering away before she eats. So we must just hope that the deep freeze, or starvation, doesn't get her before we do.

In case you are wondering, we at Nippies refer to "Baby" as both a she and a he it is because we are not 100% certain of the sex of our little friend. But we are leaning toward the female side. At least one other big tomcat out there thinks Baby is a potential mate, from what we've seen.

We at Nippies will keep you posted on all accounts...


The Struggling Musician

Tonight we will travel a short distance to see our son, a musician, perform with his bandmates. They will open for a nationally known act at a venue not far from our home.

Normally, we at Nippies do not frequent hot spots frequented by the under 30 crowd. As a matter of fact, we do not frequent hot spots at all. But we will make an exception.

It seems like yesterday he planned on becoming a member of the NBA. As the high scorer for several years in a row his grade school basketball team, where his specialty became three-pointers that made the crowd ooh and aah, basketball was his life. That dream changed sometime during his freshman year in high school when he picked up his first good guitar and made new friends who were already seasoned guitarists. He soon became obsessed and spent, unfortunately, more hours on the guitar than on his studies.

By the end of his first year at the private high school he will, we hope, graduate from this June, he had tried out and been accepted in a band of older guys. We at Nippies were amazed at this accomplishment and tried to be supportive. Three times a week we made the one hour round trip to take him to his practice. After several months, he had outgrown that band and gone on to another, then another. Each time a band folded or disbanded, as they say in the music biz, our son became convinced his musical "career" was over and he'd never be so lucky again. Ah, the young. But another band always came along.

Two years ago he decided to teach himself keyboards or, as they now call it, the synthesizer. We at Nippies call it a keyboard because, to us, it is a keyboard. But our son corrects us and tells us it is "a synthesizer". He excelled at that instrument just as he did at the guitar and, thereby, made himself even more valuable as a musician because of his ability to play not one instrument but two. Along the way he found his voice and also began to write some music.

For a long time he dreamed of being in a certain well-known, albeit local band. One day last year, on Easter Sunday, the flashing red light on our answering machine brought a surprise message from that particular band's lead vocalist. "Hey, man, you're great. Wanna join our band?"

Dreams do come true...in increments of small accomplishment. We at Nippies don't know if our very young son will ever attain the national fame he and everyone musician/entertainer like him desires. Sometimes things don't work out exactly the way we want them to and, oddly, it turns out for the best. But for tonight, at least, our son is a star.

And his parents will be in the front row to (quietly) cheer him on.


The Rich Get Rich and...

A new report from the Federal Reserve has shown that that gap between the top 10% of the wealthiest Americans and the 20% of American families in the lowest income brackets has grown by a whopping 70%, proving once again that the rich really do get richer and the poor get poorer.

The study, which does not take 2002 into account, shows the growth in wealth amongst the wealthiest Americans was largely due to the Bull Market in the late 1990s. Many would temper this news of a growing gap between the rich and poor by saying that 52% if all Americans own stock.

Statistics! How they twist the truth! While that may be statistically true, it is also true that about 80% all stocks are owned by about 2% (the very wealthy) of American stockholders. The remaining 20% of all stocks are divided up amongst the other stockholders who only own a few thousand dollars worth of stock in retirement and other funds.

Read more about the growing gap between the rich and poor by copying and pasting:



Nancy Grace on Larry King Live

We at Nippies are watching Nancy Grace of Court TV being interviewed on Larry King Live. Nancy Grace was nicknamed "Amazing Grace" for a very good reason: as a prosecutor, Nancy has never lost a case.

Nancy Grace's fiance, Keith, was murdered many years ago 2 weeks before their wedding. He was murdered by a 24 year-old for a wallet with $30.00 and a photo. A naive Nancy did not want the death penalty at the time. She has since changed her mind. The murderer will be eligible for parole in the not too distant future.

Nancy made a very good point about rich, white educated murderers. She said they are often treated better and receive lesser sentences than poor and poorly educated members of minorities who commit the same crimes. Nancy said it disgusts her to see injustice because, in her view, those who have had all the worldly advantages are more "culpable" than those who have not. All murderers, of course, anger her.

Very true, Nancy. Very true.

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