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Random Notes & Fripperies -- The Prequel to the Sequel

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Remember Zsa Zsa Gabor? For the uninitiated, she and her family were the Kardashians -- 1950s edition. "Husbands are like fires," she once said. "They go out if left un-attended." This advice comes from a wife to nine husbands including actor George Sanders and hotelier Conrad Hilton.

Who's responsible for letting actor/author Chris Colfer voice his own audiobook, The Land of Stories, a Grimm Warning? Aside from garbled words, his fourth grade reading technique is a formidable obstacle to getting past the first chapter. You'd have to look at the print edition to find if it's worth your time.

If Woodrow Wilson had used the given birth name he grew up with, would we hold Tommy Wilson in such high regard?

The opening highschool scene in Marcia Clark's new Rachel Knight novel, The Competition, is a chiller. "...blood, bone, brain matter and bodies everywhere" are just a few of the descriptors.

In writing about the killing of Osama Bin Laden by Navy Seals, Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates writes in Duty, "I was very proud to work for a president who made one of the most courageous decisions I have ever witnessed in the White House." He then goes on to criticize the Obama administration for releasing the details of the death. This may explain why Gates, who served 26 years in the CIA and worked for two Bushes and one Obama -- never went for elective office. He operates in the manner of a high level beaurocrat who seems to be insulated from the public's and Ronald Reagan's idea to "trust but verify."

This year's Word-of-the-Year Award goes to bandwidth. Can you go a week without using it?

Under the heading of Executive Parenting Skills, the previously named hotel honcho Conrad Hilton used to discipline his teenage sons by calling a meeting to sign a contract spelling out the stringent terms and conditions of behavior he expected from them. Do you think the same arrangement was made for his great granddaughters, Paris and Nicky Hilton?

Velveeta is an insult to cheese.

For women who don't have their own biological kids Becoming a Stepfamily by Patricia Papernow is a neat starting place. She lays out the developmental cycle of step-families and what to expect from children who often see stepmom as an outsider. Re-framing the relationship to insider is the goal. As an insider, kids often confide in the Step things they wouldn't say to Biomom.

Why do fast-food operators sweep around you while you eat? Perhaps inhaling their dust-up schmutz helps digest their food schmutz.

The definition of original: Tabasco sauce, Mallomars, Lee & Perrins Worchester Sauce and Catalina Original French Salad Dressing.

A sign of total assurance or indifference: an overcast, gray day, a man paints a house door -- wearing dark glasses.

The Kennedy-Castro Connection: Did you know that during the run-up to the never-happened presidential race between incumbent President John Kennedy and Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater, America's archenemy Fidel Castro told a diplomat: "If you see him (JFK) again, you can tell him that I am willing to declare Goldwater my friend -- if that will guarantee his re-election."

Sign of the times: A cluttered desk has migrated to a cluttered computer screen.

If you're male and have seen pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly's TV commercials for Cialis, you no doubt have been struck by their admonition to see your doctor "if you have an erection lasting more than 4 hours." Is this really a likely possibility or a clever marketing ploy?

There are those among us who believe pepperoncini is a major food group. Isn't it?