* ... EL NINO: The signs are improving that California will experience a significant El Nino this fall and winter, so strong that one forecaster is predicting a "Godzilla El Nino" event. In fact, The Los Angeles Times reported the "strengthening El Niño in the Pacific Ocean has the potential to become one of the most powerful on record, as warming ocean waters surge toward the Americas, setting up a pattern that could bring once-in-a-generation storms this winter to drought-parched California... After the strongest El Niño on record muscled up through the summer of 1997, the following winter gave Southern California double its annual rainfall and dumped double the snowpack in the Sierra Nevada, an essential source of precipitation for the state’s water supply."
* ... PARTY SCHOOLS: Now that so many local families are preparing to send their children off to college in the fall, it's time to review yet another list of the top party schools in the country. Starting from No. 10 down to No. 1, the list goes like this: Tulane, University of Illinois, Louisiana State University, Iowa State, Penn State, Colorado, Arizona State, University of Georgia, West Virginia and the top party school, University of Wisconsin at Madison.
* ... SPOTTED ON FACEBOOK: A sign at a Nebraska elementary school ushers in the school year with this message: "School resumes August 12. Resistance is futile. You will be educated."
* ... BAD FORM: Carol Knapp read a story recently about how texting and walking can lead to weight gain, and then she witnessed this: "When I was going into Walmart two weeks ago I was in a hurry... (but) I couldn't get past a woman who was texting leaning on her cart in the doorway. She was moving at a snails pace. She was about 150 pounds overweight. Leaving Walmart I was unfortunate to get behind another woman in the doorway speaking on her cellphone moving almost as slow... she was about 50 pounds overweight. I hope I don't pack on the pounds now for making these rude comments but I bet I eat as much if not more than these two women. I think I am able to keep the pounds at bay because I move at a faster pace and I also mow my own yard, dance and I don't text. I used to belong to Weight Watchers so I know the struggles with the pounds so I am really not try to insult anyone."
* ... GOOD FORM: Plez Taylor Jr. was at Red Lobster recently to celebrate his wife Vivian's birthday as well as their 67th wedding anniversary. "When we asked for check was informed a young couple had pad our check," he said. "It really made our evening and wish there was a way to thank them."
* ... SNAILS: And finally, my friend Mary Helen Barro submits this interesting tip for your flowerbeds: "My flowerbeds were a breeding ground for snails, until landscaper extraordinaire Olga See of O’See Em Bloom on Calloway Drive introduced me to Cocoa Shell Mulch, which she sells for about $11 a bag. When cocoa beans are roasted, the shells separate from the beans. The roasting process sterilizes the shells, which makes them weed-free and organic. Within a few weeks, my garden was snail-free. The flower beds look lovely, and my garden smells delicious! The recycled cocoa bean hulls also help retain moisture, which means less watering, and also reduce weeds organically, so I don’t have to use chemicals. Be careful, though if you have dogs, since cocoa mulch contains caffeine and theobromine, which could be toxic. Thanks to Olga See, my flowerbeds are now snail and bug free!"