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January, 2006 The twists and turns of life can be so unpredictable. The day after New Year's, a phone call suddenly presented an utterly unexpected prospect for me. It was from Gary Dell'Abate, the producer of the Howard Stern Show on the satellite radio network, Sirius.

I had been on the Howard Stern Show many times before - a few times intentionally, but more often, not. The times I went on the Stern Show with purpose were to promote a play I was doing or the publication of my autobiography, "To the Stars." But more frequently, I've been on the show via bandit recordings of phrases I said while on the show - like, "Oh my!" - or a phone conversation with a celebrity imitator with whom I talked, thinking it was the real celebrity - most absurdly, a brief conversation with a rather poor imitator of Ricardo Montalban. Howard Stern has had his fun with me - and his listeners seemed to be having a hilarious good time listening to his mischiefs. The Stern Show technicians even took my voice from the audiocassette version of my autobiography and manipulated the words to make it seem as if I were actually making some outrageously vulgar statements. They say they're doing all this because they love me, but, I must say, I've never been loved in such a bizarre way.

Gary Dell'Abate was calling me, only two days into the new year, with a question. Like Pavlov's dog, my muscles immediately tightened. What new prank is this, I thought. This was the producer of the Howard Stern Show calling! Gary quickly assured me that our conversation was not being recorded. A little wary, but still a little curious, I continued the conversation. Gary asked, "Would you be interested in joining the Stern Show as the announcer?" I burst out laughing. I was not going to be taken in by that tired old joke. "No, I really mean it, George," he insisted. "I'm serious." He did sound sincere. Very guardedly, I played along. "Well, it does sound intriguing," I responded. "But why don't you talk to my agent and see what happens? You may not be able to afford me." That should put an end to this trick, I thought. "Of course I'll do that," he assured me, "but I wanted to know if you would really be interested." I sensed that he was trying to keep me on the line.

So, I said to Gary that I would call my agent myself and tell him that I am intrigued by the invitation and gave him my agent's number. Then I hung up. From that conversation with Gary Dell'Abate, the year 2006 was off and running as I had never, in my wildest dreams, expected it to be.

Of all things, the invitation turned out to be true! It wasn't a prank. My agent had conversations with the Stern people, and, five days after that call from Gary, I was on a plane for New York to be the "announcer" on the Howard Stern Show.

Some people have questioned why I appear on a radio show so filled with disgusting talk and obscenity. I respond to them that, yes, the show has language and talk of body functions that really aren't my cup of tea. I try not to use those words myself, but don't we hear them around us daily? The body functions that Howard and gang talk about are what we all do daily as normal, healthy human beings. Howard simply talks about the realities of our life candidly. Some people seem to find life as it is - obscene. I don't.

However, Howard Stern is passionately against what is truly obscene in our society. He has railed at the obscenity of allocating billions of dollars of pork barrel money for a "bridge to nowhere" in Alaska, while our soldiers in Iraq are dying because of deficient and ineffective body armor.

He has attacked the indecency of tax cuts for the wealthiest at a time of war. He has howled at the outrage of plunging our nation into war with bad intelligence, tough talk, and inadequate planning. He strongly believes that people who love each other, care for each other, and take responsibility for each other that happen to be of the same gender are entitled to equal rights. Howard Stern is a shock jock because truth naked can be shocking. Some of his humor can be adolescent. So what? We all could use a bit of adolescent giggle from time to time. It's good for us. And sometimes, for me it has been humbling, which is also good for all of us from time to time. Humility keeps us grounded. Laughter is the tonic of life.

Howard Stern challenges the status quo, politically, socially, and economically. He exercises our Constitutional freedom of speech vigorously. I admire his daring. I have high regard for his venturesome spirit in making the move from free terrestrial radio to the high-risk adventure of paid satellite radio. It was a singular distinction for me to be the first voice heard on the very first broadcast of his new show. And, Howard's brave move seems to be paying off. His loyal fans and others are switching in the millions as subscribers to Sirius. It is in the same bold spirit of "Star Trek" - to explore new frontiers, new technologies, and new ways of doing things - and laughing at the absurdities of life all the way.

Image by Anemone123 from Pixabay

Life is hard. It's a miracle to make it through with some semblance of sanity. We are all plagued by grief and trauma. More and more people of all backgrounds are opening up about personal trauma and its origins. Finally! For far too long we've been too silent on this topic. And with so many people unable to afford mental health care, the outcomes can be damaging.

All of our childhoods have ups and downs and memories that can play out like nightmares. We carry that, or it follows us and the first step in recovery is talking about it. So who feels strong enough to speak?

Redditor u/nthn_thms wanted to see who was willing to share about things they'd probably rather forget, by asking:

What's the most traumatizing thing you experienced as a child?
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Image by klimkin from Pixabay

Being single can be fun. In fact, in this time of COVID, being single can save lives. But the heart is a fickle creature.

And being alone can really suck in times of turmoil. None of us are perfect and it feels like that's all anyone is looking for... perfect.

Now that doesn't mean that all of us are making it difficult to partner up. Sure, some people are too picky and mean-spirited, but some of the rest of us are crazy and too much to handle. So one has to be sure.

The truth is, being single is confusing, no matter how much we try to match. So let's try to understand...

Redditor u/Mcxyn wanted to discuss some truths about love and our own issues, by asking:

Why are you single?
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Tiard Schulz/Unsplash

Whether you're an at home parent, a college student just leaving the nest, or a Food Network junkie, there are a few basic tips that everyone should know.

Chef's gave us some of their top tips for amateurs and beginner at home cooks that will really make a difference. They are trained professionals with years of experience in the kitchen, so they definitely know what we're all missing.

If you're looking to improve some of your cooking skills and techniques, but you're still learning how to boil water correctly, this list is for you.

Redditor BigBadWolf44 wanted in on the secrets and asked:

"Chefs of Reddit, what's one rule of cooking amateurs need to know?"

Let's learn from the masters!


What a common mistake!

"A lot of the time when people add salt to a dish because they think it tastes flat, what it really needs is an acid like lemon juice or vinegar."

- Vexvertigo

"Instructions unclear I drugged my dinner party guests and now they're high on acid."

- itsyoboi_human

"Yes! Or tomatoes. They're pretty acidic too and go with so many things. Our dinners are so much better once the garden tomatoes are ripe. Or if a dish is too acidic, oil/butter or a little sugar can help add balance to it."

- darkhorse85

"Like tomato and eggs. Every Chinese mom makes those slightly differently and I haven't had a tomato egg dish I didn't like yet."

- random314

"There's a book called 'Salt Fat Acid Heat' that comes highly recommended to amateur cooks."

- Osolemia

"Reading even just the first chapter about salt made a lot of food I cooked immediately better, because I finally understood salt wasn't just that thing that sat on the dinner table that you applied after the meal was cooked."

- VaultBoy42

"Salt is important for sweets. A batch of cookies without that little hint of salt doesn't taste quite right."

- Osolemia

Unfortunately, this tip might not be accessible to everyone. Many people who contracted COVID can no longer use their sense of smell the way they used to.

"Have a friend that lost his smell from COVID, and now he only recognizes if food is salty, sweet, sour or bitter."

- AlphaLaufert99

"Just wait until he gets his sense of smell back and a ton of foods smell like ammonia or literal garbage now. Yeah, that's fun... It's been 7 months for f*cks sake just let me enjoy peanut butter again!!!!!!!!!"

- MirzaAbdullahKhan

You can't take back what you've already put in.

"You can always add, but you cannot take away."

- El_Duende666

"I find people's problems usually are they're too scared to add rather than they add too much."

- FreeReflection25

"I see you also grew up white in the mid-west."

- Snatch_Pastry

Safety first!

"Not really a cooking tip, but a law of the kitchen: A falling knife has no handle."

- wooddog

"I'm always so proud of my reflexes for not kicking in when I fumble a knife."

"If I drop anything else, my stupid hands are all over themselves trying to catch it (and often failing). But with a knife the hardwired automatic reaction is jump back immediately. Fingers out of the way, feet out of the way, everything out of the way. Good lookin out, cerebellum!"

- sonyka

"Speaking of KICKING in. On first full time cooking job I had a knife spin and fall off the counter. My (stupid) reflex was to put my foot under it like a damn hacky sack to keep it from hitting the ground. Went through the shoe, somehow between my toes, into the sole somehow without cutting me. Lessons learned: (1) let it fall; (2) never set a knife down close to the edge or with the handle sticking out; (3) hacky sack is not nearly as cool as it could be."

- AdjNounNumbers

"Similarly, NEVER put out a grease or oil fire with water. Smother with a lid or dump baking soda in there (do not use flour, as it can combust in the air making things worse)."

- Metallic_Substance

How else will you know it tastes good?

"Taste the food."

- OAKRAIDER64

"Also don't be afraid to poke and prod at it. I feel like people think the process is sacred and you can't shape/flip/feel/touch things while you cook them. The more you are hands on, the more control you have."

"No, this does not include situations where you are trying to sear something. Ever try flipping a chicken thigh early? That's how you rip a chunk out of it and leave it glued to the pan until it's burnt."

- Kryzm

Here's one just for laughs.

"When you grab a pair of tongs, click them a few times to make sure they are tongs."

- Kolshdaddy

"People really overlook this one. You've gotta tong the tongs a minimum of 3 times to make sure they tong, or else it can ruin the whole dish."

- BigTimeBobbyB

If you're looking to get into cooking or to improve you technique, pay attention to these few tips.

Salt generously, add an acid to brighten things up, and don't forget to taste your food!

If all else fails, you can always order take out.

Want to "know" more? Never miss another big, odd, funny, or heartbreaking moment again. Sign up for the Knowable newsletter here.

Victoria_Borodinova/Pixaba

As part of the learning process, children often do embarrassing things before they learn a little more about the world and all the different implications therein. While the inappropriate moment is usually minor and ends in laugher some instances are truly mortifying.

One such instance involved a little sister who was around 6 at the time. It was the 90s and at the height of the youth-focused PSAs (think the frying egg representing your brain). One type was a safety PSA about stranger danger. The speaker would remind the children that if a stranger tried to take you anywhere to yell “Stop, you're not my mommy/daddy" to raise the alarm.

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