Monday, August 30, 2010

Old School

Another week completed of an “Old School” vacation. What is OS? Like last week visiting Wrigley Field, PJ Clarke’s, eating Chicago style hot dogs and drinking Old Style beer. This week Rink Rats visited Petoskey and Walloon Lake Michigan, visiting old friends, the City Park Grill (used to be called Park Garden Café), eating Murdick’s Fudge, breakfast at Bob’s Big Boy (the real one not a Southern California copy), pizza at The Beach Bar, and just taking in the sunsets on Lake Michigan.

Above all being in the place where you grew up with family, that is “Old School”.

Now back to the unreality life of our world:

CLIMATE DENIERS -- “GOP candidates knock global warming,” by POLITICO's Darren Samuelsohn: “Republicans running for the House, Senate and governor's mansions have gotten bolder in stating their doubts over the well-established link between man-made greenhouse gas emissions and global warming. … They could form a key voting bloc, adding insult to injury for climate advocates who failed to pass an energy bill this year. … Ron Johnson, running against Wisconsin Sen. Russ Feingold (D): … 'I absolutely do not believe in the science of man-caused climate change,' Johnson told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Monday. 'It's not proven by any stretch of the imagination.' Johnson told the newspaper that the climate change theory was 'lunacy' and blamed changes in the Earth's temperature to 'sunspot activity or just something in the geologic eons of time.' … Sharron Angle …. said on her website in June that she thought legislation to curb greenhouse gases 'is based on an unscientific hysteria' … In California, Republican Senate nominee Carly Fiorina used a recent ad to mock Environment and Public Works Committee Chairwoman Boxer for her description of climate change as a national security issue. 'Terrorism kills -- and Barbara Boxer's worried about the weather' … Ken Buck, Colorado's Republican Senate nominee, is also on record saying he's not a believer in man-made global warming. … 'I am one of those people that Al Gore refers to as a skeptic.'

A REAL WORLD ACADEMIC - Jonathan Reed, 46, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of La Verne, east of Los Angeles, loves traveling without a cell. "I'll talk to strangers. I love going to Italy, where everyone talks to everyone all the time," he says. "A cell phone signals that my whole world is me and it excludes everyone else."

DIVORCE -- Tiger had two divorce lawyers; she had six: “Ms. Nordegren was represented by McGuireWoods attorneys Richard Cullen and Dennis I. Belcher in Richmond, Scott S. Cairns in Jacksonville and Walter H. White, Jr., and Josefin Lonnborg in London, assisted by Rebecca Palmer of Lowndes, Drosdick, Doster, Kantor & Reed, P.A. Thomas J. Sasser of the West Palm Beach, Florida firm of Sasser, Cestero and Sasser P.A., and Peter T. Mott of the Southport, Connecticut firm of Brody Wilkinson, P.C., Mr. Woods' long time general counsel, represented Mr. Woods.”

Tiger finished tied for 12th in this weeks’ PGA tour event, winning $157,500 (lawyers: the check is in the mail).

SPORTS BLINK - “AP source: Ramirez expected to join White Sox: Manny Ramirez helped the Boston Red Sox win the World Series in 2004 and 2007. He powered the Los Angeles Dodgers to the NL West title two years ago with a stellar run at the plate. The Chicago White Sox are hoping he has one more playoff push left. Ramirez is expected to join the White Sox on Monday, giving the fading playoff contenders a big boost during a key 10-game road trip.” Since Manny got off the enhancement drugs he has been over paid and under performing.

BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week for Jean Beliveau (79), Terry Bradshaw (62), Warren Buffett (80), Salma Hayek (44), Van Morrison (65), Bob Newhart (81), Andy Roddick (28), Raquel Welch (70).

US TENNIS OPEN PICKS – Woman: Caroline Wozniacki – Men: Rafael Nadal

COLLEGE FOOTBALL PICK OF THE WEEK – Saturday 9/4, Oregon State Beavers (24) @ TCU Horned Frogs (6) ESPN 7:45 PM ET. Point Spread is 13.5 for TCU, take the points and Oregon State; first big top 25 game of the young season, OSU will show the Pac Ten is for real this season.

BUSINESS BURST - FT A1, “Sales of new US homes hit record low,” by Alan Rappeport: “A precipitous drop in sales of new homes and signs of weakening business investment on Wednesday reinforced rising anxiety about the US economy's wavering recovery. Growing uncertainty is keeping both buyers and sellers on the sidelines of the housing market and fading government stimulus efforts have washed away demand for new homes. New home sales fell by 32.4 per cent in July year-on-year to a record low adjusted annual rate of 276,000 ... New home sales fell 12.4 per cent between June and July, missing projections that they would be flat during the month, or even creep higher.”

Barring a rally of major proportions over the month's final two trading days, the Dow, the S&P 500, and the Nasdaq will experience their first losing month of August since 2005.

Next week: A week late but our monthly economic review.

Until next Monday, Adios.

Jackson, Michigan
August 30, 2010

Monday, August 23, 2010


Rink Rats is in Chicago this week; humid and many tourists. One of America’s great cities.

PLACES – Great places to eat and drink in Chicago: PJ Clarke’s in the Gold Coast area, wonderful old time bar; The Kerryman in the River North area, outstanding Irish Pub; Portillos also in the River North area, best hot dogs and brats in town; finally Gene & Georgetti’s, old school steak house (Franklin Street), Beth Elmore and Sinatra were regulars.

OLD SCHOOL – Wrigley Field, home of the Cubs, is the best old school ball park in the country, no loud music, advertising, obnoxious PA announcers. A wonderful experience for the young and old baseball fan. Thank you Phil, usher in Section 239, a great guy.

The Hotel Felix (111 W. Huron Street) is a boutique hotel with old school charm. Sit in the lounge bar and chat with all your fellow hotel guests. Like to shop (Rink Rats does not) head to Michigan Avenue: The Devil Wears Prada is one of the many upscale stores to add your dollars to the Chicago economy. Also Rush Street has excellent shopping along with of course, bars and restaurants.

LOU PINIELLA RETIRED AFTER YESTERDAY’S GAME – Lou Piniella’s long and colorful career has spanned 48 years, from an aggressive outfielder with a sharp batting eye to a successful manager whose SportsCenter highlight base-throwing tantrums sometimes overshadowed his baseball expertise. The leader of the Chicago Cubs decided to step down after Sunday’s game against the Atlanta Braves … to spend more time with his ailing mother. Piniella finished with an overall record of 1,835 – 1,713, and one World Series title.

FARMER JOHN IS PSYCHED – Vin Scully to return for 62nd season with Dodgers. The 82 year old Hall of Fame broadcaster said Sunday he’ll return to the broadcast booth to call Los Angeles Dodgers games for his 62nd season in 2011. Vinnie is the longest tenured broadcaster in sports history will continue calling all Dodger home games and road games against NL West and AL West opponents. He calls all nine innings of the team’s television broadcasts, while the first three innings of his games are simulcast on the radio. Thank you Mr. Scully.

BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week for Kobe Bryant (32), Sean Connery (80), David Gregory (40), John McCain (74), Rachael Ray (42), Luke Russert (25), Shania Twain (45).

OBAMA HAS HAD FEWER LEISURE DAYS THAN BUSH, per CBS News' Mark Knoller: “This is Mr. Obama's 9th vacation since taking office. … He has spent all or part of 38 days on 'vacation' away from the White House. He has also made 14 visits to Camp David spanning all or part of 32 days. It brings his total time away to all or part of 70 days. It's less than the 'vacation' time taken during the same period by his immediate predecessor. (Former President George W. Bush gets the quotation marks, too.) As of this point in his 1st term, Mr. Bush had made 14 visits to his Texas ranch spanning all or part of 102 days. He also made 40 visits to Camp David spanning all or part of 123 days. His 'vacation' total at this point in his presidency was all or part of 225 days away.”

US News rankings: CalTech #7, USC #23, UCLA #25, U of Michigan #29, UCSD #35, UCSB #39, UC Irvine #41, Michigan State #79, U of Arizona #129, and La Verne #136.

Liberal arts colleges: Pomona College #6, Claremont Mckenna #11, Harvey Mudd #18, Scripps #23, Occidental #36, Pitzer #46, St. Lawrence #55, and Transylvania University #88.

UNREALITY - Danielle Staub, best known for her sex tape, plastic surgery revelation and publicity stunt lesbian relationship has been fired from 'The Real Housewives of New Jersey.'

Next week: Summer road trip continues to the great state of Michigan.

Until next Monday, Adios.

Chicago, Il.
August 23, 2010

Monday, August 16, 2010

Summer In The City

“Hot town, summer in the city,
back of my neck getting dirty and gritty.”

Mid-August: local restaurants are unusually empty; emails and telephone calls are unanswered due to people being out of town or they just don’t care to answer; the normal news day is empty, thus a boorish flight attendant from New York gets his fifteen minutes of fame for rude and crude behavior; and prime time television viewing consists of unreality, unbelievable, and unwatchable.

Rink Rats hits the road for two weeks, but before we do some topics to review this week.

DENVER—Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet survived a tough primary fight to win his party's nomination Tuesday, bucking the anti-incumbent tide that has been rumbling across the nation.

Mr. Bennet, who was appointed to the seat 19 months ago, notched a solid victory over former state House Speaker Andrew Romanoff. It was Mr. Bennet's first-ever election campaign; he was appointed last year to fill the seat vacated when Ken Salazar become Interior Secretary. Mr. Bennet had been a corporate turnaround specialist and superintendent of the Denver Public Schools.

Mr. Bennet avoided the fate of two other incumbent senators—Bob Bennett (R., Utah), and Arlen Specter (D., Pa.)—who failed to win their party's nomination this year. He did so in part by ignoring conventional wisdom and linking himself to President Barack Obama, who won Colorado handily in 2008 but had seen his popularity in the state slip in recent months.

SIREN -- WSJ's monthly survey of 53 economists: “On average, economists grew more pessimistic about the strength of the recovery … Economists expect the jobless rate in December 2011 still will be above 8.5% compared to the current 9.5% rate [and don't see the unemployment rate dropping below 9% through at least June 2011]. The economy is forecast to add about 1.6 million jobs over the next 12 months.”

SPORTS BLINK - , “The 25 Most Hated Teams of All Time”: “Hearty contempt for rivals is a natural part of the sports landscape, but every so often a team unleashes a massive dose of loathing that consumes everyone but its own fans. Here is's list of the most hated individual teams in sports. … 1. 1986 University of Miami football … 2. 1988-89 Detroit Pistons … 3. 1992 Dallas Cowboys … 4. 1974-75 Philadelphia Flyers … 5. 1978 New York Yankees. … 25. 2010-11 Miami Heat.”

LATE SUMMER READING - A male version of “Eat Pray Love” has come out for your late summer reading: “Drink Gamble Sports”.

BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week for Robert DeNiro (67), Aghop Der-Karabetian…famous emailer, Dennis Leary (53), Mary Matalin (57), Robert Redford (73), Al Roker (56).

BOX OFFICE BLAST -- L.A. Times, “Company Town: 'The Expendables' is a force at weekend box office,” by Ben Fritz: “Nostalgia dominated cutting-edge at the box office this weekend. 'The Expendables,' directed by and starring Sylvester Stallone with a crew of aging action stars, proved far and away the most popular movie in theaters as it sold a strong $35-million worth of tickets in the U.S. and Canada, according to studio estimates. With men of all ages and a surprising number of women in attendance, it decimated 'Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.' The well-reviewed melange of video game and other pop culture references … opened to a weak $10.5 million. 'Eat Pray Love,' starring Julia Roberts in an adaptation of the bestselling book about midlife self-discovery, opened to a pretty good $23.7 million but will need strong word-of-mouth to turn into a hit.”

CONGRATULATIONS – To G. Ball for surviving the fires in Russia this summer, he reports all is well in Vladmir. Also P. Pugliese for leading his team to a victory in the National Roller Hockey tournament in Chicago, Il. Finally to A. Ball for making it through this summer while losing her ID.

TOP SPORTS RADIO – Rink Rats rating of sports talk radio hosts (shows): (3) tie; Lee “Hacksaw” Hamilton Sportswatch and The Dan Patrick Show; (2) The Jim Rome Show; (1) The Herd with Colin Cowherd.

Honorable mention, The world of sports according to Chris Ello. Overrated, Steve Hartman and Vic “The Brick” Jacobs.

GOOD LUCK – To the Bonita High School Bearcats Football team; they open up with a scrimmage vs. Damien High School on 8/27, the home opener is 9/3 vs. perennial power house San Dimas High School.

2 MILLION HOMELESS IN PAKISTAN FLOODS - U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon after tour: “I have witnessed many natural disasters around the world, but nothing like this.” … AFP: “3.5 million children at risk of deadly water-borne diseases.” If you can give to the Red Cross to help the homeless.

Next week: Rink Rats visits Oprah, Wrigley Field and Deep Dish Pizza.

Until next Monday, Adios.

Claremont, CA
August 16, 2010

Monday, August 9, 2010

Are You Ready For Some Football? "Not Really"

I know my academic and politico friends will be turned off by this edition of Rink Rats but we must make our football picks for the coming year, as is customary we have asked The Swami to guide us for the upcoming six months of football. Fear not, I do have some other information to make the football picks tolerable.

USA TODAY TOP 25 preseason college football coaches poll: 1. Alabama 2. Ohio State 3. Florida 4. Texas 5. Boise State 6. Virginia Tech 7. TCU 8. Oklahoma 9. Nebraska 10. Iowa 11. Oregon 12. Wisconsin 13. Miami (Fla.) 14. Penn State 15. Pittsburgh 16. LSU 17. Georgia Tech 18. North Carolina 19. Arkansas 20. Florida State 21. Georgia 22. Oregon State 23. Auburn 24t. Utah 24t. West Virginia.

UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN FOOTBALL – This will be the last season for Rich Rodriguez in Big Blue land. Look for Jim Harbaugh, Stanford University, to replace RR at the end of the season.

COLLEGE PICKS – Big East: Pittsburgh; ACC: Virginia Tech; Big Ten: Ohio State (ugh); SEC: Alabama; Big 12: Oklahoma; Pac Ten: Oregon. BCS Championship Game – Boise State vs. Alabama.
National Champion – Alabama.

NFL PICKS – AFC Playoff Teams: Jets, Patriots, Ravens, Colts, Chargers, Bengals. NFC Playoff Teams: Packers, Saints, 49ers, Cowboys, Falcons, Giants. AFC Champs – Baltimore Ravens. NFC Champs – Dallas Cowboys.
Super Bowl Champions – Dallas Cowboys.

TOP TALKER - David Sirota, on HuffPost: “In a massive and well-researched story, the New York Times … dealt the potential death-blow to Sen. Michael Bennet's already-struggling campaign for reelection. Just four days before the end of Colorado Democratic primary voting, the story … (complete with Bennet's mug shot) details … a deal that destroyed the Denver Public Schools' balance sheet and made JP Morgan, Citigroup and Bank of America millions … Bennet was [arguably] embarrassingly incompetent in sending Denver taxpayers and schoolchildren into the jaws of Wall Street's predatory lenders.”

OBAMA INTERVIEW -- CNBC car guy Phil Lebow, on the floor of a Ford plant in Chicago, asked the president the last time he drove a car: “I can't do it. The Secret Service doesn't allow it. …I miss nothing more than just driving right along Lake Shore Drive. I would love to hop in a convertible right now on a nice day like today and drive all the way up along the lake. But I can't do it. So my driving is either at the Secret Service testing site, the training site there where you can do some J-turns and do some pretty spiffy moves, or the golf cart. Those are the two opportunities I get to drive, and I miss it tremendously.” --Asked if he's worried that Americans cannot kick the big-car habit, POTUS said: “Americans like big cars. … The first new car I ever bought was a Jeep Grand Cherokee. And I remember the first time I was sitting up there and had my cup holders and I was all set up and I thought: 'This is a nice ride.' It's exciting to see companies like Ford producing SUVs that are more fuel efficient, like the Explorer. The new Jeep Cherokee is more fuel efficient. But what I think we're going to have to recognize is that we've got to be strong in the car market and in the truck market and in the SUV market, and all of those markets are going to be more fuel-efficient in the future than they were in the past, and that means new technologies.” …

TALKING POINTS: “Since taking office, President Obama has spent more than $6.1 trillion in 18 months. At $333 billion per month, that is more than twice the amount spent during the first two years of the George W. Bush administration. … The financial services law is another example of his permanent government expansion agenda. … On foreign policy, the Obama Administration continues to break with history by seeking to engage with enemies while bullying friends. … House Republicans will fight to repeal ObamaCare and work on reforms that will lower the cost of health care.”

Despite ending August with three consecutive days of losses, the Dow comes into the new month fresh off a 7.1% gain for July, its best since July of 2009. The S&P 500 also had its best month since July of 2009, gaining 6.9%.

“New High of 43% Call Afghanistan War a 'Mistake': Obama's approval rating on Afghanistan at 36%”: “After the Internet publication of tens of thousands of leaked classified documents on the war in Afghanistan, 43% of Americans now say the United States made a mistake in sending troops there, up slightly from just before the release (38%).”

BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week for Halle Berry, David Crosby, Brett Hull, Magic Johnson, Mark Knopfler, Donna Redman…famous public servant, Maxine Walters.

CONGRATULATIONS – To SV for successfully completing her thesis defense. The Garden has no idea what they will be missing.

GARDENING – Per Rooftop Farms, Brooklyn New York; plant basil around tomato plants to keep pests away,
A great urban gardening web site.

FEMA ADMINISTRATOR CRAIG FUGATE writes on, “Are disabled still at risk in disasters?”: “One of my top priorities in my first year at FEMA has been to transform the way the emergency management community thinks about integrating this vital population. From day one, we have challenged every member of our leadership team to start integrating the needs of people with disabilities into every step of planning. In February, we established the Office of Disability Integration and Coordination… We are working with disability advocates to incorporate the needs of people with disabilities into emergency communications and public alert systems, evacuations, transportation and medical equipment supply plans.”

Next week: Summer in the city.

Until next Monday, Adios.

Claremont, CA
August 9, 2010

Monday, August 2, 2010

A Midsummer Night's Dream(s)

For some reason it is the season for some rather strange dreams by this writer, I thought I would share them with you this week.

• I dreamt I was on the The Next Food Network Star, I won with this recipe – what do you think???


• 1/2 small red onion, finely chopped 1 1/2 pounds medium shrimp, peeled, deveined and halved crosswise
• 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
• 1/2 teaspoon hot paprika
• Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
• 1/2 cup 2% Greek yogurt
• 1 medium carrot, coarsely grated
• 1 Kirby cucumber, halved lengthwise, seeded and thinly sliced
• 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
• 1 lemon
• 4 whole-wheat pitas
• 8 Bibb lettuce leaves


Preheat the broiler. Soak the chopped onion in a bowl of cold water while you prepare the shrimp.

Toss the shrimp with the olive oil, paprika, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste on a rimmed baking sheet. Spread in an even layer and broil until the shrimp are opaque, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and let cool. Wash and dry the baking sheet. Pour a large glass of Pinot and take large gulps as you pray this comes out okay.

Drain the onion and add to the shrimp along with the yogurt, carrot, cucumber, dill, and salt and pepper to taste. Grate in 1 teaspoon lemon zest and squeeze in about half of the lemon juice.
Lay the pitas on the baking sheet and toast under the broiler. Cut the pitas in half and fill with the lettuce and shrimp salad.

Per serving: Calories 356; Fat 10 g (Saturated 2 g); Cholesterol 254 mg; Sodium 670 mg; Carbohydrate 32 g; Fiber 5 g; Protein 35 g

Impressive, don’t you think?

• I dreamt that Doris Kearns Goodwin visited my family reunion in Michigan. All she kept saying was how our clan reminded her of Teddy Roosevelt and his clan. One faction being very liberal, Catholic, and joking – the other conservative, Methodist, and wishing someone had brought a travel iron.

• I dreamt I was involved in a “Cialis romantic moment”, with whom I do not know. But next thing I know I was in an ice rink, at center ice, in a bath tub, next to me in another bath tub was Wayne Gretzky.

I think we are beginning to see a rather strange, twisted and fragile individual take shape.

• My dreams continued, I was in a world where all the cake was white cake and nothing else. This was like heaven to me except I had no friends. “What was wrong with white cake, I kept repeating!”

• I dreamt I had a job, a perfect job, I received numerous job promotions and new job titles for doing very little and at the same time treated my fellow employees like slaves. But then I opened the employee manual and realized I worked for a Charter Municipality. Of course I was paid very well.

Luckily, I am now awake, I think, with proper medication I can get through these bizarre dreams. So we can move forward with our topics for this week:

SUMMER MOVIES – Is it me or are this summer’s movies stinkers? The best we have seen thus far was in the spring – “City Island”.

WHERE ARE THEY NOW? - Ex-LAPD chief William Bratton tells KPCC's Kitty Felde that he's enjoying his new life in the private sector.

“It’s a great job. I get to be me! Plus, I got to get back to New York. I’m an East Coast kid. And as much as I loved my time in Los Angeles, working with the LAPD, and the success we had, home for me is the East Coast and New York.”

GOOD TELEVISION - ALEXANDRA PELOSI's latest for HBO Documentaries premieres: “Homeless: The Motel Kids of Orange County.” In the Emmy-nominated filmmaker's sixth documentary, Pelosi chronicles the lives of children living on the poverty line in one of the nation's richest counties.

BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week for Neil Armstrong, Tom Brady, Adham Chehab...famous Financier, Issam Ghazzawi...famous Organization Behaviorist, President Obama, Martin Sheen, Charlize Theron.

ANNIVERSARIES THIS WEEK – Carrie Lewis (4), I kept telling you it was a huge mistake.

FOREIGN TRAVEL – Best wishes to nephew Geoff Ball studying this summer in Russia, “добрый день, Надеюсь, все хорошо .”

“CIVILITY IN POLITICS” -- SOLD OUT “REAGAN FORUM WITH CHRIS MATTHEWS,” - presented by the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation, at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library -- James Hohmann: “MSNBC 'Hardball' host Chris Matthews effusively praised President Ronald Reagan and former House Speaker Tip O'Neill, his old boss, as models of bipartisan cooperation on Tuesday night. 'Things got done for the American people back in the 1980s - good things for the world,' Matthews said in remarks for a dinner in Simi Valley, Calif. … Matthews, a top O'Neill aide during Reagan's presidency, … decried the mindset that politics is a 'zero-sum game.' … 'The thing I miss from those days is the big man-to-man arguments on matters of policy and principle: the role of the federal government in our lives, and in the market, the role this country should play in the world,' Matthews said. 'Two old guys in their 70s - who people said were past their primes - who disagreed on everything but their love of America.'”

JULY: HOTTER THAN DUST BOWL - USA Today 1A -- “July could be hottest month ever”: “New York, Washington and Las Vegas are on track to set record average temperatures for any month. .. The hottest month in U.S. history came during the Dust Bowl in July 1936, when the national average temperature for the 48 contiguous states hit 77.43 degrees … New York City's average temperature so far this month has been 81.8 degrees, which would break the city's record of 81.4 set in July 1999.”

Next week: Our Professional and College Football Preseason picks.

Until next Monday, Adios.

Claremont, CA
August 2, 2010