Monday, December 6, 2010

Be Careful Out There

On a recently completed a 1,400 mile, seven day auto trip through California it was truly amazing to again view so many different landscapes and scenery. But the seven day drive also further established to this traveller how many bad drivers there are out on the highways. Please bring back summer public education driver training, because whoever is training our drivers of today is not doing a good job.

Forget the law that forbids cellular phone talking while driving, it is still being done, along with texting, applying makeup, reading an iPad, listening to an iPod, watching a Pixar movie, eating and drinking. Do drivers use turn signals anymore? On a freeway when you are not passing anyone please be in the far right lane and let other cars pass, if you cannot drive the speed limit move into the right lane.

Message to the Obama Administration: forget the bankers and wall street who will always find a way to rip us off, go after these drivers: (1) anyone who drives and lives in Ohio, (2) mothers with students attending private schools who drive monster SUVs, (3) Arts & Science professors, (4) law enforcement officers (fine examples they set), and (5) anyone who drives a Kia (a menace to society).

While driving through California Rink Rats recommends these following places to stop and eat:

Margie’s – Paso Robles: great iced tea

Tap Room – Pebble Beach Lodge: the Rueben sandwich melts in your mouth, old school

San Francisco Deli – Redding: super French Dip sandwich

Black Bear Diner – Gilroy: grilled cheese to die for

Hog’s Breath Inn – Carmel: Clint knows how to serve a cocktail, “made my day”

Madonna Inn, Silver Bar Lounge – San Luis Obispo: great people watching, and what people it is like attending a bad wedding

MORE GENERAL MOTORS HELP - General Motors won't have to pay federal taxes on up to $50 billion in profit under an unusual provision of its government-funded bailout, giving the car maker an added boost as it returns to a publicly owned company. GM may use the $50 billion in so-called tax-loss carry-forwards to shield that amount of profit from U.S. taxes for up to 20 years.

CONNECTING THE DOTS - L.A. Times lead story, "Rumblings of inflation grow louder: Prices of a wide range of commodities are rising, and Americans are starting to feel it in their pocketbooks," by J. Huffstutter and Tom Petruno: "The effects are rippling from financial trading floors to local stores, forcing consumers to shell out more for everyday basics - a cup of coffee, a box of cereal, a gallon of gasoline. Those increases are being driven in part by short supplies of some crops and raw materials caused by poor weather in major producing regions and robust demand from emerging markets such as China and India. Investors and speculators also are pushing up prices as they jump into rising commodity markets. They are being drawn to these so-called hard assets to hedge against inflation and the risk of further devaluation of the dollar and other paper currencies. ... Raw coffee prices on commodity exchanges are up 60%. ... Retail food prices have already started to rise after remaining relatively flat for the first half of the year, said Ephraim Leibtag, an economist with U.S. Department of Agriculture's Economic Research Service."

Holiday cheer watch: Google is giving all its employees a $1,000 cash bonus (and paying the tax on it) along with 10 percent raises to ensure they don't all go work at Facebook

MORE BE CAREFUL OUT THERE – First Greece, then Portugal and Spain, now Ireland, watch out United States in 2011. Europe is borrowing money to bail out countries that got in trouble by borrowing too much money. Forget what Ben Bernanke said on 60 Minutes, bankers are still gambling with your money: the winners – government (they keep spending), corporate executives (huge year end bonuses) and commercial banks (record profits), the losers – the American taxpayer (picking up the tab for generations to come) and corporate shareholders (why not profits distributed in dividends). Watch for at least five states to declare bankruptcy in 2011. It is not over, save your money.

CURRENCY WAR - "We're in the midst of an international currency war," Brazil's finance minister said recently. The world's biggest economies are combatants, and they all want the same thing: a weaker currency.

Japan, Taiwan and South Korea have publicly intervened in open markets, to make their currencies weaker. China has not been so public, but it's pretty clear that the country is keeping its currency artificially weak.

In the U.S., the Fed has kept short-term interest rates superlow and has printed more than $1 trillon to buy mortgage bonds — moves whose main purpose is to stimulate domestic spending, but which also tend to weaken the dollar's value against other currencies.

BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to Larry Bird (54), Dave Brubeck (89), Dick Butkus (67), Andrew Cuomo (52), Kirk Douglas (93), Bobby Flay (45), Teri Hatcher (45), Laurie Hill …famous Spartan, Igor Larionov (50), G. Gordon Liddy (80).

COLLEGE FOOTBALL PICK OF THE WEEK – Saturday 12/11, the last regular season week of the college football season has the Navy Midshipmen (8-3) vs. the Army Cadets (6-5), 2:00 PM ET, CBS. Navy are 9.0 favorites in the 111th renewal of this historic game in Philadelphia give the points and we pick Navy to win.
Season to date (12-2).

SMALL COLLEGE PICK OF THE WEEK – Saturday 12/11, the semifinals of D-III have the #1 University of Wisconsin Whitewater Warhawks (13-0) visiting #3 Wesley Wolverines (12-0) in Dover, Delaware, 12:00 PM ET, ESPNU. Rink Rats likes The Warhawks to win and head back to the championship game for the sixth straight year.
Season to date (10-3).

NFL PICK OF THE WEEK – Sunday 12/12, Philadelphia Eagles (8-4) vs. Dallas Cowboys (4-8), 8:00 PM ET, NBC, the Eagles are 3.5 point favorites take the points and the Cowboys in this NFC East battle. The Cowboys continue their return to respectability.
Season to date (5-8).

SPORTS BLINK - @TigerWoods answers fans' questions on Twitter: (Do we care??)
--Favorite team to root for (besides Stanford)? "Lakers, Dodgers, Raiders"
--"Coming to America," or "Hangover"? "No movie compares to Caddyshack"
--Can he rock a full beard, or only the goatee? "I can barely grow a goatee"
--What does the man who can buy anything want for Christmas? "Stanford in the National Championship Game"
--Favorite course? "St. Andrews"
--Best pre-round meal and "in the bag" snacks/food? "During round I eat peanut&banana sandwich & almonds"

HOLIDAY MOVIES – Rink Rats recommends the following movies for your holiday viewing:

King’s Speech – feel good movie, well-acted
127 Hours – amazing since it is a true story
Slap Shot – still the best sports movie of all time
Nobodys Fool - Paul Newman at his best

Christmas gift suggestions:
To your enemy, forgiveness.
To an opponent, tolerance.
To a friend, your heart.
To a customer, service.
To all, charity.
To every child, a good example.
To yourself, respect.
Oren Arnold

Next week, holiday cooking and gardening.

Until next Monday, Joyeuses Fetes.

Claremont, CA
December 6, 2010

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