Monday, January 10, 2011

A Hard Winter

The events of this past Saturday in Tucson again are those that tend to weigh you down with sadness and a feeling of emptiness at trying to understand why there is such hatred in the world. We only hope that those who were directly affected by this tragedy heal and can find peace.

I wonder who Rush Limbaugh, Laura Ingraham, Stephanie Miller and Keith Olbermann will blame for this horror. I hope they take a long look at themselves and how they conduct their professional lives.

WINTER GARDENING - Even in Southern California, it’s starting to get chilly! While early winter isn’t a time when Southern Californians revel in their gardens’ bounty, there are still some things you can (and should) do to enjoy your favorite pastime this time of year. (And brisk weather or not, gardening will probably be a welcome relief from everyday holiday activities.)

First off, there’s still time to sow some seed. When it comes to your vegetables, plant asparagus now (it may take time to germinate), as well as your beets, carrots, cabbages, kales, and head and leaf lettuces. You’ll get your crop of leaf lettuce first because head lettuce takes longer. I suggest trying several leaf lettuces, including the red ones, and mesclun and romaine. And don’t forget to start your short-day onions from seed, as well as garden and sugar peas. (Of course, if you want immediate gratification, you can buy most of these as starter plants.)

And don’t forget the flowers! Winter’s the perfect time to sow seed of calendula, cosmos, ageratum, lobelia, alyssum, mimulus, nasturtium, annual salvia, silene and sweet pea. With proper care, you’ll enjoy these beauties for months.

BACHMANIA BEGINS: Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann is openly encouraging speculation about a possible run for president in 2012, after ABC News reported Tuesday that she's traveling to Iowa this month as she weighs a bid. The conservative third-termer responded in a statement that sounded more like an announcement tease than a denial: "We need to repeal ObamaCare and we cannot do that until we repeal Obama. The voters repealed Nancy Pelosi in November and I am doing everything I can to make sure we repeal President Obama and Harry Reid in 2012." The congresswoman told "We're going to have a deep bench for 2012, I have no doubt, and I think what people are asking for is a bold, strong, constitutional conservative."

LINKEDIN PICKS BOOK RUNNERS - Reuters' Nadia Damouni reports: "LinkedIn, the social networking site for professionals, plans to go public in 2011 and has selected its financial underwriters, three sources familiar with the process told Reuters. Morgan Stanley, Bank of America and JPMorgan are among the book runners. ... Bankers made their pitches to the privately-held company in November. ... Internet companies such as LinkedIn and Zynga ... are considering offerings well ahead of a potential IPO of Facebook. ... Sales of its stock on online secondary market exchange SharesPost gives LinkedIn an implied valuation of around $2.2 billion."

AUTO SHOW PREVIEW - Reuters reports: "The U.S. auto industry snapped a four-year sales decline in 2010, including three consecutive sales months above the 12 million unit annual rate to close the year. ... Just 18 months after emerging from government-funded bankruptcies, GM and Chrysler have vehicles that were named finalists for the North American car and truck of the year. The winners will be announced Monday at the show. GM completed its public share offering in November, the largest ever, and its shares are up 18 percent from the IPO price. Chrysler is expected to launch its own IPO in the second half of 2011."

CALIFORNIA BUDGET PREVIEW - Sacramento Bee reports: "The budget Jerry Brown will propose Monday includes deep program cuts, a June election to extend tax increases and a broad reordering of state and local government to close a deficit estimated at $25 billion to $28 billion, according to sources familiar with the plan."

BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to Clarence Clemons (69), Ben Crenshaw (59), Maureen Dowd (59), Julia Louis-Dreyfus (50), George Foreman (62), AJ Foyt (76), Joe Frazier (67), Natalie Gulbus (28), Rush Limbaugh (60), Frank Mahovlich (73), Bobby Rahal (58), Howard Stern (57), Jill Wagner (32).

COLLEGE FOOTBALL BOWL PICK OF THE WEEK – Monday, 1/10, our last game of the College football season, #2 Oregon Ducks (12-0) vs. #1 Auburn Tigers (13-0), 8:30 PM ET, ESPN. All indications are Oregon vs. Auburn will be a high-scoring affair. Both offenses have looked unstoppable at times. The matchup features two of the nation's best players in Auburn quarterback Cam Newton and Oregon running back LaMichael James. The game may, however, come down to who can step up on defense. Oregon is ranked 14th in the nation in scoring defense. Auburn is 54th. The Tigers are 1.5 point favorites, Rink Rats picks Auburn to win and claim the BCS title for 2010.
Season to date (15-4).

NFL PICK OF THE WEEK – Sunday 1/16, #6 seed New York Jets (12-5) at the #1 seed New England Patriots (14-2) 4:30 PM ET, CBS. Rink Rats has been very poor this season in NFL game selections but we aim to pick winners from here on to the Super Bowl. The Pats are 9.0 point favorites over New York, give the points and pick New England to win in Foxboro.
Season to date (6-12).


Saturday, January 15
AFC: 4:30 PM (ET) – Baltimore at Pittsburgh (CBS-TV)
NFC: 8:00 PM (ET) – Green Bay at Atlanta (Fox-TV)

Sunday, January 16
NFC: 1:00 PM (ET) – Seattle at Chicago (Fox-TV)
AFC: 4:30 PM (ET) – New York at New England (CBS-TV)

--The AFC (CBS, 6:30 PM ET) and NFC (FOX, 3:00 PM ET) Championship Games will be played on Sunday, January 23.

--The 2011 Pro Bowl (FOX, 7:00 PM ET) will be played on Sunday, January 30 at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, Hawaii, one week before Super Bowl XLV takes place at Cowboys Stadium in North Texas on Sunday, February 6 (FOX, 6:30 PM ET).

COLLEGE HOCKEY GAME OF THE WEEK – Friday 1/14, Minnesota Golden Gophers (9-8-3) at #2 ranked North Dakota Fighting Sioux (16-5-2), 8:30 PM ET, FSN North. This mid- season WCHA game will prove a mismatch as North Dakota, winners of seven straight, will be too much for the Gophers.
Season to date (0-1).

Dear Rink Rats:

I’m not sure when graciousness went out of style, but lately I’ve been invited into people’s homes and waited for more than an hour before being offered so much as a glass of water. Is is proper to ask for a drink if the host doesn’t offer one?

- Parched

Dear Parched:

That depends: Are you thirsty? If so, knock yourself out. Try to avoid saying things like “graciousness is dead.” It makes you sound smug and Republican – and the kind of person who shouldn’t be offered a drink. Your hosts may have been distracted, but they were gracious enough to invite you over.

NHL STAR PLAYERS FOR DECEMBER – Sidney Crosby (Pittsburgh Penguins), Roberto Luongo (Vancouver Canucks) and Nicklas Lidstrom (Detroit Red Wings).

NHL HALFWAY POINT – here are the top five teams through the halfway point of the NHL season: 1). Detroit Red Wings. 2). Vancouver Canucks, 3). Philadelphia Flyers, 4). Pittsburgh Penguins, 5). Tampa Bay Lightning. Top five worst teams at the halfway point: 1). New Jersey Devils, 2). New York Islanders, 3). Toronto Maple Leafs, 4). Edmonton Oilers, 5). Florida Panthers.

Next week, our monthly political update and the words of the month.

Until next Monday, Adios.

Claremont, CA
January 10, 2011

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