Monday, March 7, 2011

Spring Break

The holiday bills are all paid off (we hope), the cold winter rain and snow have long ago worn out there novelty, the couch is not as comfortable as it was in January, March Madness, April 15, the Stanley Cup playoffs and the baseball season are right around the corner, the “Keep Smiling” farewell tour is about half way through (I think there is a concert tonight), though it is rumored that the farewell tour may go on until 2015 and finally, the chia seeds are not quite ready to plant – what does all this mean, time for Spring Break! The college crowd heads to the Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, Daytona or San Diego; the OGs head to Boca, Phoenix or our choice Palm Springs.

So after lecturing for ten weeks the advantages of discounted cash flow and cost of capital it is time to head for the desert. Here are a few places in the desert Rink Rats recommends:

The Beer Hunter – 78-483 Highway 111, La Quinta: our theme here is “Old School” and there is not a better old school sports bar than The Beer Hunter. The golfer’s version of Gilley’s, The Beer Hunter has good food, numerous beers from around the world and plenty of HD televisions, a great place to watch March Madness or check out the local golfer studs after a round of golf.

Arnold Palmer’s – 78164 52nd Avenue, La Quinta: talk about old school, this is the place. Palmer’s is like having a drink in the clubhouse at Augusta or Oakland Hills. The food is what Arnie likes; mac and cheese, ribs, meat loaf and cobb salad. You could spend all your time looking at the pictures on the walls, also a great place for celebrity sightings.

Melvyn’s Casablanca Lounge – 200 W. Ramon Road, Palm Springs: now this IS Old School. To walk into the Casablanca Lounge is like being on stage with the Rat Pack. A Palm Springs institution you have to visit this place for a martini and take in the atmosphere. The piano bar begins at 8:00 every evening; you never know who you will run into at The Casablanca Lounge.

SPRING BREAK TREAT – Spring Break also means it is Mardi Gras and St. Patrick’s Day. Here is an Irish recipe that is good for breakfast, lunch, dinner or a snack.

Sweet Irish Soda Bread

• 2 cups all-purpose flour
• 2 teaspoons baking powder
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1 tablespoon sugar
• 2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
• 2 tablespoons cold vegetable shortening
• 1 egg, beaten
• 1 cup buttermilk
• 1 cup currants
• 2 tablespoons toasted caraway seeds
• 1 tablespoon melted butter
• 1 tablespoon sanding sugar


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and mix well. Cut the butter and shortening into small pieces and add to the flour mixture. Using your fingers, work the cold butter and shortening into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs. Add the egg, the buttermilk, the currants and the caraway seeds and mix into the flour mixture until it is incorporated. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead gently until the dough forms a smooth ball. Place the dough into a lightly greased loaf pan. Score the top of the loaf with a very sharp knife. Brush the top of the loaf with melted butter. Sprinkle with sanding sugar. Place the loaf in the oven and bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until golden brown.

BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to Patricia Bigglestone… famous Tucson, AZ teacher, Alan Greenspan (85), Kathy Ireland (48), Larry Murphy (50), Chuck Norris (71), Mitt Romney (64), Keely Smith (79), Sharon Stone (53), James Taylor (63), Courtney Vance (51).

ECONOMY – The good, the bad, and the ugly:

Unemployment Rate Unexpectedly Falls to 8.9% [the lowest rate since April 2009, also 8.9%] ... The rate was 7.8 percent when Obama took office in January 2009. ... The so-called underemployment rate -- which includes part- time workers who'd prefer a full-time position and people who want work but have given up looking -- decreased to 15.9 percent, [also] the lowest since April 2009.

GOODBYE 30 YEAR MORTGAGE? - NYT's Binyamin Applebaum on pg. A1: "How might home buying change if the federal government shuts down the housing finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac? The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage loan, the steady favorite of American borrowers since the 1950s, could become a luxury product ... Interest rates would rise for most borrowers, but urban and rural residents could see sharper increases than the coveted customers in the suburbs. Lenders could charge fees for popular features now taken for granted, like the ability to 'lock in' an interest rate weeks or months before taking out a loan. Life without Fannie and Freddie is the rare goal shared by the Obama administration and House Republicans, although it will not happen soon."

BREAKING: OIL HITS TWO-YEAR HIGH - Reuters/Hong Kong: "U.S. crude prices rose nearly 2 percent to 2-year highs last week as worries about supply disruption increased due to deepening unrest in Libya, while Asian stocks declined as concerns about the Middle East also weighed. ... U.S. crude rose 1.8 percent to a 2-1/2-year high above $106 a barrel as civil war brewed in Libya, while investors kept a close eye on top exporter Saudi Arabia, home to most of OPEC's spare capacity, where clerics forbid protests at the weekend.

DOW DOUBTS - WSJ's Matt Phillips on pg. C1: "It has been two years and one epic rally since the market bottomed in March 2009. ... The Dow Jones Industrial Average is at 12169.88, up 86% from its low of 6547.05. The difference between now and then is stark. ... Yet many investors remain skeptical about the market's strength. They worry that the economy isn't strong enough to stand on its own once the Federal Reserve ends its latest round of support in June, and they fear that high oil prices and inflation from other commodities may quash the nascent recovery and weigh on the market. And after such a blockbuster rally, a correction must be around the corner, the reasoning goes."

COLLEGE HOCKEY GAME OF THE WEEK – Friday 3/11, we are now in the heart of the NCAA DI hockey playoffs. This week we are in North Andover Mass. for the Big East quarterfinal between #14 Maine Black Bears (17-10-7) and the #9 ranked Merrimack Warriors (22-8-4), 7:30 PM ET, NESN. Merrimack is favored but we like the Black Bears to pull the upset in North Andover.
Season to date (3-6).

UPSET WINNER – A rookie trio came through again for St. Lawrence University's men's hockey team in game three of the Saints' ECAC playoff series at Princeton on Sunday afternoon and as a result the Saints will continue the 2011 season after a 2-1 win at Hobey Baker Rink. Greg Carey and Kyle Essery, the goal scorers in Saturday's series tying 3-2 win, scored first period goals and rookie goaltender Matt Weninger made a collegiate career high 48 saves, 24 of them in a hectic third period to protect the lead as the Saints won a game three elimination game on the road for the first time in program history. St. Lawrence improves to 12-20-5 overall while Princeton's season ends at 17-13-2.

Joe Marsh’s Saints will now travel to #3 ranked Yale Bulldogs this weekend for the ECAC quarterfinals.

CLASS ACT – Rick Comley ended his 38 year NCAA hockey college coaching career this weekend with the Michigan State Spartans loss to Alaska in the CCHA first round playoffs. Mr. Comley coached two NCAA championship teams; NMU (’91) and Michigan State (’07), a class act and a great coach, happy retirement.

NHL STARS FOR FEBRUARY - Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews, San Jose Sharks goaltender Antti Niemi and New Jersey Devils goaltender Johan Hedberg have been named the NHL 'Three Stars' for the month of February.

PART IV: GRANADA REPORT – Niece Alex B. is feeling a bit under the weather so no Granada report for this week, hopefully she will return next week.

DISCOVERY’S LAST FLIGHT – If you can try to follow Discovery’s last shuttle mission concluding this week. As a long term space nut I will miss these shuttle flights and the wild pictures from space.

Next week, the $110 billion joke and Dear Rink Rats.

Until next Monday, Adios.

Claremont, CA
March 7, 2011

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