Monday, December 19, 2011

A Rink Rats Christmas Part Deux

Now, getting it right may not come easy to everyone. So, here are a few holiday-party pointers based on advice from etiquette expert Reggie Dunlop:

1) Show a genuine interest in what other people are saying. In other words, don’t look over their shoulder to see if there’s someone better to talk to or if they have more of those mini pigs-in-a-blanket. 

2) Be aware of your body language. In other words — seriously, are you looking over my shoulder? 

3) Do your homework. In other words — Hey, what did I tell you about eye-rolling? I’m trying to help you here. — Remember when you got tongue-tied talking to the boss last year? Just come up with a few non-controversial things ahead of time — a few talking points to make sure you have a nice, non-embarrassing chat. Pick a couple of fun current events, like Alec Baldwin being kicked off a plane for playing “Words With Friends” or how popular, on a scale of 1 to 10, Rod Blagojevich will be in prison, did you notice Darth Vader’s hair? Or, you can talk about the wackiest holiday present you’ve ever received. In a recent CareerBuilder survey, some of the wackiest gifts reported were a zombie figurine, a keychain that shouts expletives and a bacon of the month club membership. Whatever you do, don’t show up without material.

Also, something we learned last year — be positive. If you’re going to complain about the company, the boss or the food at the party, have the sense to do it when the entire company including your boss and your boss’s boss aren’t around. You never know when someone might hear you.  Here are the stages of a holiday party:

NEITHER RAIN, WIND OR SNOW - "Cuts to first-class mail to slow delivery in 2012, unprecedented cuts by the cash-strapped U.S. Postal Service will slow first-class delivery next spring and, for the first time in 40 years, eliminate the chance for stamped letters to arrive the next day. The estimated $3 billion in reductions, to be announced in broader detail later Monday, are part of a wide-ranging effort by the Postal Service to quickly trim costs and avert bankruptcy. They could slow everything from check payments to Netflix's DVDs-by-mail, add costs to mail-order prescription drugs, and threaten the existence of newspapers and time-sensitive magazines delivered by postal carrier to far-flung suburban and rural communities."

FOR HISTORY - "US forces quit Iraq nine years on, IRAQ-KUWAIT BORDER  - The last US forces left Iraq and entered Kuwait on Sunday, nearly nine years after launching a divisive war to oust Saddam Hussein, and just as the oil-rich country grapples with renewed political deadlock. The last of roughly 110 vehicles carrying 500-odd troops ... crossed the border at 7:38 am (0438 GMT), leaving just a couple of hundred soldiers at the US embassy, in a country where there were once nearly 170,000 troops on 505 bases. It ends a war that left tens of thousands of Iraqis and nearly 4,500 American soldiers dead, many more wounded, and 1.75 million Iraqis displaced."

--"The astronomic costs of the Iraq war," RR fact box : "Human cost: Since the US invasion in March 2003, at least 126,000 Iraqi civilians were killed in the war, according to Boston University professor Neta Crawford. In addition, another 20,000 Iraqi soldiers and police were killed, along with more than 19,000 insurgents. ... [T]he Pentagon says the United States lost 4,474 troops, of which 3,518 died in combat ... And the United Nations estimates that 1.75 million Iraqis were made refugees by the war ... Troops deployed: ... The US troop presence reached 165,000 at the end of 2006 before President George W. Bush decided on a 'surge' of 30,000 reinforcements in a bid to counter spiraling violence. ...

"Financial cost: The Pentagon has spent nearly $770 billion since 2003 on operations in Iraq ... The future cost of medical care and pensions for veterans will grow exponentially in coming decades. Linda Bilmes, professor at Harvard University, estimates that pensions through 2055 for veterans will reach $346 billion to $469 billion ... Other losses: Around 60 percent of the Iraqi National Archives, equivalent to tens of millions of documents, went missing, were damaged or were destroyed as a result of water leaks and a fire at a storage center in the aftermath of the 2003 invasion."

SAYONARA, 2011 -- "Killing of bin Laden voted top news story of 2011," by AP: "The killing of Osama bin Laden ... was the top news story of 2011, followed by Japan's earthquake/tsunami/meltdown disaster, according to The Associated Press' annual poll of U.S. editors and news directors. ... Placing third were the Arab Spring uprisings ... The international flavor of these top stories contrasted with last year's voting - when the Gulf of Mexico oil spill was the top story, President Barack Obama's health care overhaul was No. 2, and the U.S. midterm elections were No. 3.

"Here are 2011's top 10 stories, in order: 1) Osama bin Laden's death .... 2) Japan's triple disaster [earthquake, tsunami, nuclear crisis] .... 3) Arab Spring ... 4) EU fiscal crisis ... 5) U.S. economy .... 6) Penn State sex abuse scandal .... 7) Gadhafi toppled in Libya ... 8) Fiscal showdowns in Congress .... 9) Occupy Wall Street protests ... 10) Gabrielle Giffords shot ... Among the news events falling just short of the Top 10 were the death of Apple Inc. co-founder Steve Jobs, Hurricane Irene, the devastating series of tornados across Midwest and Southeastern U.S., and the repeal of the 'don't ask, don't tell' policy that barred gays from serving openly in U.S. military."

TOP FIVE JACK ASS OF 2011 – Number Three: Sarah Palin. This past summer Sarah Palin revealed to us how well polished she is on her history: “He who warned, uh, the British that they weren’t  gonna be takin’ away our arms, uh, by ringing those bells, and um, makin’ sure as he’s riding his horse through town to send those warning shots and bells that we were going to be sure, and we were going to be free, and we were going to be armed.” Can you imagine her and Rick Perry in a debate?

Number Two: Arnold Schwarzenegger. Maria Shriver filed for divorce in July after the Terminator, former Governor of California admitted to fathering a child with a household employee ten years ago.  In addition his hair color changed six times.
Next week the number one Jack Ass or should I say Jack Asses of 2011.

BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to: Ashleigh Banfield (45),  Jimmy Buffet (65), Chris Evert (57), Al Kaline (77), Susan Lucci (65), Jan Stephenson (60).

BCS COLLEGE BOWL PICK OF THE WEEK – Tuesday 12/20, 8:00 PM ET, ESPN, our favorite bowl name; the Beef O’Brady Bowl from St. Petersburg, Florida. The Thundering Herd of Marshall University (6-6) vs. The Golden Panthers of Florida International University (8-4). The Panthers are making back-to-back bowl appearances for the first time in school history, and won a school-record eight games this season. Marshall has defensive end Vinny Curry, who ranks second nationally this season with 21.5 tackles for loss, tied for second nationally with six forced fumbles and tied for fifth with 11 sacks. RR likes Florida International to win the Beef Bowl. Season to date (9-7).

SMALL COLLEGE FOOTBALL PICK OF THE WEEK – The season is over for Small College Football. Congratulations to Wisconsin Whitewater for winning their third straight D-III title. The Warhawks are impressive.  Season Final (14-2). Next week College Hockey Pick of the Week.

NFL PICK OF THE WEEK – Saturday 12/24, the battle of two teams headed south: The New York Football Giants (7-7) visit the New York Jets (8-6), 4:15 PM ET, CBS. Both teams must win to keep their slim playoff hopes alive, The Jets to win this Jersey Bowl game.  Season to date (8-7).

THE SWAMI’S TOP PICKS – Florida International 42 Marshall 24, New York Jets 17 New York Giants 14, Detroit 28 San Diego 21. Season to date (29-15).

MONDAY FUNNIES - Don't miss "Jesus" visiting Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos in the locker room, courtesy of "Saturday Night Live." (Done with warmth and not offensive to the faithful.)

DRIVING THE WEEK - React to Kim Jong-il's death will dominate early before the focus turns back to the Beltway drama over the payroll tax cut expiration. Sounds like the measure is going down in the House barring a last minute save. This means Reid will have no choice but to relent and bring the Senate back into session. Because there is no way he can allow Democrats to get the blame for taxes going up on millions of middle-income Americans. House GOP has cover because they did pass a bill approving an extension ... CFTC meets on Tuesday to talk about derivatives rules ... Top economic data include final read on third quarter GDP, jobless claims and consumer sentiment on Thursday.

SECOND NEW YEARS WISH - Let this coming year be better than all the others. Vow to do some of the things you've always wanted to do but couldn't find the time. Call up a forgotten friend. Drop an old grudge, and replace it with some pleasant memories. Vow not to make a promise you don't think you can keep. Walk tall, and smile more. You'll look ten years younger.

Next week, Christmas in the birthplace of the Republican Party.

Until Next Monday, Feliz Navidad.

Claremont, CA
December 19, 2011

#II-34, 87

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