Monday, September 30, 2013


Once or twice a year we like to share some of our favorite comics: enjoy.

Republicans, all tied up in knots

WILL THE FED PULL THE PLUG TOO SOON? - Federal Reserve Open Markets committee today is expected to starting winding down its "quantitative easing" asset purchase program with estimates for the taper running from $5 billion to $20 billion out of the current $85 billion monthly pace. Given how clearly the Fed has telegraphed its intentions almost no one is expecting the Fed to keep up the current pace. Economic data isn't great but it's not likely weak enough to prevent the taper. The big question is whether the Fed takes away the juice just as the federal government heads for a possible shutdown and debt-ceiling crisis. The double whammy of the taper and a Hill meltdown could hit stocks and the economy fairly hard.

The Fed obviously pays attention to the fiscal follies on the Hill. But are Ben Bernanke and his colleagues betting too hard on another round of last second deals? At least the prospect of a Fed Chair confirmation fight appears to be over. Current Fed Vice Chair Janet Yellen appears highly likely to get the nod, according to White House sources. And she's likely to get through the Senate fairly easily. And a potentially destabilizing bombing campaign in Syria also appears to be off the table for now. And expect the Fed to wrap its taper in all kinds of reassuring language about how it could dial up purchases right away if needed. Still, today is likely to mark the beginning of a risky run in the waning months of the Bernanke Fed.

TECH BLAST: BLACKBERRY TO GO PRIVATE - BlackBerry has agreed to be bought by a consortium of Canadian investment companies for $4.7bn in cash and taken private, in a last-ditch move to ensure the survival of one of the pioneers of the global smartphone ... BlackBerry ... has seen its market value plummet from a peak of $83bn in 2008 to just $4.2bn ... The bid comes in the wake of BlackBerry's admission on Friday that its turnround strategy - based on the launch of a new operating system and handsets - had failed and that it would abandon the consumer market with the loss of 4,500 jobs and report a $1bn operating loss in the latest quarter.

The consortium is led by Prem Watsa's Fairfax Financial, which holds a 10 percent stake in the Ontario-based group. Mr Watsa, an investor who has been called Canada's Warren Buffett, quit BlackBerry's board last month when the company announced that it had set up a special committee to investigate its strategic options. His move was widely interpreted at the time as indicating that he would try to pull together a consortium including some of Canada's leading pension funds to buy out the struggling company.

CHRYSLER (RELUCTANTLY) FILES FOR IPO - Chrysler filed for a public stock offering last Monday, acting only under pressure from its second-largest shareholder, a trust set up to provide medical coverage for 115,000 retired autoworkers ... Ordinarily, Chrysler's plan would be cause to celebrate the automaker's comeback from its government bailout and bankruptcy in 2009. But it is acting only after negotiations stalled between Fiat, which controls Chrysler, and the trust over the purchase of the trust's minority stake in Chrysler. The offering could be canceled if Fiat and the trust reach a deal. ... Chrysler's offering arises from an unusual conflict of interests, made possible by the remarkable turnaround at Chrysler since the federal government shepherded it through bankruptcy four years ago.

BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to: Lorraine Bracco (59), President Jimmy Carter (89), Angie Dickinson (82), David Hidalgo (50), Steve Lesniak …famous wine Sommelier, Steve Miller (70), Eilsabeth Shue (50).

SPORTS BLINK - NFL TEAMS THAT HAVEN'T LOST YET (4-0): New England Patriots, Miami Dolphins (3-0; play at New Orleans Saints on "Monday Night Football" tonight; 8:30 on ESPN), Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs, Seattle Seahawks

--NFL TEAMS THAT HAVEN'T WON YET: (0-4): Pittsburgh Steelers, Jacksonville Jaguars, New York Giants, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

COLLEGE FOOTBALL - Top 25 "Ballot Breakdown: Arizona State ushers out Kiffin era at USC ... Notre Dame out of AP Top 25; Arizona State, [Maryland] in.  No. 22 Arizona State moved into the AP Top 25 -- and helped move Lane Kiffin out of a job as Southern California coach. ... For the third consecutive week, the top five teams in the AP Top 25 were unchanged. No. 1 Alabama received 55 first-place votes from the media panel. No. 2 Oregon received the other five. Clemson is No. 3 followed by Ohio State and Stanford. ... Notre Dame is not ranked for the first time this season, following a 35-21 loss at home to No. 11 Oklahoma. The Sooners moved up three spots and are now the highest-ranked Big 12 team. .... Georgia moved up three spots to No. 6, but don't blame Bulldogs fans if they're feeling their team is still under appreciated. No team has played a more difficult September schedule ... No. 25 Maryland (4-0) is ranked for the first time since the final poll of the 2010 season.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL PICK OF THE WEEK – Saturday 10/5, 10:30 PM ET, ESPN; #15 Washington Huskies (4-0) vs. #5 Stanford Cardinal (4-0). Pac 12 play begins with a big one in Palo Alto, Stanford 32 Washington 30.  Season to date (5-0)

SMALL COLLEGE FOOTBALL PICK OF THE WEEK – Saturday 10/5, 4:30 PM ET, BRAVO; #10 Pacific Luthern Lutes (3-0) visit #2 Linfield Wildcats (3-0) in a HUGE Northwest Conference match-up. Linfield 45 Pacific Lutheran 40 in a shoot out.  Season to date (3-1)

NFL PICK OF THE WEEK – Sunday 10/6, 1:00 PM ET, Fox; Seattle Seahawks (4-0) vs. Indianapolis Colts (3-1). Back to back weeks on the road for Pete Carroll's crew will be too much – Colts 24 Seahawks 17.  Season to date (4-0)


(NCAA, Oct. 5) #4 Ohio State Buckeyes (5-0) 34  #16 Northwestern Wildcats (4-0) 28
(SCIAC game of the week, Oct. 5) Redlands Bulldogs (0-2) 42  Occidental Tigers (1-1) 21
(NHL, Oct. 5) Boston Bruins (0-0) 5  Detroit Red Wings (0-0) 2
(MLB, Oct. 5) Oakland Athletics (96-66) 6  Detroit Tigers (93-69) 3
(NFL, Oct. 6) Denver Broncos (4-0) 35  Dallas Cowboys (2-2) 20
Season to date (26-20)

96th NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE SEASON – The NHL begins this week here are Rink Rats preseason picks:

Pacific Division – Los Angeles Kings
Central Division – St. Louis Blues
Metropolitan Division – Pittsburgh Penguins
Atlantic Division – Boston Bruins
Stanley Cup Finalists – Los Angeles Kings vs. Boston Bruins

2014 Stanley Cup Champions – Los Angeles Kings

MARKET WEEK - The threat of an imminent government shutdown is foremost on the minds of investors this morning, as currently reflected in U.S. stock index futures. Both the Dow and the S&P 500 are coming off their first weekly losses in four weeks, although the Nasdaq did manage to eke out a small gain to run its weekly winning streak to four. With one trading day left in the month, the major averages are all on track to register solid September gains in what's historically been the weakest month of the year for U.S. stocks.

DRIVING THE WEEK - All about the shutdown with the Senate coming back this afternoon to dispense with the House CR passed over the weekend including the one-year Obamacare delay and other provisions Democrats won't accept. Senate could ping-pong the CR back the House with just hours left before a shutdown. House Republicans could then either force a shutdown or pass a temporary measure of a few days to allow more time to reach an agreement. That's likely only to happen if some talks toward an agreement actually exist. ... President Obama meets with this morning with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Also expect Obama to use the power of his bully pulpit to again slam Republicans for threatening a shutdown over health care reform ... ISM manufacturing at 10 a.m. on Tuesday should be little changed from August's 55.7 ... ISM non-manufacturing at 10 a.m. Thursday expected to dip to 56 from 57 ... September jobs report at 8:30 a.m. Friday, assuming its not stopped by a shutdown, expected to show a gain of 180K with no change to the 7.3 percent jobless rate.

Next week: Jack Ass of the Month.

Until Next Monday, “Adios.”

Claremont, CA

September 30, 2013
#IV-24, 181

Monday, September 23, 2013

Pizza N' Such Rules

Rink Rats would like to acknowledge this week our Restaurant of the Year. What makes a good restaurant? Good food, reasonable prices, excellent service, relaxing atmosphere; all these of course. But to this reviewer, above all else the knowledge that the operators of the restaurant truly appreciate and like their customers, such is the case with Pizza N’ Such in Claremont, California.

Claremont’s oldest pizzeria (1979) located 202 Yale Avenue in the heart of Claremont. From the craft beer selection, to the garlic fries and fried zucchini, homemade sangria, and multiple pizza selection, this place rocks; Sue, Mike and Laura Verbal have built a family business worth the visit. This place is simple and no frills. My only complaint is the ice tea. Have never had a good glass, besides that the music, occasional sports game on the TV, friendly but youthful service is good.

The pasta dishes are hearty with the marinara sauce always good; the submarine sandwiches are excellent with the best bread in the Inland Empire. Belly up to the bar for a nice selection of wine and variety of local craft beers.  Top your meal off with a Dr. Bob’s ice cream bowl or Sue’s cheesecake and you are ready to tour the streets of Claremont.

Pizza N’ Such, Claremont, California (909-624-7214) our Rink Rats Restaurant of the Year.

A GOOD READ : Robert A. Caro's gripping, 17,000-word account of JKF's assassination will be published as an e-short by Vintage Books on Oct. 1 ($1.99): "The account -- DALLAS, NOVEMBER 22, 1963 -- is a digital excerpt [that includes about 30 pages] from Caro's bestseller, 'The Passage of Power' ['The Years of Lyndon Johnson,' vol. 4] ... We follow the slow path of the presidential motorcade through the streets of Dallas; we hear the shots; we witness ... the race to get JFK to Parkland Memorial Hospital; the long minutes in which Johnson, unable to learn whether Kennedy is alive or dead, stands waiting in a Parkland cubicle. We watch him take the oath of office on Air Force One ... And we see Johnson taking charge-taking command of the presidency with his unrivaled mastery of political power. ... Caro will be featured in numerous documentaries about John F. Kennedy's assassination this fall."

"To watch Lyndon Johnson take over the presidency is to watch political genius in action. I'm interested in showing political power, and this is like the essence of a presidential power. ... You have the chaos and the confusion of the day, and the feeling that there might very well be a conspiracy -- that Cuba or the Soviet Union right behind it. You see all the chances for a misstep, and you watch Lyndon Johnson handle that with such a sure hand. And then you see him get back to Washington and you see him pick up Kennedy's legislation that was really stalled. ... getting the civil rights bill started on the way to passage, getting the tax cut bill started on the way to passage. ... It's strategic genius, and the use of sheer political muscle. ...

"America was not the same place on November 21, 1963, as it was when Lyndon Johnson left the presidency at the end of 1968. The country had changed, and in many ways the landscape of America has never changed back. ... It's not just the death of a presidency; it's the power passing from one president to another one, who uses it in a very different way."

This marks the first time that Caro's epic biography of LBJ has been unbundled and made available to readers in short form digital. Knopf, Caro's longtime publisher, has had numerous requests from content partners in recent years about making some of Caro's material available in excerpt-sized narrative portions. "Caro's award-winning work is one of the most significant undertakings in modern biography," said Paul Bogaards, spokesman for the publisher, "and we have data sets indicating that those who start reading Caro, who come to at least one volume, eventually commit them all. So the idea here is to present a new way into the work." Caro's LBJ books have collectively sold over 2 million copies. His first book -- "The Power Broker," a biography of Robert Moses -- remains indispensable to City Hall reporters.

"The latest tragedy is all too fresh, but the politics are the same. Last April, a Senate filibuster effectively blocked the effort to expand background checks and ban the sale of assault weapons and large-capacity ammunition magazines. Even if it had passed, it seemed doomed in the GOP-led House. And since then, gun rights advocates have increased pressure on lawmakers, successfully recalling two Democratic Colorado state senators who supported gun control measures. Monday's events left advocates calling for more action from the White House and Congress, with some arguing that the series of shootings was having a cumulative effect on the public even if the latest spree seemed unlikely to be as nationally searing as Sandy Hook. 'I think the country and indeed the president have reached the tipping point not because of one mass shooting but because of an aggregate drip, drip, drip of more and more mass shootings,' said Mark Glaze of Mayors Against Illegal Guns - a group New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg formed to do battle with the National Rifle Association over the issue. ...

"Despite the recent spate of mass shootings, the public does not seem as exercised about the issue as it was in the 1990s when those incidents took place against a backdrop of widespread concern about violent crime. Murder rates have dropped by more than half in many parts of the country."

MASS SHOOTINGS QUICKLY TO THE BACK PAGE -  "Paul Farhi on the short shelf life of the massacre in D.C." ... p. C3, "ESSAY: A gunman kills 12, but the media are moving on," by Paul Farhi (online headline: "Not all mass shootings are equal in the eyes of the media or the public" : "We've moved on, apparently. Barely 48 hours after a gunman murdered 12 people and injured others in another U.S. bloodbath, the national news media had other things on their minds. ... No one announced a telethon for the victims of the Washington shootings or broke out ribbons of any color. ... [T]he national news media's quickly fading interest suggests there was something ordinary and familiar, almost banal, about Monday's body count. ... There were 78 mass public shootings in the United States between 1983 and 2012, according to a Congressional Research Service study, which toted up 547 dead and 476 injured people from this mayhem. ... It's as though the events of Monday morning, after the first breathless reports, failed to jog the media's central nervous system and, by extension, the public's, into a sustained response. ...

"It wasn't Tucson , with its six dead and its now-famous survivor, former congresswoman Gabby Giffords. It wasn't Aurora, Colo., with its ordinary, anyone-could-have-been-there locale, a movie theater. It wasn't Nickel Mines, Pa., with the horror of dead Amish schoolchildren. Nor was it Columbine, Colo., or Virginia Tech, with so many promising young lives cut short, nor Fort Hood nor Boston, with the specter of terrorism. And it wasn't Newtown, Conn., with its monstrous slaughter of small children and the adults who had taught and protected them. The cynical truth is that the Navy Yard murders - we've yet to agree on the shorthand name for this event - had neither the kinds of victims nor the story that sustains media interest and public revulsion. Those who study crime can tell you what excites and interests the public ... Outrage is important. ... The Navy Yard murders had only one of these dimensions: They occurred in the District, in the midst of the national media, making them instantly visible. ...

"The event took place in a seemingly secure but otherwise obscure government building, blandly known as Building 197, in a city filled with better-known locales. The victims were mostly government employees, not the soldiers or sailors or law enforcement officers we reflexively memorialize as heroes. And they were mostly middle-aged people, not the children, teenagers or young adults whose deaths create greater spasm of shock. Some of the mystery of the crime ... died with ... Aaron Alexis. He will have no perp walk, no long and agonizing court trial. He appears not to have been an ideologue or a terrorist. He was a young man with demons and guns ... He was also African American, and this apparently matters, says eminent criminologist James Alan Fox. 'It's not nice to say it, but white America tends to be more intrigued about the minds and motives of white murderers,' said Fox, who is a professor at Northeastern University. ... Even as overall gun violence has fallen precipitously, what shakes the national scales has graduated, higher and higher."

HYPOCRISY AT ITS BEST - LARGEST GIFT IN GEORGETOWN HISTORY: Georgetown University Receives $100 Million to Create New Public Policy School. The gift, from Frank H. McCourt, Jr. (C'75) ... will endow the McCourt School of Public Policy ... The McCourt School will contribute policy-based, data-driven research and solutions to the urgent policy issues of our time. ... The McCourt School will ... house a new Massive Data Institute, which will harness and navigate the data that new advances in technology and communications have generated ... The McCourt School will become the ninth school at Georgetown University and the first new school since 1957. The university will officially launch the McCourt School for Public Policy at an academic ceremony October 8 and will celebrate at an event with members of the national and international policy communities, dignitaries and Members of Congress ... on October 9. ... McCourt received his undergraduate degree in economics ... in 1975.

BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to: Robert Gates (70), Bryant Gumbel (65), Meat Loaf (66), Olivia Newton-John (65), Cheryl Tiegs (66).

SPORTS BLINK -- NFL TEAMS THAT HAVEN'T LOST YET (all 3-0, except Denver): New England Patriots, Miami Dolphins, Kansas City Chiefs, Denver Broncos (2-0; "Monday Night Football" tonight); Chicago Bears, New Orleans Saints and Seattle Seahawks.

--NFL TEAMS THAT HAVEN'T WON YET (all 0-3): Pittsburgh Steelers, Jacksonville Jaguars, New York Giants, Washington Redskins, Minnesota Vikings and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

NCAA COLLEGE FOOTBALL - Ballot Breakdown: Messy Michigan slips 3 spots in AP Top 25; During a weekend filled with blowouts in the AP Top 25, Michigan's second consecutive close call against an inferior opponent dropped the Wolverines in the rankings ... Alabama stayed No. 1 ... but lost some support from the media panel. The Tide received 56 out of 60 first-place votes after getting 59 last week. No. 2 Oregon received four. ... MOVING IN. No. 25 Fresno State (3-0) is ranked for the first time since Sept. 28, 2008. ... MOVING OUT. Arizona State dropped out of the rankings after losing to Stanford.

BOOB TUBE - BREAKING' BAD: The series takes the Emmy for best drama; Anna Gunn wins best supporting actress. Jeff Daniels of 'The Newsroom' is best actor: In an Emmy night marked by both jaw-dropping upsets and predictably safe choices, 'Breaking Bad'creator Vince Gilligan summed up the wild mood swings at TV's top awards ceremony this year. 'I thought this was gonna be [for] "House of Cards,"' Gilligan said with a smile as his series about a chemistry teacher-turned-meth dealer took the prize for best drama series at the 65th Primetime Emmy Awards in Los Angeles on Sunday. Indeed, some observers wondered whether the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, which organizes the Emmys, might honor Netflix's acclaimed tale of political intrigue. It stars Kevin Spacey as a corrupt member of Congress as the first Internet- distributed series to attain TV's top echelon. But in the end, voters saluted AMC's 'Breaking Bad,' a critically beloved series that is wrapping its run in spectacular style this month-and as it happened, aired its penultimate episode opposite the Emmys on CBS. It was the show's first win in the category.

Anna Gunnalso won a supporting actress award for the series. The statuettes for 'Breaking Bad' were hardly a surprise. Rink Rats correctly predicted 'Breaking Bad' would win the drama category, with 2-to-5 odds. (AMC's period piece 'Mad Men' rated last, at 40-to-1.) But elsewhere, assumptions had to be tossed out the window, with several winners eliciting did-I-just-hear-that-right reactions across social media. The back-and-forth underlined the fact that although Hollywood may indeed be celebrating a new golden age of television- as some winners said-the TV academy is struggling with where to put the appropriate accents."

COLLEGE FOOTBALL PICK OF THE WEEK – Saturday 9/28, 8:00 PM ET, ABC: #23 Wisconsin Badgers (3-1) visit #4 ranked Ohio State Buckeyes (4-0). Forget the Michigan-OSU game, this has now become the biggest Big Ten game of the year. We reluctantly like Ohio State 28 The Badgers 24.  Season to date (4-0)

SMALL COLLEGE FOOTBALL PICK OF THE WEEK – Saturday 9/28, 1:00 PM ET, BRAVO: the Brooks Brothers Bowl – Colby White Mules (1-0) visit the Middlebury Panthers (1-0). No polyester within miles of this one, preppy rules. Middlebury 21 Colby 20.  Season to date (2-1)

NFL PICK OF THE WEEK – Sunday 9/29, 1:00 PM ET, Fox: a Norris Division battle, Chicago Bears (3-0) at Deeetroit Lions (2-1). Can the Lions go to the next level this season? We shall so see…Detroit 24 Tha Bears 20.  Season to date (3-0)


(NCAA, Sept. 28) #14 Oklahoma 35 #20 Notre Dame 24
(SCIAC game of the week, Sept. 28) Chapman Panthers 35 Whitworth Pirates 21
(MLB, Sept. 28) Cincinnati Reds 6 Pittsburgh Pirates 4
(NFL, Sept, 26) St. Louis Rams 24 San Francisco 49ers 21
Season to date (24-18)

MARKET WEEK - Wall Street is coming off a winning week with a losing finish, with the Dow suffering its worst one-day loss since August 15 on Friday, and the S&P posting its biggest single-day decline since August 27. With the Fed's non-taper now in the rear view mirror, investors will be focusing on a looming government shutdown with just one week before the deadline for a new funding bill.

DRIVING THE WEEK - The Senate likely to take up, change and send the Congressional Resolution funding the government past Oct. 1 back to the House. What happens then is anyone's guess but it seems as likely as not that a shutdown occurs ... President Obama heads to NYC today for the UN General Assembly ... Case-Shiller home prices on Tuesday at 9:00 a.m. expected to rise 0.8 percent ... Consumer confidence at 10:00 a.m. Tuesday expected to dip to 80.0 from 81.5

Next week: Jack Ass of the Month.

Until Next Monday, “Adios.”

Claremont, CA
September 23, 2013

#IV-23, 180

Monday, September 16, 2013

Alone Again Naturally

Dear Rink Rats,

I'm a 32-year-old single man. I love my life—my friends, my job, the city in which I live. I have a creative outlet and I exercise and I have a lot of passion for living. But inside I have a problem with bitterness. I feel bitter every single day. I can't stop thinking about the football fantasy pools that have hurt me, and I think about at least two or three of them every day (not always the same ones), sometimes during the day, but mostly at night when I'm trying to fall asleep. I think about when things were good, and then how they hurt me, and I wonder why they didn't respect me, and I imagine what I would say to them if I saw them again, and then I tumble into a stony feeling of grit, of wanting to be invulnerable. I have a physical response to these emotions—my chest hurts, my stomach hurts, and the pain stretches out to my fingertips. I lose my breath in the pain. I sometimes wonder if in some way I actually enjoy this awful feeling, just because it's feeling something in my heart. But I fear that it will make me sick in the long run. I feel like it's gonna give me headaches or ulcers just to think these sad, echoing thoughts every day.

I don't want to be bitter, and I don't want to be that friend everyone feels sorry for because he's perpetually last in a fantasy pool, but that's what I'm turning into. When things do go well with a pool, I am able to forget about my past pain and let myself believe in a future with a fantasy draft I like, if cautiously. But it never works out, and I don't know why. I'm not dumb or high-maintenance; I like who I am and what I'm doing with my life; I have my own life but I want to share it with fellow fantasy pool members, and I just keep getting hurt. With the last two pools I was in (ESPN and Yahoo), I actually felt that elusive "click" of feeling connected to people and like I could be myself with them and being able to see myself with them for a long time, which hasn't happened in ages, but it turned out that neither of them were interested in trying a long-term relationship with me. And I don't know how many instances of the death of hope I can take, or how many fantasy pools will fit in my Rolodex of Teams Who've Made Me Bitter.

It's getting really, really hard to keep getting out there and trying, and to stay positive and open about myself and fantasy picks. I'm sick of convincing/allowing myself to let go and be vulnerable and then being crushed in the end, and I'm sick of feeling this nightly blank emptiness punctuated by the stabbing emotional pain of bitterness. I haven't had a real winning record in over five years. I'm tired and I'm lonely and I'm beginning to feel like a ghost. How can I stop obsessing over the fantasy pools that have hurt me, and how can I move forward in my sports fantasy without fear, or worse, apathy? Thanks for your help.

Alone Again, Naturally

Dear Alone Again Naturally,

The first thing you need to know—understand, believe, breathe in—is that there is nothing wrong with you. There. Is. Nothing. Wrong. With. You. The fantasy pools who hurt you, the drafts who don't want you to participate in: These people are irrelevant. They are not your mother. They are not your father or your sister or your best friend. Compared to your parents, your friends, they are nothing—flies in the room, cockroaches in the cupboard. Nothing. Fixating on them is like fixating on owning a Super Bowl team. They are irrelevant.

Most fantasy pool participants are ego-sensitive, sensitive-intolerant, asthmatic mutants. They can't tolerate wheat or soy or fleeting glimpses of heaviness. When they sense substance, regrets, high stakes, potential long-term entanglements, concern, interest, a pulse, they flee in terror like neurotic dogs in the presence of teetering lamps. The smallest change in weather, the tiniest shift in cabin pressure, the most minuscule adjustment in tone or mood sends them running.

As long as you aim to please fantasy followers, you don't. The second you decide to please yourself, guess what? Everybody wants a slice of that action.

You are going to succeed with what you have, and win with who you are. Do not take the so-called BAD or WRONG things about you, that fantasy leaders or friends in a bar or even women have told you, and try to "get rid" of those things. Put that stuff on the list right next to the stuff you're proud of. "Cried after hearing the 'Stairway to Heaven' song.”  "Slipped on the stairs and wondered if my landlord thought I was drunk, then craved a drink." "Bailed on the dinner party and made mac and cheese out of a box instead, and it was awesome."

You have to quiet the bad ESPN voices, during the day and at night. Stop pushing back against a phantom. You are not a ghost, this creation of yours is. Maybe it's an echo of something from your childhood. Maybe it's just a bad cognitive habit you've had for a while. If it helps to map out a life alone—what could make that look better, look ok?—then do it. For me, I needed to think that, if I didn't find the right fantasy pool, I'd definitely be pouring my time into crazy interesting things. I would learn to sew my own clothes and paint. I would adopt 15 dogs. I would write poetry on the bathroom walls of my local pub. Instead of being afraid of getting "weird" and "lonely," I needed to believe that I would engage with the world, create things, reveal myself to others as a serious freak without shame, and just generally throw myself into the world with abandon.

In other words, get a life man.

Rink Rats

BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to: Jeremy Irons (65), Phil Jackson (68), Joan Jett (55), Joe Morgan (70), Bill Murray (63), Dan Pugliese …how old is he???, Ava Suffredini …famous little Princess.

BUSINESS BURST - Dow Jones index announces biggest shake-up in a decade. In the biggest shake-up of the Dow Jones industrial average in nearly a decade, Goldman Sachs, Visa and Nike will join the storied 30-stock index, with Bank of America, which just two years ago was the largest U.S. bank by assets, one of the names exiting the Dow. The three newcomers -- an investment bank, credit card payment processor and apparel company, respectively -- will also replace Alcoa, in the index since 1959, and Hewlett-Packard Co.

SPORTS BLINK - NFL counts for 7 of week's most-watched TV shows : Peyton Manning's seven-touchdown attack on the Week 1 Thursday, of the NFL season,  brought 25.1 million viewers to the season-opening Baltimore-Denver game, while 25.4 million people watched Sunday's game between the New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys. Viewership was similar for the opening games last year: Sunday night's game was down slightly from 2012 while the Thursday kickoff was up this year. Seven of the 10 most-watched programs last week were either the two football games, highlights packages from opening week games or pregame shows, Nielsen said. ... Two college football games - Notre Dame vs. Michigan and South Carolina vs. Georgia - landed among Nielsen's top 20 shows last week. ... ESPN was the week's most popular cable network, averaging 2.7 million viewers in prime time. ... ABC's 'World News' had the closest showing to its rival in viewers since September 2012. NBC's show averaged 7.8 million, ABC had 7.6 million and the 'CBS Evening News' had 6.1 million.

For the week of Sept. 2-8, the top shows, their networks and viewerships: NFL football: New York Giants at Dallas, NBC, 25.4 million; NFL football: Baltimore at Denver, NBC, 25.13 million; 'Sunday Night NFL Pre-Kick,' NBC, 19.32 million; 'NFL Pre-Kick' (Thursday), NBC, 18.03 million; 'The OT,' Fox, 17.64 million; 'Football Night in America,' NBC, 14.09 million; 'Under the Dome,' CBS, 11.15 million; 'Duck Dynasty,' A&E, 10.46 million; 'NFL Opening Kick-Off Show' (Thursday), NBC, 10.13 million; 'America's Got Talent' (Wednesday), NBC, 10.03 million.

5 YEARS LATER - Treasury overnight released a very impressive deck laying out the federal response to the financial crisis and where we stand now, declaring the system "safer, stronger and more resilient that in was beforehand. ... The government will likely earn a significant profit on the financial crisis response."

VERIZON HIT RECORD WITH BOND SALE - The world's largest debt sale was completed on Wednesday when Verizon sold $49bn worth of bonds amid strong investor demand that could mark a turning point for the corporate debt market. The US telecoms company, which was raising capital to finance its $130bn acquisition of the 45 per cent stake in Verizon Wireless it does not already own, stoked demand for the deal by selling the debt at generous levels ...

The group sold its 10-year bond at a yield of 5.19 per cent, or about 57 basis points higher than its existing debt for that maturity, a substantial concession for bond investors. Investors across the globe lined up to buy the bonds, with orders reaching $100bn. That was almost double the size of the order book for Apple's $17bn offer in April, previously the largest on record. US pension funds and insurance companies, hedge funds, and Asian and Middle East investors, all bought the securities.

EXCLUSIVE - JOE SCARBOROUGH ON HOW THE GOP CAN WIN IN 2016: The "Morning Joe" host's new book, "The Right Path: From Ike to Reagan, How Republicans Once Mastered Politics--and Can Again," will be published Nov. 12 by Random House, and is edited by JON MEACHAM. The buzz among GOP insiders is that "The Right Path" has the potential to galvanize conservatives in the way Barry Goldwater's "Conscience of a Conservative" did half a century ago -- especially conservatives ready to return to the winning ways of Ronald Reagan, who is on the cover, shown striding down the White House colonnade.

--FIRST LOOK : "If the Republican Party is big enough to reach out to disaffected moderates like Colin Powell, then it will be big enough to win the White House in 2016, even if Hillary Clinton is the Democratic nominee. The question is whether the GOP will choose to go the way of William F. Buckley or Glenn Beck. The survival of our party depends on that choice. And because I believe in reducing the federal government's reach, expanding personal freedoms, reforming regulations, balancing the budget, ending foreign adventures, nominating conservative justices, and keeping tax rates as low as possible, I believe that America's success depends upon a strong Republican Party. Democrats obviously disagree, and will continue their fight for bigger government, higher taxes, more regulations, and the appointment of liberal justices.

“The only way to stop liberals from continuing their winning streak in the White House is by pulling in moderates, independents, and swing voters who have been driven into the Democrats' camp because of Washington Republicans' narrowing vision. We can win again and we will. And we can do it by following the right paths of Ronald Reagan and Dwight Eisenhower. We can do it by fighting for the core principles of conservatism and emphasizing those values that most Americans agree with. There will also be times when we will follow the lead of Reagan and Eisenhower by putting principled pragmatism before ideological battles that will undermine our ability to win elections, elect majorities, and take back control of the White House. But time is wasting. Hillary Clinton's supporters are already preparing for political battle. Next time, we'd better be prepared to win. There is no substitute for victory, and I for one am damn tired of my party losing presidential elections."

COLLEGE FOOTBALL PICK OF THE WEEK – Saturday 9/21, 3:30 PM ET, NBC: #22 ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish (2-1) entertains Michigan State University Spartans (3-0). Can the upstart Spartans put a dent in the Domers season, not: Irish 38 MSU 20.  Season to date (3-0)

SMALL COLLEGE FOOTBALL PICK OF THE WEEK – Saturday 9/21, 5:00 PM ET, HGTV: it is Homecoming at Performance Stadium in Adrian, Michigan. Three Thousand faithful will be watching the Concordia-Chicago Cougars (0-2) visit the Adrian College Bulldogs (1-1). We like The Dogs to win 45 – 13.  Season to date (1-1)

NFL PICK OF THE WEEK – Monday 9/16, 8:30 PM ET, ESPN: A key AFC North matchup: Cincinnati Bengals (0-1) at Pittsburgh Steelers (0-1), the loser of this game is in BIG trouble. Cincinnati 24 Steelers 17, bad times in Steel City.  Season to date (2-0)

(NCAA, Sept. 21) #5 Stanford Cardinal 35 #23 Arizona State Sun Devils 21

(SCIAC game of the week, Sept. 21) Whitworth Pirates 45 La Verne Leopards 17 – sorry Coach Krich.

(MLB, Sept. 21) Pittsburgh Pirates 5 Cincinnati Reds 3

(NFL, Sept, 22) Washington Redskins 21 Detroit Lions 17

Season to date (22-16)

MARKET WEEK - U.S. stock index futures are soaring this morning, following the weekend withdrawal of former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers from consideration as the next Fed chairman. Investors had perceived Summers as scaling back the Fed's accommodative monetary policy more quickly than other candidates.

Aside from the Summers news, the markets are focusing on this week's Fed policy meeting, at which it's expected the Fed will begin tapering its bond-buying program. The central bank's policy statement will be out Wednesday, followed by a news conference with Fed chairman Ben Bernanke.

DRIVING THE WEEK - President Obama returns to economic themes this week (call it a "pivot" if you absolutely must). He delivers remarks in the Rose Garden this morning on the five-year anniversary of the Lehman attack that will include cautions to Republicans not to force any more "self-inflicted wounds" such as shutdowns and debt ceiling fiascos. 

President Obama speaks to the Business Roundtable on Wednesday and travels to Kansas City for a jobs event on Friday ... FOMC on Wednesday at 2 p.m. likely to announce the beginning of its efforts to wind down stimulus. Bernanke speaks to the press at 2:30 p.m. ... Treasury Secretary Jack Lew speaks before the Economics Club of Washington on Tuesday.

Next week: Restaurant review and Jack Ass of the Month.

Until Next Monday, “Adios.”

Claremont, CA
September 16, 2013

#IV-22, 179

Monday, September 9, 2013

The Twilight Zone

This is a middle age man; he works in a world of finance and academe. He enjoys the competitiveness of the business world with the “pie in the sky” world of study and research. His friends in the business world think he is nuts to waste his time on management what ifs and selective reasoning. His friends in the academic world have no concept of the “real world” and the decisions associated with this world.

He has interests in sports, a good cigar, staying away from Montclair, CA and pie. He believes strongly in teaching and sharing thoughts and ideas with students in finance, accounting, statistics, and investments. But at the same time “making the deal” is intriguing and sexy to him.  He is caught in the gap between profit and purpose in life. In short, Mr. Businessman / Mr. Teacher is in that rare area of cold economic reality and today lets’ study Keynesian Economics, having decided too late in life which area is best for him, and who at any time will enter a realm where common sense, strategic management thinking and leadership collide.

Next stop for Mr. Businessman / Mr. Teacher - the Twilight Zone.

SPORTS BLINK - Olympics: Tokyo gets 2020 Games with help from prime minister: Tokyo was awarded the 2020 summer Olympic Games on Saturday, beating Istanbul in a head-to-head vote after Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe delivered a charismatic plea to the International Olympic Committee and promised Japan's crippled nuclear plant was 'under control.' The Japanese capital won what one insider had called a 'least-ugly' contest by most effectively covering its blemishes. Rival Madrid has been laid low by the economy and Istanbul has been beset by anti-government protests. Tokyo won by a landslide, 60 votes to Istanbul's 36, after Madrid was eliminated in a first round of voting. ... Tokyo in its pitch highlighted its solid finances and strong track record of delivering on promises. Olympic President Jacques Rogge described it as 'a safe pair of hands.'

The next summer Olympics will be hosted by Rio de Janeiro in 2016, and the preparations for that Games have been plagued by delays and complications. Moreover, the Tokyo bid capitalizes on the potential of the Asian continent, with its increasingly consumer-focused economies. Winning the Games was an enormous prize after two years of intense lobbying and tens of millions of dollars spent, and Abe was thrilled. ... For Istanbul, it was its fifth unsuccessful bid in the last six votes to host a summer Olympics. The city had pitched itself as a new region for the Games, the crossroads of Europe and Asia, and as a vehicle to help foster peace in the Middle East. But the conflict in neighboring Syria and recent anti-government demonstrations in Turkey overshadowed the bid. ... The victory is expected to boost Abe's popularity, and could potentially spur his signature pro-growth policies for the world's third-biggest economy. A successful Tokyo bid should boost confidence as well as spur construction and tourism.


skedaddle \ski-DAD-l\, verb:
1. to run away hurriedly; flee.
1.      a hasty flight.
"We don't have time to waste today, Eddie," she told him abruptly. "Now get your coffee and skedaddle."

quejarse, reflexive verb
to complain
Quejarse is a basic word, meaning to complain, which it’s useful to know. To complain about something the preposition you use is de:
“Se quejaban de la falta de información.”
They were complaining about the lack of information.

BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to: Heidi Bravo … famous animal advocate,  Pete Carroll (62), Amy Irving (60), Tommy Lee Jones (67), Bob Lanier (65), Arnold Palmer (84).

COLLEGE FOOTBALL PICK OF THE WEEK – Saturday 9/14, 12:30 PM ET, CBS: #1 ranked Alabama Crimson Tide (1-0) visit #6 ranked Texas A & M Aggies (2-0). A HUGE SEC matchup, with end of the season implications – we like The Tide to roll 32 Aggies 20.  Season to date (2-0)

SMALL COLLEGE FOOTBALL PICK OF THE WEEK – Saturday 9/14, 3:00 PM ET, HGTV: a key early season west coast tilt - #13 Pacific Lutheran Lutes (0-0) visit Thousand Oaks, CA and the #18 ranked Cal Lutheran Kingsmen. Can the SCIAC compete on the national stage, we think so: Cal Lu 24 Pac Lu 21.  Season to date (1-0)

NFL PICK OF THE WEEK – Sunday 9/14, 8:30 PM ET, NBC: In one of the key games of the first month of the NFL season – San Francisco 49ers (1-0) visit Seattle Seahawks (1-0). Seattle in a surprising easy game for them, Seahawks 30 49ers 14. Season to date (1-0)


(NFL, Sept, 12) New England Patriots 42 New York Jets 20
(NCAA, Sept. 14) UCLA Bruins 24 Nebraska Cornhuskers 17
(SCIAC game of the week, Sept. 14) Puget Sound Loggers 35 Chapman Panthers 31
(MLB, Sept. 14) Los Angeles Dodgers 6 San Francisco Giants 4
Season to date (20-14)

DRIVING THE WEEK - Syria remains the dominant story with Congress returning in full and Obama addressing the nation on Tuesday evening. The White House continues to "flood the zone" with officials pressing members of Congress to vote in favor of a strike. Hillary Clinton is expected to speak on Syria after she visits Obama at the White House today and Obama blankets the networks with interviews tonight ... As of now, the odds remain fairly even in the Senate and long in the House but the situation is highly fluid ... NFIB survey at 7:30 a.m. Wednesday expected to rise to 95 from 94.1 ..

Treasury budget at 2 p.m. Thursday expected to show deficit of $160 billion down from $190 billion last year ... Retail sales at 8:30 a.m. Friday expected to rise 0.4 percent ... University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment at 9:55 a.m. Friday expected to tick down to 82.1 from 82.4 ... Senate Banking has a housing reform hearing on Thursday at 10 a.m. ... CFPB Director Richard Cordray testifies before House Financial Services on Thursday at 9 a.m.

Next week: Dear Rink Rats and an Economy update.

Until Next Monday, Adios.

Claremont, CA
September 9, 2013

#IV-21, 178

Monday, September 2, 2013

The State of Academe

As we begin a new academic year, what is the state of American Colleges?

The Profession - Divisions grew on many campuses in 2012-13. Administrators and faculty members clashed over the direction of their institutions, and several campus leaders were the subject of no-confidence votes. Disparities in working conditions between segments of the professoriate persisted or increased, with full-time adjuncts continuing to earn far less than their tenured counterparts, and public-college professors falling even further behind their peers at private colleges in pay.

Students - With national attention focused on college affordability and completion, proposals were made both to alter the federal financial-aid system and to measure students’ progress more effectively. Enrollment appears to have tapered off after a decade-long surge, and the total supply of high-school graduates is expected to fall slightly in the next few years. Meanwhile, a group of organizations studying financial aid suggested that students automatically enter income-based repayment plans after graduation.

Diversity - As the college-going rates of Hispanics increase and minority representation among high-school graduates grows, colleges and advocacy groups are expanding efforts both to recruit students from historically underrepresented groups and to see them through to graduation. Colleges can still consider race in admissions across most of the country, but such policies could come under strict scrutiny following a decision in June by the U.S. Supreme Court in a case involving admissions policies at the University of Texas at Austin.

Finance - Thirty state governments allotted more tax dollars to higher education in the 2013 fiscal year than in the previous one, a move welcomed by public colleges in those states. Over all, higher-education institutions were plodding through a slow economic recovery and at the same time trying meet higher expectations for performance. They got little help from their endowment portfolios, which declined 0.3 percent, on average.

Technology - A hotly debated experiment in higher education was the offering of massive open online courses, or MOOCs, to large numbers of students across the world, free. As a growing number of colleges embraced that format, a vocal backlash against it emerged, mainly from professors concerned about the long-term implications. And not all colleges are going in the direction of offering free courses. Many of them set up online programs to offer entire degrees at a distance, at costs similar to those charged for on-campus programs.

International - Two issues dominated international education in 2013: a potential slowdown in the flow of foreign students to the United States and a heated debate over whether global partnerships threaten academic freedom. The number of graduate applications from Chinese students fell 5 percent, while the number from international students over all rose just one percent. At the same time, university administrators dealt with tricky issues as they opened and maintained campuses abroad.

Next Week: The Academic / Real World Twilight Zone

LABOR DAY - Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.

Through the years the nation gave increasing emphasis to Labor Day. The first governmental recognition came through municipal ordinances passed during 1885 and 1886. From these, a movement developed to secure state legislation. The first state bill was introduced into the New York legislature, but the first to become law was passed by Oregon on February 21, 1887. During the year four more states — Colorado, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York — created the Labor Day holiday by legislative enactment. By the end of the decade Connecticut, Nebraska, and Pennsylvania had followed suit. By 1894, 23 other states had adopted the holiday in honor of workers, and on June 28 of that year, Congress passed an act making the first Monday in September of each year a legal holiday in the District of Columbia and the territories.

The first Labor Day holiday was celebrated on Tuesday, September 5, 1882, in New York City, in accordance with the plans of the Central Labor Union. The Central Labor Union held its second Labor Day holiday just a year later, on September 5, 1883.

In 1884 the first Monday in September was selected as the holiday, as originally proposed, and the Central Labor Union urged similar organizations in other cities to follow the example of New York and celebrate a "workingmen's holiday" on that date. The idea spread with the growth of labor organizations, and in 1885 Labor Day was celebrated in many industrial centers of the country.

BEST READ OF THE WEEKEND : N.Y. Times three-part series, "Remote Control: Inside the Power of ESPN," on the sport giant's role in creating financial and marketing winners in college football. From the first part, by James Andrew Miller, Steve Eder and Richard Sandomir: "The network's right to wait until as few as six days in advance before announcing which games it will show, and at what times, encompasses all but the first three weeks of the season, when game times are set far in advance. At the Monday morning meetings in Building 12, executives also apportion the games among the network's channels: ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU and even the online platform ESPN3. ...

"Underscoring ESPN's special relationship with college football is the fact that it created and owns the software used for scheduling games. The online portal, known as the Pigskin Access Scheduling System, or PASS, is now used by virtually all conferences and colleges, as well as competing networks. Generally, the colleges work together to set up nonconference matchups, but sometimes they reach out to ESPN for a suggestion, or even to play matchmaker."

DEBT CEILING SCENARIOS – the four ways the debt ceiling debate could play out this fall: A Big Mess:  1.) The caucuses split. One real danger isn't just that the Democrats and Republicans won't see eye to eye. That's expected. Rather, a more problematic scenario is if the Democrats and Republicans can't even formulate their own bargaining positions. ... 2.) Negotiators? The White House says it isn't negotiating. Period. Okay, well then who will negotiate on behalf of Democrats? For that matter, who will negotiate on behalf of Republicans? Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) is facing re-election heat back home ... top budget and fiscal aides to Mr. McConnell and House Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio) have recently departed ...

Painless: 1.) A gimmick. If there's one thing lawmakers know how to do, it's be creative and pull a rabbit out of a hat. It was Mr. McConnell who came up with the idea of essentially deferring to the White House the ability to increase the debt ceiling in 2011. ... Perhaps they'll try something like that again. ... 2.) A deal. This remains a longshot, but there are members of both parties who would prefer some sort of global budget agreement to give everyone cover for increasing the debt ceiling."

WALL STREET GIANTS RACK UP LEGAL BILLS -  "The six biggest U.S. banks, led by JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) and Bank of America Corp., have piled up $103 billion in legal costs since the financial crisis, more than all dividends paid to shareholders in the past five years.

"That's the amount allotted to lawyers and litigation, as well as for settling claims about shoddy mortgages and foreclosures, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The sum, equivalent to spending $51 million a day, is enough to erase everything the banks earned for 2012. The mounting bills have vexed bankers who are counting on expense cuts to make up for slow revenue growth and make room for higher payouts."

BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to: Terry Bradshaw (65), Carly Fiorina (59), Jessica Naccache ….famous financial consultant, Bob Newhart (84).

The football season is now in full throttle, and Rink Rats will be making their picks each week for the balance of the season. Remember, bet with your head, not over it.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL PICK OF THE WEEK – Saturday 9/7, 8:00 PM ET, ESPN: #17 ranked Michigan Wolverines (1-0) entertain in the Big House the #12 ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish (1-0). The advantage is the Big House, Michigan 24 The Irish 17.  Season to date (1-0)

SMALL COLLEGE FOOTBALL PICK OF THE WEEK – Saturday 9/7, 10:00 PM ET, HGTV: #3 ranked Mary Hardin-Baylor Crusaders (0-0) visit the Redlands Bulldogs (0-0) at Ted Runner Stadium. The Crusaders from Belton, Texas will show no mercy on their SCIAC host – Mary Hardin-Baylor 45 Redlands 14. Season to date (0-0)

Rink Rats NFL Preseason Picks –

East – Dallas              North – Green Bay                South – New Orleans                       
West – Seattle            Wild Cards – San Francisco and New York Giants                       
Conference Champion – Seattle Seahawks

East – New England              North – Cincinnati                 South – Indianapolis
West – Denver           Wild Cards – Pittsburgh and Houston
Conference Champion – Denver Broncos

Super Bowl Champion – Denver Broncos

NFL PICK OF THE WEEK – Thursday 9/5, 8:30 PM ET, NBC: Defending Super Bowl Champions Baltimore Ravens (0-0) vs. Denver Broncos (0-0). A magical year ahead in Denver, Broncos 28 Baltimore 14. Season to date (0-0)


(NCAA, Sept. 7) South Carolina Gamecocks 32 Georgia Bulldogs 28
(NCAA, Sept. 7) Pomona-Pitzer Saghens 32 MIT Engineers 10
(MLB, Sept. 7) Boston Red Sox 5 New York Yankees 3
(NFL, Sept, 8) San Francisco 49ers 20 Green Bay Packers 17
Season to date (18-12)

QUOTE OF THE MONTH - “It is not enough to have a good mind. The main thing is to use it well.”   René Descartes

Next week: words of the month, Dear Rink Rats, and The Twilight Zone.

Until Next Monday, Adios.

Claremont, CA
September 2, 2013

#IV-20, 177