Monday, December 23, 2013

A Rink Rats Christmas

Our annual Christmas gifts and wishes list to those special individuals or groups on our Rink Rats gift giving list for 2013.

Rink Rats would like to give The City of La Verne a one year subscription to Real Estate Management magazine.

On our list is some “time to step it up” discipline to the Detroit Lions Football Club.

A Rink Rats Christmas gift to Fox News, for intelligence and common sense in news reporting for 2014.

Rink Rats would like to give Sue Ellen Mischke in the College of Business & Public Management a year of solid work and an opportunity to show us what you really do for the College???? Where is your office?

We have a special gift for realization to the Obama Administration; we have no money, deal with it.

To Speaker of the House John Boehner, an invitation to any M.B.A. program in America on managing people.

To Wells Fargo Bank, a gift of my business; not because you are a well operated bank, quite the opposite – I don’t think it can get any worse in 2014.

To the squirrels of Claremont, California – a separate plate of food in my garden, so now leave my bird food alone.

1).  “It’s a Wonderful Life”, 1946       
2). “Holiday Inn”, 1942
3).  “Home Alone”, 1990
4).  “A Christmas Carol”, 1951        
5). “Christmas Vacation”, 1989

1.         Candy Cane Cocktail: Festive Christmas cocktails add to the cheery atmosphere. For this drink, combine 2 ounces strawberry vodka, 4 dashes white crème de menthe, 2 ½ ounces cranberry juice, and ice in a cocktail shaker. Combine well and strain into glasses. Use crushed candy cane as a garnish around the rim.

 2.        The Blizzard: Hot Christmas cocktails are a comforting beverage when it’s cold outside. In a glass coffee mug, stir together 1 ½ ounces Irish whiskey or rum, ½ ounce hazelnut liqueur, and ½ ounce Irish cream liqueur. Top with hot coffee and a dollop of whipped cream.

 3.        Eggnog Martini: This Christmas cocktail recipe puts a new spin on an old classic. Stir in your favorite brandy with either homemade or store-bought eggnog and ladle into glasses garnished with pumpkin-pie spice. If you’re feeling adventurous, try this homemade eggnog recipe.

4.         Mulled Wine: Warm Christmas cocktails are a toasty treat. Start by zesting and then juicing a large orange. With the flat side of a knife, bruise two cardamom pods and combine with the zest, juice, 6 whole cloves, 6 allspice berries, 6 whole black peppercorns, 1 cinnamon stick, 3 cups of fruity red wine, ½ cup of sugar, and ¼ cup of brandy in a large non-aluminum pot. Cook over medium heat for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring. Reduce the heat to low and continue to simmer until the flavors have melded (approximately 30 minutes). Pour through a fine-mesh sieve and serve immediately.

5.         White Cosmopolitan: Perfect for a chilly, sophisticated Christmas cocktail. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and then add 1 cup white-cranberry juice, 4 ounces vodka, and 2 ounces Cointreau. Shake to combine well and strain into large martini glasses. Serves 2.


BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to: Heidi Bravo …famous teacher, Richard Chute …famous fundraiser, Jack Ham (65), Annie Lennox (59), Cokie Roberts (70), Jon Voight (75), Denzel Washington (59).

GET READY FOR 2014 - As 2013 winds down, it's worth looking at some critical economic moments coming up early next year. The biggest of course is likely to the debt limit fight, which should start in late March and conclude sometime later in the spring. It remains unclear what Republicans will demand in return for raising the borrowing limit but they will almost certainly demand something either on health care or deficit reduction. Conventional wisdom is the fight won't be so bad next year but that wisdom is based more in hope than fact. ...

Huge Fed meeting takes place March 18th and 19th. It will presumably be Janet Yellen's first as chairman. She will meet the press on the 19th and could be announcing an end to the central bank's massive stimulus program. The stakes will be huge for markets and the economy the rest of the year. Will Yellen quickly win investors' trust? Will she be able to clearly communicate a complex and unprecedented stimulus unwinding? How much more will she do to tamp down the unemployment rate? ...

April 30th offers a first read on first quarter GDP. Fourth quarter growth is likely to be weak given shutdown impact but there is a great deal of hope that 2014 will be significantly better, closer to 3% growth or more. This will be our first look at whether those predictions come true. ... Even sooner, the first jobs report of 2014 arrives January 10th and will tell us if the stronger trend of 200K-plus growth the last couple months will continue into the New Year.

HANDY 2014 CALENDARS - Fed meetings: ;Jobs and other labor data: ; GDP and other economic data:

2016 - With eyes on Hillary Clinton, Democrats fight to maintain digital edge, some of the biggest names and deepest pockets of the Clinton and Obama eras are involved in various digital efforts, including billionaire financier George Soros, Clinton insider Harold Ickes, Google's Eric Schmidt and former Obama campaign manager Jim Messina. ... The network of super PACs functioning as a ... Clinton campaign-in-waiting are at the center of the data tug-of-war. The hub, Ready for Hillary, is working on data initiatives that are unprecedented for a candidate-specific super PAC ... A 50-state voter file ... will merge granular historical data for every registered voter in the country with social media and email information ...

The super PAC intends to deploy the new database as early as January to mobilize supporters, ... building and executing a model of voter coalitions and messages to win a presidential campaign. ... A direct mail program [using] Clinton's likeness, and testimonials from high-profile surrogates, [will] raise cash and collect supporter data. It's expected to launch sometime in the first quarter of 2014 ... It's expected that ... data ... would be rented, swapped or sold to Clinton's campaign, meaning contracts ... are being closely watched as a symbolic foot-in-the-door to the 2016 effort.

BERNANKE'S FINAL ACT - Ben Bernanke took his foot off the gas. The Federal Reserve chairman, wrapping up a tumultuous eight-year term in which he helped the nation fight back from the worst recession since the 1930s, said ... the central bank will begin pulling back on its unprecedented stimulus efforts, arguing the economy is finally gaining enough strength for the Fed to begin its long-awaited retreat. ... Investors embraced both the Fed's message and its policy moves sending stock markets to record highs following the announcement. ... The Fed's maneuvering may seem technical and eye-glazing. The term 'quantitative easing' is not one most people use over the dinner table.

But the central bank's decision ... represents a declaration from Bernanke, on his way out the door, that the economy is finally healing and no longer requires the kind of massive emergency help the Fed began to apply following the financial crisis and subsequent recession ... 'This is the first change in policy since 2006 which has been away from the direction' of stimulus, said Ian Shepherdson of Pantheon Macroeconomics. 'In the great scheme of things it does not seem like a big deal but when you think about the fact that it's the first time in seven years that they have moved this way you see that it's a very big deal.

Today is the Federal Reserves 100th Birthday.

NEW ERA OF PREDICTABLE POLICY? - "The Fed's move means 'predictable monetary policy for the next year or more and that's bullish for markets and positive for the economy,' said David Kotok, chief investment officer and Cumberland Advisors. Couple that with more predictable fiscal policy in Washington, and some economists are looking for 2014 growth closer to 3 percent, which should mean faster wage and job growth, lower deficits and possibly a transformed political landscape.

"Bernanke said that because unemployment remains high at 7 percent, the central bank believes it should not abandon its bond buying program immediately. He also said that the Fed will likely work to keep short-term interest rates at current levels 'well past' the point at which the unemployment rate dips below 6.5 percent, a decision that also pleased investors"

STUDENT LOAN STUDY - The first comprehensive study of the private student loan market since the near government takeover of the entire industry was released last week by MeasureOne ... Two conclusions: Only 4 percent of students borrowing from banks are in default, a significant reduction due to responsible underwriting. The US Government now controls over 90% of the market, holds over 90% of the $1trillion plus student loan debt, and has a disturbing and ever increasing 15% default rate."

COLLEGE FOOTBALL PICK OF THE WEEK – Saturday 12/28, 7:15 PM ET, ESPN: The Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, from Tempe, Arizona – Michigan Wolverines (7-5) vs. Kansas State Wildcats (7-5). The difficult year will continue for The Big Blue, K State 38 Michigan 28.   Season to date (11-6)

SMALL COLLEGE FOOTBALL PICK OF THE WEEK – Congratulations to the University of Wisconsin Whitewater Whitehawks (15-0) for winning the D-III National Championship 52 – 14 over Mount Union (14-1).  Final Season totals (10-5)

NFL PICK OF THE WEEK – Sunday 12/29, 4:25 PM ET, Fox: Winner take all weekend begins with the Green Bay Packers (7-7-1) visiting windy and cold Soldiers Field and the Chicago Bears (8-7). The Norris Division is up for grabs, we like The Pack 21 – 20.  Season to date (11-4)

SPORTS BLINK - NFL Playoff Picture: Tom Brady and Peyton Manning clinched division titles, Cam Newton reached the postseason for the first time ... The Chicago Bears ... host Green Bay next Sunday -- the winner takes the NFC North, ... Several hours later, in the last game of the regular season, the Dallas Cowboys will host the Philadelphia Eagles. The Sunday night showdown decides who wins the NFC East ...All the AFC division titles got settled. Denver, New England and Cincinnati won to join Indianapolis with crowns. Kansas City is assured of one AFC wild-card spot. Defending Super Bowl champion Baltimore, Miami and San Diego are tied at 8-7 for the other slot with even Pittsburgh at 7-8 still in it.

Newton and his Carolina Panthers, along with Seattle, are the only NFC teams with guaranteed playoff berths. San Francisco (10-4) can clinch a playoff spot Monday night with a win against visiting Atlanta. ... Carolina (11-4) can wrap up the NFC South and a first-round bye in the playoffs with a win next Sunday at Atlanta. ... The 49ers, New Orleans and Arizona are competing for the last two NFC playoff slots.

PEYTON RECORD - NFL release:  Denver quarterback PEYTON MANNING ... has 51 touchdown passes and passed TOM BRADY (50 in 2007) for the most touchdown passes in a single season ... Manning ... is the fifth different player to throw for at least 5,000 yards in a single season. He joins DREW BREES (three times), Pro Football Hall of Famer DAN MARINO, TOM BRADY and MATTHEW STAFFORD.


(NCAA Pinstripe Bowl, Dec. 28) Rutgers Scarlet Knights (6-6) 38 vs. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (8-4) 35.

(NCAA Hockey, Dec. 28) New Hampshire Wildcats (9-9-1) 3 vs. #15 Cornell University Big Red (7-4-2) 4

(NHL, Dec. 28) Phoenix Coyotes (19-10-6)  2 at Anaheim Ducks (26-7-5)  4

(NFL Upset of the Week, Dec. 29) Philadelphia Eagles (9-6) 21 vs. Dallas Cowboys (8-7) 31

Season to date (53-44)

DRIVING THE WEEK - Apple announced its long-awaited mobile phone distribution deal with China Mobile last night, and iPhones should hit the Chinese market next month under the new deal. Could the China Mobile deal push Apple to new heights? The tech giant's stock reached a 52-week high of $575.14 this month.

After a banner year for stocks, some analysts think U.S. equities still have room to rise through 2014. Today is the last day for consumers to obtain health care coverage that would take effect on Jan. 1, and new rules under Obamacare leave insurers guessing how the new law will unfold.  A final fight over the federal budget looms in Washington this week.

Next week: the best and worst of 2013.

I want to wish you the joy of this special season and a happy, healthy 2014.  2013 certainly brought its challenges, but as this year draws to a close, I can't help but feel very, very blessed. I wish all my friends the best for the holidays and peace and health to you all.


Rink Rats

Until Next Monday, ‘Happy Holidays”

Claremont, CA
December 23, 2013

#IV-36, 193

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