Friday, February 20, 2015
The Red Carpet
A special Friday edition of Rink Rats this week, or should we call it the Red Carpet edition.
It is the time of year for Red Carpets, those walkathons for celebrities whether you know who they are or not. Careers have been made or lost on the Red Carpet: what you wear, how you wear it, what you say, how you say it.
In fact America is obsessed with the Red Carpet. In fact last weekend I took my car for a 60,000 mile checkup and I walked the Red Carpet to the service counter. While on the carpet I was interviewed twice and had my picture taken, I thought about a selfie but had on the wrong outfit.
Even business events and conferences have Red Carpets. There is nothing creepier than seeing a fellow worker in a too tight fitting dress and the wrong makeup walking the Red Carpet. I purposely look away when I see the infamous Dr. Evil in a tuxedo walking the Red Carpet. Who is Dr. Evil, for liability reasons I cannot disclose his true name. But lets’ just say the Red Carpet and Dr. Evil are a bad fit.
It is asking enough to listen to local morning news anchors every morning, but to see them interview and report from the Red Carpet is too much for a person to take. What does Brad Pitt really say after he is questioned by these air heads? Now that would be interesting.
I believe Facebook is a modern, digital version of the Red Carpet: who are you dating, where I am eating, I love my life, etc. We really don’t care, but we have to watch and listen. The good thing about Facebook is you do not have to wear Armani and you can bend the truth.
THE SWAMI’S OSCAR PICKS –
Best Movie – Birdman
Best Actor – Michael Keaton
Best Actress – Julianne Moore
Best Supporting Actor – J.K. Simmons
Best Supporting Actress – Emma Stone
Best Director – Alejandro Inarritu, Birdman
Best Animated Movie – Big Hero 6
HAPPY NEW YEAR - 農曆新年
Chinese New Year is an important Chinese festival celebrated at the turn of the Chinese calendar. In China, it is also known as the Spring Festival, the literal translation of the modern Chinese name. Chinese New Year celebrations traditionally run from Chinese New Year's Eve, the last day of the last month of the Chinese calendar, to the Lantern Festival on the 15th day of the first month, making the festival the longest in the Chinese calendar. It falls between January 21 and February 20. Because the Chinese calendar is lunisolar, the Chinese New Year is often referred to as the "Lunar New Year".
The Goat comes 8th in the Chinese zodiac. The 12 zodiac animals are: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig.
According to Chinese astrology, each year (starting from Chinese New Year) is associated with an animal sign, occurring in a 12-year cycle. For example 2015 is a year of the Goat.
Lucky Colors: brown, red, purple
Lucky Numbers: 2, 7
Lucky Flowers: carnation, primrose
Year of Birth: 1919, 1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003, 2015, 2027
COLLEGE CHRONICLES - Harvard grads lead IPO class of 2014, the Ivy League school is the alma mater for seven chief executives who led their companies' IPOs last year. ... Tied for second place ... were Columbia, ... Stanford, Texas Tech ... and University of North Carolina. Each school produced three CEOs who took their companies public.
TOP REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES –
1) JEB BUSH (age 62, to Hillary's 67): He's got money, momentum, Florida, big ideas. His surprise, early signal that he's running is THE PLAY OF THE CAMPAIGN so far -- pushing OUT Mitt and perhaps Christie by freezing or stealing their money and talent. Jeb will be first Republican to $100 million by a mile. Now, watch for the use of overwhelming force to lock up more talent, donors and public endorsements. His big unknown: actual voters. A story leading the Tampa Bay Times today says Iowa "looks hostile,' in part because voters actually matter.
2) GOV. SCOTT WALKER (age 47): He's got a Wisconsin winning streak, union-bashing, newness and ambition. His boffo performance at the Iowa Freedom Summit got the chattering class to notice. Now, watch for him to position himself as conservative Midwest savior, snuggled between Jeb's moderation and Cruz's rigidity. After CPAC (a week and four days from now), Walker plans rat-a-rat trips to the three earliest states - Iowa, N.H., S.C. - within a month.
3) SEN. MARCO RUBIO (age 43): The Floridian is winning fans among future-thinking conservatives, especially younger ones. He's buffing up on foreign policy and could plausibly be the most sophisticated national-security thinker in the field (grading on a curve, of course). He's blowing off Senate votes to raise coin and planning trips to Iowa and New Hampshire. And in private, his aides are making clear his relationship with Bush wouldn't be a deterrent. Remains Playbook's top pick for veep under the "no two white dudes on a ticket" rule.
4) SEN. RAND PAUL (age 52): He's got creativity, social-media savvy, an early-state organization, and the capacity to surprise. SCOOP: Rand plans to continue his effort to reach beyond traditional GOP audiences with an upcoming appearance at a historically black college (he's still nailing down location). Now, watch to see if he can truly upend what we know about the GOP electorate -- and Rand and his family.
5) SEN. TED CRUZ (age 44): His right-wing lingo and street cred could propel him to an Iowa win, which would rattle the GOP establishment and ignite a media frenzy. He heads to Florida on Friday, venturing onto Jeb/Marco turf, as Rand did yesterday. Cruz is trying to look more serious and less scary by emphasizing national security - he did fine last Sunday in satellite interviews from the Munich Security Conference with George Stephanopoulos on ABC's "This Week," and Dana Bash on CNN's "State of the Union." Don't discount how much true-believers like Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) like the guy.
THE REST: Gov. Chris Christie (age 52) was #5 when we first kicked around this list two weeks ago. Christie has candor, a winning record, raw ambition and some big donors. But Jeb's fundraising juggernaut has squeezed Christie much worse than top Republicans had expected. And Christie's London trip, where the biggest stories were about his stance on vaccines and his unwillingness to answer a question about ISIS, showed that the tough-guy shtick needs more work. Our leader board, of course, will change in radical ways in the weeks ahead -- especially if another governor -- John Kasich of Ohio, Mike Pence of Indiana -- gets serious.
THE DEMOCRATS, ONLY HILLARY - Hillary Clinton, expecting no major challenge for the Democratic nomination, is strongly considering delaying the formal launch of her presidential campaign until July, three months later than originally planned, top Dems tell Playbook. The delay until summer, from the original April target, would give her more time to develop her message, policy and organization, outside the chaos and spotlight of a public campaign.
The danger - and a reason the plan could be scrapped - is that the comparatively leisurely rollout could fuel complaints among nervous Dems that she is treating the nomination fight as a coronation. Already, her allies are contemplating the possibility that she may not have to debate before the general election.
A Democrat familiar with her thinking said: "She doesn't feel under any pressure, and they see no primary challenge on the horizon. If you have the luxury of time, you take it." One adviser said: "She doesn't want to feel pressured by the press to do something before she's ready. She's better off as a non-candidate. Why not wait?"
A huge advantage to waiting is that Clinton postpones the time when she goes before the public as a politician rather than as a former secretary of State. Polling by both Dems and Republicans shows that one of her biggest vulnerabilities is looking political. So the Clinton camp has enjoyed watching her recede from the headlines in recent weeks as Jeb Bush and Mitt Romney amped up their potential candidacies.
One option that is being considered would be to announce an exploratory committee earlier - perhaps in April, at the beginning of a new fundraising quarter, when insiders originally expected her to launch her campaign. The actual kickoff would be in July, near the start of the next quarter. By launching at the beginning of a quarter, supporters have the maximum amount of time to generate a blockbuster total for their first report.
The delay would pose complications for the infrastructure that has been built in anticipation of her candidacy. Ready for Hillary, a super PAC that expects to go out of business once the campaign begins, would have to fund its data-gathering and grass-roots activities longer than expected.
BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to: Phil Esposito (73), Peter Gabriel (65), Hal Holbrook (90), Jim Kelly (55), Kevin Marshall …famous Professor, Sidney Poitier (88), Rene Russo (61), Cybill Shepherd (65), Chuck Yeager (92).
APPLE CAR TO ARRIVE BY 2020 - Apple Inc., which has been working secretly on a car, is pushing its team to begin production of an electric vehicle as early as 2020 ... The timeframe - automakers typically spend five to seven years developing a car - underscores the project's aggressive goals and could set the stage for a battle for customers with Tesla Motors Inc. and General Motors Co., both of which are targeting a 2017 release of an electric vehicle that can go more than 200 miles on a single charge and cost less than $40,000.
MARKET WEEK - U.S. stock futures were higher in early trading, as investors focus on the Greek debt talks. A positive session on Wall Street today could propel the Dow and S&P 500 to a third straight week of gains.
As the technology-heavy Nasdaq closes in on its all-time high reached in March 2000, investors are facing a market that barely resembles the go-go era of 15 years ago.
Next week: Jack Ass of the Month.
Until Next Monday, Adios
February 20, 2015
CARTOON OF THE WEEK – L. Cullum