Monday, December 19, 2016

Twelve Days of Christmas

On the First Day of Christmas we prepared our Holiday Punch –

RINK RATS HOLIDAY PUNCH – Prep time five minutes, serves eight.
4 cups cranberry juice
1 bottle sparkling cider
1 liter ginger ale
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, about 2 lemons
12 ounces Ketel One vodka, optional but necessary
1 orange, sliced

In a large bowl, over ice combine all of the liquid ingredients. Float the orange slices on top, for garnish and serve.

On the Second Day of Christmas we selected our holiday music -


1). “Ave Maria”, 1957 – Perry Como

2). “Hallelujah”, 1984 – Leonard Cohen

3). “Rockin Around the Christmas Tree”, 1958 – Brenda Lee

4). “Santa Claus in Comin to Town”, 2007 – Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band

5). “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” (medley), 1962 – Ran Conniff Singers

On the Third Day of Christmas we celebrated this week’s birthdays -

BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to Pope Francis (80); Al Kaline (82) Franklin, MI.; Nancy Newman ...famous photographer; David Smith ….famous educator; Steven Speilberg (70) Aspen, CO.; Lesley Stahl (75) Manhattan, NY.

On the Fourth Day of Christmas we reviewed POTUS week ahead –

POTUS WEEKS AHEAD - The President will be in Honolulu, Hawaii through Monday, January 2, 2017. The President will receive the Presidential Daily Briefing every day. On Tuesday, December 27, the President will meet with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Honolulu, Hawaii. The meeting will be an opportunity for the two leaders to review our joint efforts over the past four years to strengthen the U.S.-Japan alliance, including our close cooperation on a number of security, economic, and global challenges. The President will also accompany Prime Minister Abe to the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor to honor those killed. The two leaders' visit will showcase the power of reconciliation that has turned former adversaries into the closest of allies, united by common interests and shared values.

On the Fifth Day of Christmas we read a Dear Rink Rats letter –

Dear Rink Rats:

I believe that Santa Claus is an elf. In “The Night Before Christmas,” Santa is described as “a right jolly old elf.” He is also said to travel by “miniature sleigh’ led by “eight tiny reindeer,” suggesting he is elf-size. My co-worker Elena believes, as many others do, that Santa is a kind of superpowered human. Who is right?


Steve in Petoskey, Michigan

Dear Steve,

Of the many iterations of the jolly home intruder/child punisher/rider of mutant steeds called “Santa” – from Odin, to Sinterklaas, too Joulupukki the Christian Goat – the concept of a shrunken mini-Santa is the most terrifying. But yes, Steve, if that old poem is to be believed, there is a Santa, and he is a tiny elf who, I guess, has enslaved his own people to make toys. But since we are grown-ups, I can finally tell you the truth your parents are apparently still hiding from you: I AM SANTA CLAUS. I will see you soon! When you are sleeping!


Rink Rats

On the Sixth Day of Christmas we ponder about the PEOTUS (Donald J. Trump) –

PEOTUS – never laughs; he smiles, but never laughs. I don’t know what it is. It is extremely rare to see or hear the president-elect himself laughing. Something to ponder.

On the Seventh Day of Christmas the Church of Scientology –

Welcome to Scientology's 'Graceland,' the beautiful secret 'last refuge' of the church's founder L Ron Hubbard who was hiding out from the FBI and IRS...and maybe future home of Tom Cruise: The secret spiritual home of the Church of Scientology..sits in Ceston, a remote area of San Luis Obispo County, California, and has been dubbed the 'Scientology Graceland', or the 'Garden of Eden'. It is the last resting place of founder L Ron Hubbard, and has been kept in pristine condition nearly 30 years after his death, held in the highest regard by the church and its followers.

On the Eighth Day of Christmas the College Chronicles –

COLLEGES TIGHTEN THE LEASH ON STUDENT WATCHDOGS: College administrators across the country have sought in recent years to avoid scrutiny from student journalists by trying to control content - even going so far as to threaten to pull funding or pressure advisers to avoid stories that may tarnish the colleges' carefully-crafted image. That's according to a report out today by the American Association of University Professors, the College Media Association, the National Coalition Against Censorship, and the Student Press Law Center, which says this rising resistance to scrutiny comes even as colleges have made at least a surface-level push to embrace civic engagement as part of the educational mission. "Few colleges and universities are 'walking the walk' of civic engagement in their governance of journalism, and too many are abandoning higher education's traditional commitment to free and independent journalistic voices," the report says.

College administrators have shown a growing tendency to meet behind closed doors and "thwart access" to critical information and documents , according to the report. When students do get their hands on juicy information, college leaders have gone to great lengths to keep them from publishing it. Nearly two dozen college media advisers surveyed this spring said they have faced some form of administrative pressure to control content, according to the report. Meanwhile, many colleges have cut journalism programs or funding for student-run publications - sometimes as a form of retaliation for coverage they didn't like. The report cites a number of such cases, including a February lawsuit at the University of Kansas, where a 50 percent cut to student activity-fees that fund the student paper was motivated at least in part by a desire to punish unfavorable editorial commentary.

Colleges are more obsessed with promoting a favorable public image than ever before, but a college that retaliates against students and faculty for unflattering journalism doesn't just look bad - it is bad," said Frank LoMonte, executive director of the Student Press Law Center. "We need a top-level commitment from the presidents of America's colleges and universities to support editorially independent student-run news coverage, including secure funding and retaliation protection for students and their advisers."

On the Ninth Day of Christmas Hockey 101 –

HOCKEY 101 - Are you a new fan to hockey and don’t know anything at all about the sport yet? Is hockey to you only fights? Does the movie Slap Shot represent to you the best in hockey? Are you an avid fan who wants to brush up on hockey know-how? You’ve come to the right place! Hockey 101 gets you updated on all the referee calls and what they mean.

On the Tenth Day of Christmas we select our Top Three Christmas movies –


1). “Fences”, Paramount Pictures, Budget: $24,000,000

2). “La La Land”, Summit Entertainment, Budget: $30,000,000

3). “Sing”, Universal, Budget: $75,000,000

On the Eleventh Day of Christmas The Swami makes his picks –

NFL GAME OF THE WEEK – Monday 12/26, 5:30 PM ET, ESPN: Detroit Lions (9-5) vs. Dallas Cowboys (12-2), the Lions do it to us every year, blow it! Cowboys win big 35 – 20.    Season to date (11-3)

COLLEGE FOOTBALL BOWL PICK OF THE WEEK – Saturday 12/24, 8:00 PM ET, ESPN; Hawaii Bowl: Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders (8-4) vs. Hawaii Rainbow Warriors (6-7), a blowout Blue Raiders win 45 – 17.     Season to date (11-4)

SMALL COLLEGE FOOTBALL PICK OF THE WEEK – Congratulations to the Mary Hardin-Baylor Crusaders (15-0) Division III Champions, until next season.   Season to date (9-6)

COLLEGE HOCKEY PICK OF THE WEEK – Wednesday 12/28, 4:00 PM ET, HGTV: The Florida College Classic in Southwest Florida, Northern Michigan Wildcats (4-14-2) vs. Cornell University Big Red (7-3-1), college hockey in the sunshine state, Big Red wins 6 – 2.  Season to date (4-6)


 (NFL, Dec, 25) Baltimore Ravens (8-6) at Pittsburgh Steelers (9-5). AFC North title up for grabs, Steel Curtain prevail 24 – 17.

(NBA, Dec, 23) San Antonio Spurs (22-5) at Portland Trail Blazers (13-16), Spurs 96 – 90.

(NHL, Dec. 23) Minnesota Wild (18-8-4) at New York Rangers (23-10-1), Rangers win 4 – 3.

Season to date (122 - 98)

On the Twelfth Day of Christmas we look at the Market Week –

MARKET WEEK - "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story" topped the weekend box office , scoring the second-best December opening ever with $155 million in North America, and $290.5 million worldwide, despite the spin-off not opening in China until the new year.
The dollar is cementing its domination of the currency market, trading near an almost 14-year high versus the euro as the Federal Reserve's more hawkish outlook invigorates its post-election rally. ...

The greenback headed for its best week in a month against major peers after surging to its strongest point since 2003 versus the euro and to a 10-month high against the yen. ... The Fed's pivot toward hawkishness marks a shift away from central-bank policy dominating market sentiment, with the potential for an increase in fiscal stimulus now in focus. ... [T]he Fed stands largely alone in actively tightening policy ... The Bank of England kept its key rate at a record low Thursday, a week after the European Central Bank extended quantitative easing.

Next week: 2016 Year in review.

Until Next Time, Merry Christmas.

Claremont, CA
December 20, 2016

CARTOON OF THE WEEK – Saturday Night Live

SNL crushed it with its take off of the Christmas Hit “Love Actually”, "Hillary Actually," skit in which Hillary Clinton (Kate McKinnon) went to an elector's house and tried to persuade her to not vote for Trump.

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