Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Black Friday - What You Need To Know . . .

Please, Remember Them This Thanksgiving!

Philly Pops Christmas Spectacular Begins 12/4!

The Philly POPS brings the holiday spirit to Philadelphia with 10 Christmas Spectacular shows, December 4-22, 2015.

Acclaimed conductor David Charles Abell leads the 65-piece POPS orchestra and three full choirs (for a total of 300 musicians on stage) in the Christmas Spectacular concerts. Joining the POPS on stage will be: guest vocalist (and Broadway veteran) Lisa Vroman, the Emmy-winning Philadelphia Boys Choir and Grammy-nominated African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas Gospel Choir, the POPS Festival Chorus, and organist Peter Richard Conte through an all-new program featuring holiday favorites like Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas and Hallelujah.

“It’s a holiday experience you simply can’t have anywhere else,” says Abell (who lived in Philadelphia for seven years and attended Germantown Friends). “I always make sure that the program has something for everyone: grand symphonic arrangements of Christmas carols, popular holiday songs, and Christmas music done in swing style, Chanukah favorites, rousing Gospel numbers, and the ever-popular audience singalong.”

He continued: “The Kimmel Center is a warm, inviting place to hear concerts, but it also has a sense of grandeur.  Verizon Hall is dressed up beautifully in holiday finery, and the stage is completely filled with musicians. If you add to that Broadway star Lisa Vroman, Peter Richard Conte on the pipe organ, and a certain guy in a red suit, you’ve got a true Christmas Spectacular!”

Pre-concert entertainment – including Mr. and Mrs. Claus, carolers, local school ensembles – sets the merry scene in the Kimmel Center lobby before each show.
During the December 16 and 20 concerts, winning choirs from More FM’s Christmas Choir Competition perform on-stage. On December 9, Miss America 2016 Betty Cantrell will sing during the concert.

Schedule of events:
Friday, December 4th
Saturday, December 5th
3p.m. Concert

Sunday, December 6th
3p.m. Concert

Wednesday, December 9th
8p.m. Concert
Miss America 2016 Betty Cantrell performs

Saturday, December 12th
Pre-show entertainment: String Theory School
3p.m. Concert
Wednesday, December 16th
8p.m. Concert
More FM Christmas Choir Competition winning school choir performs

Friday, December 18th
3p.m. Concert

Saturday, December 19th
Pre-show entertainment: Andrew Jackson Rock Band “Home”
3p.m. Concert

Sunday, December 20th
7p.m. Concert

Tuesday, December 22nd
8p.m. Concert
More FM Christmas Choir Competition winning school choir performs


About David Charles Abell
Conductor David Charles Abell, who attended Germantown Friends School, made his Philly POPS debut in 2013 and is thrilled to have re-established a warm connection with Philadelphia.
David is most widely known for the two Les Misérables Anniversary Concerts (10th and 25th), both of which have become PBS fund-raising perennials. Now living in London, he regularly appears on radio and television in the UK, most notably at the BBC Proms, London’s annual music festival at the Royal Albert Hall. These appearances have included the Richard Rodgers Centenary celebration (2002), a world premiere opera (2007), Stephen Sondheim’s 80th birthday (2010) and the War Horse Prom (2014).
David attended Yale University and studied at Conservatoire Américain in France and the Juilliard School. He made his professional conducting debut in Berlin with Bernstein’s Mass.

About Lisa Vroman
From Broadway to classics, on stage and in concert, guest artist Lisa Vroman has established herself as one of America's most versatile voices. She starred on Broadway, Los Angeles and San Francisco as Christine Daaé in The Phantom of the Opera. Lisa is a frequent guest with symphonies including San Francisco, Philadelphia, Dallas, Utah, St. Louis, Houston, Atlanta, Hong Kong, Cleveland, National, Cleveland, the BBC Concert Orchestra, as well as the Philly, Boston, Cincinnati, and New York Pops.
Her Broadway debut was in Aspects of Love and she was the first to play both Fantine and Cosette in Les Misérables.  She is a graduate of the Crane School of Music, SUNY Potsdam (BM, Hon. Dr. of Music) and Carnegie-Mellon University (MFA), and is a George London Competition winner.

About The Philly POPS 
The Philly POPS, the largest standalone pops orchestra in the United States, delights audiences with the inspired performance of American popular music. Now in its 37th season, the POPS celebrates this distinctive musical heritage through an expanding repertoire of innovative concert presentations and a robust set of educational and engagement initiatives.

The holidays are truly the most wonderful time of the year for the POPS. We get in the holiday spirit in November and December with our Festival Brass playing carols at tree lightings around the Philadelphia region. Our annual I’ll Be Home for Christmas Spectacular concert kicks off the season with a free concert for military, police and fire department families. The nine concerts that follow bring more than 20,000 people to the Kimmel Center to enjoy our popular Christmas Spectacular Series.

Why Turkeys Gobble: You Won't Believe it!

Gobble, gobble!
Happy Thanksgiving!
Of course, we humans associate gobbling with eating -- as in gobbling up turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, corn, green beans, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce and lots of wondrous desserts.
But it's the turkeys who really gobble.
Why do they gobble?
Well, to begin with not all turkeys gobble. Only the male turkeys make the distinctive gobbling sound. Female turkeys don't gobble. They make a sound that's more like a chirp.
But the guys just gotta gobble. And the real men gobble loudly and proudly.
It's too attract the female, silly! It's a sexual thing -- sorta like the call of the wild or a boast.
And when the guys are ready and on the prowl, they make it known. This "lion's roar" by the male turkey not only announces his presence to females but it also warns his rivals to stay away. Also, to maximize the range of their calls, male turkeys often gobble from the treetops.
Now you know.

Christie Pardons Recovering Drug Addict And Advocate

Acting on his commitment to helping people reclaim their lives from the destructive cycle of substance abuse and crime, Governor Chris Christie today granted a pardon to Philadelphia resident John F. Berry, who was convicted more than 40 years ago in New Jersey for robbery and possession of stolen property as a result of his extensive drug use. 

For the last 36 years, Berry has transformed his life, focusing his commitment to addiction programs that serve adults and children separating from correctional facilities.

“John’s story is the reason why I believe that no life is disposable,” said Governor Christie. “Through the years, he has overcome many hurdles and set a positive example of what can be achieved when given a second chance to make things right in your life.  I want to thank John for his courage and commitment, for giving back to others through his advocacy and by serving as a symbol of hope and influence to those overcoming the disease of addiction.”

Born and raised in Philadelphia, John Berry is 61 years old and is married with three children. Over 40 years ago, Berry was convicted of Robbery and Possession of Stolen Property in Atlantic County. In 2012, Mr. Berry received a pardon from then-Governor Corbett for prior offenses in that state occurring during the time of his addiction. 

Berry has made tremendous inroads to successfully manage his addiction, completing a detoxification program and joining a 12-Step recovery program.

He earned a Bachelor of Science degree from St. Joseph’s University in 2007. Today, Berry is a Case Manager for the Philadelphia Treatment Court Unit, where he has worked continuously for the past 17 years, touching and impacting the lives of more than 1,000 individuals who sought treatment through the Treatment Court program.

He has been honored for his work as a drug counselor receiving numerous awards, including the Honorable Lucien E. Blackwell Guiding Lights in the Community Award.

Mr. Berry sought the Governor’s action because he believes that his example could help others find hope that they too can be productive members of society by seeing that positive conduct is rewarded. He also believes a pardon will help him further his career in criminal justice. 

Since the beginning of his administration, Governor Christie has placed a strong emphasis on changing the conversation on drug addiction and put the focus on treatment and recovery.

Action taken includes:
  • Expanding New Jersey’s Drug Court Program so that first time nonviolent offenders have the opportunity to get the treatment they need rather than jail time;
  • Implementing a groundbreaking one-stop model for re-entry that connects comprehensive services to ex-offenders re-entering society;
  • Forming an Interim Management Entity – as a single point of entry for individuals and families to access drug treatment services as quickly as possible;
  • Developing a Recovery Coach program to help those recovering from an overdose reversal to reach and connect with treatment, counseling, and support services in the immediate aftermath of their overdose – a critical moment for successful intervention;
  • Implementing and expanding a statewide program to train and equip first responders in the administration of Narcan to save lives and reduce the number of heroin-related deaths;
  • Expanded the Prescription Monitoring Program (NJPMP).

Pope Departs For Kenya, Uganda

This morning the Holy Father departed for Kenya, Uganda and the Central African Republic, on the eleventh apostolic trip of his papacy.

At 7.15 a.m., before leaving for Rome's Fiumicino airport, he received in the Domus Sanctae Marthae eleven women and six children from a Refuge House for victims of domestic violence and trafficking for the purposes of prostitution, according to the Apostolic Almoner. The women were Italian, Nigerian, Romanian and Ukrainian, and are housed in a structure managed by a religious congregation in a village in the Lazio region.

Following the audience, the Pope travelled by car to Fiumicino where he departed for Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, where he is expected to arrive shortly after 3 p.m. (Rome), 5 p.m. local time. He will be received by the president of the Republic, Uhuru Kenyatta, and by the cardinal archbishop of Nairobi John Njue, along with the president of the Episcopal Conference Bishop Philip A. Anyolo and other representatives of the episcopate.

He will then transfer to the State House of Nairobi, where the welcome ceremony and courtesy visit to President Uhuru Kenyatta will take place. Subsequently, in the garden of the State House, he will meet with the authorities and the diplomatic corps, along with other figures from the political, economic and cultural spheres, after which he will pronounce his first discourse on African soil.

The Joy Of Thanksgiving . . .

Is THIS The Way To Stand Up To ISIS?

Obama Says He Will Stand Up To ISIS By Attending Global Warmin...Barack Obama says he will “rebuke” ISIS by attending a global climate conference in Paris next week.
Posted by The Daily Caller on Tuesday, November 24, 2015

So, Obama will attend the global summit on climate change.
That'll show 'em! Grrrrr!

World Meeting Gave Much To Be Thankful For

A special Thanksgiving-eve message from Philadelphia Archbishop Charles J. Chaput:

Dear friends in Christ,

This Thursday (November 26) we celebrate a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday and on Sunday, the start of Advent and a new Church year.  It’s a good time to pause and reflect.

Three years ago, when the Holy See asked us to consider hosting the World Meeting of Families, the Church in Philadelphia faced financial and other serious problems that should have ensured a failure.  What happened instead was the crowning event of the Holy Father’s visit to the United States; the most successful family congress in World Meeting of Families history; and a city that welcomed Pope Francis with roughly a million enthusiastic voices from every part of the globe. 

World Meeting of Families 2015 was a moment of grace for all of us in Greater Philadelphia.  The reason it succeeded, despite the many difficulties we faced, was you – the priests, deacons, religious and people of our local Church, joined by many other people and public leaders of good will.  

There’s a lesson in this as we go forward.  God can invite us to do great things, but the hands he relies on to achieve them belong to ordinary Christians moved by extraordinary love.  Every prayer, every act of material support and every sacrifice you made to help the World Meeting of Families succeed made a difference – including the hardships of those who tried for many hours to attend the closing papal Mass, but were unable to do so because of the rigorous security.  God will bless them with exactly the same grace as every other person on the parkway that day.

Advent is a season of preparation for the birth of Jesus Christ.  Every Christmas reminds us that God so loved the world that he sent his only son to be born as one of us, in order to redeem and renew creation.  

World MeetinThis Advent we have the seeds of a new spirit of life in our Church, thanks to the World Meeting of Families.  It’s now up to us to nurse those seeds into a rebirth of Catholic discipleship and witness in all our parishes in the years ahead.

Thank you with all my heart for making the World Meeting of Families a success against the odds; a success that will shape many lives and be remembered for many years.  May God bless you, your parish communities and your families -- this Thanksgiving, in the coming days of Advent and always. 

Gratefully yours in Jesus Christ,

+Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap.
 Most Reverend Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap.

Archbishop of Philadelphia

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

He Says You Have To LISTEN First

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie addressing the Council on Foreign Relations today in Washington.

One Thing You Must Not Do On Thanksgiving . . .

Copy this notice and post it on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest - everywhere!
Spread the word!
Let's get everyone to resolve not to shop on Thanksgiving Day so that we can end this madness.
Let Thanksgiving be the great American holiday it was meant to be - a joyful day of gratitude with families, neighbors and friends.
Say NO to the degradation of Thanksgiving.

Shocker: How One State's Taxes Choke Charities

New Jersey’s confiscatory tax climate is responsible for the highest property taxes and worst business climate in the country, but it is also having another deleterious effect.

Today, New Jersey ranks among the least philanthropic states in the country according to a new report from the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).

“The season of giving is upon us, yet how sad is it that New Jersey has reached the point where people can no longer afford to be as generous as they would like to be because of high taxes,” remarked AFP state director Erica Jedynak. “We might as well refer to our income tax as the anti-benevolence tax.”

The ALEC report, State Factor: The Effect of State Taxes on Charitable Giving, examined data from 1997-2012 and revealed an inverse correlation between taxes and charitable giving. As stated in the report’s conclusion, “[I]ndividuals in states with high taxes donate less and individuals in states with lower taxes donate more.” 

New Jersey placed 43rd on ALEC’s list for the period 1997-2012 and 46th for the period of 2008-2012.

“As Ronald Reagan said, ‘the spirit of voluntary giving [is] ingrained in the American character.’ So it is with New Jerseyans of good will who would no doubt love to give more to causes they care about and to help those who are impoverished or sick,” said Jedynak.

“Yet, instead of being able to donate more to causes that dispense charity with a warm heart and lift people up, their hard-earned money is filtering through the cold hands of bureaucracy and ensnaring people in dependency.”

“There is little compassion in that, and it’s just one more reason we need ease the tax burden on New Jersey families.”

Seven Fishes Feast Will Aid Charities, Kids

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia is proud to participate in the 7th Annual Feast of the Seven Fishes Dinner presented by Talk Radio 1210 WPHT and benefitting the Catholic Charities Appeal as well as The Archbishop’s Christmas Benefit for Children.

Monday, December 14, 2015
6:30 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.
Sonesta Philadelphia Hotel
1800 Market Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103

Dom Giordano will host special guests including Jim Amato, Deputy Secretary for Catholic Social Services, Taya Kyle, wife of American Sniper Chris Kyle, and other local guests from the world of politics, entertainment and sports.  A quartet will play holiday music in between portions of the program while attendees enjoy a traditional Italian seafood feast.

A portion of proceeds will benefit the Catholic Charities Appeal and The Archbishop’s Christmas Benefit for Children. To purchase tickets visit:

A live broadcast of the evening is available at

The Catholic Charities Appeal feeds, clothes, shelters, and educates more than 200,000 people across our region every year, regardless of their faith. To learn more about the Appeal, visit

The Archbishop's Christmas Benefit for Children is an annual fundraising initiative that raises critically needed funds for the continuing support of programs that benefit children suffering from neglect, poverty, and continued abuse. This year’s event will be held on December 17th.  To learn more, visit 

On Turkey, Russia And Even Mali, Romney Was Right!

Last week there was a gruesome terrorist attack in Mali.
Mali, you say?
Yes -- Mali. That's the country Mitt Romney warned about in 2012. And most of the pundits and nearly all of the mainstream media mocked him and laughed about it when he made his warning.
"Mali has been taken over, the northern part of Mali by al Qaeda type individuals," Romney said. "With Mali now having North Mali taken over by al-Qaeda, with Syria having [Bashar al-Assad] continuing to kill, to murder his own people, this is a region in tumult."
So, once again Romney was right.
And the pundits and mainstream media were wrong.
But Romney has been right again and again.
Romney warned about Turkey as well. And Turkey is now in the news for shooting down a Russian airplane. 
Here's what Romney said:
Our desire to bring our troops home, safely and soon, is met with our recognition that if Iraq descends into all-out civil war, millions could die; that Iraq’s Sunni region could become a base for Al Qaeda; that its Shia region could be seized by Iran; that Kurd tension could destabilize Turkey; and even that the broader Middle East could be drawn into conflict. The possible implications for America and for American interests from such developments could be devastating.
And Romney warned about the destabilizing effect of our withdrawl from Iraq in such a way that now seems almost prophetic.
Here's what he said:
“In Iraq, the costly gains made by our troops are being eroded by rising violence, a resurgent Al Qaeda, the weakening of democracy in Baghdad, and the rising influence of Iran. And yet, America’s ability to influence events for the better in Iraq has been undermined by the abrupt withdrawal of our entire troop presence. The president tried — and failed — to secure a responsible and gradual drawdown that would have better secured our gains.”
What's more, it's now well known and generally clear that Romney was right about Russia's threat to American security and world peace. Even when mocked by Obama, Romney refused to back down.
Here's how he explained it:
“Russia, I indicated, is a geopolitical foe… and I said in the same paragraph I said and Iran is the greatest national security threat we face. Russia does continue to battle us in the UN time and time again. I have clear eyes on this. I’m not going to wear rose-colored glasses when it comes to Russia or Mr. Putin.”

Botton line: Romney was right.
And America voted wrong.
Now, we're in one helluva mess.
Did you laugh at Romney then? Did you believe Obama and the mainstream media and the liberals who mocked Romney?
Did you vote for Obama?
Then, take a good, cold, hard look at yourself in the mirror because nobody's laughing now and the clear majority of the American people are dissatisfied with the way Obama's handling his job.

Jersey City Story Another Fabricated Trumpism?

From our good friends at the Save Jersey Blog:
By Matt Rooney | The Save Jersey Blog
Does lying about a problem to score political points serve the solution, Save Jerseyans?

On Saturday, the Donald held a campaign rally in Birmingham, Alabama, and during one of his patented rambling rants, he made an extraordinary claims about 9/11 and… the State of New Jersey.

“I watched when the World Trade Center came tumbling down,” Trump thundered from his podium. “And I watched in Jersey City, N.J., where thousands and thousands of people were cheering as that building was coming down. Thousands of people were cheering.”

It’s a claim he then repeated when challenged on Sunday’s “This Week With George Stephanopoulos” program:

“It was on television. I saw it,” Trump insisted. “It was well covered at the time, George. Now, I know they don’t like to talk about it, but it was well covered at the time. There were people over in New Jersey that were watching it, a heavy Arab population, that were cheering as the buildings came down. Not good.”

What’s really not good is Trump’s penchant for making shit up.

9/11 hijacker links to Jersey City and Paterson don’t equate to “thousands” cheering in the streets. In fact,Politifact conducted the research and couldn’t find a single well-sourced report of 9/11 celebrations while also making the very good point that “[i]f thousands and thousands of people were celebrating the 9/11 attacks on American soil, many people beyond Trump would remember it. And in the 21st century, there would be video or visual evidence.

Trump naturally has none ’cause it doesn’t exist. He’s a master huckster who knows what his audience wants to hear and doesn’t care if facts need to be manipulated (or in this case invented from scratch) to make the sale. The Donald didn’t just embellish – he slandered New Jersey, which suffered terribly on 9/11, to win votes. To make matter worse, lying about domestic terror sympathizers only makes the folks we need to persuade about the very real dangers of real domestic terrorism all the less likely to believe us.

Is this the best we can do next fall, Save Jerseyans? Better yet, can we afford to do this poorly? Let’s hope not.