Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Flying? Ten Quick Tips To Help You!

We're traveling again -- both via plane and luxury liner.
Are you worn down by the hassles of flying?
Tired of being treated like cattle?
Well, those problems are not going to disappear anytime soon as air travel seems more stressful than ever and the airlines don't seem to care about you at all.
But there are steps you can take to have a better flight. Here are ten tips, from #10 all the way up to #1:
10. Bring a sleep kit: neck support, ear plugs, eye mask, etc.
9. Keep any carry-on to a minimum: small and light is the key.
8. Check most or all luggage at the gate.
7. Check all TSA and other regulations before you leave. We recommend signing up for TSA's Precheck program as the easiest way through security. No surprises; know in advance.
6. Pay for inflight WiFi.
5. Drink plenty of water to avoid dryness and dehydration.
4. Bring hand sanitizer. Planes are dirty and full of germs. Also, wipe down your tray, seat and surroundings with your own handy wipes.
3. Pack healthy snacks.
2. Bring a small laptop, iPad or similar device.
1. Power down for take off and landing. These still appear to be the rules for everything except your phone, whether you like them (or understand them) or not.

A Feast Of Sights, Sounds And Colors!

Traveling through the beautiful Greek islands of the Adriatic and Ionian seas aboard Holland America's luxurious MS Oosterdam is a feat of sights, sounds and colors.
Here are some of our latest images:

Monday, May 2, 2016

To The Aid Of The Party . . . The Time Is Now!

If you ever took a course in touch typing (we never did) you might remember this sentence: "Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their party."
We suppose the phrase was used in typing classes because its combination of letters in a certain sequence made for effective practice -- sort of like playing certain chords or combinations of notes on the piano.
Of course today, to be politically correct, the phrase might have to be slightly altered so that it reads "Now is the time for all good people to come to the aid of their party."
In any event, we're resurrecting the phrase today for a very good reason because now is truly the time for all realistic, pragmatic, well-intended Americans to come to the aid of the Republican Party and our nation by closing ranks behind the party's presumptive nominee, Donald J. Trump.
Yes, we know that there is a primary election tomorrow in Indiana and later contests in California and New Jersey. But even if Trump loses tomorrow (which must now be considered highly unlikely) he still has the numerical advantage and the momentum to capture the nomination. 
Whether you or surprised by this or not; whether you are outraged or disturbed or troubled by this or not; whether you think that Trump can go on to win it all or not, the fact remains that Trump is the likely nominee. There is no mathematical way that either or his two opponents can prevail on the first ballot and Trump goes into the convention with such a tremendous advantage that he is virtually unstoppable.
So, i f Trump is and has been your man, congratulations! You are aligned with a candidate who's proved to be remarkably effective -- someone who certainly seems to have correctly judged the tenor of the times; someone who astounded the experts and successful defied an entrenched Washington establishment.  For this feat alone, Trump has earned a fair share of credit.
But what if you can't resolve yourself to a Trump nomination?
What if you find this all-too-hard to swallow?
What if the whole thing gives you a bad case of the jitters?
If that's the case, we have three words for you: Get over it!
There is no time now for self-indulgence and childish hand-wringing. America didn't get where it is today via self-analysis or anxiety-drenched contemplation. And Americans are not in the habit of gazing at their navels. Furthermore, even though whining is now too much a part of modern life, it's still dreadfully unproductive, distracting and irritating.
So -- no whining, no philosophizing, no bitterness, no excuses and no bellyaching. 
We'll say it again: Get over it!
Get over it because our country is in trouble. We cannot afford to go any further down the current road. We cannot afford a third term of Obamunism.  
Get over it because America is a democracy and even though they spoken through a much-flawed primary system, the people have spoken loudly and clearly and they want Donald Trump to be the nominee. 
Get over it because America is not a monarchy. We don't have royal families here. That's why Republicans rightly rejected a third Bush presidency and why America must clearly reject a third Clinton term.
Get over it because we could do a lot worse than Donald Trump and that "worse" (or maybe we should say "worst") is clearly contained within the Clintonistas and all they stand for: higher taxes, bigger government, more meddling, more regulation, more collectivism, less individual freedom and up to five new ultra-liberal members of the U. S. Supreme Court. The Cintons are antiquated, damaged goods and Hillary Clinton is currently the subject of a federal criminal investigation.
Get over it because the time has come to give a good, old-fashioned kick in the butt to an entrenched, self-serving political establishment that has too often ill-served this nation and its people.
NOW is the time.
For the good of the party, the people, the nation, let's join together on behalf of the GOP nominee so that we can vanquish those who stand in the way of the greater good.
Together, now: Let's Make America Great Again!

BEFORE You Eat: Ten Valuable Dining Rules!

If you want to have a good dining experience, from the first minute you enter a restaurant you must be alert and attentive.
Before you are seated -- and well before you even taste a morsel of food -- you must follow some basic rules to ensure your comfort and enjoyment.
Because, lets face it: If your minimal needs are not met, it doesn't matter how great the food or the service is, you're not going to have a positive dining experience. It's just that simple.
So here (in no particular order) are the rules that you need to remember right from start:

1) Never sit near the door. It's one of the worst places to sit and it's liable to be drafty, cold or hot, crowded and/or noisy. Plus, it's a popular place for gawkers.

2) Never sit near the restrooms. Do I really have to explain why?

3) Never sit near a wait station. You didn't come to visit with the waitstaff, hear their gossip and be serenaded by the clanging of dishes and other attendant sounds.

4) Beware of small (or even larger) children. People nowadays take their kids everywhere and very often  they neither discipline nor correct them as they should.

5) Stay away from large groups or people who appear to be celebrating special events. The people in these groups often imbibe in a manner where they try to outdo one another. These guests can become very loud and they often overstay their welcome as well. Not good. 

6) Never sit under air or air conditioning vents. You will ch-ch-ch-chill and so will your food. And, you may leave with a stiff neck.

7) If you're dining on a major family dining day (such as Mother's Day or Easter) know what you're getting into. You'll be facing fixed menus, higher prices, noisy groups, kids, a hassled waitstaff and probably mediocre food.

8) As a general rule, do not dine out on New Year's Eve. If you must, dine quite early in the evening and be home by 10 pm. New year's Eve is for losers. It's consistently the year's most overrated event.

9) Unless you are dining solo, don't dine at or near the bar.

10) As you enter the restaurant, subject the place to the sniff test. If it smells musty or stale, leave.

These rules are based on real life experiences and numerous disappointments compiled over many years. Ignore them at your own peril

Sunday, May 1, 2016

So, Who Is (Was) The World's Greatest?

When Michael Jackson passed on, numerous speakers described MJ as "the world's greatest entertainer."
It's quite an accolade.
But so many others have also been exalted as "the greatest."
As long as there have been entertainers people have been trying to identify "the greatest." This has been an especially popular pastime in the modern media age.
Indeed, the 20th century has been replete with "greatest entertainers."
Today, at Jackson's memorial someone sang the song "Smile." You know this song ("although a tear may be ever so near . . . "). But how many people know that the song was written by Charlie Chaplin? Chaplin was not only a great movie actor but also a comedian, musician, writer, director, mime and acrobat. He started as a music hall performer in England. He surely must be considered one of the greatest entertainers ever and his work has certainly endured. His legacy is secure.
Many people felt that Al Jolson was the greatest entertainer ever in his time. Jolson was a superstar before there were superstars. He electrified audiences with his live performances.
There is no doubt that Jolson inspired people like Sammy Davis, Jr. Like Jackson, Davis was a child star. Davis sang, danced, acted and became an accomplished impersonator as well. He conquered the stage, screen, television and the movies long, long before African Americans were accepted in such roles. And, of course he charted new paths for black entertainers. Sadly, Davis dies in relative obscurity and virtually broke. He did not receive the sendoff that Michael Jackson received.
One of the people who helped Davis gain a foothold was Frank Sinatra. For longevity alone Sinatra must be considered one of the greatest entertainers ever. The "Chairman of the Board" was an entertainment empire all to himself. He produced, directed, sang, danced, acted. Let's not forget that "Ole Blue Eyes won an Academy Award for his acting and that he starred in numerous movies.
Sinatra, Jolson, Chaplin, Davis -- they mostly created themselves.
Elvis Presley was largely created by Col. Tom Parker, his domineering manger. Parker molded an entertainment sensation - The King of Rock and Roll. Presley's career was well-managed but the control was stifling and many feel it held Elvis back. Certainly, Elvis starred in a string of forgettable flicks and he was tormented by the endless typecasting imposed on him by Parker.
Have we mentioned the great Noel Coward?
The Master, as he was known, was a playwrite, director, actor, writer, singer, comedian. There seemed to be nothing he could not do.
So many other great entertainers come to mind: Judy Garland and her daughter Liza Minelli are two of the most sensational live performers ever to grace the stage. Liza eventually won the Oscar that her mother should have won. In fact, Liza achieved the rare distinction of winning the Grammy, Emmy, Oscar and Tony awards.
Those who saw Judy Garland in person never, ever forgot her. And she certainly dominated the movies as one of MGM's most popular stars ever.
Besides Liza, another to achieve the quadruple awards crown was Barbra Streisand. Stresand's talent (especially in her early recordings and performances) can only be described as dazzling.
She defined the word "superstar."
World's greatest entertainer?
Where do you begin?
Who would you pick?
I'm sure I left out more than a few greats.
We could argue over this for ages.
Just remember: This title should not be tossed about indiscriminately.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

OK, So THIS Is The Best Way To Answer THEM

Liberals always seem to want to interrogate conservatives -- but on liberals' terms.
They seem to want to put us "on the stand" as if we have committed some crime. Then they get to ask loaded questions and control the subject. Don't let them do it.
It's no crime to embrace common-sense conservative beliefs.  
Here's what I told one liberal who tried this on me not too long ago:
Let's get this straight: I am not under oath; I'm not on the stand and I'm not here to be interrogated by you or anyone else. Interrogation is a form of control, nothing more. THAT is a classic tactic.
Now, in one month Obama, Clinton and their friends have racked up a bigger debt than George W. Bush did in a whole year. The mounting federal debt is robbing us of our freedom and liberty and threatens to enslave our nation. It will certainly deprive our children and grandchildren of options they might otherwise have had. The shaky state of the dollar (related to the deficit) is also cause for concern. If you don't understand that debt that grows out of proportion to the GDP threatens our future then you're missing a very simple, practical point: When we work for our own money instead of insisting on handouts; when we are able to keep more of what we earn; when we practice economic common sense and avoid going into debt, we have more options, more freedom, more opportunities. When we become indebted (either personally or collectively) we close doors to those options or opportunities.
And being indebted to CHINA? Well, that IS scary. 
Bigger and bigger government. Growing debt. More government regulation. A burgeoning and bloated federal work force committed to more and more bureaucracy -- this is not the path to freedom and liberty.
Personal responsibility -- rugged individualism -- that's what made America great. The common sense of hard-working, ordinary Americans made us the greatest country on earth. Reagan, again: "Government exists to protect us from each other. Where government has gone beyond its limits is in deciding to protect us from ourselves."
As we face growing and alarming challenges, I wonder if Obama, Clinton and the Democrats realize this. I wonder if they even see it. I wonder if they believe in American exceptionalism. I know that I do. And I pray -- yes, PRAY -- that future generations do as well.

Friday, April 29, 2016

The Eternal Appeal Of A Seductive Oasis

It's like a vast ruin. But a ruin that remains relentlessly seductive.
It will begin to captivate you almost from the first moment you gaze upon it.
It's vast yet intimate, scruffy and magnificent, timeless and trendy, indifferent yet charming.
You must remember that it's preserved, not restored.
Keep all of these things in mind as you visit, as you encounter it, as you begin your relationship with Venezia. For it is a relationship that will stay with you forever. And like an irresistible lover, Venice will keep drawing you back.
When I first walked into St. Mark's Square (San Marco) more than a couple of decades ago I was struck not just by its vastness but by the light, the architecture, the music at the open air cafes, the scale and balance of the place and the spell it cast over all who encountered it.
Now I have that same feeling again as I return.
You truly cannot compare it to anyplace else in the world. And yet, in many ways St. Mark's is the "throwaway" part of Venice -- the overture; the premie; the showy, touristy bait. Still, it is what you will remember when you think of Venice.
But you will also remember the cozy alleyways and passages, the numerous piazzas tucked into the most unlikely spots, the tiny bridges over narrow canals, the shops, trattorias and outdoor markets, the water lapping against piers, and the sudden joy of finding yourself totally lost amidst a labyrinth of walkways.
The waking will awaken and enliven you. It will enrich your senses and trigger your imagination in ways you never expected.
And you must walk for there is no other way around save for a gondola or water taxi and they can be quite expensive.
So, bring yourself back to your youth -- to a simple time -- and just walk and keep walking and see where it all leads. 
Venice was made for all this -- for the shock of bright sunlight in welcoming squares; for stolen kisses at corner cafes; for fresh gelato and perfectly cooked pasta and that cappuccino and biscotti you've been longing for.
Bella Venezia!


Now Here's An Idea That's Just Plain Dumb!

A proposal by Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop and the City Council mandating that certain private employers in the city provide a minimum 30-hour work week is coming under fire this week from Americans for Prosperity, the state’s leading advocate for economic freedom.

“Mayor Fulop and the City Council have gone too far this time,” fired Americans for Prosperity state director Erica Jedynak. “They have no right to tell employers how to run their business like this and it’s time someone called them out for their divisive, bullying tactics.”

“Most employers are also honest, hard-working people who would love nothing more than to pay their employees a higher wage. But if this mandate goes into effect, there’s little question there will be grave, unintended consequences. These employers will have little choice but to let some of their workers go.”

“Americans for Prosperity empathizes with all families who are struggling to get by here in New Jersey. And we understand that our state is becoming more and more affordable for many lower- and middle-class families,” continued Jedynak. “But if we really care about low-income families and giving them a chance at a better life, then let’s start by addressing the root causes of what’s limiting economic opportunities in our state—our crushing tax burden and overbearing state government.”

“For the sake of New Jersey families we need to get past this kind of divisive politics which pits honest employers against their workers. We need to move beyond the false promise that another government mandate is all it takes to guarantee someone happiness, a high-paying job or a ‘living wage,” said Jedynak. “Instead, we should be focused on pursuing a positive agenda that expands economic opportunity and makes it easier for all of us to achieve the American dream here in New Jersey.”

For further information, please contact Mike Proto at MProto@afphq.org or 201-400-3666.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

All Hail The Queen, Sunday May 1

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia invites everyone to honor the Blessed Mother, Our Lady of Mercy, during this Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy at the second annual May Procession. This year’s theme is Who is the Mary in
Your Life? 

Sunday, May 1, 2016
2:00 p.m.
Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul
18th Street and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Philadelphia, PA 19103

The celebration will begin with a Liturgy of the Word in the Cathedral followed by an outdoor May Procession, rosary and crowning of the Blessed Mother.

The May Queen will be selected from brief essays submitted by individuals entitled: Who is the Mary in Your Life?

For more information on the May Procession please visit www.firstsundayinmay.org

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

They Were ALWAYS Too Late, ALWAYS!

So now we have a situation where Ted Cruz is about to announce his vice presidential pick.
And speculation is rampant that it will be Fiorina.
In fact it IS Fiorina. He just announced it.
But one is tempted to ask -- indeed, one MUST ask -- what difference does it make?
Not since 1976 when Ronald Reagan announced his running mate choice well in advance of the convention has this happened. And we all know what happened to Reagan in that 1976 campaign.
This is very late in the game. Donald Trump has pretty much run the table. He's had an absolutely astounding string of victories. 
Can Cruz still be a threat? Does he have any chance? Unlikely.
And Kasich has come across as desperate as well.
You have to scratch your head and wonder how so many people could have been wrong about so much -- how they could have so badly miscalculated this year. It's not just Kasich and Cruz. It's the whole Republican establishment. They basically blew it. Blew it Big Time.
And if there's one thing that had characterized their efforts (and we're going all the way back to Romney and Boehner and McConnell) it's that they've all been too late on the uptake. Too little (when they've fought back at all) and too late. And that goes for their responses to Obama and the Democrats too.
It's all been inadequate.
And it's all been way too late.
So, here we are.
But, thank goodness, it seems a new Republican Party is emerging right in front of us, right before our eyes -- just like 1980 when Ronald Reagan finally DID get his act together and seemingly reinvented American politics and then went on to change the shape of the world. Reagan started (Do we have to remind you?) but overturning the Republican establishment. He basically vanquished them.
And they were very, very angry. But they got over it. Indeed they did!
We don't know what the new GOP is gonna be like. We know that it will most likely be headed by Trump but we don't know all the details yet. And we really weren't sure with Reagan, either.
Not completely sure, anyway.
What we do know is this: It was time for a big, dramatic change because GOP voters have felt hopelessly betrayed. And so the change will come.
As open-minded Republicans who welcome new people, new ideas, new opportunities, new coalitions (if that's what it will take) and we say: "Bring it on!"

Don't Miss This Super One-Day Doughnut Deal!


Can You Guess Where Dan Cirucci Blog Is Headed?

Stay wth us over the next couple of weeks, everybody . . . there's plenty more to come! You won't wanna miss it all.

Big Stars At AC Golden Nugget This Summer!

In NJ, A New Way For Charitable Deductions

New Jersey State Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean and Senator Diane Allen will visit Paulsdale, the historic Mt. Laurel home of suffragist and women’s rights activist Alice Paul, on Thursday, April 28th, to discuss the importance of legislation (S-1932) to create a charitable deduction for contributions to New Jersey-based non-profits.

The non-profit Alice Paul Institute seeks to fulfill the life-long mission of Alice Paul to achieve full gender equality worldwide. (Wikimedia Commons)

Kean and Allen will be joined by Lucienne Beard, Executive Director of the Alice Paul Institute.
Who: Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean; Sen. Diane Allen; Lucienne Beard, Executive Director of the Alice Paul Institute.

What: Press conference on legislation creating an income tax deduction for charitable giving.
When: Thursday, April 28th at 11 a.m.

The Alice Paul Institute, a not-for-profit 501(c)3 organization, seeks to fulfill the life-long mission of Alice Paul to achieve full gender equality worldwide, and works to develop future generations of leaders and human rights activists.
Paul’s legacy was highlighted this month by President Obama’s dedication of the Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality National Monument in Washington, D.C., and by the United States Treasury Department’s announcement that Paul is one of five leaders of the women’s suffrage movement who will be featured on the back of redesigned $10 bills.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Major Gift Set For Historic Philly School

Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap. will join the West Catholic Preparatory High School community, invited guests, and senior leadership from Faith in the Future (FIF) and the Office of Catholic Education (OCE) for the announcement and celebration of a major gift to the school and recognition of its 100 year anniversary, which will kick-off in the fall of 2016.  

 10:00 a.m.
Thursday, April 28, 2016
4501 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19139

West Catholic Preparatory High School has proudly served West Philadelphia and the Center City area for nearly 100 years since opening in the fall of 1916.  In 1926, the De La Salle Christian Brothers arrived at what would become West Philadelphia Catholic High School for Boys at 49th Street between Chestnut and Market Streets.    
In 1989, the Christian Brothers, the Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (I.H.M.), and the Sisters of St. Joseph (S.S.J.), and over 1,000 students, merged the Boys and Girls Schools, to become West Philadelphia Catholic High School at its present location of 4501 Chestnut Street.

West Catholic Preparatory High School prepares each student to face the challenges of everyday life, embrace leadership positions in society, and value service in an ever-changing global society.

Note: For information about Catholic Schools in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, please visit www.catholicschools-phl.org.  For more information on Faith in the Future please visit,  http://faithinthefuture.com/.  To learn more about West Catholic Preparatory High School, please visit www.westcatholic.org.