Saturday, December 31, 2011

2012 Fearless Forecasts; Perilous Predictions

I don't usually make year-end predictions just as I don't make new year's resolutions.
But with just a few hours to go before the start of 2012, I figure it's OK to discard long-standing habits and throw caution to the wind.
So, here are my predictions for 2012:
--The Philadelphia Eagles will retain Andy Reid as coach and they will chalk up yet another season where they don't make it to the Super Bowl. Sorry fans.
--The economy will advance at barely a snail's pace through 2012 and by election day unemployment will still be eight percent or more. This will create a difficult situation for Obama & Co.
--China will face it's own version of "Arab spring" and the Chinese economy will have its share of problems as an economic slowdown, uncertainty and possible uprisings make some begin to wonder whether or not China will become a great world power after all.
--The Philadelphia Phillies will make it to the World Series but in the end they will lose to the New York Yankees.
--In a surprise upset the silent, black and white film The Artist will win the Oscar as best picture edging out George Clooney's The Descendants. Looney Clooney will be foiled again.
--Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter will be offered a major position in the Obama Administration. Occasionally bored and distracted in his current position, Nutter will be tempted to head to Washington.
--The old Meredith Willson musical The Unsinkable Molly Brown will be redeveloped as a "new" musical with rediscovered material from the Willson archives. The story will be adapted to fit current modern tastes and trends and the "new" music will join hit tunes that were in the original show to create a Broadway.bound hybrid. This will be part of a trend that includes the already-opened "new" version of On A Clear Day You Can See Forever and the soon-to-open "new" Gershwin musical Nice Work If You Can Get It. These shows will fall somewhere between revivals and original works and create a dilemma for the Tony nominating committee. But they will prove to be good star-vehicles and winners on Broadway.
--Newly-minted football-star-turned-NJ Congressman Jon Runyan will easily win re-election in his now largely Republican district thanks to redistricting and the hard-work of this quick-learning freshman and rapidly rising GOP star.
--The re-release of the megamovie Titanic in 3-D and I-MAX will give a badly-needed jolt to Haollywood's sagging bottom line. The film will become a hit all over again.
--Ron Paul will not run as a third-party candidate because he will fear that it might jeopardize his son Rand Paul's chances to rise in the Republican Party.
--Likewise, Donald Trump will not run for president because he fears that it would jeopardize his chances to make more and more and more money.
--Mitt Romney will win the Republican presidential nomination and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie will be on Romney's short list of possible VP choices. But, in the end Romney will pick Florida Senator Marco Rubio as his running mate and this ticket will easily carry the key state of Florida in the general election, along with a significant number of other states that Obama carried in 2008.
--Republicans will prepare to face an Obama/Clinton ticket in 2012 but Hillary Clinton will demure when she concludes that Obama's chances to win re-election are not good. She will say that she's tired of public service and wants to turn a new page in her life. There will be an element of truth in that as Hillary would like to get on with her life, make scads of dough and have time to smell the roses.
With the help of Big Labor, Big Media and other vested interests (and with a billion dollar war chest) Obama will wage a ruthless, Chicago-style campaign. He'll take a page out of Harry Truman's 1948 playbook and try to run against a "do nothing" Congress. The election may turn out to be very close. Who will win? That, my friends depends on YOU.
It's almost 2012 and that means it's all in YOUR hands now.
Happy New Year!

Happy New Year From Florida!

We have decided to ring in the new year in Florida where we will watch the sunset over the beautiful Gulf of Mexico in Longboat Key.
Later we will have a simple and quiet dinner and retire to our temporary quarters.
We're just a stone's throw (literally) from the beach and the temperature is in the low 80s without a breeze, let alone a gust of wind. It's tranquil.
The weather is just perfect here on this wisp of land not very far from Tampa Bay where the 2012 Republican National Convention will convene in just eight short months.
We hope and expect that this is the place where the next President of the United States will be nominated.
Our wish for you and for everyone that you care about is a very happy and healthy new year.
It's our guess that most people will be more than pleased to see 2011 come to a close. It has been a year of more not-so-good economic news (sluggish, at best) and its own share of frustrations.
Nonetheless, we are simply happy to enjoy good health and to be able to share our days with those we cherish and enjoy each and every moment of being alive -- with special emphasis on all of the simple pleasures and joys life has to offer.
As the year comes to a close, our thoughts and prayers are with our troops who continue to protect us and with all those who are troubled, or anxious or facing crises and look to a brighter day.
May the new year bring all of us health, peace, comfort and joy.
Happy New Year!

Friday, December 30, 2011

NJ Nonprofits Now Have One-Stop Resource

Acting New Jersey Governor Kim Guadagno today announced that New Jersey’s nonprofit organizations now have one-stop access to valuable state resources thanks to a new webpage from the New Jersey Department of State.

The New Jersey Nonprofit Information Center portal – – offers information on funding sources and other assistance available to nonprofits through state government.

The portal lists links to department and agency web pages dedicated to nonprofit resources. Resources include funding, volunteer opportunities, forms and guidance documents.

“New Jersey’s nonprofit organizations provide vital services across a range of areas,” said Acting Governor Kim Guadagno, who serves concurrently as Secretary of State. “To help nonprofits fulfill their mission, it makes sense to assemble this information in one convenient place.”

Earlier this year, Governor Chris Christie signed legislation requiring the Department of State to maintain an accessible directory of state departments and agencies that provide resources to assist nonprofits.

With a single mouse click, groups can access useful information. Clicking the Treasury Department’s link delivers information for starting a nonprofit corporation and tax filing requirements. The link for the Department of Community Affairs offers grant information and a resource guide. The Department of Law and Public Safety provides information on grants and registering as a charity.

"The State's new Nonprofit Information Center is an important first step in making vital funding, volunteer and compliance information more readily available to thousands of New Jersey non-profits,” said Linda M. Czipo, Executive Director for the Center for Non-Profits. “The Center for Non-Profits was thrilled to support the legislation that made this site possible. We thank the Governor and Lieutenant Governor for making it a reality and look forward to continuing to work cooperatively with the Department of State as the site evolves."

The portal provides news updates information to nonprofits and also offers links to non-state resources, including the Center for Non-Profits, Pro Bono Partnership and Council of New Jersey Grantmakers. There is also easy access to federal and independent agencies, such as for Nonprofits, for Nonprofits, Social Services Purchasing Alliance and others.

The webpage was developed with the input from the Center for Non-Profits and the Pro Bono Partnership.

Christie In Iowa: With Obama We're 'Hopeless And Changeless'

Ain't it true: With Chris Christie to warm up the crowd (and drop a few Joizee zingers) Romney just looks better and better!

Video: Christie For VP? He Won't Rule It Out

Speaking in Iowa, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie refuses to completely rule out being Mitt Romney's running mate. Why? Christie says it would be "impolite" to turn down something or someone without being asked in the first place. The Governor can't imagine that he'll be asked to be the Veep and he loves his current job and loves New Jersey, but he won;t close the door to an opportunity that hasn't yet arrived.
Good call, Gov.
BTW: Christie says "don't bet on" his being Romney's choice. My bet: Christie will at least make Romney's short list of VP choices.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Review: Could This Be The Year's Best Picture?

Whatever happened to grand, old-fashioned Hollywood moviemaking?
It's still here.
You just have to look for it.
And right now you can find it in War Horse, the new yarn from director Steven Speilberg.
This big, enthralling new film is based on both a children's novel of the same name set during World War I, (by Michael Morpurgo, first published in the United Kingdom in 1982) and the 2007 stage adaptation, also of the same name. The screenplay is by Lee Hall and Richard Curtis and it presents us with a traditional narrative storyline that is fascinating, inspiring and wonderfully memorable.
It also reminds us that great movies begin with great stories. It's all about the story.
But then the moviemaker must know how to bring the story to life.
Every move, every scene, every nuance in War Horse is presented so seamlessly that the whole experience is like being enveloped by a great novel -- a story as simple as a struggling farm family and as complicated as all of World War I and the British Empire.
Of course the stage play of War Horse has captivated the West End and Broadway. Since I didn't see the play, I can only imagine the hours of work (and sheer genius) that went into the staging of this story. But now the movie takes it all to whole new level. And I've got to conclude that Speilberg & Co. recognized the story as the basis for a great film right from the start.
In War Horse young Albert Narracott enlists to service in WWI after his beloved horse, Joey, is sold to the cavalry. Albert's hopeful journey takes him out of England and across Europe as the war rages on.
Save for Emma Watson (who plays the mother, Rose Narracott) there are no name stars in this film. But there are so many stellar performances by so many young and accomplished (mostly British) actors that it takes your breath away.
Most notably, Jeremy Irvine is wonderful as Albert; Peter Mullen is spot-on as Ted,  and Niels Arestrup is marvelous as the grandfather. But then I've forgotten David Thewlis, Tom Hiddleston, Benedict Cumberbatch, Celine Buckens and Patrick Kennedy. They all work together as a magnificent ensemble.
And they're just part of a large and diverse cast.
The cinematography by Janusz Kaminski is likely to be the best you'll witness all year. And the music by the great John Williams is the kind of movie music some of us are fortunate enough to remember from Hollywood's golden age.
But let's not forget the horse -- or horses. We're talking about both live and "computerized" horses here and great care was taken to guarantee the safety of the real, live lead horse and the other live horses in the film. In fact, the American Humane Society has awarded this film an outstanding rating for animal safety.
So, is this all just a story about a boy (Albert) and his horse (Joey)? Yes and no. The story begins and ends with Albert and Joey and they epitomize the struggles and the theme. But what happens in between covers so much that history and storytelling get wrapped together in the best possible way.
Spielberg himself says this is a movie about courage.
"I really wanted to make War Horse because I think it says a lot about courage," he explains. "The courage of the boy and what he endures and what he overcomes to achieve what he needs, not just for himself but for his best friend Joey. And it's also about the courage and the tenacity of this extraordinary animal."
He added, "That was the underlying subliminal theme that I think informs every single frame of War Horse."
Endurance. Survival, Tenacity. 
And above all, courage. That's a word we don't hear much anymore.
What a joy it is to be challenged and uplifted by this magnificent tale.
This is the year's most significant new film. Don't miss it!

Most (And Least) Desired Celebrity Neighbors, 2011

How would you like to have Kim Kardashian as your neighbor? What about the gang from Jersey Shore? Would you like Anthony Weiner as a neighbor? How about Lindasy Lohan or  Charlie Sheen? Or maybe you'd like to chat over the back fence with Tim Tebow or even "tebow" with him.
Zillow, a real estate information marketplace has conducted its second annual survey asking respondents who they'd like (or not like) as a celebrity neighbor.
Some celebrities actually made both lists and some of the respondents said they wouldn't want ANY celebrity neighbor.
Here are the results:

Most desirable neighbors
1. Tim Tebow (11 percent of votes)
Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt (10 percent)
Jennifer Aniston and Justin Theroux (9 percent)
Jennifer Lopez (6 percent)
Beyoncé and Jay-Z (5 percent)
Nancy Grace (4 percent)
Kim Kardashian (4 percent)
Other (11 percent)
None of the above (42 percent)

Least desirable neighbors
1. Jersey Shore cast (28 percent of votes)
Charlie Sheen (21 percent)
Lindsay Lohan (14 percent)
Kim Kardashian (13 percent)
Nancy Grace (3 percent)
Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt (3 percent)
Anthony Weiner (2 percent)
Other (2 percent)
None of the above (14 percent)

STUNNER: Romney Now Bests Obama By Six Points!

The widely-respected Rasumussen Poll reports that Mitt Romney has now jumped to his biggest lead ever over President Obama in a hypothetical Election 2012 matchup. 
According to Rasmussen, this is the biggest lead a named Republican candidate has held over the incumbent in Rasmussen Reports surveying to date. And it also marks a new low for Obama whose ratings have ranged in the low to mid forties.
Rasmussen's latest national telephone survey finds that 45% of likely voters favor the former Massachusetts governor, while 39% prefer the president.
No other GOP candidate does this well against Obama. And none of the others have bested Obama in the polls as often as Romney has.
Click here to read more.

Christie: Legislature MUST Act On Sick Pay Reform

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie's interview with NJ101.5's Eric Scott on December 29, 2011. You can see how much you could save from Governor Christie's sick pay reform by going to:

If 2012 Is Anything Like 2011, Then . . .

I don't wanna even see the new year.
I'm goin right back into my hiding place.

Our Biggest Month Ever - From All Over The World!

The month just ending has been the biggest month EVER for the Dan Cirucci blog.
Already, we've welcomed nearly 20,000 visitors and have logged nearly 30,000 page views.
And people are visiting from all over the world to watch, to enjoy and to follow what we have to say and report.
So, we've welcomed not only visitors from every corner of the USA but also visitors from Estonia, Italy, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Spain,  Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Finland, Cameroon, Malaysia, Indonesia, Germany, Croatia, Costa Rica and Norway.
Our goal was to log 300,000 visits by the end of this year. We've already exceeded that by 15,000 -- and the year ain't over yet.
Thank you -- and hang around as we ring in the New Year with many delightful surprises!

Video: America Can And Will Be Land Of Opportunity

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Insiders Say Obama/Clinton '12 Is A Done Deal

For months our sources in Washington have been telling us that the Democratic ticket in 2012 will be Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.
They say it's a done deal.
And they also say this is what Democrats want. It's what they need. It's what they dream of and yearn for.
Just a few weeks ago I told a liberal Democrat (that's a redundancy) friend that this is what I expect. It's the only way to assure victory. And Obama's not in the business of losing. This is his life, his legacy, his mammoth ego in play here.
Obama likes being The King. And if he has to call on some Big Time Help, he will.
And Hillary is certainly Big Time. No question about that.
Hillary Clinton's popularity now exceeds Obama's. She's the most admired woman in America -- indeed, she's one of the most admired women in the world.
Some people think this has been the plan all along -- that assurance was given to Hillary that she would take the number two spot in 2012 when she agreed to join Obama's cabinet in 2008. That was the quid pro quo. And, after all this would be her path to the presidency in 2016. It fits together very nicely.
But what about Joe Biden?
Well, what about him?
You don't really think Barack or Michelle Obama would ever lose even one minute of sleep over Biden and his future, do you? Obama is coldly calculating. Mr. Cool has ice water in his veins. He'll do what he has to do to win. He's thrown more than a few people under the bus already in his relentless path to power.
So, Biden can and will be given a graceful exit if necessary. He hasn't been a shining asset to the team in any event. He's served his purpose and nobody (especially the Clintons) want him around in 2012 getting in the way of a clear return to the throne by Bubba & Company.
The word is that Hillary on the ticket will reawaken and energize the party like no one else.
Yes, she says no. And yes, Obama says he's sticking with Biden. And yes, Biden has even talked about running for the top post himself in 2016.
But don't believe any of it.
Because people who know about these things tell me that all the pieces are in place to create the Democrat Dream Ticket of the Century.
Stay tuned. . . . . but I'm telling Republicans to expect this; prepare for it.

Video: Christie On Scam Of Sick Pay 'Jackpots'

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie on the Do-Nothing Legislature's Sick Pay Payout proposal. This video says there are 42 days for the Legislature to act. But actually, there are now only 15 days left for the Do-Nothing Legislature to act.

Video: Barack Obama And Iowa, Four Years Later

Thanks, Bernie! . . . For A Job Well Done

Over a period of 40 years, no one has played a more active role in the life of his community than Cherry Hill, NJ Mayor Bernie Platt.
When Bernie settled in Cherry Hill and decided to raise his family here, he did it the same way he does everything else: He put his heart and soul into it. And that meant rolling up his sleeves and really getting involved in the day-to-day life of the town. In the process, he came to know every neighborhood, every street, every byway, every civic and community group, every businessperson and literally thousands of  ordinary residents. He knew them all on a first-name basis. And that's the way he conducted business.
And he was there -- always there -- when we needed him.
I'm proud to say that I've known Bernie Platt all of these years -- known him like so many others, simply as "Bernie" -- someone I could call upon; someone I could rely on; someone who would listen and do his best.
More than perhaps anyone else, I credit Bernie Platt with saving the west side of town -- Cherry Hill's gateway. Without the Cherry Hill Mall renaissance and the Garden State Park development Cherry Hill's front door (it's face to the world) may have perished and Cherry Hill as we have come to know it would be gone. Beyond that, Bernie helped to save aging developments, forestall blight and keep the town vibrant and alive. Bernie recognized that this also meant working with business leaders, bringing in both new businesses and the right businesses, limiting the size and cost of government and being efficient and innovative. He surrounded himself with a first rate staff and he kept in tune with changing times and changing developments.
Prior to his current term as Mayor, Bernie Platt served as Mayor of Cherry Hill Township from 1979 to 1980 as well as Deputy Mayor from 1976 to 1979 and Councilman from 1980 to 1985. He has served as a member of the Cherry Hill Township Site Plan and Review Board, the Economic Development Committee, Emergency Medical Services Chairman, and organizer of the Save A Life fund drive, which benefited the former Cherry Hill Ambulance Squad. Recently he served as a member of theCamden County Board of Chosen Freeholders, the governing body of Camden County, from 1996 to '98.
Bernie has a long record of service throughout the Southern New Jersey region. Through his leadership in a wide variety of organizations, Bernie has worked to enhance our region's quality of life. He has served as president of a number of civic, charitable and community organizations; the Downs Farm Civic Association, the Jewish Home in Cherry Hill, Jewish Family and Children's Services, the former West Jersey Arts Center, the Southern New Jersey Council of Jewish National Fund, the Southern New Jersey B'nai B'rith Housing Corporation, and Congregation BJ-BI (Merchantville).
He is a member of B'nai B'rith's Cherry Hill Lodge and Cherry Hill Lodge 966 of B'rith Shalom. A Mason, Bernie is a member of Mizpah-Haddon Heights Lodge #191 F. & A. M. His synagogue affiliations include Temple Beth Sholom, Congregation Sons of Israel, and Chabad Lubavitch in Cherry Hill.
Since 1977, Bernie and his wife Judy have been business owners in Cherry Hill. Platt Memorial Chapels, Inc is a family owned and operated full service funeral home. Bernie's professional affiliations include the West Jersey Funeral Directors Association and the New Jersey State Funeral Directors Association.
It's a well known fact that Bernie is most proud of his family. He has his priorities in order. He and Judy raised their four children in Cherry Hill: Alison, Harry (a committeeman and former mayor in neighboring Vorhees), Sheryl, and Rena. The Platts have eight grandchildren. Bernie and Harry were America's first father and son mayors to serve in adjoining towns, and their unique relationship was featured in People Magazine.
Though he could have easily been re-elected to another term, Bernie Platt chose not to run for re-election this year. He earned the right to turn the page and move on to other endeavors. And he does it with his head held high.
As the leader of our town, he will be missed.
But you can be sure his heart will always be with Cherry Hill.
To Bernie, Judy and the family, we say: "Mille Grazie!" for a job well done.

Romney Pushes Hard; Gains Added Momentum!

“He promised to bring people together. He promised to change the broken system in Washington. He promised to do away with gridlock. He promised to repair the nation. He closed with these words: ‘This is our moment; this is our time.’ Well, Mr. President, you have now had your moment. We have seen the results. And now, Mr. President, it is our time.” --Mitt Romney

Tarzan's Cheetah Dies At Primate Sanctuary

You remember him.
He was Tarzan's chimp and mainstay in those old Johnny Weissmuller Tarzan movies of the 1930s.
Cheetah died of kidney failure Saturday at Suncoast Primate Sanctuary in Palm Harbor, a sanctuary spokeswoman said.
Chimps have a life span of 24 to 35 years in their natural habitat and up to 45 years in a zoo.
Cheetah was roughly 80 years old and was said to have loved fingerpainting and football. 
There's no question that Cheetah was a Big Hollywood Star. And he hammed it up right to the end of his days.
They say he was an outgoing chimp who was exposed to the public his whole life. He enjoyed people and enjoyed entertaining them and seeing them laugh. And he caused few problems at the sanctuary. He had a good disposition.
Cheetah acted in the 1932-34 Tarzan movies including "Tarzan and His Mate" and "Tarzan the Ape Man," according to the Internet Movie Database.
Sometime around 1960, Cheetah came to the sanctuary from Weissmuller's estate in Ocala.
Like many others, I saw the old Tarzan movies years later on TV. I remember Cheetah as wonderfully agile, affable and funny. Seems to me he was in all the movies' final scenes, always having fun. By all accounts, he led a charmed life.

Ten Reasons Why New Year's Day Is A Stupid Holiday

I've always pretty much hated New Year's Eve and New Year's Day.  But for a long time I couldn't figure out why.
Now, I finally get it: They're downright innocuous. 
Here then, in no particular order are the Ten Big Reason why the New Year's "holiday" is dumb, dumb, dumb:
1) There is absolutely no significant historical or religious meaning to the day.
2) How many bowl games can you watch, anyway?
3) The day celebrates not the beginning of anything but rather the end -- the end of the joyous holiday season.
4) The Tournament of Roses Parade, the Mummers Parade and other New Year's spectacles are all pretty much the same year-after-year.
5) You know it's true: Nobody keeps New Year's resolutions.
6) Celebrating the passing of time is like celebrating the inexorable march to your own death.
7) After Christmas, no other holiday on the immediate horizon can compete.
8) By January 1 you're completely stuffed and don't even wanna look at food. You're facing the grueling regimen of a diet.
9) All you have to look forward to are the two bleakest months of the year: January and February (with an extra February day in '12; and March ain't much better).
10)  It'll take you weeks to get used to writing 2012 and you may still be thinking 2011 even in April.
The bottom line: New Year's Day is just another day on the calendar.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Report: iPad 3 Set To Launch February 24

Reports are building that Apple is set to unveil the iPad 3.
Word is that the launch will be Friday, February 24.
Apple iPad 1 and 2 debuted in March and April but February 24 is Steve Jobs' birthday and it would make sense for Apple to reveal the product on a significant date such as that and essentially in honor of its founder.
Word from China is that Apple is asking workers to work through the coming Chinese New Year to make sure that it has sufficient supplies of the new iPad to meet demand.
We also heae that Apple will continue to sell the iPad 2 but will drop the price on that item to about $400 to better compete with Kindle, Nook and other similar devices.
Will the iPad 3 be HD? What other features will it have? And when will Apple unveil that iTV? Stay tuned . . .

A Biggie! Boston Herald Endorses Romney

The Boston Herald has endorsed Mitt Romney for the Republican nomination for President. Here's an excerpt from their endorsement:
This is no longer a parlor game. Beginning Jan. 3 in Iowa this is very real indeed.
And there is only one candidate in the Republican field with the integrity, the experience, the organizational strength and the intelligence to beat Barack Obama and that man is Mitt Romney.
But perhaps more to the point, there is only one candidate who can put this nation back on the path to fiscal sanity and restore it to its central role on the world stage. That candidate is Mitt Romney. . . .
Romney’s appeal at the national level is what it has always been here — he’s a tough, no nonsense CEO who wants to bring a sense of trust back to government. And he can attract to his candidacy that growing number of independent voters who will ultimately decide the presidency in November just as he did when he successfully ran for governor in this bluest of blue states.
Mitt Romney can get the job done — the job of running for president and the job of governing. And the Herald is pleased to endorse his candidacy.
Click here to read the full endorsement.

A Special Message For Cyclists: Philly Critical Mass

Here is a special message from Philly Critical Mass organizer Lowell Smoger:

Critical Mass is coming back: THIS FRIDAY 5:30pm
Ride will leave CITY HALL at 6PM.

Attention Philadelphia bike riders of all kinds, and I do mean ALL KINDS. We are going to BRING CRITICAL MASS BACK TO PHILADELPHIA. The Critical Mass event in Philly seems have fallen on its face in the recent past and now that face needs a lift.
We are introducing this December's CM with a theme, "NEIGHBORHOOD RIDE." The plan is to travel from City Hall to various neighborhoods in Philadelphia. Below is a list of places that we would like to visit but we NEED YOUR HELP.
CM Neighborhood Ride needs PEOPLE FROM ALL NEIGHBORHOODS to join in the ride. As we enter your hood, ban together with your neighbors at the front of the mass and LEAD US THROUGH YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD.
So what if you already know all the neighborhoods by heart, this is about riding bikes and riding bikes with FRIENDS! Come with old ones and make some new ones to make biking in Philadelphia a better experience.
Not part of a Philly neighborhood but still want to join? Damn right you're welcome! Critical Mass is meant to BRING PEOPLE TOGETHER, no matter where they're from. It's meant to encourage a SHARED STREET SOCIETY and what better way to do this than while the rest of the world does it too!
So what if it's already dark at 5:30?! It might be night but it'll still be light! It's PHILADELPHIA FOR PETE'S SAKE!
Ride will leave CITY HALL at 6PM.
The Neighborhood Ride would like to visit:
1) Center City/Museum District
2) Northeast - Fishtown & N. Liberties
3) Kensington & Port Richmond
4) West Philly - University City
5) South Philly - Bella Vista & Grays Ferry
Check out the fb group for more info:

Movies About Movies? Here Are Two Worth Seeing!

Movies about the movies normally do not make very good movies.
In fact, you can count on one hand the films about Hollywood and the movies that turned out to be  successful.
A Star Is Born ranks as one of the more memorable ones. But for every "Star" there's a dud.
Consider the tons of others that went nowhere: Day Of The Locust (1975),  Hollywood Ending (2002),  Inside Daisy Clover (1965), The Last Tycoon (1977),  The Oscar (1966), Harlow (1965) and Valley Of The Dolls (1967).
And there are lots more of them that never measured up to the likes of Sunset Boulevard (1950) or Day For Night (1973).
Now along come not one but two movies about the movies and both turn out to be worth seeing. In fact, the buzz is that both the films and their stars will be Oscar contenders.

The first is My Week With Marilyn in which Colin Clark, an employee of Sir Laurence Olivier's, documents the tense interaction between Olivier and Marilyn Monroe during production of The Prince and the Showgirl, a 1957 film that Olivier directed and starred in. This film is based on Colin Clark's actual diaries from 1957 as well as his books "The Prince, The Showgirl and Me" and "My Week With Marilyn." Clark got a lot out of his role as a gofer on the movie (second or third assistant director) and the film does a lot with a little. At just shy of 100 minutes, it's tight and captivating.
As Marilyn, Michelle Williams has MM's looks and mannerisms down pat. She's playful one minute, pensive the next; seductive one minute, scary the next; delighted one minute, depressed the next. And throughout she's so well put-together, so full of star quality and so luminescent that she's absolutely compelling. Eddie Redmayne as Colin Clark once again demonstrates why he's one of our favorite actors in the whole world. In this role, his boyish charm and seemingly naive approach to his life and work belies a deeper understanding of things than one might imagine, not to mention a good and faithful countenance. As always, Dame Judi Dench is superb as Dame Sybil Thorndike. As Sir Laurence Olivier, Kenneth Branagh is a bit too affected by half while the rest of the stellar cast (Emma Watson, Julia Ormond, Zoe Wanamaker and Dominic Cooper all perform superbly.
This film is a joy to watch and the script is literate and well-informed. It's an absolute feast for movie buffs (and for anglophiles) and its so remarkably true to its time and place that it's downright magical.

The next film about Hollywood is a total departure and an international sensation.
It's titled simply The Artist and (like the legendary Singing In The Rain) it focuses on Hollywood in transition from the silent era to the all--taking, all-singing, all-dancing era of sound.
The film follows silent movie star George Valentin who wonders if the arrival of talking pictures will cause him to fade into oblivion. In the course of the story he is smitten with Peppy Miller, a young dancer set for a big break. His story eventually becomes their story. Or, to put it another way, her story eventually becomes his story. Or something like that.
In fact, The Artist fairly closely parallels the story of two great stars of the era: John Gilbert and Greta Garbo. Gilbert was a great leading man and certifiable star but he had a tough time shifting from silents to sound. His temper made him difficult to handle and his penchant for drink led to bleaker days. Garbo was a rising star of the silent era and easily made the transition to sound, becoming an even bigger star. By all accounts she truly loved Gilbert but the enigmatic Garbo was unable to commit to marriage. She nonetheless reached out to help Garbo at pivotal points in his career and was instrumental  in keeping him working as long as possible.
The Artist is a French film with an international cast and a love of early Hollywood and the movies that defines it and makes it special. It's a deeply-evocative, poignant film made all the more meaningful because it is largely silent. The characters do not speak and in black and white, the film is faithful to its era. This is not to say that there is no sound in the film. The music is lush and wondrous and the various sounds are strategic and effective. And, from time to time dialogue cards tell us what the characters are actually saying.
But the acting is so great that we really don't need the cards.
Jean Dujardin as George and Berenice Bejo as Peppy are wonderful. Bejo is beguiling beyond belief. You can't take your eyes off her. Particularly notable among the cast are Malcolm McDowell (The Butler) John Goodman (director Al Zimmer), Penelope Ann Miller (Doris) and Uggi (Jack, the dog). Jack will positively steal your heart in this film, even if you don't count yourself as a dog lover.
Here's the irony: When movies were silent, movie sets were loud and boisterous. Directors coaxed and chatted with stars during filming and even arranged for live music to be played on the set to create the right mood for individual scenes. But once sound came in, movie sets became silent. Any extraneous sound interfered with the recording of the actors' voices.
Something vital -- something magical, mysterious and imaginative -- was lost when the movies began to speak. As Norma Desmond (Gloria Swanson) said in Sunset Boulevard: "We didn't need words, we had faces."

Can You Name Them All? Answers, Tomorrow.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Have You Missed One Of These Blog Stories?

Here they are -- our five most popular stories of the past week:

Apr 2, 2011, 1 comment
4,401 Pageviews
Nov 19, 2011, 4 comments
648 Pageviews
Sep 6, 2010, 1 comment
644 Pageviews
Jul 19, 2011, 1 comment
493 Pageviews
Dec 15, 2011, 1 comment
169 Pageviews

Video: Join The Fight For Chanukah Rights!

As the Wall Street Journal has recently reported, a move is afoot to raise awareness of Chanukah.
This video was produced by a group called Six13 and Friends.
Spread the word!
Send the link to friends and family.
Post it to Facebook!
Tweet it far and wide!

Video Mitt Romney Sets Agenda, Looks Forward

"It is a moral imperative for America to stop spending more money than we take in. It's killing jobs, and it's keeping our kids from having the bright prospects they deserve." --Mitt Romney

Any Way You Look At It, It's Romney

Sunday, December 25, 2011

A Christmas Message From Governor Christie

"Each year, families across New Jersey gather around their dining room tables for the holidays. This is not only a time to reflect on our many blessings of the past year, but to remember and help others in our communities who are less fortunate. 
"We must not forget that many of our fellow New Jerseyans still face difficult circumstances. 
"As we enter a new year, let us resolve to put aside our differences and continue to work together to make New Jersey a better place to live, learn and work for everyone. 
"Mary Pat and I would like to wish every New Jersey family a happy, healthy and safe holiday season and best wishes for a New Year."  --Governor Chris Christie

93% In Poll Prefer 'Merry Christmas' Greeting

Thank you everyone who voted in our annual holiday greeting poll.
In this year's poll, 93% of you said you prefer "Merry Christmas" as a holiday greeting. The remaining seven percent was about equally split between "Happy Holidays" and "Seasons Greetings."
Nearly 300 people voted and the choice was overwhelming.
Participation in the poll was high and we're grateful for your input.
Just once more: "Merry Christmas, everybody!"

Poll: Romney Pulls Well Ahead In New Hampshire

Mitt Romney is pulling away in New Hampshire. according to a new poll.
Here are excerpts from a National Journal report:
Mitt Romney is maintaining his commanding position atop the field of Republican candidates for president in the first-in-the-nation primary state of New Hampshire, according to a new poll published in Christmas Day editions of the Boston Globe.
Romney leads with the support of 39 percent of likely GOP primary voters in his adopted home state, according to the poll, conducted by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, are tied for second place, each at 17 percent. Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman runs fourth with 11 percent, breaking double-digits in the UNH poll for the first time. . . .

The poll shows Romney enjoys a broad base of support in the state. Compared to Iowa, fewer likely New Hampshire primary voters identify as tea party supporters, and those that do are more accepting of Romney than their Hawkeye State counterparts. Among those voters who say they support or are active in the tea party, Romney has a wide lead, enjoying a 44 percent to 24 percent advantage over Gingrich. About half of likely primary voters describe themselves as neither supporting nor opposing the tea party; Romney leads among this group by more than 20 percentage points. . . .

Romney runs strong among all age groups, surpassing 35 percent across the board.
Click here to read the complete story.

Video: A Christmas Message From President Reagan

This enduring and inspiring Christmas message from President Ronald Reagan was delivered in 1981. It was the end of a difficult year for President Reagan as he nearly lost his life to a would-be assassin earlier that year.
But President Reagan recovered from those gunshot wounds and vowed that "whatever days I have left are owed to and given back to Him."
President Reagan was never afraid to reference God or Christmas or Jesus. He remembered and took great pride in our nation's Judeo-Christian heritage. He also viewed all human life as a sacred gift from God.
Like many of Reagan's utterances, this message endures. It's timeless quality stems from the deep-seated values that Reagan cherished -- the values that form the basis of our nation and our democracy.
Let's not forget them.

Video: A Christmas Message From Israel

Stay updated with the Prime Minister's Social Media channels:


Merry Christmas

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Happy Holidays From First Book!

Happy Holidays from your friends at First Book

We had a great year at First Book, transforming the lives of millions of children in need by ensuring they have new books of their own to read. I want to take a moment to say thank you, and tell you what’s ahead.
We’ve spent 20 years building First Book, creating a pipeline for getting books and educational resources to programs serving kids from low-income families. That pipeline is uniquely effective, connecting almost 30,000 local schools and programs across the country with new, high-quality books from every major publisher, all supported by committed donors, volunteers and corporate partners.
First Book has created innovative new models and proven that they work, and -– with your help -– we’ll be swinging for the fences in 2012, scaling rapidly upwards to bring those desperately-needed supplies to the millions of children who are still waiting for us.
First Book in 2011We did a lot of important work this year –- distributing over 8 million new books, adding 7,000 more schools and programs to the First Book network, starting new local volunteer chapters in over a dozen communities, and launching a major upgrade to the First Book Marketplace that will provide local nonprofits and Title I schools with better access to books and other resources.
But that’s only a fraction of what’s in store. I’m excited about what we’ve got planned for the year ahead and the impact it will have, from dramatically expanding the size and scope of the network of schools and programs we reach to bringing the proven First Book model to other places around the world. I’ll keep you updated as we announce new programs, partnerships and milestones.
Thank you so much for your continued support of First Book and the children who are counting on us. We couldn’t do it without you.
Kyle Zimmer
President, First Book


Judge The Man By The Woman

Thanks for a video created by Mike Sage (“xcentricmike”) over at America Needs Mitt blog. This YouTube came to our attention from Mitt Romney Central.

A Heartfelt Christmas Memory From 1969

A high school classmate writes of a Christmas he spent in a danger zone on the other side of the world in 1969:
The year is 1969, still at Fire Support Base Hunter, Viet Nam. It is hard to get into the Christmas spirit when it is 90 degrees every day. With Christmas coming we were receiving tons of cards, letter, packages with home made cookies, which we all ate, and many 3foot pre decorated Christmas trees. On Christmas eve we sat around, talking about what our families were probably doing, what they were having to eat....what their traditions were.....a group of guys decided to go around singing Christmas songs, they started near us and it sounded pretty good. You have to understand, there is no is quiet at night, no lights, only the moon if it was as the group moved around the fire base and got on the other side, we could hear their voices gently singing in the night......It was one of the most moving and emotional times for all of us. A little later, the radio relay station on top of the only mountain in the area decided to start shooting off red and green flares, what a not to be outdone all the fire support bases in the area did the same was a great display. Christmas is a difficult time to be away from home, but when you are with people who are family, and remain so til today, I am glad I had the chance to share it with them. I wish all my brothers and their families a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Thanks so much for sharing this with us, Joe!

Christmas: Its Bittersweet Memories And Its Meaning

It's Christmas, a joyous time of the year.
And I see dead people.
They are all around me and they are here to celebrate Christmas with me.
I turn on the TV and Jimmy Stewart is racing down Main Street in Bedford Falls hoping to escape the confines of a small town but knowing that he never will.
And Alastair Sim, the quintessential Scrooge, is grimacing in the classic black-and-white version of everyone's favorite Christmas tale.
And in living color I still see Judy Garland and Bing Crosby and Perry Como and Dinah Shore and Andy Williams singing Christmas songs. Judy's still full of pathos as she tenderly sings Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas.
Jack Benny is here too and so is Lucy in a tender episode that ends with two Santas where there should be only one. One of the Santas is clearly Fred (William Frawley) but who's that other guy?
And when I turn on the radio I hear Christmas carols by Luciano Pavarotti and Ella Fitzgerald and Frank Sinatra and Mahalia Jackson and Mario Lanza.
On You Tube I watch President Reagan deliver a Christmas message from the White House. The President is warm and reassuring and he speaks confidently of faith in God and our Judeo-Christian heritage.
My mind tumbles back to the gritty, industrial city that I grew up in -- a riverfront city that didn't realize back then that its glory days were already behind it. It's a bleak, damp, gray December day but I'm warm and secure in the confines of my father's old Plymouth as we rush from place to place through narrow city streets marked by row houses and the occasional corner store.
We don't speak very much but I'm so happy to be with him. He's making lots of stops, picking up small treats and gifts from a variety of friends and businesspeople for whom he may have done odd jobs during the year. Whatever he manages to gather will help to make our Christmas a bit happier.
Even in the run up to Christmas, he's a tough negotiator. He barters with merchants and grocers. as he tries to select just the right provisions for our Christmas feast.
He maneuvers through and around streets, neighborhoods and landmarks with the swiftness of a true native.
His energy fills the room wherever he goes. He's not a big guy but he makes a huge impact. And I know that as long as I'm by his side, no harm can come to me.
On Christmas eve aunts, uncles, cousins and neighbors come and go as the all-night feast of the fishes drifts into the wee hours of Christmas day.
On Christmas morning the uncles begin their ritual home visitations, gathering more participants as they move from house to house. Loud, boisterous and well-lubricated, they pass out silver dollars to the children. These will be accepted as treasured tokens and saved in a safe place.
Through it all I see my mother, full of wry wit, optimism and just a the right perspective on the whole panoply. She's got a sharp eye and she's a great mimic as she jokes about people, places and personalities.
If you press her, she may even remember some of the people from her own earlier Christmases but she'd rather dwell in the present. She's very much about her own family, right here, right now.
Of course, now I understand why she took that approach.
As you get older, this is what happens.
Christmas isn't totally joyous. It isn't always candy canes and sugar plums.
So many Christmas memories; so many Christmases past.
Christmas with dead people is bittersweet.
Not to worry, though.
The memories are good. And the sights, sounds and glad tidings live within me.
Plus, at this time of year all of these people seem to come alive once again -- alive in a very special way. They are with me. They are part of me. And I treasure them.
And I suppose that's one of the lessons of Christmas: Let all the people and the events and the memories of the Christmases past deepen and enrich your understanding of this wonderful holiday. Savor it all.
Bring them along with you. Let them walk by your side. Be strengthened by their presence and pass on what you know, who you are, how you feel, what you have learned.
And be proud, strong and tender -- especially for the children who watch you more closely now than at any other time of the year.
In that way, you'll keep the true spirit of Christmas.

Santa's Special Message for Dan

Even with Santa Claus getting ready for his Christmas Eve ride, he still had time to say hello to our favorite blogger, Dan Cirucci!

What did Santa say? Is Dan naughty or nice?

Find out by clicking here!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Report: Philly Judge Booted For Photo Of Genitals

First, you have to understand that Pennsylvania elects all of its judges -- all of the judges  from the lowliest Traffic Court right on up to the State Supreme Court.
Then, you must digest the fact that Philadelphia has been governed under solid one-party rule for six decades. Which means that the judges in Philly aren't so much elected as they are hand-picked by the bosses of the entrenched Democrat regime.
Once you know all that, the following story may not come as a surprise: A Philadelphia Traffic Court Judge who was "elected" to the bench after he himself amassed $11,500 in traffic fines has now been removed from his $85,000-a-year post because he allegedly showed a photo of his genitals to a female court worker. After the employee filed a sexual harassment complaint, the judge allegedly confronted her in an attempt to get her to withdraw the complaint.
BTW: This same 29-year-old judge (who isn't even a lawyer) was filmed before his election suggesting that those who gave money to his campaign would get favorable treatment in his court.
Click here to read more.

Corzine, Obama And Biden: Perfect Together!

Diane Gooch, Strong New Jersey chairwoman, is pleased to announce the launch of a web video highlighting the alliance between President Obama, Vice-President Biden and disgraced former New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine. Corzine as CEO of MF Global, recently presided over the bankruptcy and loss of $1.2 billion in client funds.
Nobody knows Jon Corzine better than New Jersey. New Jersey rejected Jon Corzine's failed policies in 2009, while President Obama and Vice-President Biden embraced him. While businesses left the state and families lost their jobs, President Obama and Vice-President Biden campaigned aggressively for Corzine, praising Corzine and calling him for advice on how to improve the economy.
Strong New Jersey Chairwoman Diane Gooch said, "Strong New Jersey released the video to highlight exactly who the Obama administration turns to for advice and guidance on fixing our economy -- Jon Corzine."
New Jersey gets it. Jon Corzine's "spend now ask later" policy didn't work in New Jersey, and didn't work on Wall Street.
About Strong New Jersey
Founded by small business owner, philanthropic leader and former Congressional candidate Diane Gooch, Strong New Jersey is a group of concerned citizens ready to raise their voices to preserve and promote responsible government, individual liberty and free enterprise in New Jersey.

Excerpt from "Perfect Together"
CORZINE: "I simply do not know where the money is"
Jon Corzine bankrupted MF Global And lost $1.2 billion of client funds. This after nearly bankrupting NJ as Governor.
Yet, it's Corzine who President Obama and Vice-President Biden turn to for advice on the economy?
OBAMA: "You've had an honorable man at the helm in this state
CORZINE: "I simply do not know where the money is. As the CEO of MF Global, I ultimately had overall responsibility for the Firm."
BIDEN: "We were on the phone CALLING Jon Corzine. Literally. I literally picked up the phone and said, 'Jon, what do you think we should do?' We trusted his judgment."
CORZINE: "I simply do not know where the money is"
BIDEN: Jon was right.

No wonder Obama/Biden have nearly bankrupted America.
Click here for more information.

Video: Merry Christmas From The Romneys

Ohhh, Those Magical Extreme Christmas Lights!

Last night we headed out into the neighborhoods to scout some extreme Christmas lights.
And, as always the houses on Deer Road in the Northwoods section of Cherry Hill caught our fancy.
They attracted a big crowd -- and with good reason.
Family members (who live along the same street) compete with one another for the most spectacular Christmas displays. It's really a magnificent sight.
From Kings Highway in Cherry Hill take Chapel Avenue into Kingston Estates. Follow the road almost till it ends, then turn right onto Deer Road. You'll see the houses bunched together in a cul-de-sac.
It's worth the trip -- but if you're going tonight expect lots of traffic. Folks tell us this is always the biggest night for the display.
Photos copyright 2011 by Dan Cirucci.

Archbishop Dolan Praises 'Catholicism' Video Series

New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan lauds the widely-heralded video series "Catholicism."
Click here for more information.

Disney's 'Dare To Dream' Comes To Philly

Despite the 10-day forecast showing unseasonably warm temperatures this holiday season, the outlook for Wells Fargo Center for the next 10 days consists of low temperatures, ice and snow-storm like excitement for thousands of families and children with the remaining 23 shows of Disney On Ice presents Dare to Dream.

Disney On Ice presents Dare to Dream opened at Wells Fargo Center last night and continues for the next 10 days with a final performance on Sunday, January 1. At opening night, families entered with the same excitement a snow-storm creates, but children traded in their hats and gloves for crowns, princess dresses and hero’s swords as they welcomed Rapunzel, Princess Tiana, Cinderella and all the Disney princes and princesses to Philadelphia.

Throughout the next 10 days, Wells Fargo Center crews will take necessary measures to keep the building at an average temperature of 50-58 degrees and the ice at a temperature of 19 degrees. These ranges are ideal to ensure that the building is humidity free; humidity in the building could create fog at the ice level.

Wells Fargo Center meteorologists predict the same conditions of crowns, dresses and swords for the remaining performances of Disney On Ice presents Dare to Dream over the next 10 days, including two performances today, Friday, December 23 at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Show times are December 23 at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.; Saturday, December 24 at 11 a.m.and 3 p.m.; Sunday, December 25 at 2 p.m.; Monday, December 26 at 11 a.m., 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. ; Tuesday, December 27 at 11 a.m., 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.; Wednesday, December 28 at 11 a.m., 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.; Thursday, December 29 at 11 a.m., 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.; Friday, December 30 at 11 a.m., 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.; Saturday, December 31at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.; Sunday, January 1at 6 p.m.

Tickets at $15, $22.50, $30, $42.50, $55 and $85 will be available online through, by phone at 1-800-298-4200 or in person at the Wells Fargo Center Box Office. Group tickets are available by calling 215-389-9543.

Philly TV Weather Guy On Leave For 'Hotties' Esacapade

For a long time (maybe too long!) Philadelphia TV weather guy John Bolaris has had a reputation as a lady's man -- and that's putting it mildly.
By all accounts, Bolaris can't seem to stay away from the babes. And, by some accounts, they can't seem to keep their hands off him.
We're not sure exactly sure what it is with this guy -- it's not like he looks like Brad Pitt or anything like that. But when you mix Bolaris and babes, there's just no telling what's gonna happen.
Now comes the latest chapter as reported by our friend Dan Gross in the Philadelphia Daily News.
An excerpt follows:
Fox 29 meteorologist John Bolaris has been suspended indefinitely by the news station just days after Playboy magazine published an article about his being drugged and scammed by two European hotties in Miami Beach in March 2010, a story first reported by the Daily News this past May.
Bolaris is quoted throughout the story, in which he admits he went with the women because "I'm a guy. There was the thought I might get laid," and discusses his reputation as a ladies man. He also shares nude photos of women on his cell phone with writer Pat Jordan.
Station sources say Fox 29 management is upset at how the weatherman comes off in the story, which is the latest occasion in which he has upset management.
Click here to read more.

Romney Video: Don't Buy 'Cheap Promises,' Debt

“This will be a campaign about the soul of America, about American greatness. I’m confident that Americans won’t settle. I’m confident that Americans will refuse to be bought off by cheap promises that turn into never-ending debts for our children and grandchildren.”  --Mitt Romney
Click here for more.

Buon Natale E Tutti!

In questa stagione di gratitudine, ti ringraziamo per la tua amicizia e supporto.
Augurando a te ad ai tuoi cari pace, salute, felicitĂ  e prosperitĂ  per l'Anno Nuovo in arrivo.
Buon Natale