Monday, December 31, 2012

Catholic Vote Needs Your Help To Fight HHS Mandate

Dear CV Friend, 

One more day until the HHS mandate becomes a reality.

Starting tomorrow, many businesses will either be forced to pay for abortion pills in their health care plans or face ruinous fines.

That's why we're fighting the constitutionality of this mandate in federal court.

Help us with your tax-deductible contribution today! 

Your support fuels our legal defense against this egregious HHS mandate.

Right now we are working on an emergency appeal to temporarily stop the mandate while our lawsuits proceed. We have won one and one more is pending. 
That's why your support is needed right now!

And to thank you for your contribution, we'll send you a special gift.

Thanks for all you do for the CatholicVote.

Brian Burch, President

P.S. Our year-end promotional gift specials continue. That means you can help us fight the HHS Mandate, and get a great gift in return. Click now to make a year-end gift.

If you wish, you can mail your gift to the following address: Education Fund
P.O. Box 2709
Chicago, IL 60690 

Incredible Photos: The Year's Worst Hair!

Shown from top to bottom: Cyndi Lauper, Woody Allen (with some starlet), Shia LaBeouf, Michelle Obama and Tilda Swinton, Dennis Rodman Donald Trump and finally, Maya Rudolph.

DC Deal On Taxes To Avert Cliff Splits The Difference


So it now looks like congressional leaders are zeroing in on an 11th hour deal to avert the fiscal cliff (a term aptly coined by Bernancke).

Taxes will go up -- it's just a matter of what the income cutoff point will be.

And word is that it won't be $200,000 in annual income or even $250,000 or even $300,000. But it won't be as high as a million dollars either.

Instead, we hear that the cut will come in at $400,000 for individuals and $450,000 for families.

If you make that much or more, it now seems that your taxes will go up.

Let's see what happens in the remaining hours as they try to move this through Congress.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Video: Obama Says Benghazii Was Just 'Sloppiness'

As Obama addresses Benghazi, watch how many times his eyes blink. Studies have shown that frequent (and sometimes rapid) blinking correlates with lying. Liars will maintain eye contact but it's the blinking and the "uuhhhs, errs" and "ahhhhs . . . " that give them away.

Vote Today: YOU Pick The Year's Best Movie!

The Golden Globes and The Oscars are just around the corner.
And soon Hollywood will be announcing its choices for the year's best films.
But only Hollywood insiders vote in those polls. And actual moviegoers often don't agree with Hollywood's choice anyway.
So now here's YOUR chance to pick the Best Picture of the Year.
Vote in our poll. We've given you more than 20 films to choose from. Tell us your favorite. Is it Lincoln or Silver Linings Playbook or Most Exotic Marigold Hotel or Les Miserables or Life of Pi or The Master or maybe some other film.
Here's your chance to vote.
The more votes we get, the more accurate our poll will be.
So, vote today at the right top of this blog page.
We want to hear from you!

10 Reasons Why New Years 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 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 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 (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.

Pope: Welcome Every Child As 'Gift From God'

Below, as translated by Vatican Radio is Pope Benedict's message on the Feast of the Holy Family which is celebrated today:
Dear brothers and sisters!
Today is the feast of the Holy Family of Nazareth. In the liturgy the passage from Luke’s Gospel presents the Virgin Mary and St. Joseph who, faithful to tradition, go to Jerusalem for the Passover with the twelve-year-old Jesus. The first time Jesus had entered the Temple of the Lord was forty days after his birth, when his parents had offered "a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons" (Luke 2:24) on his behalf, which is the sacrifice of poor. "Luke, whose Gospel is filled with a whole theology of the poor and poverty, makes it clear ... that Jesus' family was counted among the poor of Israel; he helps us to understand that it was there among them where the fulfillment of God’s promise matured" ( The Infancy Narratives, 96). Today Jesus is in the Temple again, but this time he has a different role, which involves him in the first person. He undertakes the pilgrimage to Jerusalem as prescribed by the Law (Ex 23.17, 34.23 ff) together with Mary and Joseph, although he was not yet in his thirteenth year: a sign of the deep religiosity of the Holy Family. But when his parents return to Nazareth, something unexpected happens: he, without saying anything, remains in the City. For three days, Mary and Joseph search for him and find him in the Temple, speaking with the teachers of the Law (Lk 2: 46 ,47), and when they ask him for an explanation, Jesus tells them they have no cause to wonder, because that is his place, that is his home, with the Father, who is God (The Infancy Narratives 143). "He – Origen writes - professes to be in the temple of his Father, the Father who has revealed Himself to us and of which he says he is the Son" (Homilies on the Gospel of Luke, 18, 5).
Mary and Joseph’s concern for Jesus is the same as every parent who educates a child, introduces them to life and to understanding reality. Today, therefore, we should say a special prayer to the Lord for all the families of the world. Imitating the Holy Family of Nazareth, may parents seriously concern themselves about the growth and education of their children, so that they may mature as responsible and honest citizens, without ever forgetting that faith is a precious gift to be nourished in their children through personal example.
At the same time we pray that every child is welcomed as a gift from God, is sustained by the love of the father and mother in order to advance as the Lord Jesus "in wisdom and age and favour before God and man " (Lk 2: 52). The love, loyalty and dedication of Mary and Joseph are an example for all Christian couples who are neither the friends nor masters of their children’s lives, but the guardians of this incomparable gift from God.
The silence of Joseph, the just man (cf. Mt 1:19), and the example of Mary who kept all things in her heart (cf. Lk 2:51), causes us to enter into the mystery full of faith and humanity of the Holy family. I wish for all Christian families to live in the presence of God with the same love and the same joy as the family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph.
I welcome all the English-speaking visitors present for this Angelus prayer. Today the Church throughout the world celebrates the Feast of the Holy Family. May Jesus, Mary and Joseph bring greater love, unity and harmony to all Christian families, that they in their turn may be a firm example to the communities in which they live. May God bless you and your dear families!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Week's Biggest Stories; How Many Have You Read?

Sep 6, 2010, 1 comment

Giants And Jerks: Best And Worst Of 2012

Who were the year's biggest winners and losers; the best and the worst; the giants and the jerks?
Well, where do you wanna start?
There are just so many to pick from.
But we always like to be positive (at least as much as we can) and we also like to roam widely. So, in no particular order and without regard to area of success or failure, we'll begin with the winners.

The Winners, The Best and a few of the year's actual Giants:
Big Bird. He gets a reprieve.
Apple. A quirky company with (sometimes) quirky products but still a standout.
Zombies. The living dead are back, folks.
Nate Silver. Not a personal favorite of ours, but he was right.
The Avengers. Grossing $1.5 billion worldwide and counting.
Skyfall. The thinking person's James Bond turns out to be tons of fun.
Channing Tatum. More than Magic Mike.
2016: Obama's America. Cleverly titled, the year's biggest grossing documentary film.
Moonrise Kingdom. Instant cult classic.
Romney in the first debate. If only we could have stopped time.
Hispanics. A power to be reckoned with.
The status quo. You voted for more of the same, folks.
WG III and the Redskins. He's got The Right Stuff.
Michael Phelps. Embodying The American Dream.
Anne Hathaway. Delicious and super-talented.
Marco Rubio. Turns out not being selected as a running mate has huge advantages.
Mia Love & Allen West. Yeah, they lost but they'll be back.
Tim Tebow. He'll be back as well. Keep the faith.
Eddie Redmayne. It's not just the British connection.
The Philadelphia Museum of Art. Blockbuster shows done with panache by Timothy Rub and his fine staff.
Ann Curry. Fired? Nah. Nothing can tarnish this class act.
Cherry Hill Mall. But they do need more parking.
Kate Middleton. Whatever her title is, she's stellar.
Condoleezza Rice. Still brilliant.
The narrative. Is this really all anybody cared about? Really?
Bradley Cooper. It gets better.
Abraham Lincoln. Yes, he's in again -- this time as a crafty politician.
Chris Christie. The instincts, the timing, the realness.
FM 106 IQ Radio. Philly's hot new conservative voice.
Jan Brewer. Yeah, we like her attytude!
Big pharma.
Queen Elizabeth. Defining royalty.
Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton.
Annie. She's back on Broadway and better than ever.
Alfred Hitchcock. Dead, but more alive than many who pretend to be.
Hunter Hayes. Bright new country star.
Penelope Cruz. Just look at her!

The Losers, The Skunks, The Worst, a few certifiable Jerks and some who simply let us down:
Romney and the GOP. Big opportunity blown.
Simon Cowell.
Rupert Murdoch's The Daily. It seemed like a good idea.
Clint Eastwood. An empty chair is -- an empty chair!
Matt Lauer and the Today team. Couldn't happen to a nicer guy.
The Master. Does anybody care what it was really all about?
Project ORCA. GOTV was AWOL.
Iowa caucuses. Proved nothing, again.
Big mainstream media. Yeah, your guy won. But you're still dying.
Andy Reid, Michael Vick, The Eagles.
Swing state voters. Didn't come down to a single state so none of you won.
Chris Matthews. Tingle, tingle . . .
Susan Rice.
One Direction. Boy group fizzled?
Todd Akin.
California and Jerry Brown.
Madonna and Lady Gaga.
David Petraeus.
The Phillies.
John Roberts. Turns out we were wise to be suspicious.
Candy Crowley. Despite the fact that we actually like her.
The NHL.
Piers Morgan.
Stuart Stevens. Take the blame, fella!
Kanye West. Tiresome.
Alec Baldwin.
Bob Costas. Pompous.
Wayne LaPierre and the NRA. With a name like LaPierre . . . .
Donald Trump. Too many stunts.
Doomsday scenarios. Ain't gonna happen.
Joe Biden. How to lose while winning.
Ron Johnson and JC Penney. Get your act together, guys!
The Constitution. Revised, rejiggered, redefined, reinvented. Why?
America's voters. You bought it. It's yours. Deal with it.

Did we miss anybody?

Notable 2012 Deaths: How Many Do You Remember?

The first person to walk on the moon. A great general who led us through a successful military campaign. A singer and multi-talented entertainer whose troubled life after fame and fortune came to a sorry end. A legendary football coach defamed by scandal. A childrens' author with lessons for adults. Two hugely popular artists who catered to the masses and two Oscar winners. A trailblazing comedienne, three giants from the early days of TV, a former queen of country music and a toe-tapping country picker. The image of eternal youth and a TV reporter who's piercing questions made the powerful squirm. These were among those we lost this year.
We bid farewell to all of them and ask: How many of the following (listed in chronological order) do you remember?

Etta James

Joe Paterno

James Farentino

Don Cornelius

Angelo Dundee

Ben Gazzara

Whitney Houston

Dory Previn

Davy Jones

Andrew Breitbart

Earl Scruggs

Thomas Kinkade

Mike Wallace

Dick Clark

Charles Colson

Maurice Sendak

Nicholas Katzenbach

Vidal Sassoon

Carlos Fuentes

Donna Summer

Robin Gibb

Doc Watson

Richard Dawson

Ray Bradbury

Rodney King

LeRoy Neiman

Nora Ephron

Ytzhak Shamir

Andy Griffith

Ernest Borgnine

Celeste Holm

Kitty Wells

William Raspberry

Alexander Cockburn

Sally Ride

Sherman Hemsley

Tony Martin

Gore Vidal

Marvin Hamlisch

Judith Crist

Helen Gurley Brown

William Windom

Phyllis Diller

Neil Armstrong

Hal David

Sun Myung Moon

Steve Sabol

Andy Williams

Arthur Ochs Sulzberger

Barry Commoner

Alex Karras

Arlen Specter

George McGovern

Russell Means

Letitia Baldridge

Larry Hagman

Hector Comancho

Dave Brubeck

Jenni Rivera

Ravi Shankar

Daniel Inouye

Robert Bork

Charles Durning

Jack Klugman

Norman Schwarzkopf

Jean Harris

Friday, December 28, 2012

Good News: George H. W. Bush Health Improving

We’re very happy with the latest update on the health of former President George H.W. Bush: ‘ “The President is alert and, as always, in good spirits - and his exchanges with doctors and nurses now include singing,” family spokesman Jim McGrath said in a brief statement.
“The Bushes thank everyone for their prayers and good wishes and, like their doctors, are cautiously optimistic that the current course of treatment will be effective.” ‘ For further details, read here:
Take it easy, Mr. President, and continue to mend (and sing!).
Hat Tip: Mitt Romney Central
We’re very happy with the latest update on the health of former President George H.W. Bush:  ‘ “The President is alert and, as always, in good spirits - and his exchanges with doctors and nurses now include singing,” family spokesman Jim McGrath said in a brief statement. “The Bushes thank everyone for their prayers and good wishes and, like their doctors, are cautiously optimistic that the current course of treatment will be effective.” ‘ For further details, read here: Take it easy, Mr. President, and continue to mend (and sing!).

Christie Orders Flags Lowered For Schwarzkopf

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie today signed Executive Order 123, ordering all State buildings to fly flags at half-staff on Wednesday, January 2, 2013 to recognize the achievements and honor the memory of United States Army General H. Norman Schwarzkopf following his passing on Thursday, December 27.

Born in Trenton and raised in Lawrenceville, General Schwarzkopf’s service to our nation included two tours of duty in Vietnam, during which General Schwarzkopf earned three Silver Stars for valor, a Bronze Star, a Purple Heart and three Distinguished Service Medals. General Schwarzkopf also commanded the international coalition forces led by the United States during Operation Desert Storm.

“Throughout his life of dedicated and exemplary service, General Schwarzkopf enriched the lives of people throughout New Jersey, the United States of America and the world,” said Governor Christie. “It is with deep sadness that we mourn the loss of General Schwarzkopf and extend our sincere sympathy to his family and fellow soldiers.”

39 Bold, New Predictions For The New Year

Let's get right to it.
With just days remaining in 2012, it's time to look forward to the new year.
So, here's our fearless forecast for 2013. We give you  39 (3 X 13) predictions for the new year:

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie will easily be re-elected to a second term in a Garden State romp. This will well position Christie for a 2016 presidential run and slowly, many conservatives will forgive him what they perceive as transgressions and he will emerge as a formidable presidential contender.

Many will try to position Christie and Florida Senator Marco Rubio as the left and right of the party, respectively but both men will deny that, aim more for the middle and say they actually like each other.

The movie Silver Linings Playbook will emerge as the big sleeper in the Oscar race and will at the least garner a statuette for Jennifer Lawrence.

Look for Anne Hathaway to lead the pack for the Best Actress Oscar in Les Miserables with top Oscar categories running neck and neck between Les Miz and Lincoln. Look for Daniel Day Lewis to prevail for Lincoln.

Tommy Lee Jones is likely to win the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for Lincoln.

Oil prices will drop for awhile in 2013 and this will help stimulate the economy.

Unemployment for the year 2013 will still remain above 7%.

The Philadelphia Phillies will have a somewhat better year than last year but things will still be difficult. They will not make it to the World Series.

The Eagles will dump Andy Reid and Michael Vick.

Jimmy Fallon's star will continue to rise and he may prove (one way of another) to be a formidable threat to Jay Leno.

CNN will continue to struggle in the ratings category as it tries to find a niche for itself. Piers Morgan will stir up more controversy and his tenure with the network may become precarious.

Much speculation will revolve around Hillary Clinton and her future plans but Hillary will hold back, refusing to show her hand. This will create a leadership vacuum in the Democrat Party going forward as Obama will be a lame duck, concerns will arise over the well-being of Joe Biden and others will be reluctant to step up until Hillary makes up her mind about 2016.

The GOP leaders in the House and Senate (Boehner and McConnell) will face serious challenges from within their own party and many will call on them to step down as they increasingly appear to be out-of-touch spokespersons who are not reflective of the future of the party and the country.

The NHL will cancel the 2012-2013 hockey season.

Major TV network news programs and traditional print news sources will continue to lose followers, ads and revenue. More newspapers will bite the dust. The Philadelphia Daily News may not survive.

Speculation will continue to swirl around Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter especially as potential successors begin to strategize. The mayor will once again be tempted to take a post with the Obama administration or some other high-profile job. He may consider serving as president of an academic powerhouse or think tank.

Phillies pitcher Cole Hamels will have another great season.

By the end of 2013 Newark mayor Cory Booker will make it clear that he will go for the Senate seat held by Democrat Frank Lautenberg but (despite pressure from party leaders) Lautenberg will seem to ignore pleas that he step aside.

California and/or Illinois will go bankrupt.

The NRA, Michelle Bachmann and Tea Party activists will not disappear. This will delight the Democrats and present somewhat of a quandry for the GOP and its increasingly strong bench including budding presidential contenders.

Republicans will signal that they are willing to accept some additional gun control provisions but Democrats will overplay their hand by demanding all-out banning of certain types of guns and arms. This will muddy the waters and may create a stalemate.

Americans will begin to feel the effects of Obamacare and they won't appreciate the growing ramifications.

The United States Supreme Court will say that gay "marriage" can stand in the states where it has been legalized, suggesting that the matter be left to the states. This will prove to be a partial victory (if that) and will satisfy no one.

Hugo Chavez and/or Fidel Castro will expire.

Compassionate conservative will re-emerge in the GOP but with a new name as new faces step forward.

If you actually work for a living, taxes will take more of your money in 2013 than in 2012.

Facial hair will continue to be "in" for men, furthering a trend.

Indigo will be one of the big colors of the year, setting a rich new fashion trend.

Contrary to popular belief (or what Big Media would have you believe) the Republican Party will not fade away in 2013 but rather will re-emerge with many new faces and a younger, fresher, multi-cultural hue.

The Jersey shore will have one of its biggest summers ever on the strength of a huge post-Sandy "comeback" campaign that plays on nostalgia, empathy and surprising new attractions.

New York Mayor Bloomberg (aka Nanny Bloomers) will threaten to form a third party.

Musical versions of well-known movie hits will continue to dominate on Broadway. In fact, look for the musical Rocky to head to the Great White Way.

The underrated "sexiest man alive" Channing Tatum will finally begin to be taken seriously as the fine actor that he really is.

A scandal involving another woman will jolt a major Philadelphia politician.

The retro-sixties trend in fashion and decor will begin to fade.

Developers will be forced to continue to build apartment projects as the condo market will not yet fully rebound. If an when a real turnaround occurs in the housing market these apartment can still be converted to ownership units.

Cable TV will face new threats as cheaper access to the internet pushes more and more viewers into on-demand and pay-per-view viewing through alternate services. You'll watch what you want when you want to watch it and pay as you go.

Libraries will cut hours and buy fewer printed books as e-books take over and more people borrow or buy books electronically. This will trigger a demand by Democrats to make e-readers available to everyone below a certain income level with accompanying free access to such books.

Reality TV shows will falter as the trend finally starts to lose steam. People will tire of the strained drama and lingering monotony of these cheap, phony excuses for entertainment.

And one, fun bonus prediction: Liberals will continue to call themselves "progressive" but discriminating citizens will not be fooled.

Disney On Ice: Dazzling Entertainment, Photos

Last night we attended the opening of Disney On Ice: Rockin Ever After at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. This is the very newest show in the Disney On Ice series and it's a dazzler.
This is great entertainment for the whole family.
As you can see from the photos, some of your best-loved stories and most of your favorite Disney characters are part of the show which also features great skating, fun acrobatics and incredible special effects.
You can rock out with some of the most magical idols of all in a musical showcase that features the hottest tunes and talent from across the kingdom in Disney On Ice presents Rockin’ Ever After! Jam to a Scottish jig as a group of royal contenders from the latest Disney•Pixar film, Brave, competes to win the heart of headstrong, sharp-shooting Merida, making her ice debut! Experience a show-stopping performance as Sebastian breaks out of his shell for one night only to make waves with Ariel. A chorus of harmless hooligans from Tangled unleashes musical mayhem when they get a visit from the sassy and spirited Rapunzel and her charming ally Flynn. And, get your feet moving as the Beast and his castle’s enchanted entourage take center stage in a spectacular show for Belle. It's a rockin’ remix of royalty when Disney On Ice brings this superstar line-up to your hometown.
Disney On Ice: Rockin’ Ever After will be playing at the Wells Fargo Center Thursday December 27, 2012 through Sunday, January 6, 2013. Tickets begin at $22.50 and go on sale July 20 at 10:00am online at, by phone at 1-800-298-4200 or in person at the Wells Fargo Center Box Office.
Click here for ticket information and tickets.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

The More You Give Government, The More It Wants

Remembering Schwarzkopf: An American Hero

Justice's Ruling Ignores 'Rights Of Conscience'

American Catholics for Religious Freedom released the following statement today in response to a ruling by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor denying a injunction against the enforcement of controversial sections of Obamacare for employers who object on religious or moral grounds to providing contraceptive coverage and other drugs to employees. The emergency appeal was filed in response to a 10th Circuit ruling that also denied an injunction request.

“In suggesting that the need for an injunction by Hobby Lobby and Mardel, just days away from the levying of extensive enforcement penalties, was not “indisputably clear,” Justice Sotomayor flatly ignores the rights of conscience of all Americans. Come next week, the owners of these businesses will be forced by our government to provide insurance coverage they believe on both religious and moral grounds to be reprehensible.”

“Sotomayor’s contention that these companies must comply now because they can seek relief at another time and in other courts is a slap in the face of people of faith who are being coerced into violating their deeply-held beliefs. She ignores the simple fact that complying with the law will in and of itself result in violations of conscience unacceptable to the people involved. This ruling demonstrates clearly that the government’s disrespect for the Catholic Church and people of faith is perhaps one of the most pressing issues of our time requiring the action and attention of everyone American who values Freedom of Religion.”

New Year's Eve In Philly - Here Are Your Choices!

Feast Of The Seven Fishes - Stunning Photos

The Italian Christmas Eve Feast of the Seven Fishes continues to fascinate.

Why seven? Seven is a very important number. It stands for the seven sacraments of the Catholic Church. The seven days of creation. In Biblical numerology, seven is a number of perfection.
And fish is the featured dish because Italians have customarily abstained from eating meat on Christmas Eve. This is the Christmas vigil.
There is no set menu for this feast.
But here are some of the fishes that are traditionally used: calamari (squid); scungilli [skuhn-GEE-lee] (conch); baccala [bah-kah-LAH] (dry, salt cod); shrimp; clams, usually served with pasta; mussels; snapper, trout, tuna or salmon.
We have adapted this menu over the years and updated it somewhat.
So, our annual feast usually includes calamari, baccala, shrimp, crab cakes, tuna, smelts and salmon. The cod and shrimp are served in both cold and fried or sauteed varieties. Shrimp is served as a shrimp cocktail and as shrimp scampi. Crab is served as both breaded and fried crab balls and fresh, cold crab claws. The baccala is served fried and in a salad. The calamari is served baked and stuffed. The tuna is served with spaghetti in a red sauce. The smelts are fried and the salmon is broiled. In addition to all of this it is customary to serve fried cauliflower and Italian greens.
Our feast is usually preceded by cocktails (that's where the cold shrimp and crab come in) with much chatter and anticipation.
And it all ends with a variety of delectable sweets.
The Feast of the Seven Fishes takes up the entire evening -- usually beginning with the preliminaries at around 5 or 6 PM and often continuing into the wee hours of the morning.
Enjoy these photos from our most recent feast.

Cold shrimp.

Crab balls.

The spaghetti with tuna in red sauce.

The bitter Italian greens.


Smelts, crab and fried cauliflower.

Cod and fried cauliflower.

Chocolates, miniature cupcakes, cookies, key lime pie and the tree. 

Remembering Charles Durning, Actor And War Hero

A true American Hero, actor Charles Durning, died this Chirstmas Eve, Dec 24, at the age of 89. Durning, who became one of Hollywood's top character actors in films like "The Sting, Tootsie, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, Dog Day Afternoon, and O Brother Where Art Thou?," enlisted in the US Army during WWII and served with the 398th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Army Support Troops and 386th Anti-aircraft Artillery.

He was in the first wave of troops to land on Omaha Beach on D-Day and his unit’s lone survivor of a machine-gun ambush, was shot in the hip a few days later and was wounded by a German landmine on June 15. After a brief recovery he was at the Battle of the Bulge, where he was wounded again by a bayonet and was the only member of his patrol who survived the Battle. Durning was also one of he few to survive the Dec 16 Malmedy Massacre. During his time in service, he was awarded a Silver Star for valor and three Purple Hearts and spent months in hospitals being treated for physical and psychological trauma.

Durning's father was a wounded veteran who died when Charles was 12 due to the effects of mustard gas exposure in WWI. His mother, Louise, worked as a laundress at the United States Military Academy at West Point.
We thank and honor Durning and his family for his service and thank him for the entertainment he has provided to us through the years, may he rest in peace.

Our Predictions for 2012 Were 65% Correct!

So, how did we do with our predictions ("fearless forecast") for 2012.
Here are the predictions and (in italics) the results:

--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. RIGHT!

--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. RIGHT!

--China will face it's own version of "Arab spring" WRONG and the Chinese economy will have its share of problems as an economic slowdown RIGHT!, uncertainty and possible uprisings make some begin to wonder RIGHT! 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. WRONG.

--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. RIGHT!

--Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter will be offered a major position in the Obama Administration WRONG. 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. WRONG. 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. WRONG.

--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. RIGHT!

--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. WRONG.

--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. RIGHT!

--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.  RIGHT!

--Mitt Romney will win the Republican presidential nomination RIGHT! and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie will be on Romney's short list of possible VP choices RIGHT! But, in the end Romney will pick Florida Senator Marco Rubio as his running mate WRONG 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 RIGHT! 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 RIGHT! 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 RIGHT!

*The actual BLS unemployment figure was 7.9%.
BTW: Thank goodness we didn't predict the outcome of the election as we would have been wrong, wrong, wrong.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

President Bush # 41 In Intensive Care In Houston

President George H.W. Bush is in intensive care.
Our thoughts and prayers to President Bush and the entire Bush family.
Please join with us in praying for this unselfish public servant and his wonderful family.
President George H.W. Bush is in intensive care. Our thoughts and prayers to President Bush and family.

Vote Now - YOU Pick The Year's Best Movie

The Golden Globes and The Oscars are just around the corner.
And soon Hollywood will be announcing its choices for the year's best films.
But only Hollywood insiders vote in those polls. And actual moviegoers often don't agree with Hollywood's choice anyway.
So now here's YOUR chance to pick the Best Picture of the Year.
Vote in our poll. We've given you more than 20 films to choose from. Tell us your favorite. Is it Lincoln or Silver Linings Playbook or Most Exotic Marigold Hotel or Les Miserables or Life of Pi or The Master or maybe some other film.
Here's your chance to vote.
The more votes we get, the more accurate our poll will be.
So, vote today at the right top of this blog page.
We want to hear from you!

50 Top Philly Restaurants As Rated By Philly Mag.

Here are Philadelphia's 50 best restaurants as rated by Philadelphia magazine in their new issue, just out. Starred (*) restaurants are new to the list. Restaurants that we have visited (and in some cases actually enjoyed) are marked with a plus sign (+). Of all the restaurants on this list our personal favorite remains Parc (#50). Here it is:

1. Stateside*

2. Marigold Kitchen*

3. Vedge*

4. The Farm and Fisherman*

5. Le Virtu*

6. Sbraga*

7. Fond

8. Amis

9. Vetri

10, Bibou

11. Blackfish

12. Brauhaus Schmitz*

13. Osteria+

14. Zahav

15. Vernick Food & Drink*

16. Will*

17. Fork+

18. Zeppoli*+

19. Han Dynasty

20. The Fountain+

21. Amada

22. Dandelion*+

23. Tashan*

24. Little Fish*

25. JG Domestic*

26. Le Bec Fin*+

27. Zama*

28. Jamonera*

29. Il Pittore*

30. Alla Spina*

31. Pub & Kitchen

32. Pumpkin

33. Barbuzzo+

34. Kanella

35. Sovana+

36. Bistro 7

37. Nectar*

38. Bistrot La Minette

39. Oyster House+

40. Butcher & Singer+

41. Lacroix+

42. Standard Tap+

43. Matyson

44. Koo Zee Doo

45. Percy Street BBQ

46. Federal Donuts*+

47. Supper

48. Mica*

49. Talula’s Garden*

50. Parc+

Priceless: Video Of Dad Who Gets Tkts. To Big Game

A son in Alabama surprises his dad on Christmas with tickets to the BCS National Championship football game.
The dad's reaction is positively priceless!

Video: Mummers Behind-The-Scenes Peak

2013 Philadelphia Mummers Parade
When: Tuesday, January 1, 8:50 a.m.-about 6 p.m
Where: Parade runs along Broad Street, beginning at Oregon Avenue and ending at City Hall
Performance areas: Broad and Washington, Shunk, Pine, Sansom and (by ticket only) at City Hall.
Cost: Free along main route; ticketed at City Hall.
More info:

Here's How You Can Protect Religious Freedom

Donate to and reap the rewards.

Sometimes Hollywood Is Just Plain DUMB!

Boxing Day: What's It Really All About?

Today is Boxing Day in Great Britain and most of the Commonwealth nations.
The day after Christmas is customarily observed as a legal holiday.
No, the Brits do not all run out to boxing matches.
But they do enjoy soccer games today and they do lots of shopping today as well. The Queen and her entourage (such as they are) engage in fox hunting.
Where did the day get its name?
No one quite knows.
Many think it comes from the idea of boxing up Christmas stuff and/or sorting through your Christmas boxes (your gifts). But history says this is also the day when servants would get their Christmas gifts (cash and/or boxed treats) from their masters -- a sort of littler, humbler Christmas. Here's how it worked: Since they would have to wait on their masters on Christmas Day, the servants of the wealthy were allowed the next day to visit their families. The employers would give each servant a box to take home containing gifts and bonuses, and sometimes leftover food.
It was also a custom for tradesmen to collect "Christmas boxes" of money or presents on the first weekday after Christmas as thanks for good service throughout the year. In England Canada, New Zealand and Australia, Boxing Day is primarily known as a shopping holiday, much like the day after Thanksgiving in the United States. It is a time where shops have sales, often with dramatic price reductions. For many merchants, Boxing Day has become the day of the year with the greatest amount of returns. In the UK in 2009 it was estimated that up to 12 million shoppers appeared at the sales, a rise of almost 20% compared to 2008.
So, in the spirit of the day -- box, shop, spend, eat, dink and enjoy!

Pantyhose Makes A Significant Comeback

Have you noticed?
Legs are in fashion again.
And they seem shapelier and livelier than ever.
That's because pantyhose is making a comeback. Not a huge comeback, but a comeback nonetheless.
With the return of dresses, women are more conscious of their legs. And pantyhose gives color, shape and definition to a feature that women can easily show off and men find particularly attractive. Plus, many claim that pantyhose provides a degree of warmth and support as well.
Whatever the reason, pantyhose appears to be fashionable once again.
In fact, hosiery sales increased from $900 million to $1 billion in 2011, with sheers "definitely leading the legwear pack in terms of increases," according to a vice president at Bare Necessities. 
And the trend seems to be continuing.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Which US Presidents Have Played Santa Claus?

It's not exactly typical for the President of the United States to don a Santa outfit and appear as Santa Claus. It takes a leader who's not too vain -- someone who's secure in his own skin -- to pull it off.
Only four US presidents have ever played Santa Claus.
Shown above is one of them.
Yes, Ronald Reagan played Santa Claus. The other three were Teddy Roosevelt, William Howard Taft and Dwight D. Eisenhower.
Notice that they were all Republicans.
Now, that doesn't necessarily mean that Democrat presidents don't act as Santa Claus -- they do. In fact, they give lots and lots of "gifts" away not just at Christmas but all year long, every day, 365 days a year. But they do it all with your tax money. In effect, you act as Santa Claus for them.

Merry Christmas From The Romney Family

Wishing you and your family a Merry Christmas, happy holiday season and a joyful new year.

Pope Benedict XVI: Make Room For God!

"We are so “full” of ourselves that there is no room left for God. And that means there is no room for others either, for children, for the poor, for the stranger . . . If God’s light is extinguished, man’s divine dignity is also extinguished. Then the human creature would cease to be God’s image, to which we must pay honor in every person, in the weak, in the stranger, in the poor." 
--The Christmas message of Benedict XVI. 

The complete message:

Again and again the beauty of this Gospel touches our hearts: a beauty that is the splendor of truth. Again and again it astonishes us that God makes himself a child so that we may love him, so that we may dare to love him, and as a child trustingly lets himself be taken into our arms. It is as if God were saying: I know that my glory frightens you, and that you are trying to assert yourself in the face of my grandeur. So now I am coming to you as a child, so that you can accept me and love me.

I am also repeatedly struck by the Gospel writer’s almost casual remark that there was no room for them at the inn. Inevitably the question arises, what would happen if Mary and Joseph were to knock at my door. Would there be room for them? And then it occurs to us that Saint John takes up this seemingly chance comment about the lack of room at the inn, which drove the Holy Family into the stable; he explores it more deeply and arrives at the heart of the matter when he writes: “he came to his own home, and his own people received him not” (Jn 1:11). The great moral question of our attitude towards the homeless, towards refugees and migrants, takes on a deeper dimension: do we really have room for God when he seeks to enter under our roof? Do we have time and space for him? Do we not actually turn away God himself? We begin to do so when we have no time for him. The faster we can move, the more efficient our time-saving appliances become, the less time we have. And God? The question of God never seems urgent. Our time is already completely full. But matters go deeper still. Does God actually have a place in our thinking? Our process of thinking is structured in such a way that he simply ought not to exist. Even if he seems to knock at the door of our thinking, he has to be explained away. If thinking is to be taken seriously, it must be structured in such a way that the “God hypothesis” becomes superfluous. There is no room for him. Not even in our feelings and desires is there any room for him. We want ourselves. We want what we can seize hold of, we want happiness that is within our reach, we want our plans and purposes to succeed. We are so “full” of ourselves that there is no room left for God. And that means there is no room for others either, for children, for the poor, for the stranger. By reflecting on that one simple saying about the lack of room at the inn, we have come to see how much we need to listen to Saint Paul’s exhortation: “Be transformed by the renewal of your mind” (Rom 12:2). Paul speaks of renewal, the opening up of our intellect (nous), of the whole way we view the world and ourselves. The conversion that we need must truly reach into the depths of our relationship with reality. Let us ask the Lord that we may become vigilant for his presence, that we may hear how softly yet insistently he knocks at the door of our being and willing. Let us ask that we may make room for him within ourselves, that we may recognize him also in those through whom he speaks to us: children, the suffering, the abandoned, those who are excluded and the poor of this world.

There is another verse from the Christmas story on which I should like to reflect with you – the angels’ hymn of praise, which they sing out following the announcement of the new-born Savior: “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace among men with whom he is pleased.” God is glorious. God is pure light, the radiance of truth and love. He is good. He is true goodness, goodness par excellence. The angels surrounding him begin by simply proclaiming the joy of seeing God’s glory. Their song radiates the joy that fills them. In their words, it is as if we were hearing the sounds of heaven. There is no question of attempting to understand the meaning of it all, but simply the overflowing happiness of seeing the pure splendor of God’s truth and love. We want to let this joy reach out and touch us: truth exists, pure goodness exists, pure light exists. God is good, and he is the supreme power above all powers. All this should simply make us joyful tonight, together with the angels and the shepherds.

Linked to God’s glory on high is peace on earth among men. Where God is not glorified, where he is forgotten or even denied, there is no peace either. Nowadays, though, widespread currents of thought assert the exact opposite: they say that religions, especially monotheism, are the cause of the violence and the wars in the world. If there is to be peace, humanity must first be liberated from them. Monotheism, belief in one God, is said to be arrogance, a cause of intolerance, because by its nature, with its claim to possess the sole truth, it seeks to impose itself on everyone. Now it is true that in the course of history, monotheism has served as a pretext for intolerance and violence. It is true that religion can become corrupted and hence opposed to its deepest essence, when people think they have to take God’s cause into their own hands, making God into their private property. We must be on the lookout for these distortions of the sacred. While there is no denying a certain misuse of religion in history, yet it is not true that denial of God would lead to peace. If God’s light is extinguished, man’s divine dignity is also extinguished. Then the human creature would cease to be God’s image, to which we must pay honor in every person, in the weak, in the stranger, in the poor. Then we would no longer all be brothers and sisters, children of the one Father, who belong to one another on account of that one Father. The kind of arrogant violence that then arises, the way man then despises and tramples upon man: we saw this in all its cruelty in the last century. Only if God’s light shines over man and within him, only if every single person is desired, known and loved by God is his dignity inviolable, however wretched his situation may be. On this Holy Night, God himself became man; as Isaiah prophesied, the child born here is “Emmanuel”, God with us (Is 7:14). And down the centuries, while there has been misuse of religion, it is also true that forces of reconciliation and goodness have constantly sprung up from faith in the God who became man. Into the darkness of sin and violence, this faith has shone a bright ray of peace and goodness, which continues to shine.

So Christ is our peace, and he proclaimed peace to those far away and to those near at hand (cf. Eph 2:14, 17). How could we now do other than pray to him: Yes, Lord, proclaim peace today to us too, whether we are far away or near at hand. Grant also to us today that swords may be turned into ploughshares (Is 2:4), that instead of weapons for warfare, practical aid may be given to the suffering. Enlighten those who think they have to practice violence in your name, so that they may see the senselessness of violence and learn to recognize your true face. Help us to become people “with whom you are pleased” – people according to your image and thus people of peace.

Once the angels departed, the shepherds said to one another: Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened for us (cf. Lk 2:15). The shepherds went with haste to Bethlehem, the Evangelist tells us (cf. 2:16). A holy curiosity impelled them to see this child in a manger, who the angel had said was the Savior, Christ the Lord. The great joy of which the angel spoke had touched their hearts and given them wings.

Let us go over to Bethlehem, says the Church’s liturgy to us today. Trans-eamus is what the Latin Bible says: let us go “across”, daring to step beyond, to make the “transition” by which we step outside our habits of thought and habits of life, across the purely material world into the real one, across to the God who in his turn has come across to us. Let us ask the Lord to grant that we may overcome our limits, our world, to help us to encounter him, especially at the moment when he places himself into our hands and into our heart in the Holy Eucharist.

Let us go over to Bethlehem: as we say these words to one another, along with the shepherds, we should not only think of the great “crossing over” to the living God, but also of the actual town of Bethlehem and all those places where the Lord lived, ministered and suffered. Let us pray at this time for the people who live and suffer there today. Let us pray that there may be peace in that land. Let us pray that Israelis and Palestinians may be able to live their lives in the peace of the one God and in freedom. Let us also pray for the countries of the region, for Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and their neighbors: that there may be peace there, that Christians in those lands where our faith was born may be able to continue living there, that Christians and Muslims may build up their countries side by side in God’s peace.

The shepherds made haste. Holy curiosity and holy joy impelled them. In our case, it is probably not very often that we make haste for the things of God. God does not feature among the things that require haste. The things of God can wait, we think and we say. And yet he is the most important thing, ultimately the one truly important thing. Why should we not also be moved by curiosity to see more closely and to know what God has said to us? At this hour, let us ask him to touch our hearts with the holy curiosity and the holy joy of the shepherds, and thus let us go over joyfully to Bethlehem, to the Lord who today once more comes to meet us. Amen.

Queen Elizabeth's 2012 Christmas Message

The Queen looks back on a year of celebration and reflects on the importance of public service.

'I Bring You Good News Of Great Joy . . . '

“Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” ~An Angel, Luke 2:10-12

Twenty-Five Reasons To Love Christmas

Caravaggio's Nativity.
In recent years Christmas has gotten a bum rap.
It's become cheapened, materialized, even defamed. And too many people have tried to secularize the holiday as well. They've wanted to take the "Christmas" out of December 25.
Perhaps the greatest horror is that Halloween has grown in popularity and, but some accounts, now seems to rival Christmas.
But Christmas has a stubborn way of re-emerging -- not just because we need it but because it really is deeply meaningful. Still, we must all do our part to continue to refocus on Christmas and nurture this glorious celebration.
With that in mind, here are our 25 Reasons To Love Christmas:

1) The Nativity. Mary, Joseph and the Christ child. The true meaning of the day and the rightful center of our focus.
2) Fresh Christmas greens. Fragrant, vivid and constant, evergreens help us look forward to the seasons ahead.
3) Christmas trees. A link to the natural world that we enhance during the Christmas season.
4) Angels we have heard on high. To quote Chekov: "We shall find peace. We shall hear angels, we shall see the sky sparkling with diamonds."
5) Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" and all the other books and stories about Christmas.
6) Capra's "It's A Wonderful Life" and all the other classic Christmas movies that have become treasured traditions.
7) Christmas lights. From the ones in your window or on your lawn to the department store spectacles, they all shine brightly and send a shimmering message of hope.
8) Snow. Or ant least the thought of snow. It's the one time of the year that many of us can tolerate the white stiff. And ohhhhh, those snowflakes!
9) Silent Night and all the other Christmas carols as well as more modern, popular Christmas songs.
10) Christmas around the world. Joyeux Noel. Feliz Navidad. Buon Natale. Mele Kalikimaka. God Jul.
11) Christmas with our troops. Let's not forget them as they protect us while everyone else celebrates.
12) Christmas Eve. A night for reflection and high anticipation.
13) The march of the wooden soldiers and all those other wonderful Christmas toys.
14) Jingle Bells. The sound of these festive bells is the sound of Christmas calling.
15) Christmas morning. The fulfillment of wonder.
16) Christmas scents: Gingerbread, evergreens, panettone, roast turkey, sugar 'n spice.
17) Mistletoe. Still a great excuse for kissing, IF you need one.
18) The Italian Seven Fishes Feast. If you haven't enjoyed it, you haven't known Christmas Eve.
19) Christmas cookies. The sweetest annual indulgence.
20) Family. As much as we sometimes complain, we're grateful for all of them, right?
21) Country Christmas. If you haven't been to Nashville of Branson at Christmas, well . . . . 
22) Silver Bells. Especially the ones that the Salvation Army rings. Have yougiven this year?
23) Christmas excess. C'mon, it only happens once a year.
24) Christmas candy. You can always start your diet on January 2.
25) Christmas in your heart. Treasure it!