Friday, May 31, 2013

Two 'Real Deal' Italian Food Mainstays; OhhhYeah!

They are two classics.
Two mainstays of Italian food.
Some people call them "red sauce" places. Others think of them as neighborhood joints.
However you characterize them, if you're visiting legendary South Philly (the heart of Philadelphia's Italian community and the home of the streetside Italian Market) then you must come to Marra's or Ralph's or both.
We did both in one week.
Marra's on Passyunk (Ph'ledphians pronounce it Pash'unk) between 12th & 13th calls itself a "cucina Italiana." The place is shiny black subway tiles on the outside and dark wood and mirrors on the inside.  It's a cross between urban retro and Uncle Louie's basement, And Marra's ain't shy about noting that they serve pizza. It 'ya want it, they got it, hon. And they'll even stake their reputation on their crusty Italian pies.
Marra's has been around for 83 years and has welcomed its share of celebrities including Frank Sinatra, John Travolta, and Conan O'Brien. But while this restaurant isn't shy about selling its legacy, it's the food that keeps folks coming back.
We tried the veggie pizza and the spaghetti aioli olio (with garlic and oil). Both were superb.
Pizzas are available in three sizes: personal, small and extra large.
The large menu features all the pasta, veal, chicken and beef dishes you can imagine as well as classics and updated fare.
Ralph's, on 9th at the edge of the Italian Market just below South bills itself as the oldest family-owned Italian eatery in the country. It opened in 1900 and moved to its present location (an old boarding house) in 1915. Ralph's is owned and operated by the fourth generation of the Dispigno family.
Unlike Marras which takes up much of its block, Ralph's is more vertical. It occupies a three-story building next to the legendary Sarcone bakery (both Ralph's and Marra's serve Sarcone's bread).
You'll be very cozy inside Ralph's and you're likely to get to know your neighboring diners very well. A table for two will give you just enough room to maneuver.
We tried the green pastina soup, a house salad, the veal piccata with a side of red-sauce pasta and the sea bass. The soup was nothing less than extraordinary and the pasta was divine. The veal was a bit heavy on the buttery lemon sauce but the slices of veal were tender and succulent. The sea bass was deemed worth a second visit.
Ralph's boasts that it has hosted the likes of Frank Sinatra, Jimmy Durante, Lena Horne, Tony Bennett, Tom LaSorda, Joey Giardello, Rocky Marciano, Sergio Franci, Al Martino, Sammy Davis Jr., Michael Keaton, Heather Locklear, Dom DeLuise and countless others.
Service at both Ralph's and Marra's is brisk and no-nonsense. Study the menu, decide what you want and go for it. It shouldn't be necessary for you to ask too many questions since both menus are common-sense and fully explanatory. 
People come to these places to soak up the neighborhood allure, dine with a cast of characters you won't find anywhere else (with lively chatter all about) and get down to the business of eating. The prices are moderate and there are absolutely no pretenses.
And both have won numerous "Best of Philly" honors from Philadelphia Magazine.
Ya know what we're talking 'bout, cuz? Deese are da real deal!

Ronald Reagan Desk Set - Limited Time Offer!

Freestyle Motorcross Coming To Philly 9/21; Tkts. 5/31

The high-flying, back-flipping world of Freestyle Motocross is coming to PPL Park on Saturday, September 21. PPL Park is the only stop for this Tour on the East Coast!

The Moto-X Champions Tour features the biggest names in freestyle motocross competing in a unique head-to-head double elimination format in the ONLY FMX competition circuit in the US.  These motorcycle daredevils will be pressing their limits and performing the most insane tricks imaginable while competing for more than $200K in total prize money.

The sport of FMX is one of the world's most exciting and visually spectacular events, drawing fans by the droves with its unique combination of two international obsessions: motor sports and huge daring stunts.  It's an evening of eye-popping excitement that you don't want to miss.

Tickets go on sale May 31 and are available exclusively online through ComcastTIX. Tickets can be purchased online at, by phone at 1-800-298-4200, or in person at the PPL park box office.

Georgetown May Lose Right To 'Catholic' Identity

A special message from the Cardinal Newman Society:

Do alumni, students, faculty and parents have a right to be heard, when a Catholic university repeatedly violates its Catholic identity?

That's the question at stake at Georgetown University. Today courageous Catholics delivered a canon law petition to the Cardinal Archbishop of Washington, D.C., asking that the Church take action to rescue Georgetown or remove the University's right to call itself Catholic. The contents are not yet public, but I've seen them, and they are devastating!

This begins the canon law process announced last year by Georgetown alumnus
Georgetownand Exorcist author William Peter Blatty, even while the University hosted the architect of the HHS mandate and abortion advocate, Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, as a graduation speaker.

Upon Mr. Blatty's request, your Cardinal Newman Society compiled an exhaustive report on Georgetown's abuse of its Catholic identity. That report serves as key documentation for the canon law petition, which itself is more than 100 pages long.

While these brave Catholics seek justice for Catholic families, we realize the matter is ultimately in God's hands. Please pray that Georgetown may be reunited to the Church. St. Ignatius of Loyola, ora pro nobis!

- Patrick J. Reilly, President
Cardinal Newman Society

How To Think About The Weekend, And Beyond

Review: 'Now You See Me' Requires Your Undivided Attention

It would seem like a good enough premise for a blockbuster summer movie: A group of the world's best magicians stump and elude the FBI and Interpol while pulling off the world's biggest heist.
Give the movie a big budget, riveting chase sequences, spectacular special effects and (just for good measure) a galaxy of stars including Mark Ruffalo, Jesse Eisenberg. Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, Isla Fisher and French beauty Melanie Laurent.
Well, Ruffalo and Laurent (shown above) do sizzle together. And they're great fun to watch.
And Freeman is appropriately commanding, just as you might expect.
Meanwhile, Caine is a superb cockney sage and Eisenberg is the quintessential boy wonder.
But Now You See Me (a mixture of suspense and magic with a dash of romance thrown in) turns out to be all too much. Too many magic tricks. To many plot turns. Too many characters. Too much smug evasiveness, too much that's left unexplained and too much mayhem for its own good.
The result is all too preposterous even when the secrets of the magic tricks (the illusions) are flat-out explained to the audience.
Yes, Now You See Me requires your total, undivided, constant attention. But even then, you're likely to be confused.
And that's a shame because there's a load of talent involved with this production.
Heist films can be great fun and the best ones have become classics: The Thomas Crown Affair, Oceans 11 and Topkapi, to name a few. And films involving elaborate games and/or illusions can also be hugely entertaining: Sleuth, for one.
But when all is said and done, there's just no magic in the magic here.
And so we have another summer movie that misses the mark.
Now, if only they could have concocted a romantic comedy or a sensuous love story or even a comedy/mystery with Laurent and Ruffalo.
Maybe something like this: He's an pent-up American businessman visiting Paris just off the heels of a messy divorce and she's just inherited her family's pastry shop and is at a total loss for what to do about it or where to turn. One day, he walks in. They don't seem to like each other at first. He's brash, abrupt and totally missing the moment. She's wonderfully natural, somewhat contemplative and remarkably intuitive. Very French. And then . . . .

Thursday, May 30, 2013

He Makes Us Proud To Say 'I'm From New Jersey!'

The 30-second ad, "Jersey Pride," styled after the campaign's first 60 second spot "Jersey Proud," continues to highlight the Chris Christie record of strong leadership and bipartisan accomplishment to get the state on the right track. 
The result is a record of progress for New Jersey and a restored pride among New Jerseyans in our state.

Philly Art Museum To Present Documentary Series

On Wednesday, June 12th, 2013, the Philadelphia Museum of Art will present The Triptych, a three-part documentary series produced by AFROPUNK Pictures and directed by Terence Nance that profiles three cutting-edge New York-based contemporary artists of African descent, including Wangechi Mutu, Sanford Biggers, and Barron Claiborne. Nance, Biggers and Claiborne will be available for a panel discussion afterwards.

Following its Philadelphia premier, The Triptych will be shown in Los Angeles, Chicago and Atlanta.

The screening is made possible by the African-American Collections Committee of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.


Van Pelt Auditorium, 6 p.m.
Panel discussion, 7:30 p.m.

Panelists: Terence Nance, Sanford Biggers, Barron Claiborne, Maori Karmel Holmes, founder Black Star Film Festival

Moderator: Li Sumpter, founder of the Philadelphia-based art and design studio Mythmedia: 21.

Pay-What-You-Wish Wednesday Nights

The main building of the Philadelphia Museum of Art is open until 8:45 p.m. every Wednesday. Pay-What-You-Wish Wednesday Nights are casual, exciting, and illuminating and visitors explore the collections in inventive, interactive, and dynamic new ways. Gallery conversations take unexpected forms such as “triple play,” when visitors discuss three works united by a common theme together. Mini-film festivals showcase international independent films and artist’s films as well as old favorites. Artists offer in-gallery experiences or performance pieces. ”Pop-up” programs include sketching in the galleries and story-telling. Every week, music is offered in the Great Stair Hall, and musicians perform monthly in the galleries.

About the artists in The Triptych:

Wangechi Mutu, born in Nairobi, received her MFA degree from Yale University and had her first major solo exhibition in 2010 at the Art Gallery of Ontario. Her work frequently merges organic and surreal elements with human forms, especially the female body, and has recently embraced sculptural installation.

Sanford Biggers, born in Los Angeles, is a multi-media artist whose work is based on African-American ethnography, hip hop music, Buddhism, African spirituality, Indo-European Vodoun, Jazz, Afro-futurism, urban culture and icons from Americana. He is an assistant professor at Columbia University.

Barron Claiborne, born in Boston, is a photographer who draws inspiration from dreams, stories, and oral traditions relating to his Southern American and African ancestry. He co-directed the Triptych series with Nance.


The cult film classic AFROPUNK spotlighting Black punks in America in 2003 was co-created by Matthew Morgan and James Spooner and gave voice to a large, young multicultural community. In 2005, the first annual AFROPUNK film festival debuted at Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) and celebrated and unified the cultural cornerstones of AFROPUNK: music, film, skate, and the AP community.

About Mythmedia:21:

Mythmedia:21 develops art projects that explore the significance of myth and media technologies. MM:21 founder Li Sumpter is a PhD candidate in Mythological Studies and Depth Psychology at Pacifica Graduate Institute. She holds an MA in Arts and Humanities Education and Administration from New York University.

Exhibition Hours:

Tuesday–Sunday: 10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.; Wednesday and Friday: 10:00 a.m.–8:45 p.m.

The Philadelphia Museum of Art is one of the largest museums in the United States, with a collection of more than 227,000 works of art. The Museum’s many galleries present painting, sculpture, works on paper, photography, decorative arts, textiles, and architectural settings from Asia, Europe, Latin America, and the United States. Its facilities include a landmark main building; the Ruth and Raymond G. Perelman Building; the Rodin Museum, and two historic houses in Fairmount Park, Mount Pleasant and Cedar Grove. The Museum offers a wide variety of activities for public audiences, including special exhibitions, programs for children and families, lectures, concerts, and films.

For additional press information and images, contact the press office at or 215-684-7860.

For general information, call 215-763-8100, or visit the Museum’s website at

For information about AFROPUNK, contact Li Sumpter at 347.415.0223; or

Ann Romney: Christie Is 'Great Guy, We Love Him'

In her first solo interview since the election the always-classy Ann Romney says she and Mitt have "no regrets" and they blame no one but themselves for Mitt's defeat last November. They miscalculated. They actually thought Mitt was going to win the election. They thought they were ion good shape. They were wrong. But she says they've put the election. And they don't blame New jersey Governor Chris Christie who she refers to as a "great guy."
Ann Romney says she's now worried not about her husband or herself or her family but about a "crisis of confidence" in the country -- a crisis of confidence that she sees growing amidst the three scandals plaguing the administration: IRS, Benghazi and media snooping by the DOJ.

Video: How Buono Taxed, Spent New Jersey Into Debt

As a Trenton politician, she voted to raise taxes 154 times.
Under her, property taxes up 70 percent.
Backed a 16 percent sales tax increase.
Utilities, nursing homes, cell phones, parking lots, lottery wins, gyms - She taxed them all.
Architect of Corzine's budget, she drove New Jersey $2 billion into debt.
Barbara Buono by the numbers: taking New Jersey backwards.

South Jersey Black Bear Safe, Tranquilized

This photo, courtesy of Moorestown police, shows a black bear in Strawbridge Lake earlier this week. A black bear has been roaming the area lately and is now believed to be treed in Delran Thursday morning.

A black bear that has been roaming the suburbs of South Jersey (in the shadow of the Philadelphia skyline) has been captured and tranquilized by New Jersey wildlife officials who say the bear will be relocated to a less populated area.
Black bear are not uncommon in the northwest part of the state but they are not often spotted in South Jersey. Still, bears have been spotted at one time or another in every New Jersey county and the southern portion of the state contains the pinelands which is a vast, preserved natural area.
The bear (shown above in a photo taken by Moorestown police) cavorted for awhile yesterday in a Burlington county lake next to a heavily-used park area and not far from a major highway.
Today the bear showed up in nearby Delran near an apartment complex and when spotted quickly scurried up a tree. Police and firefighters were fast to the scene as a crowd gathered. They surrounded the bear and then biologists from the state Division of Fish and Wildlife tranquilized the bear. A short time later it fell into a net set up under the tree.
The bear is believed to be a male and is quite large. State officials have not said where his new home will be.

Youth Get Free Tickets To Collegiate Rugby Games

USA Sevens, Rugby PA, Subway Restaurants and the Police Athletic League of Philadelphia have partnered together to provide 2,000 Philadelphia area youth the opportunity to attend the Collegiate Rugby Championship at PPL Park on June 1-2.

The partnership between USA Sevens Rugby and the Police Athletic League kicks-off the organization’s effort to add rugby to its youth athletic program within Philadelphia.

“The Police Athletic League would like to thank USA Sevens and its sponsor, Subway, for their support of Philadelphia youth. Through their generosity, Philadelphia youth will have the opportunity to experience world-class rugby competition featuring America’s future Olympians, and we’re grateful for their support,” said Lt. William Eddis Commander for the Philadelphia Police Athletic League Centers.

As part of the partnership, USA Sevens will donate 1,000 youth tickets to both Saturday and Sunday of the tournament. In addition to tickets, USA Sevens and its Philadelphia event partners will fund round-trip bus transportation for youth coming from the various twenty-five Police Athletic League locations throughout the city of Philadelphia.

Tickets for the two-day event of action packed rugby, gourmet food, interactive games and activities are on sale exclusively through ComcastTIX. One-day and two-day passes, starting at $20, can be purchased online at, by phone at 1-800-298-4200 or in person at the PPL Park box office.

The Collegiate Rugby Championship is the premier college rugby tournament in the country, and serves as a national platform for America's future Olympians. The 2013 CRC features 20 of the top collegiate men’s rugby clubs playing 47 matches over two days. Participating teams have been chosen based on the quality of rugby, fan following and the potential for exciting rivalries. Local favorites including Penn State, Navy, Temple University and University of Delaware return for a third year. New additions to this year’s tournament include rugby powerhouse Kutztown and hometown favorites Saint Joseph’s University and University of Pennsylvania. The tournament is broadcast live on NBC and NBC Sports Network both Saturday, June 1 and Sunday, June 2.

USA Sevens LLC owns and operates America’s premier rugby event, the USA Sevens Rugby Tournament. Held annually, the event is one of the nine international stops in the HSBC Sevens World Series. With an attendance of over 50,000 during the two day event, it is the largest annual rugby event in North America and one of the fastest growing rugby events in the world. The CRC in Philadelphia is the largest domestic rugby event in the USA

Global Spectrum ( manages PPL Park, as well as more than 115 other public assembly facilities around the world. Based in Philadelphia, PA, Global Spectrum is part of Comcast-Spectacor, one of the world’s largest sports and entertainment companies. Comcast-Spectacor also owns the Philadelphia Flyers of the National Hockey League, Ovations Food Services, a food and beverage services provider, New Era Tickets, a full-service ticketing and marketing product for public assembly facilities, Paciolan, the leading provider of venue establishment ticketing, fundraising and marketing technology solutions, Front Row Marketing Services, a commercial rights sales company, and Flyers Skate Zone, a series of community ice skating rinks.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Decades Later, How A Painting Came To Life For Us!

Many years ago we feel in love with an American folk art painting entitled Baby In Red Chair. We saw it at the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Museum in Williamburg. The artist is unknown. We couldn't get the painting out of our heads. Ww even bought paintings and note cards with this portrait on it. The painting is estimated to be about 200 years old. And yet for us, it's new. It has come to life. It's ours. It's our precious little granddaughter Juliet Noel Cirucci born just 10 days ago.
Our love of the painting was a signal that someday, somehow that little baby would come to us. And now, this blessed event has arrived!

Here's Why They Hate Fox News; All In The Numbers

The latest ratings for cable news channels are our from Nielsen and once again they show Fox News (FNC) far outdistancing all other networks -- ahead of CNN, HLN and way ahead of MSNBC. More people watch Fox every day than any other all news channels. The race isn't even close.

Here are the numbers:

Total Day
FNC: 1,246,000 total viewers, up 24 percent
CNN: 465,000 total viewers
MSNBC: 346,000 total viewers
HLN: 494,000 total viewers

FNC: 1,973,000 total viewers, up 17 percent
CNN: 660,000 total viewers
MSNBC: 539,000 total viewers
HLN: 624,000 total viewer
Note that in this all-important primetime category Fox has more viewers that the three other networks combined. Quite impressive!

They Say They Love 'Moderate' GOP Candidates Until . . . .

We find it amusing that liberals (many of whom seem to hide behind the "moderate" label) profess to be soooo concerned about the GOP . . . until election day. 
Let's start with Bob Dole -- a man who many liberals are now praising since he criticized the GOP as too right-wing over the weekend.
In 1996 many of these same people told us they were encouraged that the GOP nominated Dole and Kemp because they were not hard-core conservatives and they were able to work across party lines. But did they vote for them? No. 
Again in 2008 they praised the selection of the "straight talker" John McCain, saying they admired the way he was willing to take on his own party. But, when push came to shove, did they vote for him? No again. 
And only last year many of our Democrat friends told us that Romney would be the only GOP candidate who could attract centrist votes -- someone who they might actually be able to vote for. Did they vote for him? We think you know the answer. 
All we can say is I'm glad I never climbed into a foxhole with any of these people.

Christie Announces Another $8 Million In FEMA Grants

The Christie Administration announced today that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has awarded more than $3 million in Public Assistance grants to the municipalities of Brick and Scotch Plains, as well as a $4.85 Hazard Mitigation grant to the State of New Jersey.

The Township of Brick will receive federal funding for demolition and repair work to the Traders Cover Marina, including repairs to Docks A and B, personal watercraft docks, an electrical storage shed and the replacement of electrical wiring along the marina. The Township of Scotch Plains will receive federal funding for the use of labor contractors for the loading, hauling and disposal of Sandy debris. The State of New Jersey also received a Hazard Mitigation grant, which will be used to fund an initial amount of State Management Costs needed to develop Hazard Mitigation Grant Program applications.

The recipients, total project costs and FEMA grant amounts are as follows:

· BRICK (Ocean County) The total cost of the grant is $1.78 million. FEMA’s share of the cost is $1.33 million.

· SCOTCH PLAINS (Union County) The total cost of the grant is $1.63 million. FEMA’s share of the cost is $1.22 million.

· HAZARD MITIGATION GRANT FOR STATE OF NEW JERSEY The total cost of the grant is $4.85 million. FEMA is covering 100% of the cost.

Public Assistance reimburses local and county governments and certain nonprofit organizations for eligible disaster-related costs including emergency protective measures, debris removal and public infrastructure repair or replacement costs.

The Difference Between 'Simple' And 'Complicated'

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Expect The Excuses To Pile Up This Summer

Streaking Baby Flaunts It For TV Commercial

Here's what the sponsor has to say about the product: Seventh Generation Diapers - Au Naturel. Seventh Generation's newest diapers are helping the toxin-free generation go au naturel. Incredibly absorbent and naturally kind, they are free from fragrances, chlorine-processing, and conventions. They make childhood an incredibly joyful place to be.

Ailes To Fox Employees: We Will Not Be Intimidated

Here is Roger Ailes stirring letter to Fox News employees, dated May 23. We thought we'd share this with you:

Dear colleagues,

The recent news about the FBI’s seizure of the phone and email records of Fox News employees, including James Rosen, calls into question whether the federal government is meeting its constitutional obligation to preserve and protect a free press in the United States. We reject the government's efforts to criminalize the pursuit of investigative journalism and falsely characterize a Fox News reporter to a Federal judge as a "co-conspirator" in a crime. I know how concerned you are because so many of you have asked me: why should the government make me afraid to use a work phone or email account to gather news or even call a friend or family member? Well, they shouldn’t have done it. The administration’s attempt to intimidate Fox News and its employees will not succeed and their excuses will stand neither the test of law, the test of decency, nor the test of time. We will not allow a climate of press intimidation, unseen since the McCarthy era, to frighten any of us away from the truth.

I am proud of your tireless effort to report the news over the last 17 years. I stand with you, I support you and I thank you for your reporting with courageous optimism. Too many Americans fought and died to protect our unique American right of press freedom. We can’t and we won’t forget that. To be an American journalist is not only a great responsibility, but also a great honor. To be a Fox journalist is a high honor, not a high crime. Even this memo of support will cause some to demonize us and try to find irrelevant things to cause us to waver. We will not waver.

As Fox News employees, we sometimes are forced to stand alone, but even then when we know we are reporting what is true and what is right, we stand proud and fearless. Thank you for your hard work and all your efforts.

Roger Ailes

Here's How Holder Plans To Conduct His Investigation

Weiner Leaps, Now Within Striking Distance, Poll Says

Weiner's getting closer and closer to his target.
You got that right: In the New York City Democratic primary for mayor, shamed former Congressman Anthony Weiner is now within five percentage points of front-runner Christina Quinn who is City Council Speaker and would be New York's first openly gay mayor. All this according to the latest Marist poll.
Weiner has jumped quickly, slashing Quinn's lead in half since he entered the race only last week.
So, since Quinn's lead is within the margin of error Weiner is now within striking distance of his goal.
And look at this turnaround: In April, only 46 percent of Democrats said they would even consider voting for Weiner. Today, 59 percent of the party’s voters say he deserves a second chance.
And check out this TV spot that even features Weiner's wife.

Weiner says he wants to make New York City the middle class capital of the world? How can you do that when you're also advocating bigger and bigger government? We still haven't figured that one out. But then again, Nooo Yawk logic has never been easy for us to understand.

Again?!? . .Obama Joizee Shore Distraction Tour Details

From our friend Matt Rooney at the Save Jersey blog:

Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst
Hosanna in the highest, Save Jerseyans!

President Barack Obama is visiting the Jersey Shore on Tuesday; you already knew this, but the Christie Administration is releasing a few more details this evening.

Governor Chris Christie will meet POTUS at the Joint Base McGuire-Dix’s Wrightstown Gate at 11:00 a.m. They’ll then head over to the Asbury Park Convention Hall together for a presidential speech scheduled tentatively at 1:30 p.m. The pair are also expected to survey some damage/recovery sites before the speech but, presumably for security reasons, exact details of any potential walk-about are being kept close to the vest for now.

We also don’t know whether the President will address Shore residents’ concerns with FEMA. I’m thinking they’ve got a better chance of being audited by the IRS than getting a straight answer… oh wait…

Monday, May 27, 2013

Lupica, Legislators Say Barchi, Hermann Must Go

What the hell is the matter with Rutgers?

The university just seems to stumble from one Big Blunder to another. 

Now the new Athletic Director is embroiled in a controversy over her alleged abuse of players while she coached the University of Tennessee girls volleyball team. The reports are not good -- not good at all.

And this woman was hired on the heals of a similar scandal at Rutgers that cost the basketball coach, the previous AD and others their jobs.

But the recently-appointed Rutgers President, Robert Barchi is saying he's standing firm on the decision to hire Julie Hermann and to keep her as the AD. Apparently, Barchi now fears for his own job -- and well he should The place is beginning to look like Clown College. 

Now, sports analyst Mike Lupica and some New Jersey legislators are saying both Barch and Hermann have to go. here's an excerpt from Lupic'a column in the New York daily News:\
Robert Barchi should have been fired along with Pernetti and Rice, the basketball coach who shamed Rutgers the way he did. Now comes this fine reporting in the Newark Star-Ledger from Craig Wolff, who came to the whole thing merely wanting to write a profile of the woman being asked to clean up Rutgers athletics. Wolff contacted former players of Hermann’s, and learned about the damning letter they all signed about her 16 years ago.
If Barchi knew about that letter and hired Hermann anyway, he should be terminated for that. If Barchi didn’t know, then he should be fired for the same negligence he showed after being made aware of Rice’s behavior and doing nothing for months.
“It’s a pleasure to welcome Julie Hermann to the Rutgers community,” Barchi said May 15.
Apparently because she seems to be made for the place.
Read more:

Great Summer Programs At The Reagan Library!

Christie: Honor Those Who Paid Ultimate Price

In honor of Memorial Day, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie released the following statement:

“Today, we pause to remember the brave men and women who paid the ultimate price protecting our nation’s freedom. While we can never come close to fully repaying these heroes for their sacrifice, it is our solemn obligation to take care of our veterans and their families when they return home from war. On this Memorial Day, I encourage all New Jerseyans to join me in honoring the courageous members of the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard and National Guard. It is because of their service that America remains free and a beacon of strength, courage and freedom across the globe.”

This Memorial Day And Always . . . REMEMBER!

Remembering D-Day (1944) On Memorial Day, 2013

Above, the D-Day scene from Saving Private Ryan. As authentic as it gets.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

On Memorial Day: Remember Their Sacrifice!

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields. Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
John McCrae wrote In Flanders Fields. He was a medical officer in both the Boer War and World War I. A year into the latter war he published in Punch magazine, on December 8, 1915, the sole work by which he would be remembered. This poem commemorates the deaths of thousands of young men who died in Flanders during the grueling battles there.

The Dan Cirucci Blog Welcomes The World

Last week these countries made up the top ten sources of visitors to the Dan Cirucci Blog.
Tout a monde! Thank you to the whole world.

United States
United Kingdom

Dan Cirucci Blog: Last Week's Biggest Stories

How may of these have you read?


Video: Barbara Bush On George's Newest Passion

Barbara Bush talks about George H. W. Bush's rebellious nature and his newest form of self-expression.
It's hard not to like the Bushes.
In an age of mammoth egos, they're refreshingly self-deprecating.
They never take themselves to seriously.
And regardless of what setbacks or hurdles may come they're way, they remain optimistic good sports and just plow ahead.
These are the sort of attributes that helped made America great. Is it our imagination or are they all too rare right now?

Rutgers' New Athletic Director: Sorry History?

The Newark Star Ledger is out with a report that seems to raise troubling questions about Julie Hermann, Rutgers University's new athletic director.
It seems that Hermann left some flotsam and jetsam along the shoreline 16 years ago when she rather abruptly departed as head coach of the University of Tennessee's women's volleyball team.
Here's part of the story:
Their [her players'] accounts depict a coach who thought nothing of demeaning them, who would ridicule and laugh at them over their weight and their performances, sometimes forcing players to do 100 sideline pushups during games, who punished them after losses by making them wear their workout clothes inside out in public or not allowing them to shower or eat, and who pitted them against one another, cutting down particular players with the whole team watching, and through gossip.
Several women said playing for Hermann had driven them into depression and counseling, and that her conduct had sullied the experience of playing Division 1 volleyball.
And this is just a small part of the story.
Click here for the complete tale.

Durbin: Not Sure Blogging Is Protected Speech?

Did Illinois Senator Dick Durbin really say this?
He he really not sure that bloggers deserve constitutional protection?
Since when did blogging fall out of the realm of free speech? Huh?

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Pippin, Kinky Boots Take Outer Critics Honors

Pippin and Kinky Boots seem to be the big musical winners on Broadway this year.
And so far, Pippin has copped the most awards.
Vanya and Sonia and Marsha and Spike has taken all the honors announced so for new play and the revival of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? has scored for best revival.
The widely-heralded revival of Pippin won seven 2013 Outer Critics Circle Awards. Kinky Boots was named Outstanding New Broadway Musical and Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike won Outstanding New Broadway Play. The awards are presented by an organization of theater writers and commentators.

A complete list of winners follows:

Outstanding New Broadway Play: Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike

Outstanding New Broadway Musical: Kinky Boots

Outstanding New Off-Broadway Play: My Name Is Asher Lev

Outstanding New Off-Broadway Musical: Here Lies Love

Outstanding Book of a Musical: Matilda

Outstanding New Score: Kinky Boots

Outstanding Revival of a Play: Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

Outstanding Revival of a Musical: Pippin

Outstanding Actor in a Play: Nathan Lane, The Nance

Outstanding Actress in a Play: Cicely Tyson, The Trip to Bountiful

Outstanding Actor in a Musical Billy Porter, Kinky Boots

Outstanding Actress in a Musial: Patina Miller, Pippin

Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play: Tom Sturridge, Orphans

Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play: Kristine Nielsen, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike

Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical: Terrence Mann, Pippin

Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical: Andrea Martin, Pippin

Outstanding Solo Performance: Holland Taylor, Ann

Outstanding Director of a Play: Jack O’Brien, The Nance

Outstanding Director of a Musical: Diane Paulus, Pippin

Outstanding Choreographer: Chet Walker, Pippin

Outstanding Set Design: Rob Howell, Matilda

Outstanding Costume Design: William Ivey Long, Cinderella

Outstanding Lighting Design: Kenneth Posner, Pippin

John Gassner Award for an American Play: Aaron Posner, My Name Is Asher Lev

Special Achievement Award: Irish Repertory Theatre

Drama League Honors Kinky Boots, Pippin

Broadway's Drama League has announced its awards for the current season and the top musical honors went to Kinky Boots (for new musical) and Pippin (for revival of a musical).
Here's list of winners by category:

Best New Musical - Kinky Books
Best Musical Revival - Pippin
Best New Play - Vanya and Sonia and Marsha and Spike
Best Revival of a Play - Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Distinguished Performance - Nathan Lane for The Nance
Distinguished Achievement In Musical Theater - Bernadette Peters
Unique Contribution to the Theater - Madison Square Garden Entertainment and The Rockettes
Founders Award for Excellence in Directing - Jerry Mitchell

First awarded in 1922 and formalized in 1935, The Drama League Awards are the oldest theatrical honors in America. They are the only major theatregoer awards chosen by audience members — specifically, by the thousands of Drama League members nationwide who attend Broadway and Off-Broadway productions.

Video: When Christie Met Snooki In Seaside

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie loves the Jersey shore. But he hates Jersey Shore.
Which is to say that he loves New Jersey's more than 100 miles of beaches with their boardwalks and soft, sandy cushions but he hates the MTV "reality" show that vulgarizes the shore with a bunch of young, dumb, foul-mouthed New Yorkers.
And none among the stars of Jersey Shore is more prominent (or more visually and audibly shrill) than Nicole Polizzi otherwise known as Snooki. Well, yesterday Christie got to meet Snooki when each appeared (separately, of course) on NBC 's Today Show broadcast live from Seaside Heights.
As you can see from the video above, the meeting did not go well.
Here's a rough transcript provided by the Asbury Park Press:

Snooki: Why are you standing so close to me?

Christie: Someone asked me my opinion...

Christie leans in extra-close, trying to be goofy.

Snooki can't suppress a smile.
Other woman I don't recognize: I'm from Jersey!

Christie: I know you are!

Other woman: And guess what, I thought you did a good job with the Hurricane.

Christie: Thank you very much. I appreciate it.

Snooki: I just wanted to meet you, and just, hope you start to like us.

Christie: I appreciate it. Well, we'll talk about it. Good to meet you.

Snooki: Thanks.

Snooki walks away. After Christie meets JWoww, Snooki faces the camera for a quick one-on-one.

Snooki: He just doesn't like us.

Friday, May 24, 2013

A Friendly Reminder From The Dan Cirucci Blog

Clip: Michael Douglas As Liberace - Incredible!

This clip provided by The Guardian according to their terms and conditions. Click here for more on Behind the Candelabra The film premiered at the Cannes film festival on May 21. It can be seen on HBO in the US on May 26 and in cinemas in the UK on June 7. (This is the Guardian's world exclusive of the UK trailer.)

Summer Does NOT Begin On Memorial Day!

Repeat after us:
SUMMER DOES NOT BEGIN UNTIL JUNE 21 (that's the bad news) BUT SUMMER DOES NOT END UNTIL SEPTEMBER 22 or thereabouts (that's the good news!)
The whole notion that summer begins on Memorial Day and ends on Labor Day is something that was dreamed up by the media and/or the travel industry. And it's a lie.
Because the calendar (and the seasons themselves) tell a whole different story.
May is often cool and transitional. And so is much of June.
Summer begins at the summer solstice on June 21.
And autumn begins at the autumnal equinox on September 22.
June 21 is the longest day of daylight.
September 22 is a day when the hours of daylight and darkness are about equal. Thus, the equinox.
After September 22, darkness begins to take over and it remains that away until December 21 which is the shortest day of the year in terms of sunlight. Each day after that, we get more sunlight until the vernal equinox in March -- the first day of spring.
That's the cycle of the seasons.
We have many warm, wonderful days ahead of us.
And yes, there may be some gloriously sunny, summer-like days during the first few weeks of June (IF we are lucky). But it still won't be summer.
Summer comes in its own time and its own way. Nature has taken care of that.
Don't rush the season -- and don't cut it short.
And, when it's time, do go out and enjoy summer until at least September 22.
And don't let anyone tell you it's over on Labor Day.

Independence Hall Tea Party Rally, Sat., Noon

Save the 2nd Rally

Best Damned Hamburger We've Ever Had!

We are hamburger enthusiasts.
Given our druthers, we'd eat burgers several times a week. And we love them with fries. Who doesn't?
But we know we can't eat burgers that often or anywhere near that often. No can do.
So we limit ourselves to maybe once a month or (if we just can't wait any longer) every few weeks.
We've eaten burgers everywhere from Five Guys to Bobby's Burger Palace to the Palm. And they each have their own appeal.
But now we've come across a burger that's truly exceptional.
It's at Zinburger.
Here's the way Zinburger describes itself: Energetic, modern, upbeat, fun and most importantly, simply delicious, Zinburger offers a mouthwatering selection of gourmet burgers, salads and sides, decadent shakes and desserts, and a carefully crafted selection of wine.
OK. Enough of that.
It all comes down to the burger. And the burger is extraordinary: meaty, juicy, tasty and cooked to perfection, just as you want it. You can even ask for a well-down burger here (if that's your style) and you will get it and it won't be dry or shrunken. It will still be full, juicy and mouth-watering. Yet it won't be pink. That's quite an accomplishment.
There are many different kinds of burger at Zinburger but the real test is the basic burger. And the basic offering is nothing less than divine.
The place is sleek and upbeat inside with a full bar and ample wine elections. There are happy hour special every day and wine specials every Wednesday. We went to the new Zinburger in Cherry Hill (NJ) at Garden State Park and found it to be bright and inviting with a hip, youthful feel - huge windows, natural wood, chrome, splashes of white, exposed ceilings, industrial light fixtures, etc.
The prices were reasonable (burgers from $9 - $14) considering the high quality and the service was great. Plus, they also specialize in shakes.
We recommend Zinburger!

Video: Christie Launches Third TV Ad

Chris Christie for Governor announced the launch of its third television ad of the campaign entitled "Timeline." The 30-second spot, which will run on the air as part of the campaign's existing $950,000 buy, details Barbara Buono's disastrous record as Jon Corzine's budget chair which saddled New Jersey with higher taxes, more debt and fewer jobs.

NYT: Obama Imperils 'Fundamental Press Freedoms'

Well, it took awhile.
But now the New York Times has finally chimed in on the Justice Department's snooping on James Rosen and the Associated Press.
And what the times has to say ain't good for Obama & Co.
No, it ain't good at all.
Here's an excerpt from the Times editorial entitled Another Chilling Leak Investigation:
With the decision to label a Fox News television reporter a possible “co-conspirator” in a criminal investigation of a news leak, the Obama administration has moved beyond protecting government secrets to threatening fundamental freedoms of the press to gather news. . . . Obama administration officials often talk about the balance between protecting secrets and protecting the constitutional rights of a free press. Accusing a reporter of being a “co-conspirator,” on top of other zealous and secretive investigations, shows a heavy tilt toward secrecy and insufficient concern about a free press.
Click here to read the full editorial.

Pope Speaks Out For Forcibly Displaced Persons

The trafficking of persons is an ignoble activity, a disgrace to our society that calls itself 'civilized'! Exploiters and clients at all levels should make a serious examination of conscience, within themselves and before God!” 

These were the Pope's words to the participants in the plenary assembly of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People, gathered in Rome to discuss the issue of “The Church's Pastoral Care in the Context of Forced Migration”.

The assembly coincides with the publication of the document: “Welcoming Christ in Refugees and Persons Displaced by Force”, which calls attention to the millions of refugees, displaced, and stateless persons. It also addresses the scourge of human trafficking, which more and more frequently affects children who suffer the worst forms of abuse, including being forced into armed conflicts.

“Today,” the pontiff exclaimed, “the Church renews her strong call that the dignity and centrality of each person be always protected, in respect of fundamental rights … rights that she asks be concretely extended to the millions of men and women in every continent whose rights are not recognized. In a world where there is so much talk of rights it seems that the only one to have rights is money. … We are living in a world ruled by money. We live in a world, in a culture ruled by the fetishism of money.” In this context, the Pope noted that the dicastery responsible for the pastoral care of migrants and itinerant people is very worried by “situations where the family of nations is called to intervene in a spirit of fraternal solidarity with programmes of protection, often established against the backdrop of tragic events that almost daily are affecting the lives of many people. I express my appreciation and my gratitude and encourage you to continue along the path of service to our poorest and most marginalized brothers and sisters.”

The attention of the Church, who is “mother”, is expressed “with special tenderness and closeness for those forced to flee their country and live in-between rootlessness and integration. This tension destroys a person. Christian compassion—this 'suffering with' [con-passione]—is expressed above all in the commitment to know about the events that force one to leave their country and, where necessary, in giving voice to those who are unable to make their cry of sorrow and oppression heard. In this,” he said to the assembly's participants, “you carry out an important task, as well as in making the Christian communities aware of their many brothers and sisters who are marked by wounds that scar their existence: violence, abuse of power, distance from family, traumatic events, flight from home, and uncertainty about their future in refugee camps. These are all dehumanizing elements and they must compel every Christian and the entire community to a concrete attention.”

However, the Holy Father also invited them to also see in the eyes of refugees and forcibly displaced persons ”the light of hope. It is a hope that is expressed in expectation for the future, the desire for friendly relationships, the desire to participate in the society that is hosting them, even through language learning, access to employment, and education for the youngest. I admire the courage of those who hope to gradually resume a normal life, awaiting joy and love to return and lighten their existence. We all can and must nurture that hope!”

Finally, the Pope launched an appeal to governments, legislators, and the entire international community to face the reality of forcibly displaced persons “with effective initiatives and new approaches to safeguard their dignity, to improve the quality of their lives, and to meet the challenges that emerge from modern forms of persecution, oppression, and slavery. It is, I emphasize, human persons who appeal to the solidarity and support, who need urgent measures, but also and above all who need understanding and goodness. Their condition cannot leave us indifferent.”

“As Church,” he concluded, “we remember that when we heal the wounds of refugees, displaced persons, and victims of trafficking, we are practising the commandment of love that Jesus has left us; when we identify with the stranger, with those who are suffering, with all the innocent victims of violence and exploitation. … Here I would also like to recall the care that every pastor and Christian community must have for the journey of faith of Christian refugees and those forcibly uprooted from their lives, as well as for that of Christian emigrants. They require special pastoral care that respects their traditions and accompanies them in a harmonious integration into the ecclesial reality in which they find themselves. Let us not forget the flesh of Christ, who is in the flesh of the refugees. Their flesh is that of Christ.”

Get Social With Art At Delaware Art Museum 5/31

Christie Cuts The Ribbon To Reopen Jersey Shore

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie reopens the Jersey Shore today with ribbon cutting ceremony at Seaside Heights. The Governor cut a ribbon five-miles long, setting a new record in the Guinness Book of World Records for the longest ribbon cutting ever.

The Jersey Shore: Some Fascinating Facts!

Here It Is: The Sure Look Of Disingenuousness

Yo, Liberals: Scandals Envelop Dems, Too

The media love to focus on the the scandals (and particularly sexual misadventures) of Republicans.

But let's remember that men (regardless of party affiliation) often think with the wrong head and ego and the aphrodisiac of power contribute to an environment where desire-induced stupidity is rampant.
So, lest you still think this is still an exclusively Republican malady, here's a quick refresher course courtesy of Human Events. And please note how Democrats often got away with their misadventures while Republicans continue to be excoriated.

And don't tell me it's really about hypocrisy. Because these Democrats lied through their teeth as well.

Here we go:
Democrat Sen. Daniel Inouye. The late Hawaii Democrat was accused in the 1990s by numerous women of sexual harassment. Democrats cast doubt on the allegations and the Senate Ethics Committee dropped its investigation.

Former Democrat Rep. Gus Savage. The Illinois Democrat was accused of fondling a Peace Corps volunteer in 1989 while on a trip to Africa. The House Ethics Committee decided against disciplinary action in 1990.

Democrat Rep. Barney Frank. The outspoken Massachusetts Democrat hired a male prostitute who ran a prostitution service from Frank’s residence in the 1980s. Only two Democrats in the House of Representatives voted to censure him in 1990.

Former Democrat Sen. Brock Adams. The late Washington Democrat was forced to stop campaigning after numerous accusations of drugging, assault and rape, the first surfacing in 1988.

Former Democrat Rep. Fred Richmond. This New York Democrat was arrested in 1978 for soliciting sex from a 16-year-old. He remained in Congress and won re-election—before eventually resigning in 1982 after pleading guilty to tax evasion and drug possession.

Former Democrat Rep. John Young. The late Texas Democrat increased the salary of a staffer after she gave in to his sexual advances. The congressman won re-election in 1976 but lost two years later.

Former Democrat Rep. Wayne Hays. The late Ohio Democrat hired an unqualified secretary reportedly for sexual acts. Although he resigned from Congress, the Democratic House leadership stalled in removing him from the Administration Committee in 1976.

Former Democrat Rep. Gerry Studds. He was censured for sexual relationship with underage male page in 1983. Massachusetts' liberal voters returned him to office for six more terms.

Former Democrat Rep. Mel Reynolds. The Illinois Democrat was convicted of 12 counts of sexual assault with a 16-year-old. President Bill Clinton pardoned him before leaving office.

Democrat Sen. Teddy Kennedy. The liberal Massachusetts senator testified in defense of nephew accused of rape, invoking his family history to win over the jury in 1991. And, of course there was the notorious matter of that bridge at Chappaquiddick.

On top of it all, let's not forget former Senator and presidential candidate Gary Hart. And then there's Jim McGreevey and John Edwards and Eliot Spitzer and most recently, Anthony Weiner.

And, finally: Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky.

Need we say more?

Thursday, May 23, 2013

IRS And Beyond: Why A Special Prosecutor is Needed

Covering the IRS and Justice Department scandals Peggy Noonan is at the top of her form in the Wall Street Journal. Absolute must reading.
Here's an excerpt:
"A dead serious investigation is needed. The IRS has colorfully demonstrated that it cannot investigate itself. The Obama administration wants the FBI—which answers to Eric Holder's Justice Department—to investigate, but that would not be credible. The investigators of the IRS must be independent of the administration, or their conclusions will not be trustworthy.
"An independent counsel, with all the powers of that office, is what we need.
"Again, if what happened at the IRS is not stopped now—if the internal corruption within it is not broken—it will never stop, and never be broken. The American people will never again be able to have the slightest confidence in the revenue-gathering arm of their government. And that, actually, would be tragic."
Click here for the full column.

Report: Holder OK'd FBI Snooping On Fox News Journalist

BOBMSHELL: Veteran journalist Michael Isikoff of NBC News is reporting that Attorney General Eric Holder signed off on a controversial search warrant that identified Fox News reporter James Rosen as a “possible co-conspirator” in violations of the Espionage Act and authorized seizure of his private emails. 
Rosen, who has not been charged in the case, was nonetheless the target of a search warrant that enabled Justice Department investigators to secretly seize his private emails. 
Day by day, two things are becoming clear: 1) Holder must step down or be fired; 2) A special prosecutor will have to be appointed.
Remember: Michael Isikoff was the man who first uncovered the Monica Lewinsky scandal. He was prepared to break the story until Newsweek (his employer at the time) squelched it. Shortly thereafter lewinsky's name was revealed by the Drudge Report.

Movie Review: How Frances Finds Her Way To Ha

By the time I was 24 years old, I had graduated college, was married, was gainfully employed in a full time job and had already started attending graduate school at night. By the time I was 27, I had my graduate degree and was working an additional part-time job in the evenings as a way to transition into a new career. I was focused and on my way.
But we all know it doesn't seem to work that way anymore.
Instead, young people who pursue higher education very often take more that four years to get their undergraduate degree and then drift along through their twenties trying to figure out what the hell they're gonna do with their lives. They often get continuing support from their parents and, along the way they couple and uncouple, encounter more than a few bumps in the road and often create additional problems for themselves.
Though the real world sometimes tries to send them a chilling wake-up call, it's hard for them to give up their dreams or find a way to balance the aspirational and the practical. For all their "education" many of them often seem clueless.
Which brings us to the chatty, often funny, always revealing new independent film Frances Ha.
Frances is a 27-year-old woman living in New York City. She left her hometown of Sacramento (where he parents still live) to attend college in Poughkeepsie and never returned home, unless you count holidays and "I need help" trips.
She and her best friend from college, Sophie are thisclose. They share just about everything. But they'd be the first to point out to you that they are not lesbians. They've both had numerous relationships with guys -- guys who may not be so smart or so handsome or even very appealing but who still feel no need to pursue women because the women are all, well -- just so available.
Frances still wants to be a dancer. This is her passion. And while she's technically part of a dance company, she's really not part of it. In fact, it's clear she never gonna be part of it.
Unless you make lots of money, the older you get the harder it is to live in New York. For young people trying to make it, it's a world of shared, closet-sized accommodations and a daily struggle to pay the bills.
Frances faces all these woes (and no small amount of rejection) and yet the movie remains as bright as Broadway, where dreams have been known to sprout new life just when all hope appeared to have been lost.
Along the way in this film Frances rejects one of the best opportunities that's offered her, goes back to college but never becomes a student again, takes a weekend flight to Paris even though she has no money, visits he parents and leaves feeling a strange combination of gratitude and emptiness, becomes a homeless, hides her plight from her friends, rejects and former lover and a potential one, confronts the phoniness (and sometimes shallowness) of successful New Yorkers and - eventually - finds her way, sort of.
Filmed in black and white, this low-budget flick produces big time satisfaction because it's all held together by a real-life patina and laced with wonderful dialogue that's funny and clever without being too hip.
Like Frances herself, Frances Ha is unique.
Kudos to Noah Baumbach and Greta Gerwig who wrote the film; to Baumbach who directed it and to Gerwig who stars in it. And let's not forget Mickey Sumner, Grace Gummer and Charlotte D’Amboise — the daughters of Sting, Meryl Streep and ballet superstar Jacques D’Amboise, respectively. They're also part of this film which is a veritable feast of young talent.
And the name, Frances Ha?
Well, you'll have to stay through till the final scene to find out what that's all about.
But we think it's worth it.

Christie Picks Up Another Key Democrat Endorsement

Democrat Paterson City Council President Anthony Davis endorses New Jersey Governor Chris Christie for re-election. Paterson is New Jersey's third largest city.

Pope Francis Welcomes President Of El Salvador

This morning in the Vatican Apostolic Palace, the Holy Father received in audience His excellency Mr. Carlos Mauricio Funes Cartagena, president of the Republic of El Salvador. President Funes then met with the Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, S.D.B., accompanied by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States.

During the cordial talks, satisfaction was express for the good relations between the Holy See and the nation of El Salvador. In particular, Servant of God Archbishop Oscar Amulfo Romero y Galdamez of San Salvador was spoken of and the importance of his witness for the entire nation.

Appreciation was also expressed for the contribution that the Church offers for the reconciliation and consolidation of peace, as well as in the areas of charity, education, and the eradication of poverty and organized crime. Some ethical issues such as the defence of human life, marriage, and the family were also discussed.

Sometimes, One Photo Says It All. Grazi Dei!

Movie Review: 'Scatter My Ashes At Bergdorf's'


The name itself is synonymous with high style.

It conjures up visions of America's best-dressed women and instantly brings to mind the world's leading fashion designers.

But Herman Bergdorf hasn't been part of the legendary Bergdorf Goodman store since the early 1900's when he was bought out by Andrew Goodman who moved the store to its present hallowed location at Fifth Avenue and 58th St. in Manhattan.

There are no Bergdorf-Goodman branches. There is only one Bergdorf's and it is a shrine where fashionistas worship their secular gods (and goods) just as God himself is worshiped devoutly just a few blocks south at St. Patrick's Cathedral.

But whereas St. Patrick's doors are open to all, you're unlikely to catch more than a glimpse of the inside of Bergdorf's unless you're gilt-edged or know someone who is. Sure, you can walk right in. But you'd better be ready to part with Big Bucks, for this is a super-luxury retailer.

Well, now Matthew Miele has come along and given us Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf's, a visually-stunning new documentary taking us inside the most mythic of all American emporiums - and the scene of many an ultimate fashion fantasy. In Scatter, we get a rarified chance to peek behind the backroom doors and into the reality of the fascinating inner workings of Bergdorf Goodman. The film includes interviews with an array of fashion designers, style icons, and celebrities.

So, we not only see the dazzling world of Bergdorf's but we also hear from Tom Ford, Karl Lagerfeld, Isaac Mizrahi, Vera Wang, Marc Jacobs, Michael Kors, Tory Burch, Giorgio Armani, Oscar de la Renta, Manolo Blahnik, Bobbi Brown and many others.

The whole thing is like a big commercial for Bergdorf's and the world of fashion, glamor and luxury.

And sadly, it's rather choppy. There's not an organizing thread that takes us through the full 93 minutes. There's nothing that brings it all together and keeps it together. We just sort of bounce around from designer to designer and celebrity to celebrity as Bergdorf's moves from decade to decade in an endless effort to remain precious, profitable and pertinent.

One storyline that does have promise is the annual development of Bergdorf's holiday windows and we do get to see the windows in all their glitzy glory. But that's not enough (and not related enough to the whole) to hold this all together.

There's no real litany of celebrities who've shopped at Bergdorf's through the ages, no genuine sense of what it takes to open the doors and what's needed to keep it profitable, not many really juicy stories and precious little of the rich history of the store. For example, we find out that the Goodmans once lived in a beautiful penthouse at the top of the store. But we're never told if the penthouse is still there or, if it isn't, exactly what happened to it. There are a lot of untied ends here.

What we get are so many fashion designers talking about their need to get into Bergdorf's and stay there. And there are lots and lots of self-impressed people heaping lots and lots of praise on one another. Though, thank goodness some do shoot a few well-deserved barbs in the direction of the icy Anna Wintour.

Still, it's not until the credits roll at the end of the picture that we discover that Bergdorf's really isn't Bergdorf's after all. Instead, it's part of Neiman Marcus which is itself owned by two private equity firms, Texas Pacific Group and Warburg Pincus. So, it's all part of a big conglomerate whose investors also have pieces of Aramark Corporation and Harrah's Entertainment (casinos).

BTW: The term "scatter my ashes at Bergdorf's" comes from an old New Yorker cartoon, just another link between Bergdorf's and the popular culture that is barely noted in the film.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Christie Video: 'Damn! Boardwalks Opening All Over!'

Chris Christie has become a one-man salesperson for the New Jersey shore this summer and Memorial Day isn't even here yet.
Over the next five days America's Governor will be traversing New Jersey's more than 100 miles of beautiful beaches and shore resorts to let the world know that the Jersey shore is open for business.
In record time, the boardwalks, business and shore attractions have all been rebuilt since last fall's superstorm Sandy and the beaches are ship shape as well.
New Jersey welcomes you this summer!
Click here to learn more.

Video: Congressman, IRS Commisioner Go At It

Meet South Carolina Congressman Trey Gowdy, Washington's new rock star!

On Global Warming Christie Tells It Like It Is

From Matt Rooney and our friends at the Save Jersey blog:

You may’ve missed this the other day, Save Jerseyans, but some WNYC reporter asked Chris Christie at his Lavallette presser whether NJ Transit had been under-prepared for climate change ahead of Superstorm Sandy. Yes, you read that correctly. Apparently the reporter had never ridden NJ Transit before or she’d know that its problems predate the global warming fad!
Virtually everyone in the country, however, knows that the Governor of New Jersey has a very low tolerance for dumb questions; he responded NO to the WNYC question, “cause I don’t think there’s been any proof thus far that Sandy was caused by climate change…”
Well, first of all, I don’t agree with the premise of your question because I don’t think there’s been any proof thus far that Sandy was caused by climate change,” Christie said, as residents and officials from Lavallette clapped. “But I would absolutely expect that that’s exactly what WNYC would say, because you know liberal public radio always has an agenda. And so since I disagree with the premise of your question I don’t feel like I have to answer the rest of it.” (You can hear the full audio at the bottom of this post.)”
Fair enough! But the global warming cultists won’t tolerate dissent; they waited all of 5 seconds before injecting politics into this week’s tornado disaster in Oklahoma. Daily Beast contributor Michael Tomasky heard about the exchange and was positively apoplectic, accusing Christie of having “joined the yahoos” for simply stating the obvious… that there’s no one (including him) can cite specific evidence that Hurricane Sandy had anything whatsoever to do with climate change. Tomasky nevertheless lamented Chris Christie’s lost opportunity to move the GOP in a “sane” direction.
Here’s the only truly “sane” position in this tired debate, Save Jerseyans: we don’t know. Climate change science remains unsettled. And most of the original “hard” evidence upon which contemporary global warming theory is based was apparently fabricated.

Is climate change real (a phenomena distinct from global warming)? Of course; the only real debate involves the ever-important issue of causation.
We do know that the Earth is approximately 4.54 billion years old. We also know from the fossil record and other reliable indicators that our planet has undergone a myriad of warming and cooling cycles over the course of many millennia. Sometimes changes are quite dramatic or sudden, and give the age of our planet, most of these changes transpired long before automobiles, factories, and aerosol cans entered the picture. The often mysterious processes of energy emitters like our own Sun — more powerful than all of the fossil fuel producers on the 3rd rock from our solar system’s star combined — are increasingly viewed as more likely culprits for weather fluctuations.
Could human processes play a role? Maybe, but for advocates to pretend the evidence supporting their position is nearly as conclusive as it is for other prominent scientific theories like evolution is simply not true. Follow the money as in all things, folks. Academic and government researchers can’t get grant money by claiming the absence of a problem; alarmist tactics can lead to big grants, and when the same statists who love government expansion in every other aspect of our lives can use global warming to rationalize “carbon taxes,” then that’s just an added bonus!
But let’s not allow silly little things like facts to get in the way of an opportunity to criticize the Republican Party’s strongest 2016 contender. Oh and by the way… for Memorial Day Weekend 2013, the “high” temperature in Lavallette for Saturday is expected to reach only 62 F; the low will be 48 F. Even New Jersey’s most liberal beachgoers will need a fleece of their own to brave the sands.