Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The List: The INS And The OUTS For 2015

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Just in case you've been wondering, here's the definitive
list of who and what are "in" and "out" for 2015:

OUT                             IN

Justin Bieber                  Justin Timberlake

organic food                   comfort food

Prince Harry                  Prince George

Mexico                          Cuba

Liam Neeson                 Liam Hemsworth

Lady Gaga                     Lorde


artisanal                         Art

Austin                           Austin Mahone

de Blasio                       Detroit

craft beers                     craftiness

Bradley Cooper             Oscar Isaac

Tony Romo                   Tony Danza

Comcast                        Any other provider

Martha’s Vineyard        Martha Plimpton

Stephen Colbert             James Corden

ice bucket challenge      Iceland

AMC                             AARP

Harry Reid                    Harry Styles

Applebee’s                    Apple

Ryan Seacrest               Ryan J. Gleason

cummerbunds               cumberbitches

Arianna Huffington       Ariana Grande

Pharrell                         Farrell’s Ice Cream

walking the walk          walking

Starbuck’s                     star gazing

reality shows                 reality

millennials                    perennials

on demand                    in your hand

The Late Show             The Late Late Show

Dr. Oz                          Dr. Ben Carson

Lynne Spears                Lynne Abraham

Pope John Paul II          Pope John XXIII

Chris Brown                  Chris Pratt

King of Prussia              Gayle King

gay advocates                gay Republicans

Kelly Clarkson               Megyn Kelly

sauerkraut                     Krauthammer

Jack Ma                        Jack O’Connell

Nick Foles                    Nick Jonas

Scott Brown                  Scott Bakula

doughnuts                     Dunkin Donut

cherry pickers               Cherry Hill  

game of thrones            The Imitation Game

dynasties                       diners

vines                             vinyl          

frozen yogurt                Frozen2

ObamaCare                   CaringBridge

The Absurdity Of New Year's Resolutions

I've never made New Year's resolutions.
And I won't be making one this year either.
Because they're stupid.
Think about it: A resolution (promise) is a Big Deal. And when you make it with the entire year ahead of you, well -- that's a long haul.
Plus, January and February are just dreadful months and an awful time to have to keep your resolution.
For example, suppose you resolved to watch your diet. What the hell is there to do during the dreary months of January and February except eat. And now you've gone and prevented yourself from eating. How are you gonna enjoy those Super Bowl parties or that Valentine's dinner with your sweetheart? And what about those l-o-n-g winter days when you want a cheesesteak or a pizza? Don't tell me you're gonna deprive yourself.
Suppose you resolve to work out more and get more exercise.
You'll have to run on a treadmill or somesuch. What's more stupid than that? You're indoors, you're runnin, you're sweatin and you ain't goin nowhere. Then you're all perspired and running toward your car in the frigid weather. That's a quick way to get pneumonia. Why would you want to do that?
But people go ahead and make these dumb resolutions anyway.
And 99% of the time these resolutions are no kept.
Remember this: When you make a promise, that promise is gonna weigh on you. It's only gonna make you do the opposite because you're gonna be thinkin about the promise all the time.
"Don't eat."
Whoa -- Did someone say "Eat?" Eat. Eat. Eat. Eat!
Ya see what I mean?
When you make a resolution, you're your own worst enemy. You're fighting yourself.
Here's the one way to approach this year and every year: Don't get too carried away on any front. Try to live fully but moderately. Avoid excess whenever you can.
Yeah, you can go overboard once in awhile but don't make it a habit, OK?
Be sensible. Use your noggin.
Then, you won't have to worry and you won't have to make resolutions.
You'll be fine.
Happy New Year!

New Year's Eve & Day: Dumb & Dumber!

About all the silly hoopla over the new year: we just don't get it. Never have gotten it, in fact.
New Years Day is a dumb "holiday." It signifies nothing. It's merely the first day of the year - just a unit of measurement, that's all. It's just a way to keep time.
New Year's Eve is equally as dumb if not dumber.
Just because the clock moved ahead an extra second we're supposed to get all worked up? I don't think so.
This is simply an excuse for clubs and restaurants to make a big deal of nothing and charge you big bucks for it. 
The rudest, loudest, most obnoxious people come crawling out of the woodwork on New Year's Eve. These are the people who don't get around very much (and don't go out very much) during the rest of the year. Trust us, you don't want to be around these people.
This is a sadly artificial holiday - a holiday that reeks of beer, tobacco and lost dreams; a holiday plagued by sticky champagne stains, stale leftovers, weary Christmas decorations and nothing to look forward to but cleaning up and getting ready for the two dreariest months of the year.
Happy New Year, everybody!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Hey, Whatever Happened To . . . . . . ?

As the years go by, some people just seem to slip off the radar screen.
People that were all the rage somehow drift out of view.
Yesterday's Big Star becomes today's forgotten person.
So, we were wondering - just wondering - what happened to . . .

Joseph Bottoms - He was a rapidly rising leading man in the 1970s and 80s and he even starred opposite Elizabeth Taylor as well as on the TV series Family, in the mini-series Holocaust. and on the continuing soap opera Santa Barbara. He hasn't acted much since 1999 and today Joseph Bottoms, who will be 61 in April runs an art gallery in Santa Barbara.

Yvette Mimieux - Among her earliest screen appearances was a role in the teen movie Where the Boys Are (1960) as well as in George Pal's film version of H. G. Wells' 1895 novel The Time Machine (also 1960) co-starring Rod Taylor, in which she played the character Weena. This was followed by The Light in the Piazza (1962) with Olivia de Havilland. In 1963, Mimieux appeared in Diamond Head and Toys in the Attic. Mimieux retired from acting in 1992. Now 72, she has retired from acting and is an anthropologist, a real estate investor and yoga devotee. She was married to film director Stanley Donen from 1972 until their divorce in 1985. In 1986 Mimieux married Howard F. Ruby, chairman and founder of Oakwood Worldwide.

Paula Prentiss - Paula Prentiss first became known as a comedic actress in the early 1960s with such films as Where the Boys Are, The Honeymoon Machine, Bachelor in Paradise, and The Horizontal Lieutenant. In all four films Prentiss was paired with the 6'5" actor Jim Hutton, as they were the two tallest male and female contract players at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.
She continued to star in comedies later with Rock Hudson in Man's Favorite Sport?, in The World of Henry Orient and What's New, Pussycat? with Peter Sellers, in Last of the Red Hot Lovers with Alan Arkin, in Move with Elliott Gould, and in director Billy Wilder's last film, Buddy Buddy, with Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau. She also appeared in the war films Catch-22 and In Harm's Way and the thriller The Parallax View with Warren Beatty.
For one season (1967–1968), Prentiss co-starred with her husband, Richard Benjamin, in the CBS sitcom He & She Now 75, she has not appeared in a major role in movies for 30 years. 

Kato Kaelin - He now bills himself as a radio and television personality but he gained fame as a witness during the 1994–1995 murder trial of O. J. Simpson.
Kaelin was nicknamed "Kato" as a child after the character played by Bruce Lee in the television series, The Green Hornet. He graduated from Nicolet High School in Glendale, Wisconsin, in 1977. He attended. but never graduated from the University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire. During his time at Eau Claire he created his own talk show, Kato and Friends, and hosted "The Gameshow" on the campus television station, TV10. Kaelin eventually moved to Hollywood.
Kaelin was "best friends" with actor/comedian Norm Macdonald from mid-2000 to mid-2001 according to Macdonald's The Norm Show co-star Artie Lange. Kaelin was even given a guest role on the show. The two had a falling out which ended their friendship. He was married to Cynthia Coulter from 1983 to 1989. They have one child.
In 2010, Kaelin appeared on Real Time with Bill Maher, wearing a wig to play his younger self in a taped skit parodying 1990s television appearances by 2010 U.S. Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell. Kaelin briefly made national headlines when he claimed he never told New York Post columnist Cindy Adams that O. J. Simpson definitely killed his wife. Kato said he has expressed his opinion before, that he thinks Simpson did it, but "I have no first hand knowledge. Kaelin is now 55.
Rod Taylor: Yes, Rod Taylor is still alive. He'll be 85 in January.
Taylor's first leading role in a feature film was in The Time Machine (1960), George Pal's adaptation of the science-fiction classic by H. G. Wells with Taylor as the time traveller who, thousands of years in the future, falls for a woman played by Yvette Mimieux. Taylor played a character not unlike that of his Twilight Zone episode of a year earlier.
In the 1960–61 television season, Taylor starred as foreign correspondent Glenn Evans in the ABC dramatic series Hong Kong.
Taylor starred in Alfred Hitchcock's horror/thriller The Birds (1963) along with Tippi Hedren, Suzanne Pleshette, Veronica Cartwright and Jessica Tandy, playing a man whose town and home come under attack by menacing birds. Taylor then starred with Jane Fonda in the romantic comedy Sunday in New York (also 1963).
During the mid-'60s, Taylor worked mostly for MGM. His credits including The V.I.P.s (1963) with Richard Burton, Elizabeth Taylor and Maggie Smith; Fate Is the Hunter (for 20th Century Fox, 1964) with Suzanne Pleshette; Young Cassidy (1965) with Julie Christie and Maggie Smith; The Liquidator (1965) with Jill St. John; and The Glass Bottom Boat (1966) with Doris Day.

Carol Lynley - In 1957 Carol Lynley appeared on the cover of Life magazine when she was just 15 years old. She was a stunning beauty.
Early on, Lynley distinguished herself in both the Broadway stage and Hollywood screen versions of the controversial drama Blue Denim (1959), in which the teenaged characters played by Lynley and co-star Brandon deWilde had to deal with an unwanted pregnancy and (then-illegal) abortion. In 1959, Lynley was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for "Most Promising Newcomer – Female". Lynley may be best known for her film roles in Return to Peyton Place, Under the Yum Yum Tree, Bunny Lake is Missing, The Cardinal, Harlow, and the original The Poseidon Adventure, in which she performed the Oscar-winning song "The Morning After" (but her singing voice actually was that of studio singer, Renee Armand.)
She posed nude at age 22 for the March 1965 edition of Playboy magazine. In 2006, she appeared in a 30-minute film, Vic, co-written and directed by Sage Stallone, the late son of Sylvester Stallone.  She'll be 72 in February.

Remembering The Great Ones Who Left Us - Video

Fifteen Fearless Predictions For 2015

What's looming for the new year?
Where are things headed?
Who will rise and who will fall?
Here are 15 fearless predictions for the new year:

1) Philadelphia will win the dubious honor of hosting the Democratic National Convention. The Dems will chose Philly as NYC fades under the destructive leadership of dingy de Blasio. It will be heavy lifting for Philly after hosting Pope Francis in 2015.

2) Possible protests and upheaval in Philadelphia will threaten the Pope's fall, 2015 visit to the city as the town will have its hand full with radicals and malcontents. Sadly, Philadelphia has become a haven for these types as the city administration has often not acted quickly enough or forcefully enough. These are the wages of decades of left-wing control of a great city.

3) 2015 will be the year of the hacker and hack attacks with more companies and organizations subject to these kinds of cyber-terrorism activities. Indeed, cyber-terrorism will become the new watchword and the roots of a new kind of world war may take hold in these types of insidious activities.

4) Best picture Oscar nominees will include Selma, The Imitation Game, Boyhood, Birdman, Into the Woods and St. Vincent.

5) None of Philadelphia's sports teams will win the championship in their respective sports this year. No World Series trophy; no Super Bowl rings; no Stanley Cup and few if any wins at all by the Sixers.

6) Voters will become discontented and rebellious in both parties as the prospect of a Bush vs. Clinton contest looms. Both Jeb and Hillary will become battered during the year and by the end of the year their candidacies may not seem as viable as they are now.

7) Increasingly, presidential speculation on the Republican side will focus on Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker while on the Democratic side alternative to Hillary (such as Elizabeth Warren) will make more than their share of mischief. Things may get messy.

8) Long-awaited revivals of old-fashioned musicals such as Gigi and Can-Can will turn back the clock on Broadway as New York seeks comfort amidst continued racial strife and turbulence in the city. The musical version of the film Honeymoon in Vegas will make Tony Danza a Broadway star and he will become the toast of the town.

9) Joe Piscopo may shake up the political landscape in New Jersey once again with renewed talk that he may run for governor as voters become increasingly disenchanted with both political parties in the Garden State. But this won't necessarily stop Democrats from retaining a hammer lock on the state's residents who actually seem to like runaway government and higher and higher taxes. Look for the early signs of a Dem deal that will set the stage for a Sweeney nomination.

10) Louisville will become one of America's new hot cites as it gains a reputation for being hip, exceptionally-liveable and affordable.

11) Viral fund-raising and viral marketing will become all the rage and it will be increasingly difficult to decipher pitches between advertising and social media.

12) The Washington Nationals will win the World Series and Seattle will win the Super Bowl once again.

13) Jessica Chastain and Oscar Isaac (who are actually pals) will emerge as Very Big Hollywood Stars on the heels of their film A Most Violent Year. These two are sizzlers who also happen to be eminently likable.

14) Increasing numbers of persons both inside and outside the Catholic Church will begin to question the direction that Pope Francis is taking as he steers Catholicism into what he hopes to be a new era. The Pope will be criticized for what appear to be his own political views, his off-the-cuff remarks, his various pronouncement on social issues and his apparent lack of focus on core teachings and doctrine. There will be grumblings and even the media may begin to raise questions.

15) Here in the east we will have a relatively mild winter but various parts of the world (and even parts of our own country) will be plagued with water shortages.

Happy New Year, everybody!

How DeBlasio Is Destroying New York City

From our friends at the Save Jersey Blog:

By Joe Schilp | Joe’s Blog
Sometime around 1980, when I was about thirteen years old, my Grandfather took me to the New York Auto Show, held at the New York Coliseum on Columbus Circle in Manhattan.  Before I left with my Grandfather, my mother warned me to hold his hand at all times, not to speak with or even look at anyone and to be careful.  I had little experience in New York City (a couple of class trips and a few visits to Madison Square Garden for family shows) and had no idea for the reason for her concern.  I had grown up near Manhattan, about 15 miles west, in suburban New Jersey, but Manhattan in the 1970s and 80s was a wholly different world despite its proximity to my hometown.
As we drove in, my Grandfather told me that we would drive through the Lincoln Tunnel, park at the Port Authority Bus Terminal and walk up 42nd Street before heading uptown on 8th Avenue to the Coliseum.  My Grandfather was born and raised in New York’s lower east side Italian ghetto and never passed up an opportunity to walk the streets of the city.  I looked forward to this walk with great anticipation.  I had seen commercials on television for a new Broadway musical called 42nd Street and imagined that 42ndStreet must have been the most wonderful place in the world.
When we got through the tunnel, we stopped at a traffic light and crazed-looking man wearing tattered clothes spat on my Grandfather’s windshield before proceeding to smear his discharge with a dirty rag.  For this “cleaning” job, he expected a tip, but the light turned green and my Grandfather sped off toward the Port Authority parking ramp.  Disgusting, I thought, but that was only the beginning.
We parked in the Port Authority parking deck and descended in the elevator to ground level.  When the elevator doors opened, I was struck by the foulest stench I had ever experienced; a combination of body odor, stale urine and death.  We headed to the exits by walking over, around and through rows of bums sleeping on yellowed newspapers.  After attempting to hold my breath for minutes, we were out of the hell hole and on the street, headed to the glory of 42nd Street.
As we turned onto 42nd, I was, once again, stunned.  The marquee signs that lined the famed thoroughfare bore words and symbols like, “XXX,” “Live Nude,” and “Peep Show!”  There were prostitutes walking the streets and filthy people sleeping in alleyways.  At a few of the street corners, there were preachers attempting to engage in an argument by screaming at people about the end of the world.  Drug dealers were whispering to passers-by things like, “uppers, mesc and Jamaica’s best.”
By now I was white-knuckling my Grandfather’s hand.
After what seemed like the longest walk I had ever taken, we finally arrived at the New York Coliseum and I asked my Grandfather why New York was so filthy.  He replied that the city was too far gone and would never be a great city again because no one cared.  That was true in the 1970s when Abe Beame was mayor.
By the time I turned 17 and earned my driver’s license, things had not changed.  It was the 1980s, Ed Koch was mayor and my Dad was working at Kennedy Airport in Jamaica, Queens, as a supervisor of aircraft maintenance for American Airlines.  He carpooled regularly and one night, had to work overtime, meaning someone had to go pick him up at the airport after his shift to get him home.  That someone was me.
I drove from our home in Saddle Brook on I-80 eastbound, to the George Washington Bridge, a routine drive on a safe and clean interstate highway.  Upon crossing the bridge into Manhattan, I immediately noticed that the roads were covered with potholes and that the walls surrounding the highway were covered with graffiti and road grime.  I took the exit for the Harlem River Drive, the shoulder of which was lined with cars that were stripped, burned and propped-up on cinder blocks.  After crossing the TriBoro Bridge, I got on the Grand Central Parkway, which was also similarly polluted with the remains of stolen cars.  The Van Wyck to Kennedy Airport was no better.  Every now and then, you’d see a train pass overhead and they were all covered with graffiti. 
I repeated this trip to pick my Dad up about once a year with similar sights.  It was also around this time that the film Escape from NewYork was released; the premise of the film being that New York had become so dangerous that the river crossings were demolished and the island turned into a prison colony.
That didn’t seem far from reality.  New York City, by 1992, under mayor David Dinkins, realized an average of just over 6 – SIX! – murders a day.  Times Square was the theater district, but one did not want to spend too much time there because the place was loaded with pickpockets and three-card monte dealers who regularly conned tourists out of their money.
In 1993, Rudy Giuliani was elected mayor and almost immediately began transforming the greatest city in the world from a place to avoid, rife with crime, to a tourist destination with one of the lowest crime rates among large cities in America, indeed, in the world.  The trains were cleaned-up, the squeegee men and crooked card dealers were prosecuted and homeless people put to work.  The murder total dropped from 2,245 in 1992 to 641 at the end of Giuliani’s term, in 2001.
Giuliani turned New York City around after decades of squalor.  And Mike Bloomberg kept New York City safe, using stop-and-frisk policing to keep crime down.  There were just 333 murder in Bloomberg’s last year as mayor.
Last year Bill DeBlasio (real name Warren Wilhelm, communist supporter), was elected as mayor.  Many people, myself included, predicted a return to the 70s-era crime wave for New York City because DeBlasio’s mayoral campaign was a campaign against police.  The results, predictably, have been astoundingly bad.
In just one year, the squeegee men have returned.  Today, the NY Post has reported that the three-card monte dealers are back as well.  Last week, two NYPD officers were assassinated after Al Sharpton’s marchers chanted for the want of dead cops.  Sharpton is most famous for promoting the fraudulent race cases of Tawana Brawley and the Duke lacrosse players.  Sharpton was marginalized by Giuliani and was kept away by Bloomberg, as well, but has found friends in both Barack Obama and DeBlasio.
It’s absolutely depressing to see New York City falling apart so fast.  Sadly, anyone under the age of 30 has no idea just how bad New York City once was, so they have no idea what path DeBlasio is leading them down.  I never thought NYC would return to the days when parents put their kids to bed in bathtubs to protect them from stray bullets, but that seems to be where we’re headed.
It does not have to be this way.  Those calling for DeBlasio’s resignation have to yell louder and more consistently.  They cannot relent.  They have to grow in size and scale.  It’s really New York City’s only hope.

Is This The Year's Worst Celebrity Selfie?

This photo was taken and posted by actress and model Brooklyn Decker who is married to tennis star Andy Roddick.
We have no idea what prompted her to post such a horrid photo. Maybe Andy had a bad day on the tennis court or maybe she simply became dazed after watching that ball thwacked back and forth, over and over.
But, one thing's for sure: She needs to let other people (preferably professional photographers) continue to take her photos, so she can continue to look like this:

Monday, December 29, 2014

Video: de Blasio Booed, Heckled At Police Event

Bill de Blasio should resign as Mayor of New York. He's a disgrace.

Pope: Large Families Are 'Fruits Of Love'

On the feast day of the Holy Family, Pope Francis received in the Vatican's Paul VI Hall a group of large Italian families, present in Rome for to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the Associazione Nazionale Famiglie Numerose (National Association for Large Families). The audience was also attended by families from other countries throughout Europe.

“You have come here with the most beautiful fruits of your love. Maternity and paternity are gifts from God, your task is to receive this gift, to be amazed by its beauty and to let it shine in society. Each one of your children is a unique creation that will never be repeated in the history of humanity. When we understand this, that each person is willed by God, we are astonished by the great miracle that is a child”.

“And you, boys and girls”, he continued, addressing the children present, “are precisely this: each one of you is the unique fruit of love, you come from love and grow in love. You are unique, but you are not alone. And the fact of having brothers and sisters is good for you: the sons and daughters of large families are more inclined to fraternal communion from early childhood. In a world that is frequently marked by selfishness, the large family is a school of solidarity and sharing; and these attitudes are of benefit to all society”.

“You, children and young people, are the fruit of the tree that is the family: you are good fruit when the tree has good roots – grandparents – and a good trunk – the parents. … The presence of large families is a hope for society. This is why the presence of grandparents is very important: a valuable presence both in terms of practical assistance, but above all for their contribution to education. Grandparents conserve the values of a people, of a family, and they help parents transmit them to their children. Throughout the last century, in many countries in Europe, it was the grandparents who transmitted faith”.

“Dear parents, thank you for your example of love for life that you protect from conception to its natural end, in spite of all the difficulties and burdens of life, that unfortunately public institutions do not always help you to bear. … Every family is a cell of society, but the large family is a richer, more vital cell, and the state has much to gain by investing in it”, Francis remarked.

He concluded by praying for those families who are most affected by the economic crisis, those in which the mother or father have lost their jobs and in which the young are unable to find work, and those families in which the closest relationships are marked by suffering and who are tempted to give in to loneliness and separation”.

Fifteen People Who Should Disappear In 2015

Let's face it: Some people have really overstayed their welcome this year.
They've simply been in our faces far too much.

Some of them have been around a long time, some not so long. Some are clearly past the pinnacle of whatever degree of achievement they were ever going to have, others are newer to the race for fame and then irrelevance. But they all have one thing in common: They grate on us, and many others as well.
You know the public personages we're talking about. You've seen and heard them far too much already.

Anyway, here they are:

1) Kim Kardashian and her whole family. We hate to even mention the name of this disgusting individual and her slutty crew. But anyway - there, we said it.

2) Rosie O'Donnell. She drifted away more than once but Rosie and her big mouth just keep coming back. This woman is more than destructive; she's a tsunami of toxicity.

3) 4) Rick Santorum and Sarah Palin. Our message to them is simple: You tried, you lost, now get lost -- and stop trying to sell us your dumb books.

5) Michael Strahan. Here's a guy who seems nice enough but, he's turning up e-v-e-r-y-w-h-e-r-e! He's got his own talk show. He does NFL sports. He's on GMA. What's next, 60 Minutes? Give us a break, Michael. You're turning into the next Anderson Cooper.

6) 7) Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga. They've actually done an album together. She's trying to reinvent (or redesign or rebrand or recapture) herself and he's, well . . . he's just trying to stay alive. We're somewhat horrified at what they're doing to the Great American Songbook.

8) 9) Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton. When you look at either one of them, or both (with a combined age of 1,236 or somewhere in that range) you simply have to ask yourself: When is enough, enough? We'll credit them with this much: They certainly reflect the dotage of the Democrat Party, circa 2015.

10) Lena Dunham. A shameless self-promoter and notorious liar. Hey, Lena: Not only don't we wanna see you naked; we don't wanna see you at all!

11) 12) Al Sharpton and Bill de Blasio. Two of the most menacing people in America right now. As far as demagoguery goes, they have no equals.

13) Justin Bieber. We really hate to say this because it's sad to contemplate. But, we'll say it anyway: Justin, it may be time for rehab.

14) Ellen DeGeneres. Forget for a moment that she's terminally annoying. The bottom line here is that she's Just. Not. Funny. OK?

15) This is a tie between Taylor Swift and Miley Cyrus. Artistically, they've both gone about as far as they can go -- which, in fact never was very far to begin with. And that means that a few years with them feels like an eternity. Be gone!

Our 2014 Predictions: A 70%+ Accuracy Rate!

How well did we do with our predictions for 2014?
Well, here are the predictions along with a scoring:

1) Fashion's obsession with the sleek, form-fitted look of the 1960s will continue to fade and designers will turn their attention to the postwar New Look as the latest inspiration Yes, the 1940s will move into the spotlight. People will look for simpler, less snug styles and toward the more wholesome values of the period roughly spanning 1945  to 1955. In a way, this will be the last hurrah for the booming postwar era that helped define the American Century. CORRECT!
2) There will be a strong reaction to the smarmy, snarky, slutty streak that the popular culture has taken in recent years and people will begin to focus more and more on what bestselling author Charles Krauthammer has called Things That Matter. This shift will take many forms as movies and TV roll out biblically-themed projects including the upcoming flick Noah, starring Russell Crowe and Emma Watson. It will be a time of re-grounding centered around home, hearth and family as Americans re-examine the erosion of solid values and the loss of stability the culture seems to have suffered. CORRECT!
3) The GOP will have a very good year as the Republican Party puts together a more diverse coalition with a more centered platform without abandoning the bedrock foundations of conservatism that have always held a common-sense appeal. Republicans will easily retain control of the House of Representatives, continue to hold a solid majority among the nation's governors CORRECT! and come thisclose to recapturing the U. S. Senate in what may be a cliffhanger 50/50 election that forces Vice President "Uncle" Joe Biden to be the tie-breaking vote. This will effectively paralyze our lame duck President Barack Obama as his administration heads into the sunset. Fortunately, wrong!
4) The long knives will be out for New Jersey Governor Chris Christie in 2014 as conservatives continue to [wrongly] gripe that he does not lean far enough to the right while old-line, traditional GOP stalwarts question his bona fides and his reliability. CORRECT! The righties will look to people like Ted Cruz and Rand Paul while the country club Republicans will take a renewed look at Jeb Bush and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. CORRECT!  Christie will have to work both ends and will need to walk a fine line even as he attempts to mend fences with such well-connected GOP blue bloods  as former Governor Tom Kean. At home, his Democrat-controlled state legislature will give him additional headaches as his second term signals the beginning of the end of his tenure.  CORRECT! But don't underestimate Christie or his immense appeal built on no-nonsense authenticity and a powerful connection with everyday voters and taxpayers. Christie will build up plenty of IOUs during the year traveling throughout the country on behalf of GOP candidates  He will remain widely popular and by the end of the year he will be well-positioned for a presidential run. Half-right/half-wrong.
5) The winter of 2014 will feature below average temperatures for about two thirds of the nation but this will not be enough to encourage those who believe in global warming. CORRECT! There will be about 17 named hurricanes in 2014 and some of them will be severe. Wrong.
6) Best Picture Oscar nominations will go to American Hustle, The Wolf of Wall Street, 12 Years A Slave, Philomena, Nebraska, Captain Phillips and August: Osage County, among others. CORRECT except for August: Osage County.
7) Hillary Clinton will have a difficult year in 2014 as new allegations emerge about her time as Secretary of State and concerns arise over her health. Though she will try to stay out of the spotlight, she will find herself on the defensive. The idea of her automatically being the Democrat nominee for president in 2016 will lose some of its appeal and she may miss her own deadline to decide one way or the other (by the end of the year) about a presidential bid. CORRECT!
8) The idea of a perfect suburban lawn will begin to fade in 2014 as people turn more and more toward alternative ground covers that are viewed as more environmentally friendly. These will even include artificial turf or other synthetic surfaces as people turn away from traditional, water-dependent ground  coverings. Indeterminate.
9) One of the big new terms of the year will be "fandom." For businesses and other entities, the "fandom" is basically your most-enthusiastic audience -- the subculture of raving fanatics who can and will do a great deal of your marketing for you. They will effectively empower your brand and sell it to others. And social media makes this group more powerful than ever before. Watch closely as businesses and even non-profits take a page from sports and put diehard fans at the top of their list. CORRECT, as evidenced by the ALS water-bucket campaign and several others.
10) Come-from-nowhere political shockers of the year are likely to emerge from Maryland, Massachusetts or California where Governor Martin O'Malley, Senator Elizabeth Warren and Governor Jerry Brown will all toy with a presidential run as a possible Democrat primary challenger to Hillary Clinton. One (or even two) of these three could prove to be surprisingly viable. CORRECT!
11) Special mobile websites will die in 2014 as mobile browsers are being replaced by fully functional versions that run on any sort of device. Indeterminate.
12) Best Actor and Actress Oscar nominations will go to Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hanks, Matthew McConaughey, Bruce Dern, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Meryl Streep, Amy Adams, Cate Blanchett, Sandra Bullock and Judi Dench. ALL CORRECT except for Tom Hanks.
13) In home decor, wood surfaces will be on the rebound. Look for butcher block to re-emerge along with hardwood, textured wood, distressed wood and carpentry with natural edges. Painted walls will lose their appeal. The warm glow of wood will provide a more homey feeling. Indeterminate.
14) And what about the Phillies and the Eagles? Well, the teams will not make it to the World series or the Super Bowl respectively. CORRECT! Look for the Seattle Seahawks to win the first Super Bowl ever held in New Jersey. CORRECT!
Oh, here's one more just for good measure: The honeymoon will begin to evaporate for Pope Francis in 2014 as the media prove more skeptical Wrong. and the Pontiff is forced to grapple with the problems of the Roman Curia and other long-festering Church issues. CORRECT. The charm offensive will have to give way to the hard work of turning around a two-thousand-year-old institution.  CORRECT! It won't be easy CORRECT! and it will take its toll on the Holy Father. Indeterminate. Pray for him!

Tally: 16 CORRECT, 5 wrong, 4 Indeterminate.

And our 2015 predictions? Stay tuned. They'll appear right here, tomorrow!

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Cuomo, Christie Embrace Massive Port Reform

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo have accepted the comprehensive and wholesale changes recommended by the Bi-State Special Panel on the Future of the Port Authority.

At its core these changes call for restructuring the agency’s overall operations, including reorganizing the leadership of the Board of Commissioners and the executive management of the Port Authority with the creation of a single Chief Executive Officer and the modification of the Chairperson’s role.  The reorganization accepted by the Governors will also return the Port Authority fully to its original mission – developing and maintaining the world’s largest transportation system and infrastructure.

The structural reorganization of the Authority will create clear lines of responsibility and accountability that start with its leadership.  A single Chief Executive Officer -- to be hired as expedi tiously as possible based on a national search directed by the Board of Commissioners -- will replace the Executive Director and Deputy Executive Director.  The current Chair and Vice-Chair roles will be modified in one of two ways. Either the Chair and the Vice Chair positions will be replaced with two Co-Chairs, one recommended by each Governor, for election by the Board of Commissioners, or the chairmanship will be rotated between the two states on an annual basis.

Either approach promotes a long-term balance between the policy interests of the respective states, and present a more equitable model to the public stakeholders of the Authority. The CEO and either Co-Chairs or rotating Chair and Vice-Chair will constitute the Office of the Chair, a senior operations committee.

Organizational changes to the Agency to demand increased accountability is only part of the Special Panel’s recommendations to maintain trust with the public it serves.  Governors Christie and Cuomo are embracing initiatives to increase transparency of the Port Authority’s deliberations and operations.

Additionally, Governors Cuomo and Christie accept and endorse the transparency legislation, Senate Bill No. 2183 (First Reprint), and S6718C/A8785C, but with some sensible changes to eliminate confusion that would be caused by the bill as currently drafted. The recommended changes will make it easier for individuals pursuing public records under the law. The Governors continue to embrace the previously announced Freedom of Information policy, which ensures access to the Port Authority’s records under both States’ laws, and the recent practice of strictly limiting the use of executive sessions for Board deliberations and using public meetings whenever possible.  Additionally, the Port Authority has been instructed to prepare a revised Code of Conduct to drive a renewed focus on ethics and compliance throughout the agency, and the Governors are calling for the creation of a Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer position to ensure the highest ethical conduct.

“These changes reflect the need for a profound and necessary reimagining of the Port Authority governing structure, operations, and transparency in its oversight of the world’s largest transportation and commerce network,” said Governor Chris Christie. “Governor Cuomo and I have remained advocates for reform at the Port Authority and are encouraged by these recommendations from the bi-state panel.”

 “In May, Governor Christie and I ordered a broad review and evaluation of the Port Authority's structure, management, operations, and governance to find ways for the Port to better serve both states and improve as a global transportation and commerce hub," Governor Cuomo said. "The recommendations put forward by the bi-state panel include important reforms to address the Port's inefficient and outdated governing structure and will help bring new transparency and effectiveness to the agency as it approaches its tenth decade of service. I am pleased by the work and recommendations issued by the bi-state panel, and look forward to a new era for the Port Authority."

Comprehensive and Sweeping Changes To Be Enacted:

·         Governors Cuomo and Christie are requesting each and every Commissioner to tender an offer of resignation to be considered by their respective Governor
·         Creating a single Chief Executive Officer to replace the Executive Director and Deputy Executive Director
·         Modifying the Chairperson’s role with the creation of Co-Chairs or a rotating chairmanship between the two states on an annual basis
·         Creating a Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer
·         Reforming the Port Authority’s public-records and ethics guidelines, fully consistent with each state’s open public records laws
·         Adopting a new Mission Statement to refocus the authority on its original core mission of developing and overseeing regional transportation infrastructure
·         Reinstating the Port Authority’s regional leadership role by initiating a comprehensive planning effort in 2015 with a strategic vision focused on expanding and developing new regional transportation capacity
·         Investing in the region’s airports in a manner that ensures that these vital facilities are equipped to serve as the gateway to the region for travelers and goods from around the world 
·         Prudently divesting existing real estate holdings and restricting future real estate investments to those integral to the Authority’s core transportation mission
·         Pursuing the construction of a new Port Authority Bus Terminal to meet the increasing requirements of this vital element of the Trans-Hudson transportation network
·         Modernizing Port Commerce facilities to increase their efficiency and maximize the potential of the ports as the premier portal for cargo entering the United States
·         Seeking an improved operating model for the PATH rail system, including potentially partnering with a third-party operator, to enhance the PATH’s operational performance and reduce its financial deficit

As part of their actions today, Governors Christie and Cuomo are seeking to enact bi-state legislation consistent with the Special Panel’s Report.  To that end, the Governors are acting uniformly on the pending Port Authority legislation of both states.

Both Governors embrace the spirit and intent of the extensive reforms contained in the omnibus pending legislation, Senate Bill No. 2181 in New Jersey and A3944C/ S7721 in New York.  However, to more fully execute on reform in every area of Port Authority operations, management, and transparency, they are asking their respective Legislatures to review the extensive analysis and insights contained in the Special Panel’s report to guide the crafting of broader and more comprehensive reform legislation.  Therefore, while neither Governor is approving the legislation as passed, they are urging their respective Legislatures and the Port Authority to work with them to implement the broad reforms package recommended by the Special Panel, recommendations which will mark a new beginning and form a basis for meaningful reform for decades to follow.

Not Forgotten - Notable Deaths Of 2014

We said goodbye to many vivid personalities and many talented people this year, including not a few superstars from all works of life.
In no particular order, here's a partial list:

Mickey Rooney

Lauren Bacall

Robin Williams

Elaine Stritch

Sid Caesar

Joan Rivers

Philip Seymour Hoffman

Maximilian Schell

Ben Bradlee

Joe Cocker

Maya Angelou

Pete Seeger

Mike Nichols

James Garner

Eli Wallach

Marion Seldes

Geoffrey Holder

Bob Hoskins

Oscar de la Renta

Elizabeth Pena

Ariel Sharon

Joan Mondale

Paul Revere

James Brady

Lewis Katz

Ralph Waite

Shirley Temple Black

Ann. B Davis

Anna Gordy Gaye

Richard Attenborough

Ruby Dee

Efrem Zimbalist Jr.

David Brenner

Sheila MacRae

Geoff Edwards

Jim Fregosi

Tim Hauser

Russell Johnson

Kate O'Mara

James Rebhorn

Ruth Robinson Duccini

Dave Madden

Don Zimmer

Casey Kasen

Chuck Noll

Maria von Trapp

Bob Casale

John Henson

Johnny Winter

Phil Everly

Robert Strauss

Jim Lange

Harold Ramis

L'Wren Scott

Reubin Askew

Jack Ramsay

Rubin 'Hurricaine' Carter

Larry Speakes

Amiri Baraka

Kevin Sharp

Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Bobby Womack

Tommy Ramone

Eileen Ford

Richard C. Hoyyelet

Louis Zamperini

Jerry Vale

Ultimate Warrior (James Hellwig)

Peaches Geldof

Garrick Utley

Jerry Coleman

John Pinette

Peter Matthiessen

Meshach Taylor

Misty Upham

Jan Hooks

Gerry Goffin

Jimmy Ruffin

Ian Fraser

Matthew Cowles

Jimmy Ellis

Jim Oberstar

Thomas Menino

S. Truett Cathy

Elizabeth Norment

Sarah Goldberg

Don Pardo

James Jefords

Michael Johns

Marcia Strassman

Carol Ann Susi

Richard Kiel

Tom Magliozzi

Charles Keating

Glenn A. Larson

Jean-Claude Duvalier

Ron Bironas

Jimi Jamison

Brittany Maynard

Jane Byrne

Mark Strand

Frank Mankiewicz

P.D. James

Marion Barry

James Avery

Tony Gwynn

Gerald Wilson

Tomas Young

Jean Beliveau

Buddy DeFranco

B.K.S Iyengar

Martin Perl

Bob Grant

Juanita Moore

Richard Bull

Fifteen People To Watch In 2015

In no particular order, here are 15 key people that you need to keep an eye on in 2015. These people are poised to make a difference in the year ahead:

Benedict Cumberbatch - The dashing British star of The Imitation Game attracts legions of fans and inevitable Oscar buzz wherever he goes and whatever he does. A true charmer, Cumberbatch is the type of actor who can excel at almost anything. He's a winner!

Rudy Giuliani - As dingy, divisive  de Blasio rapidly descends, Rudy Giuliani sees his star rising once again. Now more than ever, New Yorkers yearn for his bold leadership style, decisive action and unmistakable passion for a city that they love almost as much as he does. Rudy, your city needs you - now!

Elizabeth Warren - Watch the senator from the People's Republic of Taxachusetts as she tugs the Democrat Party further and further left in a fractured journey to find the illusive soul of liberalism. She is a mostly destructive force but she does have the power to smash the Clinton juggernaut once and for all.

Dakota Johnson - She's about to star in Fifty Shades of Grey, the movie which is set to open the day before Valentine's Day. Need we say more?

Chris Christie -  His Christmas card this year says: "You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace." Ya think he's running? Huh?

Nick Jonas - Jonas is about to be all over the place, but in a good way. This likable young entertainer is set to become the next Justin Timberlake. Could that be so bad?

Mia Love - The newest member of Congress from Utah is a bright, rising star in the Republican Party. She has the drive, the conviction and the persuasive talent that portend Big Things ahead.

Jon Bramnick - New Jersey's Assembly Republican leader is calling the troops together for a major GOP confab to chart the party's future in the Garden State as the 2015 and 2017 statewide elections loom. He could be the leader New Jersey needs in the post-Christie era.

Tom Farley - The not-quite-40-year-old is the youngest person ever chosen to head the New York Stock Exchange and he's all set to usher in a new era on Wall Street. GoGoGo!

Lynne Abraham -  The undisputed frontrunner in the upcoming Philadelphia mayoral race. this trailblazing former DA is ready to take on all comers. Though she'll doubtless be pelted by her opponents on the way to the all-important Democratic nomination, she still defines the term "formidable." Get ready, Philly!

James Corden - Forget that snarky phoney who's set to follow Letterman. Corden is the one to watch at late night in the year ahead. Look for him to score big as he succeeds Craig Ferguson as host of The Late Late Show.

Barbara Capozzi -  The feisty community activist, lawyer and real-estate broker who protects south South Philly is leading the battle against that ill-conceived casino by the stadiums and she could finally fetch that City Council seat that was denied her last time by a mere 43 votes after some questionable shenanigans.

Emma Watson - This eye-appealing and hugely accomplished actress began as a child star so it's appropriate that she'll now look after children all over the world as the UN's new goodwill ambassador. Bravo!

Tony Danza - He sings. He dances. He teaches. He writes books. And, he's an exceptionally aware, articulate and involved citizen. Now, he's starring in the new Broadway musical, Honeymoon in Vegas. A Tony for Tony? Don't bet against it.

David Muir - The new anchor of ABC's World News Tonight is scoring high ratings and winning over a whole new generation to network nightly news. That's no small feat!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Mall Brawl Video: Teen Fights Force Closure

Multiple teen fights throughout a mall near Pittsburgh forced its closing late Friday. At one time as many as 1,000 teens were involved. Several were injured and/or arrested before it was over.

Oooohhh . . . How The Times Have Changed!

US, France, Poland, Germany Top Blog Visits

Pageviews by Countries- Week of 12/21 

More than 4,500 pageviews this week!

Graph of most popular countries among blog viewers
United States
Czech Republic

Dan Cirucci Blog - This Week's Top Stories!


Video: Dog's 'Pug Hugs' Prove Irresistable!

Friday, December 26, 2014

Remembering Henry - A Dog Who Loved Everyone

Toward the end of the year, one of the greats of the canine kingdom passed on. We're talking about Henry, Pennsylvania State Senator Any Dinniman's beloved pooch.
Henry was an integral part of the West Chester scene and was really a celebrity of sorts throughout Chester County. But he never acted like a celebrity. He wasn't a prissy or fussy dog. He was a real dog-dog who loved life and made friends with everyone he met.
And few knew this better than the Senator and his family. And their story is deeply touching and instructive. So, here's how Senator Dinniman himself explained it all in a recent Facebook post:

Friends, it has been a tough couple days.
On Wednesday night our poodle, Henry, passed away. As many of you know, Henry was a constant source of companionship and joy for our family. More importantly, in my travels as state Senator he had become a figure in his own right throughout Chester County and southeastern Pennsylvania. He was more than a sidekick; He was my best friend.
When we first brought Henry home, almost a decade ago, we could have never imagined the immeasurable impact he would have on our lives and those of so many other dog lovers. With our grown daughter living away, at first we simply thought it would be nice to have a dog around the house, to lighten things up, to encourage us to get more exercise and to make us laugh. Having lived our entire married lives without a pet, we truly had no idea we were “dog people.” Henry changed that in a big way.
At first, Henry was shy. In fact, he was the shyest dog in the litter. That was part of the reason we brought him home. When I decided to run for state Senator in 2006, I decided I’d take him with me wherever I could. The demanding schedule of events proved to be a perfect opportunity to help socialize him. Before long, he learned to trot at a steady pace in parades and sit quietly during stump speeches. To this day, wherever I go more people seem to know his name than mine!
When I was working in Harrisburg or any of the many other places this job has taken me, Henry and my wife, Margo, became very close. He was a steadfast and loyal friend as we faced the joys and challenges of daily life. When our family experienced a health crisis, he always managed to bring a smile to our faces, and I have no doubt that his love was great therapy.
Sharing our lives with Henry showed me just how important dogs are to so many individuals and families. As a result, I became deeply involved in humane legislation, helping pass the Pennsylvania Dog Law, cracking down on puppy mills and banning barbaric and cruel methods of pet euthanasia. I continue to work to that end and to ensure that all animals are treated humanely, that we tighten the penalties on animal cruelty, and that we promote the therapeutic value of dogs in healing, learning and recovery.
The fact is we are only on the cusp of understanding all dogs have to offer. Every day science tells us more and more about their minds and their potential. Every day, dogs contribute to society by helping keep us safe, assisting those with disabilities and simply bringing comfort and solace to those in need.
In sharing your journey with a dog, you come to better realize your own humanity. These animals are a blessing, and we were truly blessed to have Henry in our lives.
Thank you for letting me share Henry’s story with you, and thank you for being a part of his life.

Video: Remembering All The Great Clowns!

Incredible Video: Amazing Human Jumping Feats!

OK, So What The Hell Is Boxing Day, Anyway?

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!

Revealed: The 10 Most Iconic Italian Beauties Ever!

Vogue has picked the ten most iconic Italian women of all time.
And indeed, they are all stunning beauties.
Here they are, from #10 to #1. If you don't recognize some of the names, look them up:

10) Bianca Balti

9) Carla Bruni

8) Claudia Cardinale

7) Gina Lollobrigida

6) Isabella Rossellini

5) Margherita Missoni

4) Mariacarla Boscono

3) Monica Belluci

2) Monica Vitti


To this wonderful list, we would add the indomitable Virna Lisi (pictured).

'Oh, Yes . . . Blood IS On His Hands!'

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Ronald Reagan's Lasting Christmas Sentiment

"Christmas means so much because of one special child. But Christmas also reminds us that all children are special, that they are gifts from God, gifts beyond price that mean more than any presents money can buy. In their love and laughter, in our hopes for their future lies the true meaning of Christmas."
--President Ronald Reagan
Adress to the nation, December 23, 1981

From Israel: A Powerful Christmas Message!

'My Favorite Things' Is NOT A Christmas Song!

“My Favorite Things.” I'm sure you've heard it on the radio a million times by now.
I don’t know who first decided that this Rodgers and Hammerstein ditty from the saccharine “Sound of Music” might be a Christmas song but whoever it was has now inflicted raindrops on roses and cream-colored ponies on us for the rest of our lives.
As much as I try I cannot discern the connection between wild geese that fly with the moon on their wings and Christmas.
In fact, this song is dumb and tiresome any time of the year.
And, while I'll truly love the song "What A Wonderful World" (particularly the Louis Armstrong version) I've lately heard it played as a "Christmas" song as well. It's not, and it shouldn't be.

With Faith And Hope, Keep Christmas - Always!

Whatever else be lost among the years,
Let us keep Christmas still a shining thing;
Whatever doubts assail us, or what fears,
Let us hold close one day, remembering
Its poignant meaning for the hearts of men.
Let us get back our childlike faith again.
~ Grace Noll Crowell

Christmas With The Philadelphia Boys Choir