Quiet solitude

Quiet solitude
The glassy winter's ocean

Monday, February 16, 2015

Does Spell-Chick stop working at minus 20 degrees Fahrenheit?

Today's Tids Isssue 3,285
Opening Stuff:
Well, here we are on another Holiday, National Car Sales Day disguised as a day to honor men who have led the nation through crises, and to glory. There have been great and not so great, loved and intensely disliked presidents, but the fact remains that it is a tough job regardless of how each president  views America, or what party they represent. The faces age and the hair turns grey because the Job is just that demanding. Then decisions are enormous, often holding the lives of millions in their mortal hands. It will probably never happen, but somehow we have to become more positive about presidents, not put them into defensive corners. If we don’t like them we can vote them out, but we should find a way to make them productive in office. We are the citizens, the electors, the reason the USA system exists.
President Obama must be really bad. Oh, I would never say that about a president, but I as a journalist I am obligated to report honestly what I hear.  No, RI’s puppet Senator Jack Reed who has never uttered a discouraging word about any Dem, said yesterday rather forcefully that he thinks The Prez is wrong to put time limits on wars. This is an historic event. Jack Reed. My God! Have any cows flown by.
I don’t care  what the stylish say, I like my pleated, comfortable pants. And that’s about it. Men’s pants are getting so narrow that it looks hard to walk;  I’m expecting that yoga pants for males can’t be too far away. What a ridiculous looking spectacle that would be. Talk about unsightly litter on the streets!
I like English Springer Spaniels.
Over 1800 media, 540 foreign, have jammed into NYC for the NBA All Star Game, and I have to ask the question, why?
The Question:
Name the ten Presidents between former Generals Andrew Jackson and U.S. Grant. Bonus: Name the 8 presidents who never attended college.
The Headlines:
--Egypt Sends Planes Into Libya To Retaliate for 21 Christian Beheadings By Militants; Boco Haram Attacks Cameroon Army.
--Bitter Cold Hits Northeast; South Readies For Large Icy Storm; NJ Woman, 66, Found Dead In Snow Just Steps From Home.
--FCC Proposes Drone Rules Which Focus On Safety And Privacy.
--Kiev And Rebels Accuse Each Other Of Violating Cease Fire.
--Apple Planning to Build Car that Would Challenge Tesla.
--Deadline For Greek Deal Looms; Left Government Appears Dead Set Against Continuing Austerity Program.
The good news today is that you won’t lose money on Wall Street. The bad news is that your heating bill may match the national debt after today.
Some of the unsung heroes of the weekend were those florists who managed get pretty posies safely delivered on Valentines Day , in 15F degree or lower weather,  with snow barriers blocking  parking, and icy paths for the delivery people. But they made it, and there are many a smile and beating heart because of their undying devotion to love.
Who says there is no diversity in America? The two biggest Valentines Weekend Box Office movie hits in history are now 50 Shades of Grey which this weekend almost matched the number of the all time winner Passion  Of Christ. Jesus Christ. Christian Grey. Maybe movie goers were confused by the word “Christian”.
 In case you’re interested, I’d rate my three favorite Classic piano concertos as Beethoven 4th, Grieg’s In A Minor and Rachmaninov #2. After that I would intermix Brahms D, Schuman, Liszt, Chopin, Tchaikovsky #1 and Beethoven 3, 5 and 6.
Speaking of Religion, there are religiously fanatical devotees to Saturday Night Live who will probably speak unkindly of my remarks about Sunday’s SNL love-in. Last night’s really long 3 ½, 4 ½ if you count the mindless red carpet shenanigans, was confusing, loud and more often than not, really not funny.  But icons are icons and the audience was made up of more of them who laughed continuously at themselves. Or was that nervous laughter from the jealous who didn’t get top billing.  It’s hard to isolate any great moments because everything moved so fast.  Or maybe there were no moments big enough to shine through. I never have enjoyed John Lovitz, but I liked the continuing joke about his death. The Blues Brothers were my personal favorites and I enjoyed that segment which could have gone on longer than then tired Paul McCartney. BB’s could have been a show stopper. I don’t know why she was part of it, but I have to say that Miley Cyrus is a really good singer, and probably doesn’t need the modern entertainment accoutrements like sex tapes. There should have been more than quick snippets of the great bands. There were good laughs in Celebrity Jeopardy.  I thought Fallon and Justin Timberlake were very good in the opening. The Chevy Chase segment was disturbing. The “Californians” sucked. The presidential suite was generally good, as were some of the films. I liked that they brought back Jane Curtain as part of the Fey/Poulter show. Dan Ackroyd has been eating too many Cheetos.
(Note: Tom Brady was excellent in his host appearances, but was excluded from the sports segment. Is that part of Peyton’s contract?)
The May 5 to 17 Volvo Around The World Sailing Race Newport stopover is going to be a superior national event. Unfortunately all of the hotel rooms throughout RI have been sold out! It’s a good day trip opportunity, unless you are from West Va or Texas or Seattle. 
Ironically, the home of federal politicians is named after the President “Who could not tell a lie>”
Rhode Island legislators think more people employed shoveling snow at good wages is an economy. Tomorrow they are expected to vote on sending a special message to God to keep it going.
Ski areas are having problems because there is too much snow blocking roads.
Bishop Sheehan once said, “Man blames fate for all other accidents, but feels personally responsible when he makes a hole-in-one.”
The White Hosue seems to have an anti terrorist policy of wishing Extreme Islam would disappear over time.
I would love to see the Boston Celtics make the playoffs. A lot of yahoos think they should lose to get into the lottery. I have never liked the concept of losing to gamble. The Celts have a lot of promising young players who play hard every night for a very good coach, Brad Stevens. Having them accomplish the first rung towards the big accomplishment in the sky will be good for their experience growth and self confidence – that hard work pays off.
I’m thinking that the Ukraine rebels don’t care much for this cease fire, and that Putin knows it. In fact, I think some see this cease fire as a means to restock arms and ammo deliver in trucks marked ”Food for Kiev”
The Answer:
After Jackson, Martin Van Buren became the 8th president, the other nine were WH Harrison, John Tyler, James Knox Polk, Zachery Taylor, Millard Fillmore, Franklyn Pierce, James Buchanan, Honest Abe and Andrew Johnson. Bonus: George Washington had no formal education. The rest of the no college Presidents are Jackson, Van Buren, Taylor, Fillmore, Lincoln, A. Johnson and Cleveland
Note: FEMA in advance of snow storms is suggesting families stock up on discussion topics in case  a power outage knocks out the Internet.  Psychologists will be available in FEMA trailers for children in trances.
Maybe I’m not smart enough to find everything in SNL funny.
Bundle up. I think my house is doing a better job of warming plants outside than rooms insde.

Friday, February 13, 2015

How red is your heart?

I get a headache.

I think I feel like crying.

Today's Tids Issue 3,282
Opeing Stuff: 

I don’t know Kayla Mueller. But I like her smile. I like the way she thinks about kindness. I like the way she doesn’t let obstacles get in her way. I like her optimism and her inner strength. When I was a kid I thought all Americans were like Kayla Mueller. I feel sad for her parents. She must have been a wonderful daughter. I feel sorry for all of the people she might have helped and now won’t feel her warmth. I wish I were a kid a again, and the world was like it should be.
Isn’t it interesting that on the day Brian Williams is suspended for 6 months, Jon Stewart retires from his made up news The Daily Show? Maybe NBC will…nah, NBC wouldn’t put on fake news.
I think we all have to be aware that no matter what we do, somebody isn’t going to like the way we do it. Learning to roll with the punches is a wonderful thing.
The Question:
He Grammies had a segment about domestic violence. Name five songs that encourage women to fight back.
The Headlines:
--0-man Is Asking Congress To Authorize Ground Troops In Fight Against IS; Says He Would Bar “Enduring Offensive Ground Operations; Weird.
--20,000 New Troops Have Streamed In To Bolster Islamic Fighting Groups In Iraq, Syria.
--Latest College Shooting Has Three Students Dead At chapel Hill NC.
--Worries About Greece Pushing Down Stocks.
--US To Send 600 Paratroopers To Ukraine As Instructors; US Troops In  bola regions Coming Home.
--Yemen revels Sieze US Vehicles After Embassy Closes.
Health has become so expensive that I’m thinking of just limping along and faking it.
I see where Former “O” Chief advisor Axelrod in his memoire says that the Prez feigned his support of traditional marriages and against Same Sex marriage for votes. Horrors, a president would stretch the truth to persuade citizens at election time? Maybe he should be suspended for six months.
Did you see where Jeb Bush and Sarah Palin have the same Birthday (he’s 62 and she’s 51)? They could run as a ticket promising the beginning of reduced government spending  -- for starters one birthday cake.
For some good old fashioned college basketball tonight we have the RI against Philly’s Big 5. Yes the venerable, wonderful Philadelphia college basket ball fivesome sends well coached St, Joseph and #6 Villanova against 2 of RI’s foursome -- a couple of top 30 teams from the small state – URhode island and Providence College. Every US city should have a Big Five like  Philadelphia. I brings the game back home a little, away from the industry it has become. The kids seem to like the sense of community.
At the Grammies,  a fervent plea was made in behalf of the many women unfortunately trapped in abusive relationships. The thought of this abuse tears me apart, and I applaud all efforts to end the horror and the violence. My immediate thought was that the music industry should look within, at their lyrics, at the he images of irresponsibility they often display. But, my guess is they will probably write a song about it.
An avowed atheist Craig Hicks killed three Muslims at the U NC campus in Chapel Hill. Some are saying that Hicks blamed all of the world ills on radical Christians and Muslims, and that he killed the two women and a man because of that. In fact, it appears to have been a dispute over a parking place. But he shouters fo=don’t want that explanation, so it will evolve into a religious war. It may have started as a discussion over a parking place, but once the atheist looked into those Middle Eastern eyes, he may have ignited his own feelings of hatred.
The annoying new world goals, Department:
A young girl about to start a job at a Pizza place Tweeted, , ”Ew I start this F***A** Job tomorrow.” Followed by emojis depicting 7 thumbs down. The Twitter message found its way via an employee to the owner of this medium sized Texas chain, He immediately Tweeted, “No you don’t start that FA job today. I just fired you! Good luck with you no money, no job life”. The girl named Cella was elated, proudly telling all friends with much glee that she just got fired on twitter! She’s on her way to becoming the next Kardashian.
They waited till today to pull the plug on Bobbi Kristina Brown so she could die on the same day as her mother, Whitney Houston. Well, I guess that’s something.
The Answer:
#1 is “18 Wheeler” by Pink. Next we have “Behind the Wall”, Tracy Chapman; “Fighter”, Christina Aguilera (Her mother an she as a child both abused. She always includes a fight song in every album); “Goodbye Earl”, Dixie Chicks; “I will survive”, Gloria Gaynor, “Independence Day”, Martina McBride; “Luka”, Suzanne Vega; King of Anything, Sara Bareilles; Respect, Aretha Franklin and “Sisters are doing it for themselves”, Annie Lennox and Aretha.
“Barring Enduring Offensive Ground Combat Operations” sounds to me like a ban against fighting too hard. ISIS should like that.
Just a couple of days remaining to get your Valentine’s Day gift. Love is a great thing, so let’s put some thought into this. I’m thinking of dying Cheetos red.
I like Martina McBride, so I finished off the Tids listening to Independence Day”
But, you can pick your own favorite of those ten, here:

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Better than litter.

Today's Tids Issue 3,281
Opening Stuff:

If it’s Winter and it’s going to snow, I figure a little each day is the way to go.  The world feels a little brighter, when the skies deliver a new coat of white to the landscapes of a cool brisk day. Many see winter as a positive day, where plodding is expected and always an  invigorating challenge; a day that presents little difficulties to overcome;  a little hardship to nourish the soul. With the often imagined obstacles, it is always a time to enjoy purity, clean and unfettered scenes --The  peace and silence that comes from each new pristine blanket.
I look at a painting of Winslow Homer and I see a lone fisherman battling fierce elements to bring his catch to a mother ship bobbing upon a crushing sea. I f that were today though, Government watch dogs would be setting in a temperature controlled fortress viewing this human versus the wrath of nature adventure, making sure he had the right fish in the boat. If you can’t get away from prying rocking in an old grey dory in the middle of the ocean, where can you go – back into closets?
Just in case you missed it, the big financial trend seems to be a move away from hedge Funds, as insider trading scandals and increasingly poor returns begin to spook big investors.  You just have to know though that somebody with a lot of money and even more financial acuity is putting together a new way to capture the tons of dough in pension funds and other Institutional treasure troves of greenbacks. Its just the way it works, and with advanced computer capability, the next big venture is anybody’s guess. But it will come. Tha is a certainty. Lets hope they find a way to block the hackers.
I forgot yesterday to mention the death of one of my boyhood heroes, the often too heavy but incredibly resourceful Billy Casper. Billy is another of those lost in our world of publicized celebrity. He was a major player for 20 years or so, yet was never the darling of the press. All he did was win 51 tournaments and lead a great life of honest, contributions to society around it. Billy is the 7th all time winner in golf. Who knew? His fellow player knew.
The Question;
As I mentioned above, Billy Casper won 51 tournaments and is 7th on the all time list of Golfers. Who are the rest of the Top 10 all time in tournaments won?
The Headlines:
--Mueller Family Confirms Death Of Daughter While In Hands Of Terror Group.
--UAE Strikes At ISIS Troops As Jordan Air Power Continues To Pound Away.
--Ukraine Battles Rage Ahead Of Summit Talks.
--Gold Is Struggling; Citi Says Oil Could Still Plunge; China Inflation Tempering.
--Alibaba Chief Jack Ma Meets With China Bigs Promising To Be Watchdog Against Product Counterfeiting; Zhi Praises Jack; Battered Stocks Ticks Upward A Buck.
--Greece May Move to US dollar.
--Obama Says Media Is Hyping Terror Threat.
Karma, Department:
Yesterday I heard read a particularly moving and descriptive passage about a peaceful Sunday monting turned into a Volcanic eruption, Pearl Harbor, a day innocents were slaughtered and the entire world saw evil. This morning I read that the oldest Crew member of the Arizona, Commander Joseph Langdell, had died. Is it floating in the air, or is it simply my looking for coincidences in order to fill pages of his morning mess. I think there is something in the air.
You have probably seen many picture of George Washington, some with both arms and legs showing, others with arms behind his back and him standing behind a desk. Portrait artists t of the day didn’t charge by number of people to be painted, but by number of limbs in the picture. Hence the expression, “Okay, but it will cost you a n arm and a leg.”
“Greece may move from Euro to Dollar”. That sounds weird.
BTW, with all of this news about new struggles and carnage in the Middle East, we haven’t seen or heard from or about Assad. Did he pay off Brian Williams for anonymity?
Jon Stewart suggests that Brian Williams is a victim of “Infotainment Confusion Syndrome”.
The hot new baby names for this Winter season are Juno, Snow, North, Winter, Frost, Neva, January, Elva, Yki and Storm. And no, it is not just celebrities having children in the winter months.
I think I’m getting to that point that stomping snow off my boots could cause a stress fracture.
You have to love the detective’s comment in a news story this morning that he considered the murder suicide with the man and woman each having bullet holes in their foreheads, “Domestic Violence”.
The new Breaking Bad spin-off on AMC, “Better Call Saul”, is  quirky, but it is going to grow on me, for sure. They certainly left us wondering with a good cliffhanger ending in there first half of the 2 hour premiere. Well produced and written with good acting. It’s on my dance card.
You have to wonder if ISIS/al-Gaida people viewing the deaths of 22 soccer fans in Egypt were thinking that maybe there was a better way to achieve wanton, senseless carnage  than suicide bombers, now more easily detected by growing vigilance in public places. Start a riot, and let the people do it. Kind of a democratic thing.
Kanye West had better find a new act because the Grammies audience was 3 Million smaller and the smallest viewership since 2009. Maybe it’s the music that’s getting tired. And the overwrought productions. Most of the singers to this “Meersy-Dotes” era ear sound pretty much the same, and the beat for almost ll of dancin’ tunes is eerily similar. But then who can tell after 5 martinis; 7 craft beers and assorted colored pills. Beam me up scotty>
I think I have noticed little girns of satisfaction on the faces of Scott Pelley and David Muir now that their chief competitor is missing in action. I guess that is always the potential fate for wartime correspondents.
I was sitting in a classroom worrying about driving home as I watched the “White Out” blocking my widow’s view. The I realized that it was just steam from the heating plant. Interesting how your brain can be manipulated.
The Answer:
Sam Snead stillis on top ven with 82  after the exploits of Tiger who has been ideld at 79. Next is Jack Niklaus with 72 followed by Ben Hogan (64), Arnie (62), Byron Nelson, (52), Billy Casper (51), Wlater hagan (45), Phil Michelson (45 ans Dr. Cary Middlecoff with 40 just ahead of two giys with 39 – gene Sarazen and Tom Watson. You have to wonder if any of the new crop will ever each those heights, not because there aren’t great players now, but because there are so many of them who are ery very good. And they just keep on coming.
We may have what appears to be a lot of snow, but it is less than half of many winters past. Too many people we don’t know want to tell us how awful things are, and unfortunately too many people line up to be miserable.
I’ll take optimism!

Monday, February 9, 2015

It really isn’t cold any more.

Today's Tids Issue 3,280
Opening Stuff:

Scott Walker keeps on popping up on top of polls, often first. Maybe “Walking the walk” is coming back in style, and we’ll all be much better off for it. Orators mesmerize, but that’s about where it ends.

I’m gonna be milking this new England Pats win for as long as possible, mainly to prolong the football season. Football season withdrawal is a painful thing, and you don’t want to have to see it.

With all of the crap and ills we see day after day in the news, the only thing that really bothers me is all of this computer hacking. We can have boots on the ground and bombs in the sky, welfare assistance and newsmen who lie, unlawful immigrants and ACA, that make grown men cry. But fingers on a keyboard, by the cleverly sly, cause grids, portfolios, governments to die. I sigh.

The Global warming zealots in their continuing efforts to convert the unwashed  often revert to personal analogies to make their point about CO2 contributing to  GW – like my diet as it relates to nutrition. Fat chance of swaying me to the cause.

The Question:
Disney keeps on pushing out box office smashes. What were Walt’s first five animated features? Bonus: What two well known Pauls are the artists of the two most expensive pantings ever sold?

The Headlines:
--Markets Open Cautiously As Greek Financial Ills  and China Growth Concerns Worry Investors; Stock Buyers Also See Strong Jobs Report As Possible Impetuous for Raising Interest Rates.
--Obama, Merkle Trying To Keep Unified Face In Ukraine Support Even As “O” Seems To Be Backing Down On Promise To Supply Arms; Rebels Continue To Make Gains Against Ukraine Forces; Kerry Says There Is No Division, No Split; Putin Seems More Energized To Taking All Of Ukraine.
--Snow Blanketing New England.
--Jordan Making Airpower Taking Out ISIS Strongholds; Makes Way For More Aggressive Iraq Army.
--Pentagon Spends $604, 618 On Viagra In 2014 (Make Up Your Own Jokes).
--Greek Exit From Euro Inevitable.
--Mc Donald Same Store Sales Down 1.8%

I expected some additions to the “Fabulous Fibber question of Friday.” The first one in was one of the biggest, most obvious: “I did not have sexual relations with that woman….”. Then there is the skirting of the Benghazi issue with the screeching “What difference does it make,” Defense. Of course, all politicians will always say their outright lies are just politics.

Hey, did you see where in a survey to determine the best Secretary’s of State over the past 50 years conducted by Foreign Policy magazine In conjunction with William & Mary U among 1700+ university professors, that John Kerry barely registered on the list? Number one was Kissinger followed by Baker Albright and Hillary, Now maybe, the profs are waiting for the full Kerry story before judging,

How old is your average northeast USA city – 300 to 375 years? Yeah, about that, and I have to figure it probably snowed at sometime each of those centuries of years. So how come city officials are still amazed at problems due to snow. As are people living in those =cities. Or is tit just the ineptitude of journalists painting a snow-covered picture.

There is no truth to the rumor that Malcolm Butler’s new Red Pick-up came with a AAA membership to come and fill the deflated tires.

They are spending way too much money getting a jury for the Boston Bomber Tsarnaev. The fact that the impasse is finding  a panel of pro capital punishment jurists must mean they have already agreed on guilt. So why is this trial costing millions. I’m sure the people without arms, legs, memories or loved ones can’t understand it.

Reading Between the Lines Movie Reviews:
Editor’s Note: The Tids Entertainment Editor was late with copy on Friday, hence the delay. Or, was that a befuddled, cluttered mind that got in the way?
--The best movie of the week, Spongebob Out of Water, says it all about the other two below. Spongebob is sure to draw the youth in droves, as he and his pals overcome the evils in the world above the sea.
--Despite the presence of Juliette Moore and Jeff Bridges, nothing can overcome the inadequacies of the plot in the supernatural film The Seventh Son of the Seventh Son. It’s about training the title character to over come the super evil of the unknown unseen force. It doesn’t work.
--The Other big production, Jupiter Ascending, is also another of those big dollar productions that gives you lots of noise and special effects and little to hang onto. This Terminator style plot about a Jupiter Jones, a loser of a women who finds her future when a genetically engineered military hunter arrives on earth telling her of learn of her inheritance could alter the balance of the cosmos. This is a disappointment even to those who like the genre.

Grammies, Department:
Other than yet another ranting episode by an aggrieved Kanye , this time being cheered by his supportive lucky-to-be-a-celeb wife, there were mostly positive moments in the long Grammies evening. Personally I think Sam Smith’s big hit song is kind of monotonous, and he is just another average singer, so maybe it was  his story got him there. I don’t know enough about pop music, so I really can make comments about who deserved to win. Personally, last night I liked the Katie Perry song about abused women, and the Jessie Jay and Tom Jones redoux  of “I’ve go that lovin’ feeling.” I think one of things I notice when you get the singers away from their over the top big production number productions, is that they are very talented. Oh yeah, and Madonna was way over the top again and I drifted off a quarter of the way through. And I though Miley looked weird, and much too thin, that was after I asked who the annoying little prima donna was. But, over all the acts kept me tuned in, which is a big step forward over many of the movie award shows..

The Answer:
Over the weekend the Spongebob became the record breaker for weekend animated film box-office sales. I guess Walt started something in 1937 with Snow White and The 7 Dwarfs. After that he gave us Pinocchio, the wonderful Fantasia, Dumbo and Bambi, FYI, after those, the next five were Saludas Amigos and The Three Caballeros (Did he know something about illegal immigration?). The other three in the top ten were Make Mine Music, Fun and Fancy Free and Melody Time. Bonus: Paul Gauguin’s painting of two Tahitian women “When Will You Marry?” just sold for $300 Mill. That seems to have flown past Paul Cezanne’s $259 Mil – “The Card Players”.  The prices for art are really outrageous in the grand scheme of things. Gauguin went to Tahiti after having financial difficulties due to the “Unpopularity of his Art”. Even these paintings from Tahiti were met with indifference when he returned.  But, he had fun painting many women for lots of  sex on Tahiti, which he described as “An unremarkable island with  an international westernized community”. I wonder if Angelina Joli is related to Gauguin? Amazing what PR can do isn’t ii? – it turned unwanted art into a $300M painting and boring island into a paradise.

I’m seeing a campaign slogan: “Your Choice – Scott the Walker; Hillary the Talker”