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mallon – Saturday, 1/17

January 17th, 2009 · No Comments

mallon – NYT 7:18
Newsday 4:47
LAT 4:28

(updated at 12:10 Saturday afternoon)

Does it make one lick of sense to let NYT applet time hit and then spend 45 minutes making spring-break travel plans and getting all riled up and tired before doing the crossword? No, it does not. It doesn’t make unfamiliar words any easier to piece together. On the bright side, while I may fall asleep whilst blogging, my airline miles are taking me to the Big Easy. Brad Wilber’s New York Times crossword had a few vexing spots:

  • [Communist leader?] with a question mark is CEE, as in the letter C that leads off the word Communist. I ignored the question mark and went with CHE for a while. SFUMATO is the [Artist's tone-blending technique, used in the "Mona Lisa"]. Wow. I’ve never encountered this word before, so I tried SPUMATO for a while. Between the two of those, I was completely flummoxed by 15-Across, [They have extensions]. Eventually FILENAMES asserted themselves there. Before I had any of those answers, I mucked up that corner by putting a set of BLEACHERS at 1-Across rather than SNACK BARS for [Stadium stands]. Another early woe in the northwest was answering [Brown and others] with IVIES instead of TINAS. And I don’t recall a [2004 U.S. Women's Open winner Mallon] named MEG. She’s a golfer born in Natick, Massachusetts, and PEG would be equally plausible if you liked the sounds of SFUPATO better than SFUMATO. Oh, and also, I had AS is for the [Pricing words] instead of A POP. Like quicksand, this corner!
  • The [One-named Belgian cartoonist who created the Smurfs] was PEYO. Did I ever know that? I think maybe not.
  • [Its flag features an olive branch inside a wreath] clues a 7-letter country that ends with an A. Wow, that really narrows it down! I had an R in the second square, so I tried ARMENIA on for size. Eventually the KREME ([Word after Vanilla or Chocolate, at Dunkin' Donuts]) showed up and ERITREA declared its sovereignty.

My favorite answers:

  • SNIPE HUNT is a [Futile search].
  • BOLO TIE is a [Range accessory]—and not the type of range you cook on. This ties to the WESTERNER who is a [34-Across sporter].
  • DIRTY LOOK is a [Glare].

Source: mallon – Saturday, 1/17

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Obama played best Burris hand he had

January 11th, 2009 · No Comments

by Frank James

David Broder highlights in his Sunday column what he views as early missteps by the Obama presidential transition team — the misbegotten Bill Richardson nomination, President-elect Barack Obama’s initial opposition to Roland Burris’s appointment to fill the Senate seat Obama once occupied.

The dean of the Washington press corps concludes, based on the Burris drama, that not only did Obama blunder on Burris but that Obama may be learning he can’t count on his allies in Congress as they learn they can’t count on him.

Noting that Obama backed off his opposition to Burris once the handwriting was on the wall, that is, once it became clear that Burris had the law on his side and planned to use it, Broder ends by writing:

Obama justifiably figured that Burris was not worth a knockdown fight when he has so many bigger battles ahead of him. But the lesson that other politicians have drawn is that Obama may not always be able to count on his congressional allies and they may not be able to count on him. That is not the way he wanted to begin.

While the incomplete vetting that led to Richardson’s nomination was clearly a mistake, it’s unclear, at least from my vantage point on the sidelines, that Obama’s handling of the Burris matter falls into the same category.

Also, as Broder knows better than just about anyone else, most politicians, even before they get to Washington, have learned that loyalty is situational in politics. They already knew this about Obama. He already knew this about them. Harry Truman said it best: If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog.

Anyway, there were so many crosscurrents and counter crosscurrents in the case of the missing U.S. senator from Illinois, the best thing Obama could do was to stay out of the water as best he could for fear of being pulled under. He did just that. Some might call that success.

There was the original act that triggered the crisis, the arrest of Gov. Rod Blagojevich for allegedly trying to auction Obama old Senate seat to the highest bidder among other charges.

Obama was immediately soaked by that wave since there were immediate questions about his team’s contacts with Blago or his people.

There weren’t many and the few there were were benign, according to the report by Obama’s lawyer, Greg Craig. But because of the taint surrounding the whole sordid matter, the best course for Obama was to dry off and thereafter keep his distance as much as possible.

Then there was the crosscurrent of Illinois law which requires the governor to fill an empty Senate seat whether he’s been arrested or not. Presumably, Blago could have even made the appointment from the back of the FBI vehicle that took him into custody.

After Blago’s arrest, just about every Democratic politician near a microphone, including Obama, said the governor lacked the moral standing to make the appointment and urged him not to.

That included Sen. Harry Reid, the Senate Majority Leader, and Sen. Dick Durbin, the Senate Majority Whip and Illinois’s senior senator.

Among the possibilities you’d have to be worried about if you were Reid and Durbin would be that anybody Blago appointed would make an easy target for Senate Republicans. It would not only increase Republicans’ chances of winning the seat in 2010 but it would give them a poster boy for charges of Democratic corruption to boot.

Even the governor appeared to be leaning against such an appointment since his own criminal-defense lawyer Ed Genson said Blago wouldn’t be naming anyone.

But Blagojevich must be an ancient Serbian word for loose cannon. Of for a guy who takes his opportunities when he sees them.

So, as Broder noted, Illinois lawmakers gave Blago the opening he needed to appoint Burris by rejecting a special election, partly for fear that a Republican could win the seat.

It was brilliant Blagostroke since it created a tributary off the main river of controversy that would compete with Blagogate for attention.

It also made it possible for some black leader to enter the stage to play the race card and Rep. Bobby Rush gladly obliged, insisting that Burris would keep at least one black person in the 100-member Senate. The Rush crosscurrent slammed into the Reid crosscurrent, further roiling the waters.

Blago-Burris was really a no-win for Obama and for the people of Illinois, save for Burris and his family, friends and fans.

When faced with such a situation, the best you can hope to do is limit the damage. And that’s about what Obama did.

Source: Obama played best Burris hand he had

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Israeli Reservists Enter Gaza, Signaling New Phase

January 11th, 2009 · No Comments

JERUSALEM – Israel’s chief military spokesman says the army has begun sending reserve units into the Gaza Strip. The comments are a strong signal that Israel is entering a new phase of its 16-day offensive against Hamas.

Source: Israeli Reservists Enter Gaza, Signaling New Phase

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Box Office: Clint Blows Away ‘Bride Wars’

January 11th, 2009 · No Comments


Clint Eastwood, who was born during the Great Depression, scored by far the wide best opening of his career as audiences flocked to theaters in roughly comparable numbers to last weekend, with business up a whopping 24 percent from the same weekend a year ago. “Gran Torino,” a self-directed Eastwood vehicle that should land him a Best Actor Oscar nomination, far exceeded expectations and led its first wide outing with $29 million — about a third more Eastwood’s best wide opening, “Space Cowboys.” And also about a third more than last year’s geezerfest from Warners, the abysmal and more expensive “The Bucket List” did during its wide debut on the same weekend. The dreadful “Bride Wars,” which was predicted by some to lead the weekend, delivered $21.5M, in line with expectations, to clinch second place. The horror flick “The Unborn” exceeded predictions and came in third with $21.1M, as Christmas holdovers “Marley and Me” and “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” declined into fourth and fifth place respectively.

Source: Box Office: Clint Blows Away ‘Bride Wars’

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robin in the snow

January 11th, 2009 · No Comments

lost robin3

The North wind doth blow and we shall have snow,
And what will poor robin do then, poor thing?
He’ll sit in a barn and keep himself warm
and hide his head under his wing, poor thing.

The North Wind doth blow and we shall have snow,
And what will the dormouse do then? Poor thing!
Roll’d up like a ball, in his nest snug & small,
He’ll sleep till warm weather comes in. Poor thing!
-author unknown, traditional nursery rhyme

This robin was eating berries from the snow covered holly bush in my back yard this morning. We have many robins that over winter here. They seem out of place, but are nice and fat. I noticed my holly has more berries than usual this year. With all the summer rains we had, I bet there is a an abundant supply of berries for the winter birds.

Today have about 5 inches of fresh powder snow. This on top of about 5 inches of old snow. Boston has had a season to date total of 27 inches of snow. Well above our normal amount. Fortunately much of it melts before the next storm.

(By the way – its an American robin. And here’s some information of winter robin habits.)
Source: robin in the snow

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grand rapids airport – Winter Storm Warning

December 19th, 2008 · No Comments

grand rapids airport –

We have a huge snowstorm headed our way that includes “thunder snow”––the strange phenomenon during which there is actually, yes, lightning and thunder as it snows. As soon as this storm clears out (after leaving 6 to 12 inches), another snowstorm is arriving on Sunday into Monday. I have no real problem with any of this (’tis the season, fa-la-la-la-la), except that the big kids are coming home ––Elliot from Providence, Rhode Island, tomorrow afternoon (in the middle of the first storm) and Hannah from NYC on Monday (in the middle of the second storm).

I would bet that neither of them will make it on time, and I expect Nightmare Road Trips from Hell to go pick them up at the airports (Muskegon and Grand Rapids, respectively). For the moment, my responsibilities in the pick-up-and-transport department only put me in Muskegon tomorrow. Because the Muskegon Airport is only 5 miles down the road, it would seem that I have the easy part.

I remain very busy in my day job, but was hoping to take some time off between Christmas and New Year’s Day. I did manage to get my grades in for my poetry class on a timely basis. I will miss this particular group of poets. Next semester, I am teaching composition once again, and will have to revise my syllabus over the holidays. I would much prefer to be writing poetry to all of this. Other than seeing Elliot and Hannah, that is, who haven’t been home in a long while.

Oh, yes! And Erika will be home from Cambridge, so I will have to see her and get the Harvard Report, and fill her in on all the day-job news.

Today we went to the Christmas Sing at Walden Green Montessori School for Carlos and Liam. That was totally sweet.

Stay safe and warm, all of you.grand
Source: grand rapids airport – Winter Storm Warning

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indianapolis colts – Manning, Colts Beat Jags to Clinch Wild Card Spot

December 19th, 2008 · No Comments

Manning, Colts Beat Jags to Clinch Wild Card SpotPeyton Manning asked his coaches at halftime if they had any suggestions for him. All he got was, “You haven’t thrown any incompletions. Just try to keep doing what you’re doing.”

Great tip.

Manning was nearly perfect all night, exactly what the Indianapolis Colts needed to overcome whatever emotion the Jacksonville Jaguars got from Richard Collier’s return.

Manning completed his first 17 passes, picked apart Jacksonville’s secondary and led the Colts to their eighth consecutive win and seventh straight playoff berth. He finished 29-for-34 and threw for 364 yards and three touchdowns, and the Colts secured the No. 5 seed in the AFC playoffs with a 31-24 victory over the Jaguars on Thursday night.

“Peyton Manning is unbelievable,” coach Tony Dungy said. “He put a lot of it on his shoulders and kept us in it. He played unbelievably under the circumstances.

Related Stories:

Source: indianapolis colts – Manning, Colts Beat Jags to Clinch Wild Card Spot

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renu rathi – Renu Rathi Model Found Abandoned On Bandra s Streets Geetanjali Nagpal

December 19th, 2008 · No Comments

renu rathi – Renu Rathi Model Found Abandoned On Bandra s Streets Geetanjali Nagpal Renu Rathi was allegedly lying on streets for two days without food

2 Vote(s)

Source: renu rathi – Renu Rathi Model Found Abandoned On Bandra s Streets Geetanjali Nagpal

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bill white intrepid – Dana White, Mandy Moore and UFC Fight for the Troops

December 19th, 2008 · No Comments

bill white intrepid –

The UFC Fight for the Troops event raised more than $4 million for the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund and its new medical center to be built in Bethesda. In a recent news release, Bill White, President of the IFHF, said UFC and Spike TV should be applauded for their efforts.

“We are profoundly grateful to the UFC and Spike TV for their extraordinary support of our nation’s Wounded Warriors,” White said. “Their efforts have moved us that much closer to complete the traumatic brain injury center in Bethesda for the service members that are fighting for our freedom overseas.”

According to the ratings, 2 million viewers watched the fight live on Spike TV and it was one of the most watched programs that night. So, how did this event come about?

Specifically, Arnold Fisher, vice chairman of the Fisher House, contacted Lorenzo Fetitta about raising money for the project (the two are old friends). But after talking with Dana White prior to the event, the seeds were planted even earlier.

“A few years ago, they invited us to a hospital in Texas for troops who have lost limbs and have been badly burned,” White said. “I went down and met some troops and was [expletive deleted] blown away. It was the most significant thing I had ever done in my life. I brought Mandy Moore down there and every time she came out of a room from meeting the troops, she was crying her eyes out. It [expletive deleted] her up. She said, “anytime you do this, don’t hesitate to call me.” We loved it, and got involved. When we heard they were building this new center, we jumped in and have done everything in our power to raise money because we know what worthy cause it is.”

Source: bill white intrepid – Dana White, Mandy Moore and UFC Fight for the Troops

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zoey deschanel – NGTV Video — Yes Man’s Jim Carrey: "Can I Drink My Own Urine First?"

December 19th, 2008 · No Comments

zoey deschanel –

Yes_man_poster.jpg Carrie Keegan seems very happy to let Jim drink whatever he wants.

The movie? He says it rocks his balls off.

And you can watch the clip to get all the details and to look at Bradley Cooper (remember Kitchen Confidential?), which might be worth it all by itself. And there’s Zoey Deschanel, who we adore, so make sure to watch.

But first, you’ll remember that Carrie hosted the NGTV-produced VH1 Classic One Hit Wonders last month. That turned out to be the highest rated series debut in the history of VH1 Classic. And the network has responded by running the series on practically an endless loop since, with short breaks for episodes of That Metal Show, which I love if only for the studio audience, the greatest collection of metalheads since The Marquee in Garden Grove closed years ago.

But I digress …

The clip is after the jump. Carrie has also recently sat down with Debra Messing to talk about Nothing But the Holidays, Rob Corddry (nine minutes worth!) to discuss his WB.com web series Children’s Hospital and C.S. Lee from Dexter (which I didn’t watch for fear of spoilers, and I will watch the end of this season before the end of the calendar year).

Busy year at NGTV, even busier next year I’m sure.

And the Carrey clip is after the jump.


Source: zoey deschanel – NGTV Video — Yes Man’s Jim Carrey: "Can I Drink My Own Urine First?"

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