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    • The Beginning of an End of the Trans-Atlantic Alliance
      Ian described the proposed EU sanctions on Russia as “not shabby”, but while they are somewhat more serious sanctions than heretofore it’s only somewhat. The most serious ones are the ones on Russia’s financial institutions. Yes it’ll raise costs but will hurt London and Frankfurt including reputationally. It will also have the effect of encouraging [...] […]
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Nitecap and the Marquise de Merteuil

You guys probably have a head start on me.  I just got home from work after spending hours on a frakin’ Excel spreadsheet.  I HATE Microsoft.  Every app is so damn kludgy.  I need a drink.  Rico!  Some tequila please?

In the meantime, let me direct your attention to this excellent smack down of Sally Quinn by Bob Somerby titled The Wages of Quinn.  Somerby dissects Quinn’s most recent column where the Queen Bee of DC threatens the Obama’s with her own personal brand of divine retribution for being lousy hosts.  “Pretty nice administration you got there.  Wouldn’t want anything to *happen* to it.”  As Somerby points out, Sally and her droogs don’t pick on Republicans for being celebrity struck social climbers like the Reagans or intellectual and sleepy boors like the second round of Bushes.  She saves her attacks, and at this point, they seem awfully close to domestic terrorism, for Democrats.  Clinton really frosted her crockies because right after his first election, he called her and the Villagers on their little cliquey games.  Quinn holds a grudge and her vengeance knows no boundaries of decorum.

I don’t know why Sally gets away with it except that she’s married to Ben Bradlee.  She sounds to me like a frustrated woman who should have been a CEO of something but was born 30 years too soon.  So, she is forced to channel her intelligence and thwarted ambition into middle school variety power plays that are approved by her class as being appropriate for her gender and station.  Oooo, the shackles of conformity must be rubbing her raw after sooo many years.  Nevertheless, she will not be ignored.  But someday, probably soon, she will be discarded.  Everyone gets old, eventually.  She will be replaced by a newer version of herself.

In the meantime, she’ll continue to scheme and stab people in the back and help the Villagers take down another Democrat.  Hey, Obama’s a pretty weak president.  It’s not going to be hard for Sally and her posse to take him down.  I’m just sick of people indulging in ruining other people for sport.  Besides, Obama’s doing a pretty good job of ruining himself without Sally’s help.

Someday, I hope Sally gets what’s coming to her.  In my fantasy, it goes a little bit like this:

Christmas Kegger

C’mon in, guys.  This is a no frills holiday party.  I was super busy today.  Had to go to not one but TWO Ikeas today.  You wanna know why people in NJ are 49th on the happiness scale?  It’s because any time they want to buy anything, they have to compete with 42,000 other people in NJ who want the same damn thing.  My new living room rug is back ordered until February at Crate and Barrel.  And the Newark Ikea had the basement sofa I wanted (I had to wait a whole year after the reno to buy it) but the covers for the damn thing were in Paramus.  Then, I had to drive back to Central NJ, where we are in the middle of everything but close to nothing, through Paramus and Paterson where other New Jersey drivers think there is not enough noise pollution in the world so they must use their horns.  But now I’m home, thank God.  I had to wait about 10 hours before I could pee.  There just wasn’t any time or opportunity.  I’m going to relax, dammit and the first person who gets between me and the keg is going to get his knees broken.

Happy Chrishannukahmas and a very merry Kwanzadan. Put down you shopping bags and take a load off.  Rico’s on the deck out back with Florence.  There’s a keg of some kind of beer or ale type thing out there.  It’s in the snow bank to keep it crisp.  Never Summer I think.  The local beer emporium scored it a 97.  Pretty good.  If you brought anything, just set it on the sideboard in the dining room.  I have one of those orange cheeseballs with the nuts on it that no one wants to admit they really like.  And I’ve whipped up some piggy back dates.

Our musical entertainment comes from the annex up north.  Remember the McKenzie Brothers?  No?  Ok, remember “a beer in a tree”?  Ringing any bells?  Have another Never Summer.  It’ll come back to you.  Everyone sing-a-long now:

Ladies, gents and Shoobies, don’t mess up my living room.  If you want to punch someone’s ticket for being a kool-aid drinking jerk, take it outside.  And take the trash to the dumpster while you’re at it.

Party on, Conflucians.

Belly Up to the Bar

battlestar-galactica-s04e19-someone-to-watch-over-me-3117-tigh-with-ellen-and-tory-in-joes-barThose of us who work for Big Satan, er, Pharma, are still waiting for the other shoe to drop.  And to make the anticipation of the pink slip even more dreadful than it already is, those of us over 45 will likely not find a job ever again.  It’s sort of like what happens as you get older and your pot resources dry up and blow away, except in this case, you *do* care whether you get up and go to work in the morning.

And while we’re all contemplating second careers being foist upon us, Obama has no doubt been hitting the private dinners and whispering sweet nothings about “entitlement reform” in the ears of the well connected.  When did all those years of socking away payroll taxes into social security become an “entitlement” anyway?  I mean, if I paid into it, aren’t I entitled to take it out when the time comes?  It sort of reminds me of the time my Dad complained that my Mom was taking up half the bed.  I mean, wasn’t she  entitled to half?

Well, no matter, spring is finally here in NJ.  It was bright and beautiful and it got up into the 70’s today after weeks of the dreariest, darkest, coldest spring weather ever.  I was feeling pretty good, what with all of the sunshine and the serotinin and endorphins from my afternoon workout.  Then I saw THIS.

I need a drink.

Have a seat at Joe’s bar.  Order a double and sit back and relax.

The Eagle flies on Friday. Saturday I go out to play, Sunday I go to church, that’s when I get down on my knees and I pray

I say, “Lord, have mercy.  Lord, Lord, Lord, have mercy on me.”

Set’em up, Joe.

Conflucian Cocktail Party: Pre-Protest Happy Hour!

I’m schlepping my butt up to Manhattan tomorrow for the big protest in Union Square Park.  The protest is being organized by A New Way Forward and you can find local protests all over the country.  I have my trusty Metrocard all ready. I only wish I had a nifty PUMA T-shirt.  I should have swiped one from Murphy when we were in Denver.

The purpose of the protest is to bring attention to the fact that a bank that is too big to fail is too big to exist.  I just hope we don’t focus so much of our ire on the bankers that we let Congress and the Obama administration off the hook.  Bankers can’t help it if they’re greedy bastards.  It’s they’re nature.  But if banks are too big it’s because our elected officials won’t step up to the plate and make them smaller.  All our Reps need to do is decide they are on the side of their constituents, the taxpayers, who have lost their life savings and retirements.  That should be a fairly easy decision to make.  The problem is they aren’t afraid of us yet.  But they shouldn’t get comfortable because 2010 is just around the corner and we can organize to primary the ones who do not think they have to be accountable to us.

As to the polls, I don’t believe them.  Nope.  Everyday, I overhear people all around me who are steaming mad about what is happening in the financial sector.  In fact, it’s practically the only thing I overhear anymore.  And attention is starting to turn towards Obama himself.  Now, it could be that I just hang around a lot of geeks who are in danger of losing their jobs because big money investors just can’t get enough of mergers to boost their stocks.  But I suspect there is just as much dissatisfaction with the fact that Obama rode to the White House on a horse called Change!™ and so far, there is precious little change type activity going on.  So, my intention when I go to Manhattan tomorrow is to hang out with the people holding Congress and Obama accountable for the mess we’re in.  Care to join me?

In the meantime, let’s have a cocktail.

Welcome to the Conflucian Cocktail Party!  This is the time of the week when we mingle, mingle, mingle.  You will find the bar to the left of the door.  Our bartender with flair, Rico, is back for a permanent engagement.  He’s lucky.  A bartender’s job is recession proof.  Someone is always in need of a drink.  His special of the day is a Manhattan.  Simple, classic, I couldn’t have made a better choice myself.  We are also offering Causmos today at $10.  Today’s Causmo is dedicated to paying off Hillary’s debt.  I know, I know, I thought Obama was going to take care of it but, hey, that would me her term of indentured servitude would be over and where would be the fun of that?  Let’s put this baby to bed.  Purchase your Causmo here. Of course, you can order anything you like.

Tonight’s entertainment is one of the BFF’s favorites.  Sing along with Dizzy Gillespie to Salt Peanuts:

Ladies and gents, our saloon is real genteel like.  You can keep your grudges to yourself or hand them off to Florence, our lovely checkroom attendant.  The waiters will be circulating shortly with some samosas, soup dumplings and knish’s.  Please drink responsibly and tip your wait staff generously.

Conflucian Cocktail Party: The Door in the Wall

Does anyone remember the book by Marguerite DiAngeli about the boy who was to become a knight until he was crippled by polio?  I read the reviews in Amazon and a lot of reviewers think it’s really boring.  But this little book has stuck with me since fourth grade when I first read it for Miss Nishiguchi’s class.  The proverb, “when one door closes, another opens” is a bit trite.  The real power of the story is in the seeking for Robin, the nobleman’s son who finds he no longer has a clear career path before he even hits his teen years.  What’s left when the job you’ve been training for all your life is suddenly out of reach?  He struggles with his pride, he learns to swim, and he takes the opportunities presented to him to prove himself useful to his lord.  He takes the initiative and delivers the message that will save the castle in a way that only he could do.  The point was not to find a door as a consolation.  The point was to find a way to fulfill one’s goal.  And the goal for Robin was to serve his lord so he found the door.

Hillary is doing the same thing.  We will miss her in the Senate.  She could have accomplished great things there.  But she was crippled by her leadership and a seniority system that left her few avenues to success.  But her goal has always been public service and this has lead her to find her door in the wall at the State Department.  We know this is a job that she and she alone has the unique abilities to perform to an exemplary degree.  We wish her well.

So, at this Conflucian Cocktail Party, let’s lift our glasses of champagne and sparking cider high and sing Wassail to the New Year and to Hillary’s new path.

Welcome to the Conflucian Cocktail Party, that time of the week when we kick off our shoes and toast to one another.  Everyone is welcome.  The bar is to the left of the door.  Our bartender, Rico, our faithful companion through thick and thin during last year’s primary and general election season, will concoct the cocktail of your dreams.  Tonight’s special cocktail is an Upstate Manhattan, ‘cos that is where LadyBoomer NYC is.  She’s attending the Bon Jovi concert for Hillary to help her retire her debt.  The Confluence chucked in $125 for a cheap seat and LadyBoomer is partying for us.  We hope to hear from her later on how the night went.  If you would like to help retire Hillary’s debt, because Obama isn’t doing it for some reason, you can buy a Causmo for $10.  Purchase your Causmo here.

Tonight’s entertainment is a little bit of rock, a little bit opera?  In 1998, Jon Bon Jovi and Luciano Pavarotti got together to do a benefit for Liberia and sang Let it Rain.  Enjoy:

Ladies, and I do mean “LADIES”, and gentlemen, this ain’t no dive blog like “The Site Who Must Not Be Named”.  We run a classy joint here.  So, if you feel like entertaining a troll, take it outside or hang your trigger words with Florence our lovely checkroom attendant.  The waiters will be circulating shortly with cheese puffs, chicken satay with peanut sauce and boiled new potatoes with chipotle hummus. Please drink responsibly and tip your wait staff generously.

And join me at 10PM tonight for Conflucians Say on PUMA United Radio (PURrrr)

Holiday Open House

Come on in, Conflucians and PUMAs.  Let’s have a party.  Bring your dreidls and your mennorah, your glass ornaments and your tinsel, your holly and ivy, your uwole and libations.  Muslims can break out their Eid dishes if they feel so inclined even though they celebrated back in October.

What are we celebrating?  Well, I’m guessing that the winter solstice was a period of suspense for ancient peoples.  Would the sun come back?  What if it kept on going south and never returned?  The tiny, perceptible incremental lengthening of the day must have been a cause for a huge sigh of relief.  But there was still a long winter ahead.  Better fatten up and hang with your friends while you wait it out.

During this last year, we have certainly done a lot of fattening up.  I’m still working off the blog pounds.  But we have also made a lot of friends both here and at PUMAP.A.C., NO WE WON’T, and dozens of other pro-Hillary sites who knew a good thing when the saw it.  We were right but right doesn’t always mean we will be rewarded.  Still, it’s good to know that we have each other in the time ahead.  We’ll stick together and show the rest of the country the Morality of Good Citizenship.

So, come in out of the cold and dark, raise a cup and shout a merry “Wassail” and celebrate.

Rico is joining us for our party.  He made a Wassail in advance.  The recipe below serves 6 but with the magic of the internet, there seems to be plenty for everyone.   Here’s the recipe:

English Wassail

Ingredients:
1 pint water
1 cup honey
4 cloves
3 sticks cinnamon
2 lemons thinly sliced
1 bottle medium dry red wine

Turn this recipe into a puzzle! [click]

Directions:

Boil together water, honey, cloves and cinnamon for five minutes. Add two lemons thinly sliced and allow to stand for 7 or 8 minutes. Add a bottle of medium dry red wine and heat slowly until just below boiling point. pour into a jug and serve hot.

This recipe from CDKitchen for English Wassail serves/makes 6

Of course, you can have anything you like.  Florence brought a Reuben Dip.  I made some peppermint bark.  What did you bring?

Wrap Music

It’s that time, guys.  It’s the crunch.  Can you get all your presents wrapped in time?  Do you even care anymore?  Sure you do!

But if you’re like me, you need to be in the right mood.  No, not Christmas music.  I’m talking about music that gives you energy and optimism.  I’m not talking about Ludacris or whatever the hell Obama listens to these days.  I’m talking about someone from Down Under.

So, fix yourself a Negroni, because it just looks so damned festive and tell me what music you like to wrap to.

Conflucian Cocktail Party: We need a little Christmas

Oh, man!  I am all lost now.  WordPress has changed its post page.  All the icons have moved to different places.  Bear with me while I figure this sucker out.

It’s that time of year again.  Time to break out the decorations.  You don’t even have to be Christian to play along, as my mother, the Jehovah’s Witness never tired of reminding me.  Much of the Christmas holiday is grounded in Saturnalia that the Christians copped from the Romans.  That whole holly and ivy thing?  Probably copied from the Celts who had a thing for dragging greenery into the house, as did the Germans with their trees.

This year, I’m a little more excited about Christmas than I have been in the past.  The days got short on me almost without warning.  I don’t know where the summer went while I was blogging and coming home from work in the dark is just dreary.  But right around Christmas time, the days will start to lengthen again and before you know it, the birds will be waking you up at 5:00AM.  It’s something to look forward to, not to mention the smell of Christmas tree, the sparkle of tinsel and the taste of cinnamon and cloves.

So, settle back and join in this first of many Conflucian Holiday Parties.  I hope to see a Hannukah party and a little something on Kwanzaa too.  Rico our bartender with flair is taking the night off.  He’s beat.  I know just how he feels.  But never fear.  We still have cocktails.  Our guest bartender tonight is Alberta Straub, or “Flighty”.  Her special drink for the night is a Date With David Bowie.  Check it out:

I’m sipping a Bulleit Bourbon with middle notes that remind me of Juicy Fruit gum.  Delish!  But you can order anything you like.

Our entertainment tonight is from an American classic, a Charlie Brown Christmas.  Vince Guaraldi’s cool, west coast jazz was a perfect accompaniment to the round headed kid who was the very opposite of cool.  Feel the anticipation with Christmas is Coming:

Or Saturnalia.  Feel your inner pagan.

Ladies and Gents, regulars and newcomers, we run a respectable joint around here.  If you can’t say something nice, leave it with Florence, our lovely checkroom attendant.  The waiters will be circulating with some of the marshmallows we made earlier in the day, some cheddar cheese sticks and piggy back dates.  Please drink responsibly, tip your wait staff generously and join me at 10PM EST for Conflucians Say on PUMA United Radio (PURrrr).

Date Night at The Confluence

eat-like-a-bird

Rico? I’d like some of that fine boxed Merlot.

Nitecap and Conflucians Say

I don’t know about you guys but I’ve had a harrowing day.  It’s been very busy at work lately.  It’s like they expect me to find the cure for cancer or something.  And this week is when the onerous parent teacher conferences start.  Let’s just say that as much as I admire teachers’ organizational skills and willingness to spend their lives trapped in a classroom with 20+ tyrants, we differ on matters of pedagogy.  My Brook is definitely a rhombus to a round hole.  Her sister was sooooo much easier…

So, I am unwinding tonight at Joe’s.  He’s the one with the long bar, lovingly polished every night until it gleams.  There are dark little niches where you can collect your friends around round tables.  The entertainment tonight is eclectic.  It’s a little French, a little jazz, a soupçon of classical.   The singer’s range isn’t extraordinary but the tune is light and refreshing.  I don’t want to go to work.  I don’t want to eat.  I just want to sit in a dark little corner and melt into my chair.

Don’t forget Conflucians Say at 10PM EST where you can let your hair down and relax with friends.  Only on PUMA United Radio, PURrrrr.

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