Every year for the past 25 years, I sustain from drinking during the month of January. It’s not a detox but rather a slowing of momentum from the holiday season. The Christmas parties, dinners and boys’ “board meetings” all invariably have a social element to them that includes drinking wine or the odd shot of holiday tequila. I’m not complaining but to make certain it doesn’t get out of hand, I kibosh the drinks for 30 days. It’s not a big deal, I just like to stay disciplined. But as I opened the newspaper this morning, there was nothing but bad news staring at me. I flipped through page after page of black and white, searching for a good “news” story and… there were none. Gulp. Even Simon Cowell is leaving American Idol, for God’s sake. Time for a drink? Nope. Time for the AWT Good News Edition. Slap on your Ray-Bans and lets roll. ☞I don’t know if you have ever noticed this but a sign o’ the times is always reflected in music. In the 00′s, you never saw a song entitled Celebrate or Sunny or We Built this City (on Rock n’ Roll)!  Instead we listened to Misery, Misery Business and this from Tom Waits, Misery is the River of the World. No more, boys and girls. We need an new soundtrack. And today’s AWT song of the week comes from a 60′s icon, Ringo Starr. Ringo knocks it for six with Everybody Wins off his new album, Y Not. We should be off to a good start here because Everybody Wins is a wonderful song with a topical message. Listen and smile. ☞I know this doesn’t seem like much but I think it is significant. Ford won the Car and Truck of the year in 2010 for their Fusion and Transit Connect. This is a big boost for the American automobile industry. Ford was the only Detroit automaker spared from bankruptcy and this award and recognition will raise their tide even a little more. If you’re looking for good news, this is a place to start. ☞I think Massachusetts has 3 solid picks (Scott Brown, Martha Coakley and Joseph Kennedy) running for Ted Kennedy’s US Senate seat even though they differ greatly on the issues. I like Scott Brown a lot though I differ with him on the issue of marriage and equality. I like Martha Coakley because of her tenaciousness and finally, I like Joe Kennedy because he makes a lot of sense on the issue of government spending. The point here is the voters have a real and viable choice on who represents them and that is very good news. If you are from Massachusetts, be sure to vote on Jan 19th. ☞If you like to cook as I do, the winter season presents a challenge for fresh ingredients. I found a handy chart for finding peak season ingredients. Have a look at this guide.  For my friends in the UK, Leon Restaurants offers a similar chart that can be downloaded here. You can’t say we’re not a full service blog around here! By the way, Leon Restaurants offers a vision that other restaurant groups should emulate. It’s about sustainability, freshness and good nutrition. I really like what they are doing even though I have never had a bite there. Take a look. ☞Here’s a good news/bad news story. Jay Leno will no longer be on prime time television as of Feb. 12! The bad news is he’s going back to his old slot and ousting Conan O’Brien. Damn. See, you can find good news if you look hard enough. ☞The Rolling Stones announced that they were not going to be touring in 2010. Many think this is because the band wants to replace the troubled Ronnie Wood who is struggling with alcoholism. I think their decision not to tour is good news because it proves once and for all that a rolling stone can gather moss. ☞Today’s AWT quote is all about news and succinctly explains the world we live in.

For most folks, no news is good news; for the press, good news is not news. ~Gloria Borger

This explains why it’s so difficult to find something good to hang your hat on.  Call your friends and family. Make plans. Celebrate. Sing. Dance. Laugh and love. Make your own good news! Aye Wonder. Aye Wonder. And I’m sure you do too.

Happy New Decade to you. We wished for the end of the (n)aughts and we got it. Lets be sure we take control of the 10s and make it count. I will say that the prior decade has left me with plenty to mull over and when better than Aye Wonder Tuesday to discuss it with you.  Ready? This decade’s first AWT begins now.

☞Dick Cheney makes my blood boil. He had his go during W’s two terms, can’t he just shut (tf) up now? Is his discourse even relevant? Makes you wonder if you can make an exception to the 1st amendment.

☞How about something from the 00′s that was good? Richard Swift released one of my favorite albums of 2009 called The Atlantic Ocean. It’s an indie pop sparkler that hints of the Beatles and Beatles-wannabe Harry Nilsson. Here’s the title track for your enjoyment.

☞Christine and I sat together and watched 3 episodes of Jersey Shore back to back to back. We wanted to see what the hoopla was about. A couple of observations: if they picked the cast to invoke a reaction…then they succeeded. The self-proclaimed Guidos and Guidettes are a vile stereotype of Italian-Americans. I can’t think of basis upon which MTV could justify this show. Imagine a show that picked another ethnic group instead. That’s one. Two – it’s so bad, you can’t help but watch it. There’s an old expression about car racing on TV – you only watch to see the cars crash. It may be a little like that but nevertheless it is impossible to overlook the stereotypes despite the charm of The Situation, Snooki, Sweetheart, JWoww et all. Not.

☞I just want you to know, I still have plenty of positive energy coursing through my veins. For example, I am absolutely convinced that Apple’s new tablet computer/viewer will save the magazine industry, breathe life into broadcast television and put a dent in Amazon’s Kindle market share. The Wall Street Journal reported today that the product will ship in March. If you are an iPhone user, it will be an easy jump to Apple’s next technological pièce de résistance. Gizmodo has, what they are calling, ‘the exhaustive guide to the Apple Tablet rumors.” You techies can read more right here.

☞Ever notice that when people talk about change, they are for it but not necessarily in their neighborhood? Need lights on your high school football field, neighbors will always speak up against it. New prisons? Great idea but not in my neighborhood. Alternative energy solutions are just what we need in this country but no one wants them in their backyard. One of these brilliant ideas will soon come to conclusion after 9 years of bickering. US interior secretary, Ken Salazar is bringing the contentious parties to the table to end the long battle to erect a wind farm 10 miles off the coast of Cape Cod in the Nantucket Sound. The urgency of the Obama administration’s interest in the project came when the National Park Services agreed with two Native American Tribes that the Nantucket Sound should be on the National Register of Historic Places. This ruling exemplifies what I have been talking about here for years. There is a death of common sense in this country where we let the little things get in the way of the big picture. Obama’s immediate interest in this project is a very, very good sign.

☞Here’s another song from 2009 that I love. The poorly named yet Google proofed, The xx, released a wonderful self titled debut album that included the the restrained yet intense, spacey yet intimate and sexy Crystalised. A debut album like this comes around rarely. Have a go with Crystalised.

☞By the way, regarding the aforementioned common sense, please do not take this as an endorsement of Glenn Beck’s book entitled Common Sense purportedly inspired by Thomas Paine’s book of the same name. I have read both – though it “Pained” me to spend a nickel on Beck’s drivel. Thomas Paine’s book/pamphlet was the biggest seller of its time where he implores the citizenry of the importance to declare their independence from British rule (you can read it free here). Beck’s book, on the other hand, is a ranting narrative just like his tv show. Don’t expect common sense, expect a book that riles up both sides without bringing them together on a common theme. Common sense, my arse. Glenn Beck, go away.

☞If you love photography, particularly animal and nature photography, visit this site. The photos are astounding. Here’s a sample.

Photobucket

☞I could go on, as you know, but I think that’s enough for the first AWT of the year. Make it a resolution to comment here more so we can ratchet up the dialogue. For this new decade and for today’s AWT quote, you need to remember these 10 two letter words:

If it is to be, it is up to me.

And there is the first AWT done and dusted. Hope you enjoyed it.

Aye Wonder.

It’s time we all did.

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