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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.

Happy New Year One and All

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AWT is on the Record

Happy New Year one and all. ‘Tis the last Tuesday of 2009 and for the first time ever, AWT is publishing our fearlessly feckless 20 predictions for 2010. It’s quite scary committing your thoughts to public record but if you have something to say, you may as well say it. The scope of these forecasts will be both personal and global, micro and macro. Some will be tongue-in-cheek, others are not. (I will decide at year end which is which!) If you’d like, we can reconvene at year end 2010 with the scorecard and put me to task. You ready? Lets get going.

  • 2010 will be better than 2009 but only at the margin. We are nowhere close to being done with the jobs recession. Want a better economy? Raise confidence. It is a simple equation but a complicated task.
  • Learning about the sex life of our politicians, celebrities and sports figures will explode into a major industry. Why? “Enquiring” minds want to know and…it sells.
  • Guantanamo Bay will not close in 2010 especially if we are led to believe that prisoners released from there were involved with the terrorist plot on NWA Flight 253.
  • Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Nancy Bachman, Joe Lieberman, Deval Patrick and Sarah Palin will continue to suck. A further prediction, this is the year that Sarah Palin’s tank runs dry and everyone begins to see her for the fraud that she is.
  • There will be further schisms between the North and the South, the red and the blue. If we are not careful, we could see the end of another “empire” in future years.
  • 2010 will take us another step closer to a cure for cancer and the Kanzius Machine will play a part in its cure.
  • Magazines will rise again (428 closings in 2009!) and on-demand television will flourish. Apple’s new tablet computer will drive this but it will mostly be because people will continue to want home entertainment as a way to save money.
  • MTV will come to its senses and cancel Jersey Shore. Oh wait, MTV comes to its senses?? I may have to rethink this one.
  • The stock market will lose value in 2010 but companies who grow their market share in a bad economy will flourish.
  • We will not hear from Octomom, Balloon Boy and Levi Johnson ever again. I wish that the same fate could be conferred on Glenn Beck, Charlie Sheen and Bernie Madoff.
  • Personally, I will end this retirement experiment and find gainful employment looking around corners which I do better than most, this prediction stuff notwithstanding.
  • Iron Man 2 will be as bad as Oceans 12. Maybe worse.
  • Joseph Gordon-Levitt will become a household name.
  • President Obama will enjoy a surge in popularity that his administration will squander.
  • The New Orleans Saints will win the Super Bowl. They deserve it. They have played impeccably on both sides of the ball and the city sure could use the boost.
  • Tiger Woods will play in the 2010 Masters. It’s what he lives for (well, that…and you know). AND he will not get divorced.
  • Interest in Twitter will fade like a Tim Wakefield knuckle ball. It’s a one dimensional technology that is crying the emperor has no clothes. Don’t waste anymore of your time with it.
  • The album will die – even online. Artists will release songs more often and on the internet. Free music will be the order of the day since there is no money to be made on music sales to the consumer. It will take awhile but you will see it begin to happen in 2010.
  • I am taking Spain in the 2010 World Cup. They play with precision, heart and discipline. If the Italian squad learned discipline, they would be my pick. But alas
  • Eliot Spitzer will rise again. He may have messed up but he’s done a lot of things right since then and you just can’t hold down someone who is as intelligent and ambitious as him.  The same fate does not await Mark Sanford.

And there you have it…20 fearless predictions/forecasts for your final AWT of 2009. Thank you for visiting and offering your opinions. It’s best when there is a dialogue. I wish you great things in 2010, good health and good cheer, prosperity and hope. It is a new decade that we get to write the blueprint for. Lets make it amazing! All the best.

Aye Wonder.

And so should you!

The Insanity Continues

In the midst of my prep work for Christmas dinner, I thought of today’s song. It is an insane song that had a short shelf life in this country but did well everywhere else. You don’t have to understand it to enjoy it. In fact, it’s nearly unintelligible anyways, consisting of pig French and English and lord knows, probably a bit more.  It is part T-Rex, part Garage Rock and part Beach Boys. Here is Plastic Betrand singing their quasi-big hit Ca Plane Pour Moi (which loosely translates as “this life’s for me.”)

Happy Christmas one and all. Ca plane pour moi.

Two Days Remain

Within three notes you will know this song and your head will be bopping, your shoulders twisting and your toes tapping along to the music. It’s an incredibly joyous song that tells the story of the power of music to make you feel better. And hell, that’s what this exercise has been all about. I present to you, Earth, Wind & Fire’s Sing a Song.

The countdown continues to Christmas. Day 15 is in the bin.

Marvellous. Just Marvellous.

The Lightning Seeds’ Marvellous is like two songs in one. The front half is an electronica gee-whiz instrumental that half way in turns into an all out, indie pop celebration. It’s all about throwing caution to the wind and going for it. Hmmmm….I don’t remember them making music like this in Liverpool.

Hey, I don’t make ‘em, I just play ‘em. And that makes 14.

Dear Friends,

I never like wishing time away. I think I have mentioned this on numerous occasions here. However, this decade may be an exception. As a result, I thought I would spend this Tuesday’s AWT reviewing the decade from a DiCarlo family perspective.

One of my life policies is to get the bad news out of the way early. As a result, I thought I would disclose here that I am Tiger Wood’s nookie bookie. Tiger has come to me on numerous occasions (more than the currently disclosed fourteen) and asked me to secure willing women for him. The cue that sprung me into action was Tiger singing “I’m dreaming of a White Mistress.” While at the outset I took to my new job with zest, I quickly realized its baseness. As a result, the selection process suffered and my choices for Tiger most often came from the dregs of the gene pool. I offer my deepest and most sincere apologies for anyone I may have hurt along the way.

Since I am sharing bad news, there’s this. It was recently disclosed that Christine was notified that, despite her performance early in the decade, she will not be immortalized in the Shopping Hall of Fame (SHOF). Apparently, but unbeknown to me, Christine has not been putting up SHOF type of numbers over the past three years. She is taking this notification very personally and recently dented an old purse when she threw herself in front of a parked car.  I know you will continue to lovingly support Christine, as I do, while she goes through this most difficult and challenging time.

Another member of our family – Grover, our beloved Brussels Griffon Terrorist, has been with us for the last half of the decade and has yet to really experience the high life. As a result, all he does is sleep, eat and lick himself. We are extremely concerned that this type of behavior may be habit forming and have scheduled a preliminary appointment with noted dog psychiatrist, Doctor Iwanna Bleedu-Dry. After consulting with Dr. Bleedu-Dry, we decided that the 100 session pricing on a per session basis was most economical. We’re hoping that soon Grover will be able to read and write. Wish us luck!

In 2oo7, we were hopeful that our Scotland project would bear fruit. It was such an amazing and unique project that even an idiot could make it a success. It turns out that we over estimated idiocy and the project failed famously. There was one benefit to failure, our reality TV series, Watching Wasserman Wallow, has been picked up by NBC to replace the Jay Leno Show. The pilot was an amazing success. We’re positively pleased as punch.

If everything goes as planned, Christine and I (and the sleeping, eating & licking, Grover) will finally relocate to our new mud hut in Jalalabad, Afghanistan on the Pakistan border. We have been talking about this move for the past 3 years and after considering, Flint MI, Bridgeport CT, Biloxi MS, Camden ME and Gary IN, we finally settled on Jalalabad because the name is so fun to say. (Djibouti came in a close second and Spitsbergen a distant third) The clincher for us was when we heard that Jalalabad has an active comedy scene. We will keep you apprised as we near the move date.

Early in 2000, I predicted correctly that the stock market would regularly go up and down. This incredible bit of prognostication has led me to consider some other new directions in life as I return from retirement and begin the job search.  Offers to predict the weather are pouring in. Yesterday, Farmers Almanac came calling. With our impending move, I may have to tell them that it would be a temporary position.

As 2010 beckons, Christine and I know that we can count on your continued support and love as we await the results of Grover’s testing, our impending move and the success of our reality tv show.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all.

Dourly,

The DiCarlos

Richard Thompson is an acquired taste. He’s like your first beer, it didn’t go down well but there was a pretty good chance you would have another. Thompson has a very dark sense of humor that once you are on board with it, you can see his brilliance. Today’s song is I Feel So Good and it is a typical Thompson gem. Thompson sings as a teenager who just got out of the juvenile prison and wants to celebrate by doing additional property harm and breaking a heart. It’s not your usual fun and uplifting song but if you recognize that it is tongue-in-cheek, you will understand the joy here. Never has breaking the law and getting a little bit of revenge sounded so good.

The countdown continues. Four more are left.

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