Archive for October, 2013

Afghan Intelligence Trying to Find a Trump Card

October 29, 2013

New York Times, Tuesday, October 29, 2013

U.S. Disrupts Afghans’ Tack On Militants: Dispute Over Courting of Pakistan Taliban, by Matthew Rosenberg

Kabul, Afghanistan–“A bungled attempt by the Afghan government to cultivate a shadowy alliance with Islamist militants escalated into the latest flashpoint in the troubled relationship between Afghanistan and the United States, according to new accounts by officials from both countries.

The disrupted plan involved Afghan intelligence trying to work with the Pakistan Taliban, allies of  Al Qaeda, in order to find a trump card in a baroque regional power game that is likely to intensify after the American withdrawal next year, the officials said.  And what started the hard feelings was that the Americans caught them red-handed.”

In card games, particularly Bridge, trump cards win over other cards.  For more information, go to

With Twitter’s IPO, Life’s a Pitch

October 28, 2013

Wall Street Journal, Saturday/Sunday, October 19-20

HEARD ON THE STREET, Financial Analysis & Commentary

With Twitter’s IPO, Life’s a Pitch, by Miriam Gottfried


The New York Times, Monday, October 28, 2013

Twitter Prepares to Feed New Hunger for I.P.O.’s, by Michael J. de la Merced and David Gelles

“…As Twitter this week begins an eight-city road show to pitch its stock sale to big institutional shareholders like Fidelity, Blackrock and Legg Mason, it will be entering one of the strongest markets for I.P.O.’s in three, years, especially in the United States.  Despite Facebook’s initial stumble in its market debut in May 2012, investors have shown a growing appetite for initial offerings, eager to take risks in hopes of big rewards when newly public companies’ stocks rise…”

One pitches a ball in games.  Here the ball to be pitched is Twitter’s stock.  For more information about the sport, baseball, and pitchers and pitching, go to, and click on “B” for baseball.

U. S. Congress Playing Ball

October 18, 2013

CNN: Breaking News,  14, 2013

“Mark Meadows, who represents the western part of North Carolina and has wielded his influence behind the bright lights of the television cameras and the hot microphones.

In August, while lawmakers spent time in their districts, Meadows wrote a letter to his Republican leaders suggesting they tie the dismantling of Obamacare to the bill that funds the government for the next year…

Meadows successfully convinced a reluctant Boehner to go along with his plan. And then after it became clear the Senate wasn’t going to play ball, the speaker hoped to move past the fight and pass a funding bill that would be able to pass the Senate, meaning it wouldn’t defund health care.

But Boehner’s Republican caucus, once again with Meadows in the forefront, rejected that plan.

Boehner’s now working on a plan that will appease members such as Meadows.”

Stay tuned:  What happens if the ball is dropped?

Royal Sport to National One? It’s No Slam Dunk

October 18, 2013

New York Times, Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Royal Sport to National One?  It’s No Slam Dunk, by Gardiner Harris

“Thimphu, Bhutan–With just seconds left in the game, the queen of Bhutan went to the hole like a hungry snow leopard pouncing on a mountain goat, taking two dribbles and three long strides before putting up a royal layup…

Yes, your majesty!

Basketball may be a street game in the United States, but it is the game of kings and queens in Bhutan,” which may be one of the problems for the South Korean coach who “has been hired to cobble together a national team that many hope will someday be able to challenge its neighbors for bragging rights in South Asia and beyond.”

Bhutan has a problem with its height: few are taller than six feet, and the queen and her husband and brothers-in-law, all avid basketball players are 5’5″ and not much taller.  Also, the royal players are of such “an exalted” status that it’s uncomfortable for other players to check them.  As for slam dunks, “Paljor Dorji, an impish 70-year-old says he doesn’t think the backboards “are strong enough for a lot of slam dunking.”

However, with royal connection and enthusiasm for basketball, Bhutan is ready for basketball challenges.

To see a definition of “slam dunk” go to

Kicking the Can on the Budget and U.S. Government Default

October 11, 2013

Friday, October 11, 2013

This does not come from a particular newspaper,TV or radio show, but from reading and hearing  idiomatic expressions about the lack of government initiative on pressing issues, particularly the budget and the debt crisis.

One of the terms used is “kick the can” and “kick the can down the road.”  We used to play this on one of the flat blocks in San Francisco.  The point of the game was to beat the other side by kicking the can into an improvised goal, in our case the drains at the end of the block.  Of course, one wants to win the game by getting at least one goal. One of the sentences I saw in an OP-ED stated something like “just kick the can.” in other words “do something”  If one kicks the can down the road, it usually means putting off decisions.

Surf’s Up, and So Is the Curtain at This Festival

October 10, 2013

The New York Times, Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Surf’s Up, and So Is the Curtain at This Festival, by Ian Lovett

“La Jolla plunges into immersive theater:

San Diego–Sitting silently in a seat was pretty much off limits at the Without Walls Festival, a weekend of theater set in, near and around La Jolla Playhouse here.

With more than 20 shows at a variety of locations, the inaugural festival, which concluded on Sunday, brought site-specific and immersive performances to the West Coast in a big (and expensive) way, taking advantage of the city’s sunny climate while signaling just how quickly this strain of theater is growing in the United States.”

Actually, the surf was up, so this really is not an idiomatic use of surfing, but as a headline it is great.  It catches the reader’s attention.  An idiomatic use might be this about a business conference and result: “The surf was up and we rode the wave.”

Mansion: Raising the Bar on Real Estate

October 8, 2013

The Wall Street Journal, Saturday/Sunday, July 13-14, 2013

The following was an ad for a Wall Street Journal special:


Raising the bar on real estate.

The mansions are expensive; the bar has been raised for homes.  How high are buyers going to jump?