This is post number 136. I have received a number of questions, inquiries and suggestions regarding ‘Just My Take’. Some of the questions relate to my writing style and the content, as well as the look of the blog site. Some of the comments suggest that I need to embellish the posts with links, photos, and video. To the best of my ability I have done so. Let’s all just remember that my weekly posts are a challenge to me, and that my content leans away from religion and politics. Posting on a weekly basis sometimes comes easy and sometimes is difficult but I will do my best to keep the Sunday morning post going.
I am taking a break on this Holiday weekend but I will leave you with ten newspaper headlines to think about. You just can’t make this stuff up:
I commented on this issue in a previous post when a National Football League quarterback, with great athletic ability and potential, decided to lead a movement of disrespecting the Honor Guard, the Flag, and the national anthem of the the United States of America. As Paul Harvey said in his commentaries, “you know the rest of the story”. The Women’s World Cup has again brought the same type of controversy to light as a very strong-willed American woman has refused to respect the National Anthem. Not in the same way as the fore-mentioned quarterback, but in a way that she feels clearly sends her message of protest against the President and his administration. Megan Rapinoe stands for women’s rights, LGBT, and many other issues that she feels are important. I have no argument and support her efforts to promote her causes, but I will state the same now as I did then with Colin Kaepernick: respecting our Flag, our Honor Guard, and our national anthem has zero to do with the President, the White House, and politics in general. If you are participating in an event and our Flag is presented and our national anthem is playing, and more importantly you are representing the United States as a national team player, show due respect to our past and present armed forces. Don’t put our Honor Guard, our Flag, and the national anthem between your support for causes and the White House. Don’t misunderstand – I do support the 1st Amendment and strong-willed people like Megan Rapinoe. I just feel strongly that politics and showing respect are definitely mutually exclusive. #meganrapinoe
Space, the next frontier is not just hyperbole. Just ask Jeff Bezos or Elon Musk. Their Blue Origin and Space X entities have provided the playbook for privatized commercialization of space exploration. They have provided NASA and the United States Air Force with the deployment of satellites at a fraction of the cost of previous space missions. In general I never really spent time thinking about space exploration, though I have watched a few liftoffs live, including the Space X launch early in the morning on Tuesday of last week. Over the last eighteen months, I have been involved with the Apollo 11 50th Anniversary project and celebration. The design and development of displays, exhibits, and interactives celebrating the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing has been quite the learning experience. The amount of historical information, the significance of landing on the moon, and Neil Armstrong’s first steps onto the moon’s surface are remarkable. For most people the significance is underwhelming, as few people around the world have spent the time learning and understanding the next frontier. The last three weeks were spent in the office during the day and at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Center at night (installation of what we designed and produced can only be installed after all the visitors have departed). The twenty hour days were tough but the end result of this project and what it represents overshadowed the lack of sleep for me and the DesignShop team. If you ever have the chance, go to the Space Center and take the bus out to the Saturn V building. Understanding the dynamics of the Apollo 11 mission that happened 50 years ago is significant. It is really good stuff. #NASA #DesignShop
Thursday is Independence Day. The celebration of the thirteen original colonies being declared independent from the monarch of Britain. Hopefully most of you have a long weekend, enjoy the fireworks, and most importantly fly your flag. Some of you are running the Peachtree Road Race in Atlanta early Thursday morning. Have a great race and a fun time!! #independenceday
“….and what can I do to make your flight more enjoyable?”
Some of us have traveled for many years. Air travel for both business and pleasure has “pressurized” since 9/11 due to the subsequent and necessary security measures invoked by the Transportation Security Administration and other governing bodies. The upside is that the ability to check in using an airline’s app, TSA Pre-Check, and CLEAR have made getting through security a bit easier. Then of course is the cattle call of the boarding process, and the inevitable time consuming passengers who just can’t seem to navigate getting their carry on’s down the aisle and figuring out how their bag fits in the overhead bin. I sort of equate it to the square peg in a round hole syndrome. https://youtu.be/gFH991-uNOQ
After the monotonous boarding process, with most passengers seated, the fun starts with flight attendant announcements, messages, and demonstrations. Over my many years of travel I had always wanted to document some of the experiences I have had listening to flight attendants and neighboring passengers. Note: I do have the upmost respect for most flight attendants as they have a difficult and mostly thankless job. With all that said, the following are some top of mind takes with the world of airline flight attendants and fellow passengers:
I just smile when I hear the sincerity from a flight attendant: “Let me know if there’s anything I can do to make your flight more enjoyable.” Really? Enjoyable? Maybe potable water? An in-flight magazine that has not previously been manhandled by 500 passengers? A shower, with soap, for the passenger who obviously just played eighteen holes? How about giving the moron behind me a quarter to call someone who cares about his ‘ridiculous travel schedule’.
I love the announcement and demonstration on how to fasten your seat belt. “Insert the flat metal tab into the buckle, then blah, blah blah” . . . If a passenger doesn’t know how to use a seat belt, he or she probably shouldn’t be on a plane unattended. Just sayin’.
This is always comforting: “In case of the loss of cabin pressure, oxygen masks will fall from the overhead panel. Put the mask over your nose and mouth and breathe normally. Seriously? I can be a very brave man, but if a gaping hole opens in the cabin, I don’t think I’m going to be breathing “normally.”
This is my favorite: “In the event of a water landing, your seat cushion can be used as a flotation device. Let’s see, if I’m hurtling toward the ocean at 500 mph, I’m afraid I’m going to use my seat cushion for something other than a flotation device.
Again, most flight attendants are fantastic so I want to make sure that my readers know that I am not slamming them. On the other hand, what about the incessant, loud-talking passengers who have no regard for the people sitting around them? I will try not to be rude (no comment, Samir), but I have thought of some tactics to avoid or put off talkative air travelers. Here are a few:
I’m sorry. Did you say something or are the voices back?
Would you like to hear about my amazing multi-level marketing opportunity?
Yo no hablo Inglés.
Typhoid isn’t contagious, is it?
This is my first time on a plane. I feel so sick to my stomach.
I’m sorry, but I have to put my ear buds in so I can listen to my favorite sermon.
I do not condone the ‘f-bombs’ Chris D’Elia uses in his rant about over-talkers on planes…but he does have a point. Caution: if you are sensitive to foul language, do not click on this video:
All of us deal with the airport and airplane experience. For many reasons, I am way more tolerant these days but sometimes you just have to shake your head.
I get that this is the World Cup. I get that goal differential in group play is important. I get that there are players participating in a World Cup for the first time. I get that all the players have put in thousands of hours of training. I get that the USA put up 13 and won the match 13-0. I don’t get celebrating goals 9-13. #USWNT #WorldCup
I get that the Middle East is problematic. I get that 30% of all oil is shipped through the Straits of Hormuz. I get that command and control of shipping lanes are critical to many countries and their economies. I don’t get Iran mining shipping lanes. I don’t get Iran looking for a fight.
I get Artemis. I get returning to and landing our astronauts on the moon. I get that NASA has given a directive that a woman be part of the mission to the moon. I get that NASA needs a new landing system that will allow a lunar landing module to land on the surface and return the astronauts to a space station. I don’t get how or why it will take $30 billion to make this happen. #Artemis #NASA
I get that Universal Studios, a wonderful theme park, spent $300 million to design and build their new Harry Potter ride. I sort of get Harry Potter. I get adventure rides as they are experiential, especially a roller coaster ride that takes you on a one mile journey. I get the long lines to wait to climb aboard the new Harry Potter adventure ride as I am sure Universal did some magic with the experience. I don’t get how people can wait in line up to ten hours to enjoy the Harry Potter ride. Yes, ten hours.
I get art auctions. I get that people or institutions pay a great deal of money for what they feel, in their mind’s eye, is great artwork. I get and can appreciate the work of Michelangelo, Rembrandt, Da Vinci, and Monet. I get that paintings can be very expensive and a prized collection. I don’t get how a painting from Caravaggio, found five years ago in Toulouse, can fetch an asking price of $175 million. Yes, the painting is estimated to have been completed in the early 1600’s in Rome, but no, I don’t get the $175 million. #Caravaggio
I get the Toronto Raptors. I don’t get Drake. Enough said.
I get Father’s Day. Today is the day to celebrate fatherhood. I hope all of you can spend time with you father, give them a call, and keep them in your thoughts. My daughter is with me this weekend – a great weekend for Father’s Day.
Adios, Happy Father’s Day, and Have a Funday Sunday!
Seventy-five years ago seems like a long time ago. Then we realize how old we are, when we were born, and the 75 years is nominal. This past Thursday marked the 75th anniversary of the liberation of France. It started with a year of planning and a massive build up of Allied forces made up of troops from the United States, the UK, Canada and France. The year-long planning originally picked the date of June 5, 1944 for the Allied invasion to commence, but due to weather issues the massive armada of ships crossing the English Channel had to push back their target time by 24 hours. Early in the morning of June 6, 1944, close to 7,000 ships carried 132,000 troops to the beaches of Normandy. These beaches were code named Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword with most of the United States soldiers hitting Omaha and Utah beach.
The night before the invasion of Normandy, in order to try and protect the troops landing on the beaches, Allied forces engaged in an extensive bombing campaign to damage German defenses. Close to 24,000 Allied troops were also dropped behind enemy lines shortly after midnight on the day of the invasion. Deception tactics employed in the months leading up to the attack led the Germans to believe that the initial attacks were merely a diversion and that the true invasion would take place further along the coast. Reference: there is a scene in the movie #TheLongestDay that depicts this deception and how the German headquarters had no clue of the Normandy invasion. With that said, and even with the bombings attempting to destroy the German troops protecting the coast, some of the approaches to the beachhead failed miserably. The Germans had hunkered down on the cliffs overlooking the beaches and their gunfire, mortars and hand grenades took their toll on the Allied forces. There were more than 4,400 soldiers confirmed killed, with 9,000 injured or missing. Reference the first 20 minutes of the movie #SavingPrivateRyan.
Allied forces were eventually able to control the Normandy coastline and move inland towards Paris. Months later, with Allied forces fighting with the German troops and their Tiger Tanks, were able to liberate Paris in August of 1944.
There is the old adage: “a picture is worth a thousand words”, but no photo tells more of a horrific story than the one below:
The largest amphibious invasion ever, forever known as #D-Day, laid the foundations for the Allied defeat of Germany in World War II. The gratitude the world owes all of those soldiers is immense. The defeat of the Germans was a pivotal point in world history and was the beginning of the end of WWII. When you see someone who is now serving or once served in the armed forces, please take the time to thank them for their service. I will on Monday, in Jupiter, Florida, when I shake the hand of a proud veteran, who in my mind is the epitome of what describes a patriot.
I could add on some other takes, including the opportunity to talk about seeing a long time friend yesterday…… but not this week, as the 75th Anniversary of D-Day should not be overshadowed.
Uber This. Money Grab = Death. Stay Positive. It Is All Good.
They are all about ride-hailing and food delivery. Analysts seemed to be impressed with Uber’s first quarter financial results. Something to the tune of $3B in revenue. Outstanding until you learn that their 1st quarter loss was over $1B. Let me state it again: Wall Street was pleased with Uber’s Q1 performance as they had earlier predicted greater losses than the $1B. Someone enlighten me please. #Uber
You can climb Mt. Everest from the Nepal or Chinese face. On the Nepal side, this land-locked country in South Asia has the Himalayas as a tourist grab so it is not surprising that they have monetized the Mt. Everest experience. Unfortunately, the money grab from permit revenue for the Mt. Everest climb led to a greater increase of inexperienced climbers paying $11,000 for a one-week permit. With 381 permits issued this year, the Nepal government has taken in over $4m, which has allowed for too many people climbing at one time, resulting in people waiting up to twelve hours to continue their ascent. This has led to 11 deaths so far in 2019. Time for the government of Nepal to get smart and limit the permits issued. What must be a bucket list experience has turned into a sad state of affairs. https://www.foxnews.com/world/mount-everest-climbers-crushed-together-nepal-permit
I have tried to limit my take on soccer for many reasons. With that said, and as Atlanta United heads into a long international break, I wanted to sum up their year-to-date season. They have played fifteen games so far this season with 19 left in the regular season. All of us were deeply concerned with how they started the season. Fans and the national media were all over Darren Eales and Carlos Bocanegra for their decision to replace the beloved Tata Martino with Frank de Boer. The same held true for their relentless critique of de Boer’s player selection and tactics. We witnessed slow and relatively boring games that left many questions with everyone who enjoyed last year’s championship team. I was no different though I did recognize that a coaching change, combined with absence of Miguel Almiron and key injuries might be problematic. Naysayers are now eating crow as Atlanta United has climbed into second place in the eastern conference, one point behind D.C. United, and has two games in hand. While their attack has sometimes been frustrating to watch, the team has allowed two less goals than anyone in the league. The balance of the season should be fun and entertaining both at the Mercedes-Benz stadium and on the road. #atlutd
I am a go-forward person. I have made mistakes, both personal and business-related, resulting in some very tough situations. The question for me becomes one of reflection, to think deeply or carefully about the ramifications of my decisions or actions. I use a 100% unbiased sound board to voice my concerns, my thoughts, and my wants and wishes. Maybe due to the way I was raised, or simply pride, I never considered using another person as a sound board for guidance and feedback. I did so starting back in late February, and Wednesday night was my 12th weekly ‘session’. My motivation to make this happen were actions and decisions made that were totally opposite of my personal ethos. The outcome was quite a bit of reflection, self-actualization, and a tremendous spike in my awareness of the trigger points that result in emotion. I am not Zen. I am not Karma. What I am and what I did was simply get some guidance and feedback to get me back to a good place. Sound bizarre? It should not as I started a tough new job, in a new city, and most importantly put physical and emotional distance between me and the person most important to me. Anyone who knows me well probably cannot believe I posted this…..but everyone also knows that I am a stand up man who is no longer too proud to socialize his good and not so good. If I can do it, so you can you. #real
The NBA has selected Drake to be their worldwide spokesperson. They selected Drake based on his maturity and self-service…to himself. #NBA
Virgin Trains USA announced this week construction on its West Palm Beach to Orlando extension had officially begun on what it projects will be a four-year undertaking. Four years of construction to place railroad tracks for 170 miles or 42 miles per year. The total spend is $4 billion so my very smart (and very pretty by the way) CPA would tell me the cost is just under $24 million a mile. Say what? #VirginTrainsUSA
The stupid news is that thousands of people have ordered Samsung’s long-awaited Galaxy Fold, a $2000 phone that actually folds in half. When opened it supposedly mimics a 7″ tablet. The even more stupid part of this product launch are a couple of issues. One issue seems to be that the hinges to make the phone fold are not strong enough FOR THE PHONE TO ACTUALLY FOLD – which presents a major problem until you consider the second issue: the phone screen breaks after opening and closing the phone a few times. Samsung, in their infinite wisdom, has now posted a new product manager position on their website. A $2000 phone? Not happening. #Samsung #GalaxyFold https://www.samsung.com/global/galaxy/galaxy-fold/
Little Rock, Arkansas newspaper front page story. Enough said.
On a serious note: For a many reasons, tomorrow is the most important Holiday in the United States. Memorial Day is observed on the last Monday of May and was formerly known as Decoration Day. Memorial Day commemorates all men and women who have died in military service for the United States. If you have a flag, please honor our fallen veterans and fly your flag; if you don’t have one please go buy one.
Adios, have a Funday Sunday and a nice Memorial Day!
There Are Ups And Downs. Separate What You Wear On Your Sleeve.
By definition, emotion is “a natural instinctive state of mind deriving from one’s circumstances, mood, or relationships with others”. Two of these three, circumstances and relationships, often feed the third, namely mood. Last night positive circumstance and relationship was in order as Jessica and David were married in a great ceremony and festive party at a great venue in Atlanta. Marriage, as we all know, can take on many paths with lots of changes and challenging barriers. The partners who are successful learn to navigate the paths of marriage with the commitment of the relationship in mind without bringing in the mood swings that, as mentioned above, derive from circumstances and situations. This wedding gave me (and maybe others) a chance to reflect on how important circumstances come into play with relationships. For personal reasons, I have actually put a lot of thought to circumstance, relationship, commitment, and mood. Last night’s wedding provided a beginning for two young people to create a great path of commitment. They have tremendous role models to lean on as they navigate the twists and turns of their marriage. To Jessica & David: the best of everything for you.
How often have you wished you had acted differently, said something differently, or better yet not said nothing at all? I have made these mistakes and maybe (or probably) rationalized that my actions or words were correct. In my case, I wear my emotions on my sleeve, which in sports and most business situations is probably a virtue. What I am trying to understand and learn is that the emotion I carry, as referenced above, can affect a commitment and relationship. I am a bit of a dichotomy (some of my friends may use other adjectives to describe me) as I am hard-charging in many aspects of my life, but in some ways I actually enjoy being in the in the shadows or background. I talk to people weekly to get their input and feedback on what I will in general call emotion, and many of the discussions have the same message, advice and outcome. The professionals call it ‘compartmentalizing’: the ability to deal with the emotional aspects of your life in a completely separate mind frame from your important relationships. The good news is that I have learned a lot by speaking with different people, and though their general message is a bit different from one another, the finite guidance is to distinguish and separate emotional trigger points from your personal commitment and relationship. It is not easy for me to write this as I am a relatively private person, but if this helps send a message to one very special person, or helps shed some light for others, all good.
California: Get Your Education Code Changed. They Just Don’t Like Each Other. Not Detente. Honor Thy Mother.
You can paint this scenario anyway you want. Laws, policies and codes assist in governing our cities, states, and the country providing balance and guidelines for all of us. Sometimes, these parameters of the law should be just that, parameters that can be interpreted in different ways based on specific scenarios. Case in point: a second grade San Francisco teacher, who has fought breast cancer and is recently recovering from surgery, is now facing a financial dilemma that is both unnerving and ludicrous. Under the California Education Code, revised forty-three years ago, teachers in the state only receive 10 sick days per year. In addition, and this is where the Code is so sideways, teachers can also receive up to an additional 100 days of sick leave. This makes sense and seems equitable until the person on this extended sick leave has their pay reduced by as much as $240 per day…..to pay for their substitute. There may be other states with the same type of sick leave policy but this senseless code must be changed, and changed quickly. I cannot fathom what this California second grade teacher is going through while recovering from breast cancer and now dealing with a serious financial scenario. The governor of California is a former mayor of San Francisco. How about stepping in prevent this scenario from happening again? http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displaySection.xhtml?lawCode=EDC§ionNum=44977
Orlando City visits Atlanta United later today at Mercedes Benz stadium. It is Mother’s Day and Atlanta’s brass has made the decision to open the upper level for the game. That means as many as 70,000 people for this rivalry game – with a national television audience as well. I’ll go with a least three yellow and one red card in what was once the most heated rivalry in Major League Soccer. The billboard Atlanta United leased two years ago on I-4 near downtown Orlando may have fueled the fire just a bit. Orlando City, led by former Manchester United star Nani, is much improved over last year. Hopefully we will see a wide open match later today. #ORLCITY #ATLUTD
They have reared their ugly head again. Threats and posturing with the United States and our armed forces evokes bad memories of this once-thriving country. In reaction to troubling indicators and warnings from their leaders, U.S. Central Command has made the decision to move the USS Arlington and a Patriot missile battery to a strategic area near the Middle East. The Arlington joins the USS Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group to help stand down these threats and aggressive posturing. The country I am referring to is Iran, with their dysfunctional leaders and military always brow-beating their Middle East neighbors. The above-mentioned battleships, as of yesterday, are now joined by as many as six B-52 bombers, capable of flying at 50,000 feet and able to deploy both nuclear and conventional weapons. They are now parked at Al Udeid Air Force Base in Qatar, a mere 20-minute flight to Tehran. God speed. #CentralCommand
Today is Mother’s Day. Yes, many of us live away from our mom, have had a contentious relationship with her, or like me, mom has passed on. With that said, whether your mom is still with us or not, don’t miss the opportunity to show your respect and appreciation for all moms today. Mother’s Day became an official U.S. holiday in 1914 when President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed the second Sunday in May as a day of “public expression of our love and reverence for the mothers of our country.” I don’t know much about Woodrow Wilson, but as the 28th President, he led America through World War I, then subsequently provided the runway for a peace treaty and the formation of the League of Nations. I know of one north Atlanta family who has gathered in force to celebrate their mom and grandmas in a big way. Not all of us can gather in a similar way to this family, but at the very least, no matter the situation, call your mom and show your respect and appreciation. Just do it.