A Busy Time. Opening Ceremony. Pay It Forward. Lobster Rock.

A Summer Of Sport. I Wish I Could Sing. There Are Some Good Things Happening. Moby Dick Is At It Again.

  • I am thinking that the Covid-19 pandemic had and will continue to have long-term ramifications. Obviously, the healthcare issues are sad and worrisome but the ill-effects of the last sixteen months are widespread. Businesses initially laying off hundreds of thousands of employees and now basically begging people to work is problematic in many ways. Projects that were put on hold are now restarting but only at the pace of entities finding people to work. Our healthcare workers and first responders certainly have been thrown sideways – but thankfully hospitals’ intensive care units are starting to have more capacity. Though there seems to be a level of general anxiety, the economy and the vaccine have now provided a runway for all of us to get back to a level of normalcy.

A leading indicator of the ‘return to normal’ for me is the sporting world. It was only a year ago that major sporting events were being postponed (The Summer Olympic Games for one) and in some cases cancelled. Twelve months later, with countries once again opening up, we can again enjoy a summer filled with sports – maybe to a point of saturation, but we will take that over last summer any time. At a first glance:

  • Major League Baseball – ongoing into the Fall.
  • Major League Soccer – after an international break, there was one game yesterday and more this coming weekend.
  • Euro 2020 – postponed from last summer, it started Friday thru July 11.
  • The U.S. Open – June 17 -20 at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, California.
  • Copa America – the main men’s football tournament contested among national teams from CONMEBOL (South America). June 13-July 10.
  • Tour de France – June 26 – July 18.
  • Wimbledon – June 28 – July 11.
  • Stanley Cup Finals – June 29 – July 15 (if it goes 7 games).
  • The Gold Cup – the main football competition of teams governed by CONCACAF, determining the champion of North America, Central America, and the Caribbean. July 2- August 1.
  • NBA Finals – July 8 – 22. (if it goes 7 games).
  • The Open Championship – July 15 – 18 at Royal St. George’s Golf Course in Sandwich, Kent, England.
  • The Summer Olympic Games – July 23 – August 8 in Tokyo, Japan.
  • NFL preseason starts – August 5.
  • The Premier League starts – August 14.
  • The Paralympic Games – August 24 – September 5 in Tokyo, Japan.
  • College Football starts – August 28.
  • U.S. Open Tennis Championship – August 30 – September 12.
  • The Ryder Cup – September 24-26 at Whistling Straits near Kohler, Wisconsin.

Note: Yesterday’s Euro match between Denmark and Finland reminded all of us that life is way more important than competition and sport. The medical emergency with Denmark’s Christian Eriksen gave all of us a dose of reality. Most of us have at one time or another been trained in CPR – but after yesterday, PLEASE WATCH THIS SHORT VIDEO. Four minutes of your time may help save a life.

Please watch this video.

  • As mentioned in the list above, the postponed 2020 Euro Championship opened up on Friday with Italy versus Turkey. With this opening ceremony and game at Rome’s Stadio Olympico, there could be no one better to kick off the tournament than Andrea Bocelli. He is remarkable, with a booming voice, cool sunglasses, and a tuxedo that I am sure was custom-made by Armani. Listen and watch Bocelli, the world’s most popular living tenor, perform Puccini’s ‘Nessun dorma.’ Another remarkable performance in a simple, but well done opening ceremony:
I cannot pull of the sunglasses or the tux, and I certainly cannot sing……
  • We have all heard about the good, bad, and ugly with the behavior of some professional athletes. It seems to be a combination of money and the people they surround themselves with, which has often led to some very bad decisions. There are also many great stories of professional athletes doing the right thing, contributing to charities and causes that make a difference. Here is one of them and it involves a Utah Jazz player, Jordan Clarkson. Yes, he paid it forward:
A great gesture from Jordan Clarkson.

  • Speaking of summer, let’s take a look at a Whale of a Story:
His new name is Jonah.

Adios, pay it forward, stay safe, and have a Funday Sunday!

Enough. The AR-15. Suspended In Water.

Just Stop The Abusive Language.

  • I am not a hypocrite. Foul language is not foreign to me. If you have played sports, including soccer, for over fifty years, you say and hear plenty of expletives on the court or the field. In many cases, foul language becomes the vernacular of competitive tension and the pressure to overcome.

To me, there is a time and place that using foul language ‘makes sense’ – but NEVER when children are around….and I mean never. This issue has bubbled up over the years with Mexican National Team supporters, who scream a homophobic slur when the opposing goalkeeper takes a goal kick. The word is slang for a male prostitute, and has no place at stadiums filled with families, including children. I am not picking on Mexico or Mexicans. The chanting of profanity at players or referees is stateside as well. The ongoing NBA playoffs witnessed New York Knick fans chanting profanities at one or more Atlanta Hawks’ players. The fans sitting in supporter sections of Major League Soccer teams unleash profanity-laced chants that to me are uncomfortable at best, especially when I am sitting with fans that include children.

This all has to come to a dead stop. Playing soccer for five decades, I have unleashed my fair share of obscenities, but on the field or court and not in the earshot of children. Again, I am not a hypocrite or shy to the use of foul language, but I feel strongly that this epidemic of fan behavior at arenas and stadiums needs to once and for all come to an immediate stop. Executives from Major League Soccer, the NFL and the NBA: what is your take?


A Swiss Army Knife.

  • After putting a decent amount of thought into last week’s post that provided my take on the 2nd Amendment, a California federal judge has overturned California’s ban on assault rifles. He compared the AR-15 assault rifle to a “Swiss Army knife,” the weapon of choice for numerous mass shooters, including in a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, the Route 91 Harvest musical festival in Las Vegas, a massacre at a church in Texas, the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, the high school in Parkland, Florida, and the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, among others. I really have nothing else to say in the matter other than the word ‘outrageous.’

Headlines To Ponder.

  • There are still people trying to breach the cockpit of an airliner?
  • The USA’s Simone Biles. Bar none, the best gymnast ever.
  • A Mexican city’s mayoral candidate is wanted by the DEA.
  • “Vax for the Win” lotteries.
  • The PGA tour’s Bryson DeChambeau and Brooks Koepka.
  • Florida bans transgender athletes from female sports.
  • Kanye West’s Yeezy sneakers sold for $1.8 million.
  • Surfing pet goat coolly rides the waves at California beach.
  • The Orlando area’s I-4 project will never end. Never.
  • Trae Young, Damian Lilliard, and Kawhi Leonard. Fantastic.
  • AMC’s valuation is a date with derangement.
  • Man accused of killing iguana claims Florida ‘stand your ground’ law.

Pool Design Comes Of Age.

  • The question is not whether ideas are crazy, but whether they are crazy enough.

Adios, pay it forward, be safe and have a Funday Sunday. And yes, Go Hawks!

Salute The Fallen. Live Events Are Back! Something Is Amiss. Yes Or No. The “King’s” Gambit.

Please Fly Your Flag.

  • For a few 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. Please honor our fallen veterans and fly your flag; if you don’t have one please go buy one.

Sammy Rocks.

  • Live events. We probably took them for granted before the onslaught of the pandemic, but there is definite momentum, supported by the vaccine, to get people back into sports arenas and stadiums, conventions, expositions, conferences, and thankfully live performance venues. Orlando’s Dr. Phillips Performing Arts Center is one of many venues that pivoted quickly to keep live events moving forward with their ‘Frontyard Festival’ set up, using their outdoor space to create safe “pods” for audiences to enjoy all types of performances. Last week, headliner Sammy Hagar, along with Vince Neil, butchered this famous song, but no one cared as the joy and fun of a live event and concert was back after too long of a hiatus.

The Governor’s Question.

  • Ethics. Morals. Values. Principles. Respect. Character. Dignity. Integrity. Conscience. Accountability. They are just words but have never resonated more when considering the issues involving the pandemic, vote counts, unscrupulous politicians, socio-economic firestorms, vaccines, and most importantly violence.

After last Wednesday’s mass shooting in San Jose, California Governor Gavin Newsom asked a question and made a statement that all of us want answers to: ” What the hell is going on in the United States of America? What the hell is wrong with us and when are we going to come to grips with this?” Governor Newsom: the same statement and question has been asked way too many times. As a reminder, the definition of insanity is asking the same thing over and over again without a result, so making general statements and asking questions about gun violence have unfortunately fallen on deaf ears. Yes, I have been told loud and clear that people kill people, not guns, but that fact should not detract from dealing with the sheer violence that has taken place in the U.S. year-to-date.

Last Wednesday’s gunman had three semi-automatic weapons and 11 magazines when he killed nine co-workers. Twelve firearms and 22,000 rounds of ammo were found at the gunman’s home. While I support the 2nd Amendment, and working with the underlying premise that people kill people, not guns, I think the purpose of the 2nd Amendment has long been taken out of context. I feel strongly that people should have the right to bear arms for two reasons, and two reasons only: 1) as personal protection, and 2) for hunting/sporting reasons. So while the right to “bear arms” is part of our Bill of Rights, is it necessary and smart for people to have access to automatic and semi-automatic weapons along with the ability to obtain thousands of rounds of ammunition? This question has nothing to do with politics. It has to do with sense and sensibility in the year 2021, not 332 years ago when the Bill of Rights were written.

Here is what I do know: a mass shooting is defined as any incident that involves multiple victims of gun violence. By that definition, there have been two hundred thirty (232) mass shootings THIS year. Wednesday’s tragedy in San Jose again calls to attention the need for action – not just words.


Yes or No?

  • There is a great deal of discussion regarding employers demanding or requesting their employees be vaccinated – to the point of ad nauseum. Maybe the graphic below sums it up?
Can employers make COVID-19 vaccination mandatory? (AP Illustration/Peter Hamlin)

Inspiration.

  • The mini-series “The Queen’s Gambit” follows the life of a chess prodigy, Elizabeth Harmon, during her quest to become the world’s greatest chess player while struggling with emotional problems, drugs and alcohol dependency. This mini-series was very well done, and though the episodes gave us insight into the world of competitive chess, the series was based on a book and is fictional in nature.

Now we get to learn more about a real chess champion, 9-year-old Tani Adewumi, who along with his family, settled into a New York City homeless shelter after fleeing Nigeria. Fifteen months after arriving in the United States, with no prior knowledge or understanding of the game, Tani was crowned the New York chess champion. Looking for inspiration? Listen to Tani in this video – amazing to say the least.

Adios, pay it forward, be safe and have a Funday Sunday…..and Go Hawks!

Headlines. Speed Kills.

You Can’t Be Serious? Amazing Pace.

  • A few headlines to ponder:

China Insists Shaking Skyscraper is Safe as Building Continues to Wobble. I am sure the credible information from the building’s architects and engineers will convince office workers to return. 🙂

Millions of Mice are Swarming Australian Towns. Now There’s a Plan To End the Plague With Poison. I would assume that PETA is now involved?

Comedian Performs for Gatorland’s Alligators in a New Special. Only in Florida can anyone ‘perform’ for any alligator. Odd, to say the least.

Big Alligator Joins Drive-Thru Line at Texas Taco Shop. Speaking of odd…

Dictator Kim Jong-Un Bans Mullets and Skinny Jeans. With all things considered, this is top of mind to govern the North Korean population?

Two Elderly Men Sneak Out Of A Nursing Home To Attend Heavy Metal Festival. Maybe Nine Inch Nails does resonate with the elderly?

And finally, and maybe of most importance: No, Asking For Your Vaccination Status is Not a HIPAA Violation. As I have mentioned in one or more posts, how will private businesses and entities use this ruling with customers, attendees, passengers, and employees?


  • Inspiration

I played soccer for (too) many years. I had the privilege and honor of playing with and against many players who had tremendous pace – speed that both surprised and amazed me. There is a saying in sport that speed compensates for the lack of other attributes – and soccer is no different. Speed to me is astonishing and to witness it firsthand is quite shocking. I will never forget playing a practice match inside Kennesaw State University’s 400-meter track as their track team was training. The incredible sound generated from these remarkable track athletes basically stopped our match as both teams looked in wonderment at their sheer speed.

There are now and previously many great U.S. Olympic track teams that gave all of us enjoyment and medals at previous Olympic Games. Then I consider the small island of Jamaica and the number of male and female sprinters that have come from this Caribbean paradise. To me it is remarkable that a country of less than 3 million people can generate the number of world-class sprinters…many who have claimed Olympic gold, silver and bronze medals. It has been nine years or so, but I will never forget the 2012 Olympic Games, with Usain Bolt anchoring Jamaica’s 4 x 100 relay team. Their sheer speed, timing, and seamless handoffs were remarkable – along with Bolt’s 100-meter leg that saw him blow away his opponents. Teamwork is a great inspiration for me. Move the cursor to the 1:30 mark.

How does a small island nation produce world-class sprinters year after year?

Adios, pay it forward, be safe, and have a Funday Sunday! Note: Memorial Day is celebrated a week from tomorrow – please fly the flag.

The DarkSide. Ponder This.

An Energy Executive’s View. A Few Items On My Mind. “I’ve Got This.”

  • Along with the rest of the craziness happening worldwide, the Southeast United States endured a week-long gasoline nightmare with Russian hackers taking down the Colonial Pipeline supply lines. Gas stations out of fuel, long lines of cars waiting to fill their tanks, and tempers flaring from Pensacola to Roanoke. After many days of uneasiness, it seems the Colonial Pipeline, after reports of the company having to pay a “ransomware” up to $5M, is back up and running, with fuel trucks back on the road hopefully providing a level of normalcy.

We are all asking questions about IT infrastructure and redundancy, and how hackers from Russia named DarkSide could use the internet to shut down systems running Colonial’s fuel pipeline. The exact methodology of how hackers like DarkSide accomplish this needs to be answered by a much higher authority, but the reality of the situation poses even more questions of greater magnitude – and that is our electrical grid system. For a much better take on the subject of electricity, I asked my friend Tracy, an executive with a leading energy provider, to give us her insight into the world of power and sustainability:

We need to take this Colonial Pipeline hack seriously and we need to prioritize protecting our critical energy resources. ‘We’ includes both the Federal Government as well as the private sector. My focus/job is more on our electric grid and renewable energy dependency. I live in Texas and we learned a hard lesson on the value of electricity to provide not only power, but to pump natural gas and water during what we now so fondly call “Snowpocalypse.” Hopefully most will not have to learn the lesson the way we did.

What I think we need to remain focused on is the balance between green and brown power and the importance of both. Our reliability on green power is growing across the U.S. and I think that is the right direction in which to move. We do need to consider the threats of relying on renewables (Wind and Solar). What happens when there is a cloud cover? The wind stops blowing? Or hackers shut down the wind and solar farms? We rely on grid power. I think we need all of it so we have more than one resource to rely on and people are not left without electricity. It doesn’t just keep us from having the lights on, it costs lives.

One final note, if you haven’t read “Ready Player One,” I highly recommend it and I don’t mean watch the movie…in the book the entire premise is the crash of the electric grid. The setting is: In the year 2045, the world is gripped by an energy crisis and global warming, causing widespread social problems and economic stagnation. 2045? 2025? And that’s MY take.

As Tracy mentions, we have all experienced the uncomfortable and sometimes dire situation of being without power, for as little as an hour or sometimes for days. Heavy storm systems and other variables have shut down power grids around the world so what happens when the same happens ‘on demand,’ or in other words a hacker like DarkSide uses keystrokes to target a specific city’s electrical grids? Unlikely to happen?

I know, it sounds like a plot from a Bruce Willis action movie, but The Department of Homeland Security has recently disclosed new details about the extent to which Russia has infiltrated “critical infrastructure” like American power plants, water facilities, and gas pipelines. So while we experience fuel shortages from a hack of pipeline, the taking down of multiple electrical grid systems for long periods of time would disrupt every part of our daily lives. Many of us previously shrugged our shoulders at the term “Cyber Warfare.” The event last week quickly reminded us that the term is very real.


Things To Ponder:

  • Has anyone looked into Bob Baffert’s horse training methodology?
  • Delta Air Lines requiring all new hires to be vaccinated. Questions?
  • How good are the Atlanta Hawks? Very.
  • A BOLO (you know what a BOLO is) – for a Tiger roaming Houston, Texas.
  • 2,000 years of conflict in the Middle East – will it ever end?
  • Mask off. The CDC thinks the honor system will work?
  • ARod and JLo are finally quiet. Good luck Ben.
  • A Friends reunion. Yawn.
  • A Tim Tebow and Urban Meyer reunion. Again a yawn.
  • For a final note, a feel good moment. If you are having a tough day watch this video…and remember “I’ve Got This.”
“I’ve Got This.”

Adios, pay it forward, stay safe and have a Funday Sunday!

Mom. Crash And Burn. BayWatch. Questions.

Celebrate Your Mom. A Rocket’s Red Glare. Swim Strong, Swim Fast. Answers Please.

  • Tomorrow is Mother’s Day. Yes, many of us live away from our mom, have had a contentious relationship with her, or our 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 every mom. 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.” Not all of us can gather to celebrate Mother’s Day, but at the very least, no matter the situation, call your mom and show your respect and appreciation. Just do it.
Jerry’s mom being a mom.
  • I will try to keep this on the light side – but there is nothing ‘light’ about a 21-ton rocket on a collision course with earth. It is apparent that the Chinese miscalculated, with their latest rocket, at 100-feet long and traveling at 17,000 m.p.h., making an uncontrollable re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere. There are several possible places where debris that survives re-entry could crash down. Among them are New York, Madrid and Beijing in the Northern Hemisphere and southern Chile and Wellington, New Zealand, in the Southern Hemisphere. The re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere is scheduled for anytime between tonight and noon tomorrow. Here is to hoping it crashes in the middle of an ocean. A side note: the Chinese are planning on ten additional rocket launches between now and the middle of 2022. Perfect.
Las Vegas was taking bets…..
  • As we head into May and warm coastal temperatures, we all look forward to heading to the beach and enjoying the ocean water. Just a reminder that these waters are in no way governed by us, but by the creatures who have owned the seas for thousands of years. Regarding sharks, there has always been the myth of staying out of the water at dusk, but as you can see in this video, shot with a drone near Malibu, California, the presence of sharks and the time of day have no relevance. Happy surfing!
“Jaws” led to everyone staying out of the water….

Ten Questions:

  • Any thoughts on Elon Musk hosting tonight’s Saturday Night Live?
  • Regarding Covid-19 and the vaccines, is herd immunity important to you?
  • Is it too soon to open stadiums and arenas to 100% capacity?
  • What sentence does the judge hand down to Derek Chauvin?
  • Is Jonathan Bauer the hero of 2021 to date? (Google to find out more).
  • I did not, but did you buy copper futures weeks ago? I hope so.
  • Will the unemployed return to the workforce once their increased benefits stop?
  • How did a 6th-grader have access to a handgun?
  • If you work from an office, are you looking forward to not working from home?
  • What are you doing for your mom or someone’s mom tomorrow?

Adios, pay it forward, stay safe, and Happy Mother’s Day!

Top Of Mind Things I Think.

  • Is anyone wondering how public and private entities are going to handle people who have and have not been vaccinated? I see all types of issues bubbling up.
  • What caused the very sad and alarming Covid-19 situation in India?
  • Other than a friend of mine who scrolls the Entertainment News ticker across his laptop screen, is anyone interested in Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriquez?
  • Ingress and egress. Two words never more important than Thursday night in northern Israel. Shame on the authorities who permitted this “festival.”
  • Orlando City – last night was a really nice night in a great stadium, and a great game at that. Orlando City scored 30 seconds into the game and never let up.
  • In my never-ending battle to understand lift, can someone please explain:
Any questions?
  • SpaceX is creating a crowd. Last Thursday’s launch from Kennedy Space Center marked the company’s 27th Starlink mission, which so far has deployed over 1,500 satellites into space. Strangely enough, Elon Musk is scheduled to host the next Saturday Night Live – no, not kidding.
  • Speaking of space, NASA’s ARTEMIS-1 mission is scheduled for early November. A huge step was the delivery of the Core Stage 1 booster rocket from the Huntsville, Alabama space exploration facility to Kennedy Space Center in Florida. This early November launch will set the stage for the manned Artemis-3 mission, which will land on the moon in 2024.
The Core-Stage 1 – floating on a barge towards the Vehicle Assembly Building.
  • Speaking of taking a ride, the new Jurassic World VelociCoaster at Universal Studios is set to open in early June. Some friends of mine who work at Universal have told me this experience will be “fantastic.” I guess “fantastic” is the operative word. Details:

Top Speed: 70 mph in 2.4 seconds.

360° barrel roll over a lagoon.

100’ first of its kind inverted stall (what the hell is an “inverted stall?”)

155’ top hat with 80° drop.

12 total seconds of airtime (I did not bother to ask what “airtime” really means?).

My level of interest with experiencing this ride: how about zero! No, and No.
  • An Early Season Take – Atlanta United.

After last Tuesday night’s CONCACAF Champions League loss to Philadelphia, I heard from many friends asking for my thoughts, etc. Below is what I posted on Wednesday morning. Note: Atlanta United lost last night to New England and both Jurgen Damm and Ezequiel Barco left the game with hamstring injuries.

From an Atlanta United perspective, 50% of something is better than 0% of nothing. For the first 45 minutes, other than one of two big miscommunications that led to Philadelphia’s first goal, which was completely against the run of play, the Five Stripes looked very good. So good in fact, we did not get too upset with the lack of finishing passes or finishing in that first half. “Not too upset” other than that famous cliché “you get punished for not taking your chances.”

The amount of pressure and speed of play Atlanta exhibited in the first half became a false narrative. Maybe Philadelphia manager Jim Curtain’s tactic was the infamous “rope-a-dope” and a bit of luck as the Union were able to suck up Atlanta’s onslaught in the first 45 – and then purely out-managed Gabriel Heinze in the last 45. Yes, Curtain’s magic was also supported by Atlanta’s inability to serve a quality ball and finish, as well as their panic-stricken effort to get everyone forward in the second half. Was the Union’s counter attack that good or did Atlanta provide a path to numerical advantage?

No Atlanta supporter will be upset at Gabriel Heinze’s high-pressure, attacking style of play. What they might be upset with is what I will refer to as “two-leg maturity.” There is obviously a risk-reward factor to Atlanta’s get-forward mentality, and in a League match, to lose a game 3-0 due to that ethos is just part of a long season. To maintain that mentality in a two-game CCL quarterfinal is both short-sighted and ignorant. I won’t go into detail on possession, number of crosses, number of chances, and shots on goal, but it is a sure bet that Heinze will do so in videotape sessions.

Atlanta finds itself in a precarious short-term situation. A short rest and last night’s visit to Bruce Arena’s New England Revolution, and then the CCL quarterfinal return leg at Philadelphia three days later. Questions to ponder: is Jurgen Damm unlucky or is his speed his only real asset? Is the talented Marcelino Moreno best utilized on the flank? When do we see a match fit Josef Martinez…and if match fit, when will he get to impose his will? Did Gabriel Heinze learn some lessons last night? As I stated to various people leading up to last night’s match, did Curtain, and will subsequent managers, employ tactics to expose the Five Stripes on the counter-attack? Yes, and yes.

Adios, pay if forward, be safe, and have a Funday Sunday!

Lessons Learned.

Shaken, Not Stirred.

A number of guest writers have thankfully provided their take on topics covering sports journalism, the economics of college athletics, the serious crisis in Lebanon, the meetings and events industry, and various other takes. Today’s guest writer provides insight into the world of bonds, a financial product that has always been a bit of a mystery. As a baseline:

  • The bond market broadly describes a marketplace where investors buy debt securities that are brought to the market by either governmental entities or publicly-traded corporations.
  • National governments generally use the proceeds from bonds to finance infrastructural improvements and pay down debts.
  • Companies issue bonds to raise the capital needed to maintain operations, grow their product lines, or open new locations.

Thanks to JP for his info and take:

Why should you own bonds? What are bonds? I have worked in the bond market for the past 35 years and I always get asked by friends “what are bonds?” are so I figured I may as well share some knowledge here. Thank you, Gary, for the opportunity.

Bonds Defined: As a simple definition, a bond is an IOU issued by a corporation, government, or government- sponsored entity, or municipality. It has a defined maturity and pays an annual rate of interest, typically on a semiannual basis.

What don’t I know about bonds? One clear benefit. Because bonds are IOU’s, they are from a capital perspective above equity (stockholders) in case of a bankruptcy. Huh? Well, if you own Apple stock and Apple bonds….and Apple were to go into bankruptcy and then into a company liquidation…. the first to get paid are the bond holders! That is right! All bank loans and bond holders get paid before the stockholders. So, in a worst-case scenario (bankruptcies/liquidations) …. the stockholders can get wiped out completely, while the bond owners would still get some of or possibly all of the principal they paid returned to them. Do you remember the financial collapse of 2008? If you owned Lehman Brothers stock, it went to zero. If you owned Lehman Brothers bonds, during liquidation they would have still paid out 40 to 50 cents on the dollar…. better than losing it all in the stock!

What is the size of the bond market versus the stock market? Thru 2019, the size of the U.S. stock market was $37.5 trillion, and the bond market $41.2 trillion. Globally, all of the stock markets combined total $95 trillion, and the bond markets $128 trillion.

How do bond prices and yields work? Yields and prices work in opposite directions on bonds. So, when interest rates increase…. bond prices decrease…. but if you hold a bond to maturity…..no matter what interest rates do…..you will be paid back at par (100) absent a default or bankruptcy. This is different than owning a bond fund. In a bond fund, interest rates and what other investors in the fund do can affect a gain or loss for you. Bond funds do not have a final maturity but rather a targeted duration.

Where are current US Treasury Bond Yields?

Why do yields go up? Yields on bonds are the market’s perception of inflation going forward. Rates will rise when the economy strengthens, signaling the federal reserve to begin raising short term rates to curb the unwanted additional inflation.

How do you measure your risk in bonds…? What is my downside? Let us say you bought a 5-year bond…. a AAA rated U.S. Treasury. You buy $10,000 of the U.S. Treasury 0.75% coupon maturing 3/31/26 at par. So, your yield is 0.75%. These will pay you that interest rate semiannually. So, each year that is $75, paid semiannually so $37.50 every 6 months.

Now let us say that interest rates on these bonds go from 0.75% to 1.50%. The market price of the bond goes from par ($100) to $96.40 or a paper loss of 3.6 points. That would be if you wanted to sell the bonds. If rates stay at 1.50% …. you still get paid $100 at maturity or $10,000….so only a loss if you sell them prior to the maturity date.

The longer the maturity (or duration) of a bond, the more the price changes for the same change in rates. So, on a 10-year U.S. Treasury at par ($100) with a 1.625% coupon with the same rate move of .75% to 2.375% in interest rates, the price moves to approximately $94.40 or a paper loss of approximately 5.60 points. Again, you still get paid your $10,000 at maturity if you do not sell them prior to maturity.

What if I want more yield? You can increase the yield you get by either lengthening the maturity of the bond you purchase or go down in credit quality. Since U.S. Treasury bonds are rated AAA, other bonds such as corporate bonds trade at a “spread” or yield on top of what U.S. Treasury’s yield. For example, in the above where 5-year Treasury’s yield 0.75%, a 5-year corporate bond such as Apple which are AA rated trade at a +.35 spread to the 5-year or 1.25% yield 1.10% (U.S. Treasury 0.75% +.35 spread = 1.10%). Or an Apple 10-year bond which trades at a +.40% spread to the 10-year treasury would yield 2.025% (U.S. Treasury 1.625% +.40 spread = 2.025%)
The lower the credit rating, the higher the spread and the higher the yield. The more risk you take, the bigger the reward.

What is duration? Duration is the weighted average maturity of the bond’s cash flows. This takes into consideration the interest rate the bond pays you as well as the final maturity. So, a five-year bond with a 3% coupon has a shorter duration than a five-year bond with a 2% coupon.

Why are interest rates and bond yields so low? The short answer is “QE” Quantitative Easing. QE is a form of unconventional monetary policy in which a central bank (like the Federal Reserve) purchases securities (bonds or some countries’ stocks) in the open market in order to increase money supply and encourage lending. This policy expands the central bank’s balance sheet and lowers interest rates. QE is typically used when a central bank has already lowered short rates as far as they can but still wants to drive down interest rates for longer maturities. Currently the Fed’s balance sheet is at $7.7 trillion and is growing at the pace of $120 Billion every month.

How do I invest in bonds? Most online brokerage firms have inventories of bonds to review. These can be U.S. Treasury bonds, Corporate bonds, Government Agency Bonds, or Municipal bonds. You can also purchase U.S. Treasury Bonds directly from the U.S. Government at this website:

https://www.treasurydirect.gov/indiv/research/indepth/tbonds/res_tbond_buy.htm


SpaceX’s Used Vehicle Does It Again.

I have enough issues navigating Orlando’s Colonial Drive when heading to my local Publix Supermarket. Then, for the second time, I try to understand how SpaceX’s reused Crew Dragon links up with the International Space Station (ISS) 264 miles above the Indian Ocean. Let’s be very clear, I don’t understand how the Crew-2 and the ISS even come close to each other twenty-three hours after liftoff, nonetheless dock while on the same orbital path. Based on JP’s analysis of the bond market, I would expect he could tell us how this is possible? 🙂


No Winner Here.

  • Guilty on all three counts. The reading of the verdict by the judge was even-keeled and decisive. There really is no winner in the George Floyd/Derek Chauvin case – other than the process of a jury trial. What actually came out of this trial was a 12-person jury, whittled down from a pool of more than 300 potential candidates, made up of one Black woman, two multiracial women, two White men, three Black men, and four White women. Most under 40. This mix of people were charged with deciding one of the highest profile cases in recent memory, and without editorializing, provided the Court with a verdict that reverberated across the country.

As I posted two weeks ago, Derek Chauvin did not have the intention of ending George Floyd’s life. As the unfortunate circumstances unfolded, including Floyd resisting the police officers’ effort to place him in their car, Chauvin’s emotion and machismo led to a terrible act of judgment, one that will put him in prison for many years. The justice system was the only ‘winner’ here – a jury trial that provided the proper due diligence with a very difficult case. Difficult in many ways, including the Judge’s decision not to sequester the jury and two alternates.


Caitlyn On The Run.

California – one of my favorite states to visit, from Carlsbad to the Central Coast, and of course the Pacific Coast Highway leading you through the twists and turns leading up to the amazing town of Carmel. I had to yield way to my visits to the west coast due to the pandemic, but it is now probably time to visit California, that if a sovereign nation, would rank as the world’s fifth largest economy. It is also a state whose front-runner for governor is Caitlyn Jenner. The last time I saw Jenner as a front-runner was when he was in the throws of winning the 1976 Olympic decathlon gold medal. California: an amazing state to say the least. Run Caitlyn, Run!

Bruce Jenner, now Caitlyn Jenner, won the 1976 Olympic Decathlon Gold Medal.

Paying It Forward.

  • Now for some news that makes you smile. Speaking of paying it forward, an LSU fraternity did a great thing for their former fraternity house cook. A kind gesture to say the least that sheds a bit of light on a week of news to forget.
Paying it forward.

Adios, pay it forward, stay safe, and have a Funday Sunday!

It Is Already Mid-April.

UFO. The World Of Golf. Rocket Man. Challenge Me. Random Thoughts.

  • I am not a conspiracy theorist. I am reasonable and of sound mind (many might disagree). Then I read these statements, released last Monday, from the Pentagon: “As we have said before, to maintain operations security and to avoid disclosing information that may be useful to potential adversaries, DOD does not discuss publicly the details of either the observations or the examinations of reported incursions into our training ranges or designated airspace, including those incursions initially designated as UAP.” UAP is the acronym for Unidentified Aerial Phenomena. Am I the only one wondering what the hell the Pentagon is trying to explain?
Call me crazy but what are these pilots tracking?
  • Golf at one time was a sport of dignity, rules and attire. Years ago, many golf courses around the world demanded long pants, collared shirts and a level of respect for fellow players and the golf course. Over time, for many reasons, the number of golfers in the United States declined leading to as many as 200 golf courses failing each year. At many golf courses and clubs there a different revenue streams, but no matter, the key metric is the number of rounds played each day, month, and year. The number of golfers on a course lead to different levels of spend at the course including the green fees, pro shop purchases, and restaurant/bar tabs.

Just when the golf business seemed to be a thought from the past, the Covid-19 pandemic has yielded an increased interest in golf, mostly due to the ability to get outside and enjoy camaraderie in a relatively safe way. This circumstance has been great for the golf business with many people venturing out to play who have never before been on a golf course. The “dumbing down” of the sport has only been a good thing to a point, and without editorializing, here is a case in point:

Golf, the next WWF event!!

It looks like NASA has given Space X yet another “GO” for a manned launch of their Crew Dragon spacecraft this Thursday morning. The three-man, one woman crew will rendezvous with the International Space Station (ISS). This crew of four will replace the crew of the first operational Crew Dragon spacecraft who will return to Earth on April 28. Unbelievably, this has become an every month occurrence – out of the realm of thinking even ten years ago. The privatization of space has been a tremendous boost to the world’s space programs and many people’s wallets. It was reported last week that Space X is now at a valuation of about $74 billion.

SpaceX’s Crew Dragon Endeavour spacecraft is rotated for attachment to its Falcon 9 rocket.
  • I really like to challenge myself to learn or experience something new every year. I should have taken 2020, and the fallout of the pandemic, to learn something new, and since I really do like music, my challenge should have been to take a stab at learning how to play the guitar. I did not take the time to do so, and so far, almost five months into 2021, I have not yet set a new challenge. This video has nothing to do with pretty blondes, Sharon Stone in the movie Basic Instinct, or my passion for the band Deep Purple. I am just very envious at how effortlessly Emily Hastings cranks out Smoke On The Water – an inspiration for me to get off my ass and set a personal challenge for the balance of 2021.

Random Things I Think I Think:

  • Closing arguments start tomorrow with the George Floyd/Derek Chauvin case. It is going to be interesting how the defense attorney establishes reasonable doubt, etc.
  • Matt Gaetz – Even cutting the allegations in half, and in half again. A bit sickening.
  • JLo & ARod – thanks for setting the record straight as all of us had to know that you officially broke up. Get over yourself.
  • I respect that it is an individual decision not to be vaccinated. Just be respectful that private entities and businesses will make their individual decisions as well.
  • I am a firm believer of the U.S. Constitution including the 2nd Amendment. With that said, more tragedy, in San Antonio and Indianapolis, dictates some type of action must place. Forty-five mass shootings in the last 30 days – is it time for the 2nd Amendment to be amended just a bit?
  • The game, played between Orlando City and Atlanta United at Orlando’s Exploria Stadium, ended in a no-goal draw. The real win was Orlando City’s management and staff, who I am sure worked very hard to pull of this 50% capacity match on a hot and humid day. It really did feel good to be back in a stadium with approximately 12,000 very supportive fans. Kudos to Orlando City as attending a live sporting event felt very good.
  • To all vaccine manufactures: please figure out how vaccine booster shots can be paired with the annual flu shot. Thank you.
  • The Atlanta Hawks are very good…and when they get everyone healthy they will make a great run into the playoffs.
  • The Castro’s have been ruling Cuba since 1959. Raul Castro, who replaced his brother, Fidel, is “stepping down”. Raul, maybe you should just follow your brother to Hell? Sorry, that was political but what these brothers did to this awesome island country is criminal.
  • Speaking of my fav, Godzilla: If a few Tyrannosaurus rex (T.rex), the school bus-sized meat-eating dinosaurs that stalked our landscape seems impressive, how about 2.5 billion of them? Say what?

Adios, pay it forward, be safe, and have a Funday Sunday!

A Broad Stroke Of Topics.

Driver Needed. Honor. 118 Years Later. Enjoy Rikers. Electrified. I Drew The Wrong Straw. The Lions and Five Stripes – A Battle of Epic Proportions.

  • Can anyone please explain how Tiger Woods’ agent and business support team allows him to drive himself to commitments, appointments, or anywhere, especially in locations he may not be familiar with? The L.A. sheriff’s office has kept his awful auto crash under the radar but they did disclose the vehicle reached speeds above 80 mph, in a 45 mph zone. Tiger: no mas. Use some of that wealth and hire a 24/7 driver.
  • Speaking of golf, we head into today’s final round of the 2021 Masters. The tournament always opens with golf’s greatest teeing off on the 1st hole. A tradition like none other as they say, and this year, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player were joined by honorary chairman Lee Elder, the first black golfer to compete at The Masters. Yes, the 80 year-old Nicklaus and the 85 year-old Player hit their tee shots straight down the middle. Of course they did.
Lee Elder with the legendary Gary Player and Jack Nicklaus at Thursday’s first round.
  • NASA engineers will try and attempt the first flight on Mars today and it could change space exploration forever. As a recap, NASA’s Perseverance rover, which launched in July 2020 and arrived on Mars February 18, carried the Ingenuity helicopter folded up in its belly. After the rover landed, it dropped Ingenuity onto the ground so the helicopter/drone could ready itself for its first flight.

As a matter of perspective, Ingenuity will attempt the first powered, controlled flight on another planet. The first powered flight on Earth took place Dec. 17, 1903, on the dunes of Kill Devil Hills, near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. Orville and Wilbur Wright covered 120 feet in 12 seconds during the first flight. Those two brothers would be mighty proud 118 years later.

NASA engineers test Ingenuity in preparation for today’s flight.
  • An undercover Asian officer from the New York Police Department (NYPD) has arrested a woman for hurling anti-Asian remarks at salon employees in Manhattan. The woman was caught harassing Asian employees at a Chinatown nail salon by threatening them and blaming them for the Covid-19 pandemic. I have read that Rikers Island’s infamous penitentiary is cozy this time of year. In fact, former Rikers Island inmates have called the facility “hell on earth,” cockroach-infested, and filthy. In 2019, there were 70 violent incidents for every 1,000 people in jail. I can’t think of a better place for this moron to spend the next five to ten years.
Yes, it goes both ways.
  • In previous posts I have mentioned my interest in autonomous and electric vehicles. While I immediately think about the recharging and range issues it seems that major automobile manufactures are way ahead of the curve on how to overcome said issues. In fact, General Motors (GM) will offer thirty types of electric vehicles by 2025 – with 40% of the company’s U.S. models battery-powered electric vehicles. GM has partnered with EVgo, who in the next five years will add 2,700 fast charging stations, all powered by renewable energy. There is no doubt GM as well as most of the world’s major automobile manufacturers are betting heavily on the electric vehicle market, with GM announcing that their new Hummer will be all electric.
2022 gmc hummer ev
The new Hummer from General Motors will be all-electric.

On the other side of the electric vehicle spectrum, there are numerous manufactures that are are unveiling tiny electric cars that will carry just one or two people and in many cases, go relatively short distances on a single charge. I assume their market research has provided for the potential demand, but there would definitely need to be a discernible rhyme and reason with negotiating the crazy traffic and highways associated with most major cities.

The Microlino is modeled on post-World War II European "bubble cars."
The Microlino is modeled on post-World War II European “bubble cars.”
  • K-9’s. These unsung heroes of law enforcement are invaluable with hunting down suspects as well as the search for drugs and weapons. The training these dogs go through has to be intense and never-ending, and must include training exercises reenacting actual tense situations. The real question: who draws the short straw to act as the perpetrator? Take a look.
Hoping that the protective clothing….is actual protective clothing!
  • I am very much looking forward to Saturday at 3pm. The start of the Major League Soccer season includes what should be a great game between Orlando City and Atlanta United. Exploria Stadium is the venue, a beautiful downtown Orlando stadium walking distance from many outdoor restaurants and bars. Though Orlando City’s new in-state rival is down in the Miami area, there is no love lost between the Lions and the Five Stripes. It started many years ago when Atlanta United’s front office, in order to help generate a rivalry, placed outdoor advertising easily seen from I-4 in Orlando, and the rivalry expanded with comments made by both teams and their supporters. Orlando City, coming off a great 2020 season, will be a force to be reckoned with as they have reloaded their player pool, while Atlanta United has brought in a new manager, a few new impact players, and is hoping Josef Martinez has recovered from knee surgery. Saturday afternoon at Exploria Stadium will be a fun game to watch.
Orlando City’s Exploria Stadium – a great stadium with a great fan experience.

Adios, pay it forward, stay safe and have a Funday Sunday!