Just Funny.

The Classic Comedians. No Comparison To Today.

In light of this week’s negative vibes, namely the economy, the stock market, another nut job in Philadelphia, and China’s posturing, I wanted to try and give some light to a bit of darkness.

Their subject matter may no longer be relevant nor their unrelenting rants regarding race, creed and religion, but the comedians of many years past were incredibly funny. Sure, there are many modern-day stand ups who entertain us with comedy, but in my opinion they pale in comparison to the classics of the past.

Did you ever see or YouTube Don Rickles’ stand up diatribes on The Johnny Carson Show? Did you get to experience how Rickles not only picked on the audience but on Carson himself? Outrageously funny and a bit shocking for that day and age – some of his banter would in no way be tolerated in today’s world of sensitivity. Don Rickles, Rodney Dangerfield, Richard Pryor and Buddy Hackett. I would put these four up against any modern comedians as these guys from yesteryear had better content, delivery and timing than anyone else I have seen and heard. Richard Pryor? Unbelievably vulgar but everyone cried laughing at what he said and his unprecedented method of delivery.

I don’t make the time to visit comedy clubs like I once did. We could all use a daily dose of smiles and laughter – to rise above all the tumult of today’s crazy world. Many years ago I enjoyed seeing and hearing my father belly laugh at Don Rickles, whether it was stand up, as a guest on a late night show, or delivering comments about another entertainer who is being ‘roasted’. Here is a good example:

Comedy, laughter and smiles. After last week we should focus on making that happen all day, everyday.

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

The 2nd Amendment Should Not Be Top Of Mind.

Controlling The People, The Weapon, The Circumstance.

I am taking a holiday but wanted to provide previous posts that addressed tragic mass shootings, most recently taking place in El Paso and Dayton. As of last Sunday, which was the 216th day of the year, there have been 251 mass shootings in the U.S. In the past I have mentioned that we should focus on security at schools and other venues. Unfortunately, last week’s shootings, as well as many others, could not have been prevented with heightened security measures. These incidents were carried out randomly by unbalanced people, in possession of deadly weapons, with motivation to kill other human beings. The toll of 251 mass shootings include five high-profile rampages in the past 20 days, in which more than 100 people were shot: 

  • A shooting in a historic district of Dayton, Ohio, with 9 people killed and 27 injured.
  • A shooting at Walmart in El Paso, Texas, with 20 people killed and 26 wounded. It was the deadliest shooting of the year.
  • A shooting at the Gilroy Garlic Festival in the San Francisco Bay Area, with three people killed and 15 injured.
  • A shooting at a Brooklyn block party, with one person killed and 11 injured.
  • A shooting at a Walmart in Southaven, Mississippi, with two people killed and two injured.

Here is what I previously posted on the subject of gun control and school security:

On December 15, 1791, the Bill of Rights (the first ten amendments to the Constitution) were ratified by three-fourths of the States.  The second amendment is unfortunately top of mind these days with another school shooting, this time at a high school near Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

The Second Amendment reads: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed”.  Little did Thomas Jefferson know that when he authenticated and ratified the Bill of Rights, the second amendment would indirectly lead to many school tragedies including Sandy Hook, Columbine, Parkland, and many other shooting incidents at schools around the U.S.A.  Nor did he know how people of lesser minds would use the weapons allowed by the Second Amendment.

After the tragedy at the Parkland, Florida high school, I stated that school security, not gun control, should be our #1 initiative: “I will not comment on why a 19-year old possessed a AR-15 rifle, groups of gun activists or gun control, nor our divided political system.  What I will comment on is school security.  Don’t get me wrong, I put no blame on the high school administrators where last week’s massacre took place.  My bewilderment relates to the ability of someone, anyone, able to enter a school with little security in place.  I only wish that the Washington, D.C.  protest would have been more focused on school safety than gun control.”  My  point is unfortunately reinforced with yesterday’s massacre at the Santa Fe High School near Houston, Texas.  The weapons, a shotgun and a .38 caliber handgun, were most likely purchased legally.  Gun control would have not changed the outcome of a 17 year-old who took the weapons from his house and walked into the high school he attended with the intention of killing his fellow students.  The guns he used were owned by his father so it is unlikely that gun control would have prevented this sick young man’s father from purchasing the weapons.  I will never understand why there is little to no security within our school systems.  I don’t know if the answer is employing retired police officers or our retired veterans, but Parkland, Santa Fe, Columbine, and other school tragedies all had one common denominator:  the perpetrator simply walked into a school and carried out the massacres.  I no longer have a school-age child but if I did I would help lead the charge to better protect all of our children when they are in school.

Let there be no misunderstanding.  I am proud of all the people worldwide, especially the children, who gathered yesterday to make their voices heard regarding gun control.  I just wonder if their efforts are misguided?  As I stated in my February 18th post:  “I will not comment on why a 19-year old possessed a AR-15 rifle, groups of gun activists or gun control, nor our divided political system.  What I will comment on is school security.  Don’t get me wrong, I put no blame on the high school administrators where last week’s massacre took place.”  My bewilderment relates to the ability of someone, anyone, able to enter a school with little security in place.  I only wish that the protest would have been more focused on school safety than gun control.  With respect to the 2nd Amendment it is time for more controls to be put in place when purchasing a gun, but what would have been the difference if the sick 19 year-old had walked into Stoneman Douglas High School with a shotgun instead of an AR-15?  The importance of security and locking down our schools is still way more important than gun control.

Originally designed to allow the disabled to fire weapons with little effort, the “bump-fire stock” became a weapon of mass destruction last Sunday night.  We can talk about the Constitution and gun control from now until eternity but the reality of Sunday night dictates that some higher level of regulation is needed, and needed now.  While I am in full support of our right to bear arms, the ability to acquire weapons or accessories to turn firearms into automatic weapons needs to be controlled by federal and state authorities.  I realize that sick human beings cannot be stopped from doing deadly damage but why give them relatively easy ways to fire automatic weapons?  I don’t have the answers but some type of regulation can only help to stop these sad events from happening.  It just so happened that after taking a look at other concert venues Stephen Paddock selected the annual country music festival that sets up behind the MGM Grand hotel.  His motive was to kill as many people as possible, using various high-powered rifles with the “bump-fire stock” accessory allowing him to spray the crowd with continuous and automatic rapid fire.  Though he selected Las Vegas, this tragedy could have happened anywhere.

The discussion, debate and argument surrounding the 2nd Amendment may not solve the problem of mass shootings. Does anyone have a suggestion or solution to this systemic problem?

Adios, pay it forward, protect your loved ones, and have a Sunday Funday.

Change Management.

What Would Tata Do?

At the suggestion (or demand) from a few readers, I have stayed away from the subject of soccer for many weeks. I will go back into the subject once again to give you my take on Frank de Boer, Atlanta United’s coach, who took over for the beloved Tata Martino. Just some facts: Atlanta United is coming off last year’s championship season. Martino left the Club to become Mexico’s national team manager. Miguel Almiron, United’s most important and impactful player, left the Club as he was purchased by Newcastle United of the English Premier League. Another key player at times, especially late in the season, was Greg Garza. His ability to affect the game from his attacking left fullback position caused opposing teams to lose their shape as Garza was a force coming down that left flank. Post season the club traded Garza to Cincinnati, a new expansion team. With the loss of their manager and two impact players, United hired Frank de Boer, a Dutchman with experience as both a player and manager.

Whether it be business or sport, new leadership most likely dictates a change in management style, expectations and culture. Frank comes from Europe, Tata from South America. Differences with their leadership style were always going to be questioned by the players, media, and the fan base, as well as the player selection and formation employed by Frank. No new leader likes-for-likes the exact dynamics of their predecessor – they bring their own style, strategies, and in most cases a new (coaching) staff.

Players have spoken out about the culture and playing style differences, and some of the fan base are irate with player selections and the defensive style of play. I guess there are a lot of short memories out there. As mentioned, Miguel Almiron left the club. Greg Garza was moved on. Due to qualifying for the CONCACAF Champions League and the U.S. Open Cup, the compressed schedule of games is borderline ridiculous. And most importantly, Frank has had to deal with numerous player injuries, which has caused a myriad of problems considering the schedule of games. Franco Escobar, Kevin Kratz, Mikey Ambrose, Ezequiel Barco, Pity Martinez, George Bello, Florentin Pogba, Tito Villalba, and Brek Shea have all missed significant playing time. Nine players have not been available for many games, no Miguel Almiron or Greg Garza, and a very compressed schedule. Never mind a few of our players who missed games due to national team playing assignments.

Then there is the Pity Martinez dilemma. Pity came to United in the off season heralded as the South American Player of the Year. Unfortunately, his short tenure with United has not been what was expected by the fans, the media, and more importantly the coaching staff. Yes, coming to a new club in a new league and in a new country is not easy. With that said, Frank has given this young man the runway to get acclimated to his new teammates and surroundings. It is now up to Pity to show his abilities – for 90 minutes and not short spurts like he has done to date. Work rate and attitude come to mind as being problematic and we can only hope that Pity snaps out of whatever is preventing him from playing well, game in and game out. Frank can only be tolerant to a point.

There are groups out there that are calling for Frank’s head. They want the Club to replace a manager that has dealt with all the talking points described above. Reality is that the team sits near the top of the Eastern Conference with a game in hand. Seven teams in the Conference will make the playoffs. United’s player pool is getting healthy once again with Barco, Villalba and Pogba now available. Some of the fans called for a walkout of this afternoon’s game with LA Galaxy. A walkout on a team that is three points out of first place in their conference…with a game in hand?

My question to all of you: under the exact same circumstances……WHAT WOULD TATA HAVE DONE? My take is exactly what Frank has done. #ATLUTD

Adios, pay it forward, and have a great weekend.

A Perspective On Simple.

They Are Not Dealing with Highway 400 or I-4. Nope.

Do you sometimes wonder how people living in remote areas or the world’s indigenous tribes living deep in the jungles and forests of the world ‘survive’.

My reference points are twofold: 1) as children, my father often took me and my brother to shoot guns in the Florida Everglades. I remember wondering why and how people like the Miccosukee tribe survived living in the vast swamps, bush and wildlife of the Everglades. 2) on one of two mission trips, I worked with the people of Honduras’ Agalta Valley, nine hours by bus from the capitol city of Tegucigalpa, and often referred to as the Valley of Death. What I have come to realize from these experiences is that the Miccosukee tribe and the people of the Agalta Valley, in most cases, are very content with their way of life and well being. No air conditioning, no constant source of running water, limited medical services, and a ‘bed’ made of wood and straw. So by natural instinct, heritage, and survival, they have morphed into a very simple way of life.

They don’t know what they don’t know, though the digital age has most likely brought some type of technology/communication to their villages or reservation. Yes, the Miccosukee tribe have now built a casino way out west of Miami but I am referring to their way of life many, many years ago.

Image result for photos of the miccosukee tribe
This is Buffalo Tiger of the Miccosukee Tribe. I went to school with his son, Tommy.

Though most of the people of Agalta Valley accepted Americans helping them with healthcare, commerce, and education, I felt very strongly that our help was a ‘take it or leave it’ proposition. Their children were reared to work on farms at a very early age so going to school was not really top of mind for their head of household. Education was something they had heard about but it was obvious that they could not tie any value proposition to their children leaving their working chores to go to school.

The reality is these people live a very simple life. Yes, too simple for us as we were raised in a different spectrum. The socio-economics are quite diverse from what we consider simple and how the people of the Agalta Valley define simple. I would venture to say that along with simple, most of the people I encountered and spent time with were very happy.

“Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated”. Confucius

There are many indigenous tribes living in very remote areas of the world. Take a look at this short clip when two members of the Awa tribe deep in the Amazon forest realize that they have a visitor. Thankfully, they are scared and decide to run or it might have been a very bad day for this videographer.

Complication in our lives stems from many things including relationships, family, finances, and expectations. It is difficult to benchmark our lives against an indigenous tribe, but the reality is that there are many benefits to keeping things simple.

Getting simple is not as easy as it sounds. Getting into a complicated situation is way easier than it sounds. Sleeping on a straw mat, not having running water, and living in a remote area does not sound easy. But if you compare that to to a 6-mile drive on I-4 or a 90-minute commute navigating Highway 400…..well, you get my point.

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

Stop Judging.

It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.Henry David Thoreau

“To change ourselves effectively, we first had to change our perceptions.” 
― Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change

“I know that mirrors give us a false sense of confidence. The reflection that we see everyday has nothing to do with how others see us. The glass lies.” 
― Rasmenia Massoud, Human Detritus

I will raise my hand and admit that I have passed judgement. I am not sure if I am alone with passing judgement and I don’t care. The reality is that for whatever reason, passing judgement on others may have made me feel better, given me a laugh, or bolstered my self-esteem. Sure, I have told others to ‘stop passing judgement’ on others, but my ask was a bit hypocritical as my behavior was sometimes the same. I am not coming clean with my faults but after watching the video below, I realized that at one time I may have been looking at the dressed up Cristiano Ronaldo with a bit of scrutiny. The second video is simply a fun perspective of perception!

One of my favorite people may think I have hit my head. I have not. What I have done is reconciled many things over the last seven months and tried to be that ‘better person’….not for anyone else but for me. Life in general is fast-paced, dynamic, and can sometimes be complicated or get sideways. After my brother succumbed to cancer a year ago, I realized that life is very short, so one day at a time it was just time for me to ‘step up’, ‘rise up’, or ‘unite and conquer’, or whatever appropriate motivational tag line fits.

I am not preaching. What I am doing is asking that before you make comments, stir up the rumor mill, or pass judgement, take a step back. Take a step back far enough to re-adjust your perceptions, your feelings, and your comments. Look at the video below and compare the reaction of people before and after the costume is removed. It does make you think. #CR7

Perception Is Not Always Greater Than Reality

“Always focus on the front windshield and not the review mirror.” 
― Colin Powell

Fun At 30,000 Feet

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

Just Cause.

When Was The Last Time You………..?

  • For no specific occasion, gave flowers to a loved one or friend? Just cause.
  • Gave a gift to someone to show affection or as a thank you? Just cause.
  • Spent time with the elderly to give them something to do different than their normal day? Just cause.
  • Not given up on someone or something? Just cause.
  • Wrote a letter or an email to someone to tell them how much you really care? Just cause.
  • Paid the toll for the car behind you? Just cause.
  • Recognized someone not for superior performance, but for good, dedicated performance? Just cause.
  • Volunteered your time? Just cause.
  • Paid the restaurant bill for police officers, firemen (women), or emergency service personnel? Just cause.
  • Opened the car door for your wife, significant other, or a friend? Just cause?
  • “Swallowed your pride” for the good of others? Just cause.
  • Helped someone out of a tough situation? Just cause.
  • Made a donation? Just cause.

Pay It Forward is a 2000 Warner Brothers film that started this movement. The story line is solid, the acting great, and the movie is a nice change from the usual drama or action film.

Adios, PAY IT FORWARD, and have a Funday Sunday!

Summer Fun.

Headlines News.

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:

Better late than never!!
Cheezburger Image 9218589184
Seems self-serving to me.
The Most Obvious Headlines Ever --   Guns In A Gun Store?   Maybe they mistook "gun" for "gum" and thought they sold candy.
15 Hilarious Newspaper Mistakes and Apology Notes (funny newspaper mistakes) - ODDEE
25 Stupid Newspaper Headlines

And last, but not least:

love these kinds of headlines!

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

Mutual Exclusivity. Space, The Final Frontier. July 4, 1776.

Respect. We Should Know More. Independence.

  • 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
Image result for megan rapinoe
Megan Rapinoe
  • 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
The Saturn V Three-Stage Rocket at the Kennedy Space Center Saturn V building. It weighed over 6 million lbs at takeoff.

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

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

Up, Up And Away.

“….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:

A rant about over-talkers on airplanes.

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.

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

I Get This.

Random Gets For Mid- June.

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.

H/O: Hagrid Motor Bike Ride

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!