Mid-September Takes.

Here’s To Many Things:

Here is to everyone that was in Michael’s path recovering quickly.  To those who lost their loved ones….our thoughts and prayers are with you.

Here is to OPEC and the other power brokers dealing with yield and sanctions to prevent oil from skyrocketing to $100 a barrel.

Here is to Orlando City providing their manager with a great player pool for 2019;  to Atlanta United figuring out a positive path should Tata Martino leave and a big club in Europe swallow up Miguel Almiron; to Inter Miami and David Beckham getting a positive vote to turn Mel Reese Golf Course into a mega-center including a stadium for their new Major League Soccer club.

Here is to what is expected to be a tremendous year for California wineries.  Every empty bottle is filled with a great story!

Here is to “The Gulch” next to State Farm Arena and near Mercedes Benz Stadium receiving the support it needs to build out a real “city center” for the city of Atlanta.  

Here is to the Department of Defense figuring out the F-35 program, and doing it quickly.  The program is now on hold but the reported spend to date to build out the entire fighter jet program is over $350 billion.  

Forgetting specific politics, here is to Germany finding a replacement for Chancellor Angela Merkel.  You may not have agreed to her stance on many things but she was a woman of pride, dignity and professionalism.

Here is to many more people having the brain power of Stephen Hawking.  I won’t even pretend to understand his “black hole” theories but many people do.  Smart doesn’t even begin to describe Hawking.

Here is to the section of Interstate 4 in Orlando being completed before 2022.  It is time to make the “City Beautiful” navigable.

Here is to the scientists screwing around with gene editing having the smarts to not mess with nature.  Do we really need more mice created from two females?  

Here is to the Dow Jones, international diplomacy, the Centers for Disease Control, and to both footballs.  

Adios and have a Funday Sunday!!

UFC Rubbish. Changes. $. Parity. Ford. Inspiration. Brunch with the EPL.

This is Not Sport. The OCSC Pivot.  Draw Now?   This Is Why Saturday’s Are For Football.  A Workforce of 70,000 Salaried Workers. One Arm.  The Battle at Anfield.

Obviously it is a money grab but the UFC circus is out of control.  Last night’s pay-per-view fight between Khabib Nurmagomedev and Conor McGregor ended rather quickly with McGregor completely over-matched.  Never much of a fight, Nurmagomedev dominated McGregor from the opening bell and this ‘battle’ ended with a choke hold and submission as McGregor tapped out.  What happened after the fight was the telling tale as a melee broke out OUTSIDE the cage.  Outrageous, demeaning, and unprofessional – and this is a sport that attracts big pay-per-view money and a demographic dominated by millennials.  Not good.

I jammed up Orlando City a couple of weeks ago but I was told that last night’s effort was outstanding in a loss to a very good Dallas F.C. club.  That is great news to hear.  November through February should be an interesting time for Orlando City as they look to make changes that should have their supporters excited for a great 2019 season!  On a down note, Atlanta United’s win over New England came at a great expense with Miguel Almiron going down with a hamstring injury.  Everyone is replaceable but his shoes will be big ones to fill. 

Does anyone have a SIMPLE online calculator to determine when someone should start drawing social security benefits?  Obviously age and future income expectations come into play but it would be nice to have a plug and play calculation using all the variables.  Anyone have an answer?

The first Saturday in October brings drama to the pitch and the gridiron.  After a few weeks of the Premier League and NCAA football, the dynamics of competition always seem to heighten our awareness of parity, and maybe a bit of drama.  Yesterday started off with Jose Mourinho and his Manchester United going down to Newcastle 2-0 in the first half.   All the naysayers at Armando’s in Winter Park were already cursing at the TV’s, cheering on the fact that Manchester United’s manager would soon be shown the door. Whether it be Mourinho’s will or the aura of #OldTrafford, Manchester United stormed back to win 3-2 on a 90th minute header from Alexis Sanchez, the shortest player on the field.  Then we move onto the other football which was a day of showing why bookmakers in Las Vegas go just a bit crazy.  Auburn, ranked 8th, scores only 9 points and loses to Mississippi State.  Clemson, ranked 4th, barely squeaks by Syracuse 27-23 and #5 LSU lays an egg losing to the Gators 27-19.  There was no defense in this year’s Red River Classic as #7 Oklahoma gave up 48 points in a loss to Texas.  Parity and a good bit of drama.  Saturdays = good fun.

Ford’s stock is down 26% year-to-date and now they announce a reduction in force.  Ford expects to eliminate up to 5,000 salaried jobs which only prompts the question: “If you can take out 5,000 jobs from your salaried workforce what were those 5,000 people doing in the first place?”  If you are a shareholder of their stock you just have to be shaking your head.

Inspiration. Google the latest episode of HBO’s Real Sports and go to the segment featuring seven year-old Tommy Morrissey.  Or…take two minutes and watch this:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o0vUhhissaQ

That’s all for today as I need to get ready for more football….that would be Liverpool v Manchester City at 11:30am EDT.

Adios and Have a Funday Sunday!

4,000 Sq. Ft. No TV. C’mon USA! Orlando City.

The Star of Amazon?  Live From D.C.  Parisian Golf.  Not The Players.

A massive and ever-growing online universe with many other business units and many, many lines of businesses within those units.  Never mind the bricks and mortar strategy with the acquisition of 460 Whole Foods stores, Amazon on Wednesday introduced Amazon 4-star, a store in New York’s SoHo neighborhood.  The store features top-selling and trending items rated four stars and above on Amazon.com, with popular products from categories that include devices, consumer electronics, kitchen, home, toys and books.  This store is Amazon’s flagship but they already have many pop-up stores and book stores.  Could this be a turn of fortune for the retail industry?  I doubt it as online shopping is still growing exponentially and some new retail ventures have failed miserably.  For example, Lowe’s new venture with Orchard Supply, a store smaller than a Lowe’s but with more merchandise than a hardware store, has decided to close all 90 stores by February.  On the surface, it seemed like a solid concept as a hybrid between big box Lowe’s and Ace Hardware, but the reality is that the big boxes, Ace Hardware and online shopping dominant this space.  What comes down the pipeline from a bricks and mortar perspective will be very interesting to watch over the next 18-24 months.

No religion and no politics.  That is what I try to stay with when writing content.  With that said, and not going the political route:  why do confirmation hearings for people nominated to our highest court need to be on national television? Does the live broadcast provide a platform of grandstanding for all involved?  Does the pressure of being watched by hundreds of millions alter the questions to the candidate and more importantly their answers?  I would enjoy reading your take on these questions.

I am up watching the #RyderCup.  It started at 6am EDT and hopefully will last all 12 singles matches.  The USA’s performance has been dismal through the first two days so maybe today will be different? Even if you are not a fan of golf, watching the USA versus Europe in any competition is good fun.

My take is my take so I will not shy away from my opinion.  Sometimes my content is taken too literal so I will clear something up from last week’s rant on the performance of the Orlando City.  In no way was I commenting on the performance of the players.  They are professionals and I have no doubt that they go out every game, especially against Atlanta United, and put in their best to earn a win and three points.  My POV targeted management and ownership who I do not feel has worked hard enough to give their manager the player pool to compete at the highest levels of Major League Soccer.  Do I have solutions for Orlando City?  You bet I do.

Adios and Have a Funday Sunday!

Short Takes. #ATLUTD Supporters.

My View.   A Tale of Two Clubs.   

The Debt – my daughter and I watched this movie the other night.  Great writing, great acting, and a very strong message.  It has been out a few years….you can find it on Netflix or Amazon.

Conor McGregor – you are a great example of what we, as parents, do not want our children to watch or witness. Yes, you signed a massive deal to fight but so what? Can you say trash?

Nordstrom – you are certainly taking advice from your vast resource of retail consultants.  Your merchandising scheme is bound to enhance your year-over-year sales selling used and taped-up sneakers for $530.00  Perfect.

To the man in France – if you live with 400 reptiles IN YOUR HOME, and allow a seven-foot alligator to sleep in your bed… Enough said.

Miley Cyrus’ sister – I  hope you cry all the way to the bank!

To the Waffle House robber – #WaffleHouse in Villa Rica, Georgia is not Nobu;  if you plan on robbing a Waffle House using a BB gun, don’t complain that you got shot by a customer with a .357 magnum.  Just cork your whine.

News outlets – Some of you actually reported on whether or not Bert and Ernie are gay.  People in North Carolina are suffering from severe flooding but Bert and Ernie made your news content list.   News directors are wondering why their ratings are diminishing.  You can’t fix stupid.

We don’t know how good we have it as Atlanta United supporters.  Sometimes our level of expectation with our Club may exceed the realities of professional soccer in America.  A huge country to navigate away games, match congestion due to many factors, and the heat of the mostly summer schedule.  A leading-edge stadium, a president with the pedigree and commitment to establish a world-class club, and a owner and manager who know how most of the keys to success work.  So…we were exasperated late Wednesday night/early Thursday morning when United went down 3-1 to the lowly San Jose Earthquakes.  Yes, a miraculous comeback and another three points for United, but even if they had tied or lost to the Earthquakes, the scenario is 180 degrees from what is going on with Orlando City.   Let’s start off with the statement from Orlando’s manager……after he has been in charge for eleven games, after replacing a manager who has taken a team to the MLS championship game: “There’s other individuals that maybe believe that they’re trying, but I think overall, when you look at the commitment today, I think it leaves you with a lot of questions asking around the level of commitment, the level of motivation and the character of individuals.”  Wait, what?  You have been in charge for eleven games and you are just figuring out that most of your player pool is sub-standard? Since you have taken charge your team has a record of one win, eight losses and two ties.  Please stop with the cliches and give your ownership group an ultimatum:  start spending the money to source a competitive player pool….or do yourself a favor and go find a job with an ownership group who cares. Compare that statement and Orlando City’s performance (overall record is 7-18-3) to what you witnessed late Wednesday night, with an Atlanta United team down 3-1 in the second half.  They had already clinched a playoff spot and played their second road game in a row within four days. Atlanta’s players could have cashed it in but fought hard until the 96th minute and turned chicken crap into chicken salad by sheer effort and determination.  Be thankful, Atlanta United fans.  I live in Orlando and what is going on down here with their Major League Soccer team is in two words unacceptable and embarrassing.  

Is It Really Mid-September?

Fake Weather.   Does He Stay or Does He Go?  Ole Red.  Meltdown. Can You Say Punk?

With all due respect to the reporters who really do put their lives at stake trying to give us live updates on weather conditions, this type of reporting just needs to stop:    https://www.charlotteobserver.com/news/state/north-carolina/article218461770.html   Yes, it is quite funny to see the two people strolling behind the moron on-air talent, but come on, enough is enough with the sensationalism.

Arthur Blank and Darren Eales brought in their head coach/manager to kick start their new Major League Soccer (#MLS) franchise.  Why Gerardo Martino (Tata) actually accepted the Atlanta United job is still a bit of a mystery, after managing two national teams as well as a top club like Barcelona.  Tata taking the job sent a message to managers around the world that the MLS was indeed an option. Tata’s first year with the Club, with a few disruptions including the delay in opening Mercedes Benz stadium, was very successful.  This year is even better, with a good chance of Atlanta United earning the Supporter’s Shield and odds favoring the Club to get to the MLS Championship game.  Unfortunately, Tata’s initial contract is up at the end of the season and three prominent national team jobs are open, one being his native country of Argentina.  Obviously Tata is playing the cards out with rumors of Argentina’s interest in him coming back to Argentina to lead their national team.  I like the chances of Tata renewing his contract with Atlanta but if he does not, who takes over the manager job?  I say go big and that means two people who have the pedigree, the presence, and the system of high pressure similar to what Tata has installed.  Think Zinedine Zidane.  Think Diego Simeone. Why not?

Blake Shelton has a restaurant chain with locations in Tennessee and Oklahoma. He has announced plans to open another $15m “Ole Red” bar and restaurant in the incredibly saturated themed-restaurant area of Orlando, near Universal Studios on International Drive.  I am not the sharpest pencil in the stack but something tells me Shelton has missed the fandom of country music craziness by about four years. With that said, that area attracts millions of worldwide tourists…..so what do I know?

The Fall of 2008.  It was worldwide and wreaked havoc on global markets. The crisis wrecked the portfolios of private and institutional investors.  Housing starts and commercial construction came to a dead stop as banks, for the most part, quit lending money.  Amazing how ten years later the 2008 financial meltdown thankfully seems like the distant past.

What could be better than his majesty himself, Cam Newton, coming to the ATL to play against the Falcons?  Many things.

Thoughts, prayers and safety to all the people and businesses affected by Hurricane Florence. 

Adios and Have a Funday Sunday!!

Short Takes.

Some Rants for the Second Sunday of September.

NASA wants to get back to the moon but at over $2 billion per launch look for Blue Origin and #SpaceX to play a huge role in future space exploration and space commerce.  That is if Elon Musk can ‘get out of the weeds’.

Let me get this straight – the U.S. Open tennis tournament lasts two weeks but the scheduling has one woman having to play a semi-final one day after the quarter-final, with her opponent getting a day of rest?  Stupid scheduling.

That military parade put on by North Korea was impressive.  They did not show off their #ICBM’s (that would be Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles), thinking this would be their gesture of detente.  Can you say a regime gone way off the rails?

The University of Georgia football team is either really good or the University of South Carolina is really bad.  Or, maybe a combination of both?

If you live in the ATL you might want to Google what Steve Koonin and the Atlanta Hawks organization have planned for “The Gulch” area right next to State Farm Arena (formerly Philips Arena).  In a word: “Wow”.  

While Atlanta United has already clinched a Major League Soccer playoff spot, their rival Orlando City continues to implode after one poor decision after another.  A great stadium, a great fan base, and a very good fan experience is totally overshadowed by the lack of leadership in the Club’s management and ownership.  Corporate America, when suffering poor results, calls in consultants such as Bain or McKinsey.  With 7 wins, 17 losses and 3 ties, along with three coaches since 2015,  it is time for #OCSC to completely change their culture.  Maybe start with bringing back in Jason Kreis?

If you reside or plan on visiting the coast between Savannah and Southern Virginia, all the best dealing with hurricane Florence.  Hopefully Florence stalls and the Gulf Stream and winds help turn this storm due north.  As a heads up, keep Hurricane Isaac in view.  I don’t like the path this storm is taking.  Not at all.

Naomi Osaka.  20 years-old and plays her heart out to beat Serena Williams in yesterday’s U.S. Open final.  It is too bad that the match was overshadowed with the verbal battle between Serena and the dumb ass chair umpire.  Umpires, referees, and judges of sport have difficult jobs but there is time for discretion in every scenario.  That includes Serena’s emotion on the court, especially when the match is the Final of a major tournament.

Enjoyed him or not, Burt Reynolds was American icon.  The former Florida State University football player was underrated as an actor. He had great range, able to play a basic moron in “Smokey and the Bandit” and sociopath in that very unnerving “Deliverance” classic.  RIP Burt Reynolds.

As the chant goes: “It’s Great To Be a Florida Gator”.   NOT after yesterday.

Adios and Have a Funday Sunday!

Takes For The First Sunday in September.

Length Does Matter.  DNA This.  Coaching Changes.  Space Race. Matty Ice Better Get Hot.

I get it. Obviously the longer the television broadcast the greater amount of opportunity for commercial and promotional spots. The money derived from sponsors provides the networks with the necessary dollars to bid on broadcast properties.  As someone who watches college and NFL football, as well as the MLS and Premier League, I appreciate the opportunity to tune into the many live sporting events.  Yesterday, we were privy to three Premier League matches and up to 22 college football broadcasts, allowing for a day of TV watching that will continue into the new year.  The issue that I have is the length of college football games.  It is what it is with numerous stoppages in play due to penalties, injuries, time outs, and breaks at each quarter and halftime.  The games simply take way too long even if you are at a beach bar on the coast of Florida…taking in all the sights and sounds (can you say New Smyrna Beach?).  While the NCAA has opened their eyes to this problem, even changing some rules regarding the play clock, nothing about yesterday’s games were different from 2016, when the AVERAGE game took 3 hours, 24 minutes.  Yesterday’s Wisconsin – Auburn game started at 3:30 pm and did not end for another 3 hours, 25 minutes.  An insane amount of time that included a 20-minute halftime.  Can someone explain to me why college football players need a third of an hour between halves?  To the pleasure of a few of my readers, I will not pull out the soccer comparison card.  The games and the dynamics are different, but I will say it is refreshing to watch a game that starts and ends within two hours. Tonight’s college game between Miami and LSU starts at 7:30pm.  Any bet on the game finishing before 11pm?

23 and Me.  What a concept.  Pay a fee, receive a tube to spit in, send it back, and receive ‘scientific data’ that lays out your heritage.  Wait, what? Yes, I paid the fee, spit into the tube and just can’t wait to see the ‘scientific data’….

After he departs from Manchester United, can someone enlighten me on the club/owner who hires Jose Mourinho to manage their team?  And where does David Moyes get off announcing his ‘interest’ in managing Atlanta United when Tata departs?  David, you had a hard enough time filling Sir Alex Ferguson’s shoes…….do you really think that you will be a fit for #ATLUTD after Tata’s magic?  Now, with that said, everything Darren Eales has touched has turned to gold (and red and black), so if the Scot is his choice – all good!

39B.  It is not a class room or a part of a question on an exam.  It is a launch pad. When you visit central Florida, make your way over the the Visitor Center at #KennedySpaceCenter.  The displays, exhibits, and theaters reveal the background information and technology that in a word is amazing.  To see the real Space Shuttle is actually surreal – and a bit mind-boggling imaging this ship working through deep space, breaking back through the atmosphere and landing on a very long runway.  If you have a chance take the time and go visit.

It is Thursday Night Football opening up the NFL season.  For the Atlanta Falcons, here is to hoping that there is a inverse-relationship between the preseason and regular season.

Adios and Have a Funday Sunday!

End of August Takes.

The Hanoi Hilton.   A Contingency.   Fish Kill.   Real Estate Woes?  The United Factor.  Thanks.

Shot down over enemy lines, he spent five years in hell, or what the North Vietnamese called prison.  He had a tremendous run, making his mark in the world of politics and took a very hard stance with protecting all Americans.  RIP John McCain.

There is the usual air of confidence surrounding the Atlanta Falcons heading into their season opener September 6th against the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles.  Not that results in the preseason mean anything but the 0-3 Falcons look marginal and have yet to play Julio Jones or Devonta Freeman.  At a minimum, and to many of us way more enjoyable, we have Atlanta United to fall back on as they make their late season run to the Supporters Shield and the Major League Soccer playoffs.

Heads up.  If you and the family are planning a trip to the West coast of Florida be aware of the two emerging tides……and I am not referring to the high and low tide.   The Red tide may now be joined with the Brown tide – in a word nasty stuff killing fish and preventing people from enjoying the Gulf of Mexico. A sad situation on what are usually incredibly beautiful beaches.

Is the soft real estate business typical seasonality or a sign of a pending slowdown or correction in the marketplace?  Wells Fargo, still recovering from their sleazy customer on boarding practices, has now told as many as 700 employees in their mortgage practice to find a new job “to better align with current volumes”.  Interesting dichotomy with the stock market’s bull run.  

Not a common thread for professional athletes.  Think about Manchester City, Barcelona, Liverpool, and Toronto FC.  Each with a great player, small in stature, who has dominated the playing field with tremendous skill, tactical awareness, and the ability to take 50/50 chances and convert them into goals.  Now take a look a #JosefMartinez, Atlanta United’s 5’6″ striker who on Friday night, before a raucous crowd at Orlando City Stadium, set the Major League Soccer season scoring record with his 28th goal.  Martinez brings it every game, holding off defenders with his fierce playing style and ability to strike the ball with either foot.  A more interesting statistic is his nine goals with his head, a bit crazy considering he is sometimes going up against defenders who tower over him.  He is on 28 goals and still has eight regular season games to play.  Any guess on the number he ends up with?

Today’s blog marks two years of Just My Take.  I appreciate all the comments, rebuttals, and pure disagreements from all the readers.  I will continue on with the blog and make every attempt to stay away from religion and politics.  Your response to my take is always welcome.

Adios and have a Funday Sunday!

Queen of Soul. Fatty. Ebola. Show Respect. Oh Wilbur. Never Too Old?

Another One GoneMake Up Your Mind.  Viral Elimination.  Stand For The Flag. Mom, Why Are There Horses Boarding The Plane? Sarasota Soccer In The Summer.

Last Thursday she passed away of pancreatic cancer a the age of 76.  Born to a musical family in Memphis she became famous in the ’60s for her one-of-a-kind gospel-style music that covered many topics including love and feminism.  Aretha Franklin, called by many the “Queen of Soul”, had more than 100 singles on the Billboard charts and was the first woman inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.  She was one of the most decorated Grammy winners of all time and performed at sold-at venues across the world.  You all remember ‘Respect’ and ‘You Make Me Feel Like A Natural Woman’…..and her incredible diner scene in the #BluesBrothers.  RIP Aretha Franklin.

It seems that doctors can not make up their minds.  Recently reported by researchers at Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston, people on low-carb diets who replaced their carbohydrates with protein and fats from animals, such as with beef, lamb, pork, chicken and cheese, had a greater risk of mortality than those whose protein and fats came from plant sources, such as vegetables and nuts.  Well OK……it is now time to go to the food intake of the Paleolithic era.

The Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is so dangerous that humanitarian groups are no longer allowed to go to that region of Africa.  A very sad situation and someways unbelievable that the #CDC and their vast resources can not solve this serious issue.  Hypothetical question:  ‘Would a vaccine come faster if the affected region was not in a third-world country?”.   Makes me wonder.  An awful situation.

I have stated many times that I am a football fan.  All three:  American pro and college football and the football played with the round ball.   So let’s forget politics and the 1st Amendment for a nano-second and get back to reality:  if you don’t stand for an Honor Guard, the National Anthem, and the Flag, you are showing disrespect to every active and retired military veteran, as well as our military who have been killed in action.  Disrespect in my workplace is not tolerated.  To the people who run the NFL Players Association (#NFLPA):  all of you are spineless to relent and let some of your membership behave this way.  Spineless is lenient – I have a more descriptive word for your weakness in dealing with your Association members.

Sources tell me Mr. Ed is very teed off.  After decades of having to travel America in a horse trailer, Mr. Ed has learned that Southwest Airlines will now allow miniature horses to come aboard their aircraft.  Sure, miniature horses are recognized as service animals by the American Disabilities Act, but all of us who travel completely understand what could be a smelly situation at 30,000 feet.  Mr. Ed was last seen huddled with his attorneys working through a possible endorsement deal with Southwest.  Perfect.

I just finished playing in a 7 v 7 soccer tournament in Sarasota, Florida. Great fun but the Southwest Florida heat is a bit overwhelming. We fortunately did not make it through to the Final which would have had us playing 200 minutes in under two days. I am checking out now, looking for an IV, a cold pool, and a massage therapist.  I promise your Sunday is going to be way more fun than mine.

Adios and Have a Funday Sunday.   

Operation Noble Eagle. Not A Strip Tease. It is 2018. The EPL. Perfect Pitch.

1800 Sorties.  It Started With the Ottoman Empire.  Hate Not.  Kane & Progba.  Six Innings of Fun.

The real question to be answered is the ability for any unauthorized person to get into the cockpit of a commercial airliner, taxi out to a runway, and takeoff.  We will look to the authorities at the Sea-Tac airport, NTSB,  and TSA to find these answers.  The backstory to this Friday night incident is Operation Noble Eagle, put into place shortly after 9/11.  We all know it as NORAD which is the acronym for the North American Aerospace Defense Command.  #NORAD is the combined organization of the U.S.A. and Canada charged with aerospace warning, air sovereignty, and protection for North America.  Under Operation Noble Eagle, it is alarming that NORAD has had to deploy 1,800 intercepts of non-military aircraft since 9/11.  For Friday night’s mission, NORAD directed two F-15 fighter jets to fly at supersonic speed from Portland, Oregon to intercept this rouge jet to prevent the pilot from crashing into a populated area or nuclear power plant.  The directive to shoot down the plane comes from NORAD, based near Colorado Springs and commanded by a 4-Star General.  The good news is that the pilot had no intention of terrorism and ended up crashing the plane onto an uninhabited island in Puget Sound.  A very sad scenario for this sick young man but fortunate that he was only looking for a thrill ride.  The real life situation for that 4-Star General at NORAD becomes a bit of a different situation when a jetliner is filled with passengers and crew, with terrorists taking over the plane similar to the scenarios of 9/11.  Giving the ‘knock-down’ command in that scenario has to be gut-wrenching.

Inhabited since the 15th century B.C. this strip of land later became part of the Ottoman Empire.  This Palestinian territory, only twice the size of Washington D.C., sits on the Mediterranean Sea and is bordered by Egypt and Israel.  Coined “the intractable conflict”, the #Gaza strip conflicts are inflamed by Jewish immigration and settlements, sectarian uprisings between Arabs and Jews, and Israeli occupation of the West Bank.  Fifty-one years of continuous conflict and war has also been fueled by many terrorist groups based in Gaza.  The Army of Islam, Hamas, and the Palestine Liberation Front come to mind but are also supported by foreign-based terrorist groups including ISIS.  Unfortunately there is no answer for this ongoing conflict as it dovetails with inevitable battles surrounding the Middle East.  2000 years of disagreement and conflict seems like it will never go away.

A year ago yesterday, in a beautiful town anchored by the University of Virginia, racial uprisings resulted in violence and several deaths.  Charlottesville, Virginia received worldwide attention as neo-Nazi sympathizers and counter protesters clashed at what was called a White Nationalist Rally.  America and Civil Rights go hand-in-hand but racial and religious discrimination is in one word sickening.  I guess you have a right to be a bigoted moron but why not find your way to a faraway place to vent your racial bias?  I know you are too stupid to figure out where to go so I will pick a destination for you:  how about the Danakil Depression, which straddles Ethiopia and Eritrea, with many considering it the hottest, lowest, and least livable place on Earth.  Sounds like the perfect fit for all of you.

The English Premier League started off on Friday.  Already we have Jose Mourinho smiling and three points for Tottenham.  Arsenal and Manchester City go at it later this morning capping off a good first weekend of the EPL.

It is has been a long time since I sat in front of a television to watch a Major League Baseball game.  I am not a hater of baseball, I just don’t like the monotonous pace as well as the length of the game.  Yes, I have proposed changing the game a bit, including reducing the number of innings to seven, but I doubt that my suggestion will ever happen as it will reduce the amount of commercial and promotional spots.  On the flip side, I took in a Little League World Series regional game yesterday.  The kids are no older than thirteen and show great skills and passion for the game of baseball.  Fun to watch and the game at this level is six innings.  Perfect.

Adios and Have a Funday Sunday!