Dogs. The Olympiad. Cybersecurity. Carter & Minnesota United. Pure Talent.

Unbiased Companionship. ‘The Blue Screen.’ Paris is Ready. A Dream Come True. Niko Moon.

  • Quote of the Week: “Properly trained, a man can be dog’s best friend.” – Corey Ford

I could not agree more with Corey Ford’s quote.

Animals, specifically dogs, have been part of my life for a long time. I have had some great dogs, all with a mind of their own but for the most part, loving and loyal. My favorite was Montana, a white-furred half German Shepard, half Labrador Retriever. He was a rescue dog and early on I had to make a tough decision, due to a growth plate issue, to take his right front leg. Of course it was a rough time for about a month, but he quickly adapted, able to ‘run like the wind’ until he took too sharp of a turn. 🙂 Montana had a great life, was a great companion, and lived until he was thirteen. I have not had a dog for many years and miss the relative craziness of owning and training a dog.

There is data that details the benefits of dog ownership. In no particular order, here are a few that come to my mind:

Dogs are great, unbiased, and fearless unless there are fireworks! They are also very smart.

“Properly trained, a man can be dog’s best friend.”

  • We sometimes question the amount of money spent by private and public entities with cybersecurity. Friday’s missteps by cybersecurity technology company CrowdStrike again exposed the fragility of connected technology, not only in the United States, but worldwide. CrowdStrike stated that Friday’s issue was due to a faulty software update and had nothing to do with a security breach or cyberattack.

Friday’s incident with CrowdStrike’s software update crashed Microsoft’s Windows, resulting in millions dealing with the ‘blue screen of death.’ Thousands of flights were canceled or delayed, including those with American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, and United Airlines. The outage disrupted emergency services and court systems in some areas, while some healthcare providers postponed nonessential surgeries. Thousands of other businesses had to cope with the outage, including government services and hotel systems.

Friday’s ‘blue screen’ issues again is a reminder that cybersecurity must be a high priority for every private and public entity. If Friday was a taste of vulnerability, what happens when a software malfunction or worm disrupts our internet or financial systems?

The Summer Olympic Games start this week. I am looking forward to the competition and will focus on swimming, track and field, gymnastics, and how the U.S. fares in the men’s and women’s soccer competitions.

The first modern Olympic Games took place in Athens in 1896. With the 2024 Summer Games ready to open this week, I thought I would review a few facts from the past:

  • The original Olympia-based Olympics were part of the Sacred Games, which took part in four different places: Nemea, Delphi, and the Isthmus of Corinth and Olympia. It is interesting that the athletes competed for money.
  • The first torch-to-torch Olympic flame lighting was in 1936, when German organizers of the infamous Berlin Games arranged for the flame to be lit in Olympia and transported to the German capital. The 1936 Olympic Games featured American track and field athletes, including Jesse Owens.
  • The marathon competition is based on the legend of Pheidippides, an ancient Greek courier, who ran twenty- miles from a battlefield in Marathon to Athens to announce Greece’s military victory over the Persians—then he unfortunately died on the spot.
  • Ancient Olympians competed nude. Some speculate the athletes’ true motivation for competing nude might have been to simply show off their bodies, which they liberally coated in oil, to their peers, gods, and fans.

The competition starts Wednesday with men’s and women’s soccer with the opening ceremonies on Friday. Great fun and competition.

160 Boats, and 10,000 Athletes on the River Seine.

  • College and professional sports are sometimes scrutinized, especially these days with the salaries professional athlete’s garner, as well as the name, image, and likeness payouts to college and high school athletes. Sometimes that scrutiny may be warranted, but often, behind the scenes, college and professional sports entities are doing good deeds for their communities. A shout out to Minnesota United, and their opponent, D.C. United, for allowing this young child to fulfill his ‘Make-A-Wish’ dream. The fans, the announcers, and the opposing goalkeeper made this dream come true for Carter Lucero. Well done.

  • Pure Talent. This artist, who once worked alongside Zac Brown, has skyrocketed up the charts with his pop-country crossover performances. Signed by Sony Music, Niko Moon has also written songs for Dierks Bentley, Rascal Flats, and Morgan Wallen. Nico Moon is Pure Talent.
“Sipping Apple Pie Moon Shine…….”

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

Gen Z. Shark Week. Thoughts. Paul Rodgers.

Making the World Better. Jaws is Back. Mid-July Takes. Give Me Some Bad Company.

  • Quote of the Week: “We are still in the position of waking up and having a choice. Do I make the world better today somehow, or do I not bother?” – Tom Hanks

Tom Hanks’ quote including the phrase “…or do I not bother” is troubling. Is Hanks referring to the general population or is he specifically thinking about individuals born between 1997 and 2012, also known as Gen Z. To be clear, Gen Z characteristics include big-time gamers, anxiety orders, everyday users of social media, and the ability to absorb many realms of technology. If Hanks was referring to Gen Zers, he is wrong as I believe that the Gen Z generation does want to make the world better.

Gen Z grew up with technology, some of which I still have little grasp of. They are social, in a media kind of way, but nonetheless they stay in touch, informed, and are not shy to share their opinions. Are they different than millennials and baby boomers? Are they different than Gen X and Gen Y? Yes, certainly they are as we are different than our parents, who were way different from their parents. From the Pew Research Center: “Gen Zers are known for their social responsibility, dedication to social and political issues, and they demand authenticity when it comes to brands and advertising. They are resourceful, independent learners who value an inclusive culture and place a priority on well-being and mental health in the workplace.”

The video content below references Gen Z and generational differences. A funny and interesting take.

“The New Old People”

  • Thirty-three years ago this week, Discovery Channel launched Shark Week with their primary goal to increase summer viewership. Three decades later, Shark Week is a cultural phenomenon with an amazing amount of promotion and sponsorship. The week of the show is now treated like a point in time, no different than President’s Day in February. The spin regarding the show and sharks does bring science into play, but the stickiness of the show and its millions of viewers are that sharks represent an example of a common fear. Watching divers deal with sharks is exciting and dangerous, though the odds say that you are more likely to die in a car accident or by increasingly unstable weather (thoughts and prayers to all who have been affected by Hurricane Beryl).

Shark Week, for all the right reasons, is TV’s longest-running programming event. The show has great writing, production value, and that never-ending combination of education, danger, and fear. Iliza Shlesinger sums up all we need to know about Shark Week:

Shark Week: A Cultural Phenomenon.

Things I Think for Mid-July

  • Snowflake is AT&T’s data-warehousing service provider. After Friday’s disclosure that a hacker downloaded call and text message data from AT&T’s ninety million wireless subscribers, Snowflake tells us they have not found evidence that the data breach was caused by any vulnerability with Snowflake’s platform. Sorry Snowflake, I am calling bulls–t on that press release. Yes, I am an AT&T customer.
  • Later today and tonight hopefully delivers two great final matches of the European Championships (a.k.a. Euro), and Copa America. Last Wednesday’s semifinals were great, especially the crazy match between Colombia and Uruguay.
  • Regarding the sports world, we are about six weeks away from the start of college football, the NFL, and the Europe’s soccer leagues. Are you ready for some football?
  • Some good: Financial services firm CME reports that traders are now betting on a 94.4% chance of a Fed rate cut by September, up from 77.7% a week ago. Positive thinking, but have we not been betting on a rate cut since November of last year?
  • Some more good: Artificial intelligence is outperforming clinical tests predicting progress of Alzheimer’s disease. Let us hope that this is a game-changer with this debilitating disease.
  • Some not so good: Residents of the state of Florida have been enduring ridiculous and alarming rate hikes from their insurance carriers. Just when you think Florida is being singled out by insurance carriers, Allstate announced that they are seeking a 34% increase for California homeowners.

  • Pure Talent. Bad Company is a British hard rock band that was formed in 1973. The band consists of members Paul Rodgers, Simon Kirke, Mick Ralphs, and Boz Burrell. They are known for their bluesy rock and roll style with a touch of heavy metal. Bad Company quickly rose to fame in the 1970s due to their unique sound and captivating stage presence. The band has solidified its place as one of the most iconic rock bands of all time, with a legacy that influences music to this day. Bad Company and Paul Rodgers with a live version of the song Bad Company: Pure Talent.
Paul Rodgers. Along with Steve Perry, the greatest rock vocalist of all time.

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

Today is Asteroid Day! Things, I Think. Independence Day. Drum It.

Does The Asteroid Redirect Program Work? Halfway to 2025. Fly The Flag. Precision At Its Finest.

  • Quote of the Week: “If the Earth gets hit by an asteroid, it’s game over. It’s control-alt-delete for civilization.” – Bill Nye

The earth has had asteroid ‘near’ misses – which thankfully in scientific terms means skirting earth by 2,000 – 6,000 miles. Fortunately, about once a year, an asteroid about the size of an automobile does hit earth’s atmosphere but burns up before reaching the earth’s surface. Scientists guesstimate that every 2,000 years or so, a meteoroid the size of a football field hits earth resulting in significant damage. Those same scientists insist that every few million years, an object large enough to threaten our civilization comes along.

On June 30th of 1908, exactly 116 years ago today, an asteroid plunged through the earth’s atmosphere and exploded over Siberia. The shock wave and heat blast from the aerial explosion devastated that remote area of Siberia, created massive forest fires, and knocked down trees for hundreds of miles. In recognition of that event, the United Nations proclaimed Asteroid Day be observed globally on June 30. The event aims to raise awareness about asteroids and what can be done to protect the Earth, its families, communities, and future generations from a catastrophic event.

NASA has now established the Planetary Defense Coordination Office and evaluated the technology to redirect a small asteroid should one pose a danger to Earth in the future. Let us hope that NASA’s plan is one that works well. Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson gives his take on dealing with asteroids. We are hoping his “gravitational toe-line” works.

Do We Have a Deflection Scenario?

  • Every year, the Economist Intelligence Agency (EIU) evaluates cities for their livability using thirty indicators including stability, healthcare, culture, education, and infrastructure. The goal of the ranking is to show us “how comfortable these cities are to live in.” Like many of you, I have traveled most of my business career, and to avoid evoking outrage with some of you, I will not comment on how wrong this ranking must be. 🙂 Note: the overall ranking number compares these U.S. cities on a worldwide scale. Worldwide, Vienna, Austria ranked #1, Copenhagen, Denmark #2, and Zurich, Switzerland, #3. I have been to Copenhagen and have no argument with that ranking.
  1. Honolulu, Hawaii (overall ranking: 23)
  2. Atlanta, Georgia (overall ranking: 29)
  3. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (overall ranking: 30)
  4. Seattle, Washington (overall ranking: 34)
  5. Washington D.C. (overall ranking: 38)
  6. Chicago, Illinois (overall ranking: 39)
  7. Boston, Massachusetts (overall ranking: 45)
  8. Miami, Florida (overall ranking: 47)
  9. San Francisco, California (overall ranking: 49)
  10. Minneapolis, Minnesota (overall ranking: 50)

Five Things I Think Halfway to 2025:

  • A month ago, I mentioned using your time wisely and to try and balance all the political news with other interests (volunteering, taking in a good book, etc.) I also mentioned that using your time wisely would be “a great way to keep your mind off of the ‘Weekend at Bernie’s’ and ‘The Donald’ presidential candidates.” I grudgingly watched the first five minutes of last Thursday’s debate, and again, here is my never-ending question: How, in 2024, did the two parties end up with these two candidates?
  • A very happy Independence Day to you and yours. I hope that no one takes our independence with a grain of salt, especially in light of some of the chaos, terrorism, and war happening at home and abroad. I was surprised that Independence Day was only declared a federal holiday in 1941, considering the United States is celebrating our 248th birthday. On July 2, 1776, the Continental Congress voted in favor of independence and two days later, on July 4, delegates from the thirteen colonies adopted the Declaration of Independence, drafted by the one and only Thomas Jefferson. If you have a flag, please fly it.  If you do not have one, The Home Depot, Lowe’s, and Ace Hardware have flag kits for under $15.00. Buy a flag and fly it proudly. To our Canadian friends: you celebrate Canada Day tomorrow, July 1st….and my experience with Canadians tells me most of you have been celebrating a few days early!
  • Some people are continuing to complain about interest rates, especially the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage. The rate has now declined for the fourth straight week and is languishing at 6.85%. I am not going old school with this comment, but my first mortgage was at 14.8%. Will someone please provide us with their thoughts on post-election mortgage rates?
  • As if the U.S. healthcare system is not in enough disarray, Amazon has created a platform for health services including primary care, pharmacy services, and telehealth. Hopefully, Amazon’s foray into healthcare will increase healthcare access after hospitals and clinics have decreased these services due to decreasing margins.
  • I think that this is absolutely crazy. The game is basically over, in extra time and the scored tied. Atlanta attacks and the opposing goalkeeper saves the ball and goes to play the ball from his goal area. Little does he know that an Atlanta player, who first drank some water from the goalkeeper’s water bottle, is behind him. Watch what happens in the last few seconds of the game.

  • For this week’s take on Pure Talent we look in on The Royal Edinburgh Military Tatoo. A military tattoo is a musical display performed by the military. Military tattoos evolved from a process called “doe de tap toe,” which was Dutch for “turn off the tap.” The Dutch States Army sent drummers through garrison towns to mark curfew. By the late 19th century, military tattoos were commonplace, with this military tattoo another great example of Pure Talent.
They All Have Day Jobs – Remarkable.

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


Listen and Enjoy.

  • Quote of the Week: “Music is the soundtrack of your life.” — Dick Clark

An exaggeration from Dick Clark? I do not think so as many of us, upon hearing a song from the past, reflect on where we were, and just as importantly who we were at that time. One example: The bar at The Mutiny Hotel in Miami’s Coconut Grove district, made famous by the documentary Cocaine Cowboys III, the television show Miami Vice, and most recently by Netflix’s Griselda, always had interesting patrons and great live music. One of many nights at The Mutiny a band was covering Weather Report’s song Birdland. For some reason, from that night on, when I hear that song, it brings me right back to that evening in Coconut Grove.

There are other songs and music that also make me reflect, so I agree with Dick Clark’s quote about music being the soundtrack of our lives. Is there a song or music that brings you back to yesteryear?

Weather Report and the song Birdland.

  • Released in 1969, the Age of Aquarius was the fourth album from the group The 5th Dimension. I was a kid with an older brother who in some ways was beyond his years. He wanted to join ‘the movement,’ the counterculture, and of course attend the historic outdoor music festival, Woodstock (my father put the no-go to that idea). The Age of Aquarius was popularized by the 5th Dimension and the Broadway musical “Hair.” It was a new beginning, it was pop culture, and it was a song that became “a soundtrack of my life.”
The Age of Aquarius by the 5th Dimension

  • There was no better theme song and more horrifying movie than The Exorcist (okay, maybe Jaws). There were many stories from across the country that people were throwing up all over each other and leaving the theatre. The atmosphere and intensity when The Exorcist made its way to the big screen was insane. Decades later, when I hear Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells, I instantly go back to that Miami movie theater and my nightmares that followed :). This theme from The Exorcist is really well done but I am good with never hearing this song again. Mike Oldfield and the theme from The Exorcist – a soundtrack of my life.
A Remake of The Exorcist Was Released Friday Night. No, and No.

  • Led by Donald Fagen’s lead vocals and keyboard, my memories of this jazz, yacht rock, pop, and fusion band bring a smile to my face. They have sold more than forty million albums worldwide and were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame way back in 2001. How can you not remember Rikki Don’t Lose That Number and the song Do It Again? Great memories from a great band.
Steely Dan’s Rikki Don’t Lose That Number

  • Along with the famous clubs including Limelight and the salty Elan, there was a club on Roswell Road in Atlanta called Confetti’s. The club was filled most nights, with loud dance music, six-foot-tall speakers, and people of all types dancing to Michael Jackson’s Thriller. I have mentioned and asked this before: Do you know who handled the guitar riff on the song Beat It? 🙂 Go to the 3:00 minute mark of the video.

For someone who grew up listening to my brother’s rock music, Michael Jackson’s music became a soundtrack of my life.

Beat It from the album Thriller.

  • Formed in 1983, The Cult brought post-punk and a bit of gothic rock from Bradford, Yorkshire in England. They were the forefront of this type of music, and it has stuck with me ever since. She Sells Sanctuary is my favorite from The Cult, and band and a sound that I really enjoy to this day.
She Sells Sanctuary from The Cult.

  • The early to mid-90’s brought us alternative and grunge. My daughter’s first concert was REM and at that same time Dave Grohl was leaving Nirvana to start Foo Fighters. I am not a fan of all Foo Fighter songs, but their fifteen Grammy Awards make them one of the most successful rock bands of all time. Foo Fighters were elected to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2021, their first year of eligibility. Grohl’s vocals and guitar really are something special.
Dave Grohl – The Foo Fighters.

  • This rap artist made a big impression on me. He came from nothing, as represented in the 2002 movie 8 Mile, and for the most part he kept out of the limelight and stayed humble. Eminem, in so many ways, was and still is a leader and a megastar. All of this has led to my admiration, and as a friend once told me: “Everyone is a celebrity until Eminem walks in.” Nicknamed “Slim Shady” Eminem is among the best-selling music artists of all time, with estimated worldwide sales of over 220 million records. Fifteen Grammy Awards are among the countless honors Eminem has earned. His song Lose Yourself was never done better than at the 2020 Academy Awards Show.
Eminem at the 2020 Academy Awards.

  • Last Sunday was Father’s Day. I thought of my father and everything he did to ensure our family lived a comfortable life. As I reflect on my upbringing, my dad and I were similar in some ways and in other ways opposites. We were a sports family, so whether it was college or pro football, baseball, or basketball, we were always going to or watching a game on tv. He enjoyed the fact that I played all sports, but questioned why I took to a sport that he never understood. Though he did not follow soccer, I know my father was proud of me for the time I spent training. He did get to a few of my college games, and win or lose he would always congratulate me for the effort I put in. A great guy, a proud father and husband, and as Neil Young sings in this song “…old man, take a look at my life, I’m a lot like you were…”. My dad has been gone for a very long time, but I do think of him often. A week late from Father’s Day but always a salute to my dad from Neil Young.

  • These were just a few thoughts on the artists who provided me with great memories. I have not forgotten about Prince, Shania Twain, The Rolling Stones, Adele, The Weekend, Luke Bryant, Jimi Hendrix, Eagles, Metallica, Chris Stapleton, Blondie, Santana, and Madonna. Music does a lot of things for a lot of people. Music takes you right back to the very moment certain things happened in your life. Music is uplifting, it is encouraging, and it can be very inspirational.
  • Though today’s post focuses on music that influenced me over the years, I would be remiss in not mentioning Willie Mays, regarded by many as the greatest baseball player of all time. RIP Willie Mays.
“The Catch”

Adios, pay it forward, be safe, listen to some music, and have a Sunday Funday!

Politics Aside. Theft Prevention. Thoughts. Clouseau. Henry Mancini.

Energy Draining. There is Only One Trunk Monkey. It is Already Mid-June. Does Your Dog Bite? The Theme.

  • Quote of the Week: Politicians and diapers must be changed often, and for the same reason. – Unknown

I have stood my ground regarding politics. While I do care about the welfare of the United States, I long ago divorced myself from the political divide, or for that matter, politics in general.

My friends and family are sometimes frustrated, and sometimes polarized by what I call political de-socialization. In particular, how people who are friends, work together, and socialize together seemingly avoid each other due to their politics. With the November election five months away, the standing President’s health in the limelight, and his Republican competitor carrying baggage of thirty-four felony counts, I have witnessed people de-socializing from each other.

At least in my circle of people, which I am happy to report are people from many diverse backgrounds and walks of life, there are no bilateral discussions regarding the two candidates. I try to stay informed of course, but it is so energy draining to listen to people rant and rave about the November election. I follow a few ways of staying informed without feeling so drained from the constant barrage of rhetoric from the candidates, their handlers, and of course the media. Here is a list of a few ‘strategies’ I have followed for a long time:

  • Carefully choose your sources – try to stick with unbiased news outlets. (Yes, that is funny).
  • Pick a few times during the day to check the news. I have found that constant updates can be confusing, even overwhelming.
  • For you politically focused people – try to balance the political news with some other interests. There are some great reads out there. Try the new Michael Crichton book, Eruption. This book will definitely keep your mind off of politics.
  • Volunteer – there is nothing more rewarding than using some of your downtime to help others. Organizations and hospitals are always looking for volunteers; a great way to keep your mind off of the “Weekend at Bernie’s” and “The Donald” presidential candidates.

Here is my never-ending question: How, in 2024, did the two parties end up with these two candidates? This video is a bit old school, but comedian Bill Burr sort of sums up our world of politics.

Bill Burr’s Take on Politics in the United States.

  • Television commercials can be so puzzling. While some very talented people are charged with creating ad spots, sometimes we have to wonder how and why the client actually approved the creative. Suburban Auto Group’s agency has created this series of ‘trunk monkey’ spots delivering a different type of take on preventing car theft. There are a series of ‘trunk monkey’ ads, but this one is still my favorite.
Theft Prevention at its Finest.

Things I Think for the Middle of June:

  • How are we already halfway through 2024?
  • Euro started on Friday (the cumulative worldwide television audience for the tournament is expected to surpass 5.3 billion), the final round of golf’s U.S. Open is later today, the Boston Celtics try to close out the NBA championship tomorrow night, the Florida Panthers should win the Stanley Cup Tuesday night, and Copa America starts Thursday…and college football is only seventy days away! Good summer fun.
  • Not wishing for, but wondering what happened to all the pandemic-type viruses futurists were predicting just two years ago?
  • What the heck is all the negative vibe surrounding Caitlin Clark? Do her teammates and opponents not recognize that across ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, CBS, ION and NBA TV, WNBA games are averaging 1.32 million viewers, nearly tripling last season’s average of 462,000?
  • I am looking for cool weather. Does anyone have ideas on great places to hide out in the Smokey Mountains?
  • After many months, Houthi rebels are still able to attack ships on the Red Sea. There will be a trickle-down effect with global trade unless these terrorists are eliminated once and for all.
  • What a novel idea. Working from home and using “keyboard simulators” to make it look like you are sitting at your desk….and actually working. Faking keyboard strokes. Just absurd behavior.
  • Harvard Business Case for two long-standing Orlando-based brands. Red Lobster and Tupperware made missteps with their balance sheets and product offerings resulting in Red Lobster filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, and Tupperware on the brink of following suit. Unfortunate and sad.

  • I watched it AGAIN. Peter Sellers in the Pink Panther just makes me laugh. There are too many funny scenes to count. This one has always stuck with me, as Sellers, better known as Inspector Clouseau, asks such a simple question.
“That is Not My Dog”

  • I will stick with the Pink Panther theme for this week’s Pure Talent. The theme from the Pink Panther movies resonates with all of us, and Henry Mancini and his orchestra do it right. Mancini won four Academy Awards, a Golden Globe, and twenty Grammy awards. In 1995, he posthumously collected a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. Henry Mancini’s orchestra, featuring Tubby Hayes on the tenor saxophone, and the Pink Panther soundtrack...Pure Talent.
The song Best of Both Worlds from the Pink Panther.

Adios, pay it forward, be safe, and have a Sunday Funday Father’s Day!

Behavior. D-Day. Coffee On a Plane? Pure Talent.

Character and Reputation. Eighty Years Ago. Coffee, Tea, or Not Me. Don’t Stop Believing.

Quote of the Week: “Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.” – John Wooden

This quote is from the “Wizard of Westwood,” one of the greatest college basketball coaches of all time. John Wooden won ten NCAA national championships in a 12-year period as head coach of the UCLA Bruins, including a record seven in a row. He was renowned for his leadership in sports, business, and organizational leadership.

What exactly is John Wooden saying in the quote above? Are character and reputation interchangeable? Do they have the same meaning?

The answer is no, as character relates to the qualities of an individual, encompassing a person’s values, beliefs, morals, and ethics, which are usually shaped by their upbringing and experiences. Reputation is the result of how others perceive and judge a person based on their actions, behavior, and accomplishments.

I feel that many people do not distinguish character from reputation. Your character cannot be easily changed, as it is deeply ingrained in your personality and upbringing. On the other hand, your reputation is something that can be built or destroyed over time, and it is often shaped by your character and the decisions you make. Have we all made poor choices and decisions? Yes, we have, which may lead to the perception of your reputation – but not necessarily your character.

What distinguishes character from reputation? The two concepts are often used interchangeably, but they hold different meanings. While character refers to the qualities of an individual, reputation is the perception that others have of them. In other words, character is who you are, while reputation is who others think you are. The following differentiates character from reputation:

  • Character = Inner qualities and beliefs; difficult to change; defines who you are.
  • Reputation = How you are perceived; can be built or destroyed; defined by actions and behavior.

As John Wooden states: “your character is what you really are…….”

  • Last Thursday marked the 80th anniversary of the Allied invasion of Nazi-occupied France during World War II, the largest amphibious assault in history. Two hundred veterans, with an average age of one hundred, were on hand last week to commemorate the invasion. Called Operation Overlord, the Allies assault started with 13,000 paratroopers parachuting behind enemy lines ahead of 135,000 U.S., British, and Canadian soldiers who landed on the beaches of Normandy. The invasion, dovetailed with the Soviet Union’s push from the East, helped the Allies defeat Nazi Germany. This fifteen-minute video is well done, covering the strategy and tactics of the Allied invasion, the largest military operation ever.
Operation Overlord

  • I have always brought a bottle of water on the plane. For no other good reason than to keep hydrated, as I have been told I do not drink enough water on a daily basis. I do not recall the last time I had a cup of coffee on a plane, and after reading this warning from a former flight attendant, that will not happen anytime soon.

With that said, let’s all recognize that she is a former flight attendant, and is now a TikTok influencer.

Her warning relates to the potable water used by airlines to make coffee and tea, as well as the cup of water served to passengers who are not sitting business or first class. Her claim is that the storage tanks aboard an aircraft to provide water “are never cleaned.” How she would know this is beyond me but that sounds alarming. She also claims that the coffee makers onboard are “rarely cleaned unless broken,” another eyebrow-raising statement. Add on this statement from CUNY’s Hunter College NYC Food Policy Center, and it might be a good idea to carry on a bottled water or other beverage, or order a beverage served from a bottle or can: “According to our 2019 airline water study by CUNY’s Hunter College NYC Food Policy Center that ranked 12 regional and 11 major airlines, airplane water tanks — which are typically situated beside or near the bathroom — are the very same source of water as the bathrooms.”

To be transparent, I have the upmost respect for flight attendants. There are two flight attendants on the JustMyTake distribution list, and I think all of us would appreciate their take on airplane water.

Warning: harsh/foul language.

Coffee, Tea or Not Me

  • This look at Pure Talent shows us a cover of the song Don’t Stop Believin‘, made famous by the band Journey and the great voices of Steve Perry, and most recently Arnel Pineda. Having a great voice usually comes from a good bit of training and experience, but this performance is Pure Talent.
Don’t Stop Believin’

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

Creativity. Fast Painting. Let’s Get Together. Kickoff. Thoughts. Pure Talent.

We Are All Artistic. Artistry = Bob Ross. A New Way to Start Sporting Events. The NFL’s New Rule. It is Already the Beginning of June! Mark Knopfler Rules!

  • Quote of the Week: “Art is the perpetual motion of illusion. The highest purpose of art is to inspire.” – Bob Dylan

After the short but important Memorial Day post, and other posts covering some serious and concerning issues, this take looks at various art forms. Many of us state that ‘we are not artistic’ but in many ways that is not true.

There are so many factors and dynamics to being artistic, as art widely expands beyond the paintbrush or software. Being artistic is not just about the canvas or software-generated drawing. Most of us know that feeling of being inspired by a work of art, whether it is a painting, song, play, poem, or novel. These forms of art spur thinking, engagement, and action. You do not have to be defined as an artist to be artistic, whether it is the artful way you manage your money, hit a passing shot, or manage your employees.

Being artistic is a form of self-expression and at a minimum, an outlet for all of us to share experiences, thoughts, and feelings. Whether you think of yourself as artistic or not, there are many reasons why we all have a connection to art. Art encourages us to think outside the box, explore new ideas, and express ourselves in our own unique ways: painting, writing, dancing, playing games, or sports.

Creativity and artistry are both a skill and process. This short video is excellent in the way it explains our everyday lives and how often we use creativity.

Everyone is Artistic and Creative.

  • Bob Ross’ art was controversial – maybe because his television show promoted his artistic skill in a mere thirty minutes. I found him both amazing and mystifying, with his voice and stature providing a bit of calm on Saturday afternoons. Bob Ross passed away at a relatively young age, but the memories of his shows will stick with me forever. He was a magician with his paintbrush, especially to me as I cannot paint my way out of a broom closet. An artist who could paint something great in less than thirty minutes while explaining what he was doing.

  • There is no doubt that fashion design is artistry. The balance of form and function with clothing and accessories is an ongoing challenge for worldwide designers. I am not promoting or advocating Thom Browne, but this short video gives us insight into the effort and dedication…and artistry found in the world of fashion design.
Fashion Design is Artistry.

  • Though I consider myself patriotic I have often wondered why the national anthem is played before sporting events. Again, I enjoy the patriotism, though it gripes my ass when some people refrain from removing their hats and participating in the singing of the anthem. With everything that is happening worldwide, it is time to start sporting events with a different type of musical composition. Again, this suggestion has nothing to do with me and patriotism, it is just a way of voicing a way to get everyone together.

Is this song inspiring before a sporting event? Yes, if you can get the entire stadium or arena engaged in singing The Youngblood’s Let’s Get Together -something the world needs right now. Yes, I know, a bit sappy for me, but it is what it is. I would love 30,000 people singing “Come on people now, smile on your brother, everybody get together, try to love one another right now.” Okay, I said it.

Come On People – Try to Love One Another Right Now.

  • As we are less than sixty days from the NFL’s Hall of Fame pre-season game, many of my friends start to get ‘football fever.’ Some of them have obviously hit their heads on something as they must think that I am part of the league’s competition committee. A few friends have already asked me about the NFL’s new kickoff rule, thinking somehow that I work at the league office in Manhattan. 🙂

Of course, I looked into the new kickoff rule and here is my short take:

  • The player who kicks the ball (it may not be the team’s designated kicker) will kick it from their own 35-yard line, and the other ten players on the kicking team will line up on the receiving team’s 40-yard line. Note: due to this kickoff formation, many NFL teams are going to use a regular player to kick off to reinforce their ability to defend the kickoff…in other terms a regular special teams’ player versus their kicker.
  • The team receiving the ball must have nine players lined up between their own 30- and 35-yard line.
  • Two returners from the receiving team must be lined up between their own 20-yard line and the goal line. This is called the Landing Zone.
  • Only the kicker of the ball and the two returners can move in between when the ball is kicked and when it is received. Basically, other than the kicker and the two receivers, no one moves until the ball is received.
  • If the ball touches the ground or a player in the “landing zone,” and rolls beyond the goal line or downed in the end zone, then the result of the play is a touchback, and the receiving team starts at their the 20-yard line.
  • If the ball goes out of bounds behind the receiving team’s goal line, hits the goalpost or lands at or beyond the goal line and is downed in the end zone, the play results in a touchback, and the receiving team starts at their 30-yard line.

The goal of the new rule is to reduce the number of injuries on kickoffs and to increase the number of kickoffs returns. The XFL has used the rule and below is a quick video of what an NFL kickoff will look like this year. Thoughts?

A Good Rule Instituted by the NFL?

Five Top of Mind Thoughts for the Beginning of June:

1.‘Cooling trend’ coming to Central Florida? That was the headline on Thursday morning of last week, after Wednesday night’s 6pm temperature was 97 degrees. As I always keep things in perspective, it was 126 degrees in parts of India last week. Note: it may be time for a trip to Montevideo, Uruguay as the average temperature in that city this time of year is 60°.

2. Jeremy Renner is one of my favorite actors. After not engaging in a streaming series for a while, I have recently watched the first two seasons of Mayor of Kingstown. Renner is fantastic, but fair warning: these episodes have a high level of profanity, nudity, and violence. The third season starts tonight.

3. With Europe’s big leagues done for the season, the soccer world turns to this summer’s two massive tournaments, Euro and Copa America, featuring the national teams from Europe and South America, respectively. Euro is the second-most watched soccer tournament globally, following the FIFA World Cup, with Italy the defending champion. This year’s Copa America tournament includes the ten South American nations plus six invited teams including the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Copa America will be hosted and played in fourteen United States cities. Argentina, the defending Copa America champion, opens the tournament on June 20 against Canada in Atlanta’s Mercedes Benz Stadium.

4.Ransomware attacks continue to be in full swing. The most recent data compromise happened to Santander, a global banking group based in Spain. This time hackers tapped into one of Santander’s third-party databases, stealing information of thirty million customers in Spain, Chile, and Uruguay. I find this puzzling due to the level of cyber protection now imbedded in the IT infrastructure of most entities. This hacker group calls themselves ShinyHunters, and has also claimed their attack on Ticketmaster exposed personal financial data from 560 million customers. Does this ever stop?

5. The world has gone mad when a very prominent financial multimedia entity posts a serious article about etiquette…for text messaging. The article discusses how “…tone, volume, and body language can help alter how a message is received…“. I have no other comment on this craziness.

  • I started off this week’s take taking a look at art and creativity. To end this post, and for this week’s Pure Talent, we will go with the musical artistry of Mark Knopfler. Underrated as a guitarist, Knopfler is best known for his band Dire Straits, but his wizardry on the guitar is bar none. Mark Knopfler on the guitar…Pure Talent.
Mark Knopfler. Effortless and Excellent.

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


Memorial Day is all about Honor.

Quote of the Week: “Forgiving them is God’s function. Our job is simply to arrange the meeting.” A quote attributed to General Norman Schwarzkopf in reference to the 9/11 perpetrators. Thank you, C.A., for reminding me of this quote.

For a many reasons, tomorrow is the most important holiday in the United States. Memorial Day is observed on the last Monday of May and was formerly known as Decoration Day. Memorial Day commemorates all who have died in military service for the United States. Tomorrow takes on additional significance with those around the world who have fallen in the wars in Ukraine, Gaza, Israel, Lebanon, and in other countries in conflict.

Honor all of the fallen veterans and victims by flying your flag today and tomorrow. It is ALL ABOUT HONOR. We have all heard various renditions of the National Anthem, some good, some not so great. This young man’s version is excellent.

Adios, pay it forward, be safe, and pay tribute to Memorial Day!

The Lighter Side.

Laughter is the Best Medicine.

  • Quote of the Week: Laughter is an instant vacation. – Milton Berle

Recent posts have touched on some serious topics. The use (or misuse) of artificial intelligence (AI), heart disease, the vulnerability of Europe, bank failures, Boeing’s ongoing issues, etc. Those posts were top-of-mind for me and concerning as well. I do try to dig into the topic to provide my viewpoint, as it is important for me to try and spur response from readers of JustMyTake.

For this week, I am going in the opposite direction, keeping this post on the light side of things. My family loved comedy and comedians. Everything from ‘I Love Lucy’ to ‘Laugh In’ and everyone from Dick Gregory, Joan Rivers, Don Rickles, Tina Fey, Eddie Murphy, Rodney Dangerfield, George Carlin, and of course, Richard Pryor.

Here are a few quick examples of comedy at its best:

Spanning six seasons, I Love Lucy starred Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz and follows the trials and tribulations of a young, middle-class homemaker, Lucy Ricardo, and her husband, Ricky Ricardo, who entertained at the Tropicana nightclub. Silly, slapstick, and downright funny, this show was the most popular show in the United States for four of its six prime-time seasons. Lucille Ball, for all one hundred-eighty episodes, was incredibly entertaining and funny.

You never wanted to sit in the first couple of rows when Don Rickles came on stage. He was the epitome of an “insult” comedian, forever going after everyone, no matter your race, creed, color, or religion. Everyone loved Don Rickles as he was no holds bar, no matter your significance or title. The “equal opportunity offender” was not shy, even with the President of the United States, the First Lady, and the Secretary of State. Rickles went after EVERYONE.

Tina Fey and Amy Poehler are very funny. Together they have provided us with some great delivery from great content. It is not easy to make fun of George Clooney – these two made it look and sound so easy.

Talented, alarming, truthful, and relevant, Eddie Murphy entertained worldwide audiences on stage and on the big screen. Think about his acting prowess in Trading Places, Beverly Hills Cop, 48 Hours, The Nutty Professor, and of course his Saturday Night Live craziness.

It is impossible to describe Rodney Dangerfield’s talent. The word awkward comes to mind as he gave us performances to remember. This is a quick video of his Back To School moments which does not do justice to Dangerfield’s talent.

Laughter is no joke. Research by the Johns Hopkins Institute, as published in Psychology Today, tells us that the benefits of laughter are widespread for both the mind and the body:

  • Laughter is a potent endorphin releaser.
  • Contagious laughter forms social bonds.
  • Laughter forms brain connectivity.
  • Laughter is central to relationships.
  • Laughter has an effect similar to antidepressants.
  • Laughter protects your heart (by relieving stress).
  • Laughter changes our perspective.

Today’s world is filled with various barriers and hurdles to overcome. It is time for all of us to look for ways to laugh more. The old saying “Laughter is the best medicine” has never been more relevant.

  • This week’s take on Pure Talent brings us to “The Nicest Man in Stand-Up” – the Grammy-nominated Nate Bargatze. This Nashville-based comedian has taken the world by storm with straightforward storytelling. Nate Bargatze is definitely Pure Talent.
Bargatze’s Netflix Special is Just That – Special!

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

Creativity. Bad Actors. Leadership. Finite Imaging. Pure Talent. Mothers.

Never Be Afraid to Fail. AI Regulation. Proportionate Response. A Breakthrough with Heart Disease? The Seven Army Nation. Happy Mother’s Day!

  • Quote of the Week: “An essential aspect of creativity is not being afraid to fail.” -Edwin H. Land

Malmo, Sweden was the site for this year’s Eurovision Song Contest. The competition is the world’s most-watched annual music event with 160 million viewers featuring 37 acts, all of whom are European except Australia and Israel. The European Broadcasting Union organizes this annual songwriting competition, and there are strict rules and guidelines for the competing artists and their songs:

  • Songs must be original and no more than three minutes in length.
  • Lead vocals must be performed live.
  • No more than six performers can take to the stage during any one performance.

The format includes two semifinals followed by a grand finale. The twenty-six finalists, selected through a combination of a public vote and expert picks, include ten winners from each semifinal, the previous year’s winner, and contestants from the UK, France, Germany, Spain, and Italy.

Eurovision, known for finding musical talent featuring extravagant costumes, has launched the careers of many icons, including ABBA and Céline Dion. Regarding Edwin Land’s quote, none of the performers at Eurovision have been afraid to fail, including Loreen, who won the competition last year and in 2012. Yesterday’s competition was won by Nemo Mettler. Here is a quick look at all of the finalists who performed in the grand finale.

A Review of the Eurovision 2024 Finalists.

  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) is constantly evolving. Every day, society is experiencing the fascinating potential of AI while keeping an eye on ensuring that AI is implemented and used to better humanity. In previous posts I have called for greater regulation with AI, for reasons including the use of AI with biological research. AI is quickly transforming the way that we understand DNA, from sequencing and genetic variations to medicines and disease predictions. All of this seems so positive as biotechnology has evolved so quickly in the last ten years.

The flip side is the ability of AI to be used in the wrong way. An example: a North Carolina-based technology company recently evaluated if their AI software was able to generate thousands of molecules that could be used as chemical weapons – in just a few hours. They deemed the test a success and obviously stopped the research experiment before any of these molecules could be fully developed.

Do not get me wrong, I am a proponent of technology and the use of AI. I am only restating that the world needs to get its arms around the use and development of AI to ensure there is regulation as it relates to nuclear, biological, and chemical protection.

Regulation is a Must.

  • This video clip made me think about leadership. When I watch and listen to Martin Sheen in this two-minute segment of The West Wing, I immediately refer to the current candidates running for President of the United States. How will they process “the virtue of a proportional response” when faced with the grim realities of terrorism? How will they come to grips that a ‘proportional response’ may not be the answer depending on circumstances? Forget your political party prerogative for a moment and think through the three current candidates and their desire and ability to deal with terrorism and warfare. Do they have the mental fortitude to ask a question about the ‘virtue of a proportional response?’ Last week, one of three candidates went public stating that “a worm got into my brain and ate a portion of it.” I am not making light of that ailment, but can Martin Sheen please run for president?

Sidenote to this episode of The West Wing: Later in the episode the National Security Team does explain to President Bartlett that in this circumstance, there is value of a proportional response.

The Virtue of a Proportional Response.

I Have Five Questions:

  • Last Saturday’s Kentucky Derby finish was fantastic. I am still wondering why the stewards did not light the inquiry sign letting people at Churchill Downs and the worldwide television audience know that the race was under review?
  • MIT published a white paper on sound suppression using silk. I did understand three of the 7 paragraphs of the white paper…I think?
  • Howard Schultz is Starbuck’s fifth-largest shareholder. When Schultz officially left Starbucks as CEO in March 2023, the shares were at $100, and the company was worth $115 billion. Now, the stock is $76 a share and Starbucks’s market capitalization is $86 billion. Why did he leave the CEO position in the first place?
  • Should the U.S. lift or ease tariffs with offshore electric vehicle manufacturers? How would that affect EV providers GM, Ford, Rivian, Lucid, and Telsa?
  • Does the Dow Jones Industrial Average hit 40,000 this week?

  • A new imaging technique tested on patients could improve the evaluation of cardiac conditions and undiagnosed chest pain. While existing imaging technologies can visualize large vessels on the heart’s surface, there has been a gap in identifying smaller micro-vessels within the heart muscle. This gap leads to a lack of understanding of how the blood flows within the small vessels of the heart which is especially important when treating cardiovascular diseases.

According to the American Heart Association, cardiovascular disease listed as the underlying cause of death accounted for 931,578 deaths in the United States in 2023. This information certainly nets it out for all of us: “Cardiovascular diseases are a persistent challenge that led to an enormous number of premature and preventable deaths,” said Gregory A. Roth, MD, MPH, senior author of the paper and director of the Program in Cardiovascular Health Metrics at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington. “There are many inexpensive, effective treatments. We know what risk factors we need to identify and treat. There are simple healthy choices that people can make to improve their health.” Just as importantly, how does AI fit into this path of diagnostics?

Better Imaging of the Heart.

  • For this week’s edition of Pure Talent: The Seven Army Nation is played at many sporting events around the world, especially after a team scores. This rendition, from classically trained violinist Evangeline Victoria, is done with a classical twist. Her fantastic smile certainly added to this performance pre-game at an Australian Rules Football match played last month. No doubt, Pure Talent.
Talent with a Great Smile – A Great Combination.

  • To all the moms, now and forever, thank you for all you do. Happy Mother’s Day!!
Happy Mother’s Day!!

Adios, pay it forward, be safe, have a Sunday Funday and Happy Mother’s Day!!!