Atlanta United. Alternative Revenue Streams. USS Fitzgerald.

Mid-Year Review.   Hawks Making a StatementAnswers Please.

Atlanta United.  An expansion team.   Our manager has a great pedigree and CV and has coached at the highest levels. We are 7-7-3 and 5-2 at home. Those are facts – and here are some suggestions/assumptions:

– At any level, in any league, if you have won only seven times in 16 games it is time to take some risk and change it up.  Our manager, Gerardo (Tata) Martinez, will do so with Josef Martinez now at 100% and the pending congestion with the match schedule (U.S. Open Cup & September).  The U.S. Open Cup American player requirements will also dictate that Tata dial up more rotation.
– Last night was a bit different, especially since Colorado decided to sit back the entire game, but some of the teams we have played get stronger as the match goes on and sometimes we lose our legs. Is this a result of Tata’s demand for high pressure or a bit of over-training?
– Is the manager forcing the tactics even if he does not have the type or quality of players to successfully pull off the high pressure system?  When the high pressure works it is great to watch and it would be interesting to see what percentage of United’s goals to date have resulted from turnovers due to their high pressure tactics?
– Michael Parkhurst is the captain, and the mainstay of the team……or is he?  I think he is and yes, he sometimes is physically over-matched but his experience and tactical awareness outweigh any of his shortcomings. Remember, he has fellow center back Leandro Gonzalez Pirez to manage and keep in check.
– Tyrone Mears’ decision-making, lack of man-marking, and poor service is systemic. Last night’s change to Anton Walkes was necessary but it was not a good test for Walkes as Colorado’s attack was measured.
– The July transfer window – it may be necessary to change out one or two and bring in two new players to get us through the match schedule and keep us in the playoff hunt.
– We are obviously much better at home than away so the second half schedule should bode well for us.

With all that said, the second half of the season, including the pending move to Mercedes Benz Stadium, should be fun to watch.  Go United!

When you walk through The Battery at the new SunTrust Park, you wonder if the baseball game is a secondary objective?  Shops, restaurants and bars, and living and working spaces basically dominate the perimeter of the ballpark.  This was the reason the Atlanta Braves bolted from downtown Atlanta to the perimeter of Atlanta.  It is a real estate play with Braves baseball being a piece of the revenue stream instead of the only source of income.  It now looks like the Atlanta Hawks, led by CEO Steve Koonin, will make a play to develop downtown’s Philips Arena area into a spectacular live, work and play hotspot.  If you are from Atlanta, think The Avalon in downtown Atlanta, with it’s never-ending bars, restaurants and shops of all kinds.  A massive uptick for downtown Atlanta – if anyone can pull it off it is Steve Koonin.

As a follow up to last week’s questions regarding the USS Fitzgerald’s collision, can anyone help explain how and why this happened?  Maybe I missed it but has the Navy swept the cause under the rug?  I hope not, especially for the family and friends of the seven sailors who lost their lives due to the collision.

Adios and Have a Funday Sunday!!!











Eggs and Bread Please. Can You Say Sonar? Good Looking Brown Cows. Home Again.

Amazon’s Grocery Play.  How Does This Happen?  Ag Illiterate.  Random Thoughts.

If you take the metropolitan area of Atlanta, it is very difficult to drive a mile in any direction and not see a Kroger or a Publix grocery store, not to mention Trader Joes, Fresh Market, Sprouts, Aldi, and Whole Foods.  Speaking of Whole Foods, they now have a parent company who a long time ago was only known for selling books online.  Amazon has now purchased Whole Foods for $14 billion and will leverage the stores to broaden their web business and boost online ordering.  Amazon’s thinking is that they just did not buy a grocery chain – they bought 431 upper-income, prime location distribution hubs for all of Amazon’s offerings.  Publix and Kroger have recently implemented “click and pick up” services at most of their stores but Amazon’s unprecedented forethought and technology should turn the grocery world upside down.

I have been on the bridge of both a Navy ship and cruise ship and had crew members explain the advanced technological tools at the disposal of the captain and crew.  Though I understood about 20% of what they were talking about, it was quite clear that the bridge of these vessels uses technology to run every aspect of navigation.  So….how, with all of this technology and collision avoidance electronics does a U.S. warship collide with another vessel?  Friday night, off the coast of Japan, the USS Fitzgerald, a U.S. Navy Destroyer, collided with a merchant container ship.  I realize that navigating a huge vessel is difficult in crowded seas, and that human error with no “air traffic control” sometimes happens, but I just can’t imagine, with all the available technology, how ships collide in the open sea.  It is bad enough that the ships collided in the first place with a tremendous amount of damage to the Navy ship, but last night divers found the bodies of seven USS Fitzgerald crew members in the flooded compartments of the ship.  Very sad.

Agriculture and food processing and distribution.  Not exactly top of mind for most people as they walk the aisles of a grocery store picking and choosing their food and drink of choice.  Agriculture and farming don’t always make it into the core curriculum of colleges around the world so is anyone surprised that 7% of ALL American adults, over 16 million people, do not know that chocolate milk is made from milk, cocoa, and sugar?  Many answered that chocolate milk comes from brown cows.  Maybe it is time for agriculture to be included in all school grades just to give us an understanding of harvest, distribution, packaging, and merchandising so at a minimum most of us know how food is grown and what it takes to get food to grocery stores. Just sayin’.

Random Thoughts – North Korea finally releases a U.S. citizen who was charged with taking down a political banner.  So nice of the North Koreans to send him back after he has been in a coma for over a year.  North Korea, your time is coming and it is going to be ugly.  We have not heard from Secretary of Defense, General Mattis, lately and for good reason. No one should be surprised when he orders airstrikes on this maniacal country.  Last night, after a poorly played first half, Atlanta United beat the Columbus Crew in front of another sold out Bobby Dodd Stadium.  The win and three points pushes United into sixth place with another match at D.C. United this Wednesday night.   The jury at the Bill Cosby trial, after a marathon of deliberation, could not come to agreement on a verdict.  Does the prosecution retry the case?  Father’s Day, in some aspect, can be dated back to the Middle Ages and the celebration of fatherhood was brought to America by the Spanish and Portuguese.  President Richard Nixon signed a proclamation in 1972 making Father’s day a permanent national holiday in the United States.  I wish a trip to Seattle was on my agenda.  Not to see the Seattle Sounders of Major League Soccer or the Seahawks of the NFL, but to take a look at the brand new Jimi Hendrix Park.  Hendrix, widely acclaimed to be the greatest rock guitarist of all time, died in 1970 at the age of 27.

Have a Funday Sunday and happy Father’s Day!!

Cliff Huxtable. Qatar Boycott. Home Field Advantage. Stanley Cup. Alpharetta Nice.

The Greatest Television Dad.  Maybe The U.S.A. Gets the World Cup After All.   The War at Azteca.  Let’s Go to a 7th Game.  Not Roswell.

From the old days of Fat Albert to the sitcom called The Cosby Show, worldwide fans of Bill Cosby admired his wit and humor.  He was an incredibly funny standup comic with his ability to bring stories to life. As the patriarch of The Cosby Show, his portrayal of a loving and caring father, blended with his great supporting cast, was a must watch.  He now is going through a very alarming trial, charged with raping a former Temple University employee.  He says that any sexual encounters were consensual and admits providing Quaaludes to women as they were the ‘flavor of the month’ party drug back in the day.  Serious charges and conviction will see him live out his last years of life in prison.  Hopefully, the truth comes out very soon and at this point whether he is found innocent or guilty, this is a very sad time for a man who was both respected and admired.

It is downtown Atlanta 2010 and a watch party is being held for the announcement of what countries are awarded the 2018 and 2022 World Cup.  Most of us are convinced that the U.S. is a slam dunk for the 2022 tournament until the announcement is made that Qatar, one of the tiny Gulf State countries, has beat out the U.S. and has been awarded the tournament.  We are all stunned and shocked and then over the last few years the debacle of soccer’s organizing body, FIFA, plays out that there was plenty of money exchanging hands to persuade FIFA’s members to choose Qatar.  The choice of Qatar as World Cup host was not only controversial…even in 2010 it was a big risk.  FIFA inspectors warned of the tremendous heat risk to players and fans which forced FIFA to move the tournament from the usual summertime to the late fall of 2022.  Security analysts categorized Qatar as a high security risk and this was before we had heard of ISIS.  So blend the new boycott from neighboring Arab states, the risk assessment now including ISIS, and the fact that the tournament has to be moved to the fall…..does this add up to the U.S.A. hosting the World Cup for the first time since 1994?

The Patriots at Foxboro, The Yankees at (the old) Yankee Stadium, and the old New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden.  The dynamics of having home field (court) advantage comes in all shapes and sizes.  From the number of fans to the noise level some teams use their home-field advantage way better than others.  Later tonight, in a World Cup qualifier, the United States takes on their arch-rival, Mexico, in Mexico City’s Azteca Stadium.  Always a daunting task for any team visiting the Azteca, the U.S. will try to improve on their qualifying matches at this hallowed stadium, having played twelve qualifying matches there and winning only once.  The Azteca, built back in 1966, holds more than 100,000 fanatical fans who show up two hours before game time to cheer their national team with special, but not so friendly taunting, of the Americans.  The stadium, even at 8:30pm EDT tonight, will be warm and due to Azteca being completing enclosed, has little circulation.  Dovetail that with the stadium’s altitude at 7,200 feet and you understand why the Mexicans, in World Cup qualifying games, have lost only twice in the Azteca in 49 games.  Whether you watch soccer or not, take a look in to what usually is a very competitive war.

I only watch hockey during the Stanley Cup finals.  I have always been a Penguins fan but I am hoping the Nashville Predators prevail tonight and send the finals to a seventh and deciding game.

Have you been to downtown Alpharetta lately?  The area is exploding with both commercial and residential construction and it looks like Alpharetta’s chieftains got this right with controlled covenants, plenty of parking, and the right mix of development.  It is NOT Canton Street in downtown Roswell and that is a good thing.

Adios, have a Funday Sunday and all the best to the USA tonight in Mexico City!!








Short Takes for the First Sunday of June.

Let’s Start Off the Sixth Month of 2017.

Note to any and all readers:  I appreciate all the comments and feedback.  As a reminder I will not comment on the topics of religion or politics.  Gary

Launching satellites from the ground may no longer be the norm.  Though there have been some deployments of satellites from aircraft over the last twenty years, Paul Allen, a co-founder of Microsoft and current owner of the Seattle Seahawks has gone a step further….or maybe ten steps further.  Check out his ‘aircraft’ named the Stratolaunch, with a wingspan of 385 feet and weighing in, before fuel, at 500,000 pounds.  I am the wrong guy to ask or explain how this aircraft can leave the ground at a fueled weight, with cargo, as high as 1.3 million pounds.

Kathy Griffin and your handlers:  just stop and go away.  Really, does anyone watch CNN’s New Year’s Eve show anyway?

The ladies decided to play mah jong Thursday night which gave me the opportunity to watch game one of the NBA finals.  As the game was a blowout early on I wore out the TV remote trying to find something/anything interesting to watch.  Luckily I found the live telecast of the National Spelling Bee and was amazed by the two finalists’ ability to spell words that I cannot pronounce.  Rohan, 14, finally missed a word and Ananya, 12, correctly spelled the word ‘marocain’ to win the competition.  Don’t ask me how but a five-year old qualified for the event.

Fire Island, across the bay from Long Island = beautiful.

Yesterday’s Champions League final, won by Real Madrid, was watched by more than 350 million people, more than twice the television viewing audience of this past February’s Super Bowl.  No wonder Turner Sports paid a huge sum of money to win the U.S. broadcast rights for the Champions League starting in 2018.

Another terrorist attack in London yesterday.  As mentioned last week I do not have the answers on how to stop these senseless, random attacks.  Is London to the point of placing soldiers on every street corner?

Atlanta United lost yesterday in Vancouver……thankfully the last of their cross-country road games.  The MLS did United no favors with their inaugural season schedule. Tata Martino has some decisions to make with United’s starting eleven with the pending fitness of Josef Martinez.

New York City, with all it’s people and noise and buildings is still a great place to visit.

Adios and have a Funday Sunday!