Short Takes.

Let’s Not Ever Forget. Is It Currency?  Saturday Night Fever.  Grow Up.  Mars Anyone?  The China Syndrome.

Friday was the anniversary of a day the U.S. will never forget. Seventy-seven years ago, at 7:55 a.m. on Sunday, Dec. 7, 1941, a Japanese force of 183 airplanes attacked U.S. forces on Oahu in the Hawaiian Islands.  The worst of wake up calls for the United States Armed Forces and specifically the United States Navy.  That’s why we should fly the Flag on these days of remembrance….to never forget.

I have little to no knowledge of crypto-currencies.  I understand the general concept of trading monetary value without the intermediary bank or financial institution.  What I do not understand is the governance of Bitcoin or other crypto-currencies.  While the Federal Reserve’s decisions may not be spot on all the time, the thought of no governance with a currency is a bit unnerving.  Last week, Bitcoin value dropped 80% year over year.  Call me crazy….but that IS CRAZY.

Over 73,000 fans witnessed #AtlantaUnited in last night’s Major League Soccer Championship game. The Club and it’s plan and strategy started way longer than two years ago after a tremendous amount of groundwork and strategy that has been executed extremely well by the Atlanta United staff.  United brought home the silverware last night beating a very good Portland team 2-0.  The City of Atlanta should be incredibly grateful to Mr. Blank and his staff.  The strategy to birth a Major League Soccer team was well conceived and came with a bit of risk. The Club, through it’s grassroots marketing tactics, the capital outlay to build a world class stadium, the fantastic training grounds, and the right combination of player pool, has united the City of Atlanta like never before.  The Five Stripes will lose their manager, their top player, and a few more players who will not be resigned or lost to the expansion draft, but you have to feel confident that Mr. Blank’s directive of sustainability will keep this Club, and it’s supporters, engaged year after year for a very long time.

Kevin Hart.  Outstanding stand-up comedian.  A star of many movies.  Funny without even trying.  And a bigoted homophobic who needs to grow up quickly.  Uncalled for, sad, as your tweets must be representative of your character.  

The mission’s cost is over $1B.  It took six months to get there, traveling 100 million miles.  The ultimate goal of this exploration of Mars is to determine and measure similarities to Earth, specifically to figure out how both planets evolved.  Though this mission was funded by NASA, the privatization of space exploration is here and here to stay.  With my creative team, I am charged with providing NASA and Kennedy Space Center with a look at what a “SpacePort” will look like in the future.  The long term thinking from Kennedy Space Center and NASA is that NASA, in the not too distant future, will become the ‘new’ Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).  NASA will govern the private space flight companies (SpaceX, Blue Origin, etc) and how manned flights into space are scheduled and monitored.  This thinking may seem a bit futuristic but it is moving fast with a watchful eye from NASA.  This post goes to many creative and smart people.  I could use some forward thinking on this project from all of you.

We have heard it all before.  “I took all my money and it’s stashed under my bed”.  “I go to Las Vegas monthly and win every time”. Well, after last  week’s Dow Jones debacle those statements are no longer ridiculous.  The Chinese, the trade agreements and posturing.  No es bueno.

Adios and Have a Funday Sunday!!  And Thank You Atlanta United.

Cease Fire. The Silverware.

And I Thought I Understood.  This Will Be Different.  

I have a strict rule with religion and politics.  I don’t like to discuss or comment on either for many reasons.  So I will stay the course explaining the lesson of real life we experienced in Northern Ireland.  Sure, I was aware of the conflict as more than often me and my father watched Walter Cronkite or John Chancellor on the nightly news.  Sure I asked many questions about the conflict, the street fighting and the bombings.  Sure, I grew up with the awareness of the conflict but it was never top of mind as I roamed the parks and streets of Miami.   After a couple of days in Dublin, a wonderful, thriving city full of life (and too many pubs), the train north put us in Belfast.  A short walk to our hotel in the city center and then off to explore…..and as theme goes ” a two-hour tour”.   We decided to see Belfast using the Black Cab tour – basically a driver and his taxi.  Out of the car comes a 6’1″ exact combination of Sean Bean, Jason Statham, and Vinnie Jones. He has us sit in the car, still parked in front of the hotel, and for 10 minutes goes on to tell us exactly who he is, what he thinks, and his POV on Northern Ireland and it’s history of terror.  He obviously has our full and undivided attention as he drives and explains that the city of Belfast is defined by Falls Road on the Catholic side and Shankill Road on the Protestant side.  He asks us many times to get out to look at the war murals, the head office of Sinn Fein, the Irish Republic Army’s (IRA) political arm, and the so-called IRA museum, where we look through documents, posters, and photos as well as a myriad of weapons used in the conflict.  He shows us the wall the still divides the city and the gates that are still closed in the evenings to prevent the separatists from fighting.  Then he takes us to Shankill Road on the Protestant side, which he told us he would do though I could tell he wanted nothing to do with the area.  We stop at the remains of the Red Lion Pub on Shankill Road where he walks us through simple wall murals that show photos of what was once a pub, it’s patrons, and the three people killed and 30 injured when in November of 1971, an IRA brigade bombed the pub.  The reality:  our driver was/is an IRA operative, jailed twice and definitely the type of man you don’t make enemies with.  I asked him about the existence of the IRA today and he just gave me a look and told me that the IRA will never really go away.  The two-hour experience was everything emotional, shocking, historic and sad.  Our driver was sincere, tough and one-sided but he did give us the POV of “the other side”.  I asked the driver about a real ‘neutral’, no-man’s land within Belfast.  He smiled and replied “This is Belfast.  There is none.”   Background:  Around ninety years ago Ireland was split in two after people living there went to war against their British rulers. The south, where Dublin is located,  became a separate state, now called the Republic of Ireland. This division between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland led to decades of unrest and violence in Northern Ireland, which remained part of the UK.  “The Troubles”, as Northern Ireland’s sectarian strife came to be known, erupted many decades ago, when Catholic Irish nationalists, favoring unification with the Irish Republic to the south, began a violent and terror-filled campaign against Britain and the Loyalist Protestant paramilitaries who supported continued British rule.  Ireland, including the North, is lively, beautiful and historic.  We visited Howth on the southeast coast, which was charming, beautiful and a great place to spend time away from the busy streets of Dublin.  You can’t go wrong visiting Ireland and when in Belfast get a history lesson by taking the Black Cab tour.

This will be not be a 28-3 halftime lead and subsequent debacle.  This will not be the the Falcons in Miami’s Super Bowl with their starting safety arrested the night before the game.  This will not be the 1991, 1992, 1996 or 1999 Atlanta Braves.  This is Atlanta United.  This is Arthur Blank, Darren Eales and Gerardo (Tata) Martino.  This is the MLS Championship at home with 74,000 fans absolutely going crazy for 90+ minutes.  This is a team of warriors.  While everyone just ‘loves their style of play’, this team showed us in the NYRB series that they can go to war and fight, and more importantly play a style that may be ugly but wins games.  With Tata, Miguel, and possibly Josef departing, as well as players who will not be resigned for next year, this team, made up of players from different backgrounds and nationalities, will come onto the field Saturday night ready to go to war.  Portland is a formidable opponent with a rookie coach who has won championships at different levels, but in Mercedes Benz Stadium, under the watchful eye of Arthur Blank and 74,000  supporters, Atlanta United will bring home the silverware.  By the way, there WILL be a parade, and Tata better be given a key to the City as he moves on to run the national team of Mexico.  I am fired up and will be at the stadium to witness this team going to war to get it done.  Unite & Conquer.

Adios and have a Funday Sunday!!!