The Sunday Cynic V.5

It Is All Happening Here.

  • A huge sports week in the City of Atlanta led by Atlanta United’s playoff game on Wednesday night. After all the ups and downs of Atlanta United’s season, (injuries, Miguel Almiron leaving for Newcastle and former manager Tata Martino leaving for Mexico’s national team) new manager Frank de Boer has provided a runway to get the team to the semifinals. Toronto is Wednesday night’s opponent but at home with huge and loud fan support, Atlanta should reach the November 10th championship game. If you are an Atlanta supporter, you need to be cheering on Seattle in the other semifinal game. Should Seattle beat Los Angeles Football Club on Tuesday night, Atlanta will host the championship game in two weeks at Mercedes Benz stadium. Speaking of Atlanta sports, you might want to catch the Atlanta Hawks’ Trae Young, who with a bit of injury-free luck, might become the NBA’s next superstar. In the Hawks’ first two games of the season, Young has been fantastic with a combination of scoring, assists and defense. Another Steph Curry in the making? Maybe so. #atlutd #AtlantaHawks
  • For a few reasons I do not watch televised baseball. Take me to a game six times a season – it is America’s pastime (in many ways) so I enjoy the ballpark atmosphere, a cold beer, and the infamous hot dog that for some reason always tastes better watching a ‘swing and a miss’. The World Series is in motion with the Nationals and the Astros battling in a best-of-seven series. I have written about the length of game issues Major League Baseball executives address every year. The average time of a major league baseball game this past regular season was three hours, six minutes, with many games lasting close to four hours. Take for example Friday night’s World Series game – after two hours the game was still in the fourth inning and the game ended at the 4:03 mark. I don’t know what the answer is but Major League Baseball better quickly figure this out.
Astros fans looking way too excited in the eighth inning of World Series game 2.
  • He was a 48-year-old Sunni Muslim and he joined the Islamic State many years ago. As the leader of ISIS he has been responsible for thousands of deaths. He had to know that his time was coming as I assume he had been told that U.S. Special Forces had been deployed to capture him. Even for the worst of terrorists, it must be a very uncomfortable feeling knowing that the U.S. Army’s Delta Force had been given orders to find and capture. As a comparison, Delta Force is a liaison to the Navy’s Seal Team Six, who eliminated Osama Bin Laden many years ago. Last night, ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was killed in a U.S. military raid – reports say that as Delta Force arrived at his location, al-Baghdadi used a suicide vest to blow himself up. Due process at it’s best. That statement may have gone against my ethos of no religion, no politics. In this case, I don’t care.
  • While most of the United States and other basketball loving countries focus on managing their brackets for the NCAA basketball tournament, many people in an area of Alaska fill out a different type of bracket in October. This bracket has nothing to do with basketball or any sport, but predicts which bear, during Fat Bear Week, will be the fattest bear of all before the winter hibernation season begins. The population of bears in this area of southwest Alaska is close to 2,000, and the managing directors of Fat Bear Week streamline (per se’) the contestants down to twelve – allowing thousands of people to post their brackets on Facebook. Don’t I wish that things were so simple that I could focus on my Fat Bear Week bracket every October?
Every October, Fat Bear Week allows contestants to post their bracket to Facebook.
  • It does not matter whether you enjoy watching the sport. Atlanta, Seattle, Portland, Minnesota, and L.A. have proof that some Major League Soccer matches, especially those of rivalries, have now become a relevant event in the landscape of North American sports. Thursday night’s playoff game between the L.A. Galaxy and Los Angeles Football Club (this rivalry game is called El Trafico for all the obvious reasons), brought out the best of 90+ minutes of fandom. With all due respect to the tremendous Atlanta United supporters, the “3252” of LAFC are insane. This club is all about L.A. glitz, with the celebrity list reminding many of an NBA playoff game, with Magic Johnson and Will Ferrell leading the way. I have bias towards the sport, but even watching this game on an even keel, this two-hour event was spectacular. If things go as planned in this week’s semifinals, Atlanta United will visit this crazy venue two weeks from today in the Major League Soccer championship game.
The “3252’s” fandom at Los Angeles Football Club matches.
  • To the soccer pundits who spit out opinions on younger players, watch young American Christian Pulisic’s hat trick yesterday. Their take on Pulisic moving from German club Dortmund to Chelsea of the English Premier League questioned his motivation and ability to not only be effective, but to receive any playing time. Go write about someone else.
Pulisic’s hat trick in yesterday’s match against Burnley.

Adios, pay if forward, have a Funday Sunday and a great Halloween week.

Short Takes. Qatar Or Bust. The Season Continues.

Random Thoughts. Make It Happen USA. ATL UTD / ATL Hawks.

  • Immerse 2019 – a must see if you are in the Orlando area this week. Awesome interactive displays, exhibits, live music and great food.
One of many interactive experiences at this week’s Immerse 2019 – downtown Orlando.
  • What are you charged with in the court of law if you are the lead technical pilot on Boeing’s 737 Max aircraft, and you do not report or lie about malfunctions with the automated flight system, and your lack of transparency leads to two crashes and 346 deaths….? Fill in the blank.
  • Congratulations to Amy and Michael. A beautiful wedding, a great party but most importantly newlyweds who ‘have the glue’. All the best.
  • Since coming out of the nasty downturn in the economy ten years ago, all Sunbelt cities are exploding with growth – namely Atlanta. This city is on fire spurred by the efforts to attract corporate and regional headquarters along with many technology companies moving in town to take advantage of the millennial workforce. The Buckhead district of Atlanta now looks more like a downtown or midtown area of most U.S. cities. In a word, amazing.
Buckhead makes for an unforgettable high-end experience. (James Duckworth,
Atlanta’s Buckhead district
  • I am 99% confident that the Centers for Disease Control have very smart health care scientists working hard every day to figure out how to combat Ebola. It looks like small steps have been achieved with antibodies to combat this deadly virus but thousands continue to be infected and perish on a monthly basis. Would it take an outbreak of Ebola in North America for additional private and public funding?
Burial workers dressed in protective gear carry the remains of someone that died of Ebola, in Beni, Congo. The World Health Organization has issued an unusual statement raising questions about whether Tanzania is covering up possible cases of the deadly Ebola virus.
  • This is from long ago, and though a bit ‘off-color’ sometimes you just have to watch and listen to this bar scene:
A Penguin and His Car.
  • Last Tuesday night, the United States Men’s National Team (USMNT) looked really bad in a 2-0 loss to Canada. The match was not a ‘friendly’, but one played in a so-called tournament made up of countries in the North American, Caribbean, and Central American regions (also known as CONCACAF). This is the same region we start to play against next Spring to qualify for the 2022 World Cup, which takes place in of all places Qatar. For the last few days, the soccer pundits, via over-the-air and social media channels, have lambasted the USMNT’s manager, the U.S. Soccer Federation, and everything else connected to our national team. Most of the criticism is warranted and I was very disturbed at what I watched last Tuesday night. Not because we lost to Canada, but the lack of effort and perseverance our national team is known for worldwide. Using the baseline that we failed to qualify for last summer’s World Cup, I don’t care who our manager is and I don’t care what players make up our player pool. This statement will bother the soccer purists but I also don’t care about what style or system the USA plays. What I care about is qualifying for Qatar 2022. CONCACAF qualifying, based on the fact that the USA failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, is obviously no longer a slam dunk. Above and beyond regional powerhouse Mexico, now managed by former Atlanta United manager Tata Martino…Panama, Costa Rica, Honduras and now Canada have matched or in some cases exceeded the USA’s physicality. From a technical standpoint, in most cases, the USA’s player pool does not match up with these regional rivals. From a tactical standpoint, their teams and level of managers and coaching have evolved since the last qualification cycle. This qualifying cycle will be more difficult than the run up to the 2018 World Cup-and failing to qualify cannot happen again. To the U.S. Soccer Federation: qualifying for the World Cup starts soon. There are not many times the U.S. manager has with the national team as the open windows for the player’s clubs to release them for national team duty is limited. If you are going to make a change with the manager, do it now – do not wait six months and then make a change. If you are not going to make a change, provide all the possible support and funding necessary to our manager to get us through qualification and to Qatar in 2022. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over with the same and unacceptable result. Just qualify, with or without Gregg Berhalter as the manager. 😊

  • Speaking of sports, Atlanta United ended Atlanta’s two-week sports curse (can you say the Braves, the Dawgs and the Falcons?) beating New England, 1-0, in a first round playoff game…and the Atlanta Hawks open up their 2019-2020 campaign this Saturday night.

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

Power Down. Some Bad, Some Good. Bullwinkle?

Pulling The Plug For All The Right Reasons? Negative Takes and Positive Vibes. Bang For Their Buck.

  • 600,000 customers in northern California and 187,000 customers in southern California. Last week, their respective utility companies, due to heavy wind conditions, shut off their power to help mitigate fires. The customer base unfortunately includes the less fortunate and disabled, so the lengthy loss of power severely hampered their quality of life in many ways. While I am sensitive to the damage done by wind-swept fires, I am not sure that the indiscriminate shut down of power to these areas was carried out in a diligent manner. Losing power for a few hours is a total hassle, but losing power for four to five days, for many people, is possibly too drastic of a measure to control fires. I am not Yogi Bear, but only you can prevent forest fires. And now for the rest of the real story and the possible motive behind one utility’s decision to cut power: “As hundreds of thousands of Northern Californians sat in the dark, many tried to understand why their utility decided to take such drastic action. Pacific Gas and Electric’s power shut-off safety measure has proved unusual in its scope, as California utilities typically take a more surgical approach to blackouts. The utility has been found responsible for about two dozen wildfires and filed for bankruptcy protection in January. PG&E has said it could face up to $30 billion in liabilities for fires started by its equipment in recent years. In response, PG&E described an act taken out of an abundance of caution in the interest of safety”.

Is it me, or does something seem a bit out of order with PG&E and their so-called preventive measures? #PG&E

Many businesses in northern California closed due to their power being shut off.
  • Bothersome Takes
  • The Atlanta Braves – how can you let THAT happen?
  • The Dawgs – see above.
  • The Atlanta Falcons – later today, don’t let THAT happen again.
  • Turkey & Syria – can’t we just get along?
  • October’s stock market craziness.
  • Orlando City – search, thoroughly interview, rank and rate, and make an offer to a manager who will get stuck in with the Club. The carousel of managers needs to end.
  • Snakehead fish – how does this land-crawling predator of a fish, native to the Yangtze River basin located in China, end up in Gwinnett County, Georgia?
  • Daylight Savings Time going away on November 3rd.
  • Atlanta United – I hope you did not watch the Braves’ deciding playoff game debacle. You guys need to start Saturday’s playoff game firing on all cylinders. Allowing the first goal is not an option.
  • Positive Vibes
  • Amy and Michael’s wedding celebration, this Saturday in Atlanta, Georgia.
  • Atlanta United earning a home playoff game.
  • The weather in Orlando slowly changing for the better.
  • North Turn Racing – once the actual north turn of the Daytona Speedway, this beach area is now one of the best walking /running beaches in Florida. The dive bar that sits on the property now – providing an awesome view of the ocean and good live music, is a must go-to if you find yourself near Ponce Inlet. #northturnracing
  • This weekend’s Winter Park arts festival. Some incredible people-watching, live music, great weather, and yes, a decent array of art.
  • Chattanooga FC, after ten years as a top amateur club, moving into the ranks of professional soccer. #NISA
  • I am not passing judgement on matrimony, the sanctity of marriage, or the newlyweds’ wishes. I also don’t know where East Earl, Pennsylvania is, but please take a look at this wedding cake. Yes, this is a wedding cake. Do I need say more?
Facebook/Shady Maple Market
“Hey, How Was The Wedding?”

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

Short Takes For The Beginning Of October.

P.R. The Dow. Transportation Security Administration. The Great Things About The Fall.

Dateline Paso Robles, California. I really like Puerto Rico. Beautiful beaches, nice people and an easy flight from the United States. I have been there a few times and will go back soon. The P.R. I am referring to is not Puerto Rico, but Paso Robles. A small, quaint town in California’s central coast, surrounded by many ranches, rolling hills, and most importantly close to three hundred wineries. My friends moved here many years ago from the bustling area of Silicon Valley, designed and built their beautiful home, and enjoy a fantastic lifestyle. I strongly suggest that you visit the central coast, anchored by the city of San Luis Obispo, and take in the great wineries, beaches, and restaurants and bars. It is not Los Angeles and certainly not San Francisco, but a gem of an area that provides a good bit of sanity away from the throes of congestion, traffic, and smog.

The Rolling Hills of Santa Ysabel Ranch. Paso Robles, CA

In a previous post I mentioned the stock market and the month of October. I am still confused while the start of the third quarter correlates with the volatile fluctuations with the Dow Jones – and the start of this October was no different. Can someone please shed some light on why this happens every October?

Last week’s Dow Jones Industrial Average – at a glance.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA). I have commented in previous posts why I feel like this entity should be privatized – not only for financial reasons but to provide more of a control and command to the screening of passengers before they board a flight. I realize that most of the personnel of the TSA do a fine job with their roles and responsibilities – and that millions of passengers boarding aircraft can feel reasonable assured that the screening process prevents bad people from doing very bad things. With all that said, a woman boarded an Orlando to Atlanta flight yesterday without going through the screening process and without a boarding pass. It took police forty-five minutes to remove the woman from her seat (seriously?) and then all passengers had to be removed from the plane and be re-screened. Then the plane had to be swept by police and their K-9’s. This incident is truly alarming – and TSA and Homeland Security need to work through every detail of how this could happen. #TSA #Delta Once you get through security and make your way to your gate, you then get to endure the sometimes incredulous boarding process:

The Fall: college and pro football is well underway. The Premier League and other European leagues are in full motion. The Braves and Atlanta United in the playoffs. The Hawks are getting ready for their season and a run into the NBA playoffs. It is a birthday week for a special friend. A very fun time of year!! Lets Go Braves and Atlanta United!! #EPL #ATLUTD #AtlantaBraves

Adios, pay it forward and have a Funday Sunday!