Brighter Days. Quiet Down. Gabi. Live From Slane Castle.

Dates Looking Forward. Muted. “He Would Kick His Granny”. Goodbye 2020.

My disdain for darkness at 5:30pm continues. For years we “go dark” when daylight savings time is extinguished and we head into the dark days of winter. I don’t start my daylight savings time countdown until the new year but here are some dates to enlighten all of us:

  • Late December – the days gradually start getting longer
  • January 3rd – the first 5:30pm sunset
  • February 28th – the first 6:00pm sunset
  • March 14th – daylight savings time returns


For 2021 I am definitely hoping that ‘2020’ words like “YOU ARE ON MUTE” are stated less frequently. Though, with respect, there were many Zoom meetings that happened in 2020 where I was hoping most of the participants were temporarily muted. There is not one word that describes 2020. Sucked comes to mind as the year in some ways dragged on and in some ways was a bit of a blur. The words and phrases that do reflect the year: Wuhan. The city of Lombardi. The NBA’s sudden stop. Flattening the curve. Hand sanitizer. Face coverings. Social distancing. Toilet paper. Carol Baskin tigers. Zoom. The MLS’ Orlando tournament. Injecting Clorox. Twitter rage. Bipartisan warfare. SpaceX. Murder hornets. Police on edge. Protests and violence. Andrew Cuomo. TikToc. The California fires. The election. Fraud. Financial markets. The vaccines and Operation Warp Speed. The unbelievable dedication and sacrifice of first responders and health care workers. It has been a year.


Atlanta United, after a dismal season in a more dismal year, selected their new manager last week. Gabriel (Gabi) Heinze is from Argentina and played for both country and some of the biggest clubs in the world. Let’s hope that he brings the energy and fury to an Atlanta side that could use a dose of fire and emotion. Sir Alex Ferguson, Heinze’s manager at Manchester United, had this to say about Atlanta’s new manager: “ruthless, he would kick his granny. But an absolute winner.” Just my take, but if I was in the Atlanta United player pool, I might want to show up for the January 25 start of training camp very fit and ready to compete.

Training starts January 25….hopefully Heinze’s emotion and drive to win becomes a thread of Atlanta United.


Go ahead and say whatever you need to say. “Goodbye and good riddance”. “Go Away”. “Take a hike”. “Don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out”. Yes, I could state a more terse way to tell 2020 goodbye but there may be youngsters taking a look at today’s post. It has BEEN A YEAR. Mystery, puzzlement, illness, sickness, despair and unfortunately death. So many people and businesses put into an unthinkable situation with severe protocols put in place to combat what seems like, to this day, a never-ending battle to confront and defeat an invisible airborne enemy.

On the bright side, due to the pandemic, my daughter and son-in-law escaped Brooklyn, New York and stayed in the Orlando area for many months. The benefit: I spent more time with my daughter in that six-month period than anytime from the day I took her to college in Washington, D.C. For fifteen years I only was able to see her a few times a year, so the six months, under the circumstances, was wonderful.

Thursday night is New Year’s Eve. We should all, with respect and relevance, celebrate that this year of 2020 is over. Do it, but please be safe. Whether you like Bono and U2, this performance of New Years Day, as we head into 2021, seems appropriate. This live version was performed almost 20 years ago at Slane Castle near Dublin, Ireland.

U2 performing New Year’s Day at Slane Castle near Dublin.


This is post number 203. Thank you to everyone for taking the time to look at Just My Take. Whether good or bad, I always like your comments and appreciate your ‘take’. g

Adios, be safe, pay it forward, and may 2021 be a much more safe and positive time for all of us. Happy New Year!

Let’s Not Go There. Just Twelve. NORAD On Alert. We Are Only Human After All.

Locked Down. Not Asking For Much. Tracking Santa. We Can Only Do What We Can Do.

Everyone’s point of view is just that. As I stay a long way from anything politics, my take on the pandemic has just been to follow the data and science. I realize that some of us do not want to wear a face-covering or socially distance, as the post below reminds us that we are only human. My concern is the protocols put in place by Great Britain are severe and disheartening, especially considering XMAS is in five days. As many of us say “Do You” but don’t bitch and complain should we resort to these measures: If you live in a Tier 4 area, you must follow the rules below from Sunday 20 December. This means that you cannot meet other people indoors, including over the Christmas period, unless you live with them, or they are part of your existing support bubble. Outdoors, you can only meet one person from another household. These rules will not be relaxed for Christmas. Do any of us want to deal with that type of mandate? In two words: Hell No.


Ten Things I Hope For In The New Year

  • The vaccine’s efficacy to hold true.
  • For all of us to stop using politics and religion as ‘leverage’.
  • A happy and healthy granddaughter.
  • A tremendous amount of laughter – anywhere, anytime.
  • Strength and perseverance for all health care workers.
  • Music that makes us listen, smile and dance.
  • A military that is proud to protect the United States of America.
  • A stock market that continues to gain momentum.
  • A visit to the North Georgia mountains.
  • Peace, health and happiness for all.


The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) is a United States and Canada bi-national organization charged with the missions of aerospace warning, aerospace control and maritime warning for North America. Aerospace warning includes the detection, validation, and warning of attack against North America whether by aircraft, missiles, or space vehicles, through mutual support arrangements with other commands. Since the tragic events of 9/11, NORAD has elevated their technology and ability to detect threats to the United States and Canada. Bunkered within Cheyenne Mountain near Colorado Springs, Colorado, the NORAD facility lies 2,000 feet under the mountain and can be sealed off by two giant blast doors made of concrete and steel, each 3½ feet thick and weighing 23 tons. General Glen VanHerck is the Commander of NORAD, and has recently stated in no uncertain way that one of the most important services and missions NORAD provides will continue this week, with COVID-19 protocols in place. The mission: since 1955, NORAD has tracked Santa on December 24, using “all available personnel and technology” to ensure that children around the world have a chance to see where Santa is in real time. In a press conference held last week, a question posed to General VanHerck challenged this week’s mission as a non-essential use of funds and personnel considering the issues with the pandemic. After a long stare down, General VanHerck told the journalist that he was “out of line and to stand down or be escorted out of the press conference.” There were no more questions for General VanHerck.

Children around the world will use NORAD’s Santa Tracker. Awesome.


We are only human after all. A simple statement? A cliché? As this year closes out the natural reaction is to reflect on the uncertainty, the tragedy, and the grief that 2020 brought on all of us. We hear about ‘Covid fatigue’, fights in restaurants with people not wanting to wear face covers, businesses of all types in despair, and the tragic loss of family and friends. With all of that said, we move into year-end and 2021 with a good bit of hope and a good chance of some light at the end of the tunnel. It is not time to stop taking precaution but it is time to adapt to social distancing and face covers as best we can. Though we may not experience the benefits of the Covid-19 vaccines until mid-year 2021, all of us just need to remember that we are only human. British singer and song writer Rory Charles Graham, better known as Rag’n’Bone Man, never said it better:

We Are Only Human by Rag’N’Bone

Adios, pay it forward, stay safe, and Merry XMAS.

Local Spend. Maxine’s On Shine. Weather On the Ones. Launch It. Pancake Yum.

Non-Chain Support. An Eclectic Dining Experience. Temperature Perfect. Captain’s log, StarShip 12.10.2020. A Super Cool Cookbook.

There is light at the end of the tunnel. The FDA and CDC approving the Pfizer vaccine for emergency use will hopefully, in a few months time, start to bring us to a better level of normalcy and the ability to socialize with a bit less stress. When you do decide to venture out with your family and friends, I implore you to spend wisely. I am not talking the amount of spend but simply where you decide to spend your money. Why am I so adamant? Take for example the restaurant devastation due to Covid-19: according to an October 2020 report from the National Restaurant Association, nearly 1 in 6 restaurants (representing nearly 100,000 restaurants) are closed either permanently or long-term; nearly 3 million people tied to this hospitality sector are still out of work.

With all due respect to anyone who owns or is employed by a ‘chain’ restaurant or store, I think it is very important to support the ‘local’. Whether it be the family-owned clothing store or restaurant, it is incredibly important that our spend be very focused to help get these small and local businesses and their employees reengaged. I for one feel like there is tremendous pent-up demand with people wanting to socialize and shop, and I am hoping that the majority of our spend stays with the small business entities. A good example is Amalfi, located in Roswell, Georgia. In my opinion, Chef Anna is the best Italian chef in Atlanta. The food, along with the always entertaining proprietor and staff, make Amalfi a must go-to in Atlanta.

Amalfi Ristorante
Amalfi in Roswell, Georgia. The proprietor, Salvatore with his two nephews, Francesco and Angelo.


Regarding keeping it local, it is great to see how some (not enough) restaurants have not only survived the pandemic, but due to being smart, lucky, and creative have been able to transform and pivot their restaurants. One good example is the Orlando restaurant Maxine’s on Shine, where owners Maxine and Curt Earhart went into quick action to both protect their employees and customers and actually expand their capacity. These two are eclectic, a bit bohemian, and loved by their patrons. When you are in Orlando, and want a bit of a change-of-pace dining experience, I highly recommend Maxine’s. The video below shows off what they did with Maxine’s on Shine:


Back in the summer, I mentioned way too often the uncomfortable (yes, I wrote Sub-Sahara Africa hot) weather in Central Florida with temperatures in the mid-90’s and the humidity above 80%. I often forget that Florida offers, between the months of November through April, incredibly great weather. The daily lows in the 50’s or 60’s and the highs in the mid-70’s are amazing and welcome after the long period of massive warmth. The ‘winter’ skies yield a sunrise with color and depth that is fantastic. Maybe the coast of Maine is a good place to go between May and October?

The magical sunrise of the Florida winter.


I enjoy everything about the space program. My depth of understanding space flight is very limited, so could someone please chime in and explain to me how this is possible (realizing that I still don’t comprehend how an airplane takes off). This was the SpaceX ‘Starship’ launch, with its ability to hover, and vertical landing. It did explode on landing but don’t miss out on the reality of what this video shows:

“Meet George Jetson, his wife Jane……”.


I have known Matthew Martin for over twenty years. As an associate he was the lead creative on a project we worked on for the Sears Tower in Chicago. Named ChicagoWorks, the $20M project included a $3.9M design fee. Matthew’s background yielded an incredible Sears Tower experiential experience that the owner, TrizecHahn, fell in love with. We were able to fulfill the design deliverables – but as Matthew was at the San Francisco International Airport, ready to board the flight to Chicago to present the final design and proposal, his flight along with millions of others was cancelled due to the tragic events of 9/11.

Almost twenty years later, Matthew and I reconnected as he also lives with his family in Orlando, Florida. His background and experience include stints at Disney and Universal in senior creative roles. His latest endeavor is a fantastic book, Every Dad Can Be THE PANCAKE KING, a super cool cookbook for dads and dudes. Here is an excerpt: A decade in the making, “Every Dad Can Be The Pancake King” is finally here! The pancake cookbook for dads and dudes that is part Mystery Science Theatre 2000, part Diners Drive-ins and Dives, part Best Damn Sports Show, part travelling architect’s sketchbook, and all Fun Father. This book helps dads connect with their kids, discover new things, and learn about cool places to go, all the while being a healthy, frugal, delicious, easy-for-guys recipe book on the art of making pancakes. An amazing gift to give your dads and dudes on Christmas. For those who have the guts to choose, I submit that every dad can be the pancake king. To see details go to .

Matthew showed me the book last Wednesday – incredibly different, educational and fun. In my opinion, a great holiday gift for all dads and dudes.

PCK - 8.5x11 Text-F7-.jpg
The cover of “Every Dad Can Be THE PANCAKE KING, by Matthew Martin.

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

Tethered At 100,000 Feet. Need A Vacation? The Work Week. Leo The Lion.

Up, Up And Away. Bat Sh-t Crazy. Increase Productivity By Going To Four Days? The Roar Of A Lion.

A post from the past mentioned this interesting idea which has now come to fruition. The company, Space Perspective, has officially joined the privatization of space exploration, enjoying an infusion of capital from NASA and other investors. Below you can see the massive balloon and the tether suspending the small capsule that handles a pilot and up to eight passengers. The six-hour roundtrip includes two hours hovering at 100,000 feet with the promise of incredible views of earth. Similar to a hotel or restaurant opening, I think I will wait awhile for the ‘break-in’ period before I book my flight. I volunteer S², who can bring the food; JP, who can bring the wine; CA, who can bring the smile; GW, who can bring the navigation (and beer): and LM, who can just bring it! These five would be a great test flight group. 🙂

This balloon-type space exploration vehicle will hover at 100,000 feet.


THE HEADLINE OF 2020 from the Wuhan Convention & Visitors Bureau: “Let’s Meet in Wuhan”. Can you just imagine the conversation? “Honey, I’ve been thinking. After this long and tough year, we need a vacation. Once we get the vaccine, let’s to to Wuhan!” Good luck to the Wuhan tourism board with their new campaign to woo visitors to their city.

Let’s go to Wuhan!!


My European friends and business associates always were bewildered by the amount of hours Americans worked and our lack of vacation time. I think things have changed a bit in some parts of Europe, where in years past many of my associates always took most of the month of August as ‘holiday’. With the ever-changing economic landscape along with the pandemic, many governments including Spain and New Zealand are considering a four-day work week with shorter work days. Their reasoning and thought process is to boost productivity and employment. I for one always considered a four-day work week problematic for many business sectors, but if anyone can pull it off it would be the Spaniards. Speaking of cutting back service, and knowing that the U.S. Postal Service is in deep financial trouble, would anyone object to your home mail service being cut back to Monday, Wednesday, and Friday? I could care less if I don’t receive my mail on Tuesday, Thursday or Saturday. You?

8 charts about the USPS | Pew Research Center
Would a privatized postal service put up with this financial performance?


We could all use some pointed and direct inspiration. These are some of my favorite military quotes:

  • “When I was a child, my mother said to me, ‘If you become a soldier, you’ll be a general. If you become a monk, you’ll end up as the Pope.’ Instead, I became a painter, and wound up as Picasso.” -Pablo Picasso
  • “May God have mercy upon my enemies, because I won’t” – General George S. Patton
  • “Go f**k yourself.” – General Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck, after being asked to be a German ambassador by Hitler.
  • Dec. 23, 1944 – “Battle of the Bulge” – An entire U.S. armored division was retreating from the Germans in the Ardennes forest when a sergeant in a tank destroyer spotted an American digging a foxhole. The GI, PFC Martin, 325th Glider Infantry Regiment, looked up and asked, “Are you looking for a safe place?” “Yeah” answered the tanker. “Well, buddy,” he drawled, “just pull your vehicle behind me…I’m the 82nd Airborne, and this is as far as the bastards are going.”
  • While interviewing an anonymous US Special Forces soldier on his sniper skills, a Reuters News agent asked the soldier what he felt when shooting members of al Qaeda in Afghanistan. The soldier shrugged and replied, “Recoil.”
  • “If there is a god, he’ll have to beg for my forgiveness” – Written on the walls of a concentration camp by an anonymous victim of the Nazis.  
  • “If you had not committed great sins, God would not have sent a punishment like me upon you” – Genghis Khan
  • “Whoever said the pen is mightier than the sword obviously never encountered automatic weapons.” – Douglas MacArthur


We have all seen the opening credits with MGM movie content, with the massive roar from the lion. They probably use SGI or some other magical software now but many years ago, little to my imagination, MGM actually brought a lion into one of their sound studios. Call me crazy but how did these two guys draw the wrong straw to 1) make the lion roar and 2) not get mauled?

Meet MGM’s Leo the Lion, who weighed in at 400+ pounds.


I leave with a statement from my father, who only enjoyed my editorialization to a point: “Son, when you have made your point, STOP TALKING”.

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