Dialing Back The Temperature.

No Pressure Tactics. Hanging Out At the Space Station. Seriously Warner Bros.? The Saga Of A Collective Bargaining Agreement. Papa G.

  • For some reason a friend thought that I could provide her with advice on the best way to search and buy a new car. She drove the same car for way too long and thankfully was at a point where car shopping became a must. I suggested that she stay out of the dealership until she sourced a few options online, and to spend time on sites like Autotrader or a specific dealer’s website. She heeded my advice only to a point and ended up spending hours with salespeople from two different Lexus dealers. Most of us have experienced this delightful way to buy a car – and this 30-second spot from auto dealer Vroom, which will air during next Sunday’s Super Bowl, probably replicated her experience. Note: Vroom’s spend for this 30-second spot was $5.6 million.
No pressure tactics!
  • One former astronaut and three other civilians are taking a vacation. Organized by Axiom, one of many privatized space exploration companies, these four will spend eight days at the International Space Station. I am not sure what type of training they will need to undergo, and what level of fitness they must have, but what I do know is that each will pay $55 million for their week in space. That is a bit less than $7 million a day…..but it does include room and board.
  • I am a long time supporter of Godzilla. While many of us have followed the life and career of King Kong, Godzilla to me is the nastiest badass that has ever roamed this planet. You can look at the science, data, and analytics in comparing Godzilla and King Kong, but there is no comparison.

Here is an excerpt from a previous post calling out weather authorities for naming a dust cloud Godzilla: Don’t disrespect. Officially called the Saharan Air Layer, many authorities around the world are calling this 3,700 mile-long dust cloud Godzilla. I take offense to this. Godzilla was a hero to many, evoking peace and harmony by destroying many combatants including Mothra and Rodan. People often compare Godzilla with King Kong. While I appreciate the power and sensitivity of Kong, he held no comparison to the size and strength of Godzilla. Godzilla stands 393 feet tall, three times the height of Kong. Don’t name a sand storm after the world’s greatest protagonist. Just don’t. 🙂

To add to my dismay with the disrespect shown Godzilla, I took a look at the trailer for the new movie: Kong vs. Godzilla, a Warner Bros. movie scheduled to be shown in theaters and on HBO Max later this spring. In one word, perplexed. In this trailer, Warner Bros. actually shows Godzilla and King Kong at the same height. Seriously? What the hell are they thinking? Did Godzilla shrink in his old age or did Kong, to help avoid Covid-19, swallow way too much zinc, B12, and vitamin C? This is an absolute miss by Warner Bros. and fans of Godzilla, including me, are not happy. Vamos Godzilla!

A misrepresentation of Godzilla and King Kong. Ridiculous!
  • The posturing and positioning of so-called leverage between Major League Soccer (MLS) and the MLS Players Association (MLSPA) started last year and for all the right and wrong reasons has carried over to the start of this preseason. I don’t like the math the League has published on projected revenue losses due to the pandemic. While it is clear that ticket sales are the major revenue stream for MLS clubs, I would prefer the League provide a revenue forecast for 2021 versus a projection of losses. While the League and the owners are most certainly dealing with financial obstacles and issues, their published statement of losses totaling $1 billion are not supported by any published data.

On the other side of the fence, for reasons of logic, I don’t necessarily agree with the MLSPA. Though it may seem like the League is taking advantage of pandemic economics, I feel strongly that the players, at a baseline, should feel fortunate to have jobs. Yes, I said it and the main reason is just a reality of today’s times. With millions of people, for one reason or another, no longer able to have a job, being paid the majority of your contracted salary, in today’s pandemic world, is a blessing. Sure, there is give and take regarding a player’s contract, and there are the health concerns of players and staff doing what they do every day, but the truth is the players remain employed, and for the most part will enjoy all or most of their contracted compensation for years to come. Don’t get me wrong, I am on the player’s side while understanding that the League must mitigate losses – but no party to Major League Soccer can ‘afford’ a work stoppage. It is my take and I welcome yours.

  • On a personal note, congrats to my daughter and son-in-law. They brought my granddaughter, Lennon, into this world last night. It is a bit different world than the one my daughter navigated, but I am sure J and D will bring much love and guidance to their daughter. XOXO.

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

No Comprendo. #44.

The Things I Just Don’t Understand. A Great Player And A Better Man.

After listening to outgoing NASA chief Jim Bridenstine last week, I called a friend of mine to vent. I told him that after listening to Bridenstine, and realizing I only understood less than half of what he was describing, I questioned my basic level of intelligence and comprehension.

My friend “reassured” me that 99% of people could have no possible idea what Bridenstine was explaining about NASA’s Artemis program. My lack of understanding NASA’s Artemis program has prompted me to wonder about some things I Just Don’t Understand.


  • The 45-second, grotesque verbal disclaimers in prescription drug ads. There has to be a better way to disclose the potential side-effects of prescription drugs than to read them aloud during the commercial. A commercial will start with a man in the park with his wife and he will state: “I used to be depressed. I didn’t want to leave the house; I didn’t want to spend time with my family; I didn’t have the will to make myself happy. But then I discovered Alorex. Alorex let me love life again“. During the next 30 seconds, they’ll show him running around the park with his wife and 3-year-old daughter and dog, and it will all be in slow motion and everyone will be smiling and laughing and the sun will be shining. And while this is happening, the inevitable voice over: “Alorex may lead to further depression, low self-esteem, and sudden acts of violence. Alorex may also cause cancer, heart disease, strokes, hives, and diarrhea. In rare cases, Alorex may cause sleep apnea and sleep walking. Don’t take Alorex if you take nitrates for chest pain or if you don’t want to be potentially possessed by Linda Blair.” In the final shot, the man tells us: “Because of Alorex, I feel like me again”. Seriously? Here is a disclaimer for ERNESTO, a drug that treats people with heart disease:

ENTRESTO may cause serious side effects including: Angioedema that may cause trouble breathing and death. Get emergency medical help right away if you have symptoms of angioedema or trouble breathing. People who are Black or who have had angioedema and take ENTRESTO may have a higher risk of having angioedema. Other side effects include low blood pressure, fatigue, kidney problems, increased levels of potassium in your blood, and various kidney problems. What?

  • NASA scientists identified a molecule in Titan’s atmosphere that has never been detected in any other atmosphere. In fact, many chemists have never heard of it or know how to pronounce it: cyclopropenylidene, or C3H2. Scientists say that this simple carbon-based molecule may be a precursor to more complex compounds that could form or feed possible life on Titan. Okay, I read that Titan is Saturn’s largest moon (like I knew that Saturn had moons), but if “many chemists have not heard of cyclopropenylidene”…does NASA really think I understand what the hell they are referencing?
  • Why does bottled water cost more than a sodaIs bottled water the biggest rip-off on the planet? It might be, right? There will be a $1.00 soda next to a $1.99 bottle of water. How is that possible?
Confusing? | 56cclassroomblog

Any questions?

  • Why are land plants green? Scientists finally understand why. Here is one explanation: Plants photosynthetic pigments reflect green light, even though those wavelengths hold the most energy. That clearly answers all my questions about photosynthesis. Even mistaken hypotheses and theories are of use in leading to discoveries. This remark is true in all the sciences. The alchemists founded chemistry by pursuing chimerical problems and theories which are false. In physical science, which is more advanced than biology, we might still cite men of science who make great discoveries by relying on false theories. It seems, indeed, a necessary weakness of our mind to be able to reach truth only across a multitude of errors and obstacles. Who are these people talking to? Anyone want to chime in on what ‘chimerical problems’ refer to? I think I may have many of them.

Someone please enlighten me to the use and function of bitcoins. I have heard the term ‘cryptocurrency’ but to me that word has no meaning. Wikipedia’s explanation: Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency, a form of electronic cash. It is a decentralized digital currency without a central bank or single administrator. Bitcoins can be sent from user to user on the peer-to-peer bitcoin network directly, without the need for intermediaries. Transactions are verified by network nodes through cryptography and recorded in a public distributed ledger called a blockchainMany financial and tax people read this blog…please offer up the dumbed-down explanation.

  • Business speak is probably in my top five things I do not understand and actually despise. My theory: Systemic rhetoric = rubbish.
  • I am a follower of AERION, a company designing and manufacturing supersonic jets. Their amazing technology is truly remarkable allowing their jets to travel at speeds of 1,000 miles per hour. Then AERION spits out this piece of information on the fuel design and engagement that of course everyone understands: Aerion Supersonic announced July 8 that it would explore using synthetic jet fuel made by Carbon Engineering, a Canadian company developing technology to suck carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. Let’s see, I am on a jet cruising at 1,000 mph, consuming synthetic fuel derived from sucking CO2 out of the atmosphere. Perfect.
  • Speaking of things in the air, I am not ashamed to reveal that I still do not understand the concept of how aircraft take off and remain in the air. Yes, I have been privy to the word “lift” and people explaining that “lift” is related to air flowing past the wings – which for some reason results in “lift”. Here is a simple, clear, and easy to understand explanation of “lift”. Lift occurs when a moving flow of gas is turned by a solid object. The flow is turned in one direction, and the lift is generated in the opposite direction, according to Newton’s Third Law of action and reaction. Because air is a gas and the molecules are free to move about, any solid surface can deflect a flow. For an aircraft wing, both the upper and lower surfaces contribute to the flow turning. Neglecting the upper surface’s part in turning the flow leads to an incorrect theory of lift. Of course that explains it all and now I get to Google “Newton’s Third Law of action and reaction”.
I have no words for the dynamics of how this pilot does this with a C-130.
  • Here is something I do understand:
❥ Some people will never understand you, and some understand you before you  even speak a word.: | Words, Words quotes, Quotations

  • On a serious note, I was very sad to learn that Henry Aaron passed away on Friday. Even if baseball is not on the top of your list, read about him as a youngster born into poverty, the discrimination and bigotry he put up with, his amazing baseball career, and more importantly his humanity. RIP Mr. Henry Aaron.
Image
The amazing Hank Aaron.

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

The First Amendment. Tiger. Perseverance. Billy Jack. One Night In Miami.

Assemble Peacefully. Affection or Affected? Let’s Put A Helicopter on Mars. A True Badass. Thought-Provoking.

More than one person asked me why I had no ‘take’ on the events that took place on January 6 in Washington, D.C. and the United States Capitol Building. My first response and what will always be my response is that I long ago divorced myself away from the world of politics. I neither discuss or write about anything political. Politics is energy-draining to me and often spurs negative vibrations – whether with friends or family or with co-workers.

After further review and a bit of contemplation, and to address ‘why I did not comment on the events of January 6’, here is my take on all situations that involve protests and protestors:

  • The Constitution and the Bill of Rights. The First Amendment clearly states “…the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” I support the Constitution.
  • There is a great divide in America and it is not just systemic bigotry, bias, and hate. There is a definite divide amongst people representing their political parties – bipartisanship that has been ignited by the presidential election.
  • Refer again to the first bullet point. I believe that the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the 1st Amendment are the backbone and thread of the United States. I don’t care about political parties, the “red” and the “blue”. What I do care about is that we are the American people. The right of people to peaceably assemble and to air their grievances is a basic right of all Americans, regardless of race, creed, or religion.
  • Without political reference, the breach the U.S. Capitol Building resulting in damage and taking property is in no way a peaceful assembly. I am not pointing fingers at anyone, but how and why did the security apparatus fail to protect the U.S. Capitol building?
  • There is now information from law enforcement agencies that groups are preparing to protest at most or all State capitols on Inauguration Day, January 20. Again, in following the First Amendment, the people have the right to peacefully assemble and air their grievances. Threats to fellow people, trespassing on Federal property, and causing any damage was never close to the realm of thinking from the Founding Fathers who wrote the Constitution.
  • I disagree with any protest or assembly that does not follow the First Amendment. That is my take. What is yours?
Inflamed Trump supporters stormed the Senate side of the Capitol on Wednesday afternoon, after the president’s rally.
Decide for yourself if this activity is covered by the First Amendment.

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I like people who are competitive. At one point in time – that actually lasted many years, there was no greater competitor on earth than Tiger Woods. I won’t go into his specific golfing prowess, but there was no doubt that on the golf course he was a force to be reckoned with…and his fierce competitive nature provided him with a path to dominating the PGA tour.

I make no excuses for Tiger’s personal conduct in the massively publicized issues that evolved during his marriage to Elin Nordegren. Shameful, immature, and unbalanced are words that describe his actions and behavior. We were all puzzled by his fall from grace and public relations nightmare. If you can make the time, I suggest that you watch HBO’s Tiger, a two-part documentary offering a revealing look at his rise, fall, and epic comeback. I watched part one last week, and at a minimum this documentary may answer a few questions that all of us have regarding Tiger’s DNA. Part two is now available – for me a must watch.

This was just the beginning of Tiger’s infatuation with the game of golf.

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Mark your calendars for the afternoon of February 18, 2021. I could go into my diatribe about NASA’s Perseverance Mars mission, but other than parachuting a landing module from the launched rocket – that contains the Mars Rover and a helicopter onto the surface of Mars, I have no ability to comprehend how these scientists and engineers are making this happen. What I do understand from this video is very cool:

The Mars Rover parachutes down to Mars on February 18, 2021.

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A retro look at one of my favorite fight scenes from the past. I described a very upset individual as “going Billy Jack” to a friend of mine. She had no idea of what I was talking about. There have been many badass lead actors including Bruce Lee, Chuck Norris, Steven Seagal, Denzel Washington and Daniel Craig, but there was only one Billy Jack:

“I’m going to take my right foot and wop you……..” . Tom Laughlin played the character Billy Jack.

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I was raised in Miami, Florida. As sports fans along with my father being an AAU boxer, my family followed the career of Muhammad Ali. Early on and for many reasons, I was aware of racism, racial divide, and activists including the infamous Malcolm X. My Miami roots and Ali obviously spiked my interest in the movie One Night in Miami, no different than any other movie that takes in the dynamics of my hometown and sports. It turned out to be a pleasant surprise but did not follow what I assumed would be the storyline of four black men, in 1964, getting together to ‘celebrate’ Cassius Clay (a.k.a. Muhammad Ali) beating Sonny Liston for the world heavyweight championship.

I will not comment on the storyline as I suggest you take two hours to watch what I feel is a very good film, full of memorable performances and thought-provoking speeches and arguments. The storyline, direction, cinematography, and acting was outstanding, and Kingsley Ben-Adir, playing Malcolm X, will surely be nominated for an Oscar. A 1964 view of four unique celebrities who provide us with their individual viewpoints. Directed by Regina King, One Night in Miami is excellent.

One Night in Miami Movie Review
One Night in Miami with Aldis Hodge, Kingley Ben-Adir, Leslie Odom, Jr. and Eli Goree.

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

The Lost Calendar. Tommy Boy. Gone Alligator.

Most of last year seemed to be a blur. Dealing with all the dynamics and ramifications of the pandemic distracted many of us from the usual milestones of the calendar year. Starting last March, the significance of annual events and holidays took to the backburner as we dealt with Covid-19 and sheltering in place. Though it will take some time for most of us to be vaccinated, it is time to look forward to the next few months:

  • Later today – three more NFL playoff games.
  • Tomorrow night, January 11 – the college football championship game between Ohio State and Alabama at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, Florida.
  • January 18 – Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. It is the year’s first Federal holiday and among other events, the Atlanta Hawks play their annual MLK Day game at 2:30pm at State Farm Arena.
  • January 20 – Inauguration Day. The celebration of a new or incumbent President of the United States happens once every four years. It occurs in the year after presidential elections have been held. Who knows how this inauguration will unfold?
  • January 25 – Atlanta United reports to training camp. Significant as they begin the 2021 campaign with a new manager and the rehiring of Paul McDonough, who was an instrumental part of the organization in the run up to the 2018 MLS championship. The League’s start date is still not determined.
  • February 1 – the first day of Black History month. Think Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • February 2 – Groundhog Day. I am not embarrassed to tell you I have no idea what this is all about – other than remembering a mundane movie starring Bill Murray.
  • February 7 – Super Bowl LV (Richie, that is 55). The game takes place at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida.
  • February 14 – Valentine’s Day. Roses, chocolate, lots of smiles and hopefully no broken hearts.
  • February 15 – President’s Day, originally honoring Washington’s birthday, is the second Federal holiday of the year.
  • March 14. One of the best Sunday’s of the year as daylight savings time returns.
  • March 17. St. Patrick’s Day. Covid-19 shut down most festivities celebrating one of Ireland’s patron saints (and obviously morphed into celebrating Irish-American culture). We look forward to the days where rivers once again turn green and Chicago, New York, and Savannah all go a bit crazy with their parades. Also, let’s not forget the return of the St. Patrick’s Day party JP puts together – hopefully to return in 2022.
  • March 28 – Passover begins. If you have not been to a Passover dinner (Seder), go! The storytelling of the emancipation of the Israelites from Egyptian slavery (Charlton Heston in the The Ten Commandments) is engaging and includes the consumption of wine at certain points throughout the dinner. Wine consumption is variable depending on the participants.
  • April 2-4 – Good Friday and Easter weekend. We could all use an Easter egg hunt and all the festivities surrounding Easter weekend.
  • April 5-11 – The Masters in Augusta, Georgia. This time around we do get to see the azaleas in full bloom.
  • April 13 – Ramadan. It is a month of fasting, prayer, giving and self-evaluation observed by Muslims around the world.
  • April 15 – Tax Day. Enough said.
  • April 22 – Earth Day. The day was born out of a massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, California and carried forward today by the Earth Day Network. Earth day was created to help bring awareness and support for environmental protection around the world. 

I am sure I missed some holidays/events. The bottom line is that these four months may feel similar to 2020 – but at least we have the vaccine on the horizon. Hopefully, after the end of April, we will all know when we can finally get that vaccine into our arms.

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I feel fortunate that I was raised in a family that followed sports. Though I focused on soccer from a playing perspective (Bret/Bob, no comment please), my passion for competitive sports started early on, influenced by my parents and my brother. In previous posts I discussed Don Shula, who led the Miami Dolphins to an undefeated season and two Super Bowl wins, but I was always amazed by a baseball manager who brought us passion, competitiveness, and the will to win. He managed the Los Angeles Dodgers for 20 seasons from 1976-1996. Over this time, he amassed 1,599 career wins, which ranks 20th all-time. In addition to his two World Series titles, he was also named the National League (NL) Manager of the Year twice in his career, first in 1983 and again in 1988. He also managed the National League in four All-Star Games following each of his NL pennant wins. I loved watching Tommy Lasorda manage his teams. I enjoyed and was amazed at his antics when arguing with the umpiring crew. Tommy Lasorda passed away Friday and in my mind he was one of the greatest. RIP Tommy Lasorda.

This video is rated XXX for language. Do not let your children listen. I post this because you get to hear his unbelievable passion and exasperation with the media. This was a famous interview with Lasorda after being accused of ordering one of his pitchers to throw at a batter. Can you imagine, in this day and time, a coach or manager saying this in front of the media? There was only one Tommy Lasorda.

RIP Tommy Lasorda.

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And finally….I leave you on this second Sunday of 2021 with a photo you can use when someone asks how to describe 2020:

Similar to year 2020…..this makes all the sense in the world.

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

2020 – A Year To Forget

There Was Some Good.

The first post of 2021 should in essence be go-forward content and not reflect back on a year that was one to forget. Though we can never forget the friends and families affected by Covid-19, we can actually look back to some positive or enlightening things that came out of 2020.

Vaccines – What sometimes took up to ten years for approval took less than a year. Now, it is up to General Gustavo Perna to drive the supply chain and administration of the vaccines – and now get it into people’s arms.

Financial markets – For the year, the Dow Jones rose 7.2% and the S&P 500 index 16.3%. The Nasdaq surged 43.6%, its best annual gain since 2009.

Family – The ‘stay at home’ order actually forced families to work and school in their household, an unusual dynamic that hopefully resulted in a functional family unit. Yes, I said hopefully.

J-Lo and Shakira performing at the Super Bowl – “I only watch the game, not the halftime”. Yea, right.

16 Best Tweets About J.Lo and Shakira's Super Bowl Performance
Shakira and J-Lo at the Super Bowl.

Electric vehicles -Part of the reason for declining oil demand in 2020 last year was the success of electric vehicles. Globally, 10 percent of all cars sold in 2020 were EVs — a 28 percent increase over 2019. Sales are predicted to go up again by 50 percent in 2021.

Ford Mustang Mach-E - Wikipedia
Ford’s all electric SUV….the Mustang Mach-E.

Working from home – Revolutionized due to the pandemic, millions of workers around the world proved that with the right technology and fortitude, working remote can work.

Women making ‘it’s a woman’ past tense – Sarah Fuller, the young lady who played for Vanderbilt’s women’s soccer team, suiting up and not only playing for Vanderbilt’s football team, but kicking off and converting an extra point no different than any male kicker. Becky Hammon, a long-time assistant for the San Antonio Spurs of the NBA, stepping into the head coaching role last week after head coach Gregg Popovich was ejected. Ann Elizabeth Dunwoody, who on November 14, 2008, became the first woman in United States military history to achieve the rank of four-star general. Alert to all: women actually perform, standout and lead.

Sarah Fuller of Vanderbilt is first woman to score in Power Five game
Vanderbilt’s Sarah Fuller converting one of the two extra points she converted against the University of Tennessee.

Space – Privatized space exploration is no longer a puzzle, with NASA contracting with SpaceX, Blue Origin, Space Perspective, Boeing, Sierra Nevada and others for many missions…and the ultimate goal of reaching Mars.

A cocktail or two – Enjoying alcoholic beverages to pass the time and to cope with the pandemic seemed to be top of mind for many people. According to Nielsen’s market data, total alcohol sales outside of bars and restaurants have surged roughly 24% during the pandemic. They found sales of spirits with higher alcohol content rose even faster, more than 27% increase in 2020 over 2019 . Here’s as toast to 2021.

Live televised sports – An amazing effort during a pandemic by all the leagues, administrators, coaches, players, and television networks. These live games helped take our minds off of lockdowns and illness and provided us one of the greatest golf shots of all time.

A practice round ‘skip shot’ at the 2020 Masters.

We are all so done with 2020. The first part of 2021 may look no different but the vaccines will help get us a bit more normalized. May the year 2021 bring some positive vibes to everyone.

Photo by Mills 50 Mainstreet District in Armstrong Lock & Security Products. Image may contain: text that says 'Locks Armstrong & SAFES LOCKSMITH Since 1929 SLAMMING THE DOOR ON 2020 LOCKING IT UP AND THROWING AWAY THE KEY'.
Never stated better...

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