Woke This.

I Have Some Ideas.

Anyone who has read a few of my posts over the last five years understands that I have a zero-tolerance policy with anything to do with discrimination and racism. Zero-tolerance comes from my upbringing, where I lived, worked, and played with people from many different countries, from different races, and with varied religious beliefs. Sure, I understand that people across the United States feel impelled to voice their opinions to ensure that injustice and prejudice are called out and exposed. With all of that said, I now have a zero -tolerance to “woke.” I am over the use of the word “woke”, do not want the word used to generalize the feelings of people, and now have disdain for the very definition of “woke”: A term originating in the United States that originally meant to be alert to racial prejudice and discrimination.

  • For many years, journalists and protestors alike have had a misguided impression of the Atlanta Braves being just that, the Atlanta Braves. The Braves’ organization has made a tremendous effort to ensure that American Indians around the United States feel honored by the nickname “Braves” and appreciate that the fans chopping and chanting during the ‘tomahawk chop’ are actually honoring the American Indian. The article below, from a Sports Illustrated journalist, is completely off base and actually a poor piece of journalism. Shame on you Sports Illustrated. A thank you to my long-time friend Mario for sending me this crap piece of journalism. https://www.si.com/mlb/2021/10/28/atlanta-braves-tomahawk-chop-daily-cover
  • Speaking of “woke” we again turn our undivided attention to baseball. The use of the term ‘bullpen’ was first coined by a sports journalist back in 1877, one hundred and forty-four years ago. In simple terms, baseball’s bullpen area is a cordoned off area where pitchers warm up before they are called into the game. The bullpen is part of baseball, no different than the dugout or on-deck circle. Now, in the year 2021, with all of the world’s issues and concerns, PETA has decided to step to the plate. They have gone viral with their concerns that the term bullpen, THE AREA OF THE FIELD WHERE PITCHERS WARM UP, ‘devalues talented players and mocks the misery of sensitive animals.’ PETA has recommended that the term ‘bullpen’ be changed to the term ‘arm barn.’ Say what? I have an idea: PETA, please stay in your lane and spend your time on worthy causes protecting our animals.
  • A friend of mine knows I like history, so she recommended that I watch “Through The Decades,” a daily show hosted by Bill Kurtis that documents events that happened on that date in history. I have watched it a few times – and it is so well done that I now wonder why this show, which has been on-air for five years, is not part of some network’s prime time lineup. I have an idea: How about our school systems across America making “Through The Decades” a part of their daily curriculum?
  • Speaking of education and television, is there a better documentary series than the PBS show ‘Frontline?’ The series digs down deep into top-of-mind topics, with a high level of content and production. Last week I caught the ‘Frontline’ episode detailing the missteps taken by Boeing with their 737 Max – an airplane that employed a sophisticated software system. Due to cost and the rush to get this plane into the skies, the use of the software system was never made part of the training curriculum for pilots of airlines who purchased the 737 Max from Boeing. I have an idea: How about the FAA ensuring that this blatant oversight never happen again? Below is the trailer – you can watch this stunning episode and others on YouTube.
Frontline produced this documentary detailing the real issues with the 737 Max.
  • Facebook has gone from an incredible technology platform to a source of unguided persuasion and unreliable information. They changed their name to “Meta”, which by definition is a prefix — a word put before another — means after or beyond, to operate at a higher level, or change. I have an idea: How about everyone “operate at a higher level” and stop taking Meta (Facebook) as a literal presentation and representation of our daily lives?
  • I had an unusual confrontation with Alec Baldwin back in 2007, just days after a voicemail recording went viral with him telling his 11-year-old daughter that she was a ‘rude, thoughtless, little pig.’ It is a long story, but he was behind me at the LaGuardia Airport security check and may have caught me giving him ‘my look’, which stemmed from the fact that I was also a single parent of a daughter. He followed me to get a coffee, and with many seats available in the common seating area, he decided to sit down next to me. Anyone who knows me can imagine what I said to him – but respectfully listened to him rant and rave about his ex-wife, Kim Basinger. Thankfully, after twenty minutes of a heated discussion, Baldwin got completely distracted when a very attractive mom and her daughter decided to sit across from us…and you know the rest of that story. Sure, I am no fan of Alec Baldwin, but NO ONE should suffer the consequences of what happened on the ‘Rust’ movie set, including Alec Baldwin. I have an idea: A strict mandate from SAG and IATSE that no live ammunition, at any time, for any reason, should ever be allowed on a set again.

  • Tomorrow is November 1. Twenty-five days to Thanksgiving. Seven weeks until Christmas. Eight weeks until 2022. It has been another different kind of year and hopefully 2022 will be full of success, health, and happiness. I have an idea: How about everyone just stop with hiding behind “woke” and getting on with our lives in a safe and meaningful way? It’s just an idea.

Adios, pay it forward, be safe, and Have a Funday Sunday.

An Explanation. The 1968 Olympic Games. Random Takes.

Some Questions Answered. Is There Really A Difference? Do Not Mess With Tantor. The Fall Classic.

  • In last week’s post, I mentioned my concern and bewilderment with a mosque, full of Shiites, being blown up in Afghanistan. Sunni’s may have taken credit, but who are the Sunnis and Shiites, and why the discourse between them? I asked my friend Samir to help all of us understand the basic history surrounding these sects, and he has come through in a big way. Thank you, Samir.
    Caliphate – The rule or reign of a caliph or chief Muslim ruler or the area ruled by a caliph.
    Muhammad – Muhammad ibn Abdullah was an Arab religious, social, and political leader and the founder of the world religion of Islam. According to Islamic doctrine, he was a prophet, divinely inspired to preach and confirm the monotheistic teachings of Adam, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and other prophets.
    Fatima – Muhammad’s only daughter.
    Sunni – The larger of the two main branches of Islam, which differs from Shiite in its understanding of the Sunnah, its conception of religious leadership, and its acceptance of the first three caliphs.
    Shiite – The second largest branch of Islam. It holds that the Islamic prophet Muhammad designated Ali ibn Abi Talib as his successor and the Imam (spiritual and political leader) after him.
    ISIS – A Sunni fundamentalist group.
    Taliban -A Sunni fundamentalist group.
    Hezbollah – A Shiite fundamentalist group based in Lebanon and Iraq.

Sunni and Shiite – A Bit of History
Sunni and Shiite are the two main sects of Islam. Sunni is the largest sect and Shiite the second largest. Sunnis represent more than 85% of Islam. While some scholars believe the Sunni/Shiite split was festering prior to the death of the prophet Muhammad, the actual separation happened after Muhammad’s death – circa 656 A.D.

Shiite Muslims believe that Ali Bin Abi Talib, Muhammad’s first cousin as well as his son-in-law, (Ali was married to Fatima, Muhammad’s only daughter) was divinely appointed by God as the rightful successor to Muhammad. According to Shiites (but disputed by Sunnis), Muhammad hinted that God asked him to appoint Ali as his successor in a sermon he gave prior to his death (that day is considered a holy day for the Shiite). Shiite believe that upon Muhammad’s death, some of Muhammad’s close companions (most notably Aisha, one of Muhammad’s twelve wives and some say his favorite) appointed Aisha’s father, Abu Bakr, as the first Muslim Caliph. Ali and Fatima (the daughter of Muhammad) refused to pledge allegiance to Abu Bakr.

Ali was not appointed Caliph (successor or leader) until the assassination of the third Caliph, Uthman bin Affan. His appointment was contested very quickly, and a large Muslim population blamed Ali for the assassination of Uthman, causing an Islamic civil war to start. Soon after Ali was assassinated, his main rival Muawiya claimed the caliphate. Muawiya and his son Yazid raged war against the followers of Ali and the Shiites and ended up killing his two sons (the grandkids of Muhammad) Hassan and Hussein. Hassan was poisoned, and Hussein and all of his family were killed in a territory that is Iraq today.

Since that time and incident, almost 1,400 years ago, the Sunnis and Shiites have been engulfed in hatred, war and terror that continues to this day.

The majority of Shiites live in Iran, Iraq. Yemen and Syria. Lebanon’s Shiite population is over 30%. The balance of the Muslim population is overwhelmingly Sunni including all the Gulf States, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Turkey, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Indonesia, India, and East Africa.

The fundamentalists on both sides see the other as heretic and must be either converted or killed – a form of Jihad. To understand the hatred, ISIS killed almost the same number of Shiites as foreigners in Iraq and they destroyed many Shiite mosques on the way. The attacks on Shiite mosques in Afghanistan now are very similar to what happened in Iraq.

In my opinion:
• ISIS is telling the Taliban that we are here to stay, and we can destabilize the area – and we still hate Shiites.
• The Taliban do fear that their fighters may feel ISIS is a more fundamentalist group and be attracted to it.
• A continued destabilization of Afghanistan will continue now that the U.S. military has pulled out.
• Taliban was accepted by Afghanis because they brought security and some stability. Their brutality continues, but to a degree the Afghans feel that the Taliban have brought a bit of stability to their country.

The Associated Press
Explosions rip through a mosque in Afghanistan killing and injuring dozens of parishoners.

  • Amidst the civil rights protests the United States faced in the late 1960’s, we watched two American sprinters win the 200 meter gold and silver medals in the 1968 Olympic Games. I watched these two men, on the podium, raise their black-gloved fists as the national anthem was played. My brother and father, watching our black and white television with me, said nothing. I was confused and asked my dad what these two medal winners were doing? As I remember, he told me something like: “…they are protesting human rights; read the newspaper tomorrow and you will learn all about out it…and make your own opinion about the situation.” The long and the short of their protest revolved around civil rights, so right or wrong they used the Olympic Games to make a statement. John Carlos and Tommie Smith were admonished by the International Olympic Committee, their medals taken away, and they were sent home by the U.S. Olympic Committee. Everyone is entitled to their opinion if the Olympic Games was the appropriate platform for these two athletes to express themselves. Many people across the U.S. were appalled by their actions – how could they use the Olympic Games to voice their opinion? For me, there is no difference between John Carlos and Tommie Smith taking their stance with civil rights, in comparison to Simone Biles, the greatest gymnast of all time, taking her stance on mental health. For one, journalist Howard Cosell agreed.

Howard Cosell was an American journalist, known for his verbose and pompous personality. He had a stint on Monday Night Football, and often provided his boisterous commentary for the ABC network. With all the controversy surrounding John Carlos and Tommie Smith at the 1968 Olympic Games, Howard Cosell, in a very short and pointed statement, provided this take on both the International and U.S. Olympic Committees. Well said Howard Cosell!

Howard Cosell dissects the Olympic Committee.
  • Disdain and discourse between people – from the American Civil Rights movement of the 1960’s to the Middle East conflicts that have lasted over a thousand years. Race and religion – something to ponder why the color of a human being’s skin or the differences in one’s beliefs can continue to lead to death and destruction?
  • A couple of top of mind thoughts as we head to the end of October:

It is estimated that poachers kill over 20,000 elephants a year on the African continent. Though areas including Botswana have implemented protocols to ward off poaching, their efforts have failed miserably. It is now to the point where the elephants themselves seem to have taken matters into their own hands. Last week, authorities found a rifle and what they determined to be a poacher who came across the likes of Tarzan’s friend Tantor. Maybe the poacher tried to run but to no avail as an African bush elephant can run up to speeds of 25 mph – at a weight of up to 13,000 lbs. A tremendous victory for elephants around the world – and hopefully a message to poachers that their terror on the elephant population will be coming to an end.

It has been twenty-one years. Though that 1999 World Series did not turn out well for the Atlanta Braves, they had finally returned to the Fall Classic. Last night at Atlanta’s Truist Field, the Braves beat the formidable Los Angeles Dodgers and will return, after twenty-one years, to the World Series. Let’s Go Braves!

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

Enlightenment. Headlines. Music Reaction.

A Look At Reason, Science, Humanism And Progress. Strange News. Enter Sandman.

  • I read very early on most mornings. The subject material is varied, and includes the news of the day, a weather synopsis with the hope of Fall-like temps in Orlando, and of course a brush of what is happening in the world of sports. Book reading is something I enjoy, and miss, as I used air travel as the time to get entrenched in various novels. Books I have read lately included subject matter on Arthur Blank, Sir Alex Ferguson, and John Bolton. My most recent read is a book titled Enlightenment Now, a 450-pager from Steven Pinker, who is a professor of psychology at Harvard, and is known for his research on cognitive, language, and social relations. That description in itself should tell you that I was way over my head taking on this book.

What hooked me into buying Enlightenment Now is Pinker’s basic premise: “...to step back from the lurid headlines and prophecies of doom, which bring out the worst in our psychological biases….and instead, follow the data that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise”. Yes, I know it sounds like I ‘drank the Kool-aid’ but I actually enjoyed how he supported his observations with data, some of it easy to understand, and some of it needing a doctorate in economics.

My thoughts on Enlightenment Now:

  • We were born to a wide open universe, where knowledge varies based on geographic territory, religion, culture, and socio-economics.
  • We were shaped by ideals – which sometimes led to situations that were ultra-competitive….and may relate to the “live up to the Joneses” syndrome.
  • The math and the data tells me that an anecdote is NOT a trend. History reveals that something bad today doesn’t actually mean it was better in the past. Knowledge stirs narrative and narrative is important in our daily lives as we really don’t know what we don’t know.
  • The key to progress is knowledge, as knowledge overshadows false news, superstition, and most importantly ignorance.

This book took some time for me to read and comprehend. I enjoyed the challenge to understand Pinker’s thinking, philosophy, and most importantly his data. Will I rush to order another Pinker book anytime soon? Most likely not but I am glad I took the time to enjoy the book.


  • A $10 million annual contract to coach an NFL team and you come out as a bigot and homophobe. Does the NFL understand that there is NO coming back?
  • William Shatner, a.k.a. Captain Kirk, had a real life space experience last week…at the age of ninety. I never watched many episodes of Star Trek, but I do remember this famous line from Captain James T. Kirk: “One of the advantages of being a captain, Doctor, is being able to ask for advice without necessarily having to take it.”
  • On Friday, a Russian spacecraft fired it’s thrusters a bit too late and pushed the International Space Station out of position, sending astronauts into an emergency mode. Seriously Vladimir, get your country’s space program together.
  • Another suicide bomber attack in Afghanistan, targeting Shiites as they prayed at a mosque. Dozens killed and injured. To my longtime friend Samir: can you please provide us some insight into reality by discussing the Sunnis, the Shiites, the Taliban, and ISIS? Am I the only one confused?
  • I find it amazing, with the far reaches of worldwide news networks, why we have seen so little coverage of a devastating volcano eruption in the Canary Islands. Mystifying to me.

  • On a lighter note, I really enjoy people discovering music that they have no clue about. The set up: Thirty-years ago, Metallica, along with other bands, played in Moscow in the final days of the Soviet Union. The event drew 1.7 million people, and it is obvious that this young man is clueless of just how big of a band Metallica was, and still is. His reaction to the band, their music, and the crowd is priceless:

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

The Fall weather is being enjoyed by most of the United States – and with that said temperatures in Florida are expected to be in the upper 80’s for the next seven days. The nonsense on Capitol Hill continues and the unfortunate circumstances of Afghanistan have quieted down a bit. Today I just want to bring up ten top of mind things I think:

  • Students should pass through metal detectors when entering any school. Case in point: Last week’s awful event at that Arlington, Texas high school.
  • Brian Laundrie is a much better survivalist than anyone expected – or he is hiding on the Mexican Riviera. Or, as I mentioned two weeks ago, he has vanished in that swamp – in a very bad way.
  • Yesterday’s Pride Festival at Lake Eola, near downtown Orlando, Florida drew 70,000 people – sort of like Mardi Gras in New Orleans and Carnival in Rio de Janeiro all wrapped into one. Amazing to say the least.
  • The cliche’ “time flies” is so true. Friends reminded me that a bourbon tour trip to Lexington, Kentucky, was six years ago this weekend. That trip, in one word: Fantastic.
  • What is China’s endgame with Taiwan? Incursions into Taiwan’s airspace do not bode well for either country.
  • No matter your profession, business or stage of retirement, the global supply chain issues I have written about are going to affect you in one way or another. My take just brushed the surface of the issues – and no matter what you do or who you are, you should take five minutes to read this article: https://finance.yahoo.com/news/this-crazy-shipping-crisis-explained-094340766.html
  • I mentioned the Fall weather. My first thoughts: Blue Ridge, Georgia and Highlands, North Carolina. Two awesome areas to visit anytime of year but especially right now.
  • It now has been open for a few months. It involves being chased by Velociraptors and takes you on a treacherous ride at speeds up to 90 MPH. What could possibly go wrong? Now Universal Studios has produced a point-of-view video of a nighttime ride. That ride is the JURASSIC WORLD VELOCICOASTER. Let’s see…no, and no. There is no way I am getting on this – especially at night.
What part of the word no do you not understand?
  • What ever happened to Shania Twain? She took the world by storm in the late ’90s – and has sold over 100 million records. Miranda Lambert might be my go-to now, but Shania Twain was awesome.
  • Speaking of music and good memories, The Brothers Johnson. George and Louis Johnson, Los Angeles-based brothers who brought the best of funk and R&B back in the late 70’s. With all due respect to the great artists of today, who can replicate this level of music? Enjoy your Sunday as you listen to one of my favorites from The Brothers Johnson:
The Brothers Johnson.

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

Now & Then.

Get Me There Quick. No Tolerance. Buddy.

  • Two weeks ago I posted a take from my granddaughter’s view of her future and the technology she will be experiencing as she progresses to her college years. I made reference to “Uber Air” and the trips she will be able to take from point-to-point. That ‘future’ is here as Lilium, one of many Vertical Takeoff and Landing (VTOL) ventures, will establish their first ‘Vertiport’ in the Lake Nona area of Orlando, Florida. As Lilium and other “air taxi” offerings expand their reach, I can see every major city benefiting from this service. One scenario to ponder: You live in the northern suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia and you need to get to downtown for events at State Farm Arena or Mercedes Benz Stadium. Driving from any northern suburb to downtown Atlanta any time of day is problematic, especially late afternoon to make it to an early evening event or game. Lilium’s “air taxi” service would get you to a downtown Vertiport in a matter of minutes instead of the driving commute that at best, is a minimum of an hour. Vertiports and Spaceports and autonomous vehicles – will the regular airport be around fifty years from now?
Lilium will establish their first U.S.-based Vertiport in Lake Nona, a suburb of Orlando, FL.

  • Evidently it has been too long since some members of the U.S.A. gymnastics team exposed the sexual harassment and abuse they experienced from one of the team’s staff members, Dr. Larry Nassar. The abuse of these young athletes was again headline news on September 15 as four of those former Olympic gymnasts testified on Capitol Hill – clearly and concisely communicating the details of how the U.S. Gymnastics Federation and the FBI had failed them. The entire nation, and world for that matter, listened to these four courageous women – explaining in detail how the FBI ‘swept the Larry Nassar allegations under the rug.’ The Capitol Hill session continued with Senate subcommittee members attacking FBI director Christopher Wray for the FBI’s failure to carry out their investigation. You would think that this sad moment in the history of women’s athletics and the failure of our legal system would have sent a message to all?

Obviously, the answer to that question is ‘no’, as last week players in the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) went viral, exposing that their League office failed to act on allegations of sexual coercion and harassment by one of the league’s head coaches. Emails reveal that in April, over five months ago, two players wrote the Commissioner of the NWSL to ask for an investigation into that coach -only to receive back a statement from the commissioner that she had checked her files and “the initial complaint was investigated to conclusion.” Say what? A completely false statement as she had new detail from these two players that the abuse was continuing at the new club he was managing, the North Carolina Courage. How could the League executives not act on these serious allegations? Did the U.S.A. gymnasts not send enough of a message? Sickening to say the least.

I do not have a legal background, but my intuition tells me that FBI Director Christopher Wray, after that Senate subcommittee blasted him and the entire FBI for the failure to carry out the Larry Nassar investigation, will impose his will with the NWSL allegations – with a full-force investigation. The words conspiracy, coercion, and RICO come to mind. A federal case as this former North Carolina Courage coach crossed state lines with his team – and possibly RICO charges – yes, federal racketeering charges should the FBI find evidence of racketeering involving sexual exploitation. The NWSL, going forward, will come out of this serious situation a better league, with better leadership, and a heightened awareness to all that this treatment of their players will never be tolerated again.

Let’s flip this negative situation with women’s soccer around for a feel-good story. Last week, girls from the Afghanistan national soccer team, who were recently granted asylum in Portugal, had a surprise visit from the captain of the senior team. Farkhunda Muhtaj flew into the Portuguese capital of Lisbon for an emotional reunion with the girls’ team last Wednesday. She is a professional player who from her home in Canada spent weeks helping arrange their recent rescue from Afghanistan. The girls, aged 14-16, and their families gathered on the Tagus riverbank and hugged and kissed Muhtaj amid smiles and tears. The rescue mission was called Operation Soccer Balls and took weeks to put together. Kudos to Ms. Muhtaj!

Look at the smiles on the faces of these young soccer players!

  • I don’t consider myself to be ‘old school.’ I embrace technology and have learned through many experiences to have a ‘go-forward’ perspective. With that said, a dinner last week turned into a fun but spirited discussion and debate regarding the greatest drummers of all time. I was the elderly statesman of the group, but because I enjoy all types of music, I was well aware of some of the drummers the group challenged me with. While I do appreciate the talents of Ben Thomas, Taylor Hawkins, Keith Moon, Neil Peart, and Jon Bonham (Rag’n’bone Man, Foo Fighters, The Who, Rush, and Led Zepplin respectively), I will put my money on Buddy Rich. Not because he was ‘old school’ – it was his incredible speed and drum stroke with the type of music played. Not metal or hard rock, but a semblance of jazz that just sounds great. I will say that the song ‘Caravan‘ is a favorite of mine. To Ben L., a loyal follower of all music, who is your go-to for the best drummer ever?
Who is the best drummer of all time?

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