Already The End Of August.

California Takes A Stance – Imagine That? Artemis I Goes Big. Student Loans Paid For By Whom? Negative Vibes From The Fed Chairman. A Feel Good Moment.

  • In discussing what looks to be a major pivot from many automobile manufacturers to electric and hybrid, we now turn our attention to the always interesting state of California. In addressing their growing concern for the climate and carbon pollution, California announced last week that they will require automakers to only sell new electric and hybrid cars in the state by 2035. This rule follows on the footsteps of the European Union (EU), who is floating a proposal to ban the sale of new gas-powered cars and is awaiting their member countries’ input and actions. This may seem insignificant with thirteen years to go until 2035, but my take is that the ripple effects of California’s stance on creating a zero-emissions transportation future will follow suit in many other states. Comments and concerns?

  • I have given my take on the onslaught of electric vehicles, supporting some of my concerns with perspective from power grid executives in Texas and Arizona. On top of all the power supply and recharging issues I have mentioned, here comes a eye-opening tidbit from Ford Motor Company: On August 9, the group from Dearborn, Michigan, announced an increase in the price of the F-150 Lightning, the electric version of the iconic F-150 pickup. These price increases were between $6,000 and $8,500 depending on the model. The base price of the F-150 Lightning model year 2023 thus climbed between $47,000 and $97,000, compared to approximately $40,000 to $92,000 for model year 2022 vehicles. These prices obviously exclude taxes, delivery, and other charges.

I have no words other than to say that this electric vehicle planning, implementation, and execution strategy may be a bit of course.

  • Word of the week: With respect to the lawyers who read this blog: I have learned to love the word “redacted.” Could this be the most overused word ever? 🙂

  • Launch pad 39B at the Kennedy Space Center is a must-see on Monday morning. At 8:33am tomorrow the Space Launch System (SLS) Artemis I is scheduled to make its debut launch on a 42-day mission. The space program, energized by private space exploration entities in not-so friendly competition, has never been more popular and top-of-mind. So mainstream in fact, that Brevard County officials are expecting up to 300,000 people to swarm their county to witness this launch. This is on a Monday morning, with most children in Florida back in school. I have discussed the significance of this launch in previous posts, but as a reminder, tomorrow morning’s launch and 42 days in space is a precursor to a manned mission sometime in 2024. That mission, Artemis II, will include four astronauts, followed by Artemis III in 2025, which will put two astronauts back on the moon. As I can watch the launch from my condo building near downtown Orlando, the “breakfast at Artemis” invitation is open. I thought my watch party idea was significant until I read this from “As of last Wednesday night, there were over 4,000 registered private watch parties — including events slated to take place in family homes, classrooms, schools and universities. And there were nearly 2,500 registered public watch parties slated to kick off at museums, NASA Visitor Centers, planetariums, and more, according to Patricia Moore, an Artemis outreach strategist.” So much for my novel watch party idea.
Artemis I utilizes the Interim Cryogenic Propulsion System – everyone clear on that?

  • Music, most of the time, is a common denominator. Everyone favors music they enjoy listening to, as well as watching talent perform on stages at various venues around the world. Talent is in the eyes and ears of the beholder, and Chris Stapleton, to me, is the epitome of the word talent.
Chris Stapleton at his best.
  • $24 billion a year. That is the amount of money the White House estimates the cost of funding, supporting, and facilitating the Student Loan Cancellation Program. I will not comment on whether I support the program or not, but here are a few other cost estimates and some interesting ramifications from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business: We estimate that President Biden’s proposed student loan debt cancellation alone will cost between $469 billion to $519 billion over the 10-year budget window, depending on whether existing and new students are included. About 75% of the benefit falls to households making $88,000 or less per year. Under strict “static” assumptions about student borrowing behavior and using take-up rates within existing income-based repayment programs, the proposed new income-driven repayment (IDR) program will cost an additional $70 billion, increasing total package costs to $605 billion. However, depending on future details of the actual IDR program and concomitant behavioral changes, the IDR program could add another $450 billion or more, thereby raising total plan costs to over $1 trillion. Of course this decision by the Administration has politicians chiming in with the usual bipartisan rhetoric. Here is another example of why I ‘quit’ politics a long time ago. It does NOT matter who stated this, and what their political alignment leans towards. It only matters that it was said – uncalled for, unfounded, and disgusting: “…Like, holy cow! 20 grand. You know, maybe you weren’t going to vote in November, and suddenly you just got 20 grand. And you know, if you can get off the bong for a minute and head down to the voting station,” he continued. “It could drive up turnout particularly among young people.”

Due to my ethos of no politics, no religion, I will not provide my thoughts on the loan forgiveness program. I will leave those thoughts and comments to you.

  • A big thank you to Fed Chairman Jerome Powell for his positive and stirring comments on inflation and the economy in general. Without REALLY explaining why official interest rates are so low if inflation is “dangerously” high, his rant on Friday resulted in the S&P falling 3.4 percent and the DJIA ending 1,000+ points down. Well done, Chairman Powell.

  • A match between Argentine First Division clubs can always be rough, rugged, and dramatic. Our feel-good moment of the week shows this young man comforting Newell’s Old Boys goalkeeper Ezequiel Unsain, who gave up a stoppage time winning goal to rival club Boca Juniors. We ALL need more of this – all day, every day.
No way security personnel were going to get in the way of this moment.

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

The Good & Bad – The Dog Days of August.

Positive Thinking, Positive Vibes. Bearing It. Thoughts. All Along The Watchtower.

It has been an interesting eight months of 2022. I call it socio-economic fatigue. There are some real worldwide issues affecting most of us around the world, many of them escalated by media outlets yearning for greater ratings.

  • The Russians continued assault on the sovereign nation of Ukraine.
  • A U.S. political system that yields so much energy-draining nonsense.
  • A nuclear power plant in Ukraine on the verge of a meltdown.
  • Cartels turning Mexican tourist areas into war zones.
  • The continued barrage of terrorism from jihadists in Mogadishu.
  • Droughts and flooding, and the continued discussion of climate change.
  • Both pilots on a commercial airliner falling asleep and missing their landing.
  • Supply chain and inflation woes.
  • 22 million people at the risk of starvation in the Horn of Africa.
  • The continued battle with viruses and volatile organic compounds.

Those are ten top of mind problems and issues that continue to bombard us day in, and day out. I say enough of the negative vibes and let us look to our bear friends for a bit of fun and levity.

  • One of my favorites of all time, for many reasons, is this ‘traffic-control’ bear working the roads of Yosemite National Park. One bear versus seven road workers standing around wasting our tax dollars. I will take the bear.
“Smarter Than Your Average Bear”
  • Regarding bears, here is some very good creative from the brand John West and their canned red salmon product. Really well done.
A spot from John West Red Salmon.

What Am I Thinking?

  • College football is right around the corner, followed by the NFL, NHL, and NBA. The MLS and MLB playoffs start in five weeks.
  • Florida is thinking about using veterans to fill open teaching positions around the state. Clever idea, or not so much?
  • Has anyone ever stayed at Mar-a-Lago? I have not, but when in the Palm Beach area of Florida check out The Eau Resort, The Breakers, the Brazilian Court Hotel, and the Four Seasons.
  • Is it just the summer vibe, or does there seem to be a rapid rise with shark attacks from Maine to Florida?
  • Is anyone else wondering about the go-forward with cryptocurrencies?
  • The headline of the week: “Venice mayor calls out ‘imbeciles’ surfing Italian city’s historic canals.”
Just another day in Venice.

I am often reminded of the great music talent you can find at a music venue or on a side street. Yes, I am both jealous and envious of this gentleman, who does a great job with All Along the Watchtower, which was written by Bob Dylan and famously performed by Jimi Hendrix.

A great version of All Along The Watchtower.

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

Hit By A Pitch. Grease. Short Takes. Tech On Set.

Empathy And Sportsmanship. RIP Olivia Newton-John. Top-of- Mind Thinking. Talent Training At WLS/Chicago.

  • We can all use a moment of levity and good news. What could have turned into a serious medical issue, or a usual brawl between two baseball teams, turned into the moment of the week. This young man shows tremendous empathy and class to the pitcher who had just hit him with a pitch. I know the dynamics of pitchers beaning batters at the professional level are different, but maybe Major League Baseball should make this video a mandatory watch for their players? I know, I am dreaming…
A Great Moment for Little League Baseball.

  • I had a crush on her, forever. She could sing, act, and was no doubt gorgeous. She was a four-time Grammy Award winner whose music career included five number-one hits and other top-ten hits on the Billboard Hot 100. She made John Travolta much better with her performance in Grease, which became the highest-grossing musical film ever at the time and whose soundtrack remains one of the world’s best-selling albums of all time. Olivia Newton-John passed away last week after a lengthy battle with cancer. Her passing provided me with a flood of good memories.

We then learn about Olivia Newton-John’s lineage, and her famous grandfather and father. Her grandfather was the physicist and mathematician Max Born, who fled Nazi Germany to continue his work with quantum mechanics (anyone want to chime in on quantum mechanics?). In 1954 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics but was better recognized for his efforts to help people escape Nazi Germany. Her father, Brinley Newton-John, also has his own place in history. He was a British intelligence officer who was involved with the capture of Hitler’s deputy Rudolf Hess. Olivia Newton-John was a magical performer with a storied family history.

Who could forget this music video which was produced in the early days of the aerobic craze? RIP Olivia Newton-John.

She Will Be Missed.

Short Takes For Mid-August

  • Just asking: How long is the world going to stand by and watch Putin’s Russian troops demolish the country of Ukraine?
  • Regarding the question above, the Ukraine power plant in Zaporizhzhya is on the brink of a nuclear disaster in Europe. Hello NATO?
  • Does anyone what to chime in with answers on inflation, with low unemployment and better supply chain dynamics, as well as the markets up 10% in the last three weeks. Anyone?
  • We are two weeks away from college football. Nothing else needs to be said. 🙂
  • Headline of the week from the Tampa Bay Times: Why is The Villages known as ‘the STD capital of America?’ (FYI: The Villages is a massive, planned development in Central Florida saturated with over-55 communities.)
  • A telling tale of what?: College enrollment is down four million in the last decade.
  • A CEO crying while announcing layoffs and firings at HyperSocial, a Columbus, Ohio online marketing firm. He did this on LinkedIn. I have no words.
  • With all due respect, size matters. The foldable phone is coming fast, first from Samsung and Motorola. The tag line: “A large screen that folds in half so you can put it in your pocket.” That is some well thought out product marketing.

  • I spend a good bit of time ‘on set’ at television networks and their affiliates around the country. Television news, especially local affiliates, are very competitive with everything they do. Many affiliates differentiate themselves from their competition with the technology used on their sets – to present and show off their content and storytelling. As technology has evolved with lower price points, news affiliates are starting to use large LED walls, seamless monitor arrays, and touchscreens, similar to what we might see used on networks including France 24, The Weather Channel, BBC, CNN, and Fox News. WLS TV is an ABC affiliate in the large television market of Chicago. Is Greg, the weather person, messing with us or did his news director and chief engineer not advise him about their new touch-screen technology? Embarrassingly funny.
Obviously, Greg did not get the message about touchscreen technology.

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

Energy V.3. Devastation In Kentucky. Three In One. Low-Life.

A Video To Substantiate. Please Donate. Space Launches. Conspiracy Theories Taken Way Too Far.

  • My long-time friend Tom A. offered up this conservative think tank’s point of view. This short video does not specifically discuss the electric vehicle world, focusing more on alternative types of energy. I am not suggesting that the statements made in the video are true or false. That task is yours…to give us your take on energy – where we were, where we are now, and most importantly where we are headed with energy production.

  • Most of our everyday lives are very busy. It is understandable but unfortunate that we forget that there are many people in need, including the people in the Central Appalachia region between Manchester, Kentucky and Grundy, Virginia. Below is the donation link for the Red Cross. Please take five minutes and donate to help all of those in need.
Devastation in Kentucky.

  • Thursday of last week was the busiest day for space launches ever for commercial companies in the United States. United Launch Alliance (ULA), Blue Origin, and SpaceX launched unmanned and manned rockets into space on the same day – unprecedented and unthinkable even five years ago. ULA sent a Space-Based infrared System Geosynchronous Earth Orbit (SBIRS GEO 6) spacecraft, paid for by the U.S. Air Force. ‘Space warfare’ is obviously in play as the SBIRS GEO 6 is a missile detection and early warning satellite that was designed and built to detect ballistic missile threats around the world. This launch was followed by Blue Origin’s suborbital rocket, manned by everyday folks paying big money for the 11 to 13 minute flight. This launch was followed by a SpaceX launch of a Falcon 9 rocket carrying a Korean satellite from the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. What a day for the commercial space program!
“……Are you ready for some space flight?”

  • He finally conceded that the Sandy Hook tragedy was real, and not a hoax. This is a 48-year-old ‘conspiracy theorist’ who has a nationally syndicated radio show. His years of false claims about Sandy Hook resulted in a defamation lawsuit with parents of children lost in the tragedy. They filed a $150 million lawsuit for damages for his false claims. Alex Jones: you should be ashamed of yourself. You are, in a word, a low-life.
Alex Jones, the right-wing conspiracy theorist. Apple, Facebook, YouTube and Spotify have removed most of Alex Jones’ programming from their services.

  • Growing up, my brother and I watched a good bit of basketball. There is no comparison to today’s NBA, but there were some players, who pound-for-pound, stood out amongst the rest. In the video below, the great Jerry West, who played many years with Wilt Chamberlain, tells all of us about the late Bill Russell. Russell’s death struck a chord with me as I always felt he was the most impactful (not the best) basketball player I had ever watched play. RIP Bill Russell.

I obviously enjoy watching these young kids experience music they are not familiar with…her smile is priceless!! I will slow my roll with these videos – but they are very cool.

The one and only Carlos Santana.

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