Ret. General Mark Milley. Delta Missteps. Getting Older. No And No. Fall Sports. Las Vegas Gets Fancy.

Narcissism At Its Finest. Is Delta Still Atlanta’s Favorite Airline? Age = Wisdom. Could Care Less. A Great Time Of Year. The Sphere.

I received many comments, mostly sent to my email address, from last week’s post. Please remember that it is my take and I am always looking for your opinion and comment. Thank you to all for taking the time to respond.

  • “I, _____________, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic…”

That is the first sentence of the U.S. military oath of service. This 60 Minutes interview with retiring Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Mark Milley literally turned my stomach. This take is not pointed at the former President, or any other politician, as all of you know how I feel about anything political. What makes me ill is that the statement made by the former President has again come to light as this military veteran of forty-three years gets set to retire. Mark Milley, before his appointment as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, served with the 82nd Airborne Division, 5th Special Forces Group, the commander of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, the commanding general of the 10th Mountain Division, and served as the commanding officer of the International Security Assistance Force Joint Command. He earned degrees from Princeton, Columbia, and the Naval War College, and was awarded the Bronze Star four times. For anyone, nonetheless any politician, to infer that this military hero would do anything treasonous with China is disgusting.

In today’s post, I mention narcissism and cognitive abilities. It is ironic and sad that the two leading candidates for the 2024 presidency align with those descriptions.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Mark Milley

  • Hello Ed,
    I clearly understand that successful companies must segregate their customers based on spend, as well as tenure and loyalty. As someone who has been a Delta customer since the early 1980’s, the changes made with both Medallion status and Sky Club access, while certainly differentiating your customer base based on spend, certainly does not reward customer tenure and loyalty. There are case studies outlining the missteps well-recognized brands and entities have taken with their lack of recognizing customer tenure and loyalty.

I am far from a “Bain’ consultant or analyst, but my leadership and P/L experience tell me that your staff could have developed a program that honored customer spend, as well as loyalty, and tenure.

That was an email I wrote to Ed Bastian, the CEO of Delta Air Lines, the day after Delta announced changes to their Medallion program and Sky Club access. The changes Delta announced only rewarded customer spend to create ‘greater value’ and delineate their customer base, with no regard to customer loyalty and tenure. I am sure my email, which was responded to by one of Delta’s customer officers, was one of thousands that flooded Ed Bastian’s inbox, as well as the media posting negative vibes with Delta’s new rules. An update is that Ed Bastian has conceded that the program changes may have gone too far and it looks like Delta may “roll back” their decision that resulted in angry customers and very bad optics. I guess the lesson learned is that well-run companies, even with strong leadership, can still take missteps with how they treat their customers. Here is a take from Kyle Potter from Thrifty Traveler:

Did Delta Go Too Far?

  • Not one of our favorite topics, but America is getting older. The share of Americans sixty-five or older grew by more than a third from 2010 to 2020 and at the fastest rate of any decade in 130 years. The good news: As reported by Pew Research, among adults 65 and older, fully 60% say they feel younger than their age, compared with 32% who say they feel exactly their age and just 3% who say they feel older than their age. The bad news: About one-in-four adults 65 and older report experiencing memory loss. About one-in-five say they have a serious illness, are not sexually active, or often feel sad or depressed. One-in-seven cannot drive.

Now that I have your attention – it is obvious that we must try to maintain and improve our functional fitness, as well as our mental aptitude and cognitive skills. The old adage that “I don’t remember what I came into the kitchen for, but I do remember lyrics from ’80’s hair bands” – is mystifying. Speaking of aging and wisdom, this statement is so true in many, many ways.

Here Are Ten Random Topics That I Could Care Less About. What About You?

  • Taylor Swift attending NFL games to watch her new squeeze.
  • NPD – Narcissistic Personality Disorder
  • Any latest version of iPhone software
  • Chatbots
  • The sheer amount of commercials during NFL games.
  • Mortgage rates hitting a 23-year high.
  • Insincere people.
  • Eyeglasses that support ChatGPT. WTH?
  • Weak coffee.
  • Anything to do with politics.

  • I mentioned this a few weeks ago, but if you enjoy sports, you are definitely enjoying this time of year. College and pro football are in full swing, as well as the other football around the world. Major League Baseball playoffs start Tuesday, the National Basketball Association on October 24, and the National Hockey League on October 10. Major League Soccer playoffs start soon, and for me it will be interesting to see where Orlando City and Atlanta United end up in the eastern conference standings, and how Chattanooga F.C. fair in their playoff run. A fun time of year heading into the Fall.

  • Speaking of live sports, this could be one of the most creative in-game productions….and of course it was hockey fans in an arena who pulled this off. Excellent!!!

  • I am not a huge fan of Las Vegas, probably due to the number of times I have been there for business. Las Vegas, similar to other cities, can be tough to do business in due to variable labor, union regulations, and the sheer volume of people in the city. The city has come a very long way over the years, and the newest ‘attraction’ in Sin City is magnificent. Sphere, part of The Venetian Resort, is a state-of-the venue combining music, art, and fabulous technology. Sphere has 160,000 speakers and 260 million pixels, took five years to build, and costs exceeded $2.3 billion.

U2 provided the entertainment for the Sphere’s opening on Friday of last week. Whether you like their music or not, this venue is just an amazing venue to see any performance.

U2 at the Sphere in Las Vegas, Nevada

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

Your Thoughts. Quotes. Schadenfreude. A Truly Great Actor. Two States.

I Need YOUR Thoughts. The Misfortune Of Others. Benicio. Florida & Texas.

  • I am interested with YOUR Thoughts on the Following. This is no time to be shy…just put your thoughts in the Comments section of the blog…or if you prefer, email me your thoughts. Grazi’.
  • Today marks day 578 of Russia-Ukraine war.
  • I am a big supporter of teachers, first-responders, and anyone who provides services to children. This quote, from a former Atlanta area teacher with eight years of experience, is just so wrong. “I am earning what a teacher with 15 years of experience made at my last school district — and 50% more than what I made when I quit.” This teacher quit her school system to go to work at Costco. I know, there are always three sides to every story, but this is appalling.
  • Fall is officially here. It was under 70 degrees in central Florida this morning. Okay, you non-Florida people, stop laughing.
  • Are interest rates, specifically fixed-rate mortgage rates, at a level that will not change in the near future?
  • Will the CDC recommend we take a vaccine for every new strain of Covid-19?
  • Families and individuals in Atlanta and Orlando spending way too much money on tickets to see Lionel Messi, with Messi unavailable/injured for last week’s game in Atlanta and tonight’s game in Orlando.
  • The United Auto Workers (UAW) strike could result in 300,000 people without a paycheck – in Michigan alone.
  • The Miami suburb of West Kendall has never been known for being recognized as an area of culinary excellence, but one eatery there has made the NY Times Restaurant List 2023. My go-to Miami contact is my longtime compadre, PDR, who has forgotten more about the inner workings of Miami than I ever knew. PDR: have you and DDR been to Smoke and Dough?
  • They are not exactly the Shinkansen bullet trains of Japan, but Florida’s Brightline service finally provides high-speed rail service from Miami to Orlando. At a top speed of 130 m.p.h., the Brightline train service from Miami delivers you to Orlando in less than three hours. A great alternative for some trips, especially if you want to avoid the Florida Turnpike or the infamous I-95. There are other routes you can take on Brightline with a stops in West Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Ft. Lauderdale, and Aventura. In the very near future, Brightline will also service the Orlando to Tampa route. Nice job, Brightline.
  • This is not a loaded question…it is just a question: Are the leading U.S. presidential candidates too old to be the Commander-in-Chief of the country’s armed forces, as well as the President?

Who could argue this quote from Bruce Lee?

  • This neo-noir crime thriller stars one of my favorite actors, Benicio Del Toro. Overall, can you think of an actor that is on-par with Del Toro and his ability to morph into that intense gaze, and moody, haunted persona?
The Great Benicio Del Toro

  • My take on the quote below has nothing to do with who is quoted, though before her death three years ago, she was an associate justice of the United States Supreme Court. While I agree with the first part of the quote, we have all unfortunately witnessed that to “… do it in a way that will lead others to join you” may backfire.

“Fight for the things that you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.”– Ruth Bader Ginsburg

  • Word of the Day: Schadenfreude. This word is a direct combination of the German words for “harm or misfortune” and “joy.” It describes the happiness one feels at the misfortune of others. An example of ‘schadenfreude’ used in a sentence: “I felt a twinge of schadenfreude when I heard that my former colleague who liked to cause trouble for others had been fired.” Now you know.

  • For the last Sunday in September, I will end this take with a bit of fun humor. I enjoy living in Florida, especially between October and April…but Chris Cope’s perspective on the states of Florida and Texas are very funny.
Chris Cope

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

Shut Down. Thoughts. Gojira. Armory. Cinnamon Girl.

Ransomware Is No Joke. Things I Am Thinking For Mid-September. The Greatest Antagonist. Cheesesteaks, Anyone? CSNY.

  • By definition, Ransomware is a malware (software developed for malicious intent) designed to deny a user or organization access to files on their computer. By encrypting these files and demanding a ransom payment for the decryption key, cyberattackers place organizations in a position where paying the ransom is the easiest and cheapest way to regain access to their files.

Most of us are aware of ransomware with relative thinking that these attacks are primarily a nuisance, with you or your organization’s files encrypted until you pay a small payment to have them “released”, or decrypted. Nuisance is definitely not the correct way to describe a ransomware attack, as there has been a dramatic increase in both the frequency and severity of attacks. Today’s cybercriminals are more sophisticated, finding new ways to evade detection and infect devices.

Last week, cybercriminals went after Caesars Entertainment, the conglomerate that has many hotels under their umbrella, including Caesars Palace, Harrah’s, and the Flamingo. Las Vegas’ MGM hotel endured a cyber-attack back in 2019 as well, with the personal information of 142 million guests stolen by hackers and posted to a dark web cybercrime marketplace. Note: it has been reported that Caesars paid the cybercriminals $15 million to have their data decrypted. Before payment was made, the malicious software used by the cybercriminals caused long lines at check-ins, no phone service, no room service, and payouts from the casino taking up to sixty minutes.

Certainly not a benchmark, but in 2021, Chicago’s CNA Financial ended up paying out $40 million to cyber criminals to regain control of their network. Preventing these types of attacks, even with cybersecurity protocols in place, can be very difficult. As a baseline, here are a few things you and your organization can do to help prevent malware from entering your computer, phone, tablet, or your organization’s network. Samir, please chime in with any other thoughts on how to prevent malware from ‘entering’ devices or a network:

  • Backing up important data is the single most effective way of recovering from a ransomware infection.
  • Keep your system up-to-date, and use a newer version of antivirus software, like Microsoft Defender.
  • Think twice, and then three times, before clicking links or downloading files.
  • Do not trust pop-up windows that ask you to download software.
Malware, everywhere.

Seven Random Thoughts For Mid-September

  • It is ALREADY Mid-September!
  • Delta Air Lines: I certainly understand that all organizations must segregate their customer and prospect bases by spend (or potential spend), but revising your loyalty programs without a component of tenure and loyalty is a misstep.
  • Cable television providers are quickly retooling their go-to-market strategies by becoming resellers of streaming services. There is no doubt that traditional cable television service is on its way out – and with the National Football League and Major League Soccer offering league games via Amazon, YouTube, and Apple, streaming services have shown us that once the massive television rights contracts are up, sports and news programming will morph over to streaming service platforms.
  • The UAW is on strike, demanding a 36% wage increase over four years, a defined benefit pension, and a thirty-two-hour work week. This does not bode well for America’s ‘Big Three’ automakers, Ford, GM, and Stellantis, who produce cars for Chrysler. Dovetail these demands with a very tight labor market and who really does know how this will get resolved? As many as 150,000 workers could be affected by this labor strike.
  • Whether you like watching golf on TV or not, this week’s Ryder Cup, played at Marcone Simone Golf & Country Club in Rome, Italy, is usually must-see TV. The biennial men’s competition is between teams from Europe and the U.S. Depending on the results of the first two days (Friday and Saturday), the singles matches on Sunday are always fun to watch.
  • College and Pro football are up and running. So are international football leagues including England, Germany, Spain, and Italy. Major League Baseball is heading into their playoffs as well as Major League Soccer. Fun, and more fun.
  • Supply chain issues have bubbled up once more, this time due to the drought condition of the Panama Canal. This man-made canal connects the Atlantic Ocean with the Pacific Ocean. Yes, I am going to ask: How can a canal that flows from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean be in a drought condition? Can someone just open the faucet at one end of the canal and let in some water?
Open the faucet!

  • Headline of the Week: New Godzilla Minus One Images Reveal Closer Look At Godzilla’s Destructive Rampage

Godzilla: The Greatest Antagonist to Ever Roam Earth?

  • Is the sky falling? Absolutely not, but what is the world (specifically Philadelphia) coming to when you read this: Philadelphia cheesesteak shop hires armed agents to protect customers outside.

I get it. Neil Young, along with David Crosby, Stephen Stills, and Graham Nash are not for everyone. Their folk-rock music set the stage for early 1990’s grunge, but I think CSNY are one of the most underrated acts of all time. Again, not for everyone, but this rendition of Cinnamon Girl, performed at 2017 Live Aid, makes you wonder if similar music will ever return.

The Great Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young

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

Listen. The Magpie. Weird. Fly Like An Eagle. Lunatic Fringe.

Don’t Be A Topper. Questioning Human Intelligence. Thoughts For The Last Sunday In August. Breakfast, Lunch, And Dinner. “We All Know You Are Out There.”

  • Years ago, I tried to top everybody, but I don’t anymore. I realized it was killing conversation. When you’re always trying for a topper you aren’t really listening.” – Groucho Marx

We all know ‘toppers’ – they just can’t help themselves by 1) not listening to what you are saying; and 2) interjecting and ‘one-upping’ what you are saying. Groucho Marx is correct – ‘toppers’ are conversation killers and often are either really insecure or child-like, or both. Actively listening to someone prevents you from being a ‘topper’ and a ‘one-upper’ as you take the time to listen and absorb what someone else is saying. Here are five benefits of actually listening by not interjecting or being a ‘topper’:

  • Listening builds trust with your family, friends, and associates.
  • Listening helps to resolve conflict.
  • Listening prevents you from missing important information.
  • Listening enables you to identify or anticipate problems.
  • Most importantly, listening stops you from being so self-absorbed.

Let’s all start listening a bit better so we can all know What’s Going On. 🙂

This is very easy to listen to.

  • Human intelligence has many limitations, including the inability to process large amounts of information simultaneously, limited memory and self-control, and the tendency to make mistakes when processing complex tasks. Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson, in this short video, provides an example of intelligence above and beyond most human intellect. I am definitely not a Magpie.

Top of Mind World of the Weird:

  • A former President of the United States and a former mayor of New York City booked into the Fulton County, Georgia prison last week.
  • A few United States Women’s National Team players, with their early exit from the World Cup, now coming out that the team was not prepared properly. Say what? How can a national team from the United States not be fully prepared for the once every four-year World Cup? Mind-boggling.
  • Electric vehicles (EV) are getting a good bit of pushback from consumers around the world. Meanwhile, gasoline in South Florida has climbed to almost $7 a gallon.
  • A plane crashes with Yevgeny Prigozhin, the head of the infamous Wagner mercenary group aboard. Prigozhin led a failed mutiny against the Russian armed forces in June. Does anyone want to pony up a conspiracy theory?
  • Inflation headed off by the Fed has led United States mortgage rates to reach 8% with home buying activity slumping to its lowest level since 1995. Okay, economist friends….please chime in with your take on the strategic initiatives enacted by the Fed. Thank you.
  • I have not been to a McDonald’s lately. With that said, has anyone enjoyed Burger King in the last few years? Talking about a brand that has fallen off the deep end. I barely remember what I did last week, but I do remember this Burger King jingle from yesteryear:
The bigger the burger, the better the burger, the burgers are bigger at Burger King.

  • I will get to the gist of this take, but just for a little background: When you hear or read the term ‘the speed of sound’ it is also referred to as Mach 1. Mach 1 converts to 761 mph, Mach 2 is 1,522 mph, and each additional Mach number is another 761 mph. As a baseline, the average cruising speed of a commercial airliner is 760 mph. As another reference point, for aircraft speeds which are much greater than the speed of sound, the aircraft is deemed hypersonic. By definition, hypersonic speed is greater than 3,000 mph and a Mach number greater than 5, or Mach 5. Have I lost you yet?

Now that we are all specialists with the speed of sound and what Mach numbers equate to, here is the scenario that soon will be possible for air travelers. Note: the word ‘soon‘ may be ten to fifteen years.

Hermeus is an Atlanta-based startup developing aircraft for both defense and commercial use, with their Halcyon passenger aircraft capable of traveling at Mach 5. Based on the first paragraph above, Mach 5 equates to somewhere around 3,800 mph. That is five times faster than today’s commercial passenger plane and will set up some very interesting itineraries in the near future. For example, a New York city resident will be able to have an early morning breakfast in their favorite NYC deli, board the Halcyon, and be in Paris ninety- minutes later for a late lunch (Paris is six hours ahead of NYC). They could then board the Halcyon at Paris’ Charles de Gaulle airport, and with the time change, be back in their NYC office by 1:30pm of the same day.

Halcyon Flight Itinerary NY-Paris-NY

  • Leave NY -JFK airport at 7am, arrive Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport 8:30am, which is 2:30pm Paris time. Spend three hours or so in Paris.
  • Leave Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport at 6pm, arrive JFK airport at 7:30pm, which is 1:30pm NYC time.

No eye-rolling, as you know this advancement in passenger aircraft is inevitable. Are there many barriers for the Halcyon to carry passengers at five times the speed of sound (Mach 5)? Yes, there many factors that Atlanta-based Hermeus will need to overcome, but I am quite sure they will get there or their competition will.

A Passenger Plane That Travels Faster Than Mach 5.

  • For whatever the reasons, the number of shark sightings and incidents on the east coast of the United States have risen sharply over the last year. Scientists and oceanographers have no solid answers but this one diver has come up with the solution when involved with a shark incursion. This is amazing and looks so simple and easy to accomplish.
Such a simple way to redirect a shark.

  • I really like these reaction videos. This one has a young man named Polo listening to Red Rider’s Lunatic Fringe for the first time. Tom Cochrane & Red Rider were highly successful in Canada, but the band never had a song in the Top 40 in the United States….including this awesome Lunatic Fringe track. A forty-something year-old song with lyrics that are still relevant today.
Lunatic Fringe One of my favorite songs of all time from the Canadian band, Red Rider.

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

Florida. Bird. Achievement. A Strong Message. Side-by-Side.

A Very Interesting State. The Best All-Around Player of All Time. Winning Is Necessary. Be Curious, Not Judgmental. A Great Version of A Great Song.

  • It is amazing how time just passes us by. I have been in the state of Florida for six years and as most of you have witnessed, this state has a lot going on. Unfortunately, much of what is going on, especially lately, revolves around politics, education, insurance entities, and the battle between Florida’s governor and Disney.

All of the babble and conflict is unfortunate as the state of Florida has many wonderful things to offer. Voted a top state to start a business, attractions galore, multicultural, and diverse, the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico, and no state income tax, people from all over the U.S. are flocking to Florida for various reasons. Similar to many states, Florida offers various vibes and opportunities based on the area you live or visit. Certainly, the panhandle of Florida is quite different than the bustling corridor between Palm Beach and Miami, and central Florida presents different dynamics than the area from Clearwater south to Naples. A completely different experience in the state are the Florida Keys, from Key Largo to Key West. Florida is certainly not for everyone, but the state does offer a wide span of socio-economic diversity.

This young man has a bit different take on the state of Florida. To each their own. 🙂

What is Florida Really Like? It is just his take…...

  • The Premier League and other football leagues in Europe are underway, college and pro football are right around the corner, Major League Soccer is closing out its regular season, Major League Baseball’s pennant races are in full play, and the National Basketball Association (NBA) is bubbling up for its seventy-seventh year. My love for basketball stems from the days of the American Basketball Association (ABA) and the Miami Floridians, who made Dinner Key Auditorium their home arena. The Floridians, like many other ABA franchises, were underfunded which led to a team of various levels of skill. Those four years of ‘professional’ basketball were awesome as the roster included some great players, including Mack Calvin, Donnie Freeman, and Les Hunter. The team also included Al Cueto, who was promoted by the Floridians’ public relations staff as the world’s tallest Cuban. Cueto, born in Cuba, attended Coral Gables High School and was all of 6’7″.

I am looking forward to this year’s NBA season for many reasons. An Atlanta Hawks fan since the mid-70’s, they are primed to have a strong season. One of their games in November have the Hawks and the Orlando Magic playing in Mexico City at the Arena CDMX on November 9. The Magic should also be much improved with the addition of some impact players. I have that game on my calendar as that is a great excuse to take a long weekend in the massive and vibrant town of twenty-two million. Yes, Mexico City is home to 22 million people.

The ongoing saga of basketball’s greatest player is a continuous and exhausting debate. Magic Johnson, Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and others always come up in conversations regarding the greatest. Larry Bird is not the greatest of all time (GOAT), but to me he was one of the most entertaining and competitive players I have ever seen in any sport. When I watch NBA games now, I often wish players of today, who are fantastic athletes and players, had more of the attributes of Larry Bird. Along with Oscar Robertson, I deem Larry Bird as the best all-around player ever. His fitness, shooting and passing ability, defense, and rebounding were eye-opening. Many ex-NBA players have strong opinions about Larry Bird, including the praise offered up in this short video.

The NBA is Entering its 77th season.

  • Quote of the week: “The measure of achievement is not winning awards. It is doing something that you appreciate, something you believe is worthwhile.” – Julia Child

I disagree with this Quote of the Week. While winning is not always the ultimate objective, a great measure of achievement is to do something that you appreciate and you believe is worthwhile, AND sometimes be recognized accordingly. I do also believe that there is great satisfaction in doing things for others without those you are benefiting from ever knowing that you helped or supported them.

  • The series ‘Ted Lasso” provided us with great writing and perfect casting. Wrapped up in all the fun and chaos of an American football coach managing his way through a London-based football team, the writers framed up Coach Lasso (Jason Sudeikis) to deliver some very strong messages in most of the episodes. This one stuck with me for various reasons, a message that I hope all of us can absorb and follow. As a level set, here is a clear and concise definition: Judgmental behavior typically involves appraising something like a situation, person, or action with a critical attitude. A person often does this in a condemning and fault-finding way using their subjective (likely moralistic) point of view and set of values.
Be Curious, Not Judgmental

  • The famous song ‘Side by Side’ talks about two people who are deeply in love and committed to each other, willing to stand by each other’s side through good and bad. I have heard many renditions to the song, and I want to thank J.P. for forwarding this interesting version, written by Harry M. Woods in 1927:
A very interesting rendition of a great song.

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


Is Talent Learned Or Inherited?

  • The Cambridge English Dictionary’s definition of talent: Someone who has a natural ability or aptitude to be good at something. When I hear/watch a talented individual, which usually relates to sports, the arts, and specifically music, I often wonder about my limited talent. Yes, I was a decent athlete (Cody: no comments, please), and have a marginal business aptitude, but real talent has escaped me.

I have had a busy week, the weather is mind-altering as it has been in the upper 90’s in central Africa Florida for the last three weeks, and in light of all the negative news (Maui, Ukraine, Covid-19 strains back again) I wanted this week’s post to be positive and highlight real talent. So…in no particular order, here is a quick review of some very talented people. Comments and disagreements are welcome. 🙂

  • Electric guitar, acoustic guitar, bass, bass synth, singing bass, fuzz bass, electric piano, acoustic piano, Minimoog, Polymoog, ARP String Ensemble, ARP Pro Soloist, Oberheim Four Voice, clavinet, drums, syndrums, water drums, slapsticks, bongos, congas, finger cymbals, wind chimes, orchestral bells, woodblocks, brush trap, tree bell, hand claps, and finger snaps.

This is the instrument listing from Prince’s first album, For You. Significant, as Prince performed all vocal lines and played all twenty-seven instruments on the album. The amount of creativity, vision, songwriting, and arrangement skills from Prince is bar none and he was well-recognized for the quality of his playing rather than the quantity of instruments used. For my money, the most talented musician in the last fifty years. Enjoy the video below which highlights Prince’s top ten hits. Just talented people.

Prince did it all.

  • A painter, sculptor, architect, musician, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist, cartographer, botanist, and writer, Leonardo da Vinci was perhaps the most diversely talented person to have ever lived. His estimated IQ scores range from 180 to 220 (note: Albert Einstein’s IQ was 160, and the average American’s IQ is 97, ranking 29th worldwide). By the way, da Vinci received no formal education but did apply his creativity to numerous fields, including painting, architecture, engineering, and to the study of human anatomy. Just talented people.
Leonardo da Vinci: He wanted to know everything and anything.

  • Daryl’s House is a fantastic show. Daryl Hall hosts the show at his ranch and invites various artists to his home to talk about their careers, try out the cooking, and most importantly jam to a Daryl Hall and John Oates song. This is Cee Lo Green, thirteen years ago, accompanied by Daryl Hall and band, covering I Can’t Go For That. Just talented people.
Cee Lo Green on Daryl’s House thirteen years ago.

  • If I have to introduce Usain Bolt to all of you…well, I’ll just stop. My admiration for Usain Bolt does not stem from him being the fastest human on the planet. It stems from this simple but motivating statement in this video. A great message to all of us. Just talented people.
A statement of reality and motivation.

  • Led by the vocals of Roger Daltrey, guitarist Pete Townshend, the bass of John Entwistle, and the incredible drumming of Keith Moon, The Who may have been a top-five band to watch live. In this gig, on a 1969 version of the ‘Tom Jones Show’, we watch and listen to the awesome song, Pinball Wizard. Just talented people.
The Who’s Pinball Wizard performed live in 1969.

  • Dave Grohl. Formerly the drummer with Nirvana, and now the front man for the band Foo Fighters, Grohl is known worldwide for his pure talent. Obviously, the apple does not fall far from the tree as Grohl and his daughter Violet cover Adele’s When We Were Young. Just talented people.
The Grohl’s Got Talent.

  • Last week I went into detail about Lionel Messi’s arrival and his contract with Major League Soccer and Inter Miami. Many pundits have expressed their concerns that Messi has come to the U.S. to take his money without taking his role and responsibility seriously. Fact check: Messi has already scored eight goals in his first five games with Inter Miami, and anyone who thinks he is not taking playing in Major League Soccer seriously is very wrong. Have you ever tried to play beach soccer or volleyball? How about training in a sand pit? Just talented people.
Sand Pit Training. No and no.

  • Robbie Robertson, who led the Canadian-American group the Band to rock prominence in the 1970s and worked extensively with Bob Dylan and Martin Scorsese, passed away last week at the age of eighty. Robertson was a great musician and songwriter, and was elected to both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Canadian Music Hall of Fame. Just talented people.
Robbie Robertson with Eric Clapton. Two masters of the guitar.

Thoughts and prayers to the people in Lahaina and the surrounding area.

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

Sports Business. Despair. Candidates. Perseverance. Sinead.

Impact Player. Intolerable Conditions In A Caribbean Nation. Who Is In, Who Is Out? Take A Moment For Yourself. A Tribute From The Twins.

  • The business of professional sports can be complex. Different sports and leagues around the world trade, buy, and sell players to ensure their player pool provides the franchise or club with the best chance of meeting their goals, whether that be in the standings, with their attendance, or their commercial targets.

Major League Soccer’s (MLS) Inter Miami F.C., whose ownership group includes former superstar David Beckham as well as the Mas brothers, pulled off a surprising signing and brought Lionel Messi to the club. Messi, who is already recognized by many as the greatest of all time, will enjoy a $60m base salary as well as lucrative sponsorship deals, a percentage of ticket sales from all MLS games, revenue-sharing with Apple + and Adidas, and many other components of compensation.

Why did the ownership group of Inter Miami and the MLS make this happen? There are many reasons, with some listed below, but the impact of Messi’s arrival to the MLS and Inter Miami creates an immediate and future valuation bump. Forbes’ most recent estimate had Inter Miami slotted as MLS’ eleventh most valuable team, worth $600 million. With the addition of Messi, Inter Miami’s valuation could more than double next year, somewhere in the neighborhood of $1.5 billion.

  • Ticket prices are up 500% since the signing of Messi.
  • Ticket prices for Messi’s debut on July 21 averaged $1,300 – on secondary ticket platforms.
  • Messi jerseys from Adidas are $150 and are sold out. The MLS e-commerce partner Fanatics reported that more MLS team merchandise was sold after the news that Inter Miami had signed Messi than the previous entirety of the 2023 season.
  • Inter Miami had 175k followers on Instagram before Messi’s signing. They now have 5.4 million.
  • Apple + added 300,000 subscriptions after Messi’s signing.

Of course, the big question is how long can the MLS and Inter Miami sustain this instant momentum and how long will this ‘shine’ last?

Many questioned Messi’s commitment, after a storied career at Barcelona and Paris St. Germain, to continue his level of outstanding play after arriving at Inter Miami. That question has been answered as Messi has five goals in 204 minutes of play, which amounts to a clip of 2.2 goals per 90 minutes. His first goal with Inter Miami, on his debut with the club, was a game-winner.

Lionel Messi’s debut with Inter Miami could not have been better scripted.

  • Has Haiti been left to suffer alone? The Caribbean nation of twelve million, the second-oldest republic in the Western Hemisphere, after the United States, has dealt with many issues including dictatorships, earthquakes and hurricanes, and now is engulfed in total chaos as armed gangs have taken control of much of the country. The gangs, made up of two-hundred factions, have extorted most of Haiti’s business, corrupted the highest levels of politics and policing, with the cause and effect that Haitians are experiencing the worst hunger crisis in the country’s history. This country sits in the Caribbean, a mere eight-hundred miles from Florida. It shares a border with the Dominican Republic, with the Turks and Caicos to the north, and Puerto Rico, the British and U.S. Virgin Islands, Anguilla, and St. Kitts and Nevis to the southeast. A third-world country in this region, in this part of the world, is mind-boggling. It is 2023, correct?

  • Though I stay away from providing my take on politics (and religion), I thought it would be interesting to track who is in, and who is out, with the 2024 U.S. presidential election. Due to many circumstances, the 2024 election is going to be historic. The pandemic changed the way candidates campaigned and voters cast their ballots, and it has been three years or so after rioters waged their protest at the nation’s Capitol Building. I will update this list now and then just to see who remains standing as we head into 2024. The lists are alphabetical:

Democrats Joe Biden, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., Marianne Williamson

Republicans Ryan Binkley, Doug Burgum, Chris Christie, Ron DeSantis, Larry Elder, Nikki Haley, Will Hurd, Asa Hutchinson, Perry Johnson, Mike Pence, Vivek Ramaswamy, Tim Scott, Francis Suarez, Donald Trump

Third Party Cornel West

Only in Florida headline of the week: Burger Chain Unveils Monstrous 10-patty Burger in Orlando to Honor Twitter’s Name Change to X

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is image.png

Enjoy Your Burger for $29.99

  • A friend of mine, in respect to the daily pressure we may feel, the noise we often hear, and the constant turmoil of the world, strongly suggested that we all do something for ourselves. I cannot agree more as many of us provide, offer, and give, but sometimes forget to take care of ourselves. Take a step back, go enjoy a good read, a massage, the pool, or just for once, some silence. 🙂

  • With the passing of Sinead O’Connor, famed for her powerful voice as well as her songwriting, I cannot find a better way of recognizing her than the reaction of these two young twins. RIP Sinead O’Connor.
“Nothing Compares 2 U”, was named the year’s top world single at the Billboard Music Awards.

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

Thoughts. U.A.P. Doggone It. A Visit To The Sun.

Top Of Mind Today. Possession Of Non-Human Spacecraft? A Nighttime Sunburn.

A Few Thoughts For The End Of July:

  • Ford Motor Company will lose $4.5 billion in 2023 with their electric car business segment. “Slower adaptation to electric vehicles” is Ford’s stance on the enormous loss, but it is difficult to get too concerned as the company generated $45 billion in revenue last quarter, a 12% increase year-over-year. Those numbers are massive.
  • The Women’s World Cup, being played in Australia and New Zealand, is a bit out of sight, out of mind with most people, due to the game times being very early morning in the United States. The competition always heats up when group play ends, and the knockout stages of the tournament commence with the round of 16, quarterfinals, semifinals, and final, which will be played August 20th (at 6AM).
  • I am not making light of the situation in Niger, a land-locked country of twenty-five million in central Africa. If a General of mutinous soldiers staging a coup in a country can simply be named the new leader of that country, I feel like I will do the same. I will go ahead and lead the islands of Anguilla. No coup necessary, I will just lead.
  • The jackpot for Mega Millions is now a bit over a billion dollars. You cannot win if you do not play. It is always fun to see if your ticket is the big winner. Buy your winning numbers before Tuesday night. 🙂
  • My final thought is that our world is full of variable behavior. Humans and dogs have always had a special relationship, but what about the behavioral relationship when a man becomes a dog? You decide.
I have no words that I can use in this blog.

  • I am the last person who gets involved in conspiracy theories but the U.S. Congress held a congressional hearing last Wednesday with the topic being UAPs – Unidentified Anomalous Phenomena. The testimony included a statement made by Retired Maj. David Grusch, that the U.S. government has retrieved numerous nonhuman craft and is in a race to reverse-engineer the technology before other nations. Either these witnesses testifying before Congress are great storytellers, or we have some things going on with what we always called UFOs… that we may, or may not, want to learn more about.
Fifteen years to declassify information?

A Most Uncomfortable Quote: “All Apollo and Gemini flights were followed, both at a distance and sometimes also quite closely, by space vehicles of extraterrestrial origin – flying saucers, or UFOs, if you want to call them by that name. Every time it occurred, the astronauts informed Mission Control, who then ordered absolute silence.”
-Maurice Chatelain, former chief of NASA Communications Systems

  • I will end this post with a great piece from comedian Kenneth Supersad. Maybe space scientists in Trinidad and Tobago have the solution to what is going on with UAPs and space travel?
Of course, go at nighttime!

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

Fake. Questions. 54 Years Ago. Anthony Dominick Benedetto.

Now We Have To Verify. “One Small Step…” Fly Me To The Moon.

  • We have all read about the impact of the booming artificial intelligence (AI) sector, which is impacting business, politics, education, and the media. Unfortunately, the use of AI is raising serious concerns that bad actors are posting AI-generated photos and video that are fake, false, and a hoax. The difficulty in discerning real news is becoming alarmingly more difficult, with people using AI and social media posts to push out false information. Further advancements in AI-generated images are blurring the distinction even more, with the question of how this false news could influence the stock market and an election.
This is just one example of many false news video posts.

I Have Questions……..

  • I am not one for the government to impose itself on private businesses or sectors, but when does the State of Florida step in to stop insurance companies, including Farmer’s, State Farm, and Allstate, from dropping their insurance coverages?
  • I am both alarmed and amazed why and how Delta Airlines personnel could decide to leave people onboard one of their planes for hours, on the tarmac, with temperatures inside the aircraft above one-hundred degrees?
  • Is Vladimir Putin, whose reported failing health reportedly includes early stages of Alzheimer’s, at the end of his regime?
  • Is it much hotter this summer? It was 98 degrees Fahrenheit in Athens, Greece yesterday, and 124 at Death Valley, California. How do you get to Peter Sinks, Utah? It was 33 there yesterday.
  • Could a Hollywood script be written any better than Lionel Messi’s last minute, game-winning goal on his debut with Inter Miami?
  • Just when the cruise industry was enjoying full-capacity ships after two-years of Covid-19 related issues, countries including the Netherlands are thinking about banning ships from entering their ports. When will this madness stop?
  • Has anyone seen the new Mission: Impossible movie? Is it a must-see? For me, I am looking forward to Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer, which explores the invention of the atomic bomb and the implications of the creation of the deadly weapon.

  • The ‘Only in Florida’ headline of the week: A Florida restaurant is under investigation after authorities said seven patrons became sick after ingesting food contaminated with meth.

  • On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong’s iconic words, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind,” echoed across the globe. Last week, we celebrated the 54th anniversary of landing on the moon. Space programs around the world have come a long way in fifty-four years, with NASA’s Artemis project, named Artemis III, putting astronauts back on the moon late in the year 2024. The progress made over the last fifty-four years is astonishing, with the privatization of spaceflight led by SpaceX, who year-to-date has launched forty-eight rockets into space, helping many entities and countries with deploying communication satellites. Does anyone want to guess what the space program will look like in the next fifty-four years?
July 20, 1969.

  • Born in Long Island City, New York, Anthony Dominick Benedetto amassed many accolades, including an astonishing twenty Grammy Awards, a Lifetime Achievement Award, and two Primetime Emmy Awards. He sold more than fifty million records worldwide, all of this achieved after fighting in the late stages of World War II as a U.S. Army infantry soldier in the European Theater. Anthony Dominick Benedetto, a.k.a. Tony Bennett, passed away last week at the age of ninety-three. Bennett broke the individual record for the longest run of a top-ten albums on the Billboard 200 chart for any living artist; his first top-10 record was I Left My Heart in San Francisco in 1962. Bennett also broke the Guinness World Record for the oldest person to release an album of new material, at the age of 95 years and 60 days. The legacy of Tony Bennett will live on, and with respect to the take on the space program above, here is one of many Tony Bennett performances. RIP Anthony Dominick Benedetto.
A voice never to be replicated.

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

Thoughts. Divine Harmony.

Top Of Mind Things I Think. A Song Performed At 963 Hz.

  • Quote of the week: “One important key to success is self-confidence. An important key to self-confidence is preparation.” – Arthur Ashe

Top of mind thoughts for mid-July

  • Are the energy sanctions imposed on Russia finally starting to make an impact? If so, will Russia’s depressed economy force Vladimir Putin’s hand in normalizing relations with Ukraine and the West? Time will tell but as long as China refrains from equivalent sanctions, it does seem like Putin and the Russians can leverage their holdings in the Chinese yuan to prevent a complete economic collapse. Meanwhile, the Russia-Ukraine war is on day 509. So sad, so unnecessary.
  • Did you check your Powerball ticket this morning? If you won the $875 million, all the best to you as I am sure I will never hear from you again.
  • Dogs are impressive. Loyal, usually obedient, and there for you all the time. Sometimes their expressions and reactions are quite similar to humans:
“I have no idea”
  • Football (the American version) – we are only forty-two days away from the start of college football as the August 26th schedule has seven games including Navy vs. Notre Dame at the Aer Lingus College Football Classic. This game will be played at the magnificent Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland. Let’s go!
  • Only in Florida: The promotional campaign for the Florida Python Challenge is in full swing with this annual competition starting next month. The website does state that there is mandatory online training. Yes, only in Florida.
Make sure you take the online training before you go python hunting!
  • Previous posts went into detail about the tragic events surrounding mass shootings across the United States. Mass shootings are loosely described as violent crimes in which an attacker kills or injures multiple individuals simultaneously using a firearm. In the first six months of this year, the U.S. endured twenty-eight mass killings, a staggering and sad amount. There is no clear path with gun control, but I did dig up Chris Rock’s answer to the problem. Funny, facetious, and unreasonable….but he does make a good point.
$5,000 a bullet.
  • The competitive nature of athletes is well-documented and does not always translate well, especially when trash talking is in play. I was a big trash-talker, always engaging with my former teammates and opponents with some level of spirited discussion, which sometimes went a bit too far. We have all watched Kansas City Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes pull off many incredible plays, with his arm strength and scrambling ability – but in my opinion Mahomes’ competitive spirit is a tipping point, raising him far and above most quarterbacks in the National Football League. The video below is just one example of his ‘spirited’ nature.
Patrick Mahomes and his competitive spirit.
  • Much to the chagrin of many, the men’s swimming brief, some refer to the swimwear as ‘budgie smugglers’, a.k.a. the Speedo, is making a strong return across the globe. One fashion reporter, based in London, reports that the much- maligned swimwear is a “booming” market. Just as a level-set, here is a humorous quote from Speedo’s VP of Brand Marketing, deeming the Speedo brief as “very practical and the lightest and most comfortable item to wear when swimming.” Practical and comfortable for whom? Any comments from women are welcome…….. 🙂

JustMyTake avoids subjects relating to religion and politics. With that said, this young man from London performed in what music and sound specialists call ‘divine harmony’, which according to religious theorists is a frequency of 963 Hz, also known as the Frequency of Gods. This young man’s performance, before a live and televised audience, was simply amazing.

A performance of Divine Harmony.

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