To Do Or Not To Do. Hollywood and Their Award Shows. In The Buff. Club Soda and Lime. Changes.

What Do You Do With This Type of Human?  Just Don’t Watch. Distracted At Dinner. No Alcohol.  OCSC – Make It Happen.

His name is Jake Thomas Patterson. 21-years-old, unemployed with no previous criminal record. Her name is Jayme Closs. 13-years-old and recognized by many as an outstanding student and very special kid. Eighty-eight days ago, near a small Wisconsin town, Jake Thomas Patterson kidnapped Jayme Closs, then went into her home and murdered Jayme’s parents in cold blood…in front of the young 13-year-old. Luckily, after close to three months of captivity, Jayme was able to escape and is now safe. I have expressed my views on these types of crimes, ones that are pre-planned, cold-blooded, and involving children. Keeping with my ethos of no politics, no religion, I will leave it to my readers to provide me with their thoughts on the path of justice and due process with Jake Thomas Patterson. The arraignment, trial, incarceration at the taxpayer’s expense, rehabilitation, etc. Let me know your feelings with Patterson by using the COMMENTS section of the blog site. As a side note, the death penalty in Wisconsin was repealed in 1853. It has had no death penalty for over 150 years, longer than any other state in the country. 

I broke a promise- very unusual for me. After last year’s Academy Awards show, I promised myself, for my own reasons, that I would abstain from watching this type of ‘entertainment’. Don’t get me wrong, at Sunday night’s #GoldenGlobeAwards, Bradley Cooper in ‘A Star is Born’, Amy Adams and Christian Bale in ‘Vice’ and ‘The Americans’ (best TV show) are all well-deserving. The actual show, content, and hosts were sub-par at best. As usual, the acceptance speeches became a platform for some of the award-winners to voice their political, religious and racial views. Unfortunate and uncalled for. And yes, I hear you, if I don’t like it….don’t watch.

I am pleased to announce that Paris’ first (maybe last) nude restaurant, due to the lack of business, will close next week. #O’Naturel’s owners stated that they will only remember the good times with customers who were delighted to share exceptional moments. Seriously?

Teetotaler by definition: “a person who abstains totally from intoxicating drinks”. Also by definition, I am not a heavy consumer of alcoholic beverages. With that said, I do enjoy a cocktail once in a while but similar to the challenge of writing this weekly blog, I took the challenge to abstain from libations for the month of January. I certainly can say that this has been a good challenge amd I honestly do not miss drinking. With that said it has only been 13 days and February 1st, Super Bowl weekend, is right around the corner.

Great to see that Orlando City has made some big changes heading into the new season. A new technical director is definitely stirring the pot with the player pool, the new training grounds are in the design development stage, and as some of you know who have attended games with me, the pre-game experience downtown and the short walk to the beautiful stadium is great fun. Looking forward to balancing my schedule with Orlando City and Atlanta United season tickets. Speaking of Atlanta United, Friday’s college draft may have yielded a diamond-the-rough. Take five minutes and read Doug Roberson’s piece on Anderson Asiedu. Sort of a “Blind Side” story: https://www.ajc.com/sports/asiedu-incredible-journey-from-ghana-atlanta-united/1WHbCFnAK0JIpXCyShH2qO/

As we are already at mid-January, the daylight savings time countdown is on: eight weeks and counting.

Adios and Have a Funday Sunday!

Sunday Cynic V.3

What Really Is Fake News?

Ace Hardware and Home Depot stores in Mexican cities near the United States border are reporting record sales of all types of saws. No reason for the spike in sales have been reported by these retailers.

Reversing their position on weight loss for the seventh time in two years, Harvard’s Medical School has issued this directive: calorie intake is just as important as exercise to impact your weight loss goals. Protesters were seen outside of McDonald’s and Taco Bell voicing their concerns over this earth-shattering information.

Japan has an annual fish auction. A restaurant owner paid $4,902.00 a pound for a bluefish tuna. Total spend on this fish: $3M. I would explain more but I just can’t.

This year’s Consumer Electronics Show again has some very interesting technology to introduce. The introduction of 5G, electric scooters, smart speakers, and roll-up television screens should be leading the way for the 180,000 attendees. Then there is Kohler’s voice-command toilet, allowing you to speak to your toilet to flush, change the MOOD lighting, and set the level of heating on the seat. Obviously I am confused as Kohler’s market research clearly reveals that people utilize the toilet for many reasons I am not privy to.

Alabama and Clemson battle tomorrow night for the college football national championship. It is reported that Alabama’s starting quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is reportedly bringing 405 ‘family members’ to the game in Santa Clara, California. My simple math: 405 tickets at an average price of $100.00 per ticket = $40,500.00. Let’s hope this is fake news?

Jim Cramer, a leading pundit of the stock market, was seen purchasing a BOGO coupon for a NYC-based psychiatrist. No specific reason was given.

Chelsea Football Club purchased American superstar Christian Pulisic from Dortmund FC for $73M. If Christian Pulisic is worth $73M to Chelsea, what is Atlanta United’s Miguel Almiron worth on the open market? We should find out soon as the winter transfer market is open until January 31.

It is reported that the Florida Department of Transportation, who oversees the massive redevelopment of Interstate 4, has decided to call it quits on further progress. After hearing that the construction will take another $100M and eight additional months, the Board voted 5-4 to just let bad be bad.

Adios and Have a Funday Sunday!!

New Year Inspiration.

READ about these two – and “Cork the Whine”.

It is the end of another year. Lots of good and some tough things happened during 2018. I wrote about ‘reflection’ in last week’s blog – and with that said I try not to look back too often. I am busy with work, college bowl fever – including today’s two semi-finals, and some travel. Good things will also happen in 2019 but when you face some adversity please remember these two stories as they are thought-provoking and inspirational. There are many other stories of inspiration, hundreds of them with the women and men of our armed forces and the brave women from the USA gymnastics team. I am not sure, using this web platform, that the two links will open up. If you have issues opening them, just google #Tyler Trent and #Tommy Morrissey. After learning more about these two we have no reason not to ‘cork the whine’.

https://www.news-press.com/story/opinion/contributors/2018/12/24/tyler-trent-face-my-last-days-why-am-grateful/2405781002/

All The Best for A Happy and Healthy 2019!!

Where is Jack Bauer and CTU? The Epitome of Lazy. How High Will It Go? Home Opener. Cutting Costs. Parting Shot From Mad Dog. Is Every Day Necessary?

What Radar Systems? Bend Over, Tie Your Damn Shoelaces. Salary Cap. Anchorman. He Will Not Lose Any Sleep. How About Monday, Wednesday and Friday?

I don’t know too much about defense contractors, for example Raytheon. What I do know is the the U.S. military, along with many other countries, spend hundreds of millions of dollars with Raytheon on radar systems. Some of these advanced radar systems can track aircraft, missiles, and ships from hundreds of miles away. Some of these radar systems have the ability to establish an ‘electronic fence’ in a perimeter of up to 100 miles. The technology used for these systems is mind-boggling and ever expanding including radar systems used from space. So can someone with military and technology experience please explain to me how a $100.00 drone can shut down one of the busiest airports in the world for 72 hours? Can these radar systems, costing in the hundreds of millions of dollars, not detect and more importantly shut down the signals the drone operator sends to these flying machines? Someone please explain this to me as the use of drones is growing exponentially. I can only hope most of them are being used for the right reasons.

Funny (maybe not?) factoid from Nike: first introduced years ago, the Portland-based sporting goods manufacturer is re-introducing their self-lacing basketball shoes at a “much more reasonable retail price of $350.00”. A bargain considering these shoes for the lazy were first introduced at $700.00 a pair. Seriously?

The Chinese, because they have nothing better to do, have introduced artificial intelligence (AI) to television networks. They have developed AI technology that mimics a human being, specifically an anchor person, to deliver the news, sports and weather. The networks in China are looking to cut costs so what better way than to cut down on the salaries they pay their news anchors. Sources out of NYC tell me that Chris Cuomo, Al Roker, and David Muir have updated their CV’s.

FC Cincinnati, Major League Soccer’s new expansion team, have the distinct pleasure of being Atlanta United’s home opening opponent on March 10 at Mercedes Benz Stadium. I am sure Greg Garza, traded by United to FC Cincinnati two weeks ago, is already thinking about his match up with the right side of Atlanta United’s attack……can you say Tito Villalba and Franco Escobar? All United fans enjoyed and appreciated Garza during last season’s championship run but March 10 will be a different story. On another Atlanta United note: welcome back Michael Parkhurst….you might be sitting down with your new Dutch manager very soon.

I won’t go politics in this blog but many posts ago I wrote about my appreciation for General James T. Mattis, who up to four days ago was the United States Secretary of Defense. He resigned, for reasons of his own, and I am sure he will move on to a consultancy role with a defense contractor or major television network. Last week I posted some of my favorite quotes. I forgot one, a quote from General “Mad Dog” Mattis: “I don’t lose sleep at night over the potential for failure. I cannot even spell the word”.

With $71 billion in revenue that yields a $4 billion LOSS, the United States Postal Service is an independent agency of the U.S. Federal Government and one of a few government agencies explicitly authorized by the U.S. Constitution. I guess if you run a business from your home or receive prescription medication, daily postal delivery, including Saturday’s, may be important. With all of that said would any of you care if your mail was delivered only on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday? Call me crazy but I am definitely okay if my mail service is cut back to two days a week. Can you say privatization?

Adios, have a Funday Sunday, and a safe and Merry Christmas!

A Changing Landscape? Inspiration & Reflection.

What Does the NFL Do With The Millennial Mindset?   President Lincoln and More.

I guess there are some things that just bother me about the Falcons, or maybe it is just the NFL in general.  The Falcons’ current head coach, Dan Quinn, was preceded by former head coach, Mike Smith,  who has the better record through the first 61 games. Smith, in his post-game interviews, ALWAYS used the word ‘Process’ multiple times to explain the team’s issues and plight.  Now I hear Dan Quinn using the word ‘Identity’over and over again explaining how the Falcons, his team, has lost its way.  It is maddening to see a team in their 13th game of the season perform at such a low level – mistakes, penalties,and the lack of execution on both offense and defense.  These are professional players and yes, injuries have affected the Falcons….but EVERY team has injuries.  The Falcons have a leadership problem that is NOT the head coach, along with a fitness problem and most certainly attitude issues.  No one can tell me different.  On top of everything else, Arthur Blank, the owner of the Falcons, has another team that is the exact opposite of the Falcons.  Strong leadership from management and the coaching staff guide a tough group of Atlanta United players who are willing to go into an all out war against their opponents. Examples include last  Saturday night’s MLS Championship game, when Atlanta’s Josef Martinez, the leading scorer in the league, tracked back 40 yards to stop a counter attack, and the defense hammering home an early message to Portland’s attackers with very hard tackling and ball-winning.  Mr. Blank has a problem and that problem is keeping his NFL team relevant in the city of Atlanta.  There were hundreds of people taking photos of  a poster at the end of Saturday night’s MLS Championship game. The poster read: “We are not the Falcons”.  I just laughed it off until later that night when I realized that the poster was 100% true. It is not only the Falcons who have issues, but many of the teams in the NFL. Don’t get me wrong, the NFL is a powerful brand and a massive attraction to both over-the-air and digital networks.  I am just pointing out that when the millinneals, the vast demographic who attend United games,  grow older and have children, it is apparent to me that most families, in the not too distant future,  will favor the MLS over the NFL.  Obviously, just my take.

Sometimes I look for inspiration by looking at historical quotes from various leaders throughout the world.  The Holiday season, for many reasons, provides for a reset and some grounding.  You may or may not agree or like these quotes but they do give you something to think about, especially when of all people, with the groundwork that was provided by leaders around the world, we have the nerve to bitch and complain about our ‘tough’ lives.  Here are a few:

“Neither let us be slandered from our duty by false accusations against us, nor frightened from it by menaces of destruction to the government nor of dungeons to ourselves. Let us have faith that right makes might, and in that faith let us to the end dare to do our duty as we understand it.”

—President Abraham Lincoln, 1860

“Retreat? Hell, we just got here!”

—Marine Captain Lloyd Williams, answering a messenger from the French Commander as Marines arrive at the Belleau Wood sector in WWI.

“I hear a lot of crap about what a glorious thing it is to die for your country. It isn’t glorious—it’s stupid! You don’t go into battle to die for your country. You go into battle to make the other bastard die for his country.”

—General George S. Patton, Jr., speaking to troops in 1941

“It doesn’t take a hero to order men into battle. It takes a hero to be one of those men who goes into battle.”

—General H. Norman Schwarzkopf

“Atlanta United – incredible, amazing, and a championship.  Now what the hell are you going to do for an encore?”

-A United supporter who now lives in Orlando

Adios and Have a Funday Sunday!

Short Takes.

Let’s Not Ever Forget. Is It Currency?  Saturday Night Fever.  Grow Up.  Mars Anyone?  The China Syndrome.

Friday was the anniversary of a day the U.S. will never forget. Seventy-seven years ago, at 7:55 a.m. on Sunday, Dec. 7, 1941, a Japanese force of 183 airplanes attacked U.S. forces on Oahu in the Hawaiian Islands.  The worst of wake up calls for the United States Armed Forces and specifically the United States Navy.  That’s why we should fly the Flag on these days of remembrance….to never forget.

I have little to no knowledge of crypto-currencies.  I understand the general concept of trading monetary value without the intermediary bank or financial institution.  What I do not understand is the governance of Bitcoin or other crypto-currencies.  While the Federal Reserve’s decisions may not be spot on all the time, the thought of no governance with a currency is a bit unnerving.  Last week, Bitcoin value dropped 80% year over year.  Call me crazy….but that IS CRAZY.

Over 73,000 fans witnessed #AtlantaUnited in last night’s Major League Soccer Championship game. The Club and it’s plan and strategy started way longer than two years ago after a tremendous amount of groundwork and strategy that has been executed extremely well by the Atlanta United staff.  United brought home the silverware last night beating a very good Portland team 2-0.  The City of Atlanta should be incredibly grateful to Mr. Blank and his staff.  The strategy to birth a Major League Soccer team was well conceived and came with a bit of risk. The Club, through it’s grassroots marketing tactics, the capital outlay to build a world class stadium, the fantastic training grounds, and the right combination of player pool, has united the City of Atlanta like never before.  The Five Stripes will lose their manager, their top player, and a few more players who will not be resigned or lost to the expansion draft, but you have to feel confident that Mr. Blank’s directive of sustainability will keep this Club, and it’s supporters, engaged year after year for a very long time.

Kevin Hart.  Outstanding stand-up comedian.  A star of many movies.  Funny without even trying.  And a bigoted homophobic who needs to grow up quickly.  Uncalled for, sad, as your tweets must be representative of your character.  

The mission’s cost is over $1B.  It took six months to get there, traveling 100 million miles.  The ultimate goal of this exploration of Mars is to determine and measure similarities to Earth, specifically to figure out how both planets evolved.  Though this mission was funded by NASA, the privatization of space exploration is here and here to stay.  With my creative team, I am charged with providing NASA and Kennedy Space Center with a look at what a “SpacePort” will look like in the future.  The long term thinking from Kennedy Space Center and NASA is that NASA, in the not too distant future, will become the ‘new’ Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).  NASA will govern the private space flight companies (SpaceX, Blue Origin, etc) and how manned flights into space are scheduled and monitored.  This thinking may seem a bit futuristic but it is moving fast with a watchful eye from NASA.  This post goes to many creative and smart people.  I could use some forward thinking on this project from all of you.

We have heard it all before.  “I took all my money and it’s stashed under my bed”.  “I go to Las Vegas monthly and win every time”. Well, after last  week’s Dow Jones debacle those statements are no longer ridiculous.  The Chinese, the trade agreements and posturing.  No es bueno.

Adios and Have a Funday Sunday!!  And Thank You Atlanta United.

Cease Fire. The Silverware.

And I Thought I Understood.  This Will Be Different.  

I have a strict rule with religion and politics.  I don’t like to discuss or comment on either for many reasons.  So I will stay the course explaining the lesson of real life we experienced in Northern Ireland.  Sure, I was aware of the conflict as more than often me and my father watched Walter Cronkite or John Chancellor on the nightly news.  Sure I asked many questions about the conflict, the street fighting and the bombings.  Sure, I grew up with the awareness of the conflict but it was never top of mind as I roamed the parks and streets of Miami.   After a couple of days in Dublin, a wonderful, thriving city full of life (and too many pubs), the train north put us in Belfast.  A short walk to our hotel in the city center and then off to explore…..and as theme goes ” a two-hour tour”.   We decided to see Belfast using the Black Cab tour – basically a driver and his taxi.  Out of the car comes a 6’1″ exact combination of Sean Bean, Jason Statham, and Vinnie Jones. He has us sit in the car, still parked in front of the hotel, and for 10 minutes goes on to tell us exactly who he is, what he thinks, and his POV on Northern Ireland and it’s history of terror.  He obviously has our full and undivided attention as he drives and explains that the city of Belfast is defined by Falls Road on the Catholic side and Shankill Road on the Protestant side.  He asks us many times to get out to look at the war murals, the head office of Sinn Fein, the Irish Republic Army’s (IRA) political arm, and the so-called IRA museum, where we look through documents, posters, and photos as well as a myriad of weapons used in the conflict.  He shows us the wall the still divides the city and the gates that are still closed in the evenings to prevent the separatists from fighting.  Then he takes us to Shankill Road on the Protestant side, which he told us he would do though I could tell he wanted nothing to do with the area.  We stop at the remains of the Red Lion Pub on Shankill Road where he walks us through simple wall murals that show photos of what was once a pub, it’s patrons, and the three people killed and 30 injured when in November of 1971, an IRA brigade bombed the pub.  The reality:  our driver was/is an IRA operative, jailed twice and definitely the type of man you don’t make enemies with.  I asked him about the existence of the IRA today and he just gave me a look and told me that the IRA will never really go away.  The two-hour experience was everything emotional, shocking, historic and sad.  Our driver was sincere, tough and one-sided but he did give us the POV of “the other side”.  I asked the driver about a real ‘neutral’, no-man’s land within Belfast.  He smiled and replied “This is Belfast.  There is none.”   Background:  Around ninety years ago Ireland was split in two after people living there went to war against their British rulers. The south, where Dublin is located,  became a separate state, now called the Republic of Ireland. This division between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland led to decades of unrest and violence in Northern Ireland, which remained part of the UK.  “The Troubles”, as Northern Ireland’s sectarian strife came to be known, erupted many decades ago, when Catholic Irish nationalists, favoring unification with the Irish Republic to the south, began a violent and terror-filled campaign against Britain and the Loyalist Protestant paramilitaries who supported continued British rule.  Ireland, including the North, is lively, beautiful and historic.  We visited Howth on the southeast coast, which was charming, beautiful and a great place to spend time away from the busy streets of Dublin.  You can’t go wrong visiting Ireland and when in Belfast get a history lesson by taking the Black Cab tour.

This will be not be a 28-3 halftime lead and subsequent debacle.  This will not be the the Falcons in Miami’s Super Bowl with their starting safety arrested the night before the game.  This will not be the 1991, 1992, 1996 or 1999 Atlanta Braves.  This is Atlanta United.  This is Arthur Blank, Darren Eales and Gerardo (Tata) Martino.  This is the MLS Championship at home with 74,000 fans absolutely going crazy for 90+ minutes.  This is a team of warriors.  While everyone just ‘loves their style of play’, this team showed us in the NYRB series that they can go to war and fight, and more importantly play a style that may be ugly but wins games.  With Tata, Miguel, and possibly Josef departing, as well as players who will not be resigned for next year, this team, made up of players from different backgrounds and nationalities, will come onto the field Saturday night ready to go to war.  Portland is a formidable opponent with a rookie coach who has won championships at different levels, but in Mercedes Benz Stadium, under the watchful eye of Arthur Blank and 74,000  supporters, Atlanta United will bring home the silverware.  By the way, there WILL be a parade, and Tata better be given a key to the City as he moves on to run the national team of Mexico.  I am fired up and will be at the stadium to witness this team going to war to get it done.  Unite & Conquer.

Adios and have a Funday Sunday!!!

Honor Our Veterans. Short Takes.

Fly Your Flag.   My View, My Take.

Fly your flag all the time, but at a minimum today and tomorrow.  November 11 designates Veterans Day, honoring those who are and have served in the United States Armed Forces.  Forget politics, forget Woodrow Wilson and WWI, Harry Truman and WWII, LBJ and Vietnam, and any of our other leaders who have put our soldiers in harms way.  Stand up, give up your seat, shake the veteran’s hand, and above all else say thank you to them for their service to our country.  This is not about politics, this is about honor and sacrifice.  The least all of us can do is say thank you.   

I don’t remember the curriculum in middle and high school but I do know that at one time I took American history classes.  My knowledge of World War II is mediocre and maybe enhanced by all the war movies my father made me watch (over and over)…..can you say Von Ryan’s Express, Bridge Over the River Kwai, The Guns of Navarone, and The Longest Day?  What I have barely any knowledge of is World War I, the war of all wars. Today marks the 100-year anniversary of the United States entering WWI.  We waited until 1917 but in 1914 the division of power within Europe was remarkable, starting with the Triple Entente (allies) and the Central Powers. The incident that sparked this massive conflict was a bit surprising and resulted in the total number of deaths of 10 million military personnel. The civilian death toll was about 8 million, including about 6 million due to war-related famine and disease. I have never been known as the sharpest pencil in the stack but having little to no knowledge of WWI is a bit embarrassing.

Vote recount.  To Florida, Georgia, and Arizona:  it is the end of 2018 and you are an embarrassment to the rest of the country.  I will not comment on who should win and who should lose as I will stay away from politics.  It is both remarkable and unjust that your voting processes are disruptive, corrupt, biased, and influenced.  There are five Constitutional Amendments that deal with voting and the right to vote.  Don’t marginalize voter’s beliefs about the value of their vote.  For once and for all, get your systems in place to avoid what our Constitution stands for.  Disgusting with the technology and so-called oversight that is in place.

On the lighter side:  Thanksgiving is ten days away.  The NFL and MLS playoffs highlight a busy Sunday.  The beach will be really nice today and this better not be Tata Martino’s last game with Atlanta United.

Thoughts and prayers to all that are affected by California’s wildfires and the devastating attack at the restaurant/bar in Thousand Oaks.

Adios and Have a Funday Sunday!

My Takes For The 1st Sunday In November.

Where Did the Bull Go?   Saturday Fun.  Making Things Happen.  Dark Shadows.  It is Your Right.

Do financial planners and money managers plead with their clients to run from the stock market just before and during October?  Last month Nasdaq had its worst month since 2008 and the S&P 500 had it worst performance since September 2011.  Though the Dow rebounded a bit on Halloween day, last Tuesday’s 800 point drop was alarming.   October is historically just plain bad – the month is infamous for the two black Mondays and the black Thursday.  Five out of 10 of the market’s worst days have happened in October as well as the Panic of 1907.  Is the play to drop out of equities in September and then jump back in late October when eye-opening stock prices like General Electric seem like a strategic buy?  There are many investors and financial people who thankfully read this blog – how about chiming in with your take on the markets and the month of October?

As I have stated many times, I grew up as a big fan of the National Football League and remain a fan of the NFL, especially the Atlanta Falcons. With that said, there is no doubt that college football rises way up over the football games played on Sundays (yes, on Thursday and Monday nights as well).  The pageantry, fan experience, and level of enthusiasm is tremendous and outshines most NFL experiences.  Take for example yesterday’s Texas v West Virginia match up.  An incredible offensive display by both teams and West Virginia’s coach going for two with no time left on the clock down 41-40.  You did see the final play, correct?

I am not the only critic of the season’s performance by Orlando City.  A rough year to say the least, with of change of head coach at mid-season opening the door for both local Orlando and national soccer journalists to lean hard on Orlando City’s management and ownership.  And OCSC’s management and ownership group has responded to the down year and criticism with immediate effect. OCSC has changed up their scouting staff with the objective of finding those talented but relatively young South Americans, Europeans, and Americans who they can sign for a reasonable transfer fee. The strategy is to then develop their skills and professionalism so that a few years down the line they can be purchased by a European club.  It is a key business strategy and goal of all Major League Soccer clubs to acquire talented players on a low transfer fee and then sell high.  Look for Atlanta’s Miguel Almiron to drive home this business tactic – he was purchased for somewhere around $8M and it looks like one or more Premier League clubs will buy him in the winter transfer window for as much as $25M.  A return of 2.5-3X. Along with their new scouting team, OCSC has also announced that they are building a world-class training center just south of Orlando.  This training center will serve as a key strategy when pitching a potential player who is looking for the right club with the right combination of training facility and stadium. The two-year old stadium is fantastic and as of next July, will dovetail with a great training ground.  A great start to the off season.

I have previously harped on the disaster of daylight savings time ending so I will stay away from the subject.  Actually, I cannot refrain. Darkness before 6pm absolutely, positively sucks.  I do understand and am sensitive to the young children being in the dark at their bus stops, but in reality, and unlike when I was a youngster, there are usually sets of parents with kids waiting on their bus.  Daylight savings time has many attributes that all of you are aware of, and more importantly darkness leads to daylight seasonal disorder (also called “it’s too damn dark too early”).

The 15th Amendment. Exercise your right to vote on Tuesday.  Enough said.

Adios and Have Funday Sunday!!

Take Their Leverage Away.

Saudi Arabia.  Fuel Prices. Oil Dependency. Alternative Sources of Energy.

My feelings have nothing to do with politics or religion.  I just don’t like the way the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia does business.  Oil is their poison pill and their leverage.  If they did not have this leverage could they behave badly with their Middle East neighbors and the rest of the world? Could they hide behind the fact that they licensed the murder of a journalist at their consulate in Istanbul?  We can complain all we want but the only answer is to take that leverage away and lower our dependency on foreign oil, especially with Saudi Arabia.

Here is some background information starting with facts and questions from S², who was born and raised in the Middle East:

  • In 2018 the USA surpassed Russia and Saudi Arabia as the leading producer of crude oil.  
  • The USA consumes over 20 million barrels of petroleum products per day.
  •  Most of the oil consumed in the USA is used in cars.  So why not reward owners of high mileage vehicles?  
  • Electric – make it’s use affordable. I cannot buy the argument that we put a man on the moon in 1969 and we cannot create a battery that yields 500 miles of range on one charge.
  • Solar usage. Israel forces every new home to have solar panels. Why not create incentives for home and commercial builders to design solar into their construction plans?
  • Why should we continue to import oil from Saudi Arabia.  Why not increase our buy from Canada and Russia?

Realities:  As a transport-intensive society, and though the USA’s production is up year-over-year, it is not nearly enough to satisfy our thirst for oil.  While we produce close to 12 million barrels daily, our consumption is close to 21 million barrels per day.   Can the USA produce more oil?  Not exponentially as we can only extract a certain amount of oil at reasonable or competitive prices.  Extracting oil from U.S. soil is difficult and expensive to obtain – not a viable option with overseas oil prices remaining relatively low.

Creating alternative fuel sources used for transportation seems like a good way to deal with the problem. Bringing domestically produced alternative fuels — like ethanol, natural gas, electricity, and hydrogen into the transportation fuel mix will reduce our oil consumption and decrease the amount of foreign oil we import.  Reducing our imports, especially from Saudi Arabia, will mean that the USA is less susceptible to price hikes which for the most part are caused by international events and political discord.  For example, ten of the last eleven recessions have been preceded by a spike in oil prices – along with the U.S. government spending billions of dollars defending oil trade routes.  Alternative sources of fuel, at a basic benefit, give people the opportunity to select their fuel source and mitigate the cost implications of a spike in oil prices.

An associate of mine, T.A., works within the energy sector.  Her view:  “I agree with the comments regarding electric vehicles to lessen our dependency on foreign oil.  We are seeing public transportation fleets convert to electric or compressed natural gas in California based on mandates from the state. 
More and more states are putting in renewable energy targets as well to maximize use of solar and wind. Storing that energy for future use is essential. EV may play a part in that but not sure how right now.
Adoption will be the key. Whether it’s making the cars more attractive, states putting mandates in place or people like you helping people connect the dots may motivate people to make their next car an EV.”

An alternative fuel like E85 may not be the long term answer but at a minimum it seems to be another path of least resistance to slow down the USA’s dependency on foreign oil.  E85 is made up of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline.  There are attributes and some downside to E85 but it does seem that the pluses outweigh the minuses:  it is domestically produced and for the most part made of corn starch.  It supports the efforts of our farmers.  E85 can reduce greenhouse emissions and is biodegradable.  On the downside, it does cost a bit more than regular gasoline and yields less MPG’s based on fuel volume.  One big reason that E85 has not caught on in the USA is the lack of fueling stations. This issue also affects owners of electric cars, who continuously complain about the lack of plugin infrastructure across America.

I offered up the energy issue to W.P., who summed up what many must be thinking:  “….I was struck by how relatively uninformed I am on this subject, and how I take the availability of inexpensive sources of energy for granted.  Maybe this observation is my message, i.e. too many of us have become complacent with the energy status quo (cheap, virtually limitless) so we don’t think much about it, and we have no sense of urgency to develop alternative sources. To build on your thoughts, I think the USA needs a bipartisan strategy to gradually wean ourselves off of fossil fuels in a manner that minimizes economic repercussions over the next 10-20 years. Unfortunately, I don’t see that happening. Therefore, I believe we will be poorly prepared for the next energy shock — and it will happen sooner rather than later.”

The bottom line:  it is essential that the USA, once and for all, reduce their dependency on foreign oil.  It is time to marginalize Saudi Arabia and the rest of the Middle East.  It is time to take some risks with creating viable and alternative sources of domestically produced energy.  It is really bad business for bad-behaving countries to have leverage with crude oil.  Very bad business.

I would like your take on this subject. Comments are welcome – use the “Leave a Comment” section of the blog. I stay away from politics but if you have a position on this issue you can email Rick Perry, our Secretary of Energy, at:  The.Secretary@hq.doe.gov

 Thoughts and prayers to all who were affected by yesterday’s incident in Pittsburgh.

Adios and have a Funday Sunday!