A New Beginning? It May be Time to Call In the Bad Boys. Holiday Tradition.

The Machinery of Repression.  Time to Contact Stallone, Sheen, Schwareneggar, Norris and Seagal?  Shopping ON Thanksgiving?  Update Central.

  • A few weeks ago I discussed Che Guevara and his fellowship with Fidel Castro (see the Oct 8 post).  Along with Guevara, Fidel Castro went on to form a revolutionary group with his brother Raul, eventually providing the Castro duo with the forces needed to help overthrow the Cuban government in 1959.  Fidel Castro would eventually assume military and political power as Cuba’s Prime Minister. On Friday night, after so many decades of Cubans dealing with oppression,  the tyrant, Fidel Castro, finally is dead.  In a way it was amazing how Castro successfully posed as a champion of the people around the world, even as he trampled on the rights of downtrodden Cubans. His many admirers abroad chose to ignore, and for some reason justify, his denial of freedom to the people of Cuba.  His ethos was to instill obedience through fear, taking ownership of thousands of properties away from Cuban citizens to ensure that his Marxist regime would benefit…to the disdain of all Cuban citizens.  Castro had many ways of dealing with dissidents including the murder of 20,000 Cubans and the detention of thousands in rundown labor camps.   Castro survived the Bay of Pigs, the Cuban missile crisis, and the Guantanamo presence of U.S. troops by being a pawn to the Soviet Union and eventually Russia.  Without the Soviet regime, Cuba’s economy suddenly spiraled out of control until Fidel slowly allowed foreign investment to energize the Cuban economy.  The ultimate dictator is finally dead.  May he and his brother rot in hell.
  • While most Americans around the world celebrated the Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday, an American soldier, fighting in the hinterlands of Syria, was killed in action.  While I am a proponent of a strong, massive military it is time to turn this so-called war with ISIS over to the groups who are trained to fight on the street, within the confines of buildings, and in general, urban areas of terror.  With all due respect to the militaries around the globe, the ISIS conflict poses a specific dynamic that only special trained forces can overcome.  Cities in Syria are not the jungle, the desert or the normal battlefield.  These ISIS-occupied cities are nasty and unpredictable which must be met with soldiers with different training backgrounds.  Soldiers that endure living hell while going through training and have no issues with collateral damage.  It is time for a worldwide coalition of special forces to come together, organize, plan and execute an operation of substantial proportion in the areas of Aleppo and Raqqa.  By definition, special forces, or special operations forces are military units extremely trained to perform unconventional, typically insecure missions for political, economic or military purposes.  The go forward in Aleppo and Raqqa is to select two hundred special operations personnel from the following ten forces:  Army Rangers, J2F2, EKO- Cobra, Navy Seals, SAS, GIGN, SSG, Shayetet 13, Black Cats and GSG-9.  These 2,000 special operations troops would be deployed to areas of concern in Syria to quickly eradicate ISIS once and for all.  Rules of engagement:  none.  Amount of coordination time for training and planning:  forty-five days.  This 2,000 person machine would be supported by all means necessary to accomplish the mission of destroying ISIS in Syria.  No questions, no political governance, and no grief.  More importantly, no more Americans killed in Syria.  One is way too many.
  • Similar to other holidays celebrated in the U.S., the traditions of the Thanksgiving holiday are somewhat diminished by the onslaught of retailers promoting their store openings.   I drove by a Kohl’s on the way home from a festive Thanksgiving evening to see their parking lot overflowing with cars….at 11pm!  I guess the tradition of waiting until the Friday after has dissipated since you can now eat Thanksgiving dinner and promptly go shopping?  Thankfully the food, wine and football watching still takes precedent over the shopping experience.  Lets just be thankful for what we have and hope that the new year brings the best of everything to everyone.
  • Updates:  Bruce Arena:  get the Men’s National Team to Russia 2018.  NFL:  keep the ball moving and shorten the game by at least 20 minutes.  General Motors:  keep small production close to home.  Time to see Gary Clark Jr. perform.  To our military on Thanksgiving:  Thank you!  And to Jaime and Daniel:  may all the good news be yours!!

Adios and Happy Sunday Funday!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Debacle of San Jose. New Washing Technique. Leaving Detroit.

Can’t Win in Costa Rica. Samsung at it Again!  Losing Jobs to Mexico.  Update Central.

  • Last Tuesday night’s loss in San Jose preceded by the loss at home to Mexico leaves the United States National Team with zero points through 2 of the ten-game hexagonal tournament to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.  The Costa Ricans beat the USA 4-0 last Tuesday night, the USA’s worst loss in World Cup qualifying in 36 years.  So the pundits are all over the USA’s performance and specifically their coach, Jurgen Klinsmann.  To my surprise, I had predicted that JK would have ‘stepped down’ by now (fired in laymen’s terms), but there are some factors that may keep him in his job. One of those factors:  MONEY.  The US Soccer federation renewed JK’s contract in 2014 for four years at a base salary of $2.5 million a year so my math skills tell me that $5m would need to be paid out to fulfill JK’s contract.  Another factor is the timing as the next round of qualifying games is only four months away in March. For Klinsmann, the long layoff is brutal in two ways: First, it offers the federation plenty of time to make a move, while also meaning that Klinsmann — if he continues on — will have to live with the sting of this past week for quite some time.  The soccer community is obviously concerned.  While the top three countries coming out of the qualifying tournament automatically go to 2018 World Cup, the chance that the national team’s poor start leaves them out of the every four-year tournament is problematic.  Why?  National team sponsors spend millions and support the eye-opening expenses incurred by the team.  In 2015, the youth national teams and player development programs ran up expenses over $14m and the men’s national team operating expenses went north of $31m.  These expenses are covered by the many sponsors looking for the national team to yield exposure and impressions at every international tournament.  Would all of these sponsors continue to pour money into the national team if the team did not qualify for Russia in 2018?  With or without Jurgen Klinsmann the USA must qualify for the World Cup.
  • In previous posts I have reaped havoc on Samsung over their slow recall of the S7 Note smartphone – the phones now prohibited on all U.S. domestic flights. Bringing too much technology to market too fast has yielded Samsung millions of dollars in losses and a continued tarnished image.  You would think that their corporate brass would mandate that all product categories be reviewed and retested to ensure best-in-class performance and safety?  Nope, as last week Samsung said it would recall about 2.8 million of its top-load washing machines in the United States to address safety concerns. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reported last week that the top of the washing machines can unexpectedly detach from the chassis during use, posing a risk of injury from impact. Samsung received nine related reports of injuries, including a broken jaw, injured shoulder and other impact-related injuries.  So the corporate giants of the world, under pressure to deliver year-over-year double-digit profits, continue to move product to market that is untested and obviously not safe.  Inexcusable behavior, again.
  • Sugar-coating a decision to move production “off-shore” or a strategic decision to deceive the American consumer?  Last week, in light of the presidential election, Ford Motor Company is moving ahead with plans to shift production of small cars to Mexico from Michigan.  Obviously Ford’s workforce and their unions have big problems with this decision as it seems jobs will be impacted.  Ford’s answer: they are shifting production of the Ford Focus to Mexico to provide more production capacity for two ‘more important’ products to be built in it’s U.S. factories. While on the surface this sounds like a strategic move, the decision is basically a like-for-like regarding job opportunities….it keeps the workforce level but does not increase the number of job opportunities for Americans.  Why not figure out a way to keep the production of the Focus in the U.S. and ADD production lines for the two new products that would yield more job opportunities? Let Ford figure out a way to overcome the cheap Mexican labor and build the small cars in our factories.  I am not a proponent of government interference but maybe the President-elect’s plan for import tariffs makes sense?
  • Updates:  Donald, please be diligent with selecting your Cabinet.  Matt Ryan:  get us to the playoffs!  Time to see Iron Maiden live.  Brangelina and the Phillipines’ Duterte have gone quiet…thankfully.  Daylight savings time – please come back soon.  Happy Thanksgiving to all.

Adios and have a happy Sunday Funday!

 

 

Border War. Time To Move On. Red Skies Tonight. Making Changes.

90+ Minutes of Pure Hell.  It is Time to Focus on Something Positive.  Visiting Mars.  I Told You the NFL Has Some Smart Peeps.

  • While I try to keep my passion for soccer to a limit I must point out some great takeaway’s from Friday night’s USA – Mexico World Cup qualifying match in Columbus, Ohio.  I realize that many of you could care less about the sport and our national team but any fan of sport would have enjoyed this game.  Above and beyond the ramifications of this being a World Cup qualifier and the USA winning the last four home qualifiers against the Mexicans (all by the score of 2-0), there was an underlying sentiment with all Mexicans regarding the outcome of our presidential election.  I watched the match at Ri’ Ra’, a midtown Atlanta Irish pub known as a soccer-viewing venue.  The atmosphere, led by the Atlanta chapter of the American Outlaws, was loud and obviously pro-USA until the late Mexican goal in the 89th minute. Qualification for the 2018 World Cup continues for the USA Tuesday night in a place where the Americans have had little success, San Jose.  Not California, but Costa Rica.  To get an idea of the task at hand, these are the score lines from previous matches: 0-1, 1-2, 2-3, 1-2, 0-2, 0-3, 1-3, 1-3. Those are the scores of the last eight U.S. games at Costa Rica in World Cup qualifying, all losses.  The qualification process consists of many games and we can only hope that the USA finds a way to come away with a ‘W’ in San Jose.
  • Part of the ethos of this blog is to stay away from the topics of religion and politics.  There will be no comment on the outcome of Tuesday night’s election other than to say it is time to move on.  Move on from the drama, the speculation and more importantly the instances of hatred spread by morons around the country.  I was in Dallas last week, looking down from my hotel room at ‘protestors’ marching in downtown.  I read about swastikas being painted on city sidewalks, and anti-Muslim rhetoric being thrown ab0ut.  C’mon Man!  Enough is enough. I do understand the emotion of the election but everyone needs to take a step back, take a deep breath, and enjoy the holiday season.  People who hate: there is an island that suits all of you very well.  Bouvet, located 1,000 miles from Antarctica, seems like a perfect place for all of you to rant and rave together.
  • It is difficult to get interested in something on Monday night other than Monday Night Football.  It is also difficult to get interested in programming that I have not reviewed but tonight starts the six-part series, Mars, on the National Geographic Channel.  Sci-Fi has never been on the top of my list but this series seems intriguing for the simple reason it takes place in the not so distant future of year 2033.  Elon Musk seems ahead of the game having lined up millions of dollars for his Mars project and there are thousands of people who have sent their deposits in to be selected to ‘fly’ to Mars.  And I thought getting from north Atlanta to midtown was a hassle this past Friday night?  I will definitely watch this series and yes, my DVR is set so I can watch it at my leisure as tonight is MNF!
  • In previous posts I have attacked Major League Baseball and the National Football League games due to disparity between playing time and the length of the game.  I also pointed out that I feel like the NFL has a lot of smart people sitting in the NYC headquarters.  True to form, a friend of mine sent me a NY Times article from last Thursday outlining how the NFL brass is working on ways to shorten the game and increase the amount of real playing time….see my previous post regarding the second quarter of a Monday Night Football game.  Kudos to the NFL brass for acting on their ratings being down 12% year-over-year.

Adios and have a great week!

 

 

Electors. The Curse. Inspiration. Update Central.

Is it Fair?  7th Game Heroics. Cork the Whine. Updates on Previous Posts.

  • I have stated a few times that I will always try to stay away from religion and politics.  We all hear way too much about those subjects on a daily basis so there is no need for me to bore you with further diatribe.  With Tuesday looming and the overt amount of conversation regarding the election (which by the way gets in the way of my college football discussions), I again educated myself on the election process.  In a nutshell:  the winner of the statewide popular vote generally takes all the Electoral College votes, a rule stretching back to 1824.  Each state is assigned a number equal to its Senate seats (two) plus its seats in the House of Representatives.  Not so confusing so far but that means the seven states with only enough population to qualify for one House seat will get three votes each in the Electoral College. On the other hand, California, with 53 seats in the House, gets 55 electoral votes, and Texas‘ 36 seats provide for 38 electoral votes. That’s why, after the U.S. expanded to 50 states, the Electoral College had 535 seats, the same as the total of members of Congress (Senate and House). It now has 538, because in 1961 the 23rd Amendment to the Constitution added three for the District of Columbia, which had previously been without a voice in choosing the president.  Is this process fair where the concept that the people could not or should not be trusted to vote directly for our national leader?  Four times in our history the nationwide popular vote winner actually lost in the Electoral College including the Al Gore, George W. Bush debacle (can you say ‘hanging chads’?).  Something to ponder as we close in on Tuesday night.  Our constitution does not specifically spell out the right of all Americans to vote but no matter how you feel and what party you support you should cast your ballot.
  • A couple of weeks ago I wrote about baseball and the length of the game.  I received a few terse responses from baseball fans and totally accepted and understood their point of view.  Not so much a naysayer and as a youngster a huge baseball fan, I enjoyed watching this year’s World Series and especially the 7th game.  The game itself was tense but what really added to those late inning dramatics was that the Cubs had the chance to overcome The Curse.  Back in 1945, the last time the Cubs had reached the World Series, the owner of a pub named The Billy Goat Tavern got kicked out of game 4 at Wrigley Field because the goat he brought to the game smelled so bad that the fans complained.  The pub owner was so outraged that he declared that the Cubs would never win again which was obviously interpreted to mean that they would never again make it to a World Series.  So The Curse declared by the owner of The Billy Goat Tavern is over and could not have ended in a more dramatic way.  Good baseball stuff!
  • Upon further review I may not write about enough positive things going on in this crazy world.  The topics of ISIS, Syria, our election and the healthcare debacle come to mind.  Fortunately I had the opportunity to read an article about a school teacher in Argentina….a very strong-minded and dedicated teacher similar to many of the great school teachers around the globe.  Though this teacher is a bit different.  Noelia Garella, now 31-years old, has Down syndrome and overcame many naysayers to now take over a class room teaching an early reading class to 2 and 3-year olds.  She was inspired by her parent, friends and fellow teachers to pursue her dream under very difficult circumstances.  Reading this just sort of grounds you, making you feel a bit guilty for complaining about things that seem so trivial compared to Ms. Garella’s daily challenges.  She should be an inspiration to all of us.
  • Updates:  I attended two Falcons‘ games in four days…two different types of wins but nonetheless fantastic; the Philippines continue to get stranger by the day….their President needs to be ‘eighty-sixed’; I have been on a few flights with the pre-flight announcement including the directive: “no Samsung S7 Note phones are allowed on any commercial airline”….blah, blah, blah.  Really Delta, as if passengers with S7 Notes don’t place their phone in their purse or briefcase?; The English Premier League and NBC continue to bring us great broadcasts every weekend; and finally,  I cannot wait until Wednesday morning.

Adios and Happy Sunday Funday!

 

 

 

 

 

Indian Giving. Playing Time. FTC, FCC and Other Acronyms. M&A. Trick or Treat?

Pentagon Doing Their Thing Again.  Let’s Take a Look at the 2nd Quarter.  I am Not Smart Enough to Understand the Consumer Benefit to this Merger. Happy Halloween.  Update.

  • As if we don’t have enough craziness coming out of our nation’s capital it now looks like the Pentagon has gone mad.  I am not going to rehash the particulars of this asinine and ridiculous scenario but in a nutshell the Pentagon has gone to extreme efforts to recover decade-old reenlistment bonuses paid to thousands of California Army National Guard soldiers who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan.  So what if some of the bonuses were paid out to soldiers who the Pentagon now says did not qualify for the incentive?  These are the soldiers who reenlisted due to a shortage of troops at the height of the two wars,  and the California Guard officials offered bonus incentives of $15,000 or more to build up forces required for combat.  These are the US citizens our government is going after for repayment of incentives?  Thankfully,  Ashton Carter has finally stepped in to temporarily stop the Pentagon’s relentless harrassement of these soldiers….the soldiers who reenlisted due to a shortage of troops at the height of those two nasty wars.  Google the back stories….just unreal.
  • Some who read last week’s blog had quite a bit to say about my piece on baseball and the length of the game.  What most of them said was not so nice.  This week, I decided to take a look at the NFL.  I watched the first half of the Monday Night Football game and gathered the following metrics (love that word) regarding the 2nd quarter:
  • 39 – # of minutes of the second quarter
  • 35 – # of plays during the second quarter
  • 4 minutes, 10 seconds – total play time from the snap to the end of play whistle
  • 10 minutes, 30 seconds -total time for six commercials/promo spots Extrapolate what you want from those numbers but the ratio of time played to commercial breaks is a bit concerning. All of you know I am a huge football fan and try to watch as much college and pro football as possible before it is all over in early February.  With that said NFL ratings are down 12% year-over-year and the NFL is blaming the low ratings on the presidential race and the bad matchups for prime time games.  What they are not saying is that one of their key target audiences, the millennials, have little to no appetite for sitting anywhere for over three hours watching pro football.  The NFL has some very smart people working up at that NYC office….I feel confident they will make some changes to make the game time a bit less.  Not so much for NCAA.
  • $85B.  A good bit of coin for AT&T to swallow up Time Warner.  On the surface it looks like a great play for AT&T’s shareholders as the merger will allow for convergent technologies across various platforms with a broad content and service offering.  I guess my initial reaction is that the competitive landscape in this space will quickly diminish.  For example, could AT&T make it more expensive for their competitors to gain access to content from Time Warner?  Pricing that their competitors would certainly pass on to their customers.  Think Game of Thrones or Anthony Bourdain’s great show called Parts Unknown….or any other content found on HBO or Turner’s family of networks.  Sure, the FCC and FTC are taking a hard look at this acquisition and there is a possibility that these federal regulators could compel AT&T to accept modifications or go so far as to kill the deal.  Competition is good for all of us.  Let’s hope that this deal turns out to be a good thing for the customer.
  • Spooks, ghosts, skeletons and haunted houses.  Thank you to the people of Scotland and Ireland for bringing the Halloween celebration, the night before All Saint’s Day, to America.  I don’t like anything to do with the devil, ghosts and goblins, and especially skeletons.  Thankfully, October 31,  similar to any other reason for Americans to party, has become another celebration for kids to dress up in costumes, go trick or treating, and for most adults, dress up in something socially unacceptable and attend a party or two.  Staggering amounts of money are spent during the Halloween season. Last year, more than 150 million Americans planned to celebrate Halloween, with eight in 10 millennials saying they were planning something fun with their friends. The total spend in 2015 was expected to be $7 billion, with the average American planning to spend $74 on decorations, candy, costumes and more.  Enjoy Halloween and let’s keep everyone, especially the children, safe.
  • Updates from previous posts:  The Colombian government is again sitting down with the FARC rebel forces to try and hammer out a deal; The Falcons are back at home later today and yes, they need their defense to rise up; the Philippine President, Rodrigo Duterte, now wants all foreign troops out of his country within two years; Baseball and the World Series between the Indians and the Cubs is good stuff but why have the Cubs’ bats gone missing? Manchester United:  figure it out soon and do something with Paul Progba. You can’t pay $119m for one player and have him do nothing. Completely unacceptable.

Adios and Happy Sunday Funday!

 

 

 

 

 

Duterte Pivot. St. Pete. Where is the Rock? Is the Game Boring?

Back up Your Big Mouth Duterte.  Two Areas of St. Pete.  Even the Millennials are Going Classic Rock.  America’s Pastime.

  • The Philippines and Rodrigo Duterte.  Moron, self-serving ‘leader’, or simply a power hungry politico who needs to play the U.S. against China? During meetings this past week with the Chinese brass, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte announced that HE (the Philippines) is “separating from the United States”.  This statement, in itself a radical foreign policy shift, has sent a very strong signal that the treaties and investments the United States have made in the Philippines is all for naught.   Yes, a 70-year old defense treaty…..guarantees to the Philippines that the United States will come to immediate aid of the island nation in case of foreign conflict or war and continued financial guarantees, delivering close to $200m in aid in 2016.  Does he not remember that the United States, with the help of few allies, defeated the Japanese during WWII?  Yes, the Japanese, who invaded and took over the Philippines from 1942-1945.  Now Duterte says he wants to align with China and maybe Russia.  His Secretary of Defense stated that the military aid received by the United States is ‘not enough’ and not significant.  Is time for us to call their bluff and pull all foreign aid?  I do realize that the island nation sits in a very strategic location in the Pacific but enough is enough….time to move on and let Duterte catch hell from the Philippine people when things go south very quickly.
  • An interesting dichotomy only eight miles apart.  I am thinking about the area of St. Petersburg, Florida, with those white beaches on the beautiful Gulf of Mexico and a urbanesque downtown that bumps up to Tampa Bay.  Yes, the state of Florida’s 4th largest city is booming with growth on their beaches and city center.  From downtown, you take a short drive south on I-275 to the Pinellas Bayway and head across the intercoastal waterway past Isla Del Sol and Tierra Verde to Gulf Boulevard.  Heading north you experience a complete difference from downtown St. Pete, from the every-ending hotels and condos to the restaurants and dive bars.  So different than downtown St. Pete, which as of now has numerous cranes building new live, work, and play buildings that will blend well with the landscape of the Bay.  Instead of the dive bars on St. Pete beach, experience one of many downtown museums or enjoy the Pier and Beach Boulevard.  If you have not been, I highly recommend a long weekend to experience downtown and the beautiful beaches.
  • Classic rock.  By definition: “Classic rock is a radio format which developed from the album-oriented rock (AOR) format in the early 1980s. In the United States, the classic rock format features music ranging generally from the late 1960s to the late 1980s, primarily focusing on commercially successful hard rock popularized in the 1970s”.  So why is this music genre still so popular and why is the music format starting to skew younger, even to the millennials?  According to Nielsen, classic rock’s largest growth, surprisingly, is among 18-34 year-olds, who are listening 50% more to the format now than three years ago.  My only answer to this is the music is timeless, lends emotion with it’s lyrics, and is ‘cool’ for the younger generations to relate to the likes of Jerry Garcia, Mick Jagger, Steven Tyler and Ozzy Osbourne.  Funny how you can have 150 channels to choose from on Sirius XM but their classic rock offerings are in the top five most listened to over the last four years.  Classic Rocks!
  • I was raised in a family of baseball fans.  My mother and father were Yankee fans and that spilled over to me and my brother.  Maybe it was my dad’s interest and my brother’s never-ending appetite for baseball stats, but along with my early interest in the NFL and worldwide soccer I was able to name every starter on every major league baseball team.  My interest, for many reasons, has diminished greatly.  I did not attend one major league baseball game this season and unlike past years did not watch one inning of a major league baseball telecast.  Maybe it is the world of free agency, the duration of a game, or me just wanting to spend time watching or doing something else.  I will most likely attend a game next season in the Braves’ new digs located a few miles from my home but I can definitely say that my interest in baseball may never come back to the level of my youth.  Sure, I like the atmosphere of any stadium but I just lose interest after four or five innings.  Never the naysayer, I do realize that baseball has a following…..maybe this year’s World Series, starting Tuesday night in Cleveland, will inspire me to enjoy one of America’s great pastimes.  Last night the Cubs advanced to the World Series for the first time in 45 years…..that in itself is a great storyline.
  • Updates from previous posts:  Donald/Hilary: thanks for the WWE event Wednesday night; Yemen: Hey, you Houthi rebels, you sure got quiet after a response from the USS Mason’s Tomahawk missiles; Atlanta Falcons:  no let down later today!  The family at Amalfi Restaurant:  keep doing what you are doing; Chris Talley at Common Quarter:  good luck with your next chapter!

Adios and Happy Sunday Funday!

 

Fall Saturday’s. Our Warship. Amalfi. Follow Up.

It Does Not Get Any Better.  You Really Thought Firing On One of Our Warships Would Have a Positive Outcome?  The Dining Experience.   A Look Back.

  • I am sure it is the combination of the cooler weather, the trees showing some color, college football, the baseball playoffs and worldwide soccer that make this time of year the best.  The combination of the early Saturday Premier League matchups and the afternoon college football are like dessert for most sports fans.  While I understand the northeast is a bit slack when it comes to college football, the rest of country is glued to the flat screens, attending watching parties at restaurant/bars, or watching the games live in one of the many massive college football stadiums around this country.  Fall festivals are abundant, parents are juggling their young ones from one activity to another, and the incredible weather (my thoughts are with you in the Pacific Northwest today) are a great prelude to the colder weather coming next month.   Get out and enjoy the day and maybe catch the 4:25 EDT Falcons-Seahawks matchup.
  • I am not pretending to really understand the dynamics of the Middle East and all of their territorial and religious conflicts.  The issues go back thousands of years and there is no simple solution to the ongoing threats between countries and religious sects.  One of these conflicts includes Yemen, one of the Arab world’s poorest countries. Yemen has been devastated by a war between forces loyal to the internationally-recognized government of President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi and those allied to the Houthi rebel movement.  It is no surprise that the Houthi’s are backed by Iran, who continues to be a thorn in the world’s side.  So Iran is calling the shots with the Houthi’s and their efforts to overthrow the Yemen government.  I guess Iran also ordered the Houthi armed forces to fire on the USS Mason three times in the last week.  Yes, our warship, which intercepted an Iranian shipping vessel sending vast shipments of arms to the Houthis in April of this year. The weapons included 1,500 Ak-47s, 200 RPGs, multiple 50 caliber machine guns and other weapons.   So call me stupid but the Iranians and the Houthi’s had to know that that firing on the USS Mason would result on our warship firing back.  I realize that this is their way of being provocative but you have to be a moron not to understand that the USS Mason is equipped with weaponry that is best in class including Tomahawk missiles.  Yes, Tomahawks, capable of hitting targets from hundreds of miles with pinpoint precision.  So minutes after the Houthi’s missiles fell short of the USS Mason, our warship deployed Tomahawks that destroyed Houthi radar sites (and probably a bit more than that).  I don’t know what the Houthis are thinking but that decision did not go well for them.  Maybe our outgoing President can send the same message to the Iranians before he departs office?
  • The dining experience is different for all of us in many ways.  The dynamics depend on so many factors including the atmosphere, the customers, the type and quality of food, and the level of service.  Like many I have had the opportunity to experience restaurants around the world with mostly positive results.  Atlanta, like most major metropolitan areas, has a fantastic restaurant landscape, from simple sports bars to gastropubs to high-end steak and seafood houses.  With all that said, there is one north Atlanta restaurant that is a must to experience.  Amalfi, located in Roswell, is run by a close knit family who came to the States from Naples, so naturally they focus on southern Italian cuisine.  The restaurant is simple, from the minimalistic décor to the location in a non-descript shopping center….unpretentious to say the least.  What is not simple are the dynamics of the family, led by Chef Anna with her family support team of Alfredo, Salvatore, Francesco, and Angelo.  The food is fantastic, the portions are perfect, and the banter between family members is a must-see and must-hear.  Salvatore is the kingpin and his Naples upbringing delivers something special when sitting at his bar.  If you have been to Amalfi keep going.  If you have not been you are missing out on a great dining experience.
  • Updates from previous posts:  Samsung, it really took you this long to figure out the S7 Note was a no go?  Atlanta Falcons:  please keep proving me wrong.  To those in Colombia: prayers with you that the ceasefire with FARC stays intact.  Atlanta United:  keep the great things you are doing going.  Brangelina:  thanks for keeping the children out of the media.  Hilary/Donald:  fake it and be Presidential.

Adios and Happy Sunday Funday!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Samsung Strikes Again. USA v Europe. Che Guevara. Bobby Dodd Stadium. More Reality TV.

Quality Control Issues.  Like Golf or Not, an Awesome Competition.   The Dictator and his Lieutenant.  Can’t Start the Inaugural Season on the Road.  Hilary and Donald: How About Pretending to be Presidential?

  • Ok Samsung, enough.  I mentioned in an earlier post how I felt about corporate America pushing new products and technology to market too fast.  The lack of quality control with the likes of Samsung and Tesla are a bit alarming.  The Samsung S7 Note battery issues, with some of those phones’ batteries catching fire, resulted in the Consumer Product Safety Commission enacting a mandatory recall of the product.  So what does Samsung do?  They take the product off the market, offer their customers an apology and free change out of the S7 Note.  Too fast and not enough product testing as a replacement S7 Note caught fire on a Southwest plane before takeoff (thankfully).  I am a Samsung customer, using the regular S7 phone, but you have to have your head examined if you purchase the S7 Note anytime soon.
  • Many people find watching golf on TV a bit boring.  Understandable, especially if you don’t play and have no idea how difficult it is to consistently put up a respectable score.  With that said, last weekend’s Ryder Cup was exciting, compelling and presented a very high level of competition.  The format is well thought out with the three-day competition ending with twelve single matches.  Even with the majority of players from both the European and American teams being multi-millionaires, the pride these players take in winning the Ryder Cup is unprecedented.  I was happy to see the Americans take back the Cup and enjoyed the competitive spirit between Rory McILroy and Patrick Reed during their singles match.  Fun stuff.
  • Ironic that the USA’s men’s national team was in Havana on Friday to play Cuba in a friendly.  The result really doesn’t matter.  What does matter is how far Cuba and the USA have come to try and repair some level of foreign relations and understanding.  Especially considering that today marks the 49th anniversary of socialist revolutionary and guerilla leader Che Guevara’s execution.  Back in the 1950s, it was Guevara who met up with Fidel Castro and his group of exiled revolutionaries. Guevara played a key role in Castro’s seizure of power from Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista in 1959 and later served as Castro’s right-hand man and minister of industry. Guevara strongly opposed U.S. domination in Latin America and advocated peasant-based revolutions to combat social injustice in Third World countries. Castro later described him as “an artist of revolutionary warfare.”  Accused of ordering the executions of thousands of Cubans, including political prisoners, Che Guevara, sometime in 1965, broke away from Castro’s regime and somehow was recognized by some as a symbol of anti-imperialism and revolution. When Guevara eventually ended up in Bolivia, the USA helped the Bolivian government hunt down and execute Guevara. As I watched yesterday’s game in Havana I thought about all my Cuban friends and their families whose lives were and continue to be forever changed by the likes of Fidel Castro and his lieutenant, Che Guevara. “Motorcycle Diaries” is a fact-based movie based on Guevara’s life.  Probably worth the watch on a rainy day.  Sometimes time does not heal all.
  • Atlanta United rolls on.  This past week, another example of the excellent management team Arthur Blank has put together to run this Club.  Steve Cannon, Darren Eales, and Carlos Bocanegra bring a high level of experience that will pay great dividends with United.  The Bobby Dodd stadium play is a fantastic solution to overcome the delays with the new Mercedes Benz stadium.  Playing on the road to start the inaugural season presented many issues, from both a financial and team performance standpoint.  Bobby Dodd’s location, seating capacity of 55,000 and the 72-yard field width will play well with Gerardo Martino’s high pressure tactics and mentality.  Well done United.  Good bet that season opener at Bobby Dodd will sell out.
  • As I have stated this blog will not go down the path of religion and politics.  Not that I take Donald Trump’s sound bites lightly, but let’s hope tonight’s debate, produced in a ‘town hall’ format, stays away from the reality TV syndrome we witnessed in the first debate. Note:  you can always record the 90-minute debate and watch Sunday Night Football.

Adios and Happy Funday Sunday!

 

 

 

Arnold Palmer. Debate. Falcons Tandem. Columbia Civil War. Tata. Update.

He Will Always be the King.  It is Time for Debate Parameters?  Two Complimentary RB’s.  So You Think the USA has Civil Unrest?  Making a Statement in the MLS.  Brangelina Gone Missing.

  • I won’t revisit the awards, honors, and tournament wins by the King.  Last Sunday Rory McIlroy won $11.35m by winning the FedEx Cup and tournament.  But all the praise for Rory quickly dissipated as we learned of the passing of Arnold Palmer.   You don’t have to be a fan of golf to understand the impact Mr. Palmer had in worldwide sports.  His stature, presence and competitiveness basically forced the television networks to start covering golf on the weekends.  He will be missed.  RIP Mr. Palmer. 
  • I have my own rules with posting anything on this site that relates to politics and religion (two of my least favorite topics).  With that said I hope I was not the only one humiliated by last Monday night’s debate.  I really don’t care who ‘won’ the debate but what I do care about is really understanding the two contenders and the discernible differences on topics of foreign affairs, healthcare, the economy and the racial tension that still exists in our country.  I know…..the next debate is theoretically formatted to cover foreign affairs but does anyone, based on the 90 minutes of mud-slinging we witnessed on Monday night, feel that the two candidates will thoroughly outline their platform with the issues and topics we care about?  There is enough reality TV on the air already without our presidential candidates joining that fray.  What a farce and embarrassment.
  • My take on the Falcons running duo of Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman may be a bit premature but I was raised watching NFL football and the impact the running game. On Monday night I recorded the presidential debate and watched the Falcons v Saints game (way more entertaining).  The Freeman and Coleman show was great to watch as they combined for 296 running yards, caught eight passes for over 100 yards, and scored four TD’s.   Yes, it was one game and it was the New Orleans defense but these two young running backs could be very special NFL players. The Falcons v Carolina game today should be very interesting so lets see if the Freeman/Coleman show continues.
  • Many Americans are dealing with the issues of racial unjust, and many of us don’t understand what is going on with our country, our government and the division between races.  If you think we have problems, look at what is going on in Colombia: the Colombian government somehow convinced the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia (FARC) to negotiate a treaty.  So many Colombian’s have mixed emotions about this deal as hundreds of thousands of people were killed or displaced because of FARC and the 50-year battle they had with the government.  Part of this deal is to give FARC complete immunity from prosecution – a decision that does not sit well with many Colombians for obvious reasons.   On June 23, 2016 a ceasefire accord was signed between the FARC and the Colombian Government. Under the accord, the Colombian government will support massive investment for rural development and facilitate the FARC’s reincarnation as a legal political party. In return FARC promised to help eradicate illegal drug crops, remove landmines in the areas of conflict, and offer reparations to victims. FARC leaders can avoid prosecution by acts of reparation to victims.  I hope this is the end to what seemed like a never-ending civil war.
  • In a previous post I have complimented Arthur Blank and Darren Eales of Atlanta United on the first class organization and Club they are building in support of their 2017 inaugural season.  This week they again stepped up to the plate by announcing Gerardo Martino as their manager.  Many are surprised that a manager with the credentials of Martino would take a Major League Soccer job – so am I but this is another sign that our domestic league is becoming more prominent in the world’s view of international soccer.  Martino, known worldwide as “Tata”, should bring a very aggressive and interesting approach to both player acquisition and team management to United.  Great stuff Mr. Eales.
  • Update on the Brangelina divorce: thanks to both of you for staying out of the media this past week.  We don’t care so take care of your six kids and just go away.

Adios.  Happy Sunday Funday.

Matt Proving Me Wrong. Bank Fraud. Don’t Cry for Me Argentina. Drones Airlift. Hollywood.

Imagine that: Pass Protection.  Wells Fargo Fraud. Can Argentina Prosper?  Drones Doing a Great Service. Brangelina: just stop.

  • Not always but sometimes my assessment and take on things is incorrect.  When I am wrong I am all good with letting everyone know.  So in an earlier post I was very wrong about Matt Ryan and his ability to get off to a great start this season. I like stats (or as the biz peeps say ‘metrics’) and Ryan’s numbers are outstanding: a passer rating of 121.4, which is tops in the league.  Ryan’s 730 yards passing is second in the league behind Cincinnati’s Andy Dalton’s. Ryan’s 72.6 completion percentage is second to New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning.  Crazy what a much better offensive line and quality receivers can do for your passer rating.  The red zone issues the Falcons faced last year are hopefully gone so I would imagine Dan Quinn is very focused on his defense and why they have given up so many points so early in the season.  Drew Brees might be licking his lips in anticipation of Monday night’s game in New Orleans.
  • 1.5 million fraudulent accounts opened up and 565,000 credit cards applied for under false pretenses.  Yes, this is bank fraud at a very high level and the bank:  Wells Fargo.  You would think after the 2008 mortgage debacle the senate and congressional oversight committees would have helped prevent the ability for 5,300 Wells Fargo employees to open up new customer accounts without the knowledge and approval of those customers.  The Wells Fargo CEO offered up an apology and will not resign….and probably will not be charged with a criminal offense.  On top of that, he will soon walk away from his tenure with Wells Fargo and receive compensation north of $100m.  I realize that the SarbanesOxley Act of 2002 may not be applicable to a bank CEO but there has to be a law on the books governing ramifications with a bank CEO guilty of fraud? Smells really bad.
  • Count General Electric Company as the latest multi-national to agree to invest billions into Argentina. Although investors are probably more accustomed to hearing major energy companies agreeing to invest billions to unlock Argentina’s shale potential, General Electric will invest $10 billion into the South American country over the next decade. Specifically, GE will spend billions to construct several power plants that will add approximately 1 gigawatt of capacity to Argentina’s grid. Under new leadership, multi-national companies are finding the country increasingly hospitable for investment. That means good things for both GE and Argentina, as it means there will be more demand for GE’s energy.  After a summer of hearing about Brazil’s economic woes it is refreshing to learn that based on leadership change Argentina seems to be turning around.  I have never been there but planning to go this winter.
  • Drones. We hear of the overuse of drones and how crowded skies could cause real problems in the near future.  What we never hear is all the good things that drones can do to help with emergency situations and people in dire need.  UPS recently tested a drone delivery from coastal Massachusetts to an island three miles off the Atlantic coast.  The test delivered an asthma inhaler to Children’s Island, which can’t be reached by automobile.  Drones also have contributed with humanitarian efforts to deliver vaccines and blood to Rwanda and other remote or war-torn areas.  The FAA is hopefully opening the door to limited use of drones, especially for these types of deliveries.  Kudos to UPS for stepping up to work with the FAA to make this happen.
  • To Brad and Angelina: whatever issues you have keep the children above the fray.  Six children that both of you are accountable to so no matter your problems please stay away from the media, solve your differences and move on.  Amazing that a Hollywood divorce can take precedent in this past week’s news.  Other than the welfare of their children, do we really care or find it remarkable that the Brangelina thing is over?  Nope.

Adios and Happy Sunday Funday!