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

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

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

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

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

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

She Will Be Missed.

Short Takes For Mid-August

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The one and only Carlos Santana.

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

A Viewpoint.

Things I’m Thinking About At The End Of July.

  • The state of Georgia made a big play for Rivian, an electric vehicle manufacturer that has started off with a pickup truck to take on Ford and GM. From what I have read from Rivian buyers, Georgia’s tax benefits to Rivian may have been a big waste of money.
  • While Atlanta United continues to try to find their way back to prominence, Orlando City finds itself, after very tough tournament opponents, in the U.S. Open Cup final. The September 7 match at Orlando’s Exploria Stadium is almost sold out.
  • Will Smith. Your apology ON YOUR INSTAGRAM FEED was predictable and weak, and almost five months after your uncalled-for incident at the Academy Awards. You might want to find a crisis communication executive to set you straight with the proper way to discard your pompous attitude. I actually have someone in mind for you.
  • There is no political or religious viewpoint with this question: Is it strange that a Saudi-funded golf tournament is taking place fifty miles from New York City?
  • I am still awaiting my plea for someone to enlighten me with the relationship between layoffs in the tech sector, the downshift in the crazy real estate market, and the major indexes moving sharply higher over the last three days? Anyone? Bueller?
Can someone please chime in?
  • Many people, including some close friends, are rolling their eyes when Monkeypox is mentioned. Their reaction to Monkeypox is no doubt aligned with their Covid-19 apathy, but Monkeypox is not Covid-19, in some good and bad ways. I know I have stated this previously, but if the W.H.O. and C.D.C. are having trouble identifying and dealing with Covid-19 and its variants, god forbid other viruses, which may include Ebola and Marburg, ever hit the shores of North America. Before you roll your eyes again, two Marburg virus cases have prompted Ghana to prepare for a potential outbreak of the disease.
  • Is anyone else ready for football? We are one month away from the college season as their first games are August 27. The following weekend, the big game is Oregon at Georgia in the Chik-Fil-A kickoff classic. The other football (the predominant one) kicked off yesterday with the FA Community Shield, with next Friday being the start to the Premier League.
  • Regarding football, this is a first-watch video from some young guys who have obviously never experienced an international football (soccer) match in-person. This video speaks volumes…you decide on what atmosphere is more impactful.
Have you ever been to Anfield to watch Liverpool or Signal Iduna Park to watch Dortmund?

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

Electric Vehicles – Viewpoint v2. Short Takes. Santa’s World Cup.

A Response On EVs. Things I Think. Fox Does It Right With Their World Cup Promo Spot.

  • Last week I addressed the issues surrounding electric vehicles, specifically all things involving the recharging of an EV. Many thanks to T. A., an executive with a major power provider in Texas, who provided her insights and comments.

All of these are great points and many things not being discussed but rather the focus is on the cars themselves not on what it will take to support them. You’ve highlighted most of the issues at hand. As a power provider in TX my company is actively engaged in the discussion. The most recent discussion I was involved in was regarding federal fund allocation for a EV charging corridor. In TX we think about Buc-ee’s and Love’s having the space and right locations to support the charging stations. And if you haven’t been to a Buc-ee’s, you can definitely spend 30 minutes there!

This part is my opinion – current administration needs to consider the points you and JP are making. The idea we can have 100% renewable generation AND electric vehicles isn’t feasible. When wind doesn’t blow and sun doesn’t shine, we need traditional power source and yes to charge our homes and vehicles. One other thing I think about is where do all the dead batteries go? In the short term, it seems like we are doing great things for our environment by harnessing the wind and sun and moving us from gas powered vehicles, but batteries die (just like our phone batteries), and maybe parts get recycled but they also get buried and then what?

I could go on and on here, but end with a couple of positive notes. Power providers are engaged in the discussion. Elon is engaged in the energy discussion and it would help if other EV manufacturers would engage too. They may be and I just don’t know it. Its not just as simple as making an EV and making it affordable for more people. There are many downstream impacts for which EV manufacturers, energy companies and our administration are all responsible.

Ten Takes For July 24th.

  • I do not take any space launch for granted. As my condo building sits fifty-four miles directly east of the famous launch pad named LC-39, I make it a point to watch all rocket launches from the Kennedy Space Center. This morning’s Starlink mission was SpaceX’s thirty-third Falcon 9 launch THIS YEAR. Even five years ago, who would have imagined that the privatization of space exploration would scale so quickly?
  • Speaking of space, here is the headline of the week: Another Chinese Rocket Could Be Headed for a Dangerous Uncontrolled Reentry. Thanks for the heads up, China.
  • As of last week, the U.S. has supported Ukraine with $8.2 Billion since the start of Russia’s insurgency back in February. A staggering amount of money considering Russia’s continued and advancing occupancy of this sovereign nation’s territory.
Russia’s troops continue to advance in Ukraine.
  • JLo is back in the news, again. This time it is Ben Affleck. Speaking of Hollywood stars, here is a fantastic photo of Brad Pitt promoting his new film, Bullet Train. On the upside, I am looking forward to seeing Heat 2, from filmmaker Michael Mann.
Really, Brad?
  • We are five weeks away from the college football season. Let’s go!
  • One of the continued challenges of the tech sector is attracting and retaining their workforce. Take San Francisco for example: a third of their workforce is now remote, including massive Bag Area employers Google and Salesforce. The office vacancy rate in San Francisco is a still in the mid-20’s and most real estate executives feel that number may climb. Combine these statistics with the ongoing exodus of California companies to Texas and there is no doubt that the Bay Area will look much different in the next five years. This trend is not new as many corporations have moved their headquarters out of California since the beginning of 2018. Texas seems to be the ‘flavor of the month’ for most California companies to relocate to with over three hundred moving to the Lone Star state.
  • Staying with the tech sector, I read that the social media app, Snap, is tanking quickly. Can anyone, in a few words, tell me why anyone uses Snap?
  • As discussed over the last two posts, the automobile world is changing quickly. Last week, Cadillac announced their high-end entry in the electric vehicle segment. They named it CELESTIQ and is sells for $300,000. The promo video is very sexy, and they have a reservations list if interested. 🙂
Thanks Cadillac, but at $300,000, I will take an Aston-Martin or Bentley.
  • I stay completely away from politics but Vladimir Putin’s visit to Iran last week cannot be good on any level. Was his visit to rebuff the United States?
  • Here is an example about competing for the entertainment dollar: last night in downtown Orlando, two soccer games scheduled on the same night at nearly the same time. Orlando City played conference-leading Philadelphia at Exploria Stadium and Camping World Stadium hosted a friendly between two massive Premier League clubs, Chelsea and Arsenal. The Chelsea-Arsenal match drew close to 70,000. Any guess on the attendance for the Orlando City match? Very unfortunate scheduling to say the least.

  • Since the very first tournament in 1930, the World Cup has traditionally been played in the summer, regardless of where it has been held. However, the decision to host the 2022 competition in the winter months of the northern hemisphere formed a key part of Qatar’s bid. Despite long-standing opposition to departing from tradition, feasibility studies regarding the hot climate in Qatar, conducted by football’s governing body (FIFA), concluded that the tournament could not be played in June and July as normal. As a result, it was decided that this year’s World Cup would instead be held in the winter between November and December.

Fox holds the U.S. broadcasting rights to the tournament and has already started their promotional campaign with this very creative spot. The first of three promos stars Jon Hamm as Santa Claus, and it does not get any better than this.

Well done Fox Sports.

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

Questions Regarding Electric Vehicles. Stay Focused. Short Takes.

Are We Being Misled By EV Auto Manufactures? As If We Are Not Already Distracted. Eales. Extinction. Overspend.

  • In a previous post I wrote about the fast and furious approach major automobile manufacturers are taking with their electric vehicle strategies. I want to thank JP for inspiring me to once again take a look at electric vehicles. Here is an update:
  • Ford has split into two divisions: Model e, which is responsible for electric vehicles, and Ford Blue, which will maintain focus on producing their legacy internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles.
  • Ford will spend $2.3 billion at their Ohio, Michigan, and Missouri manufacturing plants to support the production of electric vehicles (EV).
  • Ford has previously invested $11.4 billion in EV production and batteries.
  • GM has announced that they will spend $35 billion on electric vehicle manufacturing by 2025.
  • GM has forecasted that their electric vehicle sales will reach 400,000 by the end of 2023.
  • Elon Musk has announced that Tesla will sell 1.4 million electric vehicles by year-end 2022.

On the surface, I believe the days of internal combustion engine-powered automobiles are numbered, especially as battery manufactures figure out how lithium-ion batteries and nano-batteries can provide over 600 miles of driving with each charge.

After a bit of digging around, there are some questions and concerns regarding EV’s entering the mainstream so quickly. One of them, of course, is the distance you can drive on one charge. There are other concerns, a few I need some help with – and one of our readers spends her time as a leader with a major utility company in Texas. I ask for TA‘s comments on some bullet points below.

  • Many utility companies have had little to say about alarming cost projections to operate EVs and possible increased rates they will charge their customers. TA, has your company commented on EVs and their impact on the power grid, etc.?
  • Above and beyond the total electricity required, there will be an increase in transmission lines to handle the expected increase in power needed to recharge the millions of EVs, both at home and at gas/charging stations. A home charging system for a Tesla requires a 75-amp service. The average house is equipped with 100-amp service. On most suburban streets the electrical infrastructure would be unable to carry more than three houses with a single Tesla. For half the homes on your block to have electric vehicles, the system would be wildly overloaded. TA, is this correct?
  • Time and expense: Drivers today are accustomed to filling their gas tank in less than five minutes. EVs, depending on the size and specifications of the battery, typically take at least 30 minutes to get 80 percent charged at the fastest charging stations.
  • Charging speed limits: A 350-kilowatt fast charging station—the most powerful public charger available in the U.S. today—might be able to charge an Audi E-Tron SUV’s 95 kilowatt-hour battery in about 16 minutes. But the battery itself can only accept about 150 kilowatts of power at most, placing its actual charging speed limit closer to 40 minutes.
  • Though this analysis may be a bit over the top, it does make you wonder about the future of gas stations, convenience stores, and even fast-food chains who may offer up EV charging stations: “In order to match the 2,000 cars that a typical filling station can service in a busy 12 hours, an EV charging station would require 600, 50-watt chargers at an estimated cost of $24 million and a supply of 30 megawatts of power from the grid. That is enough to power 20,000 homes. No one likely thinks about the fact that it can take 30 minutes to 8 hours to recharge a vehicle between empty or just topping off. What are the drivers doing during that time?” TA, can you shed some light on this? More importantly, what are drivers and their FAMILIES going to do while their EV is charging? I see a big opportunity for fast-food chains, with both their food and playgrounds.
  • Land/real estate requirements: If you have cars coming into a gas station, they would stay for an average of five minutes. If you have EV cars coming into an electric charging station, they would be there for at least 30 minutes, possibly an hour, but let’s say its 30 minutes. So that’s six times the surface area to park the cars while they’re being charged. So, multiply every gas station in a city by six. Where are you going to find the place to put them?”
  • The used EV market. Here is an interesting scenario that no one is talking about: The average used EV will need a new battery before an owner can sell it, pricing them well above used internal combustion cars. The average age of an American car on the road is 12 years. A 12-year-old EV will be on its second or third battery. A Tesla battery typically costs $8,000- $10,000. Good luck trying to sell your used electric car.

Again, I believe that EVs will become the mainstream automobile in the very near future. What I would like to read are a few substantiated facts about EV manufacturers, charging station builders, transmission line contractors, battery producers, and the general strategy and plan to support the onslaught of EVs on our roads. To TA and all my readers: What is your take?

  • Speaking of automobiles, Hyundai is the massive South Korean conglomerate with American auto brands Hyundai, Kia, Genesis, and their new electric vehicle brand, Ioniq. Ioniq has introduced Hyundai Motor Company’s new entry into the EV market with many ‘outstanding features’, including the fold-out workspace. Seriously?
“I think I will generate some pivot tables while I drive to the office…..”

A few short takes for the middle of July:

  • “Doing” a startup in any type of business can be very difficult, especially in the professional sports space, and especially with the sport being soccer. Arthur Blank’s vision and Jim Smith’s planning and implementation of Atlanta’s Major League Soccer franchise is well-documented. Darren Eales was hired to execute the plan, and his efforts have paid off for Atlanta United on and off the field. Eales did many things really well, with Atlanta winning trophies and leading the league in attendance since its inception in the 2017 season. Last week, Eales announced he is leaving Atlanta to join the Premier League’s Newcastle United, a club with a historic past and new ownership with unlimited resources. I really like Darren Eales, and his departure for Newcastle is a fantastic step for his career. To Darren Eales: a job very well done. You helped put Atlanta on the world’s map as a soccer town – all the best for continued success at Newcastle!
  • Dr. Hans Sues is a paleontologist who is Senior Scientist and Curator of Vertebrate Paleontology at the National Museum of Natural History of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC. Some of his comments in this video are obvious, and with that said some of his comments seem unfortunately true:
Is there any substance to this paleontologist’s comments?
  • Here is more evidence that the privatization of space is warranted: Since 2007 NASA has spent an estimated $420 million on new spacesuit designs without actually fielding any. Finally, after all those unsuccessful attempts, last month NASA announced it has opted to outsource the work and has selected two companies to design the next generation of spacesuits. Let me get this straight – taxpayer dollars in the amount of $420 million on the design of new spacesuits? So much for oversight committees and whistleblowers.
  • The lighter side of things: I have often written about my disdain for anyone who taunts and teases wild animals. Specifically, it makes me angry. If these two bicyclists bothered this ostrich in any manner, I for one am cheering for the animal in this race. By the way, an ostrich has a top speed of 43 miles per hour.
This ostrich maintained its speed during this eighty second video.

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

Hunger. My View.

On The Brink Of Starvation. A Few Short Takes.

  • Today marks day one hundred thirty seven of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, with no end in sight. Ukrainians displaced, their infrastructure wavering, and many killed and injured. Early on, no one could predict the ramifications of this war spreading to countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean. This war and its effect on world hunger is supported by a U.N. World Food Program analysis showing that “345 million acutely hungry people are marching to the brink of starvation” which is a 25% increase from the start of 2022 before Russia invaded Ukraine. The reality of the war’s impact on hunger stems from the fact that Russia and Ukraine together accounted for almost a third of the world’s wheat and barley exports. From a food-growing standpoint, Russia and Belarus are the world’s number 2 and number 3 producers of potash, a key ingredient of fertilizer.

The cause and effect of this pending famine are many, but as a baseline the issues include Ukraine not being able to export wheat and other commodities, as well as Russia’s inability to ship grain and fertilizer to world markets. This disruption to supply chains are driving up food prices, and dovetailed with climate events, the lack of expansion in food production, the protection of farms and livestock, and cash for cereal and vegetable production, has led to an alarming rise in the level of hunger in many places around the world.

A Telling Tale of World Hunger. (as of March 2022).

The grim reality: predictions by more than one international agency state that many countries around the world are at famine levels, with a high level of destabilization, starvation, and mass migration on an unprecedented scale. Coming out of the pandemic and all the supply chain issues, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is devastating for many people around the world. How do we help? Contribute to a reputable world food agency. Here is one:http://www.wfpusa.org

Dateline July 10, 2022 — A Few Short Takes:

  • No matter your stance on gun acquisition and possession, you have to think there is a way to stem the mass killings, including the horror of July 4th in Highland Park, twenty-five miles north of Chicago. Yes, you do.
  • We lost two great actors last week. Everyone remembers James Caan in The Godfather (plus many more movies) and Tony Sirico (Paulie Walnuts) in The Sopranos. RIP.
  • Last week’s Wimbledon quarterfinal between American Taylor Fritz and the one and only Rafael Nadal was incredible. I recorded the match and really did not think it would go five sets and over 4 hours. That ended up being a late night but well worth the watch.
  • I watched Top Gun: Maverick on the big screen last week. I thought the movie was done well, especially how the director tied in the new version with the original, 1986 version. For whatever the reason, if you have never seen the original Top Gun, make sure you watch that one first before you take in the latest version.
  • Regarding another type of aircraft, NASA’s Artemis missions will be highlighted by the newly designed Orion, the newest spacecraft built to take humans back to the moon, and eventually to Mars. The redesigned crew module, or capsule, provides living space for four astronauts for up to twenty-one days without docking to another spacecraft. The Orion includes a launch abort system (LAS), designed to protect the astronauts if a problem arises during launch. The amount of detail and engineering with the LAS is mind-boggling and hopefully will never need to be used.
A View of the Components of the Orion Spacecraft.
  • It seems that the World Health Organization is getting pressure to change the name of the Monkeypox virus. Bill Maher, a very smart and most of the time funny television host and comedian, asked the other night: “What monkey asked for the name to be changed?” Enough woke. Can’t we just get along?
  • The UK Prime Minister resigning and the former Prime Minister of Japan assassinated in the same week. It is time for something really good to happen in the world. Any great news would be welcomed.
  • Your digital footprint includes voice mails, conversations, videos and any other data and images stored on your phone, the Cloud, and your personal computers and tablet-type devices. Including myself, many people have sold or given away their old laptops – and to the best of our knowledge have deleted their files and emptied the recycle bin to ensure the data is gone. That is NOT the case as you must securely erase the hard drive. I strongly suggest that before you discard a laptop or personal computer, you Google how to fully wipe the hard drive.
  • Recession talk is top of mind but in the meantime the U.S. economy added 372,000 jobs in June. That kept the unemployment rate at a very low 3.6%. Would anyone like to shed some light on the recession fears and discuss how we can fix the very strange housing market?
  • As the word recession is thrown about, business and casual travel has increased dramatically over the last few months. Airlines and hotels have increased their fares and room night costs, trying to capitalize on the pent-up demand created by the pandemic. Case in point, here is an example of hotel room night rates this weekend in the St. Augustine, Florida area.
$355.00 per night at the Renaissance in downtown St. Augustine, Florida.
  • Speaking of looking for good news, the people of Lebanon, for years dealing with economic despair and political unrest, have reasons to be very proud. While this was just one act on America’s Got Talent, you would have to think that this performance has put a smile on the face of all Lebanese. In a word, amazing!
The Mayyas from Lebanon…fantastic!

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

Short Takes. The Fourth Of July.

A Mid-Year List of Top of Mind Things I Think. Celebrating 246.

At the mid-year mark of 2022, here are a few takes to ponder:

  • There are jokes and humor surrounding monkeypox, but in reality it is no laughing matter. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has ordered 2.5 million doses of a vaccine to combat monkeypox. The Danish drugmaker, Bavarian Nordic A/S, is the only company with an approved vaccine for monkeypox. Do they and the HHS know something we do not?
  • I found myself in a good, old-fashioned, greatest of all time (GOAT) argument the other night. To the delight of many readers, this battle was not about soccer, but about baseball. The conversation came up due to the ridiculous amount of money Major League Baseball players, specifically pitchers, are pulling down in base salary and incentives. Many pitchers were offered up as the “GOAT”, and I let the banter continue on before I offered up Greg Maddux. I had the opportunity to witness Maddux’s pitching when he was with the Atlanta Braves between 1993-2003. Not to bore anyone, but these are the numbers on Maddux: He is the only pitcher in MLB history to win at least 15 games for 17 straight seasons. In addition, he holds the record for most Gold Gloves with 18, and most putouts by a pitcher with 546, including a tied live-ball-era record of 39 putouts in a season (1990, 1991, 1993). A superb control pitcher, Maddux won more games during the 1990s than any other pitcher and is 8th on the all-time career wins list with 355. Since the start of the post-1920 live-ball era, only Warren Spahn (363) recorded more career wins than Maddux. Maddux also has the most wins among pitchers who made their debuts after World War II. He is one of only ten pitchers ever to achieve both 300 wins and 3,000 strikeouts, and is the only pitcher to record more than 300 wins, more than 3,000 strikeouts and fewer than 1,000 walks (exactly 999 walks overall). Sure, I enjoyed watching Bob Gibson, Tom Seaver, Randy Johnson, Nolan Ryan, and Tom Glavine, but Greg Maddux often made the greatest hitters look foolish at the plate.
Greg Maddux Throwing His Split-Finger Fastball.
  • After U.S. stocks delivered the worst first-half drop in over fifty years, does anyone have thoughts to how the markets will perform in the second half of 2022?
  • Timing is everything. Of all times, NATO has changed out their Commander. Christopher G. Cavoli, a U.S. Army General, served in Bosnia and in combat with the 10th Mountain Division in Afghanistan. He commanded the seventh Army Training Group in Europe and was deputy commander of the 82nd Airborne Division and later the 25th Infantry Division. Nick A.: can you shed some light on how the General’s background fits with commanding NATO and it’s 300,000 troops?
  • Late last year, and with respect to his health, I predicted President Biden would not see out his presidency due to health concerns. He has proven me wrong mid-way through the year though the dismount of a bicycle may be the Secret Service’s next training exercise.
  • Headline of the week: “Singapore Craft Beer Uses Recycled Sewage to Highlight Water Scarcity.” I have no words.
  • Headline #2 of the week: “Where Will NASA Put The Artemis Base Camp on the Moon? Say what?
  • I am very open-minded to change as I have enjoyed many changes throughout my life tenure. With that said, USC and UCLA joining the Big Ten? I have not slept since this was announced. 🙂
  • Serious issues in Afghanistan, Ukraine, South Sudan, Central Republic of the Congo, Venezuela, Yemen, Ethiopia, and Libya, and there are many more socio-economic issues around the world. Talk with people familiar with the dire straits of Lebanon, once the Paris of the Middle East. As much as some of us bitch and gripe about the United States, and there is much to gripe about, Neil Young’s Rockin’ in The Free World gives us a bit of his unique perspective.
Rockin’ in The Free World by Neil Young.

  • A very happy 4th of July weekend to you and yours. I hope that no one takes our Independence with a grain of salt, especially in light of some of the chaos, terrorism, and war happening at home and abroad. I was surprised that Independence Day was only declared a federal holiday in 1941, considering the United States is celebrating our 246th birthday. On July 2, 1776, the Continental Congress voted in favor of independence and two days later, on July 4, delegates from the thirteen colonies adopted the Declaration of Independence, drafted by the one and only Thomas Jefferson. If you have a flag, please fly it.  If you do not have one, The Home Depot, Lowe’s, and Ace Hardware have flag kits for under $15.00. Buy a flag and fly it proudly. To our Canadian friends: you celebrated Canada Day this past week….and my experience with Canadians tells me most of you are still celebrating many days later!
Celebrate the 4th of July!

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

Journalistic Apathy. Go Orangutan. AI. Cocktails. Father’s Day.

Let’s Not Forget About Ukraine. Go Ahead And Taunt. The Robot Is Sentient. Literally Hanging Out. A Salute To Dad.

  • Ukraine’s war with Russia is heading towards its fifth month (today is day 116) amid increasing local concern that dwindling media attention could lead to a gradual loss of western support just as Moscow is making slow but steady gains on the frontline. “Dwindling media attention” is exactly what I was afraid of when I wrote this take on May 21, 2022: “Today is day eighty-eight. As international news outlets continue their coverage of the war, there now seems to be general apathy surrounding the despair and destruction suffered by the country of Ukraine and its people. No longer a lead story for most news outlets, we now get to frown upon the bear market and the ‘sudden’ resurrection of Covid-19 and its variants. I find this alarming, and though the United States has approved another $40 billion for Ukraine, the Vladimir Putin-led Russian forces continue their relentless attack and destruction of a sovereign nation.

Ukraine’s government officials feel that international media coverage has dropped markedly in the past two months, and “as that number goes down further, there’s a very high risk of the support from the west going down.” There is a possibility that media coverage will pick up again as many countries, including Italy and Germany, are feeling the effect of Russia curbing the flow of natural gas to their countries. The destruction of Ukraine continues as the Russian military recently shelled the eastern city of Lysychansk, killing several and taking out a key highway that leads into and out of this city. How long can Ukraine hold off the Russians?

  • I wished no harm to this man. With that said, based on what I read about this moron, when I first watched the video below, I was actually cheering for the orangutan. It seems that the man jumped a fence at an Indonesian zoo and for some reason began to taunt this Sumatran orangutan. Maybe the moron was under the influence of alcohol or narcotics, and completely forgot these eye-opening facts about orangutans?
  • Extremely strong, they can lift 500 pounds effortlessly.
  • Although not as strong as a gorilla, an orangutan is about seven times stronger than a human.
  • Orangutans also have a strong bite force – around 575 PSI – almost four times the bite force of a human and only slightly lower than that of a lion.
  • Its arms span about 7 feet.

First of all, this idiot is lucky to be alive. Secondly, I hope this video sends a message to dysfunctional people who feel it is necessary to jump over barriers to taunt wild animals. Last, but not the least, I cannot imagine spending time in jail, let alone one in Indonesia.

You can’t fix stupid.

  • Like many, this take is a bit of a reach for me. I am not capable of digging in too far into artificial intelligence (AI), but curiosity heightens when I read this statement from a former Google engineer: “…an AI robot he created has come to life and has thoughts and feelings like an eight-year-old.” The Google engineer, Blake Lemoine, has stated that this AI robot he created was sentient. Yes, sentient, the ability to perceive or feel things. He developed this advanced AI system that uses information about a particular subject to enrich the conversation in a ‘natural’ way. We were alarmed when genius physicist Stephen Hawking once revealed fears that thinking machines could one day take over the world. We all rolled our eyes at Hawking’s statement, mostly because we had no clue what he was talking about. Was Steven Hawking way ahead of the game when it comes to artificial intelligence? In a word, yes.

  • It took many years to design and engineer and three years to build, but a new 788-foot bridge, that spans the Dashbashi Canyon, has finally opened. The glass structure is suspended almost 1,000 feet in the air and features a diamond-shaped multi-level café to enjoy a bite to eat and your favorite cocktail. For further enjoyment, the bridge includes a zip line, allowing you to bike across the canyon. The next time you are in Georgia, in Eastern Europe, make sure to visit this amazing restaurant and attraction!
Amazing and fun!

  • Here is the quote of the week, this one from Adam Grant, an organizational psychologist at The Wharton School, and an author including the book Think Again: Holding strong opinions in the face of weak evidence is a sign that you’re not thinking critically. Conviction should follow the facts, not precede them. What you want to believe shouldn’t dictate what you believe. A key to lifelong learning is valuing curiosity over closure.

  • To all: A very happy Father’s Day! Here is an Ed Sheeran parody to get your special day started:

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

Customer – No Service. Say What? Random Thoughts. Nothing Else Matters.

You Just Shake Your Head. You Just Shake Your Head v.2. She Is Not James Hetfield.

I try not to judge. Seriously, my life tenure and experiences have finally taught me, to the best of my ability, to not respond to ignorance or just plain stupidity. Before you read the email below, allow me to provide a bit of background:

  • I live in Orlando and my daughter, son-in-law, and granddaughter live in Beacon, New York, about fifty miles north of New York City. Beacon is a very nice small town that sits next to the Hudson River.
  • Fortunately, there is an airport ten minutes from their home in Beacon and Frontier Airlines (no parachute required), services that airport (Stewart International) with direct flights from Orlando. This allows me to avoid the NYC area airports.
  • For the most part, I use my American Express card to book flights.
  • On a flight back from a visit to Beacon back in JANUARY, I did something for the first time for all the right reasons. The flight attendants passed out an application for a Barclays/Frontier Mastercard. Figuring that I will use Frontier to take advantage of the direct flights from Orlando to the Beacon, NY area, I decided to apply on the flight and then handed the application back to the flight attendant. Did I feel uncomfortable with this? For the record, yes.
  • After not hearing back from Frontier or Barclays for sixty days, I made the effort to contact both, via their customer service portals, but never heard back.
  • Last week, more than five months after my inflight application and after calls and emails, I received this email response. This is one for the archives:

Below is a summary of your request and our response.
Topic: Frontier Airlines: Filled out a Frontier Barclays credit card app – and no response
Reference #: 220524-000628
Discussion Thread
Response By Email (Vonjone) (06/08/2022 02:28 PM)
Hello Gary, Thank you for contacting Barclays regarding the credit card application you submitted on January 30, 2022 when traveling from SWF to MCO. We are sorry to hear about the troubles you’ve experienced with applying for the credit card and your missing application that you submitted on your flight. I am sorry to inform you that we do not handle the credit cards. Barclays solely deals with and handles everything with the credit cards.

Thank you for your patience. Regards, Vonjone
Customer Relations Specialist

  • Speaking of ignorance, I happened to catch this bit from Bill Maher. Maher is witty and tells it like it is, but because his guests and his run of show discuss politics, I stay away from watching his show. Back in the day, Jay Leno’s show often had a segment where he interviewed random people on the street, asking them a basic question. More often than not, the person Leno asked the question to answered incorrectly.

The video below is ten minutes, but you only need to watch the first two minutes to capture the essence of Maher’s rant about education in the United States. Amazing, yes. Funny, yes. Sad, yes.

You can’t fix stupid.

A few top-of-mind things I think:

Inflation the highest ever. Consumer prices at their forty-year high. $100 to fuel my car the other day. The stock market in shambles. Now U.S. economists predict we will fall into recessionary times. Does anyone want to help me with understanding all of this?

Are NASA scientists jumping in to help the U.S. Air Force and Homeland Security with UFOs as part of a publicity play, or is there something going on that I am not aware of?

Kudos to Matthew McConaughey for his emotional rant to Congress regarding gun control. I have no take on the subject other than it seems strange that someone has to wait until they are twenty-one to have a beer, but at 18 they can purchase an AR-15.

There is no doubt that some of us need institutional help, and to reinforce that here is the headline of the week: “My ex broke my heart — so I sliced off my arm tattoo and mailed it to him.” Can someone enlighten me? What is going on with today’s world?

Nothing Else Matters, a song by Metallica, really does tell it all. Nothing else matters other than the health of you, your family, your loved ones, and your friends. We can get past the socio-politico-economic weirdness, but we need to all have our health. This guitarist covers Metallica’s song – and it is really well done. Nothing else matters.

A cover of Metallica’s Nothing Else Matters.

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

The Wrong Decision. Random Takes. Best Video.

Does Responsibility = Accountability? Things I Think. She Outdoes Axel Rose.

  • The Sarbanes-Oxley Act and the indecision of Uvalde school district police chief Pete Arredondo, on the surface, have nothing to do with each other. Or do they?

In the aftermath of WorldCom, Enron, and other corporate accounting scandals, Congress passed the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, a corporate governance law which, among other things, holds top executives personally liable for the accuracy of a company’s financial statements. Sarbanes-Oxley covers a range of elements, such as maintaining auditor independence, conflicts of interest, financial disclosures, responsibilities of a corporation’s board, and penalties for white-collar crime. The law also mandates that companies provide a means for employees to anonymously report questionable accounting or other dubious acts.

Before I tie together Sarbanes-Oxley and Pete Arredondo, the Uvalde school district police chief, I want to be clear that I have respect for all first responders, including the police, fire/rescue, and anyone who has a job that requires first response to an incident. These corporate executives who led WorldCom, Enron, and other corporate scandals were responsible for the financial statements and governance of their entities. After allegations were made and the subsequent investigations, executives of these companies were accused of crimes as their lack of action, leadership and approval of fraudulent accounting statements resulted in many investors losing millions of dollars. Above and beyond their companies paying millions in fines, many of these executives, under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, were convicted of white-collar crimes and sent to prison.

Uvalde school district police chief Pete Arredondo did not turn a blind eye to financial statements or financial disclosures, but he did, as the leader of the school district’s police force, not follow, what many authorities have documented, the correct protocol to stop a gunman inside Robb Elementary School. Arredondo’s wrong decision led to the gunman killing nineteen students and 2 teachers. Sure, the decision made by Arredondo to not breach the elementary school was made under the duress of the real-time incident, but should he have taken the advice of The U.S. Border Patrol tactical agents, who pressed Arredondo to go into the school? Should the phone call made by students pleading for the police to help not have been enough of a warning to Arredondo? As the school district police chief, Arredondo has the responsibility to enforce the district’s laws and protect the students, faculty, and staff. Does his decision not to breach the school also make him accountable, similar to the executives who run publicly-held companies? One note of interest: There is published guidance that became standard police practice after the 1999 Columbine High School massacre, which states that the first officers on the scene should do whatever they can, and as fast as they can, to stop an attack, without waiting for backup. That guidance became standard protocol twenty-three years ago.

I realize that tying together the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and the accountability of a police chief is a bit of a stretch, but probably not in the minds of the families whose loved ones were killed by a lone gunman, who spent over an hour inside the elementary school before the U.S. Border Patrol tactical teams ignored Arredondo’s decision and breached the school. I do not have a personal vendetta with Pete Arredondo, but does responsibility equal accountability?

  • Top of mind things I think:

I’m not a conspiracy theorist, nor do I believe in anything to do with apocalypticism. With that said, I will ask again: if the World Health Organization cannot get a handle on Covid-19 variants, what happens should Monkeypox, or more importantly Ebola, ever become prevalent worldwide?

Monkeypox. The World Health Organization better get their act together.

Congratulations to Admiral Linda L. Fagan, who has shattered the military’s glass ceiling becoming commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard and the first female officer to lead a branch of the U.S. armed forces. It is 2022, and about damn time.

The United States Postal Service (USPS) is puzzling at best. After announcing that this independent agency of the executive branch of the United States federal government would buy up to 165,000 gas-powered delivery vehicles, that at best would get eight miles to a gallon, they have announced a complete pivot. Here is a look at the new mail delivery ‘vehicle’ coming to your house very soon. Yes, I have a few questions about the mail carriers dealing with this on a daily basis.

Any questions?

I would not describe my K-12 education as stellar. I had a few good teachers, but reality tells me that many of them were teaching just for the paycheck and retirement benefits of the Miami-Dade County School system. We did have many smart students and I have often wondered how and why they were so intelligent? Speaking of smart, I read a column last week stating that fourteen-year-old Harini Logan won this year’s spelling bee. Harini is Indian-American, resuming a trend that has persisted for two decades: twenty-one of the past 23 champions have had South Asian heritage. That, according to my magical mathematical skills, is 92%. Remarkable to say the least. Yes, I am envious.

Can someone as smart as Harini Logan, and with a legal background, please explain to me how John Hinckley, who shot President Ronald Reagan in 1981, is being set free from prison? Is anyone else thinking Hinckley will invest in a flak jacket?

  • The video of the week. These young kids are jamming Guns N’ Roses’ Sweet Child of Mine when guitarist Slash surprises them and walks out on stage. With all due respect Axel Rose, this young lead singer leaves him in the dust. Well done young lady!
I would take her over Axel Rose anytime.

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