Failure Is Not an Option. Lunar Landing. Badass. Policing. Confirming Sora. Pure Talent.

“The Worst Thing You Can Do is Nothing.” Fly Me to the Moon. Angelina Jolie. Hit Him Again. Tyler Perry Has His Say. Into The Night.

Quote of the Week: “In a moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing to do, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.” —Theodore Roosevelt

  • A few posts ago, I mentioned analysis paralysis. The act of not acting by hesitating to make a decision due to overthinking. I guess Theodore Roosevelt’s quote can be problematic, as we usually do not think that ‘the next best thing is the wrong thing’ as none of us want to make a decision that does not work out.

One of my pet peeves – people who do not act on a situation, thinking that if they wait and do not make a decision or act, the situation will just go away. As most of us have experienced, waiting and doing nothing usually makes the situation worse, putting your family, friends, and associates into a situation where they cannot act due to your indecisiveness and indecision.

Most of us remember Apollo 13, and the heroism of the crew and the decision-making of mission control. They acted quickly to save the crew, and most likely went through the same decision-making process we deal with in our everyday lives.

  • Identify the issue or problem that must be acted on and solved.
  • Quickly gather relevant information to weigh your options.
  • Consider the pros and cons (the + and the -) of your options and the possible ramifications, outcomes, and results.
  • Once you have determined the best option, MAKE your decision.
  • Evaluate your decision, understand the outcome, and garner feedback from others.

Ed Harris played flight control commander Gene Kranz in the docudrama Apollo 13. In a matter of minutes, Kranz and his team identified the problem, gathered information, considered the pros and cons, and made a decision that ultimately delivered the Apollo 13 crew home alive. As Roosevelt said, “the worst thing you can do is nothing.”

“Failure is Not an Option.”

  • I have discussed, ad nauseum, how the commercialization of space has made launches from Kennedy Space Center an almost everyday occurrence. The days are long gone when a launch was so unique and amazing, we all stopped working, classrooms stopped teaching, and all of us turned on the television to watch a launch, mostly from launch complex 39 at Cape Canaveral, Florida.

Last Thursday, a spacecraft attempted the first U.S. moon landing in over fifty years. Though the descent and landing on the moon’s surface was precarious, slightly delayed, and fraught with communication issues, the first commercial vehicle did land on the moon, with NASA confirming that it may now be on its side. The payload included about $120M in NASA materials meant in part to lay the groundwork for a human visit in 2026 as part of the Artemis program. After 50 years, another outstanding achievement for the space program, another part of a much broader project to eventually send humans back to the moon’s surface for the first time since the 1970s.

Many just shrug the shoulders and ask ‘so what’ to NASA and their commercial space partners’ efforts to explore space. Many consider NASA’s 2024 budget of $27.2 billion to be a waste of money. I feel exactly the opposite as space exploration and advancing U. S. leadership in technology innovation in aviation and space will be key with enabling multiple commercial partners to build a robust space economy. The budget and NASA’s efforts allow a further build out of the Earth System Observatory, “allowing open access to actionable data and information on climate change and natural hazards for scientists, decision-makers, and the public.

The First U.S. Moon Landing in Over Fifty Years.

  • A random take for the last Sunday of February 2024.

The badass. Often adored by people around the world, the badass persona has usually been aligned with the tough and rough characters portrayed, for the most part, by men. Think about movies including John Wick, Crank, Pulp Fiction, Scarface, Django Unchained, Taken, Kill Bill, and The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. Most of these movies bring us adrenaline-pumping action, witty characters, inventive storytelling, and most importantly escape, reflection, insights, and revelations. For me, my vote goes to the first of the John Wick series, with Keanu Reeves seeking revenge after his beloved dog is killed by a group of thugs. Yes, it is incredibly violent, but it is two hours of complete unapologetic action cinema, with expertly choreographed fights and stunning cinematography. The plot? Who really cares about the plot? 🙂

Last week I needed to leave the sports-watching world and found the 2010 movie, Salt. Speaking of badass characters, Angelina Jolie was bar none in these two hours of fun. There are so many explosive scenes, a great cast, and a storyline we can all engage with as Jolie plays Evelyn Salt, who is accused of being a Russian sleeper agent and goes on the run to try to clear her name. You can talk Liam Neeson, Al Pacino, Clint Eastwood, and Keanu Reeves, but for my money, my vote goes to Angelina Jolie in the movie Salt. You only understand who Evelyn Salt really is when the great actor, Chiwetel Ejiofor, scrolls through Salt’s C.V. on his phone. A simple but eye-opening scene.

An RPG from a desk chair and a fire extinguisher.

  • The countdown, and we are so close. Two weeks to daylight savings time!

  • Police – in the United States, a most difficult and complex job. Heightened awareness, the ‘woke’ movement, and cameras everywhere do not make the job easier, especially when it comes to dealing with family disputes. I am not going to bore any of you with my take on parents and their relationship with their children. What I am going to say it that our children are a product of their environment, and that starts with their parents. Do not misunderstand what I am saying, I am not downplaying the cause and effect of children in a broken home, or even worse, without parents. What I am saying is that the police work shown in this video is a great balance of decision-making by that officer. He listened, evaluated, and took action. Police officers have a very difficult job. Maybe this scene should be made into a public service announcement.
A Great Scene from the show Southland.

  • A number of readers responded to last week’s take on the effect of OpenAI’s new text-to-video model called Sora. I tried to explain that this new AI model may cause havoc with movie and television production houses, as the technology could possibly take the place of studio production staff. Last Thursday, Atlanta filmmaker Tyler Perry had his say with the possible effect of Sora:

Tyler Perry has put the kibosh on a planned $800 million expansion at his 330-acre studio in Atlanta over fears that rapid advances in video-related artificial intelligence could reduce demand for traditional filmmaking.
Last week, OpenAI unveiled its new text-to-video model Sora with sample AI-generated videos that impressed and alarmed many observers.
“Being told that it can do all of these things is one thing, but actually seeing the capabilities, it was mind blowing,” Perry said Thursday in an extensive interview with The Hollywood Reporter. He said filmmakers may not need to do location shoots or even build out certain sets if the technology keeps improving.
Perry’s apparent pullback is notable because the prolific filmmaker not only shoots his own projects at Tyler Perry Studios at the former Fort McPherson, one of the largest filming campuses in the country, but he also reaps substantial revenue renting soundstages and backlot operations to other major studios.
Because as I was looking at it, I immediately started thinking of everyone in the industry who would be affected by this, including actors and grip and electric and transportation and sound and editors, and looking at this, I’m thinking this will touch every corner of our industry.”

Will AI and models like Sora change most aspects of creative thinking and development? You are damn straight it will.

  • I try to close my weekly post with what I call pure talent. I remember the song, Into the Night, circa 1980, but I never knew much about Benny Mardones. To all you young musicians…. this is a live performance in 1980, with 1/100th of the technical integration now used by live-performing bands. No auto-tune, no lip-sync, no ear-prompting. His band actually worked hard on the backing vocals. The song, Into the Night, is just pure talent.

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

Hip-Hop. What is Sora? Thoughts. Harry & Rugby.

Usher is Pure Talent. Text-To-Video Mid-February Already. Only 18 Weeks?

Quote of the Week: “I think it’s important for us to believe in one another’s capabilities. If I didn’t have someone to believe in me, I wouldn’t be the individual I am today. Neither would I strive for new territory or new direction or to believe in myself.” – Usher

  • Last Sunday’s Super Bowl inspired me. Yes, the second half and overtime were great to watch, but what I am referring to is the halftime show. The twenty-minute halftime featured an artist who has sold 150 million records worldwide and earned 8 Grammy Awards, making him one of the best-selling music artists of all time. He has influenced contemporary R&B, pop, and hip-hop music as well as any other artist, and along with many business ventures, he founded a non-profit charity that aims to provide young people with a new look on life through education and real-world experiences.

I am referring to Usher, who at last Sunday’s halftime showed the world his wealth of talent including his profound mastery of soul, R&B, and hip-hop. Recognized by Billboard as number six on the “Top 50 R&B/Hip-Hop Artists of the Past 25 Years,” Usher continues to exemplify what I always refer to as ‘pure talent.’

The father of hip hop was Clive Campbell, a.k.a. DJ Kool Herc. He was one of the first DJs to isolate the instrumental portion of a record, emphasizing the drumbeat, or the “break.” Using two turntables and two copies of the same record, DJ Kool Herc was able to elongate the break or what DJs back then called “breakbeat.” This breakbeat music, using funky drum solos, formed the basis of hip-hop music, and the rest his history. In November of last year, Clive Campbell was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Pure talent.

The Story Behind the Birth of Hip-Hop.

  • Video generators, using some semblance of artificial intelligence (AI), have been around for a few years. Two years ago, Meta released a video generator and just a month ago Google released a text-to-video (T2V) model that was very impressive. Now OpenAI, the so-called research organization who creates AI “to benefit all humanity,” has created a T2V generator that can create detailed and realistic videos from text prompts.

OpenAI’s model, called Sora, “is able to generate complex scenes with multiple characters, specific types of motion, and accurate details of the subject and background,” OpenAI said. “The model understands not only what the user has asked for in the prompt, but also how those things exist in the physical world.” Why are alarms going off with this type of AI technology? Sora cannot only create video from text prompts, it can create video from still images or existing video, to extend the content or fill in ‘missing’ frames. This means it can alter old/historical footage, create cheap content, and provide an uncomfortable level of propaganda and disinformation (false video = false news). Here is a quote from one technology scientist: “Technology like Sora holds the potential to not just disrupt industries like art and cinema, but completely obliterate them. No longer will production companies need to rely on actors, camera operators, gaffers, and the hundreds of other people who create the movies and TV shows we love. Instead, they can just type a few words into a prompt and get a full video.

Yes, I know this scenario seems far-fetched, but if you are a producer or studio executive, are you not always looking for less expensive ways to make your movie? Displacing actors, camera operators, gaffers, and hundreds of other support people are eye-opening enough, but how will nation states, terrorist organizations, and political campaigns weaponize these types of AI models to create havoc, with the dangers and risks never-ending.

I do really enjoy new technology, but similar to previous posts, Congress and worldwide organizations better start wrapping some standards around all of AI’s far-reaching models. This video provides a great explanation and examples of what the Sora tool is capable of – alarming or not.

Technology at its Finest, or at its Worst?

Things I Think – February 18, 2024

  • Prince Harry hinting that he is considering becoming a U.S. citizen. Oh, how the Royals must be eye-rolling.
  • Consumer spending habits are forgoing discretionary purchases, some of them being expensive sneakers and athletic wear. Nike announced 2% of its workforce, or 1,700 employees, will get caught up in a reduction in force. I have the same question I have asked with other big corporate layoffs: What were those 1,700 employees doing where Nike can just lay them off?
  • Annoyance alert. Resorts are trying to figure out the ongoing dilemma of their guests, early every morning, placing towels on pool and beach chairs so that sometime during the day a chair is available for them. Such despair for the other guests who come to the pool and beach only to find out there are no available chairs. Drama.
  • In less than three seconds, what is Presidents’ Day officially called? Three seconds are up.
  • The Taylor Swift effect. The NFL estimates that five million more female viewers watched last Sunday’s Super Bowl. It is all about the Taylor Swift Chiefs. On a serious note, TS donated $100,000 to a victim’s family from last week’s shooting at the Kansas City Chiefs’ Super Bowl parade. Talented and a good human.
  • Last Thursday, SpaceX launched twenty-two more of its Starlink internet satellites, their third mission in less than 24 hours. This type of launch activity, even three years ago, seemed implausible.
  • Professional golf is definitely at the crossroads, for more reasons than just the PGA and LIV tours. Pay for play, team concepts, and more are coming fast.
  • This is exactly how I feel about one of my least favorite topics:

  • Speaking of Prince Harry. It is not often that the National Football League (NFL) has the Duke of Sussex present an award. There is no doubt that Prince Harry took full advantage of his time on stage to take a dig at American football, especially as compared to rugby. At the forty second mark of this video, Prince Harry gets very funny.
Nicely done, Prince Harry!

  • My first take discusses Usher’s pure talent. Way before Usher came into prominence, we smiled at the incredible talent of the Bee Gees, and the high-octane voice of Barry Gibb. This 25-year-old, listening to the Bee Gees for the first time, obviously had no clue of their pure talent. Listen to her comments at the end of the video. 🙂 (Yes, I know I am a hair-band guy, but if you do not like the Bee Gees, you need to get checked).
Pure Talent from the Bee Gees.

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

Arthur Ashe. Hurricane. The Big Game. Pure Talent.

Friend and Foe. I’m Not Leaving.  Super Bowl LVIII.  An Orchestra’s Take on Club Music. 

Quote of the Week: “We must reach out our hand in friendship and dignity both to those who would befriend us and those who would be our enemy.” – Arthur Ashe

  • With what is going on in today’s world, I am not sure there are many who would agree with that quote from Arthur Ashe.

Arthur Ashe was a true pioneer. Those who remember Arthur Ashe will recall his amazing tennis career, winning three Grand Slam singles titles and two in doubles. Ashe was the first black tennis player to be selected to the United States Davis Cup team, and the only black man ever to win titles at Wimbledon, the U.S. Open, and the Australian Open. He was once ranked world No. 1 as well as winning the ATP Player of the Year award. Ashe also enlisted in the United States Army after graduating from college, and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Adjutant General Corps. He went on to an assignment at the United States Military Academy and before leaving the Army was promoted as a 1st Lieutenant. 

As a teenager/college student working at Doral Country Club in Miami, Florida, I was assigned to work for Doral’s Guest Services Manager. My job, at seventeen years old, was to help guests with their requests, which spanned from making dinner reservations, scheduling golf and tennis lessons, running bingo, and doing what needed to be done so that the guests were appeased. The Guest Services Manager, breaking every child labor law known to mankind, would often call me to come to Doral early in the morning as guests needed to fill out their golf foursome or tennis match for doubles. It was a great job as I met so many people, some incredibly nice and generous, and unfortunately some guests who were in a word, rude.

At that time, Arthur Ashe was Doral Country Club’s touring pro, and he and his wife were often at Doral when I was working, which was during the summer and between Thanksgiving and Christmas. His wife, Jeanne, frequently stopped me to thank me for always helping her and Arthur with their questions and requests. Of course, I was awestruck by her ‘celebrity’ status but always remembered how nice she was to me. Jeanne’s husband, Arthur Ashe, was no different. He would often stop me to say hello, thank me for everything I did around Doral, and did something I still remember to this day.

As I was breaking all child labor laws due to the Guest Services Manager’s request that I basically work two shifts, six days a week, she would allow me, at Doral’s expense, to have a meal in their casual, diner-type restaurant. I always waited until most guests departed the restaurant and would sit at the counter for my late lunch or very early dinner. One day, no different than the next, I was having my daily meal and of all people, Arthur Ashe, with many open seats at the counter, sat down next to me. He asked me many questions and we went on to have a great conversation talking about tennis, golf, and sports in general. When we were done chatting, he thanked ME for spending time, shook my hand, and told me that if he could help me in anyway, to give him a call. Dumbstruck, I went on to my workday floating on cloud nine. At seventeen years old, it was an hour I will never forget.

Arthur Ashe’s storied life included graduating from college, a stint with the U.S. Army, many tennis titles, a civil and human rights advocate, and a family man. His heart condition ended his tennis career, and a surgery-related blood transfusion resulted in Ashe contracting HIV. He died in 1993 from AIDS-related pneumonia at the young age of 49.

After everything Arthur Ashe accomplished and subsequently endured, his quote regarding friend and foe does not seem farfetched. 

         My Fond Memories of Jeanne and Arthur Ashe.

  • Hurricanes suck. I am not referring to the University of Miami Hurricanes, but to the storm systems that for the most part find their way to Florida, the Gulf Coast, and the East Coast of the United States. The storm surge and sustained wind from category 2 hurricanes and higher wreak havoc, cause immense damage, and usually displace a proportion of the population. I have no doubt that the National Hurricane Center, FEMA, and local and state officials try their best to convince people in threatened areas to evacuate. Many evacuate, but there are always some who refuse to leave and stay in or around their homes. Here is one take on the so-called brave people who think they can ‘ride-out’ a hurricane.
It Really is What the Wind is Blowing.

Here is what I am thinking for a mid-February Sunday:

  • Economic forecasters, many of them predicting a recession in Q1 of 2024, must be shaking their heads and tweaking their algorithms. On Friday, the benchmark S&P 500 index closed above 5,000 for the first time. Is there a correction on the horizon? 
  • Later today, Super Bowl LVIII (Richie, that Roman numeral is 58) kicks off at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, Nevada. This year, we should have a good game between the Taylor Swift Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers. The worldwide television audience is expected to be in the 110 million range, with millions more watching on their laptops and other devices. Not to minimize the expected Super Bowl audience, but to provide perspective, the World Cup Final in 2022 attracted a worldwide television audience of 1.5 billion. 
  • Speaking of the World Cup Final: “People across the globe traveling to New Jersey for biggest sporting event in the world.” ”European fans getting off the plane in Newark and looking around like…?” ”Rio, Berlin, Paris, Rome, Buenos Aires…. and East Rutherford, New Jersey.” These are the many comments from naysayers after FIFA announced the 2026 World Cup final would be held at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. This take from Joe Pesci about sums it up. WARNING: FOUL LANGUAGE.

     Joe Pesci’s Take on the 2026 World Cup Final Venue. 

  • This afternoon’s Super Bowl will hopefully include creative, funny, and interesting commercials. Ad spots for today’s game cost $7 million for 30 seconds, and we certainly hope some of those commercials have the creativity displayed by ETRADE’s baby commercials. So funny. 
At $7m for 30 Seconds, the Commercials Better Be Good!

  • Pure talent. This song, by Finnish DJ and record producer Darude, gained worldwide recognition back in the early 2000s. An instrumental that is still played in clubs and at sporting events and has gained popularity with the internet meme culture. Darude created Sandstorm using hardware and software too numerous to list, which makes the rendition in this video even more special. Sandstorm eventually reached sales of two million worldwide, but it has never been performed better than this rendition by this talented orchestra.
Amazing Work by an Amazing Orchestra.

  • Last, but not least, THE countdown is on. Four weeks to daylight savings time!!

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

Make a Decision. Response. Pure Talent.

Analysis Paralysis. The Enola Gay. Opera Canine.  

  • Quote of the Week: 

“If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you’ll never get it done.” — Bruce Lee

Analysis paralysis (or paralysis by analysis) describes an individual or group process where overanalyzing or overthinking a situation can cause forward motion or decision-making to become “paralyzed”, meaning that no solution or course of action is decided upon within a natural timeframe.

We have all been there. What we thought was a simple question or issue inevitably provokes a long, drawn-out dilemma. We are sometimes mystified by the apprehension exhibited by others to answer or act, as the ‘over-thinking complex’ evokes frustration for all. “I was up all-night thinking about it.” “I just cannot make up my mind.” “That is really causing me to be anxious.” We have all heard these responses in what we felt was a reasonable timeframe to act or answer a question. 

I am not making light of ‘analysis paralysis.’ We know that this syndrome can negatively affect business and other professional entities, as well as personal relationships. Indecisiveness or the inability to sort through facts and information to make a decision is a big problem. I am not sure that there is a clear-cut answer to avoid ‘analysis paralysis’ but I do have suggestions:

  • At a minimum, understand when you have hit the wall, overthinking to a point of frustration.
  • Set a drop-dead date to make a decision or act on a dilemma. Figure out how long you can make your friend, partner, spouse, or business associates wait on your decision to avoid the obvious.
  • Get a sanity check. If appropriate, build diversity of thought, seek counsel, and get the best possible advice so that your decision has a better chance of being the best outcome.
  • Shun the details. Refrain from continuously seeking everything you would like to know and keep to what you need to know. Once you have the information or data for what you need to know, it is definitely time to move forward and act, or make your decision. 
  • Be realistic with the situation or dilemma. Just because you arrive at one conclusion or decision does not mean you can never adapt to a new one.

Remember: It doesn’t matter in which direction you choose to move when under a mortar attack, just so long as you MOVE.

Every Decision Comes from Making a Choice.

  • In regard to making a decision: I am stuck at a zoo. Humans laugh, yell, and bang on the glass all day. I would stop the humans from being moronic, but the glass is too thick. I need to ‘voice’ my opinion with these stupid humans and have made a decision to do so. I did not over-think my decision, nor did I need to consult with my family or peers. I made a choice to act. I made a decision.
Decision Made.

  • I do not want to be misleading, biased, or in any way persuasive with the following comments. Due to the justmytake ethos of no religion, and no politics, I will give you my take as I see it. Straight up, leaning on a direct but different comparison. What I am presenting deals with collateral damage, a military term relating to the number of ‘innocents’ or civilians killed in war or a specific military insurgence.

I have had enough of the uneducated opinions, the bias of the media, and protests that have no spine. You, of course, can pass judgement on my remarks, or better yet, provide your own take. Do not roll your eyes or shake your head. Read the following and respond to me with your take. It is not difficult to click on the Comments tab and provide your reply to me – good, bad, or ugly.

It has been eight-three years since the attack on Pearl Harbor. The Japanese had two goals: to wipe out the Pacific Fleet and crush the will of the American people. The surprise attack did immense damage to the ships docked at Pearl Harbor, but more importantly and tragically, the Japanese attack resulted in 2,403 Americans killed. Half of them, approximately 1,200, were on one ship, the USS Arizona. The dead included U.S. sailors, soldiers, and civilians.

It has been a little over four months since a terrorist organization breached the fences separating Israel and Gaza. This strategically planned attack was the first invasion of Israel since the 1948 Arab Israeli War. The October 7, 2023, attack on Israel resulted in 1,20o deaths on Israeli soil, including Israeli civilians (thirty-six of them children), seventy-one foreign nationals, and 373 members of Israeli security forces. The terrorists also kidnapped 250 Israelis and foreign nationals, including thirty children, with most of the hostages still held captive today. 

Worldwide, people voiced their opinions on the terrorists and the October 7 massacre of Israeli security forces and civilians, who are without regard called collateral damage. Many are demanding that Israel stand down from their military response with Gaza, where the Hamas terrorist organization is based. Many feel that Israel’s response in Gaza has been too severe and caused too much strife with the civilians of Gaza. 

Let me provide a clear and concise level set: The Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor resulting in 2,403 American deaths. Hamas attacked Israel and killed 1,200 and took 250 hostages, 36 of them children.

The American response with Japan: the two bombs dropped on Japan resulted in 140,000 dead in Hiroshima, and 74,000 in Nagasaki. Those two bombs wiped out an area equivalent to five square miles in both Hiroshima and Nagasaki, with the fallout of nuclear radiation resulting in thousands more Japanese dying from radiation sickness in the weeks, months, and years to follow.

The Israeli response with Gaza: Death and destruction with many areas of Gaza destroyed as the Israelis try to eradicate the Gaza-based terrorist organization, as well as search for the hundreds of hostages. Again, thousands dead and displaced.

I am very unhappy with ANY collateral damage, especially when it comes to children. I am not a proponent of indiscriminate military tactics that result in the death of anyone. I do not like to watch people suffer. With all that said, I am not qualified or intelligent enough to comment on Israel’s military response with Gaza. What I am qualified to say is that I am sick and tired of listening to people, especially self-serving politicians, comment on Israel’s response with Gaza and Hamas. Eighty-three years ago, the United States made the decision to respond to the attack on Pearl Harbor – with atomic bombs. Enough said.

It is estimated that 140,000 of Hiroshima’s 350,000 population were killed by the atomic bomb.

  • Pure talent. We have listened to Luciano Pavarotti, with his booming operatic voice. He had many famous performances, including renditions of “Nessun Dorma,” one of the best-known tenor arias in all opera. “Nessun Dorma” achieved pop status after Pavarotti’s 1972 recording of it was used as the theme song of BBC television’s coverage of the 1990 FIFA World Cup in Italy.

Pavarotti, in this short video, is accompanied by another amazing voice, and one could only imagine the connection between these two amazing performers. :)

With Pavarotti Gone, Does Andrea Bocelli Now Have an Equal?

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

Technology. Godzilla Again. February. Hot Spots. Freebird.

Anything Wrong With a 48″ TV In Your Car? Yes, An Oscar Nomination. Comments/Questions? The Council on Foreign Relations. Billy Powell is Pure Talent. 

  • Quote of the Week: It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity. – Albert Einstein

Let’s see…. because drivers on America’s highways and interstates are not distracted enough? Ford’s designers and engineers, at a minimum, are tasked with delivering discernible differences with the design and performance of their line of vehicles. Competitive pressure dictates that Ford reinvent how drivers get information and their new Lincoln Nautilus will be Ford’s first offering of the Lincoln Digital Experience. The platform: a 48-inch-wide screen that runs the full width of the windshield, and of course the screen has 4K resolution to match today’s high-end TV screens. Ford touts the ability of the driver to read weather, trip computer, and entertainment information from behind the wheel of a 4,500 lb. automobile/SUV. Do not get me wrong, I really like new technology, especially anything to do with audio and video, but has Ford carried in-vehicle technology a bit too far? 

What Are We Doing?

  • Friends of mine frown upon my admiration for Godzilla. Totally unprovoked, they question my sanity with what I consider one of the best examples of a dynamic character. Godzilla is a force of nature, a villain, a hero, and at the same time an antihero. I have written about Godzilla and have explained to naysayers, amongst other comparisons, there is no comparison between Godzilla and King Kong. I will not bore you with the details, but there is no comparison.

So, to my dear friends, keep giving me grief about Godzilla as what goes around, comes around. Godzilla, the legendary ‘monster,’ has landed his historic first Oscar nomination. A well-deserved one at that. Who would not want to see the epic, Godzilla Minus One? :)

The Man, The Beast, The Hero. Just Sayin’.

The first month of 2024 is already done. Here are some thoughts and questions as we head into February.

  • I caught some flack over last week’s post, specifically my statement about Nikki Haley’s quote. One reader suggested (called me) a racist. It is possible the context of what I wrote read wrong or maybe some people took the statement the wrong way. To all: I write this blog to get comments, feedback, and questions…but if you refer to me as a racist, check yourself. 110% wrong.
  • She was a mom, a businessperson, a gatherer, tough, loving, and empathetic all at the same time. Carol, rest in peace. 
  • Later today is my favorite day of the NFL season. To me, the NFC and AFC championship games are so great to watch. Not that I am not looking forward to Super Bowl LVIII but starting today at 3pm EST is usually seven hours of great fun.
  • How long does the U.S. and Great Britain abstain from a ground war in Yemen to eradicate the Houthi rebels? The Houthis attacked another commercial ship on Friday and slowly but surely, supply chain issues are starting to bubble up. Enough said.
  • Anyone familiar with ‘loud budgeting?’ As much as I can tell, it is a Gen Z mantra complaining about their financial circumstances and how expensive things are. I have an answer, but I am not sure many Gen Zers want to hear it.
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol is seriously wrong. Arrested and charged with DUI in the state of Florida usually results in a big fine, license suspension, vehicle impoundment, and sometimes being jailed. Above and beyond those consequences, your father being Hulk Hogan cannot be good. Good luck, ‘Bubba.’ 
The Hulkster and His Son.

  • As described on their website: The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) is an independent, nonpartisan membership organization, think tank, and publisher dedicated to being a resource for its members, government officials, business executives, journalists, educators and students, civic and religious leaders, and other interested citizens in order to help them better understand the world and the foreign policy choices facing the United States and other countries. Founded in 1921, CFR takes no institutional positions on matters of policy.

I have heard about the CFR in the past but never really dug into what they do. As a think tank the CFR provides a massive amount of unbiased information about foreign relations and to dumb it down, what is actually going on with countries around the world. One bit of information they provide is called the Global Conflict Tracker, an interactive guide to ongoing conflicts around the world, and how those conflicts concern the United States. The Global Conflict Tracker map displays close to thirty conflicts with background information and resources on each conflict.

When you listen to people complain about the United States, have them look at this map and the list below. At whatever level, we should be thankful.

Criminal Violence in Mexico
Instability in Haiti
Venezuela Crisis
Instability in Afghanistan
Territorial Disputes in the South China Sea
North Korea Crisis
Instability in Pakistan
Conflict Between India and Pakistan
Confrontation Over Taiwan
Civil War in Myanmar
Europe and Eurasia
War in Ukraine
Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict
Middle East and North Africa
Conflict in Syria
Instability in Iraq
Instability in Lebanon
Conflict Between Turkey and Armed Kurdish Groups
Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
Civil Conflict in Libya
War in Yemen
Violent Extremism in the Sahel
Confrontation With Iran
Sub-Saharan Africa
Conflict in the Central African Republic
Conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo
Instability in South Sudan
Conflict With Al-Shabaab in Somalia
Conflict in Ethiopia

  • BEST IRISH TEXT MESSAGE OF ALL TIME: “Mary, I am just having one more pint with the lads. If I am not home in twenty minutes, read this message again.”

  • I often discuss what I refer to as ‘pure talent.’ The discussion can relate to different types of artists, scientists, and athletes, but for me it always comes back to music. I am all good with many people not being fans of Lynyrd Skynyrd, a Jacksonville, Florida-based band, named after one of their high school teachers. Southern rock and blues are not always fan favorites, but if you spent any time in the southeastern United States in 70s, 80s, and 90s, you listened to Lynyrd Skynyrd. The band, like many of that era, had many eye-opening stories, but one that still sticks with me to this day is about one of their band members, Billy Powell.  

As Gary Rossington explains in the first video below, it was only a heavy rainstorm that allowed the band to discover Billy Powell’s amazing keyboard skills. The second video, an ancient one at that, gives us a brief glance at Billy Powell’s opening to the song Freebird. Do not even tell me that you did not like the song Freebird…do not.

Yes, I am envious of really talented people. Billy Powell was pure talent. 

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

Risk. Boom. Laser. Questions. Cold Weather? The Guitar. T-Pain.

No Risk, No Reward.  MACH 1.5.  Knock It Down. Do You Have Answers? ”You Know That Detroit Has a Dome?” Jimi Hendrix. More Pure Talent. 

I truly believe in this Quote of the Week“He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.”– Muhammad Ali

  • Regarding risk: NASA is halfway through the testing of its experimental supersonic aircraft named the X-59. This is NASA’s venture into supersonic flight, which was banned back in 1973 due to the sonic booms evoked by the plane’s speed and velocity. There was nothing like the dishes in your kitchen’s pantry shaking and clattering when a supersonic aircraft flew over your house followed by a sonic boom.

Due to the design of the X-59, NASA is hoping that the aircraft, flying faster than the speed of sound (Mach 1, which is 761 miles per hour), will fly much more quietly than previous supersonic jets and not generating a loud sonic boom. ‘Lucky’ communities across the U.S. will be selected for the X-59 to do flyovers with the purpose of collecting data for regulators to consider rules that currently ban commercial supersonic flight over land because of noise concerns. It is all about the shape and design of the aircraft, especially the long nose of the plane that helps mitigate the boom sound with flying faster than speed of sound. 

If the testing goes well and the X-59 morphs into a commercial passenger aircraft, we are looking at jets flying at Mach 1.5, or approximately 1,100 miles per hour. How does New York to London in three hours ‘sound’?

New York to London in three hours sounds about right.

  • Speaking of things flying above the earth. Maybe it was Ronald Reagan’s Star Wars technology, or was it the Star Wars trilogy? Whatever the inspiration was, we now have witnessed GROUND-BASED laser technology and systems that Japan is testing to clean up space ‘junk’. Since the dawn of the space age in the 1950s, humankind has launched almost 50,000 tons of material into space, about 10,000 tons of which remains in orbit, according to the ESA, which cited data from the U.S Space Surveillance Network. And of the 15,880 satellites launched into space since 1957, 10,590 of them – the majority of which remain operational – continue to whiz around in space at high speeds as of September, the space agency says.

Amazing, and a bit scary, one can only think of the damage a deranged person could do with this type of technology. Osaka-based EX-Fusion is vying to become the first to use lasers from the ground to eliminate the debris from Earth’s orbit, and hopefully that is all they plan to eliminate. Here is a very interesting and alarming video of how Israel is deploying laser weaponry.  

Are There Limits to What Laser Weaponry Can Do?

I Have Questions and I would Appreciate Your Answers: 

  • Did the Justice Department, above and beyond antitrust, block the JetBlue acquisition of Spirit Airlines for undisclosed reasons? Have you ever flown Spirit Airlines?
  • Of course, I stay away from politics, but I will ask the question this way: Did the former Governor of South Carolina state that the United States was not/is not a racist country? That is a question, not a statement.
  • With U.S. airstrikes on Houthi rebels in Yemen not being effective, what next steps does the U.S. take with stopping their attacks on vessels in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden?
  • What are the key milestones required for consumer demand to grow with electric vehicles? Ford’s production planning geared up their F-150 Lightning pickup for 150,000 vehicles. Recent forecasts level sets sales for 2024 at 30,000 trucks. ”Just missed.”
  • What are the drivers of U.S. oil production which are now at record levels? What does this level of production mean for fuel prices at your local gas pump? Is this increase in response to shipping lane disruptions in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden?
  • Can someone who lives and breathes the financial world shed some light on the economic downturn, the ‘soft landing’, and recessionary pressure? The S&P 500 and Dow Jones hit all-time highs on Friday with the Nasdaq at a two-year best. Someone please explain where we are heading – it is already the third week of the new year. 
  • Why did sixteen college football players make more money this season than standout San Francisco 49er quarterback Brock Purdy? Oh, I KNOW the answer…I am just venting. 

  • I have the utmost respect for broadcast journalists, reporters, and all the production personnel who are behind everything we see and hear. With that said, it is imperative that journalists do their research and homework before asking questions, especially to an NFL head coach preparing his team for a road game at Detroit. To Todd Bowles: kudos to you for handling this so well. 
Detroit Has A Dome!!!

  • This past week, another conflict with a good friend of mine. Heated, passionate, and absurd, we argued the point of the greatest guitarist of all time. I know there is no clear-cut answer, but for me, and always, it will be Jimi Hendrix. To me, Hendrix was the most innovative guitarist, unafraid to proliferate the use of different melodies, squeals, shredding, acoustics, and effects with his left-handed playing style. Do not get me wrong, amazing guitarists including Jeff Beck, Prince, Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton, Eddie Van Halen, Lou Reed, and Duane Allman always brought a smile to my face, but Hendrix to me stands above the others – pure talent. What I also liked about Hendrix was his humility. You only need to watch the first thirty seconds of this video to realize that he was true to himself. Are there many better songs that resonate with guitar skill than the classic “All Along the Watchtower?” I do not think so.
Jimi Hendrix, bar none. 

  • Speaking of pure talent, Faheem Rashad Najm is known for his rap, R&B, and hip-hop skills, but for many years many have considered him one of the best acoustic performers of all time. His stage name is T-Pain, and what he does with the song Tennessee Whiskey, made relevant by country artist Chris Stapleton, is amazing. Early on in his career, T-Pain was ridiculed for using ‘auto-tune’ (think of auto-tune as Photoshop for music). Obviously, there is no auto-tune engaged in this live performance…just an amazing voice and performance. Bret: thank you for the reminder of T-Pain. Maybe someone should ask Chris Stapleton to perform T-Pain’s “I Am in Love with A Stripper?” 🙂
This Man’s Voice is Incredible. 

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

Clarity. Five Questions. Technology. Talent.

Moving On. Do You Have Answers? Chiplets. A Fistful of Dollars. 

  • A friend gave me a book right after the holidays. He assumed it was an easy read and that I would enjoy the takes from Robert Glazer, a global business leader and national bestselling author. Titled Friday Forward, the book’s objective is to provide inspiration and motivation to end your work week stronger than it started. The book contains fifty-two weeks of inspirational stories, taking in one story a week for a year. I just finished week two, a three-minute read titled “Moment of Clarity.” Glazer narrowcasts the word ‘clarity’, with the notion that while most of us know what we want, we are often afraid to even acknowledge it, much less pursue it. A sentence in the chapter really did resonate with me: “Gaining clarity might mean that we face a relationship that, in our gut, we know is doomed or move on from a career that isn’t going anywhere or doesn’t fulfill us.” Reflecting back, this sentence is so true. 

A big thank you to Jim, for giving me this easy read. I really look forward to the next fifty chapters. 

Five Questions for Mid-January

  • Does the U.S. and the U.K. move to an all-out assault of the Houthi rebels in Yemen? Do disruptions in the Red Sea lead to supply chain issues? 
  • What is the go-forward with Gaza once the Israelis feel like they have eliminated Hamas? Who governs Gaza?
  • How will future Covid-19 variants and other airborne pathogens be designated by the WHO and the CDC? Another pandemic or an endemic? Are pandemics and endemics mutually exclusive? 
  • Will $4.7 billion in economic aid from the IMF help Argentina help correct the country’s financial woes? South America’s second largest country has an annual inflation rate of 211%. Not good.
  • Hertz, after making a huge investment to support their EV fleet of cars, is selling off their EV cars due to “hidden costs.” Anyone with an electric vehicle care to chime in?

Quote of the Week: – from Sir Edmund Hillary:

“You don’t have to be a fantastic hero to do certain things—to compete. You can be just an ordinary chap, sufficiently motivated to reach challenging goals.”

Understatement of the Week – from the editor of a travel website reflecting on the state of many airlines’ ‘exclusive’ customer lounges:

“This is a very natural change, and I expect it to continue rising until demand and supply balance out. It is even my own personal opinion that there are too many people in these lounges at the moment, and sometimes it’s difficult to find a place to sit down.”

  • From my longtime friend Rick S. He sent me this list of ten breakthrough technologies for 2024. Some are quite interesting; some I really do not understand. That could be due to the list being created by the MIT Technology Review.🙂
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) will continue to not only reshape the tech industry but our everyday lives.
  • Super-efficient Solar Cells will take advantage of a layer of tiny crystals to dramatically increase the ability of solar panels to be more efficient, create a greater range of electricity, and reduce carbon emissions. To my tech and power generation friends: What is stopping solar power from being used with automobiles, buses, and other types of vehicular mobility? 
  • Apple Vision Pro headsets. The technology that is now used by military pilots and surgeons will morph into the consumer market. I love the technology, but I am not sure I am ready to experience augmented and virtual reality as part of my normal day. This is Apple’s reveal of this amazing headset.
  • Weight-loss Drugs dealing with what has become an epidemic of worldwide obesity. There are reports and research that medications like Mounjaro and Wegovy could help protect against heart attacks and strokes.
  • Enhanced Geothermal Systems, due to engineering challenges, is still in its infancy stage. As engineers unleash solutions for new drilling techniques there will be a better endgame with using the Earth’s heat to produce clean energy. This is way above my pay grade; does anyone want to elaborate on this energy technology? Tracy A.: care to help us understand this?
  • Chiplets are small, specialized chips that can be linked together to make computers faster and more efficient. This technology dovetails with the topic of quantum computing, which I discussed a few weeks ago…and subsequently put many readers to sleep. 
  • Gene-editing Treatments sound a bit scary, but both the U.S. and UK have given the bio-tech company Vertex regulatory approval to use gene-editing to help fight diseases including sickle-cell. This type of biotechnology could be a game-changer.
  • Exascale Computing can now perform more than an exaflop’s worth of calculations (that’s a 1 followed by 18 zeros). These new machines will allow scientists to perform sophisticated simulations of the climate, nuclear fission, turbulence, and much more. Cost of this type of computing system = $390 million, and that cost does include installation. Check Amazon for better deals.
  • Heat Pumps sales have gone vertical and for the first time have surpassed gas furnace sales. Benefits of heat pumps include higher heating efficiency, less expensive to run, no threat of gas or carbon monoxide, and it does not burn fossil fuels. One key downside to heat pumps: Since heat pumps need electricity to run, they won’t work if the power goes out. This can make it challenging to heat your home in the event of power failure, especially this weekend in places like Kansas City. 
  • Twitter Killers….there is no need to explain how and why alternatives to “X” like Threads and Bluesky are gaining traction.

The MIT Technology Review did ask their readers what technology breakthroughs are missing from the list. Some of those included robotaxis, thermal batteries, lab-grown meat, and SpaceX’s Starship rocket. Thoughts?

  • I am often amazed at the pure level of musical talent exhibited by many around the world. To this day I wish I had taken the time to learn to play an instrument. I had my excuses but reflecting back, I could have taken forty-five minutes a day to learn piano, or the organ, which sat five steps from my bedroom door. Whether the musical talent is young children or a symphony orchestra, I am often awe-struck by their talent. This performance by the Danish National Symphony Orchestra is pure talent. Composed by Ennio Morricone, the theme from A Fistful of Dollars (one of many Clint Eastwood spaghetti Westerns), features an amazing score of complexity and composition. Amazing talent. Note: this is from IMDB: Morricone was hired by director Sergio Leone for A Fistful of Dollars (1964) on the strength of some of his song arrangements. His score for that film, with its sparse arrangements, unorthodox instrumentation (bells, electric guitars, harmonicas, the distinctive twang of the Jew’s harp) and memorable tunes, revolutionized the way music would be used in Westerns, and it is hard to think of a post-Morricone Western score that doesn’t in some way reflect his influence. Although his name will always be synonymous with the spaghetti Western, Morricone has also contributed to a huge range of other film genres: comedies, dramas, thrillers, horror films, romances, art movies, exploitation movies – making him one of the film world’s most versatile artists.
An Amazing Score from A Fistful of Dollars.

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

Seven Steps. People. Clooney. Donate. Life. To The Moon. Sing It!

Strategy For Your Life. Excellence Is Expected. It Is All About Amal. The Humane Society. We Exist Against All Odds.  NASA’s Lunar Strategy. A Great Performance. 

  • Three of my friends and I formed a small group over a year ago. We discuss the beginning of the year, avoiding New Year’s resolutions but discussing things in our life we are going to change. More than an excuse for a fun dinner fueled by a bottle of wine or two, our group discussion, as pointed out by this consultant in a Harvard Business Review video, really focuses in on our life strategy: “An integrated set of choices that positions a person to live a great life.”

The seven steps comparing corporate strategy and life strategy very much align, with step seven being the key: How can I ensure successful, sustained change? I really enjoyed how this consultant explained social comparison, where you are always comparing yourself with other people in certain areas. Who would have thought that your life can be divided into sixteen strategic life units, with the ultimate goal of creating and sustaining the life you want? The two-by-two strategic life portfolio is a great way to visually plot the level of importance compared to your level of satisfaction with your sixteen life units. The consultant gives us a great quote from the philosopher Seneca: “If you do not know which port you are sailing to, no wind is favorable.

I will propose this exercise with my other group members at our next dinner. The video does have a short break that you can exit after five seconds, but this nine-minute video is worth the watch.

Strategize Your Life

  • Quote of the week. I did change one word:

“Be a yardstick of quality. Some MANY people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected. – Steve Jobs

  • I am not one to watch award shows, though I do have to say that the presenters and winners have slowed their roll over the years with their political diatribes. I do remember Tina Fey burying the talented George Clooney many years ago. A classic salute to women – with Clooney taking it in stride.

  • Whatever Humane Society you support, please donate to this great cause. This note is from my Atlanta-based friend Samir, who runs the Board of the Atlanta Humane Society. Please note the Atlanta chapter’s work in Gainesville, Florida. Dear Friends: The Atlanta Humane Society “Day of Giving” is on February 15th, and as I do every year, I am reaching out to seek your support. Thank you for the tremendous support you demonstrated last year, and I am hoping for a repeat 🙂.

In my role as the chairman of the board of directors of the Atlanta Humane Society, I witness the profound impact your donations have on the essential services we provide. In the past year, we distributed nearly 170 tons of pet food to families and small animal shelters in need, we facilitated over 175,000 interactions with pets and their caring families, and we rescued more than 300 abused and maltreated animals. Additionally, our East Lake low-cost vet center provided services to countless pets in desperate need for medical attention. This year, we expanded to a new location in Gainesville, Florida and our team is working on expanding the same low-cost model initiative in Georgia and throughout the Southeast.

In the last few years and due to the pandemic, my aim to organize “Puppies Party” for the children at Scottish Rite Hospital using your donations faced challenges. My hope is for the hospital to relax its policy this year so we can restart this wonderful tradition, and put smiles on the faces of these resilient children.

To make a tax-deductible donation, please visit Samir’s fundraising page for Atlanta Humane Society.

Your support is genuinely appreciated, and I encourage you to forward this email to fellow animal lovers in your network. Thank you, Samir.

I am not asking but suggesting that if half the people on the JustMyTake distribution list contribute $50 to this important cause, Samir will get off to a great start with his Humane Society fundraising effort.

  • “We are alive against stupendous odds.” I have never thought about the reality of life this way, but as usual, Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson nets it out. A very interesting perspective. 
An Interesting Perspective.

  • “It will open up the moon as a place where there’s so many companies doing business, that when we want to do something that’s more than just landing stuff on the moon.” This quote is not from Star Trek’s Admiral James T. Kirk. This quote is from Joel Kearns, NASA’s deputy associate administrator for exploration in the Science Mission Directorate. Kearns is explaining the hopeful launch of the New Vulcan Centaur rocket, the first of many missions under NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services contract. The rocket, from commercial space technology company United Launch Alliance (ULA), will travel for twelve days to the moon, enter several weeks of different altitude orbits, and on February 23, drop a lunar lander descending from sixty-two miles to the surface of the moon.

If the landing is goes off as planned (only half of the previous missions deploying equipment and materials to the moon’s surface have been successful), the Astrobotic Technology lunar lander will deploy its payloads, which include a myriad of equipment to measure and indicate levels of water, carbon dioxide, methane and lunar radiation. Along for the ride are five lunar rovers, as well as payloads from five different countries.

The cause and effect of commercial space exploration continues to be mind-boggling as the U.S. Space Force command leverages the private sector to strengthen U.S. commercial and military space systems. Cross your fingers that this mission and lunar deployment are successful – the go-time is early tomorrow morning, January 8th.  

  • We have all attended events that have started off with someone giving it their best shot with the U.S. national anthem. I have been told many times that the anthem is a difficult song to perform, and unfortunately, we have experienced talented singers having a tough time with Francis Scott Key’s Star-Spangled Banner. Kudos to the L.A. Galaxy staff member who elected to have this young lady perform. Wow!!
Have You Heard a Better Rendition?

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

Predictions. Risk. College Sports. Bad Optics. The Catch.

What Does 2024 Bring Us?   “Fly Me To The Moon…”  NIL & The Transfer Portal. College Athletes and Cigars? Foul Ball. 

Happy 2024. The start of a new year brings us opportunity, insight, challenge, and the unknown. I do not make new year resolutions but I will take a stab at a few predictions for 2024. Some of these will align me with MOTO (master of the obvious) but this is JustMyTake: 

  • The global economy will improve and the U.S. will lead the way with a slow recovery led by the Fed methodically lowering EFFR, better known as the Fed rate.
  • Continued regulation regarding the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) will not get in the way of this technology being part of our everyday lives.


  • The continued severity of global climate events will dictate governments stepping in with more regulation, specifically surrounding carbon emissions.
  • Further advancements with healthcare technology and research will lead the way with breakthroughs helping to cure Alzheimer’s disease.
  • As outlined below, accessible commercial space travel to the edge of the Earth’s atmosphere becomes available this year.
  • United States astronauts will return to the moon – including the first woman to step on that surface.
  • Unfortunately, the Israel-Hamas conflict will wage on through the end of the year.
  • The Baltimore Ravens win the Super Bowl and France will be the Euro 2024 champion.
  • The U.S. presidential election. Nope, I am not going there. :)

  • Risk mitigation is part and parcel of operating costs – with different entities having variable thresholds of risk. The risk management process consists of three parts: risk assessment and analysis, risk evaluation, and risk treatment. It is quite obvious that the building owner and general contractor of the Chrysler Building had no time to deal with risk mitigation. “A special breed” is the understatement of the New Year!
…And we think riding in an autonomous vehicle is a bit scary…………

  • Speaking of risk…..I previously wrote about Space Perspective, the Titusville, Florida space technology company now ready to take commercial passengers to the edge of space. Passengers will be in a very interesting capsule which will reach an altitude of 100,000 feet, tethered to and pulled upward by a 650-foot-tall balloon filled with hydrogen. Your six-hour adventure will cost you $125,000 so book for 2025, as 2024 is already sold out. Yes, the capsule has a bar and a bathroom. Perfect. 
A Great Experience or a Bust? No pun intended. 

  • In August of 2021, a U.S. Supreme Court ruling changed the landscape of college athletics allowing athletes to profit from their name, image, and likeness, now known as the everyday acronym NIL. College athletes, above and beyond their scholarship and perks, now can be paid similar to any other person for their partnership or endorsement with a business and brand. Research done by Ohio State University estimates that a good college football player, with a large fanbase, can earn NIL money averaging $650,000. Texas quarterback Arch Manning, who has a last name synonymous with football, is worth $2.9 million with trading card company Panini America. Eighty-five Utah players, all on scholarship, received brand new Dodge Ram pickup trucks. Yes, these are COLLEGE football players.

The other part of college athletics that changes everything is the ability for athletes to change schools without having to sit out one season before eligibility. The Transfer Portal was created as a compliance tool to systematically manage the transfer process from start to finish, add more transparency to the process among schools and empower student-athletes to make known their desire to consider other programs.

Combine ‘NIL’ and the transfer portal and the net result is a top college football player, based on his new school’s ‘NIL account’, can enter the transfer portal to change to a school where they can receive a greater amount of NIL money. I do not have the facts, but one example may be former Florida standout running back Trevor Etienne, who announced via X (formerly known as Twitter), that he is transferring to Georgia and will be eligible to play for the Bulldogs next season (instead of the former rule dictating that a player who transfers schools must sit out one year before being eligible to compete). 

Don’t get me wrong, I am a UGA supporter, but one must wonder if Etienne is immediately transferring due to Georgia losing its two top running backs or because of a guarantee of a large amount of NIL money? If Alabama or Texas came to the table with more NIL money, would Etienne have ended up transferring to one of those schools? 

The college football world is forever changed and in my opinion not necessarily for the better. The JustMyTake distribution list includes many people involved with sports, media, and law…what is your take?

  • “The optics look bad.” Speaking of college football and the changing landscape, I think the Georgia Tech athletics director should take corrective action with his college football coaching staff. The behavior of the athletes, after a meaningless win in the infamous Gasparilla Bowl, was shocking to me. Smoking cigars on the sideline during the game? What kind of message does that send to their alumni, partners, sponsors, and more importantly the children watching that game? In a word, disgusting. 

  • On the opposite side of sports, let’s leave the first post of 2024 with maybe one of greatest catches of all time, including the Willie Mays over the shoulder catch of 1954. The video resolution is wonky but it really does not matter. Watch this young lady track and catch this line drive foul ball. 
Are You Kidding Me?

Adios, pay it forward, be safe, and have a great 2024! 

NORAD, For the Children.

Do Not Challenge A Two-Star General After He Details A Mission Critical Engagement.

First, a bit of background on the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD).

  • NORAD is charged with the missions of aerospace warning, aerospace control, and maritime warning for North America.
  • Aerospace warnings include the detection, validation, and warning of attack against North America whether by aircraft, missiles, or space vehicles.
  • NORAD is bunkered within Cheyenne Mountain near Colorado Springs, Colorado, more than 2,000 feet under the mountain with sealable doors weighing 23 tons.
  • NORAD, as they have done every year for sixty-eight years, commenced their annual mission to track Santa Claus, going to full operational mode at 6am EST this morning.
  • The mission expense is offset by corporate donors and involves over 1,000 volunteers who via a NORAD hotline, receive over 130,000 calls from all over the globe from children wanting to know when Santa is coming to their home.

General Glen VanHerck is the Commander of NORAD, and reports directly to the President of the United States and the Prime Minister of Canada. General VanHerck recently stated in no uncertain way that one of the most important services and missions NORAD provides will continue this week. The mission: since 1955, NORAD has tracked Santa on December 24, using “all available personnel and technology” to ensure that children around the world have a chance to see where Santa is in real time.

In a recent press conference, a question posed to General VanHerck challenged the December 24th mission as a non-essential use of funds and personnel. After a long stare down, General VanHerck told the journalist that he was “out of line and to stand down or be escorted out of the press conference.” There were no more questions for General VanHerck.

Last week, at a Pentagon press conference, the media again received direct communication that NORAD would go into full operational mode to track Santa. No, there were no questions.

Adios, pay it forward, be safe, and have a very, Merry Christmas.