It’s You. Not Me.

OK, It’s Me.

Is it me, or does Elon Musk have anything better to do than wonder about dropping nuclear bombs on Mars? More weed Elon!

Is it me, or is there basically no rhyme or reason to the fluctuations of the stock market?

Is it me, or are the dynamics of Brexit just too difficult to comprehend? Can someone explain in simple terms what happens with trade and immigration when England leaves the Union?

Is it me, or would the U.S.A.’s purchase of Greenland be economically unfeasible?

Is it me, or do Wayne Rooney and Zlatan Ibrahimovic need to ‘cork the whine’ and stop acting like they were forced to come to the U.S. to play in Major League Soccer…and get paid way too much money doing so?

Is it me, or did Iceland actually have a funeral for the first glacier ‘lost to global warming’?

Is it me, or is this summer hot as hell? I am in Orlando but when in Atlanta two weeks ago, both days were in the upper 90’s.

Is it me, or does Iran need to stand down before they take an ass-whipping by the U.S. and other allies?

Is it me, or is consistent and repetitive vaping incredibly unhealthy?

Is it me, or was the look and feel of Clint Eastwood’s The Mule and Gran Torino way too similar?

Is it me, or did the college football season start a week early? Let’s get ready for some football, college and the NFL…and the real football, as the European leagues have started and Major League Soccer heads into their final games of the regular season.

Is it me, or do we all wish we had the confidence, swagger, and presence of this young lady?

This young lady makes a statement – at 12-years old.

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

Just Funny.

The Classic Comedians. No Comparison To Today.

In light of this week’s negative vibes, namely the economy, the stock market, another nut job in Philadelphia, and China’s posturing, I wanted to try and give some light to a bit of darkness.

Their subject matter may no longer be relevant nor their unrelenting rants regarding race, creed and religion, but the comedians of many years past were incredibly funny. Sure, there are many modern-day stand ups who entertain us with comedy, but in my opinion they pale in comparison to the classics of the past.

Did you ever see or YouTube Don Rickles’ stand up diatribes on The Johnny Carson Show? Did you get to experience how Rickles not only picked on the audience but on Carson himself? Outrageously funny and a bit shocking for that day and age – some of his banter would in no way be tolerated in today’s world of sensitivity. Don Rickles, Rodney Dangerfield, Richard Pryor and Buddy Hackett. I would put these four up against any modern comedians as these guys from yesteryear had better content, delivery and timing than anyone else I have seen and heard. Richard Pryor? Unbelievably vulgar but everyone cried laughing at what he said and his unprecedented method of delivery.

I don’t make the time to visit comedy clubs like I once did. We could all use a daily dose of smiles and laughter – to rise above all the tumult of today’s crazy world. Many years ago I enjoyed seeing and hearing my father belly laugh at Don Rickles, whether it was stand up, as a guest on a late night show, or delivering comments about another entertainer who is being ‘roasted’. Here is a good example:

Comedy, laughter and smiles. After last week we should focus on making that happen all day, everyday.

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

The 2nd Amendment Should Not Be Top Of Mind.

Controlling The People, The Weapon, The Circumstance.

I am taking a holiday but wanted to provide previous posts that addressed tragic mass shootings, most recently taking place in El Paso and Dayton. As of last Sunday, which was the 216th day of the year, there have been 251 mass shootings in the U.S. In the past I have mentioned that we should focus on security at schools and other venues. Unfortunately, last week’s shootings, as well as many others, could not have been prevented with heightened security measures. These incidents were carried out randomly by unbalanced people, in possession of deadly weapons, with motivation to kill other human beings. The toll of 251 mass shootings include five high-profile rampages in the past 20 days, in which more than 100 people were shot: 

  • A shooting in a historic district of Dayton, Ohio, with 9 people killed and 27 injured.
  • A shooting at Walmart in El Paso, Texas, with 20 people killed and 26 wounded. It was the deadliest shooting of the year.
  • A shooting at the Gilroy Garlic Festival in the San Francisco Bay Area, with three people killed and 15 injured.
  • A shooting at a Brooklyn block party, with one person killed and 11 injured.
  • A shooting at a Walmart in Southaven, Mississippi, with two people killed and two injured.

Here is what I previously posted on the subject of gun control and school security:

On December 15, 1791, the Bill of Rights (the first ten amendments to the Constitution) were ratified by three-fourths of the States.  The second amendment is unfortunately top of mind these days with another school shooting, this time at a high school near Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

The Second Amendment reads: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed”.  Little did Thomas Jefferson know that when he authenticated and ratified the Bill of Rights, the second amendment would indirectly lead to many school tragedies including Sandy Hook, Columbine, Parkland, and many other shooting incidents at schools around the U.S.A.  Nor did he know how people of lesser minds would use the weapons allowed by the Second Amendment.

After the tragedy at the Parkland, Florida high school, I stated that school security, not gun control, should be our #1 initiative: “I will not comment on why a 19-year old possessed a AR-15 rifle, groups of gun activists or gun control, nor our divided political system.  What I will comment on is school security.  Don’t get me wrong, I put no blame on the high school administrators where last week’s massacre took place.  My bewilderment relates to the ability of someone, anyone, able to enter a school with little security in place.  I only wish that the Washington, D.C.  protest would have been more focused on school safety than gun control.”  My  point is unfortunately reinforced with yesterday’s massacre at the Santa Fe High School near Houston, Texas.  The weapons, a shotgun and a .38 caliber handgun, were most likely purchased legally.  Gun control would have not changed the outcome of a 17 year-old who took the weapons from his house and walked into the high school he attended with the intention of killing his fellow students.  The guns he used were owned by his father so it is unlikely that gun control would have prevented this sick young man’s father from purchasing the weapons.  I will never understand why there is little to no security within our school systems.  I don’t know if the answer is employing retired police officers or our retired veterans, but Parkland, Santa Fe, Columbine, and other school tragedies all had one common denominator:  the perpetrator simply walked into a school and carried out the massacres.  I no longer have a school-age child but if I did I would help lead the charge to better protect all of our children when they are in school.

Let there be no misunderstanding.  I am proud of all the people worldwide, especially the children, who gathered yesterday to make their voices heard regarding gun control.  I just wonder if their efforts are misguided?  As I stated in my February 18th post:  “I will not comment on why a 19-year old possessed a AR-15 rifle, groups of gun activists or gun control, nor our divided political system.  What I will comment on is school security.  Don’t get me wrong, I put no blame on the high school administrators where last week’s massacre took place.”  My bewilderment relates to the ability of someone, anyone, able to enter a school with little security in place.  I only wish that the protest would have been more focused on school safety than gun control.  With respect to the 2nd Amendment it is time for more controls to be put in place when purchasing a gun, but what would have been the difference if the sick 19 year-old had walked into Stoneman Douglas High School with a shotgun instead of an AR-15?  The importance of security and locking down our schools is still way more important than gun control.

Originally designed to allow the disabled to fire weapons with little effort, the “bump-fire stock” became a weapon of mass destruction last Sunday night.  We can talk about the Constitution and gun control from now until eternity but the reality of Sunday night dictates that some higher level of regulation is needed, and needed now.  While I am in full support of our right to bear arms, the ability to acquire weapons or accessories to turn firearms into automatic weapons needs to be controlled by federal and state authorities.  I realize that sick human beings cannot be stopped from doing deadly damage but why give them relatively easy ways to fire automatic weapons?  I don’t have the answers but some type of regulation can only help to stop these sad events from happening.  It just so happened that after taking a look at other concert venues Stephen Paddock selected the annual country music festival that sets up behind the MGM Grand hotel.  His motive was to kill as many people as possible, using various high-powered rifles with the “bump-fire stock” accessory allowing him to spray the crowd with continuous and automatic rapid fire.  Though he selected Las Vegas, this tragedy could have happened anywhere.

The discussion, debate and argument surrounding the 2nd Amendment may not solve the problem of mass shootings. Does anyone have a suggestion or solution to this systemic problem?

Adios, pay it forward, protect your loved ones, and have a Sunday Funday.

Change Management.

What Would Tata Do?

At the suggestion (or demand) from a few readers, I have stayed away from the subject of soccer for many weeks. I will go back into the subject once again to give you my take on Frank de Boer, Atlanta United’s coach, who took over for the beloved Tata Martino. Just some facts: Atlanta United is coming off last year’s championship season. Martino left the Club to become Mexico’s national team manager. Miguel Almiron, United’s most important and impactful player, left the Club as he was purchased by Newcastle United of the English Premier League. Another key player at times, especially late in the season, was Greg Garza. His ability to affect the game from his attacking left fullback position caused opposing teams to lose their shape as Garza was a force coming down that left flank. Post season the club traded Garza to Cincinnati, a new expansion team. With the loss of their manager and two impact players, United hired Frank de Boer, a Dutchman with experience as both a player and manager.

Whether it be business or sport, new leadership most likely dictates a change in management style, expectations and culture. Frank comes from Europe, Tata from South America. Differences with their leadership style were always going to be questioned by the players, media, and the fan base, as well as the player selection and formation employed by Frank. No new leader likes-for-likes the exact dynamics of their predecessor – they bring their own style, strategies, and in most cases a new (coaching) staff.

Players have spoken out about the culture and playing style differences, and some of the fan base are irate with player selections and the defensive style of play. I guess there are a lot of short memories out there. As mentioned, Miguel Almiron left the club. Greg Garza was moved on. Due to qualifying for the CONCACAF Champions League and the U.S. Open Cup, the compressed schedule of games is borderline ridiculous. And most importantly, Frank has had to deal with numerous player injuries, which has caused a myriad of problems considering the schedule of games. Franco Escobar, Kevin Kratz, Mikey Ambrose, Ezequiel Barco, Pity Martinez, George Bello, Florentin Pogba, Tito Villalba, and Brek Shea have all missed significant playing time. Nine players have not been available for many games, no Miguel Almiron or Greg Garza, and a very compressed schedule. Never mind a few of our players who missed games due to national team playing assignments.

Then there is the Pity Martinez dilemma. Pity came to United in the off season heralded as the South American Player of the Year. Unfortunately, his short tenure with United has not been what was expected by the fans, the media, and more importantly the coaching staff. Yes, coming to a new club in a new league and in a new country is not easy. With that said, Frank has given this young man the runway to get acclimated to his new teammates and surroundings. It is now up to Pity to show his abilities – for 90 minutes and not short spurts like he has done to date. Work rate and attitude come to mind as being problematic and we can only hope that Pity snaps out of whatever is preventing him from playing well, game in and game out. Frank can only be tolerant to a point.

There are groups out there that are calling for Frank’s head. They want the Club to replace a manager that has dealt with all the talking points described above. Reality is that the team sits near the top of the Eastern Conference with a game in hand. Seven teams in the Conference will make the playoffs. United’s player pool is getting healthy once again with Barco, Villalba and Pogba now available. Some of the fans called for a walkout of this afternoon’s game with LA Galaxy. A walkout on a team that is three points out of first place in their conference…with a game in hand?

My question to all of you: under the exact same circumstances……WHAT WOULD TATA HAVE DONE? My take is exactly what Frank has done. #ATLUTD

Adios, pay it forward, and have a great weekend.