To Whom It May Concern.

Don’t Take A Knee. Does Not Add Up. 17,000 Miles An Hour. Trash Talk Needed. Stop The Disparity Of Information.

George Floyd. Another sad statement for our entire country. A country where we have lost over 100,000 lives to Covid-19 overshadowed by another incident of reckless police activity. This is 2020. In 1965, fifty-five years ago, there was a famous march from Selma to Montgomery. The march was a part of the civil rights movement and helped provide awareness of widespread discrimination in the United States. Fifty-five years later we have a police officer putting his body weight on another human’s neck for almost nine minutes. I do not care the race or religion of the people involved in the George Floyd incident – it does not matter whether the people are black, white, red, blue or brown. We have protesters who have every right to assemble and voice their outrage and concern – in an organized and peaceful manner. Then people with ill will join the protesters, using the gathering to loot businesses, many owned and operated by people of color. We have Minneapolis police arresting a CNN crew, live on the air, before they charged and arrested the former police officer who held down George Floyd with his knee. I am not ignorant to the fact that people have bias. I am well aware of the bigotry that exists in this country and other countries around the world. I am embarrassed for our country. I am sick of discrimination, racism and bigotry. If I had answers to this serious problem, I would be the first person to help stomp out racism. I do not have the answers regarding discrimination and bigotry. Do you?

Remembering the Selma-to-Montgomery march | CBS 42
Let by Martin Luther King – the march from Selma to Montgomery in 1965

This is taken from one of my favorite sports writers, Peter King, and his weekly column “Football Morning in America”. He posts early morning on Monday’s and last week’s piece about the NFL and minorities really does not sit well with me. An excerpt: “This is going to be an uncomfortable column. It should be uncomfortable to talk about this, because what’s happening in the NFL is not right: 70 percent minority players, 13 percent minority head coaches, 6 percent minority general managers, 3 percent minority owners.. What is wrong with this picture? You’re good enough to play, but not to coach, manage or own.” I am sure NFL owners have their reasons on how they rate and rank potential candidates for their open head coach and general manager positions – but the numbers don’t lie. Only six of 64 top football people in the sport—the 32 head coaches and 32 GMs—are minorities. As Peter King states very loudly: “This is going to be an uncomfortable column.” Damn straight it is uncomfortable; actually maddening.

I know everyone has already figured this out. Yesterday’s SpaceX launch of their ship called the Crew Dragon includes a rendezvous with the International Space Station (ISS) today at approximately 10:29 AM EDT . To intercept the ISS, the capsule must match the station’s speed, altitude and inclination, and it must do it at the correct time such that the two spacecraft find themselves in close proximity to each other. The difference in velocity between the ISS and the Crew Dragon capsule must then be near to zero at the point where the orbits of the two spacecraft intersect. Everyone get that? Now for reality: the Crew Dragon rendezvous is with the ISS that travels five miles per second or 17,000 miles per hour, at an altitude 250 miles above the earth. To keep it in perspective, the ISS orbits earth every 92 minutes. No, I don’t get it but it does give credence to the 2016 movie Hidden Figures, a well-done drama that details the talent, ability and skill set of African-American women who showed NASA a dose of reality. These three women, dealing with repetitive discrimination, served as the brains behind one of the greatest operations in history: the launch of astronaut John Glenn into orbit, a stunning achievement that restored the nation’s confidence and turned around the Space Race. If you have not seen Hidden Figures, you are missing out on a great movie.

This rendering shows……forget it, I cannot even explain it.

The rain storm took away from last Sunday’s broadcast of the fund-raising golf event where Tiger and Peyton Manning played against Phil and Tom Brady. The rain and no-gallery protocol posed problems with watching this golf event, as if this sport needed more reasons not to watch four hours of golf on TV. I am aware of how the PGA and USGA try to maintain “the dignity of golf” with many rules and regulations of what broadcasters can and can’t do with their coverage of a tournament, but Sunday’s multi-faceted broadcast brought the television audience up close and personal to the four participants. Yes, it was a charity event so the golfers were much more tolerant to being mic’ed up – but the banter between the four, along with the trash-talking from guest commentators was very refreshing to hear and see. Is it time for the golf gods to follow a bit different go-forward, especially with limited spectators? We would not want to see some of the broadcast tactics implemented by the now-defunct XFL, but I do think it is time to open the array of options to bring the audience into the dynamics of golf. I can think of one former television executive in Atlanta who would agree with me. Anyone else? Most importantly, this event raised a ton of money for a great cause.

Phil, Tom, Peyton and Tiger raised $20M at last Sunday’s Covid-19 event.

Here is why we are so confused and why so many don’t believe that wearing a mask is required or needed to help slow down the spread of Covid-19. How can the World Health Organization (WHO) not be in concert with other worldwide health entities? This disparity of information is uncalled for, unprofessional, and is the root cause why we are all not onboard to quell the spread of this virus. Absolutely ludicrous. “WHO is recommending healthy people, including those who don’t exhibit Covid-19 symptoms, only wear masks when taking care of someone infected with the contagion, a sharp contrast from the advice given by American public health officials who recommend everyone wear a mask in public. If you do not have any respiratory symptoms such as fever, cough or runny nose, you do not need to wear a mask,” Dr. April Baller, a public health specialist for the WHO, says in a video on the world health body’s website posted in March. Masks should only be used by health care workers, caretakers or by people who are sick with symptoms of fever and cough.” Their recommendation has not changed since March and differs from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which urges individuals to wear a mask or face-covering in public settings, regardless of infection or not, to limit the spread of the virus.” In a word: INSANE.

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

A Holiday Weekend Diatribe.

Memorial Day – More Than Ever. Spaceport, Not Airport. Bull Or Bear? Pop Up Theaters. Office Space. Ice Cream for 60. Wide World Of Sports.

For a many reasons, tomorrow is the most important holiday in the United States.  Memorial Day is observed on the last Monday of May and was formerly known as Decoration Day.  Memorial Day commemorates all men and women who have died in military service for the United States.  Tomorrow takes on additional significance with those around the world who have fallen to Covid-19, with millions reflecting on the family and friends they have lost. If you have a flag, please honor our fallen veterans and victims and fly your flag; if you don’t have one please go buy one. Note: on Friday, the White House, for this weekend, asked that all flags be flown at half-mast to honor those lost to Covid-19.

How the American Flag Became a Threat | Time

Wednesday afternoon is significant and marks the new age of space exploration. For many decades, NASA has designed, developed and deployed all manned space flights. The new direction from NASA is to commercialize space flight, using the resources of private space exploration companies to do the heavy lifting of rocket design and deployment. On Wednesday, SpaceX will fire off its spacecraft, Crew Dragon, from Kennedy Space Center on the east coast of Florida. With success, this launch will be the go-forward for privatized space exploration. It is inevitable that it in the not so distant future, your airport will be joined by a spaceport and instead of seeing the signage for airlines you will see way-finding signage for SpaceX, Blue Origin, and Virgin Galactic. Yes, you will.

SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket taking off with Crew Dragon during a flight test

Can someone shed some light why the Dow is only 16% off its all time high? This may be the strangest stock market in modern history. Thousands of businesses’ annual forecasts demolished, 25% unemployment, and in some areas a spike in Covid-19 infections. The Dow Jones all-time high of 29,551 was reached on Feb. 12, 2020. I am not complaining but someone please chime in.

Other than the dynamics of acquiring real estate and working out the restroom, food and beverage dynamics, expect to see drive-in theaters popping up all over the country. Digital imaging, screen resolution, and audio-casting makes this a go-forward proposition for the motion picture industry and consumers wanting to see the big screen while keeping social distance. Anyone disagree?

A pop-up drive-in movie theater is in the works for the parking lot north of the stadium where the Milwaukee Milkmen play in Franklin at Ballpark Commons.
A pop-up drive-in movie theater is in the works for the parking lot north of the stadium where the Milwaukee Milkmen play in Franklin at Ballpark Commons. 

We have all heard this before, especially after 9/11. Many leaders of technology companies, including Google, Facebook, Zoom, and Index Exchange are contemplating a permanent work-from-home for all employees. My assumption is that the last ten-twelve weeks have given these companies the time to access their employees productivity and performance. One dynamic to contemplate: if this is a go-forward for many organizations, what happens to the millions of square feet of uninhabited office space? I am sure Jones Lang LaSalle and other commercial real estate companies are figuring that out right now.

We all hear about many NBA players, with their absorbent salaries, sometimes being difficult to motivate. There are many ways to motivate your team and individual players, but this directive from Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr, from both a motivation and reward standpoint, is quite interesting:

Warriors coach Steve Kerr with an interesting reward for one of his players to score 60 points.

Located near Orlando, Florida, within Walt Disney World, is the ESPN Wide World of Sports (WWS) complex. There are not many sports complexes around the world with the facilities housed at this amazing venue. I have had the opportunity and privilege to play many tournaments at the WWS and was always amazed at the depth of facilities, the fastidious organization of the tournament, and of course how tidy and clean the employees kept all the grounds and facilities. I can’t think of a better venue for Major League Soccer and the National Basketball Association to continue their seasons. Other than the sub-Sahara heat and humidity, the WWS provides the total “bubble” both leagues are looking for to try and keep the teams and media safe. Fingers crossed that this game plan works out.

Adios, stay safe, pay it forward, and yes, Have A FUNDAY SUNDAY!

What I Think I Think.

Stop The Spread. Food Trucks. Phyllis George. Equality. Saturday Is For College Football? Let’s Not Ever Forget. The German Restart.

“It’s the wild west”. Not a quote from James West or Artemis Gordon from the television show The Wild Wild West. It is a quote from the Governor of Wisconsin after the courts overturned a statewide order to ‘shelter at home’. I am staying away from the politics here….I try to stay away from politics and religion. What I don’t understand is the hundreds of people packing into bars, all over each other, with no respect to social distancing. I get that the healthcare experts still do not have clear and concise data regarding the spread of Covid-19, but the data we do review clearly shows that social distancing and facial coverings are slowly decreasing the spread of the virus. I am sensitive to all the business owners who need revenue streams to stay in business – but let’s try to do it the right way to slow down the spread and protect our loved ones. It is a lot to ask, but do we really have a choice at this point?

Bars were packed last Wednesday after a court order struck down Wisconsin’s stay at home order.

Headline in the new normal: Trucks used to store bodies amid coronavirus can go back to hauling food. Yes, you read that correctly. The Food & Drug Administration gave the go-ahead on Wednesday of last week. A sad testament to the Covid-19 pandemic – and one that does not sit well with anyone.

A woman who opened the door for female sports anchors, Phyllis George had charisma, charm and beauty. The impact she made on Sundays as a host of CBS’ The NFL Today was amazing and I definitely remember my father, brother and I glued to the television set watching her tell us about the day’s NFL games. She was Miss America, the First Lady of Kentucky, and a leader and supporter of women in the workplace. Phyllis George passed away yesterday from a rare blood disorder. She was really something.

SadNews Instagram posts -
RIP Phyllis George.

I am a fan of the United States National Teams – both the women and men. For what seems like many years, the Women’s National Team (WNT) has been engrossed and consumed with a lawsuit filed against their employer, the United States Soccer Federation (USSF). There are a few pieces to the lawsuit, with the most prominent claim “purposeful gender discrimination”. The contention surrounds the WNT claiming that they have been unfairly compensated compared to the Men’s National Team (MNT). I will not go into a diatribe regarding gender discrimination or pay inequality. What I will do is state the following: the women, and their counsel, went through their due diligence and a negotiation within the boundaries of a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). I do not have a legal background nor am I the sharpest pencil in the stack, but the women accepted their terms of compensation after the ‘collective bargaining’ process was completed. The women agreed to the terms of the CBA, and I am assuming their counsel provided them guidance and advice to do so. I know there are many women and men who disagree with the claim being thrown out, and if you do, take time to read the actual court ruling. To me, the Women’s National Team contract is exactly what they bargained for. A key excerpt from the ruling:. Judge Klausner noted that representatives for the players rejected a pay-for-play model identical to the men early in those negotiations in 2016. In later negotiations, the players offered a counter proposal with lesser bonuses than the federation’s offer in exchange for more contracted players and higher base salaries benefits not part of the CBA between U.S. Soccer and the men’s union. Don’t misunderstand me – I have been and will be a huge supporter of the women’s national team. This is a very unfortunate circumstance for our country’s most successful national team. If only our men’s national team had the same pedigree.

Andres Cantor’s call of Carli Lloyd’s World Cup goal from midfield.

Speaking of sports, college football programs, being only mid-May, seem to have a decent runway to make decisions on how to handle their season. A stake was put in the ground last week by the California State University System announcing that their fall semester with again be virtual with no students attending classes on campus. Does this lay the groundwork that sports programs will follow suit? No college football, soccer and all the other Fall sports cancelled? Do other state university systems follow California’s directive? A contrarian view is Atlantic Coast Conference commissioner John Swofford, who said that his conference is moving ahead and planning for college sports. Opinions please.

Why did it take twenty-five years? How, with the world’s intelligence agencies and capabilities, did Felicien Kabuga escape the grasp of authorities? When people discuss THE holocaust, it usually includes the mandate: “we must never forget” to ensure that it does not happen ever again. I came away from my visit to Dachau and it’s concentration camp with an everlasting memory that I for one, will never forget. So someone please explain the reality of Felicien Kabuga, a Rwandan financier, who in 1994 orchestrated the genocide of 800,000 Rwandans, and why it took so long capture him? When authorities finally found Kabuga yesterday morning, he was not hiding in a cave in the mountains of Afghanistan or the deep throws of the jungles of central Africa. He was found just north of Paris living with his family. How the hell could one of the world’s most wanted fugitives live untouched for 25 years in a suburb of Paris? I am not going down the blame game with the French authorities because if memory serves me right, it took 16 years for American authorities to find and arrest Whitey Bulger, the mob boss who was tied to 19 murders. You can’t compare Whitey Bulger with Felicien Kabuga – their crimes of humanity are heinous but certainly different. It just does not sit well that genocide, as much as we think ‘will never happen again’, has been and still goes on around the world.

The German soccer league (Bundesliga) restarted their league play yesterday. There is no doubt that the world’s sporting authorities, team ownership groups, sponsors, partners, and fans are keeping a close eye on the outcome from this weekend’s games. I took in a few minutes of yesterday’s Dortmund-Schalke match and overall it was quite watchable. Obviously, with no crowd noise, the echoing effect was prevalent but overall the broadcast was well-presented. Let’s hope all sports leagues around the world can have a positive restart from bench-marking the stringent protocols set up by the Bundesliga and the governing body of German soccer.

Empty seats are seen in the Signal Iduna Park without spectators during the German Bundesliga soccer match between Borussia Dortmund and Schalke 04 in Dortmund on  Saturday. The Bundesliga becomes the world's first major soccer league to resume plan after a two-month suspension because of the coronavirus pandemic. [HEINZ BUESE  |  AP]
Yesterday’s Dortmund – Schalke match with no spectators in the stadium.

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

Miss It For Now.

It Will Happen and We Will Be Back.

The Triple Crown – I only watch these three horse races every year. That adds up to only a few minutes of racing. Last year we watched the Kentucky Derby at Thacher Winery in Paso Robles, CA. They throw an incredible Derby party – with attendees dressed in their horse racing best. The two minutes I missed, we all missed, from Churchill Downs last Saturday . . . a really tough circumstance only one year later. The Kentucky Derby is rescheduled for Labor Day weekend – let’s hope that the race can happen.

Our Paso Robles Winery
Thacher Winery is located in Paso Robles, California.

Pedestrian-only Promenades – I miss street fairs and the art festivals where the streets are closed down. As states start to reopen and move from phase to phase, maybe more cities will allow restaurants and stores to use the streets to keep people social-distanced? I know of a few cities making this happen – my first thought is Canton Street in Roswell, GA and Park Avenue in Winter Park, Florida. It is not rocket science. Close down the street, let restaurants seat more people, and keep the six-foot protocol in place. With warm weather around the corner, there are probably hundreds of streets across the U.S. where this should happen. A note from yesterday: Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer announced changes to city codes to help local businesses reopen under new state guidelines, including allowing restaurants to turn parking lots and sidewalks into outdoor seating space. 

Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival takes over Park Avenue this ...
The Park Avenue Arts Festival in Winter Park, Florida

Inspiration – It started with my father, who influenced and motivated me in many ways. I was also lucky to have coaches who gave me the opportunity to learn and play a sport a many levels. Lou Confessore ran the soccer club I played for and was also my high school coach. Others were Herb Dunning, James Gilbert, and Bob Warming…all of them great coaches. As a youngster, a huge inspiration to me was Don Shula, the head coach of the Miami Dolphins. At an early age, I learned what the word pivot meant in the sports and business world. By pivot I mean the a total operational pivot from his predecessor. The Miami Dolphins first coach as an expansion team was George Wilson. Owner Joe Robbie hired Coach Shula to replace Wilson – and the change in culture, from the practice field to the sidelines was amazing. Coach Shula, at a relatively young age, took the Dolphins to Super Bowl wins in 1972 and 1973. That’s just one remarkable feat from Shula, whose 347 wins are a record for an NFL coach. Shula, the coach of the only perfect team in NFL history, passed away last Monday at the age of 90. His command and control of the entire organization was amazing and his success with the Dolphins put the city of Miami on the sports world’s map. RIP Coach Shula – you will be missed.

Don Shula Bowed Down to No One thumbnail
Coach Shula flanked by Dolphin greats Nick Buoniconti and Dick Anderson

Brooklyn Cafe and Amalfi. Located in north Atlanta, these contemporary cafes are a no-miss place for dinner and/or drinks. From the time you walk in, you immediately feel like these restaurants could be ones you find in Chicago or New York. Definitely frequented by their regulars, their main bartenders know what you drink and what you usually order for dinner. Plaques on the bar at Brooklyn Cafe honor their legendary patrons – something you don’t find too often at an upscale eatery. Salvatore, the proprietor and personality of Amalfi, has the tough Napoli demeanor, but he is full of life and loved by his regulars. Dining at his bar is always a great experience. I am hoping that they are holding strong during this difficult time.

Photo of Amalfi Ristorante - Roswell, GA, United States. Best Italian Restaurant in Sandy Springs
Amalfi – one of Atlanta’s best Italian restaurants.

Atlanta United and the season. I don’t need to explain this to most. Even people who are not fans of the sport are hooked once they attend a game at Mercedes Benz stadium. It is different, it is fun, and the game is only two hours long. It will be back – with or without fans in this fantastic stadium.

Atlanta United at Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia

Live Music. Any live music, whether it be at an amphitheater, a concert hall, or at the local dive bar. With outdoor seating areas opening up in most states, let’s hope that we get to enjoy live music soon.

Great outdoor music venues worldwide: Gorge Amphitheatre, Columbia River Valley, Washington
Gorge Amphitheater, Columbia River Valley, Washington

Blue Ridge, Georgia. This North Georgia town has it all. Great cabins, easy and challenging hiking trails, a good variety of restaurants, bars, and shopping, and a beautiful lake. Lake Blue Ridge and the marina are a great way to end the day after a long hike or boat ride. The marina has the Boat Dock Bar & Grill with beautiful views of the lake and usually some good live music. “A Sunny Spot for Shady People” – absolutely! I hope I can visit soon.

Front food menu pic
About 90 minutes north of Atlanta is Lake Blue Ridge.

Most importantly: Today we celebrate all moms on Mother’s Day.

Mom Boss: Cute Mom Notebook/Journal (6" X 9") Best Mother Gift ...
Happy Mother’s Day and yes, they are the Boss!

Adios, pay it forward, and stay safe!

The New Normal?

My Top Ten Outcomes Of The Pandemic.

With all due respect to the lives lost to the Covid-19 virus, it is time to focus on what the new normal could be as countries and their regions slowly start to reopen. The “shelter at home” order has forced us and given us the time to reflect and spend more time with family. These ten are in no particular order of importance:

1. Virtual Meetings and Video Calls – some services like FaceTime have been around many years but the ‘stay at home’ order has resulted in learning to work from home. While many of us have used video calls prior to this difficult situation, WebEx, Zoom, Viber and Meet have become ubiquitous – will this type of video communication, in a virtual way, continue at the current level of usage post-pandemic?

2. Dr. Birx and Dr. Fauci – they are the ‘adults in the room’ during this crisis. Level-headed, balanced, and the voice of reason. Going forward, we will definitely rely on them and their peers to lead us through the next pandemic.

3. Family – Most of us have had the opportunity to spend more time with kids and other family at home. Dealing with this situation should give all of us a bit more appreciation for our loved ones, friends, and associates. Yes, this comes from me. 🙂

4. Virtual doctor visits – While telemedicine has been around many years, the reality of visiting a doctor’s office right now, for the most part, is not happening. What is happening is the ability to have a video call with your doctor, describe your situation, and possibly get advice and a prescription without having to get in your car, sit in a vulnerable waiting room, and waste hours of your time. Going forward, why would you take up so much of your time when you can meet your doctor virtually? Telemedicine is not applicable for all situations, but many.

5. OTT – Discovering and using Over-the-Top services has increased during the ‘stay-at-home’ period as we look for varied content, especially considering live sports is shut down. While we may have planned to ‘cut the cord’ from our cable providers, utilizing content delivery platforms like the Amazon Fire stick can deliver a wide variety of content via Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu. At a minimum, this situation has probably raised the confidence level of many consumers that cutting the cable cord could be the new norm.

6. Knowledge base – Along with others, I did not pay attention to previous coronavirus outbreaks, for example SARS. The positive outcome of this situation: all of us, having endured the dire effects of Covid-19, will no longer not pay attention and take precaution early on. No more is an international outbreak “their problem” – Covid-19 has taught us it is everyone’s problem.

7. Music Appreciation 101 – For me, this time at home has given me more time to rediscover music – using Spotify, Amazon Music, Pandora and SiriusXM. It has brought back some fantastic memories and I would think, even with the eventual return of live sports, listening to various music will continue post-pandemic. The ability to acquire and build your personal playlists using some of these platforms is great fun. While I like all the music services, Spotify is my current flavor of the month.

8. Hand washing and Hand Shaking – Yes, I know all of us always were diligent with consistent hand washing many times per day? Going forward, there is no doubt that this 20-second act will become way more prominent in our everyday lives. It better. As for handshaking, this one will be tough to completely forego – or will it?

9. Acts of Kindness – To the food banks, first responders, first-line healthcare workers, the supply chain providers, and all the companies who have pivoted what they manufacture to now produce protective gear, you have once again have risen above the call of duty. Thank you.

10. The Vaccine – It is on it’s way and yes, we really don’t know exactly when, though latest predictions tells us January. The vaccine will come and just as importantly set the stage for future vaccines to combat future pandemics.

Adios, stay safe, pay it forward and remember Mother’s Day is one week from today.