Madeleine. Roman. Thoughts. Golazo.

One Tough Person. He Could Be A Power Broker. A Few Random Takes. Dog Gone Crazy.

  • She was born in 1937 in Prague, Czechoslovakia. At the age of two, her family was forced to leave the country to escape the Nazi regime. The family eventually settled in the United States – giving the late Madeleine Albright an opportunity she certainly capitalized on. After graduating from Wellesley College, Albright went on to earn a PhD from Columbia University and worked as a professor at Georgetown University and the University of Colorado. Following these terms as a professor, she took on the following assignments and appointments:
  • The U.S. State Department, earning numerous awards and accolades for her work as a diplomat, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor.
  • U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations
  • Advisor to the National Security Council
  • First female Secretary of State
  • Elected to a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2001.
  • Accepted a position on the board of directors of the New York Stock Exchange
  • Served on the board of directors for the Council on Foreign Relations
  • Appointed the co-chair of the Commission on Legal Empowerment of the Poor
  • A co-chair of the Genocide Prevention Task Force
  • Served as Chair of the council for The Hague Institute for Global Justice

Albright was widely considered to have been one of the most influential women in America, and her tenure as Secretary of State is often cited as a model for future female leaders. Madeleine Albright was known for her frankness and her ability to get straight to the point, and she was never afraid to speak her mind. Here is one of her quotes that I respect and agree with: “It took me quite a long time to develop a voice, and now that I have it, I am not going to be silent.” Madeleine Albright passed away last Wednesday at the age of eighty-four. She rose to power and fame as a brilliant analyst of world affairs…it is unfortunate she is not the U.S. Secretary of State now, as her demeanor, drive, and spirit might be sending a different message to Vladimir Putin. RIP Madeleine Albright.

Of all things…Madeleine Albright was not shy!

  • Roman Abramovich was a former political figure in Russia, having governed the eastern province of Chukotka. In the seven years of his regime, he revived this sparsely populated Pacific region, pumping billions into the region’s economy, rebuilding infrastructure, housing, education systems, and healthcare. At the time he left his appointment, back in 2008, he was Russia’s third richest man, with a vast fortune of $24 billion. Abramovich earned Vladimir Putin’s trust with the work he did in Chukotka, and to this day these two Russians remain very close.

Fast forward to present day, and Abramovich, deemed a Russian oligarch, had acquired assets including ownership of Chelsea football club. As an oligarch, Abramovich’s assets were seized with the UK’s imposed sanctions on all Russian entities and their assets. This included the Premier League’s Chelsea F.C., valued at more than $3 billion. Abramovich has subsequently put the Club up for sale, creating a bidding war for this West London football club.

Russian oligarch and former Chelsea F.C. owner Roman Abramovich

Reports out of Ukraine report that Abramovich attended a first round of peace talks between Russia and Ukraine in Belarus during the first week of Putin’s brutal invasion – that has now dragged on for over a month. Here is to hoping that Abramovich, from Jewish origin and a holder of passports from Russia, Portugal, and Israel, really does have Vladimir Putin’s ear and can somehow convince the tyrant to back off and stay in his lane. That would be Abramovich’s gift to the people of both Ukraine and Russia, as the world now has clear evidence that his little buddy Vladimir is totally out of control. I have no idea how this conflict will evolve or somehow end. Praying that the pride and soul of the Ukrainian soldiers will prevail.

Sunday Update:

  • RIP to Foo Fighters’ drummer Taylor Hawkins. He took over the drumming duties from Dave Grohl twenty-five years ago.
  • My posts have gone back and forth on the future of the electric car. If you use supply and demand as a barometer, it is no longer a phenomena or fad. Last week, Google searches for electric cars broke records. Is this craze due to the price of gasoline or do some new car buyers feel comfortable with the reality of recharging their cars?
  • For various reasons, I will not watch tonight’s 94th Academy Awards. Watching and listening to both presenters and award-winners voice their political or religious views has become systemic, and the show’s ratings over the years tell us that I am not alone with my no-go with watching what was once a very cool awards show.
  • Close to ten percent of the Ukrainian population has been forced to leave their home and country due to Russia’s invasion of their sovereign country. The exodus has turned into a humanitarian crisis and your help is needed. An easy way to support the effort to help is with a donation. Just do it.

  • I guess these dogs know something we do not? Sure, a spanish-speaking play-by-play announcer always gets everyone stirred up…but wow!

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

The Bullet. At Last. Over The Moon. Arnold Speaks Out.

NYC To Montreal In Less Than An Hour. More Vitamin D In 2023. “To The Moon, Alice, To The Moon.” The Terminator.

  • $1.2 trillion is mind-boggling. It is only when you understand what the funds will be used for – can you somehow justify that amount of money the U.S. government will spend to fix and improve infrastructure. The infrastructure bill was signed into law and will be managed and allocated by the Department of Transportation. One area of infrastructure that will receive a massive amount of funds are bridges. Bridges that we cross every day, by foot, in cars, or on trains. Here is the eye-opener: There are more than 617,000 bridges across the United States. Currently, 42% of all bridges are at least 50 years old, and 46,154, or 7.5% of the nation’s bridges, are considered structurally deficient. Yes, “structurally deficient.” You may shrug your shoulders and say so what, until you remember the bridge collapse in the Minneapolis, Minnesota area back in 2007.

Fifteen years ago, the I-35W bridge over the Mississippi River in downtown Minneapolis collapsed, sending cars, trucks and even a school bus that were crawling over it in bumper-to-bumper rush hour traffic plummeting into the river below and onto the rocky shore. Thirteen people were killed, 145 more were injured, many of them seriously.

One of 40,000 bridges in the United States deemed structurally deficient.

Which brings me to another transportation issue. Though entities such as Brightline are implementing ‘high’ speed train routes in a few areas of the country, how and why did the United States, with highway congestion on every major interstate highway, miss out on “bullet” trains? Just to name a few, how marvelous would it be to travel the Washington, D.C. to Philadelphia to New York City routes in less than an hour? What about San Diego to Los Angeles to San Francisco in under two hours? I have read the rumors of super high-speed trains in the works from different entities, including Virgin’s ‘Hyperloop’, but how did we get here, or more pointedly, not get here? Many European and Asian train systems include super high-speed train systems, including Japan’s L0 Series Maglev, the fastest train in the world, with a speed record of 374 mph. It could go the distance from New York City to Montreal in less than an hour.

The U.S. infrastructure system recently received a C- score from the American Society of Civil Engineers earlier this year. The bill signed into law will initially deliver $550 billion of new federal investments in America’s infrastructure over the next five years…and with that said I cannot imagine the productivity, efficiency, and automobile fuel savings if the U.S. had invested in super high-speed trains years ago, similar to parts of Europe and Asia. A damn shame.

It is no longer a matter of how, but when?

  • For the five and a half years I have been writing JustMyTake, twice a year I remind everyone of my excitement on the second Sunday in March, and my disappointment on the first Sunday in November. Starting next year, my wish finally comes true as daylight savings time will be year-round, eliminating the darkness at 5:30PM. Some friends think I have been way over the top with this clock-changing issue, but I stand firm that this change to permanent daylight savings time is a really good decision. Sure, there may be a bit of downside with the early morning hours still dark, but here is a list of benefits with extended daylight in the early evenings:
  • Robberies drop 7% overall as the bad guys do not like the extra hours of light in the early evening hours.
  • Extended light in the early evenings improves safety on roadways and reduces pedestrian fatalities by up to 13%.
  • Extended daylight hours have a positive impact on mental health by creating more opportunities to socialize and be active in the evenings.
  • Researchers report that daylight savings time promotes a more active lifestyle.
  • Not to be self-serving, but those extra hours of daylight have a direct correlation to my tennis game, as I can actually see the ball at 7:30PM.

The bill still needs to be approved by the House and signed off on by the President…hoping it is smooth sailing and I can happily drop the subject matter from my blog.

  • After ten years of development, NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) is getting very close to its first test mission, with this powerful rocket ultimately getting astronauts back on the moon. On Thursday and Friday of last week, the SLS left the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) and slowly made its way to the launch pad. If you have ever been to Kennedy Space Center or driven on I-95 near Cape Canaveral, there is no way you could not notice the VAB – the building is massive. Note: it took eleven hours for the SLS to make its way from the VAB to the launch pad. Fingers crossed that all goes well with the test flight in April.
The SLS and the Orion capsule will eventually get astronauts back to the moon.

A few short takes on things I think:

  • No one on the planet can tell me that Vladimir Putin is not a madman. A sick bastard with no moral character and definitely no self-esteem.
  • Even if you do not like college basketball, March Madness is a lot of fun. I cannot believe that it has been eleven years since Turner Sports struck a deal with CBS to telecast all tournament games.
  • Both soccer and non-soccer fans were shocked when the United States Men’s National Team failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup. Starting next week, the U.S. plays their final three-game qualification series. The outcome of these three games will again determine their fate to qualify for the 2022 World Cup, which starts in November in of all places, Qatar. On Thursday, the U.S. men face archrival Mexico at Mexico City’s famous Estadio Azteca. If you want to watch a sporting war, watch Thursday night’s game. This one will be nasty.
  • Some people do not care for Arnold. He may have rubbed people the wrong way when he governed California, or turned people off with the movie, “Twins.” 🙂 At least he did make the effort to try and reach some Russian citizens and explain the realities of Vladimir Putin and his gone very wrong regime. Maybe The Terminator can make an unexpected visit to the Kremlin?
At least Schwarzenegger tried to reach out.

Adios, pay it forward, be safe, and Have A Funday Sunday!!

How Did We Get Here? There Is No Doubt. Headlines. Friends. Mystery Ride.

What Is Not Inflated? He Is No Different Than The Worst Of The Worst. It Is Not Just Florida. Don’t Get Your Panties In A Wad.

  • The coronavirus and the pandemic. The serious supply chain issues reducing the amount of available goods. Stimulus checks being pocketed by millions. The sanctions and other economic responses to Russia invading Ukraine. All of these socio-economic and geopolitical events have resulted in the fastest rate of inflation in forty years. Compared to 2021, gas at our favorite convenience store is up 38%, used cars 41%, and food prices at the grocery store up as much as 9%. By economic definition, the continued rising prices across the board define inflation, a general increase in prices and fall in the purchasing value of money. The sector of the population most affected by inflation are people living on fixed incomes or lower-wage workers. The problem is systemic and will hopefully resolve itself by solving the supply chain dilemma and the Federal Reserve slowly raising interest rates.

Established in 1913, The Federal Reserve System (“the Fed”) is the central banking system of the United States. It was formed in response to a series of financial panics with the goal of controlling the monetary system to help alleviate issues with financial and banking systems. It is interesting how things have not changed over the last one hundred and nine years, as there is no more important time than now for the Federal Reserve to step in to mitigate inflation not seen in more than 40 years. One way the Fed can help with slowing down the economy is to change (raise) interest rates. It does this by raising the short-term borrowing rate for commercial banks, who in turn pass on the higher rates to their consumer and business customers. It is sort of like a gas and brake pedal for the economy, raising rates to slow down the economy as higher rates usually correlate to a slowdown in spending, or lower the rates to stimulate the economy. For now, the Fed will try to make borrowing more expensive so consumers and businesses hold off on making purchases or investments, which will in turn cool off demand and bring prices for fuel and food back in check. With all that said, no one knows the full effect of Russia invading Ukraine, and what the subsequent sanctions, will do to our economy.

The United States is experiencing the highest rate of inflation in over 40 years

  • Josef Mengele. Adolf Eichmann. Saddam Hussein. Ratko Mladic. Pol Pot. Omar Al-Bashir. Muammar Qaddafi. Augusto Pinochet. Slobodan Milosevic. Idi Amin.

These are a random sample of so-called leaders accused of war crimes. As a level-set, here is the definition of a war crime, outlined by The International Criminal Court, an intergovernmental organization and international tribunal that sits in The Hague, Netherlands: A war crime is a violation of the laws of war that gives rise to individual criminal responsibility for actions by the combatants, such as intentionally killing civilians or intentionally killing prisoners of war, torture, taking hostages, unnecessarily destroying civilian property, deception by perfidy, wartime sexual violence, pillaging, the conscription of children in the military, committing genocide or ethnic cleansing, the granting of no quarter despite surrender, and flouting the legal distinctions of proportionality and military necessity.

There has been continued discussion regarding Vladimir Putin and his egregious behavior. Russia is bombing Ukraine’s civilian population, including apartment buildings and a maternity hospital. Civilian property is destroyed, and many civilians have been killed – in a sovereign country now devastated by Putin and his armed forces. These events in Ukraine are no different than Putin’s actions with Chechnya in 1999, Georgia in 2008, and Ukraine in 2014, which led to an illegal occupation and annexation of Crimea. Then there’s Syria. For a decade, Putin has propped up Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad despite evidence of atrocities that war crimes investigators believe is the “strongest since the Nuremberg trials”. By definition, Putin is a war criminal and must be treated as one. I understand the thirty-member NATO alliance, and their hesitancy to send troops to non-NATO Ukraine. What I do not understand is why a clandestine operative has not sent this narcissistic megalomaniac to a place called Hell.

Do you need any additional evidence that Putin is a war criminal?

  • I often run across some interesting (or puzzling) headlines:
  • India accidentally fires missile into Pakistan – how does India actually make this happen? Did they aim incorrectly?
  • Florida man arrested after stealing a crossbow by stuffing it down his trousers – yes, this happened in FLORIDA. Anyone surprised?
  • New Jersey animal control officer called to capture fake parrot – okay, so maybe Florida is not so bad after all?
  • Box of human heads stolen from Denver truck – Weed is legal in Colorado, right?
  • Unusual, submarine-shaped vehicle spotted on Florida road – okay, I take back what I said about Florida. It was obviously a slow news day in Punta Gorda.
No, and no.

We can lighten up the tone of this post with someone’s interesting definition of friends. I do not disagree with this take:

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

Kheil HaAvir. Keeping It Light In A Very Serious Time.

Maybe They Could Impose Their Will. A Bit Of Humor Needed By All.

  • Vladimir Putin’s decision to invade the country of Ukraine has added additional concern and heartbreak after more than two years of dealing with a pandemic. I do not have any answers for stopping Russia’s onslaught as NATO’s hands are tied due to Ukraine not being part of the thirty-nation alliance. As I discussed with a friend last week, there is a non-NATO country who can run point on eliminating Russian tanks, artillery, and other assets…a country known for their precise use of air-to-surface missiles? I have one in mind.

  • Instead of trying to provide a light and funny take last week, I took a stab at the Russia-Ukraine situation. For this week, let us look at Jason Statham, Volkswagen A.G., a tractor, Clint Eastwood, some pets, Kramer, and of course my favorite breakfast:

He is a heartthrob. A badass with a British accent and the tough, handsome look of the star he has become over the years. More importantly, Jason Statham has a profound sense of humor.

Jason at his finest. 🙂

I am not making light of Volkswagen A.G. or their brands including Volkswagen, Audi, Porsche, and Lamborghini. There is no humor with this cargo ship, carrying 4,000 luxury vehicles with an estimated value of $400 million, sinking in the mid-Atlantic Ocean. The Felicity Ace started to tilt to one side and take on water after it caught fire. There was no loss of life as all twenty-two sailors on board the ship were rescued after the fire started last month. I am a bit surprised that there was no off-loading option and more perplexing to me is the caption of this photo, which was taken by the Portuguese Navy.

The Panama-flagged vessel caught fire, tilted to one side, and then RAN AGROUND in the mid- Atlantic Ocean.

There can be no doubt about my feelings with Russia invading Ukraine. My post last week provided my views but without too many solutions. I cannot comment on Russia’s armed forces, their tactics or strategy. They are doing massive damage to Ukraine, a savage attack on a sovereign nation instigated by Vladimir Putin. The armed forces and citizens of Ukraine have taken a stance and are fighting for their country. Let us all pray that they prevail and if the video below is a small indication of Russia’s Army, we may have some hope.

Really Russia?

If Vladimir Putin wants a fight, a good opponent would be a roll up of the badass characters Clint Eastwood played during his incredible career. Once bundled, a bit of a one-on-one interaction with Putin would be enjoyable. I think a combination of Josey Wales (The Outlaw Josey Wales), Blondie (The Good, The Bad, The Ugly), Will Munny (Unforgiven), Harry Callahan (Dirty Harry), and Walt Kowalski (Gran Torino) would be nice opposition in a duel with the Russian tyrant. “Get Off My Lawn” has never been more relevant.

Let’s get Harry Callahan to do the dirty work.

If you know me you know I love dogs, especially big ones. Whether they are a man’s best friend is up for discussion, but I have always enjoyed having a dog around. I guess there are guidelines with their breed and demeanor, but this video takes the pet thing a bit too far.

My first and only question is where is this bear’s momma? Hopefully far away.

I miss Seinfeld. Actually, I miss Kramer. I take in a rerun once in a blue moon – just to experience the bizarre world of Kramer. A little bit of Kramer may be what the world needs right now.

“They kept ringing the bell.” There is only one Kramer.

And finally, on this first Sunday of March, I finally decided to yield to my internist’s orders to keep my caffeine intake at a minimum. I am pretty sure some of you would agree with his directive.

Obviously Tito’s or Grey Goosenot Russian.

Adios, pay it forward, be safe, and have a Funday Sunday! And yes, we are one week from daylight savings time!