In Memory On Memorial Day Weekend.

What Are We Doing?

  • A Holiday weekend marred by the tragic incident at an elementary school in the small town of Uvalde, Texas. This sad event is another in the many mass school shootings that have ended the life of students, faculty, and staff. ROBB ELEMENTARY SCHOOL, May 2022, 21 dead. OXFORD HIGH SCHOOL, November 2021, 4 dead. SANTA FE HIGH SCHOOL, May 2018, 10 dead. MARJORY STONEMAN DOUGLAS HIGH SCHOOL, February 2018, 17 dead. UMPQUA COMMUNITY COLLEGE, October 2015, 9 dead. MARYSVILLE-PILCHUCK HIGH SCHOOL, October 2014, 4 dead. UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, SANTA BARBARA, May 2014, 6 dead. SANDY HOOK ELEMENTARY SCHOOL, December 2012, 27 dead. OIKOS UNIVERSITY, April 2012, 7 dead. NORTHERN ILLINOIS UNIVERSITY, February 2008, 5 dead. VIRGINIA TECH, April 2007, 32 dead. WEST NICKEL MINES AMISH SCHOOL, October 2006, 5 dead. RED LAKE HIGH SCHOOL, March 2005, 9 dead. COLUMBINE HIGH SCHOOL, April 1999, 13 dead. It has been twenty-three years since the Columbine High School tragedy, followed by twelve mass shooting incidents at our nation’s schools. What are we doing?

Over four years ago, I posted my take regarding the safety at our schools across America. Four years later, we are still asking ‘What are we doing?‘:

I will not comment on why a 19-year-old possessed an AR-15 rifle, groups of gun activists or gun control, or 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, who is able to enter a school with little security in place. As taxpayers, we support the use of schools using crossing guards to protect our children on a daily basis, but what about school security? With the mental instability of so many, why are many schools left unprotected with the ability to enter a school with little to no deterrent? I realize that the tax base funding to support school systems are different, but at a minimum, should we not employ off-duty police officers to protect our schools, no different than the school crossing guards who put their lives on the line every time they direct traffic? I know these questions may be trivial, but not to the families and friends who lost loved one’s last week.  No matter the politics, gun control will be an issue for many years to come. So while our congressional leaders try to figure out what to do, can we not tackle the issue of security within our schools? That post was from four years ago. What are we doing?

  • Active shooter incidents in 2021 surged by more than 50 percent from 2020 and nearly 97 percent from 2017, according to new FBI statistics released last Monday. In 2021, there were sixty-one active shooter incidents, defined as one or more people actively engaging in killing or trying to kill in a populated areas by firearm. That is an increase of 53 percent from 2020, when 40 active shooter incidents were reported. The number of cases also grew from 30 each in 2019 and 2018 and 31 in 2017. Does anyone have any comment and suggestion surrounding the question: What are we doing?

  • 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 who have died in military service for the United States. Tomorrow takes on additional significance with those around the world who have fallen in the war in Ukraine, those lost in the Buffalo supermarket shooting, and those who lost their lives in last week’s horrific mass shooting. 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.
An all-consuming rendition of the United States national anthem.

  • Do the same issues we face today mimic 1971? Probably in some ways as the socio-economic unrest of fifty-one years ago parallels issues we still deal with today. Alvin Lee’s band, Ten Years After, produced this song in response to issues with the war in Vietnam, racial unrest, and a political system creating a monumental divide in America. Fifty-one years later, the song “I’d Love To Change the World” is never more relevant.
Well said Alvin Lee.

Adios, Fly Your Flag, Pay it Forward, Be Safe and Have A Nice Memorial Day.

Thank You. Thoughts. The War. Let’s Wrestle.

No Religion, No Politics. Top Of Mind. It Is Day Eighty-Eight. Bruno Was The Best.

  • Thank you to everyone who replied to me or commented on last week’s post. A post that said many things about religion and politics without any words.

Here are a few top of mind things:

  • The continued expansion of the privatization of space is continuing at a very fast pace. Boeing has entered the space exploration market with their Starliner, which docked at the International Space Station yesterday.
  • After three years of economic despair, it seems like Lebanon may have a recovery plan for pulling the nation out of its financial meltdown. Let us hope that this finally happens.
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) is “working on” monkeypox guidance as cases are rising rapidly. I feel so great about the WHO providing guidance on monkeypox considering their spot-on analysis of Covid-19 and its variants. Note of interest: the first outbreak of monkeypox was in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Yes, fifty-two years ago, and the WHO has no solution as of today.
  • He fired fifty rounds in a Buffalo supermarket and killed 10 people. Multiple homicides and clearly a hate crime. Anyone want to chime in on what the legal system will do with this monster?
  • A brewery in Finland has launched a new ‘NATO-based’ beer. Their tag line is a “Taste of Security.” Now that is excellent product marketing.

  • Today is day eighty-eight. As international news outlets continue their coverage of the war, there now seems to be general apathy surrounding the despair and destruction suffered by the country of Ukraine and its people. No longer a lead story for most news outlets, we now get to frown upon the bear market and the ‘sudden’ resurrection of Covid-19 and its variants. I find this alarming, and though the United States has approved another $40 billion for Ukraine, the Vladimir Putin-led Russian forces continue their relentless attack and destruction of a sovereign nation. Apathy aside, let us keep in mind the following:
  • President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Ukraine is determined to reclaim control over the southern cities of Kherson, Melitopol, Berdiansk, Enerhodar and Mariupol, now occupied by Russian troops. Yes, reclaim control as the Russian forces have taken over these cities and either killed, imprisoned, or forced its citizens to leave their homes.
  • Since the third week of February, Russia has fired more than 2,000 missiles into Ukraine, destroying not only Ukrainian military installations but schools, hospitals, and residential apartment buildings.
  • Ukraine reports that since the invasion by Russian troops, over two hundred thirty children have been killed and 427 injured.
  • The amount of war crimes Russia is committing continues on a daily basis including executions and torture of Ukrainian soldiers and its citizens.

Vladimir Putin, for many years, has not wanted Ukraine to join the NATO alliance as a bordering country. The war Vladimir Putin instigated and began close to ninety-days ago has had a crystallizing effect on the NATO alliance as countries in close proximity of Russia are now wondering if they are next? Though Putin has shrugged off the announcements by Finland and Sweden of their acceptance into the alliance, there is no doubt that this megalomaniac is uneasy with these two former independent Nordic nations now joining NATO. Finland and Sweden both have highly capable militaries and provide a geopolitical strength and advantage to NATO. Finland shares an 830-mile border with Russia, expanding the land border that Russia shares with NATO territories by 100%. Though Sweden does not have a land border with Russia, it does share a maritime border with the country. The swift and hasty acceptance of Finland and Sweden into the NATO alliance must be unnerving for Putin. Who knows what this tyrant will do next? Does Putin have ambitions of invading a NATO country to test the resolve of the alliance?

The inclusion of Finland and Sweden into the NATO alliance – a new NATO neighbor for the Russians.

“War, what is it good for, absolutely nothing…” not only pertains to the Russia-Ukraine conflict, but all war. Wars have started for all kinds of reasons, from keeping the world safe from the spread of Naziism, to preventing the creep of communism spreading in Southeast Asia. The Middle East conflicts offer up different dynamics of war, including the petrifying existence of religious extremism, but simply said, what is war good for?

Two young music lovers, obviously with no clue of the magical Edwin Starr, take a listen to Starr’s famous song “War,” which is so relevant with the situation in Ukraine. These kids are amazed with the song, it’s rhythm and Starr’s lyrics. As I have asked many times, why has this type of R&B/Funk music gone silent?

This song, with the great voice of Edwin Starr, has never been more relevant.

  • Gordon Solie’s Championship Wrestling From Florida was must-see TV in my household. My brother and I were fixed to the black and white box watching the likes of Dory Funk, Jr., The Briscoe brothers, Wahoo McDaniel, The Great Malenko, and of course “The American Dream”, Dusty Rhodes, make mincemeat out of their opponents. I will never forget our father, after trying to watch the wrestling shenanigans with us, just shaking his head and telling us that none of these great wrestlers would hold a candle to someone called Bruno Sammartino. With no internet or YouTube available back in the dark ages, my brother and I just took our dad’s word for it, and quickly went back to watch Gordon Solie and his sixty minutes of fun.

Fast forward many decades, and the name Bruno Sammartino has once again surfaced, as Amazon and other outlets have made a documentary film on the life of Bruno Sammartino available for our on-demand viewing. Remembering my dad’s lecture about this great wrestler, I dug up a few facts:

  • An Italian immigrant, his family was forced to leave their hometown of Pizzoferrato, Italy, fleeing from Nazi-German troops.
  • His family settled in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where the young Sammartino, with limited English-speaking ability and his slight appearance, became of target of bullies at his high school.
  • Sammartino quickly turned to weightlifting and wrestling, which provided him with size and strength of massive proportion.
  • In 1959, Sammartino set a world record in the bench press with a lift of 565 pounds. He was soon discovered by a wrestling promoter and the rest is history.
  • He won his first world wrestling title in 1963.
  • Sammartino sold out New York City’s Madison Square Garden 187 times.

I will watch ‘Bruno Sammartino’ sometime this week, thinking of my dad and his comment about this great wrestler, who fled the Nazi’s as a young child and went on to become, in Arnold Schwarzenegger’s words, “The Star of All the Stars.”

Bruno Sammartino, The Star of All Stars.

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

Politics & Religion. Memories.

I Have Tried To Stay Away From Both. Why I Am In The Kitchen?

After many years of my content staying away from politics and religion, and after the incessant badgering from my readers, I will finally relent and give my take on both topics. Again, it is just my take.

  • There you go. A detailed synopsis of how I really feel about discussing politics and religion. Now that I have done so, I just ask that you respect the ethos I have established for my posts. No religion, no politics.

  • As a level set, I just want you to know:

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

Leaked. Escape From Florence. Bob Hope. Mother’s Day.

The Sanctum Of The Supreme Court. Jailhouse Love. A Commitment To Our Troops. Remember Your Mom.

  • The information and detail confirming the authenticity of a leaked draft opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito is alarming. Justice Alito’s draft opinion suggested that the Supreme Court will vote to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark case that made abortion legal in the United States. I will outline some possible ramifications of Roe v. Wade being overturned (with no bias either way), but for me I think we should all ponder on why Chief Justice John Roberts has directed the Marshal of the Court to launch an investigation into the leak. Ultimately, the most important aspect of this incident will be the final opinion itself, and its impact on Roe v. Wade.

Whatever you think about the merits of the draft opinion, the leak undermines the integrity and public trust of the Court. When I write “Court” I am referring to the highest court in our land, The Supreme Court of the United States. As if the dynamics of the continuing Covid-19 variants, the effect of the Russians invading Ukraine, and the eye-opening inflation and stock market are not enough, we now learn that an opinion from a Justice of the Supreme Court was leaked. Will the Justice Department go after reporters via subpoenas to find out the reporter’s source? Possibly, but I would strongly doubt that any reporter will divulge their source.

Let us go through some of the detail surrounding Roe v. Wade. Whatever your stance regarding abortion may be, this U.S. Supreme Court decision, a 50-year-old ruling that “protects a pregnant woman’s liberty to choose to have an abortion without excessive government restriction,” the overturning of this ruling is certain to have some ramifications to ponder. Note: as part of my ethos with JustMyTake, I will state some possible outcomes should Roe v. Wade be overturned. Your opinion is valued, but no opinion regarding religion or politics will be part of my take.

  • While overturning Roe v. Wade would not criminalize abortion at the federal level, experts said it would be left to states to regulate abortions.
  • Many states are either considering or have already passed trigger laws that would rapidly curtail or outlaw abortion should Roe v. Wade be overturned.
  • One think tank estimates that twenty-seven states are likely to ban abortion once Roe v. Wade is overturned. These include Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
  • An ABC News – Washington Post poll found that 57% of Americans oppose a ban after fifteen weeks. 58% feel abortion should be legal in all or most cases.
  • Clinics in states continuing to perform abortions would be overwhelmed with patients from states that limit access to abortion.
  • Texas has a six-week ban in effect and has made it a felony to have a medical abortion via a pill after seven weeks.
  • The socio-economic implications of abortion restrictions are vast. One study from the Turnaway Group found that people denied abortion had a four times greater chance of being below the federal poverty line.
  • Some states are evaluating ways to protect the right to abortion and will support out-of-state residents who travel for an abortion.
  • How will the U.S. political system respond to Roe v. Wade being overturned?

My personal take on abortion is not important. I read and hear viewpoints from both sides and just hope that any ramifications of this opinion and ruling do not continue to destroy the integrity of the United States Supreme Court.

  • Pay attention to Northern Ireland. With the ongoing ramifications of Brexit in place, Irish nationalist party Sinn Fein has won the largest number of seats in the Northern Ireland Assembly for the first time. This election is a milestone for a party long linked to the Irish Republican Army, a paramilitary group that used bombs and bullets to try to take Northern Ireland out of U.K. rule. My daughter, son-in-law, and I were in Ireland and Northern Ireland a few years ago. My feelings then and now vary but there is a discernible difference between Dublin and Belfast – in many ways. We had a fantastic trip that included the beautiful coastal town of Howth, a quick train trip from Dublin. We also experienced a “black cab” tour that taught us the history of Belfast, Sinn Fein, and the Irish Republic Army. That is a story for another time.
Howth, Ireland – a beautiful coastal town near Dublin.

  • We wonder where Netflix gets there ideas for a new series? Look no farther than the Lauderdale County Detention Center in Florence, Alabama. It is assumed that a corrections officer had a ‘special’ relationship with a murder suspect, who just happens to be 6’9″ and weigh 340 lbs. She helped him escape from the jail after emptying her bank accounts – and being months away from retirement. Call me crazy but this story has the same character attributes as another Netflix series, a.k.a. Tiger King. Seriously, does it not get any better than this?

  • The late Bob Hope had a lifelong commitment to U.S. servicemen and women. His visits to entertain troops began with World War II, and his travel, sometimes behind enemy lines, resulted in laughter and applause from our brave soldiers protecting our country.

Bob Hope went into enemy territory to do nothing more than entertain and lift the spirits of our troops. And while he was overseas, the comedian had no idea what kind of danger he was in. In fact, the Nazis tracked Hope, knowing that if they bombed the area he was in, they could also take out many Allied troops as well. According to war correspondent Quentin Reynolds, “Bob Hope and his troupe would do 300 miles in a jeep, and give four shows … One of the generals said Hope was a first-rate military target since he was worth a division; that is about 15,000 men. The Nazis appreciated Hope’s value since they thrice bombed towns while the comic was there.” Last week marked eighty years since Bob Hope first performed for our troops overseas. A brave man, a great entertainer, and someone not easy to replace.

A Salute To Bob Hope in San Diego, California.

  • Today is Mother’s Day. Reach out, go see her, call her, or do something in memory of your mom. Larry David is the last person we want to watch provide his take on his mom…though he does make some good points with respect to her memorial.
There is only one Larry David.

Adios, pay it forward, be safe, have Funday Sunday…and HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!