Journalistic Apathy. Go Orangutan. AI. Cocktails. Father’s Day.

Let’s Not Forget About Ukraine. Go Ahead And Taunt. The Robot Is Sentient. Literally Hanging Out. A Salute To Dad.

  • Ukraine’s war with Russia is heading towards its fifth month (today is day 116) amid increasing local concern that dwindling media attention could lead to a gradual loss of western support just as Moscow is making slow but steady gains on the frontline. “Dwindling media attention” is exactly what I was afraid of when I wrote this take on May 21, 2022: “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.

Ukraine’s government officials feel that international media coverage has dropped markedly in the past two months, and “as that number goes down further, there’s a very high risk of the support from the west going down.” There is a possibility that media coverage will pick up again as many countries, including Italy and Germany, are feeling the effect of Russia curbing the flow of natural gas to their countries. The destruction of Ukraine continues as the Russian military recently shelled the eastern city of Lysychansk, killing several and taking out a key highway that leads into and out of this city. How long can Ukraine hold off the Russians?

  • I wished no harm to this man. With that said, based on what I read about this moron, when I first watched the video below, I was actually cheering for the orangutan. It seems that the man jumped a fence at an Indonesian zoo and for some reason began to taunt this Sumatran orangutan. Maybe the moron was under the influence of alcohol or narcotics, and completely forgot these eye-opening facts about orangutans?
  • Extremely strong, they can lift 500 pounds effortlessly.
  • Although not as strong as a gorilla, an orangutan is about seven times stronger than a human.
  • Orangutans also have a strong bite force – around 575 PSI – almost four times the bite force of a human and only slightly lower than that of a lion.
  • Its arms span about 7 feet.

First of all, this idiot is lucky to be alive. Secondly, I hope this video sends a message to dysfunctional people who feel it is necessary to jump over barriers to taunt wild animals. Last, but not the least, I cannot imagine spending time in jail, let alone one in Indonesia.

You can’t fix stupid.

  • Like many, this take is a bit of a reach for me. I am not capable of digging in too far into artificial intelligence (AI), but curiosity heightens when I read this statement from a former Google engineer: “…an AI robot he created has come to life and has thoughts and feelings like an eight-year-old.” The Google engineer, Blake Lemoine, has stated that this AI robot he created was sentient. Yes, sentient, the ability to perceive or feel things. He developed this advanced AI system that uses information about a particular subject to enrich the conversation in a ‘natural’ way. We were alarmed when genius physicist Stephen Hawking once revealed fears that thinking machines could one day take over the world. We all rolled our eyes at Hawking’s statement, mostly because we had no clue what he was talking about. Was Steven Hawking way ahead of the game when it comes to artificial intelligence? In a word, yes.

  • It took many years to design and engineer and three years to build, but a new 788-foot bridge, that spans the Dashbashi Canyon, has finally opened. The glass structure is suspended almost 1,000 feet in the air and features a diamond-shaped multi-level café to enjoy a bite to eat and your favorite cocktail. For further enjoyment, the bridge includes a zip line, allowing you to bike across the canyon. The next time you are in Georgia, in Eastern Europe, make sure to visit this amazing restaurant and attraction!
Amazing and fun!

  • Here is the quote of the week, this one from Adam Grant, an organizational psychologist at The Wharton School, and an author including the book Think Again: Holding strong opinions in the face of weak evidence is a sign that you’re not thinking critically. Conviction should follow the facts, not precede them. What you want to believe shouldn’t dictate what you believe. A key to lifelong learning is valuing curiosity over closure.

  • To all: A very happy Father’s Day! Here is an Ed Sheeran parody to get your special day started:

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

Customer – No Service. Say What? Random Thoughts. Nothing Else Matters.

You Just Shake Your Head. You Just Shake Your Head v.2. She Is Not James Hetfield.

I try not to judge. Seriously, my life tenure and experiences have finally taught me, to the best of my ability, to not respond to ignorance or just plain stupidity. Before you read the email below, allow me to provide a bit of background:

  • I live in Orlando and my daughter, son-in-law, and granddaughter live in Beacon, New York, about fifty miles north of New York City. Beacon is a very nice small town that sits next to the Hudson River.
  • Fortunately, there is an airport ten minutes from their home in Beacon and Frontier Airlines (no parachute required), services that airport (Stewart International) with direct flights from Orlando. This allows me to avoid the NYC area airports.
  • For the most part, I use my American Express card to book flights.
  • On a flight back from a visit to Beacon back in JANUARY, I did something for the first time for all the right reasons. The flight attendants passed out an application for a Barclays/Frontier Mastercard. Figuring that I will use Frontier to take advantage of the direct flights from Orlando to the Beacon, NY area, I decided to apply on the flight and then handed the application back to the flight attendant. Did I feel uncomfortable with this? For the record, yes.
  • After not hearing back from Frontier or Barclays for sixty days, I made the effort to contact both, via their customer service portals, but never heard back.
  • Last week, more than five months after my inflight application and after calls and emails, I received this email response. This is one for the archives:

Below is a summary of your request and our response.
Topic: Frontier Airlines: Filled out a Frontier Barclays credit card app – and no response
Reference #: 220524-000628
Discussion Thread
Response By Email (Vonjone) (06/08/2022 02:28 PM)
Hello Gary, Thank you for contacting Barclays regarding the credit card application you submitted on January 30, 2022 when traveling from SWF to MCO. We are sorry to hear about the troubles you’ve experienced with applying for the credit card and your missing application that you submitted on your flight. I am sorry to inform you that we do not handle the credit cards. Barclays solely deals with and handles everything with the credit cards.

Thank you for your patience. Regards, Vonjone
Customer Relations Specialist

  • Speaking of ignorance, I happened to catch this bit from Bill Maher. Maher is witty and tells it like it is, but because his guests and his run of show discuss politics, I stay away from watching his show. Back in the day, Jay Leno’s show often had a segment where he interviewed random people on the street, asking them a basic question. More often than not, the person Leno asked the question to answered incorrectly.

The video below is ten minutes, but you only need to watch the first two minutes to capture the essence of Maher’s rant about education in the United States. Amazing, yes. Funny, yes. Sad, yes.

You can’t fix stupid.

A few top-of-mind things I think:

Inflation the highest ever. Consumer prices at their forty-year high. $100 to fuel my car the other day. The stock market in shambles. Now U.S. economists predict we will fall into recessionary times. Does anyone want to help me with understanding all of this?

Are NASA scientists jumping in to help the U.S. Air Force and Homeland Security with UFOs as part of a publicity play, or is there something going on that I am not aware of?

Kudos to Matthew McConaughey for his emotional rant to Congress regarding gun control. I have no take on the subject other than it seems strange that someone has to wait until they are twenty-one to have a beer, but at 18 they can purchase an AR-15.

There is no doubt that some of us need institutional help, and to reinforce that here is the headline of the week: “My ex broke my heart — so I sliced off my arm tattoo and mailed it to him.” Can someone enlighten me? What is going on with today’s world?

Nothing Else Matters, a song by Metallica, really does tell it all. Nothing else matters other than the health of you, your family, your loved ones, and your friends. We can get past the socio-politico-economic weirdness, but we need to all have our health. This guitarist covers Metallica’s song – and it is really well done. Nothing else matters.

A cover of Metallica’s Nothing Else Matters.

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

The Wrong Decision. Random Takes. Best Video.

Does Responsibility = Accountability? Things I Think. She Outdoes Axel Rose.

  • The Sarbanes-Oxley Act and the indecision of Uvalde school district police chief Pete Arredondo, on the surface, have nothing to do with each other. Or do they?

In the aftermath of WorldCom, Enron, and other corporate accounting scandals, Congress passed the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, a corporate governance law which, among other things, holds top executives personally liable for the accuracy of a company’s financial statements. Sarbanes-Oxley covers a range of elements, such as maintaining auditor independence, conflicts of interest, financial disclosures, responsibilities of a corporation’s board, and penalties for white-collar crime. The law also mandates that companies provide a means for employees to anonymously report questionable accounting or other dubious acts.

Before I tie together Sarbanes-Oxley and Pete Arredondo, the Uvalde school district police chief, I want to be clear that I have respect for all first responders, including the police, fire/rescue, and anyone who has a job that requires first response to an incident. These corporate executives who led WorldCom, Enron, and other corporate scandals were responsible for the financial statements and governance of their entities. After allegations were made and the subsequent investigations, executives of these companies were accused of crimes as their lack of action, leadership and approval of fraudulent accounting statements resulted in many investors losing millions of dollars. Above and beyond their companies paying millions in fines, many of these executives, under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, were convicted of white-collar crimes and sent to prison.

Uvalde school district police chief Pete Arredondo did not turn a blind eye to financial statements or financial disclosures, but he did, as the leader of the school district’s police force, not follow, what many authorities have documented, the correct protocol to stop a gunman inside Robb Elementary School. Arredondo’s wrong decision led to the gunman killing nineteen students and 2 teachers. Sure, the decision made by Arredondo to not breach the elementary school was made under the duress of the real-time incident, but should he have taken the advice of The U.S. Border Patrol tactical agents, who pressed Arredondo to go into the school? Should the phone call made by students pleading for the police to help not have been enough of a warning to Arredondo? As the school district police chief, Arredondo has the responsibility to enforce the district’s laws and protect the students, faculty, and staff. Does his decision not to breach the school also make him accountable, similar to the executives who run publicly-held companies? One note of interest: There is published guidance that became standard police practice after the 1999 Columbine High School massacre, which states that the first officers on the scene should do whatever they can, and as fast as they can, to stop an attack, without waiting for backup. That guidance became standard protocol twenty-three years ago.

I realize that tying together the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and the accountability of a police chief is a bit of a stretch, but probably not in the minds of the families whose loved ones were killed by a lone gunman, who spent over an hour inside the elementary school before the U.S. Border Patrol tactical teams ignored Arredondo’s decision and breached the school. I do not have a personal vendetta with Pete Arredondo, but does responsibility equal accountability?

  • Top of mind things I think:

I’m not a conspiracy theorist, nor do I believe in anything to do with apocalypticism. With that said, I will ask again: if the World Health Organization cannot get a handle on Covid-19 variants, what happens should Monkeypox, or more importantly Ebola, ever become prevalent worldwide?

Monkeypox. The World Health Organization better get their act together.

Congratulations to Admiral Linda L. Fagan, who has shattered the military’s glass ceiling becoming commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard and the first female officer to lead a branch of the U.S. armed forces. It is 2022, and about damn time.

The United States Postal Service (USPS) is puzzling at best. After announcing that this independent agency of the executive branch of the United States federal government would buy up to 165,000 gas-powered delivery vehicles, that at best would get eight miles to a gallon, they have announced a complete pivot. Here is a look at the new mail delivery ‘vehicle’ coming to your house very soon. Yes, I have a few questions about the mail carriers dealing with this on a daily basis.

Any questions?

I would not describe my K-12 education as stellar. I had a few good teachers, but reality tells me that many of them were teaching just for the paycheck and retirement benefits of the Miami-Dade County School system. We did have many smart students and I have often wondered how and why they were so intelligent? Speaking of smart, I read a column last week stating that fourteen-year-old Harini Logan won this year’s spelling bee. Harini is Indian-American, resuming a trend that has persisted for two decades: twenty-one of the past 23 champions have had South Asian heritage. That, according to my magical mathematical skills, is 92%. Remarkable to say the least. Yes, I am envious.

Can someone as smart as Harini Logan, and with a legal background, please explain to me how John Hinckley, who shot President Ronald Reagan in 1981, is being set free from prison? Is anyone else thinking Hinckley will invest in a flak jacket?

  • The video of the week. These young kids are jamming Guns N’ Roses’ Sweet Child of Mine when guitarist Slash surprises them and walks out on stage. With all due respect Axel Rose, this young lead singer leaves him in the dust. Well done young lady!
I would take her over Axel Rose anytime.

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