7% And Climbing. FIFA Exposed. Darkness Is Upon Us. BIBI. Michael Myers. RIP JLL and Coach Dooley

Has The Fed Gone Overboard With Rate Hikes? An Unfortunate Decision And Venue. Daylight Savings Time. A Very Good Autobiography. Halloween Ends. Legends.

  • Back in the year 2001, we were all relatively happy that mortgage rates were hovering around 7%. We are not smiling now. Mortgage rates have more than doubled since the beginning of the year, as the Federal Reserve pursues an aggressive path of interest rate hikes to rein in high inflation. To the Fed: you may want to check your tactics with interest rate hikes as CNBC is reporting that mortgage demand from homebuyers is half of what it was one year ago. Pending home sales have plunged 31% from a year ago to their lowest level since 2010.

The Headline of the Week: FDA Warns Against Using NyQuil As A Chicken Marinade.

  • There are three weeks until the most commercialized sporting event on earth. The World Cup, hosted by the country of Qatar, has the attention of many around the world and some of that attention is not exactly positive. Netflix’s timing of this documentary provides an in depth look at FIFA, the governing body of football, and some very interesting insight into the how’s and why’s Qatar was selected as the host. The documentary premiers on Netflix on November 9 with the opening game of the World Cup on November 20.
This documentary from Netflix will definitely open up a can worms.

  • Eat of the Week: My mother would make this about once a month, and now my daughter has perfected her recipe. It is cornflake chicken, and if you have never tried it, you should. Dipping chicken breasts or thighs into buttermilk and then coating the chicken with cornflakes…need I say more? Fantastic.

  • Hello Darkness, my old friend, I’ve come to talk with you again.” Darkness is really not my friend as next Sunday, November 6, marks the end of daylight savings time. Eighteen weeks of darkness settling upon us at around 5:30PM. Does anyone really like the end of daylight savings time?
A very well done version of “The Sound of Silence”.

  • I just finished “Bibi”, Benjamin Netanyahu’s eye-opening autobiography. Detailed and colorful, Netanyahu’s life and career provides an account of his life, family, Israel, and the geopolitics of the Middle East. Not that I was fully aware, but Netanyahu accounts and describes the turbulent relationships and negotiations with Presidents Clinton, Obama, and Trump. I highly recommend this read.

  • He first made an appearance in 1978, and at the beginning of the original Halloween, the young boy does in his teenage sister. Years later, he escapes Smith’s Grove Sanitarium and returns to his hometown in Illinois. He never stops stalking his teenage babysitter who is played by Jamie Lee Curtis. The story really begins there, but does it really end with Halloween Ends, now out in a theater near you? I know what all of you are thinking: “Who the heck goes to see these movies?” The answer is many, as the movie has grossed $716 million in the U.S. and $1.48 billion worldwide. That infamous music in the trailer is enough to make you uncomfortable, nevermind Michael Myers roaming the streets. Jamie Lee Curtis is back and she is not happy.
Michael Myers is one scary dude.

  • A legacy of rock and roll has passed on. The Beatles, Elton John, and other artists have said that his tone and timing, as well as his ability to make the piano a percussion instrument, greatly influenced their performances. RIP Jerry Lee Lewis.
Jerry Lee Lewis performing live on the Ed Sullivan Show. Circa 1969.

  • We also lost former University of Georgia football coach and athletic director Vince Dooley on Friday of last week. A member of the College Football Hall of Fame, Dooley led the UGA program for twenty-five years, with the Bulldogs going 201-77-10 along with the 1980 National Championship and six SEC championships. Another legend – RIP Coach Dooley.

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

Prime Time. All Aboard. Leave Them Be. No Politics. Trust.

Watch Out For Jackson State Football. Who Knew About A Horse’s Ass? Privacy Is In Order. Don’t Go Politics With Ukraine. You Have Nothing Without Trust.

It is a bit difficult to have followed the University of Georgia football program for a very long time and be a big fan of a former Florida State University player. The reality is that this super athlete went on to play for the Atlanta Falcons of the National Football League and the Atlanta Braves of Major League Baseball. He had defining moments as both a college and professional athlete, with speed and skills limited to only a few. Though his athletic prowess is well-documented, what Deion Sanders is doing right now with the Jackson State University football program is amazing. He was on 60 Minutes last Sunday night and his dedication, passion, and commitment is far-reaching from what he did on the football field and baseball diamond. Take thirteen minutes out of your day and listen to Deion Sanders.

Can You Imagine If Deion Had A Big Football Budget?

  • I read this short piece last week and found it interesting. Why is the distance between railroad tracks associated with the Roman Empire? Thank you to the person who posted this on LinkedIn.

The US standard railroad gauge (distance between the rails) is 4 feet, 8.5 inches. That’s an exceedingly odd number.
Why was that gauge used?
Well, because that’s the way they built them in England, and English engineers designed the first US railroads. Why did the English build them like that?
Because the first rail lines were built by the same people who built the wagon tramways, and that’s the gauge they used. So, why did ‘they’ use that gauge then?
Because the people who built the tramways used the same jigs and tools that they had used for building wagons, which used that same wheel spacing. Why did the wagons have that particular odd wheel spacing?
Well, if they tried to use any other spacing, the wagon wheels would break more often on some of the old, long distance roads in England . You see, that’s the spacing of the wheel ruts. So who built those old rutted roads?
Imperial Rome built the first long distance roads in Europe (including England ) for their legions. Those roads have been used ever since.
And what about the ruts in the roads?
Roman war chariots formed the initial ruts, which everyone else had to match or run the risk of destroying their wagon wheels. Since the chariots were made for Imperial Rome , they were all alike in the matter of wheel spacing. Therefore the United States standard railroad gauge of 4 feet, 8.5 inches is derived from the original specifications for an Imperial Roman war chariot. Bureaucracies live forever.
So the next time you are handed a specification/procedure/process and wonder ‘What horse’s ass came up with this?’, you may be exactly right. Imperial Roman army chariots were made just wide enough to accommodate the rear ends of two war horses. (Two horses’ asses.)
Now, the twist to the story:
When you see a Space Shuttle sitting on its launch pad, there are two big booster rockets attached to the sides of the main fuel tank. These are solid rocket boosters, or SRBs. The SRBs are made by Thiokol at their factory in Utah . The engineers who designed the SRBs would have preferred to make them a bit fatter, but the SRBs had to be shipped by train from the factory to the launch site. The railroad line from the factory happens to run through a tunnel in the mountains, and the SRBs had to fit through that tunnel. The tunnel is slightly wider than the railroad track, and the railroad track, as you now know, is about as wide as two horses’ behinds.
So, a major Space Shuttle design feature, of what is arguably the world’s most advanced transportation system, was determined over two thousand years ago by the width of a horse’s ass. And you thought being a horse’s ass wasn’t important? Ancient horse’s asses control almost everything

  • Why are Gisele Bundchen and Tom Brady’s marital issues top of mind with the media and pundits? These are two people who have children – why does this matter to anyone outside of their family and close friends? With every newsworthy story being generated by the economy, Ukraine, China, Iran, Russia, and the midterms, can we just give these two people a break and leave them to sort out their go-forward – with privacy? Please?

  • My friends and associates often ask me, even after numerous explanations, why I abstain from politics. There are a few reasons, led by my feelings that discussing (usually arguing about) politics is energy-draining. I feel stronger about my conviction every day, especially after reading this statement from the House Minority Leader, Kevin McCarthy. To be very clear, I do not care what side of the political fence McCarthy stands on. For all that matters, he could be from Mars, but this statement reinforces my disdain for anything that revolves around politics: “I think people are gonna be sitting in a recession and they’re not going to write a blank check to Ukraine. They just won’t do it…Ukraine is important, but at the same time it can’t be the only thing they do and it can’t be a blank check.” McCarthy brings the political divide in the U.S. to the forefront with this asinine statement. An ally and sovereign nation is invaded by Russia and McCarthy takes the low road to politics? Disgusting.
Russia is now using “Kamikaze” drones to inflict damage in Ukraine.

  • Eat of the Week: Freshly baked corn muffins with honey. Yes, my grandmother taught me how to bake when she would come over for the weekend. It was more than her famous chocolate chip cookies. It was different types of bread and cakes. Baking from scratch is cathartic.
My Grandmother in January, 1970. Ida Wins The Overall Plate Winner.

  • I have had the privilege of contracting with and listening to many motivational speakers. Motivational speaking is no different than any other type of speaking to a live audience…you have no more than fifteen seconds to initially engage the audience with your demeanor, opening sentence, and appearance. If this fifteen second ‘wake up’ does not happen, my experience tells me the speaker loses the audience. He is a retired Air Force Lt. Colonel and F-16 combat veteran, having flown sixty-five combat missions. He has taken his Air Force experience and persona to find The Wingman Foundation and speak across the world. All of us can use a bit of Lt. Colonel Waldman’s advice and inspiration. This video is three minutes about his experience with trust, and it is presented very well. For more of Lt. Colonel Waldman’s videos, and to contact him: http://www.yourwingman.com
It Really Is All About Trust.

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

Short Takes For Mid-October.

Things I Think.

  • In a post over a month ago, I ranted about Alex Jones and his money-grabbing mantra of spewing conspiracy theories and false news to garner a greater listening audience. I don’t know how the payments work but a jury decided Jones and his enterprise should pay $965 million to families and an FBI agent affected by his repeated on-air claims that the Sandy Hook shooting was a hoax. Well done, women and men of that jury.
  • Not that too many of my readers care, but last week’s ask of the NFL and their Thursday night football debacles did resonate with many others. I suggested that the NFL make Thursday nights a bit more compelling with more competitive teams. I may have been thinking through this incorrectly as it may not be the teams competing, but the short rest period coming off a Sunday game. Here are some straight up stats, etc. from the last two Thursday night games: Two straight weeks the Thursday Night Football (TNF) winner has scored all of twelve points. In more than 102 minutes of TNF action over the last two weeks: Forty-one drives that resulted in 20 punts, 8 field goals, and 5 turnovers. The level of play in the past two TNF matchups are even more eye-opening after watching yesterday’s incredible college games with Tennessee’s 52-49 win over Alabama, Utah beating USC 43-42, and TCU’s overtime win against Oklahoma State. Amazon paid the NFL $1 billion to have exclusive streaming rights to the Thursday night games. I would think that Amazon is rethinking this deal?
  • There were hints last week of Vladimir Putin backing down a bit and possibly interested in coming to the negotiating table? Do not count on that, and besides, what is there to negotiate? Negotiate the fact that he has invaded a sovereign country and claimed territories that are not part of Russia? There is no negotiation here and there is only one way that this war will stop. Putin must go.
  • Is the U.S. government’s posture with China and their production of advanced semiconductors too severe? Sanctions by the administration prevent U.S businesses from sending processors required to run the algorithms…and the executive order requires that any U.S. citizen or green card holder working in China cannot work in the Chinese semiconductor industry or risk losing their American citizenship. I totally understand putting the brakes on China, but I hope the U.S. Department of Commerce knows what they are doing.
  • The headline of the week: “Bear 747 Overcomes Scandal to Win Fat Bear Week.” Yes, the Katmai National Park & Reserve has an annual Fat Bear Week contest. The park is somewhere in the hinterland of Alaska and the contest has been going on for many years. The other forty-nine states are concerned with inflation, international conflicts, oil prices, and hurricane damage, and the people living on this Alaskan peninsula are judging the best of the 2,000 bears that inhabit their national park. On a serious note: This was Bear 747‘s second title in three years and the 1,400-pound behemoth is now called “Bear Force One”.
This gargantuan bear, known as Bear Force One, weighs in at 1,400-lbs.
  • The Netflix series ‘Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story’ – is anyone really watching this? The answer is amazingly yes, as it is one of Netflix’s most popular shows. I do not get it at all, and does this series’ popularity tell us something about the state of our society? At a minimum, does this series do disservice to the victim’s families? For you youngsters who have no clue about Jeffrey Dahmer, he was an American serial killer and sex offender. Between the years of 1978 and 1991, Dahmer murdered seventeen males, with rape, dismemberment, necrophilia, and cannibalism part of his sick method. The story behind Dahmer is enough to make anyone sick to their stomach, and this is one of Netflix’s top watches. Disturbing.
  • Go you Orlando City. They play at Montreal tonight in the first round of the Major League Soccer playoffs. Montreal is a very good team and even better playing at home. Let’s see if Orlando manager Óscar Pareja can devise a way for Orlando to advance.
  • We are thirty-nine days to Thanksgiving and 70 days from Christmas. Amazing how this year has just flown by.
  • Pickleball, for all the right reasons, has become the rage of participation sport. A smaller court than tennis, a paddle and a different kind of ball allows for longer rallies and fun tactics. It is fast and comes along with the camaraderie generated by tennis and other racquet (paddle) sports. I have played only twice but I am starting to think I might enjoy this more than tennis.
This great rally reinforces how fun pickleball can be.

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

Vladimir Putin Is No Nikita Khrushchev.

The Situation And Players Are Much Different This Time.

  • Vladimir Putin is no different than a bad dog. Now backed into a corner due to his military’s poor performance in Ukraine, Putin, now seventy-years-old, has voiced his saber-rattling threat of using all forces necessary to claim Ukrainian territories he has decided are now part of Russia. Most international authorities take his threat to include tactical nuclear weapons, the first threat of this kind since the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis. The use of a tactical nuke would have prolonged effects not only in areas of Ukraine, but the fallout would most likely cross into NATO countries, provoking the NATO alliance to take action. Putin wants to leave his mark with his Russian rulership, and reclaiming territories of Ukraine is a legacy he desires. He must save face as his dictatorship will hopefully come to an end very soon, so how far will he go with the continued threat and use of tactical nuclear weapons? In my opinion, a bad dog in a corner never backs down, and neither will Putin.

The last serious threat with using nuclear weapons was in 1962. After the failed U.S. attempt to overthrow the Castro regime in Cuba with the Bay of Pigs invasion, Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev reached a secret agreement with Cuban premier Fidel Castro to place Soviet nuclear missiles in Cuba to deter any future invasion attempt. United States’ reconnaissance planes, on never-ending missions over Cuba, discovered that the Soviets were secretly building missile sites that would be capable of launching nuclear weapons – a mere ninety miles from Florida and capable of striking targets along the U.S. eastern seaboard. The thirteen days of both political and military posturing is well documented, with Hollywood providing interesting insight into that tense situation with the well-polished year 2000 flick “Thirteen Days.

To try and compare the situations sixty years ago with Cuba and the Soviet Union, and currently with Russia, I have listed the options the United States had with the Soviet Union’s Nikita Khrushchev during the Cuban Missile Crisis. I follow these options with a comparative take on what the United States and NATO can and should do with Vladimir Putin and Russia:

  • Do nothing: American vulnerability to Soviet missiles was not new. Newly placed missiles in Cuba made little strategic difference in the military balance of power. This is not an option in this day and age. Putin’s threat of using tactical nuclear weapons is not a “do nothing” scenario. The outcome of Russia deploying nuclear weapons in a sovereign nation has both physical and financial ramifications for Europe and the rest of the world.
  • Diplomacy: Use diplomatic pressure to get the Soviet Union to remove the missiles. I am certain that the U.S. and their NATO allies are using every back-channel available to open up communication with Putin’s minions. The issue is that Putin is both a narcissist and megalomaniac, and he has no patience or tolerance to participate in diplomacy. As stated earlier, Putin is in the ‘save face’ mode.
  • Warning: Send a message to Castro to warn him of the grave danger he, and Cuba, were facing. The United States has sent Putin warnings through diplomatic and military channels. Does Putin care about our warnings? The answer is no.
  • Blockade: Use the U.S. Navy to block any missiles from arriving in Cuba. Using U.S. land, sea, or air forces to stop the deployment of Russian nuclear weapons would be an act of war. Could the U.S. provide Ukraine with enough naval assets to take out Russian warships and land-based sites? The answer is yes.
  • Air strike: Use the U.S. Air Force to attack all known Cuban missile sites. Is the Ukrainian air force capable of knocking out all land and sea-based nuclear sites? Whether they can or cannot may not matter…they may be forced to do so.
  • Invasion: Launch a full force invasion of Cuba and overthrow Castro. This is not an option for obvious reasons. What is an option is for the Russian people, the oligarchs, and the rogue Russian naysayers to take Putin out of office, either literally or politically.

Putin’s threats, along with President Biden’s strange comments last week, are cause for concern. Putin’s bad dog demeanor means that he will never back down and succumb to political or military pressure or diplomacy. The U.S. is taking Putin’s threats seriously, similar to sixty years ago with Khrushchev and Cuba. One bit of evidence of how serious the U.S. is taking the threat: the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services just spent $290 million on a drug to treat radiation sickness. By the way, here is some really spot on advice from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA): The drug needs to be used within 24 hours of exposure and recommends that people stay indoors for at least 24 hours after a nuclear blast. Thanks FEMA, I do think I will stay indoors for at least 24 hours once I see a massive mushroom cloud. Are you kidding me?

A few short takes for October 9, 2022:

  • I hope all of you contributed to the Hurricane Ian / Red Cross fund. We all know how devastated southwest Florida is, and there are many other areas of the state that are still under some level of water.
  • I would call Gisele Bündchen, but I now realize I am too high maintenance for her.
  • A special birthday for our friend L.M. – well done!
  • To the NFL: if you are going to continue to include Thursday night games with your schedule, please ensure the teams are competitive. Last Thursday’s game was a debacle. To Amazon Prime Video: I know the NFL is a monster to negotiate with, but when you pay them $1 billion a year to stream Thursday night games, you should ensure the schedule includes the best of the best.
  • The Major League Baseball playoffs and the fall season. Good fun.
  • Major League Soccer’s decision-day and the playoffs. Even better fun.
  • The concussion rules and protocol in the NFL must be dealt with…quickly.
  • The World Cup. The tournament, held every four years, is usually played during the summer, but due to Qatar hosting this time around, the tournament starts in forty-two days, on November 20th. I will be cheering on the U.S.A., Canada, and Mexico, and hopefully they can get out of their tough groups and advance to the round of sixteen.
  • Speaking of the World Cup, there have been many issues with labor in the construction of Qatar’s stadiums. I have discussed this in previous posts and hopefully FIFA, the worldwide association governing the sport, will step in and keep other host countries in check. With all that said, Qatar has built some very interesting stadiums. Al Bayt Stadium is unique with its giant tent structure covering the whole stadium that is named after Bayt al sha’ar – tents historically used by nomadic peoples in Qatar and the Gulf region.
One of eight new stadiums Qatar has built for the World Cup.

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