The Russian Invasion Of Ukraine. Aging Population. The All-Star Game. An Angel? Go Big. Chill.

What Has Changed In The Last Year ? Is Age Just A Number? Hey NBA: Changes Must Be Made. One Of Netflix’s Best Ever. A Category-Killer In The C-Store Space. Take A Few Moments.

  • Last week marked one year since Russian military forces invaded Ukraine. One year that has seen thousands of casualties on each side, with Ukraine also seeing many of its civilians displaced with many women and children lost to Russia’s relentless barrage of missiles. There are many questions that will need to be answered into the second year of this battle, with the NATO alignment being a big one. Some questions to ponder:
  • To what level does the west continue to be Ukraine’s arsenal, advocate, and banker?
  • Does Vladimir Putin’s announcement, suspending Russia’s nuclear arms treaty, change the west’s level of support with Ukraine?
  • Does the west become Ukraine’s full-fledged military ally?
  • Does China seek to support the Russians in the same way the west supports Ukraine?
  • How far will the west go, into the future, to be future guarantors of Ukrainian liberties and maintain economic and military stability?
  • Will Vladimir Putin ever compromise on his stance that the territories of the Ukraine are Russian regions?
  • Can the Russian forces maintain their level of consistent assault on Ukraine?
  • How long can NATO stand down with their support of Ukraine?
  • How long before NATO and the EU place peacekeeping troops on the ground in the Ukraine? What are the consequences of doing so?

There are many more questions as this sad and unfortunate conflict continues into its second year. I cannot imagine the pressure and concern that exists with the leadership of Russian ‘flank’ countries of Finland, Norway, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Belarus, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, China, Mongolia, North Korea, and of course, Ukraine. We can only hope that Putin’s ambition to demolish Ukraine subside – a hope that may be dashed by a narcissistic dictator with a skewed sense of reality.

  • Here is an update on CNN anchor Don Lemon: ( you fill it in )

  • I agree with the adage that age is just a number. With that said, I find it alarming that the aging population of the United States continues to face issues and concerns that are life-altering. One of these issues is Covid-19 and other variants. According to the National Vital Statistics System, between 2020 and Thursday of last week (February 23, 2023), 838,016 people, sixty-five years and older, have died due to Covid-19 and its variants. That number is alarming in itself, and then you do the math which tells us that the 838,016 number is 80% of all Covid-19 related deaths in the U.S. in that same period.

My point: there is no doubt that the aging population has been affected by Covid-19 and its variants, as well as the systemic healthcare issues that surround diabetes, COPD, dementia, and Alzheimer’s. As referenced from the U.S. Census Bureau: People age 65 and older represented 16% of the population in the year 2019 but are expected to grow to be 21.6% of the population by 2040. The 85 and older population is projected to more than double from 6.6 million in 2019 to 14.4 million in 2040 (a 118% increase).

Obviously, the areas of pharmaceutical research and medical device development have targeted the aging demographic. In fact, neuroscientists at Ben-Gurion University have developed a new artificial molecule to help people suffering from Alzheimer’s. It is just in the beginning stages, with this artificial molecule given to thirty mice suffering from Alzheimer’s, with all of them recovering and regaining full cognitive abilities. Yes, these were mice, and it is just a start, but we must hope the healthcare researchers around the world continue to work hard to help the aging.

For the first time in U.S. history, older adults will outnumber children by 2034.

  • I am calling out the NBA. The All-Star game, which in yesteryear and before the onslaught of cable and satellite TV, gave us a look at the great players of the game, has turned into a disappointing debacle. I am raising my hand to help Adam Silver and his lieutenants create a better format that has some semblance of competitiveness and meaning. Why do I care? I have been a huge fan of the NBA for as far as I can remember. It is a great sport, played by incredible athletes, and playoff time in the NBA is great fun. My hand is raised.

  • It could be many things, but I certainly have challenges watching and giving a movie or sporting event my full, undivided attention. To my delight, and on the recommendation of a friend, I watched, without interruption, the Netflix movie, The Angel. I had no idea that this fact-based two-hour movie was so intense and thought-provoking. This is the story of Ashraf Marwan, who was Egyptian President Nasser’s son-in-law, and special advisor and confidant to his successor Anwar Sadat. The twist: Ashraf Marwan simultaneously was one of Israeli Intelligence’s most precious assets of the 20th century. To say the least, two hours of intense intrigue.
A must watch movie, The Angel.

  • Headline of the Week: Scorpion spotted on British Airways flight from Texas to London. Huh, I guess this must be better than Snakes on a Plane, the epic drama starring Samuel L. Jackson?

  • Big is the way of today’s world, especially in the United States. I never thought a convenience store could generate headlines and be iconic, but the Texas-based chain of BUC-EE’s is doing just that. I had a BUC-EE’s experience over Christmas, driving from Orlando to Amelia Island. Adjacent to Interstate 95, near Daytona Beach, sits Florida’s first BUC-EE’s, which in short is the epitome of ‘everything big’ in the United States. The store itself was mobbed, with people browsing the aisles as if they were at a Walmart, which now that I think of it, BUC-EE’s aligns with Walmart in many ways. BUC-EE’s just announced their second Florida location, this one located off I-75 near Ocala. This location includes an 80,000 square foot ‘travel center’ and 120 gas pumps. Yes, 120. I never thought there could be a category-killer in the convenience store world. Trust me, there is one now.

The BUC-EE’s massive convenience store near Daytona Beach, Florida.

  • Just a suggestion: put your phone AWAY for ten minutes, sit back, and listen and watch this video. No, I have not hit my head, joined a cult, or indulge in narcotics of any kind. 🙂 With everything we all have going on, it is cathartic to lose your phone once in a blue moon and RELAX. By the way, where is this beautiful place?
Destination Unknown?

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

Negative Vibes. Motown. Schedule. Sex Appeal.

Things Cannot Be This Bad. The Supremes and More. 90 Days. Racquel Welch.

  • I get it but have a difficult time consuming it. One objective of media outlets is to get our eyes on their content. Whether a national news network, a local television affiliate, an online outlet, or your local newspaper, the media is micro-focused on ratings and subscriptions. My concerns are the amount of negative, shock-value, or negative stories the media generates, broadcasts, and publishes every day, day in and day out. Yes, I do stay away from politics and religion, but here is a sample of the headlines from last Friday:
  • A judge released parts of a grand jury report about a Trump investigation.
  • People are reporting headaches and rashes after a toxic train crash in Ohio.
  • The U.S. and its allies are working to destroy Russian spy networks.
  • Man arrested after 6 killed, including suspect’s ex-wife, in series of shootings in Mississippi, sheriff says.
  • Bruce Willis has been diagnosed with a rare type of dementia.
  • Top Putin war official plunges 160 feet to her death from high-rise building.
  • Tesla recalled more than 360,000 vehicles over its self-driving software.
  • Microsoft’s new AI chatbot is giving out bad information and getting angry and defensive when questioned.
  • Canada to send warships to Haiti amid ongoing violence.
  • Poppy Harlow storms off CNN set after tense spat with Don Lemon over Haley comments.

Ten headlines from two days ago. I know a few media executives who read – maybe it is time to start a new media concern branded “PNN”, the Positive News Network. After reviewing some of my posts over the last few years, I realize I am being a bit hypocritical. Some of my posts, whether they relate to my self-deprecating humor or sarcasm, have a spin of negativity that I will try to refrain from going forward.

  • Two hours of great television. I watched the documentary, Hitsville: The Making of Motown last week, a remarkable story of Motown, from its birth in Detroit in 1958 until its relocation to Los Angeles in the early 1970s. Berry Gordy started Motown in the late 1950s creating a record label and management company known around the world. This documentary is very well done, giving us insight into the many hurdles Gordy and his management staff encountered along the way of bringing us some of the greatest music artists ever. The Supremes are still one of America’s most successful groups with twelve No. 1 singles on the Billboard Hot 100. Other Motown artists of the past include Diana Ross, Stevie Wonder, The Jackson Five, The Temptations, The Commodores, and Michael Jackson. Then, of course, there is the one and only Marvin Gaye.
Hitsville: The Making of Motown – a great two-hour watch.

It has been suggested that I try to refrain from my take on sports as there are so many journalists serving that space through the avenues of podcasts and blogs. I have and will continue to shy away from many sports stories, but I do want to remind everyone that this time of year brings us some great sporting events. Here is a quick look at the next ninety days:

  • Major League Soccer’s season openers are February 25th
  • March Madness – the NCAA’s basketball extravaganza, starts in two weeks
  • Opening day for Major League Baseball is March 30.
  • The Masters starts April 6.
  • The NBA playoffs start with play-in tournament on April 11.
  • The NHL playoffs start April 17.
  • The horses run at the Kentucky Derby on May 6.
  • The PGA golf tournament begins May 18.
  • The race date for the Indianapolis 500 is May 28.
  • The French Open, played on the famous red clay, starts May 28.
  • The Premier League’s final day is also May 28.

  • With all due respect to the likes of Angelina Jolie, Scarlett Johansson, Marilyn Monroe, Mila Kunis, Kate Upton, and Emma Stone: no one celebrity brought more appeal than Raquel Welch. Sure, we can argue about Sophia Loren and Gina Lollobrigida, but in my book, Raquel Welch signified beauty, charm, and sex appeal. I am sure I will get a response from many who disagree. Raquel Welch passed away last week at the age of eighty-two. RIP Raquel.

The iconic poster from the 1966 movie One Million Years B.C.

The countdown continues: We are three weeks away from daylight savings time!

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

This Is Not A Test. Random Thoughts.

Ponder. Reflect. Grasp. Wonder.

I do remember many things about my past, but I am not one to look back. Yes, you always learn things from life’s past experiences, and if there were missteps, the old adage is do not make the same mistake twice. 🙂

I thought I would offer up a few thought-provoking questions and statements for you to fill in the blanks. Don’t roll your eyes…this is actually a good exercise for everyone. Maybe.

  • I feel ______ than my age.
  • My favorite thing about myself is _________________________.
  • If the world was ending a year from today, how would you spend the next 365 days? _______________________________________
  • ____________________________is keeping you from changing the things you’d like to change about yourself?
  • _____________________ is keeping me from dropping my worst habit.
  • How many internal organs can you name in the next ten seconds? ___________________________________________
  • If you could be any animal, you would choose to be a _________________. Why?_______________________
  • Does social media make you in general happier or sadder? If sadder, why do you keep participating in it? _______________________________.
  • If there were a way to download your memories into a searchable spreadsheet, would you do it?_____________________________________.
  • _____________________ is my favorite thing about myself.

Random thoughts for the first Sunday of February

The Fed took the federal funds rate up another quarter point last week and many expect the Fed to move forward with more increases in the near future. The direct effect to the everyday consumer is obviously in the automotive and housing sectors, but how long will it be until corporate America must deal with the higher cost of borrowed capital? This smells bad for the late 3rd quarter and 4th quarter of this year.

Video streaming and gaming. Two technologies in everyone’s home. Oh, not so much, as tech companies are working hard to provide in-car entertainment experiences. Sure, we all drive so well now that we need ‘entertainment’ in the car as we navigate rush hour traffic on such lovely interstate highways as I-4, I-75, I-95, and the infamous state road 400 in north Atlanta. This is such a great idea!

Comedian Sebastian Maniscalco and bad drivers.

I am over Punxsutawney Phil. One, because I cannot spell its name. Two, I question the whole ‘see his shadow’ thing. Seriously. Six more weeks of winter? Not in Orlando.

Fauda, a Netflix series based on an Israeli operative named Doron, is really well done. It has been a long crawl but I have made it to the newly-released season four. Doron similar to Jack Ryan? Not so much.

Israeli actor Lior Raz plays Doron in the hit series Fauda.

A Chinese ‘spy’ balloon drifting across the continental United States late last week. Only after our State Department called out the Chinese did they communicate that their balloon somehow went off course, and that is was intended to deliver weather information. The U.S. brought down the balloon once it had reached the Atlantic Ocean, after it had drifted from west to east across the U.S. The next step after recovering the parts and pieces is for Quantico to do their investigation to determine the amount of spy and surveillance equipment that was once attached to the balloon. Maybe it is time for the U.S. to send a fleet of F-22 Raptors over Beijing and tell the Chinese that they “went off course?”

My business dictates that I take a bit of time to watch some network and local news, as I am always looking for the latest trends and technology used in broadcast studios. Obviously, I watch the talent presenting the news and enjoy what CNN, Fox, and the BBC have done with the look of their sets. What I do not enjoy is watching and listening to Don Lemon. I have nothing personal against Lemon, but his attitude on-camera (and I am assuming off-camera as well) is in a word, caustic. It is too bad for all of us that CNN’s morning show has Lemon and Kaitlan Collins paired together. Collins, at just thirty-years-old, is one of the rising stars of network news. As always, it is just my take and I welcome yours.

Super Bowl LVII is one week away and will feature Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes and Philadelphia’s Jalen Hurts. Both quarterbacks are game-changers, with athletic ability not too often seen in the NFL. The betting line will most likely move this week but as of now, Philadelphia is a 1.5 point favorite. I am not sure how you bet against Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs. Anyone wish to chime in on the betting line?

Taking care of business. That phrase is used often and in many ways, but never better than in one of Bachman-Turner Overdrive’s top ten hits. “BTO” was legendary, and along with the song Takin Care of Business, the band produced two other big hits in 1973 and 1974: Hold Back the Water and Roll On Down the Highway. Drummer Robbie Bachman passed away recently, at the age of 69. RIP Robbie.

A 1974 performance by Bachman-Turner Overdrive with ‘Takin Care of Business’

And last, but not the least, a very special happy birthday to my daughter, Jaime!!

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