3D Printed. Come On Miami. Questions. Inspiration.

Printing A Space Vehicle. It Is Time For A No-Tolerance Spring Break. I Have Questions. Willis Reed Overcomes.

Some deemed it a failure. I do not. After two unsuccessful attempts to launch, Relativity Space managed to launch its 3D-printed Terran 1 rocket from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, but an issue with its second-stage engine prevented the ultimate orbital goal. I am not sure how anyone could deem this mission a failure, as the Long Beach, California-based startup hit several milestones on the mission including liftoff from the pad, hitting supersonic speeds, enduring maximum dynamic pressure, and a separation of the first and second stages…all with a spaceship that was 85% fabricated using 3D printing, including its engines.

Why did Relativity Space use one of the world’s largest 3D printers to manufacture the rocket? The answer is both simple and complicated, but rockets now can be produced in a matter of weeks or months versus the years it takes to produce more traditional space vehicles. There is a key milestone Relativity Space is working hard to reach: Their CEO stated: “3D printing will be essential to long-term habitability in space and on the moon and Mars. Instead of waiting months or years for replacement parts to be shipped off to habitats, for example, astronauts will be able to print the necessary parts right there.The company’s long-term goal, much like SpaceX, is to help establish human settlement on Mars.

How will the ability to 3D print rockets ignite the space race?

My hometown is Miami, Florida. I have talked about Miami in my past posts, a vibrant and tumultuous city with a very wide range of socio-economics. When someone disses on Miami, I have always defended the city because good, bad, or ugly, it is one-of-a-kind. With that said, I get upset when I read headlines such as this one: “Florida spring break partiers see Miami mayhem while Fort Lauderdale avoids chaos.” I am not naive to the ongoings of Spring Break, but when did this annual ‘break from college’ give these young people the right to be out of control, disrespectful, and in many cases criminal? I guess I could turn that statement around and ask why Miami/Miami Beach’s city officials and police departments permit these young people to run rampant and wreak havoc? The question becomes even more profound when you read that Ft. Lauderdale officials stated that there were no major incidents during Spring Break, a city and beach once known for out-of-control partying. The facts from the Spring Break period of February 27 to March 19 in the Miami area: “There were at least 322 arrests, including at least 165 for violent felonies and drug-related crimes, and 70 guns were seized, according to the city’s state of emergency declaration.” To my hometown of Miami: it is time to stop this craziness for many reasons. Quit talking about it and just get it done.

Massive crowds and many arrests during Spring Break in Miami Beach.

Questions for the last Sunday of March

  • Will the turmoil in global banking, with the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank and the takeover of Credit Suisse, be as bad as the global financial crisis of 2007-09?
  • How long will it take ChatGPT, as well as other AI information providers, to thread their way into the mainstream of everyday life?
  • When do girl scout cookies go on sale?
  • Who gets to send Michael Cohen and Rudy Giuliani to a long-lost island?
  • Will synthetic fuels for automobiles cannibalize electric vehicle sales?
  • Is John Wick: Chapter 4 too much of a good thing?
  • Did the International Criminal Court’s warrant for the arrest of Vladimir Putin hit a dead stop?
  • Will the U.S. need to deploy their new B-21 Raider, capable of delivering both conventional and nuclear weapons, to a few hotspots around the world? Based on last week’s tragic event, Syria certainly comes to mind.
The B-21 Raider.

The memory of what happened in this NBA game is forever embedded in my mind. My dad and brother were huge New York Knicks fans so we watched the Knicks play against the Los Angeles Lakers. The Knicks’ Willis Reed, a 6′-10″ center/power forward from Grambling, had a knee injury during this NBA championship series. The Lakers were loaded with great players, Jerry West and Wilt Chamberlain to name two, and without Reed in the seventh and deciding game, many felt that the Knicks had no chance. I will never forget when the injured Willis Reed unexpectedly made his way onto the court at Madison Square Garden. Willis Reed spent his entire career with the New York Knicks as a player, coach, and general manager. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1982 and in 1996, he was voted one of the “50 Greatest Players in NBA History”. Reed passed away last week at the age of eighty. RIP Willis Reed.

The Willis Reed ‘moment’.

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

The ‘F’ Word. Litigious Gone Mad. The West Wing Revisited. Seinfeld At Its Finest.

From Viral To A Drug Epidemic. Chicken This. Well Said, Martin Sheen. Jerry, Kramer, George & Elaine.

  • Have we gone from a viral pandemic to a drug epidemic? Fentanyl is now intertwined into the fabric of America, with news outlets writing stories about this narcotic to no end. Until I did a bit of research about fentanyl, I had no idea what it was, how it was used, and the deadly path the drug provides to thousands of people across the United States.

Let’s start with a basic definition of fentanyl, as outlined by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA): Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid typically used to treat patients with chronic severe pain or severe pain following surgery. Fentanyl is a Schedule II controlled substance that is similar to morphine but about 100 times more potent. Under the supervision of a licensed medical professional, fentanyl has a legitimate medical use. Patients prescribed fentanyl should be monitored for potential misuse or abuse. On the surface, this sounds like a controlled substance that has legitimate benefits for patients recovering from injury and surgery, until I dug into some facts and figures, that at a minimum, are disturbing:

  • The illegal drug market has exploded in the United States with illicit fentanyl, manufactured in foreign (Mexico to name one) labs, and smuggled into the United States.
  • Fentanyl is being mixed with other drugs to increase the potency of the drug, pressed into pills made to look like legitimate prescription opioids.
  • Drugs intentionally contaminated with fentanyl, because of its low cost and extreme potency, include heroin, methamphetamine, and cocaine.
  • Two milligrams of fentanyl can be lethal depending on a person’s body size, tolerance and past usage. DEA analysis has found counterfeit pills ranging from .02 to 5.1 milligrams (more than twice the lethal dose) of fentanyl per tablet.
  • Drug trafficking organizations typically distribute fentanyl by the kilogram. One kilogram of fentanyl has the potential to kill 500,000 people.
  • Overdose deaths in the U.S., in the last two years, have risen by 38%.

Reality: unless a drug is prescribed by a licensed medical professional and dispensed by a legitimate pharmacy, there is no way to tell if it is fake, laced with fentanyl, or legitimate. Customs and Border Protection (ICE) seized 15,000 pounds of fentanyl during 2022, most of it at the southern border of the United States. What can be done to stem the flow of this dangerous and illegal synthetic opioid? One idea is for the U.S. to designate Mexican drug cartels as foreign terrorist organizations (FTOs). This would make it easier for the U.S. government to prosecute cartels under a federal statute, even if their crimes are in Mexico. This action sounds severe, but does anyone else have an idea of how to deal with the drug cartels and the extremely dangerous fentanyl?

  • A customer who ordered a meal at a national franchised restaurant did not feel like the food they ordered was described correctly on the menu. I will not bore you with the intimate chicken details, though I will express my disdain that this customer felt this situation warranted hiring a law firm and suing the restaurant chain. The extent of litigious behavior in the United States has gone off the deep end. Individuals and business entities have become prone to engaging in lawsuits, even if the suits are unnecessary, unfounded, or in many cases, retaliatory. I have had a personal experience with litigious behavior, and fortunately, after a lot of work by me, and my attorney’s follow through, a New York district court judge took a cursory look at the lawsuit and threw the case out of court. As well-known columnist Jack Anderson declared many years ago: “Across the country, people are suing one another with abandon; courts are clogged with litigation; lawyers are burdening the populace with legal bills. This massive, mushrooming litigation has caused horrendous ruptures and dislocations at a flabbergasting cost to the nation.” In 2022, the U.S. Justice Department reported false claims settlements and judgements exceeded $2 billion. Regarding the Buffalo Wild Wings lawsuit, which to me was certainly litigious behavior: A federal judge in Illinois has dismissed a Chicago man’s class-action lawsuit against Buffalo Wild Wings over the type of meat inside the so-called “boneless” chicken wings. Do we not have better and more positive things to focus on? Thanks for sending the info N.B.

  • This diatribe was written many years ago for Martin Sheen, who starred in the political drama television series, “The West Wing”. Yes, this take involves both religion and politics, two subjects I really try to stay away from. What drew me to Sheen’s speech is the way he mocks this pundit, and attacks her views on homosexuality. Religion and politics aside, my takeaway from this speech is to keep away from your “ignorant, tight-ass club.” Again, I am not mocking anyone who is religious or political. I am pointing out that along with ‘President Bartlet’, people should just stay in their lane. Thank you to K.R. for reminding me of this video.
Take His Statement Any Way You Want.

A Few Questions For Mid-March.

  • What is the follow through by the International Criminal Court (ICC) with issuing an arrest warrant for Vladimir Putin? The ICC would have a better chance of bringing Godzilla into custody.
  • To China: what is a raccoon dog?
  • Has collecting biometric data from customers in a grocery store gone too far? A New York City grocery chain, Fairway, has done just that.
  • Does Poland and Slovakia providing fighter jets to Ukraine open the door for China to do the same with Russia? This smells really bad.
  • Is Time Magazine’s naming of Tampa, Florida as one of the world’s greatest places off the mark? Maybe they went too far with designating Tampa with other great cities of the world, but the Tampa Bay/Clearwater/ St. Petersburg area is fantastic.
  • Is it possible that only two days into the NCAA basketball tournament, none of 20 million brackets created through ESPN remain intact? Fairleigh Dickinson University’s win over Purdue sealed that deal.
  • Are worldwide “hotspots” at an all-time high or just systemic and ongoing conflicts? I am thinking El Salvador, Ukraine, Taiwan, Israel, Libya and many more.
  • Is the ongoing banking drama the only reason brent crude oil could fall to the $40 a barrel mark?
  • Is it again time to gather our gold jewelry? Remember when all the ‘cash-for-gold’ stores populated our cities? Gold is once again hovering around $200 an ounce.
  • Who is not watching the third season of Ted Lasso?

  • It is nine minutes of your time, but these outtakes and bloopers from Seinfeld are priceless. I am not sure how they got through one take without cracking up.
Seinfeld. Enough Said.

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

Atmosphere. Short Takes For Mid-March. Freebird.

The Passion And Energy Of San Siro. My Takes For The Week. We Have Lost Another Great Guitarist.

  • The pageantry of sports. The feeling of supporting your team in your stadium or arena, with a sold-out crowd singing and chanting – it really is an audio-visual spectacle. In the college football world, many stadiums are full and include a large proportion of students screaming and yelling for their team. Ohio State’s “Shoe” and “The Big House” in Ann Arbor, Michigan come to mind as two massive stadiums that sell out every game. Many stadiums around the world enjoy the same atmosphere, including Milan’s San Siro Stadium, home to A.C. Milan, who for historical sake would be similar to the Green Bay Packers of the National Football League. The atmosphere, fan experience, and choreography in the video below tells us about the passion and support of their fans. The visual spectacle of how the stadium looks is awesome, along with the passion displayed by the fans starting at the 4:05 mark of this video. In a word, amazing.
Milan, Italy’s San Siro Stadium.

A Few Short Takes For the Second Sunday of March:

  • Are the Norfolk Southern derailments just coincidental? Two in Ohio and one last Thursday in Alabama. I certainly hope so.
  • Apple + releases the third season of Ted Lasso on Wednesday. Whether you are a soccer fan or not, this series is fantastic.

  • To all of you daylight savings time naysayers: relax as we will be back to the early days of darkness on Sunday, November 5. Does Congress put a halt to changing the clock twice a year? 🙂
  • It all started with Moody’s Investors Service informing SVB Financial Group, the parent of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB), that they were downgrading the bank’s credit. That pending announcement, along with some missteps by SVB, began the process toward Friday’s collapse of the lender, who focused on California’s startup entities, mostly in the technology sector. Another hard and difficult lesson showing all of us how quickly confidence in financial institutions can erode.
  • The 95th Academy Awards is on ABC tonight. Jimmy Kimmel is the host and let us hope that the award-winners accept their award with grace and a bit of dignity.
  • A few family members and friends have new-fangled turntables. I really never thought that vinyl records would outsell CDs…for the first time since 1987.
  • There has been continuing bad press coming out of Mexico. The abduction and murder of two Americans has again put Mexico and their drug cartels on the front page. It is really a sad state of affairs as Mexico has so many great things to offer. From Mexico City to Monterey, to the areas of Tulum, Mexico has been a great country for my previous visits. The good is often overshadowed by the cartels and their never-ending murderous endeavors. Very, very sad.
  • The annual March Madness college basketball craziness starts this Thursday. I am having someone who knows nothing about college basketball populate my bracket as last year only 74% of my picks were correct.
  • A big shout out to C.A., as her eldest of her three boys was married last night. Congratulations…one down and two to go!

  • I have had a number of family and friends who have played in bands, most of them focusing on the guitar. In previous posts, I have mentioned how much I like guitar riffs, especially from the likes of Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, and Eddie Van Halen. I unfortunately never recognized Gary Rossington, the guitarist from the legendary Lynyrd Skynyrd band. Shame on me as he was magical with his riffs and slide guitar playing. Rossington, last of the original Lynyrd Skynyrd, passed away last week at the age of seventy-one. They are all free as a bird now…RIP Gary Rossington.
“Freebird” by Lynyrd Skynyrd, performed at the Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool, England in 2016.

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

Sunshine. Woke. Execute. Dreams.

Daylight May Be In Play. He/She? Strategy Is Nothing Without The Ability To Execute. Stevie Nicks All Over Again.

  • Much to the chagrin of many, my daylight savings countdown is now one week. Yes, I received some comments concerning my posts that cheer on the advent of more daylight in the early evenings. I enjoyed reading everyone’s take – from too dark in the early mornings to too warm at night. I suppose the argument can go both ways, but to me, having daylight until 8:30PM is great in many ways.

Not to dive into politics, but there is legislation in play from a group of twelve bipartisan senators (yes, I actually stated the word bipartisan) that would make daylight savings time permanent, which followed a unanimous Senate vote a year ago that would end the changing of your clocks in the Spring and Fall. The legislation came to a quick halt last year as the House of Representatives could not agree on whether to keep standard time or permanent daylight savings time. Imagine that!

Some analysts and special advisors have advocated the U.S. go to permanent daylight savings time for many reasons, including the ability for children to be outdoors more often (and not staring at their phones or tablets), reduce seasonal depression, and cut down on the number of car accidents that occur due to time changes. Critics of permanent daylight savings time note that children would be going to school in the dark and some would have issues with alertness due to the morning darkness.

Whatever the decision may turn out to be, it is definitely time to stop adjusting our clocks twice a year. That is my take, what is yours?

  • The She/He, Her/Him movement is a bit puzzling, but all good with me. However you identify yourself is your personal business, but in some cases, this has gone way too far. Again, I am in full support of people being people and how they deem their gender is just fine. Do I understand the new wave of email signatures that are followed by she/he or her/him? No, I do not, and I do not care. With all that said, watch this video. Victor Marx is a do-gooder, turning his life around as a high-risk humanitarian with successful missions to Iraq, Syria, North Africa, and Southeast Asia – many times in high-threat environments. Severely abused and tortured as a child, by the time he graduated from high school, his lifestyle was filled with drugs, fights, and theft. The discipline of military life and his faith helped him recover from his traumatic childhood and empowered him to help others. Victor’s work and leadership has been sought after by award-winning actors, musicians, professional athletes, military leaders, and politicians – from the Pentagon to around the world.

This quick video tells us that she/he, him/her has gone too far. An example of people being way too sensitive, just to be sensitive, without any regard for situational awareness. Sort of alarming and sort of sad.

Gender identification gone way too far.

  • Speaking of discipline, meet Chadd Wright. Wright is a twelve-year veteran and former Team Leader with the U.S. Navy Seals, who served his country in conflict zones around the world. Retired in 2019, he is now a part-time defense contractor, business owner, entrepreneur, public speaker, and competitive Ultrarunner. I have read a lot about Wright, and I have taken away a few ideas and tidbits from his writings and videos. There is one big takeaway that resonates with me in many ways. Wright preaches that ideas, plans, and strategies are worthless unless there is execution. All the best personal and professional planning can go nowhere unless there is a strong component of execution…with all aspects of our lives. This short video sends that clear message.

  • A bit of a rant. How in the hell, in the year 2023, with all the advancements in technology and mobility, can train wrecks still happen? The train derailments in East Palestine, Ohio and Greece are so alarming and tragic in different ways. It is 2023, right?

  • Fleetwood Mac. A memory of great music from Mick Fleetwood, Christine McVie, John McVie, Lindsey Buckingham, and Stevie Nicks. Nicks’ rendition of the song “Dreams”, which came off of the album Rumors, sold more than one million copies and reached the Billboard Hot 100 back in 1977. Her voice was remarkable, with a melodic reality few could replicate. That is until we hear the voice of young Lanie Gardner with her rendition of “Dreams.” So well done.
Well done, Lanie Gardner.

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