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!

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!

Face-To-Face. Hunger. May 1st Thoughts.

Business Interaction At Its Best. The Desert Has Nothing To Do With It. The Oligarchs.

  • Along with travel and hospitality, the corporate events industry was devastated by Covid-19 and the subsequent variants. Hundreds of thousands of workers who provided services to support the creation, planning, implementation, and execution of product introductions, consumer product experiences, trade and consumer shows, and private events were left on the sideline as clients and show associations’ event schedules came to a dead stop in March of 2020. Businesses shuttered and their employees, who in my opinion have the best work ethic of any service sector, all of a sudden downshifted from fifth gear to 1st gear as worldwide healthcare organizations tried, with no avail, to quickly halt what became a serious pandemic.

Fast forward two years, and last week’s personal experience thankfully showed me a complete pivot with the events world. I attended and participated at the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) conference, usually held every year in Las Vegas. Pre-pandemic, this conference was one of the best attended, drawing over 100,000 attendees, exhibitors, partners, and suppliers to this mega-conference which involves any and all who work within or sell to the worldwide broadcast sector. After NAB cancelling the 2020 and 2021 events, they crossed their fingers and moved forward with last week’s conference, hoping that most attendees would make their way to ‘sin city’ and participate with the educational sessions and exhibition floor. Their bet paid off as the conference attracted 60,000, well off pre-pandemic numbers, but a strong number mostly made up of decision-makers, after two years of nominal face-to-face interaction.

Using technology, Zoom calls and email prevailed for the last two years, but there is no better business interaction than face-to-face meetings. Last week’s NAB conference clearly showed the world the importance of corporate events and the role they play with business interaction. My four days attending sessions and interacting at the expo yielded great contacts and business opportunities, and more importantly will provide a path for a high level of return on investment.

Let us all hope that we have ‘learned to live with’ future Covid-19 variants and that the world of face-to-face business interaction continues to regain its momentum. Well done NAB.

The exposition floor at last week’s National Association of Broadcasters conference.

In politics, humanitarian aid, and the social sciences, hunger is defined as a condition in which a person does not have the physical or financial capability to eat sufficient food to meet basic nutritional needs for a sustained period.

I have contributed to the Red Cross. I really do not understand, with the world’s resources, how after steadily declining for a decade, world hunger is on the rise, affecting 9.9 percent of people globally. From 2019 to 2020, the number of undernourished people grew by as many as 161 million, a crisis driven largely by conflict, climate change, and the COVID-19 pandemic. Children are devastated by hunger. In fact, “an estimated 14 million children under the age of five worldwide suffer from severe acute malnutrition, also known as severe wasting, yet only 25 percent of acutely malnourished children have access to lifesaving treatment.” This is so sad as the United Nations and other food organizations report that there is enough food produced worldwide to feed everyone on the planet.

I am writing about the serious subject of hunger due to a YouTube video sent by a friend of mine – a funny piece done by the vile Sam Kinison, who tries to make his point with why people are hungry. Though funny, this 1985 take, in present day, could not be further from the truth. Warning: this video contains vulgar language.

Great delivery, great timing…but the subject matter is not one to make fun of…

Things I Think For the First Sunday Of May:

  • You wonder when the Russian oligarchs, who have billions of dollars frozen by worldwide sanctions, will take a stand against Vladimir Putin. Sooner than later would be my answer.
  • Another Grammy-winning singer has left us. RIP Naomi Judd.
  • The Food & Drug Administration is banning menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars. Why not ban all types of cigarettes? Ah, yes, I forgot about the politics.
  • I just read some information regarding Johnny Depp and Amber Heard. I have no words for these two. Just plain nasty people.
  • The premier of the British Virgin Islands was arrested in Miami, charged with conspiracy to import cocaine and launder money. You just can’t fix stupid.
  • Residential rental markets in the Sunbelt are skyrocketing. My hometown of Miami is now the least affordable city in the United States. While rent prices have risen 24% nationwide, Miami’s average rent has increased by a staggering 61%. When does this craziness stop?
  • Roman Abramovich has been forced to sell his Chelsea Football Club due to sanctions imposed on the Russian by the British government. An unfortunate circumstance for Abramovich until you realize that he paid $233 million for the club back in 2003. Friday’s bid for Chelsea F.C., by British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe, is $5.3 billion. A nice ROI for the Russian.

  • Chris Stapleton’s rise to the top of the music world is amazing. Incredibly talented with his voice and guitar, this song best represents what this fantastic performer is all about.
Chris Stapleton performing on Austin City Limits.

Adios, pay it forward, be safe, and remember that Mother’s Day is one week from today. Have a Funday Sunday.

Dominance on the Courts. Retail Woes. March On This.

Note: I am traveling so I wanted to repost a justmytake from January of 2017 – more than five years ago. To date, I have received more comments from this post than any other…and really have no explanation why.

As a tennis fan and recreational player I have followed the sport for a long time.   Many of the great players had their own style and temperament (Ilie Nastase, John McEnroe and Jimmy Connors come to mind) and Serena Williams is no different.  There have been many times that I watched her behavior with disdain and often stopped watching her play.  With that said there is no argument that she is the greatest woman tennis player of all time.   Friday night Serena won her seventh Australian Open, her 23rd major singles title of her career.  She now is only one victory away of equaling Margaret Court’s record of 24 Grand Slam singles titles.  Call Serena what you want but she has now won ten major titles after the age of thirty and her career winnings are a staggering $82m.  On the men’s side, last night’s final between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal was an incredible five set match and after playing well over three hours, ended with Nadal challenging a ball that was clearly in.  After not playing for many months and enduring three 5-set matches during his run to the title, Federer now has collected eighteen Grand Slam titles and has earned close to $100m in career winnings.  On two consecutive nights we were lucky enough to see the two greatest tennis players of all time.

Weeks ago I wrote about the retail customer experience and how retailers must find new ways to change their styles and merchandising often to drive customers to purchase in-store.  Retail executives continuously strive for heightening the customer experience but it seems like to no avail.  Last week, Wet Seal, around since the early ’60’s, made the decision to close all of their 171 stores nationwide.  This followed American Apparel laying off 2,400 workers, The Limited closing all stores, and Macy’s announcing that they will shutter over 100 stores in 2017.  The economic landscape and the ease of online purchasing leads me to believe there is no end in sight for more retailers to either try and pivot their offering or decide, similar to Wet Seal and The Limited, to just give up completely.

Can someone, in simple terms, explain to me what the Women’s March was really supposed to accomplish?  I support human rights, LGBTQ, racial equality and freedom of religion, but I found the March and many of the ‘protestors’ embarrassing.  I talked to many people, both men and women about the march.  A few pointed out that most of women marching were protesting against then President-elect Donald Trump without understanding his platform and pending policies.  Too bad this massive force of women could not re-focus their time and energy on important issues.  Feeding the hungry is one that comes to mind.

Updates:  Matt Ryan, only sixty minutes left in the season….get it done.   To the terrorists in Yemen who killed another U.S. soldier yesterday:  SecDef Mattis is coming for you.  Please Wayne Rooney, don’t get selfish and piss away your career playing in China.  Showtime’s Homeland, once a crazy, action-packed sixty minutes has gone politico on us…..the producers and writers should be ashamed.  Six weeks to daylight savings time!!

Adios and have a Funday Sunday!! 

Short Takes For April 17, 2022.

My View Is Not Jaded.

I have discussed this vertical takeoff ‘air taxi’ in previous posts – and for the first time we all get a look at a test flight from Lilium, a German-based aircraft technology company that utilizes emissions-free electric jet service. Their first U.S. vertiport will be developed and built in Orlando, Florida’s fast-growing Lake Nona district. FAA approval is pending and will allow this fully electric jet service to shuttle passengers on short-haul routes between Orlando and Tampa, Jacksonville, and Ft. Lauderdale-Miami. It is very likely that vertiports and air taxi service will expand quickly to many major metropolitan areas.

Forget the Florida Turnpike – this flying taxi will get you from Orlando to Miami in one hour.
  • Tiger Woods did the unthinkable after flipping his car just over a year ago. His decision to play at The Masters provided golf fans with expectations of his health and performance. He has a long way to go but maybe there is one more Major win left for him to take?
  • I do not have any answers or even suggestions on how a transit system or shopping mall can prevent someone from bringing a weapon or incendiary device onto a train or inside a mall. Terrorism or extremely sick individuals – what is the answer? This was my take, posted on August 20, 2020 – 20 months ago: The world continues to undergo a socio/economic change due to terrorist groups and other factions dovetailing off of horrific events. This past week the Charlottesville and Barcelona events showed the world that hate is not only prevalent, but now has become a factor affecting everyday life including travel, tourism, and worldwide stock markets. There is no end in sight and these types of events feed the television and social media network’s content – which drives ratings and advertising dollars. It is interesting that after 9/11, people all over the world seemed to take a step back, offered up kindness, and in general just got along… understanding the shock and horror from a few deranged terrorists. Can you stop someone from renting or stealing a car and driving it into a crowd of people? Can you convince racists that their efforts would be better spent organizing charity events instead of hating people that just happen to have a different skin color?  There is an island somewhere in the far reaches of this planet for all these people…in my mind, that is the only solution. Other than then Covid and its variants slowing down, has anything really changed in the last 20 months?.
  • I proposed this idea and business service to a friend of mine years ago: create a cord-cutting platform that provides consumers with a simple way, based on their television viewing wants and needs, to select streaming services from one online portal with a menu of options. One-stop selection, one invoice, and one customer service outlet. “A Streaming Service Aggregator.” It is a bit of a daunting business proposition, but if anyone is up to discussing the idea…I am all ears. Serious.
  • I am very surprised that I have received few comments from readers on the sad situation in Ukraine. Do you feel like the United States is doing enough? Does the NATO charter prevent the U.S. from doing more? How long can NATO and non-NATO countries stand by and watch the horror Vladimir Putin is inflicting on Ukraine and its citizens? Someone correct me if I am wrong: Has the U.S., in previous conflicts, not employed its armed forces to try and stop warring factions across the world? I would like your take please.
  • My favorite boat, without a doubt, was my 27′ pontoon boat – basically a floating living room. Now, without regard to costs, I have found my new favorite boat. By volume, it is the world’s largest yacht, with two helipads, a salon, gym, and the largest swimming pool ever installed on a yacht (25 meters). There are accommodations for thirty-six (which for me is 32 too many), and the yacht is valued at $735 million. The upside: it only costs $5 million a month to maintain. You will need to negotiate the purchase of the yacht with the German government, as they seized the ship last month when it docked at the port of Hamburg. It seems the yacht is owned by the sister of a Russian oligarch. Sanctions are sanctions.
A yacht for sale.
  • The pharmaceutical world at its finest: “In both trials, the antidepressant response to psilocybin was rapid, sustained and correlated with decreases in fMRI brain network modularity, implying that psilocybin’s antidepressant action may depend on a global increase in brain network integration,” the study reads. I am not sure, other than some healthcare professionals, who would actually understand what this trial studied, but upon further review it relates to the use of ‘magic mushrooms’ to improve everyone’s mood. In today’s world, once the FDA approves its use, psilocybin will fly off pharmacy shelves.
  • It is apparent, after watching this video, that most children are incredibly resilient. Sheltering in a bunker, this adorable young Ukrainian girl’s version of “Frozen” went viral, attracting attention from Broadway and the worldwide media. Sweetness and fortitude all wrapped into one.
She is simply amazing.

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