C, S, & N (and sometimes Y). Humility And Accountability. Toadzilla. Cruising. $430 Million Annually.

Peace and Love. Do It Right The First Time. That..Is Not Kermit. Travel Is Back. Messi To Cash In? Carry On.

  • No matter your taste in music, it is difficult not to like some or most of the songs from Crosby, Stills, Nash, and sometimes Neil Young. Their music really did symbolize what was happening in the late 1960’s and 70’s, with lyrics that mimicked the peace and love movement of the country. I guess their music could be called folk-rock, and with their great ability to harmonize, C, S & N’s music provided hit after hit. Before C, S, & N, David Crosby formed the Byrds in the mid-60’s. One of the Byrd’s greatest hits, “Turn! Turn! Turn!” was made popular again in the mid-90’s thanks to the movie “Forrest Gump.” David Crosby went on to be inducted into the Rock Hall of Fame with the Byrds in 1991, and again with Crosby, Stills, & Nash in 1997. A salute to David Crosby, who at 81, passed away last Thursday at his home in California. RIP David Crosby.
David Crosby passed away last Thursday. A tribute to a music legend.

  • There is no doubt that the technology world and its providers are facing many challenges including rising interest rates, inflation, and online advertisers forced to cut back on ad spending. It was inevitable that these tech companies, enjoying the many years of hockey stick growth, added headcount at an unprecedented rate. The unfortunate consequence of a financial performance is cost-cutting, which is usually led by headcount reduction. In previous posts, I have expressed my disdain for some CEOs, who obviously have no conscience or accountability to their employees, announcing staff reductions on social media, including LinkedIn and Twitter. On Friday, Google announced they were laying off 12,000 people from its workforce, and I do admire the way CEO Sundar Pichai made the announcement with the email below. The email is very long, but I want everyone to read his way of announcing the layoffs. A clear and professional explanation, blended with empathy, and concern:


I have some difficult news to share. We’ve decided to reduce our workforce by approximately 12,000 roles. We’ve already sent a separate email to employees in the US who are affected. In other countries, this process will take longer due to local laws and practices.

This will mean saying goodbye to some incredibly talented people we worked hard to hire and have loved working with. I’m deeply sorry for that. The fact that these changes will impact the lives of Googlers weighs heavily on me, and I take full responsibility for the decisions that led us here.

Over the past two years we’ve seen periods of dramatic growth. To match and fuel that growth, we hired for a different economic reality than the one we face today.

I am confident about the huge opportunity in front of us thanks to the strength of our mission, the value of our products and services, and our early investments in AI. To fully capture it, we’ll need to make tough choices. So, we’ve undertaken a rigorous review across product areas and functions to ensure that our people and roles are aligned with our highest priorities as a company. The roles we’re eliminating reflect the outcome of that review. They cut across Alphabet, product areas, functions, levels and regions.

To the Googlers who are leaving us: Thank you for working so hard to help people and businesses everywhere. Your contributions have been invaluable and we are grateful for them.

While this transition won’t be easy, we’re going to support employees as they look for their next opportunity.

In the US:

  • We’ll pay employees during the full notification period (minimum 60 days).
  • We’ll also offer a severance package starting at 16 weeks salary plus two weeks for every additional year at Google, and accelerate at least 16 weeks of GSU vesting.
  • We’ll pay 2022 bonuses and remaining vacation time.
  • We’ll be offering 6 months of healthcare, job placement services, and immigration support for those affected.
  • Outside the US, we’ll support employees in line with local practices.

As an almost 25-year-old company, we’re bound to go through difficult economic cycles. These are important moments to sharpen our focus, reengineer our cost base, and direct our talent and capital to our highest priorities.

Being constrained in some areas allows us to bet big on others. Pivoting the company to be AI-first years ago led to groundbreaking advances across our businesses and the whole industry.

Thanks to those early investments, Google’s products are better than ever. And we’re getting ready to share some entirely new experiences for users, developers and businesses, too. We have a substantial opportunity in front of us with AI across our products and are prepared to approach it boldly and responsibly.

All this work is a continuation of the “healthy disregard for the impossible” that’s been core to our culture from the beginning. When I look around Google today, I see that same spirit and energy driving our efforts. That’s why I remain optimistic about our ability to deliver on our mission, even on our toughest days. Today is certainly one of them.

I’m sure you have many questions about how we’ll move forward. We’ll be organizing a town hall on Monday. Check your calendar for details. Until then, please take good care of yourselves as you absorb this difficult news. As part of that, if you are just starting your work day, please feel free to work from home today.


  • Headline of the Week: Delta Passenger Grabs Fire Extinguisher And Comes Out Spraying After Stealing Chicken Wings. I am not making light of what could have been a very serious situation in the Atlanta airport. I am saying that there must be an island. Is it possible that this woman and George Santos would be good island mates? (No, I am not referring to Santos’ politics).
Situations similar to this event are becoming all to common.

  • A few of my friends have a high level of coaching experience with both soccer and basketball. Over the years, all of them have told me that the big difference today from the past in both sports is the level of the athlete’s physicality. This includes size, strength, speed, and flexibility, which must stem from the type of training these athletes get to enjoy at an early age. There is no exact comparison of Lebron James at 6’9″, and Lionel Messi at 5’5″ – but similarities with both are their strength and impact they bring to the court and field. Training and nutrition are a big part of physicality, and today’s athletes, for the most part, have advanced their physicality to a much higher level than the athletes of the past.

Does the same hold true for the animal kingdom? Animal scientists and veterinarians can hopefully answer that question, but one would assume that most species are continuing to evolve. One example may come out of northeastern Australia, where park rangers discovered a ‘mammoth’ toad -weighing in at six pounds. One ranger was quoted that the massive toad was immediately removed from the wild because a six-pound toad will eat “anything it can fit into its mouth.” Please let that beast and its offspring stay in northeastern Australia.

Meet ‘Toadzilla’. No, and no.

  • Along with other aspects of travel, including planes, trains, hotels, and cruise ships, no one could predict how all of these would come out of the pandemic. The cruise industry, already dealing with airborne, surface, and noroviruses on many of their ships, was hit extremely hard with the onslaught of Covid-19, especially during 2020 and the beginning of 2021. Though it took a good bit of time, it is remarkable how cruise carriers have recovered, now enjoying record passenger counts. Last Wednesday, six cruise ships set a record for the number of passengers visiting St. Maarten. Port of St Maarten Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Alexander Gumbs said: “This is a significant development for the destination when we look back at what we and the region, and the world had to endure with the pandemic and the shutdown of the cruise industry for 15-months.” Well done to the cruise industry!

  • All of us enjoyed the performance of Argentina superstar Lionel Messi at last month’s World Cup. Messi earned his first World Cup trophy, in a dramatic 3-3 tie with France, which after thirty minutes of overtime, Argentina won on penalty kicks. Messi’s club team is Paris Saint-Germain (PSG), who competes in Ligue 1, the top division of French football. Last week, a Saudi Arabian Club, Al Hilal, has reportedly offered Messi $430 million a year to play with their club. This offer comes one month after Cristiano Ronaldo left massive club Manchester United and signed with another Saudi Arabian club for $300 million annually. When does this craziness stop?
Max Scherzer, Luka Dončić, Lebron James and Patrick Mahomes must saying: “What?”

  • In honor of David Crosby, here is Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young performing “Carry On”, a near perfect song with their harmonies, melody changes, and guitar skills. To say the least, David Crosby will be missed. Enjoy this song – one that will never be replicated.
There are no other words than “Carry On”

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

Mid-January Takes.

Things I Think I Think.

Coming off last week’s 2023 predictions, I now get back to my usual (or unusual) takes on things I am thinking.

  • $1.35 billion. The cash option and relative taxes will yield somewhere around $540 million. Friday the 13th has made someone in Maine very happy.
  • Since the war began nearly a year ago, the West has resisted giving some of its most potent weapons to Ukraine, fearing that supplying Ukraine with weapons to fight the Russians would bring NATO into direct conflict with Russia. NATO allies are walking that fine line now as the U.S. has provided Ukraine with a Patriot Air Defense System, and other NATO countries have relented and are finally offering up tanks to Ukraine’s forces. I am all in with this.
  • There will be a lot of love-making going on in this Chinese city. Shenzhen, a city of 13 million people, has offered its residents £2,300 to have more children.
  • First it was Southwest Airlines and late last week it was the FAA. Does anyone want to wager that there was some outside cyber interference with their IT infrastructures? A scary scenario to say the least.
  • Everyone seems to have classified documents just laying around. I looked last night and could not find any documents. You?
  • I really enjoy the guitar and the likes of Jimi Hendrix, Mark Knopfler, Jimmy Page, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Eddie Van Halen, and Billy Gibbons. There was also Jeff Beck, whose skills on the guitar were amazing. RIP, Jeff Beck.
Jeff Beck’s skills on the guitar were unprecedented.
  • Headline of the week: “This $8 billion startup is fining employees $1,200 for contacting colleagues on vacation.” Say what?
  • The following is a summary from The Office of the Director of National Intelligence. Last Thursday they released an unclassified version of the government’s new report on UFOs. “Initial characterization does not mean positively resolved or unidentified. This initial characterization better enables AARO and ODNI to efficiently and effectively leverage resources against the remaining 171 uncharacterized and unattributed UAP reports. Some of these uncharacterized UAP appear to have demonstrated unusual flight characteristics or performance capabilities, and require further analysis.” That is 171 reports of UFOs that the National Intelligence agency cannot explain, mostly from Air Force and Navy pilots. Any questions?
  • The University of Georgia overwhelmed TCU in the college football championship game. Never have we witnessed a bowl game where the result has been so lopsided. For sixty minutes, The Dawgs overwhelmed the Horned Frogs of TCU, but one of TCU’s players was not impressed with Georgia: “You know, defensive-wise, they didn’t really do anything special,” Winters said. “We just kind of beat ourselves up. Kind of just executed on our mis-alignments and kept scoring on those.” I think TCU’s Dee Winters must have hit his head.
  • “I have a dream…” Tomorrow we celebrate the federal holiday in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr….a fierce and brave leader of the Civil Rights Movement.

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

A Look Ahead.

Things I Think For 2023.

Over the holidays I took a break with JustMyTake and I am definitely ready get started with my weekly posts. As we are already into the second week of the new year, I thought I would provide some random thoughts and takes on what we may see and experience in 2023. I have a note in my calendar to review my predictions at year-end. As always, your comments are welcome.

The World, The Economy & Finance

The Russia-Ukraine war will continue with no cease fire. As long as Putin is in power, he will continue to justify his existence with his goal of a Ukrainian land grab. A sad and alarming conflict.

Imposition of Islamic law, a continuing economic crisis, lack of freedom of expression, violation of women’s rights, and the killing of Mahsa Amini. Yes, Iranians will continue to protest, and violence will continue throughout the year.

The environment again becomes top-of-mind for the world. Going green was ‘too costly’ years ago, but the world, based on science and data, has no choice but to level-set sustainable environmental policies and controls. It will be more than residential recycling. Way more. A new generation of thinking will want our planet to heal, dictating carbon-reducing agriculture and massive incentives for farmers and others who grow food. I know, I write like I am living in the Arlo Guthrie/Joan Baez era, but seriously, something has to give with the way all of us are altering the environment.

More banking institutions will shy away from consumer services, as the onslaught and availability of online banking continues to keep people out of bank branches. As more secure and encrypted virtual communication comes online, why would the consumer spend time to travel to a bricks and mortar branch when they can just simply schedule a ‘zoom-type’ virtual visit with their favorite banker?

Speaking of virtual visits, the number of virtual healthcare visits will skyrocket in 2023. Same as above: If you do not need to be examined by a doctor, there is no reason to wait days for your appointment, travel to the doctor’s office, sit in their sometimes unhealthy waiting room, and receive the same information and prescriptions from your doctor that you could have obtained on a virtual call.

Regarding unhealthy offices and waiting rooms, indoor air quality will become a mainstream strategy and practice. The science and data around indoor air quality having a direct correlation to airborne viruses and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) is vast and eye-opening.

Look for the acronym ‘ACH’ to become mainstream. ACH, or air change rate, is the number of times that the total air volume in a room or space is completely removed and replaced in an hour. See above regarding indoor air quality. Why is this important? If your air change rate is too high, you are losing air that you are paying to heat or cool. If the rate is too low, your air becomes stale and stagnant, which can lead to a buildup of toxins, viruses, pathogens, VOCs and the like.

Equity markets, other than the S&P 500, will actually have a decent year. The pending recession has yet to fully bite into corporate earnings expectations or stock valuation…but it will later this year.

Investors will focus on profits this year and not worry too much about top-line growth. I always loved the old adage, “We want year-over-year double-digit growth AND we want a substantial increase with margins all the way down to the EBITDA line. Uh huh. I know my friend and private equity executive, Chris A., will chime in on this one. 🙂

The Fed will stay the course by raising rates to ensure inflation stays in check. See the next item.

Real estate will be problematic, with mortgage rates unacceptable and home prices still too steep. The Fed will continue to manage inflation by raising the fed rate, which bottom line will raise 30-year mortgage rates to 8%+ and lead to homes sales dropping 10% in 2023.

The cannabis industry will continue to scale, with bigger brands and entities entering the once ‘taboo’ space. There are many dynamics with cannabis, and the massive growth of the industry will be fueled by public policy to improve access and streamline regulations. Hockey stick growth may be waning, but the projected numbers show the industry will grow from $30 billion back in 2021 to $55 billion in 2026, a compound annual growth rate of 13%. It will be very interesting how regulation will play out with this industry.

Self-driving cars will still have barriers for consumer use, but government entities will quickly acquire self-driving fleets to offset labor costs.

Food, Media & Entertainment

Netflix will merge or be acquired by Paramount or Disney. The whole is greater than the sum of the parts…

Due to socio-economic drivers, we will see a surge in group outings and group activities. Bowling, which no longer is just bowling, will surge with continued development of multi-purpose bowling venues. Drink, eat, play, meet, socialize….and yes, bowl. Look for the continued swell of pickleball, indoor and outdoor soccer, chess and checkers parlors, group cooking, and art-type classes to get people engaged with one another. What a concept, huh?

Kitsch will be the go-to, cool design look. Why? I have no clue. I think we previously used the term ‘eclectic’ but I will leave the word kitsch to the interior and fashion designers of the world.

“Digital nomadism” will continue at a high rate and the ‘hush’ trip will be the travel trend of 2023. Scenario: Remote workers pack up and head somewhere new for a limited amount of time—think a week or two, rather than all year—without ever telling their employer. They then login, get to work, and save some time to explore a new city or area.

The National Football League will announce one or two international franchises. Think Munich, London, or Mexico City.

Disney, with their former CEO now back in the captain’s seat, will divest and refocus on core businesses. That could mean they spin off ESPN. Crazy right?

Twitter, with Elon Musk driving the ship, will alter its platform and offerings, driving subscription rates with comedy and other entertainment offerings. Yes, Musk will streamline Twitter’s headcount while expanding their platform.

The platform initiated by OGT Management, where you can order food at airports and other venues before you get to the restaurant, will quickly become a standard platform and practice. Think about the ease of ordering and limited time waiting on a server… and quickly receiving your food, drink, and tab.

Southwest Airlines, after their massive technology debacle last month, will take a $1 billion dollar hit…and become ripe for acquisition. Shame on their lack of technology and redundancies.

REALITY: Last Monday night’s football game, between the Buffalo Bills and Cincinnati Bengals, reminded us of how precious and fragile life can be. It looks like Damar Hamlin has turned the corner and we can only hope he continues to progress to the point of having a normal quality of life. For all parents, and their children playing contact sports, take a look at this product from Unequal Technologies. https://unequal.com/commotio-protection/

Unequal Technologies has done a great deal of work with commotio cordis.

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

Rush The Gate. Prime Time v.2 Supply Side Economics. The Swap. AI. Family.

Time and Motion. He Is Heading To Boulder. Crude Oil. Brittney For A Terrorist. The Intelligence Of Things.

I am sure that Delta and Southwest Airlines, as well as other carriers, have spent millions of dollars trying to figure out the best way to board passengers. Delta’s process is as good as any with hassle-free boarding depending on your SkyMiles status. As we are in the midst of the holiday travel season, I can only hope a time and motion engineer can really figure out how to best board an airliner.

We have ALL had that Ben Stiller face!

I am limited with knowledge of supply-side economics, but I do wonder why economists (and the media) go bonkers when oil prices exceed $100 a barrel. Now that oil prices have dropped below $75 a barrel, the lowest price point in a year, where are all the pundits and economists commenting on how this plunge can either stymie or fuel the ever-pending recession?

I am conflicted with the release of Brittney Griner. Do not misinterpret my concern for her and her family, but I just have a big problem with the ramification of Griner being caught by the Russians with what they deemed as illegal drugs. The ramification: the United States finally negotiated her release last Thursday in a prisoner swap. The United States gets Griner back, but in turn must release Viktor Bout, a convicted Russian arms dealer, nicknamed the “Merchant of Death.” Bout was involved with international arms trafficking, conspiring to kill Americans, and collaborating with various terrorist organizations. Again, I am happy for Griner and her family, but does this prisoner swap set a disturbing precedent? What about Paul Whelan, the former United States Marine being held by the Russians for four years?

Headline of the Week: “Florida man says he killed an aggressive iguana — and claims Stand Your Ground defense.” Yes, only in Florida.

I do not blame Deion Sanders for leaving Jackson State University for the head coaching position at the University of Colorado. Cash is king and after three years, Sanders decided that he needed to take the more lucrative job in Boulder. The loser in this transaction is Jackson State University. Sanders instilled a high level of confidence, performance, and joy into the JSU program, one of many Historically Black College or University (HBCU) programs that produced former NFL stars including Walter Payton, Jerry Rice, and Michael Strahan. It is a shame that JSU could not persuade Sanders to stay with their program, but as we all know, a head coach only gets promoted by taking a bigger/better job. Here is hoping that JSU can onboard a significant head coach that can continue the success of former coach Deion Sanders.

Who would not want to play for Coach Deion Sanders?

I am very interested and excited to see what artificial intelligence (AI) is going to bring to the healthcare world. Beyond drug discovery and predicting outcomes of clinical trials, the one area of AI I feel will be a game-changer is medical imagery, where computer vision algorithms can be used to spot early warning signs of disease using MRI scans. I watched my first and never again episode of Chicago Med where they showed AI being used during surgery. Yes, it was a TV show, but the scene was very interesting with the use of AI during a surgical procedure. AI has already been used successfully to detect and treat neurological disorders, including Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases. The use of AI has tremendous upside and only time will tell how far the technology will take us in the healthcare world.

University of Florida researchers use artificial intelligence to better predict surgical outcomes.

I’m not sure that 37-year-old football (soccer) superstar Cristiano Ronaldo has yet to agree to a $180 million per year deal with Saudi Arabian club Al-Nassar. He is 37 years old and at the backside of his career. Cristiano: I would grab that pen and sign quickly.

Heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of journalist Grant Wahl. Wahl, one of the world’s preeminent soccer journalists, collapsed while covering the Argentina-Netherlands World Cup match on Friday. RIP Grant Wahl.

Family. There are many ways to describe the families you interact with…but this take from Sebastian Maniscalco is priceless.

Family – it does not get any better than Sebastian Maniscalco.

Adios, pay it forward, be safe, and Have A Funday Sunday!

It Is Month Twelve.

Random Takes For The 1st Sunday Of December.

  • Today is day 284 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Day 284 with no end in sight and a reported 13,000 Ukrainian soldiers have lost their lives. The Russians have set a precedent that follows the path of other dictators and their never-ending objective of dominance. Disturbing to say the least.
  • We looked in awe at the B-2 Stealth Bomber when it was unveiled many years ago. Now the United States Air Force, at a cost of $750 million each, has introduced the B-21, an upgraded version of the B-2 that can deliver both conventional and nuclear weapons around the world using long-range and mid-air refueling capabilities. An aircraft we hope is never put to use.
The New B-21.
  • The four-day work week has become en vogue. Four days at ten hours-a-day seems a bit strange as the majority of the workforce seems to want less work hours, but with more pay.
  • Puzzling: DoorDash cut 1,250 of their corporate staff last Wednesday. I assume that DoorDash will continue its business operations as normal. If they can lose 1,250 employees in one cut, what were those 1,250 employees doing in the first place?
  • The flu season is here with many of my friends and family dealing with what to do next to feel better. Maybe we should revert to the family of Sebastian Maniscalco and their way of handling illness?
Stay healthy my friends.
  • Parents, especially fathers (and grandfathers), are usually very protective of our kids, especially our daughters. After posting about my granddaughter and her escapades at her school, I remembered this eye-opening scene from Den of Thieves a few years ago. Yes, the writers and 50 Cent carry this too far, or do they? Note: there is strong/adult language in this video.
I am sure she was home way before 11:30!
  • Along with most of us, I am a big supporter of first responders. Often taken for granted, first responders put their lives and health on the line every day to help and assist with emergencies, criminal activity, and the sick and wounded. On Thursday of last week, the union representing 15,000 Minnesota nurses announced that their health care workers will strike for the second time this year. Listing a number of unfair labor practices, with their number one issue being staffing shortages, the nurses have simply had enough. Timing is obviously a big concern for hospitals and other care facilities, with all of them dealing with a RSV surge, the flu season, and continued Covid cases. A very tough situation that could turn into a sad situation for many.
  • At times we think that Covid and its variants are under control – and then we read about China and the high levels of contraction in that massive country. It is all happening again in the U.S. as California is reaching medium levels of Covid infections and is considering an indoor mask mandate again. Please, no.
  • What a fantastic run for the USA in the World Cup. The second youngest team in the tournament made us proud.
No different than many of us watching the World Cup on Telemundo.
  • Speaking of soccer, the world awaits the fate of Pele, who is now in a hospice facility in Brazil. The Brazilian showed the rest of the world that there was a path to greatness on and off the field. I do not need to list all the competitive accomplishments of Pele…you will be seeing and listening to a great deal of tributes to this man. His level of celebrity was bar none, even to the point that in 1967, his presence with his club team playing in Nigeria stopped a civil war. Prayers to Pele.
  • The Headline of the Week: New York City to pay more than six figures for ‘Rat Pack’ leader with a ‘killer instinct’. Just another new hire in NYC, with this new position paying the Director of Rodent Mitigation $170,000 annually. Any questions?
  • A very happy half-century birthday to C.A. I am sure last night’s celebration will continue for a few days!

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

Enron V.2 Oh, Elizabeth. Artemis 1. Commando? The King Of Beers. Thanksgiving. The Haka.

GAAP Accounting Principles? Blood Fraud. The First In A Series Of Missions. We Really Do Not Care. A Dry World Cup. It Is Not All Things Turkey. The All Blacks Doing Their Thing.

“Never in my career have I seen such a complete failure of corporate controls and such a complete absence of trustworthy financial information as occurred here,” Ray said. “From compromised systems integrity and faulty regulatory oversight abroad, to the concentration of control in the hands of a very small group of inexperienced, unsophisticated and potentially compromised individuals, this situation is unprecedented.” This is not a statement about Enron or Worldcom, famous for their downfalls due to accounting scandals, but from John Ray III, the newly appointed CEO of FTX. FTX, a cryptocurrency exchange, once valued at $32 billion, collapsed in a matter of days last week amid a liquidity crunch and allegations that it was misusing customer funds. Ray, who oversaw the Enron bankruptcy, said “he had never seen such a complete failure of corporate controls.” Does anyone want to chime in on the lack of oversight in the cryptocurrency world?

Regarding the world of fraudulent activity: She was once the young heartthrob of Silicon Valley, dropping out of Stanford University to start Theranos in 2003…at the ripe old age of 19. A long story short, her med-tech entity, a blood testing company, was rife with fraud and the misleading of investors. There is a movie about Elizabeth Holmes, and she will now be watching that docudrama within the confines of prison, being sentenced to eleven years. Justice well served.

The Artemis 1 mission, delayed with a leaking valve and hurricane issues, finally did launch last Wednesday morning at around 1am. This was the first launch in a series of missions to build a sustainable, long-term human presence on the moon. Yes, a “human presence.” This first mission lays the groundwork for the future Artemis endeavors, to specifically ensure a safe re-entry, descent, splashdown, and recovery. The crewed Artemis 2 launch will take place in 2024, the Artemis 3 crewed lunar landing in 2025, and then the Artemis 4, which will dock with the Lunar Gateway in 2027. The Lunar Gateway will be an outpost orbiting the Moon that provides vital support for a sustainable, long-term human return to the lunar surface. This does not seem plausible but neither did the first moon landing on July 20, 1969.

The Artemis 1 launch last Tuesday from Kennedy Space Center.

Headline of the Week: Jenna Bush Hager Admits She Never Wears Underwear…
“I think it makes a more pretty silhouette!”
1. Who cares? 2. TMI 3. Get over yourself. 4. I am sure that your father, a two-term President of the United States, is very proud.

The first game of the World Cup starts this morning at 11am EST – between the host country Qatar and Ecuador. We will leave alone how and why this once every four-year event is taking place on this peninsula that is smaller than Connecticut, but we will note that over 1.5 million fans will visit this country over the month-long tournament. I sincerely hope that this tournament goes without serious incidents – but adding an additional 1.5 million visitors to the mix raises a number of questions in my mind. Speaking of questions, Budweiser is a prominent sponsor of the World Cup, and they have many questions after the decision that no alcohol will be sold at the eight stadiums which will host the tournament’s 64 matches. Talking about awkwardness? A World Cup and no beer sales.

Qatar 2022 is the first World Cup to be hosted in a Muslim nation where alcohol access is restricted.

The Thanksgiving holiday is like no other. Never mind that I am not a fan of turkey, the Thanksgiving holiday, whether with a group of family and friends or solo, is a time to reflect on the thankful things. No matter your surroundings, enjoy Thanksgiving for what it is meant to be: A day of giving thanks for the blessing of the harvest and of the preceding year. At whatever level, enjoy.

Speaking of tradition, the haka is a ceremonial war dance. The haka is a representation of a tribe’s pride, strength, and unity. New Zealand’s national rugby team, the All Blacks, perform the haka before each of their matches in what I feel is a stunning show of power and strength. In this match, England, their opponent, assumed the strategic “arrow” formation in opposition to the All Blacks performing their haka. The chant and words of the haka date back to 1820, and you only have to watch this once to understand the All Blacks focus and intensity.

Rugby and the All Blacks.

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

Storm Surge. Short Takes For Mid-November. Our Veterans.

The West and East Coasts 43 Days Apart. A Few Random Thoughts.

  • I do not necessarily agree with the cliche: ‘It could have been worse.’ The Fall storms that have caused massive damage to both coasts of Florida will affect the lives of many people in the state and the region. The residents and business owners in the Gulf towns of Naples and Ft. Myers, as well as their barrier islands, will be recovering from Hurricane Ian for a long time. Just forty-three days later, Hurricane Nicole, the latest storm to hit Florida in forty years, pummeled east coast towns from Melbourne to Flagler Beach, leaving beachfront homes wrecked and flooded. My only hope is that when the rebuilding begins, distinct levels of code and construction are instituted to help prevent some of the wind, water, and beach erosion issues we witnessed over a month ago and again last Thursday. It will be a lengthy battle for some to figure out what to do with their homes and businesses, and we can only wish all of them the best of everything. This video is difficult to watch.
Only 43 days separated Hurricanes Ian and Nicole.

Short Takes For mid-November

Any guess what Elon Musk will do with Twitter? He obviously has a strategy in mind after spending somewhere in the neighborhood of $44 billion to acquire the social media platform. Maybe Musk has reviewed Mastodon, a free and open-source software for running self-hosted social networking services Mastodon is gaining widespread popularity so maybe Musk, facing many issues with his newly acquired business, will change Twitter once and for all.

Seinfeld on Thursday nights. Never to be replicated, the writing by Larry David and the cast of characters was amazing. I do not think I watched every episode, but I do remember this one with Seinfeld handling a cold-caller, George and his date, Susan, and Kramer just doing Kramer.

Larry David’s writing was laugh-out-loud funny.

Have you ever watched an eight-year veteran NFL quarterback play like a rookie? Last Thursday night’s puzzling performance by the Atlanta Falcons’ Marcus Mariota must have head coach Arthur Smith wondering if he should start rookie Desmond Ridder. The Falcons have other issues with their team, but Mariota’s decision-making in last week’s Thursday night game against Carolina was head-scratching to say the least.

After I questioned the Fed about their four successive 0.75% rate hikes, the Consumer Price Index actually beat forecasts for the month of October. Something has to give as we do not want the U.S. to follow suit with what is happening in Great Britain. Britons are currently experiencing a severe cost-of-living crisis, with decades-high inflation and a jump in energy prices caused by the Russian war on Ukraine. Let us not get to that point, Mr. Powell.

Most have us have experienced the baggage check-in scenario where your bag is a bit over the weight allowance, as well as our top-performing TSA agents around the country. Comedian Sebastian Maniscalco never explained it better.

The Airport Experience.

After reading this headline it is obvious the world of online gaming has not resonated with my intellect or reasoning: Oculus Rift Creator Designs Frightening VR Set That Kills You for Real if You Die in a Video Game. Say what?

The World Cup opening match between host country Qatar and Ecuador is next Sunday. Over the last two weeks, the thirty-two countries participating in the World Cup have been revealing the twenty-six players who have made their final roster. Some countries do their “reveal” with big presentations, but this reveal by Uruguay is excellent and quite creative. The U.S. is grouped with Wales, England, and Iran, with their first game a week from tomorrow against Wales. By my account, this match is a must win in order for the Americans to get out of their group.

A very creative reveal by Uruguay.

Russia’s Vladimir Putin with the most ‘master of the obvious (MOTO)’ statement ever: “I will not attend the G20 Summit in Indonesia due to assassination fears.” Oh, come on Vladimir, show yourself to the world. 🙂 I am sure that the UASOF, Utti Jaeger Regiment, The Jaeger Corps, JW GROM, and Mossad would enjoy meeting you face-to-face (these are special forces units from Ukraine, Finland, Denmark, Poland, and Israel).

This Grammy performance some forty years ago will live in infamy. With all due respect to Fred Astaire and Mikhail Baryshnikov, we had not witnessed a live, televised event where the performer ‘glided on ice.’ My favorite YouTube twins had never seen this Billie Jean performance from Michael Jackson, and their reaction is great. Only my friends RP and S² can moonwalk as well as MJ. You can skip to the 1:45 and 6:20 minute marks to watch Michael do his thing.

The one, the only, the late Michael Jackson.

Veterans Day is a federal holiday in the United States observed annually on November 11, for honoring military veterans of the United States Armed Forces. The Veteran’s Day holiday was observed this past Friday, and to all veterans: praise, honor, admiration, and thank you.

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

The Consumer Price Index. Conflict. Dire Straits.

Are There Other Ways To Slow Inflation? Things Are Bubbling Up. Mark Knopfler.

  • It is time to pay attention, and I am not referring to Tuesday’s midterm elections. What I am referring to is the various economic news and information we are unfortunately consuming. Turn on any news program, whether it be on your television, radio, or social media, and the words inflation, the Federal Reserve, and the infamous federal funds rate are mentioned and discussed with incessant and non-stop blabber.

I mentioned some economic news last week regarding the Fed’s efforts to curb inflation. I questioned the rising federal funds rate, which is the interest rate that banks charge each other to borrow or lend excess reserves overnight. The Fed’s objective with raising the federal funds rate is to curb the consumption of goods, and by all accounts their actions to slow down consumption with interest rate management is working. Unfortunately, the rise in rates is not without negative vibes within many sectors including the housing and automobile business.

I wanted to level set why all of this federal rate activity has been instituted, and the word of the day is inflation. Inflation is defined as the sustained increase of the price level (i.e.: just compare food prices at your grocery store since the beginning of the year). When we hear “rate of inflation” it refers to the change in price levels over a period of time. When the price levels rise, our currency buys fewer goods and services – so in layman’s terms, inflation reflects a reduction in our purchasing power. The result of the inflation we have experienced is that we are forced to spend more and our cost-of-living increases over time. The cause and effect of higher interest rates has a trickle-down effect to us as consumers, as we theoretically must slow down our spending, which in turn the Fed hopes will curb inflation.

A high rate of consumption by us drives demand for goods and services which in essence drives up inflation. Last week I questioned the Fed’s rate hike tactics and questioned if there were other ways inflation could be slowed. The Fed raised the federal funds rate again last week, another 0.75 percentage points as part of its ongoing effort to fight inflation. This sums up the situation we find ourselves in: “A fourth consecutive rate hike of 0.75 percent – after going 28 years without one that large – speaks to the urgency of the Fed’s task,” says Greg McBride, CFA, Bankrate chief financial analyst. “They were late to acknowledge inflation, late to wind down stimulus, late to start raising rates, and late to ramp up rate hikes in a meaningful way. They’re still playing catch-up against inflation that continues to run near 40-year highs.”

What does all of this mean for us? Borrowing money. As mentioned last week, rates on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages have climbed above 7 percent for the first time since 2008. 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. Car loans: Forecasters lowered their expectations for 2022 U.S. auto sales yet again to just 13.7 million new cars and trucks, down about 9% vs. 15 million in 2021, and down almost 20% vs. 17.1 million, in pre-COVID 2019.

Are there other ways to curb inflation other than systemic Fed rate hikes? Terms like supply-side economics, Keynesian theory, trickle-down effect, and Reaganomics come to mind but I do not have the bandwidth to analyze those tactics and policies. The good news is that there are many of you who do have the financial and economic background to do so, and your comments are welcome. Richie, you are one of them, so please chime in.

  • Did you win the $1.6 billion Powerball jackpot? Do tell.

  • Has it always been this way, or does it seem like many parts of our planet are bubbling up and tense with conflict? North Korea firing missiles over South Korea, Pakistan on the verge of civil war, Iran sending drones to Russia, Russia and Putin in Ukraine, Myanmar’s civil war, Haiti’s continued instability, and many others including Sudan’s political uprising amid drought and conflict. The ability of media coverage to span the globe and create and distribute content on-demand has obviously alerted all of us to worldwide issues, but it does seem like global conflicts are on the continued rise.

  • Twenty weeks. I cannot wait for March 12, 2023.

They have always been a top-five band for me. Formed in 1977, this British rock band brought us a combination of sound, including folk, blues, and country. Mark Knopfler’s guitar skills are renowned, with his ability to combine a smooth style with “picking” which is often aligned with blues and country. Most of us remember their hit single, “Sultans of Swing” but the video below shows off Knopfler’s abilities at his best. The band: Dire Straits.

Mark Knopfler and Dire Straits in 1988.

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

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!