I’ve been keeping busy, not only writing the Repo Commentary, reaching out to clients, and exploring job opportunities, but now also consulting on two books and two articles. And i/we’ve got two conferences coming up!
My Repo Commentary is posted on my new website: http://www.repocommentary.com. It also pops up on LinkedIn and the Global Investors Group (ISF Magazine) website.
If you need to get hold of me, my cell is still 646-753-1300, my email for work is firstname.lastname@example.org, and you can also hit me up on Bloomberg and LinkedIn.
Since its inception in 1982, the Repo Commentary does not represent the views of any of my firms and reflects only my opinion and includes only publicly available information. I make a strong effort to attribute any quotes or thoughts that are not my own, I do not make any marketing spiels, and I really am more interested (70-80%) in entertaining you than boring (20-30%) you with too much market info. Feel free, as always, to send me information or pictures. Also, please send me feedback, as I want to make it better all the time.’
Thursday’s Holidays or Events:
• National Gibberish Day
• National Pepperoni Pizza Day
• National Punch Day
• National String Cheese Day
• National Teach Ag Day
• Constitution Day in Nepal
• Independence Day of South Ossetia (not fully recognized)
• National Youth Day in Thailand
• Oil Workers’ Day in Azerbaijan
• Universal Children’s Day in Germany
• Yom Kippur began on 9/19
Some Famous People Born 9/20 in History:
• 1486-Arthur, Prince of Wales
• 1878-Upton Sinclair, American novelist
• 1917-Red Auerbach, NBA
• 1929-Anne Meara, American actress and playwright
• 1934-Sophia Loren, Italian actress
• 1935-Jim Taylor, NFL
• 1951-Guy Lafleur, NHL
• 1956-Gary Cole, American actor
• 1975-Asia Argento, Italian actress
• 1978-Hector Camacho Jr., Puerto Rican boxer
• 1978-Dante Hall, NFL
• 1990-Phillip Phillips, American singer-songwriter
• 1990-John Tavares, NHL
This Day in History (9/20):
• 1187-Saladin begins the Siege of Jerusalem.
• 1260-The Great Prussian Uprising among the old Prussians begins against the Teutonic Knights.
• 1378-Cardinal Robert of Geneva is elected as Pope Clement VII, beginning the Papal schism.
• 1498-the Nakai Earthquake generated a tsunami that washes away the building housing the statue of the Great Buddha at Kotoku-in in Japan. Since then, the Buddha has sat in the open air.
• 1519-Ferdinand Magellan sets sail from Sanlucar da Barrameda with about 270 men on his expedition to circumnavigate the globe.
• 1697-the Treaty of Ryswick is signed by France, England, Spain, the Holy Roman Empire, and the Dutch Republic, ending the Nine Years’ War.
• 1737-the completion of the Walking Purchase which forces cession of 1.2 million acres of Lenape-Delaware tribal land to the Pennsylvania Colony.
• 1792-French troops stop an allied invasion of France at the Battle of Valmy.
• 1854-Crimean War: British and French troops defeat the Russians at the Battle of Alma.
• 1863-American Civil War: the conclusion of the Battle of Chickamauga in northwestern Georgia, the bloodiest two-day battle of the conflict, and the only significant Confederate victory in the War’s western theater.
• 1881-US President Chester A. Arthur is sworn in, the morning after becoming President upon James A Garfield’s death.
• 1893-Charles Duryea and his brother road-test the first American-made gasoline-powered automobile.
• 1906-the Cunard Line’s RMA Mauretania is launched at Newcastle upon Tyne, England.
• 1909-the Parliament of the United Kingdom passes the South Africa Act of 1909, creating the Union of South Africa from the British colonies of the Cape of Good Hope, Natal, Orange River Colony, and the Transvaal Colony.
• 1911-the White Star Line’s RMA Olympic collides with the British warship HMS Hawke.
• 1941-the Holocaust of Lithuania: 403 Jews were murdered by Einsatzkommando 3 and the local police of Nemencine.
• 1942-the Holocaust of Ukraine: in the course of two days, a German einsatzgruppen murders at least 3,000 Jews in Letychiv.
• 1946-the first Cannes Film Festival is held, having been delayed 7 years due to WWII.
• 1962-James Meredith, an African-American, is temporarily barred from entering the University of Mississippi.
• 1967-RMS Queen Elizabeth 2 is launched at Clydebank, Scotland.
• 1971-having weakened after making landfall in Nicaragua the previous day, Hurricane Irene regains enough strength to be renamed Hurricane Olivia, making it the first known hurricane to cross from the Atlantic Ocean into the Pacific Ocean.
• 1973-Billie Jean King beats Bobby Riggs in the Battle of the Sexes tennis match at the Houston Astrodome.
• 1973-singer Jim Croce, songwriter and musician Maury Muehleisen, and 4 others die when their light aircraft crashes on takeoff at Natchitoches Regional Airport in Louisiana.
• 1977-the Socialist Republic of Vietnam is admitted to the UN.
• 1982-football players begin a 57-day strike during the 1982 NFL football season.
• 1984-a suicide bomber in a car attacks the US embassy in Beirut, Lebanon, killing 22 people.
• 1990-South Ossetia declares its independence from Georgia.
• 2000-the United Kingdom’s MI6 Secret Intelligence Service building is attacked by individuals using a Russian-built RPG-22 anti-tank missile.
• 2001-in an address to a joint session of Congress and the American people, US President George W. Bush declares a “War on Terror”.
• 2008-a dump truck full of explosives detonates in front of the Marriott hotel in Islamabad, Pakistan, killing 54 people and injuring 266 others.
• 2017-Hurricane Maria makes landfall in Puerto Rico as a powerful Category 4 hurricane, resulting in 2,975 deaths, $90 billion in damage, and a major humanitarian crisis that still has not been completely resolved. I read the other day that a warehouse full of bottled water was just discovered, the water never delivered to people in need.
Fun Fact of the Day:
In the late 1950’s, the US Air Force considered dropping an atomic bomb on the Moon to display US superiority to the Soviet Union and the rest of the world, as Project A119. A year later, they considered building a possible military base on the Moon (Project Horizon).
“I am a part of everything that I have read.”—Theodore Roosevelt
International and Commodity Markets:
Oil prices on 9/10 closed at $67.54/barrel. Today (9/20) however, oil is trading at $70.35/barrel, nearly $3 higher. Oil prices jumped on Saudi Arabia $80/barrel announcement. Trump is urging OPEC to drive down oil prices. Trump did hit Iran with oil sanctions, which are working so far. Despite the jump in oil, I was able to find gasoline at $2.66/gallon at my West Palm Beach gas station, but most stations have gasoline prices up about 5 cents from where they were last week. The USD versus the Yen is trading at $112.50, much higher from where it was on 9/11. The USD was at 1.1786 versus the Euro, weaker since 9/11. The USD is sharply down since 9/11 against the GBP, at $1.3250. The USD is much lower versus the CAD to $1.2905 since 9/11. Gold closed today at $1204.90/ounce, up from where it was 9/11. Bitcoin was trading at $8185.21 on 7/25. On 8/9, it collapsed to $6,300.01. Two weeks ago, it broke above $7000 and its 50-day moving average. If you thought you’d seen the lows, however, you were wrong. It is already down 65% since its peak in December, but now the stochastics point to potential further problems. It keeps having lower highs and the Directional Movement Index is suggesting that bullish buying pressure has ended and selling pressure has begun. It closed on 9/11 at $6,413.87. Today, it closed at $6,395.00. It’s barely treading water. Trade fears have subsided, so global stock markets are generally somewhat higher. The USD has dropped against most currencies. The GBP climbed to a 2-month high on UK retail sales unexpected jump in August because of warm weather for shoppers. The prior month was also revised higher. Sales in household goods was the leader, while clothing and food sagged. The EU summit in Salzburg kicked off with discussions about Brexit and there hasn’t been any breakthrough in negotiations, particularly about the Irish border issue. This summit is the first of three opportunities for meetings to negotiate a divorce. In Japan, PM Abe easily won the party leadership election. China has responded to US tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese products by imposing retaliatory tariffs on $60 billion more in US goods. Both sets of tariffs will take effect this Monday.
Ottawa is seeking guarantees from the United States that it will not hit Canada with punitive tariffs on the country’s automotive exports under a new NAFTA deal, increasing friction in the trade talks. U.S. President Donald Trump has repeatedly threatened to impose tariffs on Canadian vehicles and parts, worth about $80-billion a year, if the federal government does not reach an agreement with Washington on an overhaul of the continental trade pact. But the matter has become a sticking point in talks, said people briefed on the closed-door negotiations.The Globe and Mail
The United States has backed away from its contentious demands for lucrative procurement projects in the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement, The Canadian Press has learned. Mexico and Canada are both quietly taking credit for standing firm against the controversial U.S. position that would have effectively limited their respective countries’ ability to bid on valuable American government infrastructure projects. Multiple sources, speaking on the condition of anonymity, cited the competing claims as one example of the animosity between Canada and Mexico that has arisen since Mexico reached its own NAFTA deal with the Trump administration last month. Business Financial Post
“EU Turns Up the Heat on Irish Question Ahead of Brexit Meeting: European leaders met in Salzburg, Austria, on Wednesday evening in an effort to nudge stalled Brexit talks closer to the finish line. The big stumbling block: what to do about the U.K.’s border with Ireland. Under pressure at home, U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May told her European counterparts that her government had altered its offer for Britain’s future relationship with the bloc and it was time for them “to respond in kind.” Wall Street Journal
“China Plans Broad Import Tax Cut as Soon as October: China is planning to cut the average tariff rates on imports from the majority of its trading partners as soon as next month, two people familiar with the matter said, in a move that will lower costs for consumers as a trade war with the U.S. deepens.” Bloomberg
“In Brexit Talks, Some See Hope in a Minimal ‘Blind’ Deal: With about six months to go until Britain quits the European Union, time is short and much is unresolved. But a common goal now binds British Prime Minister Theresa May and her continental counterparts: getting a deal — perhaps any deal — to push withdrawal over the line. European leaders are weary of the endless wrangling within Mrs. May’s fractious Conservative Party over Britain’s departure, known as Brexit, and fear that a political crisis could propel the country into a chaotic and economically damaging split. That has prompted a new mood of compromise that could help Mrs. May and the European Union tiptoe toward the kind of outcome for which the bloc is famous: a political fudge that mainly kicks the can down the road.” New York Times
Global Financial News:
The Senate has just approved a $854 billion spending bill. Three men have been indicted in an alleged $364 million Ponzi scheme that preyed on more than 400 victims and was based in Maryland. The scheme funded the lavish lifestyles of the 3 men, featuring Ferraris, Lamborghinis, a Rolls Royce, 9 pricey homes, and 7- and 9- carat diamond rings, and more, according to authorities. The men lured investors to buy consumer debt portfolios “through an elaborate web of lies” according to the US Attorney. These portfolios included alleged credit-card debts, car loans, and student loans, which those men promised to make money on in collecting payments or bundling them and selling them. Industry groups are saying that an FSB evaluation of banks’ capital rules enacted in response to the Financial Crisis doesn’t adequately address obstacles they created for the central clearing of derivatives. The ability to clear derivatives for clients has been greatly diminished by the way Basel III treats clearing activity. Tencent Music Entertainment Group, the largest music-streaming service in China, has reduced is fundraising IPO in the US to about $2 billion from $4 billion. It will still be among the largest IPOs from a Chinese company in New York this year. SIFMA and other industry bodies have expressed concern about the MSRB’s proposed amendments to rules on data related to offerings of municipal securities that would require information to be manually submitted by underwriters. I’m going to already have to amend my Series 50 education. SEC member Robert Jackson Jr. urges the SEC to take firmer action on anti-competitive practices at stock exchanges, saying they harm investor interests, by increasing fees and profit. The SEC has withdrawn 2 no-action letters that authorized investment advisors’ reliance on proxy-voting services if the advisors had adopted policies to preserve independence. Now they intend to review those services. A new report released by the BIS explores changes in the structure of the high-speed trading electronic markets and implications for central banks.
U.S. companies repatriated $169.5 billion in foreign profits in the second quarter—more than in most recent periods, but underscoring a cautious approach to shifting huge sums across borders. The figure marks a decline from a revised $294.9 billion in the first quarter, the three months immediately after Congress passed sweeping tax legislation… The transfers represent a combination of newly earned foreign profits, which have never been subject to U.S. tax, and profits long accumulated by foreign subsidiaries… Policy makers backing the December tax overhaul predicted it would lead companies to bring to the U.S. much of the estimated $2.7 trillion they had stockpiled offshore at least in part to avoid U.S. taxes. In turn, they argued, companies would invest much of the money in U.S. operations and jobs.WSJ
US Market News:
The Dow Jones has waffled lower since my 8/29 Repo Commentary, closing 9/11 down 59.47 points to 25,857.07. It is currently at 26,656.77. S&P 500, however, keeps going higher, now trading at 2,930.66. Nasdaq has also been regaining ground since it set 8,030.04 on 8/28. It is currently 8,027.70. US Treasury yields have gotten much worse since I wrote last on 9/11 (yields have gone dramatically higher), closing yesterday on 2years at 2.81% (up 8bp), 3years at 2.89% (up 11bp), 5years at 2.96 (up 13bp), 7years at 3.04% (up 15bp), 10years at 3.08% (up 14bp), and 30years at 3.23% (up 14bp). Treasury yields opened up higher today by 1bp across the board. You will notice that yesterday, the 10 year yield did top the magic 3% yield, a four-month high at 3.08%.
Today, we have US Existing Home Sales for July and they are expected to have cratered to their lowest level in 2 ½ years. The latest US housing data two weeks ago showed the market wobbling and began investors worrying. In talking to my real estate friends down here in Florida, it’s about not having enough supply to meet demand, particularly on the commercial real estate side. However, it’s hard to believe that when you see all the new condo skyscrapers being built and new gated communities being built in Florida. But, even the office of Employment in Florida has issued an alert that they need more builders, carpenters, etc. to build all of this growth for the demand of a booming increase in population. The real estate brokers say that it is still a sellers’ market, that they hold the upper hand in negotiations in Florida, the opposite of what I hear is happening in the metropolitan NYC area, especially in the luxury real estate market. CBS put out a warning article today to real estate investors, saying that home prices in the US have never been higher, since January’s housing values eclipsed the 2006 pre-Crisis peak and since have only pushed higher. CBS points to the Federal Reserve raising interest rates higher which will have a negative impact on home affordability, a slowdown in new home construction and sales of existing homes, and weakening demographics. Millennials, hampered by rising student loan debt and cooling wages, have very low homeownership rates. Their rate is about 8% below the homeownership rates of Gen X and Baby Boomers before them at the same age. CBS is not the only one raising a flag, as I reported last week that CNBC had had a similar article, and even Fannie Mae’s Economic and Strategic Research Group is warning of a “mass exodus” on the horizon as the “homeownership demand from younger generations is insufficient to fill the void left by multitudes of departing older owners.” There always seems to be 2 residential real estate markets when you talk about real estate, particularly in NYC. There’s the buy/sell real estate market and the rental real estate market. It turns out that year-over-year, rents in Queens saw an 8.3% increase in July, far outpacing Manhattan (1.7%) and the national average (2.8%). However, NYC buy/sell real estate currently favors the buyer’s, particularly at the high-end. Bloomberg has reported that sellers are reluctantly finally coming around. However, it doesn’t appear that the new tax bill has had much impact yet, according to the NY Times. An interesting aside to the Housing market in the US is that, now that car companies, like Ford are focusing only on making Mustangs, SUVs, and pickup trucks, the average new home has to have larger garages than existing homes. That actually will create a supply/demand dynamic between the existing homes and new homes that has not been there before. Not only are the vehicles wider and longer, but they are also taller. So, the whole structure of some new homes has had to change. One professor at the ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena said, “the only thing that has grown as fast as American vehicles are American waistlines.”
It has been interesting watching repo funding rates, Fed Funds, and the SOFR. There has been a lot of volatility in repo rates lately, despite the US Treasury yield curve’s one-way direction (much higher in rates). Part of it is likely the pricing or not pricing of FOMC rate hikes. Part of it is likely the huge supply of US Treasuries which has finally abated. But, still, the intraday volatility is high. You could get a repo quote at 8am and then find another quote in the afternoon 15-20bp different. GSE cash started hitting the market this week and brought funding rates down. It could get down to mid-1.90s before the cash leaves on 9/24. Everyone thinks there will be a Fed tightening of 25bp on 9/26 FOMC, so funding rates will lean higher anyway, with the full impact the day after on 9/27 (since the meeting is at 2:00pm in the afternoon). It will be interesting to hear what they say in the Statement, but also interesting to see what they do to the IOER. At the last tightening in June, they only raised the IOER to 1.95%, up 20bp, not 25bp. So, the question is: will they raise the IOER only 20bp again, or only 15bp, since the 20bp move last time didn’t have the desired effect of lowering the Fed Funds rate? Reportedly, some 100,000 Fed Funds futures contracts have been traded to bet on that question. The dynamic between IOER (where banks and credit unions can invest their cash with the Fed), Repo rates (where all could invest their cash securitized), and Fed Funds (where certain banks and GSEs could invest their cash unsecured) is more important than it every was before. In Specials, the 2year note is trading around 1.50% and looks like its going to be quite active.
I see the Repo and Securities Lending market as having changed in many permanent ways. We traditionally had a credit intermediator, the broker/dealers (originally just the primary broker/dealers) and later prime brokers, who were the pipeline through their respective repo matched books for collateral providers to trade with cash providers, without the two sides ever knowing about each other or facing each other. That lack of knowledge of the other side of the repo matched book came at a couple of costs, first, the bid/offer spread that went to the dealers and second, the defaults of the Financial Crisis and the impact on some of the dealers that then cost their clients. Clearly, with that pipeline becoming severely crimped by post-Financial Crisis regulatory reforms, consolidation and bankruptcies, and the resulting drop of about 60% in balance sheets being used for broker/dealer respective repo matched books, new pathways/pipelines needed to be found for cash provider and collateral provider clients. AVM’s Direct Repo™ was the first of one of such pathways. Since then, other pathways to these markets have been created, including: the Federal Reserve’s RRP program with cash providers, peer-to-peer financing as reported on Treasury OFR’s website between MMFs and Insurance Companies, As Agent repo through seclending agents and now some prime brokers, direct lending from beneficial owner to hedge funds who are short, indemnified As Agent repo, buyside to buyside Triparty Repo through two international clearing organizations, electronic all-to-all repo on a few electronic trading platforms like Elixium and BNY DBVX, FICC’s sponsored repo and cleared repo products to entice certain sectors of the buyside into that CCP, and other Repo and/or Seclending CCPs (several still being worked on, particularly in Europe). I believe this evolution will continue and eventually we will see all of these pathways used, including the traditional pathway (to probably a lesser than historical degree) through the broker/dealers and prime brokers.
Upcoming Repo Industry Conferences:
• IMN will hold its 23rd annual European Beneficial Owners’ International Securities Finance & Collateral Management Conference in London, 9/12-9/13. I’ve attended this before.
• IMN will hold its 24th annual ABS East Conference in Miami Beach, on 9/23-25. I’ve attended this before.
• National Association of State Treasurers (NAST) will hold its Annual Conference in Scottsdale, AZ on 9/30-10/3. I’ve been invited to this before.
• SIFMA-will hold its Annual Meeting in Washington, DC on 10/1-10/2.
• Risk Management Association (RMA) will hold the 35th annual RMA Conference on Securities Lending in Key Biscayne, FL on 10/8-10/11. I will be there, I don’t want to break my streak of attending every one of them!
• Finadium will hold its 2nd annual Rates & Repo conference in NYC 11/5. I absolutely won’t miss this conference! I know I have dozens of promised drinks and chats with you all while I’m up there, so I have to organize all that.
• Association of Financial Professionals (AFP) is holding its annual Treasury & Finance conference in Chicago on 11/4-11/7.
• RISK USA will hold 24th annual conference in NYC 11/7-11/9. I have chaired/moderated this one before.
Federal Reserve News:
Fed Funds, which trade mostly between some banks and GSEs, opened today at 1.91%.
The next FOMC meetings are: 9/20/18, 11/1/18, 12/13/18, 1/30/19, 3/20/19, 5/1/19, 6/19/19, 7/31/19, 9/18/19, 10/30/19, 12/11/19, 1/29/20 (reflecting the Fed’s just announced tentative schedule for 2019).
The Federal Reserve’s Reverse Repo Facility (RRP), which has over 300 approved participants (16 banks, 14 GSEs, 101 money market funds from various fund families), is now set at the rate of 1.75%. The Fed is currently only repoing out US Treasuries from its portfolio and typically only Overnight. Remember when RRP was trading at year-end for $465 billion? Well, on 5/15, there was only $20 million in bids submitted. MMF cash and GSE cash has moved out of the Fed’s RRP and into the Repo market, but it hasn’t really brought down the GC repo rate, which is strange.
If you are wondering about RRP, it is nearly extinct. In July, excluding month-end, volume averaged only $2.8 billion per day. It has just become a mechanism for the Fed to supply collateral when its scarce for money market funds on month-ends and quarter-ends, as dealer balance sheets dry up at those times.
According to FOMC members, the Fed is expected to raise interest rates 3 times in 2018 and 3 times in 2019. So far, we had a tightening of 25bp in March 2018 and a 25bp tightening in June 2018. We now have a full 25bp tightening priced into September 2018 FOMC meeting. Despite the Fed’s guidance on rate hikes, the market is diverging about those 3 tightenings in 2019, pricing only 2 of them in so far.
We are obviously in the Fed’s self-imposed blackout period now of 7 days or less before the 9/26 FOMC meeting.
Earthquakes and Volcanoes:
The latest earthquakes:
9/16/18 6.5, 570km South of the Fiji Islands
9/12/18 4.3, 7km NE of Sapatgram, India
9/10/18 6.3, 202km WNW of Ile Hunter, New Caledonia
9/10/18 6.9, 61km SW of L’Esperance Rock, New Zealand
9/9/18 6.5, 65km NW of Kirakira, Solomon Islands
9/8/18 5.6, 18km WSW of Lianzhu, China
The Atlantic Hurricane Season began Friday, June 1st. For 2018, Colorado State University experts have predicted that this season will be a busy, above average hurricane season. They have predicted 14 named Tropical Storms, of which 7 will become Hurricanes. Both are above the averages of 12 and 6, respectively. But, remember, last year they were way off. Unfortunately, they were way off the wrong way, with way more storms. They had predicted 11 Tropical Storms, of which 4 would be Hurricanes. Instead, we had 17 Tropical Storms and had 10 Hurricanes. Here are the 2018 Storm names:
Historically, the most active month for hurricanes in the Atlantic is September. Hurricane Florence, although down from a Category 4 to a Category 1 when it finally made landfall in North Carolina, wreaked devastation throughout North Carolina, South Carolina, and spawned awful tornadoes that whipped through Virginia, particularly Richmond area. The storm has already been blamed for the deaths of at least 35 people. Florence’s main problem was the rain, not the wind, which came down relentlessly for a long time from a slow storm, over 2 feet in many areas, combined with a storm surge from the ocean of up to 15 feet. This overflowed all major rivers to historic levels and cut off Wilmington, NC, in particular. Many homes were ruined with flooding that had not seen any flooding during Hurricane Matthew last year. The Cape Fear river by Fayettville, NC finally crested Tuesday night at 60 feet higher. Insurance companies estimate that just six inches of water in a home causes on average $52,000 in damage and over 1 foot of water causes in excess of $100,000 in damage. Many of the folks inland, now suffering from the storm surge coming up the rivers and the rivers swelling with rain water, were never in flood zones, so never spent the $700/year to get flood insurance. Damage has already been estimated to be about $50 billion. Thousands of roads in North Carolina remain closed and impassable. Hundreds of thousands of people are without power and generators are running out of gas and gas is running low. Florence was the wettest tropical cyclone on record in the Carolinas and 9th-wettest tropical cyclone to hit the contiguous United States. The governors of North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, and Maryland and the mayor of Washington, DC declared a state of emergency. The states of North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia wound up issuing mandatory evacuations for some of their coastal communities.
The Pacific Hurricane Season began on May 1st. Typhoon Jebi affected Taiwan and Japan, killing at least 17 people and causing extensive damage in the Kansai region of Japan. In the Eastern North Pacific, Tropical Storm Paul is slightly stronger at 45mph. Typhoon Mangkhut impacted the Philippines, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and China, resulting in more than 70 deaths.
Let’s talk about weather, here in Florida, the heat is up again into the low to mid-90s, coupled with high humidity of 60-80%, has given us heat indices for the last week or so of 100-105 degrees. Too hot to do much outdoor activities like golf or tennis. Similar weather is hitting the Plains states, like Missouri, where heat indices will be in the 100-105 degree range. Chicago is about to get temperatures in the 90s again and that is expected to sweep to the Northeast. Meanwhile, upper Northwest states to Minnesota are experience temperatures in the 60s and rain.
A rare ‘firenado’, combination of tornado and wildfire, is raging in British Columbia.
The MLB regular season is almost over, with around 20-23 games left to play.
In the AL East, the Red Sox have crossed into franchise historical territory, putting up 103 wins, the most any Red Sox team had put up in 75 years, with still 11 more games to play. Their magic number to clinch the AL East is down to 2 and they are about to face the Yankees a bunch of times, so one win for the Red Sox will clinch. They have already clinched a playoff spot. They lost Tuesday night to the Yankees in a late rally, delaying the Red Sox champagne celebration. Red Sox star Mookie Betts had to leave the previous game against the Mets with a side injury but appears okay now. Red Sox ace David Price says he doesn’t plan to opt out of his Red Sox contract. The Red Sox activated ace Chris Sale from DL. The Yankees have called up top prospect Justus Sheffield. New Yankee acquisition, Andrew McCutchen reached base 5 times in a win over the Blue Jays this weekend. The Yankees have also activated Aaron Judge from the DL and he promptly hit a HR in his first at-bat. Hal Steinbrenner has expressed support for Yankees’ rookie manager Aaron Boone. The Orioles just lost their 107th game of the season, tying a team record. They are currently 60 games behind the Red Sox. The problem is that there is still 2weeks left in the season, so the Orioles are likely to break their record. In the AL Central, the Indians have already clinched the division, becoming the first team to do so in 2018, with a rousing 15-0 win over the Tigers. New acquisition, Josh Donaldson, went hitless in his debut from DL. In the AL West, the Astros’ magic number is 9 to eliminate the A’s and 4 to eliminate the Mariners. A’s ace Trevor Cahill is dealing with back issues. A’s ace Sean Manaea is now out for the season with a shoulder injury. The AL Wild Cards have been locked up and are the Yankees and A’s (if they don’t win their respective divisions). Which one will play the one game at home is still being decided, as they are now only 1 game apart. In the NL East, the Braves have a magic number of 8 to eliminate the Phillies (who have collapsed) and 6 to eliminate the Nationals. The Braves did not help themselves on Saturday by walking 13 batters in 8 innings in a loss to the Nationals. That was the most walks Atlanta had given up in a game since moving from Milwaukee in 1966. Nats’ Spencer Kieboom lost a tooth and hit his first career HR. In the NL Central, the Cubs have a magic number of 11 to eliminate the Brewers (who gained a lot of ground this weekend on the Cubs), 8 to eliminate the Cardinals, and 2 to eliminate the Pirates. The Cubs’ closer Pedro Strop is reportedly done for the regular season, with a hamstring injury. Cubs’ ace Yu Darvish had a procedure on his elbow and is expected to be ready for Spring Training. Cubs’ ace Jon Lester left game against Brewers with an injury. Pirates OF Gregory Polanco will miss start of 2019 season after shoulder surgery. In the NL West, the Dodgers and Rockies are tied and they both have a magic number of 4 to eliminate the Diamondbacks. The Diamondbacks’ playoff hopes have faded with a poor 4-11 road trip. The NL Wild Card spots have not been decided yet and could come down to whoever doesn’t win the NL West and/or the Cardinals and Nationals.
Mets’ 3B star, David Wright, is retiring. When the Mets played in Boston over the weekend, Red Sox 2B Dustin Pedroia presented one of the Fenway scoreboard’s No.5 to Wright as a parting gift. Twins’ Joe Mauer is seriously considering retirement.
Champion Iowa State University golfer Celia Barquin Arozamena was found stabbed to death on a golf course and a suspect has been charged with her murder. Her body was found in a pond at Coldwater Links golf course near the campus. Barquin Arozamena, a native of Spain, was recently named Iowa State’s female athlete of the year. It appears to have been a random rape and brutal murder by a homeless 22-year-old. The top 30 players have made it to East Lake in Georgia for the Tour Championship and the FedEx Cup title (plus $10 million check). Tiger is among the 30, at No.20. In the LPGA, the Evian Championship was won by 40-year-old Angela Stanford in a tournament that finally measured up to its new ‘major’ status. The PGA of America announced that 8 events will be hosted at Congressional Golf Club, including the 2031 PGA Championship and 2036 Ryder Cup. The PGA Tour Champions are playing in South Dakota for the first time, as Andy North and Jack Nicklaus host an event at Sanford International.
Manny Pacquiao is suing Top Rank Boxing over unpaid fees for Matthysse fight. This weekend, welterweight Amir Khan gave a dominant performance in his unanimous decision over Samuel Vargas in Birmingham, England and then called out Manny Pacquiao, although fans really want to see him take on fellow Englishman Kell Brook.
9/15 after the huge buildup for the mega middleweight rematch between Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin, after their split draw in Las Vegas last time, and a six-month suspension of Alvarez, they finally fought Saturday night in Las Vegas. Since like me, you probably didn’t pay the $85 for PPV for the fight, the result was that it went the distance of 12 rounds and was scored a majority decision for Alvarez, in another very close fight. Of the 18 media outlets who scored the bout, 10 ruled in favor of Golovkin, 7 scored it a draw, and only 1 scored the bout for the winner, Alvarez. Alvarez won a purse of $5 million for the fight, plus about $40 million from PPV, and Golovkin won a purse of $4 million for the fight, plus about $30 million from PPV. Alvarez also won the WBA (super), WBC, IBO, and The Ring Magazine middleweight belts. In the other bouts that night, Jaime Munguia defeated Brandon Cook with a TKO in round 3 for the WBO Jr. Middleweight title, David Lemieux defeated Gary O’Sullivan by KO in round 1 in middleweights, and Roman Gonzalez defeated Moises Fuentes by KO in round 5 of super flyweight bout.
Anthony Joshua (2012 Olympic gold medalist at super heavyweight and current IBF, WBA, and WBO heavyweight champ) 21-0/20 KOs will face former heavyweight champion, Alexander Povetkin, in London at Wembley Stadium. One knock against Joshua is that he has fought all of his fights in his native England. However, the last 3 have been huge fights (Wladimir Klitschko, Carlos Takam, Joseph Parker) and he has sold in excess of 250,000 tickets at Wembley and Principality Stadiums. So, maybe he doesn’t have to leave a place where he sells out stadiums and makes tens of millions of dollars, and all his challengers have to come to him? His countryman Lennox Lewis and the two Klitschko brothers learned that if they were going to become recognized as one of the all time greats, they had to compete in the United States too.
The first card of Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing USA will feature former welterweight champion Jessie Vargas (28-2-1) against junior welterweight title challenger Thomas Dulorme (24-3) on 10/6 at the Wintrust Arena in Chicago.
Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge set a world record at the Berlin Marathon.
At the Singapore Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton managed to score a perfect 25 points. He won his 7th Grand Prix race of the season in his Mercedes, after his shocking win at the Italian Grand Prix the week before. His victory now moves him 40 points ahead of Sebastian Vettel in the drivers’ standings, with just 6 Grand Prix races remaining this year.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. will drive the Brickyard 400 pace car. He also made news by estimating for an interview that he had at least 20 concussions during his racing career. Elliott Sadler will stop driving full-time after 2018 season. NASCAR has invited Fernando Alonso to race in Daytona 500. NASCAR is in trouble, with race attendance shrinking (-14.7%), TV ratings plummeting (-20%), and sponsors leaving. Even in this struggling sport with its antiquated business model, you would think the defending Cup Series champion, Martin Truex Jr. or one of the best NASCAR drivers of all time, Jimmie Johnson (7-time champ and 18-season veteran), would be able to find sponsorship. But, the answer is ‘no’. Truex’s team, Furniture Row Racing, said last week that it is shutting down after this season. This follows July’s news that the No.78 Toyota team’s primary sponsor, 5-hour Energy, is leaving NASCAR at the end of the season. And that follows the news from Jimmie Johnson’s sponsor for his career, Lowe’s, that it’s leaving the sport too. Former sponsors that are already out include Target, Home Depot, Sprint, UPS, Subway, Great Clips, GoDaddy. The sport’s executives refuse to realize that the business model, relying heavily on sponsors to exist, and typically spend about $30 million to field a car for a full season, is flawed.
2018 NASCAR Schedule and results:
2/18 Daytona 500-Daytona Intl Speedway-won by Austin Dillon
2/25 Folds of Honor QuikTrip-Atlanta Motor Speedway-Kevin Harvick
3/4 Pennzoil 400 presented by Jiffy Lube-Las Vegas Motor Speedway-Kevin Harvick
3/11 TicketGuardian 500-ISM Raceway-Kevin Harvick
3/18 Auto Club 400-Auto Club Speedway-Martin Truex Jr.
3/26 STP 500-Martinsville Speedway-Clint Bowyer
4/8 O’Reilly Auto Parts 500-Texas Motor Speedway-Kyle Busch
4/16 Food City 500-Bristol Motor Speedway-Kyle Busch
4/21 Toyota Owners 400-Richmond Raceway-Kyle Busch
4/29 GEICO 500-Talladega Speedway-Joey Logano
5/6 AAA 400 Drive for Autism-Dover International Speedway-Kevin Harvick
5/12 KC Masterpiece 400-Kansas Speedway-Kevin Harvick
5/19 Monster Energy Open-Charlotte Motor Speedway-AJ Allmendinger
5/19 Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race-Charlotte-Kevin Harvick
5/27 Coca-Cola 600-Charlotte Motor Speedway-Kyle Busch
6/3 Pocono 400-Pocono Raceway-Martin Truex Jr.
6/10 FireKeepers Casino 400-Michigan International Speedway-Clint Bowyer
6/24 Toyota/Save Mart 350-Sonoma Raceway-won by Martin Truex Jr.
7/1 Overton’s 400-Chicagoland Speedway-won by Kyle Busch.
7/7 Coke Zero Sugar 400–Daytona International Speedway-won by Erik Jones
7/14 Quaker State 400-Kentucky Speedway-won by Martin Truex Jr.
7/22 Foxwoods Resort Casino 301-New Hampshire Motor Speedway-won by Kevin Harvick over Kyle Busch.
7/29 Gander Outdoors 400-Pocono Raceway-won by Kyle Busch over Daniel Suarez.
8/5 GoBowling at the Glen-Watkins Glen International-won by Chase Eilliott over Martin Truex Jr.
8/12 Consumers Energy 400-Michigan International Speedway-won by Kevin Harvick in all 3 stages.
8/18 Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race-Bristol Motor Speedway-Kurt Busch’s first win of the season and first in 58 races.
9/1 Bojangles’ Southern 500 in Darlington was won by Brad Keselowski.
9/10 Rain not only plagued golf’s BMW Championship, but also the two NASCAR races at Indianapolis had to be completed a day later, today. The Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis was won by Brad Keselowski, giving team Roger Penske their first win in the brickyard.
9/16 South Point 400 in Las Vegas was won by Brad Keselowski, his 3rd win in a row, setting him up well for the upcoming Playoffs.
College football season kickoff was on 8/25, and now most of the teams have played for 3 weeks. Ohio State DE Nick Bosa is out against Tulane. Coach Urban Meyer will be returning to the field after this week’s game, from his 4-game suspension. LSU had a big win over Auburn behind QB Joe Burrow, 22-21. Alabama and Georgia continued to roll. Although, Georgia was playing Middle Tennessee State and won 49-7, it was convincing enough win to move them ahead of Clemson at No.2 in the polls. Alabama beat Ole Miss 62-7. Oklahoma State also continued to roll, routing Boise State, 44-21. No.4 Ohio State had a key win against No.15 TCU, 40-28. Suspended LSU WR Drake Davis has been arrested again on new assault charges. Akron topped Northwestern for first win over a Big Ten team since 1894! FSU has begun with a 1-2 start, losing this time to Syracuse 30-7. UCLA QB’s ‘frustrated dad’ blasted coach Chip Kelly. Oklahoma survived a scare against Iowa State 37-27. Maryland and Rutgers continued to find a rough go as newest Big Ten members, losing 35-14 to Temple and 55-14 to Kansas, respectively. Penn State ran up the score on Kent State, 63-10. Nebraska lost again, this time to Troy 24-19. Notre Dame just nipped Vanderbilt 22-17. Wisconsin was stunned by BYU 24-21. Houston and Texas Tech got into an exciting shootout, finally won by Texas Tech 63-49. Purdue lost a tough battle with Missouri 40-37.
As of 9/15, the official AP Poll is:
1. Alabama (3-0)
2. Georgia (3-0) up from No.3
3. Clemson (3-0) down from No.2
4. Ohio State (3-0)
5. Oklahoma (3-0)
6. LSU (3-0) up from No.12
7. Stanford (3-0) up from No.9
8. Notre Dame (3-0)
9. Auburn (2-1) down from No.7
10. Washington (2-1)
11. Penn State (3-0)
12. West Virginia (2-0) up from No.14
13. Virginia Tech (2-0)
14. Mississippi State (3-0) up from No.16
15. Oklahoma State (3-0) up from No.24
16. UCF (2-0) up from No.18
17. TCU (2-1) down from No.15
18. Wisconsin (2-1) down from No.6
19. Michigan (2-1)
20. Oregon (3-0)
21. Miami (2-1)
22. Texas A&M (2-1) joined poll
23. Boston College (3-0) joined poll
24. Michigan State (1-1) up from No.25
25. BYU (2-1) joined poll
The 99th NFL regular season is under way. The biggest story so far, toppling the Steelers’ Le’Veon Bell sitting out story, is the play of Chiefs’ rookie QB Patrick Mahomes, who broke an NFL record (during Super Bowl era) with 10 TD passes in first two games of season (and his career). The win over the Steelers though was an absolute shootout, 42-37, with 778 yards combined passing and 9 TD passes between the two QBs. The second biggest story is having a second Tie game in 2 weeks, causing many to question the NFL’s overtime rules. The Vikings and Packers played to a thrilling draw. Ten of Sunday’s games finished as one-possession games, which made them fun to watch on Red Zone. The third biggest story was the Jaguars exorcising last year’s playoff demons by stunning my Patriots in Week 2. I guess the fourth biggest story is the saddest, as the Browns seemed to go into uncharted territory to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory against the hapless Saints and crush their Dog Pound faithful. The Browns kicker missed 2 extra points and 2 tying field goal attempts, before they lost in the final seconds, 21-18, with the Saints scoring 18 points in Q4. Falcons’ journeyman QB Ryan Fitzpatrick silenced his critics with a 400-yard passing game and 31-24 victory over the Panthers. There was a late helmet-to-helmet hit on Panthers QB Cam Newton, which should have come with an ejection. Fitzpatrick showed up at the press meeting after the game dressed like Conor McGregor. He was just intercepted by Dolphins rookie Minkah Fitzpatrick who filed the “FitzMagic” trademark. Jaguars Cam Robinson is out for season with torn ACL. The Patriots are reportedly made a deal for WR Josh Gordon, who was just released by the Browns. The Patriots are taking some risk, as the highly-touted WR was suspended or injured the better part of the last 3 seasons. But, it is clear that the Patriots need some more targets for Tom Brady and the anemic offense. In the CFL, QB Johnny Manziel got his starting job back with the Alouettes. The Vikings decided to cut kicker Dan Carlson, who missed 3 field goals that could have won them the 29-29 tie game with Packers. They replaced him with former Cowboys’ kicker Dan Bailey. Before a groin injury in 2017 caused him to have his worst season ever, Bailey was one of the most accurate kickers in NFL history, making all of his extra points and 88.15% of his career field goals. According to ESPN, Bailey had turned down 4 other offers since the start of the season before signing with the Vikings. The Browns naturally cut their kicker, Zane Gonzalez, too after his 4 misses during their loss to the Saints and signed former Dolphins’ kicker Greg Joseph. Unfortunately, Browns fans roasted the wrong Zane Gonzalez on Twitter. Here was another bizarre incident on Sunday, as Bills’ superstar CB Vontae Davis quit the team and retired in midgame against the Chargers in their 31-20 loss. He simply told the coach “I’m done.” Davis then changed into his street clothes at halftime and left the stadium. His 10-year career is now over, after coming to the Bills as a free agent this season, and his Bills’ teammates said it was a “disgrace.” The Eagles announced that QB Carson Wentz has been medically cleared to play again and that he will start in Week 3, replacing Super Bowl MVP backup QB Nick Foles. That seems unfair to me. I guess it’s because the Eagles were stunned by the Bucs 27-21 with a backup QB of their own for Jameis Winston. Eagles’ WR Mike Wallace may miss rest of the season with an ankle injury. We might as well go back to that old top story of Steelers’ Le’Veon Bell still sitting out, because the Steelers are now 0-2 without him, despite QB Big Ben putting up some ridiculous passing numbers. Steelers’ WR Antonio Brown is not helping by tweeting trade threat to fans in response to criticism from the media. Bengals beat the Ravens 34-23. The Dolphins upset the Jets 20-12. I mentioned that the Steelers are 0-2, and the Browns, Cardinals, and Saints are dreadful, but how about the Texans losing to the lowly Titans 20-17, and because of an error on the last play by Texan QB who ran out of time? 49ers’ QB Jimmy Garropolo was good enough to beat the Lions 30-27, but it took a controversial holding penalty on one of his interceptions to seal the deal. The Colts stunned the Redskins, 21-9, as QB Andrew Luck continues to recover his old self. The Rams crushed the Cardinals 34-0. The Broncos hit a last second field goal to beat the Raiders by one point 20-19. The Cowboys beat their nemesis Giants 20-13 at home. What a game Monday night! That Khalil Mack of the Bears is amazing, a one-man wrecking crew! He was involved in pretty much every rushed Seattle pass, sack (six), and strip fumble of the QB the entire game. I know that the Bears gave up a lot to get him, two first-round draft choices, and had to pay him a king’s ransom (6 years/$141 million), but he is worth it. The Bears beat the Seahawks 24-17, although it should have been a much higher score if it weren’t for their errant-throwing sidearm QB Trebisky, The offense of the Bears now has to get as good as the defense. Nearly two dozen Pro Football Hall of Famers are threatening a boycott at the HOF induction ceremony, if they don’t get a new revenue share in an annual salary and health insurance. It is hard not to see their point, as they age and have injuries associated with their playing days, including a rash of concussion related ailments, and the NFL had $14 billion in revenue in 2017. It also probably doesn’t help that Commissioner Goodell, to whom they wrote the letter, is getting an annual salary of $40 million and the League chose to construct a $1 billion HOF Village in Canton, OH. Le’Veon Bell was spotted in Miami on a jet ski.
There is much speculation about Rablot and which team he will join on a Bosman transfer (Liverpool, Juventus, or Barcelona). Zaha’s Crystal Palace teammate says he gets “unfair” treatments from Premier League refs. Did you know that Belgium’s Romelu Lukaku has scored two international hat-tricks, but only one is recognized by FIFA?
The NHL training camps started last week. The first preseason games were on 9/15. The puck drops on the regular season, for some teams, on 10/3. In the first weekend of the regular season, on Saturday, the NHL will invade Sweden for their Global Series game between the Oilers and the Devils. The Jets signed holdout Josh Morrissey to a 2-year deal. The Oilers signed Darnell Nurse. The Senators finally, after six months of wrangling, traded their superstar Erik Karlsson to the Sharks. The Senators received 4 players and 3 draft picks, for their rebuilding. Billionaire Flames co-owner Clay Riddell has died at age 81. Red Wings GM said Henrik Zetterberg’s career is over because of back injury. The Senators will be without center Jean-Gabriel Pageaux for six months. Hurricanes’ Victor Rask has surgery on his fingers after kitchen accident. The Stars signed Tyler Seguin to an 8-year extension worth $9.85 million per year.
The Clippers want a first-round pick from the Suns for Patrick Beverley. The Rockets’ defensive wizard, Jeff Bzdelik, has retired. Timberwolves’ Jimmy Butler is the target of trade rumors. Dwyane Wade announced that he is returning to Heat. The Knicks are reportedly all-in on Celtics’ Kyrie Irving next summer when he becomes a free agent. Stephen Curry declared for Tottenham, honored by team at Wembley. A prosecutor is reviewing allegation against Rockets’ star James Harden. Spurs wanted Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons in Kawhi Leonard trade. LeBron James is now all-Hollywood, as he debuts in a new NBC drama. Knicks are reportedly looking to trade Joakim Noah. Celtics’ Gordon Hayward said his ankle is “basically 100%”. Celtics’ Jabari Bird appeared in court last Thursday for his arraignment after he was arrested on assault charges. The prosecutor alleges that Bird kept his girlfriend captive in his apartment for 4 hours while he assaulted her, accusing him of kicking her in the stomach and strangling her. Former Raptros and Knicks GM, Glen Grunwald, has been named Canada Basketball President/CEO. Russell Westbrook had a knee procedure and will be out for a month. Tony Parker signed a 2-year/$10 million deal with the Hornets this offseason, a shocking move for the 17-year Spurs’ veteran. Suns’ star Devin Booker will be out six weeks after having hand surgery. Cavs’ Rodney Hood accepted his qualifying offer. Luol Deng agreed to a one-year deal with Timberwolves. Michael Jordan and his Hornets launched Hurricane Florence relief efforts. Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban will donate $10 million to women’s causes and domestic violence awareness, following the NBA’s investigation into the franchise’s sexual harassment allegations.
In the 2018 WNBA Finals, the No.1 Seattle Storm took on the No.3 Washington Mystics, and won in a sweep. The Storm were led by their veteran Sue Bird, who could have left after their disappointing 2015 season, but stayed in Seattle, and their new WNBA MVP, Breann Stewart. Sue Bird said the team isn’t interested in visiting the White House and meeting the President.
One year after a Ryanair plane lost a wheel mid-flight, another aircraft oddly has a similar incident. Boeing’s gigantic 777X is getting closer to takeoff. I read on LinkedIn that every 5 weeks, China launches an electric bus FLEET, not just one bus, but a FLEET the size of London’s entire bus fleet! That’s incredible and I understand they now have 100,000 electric buses they’ve produced. Given how bad the pollution has been in some of the Chinese cities, this would be hugely beneficial for their air quality. Disney is ending one of its most iconic fireworks shows, the IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth, the nightly spectacle that has lit up Orlando’s Epcot Center’s World Showcase Lagoon for 18 years. The last show will be the end of next summer 2019. But fear not, a new show will debut as this one ends. Also debuting at the park in 2019 will be Mickey Mouse’s first ride and the opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. I’ve been going on and on about the new 79-mph (current limit in South Florida) high-speed commuter train service, BrightLine, here in Florida that can take you from West Palm Beach to Fort Lauderdale in 30 minutes and to Miami in 1 hour 6 minutes, which has just begun finishing the rails for the next phase from West Palm Beach north to Cocoa Beach. It’s amazing! For $20, you ride in perfect luxury, arrive in less than half the time it would take you by car, and you get a drink and snacks. The final part of phase 2, will be to connect Cocoa Beach west to Orlando and then Tampa. Anyway, the reason I brought this all up again is because now Brightline will be doing the same high-speed service between Las Vegas and Los Angeles! So, that boring desert drive of about 5 ½ hours could now be a luxurious train ride of less than 3 hours! On Tuesday, Florida’s BrightLine said it had acquired XpressWest, a high-speed passenger rail project with rights to develop a federally approved corridor between Southern California and Las Vegas. The trip is only 300 miles, so it is a typical target of BrightLine; one that is too far to drive but too close to fly. Construction is expected to begin in 2019 and initial service is planned for 2022. The next time you are stranded at the Grantley Adams International Airport in Barbados, you can go to the next-level airport lounge, which Virgin Holidays has built on the beach, called Departure Beach. For those interested in mazes, the largest permanent maze (largest pathway network in a hedge maze) in the world, according to the Guinness Book of World Records, is China’s sprawling Yancheng Dafeng Dream Maze, which is located in the city of Yancheng and has a total size of 383,160.12 square feet. Its longest path is 5.87 miles long. It incorporates many shapes, but the main area is shaped like an elk walking through a forest:
Coca-Cola is now following the tobacco companies at eyeing the cannabis oil market. In unrelated news, a study shows 1 in 3 high school E-cig users is now vaping marijuana. Scientists have now found 500 more genes that influence blood pressure. A new study shows that electric stimulation to airway nerves may help COPD patients. Another study suggests that the use of certain psychedelic drugs may help treat depression and PTSD. A new injected drug may be the new weapon against gout. The FDA has approved a second migraine prevention drug. A second contaminant has been found in Valsartan drugs. The salmonella-tainted Honey Smacks cereal has sickened 130 people. Nasal spray recall has expanded to hundreds of products, including nasal sprays and baby oral gels at CVS, Walgreens, Dollar General, Family Dollar, and other stores, because of contamination. Manufacturer, Product Quest Manufacturing, found microbial contamination in its CVS Health 12 Hour Sinus Relief Nasal Mist. The recall applies to all products made in its Florida plant. Accord Healthcare has issued a recall for a blood pressure medication because the bottle that were shipped actually contain a heart failure drug. The recall is for one lot of 12.5-milligram hydrochlorothiazide tablets in 100-count bottles, which actually contain 100 spironolactone tablets. In water utilities around Georgia, the system for testing lead in water is not working as it should, leaving people uninformed and unprotected. Scientists now believe seizure cycles may follow circadian rhythms. An analysis of the nutrient content of available UK supermarket products shows that the sugar content of most types of yogurt is way above the recommended threshold. New research shows that children who have access to green spaces close to their homes have fewer respiratory problems, such as asthma and wheezing, in adulthood. Patients who receive care in a for-profit hospital are more likely to be readmitted than those who receive care in nonprofit or public hospitals, according to a new study. Researchers are addressing the ethical debate in using transcranial electrical brain stimulation to foster creativity. New research shows that digital content platforms can increase traffic to their websites from social media and drastically increase ad profits by at least 8% by simply aligning their posting schedules with peoples’ sleep-wake cycle. New research shows that the first bacteria introduced into the gut may have a lasting impact on the ability to fight chronic diseases. According to the Mayo Clinic, nearly 50% of resident physicians in the US are now reporting burnout, with the highest rates concentrated in certain specialties. Researchers have found a new common thread, a 3D genome folding pattern, linking nearly all of the trinucleotide repeat expansion diseases, which include ALS, Huntington’s Disease, and Fragile X Syndrome. New research shows that bosses struggle, maybe more than the rest of us, to keep up with email demands from their inboxes, as the email traffic prevents them from being effective leaders. Researchers have successfully used a Zika virus vaccine to target and kill human glioblastoma brain cancer stem cells in mice. Researchers are zeroing in on drugs with certain compounds that could prevent malaria parasites from being able to infect mosquitoes, which could eradicate the disease in humans.
A 26-year-old man died after a shark attack Saturday off Cape Cod, in Massachusetts. He was boogie boarding with a friend, when he was bitten by what is believed to have been a great white shark near Newcomb Hollow Beach. Several beachgoers attempted to rescue the man, but he died at a nearby hospital. It is the first fatal shark attack in US waters in more than 80 years. A month ago, a New York man was bitten by a great white shark in nearby Truro, MA. In other great white shark news, the White Shark Café, a deserted area in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, is a gathering spot for droves of great white sharks and scientists are trying to figure out why. Frozen for more than 50,000 years, an amazingly preserved wolf pup mummy, complete with tail and paws, has been discovered in a Yukon Gold Mine. A juvenile killer whale, named Scarlet, last photographed on 9/7 near San Juan Island, Washington, is apparently ill and starving and NOAA officials are considering taking desperate measures to rescue her, if she is still alive. Search teams from NOAA and the US Coast Guard are searching for her from the air and sea. If she is found, they plan to capture her for rehabilitation in captivity until she is healthy enough to return to the wild. This pod of orca where she came from, the J-Pod, has become quite famous in their area, with people following the developments of Scarlet (J50) and the other members of the pod of endangered southern resident killer whales. J35, or Tahlequah, is a female whose calf died a half-hour after it was born on 7/24, and biologists watched the grieving mother carry her dead calf around for hundreds of miles for more than two weeks. Scarlet is one of the few reproductive-age females in the pod and her death would be a tremendous blow to this struggling group of killer whales. The subpopulation of southern resident killer whales has dropped from 98 individuals in 1995 to just 75 now, according to NOAA. On Monday, a dolphin superpod chased billions of baitfish in Monterey Bay, off California, thrilling onlookers. A pod of wild dolphins which live in Australia can literally moonwalk thanks to one individual who learned the trick after a brief captivity and taught the others. Maggie, a 30-year-old Australian kelpie, has died in her sleep, and may be the oldest dog ever. Thousands of bees swarmed a Texas WalMart. This is unrelated to recent story about a man in Wallis, TX who was hospitalized for 3 days after he was stung by about 600 Africanized bees, while mowing his lawn. He survived, despite being stung inside his mouth and throat. Earlier this year, an 81-year-old man in Liberty County, TX survived an attack by hundreds of bees, leaving him with more than 135 stings on his head alone. I remember reading when I was a kid that Africanized bees were going to take over North America. But, then again, I also remember being worried that the biggest danger to kids was quicksand, and I never found any. Mosquitoes have begun doing something very unusual: they are eating plastic. That’s a huge problem, because the plastic can remain in the insect’s body into adulthood and then the microplastic contaminant can be transferred to whatever may eat the mosquito, like birds, spiders, and bats. A recent study has found that even one piece of plastic can kill a sea turtle, so this could wreak havoc on animals higher in the food chain than the mosquito.
Singer Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez moved into his $15.3 million 4,000-square foot penthouse in NYC, the tallest apartment building, at 432 Park Avenue. J.Lo put her 26th Street penthouse on the market for $27 million. The actual 70th Primetime Emmy Award show was Monday night, which followed last week’s technical Emmy’s when John Legend, Tim Rice, and Andrew Lloyd-Webber became just the 13th, 14th, and 15th people to achieve EGOT status (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony). It was unusual that it was on a Monday night, not a Sunday night. That also didn’t help the ratings, going up against Monday Night Football, as they plummeted to just 10.2 million viewers. And, yes, MNF did beat the Emmys in the ratings for Monday night. It’s not to be unexpected, as the Academy Awards and the Grammys ratings of late have dropped 20%, but this was a steeper tumble. The hosts were the two news guys from Saturday Night Live. There self-aware wisecrack about “the hundreds watching at home” was prophetic. I watched a little bit, but it was boring and the Bears’ defense, especially Khalil Mack, was much more exciting. The big winner was Amazon’s The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, which won 4 Emmys. The ‘Fonz’, Henry Winkler, finally got an Emmy, for Barry’s. The most important moment was when a director accepted an award on stage and turned it into a wedding proposal on-stage to his girlfriend and presented her his family’s wedding ring. Julie Chen has decided to leave the show The Talk permanently, although an original on the show 8 years ago, as her husband Les Moonves of CBS was forced out as Chairman amid sexual misconduct allegations 9 days ago. She continues to support her husband. She also is stepping down as host of Big Brother. Bert and Ernie from Sesame Street, best friends for 49 years, continue to spawn a debate on their sexual orientation. The debate was fueled by a magazine cover that depicted them watching the news when same-sex marriages was approved years back and by the writer for the two puppets for the last 15 years who says he always envisioned them as a same-sex couple. Disney, which owns the Jim Henson Muppets, denies that they are a same-sex couple and maintains they are just best friends and that puppets don’t have a sexual orientation. Today, the Sesame Street writer backtracked on his claim that Bert and Ernie are gay. This seems to be a really silly debate; they are puppets! Princess Eugenie is having a royal wedding, but you probably won’t get to see it on TV. In other Royal news, the former butler revealed that Princess Diana spent her Saturday nights eating McDonald’s with sons William and Harry. Million Dollar Listing New York star Ryan Serhant has written a book on finding success titled “Sell it Like Serhant” which is also the title of his other reality TV show. The Weekend and Daft Punk have been sued by a songwriter for reportedly stealing the hit song “Starboy”. Carrie Underwood is dodging questions about her upcoming baby’s gender. She recently revealed in an interview her heart-breaking story of two miscarriages and difficulty in having a baby. A California orthopedic surgeon who once appeared on a Bravo TV reality show and his girlfriend have been accused of drugging and sexually assaulting women, 7 alleged victims have come forward so far. Asia Argento said that Rose McGowan will be hearing from her lawyers over statement on Jimmy Bennett sex assault case. Tom Arnold and Mark Burnett allegedly had a physical altercation at a pre-Emmy party and LAPD is investigating. Tom Arnold has been demanding for and is hosting a new show about tapes that Mark Burnett allegedly has from The Apprentice TV show that would be damning to President Trump. Carol Burnett Show star, Tim Conway, is recovering from brain surgery, as his family battles over the comic’s fate. Khloe Kardashian is leaving Los Angeles and moving back to Cleveland for Tristan Thompson, now that the relationship is now “great”. Meanwhile, Kim Kardashian is upset with Kanye West, who announced he would move to Chicagor, as she has no plans to “leave her family in LA.” A Princess Diana friend says that Meghan is struggling to bond with some of Harry’s friends because of her “liberal” political views. Reese Witherspoon now says that the 2002 movie SWEET HOME ALABAMA is a carbon copy of her “life story”. Now that New York Fashion Week is over, the Alberta Ferretti Milan Fashion Week Show has begun. Anthony Bourdain’s estranged wife is selling their $3.7 million apartment, which she now shares with their daughter, three months after his suicide. Mourners attended Burt Reynolds’ private funeral service in Florida. Camille Grammer’s ex-boyfriend finally coughs up the $121,000 he was ordered to pay her in a bitter domestic abuse lawsuit. Chrissy Teigen notified the press that they have been mispronouncing her name all these years as TEE-GEN, when it is actually TIE_GEN. She’s also been having problems staying on her feet, falling off a chair in an NYC interview, after tumbling before the Emmys in Los Angeles. Hailey Baldwin calls her engagement to Justin Bieber the “biggest OMG moment” of her life in a new interview. Justin Bieber is reportedly worth $265 million but “refuses to get a prenup” with Hailey, as the thinks he will be married “forever”. Jessica Simpson is showing off her baby bump in clinging coat in NYC, after announcing her third pregnancy. Pope Francis and U2 frontman Bono share an embrace in Vatican City, as the pair discussed sexual abuse in the Catholic church. Friends star Matthew Perry, 49, was in “very serious medical condition” following surgery that left him bedridden for 3 months. Ben Affleck looks in good spirits as he makes another trip home to workout and then back to rehab, where he has been for almost a month of treatment. Chevy Chase brushed off his childhood abuse before slamming “not funny” Will Farrell and “horrible” Saturday Night Live, and making another racially-charged remark about Donald Glover. Miranda Lambert got a kiss from her father on stage as she kicks off her sold-out residency at The Country Music Hall of Fame. In the America’s Got Talent finale, they got it right and the young magician, Shin Lin, won last night for the $1 million Las Vegas contract. Jack Black received his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame today, but of course, took the moment to lash out at President Trump, in typical Hollywood fashion.
This week’s box-office was weaker than expected, maybe because of the weather. THE PREDATOR, the new version, debuted at No.1 with $24.6 million (it cost $88 million to make), kind of low; No.2 was THE NUN, a scary movie, which had debuted at No.1 and made an astonishing $53.8 million (it only cost $22 million to make) last week, this week making $18.2 million; A SIMPLE FAVOR debuted at No.3 with $16 million; WHITE BOY RICK debuted at No.4 with $8.9 million; and CRAZY RICH ASIANS was at No.5, falling from No.3, with $8.7 million. PEPPERMENT, the new action movie with Jennifer Garner, fell from No.2 to No.6 with just $6 million, almost covering its production costs now. The other debut making No.10, was UNBROKEN: PATH TO REDEMPTION which made $2.2 million in limited release.
Movies coming out this week: FAHRENHEIT 11/9 (Michael Moore film), THE HOUSE WITH A CLOCK IN ITS WALLS, LIFE ITSELF, AMERICAN DRESSER, ASSASSINATION NATION, COLETTE, GARRY WINOGRAND: ALL THINGS ARE, THE GREAT BATTLE, LOVE GILDA, THE PAGAN KING, THE SISTERS BROTHERS, and TEA WITH THE DAMES.
Technology & Space News:
The Elon Musk story continues to be one of two extremes, as his company SpaceX on Monday named its first private passenger on a 2023 voyage around the moon as Japanese billionaire Yusaka Maezawa, the founder and CEO of online fashion retailer Zozo; and it was announced Tuesday that Tesla, his other company, is facing US criminal probe by the Justice Department over his public statements. There is also reportedly a civil inquiry concurrently being run by securities regulators. Did you know that only 24 astronauts have flown beyond Earth’s magnetic shield? Maezawa said the cost of his ticket was “much higher” than the cost of a Basquiat painting, one of which he famously bought for a record-breaking price of $110 million. Facebook is building a “fake news war room” inside its California headquarters to co-ordinate its battle against the spread of misinformation during the upcoming US midterm and Brazilian elections. A mysterious FBI shutdown of Sunspot Solar Observatory for 11 days was due to an investigation into its night janitor downloading child pornography and not alien contact. A real-life “Planet Vulcan”, an exoplanet, has been found 16 light-years away from Earth. The planet is associated with star 40 Eridani A, which has been found to host only one planet, which is roughly twice the size of the Earth (a “Super Earth”) and orbits its star every 42 days. The reason it is associated with STAR TREK and Mr. Spock (the Vulcan) is that in publications “Star Trek 2” by James Blish in 1968 and “Star Trek Maps” by Jeff Maynard in 1980, they theorized that a ficticious 40 Eridani A could be the star of Planet Vulcan. Now, NASA’s new planet hunter, the Dharma Endowment Foundation Telescope, has just found this planet, ironically orbiting the real-life star 40 Eridani A. It is not the first time that science fiction authors, like Gene Roddenberry (the creator of STAR TREK), George Lucas, or Arthur C. Clarke theorized decades earlier about things that astronomers are now finding to be real. The idea that this planet could be habitable for an advanced civilization is because its sun is slightly cooler and less massive than our Sun and has a 10.1-year magnetic cycle, compared to an 11.6-year magnetic cycle for our Sun. So far, it is the closest Super-Earth orbiting another Sun-like star to Earth, at only 16 light years away. In other planetary news, scientists are arguing that Pluto should be reinstated as a planet. It was downgraded to “dwarf planet” in 2006 by the IAU. The IAU argued at the time that Neptune’s gravity influences its neighbor Pluto and that Pluto’s orbit is shared with frozen gases and objects and is not “cleared”. But, that definition for a planet is now coming under attack.
President Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court, Judge Brett Kavanaugh, remains under siege from the media and goes to Senate Judiciary Committee to testify (along with his accuser who will testify) regarding alleged sexual assault he committed in prep school. He denies that the incident ever happened. The whole situation is eerily similar to what happened in 1991 with Anita Hill and Justice Clarence Thomas. However, then, many people feel, the Senate Judiciary Committee did not take the sexual harassment claims serious enough and mishandled the complaint.
A 25-year-old woman from Lake Worth, FL who lives in the trendy Logan Circle area of Washington DC, as a recently engaged tech company executive, was stabbed to death with multiple slashes to her neck, while she was out jogging in the early evening. Police have arrested and charged a suspect, as residents are stunned. There have been recent reports of stepped up human trafficking in northern Florida counties, where one suspicious male will follow lone females in Publix, Earth Ware, and other stores, while two accomplices with a van wait in the parking lot to drug and kidnap chosen victims, who are then whisked off, never to be seen again, thrown into the sexual slave trade. This is astounding that this kind of atrocious activity could be happening in the United States (or anywhere for that matter) and women must be vigilant in stores and in parking lots. Preferably they should be in groups or have access to phones to call 9-1-1 and, at the least, should scream and yell at men following them, to bring attention and discourage their assailants. Wanda Barzee, who was convicted for aiding street preacher Brian David Mitchell in the kidnapping of Elizabeth Smart, was released from a Utah state prison on Wednesday after being sentence to 15 years in jail. In a shock decision, the parole board agreed to credit her for time previously served and released her 6 years early, to the outrage of the public. Elizabeth Smart has been discussing her nine months of abuse during the kidnap, but said she would not allow her captor’s release to impact her life. A Pennsylvania man, 59, died crashing his car into a house, bringing an end to manhunt after he tried to kill his ex-wife then murdered his elderly parents at their retirement home, because he had been served divorce papers. Three people have been killed in a Maryland warehouse district attack today and officials say the shooter may have been a woman. The unfolding scene is now described by authorities as having multiple victims and multiple injured. They also say that the suspect has been captured and is in critical condition.
During an Israeli airstrike, Syria shot down a Russian plane. The leaders of North Korea and South Korea ended their 3rd recent summit. North Korea said they plan to help South Korea land an upcoming Olympic Games in cooperation and to make the Korean Peninsula a nuclear weapon-free zone. North Korea’s leader says he “wants fast denuclearization” and a second summit with President Trump. The IOC has lifted the doping ban against Russia and reinstated them in international sports competitions. Far-right leader, Le Pen, has been ordered to take psychiatric tests, as part of a probe into her sharing of images of ISIS atrocities. Bobi Wine is back in Uganda allegedly “to fight”. Children in a cart were killed in a Dutch train crash. A Spanish university is facing fake diploma claims. President Trump has urged Spain to “build Sahara wall.”
The blue-green algae disaster on the East Coast of Florida and red tide disaster on the West Coast of Florida are still on everyone’s minds and noses down here. Dead fish continue to pile up on Southwestern Florida beaches, as cleanup efforts for the red tide have intensified. A 77-year-old acquaintance of mine has died in Palm Beach Gardens, FL, after he was jumped and attacked by a young man outside a Stein Mart parking lot at 8pm two nights ago. Police are looking for the lone assailant.
My 5-part harmony singing group, Generation Gap, was just voted by InTune Magazine as the Best Harmony Group in the state of Florida, quite an honor! We have a gig this Friday 9/21 5:30-8:30pm at the PB Culture & Arts Center in Palm Beach Gardens, FL, and another gig the following Friday 9/29 at Double Roads Tavern in Jupiter, FL 5-8pm.
If you are interested in seeing more famous groups in concert, there are many coming to Florida, perhaps when you will be visiting:
Christine Aguilera-Hollywood, September 25
Lady Antebellum, Darius Rucker & Russell Dickerson-West Palm Beach, September 29
Phil Collins-Sunrise, October 5
Kid Rock and Brantley Gilbert-West Palm Beach, October 13
Nikki Minaj with Future-Miami, October 19
Alice in Chains-Hollywood, October 28
Toto-Pompano Beach-October 28
Marilyn Manson w H090909-Hollywood, October 30
Simple Minds-Miami, November 8
Willie Nelson-Estero, November 12
Elton John-Sunrise, November 23 (I’m there)
Elton John-Miami, November 24
Brian Wilson-Hollywood, December 12
Kansas-Fort Lauderdale, December 15
Cher and Chic-Sunrise, January 19
Fleetwood Mac-Sunrise, February 20
Pink-Sunrise-March 1 (I might have to go)
Paul Anka-Fort Lauderdale-March 4
Elton John-Sunrise, March 16