July 26, 2017

Faces of The Metro and The Times





Do these people look happy and fulfilled or are they looking more vacant, exhausted, and miserable to you?

Is it the Metro? 
Is it Washington, D.C.? 
Is it their work? 
Is it family issues? 
Is it the economy?
Is it health problems?

For a superpower country with supposed incredible wealth, might, and freedom to enjoy it all--what the heck is going on.

Should we blame the politics and fighting? 
Should we blame the fake news optics?
Should we blame our gnawing adversaries (Axis of Evil Russia, Iran, North Korea...)?
Should we blame materialism and consumerism (and a corresponding lack of spiritualism and values in our lives)? 

We have the greatest advances in history--revolutionizing energy, transportation, healthcare, communications, and more--so much to advance our well-being, to savor, and seemingly endless more to come. 

Why aren't people smiling?
Why aren't people jumping for joy more? 
Why aren't people even awake with eyes open to enjoy the life's journey?

There should be great hope in the future--with fruitful life there is hope and with hope there is excitement and joy--but without hope all is meaningless and lost.  

What is going on out there--psychologists, sociologists, anthropologists, clergy?

We are trying to do everything right.

So where are we going wrong-wrong-wrong? ;-)

(Source Photos: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

July 25, 2017

Conflict - Resolution or Escalation

So I thought this was interesting on the cause of conflict. 

There are four main parts:

1) Deprivation - You believe that someone is depriving you of something you need or want. This could be something physical like money, or an object or it could be inanimate such as love or respect. The feeling of deprivation is anchored in a real or perceived feeling or being deprived of access to resources or the imbalance who has those resources. 

2) Name - You identify the person you feel is causing you this deprivation. 

3) Blame - You blame them for their role in causing you harm. 

4) Claim - You justify the accusation by anchoring it in a claim that the other person has violated some social norm such as taking something that doesn't belong to them or violating an agreement you have with them and so on. 

As the conflict comes to a head, it is clear that people are feeling hurt, that there is a desire to correct the situation, and that you are going to confront the (perceived) culprit and make your case on why what they are doing is wrong and how it should be resolved. 

If you have the wrong person in the cross-hairs, your justification is weak or you're not telling the whole story (i.e. maybe you played a part or harmed the other person too), or the person just won't give you a fair hearing and sincerely work with you to resolve it, then the conflict may escalate from here.  

Usually, it's best to listen, empathize, negotiate, compromise, try to be reasonable, and resolve the situation at the earliest point possible.

If there is a greater conflict or risk to either party involved, then heels may get dug in and all avenues to resolving it can be open including legal and even all out war. 

Conflict is no game, but in some cases it may be unavoidable--and then the ramifications can be earth shattering. 

What to do when you're in a conflict situation? Think before you act, and then think again. 

Ultimately, peace is one of the greatest of blessings. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

July 24, 2017

Going From Hearing To Listening

I thought this was pretty good. 

How do we go from hearing to listening?

We have to be silent (and contemplative)!

- Check out the letters in the word silent.

- They are exactly the same as the letters in the word listen.

Keep the mouth shut and really listen to the what the other person has to say, and you might actually learn something. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

July 23, 2017

REI Stupid Coupons

REI had a special online. 

You order $100 or more of stuff, and you get a $20 "member bonus" card. 

That sounded good, so I placed an order. 

So I get a message that I'll have the bonus card within 48 hours or I should check my spam folder. 

Not sure what should take 48 hours, but I end up getting the email with the $20 code the same day. 

Thinking I'd go and get something for the freebie, I head to the store today and find something perfectly for $20!

Wow--that's cool.

I wait on this long line with my wife...and we're checking out this new popcorn on the line called Halfpops, which looks like Half Poop, and what's the other half?  

After having lousy experiences with these B.S. coupons in the past, we are joking back and forth how there is less than a 50% chance that the coupon actually works today and we end up walking out with the product.

Sure enough, we get to the register and the cashier says, 

"Sorry. The coupon is not good for another 2 weeks!"

Bingo.  Well why they heck did you send me the coupon now and not make it good for another 2 weeks--why waste everyone's time here?

Also, what difference is it to REI to make me wait 2 weeks to use the member reward--I'm in the store now, so if they want to cross-sell me some stuff what difference does another couple of weeks make. 

You'd think the customer service at REI would say, "we apologize for the inconvenience" and process it now to make it a positive experience, but instead they actually told me to come back in 2 weeks and start all over AGAIN. 

Gee, thanks REI for the member bonus reward...you've really done so well with customer service for your members, NOT!  

I think REI is blinded by stupid policies and corporate bullsh*t so that they cannot take care of their customers and do what makes common sense. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

July 22, 2017

Hate Proliferates

I was really surprised to see this sign for White Supremacists right in front of our nation's Capitol like this. 

Identity Evropa is yet another hate group--this one focuses on people of European ancestry and their website claims, "We are the future."

But whether you come from Europe or Asia, the Middle East or Africa, America or the moon, aren't we all just people at the end of the day.

Who cares whether your black or white or yellow or brown, or what religion you practice, or your gender, or sexual orientation, or whether you lean left or right. 

At the end of the day, are we all not flesh, do we all not bleed, have we all not hopes and fears, do we all not answer to the one G-d Above. 

Hate proliferates from our farm belts to our inner cities, from our universities to our board rooms, from the gazillionaire to the guy who has to shovel shit for a living, from our nasty national politics to the United Nations, there is plenty of hate and bias and bigotry to go around. 

Look to the Heavens, cry a bitter tear, your hatred is your self-destruction. 

You will pray with an evil and hate-filled heart and none will answer you. 

The living G-d of Hosts who created us and loves all his children will not stand idly as hate and supremacy of one over another presides. 

The chains of our affliction, the bullet to the back of the head, the noose and the death camps, the whip, the gas, and the ovens, the hunger, the sick experiments, and the slave labor.

Only G-d is supreme over all and those that seek an advantage on the backs of their brethren will find themselves a fiery hell to contend with. 

From just a little gnat to a growing tumor--that is all that it takes to bring justice and re-level the supremacy playing field and teach who is the King of Kings and there is no other. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

July 21, 2017

Killer Organizational Sharks

There are sharks out there. 

And it's not just in the oceans. 

There are plenty in your organizations. 

They make for lots of dysfunction and conflict. 

The organizational sharks see themselves as the bigger and more important fish in the sea. 

They look for weakness in others---they smell blood and when they do, they usually follow it to the kill!

These sharks are the types of people that attack their colleagues when they should be assisting them. 

Not only do they lack respect for others, but instead see them as the enemy and eat them as prey, when instead, they need to be chewing up the outside competition.

It's an attitude of us versus them misplaced within the organization, rather than external-facing. 

These organizational sharks could be in leadership positions, in which case, their attitudes filter down infecting the rest of their staffs. 

Instead of unity, cohesion, and working together to get the mission and job down, the sharks are selfishly worrying about and working to build their own power base. 

It's a dysfunctional culture that allows these sharks to exist and swarm in their organizational waters. 

Sharks for some reason fail to see that their boats are hitched to everyone else in the organization, and that all the organizational boats rise together or fill with polluted water and sink to the bottom.

As leaders, we need to focus and agree on supporting each other to achieve the success of all. 

Even sharks should learn to be nice and play together with all the other fish in the organizational sea. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

July 20, 2017

I Got The Call

I got the call!

But not the one that I always wanted, which is to serve at the very highest echelons of government or/and industry for those values and things which I so hold dear. 

No, instead I got the call that my professor in college warned me about. 

He said:
"You will get a call one day from someone asking for a lot of cash--no questions asked! At that time, you will know who you're real friends are."

So I actually got this call (for real) and in the middle of my work day.

This person who contacts me is considered quite affluent and with an extensive network, and I know him/her for only a relatively short time

Person:
"You know you're like family to me Andy...I need $2,000--in cash--by 7 pm. I'll pay you back $500 on Friday and the rest by Monday."

Me (Stunned):
"What--is this a joke or something?"

Person:
{Repeats again the request}

Me:
"OMG. What's wrong--is everyone okay? Are you in any trouble?"

Person:
"Uh, everyone's fine...don't ask me any questions--there's no time for this now."

Me {Reaching for some humor in this bizarre situation}:
"Oh, only $2,000--I thought maybe you needed $2 million--that's no problem, of course."

Person:
"Please don't make jokes now Andy--this isn't funny!"

Me {Trying once again to get some more--any--information}:
"Can you just explain to me what's going on--I really want to understand, so I can help you."

Person:
"Do you have the cash or not?"

Me: 
"To be frank no. I don't keep any cash around. {Inquiring to learn more...} Could you take a check or something else?"

Person:
"No. Listen, can you go to the ATM now?"

Me {frustrated by the abruptness, lack of sensical communication, and pushiness, as well as more than a little suspicious at how this is all going down}:
"Well the ATMs have a cash limit. Also, I would really need to check with my {lovely} wife first,"

Person {seeing they weren't getting what they wanted when they wanted it}:
"Okay, well if you can't help, I'll just call someone else--thanks {hanging up on me}!" 

WOW!

Despite having trusted this person and feeling very hurt by all this, I still called the person back later that evening to follow up and because I truly cared, and they were still not any more forthcoming with me, and in fact, were quite attacking that they were sorry to have called me.

But I wasn't sorry...my college professor was right on, thank G-d--I do know who my friends are!

Whether its a lunch date, LinkedIn/Facebook contact, or social invitation, be discerning about the motives of people--outside of any sane and normal context--that are seeking to "friend" you. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

July 19, 2017

Touched By An Angel

So the other night I dreamed.

And in the dream, an angel came to me and was over me as I lay down. 

The angel had it's finger pointing at my head in the right temple area. 

The finger was all white and while I could feel it having a solid state, it was able to pass in a non-solid state, transparently through the surface and slightly into my head. 

I felt pressure applied there and almost like a healing feeling.

The angel was pure white--like a holy marble, but not like marble. 

It was majestic, slender, and tall.

It had white feathery wings that were taller than it's body. 

It's face was like an adult, but also like a child--it was both. 

Its feet were like a smooth and solid arch, and did not have toes.

The angel hovered over my upper body, head area, and was looking at me and touching my right temple--with care and love. 

It was absolutely clear to me that the angel visiting me was my dear, dear father. 

Although, I woke with a slight headache, I felt happy and at great peace by his visit.

The experience was caring, loving, holy and I was uplifted by it. 

With his unbelievably pure and giving heart, it was beautiful to see my father as an angel--this was him all along. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

July 18, 2017

How Stupid Can Metro Be

While Metro has been touting its Get Back to Good ("Back2Good") plan and campaign, unfortunately, it is still continuing to mess up big and stupid. 

Part of Metro's hailed upgrades is to the new 7000-series trains. 

They look better than the old crappy and filthed up train cars from before--including the extremely worn and ripped icky orange seats and carpets.

In that respect, the stainless and more modern-looking replacement trains are most welcome.

However, check out the negligent and hazardous middle doors on many of these train cars. 

Do you see the absolutely stupid handle bars that jut out into the oft busy entry-exit passenger doors. 

Yesterday, I got caught in a mob racing out of one of the train cars, and my upper thigh got danged and good on these ridiculous and reckless handlebars in the doorway!

Who would put these jutting out into a doorframe???

Anyway, my leg is red, swollen, painful, and I am limping good from this. 

Hey, is there a good personal injury lawyer out there on the web that works on commission (lol, I think)?

I am so grateful to G-d if this doesn't end up messing with my hip replacement. 

What is it about Metro that they just seem to act brainless with the basics. 

This was supposed to the year of getting back to track safety and train reliability (getting the trains on time), but I guessed they seriously missed the train safety part!

Oh by the way, the reliability isn't all that "good" either (forget great...they gave up on that a while ago)!  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

July 17, 2017

Ooh That Is Good

Hey, congratulations to Roger Federer on winning his 19th tennis championship. 

It's an absolutely awesome level of athletic achievement and it's definitely something to celebrate. 

But when I saw this photo of him and his trophy in the paper this morning, it seemed over the top!

Whenever someone sets their mind to something, works really hard, and is thank G-d able to achieve it--that is something to be happy about and enormously grateful for. 

Hey, listen, I understand there are some real superstars out there and I respect them! 

However, seeing this guy clutching his trophy in both hands, smelling it, kissing it, and more...it looks to me more like idolatry than the pure, sweet smell of success. 

I get it--he worked super hard, achieved impossible things, and deserves to savor the incredible moment--no one is taking that away from him. 

Instead of that gold trophy, wouldn't you rather see him kissing his wife and children, thanking G-d (and his coach maybe), and saying things like how he will continue to use his success and earning to help others or maybe train the next generation of aspiring athletes. 

I applaud Federer more for his known philanthropy in helping disadvantaged children and doing charitable events for disaster victims than for winning his 19th championship (hey, 18 would've been fine too).  

In the end, self- (and trophy-) love and admiration is not the something to celebrate, but should instead point us back to character and using our strength and achievements to help others.

For what is really important in life, there is no earthly trophy for--and certainly not one worth any ultimate embrace. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal via Wall Street Journal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

July 16, 2017

Your Everlasting Timeline

So I wanted to share this really smart thought about life and death:
"What is the most important part on a person's tombstone?
The dash!
Why the dash?
Because it represents what a person has done between the date they were born and the date they died!"
We tend to wildly celebrate birthdays.

Also, we perform a remembrance (or memorial) on the date of a person's death. 

But what is truly the significant part is what the person did during their life--the kind words, the good deeds, the positive influence that they had on people and the world around them. 

A simple dash between the DOB and DOD.

The small things are really the big things. 

No, an elaborate timeline of life events and doings.

Our time on Earth abbreviated, but not trivial at all. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

July 15, 2017

Another Nothing Burger

So I've noticed that not only in politics--but in life--people are want to throw around a lot of nothing burgers.

This happens when they make vague accusations--incriminating people or groups--but without substantiating what they are saying. 

It's a way of bullying, discriminating, and hating on others. 

Creating doubt about your victim--keep saying those derogatory, demeaning, and hateful stories--it tarnishes the other person's image, reputation, and credibility.

Creating an endless aura of fallibility on the other person's part. 

Here, we go...they screwed up again!

It's death by a thousand cuts of insults, pot shots, and sucker punches.

It's a definite form of verbal and emotional abuse and violence. 

Sometimes, there may be something to it--in which case the party that screwed up should take responsibility, correct their mistakes, and commit to sincerely doing better in the future. 

But often, there is nothing there!

And the false accusations are merely a way to cover up (management) incompetency or bias by the accusers themselves. 

It's a great way to dominate the conversation, but really the people making the stink are simply acting out--and not too flattering as the whiners and complainers.

They point fingers at others, but there are three fingers pointing back at themselves!

Why?

Because it's another nothing burger meant to deceive, discredit, and retard and take the focus off their own meatless patties!  

Where's the beef?

The liars and deceivers and propagandists are using you for their own means.

Another nothing burger in the oven and it ain't kosher! ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

July 14, 2017

These Pants Are In Vogue

I just thought these women's pants were so cool (yet gaudy).

Another standout you think. 

A fashion magazine making up fashionable ladies pants. 

The covers are bright, colorful, and feature a array of many women and looks up and down each pant's leg. 

The pants are a collage of these all.

These pants are probably not for the faint of heart--you've got to have courage to wear these. 

Some might say, you'd be crazy...

A ladies next dilemma--what shoes do you wear with these?  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

July 13, 2017

Folks Hating Folks

It's sad how everyone is always fighting about everything.

And hating on each other...

Someone told a funny story the other day about this:
"She don't like her.
He don't like him.
And the supervisor says, I don't like none of y'all, now get back to work!"

At the end of the day, we're all different, and we're all sort of the same. 

Maybe we have to look past the petty stuff, and learn to get along and get things done! 

At the end of the day, we're all better off loving and getting it reciprocated--and so on and so on. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

July 12, 2017

Getting To Yes

I thought this was a good and important customer service principle:
"Don't make me go through NO
To get to YES."

When it comes to customer service, the default for reasonable requests from good customers should always be YES!

We can either make the experience miserable for the customer and leave them fuming, never coming back, and bad-mouthing us or we can make it fair, easy, accommodating, and a WOW experience!

Why not build your customer base and reputation for excellence rather than erode it? 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

July 11, 2017

Baiting With North Korea and Taiwan

OMG, I can't listen to this politically correct nonsense for the masses on North Korean anymore. 

Yes, North Korea is a nuclear threat and they are ramping up the ante. 

And we are still technically at war with the North Koreans. 

But all the in-the-box ideas for stopping the North Korean threat is wasting everyone's time and efforts. 

Today in the Wall Street Journal, we had everything from telling China that we'll recognize the Axis of evil North Korean regime and sign a peace treaty with them in return for limiting the North Korean missile program and having inspections (because those worked so well in the past or with Iran) or we put the "squeeze" on China by threatening to remove their 328,547 Chinese students from American universities. 

Listen, it's time to face facts:

China will not give up support for North Korea against us, until we would agree to give up support for Taiwan against them. 

Is that really so hard to understand?

No China will not be sanctioned by us or threatened by us economically or militarily--they are a superpower in their own right!

And we cannot expect to ask or force China to stop supporting North Korea, just because we don't like it--in fact, that is exactly the point. 

We don't like it, and that's what China wants in order to push us out of supporting an independent and democratic Taiwan.

So now we are at the root of the choice here for America.

Either America is willing to negotiate with China for real and in effect compromise our values for democracy and freedom in the world or we can deal with North Korea on our own. 

And dealing with North Korea on our own--without destroying much of South Korea and even Japan in the process--probably means just one (or two) big bangs. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

July 10, 2017

Pirate Cake Pops

Shiver my timbers!

That really is a chocolate eye patch. 

And a frosting with sprinkles head scarf.

This pirate's brain is vanilla cake!

What a Monday morning treat.

I'm smiling and hope you are too. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

July 9, 2017

Hitler Is Kaput

So I was surprised when a great friend wrote to me the other day about Hitler. 

And he said that some people say that he won!

He wanted to destroy the Jews and he did manage to kill 6,000,000 of us!

He wanted to conquer Europe (and the world) and he sparked a world war that killed between 50 million and 80 million people, spread fascism, and Germany still today remains the economic powerhouse of Europe.

But killing people, spreading evil, and causing world war is not the sign of a winner by any means--quite the contrary! 

And I replied to my friend:

Hitler and the Nazis are gone, dead, and destroyed, and we are here--what a miracle that from the ashes and depths of the Holocaust, the Israelites were redeemed after 2,000 years of exile--and just as the prophecy foretold, Israel was reborn, lives and thrives!

The sick hatred, evil, and fascist values of Hitler and his Third Reich Germany are gone into the dustbin of history and moreover, their very mention or memory evokes disdain and contempt as being the antiChrist and archetype of evil in the world.

Over the weekend, I watched the movie, The Zookeepers Wife and it was terrific. 

While the Nazi's perpetrated every conceivable evil on mankind, the righteous among the nations still managed to stand up in the face of evil and save innocent lives, and even when it put their own lives and that of their loved ones in jeopardy--that is true goodness!

The movie showed not only the Zookeeper and his wife who saved over 300 Jews during the Holocaust, but their young son yelled out after the miserable Nazi and said, "Hitler is kaput" or Hitler is finished!

Yes, Hitler and his evil cohorts are destroyed, but in every generation, there are new threats of evil and hate that arise, and to those, we still must bravely and with steadfast determination and strength confront--and those must be made kaput as well. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

July 8, 2017

Is It I Don't or I Do?

Wow this was tough...

I was at a luncheon with some friends, including a couple we're friendly with that's been dating a while.  

At one point, the young man gets up to get some more food, and the young lady all of a sudden asks me, "Do you still live around here?"

I said "Yes, not far from here," and in turn asked whether she was still living in {blankty blank neighborhood}.

She said, "Yes, {and continues sort of out of the blue} and we're not going to live together until we get married."

I was sort of surprised at the turn that her answer took about their relationship, and innocently asked, "So does that mean you guys are planning on marriage then?"

Just then the man comes back and I must've been reading the tea leaves {and the ominous music for the laying of the trap starts playing in my head}...

Immediately, the young lady says to him before he even sits back down, "He's asking if we're getting married {and for some reason she's literally pointing at me or am I imaging that finger like a dagger coming out}!"

At this point, I think my eyes started to bug out a little as I must've had this look on my face like what the heck is going on here. 

But if this isn't going bad enough {what in G-d's name did I walk into with this?)...

This older lady across the table, starts blurting out loudly saying, "How would you like if she ends up with another guy?!!!"

Holy sh*t {where is that coming from now?)!

The guy next to me is obviously at the point of fury {I can't say that I fully blame him}, and he packs up his stuff and sort of storms off from the table.

The young women is still there trying to make conversation as if this whole thing just somehow didn't happen. 

But it did and it was pretty ugly!

The older lady {not stopping--this is madness} then chimes in again and says, "Look at what he did, he stormed off--if I were you, I would just drop him!"

We're all sort of sitting there in complete shock now. 

Pulling for a straw to somehow make this scene go away, I ask the young lady, "Should I go out and see if I can speak with him?"

She's shakes her head and says, "No. We're almost done {done--in what way...?}!"

Within a couple of minutes, we excused ourselves and headed out--sort of not believing how this whole scene went down. 

One thing I can tell you is do not get ANYWHERE near people and their relationships--there are a whirlwind of just under the surface feelings, agendas, and finger-pointing ready to take flight and eradicate everything in the vicinity of ground zero. 

Anyway, I hope everything works out okay for this couple...they actually do seem really nice together.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

July 7, 2017

Any Objectivity Out There Please?

Just want to pose a question to close out this week...

A recent Harvard study "confirms media bias" against Trump with negative media reports outpacing positive ones by 80:20.

Some outlets are posting at an incredible 13:1 rate for negative reporting!

Can CNN, the New York Times, and other mass media outlets get back to objective news reporting once again?

This doesn't mean avoiding real investigative journalism and honest criticism where due.

But rather it should be fair, balanced, and work to get to truth.

We can hold dear the First Amendment and do it with genuine integrity too. 

This would be a great day for America! ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

July 6, 2017

Driverless Cars - New Beginning or Part of The End

Driverless cars are exciting to so many.

But doesn't it also seem so boring?

There is a lot to be said for being the driver and doing the driving. 

We control the destination, trajectory, speed, etc.

Occasionally, there is even time to stop and enjoy the view. 

We've given up on doing or even knowing how to do so many basic things.

Probably 90% plus of us would fail at any sort of basic survival test. 

You can't hunt, you don't know how anything really works, and you don't even have a green thumb.

You'd be dead in under a week or max three

The only thing you do know how to do is sit at a desk, push papers, go to meetings, and post endless nonsense on social media--congratulations you're an imbecile!

When Axis of Evil North Korea, Iran, or Russia decide to hit us with an ICBM, EMP, or a massive cyber attack your gonna wish you knew something (anything) real, let alone how to drive a simple automatic. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

July 5, 2017

Big Mouths Alert

So I took this photo in the Museum of Natural History. 

As you can see, this hippopotamus has quite a big mouth. 

He is also not alive and is behind a glass-enclosed case for viewing. 

To me this screams that those with big mouths often don't end up well. 

I remember a relative of mine used to bluntly call it, "being full of sh*t."

Whether these people are in politics, your neighborhood, bullies at work and school, or even those in the fake news media...they have become all to somewhat frequent.

Sure there are other animals with small mouths in the same situation, but the hippo truly is a decreasing and vulnerable species.

And like it's neighbor in the museum, the dinosaur--another one who has a big mouth--that ended up extinct, the prospects for talking big, but accomplishing little is sort of part of the character. 

The hippopotamus is mostly a herbivore--it has a big mouth and some big sharp teeth, but it mainly eats humble plants and doesn't pursue the hunt of the big game and eat lots of red meat. 

Listen, big mouths can still be highly dangerous--words are powerful and can do a lot of damage. 

But overall "talk is cheap," especially when people focus on words and not good deeds and who don't have the right intentions. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

July 4, 2017

Wow 4th of July Flowers

Wow, these flowers were made for 4th of July, right?

How amazing that G-d (maybe with some man adjustments) made these beautiful red, white, and blue flowers--all-in-one! 

Go USA!

It's truly fantastic to have independence, freedom, human rights, democracy.

We have so much to be grateful for. 

And there is so much that the world can learn and benefit from America.

We're not perfect--nobody and nothing (but G-d) is. 

But we stand for some really amazing things--and these values are worth sharing and defending. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

July 3, 2017

The REAL Problem Is NOT Healthcare

Why can't all the really smart people in this country solve the healthcare crisis?

The democrats tried and it didn't work out to well. 

And now the republicans are trying and sort of the same thing so far.

Is it politics?

Sure, that is what it can easily look like. 

One side wants to give more to these folks and less to someone else, and the other side vice versa.

But I don't think that is the truth!

Wouldn't we all like to give health coverage to every single man, woman, and child in this country!

Seriously...doesn't everyone have a heart and soul somewhere in there.

And we all know and/or fear what it's like to be at risk, without proper coverage, and without the medical care and medicine that can be lifesaving!

So here's the real problem folks:

It's not healthcare, nor any of the other social or national security issues we face--whether the military, space exploration, environmental concerns, jobs, or anything else. 

This is what it is...

It's called the national debt, which stands art $20,000,000,000,000

And that doesn't even include ANOTHER 127,000,0000,000,000 of unfunded liabilities for things like social security and medicare etc. 

This is a nation that collectively doesn't save--it spends--and it spends not only it's current purse, but it's future one too!

In fact, total U.S Household wealth in aggregate of $90,000,000,000 is eclipsed by our overall national debt!

True, this doesn't include trillions of dollars of other significant business or national assets, but it does point to the overall severity of our highly-leveraged financial position.

So where does this leave us?

We can't really solve healthcare or any of our other problems--if we are BROKE, busted, and a debtor nation. 


Yes, it takes money to invest, and money to pay for solutions for now and for the future. 

But how can you possibly solve anything, if your pockets are not only empty but have a big f*ckin' hole in them. 

So folks, the lousy decisions of the past and present are coming back to haunt us. 

It's a tidal wave, a tsunami of debt--of unbelievable corruption and kicking the can down the road--of fraud, waste, and abuse--of shortsightedness and lack of real leadership--and the time is coming to pay the piper!

If you think the political infighting--liberal and conservatives--tea party and progressives--alt left and alt right--socialists and dictators--is bad now?

But unfortunately, unsolvable problems lead to accusations and recriminations--finger-pointing all around--calls for impeachment--calls to let the other party or some independent lead us out of this mess.

Do you think being in such a challenging situation could also lead us to make rash and stupid mistakes or even go to war? 

In the end, how do you lead us out of a dead-end caused by generations of recklessness with our country's finances?

Some say perhaps we can grow ourselves out of the debt--maybe we need to go back to school and all get our MBAs and start the whole messed up story all over again?

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

July 2, 2017

CNN News May (Sometimes) Be Fake, But The Flowers Aren't

As CNN (and other news outlets) continue to go after the President of the United States with a vehemence, and three of its journalists had to resign, I thought it was important to remember that while there may be much news these days that is ugly and fake, there are still many things in life that are still beautiful and real like these gorgeous flowers.

While we look to the media for honest and fair news reporting to educate and inform us all, it continues to be more than disappointing that they not only seem to take sides, but as one of their own producers admitted, they are looking out for their own ratings more than for the benefit of the American and global news consumer. 

Political biases, chasing after ratings, alternative facts, fake news...what are people across the political and viewpoint spectrum to do to get to the truth?  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

July 1, 2017

And It Will Come To Pass

I was walking today and this is what was in my mind...

And it will be in the days of Putin king of Russia and Xi Jinping king of China that Trump king of the USA will advance peace between Israel and its neighbors. 

So that nation shall not life up sword again nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.

And you will quiet your enemies to the north, and to the southwest, and to the far east. 

None shall stand against you. 

The time is coming when great arrows will pierce the hearts of your enemies, and the eyes of the people shall see and know that G-d, the protector of Israel and the judge of all, doth live and fulfills all his promises to those that honor their commitments to Him. 

The answer is in your words and deeds to bring glory to the Maker of Heaven and Earth. 

Sharpen your swords, gird your tongue in prayer, and cover yourselves in the everlasting deeds of your forefathers and mothers. 

The time arrives for all mankind to witness the long arm of the L-rd and know his reign and mercy endures forever. 

Be of faith and good courage. 

And Israel will dwell in peace and security and the world will prosper in the redemption. 

The ambers and ash of history are still warm, but the times of evil and destruction shall give way to a renewal of the simple, the good, and the peaceful following.

He who sits on the throne that is the foundation of all that lives gazes upon his creation with a sadness and promise. 

Those who commit the worst evils will be found guilty and cleansed, and those of pure heart will be guiltless.

Evil will not stand in the presence of the L-rd of Hosts. 

Redemption is at hand and the glorious saving by the spirit that is the spirit that speaks to all with a voice of thunder and lightening, and the angels will be awakened, and man will know and serve Him once more with a full heart and mindfulness to the Almighty.

Blessed be His name and His deeds are magnificent beyond wonder, generosity, and holiness. 

Amen, Amen, Amen.   

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

America The Polarized

So on one hand, in American politics today you have this--Make America Great Again.

And those who support Trump and change.
On the other side, you have those that oppose and resist.
And those that blame and wash their hands from the dirty politics.
And many that think that the worst in politics already happened.


But our problems are large and eating this nation up alive--from Iran and North Korea to Jobs, Healthcare, Immigration, and more



Our social safety net is fraying under a frightening and mounting national debt, and our national security needs are growing amid an endless array of real doomsday threats from WMD, EMPs, and Cyber Attacks.
What will it be America--blame, ridicule, resist, endless fighting or work to help and not hate. ;-)

(Source Photos: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

June 30, 2017

It's Like Saving The Whole World

I saw this sign hanging prominently in a large local Baltimore hospital here (and it comes from the Talmud): 

"He who saves one life...It is as if he saves a whole world."

For doctors, nurses, and other medical practitioners, what greater purpose or joy in life than to save other human lives!

Each person is truly a whole world unto themselves...their thoughts, feelings, and their contributions!

Who knows what one single act of kindness or generosity from someone can have--what impacts down the line to one or even billions of others. 

Today, I have a friend that is undergoing a major operation in this hospital. 

My thoughts and prayers are with him. 

This is his third hospitalization in the last few weeks and it's time for the doctors--with G-d's help--to save his life.

I actually had something similar to this friend many years ago, but the technology wasn't there yet to diagnose it, and I had to have emergency surgery where they went in "exploratory" to find out what the heck was going on.

And thank G-d that they did--they literally saved my life at the time or I wouldn't be writing to you all today. 

I feel so grateful to G-d for his mercy to us and for giving us modern medicine and technology and all the wonderful people who work tirelessly to help all the sick people and to help save their very lives.

I am wishing the best of luck to my friend to come through this with a full and merciful healing.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

June 29, 2017

It's Not (Always) Easy

Sometimes, we see people--especially on social media these days--and they look "all that!"--so happy, so loved, so rich, so with everything--so it seems (superficially). 

But there is definitely another reality out there, and that is that everyone has problems:

- Family
- Health
- Finances
- Work
- School
- Conflict
- Spiritual

Like Helen Keller said: 
"I cried because I had no shoes until I met a man who had no feet."

I remember as a child, if I felt sad about something, my dad at times would remind me about the children in the hospital, and to think about how we can help others less fortunate--and he was right!

What I see in life is a lot of people trying, but also so many challenges, failures, and suffering along the way...unfortunately, it's part of the learning and growth equation, and in why we're here. 

In college, I always remember one (English) professor who taught me from Henry David Thoreau:
"Most men lead lives of quiet desperation."

Sometimes, in our solitude or when we speak quietly from our heart with our closest loved ones, we feel and express some of those deep feelings of hurt, pain, and suffering from our lives.  

Those experiences, memories, and feelings are not all that there is of us, but it is certainly a part of all of us--although maybe only the brave will admit theirs.

It's not shameful to feel, to cry, and to be human. 

It's certainly not what Facebook and Twitter are all about. 

But it's a genuine and critical part of us which recognizes as my dad also taught me that--life is not easy--and that we have to fight every day to do our best and to help others to do theirs. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

June 28, 2017

At The Doorstep...WMD

With a new threat again of a chemical weapons attack in Syria...

The U.S. is sending clear warnings to the Assad regime--Don't do it!

Generally, the threat of using weapons of mass destruction--chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear--have become all too blase!

- Syria uses chemical weapons on its own people. 

- Iraq used chemical weapons on Iran and the Kurds

- Terrorists used chemical weapons in Japan and have threatened similar in UK

- Russia threatens use of nukes over Crimea or in a conflict with NATO.

- North Korea threatens preemptive nuclear strike on the U.S. 

- Iran has threatened attacks on Israel over nukes.

- Biological weapons such as Anthrax have been used against the U.S. and bioterror has been threatened in India

This list is far from comprehensive--and how very commonplace this is becoming is exactly the problem!

It is one thing (already scary bad) to have weapons that can do the unthinkable, and it is quite another to actually use or threaten to use them in such blase fashion like taking out the garbage or something!

I would add that these days, we also need to add cyber attacks and EMPs to the threats of mass casualty and destructive events. 

If we don't ensure that cooler and more stable heads prevail at the notorious red buttons around the world, then the risk of someone eventually doing something very stupid and dangerous to millions--or even billions--of lives is no longer just in the realm of science fiction anymore, but becomes so very ominous and real a disastrous possibility. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark