June 28, 2016

Equality Is Human Rights


I was most impressed recently with the organization (including the marketing and branding) behind the LGBT movement. 

The new bumper sticker with the yellow equal (=) sign.

The people on the street in yellow "Equality" t-shirts wanting to talk and promote themselves.

The tablet computers they are carrying equipped with slide presentation on equal rights (and their association with the larger issue on their website for human rights).  

The on-the-spot electronic sign up for either monthly donations and/or petition for the Equality Act to amend the Civil Rights Act to include sexual orientation. 

Religious beliefs aside, and as long as you don't hurt others, people are people and should not be discriminated against. 

All people should be treated fairly and protected from disparate or unfair treatment, bullying or worse. 

Equality really is human rights. ;-)

(Source Photos: Andy Blumenthal)
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Trickle Of A Waterfall

Took this picture in New Jersey last weekend. 

Went for a nice walk around this man-made lake...very pretty. 

At one end, almost like an infinity pool that merges into it's surroundings, a trickle of waterfall overflows here into the moss below. 

From this position, the lake itself was at eye level, so it was cool seeing it almost as if you are part of the lake itself. 

For me that was a special effect, and felt very one with nature and the universe. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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June 27, 2016

Doing It On One Leg


Always finding people with new and creative ways to work out (and torture their bodies).

The gentleman does the stairs on one leg...

Down not so bad (but keeping your balance probably a little challenging). 

Up, one after the other, pretty impressive. 

And he did this routine again and again.

The fitness craze is taking shape...hopefully eclipsing the sedentary and gross carb diets people have adopted over the years.

Carbs, as good as they may taste (although I think you don't even really taste them as people shovel it in), should be banned or at least greatly limited as an addictive harmful substance.

And sitting all day at a desk, not what otherwise healthy people were meant to do, also big no-no.

We can't let ourselves become a society of shlubs getting fat, tired, and unhealthy--it's part of a trend of depressive and destructive personal and social behavior. 

I really think we need a Western fitness revolution--not body-worshiping--just a good healthy balanced lifestyle where we become planetary survivors again and not a bunch of virtual couch potatoes that want to make you puke. ;-)

(Source Video: Andy Blumenthal)
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June 26, 2016

Hamsa Most Gorgeous

The Hamsa is a Middle Eastern symbol for thousands of years representing the hand of G-d.

Chamsa in Arabic or Hamesh in Hebrew is actually five (or 5 fingers as in a hand). 

The Hamsa serves as an amulet to nullify the evil eye (Ayin Harah). 

A Hamsa is frequently decorated with an eye, ornate etchings, beads, and gems. 

This Hamsa that I found in New Jersey by an Israeli artist is actually one of the largest (almost 2 feet) and one of the most beautiful. 

It is made of lacquer over oil paint on wood, and I think weighs about 5-6 pounds. 

Each finger is a different and vibrant color, and it has poetry about the hand in life you are dealt and handling life the best you can. 

It has a big happy and peaceful face with rosy cheeks and a heart on its forehead. 

It is such a magnificent piece that I actually saw it in the window of a fine art store while almost driving by it in a car.

Awesome, beautiful, and G-d should bestow it with the powerful energy to help protect us from all evil and illness, defend us from any bad judgements and dangers, and shower us with his infinite mercy and blessings all the days of our lives. ;-)

(Source Photo: Dori Sobin)
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What Do You Think Of Toll Booths



The Total CIO speaks about the stupidity of toll booths.

Basically, it's highway robbery. ;-)

(Source Video: Dannielle Blumenthal)
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June 24, 2016

Why Can't The English Be More English

The people of the United Kingdom voted in referendum yesterday for Brexit (British exit) or independence from the European Union (EU). 

Unity is a wonderful thing when values and vision is widely shared and the burden and benefits are more or less evenly distributed. 

But in the case of the UK in the EU, the vote for independence was anchored in the unsettling issues of mass immigration from the Arab Spring, the debt crisis of many of the poorer Southern EU states (e.g. Greece, Spain, Portugal, etc.), the decision of the UK to maintain their own currency (not accepting the Euro), and culturally (and language-wise), even though they all interact with each other, the UK has more in common with the US and Australia, then they ever had with Germany, France, and the rest of Europe. 

It is really very understandable that the UK doesn't want to lose their identity and sovereignty and just be another EU state--rather than be a unique, independent, and dominant entity of it's own, charting their own course and driving their own fate. 

While it's great to a part of something bigger, sometimes being yourself is more important, and you can still interact with the rest. 

No people should be forced to become a shadow of themselves, and if the call is for independence, then that is noble call even if it is inconvenient for those who would rather call themselves the EU. 

Unity may best be by alliance rather than strict integration...one for all and all for each and every one. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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June 23, 2016

Bird In The Bush

Thought this was an absolutely amazing and spellbinding photo of a bird peeking out from a bush.

I've never actually seen anything like this captured up close like this. 

The bird seemed to cooperate.

It reminds me of a baby gestating in it's mother's womb, so content, so sheltered. 

Not quite ready to come out into the real world, but snug in place, yet observant.

Too soon to be contemplating next steps in the complex world outside its immediate cozy shelter. 

Perhaps, there is a part of us that craves that simplicity, innocence, and existence sheltered from all the bumps and bruises.

Oh, to have such peace of mind and spirit, absent heart-wrenching day-to-day dilemmas we face.

Like a bird nestled in a bush looking out with that simple wonder and purity of life itself. 

(Source Photo: The Highly Talented, Rebecca Blumenthal)

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June 22, 2016

DC Metro Is In Shambles

So the latest this week from the crumbling infrastructure of the DC Metro train system, not withstanding the mess of Operation SafeTrack. 

While riding this morning, a large panel inside the train abruptly and widely swings open and smashes against the fabricated white and plastic wall adjacent to the seats. 

It made a loud bang and initially everyone on the train looked up with the deer in the headlights stare apparently thinking it was a gunshot on the train or something. 

Luckily, no one was in the 2 seats where the panel swung open like that, because their would've been some physical damage done to somebody there. 

The age and decrepitness of the train obvious from the incident and also looking at what's behind door #1!

What is amazing is that this is the Capital of the United States, one of the wealthiest and most powerful nations on Earth.

We spend lavishly abroad and domestically on wasteful pork barrel politics, broken programs, and even money that goes completely unaccounted for (can anyone say pass a financial audit). 

Yet, we cannot provide a modern, clean, safe, and functional metro transportation system servicing the capital of our country or for that matter educate our young people properly or feed the hungry and shelter the homeless within our own borders. 

There is a lot broken here and Metro is just the tip of the leadership iceberg unbecoming who we are and what our potential for this world is. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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June 21, 2016

It's Getting Mighty Hot

This is a advertisement around Washington DC alerting people to the dangers of global warming.

"I'm Too Hot"

And 

"9 of the 10 hottest years have occurred since 2000."

Wait a second, for some (or many) a little extra heat may be considered a good thing especially if you live up north with generally freezing cold and miserably snowy winters.

So don't just tell us about it getting hotter, but tell us how hot is it actually going to get and what will happen when it does--melting glaciers, rising oceans and catastrophic flooding of cities, weather abnormalities and violent natural disasters, and so on.

We need to move on to the substance of this. 

Just like with the national debt, we keep talking about it going up (and up). 

Well what's so bad about that if we can just print some more greenbacks and pay for more stuff, maybe it's a good--or great--investment in our country and future?

Here again, the message that isn't getting out clearly is what is going to happen when the debt becomes unsustainable and printing or devaluing dollars will not solve the problem and may actually exasperate it by creating run-away inflation, a downgraded or junk credit rating, and higher debt payments possibly tanking our economy and people's savings.

Yeah, we don't want to cause a panic. 

But shielding people from vital information on the dangerous paths we are on will only lead to going further down into the abyss of non-action and potential for cascading calamity. 

Let's face it--it's unpopular to talk anything doom or gloom--financial crises or natural disasters or especially anything with WMD--but if we aren't the adults in the political room, who will be? 

For once, I'd love a leader who tells it straight, who helps us face our own worst nightmares, and actually gets us back on track again, rather than keeps the wool pulled over our eyes for another term or two.

Leadership is lost in rosy glasses, vote counting, pundits called upon to obscure the truth from the people, keeping a false calm, and creating wildly inflated legacies.

These motives for now are stronger than the determination to deal with the threats we face, but not forever, and then the pendulum will most abruptly swing in the other direction, precariously late for the ensuing global effects. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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June 20, 2016

Young Love

So I took this photo of a painting in a home furnishings store.

Just something really striking about it to me. 

The way the women is leaning into the man and his head/face leans into hers. 

Their focus on the drawing or plans in front of them, where he seems to be sketching out their future together. 

Also, their hands touching and almost clasped.

Young love is beautiful.

When people find each other, by some miracle of G-d.

And the chemistry magically makes 2 people like 1. 

The look they give each other, when their hopes and dreams converge.

Best friends, companions, lovers with the potential to grow ever mightier over time. 

Life not without obstacles that the couple must overcome, supporting each other.

Building a home, raising a family, making a future together come true.

When the minds meet, the hearts yearn for each other, and the souls join.

What a time of joy and blessing...a time to live for and to continue the generations forward and build that which cannot be completed by any man alone. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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June 19, 2016

Running With Parachute

So I took this photo at the athletic field. 

This guy was running.

But he had a parachute tied to his buttocks. 

A little extra resistance to get into shape. 

While a parachute can be helpful (in fact lifesaving) if you're jumping from an airplane.

It can also be a hinderance if your trying to run across a big open field as fast as you can. 

Parachute + Air = Resistance. 

I asked the guy how much this running parachute cost and he told me it was about $30.

Not bad to vary up the workout a little and pull not just yourself, but an entire airstream with you. 

It's interesting how people wanting to excel look for ways to improve their game by challenging themselves.

As if running lightening fast in the hot sun wasn't hard enough.

Let's add a parachute or maybe a bag of heavy rocks to the mix.

The problem is that while the training can be good now, we may pay a physical price for it later in life. 

He/she-man can take a lot of physical abuse, but maybe there is also long term wear and tear on the body. 

I think perhaps, the best outcome from challenging your body and soul is the inner strength you get from determination and exercise of your will to succeed. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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June 17, 2016

Getting To Truth

So I saw this quote on someone's t-shirt.

Immediately, I thought this is pretty smart and took a mental photo. 


World
- Lies
Truth

I suppose the question is how much of the world we live in are lies and fallacies to deceive individuals or the masses. 

Lies made up by liars, driven by materialism and greed, by people seeking or taking power, lies to enslave others in thought and deed, lies to get people to do what we want them to or to get them to follow us blindly, lies to get our way or to get others to abandon theirs, lies to cheat, lies to steal, lies to corrupt, lies to control, lies to obscure or cover our tracks, lies to rewrite history, lies to create phony legacies, lies for the sake of lying. 

All the rest is the truth. ;-)

(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)
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Everyone Drinks

So this is a water fountain on steroids. 

Not 1, not 2, but 3 drinking spouts. 

Adults, children, and even pets can all get theirs.

And at the same time...no one goes thirsty!

So simple, yet why make people wait and take turns.

Drink everyone, drink to efficiency. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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June 16, 2016

Setbacks Lead To Comebacks

My wife, Danielle Blumenthal, sent me this beautiful quote from Joel Osteen's book called, "It's Your time."

"For every setback, G-d has prearranged a comeback

For every failure, G-d has prearranged mercy. 

For every disappointment, G-d has prearranged restoration. 

For every unfair thing, G-d has prearranged vindication....

It's easy to get discouraged, lose your enthusiasm, or even be tempted to just settle where you are.

But if we're going to see G-d's best, when you get knocked down, you don't stay down. You get back up again.You have to know that every time adversity comes against you, it's a setup for a comeback."

Often we look at some people, and think that they have everything. 

But no one does--life is a bunch of trade-offs. 

Some are blessed with family and friends, others with health and longevity, and still others with peace or prosperity, but no one has it all. 

And if you think they do, then you don't really know them and their circumstances. 

In life, everyone has weaknesses, setbacks and failures...it's how we learn, it's how we grow.

Understanding that setbacks doesn't necessarily mean "game over" and that as long as there is life, there is hope, can give us the courage to go on, and the strength to get up when it seems like we are down for the count, and to make a comeback to live and thrive yet another day. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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June 15, 2016

What's Old And New

Just want to share a quote that a colleague said they saw recently displayed at the Kennedy Center:

"I can't understand why people are frightened of new ideas. I'm frightened of the old ones." 

- John Cage

Perhaps, it's not what's old or what's new that is scary, but simply what is unconstrained evil in men's hearts at any time or place. 

It's the age old fight of good over evil, and when evil gets the upper hand, even if just for a short time, it can be the most unbelievable and frightening to face off with. 

Let's give new ideas plenty of opportunity as long as they are based in kindness, compassion, and humanity. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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June 14, 2016

The Continued Softening Of Microsoft

Microsoft should not be acting old and grey.

Yet they are throwing away another $26.2 billion dollars in purchasing the relative revenue and profit weakling, LinkedIn, the professional networking social media site (where odds are you have your high-level resume-type information). 

Have you ever paid a dime to LinkedIn or have you ever paid attention to  single advertisement on LinkedIn (I can’t even remember if there is advertising on there—see I pay it zero attention!)?

Unfortunately Microsoft is following suite with it’s worthless purchase of Nokia in September 2013 for $9.4 billion that was all written off and then some with yet another ridiculous, desperate move.

Microsoft has been living off their legacy product suites of Windows, Office, Outlook, and SharePoint for years…and apparently, aside from the regular forced upgrades, they seem to have virtually nothing in the innovation hopper. 

Hence, loser acquisitions of things like Yammer in 2012 for $1.2 billion (anyone use that BS Facebook-like service for inside their organization—work is not social playtime folks!).

Anyway, I like Microsoft products--they are functional, which is what I want from email, creating and editing documents, spreadsheets and slides, as well as sharing files--it's great for bread and butter tasks--nothing sexy.

But every attempt that Microsoft makes in desperation to expand beyond their core competencies comes up soft and a big money loser. 

Innovation and success is not bred by acquiring virtually worthless properties in terms of high-technology with no synergy to who they fundamentally are.  

It is almost heartbreaking to see a once great company like Microsoft continue to drown in its own excess cash and strategically hollow ideas.

Microsoft will only be successful by thinking beyond the boxed in windowed organization that they have imprisoned themselves in. 

I hope they can break a few windows and escape to some new technological thinking again soon--but the big question is whether they currently have the talent to make it so. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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June 13, 2016

Walking The Pink Carpet

Only in Starbucks Florida...

Does Buddy the bird sing and dance inside the shop next to the coffee drinkers.

Here, my wife was doing some writing for the Federal Communicators Network.

And she is very serious about her writing--and don't bug her when she's into it.

But Buddy was a different story...

He proudly walked right over the iPad pink keyboard.

And then headed for another circuit around the table.

Picking up keys, ripping up the New York Times, hanging upside down, and playing with everyone who was only too happy to pay him attention.

When I asked Buddy if he liked Starbucks coffee, he started bopping up and down like crazy--it was hilarious.

As to my wife's computer and writing, this was about the only thing that she would allow to disturb her. 

I was surprised she didn't eat the bothersome bird, but even she had to laugh at his gall to step into her virtual world of writing, brands, and social media. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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June 12, 2016

Beautiful Florida



(Source Video: Andy Blumenthal)
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What Terror Attack?

Haven't we all heard it before...

Another terrorist attack, and there is an appeal for calm.

Radical Islam, no way...we can't even say the words.

I'm sure we'll hear the typical...that it was just a lone crazed gunman.

Forget that he avowed allegiance to ISIS.

And that he had previously been investigated by the FBI.

Also, that it is just 3 days since ISIS threatened to attack Florida.

We need the public to think there is stability and safety, especially right before the election.

DON'T ROCK THE POLITICAL BOAT!

The public is perceived as stupid.

Part of the echo chamber with the media. 

Feed them some crap about this being gun violence and attack the 2nd Amendment and call it a day.

The sheep will go back to their slumber and still vote for who the elites tell them to.

Over 50 DEAD.

Over another 50 wounded, many (or most) in CRITICAL CONDITION.

The WORST mass shooting in US history.

We're tough on terrorism...keep repeating that.

Don't flinch when the cameras are on you.

Make a remark that it's because the enemy is angry about GITMO or Palestine or whatever.

In other words, it's justified--we deserve it!

Close GITMO and resolve the Palestinian issue and all will be well in the world and there won't be any more of this terrorist, murderous, violence against civilians, women, children, people at worship or at weddings or at funerals, or going to work in the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, or on a bus or train, or sitting in a cafe or pizzeria or club.

Let's stop more sanctions and release more money to Iran, the world #1 sponsor of terrorism.  

Let's leave Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Yemen and more...all will be well.

Blood shed, treasure spent. 

Time to go home.

The enemy is not coming here.

Everyone rest assured. 

The unity rally after the attacks in Paris...we're a no show. 

The attack in Tel Aviv last week...tell them to show some restraint. 

Orlando...forget about it, really--it's over.

Let's focus on the election now.

Tell them about glass ceilings and redistributing the wealth--they'll eat that up.

Power, 4 years...maybe 8.

Citizens, sleep well...the Ambien is being carefully administered to each and every one.  Zzzzzz.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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June 11, 2016

Break-Fix After Breakfast


So I learned something new about being Mr. Fix It.

First of all, depending on how you look at things, you are either the guy who miraculously arrived on the scene and fixed what was so horribly broken and dysfunctional for way too long.

Or

You are the one who broke what was working so well before you came along and messed things up.

Second, just because you want to fix things, doesn't mean that the system or actors want it fixed.  

Often, they are used to it that way and are comfortable in their managed chaos. Objectively better is not necessarily better to those who like to fly below the radar and aren't looking for change or perceived trouble.

Dealing with what's wrong means not only admitting something is broken, but also committing to putting in the substantial effort to fix it.  To some people, why even go there? 

You may be getting up after breakfast energized to take on the dysfunction, but the organization is frozen in it's own sickness and the fever isn't going down or away.

Be careful what you try to fix, because rather than kudos for a job well done, you may be walking into the blame game where after all, pretending that there is no problem to begin with is the greatest shenanigan to hide behind of them all. 

(Source Photos: Andy Blumenthal)

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June 10, 2016

Beach Wheelchair

This was really nice to see.

Someone invented a beach wheelchair.

Thoughtful for people with disabilities.

Not sure how well it actually would work to try and push this over the sand dunes.

But I credit people for trying to help other people.

Too often, we only think of ourselves.

It's inconvenient to think of those with less or with problems and in need.

But when we come out of or own heads, we can uplift ourselves as well as others to the beach or wherever else they want to go. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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June 9, 2016

Weighing The Evidence

Here is an interesting idea.

In front of the inner doors to this supermarket in Florida...

There is a huge scale for weighing yourself.

Before you shop for the mac and cheese, hero sandwiches, pizza slices, cookies, cakes, ice cream, and chips, why not have a look at the scale!

Then decide what you want to buy in the supermarket today.

Maybe you'll spend a little more time and money in the fruit and vegetable isle.

Or getting some healthy and diet snacks.

The scale only goes up to 300 pounds.

So if that that doesn't scare you straight...

Maybe the fact that everyone can see your weight when you get on, will. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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The Kool-Aid Overfloweth

So I am a little concerned with this election.

As the promises are made...

As glass ceilings are broken for gender and outsiders...

As the endorsements are coming in...

As legacies are made and lost...

Everybody seems to be drinking a lot of Kool-Aid.

Somehow, the (social) media doesn't seem as discerning as it should or could be. 

Maybe it's more about brands, what outrageous, who's insulted, ratings and advertising dollars.

Many (or almost all unless they have personal skin in the game) seem resigned to just vote for the candidate they deem least worst.

Accountability for actions and words--scripted and blurted out--don't seem to be taken with the seriousness they deserve. 

Just say or do whatever it takes...shake hands, kiss babies, promise more of everything for everybody.

Wash it all away with the insincerity of the moment for the prize of the ultimate power grab awaits. 

The new leader of the free world will be sitting in the Oval Office in just a little more than half a year.

Kool-Aid is filling our screens, our newspapers, our conversations, and our minds.

What's real and what's bullsh*t about what we're being fed?

Transparency, ha...feeding time is almost over. 

But where's the real vetting, critical thinking, and values informing the process?

It's not about what to think, but how to think!

Bellies are almost full...the herd is almost ready to vote.

The new King of the Jungle is almost ready to take their place at the head of it all.

Four years, maybe eight years...

How will the wild world be then? ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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June 8, 2016

Jet Bluing Around



(Source Video: Andy Blumenthal)
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Shockingly Hungry

So a funny part of my personality is that I can be a little bit of a joker sometimes.

I am a study of human nature, so it can be fun just to get a rouse out of people, by doing something unexpected or even shocking. 

Today, going through the airport with my daughter, the TSA security lines were a lot better than what had been advertised lately.

As we get through and are getting our stuff together, my daughter says to me (around breakfast time now): "I'm hungry, can we get something to eat?"

So, I jokingly turn to her with a serious face on and say, "But you already ate yesterday!"

This strange man next to us, stops dead in his tracks overhearing what I said, and gives us the craziest look.

So what do I do having a ball with this?

I repeat even louder and with more emphasis, "Why do you need to eat again?  You already ate yesterday!!"

I am having to hold myself from cracking up laughing as I know this guy is listening and I almost can't wait to see his facial expression. 

I look at my daughter who gets it and is playing along and she is also pretending and putting on a sour face like she can't have any food today.

The guy looks like he is about to explode and say something, but decides I suppose to just make a real disgusted kvetchy face and move on.

I was sort of disappointed that he didn't want to help (in his mind) this kid and say something like, "How can you do that--and not feed her every day?"

I would have admired him for actually caring enough to try to help and intervene for someone else, even a stranger. 

But I guess the pent up shocked look will have to surface for today's human antics. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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June 7, 2016

Now You See It and Now You Don't


Took a little hike on Sunday through Sligo Creek. 

It was an absolutely gorgeous day. 

Walking along the creek, we saw a mother and child wading in the water. 

(Not sure that I would do that based on how clean or not it is, but they seemed to be cooling off and having fun). 

Then crossing a little footbridge, we came across someone tossing this pretty big bolder over the side and into the same creek. 

There was another guy at the bottom who seemed to be looking out for the big splash (or perhaps anyone happening by who would get clobbered by this thing). 

Anyway, this was just a stark juxtaposition of people (including children) having fun in the water and the potential hazards from above.

This is life, one minute everything can be sunshine and roses, and the next bing bong!

Got to be grateful for every minute of peace, health, and prosperity-they are truly gifts and nothing is owed to anyone from the Almighty. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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June 6, 2016

Get Out Front Leadership

Thought this was a good photo of leadership.

I've seen other depictions of this such as when the commanding officer leads the charge of his advancing troops versus the other guy yelling orders from way behind the front lines. 

Here the idea of the leader is of being one with his people and helping pull his own weight!

Much more inspiring and effective than "the boss" who is yelling/barking orders at the others from on top the mound of work that the others are trying to move forward, and he is just adding to the weight of the load being pulled.

To really understand the mission or business, the leader has got to get out of his/her ivory tower perch and see things up close and personal on the front lines. 

You can't really know the enemy you're fighting or the hill your trying to take if you never even seen it firsthand. 

Leaders aren't above the job or over the staff, they are effective when they are part of the solution (and not part of the problem) with the people that they are attempting to successfully lead. ;-)

(Source Photo of Comic: Andy Blumenthal)

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June 5, 2016

Amazing Will

So this is amazing Will. 

He is a veteran who was disabled and is missing a leg. 

But that doesn't stop him from going to the track with his beautiful son to play ball and do some laps. 

In a few short moments he switches between his regular walking prothesis and the carbon fiber running blades for playing and working out. 

All I could say to Will was how amazing he is. 

And he is amazing Will for what he can do despite any disabilities--he turns his disabilities into abilities!

And he is amazing Will not just because of his name and his service to his country and his devotion to his family, but because of his willpower.

Will is determined to succeed no matter what. 

Not to compare, but I thought to myself what excuse do I have with my titanium hips.

Get the heck around the track for another dozen Andy!

And I did, and I am losing weight and getting back to myself. 

I think the lose of both my completely dear parents the last couple of years was more than traumatic for me. 

But they would want me to heal and to be me again.  

I know they are watching and I want to make them proud. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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June 4, 2016

United Jerusalem Of Gold, Of Bronze, And Of Light

We had a beautiful Shabbat service today at Magen David Synagogue. 

It was in honor of Yom Yerushalayim, which starts tonight. 

The day commemorates the reunification of Holy city of Jerusalem after the 1967 War.

The Rabbi read from Naomi Shemer's poetic song called, "Jerusalem of Gold."

And then we all sang the song together...

"Jerusalem of gold, and of bronze, and of light,

Behold I am a violin for all your songs."

What was amazing to learn was that Naomi Shemer wrote this song in honor of Israel Independence Day (Yom Ha'Azmaut) three weeks before the 1967 War and reunification. 

She later added a stanza to turn the song from purely one of the longing for the holy city to one that rejoices in being reunited with it. 

Some people from the shule who actually fought in the 1967 War were called up to the bimah, in front of the Torahs, to recite the Psalms and lead us in joyous and moving prayer for the Holy Land of Israel. 

After almost 2,000 years of exile, G-d fulfilled his promise to the Jewish people. 

As the Prophet Amos said (9:14-15): 

"'I will bring back my exiled people Israel; they will rebuild the ruined cities and live in them. They will plant vineyards and drink their wine; they will make gardens and eat their fruit. I will plant Israel in their own land, never again to be uprooted from the land that I have given them,' says the Lord your G-d."

And as Prophet Ezekiel said (37:10-14) and  (37:21-22)

"Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They say, 'Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off.' Therefore prophesize and say to them: 'This is what the Sovereign L-rd says: O my people, I am going to open up your graves and bring you up from them; I will bring you back to the land of Israel....I will put my spirit in you and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land..."

[Note: Israel was reestablished in 1948 just three years after the end of the Holocaust where six million Jews perished.]

"I will take the Israelites out of the nations where they have gone. I will gather them from all around and bring them back into their own land. I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel. There will be one king over all of them, and there will never again be two nations or be divided into two kingdoms."

We are truly living in miraculous times when the words of the prophets are fulfilled, and there is not only a State of Israel, but a united Jerusalem of gold, of bronze, and of light. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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June 3, 2016

613 Stock Market

Someone challenged today about the number 613 (mystical, holy number of commandments in the Torah).

They said, "I would argue that you can pick any 3 digit number and get the same results."

They went on asking that it be "No variations in sequence, no breaks between numbers, no mathematics."

So here is perhaps an answer from Heaven--check out the closing change down in the S&P 500 today: Exactly 6.13!

You're turn. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal with attribution to CNBC)

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Last Man Standing Wins

So it has always amazed me how until modern times, armies would line up and face-off on the battlefield to basically bash each others skulls in. 

Whether in medieval times or in the civil war...it goes something like this. 


- Red coats line up on this side. 

- Blue coats line up on that side. 

- Everyone pull out their weapons.

- Scream your bloody heads off.

- And run towards each other swinging. 

- The last man standing from either side is the winning army!

How brilliant is that? 

Basically, mass suicide for both sides (like trying to take the hill running straight into machine gun fire). 

These days, there is a notion at least of using stealth, smart bombs, and sending in drones or robots, so as not to risk real people's lives unnecessarily. 

But I guess that takes the fun out of it--can't slice and dice and smash the enemy with your bare hands.

Last weekend, I watched people who like to fight the old fashioned way, dress up in medieval gear, take their sides on the field in the park, and go at it. 

They had swords, and clubs, and javelins, and bow and arrows, and more.  

They even had roles, and one guy I talked to was actually the king for one side of the fight--and apparently you have to earn that role in battle and in council vote. 

On the battlefield then the people get together and go at it hitting each other with some pretty scary weapons that fortunately are (mostly) padded, but still they seemed to get some pretty good zets!

Honestly, it sort of looked like a lot of fun and good exercise, but probably (more than) a little dangerous too. 

I saw one combatant coming off the field, taking off his outfit as it was pretty hot out, and he literally had layers of shielding on, so aside from seeing them take hits again and again, I could see that they felt they needed the protection. 

What was also interesting watching this--and I understand sometimes they get about 150 people on the field at a time to go at it--is that people seem to really want to go back in time to the way things were...more natural, more real, and even more deadly--up close and personal!

We are so much in a virtual world or like Elon Musk (CEO of SpaceX and Tesla) said living in a simulation, that there is just a wild yearning and craving to get back to nature, basics, and what's tangible and real. 

Even if it means bashing heads on a hot Summer's day...and reenacting the times of lore...put your smartphones down and pull out your swords and clubs--it's a new day and age. ;-) 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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