May 30, 2016

Tiny Beautiful Flowers

Just wanted to share these tiny beautiful flowers for Memorial Day.

I took this when hiking yesterday in Needwood Park. 

Such perfection in what G-d created. 

Even though the flowers were very small, I felt a lot smaller next to these. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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May 29, 2016

613 Calories

So today I tested out a hypothesis about seeing 613. 

I tried to do it intentionally. 

I was getting my activity, and lo and behold, I see that I am at 612 calories burned so far. 

Oh, how cool--I can capture 613 in a another second or two. 

And I continue my activity looking intently at the Apple Watch monitor. 

Okay, 613 now!

No, now!

How about now? 

But it doesn't come. 

I am waiting for it.

It can't come on my terms.

Next thing I know, the calorie counter jumps from 612 to 616.

I can't believe it. 

I couldn't capture the 613 when wanted to. 

Every other time so far has been--we'll it's just been. 

And maybe that's the whole point. ;-)

(Source Photo: Rebecca Blumenthal)
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Getting A Leadership Washing


So I am reading this book called, "What Your Boss NEVER Told You."

In terms of leadership, a key principle is stated very well here: 


"'What' flows down

And

'How' flows up."

Meaning that as the leader, you set the goal, but you don't tell people how to achieve it.

Micromanagement "stomp[s] out 

creativity, ownership, and commitment."

To give your people the breathing room to innovate and solve problems and feel good about their work, here's the ideal manager:

"Hands-off whenever possible, 

and 

hands-on whenever needed."

And finally the 3 "H's" of leadership:

1. Honor -- doing the right thing (i.e. integrity)


2. Humility -- "give away the credit," but own the responsibility 100%!


3. Humor -- "take their work seriously, but themselves lightly."



Overall, good book to get a clean bill of leadership health. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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May 28, 2016

613 Synagogue

So look what I noticed about the wonderful Magen David synagogue. 

1+5=6
    1=1
1+2=3

Mystical, holy 613 (number of commandments in the Torah). 

May Hashem bless us in his mercy. 

(Source Photo: Dannielle Blumenthal)
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The Federal Island of Insanity

So a colleague at work was supposed to get something done. 

Well it didn't happen, and someone else got left holding the bag--not really very fair.  

Too make matters worse, the guy sort of unapologetically and clouded pops in my door and says to me, "What are we doing here?"

Taken aback and not sure what this guy is talking about, I say "Excuse me?"

He looks up into space for a moment, and turns back toward me and repeats emphatically, "I mean, like what are we e-v-e-n doing here?"

Getting more than a little frustrated at this point, I ask quizzically and with some sarcasm, "You mean on planet Earth?"

Again, turning and looking oddly away and then back my way, he says, "In this building!"

I must've been looking at him at this point like is he on drugs, and I say, "We'll there are important laws that we're fulfilling here (implicitly referring to FOIA, Records Act, Privacy Act, E.O. 13526, etc.)."

Unbelievably, he continues, now shaking his head, "Well that's what I mean...why we need that?"

Having too much work to play out whatever this toxic game was any longer, I'm like, "[if you don't believe in transparency and safeguarding/security of information,] Maybe you should write your Congressman," [smile!] and with that went back to the million and one serious work things I still had waiting for attention.

In retrospect, I can't help but think that incredibly, there are people coming to work here in D. C. that either don't know why they are there in the first place (but should know!) or don't believe in the mission or meaning of what they are doing.  

In the private sector, I certainly don't think this conversation would've even gone on as long as it did...the consequences there seeming more pronounced, abrupt, and in a definite way connected with reality. 

With more than 16 years into the Federal sector, I still can't believe a lot of what goes on--both good and hopeful, and bad and more than a little disappointing. ;-)

(Source Photo: Danielle Blumenthal)
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May 27, 2016

Cabs R Colorblind

This was funny when a cab pulls up to the curb in Washington, D.C. 

And some people walk out from the building and get in. 

Call them and they will come.

It's a black and deep orange vehicle. 

On the side of the cab is the name, "Yellow Cab Company."

Now why would you paint yourself a (fleet of) orange vehicle(s) and call yourself a yellow cab company?

At least back in New York City, taxis really were yellow--and they were really taxis and had a medallion to prove it!

These days, car ride services like Uber drive around with "U" sticker in the window, where the U is practically closed at the top. 

And Lyft cars have that cute, but ridiculous mustache on the front grill.  

Taxi services are desperate to get a brand that customers will recognize and want to call. 

No more lifting you hand and index (or middle) finger on the street curb to hail one of a blizzard of cabbies racing down Main Street.

Now it push button easy to ride a yellow, blue, red, or orange cab--with or without mustache--anywhere you want to go.

But the more things change, the more they don't stay the same---Next stop already is driverless cars. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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May 26, 2016

How Men And Women Sit

This was funny-sad on the train in Washington, D.C. 

This couple--a man and women--are sitting together. 

The man (on the right) is completely sprawling out.

The women (on the left) is squishing almost off the seat.

So what is it with men--a testosterone, macho thing--exerting sexuality, power, and dominance--or it is just carelessness and callousness in how to treat women?

For women--is it reticence and modesty or are they accepting being mistreated or even abused? 

People's weight aside, it seems that men and women should each be given their own and equal space on the Metro or otherwise in life. 

This presumed gender power struggle is not a good thing--love should be equal in feeling, giving, and in time, and space. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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May 25, 2016

Lag B'Omer Hillula @ Magen David






Beautiful praying, learning Torah, fundraising, and evening celebration at Magen David Sephardic Synagogue.

Lag B'Omer 2016

Thank you to the Rabbi, Samy, and all our friends for a wonderful evening. 

(Source Photos: Andy Blumenthal)

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(Re)Kashering The Kitchen

So with all the 613s that we and are our friends and family are seeing, we are taking these as a sign and important message. 

Yesterday, I posted that I would show you today how it is personally affecting us.

So one of the things that we are doing is (re)kashering our kitchen. 

New and separate dishes and cooking utensils for meat and dairy meals.  

We got these beautiful French Perle Lenox in gorgeous lilac and ice blue (of course, no one better actually use one and break it). 

Being more a part of the synagogue and community now, we are hoping to host more people for Shabbat etc.

There are other small (and large) ways that we are coming back to more of our traditions, but we are far from perfect. 

Sort of a blend of the secular world, the religious one, and just being ourselves. 

But that is our road, and we strive to do better in all aspects of our lives and pray for G-d's mercy and blessings all along the way and at the destination. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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May 24, 2016

Heading Down The 613

So today another amazing mystical and holy 613 (commandments in the Torah).

This one is a country road between Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

How apropos to be on the 613 road!

Tomorrow, in my next post, I hope to show you where this road is personally taking us now.

But wherever 613 leads that is where I want to be. ;-)

(Source Photo: With gratitude to my dearest sister, Roz Blumenthal)
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This House Is For The Birds

Beautiful simple birdhouses in Downtown DC.

We all need to live somewhere.

Too many people in shelters and on the streets. 

Started giving money to some of the homeless on the way to the Metro. 

My friend's father used to say, "If they ask then they need it."

Perhaps what's needed is a little more kindness, TLC, and compassion for all G-d's loving creatures. 

While it's nice to look up to aspire and climb the next rung of life, it's as important to look down and remember from where you came and where you can still go again. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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May 23, 2016

All American Chair

Got to love this all American chair. 

Red, white, and blue. 

And stars and stripes everywhere. 

The only thing that I seriously wonder about is whether this chair was manufactured in the U.S. 

With the U.S. losing 35% of it's manufacturing employment between 1998 and 2010 (from 17.6M to 11.5M), due in large part to outsourcing, there is a good chance this chair was made overseas. 

Now manufacturing makes up less than 9% of total U.S. employment

Also noteworthy is the loss of 51,000 manufacturing plants or 12.5% between 1998-2008.  


Manufacturing are agriculture are strategic capabilities for this country and any country. 

It's not just what you know, but what you make!

Sure we can make things faster and easier with automation, but at this point there is a serious skills shortage (with millions of jobs going unfilled), and we need to safeguard the strategic knowledge, skills, capability, and capacity to make things vital to our thriving existence.

We need to be a more self-sufficient nation again and not a one-trick service pony. 

We need to use information to be better innovators, creators, developers, and builders. 

Information is great, but you can't live by information alone. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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May 22, 2016

Silence Or Violence

So when it comes to "Crucial Conversations," they unfortunately frequently end in silence or violence.

When the "stakes are moderate to high, opinions vary, and emotions run strong" that's when communication really seems to break down, rather than achieve their goals of working things out. 

Like when our lives are in danger and we have the adrenalin rush reactions to fight or flight, similarly with potentially "dangerous" communications, people become aggressive and abusive or shutdown and withdraw. 

When your afraid of a negative outcome, either you start hammering others with your ideas and opinions or you exit the conversation and seek safety. 

Either way, at this point, there's no real common ground, negotiation, compromise, or win-win to be easily had...in this pressure cooker poor excuse of a dialogue, it can basically become a tragic win-lose situation.

Perhaps, that's why there are mediators and neutral third parties that are often brought in to make people feel (relatively) safe again, help them be understood and to understand, and to find a negotiated peace or settlement. 

And what happens when even this doesn't work and communication and diplomacy fails?

Well that's when people and countries bring out the big guns and they essentially go to war to win what they hoped to achieve with dialogue. 

Now words are no longer the only choice, but all options are on the table, and that's when benign words can quickly turn into more drastic or deadly deeds (aka the children reframe of "Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words will never harm me."

And there is always the thermonuclear option--people supported it with Japan in WWII and they say they would support it with a Tehran that violates the very generous nuclear deal they received.

Words are a prelude to a possible peace or an unwanted war. 

They can be the last chance to work things out the way we hope for.

And if words alone can't resolve the issue, then blood and treasure is spent and spilt to resolve the otherwise unresolvable. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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May 21, 2016

Love Is Like Cows

So had three funny instances today of the tales of woe when it comes to love.

The first was when someone was telling me that they are trying to meet women through online dating. 

But he goes, "No one gives anyone a chance anymore."

It's like if there is one thing wrong, it's over.

He said, one lady wrote in her profile that if you are a fan of XYZ sports team, do not even bother contacting her.

Another was like if you're of ABC political affiliation, forget about it!

He said people just don't seem to want relationships anymore. 

Then I was talking coincidentally to someone else, who I knew was going out with someone already. 

I politely asked how things were going. 

He said, "Fine, but she is pressuring me to marry her."

I said, "So if you love her, what's wrong with that?"

And he responded, "Well then my whole life will change. I won't be able to go to parties or on vacations anymore."

Basically, he's just happy being with her but on casual terms.

Then I told him (considerably younger than myself) how years ago mothers would warn their daughters about men's thinking of "Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free."

This guy was laughing like crazy when I said that. 

Finally, someone at the kiddush today told the joke about the Rabbi or Priest who lost his umbrella in the synagogue or church. 

His first thought was darn it, one of the congregants stole my umbrella. 

So he decided that for his sermon he would lecture the people about the Ten Commandments, one at a time from the beginning. 

But then when he got to the sin of adultery, he stops and says, "Oh forget it, I just remembered where I left my umbrella!"

Funny day for love and relationships--it's something in the air, maybe cow patties.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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May 20, 2016

What Beauties

What beauties these purple flowers are?

Tall on the thin green stem. 

And then ballooning and budding out into these futuristic spherical lattice-shaped flowers. 

Almost like soft clouds that we can reach out and touch (and touch too hard, and the flowers just fall off into the breeze).

But think again with technical imagery and these can be an advanced interconnected living neural network that with "big data" can solve all our information and artificial intelligence needs. 

Each flower computing, sensing, processing, analyzing, and problem-solving. 

A swarm of living and dying nodes and sprouting forth again with a natural processing function. 

A gorgeous flower, but you can imagine it as so much more. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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May 19, 2016

Bird's Nest Surveillance

I took this photo today of a bird's nest on top of a surveillance camera. 

I find this fascinating!

The pure irony of a bird finding safety and shelter in a nest atop a surveillance camera looking out for bad things like criminals and terrorism. 

On one hand, safety and security.

And on the other hand, the fear and insecurity of it all. 

A bird may find a peaceful nesting place there.

But for the rest of us, the world continues to be a very dangerous place. 

Often walking the streets of a major urban city, I think to myself the chaos and danger that could so easily ensue if events took a sudden and serious turn for the worse where society as we know it can completely start to unravel, and as they say, "the sh*t hits the fan!"

I believe that many, if not most people are worried about this, hence the incredible popularity of shows and movies far and wide such as:

 (Fear) The Walking Dead
Containment
The 100
The Last Ship
Jericho
Mad Max
Road Warrior
I am Legend
The Book of Eli
The Postman
World War Z 
Waterworld
Children of Men
Outbreak
Armageddon
Oblivion 
The Day After Tomorrow 
and more. 

The camera is surveilling and the bird is watching from their perch. 

We go about our days like the post apocalyptic zombies that wander the Earth.

But not so deep down, in our minds and hearts is the terror of what can happen at any moment and what is likely destined to happen eventually. 

This is not about doom and gloom, but about what the threats are out there, what is being done or not done about them, and who will ultimately survive and would you even want to. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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May 18, 2016

The King And Queen

Took this photo of these two Chinese porcelain statues.

They remind me of royalty--a king and queen. 

They stand so tall, proud, and elegant. 

Together on the mantel, they make a wonderful centerpiece to the room. 

I like the contrast colors--him in tan and she is white with the accent colors on their robes. 

His grasp on the long beaded necklace and her open fan give them a air of motion and life.

Yet, the faces are calm and balanced. 

These are awesome pieces of art work. 

Don't know what they are worth, but to me they have value of beauty. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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State Of Education

So here's a sign at on the miserable state of education in America. 

"Develop Your English Skills For A Career In The Federal Government"

An advertisement in downtown, Washington, DC.

It's amazing that we can't assume proficiency in basic English skills.

Again, forget perhaps more challenging fields of the present and future such as science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).

We can't even assume proficient English language skills for the Federal government in the Capital of this great country. 

Certainly, would understand the need for people with specialized foreign language skills for domestic positions as intelligence analysts and various overseas positions, but English???

There are more advanced degrees and certifications out there than over before, but are people really any smarter or ready for successful careers, life skills, and survival in modern-day America and the broader world. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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May 17, 2016

613 The Perfect Trip

So the sightings continue today of the mystical and holy 613 (number of commandments in the Torah).

Check out the cost of this vacation trip to Yellowstone National Park.

It's not $599 or $699 like you would usually see these things advertised for. 

Instead the family adventure starts at $613!!!

Too many times now, too frequent, and in too many different places to be just random or chance. 

Someone is trying to tell us something.

Hopefully, it is a sign for blessings for mankind. ;-)

(Source Photo: Ellen Weiner)
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May 16, 2016

Pizza And Brew With Wonderful Friends

Yesterday, we had a beautiful little get together at our place. 

In the party room with pizza and brew and lots of nosh--almost reminded me of the "Chometz Party" we had a number of years ago in our old neighborhood (great way to clean out your kitchen pantry before Passover),

Many of our wonderful friends from Magen David Sephardic Synagogue came to visit with us and celebrate one year plus in our new home in Maryland. 

Truly some of the nicest and accepting people I've had a chance to come to know in quite some time. 

I want to thank our friends for coming and especially thank my dear wife, Dossy, who did all the heavy lifting to make the event so beautiful for everyone. 

One lesson was how to keep the pizza piping hot over many hours with people coming and going at different times--can anyone say melted cheese? 

Another was how to schedule anything this time of year with Mother's Day, Father's Day, Passover, Shavuot and Memorial Day holidays, Men's Club/Sisterhood/and other community events, baby showers, weddings, vacations, and more--gee, there almost wasn't a free Sunday on the calendar. 

Overall though, we had such a nice time with everyone, and Dossy is already asking about planning the next event and she says she is cooking, so watch out world! ;-)

(Source Photo: Dannielle Blumenthal)

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May 15, 2016

2 Jobs Are Better Than 1

So this is a funny story that my friend reminded me (honestly, I had almost completely forgotten about it)...

We were in college (business school) looking for our first real corporate jobs for the Summer. 

With G-d's blessing, I ended up with 2 nice offers.

But my good friend didn't have a job.

So I offered one to him.

I was still a kid...what did I know!

I told one company that I accepted and the other company that I had a friend that was interested (of course, I would vouch for him). 

So on day 1 of the Summer job, my friend shows up there in the World Trade Center on the 99th floor (yeah, this is before 9/11 took the whole place down).

The corporate folks talked about it for 5 minutes and said he could stay.

Voila now we both had summer jobs!

Honestly, I can't believe we ever had the chutzpah, but in those days people helped each other out more. 

2 4 1 and 1 4 All. 

And that's how we both got started in the NY business world. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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May 14, 2016

Answer Your Watch

So I did it and took the plunge into a smartwatch. 

For over a year, I thought the technology just wasn't there yet. 

Too clumsy, too difficult to use with such a small device. 

First, I considered just a Fitbit for tracking activity, but I quickly ruled it out, since you can get so much more with a full smartwatch.

Then, I looked into the Pebble, in particular the latest model the Time Steel, which runs between $200-$250. 

But I watched a review that pointed out the the Pebble does not have a touch screen, and everything are the buttons--okay, I immediately ruled that out. 

Next, I looked to old trusty, Apple...they have never failed me yet, and I tried on their various smartwatches. 

I settled on a simple sports model, since I figured as the technology continues to evolve or as the watch gets beat up in daily use, I could simply upgrade to the next great thing. 

Also, I figured if I really don't like how it works, it wouldn't be such a great loss monetarily. 

Well, the verdict is in--I really like it!

Easy to set up by simply syncing with the iPhone. 

And then all your major apps just show up on the colorful apps panel. 

In no time, I was checking the 10-day weather forecast, reading news headlines, tracking my activity, using the GPS locator, looking up calendar events, checking email and replying with easy voice dictation, sending text messages, and even calling family and talking to them into the watch!

I even started the music on my iPhone from another room by using the smartwatch. 

Oh yeah, I almost forget, it tells the time too!

Except for taking photos, which would be really cool with the watch, but it doesn't do--it did most of the basics that I wanted it to. 

For not a lot of money, I felt that I was getting a lot of convenient functionality, and I am now encouraging my wife and kids to get it too. 

Apple, you still got it--so even though Google surpassed you in market value this week, I am still hopeful that you got some decent mojo left in you. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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May 13, 2016

How-To Book Craze

I took this photo of a person reading a how to take great photos book.

Sort of ironic, funny, no?

You can read about it or do it. 

I'm one of those people who learn more by actually doing. 

Ok, I'm not the greatest photographer in the world (by a really long shot).

But for me it's more about the idea I'm trying to convey than the pure artistic value per se. 

Anyway, in the vein of words being cheap, "Reading is fundamental," but doing is absolutely fundamental. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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May 12, 2016

From Top To Bottom


The the other day, I was walking through the grass.

I came across these toys horses that had been left in a pile.

I thought about the innocence and beauty of children.

How nice it is to just sit in the green grass and play with your horsies. 

Today, I was downtown and GWU has a big graduation going on.

This guy wrote on the bottom of his cap, "If youre reading this, I just graduated."

Of course, this is America, and so he left off the apostrophe (') in you're (you are).

Oh well--neither STEM nor spelling is apparently part of the education curriculum anymore. 

But how quickly the kids grow up and before we know they're college graduates. 

From childhood innocence and dependence to adulthood independence and its colorful assortment of sin. 

All grown up and what we hope happens next...

...off to start a big career, continue with graduate studies, marriage and kids of their own...the sky is the limit. 

We need smart and enthusiastic people coming of age with big ideas, teamwork, and precision execution to solve the ginormous problems we face.

Still huge debts, hunger and poverty, dreaded old to frighteningly new illnesses, a unsustainable use of our planet with tongue in cheek efforts to change, rising social inequity and racial tensions, and raging terrorism and WMD that is making a global and more deadly comeback.

I have no grads this year, but we sure as hell need every person coming off the assembly line to step up and make a difference. 

Right now, the leadership in the world (commercial, spiritual, and government) is overwhelmingly deadwood (people lacking in caliber and  integrity like Steve Jobs, the Lubavicher Rebbe, Nelson Mandela, and Ronald Reagan).

From failing products and falling profits, to "religious" sex abuse, demagogues overseas, and plenty of lying and corruption at home. We need and should expect more, demand more, perhaps in the young people there will be more--that is our hope and saving grace. 

(Source Photos: Andy Blumenthal)

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May 11, 2016

Walking It Good

Took a nice walk with my honey.

Down the Bethesda Trolley Trail.

Needs a little repaving work.

But it's nice lush green at this time of year. 

The exercise is good (and my diet appreciates it). 

And of course, spending time together talking and bonding is the road best traveled. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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May 10, 2016

Creative Washing Sign

Ok, this is not your typical handwashing sign.

Usually these signs that are mandated by health regulations in food establishments remind employees to wash their hands before returning to work.

Of course, given all the Clostridium, E. coli, Hepatitis, Listeria, Norovirus, and Salmonella out there, we know that unfortunately many food workers are not following these instructions very well...yes, yuck!

Here, someone "sanitized" the sign, and rubbed out the "h" and the top part of the "d" in hands and left the crude word, "anus." 

Now employees must wash not their hands, but their anus (does that help in food preparation?)!

Perhaps, whoever did this are lobbyists for some sort of bidets in this country. 

Given all the political crap that goes on around this town, this may be a very good idea. ;-)

(Source Photo: Dannielle Blumenthal)
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May 9, 2016

Fooling The Media And The American People

So finally the truth got spilled about the true rationale for the Iran deal that lifted critical nuke weapon sanctions on the world's leading sponsor of terrorism and human rights abuses.  


The narrative of a Nuke deal with a "moderate" Iranian President Rouhani at the expense of hardliners was "deliberately misleading."


So what was once touted as a "good day" for America is now quite malevolent and disheartening, indeed. 

Moreover, rather than a "new political reality" with Iran, we have ongoing and increasingly hostile Iranian actions against the U.S., leading to the House Intelligence Committee opening an investigation into how Congress and the American public were misled by the administration on Iran. 

What happened to the promised transparency and truth espoused for the American people? What of Abraham Lincoln's sacred and compelling vision of a "government of the people, by the people, for the people."

Now instead of earnest dialogue, we get a blowharded "retail[ing]" of a predefined manipulated narrative--a "far-reaching spin campaign"--for the simple media "echo chamber" and hungry public consumption.

Iran has won a big round at the expense of Democracy and as we now know our National Security. 

Maybe the worst part is that no one even seems to care, because we're now in a new election cycle for the next President (and possibly chief manipulator). ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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May 8, 2016

The Best Mother's Day Present Ever

So today is Mother's Day--one of the most important days of the year. 

My mom passed away from Parkinson's Disease almost 2 1/2 years ago, and I miss her and my dad every single day (more than I can say or even come to terms with)!

I see lots of gifts being bought and given today to the mothers of this world, especially flowers, chocolates, and cards.  

But what would be the best gift we could give all our collective mothers?

That is simple...EQUALITY.

Whether it's the glass ceiling that keeps women underemployed, left out of certain professions altogether, underrepresented in management and the executive suite, and paid 79 cents on the dollar for what men get...it's not fair and it's wrong!

Women can do what men do as good and sometimes better, and generally they complement men in the workplace and make us more productive, more innovative, more balanced. 

Diversity in thinking brings us better decision-making and more success in business and in government, 

Like in the photo, women can be architects or enterprise architects--they can also be vice president or president. 

Women should NOT have to endure any type of domestic violence or sexual abuse or discrimination...for G-d's sake, we are enlightened!

Forget the flowers this Mother's Day and give your mom a present that she will really love and cherish...a promise and commitment of respect and equality for women today and every day of the year. ;-)

(Source Photo: WSJ by Andy Blumenthal)
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May 7, 2016

The Revolving Door

So work is a revolving door of people onboarding and offboarding.

New people are getting hired.

Old people are leaving.

Nothing is stable.

The relationships you made yesterday just left the revolving door today, and it's time to make new ones.

One "ran from Dodge."  Another retired.  A third left for the private sector.  Someone else is going just down the block.

On the inbound train are Summer interns. Contractors being hired on as regular staff.  Brand new people.  And even some people coming back after leaving for a short time.

People get antsy or have enough doing what they were doing, dealing with who they are dealing, or simply want a change and a challenge.

Others are shown the door under less fortunate circumstances.

Whether looking to pave new trails, find yourself a seat at the table, a leadership position, or a fatter paycheck--the eyes see, and the heart wants.

Some people are tethered to their job or even "retired in place (RIP)"--perhaps it's truly a great job and fit or it's like their life blood (their whole identity, their reason for being) or maybe, they just like collecting what they consider "easy money" for a job they know and love or can skate by on, or maybe they work with other great people they really like and every day is a fresh challenge and even fun. 

Recents studies indicate that retiring later in life actually increases longevity, but when is enough enough or are we leaving ourselves enough time to sit at the pool side and just enjoy life a little?

Millennials, famous for changing jobs often, now are at an average of 4 jobs by the time they hit 32.

And in Information Technology, job hopping is considered "the world's biggest game of musical chairs."

Why the increase in the job hopping bug in people's you know what?

Sure there is more opportunity for those that have the right skills, and people getting bored or stale is a bad thing, everyone wants to find a good fit for themselves and where they can have a real impact, and economic and social pressures push people to make the leap, perhaps there is also some foolishness involved--where the grass is always greener or not.

Sometimes though it really may be right for the person--and that's for each to explore and decide for themselves. ;-)

(Source Photo: here with attribution to John Garghan)
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May 6, 2016

Agile Processes As An Enabler

So something that I've learned is that processes can be an enabler or a hinderance to progress depending on how it's used.

On one hand, without a standardized and clear process where people know what they are supposed to do and when, we are likely to end up with a lot of chaos and not much getting done for the customer or organization.  

This is especially the case where tasks are complex and numerous people are involved requiring there to be solid coordination of team members, sync of activities, and clear communications.  

On the other hand, rigid processes that are so prescriptive that no one will get out of step for any rhyme or reason can be counter-productive, since this can hinder productivity, time to resolution, and customer service. 

For example, we all understand the importance of a help desk ticketing system in IT to document issues and deploy resources for resolution and measure performance. However, when customers, especially VIPs are in a bind and need help ASAP, it may not make sense to tell them to go open up a ticket first and foremost, instead of helping them to quickly get back online, and even opening the ticket for them and in parallel or as we get to it afterwards. 

Process should be an enabler and not obstacle to progress. Process should be followed under normal circumstances, but rigidly adhering to processes without adapting to conditions on the ground risks being out of step with the needs of the organization and a customer service model. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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May 5, 2016

For Holocaust Remembrance Day



The photo is self-explanatory to all decent human beings out there.

We can never let evil rule the day.

Good people must stand up and speak out for good.

Never again!

(Source Photo: Sent to me by Minna Blumenthal)
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May 4, 2016

613 Buses

Here's my next encounter today with mystical number 613 (the number of Commandments in the Torah).

This is the sign on the bus shelter by the Foggy Bottom Metro.

Two buses are on the way--the M36 and M31.

Both coming to the same bus stop.

One immediately right after the other. 

Read top right to lower left...613.

Within ten minutes I saw yet another 2 signs on the metro train in 2 different locations...both 6 car trains coming right after each other in 1 and 3 minute intervals.

(Note: Metro also has 8 car trains that it usually alternates with the 6's, but today none were in sight at either station). 
I am not making this stuff up...this is freaky, but if you believe, maybe also very cool. ;-)

(Source Photos: Andy Blumenthal)
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