August 19, 2017

Between A Liberal Rock and A Conservative Hard Place

On the alt-liberal left--a "radical Islamist" leaning and violent Antifa. 

On the ultra-conservative right--Neo-Nazi and White Supremacists.

And in the middle (regardless of political beliefs)--good people of faith and integrity with seemingly nowhere to turn.
________

{And I don't know what this is, but this is what I am hearing...}

Behold and fear a great fear.

Evil and violence will soon be upon you.

The forces of crushing hate will collide and spread throughout the face of the earth.

And the people will suffer a very great suffering.

And they will call out to the L-rd, and they will repent from their misguided wayward ways.

And the L-rd will see their judgement and he will cause a great stirring in man.

Great weapons will be released and a very great cleansing of man's hearts will occur.

I say to you redemption is upon you.

Redemption first by great pain and suffering, and then by great joy and exaltation.

And peace and morality will be restored on Earth.

Here this and hear it well, the time is short and good people must ready.

Gather yourselves together and prepare for the end of days and the beginning of days.

Those that are good and gathered will see peace and survive the onslaught before my mercy while many others will perish.

{Then the streaming tapers off...}
________

I don't understand the call for a gathering--aren't we safer perhaps spread out?  

Perhaps the gathering refers to G-d's promise to gather His people from the four corners of the Earth.

- And they will walk the sacred middle ground through the Red Sea to the promised Holy Land. 

The liberal left and conservative right have been overtaken by violent nutty extremists and radicals.

They have "split" from normal thinking and doing the correct thing--they have gone over the top!

A new righteous center--driven by faith and a moral compass --desperately needs to emerge now.

Hopefully, this will bring us to a new peace and prosperity--because the current isn't working. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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August 18, 2017

Don't Upset The Barista

Interesting sticker on this guy's smartphone this morning:
"Guns and Coffee"

And the Starbucks mermaid in the center is packing two pistols in her hands, instead of the usual fishy fins. 

Now the good thing about this particular guy was that he was also wearing a lapel pin from a prominent law enforcement agency here in Washington, D.C., so that was comforting. 

I've heard about the economic trade-off ("opportunity costs") between "Guns and Butter," meaning how much we choose to budget for defense vs. civilian goods/social entitlements.

But this is novel--"Guns and Coffee"--I guess you can have your coffee and your 2nd Amendment rights as well. 

What happens if you haven't had your coffee yet, does the little mermaid shoot first and ask questions later? ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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August 17, 2017

Condemning Evil Is Not Optional




Both are reprehensible!

When you don't condemn evil and wrong-doing, there is no room for reform and progress.

Good must win over evil and righteousness will reign over the Earth. 

(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)

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Ok To Be Ourselves!

Someone shared this beautiful Jewish wedding gown on Facebook and I wanted to share it with you, because it represents life, love, and faith. 

While perhaps normally I wouldn't just post this to my blog...

I thought that in light of the report that came out of 917 hate groups operating right now in the United States, that I would take this as an opportunity to be me.

To hell with all the haters out there!

- The more they hate us, the more I will love my Jewishness. 

- The more they try to stamp out our religious freedom, the more I will relish in it. 

- The more they try to kill us, the more I will live as a Jew.

No more Holocausts...no more bigotry...no more hate--it is enough! ;-)
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August 16, 2017

Rain Spill On Building

Just thought this was a really interesting photo. 

The way the rain splattered down the side of this building.

The water hitting only on top and then trickling down the side like a big spill. 

"The rain in Spain falls mainly on the plain," but in Washington, D.C., it falls down the side of the buildings in these weird artistic patterns.

When I was a kid, I remember when it rained, my father would tell me positively and jokingly, "Ah, we're getting a free car wash today!"

Isn't it amazing how G-d made the world where it rains, and provides us not only the water to drink and sustain ourselves, but literally a shower to clean our cities and wash away the dirty excesses. 

The ecosystem is just an amazing array of literally everything we need and with checks and balances to keep the goings-on of the world suitable for His children. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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August 15, 2017

Happy Summer Shoes

Summer is generally a sunny and happy time of year. 

People throw off the thick winter coats and  heavy boots and wear some nice sandals.

I saw this one lady wearing these happy, colorful sandals on the Metro. 

I'd expect to see these more in Florida or California than in stodgy Washington, D.C. 

They were pretty awesome--trendy, stylish, even comfortable looking. 

Fashion is self-expression and freedom.

It's also artistic and a reflection of our culture and our desires. 

We need more color, more chance, more futurism from our fashion.

The clothes can shape not only our bodies, but the times we live in. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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August 14, 2017

A Very Dirty Swiss Hotel

This was one of the anti-Semitic signs posted at the Aparthaus Paradies hotel in Switzerland:
"To our Jewish Guests
Women, Men and Children
Please take a shower before you go swimming and although after swimming.
If you break the rules, I'm forced to close the swimming pool to you.
Thank you for understanding: Ruth Thomann"
Wow, more blatant anti-Semitism in Europe.

What a darn shame that after only 72 years since Hitler (may his evil name be erased) that this disgusting hatred of Jews rears its ugly head again.

- What killing 6,000,000 Jews in the Holocaust wasn't enough for you???

- Or maybe you preferred the blood libels, pogroms, Crusades, Spanish Inquisition, auto-da-fe, and expulsions of Jews???

Good people of Europe and their elected governments: Please speak out and shut down this sick, hateful hotel establishment. 

Do you believe in G-d?  Do you think he's watching what you do now? 

Europe and the rest of the world--wake up and cure what ails you--it's not the Jews, but the evil in your bigoted hearts. 

(Source Photo: Facebook)
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August 13, 2017

@McKee Besher Wildlife Preserve









(Source Photos: Andy Blumenthal and the incredible sunflowers from here -- Please G-d, we need to go back next year to see these beauties.)
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Derangement Of Conscience

Watching the Neo-Nazis and white supremacists march in Charlottesville, VA yesterday made me sick.

They represent the worst of what human beings have to offer--hate, bigotry, and violence. 

The event was culminated when a car driven by one of these hate-mongers apparently intentionally slammed into a crowd of anti-protester and killed a 32-year old woman  and injured 19 others--what a sick, sick soul!

This miserable event just 2 days shy of 2-months from when Congressman Steve Scalise (R-LA) and 4 others were shot at a baseball field in Alexandria, VA by another nut job from the alt-left. 

Governor Terry McAuliffe (D) said it right when he stated on national TV last evening:
"The hate and division must stop, and it must stop right now."

But as we face large, looming enemies on the international scene -- like dangerous Axis of Evil, North Korea and Iran -- with weapons of mass destruction aimed at our shores and cities, all we can do is hate and fight internally.

What is wrong with this country now -- when so many seem to have abandoned personal integrity and national unity -- and shoot verbally and physically at each other instead of at the real enemies that seek to lay waste to our beloved homeland of the free and the brave?

Soon the missiles will reign down and the hate will smelter in the derangement of conscience. 

(Source Photo: Twitter)
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August 12, 2017

Wide Load @McDonald's

I took this photo passing a McDonald's. 

It just seemed so perfect.

With this SUV parked right between the McDonald's arches.

And on the SUV are two red warning flags sticking out from the sides with a sign on top that says: 
"Wide Load" 
And in the McDonald's window is a smiley face and a $2.99 Happy Meal special. 

With the "fast food" unhealthy eating culture that McDonald's has so long represented, what is there really to smile about except the cheap fixings. 

If you eat at McDonald's too much or too long then like Morgan Spurlock in the documentary "Super Size Me," who ate nothing but McDonald's for 30 days and gained almost 25 pounds and felt crappy...unfortunately the sign "Wide Load" may be descriptive of what can happen.   

This isn't a dig at McDonald's per se (there are many fast food joints and things that we know aren't necessarily good for us)...moderation in life is really key. 

Healthy eating, exercise, mindfulness, work-life balance, and generally taking good care of yourself is not just a nice to have, but important to our well-being.

Genetics aside, it's the "Battle of the Bulge," and it's a lifelong pursuit to be healthy 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal) 
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August 11, 2017

Like Removing A Nail

So you always hear about the techniques used when people are being tortured...one of them being have their nails ripped off.

Ouch!

So this week when I had a ingrown toenail removed, I said jokingly to the podiatrist:

"Do you do waterboarding also?"

Ok, funny, not-funny.  Still got a chuckle!

But in removing the nail, the technique is really so amazing.

They inject the toe with a local anesthetic, but hey even the injections into a sensitive toe could be pretty uncomfortable. 

So before the injection, they spray you toe with a freezing spray, so you don't even feel the injections.

When he actually removed the nail and chemically destroyed the nailbed so it wouldn't come back, I didn't feel a thing.

I mean, I literally didn't feel a thing!

It was a wonderful feeling--whatever he did, however much it would've hurt--it didn't.

I thought to myself in a wave of anesthetic and freeze-numbed delight, this is absolutely wonderful.

No pain, not even a pinch. 

I could sense everything going on around me, take it in, think about it, even mull it over again and again, and just smile. 

In a way, I thought how wonderful life would be to have the ability to think in the head and feel from the heart, but have no pain or suffering in the body. 

Yes, there are plenty of damning and painful thoughts, memories, and heartaches, but for the body to be numb (even momentarily) to all the bad stuff that actually felt pretty good.

How would it feel if the mind and heart also felt no pain and only bliss--I smiled even more. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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August 10, 2017

Face The Fear

I have to give my wife credit. 

She said something to me the other day that was really profound and had a deep impact on me. 

Something bad had happened and honestly, it was a truly frightening situation.

At first, it seemed like one of those negative surprises in life that brings bad news and you are at first sort of shocked. 

As things progress though and the news unfortunately doesn't get better, but in fact gets worse, the shock turns to fear and maybe even panic. 

Oh shit, what do I do now?

Turn this way..no good. 

Turn that way...no good.

Retreat...not an option.

So I speak to my wife, and at first she says:
"Just look away."
But I can't look away...I can't ignore a problem...my instinct is that I have to plan for it, deal with it, solve it. 

I go back to my wife, and she says to me:
"Face the fear, and walk through it."
And I had to stop in my tracks at that. 

She was right--there is no use being fearful or worrying--I would face it and walk through it, and come out the other side better for it. 

That was some of the best advice anyone I think has ever given to me. 

Got to be strong, have courage, face the challenges in life, and "walk through it!" 

What doesn't kill us makes us stronger. 

Have to have emunah (faith), and realize it's just a test. 

And the Almighty G-d is my shield and protector. 

It's a test, but I can pass it with G-d's help, and everything will be alright. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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August 9, 2017

Nuke Fear Turning To Action?

What sane person would not be afraid of the incredibly destructive power of nukes (and other weapons of mass destruction)?

Currently, there are about 15,000 nukes either stockpiled or poised to strike around the world. 

Enough deadly weapons to kill the entire planet!

After a frightening series of 5 nukes tests since 2006 plus 18 technologically progressive ballistic missiles tests over the last 6 months, things are escalating after new sanctions imposed to try to contain the threat--with North Korea rattling it's nuclear arsenal with a shrill threat of attack moving to "physical action" and the U.S. shooting back "fire and fury,


As to further North Korean mad progress, it was reported that they are developing a powerful new H-bomb with immense destructive power, especially towards our density killing fields:

- If such a weapon would strike, G-d forbid, Washington D.C., it could mean 500,000 dead and another 900,000 injured--let alone what this would mean in terms of a destructive decapitation to the very functioning and continuity of our government and country. 

- Even worse fatalities would occur should it strike our financial capital, New York City, with estimates of 1.7 million dead. 

Hence, the news that this is no joking matter anymore (as if it really ever was). 

Fears typically first get expressed in rhetoric, but then with greater and ever potent means for them to become reality, the risks increase for them to actually make the horrific leap. 

What happens next with the ever menacing dangers from rogue Axis of Evil nations, North Korea and Iran--and will we ever feel and be safe again, absent any meaningful social progress while they continue to absolutely and speedily advance their ever more deadly weapons programs and the means to deliver them, first class. ;-0

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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August 8, 2017

Tiny Houses Old Style





Recently, we visited the Underground Railroad Experience Trail in Maryland. 

It simulates the route and challenges that runaway slaves had to face in seeking their freedom. 

While I am certain that the suffering endured was in no way captured here, I thought it was still beneficial to have people sensitized and thinking about these horrible historical events around slavery.

Aside from the hiking trail, there were these amazing tiny houses from the 1800's.

The wood cabins and stone houses were so cute, but also so inviting. 

If I had to live in a Tiny House, these looked sort of incredibly charming. 

HGTV tiny living spaces--like the one we saw last night that had only 200 feet and was really awkward--have nothing on these tiny gems. 

The matching tiny trees were also a very nice effect. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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August 7, 2017

Flower 4 Monday

Just wanted to share this beautiful flower that I came across on the hiking trail yesterday. 

I have never seen a flower with pedals of pink and white candy stripes like this. 

Like a candy cane or perhaps the outfits that volunteers helping people at some hospitals wear. 

It also has these yellow buds in the center, which add to it's eloquence.

What magnificent creations that G-d has bestowed on us to enjoy. 

Hope this is a little something to cheer up your Monday and make you even more productive this week. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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August 6, 2017

What A Nuclear War Looks Like


Wow, wow, wow!

Great job Hashem Al-Ghaili on this video depicting the implicit horror of nuclear war.

16,000 nuclear weapons...2,000 ready to launch at a moment's notice. 

Wake up world!

It just takes one numbskull to kill it for everybody.
"Few people laughed. 
Few people cried. 
Most people were silent. 
Now I am become death.
The destroyer of worlds." 

We need to pray to G-d and do everything to protect this amazing world and our people for the future. 

There has got to be a tomorrow! ;-)
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Best of the Caribbean

Wow, I love this artwork from Haitian artist, Alix Baptiste, who works out of Savannah, Georgia. 

This one is called "Best of the Caribbean"--and I think it really is!

The colors and style he uses is so amazing. 

Someone else I know had one his artworks called, "Island Living" and it was so spectacular.

Somehow it feels like being there...almost. 

Baptiste has a website where you can see and shop from some of his other originals and lithographs.

I am so glad I found this...it really makes me happy. 

Thank you G-d for the beauty of life and in art!

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Alix Baptiste) 
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August 5, 2017

Thou Shalt Not

Interesting speech by the Rabbi today in synagogue. 

What stood out to me was when he talked about the Ten Commandments, particularly the 2nd set of five. 

And how some people hear what they want to hear. 

All of the 2nd five start with "Thou shalt not,"  but there are those people that only hear the part that comes after those words. 

So for example: Thou shalt not kill...steal...commit adultery...lie...desire.

But not everyone listens to the "Thou shalt not" and instead they just hear--selectively:

- Kill
- Steal
- Commit adultery
- Lie
- Desire

If you take out the "Thou shalt nots," you are left with a list of terrible and evil deeds.

How convenient for those who are looking for the upper hand and pleasures in life--get rich quick, get and maintain power, take whatever and whomever you want and when you want it--no matter who it belongs to or how they feel.

Like the good angel and bad angel sitting over our shoulders and one says don't do the bad thing and the other encourages us to do!

Who you going to listen to? 

Not everyone seems to care--they live for today and forget about tomorrow. 

Yet every misdeed leaves a tarnish on our soul, while every good deed adds a merit. 

And if there is no justice in the end then who the hell wants to be in such a world anyway. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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August 4, 2017

Two-Faced Monsters

One of the scariest things with people are when they are two-faced. 

And no, we're not talking about people making funny faces or googly eyes.

My father use to joke:

"If that person was two-faced, they would never use that face {the one they are wearing now}!"

But many people really do have two-faces (and sometimes more).

- The seeming friend, but backstabber if they get the chance.

- The "goodie two-shoes," but what a real mischievous side to them.

- The "nice boy/girl," but what an unbelievable mean streak.

- The calm, quiet person, but what an explosive temper they really have. 

- The person who it seems "would never hurt a fly," but what an abuser and bully they are.

This is not about multiple personality disorder, but rather people who either are truly this AND that, or who "fake it to make it."

Many people do have multiple "normal" sides to their personality (like hardworking, but playful).

However, others more malevolently, use a cover up (and it's not mascara) to hide their inner bad natures/behaviors and demons.

These are the people that are really scary dudes (and dudettes). 

You see one thing on the surface (superficially), but beneath it is a type of molten lava ready to explode and do very bad things. 

Sure, everyone alternates between good and bad days, happy and sad, more loving or less, etc. 

But when people are fundamentally insincere phonies who are deceiving others until they can but strike and do bad things to them, then they are not just two-faced, but seriously f*cked up! 

This is all part of the fight in this world of good over evil--it goes on everyday with the monsters out there that are allowed to roam free and prey on others--perhaps some of afraid or even others are covering for them. 

How long can they keep up their heinous act?

Often way too long, until those good people of faith and conscience ask when will they be unmasked and held accountable--when will justice prevail. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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August 3, 2017

DC Lights It Up - Just Physical or More








Wanted to share these beautiful lights from around Washington, D.C. 

They are all sort of magnificent!

But even while I am marveling at them, my mind is tearing another way...

I am thinking, there is physical light, yet in so many ways the world seems dark. 

We have lots technological progress to be proud of, and yet there are big problems all over the horizon.

- Nuclear and missile proliferation, and rising cyber threats.

- Rising global terrorism and potential for military conflicts

- Spiraling national debt and the trust funds for social entitlements running out

- Rising discrimination and associated hate crimes

- Family strains and the decline of marriage

- Challenges in confidence with organized religion 

- World leadership at a crossroads. 

We need light--but not just the physical type. 

Transparency, enlightenment to solve big problems and a spiritual awakening to ensure good wins out over evil are all on order. ;-)

(Source Photos: Andy Blumenthal)
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August 2, 2017

Watch A Terrorist In His Evil Action


This is an incredible disturbing video from today's terror attack in Israel.

A Palestinian terrorist is caught on surveillance camera committing his vile deed. 

The terrorist in the brown t-shirt comes down the grocery store aisle.

But he is not there shopping for groceries. 

Rather, the terrorist is stalking his prey--an innocent Jewish man working in the store stocking shelves for customers. 

The terrorist at first takes a pass by the man checking things out. 

Then he suddenly circles back pulling a deadly knife from his waist and starts viciously stabbing and beating the Jewish worker. 

The mortally wounded victim desperately tries to fend off the terrorist attacker as he comes again and again at him.

Fortunately, others nearby chased the terrorist who was apprehended by police, while the victim remains in critical condition in the hospital fighting for his life. 

Unfortunately, this is daily life in the Holy Land, where bombings, shootings, stabbings, vehicular rammings, Molotov cocktails and rocks are used to kill Jews in their one homeland, Israel.

From Paris and London to New York, Orlando, Jerusalem, and all over the world, terrorists continue to plot and murder innocents. 

Yet, how often do we make excuses for them--it's not their fault, it's just a minority, they're brainwashed, if only we gave in to their demands, etc. etc. etc. 

But does anything really seem to make a difference--more people, more land, more palaces and oil wealth, more respect, more morally corrupt votes at the UN, more, more, more...and still the global radical terrorism and human rights abuses continue.

What happens when one day the terrorist attack becomes one employing true weapons of mass destruction--will anyone really be surprised? 

We pray to G-d for peace and security for your people and for evil to be utterly destroyed. 

Oh L-rd, how long will you let these murderous, vile terrorists attack your children...how long before justice is done. ;-)
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Greatest Museum of Them All

So the greatest museum of them all is scheduled to open in just 3 months!

The Museum of the Bible.

Right here in Washington, D.C.--a few blocks from the Capitol. 

There is a wonderful video on their website

It's 430,000 square feet and 8 stories floors. 

With two 40-feet-high bronze doors that look like the Ten Commandments. 

And an overall tall and narrow shape with a curved roof that reminds me of Noah's Ark.

It encompasses: 

Religion.

History.

Art. 

It all comes together here. 

There is an interesting display of all the different versions of the Bible.

But what it all points to is how similar we all really are. 

The emergence of faith in The One G-d who created us all--his children--and the foundation in the words of His book. 

Yes, we share in common much more than what separates us. 

If we can just see ourselves in His eyes and be the people we can be and were meant to be. 

The museum should be an inspiration to be better, to be brothers, to have peace, to partner and progress to the future.

With our faith sustaining us, and the Bible and our conscience as our guides, we can overcome. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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August 1, 2017

Beautiful Summer Fruit

Wow, how beautiful an array of colorful summer fruit. 

Saw this at Balducci's (classy store). 

Watermelon, cantalope, pineapple, and mango.

Sliced and all nicely packaged up together ready to eat.

Looks yum!

Amazing what G-d creates. 

And he bestows on man the ability to put the finishing touches. 

Thank you Oh L-rd, who gives us the delicious and beautiful fruit of the tree.

Yes, it's an unusual blog for Tisha B'Av--maybe I'm craving the food. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 31, 2017

Gorgeous Border Wall

Hey, I'm not for erecting walls when there is no need for them.

Who instead doesn't love to build bridges--full of peace and brotherhood, definitely. 

But after 9/11 and the ongoing, endless wave of global terrorism and serious threats that we are confronting (including from WMD), let's face it...we need secure borders.

This is called common sense security, and it's been highly regarded and employed throughout history and all around the world. 

That doesn't mean that good people don't come in...only that we have a thoughtful and effective way to work to filter the bad people out. 

Anyway, it seems that the bake-off of border wall prototypes has yielded this brilliant design.

If it's truly rugged and includes intelligent border security mechanisms such as sensors, surveillance cameras, biometrics, and so on, then this could be an awesome looking and functional option.

Time to stop the bickering and time to start moving forward with security. ;-)

(Source Photo: here with attribution to True Pundit) 
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July 30, 2017

Behold, The Day Cometh

{I don't know what this is, but it came to me, and it just feels important to share...I start to feel spiritually overwhelmed, very emotional, and then all choked up...and so it starts}

Behold, the day cometh when the earth will open it's mouth.

And there will be a very great slaughter. 

And the earth will shake and tremble before the Holy One blessed be he. 

He walks before the nation of Israel. 

Ready to strike with the all-powerful tip of His spear. 


Like a bolt of lightening without warning.

Magnificent in beauty and damning in tumultuous energy. 

The sky thunders before His majesty. 

The angels stir and flee before the All-Mighty Creator. 

His holiness envelopes the earth and stars. 

His eyes are full of mercy, but justice is in his mighty outstretched arm. 

Those that stand in evil before His glory will soon be buried in a very great rubble. 

The skies are darkening; the day is arriving. 


And all the people will know that G-d dost live, and His people shall live. 

Evil will be obliterated from off the face of the earth, and His holiness will manifest in peace and redemption. 

The implements of war will be smashed to smithereens, engulfed within the insides of the earth. 

And their makers buried beside them, crushed and utterly destroyed.

A mass grave to the east and to the west, and then a great rebuilding. 

From the L-rd goeth forth justice to his enemies and mercy to His children.

{The streaming stops suddenly...I want it to continue...but it's over...I try my own words, but they are not His...I give up for today.}

(Source Photo: Minna Blumenthal)
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July 29, 2017

We Remember and Cry

Today the Rabbi spoke about that on Monday night is the solemn night of Tisha B'Av (the 9th day of the Hebrew month of Av).

It is the day that Jews remember and cry about the destruction of both temples in Jerusalem--on the exact same day in history almost 700 years apart--in 586 BCE and and 70 AD. 

Tisha B'Av is also the date when Germany entered World War I which as we know started a series of events that led to the catastrophe of the Holocaust. 

We remember and cry on Tisha B'Av as we went from freedom to worship and live in Jerusalem to the exile and servitude to the Babylonians and the Romans. 

It the polar opposite of the holiday of Passover, where we celebrate and commemorate going from servitude under the Egyptians to freedom and redemption to get the Torah and enter and settle the Holy Land. 
By the rivers of Babylon
There we sat (and) also wept
When we remembered Zion
On willows in its midst
We hanged up our harps
For there our captors asked of us
(For) words of songs and tormented us (with) mirth:
'Sing to us from the song of Zion'
How will we sing the song of God
On a foreign land? 
If I will forget you Jerusalem
My right hand will forget (its skill)
My tongue will stick to the roof of my mouth
If I will not remember you
If I will not raise Jerusalem
Above my happiness
We as a people have been through so much...servitude, expulsions, crusades, inquisitions, pogroms, genocide...thousands of years of discrimination, torture, rape, and murder--yet, Israel Doth Live!

As the L-rd promised the Jews--after exile would come redemption, and so it is!

For thousands of years, the Jewish people yearned for a homeland where we could live in peace and security and for the rebuilding of the Holy temple--please G-d in our days soon.

From the rivers of Babylon to the Nile in Egypt and the Rhine in Germany--we have paid the ultimate price and sacrifice to G-d and we pray that the Jewish people can once again be free to live and worship as foretold "from the River in Egypt to the Euphrates River." (Exodus 23:31) ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 28, 2017

The All-Knowing (Not)

Check out this guy's shirt:
"Those who think they know EVERYthing
annoy those of us who do."

What would make this grown man put this handwritten sign on his shirt like this?  

It's funny some people really do think they know everything. 

And they are the hardest and most annoying people to listen to, because their pompous arrogance blinds them to what others think, feel, and have to say. 

The only way to really know many different things is to learn from others and then incorporate that into your brain matter. 

Progress (societal and self), including thinking, is incremental--that's why education is so important!

No one (except G-d, of course) knows everything, but everyone knows something. 

So we can learn from everyone!

Don't fear other's people knowledge, skills, and abilities--we are a community and we really only work well when we function together. 

It's like on most of the survival shows I've seen--one or two people (even those highly trained) fail miserably at long- (or short-) term surviving, because "it takes a village!"

Overall, I like my father's humble version on life much better:
"I know nothing and I can prove it." ;-)
(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal) 
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July 27, 2017

When You Need To BLUF

Most professional (and even personal) communications should start with...
________________________

BLUF (Bottom Line Up Front).

This means that you start with the ending--in mind, on paper, verbally, and in digital format. 

You provide the conclusion and/or recommendations right up front.

Rather than first wadding through all the details--context, analysis, considerations, assumptions, risks, etc. 

Let the reader know right away what it is you want. 

Generally, this is different than an abstract or summary that provides a synopsis and leading evidence for the argument put forward. 

Tell me what I need to know and get right to the point! ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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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 spirituality 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)
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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)
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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)
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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)
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