July 18, 2018

Rain From Heaven

Took this photo yesterday in the courtyard during a thunderstorm.

It is the first time that I was actually able to see the rain almost in a slow motion.

They weren't drops, but literally streaks of water zipping down from the sky.

The feeling was so pure and refreshing to clean the air and the ground. 

To replenish our reservoirs, ponds, lakes, rivers, and oceans. 

To nourish the fruit of the Earth and make it grow. 

We use up and make dirty, but G-d replenishes and makes clean! ;-)

(Source photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 17, 2018

From Mouth To Friendship

So it's amazing how people are so willing to throw away friendship. 

They get angry about something having nothing even to do with you.

They say things they probably don't even mean, and in turn you may say things you don't even mean. 

Often you say things just to bring the other person to their senses. 

But sometimes they don't come to their senses. 

They need to let out on someone and your the convenient scapegoat. 

Before you know it, they throw your friendship under a bus. 

Personally, I'm not one to make friends that easily or quickly--there needs to be some real chemistry and the building of trust--but then I am one who is an eternally loyal friend. 

Yet, I see others, they kiss and hug and say you're like family, but then when they get angry, oh boy, you are gone like the wind. 

Maybe that's not what real friendship is. 

To me, friendship surpasses dumb deeds and words and stupid fights, it's about being there through thick and thin.

Take the false teeth out and put some permanent ones in--they last much longer. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 16, 2018

Israel's Border Security

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel, Legitimate Use of Landmines for Israel-Gaza Border

Israel should consider use of landmines to secure its border from tens of thousands of Hamas terrorists that seek daily to overrun the border and murder the citizens of the sovereign State of Israel. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 14, 2018

When Do You Become Old?

Is being old an age, a feeling, or both?

Some people seem to get old before their time.

They go about echting and kretzching--at 40 and 50, they are saying this hurts and I feel crummy about that!  Nu, I'm not 18 anymore!

Other people never, literally almost never seem to get old.

One lady I know is going to be 94 this month and she is going strong mentally, emotionally, and physically.  It almost seems impossible.  

This guy in the photo has a funny shirt on that says:
"I thought growing old would take longer."

Yeah, it does sort of creep up on you, but really, really fast.  Like where the heck did that come from!

I know inside for me, I always still feel like a kid. 

I have the same funny side, playful side, and curious side; the desire to be productive and accomplish something meaningful with my life and time, and to love and be loved. 

Yeah, things hurt a little more than they did years ago--can't believe the things I used to be able to do--Yes, at one time, I use to break cinder blocks with my bare hands, true!

But now, I can do other things like swim and hike and I love to write things that I am passionate about or to be a little creative too!

Maybe we do not get old...maybe we are just like caterpillars that morph into something else like butterflies during this life and into the life beyond. 

Age is experience, learning, growth--lots of mistakes--and then recovering and trying again and harder.  

Life is wonderment and excitement and appreciation for every amazing beautiful thing. 

No, life does not get old. 

Suffering and loss gets old quick and wish it never was. 

But we are physical bodies with eternal souls, so we go on and on into the wild blue yonder. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 13, 2018

The Love Truck

Ok, the title of this blog may not be the best. 

Some may associate the "Love Truck" with human trafficking or something horrible. 

But this truck in Washington D.C. really fitted the name with messages on the windows and sides like:
Love not hate.
Peace on planet Earth.
One race, the human race. 
Left, right, make America unite again through love.
2 wrongs don't make it right.
Stop bombing, start educating. 
Smile, life is short.
Be kind to your fellow man.

I almost got to wonder what's on the other side of this truck???

Anyway, I know it's more than kind of kooky to graffiti up your own vehicle this way, but I still rather see these messages and actions than those of hate and violence in this world. 

Happy Friday folks!  ;-)

(Source Photo: Dannielle Blumenthal)
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July 12, 2018

Israel To Space

Please see my new article in Times of Israel, "Israel's Ladder To Space."

So proud of Israel's planning to join the Big 3 countries (U.S., Russia, and China) to land on the moon.

Amazing what even a relatively small in size and new nation like Israel can set their sights on and please G-d accomplish with G-d's help.

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 11, 2018

Not A Kiss

So I learned a lesson recently.

Sometimes, a kiss is not a kiss. 

It could be a phony show. 

Like a snake. 

It slithers and fools people into complacency. 

Kiss kiss!

Hug hug!

But around the back is a hand holding a dangerous dagger. 

It stands ready to swing and plunge into your soft unsuspecting tissue. 

The more kisses, perhaps the more hiding of their true intentions. 

People are complex and sometimes malevolent. 

They want what they want, and when they want it. 

When the time comes, a kiss can turn into a sharp knife. 

You wonder how is it that person has no more kisses.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 10, 2018

Cool Car DC

Who would think you'd find a car like this in Washington, D.C.?

Definitely a standout, you think. 

Although it seems like the people crossing the street don't even notice it.

Ah, wake up people!

Anyway, where do you park a car like that?

It's nice to look at, but between people wanting to steal it or deface it, I think it's probably more trouble than it's worth. 

There are enough loonies out there...why give them a reason. 

Then again, if you tether yourself to it, maybe it's good for a joy ride around the Capital especially before the new tariffs kick in.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Dannielle Blumenthal)
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July 9, 2018

Know Before Whom You Are Standing

So many synagogues have this important saying at the top of the Holy Ark where the Torahs are kept in front of the shul.

It says, translated into English:

"Know before who you are standing (i.e. G-d)."

The idea is to remember when you are in the holy place of worship that you are standing and praying before G-d and should conduct yourself appropriately and with respect and reverence. 

While certainly there are times when people forget themselves in the synagogue and say or do something not completely appropriate (e.g. socializing, talking, or even telling jokes to their neighbors during the service), usually it is not intended to be disrespectful, but rather to be friendly with their neighbors and community. 

However, this past Shabbat I witnessed behavior in the synagogue (name withheld)  that was truly a chillul Hashem (desecration of G-d). 

Out of respect for the Rabbi (and Rabbabite), I will neither mention their names or go into the details about what happened except to say that it involved the politics surrounding the end of the Rabbi's 3-year term and the inability for him and the board to come to terms on a new agreement (even though one had  apparently been signed and reneged on). 

This did not belong in the synagogue on the holy Shabbat, period. 

Those embracing and kissing the Rabbi in his support and going against the President and the board that is elected to represent the congregation was disgraceful. 

Further, while I support the Rabbi saying his farewells, demanding to speak without the permission of the President and the board, and even before the President gave his regular announcements was inexcusable. 

And when the fighting between the Rabbi and President brought yelling and fighting to the congregants, this should have been a sign for that behavior to immediately cease. 

The desecration of the "peace" of the Shabbat with the politics, money, and contract issues and the ensuing fighting (almost civil war between those supporting the Rabbi and those the President and the board) before the Holy Ark filled with the Torahs was reprehensible. 

For the spiritual leadership to behave in such a crude and disrespectful fashion was a mark of utter disgrace in the synagogue before G-d. 

I have never seen anything like this before and hope never to have to witness anything so irreverent again. 

This was a most traumatic event for the community and I hope we will recover in time and have a complete healing. 

Moreover, I pray that G-d forgives the behavior that happened and has mercy on this congregation because things got out of control and I think they forgot before whom they were standing.  ;-)

(Source Photo and not of the synagogue under discussion: Andy Blumenthal)
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Persuasion x 3

I liked this categorization of three types of tools of persuasion developed by Aristotle: 

- Ethos: Appeals to a sense of ethics, morals, and character. 

- Logos: Appeals to a sense of logic, reason, and rationality.

- Pathos: Appeals to a sense of emotion, empathy, and passion. 

I don't know about most people, but I don't get convinced easily. 

You need to show me, prove it to me, or convince me it's right. 

Some others, and I don't know why--it's like you can sell them the Brooklyn Bridge, as they say.  

I think that's dangerous!

Without critical thinking and evaluation, people can get led astray to do the wrong things...a perfect example is Nazi Germany under Adolf Hitler (may his memory be forever cursed).  

Hitler appealed to the Germans people at the time:
- Emotionally to bring them back from the loss, destruction, and destitution that World War I inflicted and of course, to scapegoat the Jews, Gypsies, and political opponents and send them to the death camps. 
- Logically, that they were a strong and powerful people, the "Aryan nation," and they therefore, deserved to conquer and rule Europe and the World.
- Ethically--let's just say, this one didn't really apply to Hitler, probably the most evil and destructive man this world has ever known, except that even Hitler tried to fool his people falsely proclaiming, "G-d is with us!"

It's a war of good over evil out there, and we need to make our arguments to influence and persuade for the good, but we also have to be careful not to let others, who are not so good, manipulate us for their own selfish and depraved ends. 

Ethos, Logos, and Pathos--potent tools or weapons in the direction of mankind and civilization. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 8, 2018

Every Time I Go Mexico

Beautiful guitar band @Lake Needwood today.

First, we went for a nice kayak boat ride around the lake.

Then I couldn't help stopping and listening to this relaxing and peaceful music. 

These guys were great--I'd pay to listen to them. 

Just a bunch of friends getting together to play beautiful music.

This is life as it should be. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 7, 2018

Supporting Israel is Right

Please see my new article in Times of Israel called, "Dialogue with a Former Israel Supporter."

Israel is not only the biblical and historical homeland for the Jewish people, but it is the only Jewish country in the entire world. 

Nations and terrorists have attacked, again and again, denying the United Nations declaration for the State of Israel and the modern-day geopolitical reality of its existence--and it is flourishing!

The State of Israel has successfully made peace with its neighbors Egypt and Jordan, and they seek the same with the Palestinians.

Let us hope and pray for coexistence speedily in our times. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 6, 2018

The Diversity Tapestry

I really liked this sign with the saying by civil rights leader, Maya Angelou:
"We all should know that diversity makes for a rich tapestry, and we must understand that all the threads of the tapestry are equal in value, no matter what their color [or race, or origin, or religion, or age, or gender, or sexual orientation, or disability]."

Ok, I added the "or" statements at the end. 

But the point is the same and important.

Discrimination, bigotry, prejudice, and bias are stupid. 

They are a function of ignorance. 

- We learn from diversity. 

- Life is richer with diversity. 

If everything was in monocolor...if life was homogeneous...if there was only one type of everything, then what type of humdrum, monotonous, and boring place would this be?

Value the variety.  Value the diversity.  Value the differences. 

They make us better and stronger than we could ever otherwise be. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 5, 2018

Calories Extreme!

Someone mentioned that they went to the Cheesecake Factory the other day.

They said they bought a slice of cheesecake. 

I asked: "Was it the Oreo Cheesecake?"

They said, "yeah!"

But they went on, "It was too much for one person to eat."

Uh, you think?  

Check out how many calories are in one piece of this "Oreo Dream Extreme Cheesecake" -->>1,630!

Yes, that's one slice, not the whole cake!!!

And over 50% is from fat!

Take all this in context: 
The calories for an average female and male is just 1,900 and 2,500, respectively, if your moderately active. 

So one slice of cheesecake like this Oreo flavor is around 86% or 65% of the total recommended calorie intake for a women or man for the entire day!

What the heck do they put into this cheesecake--butter, cream cheese, sugar by the truckload!

I know it must be good, but does it also have to be this deadly! ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 4, 2018

Happy 4th of July From Andy Blumenthal


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July 3, 2018

Going Back To Ulpan

So yesterday, I started Ulpan classes to improve my Hebrew language skills (currently, I'm not very skillful with it).

It was 2.5 hours and it was such a joy for me and my wife and one of my daughter to have the wonderful opportunity to participate in this. 

It wasn't like in Yeshiva where we focused on learning the Biblical and prayer book Hebrew, and on Aramaic from the Talmud, but was more focused on modern-day conversational Hebrew. 

I loved learning and speaking the words, for example to describe a large cosmopolitan city like Tel Aviv. 

We also listened to recordings of others speaking, read the text, and learned verbs. 

It reminded me of my mom, who also used to love to take Ulpan, and carried around her notebook with the Hebrew words and their translation and the many descriptive verbs--she was so happy learning and practicing. 

Given my horrible language skills, it was funny for me that I was asked if I wanted to join the advanced class...ah, no!  (or at least not yet...)

While so many languages (and cultures) have died over the ages, Hebrew and the modern State of Israel is a complete revival--it's truly miraculous!

There were people in the class from Asia, South America, and all over the world!

And from all the people there, I felt a tremendous love not only for the language, but for the land of Israel, and the Jewish people. 

I wish like this beautiful language we all embraced, everyone could love and not hate us anymore!

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 2, 2018

How Do I Choose?

So I thought this was an interesting topic for the sermon on Shabbat by Ben Shemony. 

It was about how we are confronted in life with whether to follow our impulses or our values. 

I think there is a lot to this topic...

Some may see it as the little good angel standing over one shoulder and another bad angel standing over the other trying to convince us what to do when it's decision time.  

Others may be perpetually torn between temptations or pleasures of materialism and the flesh versus of pursuing what you know to be spiritually good and right in this world. 

Either way, as human beings, we are a complex make-up of both body and soul.

Do we give in to temptation and do what feels good--more money, more food, more clothes and jewelry, more houses, cars, and yachts, more vacations, more carnal pleasures from the proverbial "wine, women, and song" or do we pursue the path of spirituality, serving our maker, caring and giving and doing good for others and the world?  

It sounds simple, but our impulses tell us one thing and our values tell us another. 

Are we being selfish or selfless?

Perhaps, too much of anything is bad for us--even too much giving and selflessness--we need to care for ourselves too--we are mortal, we have needs, we have to nourish ourselves, and we need to live. 

But you can't be a glutton or a slave to your impulses--you can't take and not give, your can't indulge until you make yourself sick, or take at the expense of and harm to others.

Like all things in life, there is a need for balance.

Certainly our spirit should guide our animal. 

If and when our animal is dictating to our spirit then we are in real trouble. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 1, 2018

An Arrogant Model Who Defiles The Holy Temple

Please see my new article, Naked Before G-d, in The Times of Israel. 
"In such a G-dly place [as the Kotel], where we are all spiritually naked for our actions before our Maker, [Belgian model,] Ms. Papen displayed not soul, but her haughty flesh."

And like the Sotah in the bible, who drinks of "the bitter waters" for defiling the sanctity of her marriage, Ms. Papen will most certainly come to see the consequences for her defilement of the most sacred place of Judaism. 

I wouldn't want to be her, seriously! ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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June 29, 2018

What A Beautiful Song - To Forgive and to Forget



With gratitude to my beautiful daughter, Minna Blumenthal, for sharing this song by Idan Raichel with me. 

Shabbat Shalom!

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Don't Worry--Be Happy!

Happy Friday everyone!

Yesterday, someone gave me a couple of these bright yellow smileys--one on the back of each of my hands. 

I was going around waving these happy faces all day.  

Of course, sitting in meetings was a little weird with these on, but then again, maybe that is part of setting a colorful and happy tone. 

It's funny how a little smile sticker can make the whole world seem right again. 

Maybe we can learn to live life, love life, and make the most of every single day. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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June 28, 2018

Chief Critic

So we all know these type of people that love to criticize and bully.  

They are the critics in chief. 

You have to wonder what their own value-add is.

While other people are doing the work, the chief critic is saying everything is terrible, horrible, tragic, almost the end of the universe as we all know it. 

Yes, there is nothing wrong with well-intentioned and constructive criticism, especially by a supervisor or people sincerely trying to help.

But then there are just those who just look to find something--anything--to fault others, almost as if they are bigger if others are smaller!

This is no good. 

That is no good. 

I would do it this way. 

You need to do it that way. 

It's almost like a hobby, but it comes with plenty of nastygrams and miserable monologues. 

If only you would do X!

How come you didn't do Y?

Next time make sure you do Z!!!

OMG, yes we are not perfect angels, but most of us try to work smart, do good, contribute, and get positive results!

Even failure is acceptable if everyone gave it their best effort and it leads to learning and growth. 

Maybe the people on the sidelines who are yelling at the players need to get off the bench and actually worry about what they need to be doing, and doing it, instead of criticizing those in the trenches. 

Teamwork means we succeed or fail together!

Non-attribution is about not getting personal and blaming others, especially when they are working their butts off. 

Rather, roll up your sleeves everyone and get in the trenches and start pulling your own weight instead of putting down and making fun of the others. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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June 27, 2018

Keep A Cool Temperament

So this was amazing. 

I was working with someone for a number of weeks/months. 

All of a sudden, I got a complete blow off email from them that said they are done and they wished me well in a sort of very sarcastic and even contemptuous way--like a real f*ck off!

Were they just being nasty or trying to pick a fight or something?

First, I was taken aback and honestly hurt--like what the heck happened that they showed their true strips...did I miss it all along. 

I showed my wife their email, and she read it the same way, and said "What an asshole!"

I continued to hold my mouthpiece and feelings as I contemplated how I would respond. 

I have to admit that some choice words and wishes back to them definitely came to mind. 

But I said to myself, "Hold, hold, hold!"

It wasn't easy not to respond in kind--lash back out at them--and even then some for good measure. 

No, that isn't the way. 

You can rise above this. 

I kept my mouth shut and literally controlled my reactions.

Well, lo' and behold, I thought I would never hear from this person again the way they spoke to me, but then a few days later,  I received another email where apparently they rethought what they did.

It didn't have to come from me to them to "set them straight!"

Their own conscience seemed to have played on them and they came to their own senses about how they behaved and spoke. 

I learned from this that it is critical to maintain your composure and keep your cool under all circumstances, no matter how trying. 

Don't stoop to their level--you rise above it!

Sometimes, the other person may just surprise you and rise back up too and do the right thing in the end. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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June 26, 2018

Super Cool Military Wheels



The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has come up with a Reconfigurable Wheel Track (RWT). 

The tires can switch shape from round tires for flat terrain to triangular tracks for soft or rugged terrain in just 2-seconds!

You can see in the screenshot the rear wheels in tire formation and the front wheels changed to tracks. 

The agility of this technology makes for better maneuverability and survivability for our troops and their transports and combat vehicles. 

I wonder if someday soon, they will commercialize this technology so rather than all season/year tires or snow tires on our cars, we have these gorgeous ruggedized military grade babies.

I for one would gladly pay extra! ;-)

(Source Screenshot: Andy Blumenthal from here)
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Never Forget # Never Again

Please see my new article in Times of Israel

As much as we have to remember the horrors of the Holocaust and how so-called, human beings can descend into the depth of evilness inflicting hell against their fellow man, it is most critical to ensure it never happens again. 

But remembering can be extremely painful, especially for the next generation that perhaps wants to forget all the terrible tragedy and for everything to be seemingly "normal" again. 

But in the ageless war of good over evil, we must continuously fight to defend a peaceful and secure future for us and our children. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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June 24, 2018

Longing For The Slow and Happy Bungalow Days

So I used to hear from my wife about when she was young and went to the bungalow colony in the Catskill Mountains.

And today, I heard from a wonderful young Ukrainian woman whose family does the equivalent in the mountains there in the summer. 

When I listen to the stories, it sounds so good to get away with your family and friends for the summer to the countryside. 

Just live simply in a cabin, stay up late by the campfire singing songs, get up lazily in the morning, and during the day play sports, go fishing, and swim in the lake. 

I can't imagine talking 3 months a year and actually being able to do this...so natural, so carefree, so back to living!

Yes as kids, we went to camp, but it's not the same as living communally like this in such freedom and fun. 

Honestly, listening to the stories about this, left me amazingly jealous!

Perhaps, it's a lesson about life these days...we're adults, we're responsible, we have to earn a living and take care of the bills and all of life's responsibilities. 

But maybe, just maybe, there is something--a lot--to be said for letting loose a little, and just being with your loved ones, and living, really living again. 

Why do we have to wait until we're old...too old to work anymore...and maybe too old to appreciate life as life was meant to be.  

We can't run from our responsibilities but isn't it worth looking for ways in life to enjoy more than a long weekend or a week vacation.

Life is too short to let it get away from us. 

Balancing the contributions of our hard labor with the enjoyment of family, friends, and fun...those are the memories that last a lifetime and beyond. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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June 23, 2018

That Look On Their Face

So I love that look on people's face when I say something that just startles them or takes them back a little. 

The other day when I got a haircut, the barber lady was talking to me (BTW, she's a very nice person).

At one point, she says something about my hair being a little different on each side. 

So I blurt out something like:

"Well, that's because my brains are pushing it out!"

I got the funniest look from her...yes, it was priceless.

First, she's like right, of course, your brains are pushing out your hair!

Then, she looks at me, and I start smirking, and she gives me the big eyes and raised eyebrows, like a combination of that's funny and now don't be such a wise guy. 

Then, we both started laughing. 

I love that. 

I love doing that with people. 

Being alive. 

Getting a reaction. 

Making them wonder for a second. 

Getting them to smile and laugh. 

Maybe my brains are pushing my hair out!  ;-)

(Source Art: Sean M., 8th Grade Montgomery County and Photo by Andy Blumenthal)
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June 22, 2018

Everyone Deserves A Day of Rest and Happiness

So someone I know came over to this country and literally has to work 7 days a week for months at a time!

They don't want or need to work that much, but their employer insists that's the way it is. 

On top of it, they don't even get overtime for all the unbelievable hours they have to put in. 

One day, this person actually just broke down in incredible tears, just asking to get a single day off. 

Finally, finally, finally--the employer gave in--for just a single day!

The person was so happy--one day of freedom; one day to enjoy; one day to regain their inner beauty and humanity. 

I was so happy for them!

Every person deserves at least one day off per week. 

Every single one of the major religions in the world that is anchored in the Bible--Judaism, Christianity, and Islam--have a holy Sabbath as a day of rest.

There is a divine and ancient wisdom to this. 

People need a day to rejuvenate.

Everything is nature does.

Even the fields have to lay fallow every 7th year so the earth can revitalize and replenish itself. 

There is a natural cycle to things--peaks and valleys--and we need to have some rest and relaxation--to work for something and not for nothing. 

The joy on this person to just have a day off--it was so incredible and touching. 

It spoke light years to me about treating people right--just--humanly--with compassion--and doing good over evil in this world.

What does the employer need to wring an extra days work out of their employees for the rotten greed of money and profits?  

Better to care for your people, and they will be better off for it and thus to the needs of the business and its customers. 

Care for people--they are people. 

Love people--they are G-d's beautiful children. 

Treat others as you would like to be treated. 

Let everyone have a day of rest and something to look forward to--to enjoy, to have some happiness, to get time with their family and friends, to get back to themselves, to attain a deserved and proper peace of mind, body, and soul. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)  
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June 21, 2018

Square Trees




So I never saw square trees until I visited Palm Beach, Florida. 

What's the saying:
"It's hip to be square!"

I definitely had to take a doubletake when I saw these. 

Wherever we were going, I was gonna stop and get a photo of this. 

These trees are almost as if they are from another planet. 

What planet would have square trees? 

Hope you enjoy it. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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June 20, 2018

The Anxiety Filter

What a brilliant picture of "Anxiety" by a child in Montgomery County, Maryland. 

Notice the great big letters--and all in caps--for what ANXIETY feels like. 

Anxiety is black--it's when we are in a dark foreboding place and we can't find our way out--it holds us back from doing what we need and like to do. 

Anxiety feels so all-enveloping and ginormous--it dwarfs us in the "I"--and we feel so small and are paralyzed, incapable of freeing ourselves from it. 

Anxiety is a cognitive and emotional bias where we see things in black and white--everything is to the extreme--and there are no greys; we tend to talk in all or nothing and our actions may mimic our extreme feelings. 

Around the anxiety, we are bordering in blood red--we are in a dangerous place--where our feelings of fear, inadequacy, and being incapable of overcoming it can lead us to do something desperate and final. 

When we are drowning in anxiety, it is like a lens or filter that clouds our vision and thinking, so we can make bad decisions, not make any decisions, or just procrastinate in order to avoid the issue and thing we are afraid of. 

We have to fight off the octopus grip of anxiety.

We have to find our courage within and from G-d.

We have to conquer our demons so we can meet our destiny head-on. 

We have a mission to fulfill in our life, and we can't let anything get in the way. 

Fate is waiting for us to make our important contribution, so then we can be gathered to our fathers and rest in final peace. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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June 19, 2018

Terrible TV

So we bought a new big screen television. 

That's exciting, right?

We brought it home from Costco. 

And we gave our prior model away to a family member. 

It was a shlep to move that $2,000 Panasonic behemoth from 2007!

By the time we got back home and connected our new LG TV, oy vey what a disappointment. 

It had this brilliant display in "test mode" that when hooked up to the cable box looked dark and worse than lackluster. 

Even when fidgeting with the settings to offset the dark screen, the gorgeous test display mode still came out looking like crap in actual tv mode. 

But the worst part was that there was a black line down the middle right of the screen. 

When we looked it up on the Internet, it was a known error. 

The instructions said to call LG and make a service appointment. 

WTF!  To heck with this sh*tty TV--it's supposed to be brand new and actually work--so it's going back to Costco where this crappy product came from. 

I dragged this widescreen TV back to the store and put it on one of their flat wide carts. 

The problem was that the wheels on one side of the cart were busted, and it kept turning into the fence, store shelves, and wall.

When the lady behind the returns desk called me for my turn, I tried to push the cart and it wouldn't move. 

Not being able to budge this thing,  I gave it shove forward and the TV went flying from upright to horizontal--SMASH!

The lady behind the returns counter goes to me sarcastically:

"So what was wrong with it BEFORE you just knocked it over???"

Well to make a long story short, I returned the lousy LG television and got a refund. 

And instead ordered a new Samsung curved TV from Amazon--hope this one works!

As for the horrible quality control of today's electronics--it's a shame that they can't seem to make them without problems--they've only been making televisions for like 100 years or so. 

In fact, we recently bought a Dell laptop and within like 5-6 weeks, the motherboard died.  

As you can see, the vendors are wringing profits from the products they are making at the customer's expense. 

There is no quality control to speak of--instead be ready to return the junk electronics to the garbage vendors that make them. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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June 18, 2018

It's Time to Stop The Terror Arsonists

See my new article in the Times of Israel.

"Please Don't Burn Israel Anymore"

From Incendiary kites to flaming balloons, the Palestinian terrorists of Hamas need to give up their hatred of Israel and the Jewish people, and embrace love for the land and peace with their neighbors. 

Hope you enjoy the article. 

Protect the Holy Land!

(Source Photo: Picsabay)
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June 17, 2018

Today is Father's Day

What a beautiful Father's Day card from my daughter. 

Also, the message she wrote to me inside was so thoughtful and mature. 

It is wonderful for me to see her grow up to be such a lovely young lady. 

The cover of the card:

"Father:
Neither an anchor to hold us back, 
nor a sail to take us there, 
but a guiding light whose
love shows us the way."


As parents, we certainly don't have all the answers either for ourselves or certainly for our children. 

And frankly, the kids don't want us to tell them what to do or how to do it. 

The best we can really do is to be there for them--to spend time with them, to support them, to show them we really care, and to provide perspective, balance, and faith. 

I used to love going to my parent's house even if just to lay on the couch and feel the comfort of being "home" and with them. 

I didn't have to think about what I did or said--I could just be me, and they loved me for that. 

Now, I want my home to be that for my kids. 

Even though they are adults now, they know we are always here for them in any way that they want or need us. 

Our home is always their home. 

Our love is always surrounding them. 

My father used to say, he would go through fire for his family, and I always knew he meant it. 

I could count on him for anything.

I miss him always, and especially today, Father's Day. 

But I can carry on his fatherhood to my children and try to be a good dad--there, and loving and giving--no bounds, no expectations, no judgment--just love, plain and simple. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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June 16, 2018

Shabbat Risk

I haven't played Risk in years. 

But my daughter and her husband came for Shabbat, and we sat down and had a great game. 

We distributed the countries. 

Placed our enemies. 

And went to battle, army to army. 

By the time it was over, my daughter had conquered Europe, Africa, and North and South Americas.

It was so good to see her taking country after country from my son-in-law and me. 

My son-in-law joked that he had underestimated her. 

We had a good laugh and nice time just sitting down at the kitchen table and playing a board game. 

Afterward, we went down to the pool and relaxed in the deck chairs and then my wife and I took off our shoes and walked in the grass in the garden. 

I laid down on the beautiful green lawn and looked up watching some planes jet over in the clear blue sky. 

It was absolutely beautiful weather and a marvelous day today with my family. 

In the morning we went to Synagogue and the sit-down kiddush with our friends.

I am grateful to G-d for all this and for the peace of the wonderful Shabbat! 

Also, what more can a man ask for Father's Day. ;-)
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June 15, 2018

Making A Real Difference

I saw this sign posted at an organization's office. 

I thought it was a nice way to motivate people working there. 
"What people are saying:
You are making a difference."

Later in the sign, it says:
"The work you do is important."
Isn't this really what is critical to people--that what they do is important. 

Yes, we need to earn a living and pay our bills. 

And sure, we'd like something left over to save for a rainy day. 

But our lives are more than materialism. 

We are spiritual beings inside. 

At the pinnacle, we need to know that our lives mean something!

- That we are touching people's lives. 

- That we will be remembered for the good we did. 

- That our good deeds and words will live on. 

- That our children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren (etc.) will carry the lessons and message forward. 

- That we've contributed in some meaningful way to the fight of good over evil in this world and the next. 

- That we've shown proper respect and worship to our L-rd/Maker/Sustainer. 

When we make a difference, it's about so much more than what money can buy. 

It's about our soul, our contribution, and even destiny.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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June 14, 2018

Missed The Shot But Someone Else Got It

So check out this sleek garbage for bottles and cans. 

Like many of these, it has a small opening hole at the top to convey that only bottles and cans (like it says on the side) should be put in for recycling--no garbage. 

When I was walking by quickly, I took the shot, attempting to throw in my bottle.

But it bounced off the rim and landed on the floor. 

Before I could even turn around to pick it up, I saw another gentleman behind me swoop in and pick up the garbage and put it in the can for me. 

I tell you that I was really quite amazed. 

He could have easily said, I missed the can and so I should just pick up my own trash off the floor and throw it out--that's only right!

Instead, it was in his mind nothing to do this random act of kindness and he picked up my trash. 

I know it sounds like a nothing burger, but to me, it represented just a real decency from another human being. 

Not standing on ceremony.

Not being too hoity-toity to pick up the garbage.

Rather just saw something that needed to get done and doing it. 

I tell you that as much as some people disappoint me with their arrogance and evilness, others are genuinely good people. 

This is what it's all about--the good people showing the bad people what kindness, generosity, and humanity is all about. 

To the evil f*ckers out there--who are arrogant, materialistic takers, haters, bullies, aggressors, and abusers--to h*ll with you!

To the good people--keep doing good and let the good win over the evil every single time. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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June 13, 2018

Mao Tse Tung - China Leadership Watch


So this was absolutely amazing today. 

We had a meeting and someone brought in a bag of "prizes" as an icebreaker.

Low and behold, one of the items being given away was a this cool watch. 

At first, we thought it was Kim Jong-il (father of Kim Jong-un, North Korea's current leader). 

"Coincidentally," this just one day after the historic peace summit between President Trump and Kim Jong-un. 

Then later, we realized that this is Chairman Mao Tse Tung, the founding father of modern China. 

It is mind-boggling to me why anyone would give a watch like this away. 

I am curious if anyone knows what the inscription on the back is?  

Anyway, I think this watch is an amazing piece of history, especially from China's transformation to the world's largest Communist country.

I can only imagine what the history of this timepiece is and how it got here to NIST.

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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