December 31, 2015

Heading Askew

I thought I'd end the year with this photo that I took yesterday at the Hair Cuttery. 

There is this mannequin's head just laying on top of the washing machine. 

Is that what happens to customers' heads who don't cooperate with their haircuts or perhaps if they don't tip enough? 

More seriously though...

Maybe this is a good picture to summarize 2015--heads are down and the hair is all messed up, but it won't stop us from trying to wash the darn clothes going out there. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

December 30, 2015

Simplify Me

So here's the monitor in the "modern" and beautiful Fort Lauderdale International airport. 

Can you see the number of electrical plugs, wires, connections, input/output ports, etc. on this device?

Obviously, it is comical and a farce as we near the end of 2015. 

Think about the complexity in building this connecting keeping it operational.

Yes, we are moving more and more to cellular and wireless communications, to miniaturization, to simple and intuitive user interfaces, to paperless processing, to voice recognition, to natural language processing, and to artificial intelligence.

But we are not there yet.

And we need to continue to make major strides to simplify the complexity of today's technology. 

- Every technology device should be fully useful and usable by every user on first contact. 

- Every device should learn upon interacting with us and get better and better with time. 

- Every device should have basic diagnostic and self-healing capability. 

Any instructions that are necessary should be provided by the device itself--such as the device telling you step by step what to do to accomplish the task at hand--no manual, no Google instructions, no Siri questions...just you and the device interacting as one. 

User friendly isn't enough should be completely user-centric, period. 2016 or beyond, we will get there, please G-d. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

December 29, 2015

Why Yell And Intimidate The Child?

So at the table next to us this morning at breakfast was a mean looking lady and a fidgety young child. 

The lady as we found out over the course of their dialogue was the child's grandmother. 

And she wouldn't stop berating this kid, maybe 5-years old. 

Grandmother: "Don't you dare get up from the table until I'm done with my coffee, [and then this weird chilling] thank you."

Child: Obviously looking to run around and have some fun, "But I just want to go."

Grandmother:  Who has finished her breakfast and coffee and is just making a continuing point, "You'll wait until I'm done, and I say we're ready, [and again, the long controlling pause and then] thank you."

Child: "I'm tired."

Grandmother: "Then you'll go upstairs, get back into bed and go to sleep, and no tv, just sleep--you will not move!"

Child: Looks up helplessly sad.

Grandmother: Now the truth starts to come out, "You know I don't like the way you treat you mother. Your disrespectful! And that won't go with me."

Child: Appears to not really understand what she is saying and legs dangle anxiously off the chair, but clearly very afraid to get up.

Grandmother: "You'll learn to be respectful to your mother. You will learn!"

Child: Head leaning sideways on table, says nothing. 

Grandmother: Makes child wait some more and more, and finally, "Now we can go."

Child: Child picks head up and runs to take her hand. 

Grandmother: Sneers and smirks with her power over the child--she looks like a freakin' witch. 

Whole scene was sort of heartbreaking. 

My wife and I look at each other, and shake our heads.

This was not teaching or loving, but something else and it wasn't normal or nice. 

I say, "Perhaps, when a child is abused this way--day after day, year after year--this is why they grow up and then do horrible and hateful things."

It's amazing how adults take out their issues on children--and they think it's legit--but deep down you can see it really isn't--and the children and society pays for the sins of the adults. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)


December 28, 2015

Social Inequality To Make You Sick

Here's a copy of the sticker price on the car in the lobby of the local mall in Florida here. 

Oh, it's just a 2016 Rolls Royce for a mere $362,225.00

The car was unbelievably gorgeous.

But the extravagance of it compared with the regular poor, hungry and homeless people on the streets as well as the vast majority of all the other everyday middle class people is enough to make you want to puke. 

Immediately after this, when we got back to the hotel, the maid was still in the room cleaning up.

I had the opportunity to see--really see--this lady--this person. 

She was overly respectful, calling me sir numerous times, unnecessarily. 

She was kind in finishing the room quickly and asking if their was anything else we needed.

But I also noticed that despite her labor-intensive job cleaning up other people's shit in the hotel rooms, she had a bum leg and had trouble walking and just getting around. 

I thought to myself why was it that this poor lady was destined to have to clean my and other people's hotel rooms for a grueling living.

The next day, I saw some mini shampoo and conditioner containers that had fallen to the side of the tiny garbage can in the bathroom (didn't make the shot).  

I looked down--I thought for a split second, that's what the hotel get's paid for to clean up and service the guests--but only for a SPLIT second.

Then I bent my own stupid ass over, and picked up the bottles and put them in the garbage where they belong. 

The lady coming to clean the room doesn't drive a Rolls Royce and definitely, neither do I. 

We are one under G-d, and may he bless us all in prosperity, health, and peace. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

December 27, 2015

Next @7Eleven

This lady is a scream at 7-Eleven. 

With the looks, personality, and humor, she should definitely have her own tv show.  

Great times in Florida (thank you Hashem). ;-)

(Source Video: Andy Blumenthal)

December 26, 2015

Can't Live With 'Em & Without 'Em

Remember the funny comedy show, Married with Children.

The theme song is playing in my head, "Love and marriage, love and marriage, go together like a horse and carriage."

Love and marriage--it's something we all aspire to. 

Like in Noah's ark, we all want to couple off and be with that special person that complements us, can finish our sentences, helps us grow and develop and reach our potential, and of course raise a family!

This last couple of days for me the overarching theme has been the importance of a good marriage.

First I saw this funny sign that said, "Get married once, and do it right."

Well, okay...

Then the wonderful Rabbi Kaplan of Chabad, here in Downtown Fort Lauderdale, spoke to us about the great joy and "naches" (pride and gratification) of marriage and family.

And once again, when my wife asked this classy lady she met in Florida, how she stayed so thin, the lady responded, "It's the divorce diet."

Ah, eat your heart out baby...that's not the best way to lose weight now, is it? 

Anyway, it's a true blessing to find that great match, and when there is an overall healthy relationship built on respect, trust, good communication, and of course being best friends. 

I wish I had that (just kidding...).  :-))

Perhaps a nice New Years wish is for everyone to find their soulmate and live happily ever after. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

December 25, 2015

Technology Forecast 2016

Andy Blumenthal talks about three technology imperatives for 2016.

1) Medical technology
2) Counter-terrorism technology
3) Space technology

Enjoy and happy New Year!

December 24, 2015

Type A-nus

So it's the first full day of vacation in Florida.

And as it goes, you transition from the busy everyday world of work and chores to a more relaxing vacation mode...Ahhhh!

As I'm still transitioning, my wife says to me, "Stop your type A-ness."

Then we look at each other and start cracking up, because it sounds like she says "Type A-nus."

Okay 7-year olds, stop the silliness.

But maybe she is right, we need to pull our heads out of our asses, and look up at the sky, savor the warm sunshine on our faces, take a breath of fresh beautiful air, and just chill!

A-ness, or A-nus--either way, stop it and live free. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

December 23, 2015

Popcorn Delight

So we made it to Florida, but the plane ride was horrible.

Spent an hour and a half on the tarmac waiting to take off because of "low clouds."

Is that for real?  

It was raining outside and the damp air and smell on the plane was sickening.

But we made it, and in Florida, it's always happy and nice--air was warm, the sun was out, and the people were in holiday party spirits. 

Headed straight to the pool and had a great swim--pushed myself even though still woosy from the turbulent flight.

We had a nice dinner and then stopped in this store with amazing popcorn--covered in caramel drizzle and milk chocolate. 

Only in Florida (these were no Cracker Jacks)!

The lady gave me a sample and I passed it off to my daughter and wife--oops, the one with the big chocolate gob fell on the floor.

Then we passed this tattoo place and watched this guy in the widow getting a huge tattoo on his calf of this fantastical women's face. The lady proprietor tried to convince us to come in--ah, no thanks. 

Next was a bottle of wine for the night and back to the hotel. 

Looking forward to more adventures this week. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)


Wicked Good Waffles

Just wanted to share this yummy waffle from the Wicked Waffle in Bethesda, Maryland. 

This waffle was steaming hot and had sugared flour and chocolate drizzle and had less than 200 calories!

The Wicked Waffle has all sorts of waffle sandwiches...made fresh right there in front of you. 

Grilled cheese, egg and cheese, tuna melt, tomato with mozzarella and arugula, waffle french toast, also meat waffle sandwiches (but those not kosher). 

The only food that can take on waffles is pancakes, but these wicked waffles will give any pancake a very big run for the money. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)


December 22, 2015

Mortality Unlimited

So this week, there seems to be a theme of human frailty and mortality and I wanted to share it. 

While it is the holidays and we are celebrating and happy to be with our family and loved ones, it is also a time to miss those that are gone, care and pray for those that are not well, and give thanks for our own blessings.

5 examples in one week (and trust me, I am holding back):

1) Death of family member - One wonderful lady in the office who recently lost her mother (her mom was in her very early 60s and just didn't wake up one morning) came to the holiday party, but looked sad. I asked about her well-being, and she said she is doing well, but is still remembering and dealing with the recent loss of her mom who she was so close with. We talked briefly how it takes time to mourn and heal, and frankly, we never really get over it. 

2) Death of friend - A women I know just lost a very good friend (early 40s) to Kidney failure. She is on vacation, but is sad mourning over the loss, and also recognizing her own mortality and that anything can happen at anytime. 

3) Very ill teenager - A teenager was at a recent Shabbat event with her peers celebrating G-d and her Jewishness, and at the event revealed that she has a brain disease and the doctors told her she only has a few months to live. She said that unfortunately she will never get to see her wedding day. It was heartbreaking. 

4) Sick children - A colleague at work took a few hours off to deliver holiday gifts to the local children's hospital. She helped start an organization to raise money and support children with cancer and other devastating illnesses. It was a very beautiful thing to give back to the innocent kids. 

5) Aging gracefully - A friend who recently hit the big 6-0 was a little depressed. When I asked him how he's dealing with it, he acknowledged that it's hard, but that he had all year to prepare (smile). But at the same time, he said that he can't help looking back on his life as well as thinking forward to what comes next. He's had his share of illness, but medical science (with G-d's help) saved his life so far. We talked about not knowing what happens but that he could have another 30 "good years" or that sometimes having a quick, peaceful end can be okay too--since quality of life matters as much or more than quantity. 

The point from all this is not to be sad, but to realize we are but "flesh and blood" and we are alive only because G-d sustains us. 

What we can do is take care of ourselves and our loved ones and make the most of each and every day. We are not guaranteed any number of years or anything else, so each moment is as precious and needs to be lived as if it could be the last. 

Savor your blessings, because that is what they are--as my mother-in-law says, you are entitled to and the world owes you nothing.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

December 21, 2015

Heads Down December

This was a funny photo I took on the Washington, D.C. Metro.

The guy in the center seems to be listening to some music, but everyone else is nodding off and has their heads down. 

End of the year, right before the holidays maybe people are a little burnt out and need to refresh their motivational juices. 

Anyway, this is not good for the "see something, say something" culture in the age of terrorism that we are living in--these folks are not seeing anything in this groggy state. 

To a heads up and brighter new year. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

December 20, 2015

Can You Say Coalition?

So count up the number of times the word coalition was thrown around last night in the DNC Presidential Debate. 

Every last sentence to every question asked was like: 

We need a coalition to defeat ISIS.

We need a coalition outside the U.S. to defeat terrorists grabbing land, and inside the U.S. to defeat the lone attackers. 

We need a coalition for climate change. 

We need a coalition to get our economy back on track.

We need a coalition to better regulate guns. 

We need a coalition on immigration reform. 

Of course, as the superpower, we can't seem to do anything for ourselves anymore. 

We are disengaged, leading from behind, and have no real answers to any of the big problems we face. 

No matter that we have been using a coalition to fight ISIS these last number of years, and success has been marginal at best as they keep recruiting on social media. 

No matter that we can't get binding agreements with Iran as they shoot off new ballistic missiles capable of carrying nukes into the ether, or on global warming because each country in the end will do what they want in their own best interests. 

No matter that ISIS, Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea does what they want and don't need permission, forgiveness, or anything from anybody--they pursue what is good for them and they are relentless in getting it. 

No matter that we constantly show fear and weariness and helplessness in the face of our enemies that have the resolve, patience, and determination to fight as long as it takes and do whatever it takes to win. 

One candidate spurted something about, "Do you know how many coalitions I've put together" or "I've been putting together coalitions for years" (like that has achieved what exactly)?"

Terrorism is on the rise from Paris to California, ISIS is on the move grabbing up territory from Iraq and Syria and now even in Libya, the world is an unstable powder keg from Taiwan to Sudan, and our problems at home are growing worse (national debt, racial discord, etc.)

Oh, we need to get Saudi Arabia and Qatar and Iraq to step up to the plate, so said another one of the candidates last night. 

But we spend billions and billions training them, and they are happy to take the American dollars, but when the first shot is fired, the troops head for the hills...why should they get killed fighting a war that we care about and against their own brothers.

You can't relegate your problems to others or ask others to pick up your slack, while you sit back and drop some bombs from the air--la la la la. 

Are we in a complete and utter leadership void and stupor?

Coalitions are only effective when there is leadership and resolve.

Coalitions are a cop-out when we are stymied to fight for ourselves, to stand up for our beliefs and values, to demonstrate we are committed, and to lead the charge. 

Cowardice will lose the war and much else...if we don't get off the coalition's dime. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

December 19, 2015

Politics Has Us Lost

So we've become a nation that only seems to be moving, but yet is heading nowhere fast.  

Shock and awe and "sound and fury, signifying nothing."

Think about it!

Where are we going?

- Are we growing, innovating, leading. 

- Are we spreading our ideals of freedom, human rights, and democracy.

- Are we a nation the defends those in need and is a refuge for those under duress.

- Are we a country that is safe and secure from threats external and internal. 

- Are we united and heading in a clear direction with a strategy and making incremental steps towards our goals.

- Where are we on critical programs for the future from genuinely protecting our environment with binding agreements to investments in our space program to discover, travel, and build our destiny beyond just here. 

- Do we have the love and respect of our friends and the fear of those that are against our way of life.

- Are the decisions that are being made bringing together those from across the political aisle and are they particularly fruitful in terms of making a real difference in people's lives or in our future.

- Why is the system so broken and we don't even hear any real ideas anymore about how to fix it.

- Why do we hear about Obamacare, trade deals, deals with Iran, deals over global warming, deals over Syria, budget deals, yet don't see or feel any tangible differences in our lives--or feel any passion from those making the decisions.

- Where is the grand vision to really put a man on Mars, solve poverty, or cure cancer.

- Why is Russia grabbing what they want with Crimea, planning a permanent station on the moon, and creating air and naval bases in Syria and we can't even train some rebels to fight.

- Why are we afraid to call radical Islamic terrorism what it is and to fight them over there before they come over here.

- Why do we bounce back and forth unable to overcome basic problems like with our flailing education system first centralizing federally with "No Child Left Behind" and then decentralizing to the States with "Every Student Succeeds."

- Why do we reign in the budget one year with Sequestration only to expand the budget with unpaid tax cuts the next.

- Why do we call for a strong military and then cut their budget and undercut their mandate to get their job done. 

- Why do we stress the importance of cybersecurity, but then lose the security clearances and personnel information of the entire federal, intelligence, and military workforce.

- Why do we let in terrorists and criminals to our country and are then surprised when they commit violent acts against our people. 

- Why do we hurt allies and embrace enemies.

- Why do we stymie debate and opposition disrespecting others, calling them horrible names, threatening them, and working to destroy them instead of embracing healthy debate and compromise. 

- Why do we claim transparency, but then hide behind obscurity. 

This could be the list that never ends, which goes on and on my friends, some rationale people started asking common sense questions, not knowing how broken this system was, and they'll just keep questioning it forever just makes no sense. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

December 18, 2015

You're Getting Milked

If you have a pulse and have been to the stores or even shopping online lately (hey, it's the holidays so of course you have), you know that prices are on the rise.

And this is amazing, because--

Major factors point to pricing that should be driven down:

- Commodities--which are the basic raw materials from agriculture to oil and gas and metals and mining--are at a more than 16-year low!

- Manufacturing has moved to low cost sourcing countries (China, India, Vietnam, Africa, etc.)

- Technology continues to benefit us in terms of cost-efficiencies from the transformation to robotics and automation.

Yet, we keep on seeing prices move ever higher:

Just a few examples...

- "Housing market is on fire" with existing home prices exceeding the pre-recession peak!

- "Car prices at records highs - and rising"

- "Food prices are sky high"--it's not your imagination.

- Fashion "prices rising so fast"

- Health care spending is "again accelerating"

- "College costs are so high and rising."

Forget the B.S. of the basket of inflation stats your being know that your bills are going up, while your income is stagnant.

The real question is why is the middle class always getting milked--whose interest does it serve? ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

December 17, 2015

Save Our Children

I was very taken by this ad yesterday for the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children

NCMEC is primarily funded by the Justice Department for preventing and assisting with solving child abductions, child sexual abuse, and child pornography. 

It's horrible when something bad happens to to an adult, but when it happens to a child--that is catastrophic. 

I remember my dad used to say when he went to the funeral for a child--"A child is supposed to bury his [/her] parents, and not the other way around!"

It is unthinkable the pain that a helpless child goes through when taken or abused.

And for the parents, who are responsible for and love that child, I don't think they can ever rest or be at peace for a single moment, until the child is, please G-d, safe again. 

This reminds me of the tragedy this week, where a one-year old child was one of the victims in a terror car-ramming at a bus stop in Israel that wounded 11 people. 

Unfortunately, the baby's leg that had been nearly severed by the terror attack, was unfortunately lost despite heroic attempts by the doctors to save his leg.

What did this kid do to deserve such a trauma and fate? 

As the NCMEC motto states, "Every child deserves a safe childhood."

How can people be so cruel to others and especially to innocent children?  

Despite G-d's love and caring in this world, evil still exists and every time a child goes missing, is exploited, or is hurt/killed is proof of this, and is a mandate of our need to fight for their good. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

December 16, 2015


This is a funny sticker on the streets of Washington, D.C.

It says, "This is not New York."

And it advertises a website called

"Formed by a few friends who've probably lived in the capital long enough, but lack the wherewithal to move elsewhere."

Having come from NYC, I can empathize in many ways. 

The DC metro area is great if you are interested in working in some very cool jobs for the Federal government, and it has a fairly nice lifestyle for families here (clean and green). 

While not as exciting as NYC (it doesn't have the vibe), it's also not as dirty, congested, or generally dangerous (in DC, there are lots of gun-totting federal agents everywhere).

If you yearn for someplace nicer to live, maybe Florida for the Caribbean climate, beautiful nature, slower lifestyle, and fun atmosphere or then again, there is always the awesome Holy Land!

For now stuck in DC, after retirement who knows. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

December 15, 2015

Letting It Out

We hit the boxing gym last night for a little tour. 

Guys and gals working out on the punching bags, mitts, and pads. 

It was great to see the energy--push ups, sits ups, weaving and jabbing, kicks, and more. 

They even had an Israeli self-defense class, taught by what I believe was a non-Israeli--that was a little strange.  

I asked one guy who looked like he'd been around the block there, if he was one of the instructors, and he told me how he's been boxing for 30 years. 

Curious, I said "What did you do before boxing?" He said, "Fighting! I've been fighting my entire life."

Anyway, whoever is laying around the house in front of the boob tube day and night--you need to get out and try some moving and shaking. 

Great stuff, and right in the mold of my role model, Rocky!  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

December 14, 2015

Looking For Astronauts - Apply Here

So cool!!!

OPM Job announcement today for Astronauts.

Work for NASA at the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center.

Train for missions to the International Space Station, on two new commercial spacecraft, and for the Orion  deep-space exploration vehicle.

To go where no man or woman has gone before...

Dreams do come true!;-)

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Paul Hudson)

Taste The Snowman

Thought this was quite creative 

And probably tasty too. 

A snowman made out of vanilla ice cream. 

With red fruity eyes. 

(and a dangerous--do not eat--green thumbtack nose!) 

The hands are little flags from the Silver Diner. 

Very cute, festive, and mostly edible. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

December 13, 2015

Freedom Is Worth It

This was a photo I took of a sign in my daughter's old high school.

It says, "Respect for Self, Others, and the Environment."

That is a great principle, which I was reminded of today in sitting for an IT certification exam--how lucky we are to live in a country that affords us respect to be speak, write, and practice as we believe. 

In this case, the certification exam was typically given on Saturday, but as a Sabbath observer, I was able to provide a request for an accommodation, and was able to take the exam this morning, Sunday.

What was absolutely amazing to me though going for the exam at this designated fancy facility, in Washington, D.C.--and with two proctors--was that I was the only one taking the exam today.

This was not just some lip-service tolerance for differences, but rather true respect for diversity, even when it's not convenient and it is costly. 

I have got to say, how grateful I am to be part of a society where we are free to be who we are--what can be more amazing than that?

I feel this all the more when we are at a time in history when still so many in the world are battling dictatorships, demagogues, terrorist and corrupt regimes that impose harsh restrictions, censorship, monitoring, and severe punishments on those who don't follow the dictates of the authority holding power. 

When we fight those restrictive regimes--from ISIS to Communism--that are looking not just to hold, but to spread their clutches on power and abuses of freedom--we are really fighting to be who we are and that is a serious fight worth having. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

December 12, 2015

Helping Kids To Stand On Their Own

So my wife and I have a longstanding disagreement on the best way of teaching children. 

Her perspective:

TEACH TO CARE - Get the kids to do them for themselves, learn to be independent, by doing they learn to stand on their own two feet, don't baby them, by teaching them to do for themselves you are caring for the kids, if you jump every time they ask then there is no reason for them to try themselves.

His perspective:

CARE TO TEACH - Do for the kids when they are young, by showing them how then they start to learn how to do it for themselves later in life, children need to be shown love and caring so they can learn to one day care for themselves as well as for others, by loving and giving selflessly to children they learn that they are valuable human beings and grow to a healthy maturity. 

The reality:

CARE AND TEACH - We need to show care and love to children, but also need to teach them to do for themselves. We can't smother children nor can we send them out into the world unprepared. Care for them at an early age, show them how, and then give them opportunities to do it for themselves and become full adults. 

Like with most things in marriage, and relationships in general, the bringing together of two heads and hearts is better than just one alone. We balance each other, complement each other, and synergize each other--one is alone and deficient, two is together and with G-d making three, it is a whole. 

And always tell your wife she was right. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

December 11, 2015

Judeo-Christian - Friendship and Ties

So over Thanksgiving holiday, we went to see the new Seth Rogen movie, The Night Before

It's full of crazy antics as they party on Christmas eve, and Rogen, the token Jew, gets himself in all sorts of trouble, including throwing up in the mass from too much partying. 

But what I liked most about the movie was the friendship between people--in this case, between Christians and Jews.

Today, I read with great joy about the Vatican commemorating the 50th anniversary of the "Nostra Aetate" (which I must say I was completely ignorant about), but which very importantly does the following:

1) Repudiates the charge of "Jewish deicide," exonerating Jews of any collective guilt for the death of Jesus. 
2) Affirms that G-d's covenant with Jews was never revoked.
3) Recognizes Christianity's Jewish roots. 

Continuing these positive developments between us, yesterday the Vatican issued a new document clarifying that the church exempts Jews from conversion, and that Jews are not excluded from G-d's salvation because they don't believe in Jesus. 

I think it is wonderful that in modern times, there has been an affirmation of the unity of mankind amidst a monotheist belief in G-d Almighty, our father, and the creator and sustainer of us all. 

The closer relations between Jew and Christians, especially over the last half century is a wonderful milestone that should, please G-d, grow stronger over time. 

Moreover, we should similarly see the people of all religions focus on our commonalties, rather than on our differences, and on doing good deeds one to the other, rather than fighting in the name of religion. 

Religion is peace and love, serving G-d and doing good--the rest is B.S. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

December 10, 2015

Bigotry Reveals Her Stripes


What an outrageous article in the Daily News by morally-bankrupt journalist, Linda Stasi (yeah, like the repressive secret East German police in the Cold War). 

Ms. Stasi calls out as deserving of death, the single Jewish victim of terror in the latest terror attack in San Bernardino that killed 14 and injured 21, where according to Stasi only "13 innocent people are dead", because the one "Born Again Christian/Messianic Jew" was what she judges as a bigot. 

Stasi tries to create some sort of ridiculous moral equivalency between mass murdering terrorists who pledged allegiance to ISIS and mowed down dozens of municipal employees in California with the Jewish guy who posted some stuff on Facebook. 

Vehemently anti-Republican, Stasi, lashes out at conservative, Mr. Thalasinos with posts that were supportive of  conservative political commentator, Ann Coulter and "pro-NRA" and "anti-Planned Parenthood" -- neither of which are bigoted things, but are conservative political views in America!

Similarly, Stasi accuses the victim, Thalasinos of being "anti-government" for questioning things like whether politicians are "bought and paid for" or are "moron[s]" -- when Stasi should be aware that approval ratings for politicians (e.g. Congress) has slipped to a dismal 11%.

Finally, Stasi goes after Thalasinos for an inappropriate negative comment about a Muslim Million Man march and for saying G-d should destroy, Axis of Evil, Iran that has repeatedly threatened to Annihilate friend and Ally, Israel as well as threatens the entire Western world. 

Apparently, Stasi is quite hateful of many many people as she is neither concerned about Iranian threats of Jewish Genocide, dishonoring victims of terror (which she has a history of doing such as with Charlie Hebdo), or accepting those with opposing political views to hers (i.e. Conservatives). 

She has defamed the memory of the dead victim of terror, Mr. Thalasinos, and the Daily News owes it to itself and its readers to immediately dismiss the one true hateful bigot in this story, Ms. Linda Stasi.

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Blake Emrys)

December 9, 2015

Global Chaos But G-d Is On Watch

We are continuing to see the number 613 (a critical number representing G-d's commandments to us in the Torah).

I wrote about this in my post last month (Nov 26).

Yesterday, I randomly looked up at this guy cleaning in front of one of the GW University buildings and there it is...613. 

On Sunday, we stopped for something to eat (see receipt total with the scrambled 613 in it)...$16.38.

The principle of divine intervention in everything we do in our lives is a paramount religious belief, and in Judaism, we learn that not a leaf falls from the tree without it coming from G-d. 

The times we are living in is certainly not normal with terror and war on nearly every horizon (ISIS, Iran, Russia, North Korea, and China to name just a few around the globe), a growing threat from WMD, the economy in shambles, government debt exploding, energy, mining, and other commodities in free-fall, and global warming continuing to heat things up

Further, with immense conflict and political dysfunction in how to deal with these challenges, and amazingly little to no resolve to seemingly even address many of them at all, the views and positions are moving toward extremes and the people's emotions seem to range from generalized frustration to genuine fury.

The story isn't over on all these fronts for America or the rest of the world, but I believe even if leadership's heart is hardened and progress seems almost completely stymied in the face of emerging global chaos, G-d is watching and guiding things very closely at this historic time. ;-)

(Source Photos: Andy and Dossy Blumenthal)

December 8, 2015

Counter Terrorism Response Level: DYSFUNCTIONAL

OMG, this is completely dysfunctional and embarrassing. 

Can we stop the fighting among ourselves--Democrats and Republicans, Judeo-Christians and Muslims, CNN and FOX, NRA and gun control advocates, immigration pros and foes, etc.)


Instead focus and go after the real murderous culprits--the radical Islamist terrorists who are killing, imprisoning, torturing, raping, enslaving, and taking over vast lands to build a shariah-rule caliphate and take our freedoms and lives away?

We are losing the war on terror, because we can't get our collective act together! ;-)

(Source Photo: adapted from here with attribution for original to Elliott Brown)

If Terror Fits

There is the old saying that "If the shoe fits, wear it" or as this holiday shopping sign says, "Buy it!

I know everyone has their personal filters through which they see the world--many of these come from family, friends, community, teachers, religion, personal experiences, or even innate personality.

One thing that I think many people are struggling with these days with politics is what possible filters are guiding many concerning policies of our country resulting in:

- The tepid response to terror attacks on this country as well as in Paris, London, and Jerusalem.

- The clamping down on free speech in the wake of terror.

- The lax immigration checks on refugees.

- The dangerous spread of ISIS after the withdrawal from Iraq.

- The disappearing red line in Syria.

- The emboldening Iranian nuke deal.

- The bias perceived against friend and ally, Israel.

- The unbriddled Russian resurgence.

- The lumbering pivot to address Chinese militarization.

We are living in chaotic world times, and we need strong hands on the rudder to safeguard the people and future of the country--for that we need to understand where politics and politicians are coming from that may be leading to either sound or compromised decisions and the resulting return and risk to the fate of us all. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)


December 7, 2015

Makeup That Leaves You Wondering

So I was in Macy's yesterday doing some holiday shopping for the girls. 

And came across these eye-catching advertisements for MAC cosmetics, especially lipstick. 

The one with the mustache lip and the big gap in the front teeth caught attention--like what in the world is that?  

And the poster with twenty-one different lips certainly let you know that there is quite a bit that makeup can do to express your lips and yourself. 

Overall, thought it was quite an effective advertisement, even if the one with the mustache was a little gender confusing. ;-)

(Source Photos: Andy Blumenthal)


December 6, 2015

Amazing Chanukah Photo

A colleague at work showed me this photo: front and back. 

In it, the Chanukah candles in the window defy the evil Nazi banner in front of their headquarters in Germany and foretelling of the impending Jewish genocide and world war.

On the back on the photo is written:

"Chanukah 5692 [1931]. Judea dies says the banner. Judea will live forever responds the lights."

As we are once again living in a time of brutal terrorist violence and a moral black hole in civilization, we must again turn to Hashem and the Menorah to light up the darkness of our times. 

May G-d have mercy on His people and bless them in peace. ;-)

December 5, 2015

Happy 25th Anniversary!

Tomorrow night is the first night of Chanukah. 

That is when 25-years ago, I first met and went out with my lovely wife, Dossy. 

I picked her up at work in mid-town, and wined and dined her at Ratner's on the Lower East Side in NYC.

We talked, laughed, and I couldn't take my eyes off her!

We ended the evening with her writing her phone number in lipstick on a little piece of paper, and she told me to call her again. 

I came home in 7th heaven, and my dad asked me how it went, and smiling ear-to-ear, I said "This is the one!"

My dad said, "It's the first night of Chanukah, the holiday of miracles, so please G-d!"

I think Dossy and I went out 2 more times just that week, and the rest is beautiful history.

Thank you Hashem for mercifully granting my lovely wife and two beautiful daughters, Minna and Rebecca. 

I appreciate every moment of every day with Dossy and my girls--for the precious time on Earth we have together, for caring when the chips are down, for celebrating the good times, and for putting up with me. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

December 4, 2015

Conventional "Wisdom" On Terrorism

Define "Terrorism".

If a Jew/Israeli defends themselves or their ancestral homeland, it's illegal, deplorable, and will utterly be condemned by the United Nations and in the media. 

If a radical Islamist attacks innocent civilians and commits extreme violent acts, they're freedom fighters, resisting occupation, or maybe it's just workplace violence. 

(Source Comic: Andy Blumenthal)


December 3, 2015

Unwillingness To Face Inconvenient Facts

The Wall Street Journal today has a poignant editorial by Daniel Henninger on the fractured nation we have become. 

Henninger describes the feeling of a country ranging from fury to depression when an underlying vibrant free nation is overcome by a political fantasy of global disengagement and a doctrine of leadership from behind.

And it's not just the continued downtrodden state domestically--see photo above from this morning's homeless and hungry on Washington, D.C.'s streets. 

But blinded by a fearful political undertone that can't even utter the words radical Islamists, we have taken it yet another wayward step further unable to utter the words terrorism.

With respect to the mass murder of at least 14 in California yesterday by--multiple Islamist attackers blasting off AR-15 assault rifles--the FBI in Los Angeles says this, terrorism "is a possibility, but we don't know that yet, and we're not willing to go down the road yet."

There is not even anymore a facade of objectivity where we say perhaps something like: it certainly look's like terrorism, but we need to investigate and verify--instead what we get is an unwillingness to face down our enemies and the terror of our times or even to openly consider the possibility. 

Ha, it COULD BE that these are 2 completely non-radicalized folks, who happen to have terrorist ties and communications, just found the guns and pipe bombs on the side of the road, got abducted by aliens who brainwashed them to commit mass murder, and just coincidentally after ISIS threatened attacks in the U.S.--anything is possible.

But terrorism--that's RIDICULOUS!

From the disgraceful suffering of the downtrodden and needy individuals on our streets across America to the global disorder that we are seeing daily, we are continuing to lose ground, respect, and time. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)


December 2, 2015

Thank You, See Ya

So one of our contractors was moving on to a new position. 

It was toward the end of the day, and I saw him getting ready to leave the building.

I went over to him to thank him for his service, tell him how we appreciated his contributions, and wish him well for the future. 

Someone nearby overhead me talking with him, and in a lighthearted joking way says, "That's not what you told me about him by the elevators [one of our typical watercooler chat spots]," and then he gave a big smile.

He is another wonderful person and I understood he meant it in complete fun, but I couldn't help feeling bad for the other person, and his thinking perhaps that people were talking bad about him somehow. 

I know I am a sensitive person, but somehow I could sort of feel the possible sting for the person leaving.

Sensing maybe something gone wrong, the other person came over afterwards and sort of apologized that he didn't mean anything bad, which I knew of course.

We all like to have a good congenial relationship in the office, but I suppose even well-intentioned joshing around has to be thoughtful and with good timing. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

December 1, 2015

Awesome Northeast Fall Season

Just wanted to share this awesome photo that my beautiful daughter, Michelle, took this last week. 

I love how it vividly captures the Fall colors, the falling leaves, and the changing seasons. 

The bridge seems to magically span the lush green before with the orange and tan hues of the after all under a clear light blue sky. 

The scene definitely looks like a cozy and happy time and place I want to be in. ;-)

(Source Photo: Michelle Blumenthal)