August 31, 2017

VICE News Superior

So I have started watching VICE News and you should too. 

It is on HBO and is superior to the other big news outlets in so many ways. 

The intensity and clarity of their photography and videos is unbelievable!

My daughter said to me:
"This is clearer than REAL life!"

And she was right...I don't know how they do it. 


Also, they remove all the clutter from the news screen that CNN, MSNBC, and others use at the top and bottom of the screen--instead it's just clean, focused, and right to the news point. 

VICE puts the key messages in callouts right on the screen in large and easy to read boxes--the impact is you see the visual and the print message dramatically together and you get it and remember it!

They do this for their photos and videos.

Finally, with all the "talk is cheap" news these days, it is nice that VICE seems to focus more on reporting and less on subjective opinion. 

With all the failing, fake, and alternative news out there, it is nice to see that someone has invented a better news program.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Vice News)
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August 30, 2017

Always An Evil Cersei

So Games of Thrones session 7 was fantastic!

And the evil ruler of Westeros in King's Landing, Cersei Lannister, never ceases to amaze in her deviousness and wrongdoing. 

There is a great existential threat to the 7 Kingdoms as 100,000 strong army of White Walkers and a zombie dragon (as Air Force) invades from beyond the wall in the far north.

And while Jon Snow (King of the North) and Daenerys Targaryen (Queen heir to the 7 Kingdoms) unites to fight them, Cersei seeks to win it all for herself. 

Cersei gives her word to join them with her armies in the fight against the invaders, but instead she backtracks and plans to conquer them from the south as they faceoff with the enemy to the north. 

This is the classic treachery of getting the upper hand and working to divide and conquer. 

As the Queen of Evil, Cersei will torture and kill anyone in her path to power, even threatening her own brother and incest partner, Ser Jaime, so turning on her competition to the Iron Throne is just a walk in the park for her. 

Unfortunately, this is really a tale of everyday life...where people band together to fight big enemies that threaten us--whether from violence, poverty, or illness--and someone always uses the war of the day as an opportunity to benefit themselves. 

Whether it's arms trafficking, human smuggling, drug profiteering, intellectual property theft, money laundering or someone else trying to get rich, famous, and powerful by exploiting an opening for themselves, there is always a Cersei! 

Cerseis are people that don't care about solving large institutional or global problems--but instead are selfish and seek to capitalize on them.

While the White Walkers invade, Cersei is counting bodies of her enemies fending them off, while she seeks to take over once the battlefield is full of everyone else's corpses. 

Cerseis are people you know at work, school, in the community and in politics...they take when others give, and they don't give back in return, because they want what everyone else has and works for, and that is how they win the Game of Thrones in everyday life.

How do you stop the Cerseis of the world--anyone got some Dragonglass? ;-)

(Source Photo: here with attribution to HBO via the New York Times)
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August 29, 2017

Doctors In Houston

With the crisis of Hurricane Harvey and the rains still battering Houston...

It was so amazing to read this morning about the doctors who are going all out to help people in need there.

Doctors staying in the hospital for days to cover their patients stuck there and requiring care and treatment.

And others that are wading through the waters at there own risk to get there to treat the sick.

One doctor mentioned was Adi Diab M.D. who trekked 3 miles through a foot of water to get Anderson Cancer Center "to attend to a patient undergoing an experimental cancer treatment."

He did this so as not to interfere with the patients scheduled treatment for the re-engineering of immune cells to fight a tumor.

I'll tell you, there really are some truly amazing people out there--whether doctors and nurses, firefighters and emergency responders, law enforcement and military personnel.

They run into danger and disaster zones when everyone else is running out. 

Is it professionalism, dedication, duty, or an angelic calling to help people and the nation in need.

This is our nation at its best--united!!!--and helping our neighbors, saving lives, and putting others before self.

"Houston there is a problem", and as unbelievably horrible and unfortunate as it is, perhaps it is also a critical reminder of what's really important and a healing to our great nation.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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August 28, 2017

Thank You To The Rescuers

With all the devastation going on around Houston and the Gulf Coast from Hurricane Harvey...

I thought it would be nice to just take a moment to reflect.

First, the pain and suffering of the people affected. 

I couldn't believe last night when I saw this image of residents in a assisted nursing facility sitting up to the necks in flood waters.

Or this morning, when I saw a photo in the Wall Street Journal of a firefighter holding a mother with her baby daughter lying on her, rescuing them through the waters. 

With over 3,000 rescues performed for people stranded in attics, rooftops, in cars, and all over the city and surroundings, I also think it's important to recognize all the firefighters and other emergency workers who put their lives on the line to help others. 

The Houston area is expected to get 50 inches of rain in under a week, which is what their usual annual rainfall is. 

So there is massive flooding and damage from Harvey as well as 250,000 people without power. 

My prayers go out to the people impacted and gratitude to the people who help them. 

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Huffington Post)
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August 27, 2017

That's Lucky

So a retail establishment opened in the area.

They had all these cat symbols hung inside. 

I asked the owner what it said, and she told me:
"Lucky Cat"

Why a cat symbolizes luck I don't really know.

But the bigger question is whether there is any such thing as luck in the first place.

We constantly wish people good luck on any and every aspect of their lives: from birth to bar/bat mitzvahs, engagements, weddings, graduations, new jobs, journeys, and basically anything we embark on. 

That's what Mazel Tov means--good luck!

But I thought we believe in G-d and not luck?

We strive through prayer, charity, repentance, and all sort of good deeds to try and move the scale of justice in our favor. 

With the Jewish high holidays approaching next month--Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur--we do everything to atone for our sins and commit to being better in the future. 

We seek G-d's mercy and his blessings. 

There is no arbitrary luck or fortune. 

Life is what we make out of it. 

What about the Massachusetts women who won $758 million in Powerball last week or the person that gets cancer or some other horrible tragedy--did they deserve it?

I suppose it's impossible for us to judge why some people have amazing fortune and others have schlimazel (misfortune).

As it says in Genesis (18:25):
"Shall not the judge of all the Earth do justly?"

Surely, G-d has the bigger picture and the omniscience to know what is good for us and what is not. 

How he tests us and tries us and to what ends...that is a matter of faith and conviction--and we believe that it is all ultimately for our best. 

The judge of all Earth...please have mercy on us and bestow your blessings on us, your faithful children. 

As to the lucky cat--wave us some good vibes--all long as we realize that we all need G-d's grace! ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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August 26, 2017

Look Down To Feel Up

Listen, everyone has problems.

Whoever I talk to has something bad and fairly serious to complain about, and there seems to be new things coming all the time.

Just today, I heard from one person who went to the dentist with a tooth pain only to discover it had been silently infected for over a year, and was so serious that it literally could've killed him.

Another person told be about having a child with special needs and moving to an area with a school that could more effectively deal and help them. 

And a third person told me how they lost their husband many years ago at the age of just 39-years old and being left a widow. 

But people make the best of it!

They have to.

I remember my father saying when my mother got so sick with Parkinson's Disease:
"We are part of the survivors club."

It wasn't easy to see her endless suffering while he selflessly tried to help her day-in and -out and cope with the physical and emotional pain of it all. 

When I was younger my dad would teach me about not feeling bad whatever the situation, and to always be grateful for what you have, and he told the story:
"There was a poor man who had no shoes, and he felt very bad...that is, until he saw someone else who had no feet."

It doesn't take much for things to get really bad in life...sometimes it can seem like we're literally just holding on by a thin thread. 

But as G-d tests us and teaches us, we need to try to look on the bright side and be grateful that things aren't worse....and yes, they can even get better again. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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August 25, 2017

Ever Feel Like You're Target Practice

Thought this was really spot on.

The knives get sharpened and readied. 

At some point, they come flying out of nowhere. 

Often, from all directions at the same time.  

When it rains, it pours. 

Some people latch on to the opportunity to try and make a kill. 

You do your best to duck this way and that and survive the onslaught.

Hopefully, you were adequately prepared. 

The big question is--can you hold unto your cheese? 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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August 24, 2017

Dog Days of Summer


Nice promotion at Whole Foods. 

They take a photo of your Doggie.

People were lining up for it. 

Another lady was there sharing her artist dog portraits. 

They were some pretty impressive pooches. 

Man's best friend is often not another person, but a dog. 

And if you know some of the people out there, it's no wonder. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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August 23, 2017

Dirty Laundry Usually Doesn't Get Aired

The way to fix problems is to first identify and acknowledge them.

Only then can you focus on them, commit to them, really address them, and make things better.

The BIG problem though is fear. 

Usually dirty laundry doesn't get so easily aired. 

Generally, people don't want trouble. 
"The nail that sticks up gets hammered down."
And who wants to be the one to get hammered flat and for of all things, doing the right thing?

We don't encourage transparency.

And we certainly don't reward transparency. 

As I once overheard:
"Uh, you better keep it in the family!"
So things get kept in the family, and the big burly husband is a drunkard bum and the wife is abused and the kids are abused, and the sh*t goes on. 

Shhh...

Open door policies, hotlines, and other mechanisms are helpful, but don't go far enough. 

Bosses need to ask point blank and with full and honest assurance of confidentiality and non-attribution or retribution:
"Tell me what's really going on here."
When there is smoke, there is fire, and where there is skunk stink, there is skunk.

The only way to know the truth and make a difference is to get to the truth.

In life, is anyone willing to "do the dirty" and finally get to clean? ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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August 22, 2017

Wise Man Watcheth

I just loved this Asian sculpture that I found in this cool antique store.

It was white and slim with a Asian man face, long beard, and tall hat. 

The face was so expressive.

The eyes so alert and watching. 

The beard and hat made him look old and wise. 

As a real person, this is someone who has seen and learned so many things.

Forever watching.

Forever seeking to understand.

Forever trying to learn the secrets of the life. 

This is a person to consult and get guidance from. 

With age comes wisdom.

And with (occasional) reincarnation comes more opportunity to learn the painful lessons that we haven't, but must.

How long has this man been sitting there watching and learning--how long must we?

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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August 21, 2017

Navy Under Attack?

So there was another collision of a U.S. Navy Destroyer.

The Navy destroyer collided early today with an oil tanker off of Singapore. 

10 sailors are missing and there is significant hull damage. 

This is the 4th known accident just this year of our Navy vessels in Asia waters.

And previously I wrote incredulously about the last Navy collision with a massive container ship in June that resulted in 7 dead. 

How do U.S. Navy ships with the most advanced sensors, navigation, weapons, and command and controls systems in the world--that are supposed to be protecting us--just simply collide with other ships like toys in a bathtub?

These Navy ships are a vital projection of U.S. might, and are supposed to be able to keep the worst foes away and keep our dedicated men and women warfighters safe at sea--whether from bomb-laden terrorist attack speed boats to anti-access/area denial missiles and all threats from on, above, or below. 

Yet, they just keep crashing...

There was supposedly some buzz online about a stealthy new cyber weapon that is attacking our ships and making them useless and helpless pieces of (G-d forbid) floating junk at sea or perhaps enabling them to be hacked and electronically commandeered and controlled in order to crash them.

Either way, how many collisions does it take for this to become a concerning problem with our Navy's ability to manage the ships under their command and be ever war-ready. 

Our ships are a major element of our national strength and security, and loss of control implies a potentially great risk to our nation. 

We need our Navy and their tremendous people, assets, and expertise to safeguard our people, freedom, and democracy.

A few months ago, there was a hackathon to test the Navy's systems' security--and most certainly, this is a crucial type of test that we potentially face every day in real life.

These are challenging times for everything cybersecurity, so let's make sure we have all the capabilities we need and are fully up to the task to defend ourselves and take out our enemies--it's not just our Navy in the spotlight and at risk. ;-) 

(Source Photo: With attribution to CNN and adapted from here)
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August 20, 2017

Solar Eclipse 2017

In honor of the solar eclipse tomorrow, the local grocery store was selling these cool celebratory pies!

Everyone is excited about this eclipse that is cutting a path across the U.S. 

The last one that did this was almost 100 years ago in 1918.

It's a magnificent thing to see two amazing and large celestial spheres like this literally cross paths. 
"Hi sun."
"Hello moon."
"Nice to meet you!" 

We are so small in the realm of these universal things...it's almost funny how big we think we are. 

Yet, we have so much ambition and desire to be bigger--to solve problems, innovate, and delve into the depths of the sea and to the far reaches of heavens.

You can blot out the sun, but we'll still figure out all the details on precisely when, where, and which goo goo goggles to wear so we don't hurt our eyes. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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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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