September 29, 2017

Party With Cookies Like It's The End Of The Fiscal Year

It's funny, today the last business day of the fiscal year...

That means that this time of year is a lot of stress on a lot of people.

So what do they do?

Well, while a lot of people are reaching for the do-re-mi ($$$) to earn and to spend before the books close, others are reaching for the plain old (cookie) dough. 

This week for example, there was a big cookie party!

So much stress, so little time.

That seems to translate into cookie days, and carbohydrate weeks. 

This isn't just the end of the fiscal year, but a potentially fatty, dangerous time too. 

The timing is also weird because of the juxtaposition to Yom Kippur tomorrow which is a fasting day with NO food or water for 25 hours.

Better eat some more cookies now (or not). ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 28, 2017

No Smokestacks Here

So I heard something good about human capital that I wanted to share:

It goes like this:
"There are no smokestacks here, only people!"

We can't treat "human capital" in our organizations the way we treat industrial/capital assets in our factories. 

The industrial revolution--along with the sweatshops and smokestacks--have been overtaken by the service and information age.

G-d has blessed us with an abundance of wonderful material things that can now be largely produced by automation and robotization--letting us focus more than ever on developing our people, nurturing their ideas, and realizing their innovations. 

In our organizations, the human assembly line has given way to thinkers and innovators.

Sure, we have to build things and sustain ourselves, but the people behind the things are what counts and not just the things themselves. 

We've grown from heartless slave labor and sweatshops to emotionally intelligent, compassionate, and thriving humans beings in the workspace--or so we strive for it to be. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 27, 2017

A Mountain Of Data

So I heard this interesting perspective on information and data analytics...

Basically, it comes down to this: 
"Most organizations are data rich, but information/insight poor."

Or put another way:
"Data is collected, but not used."

Hence we don't know what we don't know and we end up making bad decisions based on poor information. 

Just imagine if we could actually make sense of all the data points, connect them, visualize them, and get good information from them.

How much better than a pile of rocks is that? 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 26, 2017

Cyclops Looking Eye

What's the fascination with the mythical cyclops and the single eye in the center of the forehead?

If the eye represents seeing and knowing then aren't we better off with two or even a dozen eyes to see with?

See more, know more, do more.

How about eyes in the back of the head?

Or all around the head in a cool circle--like a majestic crown of sight all around you.

Seeing is miraculous.

The beauty of the world--people, nature, and the stars above. 

Seeing is function.

Being able to navigate, get around, and do things with relative ease. 

Seeing is safety.

Sensing path from obstacle and friend from foe. 

It's frightening to think of not having vision--what a challenge!

One old lady is possibly legally blind, but still serves as a notary public--how does she do that?

Eyes themselves are beautiful--brown and blue and hazel, and soft and deep and mesmerizing. 

Looking into someone's eyes, have you ever seen their soul. 

Show me thy ways oh L-rd and let me learn and grow in the world you've created for us--seeing the material and spiritual world we're enveloped in. 

I see the beauty, necessity, and lessons you have for me. 

However many eyes, seeing is believing in it all. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 25, 2017

Introducing The Valkyrie

Wow, just loved this new Aston Martin called the Valkyrie!

If I had a spare $2.6 million laying around that no one needed, I'd definitely get one of these. 

1,000 horsepower, V-12 engine, and they fit the car to you, literally!

"It's a carbon fiber rocket" with an assisted electric motor for the environmentally conscious. 

Here's a link to some awesome images of this gorgeous "hypercar" (which reminds me of Elon Musk's Hyperloop and it's a thousand time better looking than the Tesla).  

Fast, futuristic, performance, stylish, and sleek as can be.

I almost want to photoshop a picture of myself in the diver's seat with a huge smile on my face as I wave and say see you later. ;-)

(Source Photo: Aston Martin)
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September 24, 2017

Those Were The Days

Wow, this was incredible.

Check out this photo of me (right) and my teacher and mentor Robert doing martial arts back in the day. 

This was at the Jewish street fair on Johnson Avenue in Riverdale, New York. 

Recently, in the last few weeks, I reconnected with Robert after almost 27 years.  

He made Aliyah to Israel and I got married, but I always remembered how much I learned from him and the fun times growing up. 

It was great to catch up on the phone with him for about 2 1/2 hours and I think we could've gone on schmoozing all evening. 

Then just this weekend, I received 3 large wall photos in the mail from a friend from Riverdale--out of the blue--just like my reconnecting with Robert. 

Both events came almost simultaneously after 3 decades!

Time and space are just fabrications, as G-d Almighty is eternal, and for me I am essentially the same person that I was back then. 

My body is getting (a little) older, but my inner self is still me. 

And the people who mean so much to me in my life, after G-d, that is everything to me. ;-)

(Source Photo and with gratitude to Sura Jeselsohn)
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September 23, 2017

Screwing The American Worker

So someone came to me today complaining that their company was messing with them. 

The employee was earning above minimum wage after several years in their line of work

And now their company wants to cut their salary claiming tight budgets. 

But get this:

- Instead of speaking with the employee, they send the employee a text message telling them they are going to cut their salary, and when the employee tries to call them, they don't even pick up the phone or call back. 

- The company decides unilaterally that they will cut the employee salary by $1.50 an hour or a whopping 12.5% to this person!

- And this company is going to actually pay the employee below minimum wage!

Apparently, this company hires a lot of immigrants who don't know the law and are only here for a short time, so this company disgustingly "gets away with it!"

But this employee is an American citizen and he is rightfully furious--as we all should be.

So Montgomery County, Maryland--a very liberal county--just raised the minimum wage to $11.50 effective July 1. 

Do you know what that comes out to at 40 hours per week--less than $24,000 annually.

That's less than the poverty level for a typical family of four. 

Imagine what this person has left after taxes and carfare to get to work--not much!

I have gotten to know this person and they are a good, decent, hardworking human being, and they have suffered in their lifetime--why do they need to be treated like this and forced to earn even LESS THAN minimum wage. 

They are worried that if they say anything then they will be even worse off--they don't want to be seen as trouble. 

How many times does this or a similar situation happen to innocent workers where they are mistreated, taken advantage of, abused, harassed, or even worse--but because they need the job and the money they are afraid to say or do anything to protect themselves.

We are the United States of America--one of the wealthiest and most powerful nations on Earth--is this how we treat our citizens?

People deserve to work and earn a decent days pay for a honest days work--a genuine living wage!

They also deserve core worker benefits like health care and a decent retirement. 

And they should be able to do their work free from workplace harassment and abuse. 

There must be not only fundamental laws that protect people, but also the enforcement mechanisms to make it really work. 

This gets to the heart of America--do we still have one? 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 22, 2017

613 Everywhere

So many times, I have written about the holy mystical number of 613 (the number of commandments in the Torah) and variations/transpositions on these numbers (316, 163, etc.).

My wife and I continue to see 613 all the time and everywhere!

Prices, receipts, license plates, accounts balances, stock price changes, lottery winnings, bar codes, time of day, wait times, schedules, number of email, rows in a spreadsheet, road numbers, social media views, etc. etc. etc.

- I have questioned myself over and over whether I am seeing it because I am sensitized to it or simply even looking for it at this point. 

The answer is a definite no!

Here's a recent example, of the change in the stock price for Teva Pharmaceuticals (above)--it's exactly -.0613!

But this isn't a one time event or a fluke.  

As we all know stock prices fluctuate every moment on the marketplace. Yet, when I check at completely different and random times, it is up or down by a variation of 613!

Other times, I'll check multiple stocks... and they will simultaneously be moving or priced at variations again of 613--at the exact same moment, I repeat, different stocks priced at the exact same moment.  

Here's another non-financial example:

I did a post a few weeks ago on the critical importance of emergency preparedness. 

Look at how many views it got on LinkedIn...exactly 163!

This happens everywhere and all the time!

Here's a third example:
A license plate. 

Here's a fourth example:

Can you see the code on the package...613!

A fifth example:
A tracking code on a shipment. 

A sixth example: 
A bar code on a bottle of Life Water.

A seventh example:
A label on some spinach!

An eighth example:
A construction site.

An ninth example:
A public solicitation for the Department of Energy.

A tenth example:
The winning pot for Powerball. 

Hey, I am not superstitious and I am not OCD--seriously. 

But this happens all the time.

I cannot help but think that G-d is sending us an important message.

From a personal level, my wife and I have both tried to take the messages seriously and to continue to improve our lives--albeit we know, we are far from perfect human beings. 

However, we also feel compelled to share this message more broadly.

There is a lot going on in the world, and could this mean something bigger and more consequential to a lot more people?

Please, please, please, G-d have mercy on your children...we are but flesh and blood...and we desire to do good. 

(Source Photos: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 21, 2017

Calling BS on Germany's BDS

So I think this is the definition of irony and more blatant anti-Semitism out there. 

Hitler's Germany committed genocide and murdered 6,000,000 Jewish men, women, and children during the Holocaust--1 out of every 3 Jews in the entire world--and killed tens of millions more in their fight of World War II. 

And now one of Germany's top gun manufacturers, Heckler and Koch, has put democratic Israel, the Jewish Homeland, which is surrounded by hostile neighbors--on their banned list of countries to sell guns to because of war zones and corruption. 

-- Isn't that the pot calling the kettle black???

BDS is anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism, and a form of terrorism!

My own family--from Germany--suffered at the hands of Hitler and his henchman, and no more Jews should suffer the same. 

Germany, please put a lid on resurgent anti-Semitism, and respect Israel's right to self-defense, and to peace and security. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 20, 2017

There Is Always A Bigger Fish

So as we are about to enter Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year...

I want to share a very important lesson that I came across again this year. 

The lesson is:
No matter how big a fish you think you are, there is ALWAYS a bigger fish out there.

You may have position, title, money, status, and all the trimmings, but someone with more of this and that and the other thing (and overall power) can come along at any time--at G-d's decree--and swallow you right up.  

I connect this to the 2nd day of Rosh Hashanah when it is customary to go and cast bread (symbolic for our sins) into a natural body of water, so the fish can eat them up--and in a spiritual sense we throw away our sins and cleanse ourselves of our wrongdoings over the last year--let the fish have them. 

And like the fish eating our sins, I think another more powerful person can come and swallow us up and even spit us out (like Jonah and the Whale)--we are all fallible and mortal. 

We are made from dust and we go to dust, and my dad would joke to clean up the mounds of dust under my bed!

As we enter the New Year, may Hashem have mercy on us and bless us, and may we have peace, health, and prosperity, and may we be written in the Book of Life.

Oh yeah, and may no fish big or small come against us to cause us distress or harm--G-d is the Almighty Protector--Amen! ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 19, 2017

Customer Service NO-NOs

So if you're in customer service...

The answer is easy. 

It's always got to be YES. 

- Any less is a big No-No!

The customer's needs are paramount.

Their satisfaction is your goal. 

So your job is to figure out how to get from no to yes!

You've got to problem-solve and figure it out. 

And it's not enough to come up with any old solution.

When I said to my colleagues the other day:
"There's a solution to every problem."

Someone joked and answered back:
"It's just that the customer may not like it."

And I responded:
"Well then that's not the solution you are looking for!"

You've got to go back to the drawing board and get to a legitimate yes. 

Of course, it can difficult, especially when at times you deal with some challenging customers and problems.

But listen, this is the customer service field and in the end, the customer experience should be WOW fantastic!

It's the customer that is depending on you to come through for them and their mission. 

Doing your job isn't just a matter of reading off of some cue card or playbook. 

This is real life with real consequences. 

If you can deliver, the customer will be able to do their jobs, and they may even sing your wildest praises--wouldn't that be rewarding? 

Customer service means getting to YES from the earliest possible moment in the interaction, meaning it, and legitimately delivering on it--no other questions asked.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 18, 2017

Brighten Your Mondays

So a colleague asked me why I wear bright, happy ties on Mondays. 

Well, I explain, I guess it's a combination of two reasons: 

1) I'm starting the week all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed coming off the weekend energized and ready for a brand new and exciting week.

2) I'm trying to counter what many consider the "Mondays Blues" and make them brighter and more cheerful for everyone. 

- Smile and the whole world smiles with you!

So the other person responds, as if all the craziness of the office and organizational psychos during the week will somehow wear down my good cheer:

"So by the time you get to Fridays, what are you wearing black ties???"

I guess everyone knows the workweek is the workweek.

And they don't call it work for nothing. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 17, 2017

What Is Wisdom?

Some thoughts today on what is wisdom:

- Knowing you know nothing--and you can prove it (ah, humility)!

- Knowing when to ask--like the infamous directions when you're lost or how to use the latest new technology.

- Learning from all others (everyone has something they can teach us).

- Wisdom = Knowledge + Experience (you've gotten an inkling about some truth out there, and you've had a chance to test it out). 

- Seeing that people's outer bodies are just the superficial, material cover for their inner souls. 

- Realizing that doing for others is so much more rewarding than doing for ourselves. 

- Following the great truths of morality and responsibility.

- Keen awareness that we are not alone in the universe--G-d is everywhere.

(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 16, 2017

The Ultimate Rejection (Not)

Ok, folks.

This picture is not the message you want to get before Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year and time of judgment). 

We want to see the long hand of G-d come down with love, caring, forgiveness, and blessings!

A flick of the Almighty index finger, definitely not what we want to see or get.  

Worse would be getting the middle finger, of course. 

But I definitely don't think G-d does that! 

Talking about rejection with a big R. 

To all my family and friends, a most happy, healthy, peaceful, and prosperous New Year!  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 15, 2017

Management Is A Privilege

So some people have this notion about management that is all wrong. 

- Management is not a right or entitlement.

- Management is a wonderful privilege!

The privilege comes with responsibility and is earned by knowing how to manage and treat your people right.

That means:

- Acting with integrity

- Treating people fairly, with dignity, and respect

- Showing you value them

- Helping to develop them

- And of course, achieving results together!

I heard it said well like this:
"If you don't treat people well 
you won't be a manager for long."
Again, it's a privilege, not a right, to manage and lead others. 

Those who abuse their privilege and people--it's like the cycle of life. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 14, 2017

What Women Want From Men?

So I was talking to this nice gentleman.

He was telling me that he lost his wife of over 27 years to cancer--this happened over 15 years ago. 

And since then, he had a girlfriend who recently broke his heart and married someone else. 

I felt really bad and sorry for this nice man--who is always so friendly and intelligent.  

He says to me:
"Over the years, I've learned what women want from men."

I ask him inquiringly:
"And what is that?"

He's obviously glad that I asked, and he proceeds to tell me:
"Women want two things: curiosity and security."

Not understanding what he means by the first one, I ask:
"What do you mean curiosity?"

He looks intently at me and says:
"Women want to talk, and they want to know what's going on."

He explains to me that if you talk and be a good listener to women and provide (your part) materially in a stable relationship with them--they will be happy and you will be happy. 

This is sort of the "Happy wife, happy life" idea that I've heard before. 

Listen, even at this stage in my life, with a wife and two lovely daughters, I can still learn something about what makes women happy...teach me the pearls of wisdom and I will learn it well. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 13, 2017

Live 4 Something

I was on the treadmill the other evening. 

On the TV was Sylvester Stallone in the movie, Rambo. 

Ah, some nice welcome action to take my mind off the exercise.

Some doctors and missionaries are trying to make their way to to Burma to help the helpless victims being slaughtered by the military warlord and his henchmen. 

Stallone knows the danger in going there, and at first, he ties to discourage them from going.

The beautiful and sincere women in the group convinces him to take them there...to try to make a difference in these people's lives who are suffering. 

Stallone takes to the lesson and incorporates it into his inner persona. 

And later he says:

"Live for something 

Or

Die for nothing!"

I thought this was a really good philosophy. 

THINK ABOUT IT: 

- We can choose to make our lives meaningful and impactful or to hide in the closet or under the bed and really accomplish nothing.

Our lives are a gift, given to us to do something good with--it's a sin to waste that gift and not do everything we can to be a good influence, help others, and make this a better world. 

(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 12, 2017

Feeling Good Vibes

So what a nice compliment...

I'm talking with someone this week.

They're new, and so I tried to be generally nice and ask about them, show interest, and just be overall friendly and welcoming.  

It was amazing--these little things, and they made someone else feel comfortable and happy. 

They are smiling and go to me:
"I get good vibes from you!"

Wow, good vibes--awesome!  

And now I was happy too. 

I thought to myself, how often we goof and give off the wrong vibes and how easy it really is to just treat most people decently and sincerely, and get a good reaction. 

Yes, not everyone is easy to get along with and not everyone is nice.

But generally, I think it's good to try to be the type of person that others feel good vibes from. 

I'll take that and continue to try and spread the wealth. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 11, 2017

Always Be Prepared

It was nice going to a local festival yesterday and seeing a table set up with brochures for the kids and families on Emergency Preparedness. 

Even when we're having a good time, we need to have in mind the possibility that things can go very wrong.

These last couples of weeks with Hurricane Harvey and Irma, we saw again the destructive forces that Mother Nature can bring. 

And today being the 16th Anniversary since the terror attacks on 9/11 and the almost 3,000 murdered at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, we are reminded of the necessity to always be ready for man-made/inflicted disasters as well. 

Now with Axis of Evil nations, North Korea and Iran, continuing to pose alarming threats to the West, the need for preparation and readiness to dangerous WMD--whether from an ICBM or a suitcase bomb--is ever present

Let's just say until the final redemption when peace will reign on earth, we can never just rest securely on our laurels. 

Even on a sunny day, the clouds may be gathering to threaten us.  

So have a plan.  Be prepared.  You and your families lives across our beautiful and free nation depend on it. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 10, 2017

@Takoma Park Folk Festival


So today we were at the Takoma Park Folk Festival. 

It was a combination of food, chachkas, art, dance, and music--thank G-d, it was a good time!

When we were going through the booths, I came across this one artist pictured here. 

A little scary looking at first, but actually seemed nice enough and he stopped to speak with us. 

I asked about his very cool jacket.

And he told me, how he had actually made it with all the artistic things on it, including spikes, skulls, medals, patches, and even a pair of teeth!

Then he took off his jacket and turned around to show me his vest. 

On the back was this awesome fighting foe.

I said feigning surprise:
"Oh, and it says RESIST on top?"

He replies:
"Yeah, never miss an opportunity to share a message!"

I thought to myself this guy is pretty smart, especially as he started to explain not only his jacket, but the meanings behind some of his other artwork. 

Creativity is a wonderful thing--especially when no one gets hurt :-)--and it immediately sparks interest and dialogue.

How'd you do that?  What gave you that idea?  How do you use it?

The boring becomes exciting when another soul expresses itself. 

Yes, we're all the same, but also we're all different!

It's by "going there," you explore and learn new things.  ;-) 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 9, 2017

A Holocaust Bar-Mitzvah

So there was a bar-mitzvah in synagogue today. 

It was very memorable, I think not only for the young man and his family, but for many of the congregants--and frankly, it brought me to tears.

The family was from the Israeli embassy, and they did something that I had never seen before. 

When the father got up with his wife and son at the pulpit to speak, he didn't talk about how great his son was.

Instead he spoke about a young boy from the Holocaust who never made it to his bar-mitzvah.

The father told of the just 12-year old that lived in Europe and was murdered by the Nazis in the Jewish genocide that killed 6,000,000!

The father presented a certificate from the Remember Us program with the name and information of the murdered boy to his son. 

The message of this father and Israeli official on his son's bar-mitzvah was very clear--Never again!

Never again--the hate, prejudice, discrimination, and murder of Jews just because they are Jews.

The people that were murdered by the evil Nazis and other hating bigots throughout history showed no mercy towards G-d's creatures--in fact, quite the contrary--they relished in the absolute torture and killing of each and every one.

Never again, is not just a phrase, but it is a determination and a commitment to be a "light unto nations" not to forget how some can fall under the evil influence and not to allow it to happen again that people engage in the most outrageous and vile atrocities against their fellow man. 

Unfortunately these days, hate and bigotry comes in many colors, races, genders, orientations, and affiliations--and the haters may often pretend--like the Nazis did as the "Aryan Nation"--that they are superior, better, and even righteous in their (evil) cause. 

However, we have to know better--we have to be able to discern good from evil--raise up good over evil--and fight for good to win against evil. 

It is not just a single battle, but a long intergenerational war, and one that will be won.

G-d Almighty will most assuredly see to it that those who hate on and perform the vilest of deeds against their fellow man, they will end up paying the ultimate price not only with their rotting flesh, but with the eternal burning of their sickening souls. ;-)

(Source Photo: here with attribution to the Holocaust Education and Archive Research Team--HEART)
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September 8, 2017

What's With The Water

At this time of some major hurricanes hitting the USA (first Harvey, and now approaching IRMA and Jose)...

I have been remembering from the other day when I was in the pool, but I had a very different experience from usual. 

Yes, I was swimming hard and disciplined doing my laps.

But my mind decided to focus on the water.

Just the water...nothing else. 

I literally blanked out the world around me...no pool, no exercise, no other people, no current events, no random thoughts.

I just put all my senses unto the water itself. 

The cool softness of the water as it glided over my hands and body. 

The subtle resistance of the water, yet the buoyancy it provided. 

The waves and current as the water flowed around my body moving crisply through it.

The healing purity of the water physically and spiritually. 

I imagined the clearest and cleanest water, and how it quenches our thirst and washes everything in the world clean again. 

Water, earth, wind and fire...the wisdom and perfection of them and us cannot possibly be random events, but they are testament to the genius of our Creator. 

Thank you G-d especially for the water in the time, place, and amount that is for a blessing--and as a series of strong hurricanes continue to roar towards your people, let it be merciful. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 7, 2017

The CEO and The Janitor

Wow, I heard a powerful story from a colleague that I wanted to share.

The colleague's father was a industrial psychologist and he would go into some relatively big organizations to improve the functioning and culture. 

One of the things that he would do is get the CEO and the janitor in the same room together. 

And he would say:
"Both of you have vital jobs in the organization and you need to appreciate each other!"

At this point, the CEO and the janitor would be looking around the room super quizzically.

And the psychologist would to the janitor and say:
"The CEO's job is critical, because without the CEO, we wouldn't have the leadership and vision for the organization to be successful, and you wouldn't have a job and salary.

Then he'd turn to the CEO and  explain:
The Janitor's job is critical, because without the janitor, we wouldn't have a clean and functioning building and facilities for everyone to do their jobs and be successful, and you wouldn't be able to come to work ever day."

It's really amazing that despite all the fancy titles, corners offices, and rich compensation packages for some, really everyone in the organization is vital in their own way!

We need to remember that when we deal with others that they are human beings--in the image of G-d--and we need to treat all with the utmost dignity and respect for both who they are and what they contribute. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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September 6, 2017

Learning To Save For A Rainy Day

This was so funny coming across this big bright red piggy bank in a thrift store. 

What a blast from the past!

I remember having one of these as a child. 

My parents taught me to put my allowance in to save for the future. 

When it accumulated $10, the metal door on the bottom would open and we could put the money in the bank.

It was like a game to try to get to the magic amount and get the register to pop open.

In those days, the bank had little books for your checking and savings accounts, and when you deposited the money, you'd get a line printed with the deposit and new balance printed in the dot matrix print of yesteryear. 

Again, these were all good lessons about savings and seeing the benefits in the toy register or in your bank book.

Maybe these were things that initially inspired me to get my bachelors degree in accounting.  

The discipline of numbers was great, but it was never as exciting as the promise and hope of ever new technology, but that's what added up at the time to me. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 5, 2017

The Meaning Of Pain

Wow, I am so impressed with my daughter.

I spoke with her this evening and she has grown into such a smart, mature, and good person. 

We were talking about some hard times.

And she said to me so smartly (and I am so proud of her):
"The reason that we have pain is to avoid more pain."

Wow...think about that for a moment. 

Everyone gets physical, emotional, and even spiritual pain in their lives. 

Even little things like stubbing your toe, getting a small burn, or a paper cut--these things give you a instant or more of pain...but it jolts you into attention of what to avoid and to action how to protect yourself to prevent further and worse pain down the road. 

A little pain now can fortunately save you a lot of pain later!

(Or in the gym they say, "No pain, no gain.")

My father used to say about difficult life lessons:
"Better to cry now than to cry later!"

He was right--bad situations generally don't get better with age. 

Continuing the discussion with my lovely daughter tonight, she said to me:
"A person becomes better when they struggle. I've become better by struggling."

Again, like little pains, even larger struggles in life challenge us to learn, grow, and become better and stronger people. 

I remember as a kid--when we went through those growth spurts--it would actually hurt a little--some muscle aches here and some cramps there--whew, a few inches taller already. 

Growth hurts, but it's kind of a good hurt that only someone with the emotional intelligence to understand maturity and betterment can really grasp. 

No, I'm not advocating for self-flagellation--just that we know when pain and struggle is a defining moment in life--like shaping and sharpening a great sword in fierce fire. 

It's hot, but the heat is healing and necessary sometimes to grow as human and spiritual beings. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 4, 2017

G-d Created Evolution

So I've been thinking a little bit about evolution.

And I don't see any contradiction between evolution and creation.

In fact, G-d created evolution!

You see, in His infinite wisdom and love, G-d made his creations with the ability to change over time. 

We are not static creatures, but we are able to evolve, adapt, transform, and grow ourselves, our species, and our world over time. 

But, but, but...there are fossils hundreds of millions years old...how could G-d have created the world less than 6,000 years ago?

Well, who says G-d created the world at time horizon zero--if the world was fully formed with trees and plants, and fish, birds, animals, and people--then these could all have had age associated with and built into them already. 

Boom...G-d just created Adam and Eve--was that from the point of conception, day of birth, or fully grown adult?  Similarly, how old is the tallest mountain or the fullest forest when it was created? 

Time is not a function of G-d who is timeless. 

And the formed world appears at the blink of G-d's eye and it can disappear that way too. 

Similarly, we learn in the Bible how G-d created the world in 6 "days" and rested on the 7th, but who says a day is literally that.

Couldn't a day as in 1, 2, 3, etc. be phases of creation...where a day could be anything from a split second to a millennium or even a hundred million years.

To the G-d who Was, Is, and Will Be--what is a day, but a span of infinitesimal to infinite time to create His children and the world to teach and grow them. 

We are here in a infinite universe enveloped by the love of a limitless G-d. 

Evolution is no more a constraint on G-d then time or space is--to the contrary, evolution is a blessing of G-d that lets things develop and mature from the image of G-d to the imagination of His mind's glory. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 3, 2017

@Catoctin Wildlife Preserve






















(Source Photos: Andy Blumenthal)

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