August 22, 2019

A Mosquito Into A Mule

So you know the old saying about:
Making a mountain out of a molehill

That's when you make a big deal out of nothing.

So yesterday, I heard the European version of this as:
Making a mosquito into a mule

Honestly, I like that version a lot better.

A mosquito bites and is annoying.

But a mule resists and is a very stubborn animal that can drive you crazy. 

You definitely don't want to make a mosquito into a mule! ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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August 21, 2019

The Apollo 11 Mission: 50 Year Anniversary

Remembering the Apollo mission that landed a man on the moon on July 20, 1969 (50 years and 1 month ago yesterday...sorry, I'm late on this post). 

Thought this model (scale 1:48) of the command ship and lunar lander in the NASA store was perfect. 

It truly is miraculous that Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldin made this journey.

In just 8 days, they made the round trip between the earth and the moon, traveling about 240,000 miles each way. 

And they walked on the moon for about 3 hours--I want to try that!

Even until today, the U.S. remains the only country to have actually put men on the moon (total of 12). 

"One small step for a man; one giant leap for mankind."

Now it's high time that we get ourselves to Mars already and colonize it!  ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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August 20, 2019

Shopping Vs Psychiatrist

This sign had a pretty good point:
"Shopping is cheaper than a psychiatrist."

Plus it's more fun and you get to take the junk home that you buy.

For many, shopping truly is a form of mental/stress relief--almost like medicine. 

Unfortunately, if you think about it, things don't really make a person happy...rather people do and doing good does. 

But industry wants you to think a lot more superficially and materialistically than that. 

Hence the notion that if you take your daily dose of shopping, maybe you can skip the shrink! ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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August 19, 2019

That's How You Make A Green Deal

Wow, thought this painting was awesome. 

The table and chairs in all the green. 

And the green seat cushions works with it as well. 

I love the perspective on this. ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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August 18, 2019

In Sderot: Bombs and Birthday Cake

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, "In Sderot: Bombs and Birthday Cake."
Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005 and gave it to the Palestinians in a unilateral effort towards peace, but soon after terrorist group, Hamas, took control and has since been raining down missiles on the Israeli civilian population centers around it...Last night, as the missiles came towards Sderot and the Israeli sirens wailed for the people to seek shelter–they have only 15 seconds–the beautiful youth in Noaa’s birthday party ran towards the safe room. What was incredible with these youth, was that rather than stop the celebration and hide in fear and suffering from the missile attacks, instead they courageously continued the party and sang with great strength in Hebrew, Happy Birthday to Noaa!

Let us all learn from these amazing young people of Sderot to have birthday cake in the face of bombs and to celebrate life in the face of death, and let Mashiach soon come and bring us peace in the Promised Land.


(Credit Photo: Miriam Sasy)

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August 17, 2019

Copy Any Key

Thought this was pretty cool in Safeway supermarket.

A automated key copy machine. 

You insert your key. 

And out pops a duplicate for you. 

Home, car, business, whatever.

What is happening to that guy who used to work the key copy machine at the local locksmith?

Who says automation and robotics isn't taking and going to take away jobs. 

I still remember that key machine--where the locksmith would put the key on one side and a blank on the other, and the machine would copy the surface grooves of one unto the other. 

Now even that is gone. 

I guess we're lucky still to have keys (for now).  ;-)

(Credit Photo: Dannielle Blumenthal)
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August 16, 2019

Boycott The Boycotters

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, "Boycott The Boycotters."
Israel did the absolutely right thing in barring Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib from their controversial trip to what they would deem as Palestine. Omar and Tlaib’s trip was not only anti-Israel, but pro-terrorist....Certainly, if someone comes to boycott you, boycott them first. This is what Israel did, and rightfully so: The boycotters should be boycotted! It is only common sense that Israel should not give a platform to and help the anti-Semites who actively seek to harm them. And this is precisely what the Israel law to deny entry to supporters of BDS is for. Make no mistake, no other sane country would permit entry to those who seek to hurt them.

We are no longer “like sheep to the slaughter.” Thank G-d, those days are over! We must have faith in G-d; Israel must fight those that seek to harm them whether from military to economic warfare and more.


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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August 15, 2019

Best Chicken Lo Mein (Kosher)

Best Chicken Lo Mein (Kosher too!) that I ever had. 

At China Bistro and Sushi in Hollywood, Florida.

Order the extra chicken for a couple of bucks.

Well worth it!

Steaming hot from the wok. 

And don't forget to make it extra spicy!  ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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August 14, 2019

Goals Vs. Tactics

I liked this saying from someone in the IDF. 

Be "flexible in tactics, but stay fixed on the goals!"

There are many ways to accomplish the same thing. 

And different people have their own approaches. 

As in the lyrics: "You take the high road and I'll take the low road."

That's absolutely okay. 

In fact, that's one of the strengths and benefits of diversity.

We bring different ways of looking at the world to the table.

Hence, we can bounce fresh ideas off each other and come to a great way forward. 

The main thing is that we focus on our goals and progress to achieve them. 

Be rigid on goals and flexible in tactics. ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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August 13, 2019

Born With The Music

Saw an incredible segment on 60 Minutes on Sunday about this amazing girl named Alma

Alma Deutscher is a British-born (of Israeli-descent) musical whiz kid who was playing piano and violin at age 3. 

And she composed a whole opera by the time she was 10. 

They call her the Second Mozart, although she prefers to just be the First Alma!

She literally hears music playing in her head all the time, and she says that there are different expert musical composers in her head that she calls on to solve whatever musical challenge she is facing or sound out the emotion she is trying to get to. 

In her interview, she did not seem like a 12-year old, but rather an old soul who has come back perhaps many, many times. 

Listening and watching Alma is sort of like watching a walking miracle--as there is no way she learned these skills at such a young age and has "comprehensive mastery" over all the music and instruments. 

If there was ever a question about where knowledge, skills, and abilities come from, with a child prodigy like Alma, there should be no lingering doubts about G-d's complete role in everything.  

With Alma, G-d graciously let's us in to the mysteries of creation by showing us the source of all is Him. 

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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August 12, 2019

Bookmarks From Israeli Stamps


So this guy in my Ulpan class brought in these bookmarks for us that he makes.

He takes these Israeli stamps like the one for Judges of Israel and Social Welfare for the people, laminates them, punches a hole and strings it. 

And voila, these cool bookmarks from Israel.

We had just learned the Hebrew word for bookmark and he thought to bring these in for the class.

He was so nice that even though he couldn't make the last classes before the Summer recess, he dropped these off with the teacher for us

Some people are real mensches, and these are the people I personally appreciate.  ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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August 11, 2019

The Humanity of Routine

People are creatures of habit. 

They form routines and function with relative comfort and efficiency within that. 

And for the most part, we can recognize our own patterns in life. 

Get up, brush our teeth, dress, daven (pray), go to work and so on. 

After a while, you can do it mostly in your sleep. 

We sort of become like automatons. 

Flip the switch and we go.

When routine and structure become so rigid that we can no longer improvise or innovate then we have a big problem in higher order functioning. 

But also when we break people's structures and habits, we find that they can quickly lose their sh*t. 

People need to control their time and maintain their patterns of life. 

Therein lies a certain safety and comfort in that repetitive doing.

You know what you're doing--you've done it before, so you can do it again.

If you strip a person of their control over their time and the structure of their behavior, they are truly naked and in much more than a physical sense.  (They articulated this in The Punisher, Season One, on Netflix)

All of a sudden they don't know what to do or how to do it. 

Do they go crazy, breakdown, or tell you everything you want to know. 

Torture is not just physical, but also mental and emotional. 

It is not hard to take away something so simple and a person is no longer a full person anymore. 

People need solid coping as well as survival skills to deal with the unknown.

Finally, appreciate when everything is more or less under control, because that's truly a blessing.  ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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August 9, 2019

Speedily Rebuild The Temple

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, "Rebuilding The Temple, Healing Our People."

Tisha B’Av (the 9th day of the month of Av) is on Shabbat this year, so we conduct the day of mourning and fast on Sunday. The destruction of the Temple and our subsequents exiles from the Holy Land are deeply traumatic periods of Jewish history. Needless to say, this is a very sad and scary time of year. However, we are living in the time of redemption, when after 2,000 years, the Jewish people have been blessed to be returned to their biblical homeland, Israel. Next up is the rebuilding of the Temple VERY SOON, please G-d.

Let us hope and pray that we are deserving of Hashem’s blessings and mercy, and that sadness will be completely turned into joy, the world will be healed, and peace will prevail.


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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August 8, 2019

Who's In Charge Here?

This was a funny photo...

Sign around the ape says:
Laugh now, but one day, we'll be in charge

I guess you never know who will be in charge. 
  • Be nice to everyone. 
  • Never burn bridges.

All of life is a circle--and everything and everybody goes around and around.  ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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August 7, 2019

Ocean of Words

I really like this phrase from a book that I'm reading called "Like Dreamers."
An ocean of words and a desert of ideas.

Too often, we hear people who like to hear themselves talk, think very highly of themselves, show off, or just spout away. 

And while they say a lot...

There may not be a lot there. 

New ideas, thoughts, ways of looking at things, innovation, creativity, outside the box thinking--that's like a desert!

In Yiddish (and it's always funnier in Yiddish), we say:
A big, big mouth, and a tiny, tiny head.

Similarly, in Hebrew, there is phrase that translates to:
Say a little, and do a lot. 

Sometimes, the smartest people are the ones who use their words wisely, strategically, with depth and meaning, and when they really have something to say.

It's at that time that you better be listening.  ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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August 6, 2019

Oh Baby, It's Warm Outside?

I love when people can communicate through pictures effectively. 

Truly, a picture is worth a thousand words--probably more. 

This was a simple drawing to depict I assume global warming. 

- 2000 some nice mountain glaciers.

- 2020 the snow is melted.

It's like the person didn't have to say a word. 

But I get it. 

Also, I know there is supposedly a lot of scientific evidence for global warming.

But for me personally, I don't see it or feel it.  

The summers, if anything, feel cooler and the Winters feel colder to me. 

I know that is anecdotal and not representative of the world. 

However, it is hard to reconcile what the scientists say, when your own eyes aren't seeing it. 

Granted, I'm not in Alaska where, for example, the glaciers are melting, 

Still wouldn't we be feeling something here?

Maybe a few degrees really isn't perceptible. 

I guess time will tell us for certain. 

Hopefully, by the time we do see it, we won't get run over by the speeding train.  ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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August 5, 2019

Shootings in El Paso and Dayton

Another bloody weekend...this time in El Paso and Dayton. 

With at least 29 dead and 53 injured in mass shootings.

We still don't seem to be able to get a state of security in our country. 

Whether it's gangs and violence in our decaying cities (yes, like Baltimore). 

Or mass shootings by racists and nut jobs attacking our schools, houses of worship, shopping malls, and places of work. 

People can buy assault rifles with mega mags of ammunition and go crazy.

And they do!

While I was impressed with the response in Dayton especially, they killed the perpetrator within 30 seconds of the start to his killing spree, in other cases it takes considerably longer,

Moreover, while generally the first responders are brave and heroic in going after and taking out the bad guys, in places like the Parkland shooting, the officer apparently hid behind a tree while the students got massacred. 

We need a rethinking of how we deal with these terror situations. 

Can technology help (and I know these may sound crazy, but we have to think out-of-the-box at some point)?

We have the ShotSpotter technology to pinpoint where shootings are occurring. 

Why can't we have persistent armed drones on patrol with AI ready to swoop in (even through an open door or window) and respond and neutralize the shooter (while law enforcement makes their way through our busy city streets). 

Other ideas...embedded chips in humans (yes, it is coming) that would drive the privacy wonks nuts, but can identify occurrences of extreme violence and potentially stop it.  

I am sure there are other technology ideas out there.

Certainly, we do need to balance privacy with safety, and it will be tricky to make sure the AI is getting it right, but as we figure this out, tragically there are fathers, mothers, children not coming home because they are dead.  ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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August 4, 2019

Reaping What You Sow

I liked this saying from the Kibbutz:

If you don't say good morning to the tree, it won't say happy new year to you.

Wow, that is pretty wise.

The love and care you put into something every day is what eventually you will get out of it. 
According to you work is your reward.

Yes, (generally-speaking) you reap what you sow...that's the fruit of your labor. 

Consequences are real and they can be painful if you don't see the connection between your actions and the reactions. ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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Open Your Eyes

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, "Open Your Eyes to Hashem."


G-d has a plan and a reason for everything–not only for them, but for all of us. We are all on a journey, and even if we don’t always readily see G-d, it’s part of our core faith that He is always there, He is guiding us, and that everything is for the best. Yet despite our best efforts to have faith, at times, we may feel that we don’t know what we’re doing here–why we’re at this place, at this time, or even how we got here–we may actually feel a little lost. Maybe we just can rattle off a list of “Well I did this and then that and then this other thing happened.” But exactly how we got to where we are, regardless of our best laid plans, is often a mystery to us as human beings. As I often tell students and colleagues in the planning discipline of enterprise architecture, “Man plans, and G-d laughs.”

While we may think we are going about fulfilling our plans and accomplishing our life dreams, the truth is that everything ultimately comes from G-d. He gives you the strength, the health, the family and friends as support, the talent, the opportunity, and the right thoughts in your head and the right words in your mouth to do what you do. Of course, we must do our part and the hard work to find and fulfill our mission in life and to overcome the challenges we face, but we are flesh and blood and in the bigger realm of things, messengers of G-d in fulfilling his bigger plan for all of us. If we open our eyes, we realize that wherever we end up and whatever happens to us is by His merciful decree.


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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August 2, 2019

What's Your Relationship?

This week I learned about the Three Levels of Relationships.

Level 3: Family/Friends
The highest form of a relationship where you are being authentic (i.e. yourself), you share deeply about yourself (thoughts, feelings, desires, mistakes, etc,) and you are vulnerable. 

Level 2: Professionals
The middle level of relationships in which you are seeking to build trust and respect, you share some information (i.e. appropriate), and you expose yourself a little to the other person. 

Level 1: Acquaintances
The most elementary of relationships that is superficial in nature, there is little personal sharing of information (i.e. mostly when you are asked a question and you feel comfortable answering it), and you remain guarded. 

This is a good way to assess your relationships--is it a level 1, 2, or 3 and are you behaving appropriately within that, so that you trust, communicate, and collaborate effectively.  ;-)

(Graphic Credit: Andy Blumenthal)
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August 1, 2019

Being Jewish and Proud

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, "Being Jewish and Proud."
With roughly 15 million Jews in a world of 7.7 billion people, we make up less than .2% of the world population. However, despite our small size, we’ve been recognized with over 20% of the Nobel Prizes for contributions to the sciences, medicine, literature, economics, and peace. Most Jews tend to believe not only in a strong core religious education, but in higher education and lifelong learning, and others excel even when starting out and innovating from their garages. From Abraham and Moses to Einstein and Freud, and even to today’s Jews leading the Technology revolution–such as Steve Ballmer, Sergey Brin, Michael Dell, Larry Ellison, Larry Page, and Mark Zuckerberg–the Jewish contribution is truly unparalleled.

Until Mashiach, there will always be some people that hate on us and want to destroy us–perhaps and unfortunately, that’s just who they are. But we choose not be anyone else but Jews, because that’s who we are–and there is every reason to be ourselves, maintain our faith of thousands of years, continue to make awesome contributions that benefit mankind, and be forever proud to be a Jew.

(Photo Credit: Andy Blumenthal)

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July 31, 2019

Be Happy, Have Fun

Thought this was funny at work. 

One person writes:
Be Happy. Have Fun. 

Another chimes in:
Ok, I will!

And finally a 3rd person writes:
Me too. 
Smiley faces and all. 

Never take yourself too seriously. 

It's true--try to enjoy the ride!  ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 30, 2019

Win Rocky Win

I found this Rocky gem on eBay.

And it arrived, all wrapped up nicely, in the mail yesterday.  

Rocky working out and training. 

His shirt says:
Win Rocky Win

I posed him with his arms up in the air like after a fight in the ring. 

Love his fighting spirit, determination, and integrity. 

Overcoming against all odds. 

Great inspiration. 

Some say we actually look alike. ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 29, 2019

Remember 9/11 + The Global War on Terror

Just thinking about this lately...

How quickly we forget what happened on 9/11.

After 2001, we said:

9/11 was "the day that changed everything" and we shed blood and treasure on a global "war on terror"



In 2019, radical American politicians are:

Referring to 9/11 as "Some people did something"

Laughing at Americans for fearing ISIS

Refusing to condemn terrorist organizations like Al-Qaeda or Sharia practices such as female genital mutilation

Calling for Open Borders and Sanctuary Cities, including not cooperating with Federal law enforcement

Promoting Socialism over Democracy, including healthcare for illegal immigrants and forgiving all student loan debt

Urging the release of jailed Muslim Brotherhood terrorist leader 

Endorsing corrupt Venezuelan dictator, Nicholas Maduro rather than the democratic opposition.

Blaming the U.S. for "thousands of Somalis killed by American Forces" during Black Hawk Down

Saying "It's all about the Benjamin's baby" and supporting anti-Semitic, anti-Israel practices like BDS

Comparing Immigrant Detention Camps to Concentration Camps

Reflecting on a "calming feeling" when thinking about the Holocaust



I hope all Americans will realize the absolutely frightening enemy within that our nation now faces and votes accordingly in 2020.

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July 28, 2019

Cold-Press Fruits and Veggies

We starting watching this movie with Joe Cross called, "Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead."

This guy weighs a ton and goes on a 60-day all juicing diet.  

He stops all the food and just carries his juicer with him everywhere making fresh fruit and vegetable cold-press. 

While obviously a little extreme, I like the idea of reducing the food intake (especially everything gluten which is death itself), and replacing it with healthy juice. 

I tried one of the super green juices and it literally tasted like eating grass. 

Uh, that's not gonna realistically work for me. 

So I settled on Evolution's Organic Super Fruit Greens that has a combination of orange, mango, pineapple, cucumber, spinach, romaine, and kale. 

I actually like it and am sitting here sipping on one as I write this blog post. 

I went into the fridge and threw all the carbs in the freakin garbage--good riddance!

Gotta get and stay healthy!  ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 27, 2019

What's It Worth To You?

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, "What's It Worth To You."
Certainly, passion for being your best, determination to succeed, and even some healthy competition are important factors in driving our own success as well as societal progress, but when keeping up with that scorecard against others becomes the essence of your own self-worth then things have gone too far and way off course.

We each have our mission, strengths, challenges, and so forth. It’s okay in life, if someone else has more of something (money, friends, honor, whatever). Everyone has their own “basket in life” as my father taught me, “and you wouldn’t want to change baskets with anyone else.”

(Photo Credit: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 26, 2019

Duck Donuts Don't

A colleague brought these unbelievable fresh, hot, Duck Donuts into the office yesterday. 

Each one weighs like a brick and is so full of carbohydrate good(bad)ness. 

I had to use all my self-control and willpower not to eat any (or all) of these. 

It comes down to mind over matter--If you don't mind, it doesn't matter!  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 25, 2019

@Bagels and Business with CEO Hair Cuttery, Dennis Ratner



Hair Cuttery has 1,000 company-owned Salons in 18 states in the USA.  

Dennis Ratner, the founder and CEO is a huge success story.

- Puts people first. 

- Gives back to the community. 

- Believes in vision, planning, and execution. 

- Dennis said: "Effort = Reward" and to be "Relentless" in pursuing your passion.

- Great roles model. 

(Source Video: Andy Blumenthal)
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Lasting Decisions

So it's a funny thing about decisions...

Decisions are supposed to represent the conclusion of a process involving the following steps:

- Research of the problem
- Decide on the scope
- Discover the requirements
- Determine viable alternatives
- Evaluate costs, benefits, and risks 
- Do some soul-searching
- And then resolve and commit on a way-ahead

While these steps are typically formalized in a work-setting, they may be done informally in our personal lives. 

But even after all this, we need to remain adaptive to changes in the environment that would cause us to reevaluate the decision and alter course. 
So a decision is a decision until we revisit the decision. 

The problem is that in some highly complex, unstable/turbulent environments, or ones where there are a lot of disagreements among stakeholders (such that there was perhaps not a consensus on the original decision to begin with) then "decisions" may be short-lived.

In this case, decisions may be half-baked, not even last until the ink is dried, and certainly not have a chance in hell to be executed on or seen through to determine whether they actually would've worked. 

In a way a decision that is so temporal is not even really a decision, but sticking your toe out to feel the temperature of the water, and any commitment of resources can and probably will be a complete throw-away.  

We've got to do the investment in the upfront work, really make a good data-driven (and inspired) decision, and give it an opportunity to blossom. 

Yes, we need to remain agile and change as we sincerely need to, but too much change and for the wrong reasons leads to going nowhere fast.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 24, 2019

Excellence Vs. Mediocrity

So we all know how hard it can be to get ahead.  

The long hours, hard work, and grueling repetition to try to reach near-perfection. 

Even then, of course, we need G-d's mercy and blessings and a measure of good luck to succeed. 

Also, by definition, not everyone can be "the best" at everything. 

I suppose the expectation for most people is that they try at least to excel at the things that they need to do or are most important to them, as well as maintain work-life balance. 

In this light, it was interesting to hear a story recently about mediocrity (and not excellence). 

When asked to step up on the job, one person responded in the negative saying:
C's get degrees (too)!

Of course, this must have sounded pretty shocking and off-putting. 

In other words, they weren't going for the "A" or even a "B".  A "C" grade was fine for them--as long as they didn't completely fail with a big "F".

Who knows what circumstances may have led this person to settle for mediocrity--just wanting to pass.

Perhaps they had serious personal or family issues--and had good reason to be taking a step back (for a while). 

But I think there could also be more tactful ways to say it too--like explaining if there were mitigating or challenging circumstances in their life right now. 

If there really wasn't mitigating circumstances and the person was just "slacking off" or didn't care, one has to wonder why--are they just "milking the system" or is there something more fundamentally wrong?

C's get degrees, but to me the real question is: Are you doing your best given your particular life circumstances?  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 23, 2019

Cool Atom Puzzle

Thought this was a pretty stunning puzzle of The Atom

With sections for: composition, atomic model, thermonuclear fusion, periodic table, radioactivity, positron emission tomography, fission of uranium, nuclear reactor, and atomic scientists. 

Wow that's a lot of information for a Puzzle and one very nicely designed at that. 

Congrats on putting this 1,000 piece beauty together. 

These things make me realize how very much I still have to learn--and in this case, it starts with all these small things. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 22, 2019

I will Survive


G-d gives us strength. 

To battle ignorance, apathy, and evil. 

To educate, persuade, influence, and fight for what's right. 

With a thick skin of battle armor.

And sword and arrows of insight, cunning, and righteousness.

To stand firm even when you feel weakened. 

To find the words even when you are mocked. 

To see clearly and hear distinctly even when confounded. 

The soul and spirit of G-d guides you.

As you traverse a journey through life's winding tests and challenges. 

Fight heroically to repair that which is broken. 

Say resolutely, I will survive!  ;-)
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July 20, 2019

Children's Voices and Scars

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called "Children's Voices and Scars."

Unfortunately, we are living in a time when many people are "destroyed" from various forms of abuse: physical, verbal, and emotional. This frequently occurs to those that are more vulnerable in society (e.g. exploited children). It is especially tragic that children--those that are still innocent and defenseless--are made to suffer at the hands of those that are bigger, stronger, and authority figures in their lives (teachers, clergy, etc.).

At the most basic level, we need to:
  • Listen (carefully), empathize, and be supportive.
  • Don't be dismissive, make assumptions, or jump to conclusions.
  • Yes, everyone deserves a fair hearing and for the facts to be known.
  • No, we can't as a community run from this uncomfortable issue any longer!

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 19, 2019

Shabbat Shalom Y'All


(Credit Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)

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July 18, 2019

When People Can't Admit They're Wrong

So he's a story from the pool today...

I'm doing my laps minding my own business.

And this guy gets to the pool, sits down, and immediately pulls out his cellphone.

Then he proceeds to literally yell into his phone for probably a good half an hour. 

I'm doing my laps and I can hear this guy yelling:

- At his end of the pool 

- ALL the way at the opposite end of the pool

- With earplugs

- AND even underwater

And he goes on and on and on. 

Doesn't stop for even a breath of air. 

Now, in all the years swimming, I've never had to approach someone about their behavior like this.

BUT this was too much as my head was pounding from his incessant yelling.

I waited until he finished his call. 

And it happened to coincide with me finishing my laps. 

I come out of the pool and grabbed my stuff. 

I have to pass him on the way out. 

And I'm still debating with myself whether this schlemiel is even worth it. 

My head is still throbbing from his yelling.

I stop in front of his chair. 

Now he's pulled out a book and is trying to read. 

I say:
Excuse me.
He knows he did something wrong, and he barely looks up, trying to ignore me. 

I say again:
Excuse me. Did you intend for everyone at the pool to hear your ENTIRE conversation?

He starts murmuring something, and then says throwing it back on me:
What's the problem?

So I say:
You were speaking so loud, I could hear you all the way on the opposite end of the pool.  I could even hear you under the water. 

He's agitating now and he says:
Well, I was speaking to someone 85-years old who doesn't hear well.  You get it?

So I say respectfully:
I am sorry that he doesn't hear well, but does everyone else here around the pool also need to hear the conversation? 

Then he says:
So what--I don't care if everyone hears.

I try one more time.
Do you see all these other people trying to read, rest, swim--do you at all care?

He still can't get himself to come around, and instead doubles down and says, 
Well. I'll do whatever I want!

Now, I've had enough, and I say:
So basically you don't give a shit for ANY of your neighbors, do you?

Finally, he must of been embarrassed enough at his terrible behavior, and he backs down and says:
Next time he calls me, I'll take the conversation inside!

At which point, he goes back to his book, and I complete my exit. 

It took all that just to get him to say he'll handle it differently next time and basically be respectful of his neighbors and not a selfish pig!

It's amazing--some people really just can't own up to when they are being a jerk.

But I was glad this guy finally came around--maybe there is still hope. ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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Retro Cool Digital Watch

Wow, I love this retro digital Computron watch from Bulova. 

I remember when the first digital LED watches with the red numbers like this first came out in the 1970s. 

They were quite expensive then!

Part of the computer revolution. LOL

I remember my uncle had something like this and I thought how cool it was--no moving hands to read.

Also, has a little of that sci-fi Battlestar Galactica red (moving) light effect from the cybernetic enemy, Cylon visors. 

What's old is what's new.  ;-)
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July 17, 2019

Face Vase

Thought this was a pretty cool Face Vase. 

If you add a digital home assistant to this (like Amazon Echo or Google Assistant) and make the lips move on this vase, it would be quite the futuristic home assistant!

I don't think I'd feel comfortable living in my own house anymore. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 16, 2019

We're Part of a Much Larger Script

I loved this explanation of the Book of Job by Rabbi Yitzchak Breitowitz.

Why do bad things happen to good people?

G-d answers by showing Job the incredible elements of creation and the universe.

Why?

1) Complexity and Interrelationship of the Universe:

As isolated individuals, we might expect to be judged solely by our individual deeds of good and bad (2-dimensional), but also we are cogs in the larger universe (the 3rd dimension).

Therefore, what happens to us is not just a result of what we do, but also is a part of G-d's larger overall plan for the world. 


Even small acts can have large impacts.

For example, you sneeze and somewhere down the line it causes a tsunami.

Similarly, like actors in a cosmic play of a billion pages, we may not see or understand why our individual role may be what it is, but if you would see and understand the context of the overall drama (what came before us, after us, and how it all interrelates) then from a G-d's eye view, it makes sense.

Every act of destruction can lead to a higher divine purpose.

Like the grass that is mowed over and uprooted to plants crops or the wheat that is harvested and ground up to make bread.

So, we can have faith that there is a reason and purpose for everything even if it is a mystery or unanswered question to us.


And even in our suffering, G-d, the master of the Universe, is saying that "I'm here with you thru it all." You are not alone!

2) By challenging us, G-d gives us the "tough gift" to cope, grow, and become better people.

Even though things that happen may look bad to you, they can lead to good for you.

You don't always get what you want, but you get what you need.

You have choice: you can be bitter, resentful, cynical, and angry or can look at life with hope, optimism and resilience.

Thus, suffering can be a vehicle of self-transformation and elevation. The challenges you face can help you become a different person--a greater person.

You can learn to feel not just your own pain and disappointment, but that of others.

You have the opportunity to grow yourself and the opportunity to help others.

(Thank you to Rebecca Ochayon for sending me this awesome video!)

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Never Get In a Pissing Contest



I saw this and thought this was a clean version of "Never get into a pissing contest."  ;-)

(Credit Video: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 15, 2019

OMG, What A Beautiful Song

And Even In Hiding
By Yaakov Shwekey & Kobi Peretz
Even though I am walking through the valley of the shadow of death
I fear no evil
Because you are with me
Even behind the difficult things you are going through
I stand...I stand...I stand
Even in the place which is hidden, within that which is hidden
Surely, the blessed Hashem is found there too 

My heart and soul are uplifted by this beautiful song. ;-)
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Butterfly + Flower






(Credit Photos: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 14, 2019

@Hillwood Estate and Gardens


























 







Video and Photos from the Hillwood Estate of Marjorie Merriweather Post, former owner of General Foods. 

(Credit Video: Dannielle Blumenthal and Photos: Andy Blumenthal)
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