May 21, 2019

Nightmares All Night

Been watching the HBO miniseries on the Chernobyl nuclear reactor disaster. 

HBO has done an excellent job with showing what happened. 

Maybe too good...I was up with nightmares all night. 

Last night's episode 3 showed in gory detail the initial causalities from the facility and first responders suffering with acute radiation syndrome, and was completely horrifying. 

In the end, the people were in unimaginable pain and were left as mounds of decomposing flesh from the cellular degradation rather than recognizable human beings.  

(The photo here was just a precursor to that end state.)

The ultimate death toll has been estimated at between 10,000 and more than 100,000. 

The effects of the the radiation was described in the show as like trillions of bullets penetrating everything it comes in contact with for the next 50,000 years.

So far we've had Chernobyl (1986) and Fukushima (2012)...OMG, let's hope and pray that we don't have any others, because this was truly looking at hell on earth. ;-)

(Source Photo: Official Trailer here)
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May 20, 2019

Making Chocolate


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May 19, 2019

@IsraelFest By Andy Blumenthal



Singing competition @IsraelFest. 

A little of Yom Ha'atzmuet and Eurovision combined. 

(Source Videos:  Andy Blumenthal)
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The Goliath Arab Propaganda Machine

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, "The Goliath Arab Propaganda Machine."
It has been 71 years since the founding of the modern State of Israel, and while Israel is thank G-d strong militarily, it continues to be seriously threatened by a relentless Arab propaganda war, which they are winning. This War of Words manifests itself on college campuses, protests and rallies against Israel, “progressive politics,” BDS, and the endless stream of anti-Israel resolutions at the United Nations.

Please G-d, He will help us not only militarily to defeat the enemies of Israel, but also to prevail in the battle for truth and justice, identity and history, and ultimately for the Promised Land of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. ;-)

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Ruediger)

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May 17, 2019

A Good Father

I know it's not Father's Day yet, but I had a beautiful dream about my dad the other day that I wanted to share. 

In my dream, I was looking at this ledger.

And at the top of the ledger, it said:
"A Good Father"

I understand that good didn't mean like good vs. great, but rather like good vs. evil in this universe. 

Beneath it, there were lists and lists of signatures of people who knew my dad. 

Their signatures were an attestation that he was not only a good dad, but a good and righteous person. 

I remember in the dream his presence was there with me as I looked at the ledger. 

Then there was an astoundingly bright light that I was basking in.

Now I could feel I was in the presence of the Master of the Universe. 

I looked up to the center and most intense part of the light, and lifted my arms upward in complete supplication to it...towards G-d.

And I felt myself crying out to G-d, and as I cried out louder and more intensely, I was transported back--whooshed through a tunnel at light speed...to awaken from this incredible dream.

Unlike most dreams, this one I remembered and it stuck with me even days later now. 

My dad was truly a great father and a great man!

I am grateful to Hashem for letting me see him this week, and I miss him greatly. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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May 16, 2019

Longest Hair

This woman had the longest hair I have ever seen. 

No, not to the shoulders, not to the mid-back, not even to the tush. 

This went almost all the way to the floor. 

It reminded me more of a maim on a horse than of the typical hairdo of a person. 

Anyway, this must be nasty to take care and keep clean. 

Also, can't imagine having that much hair pulling on my head all the time.  

In Judaism, we say that hair is the crown of a person and it is something that especially women keep modestly when married.

So while hair is nice and beautiful, you can definitely have too much of even a good thing.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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May 15, 2019

Success Anchored in Function AND Beauty

Just a saying from Dr. Ferry Porsche (as in Porsche cars) that I liked:

"It has always been a principal of our company that function and beauty are inseparable."

If you can make something useful and attractive--you have a real winner!

Companies like Porsche and Apple get it (many, many others are clueless).  

Product development is both art and science and therein lay the foundations of their success or failure. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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May 14, 2019

Wow Stylish Shoes

Just thought this was a really stylish shoe/sandal.

The gems and colors are really standout. 

It's relaxed and happy. 

Ladies, this one is for you.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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May 13, 2019

Dragon Power


In honor of the amazing (2nd to last) episode last night of Game of Thrones...

I am posting this artistic Dragon. 

That dragon last night sure was able to do a lot of damage. 

It was a very dramatic and sad episode. 

I won't give it away. 

But an air force of dragons can certainly do quite well. 

Dropping some serious firepower is what they do.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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May 12, 2019

Pu Pu Platter @David Chu's

Celebrated Mother's Day today @David Chu's in Baltimore. 

In addition to my favorite, Sesame Chicken, Dossy ordered the Pu Pu Platter. 

2 BBQ Ribs
2 Teriyaki Beef
2 Spring Rolls
2 Frieds Won Tons
2 Chicken Toast

(Thankfully, there was no poo in the pu pu!)

All this Kosher Chinese food, had me craving a Coca Cola afterwards like it always does. 

Then we stopped at Market Maven, which replaced Seasons that went bankrupted last year. 

Overall, a nice family day that I am so grateful for to Hashem!  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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May 11, 2019

Mother's Day Trump Mug

Mother's Day appreciation mug for my wife. 

I knew she would love it. 

- She's a great mom, terrific, beautiful, fantastic. 

- Other moms, total disasters, everyone agrees. 

Trump says it best.  

Happy Mother's Day! ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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May 10, 2019

Who Is Occupying Whom?

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, "Who Is Occupying Whom?"
  • Palestine was never a state, nor one ever administered by Palestinians.
  • Israel is not occupying any foreign sovereign’s land, so it cannot legally be considered an occupier.
  • There was never any partition plan accepted by the Arabs or implemented, so Israel is not occupying anything.
  • It is Israel that has continuously opened itself to the Arabs as citizens and settlers, while the Arab countries have rejected their own Arab brethren and exiled their Jews.
I hope you read this article and understand the lies and propaganda that is being spread about "the occupation."

(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal adapted from Wikimedia Commons)
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May 9, 2019

@National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence



So good today to visit the NIST Cybersecurity Center of Excellence (NCCoE).

The cybersecurity solutions developed are aligned to the well-known Cybersecurity Framework (CSF). 

Got to see some of the laboratories, including demonstrations for securing the Healthcare and Energy Sectors. 

Interesting to hear about examples for securing hospitals records and even things like infusion pumps.  

The medical devices are tricky to secure, because they are built to potentially last decades and are expensive to replace, but the underlying technology changes every couple of years. 

Also, learned more about securing the energy sector and their industrial control systems.  

One scary notable item mentioned was about the "big red button" for shutdown in many of these facilities, but apparently there is malware that can even interfere in this critical function. 

It is imperative that as a nation we focus on critical infrastructure protection (CIP) and continuously enhancing our security.

Time is of the essence as our adversaries improve their game, we need to be urgently upping ours. ;-)

(Source Photos: Andy Blumenthal)
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May 8, 2019

Yom Hazikaron (Memorial Day) @JCC Rockville

Memorial for the 23,741 fallen soldiers and 3,150 victims of terror. 

Brave, strong, and dedicated to the survival of Israel. 

May their memory be a blessing!

Also a beautiful video my daughter, Minna sent to me. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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May 7, 2019

Really Highest Quality

Just thought this was a funny, educational photo.

Vendor is selling jewelry on the corner (outside the Metro).

They're advertising:

Products Of The Highest Quality

But would you even expect to get the highest quality jewelry off the street. 

As nice as these products may be (and he may be), I don't think anyone would really believe this. 

So while the ad grabs your attention and makes you look, it doesn't make you believe. 

Advertising and branding has to be credible to reach their intended audience or else it'll just come off as fool's gold. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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May 6, 2019

America, Who Are Our Real Friends?


This is what Israel, a longtime and proven true friend and ally of the United States does:
Iranian Plot on U.S. Possibly Thwarted Due To Israeli Intelligence.


These are perhaps the types of things that non-friends of the United States do:

- Attacks pro-Israel congressional representatives as having "dual loyalty."

Blame the U.S. for the crisis in Venezuela and back Socialist dictator Maduro.

- Falsely blame the U.S. for killing thousands in Somalia.

- Crassly describe the 9/11 terrorist attack on the U.S. as "someone did something."

- Mock the U.S. for fearing terrorists, Al Qaeda. 

- Defend hundreds of indiscriminate terror missile attacks on Israeli civilians by Hamas.

- Urge the release of jailed terrorist leader of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Condemned by the House of Representatives for anti-Semitism.

Attacks credibility of U.S. for criticizing Iranian human rights abuses. 

(Source Photo 1: Jerusalem Post / Photo 2: Facebook)
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Wrong Direction--Who Stands For The Truth?

So I thought this was pretty funny in the Wall Street Journal over the weekend. 
A wife is listening to the radio and she hears that a car is dangerously going in the wrong direction on the highway. 

Immediately, she calls her husband to tell him about the car going in the wrong direction, and to be careful. 

He husband replies: One car going in the wrong direction...there are hundreds of cars going in the wrong direction!

How true this little story is about life and what direction we choose for ourselves--in the face of the groupthink and the tidal wave of public opinion that will sweep you away if you aren't strong of mind and especially of character. 

Whenever we choose the road less traveled, others see us as dangerous and going the wrong way. 

Yet to us, others may just be following blindly, and we may truly see something that everyone else is missing...could it possibly be that they are really the ones going the wrong way!

But there is always some doubt in our minds...we are fallible, we can wrong, we can be crazy.  

Whose truth is it anyway--Mine?  Yours?  Or could it really be "The (objective) Truth"?

Alternatively, maybe we just lack confidence or courage?

It is very hard to be the nail that stands up (and doesn't get hammered down) and say that something is wrong and everyone should pay attention and change direction or their ways. 

Perhaps, they are all heading off a moral cliff or just heading towards disaster.

In some cases...

We know the agendas of the people who want to steer you wrong. 

We hear the propaganda and lies they are feeding you. 

We can see down the road or just around the bend where the danger lies in wait. 

- Can we stand up to the crowd?  

- Can we demonstrate the moral truth?  

- Can we get others to see what we see?  

It is certainly not easy to be the contrarian in the crowd. 

Not only may you not be recognized for what you are doing, but you may even be persecuted for it. 

It doesn't matter...

Because you need to do it anyway just because you know deep inside that it's the right thing to do. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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May 5, 2019

I Watch With Terror The Rockets Fly

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, "I Watch With Terror The Rockets Fly."
I watch with terror the rockets fly.
The plumes of white smoke in the sky.
Randomly, randomly where will they fall.
A car, a home, a factory, a kindergarten.
The shrapnel penetrating the flesh of its victims.
The rockets do not know the difference,
Between military and civilian, men and women, children and old.
Please pray for the peace and security for Israel. ;-)

(Source Photo: Reposted here in video by Israel Foreign Affairs Ministry)
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May 4, 2019

Getting The Biggest Bang For The Buck

So I had the opportunity to sit in on a colleague teaching a class in Performance Improvement. 

One tool that I really liked from the class was the Impact-Effort Matrix. 

To determine project worth doing, the matrix has the:

Impacts (Vertical) - Improved customer satisfaction, quality, delivery time, etc.

Effort (Horizontal) - Money, Time, etc. 

The best bang for the buck are the projects in upper left ("Quick Wins") that have a high impact or return for not a lot of effort. 

In contract, the projects that are the least desirable are in the lower right ("Thankless Tasks") that have a low impact or return but come at a high cost or lot of effort. 

This is simple to do and understand and yet really helps to prioritize projects and find the best choices among them. ;-)

(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)
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May 3, 2019

What Are The Chances for IT Project Success?

So I was teaching a class in Enterprise Architecture and IT Governance this week. 

In one of the class exercises, one of the students presented something like this bell-shaped distribution curve in explaining a business case for an IT Project. 

The student took a nice business approach and utilized a bell-shaped curve distribution to explain to his executives the pros and cons of a project. 

Basically, depending on the projects success, the middle (1-2 standard deviations, between 68-95% chance), the project will yield a moderate level of efficiencies and cost-savings or not. 

Beyond that:

- To the left are the downside risks for significant losses--project failure, creating dysfunction, increased costs, and operational risks to the mission/business. 

- To the right is the upside potential for big gains--innovations, major process reengineering, automation gains, and competitive advantages. 

This curve is probably a fairly accurate representation based on the high IT project failure rate in most organizations (whether they want to admit it or not). 

I believe that with:
- More user-centric enterprise architecture planning on the front-end
- Better IT governance throughout
- Agile development and scrum management in execution 
that we can achieve ever higher project success rates along the big upside potential that comes with it!  

We still have a way to go to improve, but the bell-curve helps explains what organizations are most of the time getting from their investments. ;-)

(Source Graphic: Adapted by Andy Blumenthal from here)
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May 2, 2019

Beautiful Anne Frank


In Remembrance of Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Observance) today:

This is a beautiful Hebrew song about Anne Frank who at age 13 went into hiding in Amsterdam from the Nazis.

For two years, they stayed in the attic...not being able to make a sound or open a window.

But she kept an amazing diary that preserves for us the life and suffering they went through. 

After 761 days, they were discovered and Anne Frank was was sent to Auschwitz Concentration Camp. 

Anne and her sister Margot died in Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp.

This child was beautiful and her story lives to remind us of the evil that we face and the survival that we all must.  ;-)

___
Song:

Anne Frank's Diary

Lyrics:

A bookcase hides me. 
And what, what a fear.
My father, my mother and my sister,
With the neighbors together.
We are all in silence and quiet,
With only the heart whispering whispers.
Here they hide from the soldiers,
Which our soul seeks.
My diary, my precious,
Oh Kitty, my friend.
Will I ever see a sunrise?
Will I find my death?
In the tiny rooms, From a suffocating feeling.
Cold days and clouds.
Nights of terror and silence.
It's not true, it's not right,
I want to laugh out loud.
Dance, sing and play,
I'm a child, all in all.
My diary, my precious ...
There are terrible moments,
In our relations.
So crowded here in the apartment, Everything is closing in on us.
Food is also very lacking, The war within the city.
Will I live? Will I survive?
Do you still love and sing?
My diary, my precious ...

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May 1, 2019

Contributors and Whiners


Have you ever noticed the relationship between those that contribute and those that whine. 

The bad news is there is a highly inverse relationship between contributing and whining.

- Those that contribute, don't whine--they are focused on how to make things better!

- Those that whine, don't contribute--they complain and naysay, but add no real value.

The good news is that some solid contributors can more than counterbalance the whiners.

- Unfortunately, too often the whiners outnumber the contributors.

- But fortunately the contributors outweigh the whiners.

Despite your best efforts, you may not be able to make the whiners stop whining and throwing up roadblocks. 

You're often best-off spending your time working with the other contributors who want to see things through to success. 

Be a leader, not a babysitter and help the contributors win! ;-)

(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal adapted from here with attribution to mediamodifier)
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