Showing posts with label Communications. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Communications. Show all posts

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 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 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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May 19, 2019

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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January 17, 2019

Trump Vs. Pelosi -- The Citizens Lose

Yesterday, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, majorly dissed President Trump by attempting to cancel his State of the Union address for Tuesday, January 29 citing lack of resources to secure the National Special Security Event (NSSE) due to the government shutdown. 

In turn, CNN applauded Pelosi for having:
- Just pulled a major power move on Donald Trump's State of the Union

Today, President Trump reciprocated by refusing to provide military aircraft for Pelosi's trip aboard citing the same shutdown. 

In this case, The Guardian condemns President Trump stating that he:
- Escalates shutdown row by cancelling Pelosi trip
I am not taking sides (seriously), but just can't help but notice the incredible bias in the "Fake News" that we are all being fed in the massive media "echo chamber." 

Again, Pelosi cancels Trump and its reported on as she did a great thing, while when Trump responds and cancels Pelosi, then that is reported on as he is escalating the situation. 

Something is very wrong in this country--regardless of which politicians and parties you love or hate and whether you agree with a border wall or not--shouldn't we get news that is honest and even-handed. 

The system is broken and we are the masses that are being controlled in our thinking and our voting.  

This is not democracy--it is social control and b*llsh*t brainwashing! ;-)
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April 20, 2018

Understanding Genius

So working in a place with scientific geniuses and even a history of Nobel Prize winners is serious business. 

I see things that I don't know what they are. 

I meet people that I don't understand what they do. 

But in all cases, I am in awe of the smart and good people and the work they are doing to advance us. 

Here was an example this week in randomly meeting someone and starting up a conversation:
Andy:  Hi. I'm Andy.  What do you do here?
Him:  I'm [so and so].  I do neutron scattering.
Andy: [Gulp followed by big smile] I know absolutely nothing about that.
Him:  Well, what do you do?
Andy:  I'm doing process engineering and enterprise service management.
Him: [Smile] I know absolutely nothing about that. 
Get the picture.

One for the books right.

In another instance, when asked what their group does, someone leans into me and goes:

"We fix sh*t."

I could tell he meant it. 

And you know what--I absolutely believed him.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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March 24, 2018

Got Skills?

I thought this was a very telling sign right off the highway in Washington, D.C. 

"Does your child have life skills?"

And then it lists things like:
"Cooking, budgets, sewing, ironing, time managment, communication, and fun"

The classes are offered by ActualLifeSkills.com.

I took a look online at what a typical 6-week class offered on Sundays for 3-hours at a time and at a cost of $345. 

It even covered things like:
"Handshakes, eye contact, and conversation starters
Voice projection and confidence
Party/guest etiquette, gifts and thank you notes"

And of course, aside from the cooking and budgeting already mentioned, there were more of the foundations such as laundry, cleaning, and grocery shopping.

I would suggest adding things like computer basics, child rearing, human relations, home maintenance, car mechanics, hunting, fishing, gardening, first-aid, fitness, and even self-defense. 

Since, we spend so much time teaching book skills, I have often thought why we don't spend more time teaching these fundamental life skills. 

We are raising a generation of kids that can score 1500+ on the SATs, but they don't know sh*t about real life and couldn't survive a week without electricity, Internet, or mom and dad taking care of them. 

Back to basics. 

Back to life skills. 

Back to survival. 

Back to being self-sufficient. 

There is no reason that we can't add these items to our broken school curriculums. 

You shouldn't have to go to special classes to learn to live life. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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January 18, 2018

Listen Better, Empathize More

So I am working on myself to improve and be a better person.

Recently, I had a number of experiences with people telling me of some very trying circumstances.

And at first, I found myself listening and talking to them about it, but then my mind started to get distracted by other things going on and other problems in my life that I needed to deal with.

So after we finished speaking about their respective family, work, and even health problems, I felt that I may have cut off some of these conversations too early or without enough empathy. 

After clearing my head, I thought to myself, I really want to listen better and empathize more. 

And so I went back and did just that. 

I found each person (in person, by phone, or email), and I said that I felt sorry for what they were going through, and I asked more questions and tried to really just be in the moment and there for them.

They seemed to each really appreciate me taking the time and effort to come speak with them and that I cared. 

I know that I am human and make mistakes, but I want to continually grow and do better in life. 

In this case, listening better and empathizing more--it felt great and I learned to listen to my conscience and do more when I think it's right! ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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November 6, 2016

Living In A Big F-cking Interconnected World

So I can hardly remember a world without the Internet, television, or travel. 

Yet if the world, as created, is just under 6,000 years old, then we only have these critical interconnections with each other for the last 100 years...that's only a tiny fraction of world history or less than 2%!

Pervasive and invasive communications and travel like the Internet (1990), television (1927), commercial airplane (1914), and mass produced automobile (1908) have expanded our personal universes. 

Hearing stories as a kid about how people rarely traveled more than 25 miles from their villages and barely got news from far beyond that, it is very hard for me to imagine such a small world to be confined to. 

Yes, some people look back with nostalgia yearning for the simpler times and "the good 'ol days," but they forget how on one hand, mundane it was and on the other, how unstable and violent it tended to be. 

Now with social media, smartphones, 24/7 news coverage, and world travel, connecting with people and events irrespective of distance or even language is taken for granted, and we are always on and expected to be (the last part is one downside for sure). 

Still yet to be conquered, but I am sure not that far away, is connecting outside of our own world and irregardless of time...reach forward or back and across the vastness of the stars--it's all one. 

Frankly, I do not know what I would do in a world limited to just 25 miles and not being able to get connected online, anytime, anywhere...what a boring and small world that must've been.

In the same way, once we reach beyond our own world and routinely travel to and settle on other worlds, and can reach beyond the present into the past and the future, I think the next generations will be astonished at how small we too have lived. 

25 miles...what the heck!  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 1, 2016

Say It And They Believe It

This was pretty funny in Starbucks. 

This guy comes in with a briefcase and sets in down on the table. 

He opens it up and proceeds to take out an electronic device--turns out it's his laptop computer. 

But on the briefcase, there is a label that says:


"POWERFUL ANTI-TERROR DEVICE INSIDE."

So everyone is looking like there really is something to this.

You can almost tangibly feel them wondering what the heck type of device is this that he is carrying...it must pack a real punch!

Then one person near me, bends over sideways, and whispers in my ear..."Does he really have a powerful anti-terror device inside?"

Like I look as if I'm in the know on these things!!! 

I lean back over in the other direction to the other person and whisper back, "No, I'm pretty sure that it's just a gag...the guy must be looking for some serious attention."

And all of sudden, it's as if all the heads around me start to nod, like I stated some amazing insight here or perhaps that they somehow knew it all along. 

Anyway, it's incredible what people will believe...if you just state it (in an official way, of course) on your briefcase, a badge, on your forehead or wherever, it's got to be true, because we are so gullible and willing or wanting to believe. 

Yes, I believe! I believe!  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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May 13, 2016

How-To Book Craze

I took this photo of a person reading a how to take great photos book.

Sort of ironic, funny, no?

You can read about it or do it. 

I'm one of those people who learn more by actually doing. 

Ok, I'm not the greatest photographer in the world (by a really long shot).

But for me it's more about the idea I'm trying to convey than the pure artistic value per se. 

Anyway, in the vein of words being cheap, "Reading is fundamental," but doing is absolutely fundamental. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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March 21, 2016

Loving Your Sheep

I guess people love all sorts of things. 

This one lady had a bumper sticker on her truck that said, "I [Heart] Love Sheep."

First, I thought the messaging was about loving "The Shepherd"--either her husband, a paramour, or a reference to the Messiah. 

Then I took a second take, and realized, NO not the shepherd, but the actual sheep--she loves. 

Well, people love their dogs, cats, horses, and so why not their sheep?

I don't know, but as a "city boy," loving your sheep never would really occur to me, then again I was sheltered in Yeshiva. 

Anyway, after I took a quick photo of the professed love sticker, this lady starts yelling after me about why am I looking at her car.  

I responded, "No, not the car--the sticker (about the sheep)."

She's like, "Oh, that's okay then!"--like of course, it's about my love of sheep. 

So here, this post is dedicated to everyone that loves their sheep or shepard or whatever rocks their particular boats. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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February 2, 2016

Boardroom B.S.

So I had the opportunity to attend a board meeting recently and to see firsthand why most decisions are so flawed. 

- No Diversity--The board members were all from a single age group and color, and this clearly impacted their thought processes and decisions. For example, when others attending the meeting asked about updating some technology, the board members blankly felt that was not important even after almost a decade of the same thing. 

- Self-Interest--The board only entertained issues that they were interested in for themselves. For example, when someone stood up to talk about issues they didn't feel were important to them, the board members tuned out, interrupted the speakers, actually scrowled at them, or just shut them down altogether. 

- Getting Personal--Board members frequently changed the discussion from substantive discussion to personal attacks. When one person questioned a recent decision, a board member started yelling about being called names (which never happened that I saw) or telling the speakers that they didn't know what they were talking about. 

- Information Poor--Board members made decisions or committees recommended decisions first, and then put it up for discussion later (like at a subsequent meeting). Moreover, the board members referred to decisions being made over and over based on anecdotes of people telling them this, that, or the other thing (none of which could be verified) and not on facts or surveys of those impacted by the decisions. 

- Transparency Lacking--Board members made decisions without explanation for the reason or justification, and even without necessarily evaluating all the alternatives. When questioned, the board wasn't able to identify costs of alternatives or even fully explore the other viable options. 

- Intimidating The Opposition--The board members actually seemed to challenge and turn to intimidation to stem alternate views from their own. Some people that had supported other voices in the room where turned or told that they hadn't understood the issues properly to begin with. 

Despite some nice people personally and one or two that didn't seem to go along with the shinanigans, overall it was a very disppointing show of decision-making, governance, communication, and leadership. 

No wonder people get turned off by the process, don't participate, and lose confidence in those at the top. Maybe time for people to be leaders with heart and not megalomaniacs with gavels. 

(Source Photo: here with attribution to CJ Sorg)
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January 31, 2016

Truly My Love

So this is the graffiti on the wall of the ladies bathroom in Barnes and Noble. 

My wife said to make sure everyone knows that she took the photo and not me (uh, that would be awkward). 

I can't make out all the graffiti on the wall, but the one in the center says:

"True love isn't something made up in stories or books. It exists truly, if you believe truly, and truly fight for it. Real love is magic."

Another one talks about "Gonzales" who is the most beautiful man.

And yet one more...

"I wish I knew how to tell my boyfriend I love him."

Let me just be frank that the Graffiti in men's bathrooms is nothing, nothing like this. 

It's more obscene, uses lots of 4 letter words, and has women's first names and phone numbers. 

Why do women write and profess their love for men on bathroom walls, while men seem to think and express themselves in far more graphic terms--and why do this while in the stinkin' bathroom?

I think this may make for some interesting gender studies for someone out there. 

From a technology perspective, I think if people are going to insist on thinking and fantasizing in the public bathroom, perhaps we need some white boards or monitors that you can write and erase from--that way at least we can make room for the next guy/gal to write their truly's next. ;-)

(Source Photo: Dannielle Blumenthal)
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November 8, 2015

Internet Divide And Conquer

Remember in the old Western's when the Indians were about to attack the town, and before they rode in with knives and flaming arrows--what would they do?  

The Indians would cut the telegraph lines--no calls for help out, and no communications in--the town and its people were completely cut off.

The very next scene would be the slaughter of everyone in the town including a bunch getting scalped. 

How have things changed in the 21st century?

Not so much so, as the New York Times reports today on the constant threats to our underground Internet lines being cut--with 16 cuts to the lines in the San Francisco Bay area alone in the last year. 

Similarly just a couple of weeks ago, the media was reporting about the U.S. being worried about Russian subs cutting the undersea Internet cables.

But isn't the Internet built like a spiders's web (i.e. the World Wide Web) with redundant routes so that it can withstand even a nuclear attack?

Apparently, if you take out key Internet Exchange Points (IXP) or major international cable lines then the Internet can be seriously disrupted. 

Similar to the impact of an EMP weapon that fries our electronic circuits...poof no more communications. 

If you can cut off our core communications ability--then it's a simple strategy of divide and conquer.  

Divided we are weak and can't communicate and organize ourselves to either know what's going on or to effectively respond. 

Like sitting ducks in the Old West surrounded and cut off--it was a slaughter. 

This is why it is so critical that we not only build redundancy in the cable lines, but that we create alternatives like satellite Internet or Google's Project Loon for balloon Internet access.

It's not just the military, law enforcement, and emergency management not that needs to be able to communicate--we all do!

With excellent communications, we can unify ourselves and we are strong--but if we are left in the dark, then divided we fall. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 29, 2015

Funnier In Yiddish

Yiddish is a language with words derived primarily from German, Hebrew, and Aramaic.

When someone wants to know if you speak Yiddish, sometimes, they just say, "Do you speak Jewish?" 

Many of the Yiddish words are popular and have become commonplace in our communications now-a-day. 

One of my friends used to say, "Jokes are always funnier in Yiddish."

And sure enough, there is something about Yiddish words, pronunciations, and nuances that make getting a point across very potent and at the same time, quite humorous. 

Take the words on this eduational Yiddish poster--it's like the Yiddish words just sound like and makes perfect sense for what it is (see how many you recognize):

- Bagel - Bagel 

- Chazar - Pig

- Chootspah (chutzpah) - Gall 

- Gonif - Thief

- Imglick - Luck

- Klutz - Clumsy

- Kvitch (kvetch)- Complainer

- Macher - Big shot

- Mishugina (mashugana) - Crazy

- Noodnik - Annoying

- Pipik - Belly Button

- Shlep - Lug 

- Shmootz - Dirt

- Shnops (schnapps) - Liquor

- Shvigger - Mother-in-law

- Trafe - Unkosher

- Tsooris - Problems

- Yenta - Talker

- Zoftig - Fat

There is one more word not on the list here that is probably recongizable and that is a "shmuck," which refers to a contemptable person, but literally refers to a man's private parts--ah, maybe that's why it's not on the picture poster. ;-)

(Source photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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May 25, 2015

The Chalkboard Car

This is a photo of a chalkboard car. 

And on the hood is written "Happy Memorial Day!"

On the side was a design in chalk and on the back even a peace sign. 

Wouldn't it be sort of funny if everyone had a car with handwritten messages on it (as long as they were kept clean and non-aggressive). 

A little entertainment, humor, how ya feeling today, and more. 

It's also nice when we don't take ourselves so seriously and can just have some kosher fun in life. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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April 24, 2015

DC, The Cleanest City In The World

Check out what we have in Washington, DC...

Gum Busters--"chewing gum removal specialists"!

If we can get the gummies out of politics, imagine what we can accomplish. 

Man, DC has got to be one of the cleanest cities in the world. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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March 8, 2015

Celebrating International Women's Day

Just want to recognize all the wonderful women who have touched my life:

My beautiful wife and daughters.

Also my beloved mother and grandmothers A'H.

As well as friends and colleagues. 

I still remember the saying I used to hear growing up that girls are "sugar and spice and everything nice!"

In the bible, women are men's "ezer kenegdo" literally translated as helpmates, and figuratively as companions. 

There is a nice Jewish teaching that the word "kenegdo" has a double meaning that if a man is good then the women stands as his aide, but if he is bad that she stands against him--so men have to merit the love and kindness of their wives, and not just expect it, dutifully. 

An interesting article written by Melvin Konner in the Wall Street Journal says that with women taking over more and more leadership roles in the workplace and in politics, the world will be a better place!

What served men well in a hunter-gather society--the male testosterone-driven biology--prepares men well for physical aggression, reproduction, and dominance, but also leads to overreaction to small threats, exaggerated violence, and recklessness that has brought "war, corruption, and scandal."

However, in the current information technology society that we now live in, men's physical strength and prowess is largely obsolete replaced by machines, robots, and drones. And women's emancipation and rise to positions of power has led to situations where saner heads and compromise prevail, and as Senator Susan Collins (Maine) said:

"While male colleagues cross their arms and sulked, women crossed the aisles with phone calls, emails, and social media."

From my experience, women can actually be the fiercer gender (testosterone or not), and a wise man does not mess with them! ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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February 27, 2015

Reform The Movement

So was very glad to read this week about a top Sunni cleric who called for educational reform to combat "extremist violence."

Sheik Ahmend al-Tayeb, a grand imam in Cairo said "corrupt interpretations" of the Koran and of Muhammad was leading to a rise of Middle East-based terrorism. 


This to hopefully stem the flow of what is now being reported as 20,000 foreign fighters flocking to join ISIS


What is amazing here is that good Muslim people are recognizing the problem with radicalization, extremism, and violence and are speaking out. 


Yet, many of our own leaders in the Western world still refuse to say the dirty words "Islamic terrorism."


The President saying instead: "No religion is responsible for terrorism--people are responsible for violence and terrorism."


So perhaps, according to this "logic," no movement is responsible for what their people do--only the individuals are?


And therefore, accordingly, the Nazis would not be responsible for the Holocaust, nor America for Slavery, nor Communism for political purges, oppression, and violation of human rights, etc. etc. 


...in which case, there would be no apologies, no regrets, no reparations, no museums, no memorials, nothing--because this was just some individuals doing some bad things and those individuals are may no longer even be here with us. 


Doesn't this ignore the very basic and fundamental fact that when the masses follow a movement's (genuine or distorted) ideological teachings of hatred, racism, and discrimination, and the people act act nefariously on this, then does not the movement itself hold some responsibility for the murderous and evil actions committed based on their doctrine?


The Sheik who denounced terror and called for changes to the education in the Muslim community is recognizing what apparently many of our own leaders refuse to, which is that they--and we--are responsible for what is taught and tolerated in our communities. 


As Peggy Noonan recently wrote, "The reality is that the Islamic State is...very Islamic.


Currently, we are fighting a war on radical Islamic terrorism...whether that terror is committed on Charlie Hebdo, a Jewish grocery store, or the World Trade Centers. 


That does not mean that tomorrow, we are not fighting against some other movement's treachery.


This is why good people everywhere must stand up and speak out when they see religions, governments, institutions, or other movements preach and teach lies, hatred, and terror. 


Bad (or hijacked good) movements drive bad actors...so we must not only go after the bad guys, but also hold the movements themselves to account.


We must demand that the lies and distortions be called out for what they are and that truth and virtue be held up in its place. ;-)


(Source Photo: here with attribution to Front Page Magazine)

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