Showing posts with label Fake. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Fake. Show all posts

September 14, 2019

Facing Facts on Rosh Hashanah

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, "Facing Facts on Rosh Hashanah."
In a sense, we all live at least two lives–represented by the two faces we wear: The first is the happy face, where we portray ourselves as if everything is going so well, almost near-perfect in our lives (our vacations, accomplishments, celebrations, and so on), and this is the face that we routinely show to the world. Then, there is the second face, which is essentially where everything is not (always) quite so rosy, where life’s challenges, troubles, and hardships take their tangible toll, and this is the face that we learn to keep private and regularly hide from the world. Usually, it comes down to a rationale that goes something like this: just imagine what would people think of us if they really knew us for who we are and what we were actually going through? Yet the funny thing is that everyone is going through something–that’s life!
In a couple of weeks, when we celebrate Rosh Hashanah, we come knowing that there is no mask to be worn in front of our Maker, and truly, we are naked before Him in all our thoughts and deeds. We can’t pretend anymore that our lives or ourselves are perfect, but rather this is the time for true and earnest reflection, repentance, as well as judgment for the New Year based on what each of us is really all about. May each of us have the courage and conviction to face our real selves, to learn, grow, improve, and ultimately to self-actualize, and may we receive G-d’s mercy and blessings for a happy and healthy New Year!

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 3, 2019

Cheesecake Heaven

So I never met a piece of cheesecake that I didn't like. 

This was an awesome display of the varieties of it at the Cheesecake Factory.

I remember my mom used to make a pretty darn great cheesecake (and a lot of other good food)!

I still can see the graham cracker crust with the sweet hot creamy cheese filling coming out of the oven. 

Unfortunately one of the conundrum of life is that all the good tasting things are so darn fattening and bad for us. 

I think though if they can make fake burgers like Beyond that taste like the real thing, then surely at some point they will figure out how to make a skinny cheesecake that tastes good. 

There are still some mysteries left in this universe for us to unravel. ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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December 18, 2018

Sing Louder

So I heard this interesting saying the other day:
If you can't sing better, sing louder!

It's funny that people actually do that type of thing all the time. 

My colleagues boss told someone I know: 
You're a fake it till you make it type of person

This can apply to all sort of activities and not just singing.

-- Public speaking, your job, sports, cooking, etc. 

Often, people have to do things that they really just don't do very well.

- Maybe it's not their forte. 

- Maybe they're just not into it. 

But rather than call it for what it is.

Instead, they pretend and make a show out of it. 

They exaggerate what they think they are supposed to do. 

Or they try to compensate with something tangential. 

Hey, maybe no will notice.

But people eventually catch-on and do know when you're lip-singing and faking your way through or just screaming out the lyrics to mask how horrible you singing is. 

Better to be honest and admit what you can and can't do.

Take some classes or get some training.

Practice, practice, practice. 

Or even consider doing something else that you do enjoy and are good it. 

Either way, you don't want to be the one singing loudly their whole life.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal. Note: this blog is not connected to this or any particular musician)
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July 11, 2018

Not A Kiss

So I learned a lesson recently.

Sometimes, a kiss is not a kiss. 

It could be a phony show. 

Like a snake. 

It slithers and fools people into complacency. 

Kiss kiss!

Hug hug!

But around the back is a hand holding a dangerous dagger. 

It stands ready to swing and plunge into your soft unsuspecting tissue. 

The more kisses, perhaps the more hiding of their true intentions. 

People are complex and sometimes malevolent. 

They want what they want, and when they want it. 

When the time comes, a kiss can turn into a sharp knife. 

You wonder how is it that person has no more kisses.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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June 4, 2017

The Excuses We Make

So on the way to the airport, I am talking with the Uber driver. 

"There is such a discrepancy between the rich and the poor here," I say.

"Yeah," she says, "When I drive and stop at the lights, there are many poor people that come up to the car looking for a handout."

She continues, "I usually have a few dollars here" pointing to the little cubby hole under the parking break. 

"But my friends make fun of me saying, they [the panhandlers] are just going to go out and buy a beer!"

Excuse #1 not to give poor people--they'll misuse our charity and buy alcohol, drugs, or prostitutes. 

The driver says, "But so what...if I were in their shoes, I'd buy a beer too."

I'm thinking, hey this is nice...she's fighting the bad inclination and her friends pressure and still wants to give--this is great!

Sure enough, we stop at a red light, and a really poor man starts walking up to the window to ask for help.

This person is dressed in dirty battered rags of an undershirt, and has sores on their arms and body.

The driver says, "Yeah, if I gave him, he'd probably just switch his shirt inside out later [as if the other side would be magically less dirty and ripped] and go home to his Rolls Royce!"

Wow, when excuse #1 doesn't hold...

Excuse #2--the poor people are just faking it...really they aren't poor, but rather they are fantastically rich and trying to pocket some more money for free.

It's like the evil inclination sitting on one shoulder telling us "don't give,"  even as the good inclination is sitting over our other shoulder beseeching us to have mercy and "give, give, give."

In this case, the evil inclination won out. 

I reached for my wallet and wanted to open my window, but honestly this person looked scary--dirty and maybe sick--I was afraid of this person. 

I hope G-d forgives me, because I feel it wasn't my evil inclination making excuses, but this time it was genuine for me. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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June 9, 2016

The Kool-Aid Overfloweth

So I am a little concerned with this election.

As the promises are made...

As glass ceilings are broken for gender and outsiders...

As the endorsements are coming in...

As legacies are made and lost...

Everybody seems to be drinking a lot of Kool-Aid.

Somehow, the (social) media doesn't seem as discerning as it should or could be. 

Maybe it's more about brands, what outrageous, who's insulted, ratings and advertising dollars.

Many (or almost all unless they have personal skin in the game) seem resigned to just vote for the candidate they deem least worst.

Accountability for actions and words--scripted and blurted out--don't seem to be taken with the seriousness they deserve. 

Just say or do whatever it takes...shake hands, kiss babies, promise more of everything for everybody.

Wash it all away with the insincerity of the moment for the prize of the ultimate power grab awaits. 

The new leader of the free world will be sitting in the Oval Office in just a little more than half a year.

Kool-Aid is filling our screens, our newspapers, our conversations, and our minds.

What's real and what's bullsh*t about what we're being fed?

Transparency, ha...feeding time is almost over. 

But where's the real vetting, critical thinking, and values informing the process?

It's not about what to think, but how to think!

Bellies are almost full...the herd is almost ready to vote.

The new King of the Jungle is almost ready to take their place at the head of it all.

Four years, maybe eight years...

How will the wild world be then? ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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November 19, 2015

Vetting The Refugees--Do You Think It'll Work?

So not that anyone was so thrilled with the Syria and Iraq refugee idea post 9/11 to begin with...

But now 31 States have come straight out refusing to take these refugees post the terror attack that happened just last week in Paris--where at least one of the terrorists was...

Guess what?

That's right!  A fake refugee from Syria

But what about the "intensive vetting process" that is being promised for these 10,000 refugees?

Well what can be more intensive than the vetting that the American government does on employees working for highly sensitive agencies like the CIA, FBI, and NSA? 

So how has that worked out?

Probably not too bad, but the problem is that no vetting no matter how thorough is foolproof, hence major spies have infiltrated these organizations for years or even decades and caused immense harm to national security:

Robert Hanssen (former FBI--spied for the Soviets for 21 years)

Aldrich Ames (31-year veteran of the CIA, compromised 2nd largest number of CIA agents after Robert Hanssen)

Edward Snowden (leaked classified information from the NSA on our surveillance programs)

The point is that no matter how well we vet 10,000 or more refugees from Iraq and Syria, with ISIS vowing "to strike America at its center in Washington"--there certainly can be some errors in the screening and final adjudication process.

Again no vetting process is perfect--especially when the refugees themselves are admitting that fake ideas are being given out to them like candy in a candy store. 

So that's the dilemma we now face:

HEART--do what our heart tells us to and help people in need by taking in the refugees.

OR 

HEAD--follow our heads not risking another one or more potentially devastating terror attacks on the U.S. homeland. 

The choice is heartbreaking or headache producing! ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 22, 2015

Yom Kippur, When The Masks Come Off

This mask does not mean that Jews have horns--that is a crappy and evil stereotype, so cut it out. 

Masks are dress-up and pretend, like the way most people behave day-in and day-out. 

People imagine and feign to be what they would like to be or what they want others to believe they are. 

Like when someone is gearing up for a fight, they extend their arms, raise their voices, bob up and down to make themselves appear bigger and more formidable than they really are. 

It's a fake out--but perception is (often) reality. 

Similarly, people may wear clothes, drive cars, or live in big fancy homes that make them look well-to-do, but really it's a great act and all bought on extensive credit (ever hear of 0% down!). 

Others may dream of being seen as smart and the go-to guy for answers, the subject matter expert, or the generally wise person for advice and guidance, but are they really smarter than everyone else or do the degrees plastering the wall like wallpaper or titles like doctor, lawyer, accountant, entrepreneur, professor, and Rabbi simply often invoke credentials and an air rather than the smarts that should accompany them.

Even parents may pose for loving pictures with their children, seem to dote on them, and act the helicopter parents, but still when it comes to their own busy schedules, they have no real time or attention left for the little ones--because the parents put themselves first. 

It happens all the time, every which way, the authority figure who really abuses their authority rather than lives up to it. 

People are human, weak, fallible--and the show is often a lot better than the characters behind it. 

But that doesn't mean we stop trying to be inside what we know we really should be--more loving, caring, giving, and good people. 

This is the essence of Yom Kippur to me, the Day of Atonement--the day when we shed all our phony masks--and instead we bear out our sins, bend our heads with shame, are sorry for what we have done wrong, and commit to doing better in the future.

Yom Kippur is the day when all the masks are off--we cannot hide from G-d Almighty, the all seeing and all knowing.  

On Rosh Hashanah, the Day of Judgement we are inscribed, and on Yom Kippur the book is sealed. 

In Judgement, we may enter the court of heaven with heads still held up high, with the same act that we try to show every day, but on Yom Kippur we leave the court with our heads down and our hands humbly clasped, the sentence meted out for who we really are--based not on pretense, but on our underlying behavior.

A mask covers what is, when the mask is off we are left with who we are--naked before our maker, where all is revealed, and we must account for our actions--good, bad, or even just plain indifferent. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 23, 2015

Taking The Spin Off Things

Ok, so here is what I learned over the years about communication...

Question everything, believe nothing (except in G-d).

It's not just that a lot of people out there are full of sh*t--yes, that is true too. 

But also that many powerful people are experts at manipulation and spin. 

Take just some recent some examples:

- We didn't just give America and Israel-hating "suicidal, apocalypse-seeking" Iran a clear path to the bomb and in just half a generations' time (along with hundreds of billions to continue funding global terror and a lifting of the weapons and ballistic missile embargo), instead we have a "comprehensive long term deal with Iran that will prevent it from obtaining a nuclear weapon."

- With the hackers who not only showed how to take wireless control of a moving Jeep Cherokee, but also released information on how to do it, they didn't put another tool in the toolkit of the cyber attackers and terrorists out there, instead "they are bringing atttention to an issue auto makers have for too long ignored."

Could go on and on to issue after issue...

The point is that from a young age we are primed to respect, listen, and automatically believe figures of authority and experts--when our parents, teachers, spiritual leaders or a policeman or fireman says something, we naturally believe them, who they are, and in them. 

This is what politicians and executives and other people in power prey on--that we will believe them over everyone else or any other facts to the contrary. They have the title, the uniform, the badge, or whatever, and so they must be good, honest, and trustworthy.

However, good parents and teachers make sure to tell children not just to take people or what they say at face value. For example, if someone comes to the door and says they are delivering a package, don't just open the door.  Look through the peephole, ask for identification, or have them come with a neighbor, etc. 

I remember in the very first movie of "Death Wish" with Charles Bronson, where his wife and daughter answer the door expecting a simple delivery from the supermarket that they were just at and instead they get a brutal gang that murders the wife and rapes the daughter. 

Similarly, in cases where women get pulled over, attacked, and raped by someone with flashing lights, siren, and even a fake uniform/badge--even as you believe you are obeying the law, others are taking advantage and fooling you.

As comforting as our beliefs are and perhaps even that we just want to believe--things often are not as they appear or what we want or expect them to be--what goes on behind the scenes and the spin that comes out in front are designed to intoxicate the masses. ;-)

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Kristian Niemi)
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December 12, 2014

Hair Drying Contraption

Took this photo at the Salon of this hair drying contraption.

The arms actually moves up and down in this crazy arc over a person's head...like butterfly wings flapping away drying from all positions and surfaces of your head.


Looks quite unnecessary, except that it probably makes the customer feel uh so special...having this unique machine working their hair all over (who the heck would have one of these at home). 


Maybe it hovers off the ground and does little whirlies too!


In life, it is up to us to be discerning--what is necessary and real and what is just bluffery and showbusiness.


Yes, there is no business like show business and alien space hairdryers--that fits right in. ;-)


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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October 7, 2014

The Games Organizations Play

So HP, under Meg Whitman, is breaking up into a PC/printing company and an enterprise products and services firm.

Um...well of course it’s the right thing to do to focus each and release the great value of these two companies.

Only, just a few years ago, under Carly Fiorina, HP a printer and enterprise products company combined with Compaq, a PC company, in order to gain the size and clout to succeed in the ever-competitive technology marketplace.

The B.S. of corporate America—everything and the opposite--to try and do something, almost anything, to try and raise the share prices of those strategically stalled companies.

From Meg Whitman, CEO of HP:

- October 2011--“Together we are stronger!”

- Then today, 3 years later--“Being nimble is the only path to winning.”

Yeah, whatever.

Merge, split—wash, rinse, repeat…fool the fools.

HP is still HP—especially compared to Apple, Amazon, Google, and even now Lenovo. ;-)

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Angie Harms)

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March 11, 2014

Be, Be Yourself

I thought this was a cute sign in the elevator at Safeway. 

"Be Yourself. Everyone else is already taken."

Why they put this up in a supermarket, I don't really know. 

Anyway, gotta hate phonies, kiss-ups, and B.S. artists--in the store or out. 

My wife's grandfather used to say, "What comes from the heart, goes to the heart"--I really like that!

An ounce of sincerity is worth more than a ton of faking it--even if you're a good fake. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 10, 2013

Emergency Alert Or R U Kidding?

BBC News Technology (9 July 2013) reports on how the U.S. Emergency Alert System (EAS) was hacked. 

The EAS is a program of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and was set up "to allow the president to talk to the entire country within 10 minutes of a disaster." It also provides the public with alerts on local weather emergencies, such as tornados and flash floods. 


EAS replaced the Emergency Broadcast System (EBS) in 1997 and with it came security weaknesses.


Earlier this year, those vulnerabilities were tested and exploited when the Montana Television Network was hacked with an alert of a zombie attack.


And it provided advice on how to survive--"Do not approach or apprehend these bodies as they are considered extremely dangerous."


This is reminiscent of the hoax in 1938 when over the radio came a warning that a meteorite had smashed into New Jersey and aliens were attacking New York--an adaptation of H.G. Wells "War of the Worlds."


Well yesterday it was aliens, today it's zombies, and tomorrow it could be an phony announcement of an invasion by country XYZ or perhaps a imminent detonation of a thermonuclear warhead somewhere over the continental U.S. 


Imagine the panic, confusion, and potential loss of life and property from the ensuing chaos. 


It goes without saying that this is not a way to inspire confidence by the citizens in case of a true national emergency. 


If we cannot count on the systems meant to survive an emergency then how can we be expected to survive the emergency itself? 


The EAS may interrupt your regularly scheduled programming with those loud and annoying tests, but what can really ruin you day is a cyber attack on the system that broadcasts something much nastier and more ominous--and you don't really know whether it's the real thing or just another hack. ;-)


(Source Photo: here with attribution to UWW ResNet)

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July 5, 2013

Have You Been Voluntold?

Voluntold, it's a funny word. 

A combination of volunteer and told, to do something. 

I couldn't believe that this word is actually in the dictionary and means:

"When one has been volunteered for something by another person. Often against their wishes and desires." (Reference: Unwords

"The exact opposite of volunteering. Always used in reference to an unpleasant task to which you have been assigned by your boss."(Reference: Urban Dictionary)

I've seen this used when the boss asks for volunteers for a task or special project. If no one volunteers, then the boss volunteers someone--telling them to do it.  They have been voluntold!

One time, I remember a very tense meeting where a boss was presenting his vision for the organization, but at the same time putting down the status quo and everyone in it. 

As one point, he asks for a volunteer to help with driving his vision forward (note: no one had bought into it), and no one volunteers. 

The boss ask for a volunteer once, twice, and three times at the meeting as the tension rises. 

Finally, a hand goes up and someone accepts the task. 

He is the bosses new favorite and is told publicly at the meeting that he will be rewarded for "stepping up."

The truth is he didn't really step up, but rather succumbed to the pressure to do it. 

Another victim of being voluntold. 

In the end, he really didn't perform much of what he volunteered for--not a surprise, since he never bought into it to begin with. 

Sometimes, we do have to ask people to do things, but it shouldn't be by force or undue pressure. 

A leader builds his vision with his team--not for his team--and they move forward together to achieve their unified goals and objectives. 

Telling someone to do something, and pretending that they are really volunteering fools no one and achieves nothing accept maybe calling out some pretend accomplishments to go with the pretend volunteers. ;-)

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Andrew Huff)
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December 19, 2012

What A Dummy!

This guy is a real dummy--no, I am not being mean or rude. 

While this guy looks very real, it is actually a statue and is called "Vendor With Walkman" by Duane Hanson. 

This guy sits in a windowed room in Ft. Lauderdale Airport, and it seems that almost everyone who passes by stops and does a double-take--he is so real looking--it is amazing!

Looks are deceiving, but this takes it to a whole new level--think hard about what is real and fake; it is not always so obvious. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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