Showing posts with label Force. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Force. Show all posts

September 10, 2020

@The Amish Experience


It was a fun time at The Amish Experience today in Lancaster Country, Pennsylvania. 


One and a half hour bus tour of Amish country. 


45 Minute movie about Jacob, an Amish teen, trying to decide whether he wants to be in the outside world or in the Amish one.


And another hour of so tour of an Amish school house and home. 


Felt like I learned a lot about their culture (including no TV, internet, electricity [just batteries and solar], and education only through 8th grade). 


Honestly, it doesn't seem like they really have much a choice in whether to choose the church and become Amish or leave, because if they choose to leave they are shunned (i.e. excommunicated)!


So you either choose you family, church, community, and a wife (and there is no divorce) or you run off to G-d knows where completely alone and "divorced" from everything you know. 


The video is when we stopped at an Amish farm and I went in to the big barn with all the cows.  


After so much time on the bus, I needed to ham it up a little and have fun with:


"How now brown cow. It is so nice to eat you! You are beautiful animals.  And thank you Hashem for making you!" ;-)


(Credit Video: Andy and Dossy Blumenthal)


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October 20, 2017

The Easy Way or The Hard Way

So I like this quote by Carl von Clausewitz:
"War is an extension of politics by other means."

There is diplomacy and then there is war!

- Diplomacy is soft power--talking, persuading, negotiating, and compromise. 

- War is hard power--fighting/combat using kinetic or cyber-based means.

When diplomacy fails, then war is what's left to compel the enemy to come around to your way of thinking and do your will. 

As they say, there's the easy way or the hard way--that's the dual before the duel.

Either way it gets to resolution. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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November 21, 2016

You Can Take This Niqab And...

So here is the quote of the day (compliments of the Wall Street Journal)...

From a woman fleeing the inhumane treatment in Mosul by ISIS religious terrorists:


"I want to take this niqab and stuff it down the throat of ISIS."

I've now read over and over again how one of the first things the women do, who get away from these ruthless fanatics, is to remove their confining "religious"-mandated garb that covers them so fully and put on normal clothes and be free human beings again.

While I certainly and highly respect women who freely and modestly cover up--especially in marriage--it is abhorrent to violently force women to dress a certain way or make them in any way lessor than or subservient to men. 

The women under ISIS are taught to be ashamed, when they have nothing to be ashamed about!

ISIS and these other radical Islamists that force their distorted version of religion on others goes like this when it comes to women:

"It is permitted to buy her, sell her, and give her away as a gift. They are just a possession and you can do whatever you want with them."  In their FAQS, they even ask, "Can I have sex with a slave who hasn't reached puberty?"

Yet, while they are having sex with abducted pubescent and pre-pubescent girls, they force women to stay at home, and they are not allowed to go out unless accompanied by a man (forget education, working, driving or traveling). 

Even at home, "Woman are cautioned to stay away from rooftops, balconies, and windows so they wouldn't be seen by outsiders."

And should a women be accused of sex outside of marriage--even when the women are the ones forcibly (gang) raped--they are the ones subject to death by public stoning for their being licentious. 

Are these "religious" fanatics with guns so weak that they fear sexual temptation more than they trust in the bonds of family, personal righteousness, and the ability of people to freely choose right from wrong?

Imagine...as they abduct and enslave women and children, rape them, sell them, and force them into bogus marriages, starve and torture them, these people actually think they are religious. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 22, 2016

Did You Know You're A Sinner

So walking down the street here yesterday, I ran into a sign and was handed a postcard, declaring:
"Sin Awareness Day"

Then I was confronted by a gentleman (or not so gentle) who proceeded to explain to me that I--and everyone else--are sinners!

Innocently, I ask, "Well, what have I done?"

The missionary answers with a stern face, "I'm sure you have lied!"

I said, "I don't think so," but then to play alone, I smirked and said, "Well what if I did?"

He answers and says, "You'll need to repent!"

Thinking that Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year) is right around the corner in a couple of weeks, I thought to myself, hey that's right in line with where I'm going anyway...

The guy continues--of course--to try to enlist me to his "savior" that he believes can save us from all our sins. 

I challenged and said, "Well, how about Moses?"

He roars back, "Moses?!!!" and starts railing on about "convert, convert, convert." 

Uh no, thank you, I am fine with the faith of my father, and grandfathers, and great grandfathers, etc. 

And I appreciate if we can avoid the forcible conversion parts of yesteryear from various empires, caliphates, crusades, and inquisitions, with no shortage of associated torture, executions, and expulsions. 

Then breaking this historical context and glancing at the back of the postcard that he handed out, I did like this one thing that it said:
"Sin is not primarily a measure of how bad you are, but a measure of how good you are not."

Heck, why be negative about ourselves (we are not inherently bad); instead see that we not living up to our potential and try, always, to do better. 

In that I am definitely a believer!  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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January 3, 2016

Forcing Kids Backfires Big Time

Fascinating article in the Sunday New York Times today on how the stress we are putting on our kids is making them sick. 

With testing of High school students showing incredibly alarming rates of mental illness:


- 54% with moderate to severe depression.


- 80%+ with moderate to severe anxiety.


And 94% of college counseling directors "seeing rising numbers of students with severe psychological problems."


Even pediatricians are reporting 5-, 6-, and 7-year olds coming in for migraines and ulcers!


Another teacher said with all this, "We're sitting on a ticking time bomb."


Under the pressure to get into great schools and get a foot in the door in excellent careers and attain high-paying jobs, we are making our kids work longer school days, do more homework, take more Advanced Placement (AP) exams, participate in numerous extracurricular activities, and achieve, achieve, achieve. 


We've taken away normal play time--the fun out of life growing up--and the imagination, exploration, and discovery away from kids just being kids. 


The paradox is that "the pressure cooker is hurting, not helping, our kid's prospect for success."


Especially for parents who themselves grew up poor or lacking, maybe they are trying to do the "right thing"and give their kids more than they had and a "better life."


But maybe even the best intentions to mold children to be what we want them to be, or think they should or could be, is misplaced.


If only we could all take a little (or BIG) chill pill...you can't force success--with forcing you get the opposite results.

Back off people--instead of pushing and endless disciplining--how about we listen to the children, guide them, show unconditional love, and be excellent examples--show them integrity, a strong work ethic, along with an appreciation for work-life balance, then perhaps we will get not only the success of the next generation that we all need, but also happier, better adjusted, and healthier children. ;-)


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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April 22, 2015

Might Does Not Make Right

I heard from someone the other day...

"Do what is right--the others be damned!"

And this is right on the money.

You should always follow the dictates of your conscience.

Do not worry about pressure from others or what others will do that you cannot control. 

My dad (A"H) used to say:

"YOU do what is right--YOU be the example!"

He was my example, and I will always follow in his footsteps. ;-)

(Source photo: here with attribution to cursedthing)
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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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January 5, 2013

The Nature of Envy and Ambition

I watched a really good movie the other day called "The Violin."

It was about a civil war in a South American country where freedom fighters are vastly outnumbered and outgunned and an old violinist tries to smuggle weapons and ammunition to his people in his violin case. 

At one point in the movie, their village in overrun by the army, and the boy's mother and sister are killed. 

The little boy asks the grandfather to explain the horrible life events that have befallen them to him and the grandfather tells how G-d created the world with good people as well as people the are envious and ambitious and those people sought to take everything away from the others--no matter how much they accumulated, they wanted more.

I thought about this with respect to a quote I had learned in Yeshiva that "absolute power corrupts absolutely"--that those who have unbridled power and ability, will use it without limitation and in wrong and harmful ways to others, because they can.

Envy and ambition and power--can be used for good--when people see others succeed and are motivated to work hard and do their best too. 

But when people become blindly consumed with it for its own sake--they can't stand anyone having more than them or even having anything--they think they should just as well have it all--then they will not just work hard to achieve it, but they will act out against others to unjustly take what they want and as much as they want. 

My father always taught me never to be jeoulous of anyone. He told me that if you knew what really went on in their lives--what their basket [of good and bad] was--you wouldn't trade places with them in a million years. 

And I believe he was right. Often when I know someone only superficially and their life looks so grand and "perfect," it is tempting to think they have it all or even just better, but then when you get to know their life challenges--sickness, abuse, death, loneliness, and other hardships--you realize how things could always be a lot worse and how truly lucky you are. 

Of course, there will there always be people who are superficial, materialistic, and can't control their urge for power and things--and they will try to take more than their fair due and by force if necessary. In the end, will it bring them real fulfillment and happiness, the answer is obvious. 

I believe it was my Oma (grandmother), a survivor of The Holocaust, who used to say "count your blessings"--she was right. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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March 13, 2010

Can Microsoft Stomp Out The iPhone?

So much for letting the best product win. According to the Wall Street Journal, 13-14 March 2010, Microsoft is forcing their employees to “choose” Microsoft phones for personal use and to push those who don’t into hiding.

Is this a joke or a genuine throwback to the Middle Ages?

Apparently this is real: “Last September, at an all-company meeting in a Seattle sports stadium, one hapless employees used his iPhone to snap photos of Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer. Mr. Ballmer snatched the iPhone out of the employee’s hands, placed it on the ground, and pretended to stomp on it in front of thousands of Microsoft workers.” That sends a pretty clear message!

I guess the employee can consider himself lucky that Mr. Ballmer didn’t put him (instead of the iPhone) on the ground underneath his foot or perhaps maybe even just burn him at the stake for heresy against Microsoft.

Further, in 2009, Microsoft “modified its corporate cellphone policy to only reimburse service fees for employees using phones that run on Windows.”

While many workers at Microsoft can evidently be seen with iPhones, others are feeling far from safe and comfortable doing this. According to the article, one employee told of how when he meets with Mr. Ballmer (although infrequently), he does not answer his iPhone no matter who is calling! Another executive that was hired into Microsoft in 2008 told of how he renounced and “placed his personal iPhone into an industrial strength blender and destroyed it.”

Apparently, Mr. Ballmer told executives that his father worked for Ford Motor Co. and so they always drove Ford cars. While that may be a nice preference and we can respect that, certainly we are “big boys and girls” and can let people pick and choose which IT products they select for their own personal use.

While many employees at Microsoft have gone underground with their iPhones, “nearly 10,000 iPhone users were accessing the Microsoft employees email systems last year,” roughly 10% of their global workforce.

My suggestion would be that instead of scaring the employees into personally using only Microsoft-compatible phones, they can learn from their employees who choose the iPhone—which happens to have a dominant market share at 25.1% to Microsoft 15.7%—in terms why they have this preference and use this understanding to update and grow the Microsoft product line accordingly. In fact, why isn’t Microsoft leveraging to the max the extremely talented workforce they have to learn everything they can about the success of the iPhone?

It’s one thing to set architecture standards for corporate use, and it’s quite another to tell employees what to do personally. It seems like there is a definite line being crossed explicitly and implicitly in doing this.

What’s really concerning is that organizations think that forcing their products usage by decree to their employees somehow negates their losing the broader product wars out in the consumer market.

Obviously, IT products don’t win by decree but by the strength of their offering, and as long as Microsoft continues to play medieval, they will continue to go the way of the horse and buggy.


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