Showing posts with label Hunger. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Hunger. Show all posts

June 10, 2019

We Can't Look Away



(Source Video: Dossy Blumenthal)
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March 6, 2019

Trends In Homelessness

So the plight of the homeless in Washington, DC and other large cities like NY and LA is despicable. 

This photo is taken not far from the Capitol building in DC. 

The homeless are not living in tents in the dead of Winter. 

As the people pass by, under this particular overpass were no less than 4 tents. 

While millionaires and billionaires splurge on themselves, so many people continue to go without adequate food, shelter, clothing, plumbing, healthcare, education, and jobs in America. 

When G-d looks down and see the unsympathetic wealthy next to the downtrodden poor--and many of the wealthy act like insatiable pigs, while the poor go hungry and cold--shall the L-rd that judges all the earth not do justly?  

Yes, there should be incentives for people to work hard and contribute, but when the wealth is skewed so that more than 50% of all the wealth is owned by just the top 1% of people and the top 1% own more than the bottom 90% of the population--we have a system that is not just broken, but grossly unjust and inhumane. 

Corruption is alive and well, and who is there among our leaders to stand up and say and do what is right by G-d children? 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 27, 2018

Who Took The Cheese?

So this is a photo from today in the cafeteria of the mac and cheese. 

What I see without fail, day-in and day-out ,is that the people take the yummy crispy cheese off the top of the mac and cheese. 

The result is that just a few people get all the cheesy cheese from on top and everyone else is left with the noodles underneath.  

So for cheese sake, why do they do it?

- For the Love of Cheese - People simply love melted cheese so much, they'll do anything to get more of it.

- Because They Can Take Cheese - People take the best part, the crispy cheese on top for themselves, because they can and there is only benefits to themselves and no adverse consequences if they do it. 

- They are Very Hungry for Cheese - People take the cheese because they are so famished, only the cheese on top can satisfy their hunger pains. 

- Sense of Cheese Entitlement - People have a sense of entitlement for themselves, and if there's cheese to be had, they they are entitled to it.

- Cheese Narcissism - People are innately selfish for cheese and they will take and take and take until there is no cheese on top for anyone else. 

- Anti-social Cheese Behavior - People have anti-social personality cheese disorder, so they can't help but take all the cheese. 

- Not Enough Cheese to Go Around - People feel their is simply not enough cheese to go around; in other words cheese is a scarce resource, which makes it a valuable cheese commodity to scoop up for themselves. 

What is really funny-sad about this whole cheese situation is that every day the food service seems to put out the same leftover mac and cheese with a fresh topping of the cheesy-cheese on top, only for it all to be taken off again--cheesy day after cheesy day. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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August 2, 2018

Feeding Frenzy

A colleague told me something really great. 

Once a month she helps others in the office that are less fortunate. 

She told me that the cleaning people have various disabilities, and they are underappreciated for the difficult work they do. 

So once a month she treats them for breakfast!

As I got on the elevator with her, some of the cleaning people were calling to her in a frenzy asking when they were doing the next one. 

She told them the date, and they seemed so happy and valued. 

I thought to myself, WOW!--what an amazing gesture of compassion, kindness, and charity for others.  

It's not necessarily the money itself, but rather making a habit out of doing something good for others. 

I imagined G-d looking down from Heaven at this lady and that she would never be hungry because she makes sure to feed breakfast and gratitude to others. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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March 23, 2018

Going To Bed Hungry

So lots of people like to drink tea. 

But the other day, a nice person was telling me how they drink tea all the time. 

It's not just that they like tea, but there was an important true story behind it. 

You see, they said, when they were young growing up in a foreign country, they often didn't have enough to eat. 

So instead, they had resorted to drinking lots of tea. 

They went on to say, that as children, they often had to go to sleep hungry. 

It is truly a wake-up call for those of us who, thank G-d, have what to eat and so much choice and plenty in this great country. 

Not everyone in the world is so blessed to eat heartily and go to sleep with a full and satisfied belly. 

It is especially saddening and tragic when we are talking about innocent children in this world. 

As we go from the workweek to the weekend, perhaps it is a good time to reflect on how much we have to be grateful for and to wish blessings of peace, health, and prosperity on all our fellow mankind, here and all around the world. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumethal)
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January 3, 2018

Life Cycles for Carnivores

I thought this was interesting-funny in terms of the the food life cycles for us carnivores:

For meat, it's:
"From farm to fork."

And for seafood, it's:
"From boat to throat."

Either way, we end up eating it. 

Just plain hungry or only the strong survive. 

Vegetarians and vegans can ignore this post. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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April 24, 2017

Steak or Peanut Butter

Ok, so yes this is not the best looking steak and peanut butter...

But that's not the point here.

I was talking to a workman who has a seasonal business. 

"Business is doing well," he said.

During the busy time...they can work 80 days straight without a break. 

And also work until midnight.

But the flip side is that for many months in the year, they have very little work at all.

It's literally feast or famine. 

As we were talking about this, he says to me:


"We really have to make it during the busy season, because that determines whether we eat steak or peanut butter the rest of the year!"

It struck me how difficult this must be too depend on a few months for how you live all the year round. 

Sure, it must be nice to have a slower season and have some rest, relaxation, and maybe some fun. 

But if, G-d forbid, you're not earning enough to support yourself for the duration of the year and you're stuck eating peanut butter because you can't even afford a steak anymore, then that must be pretty darn tough. 

Just something to think about and be grateful for if you can eat what you want and when you want to. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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February 6, 2017

Smell The Roses

I am a big proponent of stopping to smell the roses. 

These purple, yellow, red, and pink flowers were sitting on the counter in Whole Foods, and I had to stop, back up, and take this amazing photo.

They were absolutely gorgeous!

Sometimes, I can't believe the beautiful things and people that G-d has made. 

We're part of a most-amazing and perfect world. 

Of course, there are also hardships and suffering in this world - illness, disability, hunger, homelessness, violence, loneliness, and loss. 

Perhaps, these are the most difficult of things for us as human beings to reconcile with the beautiful world that G-d has set us in. 

While surrounded by beauty, people are also beset by life's many challenges. 

Maybe all the more reason to stop and smell the roses even for just a moment--to enjoy the spirit of life and of our amazing Creator, and the opportunity to make the most of it all. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 12, 2016

Losing Patience With Tech Progress

We're so close yet so far...that's my feeling as I grow ever impatient with the pace of technological progress. 

We have cloud computing, but still everyone has their own private computing setups everywhere. 

We have mobile computing, but still can't get get reliable service in the Metro and all the other "dead zones."

We have social computing, but still people are so cliquey and nasty and troll and bully each other online and off. 

We have the Internet of Things, but still things don't really talk to each other regularly (except our smart meters).

We have robots, but still they're relegated to factory assembly lines. 

We have natural language processing, but still can't get a meaningful conversation going with Siri.

We have 3-D printing, but still can't get dinner or a pair of Nikes to appear from the Star Trek like "Replicator."

We have augmented and virtual reality headsets, but still can't go anywhere with them without getting motion sickness.

We have biometrics, but still have to sign the check.

We have driverless cars, but still there is a driver inside. 

We have networks of information, but still it's subject to hacking, malware, identity and data theft, and even big time EMP knockouts. 

We have immunotherapy, but still haven't beaten cancer. 


We have nanotechnology, but still we travel through life loaded down with material possessions.

We have food and biotechnology, but still one in eight people are going hungry. 

We have space shuttles and stations, but still can't get a colony going on Mars.

We have big data, but still information is corrupted by personal biases and politics. 

We have knowledge management, but still more than 780 million adults are illiterate. 

We have artificial intelligence, but still it's devoid of emotional intelligence. 

We have bigger, deadlier, and more sophisticated weapons systems and smart bombs to "protect us", but still are no closer to living in peace and brotherhood. 

All this technology and advancement is great, except that we're left hungrier than ever for the realization of the promised technology land, and are really only halfway there, maybe. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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May 12, 2016

From Top To Bottom


The the other day, I was walking through the grass.

I came across these toys horses that had been left in a pile.

I thought about the innocence and beauty of children.

How nice it is to just sit in the green grass and play with your horsies. 

Today, I was downtown and GWU has a big graduation going on.

This guy wrote on the bottom of his cap, "If youre reading this, I just graduated."

Of course, this is America, and so he left off the apostrophe (') in you're (you are).

Oh well--neither STEM nor spelling is apparently part of the education curriculum anymore. 

But how quickly the kids grow up and before we know they're college graduates. 

From childhood innocence and dependence to adulthood independence and its colorful assortment of sin. 

All grown up and what we hope happens next...

...off to start a big career, continue with graduate studies, marriage and kids of their own...the sky is the limit. 

We need smart and enthusiastic people coming of age with big ideas, teamwork, and precision execution to solve the ginormous problems we face.

Still huge debts, hunger and poverty, dreaded old to frighteningly new illnesses, a unsustainable use of our planet with tongue in cheek efforts to change, rising social inequity and racial tensions, and raging terrorism and WMD that is making a global and more deadly comeback.

I have no grads this year, but we sure as hell need every person coming off the assembly line to step up and make a difference. 

Right now, the leadership in the world (commercial, spiritual, and government) is overwhelmingly deadwood (people lacking in caliber and  integrity like Steve Jobs, the Lubavicher Rebbe, Nelson Mandela, and Ronald Reagan).

From failing products and falling profits, to "religious" sex abuse, demagogues overseas, and plenty of lying and corruption at home. We need and should expect more, demand more, perhaps in the young people there will be more--that is our hope and saving grace. 

(Source Photos: Andy Blumenthal)

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May 15, 2015

The Back To The Future Car

OMG, so cool...the Back To The Future car.

It's the DeLorean sports car on display by Smithsonian Magazine in Washington, D.C.

I love the winged doors that go up, the cool muscle body, and of course being able to time travel. 

The past--I'd like to stroll through the Garden of Eden, witness the splitting of the Red Sea and the giving of Ten Commandments, see Samson bring down the pillars on the Philistines, meet King David and worship at the Holy temple, shake hands with Ben-Gurion, and talk with and hug my parents and grandparents again.

For the future...its got to include space travel to other worlds, the eradication of disease and hunger (and by the way the national debt too), and the coolest technology to do everything. ;-)

(Source Photo: Minna Blumenthal)
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May 10, 2015

@Manna Food Center

Today we volunteered at Manna Food Center.

"Fighting hunger and feeding hope in Montgomery County."

There were huge bins of food that had been donated and collected from various organizations and charitable people.

A group of us from the synagogue, Magen David, met at the center.

We checked the dates on each item to ensure the food was not expired and still good to eat. 

We sorted the food by type into different boxes, crates, and shelves. 

There was areas for cans, pastas, cereals, pantry items, and more. 

The area that had the most stuff when we were done sorting...you guessed it--the junk food like cookies and chocolate--sort of unfortunate, but probably a comment on our times for what people actually buy and eat (despite all the calls for healthier eating and living).

There was one area specifically where we placed food for kids who don't have enough food for the weekends (when they don't have the school lunch program etc.), and they come on Fridays and fill their backpacks with milk boxes, crackers, and other things they can easily take home with them.

This really made me think about the dire straits that some families are in and especially the impact on the children.

G-d, no one should go hungry, and it was nice to see that people donate and volunteer to help, but still why in such a rich country like ours is there still so much hunger and need? ;-)

(Source Photo: Dannielle Blumenthal)
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September 4, 2013

What Will Do You For Cake?

I remember a joke the guys use to tell back in college...about how you can't have you Kate and Edith too.

Cake and eat it too...get it? 

Here is a link to my article in Public CIO Magazine called "How Hungry Are You?"

It's about how some people will literally sacrifice their souls for success, while others put their humanity and decency above it. 

Hope you enjoy!

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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February 20, 2013

Playing For The Meal



I love this guitarist on the corner with the sign that says, "To eat for today one must play for the meal. You Pay. Thank you."

Five communication lessons I had reinforced from this:


- Be direct--he is right to the point...he plays, you pay--that's the deal.


- Be clear--the writing is large, the letters are distinct, and easy to read...you get it!


- Be concise--the message fits on a small cardboard...no rambling placards, just the message next to the guitar case for collecting the money.


- Be purposeful--he states the reason for his being there right up front...he's hungry and is willing to work for it!


- Be courteous--he ends with a nice thank you that is set off to the side in script.


If his playing is half as good as his message...he's earned his meal. ;-)


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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November 30, 2012

Plenty Of Food For All

I remember as a teenager visiting, on occasion, the Catskill Mountain hotels for the holidays and watching not only the enormous amounts that people seemed to order and eat, but also the huge amounts that simply went uneaten and was discarded.

Taste from this dish...don't like it, throw it out. Try that food...but your not in love with it either, into the trash as well. Like a smorgasbord or food orgy to end all others. 

Honestly, the waste from such hubris is disgusting especially with world hunger unbelievably still topping 925 million people or 1 in 7 worldwide. 

Bloomberg BusinessWeek (21 December 2012) reports that in India alone villagers average only about 2,000 calories a day--when less than 2,400 qualifies for government food aid. And "half of all children younger than three years old in India weight too little for their age; [and] 8 in 10 are anemic" (i.e. do not have enough healthy red blood cells).

Despite the mass poverty and corruption hindering people getting enough healthy food around the world, BBC News (30 November 2012) cites incredible statistics that "the average American family throws away 40% of the food they purchase--which adds up to $165 billion annually." 

However, not all the food being thrown out is because of people acting like--I'll just say it--like pigs, but because if not eaten right away, food spoils.

Food spoliage affects the taste, smell, and appearance of food and the pathogens involved can make people sick. So some food--not fresh anymore--really needs to get discarded. 

Now Texas Tech University has invented MicroZap a microwave technology that functions to pasteurize food so it stays fresh longer.

For example, MicroZap can kill mold spores in bread in about 10 seconds. Thus, normal bread which goes moldy after 10 days, can stay fresh instead for 60 days--and at the "same mold content as it had when it came out of the oven."

MicroZap can also be used on eggs and meat to improve food safety by killing E. Coli, Salmonella, and Listeria. 

An additional benefit to MicroZap is that food manufacturers may not need all the additives and preservatives that get mixed in, as well as the other chemicals used to mask the taste of them. 

Further uses for MicroZap include the washing and drying of clothes in hospitals, nursing homes, day care centers, and fitness centers to sterilize them and even kill superbug MRSA (in excess of 99.999%).

The application of microwave technology to food safety and to sterilizing laundry is exciting not only from the perspective of reducing illness and infection, but also in terms of cutting waste and reducing hunger and malnutrition. 

If we can cost-effectively deploy this technology to improve safety and reduce waste, and then redistribute food to those in genuine need, we can feed the world with the food we already have at our fingertips--and there can be plenty of bread for everyone. ;-)

(Source Photo: Minna Blumenthal) 

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September 8, 2012

We Are Driven!

Riots
We are driven to do what?


Some of us to succeed and others, seemingly, to various destructive behaviors that thwart our success.

In the book, The Charge, by Brendon Burchard, he argues that we need to harness our drives to increase our success rate. 

Burchard categorizes our drives into baseline and forward drives--and has 10 of them--almost like the Ten Commandments (Cs)--five in each area (or on each tablet). 

Baseline drives are those which he says make us happy:

- Control
- Competence
- Congruence
- Caring
- Connection

Forward drives are those which help us evolve:

- Change
- Challenge
- Creative Expression
- Contribution
- Consciousness

Wonderful--10 C's, all nicely packaged. 

While I generally agree with these human drives, something is not satisfying about these--they seem academic, stale, and the fodder of a marketing brochure.

Where is the energy of humans to live, love, and laugh? 

Where is the longing for spirituality, purpose, and meaning?

Where is the drive to do good and occasionally, to do what we know is wrong. 

Where are the vices--the drives to conquer, to own and to hoard, to go crazy at times?

Burchard has provided a very one-sided picture of human nature--maybe the side, we would rather acknowledge and focus on, but in ignoring human frailties and tendencies to veer off to the other extremes as well, he is missing an important point--and that is the human nature is a fundamental push and pull. 

Yes, we are driven to happiness and evolution, and on one hand these drives manifest in the rosier side of human nature such as care and contribution, but on the other side, people drives to happiness and evolution may mean their taking what they want, when and how they want it, and to the exclusion of others who are competing with them in a world of limited resources.

It is nicer and easier to envision a world, like the Garden of Eden, where there is plenty for the few, and everything is provided and just a pull from the fruit tree away. 

But in the real world, it is wiser to recognize that our happiness and evolution may mean someone else goes hungry tonight--sad, but true; and only when we are real, can we work to overcome this and to provide plenty for all--through safeguarding of basic freedoms and human rights for everyone. 

Happiness and evolution can be different for the individual and society--for the individual, one's gain may come at another loses (e.g. the stock market, competing for a spot in top-tier school, or beating out the competition for that plume Wall Street job), but for society, success means creating win-win situations where everyone can go to bed with a full stomach and knowing that they have a fair shot at opportunity tomorrow. 

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Beacon Radio)

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March 24, 2012

What Are People Hungry For?

In the Hunger Games, the storyline is of the common people being punished for rebelling against "The Capital" generations ago, by having to put up male and female "Tributes" (kids age 12-18) from each of 12 districts to fight it out to the death, while the rich and powerful in The Capital watch, laugh, and enjoy the equivalent of the gladiators in the Coliseum. 

The Games offer a restricted hope to the people--as hope is seen as "the only thing stronger than fear." In this movie, the hope for winning the games is supposed to displace the fear of the central authorities over their subjects as well as any real hope of change, equality, and justice for the masses. 

What the kids and adult fans of this movie seem to be lining up and cheering wildly for with this box-office smash hit is the main character Katniss Everdeen who defies the corrupt politicians and affluent capitalists by fighting not for her life in The Hunger Games as much as for the dignity of the common people in the districts.

From the beginning, Katniss become the first ever to volunteer for the games to take the place of her less adept, younger sister, Primrose, who is selected from District 12; Katniss put her life on the line to save her sister's life.

And all along during the movie, Katniss refuses to be a pawn in the game and simply kill or be killed, but she rises above the fight and acts all the time with humanity, caring for other tributes and generally refusing to hurt others, unless her life is threatened and she literally has no choice. 

For example, she cares for a younger girl from District 11 who eventually is speared to death by another tribute hunting them. 
Also, she cares for her companion from District 12, Peeta, who is injured, and she risks her life to get medicine to save his. 

At climax, Katniss is ready to commit suicide, rather than continue playing to the evil dictates of the authorities. 

Katniss comes from the poverty and ordinariness of the district people. However, her fighting spirit, humanity, and ability to outwit not only the other tributes, but the evil leaders--who play the tributes (and districts) off each other for their own power, permanence, and punishment of the lower class--makes her a hero among the masses who are at the ready to revolt at her simple salute to the people. 

What I thought was going to be a kids movie that would put me to sleep, turned out to be an uplifting experience watching an old, familiar theme of Rocky the fighter win against all the odds, but in this case with the added twist of defying a corrupt government and elitist culture.

I think this movie is appealing to people at exactly a time now where the 99% are simmering and fed up with the shenanigans of the 1% and elements of both the Occupy movement and Tea Party are looking for principles of freedom, justice, and dignity to be restored.

The Hunger Games is not just about the dystopian future society that doesn't exist today, but rather about a historical perspective of people who are craving for the proverbial "dirty politicians" and "greedy capitalists" to put aside their games, agendas, excuses, and pots of power and gold for a more utopian society where all people are created equal and treated fairly with hope anchored in reality. 

(Source Photo: Adapted from here)


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November 6, 2011

Desperate For A Meal

I was really moved by an article in The Washington Post (5 November 2011) called "A Hungry Challenge With Food Stamps."
Last week was the launch of the 2nd nationwide Food Stamp Challenge--"part of an interfaith campaign to raise awareness about America's poor."
For one week, Rabbis, Pastors, Imams, and members of Congress (600 people) took part in the program to live on $31.50 a week (or $4.50 per day) for food--the average that an adult gets on the food stamp program.
Intuitively, knowing what food costs these days, it makes no sense!
Even a basic meal from a fast food restaurant costs more than what the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) provides for a whole day.
The money for food is so meager that participants in the challenge report being overwhelmed by thoughts of food--"When am I going to eat? What am I going to eat?"
According to the USDA, food stamp usage has risen to the highest level ever, with almost 46,000,000 Americans on the program (that's more than 1 of every 7 people in this country!)
This is up almost 65% from 28,000,000 people in 2008--just 3 years ago.
With the food stamp program, while better than getting no help at all, people are still surviving on limited types of food and meager portions of things such as lentils, cornflakes, eggs, and so on.
It is frightening and humbling to think that any one of us--or our families--could be in that situation--wondering where our next meal is coming from.
I remember as a kid, before the SNAP program issued the food assistance on debit-like cards, seeing people in the supermarket actually tearing off and handing stamps to the cashier--they never seemed to have enough and invariably had to put back groceries. They were noticeably embarrassed, self-conscious, and fearful--often holding children in their arms or by the hand as they tried to work the math of feeding them all with what was obviously not enough.
While I have not participated in such a program as the Food Stamp Challenge, I am awed by those who take the time and effort to see what such hunger feels like and to learn the lessons of empathy, social justice, and charity.
As we enter the last few weeks of deliberation by the Deficit Panel Super Committee, I am afraid at what $4,000,000,000,000 (trillion) in cuts looks like to our nation and how the very real pain coming will be distributed.
With a nation already feeling squeezed by lost jobs, sunken housing values, near zero interest rates on fixed income investments, an rickety stock market, and global economic challenges from abroad, I wonder how our nation can take the deep cuts that we must without going into economic cardiac arrest.
Yet, Moodys and Fitch are waiting in the wings to downgrade our debt, if we do not embrace the tough love or if we fudge the numbers rather the do what our long-term economic health demands.
I pray that G-d helps us through this challenging period for our country and that the people who are hungry today and those that may suffer tomorrow are spared by the almighty in his everlasting mercy.
(Photo Source: here)

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