Showing posts with label Prosperity. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Prosperity. Show all posts

May 27, 2019

Memorial Day 2019 - Whitewater Rafting


(Source Video: Dossy Blumenthal)
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March 4, 2019

What Makes Happy

So the same things don't seem to drive happiness for everyone. 

Some like big jobs and lots of power. 

Others are happier with more work-life balance. 

Some like to pursue lots of degrees and certifications.

Others like to learn on their own and through life experience. 

Some like to travel the world.

Others like a day in nature or at the museum. 

Some like big families and lots of people around them. 

Others like smaller families, close friends, intimacy, or even being more on their own. 

Some like lots of money. 

Other are happy with having what they need.

Some like to be tremendous athletes. 

Other like to just stay fit or maybe are more comfy as "couch potatoes."

Some like to be very religious and follow all the laws.

Others prefer mindfulness, a sense of spirituality and being a "good person."  

Some like lots of activities and to always do different things. 

Others are more comfortable with routine and incremental change. 

We all have basic needs, but we also have different values, priorities and comfort zones. 

Happiness isn't a yes or no answer, but what makes us feel on track and doing good. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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March 2, 2019

Jerusalem Center of The World

I love this map by Heinrich Bunting, a German Protestant pastor and cartographer. 

This beautiful artist and thoughtful map was published in 1581.

It shows the 3 continents of Europe, Asia, and Africa as 3 leaves of a clovers with Jerusalem at the center. 

Jerusalem, Israel is the focus, nexus and crossroad between these 3 worlds of Western, Asian, and African civilizations. 

Israel is so multi-cultural and holy to the 3 major monotheistic religions of the world (Christianity, Islam, and Judaism).  

Light, healing, peace, and prosperity should emanate from Jerusalem to the whole world and G-d should bless us from his heavenly abode.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Wikipedia)
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March 1, 2019

North Korea - No Deal!

This is sort of what I feel happened with North Korea and the U.S. at the Summit in Vietnam this week. 

We went into this thinking that the enticement of moving from war to prosperity, like with Vietnam, would set the stage for North Korea to see that truly, peace is the answer! 

But when there is no real trust between the people negotiating, then you get a lot of gesturing, but no real determination to make a commitment--like getting rid of those crazy nukes!

For now from North Korea's perspective, "one in the nukes is worth two in the prosperity"...and they aren't going to disarm so easily and give away what they consider their ace in the hole.  

High hopes, lots of drama, confusion and blame, and ultimately a big let down.

If North Korea would give up their nukes, and Iran would give up their pursuit of nukes...WOW, WOW, WOW, oh what a world that would be. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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February 10, 2019

The Not So Civil Service

At one time, it was considered a great honor to work for the Federal government, and people fought for the jobs and to take the civil service exam. 

The Civil Service was not only a term, but also a reality filled with honor, dedication, and devotion to one's country. 

Working for the Federal government meant interesting and exciting work opportunities not only defending our great nation, but in making it just and prosperous, and literally a beacon of freedom for the world. 

While no one became rich working for the government, you could make a stable living, build tenure over your service, and finally receive a pension upon retirement. 

Over the course of almost 20-years of my federal career, I have had the opportunity to serve in positions that I only could have dreamed about as a child, and to feel such pride in serving. 

But it seems like times have taken a turn for the worse either willfully or through neglect:

- From Capitol Hill to the Executive Department, we see the extremus of polarization and endless obstacles to getting anything done.  

- With each change in administration, aside from a change of leadership and direction at the top of each Department, the workforce is seemingly accused of subversion for the other side and turned on itself. 

- Just recently, we've seen the longest federal government shutdown lasting 35 days and with hundreds of thousands of Federal workers required to work without pay at the time. 

- We have also seen many years of pay freezes--with not even a meager cost of living adjustment (COLA), while the overall economy is booming!

- The pay for grades at the upper levels are hitting up against the Congressional limits with multiple pay steps being the same pay and no increase for career advancement or growth of responsibilities. 

- Employees have been forced to endure the A-76 outsourcings, threats of disbanding entire agencies, demands to reduce the size of government, and hiring freezes even while serving a larger population requiring ever more services. 

- There have been limitations on the power of employee unions, and an ongoing series of tightening of benefits from CERS to FERS and continuing thereafter requiring greater employee contributions and what feels like ever less benefit payouts. 

- Staff are threatened with firing in a short(er) period of time for making a small number of mistakes to a host of "conduct" issues that may or may not be true, and may at times be the outcome of poor leadership rather than problematic employees.

- The system for employment grievances and judging these has gone without a quorum for the longest period on the books and the backlog of cases continues to build. 

While no system is perfect, and there are bad apples on every side, there clearly seems to be a devolution of the federal service, and what this means for governing and for our defense and prosperity is yet to be fully felt. 

For me, serving the Federal government has been one of the greatest honors and has been many of the best years of my life. My wish is for others going forward to have a positive and productive experience as well. 

Perhaps with an appreciation and true respect for the millions of good men and women that serve our country--from the front lines to the back offices--we can once again create a system that is equitable, fair, and just and that inspires the world-class results we needs for our nation and our people. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 8, 2018

Prayer For Rosh Hashanah

Please see my new Times of Israel post with a heartfelt:

Prayer for Rosh Hashanah.

May it be truly a year of blessings. 

Wishing everyone a sweet and happy New Year!

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 2, 2018

One G-d, Many Stories

So we went to the mall and there was a new Indian gift store.

We went in to take a look, and they had all sorts of things, but one section had a lot of colorful statues. 

We didn't even really know what we were looking at when one of the young lady salespeople came over to explain. 

And she's pointing to different statues and saying that this is the "G-d of love," this is the "G-d of prosperity," this is the "G-d for removing obstacles," etc. 

I said to her questioningly (non-judgmental), "So we are Jews, and we believe in monotheism. How do you understand this concept of different 'G-ds'?"

She said, "Well, I learned about these growing up in India, but the way I've come to terms with this is that these "G-ds" are really different 'faces' of one G-d" and then she started to tell us the "stories" of them. 

So in her explanation, when they are confronting challenges in life, they pray to the "face of G-d" that focuses on removing those obstacles, and when they are seeking prosperity then they pray to that "face of G-d" so on and so forth. 

It was interesting to me how this young lady came to find a monotheistic interpretation and path for herself and perhaps others who have similar beliefs.  

I wondered to myself whether this understanding can be in a way be similar to the Jewish concept of G-d having different attributes like midat Rachamin, din, etc. 

Of course, I know that G-d loves all of us, and I respect everyone's personal beliefs.

For me and my traditional Jewish belief system, I wholeheartedly affirm as my namesake Abraham:
Sh'ma Yis'rael, Hashem Elo'kenu, Hashem Echad.
Hear O' Israel, the L-rd our G-d, the L-rd is one.  
 ;-)

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Moshe Shalom)
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August 8, 2018

Hamsa, Hamsa, Hamsa

Thought this was a beautiful wall hanging in a local restaurant here. 

Three golden Hamsas!

Hamsa is symbolic for the protective hand of G-d. 

Three is a number for "chizuk"  (strengthening) that signifies something is firmly established. 

The three Hamsas together is a potent representation for G-d's protection, mazel (good fortune), happiness, health, prosperity, and peace. 

Oh G-d, we pray that you show us your endless divine mercy and bless us with all that is for the good. 

Hamsa, Hamsa, Hamsa! ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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April 8, 2018

Haleli @Mimouna with Magen David Synagogue



Praise be our G-d, the Master of the Universe.

May he bless us with an abundance of good for the New Year after the Passover commemoration of our exodus from slavery to His redemption and the Holy Land of Israel.

Blessings, Peace, Health, Prosperity, and Joy!

What a lovely event with the community of Magen David Synagogue in Maryland.

My heart is uplifted by the song, dance, friendship, and faith in the Almighty. ;-)

(Source Video: Andy Blumenthal)
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February 1, 2018

Happiness Is Serving G-d


Times may be tough.

But I have faith in G-d.

I turn to Him in whatever challenge or enemy arises. 

My heart is singing to Him. 
Hashem Melech.
Hashem Malach.
Hashem Yimloch L'Olam VaEd

In English:
G-d is king.
G-d was king.
G-d will be king forever. 

What other reassurance in life could we ever want or need. 

My heart is singing. 
Hashem is G-d.  
Hashem is One. 

Yes, it is singing. 

I have faith that all will be well. 

- Peace, Health, Happiness, Prosperity. 

Because it is G-d who rules now and forever and ever! ;-)
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October 8, 2017

@DC Design House For National Children's Hospital




















This wealthy couple built this amazing mansion in Potomac, Maryland.

But sadly before they could enjoy it, the wife developed a terminal illness. 

The husband allowed the house to showcased in a design talent competition with the various rooms decorated by all different interior designers.

...And the house to be shown for charity for National Children's Health System. 

Here are some photos from this wonderful fundraising event. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 20, 2017

There Is Always A Bigger Fish

So as we are about to enter Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year...

I want to share a very important lesson that I came across again this year. 

The lesson is:
No matter how big a fish you think you are, there is ALWAYS a bigger fish out there.

You may have position, title, money, status, and all the trimmings, but someone with more of this and that and the other thing (and overall power) can come along at any time--at G-d's decree--and swallow you right up.  

I connect this to the 2nd day of Rosh Hashanah when it is customary to go and cast bread (symbolic for our sins) into a natural body of water, so the fish can eat them up--and in a spiritual sense we throw away our sins and cleanse ourselves of our wrongdoings over the last year--let the fish have them. 

And like the fish eating our sins, I think another more powerful person can come and swallow us up and even spit us out (like Jonah and the Whale)--we are all fallible and mortal. 

We are made from dust and we go to dust, and my dad would joke to clean up the mounds of dust under my bed!

As we enter the New Year, may Hashem have mercy on us and bless us, and may we have peace, health, and prosperity, and may we be written in the Book of Life.

Oh yeah, and may no fish big or small come against us to cause us distress or harm--G-d is the Almighty Protector--Amen! ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 3, 2016

Happy Jewish New Year 5777

May it be a truly sweet and wonderful year. 

It should be a year filled with happiness, health, peace, prosperity, love, and unity. 

May G-d forgive our transgressions, judge us with mercy, and inscribe us in the book of life. 

Let it be a year of meaning, inspiration, innovation, exploration, discovery, and ushering in better times for all mankind. 

Thank you Hashem for all your everlasting kindness, for safeguarding and keeping us, and bringing us ever closer to redemption and to you. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 22, 2016

Why Trump Nailed It

(Washington, DC. Our Capital of This Great Nation, 2016)

Trump is a long-shot, but IMHO here's a top 20 why I believe he is nailing it:

1. I'm with you vs. I'm with her.

2. I will be a voice for you and will fight for you vs. I really want this so bad for me. 

3. I will re establish law and order vs. I am above the law.

4. I will appropriately name the enemy, stamp out ISIS, and do it fast vs. I won't even say the word radical Islamists, ISIS is the "JV team," and absolutely "no boots on the ground." 

4. We will secure America from terrorism vs. it's just some more "workplace violence" and "what's the difference at this point," anyway.

5. We have a ballooning $19 trillion national debt and $900 billion trade deficit vs. the economy is doing just dandy (for now). 


6. I will tell you the truth vs. I will hide the truth and lie, but profoundly claim transparency. 

7. I will hire and recognize the best and brightest vs. I will hire and promote my friends and cronies.

8. I will invest in jobs, education, and infrastructure vs. I will invest in pork-barrel politics and lobbyist-controlled agendas. 

9. Fairness and equality for everyone vs. I'll pick and choose and you know who you are (at least until after the election).

10. We're going back to space, discovery, and innovation vs. we are canceling the shuttle program and riding on Russian rockets. 

11. We will bring manufacturing and jobs back to America vs. we will continue to send them, by the millions, overseas.

12. We will get a good deal for America vs. we will get a personal sham legacy.

13. We will be true to our friends and allies vs. we will embrace bitter "Death to America" enemies.

14. Over half the executives in my company are women and get paid equally to men vs. vote for me because I'm a women.

15. I build amazing city skylines vs. I destroy entire regions around the globe.

16. I am the son of a great builder and am a successful family and business man vs. I am the former First Lady of the 2nd impeached president of the United States. 

17. I work and earn my money vs. I take donations for my foundation and oversized speaking fees for myself.  

18. I am a political outsider in a system that Bernie Sanders himself admitted is rigged vs. I am the system and adept at doing the rigging. 

19. I will lead and make America great and respected again vs. I will lead from behind, with a policy of disengagement, withdrawal, and appeasement, and dishonoring this great nation. 

20. I and our children are the future vs. I am from the past and will bring more of it to you.

In latest polls from 13 July, 73% of Americans are unhappy and dissatisfied with the direction this nation is heading in!

But there is sunshine lighting up the lies of the last years. 

I have hope again for this amazing country. 

Greatness, freedom, human rights, fairness, equality, security, and prosperity. 

Oh and BTW...Ivanka is a total star on the Trump team!

(These are strictly my personal views and do not represent those or any organization.)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 4, 2016

What Path Are We On This July 4th?


Over and over again, I hear people say that as a country we are on the wrong path.

According to recent polls, around 70% think we're moving in the wrong direction!

Very pessimistic bunch or something more going on?  

Despite all the technology advances--from smartphones to video-on-demand, drones to 3-D printing--people are still feeling like things are a mess. 

And the upcoming election seems to have given everyone with half a brain, reason to pause. 

The world seems like a very dangerous place these days with a resurgent Russia, China, North Korea, Iran, and ISIS with your guess as to where terrorism of the day will be hitting. 

Moreover, weapons of mass destruction are proliferating from nukes to chemical and biological weapons...can anyone say $350 billion in the next 10 years to modernize America's nuclear arsenal

Deadly diseases from Ebola in Africa to Zika in South America are striking without warning and causing horrible sudden death and frightening birth defects in infant babies. 

The economy and politics of the world are grossly unstable with many banks now offering negative interest rates and Brexit tearing at the very core of the EU.  

Hundreds of thousands are dying in the Arab Spring and Middle East wars and millions of refugees are streaming to Europe and as far away as America. 

Ballooning national debts are leading to the looming bankruptcies of not only Greece, Spain, Ireland, and Puerto Rico, but also the 3 pillars of American entitlements: Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. 

Unemployment shows at a deceptive 4.7%, but yet anyone looking for a job knows this is far from reality, and robots, artificial intelligence, and automation loom large over any future prospects. 

Racism and hate are all too alive and well as tempers seem to be boiling over in city after city, with or without police shootings precipitating things. 

Already as a kid, I always used to ask my dad rhetorically, "What's gonna be?"

As an adult, I understand that this was a question born of the deterioration of the moral and leadership fiber of our society and a future that was far from certain in the inner city or beyond, along with the anxiety born of wanting to have some reassurance that things somehow would end up being okay. 

But things aren't okay in our f*cked up world!

Especially with political jockeying to gerrymandering, from sit-ins to sequestration, from pork-barrel projects to outright fraud, waste, and abuse...the system is getting so broken. 

Now when I think in my head, what's gonna be, my mom and dad are not here anymore to reassure me that everything will be alright, and frankly in this day and age, those reassurances would not even be able to ring true. 

We need change and hope, but perhaps we must look Heavenward for it to come, because down here, things are looking more like a creeping hell, than a heaven that awaits.  

But good people can help to change things...one good thought, word, and deed at a time. You and I can be influences for good, for a brighter tomorrow, for peace, for freedom and equality, and for prosperity for everyone that doesn't buy into the status quo and the spin and lies that sustain it any longer. 

This is our magic wand to wave and wave and make good times based on values and faith return again. ;-)

(Source Video: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 28, 2015

Indians and Palestinians

September 4, 1886, Geronimo, the last American Indian warrior surrenders to the United States and later after some time in prison, Geronimo converts and becomes a successful farmer. 

November 29, 1947, the United Nations General Assembly votes 33-13 in favor of a partition from what was land prior under the control of Britain leading to the establishment of the State of Israel on May 14, 1948 at which time the surrounding Arab nations attacked and were defeated, and this replayed many times in 1956, 1967, 1973, 1982 and subsequent Intifadas.

Recently, I had a conversation with a lady who is a Lacota Indian and who happens to be a proud supporter of the State of Israel.

This is what she told me: 

"The Indians and Palestinians have a lot in common in that we both have to share land."

But, what is different is that we [American Indians] don't act like some [extremist] Palestinians teaching endless cycles of hatred and violence.

We don't go around knifing people, throwing stones, shooting, or blowing people up."

I had understood many people think this, but I had never heard anyone actually come out and say it--let alone a Native American Indian. 

Even now-a-days, I think we must admit that American Indians live in a challenging state in this country and certainly they deserve more and their standard of living should be vastly improved, but at the same time, they manage to live with all the immigrants that came to the United States from all over the world, and they do this in peace.  

Perhaps, in Israel, where there is tacit agreement towards an even better scenario--a two-state solution--with the real potential of peace, prosperity, and security for both Jews and Palestinians--the cycle of hatred and violence can end and should end. ;-)

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Maryland GovPics) 

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July 3, 2015

Happy 4th From Washington DC

Go Independence Day!

But what does it mean?


We are independent from British rule since 1776.  


That made us a free nation.


We are free to be...but be what? 


1) Safe and Secure - Have a strong military, intelligence, and homeland security to keep the peace or compromise on national security and make bad deals for political expediency and face the consequences by a host of crazed terrorist threats, a nuclear Iran, a belligerent North Korea, a bellicose Russia, or a rising confrontational China. 


2) Prosperous And Self-Sufficient - Strengthen education, encourage innovation, invest in research and development and advanced manufacturing, cultivate a motivated and capable workforce, and manage a fiscally responsible economy or spend recklessly and indiscriminately driven by pork-barrel politics and special interests and eventually bankrupt our richly-endowed nation.


3) Equal And With Fundamental Human Rights - Ensure equality and opportunity for everyone under the law, where everyone has respect and dignity and the protection of basic human rights or discriminate in large and small ways perpetuating the have and have nots in every fiber of our society, where the rich get sickeningly richer and for everyone else you're sh*t out of luck. 


4) Socially Just - Provide for a just and fair society ensuring that people are duly protected and crime does not pay or irresponsibly live in managed chaos and let violent criminals back out on the streets in a revolving door of recidivism rather than rehabilitation. 


5) Environmentally Responsible - Safeguard our environment and natural resources, invest in renewable energy resources and sustainability, reduce, reuse, and recycle, and give a hoot and don't pollute or just pig out now and leave an inhospitable gutted world for later. 


6) Democratically Governed - Rule with righteousness and integrity, give back to the people, be open and honest, listen to all sides and ensure a balanced fair approach or perpetuate lies, deceit, corruption, conspiracy, fraud, waste, and abuse. 


Not everyone in the world is so lucky to be free.


Maybe this Independence Day, we think not just about the new Terminator movie, shopping at the mall, and feasting at the BBQ, but also what we want this treasured freedom to mean, what our "leaders" are leading us to, and are we getting the freedom we all, as human beings under G-d, innately deserve.


We can definitely raise the bar and we should. ;-)


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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March 26, 2015

Country Landscape

I like this beautiful painting of a countryside landscape. 

The vibrant fall colors of reds, oranges, yellows, and browns.

The tops of the houses and steeple jutting up from the lush foliage. 

The bluish-green mountains in the background, the wavy blue water lined by white sand on the upper left, and the light blue sky with clear white clouds at the very top. 

It's a little bit of Heaven right here on Earth.

Where peace, prosperity, and health are abundant and prevail.

G-d should bless us. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 3, 2014

Big Bike, Little Bell

This photo that I took stuck in my mind for Independence Day tomorrow. 

We are a great nation of 50 states founded in freedom, ruled by democracy, and driven by human rights for everyone. 


Yet in many ways, we have been squandering our national strengths:


- Spending it forward (living as a nation in debt) and creating yet another bubble economy driven by low interest rates (hence another Dow record today of over 17000) with still the lowest workforce participation in over 36 years and 92 million Americans not working!


- Stretching our military muscle in over 10 years of hapless wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and now we are war weary and in proverbial retreat across the Middle East, in Crimea and eastern Ukraine, and with Iran and North Korea).


- Partisan politics freezing our government with the Executive Branch saying they will go it alone on everything from immigration reform to fixing highways and Congress threatening to sue for various claims of abuse of power.


Like this Photo, this country is in danger of becoming a big bicycle with a lot of potential to move things forward, but with a very small bell barely audible with anything of significance to our citizens at home, let alone everyone else in the world. 


We have the ability to continue our path of greatness in building our country's economy, military, and social systems, as well as steering the world toward peace, prosperity, and freedom. However, to do this, we must be able to ring the bell of Independence loudly, with leadership, confidence, and a determination for genuine progress for a union greater than ever before. 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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June 29, 2013

Back To The Computer Stone Age

According to Charles Kenny in Bloomberg BusinessWeek (20 June 2013), the Internet is quite a big disappointment--because it "failed to generate much in the way of economic growth."

While on one hand, the author seems to see the impact that the Internet has had--"it sparks uprisings, makes shopping easier, help people find their soul mates, and enables government to collect troves of useful data on potential terrorists;" on the other hand, he pooh-poohs all this and says it hasn't generated prosperity. 


And in a sense, don't the facts seem to support Kenny: GDP is still in the 2-3% range, labor productivity growth is even lower, and unemployment is still elevated at over 7%?


The problem is that the author is making false correlations between our economic conditions and the rise of the Internet, which already Jack Welch pronounced in 2000 as "the single most important event in the U.S. economy since the industrial revolution." 


Kenny seems to think that not only aren't there that many economic benefits to the Internet, but whatever there is we basically squander by becoming Facebook and Youtube junkies.


It's a shame that Bloomberg BusinessWeek decided to publish such a ridiculous article as its "Opening Remarks," blaming the failure of the Internet for economic challenges that have been brewing for decades--with high-levels of debt, low levels of savings, hefty entitlement programs based on empty national trust funds, the global outsourcing of our manufacturing base, elevated political polarization in Washington, and various economic jolts based on runaway technology, real estate, and commodity bubbles.


It's concerning that the author, someone with a masters in International Economics, wouldn't address, let alone mention, any of these other critical factors affecting our national economy--just the Internet! 


Kenny adds insult to injury in his diatribe, when he says that the Internet's "biggest impact" is the delivery of "a form of entertainment more addictive than watching reruns of Friends."


Maybe that's the biggest impact for him, but I think most of us could no longer live seriously without the Internet--whether in how we keep in touch, share, collaborate, inform, innovate, compute, buy and sell, and even entertain (yes, were entitled to some downtime as well). 


Maybe some would like to forget all the benefits of technology and send us back to the Stone Age before computing, but I have a feeling that not only would our economy be a lot worse than it is now, but so would we. :-)


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)



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