Showing posts with label Special. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Special. Show all posts

April 15, 2019

The Passover Menorah

It's Passover this week, not Chanukah. 

So what's with the menorah?

Well my friend, John Akkus (of Akkus Silver Touch), made this beautiful piece for me. 

I love the fine handiwork of copper, brass, crystals, Jewish symbols (Stars of David) and bold colors of this amazing menorah. 

John sells his art at the annual Suglarloaf Festivals in the Spring. 

I am so glad I found this wonderful menorah--it is beautiful all year long (through Chanukah and Passover). 

Thank you John and nice job!  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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April 3, 2019

Relax, It's Just Sex

Just thought this was a really funny-sad display in the window of this store in Tel Aviv. 

It says:
Relex It's Just Sex
Forget that Relax is spelled wrong. 

But advertising for sexual items in such a casual way...like it's sex and what's the big deal.

Maybe I am old school, where sex actually meant a deep personal relationship and emotional intimacy. 

...Where you partner was also your spouse and best friend.

Now--unfortunately--it's just sex!

I think as a society that we have lost something here. 

...Something important. 

If it's just sex, and it's just with anyone, then what does that leave for us with that someone truly special in our lives? ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 22, 2018

Snowflakes Are Unique

Thought this was an interesting analogy. 

A colleague refers to some customers as snowflakes.

At first, I didn't get it. 

Then I understood. 

Every snowflake is unique. 

Based on how the ice crystals fall to the ground through different temperatures, moisture levels, and atmospheric pressures, the shape of every snowflake is different. 

Sometimes when it comes to project management, customers too think they are unique, different, and special.

They think that solutions that work industry- or enterprise-wide could never work for them and their wholly distinct ways of doing business. 

Hence, as I learned, the term snowflake. 

For those of us who have been around the project management block a few times, we know that while there are specific customer requirements, most of them are not all that unique. 

And when some customers simply don't want to do things differently than they've done it before, there can be greater resistance to change. 

Hence, the "We're special. We're different" reframe along with the standoffishness, doubting, circling the wagons, throwing up obstacles, or just refusing to fully participate. 

Obviously, it's a lot more difficult to modernize and transform through technology and business process re-engineering when your customers aren't on board. 

So it is critical to manage organizational change, address the questions, the fears, and elements that are truly unique, and bring the people along as true partners. 

Not every requirement is a snowflake and neither is every customer, but we have to manage the similarities and differences in every project and make sure it improves performance and meets the needs of the customer and the organization. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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August 19, 2018

Fav Ice Cream

So this is one of my absolute favorite ice creams. 

Soft chocolate swirl ice cream topped in a hard chocolate shell that literally melts in your mouth. 

OMG, this is to die for.

This is not something you get every day...it's a special treat. 

They have this ice cream locally in the mall, and sometimes I just go there, literally, just a taste of this. 

Usually, I get the small and then share this, but even that is too much really. 

It is like a meal in and of itself. 

So rich, creamy, cold, and chocolatey flavorful. 

Who needs caramel (sitting next to it) when you have chocolate!

Love it, love it, love it.  

Yum, yum, yum.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 22, 2018

Monopoly Yerushalmi

I am so excited to play this edition of Monopoly Jerusalem edition. 

The properties of obviously from famous places in the Holy City of Jerusalem, such as The Kenneset, Mount Olives, Mount Herzl, Hebrew University, Montefiore Windmill, Mahane Yehuda Market, The Biblical Zoo, The Israel Museum, Tower of David, and of course, The Western Wall, and more. 

The cards are in both Hebrew and English so I can continue to improve my Hebrew language skills. 

I think this is a perfect topic to be thinking about today, which is  Tisha B'Av (the 9th day of the Hebrew month of Av).

This is a perfect Shabbat game for after Shul and Kiddish, and I am looking forward to the family sitting down to play Monopoly Jerusalem style. 

I want to also note that Jerusalem along with the Holy Temple (may it be rebuilt speedily in our day) is a perfect topic to be thinking about today, because this is the day on the Hebrew calendar when the Holy Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed in both 586 BCE by the Babylonians as well as in 70 CE by the Romans after they had laid siege to the city--the exact same day of the calendar year over 650 years apart--and so this is a day of commemoration, mourning, and introspection for the Jewish people. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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April 22, 2018

Sugarloaf Crafts Festival


I love this time of year when the weather gets nice and we can do more outdoor activities. 

Today, we took the opportunity to go to the Sugarloaf Crafts Festival. 

There were so many vendors with artistic works in metal, glass, art, jewelry, leather, photography, pottery, and more. 

Everyone seemed to be looking for those one-of-a-kind special pieces.

I did manage to find a very special colorful menorah, which I had my eye on since last year, and which I was glad that I waited for because the artisan made it even better and more beautiful than before. 

Again, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and most things were an easy pass on, but some things definitely caught my eye and attention. 

The photo here was one of them where the artist was selling pots, and he set up this plastic chicken--as if the chicken was set and ready to go into the oven. 

Creativity can definitely get weird, but everyone likes a standout. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumethal)
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December 16, 2017

Beautiful Innocent Child Angel

So wonderful news is that one of my daughters is getting married, please G-d, at the end of the month.

Today, we had a celebration in synagogue called an Aufruf, where the groom is called to the Torah and makes the blessing and then we all throw candies (we chose bags of chocolates).

After the services, we had a kiddush luncheon and it was really nice to see everyone from the community sharing in this wonderful Simcha with us. 

But something happened towards the end of the services that had a really big impact on me...in fact, I can't stop thinking about it--I need to write it down. 

As services concluded and we were leaving the sanctuary, this beautiful innocent little girl came right up to my daughter--sort of out of nowhere and without her parents--and wished her Mazel Tov. 

There was something about her and the way she did it with such sincerity--I literally couldn't have been more touched. 

It was almost like this child was some sort of angel--I mean it!

The child's eyes and facial expression had an innocence like I have never quite seen before. 

All I could do was marvel at this child and how she came up all by herself with this incredible pureness of heart that I can't fully explain to wish the bride and groom well. 

Then I found my words to say thank you and wish her that in a "few" years she would be getting happily married too, G-d willing. 

I think I will always remember the piecing innocent eyes of this child and how she was like an angel visiting us on this special occasion today. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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June 26, 2017

Shock Value Gets The Ball Rolling

There is definitely something to be said for shock value. 

When you do or say something that is S~H~O~C~K~I~N~G.

And it jolts the other person out of their daily stupor so that they really take notice. 

It's hard to stand out in a global population of over 7.2 billion people and counting. 

Everyone wants to be special, unique, have an impact, and make a difference. 

It's our answer (partially) for why we are here and why it matters.

Our life is a journey and it can be a log slog if we don't have a purpose and meaning in it all. 

We look to the One Above for guidance, meaning, love, and protection.

But we also have to look at ourselves in the mirror...what are we doing with our lives. 

Shock value doesn't mean real value...it's just the initial jolt to get noticed...like that purple and green spiked hair or those sparkly shoes you adorned. 

So you have to take the initial jolt and make it into deep impact--by touching not just a cord, but the nerves that run through. 

In Florida, there was a funny sign along the highway with that shock value that said something like this:

"Your Wife Is Hot So Call {X} To Fix Your A/C!"

What did you say about my wife? 

You know you're right, I do need to invest in better air conditioning! ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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March 31, 2017

Shabbat Candle Holders with Gorgeous Flowers

These are our new Shabbat candlestick holders. 

So colorful, and full of nature and life, and it makes me happy. 

I just wanted to give a callout to Mira (Pinki) Krispil from Ashdod, Israel who makes this beautiful artwork. 

Her expertise is in using polymer clay and glass and making it very special. 

You can find her Mira's wonderful work on Etsy.

Enjoy and Shabbat Shalom!
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March 29, 2017

X Marks The Spot With A Dot Dot Dot

Love this exhibit by Japanese artist, Yayoi Kusama, at the Hirshhorn Museum. 

Unfortunately, they were out of passes for this special showing, so I could only grab a quick photo or two. 

But I was amazed at how splashes of dots and color can make such am amazing impact on a room. 

Futuristic and yet surreal. 

Everything in the room--walls, floor, chairs, tables, fixtures, and ornaments--had the design elements on them. 

The only thing that didn't were the people checking it out and what a contrast that was. 

It felt like being in the fantasy world of Willie Wonka and The Chocolate Factory or something amazing like that. 

It is no surprise that people were lining up out the doors for tickets to this exhibit. 

What an spectacular vision for the world--so happy, so magical and so wow beautiful! ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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February 13, 2017

Off The Charts

We all know people that seem to be conflict prone--they seem to have a tendency to get into it with others at work, socially, in the family, or wherever. 

Is it that they are abnormal or bad people?

Certainly many, if not most people, want to stand out in some fashion or form.

As the shirt says:
"Being normal is boring."
We all want to be a little different or special.

If we're the same as the other 7.5 billion people out there, it's hard to feel that our lives are truly meaningful. 

Yet, being different or abnormal can be a good thing or a bad thing. 

Usually, you can be distinct in your combination of attributes within 1-3 standard deviations around the mean (average) and still be in the range of normal. 

1, 2, and 3 standard deviations equate to 68%, 95%, and 99.7% of the values in a normal bell shaped curve. 

So you can be different and still be considered normal.

The problem usually arises when you are off the charts deviant--and then you become "abnormal." 

Is abnormal a bad thing?

Not necessarily, but generally extremes of anything can tend to become problems. 

For example, you can fall somewhere in between very generous and very thrifty, but when you go to the extremes of giving it all away or being a miser then that's usually considered problematic. 

Similarly, you can be curious or indifferent and either of those may be okay, but at the extremes, if you become intrusive or apathetic then that's a problem. 

So most of the people we deal with are normal in most senses of the word, although they may have traits that take them to the extreme and which can cause conflict or harm. 

Others may have many traits that are extreme and they have severe difficulty functioning at all with other people--they are seriously off the charts. 

Perhaps, that's where healthcare professionals come in to assist with things like psychotherapy and behavioral modification (or even medications) to help people.

Being completely average is boring, but being off the charts can be dangerous to others who try to be themselves yet also constructively and humanely go along and get along. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 24, 2016

Computer Luminaries


I wanted to share these photo that I took at Micro Center, a computer and electronics store, outside Washington DC. 

On the wall are these pretty awesome photos of many of the founders and inventors behind modern-day computing. 

1) Doug Englebart - the GUI and Mouse

2) Dennis Ritchie - C and Unix

3-4) Dan Bricklin and Bob Frankston - Visicalc and Spreadsheets

5-6) Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard - HP 

7) Gordon Moore - Intel

8) Grace Hopper - First compiler that led to development of COBOL

9-10) Robert Khan and Vinton Cerf - TCP/IP

11) Steve Wozniak - Apple I and II

Of course, the following deserve a place of the wall of fame as well:

12) Steve Jobs - Apple

13) Bill Gates - Microsoft

14-15) Larry Paige and Sergey Brin - Google

16) Jeff Bezos - Amazon 

17) Mark Zuckerberg - Facebook

On one hand, these are people like you and I, who live, feel joy and pain, and one day die. In the end, we're all just flesh and blood, plus a soul that is our moral compass. 

But on the other hand, G-d has given some people special gifts to pass to mankind, like a master painter, musician, inventor, or holy person, whose worldly works are as near to G-dly as perhaps we can get outside of Heaven itself.

G-d must have a plan for us as he sends us these people--or more like angels--to guide our development and our destiny. 

Whatever G-d wants from us, we're definitely on a course to get there and that is comforting and a ray of hope for all of us. ;-)

(Source Photos: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 6, 2015

Love My Lava Lamp

We couldn't resist getting this lava lamp.

Only $26 at Spencer's.

My wife says, "This is special!"

We had one of these years ago when we first got married. 

Not sure what happened to it over the years--maybe it felt dated and got tossed at some point.

Now it just feels so good to turn it on and see the colorful lava bubbling up and down.

1970's--don't care, love it. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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May 8, 2015

Wine Bottle Extraordinaire

I took this photo of one of the amazing wine bottles at an event last evening at Magen David Synagogue. 

Apparently, a very talented lady in there makes these special bottles. 

Unfortunately with the lighting, this picture does not near do them justice for how exquisite they looked. 

They were in different colors of lacing, with beautiful beads, hamsas, and other decorations, as well as pictures of our honored sages, and their names in hebrew over the photos. 

I asked facetiously one lady who was taking home a bottle whether she was going to drink it all that evening, and she pulled the bottle close to her and leaning in to me said, "This is going in my display case!"

And that truly is where these belong...they are amazing.

The wonderful lady that painstakingly makes these gave how many of them charitably so they could be auctioned for benefit of the synagogue. 

Aside from a wonderful soul, this person is very talented and should seriously start a business with these because they are awesome! ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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January 4, 2015

Diamonds And Opals

I just wanted to share this photo of a beautiful ring I found in Santa Fe. 

I like the big diamond in the middle surrounded/lined on both sides by more diamonds.

What seemed really special was that it was inlaid in a setting of beautiful blue, green, and red opal gemstones. 

I asked the jeweler how much this ring was...

Couldn't believe the price tag for this was $35,000!

Probably a little steep for most people, and not exactly traditional, but in my mind, it was definitely a stand out. ;-)
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December 18, 2014

Thirsty and Hungry

I took this photo today of this funny banner hanging out a thoroughfare window in Washington, D.C.

This big 6 feet banner says "Moms Drink For Free."

So not sure, is it a special running at the local bar for the holidays or a wish by a bunch of mom's looking to get toasted?

Now, look carefully to the right, and you can see in the next window the messaging continues and it says "+ Send 1 Pizza."

So these "moms" are not only thirty but apparently hungry too--they want pizza and brew!

Not sure to what happened to "moms" just being normal mothers and good role models, and not hanging their menu cravings out the window in downtown. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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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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November 26, 2014

Lucky Earrings

My daughter found these lucky European earrings today from France.

- Queen of diamond playing cards

- Roll of the dice take your chance

- Lucky in love hearts

- Spicy green lucky charm hot peppers

Reminds me of something a colleague told me the other day about when your ears ring...it's right for love, and left for spite. 

Anyway, thought this was pretty good luck just finding these special earrings. ;-)

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October 20, 2014

The Grafitti Car

So you like your car with a little Graffiti?

Someone here did...it's covered bumper to bumper!


Wonder if this car also is one of those self-driving cars...so it's real special inside and out.


This car can be yours if the Price is Right...no that's a different show. 


Anyway, another day of more zany antics and styles coming to you from Washington, D.C. ;-)


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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June 21, 2013

Are They Anything Without Him?


Sometimes, one person can be so instrumental to the success of an organization that they really are, for all intensive purposes, irreplaceable.

Leadership classes and anecdotes about great leaders tell us that one of leaders primary duties is a good succession plan. 

But what happens, when a visionary place like Apple, loses their very special talent--someone that is truly their "secret sauce"--someone like a Steve Jobs--who you can't just replicate or replace (easily or maybe at all)?

While Apple still makes great products, the jury is still out on whether they can truly innovate without Job's vision, exacting attention to detail, and bigger than life persona. 

Hence, the question, are they anything without him?

Perhaps, Apple can find the next Steve Jobs--who will bring new energy and talents and keep them a great organization--or perhaps not.

This new movie about Jobs--played by Ashton Kutcher will remind us of the magic that a truly special leader can bring to an organization. 

If only there was a pill to swallow to make talented leaders--now that would be a job for Jobs. ;-)
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