December 31, 2016

Nourishment For The Soul

So the Rabbi , a Kabbalist of mystical Torah interpretation, told my wife to concentrate on 3 commandments.

1) Shabbat
2) Kosher
3) Going to Synagogue

Today, we had a little delay and almost didn't make it to synagogue, but my wife said, "Remember what the Kabbalist said about going every week," so we went even though we were a little late. 

We went to a conservative synagogue today called, B'nai Israel, in Rockville - it was our second time there. 

The services there are so orchestrated down to the tiniest of details...you could tell that a lot of thought, planning, and effort goes into every service. 

I was really impressed at how meticulous they were for example: 

- Explaining everything and even handing out the sources to their Shabbat speech

- Having everyone ready for their part of the service whether leading the prayers, reading the Torah, or making the blessings over the wine and bread (which was already on a cart on the bimah--alter)

- Including a women who read the weekly Torah portion, children who led some of the prayers, an elderly lady who spoke about upcoming events for the Seniors group, and they even sang Hanukah songs in everything from Ladino to Yiddish.  

At the end of the service, we spoke briefly to the Rabbi and thanked him for such a "perfect service," and my wife commented how he had such a cool radio voice when he leads the congregation (and he really does..like JM (jewish music) in the AM).

After service, I told my wife how happy I was that we made it to synagogue, that is was like nourishment to my spirit and soul for the week.

We have to feed ourselves physically as well as intellectually, emotionally, socially, and of course spiritually.  

Like the fingers on our hand...we need them all to hold unto life itself. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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December 30, 2016

On The Train Of Life

My beautiful daughter, Michelle, forwarded this wonderful message to me about our journey through life, and I wanted to share it with everyone.

πŸš‚πŸš‹πŸš‹πŸš‹πŸš‹
Life is like a journey on a train...
with its stations...
with changes of routes...
and with accidents !

πŸš‚πŸš‹πŸš‹πŸš‹πŸš‹

We board this train when we are born and our parents are the ones who get our ticket.

πŸš‚πŸš‹πŸš‹πŸš‹πŸš‹

We believe they will always travel on this train with us.

πŸš‚πŸš‹πŸš‹πŸš‹πŸš‹

However, at some station our parents will get off the train, leaving us alone on this journey.

πŸš‚πŸš‹πŸš‹πŸš‹πŸš‹

As time goes by, other passengers will board the train, many of whom will be significant - our siblings, friends, children, and even the love of our life.

πŸš‚πŸš‹πŸš‹πŸš‹πŸš‹

Many will get off during the journey and leave a permanent vacuum in our lives.

πŸš‚πŸš‹πŸš‹πŸš‹πŸš‹

Many will go so unnoticed that we won't even know when they vacated their seats and got off the train!

πŸš‚πŸš‹πŸš‹πŸš‹πŸš‹

This train ride will be full of joy, sorrow, fantasy, expectations, hellos, good-byes, and farewells.

πŸš‚πŸš‹πŸš‹πŸš‹

A good journey is helping, loving, having a good relationship with all co passengers...and making sure that we give our best to make their journey comfortable.

πŸš‚πŸš‹πŸš‹πŸš‹πŸš‹

The mystery of this fabulous journey is:
We do not know at which station we ourselves are going to get off.

πŸš‚πŸš‹πŸš‹πŸš‹πŸš‹

So, we must live in the best way - adjust, forget, forgive and offer the best of what we have.

πŸš‚πŸš‹πŸš‹πŸš‹πŸš‹

It is important to do this because when the time comes for us to leave our seat... we should leave behind beautiful memories for those who will continue to travel on the train of life."

πŸš‚πŸš‹πŸš‹πŸš‹πŸš‹

Thank you for being one of the important passengers on my train... don't know when my station will come... don't want 2 miss saying: "Thank you."

πŸš‚πŸš‹πŸš‹πŸš‹

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December 29, 2016

Obama, Kerry, and the UN's 6 Principles of Ultimate Hypocrisy

So how do we know that Obama, Kerry, and the UN's position and resolutions against Israel is biased, hateful, and Anti-Semitic? 

Let's briefly look at the 6 ludicrous principles--as applied to the United States and it's settling the land of the Native American Indians. 

Principle 1: Recognized International Borders for 2 People  

- For the United States that would be recognized international borders for the Native American Indians and for the the United States agreed to by both sides.

Principle 2: Two States for Two Peoples

- That would be a West America for Native American Indians and an East America for the United States (see graphic above).

Principle 3: Realistic Solution for Refugees

- The realistic solution would not involve a return of the Native American Indians to East America, but would involve compensation. 

Hmm, how much do we realistically owe the Native American Indians for half the country? 

Principle 4: Washington DC as Capital for 2 States

- That would look something like this with a West Washington D.C. as capital for Native American Indians and an East Washington D.C. as capital for the United States. 

Principle 5: Satisfy U.S. Security Needs

- This would involve "innovative approaches to creating unprecedented, multi-layered border security."  

Uh, what does that mean, especially with our estimated 11.4 million illegal immigrants in the U.S. already???

Principle 6: Normalized Relations

- For the U.S., "this must bring broader peace" with South American neighbors (including Mexico, Cuba, Venezuela, etc.) and would allow "groundbreaking" security partnerships with others like Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea. 

Wonder how that would all work out, huh???

The main difference between the U.S. and Israel is that actually Jews were promised the land of Israel by G-d him/herself and the Jews have actually lived and worshipped there for 4,000 years!

If Obama, Kerry, and the United Nations want to lecture on a Two State Only Solution, perhaps they need to start by contacting the Native American Indians and getting out their drawing boards. ;-)

(Source Graphics: By Andy Blumenthal adapted from here and here)

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Temper Tantrums Don't Make Peace

The latest salvos of U.S. anger, frustration, and temper tantrums are not helpful to achieving peace in the world. 

We are not dealing with children and should not treat foreign countries and leaders "with disdain and disrespect" or with bias, hate, and underling anti-Semitism. 

Nor should we get on our soapbox high and mighty and "lecture" others, especially when we ourselves have been grossly deficient and derelict. 

Over the last 8 years:

We let 500,000 Syrians be massacred, including the very rebels that we were supposedly supporting, and allowed many to be killed with prohibited chemical weapons (violating our definitive "red line")!

We let Ukraine be attacked and Crimea be stolen!

We let Russian nuclear-capable weapons be stationed on the border of NATO.

We let millions of refugees stream across the Middle East and world homeless and helpless. 

We let the world's #1 sponsor of terrorism, Iran, become a licensed nuclear power, extend their Caliphate across Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Yemen--while swarming and buzzing our ships and taking our sailors hostage and humiliating them. 

We let North Korea advance it's nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

We let China build and militarize the South China Sea and threaten freedom of navigation of the seas, and let them steal our drone in International waters. 

We let our ambassador to Libya and his associates be murdered.

We let the President of the Philippines call our President a "son of a whore."

We let ISIS rampage and murder across the globe in countless terror attacks, while we called them "workplace violence" and traffic accidents.

We let divisiveness seep into and poison our own cities, communities, people, and even against law enforcement, and politicized everything stagnating our our country and making us fall further behind in the world from education to life expectancy. 

We abandoned those seeking democracy, freedom, and human rights from the Green Revolution in Iran to the Arab Spring across the Middle East. 

And the list goes shamefully on and on.

But what's possibly even worse is that while we failed the world over, we are arrogant and nasty to others betraying our friend and allies in one-sided resolutions that ignore the scrounge of terrorism, deadly attacks, Anti-Semitism as well as with horrible deals with Iran that threaten their very existence. 

While we continue to sit in America, on land forcibly and violently taken from the Native American Indians, having brutally enslaved for hundreds of years African Americans, abused women and treated them as lessor in role, voting, and dignity, interned Japanese Americans and twice dropped the Atom Bomb on civilian cities, what right do we have to lecture anyone?

Yes, we dole out billions to nations around the world, for what we want whether in terms of allies, voting blocks, military cooperation, intelligence, or because of religious convictions, but that does not give us the right to arrogantly and bulling tell others or try to force them how to live in their neighborhoods and with the threats facing their people. 

While we did nothing, we spoke a great deal trying in vain to force our will on others, and the failures that abound are a reflection of just that leadership from behind, hypocrisy, and hubris. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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December 28, 2016

Three Types of Personality Verts

It's funny, we were out with some other people for dinner.

At one point, the conversion turned to the personality types (in terms of sociability) at the table. 

One person said, "I'm an extrovert!" - they were so proud that they are expressive and outgoing. 

Another person goes, "I'm an introvert!" - they were equally proud that they are thoughtful and more reticent.

A third person then says, "I'm just antisocial!" - they were half laughing and have serious that they are not sociable and even a little antagonistic to others. 

That's when I came up with the new antisocial term, called an antivert!

Looking up that word on google to see if it already existed, I see someone has used it to brand an antihistamine for preventing and treating motion sickness and vertigo -- hence from vertigo, this medicine is an antivert.

If you think of antisocial people as a little of balance or off-kilter and eccentric, then the word antivert works both to treat vertigo as well as to describe people that are the antisocial personality type. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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December 27, 2016

Planning For The End Of The World

I have never heard so much about the coming of the end of the world, Armageddon, the Apocalypse, and World War III as I am hearing these days...

The world seems to truly be going mad. 

And that MAD is as in CRAZY and as in Mutually Assured Destruction. 

- 25 years after the end of the Cold War, we are back in a nuclear arms race with Russia!

- Despite being our largest trading and economic partner, we are now going head-to-head confronting China over trade, Taiwan, and the South China Sea! 

- While setting some near-term constraints, we have in effect solidified Iran's getting the nuclear bomb!

- As North Korea continues developing and testing nukes and ballistic missiles, we have no answers for how to deal with them!

Not only have we failed to contain the many threats we face, but also in many or most cases, we have made them worse.

- The Middle East has gone from the promise of an Arab Spring to instead raging in flames and becoming the modern-day killing fields

Even as ISIS becomes more dangerous despite having less territory, they are likely eclipsed by Iran's global terror expansion as a threat to the world order

- The refugee crisis has meant that ISIS terrorists have infiltrated our borders and are now living among us ready to strike at will. 

- There is a real documented threat of a terrorist attack using radiological, chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons of mass destruction

- The European Union is falling apart and it's future is unknown. 

Increasing border attacks and escalating tensions are creating a risk of a dangerous Indian-Pakistani War

Obama has alienated our allies, reduced our stature among the nations, and destabilized the world

- While people are arguing over the state of hopelessness since the election or from before it, either way, there is huge divisiveness in America. 

Gun ownership is soaring and people are stockpiling ammo

Videos have emerged from people in near-death experiences claiming to have vividly seen the coming World War III and the prelude to the coming of the messiah. 

- There is even widespread recognition by our space experts that we are woefully unprepared for an errant asteroid or comet hitting the Earth

Clergy is warning and encouraging us to repent and do good deeds to merit G-d saving us from the coming cataclysm, whatever it ends up being.

I am certainly not a forecaster of doom and gloom, but always try to remain hopeful and encourage everyone to do their best to improve the world.

But I also must reflect on the voices of anger, frustration, and exasperation around the world that are growing ever louder and scarier daily...the latest with Obama's betrayal of Israel at the United Nations Security Council.  

What comes next politically may very well determine whether the end is near or the future gets bright again. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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December 26, 2016

From Darkness Will Come Light

In response to continuing hateful and anti-Semitic resolutions by the UN and supported by President Barack Obama, here is what Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu thoughtfully said:
"Here on the first night of Hanukah, I stand next to the Maccabees of our times, IDF soldiers and wounded IDF heroes.  
I salute you and say to you clearly: The light will dispel the darkness.  
The spirit of the Maccabees will overcome.
Happy Hanukah!"
Israel is a tiny democratic nation, the size of New Jersey, surrounded by hostile nations and terror organizations, but by continuing to shine a light on the desire for true peace and security for a people that were decimated by the Holocaust, we can dispel the darkness of thousands of years of hate and discrimination. 

I believe in my deepest heart of hearts that most people in the world, and especially in the shining light of nations of America and Israel, are good and decent.

And together, we can overcome the darkness of bigotry, intolerance, and hatred with the light of good and righteousness in this world. 

Faith, caring, and love can overcome.  ;-)

(Source Graphic Andy Blumethal)
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Special Blue Bird

Just wanted to share a photo I took of this beautiful blue bird that I came across in Florida. 

This bird was something special. 

I couldn't help admiring his amazingly blue feathers punctuated by the yellow around his smart eyes 

He wasn't the only beautiful animal or flower that we saw there, there were many.

They all just left me in wonderment at the unbelievable beauty that G-d created for us in this world.

No one is going to tell me this is all random by evolution, and that there is not a profoundly wise and all-knowing Maker behind it.

Perhaps, we never really left the physical Garden of Eden, but being expelled from there meant more of a mentality where we have to work and fight hard to keep it all pristine.

Mankind's inclination is to take and use abundantly almost without thought as to the sustainability of his actions.

- Cities expand and encroach on natural rural areas. 

- G-d's beautiful creatures are in retreat and often in danger of extinction. 

- Resources are used willy nilly as we dig and dig, chop and chop, and burn and burn. 

- Garbage is expelled and piles up virtually anywhere and everywhere.

- Pollution fills the land, air, and waterways.

Eden is still here, but people must act more like angels and less like snakes if G-d gracious gifts to us are to survive. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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December 25, 2016

Improving The Lot and Lives Of Women


I saw this women dancing openly on top of this boat moored to the docks in Florida. 

I don't know why she was doing this (simply entertainment?) and whether this was completely out of her free choice (or at all coerced), especially while these 2 guys on board apparently leered and even recorded her.

But it made me think that we definitely need to better respect and improve the lot and lives of women in society. 

Yes, beauty is something to be appreciated, but there is also something to be said for modesty and showing proper respect.

Further, while people can be physically attractive, they are not just objects, but rather complex, thoughtful, and productive wonderful human beings.

Each person is a whole world and they bring that to the table of life.

There is much to admire, but women (and men) need to provided every opportunity to break through the glass ceiling and not just dance on it. ;-)

(Source Video: Andy Blumenthal)
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December 24, 2016

Let's Ask The Messiah

Tomorrow is a special day indeed. 

It is both Chanukah and Christmas.

Rabbi Michael Gottlieb mentions a really interesting point in the Wall Street Journal about the connection between Jews and Christians as brothers and sisters. 

Reflecting on the thoughts of philosopher, Martin Buber:

The key difference between Jews and Christians is whether Jesus was the messiah. 


"Christians believe he was here and they are awaiting his return.  
Jews believe that the messiah hasn't yet come.  
His suggestion: let's all pray for the messiah--Christians and Jews alike.   
When he arrives, we'll ask if he's been here before."
With the messiah's arrival, we can all hope to achieve "personal and universal redemption"--to be kinder, humbler, and more human[e]"

We all have an underlying need to believe in a "superhero"--with G-dly powers that can save us from ourselves and from each other, as well as from disease, disaster, and destruction. 

If G-d can speedily send us the messiah to help us with all of this, together Jews and Christians and Muslims and Buddhists and Hindus and everyone can band together to celebrate and welcome G-d's love and redemption of all his children. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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December 23, 2016

Parting Shot By An Anti-Semite

So today, Obama took his hateful and corrupt parting shot at our friend and ally, Israel.

Colluding with the Palestinians on a nonsensical, UNjust resolution that the Jewish Temple Mount in Jerusalem is not Jewish and condemning Israel settlements in the West Bank--Judea and Samaria--that Israel duly won in the 1967 Six Day War for it's very survival and for which the Palestinians rejected in multiple proposed peace deals by Israel. 


How absolutely absurd that Obama and the United Nations with blood on their hands for the last 5 years, left more than half a million people to be slaughtered mercilessly in Syria, with millions more wounded, displaced, and as refugees, yet they saw to pick on Israel and condemn them one more time today.

For his eight years in Office, Obama has consistently shown himself an utter hater of the Holy Land and Jews, just over 70 years since the genocidal Holocaust.

From his first international speech in Egypt in 2009 to his refusal to say the words "radical Islam" and his blaming of Christians for the terror attacks against them.

He befriended Iran, who threatens annihilation of Israel and is the arch enemy of the United States----removing sanctions on Iran and releasing $150 billion that Iran is using for terror.

Obama oversaw the disrespectful and horrible name-calling of the Prime Minister of Israel as a chickensh*t.

Then again, Obama abruptly snubbed the Israel Prime Minister and left him to go have dinner and then made him leave the White House from the back door.

During the 2014 war with terrorist organization, Hamas, Obama withheld needed weapons from the State of Israel.

Even in signing a 10-year arms deal with Israel, Obama made sure to cap the giving by forcing Israel to sign that they would give back anything extra that the U.S. Congress may try to give them above and beyond that over the next decade.

Shamefully, Obama even oversaw the UN Human Rights Council ridiculously brand the free and democratic Israel as the worst human rights offender as Israel is the one besieged by surrounding nations and terror organizations directing barrages of missiles, terror tunnels, homicide bombings, shootings, knifings, and vehicular terror attacks against their civilian population centers.

His hatred for Israel even went so far as to threaten to shoot down Israeli jets that would possibly attack Iran's nukes targeting them as an existential threat.


While over the course of his administration, Obama was utterly weak and ineffective in front of mighty Russia and China (forgetting all red lines) and even prostrated himself before the likes of the belligerent mullahs of Iran and the warmongering dictator of North Korea, he continuously picked on and bullied tiny democratic Israel (the size of New Jersey).

Fortunately this unscrupulous, anti-Semitic regime will be gone in a few weeks and with it the sick Israel-hate that it brought to the esteemed White House and the global stage--and it's good, good riddance, for sure. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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December 22, 2016

Hope vs. Change

So we were promised hope and change, but what's the difference?

Daniel Henninger in the Wall Street Journal says, "Hope is the helium -filled ballon of politics. Governing in office is the gravity that pulls it back down to earth."

Many politicians are giving the false impression that "giving people the rhetoric of hope, lifting them with words, is more important than delivering results, which some might call change."

Despair is when we are told that there is hope and promise, but we don't get meaningful, impactful, and lasting positive change.

The hard work of leadership is not just providing a beautiful Garden of Eden vision for people to salivate over and to get their votes, but rather it is making something REAL happen that makes people's lives and the world better. 

As they say is plain english, "Words are cheap!"

We don't need any more fancy oratory skills--Hitler had those too and it led to the murderous genocidal Holocaust and disaster of World War II. 

Time for some elbow grease and some results that aren't fake like the news we've been getting. 

We've heard too many lies, too much spin, and been subjected to language control of the "media echo chamber."

Just one prominent example has been regarding terrorism and radical Islam which is not and never has been "workplace violence" and traffic accidents. 

Who is the President of the U.S. fooling when he says that theres been "no foreign-planned terror attacks in 8 years."

Gee, ISIS and their numerous terror supporters seem to violently disagree about the many terrorist attacks we indeed did have on U.S. soil in the last 8-years, including Orlando, Garland, Fort Hood, San Bernardino, MinnesotaOhio University, and many more.  

It's time that we stop being fed a bunch of false hope and political malarkey and instead we get some genuine change, improvement, and progress in our lives and the nation. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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December 21, 2016

The Pundits Know Sh*t

If you haven't seen any of the many videos flying around about everyone who said "Trump will never be president," then you should.

Presumably, these were people in the know--senior politicians and statesmen, experts galore including scientists and professors, news media, talk show hosts, comedians, and Hollywood stars.

Virtually none could even imagine him winning as they "promised" and "guaranteed" it and even swore they would leave the country otherwise.

But as we all now know, they were completely wrong and misguided. 

Similarly, in a book review today in the Wall Street Journal of "Public Intellectuals," the big mouth know-it-alls out there or what my friend's father used to call "intellectual idiots" failed to predict all the black swan events.

From the fall of the Soviet Union to 9/11, the Internet bubble and recession of 2001 to the mortgage meltdown and financial collapse of 2008, from the Arab Spring to Brexit...the pundits are all left looking like schmendricks!

Whether this is caused by personal biases, shortsightedness, herd mentality, or incompetence, the educated intellectuals just don't seem to be able to see around that next bend anymore than the rest of us. 

Moreover, because of their walled-off elite status, they are functioning and talking through loud speakers from their ivory towers rather than from the real man's world of everyday hardships and challenges. 

As I often tell one of my esteemed colleagues, it's not how often or how loud you say something, but how sincere it is. 

The pundits typically miss it (although they seem so smart when talking with 20-20 hindsight about what happened and why), and as contrarians already know, it typically pays to do the opposite of what the so-called experts tell you. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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December 20, 2016

Just Cut It Out

What a way to handle global leadership...all you have to say is,  just "Cut it out!" and your job is done. 

- Cyber attacking the U.S. democratic election, invasion of Crimea, and encroaching on NATO with nuclear capable missiles...just cut it out! 

- Vast destruction of Aleppo including hospitals, schools, and markets, killings, refugees, and humanitarian crisis, and the dangerous use of chemical weapons on civilians...just cut it out!

- China stealing our drone and militarizing the South China Sea...just cut it out!

- North Korea testing advanced nukes and ballistic missiles capable of reaching Europe and America and threatening to use them...just cut it out!

- Iran taking our sailors captive, humiliating them, buzzing our warships, and violating the nuclear arms deal...just cut it out!

- Abandoning our friends and allies and befriending our enemies sworn to kill us and not even being able to say the words, "Radical Islamist"...just cut it out!

- Spiraling divisiveness, rioting in our inner cities, and cycles of racial and police violence...just cut it out!

- An unsustainable Obamacare with double digit rising rates and decreasing insurance choices (many localities with only 1)...just cut it out!

- Doubling of the U.S. national debt by another $10 trillion and enacting regulations that are strangling business...just cut it out!

- Endless ISIS and other terrorist attacks (yesterday on Berlin, Zurich, Turkey and more) and calls it "workplace violence" or a traffic accident...just cut it out!

Anyone who says that now "We're feeling what not having hope feels like," truly must be referring to where we come from and not where we are going.

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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December 19, 2016

Flying Sneaks

We can all fly.

Not necessarily through the air.

But through life and ultimately in death, we can fight and take flight and soar. 

It is our attitude and determination to overcome the hardest of hardships that we face. 

We feel the pain for the situations where we fell, failed, and lost control over outcomes. 

People who told us what they thought we are and where we can go...our ego busted, our shame written all over us, our regret and fear over what we did or should've done differently.

We can't go back.

We can only go forward.

We can learn, and we can grow.

We can compartmentalize the problems and hurt. 

We can pick up the pieces wiser than before and more determined to succeed.

Wings are not just for angels, but also for sneakers and for souls. 

I want to fly all around the world, and more so into the heavens to see my Heavenly father and be reunited for eternity with my family and loved ones.

Fly free and wide.

Fly high and unobstructed by poverty, illness, abuse, and loneliness. 

Fly and soar beyond anything we could ever have imagined. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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December 18, 2016

Survey The Performance

So I was in the Apple store recently and made a purchase to upgrade some technology.

Afterwards, I got an email asking:

"How was your experience with Beverly?

When I opened this my wife saw this and was like, "What the heck is that?!"

We should be surveying the work performance and not the experience with the person.

I can't imagine that super smart Apple didn't see this sort of double entendre about sweet Beverly.

All Apple needed to do was add in the word(s) at the top, shopping and/or at Apple, as in "How was your shopping experience with Beverly at Apple? (rather than burying it in the subtext later)"

But then their customer satisfaction survey maybe wouldn't get as much attention.

Sexualizing the customer experience shouldn't be part of marketing, unless maybe your purposely visiting a shady part of town for unscrupulous reasons. 

Anyway, I did respond that Beverly was a definite 5!

Thank you for the wonderful technology Apple and for the experience with Beverly--it was great! ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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December 17, 2016

Returning The US Drone

So I love and respect China, and think they are one of the greatest nations of the world.

However, it is wrong that their military stole a US drone in international waters. 

Bullying and theft is a violation of the rule of law and a challenge to America on the international stage. 

So far, our leadership from behind approach has again done virtually nothing, except like a child, ask for it back (after they have already taken whatever they wanted from it). 

Moreover, this is not the first time China has captured our assets and people--less than 6 years ago, they collided into one of our EP-3E surveillance aircraft and captured, interrogated , and held the crew for 11 days!

And hence our planes and ships keep getting buzzed, our citizens captured and humiliated, our assets confiscated illegally, and our secret intellectual property unabashedly hacked and copied.

Moreover, we are seeing a resurgent Russia in Georgia, Ukraine and Syria; a militarized China expanding and weaponizing the South China Sea, a belligerent North Korea with ever further reaching ballistic nukes, and an Iran that violates their nuclear deal at will and now runs amuck with military operations from Iraq to Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, and more. 

Oh, and surely let's not forget ISIS and the global wave of Islamic terrorism that is unabated from Paris to Orlando. 

Despite our outspending the next leading 8 nations combined on the military, we continue to be the laughing stock internationally with world leaders calling our Presidents everything from the devil to an SOB

No one would dare do this with Putin's Russia!

Why? Because they know the ridiculous price they would pay. 

We have long since passed the time when we should've stopped the whining, begging, and acting the victim, and instead start to do something real to defend ourselves and once again establish a no-nonsense deterrent, rather than a joke of red lines and hollow threats.

Our Commander-in-chief, instead of laying blame at the doorstep of Congress or world leaders doing the wrongdoing, should start to act his position. 

Perhaps, just perhaps, it's a single phone call to whoever has our drone that says something like, "You have exactly 2 hours to return the drone unharmed or the ship that was responsible for stealing it will pay the consequences--and the clock starts ticking now!"

The funny-sad thing is that bullies don't stop bullying until you stand up to them once and for all. 

A real Commander In Chief protects his nation and his people and doesn't let them be victimized in a endless cycle of violence and shame...and he does it before something really bad can happen. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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December 16, 2016

Death With Dignity

It is amazing that still in the 21st century there is not widespread acceptance and legality of physician-assisted suicide. 

Even the term voluntary euthanasia (from the Greek meaning good death) is still considered taboo--similar to using the term radical Islamist.

People are afraid to call a spade a spade and deal with life's complexities and harsh realities. 

All through history, mankind had the code of conduct and honor that when someone (person or animal) was mortality wounded by nature or in battle, they would be "put out of their misery."

This is called COMPASSION!

Yet, in modern-day civilization, extremist PC-ness (politically correctness) dooms even such a basic fundamental act of decency toward one another. 

Like with radical Islam, the fear of saying it and admitting to a war against extremist and murderous religion ideology cannot be fathomed and so "leadership from behind" mandates that we close our eyes and pretend the boogeyman isn't really in the room--even if it means continuous losing in the global war on terror. 

Similarly, with euthanasia, poor excuses for leaders fear that once the genie is out of the bootle, people will just be committing arbitrary acts of suicide left and right. 

Unfortunately, these weak people in leadership positions are not leaders, but rather cowards who force others to suffer whether by the hands of terrorism and war or by the unnecessary and cruel suffering for people with the most horrible illness and disabilities in society. 

In 1988, "Dr. Death," Jack Kevorkian, provided assisted suicide to someone with the horrible, Lou Gehrig's Disease, and in turn, he had to spend 8 years in jail for second-degree murder.

Fortunately, there are now already 5 U.S. states where "physicians cannot prosecuted for prescribing medication to hasten death", where individuals that "have a terminal illness as well as a prognosis of six months or less to live." These include: Oregon, Vermont, Washington, California, and Montana (when mandated by a court ruling).  

Similarly, overseas in Switzerland, associations like DIGNITAS, provide services "accompanying dying patients at the end of their lives and assistance with suicide."

The person must have a: 

- "terminal illness" and/or an 
- "an "unendurable incapacitating disability" and/or 
- "unbearable and uncontrollable pain."

The end is made reasonable and humane by having a in-depth evaluation, followed by at least 2 face-to-face meetings with doctors, getting a prescription for the medicine, setting a mutually agreed date, having loved ones at their side, and self-administering the fatal dose of Sodium Pentobarbital (NaP), usually 15 mg by swallowing or administering by gastric tube or intravenously.

The medicine is "lethal, fast-acting, and completely painless"--after taking it, the patient falls asleep within a few minutes and passes peacefully. 

Having seen my own mother suffer horribly with Parkinson's Disease, I know that voluntary euthanasia would not only have been the merciful thing to do, but the right thing to do to help people. 

Political correctness and fear of doing what needs to be done is no excuse for prolonging the suffering of those that want to exercise their right to die and who deserve their final peace. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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December 15, 2016

Bonding and Independence

It's an interesting phenomenon between parents and children. 

Parents (with G-d as the third partner) birth and raise their beautiful children. 

It is in a way a thankless job that we all savor and do with love, joy, and even gratitude just to have the opportunity. 

From sleepless nights to dirty diapers, homework to honing on how to be a mensch, family outings to school trips, braces to bar/bat- mitzvahs, birthdays to sleepover parties, shopping trips to college choices, as parents there is nothing we won't do for our children. 

Yet, the role of children is to learn and grow to be independent. Children must spread their wings, so they can function as their own adults and parents one day (and hopefully before they are 33 and still living in mom and dad's house)!

Yet to a parent, a child is always their child, no matter how big, smart, or successful they are (and even when, G-d willing, they surpass their parents in height, good looks, and achievements).

My father used to say, "Blood is thicker than water," meaning that it's a harsh world out there and the family always needs to stick together.

As children of Holocaust survivors, I learned that we can't stray to far (or far at all) from either our religion or family, because otherwise, "We let Hitler win."

We grew up living next to my grandparents (1 block away) and later in life, we always lived right near my parents as well. 

I watched TV and ate salami sandwiches with my grandmother and doted over my grandfather who sat on the bimah in his big chair as the president of our then struggling synagogue in Manhattan. 

Similarly, my parents were like surrogate parents to my own children and regularly babysat, picked the kids up from school/camp, made Sabbath meals, and happily spent time with them doing whatever. 

My parents were always there to advise, guide, lend a hand and support...no matter the cost to them, as my father used to say, "I would go through fire for my family" and this--his devotion and integrity--I knew was the utter truth. 

In turn, I tried to be a good son and although I disagreed and fought with my parents (mostly my dad) on many issues (often religious and sometimes politics as remember them), I knew they loved me dearly and I them.

As my dear parents are now gone, and I have become (slightly) a helicopter parent myself with forever worries about how my kids are doing, I know that they need to be independent--and that (more than) sometimes means making mistakes or falling down, and hopefully getting right back up again on their feet.

It is hard to learn that as parents, in many cases, we are just spectators--not that we know everything, we don't, but the maternal and paternal instinct is to safeguard our children whom we love and adore. 

Kids need three things to individuate successfully: stability, consistency, and safety. Absent those, you run the risk of unhealthy knotted bonding and stunted separation anxiety. 

Everyone needs to lead their own lives--we really only have one life to live. Yet, as family, we are very much the foundation and part of their inner strength for everything that follows from their determination, hard work, and blessings from Above. 

For parents and children, it is critical to balance the need for healthy separation and independence with love and bonding that is timeless.

We have to "let go and let G-d" and let our Children. 

The parents are the past and the children are the future, but we mean everything to each other. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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December 14, 2016

Life After Death

This was a beautiful article in The Sun about life after death. 

British physicists and research scientists are claiming that the soul exists at a sub-atomic quantum particle level. 

Evidence, they say, points to information (our consciousness) "stored in microtubles within human cells."

When a person dies, the quantum particle information is released from the body into the universe. 

If it's a near-death experience, the consciousness leaves only temporarily, but is then brought back to the cells in the host, and the patient revives. 

However, if the person dies, "it's possible that this quantum information, can exist outside the body, perhaps indefinitely, as a soul."

This theory is endorsed by researchers at the renown Max-Planck Institute, Germany's most successful research organization with 18 Nobel laureates  and 15,000 scientific publications a year. 

This is certainly one of the most hopeful and uplifting ideas that any of us can maintain--that life is not just finite, but that we are part of something infinitely larger, enduring, meaningful, and G-dly. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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December 13, 2016

Balancing Change and Stability

So new leaders frequently want to come into town like a knight in shining armor riding speedily on their white stallions to "save the day." 

Being new and needing to prove themselves, change and quick results are the imperative.

The problem is that fast, quick wins can be mistakenly and superficially achieved while sacrificing longer-term organization success.  

We push people to hard, too fast, and without the underlying care and emotional feeding to duly support the rainbow in the sky changes being sought. 

People are human beings that need to be brought along in a unified manner and with a solid infrastructure and not plowed over for the sake of some short-term gains.

You can push for change so hard--you can crack the whip and you can demand what you want when you want--but rest-assured that you are leaving a great pile of destruction in your wake. 

Performance results are built by maintaining a sane balance between change and stability--pushing others to do more with less has to be replaced instead with getting out front yourself and pulling the organizational weight at a measured pace so that workers aren't trampled by the raw, unbridled ambition of the leadership. 

You may have a great scorecard of accomplishments, but they may be the tip of what is otherwise an iceberg of discontent and disaster beneath. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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December 12, 2016

Jewish Humor Is Part Of Our Survival

So the prior Jewish generation (my parents) had a really good sense of humor. 

My dad always had a joke to tell and make people laugh. 

And as the movie, "When Jews Were Funny" portrays, the suffering of the past led to the lighthearted humor of the times. 

From the unbelievable horrors of the Holocaust and pogroms came the yearning for comic relief in the everyday life around us.

We are the survivors! 

And we yearn to go on living and making the world a better place, and you can't do that from the depths of sorrow and fear.  

In the movie, here were two funny jokes to start your week off with:

1) This old Jewish lady goes through a red light and 2 stop signs, and her husband, Sadie shrieks and says to her, "What are you doing? You just drove through a red light and 2 stop signs!"  And his wife replies, "I didn't even know that I was driving!"  

2) This Jewish man living in anti-Semitic times trying to hide his Jewishness is reiterating his answers to various questions posed to him to rout him out. He innocently goes, "And when they asked me what religion I am, I fooled them good and told them I was Goyish!"

Yeah, they just don't tell them like they used to. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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December 11, 2016

613 Faith Redux

So between Nov 2015 to June 2016, we were all seeing the mystical number of 613, the number of commandments in the holy Torah. 

Then on June 12, 2016, there was a terror attack in Orlando, which killed 49 people and wounded 53 others. 

We read about this all over the front page of USA Today on 6.13.16  (the date spells 613 in BOTH directions!) 


Then all of a sudden we stopped seeing 613--completely stopped. 

That is until 2 weeks ago.

When out of nowhere we all simultaneously and independently started to see 613 again. 

On clocks, license plates, order numbers, treadmills, everywhere. 

Yesterday, I saw 613 displayed brightly on a warning cone (above) in the roadway!

And today again, an order number received "randomly" for a purchase online ends in 613! 


In Judaism, we are taught that nothing in life is random...everything comes from G-d. 

All I can say is that it is scary to see this--it feels like some sort of warning or message--and we need to have renewed faith in G-d, turn to him, and ask for his mercy. 

In the ongoing war of good over evil, I think it's certainly a time for extra repentance, prayer, charity, and lots of good deeds. ;-)

(Source Photos: Andy Blumenthal)
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December 10, 2016

{Saving Us From DC Ground Zero}

One well-placed nuclear suitcase bomb or nuclear ballistic missile strike on DC and say goodbye to virtually the entire hub of the Federal government. 

As of 2014, there are over 4.2 million federal employees (2.7M in the civilian agencies and 1.5M in the military). 

Over 500K are located in the DC, MD, VA tristate area. 

But it's not just the numbers, it's that the headquarters of all the major government agencies are located here. 

While, of course, there are backup sites, and emergency doomsday sites like Mount Weather (48 miles from DC), there is no telling how much advance notice, if any we would have, and who would escape and survive a deadly blow to our capital region. 

And it could be a radiological, chemical, biological, or nuclear (RCBN) attack that does us in...whether from Russia, China, Iran, North Korea or other diabolical enemy out there. 

The point is that by concentrating all our federal headquarters and senior leadership and key resources here we are in fact, giving the enemy an easy shot to decapitate the entire country?

While others (like Paul Kupiec in the WSJ) have questioned whether some of the federal agencies can be moved out to other needy cities and communities across the country for economic reasons (to bring jobs and investment) especially those agencies that are actively looking to build new HQS buildings already (e.g. FBI and Department of Labor), to me the far more potent question is one of national security. 

The main advantage of having the crux of the federal government in the DC area is surely one of coordination--the President wants his Cabinet near him and the Cabinet Secretaries want their senior staff near them, and so on and so on. 

So, you get this mass concentration of a who's who of the federal government in and around Washington, DC. 

But what about the advances of technology? 

Surely, through networks and telecommunications and teleworking, we can support a geographically diverse workforce and do no significant harm to our operating as one.

We're talking a very big cultural change here!

It's one thing to have nuclear missiles roaming the seas on attack submarines waiting for orders from Washington, DC and it's quite another to move the actual government intelligentsia and leadership out from the central hub. 

Let's face it, in a real crisis situation, with the chaos and panic and transportation overflow and perhaps simultaneous cyberattacks, no one is really going to be going anywhere--especially in a surprise attack. 

If Pearl Harbor (of which we just celebrated the 75th anniversary) and 9/11 teach us anything is that when the sh*t hits the fan, it hits hard and sticks solid. 

Working in the Metro DC area, selfishly, I'd like to say keep the investment, jobs, and great opportunities here.

For the good of the nation and our survival against true existential threats, we'd be much smarter to spread the federal wealth as far and wide across this great nation that we can. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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December 9, 2016

Reconstituting The Water Of Antarctica

So Antarctica is the 5th largest continent of 7 in the world. 

It is 5.4 million square miles, and it is larger than both Europe and Australia. 

But it has only a temporary population of 5,000 people, mainly researchers. 

About 70% of the world's fresh water is held in the Antarctic ice sheet, which is 90% of all the world's ice. 

And the ice there extends 7,000 feet thick.

If all the ice would melt, the global sea levels would rise 2,000 feet!

Despite 95% of models over the last 30 years predicting the ice sheet melting due to global warming, it actually continues to expand.

It's a paradox for the science community, but one of the explanations is that as ice shelves break off, they actually forms a protective barrier for the new ice being formed along the main ice landmass. 

Even with global warming, the average temperature in Antarctica is still -35 degrees Fahrenheit, and most parts never get above freezing. 

So here's an idea--rather than fear global warming, is there an opportunity to use it and advance it, if only we can channel the effects of it for the good of humanity. 

The Antarctic Treaty System prevents nuclear weapons explosion there, but wouldn't that be a cool way to melt some ice and get some fresh drinking water for this thirsty planet or even to somehow move to MARS for colonization there?

Also, we could place solar mirrors in space to redirect sunlight to melt the ice--that's either some probably some pretty big mirrors or the dispersion ray of a space laser(s). 

The key now is to get the water to where you want it to go and not to destroy by massive flood our worldwide seaboard cities--and that's where a mass molecular transporter comes along. 

There is still much to discover and invent, but when it's done, I think we will definitely be heading to Mars and beyond.

Really, we have to, there is no other long-term survival choice for humankind. 

And perhaps, G-d placed the survival pod for us right under our feet at literally, the southern most point of the world, Antarctica! ;-)

(Source Photo: here via Wikipedia)
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