27 7 / 2014

The Calorie Count Cookie

So we were out with family at a vegetarian Chinese restaurant. 
And at the end of the meal, of course there were fortune cookies to be had.
As someone opened the cookie, and was about to plop it in her mouth, she said, “Ah, there goes another 100 calories!”
Then I thought for a moment, and said, “wouldn’t it be great (for those of us watching our weight), if every food had an edible embedded chip and display that would flash the calorie count as you picked it up and were about to put it in your mouth. 
Rather than those esoteric calorie counts on the side of packages for G-d knows what serving sizes, you get a play-by-play count every time you reach, pick up, and are about to ingest the next big gulp.
I think having calorie counts tied to real portions and having these in your face in real time as you are eating could have a huge impact on portion size and weight control. 
It may not be sexy to see the calories in your face as you eat, but boy could it be healthy. ;-)
Copyright to Andy Blumenthal
(Source Photo: Me)

The Calorie Count Cookie

So we were out with family at a vegetarian Chinese restaurant. 


And at the end of the meal, of course there were fortune cookies to be had.


As someone opened the cookie, and was about to plop it in her mouth, she said, “Ah, there goes another 100 calories!”


Then I thought for a moment, and said, “wouldn’t it be great (for those of us watching our weight), if every food had an edible embedded chip and display that would flash the calorie count as you picked it up and were about to put it in your mouth. 


Rather than those esoteric calorie counts on the side of packages for G-d knows what serving sizes, you get a play-by-play count every time you reach, pick up, and are about to ingest the next big gulp.


I think having calorie counts tied to real portions and having these in your face in real time as you are eating could have a huge impact on portion size and weight control. 


It may not be sexy to see the calories in your face as you eat, but boy could it be healthy. ;-)


Copyright to Andy Blumenthal


(Source Photo: Me)

26 7 / 2014

Antimissile System For Airlines

Elbit Systems has an antimissile system that can protect commercial airlines from short range, shoulder fired missiles (MANPADs).


The military air fleet of the U.S., U.K., and Australia already have installed such devices to protect them.


Another system by Northrop Grumman is installed for heads of state like on Air Force One and Germany has ordered it for their Chancellor’s plane. 


But the Elbit C-Music is being used already on Israel’s commercial airlines, El AL and Israir. 


The thermal targeting device of C-Music uses a precise laser to deflect the incoming heat seeking ground to air missiles and save the passengers and plane. 


According to the Wall Street Journal, a bill to mandate such devices for American commercial airlines would cost approximately $43 billion over 20 years. 


While this system would not work against the type of sophisticated multiple launch rocket systems that brought down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, it would go along way to enhance our anti-terrorism measures and protect Americans and other travelers coming to/from the U.S. 


Please don’t shoot down this idea…  ;-)

24 7 / 2014

Israel’s Near Pearl Harbor

I wanted to share this analysis of the recent threat to Israel from Matti Follman. 
While perhaps not a true existential threat to the country, the death and destruction that Hamas could’ve inflicted via the terror tunnels and missiles at their own time and choosing could have been a Pearl Harbor or 9/11 event (or worse) for the State of Israel. 
Rather, than the United Nations Human Rights Council members and others decrying Israel’s self-defense while protecting civilians (in spite of Hamas blatantly using them as human shields), they should be applauding Israel’s true morality! 
But anti-semites and hate mongers, don’t savor Israel’s safety, security, or continuity as a Jewish and democratic state, they just seek an excuse, like Hitler, to attack whether by tunnels, missiles, boycotts, or resolutions to discriminate and obliterate those that they perceive as historically inconvenient and whom they simply want dead.

________________________________
Provided by Matti Follman

Analysis of the Situation: The State of Israel was facing an existential threat for the first time since the War of Independence. By their deaths, the three youths saved the State of Israel.

The dozens of tunnels that had been dug from Gaza to the southern cities of Israel were not tunnels for the purpose of terrorism – they were the infrastructure for the occupation of the Land of Israel. If we had not surprised ourselves with the severe response to the kidnap and murder of these boys (of blessed memory), Hamas, at a time that would suit them, would have sent thousands of soldiers through the tunnels to occupy cities and military posts; thousands of soldiers wearing the uniform of IDF soldiers, to kill, to conquer and to kidnap, and the IDF would have had no time to organize, and protect the nation. At the same time, Hamas would have fired off barrages of hundreds and thousands of missiles at the center of the country, paralyzing Israel’s organizational ability to defend itself against invasion. What were they waiting for? Maybe a rainy day? Or, most likely, the recovery of Hezbollah, in order to coordinate an integrated attack of missiles from the north… and possibly tunnels dug towards the northern cities too…

In Israel, in such a situation, there could be tens of thousands of deaths, the complete breakdown of national systems, and the need to build protection at the neighborhood and street levels. This, on the presumption  that the Arabs of Judea & Samaria, and some Israeli Arabs, would not join in the fray. Of course, IAF counter-attacks would be futile when the enemy was well entrenched underground and laughing all the way to Jerusalem! The best case scenario - international forces would come in to disarm the country, take our nuclear capabilities, and the dream of the Jewish State would crumble for another thousand years.

We were saved thanks to two things they did not believe would happen, because we also did not believe it: we did not believe that the abduction of the three boys would unite the nation in such a way that it would lead to massive air assault, the return of political prisoners to jail, and preparation for a ground offensive into the wasps’ nest they had built. And we had not believed that the Iron Dome would work. In other words - all of us, those to the right and those to the left, had disdained the Islamic-psychopathic rhetoric calling for the conquest of Jerusalem, had ignored the determination of the psychopaths in Iraq and Syria, and did not want to comprehend that they had built a smart, strong and - in fact - quite an excellent military system with almost no flaws, which was capable of crushing the State of Israel. We had all seen how ten fighting men had exited a tunnel in just a few minutes. What would have prevented two hundred soldiers from exiting a tunnel on any given day, and many thousands altogether from all of the tunnels - including hundreds of commandos landing on the beaches at the same time, and missiles landing in the heart of the country? The truth is that if, now, there were not tens of thousands of Israeli troops in the south, nothing could have prevented the next step in realizing the Islamic dream - the destruction of the Zionist nation, and marching into Jerusalem.

Eyal, Naftali and Gilad - by dying, they saved our country, our freedom and our lives.
Danny Gold - who developed the Iron Dome – may you live a long and healthy life.

And to all of the soldiers – we love you and embrace you. Muster courage and be brave! All the Jewish people, the whole world - and most of all, many of the Arab countries and the sane Muslims - are praying for the craziness to be overcome. Yes, even Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen). Thanks to those poor boys, we caught them with their pants down, when the timing and the conditions don’t suit them. Our State has survived and now is the time to settle accounts with the murderers, to the very last man.

And a word to citizens on the home front – when you hear the sirens, go into the shelter or your safe room and smile! When you hear the “boom” – laugh!  These noises are the screams of frustration of the psychopaths in Gaza, whose ingenious plan to crush Israel was prematurely exposed. All of the damage that we are suffering now is nothing compared to what they had been planning.
(Source Photo: here with attribution to the IDF)

Israel’s Near Pearl Harbor

I wanted to share this analysis of the recent threat to Israel from Matti Follman. 


While perhaps not a true existential threat to the country, the death and destruction that Hamas could’ve inflicted via the terror tunnels and missiles at their own time and choosing could have been a Pearl Harbor or 9/11 event (or worse) for the State of Israel. 


Rather, than the United Nations Human Rights Council members and others decrying Israel’s self-defense while protecting civilians (in spite of Hamas blatantly using them as human shields), they should be applauding Israel’s true morality! 


But anti-semites and hate mongers, don’t savor Israel’s safety, security, or continuity as a Jewish and democratic state, they just seek an excuse, like Hitler, to attack whether by tunnels, missiles, boycotts, or resolutions to discriminate and obliterate those that they perceive as historically inconvenient and whom they simply want dead.

________________________________

Provided by Matti Follman

Analysis of the Situation: The State of Israel was facing an existential threat for the first time since the War of Independence. By their deaths, the three youths saved the State of Israel.

The dozens of tunnels that had been dug from Gaza to the southern cities of Israel were not tunnels for the purpose of terrorism – they were the infrastructure for the occupation of the Land of Israel. If we had not surprised ourselves with the severe response to the kidnap and murder of these boys (of blessed memory), Hamas, at a time that would suit them, would have sent thousands of soldiers through the tunnels to occupy cities and military posts; thousands of soldiers wearing the uniform of IDF soldiers, to kill, to conquer and to kidnap, and the IDF would have had no time to organize, and protect the nation. At the same time, Hamas would have fired off barrages of hundreds and thousands of missiles at the center of the country, paralyzing Israel’s organizational ability to defend itself against invasion. What were they waiting for? Maybe a rainy day? Or, most likely, the recovery of Hezbollah, in order to coordinate an integrated attack of missiles from the north… and possibly tunnels dug towards the northern cities too…

In Israel, in such a situation, there could be tens of thousands of deaths, the complete breakdown of national systems, and the need to build protection at the neighborhood and street levels. This, on the presumption  that the Arabs of Judea & Samaria, and some Israeli Arabs, would not join in the fray. Of course, IAF counter-attacks would be futile when the enemy was well entrenched underground and laughing all the way to Jerusalem! The best case scenario - international forces would come in to disarm the country, take our nuclear capabilities, and the dream of the Jewish State would crumble for another thousand years.

We were saved thanks to two things they did not believe would happen, because we also did not believe it: we did not believe that the abduction of the three boys would unite the nation in such a way that it would lead to massive air assault, the return of political prisoners to jail, and preparation for a ground offensive into the wasps’ nest they had built. And we had not believed that the Iron Dome would work. In other words - all of us, those to the right and those to the left, had disdained the Islamic-psychopathic rhetoric calling for the conquest of Jerusalem, had ignored the determination of the psychopaths in Iraq and Syria, and did not want to comprehend that they had built a smart, strong and - in fact - quite an excellent military system with almost no flaws, which was capable of crushing the State of Israel. We had all seen how ten fighting men had exited a tunnel in just a few minutes. What would have prevented two hundred soldiers from exiting a tunnel on any given day, and many thousands altogether from all of the tunnels - including hundreds of commandos landing on the beaches at the same time, and missiles landing in the heart of the country? The truth is that if, now, there were not tens of thousands of Israeli troops in the south, nothing could have prevented the next step in realizing the Islamic dream - the destruction of the Zionist nation, and marching into Jerusalem.

Eyal, Naftali and Gilad - by dying, they saved our country, our freedom and our lives.


Danny Gold - who developed the Iron Dome – may you live a long and healthy life.

And to all of the soldiers – we love you and embrace you. Muster courage and be brave! All the Jewish people, the whole world - and most of all, many of the Arab countries and the sane Muslims - are praying for the craziness to be overcome. Yes, even Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen). Thanks to those poor boys, we caught them with their pants down, when the timing and the conditions don’t suit them. Our State has survived and now is the time to settle accounts with the murderers, to the very last man.

And a word to citizens on the home front – when you hear the sirens, go into the shelter or your safe room and smile! When you hear the “boom” – laugh!  These noises are the screams of frustration of the psychopaths in Gaza, whose ingenious plan to crush Israel was prematurely exposed. All of the damage that we are suffering now is nothing compared to what they had been planning.


(Source Photo: here with attribution to the IDF)

23 7 / 2014

UN Inhuman Rights

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights calls for investigation of Israel for possible violations.
Hmmm, how does that make sense?
Israel abides by every ceasefire, sets up medical facilities for Gazans, provides advance warning of fighting to get innocents out of the way, and makes every attempt to withhold fire when civilians are at risk. 
This while Hamas and Islamic Jihad use babies as human shields and indiscriminately target vast population centers and critical infrastructure in Israel.

Incredibly, the UN Relief and Works Agency facilities in Gaza (e.g. schools) were being used to hide missiles for use against Israel and upon discovery, the UNRWA returned these to terrorists to continue to harm civilians. 
Unfortunately, in these cases, the UN is not protecting human rights, but rather is enabling the “rights” of dangerous terrorists to act grossly inhuman and immoral.  
Where politics trumps right and wrong…evil is permitted to flourish and good is diminished in the world. 

Only 13 years since the 9/11 attack by Islamic terorrists that killed almost 3,000 innocent civilans here…is the world again getting amnesia?
(Source Photo: here from The Yeshiva World)

UN Inhuman Rights

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights calls for investigation of Israel for possible violations.


Hmmm, how does that make sense?


Israel abides by every ceasefire, sets up medical facilities for Gazans, provides advance warning of fighting to get innocents out of the way, and makes every attempt to withhold fire when civilians are at risk. 


This while Hamas and Islamic Jihad use babies as human shields and indiscriminately target vast population centers and critical infrastructure in Israel.

Incredibly, the UN Relief and Works Agency facilities in Gaza (e.g. schools) were being used to hide missiles for use against Israel and upon discovery, the UNRWA returned these to terrorists to continue to harm civilians. 


Unfortunately, in these cases, the UN is not protecting human rights, but rather is enabling the “rights” of dangerous terrorists to act grossly inhuman and immoral.  


Where politics trumps right and wrong…evil is permitted to flourish and good is diminished in the world. 

Only 13 years since the 9/11 attack by Islamic terorrists that killed almost 3,000 innocent civilans here…is the world again getting amnesia?


(Source Photo: here from The Yeshiva World)

22 7 / 2014

Time To Get Up

This person is sitting on a stool and waiting for the Metro.
The quiet and complacency of this person just sitting there was a stark contrast to the big train coming down the tracks.
I wondered if this is not a sign of our times where the world is moving large and fast in turmoil:
- With big airliners with hundreds of passengers being shot of the sky
- Thouands of rockets and dozens of murder tunnels aimed at cities full of civilians by terrorists hiding in hospitals, mosques, and playgrounds, 
- Six year old girls raped by their roller-skating instructors
- Women being stoned to death for alleged adultery. 
…but where we are sitting here quietly and contemplatively as the big train rolls over any vistages of moral decency left in humankind.
(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Time To Get Up

This person is sitting on a stool and waiting for the Metro.


The quiet and complacency of this person just sitting there was a stark contrast to the big train coming down the tracks.


I wondered if this is not a sign of our times where the world is moving large and fast in turmoil:


- With big airliners with hundreds of passengers being shot of the sky

- Thouands of rockets and dozens of murder tunnels aimed at cities full of civilians by terrorists hiding in hospitals, mosques, and playgrounds

Six year old girls raped by their roller-skating instructors

Women being stoned to death for alleged adultery. 


…but where we are sitting here quietly and contemplatively as the big train rolls over any vistages of moral decency left in humankind.


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

21 7 / 2014

Shout It From The Rooftops

Awesome picture of the sacred Jewish prayer:
"Hear, O’ Israel, The L-rd is our G-d, The L-rd is One."
In lights on Tel Aviv Mall in Israel. 
(One more from my Cousin Betty—thank you!)

Shout It From The Rooftops

Awesome picture of the sacred Jewish prayer:


"Hear, O’ Israel, The L-rd is our G-d, The L-rd is One."


In lights on Tel Aviv Mall in Israel. 


(One more from my Cousin Betty—thank you!)

20 7 / 2014

G-d Changes Path Of Rockets

From the Jewish Telegraph.
I have to say this one terrorist was pretty smart. 
Despite his blind hatred of Jews and desire to obliterate Israel, at least he knows why the Hamas and Islamic Jihad rockets are not hitting their targets.
"Their G-d changes the path of our rockets in mid-air."
Yes, technology may help intercept missiles heading for the populated cities.
But the chief engineer is none other than G-d almighty, the ultimate protector of the Children of Israel. 
Next up after Iron Dome is Iron Beam (by the same G-d inventor).
(Thank you Betty Monoker for sharing this with me.)

G-d Changes Path Of Rockets

From the Jewish Telegraph.


I have to say this one terrorist was pretty smart. 


Despite his blind hatred of Jews and desire to obliterate Israel, at least he knows why the Hamas and Islamic Jihad rockets are not hitting their targets.


"Their G-d changes the path of our rockets in mid-air."


Yes, technology may help intercept missiles heading for the populated cities.


But the chief engineer is none other than G-d almighty, the ultimate protector of the Children of Israel. 


Next up after Iron Dome is Iron Beam (by the same G-d inventor).


(Thank you Betty Monoker for sharing this with me.)

20 7 / 2014

Better Early Than Never

So I learned a new word/concept today…PREcrastination (New York Times)
It’s when you do things early!
The better known opposite word is PROcrastintion.


That’s when you put things off or delay…often until the very last minute.
We know why people procrastinate—they don’t want or like to do something, have more important things to do, may be overwhelmed with too many taskers, or perhaps they are just plain lazy. 
But why do people precrastinate?
Well, it’s sort of the inverse of the above—they may like doing it, it may be a priority, or they just may want to get “ahead of the curve” on all the things they have on their to-dos, or they may be a Type A personality and don’t rest until they’ve “got a handle on things.”
Getting things done at the last minute (procrastination), can push off stress until later—perhaps a better time to deal with it, but getting it done early (precrastination), can help eliminate stress by just getting it over with. 
Some of us who get things done right away, may be doing extra work, because at times, the necessity of the moment is “overcome by events” (OBE) later on or we may start something before we even have all the directions or information and do it wrong altogether. 
While others who dilly-dally, may find that they waited too long to get the job done or have other things going on later that precludes them from meeting the timeline—as they say, “if you fail to plan, plan to fail!”
Is there a right or wrong in terms of Pre/Procrastination?
I want to tell you now, but I think I’ll wait until later. ;-)
(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Better Early Than Never

So I learned a new word/concept today…PREcrastination (New York Times)


It’s when you do things early!


The better known opposite word is PROcrastintion.

That’s when you put things off or delay…often until the very last minute.


We know why people procrastinate—they don’t want or like to do something, have more important things to do, may be overwhelmed with too many taskers, or perhaps they are just plain lazy. 


But why do people precrastinate?


Well, it’s sort of the inverse of the above—they may like doing it, it may be a priority, or they just may want to get “ahead of the curve” on all the things they have on their to-dos, or they may be a Type A personality and don’t rest until they’ve “got a handle on things.”


Getting things done at the last minute (procrastination), can push off stress until later—perhaps a better time to deal with it, but getting it done early (precrastination), can help eliminate stress by just getting it over with. 


Some of us who get things done right away, may be doing extra work, because at times, the necessity of the moment is “overcome by events” (OBE) later on or we may start something before we even have all the directions or information and do it wrong altogether. 


While others who dilly-dally, may find that they waited too long to get the job done or have other things going on later that precludes them from meeting the timeline—as they say, “if you fail to plan, plan to fail!”


Is there a right or wrong in terms of Pre/Procrastination?


I want to tell you now, but I think I’ll wait until later. ;-)


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

19 7 / 2014

Risk In The Eye Of The Beholder

Should I do it or is it too risky?
That’s a question we ask ourselves many times a day.
- Open our mouths at work or keep a lid on it.
- Run to catch that train or bus or slow down and go more carefully.
- Eat that greasy burger and fries or opt for a salad and smoothie.
- Invest in that highflier stock or put your money in the “G” fund.
The Wall Street Journal presents risk management as both quantifiable and qualitative. 
For example, a MicroMort (1 MM, and sounds like micro fart) is “equal to one-in-a million chance of death.”
An average American has a 1.3MMs chance of a “sudden, violent end” on any given day. 
However, climb to the base camp at Mount Everest (at 29K feet), that’s over 12,000 MM, base jump at only 430 MMs per jump, parachute 7 MM, and go on a roller coaster at only .0015 MM. 
So there you have it—statistics tell the risk story!
But not so fast, our risk calculations also take into account our qualitative values. For example, we tend to lower the risk in our minds of postpartum depression (10-15% or higher) because we value having a baby. 
Similarly, we tend to think driving (1 MM per 240 miles) is safer than flying (1 MM per 7,500 miles) because we believe we are in control of the automobile, as opposed to a passenger jet flown by a couple of pilots. 
The result, “Scariness of an activity isn’t necessarily proportionate to its risk.”
That means that you can easily make a mistake and underestimate risk, because of your personality or cultural and social biases. 
Rock climb at your own risk…BUT do you really understand what that risk even is or are you driven to do something overly dangerous and maybe stupid. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Risk In The Eye Of The Beholder

Should I do it or is it too risky?


That’s a question we ask ourselves many times a day.


- Open our mouths at work or keep a lid on it.


- Run to catch that train or bus or slow down and go more carefully.


- Eat that greasy burger and fries or opt for a salad and smoothie.


- Invest in that highflier stock or put your money in the “G” fund.


The Wall Street Journal presents risk management as both quantifiable and qualitative. 


For example, a MicroMort (1 MM, and sounds like micro fart) is “equal to one-in-a million chance of death.”


An average American has a 1.3MMs chance of a “sudden, violent end” on any given day. 


However, climb to the base camp at Mount Everest (at 29K feet), that’s over 12,000 MM, base jump at only 430 MMs per jump, parachute 7 MM, and go on a roller coaster at only .0015 MM. 


So there you have it—statistics tell the risk story!


But not so fast, our risk calculations also take into account our qualitative values. For example, we tend to lower the risk in our minds of postpartum depression (10-15% or higher) because we value having a baby. 


Similarly, we tend to think driving (1 MM per 240 miles) is safer than flying (1 MM per 7,500 miles) because we believe we are in control of the automobile, as opposed to a passenger jet flown by a couple of pilots. 


The result, “Scariness of an activity isn’t necessarily proportionate to its risk.”


That means that you can easily make a mistake and underestimate risk, because of your personality or cultural and social biases. 


Rock climb at your own risk…BUT do you really understand what that risk even is or are you driven to do something overly dangerous and maybe stupid. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

18 7 / 2014

Movement For Human Rights

IF


1) you are a dissident living in a country that suppresses basic human rights


OR


2) you are a person seeking to help others suffering under authoritarian regimes


THEN


consider signing up at Movements.org, an organization that connects people in need of human rights help with those wanting to provide assistance. 


After you create a profile, which is given a star rating depending on a vetting process, you can post requests for help or offers of services to help others. 


Available services for “advice, contacts, training, and services,” include those from:


- Lawyers

- Journalists

- Technologists

- Translators

- Policy Makers


The great Soviet Jewish dissident, Natan Sharansky, who spent 10 years imprisoned in a tortuous gulag, wrote in the Wall Street Journal that Movement.org is a “transformative approach to an old problem” for collecting and trying to get information on human-rights abuses to reach the free world and to seek justice and freedom. 


While dictators looks to suppress freedom of speech and information flow, social media is combating it, and Movements was provided a grant from Google, I believe, to do just that. ;-)

17 7 / 2014

Rally For Israel For Self-Defense

This video is from the Rally For Israel for their Self-Defense in Washington, D.C. today at lunchtime. 


Israel is still trying for a cease-fire, but continues to be under a barrage of missiles from Gaza. 


Thanks to G-d, as well as the support of the United States, the Iron Dome Missile Interceptor is protecting the people of Israel from more than 1,300 indiscriminate missile attacks by terrorists—this is truly miraculous!


Even today, the United Nations Reliefs and Works Agency (UNRWA) in Gaza found 20 missiles hidden by Hamas in one of the U.N.’s schools in Gaza—sort of leaves you scratching your head as to what type of schooling these children are unfortunately getting?


The multiple ceasefires by Israel, warning residents before taking military action, and even fixing the electricity to Gaza that Hamas knocked out with a missile they were aiming at Israel—is a wonderful testament to the humanity of the IDF. 


Interestingly enough, at the rally, there were a handful of antagonizers with megaphones behind the stage and podium trying to interrupt the lineup of ambassadors, congressmen/women, and other speakers for Israel’s right to self-defense—sort of telling that they wouldn’t even respect other people’s right to assemble and speak. 


The trillion dollar questions is how you get to peace and security under these circumstances?


(Source Video: Andy Blumenthal)

17 7 / 2014

Our Lovely Metro System

Ok, so grossed out the last few days on the Washington, D.C. Metro system. 
This (see above) is what I was sitting next to this morning on the train. 
And last night was even worse, I was about to sit on one of the seats, and this nice man stopped me. 
Someone had actually spit on the seat—and just left it there for another unknowing person to sit in. 
Thankfully, I was saved this indignity, and ended up sitting somewhere else.
But later on the train, I saw someone jump up and start cursing—apparently, he had sat right in it. 
I saw another guy offer him a handkerchief, which was quite a nice gesture, considering. 
At the same time, I saw a lady on the train wearing one of those surgical masks that cover your mouth and nose—maybe not the worst idea under these ill conditions. ;-)
(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Our Lovely Metro System

Ok, so grossed out the last few days on the Washington, D.C. Metro system. 


This (see above) is what I was sitting next to this morning on the train. 


And last night was even worse, I was about to sit on one of the seats, and this nice man stopped me. 


Someone had actually spit on the seat—and just left it there for another unknowing person to sit in. 


Thankfully, I was saved this indignity, and ended up sitting somewhere else.


But later on the train, I saw someone jump up and start cursing—apparently, he had sat right in it. 


I saw another guy offer him a handkerchief, which was quite a nice gesture, considering. 


At the same time, I saw a lady on the train wearing one of those surgical masks that cover your mouth and nose—maybe not the worst idea under these ill conditions. ;-)


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

16 7 / 2014

Garbage In, Repair The World Out

I’m sure you know the saying, “Garbage In, Garbage out”—in other words what you put into something is what you get out.
In this case, I took a photo of a garbage truck—of all things—that had prominently plastered on its side, “Tikkun Olam - Repair the World.”
That is quite a positive message to put on a garbage truck!
Maybe that is our challenge in life, to make good things happen from the garbage that life often throws our way. 
Make something sweet like lemonade out of something sour like lemons.
This is not easy without some sugar, but in life, we need G-d to supply the raw ingredients and we add the elbow grease. ;-)
(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Garbage In, Repair The World Out

I’m sure you know the saying, “Garbage In, Garbage out”—in other words what you put into something is what you get out.


In this case, I took a photo of a garbage truck—of all things—that had prominently plastered on its side, “Tikkun Olam - Repair the World.”


That is quite a positive message to put on a garbage truck!


Maybe that is our challenge in life, to make good things happen from the garbage that life often throws our way. 


Make something sweet like lemonade out of something sour like lemons.


This is not easy without some sugar, but in life, we need G-d to supply the raw ingredients and we add the elbow grease. ;-)


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

15 7 / 2014

Fighting With A Fear OF G-d

Amazing video from Al Jazeera Arabic that praises the Israeli and French militaries for respecting and protecting civilians.


This, in contrast—as Al Jazeera reports—to Hezbollah, Syria, and others extremist militants that deliberately target civilians and use them as human shields. 


We’ve heard in recent days again, how the IDF continues to go to great lengths to avoid hitting mosques, hospitals, and even trying to warn residents before an attack to save their lives. 


While mistakes happen in fighting and war, I must say how proud I am of the IDF for their efforts to act humanely under inhumane circumstances, while attacks are underway across the nation, and to always consider the moral implications of what they do. 


In the Wall Street Journal today, Bret Stephens states, that the weakness of the Israel is only through moral defeat, because the Jewish people “favors moral self-regard over normal self interest.”


Similarly, Woody Allen’s frequent humorous portrayal in the movies of Jewish introspection is funny, because it resonates so true for a people always trying to do and make right. 


Again today, we saw that Israel, not wanting to fight unless absolutely necessary, respected the ceasefire with Gaza, while Hamas outright rejected it and continued shooting off volleys of missiles indiscriminantly into Israel.


As Hamas has themselves stated about their waves of suicide bombers, rocket launches at population centers and critical infrastructure, and other dirty tactics, “We love death more than you love life.”


The IDF is an inspiring example of fighting with ethics, dignity, and ultimately a fear of G-d more than any enemy could evoke. 

13 7 / 2014

Starbucks - BYOF

Okay, this was the second week in a row at Starbucks that I’ve seen people BYOF.
BYOF = Bring Your Own Food.
This gentleman relaxing on a Sunday has brought his ziplock bag and with some nice looking pound cake at that.
Message to Starbucks…either your food is really bad, overpriced, or perhaps a little of both. 
You pride yourself on your coffee and everyone pays a premium for it, but you are slacking on the food side of the coffeehouse. 
Seems like a big opportunity—fix your food (finally!) and make gazillions of dollars more off the addicted masses that flock to your coffee havens. 
My consulting fee…we can discuss. ;-)
(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Starbucks - BYOF

Okay, this was the second week in a row at Starbucks that I’ve seen people BYOF.


BYOF = Bring Your Own Food.


This gentleman relaxing on a Sunday has brought his ziplock bag and with some nice looking pound cake at that.


Message to Starbucks…either your food is really bad, overpriced, or perhaps a little of both. 


You pride yourself on your coffee and everyone pays a premium for it, but you are slacking on the food side of the coffeehouse. 


Seems like a big opportunity—fix your food (finally!) and make gazillions of dollars more off the addicted masses that flock to your coffee havens. 


My consulting fee…we can discuss. ;-)


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)