The Total CIO - Andy Blumenthal

Apr 22

Riding The T-Rex

Rebecca got me on another mini-adventure today.
The T-Rex scooter had only 3 wheels, but packed quite a punch. 
We navigated Las Olas and the Fort Lauderdale Beach pretty good in this thing. 
So low to the ground, my hand could touch it, and no windshield so everything sort of just flies right through. 
It was only an hour, but as we in this touristy-way waved at the passerbys and speed around town next to the other hulking vehicles, weaving and beeping on this crazy horn, it was a fun time and a good memory. ;-)
(Source Photo: Dannielle Blumenthal)

Riding The T-Rex

Rebecca got me on another mini-adventure today.


The T-Rex scooter had only 3 wheels, but packed quite a punch. 


We navigated Las Olas and the Fort Lauderdale Beach pretty good in this thing. 


So low to the ground, my hand could touch it, and no windshield so everything sort of just flies right through. 


It was only an hour, but as we in this touristy-way waved at the passerbys and speed around town next to the other hulking vehicles, weaving and beeping on this crazy horn, it was a fun time and a good memory. ;-)


(Source Photo: Dannielle Blumenthal)

Bird Tries Again And Again

My daughter, Rebecca and I watched an amazing sight yesterday.
We sat on the beach before sunset to enjoy the ocean and sand without the crowds. 
It wasn’t cold, but the wind was blowing somewhat strong toward the south.
There were four kite surfers enjoying the gusts and gliding over the water at enormous speeds, and curving this way and that. 
But this isn’t what really got our attention.
Instead, it was this one little white bird…I don’t know specifically the type, but if I had to guess I’d say it was a dove. 
The dove was flying not with the wind southernly, but against it to the north. 
In the heavy wind, it would sort of hold it’s position for a little, and then try with all it’s might to fly north.
But the wind was too strong, and it kept tiring and then literally nosediving—head first, straight down like off a cliff—into the water, bam!
We watched this and thought at first what is with this crazy bird—and laughed.
But over and over again this played out—I think we watched this for nearly an hour!
After each attempt, the bird would pick itself out of the ocean water again, fly back south a little seemingly to get some momentum—only to try again and end up on it’s face in the water. 
Reflecting on this, the bird tried again and again to make headway, no matter how many times it fell flat on it’s face.
I thought this is a good lesson in life—not to give up even when things seems difficult. 
If this little bird could do it—so could we—and eventually succeed at whatever we set our minds to. 
If the white little bird really was a dove—the symbol for peace—then what better story to keep trying until you succeed and make flight even against the strong wind. ;-)
(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Bird Tries Again And Again

My daughter, Rebecca and I watched an amazing sight yesterday.


We sat on the beach before sunset to enjoy the ocean and sand without the crowds. 


It wasn’t cold, but the wind was blowing somewhat strong toward the south.


There were four kite surfers enjoying the gusts and gliding over the water at enormous speeds, and curving this way and that. 


But this isn’t what really got our attention.


Instead, it was this one little white bird…I don’t know specifically the type, but if I had to guess I’d say it was a dove. 


The dove was flying not with the wind southernly, but against it to the north. 


In the heavy wind, it would sort of hold it’s position for a little, and then try with all it’s might to fly north.


But the wind was too strong, and it kept tiring and then literally nosediving—head first, straight down like off a cliff—into the water, bam!


We watched this and thought at first what is with this crazy bird—and laughed.


But over and over again this played out—I think we watched this for nearly an hour!


After each attempt, the bird would pick itself out of the ocean water again, fly back south a little seemingly to get some momentum—only to try again and end up on it’s face in the water. 


Reflecting on this, the bird tried again and again to make headway, no matter how many times it fell flat on it’s face.


I thought this is a good lesson in life—not to give up even when things seems difficult. 


If this little bird could do it—so could we—and eventually succeed at whatever we set our minds to. 


If the white little bird really was a dove—the symbol for peace—then what better story to keep trying until you succeed and make flight even against the strong wind. ;-)


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Apr 21

[video]

Disease Of The Ordinary

Wow, I love these glasses—red, big, and with wings!
I asked the store owner about them, and he said he gets these mostly for (window) display purposes.
But one lady actually bought a pair similar to this for a big event she was going to. 
I think these would certainly make a statement (however crazy) when someone walks into the room wearing these. 
Maybe that’s the point for many people—to stand out!
People want to be noticed, special, and be thought of as something or as somebodies. 
Being 1 of 7 billion people is not very satisfying—so how do we differentiate ourselves?
The fancy house and cars we have
The clothing and accessories we wear and carry
The trophy wife or husband that hangs on us
Our own physical good looks, fitness, and skills
The prestigious university we went to and the degrees we possess
Climbing the career ladder and our titles and offices
Our pedigree from kings, clergy, hollywood, rich, or otherwise famous or successful people
The children (and grandchildren) that we rear to be smart, successful, well-integrated, etc.?
How religious we are, how much charity we give, the kindness we show others?

This is something that we all struggle with as human beings—what is a life of purpose, meaning and how do we know that we’ve achieved it?  
I think the problem for many is that we measure ourselves by what we have and not who we are. Perhaps, this is a clear mistaken case of quantity over quality.  
Down in Florida, I see so many “haves” and “have nots”—but it’s not enough for the haves to have, but if they aren’t showing it off, getting stares, having people talk about them, then they seem to feel uncomfortably ordinary. 
What is this disease of the ordinary that people must ever run to escape from—and even with the reddest, wildest, wing glasses or whatever—will they ever feel truly happy and satisfied inside?
(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Disease Of The Ordinary

Wow, I love these glasses—red, big, and with wings!


I asked the store owner about them, and he said he gets these mostly for (window) display purposes.


But one lady actually bought a pair similar to this for a big event she was going to. 


I think these would certainly make a statement (however crazy) when someone walks into the room wearing these. 


Maybe that’s the point for many people—to stand out!


People want to be noticed, special, and be thought of as something or as somebodies. 


Being 1 of 7 billion people is not very satisfying—so how do we differentiate ourselves?

This is something that we all struggle with as human beings—what is a life of purpose, meaning and how do we know that we’ve achieved it?  


I think the problem for many is that we measure ourselves by what we have and not who we are. Perhaps, this is a clear mistaken case of quantity over quality.  


Down in Florida, I see so many “haves” and “have nots”—but it’s not enough for the haves to have, but if they aren’t showing it off, getting stares, having people talk about them, then they seem to feel uncomfortably ordinary. 


What is this disease of the ordinary that people must ever run to escape from—and even with the reddest, wildest, wing glasses or whatever—will they ever feel truly happy and satisfied inside?


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Apr 20

[video]

Swim ~ Splash ~ Swim

At the pool this morning, the fresh clean water was pouring in.
Swimming in the hot sun, I headed straight for the cool splash.
The water was frothing white against the blue background.
As it hit the pool, it created this amazing bubbling beneath the surface.
I swam under it a number of times and came up through the bubbling fresh water. 
Sort of felt like I was swimming in a waterfall in the Amazon or something exotic like that. 
Hey, I can imagine…but it really was amazing with the water, the sun, the air—felt so alive!
I am thankful to G-d for allowing me this wonderful moment today to feel his beauty in the world. 
(Source Photo: Dannielle Blumenthal)

Swim ~ Splash ~ Swim

At the pool this morning, the fresh clean water was pouring in.


Swimming in the hot sun, I headed straight for the cool splash.


The water was frothing white against the blue background.


As it hit the pool, it created this amazing bubbling beneath the surface.


I swam under it a number of times and came up through the bubbling fresh water. 


Sort of felt like I was swimming in a waterfall in the Amazon or something exotic like that. 


Hey, I can imagine…but it really was amazing with the water, the sun, the air—felt so alive!


I am thankful to G-d for allowing me this wonderful moment today to feel his beauty in the world. 


(Source Photo: Dannielle Blumenthal)

Apr 19

[video]

Hooters’ Training

I thought this was a funny-sad photo.
This dad took his two kids (twins?) out to eat. 
The eatery is Hooters. 
The young, attractive, scantily clad waitresses in the orange shorts were serving them. 
It may be fine for the adult, but it didn’t seem so okay for the little kids. 
Not that I’m so Mr. Perfect, but  couldn’t help reflect that what we teach our children is important. 
This wasn’t Ronald McDonald’s, Subway, or Chipotle.
What was the lessons for these kids?
I remember when I would argue with my dad (still to this day) about religion and seeing seemingly “religious” people do things wrong (sometimes terribly wrong), and he would say to me, “You be the example!”
Maybe that’s sort of the point—is that the way we live is the lessons we showcase to others.
Each of us has the opportunity to lead by example…that’s what leadership fundamentally is.
(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Hooters’ Training

I thought this was a funny-sad photo.


This dad took his two kids (twins?) out to eat. 


The eatery is Hooters. 


The young, attractive, scantily clad waitresses in the orange shorts were serving them. 


It may be fine for the adult, but it didn’t seem so okay for the little kids. 


Not that I’m so Mr. Perfect, but  couldn’t help reflect that what we teach our children is important. 


This wasn’t Ronald McDonald’s, Subway, or Chipotle.


What was the lessons for these kids?


I remember when I would argue with my dad (still to this day) about religion and seeing seemingly “religious” people do things wrong (sometimes terribly wrong), and he would say to me, “You be the example!”


Maybe that’s sort of the point—is that the way we live is the lessons we showcase to others.


Each of us has the opportunity to lead by example…that’s what leadership fundamentally is.


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Apr 18

Jewish Is Super

So with the shooting at the Jewish Community Center in Oakland Park, Kansas this week right before Passover, and the near simultaneous “grotesque” targeting of Jews by pro-Russian forces in eastern Ukraine, we are reminded that while Jews are no longer slaves in Egypt (thank G-d), we are still unfortunately targeted by evil people around the world. 
In the Kansas City incident, I read how the white supremacist shooter went right up to a lady visiting her mother at the old-age home and asked her “Are you Jewish?” And when she replied in the affirmative (even though she was not), he shoot her dead on the spot. 
It turns out this lady was an occupational therapist that helped blind children…what kind of monster would just murder someone (anyone) like this? 
Similarly in eastern Ukraine, leaflets are being handed out demanding that Jews register in the government office, pay special taxes, and declare their property or face deportation. Here too, we witness the devilish markings of some that are repetitive of their deplorable past as Nazi collaborators, concentration camp guards, and murders.  
I read yesterday, that not only Jews, but Christians are being targeted in the Middle East with churches burned, those of faith being driven from their homes and ruthlessly murdered, except in Israel where the Christian population is actually increasing and thriving. 
While Superman may not be Jewish (I know of no Jews on planet Krypton), being Jewish is super—and for that matter being any person of faith and dignity is super!  Hate mongers and murders of today, like the evil oppressors of yesteryear—know that truth and justice and the 10 plagues of Egypt are just a {pow!} and {bam!} away—believe it! ;-)
(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Jewish Is Super

So with the shooting at the Jewish Community Center in Oakland Park, Kansas this week right before Passover, and the near simultaneous “grotesque” targeting of Jews by pro-Russian forces in eastern Ukraine, we are reminded that while Jews are no longer slaves in Egypt (thank G-d), we are still unfortunately targeted by evil people around the world. 


In the Kansas City incident, I read how the white supremacist shooter went right up to a lady visiting her mother at the old-age home and asked her “Are you Jewish?” And when she replied in the affirmative (even though she was not), he shoot her dead on the spot. 


It turns out this lady was an occupational therapist that helped blind children…what kind of monster would just murder someone (anyone) like this? 


Similarly in eastern Ukraine, leaflets are being handed out demanding that Jews register in the government office, pay special taxes, and declare their property or face deportation. Here too, we witness the devilish markings of some that are repetitive of their deplorable past as Nazi collaborators, concentration camp guards, and murders.  


I read yesterday, that not only Jews, but Christians are being targeted in the Middle East with churches burned, those of faith being driven from their homes and ruthlessly murdered, except in Israel where the Christian population is actually increasing and thriving. 


While Superman may not be Jewish (I know of no Jews on planet Krypton), being Jewish is super—and for that matter being any person of faith and dignity is super!  Hate mongers and murders of today, like the evil oppressors of yesteryear—know that truth and justice and the 10 plagues of Egypt are just a {pow!} and {bam!} away—believe it! ;-)


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Apr 17

You’re Not All That

So they say that all sin is rooted in arrogance. 
We get too big for our britches and think we can do whatever we want including stepping on others and defying our maker. 
An interesting article in Harvard Business Review reminds us to beware of narcissism and hubris. 
Narcissism is a character disorder where because of feelings of inadequancy from childhood, people have to self-promote themselves every which way toSunday—they are “insufferably self-centered.”
Hubris is a reactive disorder where due to past success and accolades from others, we become overconfidant, until the luck changes “toppling from their pedestals” and shrinking their ego back down to size.”
I like the reminders from HBR cautioning about these:
- “Have more than thou showest; speak less than thou knowest.” - Shakespear
- “Humble pie should be the only dessert served.”
It’s one thing to have decent self-esteem anchored in your knowing right from wrong and acting accordingly, and it’s another to think and act like you have all the answers—none of us do. 
If your showing it off, it’s likely a turn off. ;-)
(Source Photo: here with attribution to Jampa)

You’re Not All That

So they say that all sin is rooted in arrogance. 


We get too big for our britches and think we can do whatever we want including stepping on others and defying our maker. 


An interesting article in Harvard Business Review reminds us to beware of narcissism and hubris. 


Narcissism is a character disorder where because of feelings of inadequancy from childhood, people have to self-promote themselves every which way toSunday—they are “insufferably self-centered.”


Hubris is a reactive disorder where due to past success and accolades from others, we become overconfidant, until the luck changes “toppling from their pedestals” and shrinking their ego back down to size.”


I like the reminders from HBR cautioning about these:


- “Have more than thou showest; speak less than thou knowest.” - Shakespear


- “Humble pie should be the only dessert served.”


It’s one thing to have decent self-esteem anchored in your knowing right from wrong and acting accordingly, and it’s another to think and act like you have all the answers—none of us do. 


If your showing it off, it’s likely a turn off. ;-)


(Source Photo: here with attribution to Jampa)

Apr 15

[video]

Apr 14

NYC at Passover

I love this picture of NYC. 
My daughter, Michelle, took this photo while visiting there for Passover. 
The skyscrapers, taxis, people — all the hustle and bustle. 
New York, NY - it’s a helluva town. ;-)
(Source Photo: Michelle Blumenthal)

NYC at Passover

I love this picture of NYC. 


My daughter, Michelle, took this photo while visiting there for Passover. 


The skyscrapers, taxis, people — all the hustle and bustle. 


New York, NY - it’s a helluva town. ;-)


(Source Photo: Michelle Blumenthal)

How Do You Kill A Pothole?

With a pothole killer, of course. 

This is a funny truck roaming around Washington, D.C. 
Even the phone number tells the story…dial 1-877-Fix Road. 
All American too - red, white, and blue with the stars and stripes.
Bang, Bang. Pothole Dead. ;-)
(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

How Do You Kill A Pothole?

With a pothole killer, of course. 

This is a funny truck roaming around Washington, D.C. 


Even the phone number tells the story…dial 1-877-Fix Road. 


All American too - red, white, and blue with the stars and stripes.


Bang, Bang. Pothole Dead. ;-)


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Apr 12

Pain Pain Go Away

Pain Pain Go Away, Don’t Come Back Another Day.
I saw this ad about controlling back pain. 
The wincing face on the back was very effective. 
Given that back pain is  so common, I am sure many people can empathize with this.
For almost a year, I have been suffering with some arthritic pain although not back-related that has been horrible.
I never realized what this even was!
I’m at the point, where I feel surgery, with G-d’s help, is the only answer. 
Of course, I am not keen to have surgery and keep thinking how I may be able to put it off. 
And then the inflammation flare-up and pain comes back and I rethink this again that I have to go forward and just take care of this. 
I feel that I am too young for these problems, but life does not ask when or what.
Certainly, I am thankful it is nothing worse—and there are so many things worse.
And I appreciate that there are modern treatments these days that probably didn’t really exist just 20-years ago. 
Not sure exactly, what people did “in the olden days” when they had these things and just had to live (or die) with them. 
I just want to be pain free and completely healthy again, so I can fully enjoy all the things that I always did. 
Please G-d. 
(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Pain Pain Go Away

Pain Pain Go Away, Don’t Come Back Another Day.


I saw this ad about controlling back pain. 


The wincing face on the back was very effective. 


Given that back pain is  so common, I am sure many people can empathize with this.


For almost a year, I have been suffering with some arthritic pain although not back-related that has been horrible.


I never realized what this even was!


I’m at the point, where I feel surgery, with G-d’s help, is the only answer. 


Of course, I am not keen to have surgery and keep thinking how I may be able to put it off. 


And then the inflammation flare-up and pain comes back and I rethink this again that I have to go forward and just take care of this. 


I feel that I am too young for these problems, but life does not ask when or what.


Certainly, I am thankful it is nothing worse—and there are so many things worse.


And I appreciate that there are modern treatments these days that probably didn’t really exist just 20-years ago. 


Not sure exactly, what people did “in the olden days” when they had these things and just had to live (or die) with them. 


I just want to be pain free and completely healthy again, so I can fully enjoy all the things that I always did. 


Please G-d. 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Apr 11

We’re Not Deadbeats

Good book review in the Wall Street Journal on America’s Fiscal Constitution by Bill White.
The main idea is that we have gone from a nation where fiscal discipline and paying off ones debts was a valued tradition to one now where excess rules and profligate borrowing runs through our veins. 
Both personal and national debt were viewed as a means of last resort and not something to be proud of, but rather as something done out of necessity to get through tough times. 
On a personal level, we only borrowed what we needed and we payed it back on time or even early.  Poverty was just one step away or even akin to servitude.  
Similarly, on a national level, public debt was viewed as a safety net to preserve the union (i.e. war), territorial integrity (e.g. Louisiana Purchase), or in a severe recession (i.e. to maintain the government’s ability to spend in the short term). 
The best option was seen as “pay as you go,” with the alternative, under limited circumstances, to “pay as soon as you can.”
However, the value placed on self and national discipline and sufficiency was replaced with elements of entitlement, greed, and waste. 
The problem is once you have inequity in the system, then people feel the unfairness of it all, and give up caring about the system itself and just want to get what they see as their fair share. 
Some politicians cater to these feelings of relative deprivation and are no longer viewed positively for fiscal constraint and ensuring our economic security, but rather “politicians gain favor by spending money without having to raise unpopular taxes.”
In essence, the government can give people more now, and they don’t have to pay for it until future generations—hence the ability to buy citizen’s political consent and even win elections by increasing the treasure chest even temporarily. 
No, this is not China raising the fortunes of the middle class to keep the Communist Party in power, but rather this is us in the U.S. of A racking up tens of trillions of dollars in debt to keep people happy now (forget the future generations, let them fend for themselves). 
Shake hands, kiss babies, and hand out dollar bills—give me, give me give me! 
What has happened to us fighting hard and driving into the future on our own feet—together in strength and not as a debtor nation getting handouts from anyone that will lend us. 
Soon, the Fed will be raising interest rates, and with a greater and greater national deficit to pay on, interest payments have the real potential to spiral out of control and leave our economy in shambles. 
Like a credit card with interest payments that eclipse the principle borrowed, soon you are in over your head and there is nowhere to go but Chapter 11. 
We’re not an inherently debtor nation, and we sure don’t want to be a deadbeat nation—isn’t it better to have what we really have financially and be who we really are and value?   
Let’s leave our children and grandchildren economic and national security and not a towering pile of shameless debt, from mom and dad with love.
(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

We’re Not Deadbeats

Good book review in the Wall Street Journal on America’s Fiscal Constitution by Bill White.


The main idea is that we have gone from a nation where fiscal discipline and paying off ones debts was a valued tradition to one now where excess rules and profligate borrowing runs through our veins. 


Both personal and national debt were viewed as a means of last resort and not something to be proud of, but rather as something done out of necessity to get through tough times. 


On a personal level, we only borrowed what we needed and we payed it back on time or even early.  Poverty was just one step away or even akin to servitude.  


Similarly, on a national level, public debt was viewed as a safety net to preserve the union (i.e. war), territorial integrity (e.g. Louisiana Purchase), or in a severe recession (i.e. to maintain the government’s ability to spend in the short term). 


The best option was seen as “pay as you go,” with the alternative, under limited circumstances, to “pay as soon as you can.”


However, the value placed on self and national discipline and sufficiency was replaced with elements of entitlement, greed, and waste. 


The problem is once you have inequity in the system, then people feel the unfairness of it all, and give up caring about the system itself and just want to get what they see as their fair share. 


Some politicians cater to these feelings of relative deprivation and are no longer viewed positively for fiscal constraint and ensuring our economic security, but rather “politicians gain favor by spending money without having to raise unpopular taxes.”


In essence, the government can give people more now, and they don’t have to pay for it until future generations—hence the ability to buy citizen’s political consent and even win elections by increasing the treasure chest even temporarily. 


No, this is not China raising the fortunes of the middle class to keep the Communist Party in power, but rather this is us in the U.S. of A racking up tens of trillions of dollars in debt to keep people happy now (forget the future generations, let them fend for themselves). 


Shake hands, kiss babies, and hand out dollar bills—give me, give me give me! 


What has happened to us fighting hard and driving into the future on our own feet—together in strength and not as a debtor nation getting handouts from anyone that will lend us. 


Soon, the Fed will be raising interest rates, and with a greater and greater national deficit to pay on, interest payments have the real potential to spiral out of control and leave our economy in shambles. 


Like a credit card with interest payments that eclipse the principle borrowed, soon you are in over your head and there is nowhere to go but Chapter 11. 


We’re not an inherently debtor nation, and we sure don’t want to be a deadbeat nation—isn’t it better to have what we really have financially and be who we really are and value?   


Let’s leave our children and grandchildren economic and national security and not a towering pile of shameless debt, from mom and dad with love.


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)