05 6 / 2014

Saw It Right Off

This was something amazing that really gave me pause. 
In the physical therapy center, hanging on the wall, encased in this wooden box.
A saw from the civil war that was used by the doctors of the time to amputate soldiers legs and arms. 
The saw was so ominous looking, especially with it’s design of medieval-looking torture, it’s raw industrial quality, and the age and rust. 
I could literally envision the utter fright on the faces of the young men upon seeing the doctor approach with this tool. 
They would give you a piece of wood to sink your teeth into, so you wouldn’t bite your tongue off when they started sawing away at your limbs.
Not sure how people lived like this…not all that very long ago. 
(Source Photo: Rebecca Blumenthal)

Saw It Right Off

This was something amazing that really gave me pause. 


In the physical therapy center, hanging on the wall, encased in this wooden box.


A saw from the civil war that was used by the doctors of the time to amputate soldiers legs and arms. 


The saw was so ominous looking, especially with it’s design of medieval-looking torture, it’s raw industrial quality, and the age and rust. 


I could literally envision the utter fright on the faces of the young men upon seeing the doctor approach with this tool. 


They would give you a piece of wood to sink your teeth into, so you wouldn’t bite your tongue off when they started sawing away at your limbs.


Not sure how people lived like this…not all that very long ago. 


(Source Photo: Rebecca Blumenthal)

02 6 / 2014

Information Everywhere We Look

I like this short video on advances in Augmented Reality by Applied Research Associates (ARA).


ARA supports DARPA’s Urban Leader Tactical Response Awareness and Visualization (ULTRA-Vis) program—to develop Augmented Reality (AR) for our soldiers. 


Augmented Reality is “Virtual icons, avatars, and messages overlaid accurately on the real world.”


The purpose is to know”where you are and where objects are around you” and to “access information simply by looking at them.”


The interface is a heads-up wearable display, rather than an smartphone or tablet. 


The AR integrates GPS, terrain information, commercial data, and sensors.


Further, you and others using this technology will be able to tag and share data in what I would call Social Reality (a mixture of social computing and augmented reality). 


Here your world of information is augmented by other’s AR views shared with you.


AR offers an enormous opportunity to make our world far richer with information everywhere we look, rather than just when we look it up. 


For it to be ultimately successful, the display will need to be worked in as an embed or overlay on our actual eyes (like a contact lens), rather than worn like Google Glass.


For the non-soldier, not every open field needs augmented reality—in fact, it would sort of spoil the natural beauty of it—but it sure won’t hurt to be able to turn it on, at will, to see which flowers are blooming and perhaps, whether there just might be a snake out there too.  ;-)

01 6 / 2014

Outrunning The Needle
This nice gentlemen who works in the medical profession was telling me a funny story today.
He grew up amidst a collection of small villages in El Salvador.
The person who gave the vaccinations to the children used to go to the school to administer the medicine to them.
When the kids saw him coming, they would run out of the school, through the school yard, over the fence, and all the way home to try to avoid the shot.
He also said that the school personnel would chase them to their home to bring them back…one way or another, they were getting the dreaded needle. 
It reminded me of when I was a little kid in the pediatrician’s office, and the doctor was pulling out a long needle to give me a shot, and I hopped off the table, and ran for my life. 
I ran out of her office, past the nurse’s station, and into the welcoming arms of the patient reception area.
But the doctor and nurse caught up to me as well and brought me back for my shot too.
It sort of reminds me of the saying, “You can run, but you can’t hide.”
In life, it really doesn’t matter whether we want to do something or not.
When the time comes to face the challenges that await us all, even if you try to ignore it, avoid it, or run away from it…it will eventually catch up to you.
Maybe it’s worth a run sometimes, if you can avoid an unnecessary fight, but if it is something you have to face, like your medicine, you might as well just stay and take the needle like a man/woman and get some cookies and ice cream afterwards. ;-)
(Source Photo: here with attribution to Dan4th Nicholas)

Outrunning The Needle

This nice gentlemen who works in the medical profession was telling me a funny story today.


He grew up amidst a collection of small villages in El Salvador.


The person who gave the vaccinations to the children used to go to the school to administer the medicine to them.


When the kids saw him coming, they would run out of the school, through the school yard, over the fence, and all the way home to try to avoid the shot.


He also said that the school personnel would chase them to their home to bring them back…one way or another, they were getting the dreaded needle. 


It reminded me of when I was a little kid in the pediatrician’s office, and the doctor was pulling out a long needle to give me a shot, and I hopped off the table, and ran for my life. 


I ran out of her office, past the nurse’s station, and into the welcoming arms of the patient reception area.


But the doctor and nurse caught up to me as well and brought me back for my shot too.


It sort of reminds me of the saying, “You can run, but you can’t hide.”


In life, it really doesn’t matter whether we want to do something or not.


When the time comes to face the challenges that await us all, even if you try to ignore it, avoid it, or run away from it…it will eventually catch up to you.


Maybe it’s worth a run sometimes, if you can avoid an unnecessary fight, but if it is something you have to face, like your medicine, you might as well just stay and take the needle like a man/woman and get some cookies and ice cream afterwards. ;-)


(Source Photo: here with attribution to Dan4th Nicholas)

26 5 / 2014

You Can Be Nice and Powerful

According to the Wall Street Journal, workers “value kindness in their boss” and compassion—this is natural, as we are all human with tests, frailties, and yes, everyone even makes some mistakes (and hopefully they learn from it). 
So while there may seem to be a contradiction between being nice and being an effective leader, there really is not. 
For example, we can have empathy for people, while still holding them accountable to do a good job through programs like flexible schedules, telework, and other workplace accommodations.
Power in the organization can be wielded by a boss in so many ways, and they don’t even have to eat their spinach to do it. 
From what assignments you get, whether you have to work odd hours, to whether you get a good evaluation or even that promotion, for that matter. 
Many may be too quick to put on the punching gloves, however. 
Sometimes, the boss will laud publicly over some employees, while degrading or shunning others…that sends a message doesn’t it.
Worse is boss that yells, tells someone their ideas are stupid, or glares at someone like they are a moron…that takes someone straight to employment hell. 
The email chain is the classic message!
So while power can be wielded, it can also be shielded by appreciating each person for what they can do and their contribution, if sincere and merited.
While employees value a nice boss, this doesn’t mean that we don’t want to be challenged, we do—challenge adds some meaning to our jobs and our day—that’s why 75% would rather work for a high-achieving, but demanding boss than a nice, but ineffective one. 
But combine nice and high-achieving into a boss, and I think we will all want to work for such a leader and follow them wherever they go! ;-)
(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

You Can Be Nice and Powerful

According to the Wall Street Journal, workers “value kindness in their boss” and compassion—this is natural, as we are all human with tests, frailties, and yes, everyone even makes some mistakes (and hopefully they learn from it). 


So while there may seem to be a contradiction between being nice and being an effective leader, there really is not. 


For example, we can have empathy for people, while still holding them accountable to do a good job through programs like flexible schedules, telework, and other workplace accommodations.


Power in the organization can be wielded by a boss in so many ways, and they don’t even have to eat their spinach to do it. 


From what assignments you get, whether you have to work odd hours, to whether you get a good evaluation or even that promotion, for that matter. 


Many may be too quick to put on the punching gloves, however. 


Sometimes, the boss will laud publicly over some employees, while degrading or shunning others…that sends a message doesn’t it.


Worse is boss that yells, tells someone their ideas are stupid, or glares at someone like they are a moron…that takes someone straight to employment hell. 


The email chain is the classic message!


So while power can be wielded, it can also be shielded by appreciating each person for what they can do and their contribution, if sincere and merited.


While employees value a nice boss, this doesn’t mean that we don’t want to be challenged, we do—challenge adds some meaning to our jobs and our day—that’s why 75% would rather work for a high-achieving, but demanding boss than a nice, but ineffective one. 


But combine nice and high-achieving into a boss, and I think we will all want to work for such a leader and follow them wherever they go! ;-)


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

24 5 / 2014

Driving Identity Theft

It’s been only about 4 months since my mom passed, and now my dad becomes very sick from chemotherapy and endsup in the hospital for a week.
His red and white blood count were extremely low, but thank G-d, the doctors were able to save him.
However, he is in a drastically weakened state and now looks like he will need regular assisted living just to get by every day. 
This has been horrible to see someone who has always been so strong, smart, and there selflessly for all of us, to be in this condition. 
We found a nice place for him, but even the nicest place isn’t his place and doesn’t allow the independence he (and we all) always cherish. 
On top of it, I get a letter in the mail with more than half a dozen tickets on his car.
It’s impossible, because he hasn’t been driving due to his illness.
We run down to check his car, and sure enough someone stole his plates (and replaced them with another set). 
They did this to his car that has handicapped tags.
In the meantime, they are driving around through tolls and doing G-d knows what.
The police were helpful—they came as soon as they could—took a report, the plates that were switched onto his car, and dusted for fingerprints.
I will never forget standing there just after my joint surgery—when not three hours before, I thought to myself, maybe things are finally calming down. 
Hopefully, the police will catch whoever did this. 

In the meantime, I take comfort knowing that G-d is the ultimate police force. ;-)
(Source Photo: Dannielle Blumenthal)

Driving Identity Theft

It’s been only about 4 months since my mom passed, and now my dad becomes very sick from chemotherapy and endsup in the hospital for a week.


His red and white blood count were extremely low, but thank G-d, the doctors were able to save him.


However, he is in a drastically weakened state and now looks like he will need regular assisted living just to get by every day. 


This has been horrible to see someone who has always been so strong, smart, and there selflessly for all of us, to be in this condition. 


We found a nice place for him, but even the nicest place isn’t his place and doesn’t allow the independence he (and we all) always cherish. 


On top of it, I get a letter in the mail with more than half a dozen tickets on his car.


It’s impossible, because he hasn’t been driving due to his illness.


We run down to check his car, and sure enough someone stole his plates (and replaced them with another set). 


They did this to his car that has handicapped tags.


In the meantime, they are driving around through tolls and doing G-d knows what.


The police were helpful—they came as soon as they could—took a report, the plates that were switched onto his car, and dusted for fingerprints.


I will never forget standing there just after my joint surgery—when not three hours before, I thought to myself, maybe things are finally calming down. 


Hopefully, the police will catch whoever did this. 

In the meantime, I take comfort knowing that G-d is the ultimate police force. ;-)


(Source Photo: Dannielle Blumenthal)

20 5 / 2014

Winning Respect of the People

Please see my new article here in Public CIO Magazine on how we can learn from the technology industry to improve our nation’s government. 
"We can solve technological problems beyond our forefathers’ wildest dreams, but we’re challenged to break political gridlock. compromise, make difficult decisions, and forge a balanced, reasoned path forward."
Hope you enjoy!
Andy
(Source Photo: the talented Michelle Blumenthal)

Winning Respect of the People

Please see my new article here in Public CIO Magazine on how we can learn from the technology industry to improve our nation’s government. 


"We can solve technological problems beyond our forefathers’ wildest dreams, but we’re challenged to break political gridlock. compromise, make difficult decisions, and forge a balanced, reasoned path forward."


Hope you enjoy!


Andy


(Source Photo: the talented Michelle Blumenthal)

18 5 / 2014

Happy Hebrew Anniversary

Today, I found out from my sister-in-law, Cheryl, that my wife’s favorite doll as a child was a Raggedy Ann doll that she always carried around with her. 
(I’m the last to find out these things…)
She wrote isn’t is funny that Raggedy Ann married Andy?
She ended with, “Is it odd or is it G-d?”
I think it must be both that we survived each other. ;-)
Happy Hebrew Anniversary to my wife!
(Source Photo: here with attribution to mypreciousmomentspro.com)

Happy Hebrew Anniversary

Today, I found out from my sister-in-law, Cheryl, that my wife’s favorite doll as a child was a Raggedy Ann doll that she always carried around with her. 


(I’m the last to find out these things…)


She wrote isn’t is funny that Raggedy Ann married Andy?


She ended with, “Is it odd or is it G-d?”


I think it must be both that we survived each other. ;-)


Happy Hebrew Anniversary to my wife!


(Source Photo: here with attribution to mypreciousmomentspro.com)

18 5 / 2014

Crisp Yellow Flowers

My daughter, Rebecca, sent me this photo that she took of these yellow flowers.

I love how crisp and alive the flowers look, and the more subdued contrasting background of nature’s green with more yellow flowers all around. 

So beautiful and amazing G-d’s creations. 

And thank you so much for the get well wishes.

Crisp Yellow Flowers

My daughter, Rebecca, sent me this photo that she took of these yellow flowers.

I love how crisp and alive the flowers look, and the more subdued contrasting background of nature’s green with more yellow flowers all around. 

So beautiful and amazing G-d’s creations. 

And thank you so much for the get well wishes.

17 5 / 2014

Now’s Your Chance To Make Things Right

Day 4…pain gradually subsiding, walking improving.
Still pushing my body…walk, ice, walk, ice. 
But more than the physical, I realized that I was going through something far more spiritual in my journey. 
People are coming out of the woodwork telling me their travails through these surgeries. 
One old time friend, welcomed me to the “Hip Club”—her new hip is 4 years old, but I didn’t even know she had it done (albeit that we only keep in touch through Facebook these days).
Another, my neighbor, had knee replacement in 2011—again, was I too busy or blind to know—I felt like an absolute card. She in particular told me again and again, “I cried, I cried.”
Later in the day, as I am trying to figure it all out—how am I going to get everything done and back on my feet, my wife says to me, “Now’s your chance to make things right!”
Then it hit me, that while I always try to think of myself as trying to do what’s right, I wasn’t doing enough. 
Open your eyes Andy.  
There are lot’s of people that are in pain, that are crying, that need help. 
What are you doing about it? 
Do you even see them?
Are you aware they are there?
WAKE UP CALL.
Do Better, Make things right. Try harder. Do More. 
It’s not too late. 
(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Now’s Your Chance To Make Things Right

Day 4…pain gradually subsiding, walking improving.


Still pushing my body…walk, ice, walk, ice. 


But more than the physical, I realized that I was going through something far more spiritual in my journey. 


People are coming out of the woodwork telling me their travails through these surgeries. 


One old time friend, welcomed me to the “Hip Club”—her new hip is 4 years old, but I didn’t even know she had it done (albeit that we only keep in touch through Facebook these days).


Another, my neighbor, had knee replacement in 2011—again, was I too busy or blind to know—I felt like an absolute card. She in particular told me again and again, “I cried, I cried.”


Later in the day, as I am trying to figure it all out—how am I going to get everything done and back on my feet, my wife says to me, “Now’s your chance to make things right!”


Then it hit me, that while I always try to think of myself as trying to do what’s right, I wasn’t doing enough. 


Open your eyes Andy.  


There are lot’s of people that are in pain, that are crying, that need help. 


What are you doing about it? 


Do you even see them?


Are you aware they are there?


WAKE UP CALL.


Do Better, Make things right. Try harder. Do More. 


It’s not too late. 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

16 5 / 2014

Rise Oceans Rise

The polar ice caps are melting—does anyone believe it or care?  
According to the Wall Street Journal, the Antarctica alone holds 60% of the world’s fresh water “locked into millions of cubic miles of polar ice.”
NASA glaciologists states: “Ice is going to retreat in this sector for decades and centuries to come and we can’t stop it.”
In other words, we may have “reached the point of no return.”
Sea levels are seen rising 10 to 12 feet—that’s almost 1.8 x Magic Johnson across all our oceans. 
The New York Times says that just a four foot rise would inundate cities like New York, Boston, Miami, and New Orleans. 
WTOP reports that the impact will not just be in low-lying cities but even Washington, DC along the Chesapeake Bay is at great risk. 
And while over time barriers may be able to be built up around DC to protect it, other areas like New York City is “almost unenclosable.”
Global warming has is changing our earth’s ecosystems, and like the National Deficit, we can try to prove it false, ignore it, or hope for a technological breakthrough or miracle to save us. 
Yes, there are lot’s of doom and gloom scenarios, and it’s hard to know when to take catastrophe seriously and when it is Chicken Little.
While I wouldn’t go looking for high ground just yet, maybe that Miami oceanfront—as much as I love it—may not be the best long-long term investment around. ;-)
(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Rise Oceans Rise

The polar ice caps are melting—does anyone believe it or care?  


According to the Wall Street Journal, the Antarctica alone holds 60% of the world’s fresh water “locked into millions of cubic miles of polar ice.”


NASA glaciologists states: “Ice is going to retreat in this sector for decades and centuries to come and we can’t stop it.”


In other words, we may have “reached the point of no return.”


Sea levels are seen rising 10 to 12 feet—that’s almost 1.8 x Magic Johnson across all our oceans. 


The New York Times says that just a four foot rise would inundate cities like New York, Boston, Miami, and New Orleans. 


WTOP reports that the impact will not just be in low-lying cities but even Washington, DC along the Chesapeake Bay is at great risk. 


And while over time barriers may be able to be built up around DC to protect it, other areas like New York City is “almost unenclosable.”


Global warming has is changing our earth’s ecosystems, and like the National Deficit, we can try to prove it false, ignore it, or hope for a technological breakthrough or miracle to save us. 


Yes, there are lot’s of doom and gloom scenarios, and it’s hard to know when to take catastrophe seriously and when it is Chicken Little.


While I wouldn’t go looking for high ground just yet, maybe that Miami oceanfront—as much as I love it—may not be the best long-long term investment around. ;-)


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

16 5 / 2014

Making The Transition

Came out of the hospital yesterday.
Able to walk with a walker—thankful for this miracle already.
Thanks to good ‘ol technology, I was able to send my surgeon a photo from my smartphone this morning, so he could see for himself what was going on and advise me. 
Later today, having nursing and physical therapy to the house and am glad to have yet another set of eyes on me, while I heal up.
Emotionally, it’s trying. 
I am a very active and structured person, and for now I am just physically limited—no getting around it. 
As I push myself to walk, I can see my body pushing back to give it more time. 
Overall, I am determined to get back to myself with G-d’s merciful help. 
I’ve already logged onto work—telework—and been in touch with my team trying to keep things moving forward.
I’m also here, on the blogosphere, sharing my experience. 
While in the hospital orthopedic unit, I got to meet many others with similar or even worse situations.
One guy had a knee replacement in January and was already back and had his hip done. 
Another, I was told had one hip done, followed about 2 weeks later, by the other one.
All sorts of amazing stories of people fighting to recover and get back on their feet, literally. 
One more time, I just want to say how my wife has been amazing through all of this, and I can’t thank her enough.
And truly, as my parents told me, “If you have your health, you have everything!”
(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Making The Transition

Came out of the hospital yesterday.


Able to walk with a walker—thankful for this miracle already.


Thanks to good ‘ol technology, I was able to send my surgeon a photo from my smartphone this morning, so he could see for himself what was going on and advise me. 


Later today, having nursing and physical therapy to the house and am glad to have yet another set of eyes on me, while I heal up.


Emotionally, it’s trying. 


I am a very active and structured person, and for now I am just physically limited—no getting around it. 


As I push myself to walk, I can see my body pushing back to give it more time. 


Overall, I am determined to get back to myself with G-d’s merciful help. 


I’ve already logged onto work—telework—and been in touch with my team trying to keep things moving forward.


I’m also here, on the blogosphere, sharing my experience. 


While in the hospital orthopedic unit, I got to meet many others with similar or even worse situations.


One guy had a knee replacement in January and was already back and had his hip done. 


Another, I was told had one hip done, followed about 2 weeks later, by the other one.


All sorts of amazing stories of people fighting to recover and get back on their feet, literally. 


One more time, I just want to say how my wife has been amazing through all of this, and I can’t thank her enough.


And truly, as my parents told me, “If you have your health, you have everything!”


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

14 5 / 2014

1st Day Post-Op

So surgery was yesterday around 11 am.
I was asleep under anesthesia before I ever even got to the operating room, so can’t remember a thing, which is probably good since I hear that a lot of power tools are involved.
Right before, my wife kissed me and told me that the female nurses were all flirting with me—ha! 
After the surgery, I was groggy like crazy.
When the nurse asked me if I knew what year it was, I blurted out “1993!”
Aside from the general anesthesia, I had some sort of nerve block.
Thanks G-d that has made the pain minimal to zero even.
The nurse this morning gave me a percocet in anticipation of the pain with physical therapy today—so I apologize if this blog is a little loopy today.
So far, although very stiff around the surgical area, I have already sat up, got up, even walked a little down the hospital hallway.
Waiting for more PT and OT this afternoon.
I just want to say thank you to G-d, the surgeon, the anesthesiologist, all the nurses,  and my wife and kids and other family and friends for taking such good care of and for all their thoughts and prayers.
One friend, even called me the bionic man this morning. 
It’s been a really tough year with the loss of my mom in January and my dad not being well in the hospital and now in a facility to get him back on his feet again too. 
And so far, my wife has been doing great keeping us going with only one big stress attack and trip to the ER to show for it. ;-)
(Source Photo: Dannielle Blumenthal)

1st Day Post-Op

So surgery was yesterday around 11 am.


I was asleep under anesthesia before I ever even got to the operating room, so can’t remember a thing, which is probably good since I hear that a lot of power tools are involved.


Right before, my wife kissed me and told me that the female nurses were all flirting with me—ha! 


After the surgery, I was groggy like crazy.


When the nurse asked me if I knew what year it was, I blurted out “1993!”


Aside from the general anesthesia, I had some sort of nerve block.


Thanks G-d that has made the pain minimal to zero even.


The nurse this morning gave me a percocet in anticipation of the pain with physical therapy today—so I apologize if this blog is a little loopy today.


So far, although very stiff around the surgical area, I have already sat up, got up, even walked a little down the hospital hallway.


Waiting for more PT and OT this afternoon.


I just want to say thank you to G-d, the surgeon, the anesthesiologist, all the nurses,  and my wife and kids and other family and friends for taking such good care of and for all their thoughts and prayers.


One friend, even called me the bionic man this morning. 


It’s been a really tough year with the loss of my mom in January and my dad not being well in the hospital and now in a facility to get him back on his feet again too. 


And so far, my wife has been doing great keeping us going with only one big stress attack and trip to the ER to show for it. ;-)


(Source Photo: Dannielle Blumenthal)

12 5 / 2014

Knees Horor Story

So I’m at a new medical practioner, and he sees on my information sheet that I am scheduled to have some orthopedic surgery. 
He comes out of his office and sits down next to me, and he is rubbing his knees. 
He proceeds to tells me that he had knee replacement surgery about a decade ago. 
I’m watching him still rubbing his knees, and I say curiously, “So how did it go—were you happy with the results?”
He says, “I still have some soreness”—and I’m thinking, after all these years, yikes!
Then he goes on to tell me this horror story about his brother (I think it was) that had double knee replacement. 
But after the surgery, the knees got infected, and they had to remove the replacements and put in studs (like placeholders) until the infection cleared with antibiotics.
I suppose he couldn’t walk around without knees, and I was wondering how long this guy must’ve been laid up. 
Anyway, once the infection was gone, they put in new replacements for him.
OMG, all in all, the guy had to have 8 surgeries!
Needless to say, this was not the orthopedic success story that I wanted or needed to hear. 
But I guess it’s good to know what can happen (bli ayin hara)—in all the gory details. ;-)
(Source Photo: here with attribution to Isbye)

Knees Horor Story

So I’m at a new medical practioner, and he sees on my information sheet that I am scheduled to have some orthopedic surgery. 


He comes out of his office and sits down next to me, and he is rubbing his knees. 


He proceeds to tells me that he had knee replacement surgery about a decade ago. 


I’m watching him still rubbing his knees, and I say curiously, “So how did it go—were you happy with the results?”


He says, “I still have some soreness”—and I’m thinking, after all these years, yikes!


Then he goes on to tell me this horror story about his brother (I think it was) that had double knee replacement. 


But after the surgery, the knees got infected, and they had to remove the replacements and put in studs (like placeholders) until the infection cleared with antibiotics.


I suppose he couldn’t walk around without knees, and I was wondering how long this guy must’ve been laid up. 


Anyway, once the infection was gone, they put in new replacements for him.


OMG, all in all, the guy had to have 8 surgeries!


Needless to say, this was not the orthopedic success story that I wanted or needed to hear. 


But I guess it’s good to know what can happen (bli ayin hara)—in all the gory details. ;-)


(Source Photo: here with attribution to Isbye)

11 5 / 2014

Happy Mother’s Day To My Very Feminist Wife

Just want to wish my lovely wife a very happy Mother’s Day. 
My wife is a big feminist!
She doesn’t like to do too much cooking, cleaning, laundry etc. 
More for good ‘ol hubby—me—to do.  
For example, today I am painting my daughter’s room. 
I did the heavy lifting on this. 
Now my wife and daughter and doing the corners and touch up. 
Hey, it’s all in a day’s work for a modern-day husband. 
But I love my wife and family. 
Even if there’s a little more for me to share in. ;-)
(Source Photo: Michelle Blumenthal)

Happy Mother’s Day To My Very Feminist Wife

Just want to wish my lovely wife a very happy Mother’s Day. 


My wife is a big feminist!


She doesn’t like to do too much cooking, cleaning, laundry etc. 


More for good ‘ol hubby—me—to do.  


For example, today I am painting my daughter’s room. 


I did the heavy lifting on this. 


Now my wife and daughter and doing the corners and touch up. 


Hey, it’s all in a day’s work for a modern-day husband. 


But I love my wife and family. 


Even if there’s a little more for me to share in. ;-)


(Source Photo: Michelle Blumenthal)

10 5 / 2014

The *S*p*y* Named Snowden

So was Edward Snowden a whistleblower (some even call him a patriot) or one of the most ruthless spies this country has ever known?
An editorial in the Wall Street Journal by Edward Jay Epstein makes a strong case that Snowden was a spy galore, and the whistleblowing was his cover.

What he stole? - 1.7 million documents from the NSA with “only a minute fraction of them have anything to do with civil liberties or whistleblowing.” Instead, the vast majority “were related to our military capabilities, operations, tactics, techniques, and procedures”—otherwise known as the “keys to the kingdom.” Moreover, it seems clear that a “top priority was lists of the computers of U.S. adversaries abroad that the NSA has succeeded in penetrating.”
When he stole them? - Snowden took the Booz Allen Hamilton job as a contractor for NSA in March 2013—this was at the “tail end of his operation.” Moreover, the Foreign Surveillance Intelligence Act (FISA) court order for Verizon to provide metadata on U.S. phone calls for 90 days had only been issued in April 2013. And Snowden told reporter James Rosen in October 2013, that his last job at NSA gave him access to every active operation against the Chinese and “that is why I accepted the position.”
Where did Snowden end up? - First in Hong Kong and then under the protection of the FSB (aka the old KGB) in Russia, which “effectively compromises all the sources and methods” and ties all too nicely with what he stole. A former cabinet official has indicated that the Snowden heist was either Russian espionage, Chinese espionage, or a joint operation. 

If Snowden really was a spy as indicated, then the Whistleblowing of domestic surveillance in the U.S. was a most brilliant ploy by his operators to distract our nation from the true nature of the exfiltration and the harm done to our national security. In a way, it falls right in line with Russia’s creative storyline/coverup in taking Crimea in saying that they were only protecting ethnic Russians. Score 2 for Russia!





Are we so easily lied to and manipulated…is public opinion really just jello in the hands of the global spymasters.  





We’ve got to be smart enough (i.e. critical thinkers) to interpret the noise in the intelligence signals, political speeches, and news stories to unveil the truth of what is really going on. In advertising, when exposing the truth of products and companies, this is sometimes referred to as culture jamming. Can we apply this to the complicated intrigue of global politics and get past the storyline that is fed to us to expose truth?  





It’s high time to outmaneuver those that may seek to manipulate the public (whether from outside or even sometimes from within) with some brilliance of our own—in not believing every snippet that is fed to us and instead looking at the bigger picture of political theater, special interests, and national security to see who is now zinging whom and why. ;-)





(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

The *S*p*y* Named Snowden

So was Edward Snowden a whistleblower (some even call him a patriot) or one of the most ruthless spies this country has ever known?


An editorial in the Wall Street Journal by Edward Jay Epstein makes a strong case that Snowden was a spy galore, and the whistleblowing was his cover.

  1. What he stole? - 1.7 million documents from the NSA with “only a minute fraction of them have anything to do with civil liberties or whistleblowing.” Instead, the vast majority “were related to our military capabilities, operations, tactics, techniques, and procedures”—otherwise known as the “keys to the kingdom.” Moreover, it seems clear that a “top priority was lists of the computers of U.S. adversaries abroad that the NSA has succeeded in penetrating.”
  2. When he stole them? - Snowden took the Booz Allen Hamilton job as a contractor for NSA in March 2013—this was at the “tail end of his operation.” Moreover, the Foreign Surveillance Intelligence Act (FISA) court order for Verizon to provide metadata on U.S. phone calls for 90 days had only been issued in April 2013. And Snowden told reporter James Rosen in October 2013, that his last job at NSA gave him access to every active operation against the Chinese and “that is why I accepted the position.”
  3. Where did Snowden end up? - First in Hong Kong and then under the protection of the FSB (aka the old KGB) in Russia, which “effectively compromises all the sources and methods” and ties all too nicely with what he stole. A former cabinet official has indicated that the Snowden heist was either Russian espionage, Chinese espionage, or a joint operation. 

If Snowden really was a spy as indicated, then the Whistleblowing of domestic surveillance in the U.S. was a most brilliant ploy by his operators to distract our nation from the true nature of the exfiltration and the harm done to our national security. In a way, it falls right in line with Russia’s creative storyline/coverup in taking Crimea in saying that they were only protecting ethnic Russians. Score 2 for Russia!

Are we so easily lied to and manipulated…is public opinion really just jello in the hands of the global spymasters.  

We’ve got to be smart enough (i.e. critical thinkers) to interpret the noise in the intelligence signals, political speeches, and news stories to unveil the truth of what is really going on. In advertising, when exposing the truth of products and companies, this is sometimes referred to as culture jamming. Can we apply this to the complicated intrigue of global politics and get past the storyline that is fed to us to expose truth?  

It’s high time to outmaneuver those that may seek to manipulate the public (whether from outside or even sometimes from within) with some brilliance of our own—in not believing every snippet that is fed to us and instead looking at the bigger picture of political theater, special interests, and national security to see who is now zinging whom and why. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)