Character Building Day

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So I really like this…


A friend told me that when they have a really tough day, they call it:

“A Character Building Day!”


I thought that was pretty astute. 


When people are up against the wall…


And they feel like they practically have their hands and legs tied…


And the world is spinning around them out of control…


And others are throwing tomatoes, darts, arrows, and all types of other sh*t their way…

– We can either just close our eyes, feel powerless, get upset and depressed, and basically give up

OR

– We can see the tough times as challenges–however great–to build our character.


Every situation is a learning and growth opportunity. 


Don’t give in–Get up and fight.


What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger!


Yes, many days are character building days–it doesn’t always feel good–often it feels horrible–but we can approach it with the right attitude and help shape our character and soul for the better.  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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It’s Gazillions Baby!

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So being a millionaire is no longer anything.


You’re still considered sort of a poor schlub!


Even a billionaire is not such a big deal anymore. 


It takes at least $2 billion to make it unto the Forbes 400 Richest Americans List


Further, a recent episode of CNBC Filthy Rich Guide asks who will become the world’s first trillionaire!


They say trillionaire as in a number with “4 commas”–never really thought of it that way.


…but it’s definitely a big,(1) big,(2) big,(3) big,(4) big number.


Jeff Bezos of Amazon with $90 billion currently in the bank and growing fast is forecasted to be the one who will make it. 


So no longer are we betting on which mega corporation–Apple (with a current value of almost $830 billion)–will become the first trillion dollar company.


We are talking individuals with that much moolah too. 


So with the median net worth of Americans a measly $69 thousand dollars, it’s no wonder that billionaires like Mr. Wonderful (Kevin O’Leary of Shark Tank) calls more than one entreprenuer looking for an investment, a cockroach!


What’s a shame is not only the complete social inequity and class system that we have and that continues to grow with those in McMansions and others homeless, but also that so many can’t see that what’s really important is not the beautiful pocketbook full of money, but the decent soul filled with good deeds! 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

The Horrible C Word

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Cancer is such an awful killer disease.


After heart disease, it is the #2 cause of death in the United States taking almost 592,000 lives a year or 22.5% of all deaths!


Usually, we don’t even like to say the word and even tempt fate.


Instead we just refer to it as the horrible “C word.”  


Today my daughter forwarded to me this poem written by a teenager with terminal cancer, and I thought this was worth sharing with you all…


SLOW DANCE

Have you ever watched kids on a merry-go-round?

Or listened to the rain slapping on the ground?

Ever followed a butterfly’s erratic flight?

Or gazed at the sun into the fading night?


You better slow down.

Don’t dance so fast.

Time is short.

The music won’t last.


Do you run through each day on the fly?

When you ask, “How are you?”

Do you hear the reply?


When the day is done, do you lie in your bed,

with the next hundred chores running through your head?


You’d better slow down

Don’t dance so fast.

Time is short

The music won’t last.


Ever told your child, 

We’ll do it tomorrow?

And in your haste,

Not see his sorrow?


Ever lost touch, let a good friendship die 

Cause you never had time 

To call and say,’Hi’


You’d better slow down.

Don’t dance so fast.

Time is short.

The music won’t last..


When you run so fast to get somewhere,

You miss half the fun of getting there.


When you worry and hurry through your day,

It is like an unopened gift….

Thrown away.


Life is not a race.

Do take it slower

Hear the music

Before the song is over.


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

World Of Amazing Times and People

Took this video at the World of Montgomery Festival today. 



The dancers, singers, drummers, and costumes were all great.



The weather today an unseasonably warm 76 degrees and being out and about was fun. 



Plus it was an extra special treat to meet up with my pal Congressman Jamie Raskin. 


Thank you G-d for all the amazing times and good people. 


(Source Video and Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

We Broke The Weather

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So my friend who lives in FL and recently experienced the crazy hurricanes down there said something very interesting to me. 


This was during the series of numerous recent hurricanes in just a few weeks period of time, including Harvey, IRMA, and Maria that devastated Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico.


He said to me:

“We broke the weather!”


And after decades of warning about the impact of global warming–maybe he is right.


This last September was the most active month for Atlantic hurricanes ever on record. 


Further, we are seeing simultaneously the deadliest wildfires raging in California in its history. 


This only 13 years after the deadliest Tsunami from the Indian Ocean in recorded times killing about a quarter million people!


And only 28 years after the deadliest Tornado occurred in Bangladesh in 1989 that killed 1,300 people.


All these as if the increasing threats of nukes and other weapons of mass destruction and cyberattack weren’t enough to keep you up at night.


As we get more sophisticated and technologically dependent, incredible manmade and natural disasters are threatening us superbig time. 


And over and over again, it is being reported that a well-placed EMP explosion over the United States would kill 90% of the population within a year–talk about a extinction level event!


As we experience temperatures15 degree above normal this fall, even the trees are behaving abnormally as the leaves are not changing to colors of yellows and oranges and reds and purples that we expect and enjoy. 


Nature is messed up by our abuse of the planet and nurture is messed up by megalomaniacs with the weapons to do us in. 


If we don’t correct the dangerous path we are on polluting our planet and over-relying on technology then soon we could be turning horrible colors even if the leaves just fall to the ground or turn to ash. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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The Yom Kippur Diet Plan

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So Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish calendar is a 25-hour day of repentance, prayer, and fasting. 


This last Yom Kippur, someone mentioned to me that some people take the idea of fasting and apply it to dieting during the year by doing a 3-day fasting. 


Uh, that sounds pretty severe and maybe even a little dangerous. 


But it got me thinking that on Yom Kippur we fast for a day and then eat a meal, so why not do that daily for dieting. 


Just subsist on one main meal a day–basically limiting intake of food to a few hours in the evening. 


This made sense to me as a moderate way that I could stay focused and disciplined without any food for about 20 hours at a time, but still give myself something to look forward to with a proper, natural dinner–almost like a natural give and take that I believe I could live with (at least for a good while). 


I thought let me give this a try!


And I did. 


First without drinking or eating. 


Then I rethought this after a few days and getting parched, and said just drink zero-calorie drinks, but no food or caloric intake during the day until the meal at the end of the day. 


And I’ve been doing this now since Yom Kippur 2 weeks ago. 


I have actually lost almost 10 pounds in that time and feel great. 


It hasn’t been hard–except for one day when the synagogue had a mega Bar Mitzvah kiddish/luncheon and I sat there and didn’t have a thing!


But otherwise, I go to work and all my activities, including working out–sometimes twice a day–and without any food.


It seems to be working. 


While previously, I stayed completely off any carbs, and still gained weight–now, I allow myself to eat everything (kosher) at dinner and am losing!


I wonder if I am on to something with this new “Yom Kippur Diet.”


I pray to Hashem that I’ve discovered something good and healthy here and am committed to seeing it through. 


(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)

Reconquest of the Soviet Union

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Okay, when I saw this map of the Soviet Union pre-1991 breakup, I got it!


Russia lost 14 Former Soviet Union (FSU) states after the fall of the Berlin Wall.

  1. Armenia
  2. Azerbaijan
  3. Belarus
  4. Estonia
  5. Georgia
  6. Kazakhstan
  7. Kyrgystan
  8. Latvia
  9. Lithuania
  10. Moldovia
  11. Tajikistan
  12. Turkenistan
  13. Ukraine
  14. Uzbekistan

Could you imagine the United States or the European Union losing something like that?


Think of California and Texas and more seceding and making their own independent states. 


What would that do to the power and capability of this country?


Hence, when Russia goes into FSUs like Georgia and Ukraine (in red)–does a land grab like with Crimea and Abkhazia and South Ossetia–and threatens others, in their Soviet minds, they are just reclaiming what is/was theres.


Now listen, I am not justifying their aggression and hostile actions, but I am realizing/recognizing how explosive a situation this may end up being–especially since Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania (in blue) changed sides and are now part of NATO!


Russia–even without the 14 FSUs–is the largest country in the world by territory with over 17 million square miles–that is almost the size of the United States and Canada or and China combined!


Russia may not have the economy of the United States but they are a formidable foe that we least not forget also has the largest nuclear weapons stockpile in the world. 


Russia has a history of creating a large world dominating union and their military forays into the FSUs, support of hostile regimes like Syria and in Iran, sizable war games in Belarus, continuing to militarize the Arctic, interfering in our election, stealing our secrets via Kaspersky Lab software is likely just a shadow of what is yet to come. 


So if you think North Korea and Iran are problems…  😉


(Source Map: here with attribution to Map Collection)