The Meaning of Silence

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Is silence a good thing or a bad thing–what does it really mean?


On the plus or neutral side:


Silence can mean modesty and humility–you withhold speaking out of turn or having a big mouth; you recognize that you don’t know everything and what you do know is not intended to put down or shame others. 


Silence can means secrets and privacy–you don’t say everything; you treat information properly based on need to know and propriety of sharing. 


Silence can mean good situational judgement–that you know prudently when to let others have their say, or when your opinion isn’t really welcome, or when it’s best to just stay below the radar. 


Silence can mean you simply don’t know–and it’s something you need to listen and learn more about rather than speak; it’s why we’re told that we have two ears and one mouth.


Silence can mean that maybe you don’t care about something–why get fired up or “waste your breath” on it when it’s just not your thing.


When can it be a negative:


There was a sign in the local school window that silence means (wrongful) acceptance; that is also something I learned in in the Talmud in yeshiva; if you see something wrong and don’t say or do something, you are (partially) responsible.


Silence can mean fear–perhaps you don’t accept something, but you’re afraid to speak truth or morality to power; you sit silently cowering, when you should stand up tall and speak out. 


Silence may also mean shame–you’ve done something wrong or don’t want others to know something that could make you look bad or put you in jeopardy. 


Silence can mean you are hiding something–it can be that you don’t trust or aren’t trustful; silence at a time when you need to answer or respond can result in suspicion about why you are “holding back,” instead of being forthcoming and truthful.


When to talk and when to remain silent? 


Certainly, “you have the right to remain silent.”


We need to use words with care and intent–to always seek to help and not to hurt. 


Words are so potent–the mouth is perhaps the strongest part of the human body, just like the pen is mightier than the sword. 


That’s why I pray that G-d put the “right words” in my mouth–to be constructive, positive, effective and impactful–to do good as much as possible with words and with silence. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Shock Value Gets The Ball Rolling

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There is definitely something to be said for shock value. 


When you do or say something that is S~H~O~C~K~I~N~G.


And it jolts the other person out of their daily stupor so that they really take notice. 


It’s hard to stand out in a global population of over 7.2 billion people and counting. 


Everyone wants to be special, unique, have an impact, and make a difference. 


It’s our answer (partially) for why we are here and why it matters.


Our life is a journey and it can be a log slog if we don’t have a purpose and meaning in it all. 


We look to the One Above for guidance, meaning, love, and protection.


But we also have to look at ourselves in the mirror…what are we doing with our lives. 


Shock value doesn’t mean real value…it’s just the initial jolt to get noticed…like that purple and green spiked hair or those sparkly shoes you adorned. 


So you have to take the initial jolt and make it into deep impact–by touching not just a cord, but the nerves that run through. 


In Florida, there was a funny sign along the highway with that shock value that said something like this:


“Your Wife Is Hot So Call {X} To Fix Your A/C!”


What did you say about my wife? 


You know you’re right, I do need to invest in better air conditioning! 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

When Evil Seems To Prevail

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So there is this little Chinese restaurant–it sounds so cliche. 


But this one really is so small and bare that despite its name, which I don’t even know, we call it “The Hole In the Wall.”


This poor family with their children work behind the counter and kitchen serving up to the locals in the area. 


We know them from the neighborhood and they are always friendly and nice people just trying to make their way 


Well, over the weekend, this is what happened to their little hole in the wall. 


See the photo at the top!


I asked the lady, “What happened here?”


And she told me they had been broken into.


“That’s terrible! Well, what was taken?”


“Just a little cash box, but there wasn’t much in it,” and she half smiles.


Like this is what they smashed their door and broke in for…a few measly bucks. 


I told her how sorry I was for her and her family.


The people with nothing break into the other people who have nothing to steal basically nothing. 


While so many of the gazillionaires are choking on their wads and wads of money lavishly spending on mansions, yachts, planes, cars, drugs, prostitutes, clothes, jewelry, and endless parties. 


Let the others starve…except let me give a little to start a foundation…it’s a great tax shelter!


What type of world is this?


I’ve been sick the last few days and had the chance to watch a few movies related to this theme.


One was the Bitter Harvest about how Russia raped and pillaged Ukraine in the 1930s treating them as their breadbasket.


In the movie, Stalin says to take 90% of the food from the Ukrainian peasant farmers whose land they invaded and seized.


His henchman replies:  “But they’ll starve to death.”


To this Stalin responds, “Then takes everything!”


The movie well-portrayed the merciless killings and the people starving in the villages and the city streets. 


According to the postscript at the end of the movie 7 to 10 million Ukrainians perished.


Those were the days of great evil–Stalin, Hitler, Mussolini, Hideki Tojo, etc. 


Then another movie, The Birth Of A Nation, showing the horrors that the black people endured under slavery in this country.


The beatings, the rapes, the hangings, at one point, they even took a hammer and smashed the teeth out of the poor black man’s face as he hung from the wall in the barn in order to force feed him.


The brutality was unbelievable. 


What type of world is this (again)?


G-d must watch this evil and want to smite mankind for the seemingly endless evil, but for his mercy and love the world endures another day. 


Our challenge in the face of all the freakin’ evil out there is to do one good deed, say one good word, change the script of the evil doers…that’s all you and I can really do.


Change the script…mend the broken glass of the poor restaurant owner…mend the broken world. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Way Out Of Social Bounds

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So on the 10th anniversary of the iPhone…


I want to say that the iPhone is probably one of the greatest inventions of all times…congratulations to Apple and especially to Steve Jobs!


I also want to say how far people have gone crazy in using these smartphones without any filters as to privacy or propriety. 


HERE IS A TRUE STORY THAT JUST HAPPENED :


We are in this building waiting for an elevator to come. 


A man comes around the corner speaking into his smartphone held at chest height with the speaker on blast!


He sees us, but apparently doesn’t even think to pause the conversation or turn off the speaker and put the device to his ear.


Instead, we hear from the phone from what is apparently his immediate family member.

“That’s right, it’s a yeast infection!”


We are looking at each other like is this really happening or are we on Candid Camera or something.


And he respond still on with the speaker as we get on the elevator:

“A yeast infection, yeah, yeah, you better not let it get any worse.”


Then from the phone:

“With these yeast infections, you know how it can be. I’ll try to take care of it today,”


Him again, now as he’s getting off the elevator:

“Well anyway, hope I’ll be seeing you over later today.”


My wife and I look at each other, and I blurt out after the elevator door closes:

“Yeah, yeah, I guess we’ll be seeing you later today–with that yeast infection and all–hope it’s not contagious!”


And we both start cracking up at how insane people are. 


While we can’t (completely) help what people are over-hearing -and seeing through surveillance mechanisms on our smartphones, this guy with his phone, he didn’t even flinch at the conversation he was having in the open on the speaker. 


It’s a different day and age, and some people have no sense of boundaries anymore. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Uber Overconfidence

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As everyone knows, Uber is essentially–for now–a high-tech taxi company.


And high-tech tends to command high price.


But they are IMHO very overconfident of their position. 


And while I generally like taking Ubers, I would go so far to say that in many respects they are potential dead cab meat!


Why?


– Not because their leadership is in disarray and their founder and CEO was just forced to resign.


– Not because they have a disastrous corporate culture.


– Not because of their uber low or not profitable margins.


– Not because of the threat of autonomous driverless vehicles.


– Not because of the (alleged) stolen documents from Google.


– Not because Uber is (potentially) overvalued at nearly $70 billion (more than GM, Ford, or Honda)!


– Not because of its numerous competitors coming up from behind, including Lyft.


But a major reason is because:


They just gave you a not-so-hidden increase in price by tacking on a new tipping mechanism that will result in many people paying as much as a 20% hike to their overall fares.


Uber is now losing a sizable portion of their price point competitive advantage!


With the risks involved here, who could be so overconfident?

Perhaps, it’s time to take a cab or hovercraft somewhere else. 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)


(All represents my own opinions)

Diversity Necessitates Respect

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So this was an interesting photo taken of a sticker hung in front/near the Capitol reflecting pool in Washington, D.C. 


It is one of the faces of the resistance, and while it’s not Linda Sarsour, it reminds me of her–she is the one who garnered wide attention at the 2017 Women’s March not long ago. 


Remember her rant of “Sisters and Brothers!”–whose sister is she anyway?


With her polarizing politics, support for Sharia Law and anti-Zionist rants and support for the BDS movement, she certainly is not mine. 


Note: An Israeli official even came out yesterday with like concerns about her. 


Here are some of Sarsour’s alleged sayings about Sharia Law–or is this more a complete embrace? 

While I greatly believe in diversity and strongly adhere to valuing and respecting all good people out there… 


There is something that feels wrong here. 


Generic images like the top photo with the traditional Muslim hair covering–again, I respect this.


It is overlaid with the American Flag–again nothing wrong with that–Jews wear yarmulkes with the flag too.


But look further now…underneath it states: 

“We The People 

are greater than fear”


Hmm…We the people–who is the “we” here?


Is this a group photo of Christians, Jews, Muslims, Atheists, etc.–so where is the inclusivity?


With Sarsour insertion of a Sharia ideology into American politics, perhaps, there is a subtle–or not so subtle–attack on our greater American freedom and democracy going on here.


Sharia law is being spread around the globe by:


Decree (think of the Mullahs in Iran)


Terror (think ISIS and Al-Qaeda)


Sympathy (think of the Palestinians)


Mass immigration (think of the changing cultural face of Europe), and 


Expropriating other people’s causes (such as Democracy and freedom and so called justice with Linda Sarsour).


Everyone is entitled to their peaceful beliefs, especially when there is a ethos of  mutual respect and a truthful recognition and acceptance for everyone of “Live and let live!”


But when the bounds are trampled by those who want to see only “their way or the highway”…then we need to seriously fear–who are “We the people”–and what do they really want? 😉


(Source top Photo: Andy Blumenthal and memes from Internet search)

Left and Right Unite

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So I saw on Facebook, an image of an old, wise, Native American Indian.


And over the image, it reads:

“The left wing and the right wing belong to the same bird.”


That is pretty darn smart–and one of the best things I heard all week!


To many extremist people out there, they seem to have been forgetting this lately.


Also, the agitators don’t seem to let up–does it matter if it’s conspiracy theories or fake news–if it gets the bird in the net for clip-clip.


In an effort to “resist”–or perhaps utterly destroy the opposition–we have put politics above the National interest. 


Yes, politics matter–issues matter–people matter. 


But can the bird fly with only one wing?


Sure, we need to speak up when we see something wrong or that we don’t agree with.

But we also need to discuss, negotiate, and compromise–for Pete’s sake, work together to make the bird stronger and fly further and faster–rather than kill the bird itself. 


Our competitors and enemies have arrows pointed at and are shooting them at our American Eagle.


Will we give them the advantage as we self-destruct with loathing for one another? 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)