Card Ya

Thought this was novel in the store. 


They have a digital calendar with the date from 21 years ago.


It says:

To Purchase Tobacco Products You Must Have Been Born On Or Before This Date.

 Thank you for showing you I.D.


Ah, easy to match the DOB on the I.D. presented to the date on the calendar.  


Nothing to calculate, no mistakes. 


They raised the age for smoking (cigarettes and vaping) in Maryland to 21 on October 1, so it’s the same requirement as for drinking alcohol.


Luckily for me (even though I’m over 21), I don’t really do either–definitely not the smoking, and the drinking limited primarily to the Kiddush prayer on Shabbat. 😉


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Choosing Good Over Vice

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel, called “Choosing Good Over Vice.”

But yet, if everyone would just act out on each other based on their unbridled wants and desires, oy vey what a truly terrible world that would be…From uncontrolled desires for food, drugs, alcohol, gambling, honor, money, power, sex, and more–it seems like everyone has their little secret fetish. Whether it’s coming from their head, their heart, or down below…the key questions is how much can they control themselves.


However, inside us, our soul, like the Ten Commandments in the Holy Ark, guide us so that we aren’t just animals chasing game or tail, but are human beings trying to become angels.


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Wine Makes Me Smile

What a great labeling of this bottle of wine. 


Just a big simple smiley face on it!


After I saw this bottle in the store, I just had to take a picture and also look this up on the internet. 


It’s part of the “SMILE” wine campaign from Lindeman’s Wines.


Apparently each limited edition bottle reminds you of something that we have to smile about: “family get-togethers,” “discovering new places,” and “randoms acts of kindness.”


Wow, I love this idea.  


Wine makes you smile, but so do these wonderful things in life. 


And it’s not just showing/associating the product with something positive (like beer and soda commercials always do), but it’s making the product itself smile at you!


I think this is a really smart marketing campaign.


Also, the cute smiley face on the bottle would make this the life of the party. 


Great job Lindemans–I’m smiling. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

The Excuses We Make

Poverty.jpeg

So on the way to the airport, I am talking with the Uber driver. 


“There is such a discrepancy between the rich and the poor here,” I say.


“Yeah,” she says, “When I drive and stop at the lights, there are many poor people that come up to the car looking for a handout.”


She continues, “I usually have a few dollars here” pointing to the little cubby hole under the parking break. 


“But my friends make fun of me saying, they [the panhandlers] are just going to go out and buy a beer!”


Excuse #1 not to give poor people–they’ll misuse our charity and buy alcohol, drugs, or prostitutes. 


The driver says, “But so what…if I were in their shoes, I’d buy a beer too.”


I’m thinking, hey this is nice…she’s fighting the bad inclination and her friends pressure and still wants to give–this is great!


Sure enough, we stop at a red light, and a really poor man starts walking up to the window to ask for help.


This person is dressed in dirty battered rags of an undershirt, and has sores on their arms and body.


The driver says, “Yeah, if I gave him, he’d probably just switch his shirt inside out later [as if the other side would be magically less dirty and ripped] and go home to his Rolls Royce!”


Wow, when excuse #1 doesn’t hold…


Excuse #2–the poor people are just faking it…really they aren’t poor, but rather they are fantastically rich and trying to pocket some more money for free.


It’s like the evil inclination sitting on one shoulder telling us “don’t give,”  even as the good inclination is sitting over our other shoulder beseeching us to have mercy and “give, give, give.”


In this case, the evil inclination won out. 


I reached for my wallet and wanted to open my window, but honestly this person looked scary–dirty and maybe sick–I was afraid of this person. 


I hope G-d forgives me, because I feel it wasn’t my evil inclination making excuses, but this time it was genuine for me. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Wild Advertising Art

Bus Art

I took this photo of an ad for Milagro Tequila on the side of a tour bus in Washington, D.C.


Milagro (“Miracle”) is a company that prides itself on it’s collaboration with artists to create cool murals to advertise it’s liquor. 


Tequila is made from the sweet, fruity, blue agave plant from northwest Mexico, hence the writing over the mural saying, “Agave Expressionism.”


It must be challenging to look out the windows of this tour bus covered in this very blue mural and messaging. 


Why is this ad effective? 


First, it is intense and exciting–the vibrant colors, the big mask with the bulging eyes, and the skulls with the green leafy stuff growing out of the head. 


Second, it really is a work of art, and you wouldn’t expect to see this on a regular tour bus shlepping around town. 


Third, the cultural contrast between the Mexican artistic expressionism and the rest of the comparatively humdrum city life is standout. 


Fourth, after a long hard day at work, people are tired, thirsty, and ready for some fun–so this is a welcome message.


Overall, this has the creativity and connection with the people to hit the mark–pretty neat. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

The Kardashian Ball-Busters

Balls

So despite the immense beauty, fame, and fortune associated with the Kardashian women…if you are a man, you may want to stay far far far away. 

It seems like in the end, nothing good ever turns out for the Kardashian men–who BTW are often ballplayers and even Olympic athletes. 

Kris’s husbands:

– Robert Kardashian (1st husband) – divorced in 1991 after Kris’s affair and lavish lifestyle spending, remained close friends, and died of esophageal cancer in 2003.

– Bruce Jenner (2nd husband) – divorced in 2014, and revealed “excruciatingly painful” transgender crisis and transformation to Caitlyn Jenner. 

Kim’s husbands: 

– Damon Thomas (1st husband) – Messy divorce in 2004.

– Chris Humphries (2nd husband) – Filed for divorce after 1 year, 7 months and divorce completed in 2013.

– Kanye West (3rd husband) – Marriage issues and divorce rumors abound from frustration over Kim’s weight gain to the two sleeping apart

Chloe’s husband:

Lamar Odom (1st husband) – Signed divorce paper in 2015, and now in coma after drug overdose in brothel

Kourtney’s partner: 

– Scott Disick (Ex partner) – Broke up in 2015 and continues struggling with drugs and alcohol addiction.

What about brother, Rob Kardashian?

– He too is struggling with a weight problem and depression, and is estranged from his family

Anyway, it all starts with Kris Jenner, the controlling family matriarch who has been said to be “testy, demanding, manipulative,” and generally narcissistic.  

And how about the Kardashian daughters–who are they as people?–as they air their freewheeling “have it all” lifestyles on the show, Keeping Up With The Kardashians?

Even though they call it a reality show, maybe the real reality–like for most of humankind–is not so “all that” and glamorous after all? 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)