Ocean of Words

I really like this phrase from a book that I’m reading called “Like Dreamers.”

An ocean of words and a desert of ideas.


Too often, we hear people who like to hear themselves talk, think very highly of themselves, show off, or just spout away. 


And while they say a lot…


There may not be a lot there. 


New ideas, thoughts, ways of looking at things, innovation, creativity, outside the box thinking–that’s like a desert!


In Yiddish (and it’s always funnier in Yiddish), we say:

A big, big mouth, and a tiny, tiny head.


Similarly, in Hebrew, there is phrase that translates to:

Say a little, and do a lot. 


Sometimes, the smartest people are the ones who use their words wisely, strategically, with depth and meaning, and when they really have something to say.


It’s at that time that you better be listening.  😉


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

When People Can’t Admit They’re Wrong

So he’s a story from the pool today…


I’m doing my laps minding my own business.


And this guy gets to the pool, sits down, and immediately pulls out his cellphone.


Then he proceeds to literally yell into his phone for probably a good half an hour. 


I’m doing my laps and I can hear this guy yelling:


– At his end of the pool 


– ALL the way at the opposite end of the pool


– With earplugs


– AND even underwater


And he goes on and on and on. 


Doesn’t stop for even a breath of air. 


Now, in all the years swimming, I’ve never had to approach someone about their behavior like this.


BUT this was too much as my head was pounding from his incessant yelling.


I waited until he finished his call. 


And it happened to coincide with me finishing my laps. 


I come out of the pool and grabbed my stuff. 


I have to pass him on the way out. 


And I’m still debating with myself whether this schlemiel is even worth it. 


My head is still throbbing from his yelling.


I stop in front of his chair. 


Now he’s pulled out a book and is trying to read. 


I say:

Excuse me.

He knows he did something wrong, and he barely looks up, trying to ignore me. 


I say again:

Excuse me. Did you intend for everyone at the pool to hear your ENTIRE conversation?


He starts murmuring something, and then says throwing it back on me:

What’s the problem?


So I say:

You were speaking so loud, I could hear you all the way on the opposite end of the pool.  I could even hear you under the water. 


He’s agitating now and he says:

Well, I was speaking to someone 85-years old who doesn’t hear well.  You get it?


So I say respectfully:

I am sorry that he doesn’t hear well, but does everyone else here around the pool also need to hear the conversation? 


Then he says:

So what–I don’t care if everyone hears.


I try one more time.

Do you see all these other people trying to read, rest, swim–do you at all care?


He still can’t get himself to come around, and instead doubles down and says, 

Well. I’ll do whatever I want!

Now, I’ve had enough, and I say:

So basically you don’t give a shit for ANY of your neighbors, do you?


Finally, he must of been embarrassed enough at his terrible behavior, and he backs down and says:

Next time he calls me, I’ll take the conversation inside!


At which point, he goes back to his book, and I complete my exit. 


It took all that just to get him to say he’ll handle it differently next time and basically be respectful of his neighbors and not a selfish pig!


It’s amazing–some people really just can’t own up to when they are being a jerk.


But I was glad this guy finally came around–maybe there is still hope. 😉


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Arrogance And A Messy Head

While sometimes children behave like “know-it-alls”…


Often an attempt to showcase what they’ve learned or to build their self-confidence. Sometimes, it’s also to bully others.  


More unusual though is to find an adult that thinks and actually says they know it all. 


But sure enough, I ran into someone who told me (about technology):

“I know everything!”


And they said it with a straight face. 


Literally, they told me how they came up through the ranks and knew EVERYTHING with emphasis!


Moreover, they told me that if I didn’t know something, I should go ahead and ask them because they would most definitely know it.


So I respect all people and certainly admire those who are knowledgable and talented in their fields. 


But something felt very wrong about an adult who feels that they have to go around bragging about the depth of their knowledge–and that their knowledge is apparently infinite (at least that’s what they espoused). 


I wondered to myself–is the person arrogant and a big mouth or the opposite–lacking in self confidence and therefore needing to boast and show off to compensate for their inadequacies?


When they were talking, it seemed like their head was getting so big and full of themself that it would just explode!


Most adults with emotional intelligence realize how little they know, and the older they get the more they realize that they don’t know in life. 


Especially, people of faith recognize that G-d is all-knowing and all-powerful, and we are but mere “flesh and blood” and truly just a speck of dust in the universe.


So truly smart people are humble and they look to learn from others, rather than preach and teach in a monologue of hubris.


Like many people that get too big for the britches, G-d usually brings them back down to Earth and their head to size.  😉


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Herd Mentality

What do herds do?


First there are big mouths and groupthink.


Then there is chasing each others tails.


This could lead to literally going off a cliff. 


Typically, like wolves, they hunt viciously in packs.


When they are stalked, they run scared leaving the weakest to serve as prey. 


When hunted, they are separated and slaughtered. 

Sometimes they stampede and can run over anything in their path.

Occasionally, they even devour their own young to keep the herd fed. 


Herds serve a survival function in nature, but when the herd is dumb, as if often the case, they die off and are left extinct. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Big Mouths Alert

Big MOuth.JPeG

So I took this photo in the Museum of Natural History. 


As you can see, this hippopotamus has quite a big mouth. 


He is also not alive and is behind a glass-enclosed case for viewing. 


To me this screams that those with big mouths often don’t end up well. 


I remember a relative of mine used to bluntly call it, “being full of sh*t.”


Whether these people are in politics, your neighborhood, bullies at work and school, or even those in the fake news media…they have become all to somewhat frequent.


Sure there are other animals with small mouths in the same situation, but the hippo truly is a decreasing and vulnerable species.


And like it’s neighbor in the museum, the dinosaur–another one who has a big mouth–that ended up extinct, the prospects for talking big, but accomplishing little is sort of part of the character. 


The hippopotamus is mostly a herbivore–it has a big mouth and some big sharp teeth, but it mainly eats humble plants and doesn’t pursue the hunt of the big game and eat lots of red meat. 


Listen, big mouths can still be highly dangerous–words are powerful and can do a lot of damage. 


But overall “talk is cheap,” especially when people focus on words and not good deeds and who don’t have the right intentions. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Bull In A China Shop

Bull.jpegGirls Faces Bull.jpeg

For some reason everyone wants to face down the bull in the China Shop or on Wall Street. 


The bull is stubborn and when it gets angry, it charges and gores. 


So how heroic for the statue of little girl (below on International Women’s Day) to be shown standing in front of him defiantly and not afraid. 


The truth probably is that we are all afraid in life. 


No one wants to get hurt or worse. 


The consequences of something really bad happening can be devastating loss–limb, body, mobility, property or even total person. 


And actually, the more we have in life, the more we have to (potentially) G-d forbid, lose. 


So when you have a spouse, children, a beautiful home, and a good job, that’s when you get really, really afraid. 


Losing your precious loved ones and everything you’ve built with G-d’s blessing and help can instantaneously be gone in the blink of an eye. 


Therefore, be careful before standing in front of a raging bull, you never know when you’ll get walloped and bad. 


Bravery in the face of danger is noble and praiseworthy when doing true good and confronting evil, but just to be a big mouth or a know-it-all or to strut your stuff, you better forget about it–you’ve got a lot to lose and it doesn’t take much for that bull to charge head on and do you a real big dirty! 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal and here with attribution to AP)

If This Then That (IFTTT), A Futurists Blessing

IFTTT.PNG

If This Then That (IFTTT) is a simple, but absolutely fundamental programming principle.


It is also the basis for futurist-thinking such as war-gaming and strategic planning.  For example, if North Korea put’s a nuke on the launch pad with the targeting at the U.S., then we will do kaboom!


IFTTT is also an app and is used in algorithms such as with Twitter, so when Trump or other famous and powerful people say something on the global social media stage, Wall Street’s high-speed, high-frequency trading desks are at the front of the line to respond to market-moving news.


So powerful is IFTTT, you could almost predict the election results from it (the outrageously biased media may want to open their tarnished rose-colored glasses and try it).  For example, if you take for granted, forget or neglect working class America, then the great “blue wall” tumbles. 


IFTTT also works in politics of all sorts. If you abandon friends and allies and embrace terrorist enemies, then the world order is turned on it’s head and the Middle East and beyond burns and rages in turmoil. Similarly, if you are biased between people, races, and political parties, then you polarize the country and create divisiveness and hate and obstruct even the possibility of virtually any progress. 


So you really don’t have to have a crystal ball to see the writing on the wall for the results of profoundly good moves and the display of stupidity galore. 


One final IFTTT before the major transition of power this week: if you talk big, but don’t really deliver results (or you deliver lots of bad stuff), then you get seen for being all poetry and no prose, and your legacy goes bye bye. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)