613 Buses

613 Buses

Here’s my next encounter today with mystical number 613 (the number of Commandments in the Torah).


This is the sign on the bus shelter by the Foggy Bottom Metro.


Two buses are on the way–the M36 and M31.


Both coming to the same bus stop.


One immediately right after the other. 


Read top right to lower left…613.


Within ten minutes I saw yet another 2 signs on the metro train in 2 different locations…both 6 car trains coming right after each other in 1 and 3 minute intervals.


(Note: Metro also has 8 car trains that it usually alternates with the 6’s, but today none were in sight at either station). 

613 Train
I am not making this stuff up…this is freaky, but if you believe, maybe also very cool. 😉


(Source Photos: Andy Blumenthal)

613 In Miniature

613

So this is my fifth month in a row now posting about the holy 613 (number of commandments in the Torah). 


This time my daughter sent me this photo from this afternoon. 

Do you see the 613 in the middle (I almost missed it)?


She actually saw this on a city bus–it was on the vertical cord you pull to request a stop–and it was tiny.


But there it was–calling us out to have absolute faith in the Almighty above. 


As it happens, I saw another 613 this month–again out of nowhere. 


I was talking to a colleague in the office. 


He was wearing his badge–I think off to the side of his belt. 


And when I looked down for a moment, the number of the badge was glaring out 613. 


I thought for a second to take a photo, but this obviously wouldn’t have been appropriate. 


It’s just too weird at this point…


613 everywhere…and we are all seeing it.  


Mass psychosis, no.


Living in the time of the Messiah, hopefully.


Message to have faith, absolutely.


Please G-d, it should all be for the good. 


Shabbat Shalom!


Note: If there are any Torah scholars out there that can help interrupt these 613 sightings–would greatly welcome your comments for blessings. 


(Source Photo: Rebecca 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)

Hippie Bus Menorah

Hippie Bus Menorah
I took this photo today of a Menorah made on the top of a VW Bus. 



Inside, the bus still had the seats, and outside it had these cute Hippie flower pedals. 



It was unique, fun, colorful, nostalgic and it rolls. 



Plus you can fulfill the commandment (mitzvah) of lighting candles at Chanukah time. 



What a novel piece of Judaica–love it! 😉



(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

The Flaming Bus

Flame Bus

I took this photo today in Washington, D.C.


This cool bus is painted with flames on the hood and has a guitar at the top. 


No, it’s not the bus from The Partridge Family although it has similar colors!


On this bus, the guitar has the name “Sailing Conductors Jack Mantis” on it. 


When I looked this up online, I found that these are some “music loving dudes” who travel (sail and bus) the world and record musicians across dozen of countries and 5 continents. 


They have music, videos, and a 4-part TV series from their global talent search–although there is only limited material at their site (so not sure where all the recordings from the “hundreds of local musicians” is available for consumption).


Anyway, this is a fascinating experiment in discovering diversity, music and the arts, and culture along their travels. 


As to the specific music–beauty is in the eye of the beholder. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Want To Ride The Falafel Bus?

Falafel Bus
Falafel is a funny sounding food, but actually tastes pretty good. 



The best that I’ve ever had was in Tel Aviv with spicy falafel balls, hot french fries, and loads of creamy Tehina stuffed in the pita.



Only thing better is with juicy grilled schwarma, right off the rotating fire spit, and hot sauce, and for that try Max’s in Silver Spring. 



One of my friends used to joke about the guy with an accent selling falafel, but who used to ring out (what sounded like), “Pizza and Palapel!” 



In terms of getting it from a curbside bus–only if it is hot and kosher. 😉



(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Even The Buses Celebrate

Even The Buses Celebrate

A great Independence Day it is.

Even the buses celebrate with the flag proudly mounted and displayed.

What does Independence Day mean to you?

– Freedom

– Human rights

– Democracy

Important ideals to appreciate.

We are so fortunate to be independent.

All values worth fighting for. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

When Technology Fails, People Can Succeed

Sun_trolley

We were really happy to find the Sun Trolley in Ft. Lauderdale.

For 50 cents a person, you can ride between the beautiful beaches and downtown Las Olas Street where there are wonderful art stores, cafes, museums, and shopping. 

One day, riding the bus though, there was a technology failure that really made we think about the relationship between man and machine. 

On the bus, there was a elderly couple with a teenage girl and a young boy, who was in a wheelchair.

Driving along the beach (and hotels), the couple indicated to the driver that they wanted to get off (these buses don’t stop at pre-assigned stops, but rather wherever people say they want to get on or off). 

The bus pulls over and the driver gets up and goes to the back of the bus, and he starts trying to work the device that make the bus wheelchair accessible.

But despite the driver trying to get the device to work, nothing happens.

The women and girl had already left the bus and where standing on the sidewalk waiting. The other people on the bus were waiting to get to their destination as well. And the man and the boy in the wheelchair seemed both embarrassed at the scene, but also worried how they were going to get this heavy wheelchair off the bus. 

The driver pulls out some metal pole contraption and is trying to free the wheelchair accessibility device on the stairs–again, over and over–but still can’t get the device to work. 

I thought about this poor family, but also about how dependent we are on technology and when it doesn’t work–very often we are not sure what to do, because we just assume it will (like it always does, or is supposed to). 

When I saw that the driver was not going to be successful with getting the device to work, I got up and said to the man–can I help you (i.e. to help him with the wheelchair and boy).

Not sure how this elderly man and I would do it, I was glad when another man came forward and offered to help as well.

Between the three of us, we carried the boy and wheelchair down the stairs and off the bus, being careful that the boy was safe and comfortable. 

I was glad that we were able to help this family, but also continued to think that technology never will really be a substitute for people, because technology is not only developed, operated and maintained by people, but also that technology invariably can fail, and people must step up when it does. 

Technology is great when it works, but it is never failproof, so we had better be prepared for those days when systems go down and we must carry on. 😉

In The Back Of The Bus

I love seeing the sign on the bus commemorating the heroism of Rosa Parks for civil rights.However, on this Thanksgiving, I was reminded that all is still not well when it comes to bigotry and racism in this country.I rode the S bus this evening–the one that goes up and down Collins Avenue in Miami Beach.The beautiful architecture of the luxury condominiums and hotels, and the palm trees, beach and waterways, along with a good smattering of fancy automobiles and yachts, makes for some impressive scenery.

But this is in stark contrast to most of the people on the bus, who come from a much poorer lifestyle.

This afternoon, the bus was very crowded and my daughter and I found ourselves in the back of the bus.

And the vibes were not very good at all!

First, there was a young lady dressed somewhat scantilly, and there was a guy riding in the back row who just kept looking her up and down–again and again. I imagined how uncomfortable and scared she must feel. But within a few minutes, I was glad when I saw her get off the bus, safely.

Now, I guess it was our turn, unfortunately. And beside the man who had been ogling the woman is a another guy. This guy has wild hair and his eyes are intensely dark, and he is staring at me.

First, when I noticed him doing it, I did the usual quick look back, which shows the person you are noticing them staring at you, and then they stop, right? That’s what usually happens, but not this time.

This guy stares straight at me with piercing angry eyes–and he won’t stop.

I look over at my daughter to make sure she is okay, but she is aware that something is wrong and that there is danger nearby, sitting just a few feet away.

I look up front to see if we can move away–but the bus is still crowded and we are sort of hemmed in.

The guy continues to stare straight in my face, and there is no avoiding it any longer.

I say, “Are you looking at me?”

He continues to stare, doesn’t say a word, and he looks up at my Jewish head covering, my Yarmulka. Then he lifts his hand–he points first at his eyes and then straight at me.

I get my daughter up and we squeeze our way forward toward the front of the bus. Thank G-d, this guy didn’t pursue.

We lost our seat, but by the way this guy looked menacingly at us, I think we could’ve lost a lot more.

This was quite a frightening situation, and it made me think that while the Rosa Parks sign on the bus has a permanent place there, unfortunately, there are still lots of people who hold onto blind hatred and refuse to let it go.

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)