Minions Help Me!

Minions

This was a funny picture I took in Washington, D.C. 


This women is sitting on the Metro. 


On her lap are two big bags.


One bag (a knapsack) has a Minion on the front. 


And on top of the Minion bag is her overfilled buldging handbag.


The Minion is slanted sideways with the heavy handbag on its head, practically squooshing his face.


From the likes of it, the Minion looks like he’s got one big headache and wants out of there. 


His eyes pleading for a new owner to loyally serve or just to get that darn heavy handbag off its head. 


Feel better Minion…unfortunately, it’s not your day.  😉 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Soften The Hearts

The Iran-Around
This last year has shown some difficult negotiations between the P5+1 and Iran.

 
It seems as if the P5+1 have been doing everything possible to get Iran to stop pursuing dangerous WMD, but that the response is just forever, “No.”
 
So the deadline for a deal was extended once again. 
 
Many are saying no deal is better than a bad deal–and that certainly makes sense. 
 
The key is for national and global security to take precedence over any deal for deal’s sake.
 
Everyone desperately wants peace, but it should be a real and lasting and verifiable peace.
 
Most people are good and want peace, but there are always those extremists who have an irrational hatred and seek nothing but power and destruction, and they says things like they want to “annihilate Israel” or seek to build ICBMs that can reach Europe and America. 
 
Oh L-rd, please soften the hearts in Iran to agree to a real and lasting peace that safeguards us, and that brings prosperity and betterment to the world. 
 
Maybe this next extension will be the charm–let’s hope and pray.
 
Note: The characters in the cartoon are fictional and do not intend any disrespect to anyone–simply the hope for a softening of hearts and minds of Iran’s leaders, and with that the attainment of a real and verifiable peace with this next round of negotiations. 
 
All opinions my own.

Fruit Juice Want Some

Cartoon Juice
I took this photo in the supermarket.



It is of these Good 2 Grow juice bottles for kids with cartoon sip tops. 



Everyone from Ninja Turtles to Scooby Doo is here on the shelf.



And peeping out in the middle from the back is none other than SpongeBob SquarePants. 



I guess if I were still a kid holding hands with my mom coming down the aisle, I would stop right here and start yelling and jumping up and down for these.



Juice Smuice…I just like these fun, happy cartoon characters. 😉

10 Ways To Improve Federal Technology

10 Ways To Improve Federal Technology

While it’s good to improve government services through advances in information technology, we also need to do better with what we have, which is our own valuable IT human capital.

In the Wall Street Journal today, the “health-site woes” are spurring a push for changes to federal technology, including the possibility of a “federal unit dedicated to big tech projects.”

Whether or not we carve our a separate big tech project unit, we can do so much to improve success in all our agencies by valuing our people and motivating them to succeed.

As democracy and capitalism have taught us, we need people to be free to innovate and reward them appropriately.

While the grass may look greener in Silicon Valley, our challenge is to utilize all our resources in whatever part of the country they reside, whether they be government or private sector workers.

Ultimately, like most things, this is a human challenge, and not just a technology issue.

Hence, I developed the above comic strip to demonstrate 10 Ways to Improve Federal Technology, so we can all succeed together. 😉

(Source Cartoon [click here to enlarge]: Andy Blumenthal)

Life, Cartoonish And Not

Life, Cartoonish And Not

Strange day, starting with these cartoon characters standing on the street waving to everyone.

And they say texting while driving is distracting — what’s this?

Some other weird things:

– At a food store, saw an argument between an Asian customer and a Spanish-speaking cashier–they were arguing over something as silly as an orange juice, but what made this especially comical was because of the language barrier, each was getting more and more frustrated, until they both sort of gave up, and the customer storming out saying he was never going there again.

– At the rehabilitation facility, spoke to a couple where the husband–age 88–was there “unexpectedly” for the last two months after a relatively minor surgery. The wife–age 79 (married 60 years)–was visiting him every day. She said that they had never been really sick before, and that when he got out, they were going to visit their other condo in Florida and resume their regular, favorite hobby of ballroom dancing.

– A nurse assistant, from Sierra Leone, told me how he had escaped the bloody civil war there that left 50,000 people dead. He described how the rebels would overrun the villages killing everyone as he pointed his finger saying “boom, boom” and making slashing movements as if holding a knife or machete–and that many from his family were murdered. He described how he had escaped to neighboring Guinea and from there called his uncle in America who helped get him here, but the price was that he had to leave his family–a wife and two children behind. He said in the last 11 years, he was able to visit them only once in 2008 for a couple of weeks, and at the end of this month, he was finally able to go back to bring them to America.

I wondered how very different our lives are–and how some people suffer with war, poverty, illness, and loss, while others are vacationing and dancing into their 90’s. I’m not judging or implying anyone as good or bad–especially since all these people seemed very nice–but these events reminded me of a Jewish saying about the conundrum of the seeming righteous people that suffer and the wicked that prosper–and that only G-d is The Judge, who knows who is really righteous and wicked, what they really deserve, and that some people get rewarded in this world, while others in the world to come.

Either way, I hope G-d has mercy on us, so we don’t suffer, and have much more happy dancing times and less to none illness, poverty, and fighting.

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Imagine If People Really Looked Like This?

Imagine If People Really Looked Like This?

What does SpongeBob mean to you?

I thought this was funny–thinking what if people actually looked like this?

Hey, they actually look better then some people I know. 🙂

No, all kidding aside, the creations of our imagination are sometimes scary and other times funny.

Like what if people walked around like flesh-eating zombies or if they were indeed square with bright yellow faces.

It’s interesting to see what we come up with–how zany it can be–and how it provokes us into ever new territory to explore our fears, drives and sense of being alive. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

I Want To Be Possible

I_want_to_be_possible

On Rosh Hashanah, The Jewish New Year, which is a time of personal reflection, the Rabbi told us a story (which I made into the attached cartoon) about the person, who when asked what he wanted to be–when he grew up–said “I want to be possible!” That’s the serious part.

 

And when asked “why possible? The person replies humorously because his mother always told him how impossible he is. 🙂

 

The short parable struck me as pretty profound and worth sharing.

 

Because everyday, each of us has to wake up and look ourselves in the mirror, and ask–are we happy with ourselves…who we are…what we have become?  And is it really what we want to be, when we, proverbially, grow up?

 

In the movie Reckless, when they ask the teen growing up in the working class town what he wants out of life–he replies short and to point, “More!”

 

What more do we want out of our lives?  More money, more honor, more things…at the end, that’s all sort of besides the point–isn’t it?

 

What is important is making more possibilities in life–for ourselves and for others by creating a better world.

 

In other words, it’s not about the material (although we all need to take basic care for ourselves and our loved ones–that’s just being responsible), but fundamentally, it’s about the opportunity to make the impossible, possible!

 

For each of us, the challenges are unique and all too often (G-d protect us!), life’s trials and tribulations test us to our very core–so overcoming impossibilities has a distinct meaning for all of us.

 

But as a strategist, a futurist, and an enterprise architect, I know deep down that the art of the possible is in looking forward and not backwards, and working tirelessly to sacrifice and serve.

 

I pray for the new year that G-d gives us the strength and the wisdom to overcome our personal and societal weaknesses, limitations, and selfish inclinations to help and “repair the world”–creating new opportunities for peace, health, and prosperity for all!

 

(Cartoon created in BitStrips)

 

>Beyond The Blame Game

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Blame-game

It’s funny, when things go well everyone seemingly wants to step up and take the credit, but when things go badly, therein starts the blame game.

Harvard Business Review (April 2011) presents three categories of people that react dysfunctionally to failure (to which it attributes the responses of 70% of the U.S. population!)

Blame Others: look for someone to scapegoat, so they don’t have to take responsibility themselves.

Blame Yourself: judge yourself overly harshly or imagine failure where none exist.

Deny Blame: “deny that failure has occurred or deny their own role in it.”

A fourth category, I believe is when people:

Blame G-d: they ask “why me?” somehow implying an unfairness, injustice, or randomness in the failure.

In all these reactions to failure, there are in my opinion a number of mistakes being made and ways to improve upon them:

Focus – Instead of concentration on mission success, people may erroneously overemphasize attribution. However, rather than worry about who to blame, think about how to “right the ship;” there are people in the field depending on you!

Balance – Blaming implies that you are focused on the failure, but usually there are some things that were done right and some things that were done wrong. There is usually more of a balance to every situation that blame does not lend itself to.

Ownership – When we blame others, G-d, or even ourselves, we basically are throwing up our hands and abrogating control of the situation, when instead we need to take appropriate levels of responsibility and accountability for what we did and did not do (or as they say “sins of commission” and “sins of omission”).

Learning – Blame is a dead-end–it leads to hard feelings and possibly even despair. The way out is to acknowledge mistakes usually to degrees by all involved and LEARN FROM THEM. A failure can be turned into opportunities for future success, but learning valuable lessons on how to do things better the next time around.

To be honest, we all make mistakes.

In fact, I would worry about someone who seems so perfect on the outside–because I would imagine that they are likely or probably a powder keg, ready to blow on the inside (ever hear of someone “going postal” or the star who seems to have it all–looks, fame and fortune–and then they overdose or drive off a cliff or something?)

No one has it all. No one is perfect. We are all human.

It’s not about blame. It is about accountability and responsibility–making things right where we can.

Every day we learn and grow–that is our test and our trust.

(Cartoon Credit: Tandberg)

>A Time To Remember

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Holocaust

Someone sent me this cartoon today and I was moved by it.

As much as we want to look to the future, it is important to remember the past and the many millions who perished in the most horrible and cruel way.

And as we continue to live in times of upheaval and extremism, the lessons of just 60+ years ago, of the Holocaust, are as relevant today as ever.

As someone who is always looking at technology as the answer to everything (understanding of course, that all true answers come from above), this is a pause for me to question what if any are the limits to change and innovation?

My hope, of course, is that we can rid ourselves of hatred, bigotry, intolerance, and extremism and instead work together for the betterment of all humankind.

As long as our minds are blocked by hatred, we (in the collective) will never be able to realize our ultimate potential.

I believe in a future where we will ALL together achieve technological breakthroughs that will surpass anything that we can imagine today; where we will indeed travel–perhaps to the stars–together as one, not divided by race or religion any longer, but united in our commonality and strength and desire to achieve a future of hope, health, peace, and success for all.

(Source cartoon: Wiley)