Holiday SHOULD BE Giving To Children’s Hospital

Thought this was a pretty good display with the Three Bears for holiday donations for Children’s National Hospital. 


While it gets your attention (who sees three pink bears lite up on the street at night?), asking people with a small impersonal sign on the floor to remember to login and make the donation later isn’t very effective. 


People act on the spot, especially when it’s an emotional appeal for charity for sick children that need help.  


The children deserve for there to be a way for would be donors to actually give on the spot–where they can swipe or tap their credit card, write a check, or drop some money in for giving. 


Later, later, later…and unfortunately, it may never happen for the Children. 


Come on–it’s the new roaring 2020s–we can create some urgency and convenience and do better than this!  😉


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Square Watermelons

I thought this was pretty novel. 


A square watermelon. 


Why do you need a square watermelon?


It was created to make transportation easier and to fit on the tight shelves of small stores in Japan. 


How do you make a round/oval watermelon square?


Why of course, you put a box around it while it’s still small and on the vine. 


Ah, I think they broke the mold on this innovative idea.  LOL


The problem is that that because they are harvested before they are ripe, they are inedible. 


So the Japanese use them for decorations, and they can last about a year. 


They are so unique, they cost roughly $100 for one. 


Why be square, when you can be round? 😉


(Credit Photo: Defense Acquisition University)

Clip-Clip

So recently I started cutting my own hair. 


Uh, yes!


Not sure what made me actually do this…


But it just seemed like I was wasting money at the Hair Cuttery on something that I could do myself. 


Also, I remember fondly how my dad used to cut his own hair for decades.


So I gave it a try–that’s not me in the picture!


I purchased a simple Wahl clipper and went at it.  


First a little tentatively and then more boldly as I got the hang of it. 


The best part of the clipper is the color-coded guide combs so I don’t completely screw this up. 


What I also like is that ability to give myself a little trim whenever I want. 


Don’t have to wait to get to the barber or to wait on line there. 


So far so good, thank G-d–no big hair disasters.  


And frankly, I look a lot happier than the guy in this photo. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Amazon’s Dangerous Genius

I am marveling at the Genius of Amazon and Jeff Bezos but also concerned about their future direction. 


Traditionally, they have invested for the long-haul!


For years, Amazon never made a dime, actually operating at a loss.


But all the time making long-term investments in infrastructure (warehouses, supply chain, logistics, etc.) and in customer acquisition. 


Their great selection, reasonable pricing, free shipping, and easy return policy lured hundreds of millions of people to drop the brick-and-mortar stores and even other online retailers to go Amazon all the way. 


Most people I know get virtually everything and anything on Amazon these days. 


Of course, the fear always was that Amazon would become such a dominant player and monopoly that no one else could compete. 


For a long time, they didn’t even charge sales tax!


It seems people can’t even imagine not having Amazon–where in the world would they shop and get all their stuff in 2-days or less (Prime Customers) and still be able to return all the crap they don’t even want. 


So here is the rub.


Now that Amazon is so dominant, guess what?  They are raising the Prime Rates and cutting back on returns–with customers actually being banned for returning too much. 


Ah, the lure, bait and switch. 


Amazon got us all as their slave customers–and we let them and love them for it. 


And after they snared us with all the convenience and security of being able to return stuff, they pull the rug and what can you do, but cry foul?


I love Amazon for their genius and what they have done for eCommerce, but I don’t like that they’ve built in a sense a dark empire to prey on their loyal customer base. 


Mr. Bezos, here is my message to you…


Please stay true to your ideals of customer-centricity and long-term investment in the company that has been the foundation for what you have built into such a retail juggernaut.  


Keep valuing your customers and serving them well and not trading them in for short-term profit gain.


In the end, that is a winning strategy that won’t land you in either regulatory hell and/or antitrust action to then force you to bend your knee or your ultimate breakup. 


Remember, you have one chance to make the right decision for Amazon or I fear that it’s not product returns that you’ll be for long worrying about. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Answer Your Watch

Watch

So I did it and took the plunge into a smartwatch. 

For over a year, I thought the technology just wasn’t there yet. 

Too clumsy, too difficult to use with such a small device. 

First, I considered just a Fitbit for tracking activity, but I quickly ruled it out, since you can get so much more with a full smartwatch.

Then, I looked into the Pebble, in particular the latest model the Time Steel, which runs between $200-$250. 

But I watched a review that pointed out the the Pebble does not have a touch screen, and everything are the buttons–okay, I immediately ruled that out. 

Next, I looked to old trusty, Apple…they have never failed me yet, and I tried on their various smartwatches. 

I settled on a simple sports model, since I figured as the technology continues to evolve or as the watch gets beat up in daily use, I could simply upgrade to the next great thing. 

Also, I figured if I really don’t like how it works, it wouldn’t be such a great loss monetarily. 

Well, the verdict is in–I really like it!

Easy to set up by simply syncing with the iPhone. 

And then all your major apps just show up on the colorful apps panel. 

In no time, I was checking the 10-day weather forecast, reading news headlines, tracking my activity, using the GPS locator, looking up calendar events, checking email and replying with easy voice dictation, sending text messages, and even calling family and talking to them into the watch!

I even started the music on my iPhone from another room by using the smartwatch. 

Oh yeah, I almost forget, it tells the time too!

Except for taking photos, which would be really cool with the watch, but it doesn’t do–it did most of the basics that I wanted it to. 

For not a lot of money, I felt that I was getting a lot of convenient functionality, and I am now encouraging my wife and kids to get it too. 

Apple, you still got it–so even though Google surpassed you in market value this week, I am still hopeful that you got some decent mojo left in you. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Hoverboard Dog Walking

Hoverboard

This was a humorous sight.


The guy has his dog on a leash and is “walking his dog,” but he himself is not walking.


He’s on his Hoverboard and the dog is pulling him down the block and across the street. 


Apparently dogs need exercise, but people need convenience. 


Mankind is always trying to control his environment with technology, gadgets, and science.


So is this what “dominion over the earth” looks like in short? 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Moving And Emotional

Teepee 2

So we are supposed to be moving in a few weeks, G-d willing. 

Not going far, but after 15 years in the same home, it’s time. 

We found a place that we like and could agree on…following primarily the rule of thumb on location, location, location.

Lot’s of places to shop, eat, workout, play, and pray. 

And close to public transportation…and of course, good ‘ol work–his and hers.

As we’re preparing for the move, there seems like a million things to do to get ready, but the hardest is figuring out what to take and what to leave. 

My friend told me to throw out half, and then come back and throw out the other half. 

You know what, a little extreme, but not a bad idea. 

So as I am going through things I bought or saved over the years, I am left scratching my head at what was I thinking for many of them, and for many of the memorable items that I can’t believe any of this really happened. 

It’s emotional looking back, and it’s emotional looking forward–just different emotions.

Back–yes, where did the years go and with that regret for mistakes made, but also joy at things accomplished, lives touched, and beautiful memories made with people I really love. 

Forward–Oy, am I getting older (well, still middle age but…), there is excitement for what comes next, also some anxiety there–I hope all goes well, please G-d–and then there is the acknowledgement that it’s not forever, and I better make the most of every moment of every day. 

My father used to tell me, when you are with those you love, you can live in a tee-pee and be happy…and I believe he was absolutely right. 

Moving to my next tee-pee with those precious to me…I don’t care so much where, but just that we are together and happy. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)