Rock The House

Alright, this Jewish kid from the Bronx is not the biggest club guy.

But, we had a special event at the Light Club in Vegas and it was pretty awesome.

The Great: the lights, dancers, special effects, and overall venue at the Mandalay.

The Okay: Prefer an even higher tempo and energy from the music for more of the time.

One amazing human element that I saw at The Light was someone in a wheelchair on the dance floor surrounded by his friends, all having a good time.

Overall, I am finding Vegas better than what they advertise…guys, for almost $10B in gambling revenue, you can certainly find a better marketing and branding firm.

As DC is to politics, Vegas is to entertainment, but DC gets all the news coverage (more often bad than good), and Vegas needs something more than Sin City. πŸ˜‰

(Source Video: Andy Blumenthal)

Government Shutdown – Rush Hour

Government Shutdown - Rush Hour

Today was Day #1 of the Federal Government Shutdown.

Pictured here is rush hour in Washington, D.C.

In terms of raising revenue to pay down our national debt, solve challenging problems facing our nation, or increase our global competitiveness–I am not sure how this gets us there.

With around 800,000 people sitting at home or in Starbucks waiting to be recalled to work, about the only good thing you can say about the furlough is that it was easy to get a seat on the Metro.

Sad, but true. πŸ˜‰

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Saving Iraq’s Jewish Scrolls

What a beautiful job by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).

In Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003, our Special Forces looking for WMD instead discoverd thousands of ancient Jewish texts.

The texts dating from 1540 to 1970 taken from the Iraqi Jewish Community were sitting defiled in the basement of Saddam Hussein’s Intelligence HQS molding and decomposing under 4 feet of water.

The U.S. military and NARA rescued these texts and have painstakingly restored and preserved them through freezing, categorizing, condition assessment, stabilization, mold remediation, mending pages, washing, binding, and more.

Pictures of the collection of texts from Iraq before and after preservation can be found here.

The collection includes:

– A Hebrew Bible from 1568

– A Babylonian Talmud from 1793

– A Zohar/Kabbalah from 1815

– A Haggadah from 1902

– 48 Torah scroll fragments

– And much more.

On October 11, NARA will unveil an exhibit in Washington, DC featuring 24 of the recovered items and the preservation effort.

Hopefully, the collection of Jewish religious texts will ultimately be returned to the Jewish community from which it came, so that it can be held dear and sacred once again, and used properly in religious worship and never again held hostage or profaned.

Thank you so much to both the Department of Defense and to the National Archives for saving and preserving these ancient, sacred Jewish religious texts.

You did a beautiful mitzvah! πŸ˜‰

Two Pictures From DC Today

Car Accident

Samples All Gone

These were two photos that I took downtown today.

Both photos represent contrasts of the reality with life in the city.

The first was a car junked-up and sitting on the sidewalk. It was quite out of place in front of the neat rowhouses and otherwise nicely manicured street.

The second was the “free samples” tray of delicious Pumpkin Munchkins at Dunkin’ Donuts with all the samples gone–empty–nothing there.

Perhaps, if we put these together in a storyline then it’s simple…someone wrecked their car, put grafitti all over it in some sort of artistic or social statement, made their way over to DD and in their anxiety ate up all the free munchkins, and left only a short while later to get over to the car dealship to look for a new set of wheels.

That’s a pretty full day even in Washington, D.C. πŸ˜‰

(Source Photos: Andy Blumenthal)

A Giant On The Terrace

A Giant On The Terrace

Passing a building and looking up at the terraces, how could you not notice this giant dude?

Larger than life and looking like he is holding up the terrace above.

This is no simple scarecrow.

But a formidable member of the Redskins.

For me, I’d like the GI Joe version for my property. πŸ˜‰

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

PLS DNT STP

I first saw an advertisement for this music group near George Washington University.

I was taken by their name: PLS DNT STP (i.e. Please Don’t Stop).

Pretty smart!

I checked out one of their music videos online and asked my wife to listen as well.

As it started, she goes, this is the type of thing that can give people with epilepsy a seizure.

Yes, she was joking, I think.

But then she said she liked it and to post it to her Facebook, which I dutifully did.

The music is a little young, but even we can appreciate the high energy and cool factor.

I wrote on my wife’s Facebook wall, “You’re Bad!” πŸ˜‰

Post Office And Ice Cream

Post Office And Ice Cream

I took this photo this week in downtown Washington, D.C.

A U.S. Postal Service priority mail sticker stuck onto a pole with a picture of ice cream–2 scoops–with dollar signs on them. And an eye in a pyramid on the lower left.

I am not sure whether the mail sticker was just a part of the grafitti here or whether someone was trying to make a statement about the financial state-of-affairs of the Postal Service–losing money–and the loses stacking up over time, as the watchful eye of Government looks on.

I love getting mail like everyone else–except bills and junk mail.

But with a multitude of technology (email, texts, and so on) replacing traditional paper mail–the Post Office needs a new business model.

How about a serious focus on package delivery (for all the e-Commerce ordering we are doing)?

Or then again, would anyone mind an ice cream counter in every post office to make some happy faces and real money? πŸ˜‰

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

The Measure Of A Person

The Measure Of A Person

Another candidate for picture of the week.

This guy is wearing “tape measure” suspenders.

Oh, how fashionable!

While the true measure of a person is their good deeds and relationships (to man and G-d), perhaps the suspenders is a reminder that we should take the time to stop and measure ourselves both quantitatively and qualitatively in our lives.

As we approach the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah, a time of introspection and judgement, it is a good opportunity to take measure.

Performance management is not just for work–we can look at ourselves both personally and professionally and commit to do better.

(Source Photo: Dannielle Blumenthal)

Lessons From Breaking A Leg

Lessons From Breaking A Leg

Some things I learned from breaking an ankle this week:

1) Beware of the Crazies: There are a lot of crazy people out there. This guy on the street in Washington, D.C. was yelling and screaming and when I turned to see what all the commotion was about, my foot pivoted sideways off the pavement and crack! I was cussing under my breath at the nut on the street and the pain shooting out of my foot. Thank G-d for the parking meter, which I lunged toward and grabbed to keep myself vertical!

2) Be great: The lady in the hospital that did my cast was amazing. She was so nice to me and talented as a medical professional. She was able to take even a sort of routine task like making a cast (she probably does thousands of them) and do it with an artistic flair and near perfection–I’m telling you this lady was able to make great out of the mundane. All the time explaining to me what she was doing, asking me how it felt, and then helping me test it out. She was like an angel.

3) Easy is hard: The crutches are large and clumsy–they help to redistribute the weight off the foot, but they are uncomfortable to use and look ridiculous. But getting around on crutches, I am realizing that all the things every day that I take for granted as easy are pretty hard with a broken bone. On the first day, I went courageously out to the Metro and was going to head down to work, but when it started raining I realized this was not going to work–how to you carry yourself on crutches and hold an umbrella at the same time and not get your cast wet and ruin it. The next day, I found myself hopping on and off the escalator trying to keep balanced, keep the weight off the foot, and grab the crutches along with me–this was almost comical. Then trying to stay on the crutches, while using the metro card to activate the turnstile, and go through this narrow passage quickly, I found myself wedged between the turnstile gates. Then the morning coffee was a no-no; how do you carry a coffee while navigating on crutches, which then left me with a caffeine withdrawal headache. I could go on, but you get the picture.

Being sick and injured is lousy, but I appreciate my health anew. And I thank G-d for teaching me some valuable lessons–many refreshers–and keeping me from an even worse outcome. πŸ˜‰

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)