Like Removing A Nail

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So you always hear about the techniques used when people are being tortured…one of them being have their nails ripped off.


Ouch!


So this week when I had a ingrown toenail removed, I said jokingly to the podiatrist:


“Do you do waterboarding also?”


Ok, funny, not-funny.  Still got a chuckle!


But in removing the nail, the technique is really so amazing.


They inject the toe with a local anesthetic, but hey even the injections into a sensitive toe could be pretty uncomfortable. 


So before the injection, they spray you toe with a freezing spray, so you don’t even feel the injections.


When he actually removed the nail and chemically destroyed the nailbed so it wouldn’t come back, I didn’t feel a thing.


I mean, I literally didn’t feel a thing!


It was a wonderful feeling–whatever he did, however much it would’ve hurt–it didn’t.


I thought to myself in a wave of anesthetic and freeze-numbed delight, this is absolutely wonderful.


No pain, not even a pinch. 


I could sense everything going on around me, take it in, think about it, even mull it over again and again, and just smile. 


In a way, I thought how wonderful life would be to have the ability to think in the head and feel from the heart, but have no pain or suffering in the body. 


Yes, there are plenty of damning and painful thoughts, memories, and heartaches, but for the body to be numb (even momentarily) to all the bad stuff that actually felt pretty good.


How would it feel if the mind and heart also felt no pain and only bliss–I smiled even more. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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Is It I Don’t or I Do?

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Wow this was tough…


I was at a luncheon with some friends, including a couple we’re friendly with that’s been dating a while.  


At one point, the young man gets up to get some more food, and the young lady all of a sudden asks me, “Do you still live around here?”


I said “Yes, not far from here,” and in turn asked whether she was still living in {blankty blank neighborhood}.


She said, “Yes, {and continues sort of out of the blue} and we’re not going to live together until we get married.”


I was sort of surprised at the turn that her answer took about their relationship, and innocently asked, “So does that mean you guys are planning on marriage then?”


Just then the man comes back and I must’ve been reading the tea leaves {and the ominous music for the laying of the trap starts playing in my head}…


Immediately, the young lady says to him before he even sits back down, “He’s asking if we’re getting married {and for some reason she’s literally pointing at me or am I imaging that finger like a dagger coming out}!”


At this point, I think my eyes started to bug out a little as I must’ve had this look on my face like what the heck is going on here. 


But if this isn’t going bad enough {what in G-d’s name did I walk into with this?)…


This older lady across the table, starts blurting out loudly saying, “How would you like if she ends up with another guy?!!!”


Holy sh*t {where is that coming from now?)!


The guy next to me is obviously at the point of fury {I can’t say that I fully blame him}, and he packs up his stuff and sort of storms off from the table.


The young women is still there trying to make conversation as if this whole thing just somehow didn’t happen. 


But it did and it was pretty ugly!


The older lady {not stopping–this is madness} then chimes in again and says, “Look at what he did, he stormed off–if I were you, I would just drop him!”


We’re all sort of sitting there in complete shock now. 


Pulling for a straw to somehow make this scene go away, I ask the young lady, “Should I go out and see if I can speak with him?”


She’s shakes her head and says, “No. We’re almost done {done–in what way…?}!”


Within a couple of minutes, we excused ourselves and headed out–sort of not believing how this whole scene went down. 


One thing I can tell you is do not get ANYWHERE near people and their relationships–there are a whirlwind of just under the surface feelings, agendas, and finger-pointing ready to take flight and eradicate everything in the vicinity of ground zero. 


Anyway, I hope everything works out okay for this couple…they actually do seem really nice together.  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Don’t Push The Button

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Thought this was a really funny quote about getting your buttons pushed: 


“Don’t push my buttons without reading the manual.”

– Gadgetmobile, Inspector Gadget

In terms of not pushing other people’s buttons:

“Remember, you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but with creatures of emotion, creatures bristling with prejudice, and motivated by pride and vanity.”

– Dale Carnegie

 (Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Content Filtering – Should We Restrain Ourselves?

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So the Rabbi today spoke about thinking before you speak, and not letting your emotions overcome your logic. 


He mentioned, for example, how some people have so much rage–road rage, email rage, etc.–and you can’t let your rage dictate your actions. 


People can certainly get under your skin–just look at the candidates for President doing that to each other.


But rather than just react and blurt out stupid or horrible things in a tit-for-tat, we need to stop and think.


The Rabbi recounted the old advice of counting to ten before saying or doing something rash that you will regret. 


The joke was about the one guy bullying another, and the victim counts to ten like he’s supposed to, but then rather than take things down a notch or two, he surprises the bully when he hits ten by punching him right in the nose! (lol)


Another cute idea the Rabbi put out there was for marriage counseling–that husbands and wives should drink this “special water” that they hold in their mouth–this way when they are fighting, they have to pause and can’t say anything provocative and aggressive to each other. 


The speak then turned high-tech to some of the new apps for content filtering that help you not to send emails or texts that you are sorry for afterwards. 


And I leaned over to my neighbor in synagogue and said that is so funny, because I just saw this 16-year Indian old girl on Shark Tank who developed this app called ReThink that does just that. 


When you write something negative like ugly or stupid etc., a pop up box comes up and ask whether you really want to say that–it gives you pause to rethink what you are saying and doing. 


She notes from her studies of adolescents that when given the opportunity from this pause, “93% of the time, [they] decide not to post an offensive message on social media.”


I remember one colleague at work used to recommend, “write what you want [with all your emotions], but then delete it, and write what will be constructive to the situation [with your logic].”


Getting back to the election, a lot of what the candidates are saying now and from decades ago is stupid or shameful–“locker room banter”–maybe we need to have a filter on our mouths even when we think other people aren’t listening. 


Realistically, we can’t and shouldn’t have to go around filtering every word we say and holding back on every deed we do–there is something to be said for simply following your moral compass in the moment and reacting naturally, talking and doing from the heart and based on instinct, inner belief, and passion. 


But if you are getting angry, then it is best to hit the pause button and filter yourself before someone else has to count to ten and pop you one in your big dumb coconut face. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal) 

Feeling It All

Face

Feelings are one of those things that make us oh so human. 


We feel love and hate, joy and sadness, hopeful and anxious, peaceful and distraught, and countless more emotions. 


While some people come across as stoic, others seem to take it all in (maybe even right on the chin). 


Hence, the perennial stone-faced poker player verse the person who seems to show every emotion and just can’t hide it. 


According to the Wall Street Journal, about 20% of both men and women are what’s called highly sensitive people (HSPs).


HSPs simply feel everything more!


These are the people who are crying at the movies and so on. 


They can also be extremely empathetic and caring–because they just almost intuitively understand. 


I think they are also deep thinkers, they are watchers of people, taking in the stimuli and processing it in terms of their feelings. 


I remember as a kid sitting with my sister and her friends who were considerably older than me–8 years–and I would listen to their “mature” girl conversations go on and on, and then at the end, I would just sort of say my sensitive two cents, and I think more often then not, I got a lot of surprise looks at a young boy who seemed a lot older and wiser than his age. 


In retrospect, I think that I was always just very sensitive to people, their plights, their hurt, the injustices in the world, and sought to understand it and try to make it right. 


The flip side is that one schmuck of a manager years ago said to me, “You need to get a thicker skin!”


But you know what, I like feeling, being very human, and deeply experiencing the world.


I would imagine (having never tried drugs, true) that perhaps people who get high either are running away from some feelings or running to others–but as a HSP, you just feel it all straight up. 


Being very sensitive to the world can almost be like extrasensory perception…sometimes you can see what others don’t, but you also have to learn to cope with the firehose flood of feelings–sometimes even having to tune some of it out. 


Cut me and I bleed, caress me and I am comforted.  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

From Stability Comes Instability

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I remember hearing the phrase (not sure from where), “everything and the opposite.”


I think it refers to how within each thing in life are elements of the exact contrary and opposing force. 


Similar to the interactions of ying and yang, the world is an interplay of opposites–males and females, black and white, fire and water, ebb and flow, good and bad, optimism and pessimism, and so on. 


Everything has a point and it’s counterpoint.


It was interesting to me to see this concept expressed in terms of the financial markets (Wall Street Journal), where bull and bear contend in terms of our finances.


But what was even more fascinating was the notion from the economist, Hyman Minsky, who noted that the very dynamic between stability and instability was inherent within itself.


So for example, Minsky posits that a stable economic market leads to it’s very opposite, instability.


This happens because stability “leads to optimism, optimism leads to excessive risk-taking, and excessive risk-taking leads to instability” (and I imagine this works in reverse as well with instability-pessimism, retrenchment and limiting risk to stability once again).


Thus, success and hubris breeds failure, and similarly failure and repetitive trial and error/hard work results in success.


It is the interflow between ying and yang, the cycle of life, life and death (and rebirth), the seasons come and go, boom and bust, and ever other swinging of the pendulum being polar opposites that we experience. 


The article in the Journal is called “Don’t Fear The Bear Market,” I suppose because we can take comfort that what follows the bear is another bull. 


But the title sort of minimizes the corollary–Don’t (overly) rejoice in the bull–because you know what comes next.


Go cautiously and humbly through life’s swings.  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

You Can’t Hide Your Feelings


You can try to hide your feeling, but it won’t work…



Your emotions are now an open book to anyone with facial-recognition software, such as from Emotient, Affectiva, and Eyeris.



This video from Emotient shows examples of Dr. Marion Bartlett demonstrating very well how the system is able to pick up on her expressions of joy, sadness, surprise, anger, fear, disgust, and contempt. 



From broad displays of emotion to subtle spontaneous, natural displays, to micro, fast and involuntary expressions, the system detects and clearly displays it. 



Described in the Wall Street Journal, the software, in real time, successfully uses “algorithms to analyze people’s faces” and is based on the work of Dr. Paul Ekman, who pioneered the study of facial expressions creating a catalog in the 1970s with “more than 5,000 muscle movements” linked to how they reveal your emotions. 



A single frame of a person’s face can be used to extract 90,000 data points from “abstract patterns of light to tiny muscle movements, which get sorted by emotional categories.”



With databases of billions of expressions from millions of faces in scores of countries around the world, the software works across ethnically diverse groups. 

Emotion-detection has a myriad of applications from national security surveillance and interrogation to in-store product marketing and generally gauging advertising effectiveness, to helping professionals from teachers to motivational speakers, executives, and even politicians hold people’s attention and improve their messaging.



Then imagine very personal uses such as the software being used to evaluate job applicants or to tell if a spouse is lying about an affair…where does it end?



Of course, there are serious privacy issues in reading people’s faces unbeknownst to or unwanted by them as well as possibilities for false positives, so that people’s feelings are wrongly pegged or interpreted. 



In the end, unless you wear a physical mask or can spiritually transcend yourself above it all, we can see you and soon we will know not just what you are feeling, but also what you are thinking as well…it’s coming. 😉