Jailbird Freedom

So I’m doing laps in the indoor pool.


And out of the corner of my eye, I see this bird swoop in overhead.


But it’s not outside, it’s inside the building enclosure. 


The bird dived in through an open door.


Now it was stuck inside. 


It perched itself on a shelf overlooking the outdoors.


But it was stuck behind the glass walls.


The lifeguard tried to swoop it out with the sticks, brushes, and nets for cleaning the pool.


But this bird wasn’t going anywhere. 


I asked if it was injured or sick.


He said that the bird was scared, which made sense. 


Over and over again, the lifeguard tried to coax the bird out.


Finally, it took flight and headed straight into another glass pane–BONG–and fell down–SPLAT–onto another ledge. 


The lifeguard and I looked at each other — asking whether the bird was still alive or not.


I suggested he call for help, and the advice he was given was just to leave it alone and that eventually, it would find its way out. 


It was time for me to go, but I am still thinking about that trapped bird.


If you love something, you have to let it free.


Everyone and everything should be free (unless they’ve abused that freedom).


Free to come and go, free to express themselves, free to choose, free to act.


Sometimes, when you’re free you run into trouble or into a glass pane.


You need to find your way out and home again to freedom. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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Politics On A Cow

I saw this “Antifa” (Anti-Fascist) symbol on this painting of a cow in Washington, D.C. 


As a child of Holocaust survivors, I certainly understand and can even sympathize with the view of the anti-fascist movement–certainly, we should all unequivocally appreciate, love, and want to protect freedom and human rights!


However, I think throwing around labels like fascist, perhaps where it is more about political disagreements doesn’t help to identify the really bad actors out there in the world and what they can and even would like to do to harm all of us. 


Anyway, I am pretty sure that this cow is no fascist.


I would also like to say that the red and black with this symbol here is way too close to looking like how the genocidal Nazi’s themselves portrayed the dreaded and infamous swastika in red and black.  


It would be great if we use symbols and labels carefully, and let the cows go back to being cows. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

What’s Free And What’s Not

I like this saying and wanted to share it:

“The dream is free, but the hustle is sold separately.”


Yes, this is the home of the free. 


And we are all able to dream BIG dreams.


However, without the hard work and hustle, dream are not made, but rather they die on the vine. 


So dream big–imagine the very best.


Reach for the stars…


And then work your butt off to make it happen.


Choose carefully. 


No one can have it all.


You have to prioritize.


Also, you need to balance. 


In the end:

Dreams+Hard Work+Blessing From G-d


That’s success by whatever standards you measure. 


(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)

Improv, Let’s Do it

What an incredible experience today. 


We went to the Atlas Theater in Washington, D.C. and did Improv (no script). 


For a Jewish kid from the Bronx, this was not something I was used to, but I loved it. 


– Say your name and an animal with the same first letter and act it out.


– Say something you love or hate and everyone gravitates on the stage towards or from it based on whether they agree.


– Repeat a word and action from someone else and pass it on.


– Act out an action that someone else calls out after yelling “Let’s do it!” 


– As a group, answer a question from the audience, by each person adding a word to the aggregated answer. 


– Give your neighbor a pretend object and after they identify what they think it is and thank you for it, you explain why you gave it to them.


– Stand on an emotion (happy, sad, angry, scared) and act out a scene with someone else rotating through the feelings.


– Pretend you’re a hitchhiker and infest the emotion with everyone else in the car.


I was really amazed at how good so many people were with doing these exercises. 


And I felt it was so freeing to be doing it too. 


I feel like I really learned a lot about being comfortable with yourself and just letting your inhibitions go and even though it was scary and hard, I would like to do this again. 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Washington Democracy

Nice photo of the Capitol, the Reflecting Pool, and the Botanical Gardens.


Even in cold January in Washington, DC, it is a mighty impressive sight. 


Some of the most important lessons for me:


Democracy never ceases as long as the people rule, freedom is protected, and human rights is respected.


Those in power have an even greater responsibility to ensure they do the right thing and maintain the utmost integrity.  


We have a lot to live up to!


Hope everyone enjoys their weekend and MLK holiday.  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Social Media Totalitarianism

The Chinese government has the most brilliant as well as frightening use and control of social media. 


I am not just talking about blocking Internet sites and free information flow. 


They actually have mastered the use of social media for tracking and rewarding or punishing citizen behavior.


Their social credit system rates people’s behavior online for everything they do!


Similar to likes and dislikes, you are either labeled a “model citizen” sought after for jobs and good housing or you can be an “enemy of the state” treated as a social outcast who can’t even leave the country anymore. 


Everything about you is now based on what you are rated (whether true or not)!


Now in China the government has added a snitching tool/app where people are encouraged through a points system that offers rewards like store discounts, coupons for coffee, taxis, and music streaming, in order to get them to report covertly on their neighbors–are their fellow citizens fighting, is there mental illness, are people cheating on their taxes, etc. 


You’re being surveilled not just by the grid system, where every 300 households are watched and checked-in on by a “grid manager,” but you are subject to daily intrusion by anyone that wants to report on you. 


Communication to “Big Brother” is way overvalued, while privacy and respect of the people are no longer important values or concerns. 


Instead of a Security Operations Center to monitor and command response to life-threatening catastrophes and emergencies, now there is a “Social Governance Integrated Command Center” to display video and biometric surveillance from throughout the country as well as to show what are the “moods” and which “issues” are trending. 


Talking about having a finger on the pulse of what’s going on…


I say this is all brilliant and malign, because social media which can be a tool for connecting people and for the free flow of information and progress is instead used for near ultimate control and enslavement of the masses–both their minds and their behaviors. 


People should not be treated as servants of the state and subjected to ever-encroaching social media surveillance and control that is not carefully balanced directly to absolutely necessary national security. 


Rather the state and its levers of people’s supreme power should be subject to the wants and needs of its people who must freely decide on their collective futures and maintaining human rights. 


Totalitarianism by police state, imprisonment, torture and “re-education” is now unfortunately facilitated by social media monitoring,  and credits system where truly you are watched by Big Brother in the flesh and in the bytes. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Happy Summer Shoes

Summer Shoes.jpeg

Summer is generally a sunny and happy time of year. 


People throw off the thick winter coats and  heavy boots and wear some nice sandals.


I saw this one lady wearing these happy, colorful sandals on the Metro. 


I’d expect to see these more in Florida or California than in stodgy Washington, D.C. 


They were pretty awesome–trendy, stylish, even comfortable looking. 


Fashion is self-expression and freedom.


It’s also artistic and a reflection of our culture and our desires. 


We need more color, more chance, more futurism from our fashion.


The clothes can shape not only our bodies, but the times we live in. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)