Technology Hope For The Future

Tech Expert In Training.jpeg

Ok, this gives me tremendous technology hope for the future. 

This 4-year old kid is working diligently on her smartphone, while her mom is shopping not far away in the clothing store at the mall. 

She didn’t seem to care about the clothes hanging all around her or the fun in the mall or really anything else at all…she was content with her tech!

And while I certainly believe in work-life balance and in kids being able to really jsut be kids, there was just something so amazing about the promise of technology, especially for those who are now growing up with it. 

After all, it was very cute how intent this kid was with all the technology power right in the palm of her hands, and I could easily see a budding CIO in the making here. 

And of course, with even better and more capable technology in the future. 

Through technology and belief, we can find hope in the impossible. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

What Path Are We On This July 4th?

Over and over again, I hear people say that as a country we are on the wrong path.


According to recent polls, around 70% think we’re moving in the wrong direction!


Very pessimistic bunch or something more going on?  


Despite all the technology advances–from smartphones to video-on-demand, drones to 3-D printing–people are still feeling like things are a mess. 


And the upcoming election seems to have given everyone with half a brain, reason to pause. 


The world seems like a very dangerous place these days with a resurgent Russia, China, North Korea, Iran, and ISIS with your guess as to where terrorism of the day will be hitting. 


Moreover, weapons of mass destruction are proliferating from nukes to chemical and biological weapons…can anyone say $350 billion in the next 10 years to modernize America’s nuclear arsenal


Deadly diseases from Ebola in Africa to Zika in South America are striking without warning and causing horrible sudden death and frightening birth defects in infant babies. 


The economy and politics of the world are grossly unstable with many banks now offering negative interest rates and Brexit tearing at the very core of the EU.  


Hundreds of thousands are dying in the Arab Spring and Middle East wars and millions of refugees are streaming to Europe and as far away as America. 


Ballooning national debts are leading to the looming bankruptcies of not only Greece, Spain, Ireland, and Puerto Rico, but also the 3 pillars of American entitlements: Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. 


Unemployment shows at a deceptive 4.7%, but yet anyone looking for a job knows this is far from reality, and robots, artificial intelligence, and automation loom large over any future prospects. 


Racism and hate are all too alive and well as tempers seem to be boiling over in city after city, with or without police shootings precipitating things. 


Already as a kid, I always used to ask my dad rhetorically, “What’s gonna be?”


As an adult, I understand that this was a question born of the deterioration of the moral and leadership fiber of our society and a future that was far from certain in the inner city or beyond, along with the anxiety born of wanting to have some reassurance that things somehow would end up being okay. 


But things aren’t okay in our f*cked up world!


Especially with political jockeying to gerrymandering, from sit-ins to sequestration, from pork-barrel projects to outright fraud, waste, and abuse…the system is getting so broken. 


Now when I think in my head, what’s gonna be, my mom and dad are not here anymore to reassure me that everything will be alright, and frankly in this day and age, those reassurances would not even be able to ring true. 


We need change and hope, but perhaps we must look Heavenward for it to come, because down here, things are looking more like a creeping hell, than a heaven that awaits.  


But good people can help to change things…one good thought, word, and deed at a time. You and I can be influences for good, for a brighter tomorrow, for peace, for freedom and equality, and for prosperity for everyone that doesn’t buy into the status quo and the spin and lies that sustain it any longer. 


This is our magic wand to wave and wave and make good times based on values and faith return again. 😉


(Source Video: Andy Blumenthal)

Young Love

Young Love.jpeg

So I took this photo of a painting in a home furnishings store.

Just something really striking about it to me. 

The way the women is leaning into the man and his head/face leans into hers. 

Their focus on the drawing or plans in front of them, where he seems to be sketching out their future together. 

Also, their hands touching and almost clasped.

Young love is beautiful.

When people find each other, by some miracle of G-d.

And the chemistry magically makes 2 people like 1. 

The look they give each other, when their hopes and dreams converge.

Best friends, companions, lovers with the potential to grow ever mightier over time. 

Life not without obstacles that the couple must overcome, supporting each other.

Building a home, raising a family, making a future together come true.

When the minds meet, the hearts yearn for each other, and the souls join.

What a time of joy and blessing…a time to live for and to continue the generations forward and build that which cannot be completed by any man alone. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Is There Anyone Out There To Lead

Scary Election

Interesting editorial in the Wall Street Journal today titled, “These Five Are the Best We Can Do?” referring to the current slate of Presidential candidates. 

According to the author, Joseph Epstein: “Viewing the candidates of both parties during the debates, one felt that nearly everyone of the participants was in the business for him- or herself.”

Yes, so many people are getting turned off by the selfishness, obscurity and outright deceit, vulgarity, and off-the-chart impractical and impolitic views of the candidates.

Yet the editorial mistakenly attributes the presumed dearth of good-to-great candidates is due to no one impressive wanting to run in the age when “media and Internet are the major instruments of contemporary political degradation.”

In other words, no normal person wants to be put under a microscope for their person, rather than their personal views of where to take this country. 

However, this doesn’t ring true to me. 

I think that true leaders are and would be willing to endure the scrutiny of the traditional media and social media in order to take us into a meaningful, righteous, and better future–it’s simply part of the job like Moses having to endure the gripes against him when he led the Children of Israel out of Egypt and to the Promised Land. 

Maybe the real reason that we don’t think we have the quality of leadership that we expect is that there is a perception of a genuine dearth of sincere, unadulterated, whole-package leadership out there. 

Think about it–with a virtually unlimited supply of false messiahs across the leadership spectrum from politics to corporate and religious life–we have been let down by fraudsters, liars, thieves, and sex abusers. 

Like with the Israelites in Egypt who waited hundreds of years for G-d to bring a Moses to lead his people, perhaps we are looking with eyes heavenward for an appropriate gifted leader to take us into the future…and this is more than just what an education or pedigree can provide, but rather a person inspired by a purity of heart and a clarity of vision. 

For that, we need a leader that will not just talk the scripted talk or walk the overconfident boisterous walk, but we need to see the person whose promising words match their deeds and whose heart is aligned with the people and the nation for a truly greater future and not just for the political donations, superdelegate counts, their party nomination and the electoral college votes to land them the coveted Oval Office. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

If I Could Get Back Time

Past Present Future

My good friend, Jacob Elbaz, taught me this awesome saying in synagogue today:

__________________

“Yesterday is history.

Tomorrow is mystery.

Today is a present. “

__________________

Another way that my dad taught me is this:

______________________________________________________________

Today is the tomorrow that you worried about yesterday. 

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Hope you enjoy these!

(Source Photo: Andy and Dossy Blumenthal)

The Unsustainable U.S. Economy

Unsustainable EconomyThe U.S. National Debt often touted at an enormous $18 trillion is really more than 3 times that amount and closer to a whopping $65 trillion!


That’s when you actually count all the unfunded liabilities for civilian and military pensions, retiree healthcare, social security, and medicare.


For each of the 318.9 million people of that United States, it mean $203,826 of debt or for a family of four that’s a debt of $815,303.


Put another way, the entire net worth of Americans is $84.9 trillion, but after subtracting the debt of $65 trillion, it drops to just about $20 trillion–coincidentally around the amount of our new debt ceiling.


Moreover, with the richest 1% owning more than 50% of the wealth by 2016 that leave only $10 trillion or $31,675 for each of us–not so hoity toity for 239 years of independence and founding as a nation or all the blood, sweat, and tears we put in every day of our lives.


In terms of our escalating debt, just this last year alone, social security spending went up to $944,143,000,000 or the equivalent of $6,345 for every American with a job. and this is projected to dramatically rise with the retirements of the baby boomers.


Projections are for social security to exhaust its funds by 2035, which could result in across the board 20% or more cuts in benefits of the already meager program where many seniors end up eating cat food.


Additionally, the retirement age already set to go to 67 by 2027 could be forced to go even higher, and social security would likely be curtailed or eliminated entirely above certain income levels.


Is this the financial security and brighter future we are leaving our children and grandchildren?


We can kick the can down the road, but the unsustainability of it all will eventually come back to haunt us. 😉


(Source Photo: here with attribution to Pictures of Money)

Washington Like The Powerful Great Falls

Great Falls

We went to Great Falls on the Virginia side yesterday. 


It started to rain a little as we got off the highway, and so we started to turn back disappointed. 


But before we got back on the highway, the rain stopped and we continued our “Sunday Funday” trip. 


With 3 beautiful overlooks of the Potomac River–even on a cloudy, chilly Fall day–it was marvelous. 


Because of the changing weather, it wasn’t too crowded and we were able to get right up on the overlooks for some spectacular views and photos. 


At one point a (rescue?) helicopter suddenly pulled up from nowhere beneath the cliffs and was like right there up close in our faces, but we had already started to pull back to the trail and I missed a cool photo that I would’ve like to capture. 


The current of the water is really strong at Great Falls and an average of 7 people die a year there. 


Also, sometimes there is such enormous flooding that the water crests above the high overlooks–75 feet up!–and overflows onto the park’s grounds. 


We watched some climbers scampering along down on the rocks by the water (on the left) as they got close, but not too close to the water’s edge. 


As I think about it, living in Washington, D.C., the capital and superpower political hotbed of the world, the symbolism of being on the edge is not lost. 


Some people wade too far and get overcome by the rising water and powerful currents, and others may be too apathetic or fearful to even get close enough to dip their toe in the muddle. 


Even for those that sincerely care and want to try to make a difference in the direction and future of where we are going–technologically and success-wise–it’s water, water everywhere.


Like Great Falls, DC runs with a powerful current–a lot of it simply running nowhere, much is hidden beneath the surface, but overall with enough force to shape our country’s destiny for better or for worse. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Light Up The Night

Light Sticks
This was a beautiful piece in the New York Times today.



It was about how two sons handled the final hours with their father after he was removed from off life support.



With the prodding of one son, the father reluctantly agrees to see a Rabbi before his death, and this Rabbi describes to the dying man the meaning of his (and our) life:



“Imagine your whole life now, and for each [and every] time you did something good, imagine it as a little glow you left behind that lights a dark road stretching back in time. It’s a long, long row of lights now, isn’t it?”



Remembering over time, the father nods, smiles and is obviously comforted in this final hour as he sees in his mind’s eye all the shinning lights for the acts of kindness that he was leaving behind. 



Isn’t this what life is all about?



Every choice we make, everything we do, can have an amazing impact and leave light when before there was just darkness. 



Imitating G-d in creation, we create light separating it from the darkness out there, good from evil…we create the future. 



Our goal…light up the night. 😉



(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Cool Cat Innovation

Cool Crayola Cat
This is pretty in pink, amazing. 



Look closely at this cat.



The cat is made of full sticks of Crayola Crayons (literally).



The crayons are vertical–base down and point up.



It’s brilliant rather than using the crayons to draw, the artist used the crayons themselves to put together a colorful cat (I also saw he made a dog and a guitar like this).



Very creative…novel…a different way of thinking. 



We need this cool cat thinking, and from everyone, to drive to solutions and for a brighter future–we can! 😉



(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

We Didn’t Make History

Space
A sincere congratulations to the European Union for the epic landing of a probe from the Rosetta spacecraft–the first such landing on a comet.


They did this with a landing area of just 550 yards in diameter and away from deep crevices, large boulders, and sharp peaks–it is amazing!



Their European space scientists are exclaiming and rightfully so, “We made history today.”



The problem for us is that we–the U.S.of A.–didn’t!



Yes, we landed the first man on the moon in 1969 and we haven’t done it again since 1972.



I remember in grade school, with great pride and wonder, watching the first space shuttle taking flight–that was in 1981.



Since then, we had the horrific Space Shuttle Columbia disaster (2003), followed by the retirement of the shuttles altogether (2011).



Now, we rely on Russian rockets to bring supplies to the International Space Station and for our military and national security satellites.



Then, just a few weeks ago, we had the explosion of Virgin Galactic’s SpaceshipTwo (2014) that is said to have been plagued with problems from inadequate rocket thrust, flight control system issues, and deficiencies in basic structural integrity. 



In the meantime, the Indians have made it to Mars on a dime. 



Where are we as a nation looking to advance into space–where resources and our very survival may someday soon depend?



Just think where those multi trillions of dollars spent (some would say squandered) in Iraq and Afghanistan (now being overrun by ISIS or threatened by the Taliban) as well as for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (uh, what did we really accomplish for all that money spent?).


Where we once led, and as children we stood in awe, now we stand in bewilderment and leave our children marveling at the victories and accomplishments of others. 



We can not/must not become complacent or stop investing strategically in our future–we need to act with urgency and commitment again for our nation to succeed.



(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)